« PreviousContinue »
Her rounded arm show'd white and bare: The feverish glow of his brow was gone, And ere yet she made reply,
And bis heart sank so still that felt like Once she raised her hand on high ;
stone, It was so wan, and transparent of hue, As he look'd on the face, and beheld its hue You might have seen the moon, shine So deeply changed from what he knew :
Fair but faint - without the ray
Like sparkling waves on a sunny day;
And there rose not a heave o'er her boSought thee in safety through foes and all.
som's swell, 'Tis said the lion will turn and flee
And there seem'd not a pulse in her veins From a maid in the pride of her purity;
to dwell. And the power on high, that can shield Though her eye shone out, yet the lids the good
were fix'd, Thus from the tyrant of the wood,
And the glance that it gave was wild and Hath extended its mercy to guard me as
With aught of change, as the eyes may From the hands of the leaguering infidel. I come - and if I come in vain,
Of the restless who walk in a troubled Never, oh never, we meet again!
dream; Thou hast done a fearful deed
Like the figures on arras, that gloomily In falling away from thy father's creed:
glare, But dash that tnrban to earth, and sign
Stirr'd by the breath of the wintry air, The sign of the cross, and for ever be So seen by the dying lamp's fitful light,
Lifeless, but life-like, and awful to sight; Wring the black drop from thy heart,
As they seem, through the dimness, about And to-morrow unites us no more to part.”
to come down
From the shadowy wall where their images "And where should our bridal couch be
Fearfully flitting to and fro, In the midst of the dying and the dead?
As the gusts on the tapestry come and go. For to-morrow we give to the slaughter
“If not for love of me be given The sons and the shrines of the Christian Thus much, then, for the love of heaven,
Again I say--that turban tear None save thou and thine, I've sworn, From off thy faithless brow, and swear Shall be left upon the morn:
Thine injured country's sons to spare, But thee will I bear to a lovely spot, Or thou art lost; and never shalt sce, Where our hands shall be join'd, and our Not earth~that's past—but heaven or ine.
sorrow forgot. If this thou dost accord, albeit There thou yet shalt be my bride, A heavy doom 'tis thine to meet, When once again I've quell'd the pride That doom shall half absolve thy sin, Of Venice; and her hated race
And mercy's gate may receive thee within: Have felt the arm they would debase But pause one moment more, and take Scourge, with a whip of scorpions, those The curse of Him thou didst forsake; Whom vice and envy made my foes.” And look once more to heaven, and see
Its love for ever shut from thee. Upon his hand she laid her own
There is a light cloud by the moonLight was the touch, but it thrillid to the
'Tis passing, and will pass full soon– bone,
If, by the time its vapoury sail And shot a chillness to his heart,
Hath ceased her shaded orb to veil, Which fix'd him beyond the power to start. Thy heart within thee is not changed, Though slight was that grasp so mortal Then God and man are both avenged ;
Dark will thy doom be, darker still He could not loose him from its hold;
Thine immortality of ill." But never did clasp of one so dear Strike on the pulse with such feeling of Alp look’d to heaven, and saw on high
The sign she spake of in the sky;
Roll'd like a torrent o'er the rest.
Forms in his phalanx each Janizar; He sue for mercy! He dismay'd
Alp at their head; his right arm is bare, By wild words of a timid maid !
So is the blade of his scimitar; He, wrong’d by Venice, vow to save The khan and the pachas are all at their Her sons devoted to the grave!
post; No—though that cloud were thunder's The vizier himself at the head of the host.
When the culverin's signal is fired, then on; And charged to crush him - let it burst! Leave not in Corinth a living one
A priest at her altars, a chief in her halls,
A hearth in her mansions, a stone on her He look'd upon it earnestly,
walls. Without an accent of reply ;
God and the prophet-Alla Hu! He watch'd it passing; it is flown :
Up to the skies with that wild halloo! Full on his eye the clear moon shonc, “İ'here the breach lies for passage, the And thus he spake_“Whate'er my fate,
ladder to scale; I am no changeling—'tis too late:
And your hands on your sabres, and how The reed in storms may bow and quiver,
should ye fail? Then rise again; the tree must shiver. He who first downs with the red cross What Venice made me, I must be
may crave Her foe in all, save love to thee :
His heart's dearest wish; let him ask it, But thou art safe: oh, fly with me!”
and have!" He turn'd, but she is gone!
