Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

CLEOPATRA ON THE CYDNUS.

And an echo-like the desert's call,—
Flung back to the shouting shores!
And the river's ripple, heard through all,
As it plays with the silver oars !—
The sky is a gleam of gold!

And the amber breezes float,

Like thoughts to be dreamed of but never told,
Around the dancing boat!

She has stepped on the burning sand;

And the thousand tongues are mute :

And the Syrian strikes, with a trembling hand,
The strings of his gilded lute!

And the Æthiop's heart throbs loud and high,
Beneath his white symar;

And the Lybian kneels, as he meets her eye,

Like the flash of an Eastern star !

The gales may not be heard,

Yet the silken streamers quiver,

And the vessel shoots-like a bright-plumed bird—
Away, down the golden river!

Away by the lofty mount!

And away by the lonely shore !

And away by the gushing of many a fount-
Where fountains gush no more!

O for some warning vision there,

Some voice that should have spoken
Of climes to be laid waste and bare,
And glad young spirits broken!
Of waters dried away,

And hope and beauty blasted !— That scenes so fair and hearts so gay Should be so early wasted!

A dream of other days!

That land is a desert now!

37

And grief grew up to dim the blaze
Upon that royal brow!

The whirlwind's burning wing hath cast
Blight on the marble plain,
And sorrow--like the simoom-past
O'er Cleopatra's brain!

For like her fervid clime that bred
Its self-consuming fires,

Her heart-like Indian widows-fed
Its own funereal pyres !

Not such the song her minstrels sing-
"Live, beauteous, and forever!"
As the vessel darts, with its purple wing.
Away down the golden river!

Cleopatra at Actium.

I.

THOMAS K. HERVEY.

THE

HE banners of the world are met upon that wild blue

wave,

The sun hath risen that shall set upon an empire's grave; From tongues of many a land bursts forth the war-shout to the breeze,

And half the crowns of all the earth are played for on the seas!

II.

The ocean hath a tinge of blood,-a sound of woe the air; Death swims his pale steed through the flood-O what doth woman there?

The shout of nations, in their strife, rings far along the lea, And what doth Egypt's dark-eyed queen upon that battle-sea?

CLEOPATRA AT ACTIUM.

III.

The Cydnus, hath it not the same bright wave and gentle flow

With which it stole to Tarsus, in those happy years ago, When music haunted all the shores by which its waters rolled, And she came down the river in her galley of the gold?

IV.

Her oars were of the silver then, and to her purple sails,
And in amid her raven hair, came only perfumed gales;
And Cupids trimmed the silken ropes along the cedar spars,
And she lay like a goddess on her pillow of the stars.

V.

39

Oh, the old city! and alas! the young and blessed dream
That fell into her spirit first upon its silver stream!
The wild sweet memories of that morn still o'er her feelings

float,

And love has launched this battle-bark that steered that golden boat.

VI.

And she is yet, to one high heart, through all this cloud of

war,

As in that city of the sea, its own and only star—

The cynosure that shines as bright, across that place of

graves,

As first it rose upon his soul from o'er the Cydnus' waves.

VII.

O, love, that is so bold to dare, should be more strong to do, Or what, O what doth Egypt there, with that soft, silken crew?

And she should have a firmer soul who treads the battle-deck; And passion, where it fails to save, is, oh, too sure to wreck!

VIII.

And her's is still the spendthrift heart, that, when a wayward girl,

In passion's hour to pleasure's bowl cast in a priceless pearl; But oh, her wealth of hoarded gems were all too poor to pay The one rich pearl, in this wild hour her fears have flung away!

IX.

The princely pearl to whom her brow, though dark, seemed, oh, how fair!

And crowns were only precious things, when in her raven hair;

Who paid her smiles with diadems,—and bought, at empire's cost,

The love which he must lose to-day,—when all beside is lost!

She hath risen like a queen !and now

X.

-a pause—a moment's pause !

One word hath torn the golden badge from off her royal brow!

The prows are turned to Egypt, and the flying sails unfurled, And the western breeze hath borne from him the fortunes of the world!

THOMAS K. HERVEY.

Charge of the Light Brigade.

HALF a league, half a league,

Half a league onward,

All in the valley of Death

Rode the six hundred.

[blocks in formation]
« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »