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HENRY MILMAN.

ROWENA INTRODUCED.

Ceas'd the bold strain,then deep the Saxon drain'd The ruddy cup, and savage joy uncouth it his blue gleaming eyes: nor sate unmov’d The Briton Chiefs; fierce thoughts began to rise Df ancient wars, and high ancestral fame. Sudden came floating through the hall an air So strangely sweet,the o'erwrought sense scarce felt ts rich excess of pleasure; softer sounds Melt never on the enchanted midnight cool, By haunted spring, where elfin dancers trace Breen circlets on the moonlight dews; nor lull Becalmed mariner from rocks, where basks At summer noon the sea-maid; he his oar Breathless suspends, and motionless his bark Sleeps on the sleeping waters. Now the notes So gently died away, the silence seem'd Melodious; rmerry now and light and blithe They danced on air: anon came tripping forth in frolic grace a maiden troop, their locks [zone Flower-wreathed, their snowy robes from clasped Fell careless drooping, quick their glittering feet 3lanc'd o'er the pavement. Then the pomp of sound Swell’d up, and mounted; as the stately swan, Her milk-white neck embowered in arching spray, Queens it along the waters, entered in The lofty hall a shape so fair, it lull'd The music into silence, yet itself Pour'd out, prolonging the soft extacy, The trembling and the touching of sweet sound. Her grace of motion and of look, the smooth And swimming majesty of step and tread, The symmetry of form and feature, set The soul afloat, even like delicious airs Of flute or harp: as though she trod from earth, And round her wore an emanating cloud Of harmony, the Lady mov’d. Too proud For less than absolute command, too soft For aught but gentle amorous thought: her hair Cluster'd, as from an orb of gold cast out A dazzling and o'erpowering radiance, save Here and there on her snowy neck repos'd In a sooth'd brilliance some thin wandering tress. The azure flashing of her eye was fring'd With virgin meekness, and her tread, that seem'd Earth to disdain, as softly fell on it As the light dew-shower on a tuft of flowers. The soul within seem'd feasting on high thoughts, That to the outward form and feature gave A loveliness of scorn, scorn that to feel Was bliss, was sweet indulgence. Fast sank back Those her fair harbingers, their modest eyes, Downcast, and drooping low their slender necks on graceful reverence; she, by wond'ring gaze

Unmov’d, and stifled murmurs of applause,
Nor yet unconscious, slowly won her way
To where the King, amid the festal pomp,
Sate loftiest; as she rais'd a fair-chas'd cup,
Something of sweet confusion overspread
Her features; something tremulous broke in
On her half-failing accents, as she said,
“Health to the King!”—the sparkling wine laugh'd
As eager 'twere to touch so fair a lip. [up,
A moment, and the apparition bright
Had parted ; as before, the sound of harps
Was wantoning about the festive hall.

HENGIST CONSULTS THE ORACLE.

And now have Hengist and Caswallon climb'd The chariot of the Oracle: no wheels Bear that strange car; like wind along the sea, It glides along the rapid rein-deer's track. Beauteous those gentle rein deer arched their necks And cast their palmy antlers back, and spread Their broad red nostrils to the wind; they hear Old Hengist's voice, like arrows down the wind, Like shot-stars through the welkin start they forth. The car slides light, the deer bound fleet: they pass Dark leagues of pine and fir, the filmy light, Shivering with every motion of the wind. On their brown path lies tremulous; o'er them sails, Heard through the dismal foliage hissing shrill, And hoarser groanings of the swaying boughs, The funeral descant of the ominous birds. Around them the prophetic milk white steeds, Their necks yet virgin of the taming curb, With all their loose long glories, arch, and pass In solemn silence, and regardless paw The unechoing earth. But that old German, set Inflexible with bolder hand to draw The veil of dusk futurity, disdains These tamer omens. Still the car slides light, The deer bound fleet, they pause not, save to quaff The narrow cruise, to share their scanty store. Like swallows o'er the glassy rivers smooth, O'er the pellucid lake, with glittering breast Yet wrinkled with its rippling waves, they skim; The dead unstirring ocean bears them on ; Amid the immortal ice-hills wind they now. In restless change, God's softer summer works Glitter and fade, are born and die, but these, Endiadem’d by undissolving snows, High Potentates of winter's drear domain, Accumulate their everlasting bulk; Eternal and imperishable, stand Amid Creation's swift inconstant round, In majesty of silence undisturb’d,

Save when from their long-menacing brows they
shake -
The ruining Avalanche; unvisited
By motion, but of sailing clouds, when sleets
From their unwasting granary barb their darts,
And the grim North wind loads his rimy wings.
Nor trace of man, save many a fathom deep,
Haply dark signs of some tall people strange,
That walk'd the infant earth, may shroud profound
Their legends inaccessible. They soar
In headlong precipice, or pyramid
Linking the earth and heaven, to which the piles
Where those Egyptian despots rot sublime,
Or even that frantic Babylonian tower,
Were frivolous domes for laughter and for scorn.
Nor wants soft interchange of vale, where smiles
White mimicry of foliage and thin flower.
Feathery and fanlike spreads the leafy ice,
With dropping cup, and roving tendrilloose,
As though the glassy dews o'er flower and herb
Their silken moisture had congeal’d, and yet
Within that slender veil their knots profuse
Blossom'd and blush’d with tender life, the couch
Less various where the fabled Zephyr fans
With his mild wings his Flora's bloomy locks;
But colourless and cold, these flowering vales
Seem meeter for decrepit Winter's head
To lie in numb repose. The car slides light,
The deer bound fleet, the long gray wilderness
Hath something of a roseate glimmering dim,
And widens still its pale expanse: when lo,
A light of azure, wavering to display
No sights, no shapes of darkness and of fear.
Tremblingly flash'd the inconstant meteor light,
Shewing thin forms, like virgins of this earth,
Save that all signs of human joy or grief,
The flush of passion, smile or tear had seem'd
On the fix’d brightness of each dazzling cheek,
Strange and unnatural: statues not unlike
By nature, in fantastic mood congeal’d
From purest snow, the fair of earth to shame,
Surpassing beauteous: breath of mortal life
Heaved not their bosoms, and no rosy blood
Tinged their full veins, yet mov'd they, and their
steps
Were harmony. But three of that bright troop,
The loveliest and the wildest, stood aloof,
Enwrapt by what in human form were like
Impulse divine, of their fine nature seem'd
The eternal instinct. Them no less survey'd
Caswallon with the knitted brow of scorn,
Bitter he spake—“No marvel Saxon souls
Revel in war's delights, so stern, so fierce
Their deities.” Severe with wrath supprest,
As one ill brooking that irreverent mirth
Scoff'd the wild lore, himself ne'er dared to doubt,
Answer'd the son of Woden. “ These, proud
Chief,
Sosnowy, soft, and airy gentle, these
Are ministers of destiny and death,
The viewless Riders of the battle-field:
When sounds the rushing of their sable steeds,