Thus utter'd Coumourgi, the dauntless Nothing is there but the column-stone.
vizier; Hath she sunk in the earth, or melted in air? The reply was the brandish of sabre and He saw not, he knew not; but nothing is
As the wolves, that headlong go
On the stately buffalo, Hark to the trump, and the drum,
Thongh with fiery eyes, and angry roar, And the mournful sound of the barbarous And hoofs that stainp, and horns that gore,
He tramples on earth, or tosses on high And the flap of the banners, that flit
The foreinost, who rush on his strength
but to die : they're borne, And the neigh of the steed, and the mul- Thus against the wall they went,
Thus the first were backward bent ; And the clash, and the shout, “they come, Strew'd the earth like broken glass,
Many a bosom, sheath'd in brass,
they come!” The horsetails are pluck'd from the ground, Shiver'd by the shot, that tore
and the sword
The ground whereon they moved no more: From its sheath ; and they form, and but Even as they fell, in files they lay,
wait for the word. Like the mower's grass at the close of day,
When his work is done on the levellid Tartar, and Spahi, and Turcoman, Strike your tents, and throng to the van;
plain; Mount ye, spur ye, skirr the plain,
Such was the fall of the foremost slain. That the fugitive may flee in vain, When he breaks from the town; and none As the spring-tides, with heavy plash,
From the cliffs invading dash Aged or young, in the Christian shape; Huge fragments, sapp'd by the ceaseless While your fellows on foot, in a fiery mass,
flow, Bloodstain the breach through which they Till white and thundering down they go;
Like the avalanche's snow The steeds are all bridled, and snort to the On the Alpine vales below :
Thus at length, outbreathed and worn, Curved is each neck, and flowing each Corinth's sons were downward borne
By the long and oft renewd White is the foam of their champ on the charge of the Moslem multitnde.
In firmness they stood, and in masses they The spears are uplifted; the matches are lit;
fell, The cannon are pointed and ready to roar, Heap'd by the host of the infidel, And crush the wall they have crumbled Hand to hand, and foot to foot:
Nothing there, sare death, was mute ;
their graves ;
Stroke, and thrust, and flash, and cry Patroclus' spirit less was pleased
Than his, Minotti's son, who died
For thousands of years were inhumed on If with them, or for their foes ;
the shore; If they must mourn, or may rejoice What of them is left, to tell In that annihilating voice,
Where they lie, and how they fell? Which pierces the deep hills through and Not a stone on their turf, nor a bone in
through With an echo dread and new :
But they live in the verse that imunortally You might have heard it, on that day, O'er Salamis and Megara; (We have heard the hearers say,)
Hark to the Allah shout! a band Even unto Piraeus bay.
Of the Mussulman bravest and best is at
hand : From the point of encountering blades Their leader's nervous arm is bare,
to the hilt,
Swifter to smite, and never to spareSabres and swords with blood were gilt;
Uuclothed the shoulder it waves them on; But the rampart is won, and the spoil Thus in the fight is he ever known:
Others a gaudier garb may show,
But none on a steel more ruddily gilt: Hark to the haste of flying feet,
Many a loftier turban may wear, That splash in the blood of the slippery Alp is but known by the white arm bare;
Look through the thick of the fight, 'tis But here and there, where 'vantage-ground
there! Against the foe may still be found, There is not a standard on that shore Desperate groups, of twelve or ten, So well advanced the ranks before; Make a pause, and turn again
There is not a banner in Moslem war With banded backs against the wall,
Will lure the Delhis half so far;
It glances like a falling star!
The bravest be, or late have been ;
Vainly to the vengeful Tartar;
Mustering his last
feeble blow In a semicircle lay;
Gainst the nearest levell’d foe, Still he combated unwounded,
Though faint beneath the mutual wound, Though retreating, unsurrounded.
Grappling on the gory ground.
Still the old man stood erect,
Though the life of thy gift would last for Many an Othman mother wept
“Francesca!- Oh my promised bride! Of all he might have been the sire
Must she too perish by thy pride?"
“She is safe."__"Where? where?”_2"In His wrath made many a childless foe;
heaven, And since the day, when in the strait From whence thy traitor-soul is drivenHis only boy had met his fate,
Far from thee, and undefiled," His parent's iron band did doom
Grimly then Minotti smiled, More than a human hecatomb.
As he saw Alp staggering bow If shades by carnage be appeased,
Before his words, as with a blow.
"Oh God! when died she?" - "Yester- Brief breathing-time! the turban'd host,
With added ranks and raging boast, Nor
weep I for her spirit's flight: Press onwards with such strength and heat, None of my pure race shall be
Their numbers balk their own retreat; Slaves to Mahomet and thee
For narrow the way that led to the spot Come on!”– That challenge is in vain- Where still the Christians yielded not; Alp’s already with the slain !
