« ZurückWeiter »
Her fears redouble; throbs her heaving breast;
She flies with trembling feet.
Pale, gasping, down she sinks. Like some poor hare,
Whose failing speed the clamorous pack o'ertake.
One eager hound hangs o'er her furry back;
His tusky jaws already drink her blood.
Quick glancing with a bound she turns away,
But still where'er she turns she finds a foe.
Rudely they hale the fainting maid along,
Nor could her youth, nor could her lovely form
Move kind compassion. Oh, what bitter pangs,
Estrildis, tore thy miserable breast
At this distracting sight! Oh Guéndolen,
Has not thy savage fury spent its rage ?
See how with frantic air the wretched mother
Struggles to burst her bonds, and struggling still,
Pursues her with her eyes! “ Barbarians, where,
Where do you drag my child? Oh quickly kill me,
Let me not see her death!" Her cries are vain. ..
They drag her to the cliff. The river rolls
His rapid wave beneath. Estrildis strains,
Distracted, every nerve. Maternal love
And fear supply unwonted force. She bursts
From the surrounding guard; she runs, she flies :
In vain the guard her rapid course pursue. .
She gains the cliff, and round her darling child
Had thrown with eager haste her clasping arms,
But still her arms were bound. From the steep brow
She sees the victim hurld. When, lo! the stream
Suspends his course; the swelling waves subside;
The winds are hush'd; each breast a sacred awe
Pervades, prophetic of some strange event.
And now the yielding surface of the lake
Divides, and all the train of sister nymphs,
Nereids and Naiads, from their coral beds
And sparry grots, their shining tresses rear;
In their soft arms the falling maid receive,
And swiftly bear from sight. The wreathed shell
Of Triton sounds meanwhile, and tells th' approach
Of the sea gods: Ocean, the hoary sire; Majestic Tethys; and the dreaded power Who wields th' earth-shaking trident; Nereus old; Doris, and Amphitrite ; and, beloved Of thundering Jove, the silver-footed dame; And every god, and every nymph, that rules The fountains, and rivers of the isle ; Nor absent was the queen of soft desires, Sprung from the wave, delight of earth and heaven, Fair Aphrodite. Scattering balmy sweets, The loves around her, and the graces move, And the light zephyr plies his filmy wings. Won by her soft request, her kindred gods The gentle Sabra, from her race deriv'd, Accept, henceforth the goddess of the stream, With holy rites ador'd, and warbled song. The pale assistants fear and wonder seiz'd, While joy unhop'd on lost Estrildis beam'd,
And fill'd her soul with courage not her own.
« Now, Guendolen,” she cried, “I scorn thy power,
And all thy rage is vain. Oh welcome, death!
No longer arm’d with terrors, thus I court thee."
So saying, from the steep and lofty cliff
Headlong she plung'd into the rolling flood.