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[Transcription note: One poem uses an a with a macron over it, this
has been rendered as ae, which is not used in this text for any other
BY VICTOR HUGO
Memoir of Victor Marie Hugo
Moses on the Nile--_Dublin University Magazine_
Envy and Avarice--_American Keepsake_
King Louis XVII--_Dublin University Magazine_
The Feast of Freedom--_"Father Prout" (F.S. Mahony)_
Genius--_Mrs. Torre Hulme_
The Girl of Otaheite--_Clement Scott_
Nero's Incendiary Song--_H.J. Williams_
The Morning of Life
Beloved Name--_Caroline Bowles (Mrs. Southey)_
The Portrait of a Child--_Dublin University Magazine_
The Grandmother--_"Father Prout" (F.S. Mahony)_
The Giant in Glee--_Foreign Quart. Rev. (adapted)_
The Cymbaleer's Bride--_"Father Prout" (F.S. Mahony)_
Battle of the Norsemen and the Gaels
The Fay and the Peri--_Asiatic Journal_
The Scourge of Heaven--_I.N. Fazakerley_
The Turkish Captive--_W.D., Tait's Edisiburgh Mag._
Moonlight on the Bosphorus--_John L. O'Sullivan_
The Veil--_"Father Prout" (F.S. Mahony)_
The Favorite Sultana
The Pasha and the Dervish
The Lost Battle--_W.D., Bentley's Miscel_., 1839
The Greek Boy
Zara, the Bather--_John L. O'Sullivan_
Expectation--_John L. O'Sullivan _
The Lover's Wish--_V., Eton Observer_
The Sacking of the City--_John L. O'Sullivan_
Noormahal the Fair
The Djinns--_John L. O'Sullivan_
The Obdurate Beauty--_John L. O'Sullivan_
The Danube in Wrath--_Fraser's Magazine_
Old Ocean--_R.C. Ellwood_
My Napoleon--_H.L. Williams_
LES FEUILLES D'AUTOMNE.--1831.
The Patience of the People--_G.W.M. Reynolds_
Dictated before the Rhone Glacier--_Author of "Critical Essays"_
The Poet's Love for Liveliness--_Fraser's Magazine_
Infantile Influence--_Henry Highton, M.A._
The Watching Angel--_Foreign Quarterly Review_
The Universal Prayer--_Henry Highton, M.A._
The Universal Prayer--_C., Tait's Magazine_
LES CHANTS DU CREPUSCULE.--1849.
Prelude to "The Songs of Twilight"--_G.W.M. Reynolds_
The Land of Fable--_G.W.M. Rrynolds_
The Three Glorious Days--_Elizabeth Collins_
Tribute to the Vanquished--_Fraser's Magazine_
Angel or Demon--_Fraser's Magazine_
The Eruption of Vesuvius--_Fraser's Magazine_
Marriage and Feasts--_G.W.M. Reynolds_
The Morrow of Grandeur--_Fraser's Magazine_
The Eaglet Mourned--_Fraser's Magazine_
Outside the Ball-room--_G.W.M. Reynolds_
Prayer for France--_J.S. Macrae_
To Canaris, the Greek Patriot--_G.W.M. Reynolds_
Insult not the Fallen--_W.C.K. Wilde_
Song of Love--_Toru Dutt_
Sweet Charmer--_H.B. Farnie_
More Strong than Time--_A. Lang_
Roses and Butterflies--_W.C. Westbrook_
A Simile--_Fanny Kemble-Butler_
The Poet to his Wife
LES VOIX INTERIEURES.--1840.
The Blinded Bourbons--_Fraser's Magazine_
To Albert Duerer--_Mrs. Newton Crosland_
To his Muse--_Fraser's Magazine_
The Cow--_Toru Dutt_
Mothers--_Dublin University Magazine_
To some Birds Flown away--_Mrs. Newton Crosland_
My Thoughts of Ye--_Dublin University Magazine_
The Beacon in the Storm
Love's Treacherous Pool
The Rose and the Grave--_A. Lang_
LES RAYONS ET LES OMBRES.--1840.
Holyrood Palace--_Fraser's Magazine_
The Humble Home--_Author of "Critical Essays"_
The Eighteenth Century--_Author of "Critical Essays"_
Still be a Child--_Dublin University Magazine_
The Pool and the Soul--_R.F. Hodgson_
Ye Mariners who Spread your Sails--_Author of "Critical Essays"_
On a Flemish Window-Pane--_Fraser's Magazine_
The Preceptor--_E.E. Frewer_
Guitar Song--_Evelyn Jerrold_
Come when I Sleep--_Wm. W. Tomlinson_
Early Love Revisited--_Author of "Critical Essays"_
Sweet Memory of Love--_Author of "Critical Essays"_
The Marble Faun--_William Young_
A Love for Winged Things
Baby's Seaside Grave
Poor Little Children
Apostrophe to Nature
Napoleon "The Little"
Fact or Fable--_H.L.W._
A Lament--_Edwin Arnold, C.S.I._
The Despatch of the Doom
The Seaman's Song
The Retreat from Moscow--_Toru Dutt_
The Ocean's Song--_Toru Dutt_
The Trumpets of the Mind--_Toru Dutt_
After the Coup d'Etat--_Toru Dutt_
The Universal Republic
The Vale to You, to Me the Heights--_H.L.W_
Childhood--_Nelson R. Tyerman_
Satire on the Earth
How Butterflies are Born--_A. Lang_
Have You Nothing to Say for Yourself?--_C.H. Kenny_
Inscription for a Crucifix
Death, in Life
The Dying Child to its Mother--_Bp. Alexander_
Epitaph--_Nelson R. Tyerman_
St. John--_Nelson R. Tyerman_
The Poet's Simple Faith--_Prof. E. Dowden_
I am Content
LA LEGENDE DES SIECLES.
Cain--_Dublin University Magazine_
Boaz Asleep--_Bp. Alexander_
Song of the German Lanzknecht--_H.L.W._
King Canute--_R. Garnett_
King Canute--_Dublin University Magazine_
The Boy-King's Prayer--_Dublin University Magazine_
Eviradnus--_Mrs. Newton Crosland_
The Soudan, the Sphinxes, the Cup, the Lamp--_Bp. Alexander_
A Queen Five Summers Old--_Bp. Alexander_
Sea Adventurers' Song
The Swiss Mercenaries--_Bp. Alexander_
The Cup on the Battle-Field--_Toru Dutt_
How Good are the Poor--_Bp. Alexander_
LA VOIX DE GUERNESEY.
Mentana--_Edwin Arnold, C.S.I._
LES CHANSONS DES RUES ET DES BOIS.
Love of the Woodland
To Little Jeanne--_Marwaod Tucker_
To a Sick Child during the Siege of Paris--_Lucy H. Hooper_
The Carrier Pigeon
Toys and Tragedy
The Lesson of the Patriot Dead--_H.L.W._
The Boy on the Barricade--_H.L.W._
To His Orphan Grandchildren--_Marwood Tucker_
To the Cannon "Victor Hugo"
L'ART D'ETRE GRANDPERE.
The Children of the Poor--_Dublin University Magazine_
The Epic of the Lion--_Edwin Arnold, C.S.I._
LES QUATRE VENTS DE L'ESPRIT.
