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Since all forgotten was the external smart,
Fond dreamer, say, how fares it with thy heart ?
Less fatal were to thee the Turkish brand,
Or Russian carbine, than that milkwhite hand
That bound thine wounds-'twere safer for thine ear
Pultowa's thunders once again to hear,
Than those fresh rosy lips, which only part,
To whisper hopes delusive to thine heart.
When in the grove thou’dst fly the noontide heat,
Stay on thy faithful sword thy trembling feet,
And that round snowy arm for ever shun,
Where Love himself might rest—and be undone.
Oh, Love! thou wonder both of earth and sky!
Whisper of more than earth's felicity!
Refreshing zephyr of celestial breath,
Sweeping along this thirsty vale of death!
Thou heart in nature's breast ! thou healing rill,
and hope for gods and men distil!
Even in the boundless ocean’s blue abyss,
Drop clings to drop, with instinct's wondrous kiss ;
From pole to pole, the planets in the sky
Weave bridal dance around the world's bright eye.
Thou shinest upon man like twilight ray,
Or pale reflection of some brighter day
Of blessed infancy; whose pastimes free,
Beneath heaven's silver-fretted canopy,
Claim'd kindred with a bright-wing'd cherub train,
And, lisping, join'd in heaven's seraphic strain!
Alas! how oft, since first he fell to earth,
Is Love unmindful of his heavenly birth!
Yet there are moments when his upward eye
Explores, with wistful glance, his native sky;
When, ʼmid life's tumult, on his ravish'd ears
Steals once again the music of the spheres ;
Like that resistless melody which fills
The Switzer's soul with memory of his hills.
It was the evening. In the glowing west
The waves lay dreaming on their bed of rest;
The stars, like Egypt's priests in solemn rite,
Led on the silent mysteries of night;
Earth lay beneath their silver flood so fair,
She seem'd a happy bride,-her raven hair
With nuptial wreaths entwining, and a smile
And blush contending on her cheek the while.
Exhausted with the playful toils of day,
In grots the Naiads meditating lay;
While the last glowing tints of evening drest
In brighter hues the roses on their breast.
Each little Love that, in the solar blaze,
Lay sadly bound, now on the lunar rays,
With bow and quiver arm’d, was riding free
O'er a wide world, where all was glad as he;
Through many an arch of woodland triumph cast,
Where Spring's blest footsteps had but newly past.
Now Nature seem'd to hold her pastoral hour,
Delighted, in her own sequester'd bower;
So full of life, and yet so stilly sweet,
heart was almost heard to beat !
The pair enchanted walk'd; and, as they ranged,
In bridal pledge their youth's fond tale exchanged.
He told, how childhood's happy moments flew,
When, in his mother's fostering care, he grew
In the far north ; where, from the forest hew'd,
Stood, 'mid its kindred pines, her dwelling rude.
He told of that dear country, and the grave
It, one by one, to all his playmates gave ! -
He told how, in the stormy winter eves,
His soul devour'd the Saga's mystic leaves ;
How he would long to hear the clash of arms-
To taste the fiery bliss of war’s alarms
To mount the giant steed that Sigurd bore
Through flames unscath’d, to Fame's immortal shore ;
Till flying, to relieve his throbbing breast,
To the wild woods, he climb'd the eagle's nest,
And rock'd him in the northern wind, to seek
Ease for his heart, and coolness for his cheek!
From thence, how often did he long to sail
On every cloud that fled before the
To that bright land where Victory seem'd to wave,
And Fame wove deathless garlands for the brave;
Where royal Charles (scarce numb'ring seven years more)
Pluck’d with his sword the crowns that monarchs wore;
And gave, with bounty open as the day,
The glittering baubles, valueless, away !-
My mother yielded !—To the camp I flew,
Amid its kindred atmosphere I grew;
And, like its steady watchfire, faithful burn'd,
Though fame deserted, and though fortune turn’d.
Yet still, when wandering in the soft green wood,
I saw the winged mother rear her brood :
When glad and rosy
children round me play'd
On the brook's margin, in the flowery shade,
Then, images of peace delicious stole
O’er the rude warrior surface of my soul,
Like golden ears of grain, that love to yield
Their peaceful mantle even to battlefield-
Then, at her cottage door, in evening light,
Methought I saw a maiden form, as bright
As those which oft in blessed dreams had come,
And whisperd wondrous tales of love and home ;
By day, by night alike, I see her now
Linda ! the bright reality art Thou?"
“ How blest is man!” said Linda with a sigh, “ Free as the wind that traverses the sky,
The joy of danger, Glory's fiery bliss,
Earth's smile, and Heaven's aspirings, all are His.
But woman! Man's pale satellite is she,
To light his path, and then forgotten be ;
The victim on Love's altar still to lie,
While man, the brilliant flame, ascends the sky,
“ My father, whose delight was still in war, Fell in the distant battles of the Czar; My mother's angel form, and fond caress, Fled like a dream of infant blessedness; Alone, the desert's daughter sadly grew In this lone castle, 'mid a servile crew Of abject slaves, whom conscious meanness bade Worship the idol which themselves had made. Ill brooks the noble spirit, and the free, To dwell, where all around is slavery !
Say hast thou seen upon the boundless plain Our lovely wild steeds, guiltless of the rein? Light as the fawn the desert turf they spurn, Brave as the hero, for the fight they burn; With ears erect, they snuff the danger nigh, A moment stand, then to the battle fly, Their own wild battle, where, by barbarous steel Ungoaded, in untutor'd ranks they wheel ! Blest children of the desert! Oh, how fair, How unconfined, how happy are ye there!
