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THE MOURNER FOR THE BARMECIDES.
O good old man! how well in thee appears
The constant service of the antique world !
Thou art not for the fashion of these times.
As You Like It.
FALL’n was the House of Giafar; and its name,
The high romantic name of Barmecide,
A sound forbidden on its own bright shores,
By the swift Tygris' wave. Stern Haroun's wrath,
Sweeping the mighty with their fame away,
Had so pass'd sentence : but man's chainless heart
Hides that within its depths, which never yet
Th' oppressor's thought could reach.
Where Giafar's halls, beneath the burning sun,
Spread out in ruin lay. The songs had ceas'd ;
The lights, the perfumes, and the genii-tales,
Had ceas'd; the guests were gone.
Yet still one
Was there—the fountain's; thro’ those eastern courts,
Over the broken marble and the grass,
Its low clear music shedding mournfully.
And still another voice !-an aged man,
Yet with a dark and fervent eye beneath
His silvery hair, came, day by day, and sate
On a white column's fragment; and drew forth,
From the forsaken walls and dim arcades,
A tone that shook them with its answering thrill
To his deep accents. Many a glorious tale
He told that sad yet stately solitude,
Pouring his memory's fulness o'er its gloom,
Like waters in the waste; and calling up,
By song or high recital of their deeds,
Bright solemn shadows of its vanish'd race
To people their own halls : with these alone,
In all this rich and breathing world, his thoughts
Held still unbroken converse.
Reard in this lordly dwelling, and was now
The ivy of its ruins ; unto which
His fading life seem'd bound. Day rolld on day,
And from that scene the loneliness was fled;
For crowds around the grey-hair'd chronicler
Met as men meet, within whose anxious hearts
Fear with deep feeling strives ; till, as a breeze
Wanders thro’ forest-branches, and is met
By one quick sound and shiver of the leaves,
The spirit of his passionate lament,
As thro' their stricken souls it pass'd, awoke
One echoing murmur.—But this might not be
Under a despot's rule, and summon'd thence,
The dreamer stood before the Caliph's throne :
Sentenced to death he stood, and deeply pale,
And with his white lips rigidly compress'd;
Till, in submissive tones, he ask'd to speak
Once more, ere thrust from earth's fair sunshine forth.
Was it to sue for grace ?—his burning heart
Sprang, with a sudden lightning, to his eye,
And he was changed !--and thus, in rapid words,
Th’ o'ermastering thoughts, more strong than death
“ And shall I not rejoice to go, when the noble and the
brave, With the glory on their brows, are gone before me to
the grave ? What is there left to look on now, what brightness in
I hold in scorn the faded world, that wants their princely
My chiefs !
my chiefs ! the old man comes, that in your
halls was nurs’d, That follow'd you to many a fight, where flash'd your
sabres first; That bore your children in his arms, your name upon
Oh! must the music of that name with him from earth
“It shall not be !-a thousand tongues, tho' human
voice were still, With that high sound the living air triumphantly shall
The wind's free flight shall bear it on, as wandering
And the starry midnight whisper it, with a deep and