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Here paused he, while the music, now less near,
O! could he listen to such sounds unmoved, And by that light — nor dream of her he loved ? Dream on, unconscious boy! while yet thou may'st ; 'Tis the last bliss thy soul shall ever taste. Clasp yet awhile her image to thy heart, Ere all the light, that made it dear, depart. Think of her smiles as when thou saw'st them last, Clear, beautiful, by nought of earth o'ercast; Recall her tears, to thee at parting given, Pure as they weep, if angels weep, in heaven. Think, in her own still bower she waits thee now, With the same glow of heart and bloom of brow, Yet shrined in solitude — thine all, thine only, Like the one star above thee, bright and lonely. O that a dream so sweet, so long enjoyed, Should be so sadly, cruelly destroyed !
The song is hushed, the laughing nymphs are flown, And he is left, musing of bliss, alone ; — Alone ? — no, not alone — that heavy sigh, That sob of grief, which broke from some one nighWhose could it be ? — alas! is misery found Here, even here, on this enchanted ground ? He turns, and sees a female form, close veiled, Leaning, as if both heart and strength had failed, Against a pillar near ;-not glittering o'er With gems and wreaths, such as the others wore,
But in that deep-blue, melancholy dress,
A strange emotion stirs within him, - more Than mere compassion ever waked before; Unconsciously he opes his arms, while she Springs forward, as with life's last energy, But, swooning in that one convulsive bound, Sinks, ere she reach his arms, upon the ground; — Her veil falls off her faint hands clasp his knees — 'Tis she herself ! --'tis Zelica he sees! But, ah, so pale, so changed — none but a lover Could in that wreck of beauty's shrine discover The once adored divinity - even he Stood for some moments mute, and doubtingly Put back the ringlets from her brow, and gazed Upon those lids, where once such lustre blazed, Ere he could think she was indeed his own, Own darling maid, whom he so long had known In joy and sorrow, beautiful in both ; Who, ev'n when grief was heaviest — when loath He left her for the wars — in that worst hour Sat in her sorrow like the sweet night-flower, i When darkness brings its weeping glories out, And spreads its sighs like frankincense about.
1 “ Deep blue is their mourning color.” – Hanway.
2 The sorrowful nyctanthes, which begins to spread its rich odor after sunset.
"Look up, my ZELICA — one moment show “Those gentle eyes to me, that I may know “Thy life, thy loveliness is not all gone, “ But there, at least, shines as it ever shone. “Come, look upon thy Azim — one dear glance, “Like those of old, were heaven! whatever chance “Hath brought thee here, 0, 'twas a blessed one! “ There—my loved lips— they move— that kiss
hath run “Like the first shoot of life through every vein, “And now I clasp her, mine, all mine again. “O the delight — now, in this very hour, “When, had the whole rich world been in my power, “I should have singled out thee, only thee, “From the whole world's collected treasury – “To have thee here — to hang thus fondly o'er “My own, best, purest ZELICA once more !"
It was indeed the touch of those fond lips Upon her eyes that chased their short eclipse, And, gradual as the snow, at heaven's breath, Melts off and shows the azure flowers beneath, Her lids unclosed, and the bright eyes were seen Gazing on his — not, as they late had been, Quick, restless, wild, but mournfully serene; As if to lie, ev'n for that tranced minute, So near his heart, had consolation in it; And thus to wake in his beloved caress Took from her soul one half its wretchedness. But, when she heard him call her good and pure, 0, 'twas too much — too dreadful to endure ! Shuddering she broke away from his embrace., And, hiding with both hands her guilty face,
Said, in a tone whose anguish would have riven A heart of very marble, “ Pure ! -0 heaven!"
That tone — those looks so changed — the wither
ing blight, That sin and sorrow leave where'er they light; The dead despondency of those sunk eyes, Where once, had he thus met her by surprise, He would have seen himself, too happy boy, Reflected in a thousand lights of joy; And then the place, — that bright, unholy place, Where vice lay hid beneath each winning grace And charm of luxury, as the viper weaves Its wily covering of sweet balsam leaves,' — All struck upon his heart, sudden and cold As death itself;—it needs not to be told — No, no — he sees it all, plain as the brand Of burning shame can mark — whate'er the hand, That could from heaven and him such brightness
sever, 'Tis done to heaven and him she's lost forever! It was a dreadful moment; not the tears, The lingering, lasting misery of years Could match that minute's anguish — all the worst Of sorrow's elements in that dark burst Broke o'er his soul, and, with one crash of fate, Laid the whole hopes of his life desolate.
“O! curse me not," she cried, as wild he tossed His desperate hand towards heaven—"tho' I am lost, " Think not that guilt, that falsehood made me fall; "No, no— 'twas grief, 'twas madness did it all ! “Nay, doubt me not — though all thy love hath
1 “Concerning the vipers, which Pliny says were frequent among the balsam-trees, I made very particular inquiry; several were brought me alive both toʻYambo and Jidda.” — Bruce.
ceased — "I know it hath — yet, yet believe, at least, “That every spark of reason's light must be “Quenched in this brain, ere I could stray from thee. “ They told me thou wert dead — why, Azim, why “ Did we not, both of us, that instant die “ When we were parted ? O! could'st thou but know “ With what a deep devotedness of woe “I wept thy absence — o'er and o'er again " Thinking of thee, still thee, till thought grew pain, “And memory, like a drop that, night and day, “Falls cold and ceaseless, wore my heart away. « Didst thou but know how pale I sat at home, “My eyes still turned the way thou wert to come, " And, all the long, long night of hope and fear, “ Thy voice and step still sounding in my ear — "O God! thou would'st not wonder that, at last, “When every hope was all at once o'ercast, “When I heard frightful voices round me say “Azim is dead ! -- this wretched brain gave way, “And I became a wreck, at random driven, “ Without one glimpse of reason or of heaven “All wild — and even this quenchless love within “ Turned to foul fires to light me into sin !"'Thou pitiest me—I knew thou would'st—that sky “Hath nought beneath it half so lorn as I. “ The fiend, who lured me hither — hist! come near 6. Or thou too, thou art lost, if he should hear — « Told me such things — 0! with such devilish art, " As would have ruined ev'n a holier heart