A Poem in Three Cantos.


E. S. L.





THO' Time hath ting'd thy locks with grey,
And bid the tints of youth depart,
All vainly doth his hand essay
To leave its print upon thy heart!
Oft wand'ring yet, with taste refin'd,
Where'er the classic muse hath sung,
Years still have left thy cultur'd mind,
Thy fancy and thy feelings young!

Within thy cheerful breast serene,
Tho' pain may rouse the transient sigh,
The triumphs of a soul are seen,
Whose placid smiles can age defy—
O name belov'd, from childhood's years,
Which tells where virtuous feelings glow,
To bless that worth my heart reveres,
Affection bids these numbers flow!

Brighton, Feb. 1833.






TELL me why, when hope is bright
Idly droops the lover's wing,
Like the warbler of the night,
Waiting sunset ere he sing!
Oh! whilst rosy spring is nigh,
Wherefore risk its joys to miss?
None can reap, when years go by,
Second crops of youth or bliss.

Oft the rose that blooms at morn,
Drooping fades, ere night, away,
Leaving on its stem a thorn
That survives thro' many a day!
Flow'rs,—the brightest 'neath the sky
Still are first to death consign'd;
But the wreaths which never die,
They are those by Sorrow twin'd!





"Oh! ever thus, from childhood's hour,
I've seen my fondest hopes decay—
I never lov'd a tree or flow'r,
But 'twas the first to fade away.

* * * * * *

Now too the joy most like divine
Of all I ever dreamt or knew,
To see thee, hear thee, call thee mine—
O mis'ry! must I lose that too?





  • I.

  • ON Seville's domes, with warm and crimson glow,
    The sun, yet ling'ring, sheds a parting ray;
    Blest hour! that well those dark-eyed maidens know,
    Who pine imprison'd thro' the sultry day,
    And eve's soft twilight shades with rapture hail,—
    As the green lattice, clos'd with jealous care,
    Half opens now, to court the balmy gale,
    And welcome every breeze that wanders there.
    Now, from each grove, more fragrant odours rise,
    The citron sheds its perfum'd sweets around,


    And Love's own myrtle with the jasmine vies
    To breathe new spells along th' enchanted ground;
    Stretch'd o'er the marble couch, 'neath olive trees,
    To lovers' hearts new life these moments bring—
    Their sighs re-echo on the trembling breeze,
    Whilst Hope delusive spreads her soaring wing.
  • II.

  • But who are these?—the ancient and the fair,
    Slowly advancing 'neath the spreading shade?
    One feebly moves along—his silv'ry hair
    Floats o'er a brow where Time his print hath laid;
    His left hand rests upon a staff—his right
    Leans for support on that young fair one's arm,
    Who moves beside him now with footstep light
    And slender form—more fit the young to charm
    Than lend its feeble strength to falt'ring age;
    Yet o'er that pensive mien no trace is shed


    Of those bright hopes which youthful hearts engage,
    Such may have warm'd her heart—but they are fled!
  • III.

  • Now on her sire, with anxious gaze of love,
    She turns those dark and mournful eyes, which seem
    To speak of filial tenderness, and prove
    One feeling yet survives, to lend a gleam
    Of living int'rest to this mortal scene,
    Which, but for this, were to her wearied breast,
    By one dark dream of early grief opprest,
    Like Ocean's waste, on which no form is seen,
    Save one sad floating wreck, that tells how Death
    Seized with remorseless grasp, all—all we lov'd!
  • IV.

  • The reckless mariner, when life's young breath
    Beats in his heart with hope of joys unprov'd,


    Looks on thro' time, with fearless, fond belief,
    As tho' this world had never told of care,
    Nor death, pain, sickness, and corroding grief
    Rank'd 'midst the gifts to which mankind is heir;
    When, lo! a sudden crash—a fearful scream,
    An awful stillness comes;—from Hope's bright dream,
    By ghastly death arous'd, he sinks apace—
    The billows close above, nor leave one trace
    Of all those ardent hopes—that power to bless,
    Which, but an hour before, breath'd happiness!
  • V.

  • E'en thus, each early hope for ever blighted,
    That once in fond Giustina's breast had shone,
    Dimm'd was the lamp that erst her path had lighted,
    She felt, alas! she was on earth alone!
    Her widow'd heart of faithful love bereft,
    She breath'd—she mov'd—but every joy was riv'n;


    And now, to cheer her lonely thoughts were left
    None, but her sire on earth—her God in heaven!
    How chang'd, alas! from that fond, happy maid,
    Who, scarce releas'd from childhood's young constraint,
    Beside the river's margin hourly stray'd
    With him her youthful fancy lov'd to paint
    Her future lord—but years their course must run
    Ere yet Alonzo win so fair a prize—
    Within her realm, Spain held no worthier son
    Than he who lov'd the maid—whom yet he flies.
  • VI.

  • His was no common heart—no vulgar flame
    Lighted that noble breast, of ancient name,
    Of proud Castilian blood the purest stream
    Flow'd in his veins—yet could not this redeem
    The want of heritage; his tardier birth
    Had class'd him 'midst the poorer sons of earth.


