網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

The parting prayers are said and over That, as a mother's o'er her child,
Of that false son--and daring lover! Done to death by sudden blow,
His beads and sins are all recounted, To the sky these accents go,
His hours to their last minute mounted Like a soul's in endless woe.
His mantling cloak before was stripp’d, Through Azo's palace-lattice driven,
His bright brown locks must now be clipp'd; That horrid voice ascends to heaven,
'Tis done-all closely are they shorn- And every eye is turn’d thereon;
The vest which till this moment worn- But sound and sight alike are gone!
The scarf which Parisina gave-

It was a woman's shriek-and ne'er
Must not adorn him to the grave.

In madlier accents rose despair;
Even that must now be thrown aside, And those who heard it, as it past,
And o'er his eyes the kerchief tied;

In mercy wish'd it were the last.
But no—that last indignity
Shall ne'er approach his haughty eye.

Hugo is fallen; and, from that honr,
All feelings seemingly subdued,

No more in palace, hall, or bower, In deep disdain were half renew'd,.

Was Parisina heard or seen: When headman's hands prepared to bind

Her name--as if she ne'er had been-Those eyes which would not brook such Was banish'd from each lip and ear,

blind:

Like words of wantonness or fear; As if they dared not look on death.

And from Prince Azo's voice, by none "No-yours my forfeit blood and breath

Was mention heard of wife or son; These bands are chain'd--but let me die

No tomb--no memory had they ; At least with an unshackled eye

Theirs was unconsecrated clay; Strike:" -- and as the word he said,

At least the knight's who died that day. Upon the block he bow'd his head;

But Parisina's fate lies hid These the last accents Hugo spoke:

Like dust beneath the coffin-lid: “Strike”—and flashing fell the stroke-

Whether in convent she abode, Roll’d the head--and, gushing, sunk

And won to heaven her dreary road, Back the stain'd and heaving trunk,

By blighted and remorseful years In the dust, which each deep vein

Of scourge, and fast, and sleepless tears ; Slaked with its ensanguined rain;

Or if she fell by bowl or steel, His eyes and lips a moment quiver,

For that dark love she dared to feel; Convulsed and quick-then fix for ever.

Or if, upon the moment smote,

She died by tortures less remote; He died, as erring man should die, Like him she saw upon the block, Without display, without parade;

With heart that shared the headman's shock, Meekly had he bow'd and pray'd,

In quicken'd brokenness that came, As not disdaining priestly aid,

In pity, o'er her shatter'd frame,
Nor desperate of all hope on high.

None knew-and none can ever know:
And while before the Prior kneeling, But whatsoe'er its end below,
His heart was wean'd from earthly feeling; Her life began and closed in woe!
His wrathful sire- his paramour--
What were they in such an hour?
No more reproach-no more despair;

And Azo found another bride,
No thought but heaven-no word but prayer. But none so lovely and so brave

And goodly sons grew by his side;
Save the few which from him broke,
When, bared to meet the headman's stroke, As him who wither'd in the grave;
He claim'd to die with eyes unbound,

Or if they were--on his cold eye
His sole adieu to those around.

Their growth but glanced unheeded by,
Or noticed with a smother'd sigh.

But never tear his cheek descended,
Still as the lips that closed in death, And never smile his brow unbended;
Each gazer’s bosom held his breath : And o'er that fair broad brow were wrought
But yet, afar, from man to man,

The intersected lines of thought; A cold electric shiver ran,

Those furrows which the burning share As down the deadly blow descended Of sorrow ploughs untimely there; On him whose life and love thus ended; Scars of the lacerating mind And with a hushing sound comprest, Which the soul's war doth leave behind. A sigh shrunk back on every breast; He was past all mirth or woe: But no more thrilling noise rose there, Nothing more remain'd below Beyond the blow that to the block

But sleepless nights and heavy days, Pierced through with forced and sullen A mind all dead to scorn or praise,

shock,

A heart which shunn'd itself-and yet Save one: - what cleaves the silent air That would not yield-nor could forget ; So madly shrill--80 passing wild ?