On Hearing the Princess Royal Sing--_Nelson R. Tyerman_
My Happiest Dream
An Old-Time Lay
Then, most, I Smile
The Exile's Desire
The Refugee's Haven
To the Napoleon Column--_Author of "Critical Essays"_
Charity--_Dublin University Magazine_
Sweet Sister--_Mrs. B. Somers_
The Pity of the Angels
The Sower--_Toru Dutt_
Oh, Why not be Happy?--_Leopold Wray_
Freedom and the World
Serenade--_Henry F. Chorley_
An Autumnal Simile
To Cruel Ocean
Esmeralda in Prison
Lover's Song--_Ernest Oswald Coe_
A Fleeting Glimpse of a Village--_Fraser's Magazine_
Lord Rochester's Song
The Beggar's Quatrain--_H.L.C., London Society_
The Quiet Rural Church
A Storm Simile
The Father's Curse--_Fredk. L. Slous_
Paternal Love--_Fanny Kemble-Butler_
The Degenerate Gallants--_Lord F. Leveson Gower_
The Old and the Young Bridegroom--_Charles Sherry_
The Spanish Lady's Love--_C. Moir_
The Lover's Sacrifice--_Lord F. Leveson Gower_
The Old Man's Love--_C. Moir_
The Roll of the De Silva Race--_Lord F. Leveson Gower_
The Lover's Colloquy--_Lord F. Leveson Gower_
Cromwell and the Crown--_Leitch Ritchie_
Milton's Appeal to Cromwell
First Love--_Fanny Kemble-Butler_
The First Black Flag--_Democratic Review_
The Son in Old Age--_Foreign Quarterly Review_
The Emperor's Return--_Athenaum_
Victor in Poesy, Victor in Romance,
Cloud-weaver of phantasmal hopes and fears,
French of the French, and Lord of human tears;
Child-lover; Bard whose fame-lit laurels glance
Darkening the wreaths of all that would advance,
Beyond our strait, their claim to be thy peers;
Weird Titan by thy winter weight of years
As yet unbroken, Stormy voice of France!
VICTOR MARIE HUGO.
Towards the close of the First French Revolution, Joseph Leopold Sigisbert
Hugo, son of a joiner at Nancy, and an officer risen from the ranks in the
Republican army, married Sophie Trebuchet, daughter of a Nantes fitter-out
of privateers, a Vendean royalist and devotee.
Victor Marie Hugo, their second son, was born on the 26th of February,
1802, at Besancon, France. Though a weakling, he was carried, with his
boy-brothers, in the train of their father through the south of France,
in pursuit of Fra Diavolo, the Italian brigand, and finally into Spain.
Colonel Hugo had become General, and there, besides being governor over
three provinces, was Lord High Steward at King Joseph's court, where his
eldest son Abel was installed as page. The other two were educated for
similar posts among hostile young Spaniards under stern priestly tutors
in the Nobles' College at Madrid, a palace become a monastery. Upon the
English advance to free Spain of the invaders, the general and Abel
remained at bay, whilst the mother and children hastened to Paris.
Again, in a house once a convent, Victor and his brother Eugene were taught
by priests until, by the accident of their roof sheltering a comrade of
their father's, a change of tutor was afforded them. This was General
Lahorie, a man of superior education, main supporter of Malet in his daring
plot to take the government into the Republicans' hands during the absence
of Napoleon I. in Russia. Lahorie read old French and Latin with Victor
till the police scented him out and led him to execution, October, 1812.
School claimed the young Hugos after this tragical episode, where they
were oddities among the humdrum tradesmen's sons. Victor, thoughtful and
taciturn, rhymed profusely in tragedies, "printing" in his books,
"Chateaubriand or nothing!" and engaging his more animated brother to
flourish the Cid's sword and roar the tyrant's speeches.
In 1814, both suffered a sympathetic anxiety as their father held out at
Thionville against the Allies, finally repulsing them by a sortie. This was
pure loyalty to the fallen Bonaparte, for Hugo had lost his all in Spain,
his very savings having been sunk in real estate, through King Joseph's
insistence on his adherents investing to prove they had "come to stay."
The Bourbons enthroned anew, General Hugo received, less for his neutrality
than thanks to his wife's piety and loyalty, confirmation of his title
and rank, and, moreover, a fieldmarshalship. Abel was accepted as a page,
too, but there was no money awarded the ex-Bonapartist--money being what
the Eaglet at Reichstadt most required for an attempt at his father's
throne--and the poor officer was left in seclusion to write consolingly
about his campaigns and "Defences of Fortified Towns."
Decidedly the pen had superseded the sword, for Victor and Eugene were
scribbling away in ephemeral political sheets as apprenticeship to
founding a periodical of their own.
Victor's poetry became remarkable in _La Muse Francaise_ and _Le
Conservateur Litteraire_, the odes being permeated with Legitimist and
anti-revolutionary sentiments delightful to the taste of Madam Hugo, member
as she was of the courtly Order of the Royal Lily.
In 1817, the French Academy honorably mentioned Victor's "Odes on the
Advantages of Study," with a misgiving that some elder hand was masked
under the line ascribing "scant fifteen years" to the author. At the
Toulouse Floral Games he won prizes two years successively. His critical
judgment was sound as well, for he had divined the powers of Lamartine.
His "Odes," collected in a volume, gave his ever-active mother her
opportunity at Court. Louis XVIII. granted the boy-poet a pension of
It was the windfall for which the youth had been waiting to enable him to
gratify his first love. In his childhood, his father and one M. Foucher,
head of a War Office Department, had jokingly betrothed a son of the one
to a daughter of the other. Abel had loftier views than alliance with a
civil servant's child; Eugene was in love elsewhere; but Victor had fallen
enamored with Adele Foucher. It is true, when poverty beclouded the Hugos,
the Fouchers had shrunk into their mantle of dignity, and the girl had
been strictly forbidden to correspond with her child-sweetheart.
He, finding letters barred out, wrote a love story ("Hans of Iceland") in
two weeks, where were recited his hopes, fears, and constancy, and this
book she could read.
It pleased the public no less, and its sale, together with that of the
"Odes" and a West Indian romance, "Buck Jargal," together with a royal
pension, emboldened the poet to renew his love-suit. To refuse the
recipient of court funds was not possible to a public functionary.
M. Foucher consented to the betrothal in the summer of 1821.
So encloistered had Mdlle. Adele been, her reading "Hans" the exceptional
intrusion, that she only learnt on meeting her affianced that he was
mourning his mother. In October, 1822, they were wed, the bride nineteen,
the bridegroom but one year the elder. The dinner was marred by the
sinister disaster of Eugene Hugo going mad. (He died in an asylum five
years later.) The author terminated his wedding year with the "Ode to
Louis XVIII.," read to a society after the President of the Academy had
introduced him as "the most promising of our young lyrists."
In spite of new poems revealing a Napoleonic bias, Victor was invited to
see Charles X. consecrated at Rheims, 29th of May, 1825, and was entered
on the roll of the Legion of Honor repaying the favors with the verses
expected. But though a son was born to him he was not restored to
Conservatism; with his mother's death all that had vanished. His tragedy
of "Cromwell" broke lances upon Royalists and upholders of the still
reigning style of tragedy. The second collection of "Odes" preluding it,
showed the spirit of the son of Napoleon's general, rather than of the
Bourbonist field-marshal. On the occasion, too, of the Duke of Tarento
being announced at the Austrian Ambassador's ball, February, 1827, as
plain "Marshal Macdonald," Victor became the mouthpiece of indignant
Bonapartists in his "Ode to the Napoleon Column" in the Place Vendome.
His "Orientales," though written in a Parisian suburb by one who had not
travelled, appealed for Grecian liberty, and depicted sultans and pashas
as tyrants, many a line being deemed applicable to personages nearer the
Seine than Stamboul.
"Cromwell" was not actable, and "Amy Robsart," in collaboration with his
brother-in-law, Foucher, miserably failed, notwithstanding a finale
"superior to Scott's 'Kenilworth.'" In one twelvemonth, there was this
failure to record, the death of his father from apoplexy at his eldest
son's marriage, and the birth of a second son to Victor towards the close.
Still imprudent, the young father again irritated the court with satire in
"Marion Delorme" and "Hernani," two plays immediately suppressed by the
Censure, all the more active as the Revolution of July, 1830, was surely
seething up to the edge of the crater.
(At this juncture, the poet Chateaubriand, fading star to our rising sun,
yielded up to him formally "his place at the poets' table.")
In the summer of 1831, a civil ceremony was performed over the insurgents
killed in the previous year, and Hugo was constituted poet-laureate of the
Revolution by having his hymn sung in the Pantheon over the biers.