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Stands conqueror: and how the Roman conquers,
Let Gischala, let fallen Jotapata
Tell, if one living man, one innocent child,
Yet wander o'er their cold and scatter'd ashes.
They slew them, Miriam, the old grey man,
Whose blood scarce tinged their sword—(nay, turn

not from me, The tears thou sheddest feel as though I wrung them From mine own heart, my life blood's dearest

drops)—
They slew them, Miriam, at the mother's breast,
The smiling infants;–and the tender maid,
The soft, the loving, and the chaste like thee,
They slew her not till

Miriam.
Javan, 'tis unkind

I have enough at home of thoughts like these,
Thoughts horrible, that freeze the blood, and make
A heavier burthen of this weary life.
I hop'd with theet’ have passed a tranquil hour,
A brief, a hurried, yet still tranquil hour !
—But thou art like them all ! the miserable
Have only Heaven, where they can rest in peace,
Without being mock'd and taunted with their

misery.

Javan.

Thou know'st it is a lover's wayward joy
To be reproach'd by her he loves, or thus
Thou would'st not speak. But t'was not to provoke
That sweet reproof, which sounds so like to ten-

derness:
I would alarm thee, shock thee, but to save.
That old and secret stair, down which thou stealest
At midnight through tall grass and olive trunks,
Which cumber, yet conceal thy difficult path,
It cannot long remain secure and open;
Nearer and closer the stern Roman winds
His trenches; and on every side but this
Soars his imprisoning wall. Yet, yet 'tis time,
And I must bear thee with me, where are met
In Pella the neglected church of Christ.

Miriam. With thee! to fly with thee! thou mak'st me fear Lest all the while I have deceived my soul, Excusing to myself our stolen meetings By the fond thought, that for my father's life I labour'd, bearing sustenance from thee, Which he hath deem'd heaven-sent.

Javan. Oh! farewell then The faithless dream, the sweet yet faithless dream, That Miriam loves me !

Miriam. Love thee! I am here, Here at dead midnight by the fountain's side, Trusting thee, Javan, with a faith as fearless As that which the instinctive infant twines To its mother's bosom—Love thee! when the sounds Of massacre are round me, when the shouts

Of frantic men in battle rack the soul
With their importunate and jarring din,
Javan, I think on thee, and am at peace.
Our famish'd maidens gaze on me, and see
That I am famish'd like themselves, as pale,
With lips as parch'd and eyes as wild, yet I
Sit patient with an enviable smile
On my wan cheeks, for then my spirit feasts
Contented on its pleasing thoughts of thee.
My very prayers are full of thee, I look
To heaven and bless thee; for from thee I learnt
The way by which we reach the eternal mansions.
But thou, injurious Javan' coldly doubtest.
And–Oh! but I have said too much. Oh! scorn not
The immodest maid, whom thou hast vex'd to utter
What yet she scarce dared whisper to herself.

Javan.

Will it then cease! will it not always sound Sweet, musical as thus? and wilt thou leave me?

Miriam. My father

Javan.

Miriam' is not thy father

(Oh, that such flowers should bloom on such a stock!)
The curse of Israel ? even his common name
Simon the assassin! of the bloody men
That hold their iron sway within yon city,
The bloodiest'

Miriam.

Oh cease, I pray thee cease !

Javan ' I know that all men hate my father;
Javan ' I fear that all should hate my father;
And therefore, Javan, must his daughter's love,
Her dutiful, her deep, her fervent love,
Make up to his forlorn and desolate heart
The forfeited affections of his kind.
ls it not written so in our Law 2 and He
We worship came not to destroy the Law.
Then let men rain their curses, let the storm
Of human hate beat on his rugged trunk,
I will cling to him, starve, die, bear the scoffs
Of men upon my scatter'd bones with him.

Javan. Oh, Miriam what a fatal art hast thou Of winding thought, word, act, to thy sole purpose; The enamouring one even now too much enamour'd I must admire thee more for so denying, Than I had dared if thou hadst fondly granted. Thou dost devote thyself to utterest peril, And me to deepest anguish; yet even now Thou art lovelier to me in thy cold severity Flying me, leaving me without a joy, Without a hope on earth, without thyself; Thou art lovelier now than if thy yielding soul Had smiled on me a passionate consent. Go; for I see thy parting homeward look, Go in thy beauty like a setting star, The last in all the thick and moonless heavens, O'er the lone traveller in the trackless desert. Go! if this dark and miserable earth

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