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Those who have prospered and profited from life's lottery have a moral obligation to share their good fortune.

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Based In Demonic Ways

If you are not playing sports...
Get out.
If you are not attending school,
On a scholarship.
Get out.

Visit but do not stay.
Those who give...
Are the least respected.
And that is projected in the atmosphere.

The people sit in dens of sins and wickedness.
And those in control,
Have done their best...
To protect the wishes of their ancestors.
Those who lie, cheated and stoled!

If you are young...
Have fun!
And get out.
Those too old in their minds...
Have been confined!
A sniffing dog will not find life lived wholesomely!
Not within the boundaries.
Not from these folks.
With traditions based in demonic ways!

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Decide For Yourself

Who should be held accountable...
And responsible for the current global mess?

Eliminate those who are hungry,
And suffering from homelessness.

Eliminate the 'tryers'...
Who barely survive,
Living from paycheck to paycheck!

Eliminate those among the middle class,
Paying more than their share of taxes.

Eliminate the unborn...
Yet to face conflicts arising,
In unknown and divided environments!

Then listen to others with interest!
Those continuing to protect their selfish greed...
With an excess of protest!
Blaming everyone under the Sun.
Including those living overseas.

And after you have satisfied these questions...
Introducing any that may follow next?
Try to eliminate from your list,
Delusion that interfere...
With fantasies treasured you hold dear.

You can do this with limited unrest.
By looking from your window.
Or gazing down at your own doorstep.

Then ask yourself this...
'How much dirt lays near my own secured nest?
That I have overlooked that keeps it unswept? '

Maybe 'then' you will not be quick to criticize,
Others who speak out...
About losses diminished by a gluttony,
They can no longer accept with ambitions wished.

Perhaps you will then wake up to see...
Reality as it is!
A 'reality' that has been made to be!
And caring less about your isolated shock!
Or the quickness of breath,
Heaving from your chest!

And guess what?
The truth of it did not just arrive.
It has been there,
Rejected!
While you found the time...
To prioritize your life,
With disguised denying eyes!

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Byron

Canto the Second

I.

Night wanes — the vapours round the mountains curl'd,
Melt into morn, and Light awakes the world.
Man has another day to swell the past,
And lead him near to little, but his last;
But mighty Nature bounds as from her birth,
The sun is in the heavens, and life on earth;
Flowers in the valley, splendour in the beam,
Health on the gale, and freshness in the stream.
Immortal man! behold her glories shine,
And cry, exulting inly, "They are thine!"
Gaze on, while yet thy gladden'd eye may see,
A morrow comes when they are not for thee;
And grieve what may above thy senseless bier,
Nor earth nor sky will yield a single tear;
Nor cloud shall gather more, nor leaf shall fall,
Nor gale breathe forth one sigh for thee, for all;
But creeping things shall revel in their spoil,
And fit thy clay to fertilise the soil.

II.

'Tis morn — 'tis noon — assembled in the hall,
The gather'd chieftains come to Otho's call:
'Tis now the promised hour, that must proclaim
The life or death of Lara's future fame;
When Ezzelin his charge may here unfold,
And whatsoe'er the tale, it must be told.
His faith was pledged, and Lara's promise given,
To meet it in the eye of man and Heaven.
Why comes he not? Such truths to be divulged,
Methinks the accuser's rest is long indulged.

III.

The hour is past, and Lara too is there,
With self-confiding, coldly patient air;
Why comes not Ezzelin? The hour is past,
And murmurs rise, and Otho's brow's o'ercast,
"I know my friend! his faith I cannot fear,
If yet he be on earth, expect him here;
The roof that held him in the valley stands
Between my own and noble Lara's lands;
My halls from such a guest had honour gain'd,
Nor had Sir Ezzelin his host disdain'd,
But that some previous proof forbade his stay,
And urged him to prepare against to-day;
The word I pledge for his I pledge again,
Or will myself redeem his knighthood's stain."

He ceased — and Lara answer'd, "I am here
To lend at thy demand a listening ear,
To tales of evil from a stranger's tongue,
Whose words already might my heart have wrung,
But that I deem'd him scarcely less than mad,
Or, at the worst, a foe ignobly bad.
I know him not — but me it seems he knew
In lands where — but I must not trifle too:
Produce this babbler — or redeem the pledge;
Here in thy hold, and with thy falchion's edge."

Proud Otho on the instant, reddening, threw
His glove on earth, and forth his sabre flew.
"The last alternative befits me best,
And thus I answer for mine absent guest."

With cheek unchanging from its sallow gloom,
However near his own or other's tomb;
With hand, whose almost careless coolness spoke
Its grasp well-used to deal the sabre-stroke;
With eye, though calm, determined not to spare,
Did Lara too his willing weapon bare.
In vain the circling chieftains round them closed,
For Otho's frenzy would not be opposed;
And from his lip those words of insult fell —
His sword is good who can maintain them well.

IV.

Short was the conflict; furious, blindly rash,
Vain Otho gave his bosom to the gash:
He bled, and fell; but not with deadly wound,
Stretch'd by a dextrous sleight along the ground.
"Demand thy life!" He answer'd not: and then
From that red floor he ne'er had risen again,
For Lara's brow upon the moment grew
Almost to blackness in its demon hue;
And fiercer shook his angry falchion now
Than when his foe's was levell'd at his brow;
Then all was stern collectedness and art,
Now rose the unleaven'd hatred of his heart;
So little sparing to the foe he fell'd,
That when the approaching crowd his arm withheld
He almost turn'd the thirsty point on those
Who thus for mercy dared to interpose;
But to a moment's thought that purpose bent;
Yet look'd he on him still with eye intent,
As if he loathed the ineffectual strife
That left a foe, howe'er o'erthrown, with life;
As if to search how far the wound he gave
Had sent its victim onward to his grave.

V.

They raised the bleeding Otho, and the Leech
Forbade all present question, sign, and speech;
The others met within a neighbouring hall,
And he, incensed and heedless of them all,
The cause and conqueror in this sudden fray,
In haughty silence slowly strode away;
He back'd his steed, his homeward path he took,
Nor cast on Otho's tower a single look.

VI.

But where was he? that meteor of a night,
Who menaced but to disappear with light.
Where was this Ezzelin? who came and went
To leave no other trace of his intent.
He left the dome of Otho long ere morn,
In darkness, yet so well the path was worn
He could not miss it: near his dwelling lay;
But there he was not, and with coming day
Came fast inquiry, which unfolded nought
Except the absence of the chief it sought.
A chamber tenantless, a steed at rest,
His host alarm'd, his murmuring squires distress'd:
Their search extends along, around the path,
In dread to met the marks of prowlers' wrath:
But none are there, and not a brake hath borne
Nor gout of blood, nor shred of mantle torn;
Nor fall nor struggle hath defaced the grass,
Which still retains a mark where murder was;
Nor dabbling fingers left to tell the tale,
The bitter print of each convulsive nail,
When agonised hands that cease to guard,
Wound in that pang the smoothness of the sward.
Some such had been, if here a life was reft,
But these were not; and doubting hope is left;
And strange suspicion, whispering Lara's name,
Now daily mutters o'er his blacken'd fame;
Then sudden silent when his form appear'd,
Awaits the absence of the thing it fear'd;
Again its wonted wondering to renew,
And dye conjecture with a darker hue.

VII.

Days roll along, and Otho's wounds are heal'd,
But not his pride; and hate no more conceal'd:
He was a man of power, and Lara's foe,
The friend of all who sought to work him woe,
And from his country's justice now demands
Account of Ezzelin at Lara's hands.
Who else than Lara could have cause to fear
His presence? who had made him disappear,
If not the man on whom his menaced charge
Had sate too deeply were he left at large?
The general rumour ignorantly loud,
The mystery dearest to the curious crowd;
The seeming friendlessness of him who strove
To win no confidence, and wake no love;
The sweeping fierceness which his soul betray'd,
The skill with which he wielded his keen blade;
Where had his arm unwarlike caught that art?
Where had that fierceness grown upon his heart?
For it was not the blind capricious rage
A word can kindle and a word assuage;
But the deep working of a soul unmix'd
With aught of pity where its wrath had fix'd;
Such as long power and overgorged success
Concentrates into all that's merciless:
These, link'd with that desire which ever sways
Mankind, the rather to condemn than praise,
'Gainst Lara gathering raised at length a storm,
Such as himself might fear, and foes would form,
And he must answer for the absent head
Of one that haunts him still, alive or dead.

VIII.

Within that land was many a malcontent,
Who cursed the tyranny to which he bent;
That soil full many a wringing despot saw,
Who work'd his wantonness in form of law;
Long war without and frequent broil within
Had made a path for blood and giant sin,
That waited but a signal to begin
New havoc, such as civil discord blends,
Which knows no neuter, owns but foes or friends;
Fix'd in his feudal fortress each was lord,
In word and deed obey'd, in soul abhorr'd.
Thus Lara had inherited his lands,
And with them pining hearts and sluggish hands;
But that long absence from his native clime
Had left him stainless of oppression's crime,
And now, diverted by his milder sway,
All dread by slow degrees had worn away;
The menials felt their usual awe alone,
But more for him than them that fear was grown;
They deem'd him now unhappy, though at first
Their evil judgment augur'd of the worst,
And each long restless night, and silent mood,
Was traced to sickness, fed by solitude:
And though his lonely habits threw of late
Gloom o'er his chamber, cheerful was his gate;
For thence the wretched ne'er unsoothed withdrew,
For them, at least, his soul compassion knew.
Cold to the great, contemptuous to the high,
The humble pass'd not his unheeding eye;
Much he would speak not, but beneath his roof
They found asylum oft, and ne'er reproof.
And they who watch'd might mark that, day by day,
Some new retainers gather'd to his sway;
But most of late, since Ezzelin was lost,
He play'd the courteous lord and bounteous host:
Perchance his strife with Otho made him dread
Some snare prepared for his obnoxious head;
Whate'er his view, his favour more obtains
With these, the people, than his fellow thanes.
If this were policy, so far 'twas sound,
The million judged but of him as they found;
From him by sterner chiefs to exile driven
They but required a shelter, and 'twas given.
By him no peasant mourn'd his rifled cot,
And scarce the serf could murmur o'er his lot;
With him old avarice found its hoard secure,
With him contempt forbore to mock the poor;
Youth present cheer and promised recompense
Detain'd, till all too late to part from thence:
To hate he offer'd, with the coming change,
The deep reversion of delay'd revenge;
To love, long baffled by the unequal match,
The well-won charms success was sure to snatch.
All now was ripe, he waits but to proclaim
That slavery nothing which was still a name.
The moment came, the hour when Otho thought
Secure at last the vengeance which he sought
His summons found the destined criminal
Begirt by thousands in his swarming hall,
Fresh from their feudal fetters newly riven,
Defying earth, and confident of heaven.
That morning he had freed the soil-bound slaves
Who dig no land for tyrants but their graves!
Such is their cry — some watchword for the fight
Must vindicate the wrong, and warp the right;
Religion — freedom — vengeance — what you will,
A word's enough to raise mankind to kill;
Some factious phrase by cunning caught and spread,
That guilt may reign, and wolves and worms be fed!

