Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

And tottering to the couch his bride he bore,
One moment gazed -as if to gaze no more ;
Felt that for him earth held but her alone,
Kiss'd her cold forehead — turn'd-is Conrad gone ?

[ocr errors]

XV. 6 And is he

gone

?on sudden solitude How oft that fearful question will intrude! “ 'T was but an instant past — and here he stood ! And now" without the portal's porch she rush’d, And then at length her tears in freedom gush'd ; Big - bright - and fast, unknown to her they fell; But still her lips refused to send “ Farewell ! " For in that word that fatal word — howe'er We promise - hope — believe -- there breathes despair. O'er every feature of that still, pale face, Had sorrow fix'd what time can ne'er erase : The tender blue of that large loving eye Grew frozen with its gaze on vacancy, Till — Oh, how far! -- it caught a glimpse of him, And then it flow'd — and phrensied seem'd to swim Through those long, dark, and glistening lashes dew'd With drops of sadness oft to be renew'd. “ He's gone!” - against her heart that hand is driven, Convulsed and quick - then gently raised to heaven; She look'd and saw the heaving of the main ; The white sail set -- she dared not look again ; But turn’d with sickening soul within the gate " It is no dream and I am desolate!”

XVI.

From crag to crag descending --swiftly sped
Stern Conrad down, nor once he turn’d his head ;
But shrunk whene'er the windings of his way
Forced on his eye what

would not survey,
His lone, but lovely dwelling on the steep,
That haild him first when homeward from the deep :
And she -- the dim and melancholy star,
Whose ray of beauty reach'd him from afar,
On her he must not gaze, he must not think,
There he might rest — but on Destruction's brink :
Yet once almost he stopp'd - and nearly gave
His fate to chance, his projects to the wave :
But not it must not be a worthy chief
May melt, but not betray to woman's grief.

He sees his bark, he notes how fair the wind,
And sternly gathers all his might of mind :
Again he hurries on and as he hears
The clang of tumult vibrate on his ears,
The busy sounds, the bustle of the shore,
The shout, the signal, and the dashing oar;
As marks his eye the seaboy on the mast,
The anchors rise, the sails unfurling fast,
The waving kerchiefs of the crowd that urge
That mute adieu to those who stem the surge ;
And more than all, his blood-red flag aloft,
He marvell’d how his heart could seem so soft.
Fire in his glance, and wildness in his breast,
He feels of all his former self possest;
He bounds he flies until his footsteps reach
The verge where ends the cliff, begins the beach,
There checks his speed; but pauses less to breathe
The breezy freshness of the deep beneath,
Than there his wonted statelier step renew ;
Nor rush, disturb'd by haste, to vulgar view :
For well had Conrad learn'd to curb the crowd,
By arts that veil, and oft preserve the proud ;
His was the lofty port, the distant mien,
That seems to shun the sight -- and awes if seen :
The solemn aspect, and the high-born eye,
That checks low mirth, but lacks not courtesy ;
All these he wielded to command assent :
But where he wish'd to win, so well unbent,
That kindness cancell'd fear in those who heard,
And others' gifts show'd mean beside his word,
When echo'd to the heart as from his own
His deep yet tender melody of tone :
But such was foreign to his wonted mood,
He cared not what he soften’d, but subdued ;
The evil passions of his youth had made
Him value less who loved — than what obey'd.

XVII.

Around him mustering ranged his ready guard.
Before him Juan stands — " Are all prepared ? "

They are
nay more

- embark'd : the latest boat Waits but

my
chief

“ My sword, and my capote.” Soon firmly girded on, and lightly slung, His belt and cloak were o'er his shoulders flung:

[ocr errors]

with care,

• Call Pedro here!He comes and Conrad bends,
With all the courtesy he deign'd his friends ;
• Receive these tablets, and peruse
Words of high trust and truth are graven there ;
Double the guard, and when Anselmo's bark
Arrives, let him alike these orders mark :
In three days (serve the breeze) the sun shall shine
On our return - till then all peace be thine!”
This said, his brother Pirate's hand he wrung,
Then to his boat with haughty gesture sprung.
Flash'd the dipt oars, and sparkling with the stroke,
Around the waves' phosphoric (") brightness broke;
They gain the vessel on the deck he stands,
Shrieks the shrill whistle ply the busy hands –
He marks how well the ship her helm obeys,
How gallant all her crew and deigns to praise.
His eyes of pride to young Gonsalvo turn
Why doth he start, and inly seem to mourn?
Alas! those eyes beheld his rocky tower,
And live a moment o’er the parting hour ;
She - his Medora did she mark the prow?
Ah! never loved he half so much as now!
But much must yet be done ere dawn of day –
Again he mans himself and turns away;
Down to the cabin with Gonsalvo bends,
And there unfolds his plan — his means — and ends ;
Before them burns the lamp, and spreads the chart,
And all that speaks and aids the naval art;
They to the midnight watch protract debate;
To anxious eyes what hour is ever late ?
Meantime, the steady breeze serenely blew,
And fast and falcon-like the vessel flew;
Pass'd the high headlands of each clustering isle
To gain their port — long — long ere morning smile :
And soon the night-glass through the narrow bay
Discovers where the Pacha's galleys lay.
Count they each sail — and mark how there supine
The lights in vain o'er heedless Moslem shine.
Secure, unnoted, Conrad's prow pass'd by,
And anchor'd where his ambush meant to lie ;
Screen'd from espial by the jutting cape,
That rears on high its rude fantastic shape.

(1) By night, particularly in a warm latitude, every stroke of the oar, every mo uon of the boat or ship, is followed by a slight flash like sheet lightning from the

water.

VOL. III.Z

Then rose his band to duty — not from sleep – Equipp'd for deeds alike on land or deep; While lean'd their leader o'er the fretting flood, And calmly talk'd-and yet he talk'd of blood !

THE CORSAIR.

CANTO THE SECOND.

Conosceste i dubiosi desiri?

DANTE.

I.

In Coron's bay floats many a galley light,
Through Coron's lattices the lamps are bright,
For Seyd, the Pacha, makes a feast to-night :
A feast for promised triumph yet to come,
When he shall drag the fetter'd Rovers home ;
This hath he sworn by Alla and his sword,
And faithful to his firman and his word,
His summon’d prows collect along the coast,
And great the gathering crews, and loud the boast,
Already shared the captives and the prize,
Though far the distant foe they thus despise ;
'T is but to sail. no doubt to-morrow's Sun
Will see the Pirates bound - their haven won!
Meantime the watch may slumber, if they will,
Nor only wake to war, but dreaming kill.
Though all, who can, disperse on shore and seek
To flesh their glowing valour on the Greek ;
How well such deed becomes the turban'd brave
To bare the sabre's edge before a slave!
Infest his dwelling -- but forbear to slay,
Their arms are strong, yet merciful to-day,
And do not deign to smite because they may !
Unless some gay caprice suggests the blow,
To keep in practice for the coming foe.
Revel and rout the evening hours beguile,
And they who wish to wear a head must smile;
For Moslem mouths produce their choicest cheer,
And hoard their curses, till the coast is clear,

« ForrigeFortsæt »