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Here, throughout the siege, had been Proclaim'd the desperate conflict o'er
All that mingled there below:
Scorch'd and shrivell’d to a span, The foe came on, and few remain
When he fell to earth again To strive, and those must strive in vain :
Like a cinder strew'd the plain:
Down the ashes shower like rain ;
Some fell in the gulf, which received the With barbarous blows they gash the dead,
sprinkles And lop the already lifeless head,
With a thousand circling wrinkles;
Some fell on the shore, but far away,
Scatter'd o'er the isthmus lay;
Christian or Moslem, which be they?
Let their mothers see and say!
When in cradled rest they lay,
And each nursing mother smiled On its table still behold
On the sweet sleep of her child,
Little deem'd she such a day The cup of consecrated gold;
Would rend those tender limbs away. Massy and deep, a glittering prize,
Not the matrons that them bore
Could discern their offspring more ;
That one moment left no trace
Save a scatter'd scalp or bone: To shrive their souls ere they join'd in the And down came blazing rafters, strown
Around, and many a falling stone,
fray. Still a few drops within it lay;
Deeply dinted in the clay,
All blacken'd there and reeking lay.
All the living things that heard
That deadly earth-shock disappeard :
The wild birds flew; the wild dogs fled, A spoil- the richest, and the last.
And howling left the unburied dead;
The camels from their keepers broke; So near they came, the nearest stretch'd The distant steer forsook the yokeTo grasp the spoil he almost reach'd, The nearer steed plunged o'er the plain, When old Minotti's hand
And burst his girth, and tore his rein; Touch'd with the torch the train
The bull-frog's note, from out the marsh, Tis fired!
Deep-mouth'd arose, and doubly harsh ;
The jackal's troop, in gather'd cry,
With a mix'd and mournful sound,
With sudden wing, and ruffled breast, The waves a moment backward bent- The eagle left his rocky nest, The hills that shake, although unrent, And mounted nearer to the sun, As if an earthquake pass'd
The clouds beneath him seem'd so dun; The thousand shapeless things all driven Their smoke assail'd his startled beak, In cloud and flame athwart the heaven, And made him higher soar and shriek By that tremendous blast
Thus was Corinth lost and won !
P A RISI N A.
WHO HAS LONG ADMIRED IIS TALENTS AND
VALUED HIS FRIENDSHIP,
the facts on which the story is founded. The SCROPE BERDMORE DAVIES, ESQ. name of Azo is substituted for Nicholas, as THE FOLLOWING POEM 18 INSCRIBED BY ONE more metrical.
“Under the reign of Nicholas III. Ferrara
was polluted with a domestic tragedy. By January 22,
the testimony of an attendant, and his own
observation, the Marquis of Este discovered ADVERTISEMENT.
the incestuous loves of his wife Parisina, The following poem is grounded on a and Hugo his bastard -son, a beautiful and circumstance mentioned in Gibbon's “Anti- valiant youth. They were beheaded in the quities of the House of Brunswick."-I am castle by the sentence of a father and husaware that in modern times the delicacy band, who published his shame, and suror fastidiousness of the reader may deem vived their execution. He was unfortunate, such subjects unfit for the purposes of poetry. if they were guilty; if they were innocent, The Greek dramatists, and some of the best he was still more unfortunate; nor is there of our old English writers, were of a differ- any possible situation in which I can sinent opinion: as Alfieri and Schiller have cerely approve the last act of the justice of also been, more recently, upon the con- a parent.”—Gibbon's Miscellaneous Works, tinent. The following extract will explain vol. III. p. 470.
It is the hour when from the boughs And heedless as the dead are they The nightingale's high note is heard ; Of aught around, above, beneath ; It is the hour when lovers' vows
As if all else had pass'd away,
So deep, that did it not decay,
The hearts which feel its fiery sway:
Of guilt, or peril, do they deem And on the leaf a browner hue,
In that tumultuous tender dream? And in the heaven that clear-obscure, Who that have felt that passion's power, So softly dark, and darkly pure,
Or paused, or fear'd in such an hour ? Which follows the decline of day,
Or thought how brief such monents last? As twilight melts beneath the moon away. But yet, they are already past!
