Page images
PDF
EPUB

Visions of Childhood ! oft have ye beguiled Lone Manhood's cares, yet waking fondest sighs,

Ah! that once more I were a careless Child !

A FRAGMENT.

O LEAVE the lily on its stem,

O leave the rose upon the spray,
O leave the elder bloom, fair maids,

And listen to my lay.

A cypress and a myrtle bough,

This morn around my harp you twined,
Because it fashioned mournfully

Its murmurs in the wind.

And now a tale of love and wo,

A woful tale of love I sing ;
Hark, gentle maidens, hark ! it sighs,

And trembles on the string.

But most, my own dear Genevieve,

It sighs and trembles most for thee !
O come and hear what cruel wrongs

Befell the dark Ladie.

Few sorrows hath she of her own,

My hope, my joy, my Genevieve,
She loves me best whene'er I sing

The songs that made her grieve.

All thoughts, all passions, all delights,

Whatever stirs this mortal frame,

All are but ministers of love,

And feed his sacred flame.

O ever in my waking dreams

I dwell upon that happy hour When midway on the mount I sat,

Beside the ruin's tower.

The moonshine stealing o'er the scene

Had blended with the lights of eve ; And she was there, my hope, my joy,

My own dear Genevieve.

She lean’d against the armed man,

The statue of the armed knight ;
She stood and listened to my harp,

Amid the lingering light.
I played a sad and doleful air,

I sung an old and moving story ;.
An old rude song that fitted well

The ruins wild and ary.

She listened with a flitting blush,

With downcast eyes and modest grace, For well she knew I could not choose

But gaze upon her face.

I told her of the knight who wore

Upon his shield a burning brand : And how for ten long years he wooed

The Ladie of the land.

I told her how he pined :-and, ah ! The deep, the low, the pleading tone,

In which I told another's love,

Interpreted my own!
She listened with a fitting blush,

With downcast eyes and modest grace ;
And she forgave me that I gazed

Too fondly on her face.
But when I told the cruel scorn,

That crazed this bold and lovely knight, And how he roamed the mountain woods,

Nor rested day nor night:
And how he crossed the woodman's path,

Through briers and swampy mosses beat, How boughs, resounding, scourged his limbs,

And low stubs gored his feet: How sometimes from the savage den,

And sometimes from the darksome shade, And sometimes starting up at once

In green and sunny glade,

There came and looked him in the face

An Angel beautiful and bright, And how he knew it was a fiend,

This miserable knight !

And how, unknowing what he did,

He leaps amid a lawless band,
And saved from outrage worse than death

The Ladie of the land ;

And how she wept and clasped his knees,

And how she tended him in vain,

And meekly strove to expiate

The scorn that crazed his brain :

And how she nursed him in a cave,

And how his madness went away, When, on the yellow forest leaves,

A dying man he lay :

His dying words—but when I reached

That tenderest strain of all the ditty, My faltering voice, and pausing harp,

Disturbed her soul with pity.

All impulses of soul and sense

Had thrill'd my guileless Genevieve, The music and the doleful tale

The rich and balmy eve ;

And hopes, and fears that kindle hope,

An undistinguishable throng, And gentle wishes long subdued,

Subdued and cherished long :

She wept with pity and delight

She blushed with love and maiden shame, And like the murmur of a dream,

I heard her breathe my name,

I saw her bosom heave and swell,

Heave and swell with inward sighsI could not choose but love to see

Her gentle bosom rise.

Her wet cheek glowed, she stept aside,

As conscious of my look she stept,

Then suddenly with timorous eye

She flew to me and wept.

She half-enclosed me with her arms

She pressed me with a meek embrace, And, bending back her head, looked up,

And gazed upon my face.

'Twas partly love and partly fear,

And partly 'twas a bashful art, That I might rather feel than see

The swelling of her heart !

I calmed her fears, and she was calm,

And told her love with virgin pride ; And thus I won my Genevieve,

My bright and beauteous bride !

And now once more a tale of wo,

A woful tale of love I sing,
For thee, my Genevieve ! it sighs

And trembles on the string.

When last I sung the cruel scorn,

That crazed this bold and lovely knight, And how he roamed the mountain woods,

Nor rested day nor night,

I promised thee a sister tale

Of man's perfidious cruelty ;
Come, then, and hear what cruel wrong

Befell the dark Ladie.

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »