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Ne'er for his lip the purpling cup they fill,
That goblet passes him untasted still
And for his fare the rudest of his crew
Would that, in turn, have pass'd untasted too;
Earth's coarsest bread, the garden's homeliest roots,
And scarce the summer luxury of fruits,
His short repast in humbleness supply
With all a hermit's board would scarce deny.
But while he shuns the grosser joys of sense,
His mind seems nourish’d by that abstinence.
“ Steer to that shore !” -- they sail. “ Do this !”—'tis done :
6 Now form and follow me !" the spoil is won.
Thus prompt his accents and his actions still,
And all obey and few enquire his will;
To such, brief answer and contemptuous eye
Convey reproof, nor further deign reply.
6 A sail !
a sail !"
a promised prize to Hope !
Her nation — flag- how speaks the telescope ?
No prize, alas! - but yet a welcome sail :
The blood-red signal glitters in the gale.
Yes - she is ours
a home-returning bark
Blow fair, thou 'breeze ! - she anchors ere the dark.
Already doubled is the
cape - our bay
Receives that prow which proudly spurns the spray.
How gloriously her gallant course she goes !
Her white wings flying - never from her foes
She walks the waters like a thing of life,
And seems to dare the elements to strife.
Who would not brave the battle-fire — the wreck
To move the monarch of her peopled deck ?
Hoarse o'er her side the rustling cable rings ;
The sails are furld; and anchoring round she swings
And gathering loiterers on the land discern
Her boat descending from the latticed stern.
'T is mann'd — the oars keep concert to the strand,
Till grates her keel upon the shallow sand.
Hail to the welcome shout!— the friendly speech!
When hand grasps hand uniting on the beach;
The smile, the question, and the quick reply,
And the heart's promise of festivity!
The tidings spread, and gathering grows the crowd :
The hum of voices, and the laughter loud,
And woman's gentler anxious tone is heard -
Friends' – husbands' — lovers' names in each dear word :
“Oh! are they safe? we ask not of success
But shall we see them ? will their accents bless?
From where the battle roars the billows chafe
They doubtless boldly did — but who are safe?
Here let them haste to gladden and surprise,
And kiss the doubt from these delighted eyes ! ”
" Where is our chief? for him we bear report -
And doubt that joy - which hails our coming --- short;
Yet thus sincere — 't is cheering, though so brief ;
But, Juan! instant guide us to our chief :
Our greeting paid, we'll feast on our return,
And all shall hear what each may wish to learn."
Ascending slowly by the rock-hewn way,
To where his watch-tower beetles o'er the bay.
By bushy brake, and wild flowers blossoming,
And freshness breathing from each silver spring,
Whose scatter'd streams from granite basins burst,
Leap into life, and sparkling woo your thirst;
From crag to cliff they mount
-Near yonder cave,
What lonely straggler looks along the wave?
In pensive posture leaning on the brand,
Not oft a resting-staff to that red hand?
“ 'T is he -- 't is Conrad -- here - as wont
alone; On - Juan !
and make our purpose known.
The bark he views - and tell him we would greet
His ear with tidings he must quickly meet :
We dare not yet approach — thou know'st his mood,
When strange or uninvited steps intrude.”
Him Juan sought, and told of their intent;:
He spake not — but a sign express'd assent.
These Juan calls — they come - to their salute
He bends him slightly, but his lips are mute.
“ These letters, Chief, are from the Greek
Who still proclaims our spoil or peril nigh:
Whate'er his tidings we can well report,
Much that " “ Peace, peace!” – he cuts their prating
Wondering they turn, abash'd, while each to each
Conjecture whispers in his muttering speech :
They watch his glance with many a stealing look,
To gather how that eye the tidings took ;
But, this as if he guess'd, with head aside,
Perchance from some emotion, doubt, or pride,
He read the scroll – My tablets, Juan, hark
Where is Gonsalvo ? "
• In the anchor'd bark.” • There let him stay - to him this order bear Back to your duty — for my course prepare : Myself this enterprise to-night will share.” To-night, Lord Conrad ? "
Ay! at set of sun : The breeze will freshen when the day is done. My corslet - cloak - one hour — and we are gone. Sling on thy bugle - see that free from rust My carbine-lock springs worthy of my trust; Be the edge sharpen'd of my boarding-brand, And give its guard more room to fit my hand. This let the Armourer with speed dispose ; Last time, it more fatigued my arm than foes : Mark that the signal-gun be duly fired, To tell us when the hour of stay 's expired."
