« PreviousContinue »
And sweetly the founts of that valley fall; Though bright are the waters of Sing-Su-Hay, And the golden floods that thitherward stray, Yet—oh 'tis only the blest can say
How the waters of heaven outshine them all!
'Go wing thy flight from star to star, From world to luminous world, as far
As the universe spreads its flaming wall; Take all the pleasures of all the spheres, And multiply each through endless years—
One minute of heaven is worth them all!'
The glorious angel, who was keeping
From Eden's fountain when it lies
Blooms no where but in Paradise! 'Nymph of a fair, but erring line!' Gently he said—' One hope is thine. ''Tis written in the book of fate, ,,
The Peri yet may be forgiven Who brings to this eternal gate
The gift that is most dear to heaven!
Go, seek it, and redeem thy sin;—
Rapidly as comets ran
To the embraces of the sun;—
Fleeter than the starry brands,
Flung at night from angel hands
At those dark and daring spirits
Who would climb the empyreal heights,
Down the blue vault the Peri flies,
And lighted earthward by a glance
That just then broke from morning's eyes,
Hung hovering o'er our world's expanse.
But whither shall the spirit go
To find this gift for heaven ?—' I know
'The wealth,' she cries, ' of every urn,
In which unnumbered rubies burn,
Beneath the pillars of Chilminar;
I know where the isles of perfume are,
Many a fathom down in the sea,
To the south of sun-bright Araby;
I know too where the Genii hid
The jewelled cup of their King Jamshid
With life's elixir sparkling high—
But gifts like these are not for the sky.
Where was there ever a gem that shone
While thus she mused, her pinions fanned
With human blood—the smell of death
Mingled his taint with every breath
Tis he of Gazna,—fierce in wrath
Lie scattered in his ruinous path.—
Torn from the violated necks
Of many a young and loved Sultana ;—
And choaks up with the glittering wrecks
Downward the Peri turns her gaze;
Alone, beside his native river,—
And the last arrow in his quiver. 'Live,' said the conqueror,' Live to share The trophies and the crowns I bear!' Silent that youthful warrior stood— Silent he pointed to the flood All crimson with his country's blood, Then sent his last remaining dart For answer to the invader's heart.
False flew the shaft, though pointed well;
And when the rush of war was past,
Of morning light, she caught the last— Last glorious drop his heart had shed, Before its free-horn spirit fled!
'Be this,' she cried, as she winged her flight,
'My welcome gift at the gates of light;
Though foul are the drops that oft distil
On the field of warfare, blood like this,
For liberty shed, so holy is, :. .' . . .. .
It would not stain the purest rill,
That sparkles among the bowers of bliss!
Oh I if there be, on this earthly sphere,'
A boon, an offering heaven holds dear,
'Tis the last libation liberty draws
From the heart that bleeds and breaks in her cause!'
'Sweet,' said the angel, as she gave
The gift into his radiant hand, 'Sweet is our welcome of the brave,
Who die thus for their native land.—