Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

1

Its garment of a thousand dyes; and leaves,
And delicate blossoms, and the painted flowers,
And everything that bendeth to the dew,
And stirreth with the daylight, lifted up
Its beauty to the breath of that sweet morn.

All things are dark to sorrow; and the light,
And loveliness, and fragrant air were sad
To the dejected Hagar. The moist earth
Was pouring odors from its spicy pores,
And the young birds were caroling as life
Were a new thing to them: but, oh! it came
Upon her heart like discord, and she felt
How cruelly it tries a broken heart,
To see a mirth in anything it loves.
She stood at Abraham's tent. Her lips were pressed
Till the blood left them; and the wandering veins
Of her transparent forehead were swelled out,
As if her pride would burst them. Her dark eye
Was clear and tearless, and the light of heaven,
Which made its language legible, shot back
From her long lashes, as it had been flame.

Her noble boy stood by her, with his hand
Clasped in her own, and his round, delicate feet,
Scarce trained to balance on the tented floor,
Sandaled for journeying. He had looked up
Into his mother's face until he caught
The spirit there, and his young heart was swelling
Beneath his snowy.bosom, and his form
Straightened up proudly in his tiny wrath,
As if his light proportions would have swelled,
Had they but matched his spirit, to the man.

Why bends the patriarch as he cometh now
Upon his staff so wearily? His beard
Is low upon his breast, and his high brow,
So written with the converse of his God,
Beareth the swollen vein of agony.
His lip is quivering, and his wonted step
Of vigor is not there; and, though the morn
Is passing fair and beautiful, he breathes
Its freshness as it were a pestilence.
He gave to her the water and the bread,
But spoke no word, and trusted not himself
To look upon her face; but laid his hand,
In silent blessing, on the fair-haired boy,
And left her to her lot of loneliness.

Should Hagar weep? May slighted woman turn, And, as a yine the oak hath shaken off, Bend lightly to her leaning trust again? O no! by all her loveliness, by all That makes life poetry and beauty, no! Make her a slave; steal from her rosy cheek By needless jealousies ; let the last star Leave her a watcher by your couch of pain; Wrong her by petulence, suspicion, all That makes her cup a bitterness—yet give One evidence of love, and earth has not An emblem of devotedness like hers. But, oh ! estrange her once, it boots not how, By wrong or silence, anything that tells A change has come upon your tenderness, And there is not a feeling out of heaven Her pride o'ermastereth not.

a

She went her way with a strong step and slow; Her pressed lip arched, and her clear eye undimmed, As if it were a diamond, and her form Borne proudly up, as if her heart breathed through. Her child kept on in silence, though she pressed His land till it was pained ; for he had read As I have said, her spirit, and the seed Of a stern nation had been breathed upon.

The morning passed, and Asia's son rode up In the clear heaven, and every beam was heat; The cattle of the hills were in the shade, And the bright plumage of the orient lay On beiting bosoms in her spicy trees. It was an hour of rest; but Hagar found No shelter in the wilderness, and on She kept her weary way, until the boy Ilung down his head, and opened his parched lips For water; but she could not give it him. She laid him clown beneath the sultry sky, For it was better than the close, hot breath Of the thick pines, and tried to comfort him ; But he was sore athirst, and his blue eyes Were dim and bloodshot, and he could not know Why God denieil him water in ihe wild. She sat a little longer, and le grew Ghastly and taint, as if he would have died. It was too much for her. She lifted him,

And bore him further on, and laid his head
Beneath the shadow of a desert shrub;
And, shrouding up her face, she went away,
And sat to watch, where he could see her not,
Till he should die; and, watching him. she mourn'd:

“God stay thee in thine agony, my boy!
I cannot see thee die ; I cannot brook

Upon thy brow to look,
And see death settle on my cradle joy.
How have I drunk the light of thy blue eye!

And could I see thee die ?

“I did not dream of this when thou wast straying,
Like an unbound gazelle, among the flowers ;

Or wiling the soft hours,
By the rich gush of water-sources playing,
Then sinking weary to thy smiling sleep,

So beautiful and deep.

" Oh no! and when I watched by thee the while,
And saw thy bright lip curling in thy dream,

And thought of the dark stream
In my own land of Egypt, the far Nile,
How pray'd I that my father's land might be

An heritage for thee!

