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“ Alas! for love, for woman's breast,

If woe like this must be !
Hast thou seen a youth with an eagle crest,
And a white plume waving free?

With his proud quick flashing eye,

And his mien of knightly state ? Doth he come from where the swords flash'd high,

In the Roncesvalles' Strait?"

“ In the gloomy Roncesvalles' Strait

I saw and mark'd him well;
For nobly on his steed he sate,
When the pride of manhood fell !

-But it is not youth which turns

From the field of spears again ;
For the boy's high heart too wildly burns,

Till it rests amidst the slain !"

“Thou canst not say that he lies low,

The lovely and the brave !
Oh! none could look on his joyous brow,
And think upon the grave!

Dark, dark perchance the day
Hath been with valour's fate,

But he is on his homeward way,

From the Roncesvalles' Strait ! "

“ There is dust upon his joyous brow,

And o'er his graceful head;
And the war-horse will not wake him now,
Though it bruise his greensward bed!

-I have seen the stripling die,

And the strong man meet his fate, Where the mountain-winds go sounding by,

In the Roncesvalles' Strait ! ”

ELMINA enters.

ELMINA.

Your songs are not as those of other days,
Mine own Ximena !-Where is now the young
And buoyant spirit of the morn, which once
Breath'd in your spring-like melodies, and woke
Joy's echo from all hearts ?

XIMENA.

My mother, this Is not the free air of our mountain-wilds;

And these are not the halls, wherein my voice
First pour'd those gladdening strains.

ELMINA

Alas! thy heart (I see it well) doth sicken for the pure Free-wandering breezes of the joyous hills, Where thy young brothers, o'er the rock and heath, Bound in glad boyhood, e'en as torrent-streams Leap brightly from the heights. Had we not been Within these walls thus suddenly begirt, Thou shouldst have track'd ere now, with step as light, Their wild wood-paths.

XIMENA.

I would not but have shar'd These hours of woe and peril, though the deep And solemn feelings wakening at their voice, Claim all the wrought-up spirit to themselves, And will not blend with mirth. The storm doth hush All floating whispery sounds, all bird-notes wild O'th' summer-forest, filling earth and heaven With its own awful music.—And 'tis well! Should not a hero's child be train’d to hear The trumpet's blast unstartled, and to look In the fix'd face of death without dismay ?

ELMINA.

Woe! woe! that aught so gentle and so young
Should thus be call’d to stand i’ the tempest's path,
And bear the token and the hue of death
On a bright soul so soon! I had not shrunk
From mine own lot, but thou, my child, shouldst move
As a light breeze of heaven, through summer-bowers,
And not o'er foaming billows. We are fallen
On dark and evil days !

ΧΙΜΕΝΑ,

Aye, days, that wake
All to their tasks!—Youth may not loiter now
In the green walks of spring; and womanhood
Is summon’d unto conflicts, heretofore
The lot of warrior-souls. But we will take
Our toils upon us nobly! Strength is born
In the deep silence of long-suffering hearts ;
Not amidst joy.

ELMINA.

Hast thou some secret woe That thus thou speak’st?

XIMENA.

What sorrow should be mine,

Unknown to thee?

ELMINA.

Alas! the baleful air Wherewith the pestilence in darkness walks Through the devoted city, like a blight Amidst the rose-tints of thy cheek hath fallen, And wrought an early withering !-Thou hast cross'd The paths of Death, and minister'd to those O'er whom his shadow rested, till thine eye Hath chang'd its glancing sunbeam for a still, Deep, solemn radiance, and thy brow hath caught A wild and high expression, which at times Fades unto desolate calmness, most unlike What youth's bright mien should wear. My gentle child ! I look on thee in fear!

XIMENA.

Thou hast no cause
To fear for me. When the wild clash of steel,
And the deep tambour, and the heavy step
Of armed men, break on our morning dreams;
When, hour by hour, the noble and the brave
Are falling round us, and we deem it much
To give them funeral-rites, and call them blest
If the good sword, in its own stormy hour,
Hath done its work upon them, ere disease

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