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Heavily to the heart they go! Hark! the hymn is singingThe

song for the dead below, Or the living who shortly shall be so ! For a departing being's soul The death-hymn peals and the hollow bells knoll : He is near his mortal goal; Kneeling at the friar's knee; Sad to hear—and piteous to seeKneeling on the bare cold ground, With the block before and the guards aroundAnd the headsman 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.

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,
In penitential holiness,
He bends to hear his accents bless
With absolution such as may
Wipe our mortal stains away.
That high sun on his head did glisten
As he there did bow and listen,
And the rings of chesnut hair
Curl'd half down his neck so bare ;
But brighter still the beam was thrown
Upon the axe which near him shone
With a clear and ghastly glitter.-
Oh! that parting hour was bitter !
Even the stern stood chill'd with awe.
Dark the crime, and just the law-
Yet they shudder'd as they saw.

XVII.
The parting prayers are said and over
Of that false son—and daring lover!
His beads and sins are all recounted,
His hours to their last minute mounted

His mantling cloak before was stripd'd,
His bright brown locks must now be clipp'd;
’T is done—all closely are they shorn-
The vest which till this moment worn-
The scarf which Parisina gave-
Must not adorn him to the grave.
Even that must now be thrown aside,
And o'er his eyes the kerchief tied ;
But no—that last indignity
Shall ne'er approach his haughty eye.
All feelings seemingly subdued,
In deep disdain were half renew'd,
When headsman's hands prepared to bind
Those

eyes

which would not brook such blind : As if they dared not look on death. “No-yours my forfeit blood and breath These hands are chain'd—but let me die At least with an unshackled eyem Strike:”-and as the word he said, Upon the block he bow'd his head; These the last accents Hugo spoke : “Strike”—and flashing fell the strokeRoll'd the head—and, gushing, sunk Back the stain'd and heaving trunk, In the dust, which each deep vein Slaked with its ensanguined rain ; His

eyes and lips a moment quiver, Conyulsed and quick—then fix for ever. He died, as erring man should die,

Without display, without parade ;
Meekly had he bow'd and pray'd,

As not disdaining priestly aid,
Nor desperate of all hope on high.
And while, before the prior kneeling,
His heart was wean'd from earthly feeling,
His wrathful sire—his paramour-
What were they in such an hour?
No more reproach—no more despair ;
No thought but heaven—no word but prayer-
Save the few which from him broke,
When bared to meet the headsman's stroke,
He claim'd to die with eyes unbound,
His sole adieu to those around.

XVIII.

Still as the lips that closed in death,
Each gazer's bosom held his breath :

But yet, afar, from man to man,
A cold electric shiver ran,
As down the deadly blow descended
On him whose life and love thus ended ;
And with a hushing sound comprest,
A sigh shrunk back on every

breast; But no more thrilling noise rose there,

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,

is turn'd thereon; But sound and sigh 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.

And every eye

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 wite 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 conyent 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 headsman'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!3

XX.

1

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 unheeded by,
Or noticed with a smother'd sigh.
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 burning share
Of sorrow ploughs untimely there ;
Scars of the lacerating inind
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'er 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 tears 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'a,
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
All greenly fresh and wildly free:
But if the lightning, in its wrath,
The waving boughs with fury scathe,
The massy trunk the ruin feels,
And never more a leaf reveals.

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