1827

 

TAMERLANE

 

Kind solace in a dying hour!
   Such, father, is not (now) my theme –
 I will not madly deem that power
      Of Earth may shrive me of the sin
       Unearthly pride hath revell’d in
   I have no time to dote or dream:
You call it hope that fire of fire!
It is but agony of desire:
If I can hope Oh God! I can
    Its fount is holier more divine
I would not call thee fool, old man,
  But such is not a gift of thine.
Know thou the secret of a spirit
   Bowd from its wild pride into shame.
O yearning heart! I did inherit
Thy withering portion with the fame,
The searing glory which hath shone
Amid the jewels of my throne,
Halo of Hell! and with a pain
Not Hell shall make me fear again
O craving heart, for the lost flowers
And sunshine of my summer hours!
The undying voice of that dead time,
With its interminable chime,
Rings, in the spirit of a spell,
Upon thy emptiness a knell.

I have not always been as now:
The feverd diadem on my brow
   I claimd and won usurpingly
Hath not the same fierce heirdorm given
   Rome to the Caesar this to me?
      The heritage of a kingly mind,
And a proud spirit which hath striven
      Triumphantly with human kind.

On mountain soil I first drew life:
The mists of the Taglay have shed
      Nightly their dews upon my head,
And, I believe, the wingéd strife
And tumult of the headlong air
Have nestled in my very hair.

So late from Heaven that dew it fell
    (Mid dreams of an unholy night)
Upon me with the touch of Hell,
   While the red flashing of the light
From clouds that hung, like banners, oer,
  Appeared to my half‑closing eye
  The pageantry of monarchy,
And the deep trumpet‑thunders roar
  Came hurriedly upon me, telling
     Of human battle, where my voice,
  My own voice, silly child! was swelling
     (O! how my spirit would rejoice,
And leap within me at the cry)
The battle‑cry of Victory!

The rain came down upon my head
   Unshelterd and the heavy wind
   Rendered me mad and deaf and blind.
It was but man, I thought, who shed
Laurels upon me: and the rush
   The torrent of the chilly air
Gurgled within my ear the crush
   Of empires with the captives prayer
The hum of suitors and the tone
Of flattery round a sovereigns throne.

My passions, from that hapless hour,
    Usurpd a tyranny which men
Have deemd, since I have reachd to power,
       My innate nature be it so:
    But, father, there livd one who, then,
Then in my boyhood when their fire
Burn’d with a still intenser glow
(For passion must, with youth, expire)
    Een then who knew this iron heart
    In womans weakness had a part.

I have no words alas! to tell
The loveliness of loving well!
Nor would I now attempt to trace
The more than beauty of a face
Whose lineaments, upon my mind,
Areshadows on thunstable wind:
Thus I remember having dwelt
     Some page of early lore upon,
With loitering eye, till I have felt
The letters with their meaning melt
     To fantasies–– with none.

0, she was worthy of all love!
    Love as in infancy was mine
Twas such as angel minds above
    Might envy; her young heart the shrine
  On which my every hope and thought
    Were incense then a goodly gift,
        For they were childish and upright
Pureas her young example taught:
    Why did I leave it, and, adrift,
       Trust to the fire within, for light?

We grew in age and love together
    Roaming the forest and the wild;
My breast her shield in wintry weather
     And, when the friendly sunshine smild,
And she would mark the opening skies,
I saw no Heaven but in her eyes.

Young Loves first lesson is the heart:
      Formid that sunshine, and those smiles,
When, from our little cares apart,
     And laughing at her girlish wiles,
Id throw me on her throbbing breast,
     And pour my spirit out in tears
There was no need to speak the rest––
     No need to quiet any fears

 Of her who askd no reason why,
But turnd on me her quiet eye!
 

