Saturday, March 21, 2009
SWEET ASTREANERE. By poets that can never feel Aught but the promptings of the soul, Which make or mar them, they obey. To wear the mask i~ not the role Of poets e'en in this cold day. IV. Then let him list to this the tale Told by tradition, of the fate Of two young lovers, dark the weal That marks a woman s jealous hate; And while he lists let p'ty*s tears Fall gently o'er each hallowed grave, Where long hath slept, devoid of fears, Sweet Astreanere and Glenwold brave. V. In Cornwall dwelt a feudal knight, The proudest lord that graced the reign Of England's virgin mistress bright, Elizabeth. The Jartest stain That sullies her strange, grand career, Forgetting fair-haired Essex' fate, Is this, the death of Astreanero, And Glenwold, her brave-chosen mate. VI. Oh she was fair and she was young As spirit of a poet's song, As blue and melting were her eyes, As violets reared in Paradise ; And 'neaih the glory of her hair, That swept like vail of molten gold SWEET ASTREANERE. 15 Over her shoulders white and fair, As bust of some great goddess old, VII. There smiled a face of beauty bright, For which Venus might envy own; And on her brow as lilies white, Diana's star in splendor shone ; While round her lips of coral hue There played a thousand witching smiles ; And in her voice, sweet as the coo Of doves, there lurked enchanting wiles. VIII. In her fair form, as graceful, light H As fabled sylph or young gazelle, Were seen such wondrous charms as might In houries of the Orient dwell. What wonder then that such a maid As Montague's flower, should honored be By love of knights of every grade, Or princes from beyond the sea. IX. Sweet Astreanere, the heiress sole Of Montague's towers, knew care nor woe, Till from the Queen of Britain came The summons for Glenwold to go Afar upon the stormy main, To battle with the foreign foe. Against the royal power of Spain She sent her knights to level low. 16 SWEET ASTREANERE. X. The pride of him who held aloof From her religion and its rites. She chose Glenwold with Essex fair, And Raleigh, bravest of her knights, To fall upon- the Spanish fleet, Capture the treasure galleys great, That they might at her royal feet, With reverence lay the golden freight. XI. But was this thirst for power and wealth The queen's sole passion on that day, When those three fearless knights she sent To forage on the briny sea ? Ah! no, the queen ot kingdoms three, The virgin princess bowed to love, On Glenwold she her heart bestowed, To keep him from his Cornish dove. XII. To separate the plighted pair, And hold the heart in stern restraint, That proudly spurned her royal care, Was what the willful lady meant. And when Glenwold the call received, That doomed him from his pearl to roam, He sought sweet Astreanere one eve Ere parting from his Cornish home. XIII. It was the hour when flaming Sol No longer ruled the heavenly sphere j SWEET ASTREANERE. And Luna, mistress of the night, Shed forth her silv'ry luster clear ; As seated on her gleaming car, She op'ed her wild, nocturnal race, Attended by a million stars, That hung like lamps of gold in space, XIV. That Astreanere, the Cornish rose, Pride of her haughty father's heart, Sought out the bower that brightly glowed With floral jewels. Sad to part With yoing GHenwold, the noblest knight That ever wore the avenging blade ; Wh ch swiftly flashed athwarth the light, A foe to vanquish, friend to save. XV. With loving heart the maiden sought The trysting place to her most dear, And as she sat aneath the bower, Her eyes of azure shed a tear. This meeting was to be their last, For months Glenwold would rove the sea Alone, within her father's towers Sweet Astreanere would mourning be. XVI. Athwarth the star-bejeweled sky The maiden's eyes cerulean roved, As if, perchance, she might descry There scribed the fate of her beloved. 2 18 SWEET ASTREANERE. The bright lake, like a silver sea, Shone 'neath the young moon's crescent bea; While near and far on hill and lea The ghostly shadows wanly gleamed. XVII. The night-bird, silent by his mate, Forgot to trill his sweet love-song ; And from the depths of lonesome glade The owl's fell hoot was borne along. The perfumed breezes fanned the cheek Of Astreanere, as 'neath the bower She wailing sat 'mid blossoms sweet, Toying with Cupid's chosen flower. XVIII. The moments fled: a quivering sigh Went fluttering from the maiden's heart, And to her tender love-lit eyes The tell-tale tears again would start. But bark! what sound the stillness breaks? 