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Plays o'er the higher keys, and bears aloft
The peal of bursting thunder, and then calls
By mellow touches, from the softer tubes,
Voices of melting tenderness, that blend
With pure and gentle musings, till the soul,
Commingling with the melody, is borne,
Rapt, and dissolved in ecstasy, to Heaven.
'Tis not the chime and flow of words, that move
In measured tile, and metrical array;
'Tis not the union of returning sounds,
Nor all the pleasing artifice of rhyme,
And quantity, and accent, that can give
This all pervading spirit to the ear,
Or blend it with the movings of the soul.
'Tis a mysterious feeling, which combines
Man with the world around him, in a chain
Woven of flowers, and dipp'd in sweetness, till
He tastes the high communion of his thoughts,
With all existences, in earth and heaven,
That meet him in the charm of grace and power.
'Tis not the noisy babbler, who displays,
In studied phrase, and ornate epithet,
And rounded period, poor and vapid thoughts,
Which peep from out the cumbrous ornaments
That overload their littleness. Its words
Are few, but deep and solemn; and they break
Fresh from the fount of feeling, and are full
Of all that passion, which, on Carmel, fired
The holy prophet, when his lips were coals,
His language wing’d with terror, as when bolts
Leap from the brooding tempest, armed with wrath,
Commission'd to affright us, and destroy.
This spacious mausoleum holds
Proud dust in many a worship'd shrine; Yon massive golden urn enfolds
The Founder of our line,
In gloomy grandeur, here are laid
The gods our regal race have made.
Yes, here are sleeping side by side
The gods Assyrian queens have borne: Warriors by madmen deified,
And tyrants overthrown.
Why, since my sires are all divine,
Am I, their son, denied a shrine ?
I have unto my people been
A father, brother, and a friend !
Go to the Western Islandmen
Go eastward to mine empire's end; If there be one hath wrong of me, fourfold recompense
shall see. I loved the glittering javelin not
I did not love war's bloody suit;
I left the field where nations fought,
To listen to the lute;
I pass’d the prancing war-horse by,
To gaze at beauty's melting eye.
I never crush d Assyria's sons
To build Colossal temples high ;
I bade the sire his little ones
Watch with a parent's eye. Throughout the land no vassal strives With a hard lord, nor wears his gyves..
I bade my subjects plant the vine
Throughout the realms my sceptre sways ; I bade them quaff the generous wine,
And feast away their days. Sardanapalus thence hath lost His golden shrine and holocaust.
For had I made the rivers dance
With waves of blood from prostrate foes ; And couch'd a warrior's murdering lance,
And broke my land's repose; Then had my glory walk'd abroad And I had been enshrined a god.
What else but wide-spread carnage made
The founder of our line a god ?
A man, whose dark ambition bade
Earth be a crimson'd sod;
A bloody hunter, yet behold!
His shrine is of thrice beaten gold.
And she, the queen of Belus' son,
Who built this sanctuary high,
And plann’d it-proud presuming one!
With roof-tree laid against the sky;
Because she loved war,—when she died
Wide realms her queenship deified.
But I, because my regal day
Hath been array'd in pleasure's dress; Because I courted music's lay
And beauty's dear caress; Because I women loved, and wine, Am thence to be denied a shrine.
Art thou a thing of mortal birth,
Whose happy home is on our earth ?
Does human blood with life embue
Those wandering veins of heavenly blue,
That stray along thy forehead fair,
Lost 'mid a gleam of golden hair?
Oh! can that light and airy breath
Steal from a being doom'd to death ;
Those features to the grave be sent
In sleep thus mutely eloquent ;
Or, art thou, what thy form would seem,
The phantom of a blessed dream?
A human shape I feel thou art,
I feel it at my beating heart,
Those tremors both of soul and sense
Awoke by infant innocence !
Though dear the forms by fancy wove,
We love them with a transient love,
Thoughts from the living world intrude
Even on her deepest solitude:
But, lovely child! thy magic stole
At once into my inmost soul,
With feelings as thy beauty fair,
And left no other vision there,
To me thy parents are unknown;
Glad would they be their child to own!
And well they must have loved before,
If since thy birth they loved not more.
Thou art a branch of noble stem,
And, seeing thee, I figure them,
What many a childless one would give,
If thou in their still home would'st live!
Though in thy face no family line
Might sweetly say, “ This babe is mine!"
In time thou would'st become the same
As their own child,—all but the name!
How happy must thy parents be
Who daily live in sight of thee!
Whose hearts no greater pleasure seek
Than see thee smile, and hear thee speak,
And feel all natural griefs beguiled
By thee, their fond, their duteous child.
What joy must in their souls have stirr'd
When thy first broken words were heard,
Words, that, inspired by Heaven, express'd
The transports dancing in thy breast !
And for thy smile !—thy lip, cheek, brow,
Even while I gaze, are kindling now.
I called thee duteous; am I wrong?
No! truth, I feel, is in my song:
Duteous thy heart's still beatings mové
To God, to Nature, and to Love!
To God !—for thou a harmless child
Hast kept his temple undefiled :
To Nature !--for thy tears and sighs
Obey alone her mysteries :
To Love!--for fiends of hate might see
Thou dwell'st in love, and love in thee !
What wonder then, though in thy dreams
Thy face with mystic meaning beams !
Oh! that my spirit's eye could see
Whence burst those gleams of ecstasy!
That light of dreaming soul appears
To play from thoughts above thy years.