Page images

He waved the sceptre o'er his kind
By nature's first great title-mind !

Resistless words were on his tongue,

Then Eloquence first flash'd below; Full arm'd to life the portent sprung,

Minerva from the thunderer's brow! And his the sole, the sacred hand, That shook her Ægis o'er the land.

And throned immortal by his side,

A woman sits with eye sublime,-
Aspasia,--all his spirit's bride ;-

But, if their solemn love were crime,
Pity the Beauty and the Sage,
Their crime was in their darken'd age.

He perished ;-but his wreath was won,

He perished in his height of fame : Then sunk the cloud on Athens' sun,

Yet still she conquer'd in his name. Fill'd with his soul, she could not die; Her conquest was Posterity !

THE MINSTREL'S HOUR. When day is done, and clouds are low,

And flowers are honey-dew, And Vesper's lamp begins to burn

Along the western blue, And homeward wing the turtle-doves, Then comes the hour the minstrel loves.

And still as shakes the sudden breeze,

The forest's deepening shade,
He hears on Tuscan evening seas

The silver serenade;
Or to the field of battle borne,
Swells at the sound of trump and horn.

The star that peeps the leaves between

To him is but a light,
That from some lady's bower of green

Shines to her pilgrim knight,
Who feels her spell around him twine,
And hastens home from Palestine.

Or if some wandering peasant's song

Come sweeten'd from the vale,
He hears the stately mitred throng

Around the altar's pale ;
Or sees the dark-eyed nuns of Spain,
Bewitching, blooming, young, in vain.

FROM SEBASTIAN, A SPANISH TALE. The sound came from a large and lofty tent, Tissued with emblems of Spain's ancient wars ; Through the slight silk the myrtle breathed its

scent, And pour'd their beams, the blue and midnight

stars. Raised like an idol, on the slight ascent Of a low, central tripod sat a Moor, The young magician of those sounds: the floor,

The waving walls, were touch'd with tender

gloom. She was unveil'd, and yet the shawl of green, That wreathed its thick-pearld fringe her locks

between, Threw shadow, dim and deep, upon her bloom ; But slight the tinge the Afric sun had thrown Upon her cheek, the eye dark diamond shone. She sat beneath a lamp of figured gold, That on her turban pour'd a dazzling flame. Her minstrel-tale of wonder had been told, Her hand was resting on the harp's rich frame; She gave one glance: her cheek seem'd flush'd

with shame. She cast upon the ground her startled eye ; She swept the harp,--no song accordant came ; Her bosom through its caftan panted high ; But all her voice was one deep, painful sigh. The high assemblage, sympathizing, gazed On her strange beauty and her sudden pain. Their plaudits proud her sinking spirit raised, She bow'd, and, blushing, she renew'd the strain. Her red lip smiled, as if in sweet disdain Of its late check : she lightly touched the string, And tried an air of sportiveness again : Again her hand, her voice seem'd wandering ;She dried a tear, and gave her prison'd anguish


“ Farewell, my gentle harp, farewell,

Thy task shall soon be done,
And she who loved thy lonely spell

Shall, like its tones, be gone;
Gone to the bed, where mortal pain
Pursues the weary heart in vain.

“ I shed no tears, light passes by

The pang that melts in tears,
The stricken bosom that can sigh,

No mortal arrow bears.
When comes the heart's true agony,
The lip is hush'd, and calm the eye.
“ And mine has come, no more I weep,

No longer passion's slave,
My sleep must be th’ unwaking sleep,

My bed must be the grave.
Through my wild brain no more shall move,
Or hope, or fear, or joy, or love.”


SOUTH AMERICAN SCENERY. Beneath aerial cliffs, and glittering snows, The rush-roof of an aged warrior rose, Chief of the mountain tribes ; high, overhead, The Andes, wild and desolate, were spread, Where cold Sierras shot their icy spires, And Chillan trail'd its smoke and smould'ring fires.

A glen beneath-a lonely spot of rest Hung, scarce discover'd, like an eagle's nest.

Summer was in its prime ;-the parrot- flocks Darken’d the passing sunshine on the rocks ; The chrysomel and purple butterfly, Amid the clear blue light, are wand'ring by ;


[merged small][ocr errors]

The humming-bird, along the myrtle bow'rs,
With twinkling wing, is spinning o'er the flow'rs;
The woodpecker is heard with busy bill,
The mock-bird sings—and all beside is still.
And look! the cataract that bursts so high,
As not to mar the deep tranquillity,
The tumult of its dashing fall suspends,
And, stealing drop by drop, in mist descends ;
Through whose illumin'd spray and sprinkling

Shine to the adverse sun the broken rainbow hues.
Check’ring, with partial shade, the beams of

And arching the gray rock with wild festoon,
Here, its gay net-work, and fantastic twine,
The purple cogul threads from pine to pine,
And oft, as the fresh airs of morning breathe,
Dips its long tendrils in the stream beneath.
There, through the trunks, with moss and lichens

The sunshine darts its interrupted light,
And ’mid the cedar's darksome bough, illumes,
With instant touch, the lori's scarlet plumes.

[ocr errors]



The sun is up, and 'tis a morn of May
Round old Ravenna's clear-shewn towers and bay,

« PreviousContinue »