Графични страници
PDF файл

Vent tearless to the convent, and would toil 'or the jinle monk* and till their rocky soil, lid gain their bounty, (garments coarse and

food) V liich ho would carry to his cavern rude, nil feed the dove that lay within his nest, nd hush her every evening to her rest.

At last she learned the tale — Orsini—

How!— <iven up and hanished from his grave,

below— Irsini, dark Orsini!—On her soul 'he hollow words came like a thunder-roll minding at distance over hill and vale: .ml Marcian marked her and his cheek grew

pale, ■ ml his hand trembled as he soothed her then, ind thro' his brain a terror flew again. —Now paused he in his toil and daily walk, i ml in the gloom would often idly talk )f poison and of blood, and tears would

stream n rivers down his cheeks when he did dream: iometimes in bitter spleen his tongue would

chide ind then, in anguish that he could not hide, Iwept and prayed her not to leave hira

there, I lone man, in his madness,—in despair. Lnd then he told her of his wretched youth, Lnd how upon her love and gentle truth lis life had rested;—yet she did not speak, t»ve in the pallid hues that sunk her cheek, Lnd in her heaving breast and ray less eye Yhich spoke of some fixed grief that would

not fly. 'And will she leave me then who loved her so, So utterly beyond the love of men) Lnd pass into a wretch's arms again, >*rom mine so true—from mine? she shall

not—Oh! 1'ct wherefore should I stay her, if her love le gone,indeed"—nnd then at times he strove *<> think that he might live and she afar, The beauty of his lite, the hope, the star. )li! melancholy thought, and vain and brief: It-, felt that like the Autumn's perished leaf lis frame would wither, and from its great

height lis mind must sink and lose itself in night. >fo talk was pleasant now; no image fair; Sro freshness and no fragrance filled the air; so iim-ic in the winds nor in the sound I'lie vi ild birds littered from thefnrests round; The sun had lost its light, and drearily ['he morning stole upon his altered eye; lnd night with all her starry eyes grew dim "or she was changed—and nought was true

to him.

From pain — at length , from pain, (for could he bear "he sorrow burning wild without a tear?)

He rushed beside her: Towards hlin gloomily She looked, and then he gasped —"We—list

to me— We—we must part—must part, is it not so?" She hung her head and murmured: "Woe,

oh! woe, That it must be so—nay, Colonna—nay, Hearken unto me: little can I say, But Bin—(is it not sin?) doth wear my heart Away to death. Alas! and must we part, Wc who have loved long and so truly ?—yes; Were we not born, (wc were) for wretchedness? Oh! Marcian, Marcian, I must go: my road Leads to a distant home, a calm abode. Where I may pine my few sad years away. And die, and make my peace ere 1 decay." She spoke no more, for now she saw his soul Rising in tumult, and his eye-balls roll Wildly and fiery red, and thro' his cheek Deep crimson shot: he sighed but did not

speak. Keeping a horrid silence there he sate, A maniac, full of love, and death, and fate: Again—the star that once his eye shone o'er Flash'd forth again more fiercely than before: And thro' his veins the current fever flew Like lightning, withering all it trembled

through. He clenched his hands and rushed nwny,

away, And looked and laughed upon the opening

day. And mocked the morn with shouts, and

wandered wild For hours as by some meteor-thing beguiled. He wandered through the forests sad and

lone, His heart all fiery and his senses gone; Till, at the last (for nature sank at Inst) The tempest of the fever fell and past. And he lay down upon the rocks to sleep. And shrunk into a troubled slumber, deep. Long was that sleep—long—very long and

strange, And frenzy suffered then a silent change, And his heart hardened as the fire withdrew, Like furnaccd iron beneath the Winter's dew.

He gained — he gained (why droops my

story?) then An opiate deadly from the convent-men. And bore it to his cave: she drank that

draught Of death, and he looked on in scorn, and

laughed. With an exulting terrible joy, vrhen she Lay down in tears to slumber, silently. — She had no after-sleep; but ere she slept Strong spasms and pains throughout her body

crept. And round her brain and tow'rds her heart,

until They touched that seat of love,— and all was

still.