IX.

Throughout that clime the feudal chiefs had gain'd
Such sway, their infant monarch hardly reign'd;
Now was the hour for faction's rebel growth,
The serfs contemn'd the one, and hated both:
They waited but a leader, and they found
One to their cause inseparably bound;
By circumstance compell'd to plunge again,
In self-defence, amidst the strife of men.
Cut off by some mysterious fate from those
Whom birth and nature meant not for his foes,
Had Lara from that night, to him accurst,
Prepared to meet, but not alone, the worst:
Some reason urged, whate'er it was, to shun
Inquiry into deeds at distance done;
By mingling with his own the cause of all,
E'en if he fail'd, he still delay'd his fall.
The sullen calm that long his bosom kept,
The storm that once had spent itself and slept,
Roused by events that seem'd foredoom'd to urge
His gloomy fortunes to their utmost verge,
Burst forth, and made him all he once had been,
And is again; he only changed the scene.
Light care had he for life, and less for fame,
But not less fitted for the desperate game:
He deem'd himself mark'd out for others' hate,
And mock'd at ruin, so they shared his fate.
What cared he for the freedom of the crowd?
He raised the humble but to bend the proud.
He had hoped quiet in his sullen lair,
But man and destiny beset him there:
Inured to hunters, he was found at bay;
And they must kill, they cannot snare the prey.
Stern, unambitious, silent he had been
Henceforth a calm spectator of life's scene;
But dragg'd again upon the arena, stood
A leader not unequal to the feud;
In voice — mien — gesture — savage nature spoke,
And from his eye the gladiator broke.

X.

What boots the oft-repeated tale of strife,
The feast of vultures, and the waste of life?
The varying fortune of each separate field,
The fierce that vanquish, and the faint that yield?
The smoking ruin, and the crumbled wall?
In this the struggle was the same with all;
Save that distemper'd passions lent their force
In bitterness that banish'd all remorse.
None sued, for Mercy know her cry was vain,
The captive died upon the battle-slain:
In either cause, one rage alone possess'd
The empire of the alternate victor's breast;
And they that smote for freedom or for sway,
Deem'd few were slain, while more remain'd to slay.
It was too late to check the wasting brand,
And Desolation reap'd the famish'd land;
The torch was lighted, and the flame was spread,
And Carnage smiled upon her daily bread.

XI.

Fresh with the nerve the new-born impulse strung,
The first success to Lara's numbers clung:
But that vain victory hath ruin'd all;
They form no longer to their leader's call:
In blind confusion on the foe they press,
And think to snatch is to secure success.
The lust of booty, and the thirst of hate,
Lure on the broken brigands to their fate:
In vain he doth whate'er a chief may do,
To check the headlong fury of that crew,
In vain their stubborn ardour he would tame,
The hand that kindles cannot quench the flame.
The wary foe alone hath turn'd their mood,
And shewn their rashness to that erring brood:
The feign'd retreat, the nightly ambuscade,
The daily harass, and the fight delay'd,
The long privation of the hoped supply,
The tentless rest beneath the humid sky,
The stubborn wall that mocks the leaguer's art,
And palls the patience of his baffled heart,
Of these they had not deem'd: the battle-day
They could encounter as a veteran may;
But more preferr'd the fury of the strife,
And present death, to hourly suffering life:
And famine wrings, and fever sweeps away
His numbers melting fast from their array;
Intemperate triumph fades to discontent,
And Lara's soul alone seems still unbent:
But few remain to aid his voice and hand,
And thousands dwindled to a scanty band:
Desperate, though few, the last and best remain'd
To mourn the discipline they late disdain'd.
One hope survives, the frontier is not far,
And thence they may escape from native war;
And bear within them to the neighbouring state
An exile's sorrows, or an outlaw's hate:
Hard is the task their fatherland to quit,
But harder still to perish or submit.

XII.

It is resolved — they march — consenting Night
Guides with her star their dim and torchless flight;
Already they perceive its tranquil beam
Sleep on the surface of the barrier stream;
Already they descry — Is yon the bank?
Away! 'tis lined with many a hostile rank.
Return or fly! — What glitters in the rear?
'Tis Otho's banner — the pursuer's spear!
Are those the shepherds' fires upon the height?
Alas! they blaze too widely for the flight:
Cut off from hope, and compass'd in the toil,
Less blood, perchance, hath bought a richer spoil!

XIII.

A moment's pause — 'tis but to breathe their band
Or shall they onward press, or here withstand?
It matters little — if they charge the foes
Who by their border-stream their march oppose,
Some few, perchance, may break and pass the line,
However link'd to baffle such design.
"The charge be ours! to wait for their assault
Were fate well worthy of a coward's halt."
Forth flies each sabre, rein'd is every steed,
And the next word shall scarce outstrip the deed:
In the next tone of Lara's gathering breath
How many shall but hear the voice of death!

XIV.

His blade is bared — in him there is an air
As deep, but far too tranquil for despair;
A something of indifference more than then
Becomes the bravest, if they feel for men.
He turn'd his eye on Kaled, ever near,
And still too faithful to betray one fear;
Perchance 'twas but the moon's dim twilight threw
Along his aspect an unwonted hue
Of mournful paleness, whose deep tint express'd
The truth, and not the terror of his breast.
This Lara mark'd, and laid his hand on his:
It trembled not in such an hour as this;
His lip was silent, scarcely beat his heart,
His eye alone proclaim'd —
"We will not part!
Thy band may perish, or thy friends may flee,
Farewell to life, but not adieu to thee!"

The word hath pass'd his lips, and onward driven,
Pours the link'd band through ranks asunder riven;
Well has each steed obey'd the armed heel,
And flash the scimitars, and rings the steel;
Outnumber'd, not outbraved, they still oppose
Despair to daring, and a front to foes;
And blood is mingled with the dashing stream,
Which runs all redly till the morning beam.

XV.

Commanding, aiding, animating all,
Where foe appear'd to press, or friend to fall,
Cheers Lara's voice, and waves or strikes his steel,
Inspiring hope himself had ceased to feel.
None fled, for well they knew that flight were vain,
But those that waver turn to smite again,
While yet they find the firmest of the foe
Recoil before their leader's look and blow;
Now girt with numbers, now almost alone,
He foils their ranks, or reunites his own;
Himself he spared not — once they seem'd to fly —
Now was the time, he waved his hand on high,
And shook — Why sudden droops that plumed crest?
The shaft is sped — the arrow's in his breast!
That fatal gesture left the unguarded side,
And Death hath stricken down yon arm of pride.
The word of triumph fainted from his tongue;
That hand, so raised, how droopingly it hung!
But yet the sword instinctively retains,
Though from its fellow shrink the falling reins;
These Kaled snatches: dizzy with the blow,
And senseless bending o'er his saddle-bow
Perceives not Lara that his anxious page
Beguiles his charger from the combat's rage:
Meantime his followers charge and charge again;
Too mix'd the slayers now to heed the slain!

XVI.

Day glimmers on the dying and the dead,
The cloven cuirass, and the helmless head;
The war-horse masterless is on the earth,
And that last gasp hath burst his bloody girth:
And near, yet quivering with what life remain'd,
The heel that urged him, and the hand that rein'd:
And some too near that rolling torrent lie,
Whose waters mock the lip of those that die;
That panting thirst which scorches in the breath
Of those that die the soldier's fiery death,
In vain impels the burning mouth to crave
One drop — the last — to cool it for the grave;
With feeble and convulsive effort swept
Their limbs along the crimson'd turf have crept:
The faint remains of life such struggles waste,
But yet they reach the stream, and bend to taste:
They feel its freshness, and almost partake —
Why pause? — No further thirst have they to slake —
It is unquench'd, and yet they feel it not —
It was an agony — but now forgot!

XVII.

Beneath a lime, remoter from the scene,
Where but for him that strife had never been,
A breathing but devoted warrior lay:
'Twas Lara bleeding fast from life away.
His follower once, and now his only guide,
Kneels Kaled watchful o'er his welling side,
And with his scarf would stanch the tides that rush
With each convulsion in a blacker gush;
And then, as his faint breathing waxes low,
In feebler, not less fatal tricklings flow:
He scarce can speak, but motions him 'tis vain,
And merely adds another throb to pain.
He clasps the hand that pang which would assuage,
And sadly smiles his thanks to that dark page,
Who nothing fears, nor feels, nor heeds, nor sees,
Save that damp brow which rests upon his knees;
Save that pale aspect, where the eye, though dim,
Held all the light that shone on earth for him.

XVIII.

The foe arrives, who long had search'd the field,
Their triumph nought till Lara too should yield;
They would remove him, but they see 'twere vain,
And he regards them with a calm disdain,
That rose to reconcile him with his fate,
And that escape to death from living hate:
And Otho comes, and leaping from his steed,
Looks on the bleeding foe that made him bleed,
And questions of his state; he answers not,
Scarce glances on him as on one forgot,
And turns to Kaled: — each remaining word,
They understood not, if distinctly heard;
His dying tones are in that other tongue,
To which some strange remembrance wildly clung.
They spake of other scenes, but what — is known
To Kaled, whom their meaning reach'd alone;
And he replied, though faintly, to their sound,
While gazed the rest in dumb amazement round:
They seem'd even then — that twain — unto the last
To half forget the present in the past;
To share between themselves some separate fate,
Whose darkness none beside should penetrate.

XIX.

Their words though faint were many — from the tone
Their import those who heard could judge alone;
From this, you might have deem'd young Kaled's death
More near than Lara's by his voice and breath,
So sad, so deep, and hesitating broke
The accents his scarce-moving pale lips spoke;
But Lara's voice, though low, at first was clear
And calm, till murmuring death gasp'd hoarsely near:
But from his visage little could we guess,
So unrepentant, dark, and passionless,
Save that when struggling nearer to his last,
Upon that page his eye was kindly cast;
And once, as Kaled's answering accents ceased,
Rose Lara's hand, and pointed to the East:
Whether (as then the breaking sun from high
Roll'd back the clouds) the morrow caught his eye,
Or that 'twas chance, or some remember'd scene
That raised his arm to point where such had been,
Scarce Kaled seem'd to know, but turn'd away,
As if his heart abhorr'd that coming day,
And shrunk his glance before that morning light
To look on Lara's brow — where all grew night.
Yet sense seem'd left, though better were its loss;
For when one near display'd the absolving cross,
And proffer'd to his touch the holy bead,
Of which his parting soul might own the need,
He look'd upon it with an eye profane,
And smiled — Heaven pardon! if 'twere with disdain;
And Kaled, though he spoke not, nor withdrew
From Lara's face his fix'd despairing view,
With brow repulsive, and with gesture swift,
Flung back the hand which held the sacred gift,
As if such but disturb'd the expiring man,
Nor seem'd to know his life but /then/ began,
The life immortal infinite, secure,
To all for whom that cross hath made it sure!

XX.

But gasping heaved the breath that Lara drew,
And dull the film along his dim eye grew;
His limbs stretch'd fluttering, and his head droop'd o'er
The weak yet still untiring knee that bore:
He press'd the hand he held upon his heart —
It beats no more, but Kaled will not part
With the cold grasp, but feels, and feels in vain,
For that faint throb which answers not again.
"It beats!" — Away, thou dreamer! he is gone —
It once was Lara which thou look'st upon.

XXI.

He gazed, as if not yet had pass'd away
The haughty spirit of that humble clay;
And those around have roused him from his trance,
But cannot tear from thence his fixed glance;
And when in raising him from where he bore
Within his arms the form that felt no more,
He saw the head his breast would still sustain,
Roll down like earth to earth upon the plain;
He did not dash himself thereby, nor tear
The glossy tendrils of his raven hair,
But strove to stand and gaze, but reel'd and fell,
Scarce breathing more than that he loved so well.
Than that /he/ lov'd! Oh! never yet beneath
The breast of man such trusty love may breathe!
That trying moment hath at once reveal'd
The secret long and yet but half conceal'd;
In baring to revive that lifeless breast,
Its grief seem'd ended, but the sex confess'd;
And life return'd, and Kaled felt no shame —
What now to her was Womanhood or Fame?

XXII.

And Lara sleeps not where his fathers sleep,
But where he died his grave was dug as deep;
Nor is his mortal slumber less profound,
Though priest nor bless'd, nor marble deck'd the mound;
And he was mourn'd by one whose quiet grief,
Less loud, outlasts a people's for their chief.
Vain was all question ask'd her of the past,
And vain e'en menace — silent to the last;
She told nor whence nor why she left behind
Her all for one who seem'd but little kind.
Why did she love him? Curious fool! — be still —
Is human love the growth of human will?
To her he might be gentleness; the stern
Have deeper thoughts than your dull eyes discern,
And when they love, your smilers guess not how
Beats the strong heart, though less the lips avow.
They were not common links that form'd the chain
That bound to Lara Kaled's heart and brain;
But that wild tale she brook'd not to unfold,
And seal'd is now each lip that could have told.

XXIII.

They laid him in the earth, and on his breast,
Besides the wound that sent his soul to rest,
They found the scattered dints of many a scar
Which were not planted there in recent war:
Where'er had pass'd his summer years of life,
It seems they vanish'd in a land of strife;
But all unknown his glory or his guilt,
These only told that somewhere blood was spilt.
And Ezzelin, who might have spoke the past,
Return'd no more — that night appear'd his last.

XXIV.

Upon that night (a peasant's is the tale)
A Serf that cross'd the intervening vale,
When Cynthia's light almost gave way to morn,
And nearly veil'd in mist her waning horn;
A Serf, that rose betimes to thread the wood,
And hew the bough that bought his children's food,
Pass'd by the river that divides the plain
Of Otho's lands and Lara's broad domain:
He heard a tramp — a horse and horseman broke
From out the wood — before him was a cloak
Wrapt round some burthen at his saddle-bow,
Bent was his head, and hidden was his brow.
Roused by the sudden sight at such a time,
And some foreboding that it might be crime,
Himself unheeded watch'd the stranger's course,
Who reach'd the river, bounded from his horse,
And lifting thence the burthen which he bore,
Heaved up the bank, and dash'd it from the shore,
Then paused, and look'd, and turn'd, and seem'd to watch,
And still another hurried glance would snatch,
And follow with his step the stream that flow'd,
As if even yet too much its surface show'd:
At once he started, stoop'd, around him strewn
The winter floods had scatter'd heaps of stone;
Of these the heaviest thence he gather'd there,
And slung them with a more than common care.
Meantime the Serf had crept to where unseen
Himself might safely mark what this might mean.
He caught a glimpse, as of a floating breast,
And something glitter'd starlike on the vest,
But ere he well could mark the buoyant trunk,
A massy fragment smote it, and it sunk:
It rose again, but indistinct to view,
And left the waters of a purple hue,
Then deeply disappear'd: the horseman gazed
Till ebb'd the latest eddy it had raised;
Then turning, vaulted on his pawing steed,
And instant spurr'd him into panting speed.
His face was mask'd — the features of the dead,
If dead it were, escaped the observer's dread;
But if in sooth a star its bosom bore,
Such is the badge that knighthood ever wore,
And such 'tis known Sir Ezzelin had worn
Upon the night that led to such a morn.
If thus he perish'd, Heaven receive his soul!
His undiscover'd limbs to ocean roll;
And charity upon the hope would dwell
It was not Lara's hand by which he fell.

XXV.

And Kaled — Lara — Ezzelin, are gone,
Alike without their monumental stone!
The first, all efforts vainly strove to wean
From lingering where her chieftain's blood had been.
Grief had so tamed a spirit once too proud,
Her tears were few, her wailing never loud;
But furious would you tear her from the spot
Where yet she scarce believed that he was not,
Her eye shot forth with all the living fire
That haunts the tigress in her whelpless ire;
But left to waste her weary moments there,
She talk'd all idly unto shapes of air,
Such as the busy brain of Sorrow paints,
And woos to listen to her fond complaints;
And she would sit beneath the very tree,
Where lay his drooping head upon her knee;
And in that posture where she saw him fall,
His words, his looks, his dying grasp recall;
And she had shorn, but saved her raven hair,
And oft would snatch it from her bosom there,
And fold and press it gently to the ground,
As if she stanch'd anew some phantom's wound.
Herself would question, and for him reply;
Then rising, start, and beckon him to fly
From some imagined spectre in pursuit;
Then seat her down upon some linden's root,
And hide her visage with her meagre hand,
Or trace strange characters along the sand. —
This could not last — she lies by him she loved;
Her tale untold — her truth too dearly proved.

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Lara

LARA. [1]

CANTO THE FIRST.

I.

The Serfs are glad through Lara's wide domain, [2]
And slavery half forgets her feudal chain;
He, their unhoped, but unforgotten lord —
The long self-exiled chieftain is restored:
There be bright faces in the busy hall,
Bowls on the board, and banners on the wall;
Far chequering o'er the pictured window, plays
The unwonted fagots' hospitable blaze;
And gay retainers gather round the hearth,
With tongues all loudness, and with eyes all mirth.

II.

The chief of Lara is return'd again:
And why had Lara cross'd the bounding main?
Left by his sire, too young such loss to know,
Lord of himself; — that heritage of woe,
That fearful empire which the human breast
But holds to rob the heart within of rest! —
With none to check, and few to point in time
The thousand paths that slope the way to crime;
Then, when he most required commandment, then
Had Lara's daring boyhood govern'd men.
It skills not, boots not, step by step to trace
His youth through all the mazes of its race;
Short was the course his restlessness had run,
But long enough to leave him half undone.

III.

And Lara left in youth his fatherland;
But from the hour he waved his parting hand
Each trace wax'd fainter of his course, till all
Had nearly ceased his memory to recall.
His sire was dust, his vassals could declare,
'Twas all they knew, that Lara was not there;
Nor sent, nor came he, till conjecture grew
Cold in the many, anxious in the few.
His hall scarce echoes with his wonted name,
His portrait darkens in its fading frame,
Another chief consoled his destined bride,
The young forgot him, and the old had died;
"Yet doth he live!" exclaims the impatient heir,
And sighs for sables which he must not wear.
A hundred scutcheons deck with gloomy grace
The Laras' last and longest dwelling-place;
But one is absent from the mouldering file,
That now were welcome to that Gothic pile.

IV.

