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Long time against oppression have I fought,

And for the native liberty of man

Have bled and suffered bonds.

 

The voices of my home- I hear them still!

They have been with me through dreary nights,

The blessed household voices, wont to fill

My heart’s clear depths with unalloyed fright!

I hear them still, unchanged: though some form of earth

Are music parted, and the tones of mirth-

Wild, silvery tones, that rang through days once bright!

Have died in others- yet to me they come,

Singing of youth anew- the sirens of our home.

 

They call to me through hushed trees, reposing,

In the grey stillness of the summer morn,

They wander by when heavy flowers are closing,

And thoughts grow deep, and the wind and stars born,

Even as a fount’s remembered gushing burst

On the parched traveller in his greatest thirst,

Even thus they haunt me with sweet sounds, till worn

By quenchless longings, to my soul I say-

O for the dove’s swift wings, that I might fly away,

 

And find my scroll, yet whether shall He grant me to bear

A yearning heart within me eternal to the grave.

I am of those over whom a breath of air

Just darkening in its course on the lake’s bright wave,

And sighing through the feathery point hath power

To call up shadows in these silent hours,

From the dim past, as from a wizard’s cave!

So must it be! These skies above me spread,

Are they my own soft skies? Ye rest not here, my dead!

 

Ye far amidst the heartland flowers lie sleeping,

Your graves all smiling in the sunshine clear,

Save one! A gold, lone, distant man is weeping

High over one gentle head, ye rest not here!

Tis not the olive, with a whisper swaying,

Not thy low ripplings, glassy water playing

Through my own chestnut groves, which fill mine ear;

But the faint echoes in my breast that dwell,

And for their birth-place moan, as moans the ocean-shell.

 

Peace! I will dash these fond regrets to earth,

Even as the hawk shakes the cumbering rain

From his strong pinion! Thou that gave me purpose from birth!

And lineage, and once home, my native domain!

Our own bright land, our fathers’ land, our children’s!

What has thy son brought from thee to the wilds?

He has brought marks of torture and the chain,

Fighting each other of broken skulls and bloodied knees,

A blighted name, dark thoughts, wrath, and woe- such are the gifts given by these.

 

A blighted day! I hear the winds of morn,

Their sounds are not of this! I hear the shiver

Of the green reeds, and all the rustlings, born

From the high forest, when the light leaves quiver:

Their sounds are not of this! The cedars, wavering,

Lend it no tone: His wide savannas laving,

It is not murmured by the joyous river!

What part has mortal name, where God alone

Speaks to all of creation, from the loved to the forlorn?

 

Is it not much that I may worship Him,

With nought my spirit’s breathings to control,

And feel His presence in the vast and dim

And whispery woods, where dying thunders roll

From the far cataracts? Shall I not rejoice

That I have learned at last to know His voice

From man’s? I will rejoice, my soaring soul

Now has redeemed her birthright of the day,

And said, through clouds, to Him, her own unfettered way!

 

And you, my sons! Who quarrel at His knee

Does lift to mine thy soft, troubled eyes,

Filled with the pain of loss and apathy, which I see

Pure through its depths, a thing without disguise;

You that has shouted in slumber of your mother’s breast,

When I have checked its throbs to give you rest,

Mine own! Whose young thoughts fresh before me rise!

Is it not much that I may guide your prayer,

And circle the land with free and healthful care?

 

Why must you strike the skulls of kin, my boy?

Within your fathers’ halls you will shall dwell,

Yet lifting the banner of war, not a tankard of joy,

Amidst the sons of elder lines, who fell

For days bygone. Yet what if rolling waves

Have born us far from our ancestral days!

You feel your heart ringing like bells

As mine has done; and bear what I have born,

Casting in falsehood’s mould the indignant brow of scorn.

 

This shall not be your lot, my blessed kin!

I have not sorrowed, struggled, lived in vain!

Hear me, as words that come from the ancient djinn;

And mighty rivers, you that meet the main,

As deep meets deep; and forests, whose dim shade

The flood’s voice, and the wind’s by swells pervade;

Hear me, tis well to die and never complain,

Yet there are hours when the charged heart must speak,

Even in the desert’s ear to pour itself or break!

 

I see an oak before me, it has been

The crowned majesty of the woods, which flung

Its hundred arms to the Skies, still freshly green,

But a wild vine around the stem has clung,

From branch to branch close wreaths of bondage throwing,

Till the proud tree, before no tempest bowing,

Has shrunk and died, those serpent-folds among.

Alas! Alas! What is it that I see?

An image of man’s rise, land of our sires, with we!

 

Yet are you not all lovely! Song is on the hills!

O sweet and mournful melodies of Oren,

That lulled my boyhood, how your memory thrills

The exile’s heart, though sent beyond the far glen!

The sounds are on the rocks, that I might hear

Once more the music of the mountaineer!

And from the sunny vales the shepherd’s strain

Floats out and fills that solitary place

With the old tuneful names of our heroic race.