Yet more than worthy of the love
My spirit struggled with, and strove,
When, on the mountain peak, alone,
Ambition lent it a new tone
I had no being but in thee:
     The world, and all it did contain
In the earth the air the sea
     Its joy its little lot of pain
That was new pleasure the ideal,
     Dim, vanities of dreams by night
And dimmer nothings which were real
      (Shadows and a more shadowy light!)
Parted upon their misty wings,
        And, so, confusedly, became
        Thine image and a name a name!
Two separate yet most intimate things.

I was ambitious have you known
        The passion, father? You have not:
A cottager, I markd a throne
Of half the world as all my own,
        And murmurd at such lowly lot
But, just like any other dream,
         Upon the vapor of the dew
My own had past, did not the beam
         Of beauty which did while it thro
The minute the hour the day oppress
 My mind with double loveliness.

We walkd together on the crown
  Of a high mountain which look’d down
Afar from its proud natural towers
     Of rock and forest, on the hills
The dwindled hills! begirt with bowers
     And shouting with a thousand rills.

I spoke to her of power and pride,
     But mystically in such guise
That she might deem it nought beside
     The moments converse; in her eyes
I read, perhaps too carelessly,
     A mingled feeling with my own
The flush on her bright cheek, to me
     Seemd to become a queenly throne
Too well that I should let it be
     Light in the wilderness alone.

I wrappd myself in grandeur then
     And donnd a visionary crown
           Yet it was not that Fantasy
           Had thrown her mantle over me
But that, among the rabble men,
    Lion ambition is chaind down
And crouches to a keepers hand
Not so in deserts where the grand
The wild the terrible conspire
With their own breath to fan his fire.

Look round thee now on Samarcand!
     Is she not queen of Earth? her pride
Above all cities? in her hand
    Their destinies? in all beside
 Of glory which the world hath known
Stands she not nobly and alone?
Falling her veriest stepping‑stone
Shall form the pedestal of a throne
And who her sovereign? Timour he
     Whom the astonished people saw
Striding oer empires haughtily
     A diademd outlaw!
O, human love! thou spirit given,
On Earth, of all we hope in Heaven!
Which fallst into the soul like rain
Upon the Siroc‑witherd plain,
And, failing in thy power to bless,
But leavst the heart a wilderness!
Idea! which bindest life around
With music of so strange a sound
And beauty of so wild a birth
Farewell! for I have won the Earth.

When Hope, the eagle that tower’d, could see
    No cliff beyond him in the sky,
His pinions were bent droopingly
   And homeward turnd his softend eye.
T was sunset: when the sun will part
There comes a sullenness of heart
To him who still would look upon
The glory of the summer sun.
That soul will hate the evning mist
So often lovely, and will list
To the sound of the coming darkness (known
To those whose spirits harken) as one
Who, in a dream of night, would fly
But cannot from a danger nigh.

What tho the moon the white moon
Shed all the splendor of her noon,
Her smile is chilly and her beam,
In that time of dreariness, will seem
(So like you gather in your breath)
A portrait taken after death.
And boyhood is a summer sun
Whose waning is the dreariest one
For all we live to know is known,
And all we seek to keep bath flown.
Let life, then, as the day‑flower, fall
With the noon‑day beauty which is all.

I reachd my home my home no more
    For all had flown who made it so.
I passd from out its mossy door,
     And, tho my tread was soft and low,
A voice came from the threshold stone
Of one whom I had earlier known
     O, I defy thee, Hell, to show
     On beds of fire that burn below,
     An humbler heart a deeper wo.

Father, I firmly do believe
     I know for Death who comes for me
          From regions of the blest afar,
Where there is nothing to deceive,
         Hath left his iron gate ajar,
     And rays of truth you cannot see
     Are  flashing throEternity
I do believe that Eblis hath
A snare in every human path
Else how, when in the holy grove
I wandered of the idol, Love,
Who daily scents his snowy wings,
With incense of burnt offerings
From the most unpolluted things,
Whose pleasant bowers are yet so riven
Above with trellisd rays from Heaven
No mote may shun no tiniest fly
The lightning of his eagle eye
How was it that Ambition crept,
      Unseen, amid the revels there,
Till growing bold, he laughed and leapt
      In the tangles of Loves very hair?