Away ho wandered for some lengthened hoar When the black poison shewed its fiercest

power, And when he sought the cavern, there she lay, The young, the gentle,—dying fast away. Hcsntcjtnd watchi-d her, nsanursemight do, And saw the dull film steal across the blue, And saw, and felt her sweet forgiving smile, That, as she died, parted her lips the while: Her hand?—its pulse was silent — her voice

gone, But patience in her smile still faintly shone, And in her closing eyes a tenderness, That seemed as she would fain Colonna bless. She died, and spoke no word: and still he

sate Beside her like an image. Death and Fate Had done what might be then: The morningsun Hose upon him: on him?—his task was done. The murderer and the murdered—one as pale As marble shining white beneath the moon, The other dark as storms, when the winds

rail At the chafed sea,— but not to calm so soon— No bitterness, nor hate, nor dread was there; But love still clinging round a wild despair, A wintry aspect and a troubled eye, Mourning o'er youth and beauty born to die. Dead was she, and her mouth had fallen low, But still he watched her with astedl'ast brow: Unaltered as a rock he sate, while she Lay changed to clay, and perish'd. Drearily Came all the hues of death across her face: That look, so lovely once, had lost its grace, The eye its light, the cheek its colour, now. —Oh ! human beauty, what a dream art thou, That we. should enst our life and hopes iiw.iv. On thee—and dost thou like a leaf decay, In Spring-tide as in A utumn?— Fair and frail, In bud or blossom if a blight prevail, How ready art thou from the world to fly; And we who love thee so are left—to die.

Fairest of all the world, thy tale is told: Thy name is written in a record old. And I from out the legend now rehearse Thy story, shaping it to softer verse.

And thou, the lost Colonna.—thou. iJ

brain Was fever-struck with love and jc»W>»>p" A wanderer wast thou lonely tliro'tbrm j Or didst thou tread clad in thy pride of it With high patrician step the streetsolHa I know not; no one knew. A heavy pi-* Wrapped thy last fortunes, lurk less Mini Some told in after-times that he waul* Dying, within the Inquisition's burnt; Some said thathedid roam, awrelrli.ft Jn pilgrimage along the Arabian aaii ■■ And some that he did dwell in the farOf vast America, with savage men. The chase his pastime, and his limn. What object is there now to knot'

■ruin? He passed away and nei cr came ajrab He left his home, his friends, histitluTo stand, or live, or perish in their p And seeking out some unknown mus.i

died. He died, and left no vain memorial Of him or of his deeds, for scorn or preNor record for the proud Colonna-rvr To blot or blazon, cherish or comparr. His fate is lost: his name (Jikc others)-*'

JMy tale hath reached iu end;yrls» there dwells A superstition in those piny dells. Near to Laverna. Forms, 'tis said. arr» Beside the cave where once Colons* l«! And shadows linger there at close of <■■' And dusky shapes amongst the forests r" Pass oil' like vapours at the break ol ■ And sometimes a faint figure (willi' Crowning her forehead) has been •"-• >•* To haunt the cliff and hang her head f«r. And peasants still at the approach oft. liven at distance shun tli.it starry lifbi And dread The Lady of the Monatain** She rises radiant from her haunted :■■ The convent? still it stands: it* pile is ftTM And well it echoes hack the tempest's •* And still the cave is there: hut thri. Who made it famous,—they arc passrs gone.

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

Hay I feel this, and yet the times hnvc been

have seen lave in burning- bennty stealing

J'ex a young check and rnn the bright veins

through, Viul light up. liken heaven, eyes of such blue Is in the snnmier-skies wns never seen, was an idler then, nnd life was green, hid so I loved and languished, and became '. worshipper of the boy-god's fickle flame, Vnil did abase myself before him: he jaugh'd outright at my fierce credulity.