He comes at last in sudden loneliness,
And whence they know not, why they need not guess;
They more might marvel, when the greeting's o'er,
Not that he came, but came not long before:
No train is his beyond a single page,
Of foreign aspect, and of tender age.
Years had roll'd on, and fast they speed away
To those that wander as to those that stay;
But lack of tidings from another clime
Had lent a flagging wing to weary Time.
They see, they recognise, yet almost deem
The present dubious, or the past a dream.

He lives, nor yet is past his manhood's prime,
Though sear'd by toil, and something touch'd by time;
His faults, whate'er they were, if scarce forgot,
Might be untaught him by his varied lot;
Nor good nor ill of late were known, his name
Might yet uphold his patrimonial fame.
His soul in youth was haughty, but his sins
No more than pleasure from the stripling wins;
And such, if not yet harden'd in their course,
Might be redeem'd, nor ask a long remorse.

V.

And they indeed were changed — 'tis quickly seen,
Whate'er he be, 'twas not what he had been:
That brow in furrow'd lines had fix'd at last,
And spake of passions, but of passion past;
The pride, but not the fire, of early days,
Coldness of mien, and carelessness of praise;
A high demeanour, and a glance that took
Their thoughts from others by a single look;
And that sarcastic levity of tongue,
The stinging of a heart the world hath stung,
That darts in seeming playfulness around,
And makes those feel that will not own the wound:
All these seem'd his, and something more beneath
Than glance could well reveal, or accent breathe.
Ambition, glory, love, the common aim
That some can conquer, and that all would claim,
Within his breast appear'd no more to strive,
Yet seem'd as lately they had been alive;
And some deep feeling it were vain to trace
At moments lighten'd o'er his livid face.

VI.

Not much he loved long question of the past,
Nor told of wondrous wilds, and deserts vast,
In those far lands where he had wander'd lone,
And — as himself would have it seem — unknown:
Yet these in vain his eye could scarcely scan,
Nor glean experience from his fellow-man;
But what he had beheld he shunn'd to show,
As hardly worth a stranger's care to know;
If still more prying such inquiry grew,
His brow fell darker, and his words more few.

VII.

Not unrejoiced to see him once again,
Warm was his welcome to the haunts of men;
Born of high lineage, link'd in high command,
He mingled with the magnates of his land;
Join'd the carousals of the great and gay,
And saw them smile or sigh their hours away;
But still he only saw, and did not share
The common pleasure or the general care;
He did not follow what they all pursued,
With hope still baffled, still to be renew'd;
Nor shadowy honour, nor substantial gain,
Nor beauty's preference, and the rival's pain:
Around him some mysterious circle thrown
Repell'd approach, and showed him still alone;
Upon his eye sate something of reproof,
That kept at least frivolity aloof;
And things more timid that beheld him near,
In silence gazed, or whisper'd mutual fear;
And they the wiser, friendlier few confess'd
They deem'd him better than his air express'd.

VIII.

'Twas strange — in youth all action and all life,
Burning for pleasure, not averse from strife;
Woman — the field — the ocean — all that gave
Promise of gladness, peril of a grave,
In turn he tried — he ransack'd all below,
And found his recompence in joy or woe,
No tame, trite medium; for his feelings sought
In that intenseness an escape from thought:
The tempest of his heart in scorn had gazed
On that the feebler elements hath raised;
The rapture of his heart had look'd on high,
And ask'd if greater dwelt beyond the sky:
Chain'd to excess, the slave of each extreme,
How woke he from the wildness of that dream?
Alas! he told not — but he did awake
To curse the wither'd heart that would not break.

IX.

Books, for his volume heretofore was Man,
With eye more curious he appear'd to scan,
And oft, in sudden mood, for many a day
From all communion he would start away:
And then, his rarely call'd attendants said,
Through night's long hours would sound his hurried tread
O'er the dark gallery, where his fathers frown'd
In rude but antique portraiture around.
They heard, but whisper'd — "that must not be known —
The sound of words less earthly than his own.
Yes, they who chose might smile, but some had seen
They scarce knew what, but more than should have been.
Why gazed he so upon the ghastly head
Which hands profane had gather'd from the dead,
That still beside his open'd volume lay,
As if to startle all save him away?
Why slept he not when others were at rest?
Why heard no music, and received no guest?
All was not well, they deem'd — but where the wrong?
Some knew perchance — but 'twere a tale too long;
And such besides were too discreetly wise,
To more than hint their knowledge in surmise;
But if they would — they could" — around the board,
Thus Lara's vassals prattled of their lord.

X.

It was the night — and Lara's glassy stream
The stars are studding, each with imaged beam:
So calm, the waters scarcely seem to stray,
And yet they glide like happiness away;
Reflecting far and fairy-like from high
The immortal lights that live along the sky:
Its banks are fringed with many a goodly tree,
And flowers the fairest that may feast the bee;
Such in her chaplet infant Dian wove,
And Innocence would offer to her love.
These deck the shore; the waves their channel make
In windings bright and mazy like the snake.
All was so still, so soft in earth and air,
You scarce would start to meet a spirit there;
Secure that nought of evil could delight
To walk in such a scene, on such a night!
It was a moment only for the good:
So Lara deem'd, nor longer there he stood,
But turn'd in silence to his castle-gate;
Such scene his soul no more could contemplate.
Such scene reminded him of other days,
Of skies more cloudless, moons of purer blaze,
Of nights more soft and frequent, hearts that now —
No — no — the storm may beat upon his brow,
Unfelt — unsparing — but a night like this,
A night of beauty mock'd such breast as his.

XI.

He turn'd within his solitary hall,
And his high shadow shot along the wall;
There were the painted forms of other times,
'Twas all they left of virtues or of crimes,
Save vague tradition; and the gloomy vaults
That hid their dust, their foibles, and their faults;
And half a column of the pompous page,
That speeds the specious tale from age to age:
When history's pen its praise or blame supplies,
And lies like truth, and still most truly lies.
He wandering mused, and as the moonbeam shone
Through the dim lattice o'er the floor of stone,
And the high fretted roof, and saints, that there
O'er Gothic windows knelt in pictured prayer,
Reflected in fantastic figures grew,
Like life, but not like mortal life, to view;
His bristling locks of sable, brow of gloom,
And the wide waving of his shaken plume,
Glanced like a spectre's attributes, and gave
His aspect all that terror gives the grave.

XII.

'Twas midnight — all was slumber; the lone light
Dimm'd in the lamp, as loth to break the night.
Hark! there be murmurs heard in Lara's hall —
A sound — voice — a shriek — a fearful call!
A long, loud shriek — and silence — did they hear
That frantic echo burst the sleeping ear?
They heard and rose, and tremulously brave
Rush where the sound invoked their aid to save;
They come with half-lit tapers in their hands,
And snatch'd in startled haste unbelted brands.

XIII.

Cold as the marble where his length was laid,
Pale as the beam that o'er his features play'd,
Was Lara stretch'd; his half-drawn sabre near,
Dropp'd it should seem in more than nature's fear;
Yet he was firm, or had been firm till now,
And still defiance knit his gather'd brow;
Though mix'd with terror, senseless as he lay,
There lived upon his lip the wish to slay;
Some half-form'd threat in utterance there had died,
Some imprecation of despairing pride;
His eye was almost seal'd, but not forsook
Even in its trance the gladiator's look,
That oft awake his aspect could disclose,
And now was fix'd in horrible repose.
They raise him — bear him: hush! he breathes, he speaks!
The swarthy blush recolours in his cheeks,
His lip resumes its red, his eye, though dim,
Rolls wide and wild, each slowly quivering limb
Recalls its function, but his words are strung
In terms that seem not of his native tongue;
Distinct but strange, enough they understand
To deem them accents of another land,
And such they were, and meant to meet an ear
That hears him not — alas! that cannot hear!

XIV.

His page approach'd, and he alone appear'd
To know the import of the words they heard;
And by the changes of his cheek and brow
They were not such as Lara should avow,
Nor he interpret, yet with less surprise
Than those around their chieftain's state he eyes,
But Lara's prostrate form he bent beside,
And in that tongue which seem'd his own replied,
And Lara heeds those tones that gently seem
To soothe away the horrors of his dream;
If dream it were, that thus could overthrow
A breast that needed not ideal woe.

XV.

Whate'er his frenzy dream'd or eye beheld,
If yet remember'd ne'er to be reveal'd,
Rests at his heart: the custom'd morning came,
And breathed new vigour in his shaking frame;
And solace sought he none from priest nor leech,
And soon the same in movement and in speech
As heretofore he fill'd the passing hours,
Nor less he smiles, nor more his forehead lours
Than these were wont; and if the coming night
Appear'd less welcome now to Lara's sight,
He to his marvelling vassals shew'd it not,
Whose shuddering proved their fear was less forgot.
In trembling pairs (alone they dared not) crawl
The astonish'd slaves, and shun the fated hall;
The waving banner, and the clapping door;
The rustling tapestry, and the echoing floor;
The long dim shadows of surrounding trees,
The flapping bat, the night song of the breeze;
Aught they behold or hear their thought appals
As evening saddens o'er the dark gray walls.

XVI.

Vain thought! that hour of ne'er unravell'd gloom
Came not again, or Lara could assume
A seeming of forgetfulness that made
His vassals more amazed nor less afraid —
Had memory vanish'd then with sense restored?
Since word, nor look, nor gesture of their lord
Betray'd a feeling that recall'd to these
That fever'd moment of his mind's disease.
Was it a dream? was his the voice that spoke
Those strange wild accents; his the cry that broke
Their slumber? his the oppress'd o'er-labour'd heart
That ceased to beat, the look that made them start?
Could he who thus had suffer'd, so forget
When such as saw that suffering shudder yet?
Or did that silence prove his memory fix'd
Too deep for words, indelible, unmix'd
In that corroding secresy which gnaws
The heart to shew the effect, but not the cause?
Not so in him; his breast had buried both,
Nor common gazers could discern the growth
Of thoughts that mortal lips must leave half told;
They choke the feeble words that would unfold.

XVII.

