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Next morn’twas found where Selim fell; Lash'd by the tumbling tide, whose wave Denied his bones a holier grave: And there by night, reclined, 'tis said, Is seen a ghastly turban'd head: And hence extended by the billow, 'Tis named the “Pirate-phantom's pillow !” Where first it lay that mourning flower Hath flourish'd; flourisheth this hour, Alone and dewy, coldly pure and pale; As weeping Beauty's cheek at Sorrow's tale!
Day glimmers on the dying and the dead,
The cloven cuirass, and the helmless head;
The war-horse masterless is on the earth,
And that last gasp hath burst his bloody girth;
And near, yet quivering with what life remain'd,
The heel that urged him and the hand that rein'd;
And some too near that rolling torrent lie,
Whose waters mock the lip of those that die;
That panting thirst which scorches in the breath
Of those that die the soldier's fiery death,
In vain impels the burning mouth to crave
One drop—the last—to cool it for the grave;
With feeble and convulsive effort swept,
Their limbs along the crimson'd turf have crept;
The faint remains of life such struggles waste,
But yet they reach the stream, and bend to taste:
They feel its freshness, and almost partake—
Why pause? no further thirst have they to slake—
It is unquench'd, and yet they feel it not;
It was an agony—but now forgot:
Beneath a lime, remoter from the scene,
Where but for him that strife had never been,
A breathing but devoted warrior lay:
Twas Lara bleeding fast from life away.
His follower once, and now his only guide,
Kneels Kaled watchful o'er his welling side,
And with his scarf would stanch the tides that rush,
With each convulsion, in a blacker gush;
And then, as his faint breathing waxes low,
In feebler, not less fatal tricklings flow:
He scarce can speak, but motions him 'tis vain,
And merely adds another throb to pain.
He clasps the hand that pang which would assuage,
And sadly smiles his thanks to that dark page
Who nothing fears, nor feels, nor heeds, nor sees,
Save that damp brow which rests upon his knees;
Save that pale aspect, where the eye, though dim,
Held all the light that shone on earth for him.
The foe arrives, who long had search'd the field,
Their triumph nought till Lara too should yield;
They would remove him, but they see 'twere vain,
And he regards them with a calm disdain,
That rose to reconcile him with his fate,
And that escape to death from living hate:
*Otho comes, and leaping from his steed,
Looks on the bleeding foe that made him bleed,
And questions of his state; he answers not,
Scarce glances on him as on one forgot,
And turns to Kaled:—each remaining word,
They understood not, if distinctly heard;
His dying tones are in that other tongue,
To which some strange remembrance wildly clung.
They spake of other scenes, but what—is known
To Kaled, whom their meaning reach'd alone;
And he replied, though faintly, to their sound,
While gazed the rest in dumb amazement round:
They seem'd even then—that twain—unto the last
To half forget the present in the past;
To share between themselves some separate fate,
Whose darkness none beside should penetrate.
Their words though faint were many—from the tone
Their import those who heard could judge alone;
From this, you might have deem'd young Kaled's
More near than Lara's by his voice and breath,
So sad, so deep, and hesitating broke
The accents his scarce-moving pale lips spoke;
But Lara's voice though low, at first was clear
And calm, till murmuring death gasp'd hoarsely
But from his visage little could we guess, [near:
So unrepentant, dark, and passionless,
Save that when struggling nearer to his last,
Upon that page his eye was kindly cast;
And once as Kaled's answering accents ceast,
Rose Lara's hand, and pointed to the east:
Whether (as then the breaking sun from high
Roll'd back the clouds) the morrow caught his eye,
Or that 'twas chance, or some remember'd scene
That raised his arm to point where such had been.
Scarce Kaled seem'd to know, but turn'd away,
As if his heart abhorr'd that coming day;
And shrunk his glance before that morning light,
To look on Lara's brow—where all grew night.
Yet sense seem'd left, though better were its loss;
For when one near display'd the absolving cross,
And proffer'd to his touch the holy bead,
Of which his parting soul might own the need,
He look’d upon it with an eye profane,
And smiled—Heaven pardon lif"twere with disdain.
