Her chilled heart having cherished in my bosom,
And sweetest kisses past, we two did share
Our peaceful meal:—as an autumnal blossom
Which spreads its shrunk leaves in the sunny air,
After cold showers, like rainbows woven there, 2825
Thus in her lips and cheeks the vital spirit
Mantled, and in her eyes, an atmosphere
Of health, and hope; and sorrow languished near it,
And fear, and all that dark despondence doth inherit.
2397 -isle. Bradley, who cps. Marianne’s Dream, St. 12. See note at end.
So we sate joyous as the morning ray 2830
Which fed upon the wrecks of night and storm
Now lingering on the winds; light airs did play
Among the dewy weeds, the sun was warm,
And we sate linked in the inwoven charm
Of converse and caresses sweet and deep, 2835
Speechless caresses, talk that might disarm
Time, though he wield the darts of death and sleep,
And those thrice mortal barbs in his own poison steep.
I told her of my sufferings and my madness,
And how, awakened from that dreamy mood 2840
By Liberty’s uprise, the strength of gladness
Came to my spirit in my solitude;
And all that now I was—while tears pursued
Each other down her fair and listening cheek
Fast as the thoughts which fed them, like a flood 2845
From sunbright dales; and when I ceased to speak,
Her accents soft and sweet the pausing air did wake.
She told me a strange tale of strange endurance,
Like broken memories of many a heart
Woven into one; to which no firm assurance, 2850
So wild were they, could her own faith impart.
She said that not a tear did dare to start
From the swoln brain, and that her thoughts were firm
When from all mortal hope she did depart,
Borne by those slaves across the Ocean’s term, 2855
And that she reached the port without one fear infirm.
One was she among many there, the thralls
Of the cold Tyrant’s cruel lust; and they
Laughed mournfully in those polluted halls;
But she was calm and sad, musing alway 2860
On loftiest enterprise, till on a day
The Tyrant heard her singing to her lute
A wild, and sad, and spirit-thrilling lay,
Like winds that die in wastes—one moment mute
The evil thoughts it made, which did his breast pollute. 2865
Even when he saw her wondrous loveliness,
One moment to great Nature’s sacred power
He bent, and was no longer passionless;
But when he bade her to his secret bower
Be borne, a loveless victim, and she tore 2870
Her locks in agony, and her words of flame
And mightier looks availed not; then he bore
Again his load of slavery, and became
A king, a heartless beast, a pageant and a name.