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6 Thou wert the first, the first fair child,
That in mine arms I press'd ; Thou wert the bright one, that hast smild
Like summer on my breast ! I reared thee as an eagle,
To the chase thy steps I led, I bore thee on my battle-horse,
I look upon thee-dead!
Lay down my warlike banners here,
Never again to wave,
And bury my red sword and spear,
Chiefs ! in
first-born's grave! And leave me !—I have conquerd,
I have slain—my work is done ! Whom have I slain ?--ye answer not-
Thou too art mute, my son !"
And thus his wild lament was pour'd
Thro' the dark resounding night,
And the battle knew no more his sword,
Nor the foaming steed his might.
He heard strange voices moaning
In every wind that sigh’d; From the searching stars of heaven he shrank-
Humbly the conqueror died.*
* Originally published in the Literary Souvenir for 1827.
Thy cheek too swiftly flushes ; o'er thine eye
The lights and shadows come and go too fast,
Thy tears gush forth too soon, and in thy voice
Are sounds of tenderness too passionate
For peace on earth, oh! therefore, child of song!
'Tis well thou shouldst depart.
A SOUND of music, from amidst the hills,
Came suddenly, and died; a fitful sound
Of mirth, soon lost in wail.–Again it rose,
And sank in mournfulness.--There sat a bard,
By a blue stream of Erin, where it swept
Flashing thro' rock and wood; the sunset's light
Was on his wavy silver-gleaming hair,
And the wind's whisper in the mountain-ash,
Whose clusters droop'd above. His head was bow'd,
His hand was on his harp, yet thence its touch
Had drawn but broken strains; and many stood,
Waiting around, in silent earnestness,
Th’ unchaining of his soul, the gush of song;
Many, and graceful forms! yet one alone,
Seem'd present to his dream ; and she indeed,
With her palo virgin brow, and changeful cheek,
And the clear starlight of her serious eyes,
Lovely amidst the flowing of dark locks
And pallid braiding flowers, was beautiful,
Ev'n painfully !-a creature to behold
With trembling midst our joy, lest aught unseen
Should waft the vision from us, leaving earth
Too dim without its brightness !--Did such fear
O'ershadow, in that hour, the gifted one,
By his own rushing stream ?-Once more he gaz'd
Upon the radiant girl, and yet once more
From the deep chords his wandering hand brought out
A few short festive notes, an opening strain
Of bridal melody, soon dashed with grief,
As if some wailing spirit in the strings
Met and o'ermaster'd him : but yielding then
To the strong prophet-impulse, mournfully,
Like moaning waters, o'er the harp he pour'd
The trouble of his haunted soul, and sang
I hear thy thrilling call ;
It comes in the dash of the foaming wave,
In the sear leaf's trembling fall!
In the shiver of the tree,
I hear thee, O thou voice!
And I would thy warning were but for me,
That my spirit might rejoice.
For the sad earth's young and fair,
For the graceful heads that have not bent
To the wintry hand of care !