And Kaled, though he spoke not, nor withdrew
From Lara's face his fix’d despairing view,
With brow repulsive, and with gesture swift,
Flung back the hand which held the sacred gift,
As if such but disturb’d the expiring man,
Nor seem'd to know his life but then began,
That life of immortality, secure
To none, save them whose faith in Christ is sure.
But gasping heaved the breath that Lara drew,
And dull the film along his dim eye grew ; [o'er
His limbs stretch'd fluttering, and his head droop'd
The weak yet still untiring knee that bore;
He press'd the hand he held upon his heart—
It beats no more, but Kaled will not part
With the cold grasp, but feels, and feels in vain,
For that faint throb which answers not again.
“It beats!”—Away, thou dreamer! he is gone-
It once was Lara which thou look'st upon.
He gazed, as if not yet had pass'd away
The haughty spirit of that humble clay;
And those around have roused him from his trance,
But cannot tear from thence his fixed glance;
And when in raising him from where he bore
Within his arms the form that felt no more,
He saw the head his breast would still sustain,
Roll down like earth to earth upon the plain;
He did not dash himself thereby, nor tear
The glossy tendrils of his raven hair,
But strove to stand and gaze, but reel'd and fell,
Scarce breathing more than that he loved so well.
Than that he loved! Oh! never yet beneath
The breast of man such trusty love may breathel
That trying moment hath at once reveal’d
The secret long and yet but half-conceal’d;
In baring to revive that lifeless breast,
Its grief seem'd ended, but the sex confest;
And life return'd, and Kaled felt no shame—
What now to her was womanhood or fame?
And Lara sleeps not where his fathers sleep,
But where he died his grave was dug as deep;
Nor is his mortal slumber less profound, [mound;
Though priest nor bless'd, nor marble deck'd the
And he was mourn'd by one whose quiet grief,
Less loud, outlasts a people's for their chief.
Vain was all question ask'd her of the past,
And vain e'en menace—silent to the last;
She told nor whence, nor why she left behind
Her all for one who seem'd but little kind.
Why did she love him? curious fool!—be still—
Is human love the growth of human will
To her he might be gentleness; the stern
Have deeper thoughts than your dull eyes discern;
And when they love, your smilers guess not how
Beats the strong heart, though less the lips avow.
They were not common links, that form'd the chain
That bound to Lara Kaled's heart and brain;
But that wild tale she brook’d not to unfold,
And seal’d is now each lip that could have told.
They laid him in the earth, and on his breast,
Beside the wound that sent his soul to rest,
They found the scatter'd dints of many a scar,
Which were not planted there in recent war;
Where'er had pass'd his summer years of life,
It seems they vanish’d in a land of strife;
But all unknown his glory or his guilt,
These only told that somewhere blood was spilt,
And Ezzelin, who might have spoke the past,
Return’d no more—that night appear'd his last.
And Kaled—Lara—Ezzelin, are gone,
Alike without their monumental stone!
The first, all efforts vainly strove to wean
From lingering where her chieftain's blood had been;
Grief had so tamed a spirit once too proud,
Her tears were few, her wailing never loud;
But furious would you tear her from the spot
Where yet she scarce believed that he was not,
Her eye shot forth with all the living fire
That haunts the tigress in her whelpless ire;
But left to waste her weary moments there,
She talk’d all idly unto shapes of air,
Such as the busy brain of sorrow paints,
And woos to listen to her fond complaints: |
And she would sit beneath the very tree
Where lay his drooping head upon her knee;
And in that posture where she saw him fall,
His words, his looks, his dying grasp recall;
And she had shorn, but saved her raven hair,
And oft would snatch it from her bosom there,
And fold, and press it gently to the ground,
As if she stanch'd anew some phantom's wound.
Herself would question, and for him reply;
Then rising, start, and beckon him to fly
From some imagined spectre in pursuit;
Then seat her down upon some linden's root,
And hide her visage with her meagre hand,
Or trace strange characters along the sand—
This could not last—she lies by him she icved;
Her tale untold—her truth too dearly proved.
The convent bells are ringing,
But mournfully and slow; o
In the gray square turret swinging,
With a deep sound, to and fro.
