Page images





ANSWER me, burning stars of night!

Where is the spirit gone,
That past the reach of human sight,

Even as a breeze, hath flown?
-And the stars answer'd me" We roll

In light and power on high,
But, of the never-dying soul,

Ask things that cannot die!"
Oh! many toned and chainless wind!

Thou art a wanderer free;
Tell me if thou its place canst find,

Far over mount and sea ?
-And the wind murmur'd in reply,

“ The blue deep I have crossd,
And met its barks and billows high,

But not what thou hast lost!”
Ye clouds that gorgeously repose

Around the setting sun,
Answer! have ye a home for those

Whose earthly race is run?
The bright clouds answer'd-We depart,

We vanish from the sky :
Ask what is deathless in thy heart

For that which cannot die!"
Speak, then thou voice of God within!

Thou of the deep low tone!
Answer me through life's restless din,

Where is the spirit flown?
-And the voice answer'd Be thou still!

Enough to know is given;
Clouds, winds, and stars their task fulfil,

Thine is to trust in Heaven!

[ocr errors]



The Baron Von der Wart, accused, though it is believed unjustly, as an accomplice in the assassination of the Emperor Albert, was bound alive on the wheel, and attended by his wife Gertrude throughout his last agonizing moments, with the most heroic fidelity. Her own sufferings and those of her unfortunate husband, are most affectingly described in a letter which she afterwards addressed to a female friend, and which was published some years ago at Haarlem, in a book entitled “Gertrude Von der Wart; or Fidelity unto Death."

Her hands were clasped, her dark eyes raised,

The breeze threw back her hair;
Up to the fearful wheel she gazed

All that sbe loved was there.
The night was round her clear and cold,

The holy heaven above;
Its pale stars watching to behold

The night of eartbly love.
“ And bid me not depart,” she cried,

“ My Rudolph! say not so!
This is no time to quit thy side

Peace, peace! I cannot go.
Hath the world augbt for me to fear

When death is on thy brow ?
The world what means it?--MINE 18 HERE

I will not leave thee now!
1 I bave been with thee in thine hour

Of glory and of bliss,
Doubt not its memory's living power

To strengthen me through this !
And though mine honoured love and true,

Bear on, bear nobly on!
We have the blessed Heaven in view,

Whose rest shall soon be won,"
101, II,


[blocks in formation]

And were not these high words to flow

From Woman's breaking heart?
--Through all that night of bitterest woe

She bore her lofty part;
But oh! with such a freezing eye,

With such a curdling cheek-
Love, love! of mortal agony,

Thou, only thou, shouldst speak !
The winds rose high-but with them rose

Her voice, that he might bear;-
Perchance that dark bour brought repose

To happy bosoins near :
While she sat striving with despair

Beside his tortured form,
And pouring her deep soul in prayer

Forth on the rushing storm.
She wiped the death damps from his brow,

Wih her pale hands and soft,
Whose touch upon

the lute chords low,
Had stilled his heart so oft.
She spread her mantle o'er his breast,

She bathed his lips with dew,
And on his cheeks such kisses pressed,

As Joy and Hope ne'er knew.
Oh! lovely are ye, Love and Faith,

Enduring to the last !
She had her meed-one smile in Death

And his worn spirit passed.
While even as o'er a martyr's grave,

She knelt on that sad spot,
And weeping, blessed the God who gave

Strength to forsake it not!




Wildly and mournfully the Indian drum

On the deep hush of moonlight forest broke :-
Sing us a death-song, for thine hour is come.'

So the red Warriors to their captives spoke.
Still, and amidst those dusky forms alone,

A youth, a fair-haired youth, of England stood,
Like a king's son; though from his cheek had flown

The mantling crimson of the island-blood,
And his pressed lips looked marble. Fiercely bright,
And high around him blazed the fires of night;
Rocking beneath the cedars to and fro
As the wind passed, with a fitful glow
Lighting the victim's tace:—but who could tell
Of what within his secret heart befel,
Known but to heaven that hour !-Perchance a thought
Of his far home, then so intensely wrought
That its full image, pictured to his eye
On the dark ground of mortal agony,
Rose clear as day!-And he might see the band
of his young sisters wandering hand in hand
Where the laburpums drooped ; or happy binding
The jasmine, up the door's low pillars winding;
Or, as the day faded on their gentle mirth,
Gathering, with braided hair, around the hearth
Where sat their mother ;-and that mother's face
Its grave swee! smile yet wearing in the place
Where so it ever smiled !-Perchance the prayer
Learned at ber knee came back on his despair;
The blessing from her voice, the very tone
Of her. Good-night might breathe from boy hood gone!
-he started and looked up :--thick cypress boughs,

Full of strange sound, waved o'er him darkly red
In the broad stormy fire-light; savage brows,

With tall plumes crested and wild hues o'erspread,
Girt him like feverish phantoms; and pale stars
Looked through tbe branches as through dungeon bars,
Shedding no hope !-He knew, he felt his doom.
Oh! what a tale to shadow with its gloom



That happy hall in England l-Idle fear!
Would the winds tell it?--who might dream or hear
The secrets of the forests? To the stake

They bound him; and that proud young soldier strove
His father's spirit in his breast to wake,

Trusting to die in silence !-He the love
Of many hearts the fondly-reared—the fair,
Gladdening all eyes to see !--And fettered there
He stood beside his death-pyre, and the brand
Flamed up to light it, in the chieftian's hand !
--He thought upon his God. Hush! hark!-a cry
Breaks on the stern and dead solemnity!
A step has pierced the ring! Who dares intrude
On the dark hunters in their vengeful mood ?
A girl-a young slight girl!-a fawn-like child
Of green savannas and the leafy wild,
Springing unmarked till then, as some lone flower,
Happy because the sunshine is its dower ;
Yet one that knew how early tears are shed,
For hers had mourned the playmate brother dead.
She had sat gazing on the victim long,
Until the pity of her soul grew strong;
And, by its passion's deepening fervour swayed,
Even to the stake she rushed, and gently laid
His bright head on her bosom, and around
His form her slender arms to shield it wound
Like close Liannes; then raised her glittering eye,
And clear-toned voice that said — He shall not die !
- He shall not die!-the gloomy forest thrilled

To that sweet sound. A sudden wonder fell
On the fierce throng; and heart and hand were stillede
Struck down, as by the whisper of a spell.
They gazed--iheir dark souls bowed before the maid,
She of the daucing step in wood and glade!
And as her cheek flushed through its olive hue,
As her black tresses to the night wind few,
Something o'ermastered them from that young mein---
Something of heaven, in silence felt and seen;
And seeming, to their childlike faith, a token
That the Great Spirit by her voice had spoken.
They loosed the bonds that held their captive's breath ;
From his pale lips they took the cup of death ;
They quenched the brand beneath the cypress tree-

Away,' they cried, 'young stranger, thou art free.'

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »