Brave Aliatar led forward A hundred Moors to go To where his brother held Motril Against the leaguering foe. On horseback went the gallant Moor, That gallant band to lead; And now his bier is at the gate, From whence he pricked his steed. While mournfully and slowly The afflicted warriors come, To the deep wail of the trumpet, And beat of muffled drum.
The knights of the Grand Master In crowded ambush lay; They rushed upon him where the reeds Were thick beside the way; They smote the valiant Aliatar, They smote the warrior dead, And broken, but not beaten, were The gallant ranks he led. Now mournfully and slowly The afflicted warriors come, To the deep wail of the trumpet, And beat of muffled drum.
Oh! what was Zayda's sorrow, How passionate her cries! Her lover's wounds streamed not more free Than that poor maiden's eyes. Say, Love—for didst thou see her tears: Oh, no! he drew more tight The blinding fillet o'er his lids To spare his eyes the sight. While mournfully and slowly The afflicted warriors come, To the deep wail of the trumpet, And beat of muffled drum.
Nor Zayda weeps him only, But all that dwell between The great Alhambra's palace walls And springs of Albaicin. The ladies weep the flower of knights, The brave the bravest here; The people weep a champion, The Alcaydes a noble peer. While mournfully and slowly The afflicted warriors come, To the deep wail of the trumpet, And beat of muffled drum.
LOVE IN THE AGE OF CHIVALRY. deg.
FROM PEYRE VIDAL, THE TROUBADOUR.
The earth was sown with early flowers, The heavens were blue and bright— I met a youthful cavalier As lovely as the light. I knew him not—but in my heart His graceful image lies, And well I marked his open brow, His sweet and tender eyes, His ruddy lips that ever smiled, His glittering teeth betwixt, And flowing robe embroidered o'er, With leaves and blossoms mixed. He wore a chaplet of the rose; His palfrey, white and sleek, Was marked with many an ebon spot, And many a purple streak; Of jasper was his saddle-bow, His housings sapphire stone, And brightly in his stirrup glanced The purple calcedon. Fast rode the gallant cavalier, As youthful horsemen ride; "Peyre Vidal! know that I am Love," The blooming stranger cried; "And this is Mercy by my side, A dame of high degree; This maid is Chastity," he said, "This squire is Loyalty."
THE LOVE OF GOD. deg.
FROM THE PROVENCAL OF BERNARI RASCAS.
All things that are on earth shall wholly pass away, Except the love of God, which shall live and last for aye. The forms of men shall be as they had never been; The blasted groves shall lose their fresh and tender green; The birds of the thicket shall end their pleasant song, And the nigthingale* shall cease to chant the evening long. The kine of the pasture shall feel the dart that kills, And all the fair white flocks shall perish from the hills. The goat and antlered stag, the wolf and the fox, The wild boar of the wood, and the chamois of the rocks, And the strong and fearless bear, in the trodden dust shall lie, And the dolphin of the sea, and the mighty whale, shall die. And realms shall be dissolved, and empires be no more, And they shall bow to death, who ruled from shore to shore; And the great globe itself, (so the holy writings tell,) With the rolling firmament, where the starry armies dwell, Shall melt with fervent heat—they shall all pass away, Except the love of God, which shall live and last for aye.
FROM THE SPANISH OF PEDRO DE CASTRO Y ANAYA. deg.
Stay, rivulet, nor haste to leave The lovely vale that lies around thee. Why wouldst thou be a sea at eve, When but a fount the morning found thee?
Born when the skies began to glow, Humblest of all the rock's cold daughters, No blossom bowed its stalk to show Where stole thy still and scanty waters.
Now on thy stream the noonbeams look, Usurping, as thou downward driftest, Its crystal from the clearest brook, Its rushing current from the swiftest.
Ah! what wild haste!—and all to be A river and expire in ocean. Each fountain's tribute hurries thee To that vast grave with quicker motion.
Far better 'twere to linger still In this green vale, these flowers to cherish, And die in peace, an aged rill, Than thus, a youthful Danube, perish.
FROM THE PORTUGUESE OF SEMEDO.
It is a fearful night; a feeble glare Streams from the sick moon in the o'erclouded sky; The ridgy billows, with a mighty cry, Rush on the foamy beaches wild and bare; No bark the madness of the waves will dare; The sailors sleep; the winds are loud and high; Ah, peerless Laura! for whose love I die, Who gazes on thy smiles while I despair? As thus, in bitterness of heart, I cried, I turned, and saw my Laura, kind and bright, A messenger of gladness, at my side: To my poor bark she sprang with footstep light, And as we furrowed Tago's heaving tide, I never saw so beautiful a night.
FROM THE SPANISH OF IGLESIAS.
Alexis calls me cruel; The rifted crags that hold The gathered ice of winter, He says, are not more cold.
When even the very blossoms Around the fountain's brim, And forest walks, can witness The love I bear to him.
I would that I could utter My feelings without shame; And tell him how I love him, Nor wrong my virgin fame.
Alas! to seize the moment When heart inclines to heart, And press a suit with passion, Is not a woman's part.
If man comes not to gather The roses where they stand, They fade among their foliage; They cannot seek his hand.
THE COUNT OF GREIERS.
FROM THE GERMAN OF UHLAND.
At morn the Count of Greiers before his castle stands; He sees afar the glory that lights the mountain lands; The horned crags are shining, and in the shade between A pleasant Alpine valley lies beautifully green.
"Oh, greenest of the valleys, how shall I come to thee! Thy herdsmen and thy maidens, how happy must they be! I have gazed upon thee coldly, all lovely as thou art, But the wish to walk thy pastures now stirs my inmost heart."
He hears a sound of timbrels, and suddenly appear A troop of ruddy damsels and herdsmen drawing near; They reach the castle greensward, and gayly dance across; The white sleeves flit and glimmer, the wreaths and ribands toss.
The youngest of the maidens, slim as a spray of spring, She takes the young count's fingers, and draws him to the ring, They fling upon his forehead a crown of mountain flowers, "And ho, young Count of Greiers! this morning thou art ours!"
Then hand in hand departing, with dance and roundelay, Through hamlet after hamlet, they lead the Count away. They dance through wood and meadow, they dance across the linn, Till the mighty Alpine summits have shut the music in.
The second morn is risen, and now the third is come; Where stays the Count of Greiers? has he forgot his home? Again the evening closes, in thick and sultry air; There's thunder on the mountains, the storm is gathering there.
The cloud has shed its waters, the brook comes swollen down; You see it by the lightning—a river wide and brown. Around a struggling swimmer the eddies dash and roar, Till, seizing on a willow, he leaps upon the shore.
"Here am I cast by tempests far from your mountain dell. Amid our evening dances the bursting deluge fell. Ye all, in cots and caverns, have 'scaped the water-spout, While me alone the tempest o'erwhelmed and hurried out.
"Farewell, with thy glad dwellers, green vale among the rocks! Farewell the swift sweet moments, in which I watched thy flocks! Why rocked they not my cradle in that delicious spot, That garden of the happy, where Heaven endures me not?
"Rose of the Alpine valley! I feel, in every vein, Thy soft touch on my fingers; oh, press them not again! Bewitch me not, ye garlands, to tread that upward track, And thou, my cheerless mansion, receive thy master back."
FROM THE SPANISH.
If slumber, sweet Lisena! Have stolen o'er thine eyes, As night steals o'er the glory Of spring's transparent skies;
Wake, in thy scorn and beauty, And listen to the strain That murmurs my devotion, That mourns for thy disdain.
Here by thy door at midnight, I pass the dreary hour, With plaintive sounds profaning The silence of thy bower;
A tale of sorrow cherished Too fondly to depart, Of wrong from love the flatterer, And my own wayward heart.
Twice, o'er this vale, the seasons Have brought and borne away The January tempest, The genial wind of May;
Yet still my plaint is uttered, My tears and sighs are given To earth's unconscious waters, And wandering winds of heaven.
I saw from this fair region, The smile of summer pass, And myriad frost-stars glitter Among the russet grass.
While winter seized the streamlets That fled along the ground, And fast in chains of crystal The truant murmurers bound.
I saw that to the forest The nightingales had flown, And every sweet-voiced fountain Had hushed its silver tone.
The maniac winds, divorcing The turtle from his mate, Raved through the leafy beeches, And left them desolate.
Now May, with life and music, The blooming valley fills, And rears her flowery arches For all the little rills.
The minstrel bird of evening Comes back on joyous wings, And, like the harp's soft murmur, Is heard the gush of springs.
And deep within the forest Are wedded turtles seen, Their nuptial chambers seeking, Their chambers close and green.
The rugged trees are mingling Their flowery sprays in love; The ivy climbs the laurel, To clasp the boughs above.
They change—but thou, Lisena, Art cold while I complain: Why to thy lover only Should spring return in vain?
A NORTHERN LEGEND.
FROM THE GERMAN OF UHLAND.
There sits a lovely maiden, The ocean murmuring nigh; She throws the hook, and watches; The fishes pass it by.
A ring, with a red jewel, Is sparkling on her hand; Upon the hook she binds it, And flings it from the land.
Uprises from the water A hand like ivory fair. What gleams upon its finger? The golden ring is there.
Uprises from the bottom A young and handsome knight; In golden scales he rises, That glitter in the light.
The maid is pale with terror— "Nay, Knight of Ocean, nay, It was not thee I wanted; Let go the ring, I pray."
"Ah, maiden, not to fishes The bait of gold is thrown; The ring shall never leave me, And thou must be my own."
* * * * *
* * * * *
TO THE APENNINES.
Your peaks are beautiful, ye Apennines! In the soft light of these serenest skies; From the broad highland region, black with pines, Fair as the hills of Paradise they rise, Bathed in the tint Peruvian slaves behold In rosy flushes on the virgin gold.
