Obrázky na stránke

Since she had food :-therefore I did awaken
The Tartar steed, who, from his ebon mane,
Soon as the clinging slumbers he had shaken,
Bent his thin head to seek the brazen rein,
Following me obediently; with pain
Of heart, so deep and dread, that one caress,
When lips and heart refuse to part again,

Till they have told their fill, could scarce express
The anguish of her mute and fearful tenderness,

Cythna beheld me part, as I bestrode
That willing steed—the tempest and the night,
Which gave my path its safety as I rode
Down the ravine of rocks, did soon unite
The darkness and the tumult of their might
Borne on all winds.-Far thro' the streaming rain
Floating at intervals the garments white

Of Cythna gleamed, and her voice once again
Came to me on the gust, and soon I reached the plain.

XLV. I dreaded not the tempest, nor did he Who bore me, but his eyeballs wide and red Turned on the lightning's cleft exultingly; And when the earth beneath his tameless tread, Shook with the sullen thunder, he would spread His nostrils to the blast, and joyously Mock the fierce peal with neighings-thus we sped

O'er the lit plain, and soon I could descry Where Death and Fire had gorged the spoil of victory.

XLVI. There was a desolate village in a wood Whose bloom-inwoven leaves now scattering fed The hungry storm ; it was a place of blood, A heap of hearthless walls ;—the flames were dead Within those dwellings now, the life had fled From all those corpses now,—but the wide sky Flooded with lightning was ribbed overhead

By the black rafters, and around did lie Women, and babes, and men, slaughtered confusedly.

Beside the fountain in the market-place
Dismounting, I beheld those corpses stare
With horny eyes upon each other's face,
And on the earth and on the vacant air,
And upon me, close to the waters where
I stooped to slake my thirst;-I shrank to taste,
For the salt bitterness of blood was there;

But tied the steed beside, and sought in haste
If any yet survived amid that ghastly waste.

No living thing was there beside one woman,
Whom I found wandering in the streets, and she
Was withered from a likeness of aught human
Into a fiend, by some strange misery :
Soon as she heard my steps she leaped on me,
And glued her burning lips to mine, and laughed
With a loud, long, and frantic laugh of glee,

And cried, "Now Mortal, thou hast deeply quaffed The Plague's blue kisses-soon millions shall pledge the draught!

XLIX. “My name is Pestilence—this bosom dry, Once fed two babes a sister and a brother When I came home, one in the blood did lie Of three death-wounds the flames had ate the other! Since then I have no longer been a mother, But I am Pestilence;-hither and thither I flit about, that I may slay and smother:

All lips which I have kissed must surely wither, Dut Death's-if thou art he, we'll go to work together!


“What seek'st thou here? the moonlight comes in flashes The dew is rising dankly from the dell'Twill moisten her! and thou shalt see the gashes In my sweet boy, now full of worms—but tell First what thou seek'st.”—“I seek for food.”—“'Tis well, Thou shalt have food; Famine, my paramour, Waits for us at the feast-cruel and fell

Is Famine, but he drives not from his door Those whom these lips have kissed, alone. No more, no more!"

LI. As thus she spake, she grasped me with the strength Of madness, and by many a ruined hearth She led, and over many à corpse :—at length We came to a lone hut, where on the earth Which made its floor, she in her ghastly mirth Gathering from all those homes now desolate, Had piled three heaps of loaves, making a dearth

Among the dead—round which she set in state A ring of cold, stiff babes; silent and stark they sate.

She leaped upon a pile, and lifted high
Her mad looks to the lightning, and cried: “Eat!
Share the great feast-to-morrow we must die !”
And then she spurned the loaves with her pale feet,
Towards her bloodless guests ;—that sight to meet,
Mine eyes and my heart ached, and but that she
Who loved me, did with absent looks defeat

Despair, I might have raved in sympathy;
But now I took the food that woman offered me;

And vainly having with her madness striven
If I might win her to return with me,
Departed. In the eastern beams of Heaven
The lightning now grew pallid—rapidly,
As by the shore of the tempestuous sea
The dark steed bore me, and the mountain grey
Soon echoed to his hoofs, and I could see

Cythna among the rocks, where she alway
Had sate, with anxious eyes fixed on the lingering day.

And joy was ours to meet: she was most pale,
Famished, and wet and weary, so I cast
My arms around her, lest her steps should fail
As to our home we went, and thus embraced,
Her full heart seemed a deeper joy to taste
Than e'er the prosperous know; the steed behind
Trod peacefully along the mountain waste,

We reached our home ere morning could unbind
Night's latest veil, and on our bridal couch reclined.

LV. Her chilled heart having cherished in my bosom, And sweetest kisses past, we two did share Our peaceful meal as an autumnal blossom Which spreads its shrunk leaves in the sunny air, After cold showers, like rainbows woven there, Thus in her lips and cheeks the vital spirit Mantled, and in her eyes, an atmosphere

Of health, and hope; and sorrow languished near it, And fear, and all that dark despondence doth inherit.

Canto Seventh.

So we sate joyous as the morning ray
Which fed upon the wrecks of night and storm
Now lingering on the winds; light airs did play
Among the dewy weeds, the sun was warm,
And we sate linked in the inwoven charm
Of converse and caresses sweet and deep,
Speechless caresses, talk that might disarm

Time, tho' he wield the darts of death and sleep,
And those thrice mortal barbs in his own poison steep.


I told her of my sufferings and my madness,
And how, awakened from that dreamy mood
By Liberty's uprise, the strength of gladness
Came to my spirit in my solitude;
And all that now I was, while tears pursued
Each other down her fair and listening cheek
Fast as the thoughts which fed them, like a flood

From sunbright dales; and when I ceased to speak, Her accents soft and sweet the pausing air did wake.

III. She told me a strange tale of strange endurance, Like broken memories of many a heart Woven into one; to which no firm assurance, So wild were they, could her own faith impart. She said that not a tear did dare to start From the swoln brain, and that her thoughts were firm When from all mortal hope she did depart,

Borne by those slaves across the Ocean's term,
And that she reached the port without one fear infirm.

One was she among many there, the thralls
Of the cold Tyrant's cruel lust: and they
Laughed mournfully in those polluted halls;
But she was calm and sad, musing alway
On loftiest enterprise, till on a day
The Tyrant heard her singing to her lute
A wild, and sad, and spirit-thrilling lay,

Like winds that die in wastes-one moment mute
The evil thoughts it- made, which did his breast pollute.

Even when he saw her wondrous loveliness,
One moment to great Nature's sacred power
He bent, and was no longer passionless;
But when he bade her to his secret bower
Be borne, a loveless victim, and she tore
Her locks in agony, and her words of flame
And mightier looks availed not; then he bore

Again his load of slavery, and became
A king, a heartless beast, a pageant and a name.

She told me what a loathsome agony
Is that when selfishness mocks love's delight,
Foul as in dream's most fearful imagery
To dally with the mowing dead—that night
All torture, fear, or horror made seem light
Which the soul dreams or knows, and when the day
Shone on her awful frenzy, from the sight

Where like a Spirit in fleshly chains she lay Struggling, aghast and pale the Tyrant fled away.

« PredošláPokračovať »