 

But there was silence one bright, golden day;

Through St Catherine’s mount. Clear, yet lone,

In the rich autumn light the vineyards lay,

And from the fields the peasant’s voice was gone;

And the red grapes untrodden strewed the ground,

And the free flocks untended roamed around:

Where was the pastor? The pipe’s wild tone?

Music and mirth were hushed the hills among,

While to the city’s gate each hamlet poured its throng.

 

Silence upon the mountains!­ But within

The city's gates a rush­, a press­, a swell

Of multitudes their torrent way to win;

And heavy boomings of a dull deep bell,

A dead pause following each­, like that which parts

The dash of billows, holding breathless hearts

Fast in the hush of fear­- knell after knell;

And sounds of thickening steps, like thunder‐rain,

That splashes on the roof of some vast echoing fane!

 

What pageant's hour approached?­ The sullen gate

Of a strong ancient prison‐house was thrown

Back to the day. And who, in mournful state,

Came forth, led slowly over its threshold‐stone?

They had learned, in cells of secret gloom,

How sunshine is forgotten!­ They, to whom

The very features of mankind were grown

Things that bewildered!­ Over their dazzled sight,

They lifted their wan hands, and cowered before the light!

 

To this man brings in bonds his brother! ­Some were there,

Who with their desolation had entwined

Fierce strength, and girt the sternness of despair

Fast round their bosoms, even as warriors bind

The breast‐plate on for fight: but brow and cheek

Seemed theirs a torturing panoply to speak!

And there were some, from whom the very mind

Had been wrung out: they smiled! O, startling smile

Whence man's high soul is fled!­ Where does it sleep the while?

 

But onward moved the melancholy train,

For their false creeds in fiery pangs to die.

This was the solemn sacrifice of life and pain

God’s offering from the land of chivalry!

Through thousands and thousands of their race they moved!

Oh! How unlike all others!­ The beloved,

The free, the proud, the beautiful! whose eye

Grew fix'd before them, while a people’s breath

Was hushed, and it's one soul bound in the thought of death!

 

It might be that amidst the countless throng,

There swelled some heart with Pity's weight oppressed,

For the wide stream of human love is strong;

And woman, on whose fond and faithful breast

Childhood is reared, and at whose knee the sigh

Of its first prayer is breathed, she, too, was nigh.

But life is dear, and the free footstep blessed,

And home a sunny place, where each may fill

Some eye with glistening smiles,­and therefore all were still­.

 

All still­! Youth, courage, strength! ­A winter laid,

A chain of palsy, cast on might and mind!

Still, as at noon a southern forest's shade,

They stood, those breathless masses of mankind;

Still, as a frozen torrent!­but the wave

Soon leaps to foaming freedom they, the brave,

Endured. They saw the martyr's place assigned

In the flames of passion, the withering spell

That numbs each human pulse?­ They saw, and thought it well.

 

And I, too, thought it well! That very morn

From a far land I came, yet round me clung

The spirit of my own. No hand had torn

With a strong grasp away the veil which hung

Between mine eyes and truth. I gazed, I saw,

Dimly, as through a glass. In silent awe

I watched the fearful rites; and if there sprung

One rebel feeling from its deep founts up,

Shuddering, I flung it back, as guilt's own poison‐cup.

 

But I was awakened as the dreamers waken

Whom the shrill trumpet and the shriek of dread

Rouse up at midnight, when their walls are taken,

And they must battle till their blood is shed

On their own threshold‐floor. A path for light

Through my torn breast was shattered by the might

Of the swift thunder‐stroke­ and Freedom's tread

Came in through ruins, late, yet not in vain,

Making the blighted place all green with life again.

 

Still darkly, slowly, as a sullen mass

Of cloud, over sweeping, without wind, the sky,

Dream‐like I saw the sad procession pass,

And marked its victims with a tearless eye.

They moved before me but as pictures, wrought

Each to reveal some secret of man's thought,

On the sharp edge of sad mortality,

Till in his place came one, ­oh! Could it be?

My friend, my heart's first friend! ­And did I gaze on thee?

 

On you, with whom in lifeI had devoted and gave,

At the grape‐gatherings, by my native streams;

And to whose eye my youthful soul had laid

Bare, as to the Skies, its glowing world of dreams;

And by whose side midst warriors I had stood,

And in whose helm was brought­! Earned with blood

The fresh wave to my lips, when tropic beams

Smote on my fevered brow!­ Aye, years had pass'd,

Severing our paths, brave friend! ­And thus we met at last!

 

I see it still, the lofty mien you borest

On your pale forehead sat a sense of power!

The very look that once you brightly wores,

Cheering me onward through a fearful hour,

When we were girt by bow and spear,

Midst the golden fields of Leuven as deer,

Hemmed in our camp but through the javelin shower

We rent our way, a tempest of despair!

And you had but died with thy true brethren there!

 

I call the fond wish back, for you hast perished

More nobly far, my fronte! ­Making known

The might of truth; and be your memory cherished

With theirs, the thousands, that around her throne

Have poured their lives out smiling, in that doom

Finding a triumph, if denied a tomb!