There, rooted to the aerial shelves that wear The glory of a brighter world, might spring Sweet flowers of heaven to scent the unbreathed air, And heaven's fleet messengers might rest the wing, To view the fair earth in its summer sleep, Silent, and cradled by the glimmering deep.
Below you lie men's sepulchres, the old Etrurian tombs, the graves of yesterday; The herd's white bones lie mixed with human mould— Yet up the radiant steeps that I survey Death never climbed, nor life's soft breath, with pain, Was yielded to the elements again.
Ages of war have filled these plains with fear; How oft the hind has started at the clash Of spears, and yell of meeting, armies here, Or seen the lightning of the battle flash From clouds, that rising with the thunder's sound, Hung like an earth-born tempest o'er the ground!
Ah me! what armed nations—Asian horde, And Libyan host—the Scythian and the Gaul, Have swept your base and through your passes poured, Like ocean-tides uprising at the call Of tyrant winds—against your rocky side The bloody billows dashed, and howled, and died.
How crashed the towers before beleaguering foes, Sacked cities smoked and realms were rent in twain; And commonwealths against their rivals rose, Trode out their lives and earned the curse of Cain! While in the noiseless air and light that flowed Round your far brows, eternal Peace abode.
Here pealed the impious hymn, and altar flames Rose to false gods, a dream-begotten throng, Jove, Bacchus, Pan, and earlier, fouler names; While, as the unheeding ages passed along, Ye, from your station in the middle skies, Proclaimed the essential Goodness, strong and wise.
In you the heart that sighs for freedom seeks Her image; there the winds no barrier know, Clouds come and rest and leave your fairy peaks; While even the immaterial Mind, below, And thought, her winged offspring, chained by power, Pine silently for the redeeming hour.
A midnight black with clouds is in the sky; I seem to feel, upon my limbs, the weight Of its vast brooding shadow. All in vain Turns the tired eye in search of form; no star Pierces the pitchy veil; no ruddy blaze, From dwellings lighted by the cheerful hearth, Tinges the flowering summits of the grass. No sound of life is heard, no village hum, Nor measured tramp of footstep in the path, Nor rush of wing, while, on the breast of Earth, I lie and listen to her mighty voice: A voice of many tones—sent up from streams That wander through the gloom, from woods unseen, Swayed by the sweeping of the tides of air, From rocky chasms where darkness dwells all day, And hollows of the great invisible hills, And sands that edge the ocean, stretching far Into the night—a melancholy sound!
O Earth! dost thou too sorrow for the past Like man thy offspring? Do I hear thee mourn Thy childhood's unreturning hours, thy springs Gone with their genial airs and melodies, The gentle generations of thy flowers, And thy majestic groves of olden time, Perished with all their dwellers? Dost thou wail For that fair age of which the poets tell, Ere the rude winds grew keen with frost, or fire Fell with the rains, or spouted from the hills, To blast thy greenness, while the virgin night Was guiltless and salubrious as the day? Or haply dost thou grieve for those that die— For living things that trod thy paths awhile, The love of thee and heaven—and now they sleep Mixed with the shapeless dust on which thy herds Trample and graze? I too must grieve with thee, O'er loved ones lost. Their graves are far away Upon thy mountains; yet, while I recline Alone, in darkness, on thy naked soil, The mighty nourisher and burial-place Of man, I feel that I embrace their dust.
Ha! how the murmur deepens! I perceive And tremble at its dreadful import. Earth Uplifts a general cry for guilt and wrong, And heaven is listening. The forgotten graves Of the heart-broken utter forth their plaint. The dust of her who loved and was betrayed, And him who died neglected in his age; The sepulchres of those who for mankind Laboured, and earned the recompense of scorn; Ashes of martyrs for the truth, and bones Of those who, in the strife for liberty, Were beaten down, their corses given to dogs, Their names to infamy, all find a voice. The nook in which the captive, overtoiled, Lay down to rest at last, and that which holds Childhood's sweet blossoms, crushed by cruel hands, Send up a plaintive sound. From battle-fields, Where heroes madly drave and dashed their hosts Against each other, rises up a noise, As if the armed multitudes of dead Stirred in their heavy slumber. Mournful tones Come from the green abysses of the sea— story of the crimes the guilty sought To hide beneath its waves. The glens, the groves, Paths in the thicket, pools of running brook, And banks and depths of lake, and streets and lanes Of cities, now that living sounds are hushed, Murmur of guilty force and treachery.
Here, where I rest, the vales of Italy Are round me, populous from early time, And field of the tremendous warfare waged 'Twixt good and evil. Who, alas, shall dare Interpret to man's ear the mingled voice That comes from her old dungeons yawning now To the black air, her amphitheatres, Where the dew gathers on the mouldering stones, And fanes of banished gods, and open tombs, And roofless palaces, and streets and hearths Of cities dug from their volcanic graves? I hear a sound of many languages, The utterance of nations now no more, Driven out by mightier, as the days of heaven Chase one another from the sky. The blood Of freemen shed by freemen, till strange lords Came in the hour of weakness, and made fast The yoke that yet is worn, cries out to Heaven.
What then shall cleanse thy bosom, gentle Earth From all its painful memories of guilt? The whelming flood, or the renewing fire, Or the slow change of time? that so, at last, The horrid tale of perjury and strife, Murder and spoil, which men call history, May seem a fable, like the inventions told By poets of the gods of Greece. O thou, Who sittest far beyond the Atlantic deep, Among the sources of thy glorious streams, My native Land of Groves! a newer page In the great record of the world is thine; Shall it be fairer? Fear, and friendly hope, And envy, watch the issue, while the lines, By which thou shalt be judged, are written down.
THE KNIGHT'S EPITAPH.
This is the church which Pisa, great and free, Reared to St. Catharine. How the time-stained walls, That earthquakes shook not from their poise, appear To shiver in the deep and voluble tones Rolled from the organ! Underneath my feet There lies the lid of a sepulchral vault. The image of an armed knight is graven Upon it, clad in perfect panoply— Cuishes, and greaves, and cuirass, with barred helm, Gauntleted hand, and sword, and blazoned shield. Around, in Gothic characters, worn dim By feet of worshippers, are traced his name, And birth, and death, and words of eulogy. Why should I pore upon them? This old tomb, This effigy, the strange disused form Of this inscription, eloquently show His history. Let me clothe in fitting words The thoughts they breathe, and frame his epitaph.
"He whose forgotten dust for centuries Has lain beneath this stone, was one in whom Adventure, and endurance, and emprise Exalted the mind's faculties and strung The body's sinews. Brave he was in fight, Courteous in banquet, scornful of repose, And bountiful, and cruel, and devout, And quick to draw the sword in private feud. He pushed his quarrels to the death, yet prayed The saints as fervently on bended knees As ever shaven cenobite. He loved As fiercely as he fought. He would have borne The maid that pleased him from her bower by night, To his hill-castle, as the eagle bears His victim from the fold, and rolled the rocks On his pursuers. He aspired to see His native Pisa queen and arbitress Of cities: earnestly for her he raised His voice in council, and affronted death In battle-field, and climbed the galley's deck, And brought the captured flag of Genoa back, Or piled upon the Arno's crowded quay The glittering spoils of the tamed Saracen. He was not born to brook the stranger's yoke, But would have joined the exiles that withdrew For ever, when the Florentine broke in The gates of Pisa, and bore off the bolts For trophies—but he died before that day.
"He lived, the impersonation of an age That never shall return. His soul of fire Was kindled by the breath of the rude time He lived in. Now a gentler race succeeds, Shuddering at blood; the effeminate cavalier, Turning his eyes from the reproachful past, And from the hopeless future, gives to ease, And love, and music, his inglorious life."
THE HUNTER OF THE PRAIRIES.
Ay, this is freedom!—these pure skies Were never stained with village smoke: The fragrant wind, that through them flies, Is breathed from wastes by plough unbroke. Here, with my rifle and my steed, And her who left the world for me, I plant me, where the red deer feed In the green desert—and am free.
For here the fair savannas know No barriers in the bloomy grass; Wherever breeze of heaven may blow, Or beam of heaven may glance, I pass. In pastures, measureless as air, The bison is my noble game; The bounding elk, whose antlers tear The branches, falls before my aim.
Mine are the river-fowl that scream From the long stripe of waving sedge; The bear that marks my weapon's gleam, Hides vainly in the forest's edge; In vain the she-wolf stands at bay; The brinded catamount, that lies High in the boughs to watch his prey, Even in the act of springing, dies.
With what free growth the elm and plane Fling their huge arms across my way, Gray, old, and cumbered with a train Of vines, as huge, and old, and gray! Free stray the lucid streams, and find No taint in these fresh lawns and shades; Free spring the flowers that scent the wind Where never scythe has swept the glades.
Alone the Fire, when frost-winds sere The heavy herbage of the ground, Gathers his annual harvest here, With roaring like the battle's sound, And hurrying flames that sweep the plain, And smoke-streams gushing up the sky: I meet the flames with flames again, And at my door they cower and die.
Here, from dim woods, the aged past Speaks solemnly; and I behold The boundless future in the vast And lonely river, seaward rolled. Who feeds its founts with rain and dew; Who moves, I ask, its gliding mass, And trains the bordering vines, whose blue Bright clusters tempt me as I pass?
Broad are these streams—my steed obeys, Plunges, and bears me through the tide. Wide are these woods—I thread the maze Of giant stems, nor ask a guide. I hunt till day's last glimmer dies O'er woody vale and grassy height; And kind the voice and glad the eyes That welcome my return at night.
What heroes from the woodland sprung, When, through the fresh awakened land, The thrilling cry of freedom rung, And to the work of warfare strung The yeoman's iron hand!
Hills flung the cry to hills around, And ocean-mart replied to mart, And streams whose springs were yet unfound, Pealed far away the startling sound Into the forest's heart.
