The moon rains down her showers of icy light;
And worlds in multitudes resplendent throng
Around her throne like minstrels with their song,
Loosening sweet music on the fragrant breeze
That silent listens to their melodies.
The earth sleeps listless;—she will wake again
When morning breaks her dream ; but shall the slain
Whom now upon her bosom cold she bears
Yet find a land unreached by mortal cares—
A morning blushing in a brighter sky,
Than that above, which seems for bliss too nigh?
Mysterious sleep ! whate'er of nothingness
Man learns, it is from thee:—but thou canst bless
The heart to whom Hope's joy-inspiring name
Has long been but a sound; whose being's flame
Is almost quenched into the latest spark
That gleams to show how all around is dark.
Though dread thine influence, the soul of grief
Woos thee alone, for thou canst yield relief,
Such as the dreams of waking life may ne'er
Bestow on human suffering and despair.
Now all around is tranquil as the sea
When hushed it seems as in a reverie;
So still, so silent, you might hear the beat
Of your own heart, or seraph's viewless feet,
Or deem your mind's imagining had found
Some spell to form itself into a sound—
One of those thin ethereal tones that we
Oft hear at night—the heart's best minstrelsy,
Too pure for mortal ear and earthly pain!
But lo! alone upon the battle-plain
Pale as embodied moonlight glides a form,
Like a soft breeze when silenced is the storm!
Is it a spirit from a happier sphere
Come down to mourn o'er wreck'd enjoyment here?
Or learn that earth has lost its paradise?
Or bear a tale of suffering to the skies?
Tis poor Nuleeni!—pitiless despair
Writes thoughts of darkness on her forehead fair,
Sad doubt has hunted from her bosom peace,
And bid her hopes depart, her fears increase.
Passed was the hour that should have stilled the alarms
That racked her soul, and given him to her arms.
She heard the thunder of the battle roar:
Might he be there?—she asked her heart no more.
That tremble answered as 'twill ever do,
Speaking its fears—alas! how oft too true!
And now though wishing that it spake not sooth,
She dared to learn, and came to seek the truth.
Hark! does she hear the viewless breezes pass
And wake a deep, sad murmur from the grass?
Ha! 'tis a moan, and almost at her foot—
She bends her form, beholds, stands fixed, and mute:
Is it a dream, or does the night deceive?
She looks again—she trembles—must believe.
'Tis he—that robber—not victorious now—
The cold death-damp descending on his brow,
The filmy curtain gathering o'er his eye
But vainly fixed—alas ! on vacancy;
The tide of life fast gushing from his breast—
The spirit struggling for eternal rest!
She sat her on the sod—there was but one
Lone object now her eye might gaze upon—
One in the world, and there that eye was fixed;
And in her soul one suffering, unmixed
With better hope, its dark dominion held,
Bidding existence to its thraldom yield.
She placed his head upon her bosom fair,
Watching the spirit as it ebbed; pale care
Had steeped her heart in sorrow's bitter stream;
And on her brow a melancholy beam
Like moon-light fell upon a drooping flower:
O life ! that ever there should come an hour
When love must see its healthiest hopes decay,
Its brightest glories perish ray by ray!
'Tis sad to think of youth, when youth has fled,
And all its blissful fantasies are dead,
When the young dreams of happiness are o'er
And grief has stolen fancy's golden store.
'Tis sad in manhood's riper years to find
Truth wreck the fairy-visions of the mind,
Those blest illusions which the cheated heart
Called into being, but time bade depart.
But these are suffering's shadows, when we see
Love watch the dying loved-one. Misery
Herein exhausts herself—the bitter vial
Is poured out to the dregs—the fiery trial
Ends in the heart's destruction—and life's beam
Becomes extinguished like a vanished dream.
Sad though it be, it is ordained by fate,
Like light and shadow ne'er must separate;
Life's sunniest hour is when th' enraptured soul
Yields, willing captive, to Love's sweet control,
But 'tis that noon-tide hour which ever flings
The darkest, gloomiest shadow from its wings.
Nuleeni's settled glance is fixed upon
That dying form, as if for him alone
Her soft eye's lamp were lit. His brow is cold—
And now the soul is hastening from its mould—
Her hand is on his heart—does she not hear
Its faint, small beat still speaking to her ear?
Alas! deluded dreamer! 'tis thine own.
What seek'st thou now—his spirit? it is flown!