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By all th' appeals of high remembrances,
And silent claims o'th' sepulchres, wherein
His fathers with their stainless glory sleep,
On their good swords! Think’st thou I feel no pangs?
He that hath given me sons, doth know the heart
Whose treasure she recalls. Of this no more.
'Tis vain. I tell thee that th’inviolate cross
Still, from our ancient temples, must look up
Through the blue heavens of Spain, though at its foot
I perish, with my race. Thou darest not ask
That I, the son of warriors—men who died
To fix it on that proud supremacy-
Should tear the sign of our victorious faith,
From its high place of sunbeams, for the Moor
In impious joy to trample !
Scorn me not
In mine extreme of misery !—Thou art strong-
Thy heart is not as mine.-My brain grows wild ;
I know not what I ask "-And yet 'twere but
Anticipating fate—since it must fall,
That cross must fall at last !
There is no power,
No hope within this city of the grave,
To keep its place on high. Her sultry air
Breathes heavily of death, her warriors sink
Beneath their ancient banners, ere the Moor
Hath bent his bow against them; for the shaft
Of pestilence flies more swiftly to its mark,
Than the arrow of the desert. Ev’n the skies
O’erhang the desolate splendour of her domes
With an ill omen's aspect, shaping forth,
From the dull clouds, wild menacing forms and signs
Foreboding ruin. Man might be withstood,
But who shall cope with famine and disease,
When leagued with armed foes ?-Where now the aid,
Where the long-promised lances of Castile ?
-We are forsaken, in our utmost need,
By heaven and earth forsaken!
If this must be, (And yet I will not deem it) we must fall As men that in severe devotedness Have chosen their part, and bound themselves to death, Through high conviction that their suffering land, By the free blood of martyrdom alone, Shall call deliverance down.
Beside thee through the beating storms of life,
With the true heart of unrepining love,
As the poor peasant's mate doth cheerily,
In the parch'd vineyard, or the harvest-field,
Bearing her part, sustain with him the heat
And burden of the day ;-But now the hour,
The heavy hour is come, when human strength
Sinks down, a toil-worn pilgrim, in the dust,
Owning that woe is mightier !-Spare me yet
This bitter cup, my husband !-Let not her,
The mother of the lovely, sit and mourn
In her unpeopled home, a broken stem,
O’er its fallen roses dying !
Urge me not, Thou that through all sharp conflicts hast been found Worthy a brave man's love, oh! urge me not To guilt, which through the midst of blinding tears, In its own hues thou seest not !Death may scarce Bring aught like this!
All, all thy gentle race, The beautiful beings that around thee grew, Creatures of sunshine! Wilt thou doom them all?
-She too, thy daughter-doth her smile unmark'd
Pass from thee, with its radiance, day by day?
Shadows are gathering round her-seest thou not ?
The misty dimness of the spoiler's breath
Hangs o'er her beauty, and the face which made
The summer of our hearts, now doth but send,
With every glance, deep bodings through the soul,
Telling of early fate.
I see a change Far nobler on her brow !-She is as one, Who, at the trumpet's sudden call, hath risen From the gay banquet, and in scorn cast down The wine-cup, and the garland, and the lute Of festal hours, for the good spear and helm, Beseeming sterner tasks.—Her eye hath lost The beam which laugh'd upon th' awakening heart, E'en as morn breaks o'er earth. But far within Its full dark orb, a light hath sprung, whose source Lies deeper in the soul.–And let the torch Which but illumed the glittering pageant, fade! The altar-fame, i’ th' sanctuary's recess, Burns quenchless, being of heaven !—She hath put on Courage, and faith, and generous constancy,
Ev'n as a breastplate. -Aye, men look on her,
As she goes forth serenely to her tasks,
Binding the warrior's wounds, and bearing fresh
Cool draughts to fever'd lips ; they look on her,
Thus moving in her beautiful array
Of gentle fortitude, and bless the fair
Majestic vision, and unmurmuring turn
Unto their heavy toils.
And seest thou not
In that high faith and strong collectedness,
A fearful inspiration ?-— They have cause
To tremble, who behold th' unearthly light
Of high, and, it may be, prophetic thought,
Investing youth with grandeur !—From the grave
It rises, on whose shadowy brink thy child
Waits but a father's hand to snatch her back
Into the laughing sunshine.-Kneel with me,
Ximena, kneel beside me, and implore
That which a deeper, more prevailing voice
Than ours doth ask, and will not be denied ;
-His children's lives!
Alas! this may not be,