    But Fate, which sternly Fortune's stores denied,
    With lavish hand the heart's best gifts supplied.
    He felt the power within him, and that fire
    Which can alone the loftiest souls inspire,
    Honour's pure guide, that points to distant fame,
    To years of glory, and a deathless name!
    Yes, these he felt were his—these hopes could move
    A heart that throbb'd with virtue, pride, and love!
    Yet was the struggle fierce within his breast,
    As oft, by Love's o'ermast'ring force opprest,
    He gazed on her to whom his soul was bound
    By every spell that youth and passion wound,
    Whose pure and tender faith to him was giv'n
    With all the fond devotion due to Heav'n.
  • VII.

  • Hers was that deep confiding trust which flows
    From the chaste fondness woman only knows;


    'Twas but for him she breath'd—for him alone
    It seem'd to her fond gaze the sunbeams shone,
    The crystal streams ran clear—the flow'ring thorn
    Shed forth its sweets—or blush'd the rosy morn.
    When he was by her side, all Nature smiling
    Bright and luxuriant, shone with power to bless;
    Each transient gloom his tender care beguiling,
    Life was one rapturous dream of loveliness;
    Yet was the ardent flame her heart confest
    So pure, so free from earth's unhallow'd fire—
    Such heavenly feelings warm'd Giustina's breast,
    That scarce could sons of brighter worlds aspire
    To loftier hopes of bliss, than hers might own,
    Where Love and Piety had fix'd their throne.
  • VIII.

  • Deeply Alonzo felt the prize he won,
    And gladly for her love his life had given,


    Yet must he now that heav'nly image shun,
    Or hath he vainly 'gainst that passion striv'n.
    Despair may lurk beneath the madd'ning thought,
    His blood may rush—his heart may beat—yet nought
    Hath pow'r to bid his nobler reason yield;
    He calls on Heav'n that angel form to shield
    From sorrow, sickness, peril, or dismay,
    Whilst duty tears him from her charms away.
    Yet was Alonzo's love as warm a fire
    As ever beam'd in manhood's ardent breast;
    But he had learn'd to tame each wild desire
    That e'er might war with lov'd Giustina's rest:
    He burn'd to call that idol heart his own,
    That form, where Nature's richest beauties shone,
    Still urg'd by pride, his pure and gen'rous flame
    Disdain'd one selfish sacrifice to claim;
    He could not brook that she whose heart he won,
    Should stoop to poverty—by love undone!

  • IX.

  • Oft as they stroll'd beside the river's brink,
    His falt'ring accents whisper'd—they must part;
    Tho' from the harsh resolve he fain would shrink,
    It wrung so bitterly Giustina's heart!
    Yet now again he curbs with strong control
    The deep impassion'd language of his soul,
    And strives to nerve, with sterner Reason's aid,
    The fond resistance of that loving maid;
    And when she turns on him her weeping eye,
    That only craves with him to live—or die—
    "My life!—my loved one!" would he fondly say,
    "E'en tho' my heart-strings burst, I must away!
    "Oh! how could tenderness like mine endure
    "To view thee, gentle love—so soft, so pure,
    "(Earth's flow'ry mead seems all too rude to bear
    "The print of thy light footsteps wand'ring there,)
    "Doom'd for my sake to brook each hardship drear,
    "Each rougher toil of life, until the tear


    "Of pain perchance and anguish cloud that brow,
    "Which only lives to yield me rapture now,
    "Until those radiant smiles, than heav'n more bright,
    "Be chang'd, alas! for all the gloom of night!"
  • X.

  • No! ne'er to yield his bursting heart relief,
    Will fond Alonzo steep those eyes in grief,
    Howe'er his passion plead—her smiles persuade,
    He loves too fervently that trusting maid,
    To sacrifice long years of future bliss,
    To chase the transient clouds which darken this.
    And when at length it came—Love's parting hour,
    With purpose firm he sought the maiden's bower,
    Resolv'd to stifle each rebellious sigh,
    That, spite his manly strife, might wound her ear,
    And dash each pledge of weakness from his eye,
    Where, all unbidden, rose the starting tear.

  • XI.

  • Yet, was he unprepar'd that hour to meet,
    When blushing Beauty, sinking at his feet,
    In anguish mute—for words were all too weak
    Her soul's desponding agony to speak—
    Implor'd him yet, by many a heaving sigh,
    The frowns of Fate and Fortune to defy:
    And when at last her falt'ring accents came,
    Besought him by their fond and mutual flame,
    By ev'ry tender tie and binding vow
    Which link'd their souls in one, their flame t' avow,
    And from her aged sire this hour demand,
    That he who own'd her heart might claim her hand—
    "Nay, dearest! wherefore leave me thus?" she cries,
    And on Alonzo turns her weeping eyes—
    "What tyrant force compels thee to depart,
    "And wring with agony this bleeding heart?
    "Can Glory, Wealth, or Fame itself bestow,
    "A dearer boon than fond Affection's glow?