\ ml yet, at times, the recollection's sweet, Ind the same thought that pleased me haunts

me still, ,'Iiief nt the hour when day and evening meet, knd twilight, shadowy magician! calls Shapes unsubstantial from his cloudy halls, V ml ranks them out before us 'till they fill The mind with things forgotten. Valley and

hill, The air, the dashing ocean, the small rill, The waving wood and the evanishing sky, I'nv. rcl this subduing 'of the soul ally Their pow'rs and stand forth a resistless band, f then the elements league agninst us, and The heart rebel agninst the mind's command, iVhy,we must sink before these sickly dreams Jntil the morning comes, and sterner themes )o fit us through this stormy world to sail, '"arewell to love,—and yet, 'tis woven in

my tale.

I story (still believed through Sicily) s told of one young girl who chose to die for love. Sweet ladies, listen and believe, f that ye can believe so strange a story, That woman ever could so deeply grieve, iavc she who from Leucadia's promontory ■"lung herself headlong for the Lesbian boy; I'ngrnteful he to work her such annoy!) tut time hath, as in sad requital, given i brnneh of laurel to her, and some bard iwears that a heathen god or goddess gave Ier swan-like wings wherewith to fly to

heaven: Lncl now, at times, when gloomy tempests

roar Llong the Adriatic, in the wnre ihc dips her plumes, and on the wntery shore lings as the love-crax'd Suppho sung of yore.

)nc night a masque was held within the walls )f a Sicilian palace: the gayest flowers 'ast life nnd beauty o'er the marble-halls, mil. in remoter spots, fresh waterfalls hat streamed half-hidden by sweet lemonbowers I low nnd silver-voiced music made: Lnet there the frail perfuming woodbine

strayed. Vimling its slight arms 'round the cypressbough

And as in female trust seemed there to grow,
Like woman's love 'midst sorrow flourishing:
And every odorous plant and brighter thing
Born of the sunny skies nnd weeping rain,
That from the bosom of the spring
Stalls into life and beauty once again,
Blossom'd; and there in walks of evergreen,
Gay cavaliers, and dames high-born and fair,
Wearing that rich and melancholy smile
That can so well beguile
The human heart from its recess, were seen:
And lovers, full of love or studious care,
Wasting their rhymeB upon the soft night-air.
And spirits that never till the morning sleep.
And, far away, the mountain Etna flung
Eternally its pyramid of flame
High as the Heav'ns, while from its heart

there nunc Hollow and subterranean noises deep, And all around the constellations hung Their starry lamps, lighting the midnightsky, As to do honour to that revelry.

Yet was there one in that gay shifting

crowd Sick at the soul with sorrow; her quick eye Ran restless thro' the throng, and then Biic

bowed Her head upon her breast, and one check'd

sigh Breath'd sweet reproach 'gainst her Italian

boy. The dark-eyed Guido whom she lov'd so

well; (O how he loved Sicilian Isabel!) Why came he not that night to Bharc the joy That sate on every face, and from her heart Bid fear and all, aye, all but hope, depart— For hope is present happiness: Shapes and

things That wear a beauty like the imperial star Of .love, or sunset-clouds or floating dews, And like an arch of promise shine afar. When near cast off their skiey colourings. And all their rainbow-like and radiant hues Arc shadowy mockeries and deceptive fire. But Hope! the brightest of the passionate

choir That through the wide world range, And touch with passing fingers that most

strange And various instrument, the human heart,— Ah! why didst thou so soon from Isabel

depart?

