Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

Then ghastly haunt thy native place,
And suck the blood of all thy race;
There from thy daughter, sister, wife,
At midnight drain the stream of life;
Yet loathe the banquet which perforce
Must feed thy livid living corse :
Thy victims ere they yet expire
Shall know the demon for their sire,
As cursing thee, thou cursing them,
Thy flowers are wither'd on the stem.
But one that for thy crime must fall,
The youngest, most beloved of all,
Shall bless thee with a father's name
That word shall wrap thy heart in flame !
Yet must thou end thy task, and mark
Her cheek's last tinge, her eye's last spark,
And the last glassy glance must view
Which freezes o'er its lifeless blue ;
Then with unhallow'd hand shall tear
The tresses of her yellow hair,
Of which in life a lock when shorn
Affection's fondest pledge was worn;
But now is borne away by thee,
Memorial of thine agony !
Wet with thine own best blood shall drip (4)
Thy gnashing tooth and haggard lip;

Then stalking to thy sullen grave,
Go and with Gouls and Afrits rave;
Till these in horror shrink away
From spectre more accursed than they !

*

“ How name ye yon lone Caloyer ?

His features I have scann'd before
In mine own land: 'tis many a year,

Since, dashing by the lonely shore,
I saw him urge as fleet a steed
As ever served a horseman's need.
But once I saw that face, yet then
It was so mark'd with inward pain,
I could not pass it by again ;
It breathes the same dark spirit now,

As death were stamp'd upon his brow.(1) l'ho freshness of the face, and the wetness of the lip with blood, are the nover. failing signs of a Vampire. The stories told in Hungary and Greece of ineso soul feeders are singular, and soina of them most incredibly aliested,

“ 'Tis twice three years at summer-tide

Since first among our freres he came į And here it soothes him to abide

For some dark deed he will not narre But never at our vesper prayer, Nor e'er before confession chair Kneels he, nor recks he when arise Incense or anthem to the skies, But broods within his cell alone, His faith and race alike unknown. The sea from Paynim land he crost, And here ascended from the coast; Yet seems he not of Othman race, But only Christian in his face : I'd judge him some stray renegade, Repentant of the change he made, Save that he shuns our holy shrine, Nor tastes the sacred bread and wine. Great largess to these walls he brought, And thus our abbot's favour bought ; But were I Prior, not a day Should brook such stranger's further stay, Or pent within our penance cell Should doom him there for aye tu dwell. Much in his visions mutters he Of maiden whelm'd beneath the sea ; Of sabres clashing, foemen flying, Wrongs avenged, and Moslem dying. On cliff he hath been known to stand, And rave as to some bloody band Fresh sever'd from its parent limb, Invisible to all but him, Which beckons onward to his grave, And lures to leap into the wave.”

*

*

*

Dark and unearthly is the scowl
That glares beneath his duský cowl :
The flash of that dilating, eye
Reveals too much of times gone by ;
Though varying, indistinct its hue,
Oft will his glance the gazer rue,
For in it lurks that nameless spell
Which speaks, itself unspeakable,

A spirit yet unquell'd and high,
That claims and keeps ascendency;
And like the bird whose pinions quake,
But cannot fly the gazing snake,
Will others quail beneath his look,
Nor 'scape the glance they scarce can brook
From him the half-affrighted Friar
When met alone would

fain retire,
As if that eye and bitter smile
Transferr'd to others fear and guile :
Not oft to smile descendeth he,
And when he doth 'tis sad to see
That he but mocks at Misery.
How that pale lip will curl and quiver ?
Then fix once more as if for ever ;
As if his sorrow or disdain
Forbade him o'er to smile again.
Well were it so — such ghastly mirth
From joyance ne'er derived its birth.
But sadder still it were to trace
What once were feelings in that face :
Time hath not yet the features fix'd,
But brighter traits with evil mix'd ;
And there are hues not always faded,
Which speak a mind not all degraded
Even by the crimes through which it waded :
The common crowd but see the gloom
of wayward deeds, and fitting doom ;
The close observer can espy
A noble soul, and lineage high:
Alas! though both bestow'd in vain,
Which Grief could change, and Guilt could stain,
It was no vulgar tenement
To which such lofty gifts were lent,
And still with little less than dread
On such the sight is riveted.
The roofless cot, decay'd and rent,

Will scarce delay the passer by;
The tower by war or tempest bent,
While yet may frown one battlement,

Demands and daunts the stranger's eye ;
Each ivied arch, and pillar lone,
Pleads haughtily for glories gone!

" His floating robe around him folding,

Slow sweeps he through the column'd aislo ;

With dread beheld, with gloom beholding

The rites that sanctify the pile. But when the anthem shakes the choir And kneel the monks, his steps retire ; By yonder lone and wavering torch His aspect glares within the porch ; There will he pause till all is done And hear the prayer, but utter none. See — by the half-illumined wall His hood fly back, bis dark hair fall, That pale brow wildly wreathing round, As if the Gorgon there had bound The sablest of the serpent-braid That o'er her fearful forehead stray'd : For he declines the convent oath, And leaves those locks unhallow'd growth, But wears our garb in all beside ; And, not from piety but pride, Gives wealth to walls that never heard Of his one holy vow nor word. Lo!- mark ye, as the harmony Peals louder praises to the sky, That livid cheek, that stony air Of mix'd defiance and despair ! Saint Francis, keep him from the shrine ! Else may we dread the wrath divine Made manifest by awful sign. If ever evil angel bore The form of mortal, such he wore : .. By all my hope of sins forgiven, Such looks are not of earth nor heaven ! ”

To love the softest hearts are prone,
But such can ne'er be all his own;
Too timid in his woes to share,
Too meek to meet, or brave despair ;
And sterner hearts alone may feel
The wound that time can.never heal.
The rugged metal of the mine
Must burn before its surface shine,
But plunged within the furnace-flame,
It bends and melts though still the same ;
Then temper'd to thy want, or will,
'Twill serve thee to defend or kill ;
A breast-plate for thine hour of need,
Or blade to bid thy foeman bleed;

[ocr errors]

But if a dagger's form it bear,
Let those who shape its edge, beware!
Thus passion's fire, and woman's art,
Can turn and tame the sterner heart;
From these its form and tone are ta'en,
And what they make it, must remain,
But break — before it bend again.

[ocr errors]

If solitude succeed to grief,
Release from pain is slight relief ;
The vacant bosom's wilderness
Might thank the pang that made it less.
We loathe what none are left to share :
Even bliss - 4 were woe alone to bear ;
The heart once left thus desolate
Must fly at last for ease - to hate.
Jt is as if the dead could feel
The icy worm around them steal,
And shudder, as the reptiles creep
To revel o'er their rotting sleep,
Without the power to scare away
The cold consumers of their clay!
It is as if the desert-bird, (4)

Whose beak unlocks her bosom's stream

To still her famish'd nestlings' scream,
Nor mourns a life to them transferrd,
Should rend her rash devoted breast,
And find them flown her empty nest.
The keenest pangs the wretched find,

Are rapture to the dreary void,
The leafless desert of the mind,

The waste of feelings unemploy'd.
Who would be doom'd to gaze upon
A sky without a cloud or sun ?
Less hideous far the tempest's roar
Than ne'er to brave the billows more
Thrown, when the war of winds is o'er,
A lonely wreck on fortune's shore,
'Mid sullen calm, and silent bay,
Unseen to drop by dull decay ; -

() The pelican us, I beliovo, the bird so libellod, by the imputation of soeding her chickens with her blood.

« ForrigeFortsett »