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LADY OF THE CASTLE.

561

Check'd on her lip the flow of song, which fain
Would there have linger'd; fush'd her cheek to pain,
If met by sudden glance; and gave a tone
Of sorrow, as for something lovely gone,
Even to the spring's glad voice. Her own was low
And plaintive!-Oh! there lie such depths of woe
In a young blighted spirit! Manhood rears
A haughty brow; and Age has done with tears;
But Youth bows down to mis'ry, in amaze
At the dark cloud o'ermantling its fresh days, -
And thus it was with her. A mournful sight

In one so fair -- for she indeed was fair-
Not with her mother's dazzling eyes of light.

Hers were more shadowy, full of thought and pray'r;
And with long lashes o'er a white-rose cheek,
Drooping in gloom, yet tender still and meek.

“One sunny mom,
With alms before her castle gate she stood,
'Midst peasant-groups; when, breathless and o'erworn,

And shrouded in long robes of widowhood,
A stranger through them broke:- The orphan maid
With her sweet voice, and proffer'd hand of aid,
Turn'd to give welcome : But a wild sad look
Met hers; a gaze that all her spirit shook ;
And that pale woman, suddenly subdued
By some strong passion in its gushing mood,
Knelt at her feet, and bath'd them with such tears
As rain the hoarded agonies of years
From the heart's urn; and with her white lips press'd
The ground they trode; then, burying in her vest
Her brow's deep flush, sobb'd out — Oh! undefild !
I am thy Mother — spurn me not, my child!'

“ Isaure had pray'd for that lost mother; wept
O'er her stain'd memory, while the happy slept
In the hush'd midnight; stood with mournful gaze
Before yon picture's smile of other days,
But never breath'd in human ear the name
Which weigh'd her being to the earth with shame.
What marvel if the anguish, the surprise,
The dark remembrances, the alter'd guise,
Awhile o'erpower'd her ?— from the weeper's touch
She shirank!- 'Twas but a moment- yet too much
For that all-humbled one ; its mortal stroke
Came down like lightning, and her full heart broke
At once in silence. Heavily and prone
She sank, while, o'er her castle's threshold-stone,
Those long fair tresses they still brightly wore
Their early pride, though bound with pearls no more
Bursting their fillet, in sad beauty rolīd,

And swept the dust with coils of wavy gold.
VOL. II.

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562

MRS. HEMANS

- JOAN OF ARC.

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Her child bent o'er her - call'd her 'Twas too late-
Dead lay the wanderer at her own proud gate!
The joy of courts, the star of knight and bard,

How didst thou fall, O bright-hair'd Ermengarde !" The following sketch of “Joan of Arc in Rheims," is in a loftier and more ambitious vein; but sustained with equal grace, and as touching in its solemn tenderness. We can afford to extract but a part of it:

-" Within, the light,
Through the rich gloom of pictur'd windows flowing,
Tinged with soft awfulness a stately sight,

The chivalry of France, their proud heads bowing
In martial vassalage ! — while 'midst the ring,
And shadow'd by ancestral tombs, a king
Received his birthright's crown. For this, the hymn

Swell'd out like rushing waters, and the day
With the sweet censer's misty breath grew dim,

As through long aisles it floated, o'er th' array
Of arms and sweeping stoles. But who, alone
And unapproach'd, beside the altar-stone,
With the white banner, forth like sunshine streaming,
And the gold helm, through crowds of fragrance gleaming,
Silent and radiant stood ? - The helm was rais d,
And the fair face reveald, that upward gaz'd,

Intensely worshipping ; - a still, clear face,
Youthful, but brightly solemn !- Woman's cheek
And brow were there, in deep devotion meek,
Yet glorified with inspiration's trace!

"A triumphant strain,
A proud rich stream of warlike melodies,

Gush'd through the portals of the antique fane,
And forth she came."

" The shouts that filla
The hollow heaven tempestuously, were still d,
One moment; and in that brief pause, the tone,
As of a breeze that o'er her home had blown,
Sank on the bright maid's heart !- Joanne!'. Who spoke ?

Like those whose childhood with her childhood grew
Under one roof? - Joanne!'. that murmur broke

With sounds of weeping forth ! — She turn'd she knew
Beside her, mark'd from all the thousands there,
In the calm beauty of his silver hair,
The stately shepherd ! And the youth, whose joy
From his dark eye flash'd proudly; and the boy,
The youngest-born that ever lov'd her best !
· Father! and ye my brothers !'- On the breast
Of that grey sire she sank -- and swiftly back,
Even in an instant, to their native track

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Her free thoughts flow'd. — She saw the pomp no more!
The plumes, the banners !-- To her cabin door,
And to the Fairy's Fountain in the glade,
Where her young sisters by her side had play'd,
And to her hamlet's chapel, where it rose
Hallowing the forest into deep repose,
Her spirit turn'd. -- The very wood-note, sung

In early spring-time by the bird, which dwelt
Where o'er her father's roof the beech-leaves hung,

Was in her heart ; a music heard and felt,
Winnig her back to nature ! She unbound

The helm of many battles from her head,
And, with her bright locks bow'd to sweep the ground,

Lifting her voice up, wept for joy, and said, -
• Bless me, my father, bless me! and with thee,
To the still cabin and the beechen-tree,

Let me return!'” There are several strains of a more passionate character ; especially in the two poetical epistles from Lady Arabella Stuart and Properzia Rossi. We shall venture to give a few lines from the former. The Lady Arabella was of royal descent; and having excited the fears of our pusillanimous James by a secret union with the Lord Seymour, was detained in a cruel captivity, by that heartless monarch, till the close of her life — during which she is supposed to have indited this letter to her lover from her prison house:

• My friend, my friend! where art thou? Day by day,
Gliding, like some dark mournful stream, away,
My silent youth flows from me! Spring, the while,

Comes, and rains beauty on the kindling boughs
Round hall and hamlet; Summer, with her smile,

Fills the green forests ;— young hearts breathe their vows;
Brothers, long parted, meet; fair childre rise

Round the glad board: Hope laughs from loving eyes. Ye are from dingle and fresh glade, ye flowers !

