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Will speak a solemn language in the desert.
Look up to Heaven, and there the sultry clo ids,
Still threatening thunder, lower with grim delight,
As if the Spirit of the Plague dwelt there,
Darkening the city with the shadows of death.
Know ye that hideous hubbub? Hark, far off
A tumult like an echo! On it comes,
Weeping and wailing, shrieks and groaning prayer;
And, louder than all, outrageous blasphemy.
The passing storni hath left the silent streets.
But are these houses near you tenantless?
Over your heads, from a window, suddenly
A ghastly face is thrust, and yells of death
With voice not human. Who is he that flies,
As if a demon dogged him on his path?
With ragged hair, white face, and bloodshot eyes,
Raving, he rushes past you; till he falls,
As if struck by lightning, down upon the stones,
Or, in blind madness, dashed against the wall,
Sinks backward into stillness. Stand aloof,
And let the Pest's triumphant chariot
Have open way advancing to the tomb.
See how he mocks the pomp and pageantry
Of earthly kings! a miserable cart,
Heaped up with human bodies; dragged along
By pale steeds, skeleton-anatomies !
And onwards urged by a wan meagre wretch, .
Doomed never to return from the foul pit,
Whither, with oaths, he drives his load of horror.
Would you look in? Gray hairs and golden tresses,
Wan shrivelled cheeks that have not smiled for years,
And many a rosy visage smiling still;
Bodies in the noisome weeds of beggary wrapped, -
With age decrepit, and wasted to the bone;
And youthful frames, august and beautiful,
In spite of mortal pangs, – there lie they all,
Embraced in ghastliness! But look not long,
For haply, ʼmid the faces glimmering there, ·
The well-known cheek of some beloved friend
Will meet thy gaze, or some small snow-white hand,
Bright with the ring that holds her lover's hair.
Let me sit down beside you. I am faint
Talking of horrors that I looked upon
At last without a shudder.
JOHN GIBSON LOCKHART. 1794-1854.
319. Zara's EAR-Rings.' “My ear-sings! my ear-rings! they've dropped into the well, And what to say to Muça, I car not, cannot tell." Twas thus, Granada's fountain by, spoke Albuharez' daughter, -" The well is deep, for down they lie, beneath the cold blue water ... [o ir.e did Muça give them, when he spake his sad farewell, And what to say when he comes back, alas! I cannot tell.
“My ear-rings ! my ear-rings! they were pearls in silver set,
That when my Moor was far away, I ne'er should him forget,
Tha: ! ne'er to other tongue should list, nor smile on other's tale,
But remember he my lips had kissed, pure as those ear-rings pale
When he comes back and hears that I have dropped them in the well
O, what will Muça think of me, I cannot, cannot tell.
“My ear-rings! my ear-rings! he'll say they should have been,
Not of pearl and silver, but of gold and glittering sheen,
Of jasper and of onyx, and of diamond shining clear,
Changing to the changing light, with radiance insincere -
That changeful mind unchanging gems are not befitting well —
Thus will he think, - and what to say, alas ! I cannot tell.
“ He'll think when I to market went, I loitered by the way;
He'll think a willing ear I lent to all the lads might say;
He'll think some other lover's hand among my tresses noosed,
From the ears where he had placed them, my rings of pearl unloosed;
He'll think when I was sporting so beside this marble well,
My pearls fell in, - and what to say, alas! I cannot tell.
“ He'll say I am a woman, and we are all the same;
He'll say I loved when he was here to whisper of his flame-
But when he went to Tunis my virgin troth had broken,
And thought no more of Muça, and cared not for his oken.
My car-rings! my ear-rings! O, luckless, luckless well!
For what to say to Muça, alas ! I cannot tell.
«« I'll tell the truth to Muça, and I hope he will believe -
That I have thought of him at morning, and thought of him at eve
That musing on my lover, when down the sun was gone,
His ear-rings ir, my hand I held, by the fountain all alone :
And that my mind was o'er the sea, when from my hand they fell,
Ard that deep his love, lies in my heart, as they lie in the well.”
ROBERT POLLOK. 1790-1827. (Manual, p. 433.)
FROM “THE COURSE OF TIME.”