In him inexplicably mix'd appear'd
Much to be loved and hated, sought and fear'd;
Opinion varying o'er his hidden lot,
In praise or railing ne'er his name forgot;
His silence form'd a theme for others' prate —
They guess'd — they gazed — they fain would know his fate.
What had he been? what was he, thus unknown,
Who walk'd their world, his lineage only known?
A hater of his kind? yet some would say,
With them he could seem gay amidst the gay;
But own'd that smile, if oft observed and near,
Waned in its mirth and wither'd to a sneer;
That smile might reach his lip, but pass'd not by,
None e'er could trace its laughter to his eye:
Yet there was softness too in his regard,
At times, a heart as not by nature hard,
But once perceived, his spirit seem'd to chide
Such weakness, as unworthy of its pride,
And steel'd itself, as scorning to redeem
One doubt from others' half withheld esteem;
In self-inflicted penance of a breast
Which tenderness might once have wrung from rest;
In vigilance of grief that would compel
The soul to hate for having loved too well.

XVIII.

There was in him a vital scorn of all:
As if the worst had fall'n which could befall,
He stood a stranger in this breathing world,
An erring spirit from another hurled;
A thing of dark imaginings, that shaped
By choice the perils he by chance escaped;
But 'scaped in vain, for in their memory yet
His mind would half exult and half regret:
With more capacity for love than earth
Bestows on most of mortal mould and birth,
His early dreams of good outstripp'd the truth,
And troubled manhood follow'd baffled youth;
With thought of years in phantom chase misspent,
And wasted powers for better purpose lent;
And fiery passions that had pour'd their wrath
In hurried desolation o'er his path,
And left the better feelings all at strife
In wild reflection o'er his stormy life;
But haughty still, and loth himself to blame,
He call'd on Nature's self to share the shame,
And charged all faults upon the fleshly form
She gave to clog the soul, and feast the worm;
'Till he at last confounded good and ill,
And half mistook for fate the acts of will:
Too high for common selfishness, he could
At times resign his own for others' good,
But not in pity, not because he ought,
But in some strange perversity of thought,
That sway'd him onward with a secret pride
To do what few or none would do beside;
And this same impulse would, in tempting time,
Mislead his spirit equally to crime;
So much he soar'd beyond, or sunk beneath
The men with whom he felt condemn'd to breathe,
And long'd by good or ill to separate
Himself from all who shared his mortal state;
His mind abhorring this had fix'd her throne
Far from the world, in regions of her own;
Thus coldly passing all that pass'd below,
His blood in temperate seeming now would flow:
Ah! happier if it ne'er with guilt had glow'd,
But ever in that icy smoothness flow'd:
'Tis true, with other men their path he walk'd,
And like the rest in seeming did and talk'd,
Nor outraged Reason's rules by flaw nor start,
His madness was not of the head, but heart;
And rarely wander'd in his speech, or drew
His thoughts so forth as to offend the view.

XIX.

With all that chilling mystery of mien,
And seeming gladness to remain unseen,
He had (if 'twere not nature's boon) an art
Of fixing memory on another's heart:
It was not love, perchance — nor hate — nor aught
That words can image to express the thought;
But they who saw him did not see in vain,
And once beheld, would ask of him again:
And those to whom he spake remember'd well,
And on the words, however light, would dwell.
None knew nor how, nor why, but he entwined
Himself perforce around the hearer's mind;
There he was stamp'd, in liking, or in hate,
If greeted once; however brief the date
That friendship, pity, or aversion knew,
Still there within the inmost thought he grew.
You could not penetrate his soul, but found
Despite your wonder, to your own he wound.
His presence haunted still; and from the breast
He forced an all-unwilling interest;
Vain was the struggle in that mental net,
His spirit seem'd to dare you to forget!

XX.

There is a festival, where knights and dames,
And aught that wealth or lofty lineage claims,
Appear — a high-born and a welcomed guest
To Otho's hall came Lara with the rest.
The long carousal shakes the illumined hall,
Well speeds alike the banquet and the ball;
And the gay dance of bounding Beauty's train
Links grace and harmony in happiest chain:
Blest are the early hearts and gentle hands
That mingle there in well according bands;
It is a sight the careful brow might smooth,
And make Age smile, and dream itself to youth,
And Youth forget such hour was pass'd on earth,
So springs the exulting bosom to that mirth!

XXI.

And Lara gazed on these sedately glad,
His brow belied him if his soul was sad,
And his glance follow'd fast each fluttering fair,
Whose steps of lightness woke no echo there:
He lean'd against the lofty pillar nigh
With folded arms and long attentive eye,
Nor mark'd a glance so sternly fix'd on his,
Ill brook'd high Lara scrutiny like this:
At length he caught it, 'tis a face unknown,
But seems as searching his, and his alone;
Prying and dark, a stranger's by his mien,
Who still till now had gazed on him unseen;
At length encountering meets the mutual gaze
Of keen inquiry, and of mute amaze;
On Lara's glance emotion gathering grew,
As if distrusting that the stranger threw;
Along the stranger's aspect fix'd and stern
Flash'd more than thence the vulgar eye could learn.

XXII.

"'Tis he!" the stranger cried, and those that heard
Re-echo'd fast and far the whisper'd word.
"'Tis he!" — "'Tis who?" they question far and near,
Till louder accents rang on Lara's ear;
So widely spread, few bosoms well could brook
The general marvel, or that single look;
But Lara stirr'd not, changed not, the surprise
That sprung at first to his arrested eyes
Seem'd now subsided, neither sunk nor raised
Glanced his eye round, though still the stranger gazed;
And drawing nigh, exclaim'd, with haughty sneer,
"'Tis he! — how came he thence? — what doth he here?"

XXIII.

It were too much for Lara to pass by
Such question, so repeated fierce and high;
With look collected, but with accent cold,
More mildly firm than petulantly bold,
He turn'd, and met the inquisitorial tone —
"My name is Lara! — when thine own is known,
Doubt not my fitting answer to requite
The unlook'd for courtesy of such a knight.
'Tis Lara! — further wouldst thou mark or ask?
I shun no question, and I wear no mask."
"Thou shunn'st no question! Ponder — is there none
Thy heart must answer, though thine ear would shun?
And deem'st thou me unknown too? Gaze again!
At least thy memory was not given in vain.
Oh! never canst thou cancel half her debt,
Eternity forbids thee to forget."
With slow and searching glance upon his face
Grew Lara's eyes, but nothing there could trace
They knew, or chose to know — with dubious look
He deign'd no answer, but his head he shook,
And half contemptuous turn'd to pass away;
But the stern stranger motion'd him to stay.
"A word! — I charge thee stay, and answer here
To one, who, wert thou noble, were thy peer,
But as thou wast and art — nay, frown not, lord,
If false, 'tis easy to disprove the word —
But as thou wast and art, on thee looks down,
Distrusts thy smiles, but shakes not at thy frown.
Art thou not he? whose deeds — "

"Whate'er I be,
Words wild as these, accusers like to thee,
I list no further; those with whom they weigh
May hear the rest, nor venture to gainsay
The wondrous tale no doubt thy tongue can tell,
Which thus begins courteously and well.
Let Otho cherish here his polish'd guest,
To him my thanks and thoughts shall be express'd."
And here their wondering host hath interposed —
"Whate'er there be between you undisclosed,
This is no time nor fitting place to mar
The mirthful meeting with a wordy war.
If thou, Sir Ezzelin, hast ought to show
Which it befits Count Lara's ear to know,
To-morrow, here, or elsewhere, as may best
Beseem your mutual judgment, speak the rest;
I pledge myself for thee, as not unknown,
Though, like Count Lara, now return'd alone
From other lands, almost a stranger grown;
And if from Lara's blood and gentle birth
I augur right of courage and of worth,
He will not that untainted line belie,
Nor aught that knighthood may accord deny."
"To-morrow be it," Ezzelin replied,
"And here our several worth and truth be tried:
I gage my life, my falchion to attest
My words, so may I mingle with the blest!"

What answers Lara? to its centre shrunk
His soul, in deep abstraction sudden sunk;
The words of many, and the eyes of all
That there were gather'd, seem'd on him to fall;
But his were silent, his appear'd to stray
In far forgetfulness away — away —
Alas! that heedlessness of all around
Bespoke remembrance only too profound.

XXIV.

"To-morrow! — ay, to-morrow!" — further word
Than those repeated none from Lara heard;
Upon his brow no outward passion spoke,
From his large eye no flashing anger broke;
Yet there was something fix'd in that low tone
Which shew'd resolve, determined, though unknown.
He seized his cloak — his head he slightly bow'd,
And passing Ezzelin he left the crowd;
And as he pass'd him, smiling met the frown
With which that chieftain's brow would bear him down:
It was nor smile of mirth, nor struggling pride
That curbs to scorn the wrath it cannot hide;
But that of one in his own heart secure
Of all that he would do, or could endure.
Could this mean peace? the calmness of the good?
Or guilt grown old in desperate hardihood?
Alas! too like in confidence are each
For man to trust to mortal look or speech;
From deeds, and deeds alone, may he discern
Truths which it wrings the unpractised heart to learn.

XXV.

And Lara call'd his page, and went his way —
Well could that stripling word or sign obey:
His only follower from those climes afar
Where the soul glows beneath a brighter star;
For Lara left the shore from whence he sprung,
In duty patient, and sedate though young;
Silent as him he served, his fate appears
Above his station, and beyond his years.
Though not unknown the tongue of Lara's land,
In such from him he rarely heard command;
But fleet his step, and clear his tones would come,
When Lara's lip breathed forth the words of home:
Those accents, as his native mountains dear,
Awake their absent echoes in his ear,
Friends', kindreds', parents', wonted voice recall,
Now lost, abjured, for one — his friend, his all:
For him earth now disclosed no other guide;
What marvel then he rarely left his side?

XXVI.

