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A SPIRIT'S RETURN.

21

A fix'd, immortal shadow stands between
My spirit and life's fast-receding scene ;
A gift hath sever'd me from human ties,
A power is gone from all earth's melodies,
Which never may return:-their chords are broken-
The music of another land hath spoken,
No after-sound is sweet !- this weary thirst !
And I have heard celestial fountains burst!-
What here shall quench it?

Dost thou not rejoice, When the spring sends forth an awakening voice Through the young woods ? - Thou dost ! — And in

that birth Of early leaves, and flowers, and songs of mirth, Thousands, like thee, find gladness ! — Couldst thou

know How every breeze then summons me to go ! How all the light of love and beauty shed By those rich hours, but wooes me to the Dead ! The only beautiful that change no more, The only loved !--the dwellers on the shore Of spring fulfill'd!— The Dead !--whom call we so? They that breathe purer air, that feel, that know Things wrapt from us !--Away!- within me pent, That which is barr'd from its own element Still droops or struggles But the day will comeOver the deep the free bird finds its home. And the stream lingers 'midst the rocks, yet greets The sea at last; and the wing'd flower-seed meets A soil to rest in : shall not I, too, be, My spirit-love! upborne to dwell with thee?

Yes! by the power whose conquering anguish stirr'd
The tomb, whose cry beyond the stars was heard,
Whose agony of triumph won thee back
Through the dim pass no mortal step may track,
Yet shall we meet !- that glimpse of joy divine,
Proved thee for ever and for ever mine!

THE LADY OF PROVENCE.

Courage was cast about her like a dress

Of solemn comeliness,
A gather'd mind and an untroubled face
Did give her dangers grace.

Donne.

THE war-note of the Saracen

Was on the winds of France;
It had still’d the harp of the Troubadour,

And the clash of the tourney's lance.

The sounds of the sea, and the sounds of the night,
And the hollow echoes of charge and flight,
Were around Clotilde, as she knelt to pray
In a chapel where the mighty lay,

On the old Provençal shore;
Many a Chatillon beneath,
Unstirr’d by the ringing trumpet's breath,

His shroud of armour wore.

Founded on an incident in the early French history.

THE LADY OF PROVENCE.

23

And the glimpses of moonlight that went and came
Through the clouds, like bursts of a dying flame,
Gave quivering life to the slumber pale
Of stern forms couch'd in their marble mail,
At rest on the tombs of the knightly race,
The silent throngs of that burial-place.
They were imaged there with helm and spear,
As leaders in many a bold career,
And haughty their stillness look'd and high,
Like a sleep whose dreams were of victory;
But meekly the voice of the lady rose
Through the trophies of their proud repose;
Meekly, yet fervently, calling down aid,
Under their banners of battle she pray'd ;
With her pale fair brow, and her eyes of love,
Upraised to the Virgin's pourtray'd above,
And her hair flung back, till it swept the grave
Of a Chatillon with its gloomy wave.
And her fragile frame at every blast,
That full of the savage war-horn pass'd,
Trembling, as trembles a bird's quick heart,
When it vainly strives from its cage to part,

So knelt she in her woe;
A weeper alone with the tearless dead-
Oh! they reck not of tears o'er their quiet shed,

Or the dust had stirr'd below!

Hark! a swift step ! she hath caught its tone, Through the dash of the sea, through the wild wind's

moan; Is her lord return'd with his conquering bands? No! a breathless vassal before her stands !

66

.“ Hast thou been on the field ?--Art thou come

from the host ?-“ From the slaughter, lady!-- All, all is lost! Our banners are taken, our knights laid low, Our spearmen chased by the Paynim foeAnd thy lord”-his voice took a sadder sound• Thy lord- he is not on the bloody ground ! There are those who tell that the leader's plume Was seen on the flight through the gathering gloom.” - A change o'er her mien and her spirit past; She ruled the heart which had beat so fast, She dash'd the tears from her kindling eye, With a glance, as of sudden royalty : The proud blood sprang in a fiery flow, Quick over bosom, and cheek, and brow, And her young voice rose till the peasant shook At the thrilling tone and the falcon-look: - Dost thou stand by the tombs of the glorious dead, And fear not to say, that their son hath fled ? - Away! he is laying by lance and shield, Point me the path to his battle-field !”

The shadows of the forest

Are about the lady now;
She is hurrying through the midnight on,

Beneath the dark pine bough.
There's a murmur of omens in every leaf,
There's a wail in the stream like the dirge of a chief;
The branches that rock to the tempest-strife,
Are groaning like things of troubled life;
The wind from the battle seems rushing by
With a funeral march through the gloomy sky;

THE LADY OF PROVENCE.

25

The pathway is rugged, and wild, and long,
But her frame in the daring of love is strong,
And her soul, as on swelling seas upborne,
Is girded all fearful things to scorn.

And fearful things were around her spread,
When she reach'd the field of the warrior-dead;
There lay the noble, the valiant, low-
Ay! but one word speaks of deeper woe;
There lay the loved-on each fallen head
Mothers vain blessings and tears had shed;
Sisters were watching in many a home
For the fetter'd footstep, no more to come;
Names in the prayer of that night were spoken,
Whose claim unto kindred prayer was broken;
And the fire was heap'd, and the bright wine pour'd,
For those, now needing nor hearth nor board;
Only a requiem, a shroud, a knell,
And oh! ye beloved of woman, farewell !

Silently, with lips compress'd,
Pale hands clasp'd above her breast,
Stately brow of anguish high,
Death-like cheek, but dauntless eye;
Silently, o'er that red plain,
Moved the lady 'midst the slain.

Sometimes it seem'd as a charging cry,
Or the ringing tramp of a steed, came nigh;
Sometimes a blast of the Paynim horn,
Sudden and shrill from the mountains borne;
And her maidens trembled ;—but on her ear
No meaning fell with those sounds of fear;

Vol. VI. 3

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