« AnteriorContinuar »
The mountaineer, with dagger at his side,
Here looms a precipice: beneath it yawns
Here ancient Chaos laughs at all the world :
Here from a topmost barren peak the eye,
Straining across the uncertain field to gaze, May catch a moonlit glimpse of waves that die, Far off, on strands in breaker-haunted bays.
The spectral bat within the valleys dreams;
The vulture broods in thievish ease alone Among the jagged stones: the eagle screams Upon his pinnacle with prey bestrown.
MORNING AT THE THRESHING-FLOOR.
I HEARD the music of a shepherd's reed,
The tender kids Came bleating from the fold: the shadows sought A refuge in the caverns, and the sun Peeped over the world's rim, and, smiling, saw The distant wave bright with his glory. We, Worn out with marching, found a sheltered vale Where, in a scanty terraced vineyard, grew Small store of verdure, and around it stood The hovels of the farmers. Here to rest
We sank. The camp was yet five leagues beyond. A whining shepherd warned us to beware
The Turks roamed in the neighbourhood;—no soul
Of Christian in the village dared abide,
Save two starved refugees, who yestermorn
Arrived and camped upon the threshing-floor,
An old man and a maiden,—from a town
We rose, and climbed Along the terraces, and past the church Deserted and defiled by infidels, And past the ruined cottages, and stood Amazed, with frightened eyes fast fixed upon The smooth stones of the village threshing-floor. What need to hear the guide in broken Greek Repeat the story? One quick glance sufficed. The man was dead already, and the maid Beside him knelt, and moved her lips in prayer. Our weapons clashed.
She sprang, alert with fear, To face us. Tenderly and timidly She stretched her hands in supplication, when She knew us friends.
And now the sun apace With purple and with rose and amethyst Flooded the sky: circling before him drove The lingering vapours, and bewildering beams Sent down to touch and warm our weary hearts. Around the maiden's lovely form it threw
Bewitching halos, till I thought her face
On earth, in air,
Was ever fairer vision than this girl?
And in my native Greek I cried to her,
'If I adore thee, vanish not, but stay,
For, flying, thou wouldst take my life with thee!'
Above her sorrow and her fear, as rise
The stars in some black night, beamed from her eyes,
And with a perfect glory filled her face.
O great surprise! in soft mellifluous Greek
The maiden answered, while with eager hand
And helpless !'
While the guide stood gaping by, I struggled to my feet, and bade her tell The story of her sadness.
This good man,
Who on the threshing-floor lay dead,—and grand
Had been her only friend, her guardian,
Who brought her there from Athens in their ship-
The aged man, a priest,
With him she had abode.
He knew the Greek,