Then marched the brave from rocky steep, From mountain river swift and cold; The borders of the stormy deep, The vales where gathered waters sleep, Sent up the strong and bold,—
As if the very earth again Grew quick with God's creating breath, And, from the sods of grove and glen, Rose ranks of lion-hearted men To battle to the death.
The wife, whose babe first smiled that day, The fair fond bride of yestereve, And aged sire and matron gray, Saw the loved warriors haste away, And deemed it sin to grieve.
Already had the strife begun; Already blood on Concord's plain Along the springing grass had run, And blood had flowed at Lexington, Like brooks of April rain.
That death-stain on the vernal sward Hallowed to freedom all the shore; In fragments fell the yoke abhorred— The footstep of a foreign lord Profaned the soil no more.
THE LIVING LOST.
Matron! the children of whose love, Each to his grave, in youth hath passed, And now the mould is heaped above The dearest and the last! Bride! who dost wear the widow's veil Before the wedding flowers are pale! Ye deem the human heart endures No deeper, bitterer grief than yours.
Yet there are pangs of keener wo, Of which the sufferers never speak, Nor to the world's cold pity show The tears that scald the cheek, Wrung from their eyelids by the shame And guilt of those they shrink to name, Whom once they loved with cheerful will, And love, though fallen and branded, still.
Weep, ye who sorrow for the dead, Thus breaking hearts their pain relieve; And reverenced are the tears ye shed, And honoured ye who grieve. The praise of those who sleep in earth, The pleasant memory of their worth, The hope to meet when life is past, Shall heal the tortured mind at last.
But ye, who for the living lost That agony in secret bear, Who shall with soothing words accost The strength of your despair? Grief for your sake is scorn for them Whom ye lament and all condemn; And o'er the world of spirits lies A gloom from which ye turn your eyes.
Midst greens and shades the Catterskill leaps, From cliffs where the wood-flower clings; All summer he moistens his verdant steeps With the sweet light spray of the mountain springs; And he shakes the woods on the mountain side, When they drip with the rains of autumn-tide.
But when, in the forest bare and old, The blast of December calls, He builds, in the starlight clear and cold, A palace of ice where his torrent falls, With turret, and arch, and fretwork fair, And pillars blue as the summer air.
For whom are those glorious chambers wrought, In the cold and cloudless night? Is there neither spirit nor motion of thought In forms so lovely, and hues so bright? Hear what the gray-haired woodmen tell Of this wild stream and its rocky dell.
'Twas hither a youth of dreamy mood, A hundred winters ago, Had wandered over the mighty wood, When the panther's track was fresh on the snow, And keen were the winds that came to stir The long dark boughs of the hemlock fir.
Too gentle of mien he seemed and fair, For a child of those rugged steeps; His home lay low in the valley where The kingly Hudson rolls to the deeps; But he wore the hunter's frock that day, And a slender gun on his shoulder lay.
And here he paused, and against the trunk Of a tall gray linden leant, When the broad clear orb of the sun had sunk From his path in the frosty firmament, And over the round dark edge of the hill A cold green light was quivering still.
And the crescent moon, high over the green, From a sky of crimson shone, On that icy palace, whose towers were seen To sparkle as if with stars of their own; While the water fell with a hollow sound, 'Twixt the glistening pillars ranged around.
Is that a being of life, that moves Where the crystal battlements rise? A maiden watching the moon she loves, At the twilight hour, with pensive eyes? Was that a garment which seemed to gleam Betwixt the eye and the falling stream?
'Tis only the torrent tumbling o'er, In the midst of those glassy walls, Gushing, and plunging, and beating the floor Of the rocky basin in which it falls. 'Tis only the torrent—but why that start? Why gazes the youth with a throbbing heart?
He thinks no more of his home afar, Where his sire and sister wait. He heeds no longer how star after star Looks forth on the night as the hour grows late. He heeds not the snow-wreaths, lifted and cast From a thousand boughs, by the rising blast.
His thoughts are alone of those who dwell In the halls of frost and snow, Who pass where the crystal domes upswell From the alabaster floors below, Where the frost-trees shoot with leaf and spray, And frost-gems scatter a silvery day.
"And oh that those glorious haunts were mine!" He speaks, and throughout the glen Thin shadows swim in the faint moonshine, And take a ghastly likeness of men, As if the slain by the wintry storms Came forth to the air in their earthly forms.
There pass the chasers of seal and whale, With their weapons quaint and grim, And bands of warriors in glittering mail, And herdsmen and hunters huge of limb. There are naked arms, with bow and spear, And furry gauntlets the carbine rear.
There are mothers—and oh how sadly their eyes On their children's white brows rest! There are youthful lovers—the maiden lies, In a seeming sleep, on the chosen breast; There are fair wan women with moonstruck air, The snow stars flecking their long loose hair.
They eye him not as they pass along, But his hair stands up with dread, When he feels that he moves with that phantom throng, Till those icy turrets are over his head, And the torrent's roar as they enter seems Like a drowsy murmur heard in dreams.
The glittering threshold is scarcely passed, When there gathers and wraps him round A thick white twilight, sullen and vast, In which there is neither form nor sound; The phantoms, the glory, vanish all, With the dying voice of the waterfall.
Slow passes the darkness of that trance, And the youth now faintly sees Huge shadows and gushes of light that dance On a rugged ceiling of unhewn trees, And walls where the skins of beasts are hung, And rifles glitter on antlers strung.
On a couch of shaggy skins he lies; As he strives to raise his head, Hard-featured woodmen, with kindly eyes, Come round him and smooth his furry bed And bid him rest, for the evening star Is scarcely set and the day is far.
They had found at eve the dreaming one By the base of that icy steep, When over his stiffening limbs begun The deadly slumber of frost to creep, And they cherished the pale and breathless form, Till the stagnant blood ran free and warm.
THE STRANGE LADY.
The summer morn is bright and fresh, the birds are darting by, As if they loved to breast the breeze that sweeps the cool clear sky; Young Albert, in the forest's edge, has heard a rustling sound, An arrow slightly strikes his hand and falls upon the ground.
A dark-haired woman from the wood comes suddenly in sight; Her merry eye is full and black, her cheek is brown and bright; Her gown is of the mid-sea blue, her belt with beads is strung, And yet she speaks in gentle tones, and in the English tongue.
"It was an idle bolt I sent, against the villain crow; Fair sir, I fear it harmed thy hand; beshrew my erring bow!" "Ah! would that bolt had not been spent! then, lady, might I wear A lasting token on my hand of one so passing fair!"
"Thou art a flatterer like the rest, but wouldst thou take with me A day of hunting in the wilds, beneath the greenwood tree, I know where most the pheasants feed, and where the red-deer herd, And thou shouldst chase the nobler game, and I bring down the bird."
Now Albert in her quiver lays the arrow in its place, And wonders as he gazes on the beauty of her face: "Those hunting-grounds are far away, and, lady, 'twere not meet That night, amid the wilderness, should overtake thy feet."
"Heed not the night; a summer lodge amid the wild is mine,— 'Tis shadowed by the tulip-tree, 'tis mantled by the vine; The wild plum sheds its yellow fruit from fragrant thickets nigh, And flowery prairies from the door stretch till they meet the sky.
"There in the boughs that hide the roof the mock-bird sits and sings, And there the hang-bird's brood within its little hammock swings; A pebbly brook, where rustling winds among the hopples sweep, Shall lull thee till the morning sun looks in upon thy sleep."
Away, into the forest depths by pleasant paths they go, He with his rifle on his arm, the lady with her bow, Where cornels arch their cool dark boughs o'er beds of winter-green, And never at his father's door again was Albert seen.
That night upon the woods came down a furious hurricane, With howl of winds and roar of streams, and beating of the rain; The mighty thunder broke and drowned the noises in its crash; The old trees seemed to fight like fiends beneath the lightning-flash.
Next day, within a mossy glen, 'mid mouldering trunks were found The fragments of a human form upon the bloody ground; White bones from which the flesh was torn, and locks of glossy hair; They laid them in the place of graves, yet wist not whose they were.
And whether famished evening wolves had mangled Albert so, Or that strange dame so gay and fair were some mysterious foe, Or whether to that forest lodge, beyond the mountains blue, He went to dwell with her, the friends who mourned him never knew.
Oh Life! I breathe thee in the breeze, I feel thee bounding in my veins, I see thee in these stretching trees, These flowers, this still rock's mossy stains.
This stream of odours flowing by From clover-field and clumps of pine, This music, thrilling all the sky, From all the morning birds, are thine.
Thou fill'st with joy this little one, That leaps and shouts beside me here, Where Isar's clay-white rivulets run Through the dark woods like frighted deer.
Ah! must thy mighty breath, that wakes Insect and bird, and flower and tree, From the low trodden dust, and makes Their daily gladness, pass from me—
Pass, pulse by pulse, till o'er the ground These limbs, now strong, shall creep with pain, And this fair world of sight and sound Seem fading into night again?
The things, oh LIFE! thou quickenest, all Strive upwards toward the broad bright sky, Upward and outward, and they fall Back to earth's bosom when they die.
All that have borne the touch of death, All that shall live, lie mingled there, Beneath that veil of bloom and breath, That living zone 'twixt earth and air.
There lies my chamber dark and still, The atoms trampled by my feet, There wait, to take the place I fill In the sweet air and sunshine sweet.
Well, I have had my turn, have been Raised from the darkness of the clod, And for a glorious moment seen The brightness of the skirts of God;
And knew the light within my breast, Though wavering oftentimes and dim, The power, the will, that never rest, And cannot die, were all from him.
Dear child! I know that thou wilt grieve To see me taken from thy love, Wilt seek my grave at Sabbath eve, And weep, and scatter flowers above.
Thy little heart will soon be healed, And being shall be bliss, till thou To younger forms of life must yield The place thou fill'st with beauty now.
