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Were wing'd, and every Chief a God!
How fallen, how alter'd now! how wan
Each scarr'd and faded visage shone,
As round the burning shrine they came!
How deadly was the glare it cast,
As mute they paused before the flame
To light their torches as they pass'd!
'Twas silence all- the youth had plann'd
The duties of his soldier-band;
And each determined brow declares
His faithful Chieftains well know theirs.
But minutes speed — night gems the skies
And oh, how soon, ye blessed eyes
That look from heaven, ye may behold
Sights that will turn your star-fires cold!
Breathless with awe, impatience, hope,
The maiden sees the veteran group
Her litter silently prepare,
And lay it at her trembling feet;
And now the youth, with gentle care,
Hath placed her in the shelter'd seat,
And press'd her hand that lingering press
Of hands, that for the last time sever;
Of hearts, whose pulse of happiness,
When that hold breaks, is dead forever. And yet to her this sad caress
Gives hope so fondly hope can err ! 'Twas joy, she thought, joy's mute excess Their happy flight's dear harbinger;
'Twas anything but leaving her.
Haste, haste!' she cried, the clouds
But still, ere night, we'll reach the bark;
And by to-morrow's dawn - oh, bliss!
With thee upon the sun-bright deep,
Far off, I'll but remember this,
As some dark vanish'd dream of sleep;
And thou' -But ah!-he answers not:
Good Heaven! and does she go alone?
She now has reach'd that dismal spot,
Where, some hours since, his voice's tone
Had come to soothe her fears and ills,
Sweet as the angel Israfil's,
When every leaf on Eden's tree
Is trembling to his minstrelsy,-
Yet now oh, now, he is not nigh.
'Hafed! my Hafed! — if it be
Thy will, thy doom this night to die,
Let me but stay to die with thee,
And I will bless thy loved name,
Till the last life-breath leave this frame.
Oh, let our lips, our cheeks, be laid
But near each other while they fade;
Let us but mix our parting breaths,
And I can die ten thousand deaths!
You too, who hurry me away
So cruelly, one moment stay
He yet may come - for him I pray Hafed! dear Hafed!'- All the way
In wild lamentings, that would touch A heart of stone, she shriek'd his name To the dark woods no Hafed came:
No, hapless pair, you've look'd your last;
Your hearts should both have broken then: The dream is o'er your doom is cast You'll never meet on earth again!
Alas for him, who hears her cries!
Still half-way down the steep he stands, Watching with fix'd and feverish eyes
The glimmer of those burning brands, That down the rocks, with mournful ray, Light all he loves on earth away! Hopeless as they who, far at sea,
By the cold moon have just consign'd
The corse of one, loved tenderly,
To the bleak flood they leave behind;
And on the deck still lingering stay,
And long look back, with sad delay,
To watch the moonlight on the wave
That ripples o'er that cheerless grave.
But see he starts! what heard he then?
That dreadful shout! - across the glen
From the land-side it comes, and loud
Rings through the chasm; as if the crowd
Of fearful things, that haunt that dell,
Its Gholes and Dives and shapes of Hell,
Had all in one dread howl broke out,—
So loud, so terrible that shout!
They come - the Moslems come!' he cries,
His proud soul mounting to his eyes;
'Now, Spirits of the Brave, who roam
Enfranchised through yon starry dome,
Rejoice for souls of kindred fire
Are on the wing to join your choir!'
He said—and, light as bridegrooms bound
To their young loves, reclimb'd the steep
And gain'd the Shrine; his Chiefs stood round—
Their swords, as with instinctive leap,
Together, at that cry accurst,
Had from their sheaths, like sunbeams, burst. And hark!--again — again it rings;
Near and more near its echoings
Peal through the chasm — oh, who that then
Had seen those listening warrior-men,
With their swords grasp'd, their eyes of flame
Turn'd on their Chief —— could doubt the shame,
The indignant shame with which they thrill
To hear those shouts and yet stand still?
He read their thoughts they were his own:
'What! while our arms can wield these blades, Shall we die tamely? die alone,
Without one victim to our shades,
One Moslem heart, where, buried deep,
The sabre from its toil may sleep?
No-God of Iran's burning skies,
Thou scorn'st the inglorious sacrifice!
No-though of all earth's hope bereft,
Life, swords, and vengeance still are left!
We'll make yon valley's reeking caves
Live in the awe-struck minds of men,
Till tyrants shudder, when their slaves
Tell of the Gheber's bloody glen.
Follow, brave hearts!
Our refuge still from life and chains ;
But his the best, the holiest bed,
Who sinks entomb'd in Moslem dead!'
Down the precipitous rocks they sprung,
While vigor, more than human, strung
Each arm and heart. The exulting foe
Still through the dark defiles below,
Track'd by his torches' lurid fire,
Wound slow, as through Golconda's vale The mighty serpent, in his ire,
Glides on with glittering, deadly trail.
No torch the Ghebers need - so well
They know each mystery of the dell,
So oft have, in their wanderings,
Cross'd the wild race that round them dwell,
The very tigers from their delves
Look out, and let them pass, as things
Untamed and fearless like themselves!
There was a deep ravine, that lay