Alas! we must awake before
We know such vision comes no more. But it is not to list to the waterfall That Parisina leaves her hall, And it is not to gaze on the heavenly light With many a lingering look they leave That the lady walks in the shadow of night; The spot of guilty gladness past ; And if she sits in Este's bower,
And though they hope, and vow, they grieve, Tis not for the sake of its full-blown flower-As if that parting were the last. She listens—but not for the nightingale- The frequent sigh-the long embraceThough her ear expects as soft a tale. The lip that there would cling for ever, There glides a step through the foliage While gleams on Parisina's face
The Heaven she fears will not forgive her, And her cheek grows pale—and her heart As if each calmly conscious star
beats quick, Beheld her frailty from afarThere whispers a voice through the rustling The frequent sigh, the long embrace,
Yet binds them to their trysting-place. A moment more—and they shall meet- But it must come, and they must part 'Tis past -- her lover's at her feet.
In fearful heaviness of heart,
With all the deep and shuddering chill And what unto them is the world beside, which follows fast the deeds of ill. With all its change of time and tide? Its living things--its earth and sky
And Hugo is gone to his lonely bed, Are nothing to their mind and eye. To covet there another's bride;
But she must lay her conscious head The guilt-the shane-the doom to her:
All circumstance which may compel
And Azo's tortured heart and ear
He was not one who brook'd delay :
Within the chamber of his state,
The chief of Este's ancient sway
Upon his throne of judgment sate;
His nobles and his guards are there,O'er her who loves him even in sleep.
Before him is the sinful pair;
With swordless belt, and fetter'd hand, He clasp'd her sleeping to his heart, Oh, Christ! that thus a son should stand And listen’d to each broken word :
Before a father's face! He hears - Why doth Prince Azo start, Yet thus must Hugo meet his sire, As if the Archangel's voice he heard ? And hear the sentence of his ire, And well he may-a deeper doom The tale of his disgrace! Could scarcely thunder o'er his tomb, And yet he seems not overcome, When he shall wake to sleep no more, Although, as yet, his voice be dumb. And stand the eternal throne before. And well he may, his earthly peace
And still, and pale, and silently Upon that sound is doom'd to cease.
Did Parisina wait her doom ; That sleeping whisper of a name
How changed since last her speaking eye Bespeaks her guilt and Azo's shame. And whose that name? that o'er his pillow Where high-born men were proud to wait –
Glanced gladness round the glittering room, Sounds fearful as the breaking billow, Which rolls the plank upon the shore,
Where Beauty watch'd to imitate And dashes on the pointed rock
Her gentle voice -- her lovely mienThe wretch who sinks to rise no more,
And gather from her air and gait
The graces of its queen: So came upon his soul the shock. And whose that name? 'tis Hugo's,—his-Then,– had her eye in sorrow wept,
A thousand warriors forth had leapt, In sooth he had not deemd of this!
A thousand swords had sheathless shone, Tis Hugo's, -he, the child of one He loved-his own all-evil son
And made her quarrel all their own.
Now,--what is she? and what are they? The offspring of his wayward youth,
Can she command, or these obey ? When he betray'd Bianca's truth,
All silent and unheeding now, The maid whose folly could confide
With downcast eyes and knitting brow, In him who made her not his bride,
And folded arins, and freezing air,
And lips that scarce their scorn forbear, He pluck'd his poniard in its sheath, Her knights and dames, her court-is there: But sheathed it ere the point was bare- And he, the chosen one, whose lance Howe'er unworthy now to breathe, Had yet been couch'd before her glance, He could not slay a thing so fair
Who were his arm a moment free At least, not smiling-sleeping there- Had died or gain'd her liberty ; Nay, more: he did not wake her then, The minion of his father's bride, But gazed upon her with a glance He, too, is fetter'd by her side; Which, had she roused her from her trance, Nor sees her swoln and full eye swim Had frozen her sense to sleep again Less for her own despair than him : And o'er his brow the burning lamp
Those lids -o'er which the violet vein Gleam'd on the dew-drops big and damp. Wandering, leaves a tender stain, She spake no more-but still she slumber'd Shining through the smoothest white While, in his thought, her days are That e’er did softest kiss invite
Now seem'd with hot and livid glow
Which glance so heavily, and fill,
But for the eyes that on him gazed : To save themselves, and would transfer His sorrow, if he felt it, slept;
Stern and erect his brow was raised. But she is in the grave, where he,
wrong - this deem'd thy And hers, -oh, hers! -- he dared not throw
And with thy very crime - my birth,
Thou tauntedst me-as little worth;
Because, forsooth, I could not claim
Yet, were a few short summers mine,
With honours all my own. Those ties are broken – not by me; I had a sword - and have a breast Let that too pass :- the doom's prepared! That should have won as haught a crest Hugo, the priest awaits on thee,
As ever waved along the line
of all these sovereign sires of thine.