When we descend to dust again, Where will the final dwelling be Of Thought and all its memories then, My love for thee, and thine for me?
"EARTH'S CHILDREN CLEAVE TO EARTH."
Earth's children cleave to Earth—her frail Decaying children dread decay. Yon wreath of mist that leaves the vale, And lessens in the morning ray: Look, how, by mountain rivulet, It lingers as it upward creeps, And clings to fern and copsewood set Along the green and dewy steeps: Clings to the fragrant kalmia, clings To precipices fringed with grass, Dark maples where the wood-thrush sings, And bowers of fragrant sassafras. Yet all in vain—it passes still From hold to hold, it cannot stay, And in the very beams that fill The world with glory, wastes away, Till, parting from the mountain's brow, It vanishes from human eye, And that which sprung of earth is now A portion of the glorious sky.
THE HUNTER'S VISION.
Upon a rock that, high and sheer, Rose from the mountain's breast, A weary hunter of the deer Had sat him down to rest, And bared to the soft summer air His hot red brow and sweaty hair.
All dim in haze the mountains lay, With dimmer vales between; And rivers glimmered on their way, By forests faintly seen; While ever rose a murmuring sound, From brooks below and bees around.
He listened, till he seemed to hear A strain, so soft and low, That whether in the mind or ear The listener scarce might know. With such a tone, so sweet and mild, The watching mother lulls her child.
"Thou weary huntsman," thus it said, "Thou faint with toil and heat, The pleasant land of rest is spread Before thy very feet, And those whom thou wouldst gladly see Are waiting there to welcome thee."
He looked, and 'twixt the earth and sky Amid the noontide haze, A shadowy region met his eye, And grew beneath his gaze, As if the vapours of the air Had gathered into shapes so fair.
Groves freshened as he looked, and flowers Showed bright on rocky bank, And fountains welled beneath the bowers, Where deer and pheasant drank. He saw the glittering streams, he heard The rustling bough and twittering bird.
And friends—the dead—in boyhood dear, There lived and walked again, And there was one who many a year Within her grave had lain, A fair young girl, the hamlet's pride— His heart was breaking when she died:
Bounding, as was her wont, she came Right towards his resting-place, And stretched her hand and called his name With that sweet smiling face. Forward with fixed and eager eyes, The hunter leaned in act to rise:
Forward he leaned, and headlong down Plunged from that craggy wall; He saw the rocks, steep, stern, and brown, An instant, in his fall; A frightful instant—and no more, The dream and life at once were o'er.
THE GREEN MOUNTAIN BOYS. deg.
Here we halt our march, and pitch our tent On the rugged forest ground, And light our fire with the branches rent By winds from the beeches round. Wild storms have torn this ancient wood, But a wilder is at hand, With hail of iron and rain of blood, To sweep and waste the land.
How the dark wood rings with voices shrill, That startle the sleeping bird; To-morrow eve must the voice be still, And the step must fall unheard. The Briton lies by the blue Champlain, In Ticonderoga's towers, And ere the sun rise twice again, The towers and the lake are ours.
Fill up the bowl from the brook that glides Where the fireflies light the brake; A ruddier juice the Briton hides In his fortress by the lake. Build high the fire, till the panther leap From his lofty perch in flight, And we'll strenghten our weary arms with sleep For the deeds of to-morrow night.
"Oh father, let us hence—for hark, A fearful murmur shakes the air. The clouds are coming swift and dark:— What horrid shapes they wear! A winged giant sails the sky; Oh father, father, let us fly!"
"Hush, child; it is a grateful sound, That beating of the summer shower; Here, where the boughs hang close around, We'll pass a pleasant hour, Till the fresh wind, that brings the rain, Has swept the broad heaven clear again."
"Nay, father, let us haste—for see, That horrid thing with horned brow,— His wings o'erhang this very tree, He scowls upon us now; His huge black arm is lifted high; Oh father, father, let us fly!"
"Hush, child;" but, as the father spoke, Downward the livid firebolt came, Close to his ear the thunder broke, And, blasted by the flame, The child lay dead; while dark and still, Swept the grim cloud along the hill.
THE CHILD'S FUNERAL. deg.
Fair is thy site, Sorrento, green thy shore, Black crags behind thee pierce the clear blue skies; The sea, whose borderers ruled the world of yore, As clear and bluer still before thee lies.
Vesuvius smokes in sight, whose fount of fire, Outgushing, drowned the cities on his steeps; And murmuring Naples, spire o'ertopping spire, Sits on the slope beyond where Virgil sleeps.
Here doth the earth, with flowers of every hue, Heap her green breast when April suns are bright, Flowers of the morning-red, or ocean-blue, Or like the mountain frost of silvery white.
Currents of fragrance, from the orange tree, And sward of violets, breathing to and fro, Mingle, and wandering out upon the sea, Refresh the idle boatsman where they blow.
Yet even here, as under harsher climes, Tears for the loved and early lost are shed; That soft air saddens with the funeral chimes, Those shining flowers are gathered for the dead.
Here once a child, a smiling playful one, All the day long caressing and caressed, Died when its little tongue had just begun To lisp the names of those it loved the best.
The father strove his struggling grief to quell, The mother wept as mothers use to weep, Two little sisters wearied them to tell When their dear Carlo would awake from sleep.
Within an inner room his couch they spread, His funeral couch; with mingled grief and love, They laid a crown of roses on his head, And murmured, "Brighter is his crown above."
They scattered round him, on the snowy sheet, Laburnum's strings of sunny-coloured gems, Sad hyacinths, and violets dim and sweet, And orange blossoms on their dark green stems.
And now the hour is come, the priest is there; Torches are lit and bells are tolled; they go, With solemn rites of blessing and of prayer, To lay the little corpse in earth below.
The door is opened; hark! that quick glad cry; Carlo has waked, has waked, and is at play; The little sisters laugh and leap, and try To climb the bed on which the infant lay.
And there he sits alone, and gayly shakes In his full hands, the blossoms red and white, And smiles with winking eyes, like one who wakes From long deep slumbers at the morning light.
Once this soft turf, this rivulet's sands, Were trampled by a hurrying crowd, And fiery hearts and armed hands Encountered in the battle cloud.
Ah! I never shall the land forget How gushed the life-blood of her brave— Gushed, warm with hope and courage yet, Upon the soil they fought to save.
Now all is calm, and fresh, and still, Alone the chirp of flitting bird, And talk of children on the hill, And bell of wandering kine are heard.
No solemn host goes trailing by The black-mouthed gun and staggering wain; Men start not at the battle-cry, Oh, be it never heard again!
Soon rested those who fought; but thou Who minglest in the harder strife For truths which men receive not now Thy warfare only ends with life.
A friendless warfare! lingering long Through weary day and weary year. A wild and many-weaponed throng Hang on thy front, and flank, and rear.
Yet nerve thy spirit to the proof, And blench not at thy chosen lot. The timid good may stand aloof, The sage may frown—yet faint thou not.
Nor heed the shaft too surely cast, The foul and hissing bolt of scorn; For with thy side shall dwell, at last, The victory of endurance born.
Truth, crushed to earth, shall rise again; The eternal years of God are hers; But Error, wounded, writhes with pain, And dies among his worshippers.
Yea, though thou lie upon the dust, When they who helped thee flee in fear, Die full of hope and manly trust, Like those who fell in battle here.
Another hand thy sword shall wield, Another hand the standard wave, Till from the trumpet's mouth is pealed The blast of triumph o'er thy grave.
THE FUTURE LIFE.
How shall I know thee in the sphere which keeps The disembodied spirits of the dead, When all of thee that time could wither sleeps And perishes among the dust we tread?
For I shall feel the sting of ceaseless pain If there I meet thy gentle presence not; Nor hear the voice I love, nor read again In thy serenest eyes the tender thought.
Will not thy own meek heart demand me there? That heart whose fondest throbs to me were given? My name on earth was ever in thy prayer, Shall it be banished from thy tongue in heaven?
In meadows fanned by heaven's life-breathing wind, In the resplendence of that glorious sphere, And larger movements of the unfettered mind, Wilt thou forget the love that joined us here?
The love that lived through all the stormy past, And meekly with my harsher nature bore, And deeper grew, and tenderer to the last, Shall it expire with life, and be no more?
A happier lot than mine, and larger light, Await thee there; for thou hast bowed thy will In cheerful homage to the rule of right, And lovest all, and renderest good for ill.
For me, the sordid cares in which I dwell, Shrink and consume my heart, as heat the scroll; And wrath has left its scar—that fire of hell Has left its frightful scar upon my soul.
Yet though thou wear'st the glory of the sky, Wilt thou not keep the same beloved name, The same fair thoughtful brow, and gentle eye, Lovelier in heaven's sweet climate, yet the same?
Shalt thou not teach me, in that calmer home, The wisdom that I learned so ill in this— The wisdom which is love—till I become Thy fit companion in that land of bliss?
THE DEATH OF SCHILLER. deg.
'Tis said, when Schiller's death drew nigh, The wish possessed his mighty mind, To wander forth wherever lie The homes and haunts of human-kind.
Then strayed the poet, in his dreams, By Rome and Egypt's ancient graves; Went up the New World's forest streams, Stood in the Hindoo's temple-caves;
Walked with the Pawnee, fierce and stark, The sallow Tartar, midst his herds, The peering Chinese, and the dark False Malay uttering gentle words.
How could he rest? even then he trod The threshold of the world unknown; Already, from the seat of God, A ray upon his garments shone;—
Shone and awoke the strong desire For love and knowledge reached not here, Till, freed by death, his soul of fire Sprang to a fairer, ampler sphere.
Then—who shall tell how deep, how bright The abyss of glory opened round? How thought and feeling flowed like light, Through ranks of being without bound?
THE FOUNTAIN. deg.