Which when it least appear'd to melt,

Intently thought-intensely felt :

To throb o'er those of life berest; The deepest ice which ever froze

Without the power to fill again Can only o'er the surface close

The desert gap which made his pain; The living stream lies quick below, Without the hope to meet thein where And flows—and cannot cease to flow. United souls shall gladness share, Still was his seald-up bosom haunted With all the consciousness that he By thoughts which Nature hath implanted; Had only pass'd a just decree; Too deeply rooted thence to vanish, That they had wrought their doom Howe'er our stifled tears we banish;

of ill; When, struggling as they rise to start, Yet Azo's age was wretched still. We check those waters of the heart, The tainted branches of the tree, They are not dried-those tears unshed If lopp'd with care, a strength may give, But flow back to the fountain-head, By which the rest shall bloom and live And resting in their spring more pure, All greenly fresh and wildly free: For ever in its depth endure,

But if the lightning, in its wrath, Unseen, unwept, but uncongeald, The waving boughs with fury scathe, And cherish'd most where least reveal'd. The massy trunk the ruin feels. With inward starts of feeling left,

And never more a leaf reveals.

THE PRISONER OF CHILLON.

bind;

SONNET ON CHILLON.

That father perish'd at the stake ETERNAL spirit of the chainless mind!

For tenets he would not forsake; Brightest in dungeons, Liberty! thou art, And for the same his lineal race For there thy habitation is the heart

In darkness found a dwelling-place ; The heart which love of thee alone can

We were seven--who now are one,

Six in youth, and one in age, And when thy sons to fetters are consign'd

Finish'd as they had begun, To fetters, and the damp vault's dayless Proud of Persecution's rage;

gloom,

One in fire, and two in field, Their country conquers with their martyr

Their belief with blood have seal'd;
dom,

Dying as their father died,
And Freedom's fame finds wings on every Three were in a dungeon cast,

For the God their foes denied ;
Chillon ! thy prison is a holy place,

Of whom this wreck is left the last.
And thy sad floor an altar-for 'twas trod,
Until his very steps have left a trace

There are seven pillars of gothic mold,
Worn, as if thy cold pavement were a sod, In Chillon's dungeons deep and old ;
By Bonnívard !—May none those marks There are seven columns, massy and gray,

efface!

Dim with a dull imprison'd ray,
For they appeal from tyranny to God.

A sunbeam which hath lost its way,
And through the crevice and the cleft
Of the thick wall is fallen and left;
Creeping o'er the floor so damp,

Like a marsh's meteor-lamp:
My hair is gray, but not with years, And in each pillar there is a ring,
Sor grew it white

And in each ring there is a chain;
In a single night,

That iron is a cankering thing, As men's have grown from sudden fears : For in these limbs its teeth remain, My limbs are bow'd, though not with toil, With marks that will not wear away, Bat rusted with a vile repose,

Till I have done with this new day, For they have been a dungeon's spoil, Which now is painful to these eyes, And mine has been the fate of those Which have not seen the sun so rise To whom the goodly earth and air For years-1 cannot count them o'er, Are bann'd, and barr’d--forbidden farco; I lost their long and heavy score, Bat this was for my father's faith, When my last brother droop'd and died, I suffer'd chains and courted death; And I lay living by his side.

They chain'd us each to a column-stone, Its massy waters meet and flow;
And we were three-yet, each alone; Thus much the fathom-line was sent
We could not move a single pare,

Froin Chillon's snow-white battlement, We could not see each other's face,

Which round about the wave enthralls: But with that pale and livid light A double dungeon wall and wave That made us strangers in our sight;

Have made- and like a living grave.
And thus together-yet apart,

Below the surface of the lake
Fetter'd in hand, but pined in heart; The dark vault lies wherein we lay,
'Twas still some solace in the dearth We heard it ripple night and day;
Of the pure elements of earth,

Sounding o'er our heads it knock'd;
To hearken to each other's speech,

And I have felt the winter's spray And each turn comforter to each,

Wash through the bars when winds werehigh With some new hope, or legend old, And wanton in the happy sky; Or song heroically bold;

And then the very rock hath rock’d, But even these at length grew cold.

And I have felt it shake unshock’d, Our voices took a dreary tone

Because I could have smiled to see An echo of the dungeon-stone,

The death that would have set me free. A grating sound- not full and free As they of yore were wont to be: It might be fancy-but to me

I said my nearer brother pined,
They never sounded like our own.

I said his mighty heart declined,
He loathed and put away his food;

It was not that 'twas coarse and rude,
I was the eldest of the three,

For we were used to hunter's fare, And to uphold and cheer the rest

And for the like had little care : I ought to do—and did my best -

The milk drawn from the mountain-goat And each did well in his degree.