Ay, with their ashes has the wind been sown,

And with the wind their spirit shall be spread,

Filling man's heart and home with records of the dead.

 

You searcher of the soul! In whose dread sight

Not the bold guilt alone, that mocks the Skies,

But the scarce‐owned, unwhispered thought of night,

As a thing written with the sunbeam lies;

You know whose eye through shade and depth can see.

That this man's crime was but to worship thee,

Like those that made their hearts thy sacrifice,

The called of yore; want by the Prophet’s side,

In the dim grotto to pray at eventide.

 

For the strong spirit will at times awake,

Piercing the mists that wrap her clay‐abode;

And, born of thee, she may not always take

Earth's accents for the oracles of God;

And even for this, O dust, whose mask is power!

Reed, that would be a scourge your little hour!

Spark, whereon yet the mighty has not trod,

And therefore you destroy!­ Where were flown

Our hope, if man were left to man's decree alone?

 

But this I felt not yet. I could but gaze

On him, my friend; while that swift moment threw

A sudden freshness back on vanished days,

Like water‐drops on some dim picture's hue;

Calling the proud time up, when first I stood

Where banners floated, and my heart's quick blood

Sprang to a torrent as the clarion blew,

And he his sword was like a brother's worn,

That watches through the field his mother's youngest born.

 

But a lance met me in that day's career,

Senseless I lay amidst the over sweeping fight,

Wakening at last, how full, how strangely clear,

That scene on memory flashed! The shivery light,

Moonlight, on broken shields, plain of slaughter,

The fountain‐side, the low sweet sound of water­

And those bending over from the night

Covering me with their mantle!­ All the past

Flowed back­, my soul's far chords all answered to the blast.

 

Till, in that rush of visions, I became

As one that by the bands of slumber wound,

Lies with a powerless, but all‐thrilling frame,

Intense in consciousness of sight and sound,

Yet buried in a wildering dream which brings

Loved faces round him, girt with fearful things!

Troubled even thus I stood, but chained and bound

On that familiar form mine eye to keep­

Alas! I might not fall upon his neck and weep!

 

He passed me­, and what next?­I looked on two,

Following his footsteps to the same dread place,

For the same guilt, his sister! ­Well I knew

The beauty on those brows, though each young face

Was changed, so deeply changed!­ A dungeon's air

Is hard for loved and lovely things to bear,

And ye, O daughters of a lofty race,

Queen‐like Julia! Radiant Tara!­ Flowers

So cherish'd! were ye then but rear'd for those dark hours?

 

A mournful home, young sisters! Had ye left,

With your lutes hanging hushed upon the wall,

And silence round the aged man, bereft

Of each glad voice, once answering his call.

Alas, that lonely father! Doomed to pine

For sounds departed in his life's decline,

And, midst the shadowing banners of his hall,

With his white hair to sit, and deem the name

A hundred lords had borne, cast down by you to shame!

 

And woe for you, midst looks and words of love,

And gentle hearts and faces, nursed so long!

How had I seen you in your beauty move,

Wearing the wreath, and listening to the song!

Yet sat, even then, what seemed the crowd to shun,

Half veiled upon the clear pale brow of one,

And deeper thoughts than oft to youth belong,

Thoughts, such as wake to evening's whispery sway,

Within the drooping shade of her sweet eyelids lay.

 

And if she mingled with the festive train,

It was but as some melancholy star

Beholds the dance of shepherds on the plain,

In its bright stillness present, though afar.

Yet would she smile­, and that, too, has its smile­

Circled with joy which reached her not the while,

And bearing a lone spirit, not at war

With earthly things, but over their form and hue

Shedding too clear a light, too sorrowfully true.

 

But the dark hours wring forth the hidden might

Which has lain bedded in the silent soul,

A treasure all undreamt of; ­as the night

Calls out the harmonies of streams that roll

Unheard by day. It seemed as if her breast

Had hoarded energies, till then suppressed

Almost with pain, and bursting from control,

And finding first that hour their pathway free:

Could a rose brave the storm, such might her emblem be!

 

For the soft gloom whose shadow still had hung

On her fair brow, beneath its garlands worn,

Was fled; and fire, like prophecy's had sprung

Clear to her kindled eye. It might be scorn­

Pride­, sense of wrong­, aye, the frail heart is bound

By these at times, even as with adamant round,

Kept so from breaking!­ Yet not thus upborne

She moved, though some sustaining passion's wave

Lifted her fervent soul, a sister for the brave!

 

And yet, alas! To see the strength which clings

Round woman in such hours!­ A mournful sight,

Though lovely! ­An overflowing of the springs,

The full springs of affection, deep as bright!

And she, because her life is ever twined

With other lives, and by no stormy wind

May thence be shaken, and because the light

Of tenderness is round her, and her eye

Doth weep such passionate tears, therefore she thus can die.

 

Therefore did you, through that heart‐shaking scene,

As through a triumph move; and cast aside

Thine own sweet thoughtfulness for victory's mien,

O faithful sister! Cheering thus the guide,

And friend, and brother of your sainted youth,

Whose hand had led thee to the source of truth,

Where your glad soul from earth was purified;

Nor wouldst thou, following him through all the past,

That he should see thy step grow tremulous at last.

