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His trembling voice grew faint and hoarse, his gasp was childish weak,
His eyes put on a dying look, -he sighed, and ceased to speak;
His comrade bent to lift him, but the spark of life had fled —
The soldier of the Legion in a foreign land was dead!
And the soft moon rose up slowly, and calmly she looked down
On the red sand of the battle-field, with bloody corses strewn
Yes, calmly on that dreadful scene her pale light seemed to shine,
As it shone on distant Bingen — fair Bingen on the Rhine!
20. THE TORCH OF LIBERTY. – Thomas Moore.
I saw it all in Fancy's glass—
Herself the fair, the wild magician,
Who bade this splendid day-dream pass,
And named each gliding apparition.
‘Twas like a torch-race—such as they
Of Greece performed, in ages gone,
When the fleet youths, in long array,
Passed the bright torch triumphant on.
I saw the expectant Nations stand,
To catch the coming flame in turn; —
I saw, from ready hand to hand,
The clear, though struggling, glory burn.
And, O, their joy, as it came near,
'T was, in itself, a joy to see; —
While Fancy whispered in my ear,
“That torch they pass is Liberty!”
And each, as she received the flame,
Lighted her altar with its ray;
Then, smiling, to the next who came,
Speeded it on its sparkling way.
From Albion first, whose ancient shrine
Was furnished with the fire already,
Columbia caught the boon divine,
And lit a flame, like Albion's, steady.
The splendid gift then Gallia took,
And, like a wild Bacchanté, raising
The brand aloft, its sparkles shook,
As she would set the world a-blazing!
Thus, kindling wild, so fierce and high
Her altar blazed into the air,
That Albion, to that fire too nigh,
Shrank back, and shuddered at its glare'
Next, Spain, – so new was light to her,
Leaped at the torch; but, ere the spark
That fell upon her shrine could stir,
'Twas quenched, and all again was dark!
Yet, no —not quenched,—a treasure, worth
So much to mortals, rarely dies:
Again her living light looked forth,
And shone, a beacon, in all eyes!
Who next received the flame? Alas!
Unworthy Naples. – Shame of shames,
That ever through such hands should pass
That brightest of all earthly flames!
Scarce had her fingers touched the torch,
When, frighted by the sparks it shed,
Nor waiting even to feel the scorch,
She dropped it to the earth—and fled !
And fallen it might have long remained;
But Greece, who saw her moment now,
Caught up the prize, though prostrate, stained,
And waved it round her beauteous brow.
And Fancy bade me mark where, o'er
Her altar, as its flame ascended,
Fair laurelled spirits seemed to soar,
Who thus in song their voices blended:
“Shine, shine forever, glorious Flame,
Divinest gift of gods to men! f
From Greece thy earliest splendor came,
To Greece thy ray returns again.
Take, Freedom, take thy radiant round;
When dimmed, revive, – when lost, returl,
Till not a shrine through earth be found,
On which thy glories shall not burn'."
21. THE SAILOR-BOY S DReAM. — Dimond.
IN slumbers of midnight the sailor-boy lay,
His hammock swung loose at the sport of the wind;
But, watch-worn and weary, his cares flew away,
And visions of happiness danced o'er his mind.
He dreamed of his home, of his dear native bowers,
And pleasures that waited on life's merry morn;
While memory stood side-wise, half covered with flowers,
And restored every rose, but secreted its thorn.
The jessamine clambers in flower o'er the thatch,
And the swallow sings sweet from her nest in the wall;
All trembling with transport, he raises the latch,
And the voices of loved ones reply to his call.
A father bends o'er him with looks of delight, —
His cheek is impearled with a mother's warm tear;
And the lips of the boy in a love-kiss unite
With the lips of the maid whom his bosom holds dear.
The heart of the sleeper beats high in his breast,
Joy quickens his pulse—all his hardships seem o'er;
And a murmur of happiness steals through his rest—
“O God thou hast blest me, – I ask for no more.”
Ah! whence is that flame which now bursts on his eye!
Ah! what is that sound that now 'larums his ear?
'Tis the lightning's red glare painting hell on the sky!
'T is the crashing of thunder, the groan of the sphere !
He springs from his hammock — he flies to the deck;
Amazement confronts him with images dire; —
Wild winds and mad waves drive the vessel a wreck,
The masts fly in splinters—the shrouds are on fire!
Like mountains the billows tumultuously swell;
In vain the lost wretch calls on mercy to save;—
Unseen hands of spirits are ringing his knell,
And the death-angel flaps his dark wings o'er the wave.
