Obrázky stránek

The past was bright, like those dear hills so far behind her

bark ;

The future, like the gathering night, was ominous and

dark ! One gaze again one long, last gaze—“Adieu, fair France,

to thee!” The breeze comes forth-she is alone on the unconscious



The scene was changed. It was an eve of raw and surly

mood, And in a turret-chamber high of ancient Holyrood Sat Mary, listening to the rain, and sighing with the winds, That seemed to suit the stormy state of men's uncertain

minds. The touch of care had blanched her cheek- her smile was

sadder now,

The weight of royalty had pressed too heavy on her brow; And traitors to her councils came, and rebels to the field; The Stuart sceptre well she swayed, but the sword she

could not wield. She thought of all her blighted hopes—the dreams of

youth's brief day, And summoned Rizzio with his lute, and bade the minstrel

play The songs she loved in early years, the songs of gay

Navarre, The songs, perchance, that erst were sung by gallant

Chatelar : They half beguiled her of her cares, they soothed her into

smiles, They won her thoughts from bigot zeal, and fierce domestic

broils :But hark! the tramp of armed men ! the Douglas' battle


They come-- they come--and lo! the scowl of Ruthven's

hollow eye!

And swords are drawn, and daggers gleam, and tears and

words are vain, The ruffian steel is in his heart-the faithful Rizzio's slain! Then Mary Stuart brushed aside the tears that trickling

fell :

“Now for my father's arm !” she said ; “my woman's

heart, farewell ! ”

The scene was changed. It was a lake, with one small

lonely isle, And there, within the prison-walls of its baronial pile, Stern men stood menacing their queen, till she should

stoop to sign The traitorous scroll that snatched the crown from her

ancestral line :“My lords ! my lords!” the captive said, “ were I but once

more free, With ten good knights on yonder shore, to aid my cause

and me,

That parchment would I scatter wide to every breeze that

blows, And once more reign a Stuart Queen o'er my remorseless

foes!A red spot burned upon her cheek-streamed her rich

tresses down, She wrote the words—she stood erect-a queen without

a crown!

The scene was changed. A royal host a royal banner bore, And the faithful of the land stood round their smiling

queen once more ; She stayed her steed upon a hill—she saw them marching

byShe heard their shouts—she read success in every flashing

eye ; The tumult of the strife begins-it roars—it dies away ; And Mary's troops and banners now, and courtiers- where

are they?

Scattered and strewn, and flying far, defenceless and un

doneO God ! to see what she has lost, and think what guilt has

won ! Away! away! thy gallant steed must act no laggard's

part; Yet vain his speed, for thou dost bear the arrow in thy



The scene was changed. Beside the block a sullen heads

man stood, And gleamed the broad axe in his hand, that soon must

drip with blood. With slow and steady step there came a lady through the

hall, And breathless silence chained the lips, and touched the

hearts of all; Rich were the sable robes she wore- - her white veil round

her fellAnd from her neck there hung the cross--the cross she

loved so well ! I knew that queenly form again, though blighted was its

bloomI saw that grief had decked it out-an offering for the

tomb ! I knew the eye, though faint its light, that.once so brightly

shoneI knew the voice, though feeble now, that thrilled with

every tone

I knew the ringlets, almost grey, once threads of living

gold — I knew that bounding grace of step — that symmetry of

mould ! Even now I see her far away, in that calm convent aisle, I hear her chant her vesper-hymn, I mark her holy smileEven now I see her bursting forth, upon her bridal morn, A new star in the firmament, to light and glory born!

Alas! the change ! she placed her foot upon a triple throne, And on the scaffold now she stands — beside the block,

alone ! The little dog that licks her hand, the last of all the crowd Who sunned themselves beneath her glance, and round her

footsteps bowed ! Her neck is bared—the blow is struck — the soul is passed

away ; The bright—the beautiful—is now a bleeding piece of

clay! The dog is moaning piteously; and, as it gurgles o'er, Laps the warm blood that trickling runs unheeded to the

floor! The blood of beauty, wealth, and power—the heart-blood

of a queenThe noblest of the Stuart race- the fairest earth hath


Lapped by a dog! Go, think of it in silence and alone ; Then weigh against a grain of sand the glories of a throne !




My beautiful! my beautiful! that standest meekly by, With thy proudly arched and glossy neck, and dark and

fiery eye, Fret not to roam the desert now with all thy winged

speed, I may not mount on thee again, – thou art sold, my Arab

steed ; Fret not with that impatient hoof, snuff not the breezy

wind The farther that thou fliest now, so far am I behind.

The stranger hath thy bridle rein-thy master hath his

goldFleet-limbed and beautiful ! farewell: thou’rt sold, my

steed, — thou’rt sold. Farewell ! these free untirèd limbs full many a mile must

roam, To reach the chill and wintry sky, which clouds the

stranger's home. Some other hand, less fond, must now thy corn and bed

prepare The silky mane I braided once, must be another's care. The morning sun shall dawn again, but never more with

thee Shall I gallop through the desert paths where we were

wont to be. Evening shall darken on the earth, and o'er the sandy

plain, Some other steed, with slower step, shall bear me home

again ; Yes, thou must go, the wild free breeze, the brilliant sun

and sky, Thy master's home, from all of these, my exiled one

must fly. Thy proud dark eye will grow less proud, thy step become

less fleet, And vainly shalt thou arch thy neck, thy master's hand to

meet. Only in sleep shall I behold that dark eye glancing bright; Only in sleep shall hear again that step so firm and light; And when I raise my dreaming arm, to check or cheer

thy speed, Then must I starting wake to feel thou’rt sold, my Arab

steed. Ah! rudely then, unseen by me, some cruel hand may

chide, Till foam-wreaths lie, like crested waves, along thy panting


« PředchozíPokračovat »