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I play'd a sad and doleful air,
I sang an old and moving storyAn old rude song that fitted well
That ruin wild and hoary,
She listen'd with a fitting blush,
With downcast eyes and modest grace; For well she knew, I could not choose
But gaze upon her face.
Upon his shield a burning brand;
The ladie of the land:
INTRODUCTION TO THE TALE OF THE
DARK LADIE. The following poem is intended as the introduction to a somewhat longer one. The use of the old ballad word Ladie for Lady, is the only piece of obsoleteness in it; and as it is prosessedly a tale of ancient times, I trust that the affectionate lovers of venerable antiquity (as Camden says) will grant me their pardon, and perhaps may be induced to admit a force and propriety in it. A heavier objection may be adduced against the author, that in these times of fear and expectation, when novelties erplode around us in all directions, he should presume to offer to the public a silly tale of old-fashioned love: and five years ago, I own I should have allowed and felt the force of this objection. But, alas! explosion has succeeded explosion so rapidly, that novelty itself ceases to appear new; and it is possible that now even a simple story, wholly uninspired with politics or personality, may find some attention amid the hubbub of revolutions, as to those who have remained a long time by the falls of Niagara, the lowest whispering becomes distinctly audible.-S. T. C.
Dec. 21, 1799.
I told her how he pined: and ah!
The deep, the low, the pleading tone With which I sung another's love,
Interpreted my own.
She listen'd with a flitting blush,
With downcast eyes and modest grace ; And she forgave me, that I gazed
Too fondly on her face !
O LEAVE the lily on its stem;
O leave the rose upon the spray ;
And listen to my lay.
This morn around my harp you twined, Because it fashion d mournfully
Its murmurs in the wind.
A woful tale of love I sing;
And trembles on the string.
It sighs and trembles most for thee!
Befell the Dark Ladie.
My hope, my joy, my Genevieve!
The songs that make her grieve.
But when I told the cruel scorn
That crazed this bold and lonely knight, And how he roam'd the mountain woods,
Nor rested day or night; And how he cross'd the woodman's paths,
Through briers and swampy mosses beat; How boughs rebounding scourged his limbs,
And low stubs gored his feet;
And sometimes from the darksome shade, And sometimes starting up at once
In green and sunny glade ;
An angel beautiful and bright;
This miserable knight!
He leapt amid a lawless band,
The ladie of the land !
And how she wept, and clasp'd his knees;
And how she tended him in vain And meekly strove to expiate
The scorn that crazed his brain :
LEWTI, OR THE CIRCASSIAN LOVE
And how she nursed him in a cave;
And how his madness went away, When on the yellow forest leaves
A dying man he lay:
His dying words—but when I reach'd
That tenderest strain of all the ditty, My faltering voice and pausing harp
Disturbid her soul with pity!
The moon was high, the moonlight gleam
And the shadow of a star
But the rock shone brighter far,
All impulses of soul and sense
Had thrillid my guiltless Genevieve; The music and the doleful tale,
The rich and balmy eve; And hopes, and fears that kindle hope,
An undistinguishable throng, And gentle wishes long subdued,
Subdued and cherish'd long!
She wept with pity and delight,
She blush'd with love and maiden shame; And, like the murmurs of a dream,
I heard her breathe my name.
I saw a cloud of palest hue,
Onward to the moon it pass'd;
Till it reach'd the moon at last :
And with such joy I find my Lewti:
Drinks in as deep a fush of beauty ! Nay, treacherous image! leave my mind, If Lewti never will be kipd.
I saw her bosom heave and swell,
Heave and swell with inward sighs I could not choose but love to see
Her gentle bosom rise.
Her wet cheek glow'd: she stept aside
As conscious of my look she stepp'd: Then suddenly, with timorous eye,
She flew to me and wept.
She half-enclosed me with her arms,
She press'd me with a meek embrace ; And bending back her head, look'd up,
And gazed upon my face. 'Twas partly love, and partly fear,
And partly 'twas a bashful art,
The swelling of her heart.
And told her love with virgin pride ; And so I won my Genevieve,
My bright and beauteous bride.
The little cloud-it floats away,
Away it goes ; away so soon?
Away it passes from the moon !
Ever fading more and more, To joyless regions of the sky
And now 'tis whiter than before ! As white as my poor cheek will be,
When, Lewti! on my couch I lie, A dying man for love of thee. Nay, treacherous image! leave my mindAnd yet thou didst not look unkind.
