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'All is vanity' saith the preacher
Oh! Snatched away in beauty's bloom
Love's last adieu
The Giaour: A fragment of a Turkish tale
Bright be the place of thy soul
She walks in beauty
When we two parted
My soul is dark
Lines addressed to a young lady
I speak not, I trace not, I breath not thy name
Oh! when shall the grave hide for ever my sorrow?
Oh! when shall my soul wing her flight from this clay?
The present is hell! and the coming to-morrow
But brings, with new torture, the curse of to-day.
From my eye flows no tear, from my lips flow no curses,
I blast not the fiends who have hurl’d me from bliss;
For poor is the soul which, bewailing, rehearses
Its querulous grief, when in anguish like this.
Was my eye, ‘stead of tears, with red fury flakes bright’ning,
Would my lips breathe a flame which no stream could assuage,
On our foes should my glance launch in vengeance its lightning,
With transport my tongue give a loose to its rage.
But now tears and curses, alike unavailing,
Would add to the souls of our tyrants delight;
Could they view us our sad separation bewailing,
Their merciless hearts would rejoice at the sight.
Yet, still, though we bend with a feign’d resignation,
Life beams not for us with one ray that can cheer;
Love and Hope upon earth bring no more consolation,
In the grave is our hope, for in life is our fear.
Oh! when, my ador’d, in the tomb will they place me,
Since, in life, love and friendship for ever are fled?
If again in the mansion of death I embrace thee,
Perhaps they will leave unmolested the dead.
She Walks in Beauty
She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that’s best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes;
Thus mellowed to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.
One shade the more, one ray the less,
Had half impaired the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress,
Or softly lightens o’er her face;
Where thoughts serenely sweet express,
How pure, how dear their dwelling-place.
And on that cheek, and o’er that brow,
So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
But tell of days in goodness spent,
A mind at peace with all below,
A heart whose love is innocent!
'All Is Vanity,' Saith the Preacher
Fame, wisdom, love, and power were mine,
And health and youth possessed me;
My goblets blushed from every vine,
And lovely forms caressed me;
I sunned my heart in beauty’ eyes,
And felt my soul grow tender;
All earth can give, or mortal prize,
Was mine of regal splendour.
I strive to number o’er what days
Remembrance can discover,
Which all that life or earth displays
Would lure me to live over.
There rose no day, there rolled no hour
Of pleasure unembittered;
And not a trapping decked my power
That galled not while it glittered.
The serpent of the field, by art
And spells, is won from harming;
But that which coils around the heart,
Oh! who hath power of charming?
It will not list to wisdom’s lore,
Nor music’s voice can lure it;
But there it stings for evermore
The soul that must endure it.
When We Two Parted
When we two parted, in silence and tears,
Half broken-hearted to sever for years,
Pale grew thy cheek and cold, colder thy kiss;
Truly that hour foretold sorrow to this.
The dew of the morning sunk chill on my brow–
It felt like the warning of what I feel now.
Thy vows are all broken, and light is thy fame:
I hear thy name spoken, and share in its shame.
They name thee before me, a knell to mine ear;
A shudder comes o’er me–why wert thou so dear?
They know not I knew thee, who knew thee too well: –
Long, long shall I rue thee, too deeply to tell.
In secret we met–in silence I grieve,
That thy heart could forget, thy spirit deceive.
If I should meet thee after long years,
How should I greet thee? with silence and tears.
Oh! Snatched Away in Beauty’s Bloom
Oh! snatched away in beauty’s bloom,
On thee shall press no ponderous tomb;
But on thy turf shall roses rear
Their leaves, the earliest of the year;
And the wild cypress wave in tender gloom:
And oft by yon blue gushing stream
Shall Sorrow lean her drooping head,
And feed deep thought with many a dream,
And lingering pause and lightly tread;
Fond wretch! as if her step disturbed the dead!
Away! ye know that tears are vain,
That death nor heeds nor hears distress:
Will this unteach us to complain?
Or make one mourner weep the less?
And thou -who tell’st me to forget,
Thy looks are wan, thine eyes are wet.
Oh, Anne, your offences to me have been grievous:
I thought from my wrath no atonement could save you;
But Woman is made to command and deceive us--
I look’d in your face, and I almost forgave you.
I vow’d I could ne’er for a moment respect you,
Yet thought that a day’s separation was long;
When we met, I determined again to suspect you--
Your smile soon convinced me suspicion was wrong.
I swore, in a transport of young indignation,
With fervent contempt evermore to disdain you:
I saw you--my anger became admiration;
And now, all my wish, all my hope’s to regain you.
