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From time to time ill-omen'd rumours came
(Like spirit tongues, muttering 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 loved 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, E’en reason sunk, blighted beneath its touch; And though, erelong, 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 wandering bark, upon whose pathway shone All stars of heaven, except the guiding one ! Again she smiled, nay, much and brightly smiled; 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 utters, ere her soul depart, When, vanquished by some minstrel's powerful art, She dies upon the lute whose sweetness broke her heart !
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 Veil'd Prophet destined for the skies ! .-
And such quick welcome as a spark receives
Dropp'd on a bed of autumn's wither'd leaves,
Did every tale of these enthusiasts find
In the wild maiden's sorrow-blighted mind.
All fire, at once the maddening zeal she caught; -
Elect of Paradise ! blest, rapturous thought;
Predestined bride, in heaven's eternal dome,
Of some brave youth — ha! durst they say " of some ? "
No, of the one, one only object traced
In her heart's core too deep to be effaced ;
The one whose memory, fresh as life, is twined
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 !
had not reason's light totally set,
And left thee dark, thou hadst an amulet
In the loved image, graven on thy heart,
Which would have saved thee from the tempter's art,
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 favourites, proudly first
In zeal and charms, too well th' impostor nursed
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 twined.
No art was spared, 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 mad-
'Twas from a brilliant banquet, where the sound
Of poesy and music breathed around,
Together picturing to her mind and ear
The glories of that heaven, her destined sphere,
Where all was pure, where every stain that lay
Upon the spirit's light should pass away,
And, realising more than youthful love
E’er wish'd or dream’d, she should for ever 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,