And now once more a tale of wo,
A woful tale of love I sing: for thee, my Genevieve! it sighs,
And trembles on the string. When last I sang the cruel scorn
That crazed this bold and lonely knight And how he roam'd the mountain woods,
Nor rested day or night:
I saw a vapour in the sky,
Thin, and white, and very high ; I ne'er beheld so thin a cloud
Perhaps the breezes that can fly
Now below and now above,
Of lady fair—that died for love.
I promised thee a sister tale
Of man's perfidious cruelty : Come, then, and hear what cruel wrong Befell the Dark Ladie.
Hush! my heedless feet from under
Slip the crumbling banks for ever: Like echoes to a distant thunder,
They plunge into the gentle river. The river-swans have heard my tread, And startle from their reedy bed.
O beauteous birds ! methinks ye measure Easily caught, ensnare him, 0 ye nymphs,
Your movements to some heavenly tune! Ye Oreads chaste, ye dusky Dryades ! O beauteous birds ! 'tis such a pleasure
And you, ye earth-winds ! you that make at morn To see you move beneath the moon,
The dew-drops quiver on the spider's webs ! I would it were your true delight
You, O ye wingless airs ! that creep between To sleep by day and wake all night.
The rigid stems of heath and bitten furze,
Within whose scanty shade, at summer-noon I know the place where Lewti lies,
The mother-sheep hath worn a hollow bed When silent night has closed her eyes:
Ye, that now cool her feece with dropless damp, It is a breezy jasmine bower,
Now pant and murmur with her feeding lamb. The nightingale sings o'er her head :
Chase, chase him, all ye says, and elfin gnomes ! Voice of the night! had I the power
With prickles sharper than his darts bemock That leafy labyrinth to thread,
His little godship, making him perforce And creep, like thee, with soundless tread, Creep through a thorn-bush on yon hedgehog's I then might view her bosom white
back. Heaving lovely to my sight,
This is my hour of triumph! I can now As these two swans together heave
With my own fancies play the merry fool, On the gently swelling wave.
And laugh away worse folly, being free.
Here will I seat myself, beside this old, 0! that she saw me in a dream,
Hollow, and weedy oak, which ivy-twine And dreamt that I had died for care ;
Clothes as with network : here will I couch my All pale and wasted I would seem,
limbs, Yct fair withal, as spirits are !
Close by this river, in this silent shade, I'd die, indeed, if I might see
As safe and sacred from the step of man Her bosom heave, and heave for me!
As an invisible world—unheard, unseen, Soothe, gentle image! soothe my mind! And listening only to the pebbly brook To-morrow Lewti may be kind.
That murmurs with a dead, yet tinkling sound; 1795.
Or to the bees, that in the neighbouring trunk
The tendril ringlets from the maiden's brow,
And the blue, delicate veins above her cheek; RESOLUTION.
Ne'er played the wanton-never half-disclosed THROUGH weeds and thorns, and matted under- The maiden's snowy bosom, scattering thence wood
Eye-poisons for some love-distemper'd youth, I force my way ; now climb, and now descend Who ne'er henceforth may see an aspen grove O’er rocks, or bare or mossy, with wild foot Shiver in sunshine, but his feeble heart Crushing the purple whorts; while oft unseen, Shall flow away like a dissolving thing. Hurrying along the drifted forest leaves,
Sweet breeze! thou only, if I guess aright,
That swells its little breast, so full of song,
Singing above me, on the mountain ash.
Though clear as lake in latest summer eve,
The face, the form divine, the downcast look
On the bare branch of half-uprooted tree, High o'er me, murmuring like a distant sea. That leans towards its mirror! Who erewhile
Here wisdom might resort, and here remorse ; Had from her countenance turn'd, or look'd by Here too the lovelorn man who, sick in soul,
stealth, And of this busy human heart aweary,
(For fear is true love's cruel nurse,) he now Worships the spirit of unconscious life
With steadfast gaze and unoffending eye, In tree or wild-flower. Gentle lunatic!
Worships the watery idol, dreaming hopes If so he might not wholly cease to be,
Delicious to the soul, but neeting, vain, He would far rather not be that, he is;
E’en as that phantom world on which he gazed, But would be something that he knows not of, But not unheeded gazed ! for see, ah! see, In winds, or waters, or among the rocks !
The sportive tyrant with her left hand plucks But hence, fond wretch! breathe not contagion The heads of tall flowers that behind her grow, here!