'Tis naught but warrior's fearless tread That rings along the stony walk That to the bower of trysting led. XIX. Nearer the step approaches, then A voice deep, rich and full of power Calls : "Astreanere. light of my soul, Art thou within thy rose-clad bovver?" With fluttering breath and blushing cheek Sweet Astreanere softly replies : SWEET ASTREANERE. 19 "Aye, Glenwold, thine own love is here, Of Montague's heart the treasured pride. XX. " But what hath caused thy coming late, What kept thee from thy dove to-night ? Surely no duty how'er great Could tempt thee from thy trysting plight." "Sweet Astrcanere," Glenwold replies, " Thy sire's behest must I obey ; To-night he sought me out to learn The hour that I must needs away. XXI. "And while in converse I confessed To him my love for thee, sweet one, Besought him soon to make us blest, A cloud of woe he cast upon My heart, when in reply he spoke, With fiery glance and stormy brow, 'Boonar than see my daughter wed, With thee, sir knight, I'd lay her low. XXII. " 'With this, her father's aged hand, Glenwold of Britain, lowly born, I'd stretch her lifeless on the sand, Fair as she is in lite's bright morn. Cecil, the pride of England's court, Prime minister of England's queen, Hath asked the hand of Astreanere, Most beauteous maid 'er by him seen. 20 SWEET ASTREANERE. XXIII. ' ' Elizabeth smiles on the suit Her Majesty to Cejil gave ; A dower such as might in sooth Tempt Plutus from his treasure cave. So, Grlenwold, think no more to wed With Montague's peerless daughter now j For fre from battle thou'lt return, A ducal crown shall gem her brow.' XXIV. ''And with these words thy father left Me to my fate. Oh, Astreanere ! Mu-t we thus part of hope bereft, Oppressed by wretched, taunting fear?" He paused, in silent woe he gazed Upon the mystic vault of night; With black despair his brain was crazed, Dark loomed the future in his sight. XXV. Those holy stars by lovers prized, Hope, love and faith, by clouds were riven ; And in its glory through the skies, The blood-red orb of war was driven, Astreanere leaned upon his breast, Weeping in hopeless, speechless woe ; With his strong love she had been blest, How could her father bid him go ? XXVI. With faltering voice at length she spoke : " Grlenwold, my sire's decree is stern ; SWEET ASTREANERE. 21 Yet sooner than his curse invoke, To do his will I now must learn. My love for thee can never die, Not though by Hymen's chains I'm bound ; Cecil may wed with Montague's pride, With coronet gay I may be crowned, XXVII. " Still, Glenwold, still I am thine own ; My heart, my soul's best love is given To thee, whatever woe may come To crush me, thou'rt my earth's sole heaven." She ceased, her woman's heart was full With bitter grief to further speak, And Grlenwold with perceptions dulled Was as a wailing infant weak. XXVIII. Neither of those doomed lovers heard The loud approach of mail-clad feet, Until the voice of Montague's lord Destroyed their trance, bitter yet sweet. The lord of Montague, stern and old, Upon them with grim anger glanced ; Erect stood Glenwood, firm and bold, As to the rose-bower he advanced. XXIX. " How now, young Grlenwolcf, would'st thou war Upon thy master?" asked the lord; " That thou hast dared to enter here ; If so draw forth thy ready sword, And here, with none but Astreanere 22 SWEET ASTREANERE. To witness, I'll my vengeance wreak, And teach thee, Montague's lord, to fear. How say'st thou now? Ah! why not speak?" XXX. Deep scarlet flushed the knight's fair face ; Swift from its steel sheath flashed his blade, Advancing to Montague a f ace, In clar on tones he proudly said : "An hundred henchmen dost thou boast, Yet will I war with thee this hour, And all thy faithful mail-clad host, Come, 'gainst me lead thy vaunted power. XXXI. " To breathe farewell to Astreanere, I sought this rose-clad bower of love ; If thou would'st fight afar from here The mettle of our blades we'll prove. But this sweet spot is far too pure For men to sully with fell strife j But out on yonder level moor I'll teach thee that my blood is rife XXXII. " To battle with the knight that dares To brand me as one lowly born, While life with me its vigor shares I'll brook from n-me insult or scorn." Thus face to face they scowling stood, The lord of Montague an'l the kn ; ght, Who ne'er before in angry mood Challenged the noble forth to fight. SWEET A8TREANERB. 