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He looked elate; and, with his wonted smile,
On the great Ordinance leaning, would beguile
The hour with talk. . His beard, his mien sublime,
Shadowed by Age—by Age before the time,
many a sorrow borne in many a clime,
Moved every heart. And now in opener skies
Stars yet unnamed of purer radiance rise!
Stars, milder suns, that love a shade to cast,
And on the bright wave fling the trembling mast!
Another firmament! the orbs that roll,
Singly or clustering, round the Southern pole!
Not yet the four that glorify the Night-
Ah, how forget when to my ravished sight
The Cross shone forth in everlasting light!
'Twas the mid hour, when He, whose accents dread
Still wandered thro' the regions of the dead,
(MERION, commissioned with his host to sweep
From age to age the melancholy deep)
To elude the seraph-guard that watched for man,
And mar, as erst, the Eternal's perfect plan,
Rose like the Condor, and, at towering height,
In pomp of plumage sailed, deepening the shades of
Roc of the West! to him all empire given!
Who bears Axalhua's dragon-folds to heaven;
His flight a whirlwind, and, when heard afar,
Like thunder, or the distant din of war!
Mountains and seas fled backward as he passed O'er the great globe, by not a cloud o'ercast From the ANTARCTICK, from the Land of Fire To where Alaska's wintry wilds retire; From mines of gold, and giant-sons of earth, To grots of ice, and tribes of pigmy birth Who freeze alive, nor, dead, in dust repose, High-hung in forests to the casing snows.
Now mid angelic multitudes he flies, That hourly come with blessings from the skies; Wings the blue element, and, borne sublime, Eyes the set sun, gilding each distant clime; Then, like a meteor, shooting to the main, Melts into pure intelligence again.
A Mutiny excited. What tho’Despondence reigned, and wild AffrightStretched in the midst, and, thro' that dismal night, By his white plume revealed and buskins white, Slept Roldan. When he closed his gay career, Hope fled for ever, and with Hope fled Fear. Blest with each gift indulgent Fortune sends, Birth and its rights, wealth and its train of friends, Star-like he shone! Now beggared and alone, Danger he wooed, and claimed her for his own.
O'er him a Vampire his dark wings displayed. 'Twas Merion's self, covering with dreadful shade. He came, and, couched on ROLDAN's ample breast, Each secret pore of breathing life possessed, Fanning the sleep that seemed his final rest; Then, inly gliding like a subtle flame, Thrice, with a cry that thrilled the mortal frame, Called on the Spirit within. Disdaining flight, Calmly she rose, collecting all her might. *
--magnum si pectore possit Excussisse deum.
Dire was the dark encounter! Long unquelled,
Her sacred seat, sovereign and pure, she held.
At length the great Foe binds her for his prize,
And awful, as in death, the body lies !
Not long to slumber! In an evil hour
Informed and lifted by the unknown Power,
It starts, it speaks! “We live, we breathe no more!
The fatal wind blows on the dreary shore !
On yonder cliffs beckoning their fellow-prey,
The spectres stalk, and murmur at delay!
-Yet if thou canst (not for myself I plead!
Mine but to follow where 'tis thine to lead)
Oh turn and save! To thee, with streaming eyes,
To thee each widow kneels, each orphan cries !
Who now, condemned the lingering hours to tell,
Think and but think of those they loved so well!"
All melt in tears! but what can tears avail ? These climb the mast, and shift the swelling sail. These snatch the helm ; and round me now I hear Smiting of hands, out-cries of grief and fear, 7 (That in the aisles at midnight haunt me still, Turning my lonely thoughts from good to ill) “ Were there no graves-none in our land,” they cry, “ That thou hast brought us on the deep to die?"
Silent with sorrow, long within his cloak His face he muffled—then the Hero spoke.
* Euripides in Alcest, v. 255.
+ Voci alte e fioche, e suon di man con elle.—DANTE.
“ Generous and brave ! when God himself is here,
Why shake at shadows in your mid career ?
He can suspend the laws himself designed,
He walks the waters, and the winged wind;
Himself your guide! and yours the high behest,
To lift your voice, and bid a world be blest!
And can you shrink? to you, to you consigned
The glorious privilege to serve mankind!
Oh had I perished, when my failing frame
Clung to the shattered oar mid wrecks of flame!
-Was it for this I lingered life away,
The scorn of Folly, and of Fraud the prey;
Bowed down my mind, the gift His bounty gave,
At courts a suitor, and to slaves a slave?
-Yet in His name whom only we should fear,
('Tis all, all I shall ask, or you shall hear)
Grant but three days"--He spoke not uninspired ;
And each in silence to his watch retired.
At length among us came an unknown Voice!
“Go, if ye will; and, if ye can, rejoice.
Go, with unbidden guests the banquet share.
In his own shape shall Death receive you there."