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Envy and Avarice, one summer day,
In quest of the abode
Of some poor wretch or fool who lived that way--
You, or myself, perhaps, I cannot say, --
Along the road, scarce heeding where it tended,
Their way in sullen, sulky silence wended;
For, though twin sisters, these two charming creatures,
Rivals in hideousness of form and features,
Wasted no love between them as they went.
With gloating eyes,
And back and shoulders almost double bent,
was hugging close that fatal box
For which she's ever on the watch
Some glance to catch
Suspiciously directed to its locks;
And Envy too, no doubt, with silent winking
Of her green, greedy orbs, no single minute
Withdrawn from it, was hard a-thinking
Of all the shining dollars in it.
The only words that Avarice could utter,
Her constant doom, in a low, frightened mutter,
"There's not enough, enough, yet in my store!"
While Envy, as she scanned the glittering sight,
Groaned as she gnashed her yellow teeth with spite,
"She's more than me, -- more, still forever more!"
Thus, each in her own fashion, as they wandered,
Upon the coffer's precious contents pondered,
When suddenly, to their surprise,
The God Desire stood before their eyes --
Desire, that courteous deity who grants
All wishes, prayers and wants;
Said he to the two sisters: "Beauteous ladies,
As I'm a gentleman, my task and trade is
To be the slave of your behest.
Choose therefore at your own sweet will and pleasure,
Honours or treasure, --
Or, in one word, whatever you'd like best.
But let us understand each other: she
Who speaks the first, her prayer shall certainly
Receive; the other, the same boon redoubled!"
Imagine how our amiable pair
At this proposal, all so frank and fair,
Were mutually troubled!
Misers and enviers of our human race,
Say, what would you have done in such a case?
Each of the sisters murmured, sad and low:
"What boots it, O Desire, to me to have
Crowns, treasures, all the goods that heart can crave,
Or power divine to bestow,
Since still another must have always more?"
So each, lest she should speak before
The other, hesitating slow and long
Till the god lost all patience, held her tongue.
He was enraged in such a way
To be kept waiting there all day,
With two such beauties in the public road;
Scarce able to be civil even,
He wished them both -- well, not in heaven.
Envy at last the silence broke,
And smiling, with malignant sneer,
Upon her sister dear,
Who stood in expectation by,
Ever implacable and cruel, spoke;
"I would be blinded of one eye!"
When to avoid chill winter's snow
The gilded insect takes its flight
Too often bramble, bush or brier,
Has torn its wings so frail and bright.
So youth with all its strength and fire,
Sipping the sweets on every side,
Receives a fatal wound from thorns
Which the gay flowers of pleasure hide.
[There was in Rome one antique usage, as follows: On the eve of the execution-day, the sufferers were given a public banquet (at the prison gate), known as the "Free Festival."--Chateaubriand: Martyrs]
To Ye Kings.
When the Christians were doomed to the lions of old
By the priest and the praetor, combined to uphold
An idolatrous cause,
Forth they came while the vast Colosseum throughout
Gathered thousands looked on, and they fell 'mid the shout
Of "the people's" applause.
On the eve of that day of their evenings the last,
At the gates of their dungeon a gorgeous repast,
Rich, unstinted, unpriced,
That the doomed might, forsooth, gather strength ere they bled,
With an ignorant pity the jailers would spread
For the martyrs of Christ.
Oh, 't was strange for a pupil of Paul to recline
On voluptuous couch, while Falernian wine
Fill'd his cup to the brim!
Dulcet music of Greece, Asiatic repose,
Spicy fragrance of Araby, Italian rose,
All united for him!
Every luxury known through the earth's wide expanse,
In profusion procured was put forth to enhance
The repast that they gave;
And no Sybarite, nursed in the lap of delight,
Such a banquet ere tasted as welcomed that night
The elect of the grave.
And the lion, meantime, shook his ponderous chain;
Loud and fierce howled the tiger, impatient to stain
The bloodthirsty arena;
Whilst the women of Rome, who applauded those deeds,
And who hailed the forthcoming enjoyment, must needs
Shame the restless hyaena.
They who figured as guests on that ultimate eve,
In their turn on the morrow were destined to give
To the lions their food;
For behold in the guise of a slave at that board,
Where his victims enjoyed all that life can afford,
Death administering stood.