 

For thou hadst made no deeper love a guest

Midst thy young spirit's dreams, than that which grows

Between the nurtured of the same fond breast,

The shelter of one roof; and thus it rose

Twined in with life. ­How is it, that the hours

Of the same sport, the gathering early flowers

Round the same tree, the sharing one repose,

And mingling one first prayer in murmurs soft,

From the heart's memory fade, in this world's breath, so oft?

 

But thee that breath had touched not; thee, nor him,

The true in all things found!­ And thou wert blest

Even then, that no remembered change could dim

The perfect image of affection, pressed

Like armour to thy bosom! ­You had kept

Watch by that brother's couch of pain, and wept,

Thy sweet face covering with thy robe, when rest

Fled from the sufferer; thou hadst bound his faith

Unto thy soul, one light, one hope, you chose death.

 

So did Youpass on brightly! ­But for her,

Next in that path, how may her doom be spoken!

All‐merciful! To think that such things were,

And are, and seen by men with hearts unbroken!

To think of that fair girl, whose path had been

So strewn with rose‐leaves, all one fairy scene!

And whose quick glance came ever as a token

Of hope to drooping thought, and her glad voice

As a free bird's in spring, that makes the woods rejoice!

 

And she to die! ­Sh  loved the laughing earth

With such deep joy in its fresh leaves and flowers!

Was not her smile even as the sudden birth

Of a young rainbow, colouring vernal showers?

Yes! But to meet her fawn‐like step, to hear

The gushes of wild song, so silvery clear,

Which, oft unconsciously, in happier hours

Flow'd from her lips, was to forget the sway

Of Time and Death below, ­blight, shadow, dull decay!

 

Could this change be?­ The hour, the scene, where last

I saw that form, came floating over my mind:

A golden vintage‐eve; ­the heats were pass'd,

And, in the freshness of the fanning wind,

Her father sat, where gleaned the first faint star

Through the lime‐boughs; and with her light guitar,

She, on the greensward at his feet reclined,

In his calm face laughed up; some shepherd‐lay

Singing, as childhood sings on the lone hills at play.

 

And now­, O God! ­The bitter fear of death,

The sore amaze, the faint overshadowing dread,

Had grasped her! ­Panting in her quick‐drawn breath,

And in her white lips quivering; ­onward led,

She looked up with her dim bewildered eyes,

And there smiled out her own soft brilliant skies,

Far in their sultry southern azure spread,

Glowing with joy, but silent! ­Still they smiled,

Yet sent down no reprieve for earth's poor trembling child.

 

Alas! That earth had all too strong a hold,

Too fast, sweet one! One your heart, whose bloom

Was given to early love, nor knew how cold

The hours which follow. There was one, with whom,

Young as thou wert, and gentle, and untried,

You might, perchance, unshrinkingly have died;

But he was far away;­and with thy doom

Thus gathering, life grew so intensely dear,

That all thy slight frame shook with its cold mortal fear!

 

No aid!­ You too did pass!­ Abd all had passed,

The fearful and the desperate and the strong!

Some like the bark that rushes with the blast,

Some like the leaf swept shiveringly along,

And some as men, that have but one more field

To fight, and then may slumber on their shield,

Therefore they arm in hope. But now the throng

Roll'd on, and bore me with their living tide,

Even as a bark wherein is left no power to guide.

 

Wave swept on wave. We reached a stately square,

Decked for the rites. An altar stood on high,

And gorgeous, in the midst. A place for prayer,

And praise, and offering. Could the earth supply

No fruits, no flowers for sacrifice, of all

Which on her sunny lap unheeded fall?

No fair young firstling of the flock to die,

As when before their God the Prophets stood?

Look down! Man brings you, Seven Skies! His brother's guiltless blood!

 

Hear its voice, hear! ­A cry goes up to thee,

From the stained sod; ­make thou thy judgment known

On him, the shedder! ­Let his portion be

The fear that walks at midnight, give the moan

In the wind haunting him a power to say

"Where is thy brother?" ­and the stars a ray

To search and shake his spirit, when alone

With the dread splendor of their burning eyes!

So shall earth own thy will, mercy, not sacrifice!

 

Sounds of triumphant praise!­ The mass was sung­

Voices that die not might have poured such strains!

Through Paradisius’ towers might that proud chant have rung,

When the Most High, on Jrent’s palmy plains,

Had quelled  her foes!­ So full it swept, a sea

Of loud waves jubilant, and rolling free!

Often when the wind, as through resounding fanes,

Hath filled the choral forests with its power,

Some deep tone brings me back the music of that hour.

 

It died away;­ The incense‐cloud was driven

Before the breeze, the words of doom were said;

And the sun faded mournfully from the Skies,

He faded mournfully! And dimly red,

Parting in clouds from those that look'd their last,

And sigh'd­ “farewell, sun!"­, which glowed and passed

Night. Midnight and the moon came forth and shed

Sleep, even as dew, on glen, wood, peopled spot­

Save one's place of death and there men slumbered not.

