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Small hands are linked, and dance divinest tresses,
And agile feet fly down the pleasant glade in
A merry measure ; through the deep recesses
How gaily trip they, youth and laughing maiden. The shaken turf is swept by silken dresses,
The woodland breeze with many a jest is laden, And lips are curled, and haughty heads are tossed, too, As none could picture them but Ariosto.
I see a castle of the olden time-
A turret chamber, whose quaint windows look
Over the great oaks in their forest prime:
So high, the thunder of the falling brook
Is all unheard—so high, the dusky rook
Throws in swift shadows from his passing wing.
Within, in fair confusion, many a book,
Lute, virginals, and every faery thing
Which ladies of those days chose for sweet dallying.
But the bright beauty that is sleeping there
In the full moonlight sleeping! As she lies,
Her veinèd eyelids are so very fair
That a rash gazer might believe her eyes
Were living light. The silent midnight skies
Seem as they watched her slumbers. While they fly on
In their majestic march, which never dies,
The Pleiades protect her: great Orion
Looks nightly on her couch, stern as a guardian lion.
Fair-breasted one! whose lily hand I see
Resting upon the silken coverlet;
While now thy young Crusader thinks of thee
In Palestine, do thy sweet dreams forget ?
No-on thy sleep his vows are lingering yet ;
The trysting tree is o'er thee-_its great boughs
With dew, as thy blue eyes with tear-drops, wet :
And thy young soldier his plumed helmet bows.
O moment of delight! O ever-binding vows!
Ah, woe to man! The Lady Geraldine,
Her knightly lover, and her father old,
Are faded into Time's dim hyaline,
Which not a single shadow doth enfold
To tell of them. The stern baronial hold
Has fallen long before the storm's bleak breath,
And of its glory there is nothing told.
Darkness our dreamy life encompasseth,
And we are shadows all, and nought is real but death.
Who would care to pass his life away,
Of the Lotos-land a dreamful denizen
Lotos-islands round a waveless bay,
Sung by Alfred Tennyson ?
Who would care to be a dull newcomer,
Far across the wide sea's blue abysses;
Where, about the earth's three thousandth summer,
Passed divine Ulysses ?
Rather give me coffee, art, a book,
From my windows a delicious seaview ;
Southdown mutton, somebody to cook -
“Music?” I believe you.
Strawberry icebergs in the summer time-
But of elmwood many a massive splinter ;
Good ghost stories, and a classic rhyme,
For the nights of winter.
Now and then a friend, and some sauterne ;
Now and then a neck of highland venison ;
And for Lotos-lands I'll never yearn,
Maugre Alfred Tennyson.
Farewell, bright sunl thou goest to thy rest,
And I to mine. When thou dost rise again,
This busy heart—this racked and aching head-
Shall feel and throb no more ;-those failing eyes
Shall never watch thee sink behind the roofs,
And fill with tears to think of other times,
When they beheld thee fading from a sky
That overhung green hills and leafy woods.
'Tis my last gaze on thee_ I perish here,
An idle weed, cast, by the tide of life,
To wither on a bleak and desolate shore.
No heart, in this wide city's wilderness,
Will think the light of day less bright and fair,
That I shall see it not-no loving tears
Will fall upon my coffin—not a soul
Will ache and sicken at its own strong life,
When all which made that life seem beautiful
Lies low with me in my cold silent grave.
Ah me !_far, far away from these close streets
There lies a spot, hidden in waving boughs,
Where the thrush carols and the swallow flits
Through the long summer-day-where waters gleam
Between high bowery banks, whose willows droop
To kiss the ripples.
There, by that broad stream, Under the alders, at the wicket-gate, My mother stands, starting at each quick tread That echoes loudly on the quiet road; Her poor heart throbbing wildly, as the birds Flutter among the branches overhead. But all in vain-my foot shall never more Sound on the garden-path-never again Shall my hand raise the latch—no more at eve, When the clear sky is flushed with sunset clouds, And the slant rays bronze the old gnarled oaks, Shall I sit with my sisters 'neath the arch Of blossomed jessamine, and watch the glow Fade from the river, and the evening star Shine through the warm blue of the beauteous heav'n ; No more my foot shall wander through the woods, Where the shy hare, that couched amid the fern, Scarce started, as I passed her silent haunt, So well she knew me;—and I lay reclined In lone green nooks, where less adventurous step Than mine had never been.