Such, O monarchs of earth! was your banquet of power,
But the tocsin has burst on your festival hour;
'T is your knell that it rings!
To the popular tiger a prey is decreed,
And the maw of Republican hunger will feed
On a banquet of kings!
The golden gates were opened wide that day,
All through the unveiled heaven there seemed to play
Out of the Holiest of Holy, light;
And the elect beheld, crowd immortal,
A young soul, led up by young angels bright,
Stand in the starry portal.
A fair child fleeing from the world's fierce hate,
In his blue eye the shade of sorrow sate,
His golden hair hung all dishevelled down
On wasted cheeks that told a mournful story,
And angels twined him with the innocent's crown,
The martyr's palm of glory.
The virgin souls that to the Lamb are near,
Called through the clouds with voices heavenly clear,
"God hath prepared a glory for thy brow;
Rest in his arms, and all ye hosts that sing
His praised ever on untired string,
Chant, for a mortal comes among ye now;
Do homage,--'tis a king!"
And the pale shadow saith to God in heaven:
"I am an orphan and no king at all;
I was a weary prisoner yestereven.
My father's murderers fed my soul with gall.
Not me, O Lord! the regal name beseems.
Last night I fell asleep in dungeon drear,
But then I saw my mother in my dreams.
Say, shall I find her here?"
The angels said: "Thy Saviour bids thee come;
Out of an impure world he calls thee home,
From the mad earth, where horrid murder waves
Over the broken cross her impure wings,
And regicides go down among the graves,
Scenting the blood of kings."
He cries: "Then have I finished my long life?
Are all its evils over, all its strife,
And will no cruel jailer evermore
Wake me to pain, this blissful vision o'er?
Is it no dream that nothing else remains
Of all my torments but this answered cry,
And have I had, O God! amid my chains,
The happiness to die?
"For none can tell what cause I had to pine,
What pangs, what miseries, each day were mine;
And when I wept there was no mother near
To soothe my cries, and smile away my tear.
Poor victim of a punishment unending,
Torn like a sapling from its mother-earth,
So young, I could not tell what crime impending
had stained me from my birth.
"Yet far off in dim memory, it seems,
With all its horror mingled happy dreams;
Strange cries of glory rocked my sleeping head,
And a glad people watched beside my bed.
One day into mysterious darkness thrown,
I saw the promise of my future close;
I was a little child, left all alone,
Alas! and I had foes.
"They cast me living in a dreary tomb;
Never mine eyes saw sunlight pierce the gloom.
Only ye, brother angels, used to sweep
Down from your heaven, and visit me in sleep.
'Neath blood-red hands my young life withered there.
Dear Lord, the bad are miserable all;
Be not thou deaf, like them, unto my prayer,--
It is for them I call."
The angels sang: "See heaven's high arch unfold!
Come, we will crown thee with the stars above,
Will give thee cherub-wings of blue and gold,
And thou shalt learn our ministry of love,
Shalt rock the cradle where some mother's tears
Are dropping o'er her restless little one,
Or, with thy luminous breath, in distant spheres,
Shalt kindle some cold sun."
Ceased the full choir, all heaven was hushed to hear;
Bowed the fair face, still wet with many a tear;
In depths of space the rolling worlds were stayed
Whilst the Eternal in the infinite said, --
"O king, I kept thee far from human state,
Who hadst a dungeon only for thy throne,
O son! rejoice and bless they bitter fate,--
The slavery of kings thou hast not known.
What if thy wasted arms are bleeding yet,
And wounded with the fetter's cruel trace.
No earthly diadem has ever set
A stain upon thy face.
"Child, life and hope were with thee at thy birth;
But life soon bowed thy tender form to earth,
And hope forsook thee in thy hour of need.
Come, for thy Saviour had his pains divine;
Come, for his brow was crowned with thorns like thine;
His sceptre was a reed."
A weary unto death, my friends, -- a mood by wise abhorred, --
Come to the novel feast I spread, thrice-consul, Nero, lord,
The Caesar, master of the world, and eke of harmony,
Who plays the harp of many strings, a chief of minstrelsy.
