« PreviousContinue »
BY MRS. HEMANS.
The boy stood on the burning deck
Whence all but he had fled ;
Shone round him o'er the dead.
Yet beautiful and bright he stood,
As born to rule the storm,A creature of heroic blood,
A proud, though child-like form. The flames rolled on- he would not go
Without his father's word ;
His voice no longer heard.
If yet my task is done ?"
Unconscious of his son.
Speak, father !” once again he cried,
“If I may yet be gone ?" And but the booming shots replied,
And fast the flames rolled on.
Upon his brow he felt their breath,
And in his waving hair, And looked from that lone post of death
In still yet brave despair ;
1 Casabianca, a boy about thirteen years old, son to the Admiral of the Orient, remained at his post, in the Battle of the Nile, after the ship had taken fire, and all the guns had been abandoned. He perished in the explosion of the vessel, when the flames had reached the powder. 1 Affirming itself to be the very bucket which Tassoni, in his mock heroics, has celebrated as the cause of war between Bologna and Modena five hundred years ago.
And shouted but once more aloud,
“My father! must I stay ?” While o'er him fast, through sail and shroud,
The wreathing fires made way.
They wrapped the ship in splendour wild,
They caught the flag on high,
Like banners in the sky.
There came a burst of thunder-sound
The boy-oh! where was he?
With fragments strewed the sea
With mast, and helm, and pennon fair,
That well had borne their part;
Was that young faithful heart.
IF thou shouldst ever come by choice or chance
'Tis of a lady in her earliest youth,
She sits, inclining forward as to speak,
Alone it hangs
But don't forget the picture; and thou wilt not, When thou hast heard the tale they told me there.
She was an only child ; from infancy The joy, the pride of an indulgent Sire. Her Mother dying of the gift she gave, That precious gift, what else remained to him ? The young Ginevra was his all in life, Still as she grew, for ever in his sight; And in her fifteenth year became a bride, Marrying an only son, Francesco Doria, Her playmate from her birth, and her first love.
Just as she looks there in her bridal dress, She was all gentleness, all gaiety, Her pranks the favourite theme of every tongue. But now the day was come, the day, the hour; Now, frowning, smiling, for the hundredth time, The nurse, that ancient lady, preached decorum ; And, in the lustre of her youth, she gave Her hand, with her heart in it, to Francesco.
Great was the joy ; but at the Bridal feast, When all sate down, the Bride was wanting there. Nor was she to be found! Her Father cried : 6 "Tis but to make a trial of our love !" And filled his glass to all; but his hand shook, And soon from guest to guest the panic spread. 'Twas but that instant she had left Francesco, Laughing and looking back and flying still, Her ivory tooth imprinted on his finger. But now, alas ! she was not to be found ; Nor from that hour could anything be guessed, But that she was not !- Weary of his life, Francesco flew to Venice, and forthwith Flung it away in battle with the Turk. Orsini lived ; and long was to be seen An old man wandering as in quest of something, Something he could not find — he knew not what. When he was gone, the house remained awhile
Silent and tenantless—then went to strangers.
Full fifty years were past, and all forgot, When on an idle day, a day of search 'Mid the old lumber in the Gallery, That mouldering chest was noticed ; and 'twas said By one as young, as thoughtless as Ginevra, “Why not remove it from its lurking-place ?” 'Twas done as soon as said ; but on the way It burst, it fell ; and lo, a skeleton, With here and there a pearl, an emerald-stone, A golden clasp, clasping a shred of gold ! All else had perished-save a nuptial ring, And a small seal, her mother's legacy, Engraven with a name, the name ofgboth — “Ginevra.”—There then had she found a grave! Within that chest had she concealed herself, Fluttering with joy, the happiest of the happy ; When a spring-lock, that lay in ambush there, Fastened her down for ever!
beheld when William plunged
Young Edmund's drowning scream.
Submissive all the vassals owned
The murderer for their lord ;
The house of Erlingford.