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And there sequestered from the sight,
Was spread a treacherous swamp,
As from a lonely lamp;
A single Island rose,
Adorned, and shady boughs.
The Woodman knew, for such the craft
This Russian vassal plied,
Of archer there was tried ;
From all intrusion free ;
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
command ; Heart-soothed, and busy as a wren,
While, in a hollow nook,
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
But in they entered are ;
With branches intertwined,
And delicately lined :
And hearth was there, and maple dish,
And cups in seemly rows,
For nurture or repose ;
That here she may abide
By cautious love supplied.
No queen, before a shouting crowd,
Led on in bridal state,
Entering her palace gate;
No saintly anchoress
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,
That monumental grace
That Reason should control;
A statue of the soul.
'Tis sung in ancient minstrelsy
That Phoebus wont to wear
Around his golden hair;
Of his imperious love,
A laurel in the grove.
Then did the Penitent adorn
His brow with laurel green
No meaner leaf was seen;
And poets sage, through every age,
About their temples wound
Into the mists of fabling Time
So far runs back the praise
Along forbidden ways;
Where mutual love is not ;
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;
To one mute Presence, above all,
Her soothed affections clung, A picture on the cabin wall
By Russian usage hungThe Mother-maid, whose countenance
bright 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
So high their hearts would beat;
They brought, each visiting
With a new burst of spring.
But when she of her Parents thought,
The pang was hard to bear;
That trouble still is near.
Their constancy to prove,
The weakness of their love.
Dark is the past to them, and dark
The future still must be,
Into a safer sea-
And set her Spirit free
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 !