Page images
PDF
EPUB

Thou noble spirit ! Oh when hearts like thine
Grow on this sacred soil, would it not be
In me, thy husband, double infamy,
And tenfold guilt, if I despaired of Spain ?
In all her visitations, favouring Heaven
Hath left her still the unconquerable mind;
And thus being worthy of redemption, sure
Is she to be redeemed.

Beholding her
Through tears he spake, and prest upon her lips
A kiss of deepest love. Think ever thus,
She answered, and that faith will give the power
In which it trusts. When to this mountain hold
These children, thy dear images, I brought,
I said within myself, where should they fly
But to the bosom of their native hills?
I brought them here as to a sanctuary,
Where, for the temple's sake, the indwelling God
Would guard his supplicants. O my dear Lord,
Proud as I was to know that they were thine,
Was it a sin if I almost believed,
That Spain, her destiny being linked with theirs,
Would save the precious charge?

So let us think, The chief replied, so feel and teach and act. Spain is our common parent: let the sons Be to the parent true, and in her strength And Heaven, their sure deliverance they will find.

XVII.

O HOLIEST Mary, Maid and Mother ! thou
In Covadonga, at thy rocky shrine,
Hast witnessed whatsoe'er of human bliss
Heart can conceive most perfect! Faithful love,
Long crost by envious stars, hath there attained
Its crown, in endless matrimony given;
The youthful mother there hath to the font
Her first-born borne, and there, with deeper sense
Of gratitude for that dear babe redeemed
From threatening death, returned to pay her vows.
But ne'er on nuptial, nor baptismal day,
Nor from their grateful pilgrimage discharged,
Did happier group their way down Deva's vale
Rejoicing hold, than this blest family,
O’er whom the mighty Spirit of the Land
Spread his protecting wings. The children, free

In youthhead's happy season from all cares
That might disturb the hour, yet capable
Of that intense and unalloyed delight
Which childhood feels when it enjoys again
The dear parental presence long deprived ;
Nor were the parents now less- blest than they,
Even to the height of human happiness ;
For Gaudiosa and her Lord that hour
Let no misgiving thoughts intrude: she fixed
Her hopes on him, and his were fixed on Heaven ;
And hope in that courageous heart 'derived
Such rooted strength and confidence assured
In righteousness, that 'twas to him like faith..
An everlasting sunshine of the soul,
Illumining and quickening all its powers.

But on Pionia's side meantime a heart
As generous, and as full of noble thoughts,
Lay stricken with the deadliest bolts of grief.
Upon a smooth grey stone sate Roderick there;
The wind above him stirred the hazel boughs,
And murmuring at his feet the river ran.
He sate with folded arms and head declined

[ocr errors]

Upon his breast, feeding on bitter thoughts,
Till nature gave him in the exhausted sense
Of woe a respite something like repose;
And then the quiet sound of gentle winds_
And waters with their lulling consonance
Beguiled him of himself. Of all within
Oblivious there he sate, sentient alone
Of outward nature, .. of the whispering leaves
That soothed his ear, .. the genial breath of heaven
That fanned his cheek, ..the stream's perpetual flow,
That, with its shadows and its glancing lights,
Dimples and thread-like motions infinite,
For ever varying and yet still the same,
Like time toward eternity, ran by.
Resting his head upon his master's knees,
Upon the bank beside him Theron lay.
What matters change of state and circumstance,
Or lapse of years, with all their dread events,
To him? What matters it that Roderick wears
The crown no longer, nor the sceptre wields? ..
It is the dear-loved hand, whose friendly touch
Had flattered him so oft: it is the voice,
At whose glad summons to the field so oft

« PreviousContinue »