Obrázky stránek



THE Assyrian came down like the wolf on the fold,
And his cohorts were gleaming in purple and gold;
And the sheen of their spears was like stars on the sea,
When the blue wave rolls nightly on deep Galilee.

Like the leaves of the forest when Summer is green,
That host with their banners at sunset were seen:
Like the leaves of the forest when Autumn hath blown,
That host on the morrow lay withered and strown.

For the Angel of Death spread his wings on the blast,
And breathed in the face of the foe as he passed ;
And the eyes of the sleepers waxed deadly and chill,
And their hearts but once heaved, and for ever grew still!

And there lay the steed with his nostril all wide,

But through it there rolled not the breath of his pride;

And the foam of his gasping lay white on the turf,
And cold as the spray of the rock-beating surf.

And there lay the rider distorted and pale,

With the dew on his brow and the rust on his mail :
And the tents were all silent, the banners alone,
The lances unlifted, the trumpet unblown.

And the widows of Ashur are loud in their wail,
And the idols are broke in the temple of Baal;
And the might of the Gentile, unsmote by the sword,
Hath melted like snow in the glance of the Lord!

* See 2 Chron. xxxii.



BESIDE the ungathered rice he lay,
His sickle in his hand;

His breast was bare, his matted hair
Was buried in the sand.

Again, in the mist and shadow of sleep,
He saw his Native Land.

Wide through the landscape of his dreams
The lordly Niger flowed;
Beneath the palm-trees on the plain

Once more a king he strode,
And heard the tinkling caravans
Descend the mountain-road.

He saw once more his dark-eyed queen
Among her children stand;

They clasped his neck, they kissed his cheeks,
They held him by the hand!.

A tear burst from the sleeper's lids,

And fell into the sand.

And then at furious speed he rode

Along the Niger's bank;

His bridle-reins were golden chains,

And, with a martial clank,

At each leap he could feel his scabbard of steel Smiting his stallion's flank.

Before him, like a blood-red flag,

The bright flamingoes flew ;

From morn till night he followed their flight,

O'er plains where the tamarind grew,

Till he saw the roofs of Caffre huts,

And the ocean rose to view.

At night he heard the lion roar,

And the hyena scream,

And the river-horse as he crushed the reeds
Beside some hidden stream;

And it passed like a glorious roll of drums,
Through the triumph of his dream.

The forests, with their myriad tongues,
Shouted of liberty;

And the Blast of the Desert cried aloud,
With a voice so wild and free,

That he started in his sleep, and smiled
At their tempestuous glee.

He did not feel the driver's whip,
Nor the burning heat of day;
For Death had illumined the Land of Sleep,
And his lifeless body lay

A worn-out fetter, that the soul

Had broken and thrown away!



LOWLY upon his bier

The royal Conqueror lay;

Baron and chief stood near,

Silent in war-array.

"The Conqueror was buried in the church of St. Stephen, which he had built, but his funeral was singularly interrupted. At the moment that the coffin was being lowered into the grave, a man of low degree, raising himself from the crowd, exclaimed, 'Clerks, Bishops, this land is mine; it was the site of my father's house; the man for whom you pray took it from me by force to build his church. I have not sold my ground, I have not pawned it, I have not given it; it is my right, and I claim it.

Down the long minster's aisle

Crowds mutely gazing streamed,
Altar and tomb the while

Through mists of incense gleamed.

And, by the torches' blaze,
The stately priest had said
High words of power and praise
To the glory of the dead.

They lowered him, with the sound
Of requiems, to repose;
When from the throngs around
A solemn voice arose :-

"Forbear! forbear!" it cried;
"In the holiest name forbear!
He hath conquered regions wide,
But he shall not slumber there!

"By the violated hearth

Which made way for yon proud shrine:
By the harvests which this earth

Hath borne for me and mine;

"By the house e'en here o'erthrown,
On my brethren's native spot;
Hence! with his dark renown,
Cumber our birthplace not!

"Will my sire's unransomed field,
O'er which your censers wave,

To the buried spoiler yield

Soft slumbers in the grave!

In the name of Heaven, I forbid that the body of the spoiler be placed there, and that it be covered by my glebe.' The man who spoke was named Asselin, and all the bystanders confirmed the truth of his assertions. The Bishops made him approach, and agreed to pay him sixty sous for the place of sepulture alone, and to compensate him justly for the rest of the ground."-THIERRY'S Hist. of the Conquest of England by the Normans.

"The tree before him fell

Which we cherished many a year;
But its deep root yet shall swell,
And heave against his bier.

"The land that I have tilled

Hath yet its brooding breast
With my home's white ashes filled,
And it shall not give him rest !
"Each pillar's massy bed

Hath been wet by weeping eyes—
Away! bestow your dead

Where no wrong against him cries."
Shame glowed on each dark face

Of those proud and steel-girt men,
And they bought with gold a place
For their leader's dust e'en then

A little earth for him

Whose banner flew so far!
And a peasant's tale could dim
The name, a nation's star!

One deep voice thus arose


From a heart which wrongs had riven:

Oh! who shall number those

That were but heard in Heaven?



WHO is yonder poor Maniac, whose wildly-fixed eyes
Seem a heart overcharged to express ?

She weeps not, yet often and deeply she sighs;
She never complains, but her silence implies
The composure of settled distress.

« PředchozíPokračovat »