By some kind hand to cheer my dungeon sent;
O'er you the oak shed down the summer showers,

And the lark's nest was where your bright cups bent,
Quivering to breeze and rain-drop, like the sheen
Of twilight stars.

Heaven's

eye

hath been,
Through the leaves pouring its dark sultry blue
Into your glowing hearts ; the bee to you
Hath murmurd, and the rill. — My soul grows

faint With passionate yearning, as its quick dreams paint Your haunts by dell and stream, the green, the free, The full of all sweet sound, - the shut from me!

On you

564

MRS. HEMANS - - AN HOUR OF ROMANCE.

“There went a swift bird singing past my cell

O Love and freedom ! ye are lovely things;
With

you the peasant on the hills may dwell,
And by the streams; but I — the blood of kings,
A proud unmingling river, through my veins
Flows in lone brightness, - and its gifts are chains !
- Kings ! — I had silent visions of deep bliss,
Leaving their thrones far distant! and for this
I am cast under their triumphal car,
An insect to be crush'd!
“ Thou hast forsaken me!-I feel, I know !
There would be rescue if it were not so.
Thou'rt at the chase, thou’rt at the festive board,
Thou’rt where the red wine free and high is pour'd,
Thou’rt where the dancers meet! - a magic glass
Is set within my soul, and proud shapes,
Flushing it o'er with pomp from bower and hall !
I see one shadow, stateliest there of all, -
Thine ! - What dost Thou amidst the bright and fair,

Whisp'ring light words, and mocking my despair ?" The following, though it has no very distinct object or moral, breathes, we think, the very spirit of Poetry, in its bright and vague picturings, and is well entitled to the name it bears — “ An Hour of Romance:"There were thick leaves above me and around,

And low sweet sighs, like those of childhood's sleep,
Amidst their dimness, and a fitful sound

As of soft showers on water ! Dark and deep
Lay the oak shadows o'er the turf, so still
They seem'd but pictured glooms: a hidden rill
Made music, such as haunts us in a dream,
Under the fern-tufts : and a tender gleam
Of soft green light as by the glow-worm shed,

Came pouring thro' the woven beech-boughs down,
And steep'd the magic page wherein I read

Of royal chivalry and old renown;
A tale of Palestine. Meanwhile the bee

Swept past me with a tone of summer hours,

A drowsy bugle wafting thoughts of flowers,
Blue skies and amber sunshine : brightly free
On filmy wing the purple dragon-fly
Shot glancing like a fairy javelin by ;
And a sweet voice of sorrow told the dell
Where sat the lone wood pigeon:

But ere long
All sense of these things faded, as the spell
Breathing from that high gorgeous tale grew strong

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On my chain'd soul !- 'Twas not the leaves I heard –
A Syrian wmd the Lion-banner stirr'd,
Thro' its proud, floating folds !— 'twas not the brook,

Singing in secret thro' its grassy glen;

A wild shrill trumpet of the Saracen
Peal'd from the desert's lonely heart, and shook
The burning air ! — Like clouds when winds are high,
O'er glitt'ring sands flew steeds of Araby;
And tents rose up, and sudden lance and spear
Flash'd where a fountain's diamond wave lay clear,
Shadow'd by graceful palm-trees! Then the shout
Of merry England's joy swell’d freely out,
Sent thro' an eastern heaven, whose glorious hue
Made shields dark mirrors to its depths of blue!
And harps were there ; — I heard their sounding strings,
As the waste echo'd to the mirth of kings.
The bright masque faded ! - Unto life's worn track,
What call'd me from its flood of glory back ?
A voice of happy childhood ! — and they passid,
Banner, and harp, and Paynim trumpet's blast;
Yet might I scarce bewail the splendours gone,

My heart so leap'd to that sweet laughter's tone."

There is great sweetness in the following portion of a little poem on a “Girls' School:”— “Oh! joyous creatures ! that will sink to rest,

Lightly, when those pure orisons are done,
As birds with slumbers honey-dew opprest,

'Midst the dim folded leaves, at set of sun
Yet in those flute-like voices, mingling low,
Is woman's tenderness - how soon her woe!
Her look is on you

silent tears to weep,
And patient smiles to wear, through sufføring's hour ;
And sumless riches, from affection's deep,

To pour on broken reeds – a wasted show'r !
And to make idols, -— and to find them clay,

And to bewail that worship!- therefore pray! “Her lot is on you! to be found untir'd,

Watching the stars out by the bed of pain,
With a pale cheek, and yet a brow inspir'd

And a true heart of hope, though hope be vain;
Meekly to bear with wrong, to cheer decay,

And oh! to Love through all things !- therefore pray!"

There is a fine and stately solemnity, too, in these lines on “ The Lost Pleiad :"

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