They make obeisance, and retire in haste,
Too soon to seek again the watery waste :
Yet they repine not so that Conrad guides,
And who dare question aught that he decides?
That man of loneliness and mystery,
Scarce seen to smile, and seldom heard to sigh ;
Whose name appals the fiercest of his crew,
And tints each swarthy cheek with sallower hue ;
their souls with that commanding art
That dazzles, leads, yet chills the vulgar heart.
What is that spell, that thus his lawless train
Confess and envy, yet oppose in vain ?
What should it be, that thus their faith can bind ?
The power of Thought - the magic of the Mind !
Link'd with success, assumed and kept with skill,
That moulds another's weakness to its will;
Wields with their hands, but, still to these unknown,
Makes even their mightiest deeds appear his own.
Such hath it been — shall be — beneath the sun
The many still must labour for the one!
'T is Nature's doom - but let the wretch who toils,
Accuse not, hate not him who wears the spoils.
Oh! if he knew the weight of splendid chains,
How light the balance of his humbler pains !
Unlike the heroes of each ancient race, Demons in act, but Gods at least in face, In Conrad's form seems little to admire, Though his dark eyebrow shades a glance of fire: Robust but not Herculean to the sight No giant frame sets forth his common height; Yet, in the whole, who paused to look again, Saw more than marks the crowd of vulgar men; They gaze and marvel how — and still confess That thus it is, but why they cannot guess. Sun-burnt his cheek, his forehead high and pale The sable curls in wild profusion veil; And oft perforce his rising lip reveals The haughtier thought it curbs, but scarce conceals. Though smooth his voice, and calm his general mien, Still seems there something he would not have seen: His features' deepening lines and varying hue At times attracted, yet perplex'd the view, As if within that murkiness of mind Work'd feelings fearful, and yet undefined ; Such might it be — that none could truly tellToo close enquiry his stern glance would quell. There breathe but few whose aspect might defy The full encounter of his searching eye: He had the skill, when Cunning's gaze would seek Td probe his heart and watch his changing cheek, Af once the observer's purpose to espy, And on himself roll back his scrutiny, Lest he to Conrad rather should betray Some secret thought, than drag that chief's to day. There was a laughing Devil in his sneer, That raised emotions both of rage and fear ; And where his frown of hatred darkly fell, Hope withering fled — and Mercy sigh'd farewell!
Slight are the outward signs of evil thought,
Within - within -- 'twas there the spirit wrought!
Love shows all changes — Hate, Ambition, Guile,
Betray no further than the bitter smile ;
The lip's least curl, the lightest paleness thrown
Along the govern'd aspect, speak alone
of deeper passions; and to judge their mien,
He, who would see, must be himself unseen.
Then - with the hurried tread, the upward eye,
The clenched hand, the pause
That listens, starting, lest the step too near
Approach intrusive on that mood of fear :
Then with each feature working from the heart,
With feelings loosed to strengthen - not depart:
That rise convulse contend thai freeze or glow,
Flush in the cheek, or damp upon the brow;
Then Stranger! if thou canst, and tremblest not,
Behold his soul - the rest that soothes his lot!
Mark how that lone and blighted bosom sears
The scathing thought of execrated years !
Behold — but who hath seen, or e'er shall see,
Man as himself — the secret spirit free?
Yet was not Conrad thus by Nature sent
To lead the guilty — guilt's worst instrument-
His soul was changed, before his deeds had driven
Him forth to war with man and forfeit heaven.
Warp'd by the world in Disappointment's school,
In words too wise, in conduct there a fool;
Too firm to yield, and far too proud to stoop,
Doom'd by bis very virtues for a dupe,
He cursed those virtues as the cause of ill,
And not the traitors who betray'd him still ;
Nor deern'd that gifts bestow'd on better men
Had left him joy, and means to give again.
Fear'd shunn'd -- belied - ere youth had lost her sorce,
He hated man too much to feel remorse,
And thought the voice of wrath a sacred call,
To pay the injuries of some on all.
He knew himself a villain -- but he deem'd
The rest no better than the thing he seem'd ;
And scorn’d the best as hypocrites who hid
Those deeds the bolder spirit plainly did.
He knew himself detested, but he knew
The hearts that loath'd him crouch'd and dreaded too.
Lone, wild, and strange, he stood alike exempt
From all affection and from all contempt :
His name could sadden, and his acts surprise ;
But they that fear'd him dared not to despise :