Imatges de pÓgina


Breathe low, low,

The spell of the mighty Mistress now!
When Conscience lulls her sated snake,
And tyrants sleep, let Freedom wake.
Breathe low, low,

The words which, like secret fire, shall flow
Through the veins of the frozen earth-low, low

[blocks in formation]

In the great morning of the world,
The Spirit of God with might unfurled
The flag of Freedom over chaos,

And all its banded anarchs fled,
Like vultures frighted from Imaus
Before an earthquake's tread.
So from Time's tempestuous dawn
Freedom's splendour burst and shone:
Thermopyla and Marathon

Caught, like mountains beacon-lighted,
The springing fire. The winged glory
On Philippi half alighted,

Like an eagle on a promontory.

Its unwearied wings could fan
The quenchless ashes of Milan.

From age to age, from man to man,
It lived; and lit from land to land
Florence, Albion, Switzerland.
Then night fell; and, as from night,

Re-assuming fiery flight,

From the west swift Freedom came,

Against the course of heaven and doom,

A second sun arrayed in flame,

To burn, to kindle, to illume.

From far Atlantis its young beams
Chased the shadows and the dreams.
France, with all her sanguine steams,

[ocr errors]

Hid, but quenched it not; again
Through clouds its shafts of glory rain
From utmost Germany to Spain.
As an eagle fed with morning

Scorns the embattled tempest's warning
When she seeks her aerie hanging
In the mountain-cedar's hair,
And her brood expect the clanging
Of her wings through the wild air,
Sick with famine;-Freedom so
To what of Greece remaineth now
Returns; her hoary ruins glow
Like orient mountains lost in day;
Beneath the safety of her wings
Her renovated nurslings play,

And in the naked lightnings

Of truth they purge their dazzled eyes. Let Freedom leave,-where'er she flies, A desert, or a paradise;

Let the beautiful and the brave

Share her glory, or a grave!


With the gifts of gladness
Greece did thy cradle strew.


With the tears of sadness
Greece did thy shroud bedew.


With an orphan's affection
She followed thy bier through Time:


And at thy resurrection
Reappeareth, like thou, sublime.


If heaven should resume thee,
To heaven shall her spirit ascend.


If hell should entomb thee,
To hell shall her high hearts bend.


If annihilation


Dust let her glories be;

And a name and a nation

Be forgotten, Freedom, with thee!


His brow grows darker-Breathe not-move not;

He starts-be shudders.

Ye, that love not,

With your panting loud and fast

Have awakened him at last.

Mahmud [Starting from his sleep]. Man the Seraglio-guard !

make fast the gate!

What! from a cannonade of three short hours?

'Tis false! that breach towards the Bosphorus

Cannot be practicable yet-Who stirs ?

Stand to the match; that, when the foe prevails,

One spark may mix in reconciling ruin

The conqueror and the conquered! Heave the tower
Into the gap-wrench off the roof!


Ha! what!

The truth of day lightens upon my dream,

And I am Mahmud still.


Is strangely moved.


Your Sublime Highness

The times do cast strange shadows

Lest they, being first in peril as in glory,

Be whelmed in the fierce ebb:-and these are of them.

Thrice has a gloomy vision hunted me

As thus from sleep into the troubled day;

It shakes me as the tempest shakes the sea,

Leaving no figure upon memory's glass.

Would that ... no matter. Thou didst say thou knewest
A Jew whose spirit is a chronicle

Of strange and secret and forgotten things.

I bade thee summon him:-'tis said his tribe

Dream, and are wise interpreters of dreams.

Hassan. The Jew of whom I spake is old-so old

He seems to have outlived a world's decay;

The hoary mountains and the wrinkled ocean
Seem younger still than he: his hair and beard
Are whiter than the tempest-sifted snow;
His cold pale limbs and pulseless arteries
Are like the fibres of a cloud instinct

With light, and, to the soul that quickens them,
Are as the atoms of the mountain-drift

To the winter wind: but from his eye looks forth
A life of unconsumed thought which pierces
The present, and the past, and the to-come.
Some say that this is he whom the great prophet
Jesus, the son of Joseph, for his mockery,
Mocked with the curse of immortality.
Some feign that he is Enoch: others dream
He was pre-Adamite, and has survived
Cycles of generation and of ruin.

