The Abencerrage : Canto I. - continuation 2

"Zayda, my doom is fix'd—another day,
And the wrong'd exile shall be far away;
Far from the scenes where still his heart must be,
His home of youth, and, more than all—from thee.
Oh! what a cloud hath gather'd o'er my lot,
Since last we met on this fair tranquil spot!
Lovely as then, the soft and silent hour,
And not a rose hath faded from thy bower;
But I–my hopes the tempest hath o'erthrown,
And changed my heart, to all but thee alone.
Farewell, high thoughts! inspiring hopes of praise,
Heroic visions of my early days!
In me the glories of my race must end,
The exile hath no country to defend!
E’en in life's morn, my dreams of pride are o'er,
Youth's buoyant spirit wakes for me no more,
And one wild feeling in my alter'd breast
Broods darkly o'er the ruins of the rest
Yet fear not thou—to thee, in good or ill,
The heart, so sternly tried, is faithful still!
But when my steps are distant, and my name
Thou hear'st no longer in the song of fame,
When Time steals on, in silence to efface
Of early love each pure and sacred trace,
Causing our sorrows and our hopes to seem
But as the moonlight pictures of a dream,
Still shall thy soul be with me, in the truth
And all the fervor of affection's youth?
—If such thy love, one beam of heaven shall play
In lonely beauty, o'er thy wanderer's way."

"Ask not, if such my love! oh! trust the mind
To grief so long, so silently resign'd!
Let the light spirit, ne'er by sorrow taught
The pure and lofty constancy of thought,
Its fleeting trials eager to forget,
Rise with elastic power o'er each regret!
Foster'd in tears, our young affection grew,
And I have learn'd to suffer and be true.
Deem not my love a frail, ephemeral flower,
Nursed by soft sunshine and the balmy shower;
No! 'tis the child of tempests, and defies,
And meets unchanged, the anger of the skies!
Too well I feel, with grief's prophetic heart,
That ne'er to meet in happier days, we part.
We part! and e'en this agonizing hour,
When love first feels his own o'erwhelming power,
Shall soon to Memory's fixed and tearful eye
Seem almost happiness—for thou wert nigh!
Yes! when this heart in solitude shall bleed,
As days to days all wearily succeed,
When doom'd to weep in loneliness, 'twill be
Almost like rapture to have wept with thee.

"But thou, my Hamet, thou canst yet bestow
All that of joy my blighted lot can know.
Oh! be thou still the high-soul'd and the brave,
To whom my first and fondest vows I gave,
In thy proud fame's untarnish'd beauty still
The lofty visions of my youth fulfil,
So shall it soothe me, 'midst my heart's despair,
To hold undimm'd one glorious image there!"

"Zayda, my best-beloved! my words too well,
Too soon, thy bright illusions must dispel;
Yet must my soul to thee unveil'd be shown,
And all its dreams and all its passions known.
Thou shalt not be deceived—for pure as heaven
Is thy young love, in faith and fervor given.
I said my heart was changed—and would thy thought
Explore the ruin by thy kindred wrought,
In fancy trace the land whose towers and fanes,
Crush'd by the earthquake, strew its ravaged plains,
And such that heart—where desolation's hand
Hath blighted all that once was fair or grand!
But Vengeance, fix'd upon her burning throne,
Sits 'midst the wreck in silence and alone,
And I, in stern devotion at her shrine,
Each softer feeling, but my love, resign.
—Yes! they whose spirits all my thoughts controul,
Who hold dread converse with my thrilling soul;
They, the betray'd, the sacrificed, the brave,
Who fill a blood-stain'd and untimely grave,
Must be avenged! and pity and remorse,
In that stern cause, are banish'd from my course.
Zayda, thou tremblest—and thy gentle breast
Shrinks from the passions that destroy my rest;
Yet shall thy form, in many a stormy hour,
Pass brightly o'er my soul with softening power,
And, oft recall'd, thy voice beguile my lot,
Like some sweet lay, once heard, and ne'er forgot.