Under Louis Philippe, "Marion Delorme" could be played, but livelier
attention was turned to "Notre Dame de Paris," the historical romance in
which Hugo vied with Sir Walter. It was to have been followed by others,
but the publisher unfortunately secured a contract to monopolize all the
new novelist's prose fictions for a term of years, and the author revenged
himself by publishing poems and plays alone. Hence "Notre Dame" long stood
unique: it was translated in all languages, and plays and operas were
founded on it. Heine professed to see in the prominence of the hunchback
a personal appeal of the author, who was slightly deformed by one shoulder
being a trifle higher than the other; this malicious suggestion reposed
also on the fact that the _quasi_-hero of "Le Roi s'Amuse" (1832, a
tragedy suppressed after one representation, for its reflections on
royalty), was also a contorted piece of humanity. This play was followed
by "Lucrezia Borgia," "Marie Tudor," and "Angelo," written in a singular
poetic prose. Spite of bald translations, their action was sufficiently
dramatic to make them successes, and even still enduring on our stage. They
have all been arranged as operas, whilst Hugo himself, to oblige the father
of Louise Bertin, a magazine publisher of note, wrote "Esmeralda" for her
music in 1835.
Thus, at 1837, when he was promoted to an officership in the Legion of
Honor, it was acknowledged his due as a laborious worker in all fields of
literature, however contestable the merits and tendencies of his essays.
In 1839, the Academy, having rejected him several times, elected him among
the Forty Immortals. In the previous year had been successfully acted "Ruy
Blas," for which play he had gone to Spanish sources; with and after the
then imperative Rhine tour, came an unendurable "trilogy," the "Burgraves,"
played one long, long night in 1843. A real tragedy was to mark that year:
his daughter Leopoldine being drowned in the Seine with her husband, who
would not save himself when he found that her death-grasp on the sinking
boat was not to be loosed.
For distraction, Hugo plunged into politics. A peer in 1845, he sat between
Marshal Soult and Pontecoulant, the regicide-judge of Louis XVI. His maiden
speech bore upon artistic copyright; but he rapidly became a power in much
As fate would have it, his speech on the Bonapartes induced King Louis
Philippe to allow Prince Louis Napoleon Bonaparte to return, and, there
being no gratitude in politics, the emancipated outlaw rose as a rival
candidate for the Presidency, for which Hugo had nominated himself in his
newspaper the _Evenement_. The story of the _Coup d'Etat_ is well known;
for the Republican's side, read Hugo's own "History of a Crime." Hugo,
proscribed, betook himself to Brussels, London, and the Channel Islands,
waiting to "return with right when the usurper should be expelled."
Meanwhile, he satirized the Third Napoleon and his congeners with ceaseless
shafts, the principal being the famous "Napoleon the Little," based on the
analogical reasoning that as the earth has moons, the lion the jackal, man
himself his simian double, a minor Napoleon was inevitable as a standard
of estimation, the grain by which a pyramid is measured. These flings were
collected in "Les Chatiments," a volume preceded by "Les Contemplations"
(mostly written in the '40's), and followed by "Les Chansons des Rues et
The baffled publisher's close-time having expired, or, at least, his heirs
being satisfied, three novels appeared, long heralded: in 1862, "Les
Miserables" (Ye Wretched), wherein the author figures as Marius and his
father as the Bonapartist officer: in 1866, "Les Travailleurs de la Mer"
(Toilers of the Sea), its scene among the Channel Islands; and, in 1868,
"L'Homme Qui Rit" (The Man who Grins), unfortunately laid in a fanciful
England evolved from recondite reading through foreign spectacles. Whilst
writing the final chapters, Hugo's wife died; and, as he had refused the
Amnesty, he could only escort her remains to the Belgian frontier, August,
1868. All this while, in his Paris daily newspaper, _Le Rappei_
(adorned with cuts of a Revolutionary drummer beating "to arms!"), he and
his sons and son-in-law's family were reiterating blows at the throne.
When it came down in 1870, and the Republic was proclaimed, Hugo hastened
His poems, written during the War and Siege, collected under the title of
"L'Annee Terrible" (The Terrible Year, 1870-71), betray the long-tried
exile, "almost alone in his gloom," after the death of his son Charles and
his child. Fleeing to Brussels after the Commune, he nevertheless was so
aggressive in sheltering and aiding its fugitives, that he was banished the
kingdom, lest there should be a renewal of an assault on his house by the
mob, supposed by his adherents to be, not "the honest Belgians," but the
refugee Bonapartists and Royalists, who had not cared to fight for France
in France endangered. Resting in Luxemburg, he prepared "L'Annee Terrible"
for the press, and thence returned to Paris, vainly to plead with President
Thiers for the captured Communists' lives, and vainly, too, proposing
himself for election to the new House.
In 1872, his novel of "'93" pleased the general public here, mainly by
the adventures of three charming little children during the prevalence of
an internecine war. These phases of a bounteously paternal mood reappeared
in "L'Art d'etre Grandpere," published in 1877, when he had become a
"Hernani" was in the regular "stock" of the Theatre Francais, "Rigoletto"
(Le Roi s'Amuse) always at the Italian opera-house, while the same subject,
under the title of "The Fool's Revenge," held, as it still holds, a high
position on the Anglo-American stage. Finally, the poetic romance of
"Torquemada," for over thirty years promised, came forth in 1882, to prove
that the wizard-wand had not lost its cunning.
After dolor, fetes were come: on one birthday they crown his bust in the
chief theatre; on another, all notable Paris parades under his window,
where he sits with his grandchildren at his knee, in the shadow of the
Triumphal Arch of Napoleon's Star. It is given to few men thus to see
their own apotheosis.
Whilst he was dying, in May, 1885, Paris was but the first mourner for all
France; and the magnificent funeral pageant which conducted the pauper's
coffin, antithetically enshrining the remains considered worthy of the
highest possible reverence and honors, from the Champs Elysees to the
Pantheon, was the more memorable from all that was foremost in French art
and letters having marched in the train, and laid a leaf or flower in the
tomb of the protege of Chateaubriand, the brother-in-arms of Dumas, the
inspirer of Mars, Dorval, Le-maitre, Rachel, and Bernhardt, and, above all,
the Nemesis of the Third Empire.
MOSES ON THE NILE.
_("Mes soeurs, l'onde est plus fraiche.")_
[TO THE FLORAL GAMES, Toulouse, Feb. 10, 1820.]
"Sisters! the wave is freshest in the ray
Of the young morning; the reapers are asleep;
The river bank is lonely: come away!
The early murmurs of old Memphis creep
Faint on my ear; and here unseen we stray,--
Deep in the covert of the grove withdrawn,
Save by the dewy eye-glance of the dawn.
"Within my father's palace, fair to see,
Shine all the Arts, but oh! this river side,
Pranked with gay flowers, is dearer far to me
Than gold and porphyry vases bright and wide;
How glad in heaven the song-bird carols free!
Sweeter these zephyrs float than all the showers
Of costly odors in our royal bowers.
"The sky is pure, the sparkling stream is clear:
Unloose your zones, my maidens! and fling down
To float awhile upon these bushes near
Your blue transparent robes: take off my crown,
And take away my jealous veil; for here
To-day we shall be joyous while we lave
Our limbs amid the murmur of the wave.
"Hasten; but through the fleecy mists of morn,
What do I see? Look ye along the stream!
Nay, timid maidens--we must not return!
Coursing along the current, it would seem
An ancient palm-tree to the deep sea borne,
That from the distant wilderness proceeds,
Downwards, to view our wondrous Pyramids.
"But stay! if I may surely trust mine eye,--
It is the bark of Hermes, or the shell
Of Iris, wafted gently to the sighs
Of the light breeze along the rippling swell;
But no: it is a skiff where sweetly lies
An infant slumbering, and his peaceful rest
Looks as if pillowed on his mother's breast.
"He sleeps--oh, see! his little floating bed
Swims on the mighty river's fickle flow,
A white dove's nest; and there at hazard led
By the faint winds, and wandering to and fro,
The cot comes down; beneath his quiet head
The gulfs are moving, and each threatening wave
Appears to rock the child upon a grave.
"He wakes--ah, maids of Memphis! haste, oh, haste!
He cries! alas!--What mother could confide
Her offspring to the wild and watery waste?
He stretches out his arms, the rippling tide
Murmurs around him, where all rudely placed,
He rests but with a few frail reeds beneath,
Between such helpless innocence and death.
"Oh! take him up! Perchance he is of those
Dark sons of Israel whom my sire proscribes;
Ah! cruel was the mandate that arose
Against most guiltless of the stranger tribes!
Poor child! my heart is yearning for his woes,
I would I were his mother; but I'll give
If not his birth, at least the claim to live."
