Obrazy na stronie

Thou shalt have half my gold !” he cried. Haste !-haste to yonder shore!' The boatman plied the oar; the boat went light along the stream ; Sudden Lord William heard a cry, like Edmund's drowning scream ! The boatman paused : “ Methought I heard a child's distressful cry!" “ 'Twas but the howling wind of night,” Lord William made reply ; “ Haste !-haste !—ply swift and strong the oar ! haste !-haste across the stream !”' Again Lord William heard a cry, like Enmund's drowning scream! “I heard a child's distressful voice," the boatman said again.

Nay, hasten on !- the night is dark—and we should search in vain !'' “ And oh ! Lord William, dost thou know how dreadful ’tis to die? And canst thou without pitying hear a child's expiring cry? How horrible it is to sink beneath the chilly stream, To stretch the powerless arms in vain, in vain for help to scream !" The shriek again was heard : it came more deep, more piercing loud : That instant o'er the food the moon shone through a broken cloud ; And near them they beheld a child-upon a crag he stood A little crag, and all around was spread the rising flood. The boatman plied the oar—the boat approached his resting-placeThe moon-beam shone upon the child—and showed how pale his face ! “Now, reach thine hand," the boatman cried, “Lord William, reach and save!". The child stretched forth its little hands—to grasp the hand he gave, Then William shrieked; the hand he touched was cold, and damp, and dead! He felt young Edmund in his arms! a heavier weight than lead ! “ Oh, mercy! help!” Lord William cried, “ the waters o'er me flow!"' “No-to a child's expiring cries no mercy didst thou show !” The boat sunk down, the murderer sunk, beneath the avenging stream,

he shrieked—no human ear heard William's drowning scream.

He rose,



LACE there the boy,” the tyrant said ;

“ Fix me the apple on his head.

Ha! rebel, now !
There's a fair mark for


shaft :
To yonder shining apple waft
An arrow." And the tyrant laughed.

With quivering brow
Bold Tell looked here ; his cheek turned pale
His proud lips throbed as if would fail

Their quivering breath.
Ha ! doth he blanch?'' fierce Gesler cried,
“I've conquered, slave, thy soul of pride."
No voice to that stern taunt replied-

All mute as death.
" And what the meed ?” at length Tell asked.
“ Bold fool, when slaves like thee are tasked,

It is

But that thine eye may keener be,
And nerved to such nice archery,
If thou cleav'st yon, thou goest free.

What! pause you still?
Give him a bow and arrow there--
One shaft--but one." Gleams of despair


Rush for a moment o'er the Switzer's face ;
Then passed away each stormy trace,
And high resolve came in their place.

Unmoved, yet flushed, “I take thy terms,'

i he muttered low, Grasped eagerly the proffered bow,

The quiver searched,
Sought out an arrow keen and long,
Fit for a sinewy arm,

and strong,
And placed it on the sounding thong

The tough yew arched.
He drew the bow, whilst all around
That thronging crowd there was no sound,

No step, no word, no breath.
All gazed with an unerring eye,
To see the fearful arrow fy ;
The light wind died into a sigh,

And scarcely stirred.
Afar the boy stood, firm and mute ;
He saw the strong bow curved to shoot,

But never moved.
He knew the daring coolness of that hand
He knew it was a father scanned

The boy he loved. The Switzer gazed—the arrow hung, “My only boy!" sobbed on his tongue ;

He could not shoot. “ Ha !” cried the tyrant, “ doth he quail ? Mark how his haughty brow grows pale !” But a deep voice rung on the gale

“ Shoot, in God's name !" Again the drooping shaft he took, And turned to heaven one burning look,

Of all doubts reft.
“ Be firm, my boy,” was all he said.
The apple's left the stripling's head ;

Ha! ha! 'tis cleft!
And so it was, and Tell was free.
Quick the brave boy was at his knee,
With rosy

His loving arms his boy embrace ;
But again that tyrant cried in haste,
“An arrow in thy belt is placed-

What means it? Speak!” The Switzer raised his clinched hand high, Whilst lightening flashed across his eye

Incessantly, " To smite thee, tyrant, to the heart, Had heaven willed it that


dart Had touched my boy." Rebellion ! treason ! chain the slave !!! A hundred swords around him wave, Whilst hate to Gesler's features gave

[ocr errors]

Infuriate joy.
But that one arrow found its goal,
Hid with revenge in Gesler's soul ;

And Lucerne's lake
Heard his dastard soul outmoan
When Freedom's call abroad was blown,
And Switzerland a giant grown,

Her fetters brake.
From hill to hill the mandate flew,
From lake to lake the tempest grew,

With wakening swell,
Till proud oppression crouched for shame,
And Austria's haughtiness grew tame ;
And Freedom's watchword was the name

Of William Tell.



