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Herself would question, and for him reply;
And fold, and press it gently to the ground,
THE SIEGE OF CORINTH.
MANY a vanish'd year and age,
Have left untouch'd her hoary rock,
and the governor seeing it was impossible to hold out against so mighty a force, thought it fit to beat a parley: but while they were treating about the articles, one of the magazines in the Turkish camp, wherein they had six hundred barrels of powder, blew up by accident, whereby six or seven hundred men were killed: which so enraged the infidels, that they would not grant any capitulation, but stormed the place with so much fury, that they took it, and put most of the garrison, with Signior Minotti, the governor, to the sword. The rest, with Antonio Bembo, proveditor extraordinary, were made prisoners of war.”History of the Turks, vol. III. p. 151.
On dun Cithaeron's ridge appears The gleam of twice ten thousand spears; And downward to the Isthmian plain From shore to shore of either main, The tent is pitch'd, the crescent shines Along the Moslem's leaguering lines; And the dusk Spahi's bands advance Beneath each bearded pasha's glance; And far and wide as eye can reach The turban'd cohorts throng the beach; And there the Arab's camel kneels, And there his steed the Tartar wheels; The Turcoman hath left his herd, The sabre round his loins to gird; And there the volleying thunders pour, Till waves grow smoother to the roar. The trench is dug, the cannon's breath Wings the far hissing globe of death; Fast whirl the fragments from the wall, Which crumbles with the ponderous ball; And from that wall the foe replies, O'er dusty plain and smoky skies, With fires that answer fast and well The summons of the Infidel.
Than yon tower-capt Acropolis Which seems the very clouds to kiss.
But near and nearest to the wall Of those who wish and work its fall,
With deeper skill in war's black art
From Venice- once a race of worth His gentle sires-he drew his birth; But late an exile from her shore, Against his countrymen he bore The arms they taught to bear; and now The turban girt his shaven brow. Through many a change had Corinth pass'd With Greece to Venice' rule at last; And here, before her walls, with those To Greece and Venice equal foes, He stood a foe, with all the zeal Which young and fiery converts feel, Within whose heated bosom throngs The memory of a thousand wrongs. To him had Venice ceased to be Her ancient civic boast-"the Free;" And in the palace of St. Mark Unnamed accusers in the dark Within the "Lion's mouth" had placed A charge against him uneffaced: He fled in time, and saved his life, To waste his future years in strife, That taught his land how great her loss In him who triumph'd o'er the Cross, 'Gainst which he rear'd the Crescent high, And battled to avenge or die.
Coumourgi-he whose closing scene Adorn'd the triumph of Eugene, When on Carlowitz' bloody plain, The last and mightiest of the slain, He sank, regretting not to die, But curst the Christian's victory— Coumourgi-can his glory cease, That latest conqueror of Greece, Till Christian hands to Greece restore The freedom Venice gave of yore? A hundred years have roll'd away Since he refix'd the Moslem's sway; And now he led the Mussulman, And gave the guidance of the van To Alp, who well repaid the trust By cities levell'd with the dust; And proved, by many a deed of death, How firm his heart in novel faith.
The walls grew weak; and fast and hot
And here and there some crackling dome
But not for vengeance, long delay'd,
Whose heart refused him in its ire,
He glitter'd through the Carnival ;*
And many deem'd her heart was won; For sought by numbers, given to none, Had young Francesca's hand remain'd Still by the church's bonds unchain'd: And when the Adriatic bore Lanciotto to the Paynim shore, Her wonted smiles were seen to fail, And pensive wax'd the maid and pale;' More constant at confessional, More rare at masque and festival; Or seen at such, with downcast eyes, Which conquer'd hearts they ceased to prize: With listless look she seems to gaze; With humbler care her form arrays; Her voice less lively in the song; Her step, though light, less fleet among The pairs, on whom the Morning's glance Breaks, yet unsated with the dance.
Sent by the state to guard the land, (Which, wrested from the Moslem's hand, While Sobieski tamed his pride By Buda's wall and Danube's side, The chiefs of Venice wrung away From Patra to Euboea's bay), Minotti held in Corinth's towers The Doge's delegated powers,
While yet the pitying eye of Peace
The wall is rent, the ruins yawn; And, with to-morrow's earliest dawn, O'er the disjointed mass shall vault The foremost of the fierce assault. The bands are rank'd; the chosen van Of Tartar, and of Mussulman, The full of hope, misnamed "forlorn," Who hold the thought of death in scorn, And win their way with falchions' force, Or pave the path with many a corse, O'er which the following brave may rise, Their stepping-stone- the last who dies!
