Page images
PDF
EPUB

THE CONVERT OF THE HAREM.

Perchè sempre v'ho amato, ed amo molto,
Questo consiglio, gli dicea, vi dono;
E quando già, signor, per me l'ho tolto,
Creder potete ch'io l'estimo buono.
Cristo conobbi Dio, Maumetto stolto;
E bramo voi por nella via in ch'io sono;
Nella via di salute, signor, bramo
Che siate meco, e tutti gli altri ch’amo.

Orl. Fur. Canto. 41.

ZARA. “ I sought thee ;—'t was to say · Forget!'

Loved, Selim, as thou wast, and art,
Farewell! we part to-night; but yet,

Without one word 't was hard to part.
Farewell ;—forget me!”

Selim.

" Words like these
From Zara's lips to Selim's ear!
Oh, she is far too prompt to tease,

Or he is far too quick to fear.”

ZAR.

“ Then must I speak the word again;

Farewell, dear Selim! it must be-
Poor Zara may not wear the chain

That links to guilt, though guilt with thee.”

SEL.

Guilt,- guilt and Zara, didst thou say?

Now by the Prophet's holy shrine
I had not brooked those sounds to-day

So joined by any lips but thine.
Nay, smile, dissembler! art not thou

My garden's rose, my bosom's wife ?
Didst thou, or wilt thou,-hear my vow

To prize, guard, worship thee through life?
Hast thou not all thy fancy craves,

The rarest birds, the brightest flowers,
The songs and lutes of beauteous slaves

Torn trembling from the craven Giaours,
Are they not thine? My heart and hall

Obey thee! at thy feet I throw
White pearls, rich rubies; but they all

Beside thee with less lustre glow.”

ZAR.

“ Alas! and canst thou deem my soul

So snared by riches or by power,
That here they lure me and control,

Here, in my own, my Selim's bower?
Or think'st thou that thine honoured bride

Could wound thee in the mere delight

And waywardness of woman's pride?

Oh, deem not, dream not thus to-night!
Her who so loved, so loves thee still,

Thy playmate in life's joyous spring,
Thou didst not, Selim,-come what will,

Thou canst not think so vile a thing.
Oh no! but thoughts are still before me,

By day, by night, more deeply fair ;
The only spells whose influence o’er me

Thou canst not banish, wilt not share.”

SEL.

“ Ha! saidst thou ?-hath another sought

The love I fondly fancied won ?
Name him, false traitress !—maddening thought!

Ay, name him!-Oh thou glorious Sun!
I will confront him, ere thy glow

To-morrow on the hill grows dim;
And Eblis hath no fiercer throe

Than those my hate shall wring from him!
She speaks not: but that faithless sigh,-

It rose for him she dares not name.
Speak; thou wast dear! thou shalt not die:

To slay were mercy ;-Live in shame!”

ZAR.

" Oh no,-not thus! it is above

The torn heart's strength!-it was my fate,
I felt it, to resign his love ;-

Kind Heaven, I cannot bear his hate!

Nay, frown not with those looks of light;

Thou shouldst be still my friend, my brother ;
If I forget thee-would I might!

How should I ever love another?
Selim! the queen rose does not weep

For her loved minstrel on the bough
With faith more pure, or love more deep,

Than I for thee, dear Selim! now."

SEL.

“ I wronged thee, gentle one! I sinned

Madly, to doubt thee!—it is past :
Though I be wilder than the wind,

Sweet! thou wilt pardon,-yea, thou hast!
And thou shalt hear me swear, but vain

Are oaths from one by passion driven;
And I should surely sin again,

It is such joy to be forgiven.
Yet something, Zara, thou didst say

Of parting, and a long farewell,
And how thy spirit bowed to-day

To brighter charm, and purer spell.
Why wouldst thou mock me?

ZAR.

" Oh no, no;

It was the truth, the blessed truth!
Hear me, yet hear me, ere I go!

In our sweet paradise of youth,

While still to us affection's fount

Ran fresh, and all its streams were bliss, I loved thee!-needs it to recount

By what fond arts I whispered this? I worked the turban for thy head,

The belt where hung thy virgin sword; I spread thy board with dates; I led

The charger to his laughing lord:
And when my own, my hero, went

To mock the rebel Bey's Amaun,
My voice was raised, my knee was bent,

In prayer for him at dusk and dawn.
Then, every night, as I was kneeling

Within my bower's most secret shade, A hymn upon my ear came stealing,

Whose tones, you might have thought them made By those unearthly lutes of gold

Of which our sinless childhood dreamed; And as I listened, oh ! how cold,

How faint my own devotion seemed. Strange was that song; it told of joy,

Of vanquished death, of ransomed sin, Of treasures which no worms destroy,

Of gates where sorrow comes not in; And then of One who lived in pain,

In poverty, in scorn, on earth, Though Prophet lips foretold his reign,

And Angel lyres proclaimed his birth.

« EelmineJätka »