Light was his form, and darkly delicate
That brow whereon his native sun had sate,
But had not marr'd, though in his beams he grew,
The cheek where oft the unbidden blush shone through;
Yet not such blush as mounts when health would show
All the heart's hue in that delighted glow;
But 'twas a hectic tint of secret care
That for a burning moment fever'd there;
And the wild sparkle of his eye seem'd caught
From high, and lighten'd with electric thought,
Though its black orb those long low lashes' fringe
Had temper'd with a melancholy tinge;
Yet less of sorrow than of pride was there,
Or, if 'twere grief, a grief that none should share:
And pleased not him the sports that please his age,
The tricks of youth, the frolics of the page;
For hours on Lara he would fix his glance,
As all-forgotten in that watchful trance;
And from his chief withdrawn, he wander'd lone,
Brief were his answers, and his questions none;
His walk the wood, his sport some foreign book;
His resting-place the bank that curbs the brook;
He seem'd, like him he served, to live apart
From all that lures the eye, and fills the heart;
To know no brotherhood; and take from earth
No gift beyond that bitter boon — our birth.

XXVII.

If aught he loved, 'twas Lara; but was shown
His faith in reverence and in deeds alone;
In mute attention; and his care, which guess'd
Each wish, fulfill'd it ere the tongue express'd.
Still there was haughtiness in all he did,
A spirit deep that brook'd not to be chid;
His zeal, though more than that of servile hands,
In act alone obeys, his air commands;
As if 'twas Lara's less than his desire
That thus he served, but surely not for hire.
Slight were the tasks enjoin'd him by his lord,
To hold the stirrup, or to bear the sword;
To tune his lute, or, if he will'd it more,
On tomes of other times and tongues to pore;
But ne'er to mingle with the menial train,
To whom he shew'd not deference nor disdain,
But that well-worn reserve which proved he knew
No sympathy with that familiar crew:
His soul, whate'er his station or his stem,
Could bow to Lara, not descend to them.
Of higher birth he seem'd, and better days,
Nor mark of vulgar toil that hand betrays,
So femininely white it might bespeak
Another sex, when match'd with that smooth cheek,
But for his garb, and something in his gaze,
More wild and high than woman's eye betrays;
A latent fierceness that far more became
His fiery climate than his tender frame:
True, in his words it broke not from his breast,
But from his aspect might be more than guess'd.
Kaled his name, though rumour said he bore
Another ere he left his mountain shore;
For sometimes he would hear, however nigh,
That name repeated loud without reply,
As unfamiliar, or, if roused again,
Start to the sound, as but remember'd then;
Unless 'twas Lara's wonted voice that spake,
For then, ear, eyes, and heart would all awake.

XXVIII.

He had look'd down upon the festive hall,
And mark'd that sudden strife so mark'd of all;
And when the crowd around and near him told
Their wonder at the calmness of the bold,
Their marvel how the high-born Lara bore
Such insult from a stranger, doubly sore,
The colour of young Kaled went and came,
The lip of ashes, and the cheek of flame;
And o'er his brow the dampening heart-drops threw
The sickening iciness of that cold dew
That rises as the busy bosom sinks
With heavy thoughts from which reflection shrinks.
Yes — there be things which we must dream and dare
And execute ere thought be half aware:
Whate'er might Kaled's be, it was enow
To seal his lip, but agonise his brow.
He gazed on Ezzelin till Lara cast
That sidelong smile upon on the knight he pass'd;
When Kaled saw that smile his visage fell,
As if on something recognised right well;
His memory read in such a meaning more
Than Lara's aspect unto others wore.
Forward he sprung — a moment, both were gone,
And all within that hall seem'd left alone;
Each had so fix'd his eye on Lara's mien,
All had so mix'd their feelings with that scene,
That when his long dark shadow through the porch
No more relieves the glare of yon high torch,
Each pulse beats quicker, and all bosoms seem
To bound as doubting from too black a dream,
Such as we know is false, yet dread in sooth,
Because the worst is ever nearest truth.
And they are gone — but Ezzelin is there,
With thoughtful visage and imperious air;
But long remain'd not; ere an hour expired
He waved his hand to Otho, and retired.

XXIX.

The crowd are gone, the revellers at rest;
The courteous host, and all-approving guest,
Again to that accustom'd couch must creep
Where joy subsides, and sorrow sighs to sleep,
And man, o'erlabour'd with his being's strife,
Shrinks to that sweet forgetfulness of life:
There lie love's feverish hope. and cunning's guile,
Hate's working brain and lull'd ambition's wile;
O'er each vain eye oblivion's pinions wave,
And quench'd existence crouches in a grave.
What better name may slumber's bed become?
Night's sepulchre, the universal home,
Where weakness, strength, vice, virtue, sunk supine,
Alike in naked helplessness recline;
Glad for awhile to heave unconscious breath,
Yet wake to wrestle with the dread of death,
And shun, though day but dawn on ills increased,
That sleep, the loveliest, since it dreams the least.

______

CANTO THE SECOND.

I.

Night wanes — the vapours round the mountains curl'd,
Melt into morn, and Light awakes the world.
Man has another day to swell the past,
And lead him near to little, but his last;
But mighty Nature bounds as from her birth,
The sun is in the heavens, and life on earth;
Flowers in the valley, splendour in the beam,
Health on the gale, and freshness in the stream.
Immortal man! behold her glories shine,
And cry, exulting inly, "They are thine!"
Gaze on, while yet thy gladden'd eye may see,
A morrow comes when they are not for thee;
And grieve what may above thy senseless bier,
Nor earth nor sky will yield a single tear;
Nor cloud shall gather more, nor leaf shall fall,
Nor gale breathe forth one sigh for thee, for all;
But creeping things shall revel in their spoil,
And fit thy clay to fertilise the soil.

II.

'Tis morn — 'tis noon — assembled in the hall,
The gather'd chieftains come to Otho's call:
'Tis now the promised hour, that must proclaim
The life or death of Lara's future fame;
When Ezzelin his charge may here unfold,
And whatsoe'er the tale, it must be told.
His faith was pledged, and Lara's promise given,
To meet it in the eye of man and Heaven.
Why comes he not? Such truths to be divulged,
Methinks the accuser's rest is long indulged.

III.

The hour is past, and Lara too is there,
With self-confiding, coldly patient air;
Why comes not Ezzelin? The hour is past,
And murmurs rise, and Otho's brow's o'ercast,
"I know my friend! his faith I cannot fear,
If yet he be on earth, expect him here;
The roof that held him in the valley stands
Between my own and noble Lara's lands;
My halls from such a guest had honour gain'd,
Nor had Sir Ezzelin his host disdain'd,
But that some previous proof forbade his stay,
And urged him to prepare against to-day;
The word I pledge for his I pledge again,
Or will myself redeem his knighthood's stain."

He ceased — and Lara answer'd, "I am here
To lend at thy demand a listening ear,
To tales of evil from a stranger's tongue,
Whose words already might my heart have wrung,
But that I deem'd him scarcely less than mad,
Or, at the worst, a foe ignobly bad.
I know him not — but me it seems he knew
In lands where — but I must not trifle too:
Produce this babbler — or redeem the pledge;
Here in thy hold, and with thy falchion's edge."

Proud Otho on the instant, reddening, threw
His glove on earth, and forth his sabre flew.
"The last alternative befits me best,
And thus I answer for mine absent guest."

With cheek unchanging from its sallow gloom,
However near his own or other's tomb;
With hand, whose almost careless coolness spoke
Its grasp well-used to deal the sabre-stroke;
With eye, though calm, determined not to spare,
Did Lara too his willing weapon bare.
In vain the circling chieftains round them closed,
For Otho's frenzy would not be opposed;
And from his lip those words of insult fell —
His sword is good who can maintain them well.

IV.

Short was the conflict; furious, blindly rash,
Vain Otho gave his bosom to the gash:
He bled, and fell; but not with deadly wound,
Stretch'd by a dextrous sleight along the ground.
"Demand thy life!" He answer'd not: and then
From that red floor he ne'er had risen again,
For Lara's brow upon the moment grew
Almost to blackness in its demon hue;
And fiercer shook his angry falchion now
Than when his foe's was levell'd at his brow;
Then all was stern collectedness and art,
Now rose the unleaven'd hatred of his heart;
So little sparing to the foe he fell'd,
That when the approaching crowd his arm withheld
He almost turn'd the thirsty point on those
Who thus for mercy dared to interpose;
But to a moment's thought that purpose bent;
Yet look'd he on him still with eye intent,
As if he loathed the ineffectual strife
That left a foe, howe'er o'erthrown, with life;
As if to search how far the wound he gave
Had sent its victim onward to his grave.

V.

They raised the bleeding Otho, and the Leech
Forbade all present question, sign, and speech;
The others met within a neighbouring hall,
And he, incensed and heedless of them all,
The cause and conqueror in this sudden fray,
In haughty silence slowly strode away;
He back'd his steed, his homeward path he took,
Nor cast on Otho's tower a single look.

VI.

But where was he? that meteor of a night,
Who menaced but to disappear with light.
Where was this Ezzelin? who came and went
To leave no other trace of his intent.
He left the dome of Otho long ere morn,
In darkness, yet so well the path was worn
He could not miss it: near his dwelling lay;
But there he was not, and with coming day
Came fast inquiry, which unfolded nought
Except the absence of the chief it sought.
A chamber tenantless, a steed at rest,
His host alarm'd, his murmuring squires distress'd:
Their search extends along, around the path,
In dread to met the marks of prowlers' wrath:
But none are there, and not a brake hath borne
Nor gout of blood, nor shred of mantle torn;
Nor fall nor struggle hath defaced the grass,
Which still retains a mark where murder was;
Nor dabbling fingers left to tell the tale,
The bitter print of each convulsive nail,
When agonised hands that cease to guard,
Wound in that pang the smoothness of the sward.
Some such had been, if here a life was reft,
But these were not; and doubting hope is left;
And strange suspicion, whispering Lara's name,
Now daily mutters o'er his blacken'd fame;
Then sudden silent when his form appear'd,
Awaits the absence of the thing it fear'd;
Again its wonted wondering to renew,
And dye conjecture with a darker hue.