 

'Twas not within the city but in sight

Of the snow‐crowned sierras, freely sweeping,

With many an eagle's eyrie on the height,

And hunter's cabin, by the torrent peeping

Far off: and vales between, and vineyards lay,

With sound and gleam of waters on their way,

And chestnut‐woods, that girt the happy sleeping,

In many a peasant‐home!­the midnight sky

Brought softly that rich world round those who came to die.

 

The darkly‐glorious midnight sky of Auvergne,

Burning with stars! ­What had the torches' glare

To do beneath that Temple, and profane

Its holy radiance? ­By their wavering flare,

I saw beside the pyres­I see thee now,

O bright Julia! With thy lifted brow,

And thy clasped hands, and dark eyes filled with prayer!

And thee, sad one! Bowing thy fair head,

And mantling up thy face, all colourless with dread!

 

And those soldiers!­ I beheld thee too,

Pale, steadfast, kingly; till thy clear glance fell

On that young sister; then perturbed it grew,

And all thy labouring bosom seemed to swell

With painful tenderness. Why came I there,

That troubled image of my friend to bear,

Thence, for my after‐years?­ A thing to dwell

In my heart's core, and on the darkness rise,

Disquieting my dreams with its bright mournful eyes?

 

Why came I? O, the heart's deep mystery! ­Why

In man's last hour does vain affection's gaze

Fix itself down on struggling agony,

To the dimmed eye‐balls freezing, as they glaze?

It might be­yet the power to will seem'd over

That my soul yearns to hear his voice once more!

But mine was fettered! ­Mute in strong amaze,

I watch'd his features as the night‐wind blew,

And torch‐light or the moon's passed over their marble hue.

 

The trampling of a steed!­ A tall white steed,

Rending his fiery way the crowds among­

A storm's way through a forest, camr at speed,

And a wild voice cried "The future is uncertain and the end is always near!" Swift she flung

The mantle from her face, and gazed around,

With a faint shriek at that familiar sound,

And from his seat a breathless rider sprung,

And dashed off fiercely those who came to part,

And rushed to that pale girl, and clasped her to his heart.

 

And for a moment all around gave way

To that full burst of passion!­ On his breast,

Like a bird panting yet from fear she lay,

But blest­ ub misery's very lap­, yet blessed!­

Oh love, love, strong as death!­ From such an hour

Pressing out joy by thine immortal power,

Holy and fervent love! Had earth but rest

For thee and thine, this world were all too fair!

How could we thence be weaned to die without despair?

 

But she­ falls a willow from the storm,

Over its own river streaming thus reclined

On the youth's bosom hung her fragile form,

And clasping arms, so passionately twin'd

Around his neck­, with such a trusting fold,

A full deep sense of safety in their hold,

As if nought earthly might the embrace unbind!

Alas! A child's fond faith, believing still

Its mother's breast beyond the lightning's reach to kill!

 

Brief rest! Upon the turning billow's height,

A strange sweet moment of some heavenly strain,

Floating between the savage gusts of night,

That sweep the seas to foam! Soon dark again

The hour­, the scene­, the intensely present, rushed

Back on her spirit, and her large tears gushed

Like blood‐drops from a victim; with swift rain

Bathing the bosom where she leaned that hour,

As if her life would melt into the overswelling shower.

 

But he, whose arm sustained her!­ O! I knew

'Twas vain, and yet he hoped!­ He fondly strove

Back from her faith her sinking soul to woo,

As life might yet be hers!­ A dream of love

Which could not look upon so fair a thing,

Remembering how like hope, like joy, like spring,

Her smile was wont to glance, her step to move,

And deem that men indeed, in very truth,

Could mean the sting of death for her soft flowering youth!

 

He wooed her back to life.­"Sweet country, live!

My blessed land! ­Visions have beguiled

Thy heart, abjure them! You were formed to give,

And to find, joy; and has not sunshine smiled

Around thee ever? Leave me not, mine own!

Or earth will grow too dark!­for thee alone,

Thee have I loved, thou gentlest! From a child,

And borne thine image with me o'er the sea,

Thy soft voice in my soul, ­speak! Oh! Yet live for me!"

 

She looked up wildly; these were anxious eyes

Waiting that look­, sad eyes of troubled thought,

tormented by lost era’s creed. ­Did her childhood rise,

With all its pure and home‐affections fraught,

In the brief glance?­ She clasped her hands, ­the strife

Of love, faith, fear, and that vain dream of life,

Within her woman's breast so deeply wrought,

It seemed as if a reed so slight and weak

Must, in the rending storm not quiver only­ break!

 

And thus it was ­the young cheeks flushed and faded,

As the swift blood in currents came and went,

And hues of death the marble brow overshaded,

And the sunk eye a watery luster sent

Through its white fluttering lids. Then tremblings passed

Over the frail form, shook it, as the blast

Shakes the sere leaf, until the spirit rent

Its way to peace, ­the fearful way unknown­

Pale in love's arms she lay­she!­what had lov'd was gone!

