« AnteriorContinuar »
Bending, he kissed her garment, and retired.
He went, nor slumber'd in the sultry
When viands, couches, generous wines, persuade,
And slumber most refreshes; nor at night, When heavy dews are laden with disease; And blindness waits not there for lingering age.
Ere morning dawn'd behind him, he arrived
At those rich meadows where young Tamar fed
The royal flocks entrusted to his care. "Now," said he to himself," will I repose At least this burthen on a brother's breast."
His brother stood before him: he, amazed, Rear'd suddenly his head, and thus began. 'Is it thou, brother! Tamar, is it thou! Why, standing on the valley's utmost
Lookest thou on that dull and dreary shore
Where beyond sight Nile blackens all the sand?
And why that sadness? When I past our sheep
The dew-drops were not shaken off the bar,
Therefore if one be wanting, 'tis untold:"
"Yes, one is wanting, nor is that
Said Tamar; "and this dull and dreary shore
Is neither dull nor dreary at all hours." Whereon the tear stole silent down his cheek,
Silent, but not by Gebir unobserv'd : Wondering he gazed awhile, and pitying spake.
"Let me approach thee; does the morning light
Scatter this wan suffusion o'er thy brow, This faint blue lustre under both thine eyes?"
"O brother, is this pity or reproach ?" Cried Tamar, "cruel if it be reproach, If pity, O how vain!" "Whate'er it be That grieves thee, I will pity, thou but speak,
And I can tell thee, Tamar, pang for pang."
"Gebir! then more than brothers are we now !
Everything (take my hand) will I confess. I neither feed the flock nor watch the
I cannot wait describing how she came, How I was sitting, how she first assum'd The sailor; of what happen'd there remains
Enough to say, and too much to forget. The sweet deceiver stepped upon this bank
Before I was aware; for with surprise Moments fly rapid as with love itself. Stooping to tune afresh the hoarsen'd reed,
I heard a rustling, and where that arose My glance first lighted on her nimble feet.
Her feet resembled those long shells explored
By him who to befriend his steed's dim
But we, by Neptune! for no pipe contend,
This time a sheep I win, a pipe the next." Now came she forward eager to engage, But first her dress, her bosom then survey'd,
And heav'd it, doubting if she could deceive.
Her bosom seem'd, inclos'd in haze like heav'n,
To baffle touch, and rose forth undefined:
Above her knee she drew the robe succinct,
Above her breast, and just below her
"This will preserve my breath when tightly bound,
If struggle and equal strength should so constrain.'
Thus, pulling hard to fasten it, she spake, And, rushing at me, closed: I thrill'd throughout
And seem'd to lessen and shrink up with cold.
Again with violent impulse gushed my blood,
And hearing nought external, thus absorb'd,
I heard it, rushing through each turbid
Shake my unsteady swimming sight in air.
Yet with unyielding though uncertain
I clung around her neck; the vest beneath
Rustled against our slippery limbs entwined:
Often mine springing with eluded force Started aside and trembled till replaced : And when I most succeeded, as I thought, My bosom and my throat felt so compressed
That life was almost quivering on my lips,
Yet nothing was there painful: these
Of secret arts and not of human might; What arts I cannot tell; I only know My eyes grew dizzy and my strength decay'd;
I was indeed o'ercome . . . with what regret,
And more, with what confusion, when I reached
The fold, and yielding up the sheep, she cried,
"This pays a shepherd to a conquering maid."
She smiled, and more of pleasure than disdain
Was in her dimpled chin and liberal lip, And eyes that languished, lengthening, just like love.
She went away; I on the wicker gate Leant, and could follow with my eyes alone.
The sheep she carried easy as a cloak; But when I heard its bleating, as I did, And saw, she hastening on, its hinder feet [slip, Struggle, and from her snowy shoulder One shoulder its poor efforts had un veil'd, [tears; Then all my passions mingling fell in Restless then ran I to the highest ground To watch her; she was gone; gone down the tide ;
Again is at the full: she promised this, Tho' when she promised I could not reply."
"By all the Gods I pity thee! go on, Fear not my anger, look not on my shame,
For when a lover only hears of love
Contempt of earth and aspect up to heaven,
With contemplation, with humility, A tatter'd cloak that pride wears when deform'd,
Away with all that hides me from myself,
Parts me from others, whispers I am wise:
From our own wisdom less is to be reapt Than from the barest folly of our friend. Tamar! thy pastures, large and rich, afford
Flowers to thy bees and herbage to thy sheep,
But, battened on too much, the poorest croft
Of thy poor neighbor yields what thine denies."
They hasten'd to the camp, and Gebir there
Resolved his native country to forego, And order'd from those ruins to the right They forthwith raise a city. Tamar
[told, With wonder, tho' in passing 'twas halfHis brother's love, and sigh'd upon his 1798.1
AH what avails the sceptred race,
1 The exact dates of writing, for nearly all of Landor's poems, are unknown; and the same is true for Browning, and, on the whole, for all of the following poets. From this point on, therefore, the poems of each author will be arranged chronologically according to the dates of publication, and the dates of writing (if known) will be given only when especially important.
Of God. Awake, ye nations! spring to Let the last work of his right hand appear Fresh with his image, Man. Thou recreant slave
That sittest afar off and helpest not, O thou degenerate Albion ! 3 with what shame
1 Rose Aylmer, the daughter of Henry, fourth Baron Aylmer, was Landor's companion in his walks about Swansea (Abertawy") in Wales. She went to India, and died there in 1800. Landor speaks of her again in two poems written late in life: The Three Roses, 1858, (see page 457); and Abertawy, 1859, the concluding lines of which almost equal in beauty this early lyric, usually considered the most beautiful of his poems:
Where is she now? Call'd far away,
2 Inspired by the struggle of the Greek people for independence.
3" What those amongst us who are affected by a sense of national honor most lament, is, that England, whose generosity would cost her nothing and whose courage would be unexposed to fatality, stands aloof." (Landor, in the Dedica tion of Imaginary Conversations, 1829.)
For Tyranny to tread the more secure? From gold alone is drawn the guilty wire [tone That Adulation trills: she mocks the Of Duty, Courage, Virtue, Piety, And under her sits Hope. O how unlike That graceful form in azure vest array'd, With brow serene, and eyes on heaven alore
In patience fixed, in fondness unobscured!
What monsters coil beneath the spreading tree
Of Despotism! what wastes extend around!
What poison floats upon the distant breeze!
But who are those that cull and deal its