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Hard by the brink of a tall weedy rock
That overbrows the cataract. How bursts
The landscape on my sight! Two crescent hills
Fold in behind each other, and so make
A circular vale, and land-locked, as might seem,
With brook and bridge, and grey stone cottages,
Half hid by rocks and fruit-trees. At
At my feet,
The whortle-berries are bedewed with spray,
Dashed upwards by the furious waterfall.
How solemnly the pendent ivy-mass
Swings in its winnow: All the air is calm.
The smoke from cottage-chimneys, tinged with light,
Rises in columns; from this house alone,
Close by the waterfall, the column slants,
And feels its ceaseless breeze. But what is this?
That cottage, with its slanting chimney-smoke,
And close beside its porch a sleeping child,
His dear head pillowed on a sleeping dog-
One arm between its fore legs, and the hand
Holds loosely its small handful of wild flowers,
Unfilletted, and of unequal lengths.
A curious picture, with a master's haste
Sketched on a strip of pinky-silver skin,
Peeled from the birchen bark! Divinest maid !
Yon bark her canvas, and those purple berries
Her pencil ! See, the juice is scarcely dried
On the fine skin! She has been newly here ;
And lo! yon patch of heath has been her couch-
The pressure still remains ! O blessed couch!
For this mayst thou flower early, and the Sun,
Slanting at eve, rest bright, and linger long
Upon thy purple bells ! O Isabel !
Daughter of genius! stateliest of our maids !
More beautiful than whom Alcæus wooed
The Lesbian woman of immortal song!
O child of genius! stately, beautiful,
And full of love to all, save only me,
And not ungentle e'en to me! My heart,
Why beats it thus? Through yonder coppice-wood
Needs must the pathway turn, that leads straightway
On to her father's house. She is alone!
The night draws on—such ways are hard to hit-
And fit it is I should restore this sketch,
Dropt unawares no doubt. Why should I yearn
To keep the relique ? 'twill but idly feed
The passion that consumes me. Let me haste !
The picture in my hand which she has left;
She cannot blame me that I followed her:
And I may be her guide the long wood through.
You love the daughter of Don Manrique ?
Did you not say you wooed her?
Her whom I dared not woo!
And wooed, perchance, One whom you loved not!
Oh! I were most base, Not loving Oropeza. True, I wooed her, Hoping to heal a deeper wound; but she Met my advances with impassioned pride, That kindled love with love. And when her sire, Who in his dream of hope already grasped The golden circlet in his hand, rejected My suit with insult, and in memory Of ancient feuds poured curses on my head, Her blessings overtook and baffled them! But thou art stern, and with unkindly countenance Art inly reasoning whilst thou listenest to me.
SANDOVAL Anxiously, Henry! reasoning anxiously. But Oropeza
Blessings gather round her! Within this wood there winds a secret passage, Beneath the walls, which opens out at length Into the gloomiest covert of the GardenThe night ere my departure to the army, She, nothing trembling, led me through that gloom, And to that covert by a silent stream,
Which, with one star reflected near its marge,
Was the sole object visible around me.
No leaflet stirred; the air was almost sultry;
So deep, so dark, so close, the umbrage o'er us !
No leaflet stirred ;--yet pleasure hung upon
The gloom and stillness of the balmy night-air.
A little further on an arbour stood,
Fragrant with flowering trees—I well remember
What an uncertain ylimmer in the darkness
Their snow-white blossoms made thither she led me,
To that sweet bower! Then Oropeza trembled-
I heard her heart beat—if 'twere not my own.
A rude and scaring note, my friend !
Oh! no !
I have small memory of aught but pleasure.
The inquietudes of fear, like lesser streams
Still flowing, still were lost in those of love :
So love grew mightier from the fear, and Nature,
Fleeing from Pain, sheltered herself in Joy.
The stars above our heads were dim and steady,
eyes suffused with rapture. Life was in us : We were all life, each atom of our frames