« PreviousContinue »
It is decreed that thou must likewise fade,
And leave thy paths above involv'd in shade.
Then shall the lesser stars, abash'd that now
Thy presence shun, their heads triumphant show
And light with keener rays the world below.
Yet still, without a rival in thy reign,
Thou rul'st the night in majesty serene,
Ye winds,-"disperse the clouds which veil the sky,
That darting down her silver beams from high,
The mountain's shaggy sides may rise to sight,
And ocean's troubled surges roll in light:
For Nathos and his brother Althos ride,
With Ardan, beam of youth, the stormy tide;
And urge through foaming waves their desp'rate course,
To shun revengeful Cairbar's brutal force.
What other lovely form is at their side?
The dark surrounding shades her beauties hide;
Her robes in dusky wreaths are tost in air;
Upon the wind disshevell'd floats her hair;
Wrapt in the clouds that veil the starless sky-
She, like a spirit, dimly passes by.
It is Dar-thula with the radient eyes,
Who from the love of hateful Cairbar flies;
But flies in vain, for winds and waves withstand,
And fate denies her Etha's woody land.
Not Nathos' mountains these aloft that tow'r,
Nor these his native streams that rapid pour.
The hall of Borbar-duthal's son is nigh,
His moss-grown turrets intercept the sky.
The land, far stretching to the northern deep,
Back into Tura's bay compels the ship.
When thus on hostile shores my friends were cast,
Where wanton roved, O south! thy absent blast?
While adverse winds to mountains swell'd the main,
The thistle's beard you follow'd o'er the plain.
O! that in Nathos' bellying sails you blew,
Till Etha's woody hills had rose in view.
Elaps'd is now the term, his native shore
That hapless warrior shall behold no more!
The day of his return has long been past;
A feeble ghost, he rides the howling blast.
No marvel, that a youth abroad admir'd
For arms and arts, Dar-thula's bosom fir'd.
Fresh as the dawn of day appear'd his bloom,
His locks were glossy as the raven's plume;
The sun, when ev'ning breathes a gentle air,
Did not in mildness with his soul compare;
Not waters gliding smooth through Lora's vale,
Or reeds low sighing to a southern gale,
Could match the tuneful accents of his tongue,
On which the charms of elocution hung.
But when embattled, to dispute the day,
Two armies mov'd, wedg'd firm in close array,
He rush'd to combat, roaring like the sea—
Flash'd from afar his shield, and struck with fright,
The vanquish'd nations headlong urg'd their flight.
P a Twas
'Twas thus caparison'd, and bright in arms,
Dar-thula first beheld his youthful charms,
From high Selama's moss-encrusted tow'rs;
When he to succour Cormac led his pow'rs.
The virgin saw, and in these words express'd
The soft emotions throbbing at her breast.
"What lovely stranger yonder treads the green,
"Of princely carriage and undaunted mien!
"Contemning death, he rushes to the fight,
"And to an army dares, oppose his might.
"Youth of the ruddy look, thy wrath restrain,
"Fierce Cairbar comes with thousands in his train.
"Oh! that from that detested suitor freed,
"Thee for my future Lord the fates decreed.
"Blest, Etha! are thy rocks, and blest the earth
"Which gave to such transcendent beauty birth!
"There issues early to the mountain chase
"That stately form, that miracle of grace;
"The snowy whiteness of his bosom bare,
"And dancing to the wind his raven hair."
So spake the maid from steep Selama's height;
But now around her low'rs the cloudy night:
Still adverse from the north the tempests howl,
And thund'ring on the coast the surges roll.
Between the squally blasts and stormy main,
Comes sweet at intervals the virgin's strain.
Ye winds jand waves your noise a while forbear,
Amidst the roar, we scarce his voice can hear.
"Are these the rocks of Nathos I descry,
"Or these thy streams, says she, that gush from high?
"From Usnoth's neighb'ring hall comes yonder blaze,
"That friendly points this way its cheerful rays?
"But elemental jars turmoil the night,
"And faint and distant seems the quiv'ring light.
"But Nathos is my light—while he is kind,
"Nor clouds nor storms affect Dar-thula's mind.
"Say why these frequent sighs? Does latent grief
"Afflict the manly soul of Etha's Chief?
"Is he cast down, because the northern wind
"Has on a foreign shore his sails confin'd?"
As you surmise, fair maid, the stormy force Of adverse winds have drove us from our course. Those are not Nathos' rocks thou see'st before, Nor those his mountain streams that sound on shore; No cheering blaze from Etha's halls is seen, They hence lie far, with oceans vast between. We are on Ullin's coast, the hostile land, Where cruel Cairbar holds supreme command. Haste Althos, tow'rds the north the bay explore, While Ardan westward winds along the shore: Myself will trace the narrow path which leads To yonder turret, whence that light proceeds. Mean time here rest thou lovely beam, nor fear, For Nathos' sword to guard thee shall be near.
The warrior said, and hasten'd swift away,— -• The virgin, lonely left beside the sea," Long waited his return, with eager look Still anxious first upon the road he took: Her ears, the while, are deafen'd with the sound Of ocean's waves, tremendous roaring round: At last impatient, bursting into tears, She wrung her hands, and spoke aloud her fears. "Here solitary left amidst the night, "While howling tempests chill my soul with fright, "I trembling sit—what can the youth detain? "He scorns the tyrant and his num'rous train: "And much I fear, surrounded by the foe "O'er match'd he fights, and now perhaps lies low."
While she laments him thus, as really lost, The Chief returning joins her on the coast. In his excursion he had reach'd the gate Of lofty Tura, great Cuthullin's seat; Whose ghost, that night upon the winds abroad, Approaching met him near his old abode. More large than life the shadowy form drew near, A column huge appear'd his misty spear, His eyes terrific shot a ruddy flame, The stars dim twinkled through his airy frame: His hollow sounding voice, like winds that blow In rocky caverns pent, portended wo. To warn him of his state, the warrior knew The apparition sent, and sad withdrew;