Heavily to the heart they go!
Hark! the hymn is singing—
The song for the dead below,
Or the living who shortly shall be so!
For a departing being's soul
The death-hymn peals and the hollow bells so
He is near his mortal goal;
Kneeling at the friar's knee;
Sad to hear—and piteous to see—
Kneeling on the bare cold ground,
With the block before and the guards around-
And the headsman with his bare artn ready.
That the blow may be both swift and steady,
Feels if the axe be sharp and true—
Since he set its edge anew:
While the crowd in a speechless circle gather
To see the son fall by the doom of the father.
It is a lovely hour as yet
Before the summer sun shall set,
Which rose upon that heavy day,
And mock'd it with his steadiest ray;
And his evening beams are shed
Full on Hugo's fated head,
As his last confession pouring
To the monk, his doom deploring
In penitential holiness,
He bends to hear his accents bless
With absolution such as may
Wipe our mortal stains away.
That high sun on his head did glistern
As he there did bow and listen-
And the rings of chestnut hair
Curl’d half down his neck so bare :
But brighter still the beam was th rown
P on the axe which near him shone With a clear and ghastly glitter h that parting hour was bitter! ven the stern stood chill'd with awe: Mark the crime, and just the law— Tet they shudder'd as they saw.
The parting prayers are said and over
>f that false son—and daring lover!
His beads and sins are all recounted,
His hours to their last minute mounted—
His mantling cloak before was stripp'd,
His bright brown locks must now be clipp'd;
Tis done—all closely are they shorn—
The vest which till this moment worn- "
The scarf which Parisina gave—
Must not adorn him to the grave.
Even that must now be thrown aside,
And o'er his eyes the kerchief tied;
But no—that last indignity
shall ne'er approach his haughty eye.
All feelings, seemingly subdued,
of n deep disdain were half renew’d,
When headman's hands prepared to bind
Those eyes which would not brook such blind:
As if they dared not look on death.
* No—yours my forfeit blood and breath—
These hands are chain’d—but let me die
At least with an unshackled eye—
Strike:"—and as the word he said,
Upon the block he bow'd his head;
These the last accents Hugo spoke:
“Strike”—and flashing fell the stroke—
Roll'd the head—and, gushing, sunk
Back the stain’d and heaving trunk,
In the dust, which each deep vein
* Slaked with its ensanguined rain;
- His eyes and lips a moment quiver,
Convulsed and quick—then fix for ever.
He died, as erring man should die,
Without display, without parade;
Meekly had he bow’d and pray'd,
As not disdaining priestly aid,
Nor desperate of all hope on high.
And while before the prior kneeling,
His heart was wean'd from earthly feeling;
His wrathful sire—his paramour-
What were they in such an hour?
No more reproach—no more despair;
No thought but heaven—no word but prayer—
Save the few which from him broke,
When, bared to meet the headman's stroke,
He claim'd to die with eyes unbound,
His sole adieu to those around.
Still as the lips that closed in death,
Each gazer's bosom held his breath:
But yet, afar, from man to man,
A cold electric shiver ran,
As down the deadly blow descended
On him whose life and love thus ended;
And with a hushing sound comprest,
A sigh shrunk back on every breast;
But no more thrilling noise rose there,
Beyond the blow that to the block
Pierced through with forced and sullen shock,
Save one:—what cleaves the silent air
So madly shrill—so passing wild?
That, as a mother's o'er her child,
Done to death by sudden blow,
To the sky these accents go,
Like a soul's in endless woe.
Through Azo's palace-lattice driven,
That horrid voice ascends to heaven,
And every eye is turn'd thereon;
But sound and sight alike are gone:
It was a woman's shriek—and ne'er
In madlier accents rose despair;
And those who heard it, as it past,
In mercy wish'd it were the last.
Hugo is fallen; and, from that hour,
No more in palace, hall, or bower,
Was Parisina heard or seen:
Her name—as if she ne'er had been—
Was banish'd from each lip and ear,
Like words of wantonness or fear;
And from Prince Azo's voice, by none
Was mention heard of wife or son;
No tomb—no memory had they ;
Theirs was unconsecrated clay;
At least the knight's who died that day.
