Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

And, glassed therein, our spirits high
Recoil from their own terrors.

Be pitiful, O God!
13. We sit on hills our childhood wist,

Woods, hamlets, streams, beholding :
The sun strikes through the farthest mist,

The city's spire to golden.
The city's golden spire it was,

When hope and health were strongest,
But now it is the churchyard grass,
We look upon the longest.

Be pitiful, O God!
15. And soon all vision waxeth dull-

Men whisper, 'He is dying :'
We cry no more, Be pitiful !'-

We have no strength for crying:
No strength, no need! Then, Soul of mine,

Look up and triumph rather-
Lo! in the depth of God's Divine,
The Son adjures the Father-

BE PITIFUL, O GOD!

MRS. BROWNING. ELIZABETH BARRETT BROWNING, an English poetess, and one of the greatest, if not the greatest, was born in London, in 1809. Educated with great care, she became a ripe scholar, uniting remarkably the distinctive characteristics of the masculine understanding and the feminine heart. She began to write at a very early age for periodicals. Her first volume of poems appeared in 1826. She became the wife of Robert Browning in 1846. She died at Florence, the principal residence of the Brownings for several years, June 29th, 1861. Her range of subjects was wide. Her genius grew apace, every new performance giving better promise for the next. She abounded in figures, strong and striking, in happy conceits, and successful expressions. She knew the true art of choosing words, a large per cent. of them being Saxon. Of her numerous poems, probably none surpasses “Aurora Leigh," a narrative poem in 9 books, published in 1856.

III.

181. THE RAVEN.

1.

ONCE upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten loreWhile I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,

weary,

As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber-door. “ 'Tis some visitor," I muttered," tapping at my chamber-doorOnly this, and nothing more."

2. Ah, distinctly I remember, it was in the bleak December, And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor, Eagerly I wished the morrow : vainly I had sought to borrow From my books surcease of sorrow- -sorrow for the lost LenoreFor the rare and rādiant maiden whom the angels name LenoreNameless here forevermore.

3. And the silken, sad, uncertain rustling of each purple curtain, Thrilled me-filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before; So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating, “'Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my chămber-door,Some late visitor entreating entrance at my chamber-door; That it is, and nothing more."

4. Presently my soul grew stronger: hesitating then no longer, “Sir," said I, “or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore ; But the fact is, I was napping, and so gently you came rapping, And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chămber-door, That I scarce was sure I heard you”—here I opened wide the door: Darkness there, and nothing more.

5. Deep into that darkness peering, lõng I stood there, wondering,

fearing, Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortals ever dared to dream

before ; But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness gave no token, And the only word there spoken was the whispered word

“Lenore !" This I whisper'd, and an echo murmured back the word, "LENORE!" Merely this, and nothing more.

6. Back into the chămber turning, all my soul within me burning, Soon again I heard a tapping, something louder than before. “Surely," said I,“ surely that is something at my window-lattice; Let me see then what thereat is, and this mystery explore, Let my heart be still a moment, and this mystery explore ;'Tis the wind, and nothing more.”

7. Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter, In there stepped a stately raven of the saintly days of yore. Not the least obēisance made he; not a minute stopp'd or stay'd he; But, with mien of lord or lady, perch'd above my chamber-door,Perch'd upon a bust of Pallas, just above my chamber-doorPerch'd, and sat, and nothing more.

8. Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling, By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore, “Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou,” I said, “ art sure

no craven ; Ghastly, grim, and ancient raven, wandering from the nightly

shore, Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night's Plutonian shore ?" Quoth the raven, “Nevermore!"

9. Much I marveled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly, Though its answer little meaning-little relevancy bore; For we can not help agreeing that no living human being Ever yệt was blessed with seeing bird above his chamber-doorBird or beast upon the sculptured bust above his chamber-door, With such name as Nevermore !”

10. But the raven sitting lonely on the placid bust, spoke only That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour. Nothing further then he utter'd—not a feather then he flutter'dTill I scarcely more than mutter'd, “Other friends have flown

beforeOn the morrow he will leave me, as my hopes have flown before.” Then the bird said, “Nevermore!"

11. Startled at the stillness, broken by reply so aptly spoken, Doubtless,” said I, “what it utters is its only stock and store, Caught from some unhappy master, whom unmerciful disaster

Follow'd fast and follow'd faster, till his songs one burden böre,-
Till the dirges of his hope that melancholy burden bore,
Of—“Never-nevermore !"

12. But the raven still beguiling all my sad soul into smiling, Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird, and bust,

and door, Then, upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yoreWhat this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt, and ominous bird of yore Meant in croaking “Nevermore!"

13. This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing To the fowl, whose fiery eyes now burned into my bosom's core; This and more I sat divīning, with my head at ease reclining On the cushion's velvet lining that the lamp-light gloated o'er, But whose velvet violet lining, with the lamp-light gloating o'er She shall press-ah! nevermore!

14. Then methought the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen

censer

Swung by seraphim, whose foot-falls tinkled on the tufted floor. “Wretch,” I cried, "thy God hath lent thee—by these angels

he hath sent thee Respite-respite and nepenthe' from thy memories of Lenore ! Quaff, oh, quaff this kind nepenthe, and forget this lost Lenore !" Quoth the raven, “Nevermore !"

15. “Prophet!" said I,“thing of evil !-prophet still, if bird or devil! Whether tempter sent, or whether tempest tõss'd thee here ăshore, Desolate, yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchantedOn this home by Horror haunted—tell me truly, I imploreIs there—is there balm in Gilead ?/tell me—tell me, I implore!” Quoth the raven, “Nevermore !"

16. "Prophet!” said I,“thing of evil !-prophet still, if bird or devil! By that heaven that bends above us—by that God we both ădore,

1

Ne pěn' the, a drug or medicine that relieves pain and exhilarates.

Tell this soul, with sorrow laden, if, within the distant Aidenn, It shall clasp a sainted maiden, whom the angels name Lenore; Clasp a rare and rādiant maiden, whom the angels name Lenore!” Quoth the raven, “Nevermore !"

17. “Be that word our sign of parting, bird or fiend !" I shrieked,

upstarting“Gět thee back into the tempest and the Night's Plutonian shore! Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken! Leave

my loneliness unbroken !-quit the bust above my door! Take thy bēak from out my heart, and take thy form from off

my door!”

Quoth the raven, “Nevermore !"

18. And the raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting On the pallid bust of Pallas, just above my chămber-door ; And his eyes have all the seeming of a dēmon’s that is dreaming, And the lamp-light o'er him streaming throws his shădow on the

floor; And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor

Shall be lifted-NEVERMORE ! EDGAR A. PoE.

a

SECTION XXXVI.

I.

182. THE SARACEN BROTHERS.

PART FIRST.

[ocr errors]

TTENDANT. A strānger craves admittance to your

highness.
Saladin. Whence comes he ?

Atten. That I know not.
Enveloped with a věstment of strange form,
His countenance is hidden; but his step,

1 Aidenn, from Aïdès, a name pre- transferred to his house, his abode, ferred by the poets for Hades. In or kingdom, so that it became a Homer, Aïdès is invariably, the name name in quite general use for the of the god ; but in latter times it was něther world.

« AnteriorContinuar »