Was changed for water from the moat, The youngest, whom my father loved,

Our bread was such as captive's tears Because our mother's brow was given Have moisten'd many a thousand years, To him-with eyes as blue as heaven,

Since man first pent his fellow-men For him my soul was sorely moved; Like brutes within an iron den : And truly might it be distrest

But what were these to us or him? To see such bird in such a nest;

These wasted not his heart or limb; For he was beautiful as day

My brother's soul was of that mold (When day was beautiful to me

Which in a palace had grown cold, As to young eagles, being free)

Had his free breathing been denied A polar day, which will not see

The range of the steep mountain's side; A sunset till its summer's gone,

But why delay the truth?- he died. Its sleepless summer of long light, I saw, and could not hold his head, The snow-clad offspring of the sun : Nor reach his dying hand-nor dead, And thus he was as pure and bright,

Though hard I strove, but strove in vain, And in his natural spirit gay,

To rend and gnash my bonds in twain. With tears for nought but others' ills,

He died – and they unlock'd his chain, And then they flow'd like mountain rills,

And scoop'd for him a shallow grave Unless he could assuage the woe

Even from the cold earth of our cave. Which he abhorr'd to view below.

I begg'd them, as a boon, to lay

His corse in dust whereon the day The other was as pure of mind,

Might shine-it was a foolish thought, But forin'd to combat with his kind;

But then within my brain it wrought, Strong in his frame, and of a mood

That even in death his freeborn breast Which 'gainst the world in war had stood, In such a dungeon could not rest. And perish'd in the foremost rank

I might have spared my idle prayerWith joy :- but not in chains to pine: They coldly laugh'd - and laid him there : His spirit wither'd with their clank, | The flat and turfless earth above I saw it silently decline

The being we so much did love;
And so perchance in sooth did mine; His empty chain above it leant,
But yet I forced it on to cheer

Such murder's fitting monument!
Those relics of a home so dear.
He was a huuter of the hills,

But he, the favourite and the power, Had follow'd there the deer and wolf ;

Most cherish'd since his natal hour, To him this dungeon was a gull,

His mother's image in fair face, And fetter'd feet the worst of ills.

The infant love of all his race,

His martyr'd father's dearest thought,
Lake Leman lies by Chillon's walls : My latest care, for whom I sought
A thousand feet in depth below

To hoard my life, that his might be

Less wretched now, and one day free; And then of darkness too :
He, too, who yet had held untired I had no thought, no feeling---none -
A spirit natural or inspired —

Among the stones I stood a stone,
He, too, was struck, and day by day And was, scarce conscious what I wist,
Was wither'd on the stalk away.

As shrubless crags within the mist; Oh God! it is a fearful thing,

For all was blank, and bleak, and gray, To see the human soul take wing

It was not night-it was not day,
In any shape, in any mood :-

It was not even the dungeon-light,
I've seen it rushing forth in blood, So hateful to my heavy sight,
I've seen it on the breaking ocean

But vacancy absorbing space,
Strive with a swoln convulsive motion, And fixedness—without a place;
I've seen the sick and ghastly bed

There were no stars -- no earth-no time-Of Sin delirious with its dread:

No check-no change-no good-no crimeBat these were horrors- this was woe But silence, and a stirless breath Unmix'd with such--but sure and slow: Which neither was of life nor death; He faded, and so calm and meek,

A sea of stagnant idleness, So softly worn, so sweetly weak,

Blind, boundless, mute, and motionless! So tearless, yet so tender-kind, And grieved for those he left behind; With all the while a cheek whose bloom A light broke in upon my brain, Was as a mockery of the tomb,

It was the carol of a bird ; Whose tints as gently sunk away

It ceased, and then it came again, As a departing rainbow's ray

The sweetest song ear ever heard, An eye of most transparent light,

And mine was thankful till my eyes That almost nade the dungeon bright, Ran over with the glad surprise, And not a word of murmur-not

And they that moment could not see A groan o'er his untimely lot,

I was the mate of misery ; A little talk of better days,

But then by dull degrees came back A little hope my own to raise,

My senses to their wonted track, For I was sunk in silence-lost

I saw the dungeon-walls and floor
In this last loss, of all the most;

Close slowly round me as before,
And then the sighs he would suppress I saw the glimmer of the sun
Of fainting nature's feebleness,

Creeping as it before had done,
More slowly drawn, grew less and less: But through the crevice where it came
I listen'd, but I could not hear -

That bird was perch'd, as fond and tame,
I call'd, for I was wild with fear; And tamer than upon the tree;
I knew 'twas hopeless, but my dread A lovely bird, with azure wings,
Would not be thus admonished;

And song that said a thousand things,
I callid, and thought I heard a sound - And seem’d to say them all for me!
I burst my chain with one strong bound; I never saw its like before,
And rush'd to him:--I found him not, I ne'er shall see its likeness more:
I only stirrd in this black spot,

It seem'd like me to want a mate,
I only lived-I only drew

But was not half so desolate, The accursed breath of dungeon-dew;

And it was come to love me when The last-the sole—the dearest link None lived to love me so again, Between me and the eternal brink,

And cheering from my dungeon's brink, Which bound me to my failing race, Had brought me back to feel and think. Was broken in this fatal place.