 

Joy for thee, trembler!­ You redeemed one, joy!

Young dove set free! earth, ashes, soulless clay,

Remained for baffled vengeance to destroy;

Thy chain was riven!­ Nor hadst thou cast away

Thy hope in thy last hour!­ Though love was there

Striving to wring thy troubled soul from prayer,

And life seem'd robed in beautiful array,

Too fair to leave! ­But this might be forgiven,

You were so richly crown'd with precious gifts of the Skies!

 

But woe to him who felt the heart grow still,

Which, with its weight of agony, had lain

Breaking on his!­ Scarce could the mortal chill

Of the hushed bosom, never to heave again,

And all the silence curdling round the eye,

Bring home the stern belief that she could die,

That she indeed could die!­for wild and vain

As hope might be­, his soul had hoped was over

Slowly his failing arms dropped from the form they bore.

 

They forced him from that spot.­ It might be well,

That the fierce, reckless words by anguish wrung

From his torn breast, all aimless as they fell,

Like spray‐drops from the strife of torrents flung,

Were marked as guilt.­ There are, who note these things

Against the smitten heart; its breaking strings

On whose low thrills once gentle music hung­

With a rude hand of touch unholy trying,

And numbering then as crimes, the deep, strange tones replying.

 

But ye in solemn joy, O faithful pair!

Stood gazing on your parted sister's dust;

I saw your features by the torch's glare,

And they were brightening with a heavenward trust!

I saw the doubt, the anguish, the dismay,

Melt from the land’s glorious mien away,

And peace was there, ­the calmness of the just!

And, bending down the slumberer's brow to kiss,

"Thy rest is won," he said: ­"Sweet sister! Praise for this!"

 

I started as from sleep; yes! He had spoken­

A breeze had troubled memory's hidden source!

At once the torpor of my soul was broken­

Thought, feeling, passion, woke in tenfold force.

There are soft breathings in the southern wind,

That so your ce‐chains, O ye streams! Unbind,

And free the foaming swiftness of your course!

I burst from those that held me back, and fell

Even on his neck, and cried, ­"Friend, brother! fare thee well!"

 

Did he not say "Farewell?"­ Alas! No breath

Came to mine ear. Hoarse murmurs from the throng

Told that the mysteries in the face of death

Had from their eager sight been veil'd too long.

And we were parted as the surge might part

Those that would die together, true of heart.

His hour was come­but in mine anguish strong,

Like a fierce swimmer through the midnight sea,

Blindly I rushed away from that which was to be.

 

Away, away I rushed;­ but swift and high

The arrowy pillars of the firelight grew,

Till the transparent darkness of the sky

Flush'd to a blood‐red mantle in their hue;

And, phantom‐like, the kindling city seem'd

To spread, float, wave, as on the wind they streamed,

With their wild splendour chasing me!­I knew

The death‐work was begun­I Veiled mine eyes,

Yet stopped in spell‐bound fear to catch the victims' cries,

 

What heard I then?­ A ringing shriek of pain,

Such as forever haunts the tortured ear?

I heard a sweet and solemn‐breathing strain

Piercing the flames, untremulous and clear!

The rich, triumphal tones!­ Iknew them well,

As they came floating with a breezy swell!

Man's voice was there­, a clarion voice to cheer

In the mid‐battle­,aye, to turn the crying

­that might have sung of Heaven beside the dying!

 

It was a fearful, yet a glorious thing,

To hear that hymn of martyrdom, and know

That its glad stream of melody could spring

Up from the unsounded gulfs of human woe!

O countrymen, ­what is deep? What strong?

God's breath within the soul!­ It filled that song

From your victorious voices!­ But the glow

On the hot air and lurid skies increased

Faint grew the sounds­ more faint­, I listened, had ceased!

 

And thou indeed hadst perished, my soul's friend!

I might form other ties but thou alone

Couldst with a glance the veil of dimness rend,

By other years over boyhood's memory thrown!

Others might aid me onward: ­Thou and I

Had mingled the fresh thoughts that early die,

Once flowering never more! ­And you were gone!

Who could give back my youth, my spirit free,

Or be in aught again what thou hadst been to me?

 

And yet I wept thee not, you true and brave!

I could not weep!­ There gathered round thy name

Too deep a passion! ­You denied a grave!

Thou, with the blight flung on thy soldier's fame!

Had I not known thy heart from childhood's time?

Thy heart of hearts? ­And could you commit crime?

Once I thought not: Had all earth decreed that death of shame,

I would have set, against all earth's decree,

The inalienable trust of my firm soul in thee!

 

There are swift hours in life­strong, rushing hours,

That do the work of tempests in their might!

They shake down things that stood as rocks and towers

Unto the undoubting mind;­they pour in light

Where it but startles, like a burst of day

For which the uprooting of an oak makes way;­

They sweep the colouring mists from off our sight,

They touch with fire, thought's graven page, the roll

Stamp'd with past years­, and lo! it shrivels as a scroll!