Where blue-bell tufts And violet clusters cast an azure gleam Through the long waving grass—the humming bees Droned in the sycamores and spreading limes, Lulling me into soft, delicious sleep, Broken by the loud cuckoo's gladsome cry Ringing through hawthorn glade and hazel copse. Night after night, the gentle moon may shine Into my vacant room, as she was wont, And cast her silver flags upon the floor, Chequered with tremulous shadows of the leaves And flowers that cling around the latticed paneBut the wild dreamer who lay wakeful there, Watching her beauty—and with charmed ear List'ning to all the sounds of whispering boughs And singing waters, till the stars waxed dim Shall rest in the oblivion of the grave. I thank thee, God! that my beloved ones Have hope to cheer them.
When the day wears on
And brings not me, they'll look with stronger trust
On to the morrow. May they never know
That their poor wanderer, their pride, their hope
Shall meet their eyes no more. May they not know
That wanting one kind hand to close mine eyes,
To wipe the damps of anguish from my brow,
Or moisten the parched fever of my lips
I died alone.
Oh, misery for me!
Why did I trust thee, golden fruit, that gleamed
In what I thought the fairy land of life?
Why did I put my faith in baseless dreams,
And leave the quiet haven of my youth
For their deceitful promise ?
I have seized
The fruit, and found it wither in my grasp ;
I've proved my dreams, and they have left me thus.
Fame l ah, I know it now! 'tis but a word
To lure the victim onward to his doom-
The bread of life to the ambitious heart,
Which breaks for lack of it.
I flung my heart
A gauntlet to the world—how was it met ?
With cold indifference and blighting scorn.
Pride, with his thrice-mailed hand and iron foot,
Dashed it to earth, then ground it in the dust-
And it arose no more.
Blessed be death !
Since I have seen my youth's illusions fly
Ere youth itself was gone. Blessing and peace
On my dear home, and those who dwell therein,
Is the poor friendless outcast's latest prayer.
There is a long, long night before my soul,
And a bright endless day beyond that night ;
There is another land where we shall meet,
And this world's bitter taunts can wound no more.
'Tis evening, and the summer sun, fast sinking in the west,
Throws many a bright and golden bar above the mountain's crest ;
From far away the waterfall sends back its mellow'd sound,
But in the grove there reigns a calmness soothing and profound;
Along its grassy margin winds the smooth and gentle stream,
Now faintly tinted over with the sun's departing beam ;
From out the teeming meadows fragrant odour seems to float,
And the linnet sweetly warbles from her nest a final note;
Beyond those fields our village, fring'd with vale and wooded hill,
Is peacefully reposing in the universal still.
'Twas tehre that joyously I passed my years of opening life,
Before the world had won me as a partner in its strife :
And there may I return e'er my final years shall close
To haunt again my childhood's scenes and share their sweet repose !
Thou art getting wan and pale, dearest ;
Thy blush has flown away,
And thy fragile form more fragile grows
Every gloomy day that brings
That mourful moment near
When we must part, to meet no more
On this dull sphere.
I feel the hour is drawing nigh
When I must quit this life,
And leave, I trust, for happier one
Its scene of strife.
Oh, could I steal the sting with me
'Twill bring to thy fond heart,
Without one pang, or tear, or sigh,
I could depart.
But oh! it rends my bosom deep
To watch thy stifled pain-
To see thy efforts to bear up,
And smile again.
While, as thou raisest up my head
And hang'st my pillow o'er,
Thy tearful eye too plainly tells
An aching core.
Ah! little, little did I dream
The grief in store for thee, When I invited thee to share
My heart, but young and hopeful then,
Before me only viewed
Bright hours of sunshine to divide,
With roses strew'd.
How sadly false those hopes have proved
Thy aching breast must feel
Torn by affection that might break
A heart of steel.
Had I but known this mournful fate
Ere wedded life began,
No breaking heart should watch to-night
A dying man.
Oh! what a life of misery,
distress, Thy lot has been since linked with mine :
To watch me labouring for bread,
My brain and hand outworn,
Till prostrated by fell (lisease,
I sank forlorn.
Yet never in my fretful mood
Did angry word or look
Return my ill-deserved wrath
With one rebuke.
No; always patient, ever fond,
And bending to my will,
Thy gentle spirit
murmured not One word of ill. The hour will soon arrive, my own,
When I can wrong no more,
And life for me, with all its cares,
Will soon be o'er.
I need not ask thee to forget
Each word or thought unkind ;
Thy loving heart I know too well
Thy gentle mind.
The little pledge that crowned our love,
That smiling little elf,
Dear to my heart because so like
Thy own sweet self.
Ay, bring her near me,let me look
My last in her dear face,
Where all her mother's gentle charms
I fondly trace.