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Which follows the decline of day,
II. But it is not to list to the waterfall That Parisina leaves her ball, And it is not to gaze on the heavenly light That the lady walks in the shadow of night; And if she sits in Este's bower, "Tis not for the sake of its full-blown flower She listens — but not for the nightingale Though her ear expects as soft a tale. There glides a step through the foliage thick, And her cheek grows pale—and her heart beats quick. There whispers a voice through the rustling leaves, And her blush returns, and her bosom heaves : A moment more — and they shall meet 'Tis past - her lover's at her feet.
But fever'd in her sleep she seems,
And mutters she in her unrest
And clasps her lord unto the breast
III. And what unto them is the world beside, With all its change of time and tide ? Its living things — its carth and skyAre nothing to their mind and eye. And heedless as the dead are they
Of aught around, above, beneath ; As if all else had pass'd away,
They only for each other breathe ; Their very sighs are full of joy
So deep, that did it not decay, That bappy madness would destroy
The hearts which feel its fiery sway: Of guilt, of peril, do they deem In that tumultuous tender dream ? Who that have felt that passion's power, Or paused, or feard in such an bour ? Or thought how brief such moments last ? But yet -- they are already past ! Alas! we must awake before We know such vision comes no more.
He clasp'd her sleeping to his heart,
And listened to each broken word : He hears — Why doth Prince Azo start,
As if the Archangel's voice he heard ?
And dashes on the pointed rock
So came upon his soul the shock.
The spot of guilty gladness past;
As if that parting were the last.
The lip that there would cling for ever,
The Heaven she fears will not forgive her, As if each calmly conscious star Beheld her frailty from afarThe frequent sigb, the long embrace, Yet binds them to their trysting-place. But it must come, and they must part In fearful beaviness of heart, With all the deep and shuddering chill Which follows fast the deeds of ill.
But sheath'd it ere the point was bare
He could not slay a thing so fair
At least, not smiling - sleeping - there Nay more : - he did not wake her then,
But gazed upon her with a glance
Which, had she roused her from her trauce, Had frozen her sense to sleep again And o'er his brow the burning lamp Gleam'd on the dew-drops big and damp. She spake no more - but still she slumber'd While, in his thought, her days are number'd.
To save themselves, and would transfer
The guilt - the shame - the doom - to her: Concealment is no more - they speak
And Hugo is gone to his lonely bed,
To covet there another's bride ; But she must lay her conscious bead
A husband's trusting heart beside.
1 The lines contained in this section were printed as set to music some time since, but belonged to the poem where they
now appear; the greater part of which was composed prior to “ Lara."
Whate'er the grief his soul arow'd,
All circumstance which may compel
Within the chamber of his state,
Upon his throne of judgment sate;
Before a father's face !
The tale of his disgrace !
Did Parisina wait her doom;
Glanced gladness round the glittering room, Where high-born men were proud to wait Where Beauty watch'd to imitate
Her gentle voice - her lovely mienAnd gather from her air and gait
The graces of its queen :
But for the eyes that on him gazed :
Stern and erect his brow was raised.
I gloried in a wife and son;
Ere day declines, I shall have none.
Let that too pass ; — the doom's prepared ! Hugo, the priest awaits on thee,
And then-thy crime's reward ! Away! address thy prayers to Heaven,
Before its evening stars are met — Learn if thou there canst be forgiven;
Its mercy may absolve thee yet. But here, upon the earth beneath,
There is no spot where thou and I
Farewell ! I will not see thee die
Away! I cannot speak the rest:
Go! woman of the wanton breast;
For on his brow the swelling vein
The hot blood ebb'd and flow'd again;
“ It is not that I dread the death
Thou gav'st, and may'st resume my breath,
ICA sagacious writer gravely charges Lord Byron with paraphrasing, in this passage, without acknowledgment, Mr. Burke's well-known description of the unfortunate Marie Antoinette. * Verily," says Mr. Coleridge, " there be amongst us a set of critics, who scern to hold, that every
possible thought and image is traditional ; who have no notion that there are such things as fountains in the world, small as well as great ; and who would therefore charitably derive every rill they behold floxing, from a perforation made in some other man's tank."]
And we, all side by side, have striven,
For though thou work'dst my mother's ill, And made thy own my destined bride,
I feel thou art my father still;
But she is in the grave, where he,
But wrong for wrong:- this deem'd thy bride,
The other victim of thy pride,
And with thy very crime— my birth,
Thou tauntedst me — as little worth;
Yet, were a few short summers mine,
My name should more than Este's shine
Yet in my lineaments they trace
Some features of my father's face,
On which the circling fetters sounded ;
When those dull chains in meeting clank'd :
So large and slowly gather'd slid
From the long dark fringe of that fair lid, It was a thing to see, not hear! And those who saw, it did surprise, Such drops could fall from human eyes. To speak she thought the imperfect note Was choked within her swelling throat, Yet seem'd in that low hollow groan Her whole heart gushing in the tone. It ceased again she thought to speak, Then burst her voice in one long shriek, And to the earth she fell like stone Or statue from its base o'erthrown, More like a thing that ne'er had life, A monument of Azo's wife, Than her, that living guilty thing, Whose every passion was a sting, Which urged to guilt, but could not bear That guilt's detection and despair.