23 XXXIII. With bosom full of bitter ire, he Bade Grlenwold say his sad farewell, And turned him from the scorching fire That from his eyes of midnight fell. Against the author of this woe Montague's proud soul rebellious rose ; Elizabeth must surely know That 'gainst her Glenwold's heart was closed. XXXIV. Lord Montague loved the noble youth, Biorht proud was he when first he learned That Astreanere possessed the heart For which a queen in silence yearned ; And oft he dreamt o Montague's hall, With Grlenwold as its noble lord, And Astreanere his peerless bride Surrounded by their feudal horde. XXXV. But all his hopes were swept away When Britain's quejn beheld the knight; She love i him in her jealous way, And ha ; ed Astreanere the bright. Far from the maiden's side to roam She doomed Glenwold ; relentless ire Consumed her bosom when in gloom He sought from service to retire. XXXVI. With cruel words the maid she bade To wed with Cecil the deformed, 24 SWEET ASTREANERE. Or on the block lay low her head, All pleadings from Montague were scorned. To make Glenwold his bitter foe, To break his darling's h art for aye, Montague was forced, grim, deathless woe Seemed on his wretched soul to Le. XXXVII. Sweet Astreanere half fainting clung To Grlenwold; bitterest anguish tore Her heart; while daggers of deep woe Were pierced unto the inmost core ; While he, o'erwhelmed in black despair, Strove, madly strove, to rend h.m free From those fair arms that held him there. Both stood in speechless misery. XXXVIII. At length in tones broken and low, He spoke that last, that dread farewell j From her fond clasp his iorm he tore, Leaving her helpless where she fell. Afar he fled ; none but the strange, Lone spirits, wandering through the night, Knew of the tempest \\ild that raged Within his breast during that flight. XXXIX. From all that to his soul was dear, . While in her bower of beauty bright, Astreanere mourned with sigh and tear, The absence of her lover-krrght. And thus those two fond, loving hearts, SWEET ASTREANERE. 25 Ne'er more on earth, in life to meet, Parted upon that summer eve, Glenwold, and Astreanere the sweet. XL. 'Twas on the last night of the year, That Montague's peerless heiress bright, Was doomed to wed the hunchback peer, Of England's court the shining light. Cecil, the cunning statesman, clad In robes bedecked with jewels rare ; Exulting in the thought and glad That his would be this treasure fair. XLI. Impatient waited for the hour Of midnight, that would fix the fate Of Montague's tender drooping flower. With joyous heart, and soul elate, He restless passed from place to place ; Plotting against the favorite three That now found favor in the grace Of his proud mistress, recklessly. XLII. Essex, the fair, in secret wooed And won a bride ; young Raleigh, wild, A maid of honor gently sued ; And Glenwold firm, yet nobly mild, Remained as true to Astreanere. As ever knight to lady kept, Despite temptations that bestrewed The path o'er which his life was swept. 26 SWEET ASTREANERE. XLIII. Their ruin Cecil fiercely craved, Death to the gallant trio then Was e'er his watchword ; oft he raved In fury for the blood of men, Who each believed himself the friend Of Cecil. Glenwold, wronged young knight, Dreamt not that he could e'n pretend Affections false, as mirage bright XLIV. That flashes fore the fevered eyes Of traveler on the sun-scorched plain, When with fierce thirst he almost dies, And cruel heat boils every vein ; When naught but burning wastes of sand Extend before his aching sight, Until the tortured brain expands, And reason totters from her height. XLV. Then far beyond the sandy sea, In all its rural beauty rare ; Where silver streams are flowing free, And wild birds fill the perfumed air With melodies rich, wildly sweet, An emerald grove his vision greets. He struggles bravely on, and soon Beaches the spot to find it gone. XLVI. So when with woe deeply oppressed, The knight sought out the false one, SWEET ASTREANERE. 27 Believing all that he professed, Nor deemed him liable to wrong A friend, he asktd the peer to yield Back Astreanere, the Cornish rose. Cecil declared 'twas not his heart, But hi.