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THE SICILIAN CAPTIVE.

“I have dreamt thou wert
A captive in thy hopelessness; afar
From the sweet home of thy young infancy,
Whose image unto thee is as a dream
Of fire and slaughter; I can see thee wasting,
Sick for thy native air.”

L. E. L.

The champions had come from their fields of war,
Over the crests of the billows far-
They had brought back the spoils of a hundred shores,
Where the deep had foam'd to their flashing oars.
They sat at their feast round the Norse king's board;
By the glare of the torch-light the mead was pourd;
The hearth was heap'd with the pine-boughs high,
And it flung a red radiance on shields thrown by.
The Scalds that chanted in Runic rhyme
Their songs of the sword and the olden time;
And a solemn thrill, as the harp-chords rung,
Had breathed from the walls where the bright spears

hung.
But the swell was gone from the quivering string,
They had summond a softer voice to sing,
And a captive girl, at the warriors' call,
Stood forth in the midst of that frowning hall.

Lonely she stood :-in her mournful eyes
Lay the clear midnight of southern skies;
And the drooping fringe of their lashes low,
Half-veild a depth of unfathom'd woe.

Stately she stood — though her fragile frame Seem'd struck with the blight of some inward flame; And her proud pale brow had a shade of scorn, Under the waves of her dark hair worn.

And a deep flush pass'd, like a crimson haze, O'er her marble cheek by the pine-fire's blaze; No soft hue caught from the south wind's breath But a token of fever, at strife with death.

She had been torn from her home away,
With her long locks crown'd for her bridal-day,
And brought to die of the burning dreams
That haunt the exile by foreign streams.

They bade her sing of her distant land-
She held its lyre with a trembling hand,
Till the spirit its blue skies had given her, woke,
And the stream of her voice into music broke.

Faint was the strain, in its first wild flow;
Troubled its murmur,

and sad, and low; But it swellid into deeper power erelong, As the breeze that swept o'er her soul grew strong.

“ They bid me sing of thee, mine own, my sunny

land! of thee ! Am I not parted from thy shores by the mournful

sounding sea ? Doth not thy shadow wrap my soul ?- in silence let

me die, In a voiceless dream of thy silvery founts, and thy

pure, deep sapphire sky;

How should thy lyre give here its wealth of buried

sweetness forth? Its tones of summer's breathings born, to the wild

winds of the north ?

“ Yet thus it shall be once, once more !-my spirit

shall awake, And through the mists of death shine out, my coun

try, for thy sake! That I may make thee known, with all the beauty

and the light, And the glory never more to bless thy daughter's

yearning sight! Thy woods shall whisper in my song, thy bright

streams warble by, Thy soul flow o'er my lips again—yet once, my Sicily! “ There are blue heavens— far hence, far hence!

but, oh! their glorious blue ! Its very night is beautiful, with the hyacinth's deep

hue! It is above my own fair land, and round my laugh

ing home, And arching o'er my vintage hills, they hang their

cloudless dome; And making all the waves as gems, that melt along

the shore, And steeping happy hearts in joy—that now is mine

no more.

“And there are haunts in that green land-oh! who

may dream or tell Of all the shaded loveliness it hides in grot and dell !

Vol. V. 21

By fountains flinging rainbow-spray on dark and

glossy leaves, And bowers wherein the forest dove her nest un

troubled weaves ; The myrtle dwells there, sending round the richness

of its breath, And the violets gleam like amethysts, from the dewy

moss beneath. “ And there are floating sounds that fill the skies

through night and daySweet sounds! the soul to hear them faints in dreams

of heaven away! They wander through the olive woods, and o'er the

shining seas They mingle with the orange scents that load the

sleepy breeze; Lute, voice, and bird, are blending there;- it were

a bliss to die, As dies a leaf, thy groves among, my flowery Sicily! I may not thus depart — farewell! yet no, my

country! no! Is not love stronger than the grave? I feel it must

be so ! My fleeting spirit shall o'ersweep the mountains and

the main, And in thy tender starlight rove, and through thy

woods again. Its passion deepens-it prevails !-I break my chain

I come To dwell a viewless thing, yet blest—in thy sweet

air, my home !"

And her pale arms dropp'd the ringing lyreThere came a mist o'er her eye's wild fireAnd her dark rich tresses, in many a fold, Loosed from their braids, down her bosom roll'd.

For her head sank back on the rugged wall —
A silence fell o'er the warriors' hall;
She had pour'd out her soul with her song's last tone;
The lyre was broken, the minstrel gone!

IVAN THE CZAR.

“ Ivan le Terrible, etant dejà devenu vieux, assiégeait Novo gorod. Les Boyards, le voyant affoibli, lui demandèrent s'il ne voulait pas donner le commandement de l'assaut à son fils. Sa fureur fut si grande à cette proposition, que rien ne pût l'appaiser; son fils se prosterna à ses pieds ; il le repoussa avec un coup d'une telle violence, que deux jours après le malheureux en mourut. Le père, alors au desespoir, devint indifferent à la guerre comme au pouvoir, et ne survécut que peu de mois à son fils." Dix Années d'Exil, par MADAME DE STAEL.

92

*

Gieb diesen Todten mir heraus. Ich muss
Ihn wieder haben!

Trostlose allmacht,
Die nicht einmal in Gräber ihren arm
Verlängern, eine kleine Übereilung
Mit Menschenleben nicht verbessern kann!"

SCHILLER.

He sat in silence on the ground,

The old and haughty Czar,
Lonely, though princes girt him round,

And leaders of the war:

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