SONG

 

I saw thee on thy bridal day
    When a burning blush came oer thee,
Though happiness around thee lay,
    The world all love before thee:

And in thine eye a kindling light
    (Whatever it might be)
Was all on Earth my aching sight
    Of Loveliness could see.

 That blush, perhaps, was maiden shame
     As such it well may pass
Though its glow hath raised a fiercer flame
     In the breast of him, alas!

Who  saw the on that bridal day,
    When that deep blush would come oer thee,
Though happiness around thee lay,
    The world all love before thee.

DREAMS

 

Oh! that my young life were a lasting dream!
My spirit not awakning till the beam
Of an Eternity should bring the morrow.
Yes! tho that long dream were of hopeless sorrow,
T were better than the cold reality
Of waking life, to him whose heart must be,
And hath been still, upon the lovely earth,
A chaos of deep passion, from his birth.
But should it be that dream eternally
Continuing as dreams have been to me
In my young boyhood should it thus be givn,
T were folly still to hope for higher Heavn.
For I have revelld, when the sun was bright
Ithe summer sky, in dreams of living light
And loveliness, have left my very heart
In climes of mine imagining, apart
From mine own home, with beings that have been
Of mine own thought what more could I have seen?
T was once and only once and the wild hour
From my remembrance shall not pass some powr
Or spell had bound met was the chilly wind
Came oer me in the night, and left behind
Its image on my spirit or the moon
Shone on my slumbers in her lofty noon
Too coldly or the stars howeer it was,
That dream was as that night‑wind let it pass.

I  have been happy, tho in a dream.
I have been happy and I love the theme:
Dreams! in their vivid coloring of life,
As in that fleeting, shadowy, misty strife
Of semblance with reality which brings
To the delirious eye, more lovely things
Of Paradise and Love and all our own!
Than young Hope in his sunniest hour hath known.

 

SPIRITS OF THE DEAD
 

I

  Thy soul shall find itself alone
Mid dark thoughts of the gray tombstone
Not one, of all the crowd, to pry
Into thine hour of secrecy.

II

  Be silent in that solitude,
     Which is not loneliness for then
The spirits of the dead who stood
     In life before thee are again
In death around thee and their will
Shall overshadow thee: be still.

III

  The night, tho clear, shall frown
And the stars shall look not down
From their high thrones in the heaven,
With light like Hope to mortals given
But their red orbs, without beam,
To thy weariness shall seem
As a burning and a fever
Which would cling to thee for ever.

IV 

  Now are thoughts thou shalt not banish
Now are visions neer to vanish;
From thy spirit shall they pass
No more like dew‑drop from the grass.

V 

  The breeze the breath of God is still
And the mist upon the hill,
Shadowy shadowy yet unbroken,
Is a symbol and a token
How it hangs upon the trees,
A mystery of mysteries!

 

EVENING STAR

  T was noontide of summer,
      And mid‑time of night;
And stars, in their orbits,
     Shone pale, thro the light
Of the brighter, cold moon,
    ’Mid planets her slaves,
Herself in the Heavens,
     Her beam on the waves
     I gazd  awhile
    On her cold smile;
Too cold too cold for me
    There passd, as a shroud,
    A fleecy cloud,
And I turnd away to thee,
    Proud Evening Star,
     In thy glory afar,
And dearer thy beam shall be;
     For joy to my heart
     Is the proud part
Thou bearest in Heavn at night,
    And more I admire
Thy distant fire
Than that colder, lowly light.