The sage, in truth, by dreadful abstinence,
And conquering penance of the mutinous flesh,
Deep contemplation and unwearied study,
In years outstretched beyond the date of man,
May have attained to sovereignty and science


Over those strong and secret things and thoughts
Which others fear and know not.


I would talk

With this old Jew.

Thy will is even now


Made known to him where he dwells in a sea-cavern
'Mid the Demonesi, less accessible

Than thou or God! He who would question him

Must sail alone at sunset where the stream
Of ocean sleeps around those foamless isles,
When the young moon is westering as now,
And evening airs wander upon the wave;
And, when the pines of that bee-pasturing isle,
Green Erebinthus, quench the fiery shadow
Of his gilt prow within the sapphire water,
Then must the lonely helmsman cry aloud
Ahasuerus!" and the caverns round

[ocr errors]

Will answer "Ahasuerus!" If his prayer
Be granted, a faint meteor will arise,
Lighting him over Marmora; and a wind
Will rush out of the sighing pine-forest,
And with the wind a storm of harmony
Unutterably sweet, and pilot him

Through the soft twilight to the Bosphorus:
Thence, at the hour and place and circumstance
Fit for the matter of their conference,

The Jew appears. Few dare, and few who dare

Win the desired communion

But that shout

[A shout within.

Mahmud. Evil, doubtless; like all human sounds,
Let me converse with spirits.

[ocr errors]

That shout again

Will be here

Mahmud. This Jew whom thou hast summoned


Mahmud. When the omnipotent hour to which are yoked
He, I, and all things, shall compel-enough.
Silence those mutineers-that drunken crew

That crowd about the pilot in the storm.

Ay, strike the foremost shorter by a head.
They weary me, and I have need of rest.

Kings are like stars-they rise and set, they have
The worship of the world, but no repose.


Worlds on worlds are rolling ever
From creation to decay,

Like the bubbles on a river,

Sparkling, bursting, borne away.

But they are still immortal

[Exeunt severally.

Who, through birth's orient portal

And death's dark chasm hurrying to and fro,
Clothe their unceasing flight

In the brief dust and light

Gathered around their chariots as they go;
New shapes they still may weave,
New gods, new laws, receive:

Bright or dim are they, as the robes they last
On Death's bare ribs had cast.

A Power from the unknown God,
A Promethean Conqueror, came;
Like a triumphal path he trod

The thorns of death and shame.
A mortal shape to him
Was like the vapour dim

Which the orient planet animates with light.
Hell, sin, and slavery, came,

Like bloodhounds mild and tame,

Nor reved until their Lord had taken flight.
The moon of Mahomet

Arose, and it shall set:

While, blazoned as on heaven's immortal noon,
The Cross leads generations on.

Swift as the radiant shapes of sleep

From one whose dreams are Paradise
Fly, when the fond wretch wakes to weep,
And day peers forth with her blank eyes;
So fleet, so faint, so fair,

The Powers of Earth and Air

Fled from the folding-star of Bethlehem:
Apollo, Pan, and Love,

And even Olympian Jove,

Grew weak, for killing Truth had glared on them.
Our hills and seas and streams,
Dispeopled of their dreams,

Their waters turned to blood, their dew to tears,
Wailed for the golden years.

Enter MAHMUD, HASSAN, DAOOD, and others. Mahmud: More gold? Our ancestors bought gold with victory And shall I sell it for defeat?


Clamour for pay.


The Janizars

Go bid them pay themselves

With Christian blood! Are there no Grecian virgins
Whose shrieks and spasms and tears they may enjoy?
No infidel children to impale on spears?

No hoary priests after that Patriarch

Who bent the curse against his country's heart,
Which clove his own at last? Go bid them kill:
Blood is the seed of gold.


And yet the harvest to the sicklemen
Is as a grain to each.


It has been sown,

Then take this signet:

Unlock the seventh chamber, in which lie

The treasures of victorious Solyman.

An empire's spoils stored for a day of ruin;

O spirit of my sires! is it not come?


The prey-birds and the wolves are gorged and sleep;
But these, who spread their feast on the red earth,
Hunger for gold, which fills not.-See them fed,
Then lead them to the rivers of fresh death.
O! miserable dawn, after a night
More glorious than the day which it usurped!
O faith in God! O power on earth! O word

« AnteriorContinua »