Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

XXI.

These brethren having found by many signs

What love Lorenzo for their sister had, And how she loved him too, each unconfines

His bitter thoughts to other, well nigh mad That he, the servant of their trade designs,

Should in their sister's love be blithe and glad, When 'twas their plan to coax her by degrees To some high noble and his olive-trees.

XXII.

And many a jealous conference had they,

And many times they bit their lips alone, Before they fix'd upon a surest way

To make the youngster for his crime atone;
And at the last, these men of cruel clay

Cut mercy with a sharp knife to the bone ;
For they resolved in some forest dim
To kill Lorenzo, and there bury him.

XXIII.

So on a pleasant morning, as he leant

Into the sun-rise, o'er the balustrade
Of the garden-terrace, towards him they bent

Their footing through the dews; and to him said, “ You seem there in the quiet of content,

Lorenzo, and we are most loth to invade Calm speculation ; but if you are wise, Bestride your steed while cold is in the skies.

XXIV.

“ To-day we purpose, ay, this hour we mount

To spur three leagues towards the Appenine;

Come down, we pray thee, ere the hot sun count

His dewy rosary on the eglantine.” Lorenzo, courteously as he was wont,

Bow'd a fair greeting to these serpents' whine ; And went in haste, to get in readiness, With belt, and spur, and bracing huntsman's dress.

XXV.

And as he to the court-yard pass'd along,

Each third step did he pause, and listen’d oft If he could hear his lady's matin-song,

Or the light whisper of her footstep soft ;
And as he thus over his passion hung,

He heard a laugh full musical aloft ;
When, looking up, he saw her features bright
Smile through an in-door lattice all delight.

XXVI.

. " Love, Isabel !” said he, “I was in pain

Lest I should miss to bid thee a good morrow: Ah! what if I should lose thee, when so fain

I am to stifle all the heavy sorrow
Of a poor three hours' absence ? but we'll gain

Out of the amorous dark what day doth borrow. Good bye! I'll soon be back.” — “Good bye !” said

she And as he went she chanted merrily.

XXVII.

So the two brothers and their murder'd man

Rode past fair Florence, to where Arno's stream Gurgles through straighten' banks, and still doth

fan Itself with dancing bulrush, and the bream Keeps head against the freshets. Sick and wan

The brothers' faces in the ford did seem, Lorenzo's flush with love. They pass'd the water Into a forest quiet for the slaughter.

XXVIII.

is ill at peace

There was Lorenzo slain and buried in,

There in that forest did his great love cease ; Ah! when a soul doth thus its freedom win,

It aches in loneliness As the break-covert bloodhounds of such sin : They dipp'd their swords in the water, and did

tease Their horses homeward, with convulsed spur, Each richer by his being a murderer.

XXIX.

They told their sister how, with sudden speed,

Lorenzo had ta’en ship for foreign lands, Because of some great urgency and need

In their affairs, requiring trusty hands. Poor girl! put on thy stifling widow's weed,

And ’scape at once from Hope's accursed bands ; To-day thou wilt not see him, nor to-morrow, And the next day will be a day of sorrow.

XXX.

She weeps alone for pleasures not to be ;

Sorely she wept until the night came on, And then, instead of love, O misery!

She brooded o'er the luxury alone : His image in the dusk she seem'd to see,

And to the silence made a gentle moan, Spreading her perfect arms upon the air, And on her couch low murmuring, “ Where? O

where ?"

XXXI.

But Selfishness, Love's cousin, held not long

Its fiery vigil in her single breast;
She fretted for the golden hour, and hung

Upon the time with feverish unrest -
Not long; for soon into her heart a throng

Of bigher occupants, a richer zest, Came tragic; passion not to be subdued, And sorrow for her love in travels rude.

XXXII.

In the mid days of autumn, on their eves

The breath of Winter comes from far away, And the sick west continually bereaves

Of some gold tinge, and plays a roundelay
Of death among the bushes and the leaves,

To make all bare before he dares to stray
From his north cavern.. So sweet Isabel
By gradual decay from beauty fell,

XXXIII.

Because Lorenzo came not. Oftentimes

She ask'd her brothers, with an eye all pale, Striving to be itself, what dungeon climes

Could keep him off so long ? They spake a tale Time after time, to quiet her. Their crimes

Came on them, like a smoke from Hinnom's vale; And every night in dreams they groan'd aloud, To see their sister in her snowy shroud.

XXXIV.

And she had died in drowsy ignorance,

But for a thing more deadly dark than all;

It came like a fierce potion, drunk by chance,

Which saves a sick man from the feather'd pall For some few gasping moments ; like a lance,

Waking an Indian from his cloudy hall With cruel pierce, and bringing him again Sense of the gnawing fire at heart and brain.

XXXV.

It was a vision. In the drowsy gloom,

The dull of midnight, at her couch's foot Lorenzo stood, and wept: the forest tomb Had marr'd his glossy hair which once could

shoot
Lustre into the sun, and put cold doom

Upon his lips, and taken the soft lute
From his lorn voice, and past his loamed ears
Had made a miry channel for his tears.

XXXVI.

Strange sound it was, when the pale shadow spake ;

For there was striving, in its piteous tongue,
To speak as when on earth it was awake,

And Isabella on its music hung :
Languor there was in it, and tremulous shake,

As in a palsied Druid's harp unstrung;
And through it moan'd a ghostly under-song,
Like hoarse night-gusts sepulchral briars among.

XXXVII.

Its eyes, though wild, were still all dewy bright

With love, and kept all phantom fear aloof From the poor girl by magic of their light,

The while it did unthread the horrid woof Of the late darken'd time the murderous spite

Of pride and avarice — the dark pine roof

« ZurückWeiter »