Dark Guido came not all that night, while

she (His young nnd secret bride) sate watching

there, Pale ns the marble-columns. She search'd

around And 'round, nnd sicken'd at the revelry, But if she heard a quick or lighter bound ll.ilf 'rose and gazed, and o'er her tetirful I

•ight Drew her white hand to Him: his raven hair Come down in musics like I lie starless night, And 'neath each shortened mask slic strove

the while To catch his sweet inimitable smile, Opening such lips as the boy II\ his wore; (He whom the wild and wanton nymphs of

yore Stole from Alnmena's son) hut one and then Another passed, and bowed, and passed again. She looked on all in vain: at last more near A figure came, and, whispering in her ear, Asked in a hoarse, and quick, and bitter tone, Why there she sate alone. The mistress of the feast, while alt passed by Unwelcomed even by her wandering eye? It was her brother's voice—Leoni!—no i It could not be that he would jeer her so. He breath'd a name; 'twas Guido: tremblingly She sate and shrank from his enquiring eye, But hid the mighty secret of her soul. Again—ah! then she heard her terrible doom Sound like a prophecy, and to her room Like a pale solitary shade she stole.

And now to tell of him whose tongue had

gained The heart o.f Isabel. "Twas said, he came (And he was of a line of fame) From Milan where his father perished. He was the last of all his race, and lied To haughty Genoa where the Dorias reigned: A mighty city once, tbo' now she sleeps Amidst her nmpitheatrc of hills, Or sits in silence by her dashing deeps, And not a page in living story fills. He had that look which poets love to paint, And artists fashion, in their happier mood, And budding girls when first their dreamings

faint Shew them such forms as maids may love.

He stood Fine as those shapely Spirits heaven-descended, Hermes or young Apollo, or whom she The moon-lit Dian on the Latmian hill, When all the woods, and all the winds were

still, Kissed with the kiss of immortality. And in his eye,where love and pridecontended. His dark, deep-seated eye, there was a spell Which they who love and have been lov'd

can tell. And she—hut what of her, his chosen bride, His oien, on whom he gazed in secret pride, And loved almost too much for happiness? Enough to say that she was born to bless; She was surpassing fair: her gentle voice Came like the fabled music that beguiles The sailor on the waters, and her smiles Shone like the light of heaven, and said:

Rejoice!

That morn they sat upon the ara-ka

green; For in that land the sward springs fmai

frtMClose to the ocean, and no title* are em To break the glassy quiet of the set: And Guido, with his arm 'round UabUnclasped the tresses of her cheonut h Which in her white and heaving bows Like things enamour'd, and then wits ft*

air

Bade the soft amorous winds not m « there;

And then his dark eyes sparkled, «a

wound The fillets like a coronet around Her brow.and bade her rise,and rise a \in And oh! 'twas sweet to see her drhVatrai Pressed 'gainst his parted lips.as tho'tad" In mimic anger all those whispers bun He knew so well to use, and on his am Her round arm hung.while hal fas is naaa And half entreaty did her swimmiaz ri Speak of forbearance, 'till from her pseu

lip He snatched the honey-dews that lover*' And then, in crimsoning beauty. pUift She frowned,and wore that self-bctnrriK' Which women, loved and flattered, in?

wear.

Oft would he, as on that same spot Ik"' Beneath the last light of a summer'* tr Tell (and would watch the while her tim

eye) How on the lone Pacific he had bera. When the Sea-Lion on his watery *-< Went rolling thro' the billows srr<a. And shook that ocean's dead tranqsl And lie would tell her of past Uok*.'

where He rambled in his boyhood far awav And spoke of other worlds and wnsaVri' Anil mighty and magnificent, for be Had seen the bright sun worshipped lilf »-■ Upon that land where first C'oluraba* ■ And travelled by the deep Saint Ls»r

tide. And by Niagara's cataracts of foam. And seen the wild deer roam Amongst interminable forests, where The serpent and the savnge have tari- < Together. Nature there in wildest r»" Stands undebnsed and nearer to tbr U And 'midst her giant trees and wat«r« * The bones of things forgotten. bnrtrJ * Give glimpses of an elder world, tufi'i By ii.%• but in that fine and dreamy atrr* When Fancy, ever the mother of aieepiBreathes her dim oracles on the sonl «>f»