I know not if it late were free, One on the earth, and one beneath - Or broke its cage to perch on mine, My brothers, both had ceased to breathe: But knowing well captivity, I took that hand which lay so still, Sweet bird ! I could not wish for thine! Alas! my own was full as chill;

Or if it were, .in winged guise, I had not strength to stir, or strive,

A visitant from Paradise ; But felt that I was still alive-

For-Heaven forgive that thought! the A frantic feeling, when we know

while That what we love shall ne'er be so. Which made me both to weep and smile ; I know not why

I sometimes deem'd that it might be I could not die;

My brother's soul come down to me; I had no earthly hope-- but faith,

But then at last away it flew,
And that forbade a selfish death.

And then 'twas mortal-well I knew,
For he would never thus have flown,

And left me twice so doubly lone, -
What next befel me then and there Lone-as the corse within its shroud,
I know not well-I never knew--

Lone

as a solitary cloud, First came the loss of light, and air, A single cloud on a sunny day,

While all the rest of heaven is clear, The only one in view;
A frown upon the atinosphere,

A small green isle, it seem'd no more, That hath no business to appear

Scarce broader than my dungeon-floor, When skies are blue, and earth is gay. But in it there were three tall trees,

And o’er it blew the mountain-breeze,

And by it there were waters flowing, A kind of change came in iny fate,

And on it there were young flowers growing, My keepers grew compassionate, I know not what had made them so,

Of gentle breath and hue.

The fish swam by the castle-wall, They were inured to sights of woe;

And they seem'd joyous each and all; But so it was :—my broken chain

The eagle rode the rising blast, With links unfastend did remain,

Methought he never flew so fast And it was liberty to stride

As then to me he seem'd to fly, Along my cell from side to side,

And then new tears came in my eye, And up and down, and then athwart,

And I felt troubled- and would fain And tread it over every part;

I had not left my recent chain; And round the pillars one by one,

And when I did descend again, Returning where my walk begun,

The darkness of my dim abode Avoiding only, as I trod,

Fell on me as a heavy load; My brothers' graves without a sod;

It was as is a new-dug grave, For if I thought with heedless tread

Closing o'er one we sought to save, My step profaned their lowly bed,

And yet my glance, too much opprest, My breath came gaspingly and thick,

Had almo'st need of such a rest. And my crush'd heart fell blind and sick.

I made a footing in the wall,

It might be months, or years, or days, It was not therefrom to escape,

I kept no count-I took no note, For I had buried one and all,

I had no hope my eyes to raise, Who loved me in a human shape;

And clear them of their dreary mote; And the whole earth would henceforth be

At last men came to set me free, A wider prison unto me:

I ask'd not why, and reck'd not where, No child---no sire-no kin had I,

It was at length the same to me, No partner in my misery;

Fetter'd or fetterless to be, I thought of this, and I was glad,

I learn’d to love despair. For thought of them had made me mad;

And thus when they appear'd at last, But I was curious to ascend

And all my bonds aside were cast, To my barr'd windows, and to bend

These heavy walls to me had grown Once more, upon the mountains high,

A hermitage--and all my own!
The quiet of a loving eye.

And half I felt as they were come
To tear me from a second home:

With spiders I had friendship made,
I saw them, and they were the same, And watch'd them in their sullen trade,
They were not changed like me in frame; Had seen the mice by moonlight play,
I saw their thousand years of snow And why should I feel less than they ?
On high-their wide long lake below, We were all inmates of one place,
And the blue Rhone in fullest flow; And I, the monarch of each race,
I heard the torrents leap and gush Had power to kill-yet, strange to tell!
O'er channell'd rock and broken bush ; In quiet we had learn’d to dwell-
I saw the white-walld distant town, My very chains and I grew friends,
And whiter sails go skimming down; So much a long communion tends
And then there was a little isle,

To make us what we are :-even I Which in my very face did smile,

Regain'd my freedom with a sigh.

« 上一頁繼續 »