Fountain, that springest on this grassy slope, Thy quick cool murmur mingles pleasantly, With the cool sound of breezes in the beach, Above me in the noontide. Thou dost wear No stain of thy dark birthplace; gushing up From the red mould and slimy roots of earth, Thou flashest in the sun. The mountain air, In winter, is not clearer, nor the dew That shines on mountain blossom. Thus doth God Bring, from the dark and foul, the pure and bright.
This tangled thicket on the bank above Thy basin, how thy waters keep it green! For thou dost feed the roots of the wild vine That trails all over it, and to the twigs Ties fast her clusters. There the spice-bush lifts Her leafy lances; the viburnum there, Paler of foliage, to the sun holds up Her circlet of green berries. In and out The chipping sparrow, in her coat of brown, Steals silently, lest I should mark her nest.
Not such thou wert of yore, ere yet the axe Had smitten the old woods. Then hoary trunks Of oak, and plane, and hickory, o'er thee held A mighty canopy. When April winds Grew soft, the maple burst into a flush Of scarlet flowers. The tulip-tree, high up, Opened, in airs of June, her multitude Of golden chalices to humming-birds And silken-winged insects of the sky.
Frail wood-plants clustered round thy edge in Spring. The liverleaf put forth her sister blooms Of faintest blue. Here the quick-footed wolf, Passing to lap thy waters, crushed the flower Of sanguinaria, from whose brittle stem The red drops fell like blood. The deer, too, left Her delicate foot-print in the soft moist mould, And on the fallen leaves. The slow-paced bear, In such a sultry summer noon as this, Stopped at thy stream, and drank, and leaped across.
But thou hast histories that stir the heart With deeper feeling; while I look on thee They rise before me. I behold the scene Hoary again with forests; I behold The Indian warrior, whom a hand unseen Has smitten with his death-wound in the woods, Creep slowly to thy well-known rivulet, And slake his death-thirst. Hark, that quick fierce cry That rends the utter silence; 'tis the whoop Of battle, and a throng of savage men With naked arms and faces stained like blood, Fill the green wilderness; the long bare arms Are heaved aloft, bows twang and arrows stream; Each makes a tree his shield, and every tree Sends forth its arrow. Fierce the fight and short, As is the whirlwind. Soon the conquerors And conquered vanish, and the dead remain Mangled by tomahawks. The mighty woods Are still again, the frighted bird comes back And plumes her wings; but thy sweet waters run Crimson with blood. Then, as the sun goes down, Amid the deepening twilight I descry Figures of men that crouch and creep unheard, And bear away the dead. The next day's shower Shall wash the tokens of the fight away.
I look again—a hunter's lodge is built, With poles and boughs, beside thy crystal well, While the meek autumn stains the woods with gold, And sheds his golden sunshine. To the door The red man slowly drags the enormous bear Slain in the chestnut thicket, or flings down The deer from his strong shoulders. Shaggy fells Of wolf and cougar hang upon the walls, And loud the black-eyed Indian maidens laugh, That gather, from the rustling heaps of leaves, The hickory's white nuts, and the dark fruit That falls from the gray butternut's long boughs.
So centuries passed by, and still the woods Blossomed in spring, and reddened when the year Grew chill, and glistened in the frozen rains Of winter, till the white man swung the axe Beside thee—signal of a mighty change. Then all around was heard the crash of trees, Trembling awhile and rushing to the ground, The low of ox, and shouts of men who fired The brushwood, or who tore the earth with ploughs. The grain sprang thick and tall, and hid in green The blackened hill-side; ranks of spiky maize Rose like a host embattled; the buckwheat Whitened broad acres, sweetening with its flowers The August wind. White cottages were seen With rose-trees at the windows; barns from which Came loud and shrill the crowing of the cock; Pastures where rolled and neighed the lordly horse, And white flocks browsed and bleated. A rich turf Of grasses brought from far o'ercrept thy bank, Spotted with the white clover. Blue-eyed girls Brought pails, and dipped them in thy crystal pool; And children, ruddy-cheeked and flaxen-haired, Gathered the glistening cowslip from thy edge.
Since then, what steps have trod thy border! Here On thy green bank, the woodmann of the swamp Has laid his axe, the reaper of the hill His sickle, as they stooped to taste thy stream. The sportsman, tired with wandering in the still September noon, has bathed his heated brow In thy cool current. Shouting boys, let loose For a wild holiday, have quaintly shaped Into a cup the folded linden leaf, And dipped thy sliding crystal. From the wars Returning, the plumed soldier by thy side Has sat, and mused how pleasant 'twere to dwell In such a spot, and be as free as thou, And move for no man's bidding more. At eve, When thou wert crimson with the crimson sky, Lovers have gazed upon thee, and have thought Their mingled lives should flow as peacefully And brightly as thy waters. Here the sage, Gazing into thy self-replenished depth, Has seen eternal order circumscribe And bind the motions of eternal change, And from the gushing of thy simple fount Has reasoned to the mighty universe.
Is there no other change for thee, that lurks Among the future ages? Will not man Seek out strange arts to wither and deform The pleasant landscape which thou makest green? Or shall the veins that feed thy constant stream Be choked in middle earth, and flow no more For ever, that the water-plants along Thy channel perish, and the bird in vain Alight to drink? Haply shall these green hills Sink, with the lapse of years, into the gulf Of ocean waters, and thy source be lost Amidst the bitter brine? Or shall they rise, Upheaved in broken cliffs and airy peaks, Haunts of the eagle and the snake, and thou Gush midway from the bare and barren steep?
Ye winds, ye unseen currents of the air, Softly ye played a few brief hours ago; Ye bore the murmuring bee; ye tossed the hair O'er maiden cheeks, that took a fresher glow; Ye rolled the round white cloud through depths of blue; Ye shook from shaded flowers the lingering dew; Before you the catalpa's blossoms flew, Light blossoms, dropping on the grass like snow.
How are ye changed! Ye take the cataract's sound; Ye take the whirlpool's fury and its might; The mountain shudders as ye sweep the ground; The valley woods lie prone beneath your flight. The clouds before you shoot like eagles past; The homes of men are rocking in your blast; Ye lift the roofs like autumn leaves, and cast, Skyward, the whirling fragments out of sight.
The weary fowls of heaven make wing in vain, To escape your wrath; ye seize and dash them dead. Against the earth ye drive the roaring rain; The harvest-field becomes a river's bed; And torrents tumble from the hills around, Plains turn to lakes, and villages are drowned, And wailing voices, midst the tempest's sound, Rise, as the rushing waters swell and spread.
Ye dart upon the deep, and straight is heard A wilder roar, and men grow pale, and pray; Ye fling its floods around you, as a bird Flings o'er his shivering plumes the fountain's spray. See! to the breaking mast the sailor clings; Ye scoop the ocean to its briny springs, And take the mountain billow on your wings, And pile the wreck of navies round the bay.
Why rage ye thus?—no strife for liberty Has made you mad; no tyrant, strong through fear, Has chained your pinions till ye wrenched them free, And rushed into the unmeasured atmosphere; For ye were born in freedom where ye blow; Free o'er the mighty deep to come and go; Earth's solemn woods were yours, her wastes of snow, Her isles where summer blossoms all the year.
O ye wild winds! a mightier Power than yours In chains upon the shore of Europe lies; The sceptred throng, whose fetters he endures, Watch his mute throes with terror in their eyes: And armed warriors all around him stand, And, as he struggles, tighten every band, And lift the heavy spear, with threatening hand, To pierce the victim, should he strive to rise.
Yet oh, when that wronged Spirit of our race Shall break, as soon he must, his long-worn chains, And leap in freedom from his prison-place, Lord of his ancient hills and fruitful plains, Let him not rise, like these mad winds of air, To waste the loveliness that time could spare, To fill the earth with wo, and blot her fair Unconscious breast with blood from human veins.
But may he like the spring-time come abroad, Who crumbles winter's gyves with gentle might, When in the genial breeze, the breath of God, Come spouting up the unsealed springs to light; Flowers start from their dark prisons at his feet, The woods, long dumb, awake to hymnings sweet, And morn and eve, whose glimmerings almost meet, Crowd back to narrow bounds the ancient night.
THE OLD MAN'S COUNSEL. deg.
Among our hills and valleys, I have known Wise and grave men, who, while their diligent hands Tended or gathered in the fruits of earth, Were reverent learners in the solemn school Of nature. Not in vain to them were sent Seed-time and harvest, or the vernal shower That darkened the brown tilth, or snow that beat On the white winter hills. Each brought, in turn, Some truth, some lesson on the life of man, Or recognition of the Eternal mind Who veils his glory with the elements.
One such I knew long since, a white-haired man, Pithy of speech, and merry when he would; A genial optimist, who daily drew From what he saw his quaint moralities. Kindly he held communion, though so old, With me a dreaming boy, and taught me much That books tell not, and I shall ne'er forget.
The sun of May was bright in middle heaven, And steeped the sprouting forests, the green hills And emerald wheat-fields, in his yellow light. Upon the apple-tree, where rosy buds Stood clustered, ready to burst forth in bloom, The robin warbled forth his full clear note For hours, and wearied not. Within the woods, Whose young and half transparent leaves scarce cast A shade, gay circles of anemones Danced on their stalks; the shadbush, white with flowers, Brightened the glens; the new-leaved butternut And quivering poplar to the roving breeze Gave a balsamic fragrance. In the fields I saw the pulses of the gentle wind On the young grass. My heart was touched with joy At so much beauty, flushing every hour Into a fuller beauty; but my friend, The thoughtful ancient, standing at my side, Gazed on it mildly sad. I asked him why.
"Well mayst thou join in gladness," he replied, "With the glad earth, her springing plants and flowers, And this soft wind, the herald of the green Luxuriant summer. Thou art young like them, And well mayst thou rejoice. But while the flight Of seasons fills and knits thy spreading frame, It withers mine, and thins my hair, and dims These eyes, whose fading light shall soon be quenched In utter darkness. Hearest thou that bird?"