<>ft gloaming, And the slumbering blossoms low, And she marked them sadly weeping When the sunbeams ceased to glow. XVII. And she saw them gladly smiling When the day god 'lume>J earth's track ; "As the sun comes to the flowers, So my Robert will come back." Then anon her heart grew lighter, And fair Lelah blithely sung, And in her slightest accent Something wondrous gladsome rung. XVIII. Thus it happened on an evening In the month of rosy May, To the beeches softly gloaming, O'er the brooklets silver way, Gentle Lelah wandered dreaming Of her loved one afar; Her sweet face of witching beauty Glowing brightly as a star. XIX. From the velvet turf she gathered Violets blue as heaven's skies; From the cooling limpid waters, Gleaming lilies gently rire. In her glittering, golden tresses Twines she nature's sapphires bright ; On her gently heaving bosom Placed she lilies snowy white ; 52 LELAII GRAYSON. XX. Saying softly : " Robert loved them ; Violets are like angels' eyes, And the lilies spirits saintod Wear above in Paradise. From my breast he took a lily, More must blossom sweetly there, (When he comes to proudly claim me), And amid my golden hair. XXI. "Nor longer can he linger On the far-off prairie track ; Yes, I cull them, daily wear there, Soon my Robert will come back " Rang a step adown the pathway Leading to the trysting brook, Then a bronzed and stalwart stranger Stood within the sh ided nook. XXII. Strange he may have been to others, Not quite strange to Lelah fair ; Thrice before this had she met him Silent, mingling, quiet, where She as chosen belle and beauty Of her village queen -like reigned. Startled was the maiden truly, And her terror was unfeigned. XXIII. "Pardon," said the handsome stranger. "Let me speak to you to-night; LELAH GRAYSON. Lelah, sweetest one, I love you, Pause, nor start in angry flight ; Oh long, long have I worshiped, Worshiped vainly from afar, You, my rare, my peerless jewel, As one loves a radiant star XXIV. ' "Shining far above his station. Lelah, maiden Eweet and mild, Say you love me, say you love me, Or my poor brain will go wild." Thrilled his accents strangely through her; Trembled she, cot knowing why ; To refuse him made her heart bleed, And her soul too sadly cry. XXV. "Sir," said Lelah, very softly, With her tearful eyes a-glow ; " Smooth and even as yon brooklet's, Does my heart's love current flow ; Years agone my hand was plighted, And my heart I with it gave, Then my lover from me wandered, (Frown not ; pure as yon bright wave XXVI. Is his love and peerless honor) To the prairies' blooming track. Smile not pityingly upon n\e ; Soon my Robert will come back." "LELAH ! " with a cry she started, 64 LELAH GRAYSON. That voice oft she'd heard before ; Smiled the hronzed and stalwart stranger. Then, shedding her bright ray o'er XXVII. The pair a-neath the beeches, Through the heavens Luna sailed, And the bearded face to Lelah, By her light was now revealed ; Oped his arms, swift to his bosom Flew the lovely, trembling one ; As to the ark of Noah Flew his bright dove, absent long. XXVIII. As to its mate the night-bird, Startled, trembling flies ; Fainting half with joy, with terror, Lelah in his arms lies ; O'er the wastes of barren deserts, O'er the prairies' blooming track, To reclaim his bride a-waiting, Handsome Robert then came back. TIE! IE Cy> all 0f warms i. "ALEXANDER!" Deathless glory Marks the mighty conqueror's name ; Lauded in wild song and story, Is the ruthless monarch's fame. Royal born, from kings descended, Macedonia's peerless lord ; Who on naught but hope depended, And his ready, trusty sword. II. Dark his soul as midnight ebon, When dense clouds doth vail the sky, Hiding Luna's luster given, From the weary traveler's eye ; For his heart was full of cunning, Serpent-like his subtle guile ; He could fawn on those he hated, Mask his hatred in his smile. III. 'Neath that wile his father suffered ; Clitus 'neath it low expired, (55) $6 THE FALL OF Murdered by famed Alexander, When with wine his blood was fired; For the monarch young and brave, Grave to all who dared oppose him, Cruel death and gloomsome grave. IV. O'er the plains of vast Gedrosia Passed the monarch, breathing there, During days of toilsome marching, Simoon's deadly burning air. O'er the Indus crossed Macedon's Dauntless leader, crushing all, Every nation that defied him Fought and bled to helpless fall. V. Afghan's ruler bowed submissive To the conqueror's galling yoke ; Egypt yielded fore the tyrant, Stooped his mercy to invoke ; The proud Chaldeans, crushed and humbled, Writhing bore Macedon's sway ; But his crowning triumph graced him On the field of famed Syria. VI. 'Twas against the haughty Persian, Darius, that Macedon moved ; To subdue the Orient ruler, Macedon's chief it now behooved ; But how was the youthful monarch To o'ercorne the Persian hosts?
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