320. THE GENIUS OF BYRON. He touched his harp, and nations heard, entranced; As some vast river of unfailing source, Rapid, exhaustless, deep, his numbers flowed, And oped new fountains in the human heart. Where Fancy halted, weary in her flight, In other men, his, fresh as morning, rose, And soared untrodden heights, and seemed at home, Where angels bashful looked. Others, though great, Beneath their argument seemed struggling whiles; He, from above descending, stooped to touch The loftiest thought; and proudly stooped, as though It scarce deserved his verse. With Nature's self He seemed an old acquaintance, free to jest At will with all her glorious majesty He laid his hand upon the Ocean's mane,” And played familiar with his hoary locks; Stood on the Alps, stood on the Apennines, And with the thunder talked as friend to friend; And wove his garland of the lightning's wing, In sportive twist, the lightning's fiery wing, Which, as she footsteps of the dreadful God, Marching upon the storm in vengeance, seemed; Then turned, and with the grasshopper, who sung His evening song beneath his feet, conversed. Suns, moons, and stars, and clouds, his sisters were; Rocks, mountains, meteors, seas, and winds, ani storms, His brothers, younger brothers, whom he scarce As equals deemed. All passions of all men, The wild and tame, the gentle and severe; All thoughts, all maxims, sacred and profane; All creeds, all seasons, Time, Eternity; All that was hated, and all that was dea:, All that was hoped, all that was feared, by an, He tossed about, as tempest-withered leaves; Then, smiling, looked upon the wreck he made. With terror now he froze the cowering blood, And now dissolved the heart in tenderness; Yet would not tremble, would not weep himself; But back into his soul retired, alone, Dark, sullen, proud, gazing contemptuously On hearts and passions prostrate at his feet.
FELICIA DOROTHEA HEMANS. 1793-1835. (Manual, p. 432.)
321. THE TREASURES OF THE DEEP,
What hidest thou in thy treasure-caves and cells.
Thou hollow-sounding and mysterious Main? -
Pale glistening pearls, and rainbow-colored shells,
Bright things which gleam unrecked of, and in valu,
Keep, keep thy riches, melancholy Sea!
We ask not such froin thee..
Yet more, the Depths have more! What wealth untold
Far down, and shining through their stillness, lies!
Thou hast the starry gems, the burning gold,
Won from ten thousand royal Argosies. -
Sweep o'er thy spoils, thou wild and wrathful Main !
Earth claims not these again!
Yet more, the Depths have more! Thy waves have rolled
Above the cities of a world gone by!
Sand hath filled up the palaces of old,
Sea-weed o'ergrown the halls of revelry!
Dash o'er them, Ocean! in thy scornful play-
Man yields thein to decay!
Yet more! the Billows and the Depths have more!
High hearts and brave are gathered to thy breast!
They hear not now the booming waters roar,
The battle-thunders will not break their rest; -
Keep thy red gold and gems, thou stormy grave -
Give back the true and brave!
Give back the lost and lovely! those for whom
The place was kept at board and hearth so long,
The prayer went up through midnight's breathless gloom,
And the vain yearning woke 'midst festal song!
Hold fast thy buried isles, thy towers o'erthrowr, -
But all is not thine own!
To thee the love of woman hath gone down,
Dark flow thy tides o'er manhood's noble head,
O'er youth's bright locks and beauty's flowery crywn:-
Yet must thou hear a voice - Restore the Dead!
Earth shall reclaim her precious things from thee --
Restore the Dead, thou Sea!
Thomas Hood. 1798-1845. (Manua!, p. 434.)
322. THE BRIDGE OF SIGHS.
One more unfortunate,
Weary of breath,
Gone to her death!
'Take her up tenderly,
Lift her with care,
Fashioned so slenderly,
Young, and so fair.
Look at her garments
Clinging like cerements;
Whilst the wave constantly
Drips from her clothing;
Take her up instantly,
Loving, not loathing.
Touch her not scornfully;
Think of her mournfully,
Gently, and humanly;
Not of the stain's of her;
All that remains of her
Now is pure womanly.
Make no deep scrutiny
Into her mutiny
Rash and undutiful;
Past all dishonor,
Death has left on her
Only the beautiful.
Still, for all slips of here,
One of Eve's family,
Wipe those poor lips of here
Dozing so clammily.
Luop up her trèsses,
Escaped from the comb,
Her fair auburn tresses,
Whilst wonderment guesses,
Where was her home?
Who was her father?
Who was her mother?