Lewti, Or The Circassian Love-Chaunt
At midnight by the stream I roved, To forget the form I loved. Image of Lewti! from my mind Depart; for Lewti is not kind. The Moon was high, the moonlight gleam And the shadow of a star Heaved upon Tamaha's stream; But the rock shone brighter far, The rock half sheltered from my view By pendent boughs of tressy yew.-- So shines my Lewti's forehead fair, Gleaming through her sable hair, Image of Lewti! from my mind Depart; for Lewti is not kind. I saw a cloud of palest hue, Onward to the moon it passed; Still brighter and more bright it grew, With floating colours not a few, Till it reach'd the moon at last: Then the cloud was wholly bright, With a rich and amber light! And so with many a hope I seek And with such joy I find my Lewti; And even so my pale wan cheek Drinks in as deep a flush of beauty! Nay, treacherous image! leave my mind, If Lewti never will be kind. The little cloud-it floats away, Away it goes; away so soon? Alas! it has no power to stay: Its hues are dim, its hues are grey-- Away it passes from the moon! How mournfully it seems to fly, Ever fading more and more, To joyless regions of the sky-- And now 'tis whiter than before! As white as my poor cheek will be, When, Lewti! on my couch I lie, A dying man for love of thee. Nay, treacherous image! leave my mind-- And yet, thou didst not look unkind. I saw a vapour in the sky, Thin, and white, and very high; I ne'er beheld so thin a cloud: Perhaps the breezes that can fly Now below and now above, Have snatched aloft the lawny shroud Of Lady fair--that died for love. For maids, as well as youths, have perished From fruitless love too fondly cherished. Nay, treacherous image! leave my mind-- For Lewti never will be kind. Hush! my heedless feet from under Slip the crumbling banks for ever: Like echoes to a distant thunder, They plunge into the gentle river. The river-swans have heard my tread, And startle from their reedy bed. O beauteous birds! methinks ye measure Your movements to some heavenly tune! O beauteous birds! 'tis such a pleasure To see you move beneath the moon, I would it were your true delight To sleep by day and wake all night. I know the place where Lewti lies When silent night has closed her eyes: It is a breezy jasmine-bower, The nightingale sings o'er her head: Voice of the Night! had I the power That leafy labyrinth to thread, And creep, like thee, with soundless tread, I then might view her bosom white Heaving lovely to my sight, As these two swans together heave On the gently-swelling wave. Oh! that she saw me in a dream, And dreamt that I had died for care; All pale and wasted I would seem Yet fair withal, as spirits are! I'd die indeed, if I might see Her bosom heave, and heave for me! Soothe, gentle image! soothe my mind! To-morrow Lewti may be kind.
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