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Like spirit-tongues mutt'ring the sick man's name,
Just ere he dies : -at length those sounds of dread
Fell withering on her soul, “Azim is dead !”
Oh Grief, beyond all other griefs, when fate
First leaves the young heart lone and desolate
In the wide world, without that only tie
For which it lov'd to live or fear’d to die; -
Lorn as the hung-up lute, that ne'er hath spoken
Since the sad day its master-chord was broken !
Fond maid, the sorrow of her soul was such,
Even reason sunk, - blighted beneath its touch:
And though, ere long, her sanguine spirit rose
Above the first dead pressure of its woes,
Though health and bloom return'd, the delicate chain
Of thought, once tangled, never clear'd again.
Warm, lively, soft as in youth's happiest day,
The mind was still all there, but turn'd astray;
A wand'ring bark, upon whose pathway shone
All stars of heaven, except the guiding one!
Again she smil’d, nay, much and brightly smil'd,
But 'twas a lustre, strange, unreal, wild;
And when she sung to her lute's touching strain,
'Twas like the notes, half ecstasy, half pain,
The bulbul 47 utters, ere her soul depart,
When, vanquish’d by some minstrel's powerful art,
She dies upon the lute whose sweetness broke her
Such was the mood in which that mission found
Young ZELICA, – that mission, which around
The Eastern world, in every region blest
With woman's smile, sought out its loveliest,
To grace that galaxy of lips and eyes
Which the Veild Prophet destin'd for the skies:
And such quick welcome as a spark receives
Dropp'd on a bed of Autumn's wither'd leaves,
tale of these enthusiasts find
In the wild maiden's sorrow-blighted mind.
All fire at once the madd’ning zeal she caught;-
Elect of Paradise! blest, rapturous thought !
Predestin'd bride, in heaven's eternal dome,
Of some brave youth — ha! durst they say “of some?”
No- of the one, one only object trac'd
In her heart's core too deep to be effac'd ;
The one whose memory, fresh as life, is twin'd
With every broken link of her lost mind;
Whose image lives, though Reason's self be wreck’d,
Safe 'mid the ruins of her intellect!
Alas, poor ZELICA ! it needed all
The fantasy which held thy mind in thrall,
To see in that gay Haram's glowing maids
A sainted colony for Eden's shades;
Or dream that he, -- of whose unholy flame
Thou wert too soon the victim, — shining came
From Paradise, to people its pure sphere
With souls like thine, which he hath ruin’d here!
No- had not Reason's light totally set,
And left thee dark, thou hadst an amulet
In the lov'd image, graven on thy heart,
Which would have sav'd thee from the tempter's
And kept alive, in all its bloom of breath,
That purity, whose fading is love's death!-
But lost, inflamed, — a restless zeal took place
Of the mild virgin's still and feminine grace;
First of the Prophet's favorites, — proudly first
In zeal and charms, - too well the Impostor nurs'd
Her soul's delirium, in whose active flame,
Thus lighting up a young, luxuriant frame,
He saw more potent sorceries to bind
To his dark yoke the spirits of mankind,
More subtle chains than hell itself e'er twin'd.
No art was spar’d, no witchery ; — all the skill
His demons taught him was employ'd to fill!
Her mind with gloom and ecstasy by turns-
That gloom, through which Frenzy but fiercer burns;
That ecstasy, which from the depth of sadness
Glares like the maniac's moon, whose light is madness.
'Twas from a brilliant banquet, where the sound
Of poesy and music breath'd around,
Together picturing to her mind and ear
The glories of that heaven, her destin'd sphere,
Where all was pure, where every stain that lay
Upon the spirit's light should pass away,
And, realizing more than youthful love
E’er wish'd or dream’d, she should forever rove
Through fields of fragrance by her Azim's side,
His own bless’d, purified, eternal bride! -
'Twas from a scene, a witching trance like this,
He hurried her away, yet breathing bliss,
To the dim charnel-house ; — through all its steams
Of damp and death, led only by those gleams
Which foul Corruption lights, as with design
To show the gay and proud, she too can shine!.
And, passing on through upright ranks of Dead,
Which to the maiden, doubly craz’d by dread,
Seem'd, through the bluish death-light round them
To move their lips in mutterings as she pass'd-
There, in that awful place, when each had quaff'd
And pledg'd in silence such a fearful draught,
Such- oh! the look and taste of that red bowl
Will haunt her till she dies he bound her soul
By a dark oath, in hell's own language fram'd,
Never, while earth his mystic presence claim'd,
While the blue arch of day hung o'er them both,
Never, by that all-imprecating oath,
In joy or sorrow from his side to sever.
She swore, and the wide charnel echoed, “Never,
From that dread hour, entirely, wildly given To him and - she believ'd, lost maid!- to Heaven; Her brain, her heart, her passions all inflam’d, How proud she stood, when in full Haram nam'd The Priestess of the Faith! how flash'd her eyes With light, alas ! that was not of the skies, When round, in trances, only less than hers, She saw the Haram kneel, her prostrate worshippers ! Well might MOKANNA think that form alone Had spells enough to make the world his own:Light, lovely limbs, to which the spirit's play Gave motion, airy as the dancing spray, When from its stem the small bird wings away: Lips in whose rosy labyrinth, when she smil'd, The soul was lost; and blushes, swift and wild As are the momentary meteors sent Across the uncalm, but beauteous firmament. And then her look -oh! where's the heart so wise Could unbewilder'd meet those matchless eyes ? Quick, restless, strange, but exquisite withal, Like those of angels, just before their fall; Now shadow'd with the shames of earth— now crost By glimpses of the heaven her heart had lost; In ev'ry glance there broke, without control, The flashes of a bright but troubled soul, Where sensibility still wildly play'd, Like lightning, round the ruins it had made!
And such was now young ZELICA so chang'a
From her who, some years since, delighted rang'd
The almond groves that shade BOKHARA's tide,
All life and bliss, with Azim by her side!
So alter'd was she now, this festal day,
When, 'mid the proud Divan's dazzling array,
The vision of that Youth whom she had lov’d,
Had wept as dead, before her breath'd and.mov’d;-
When - bright, she thought, as if from Eden's track
But half-way trodden, he had wander'd back
Again to earth, glistening with Eden's light-
Her beauteous Azim shone before her sight.
O Reason! who shall say what spells renew,
When least we look for it, thy broken clew!
Through what small vistas o'er the darken’d brain
Thy intellectual day-beam bursts again ;
And how, like forts, to which beleaguerers win
Unhop'd-for entrance through some friend within,
One clear idea, waken’d in the breast
By memory's magic, lets in all the rest !
Would it were thus, unhappy girl, with thee !
But though light came, it came but partially ;
Enough to show the maze in which thy sense
Wander'd about, -- but not to guide it thence;
Enough to glimmer o'er the yawning wave,
But not to point the harbor which might save.
Hours of delight and peace, long left behind,
With that dear form came rushing o'er her mind;
But, oh! to think how deep her soul had gone
In shame and falsehood since those moments shone;
And, then, her oath - there madness lay again,
And, shuddering, back she sunk into her chain
Of mental darkness, as if blest to flee
From light, whose every glimpse was agony !