VII.

Days roll along, and Otho's wounds are heal'd,
But not his pride; and hate no more conceal'd:
He was a man of power, and Lara's foe,
The friend of all who sought to work him woe,
And from his country's justice now demands
Account of Ezzelin at Lara's hands.
Who else than Lara could have cause to fear
His presence? who had made him disappear,
If not the man on whom his menaced charge
Had sate too deeply were he left at large?
The general rumour ignorantly loud,
The mystery dearest to the curious crowd;
The seeming friendlessness of him who strove
To win no confidence, and wake no love;
The sweeping fierceness which his soul betray'd,
The skill with which he wielded his keen blade;
Where had his arm unwarlike caught that art?
Where had that fierceness grown upon his heart?
For it was not the blind capricious rage
A word can kindle and a word assuage;
But the deep working of a soul unmix'd
With aught of pity where its wrath had fix'd;
Such as long power and overgorged success
Concentrates into all that's merciless:
These, link'd with that desire which ever sways
Mankind, the rather to condemn than praise,
'Gainst Lara gathering raised at length a storm,
Such as himself might fear, and foes would form,
And he must answer for the absent head
Of one that haunts him still, alive or dead.

VIII.

Within that land was many a malcontent,
Who cursed the tyranny to which he bent;
That soil full many a wringing despot saw,
Who work'd his wantonness in form of law;
Long war without and frequent broil within
Had made a path for blood and giant sin,
That waited but a signal to begin
New havoc, such as civil discord blends,
Which knows no neuter, owns but foes or friends;
Fix'd in his feudal fortress each was lord,
In word and deed obey'd, in soul abhorr'd.
Thus Lara had inherited his lands,
And with them pining hearts and sluggish hands;
But that long absence from his native clime
Had left him stainless of oppression's crime,
And now, diverted by his milder sway,
All dread by slow degrees had worn away;
The menials felt their usual awe alone,
But more for him than them that fear was grown;
They deem'd him now unhappy, though at first
Their evil judgment augur'd of the worst,
And each long restless night, and silent mood,
Was traced to sickness, fed by solitude:
And though his lonely habits threw of late
Gloom o'er his chamber, cheerful was his gate;
For thence the wretched ne'er unsoothed withdrew,
For them, at least, his soul compassion knew.
Cold to the great, contemptuous to the high,
The humble pass'd not his unheeding eye;
Much he would speak not, but beneath his roof
They found asylum oft, and ne'er reproof.
And they who watch'd might mark that, day by day,
Some new retainers gather'd to his sway;
But most of late, since Ezzelin was lost,
He play'd the courteous lord and bounteous host:
Perchance his strife with Otho made him dread
Some snare prepared for his obnoxious head;
Whate'er his view, his favour more obtains
With these, the people, than his fellow thanes.
If this were policy, so far 'twas sound,
The million judged but of him as they found;
From him by sterner chiefs to exile driven
They but required a shelter, and 'twas given.
By him no peasant mourn'd his rifled cot,
And scarce the serf could murmur o'er his lot;
With him old avarice found its hoard secure,
With him contempt forbore to mock the poor;
Youth present cheer and promised recompense
Detain'd, till all too late to part from thence:
To hate he offer'd, with the coming change,
The deep reversion of delay'd revenge;
To love, long baffled by the unequal match,
The well-won charms success was sure to snatch.
All now was ripe, he waits but to proclaim
That slavery nothing which was still a name.
The moment came, the hour when Otho thought
Secure at last the vengeance which he sought
His summons found the destined criminal
Begirt by thousands in his swarming hall,
Fresh from their feudal fetters newly riven,
Defying earth, and confident of heaven.
That morning he had freed the soil-bound slaves
Who dig no land for tyrants but their graves!
Such is their cry — some watchword for the fight
Must vindicate the wrong, and warp the right;
Religion — freedom — vengeance — what you will,
A word's enough to raise mankind to kill;
Some factious phrase by cunning caught and spread,
That guilt may reign, and wolves and worms be fed!

IX.

Throughout that clime the feudal chiefs had gain'd
Such sway, their infant monarch hardly reign'd;
Now was the hour for faction's rebel growth,
The serfs contemn'd the one, and hated both:
They waited but a leader, and they found
One to their cause inseparably bound;
By circumstance compell'd to plunge again,
In self-defence, amidst the strife of men.
Cut off by some mysterious fate from those
Whom birth and nature meant not for his foes,
Had Lara from that night, to him accurst,
Prepared to meet, but not alone, the worst:
Some reason urged, whate'er it was, to shun
Inquiry into deeds at distance done;
By mingling with his own the cause of all,
E'en if he fail'd, he still delay'd his fall.
The sullen calm that long his bosom kept,
The storm that once had spent itself and slept,
Roused by events that seem'd foredoom'd to urge
His gloomy fortunes to their utmost verge,
Burst forth, and made him all he once had been,
And is again; he only changed the scene.
Light care had he for life, and less for fame,
But not less fitted for the desperate game:
He deem'd himself mark'd out for others' hate,
And mock'd at ruin, so they shared his fate.
What cared he for the freedom of the crowd?
He raised the humble but to bend the proud.
He had hoped quiet in his sullen lair,
But man and destiny beset him there:
Inured to hunters, he was found at bay;
And they must kill, they cannot snare the prey.
Stern, unambitious, silent he had been
Henceforth a calm spectator of life's scene;
But dragg'd again upon the arena, stood
A leader not unequal to the feud;
In voice — mien — gesture — savage nature spoke,
And from his eye the gladiator broke.

X.

What boots the oft-repeated tale of strife,
The feast of vultures, and the waste of life?
The varying fortune of each separate field,
The fierce that vanquish, and the faint that yield?
The smoking ruin, and the crumbled wall?
In this the struggle was the same with all;
Save that distemper'd passions lent their force
In bitterness that banish'd all remorse.
None sued, for Mercy know her cry was vain,
The captive died upon the battle-slain:
In either cause, one rage alone possess'd
The empire of the alternate victor's breast;
And they that smote for freedom or for sway,
Deem'd few were slain, while more remain'd to slay.
It was too late to check the wasting brand,
And Desolation reap'd the famish'd land;
The torch was lighted, and the flame was spread,
And Carnage smiled upon her daily bread.

XI.

Fresh with the nerve the new-born impulse strung,
The first success to Lara's numbers clung:
But that vain victory hath ruin'd all;
They form no longer to their leader's call:
In blind confusion on the foe they press,
And think to snatch is to secure success.
The lust of booty, and the thirst of hate,
Lure on the broken brigands to their fate:
In vain he doth whate'er a chief may do,
To check the headlong fury of that crew,
In vain their stubborn ardour he would tame,
The hand that kindles cannot quench the flame.
The wary foe alone hath turn'd their mood,
And shewn their rashness to that erring brood:
The feign'd retreat, the nightly ambuscade,
The daily harass, and the fight delay'd,
The long privation of the hoped supply,
The tentless rest beneath the humid sky,
The stubborn wall that mocks the leaguer's art,
And palls the patience of his baffled heart,
Of these they had not deem'd: the battle-day
They could encounter as a veteran may;
But more preferr'd the fury of the strife,
And present death, to hourly suffering life:
And famine wrings, and fever sweeps away
His numbers melting fast from their array;
Intemperate triumph fades to discontent,
And Lara's soul alone seems still unbent:
But few remain to aid his voice and hand,
And thousands dwindled to a scanty band:
Desperate, though few, the last and best remain'd
To mourn the discipline they late disdain'd.
One hope survives, the frontier is not far,
And thence they may escape from native war;
And bear within them to the neighbouring state
An exile's sorrows, or an outlaw's hate:
Hard is the task their fatherland to quit,
But harder still to perish or submit.

XII.

It is resolved — they march — consenting Night
Guides with her star their dim and torchless flight;
Already they perceive its tranquil beam
Sleep on the surface of the barrier stream;
Already they descry — Is yon the bank?
Away! 'tis lined with many a hostile rank.
Return or fly! — What glitters in the rear?
'Tis Otho's banner — the pursuer's spear!
Are those the shepherds' fires upon the height?
Alas! they blaze too widely for the flight:
Cut off from hope, and compass'd in the toil,
Less blood, perchance, hath bought a richer spoil!

XIII.

A moment's pause — 'tis but to breathe their band
Or shall they onward press, or here withstand?
It matters little — if they charge the foes
Who by their border-stream their march oppose,
Some few, perchance, may break and pass the line,
However link'd to baffle such design.
"The charge be ours! to wait for their assault
Were fate well worthy of a coward's halt."
Forth flies each sabre, rein'd is every steed,
And the next word shall scarce outstrip the deed:
In the next tone of Lara's gathering breath
How many shall but hear the voice of death!

XIV.

His blade is bared — in him there is an air
As deep, but far too tranquil for despair;
A something of indifference more than then
Becomes the bravest, if they feel for men.
He turn'd his eye on Kaled, ever near,
And still too faithful to betray one fear;
Perchance 'twas but the moon's dim twilight threw
Along his aspect an unwonted hue
Of mournful paleness, whose deep tint express'd
The truth, and not the terror of his breast.
This Lara mark'd, and laid his hand on his:
It trembled not in such an hour as this;
His lip was silent, scarcely beat his heart,
His eye alone proclaim'd —
"We will not part!
Thy band may perish, or thy friends may flee,
Farewell to life, but not adieu to thee!"

The word hath pass'd his lips, and onward driven,
Pours the link'd band through ranks asunder riven;
Well has each steed obey'd the armed heel,
And flash the scimitars, and rings the steel;
Outnumber'd, not outbraved, they still oppose
Despair to daring, and a front to foes;
And blood is mingled with the dashing stream,
Which runs all redly till the morning beam.

XV.