But Parisina's fate lies hid
Like dust beneath the coffin lid:
Whether in convent she abode,
And won to heaven her dreary road,
By blighted and remorseful years
Of scourge, and fast, and sleepless tears;
Or if she fell by bowl or steel,
For that dark love she dared to feel;
Or if, upon the moment smote,
She died by tortures less remote;
Like him she saw upon the block,
With heart that shared the headman’s shock,
In quicken'd brokenness that came,
In pity, o'er her shatter'd frame,
None knew—and none can ever know:
But whatsoe'er its end below,
Her life began and closed in woe:
And Azo sound another bride,
And goodly sons grew by his side;
But none so lovely and so brave
As he who wither'd in the grave;
Or if they were—on his cold eye
Their growth but glanced unheeded by,
Or noticed with a smother'd sigh.
But never tear his cheek descended,
And never smile his brow unbended;
And o'er that fair broad brow were wrought
The intersected lines of thought;
Those furrows which the burning share
Of sorrow ploughs untimely there;
Scars of the lacerating mind
Which the soul's war doth leave behind. He was past all mirth or woe: Nothing more remain'd below But sleepless nights and heavy days, A mind all dead to scorn or praise, A heart which shunn'd itself—and yet That would not yield—nor could forget; Which when it least appear'd to melt, Intently thought—intensely felt: The deepest ice which ever froze Can only o'er the surface close— The living stream lies quick below, And flows—and cannot cease to flow. Still was his seal’d-up bosom haunted By thoughts which nature hath implanted; Too deeply rooted thence to vanish, Howe'er our stifled tears we banish; When, struggling as they rise to start, We check those waters of the heart, They are not dried—those tears unshed But flow back to the fountain head, And resting in their spring more pure, For ever in its depth endure, Unseen, unwept, but uncongeal’d, And cherish'd most where least reveal’d. With inward starts of feeling left, To throb o'er those of life bereft ; Without the power to fill again The desert gap which made his pain; Without the hope to meet them where United souls shall gladness share, With all the consciousness that he Had only pass'd a just decree; That they had wrought their doom of ill; Yet Azo's age was wretched still. The tainted branches of the tree, Iflopp'd with care, a strength may give, By which the rest shall bloom and live All greenly fresh and wildly free: But if the lightning, in its wrath, The waving boughs with fury scathe, The massy trunk the ruin feels, And never more a leaf reveals.
There are seven pillars of gothic mold, In Chillon's dungeons deep and old, There are seven columns, massy and gray, Dim with a dull imprison'd ray, A sunbeam which hath lost its way, And through the crevice and the cleft Of the thick wall is fallen and left; Creeping o'er the floor so damp, Like a marsh's meteor lamp: And in each pillar there is a ring, And in each ring there is a chain; That iron is a cankering thing, For in these limbs its teeth remain, With marks that will not wear away, Till I have done with this new day, Which now is painful to these eyes,
Which have not seen the sun so rise
For years—I cannot count them o'er,
I lost their long and heavy score,
When my last brother droop'd and died,
And I lay living by his side.
They chain'd us each to a column stone, And we were three—yet, each alone, We could not move a single pace, We could not see each other's face, But with that pale and lividlight That made us strangers in our sight; And thus together—yet apart, Fetter'd in hand, but pined in heart; 'Twas still some solace in the dearth Of the pure elements of earth, To hearken to each other's speech, And each turn comforter to each, With some new hope, or legend old, Or song heroically bold; But even these at length grew cold. Our voices took a dreary tone, An echo of the dungeon-stone, A grating sound—not full and free As they of yore were wont to be: It might be fancy—but to me They never sounded like our own.
I was the eldest of the three, And to uphold and cheer the rest I ought to do—and did my bestAnd each did well in his degree. The youngest, whom my father loved, Because our mother's brow was given To him—with eyes as blue as heaven, For him my soul was sorely moved; And truly might it be distrest, To see such bird in such a nest; For he was beautiful as day— (When day was beautiful to me As to young eagles, being free)A polar day, which will not see A sunset till its summer's gone, Its sleepless summer of long light, The snow-clad offspring of the sun; And thus he was as pure and bright, And in his natural spirit gay, With tears for nought but others'il". And then they flow'd like mountain rills, Unless he could assuage the woe Which he abhorr'd to view below.
