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LAYS OF MANY LANDS. The following pieces may so far be considered a series, as

each is intended to be commemorative of some national recollection, popular custom, or tradition. The idea was suggested by Herder's “Stimmen der Völker in Liedern;" the execution is however different, as the poems in his

collection are chiefly translations. Most of those forming the present one have appeared, as well

as the miscellaneous pieces attached to them, in the New Monthly Magazine.

LAYS OF MANY LANDS.

31

MOORISH BRIDAL SONG.

It is a custom among the Moors, that a female who dies unmarried is clothed for interment in wedding apparel, and the bridal song is sung over her remains before they are borne from her home.

See the Narrative of a Ten Years' Residence in

Tripoli, by the sister-in-law of Mr. Tully.

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The citron groves their fruit and flowers were strewing
Around a Moorish palace, while the sigh
Of low sweet summer-winds, the branches wooing,
With music througb their shadowy bowers went by;

Music and voices, from the marble halls,
Through the leaves gleaming, and the fountain-falls.

A song of joy, a bridal song came swelling,
To blend with fragrance in those southern shades,
And told of feasts within the stately dwelling,
Bright lamps, and dancing steps, and gem-crown'd maids ;

And thus ii flow'd ;-yet something in the lay
Belong'd 10 sadness, as it died away.

« The bride comes forth! her tears no more are falling
To leave the chamber of her infant years;
Kind voices from a distant home are calling;
She comes like day.spring---she hath done with tears;

Now must her dark eye shine on other flowers,
Her soft smile gladden other hearts than ours !

Pour the rich odours round!
“ We haste! the chosen and the lovely bringing ;
Love still goes with her from her place of birth;
Deep silent joy within her soul is springing,
Though in her glance the light no more is mirth!

Her beauty leaves us in its rosy years;
Her sisters weep-but she hath done with tears !

-Now may the trinbrel sound !"
Know'st thou for whom they sang the bridal numbers >
-One, whose rich tresses were to wave no more !
One, whose pale cheek soft winds, nor gentle slumbers,
Nor Love's own sigh, to rose-tints might restore !
Her graceful ringlets o'er a bier were spread.-
-Weep for the young, the beautiful,--the dead !

32

LAYS OF MANY LANDS.

THE BIRD'S RELEASE.

The Indians of Bengal and of the Coast of Malabar bring cages blled with birds to the graves of their friends, over which they set the birds at liberty. This custom is alluded to in the description of Virginia's funeral

See Paul and Virginid.

Go forth, for she is gone!
With the golden light of her wavy hair,
She is gone to the fields of the viewless air;

She bath left her dwelling lone!

Her voice hath pass'd away!
It hath pass'd away like a summer breeze,
When it leaves the hills for the far blue seas,

Where we may not trace its way.

Go forth, and like her be free!
With thy radiant wing, and thy glancing eye,
Thou hast all the range of the sunny sky,

And what is our grief to thee?'

Is it aught ev’n to her we mourn ?
Doth she look on the tears by her kindred shed ?
Doth she rest with the flowers o'er her gentle head,

Or foat on the light wind borne?

We know not-but she is gone!
Her step from the dance, her voice from the song,
And the smile of her eye from the festal throng ;-

She hath left her dwelling lone !

When the waves at sunset shine,
We may hear thy voice, amidst thousands more,
In the scented woods of our glowing shore,

But we shall nat know 'tis thine!

Ev'n so with the lov'd one flown!
Her smile in the starlight may wander by,
Her breath may be near in the wind's low sigb,

Around us but all unknown

LAYS OF MANY LANDS.

33

Go forth, we have loos'd thy chain !
We may deck thy cage with the richest flowers,
Which the bright day rears in our eastern bowers,

But thou wilt not be lured again.

Ev'n thus may the summer pour
All fragrant things on the land's green breast,
And the glorious

earth like a bride be dress'd,
But it wins her back no more !

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THE SWORD OF THE TOMB.

A NORTHERN LEGEND.

The idea of this ballad is taken from a scene in “Starkother," a tragedy by the Danish poet Ochlenschlager. The sepulchral fire here alluded to, and supposed to guard the ashes of deceased heroes, is frequently mentioned in the Northern Sagas. Severe sufferings to the departed spirit were supposed by the Scandinavian mythologists to be the consequence of any profanation of the sepulchre.'

See Ochlenschlager's Plays.

“ VOICE of the gifted elder time!
Voice of the charm and the Runic rhyme !
Speak ! from the shades and the depths disclose,
How Sigurd may vanquish his mortal foes;

Voice of the buried past !
“ Voice of the grave! 'tis the mighty hour,
When night with her stars and dreams hath power,
And my step hath been soundless on the snows,
And the spell I have sung hath laid repose
On the billow and the blast."

Then the torrents of the North,
And the forest pines were still,
While a hollow chant came forth

From the dark sepulchral bill.
“ There shines no sun 'midst the bidden dead,
But where the day looks not the brave may tread ;
There is beard no song, and no mead is pour'd,
But the warrior may come to the silent board

In the shadow of the night.

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