Thus Iphis spoke; the royal hope and pride
Of a great monarch; while her damsels nigh,
Wandered along the Nile's meandering side;
And these diminished beauties, standing by
The trembling mother; watching with eyes wide
Their graceful mistress, admired her as stood,
More lovely than the genius of the flood!
The waters broken by her delicate feet
Receive the eager wader, as alone
By gentlest pity led, she strives to meet
The wakened babe; and, see, the prize is won!
She holds the weeping burden with a sweet
And virgin glow of pride upon her brow,
That knew no flush save modesty's till now.
Opening with cautious hands the reedy couch,
She brought the rescued infant slowly out
Beyond the humid sands; at her approach
Her curious maidens hurried round about
To kiss the new-born brow with gentlest touch;
Greeting the child with smiles, and bending nigh
Their faces o'er his large, astonished eye!
Haste thou who, from afar, in doubt and fear,
Dost watch, with straining eyes, the fated boy--
The loved of heaven! come like a stranger near,
And clasp young Moses with maternal joy;
Nor fear the speechless transport and the tear
Will e'er betray thy fond and hidden claim,
For Iphis knows not yet a mother's name!
With a glad heart, and a triumphal face,
The princess to the haughty Pharaoh led
The humble infant of a hated race,
Bathed with the bitter tears a parent shed;
While loudly pealing round the holy place
Of Heaven's white Throne, the voice of angel choirs
Intoned the theme of their undying lyres!
"No longer mourn thy pilgrimage below--
O Jacob! let thy tears no longer swell
The torrent of the Egyptian river: Lo!
Soon on the Jordan's banks thy tents shall dwell;
And Goshen shall behold thy people go
Despite the power of Egypt's law and brand,
From their sad thrall to Canaan's promised land.
"The King of Plagues, the Chosen of Sinai,
Is he that, o'er the rushing waters driven,
A vigorous hand hath rescued for the sky;
Ye whose proud hearts disown the ways of heaven!
Attend, be humble! for its power is nigh
Israel! a cradle shall redeem thy worth--
A Cradle yet shall save the widespread earth!"
_Dublin University Magazine, 1839_
ENVY AND AVARICE.
_("L'Avarice et l'Envie.")_
[LE CONSERVATEUR LIITERAIRE, 1820.]
Envy and Avarice, one summer day,
In quest of the abode
Of some poor wretch or fool who lived that way--
You--or myself, perhaps--I cannot say--
Along the road, scarce heeding where it tended,
Their way in sullen, sulky silence wended;
For, though twin sisters, these two charming creatures,
Rivals in hideousness of form and features,
Wasted no love between them as they went.
With gloating eyes,
And back and shoulders almost double bent,
Was hugging close that fatal box
For which she's ever on the watch
Some glance to catch
Suspiciously directed to its locks;
And Envy, too, no doubt with silent winking
At her green, greedy orbs, no single minute
Withdrawn from it, was hard a-thinking
Of all the shining dollars in it.
The only words that Avarice could utter,
Her constant doom, in a low, frightened mutter,
"There's not enough, enough, yet in my store!"
While Envy, as she scanned the glittering sight,
Groaned as she gnashed her yellow teeth with spite,
"She's more than me, more, still forever more!"
Thus, each in her own fashion, as they wandered,
Upon the coffer's precious contents pondered,
When suddenly, to their surprise,
The God Desire stood before their eyes.
Desire, that courteous deity who grants
All wishes, prayers, and wants;
Said he to the two sisters: "Beauteous ladies,
As I'm a gentleman, my task and trade is
To be the slave of your behest--
Choose therefore at your own sweet will and pleasure,
Honors or treasure!
Or in one word, whatever you'd like best.
But, let us understand each other--she
Who speaks the first, her prayer shall certainly
Receive--the other, the same boon _redoubled!_"
Imagine how our amiable pair,
At this proposal, all so frank and fair,
Were mutually troubled!
Misers and enviers, of our human race,
Say, what would you have done in such a case?
Each of the sisters murmured, sad and low
"What boots it, oh, Desire, to me to have
Crowns, treasures, all the goods that heart can crave,
Or power divine bestow,
Since still another must have always more?"
So each, lest she should speak before
The other, hesitating slow and long
Till the god lost all patience, held her tongue.
He was enraged, in such a way,
To be kept waiting there all day,
With two such beauties in the public road;
Scarce able to be civil even,
He wished them both--well, not in heaven.
Envy at last the silence broke,
And smiling, with malignant sneer,
Upon her sister dear,
Who stood in expectation by,
Ever implacable and cruel, spoke
"I would be blinded of _one_ eye!"
KING LOUIS XVII.
_("En ce temps-la du ciel les portes.")_
[Bk. I. v., December, 1822.]
The golden gates were opened wide that day,
All through the unveiled heaven there seemed to play
Out of the Holiest of Holy, light;
And the elect beheld, crowd immortal,
A young soul, led up by young angels bright,
Stand in the starry portal.
A fair child fleeing from the world's fierce hate,
In his blue eye the shade of sorrow sate,
His golden hair hung all dishevelled down,
On wasted cheeks that told a mournful story,
And angels twined him with the innocent's crown,
The martyr's palm of glory.
The virgin souls that to the Lamb are near,
Called through the clouds with voices heavenly clear,
God hath prepared a glory for thy brow,
Rest in his arms, and all ye hosts that sing
His praises ever on untired string,
Chant, for a mortal comes among ye now;
Do homage--"'Tis a king."
And the pale shadow saith to God in heaven:
"I am an orphan and no king at all;
I was a weary prisoner yestereven,
My father's murderers fed my soul with gall.
Not me, O Lord, the regal name beseems.
Last night I fell asleep in dungeon drear,
But then I saw my mother in my dreams,
Say, shall I find her here?"
The angels said: "Thy Saviour bids thee come,
Out of an impure world He calls thee home,
From the mad earth, where horrid murder waves
Over the broken cross her impure wings,
And regicides go down among the graves,
Scenting the blood of kings."
He cries: "Then have I finished my long life?
Are all its evils over, all its strife,
And will no cruel jailer evermore
Wake me to pain, this blissful vision o'er?
Is it no dream that nothing else remains
Of all my torments but this answered cry,
And have I had, O God, amid my chains,
The happiness to die?
"For none can tell what cause I had to pine,
What pangs, what miseries, each day were mine;
And when I wept there was no mother near
To soothe my cries, and smile away my tear.
Poor victim of a punishment unending,
Torn like a sapling from its mother earth,
So young, I could not tell what crime impending
Had stained me from my birth.
"Yet far off in dim memory it seems,
With all its horror mingled happy dreams,
Strange cries of glory rocked my sleeping head,
And a glad people watched beside my bed.
One day into mysterious darkness thrown,
I saw the promise of my future close;
I was a little child, left all alone,
Alas! and I had foes.
"They cast me living in a dreary tomb,
Never mine eyes saw sunlight pierce the gloom,
Only ye, brother angels, used to sweep
Down from your heaven, and visit me in sleep.
'Neath blood-red hands my young life withered there.
Dear Lord, the bad are miserable all,
Be not Thou deaf, like them, unto my prayer,
It is for them I call."
The angels sang: "See heaven's high arch unfold,
Come, we will crown thee with the stars above,
Will give thee cherub-wings of blue and gold,
And thou shalt learn our ministry of love,
Shalt rock the cradle where some mother's tears
Are dropping o'er her restless little one,
Or, with thy luminous breath, in distant spheres,
Shalt kindle some cold sun."
Ceased the full choir, all heaven was hushed to hear,
Bowed the fair face, still wet with many a tear,
In depths of space, the rolling worlds were stayed,
Whilst the Eternal in the infinite said:
"O king, I kept thee far from human state,
Who hadst a dungeon only for thy throne,
O son, rejoice, and bless thy bitter fate,
The slavery of kings thou hast not known,
What if thy wasted arms are bleeding yet,
And wounded with the fetter's cruel trace,
No earthly diadem has ever set
A stain upon thy face.
"Child, life and hope were with thee at thy birth,
But life soon bowed thy tender form to earth,
And hope forsook thee in thy hour of need.
Come, for thy Saviour had His pains divine;
Come, for His brow was crowned with thorns like thine,
His sceptre was a reed."