    "The gorgeous palace, or the gilded dome,
    "Shine half so bright as Love's own happy home?
    "These hands would gladly spread our frugal fare,
    "The needle ply—thy ev'ry labour share;
    "And when at eve return'd from wand'ring far,
    "I'd soothe thy slumbers with my light guitar;—
    "Then say, my lov'd one, canst thou yet desire
    "To bid a long farewell to love and me?
    "Can thy proud heart a fonder mate require
    "Than her who dreads no ill, but loss of thee?
    "Not all the wealth to Earth's proud despots giv'n,
    "Can yield such foretaste of the bliss above
    "As the pure joys that deck that earthly heav'n,
    "The lowliest cot—if lit by woman's love!
    "Then stay—to prove how vain each tim'rous dream
    "Thy doubting heart can urge, my faith to try,
    "To learn how blest the humblest lot would seem
    "With thee, my lov'd—my own Alonzo, nigh!"

  • XII.

  • Scarce could his throbbing heart that hour repress,
    With ill-dissembled calm, the gushing tear;
    Yet, tho' unnerv'd at sight of her distress,
    Fain would his accents curb, with tone severe,
    That fond, devoted maiden's tenderness;
    But she, unus'd that chiding voice to hear,
    Sinks down abash'd, and trembling strives to hide
    The starting drops of wounded love and pride.

    O stern, unthinking man!—ye ne'er can prove
    Those conscious pangs which softer bosoms swell,
    If but one chilling word, from lips they love,
    Seem to reprove for having lov'd too well!

  • XIII.

  • Stretch'd on her fev'rish couch, Giustina lay,
    Watching the first pale streak of purple morn,


    Which lights Alonzo on his lonely way,
    And leaves her widow'd heart in tears to mourn.
    How will she e'er survive that hateful day,
    The first of hopeless solitude forlorn!
    Whilst in this earliest grief her breast hath known,
    O there is none to soothe—for he is flown!
  • XIV.

  • Who hath not felt that dull and lifeless trance,
    Which lull'd in apathy her soul's distress,
    As still she mark'd each tedious hour advance,
    Ere yet she woke to Grief's full consciousness?
    But when she rous'd her from that mental sleep,
    And gaz'd around—and knew she was alone—
    Then flow'd the agonising tear—the deep,
    The breathless feeling came—that he was gone!
    O bitter anguish! thus to live and know
    That so much love hath all been nurs'd in vain;


    To feel that dull, monotonous distress,
    That wearied pulse, which scarce can life sustain,
    Which hope nor fear can quicken or depress,
    Where nought on earth can yield or joy or pain!
    One ling'ring thought remain'd—it breath'd despair!
    He, whom she lov'd, had fled—and left her there!
  • XV.

  • But heartless time, whose stern, unvarying flight
    Ne'er checks his wing to soothe the lover's sigh,
    Still sent revolving hours of day and night,
    Till months were past, and years went stealing by—
    And still Giustina pin'd, tho' oft a bright
    Yet distant gleam of bliss illum'd her sky,
    When Love's fond, welcome scroll, her heart to bless,
    Came breathing still of hope and tenderness.
    It told of fame, by tedious labours won—
    How toils, by love inspir'd, still glory gain'd;


    It spoke of many an anxious mission done,
    Of Fortune's smiles by honest zeal obtain'd.
    Her heart throbb'd high with pride—yet was there one
    Far dearer word that cherish'd scroll contain'd—
    "However brightly rose Alonzo's sun,
    "Unchang'd, to love and her, his heart remain'd."
  • XVI.

  • O this indeed was bliss!—and would he come
    Once more to bless her solitary home?
    And would he prove as fond, as tender now,
    As when Love's chaplet only grac'd his brow?
    Tho' crown'd with honours, in all else the same,
    Still twine the myrtle in the wreaths of Fame?
    Yes! fondly to this hope her heart shall cling,
    Till some few ling'ring months restore the spring,
    When he—her own, her lov'd, her bosom's pride,
    Shall turn to claim his fond and faithful bride!

  • XVII.

  • Despite that trusting tenderness, there stole
    At times a passing shadow o'er her soul;
    It was not doubt, but an uneasy fear,
    Perchance the echo of that tone severe
    Which haunted yet her mind, and rose above
    A thousand gentler records of his love!
    Oft would she fear, that breast, which only knew
    Stern Reason's dictates at their last adieu,
    When now no more by early feelings sway'd,
    Might scorn that weakness which her own betrayed,
    Yet bound by many a vow, by honour mov'd,
    To feign the passion he no longer prov'd,
    Though faint perchance each trace his mem'ry bore
    Of those young charms which warm'd his heart of yore,


    Might deem that she, whose constant bosom, through
    Long years of absence only fonder grew;
    Whose love could thus, despite of time, endure
    True to its early faith, unchang'd and pure,
    Ought ne'er, from colder smiles or words to guess,
    That his more wayward heart now lov'd her less!

    But soon she spurns this burning thought of pain,
    Lest it should work to madness in her brain—
    And turns once more to paint him fond and true,
    With pencil dipped in Love's own roseate hue.