I listened, and from midst the depth of woods Heard the love-signal of the grouse, that wears A sable ruff around his mottled neck; Partridge they call him by our northern streams, And pheasant by the Delaware. He beat 'Gainst his barred sides his speckled wings, and made A sound like distant thunder; slow the strokes At first, then fast and faster, till at length They passed into a murmur and were still.
"There hast thou," said my friend, "a fitting type Of human life. 'Tis an old truth, I know, But images like these revive the power Of long familiar truths. Slow pass our days In childhood, and the hours of light are long Betwixt the morn and eve; with swifter lapse They glide in manhood, and in age they fly; Till days and seasons flit before the mind As flit the snow-flakes in a winter storm, Seen rather than distinguished. Ah! I seem As if I sat within a helpless bark By swiftly running waters hurried on To shoot some mighty cliff. Along the banks Grove after grove, rock after frowning rock, Bare sands and pleasant homes, and flowery nooks, And isles and whirlpools in the stream, appear Each after each, but the devoted skiff Darts by so swiftly that their images Dwell not upon the mind, or only dwell In dim confusion; faster yet I sweep By other banks, and the great gulf is near.
"Wisely, my son, while yet thy days are long, And this fair change of seasons passes slow, Gather and treasure up the good they yield— All that they teach of virtue, of pure thoughts And kind affections, reverence for thy God And for thy brethren; so when thou shalt come Into these barren years, thou mayst not bring A mind unfurnished and a withered heart."
Long since that white-haired ancient slept—but still, When the red flower-buds crowd the orchard bough, And the ruffed grouse is drumming far within The woods, his venerable form again Is at my side, his voice is in my ear.
LINES IN MEMORY OF WILLIAM LEGGETT.
The earth may ring, from shore to shore, With echoes of a glorious name, But he, whose loss our tears deplore, Has left behind him more than fame.
For when the death-frost came to lie On Leggett's warm and mighty heart, And quenched his bold and friendly eye, His spirit did not all depart.
The words of fire that from his pen Were flung upon the fervent page, Still move, still shake the hearts of men, Amid a cold and coward age.
His love of truth, too warm, too strong For Hope or Fear to chain or chill, His hate of tyranny and wrong, Burn in the breasts he kindled still.
AN EVENING REVERY.
FROM AN UNFINISHED POEM.
The summer day is closed—the sun is set: Well they have done their office, those bright hours, The latest of whose train goes softly out In the red West. The green blade of the ground Has risen, and herds have cropped it; the young twig Has spread its plaited tissues to the sun; Flowers of the garden and the waste have blown And withered; seeds have fallen upon the soil, From bursting cells, and in their graves await Their resurrection. Insects from the pools Have filled the air awhile with humming wings, That now are still for ever; painted moths Have wandered the blue sky, and died again; The mother-bird hath broken for her brood Their prison shell, or shoved them from the nest, Plumed for their earliest flight. In bright alcoves, In woodland cottages with barky walls, In noisome cells of the tumultuous town, Mothers have clasped with joy the new-born babe. Graves by the lonely forest, by the shore Of rivers and of ocean, by the ways Of the thronged city, have been hollowed out And filled, and closed. This day hath parted friends That ne'er before were parted; it hath knit New friendships; it hath seen the maiden plight Her faith, and trust her peace to him who long Had wooed; and it hath heard, from lips which late Were eloquent of love, the first harsh word, That told the wedded one her peace was flown. Farewell to the sweet sunshine! One glad day Is added now to Childhood's merry days, And one calm day to those of quiet Age. Still the fleet hours run on; and as I lean, Amid the thickening darkness, lamps are lit, By those who watch the dead, and those who twine Flowers for the bride. The mother from the eyes Of her sick infant shades the painful light, And sadly listens to his quick-drawn breath.
Oh thou great Movement of the Universe, Or Change, or Flight of Time—for ye are one! That bearest, silently, this visible scene Into night's shadow and the streaming rays Of starlight, whither art thou bearing me? I feel the mighty current sweep me on, Yet know not whither. Man foretells afar The courses of the stars; the very hour He knows when they shall darken or grow bright; Yet doth the eclipse of Sorrow and of Death Come unforewarned. Who next, of those I love, Shall pass from life, or, sadder yet, shall fall From virtue? Strife with foes, or bitterer strife With friends, or shame and general scorn of men— Which who can bear?—or the fierce rack of pain, Lie they within my path? Or shall the years Push me, with soft and inoffensive pace, Into the stilly twilight of my age? Or do the portals of another life Even now, while I am glorying in my strength, Impend around me? Oh! beyond that bourne, In the vast cycle of being which begins At that broad threshold, with what fairer forms Shall the great law of change and progress clothe Its workings? Gently—so have good men taught— Gently, and without grief, the old shall glide Into the new; the eternal flow of things, Like a bright river of the fields of heaven, Shall journey onward in perpetual peace.
THE PAINTED CUP. deg.
The fresh savannas of the Sangamon Here rise in gentle swells, and the long grass Is mixed with rustling hazels. Scarlet tufts Are glowing in the green, like flakes of fire; The wanderers of the prairie know them well, And call that brilliant flower the Painted Cup.
Now, if thou art a poet, tell me not That these bright chalices were tinted thus To hold the dew for fairies, when they meet On moonlight evenings in the hazel bowers, And dance till they are thirsty. Call not up, Amid this fresh and virgin solitude, The faded fancies of an elder world; But leave these scarlet cups to spotted moths Of June, and glistening flies, and humming-birds, To drink from, when on all these boundless lawns The morning sun looks hot. Or let the wind O'erturn in sport their ruddy brims, and pour A sudden shower upon the strawberry plant, To swell the reddening fruit that even now Breathes a slight fragrance from the sunny slope.
But thou art of a gayer fancy. Well— Let then the gentle Manitou of flowers, Lingering amid the bloomy waste he loves, Though all his swarthy worshippers are gone— Slender and small, his rounded cheek all brown And ruddy with the sunshine; let him come On summer mornings, when the blossoms wake, And part with little hands the spiky grass; And touching, with his cherry lips, the edge Of these bright beakers, drain the gathered dew.
I had a dream—a strange, wild dream— Said a dear voice at early light; And even yet its shadows seem To linger in my waking sight.
Earth, green with spring, and fresh with dew, And bright with morn, before me stood; And airs just wakened softly blew On the young blossoms of the wood.
Birds sang within the sprouting shade, Bees hummed amid the whispering grass, And children prattled as they played Beside the rivulet's dimpling glass
Fast climbed the sun: the flowers were flown, There played no children in the glen; For some were gone, and some were grown To blooming dames and bearded men.
'Twas noon, 'twas summer: I beheld Woods darkening in the flush of day, And that bright rivulet spread and swelled, A mighty stream, with creek and bay.
And here was love, and there was strife, And mirthful shouts, and wrathful cries, And strong men, struggling as for life, With knotted limbs and angry eyes.
Now stooped the sun—the shades grew thin; The rustling paths were piled with leaves; And sunburnt groups were gathering in, From the shorn field, its fruits and sheaves.
The river heaved with sullen sounds; The chilly wind was sad with moans; Black hearses passed, and burial-grounds Grew thick with monumental stones.
Still waned the day; the wind that chased The jagged clouds blew chillier yet; The woods were stripped, the fields were waste, The wintry sun was near its set.
And of the young, and strong, and fair, A lonely remnant, gray and weak, Lingered, and shivered to the air Of that bleak shore and water bleak.
Ah! age is drear, and death is cold! I turned to thee, for thou wert near, And saw thee withered, bowed, and old, And woke all faint with sudden fear.
'Twas thus I heard the dreamer say, And bade her clear her clouded brow; "For thou and I, since childhood's day, Have walked in such a dream till now.
"Watch we in calmness, as they rise, The changes of that rapid dream, And note its lessons, till our eyes Shall open in the morning beam."
THE ANTIQUITY OF FREEDOM.
Here are old trees, tall oaks and gnarled pines, That stream with gray-green mosses; here the ground Was never trenched by spade, and flowers spring up Unsown, and die ungathered. It is sweet To linger here, among the flitting birds And leaping squirrels, wandering brooks, and winds That shake the leaves, and scatter, as they pass, A fragrance from the cedars, thickly set With pale blue berries. In these peaceful shades— Peaceful, unpruned, immeasurably old— My thoughts go up the long dim path of years, Back to the earliest days of liberty.
Oh FREEDOM! thou art not, as poets dream, A fair young girl, with light and delicate limbs, And wavy tresses gushing from the cap With which the Roman master crowned his slave When he took off the gyves. A bearded man, Armed to the teeth, art thou; one mailed hand Grasps the broad shield, and one the sword; thy brow, Glorious in beauty though it be, is scarred With tokens of old wars; thy massive limbs Are strong with struggling. Power at thee has launched His bolts, and with his lightnings smitten thee; They could not quench the life thou hast from heaven. Merciless power has dug thy dungeon deep, And his swart armorers, by a thousand fires, Have forged thy chain; yet, while he deems thee bound, The links are shivered, and the prison walls Fall outward; terribly thou springest forth, As springs the flame above a burning pile, And shoutest to the nations, who return Thy shoutings, while the pale oppressor flies.
Thy birthright was not given by human hands: Thou wert twin-born with man. In pleasant fields, While yet our race was few, thou sat'st with him, To tend the quiet flock and watch the stars, And teach the reed to utter simple airs. Thou by his side, amid the tangled wood, Didst war upon the panther and the wolf, His only foes; and thou with him didst draw The earliest furrows on the mountain side, Soft with the deluge. Tyranny himself, Thy enemy, although of reverend look, Hoary with many years, and far obeyed, Is later born than thou; and as he meets The grave defiance of thine elder eye, The usurper trembles in his fastnesses.