My joyful call should instantly bring all who love me most,--
For ne'er were seen such arch delights from Greek or Roman host;
Nor at the free, control-less jousts, where, spite of cynic vaunts,
Austere but lenient Seneca no Ercles bumper daunts;
Nor where upon the Tiber floats Aglae in galley gay,
'Neath Asian tent of brilliant stripes, in gorgeous array;
Nor when to lutes and tambourines the wealthy prefect flings
A score of slaves, their fetters wreathed, to feed grim, greedy things.
I vow to show ye Rome aflame, the whole town in a mass;
Upon this tower we'll take our stand to watch the 'wildered pass;
How paltry, fights of men and beasts! Here be my combatants;
The Seven Hills my circus form, and fiends shall lead the dance.
This is more meet for him who rules to drive away his stress;
He, being god, should lightnings hurl and make a wilderness.
But, haste! for night is darkling; soon the festival it brings.
Already see the hyrda show its tongues and sombre wings,
And mark upon a shrinking prey the rush of kindling breaths;
They tap and sap the threatened walls, and bear uncounted deaths;
And 'neath caresses scorching hot the palaces decay.
Oh, that I, too, could thus caress and burn and blight and slay!
Hark to the hubbub! scent the fumes! Are those real men or ghosts?
The stillness spreads of Death abroad -- Down come the temple posts!
Their molten bronze is coursing fast, and joins with silver waves
To leap with hiss of thousand snakes where Tiber writhes and raves.
All's lost! In jasper, marble, gold, the statues totter -- crash!
Spite of the names divine engraved, they are but dust and ash.
The victor-scourge sweeps swollen on, whilst north winds sound the horn
To goad the flies of fire yet beyond the flight forlorn.
Proud capital, farewell fore'er! These flames naught can subdue.
The Aquaduct of Sylla gleams, a bridge o'er hellish brew.
'T is Nero's whim! How good to see Rome brought the lowest down;
Yet, Queen of all the earth, give thanks for such a splendrous crown!
When I was young, the sibyls pledged eternal rule to thee;
That Time himself would lay his bones before thy unbent knee.
Ha! ha! how brief indeed the space ere this "immortal star"
Shall be consumed in its own glow, and vanished, oh, how far!
How lovely conflagrations look when night is utter dark!
The youth who fired Ephesus' fane falls low beneath my mark.
The pangs of people -- when I sport, what matters? See them whirl
About, as salamanders frisk and in the brazier curl.
Take from my brow this poor rose-crown, -- the flames have made it pine;
If blood rains on your festive gowns, wash off with Cretan wine!
I like not overmuch that red -- Good taste says, "gild a crime!"
"To stifle shrieks by drinking songs" is -- thanks! -- a hint sublime.
I punish Rome; I am avenged. Did she not offer prayers
Erst unto Jove, late unto Christ? -- to e'en a Jew, she dares!
Now, in thy terror, own my right to rule above them all!
Alone I rest; except this pile, I leave no single hall.
Yet I destroy to build anew, and Rome shall fairer shine--
But out, my guards, and slay the dolts who thought me not divine.
The stiffnecks, haste! annihilate! Make ruin all complete --
And, slaves, bring in fresh rose. What odour is more sweet?
Yes, Happiness hath left me soon behind!
Alas! we all pursue its steps; and when
We've sunk to rest within its arms entwined,
Like the Phoenician virgin, wake, and find
Ourselves alone again.
Then, through the distant future's boundless space,
We seek the lost companion of our days;
"Return, return!" we cry, and lo! apace
Pleasure appears, -- but not to fill theplace
Of that we mourn always.
I, should unshallowed Pleasure woo me now,
Will to the wanton sorc'ress say, "Begone!
Respect the cypress on my mournful brow.
Lost happiness hath left regret, but thou
Leavest remorse alone."
Yet, haply lest I check the mounting fire,
O friends! that in your revelry appears,
With you I'll breathe the air which ye respire,
And smiling, hide my melancholy lyre
When it is wet with tears.
Each in his secret heart perchance doth own
Some fond regret neath passing smiles concealed;
Sufferers alike together and alone
Are we, with many a grief to others known,
How many unrevealed!
Alas! for natural tears and simple pains,
For tender recollections, cherished long,
For guileless griefs, which no compunction stains,
We blush, as if we wore these earthly chains
Only for sport and song!