“ Oft have I woo'd the beauteous forms to stay, Where my tamed Tartar bore me on their way, On the rein'd slave they gazed with proud disdain, Then bounded to their native wilds again !
“ No more the castle's stillness might be borne ; Madly I woo'd the chase ; with hound and horn Drove the keen wolf, and savage boar, to bay, And rescued from the bear his trembling prey. Nature alone, alas ! we conquer notUpon the throne, as in the lowly cot, Huntress, or shepherd maid upon the hill, Sovereign or slave, is woman, woman still, A feeble vine, whose tendrils sadly fade If the supporting elm deny its shade, One who her being's half must fondly win, Whose every joy is born-a lovely twin! Now somewhat in my side began to beat, Which had been painful, were it not so sweet ; Methought some angel wafted me on high To starry palaces beyond the sky, Then would I, wearied, fold again my wings Amid those lovely but neglected things Of earth, 'mid which my happy childhood grew. Ye flowers of every scent and every hue !
Thou hill of sunshine, and thou shady grove !
Thou crystal brook, still murmuring songs of love,
To me ye seem'd inanimate no more,---
I loved ye, as I ne'er had loved before
Myself alone unprized-a loftier flame
My spirit panted after-and it came,”-
She falter'd-o'er her cheek averted, spread
Love's matchless tint, “ celestial
rosy red," And that soft smile, which in a lover's eyes The half-told tale a thousand-fold supplies.
The nightingale was singing clear and loud,
The moon stood listening from his silver cloud,
When, warm as life, and true as death, a kiss
Dissolved their souls in harmony of bliss.
The mingling breath ascended to the skies
Like blended flames from one pure sacrifice.
For them the world stood still, and Time had laid
His hour-glass, all forgetful, in the shade.
Yes! mortal hours their courses must fulfil;
Rapture or agony are measured still;
But Death's cold kiss, and the warm kiss of Love,
Are children of Eternity above !-
The blest ones !— Earth upon her funeral pile
Had blazed—and they unconscious stood the while;
Its mighty bulwarks been in fragments hurld,
And they not wak'd amid a falling world.
Thus fondly lock'd together, mouth to mouth,
Had stood these Genii of the North and South;
And past unheeding, even that bridge of sighs,
That severs human bliss from Paradise !
First came young Axel from his heaven-ward flight,
“ Now ,by my soul, I swear !—by Sweden's might ! -
By the North’s honour !-by those stars that shine
Like bridal guests!—by earth and heaven ! thou'rt mine!
Oh that my soul were free this blessed hour
With thee to live or die in peaceful bow'r !
But ah! the pallid spectre of a vow
With glance reproachful stands between us now.
I feel, alas ! its icy finger rest
On the warm surface of my
faithful breast. Fear not !—this hand, which dares not break, shall loose The bond abhorr’d; and when May’s rosy dews Earth's icy fetters have alike untied, Axel, released, shall fly to claim his bride.Farewell, my soul's far dearer part! Till then, Linda, farewell !-It ne'er shall be again."
By duty urged, now Axel spurr'd his way Through the Czar's hostile armies; oft by day Lurking in woods; but, like the arrow's flight, Urging his ticry courser through the night
Still guided by the Pole's unsetting star,
And the bright wheels of Charles's northern Car,
Till, safe arriving on the Swedish strand,
The monarch's packet reach'd its destined hand.
How fares young Linda ? Oft, in her lone halls, Vainly on Axel's name the sad one calls !' The rustling woods have learn'd with it to sigh, And taught the mountain echoes to reply. How oft did Fancy, self-tormentor now, Brood o'er the mystery of Axel's vow, Till, to the widow'd heart, the maddening thought Of some fond earlier love it wildly brought.
“ Dread, northern maid! the South's fierce rivalry: Earth
may not hold us; thou or I must die !-
Behind thy snow-clad hills, and frozen wave,
I come to seek thee; and they shall not save.
Peace, idle ravings! hence, chimeras wild !
Left Axel not his native land a child ?
Since then a dweller in that camp's rude scene,
Where timid love has still a stranger been ?
Sat falsehood e'er on brow so proudly high?
Lurk'd treachery ever in that clear blue
Through whose pure depths his soul reflected lay,
As the fresh silver fount transmits the day?-
What then thy vow? Oh, does it bid thee break
This faithful heart ? -Alas! in vain I wake
These native echoes; far between us roll
Hoarse dashing billows, restless as my soul:
And the lone murmur of the widow'd dove
Dies in the hollow whisperings of the grove.-
He hears me not ! Oh, let me to him fly,
And on his faithful bosom seek reply !
If woman's fragile form must danger shun,
Let me but bear a sword-and I am none.
Oft have I play'd with death in perils past;
Oft, careless, staked
upon a cast;
Oft have I to my gallant courser grown,
And still unerring has mine arrow flown.-
Sure 'tis a God inspires the blest design !
Oh, Axel, Axel, thou again art mine !
Farewell, farewell, my father's hallow'd home,
'Tis but to bring thee peace and bliss I roam.
Welcome, wild War! thy eagle wings expand,
And bear a warrior-maid to Axel's land !
But, gentler Night! thy veil in pity lend,
To bear her safely to her bosom's friend.”
'Twas said, 'twas done! in woman's soul of flame,
To will and execute, are still the same!
Who but a loving maiden e'er had dream'd
Of reaching Sweden ?-who but she had deem'd
The journey light that bade her wondering see
The frozen confinos of Czar Peter's Sea ?