Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

"I am—or rather was—a prince, 290 "A chief of thousands, and could lead "Them on where each would foremost bleed;

"But could not o'er myself evince

"The like control—But to resume: "I loved, and was beloved again;

"In sooth, it is a happy doom,

"But yet where happiest ends in pain.—

"We met in secret, and the hour

"Which led me to that lady's bower

"Was fiery Expectation's dower. 300

"My days and nights were nothing—all

"Except that hour, which doth recal

"In the long lapse from youth to age
"No other like itself—I'd give
"The Ukraine back again to live

"It o'er once more—and be a page,

"The happy page, who was the lord

"Of one soft heart, andjiis own sword,

"And had no other gem nor wealth

"Save nature's gift of youth and health.— 310

"We met in secret—doubly sweet,
"Some say, they find it so to meet;
"I know not that—I would have given

"My life but to have call'd her mine "In the full view of earth and heaven;

"For I did oft and long repine "That we could only meet by stealth.

VIII.

"For lovers there are many eyes,

"And such there were on us;—the devil "On such occasions should be civil—

"The devil!—I'm loth to do him wrong, "It might be some untoward saint,

"Who would not be at rest too long, "But to his pious bile gave vent—

"But one fair night, some lurking spies

"Surprised and seized us both.

"The Count was something more than wroth

"I was unarm'd; but if in steel,

"All cap-a-pie from head to heel,

"What 'gainst their numbers could I do ?—

"'Twas near his castle, far away

"From city or from succour near, "And almost on the break of day; "I did not think to see another,

"My moments seem'd reduced to few; "And with one prayer to Mary Mother,

"And, it may be, a saint or two, "As I resign'd me to my fate, "They led me to the castle gate:

"Theresa's doom I never knew, "Our lot was henceforth separate.— "An angry man, ye may opine, "Was he, the proud Count Palatine; "And he had reason good to be,

"But he was most enraged lest such

"An accident should chance to touch "Upon his future pedigree; "Nor less amazed, that such a blot "His noble 'scutcheon should have got, "While he was highest of his line;

"Because unto himself he seem'd

"The first of men, nor less he deem'd "In others' eyes, and most in mine.

"'s death! with a page—perchance a king
"Had reconciled him to the thing;
"But with a stripling of a page—
"I felt—but cannot paint his rage.

IX.

"'Bring forth the horse P—the horse was brought;

"In truth, he was a noble steed,

"A Tartar of the Ukraine breed, 360 "Who looked as though the speed of thought "Were in his limbs; but he was wild,

"Wild as the wild deer, and untaught, "With spur and bridle undefiled—

"'Twas but a day he had been caught; "And snorting, with erected mane, "And struggling fiercely, but in vain, "In the full foam of wrath and dread "To me the desert-born was led: "They bound me on, that menial throng, 370 "" Upon his back with many a thong; "Then loosed him with a sudden lash— "Away !—away !—and on we dash !— "Torrents less rapid and less rash.

X.

"Away !—away !—My breath was gone— "I saw not where he hurried on: "'Twas scarcely yet the break of day, "And on he foam'd—away !—away !— "The last of human sounds which rose, "As I was darted from my foes, "Was the wild shout of savage laughter, "Which on the wind came roaring after "A moment from that rabble rout: "With sudden wrath I wrencrTd my head, "And snapp'd the cord, which to the mane "Had bound my neck in lieu of rein, "And, writhing half my form about, "Howl'd back my curse; but 'midst the tread, "The thunder of my courser's speed, "Perchance they did not hear nor heed: "It vexes me—for I would fain "Have paid their insult back again. "I paid it well in after days: "There is not of that castle gate, "Its drawbridge and portcullis' weight, "Stone, bar, moat, bridge, or barrier left;

« ElőzőTovább »