With beauty like yours, oh, how vain the contention!
Thus lowly I sue for forgiveness before you;--
At once to conclude such a fruitless dissension,
Be false, my sweet Anne, when I cease to adore you!
Love’s Last Adieu
The roses of Love glad the garden of life,
Though nurtur’d ‘mid weeds dropping pestilent dew,
Till Time crops the leaves with unmerciful knife,
Or prunes them for ever, in Love’s last adieu!
In vain, with endearments, we soothe the sad heart,
In vain do we vow for an age to be true;
The chance of an hour may command us to part,
Or Death disunite us, in Love’s last adieu!
Still Hope, breathing peace, through the grief-swollen breast,
Will whisper, ‘Our meeting we yet may renew:’
With this dream of deceit, half our sorrow’s represt,
Nor taste we the poison, of Love’s last adieu!
Oh! mark you yon pair, in the sunshine of youth,
Love twin’d round their childhood his flow’rs as they grew;
They flourish awhile, in the season of truth,
Till chill’d by the winter of Love’s last adieu!
Sweet lady! why thus doth a tear steal its way,
Down a cheek which outrivals thy bosom in hue?
Yet why do I ask?---to distraction a prey,
Thy reason has perish’d, with Love’s last adieu!
Oh! who is yon Misanthrope, shunning mankind?
From cities to caves of the forest he flew:
There, raving, he howls his complaint to the wind;
The mountains reverberate Love’s last adieu!
Now Hate rules a heart which in Love’s easy chains,
Once Passion’s tumultuous blandishments knew;
Despair now inflames the dark tide of his veins,
He ponders, in frenzy, on Love’s last adieu!
How he envies the wretch, with a soul wrapt in steel!
His pleasures are scarce, yet his troubles are few,
Who laughs at the pang that he never can feel,
And dreads not the anguish of Love’s last adieu!
Youth flies, life decays, even hope is o’ercast;
No more, with Love’s former devotion, we sue:
He spreads his young wing, he retires with the blast;
The shroud of affection is Love’s last adieu!
In this life of probation, for rapture divine,
Astrea declares that some penance is due;
From him, who has worshipp’d at Love’s gentle shrine,
The atonement is ample, in Love’s last adieu!
Who kneels to the God, on his altar of light
Must myrtle and cypress alternately strew:
His myrtle, an emblem of purest delight,
His cypress, the garland of Love’s last adieu.
My Soul is Dark
My soul is dark - Oh! quickly string
The harp I yet can brook to hear;
And let thy gentle fingers fling
Its melting murmurs o’er mine ear.
If in this heart a hope be dear,
That sound shall charm it forth again:
If in these eyes there lurk a tear,
‘Twill flow, and cease to burn my brain.
But bid the strain be wild and deep,
Nor let thy notes of joy be first:
I tell thee, minstrel, I must weep,
Or else this heavy heart will burst;
For it hath been by sorrow nursed,
And ached in sleepless silence, long;
And now ‘tis doomed to know the worst,
And break at once - or yield to song.
Think’st thou I saw thy beauteous eyes,
Suffus’d in tears, implore to stay;
And heard unmov’d thy plenteous sighs,
Which said far more than words can say?
Though keen the grief thy tears exprest,
When love and hope lay both o’erthrown;
Yet still, my girl, this bleeding breast
Throbb’d, with deep sorrow, as thine own.
But, when our cheeks with anguish glow’d,
When thy sweet lips were join’d to mine;
The tears that from my eyelids flow’d
Were lost in those which fell from thine.
Thou could’st not feel my burning cheek,
Thy gushing tears had quench’d its flame,
And, as thy tongue essay’d to speak,
In sighs alone it breath’d my name.
And yet, my girl, we weep in vain,
In vain our fate in sighs deplore;
Remembrance only can remain,
But that, will make us weep the more.
Again, thou best belov’d, adieu!
Ah! if thou canst, o’ercome regret,
Nor let thy mind past joys review,
Our only hope is, to forget!
Lines Addressed to a Young Lady
Doubtless, sweet girl! the hissing lead,
Wafting destruction o’er thy charms
And hurtling o’er thy lovely head,
Has fill’d that breast with fond alarms.
Surely some envious Demon’s force,
Vex’d to behold such beauty here,
Impell’d the bullet’s viewless course,
Diverted from its first career.
Yes! in that nearly fatal hour,
The ball obey’d some hell-born guide;
But Heaven, with interposing power,
In pity turn’d the death aside.
Yet, as perchance one trembling tear
Upon that thrilling bosom fell;
Which I, th’ unconscious cause of fear,
Extracted from its glistening cell;—
Say, what dire penance can atone
For such an outrage, done to thee?