Yes, my blessed hours have fled without a trace;
In vain I strove their parting to delay.
Brightly they beamed, then left a cheerless space,
Like an o'erclouded smile, that in the face
Lightens, and fades away.
Still asleep! We have been since the noon thus alone.
Oh, the hours we have ceased to number!
Wake, grandmother! speechless say why thou art grown.
Then, thy lips are so cold! The Madonna of stone
Is like thee in thy holy slumber.
We have watched thee in sleep, we have watched thee at prayer,
But what can now betide thee?
Like thy hours of repose all thy orisons were,
And thy lips would still murmur a blessing whene'er
Thy children stood beside thee.
Now thine eye is unclosed, and thy forehead is bent
O'er the hearth, where ashes smoulder;
And behold, the watch-lamp will be speedily spent.
Art thou vexed? have we done aught amiss? Oh, relent!
But, parent, thy hands grow colder!
Say, with ours wilt thou let us rekindle in thine
The glow that has departed?
Wilt thou sing us some song of the days of lang syne?
Wilt thou tell us some tale, from those volumes divine,
Of the brave and noble-hearted?
Of the dragon who, crouching in forest green glen,
Lies in wait for the unwary?
Of the maid who was freed by her knight from the den
Of the Ogre, whose club was uplifted, but then
Turned aside by the wand of a fairy?
Wilt thou teach us spell-words that protect from all harm,
And thoughts of evil banish?
What goblins the sign of the cross may disarm,
What saint it is good to invoke, and what charm
Can make the demon vanish?
Or unfold to our gaze thy most wonderful book,
So feared by hell and Satan;
At its hermits and martyrs in gold let us look,
At the virgins, and bishops with pastoral crook,
And the hymns and the prayers in Latin.
Oft with legends of angels, who watch o'er the young,
Thy voice was wont to gladden;
Have thy lips yet no language, no wisdom thy tongue?
Oh, see! the light wavers, and sinking, hath flung
On the wall forms that sadden.
Wake! awake! evil spirits perhaps may presume
To haunt thy holy dwelling;
Pale ghosts are, perhaps, stealing into the room.
Oh, would that the lamp were relit, with the gloom
These fearful thoughts dispelling!
Thou hast told us our parents lie sleeping beneath
The grass, in a churchyard lonely;
Now thine eyes have no motion, thy mouth has no breath,
And they limbs are all rigid! Oh, say, is this death,
Or thy prayer, or thy slumber only?
Sad vigil they kept by that grandmother's chair,
Kind angels hovered o'er them;
And the dead-bell was tolled in the hamlet; and there,
On the following eve, knelt that innocent pair,
With the missal-book before them.
That brow, that smile, that cheek so fair,
Bessem my child, who weeps and plays;
A heavenly spirit guards her ways,
From whom she stole that mixture rare.
Through all her features shining mild,
The poet sees an angel there,
The father sees a child.
And b y their flame so pure and bright
We see how lately those sweet eyes
Have wandered down from paradise,
And still are lingering in its light.
All earthly things are but a shade
Through which she looks at things above,
And sees the holy Mother-maid
Athwart her mother's glance of love.
She seems celestial songs to hear
And virgin souls are whispering near,
Till by her radiant smile deceived,
I say, "Young angel, lately given,
When was thy martyrdom achieved?
And what name dost thou bear in heaven?'
The mist of the morning is torn by the peaks
Old towers gleam white in the ray,
And already the glory so joyously seeks
The lark that's saluting the day.
Then smile away, man, at the heavens so fair,
Though, were you swept hence in the night,
From your dark, lonely tomb the owlets would stare
At the sun rising newly as bright.
But out of earth's trammels your soul would have flown
Where glitters Eternity's stream,
And you shall have wake 'midst pure glories unknown,
As sunshine disperses a dream.
Ho! hither flock, ye fowls of prey!
Ye wolves of war, make no delay!
For foemen 'neath our blades shall fall
Ere night may veil with purple pall.
The evening psalms are nearly o'er,
And priests who follow in our train
Have promised us the final gain,
And filled with faith our valiant corps.
Let orphans weep, and widows brood!
To-morrow we shall wash the blood
Off saw-gapped sword and lances bent.