Tis midnight: on the mountain's brown The cold, round moon shines deeply down; Blue roll the waters, blue the sky Spreads like an ocean hung on high, Bespangled with those isles of light, So wildly, spiritually bright; Who ever gazed upon them shining, And turn'd to earth without repining, Nor wish'd for wings to flee away, And mix with their eternal ray? The waves on either shore lay there Calm, clear, and azure as the air; And scarce their foam the pebbles shook, But murmur'd meekly as the brook. The winds were pillow'd on the waves; The banners droop'd along their staves, And, as they fell around them furling, Above them shone the crescent curling; And that deep silence was unbroke, Save where the watch his signal spoke, Save where the steed neigh'd oft shrill,
And echo answer'd from the hill,
Of that strange sense its silence framed;
The tent of Alp was on the shore,
By Houris loved immortally:
With them was little less than sin.
They envied even the faithless fame
They did not know how pride can stoop,
In hearts once changed from soft to stern;
The convert of revenge can feel.
He ruled them-man may rule the worst, By ever daring to be first:
So lions o'er the jackal sway;
The jackal points, he fells the prey,
His head grows fever'd, and his pulse The quick successive throbs convulse; In vain from side to side he throws His form, in courtship of repose; Or if he dozed, a sound, a start Awoke him with a sunken heart. The turban on his hot brow press'd, The mail weigh'd lead-like on his breast, Though oft and long beneath its weight Upon his eyes had slumber sate, Without or couch or canopy,
Except a rougher field and sky
Than now might yield a warrior's bed,
He felt his soul become more light Beneath the freshness of the night. Cool was the silent sky, though calm, And bathed his brow with airy balm: Behind, the camp-before him lay, In many a winding creek and bay, Lepanto's gulf: and, on the brow Of Delphi's hill, unshaken snow, High and eternal, such as shone Through thousand summers brightly gone, Along the gulf, the mount, the clime; It will not melt, like man, to time: Tyrant and slave are swept away, Less form'd to wear before the ray; But that white veil, the lightest, frailest, Which on the mighty mount thou hailest, While tower and tree are torn and rent, Shines o'er its craggy battlement; In form a peak, in height a cloud, In texture like a hovering shroud, Thus high by parting Freedom spread, As from her fond abode she fled, And linger'd on the spot, where long Her prophet-spirit spake in song. Oh, still her step at moments falters O'er wither'd fields, and ruin'd altars, And fain would wake, in souls too broken, By pointing to each glorious token. But vain her voice, till better days Dawn in those yet remember'd rays Which shone upon the Persian flying, And saw the Spartan smile in dying.
Not mindless of these mighty times Was Alp, despite his flight and crimes; And through this night, as on he wander'd, And o'er the past and present ponder'd, And thought upon the glorious dead Who there in better cause had bled, He felt how faint and feebly dim The fame that could accrue to him, Who cheer'd the band, and waved the sword, A traitor in a turban'd horde; And led them to the lawless siege, Whose best success were sacrilege. Not so had those his fancy number'd, The chiefs whose dust around him slum
Their phalanx marshall'd on the plain,
Still by the shore Alp mutely mused,
Scarce break on the bounds of the land for
And the fringe of the foam may be seen below,
He wander'd on, along the beach, Till within the range of a carbine's reach Of the leaguer'd wall; but they saw him not, Or how could he 'scape from the hostile shot? Did traitors lurk in the Christian's hold? Were their hands grown stiff, or their hearts wax'd cold?
I know not, in sooth; but from yonder wall
The sullen words of the sentinel,
And their white tusks crunch'd o'er the O'er that which hath been, and o'er that whiter skull, which must be : What we have seen, our sons shall see; Remnants of things that have pass'd away, Fragments of stone, rear'd by creatures of clay!
As it slipp'd through their jaws, when their
When they scarce could rise from the spot
And Alp knew, by the turbans that roll'd
He sate him down at a pillar's base,
His head was drooping on his breast,
Ere the measured tone is taken
Sent that soft and tender moan?
How was that gentle sound convey'd?
What did that sudden sound bespeak?
Than if an armed foe were near.
So near a hostile armament?"
He had resumed it in that hour,
The maid who might have been his bride!
The rose was yet upon her cheek,