Lychnis, and willow-herb, and fox-glore bells :
Vanishes, and a thousand circlets spread,
Poor youth, who scarcely darest lift up thine eyes! Holds loosely its small handful of wild-flowers,
Yon bark her canvass, and those purple berries
Slanting at eve, rest bright, and linger long
O child of genius! stately, beautiful,
And full of love to all, save only me,
And not ungentle e'en to me! My heart,
way Making thee doleful as a cavern-well:
On to her father's house. She is alone! Save when the shy kingfishers build their nest The night draws on-such ways are hard to hitOn thy steep banks, no loves hast thou, wild And fit it is I should restore this sketch, stream!
Dropt unawares, no doubt. Why should I yearn This be my chosen haunt--emancipate
To keep the relic? 'twill but idly feed From passion's dreams, a freeman, and alone, The passion that consumes me. Let me haste! I rise and trace its devious course. O lead, The picture in my hand which she has left, Lead me to deeper shades and lonelier glooms. She cannot blame me that I follow'd her; Lo! stealing through the canopy of firs,
And I may be her guide the long wood througli.
A DRAMATIC FRAGMENT.
You loved the daughter of Don Manrique !
Did you not say you woo'd her ?
Once I loved
Her whom I dared not woo!
And woo'd, perchance,
0! I were raost base, How solemply the pendent ivy masz
Not loving Oropeza. True, I woo'd her, Swirgs in its winnow: all the air is calm.
Hoping to heal a deeper wound; but she The smoke from cottage chimpeys, tinged with Met my advances with impassion’d pride, light,
That kindled love with love. And when her sire, Rises in columns; from this house alone,
Who in his dream of hope already grasp'd Close by the waterfall, the column slants, The golden circlet in his hand, rejected And feels its ceaseless breeze, But what is this? My suit with insult, and in memory That cottage, with its slanting chimney smoke, Of ancient feuds pour'd curses on my head, And close beside its porch a sleeping child, Her blessings overtook and baffled them! His dear head pillow'd on a sleeping dog- But thou art stern, and with unkindly countenance One arm between its fore-legs, and the hand Art inly reasoning whilst thou listenest to me.
I would exchange my unblench'd state with hers.
Friend! by that winding passage, to that bower Anxiously, Henry! reasoning anxiously,
I now will go—all objects there will teach me But Oropeza
Unwavering love, and singleness of heart.
Go, Sandoval! I am prepared to meet herBlessings gather round her! Say nothing of me—I myself will seek herWithin this wood there winds a secret passage,
Nay, leave me, friend! I cannot bear the torment Beneath the walls, which opens out at length
And keen inquiry of that scanning eye. Into the gloomiest covert of the garden
[Earl Henry retires into the wood. The night ere my departure to the army,
O Henry! always strivest thou to be great
By thine own act-yet art thou never great Was the sole object visible around me.
But by the inspiration of great passion. No leaflet stirr'd; the air was almost sultry;
The whirl-blast comes, the desert-sands rise up So deep, so dark, so close the umbrage o'er us!
And shape themselves: from earth to heaven they No leaflet stirr'd ;-yet pleasure hung upon
stand, The gloom and stillness of the balmy night-air.
As though they were the pillars of a temple, A little further on an arbour stood,
Built by Omnipotence in its own honour ! Fragrant with flowering trees—I well remember
But the blast pauses, and their shaping spirit What an uncertain glimmer in the darkness Is fled: the mighty columns were but sand, Their snow-white blossoms made—thither she led And lazy snakes trail o'er the level ruins !
me, To that sweet bower! Then Oropeza trembledI heard her heart beat-if 'twere not my own.
TO AN UNFORTUNATE WOMAN, SANDOVAL. A rude and scaring note, my friend !
WHOM THE AUTHOR HAD KNOWN IN THE DAYS
OF HER INNOCENCE.
SANDOVAL, (with a sarcastic smile.)
MYRTLE-LEAF that, ill-besped,
Pinest in the gladsome ray,
Far from thy protecting spray!
Whirr'd along the yellow vale,
Love the dalliance of the gale.
Heave and flutter to his sighs,
Wood and whispered thee to rise.
Wert thou danced and wafted high-
Flung to fade, to rot, and die.
TO AN UNFORTUNATE WOMAN AT
MAIDEN, that with sullen brow
Sittest behind those virgins gay,
Leafless 'mid the blooms of May !
Ah! was that bliss
Him who lured thee and forsook,
Oft I watch'd with angry gaze,
Anxious heard his fervid phrase.
Soft his speech, and soft his sigh ;
But no true love in his eye.