    "Yes! yes!" she cried—"my hourly fears,
    "My dreams have boded all too right!—
    "We part—for ever part—to-night!
    "I knew—I knew it could not last—
    "'Twas bright, 'twas heavenly—but 'tis past!"





  • I.

  • BRIGHT lights are burning in the festive hall,
    And sounds of revelry the night prolong,
    Light forms are gliding by the tap'stried wall,
    As in the graceful dance they move along;—
    Beauty and Youth and happy thoughts are there,
    And hearts which never look beyond the day,
    Radiant with love and joy—unknown to care,
    With spirits buoyant as their hopes are gay!
  • II.

  • O ye whose souls are wrung with anxious grief,
    Nay, come not to these halls of mirth and glare—


    They cannot lend your aching breasts relief,
    Such false excitement aggravates despair;—
    Amidst that giddy, gay, and thoughtless throng,
    Full many a heart perchance may suff'ring know,
    E'en at this very hour may bear along,
    Disguis'd in smiles, a leaden weight of woe.
    Yet vain the hope, amidst that motley crowd,
    To wake the soft, the sympathetic tear,
    Where from Suspicion's gaze all strive to shroud,
    With jealous caution, ev'ry hope and fear.
    Then fly those scenes, for bosoms all unmeet
    Whose feelings vibrate to the chord of pain—
    For ev'ry sight and sound ye there shall meet,
    Will woo ye back to solitude again!
    Bewild'ring strains of music—voices loud—
    The sparkling jewels—and the sick'ning glare—
    The busy, laughing, thoughtless, passing crowd—
    The floating robes of silver drap'ry there,
    Shall swim before your eyes, as wand'ring on,
    The only strangers 'midst that eager throng—


    With joyless aspect still ye move along,
    Unmixing with the scene ye gaze upon!
  • III.

  • But there are two, who fly from halls so bright,
    Because their hearts are all too new to bliss
    To brook the cold constraint—the feign'd delight,
    Which those must wear who join a scene like this;—
    And now, beside that marble fount they stand,
    In speechless happiness—or, hand in hand,
    Pace the long terrace—whilst the moon-lit sky
    Looks down upon their loves approvingly.
    And now their thoughts find utt'rance—and anon
    They talk of years gone by—and many an hour
    When Hope grew pale, and scarce a glimm'ring shone
    To cheer their sever'd hearts; yet still the pow'r,
    The conq'ring force of Love o'ermaster'd fear—
    And gloom, despair, and all the dark array


    Of troubled Fancy's forms, which oft appear
    To wring the lover's heart, dissolv'd away.
    O rapturous hour! when ev'ry early vow
    That link'd their youthful hearts in bonds of love,
    Renew'd with tenfold eagerness, may now
    Aspire at length its fond reward to prove—
    When that soft cheek, no more with anguish pale,
    Again shall own the bright carnation's glow—
    When those bright, sunny smiles no more shall veil
    Their living lustre 'neath the mask of woe!
  • IV.

  • And now they part—but not as when, of yore,
    Stern Fate first sever'd hearts by Love entwin'd—
    A few short hours will soon their bliss restore,
    In chains of adamant their fates to bind!
    Ere noon, Alonzo shall each hope confess,
    And claim Giustina from her aged sire,


    Who, gladly, proudly shall that union bless,
    Where wealth and honours thus with love conspire.
    And now he bade the gentle maid adieu;
    But, as her fair small hand he pressed, there came
    Upon his cheek a flush of crimson hue,
    And a slight shudder pass'd across his frame.
    Giustina mark'd the change—with looks of love,
    "Nay—speak," she cried, "my lov'd one—thou art ill!"
    "Fear not, my life—'tis but the change we prove
    "When at the coming dawn the breeze grows chill.
    "Full many an hour beneath the scorching sun
    "I've urg'd my steed, this blissful night to share,
    "When now, to hail his lov'd, long absent son,
    "Would my fond sire this festive scene prepare;
    "And then to see thee, lov'd one, thus again—
    "To hold thy hand in mine—to know thee true—


    "Such bliss intense may well have pow'r, like pain,
    "To flush the changing cheek with fev'rish hue!"
  • V.

  • Slowly the sleepless hours of night went by,
    So fondly throbb'd with joy that conscious breast;
    Yet still, despite of hope—she scarce knew why,
    A strange foreboding dread her heart opprest.
    Oft in her dreaming thoughts, Alonzo now,
    Blooming with health and love, stood smiling there;
    But oft again, his wan and alter'd brow
    The pallid hues of death and sickness wear.
    Now from her troubled couch the maiden rose,
    To soothe her spirits with the morning air;
    Scarce stirr'd the leaves—all Nature look'd repose,
    Serene and silent—not a sound was there,
    Save the calm trickling of St. Francis' fount;
    There rose the Alcazar—and amidst the town,


    That gall'ried steeple's triple towers, that mount
    The azure sky, and thence on Seville frown.
    Along the plain the Guadalquivir flow'd,
    Beside whose banks the Andalusians stray;
    There was the boat-supported bridge which show'd
    Where the gay promenade 'midst the suburbs lay;
    And there the olive grove, for many a mile,
    Far as the eye could reach, its verdure spread,
    Whilst citrons scent the air, pomegranates smile,
    And o'er the plain their softest influence shed.
    But soon the city wakes, and murmurs loud
    Begin to break from ev'ry dwelling there;
    And many a light mantilla, 'midst the crowd,
    Shows Beauty hast'ning to the house of pray'r.
    And now, Giustina's lattice clos'd again,
    Her soul ascends in solemn thoughts to Heav'n,
    And, in a calm, devout, and holy strain,
    She craves a blessing where her heart is giv'n.