Thou shalt wax stronger with the lapse of years, But he shall fade into a feebler age; Feebler, yet subtler. He shall weave his snares, And spring them on thy careless steps, and clap His withered hands, and from their ambush call His hordes to fall upon thee. He shall send Quaint maskers, wearing fair and gallant forms, To catch thy gaze, and uttering graceful words To charm thy ear; while his sly imps, by stealth, Twine round thee threads of steel, light thread on thread That grow to fetters; or bind down thy arms With chains concealed in chaplets. Oh! not yet Mayst thou unbrace thy corslet, nor lay by Thy sword; nor yet, O Freedom! close thy lids In slumber; for thine enemy never sleeps, And thou must watch and combat till the day Of the new earth and heaven. But wouldst thou rest Awhile from tumult and the frauds of men, These old and friendly solitudes invite Thy visit. They, while yet the forest trees Were young upon the unviolated earth, And yet the moss-stains on the rock were new, Beheld thy glorious childhood, and rejoiced.
THE MAIDEN'S SORROW.
Seven long years has the desert rain Dropped on the clods that hide thy face; Seven long years of sorrow and pain I have thought of thy burial-place.
Thought of thy fate in the distant west, Dying with none that loved thee near; They who flung the earth on thy breast Turned from the spot williout a tear.
There, I think, on that lonely grave, Violets spring in the soft May shower; There, in the summer breezes, wave Crimson phlox and moccasin flower.
There the turtles alight, and there Feeds with her fawn the timid doe; There, when the winter woods are bare, Walks the wolf on the crackling snow.
Soon wilt thou wipe my tears away; All my task upon earth is done; My poor father, old and gray, Slumbers beneath the churchyard stone.
In the dreams of my lonely bed, Ever thy form before me seems; All night long I talk with the dead, All day long I think of my dreams.
This deep wound that bleeds and aches, This long pain, a sleepless pain— When the Father my spirit takes, I shall feel it no more again.
THE RETURN OF YOUTH.
My friend, thou sorrowest for thy golden prime, For thy fair youthful years too swift of flight; Thou musest, with wet eyes, upon the time Of cheerful hopes that filled the world with light,— Years when thy heart was bold, thy hand was strong, And quick the thought that moved thy tongue to speak, And willing faith was thine, and scorn of wrong Summoned the sudden crimson to thy cheek.
Thou lookest forward on the coming days, Shuddering to feel their shadow o'er thee creep; A path, thick-set with changes and decays, Slopes downward to the place of common sleep; And they who walked with thee in life's first stage, Leave one by one thy side, and, waiting near, Thou seest the sad companions of thy age— Dull love of rest, and weariness and fear.
Yet grieve thou not, nor think thy youth is gone, Nor deem that glorious season e'er could die. Thy pleasant youth, a little while withdrawn, Waits on the horizon of a brighter sky; Waits, like the morn, that folds her wing and hides, Till the slow stars bring back her dawning hour; Waits, like the vanished spring, that slumbering bides Her own sweet time to waken bud and flower.
There shall he welcome thee, when thou shalt stand On his bright morning hills, with smiles more sweet Than when at first he took thee by the hand, Through the fair earth to lead thy tender feet. He shall bring back, but brighter, broader still, Life's early glory to thine eyes again, Shall clothe thy spirit with new strength, and fill Thy leaping heart with warmer love than then.
Hast thou not glimpses, in the twilight here, Of mountains where immortal morn prevails? Comes there not, through the silence, to thine ear A gentle rustling of the morning gales; A murmur, wafted from that glorious shore, Of streams that water banks for ever fair, And voices of the loved ones gone before, More musical in that celestial air?
A HYMN OF THE SEA.
The sea is mighty, but a mightier sways His restless billows. Thou, whose hands have scooped His boundless gulfs and built his shore, thy breath, That moved in the beginning o'er his face, Moves o'er it evermore. The obedient waves To its strong motion roll, and rise and fall. Still from that realm of rain thy cloud goes up, As at the first, to water the great earth, And keep her valleys green. A hundred realms Watch its broad shadow warping on the wind, And in the dropping shower, with gladness hear Thy promise of the harvest. I look forth Over the boundless blue, where joyously The bright crests of innumerable waves Glance to the sun at once, as when the hands Of a great multitude are upward flung In acclamation. I behold the ships Gliding from cape to cape, from isle to isle, Or stemming toward far lands, or hastening home From the old world. It is thy friendly breeze That bears them, with the riches of the land, And treasure of dear lives, till, in the port, The shouting seaman climbs and furls the sail.
But who shall bide thy tempest, who shall face The blast that wakes the fury of the sea? Oh God! thy justice makes the world turn pale, When on the armed fleet, that royally Bears down the surges, carrying war, to smite Some city, or invade some thoughtless realm, Descends the fierce tornado. The vast hulks Are whirled like chaff upon the waves; the sails Fly, rent like webs of gossamer; the masts Are snapped asunder; downward from the decks, Downward are slung, into the fathomless gulf, Their cruel engines; and their hosts, arrayed In trappings of the battle-field, are whelmed By whirlpools, or dashed dead upon the rocks. Then stand the nations still with awe, and pause, A moment, from the bloody work of war.
These restless surges eat away the shores Of earth's old continents; the fertile plain Welters in shallows, headlands crumble down, And the tide drifts the sea-sand in the streets Of the drowned city. Thou, meanwhile, afar In the green chambers of the middle sea, Where broadest spread the waters and the line Sinks deepest, while no eye beholds thy work, Creator! thou dost teach the coral worm To lay his mighty reefs. From age to age, He builds beneath the waters, till, at last, His bulwarks overtop the brine, and check The long wave rolling from the southern pole To break upon Japan. Thou bid'st the fires, That smoulder under ocean, heave on high The new-made mountains, and uplift their peaks, A place of refuge for the storm-driven bird. The birds and wafting billows plant the rifts With herb and tree; sweet fountains gush; sweet airs Ripple the living lakes that, fringed with flowers, Are gathered in the hollows. Thou dost look On thy creation and pronounce it good. Its valleys, glorious with their summer green, Praise thee in silent beauty, and its woods, Swept by the murmuring winds of ocean, join The murmuring shores in a perpetual hymn.
FROM AN UNFINISHED POEM. deg.
'Tis noon. At noon the Hebrew bowed the knee And worshipped, while the husbandmen withdrew From the scorched field, and the wayfaring man Grew faint, and turned aside by bubbling fount, Or rested in the shadow of the palm.
I, too, amid the overflow of day, Behold the power which wields and cherishes The frame of Nature. From this brow of rock That overlooks the Hudson's western marge, I gaze upon the long array of groves, The piles and gulfs of verdure drinking in The grateful heats. They love the fiery sun; Their broadening leaves grow glossier, and their sprays Climb as he looks upon them. In the midst, The swelling river, into his green gulfs, Unshadowed save by passing sails above, Takes the redundant glory, and enjoys The summer in his chilly bed. Coy flowers, That would not open in the early light, Push back their plaited sheaths. The rivulet's pool, That darkly quivered all the morning long In the cool shade, now glimmers in the sun; And o'er its surface shoots, and shoots again, The glittering dragon-fly, and deep within Run the brown water-beetles to and fro.
A silence, the brief sabbath of an hour, Reigns o'er the fields; the laborer sits within His dwelling; he has left his steers awhile, Unyoked, to bite the herbage, and his dog Sleeps stretched beside the door-stone in the shade. Now the grey marmot, with uplifted paws, No more sits listening by his den, but steals Abroad, in safety, to the clover field, And crops its juicy blossoms. All the while A ceaseless murmur from the populous town Swells o'er these solitudes: a mingled sound Of jarring wheels, and iron hoofs that clash Upon the stony ways, and hammer-clang, And creak of engines lifting ponderous bulks, And calls and cries, and tread of eager feet, Innumerable, hurrying to and fro. Noon, in that mighty mart of nations, brings No pause to toil and care. With early day Began the tumult, and shall only cease When midnight, hushing one by one the sounds Of bustle, gathers the tired brood to rest.
Thus, in this feverish time, when love of gain And luxury possess the hearts of men, Thus is it with the noon of human life. We, in our fervid manhood, in our strength Of reason, we, with hurry, noise, and care, Plan, toil, and strife, and pause not to refresh Our spirits with the calm and beautiful Of God's harmonious universe, that won Our youthful wonder; pause not to inquire Why we are here; and what the reverence Man owes to man, and what the mystery That links us to the greater world, beside Whose borders we but hover for a space.
THE CROWDED STREET.
Let me move slowly through the street, Filled with an ever-shifting train, Amid the sound of steps that beat The murmuring walks like autumn rain.
How fast the flitting figures come! The mild, the fierce, the stony face; Some bright with thoughtless smiles, and some Where secret tears have left their trace.
They pass—to toil, to strife, to rest; To halls in which the feast is spread; To chambers where the funeral guest In silence sits beside the dead.
And some to happy homes repair, Where children, pressing cheek to cheek, With mute caresses shall declare The tenderness they cannot speak.
And some, who walk in calmness here, Shall shudder as they reach the door Where one who made their dwelling dear, Its flower, its light, is seen no more.
Youth, with pale cheek and slender frame, And dreams of greatness in thine eye! Goest thou to build an early name, Or early in the task to die?
Keen son of trade, with eager brow! Who is now fluttering in thy snare? Thy golden fortunes, tower they now, Or melt the glittering spires in air?
Who of this crowd to-night shall tread The dance till daylight gleam again? Who sorrow o'er the untimely dead? Who writhe in throes of mortal pain?
Some, famine-struck, shall think how long The cold dark hours, how slow the light, And some, who flaunt amid the throng, Shall hide in dens of shame to-night.
Each, where his tasks or pleasures call, They pass, and heed each other not. There is who heeds, who holds them all, In his large love and boundless thought.