 

And this was of such hours!­ The sudden flow

Of my soul's tide seemed whelming me; the glare

Of the burning fires, yet rocking to and fro,

Scorched up my heart with breathless thirst for air,

And solitude, and freedom. It had been

Well with me then, in some vast desert scene,

To pour my voice out, for the winds to bear

On with them, wildly questioning the sky,

Fiercely the untroubled stars, of man's dim destiny.

 

I would have called, adjuring the dark cloud;

To the most ancient Heavens I would have said

"Speak to me! show me the truth!" ­Through night aloud

I would have cried to him, the newly dead,

"Come back! And show me the truth!" ­My spirit seemed

Gasping for some free burst, its darkness teemed

With such pent storms of thought!­ Again I fled­

I fled, a refuge from man's face to gain,

Scarce conscious when I paused, entering a lonely fane.

 

A mighty minster, dim, and proud, and vast!

Silence was round the sleepers, whom its floor

Shut in the grave; a shadow of the past,

A memory of the sainted steps that wore

Erewhile its gorgeous pavement, seemed to brood

Like mist upon the stately solitude,

A halo of sad fame to mantle over

Its white sepulchral forms of mail‐clad men,

And all was hush'd as night in some deep glen.

 

More hushed, far more!­ For there the wind sweeps by,

Or the woods tremble to the streams' loud play!

Here a strange echo made my very sigh

Seem for the place too much a sound of day!

Too much my footsteps broke the moonlight, fading,

Yet arch through arch in one soft flow pervading;

And I stood still: ­prayer, chant, had died away,

Yet past me floated a funeral breath

Of incense.­ I stood still­, as before God and death!

 

For thick ye girt me round, ye long‐departed!

Dust­imaged form with cross, and shield, and crest;

It seemed as if your ashes would have started,

Had a wild voice burst forth above your rest!

Yet never, perchance, did worshipper of yore

Bear to your thrilling presence what I bore

Of wrath, ­doubt­, anguish­, battling in the breast!

I could have poured out words, on that pale air,

To make your proud tombs ring: ­no, no! I could not there!

 

Not midst those aisles, through which a thousand years

Mutely as clouds and reverently had swept;

Not by those shrines, which yet the trace of tears

And kneeling votaries on their marble kept!

Ye were too mighty in your pomp of gloom

And trophied age, O temple, altar, tomb!

And you, ye dead!­for in that faith ye slept,

Whose weight had grown a mountain's on my heart,

Which could not there be loosed.­ I turned me to depart.

 

I turned, what glimmered faintly on my sight,

Faintly, yet brightening, as a wreath of snow

Seen through dissolving haze? ­The moon, the night,

Had waned, and dawn poured in; ­grey, shadowy, slow,

Yet day‐spring still!­ A solemn hue it caught,

Piercing the storied windows, darkly fraught

With stoles and draperies of imperial glow;

And soft, and sad, that colouring gleam was thrown,

Where, pale, a pictured form above the altar shone.

 

Thy form, thou son of man!­ A wrathful deep,

With foam, and cloud, and tempest, round thee spread,

And such a weight of night!­a night, when sleep

From the fierce rocking of the billows fled.

A bark show'd dim beyond thee, with its mast

Bow'd, and its rent sail shivering to the blast;

But, like a spirit in thy gliding tread,

Thou, as o'er glass, didst walk that stormy sea

Through rushing winds, which left a silent path for thee

 

So still thy white robes fell!­ No breath of air

Within their long and slumberous folds had sway!

So still the waves of parted, shadowy hair

From thy clear brow flowed drooping away!

Dark were the Heavens above thee, Saviour!­ Dark

The gulfs, Deliverer! round the straining bark!

But thou!­o'er all thine aspect and array

Was poured one stream of pale, broad, silvery light­

Thou wert the single star of that all‐shrouding night!

 

Aid for one sinking!­ Your lone brightness gleaned

On his wild face, just lifted o'er the wave,

With its worn, fearful; human look that seem'd

To cry through surge and blast, "I perish­, save!"

Not to the winds, ­not vainly!­ You were nigh,

Thy hand was stretched to fainting agony,

Even in the portals of the unquiet grave!

O thou that art the life! and yet did bear

Too much of mortal woe to turn from mortal prayer!

 

But was it not a thing to rise on death,

With its remember'd light, that face of thine,

Redeemer! Dimmed by this world's misty breath,

Yet mournfully, mysteriously divine?

Oh! that calm, sorrowful, prophetic eye,

With its dark depths of grief, love, majesty!

And the pale glory of the brow!­a shrine

Where Power sat veiled, yet shedding softly round

What told that thou couldst be but for a time uncrowned!

 

And more than all, the Skies of that sad smile!

The lip of mercy, our immortal trust!

Did not that look, that very look, erewhile,

Pour its o'ershadow'd beauty on the dust?

Were thou not such when earth's dark cloud hung over thee?

Surely thou were! ­my heart grew hush'd before thee,

Sinking with all its passions, as the gust

Sank at thy voice, along its billowy way:­

What had I there to do, but kneel, and weep, and pray?

