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But I'm digressing; what on earth has Nero,
Or any such like sovereign buffoons, To do with the transactions of my hero,
More than such madmen's fellow-man—the moon's? Sure my invention must be down at zero,
And I grown one of many " wooden spoons" Of verse (the name with which we Cantabs please To dub the last of honours in degrees).
I feel this tediousness will never do—
THE DEATH OF HAIDEE
Afric is all the sun's, and as her earth
For good or evil, burning from its birth.
And like the soil beneath, it will bring forth:
But her large dark eye show'd deep Passion's force,
Though sleeping like a lion near a source.
Her daughter, temper'd with a milder ray,
Like summer clouds all silvery, smooth, and fair,
Till slowly charged with thunder, they display
Had held till now her soft and milky way;
The fire burst forth from her Numidian veins,
Even as the Simoom sweeps the blasted plains.
The last sight which she saw was Juan's gore,
His blood was running on the very floor
Thus much she view'd an instant, and no more—
On her sire's arm, which, until now, scarce held
Her, writhing, fell she, like a cedar fell'd.
A vein had burst, and her sweet lips' pure dyes
And her head droop'd, as when the lily lies
Their lady to her couch, with gushing eyes;
But she defied all means they could employ,
Like one life could not hold, nor death destroy.
Days lay she in that state, unchanged, though chill—
She had no pulse, but death seem'd absent still;
Corruption came not, in each mind to kill
All hope; to look upon her sweet face bred New thoughts of life, for it seem'd full of soul— She had so much, earth could not claim the whole.
The ruling passion, such as marble shows
But fix'd as marble's unchanged aspect throws
O'er the Laocoon's all eternal throes,
Their energy, like life, forms all their fame,
Yet looks not life, for they are still the same.
She woke at length, but not as sleepers wake,
A strange sensation which she must partake
Struck not on memory, though a heavy ache
Brought back the sense of pain without the cause,
For, for a while, the furies made a pause.
She look'd on many a face with vacant eye,
She saw them watch her, without asking why,
Not speechless, though she spoke not; not a sigh
Were tried in vain by those who served; she gave
No sign, save breath, of having left the grave.
Her handmaids tended, but she heeded not;
Her father watch'd, she turn'd her eyes away;
However dear or cherish'd in their day;
Gentle, but without memory, she lay;
And then a slave bethought her of a harp;
The harper came and tuned his instrument. At the first notes, irregular and sharp,
On him her flashing eyes a moment bent, Then to the wall she turn'd, as if to warp
Her thoughts from sorrow through her heart re-sent; And he begun a long low island song Of ancient days, ere tyranny grew strong.
Anon her thin wan fingers beat the wall In time to his old tune: he changed the theme,
And sung of love; the fierce name struck through all
Of what she was, and is, if ye could call
The tears rush'd forth from her o'erclouded brain.
Like mountain mists at length dissolved in rain.
Short solace, vain relief!—thought came too quick,
As one who ne'er had dwelt among the sick,
But no one ever heard her speak or shriek,
Although her paroxysm drew towards its close
Yet she betray'd at times a gleam of sense;
Nothing could make her meet her father's face, Though on all other things with looks intense
She gazed, but none she ever could retrace. Food she refused, and raiment; no pretence
Avail'd for either; neither change of place, Nor time, nor skill, nor remedy, could give her Senses to sleep—the power seem'd gone forever.
Twelve days and nights she wither'd thus; at last,
A parting pang, the spirit from her past:
The very instant, till the change that cast
Glazed o'er her eyes—the beautiful, the black—
Oh ! to possess such lustre—and then lack!
She died, but not alone: she held within