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THE SICILIAN CAPTIVE.
-I have dreamt thou wert
A captive in thy hopelessness; afar
From the sweet home of thy young infancy,
Of fire and slaughter; I can see thee wasting,
L. E. L.
THE champions had come from their fields of war,
Over the crests of the billows far,
They had brought back the spoils of a hundred shores, Where the deep had foam'd to their flashing oars.
They sat at their feast round the Norse-king's board, By the glare of the torch-light the mead was pour'd, The hearth was heap'd with the pine-boughs high, And it flung a red radiance on shields thrown by.
The Scalds had chaunted in Runic rhyme,
Had breath'd from the walls where the bright spears
But the swell was gone from the quivering string,
Lonely she stood :-in her mournful eyes
Stately she stood-tho' her fragile frame
Seem'd struck with the blight of some inward flame,
And her proud pale brow had a shade of scorn,
Under the waves of her dark hair worn.
And a deep flush pass'd, like a crimson haze, O'er her marble cheek by the pine-fire's blaze; No soft hue caught from the south-wind's breath, But a token of fever, at strife with death.
She had been torn from her home away,
They bade her sing of her distant land--
Faint was the strain, in its first wild flow,
But it swell'd into deeper power ere long,
As the breeze that swept over her soul grew strong.
"They bid me sing of thee, mine own, my sunny
Am I not parted from thy shores by the mournfulsounding sea?
Doth not thy shadow wrap my soul ?--in silence let me die,
In a voiceless dream of thy silvery founts, and thy pure deep sapphire sky;
How should thy lyre give here its wealth of buried sweetness forth?
Its tones, of summer's breathings born, to the wild winds of the north?
"Yet thus it shall be once, once more!-my spirit shall awake,
And thro' the mists of death shine out, my country! for thy sake!
That I may make thee known, with all the beauty and
And the glory never more to bless thy daughter's yearning sight!
Thy woods shall whisper in my song, thy bright streams warble by,
Thy soul flow o'er my lips again-yet once, my Sicily!
"There are blue heavens--far hence, far hence! but oh! their glorious blue !
Its very night is beautiful, with the hyacinth's deep hue!
It is above my own fair land, and round my laughing home,
And arching o'er my vintage-hills, they hang their cloudless dome,
And making all the waves as gems, that melt along the
And steeping happy hearts in joy-that now is mine no