Изображения страниц

And there sequestered from the sight,
Was spread a treacherous swamp,
On which the noon-day sun shed light
As from a lonely lamp;

And midway in the unsafe morass

A single Island rose,

Of firm dry ground, with healthful grass Adorned, and shady boughs.


The Woodman knew, for such the craft This Russian vassal plied,

That never fowler's gun, nor shaft
Of archer there was tried;

A sanctuary seemed the spot
From all intrusion free;

And there he planned an artful Cot
For perfect secresy.

With earnest pains unchecked by dread
Of Power's far-stretching hand,
The bold good Man his labor sped
At Nature's pure command;
Heart-soothed, and busy as a wren,

While, in a hollow nook,
She moulds her sight-eluding den
Above a murmuring brook.

His task accomplished to his mind,
The twain ere break of day

Creep forth, and through the forest wind
Their solitary way;

Few words they speak, nor dare to slack Their pace from mile to mile,

Till they have crossed the quaking marsh, And reached the lonely Isle.

The sun above the pine-trees showed
A bright and cheerful face;
And Ina looked for her abode,

The promised hiding-place;

She sought in vain, the Woodman smiled; No threshold could be seen,

Nor roof, nor window ;-all seemed wild As it had ever been.

Advancing, you might guess an hour,
The front with such nice care

Is masked, "if house it be or bower,"
But in they entered are;

As shaggy as were wall and roof
With branches intertwined,

So smooth was all within, air-proof,
And delicately lined:

And hearth was there, and maple dish,
And cups in seemly rows,

And couch-all ready to a wish

For nurture or repose;

And Heaven doth to her virtue grant
That here she may abide

In solitude, with every want
By cautious love supplied.

No queen, before a shouting crowd,
Led on in bridal state,

E'er struggled with a heart so proud,
Entering her palace gate;
Rejoiced to bid the world farewell,
No saintly anchoress

E'er took possession of her cell
With deeper thankfulness.

"Father of all, upon thy care

And mercy am I thrown; Be thou my safeguard !"--such her prayer When she was left alone, Kneeling amid the wilderness

When joy had passed away, And smiles, fond efforts of distress To hide what they betray!

The prayer is heard, the Saints have seen, Diffused through form and face,

Resolves devotedly serene;

That monumental grace

Of Faith, which doth all passions tame
That Reason should control;

And shows in the untrembling frame
A statue of the soul.


'Tis sung in ancient minstrelsy

That Phoebus wont to wear
The leaves of any pleasant tree
Around his golden hair;

Till Daphne, desperate with pursuit
Of his imperious love,

At her own prayer transformed, took root,

A laurel in the


Then did the Penitent adorn

His brow with laurel green

And 'mid his bright locks never shorn
No meaner leaf was seen;

And poets sage, through every age,
About their temples wound

The bay; and conquerors thanked the

With laurel chaplets crowned.

Into the mists of fabling Time.

So far runs back the praise

Of Beauty, that disdains to climb

Along forbidden ways;

That scorns temptation; power defies
Where mutual love is not;
And to the tomb for rescue flies
When life would be a blot.

To this fair Votaress, a fate

More mild doth Heaven ordain Upon her Island desolate;

And words not breathed in vain Might tell what intercourse she found, Her silence to endear;

What birds she tamed, what flowers the


Sent forth her peace to cheer.

To one mute Presence, above all,
Her soothed affections clung,
A picture on the cabin wall

By Russian usage hung

The Mother-maid, whose countenance


With love abridged the day;

And, communed with by taper light,
Chased spectral fears away.

And oft, as either Guardian came,
The joy in that retreat
Might any common friendship shame,
So high their hearts would beat;
And to the lone Recluse, whate'er

They brought, each visiting
Was like the crowding of the year
With a new burst of spring.

But when she of her Parents thought,
The pang was hard to bear;

And, if with all things not enwrought,
That trouble still is near.

Before her flight she had not dared
Their constancy to prove,

Too much the heroic Daughter feared
The weakness of their love.

Dark is the past to them, and dark
The future still must be,

Till pitying Saints conduct her bark
Into a safer sea-

Or gentle Nature close her eyes,
And set her Spirit free
From the altar of this sacrifice,
In vestal purity.

Yet, when above the forest-glooms

The white swans southward passed, High as the pitch of their swift plumes Her fancy rode the blast;

And bore her toward the fields of France,

Her Father's native land, To mingle in the rustic dance, The happiest of the band!

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »