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There did she blossom, till a Valaisan,
A townsman of MARTIGNY, Won her heart,
Much to the old man's grief. Long he refused,
Loth to be left; disconsolate at the thought.
She was his only one, his link to life;
And in despair-year after year gone by
One summer-morn they stole a match and fled.
The act was sudden; and, when far away,
Her spirit had misgivings. Then, full oft,
She pictured to herself that aged face
Sickly and wan, in sorrow, not in wrath;
And, when at last she heard his hour was near,
Went forth unseen, and, burdened as she was,
Crossed the high Alps on foot to ask forgiveness,
And hold him to her heart before he died.
Her task was done. She had fulfilled her wish,
And now was on her way, rejoicing, weeping.
A frame like hers had suffered; but her love
Was strong within her; and right on she went,
Fearing no ill. May all good angels guard her!
And should I once again, as once I may,
Visit MARTIGNY, I will not forget
Thy hospitable roof, MARGUERITE DE TOURS;
Thy sign the silver swan.
In the same hour the breath of life receiving,
They came together and were beautiful;
But, as they slumbered in their mother's lap,
How mournful was their beauty! She would sit,
And look and weep, and look and weep again;
For Nature had but half her work achieved,
Denying, like a step-dame, to the babes
Her noblest gifts; denying speech to one,
(Seven years gone by, seven melancholy years)
Another came, as fair and fairer still;
And then, how anxiously the mother watched.
Till reason dawned and speech declared itself!
Reason and speech were his; and down she knelt,
Clasping her hands in silent ecstasy.
On the hill-side, where still their cottage stands
('T is near the upper falls in Lauterbrounn;
For there I sheltered now, their frugal hearth
Blazing with mountain-pine when I appeared,
And there, as round they sate, I heard their story),
On the hill-side, among the cataracts,
In happy ignorance the children played;
Alike unconscious, through their cloudless day,
Of what they had and had not; everywhere
Gathering rock-flowers; or, with their utmost might,
Loosening the fragment from the precipice,
And, as it tumbled, listening for the plunge;
Yet, as by instinct, at the customed hour
Returning; the two eldest, step by step,
Lifting along, and with the tenderest care,
Their infant brother.
Once the hour was past;
And, when she sought, she sought and could not find;
And when she found - where was the little one?
Alas! they answered not; yet still she asked,
Still in her grief forgetting.
Such as an eagle sends forth when he soars,
A scream that through the wild scatters dismay,
The idiot-boy looked up into the sky,
And leaped and laughed aloud and leaped again;
As if he wished to follow in its flight
Something just gone, and gone from earth to heaven:
While he, whose every gesture, every look,
Went to the heart, for from the heart it came,
He who nor spoke nor heard all things to him,
Day after day, as silent as the grave
(To him unknown the melody of birds,
and the voice that should have soothed
His infant sorrows, singing him to sleep),
Fled to her mantle as for refuge there,
And, as at once o'ercome with fear and grief,
Covered his head and wept. A dreadful thought
Flashed through her brain.
Thirsting to dip his beak in innocent blood-
It must, it must be so!" And so it was.
"Has not some bird of prey,
There was an eagle that had long acquired
Absolute sway, the lord of a domain
Savage, sublime; nor from the hills alone
Gathering large tribute, but from every vale;
Making the ewe, whene'er he deigned to stoop,
Bleat for the lamb. Great was the recompense
Assured to him who laid the tyrant low;
And near his nest in that eventful hour,
Calmly and patiently, a hunter stood,
A hunter, as it chanced, of old renown,
And, as it chanced, their father.
A speck appeared, enlarging; and ere long,
As on his journey to the golden sun,
Upward he came, the felon in his flight,
Ascending through the congregated clouds,
That, like a dark and troubled sea, obscured
The world beneath.
"But what is in his grasp?
and may it not be ours?
I dare not, cannot; and yet why forbear,
When, if it lives, a cruel death awaits it?
May He who winged the shaft when Tell stood forth And shot the apple from the youngling's head," Grant me the strength, the courage!" As he spoke, He aimed, he fired; and at his feet they fell,
The eagle and the child the child unhurt
Though, such the grasp, not even in death relinquished.29
WHO first beholds those everlasting clouds,
Seed-time and harvest, morning, noon and night,
Still where they were, steadfast, immovable,-
Those mighty hills, so shadowy, so sublime,
As rather to belong to heaven than earth,-
But instantly receives into his soul
A sense, a feeling that he loses not,
A something that informs him 't is an hour
Whence he may date henceforward and forever?
To me they seemed the barriers of a world,
Saying, Thus far, no further! and as o'er
The level plain I travelled silently,
Nearing them more and more, day after day,
My wandering thoughts my only company,
And they before me still-oft as I looked,
A strange delight was mine, mingled with fear,
A wonder as at things I had not heard of!
And still and still I felt as if I gazed
For the first time! Great was the tumult there,
Deafening the din when in barbaric pomp
The Carthaginian on his march to ROME
Entered their fastnesses. Trampling the snows,
The war-horse reared; and the towered elephant
Upturned his trunk into the murky sky,
Then tumbled headlong, swallowed up and lost,
He and his rider.
Now the scene is changed;
And o'er the Simplon, o'er the Splugen, winds
A path of pleasure. Like a silver zone
Flung about carelessly, it shines afar,
Catching the eye in many a broken link,
In many a turn and traverse as it glides;
And oft above and oft below appears,
Seen o'er the wall by him who journeys up,
As if it were another, through the wild
Leading along he knows not whence or whither.
Yet through its fairy course, go where it will
The torrent stops it not, the rugged rock
Opens and lets it in; and on it runs,
Winning its easy way from clime to clime
Through glens locked up before. - Not such my path! The very path for them that dare defy