These struggling tides of life that seem In wayward, aimless course to tend, Are eddies of the mighty stream That rolls to its appointed end.
THE WHITE-FOOTED DEER. deg.
It was a hundred years ago, When, by the woodland ways, The traveller saw the wild deer drink, Or crop the birchen sprays.
Beneath a hill, whose rocky side O'erbrowed a grassy mead, And fenced a cottage from the wind, A deer was wont to feed.
She only came when on the cliffs The evening moonlight lay, And no man knew the secret haunts In which she walked by day.
White were her feet, her forehead showed A spot of silvery white, That seemed to glimmer like a star In autumn's hazy night.
And here, when sang the whippoorwill, She cropped the sprouting leaves, And here her rustling steps were heard On still October eves.
But when the broad midsummer moon Rose o'er that grassy lawn, Beside the silver-footed deer There grazed a spotted fawn.
The cottage dame forbade her son To aim the rifle here; "It were a sin," she said, "to harm Or fright that friendly deer.
"This spot has been my pleasant home Ten peaceful years and more; And ever, when the moonlight shines, She feeds before our door.
"The red men say that here she walked A thousand moons ago; They never raise the war-whoop here, And never twang the bow.
"I love to watch her as she feeds, And think that all is well While such a gentle creature haunts The place in which we dwell."
The youth obeyed, and sought for game In forests far away, Where, deep in silence and in moss, The ancient woodland lay.
But once, in autumn's golden time, He ranged the wild in vain, Nor roused the pheasant nor the deer, And wandered home again.
The crescent moon and crimson eve Shone with a mingling light; The deer, upon the grassy mead, Was feeding full in sight.
He raised the rifle to his eye, And from the cliffs around A sudden echo, shrill and sharp, Gave back its deadly sound.
Away into the neighbouring wood The startled creature flew, And crimson drops at morning lay Amid the glimmering dew.
Next evening shone the waxing moon As sweetly as before; The deer upon the grassy mead Was seen again no more.
But ere that crescent moon was old, By night the red men came, And burnt the cottage to the ground, And slew the youth and dame.
Now woods have overgrown the mead, And hid the cliffs from sight; There shrieks the hovering hawk at noon, And prowls the fox at night.
THE WANING MOON.
I've watched too late; the morn is near; One look at God's broad silent sky! Oh, hopes and wishes vainly dear, How in your very strength ye die!
Even while your glow is on the cheek, And scarce the high pursuit begun, The heart grows faint, the hand grows weak, The task of life is left undone.
See where upon the horizon's brim, Lies the still cloud in gloomy bars; The waning moon, all pale and dim, Goes up amid the eternal stars.
Late, in a flood of tender light, She floated through the ethereal blue, A softer sun, that shone all night Upon the gathering beads of dew.
And still thou wanest, pallid moon! The encroaching shadow grows apace; Heaven's everlasting watchers soon Shall see thee blotted from thy place.
Oh, Night's dethroned and crownless queen! Well may thy sad, expiring ray Be shed on those whose eyes have seen Hope's glorious visions fade away.
Shine thou for forms that once were bright, For sages in the mind's eclipse, For those whose words were spells of might, But falter now on stammering lips!
In thy decaying beam there lies Full many a grave on hill and plain, Of those who closed their dying eyes In grief that they had lived in vain.
Another night, and thou among The spheres of heaven shalt cease to shine, All rayless in the glittering throng Whose lustre late was quenched in thine.
Yet soon a new and tender light From out thy darkened orb shall beam, And broaden till it shines all night On glistening dew and glimmering stream.
THE STREAM OF LIFE.
Oh silvery streamlet of the fields, That flowest full and free! For thee the rains of spring return, The summer dews for thee; And when thy latest blossoms die In autumn's chilly showers, The winter fountains gush for thee, Till May brings back the flowers.
Oh Stream of Life! the violet springs But once beside thy bed; But one brief summer, on thy path, The dews of heaven are shed. Thy parent fountains shrink away, And close their crystal veins, And where thy glittering current flowed The dust alone remains.
* * * * *
* * * * *
POEM OF THE AGES.
In this poem, written and first printed in the year 1821, the author has endeavoured, from a survey of the past ages of the world, and of the successive advances of mankind in knowledge, virtue, and happiness, to justify and confirm the hopes of the philanthropist for the future destinies of the human race.
THE BURIAL-PLACE. (A Fragment)
The first half of this fragment may seem to the reader borrowed from the essay on Rural Funerals in the fourth number of the Sketch-Book. The lines were, however, written more than a year before that number appeared. The poem, unfinished as it is, would not have been admitted into this collection, had not the author been unwilling to lose what had the honour of resembling so beautiful a composition.
THE MASSACRE AT SCIO.
This poem, written about the time of the horrible butchery of the Sciotes by the Turks, in 1824, has been more fortunate than most poetical predictions. The independence of the Greek nation, which it foretold, has come to pass, and the massacre, by inspiring a deeper detestation of their oppressors, did much to promote that event.
THE INDIAN GIRL'S LAMENT.
Her maiden veil, her own black hair, &c.
"The unmarried females have a modest falling down of the hair over the eyes."—ELIOT.
The mountain, called by this name, is a remarkable precipice in Great Barrington, overlooking the rich and picturesque valley of the Housatonic, in the western part of Massachusetts. At the southern extremity is, or was a few years since, a conical pile of small stones, erected, according to the tradition of the surrounding country, by the Indians, in memory of a woman of the Stockbridge tribe, who killed herself by leaping from the edge of the precipice. Until within a few years past, small parties of that tribe used to arrive from their settlement in the western part of the state of New York, on visits to Stockbridge, the place of their nativity and former residence. A young woman belonging to one of these parties related, to a friend of the author, the story on which the poem of Monument Mountain is founded. An Indian girl had formed an attachment for her cousin, which, according to the customs of the tribe, was unlawful. She was, in consequence, seized with a deep melancholy, and resolved to destroy herself. In company with a female friend, she repaired to the mountain, decked out for the occasion in all her ornaments, and, after passing the day on the summit in singing with her companion the traditional songs of her nation, she threw herself headlong from the rock, and was killed.
THE MURDERED TRAVELLER.
Some years since, in the month of May, the remains of a human body, partly devoured by wild animals, were found in a woody ravine, near a solitary road passing between the mountains west of the village of Stockbridge. It was supposed that the person came to his death by violence, but no traces could be discovered of his murderers. It was only recollected that one evening, in the course of the previous winter, a traveller had stopped at an inn in the village of West Stockbridge; that he had inquired the way to Stockbridge; and that, in paying the innkeeper for something he had ordered, it appeared that he had a considerable sum of money in his possession. Two ill-looking men were present, and went out about the same time that the traveller proceeded on his journey. During the winter, also, two men of shabby appearance, but plentifully supplied with money, had lingered for awhile about the village of Stockbridge. Several years afterward, a criminal, about to be executed for a capital offence in Canada, confessed that he had been concerned in murdering a traveller in Stockbridge for the sake of his money. Nothing was ever discovered respecting the name or residence of the person murdered.
THE AFRICAN CHIEF.
Chained in the market place he stood, &c.
The story of the African Chief, related in this ballad, may be found in the African Repository for April, 1825. The subject of it was a warrior of majestic stature, the brother of Yarradee, king of the Solima nation. He had been taken in battle, and was brought in chains for sale to the Rio Pongas, where he was exhibited in the market-place, his ankles still adorned with the massy rings of gold which he wore when captured. The refusal of his captor to listen to his offers of ransom drove him mad, and he died a maniac.
THE CONJUNCTION OF JUPITER AND VENUS.
This conjunction was said in the common calendars to have taken place on the 2d of August, 1826. This, I believe, was an error, but the apparent approach of the planets was sufficiently near for poetical purposes.
This poem is nearly a translation from one by Jose Maria de Heredia, a native of the Island of Cuba, who published at New York, six or seven years since, a volume of poems in the Spanish language.
Neither this, nor any of the other sonnets in the collection, with the exception of the one from the Portuguese, is framed according to the legitimate Italian model, which, in the author's opinion, possesses no peculiar beauty for an ear accustomed only to the metrical forms of our own language. The sonnets in this collection are rather poems in fourteen lines than sonnets.
THE HUNTER'S SERENADE.
The slim papaya ripens, &c.
Papaya—papaw, custard-apple. Flint, in his excellent work on the Geography and History of the Western States, thus describes this tree and its fruit:—
"A papaw shrub, hanging full of fruits, of a size and weight so disproportioned to the stem, and from under long and rich-looking leaves, of the same yellow with the ripened fruit, and of an African luxuriance of growth, is to us one of the richest spectacles that we have ever contemplated in the array of the woods. The fruit contains from two to six seeds, like those of the tamarind, except that they are double the size. The pulp of the fruit resembles egg-custard in consistence and appearance. It has the same creamy feeling in the mouth, and unites the taste of eggs, cream, sugar, and spice. It is a natural custard, too luscious for the relish of most people."
Chateaubriand, in his Travels, speaks disparagingly of the fruit of the papaw; but on the authority of Mr. Flint, who must know more of the matter, I have ventured to make my western lover enumerate it among the delicacies of the wilderness.
The surface rolls and fluctuates to the eye.
The prairies of the West, with an undulating surface, rolling prairies, as they are called, present to the unaccustomed eye a singular spectacle when the shadows of the clouds are passing rapidly over them. The face of the ground seems to fluctuate and toss like the billows of the sea.
The prairie-hawk that, poised on high, Flaps his broad wings, yet moves not.
I have seen the prairie-hawk balancing himself in the air for hours together, apparently over the same spot; probably watching his prey.
These ample fields Nourished their harvests.
The size and extent of the mounds in the valley of the Mississippi, indicate the existence, at a remote period, of a nation at once populous and laborious, and therefore probably subsisting by agriculture.