Arraign’d before thy beauty’s throne,
What punishment wilt thou decree?
Might I perform the Judge’s part,
The sentence I should scarce deplore;
It only would restore a heart,
Which but belong’d to thee before.
The least atonement I can make
Is to become no longer free;
Henceforth, I breathe but for thy sake,
Thou shalt be all in all to me.
But thou, perhaps, may’st now reject
Such expiation of my guilt;
Come then—some other mode elect?
Let it be death—or what thou wilt.
Choose, then, relentless! and I swear
Nought shall thy dread decree prevent;
Yet hold—one little word forbear!
Let it be aught but banishment.
The Giaour: A Fragment of a Turkish Tale
A turban carved in coarsest stone, A pillar with rank weeds o’ergrown,
Whereon can now be scarcely read The Koran verse that mourns the dead,
Point out the spot where Hassan fell A victim in that lonely dell.
There sleeps as true an Osmanlie As e’er at Mecca bent the knee;
As ever scorn’d forbidden wine, Or pray’d with face towards the shrine,
In orisons resumed anew At solemn sound of “Alla Hu!”
Yet died he by a stranger’s hand, And stranger in his native land;
Yet died he as in arms he stood, And unavenged, at least in blood.
But him the maids of Paradise Impatient to their halls invite,
And the dark Heaven of Houris’ eyes On him shall glance for ever bright;
They come---their kerchiefs green they wave, And welcome with a kiss the brave!
Who falls in battle ‘gainst a Giaour Is worthiest an immortal bower.
But thou, false Infidel! shall writhe Beneath avenging Monkir’s scythe;
And from its torments ‘scape alone To wander round lost Eblis’ throne;
And fire unquench’d, unquenchable, Around, within, thy heart shall dwell;
Nor ear can hear nor tongue can tell The tortures of that inward hell!
But first, on earth as Vampire sent, Thy corpse shall from its tomb be rent:
Then ghastly haunt thy native place, And suck the blood of all thy race;
There from thy daughter, sister, wife, At midnight drain the stream of life;
Yet loathe the banquet which perforce Must feed thy livid living corse:
Thy victims ere they yet expire Shall know the demon for their sire,
As cursing thee, thou cursing them, Thy flowers are withered on the stem.
But one that for thy crime must fall, The youngest, most beloved of all,
Shall bless thee with a father’s name-That word shall wrap thy heart in flame!
Yet must thou end thy task, and mark Her cheek’s last tinge, her eye’s last spark,
And the last glassy glance must view Which freezes o’er its lifeless blue;
Then with unhallow’d hand shalt tear The tresses of her yellow hair,
Of which in life a lock when shornAffection’s fondest pledge was worn,
But now is borne away by thee, Memorial of thine agony!
Wet with thine own best blood shall drip Thy gnashing tooth and haggard lip;
Then stalking to thy sullen grave, Go---and with Gouls and Afrits rave;
Till these in horror shrink away From Spectre more accursed than they!
I Speak Not, I Trace Not, I Breathe Not Thy Name
I speak not, I trace not, I breathe not thy name;
There is grief in the sound, there is guilt in the fame;
But the tear that now burns on my cheek may impart
The deep thoughts that dwell in that silence of heart.
Too brief for our passion, too long for our peace,
Were those hours - can their joy or their bitterness cease?
We repent, we abjure, we will break from our chain, -
We will part, we will fly to - unite it again!
Oh! thine be the gladness, and mine be the guilt!
Forgive me, adored one! - forsake if thou wilt;
But the heart which is thine shall expire undebased,
And man shall not break it - whatever thou may’st.
And stern to the haughty, but humble to thee,
This soul in its bitterest blackness shall be;
And our days seem as swift, and our moments more sweet,
With thee at my side, than with worlds at our feet.
One sigh of thy sorrow, one look of thy love,
Shall turn me or fix, shall reward or reprove.
And the heartless may wonder at all I resign -
Thy lips shall reply, not to them, but to mine.
Bright be the Place of Thy Soul
Bright be the place of thy soul!
No lovelier spirit than thine
E’er burst from its mortal control
In the orbs of the blessed to shine.
On earth thou wert all but divine,
As thy soul shall immortally be;
And our sorrow may cease to repine,
When we know that thy God is with thee.
Light be the turf of thy tomb!
May its verdure like emeralds be:
There should not be the shadow of gloom
In aught that reminds us of thee.
Young flowers and an evergreen tree
May spring from the spot of thy rest:
But nor cypress nor yew let us see;
For why should we mourn for the blest?
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