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Oh ! the forest-paths Are dim and wild, e'en when the sunshine streams Through their high arches : but when powerful night Comes, with her cloudy pliantoms, and her pale Uncertain moonbeams, and the hollow sounds Of her mysterious winds ; their aspect then Is of another and more fearful world ; A realm of indistinct and shadowy forms, Wakening strange thoughts, almost too much for this, Our frail terrestrial nature.
All this, and more. Such scenes have been th' abodes
Where through the silence of my soul have pass’d
Voices, and visions from the sphere of those
That have to die no more !-Nay, doubt it not !
If such unearthly intercourse hath e'er
Been granted to our nature, 'tis to hearts
Whose love is with the dead. They, they alone,
Unmadden'd could sustain the fearsul joy
And glory of its trances !-at the hour
Which makes guilt tremulous, and peoples earth
And air with infinite, viewless multitudes,
I will be with thee, Procida.
Will kindle nobler thoughts, and, in the souls
Of suffering and indignant men, arouse
That which may strengthen our majestic cause
With yet a deeper power.-Know'st thou the spot ?
Full well. There is no scene so wild and lone
In these dim woods, but I have visited
Its tangled shades.
At midnight then we meet.
Why should I fear?–Thou wilt be with me, thou,
Th’immortal dream and shadow of my soul,
Spirit of him I love! that meet’st me still
In loneliness and silence; in the noon
Of the wild night, and in the forest-depths,
Known but to me; for whom thou giv’st the winds
And sighing leaves a cadence of thy voice,
Till my heart faints with that o'erthrilling joy!
-Thou wilt be with me there, and lend my lips
Words, fiery words, to flush dark cheeks with shame,
That thou art unavenged !
Scene III.- A Chapel, with a Monument, on which is
laid a. Sword.—Moonlight.
And know you not my story
In the lands
Where I have been a wanderer, your deep wrongs
Were number'd with our country's; but their tale
Came only in faint echoes to mine ear.
I would fain hear it now.
Hark! while you spoke,
There was a voice-like murmur in the breeze,
Which ev'n like death came o'er me :-'twas a night
Like this, of clouds contending with the moon,
A night of sweeping winds, of rustling leaves,
And swift wild shadows floating o'er the earth,
Clothed with a phantom-life; when, after years
Of battle and captivity, I spurred
My good steed homewards.-Oh! what lovely dreams
Rose on my spirit !—There were tears and smiles,
But all of joy !-And there were bounding steps,
And clinging arms, wliose passionate clasp of love
Doth twine so fondly round the warrior's neck,
When his plumed helm is doffd. Hence, feeble thoughts!
-I am sterner now, yet once such dreams were mine!
And were they realized ?
Youth! Ask me not,
But listen !—I drew near my own fair home;
There was no light along its walls, no sound
Of bugle pealing from the watch-tower's height
At my approach, although my trampling steed
Made the earth ring; yet the wide gates were thrown
All open.—Then my heart misgave me first,
And on the threshold of my silent hall
I paused a moment, and the wind swept by
With the same deep and dirge-like tone which pierced
My soul e'en now.–I call'd—my struggling voice
Gave utterance to my wife's, my children's, names ;
They answer'd not—I roused my failing strength,
And wildly rush'd within—and they were there.
Aye, well !—for death is well,
And they were all at rest !—I see them yet,
Pale in their innocent beauty, which had fail'd
To stay th' assassin's arın !
Can’st thou question, who? Whom hath the earth to perpetrate such deeds, In the cold-blooded revelry of crime, But those whose yoke is on us?
What words hath pity for despair like thine ?