And the foremost, if fearful, may vainly try While Minotti's words were wreaking Through the massy column to turn and fly; More revenge in bitter speaking
They perforce must do or die. Than his falchion's point had found, They die; but, ere their eyes could close, Had the time allow'd to wound,
Avengers o'er their bodies rose; From within the neighbouring porch Fresh and furious, fast they fill Of a long defended church,
The ranks unthinn'd, though slaughter'd Where the last and desperate few
stiil; Would the failing fight renew,
And faint the weary Christians wax
And now the Othmans gain the gate;
From every crevice comes the shot;
From every shatter'd window pour And then eternal darkness sunk
The volleys of the sulphurous shower : Through all the palpitating trunk; But the portal wavering grows and weak Nought of life left, save a quivering The iron yields, the hinges creakWhere his limbs were slightly shivering: It bends-it falls-and all is o'er; They turn'd him on his back; his breast Lost Corinth may resist no more! And brow were staind with gore and
dust, And through his lips the life-blood oozed,
Darkly, sternly, and all alone,
Minotti stood o'er the altar-stone:
Madonna's face upon him shone,
Painted in heavenly hues above, Sigh, nor word, nor struggling breath
With eyes of light and looks of love; Heralded his way to death ;
And placed upon that holy shrine Ere his very thought could pray,
To fix our thoughts on things divine, Unaneal'd he pass'd away,
When pictured there, we kneeling see Without a hope from mercy's aid,
Her, and the Boy-God on her knee,
Smiling sweetly on each prayer
Still she smiled; even now she smiles, Fearfully the yell arose
Though slaughter streams along her aisles: of his followers, and his foes ;
Minotti listed his aged eye, These in joy, in fury those :
And made the sign of a cross with a sigh, Then again in conflict mixing,
Then seized a torch which blazed thereby; Clashing swords, and spears transfixing,
And still he stood, while, with steel and
flame, Interchanged the blow and thrust,
Inward and onward the Mussulman came. Hurling warriors in the dust. Street by street, and foot by foot, Siill Minotti dares dispute
The vaults beneath the mosaic stone The latest portion of the land
Contain'd the dead of ages gone;
Their names were on the graven floor,
The carved crests, and curious hues
The varied marble's veins diffuse, Whence issued late the fated ball
Were smeard, and slippery-stain’d, and That half avenged the city's fall,
strown When Alp, her fierce assailant, fell : With broken swords, and helins o’erthrown: Thither bending sternly back,
There were dead above, and the dead below They leave before a bloody track; Lay cold in many a coffin'd row; And, with their faces to the foe,
You might see them piled in sable state, Dealing wounds with every blow,
By a pale light through a gloomy grate; The chief, and his retreating train. Bunt War had enter'd their dark caves, Join to those within the fane:
And stored along the vaulted graves There they yet may breathe awhile, Her sulphurons treasures, thickly spread Shelter'd by the massy pilo.
In masses by the fleshloes dead;
Here, throughout the siege, had been Proclaim'd the desperate conflict o'er
All that mingled there below:
Scorch'd and shrivell’d to a span,
When he fell to earth again
Like cinder strew'd the plain:
Down the ashes shower like rain ;
Some fell in the gulf, which received the With barbarous blows they gash the dead,
With a thousand circling wrinkles; And lop the already lifeless head,
Some fell on the shore, but far away, And fell the statues from their niche,
Scatter'd o'er the isthmus lay; And spoil the shrines of offerings rich,
Christian or Moslem, which be they? And from each other's rude hands wrest
Let their mothers see and say!
When in cradled rest they lay,
And each nursing mother smiled On its table still behold
On the sweet sleep of her child,
Little deem'd she such a day The cup of consecrated gold;
Would rend those tender limbs away. Massy and deep, a glittering prize,
Not the matrons that them bore Brightly it sparkles to plunderers' eyes :
Could discern their offspring more ;
That one moment left no trace
Save a scatter'd scalp or bone: To shrive their souls ere they join'd in the And down came blazing rafters, strown
Around, and many a falling stone,
fray. Still a few drops within it lay;
Deeply dinted in the clay, And round the sacred table glow
All blacken’d there and reeking lay. Twelve lofty lamps, in splendid row,
All the living things that heard
That deadly earth-shock disappeard :
The wild birds flew; the wild dogs fled,
The camels from their keepers broke;
And burst his girth, and tore his rein; Touch'd with the torch the train - The bull-frog's note, from out the marsh, 'Tis fired!
Deep-mouth'd arose, and doubly harsh; Spire, vaults, the shrine, the spoil, the slain, The wolves yell’d on the cavernd hill, The turban’d victors, the Christian band, Where echo roll'd in thunder still; All that of living or dead remain, The jackal's troop, in gather'd cry, Hurl'd on high with the shiver'd fane, Bay'd from afar complainingly, In one wild roar expired !
With a mix'd and mournful sound, The shatter'd town – the walls thrown Like crying babe, and beaten hound:
With sudden wing, and ruffled breast, The waves a moment backward bent- The eagle left his rocky nest, The hills that shake, although unrent, And mounted nearer to the sun, As if an earthquake pass’d
The clouds beneath him seem'd so dun; The thousand shapeless things all driven Their smoke assail'd his startled beak, In cloud and fame athwart the heaven, And made him higher soar and shriekBy that tremendous blast
Thus was' Corinth lost and won!