  • VI.

  • Breathless with keen suspense and doubting fear,
    The watchful maiden sits with anxious gaze,
    Starting at ev'ry sound which strikes her ear,
    As thro' the leaves the wand'ring zephyr strays—
    Yet still he comes not—Oh! those hours of care
    Are but the heralds of thy heart's despair—
    Those heavy hours, which ling'ring seem to go,
    They are the last of hope thou e'er shalt know!
    Nay, let not yet those precious tear-drops fall,
    For oh! too soon thy heart will need them all!—
  • VII.

  • At length 'tis eve—and now the hurried tread,
    And voices strange, have fill'd her soul with dread.
    Fond, hapless maid! thy fears were all too true—
    It was no dream—that fev'rish, livid hue,
    Which in those sleepless hours appear'd to streak,
    With sad prophetic truth, thy lover's cheek,


    Too surely now is stamp'd by sickness there,
    Where raging fever bids his eyeballs glare!—
    "O words of agony!—each danger past—
    "The frowns of Fate o'ercome—shall Death at last
    "Remorseless tear Alonzo from my side,
    "E'en at the hour he turn'd to claim his bride?
    "E'en at that very hour—thrice bitter pain!
    "When these fond eyes ne'er thought to weep again!
    "Oh! I have lov'd too much—to him were giv'n
    "The hopes—the heart, that should have clung to Heav'n—
    "O yes! to God alone that love was due,
    "Which in my breast to idol-worship grew.
    "Yet, oh! forgive, great Heav'n, this sinful heart,
    "To cool my brain, one ray of hope impart!
    "O grant yet once this bleeding bosom's pray'r,
    "Lest it should madden into wild despair!
    "Let him but live!" she cried—this sight of woe—
    Th' impassion'd flood of tears, that burning flow—


    This mental agony, hath all reveal'd
    Her bosom's secret, scarce till now conceal'd;—
    Heedless of all around—her love confest,
    She sinks unconscious on her father's breast.
  • VIII.

  • And now again a hasty summons came—
    Alonzo sinks—but yet he fain would crave
    Giustina's sire to see. O worthless Fame!
    How pow'rless are thy wreaths from Death to save
    Those who, thro' life to win a glorious name,
    Have sacrific'd each bliss that Fortune gave,
    And wrung their own, and many a dearer breast,
    To sink into an early grave—unblest!
  • IX.

  • Beside Alonzo's couch the old man sate,
    But half refus'd to trust his feeble sight—


    Was that the lofty brow, with hope elate,
    That smil'd so proudly on the festive night?
    Which, bow'd by sickness—sinking 'neath his fate,
    Now feebly shrinks beneath that glimm'ring light?
    Alas! the same—but death and mortal strife
    Now wring from out that heart the breath of life
  • X.

  • Yet still he strives his languid form to raise,
    And faintly tells, in quiv'ring accents low,
    How in that oaken chest a scroll betrays
    The love—the hopes—that bade his bosom glow;
    And how, by these impell'd in after days,
    He toil'd thro' many a thorny path to know
    The gifts of Fame—till, crown'd with wealth and pow'r,
    He proudly turn'd to seek the maiden's bow'r,
    And lay them at her feet—Giustina's dow'r!
    The tear that down that aged bosom stole,


    As in his trembling hands that scroll he bore,
    Betray'd the bitter anguish of his soul.
    Deeply he sigh'd—Why cannot sighs restore
    The young—the lov'd—to health and life again?
    And now he feebly strives that hand to press,
    Which motions him that, e'er the task be vain,
    He fain would speak—Giustina's name to bless—
    "O tell that dear lov'd maid," he faintly cries,
    "True to his earliest faith, Alonzo dies!
    "Tell her, not e'en life's quiv'ring pangs have pow'r
    "To chase her image from this dying hour—
    "Such lasting chains have bound her to this heart,
    "Not death itself shall tear those links apart;
    "And when my spirit soars to realms above,
    "Blending her memory with immortal love,
    "Still, those who search with curious gaze, shall find,
    "Within my lifeless heart, her form enshrin'd.—


    "And O! if e'er this breast less ardent seem'd,
    "Less fond than hers—if e'er her bosom deem'd
    "My feign'd composure into coldness grew,
    "O tell that loving maid, she little knew
    "The bitter pangs it cost me to control
    "Th' impassion'd ardours of my fev'rish soul!
    "Tell her—O God! my life is ebbing fast—
    "O say—I lov'd—ador'd her—to the last!"
    One gentle sigh—and now that troubled breast,
    Its love—its hopes—its fears, are all at rest!
    That breast, where firm unshrinking virtue dwelt,
    That nobly lov'd—and O how deeply felt!






