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And though their lustre now was spent and faded,
Yet in my hollow looks and withered mien
The likeness of a shape for which was braided
The brightest woof of genius, still was seen
One who, methought, had gone from the world's scene, And left it vacant-'twas her lover's face
It might resemble her-it once had been
The mirror of her thoughts, and still the grace
Which her mind's shadow cast, left there a lingering trace.
What then was I? She slumbered with the dead.
Glory and joy and peace, had come and gone,
Doth the cloud perish when the beams are fled
Which steeped its skirts in gold? or dark and lone,
Doth it not through the paths of night unknown,
On outspread wings of its own wind upborne
Pour rain upon the earth? the stars are shown,
When the cold moon sharpens her silver horn
Under the sea, and make the wide night not forlorn.
Strengthened in heart, yet sad, that aged man
I left, with interchange of looks and tears,
And lingering speech, and to the Camp began
My way. O'er many a mountain chain which rears
Its hundred crests aloft, my spirit bears
My frame; o'er many a dale and many a moor,
And gaily now meseems serene earth wears
The bloomy spring's star-bright investiture,
A vision which aught sad from sadness might allure.
My powers revived within me, and I went
As one whom winds waft o'er the bending grass,
Through many a vale of that broad continent.
At night when I reposed, fair dreams did pass
Before my pillow-my own Cythna was
Not like a child of death, among them ever;
When I arose from rest, a woeful mass
That gentlest sleep seemed from my life to sever,
As if the light of youth were not withdrawn for ever.
Ay, as I went, that maiden who had reared
The torch of Truth afar, of whose high deeds
The Hermit in his pilgrimage had heard,
Haunted my thoughts.-Ah! Hope its sickness feeds
With whatsoe'er it finds, or flowers or weeds!
Could she be Cythna?-Was that corpse a shade
Such as self-torturing thought from madness breeds?
Why was this hope not torture? yet it made
A light around my steps which would not ever fade.
Over the utmost hill at length I sped,
A snowy steep:-the moon was hanging low
Over the Asian mountains, and outspread
The plain, the City, and the Camp below,
Skirted the midnight Ocean's glimmering flow,
The City's moon-lit spires and myriad lamps,
Like stars in a sublunar sky did glow,
And fires blazed far amid the scattered camps,
Like springs of flame, which burst where'er swift Earthquake
All slept but those in watchful arms who stood,
And those who sate tending the beacon's light,
And the few sounds from that vast multitude
Made silence more profound-Oh, what a might
Of human thought was cradled in that night!
How many hearts impenetrably veiled,
Beat underneath its shade, what secret fight
Evil and good, in woven passions mailed,
Waged through that silent throng; a war that never failed!
And now the Power of Good held victory
So, through the labyrinth of many a tent,
Among the silent millions who did lie
In innocent sleep, exultingly I went ;
The moon had left Heaven desert now, but lent
From eastern morn the first faint lustre showed
An armed youth-over his spear he bent
His downward face-"A friend !" I cried aloud,
common hopes made freemen understood.
I sate beside him while the morning beam
Of those immortal hopes, a glorious theme!
Which led us forth, until the stars grew dim:
And all the while, methought, his voice did swim,
As if it drowned in remembrance were
over Heaven, and talked with him
At last, when daylight 'gan to fill the air,
Of thoughts which make the moist eyes overbrim :
He looked on me, and cried in wonder-"Thou art here!"
Then, suddenly, I knew it was the youth
In whom its earliest hopes my spirit found;
But envious tongues had stained his spotless truth,
And thoughtless pride his love in silence bound,
And shame and sorrow mine in toils had wound,
Whilst he was innocent, and I deluded;
The truth now came upon me, on the ground
Tears of repenting joy, which fast intruded,
Fell fast, and o'er its peace our mingiing spirits brooded.
Thus, while with rapid lips and earnest eyes
We talked, a sound of sweeping conflict spread,
As from the earth did suddenly arise;
From every tent roused by that clamour dread,
Our bands outsprung and seized their arms-we sped
Towards the sound: our tribes were gathering far,
Those sanguine slaves amid ten thousand dead
Stabbed in their sleep, trampled in treacherous war,
The gentle hearts whose power their lives had sought to spare.
Like rabid snakes, that sting some gentle child
Who brings them food, when winter false and fair
Allures them forth with its cold smiles, so wild
They rage among the camp ;-they overbear
The patriot hosts-confusion, then despair
Descends like night-when "Laon !" one did cry:
Like a bright ghost from Heaven that shout did scare
The slaves, and widening through the vaulted sky,
Seemed sent from Earth to Heaven in sign of victory.
