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The trumpet of the northern winds has blown,
And it is answered by the dying roar
Of armies on that boundless field o'erthrown:
Now in the awful gusts the desert hoar
Is tempested, a sea without a shore,
Lifting its feathery waves. The legions fly;
Volley on volley down the hailstones pour;
Blind, famished, frozen, mad, the wanderers die,
And dying, hear the storm but wilder thunder by.
Such is the hand of Heaven! a human blow
Had crushed them in the fight, or flung the chain
Round them where Moscow's stately towers were low,
And all be stilled. But thous! thy battle-plain
Was a whole empire; that devoted train
Must war from day to day with storm and gloom,
(Man following, like the wolves, to rend the slain)
Must lie from night to night as in a toinb,
Must fly, toil, bleed for home; yet never see that home.
'Twas noon! a blood-red banner played
Above thy rampart port, Belgrade7;
From time to time the gong's deep swell
Rose thundering from the citadel;
And soon the trampling charger's din
Told of some mustering pomp within.
But all without was still and drear,
The long streets wore the hue of fear,
All desert, but where some quick eye
Peered from the curtained gallery;
Or crouching slow from roof to roof,
The Servian glanced, then shrank aloof,
Eager, yet dreading to look on
The business to be that day done.
The din grew louder, crowding feet
Seemed rushing to the central street;
'Twas filled! the city's idle brood
Scattered before, few, haggard, rude :
Then came the Spahis bounding on,
With kettle-drum and gonfalono;
And ever at the cymbal's clash,
Upshook their spears the sudden flash,
Till, like a shattered, sable sail,
Wheeled o'er their rear the black horse-tail,
All hurrying on, like men who yield,
Or men who seek some final field.
They lead a captive; the Pashawlo
From his large eye draws back with awe;
All tongues are silent in the group,
Who round that fearful stranger troop:
He still has homage, though his hands
Are straining in a felon's bands.
No Moslem he; his brow is bare,
Save one wild tress of raven hair,
Like a black serpent deeply bound,
Where once sat Servia's golden round.
His neck bends low, and many a stain
Of blook shows how it feels the chain;
A peasant's robe is o'er him flung,
A swordless sheath beside him hung;
He sits a charger, but a slave
Now holds the bridle of the brave.
And now they line the palace-square,
A splendid sight, as noon's full glare
Pours on their proud caparison,
Arms rough with gold and dazzling stone,
Horse-nets, and shawls of Indian dye
O’er brows of savage majesty.
But where's the fettered rider now?
A flag above, a block below,
An Ethiop12 headsman louring near,
Show where must close his stern career :
A thousand eyes are fixed to mark
The fading of his eye's deep spark,
The quickened heaving of his breast;
But all within it is at rest :
There is no quivering nerve ; his brow
Scarce bent upon the crowd below,
He stands in settled, stately gloom,
A warrior's statue on his tomb.
A trumpet rang ;-the turbaned line Clashed up their spears, the headsman's sign. Then, like the iron in the forge, Blazed thy dark visage, Czerni George! He knew that trumpet's Turkish wail, His guide through many a forest vale, When, scattering like the hunted deer, The Moslem felt his early spear; He heard it when the Servian targe Broke down the Delhis'13 desperate charge, And o'er the flight his scimitar Was like the flashing of a star: That day, his courser to the knee Was bathed in blood, and Servia free! That day, before he sheathed his blade, He stood a sovereign in Belgrade; The field, the throne, were on that eye, Which wandered now so wild and high.
The hour had waned; the sunbeam fell
Full on the palace-pinnacle,
The golden crescent 15 on its spire
Beamed o’er a cross! his eye shot fire;
That cross was o’er the crescent set,
The day he won the coronet.
He dashed away a tear of pride,
His hand was darted to his side,
No sword was there :-a bitter smile
Told the stern spirit's final thrill;
Yet all not agony; afar
Marked he no cloud of northern war?
Swelled on his prophet ear no clang
Of tribes that to their saddles sprang?
No Russian cannon's heavy hail
In vengeance smiting the Serail"5?
The whole was but a moment's trance,
That 'scaped the turbaned rabble's glance;
A sigh, a stride, a stamp the whole,
Time measures not the tides of soul.
He was absorbed in dreams, nor saw
The hurried glare of the Pashaw;
Nor saw the headsman's backward leap,
To give his axe the wider sweep.
Down came the blow ;-the self-same smile
Was lingering on the dead lip still,
When 'mid the train the pikemen bore
The bloody head of the Pandour.
The night was wild, the atabal16
Scarce echoed on the rampart wall;
Scarce heard the shrinking sentinel,
The night horn in that tempest's yell.
But forms, as shot the lightning's glare,
Stole silent though that palace-square,
And thick and dim a weeping group
Seemed o'er its central spot to stoop.
The storm a moment paused, the moon
Broad from a hurrying cloud-rift shone;
It shone upon a headless trunk,
Raised in their arms; the moonbeam sunk,
And all was dimness; but the beat
Came sudden as of parting feet,
And sweet and solemn voices pined
In the low lapses of the wind.
'Twas like the hymn, when soldiers bear
A soldier to his sepulchre.
The lightning threw a shaft below,
The stately square was desert now.
Yet far, as far as eye could strain,
Was seen the remnant of a train:
A wavering shadow of a cloud,
That round some noble burden bowed,
'Twas gone, and all was night once more,
Wild rain, and whirlwind's doubled roar.
WAERE are thy pomps, Alhambra 17, earthly sun,
That had no rival, and no second ?-gone!
Thy glory down the arch of time has rolled,
Like the great day-star to the ocean dim, 16 atabal, a Turkish instrument of | 17 Alhambra, a palace, erected by music.
The billows of the ages o'er thee swim
Gloomy and fathomless; thy tale is told.
Where is thy hom of battle? That but blown
Brought every chief of Afric from his throne;
Brought every spear of Afric from the wall;
Brought every charger barbed from the stall,
Till all its tribes sat inounted on the shore,
Waiting the waving of thy torch to pour
The living deluge on the fields of Spain.
Queen of earth's loveliness, there was a stain
Upon thy brow—the stain of guilt and gore;
Thy course was bright, bold, treacherous,- and 'tis o’er.
The spear and diadem are from thee gone;
Silence is now sole monarch of thy throne!
The sun was sinking on the mountain-zone
That guards thy vales of beauty, Palestine!
And lovely from the desert rose the moon,
Yet lingering on the horizon's purple line,
Like a pure spirit o'er its earthly shrine.
Up Padan-Aran's height, abrupt and bare
A pilgrim toiled, and oft on day's decline
Looked pale, then paused for eve's delicious air,
The summit gained, he knelt, and breathed his evening prayer.
He spread his cloak and slumbered—darkness fell
Upon the twilight hills; a sudden sound
Of silver trumpets o'er him seemed to swell;
Clouds heavy with the tempest gathered round;
Yet was the whirlwind in its caverns bound;
Still deeper rolled the darkness from on high,
Gigantic volume upon volume wound,
Above, a pillar shouting to the sky,
Below, a mighty sea, that spread incessantly.
Voices are heard a choir of golden strings,
Low winds, whose breath is loaded with the rose;
Then chariot-wheels—the nearer rush of wings;
Pale lightning round the dark pavilion glows,
It thunders–the resplendent gates unclose;
Far as the eye can glance, on height o'er height,
Rise fiery waving wings, and star-crowned brows,
Millions on millions, brighter and more bright,
Till all is lost in one supreme, unmingled light.