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Blended with praise of that parental love,
THE RUSSIAN FUGITIVE.
[EARLY in life this story had interested me, and I often thought it would make a pleasing subject for an opera or musical drama.]
ENOUGH of rose-bud lips, and eyes
Of cheek that with carnation vies,
And veins of violet hue e;
Earth wants not beauty that may scorn
A likening to frail flowers;
Yea, to the stars, if they were born
For seasons and for hours.
Through Moscow's gates, with gold unbarred,
Stepped One at dead of night,
Whom such high beauty could not guard
From meditated blight;
By stealth she passed, and fled as fast
As doth the hunted fawn,
Nor stopped, till in the dappling east
Seven days she lurked in brake and field,
At length, in darkness travelling on,
"To put your love to dangerous proof
No answer did the Matron give,
She led the Lady to a seat
Bathed duteously her way worn feet,
Prevented each desire :
The cricket chirped, the house-dog aozed,
And on that simple bed,
Where she in childhood had reposed,
Now rests her weary head.
When she, whose couch had been the sod, Whose curtain, pine or thorn,
Had breathed a sigh of thanks to God,
Who comforts the forlorn;
While over her the Matron bent
Sleep sealed her eyes, and stole Feeling from limbs with travel spent, And trouble from the soul.
Refreshed, the Wanderer rose at morn,
In those unworthy vestments worn
"Have you forgot"—and here she smiled
"The babbling flatteries
You lavished on me when a child
Disporting round your knees? I was your lambkin, and your bird, Your star, your gem, your flower; Light words, that were more lightly heard In many a cloudless hour!
"The blossom you so fondly praised
Is come to bitter fruit;
A mighty One upon me gazed;
I spurned his lawless suit,
And must be hidden from his wrath:
You, Foster-father dear,
Will guide me in my forward path;
"I cannot bring to utter woe
Your proved fidelity."
"Dear Child, sweet Mistress, say not so! For you we both would die.'
"Nay, nay, I come with semblance feigned And cheek embrowned by art;
Yet, being inwardly unstained,
"But whither would you, could you, flee?
poor Man's counsel take;
The Holy Virgin gives to me
A thought for your dear sake;
Where never foot doth tread."
THE dwelling of this faithful pair
And there, sequestered from the sight, Was spread a treacherous swamp, On which the noonday sun shed light As from a lonely lamp;
And midway in the unsafe morass,
A single Island rose
Of firm dry ground, with healthful grass Adorned, and shady boughs.
The Woodman knew, for such the craft
That never fowler's gun, nor shaft
From all intrusion free;
And there he planned an artful Cot
For perfect secrecy.
With earnest pains unchecked by dread
His task accomplished to his mind,
Creep forth, and through the forest wind