    "O grief! beyond all other griefs, when Fate
    First leaves the young heart lone and desolate
    In the wide world, without that only tie
    For which it lov'd to live, or fear'd to die;—
    Lorn as the hung-up lute, that ne'er hath spoken
    Since the sad day its master-chord was broken!"





  • I.

  • THE old man turn'd him to his home again,
    To tell his widow'd child that tale of pain,
    But durst not yet her lonely chamber seek,
    Lest the fresh tear-drops on his aged cheek
    Should all too soon the fatal truth betray—
    Precaution vain! for what avails delay?
    Or soon or late, her heart must know the worst—
    But could a father watch those heart-strings burst?
  • II.

  • And now her crowding handmaids anxious tell
    How on her couch reclin'd she sleeps full well;


    And how the sorrows of her lab'ring breast
    Are for a moment hush'd in tranquil rest;—
    Delusive dream! to think that rest and sleep
    Will come where Grief and Fear their vigils keep:
    That calm—that apathy—whate'er it seem,
    That mock repose, is but the lulling dream,
    The languid fever of the stagnant mind,
    Ere Reason yet hath quite her seat resign'd;
    No other rest or sleep she e'er shall know,
    Until her heart hath drain'd the cup of woe!
  • III.

  • Faintly the glimm'ring light of early day
    Stream'd o'er the couch where pale Giustina lay,
    When, lo! she starts—a voice of music near,
    A mournful strain hath caught her wakeful ear;
    Dull heavy footsteps rouse the silent street—
    Nearer they come—now, starting to her feet,


    Breathless—aghast—and with a gaze as wild
    As Fancy ever lent her wand'ring child,
    She rush'd in haste, and to the lattice sprung—
    O what a fearful sight her bosom wrung!
    There, two of those who live by death alone,
    And only reap the fruit by sickness sown,
    Bear unconcern'd a heavy bier along,
    All reckless chanting forth their funeral song.
  • IV.

  • Now dark foreboding fears of speechless ill
    With sick'ning dread her panting bosom fill.
    A moment there she stood, in mute suspense,
    Her feelings wrought to agony intense;
    The next—with garments light, dishevell'd hair,
    Heedless of all but of her heart's despair—
    Impell'd by deep, unutterable woe,
    With that wild energy the desp'rate know—


    Her handmaids past, who sunk in sleep appear—
    She rush'd—she follow'd those who bore that bier!
    And when she reach'd the chamber which retain'd
    All of Alonzo that on earth remain'd,
    Transfix'd she stood—and mark'd with speechless gaze,
    That lifeless form where Death already strays;
    She watch'd that silent, calm, and changeless brow,
    Where pale and livid hues are fixing now—
    Till, oh! one moment first for breath she gasp'd,
    Then sunk upon his cold and lifeless breast,
    Scarce more alive than him she wildly clasp'd,
    Whilst mute delirium lent her bosom rest!
    Nor could the chisel's breathless figures show
    A deadlier group of cold and marble woe!

  • V.

  • But soon her unresisting form they bear
    Far from that scene of death and dark despair;


    Now, all unconscious on her couch she lay,
    Thro' many a fev'rish night and weary day—
    Wild, ebbing Reason's dark and doubtful rays
    Shone in that fearful, bright, unearthly gaze;
    Whilst oft her strange delirious accents tell
    Her thoughts still wander, where she lov'd so well!
    "Deck me," she cries, "in robes of virgin white,
    "For know, my lov'd one shall return to night!
    "Lo there, behold they come in bright array,
    "With orange wreaths, to hail my wedding-day:
    "In priestly robes the rev'rend father stands
    "Beside the altar—now he joins our hands—
    "Prepar'd in hallow'd links those hearts to bind
    "That Love so long in rosy bands hath twin'd.
    "But say—what means that cry?—they all depart—
    "O Heav'ns! they tear Alonzo from my heart!
    "'Tis vain—'tis vain! no earthly pow'r can sever
    "Those who by Love and Heav'n are bound for ever!"

  • VI.

  • Mute and exhausted, now she seems to sink,
    Scarce hov'ring yet on life's uncertain brink—
    So faint each throb her languid pulse repeats,
    Well may they deem that breast no longer beats!

    Thro' many a ling'ring hour her handmaids sate,
    Watching the lamp of life that dimly burn'd,
    Whilst her fond sire—desponding—desolate—
    Scarce left her couch till Reason's ray return'd;
    A gleam of light, that thro' the casement stream'd,
    Fell on his silver locks and sunken eye—
    Now on his hollow cheek a moment gleam'd,
    And pictur'd forth that old man's agony!
    Oft from without, the busy sounds of life
    To that lone chamber still would find their way,
    Heedless of those who watch'd the mortal strife
    Where Death, with Life contending, claim'd his prey.


    E'en thus full many a racking scene of woe
    Is passing oft—where revels loud are near;
    And only can the suff'ring bosom know
    How harsh they grate upon Affliction's ear.

  • VII.