_Dublin University Magazine._
THE FEAST OF FREEDOM.
_("Lorsqu'a l'antique Olympe immolant l'evangile.")_
[Bk. II. v., 1823.]
[There was in Rome one antique usage as follows: On the eve of the
execution day, the sufferers were given a public banquet--at the prison
gate--known as the "Free Festival."--CHATEAUBRIAND'S "Martyrs."]
TO YE KINGS.
When the Christians were doomed to the lions of old
By the priest and the praetor, combined to uphold
An idolatrous cause,
Forth they came while the vast Colosseum throughout
Gathered thousands looked on, and they fell 'mid the shout
Of "the People's" applause.
On the eve of that day of their evenings the last!
At the gates of their dungeon a gorgeous repast,
Rich, unstinted, unpriced,
That the doomed might (forsooth) gather strength ere they bled,
With an ignorant pity the jailers would spread
For the martyrs of Christ.
Oh, 'twas strange for a pupil of Paul to recline
On voluptuous couch, while Falernian wine
Fill'd his cup to the brim!
Dulcet music of Greece, Asiatic repose,
Spicy fragrance of Araby, Italian rose,
All united for him!
Every luxury known through the earth's wide expanse,
In profusion procured was put forth to enhance
The repast that they gave;
And no Sybarite, nursed in the lap of delight,
Such a banquet ere tasted as welcomed that night
The elect of the grave.
And the lion, meantime, shook his ponderous chain,
Loud and fierce howled the tiger, impatient to stain
The bloodthirsty arena;
Whilst the women of Rome, who applauded those deeds
And who hailed the forthcoming enjoyment, must needs
Shame the restless hyena.
They who figured as guests on that ultimate eve,
In their turn on the morrow were destined to give
To the lions their food;
For, behold, in the guise of a slave at that board,
Where his victims enjoyed all that life can afford,
Death administering stood.
Such, O monarchs of earth! was your banquet of power,
But the tocsin has burst on your festival hour--
'Tis your knell that it rings!
To the popular tiger a prey is decreed,
And the maw of Republican hunger will feed
On _a banquet of Kings!_
"FATHER PROUT" (FRANK MAHONY)
(DEDICATED TO CHATEAUBRIAND.)
[Bk. IV. vi., July, 1822.]
Woe unto him! the child of this sad earth,
Who, in a troubled world, unjust and blind,
Bears Genius--treasure of celestial birth,
Within his solitary soul enshrined.
Woe unto him! for Envy's pangs impure,
Like the undying vultures', will be driven
Into his noble heart, that must endure
Pangs for each triumph; and, still unforgiven,
Suffer Prometheus' doom, who ravished fire from Heaven.
Still though his destiny on earth may be
Grief and injustice; who would not endure
With joyful calm, each proffered agony;
Could he the prize of Genius thus ensure?
What mortal feeling kindled in his soul
That clear celestial flame, so pure and high,
O'er which nor time nor death can have control,
Would in inglorious pleasures basely fly
From sufferings whose reward is Immortality?
No! though the clamors of the envious crowd
Pursue the son of Genius, he will rise
From the dull clod, borne by an effort proud
Beyond the reach of vulgar enmities.
'Tis thus the eagle, with his pinions spread,
Reposing o'er the tempest, from that height
Sees the clouds reel and roll above our head,
While he, rejoicing in his tranquil flight,
More upward soars sublime in heaven's eternal light.
MRS. TORRE HULME
THE GIRL OF OTAHEITE.
_("O! dis-moi, tu veux fuir?")_
[Bk. IV, vii., Jan. 31, 1821.]
Forget? Can I forget the scented breath
Of breezes, sighing of thee, in mine ear;
The strange awaking from a dream of death,
The sudden thrill to find thee coming near?
Our huts were desolate, and far away
I heard thee calling me throughout the day,
No one had seen thee pass,
Trembling I came. Alas!
Can I forget?
Once I was beautiful; my maiden charms
Died with the grief that from my bosom fell.
Ah! weary traveller! rest in my loving arms!
Let there be no regrets and no farewell!
Here of thy mother sweet, where waters flow,
Here of thy fatherland we whispered low;
Here, music, praise, and prayer
Filled the glad summer air.
Can I forget?
Forget? My dear old home must I forget?
And wander forth and hear my people weep,
Far from the woods where, when the sun has set,
Fearless but weary to thy arms I creep;
Far from lush flow'rets and the palm-tree's moan
I could not live. Here let me rest alone!
Go! I must follow nigh,
With thee I'm doomed to die,
NERO'S INCENDIARY SONG.
_("Amis! ennui nous tue.")_
[Bk. IV. xv., March, 1825.]
Aweary unto death, my friends, a mood by wise abhorred,
Come to the novel feast I spread, thrice-consul, Nero, lord,
The Caesar, master of the world, and eke of harmony,
Who plays the harp of many strings, a chief of minstrelsy.
My joyful call should instantly bring all who love me most,--
For ne'er were seen such arch delights from Greek or Roman host;
Nor at the free, control-less jousts, where, spite of cynic vaunts,
Austere but lenient Seneca no "Ercles" bumper daunts;
Nor where upon the Tiber floats Aglae in galley gay,
'Neath Asian tent of brilliant stripes, in gorgeous array;
Nor when to lutes and tambourines the wealthy prefect flings
A score of slaves, their fetters wreathed, to feed grim, greedy
I vow to show ye Rome aflame, the whole town in a mass;
Upon this tower we'll take our stand to watch the 'wildered pass;
How paltry fights of men and beasts! here be my combatants,--
The Seven Hills my circus form, and fiends shall lead the dance.
This is more meet for him who rules to drive away his stress--
He, being god, should lightnings hurl and make a wilderness--
But, haste! for night is darkling--soon, the festival it brings;
Already see the hydra show its tongues and sombre wings,
And mark upon a shrinking prey the rush of kindling breaths;
They tap and sap the threatened walls, and bear uncounted deaths;
And 'neath caresses scorching hot the palaces decay--
Oh, that I, too, could thus caress, and burn, and blight, and slay!
Hark to the hubbub! scent the fumes! Are those real men or ghosts?
The stillness spreads of Death abroad--down come the temple posts,
Their molten bronze is coursing fast and joins with silver waves
To leap with hiss of thousand snakes where Tiber writhes and raves.
All's lost! in jasper, marble, gold, the statues totter--crash!
Spite of the names divine engraved, they are but dust and ash.
The victor-scourge sweeps swollen on, whilst north winds sound the horn
To goad the flies of fire yet beyond the flight forlorn.
Proud capital! farewell for e'er! these flames nought can subdue--
The Aqueduct of Sylla gleams, a bridge o'er hellish brew.
'Tis Nero's whim! how good to see Rome brought the lowest down;
Yet, Queen of all the earth, give thanks for such a splendrous crown!
When I was young, the Sybils pledged eternal rule to thee;
That Time himself would lay his bones before thy unbent knee.
Ha! ha! how brief indeed the space ere this "immortal star"
Shall be consumed in its own glow, and vanished--oh, how far!
How lovely conflagrations look when night is utter dark!
The youth who fired Ephesus' fane falls low beneath my mark.
The pangs of people--when I sport, what matters?--See them whirl
About, as salamanders frisk and in the brazier curl.
Take from my brow this poor rose-crown--the flames have made it pine;
If blood rains on your festive gowns, wash off with Cretan wine!
I like not overmuch that red--good taste says "gild a crime?"
"To stifle shrieks by drinking-songs" is--thanks! a hint sublime!
I punish Rome, I am avenged; did she not offer prayers
Erst unto Jove, late unto Christ?--to e'en a Jew, she dares!
Now, in thy terror, own my right to rule above them all;
Alone I rest--except this pile, I leave no single hall.
Yet I destroy to build anew, and Rome shall fairer shine--
But out, my guards, and slay the dolts who thought me not divine.
The stiffnecks, haste! annihilate! make ruin all complete--
And, slaves, bring in fresh roses--what odor is more sweet?
_("Oui, le bonheur bien vite a passe.")_
[Bk. V. ii., February, 1821.]
Yes, Happiness hath left me soon behind!
