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Her halls are of emptiness, grandeur's illusions;
And stretched out upon them the line of confusion;
In her palaces dark desolation is reigning,
And the briers and the nettle their foliage entwining;
The owl calls his count with a whoop and a knell,
And there shall the bittern and cormorant dwell,
The lamia shall lie in her chambers of state,
And open her bosom and cry for her mate;
The ostrich shall stand on her battlements proudly,
And the vultures assemble, discordant and loudly;
The satyrs shall dance with their howlings and yellings,
The spirits of darkness that haunt the low dwellings
Of mortals cut off in their greenness of sinning,
Ere grace had a spring or repentance beginning,
The toad and the adder shall come from the forest,
And dragons pant o'er it when thirst's at the sorest.
The gloom of oblivion shall over it centre,
Till time shall withdraw and eternity enter,
To all who despise their God and Forgiver,
A beacon of terror for ever and ever.
THE DEATH OF THE STAG.
YES: fierce looks thy nature, e'en hushed in repose-
In the depth of thy desert regardless of foes.
Thy bold antlers call on the hunter afar,
With a haughty deeance, to come to the war.
No outrage is war to a creature like thee:
The bugle-horn fills thy wild spirit with glee,
As thou bearest thy neck on the wings of the wind,
And the laggardly gaze-hound is toiling behind.
In the beams of thy forehead that glitter with death—
In feet that draw power from the touch of the heath-
In the wide-raging torrent that lends thee its roar—
In the cliff that once trod must be trodden no more-
Thy trust, 'mid the dangers that threaten thy reign
But what if the stag on the mountain be slain?
On the brink of the rock, lo! he standeth at bay,
Like a victor that falls at the close of the day;
While hunter and hound in their terror retreat
From the death that is spurned from his furious feet;
And his last cry of anger comes back from the skies,
As Nature's fierce son in the wilderness dies.
High life of a hunter! he meets on the hill
The new-wakened day-light, so bright and so still;
And feels, as the clouds of the morning unroll,
The silence, the splendour, ennoble his soul.
'Tis his o'er the mountains to stalk like a ghost,
Enshrouded in mist, with which Nature is lost,
Till he lifts up his eyes, and flood, valley, and height,
In one moment all swim in an ocean of light;
While the sun, like a glorious banner unfurled,
Seems to wave o'er a new, more magnificent world.
'Tis his-by the mouth of some cavern, his seat-
The lightning of heaven to hold at his feet,
While the thunder below him, that growls from the cloud, To him comes on echo more awfully loud.
When the clear depth of noon-tide, with glittering motion, O'erflows the lone glens-an aërial ocean,
When the earth and the heavens, in union profound,
Lie blended in beauty that knows not a sound,—
As his eyes in the sunshiny solitude close,
'Neath a rock of the desert in dreaming repose,
He sees, in his slumbers, such visions of old
As his wild Gaelic songs to his infancy told;
O'er the mountains a thousand plum'd hunters are borne, And he starts from his dream at the blast of the horn.
THE DYING BOY TO THE SLOE-BLOSSOM.
BEFORE thy leaves, thou com'st once more,
White blossom of the sloe !
Thy leaves will come as heretofore;
But this poor heart, its troubles o'er,
Will then lie low.
A month at least before thy time
Thou com'st, pale flower, to me;
For well thou knowest the frosty rime
Will blast me ere my vernal prime,
No more to be.
Why here in winter? No storm lours
O'er nature's silent shroud!
But blithe larks meet the sunny showers,
High o'er the doomed untimely flowers,
In beauty bowed!
Sweet violets in the budding grove
Peep where the glad waves run;
The wren below, the thrush above,
Of bright to-morrow's joy and love,
Sing to the sun.
And where the rose-leaf ever bold,
Hears bees chant hymns to God,
The breeze-bowed palm, mossed o'er with gold,
Smiles on the well, in summer cold,
And daisied sod.
But thou, pale blossom, thou art come,
And flowers in winter blow,
To tell me that the worm makes room
For me, her brother, in the tomb,
And thinks me slow.
For as the rainbow of the dawn,
Foretells an eve of tears;
A sunbeam on the saddened lawn,
I smile, and weep to be withdrawn,
In early years.
Thy leaves will come !-but songful spring
Will see no leaf of mine;
Her bells will ring, her bridemaids sing,
When my young leaves are withering,
Where no suns shine.
Oh, might I breathe morn's dewy breath,
When June's sweet sabbath's chime!
But thine before my time, O Death,
I go where no flower blossometh,
Before my time.
Even as the blushes of the morn
Vanish, and long ere noon
The dewdrop dieth on the thorn,
So fair I bloomed and was I born
To dic as soon?
To love my mother, and to die?—
To perish in my bloom?-
Is this my brief, sad history?
A tear dropped from a mother's eye
Into the tomb!
He lived and loved will sorrow say;
By early sorrow tried;
He smiled, he sighed, he passed away;
His life was but an April day,-
He loved and died!
My mother smiles-then turns away;
But turns away to weep:
They whisper round me,-what they say
I need not hear; for in the clay
I soon must sleep.
Oh, love is sorrow! sad it is
To be both tried and true!
I ever trembled in my bliss,
Now there are farewells in a kiss,-
They sigh adieu.
But woodbines flaunt when bluebells fade,
Where Don reflects the skies;
And many a youth in Shire cliffs' shade
Will ramble where my boyhood played,
Though Alfred dies!
Then panting woods the breeze will feel,
And bowers, as heretofore,
Beneath their load of roses reel;
But I through woodbined lanes shall steal
No more, no more!
Well, lay me by my brother's side,
Where late we stood and wept ;
For I was stricken when he died,
I felt the arrow as he sighed
His last, and slept.