In sudden panic those false murderers fled,
Like insect tribes before the northern gale:
But swifter still, our hosts encompassed
Their shattered ranks, and in a craggy vale,
Where even their fierce despair might naught avail
Hemmed them around and then revenge and fear
Made the high virtue of the patriots fail:
One pointed on his foe the mortal spear
I rushed before its point, and cried,
The spear transfixed my arm that was uplifted
In swift expostulation, and the blood
Gushed round its point: I smiled, and-"Oh ! thou gifted
With eloquence which shall not be withstood,
Flow thus !"-I cried in joy, "thou vital flood,
Until my heart be dry, ere thus the cause
For which thou wert aught worthy be subdued-
Ah, ye are pale,-ye weep,-your passions pause,-
'Tis well! ye feel the truth of love's benignant laws.
"Soldiers, our brethren and our friends are slain.
Ye murdered them, I think, as they did sleep!
Alas, what have ye done? the slightest pain
Which ye might suffer, there were eyes to weep;
But ye have quenched them-there were smiles to steep
Your hearts in balm, but they are lost in woe;
And those whom love did set his watch to keep
Around your tents truth's freedom to bestow,
Ye stabbed as they did sleep-but they forgive ye now.
"O wherefore should ill ever flow from ill,
And pain still keener pain for ever breed?
We all are brethren-even the slaves who kill
For hire, are men; and to avenge misdeed
On the misdoer, doth but Misery feed
With her own broken heart! O Earth, O Heaven!
And thou, dread Nature, which to every deed
And all that lives, or is, to be hath given,
Even as to thee have these done ill, and are forgiven.
"Join then your hands and hearts, and let the past Be as a grave which gives not up its dead
My sense with dimness, for the wound, which bled
Freshly, swift shadows o'er mine eyes had shed.
When I awoke, I lay 'mid friends and foes,
The light of questioning looks, whilst one did close
My wound with balmiest herbs, and soothed me to repose;
And one whose spear had pierced me, leaned beside
With quivering lips and humid eyes;--and all
Semed like some brothers on a journey wide
Gone forth, whom now strange meeting did befall
In a strange land, round one whom they might call
Their friend, their chief, their father, for assay
Qf peril, which had saved them from the thrall
Of death, now suffering. Thus the vast array
Uf those fraternal bands were reconciled that day.
Lifting the thunder of their acclamation,
Towards the City then the multitude,
And I among them, went in joy-a nation
Made free by love ;-a mighty brotherhood
Linked by a jealous interchange of good;
Than kingly slaves arrayed in gold and blood,
Aglorious pageant, more magnificent
When they return from carnage, and are sent
In triumph bright beneath the populous battlement.
Afar, the city walls were thronged on high,
And myriads on each giddy turret clung,
And to each spire far lessening in the sky,
Bright Pennons on the idle winds were hung;
As we approached a shout of joyance sprung
At once from all the crowd, as if the vast
And peopled Earth its boundless skies among
'The sudden clamour of delight had cast,
When from before its face some general wreck had past.
Our armies through the City's hundred gates
Were poured, like brooks which to the rocky lair
Of some deep lake, whose silence them awaits,
Throng from the mountains when the storms are there;
And as we past through the calm sunny air
A thousand flower-inwoven crowns were shed,
The token flowers of truth and freedom fair,
And fairest hands bound them on many a head,
Those angels of love's heaven, that over all was spread.
I trod as one tranced in some rapturous vision :
Those bloody bands so lately reconciled,
Were, ever as they went, by the contrition
Of anger turned to love from ill beguiled,
And every one on them more gently smiled,
Because they had done evil :-the sweet awe
Of such mild looks made their own hearts grow mild,
And did with soft attraction ever draw
Their spirits to the love of freedom's equal law.
And they, and all, in one loud symphony
My name with Liberty commingling, lifted,
The friend and the preserver of the free!
The parent of this joy!" and fair eyes gifted
With feelings, caught from one who had uplifted
The light of a great spirit, round me shone;
And all the shapes of this grand scenery shifted
Like restless clouds before the steadfast sun,-
Where was that maid? I asked, but it was known of none.
Laone was the name her love had chosen,
For she was nameless, and her birth none knew:
Where was Laone now?-the words were frozen
Within my lips with fear; but to subdue
Such dreadful hope, to my great task was due,
And when at length one brought reply, that she
To-morrow would appear, I then withdrew
To judge what need for that great throng might be,
For now the stars came thick over the twilight sea.
Yet need was none for rest or food to care,
Even though that multitude was passing great,
Since each one for the other did prepare
All kindly succour-Therefore to the gate