0, sailor-boy! woe to thy dream of delight ! In darkness dissolves the gay frost-work of bliss : —
Where now is the picture that Fancy touched bright, Thy parent's fond pressure, and love's honeyed kiss?
0, sailor-boy! sailor-boy! never again
Shall love, home or kindred, thy wishes repay;
Unblessed and unhonored, down deep in the main
Full many a score fathom, thy frame shall decay.
No tomb shall e'er plead to remembrance for thee,
Or redeem form or frame from the merciless surge;
But the white foam of waves shall thy winding-sheet be,
And winds in the midnight of winter thy dirge.
On beds of green sea-flower thy limbs shall be laid,
Around thy white bones the red coral shall grow;
Of thy fair yellow locks threads of amber be made,
And every part suit to thy mansion below.
Days, months, years, and ages, shall circle away,
And still the vast waters above thee shall roll;
Earth loses thy pattern for ever and aye —
0, sailor-boy! sailor-boy! peace to thy soul!
22 DAMON AND PYTHIAS. —Adaptation of a translation from Schuler, by Sir E. Bulwer Lytton.
“Now, Dionysius, – tyrant, — die!”
Stern Damon with his poniard crept:
The watchful guards upon him swept;
The grim king marked his bearing high.
“What wouldst thou with thy knife? Reply ""—
“The city from the tyrant free!”—
“The death-cross shall thy guerdon be.”
“I am prepared for death, nor pray,”
Haughtily Damon said, “to live;
Enough, if thou one grace wilt give:
For three brief suns the death delay !
A sister's nuptial rites now stay
My promised coming, leagues away;
I boast a friend, whose life for mine,
If I should fail the cross, is thine.”
The tyrant mused, and smiled, and said,
With gloomy craft, “So let it be;
Three days I will vouchsafe to thee.
But, mark: if, when the time be sped,
Thou fail'st, thy surety dies instead.
His life shall buy thine own release;
Thy guilt alonel, my wrath shall cease.”
And Damon sought his friend: “The king
Ordains, my life, the cross upon,
Shall pay the deed I would have done;
Yet grants three days' delay to me,
My sister's marriage-rites to see,
If thou, my Pythias, wilt remain
Hostage till I return again!”
One clasp of hands—and Pythias said
No word, but to the tyrant strode,
While Damon went upon his road.
Ere the third sun in Heaven was red,
The rite was o'er, the sister wed;
And back, with anxious heart unquailing,
He hastes to keep the pledge unfailing.
Down the great rains unending bore!
Down from the hills the torrents rushed :
In one broad stream, the brooklets gushed!
And Damon halts beside the shore.
The bridge was swept the tides before:
And the tumultuous waves, in thunder,
Rushed o'er the shattered arch and under.
Frantic, dismayed, he takes his stand—
Dismayed, he strays and shouts around;
His voice awakes no answering sound.
No boat will leave the sheltering strand,
To bear him to the wished-for land;
No boatman will Death's pilot be;
The wild stream gathers to a sea!
Prostrate a while he raves—he weeps;
Then raised his arms to Jove, and cried
“Stay thou, O, stay the maddening tide :
Midway, behold, the swift sun sweeps,
And ere he sink adown the deeps,
If I should fail, his beams will see
My friend's last anguish—slain for me!”
Fierce runs the stream ; — more broad it flows,
And wave on wave succeeds, and dies;
And hour on hour, remorseless, flies;
Despair at last to daring grows:
Amid the flood his form he throws,
With vigorous arm the roaring waves
Cleaves, and a God that pities saves!
He wins the bank, his path pursues,
The anxious terrors hound him on —
Lo! reddening in the evening sun,
From far, the domes of Syracuse!
When towards him comes Philostrátus
(His leal and trusty herdsman he),
And to the master bends his knee.
“Back! — thou canst aid thy friend no more;
The niggard time already's flown—
His life is forfeit — save thine own
Hour after hour in hope he bore,
Nor might his soul its faith give o'er;
Nor could the tyrant's scorn, deriding,
Steal from that faith one thought confiding!”
“Too late! what horrors hast thou spoken:
Vain life, since it cannot requite him
But death can yet with me unite him;
No boast the tyrant's scorn shall make
How friend to friend can faith forsake;
But, from the double-death, shall know
That Truth and Love yet live below !”
The sun sinks down: the gate 's in view,
The cross looms dismal on the ground;