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Like close Liannes; then rais'd her glittering eye
And clear-toned voice that said, "He shalt not die !"
"He shall not die !"-the gloomy forest thrill'd
To that sweet sound. A sudden wonder fell
On the fierce throng; and heart and hand were still'd,
Struck down, as by the whisper of a spell.
They gaz'd,—their dark souls bow'd before the maid,
She of the dancing step in wood and glade!
And, as her cheek flush'd thro' its olive hue,
As her black tresses to the night-wind flew,
Something o'ermaster'd them from that young mien--
Something of heaven, in silence felt and seen;
And seeming, to their child-like faith, a token
That the Great Spirit by her voice had spoken.
They loos'd the bonds that held their captive's breath;
From his pale lips they took the cup of death;
They quench'd the brand beneath the cypress tree;
"Away," they cried, "young stranger, thou art free!"
-Art thou then desolate?
Of friends, of hopes forsaken?-Come to me!
I am thine own.-Have trusted hearts prov'd false?
Flatterers deceiv'd thee? Wanderer, come to me!
Why didst thou ever leave me? Know'st thou all
I would have borne, and call'd it joy to bear,
For thy sake? Know'st thou that thy voice had power
To shake me with a thrill of happiness
By one kind tone?-to fill mine eyes with tears
Of yearning love? And thou-oh! thou didst throw
That crush'd affection back upon my heart ;-
Yet come to me !-it died not.
SHE knelt in prayer. A stream of sunset fell
Thro' the stain'd window of her lonely cell,
And with its rich, deep, melancholy glow
Flushing her cheek and pale Madonna-brow,
While o'er her long hair's flowing jet it threw
Bright waves of gold-the autumn forest's huc-
Seem'd all a vision's mist of glory, spread
By painting's touch around some holy head,
Virgin's or fairest martyr's. In her eye,
Which glanced as dark clear water to the sky,
What solemn fervour lived! And yet what wo,
Lay like some buried thing, still seen below
The glassy tide! Oh! he that could reveal
What life had taught that chasten'd heart to feel,
Might speak indeed of woman's blighted years,
And wasted love, and vainly bitter tears!
But she had told her griefs to heaven alone,
And of the gentle saint no more was known,
Than that she fled the world's cold breath, and made
A temple of the pine and chestnut shade,
Filling its depths with soul, whene'er her hymn
Rose thro' each murmur of the green, and dim,
And ancient solitude; where hidden streams
Went moaning thro' the grass, like sounds in dreams,
Music for weary hearts! Midst leaves and flowers
She dwelt, and knew all secrets of their powers,
All nature's balms, wherewith her gliding tread
To the sick peasant on his lowly bed,
Came, and brought hope; while scarce of mortal birth He deem'd the pale fair form, that held on earth Communion but with grief.
Ere long a cell,
A rock-hewn chapel rose, a cross of stone Gleam'd thro' the dark trees o'er a sparkling well,
And a sweet voice, of rich, yet mournful tone, Told the Calabrian wilds, that duly there
Costanza lifted her sad heart in prayer.
And now 'twas prayer's own hour. That voice again
Thro' the dim foliage sent its heavenly strain,
That made the cypress quiver where it stood
In day's last crimson soaring from the wood
Like spiry flame. But as the bright sun set,
Other and wilder sounds in tumult met
The floating song. Strange sounds!--the trumpet's peal,
Made hollow by the rocks; the clash of steel,
The rallying war-cry.-In the mountain-pass,
There had been combat; blood was on the grass,
Banners had strewn the waters; chiefs lay dying,
And the pine-branches crash'd before the flying.
And all was chang'd within the still retreat,
Costanza's home there enter'd hurrying feet,
Dark looks of shame and sorrow; mail-clad men,
Stern fugitives from that wild battle-glen,
Scaring the ingdoves from the porch-roof, bore
A wounded warrior in the rocky floor
Gave back deep echoes to his clanging sword,
As there they laid their leader, and implor'd
The sweet saint's prayers to heal him; then for flight, Thro' the wide forest and the mantling night,
Sped breathlessly again.-They pass'd--but he,
The stateliest of a host-alas! to see