Alas! we all pursue its steps! and when
We've sunk to rest within its arms entwined,
Like the Phoenician virgin, wake, and find
Ourselves alone again.
Then, through the distant future's boundless space,
We seek the lost companion of our days:
"Return, return!" we cry, and lo, apace
Pleasure appears! but not to fill the place
Of that we mourn always.
I, should unhallowed Pleasure woo me now,
Will to the wanton sorc'ress say, "Begone!
Respect the cypress on my mournful brow,
Lost Happiness hath left regret--but _thou_
Leavest remorse, alone."
Yet, haply lest I check the mounting fire,
O friends, that in your revelry appears!
With you I'll breathe the air which ye respire,
And, smiling, hide my melancholy lyre
When it is wet with tears.
Each in his secret heart perchance doth own
Some fond regret 'neath passing smiles concealed;--
Sufferers alike together and alone
Are we; with many a grief to others known,
How many unrevealed!
Alas! for natural tears and simple pains,
For tender recollections, cherished long,
For guileless griefs, which no compunction stains,
We blush; as if we wore these earthly chains
Only for sport and song!
Yes, my blest hours have fled without a trace:
In vain I strove their parting to delay;
Brightly they beamed, then left a cheerless space,
Like an o'erclouded smile, that in the face
Lightens, and fades away.
THE MORNING OF LIFE.
_("Le voile du matin.")_
[Bk. V. viii., April, 1822.]
The mist of the morning is torn by the peaks,
Old towers gleam white in the ray,
And already the glory so joyously seeks
The lark that's saluting the day.
Then smile away, man, at the heavens so fair,
Though, were you swept hence in the night,
From your dark, lonely tomb the owlets would stare
At the sun rising newly as bright.
But out of earth's trammels your soul would have flown
Where glitters Eternity's stream,
And you shall have waked 'midst pure glories unknown,
As sunshine disperses a dream.
_("Le parfum d'un lis.")_
[Bk. V. xiii.]
The lily's perfume pure, fame's crown of light,
The latest murmur of departing day,
Fond friendship's plaint, that melts at piteous sight,
The mystic farewell of each hour at flight,
The kiss which beauty grants with coy delay,--
The sevenfold scarf that parting storms bestow
As trophy to the proud, triumphant sun;
The thrilling accent of a voice we know,
The love-enthralled maiden's secret vow,
An infant's dream, ere life's first sands be run,--
The chant of distant choirs, the morning's sigh,
Which erst inspired the fabled Memnon's frame,--
The melodies that, hummed, so trembling die,--
The sweetest gems that 'mid thought's treasures lie,
Have naught of sweetness that can match HER NAME!
Low be its utterance, like a prayer divine,
Yet in each warbled song be heard the sound;
Be it the light in darksome fanes to shine,
The sacred word which at some hidden shrine,
The selfsame voice forever makes resound!
O friends! ere yet, in living strains of flame,
My muse, bewildered in her circlings wide,
With names the vaunting lips of pride proclaim,
Shall dare to blend the _one_, the purer name,
Which love a treasure in my breast doth hide,--
Must the wild lay my faithful harp can sing,
Be like the hymns which mortals, kneeling, hear;
To solemn harmonies attuned the string,
As, music show'ring from his viewless wing,
On heavenly airs some angel hovered near.
CAROLINE BOWLES (MRS. SOUTHEY)
THE PORTRAIT OF A CHILD.
_("Oui, ce front, ce sourire.")_
[Bk. V. xxii., November, 1825.]
That brow, that smile, that cheek so fair,
Beseem my child, who weeps and plays:
A heavenly spirit guards her ways,
From whom she stole that mixture rare.
Through all her features shining mild,
The poet sees an angel there,
The father sees a child.
And by their flame so pure and bright,
We see how lately those sweet eyes
Have wandered down from Paradise,
And still are lingering in its light.
All earthly things are but a shade
Through which she looks at things above,
And sees the holy Mother-maid,
Athwart her mother's glance of love.
She seems celestial songs to hear,
And virgin souls are whispering near.
Till by her radiant smile deceived,
I say, "Young angel, lately given,
When was thy martyrdom achieved?
And what name lost thou bear in heaven?"
_Dublin University Magazine_.
_("Dors-tu? mere de notre mere.")_
"To die--to sleep."--SHAKESPEARE.
Still asleep! We have been since the noon thus alone.
Oh, the hours we have ceased to number!
Wake, grandmother!--speechless say why thou art grown.
Then, thy lips are so cold!--the Madonna of stone
Is like thee in thy holy slumber.
We have watched thee in sleep, we have watched thee at prayer,
But what can now betide thee?
Like thy hours of repose all thy orisons were,
And thy lips would still murmur a blessing whene'er
Thy children stood beside thee.
Now thine eye is unclosed, and thy forehead is bent
O'er the hearth, where ashes smoulder;
And behold, the watch-lamp will be speedily spent.
Art thou vexed? have we done aught amiss? Oh, relent!
But--parent, thy hands grow colder!
Say, with ours wilt thou let us rekindle in thine
The glow that has departed?
Wilt thou sing us some song of the days of lang syne?
Wilt thou tell us some tale, from those volumes divine,
Of the brave and noble-hearted?
Of the dragon who, crouching in forest green glen,
Lies in wait for the unwary--
Of the maid who was freed by her knight from the den
Of the ogre, whose club was uplifted, but then
Turned aside by the wand of a fairy?
Wilt thou teach us spell-words that protect from all harm,
And thoughts of evil banish?
What goblins the sign of the cross may disarm?
What saint it is good to invoke? and what charm
Can make the demon vanish?
Or unfold to our gaze thy most wonderful book,
So feared by hell and Satan;
At its hermits and martyrs in gold let us look,
At the virgins, and bishops with pastoral crook,
And the hymns and the prayers in Latin.
Oft with legends of angels, who watch o'er the young,
Thy voice was wont to gladden;
Have thy lips yet no language--no wisdom thy tongue?
Oh, see! the light wavers, and sinking, bath flung
On the wall forms that sadden.
Wake! awake! evil spirits perhaps may presume
To haunt thy holy dwelling;
Pale ghosts are, perhaps, stealing into the room--
Oh, would that the lamp were relit! with the gloom
These fearful thoughts dispelling.
Thou hast told us our parents lie sleeping beneath
The grass, in a churchyard lonely:
Now, thine eyes have no motion, thy mouth has no breath,
And thy limbs are all rigid! Oh, say, _Is this death_,
Or thy prayer or thy slumber only?
Sad vigil they kept by that grandmother's chair,
Kind angels hovered o'er them--
And the dead-bell was tolled in the hamlet--and there,
On the following eve, knelt that innocent pair,
With the missal-book before them.
"FATHER PROUT" (FRANK S. MAHONY).
THE GIANT IN GLEE.
_("Ho, guerriers! je suis ne dans le pays des Gaules.")_
[V., March 11, 1825.]
Ho, warriors! I was reared in the land of the Gauls;
O'er the Rhine my ancestors came bounding like balls
Of the snow at the Pole, where, a babe, I was bathed
Ere in bear and in walrus-skin I was enswathed.
Then my father was strong, whom the years lowly bow,--
A bison could wallow in the grooves of his brow.
He is weak, very old--he can scarcely uptear
A young pine-tree for staff since his legs cease to bear;
But here's to replace him!--I can toy with his axe;
As I sit on the hill my feet swing in the flax,
And my knee caps the boulders and troubles the trees.
How they shiver, yea, quake if I happen to sneeze!
I was still but a springald when, cleaving the Alps,
I brushed snowy periwigs off granitic scalps,
And my head, o'er the pinnacles, stopped the fleet clouds,
Where I captured the eagles and caged them by crowds.
There were tempests! I blew them back into their source!
And put out their lightnings! More than once in a course,
Through the ocean I went wading after the whale,
And stirred up the bottom as did never a gale.
Fond of rambling, I hunted the shark 'long the beach,
And no osprey in ether soared out of my reach;
And the bear that I pinched 'twixt my finger and thumb,
Like the lynx and the wolf, perished harmless and dumb.