 

IMITATION      

 
A dark unfathomd tide
Of interminable pride
A mystery, and a dream,
Should my early life seem;
I say that dream was fraught
With a wild and waking thought
Of beings that have been,
Which my spirit hath not seen,
Had I let them pass me by,
With a dreaming eye!
Let none of earth inherit
That vision on my spirit;
Those thoughts I would control,
As a spell upon his soul:
For that bright hope at last
And that light time have past,
And my worldly rest hath gone
With a sigh as it passd on:
 I care not tho it perish
 With a though I then did cherish.

 

STANZAS

  How often we forget all time, when lone
Admiring Natures universal throne;
Her woods her wilds her mountains the intense
Reply of HERS  to OUR intelligence!
  LORD BYRON: “THE ISLAND”


I

  In youth have I known one with whom the Earth
In secret communing held as he with it,
In daylight, and in beauty from his birth:
Whose fervid, flickring torch of life was lit
From the sun and stars, whence he had drawn forth
A passionate light such for his spirit was fit
And yet that spirit knew not in the hour
Of its own fervor what had oer it power.

II

  Perhaps it may be that my mind is wrought
To a fever by the moonbeam that hangs o'er,
But I will half believe that wild light fraught
With more of sovreignty than ancient lore
Hath ever told or is it of a thought        
The unembodied essence, and no more,
That with a quickning spell doth oer us pass
As dew of the night‑time, oer the summer grass?

III 

  Doth oer us pass, when, as th expanding eye
To the lovd object so the tear to the lid
Will start, which lately slept in apathy?
And yet it need not be (that object) hid
From us in life but common which doth lie
Each hour before us but then only, bid
With a strange sound, as of a harp‑string broken,
T awake usT is a symbol and a token

IV 

  Of what in other worlds shall be and givn
In beauty by our God, to those alone
Who otherwise would fall from life and Heavn,
Drawn by their hearts passion, and that tone,
That high tone of the spirit which bath strivn,
Tho' not with Faith with godliness whose throne
With desp'rate energyt hath beaten down;
Wearing its own deep feeling as a crown.

 

A DREAM

 

In visions of the dark night
     I have dreamed of joy departed
But a waking dream of life and light
    Hath left me broken‑hearted.

Ah! what is not a dream by day
    To him whose eyes are cast
On things around him with a ray
    Turned back upon the past?

That holy dream that holy dream,
    While all the world were chiding,
Hath cheered me as a lovely beam
     A lonely spirit guiding.

What though that light, throstorm and night,
    So trembled from afar
What could there be more purely bright
    In Truths day‑star?

 

[THE HAPPIEST DAY-THE HAPPIEST HOUR ]

 

The happiest day ‑ the happiest hour
    My seard and blighted heart hath known,
The highest hope of pride and power,
    I feel hath flown.

Of power! said I? Yes! such  I ween;
    But they have vanishd long, alas!
The visions of my youth have been
    But let them pass.

And, pride, what have I now with thee?
    Another brow may evn inherit
The venom thou hast pourd on me
    Be still, my spirit.

The happiest day the happiest hour
    Mine eyes shall see have ever seen,
The brightest glance of pride and power
    I feel have been:

But were that hope of pride and power
    Now offerd, with the pain
Evn then I felt that brightest hour
   I would not live again:

For on its wing was dark alloy,
    And as it flutterd fell
An essence powerful to destroy
    A soul that knew it well.



THE LAKE: TO––––––

 

In spring of youth it was my lot
To haunt of the wide world a spot
The which I could not love the less
So lovely was the loneliness
Of a wild lake, with black rock bound,
And the tall pines that towered around.

But when the Night had thrown her pall
Upon that spot, as upon all,
And the mystic wind went by
Murmuring in melody,
Then ah, then I would awake
To the terror of the lone lake.

Yet that terror was not fright,
But a tremulous delight
A feeling not the jewelled mine
Could teach or bribe me to define
Nor Love although the Love were thine.

Death was in that poisonous wave,
And in its gulf a fitting grave
For him who thence could solace bring
To his lone imagining
Whose solitary soul could make
An Eden of that dim lake.