 

Amidst the stillness rose my spirit's cry

Amidst the dead­, "By that full cup of woe,

Pressed from the fruitage of mortality,

Prophets! For they give light! That I may know

If by thy will, in thine all‐healing name,

Men cast down human hearts to blighting shame,

And early death and say, if this be so,

Where then is mercy?­ Wither shall we flee,

So unallied to hope, save by our hold on thee?

 

"But did thou not, the deep sea brightly treading,

Lift from despair that struggle with the wave?

And wee thou not, sad tears, yet awful, shedding,

Beheld, a weeper at a mortal's grave?

And is this weight of anguish, which they bind

On life, this searing to the quick of mind,

But to God its own free path would crave,

This crushing out of hope, and love, and youth,

Thy will indeed? ­Give light! That I may know the truth!

 

"For my sick soul is darkened unto death,

With shadows from the suffering it hath seen

The strong foundations of mine ancient faith

Sink from beneath me, where on shall I lean?

Oh! if from thy pure lips was wrung the sigh

Of the dust's anguish! if like man to die,

And earth round him shuts heavily, ­hasvbeen

Even to thee bitter, aid me!­guide me!­turn

My wild and wandering thoughts back from their starless bourne!"

 

And calmed, I rose:­ but how the while had risen

Morn's orient sun, dissolving mist and shade!

Could there indeed be wrong, or chain, or prison.

In the bright world such radiance might pervade?

It fill'd the fane, it mantled the pale form

Which rose before me through the pictured storm,

Even the grey tombs it kindled, and array'd

With life!­how hard to see thy race begun,

And think man wakes to grief, wakening to thee, O sun!

 

I sought my home again:­and thou, my child,

There at thy play beneath yon ancient pine,

With eyes, whose lightning laughter has beguiled

A thousand pangs, thence flashing joy to mine;

Thou in thy mother's arms, a babe, didst meet

My coming with young smiles, which yet, though sweet,

Seem'd on my soul all mournfully to shine,

And ask a happier heritage for thee,

Than but in turn the blight of human hope to see.

 

Now sport, for thou are free­, the bright birds chasing,

Whose wings waft star‐like gleams from tree to tree;

Or with the fawn, thy swift wood‐playmate racing,

Sport on, my joyous child! For thou art free!

Yes, on that day I took thee to my heart,

And inly vowed, for thee a better part

To choose; that so thy sunny bursts of glee

Should wake no more dim thoughts of far‐seen woe,

But, gladdening fearless eyes, flow on­, as now they flow.

 

Thou hast a rich world round thee: ­Mighty shades

Weaving their gorgeous tracery over thy head,

With the light melting through their high arcades,

As through a pillared cloister's: but the dead

Sleep not beneath; nor doth the sunbeam pass

To marble shrines through rainbow‐tinted glass;

Yet thou, by fount and forest‐murmur led

To worship, thou art blest!­ To thee is shown

The world in her holy pomp, decked for her God alone.

 

-Joseph Marna

 

Spoiler

((from the Forest Sanctuary by Felicitia Browne https://quod.lib.umich.edu/b/bwrp/HemaFFores?view=toc ))

 

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Roses are red, Joesph is a bender, can’t be arsed with poems lets kill the pretender.Risky Ralph would scream in laughter at the top of his lungs as he waved his handless stumps around wildly.

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Posted (edited)

Damien would play the air piano with Emperor Adrian being his lead vocalist.


 

Edited by Lionbileti

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Elijah the Farmer wallows in the memory of his Emperor, Emperor Joey.

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Peter would begin to blow on his harmonica 

 

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Lord James Fredrick de Ravensbourg smiles as he recieves the poem. “I knew he was still kickin’.”

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“I miss you more” Says a saddened northman

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Little Joey sniffles

 

”Oh pap, blimey hell the red ***** Rutledge foked us all over! Lil’ Frannie took her own loife. I miss ye MORE pap!”

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Almost heaven, West Oren-ia
Golden ridged fields, Czena River
Life is old there, older than the trees
Younger than the mountains, blowing like a breeze

 

Country roads, take me home
To the place I belong
West Oren-ia, mountain mama
Take me home, country roads

 

All my memories gather round her
Miner's lady, stranger to blue water
Dark and dusty, painted on the sky
Misty taste of moonshine, teardrop in my eye

 

Country roads, take me home
To the place I belong
West Oren-ia, mountain mama
Take me home, country roads

 

I hear her voice, in the morning hour she calls me
The bards reminds me of my home far away
And driving down the road I get a feeling
That I should have been home yesterday, yesterday

 

Country roads, take me home
To the place I belong
West Oren-ia, mountain mama
Take me home, country roads

Country roads, take me home


To the place I belong
West Oren-ia, mountain mama
Take me home, country roads

Take me home, down country roads
Take me home, down country roads

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”Roses are red, Joseph’s a bender..” Illythia begins as she starts to sing the melody of The War of The Two Emperors.

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“The guy who managed to lose an easy war” Aelthos simply states as he goes to drink his shame away.

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The Serial Toilet Plugger just sat there and blinked at the poem, “I don’t know how to read!”

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