  • Did she not die?—no, there are griefs which wring
    The tortur'd breast, and fire the madd'ning brain;
    Still to the vital pow'r—to earth we cling,
    The lab'ring heart-strings will not burst in twain;
    Doom'd to survive each flatt'ring hope of joy
    That once so brightly on our pathway shone,
    As tho' no bitter pangs could life destroy,
    Thro' years of hopeless pain we linger on.
    Full many a hapless, fond, enthusiast maid
    Hath been, alas! by such bereavement driv'n


    To seek the convent's solitary shade,
    And give her widow'd hopes and heart to Heav'n!
    By one sad stroke, of ev'ry joy bereft,
    Her rash despair—her wild impassion'd grief,
    To fill the gap that buried Love hath left,
    There vainly hop'd a desperate relief!
  • VIII.

  • But she, Alonzo lov'd, had early known,
    The God of mercy ne'er deserts his own;
    That all the sorrows sent—the blessings giv'n,
    Have but one aim—to draw our souls to Heav'n;
    That all the bitter suff'rings here we know,
    Whilst chain'd in bondage to this scene of woe,
    Are but the pangs of souls from Eden hurl'd,
    Mourning their exile from a brighter world!
    Slight passing shadows on the path to bliss,
    Cast by the grosser clouds which rise from this!

  • IX.

  • Her more exalted faith—her reason knew,
    That whilst devotion to her God was due,
    Yet, in His sight who gave creation birth,
    And sent mankind to till this beauteous earth,
    More blest the efforts of that soul would prove,
    Who strove to imitate his Saviour's love,
    By active charity or filial care,
    Than if he wept in solitude and pray'r.
  • X.

  • Oft would that pious maiden calmly say,
    "His will be done—who gives and takes away!
    "Whate'er our state—whate'er afflictions press,
    "Stlll there are some to love—and God to bless!
    "Still duty points some pathway yet untried,
    "Where we may seek those joys by Fate denied."

  • XI.

  • 'Twas thus, in filial love, her bosom found
    One ling'ring tie—one balm for ev'ry wound—
    Whilst like the ivy round the aged tree,
    She clung to that fond sire devotedly!
    Bright in his breast a parent's feelings burn'd,
    As on his child his smiles approving turn'd;
    She was the staff on which his bosom lean'd,
    Whilst from her quiet faith new hopes he glean'd;
    To him, each thought, each earthly feeling giv'n,
    Oh! could a soul like hers be far from Heav'n?




    O IT is bitter pain to gaze
    Upon the form we long have cherish'd,
    When on the silent bier it lays,
    Each hope within our bosoms perish'd!
    If forc'd from all it loves to part,
    The widow'd heart must pine in sadness;
    But if Death wing th' unerring dart,
    It turns the wilder'd brain to madness!

    Yet none so lone, they cannot find
    Some heart to which their own may cling,
    Some point of union with mankind,
    Some balm to soothe Affliction's sting!
    The deepest sorrows leave behind
    A softness in the breasts they wring—
    A sympathy which makes them wind
    Round each forlorn deserted thing!

    Brighton, Feb. 13th, 1833.



    A Poem.


    E. S. L.





    GODDESS of gloom! from murkiest clouds descend
    And to my theme thy own dark colouring lend!
    Dipp'd in thy gloomiest tints the pen supply,
    To paint the blackness of December's sky—
    And trace the endless dulness of that day,
    Which drags in tedious length its hours away.
    Arous'd from sleep, whilst yet th' uncertain light
    Finds morning struggling with the shades of night;
    Without a ray to cheer her troubled breast,
    By Winter's dull monotony opprest,


    The languid Julia tnrns her waking eyes
    Where the dim casement's form she scarce descries—
    Save by those bars which intersecting seem
    To cut the yellow fog's unsightly gleam.
    Now rising from her couch, the mournful maid
    Consults in vain the faithless mirror's aid,
    Her own reflected loveliness to view;
    Tinging each object with its sickly hue,
    The envious gloom hath stamp'd its image there—
    Cheeks, lips, and tresses, all one colouring wear.
    Descending soon where Mocha's fumes invite,
    The tapers cast around their glimm'ring light,
    By whose uncertain ray she scarce descries
    The morning dainties which the board supplies.
    But other cares have Julia's mind engross'd—
    Her eye, just glancing o'er the Morning Post,
    With envy marks the never ending train
    Of Christmas gaieties its leaves contain:—


    The Ducal palace and the Baron's hall,
    The ancient glories of their sires recall,
    Crowded with guests, who, thro' the livelong day,
    Feast, dance and sing the joyous hours away.
    "Alas!" cried Julia, "why did Fate decree
    "Such blest delights to ev'ry maid but me?
    "Why doom me only, of the sprightly train,
    "In London's gloomy precincts to remain?"
    As, sighing, from her hand she casts aside
    This hateful chronicle of joys denied,
    She seeks her boudoir, where the varied store
    Displays the tribute of each rival shore,
    Vying to guard the goddess of the scene
    From listless Beauty's foe—the monster Spleen!