He was a hunter of the hills,
Had follow'd there the deer and wolf;
To him this dungeon was a gulf,
And fetter'd feet the worst of ills.
Lake Leman lies by Chillon's walls: A thousand feet in depth below Its massy waters meet and flow ; Thus much the fathom-line was sent From Chillon's snow-white battlement, Which round about the wave enthralls: A double dungeon wall and wave Have made—and like a living grave. Below the surface of the lake The dark vault lies wherein we lay, We heard it ripple night and day; * Sounding o'er our heads it knock'd; And I have felt the winter's spray Wash through the bars when winds were high, And wanton in the happy sky; * And then the very rock hath rock'd, And I have felt it shake, unshock'd, Because I could have smiled to see The death that would have set me free.
I said my nearer brother pined,
said his mighty heart declined,
He loath'd and put away his food;
It was not that 'twas coarse and rude,
For we were used to hunter's fare,
And for the like had little care:
The milk drawn from the mountain goat
Was changed for water from the moat,
Our bread was such as captive's tears
Have moisten'd many a thousand years,
Since man first pent his fellow men
Like brutes within an iron den:
But what were these to us or him?
These wasted not his heart or limb;
My brother's soul was of that mold
Which in a palace had grown cold,
Had his free breathing been denied
The range of the steep mountain's side;
But why delay the truth?—he died.
! saw, and could not hold his head,
Nor reach his dying hand—nor dead,
Though hard I strove, but strove in vain,
To rend and gmash my bonds in twain.
He died—and they unlock'd his chain,
And scoop'd for him a shallow grave
Even from the cold earth of our cave.
"begg'd them, as a boon, to lay
His corse in dust whereon the day
Might shine—it was a foolish thought,
But then within my brain it wrought,
That even in death his freeborn breast
In such a dungeon could not rest.
! might have spared my idle prayer—
They coldly laugh’d—and laid him there:
"he flat and turfless earth above
The being we so much did love;
Hi, empty chain above it leant,
Such murder's fitting monument:
But he, the favourite and the flower, Most cherish’d since his natal hour, His mother's image in fair face, The infant love of all his race, His martyr'd father's dearest thought, My latest care, for whom I sought To hoard my life, that his might be Less wretched now, and one day free; He, too, who yet had held untired A spirit natural or inspired— He, too, was struck, and day by day Was wither'd on the stalk away. Oh God! it is a fearful thing To see the human soul take wing In any shape, in any mood:— I've seen it rushing forth in blood, I've seen it on the breaking ocean Strive with a swoln convulsive motion, I've seen the sick and ghastly bed Of sin delirious with its dread: But these were horrors—this was woe Unmix’d with such—but sure and slow: He faded, and so calm and meek, So softly worn, so sweetly weak, So tearless, yet so tender—kind, And grieved for those he left behind; With all the while a cheek whose bloom Was as a mockery of the tomb, Whose tints as gently sank away As a departing rainbow's ray– An eye of most transparent light, That almost made the dungeon bright, And not a word of murmur—not A groan o'er his untimely lot, A little talk of better days, A little hope my own to raise, For I was sunk in silence—lost In this last loss, of all the most; And then the sighs he would suppress Of fainting nature's feebleness, More slowly drawn, grew less and less: I listen'd, but I could not hear— I call’d, for I was wild with fear; I knew 'twas hopeless, but my dread Would not be thus admonished; I call’d, and thought I heard a sound— I burst my chain with one strong bound, And rush'd to him:—I found him not, I only stirr'd in this black spot, I only lived—I only drew The accursed breath of dungeon-dew; The last—the sole—the dearest link Between me and the eternal brink, Which bound me to my failing race, Was broken in this fatal place. One on the earth, and one beneath— My brothers—both had ceased to breathe: I took that hand which lay so still; Alas! my own was full as chill: I had not strength to stir, or strive, But felt that I was still alive— A frantic feeling, when we know