"But the night wanes—the hours too swiftly fly,
The bitter moment of farewell draws nigh,
Yet, loved one! weep not thus—in joy or pain,
Oh! trust thy Hamet, we shall meet again!
Yes, we shall meet! and haply smile at last
On all the clouds and conflicts of the past.
On that fair vision teach thy thoughts to dwell,
Nor deem these mingling tears our last farewell!"

Is the voice hush'd, whose loved, expressive tone
Thrill'd to her heart, and doth she weep alone?
Alone she weeps—that hour of parting o'er—
When shall the pang it leaves be felt no more?
The gale breathes light, and fans her bosom fair,
Showering the dewy rose-leaves o'er her hair;
But ne'er for her shall dwell reviving power,
In balmy dew, soft breeze, or fragrant flower,
To wake once more that calm, serene delight,
The soul's young bloom, which passion's breath could blight;
The smiling stillness of life's morning hour,
Ere yet the day-star burns in all his power.
Meanwhile, through groves of deep luxuriant shade,
In the rich foliage of the South array d,
Hamet, ere dawns the earliest blush of day,
Bends to the vale of tombs his pensive way.
Fair is that scene where palm and cypress wave
On high o'er many an Aben-Zurrah's grave,
Lonely and fair—its fresh and glittering leaves,
With the young myrtle there the laurel weaves,
To canopy the dead—nor wanting there
Flowers to the turf, nor fragrance to the air,
Nor wood-bird's note, nor fall of plaintive stream,
Wild music, soothing to the mourner's dream.
There sleep the chiefs of old—their combats o'er,
The voice of glory thrills their hearts no more!
Unheard by them th' awakening clarion blows;
The sons of war at length in peace repose.
No martial note is in the gale that sighs,
Where proud their trophied sepulchres arise,
'Mid founts, and shades, and flowers of brightest bloom,
As, in his native vale, some shepherd's tomb.

There, where the trees their thickest foliage spread
Dark o'er that silent valley of the dead,
Where two fair pillars rise, embower'd and lone,
Not yet with ivy clad, with moss o'ergrown,
Young Hamet kneels—while thus his vows are pour'd,
The fearful vows that consecrate his sword.
—"Spirit of him, who first within my mind
Each loftier aim, each nobler thought enshrined,
And taught my steps the line of light to trace,
Left by the glorious fathers of my race,
Hear thou my voice—for thine is with me still,
In every dream its tones my bosom thrill,
In the deep calm of midnight they are near,
'Midst busy throngs they vibrate on my ear,
Still murmuring 'vengeance!'—nor in vain the call,
Few, few shall triumph in a hero's fall!
Cold as thine own to glory and to fame,
Within my heart there lives one only aim,
There, till th' oppressor for thy fate atone,
Concentring every thought, it reigns alone.
I will not weep—revenge, not grief, must be,
And blood, not tears, an offering meet for thee;
But the dark hour of stern delight will come,
And thou shalt triumph, warrior! in thy tomb

"Thou, too, my brother! thou art pass'd away,
Without thy fame, in life's fair-dawning day.
Son of the brave! of thee no trace will shine
In the proud annals of thy lofty line,
Nor shall thy deeds be deathless in the lays
That hold communion with the after-days.
Yet, by the wreaths thou might'st have nobly won,
Hadst thou but lived till rose thy noontide sun,
By glory lost, I swear, by hope betray'd,
Thy fate shall amply, dearly, be repaid;
War with thy foes I deem a holy strife,
And, to avenge thy death, devote my life.

"Hear ye my vows, O spirits of the slain!
Hear, and be with me on the battle-plain!
At noon, at midnight, still around me bide,
Rise on my dreams, and tell me how ye died!"
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Submitted by Madeleine Quinn on October 25, 2019

Modified by Madeleine Quinn

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"The Abencerrage : Canto I. - continuation 2" Poetry.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 7 Jul 2020. <https://www.poetry.net/poem/51718/the-abencerrage-:-canto-i.---continuation-2>.

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