So close the ranks and fire the tent,
And chill you coward cavalcade
With brazen bugles blaring loud,
E'en though our chargers' neighing proud
Already had the host dismayed.
Spur, horseman, spur! The charge resounds!
On Gaelic spear the Northman bounds,
Through helmet plumes the arrows flit,
And plated breasts the pikeheads split.
The double-axe fells human oaks,
And like the thistles in the field
See bristling up (where none must yield!)
The points hewn off by sweeping strokes!
We, heroes all, our wounds disdain;
Dismounted now, our horses slain,
Yet we advance, more courage show;
Though stricken, seek to overthrow
The victor-knights who tread in mud
The writhing slaves who bite the heel,
While on caparisons of steel
The maces thunder, cudgels thud.
Should daggers fail hide-coats to shred,
Seize each your man and hug him dead!
Who falls unslain will only make
A mouthful to the wolves who slake
Their mouth-whet thirst. No captives -- none!
We die or win! But should we die,
The lopped-off arm will wave on high
The broken brand to hail the sun!
Ho, warriors! I was reared in the land of the Gauls;
O'er the Rhine my ancestors came bounding like balls
Of the snow at the Pole, where, a babe, I was bathed
Ere in bear and in walrus sking I was enswathed.
Then my father was strong, whom the years lowly bow,--
A bison could wallow in the grooves of his brow.
He is weak, very old -- he can scarcely uptear
A young pine-tree for staff since his legs cease to bear;
But here's to replace him! I can toy with his axe;
As I sit on the hill my feet swing in the flax,
And my knee caps the bowlders and troubles the trees.
How they shiver, yea, quake if I happen to sneeze !
I was still but a springald when, cleaving the Alps
I brushed snowy periwigs off granitic scalps,
And my head, o'er the pinnacles, stopped the fleet clouds,
Where I captured the eagles and caged them by crowds.
There were tempests! I blew them back unto their source,
And put out their lightnings! More than once in a course,
Through the ocean I went wading after the whale,
And stirred up the bottom as did never a gale.
Fond of rambling, I hunted the shark 'long the beach,
And no osprey in ether soared out of my reach;
And the bear that I pinched 'twixt my finger and thumb,
Like the lynx and the wolf, perished harmless and dumb.
But these pleasures of childhood have lost all their zest;
It is warfare and carnage that now I love best.
The sounds that I wish to awaken and hear
Are the cheers raised by the courage, the shrieks due to fear.
When the riot of flames, ruin, smoke, steel and blood
Announces an army rolls along as a flood,
Which I follow, to harry the clamorous ranks,
Sharp-goading the laggards and pressing the flanks,
Till, a thresher 'mid ripest of corn, up I stand
With an oak for a flail in my unflagging hand.
Rise the groans! rise the screams! on my feet fall vain tears
As the roar of my laughter redoubles their fears.
I am naked. At armour of steel I should joke;
True, I'm helmed,--a brass pot you could draw with ten yoke.
I look for no ladder to invade the king's hall, --
I stride o'er the ramparts, and donw the walls fall,
Till choked are the ditches with the stones, dead and quick,
Whilst the flagstaff I use 'midst my teeth as a pick.
Oh, when cometh my turn to succumb like my prey,
May brave men my body snatch away from th' array
Of the crows; may they heap on the rocks till they loom
Like a mountain, befitting a collossus' tomb!
"My lord the Duke of Brittany
Has summoned his barons bold;
Their names make a fearful litany.
Among them you will not meet any
But men of giant mould,--
"Proud earls who dwell in donjon-keep,
And steel-clad knight and peer,
Whose forts are girt with a moat cut deep,
But none excel in soldiership
My own loved cymbaleer.
"Clashing his cymbals, forth he went,
With a bold and gallant bearing;
Sure for a captain he was meant,
To judge his pride with courage blent,
And the cloth-of-gold he's wearing.
"But in my soul since then I feel
A fear in secret creeping;
And to my patron saint I kneel,
That she may recommend his weal
To his guardian-angel's keeping.
"I've begged our abbot Bernardine
His prayers not to relax;
And to procure him aid divine
I've burned upon Saint Gilda's shrine
Three pounds of virgin wax.