But these pleasures of childhood have lost all their zest;
It is warfare and carnage that now I love best:
The sounds that I wish to awaken and hear
Are the cheers raised by courage, the shrieks due to fear;
When the riot of flames, ruin, smoke, steel and blood,
Announces an army rolls along as a flood,
Which I follow, to harry the clamorous ranks,
Sharp-goading the laggards and pressing the flanks,
Till, a thresher 'mid ripest of corn, up I stand
With an oak for a flail in my unflagging hand.
Rise the groans! rise the screams! on my feet fall vain tears
As the roar of my laughter redoubles their fears.
I am naked. At armor of steel I should joke--
True, I'm helmed--a brass pot you could draw with ten yoke.
I look for no ladder to invade the king's hall--
I stride o'er the ramparts, and down the walls fall,
Till choked are the ditches with the stones, dead and quick,
Whilst the flagstaff I use 'midst my teeth as a pick.
Oh, when cometh my turn to succumb like my prey,
May brave men my body snatch away from th' array
Of the crows--may they heap on the rocks till they loom
Like a mountain, befitting a colossus' tomb!
_Foreign Quarterly Review (adapted)_
THE CYMBALEER'S BRIDE.
_("Monseigneur le Duc de Bretagne.")_
[VI., October, 1825.]
My lord the Duke of Brittany
Has summoned his barons bold--
Their names make a fearful litany!
Among them you will not meet any
But men of giant mould.
Proud earls, who dwell in donjon keep,
And steel-clad knight and peer,
Whose forts are girt with a moat cut deep--
But none excel in soldiership
My own loved cymbaleer.
Clashing his cymbals, forth he went,
With a bold and gallant bearing;
Sure for a captain he was meant,
To judge his pride with courage blent,
And the cloth of gold he's wearing.
But in my soul since then I feel
A fear in secret creeping;
And to my patron saint I kneel,
That she may recommend his weal
To his guardian-angel's keeping.
I've begged our abbot Bernardine
His prayers not to relax;
And to procure him aid divine
I've burnt upon Saint Gilda's shrine
Three pounds of virgin wax.
Our Lady of Loretto knows
The pilgrimage I've vowed:
"To wear the scallop I propose,
If health and safety from the foes
My lover be allowed."
No letter (fond affection's gage!)
From him could I require,
The pain of absence to assuage--
A vassal-maid can have no page,
A liegeman has no squire.
This day will witness, with the duke's,
My cymbaleer's return:
Gladness and pride beam in my looks,
Delay my heart impatient brooks,
All meaner thoughts I spurn.
Back from the battlefield elate
His banner brings each peer;
Come, let us see, at the ancient gate,
The martial triumph pass in state--
With the princes my cymbaleer.
We'll have from the rampart walls a glance
Of the air his steed assumes;
His proud neck swells, his glad hoofs prance,
And on his head unceasing dance,
In a gorgeous tuft, red plumes!
Be quick, my sisters! dress in haste!
Come, see him bear the bell,
With laurels decked, with true love graced,
While in his bold hands, fitly placed,
The bounding cymbals swell!
Mark well the mantle that he'll wear,
Embroidered by his bride!
Admire his burnished helmet's glare,
O'ershadowed by the dark horsehair
That waves in jet folds wide!
The gypsy (spiteful wench!) foretold,
With a voice like a viper hissing.
(Though I had crossed her palm with gold),
That from the ranks a spirit bold
Would be to-day found missing.
But I have prayed so much, I trust
Her words may prove untrue;
Though in a tomb the hag accurst
Muttered: "Prepare thee for the worst!"
Whilst the lamp burnt ghastly blue.
My joy her spells shall not prevent.
Hark! I can hear the drums!
And ladies fair from silken tent
Peep forth, and every eye is bent
On the cavalcade that comes!
Pikemen, dividing on both flanks,
Open the pageantry;
Loud, as they tread, their armor clanks,
And silk-robed barons lead the ranks--
The pink of gallantry!
In scarfs of gold the priests admire;
The heralds on white steeds;
Armorial pride decks their attire,
Worn in remembrance of some sire
Famed for heroic deeds.
Feared by the Paynim's dark divan,
The Templars next advance;
Then the tall halberds of Lausanne,
Foremost to stand in battle van
Against the foes of France.
Now hail the duke, with radiant brow,
Girt with his cavaliers;
Round his triumphant banner bow
Those of his foe. Look, sisters, now!
Here come the cymbaleers!
She spoke--with searching eye surveyed
Their ranks--then, pale, aghast,
Sunk in the crowd! Death came in aid--
'Twas mercy to that loving maid--
_The cymbaleers had passed!_
"FATHER PROUT" (FRANK S. MAHONY)
BATTLE OF THE NORSEMEN AND THE GAELS.
_("Accourez tous, oiseaux de proie!")_
[VII., September, 1825.]
Ho! hither flock, ye fowls of prey!
Ye wolves of war, make no delay!
For foemen 'neath our blades shall fall
Ere night may veil with purple pall.
The evening psalms are nearly o'er,
And priests who follow in our train
Have promised us the final gain,
And filled with faith our valiant corps.
Let orphans weep, and widows brood!
To-morrow we shall wash the blood
Off saw-gapped sword and lances bent,
So, close the ranks and fire the tent!
And chill yon coward cavalcade
With brazen bugles blaring loud,
E'en though our chargers' neighing proud
Already has the host dismayed.
Spur, horsemen, spur! the charge resounds!
On Gaelic spear the Northman bounds!
Through helmet plumes the arrows flit,
And plated breasts the pikeheads split.
The double-axe fells human oaks,
And like the thistles in the field
See bristling up (where none must yield!)
The points hewn off by sweeping strokes!
We, heroes all, our wounds disdain;
Dismounted now, our horses slain,
Yet we advance--more courage show,
Though stricken, seek to overthrow
The victor-knights who tread in mud
The writhing slaves who bite the heel,
While on caparisons of steel
The maces thunder--cudgels thud!
Should daggers fail hide-coats to shred,
Seize each your man and hug him dead!
Who falls unslain will only make
A mouthful to the wolves who slake
Their month-whet thirst. No captives, none!
We die or win! but should we die,
The lopped-off hand will wave on high
The broken brand to hail the sun!
[IX., September, 1825.]
List to me, O Madelaine!
Now the snows have left the plain,
Which they warmly cloaked.
Come into the forest groves,
Where the notes that Echo loves
Are from horns evoked.
Come! where Springtide, Madelaine,
Brings a sultry breath from Spain,
Giving buds their hue;
And, last night, to glad your eye,
Laid the floral marquetry,
Red and gold and blue.
Would I were, O Madelaine,
As the lamb whose wool you train
Through your tender hands.
Would I were the bird that whirls
Round, and comes to peck your curls,
Happy in such bands.
Were I e'en, O Madelaine,
Hermit whom the herd disdain
In his pious cell,
When your purest lips unfold
Sins which might to all be told,
As to him you tell.
Would I were, O Madelaine,
Moth that murmurs 'gainst your pane,
Peering at your rest,
As, so like its woolly wing,
Ceasing scarce its fluttering,
Heaves and sinks your breast.
If you seek it, Madelaine,
You may wish, and not in vain,
For a serving host,
And your splendid hall of state
Shall be envied by the great,
O'er the Jew-King's boast.
If you name it, Madelaine,
Round your head no more you'll train
No! the coronet of peers,
Whom the queen herself oft fears,
And the monarch greets.
If you wish, O Madelaine!
Where you gaze you long shall reign--
For I'm ruler here!
I'm the lord who asks your hand
If you do not bid me stand
Loving shepherd here!
THE FAY AND THE PERI.
_("Ou vas-tu donc, jeune ame.")_
Beautiful spirit, come with me
Over the blue enchanted sea:
Morn and evening thou canst play
In my garden, where the breeze
Warbles through the fruity trees;
No shadow falls upon the day:
There thy mother's arms await
Her cherished infant at the gate.
Of Peris I the loveliest far--
My sisters, near the morning star,
In ever youthful bloom abide;
But pale their lustre by my side--
A silken turban wreathes my head,
Rubies on my arms are spread,
While sailing slowly through the sky,
By the uplooker's dazzled eye
Are seen my wings of purple hue,
Glittering with Elysian dew.
Whiter than a far-off sail
My form of beauty glows,
Fair as on a summer night
Dawns the sleep star's gentle light;
And fragrant as the early rose
That scents the green Arabian vale,
Soothing the pilgrim as he goes.