Her sleep that night was fearful.—<*

night! If it indeed was sleep: for in her sis'

form (ii dim and waving shadow) stood, nd pointed far up the great Etna's side, ► here, from n black ravine, a dreary wood <t|ih out and frowns upon the storms below, nd bounds and braves the wilderness of

snow. : gazed awhile upon the lonely bride ■ ith melancholy air and glassy eye, nd spoke: "Awake, and search yon dell,

for I, lio' risen above my old mortality, iitc left my mangled and unburicd limbs prey for wolves hard by the waters there, nd one lock of my black and curled hair, hut one I vowed to thee my beauty, swims ike a mere weed upon the mountain-river; nd those dark eyes you used to love so well I'liey loved you dearly, my own Isabel!) re shut, and now have lost their light for

ever, o then unto yon far ravine, and save our husband's heart for some more quiet

grave 11.in what the stream and withering winds

may lend, nd 'neath the basil-tree we planted, give he fond heart burial, so that tree shall live nd shed a solace on thy after-days; nd thou—but oh! I ask thee not to tend he plant on which thy Guido loved to gaze, or with a spirit's power I see thy heart." e said no more, but with the dawning day i miik. as the shadows of the clouds depart efore the conquering sun-beams, silently, lien sprung she from the pillow where she

lay, i> the wild sense of doubtful misery: nd when she 'woke she did obey the dream, nd journey'd onwards to the mountainstream, ow'rd which the phantom pointed, and she

drew he thorns aside which there luxuriant grew, ml with a beating heart descended, where he waters washed, it said, its floating hair.

was a spot like those romancers paint, r painted when of dusky knights they told aiideriiig about in forests old, 'hen the last purple colour was waxing faint nd day was dying in the west:—the trees >«rk pine and chesnut, and the dwarfed oak nd cedar) shook their branches 'till the

shade ■ ok'd like a living spirit, and as it played -i-iu'd holding dim communion with the

breeze, i-low. a tumbling river rolled along Is course by lava-rocks and brandies broke) nging for aye its fierce and noisy song; ill there on shattered trunks the lichens

grew id covered, with their golden garments,—

Death: .id when the tempest of November blew

The Winter-trumpet, 'till its failing breath
Went moaning into silence, every green
And loose leaf of the piny boughs did tell
Some trembling story of that mountain-dell.

That spirit is never idle that doth 'waken The soul to sights and contemplations deep, Even when from out the desert's seeming

sleep A sob is heaved that but the leaves are shaken; But when across its frozen wasteB there comes A rushing wind, that chills the heart and bears Tidings of ruin from those icy domes, The cast and fashion of n thousand years. It is not for low meanings that the soul Of Nature, starting from her idlessc long. Doth walk abroad with Death, and sweep

among Tin- valleys where the avalanches roll. 'Tis not to speak of Doubt that her great

voice, Which in the plains doth bid the heart rejoice, Comes sounding like an oracle. Amidst men There arc no useless marvels: Ah! why then Cast on the wonder-working nature shame, Or deem that, like a noisy braggart, she (In all things else how grent and freed from

blame)' Once in an age should shout: "A mystery!"

But, to my story. Down the slippery sod
With trembling limbs, and heart that scarce-
ly beat.
And catching at the brambles, as her feet
Sunk in the crumbling earth, the poor girl

trod; And there she saw—Oh! till that moment

none Could tell (not she) how much of hope the sun And cheerful morning, with its noises,

brought, And how she from each glance a courage

caught; For light and life bad scattered half her fright, And she could almost smile on tbc past night; So, with a buoyant feeling, mixed with fear Lest she might scorn Heav'n's missioned

minister, She took her weary way and searched the dell, And there she saw him—dead. Poor desolate

child Of sixteen summers, had tho waters wild No pity on the boy you loved so well! There stiff and cold the dark-eyed Guido lay, His pale face upwards to the careless day. That smiled as it was wont; and he was

found His young limbs mangled on the rocky

ground, And, 'midst the weltering weeds and shallows

cold, His black hair floated as the phantom told. And like the very dream his glassy eye Spoke of gone mortality.

« ПредишнаНапред »