· Haught – haughty. “ Away, haught man, thou art
insulting me.' - SHAKSPEARE. ? ?" I sent for Marmion,' because it occurred to me, there might be a resemblance between part of Parisina' and a similar scene in the second canto of Marmion.' I fear there is, though I never thought of it before, and could hardly wish to imitate that which is inimitable. I wish you would ask Mr. Gifford whether I ought to say any thing upon it. I had completed the story on the passage from Gibbon, which indeed leads to a like scene naturally, without a thought of the kind: but it comes upon me not very comfortably." Lord B. to Mr. J. Feb. 3. 1816. - The scene referred to is the one in which Constance de Beverley appears before the conclave
“ Her look composed and steady eye,
nd there she sto so calm and pale,
So still she was, so pale, so fair."] 3 [The arraignment and condemnation of the guilty pair, with the bold, high-toned, and yet temperate defence of the son, are managed with considerable talent; and yet are less touching than the mute despair of the fallen beauty, who stands in speechless agony beiore him. - JEFFREY.]
But yet she lived -- and all too goon
In penitential holiness,
But mournfully and slow;
With a deep sound, to and fro.
Heavily to the heart they go ! Hark! the hymn is singing —
The song for the dead below,
Or the living who shortly shall be so ! For a departing being's soul The death-hyinn peals and the hollow bells knoll : He is near his mortal goal; Kneelirg at the friar's knee; Sad to hear - and piteous to sce— Kneeling on the bare cold ground, With the block before and the guards around And the headman with his bare arm ready, That the blow may be both swift and steady, Feels if the axe be sharp and true Since he set its edge anew : While the crowd in a speechless circle gather To see the Son fall by the doom of the Father.
No-yours my forfeit blood and breath
Without display, without parade ;
As not disdaining priestly aid,
XVI. It is a lovely hour as yet Before the summer sun shall set, Which rose upon that heavy day, And mock'd it with his steadiest ray; And his evening beams are shed Full on Hugo's fated head, As his last confession pouring To the monk, his doom deploring
[The grand part of this poem is that which describes the execution of the rival son ; and in which, though there is no pomp, either of language or of sentiment, and though every
thing is conceived and expressed with the utmost simplicity and directness, there is a spirit of pathos and poetry to which it would not be easy to find many parallels. - JEFFREY.]
Beyond the blow that to the block
Pierced through with forced and sullen shock, Save one: - what cleaves the silent air So madly shrill — so passing wild ? That, as a mother's o'er her child, Done to death by sudden blow, To the sky these accents go, Like a soul's in endless woe. Through Azo's palace-lattice driven, That horrid voice ascends to heaven, And every eye is turn'd thereon; But sound and sight alike are gone! It was a woman's shriek -and ne'er In madlier accents rose despair ; And those who heard it, as it past, In mercy wish'd it were the last.
XIX. Hugo is fallen; and, from that hour, No more in palace, hall, or bower, Was Parisina heard or seen : Her name - as if she ne'er had been Was banish'd from each lip and ear, Like words of wantonness or fear; And from Prince Azo's voice, by none Was mention heard of wife or son ; No tomb- no memory had they; Theirs was unconsecrated clay; At least the knight's who died that day. But Parisina's fate lies hid Like dust beneath the coffin lid : Whether in convent she abode, And won to heaven her dreary road, By blighted and remorseful years Of scourge, and fast, and sleepless tears ; Or if she fell by bowl or steel, For that dark love she dared to feel ; Or if, upon the moment smote, She died by tortures less remote ; Like him she saw upon the block, With heart that shared the headman's shock, In quicken'd brokenness that came, In pity, o'er her shatter'd frame, None knew - and none can ever know : But whatsoe'er its end below, Her life began and closed in woe!
XX. And Azo found another bride, And goodly sons grew by his side ; But none so lovely and so brave As him who wither'd in the grave; Or if they were - on his cold eye Their growth but glanced unbeeded by, Or noticed with a smother'd sigb. But never tear his cheek descended, And never smile his brow unbended ; And o'er that fair broad brow were wrought The intersected lines of thought; Those furrows which the buruing share Of Sorrow ploughs untimely there; Scars of the lacerating mind Which the Soul's war doth leave behind. He was past all mirth or woe : Nothing more remain'd below But sleepless nights and heavy days, A mind all dead to scorn or praise, A heart which shunn'd itself- and yet That would not yield — nor could forget, Which, when it least appear'd to melt, Intently thought — intensely felt: The deepest ice which ever froze Can only o'cr the surface close — The living stream lies quick below, And flows and cannot cease to flow. Still was his seal'd-up bosom haunted By thoughts which Nature hath implanted ; Too deeply rooted thence to vanish, Howe'er our stifled fears we banish; When, struggling as they rise to start, We check those waters of the heart, They are not dried - those tears unshed But flow back to the fountain head, And resting in their spring more pure, For ever in its depth endure, Unseen, unwept, but uncongeal'd, And cherish'd most where least reveal'd. With inward starts of feeling left, To throb o'er those of life bereft; Without the power to fill again The desert gap which made his pain; Without the hope to meet them where United souls shall gladness share, With all the consciousness that he Had only pass'd a just decree; That they had wrought their doom of ill; Yet Azo's age was wretched still. The tainted branches of the tree,
If lopp'd with care, a strength may give,
By which the rest shall bloom and live
1 [la Parisina there is no tumult or stir. It is all sadness, and pity, and terror. There is too much of horror, perhaps, in the circumstances; but the writing is beautiful throughout,
and the whole wrapped in a rich and redundant veil of poetry, where every thing breathes the pure essence of genius and sensibility. — JEFFREY.]