"Our Lady of Loretto knows
The pilgrimage I've vowed:
'To wear the scallop I propose,
If health and safety from the foes
My lover be allowed.'
"No letter -- fond affection's gage! --
From him could I require,
The pain of absence to assuage;
A vassal-maid can have no page,
A liegeman has no squire.
"This day will witness with the duke's,
My cymbaleer's return:
Gladness and pride beam in my looks,
Delay my heart impatient brooks,
All meaner thoughts I spurn.
"Back from the battle-field elate
His banner brings each peer;
Come, let us see, at the ancient gate,
The martial triumph pass in state,--
With the princes my cymbaleer.
"We'll have from the rampart walls a glance
Of the air his steed assumes;
His proud neck swells, his glad hoofs prance,
And on his head unceasing dance,
In a gorgeous tuft, red plumes!
"Be quick, my sisters! dress in haste!
Come, see him bear the bell,
With laurels decked, with true love graced,
While in his bold hands, fitly placed,
The bounding cymbals swell!
"Mark well the mantle that he'll wear,
Embroidered by his bride!
Admire his burnished helmet's glare,
O'ershadowed by the dark horsehair
That waves in jet folds wide!
"The gipsy (spiteful wench) foretold,
With a voice like a viper hissing
(Though I had crossed her palm with gold),
That from the ranks a spirit bold
Would be to-day found missing.
"But I have prayed so much, I trust
Her words may prove untrue;
Though in a tomb the hag accurst
Muttered, 'Prepare thee for the worst!'
Whilst the lamp burnt ghastly blue.
"My joy her spells shall not prevent
Hark! I can hear the drums!
And ladies fair from silken tent
Peep forth, and every eye is bent
On the cavalcade that comes.
"Pikemen, dividing on both flanks,
Open the pageantry;
Loud, as they tread, their armour clanks,
And silk-robed barons lead the ranks,--
The pink of gallantry!
"In scarves of gold the priests admire;
The heralds on white steeds;
Armorial pride decks their attire,
Worn in remembrance of some sire
Famed for heroic deeds.
"Feared by the Paynim's dark divan,
The templars next advance;
Then the tall halberds of Lausanne,
Foremost to stand in battle van
Against the foes of France.
"Now hail the duke, with radiant brow,
Girt with his cavaliers;
Round his triumphant banner bow
Those of his foe. Look, sisters, now!
Here come the cymbaleer's!"
She spoke -- with searching eye surveyed
Their ranks -- then, pale, aghast,
Sunk in the crowd! Death came in aid --
'T was mercy to that loving maid.
The cymbaleer's had past!
Beautiful spirit, come with me
Over the blue enchanted sea.
Morn and evening thou canst play
In my garden, where the breeze
Warbles through the fruity trees;
No shadow falls upon the day.
There thy mother's arms await
Her cherished infant at the gate.
Of Peris I the loveliest far.
My sisters near the morning-star
In ever youthful bloom abide,
But pale their lustre by my side.
A silken turban wreaths my head,
Rubies on my arms are spread,
While sailing slowly through the sky,
Bt the uplooker's dazzled eye
Are seen my wings of purple hue,
Glittering with Elysian dew.
Whiter than a far-off sail
My form of beauty glows,
Fair as on a summer night
Dawns the sleep-star's gentle light,
And fragrant as the early rose
That scents the green Arabian vale,
Soothing the pilgrim as he goes.
Beautiful infant (said the Fay),
In the region of the sun
I dwell, where in a rich array
The clouds encircle the king of day,
His radiant journey done.
My wings, pure golden, of radiant sheen
(Painted as amorous poet's strain),
Glimmer at night, when meadows green
Sparkle with the perfumed rain
While the sun's gone to come again.
And clear my hand as stream that flows;
And sweet my breath as air of May;
And o'er my ivory shoulders stray
Locks of sunshine; tunes still play
From my odorous lips of rose.
Follow, follow! I have caves
Of pearl beneath the azure waves,
And tents all woven pleasantly
In verdant glades of Faery.
Come, beloved child, with me,
And I will bear thee to the bowers
Where clouds are painted o'er like flowers,
ANd pour into thy charmed ear
Songs a mortal may not hear,--
Harmonies so sweet and ripe
As no inspired shepherd's pipe
E'er breathed into Arcadian glen,
Far from the busy haunts of men.