Beautiful infant (said the Fay),
In the region of the sun
I dwell, where in a rich array
The clouds encircle the king of day,
His radiant journey done.
My wings, pure golden, of radiant sheen
(Painted as amorous poet's strain),
Glimmer at night, when meadows green
Sparkle with the perfumed rain
While the sun's gone to come again.
And clear my hand, as stream that flows;
And sweet my breath as air of May;
And o'er my ivory shoulders stray
Locks of sunshine;--tunes still play
From my odorous lips of rose.
Follow, follow! I have caves
Of pearl beneath the azure waves,
And tents all woven pleasantly
In verdant glades of Faery.
Come, beloved child, with me,
And I will bear thee to the bowers
Where clouds are painted o'er like flowers,
And pour into thy charmed ear
Songs a mortal may not hear;
Harmonies so sweet and ripe
As no inspired shepherd's pipe
E'er breathed into Arcadian glen,
Far from the busy haunts of men.
My home is afar in the bright Orient,
Where the sun, like a king, in his orange tent,
Reigneth for ever in gorgeous pride--
And wafting thee, princess of rich countree,
To the soft flute's lush melody,
My golden vessel will gently glide,
Kindling the water 'long the side.
Vast cities are mine of power and delight,
Lahore laid in lilies, Golconda, Cashmere;
And Ispahan, dear to the pilgrim's sight,
And Bagdad, whose towers to heaven uprear;
Alep, that pours on the startled ear,
From its restless masts the gathering roar,
As of ocean hamm'ring at night on the shore.
Mysore is a queen on her stately throne,
Thy white domes, Medina, gleam on the eye,--
Thy radiant kiosques with their arrowy spires,
Shooting afar their golden fires
Into the flashing sky,--
Like a forest of spears that startle the gaze
Of the enemy with the vivid blaze.
Come there, beautiful child, with me,
Come to the arcades of Araby,
To the land of the date and the purple vine,
Where pleasure her rosy wreaths doth twine,
And gladness shall be alway thine;
Singing at sunset next thy bed,
Strewing flowers under thy head.
Beneath a verdant roof of leaves,
Arching a flow'ry carpet o'er,
Thou mayst list to lutes on summer eves
Their lays of rustic freshness pour,
While upon the grassy floor
Light footsteps, in the hour of calm,
Ruffle the shadow of the palm.
Come to the radiant homes of the blest,
Where meadows like fountain in light are drest,
And the grottoes of verdure never decay,
And the glow of the August dies not away.
Come where the autumn winds never can sweep,
And the streams of the woodland steep thee in sleep,
Like a fond sister charming the eyes of a brother,
Or a little lass lulled on the breast of her mother.
Beautiful! beautiful! hasten to me!
Colored with crimson thy wings shall be;
Flowers that fade not thy forehead shall twine,
Over thee sunlight that sets not shall shine.
The infant listened to the strain,
Now here, now there, its thoughts were driven--
But the Fay and the Peri waited in vain,
The soul soared above such a sensual gain--
The child rose to Heaven.
THE SCOURGE OF HEAVEN.
_("La, voyez-vous passer, la nuee.")_
[I., November, 1828.]
Hast seen it pass, that cloud of darkest rim?
Now red and glorious, and now gray and dim,
Now sad as summer, barren in its heat?
One seems to see at once rush through the night
The smoke and turmoil from a burning site
Of some great town in fiery grasp complete.
Whence comes it? From the sea, the hills, the sky?
Is it the flaming chariot from on high
Which demons to some planet seem to bring?
Oh, horror! from its wondrous centre, lo!
A furious stream of lightning seems to flow
Like a long snake uncoiling its fell ring.
The sea! naught but the sea! waves on all sides!
Vainly the sea-bird would outstrip these tides!
Naught but an endless ebb and flow!
Wave upon wave advancing, then controlled
Beneath the depths a stream the eyes behold
Rolling in the involved abyss below!
Whilst here and there great fishes in the spray
Their silvery fins beneath the sun display,
Or their blue tails lash up from out the surge,
Like to a flock the sea its fleece doth fling;
The horizon's edge bound by a brazen ring;
Waters and sky in mutual azure merge.
"Am I to dry these seas?" exclaimed the cloud.
"No!" It went onward 'neath the breath of God.
Green hills, which round a limpid bay
Reflected, bask in the clear wave!
The javelin and its buffalo prey,
The laughter and the joyous stave!
The tent, the manger! these describe
A hunting and a fishing tribe
Free as the air--their arrows fly
Swifter than lightning through the sky!
By them is breathed the purest air,
Where'er their wanderings may chance!
Children and maidens young and fair,
And warriors circling in the dance!
Upon the beach, around the fire,
Now quenched by wind, now burning higher,
Like spirits which our dreams inspire
To hover o'er our trance.
Virgins, with skins of ebony,
Beauteous as evening skies,
Laughed as their forms they dimly see
In metal mirrors rise;
Others, as joyously as they,
Were drawing for their food by day,
With jet-black hands, white camels' whey,
Camels with docile eyes.
Both men and women, bare,
Plunged in the briny bay.
Who knows them? Whence they were?
Where passed they yesterday?
Shrill sounds were hovering o'er,
Mixed with the ocean's roar,
Of cymbals from the shore,
And whinnying courser's neigh.
"Is't there?" one moment asked the cloudy mass;
"Is't there?" An unknown utterance answered: "Pass!"
Whitened with grain see Egypt's lengthened plains,
Far as the eyesight farthest space contains,
Like a rich carpet spread their varied hues.
The cold sea north, southwards the burying sand
Dispute o'er Egypt--while the smiling land
Still mockingly their empire does refuse.
Three marble triangles seem to pierce the sky,
And hide their basements from the curious eye.
Mountains--with waves of ashes covered o'er!
In graduated blocks of six feet square
From golden base to top, from earth to air
Their ever heightening monstrous steps they bore.
No scorching blast could daunt the sleepless ken
Of roseate Sphinx, and god of marble green,
Which stood as guardians o'er the sacred ground.
For a great port steered vessels huge and fleet,
A giant city bathed her marble feet
In the bright waters round.
One heard the dread simoom in distance roar,
Whilst the crushed shell upon the pebbly shore
Crackled beneath the crocodile's huge coil.
Westwards, like tiger's skin, each separate isle
Spotted the surface of the yellow Nile;
Gray obelisks shot upwards from the soil.
The star-king set. The sea, it seemed to hold
In the calm mirror this live globe of gold,
This world, the soul and torchbearer of our own.
In the red sky, and in the purple streak,
Like friendly kings who would each other seek,
Two meeting suns were shown.
"Shall I not stop?" exclaimed the impatient cloud.
"Seek!" trembling Tabor heard the voice of God.
Sand, sand, and still more sand!
The desert! Fearful land!
Teeming with monsters dread
And plagues on every hand!
Here in an endless flow,
Sandhills of golden glow,
Where'er the tempests blow,
Like a great flood are spread.
Sometimes the sacred spot
Hears human sounds profane, when
As from Ophir or from Memphre
Stretches the caravan.
From far the eyes, its trail
Along the burning shale
Bending its wavering tail,
Like a mottled serpent scan.
These deserts are of God!
His are the bounds alone,
Here, where no feet have trod,
To Him its centre known!
And from this smoking sea
Veiled in obscurity,
The foam one seems to see
In fiery ashes thrown.
"Shall desert change to lake?" cried out the cloud.
"Still further!" from heaven's depths sounded that Voice aloud.
Like tumbled waves, which a huge rock surround;
Like heaps of ruined towers which strew the ground,
See Babel now deserted and dismayed!
Huge witness to the folly of mankind;
Four distant mountains when the moonlight shined
Seem covered with its shade.
O'er miles and miles the shattered ruins spread
Beneath its base, from captive tempests bred,
The air seemed filled with harmony strange and dire;
While swarmed around the entire human race
A future Babel, on the world's whole space
Fixed its eternal spire.
Up to the zenith rose its lengthening stair,
While each great granite mountain lent a share
To form a stepping base;
Height upon height repeated seemed to rise,
For pyramid on pyramid the strained eyes
Saw take their ceaseless place.
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