“And now the grave for its cold breast hath won thee! And thy white, delicate limbs the earth will press ;

And oli! my last caress
Must feel thee cold, for a chill hand is on thee.
How can I leave my boy, so pillow'd there

Upon his clustering hair!"

She stood beside the well her God had given
To gush in that deep wilderness, and bathed
The forehead of her child until he laughed
In his reviving happiness, and lisped
His infant thought of gladness at the sight
Of the cool plashing of his mother's hand.

PESCARA'S DREAM.

From SHIEL's Tragedy of THE APOSTATE.

CHARACTERS:

PESCARA, a Spanish Governor,
FLORINDA, a Noble Lady.

Chis brilliant play has given opportunity to some of our greatest tragedians to win popularity. Macready and Booth were great in the character of Pescara, Booth infinitely the greater. The play is founded upon the persecution of the Moors by the Spanish Inquisition. Hemeya saves the life of Florinda, and is beloved by that maiden. Peg. cara also loves her, and through his subtle plottings Hemeya is thrown into the dungeons of the terrible order.

The following scene takes place in the space before the gates of the Inquisition, while Florinda had come to imploro mercy for Hemeya. Pescara is usually represented as a swarthy. billious looking Span. iard, and should speak in a bitter, sarcastic, cutting tone. Florinda is a lovely brunette, pure, gentle, and affectionate.

COSTUMES.-Pescara should wear dark tights, russet boots, a maroon colored mantle, and a black feit hat, with drooping black plume. Florinda, any handsome dress, of rich stuff.

SCENE in front of the Inquisition. FLORINDA and PESCARA

meeting.

FLOR. He sends him forth
Upon some dreadful purpose.

Pes. Do you deign
To look upon the wretch from whom your eyes
Were ever turned with loathing? but 'tis merciful.
This sun-set beam of hope—nay, do not tremble;
You should not tear the man that you despise.

Flor. My lord, 'tis not my purpose to offend you:
One poor request is all that I intreat;
Tell me, what cause has called these men of death
Forth from their dread abodes? whom do they seek ?
What is their dread intent? teach me, my lord ;
I do conjure you, teach me.

Pes. Ay, 'tis your sex's vice; when curiosity
Once stings a woman's heart, scorn will turn suppliant,
And hate itself will almost learn to woo.

FLOR. Not agaiust him

66

66

[ocr errors]

PES. Who is it that you mean?
I do not understand you ?

Flor. His dark eye
Glitters with horrid meaning—“Like the glass,

Within whose orb the voice of magic calls
“ The fiends from hell, within its fiery globe
“ The demon passions rise !"
My lord, forgive me
That I have dared to ask: I take my leave.

PES. (stopping her). Nay, do not go; although I am forbid
To tell the secrets of the Inquisition,
Yet something can I tell you.

FLOR. Well, my lord ?
PES. 'Tis but a dream.
FLOR. You mock me.

Pes. Do not think it;
You are a pious and believing maid,
And long within a convent's holy cells
Communed with Heaven's pure votaries. I remember
When you did marvel what young virgins meant,
When all their talk was love; for on your heart
It fell like moonlight on a frozen fountain.
That heart has melted since ;-but you, perchance,
Have still retained enough of true belief
Not to despise a vision ! On my couch,
Last night, I long lay sleepless; I revolved
The scorns, the contumelies I have suffered
But will not brook; at last, sleep closed my eyelids,
And then methought I saw the am'rous Moor
In all the transports of exulting passion,
And I stood by, chained to a fiery pillar,
Condemned to gaze forever; while two fiends
Did grin and mow up
Senseless I fell with rage. As thus I lay,
Forth from the yawning earth a figure rose
Whose stature reached to Heaven: his robes appeared
Woven out of solid fire ! around his head
A serpent twined his huge gigantic folds ;
And on his front, in burning characters,
Was written“ vengeance !"

Flor. Vengeance! oh, my lord
You fright me! but I ne'er offended you;
What crime have I committed ?

Pes. Listen to me:
He cried, “ do not despair !” and bade me follow

FLOR. Let me depart—(crosses L.)
PES. I followed-

me.

« VorigeDoorgaan »