    But now in vain she marks each glitt'ring toy—
    "Can these atone for fancied dreams of joy?
    "Can India's stores, or Araby's perfume,
    "The darkness of these wintry skies illume?


    "The ivory casket, or the marble urn,
    "People the town, or bid the Spring return?
    "What cares shall while the twilight hours away?
    "The brush—the needle, ask the light of day—
    "No more the rosebuds 'neath my fingers grow,
    "The dalias bloom—the modest violets blow;
    "In vain I choose each tint with caution due,
    "My pinks look scarlet, and my rose-leaves blue."
    So saying, from her cedar shelves she took,
    Desponding Beauty's last resource—a book!—
    "And is it come to this, alas!" she cried—
    "Condemn'd to read—each other joy denied?
    "When first I sought this boudoir to adorn,
    "I ransack'd Harding's each succeeding morn;
    "Now loung'd at Howell's, and now Baldock's grac'd,
    "And chose each toy that pleas'd my fickle taste;
    "The nodding Mandarin—the costly fan,
    "Buhl—agate—crystal—china and japan;


    "Till tir'd of Dresden shepherds and their crooks,
    "In pure caprice I bought a row of books,
    "So richly bound—for ornament—not use!
    "Alas! what changes will not time produce!
    "Henceforth I'm doom'd (a stupid book-worm grown)
    "To seek amusement in these leaves alone!"

    The novel plaything pleas'd her for an hour,
    And half a chapter did her eyes devour;
    But yawning now, she lays the volume by,
    Looks at her watch, and heaves a mournful sigh.
    "'Tis past the hour—and tho' the heav'ns be dark,
    "I'll take my daily promenade in the Park."—
    Nay—start not, fair ones, at her strange resolve,
    A single whisper will the problem solve.
    Once had she heard a doctor's voice declare,
    The best cosmetics—exercise and air.—


    Now Julia hated walking—yet she knew
    Whate'er a doctor said must needs be true;
    And the more nauseous still the draught he gave,
    The more infallible its power to save.
    Since then, whate'er the weather or the sky,
    She ne'er has fail'd her daily task to ply—
    To face the rigours of the wind and sleet,
    And brave the snow with Liliputian feet;
    Tho' oft she shrinks as o'er the frosty ground,
    The monstrous omnibus, with deaf'ning sound
    Like rattling thunder, stuns each passer by,
    Who scarce can thro' the fog its form descry.
    When now at length the dreary Park she gains,
    Where hoary Winter undisputed reigns,
    She strives to mark where, thro' th' uncertain haze,
    A darksome line of leafless stems betrays
    Where erst, in summer days of warmth and light,
    The bow'rs of Kensington could yield delight—


    That garden scene of many a blissful hour,
    When conscious Beauty triumph'd in her pow'r.
    But now—her task perform'd—with limbs congeal'd,
    Tho' costliest furs combine their warmth to yield,
    The lovely nymph her frozen route retrac'd,
    And sought her blazing hearth with eager haste;
    The fauteuil's depth her graceful form contain'd,
    The velvet stool her fairy feet sustain'd—
    When, starting as th' unwonted sound she hears,
    A single rap arrests her list'ning ears.—
    "Ye Pow'rs above!" the wond'ring maiden cries,
    "What means this sound beneath December skies?
    "None but a dun or doctor would appear,
    "To break the slumbers of th' expiring year."
    To end her doubts, a proffer'd card conveys
    The mournful news its sable rim betrays—
    Sir George is dead—and now his widow sends
    "Thanks for inquiries" round to all her friends.


    "Alas!" she cries, "this suits the season well,
    "Who else but mourners in the town would dwell?"
    With this a pensive gloom her mind involves,
    And half an hour she spends in grave resolves;
    But soon the toilet's cares her thoughts possess,
    When the loud bell proclaims—tis time to dress;
    This pleasing labour done, she heaves a sigh
    To think such charms lie hid from ev'ry eye.

    Doom'd o'er the tedious board an hour to waste,
    Uncheer'd by lively converse, wit, or taste,
    Her wistful thoughts recall full many a night,
    When homage came wherever eyes were bright;
    When her soft smiles had reign'd the toast of all,
    And Julia's name re-echoed thro' the hall.
    But now she rises from her dull repast,
    And dwells in sadness on her triumphs past;
    Thro' the long ev'ning still her needle plies,
    Mourning to waste on work such radiant eyes!


    Till the pale midnight lamp begins t' expire,
    And bids the maiden to her couch retire—
    In slumber there she seeks her cares to drown,
    Or dreams that dandies are return'd to town;
    And whilst on pillow'd down her eyelids close,
    She stifles sorrow in a mock repose.

    Jan. 12th, 1833.

    THE END.


    About this text
    Courtesy of University of California, Davis. General Library. Digital Intitiatives Program.;
    Title: Giustina: a Spanish Tale of Real Life
    By:  E. S. L. (Elizabeth Susan Law), 1799-1883, creator, British Women Romantic Poets Project, University of California, Davis, Library.
    Date: 2003 (issued)
    Contributing Institution: University of California, Davis. General Library. Digital Intitiatives Program.;
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