They, ere he left them, had attain’d their prime
And were less alter’d by the hand of Time;
But, the slim youth no longer met their view,
Fair, as the fancy e’er a seraph drew.
Who still, upborne by joy, in smiles was found,
With step elate that scarcely press’d the ground.
Before a grief had raz’d his youthful breast,
Or care had robb’d his brilliant eyes of rest.
When lofty visions swam before his sight,
And dreams of empire wrapt his soul at night.
Whose hair luxuriant flow’d in glossy pride,
And, from his snowy forehead, wav’d aside;
Which, vein’d with purest azure, rose serene,
And threw complacence o’er a rapturous mien.
The wandering light that sparkled in his eye,
The rounding lip of liveliest crimson dye,
The speaking form, by each emotion sway’d,
The voice, that softest music had convey’d,
Were now matur’d. No more the child they saw,
But one, with majesty, inspiring awe;
Whose silken locks no more in ringlets flow,
But gold and purple bind his manly brow:
No more the envied robe his limbs invest,
In all the pomp of eastern monarchs drest.
The sun of Egypt had embrown’d his face,
And time had ripen’d every youthful grace.
As when the morn, in vivid colours gay,
And tender beauty, flies to meet the day,
Her lively tints lose their primeval hue,
The white and saffron mingle with the blue,
A glowing blush o’er the whole ether reigns,
But not a cloud its genuine tint retains.
* * * * *
Where yonder mossy ruins lie,
And desolation strikes the eye,
A noble mansion, high and fair,
Once rear’d its turrets in the air.
There infant warriors drew their breath,
And learn’d to scorn the fear of death.
In halls where martial trophies hung,
They listen’d while the minstrels sung,
Of pain and glory, toil and care,
And all the horrid charms of war:
There caught the fond desire of fame,
And panted for a hero’s name.
Alas! too oft in youthful bloom,
Renown has crown’d the early tomb,
Has pierc’d the widow’s bosom deep,
And taught the mother’s eyes to weep.
She, on whose tale the stripling hung,
While pride and sorrow rul’d her tongue.
His father’s gallant acts to tell,
How bold he fought, how bravely fell.
Methinks e’en now I hear her speak,
I see the tear upon her cheek;
The musing boy’s abstracted brow,
And the high-arching eye below.
The stifled sigh and anxious heave,
The kindling heart which dares not grieve;
The finely-elevated head,
The hand upon the bosom spread,
Proclaim him wrought by potent charms,
And speak his very soul in arms.
Incautious zeal! what hast thou done?
The tale has robb’d thee of thy son.
And while thy pious tears deplore,
The loss of him who lives no more,
Ambition wakes her restless fire,
The boy will emulate his sire,