Ö HOW weak is mortal man ! how trifling-how confined his scope of vision!

Puffed with confidence, his phrase grows big with immortality; and he, poor insect of a summer's day! dreams of eternal honors to his name, of endless glory and perennial days. He idly reasons of eternity, as of the train of ages, -when, alas ! ten thousand thousand of his centuries are, in comparison, a little point too trivial for account. O, it is strange, 'tis passing strange, to mark his fallacies; beholå him proudly view some pompous pile, whose high dome swells to emulate the skies, and smile, and say, “My name shall live with this, till Time shall be no more ;'' while at his feet, yea, at his very feet, the crumbling dust of the fallen fabric of the other day preaches the solemn lesson.--He should know that Time must conquer ; that the loudest blast that ever filled Renown's obstreperous trump fades in the lapse of ages, and expires. Who lies inhumed in the terrific gloom of the gigantic pyramid ? or who reared its huge walls? Oblivion laughs and says,


prey is mine,'' — They sleep, and never more their names shall strike upon the ear of man--their memory burst its fetters.

[ocr errors]





ET the angels ring the bells, Let the angels ring the bells,
Christmas bells !

Christmas bells !
They first brought the news from glory, Let them ring, on tiptoe standing:
First proclaimed on earth the story : Let them pause, the bells high landing ;
Let the angels ring the bells,

Let the angels ring tbe bells, Brimming o'er with mirth and gladness, With their deep peals and sonorous, Tumbling, turning round in madness : Blending in metallic chorus:

Christmas bells ! Christmas bells ! Christmas bells ! Christmas bells ! Telling that, to shepherds told, Now to soft notes gently dwindling, In their midnight hymns of old- Then again to rapture kindling; That sweet tale once sung by them ; Ne'er before such joy to them : Christ is born in Bethlehem !

Christ is born in Bethlehem !

Let the children hear the bells,

Mem'ries of their childhood gleaming: Christmas bells !

Christmas bells ! Christmas bells ! With their romping shouts and laughter, They have heard them yearly ringing, Each the other running after ;

Nearer their translation bringing :
Let the children hear the bells !

Sadly sweet the tale to them :
Do not dwell upon their foibles,

Christ is born in Bethlehem ! Let them be to them as joy-bells !

Christmas bells! Christmas bells! Let creation hear the bells, As they catch them, and glad listen,

Christmas bells ! See the light in their eyes glisten;

Cease her sighing and her moaning, Give them gifts of toy or gem:

Cease her travail and her groaning : Christ is born in Bethlehem!

Let creation hear the bells !

Christ has bought her man's redemption, Let the aged hear the bells,

Christ has brought her sin's exemption : Christmas bells !

Christmas bells ! Christmas bells ! Deaf and palsied, downward stooping, Let her join them in their ringing ; Sad and lone, round fireside grouping, Let her break forth into singing.

Let the aged hear the bells ! He her tide of woe shall stem : They right well discern their meaning, Christ, once born in Bethlehem !



[ocr errors]

HALL they bury me in the deep,

Where wind-forgetting waters sleep?
Shall they dig a grave for me,
Under the greenwood tree?
Or on the wild heath,
Where the wilder breath
Of the storm doth blow ?

Oh, no! oh, no!
Shall they bury me in the Palace Tombs,
Or under the shade of Cathedral domes ?
Sweet 'twere to lie on Italy's shore ;
Yet not there—nor in Greece, though I love it more.
In the wolf or the vulture my grave shall I find ?
Shall my ashes career on the world-seeing wind ?
Shall they fling my corpse in the battle mound,
Where coffinless thousands lie under the ground?
Just as they fall they are buried so-

Oh, no! oh, no!
No ! on an Irish green hill-side,
On an opening lawn—but not too wide ;
For I love the drip of the wetted trees :-
On me blow no gales, but a gentle breeze
To freshen the turf: put no tombstone there,
But green sods decked with daisies fair.
Nor sods too deep: but so that the dew
The matted grass-roots may trickle through.
Be my epitaph writ on my country's mind,
“He served his country, and loved his kind.

Oh! 'twere merry unto the grave to go,
If one were sure to be buried so.

[blocks in formation]
« PoprzedniaDalej »