The brightest by the better born;
And mine have lanced my courser's flank Its mercy may absolve thee yet.
Before proud chiefs of princely rank,
I will not plead the cause of crime,
Nor sue thee to redeem from time But thou, frail thing! shalt view his head
A few brief hours or days that must Away! I cannot speak the rest :
At length roll o'er my reckless dust;
Such maddening moments as my past,
They could not, and they did not, last –
Albeit my birth and name be base, And joy thee in the life I give.”
And thy nobility of race
Disdaind to deck a thing like me And here stern Azo hid his face -- Yet in my lineaments they trace For on his brow the swelling vein
Some features of my father's face, Throbb’d as if back upon his brain
And in my spirit-all of thec. The hot blood ebb’d and flow'd again ;
From thee--this tamelessness of heartAnd therefore bow'd he for a space
From thee nay, wherefore dost thou And pass'd his shaking hand along
start? – His eye, to veil it from the throng;
From thee in all their vigour came While Hugo raised his chained hands,
My arm of strength, my soul of flame And for a brief delay demands
Thou didst not give me life alone, His father's ear: the silent sire
But all that made me more thine own. Forbids not what his words require. See wbat thy guilty love hath done!
Repaid thee with too like a son!
I am no bastard in my soul,
I valued it no more than thou,
Yet would I that I then had died :
I feel thou art my father still;
She had forgotten :-- did she breathe ? And, harsh as sounds thy hard decree, Could this be still the earth beneath ? Tis not anjust, although from thee. The sky-above, and men around ; Begot in sin, to die in shame,
Or were they fiends who now so frown'd My life begun and ends the same: On one, before whose eyes each eye As err'd the sire, so err'd the son,
Till then had smiled in sympathy ? And thou must punish both in one.
All was confused and undefined, My crime seems worst to human view, To her all-jarr'd and wandering mind; But God must judge between us two!” A chaos of wild hopes and fears :
And now in laughter, now in tears,
But madly still in each extreme, He ceased -and stood with folded arms, She strove with that convulsive dream; On which the circling fetters sounded; For so it seem'd on her to break: And not an ear but felt as wounded, Oh! vainly must she strive to wake! Of all the chiefs that there were rank’d, When those dull chains in meeting clank'd : Till Parisina's fatal charms
The Convent-bells are ringing, Again attracted every eye
But mournfully and slow, Would she thus hear him doom'd to die !
In the gray square turret swinging, She stood, I said, all pale and still,
With a deep sound, to and fro. The living cause of Hugo's ill:
Heavily to the heart they go! Her eyes unmoved, but full and wide,
Hark! the hymn is singingNot once had turn’d to either side - The song for the dead below, Nor once did those sweet eyelids close,
Or the living who shortly shall be so ! Or shade the glance o'er which they rose,
For a departing being's soul But round their orbs of deepest blue
The death-hymn peals and the hollow The circling white dilated grew
bells knoll: And there with glassy gaze she stood
He is near his mortal goal; As ice were in her curdled blood;
Kneeling at the Friar's knee; Bat every now and then a tear
Sad to hear ---and piteous to seeSo large and slowly gather'd slid
Kneeling on the bare cold ground, From the long dark fringe of that fair lid, With the block before and the guard aroundIt was a thing to see, not hear!
And the headsman with his bare arm And those who saw, it did surprise,
ready, Such drops could fall from human eyes.
That the blow may be both swift and steady, To speak she thought-the imperfeci note Feels if the axe be sharp and true Was choked within her swelling throat,
Since he set its edge anew : Yet seem'd in that low hollow groan
While the crowd in a speechless circle Her whole heart gushing in the tone.
gather It ceased - again she thought to speak,
To see the Son fall by the doom of the
It is a lovely hour as yet
Which rose upon that heavy day.
And his evening-beains are slied
As his last confession pouring
He bends to hear his accents bless
With absolution such as may And each frail fibre of her brain
Wipe our mortal stains away. (As bow-strings, when relax'd by rain, That high sun on his head did glisten The erring arrow launch aside)
As he there did bow and listen -
But brighter still the beam was thrown