My home is afar in the Orient,
Where the sun, like a king, in his orange tent
Reigneth forever in gorgeous pride;
And wafting thee, princess of rich countree,
To the soft flute's lush melody,
My golden vessel will gently glide,
Kindling the water 'long the side.
Vast cities are mine of power and delight,--
Lahore laid in lillies, Golconda, Cashmere,
And Ispahan, dear to the pilgrim's sight;
And Baghdad, whose towers to heaven uproar;
Alep, that pours on the startled ear,
From its restless masts the gathering roar,
As of ocean hamm'ring at night on the shore.
Mysore is a queen on her stately throne,
Thy white domes, Medina, gleam on the eye;
Thy radiant kiosques with their arrowy spires,
Shooting afar their golden fires
Into the flashing sky,
Like a forest of spears that startle the gaze
Of the enemy with the vivid blaze.
Come there, beautiful child, with me!
Come to the arcades of Araby,
To the land of the date and the purple vine,
Where pleasure her rosy wreaths doth twine,
And gladness shall be alway thine;
Singing at sunset next thy bed,
Strewing f lowers under thy head.
Beneath a verdant roof of leaves,
Arching a flow'ry carpet o'er,
Thou mayst liest ot lutes on summer eves
Their lays of rustic freshness pour,
While upon the grassy floor
Light footsteps, in the hour of calm,
Ruffle the shadow of the palm.
Come to the radiant homes of the blest,
Where meadows like fountain in light are drest,
And the grottoes of verdure never decay,
And the glow of the August dies not away.
Come where the autumn winds never can sweep,
And the streams of the woodland steep thee in sleep,
Like a fond sister charming the eyes of a brother,
Or a little lass lulled on the breast of her mother.
Beautiful! beautiful! hasten to me!
Coloured with crimson thy wings shall be;
Flowers that fade not they forehead shall twine,
Over thee sunlight that sets not shall shine.
The infant listened to the strain,
Now here, now there, its thoughts were driven.
But the Fay and the Peri waited in vain;
The soul soared above such a sensual gain, --
The child rose to heaven.
Oh, why not be happy this bright summer day
'Mid perfume of roses and newly mown hay?
Great Nature is smiling, the birds in the air
Sing love-lays together, and all is most fair.
Then why not be happy
This bright summer day
'Mid perfume of roses
And newly mown hay ?
The streamlets they wander through meadows so fleet,
Their music enticing fond lovers to meet;
The violets are blooming and nestling their heads
In richest profusion on moss-coated beds.
Then why not be happy
This bright summer day
When Nature is fairest
and all is so gay?
For thee, my love, for thee I tune my lyre;
With Hymen's song thou dost my soul inspire.
What other name with rapture fills my mind?
No other song, no other path, I find.
It is thy look that makes my darkness light,
It is thine image makes my dreams so bright.
Fearless I walk through shades, my hand in thine,
Far from thine eyes celestial glories shine.
Thy gentle prayer my destiny shall keep,
And safely watch me should mine angel sleep.
When they voice soft, yet proud, my heart doth thrill,
It sends me forth life's duties to fulfil.
A voice from heaven shall claim thee for its own,
Blooming in earthly fields, a flower unknown;
A virgin pure, to heaven thy soul belongs,
Reflects its fires, and echoes all its songs.
If thou entrance me with thy soft, dark eye,
If thy robe brush me lightly passing by,
I seem to touch the Temple's sacred veil,
And say with Tobit to the angel, "Hail!"
When on my sorrows thou hast shed thy light,
I know my fate must with thy fate unite,
As some good priest, worn with his journey home,
Sees a fair maiden to the fountain come.
Thee, like some being far my life above,
Thee, like some prescient ancestress, I love,
Like some fond sister, whom my wants engage,
Like some last infant, sent to cheer mine age.
Thy name alone mine eyes with tears will fill,--
I weep since life is ever full of ill;
But its sad wild thy home can never be,
Thy place far hence 'neath some o'ershadowing tree.
May peace and joy be hers from trouble free!
For all her days belong, O Lord, to thee;
I pray thee bless her, for her faithful mind
In virtue seeks true happiness to find.