Commanding, aiding, animating all,
Where foe appear'd to press, or friend to fall,
Cheers Lara's voice, and waves or strikes his steel,
Inspiring hope himself had ceased to feel.
None fled, for well they knew that flight were vain,
But those that waver turn to smite again,
While yet they find the firmest of the foe
Recoil before their leader's look and blow;
Now girt with numbers, now almost alone,
He foils their ranks, or reunites his own;
Himself he spared not — once they seem'd to fly —
Now was the time, he waved his hand on high,
And shook — Why sudden droops that plumed crest?
The shaft is sped — the arrow's in his breast!
That fatal gesture left the unguarded side,
And Death hath stricken down yon arm of pride.
The word of triumph fainted from his tongue;
That hand, so raised, how droopingly it hung!
But yet the sword instinctively retains,
Though from its fellow shrink the falling reins;
These Kaled snatches: dizzy with the blow,
And senseless bending o'er his saddle-bow
Perceives not Lara that his anxious page
Beguiles his charger from the combat's rage:
Meantime his followers charge and charge again;
Too mix'd the slayers now to heed the slain!

XVI.

Day glimmers on the dying and the dead,
The cloven cuirass, and the helmless head;
The war-horse masterless is on the earth,
And that last gasp hath burst his bloody girth:
And near, yet quivering with what life remain'd,
The heel that urged him, and the hand that rein'd:
And some too near that rolling torrent lie,
Whose waters mock the lip of those that die;
That panting thirst which scorches in the breath
Of those that die the soldier's fiery death,
In vain impels the burning mouth to crave
One drop — the last — to cool it for the grave;
With feeble and convulsive effort swept
Their limbs along the crimson'd turf have crept:
The faint remains of life such struggles waste,
But yet they reach the stream, and bend to taste:
They feel its freshness, and almost partake —
Why pause? — No further thirst have they to slake —
It is unquench'd, and yet they feel it not —
It was an agony — but now forgot!

XVII.

Beneath a lime, remoter from the scene,
Where but for him that strife had never been,
A breathing but devoted warrior lay:
'Twas Lara bleeding fast from life away.
His follower once, and now his only guide,
Kneels Kaled watchful o'er his welling side,
And with his scarf would stanch the tides that rush
With each convulsion in a blacker gush;
And then, as his faint breathing waxes low,
In feebler, not less fatal tricklings flow:
He scarce can speak, but motions him 'tis vain,
And merely adds another throb to pain.
He clasps the hand that pang which would assuage,
And sadly smiles his thanks to that dark page,
Who nothing fears, nor feels, nor heeds, nor sees,
Save that damp brow which rests upon his knees;
Save that pale aspect, where the eye, though dim,
Held all the light that shone on earth for him.

XVIII.

The foe arrives, who long had search'd the field,
Their triumph nought till Lara too should yield;
They would remove him, but they see 'twere vain,
And he regards them with a calm disdain,
That rose to reconcile him with his fate,
And that escape to death from living hate:
And Otho comes, and leaping from his steed,
Looks on the bleeding foe that made him bleed,
And questions of his state; he answers not,
Scarce glances on him as on one forgot,
And turns to Kaled: — each remaining word,
They understood not, if distinctly heard;
His dying tones are in that other tongue,
To which some strange remembrance wildly clung.
They spake of other scenes, but what — is known
To Kaled, whom their meaning reach'd alone;
And he replied, though faintly, to their sound,
While gazed the rest in dumb amazement round:
They seem'd even then — that twain — unto the last
To half forget the present in the past;
To share between themselves some separate fate,
Whose darkness none beside should penetrate.

XIX.

Their words though faint were many — from the tone
Their import those who heard could judge alone;
From this, you might have deem'd young Kaled's death
More near than Lara's by his voice and breath,
So sad, so deep, and hesitating broke
The accents his scarce-moving pale lips spoke;
But Lara's voice, though low, at first was clear
And calm, till murmuring death gasp'd hoarsely near:
But from his visage little could we guess,
So unrepentant, dark, and passionless,
Save that when struggling nearer to his last,
Upon that page his eye was kindly cast;
And once, as Kaled's answering accents ceased,
Rose Lara's hand, and pointed to the East:
Whether (as then the breaking sun from high
Roll'd back the clouds) the morrow caught his eye,
Or that 'twas chance, or some remember'd scene
That raised his arm to point where such had been,
Scarce Kaled seem'd to know, but turn'd away,
As if his heart abhorr'd that coming day,
And shrunk his glance before that morning light
To look on Lara's brow — where all grew night.
Yet sense seem'd left, though better were its loss;
For when one near display'd the absolving cross,
And proffer'd to his touch the holy bead,
Of which his parting soul might own the need,
He look'd upon it with an eye profane,
And smiled — Heaven pardon! if 'twere with disdain;
And Kaled, though he spoke not, nor withdrew
From Lara's face his fix'd despairing view,
With brow repulsive, and with gesture swift,
Flung back the hand which held the sacred gift,
As if such but disturb'd the expiring man,
Nor seem'd to know his life but then began,
The life immortal infinite, secure,
To all for whom that cross hath made it sure!

XX.

But gasping heaved the breath that Lara drew,
And dull the film along his dim eye grew;
His limbs stretch'd fluttering, and his head droop'd o'er
The weak yet still untiring knee that bore:
He press'd the hand he held upon his heart —
It beats no more, but Kaled will not part
With the cold grasp, but feels, and feels in vain,
For that faint throb which answers not again.
"It beats!" — Away, thou dreamer! he is gone —
It once was Lara which thou look'st upon.

XXI.

He gazed, as if not yet had pass'd away
The haughty spirit of that humble clay;
And those around have roused him from his trance,
But cannot tear from thence his fixed glance;
And when in raising him from where he bore
Within his arms the form that felt no more,
He saw the head his breast would still sustain,
Roll down like earth to earth upon the plain;
He did not dash himself thereby, nor tear
The glossy tendrils of his raven hair,
But strove to stand and gaze, but reel'd and fell,
Scarce breathing more than that he loved so well.
Than that he lov'd! Oh! never yet beneath
The breast of man such trusty love may breathe!
That trying moment hath at once reveal'd
The secret long and yet but half conceal'd;
In baring to revive that lifeless breast,
Its grief seem'd ended, but the sex confess'd;
And life return'd, and Kaled felt no shame —
What now to her was Womanhood or Fame?

XXII.

And Lara sleeps not where his fathers sleep,
But where he died his grave was dug as deep;
Nor is his mortal slumber less profound,
Though priest nor bless'd, nor marble deck'd the mound;
And he was mourn'd by one whose quiet grief,
Less loud, outlasts a people's for their chief.
Vain was all question ask'd her of the past,
And vain e'en menace — silent to the last;
She told nor whence nor why she left behind
Her all for one who seem'd but little kind.
Why did she love him? Curious fool! — be still —
Is human love the growth of human will?
To her he might be gentleness; the stern
Have deeper thoughts than your dull eyes discern,
And when they love, your smilers guess not how
Beats the strong heart, though less the lips avow.
They were not common links that form'd the chain
That bound to Lara Kaled's heart and brain;
But that wild tale she brook'd not to unfold,
And seal'd is now each lip that could have told.

XXIII.

They laid him in the earth, and on his breast,
Besides the wound that sent his soul to rest,
They found the scattered dints of many a scar
Which were not planted there in recent war:
Where'er had pass'd his summer years of life,
It seems they vanish'd in a land of strife;
But all unknown his glory or his guilt,
These only told that somewhere blood was spilt.
And Ezzelin, who might have spoke the past,
Return'd no more — that night appear'd his last.

XXIV.

Upon that night (a peasant's is the tale)
A Serf that cross'd the intervening vale,
When Cynthia's light almost gave way to morn,
And nearly veil'd in mist her waning horn;
A Serf, that rose betimes to thread the wood,
And hew the bough that bought his children's food,
Pass'd by the river that divides the plain
Of Otho's lands and Lara's broad domain:
He heard a tramp — a horse and horseman broke
From out the wood — before him was a cloak
Wrapt round some burthen at his saddle-bow,
Bent was his head, and hidden was his brow.
Roused by the sudden sight at such a time,
And some foreboding that it might be crime,
Himself unheeded watch'd the stranger's course,
Who reach'd the river, bounded from his horse,
And lifting thence the burthen which he bore,
Heaved up the bank, and dash'd it from the shore, [3]
Then paused, and look'd, and turn'd, and seem'd to watch,
And still another hurried glance would snatch,
And follow with his step the stream that flow'd,
As if even yet too much its surface show'd:
At once he started, stoop'd, around him strewn
The winter floods had scatter'd heaps of stone;
Of these the heaviest thence he gather'd there,
And slung them with a more than common care.
Meantime the Serf had crept to where unseen
Himself might safely mark what this might mean.
He caught a glimpse, as of a floating breast,
And something glitter'd starlike on the vest,
But ere he well could mark the buoyant trunk,
A massy fragment smote it, and it sunk:
It rose again, but indistinct to view,
And left the waters of a purple hue,
Then deeply disappear'd: the horseman gazed
Till ebb'd the latest eddy it had raised;
Then turning, vaulted on his pawing steed,
And instant spurr'd him into panting speed.
His face was mask'd — the features of the dead,
If dead it were, escaped the observer's dread;
But if in sooth a star its bosom bore,
Such is the badge that knighthood ever wore,
And such 'tis known Sir Ezzelin had worn
Upon the night that led to such a morn.
If thus he perish'd, Heaven receive his soul!
His undiscover'd limbs to ocean roll;
And charity upon the hope would dwell
It was not Lara's hand by which he fell.

XXV.

And Kaled — Lara — Ezzelin, are gone,
Alike without their monumental stone!
The first, all efforts vainly strove to wean
From lingering where her chieftain's blood had been.
Grief had so tamed a spirit once too proud,
Her tears were few, her wailing ne

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Byron

Lara. A Tale

The Serfs are glad through Lara's wide domain,
And slavery half forgets her feudal chain;
He, their unhoped, but unforgotten lord--
The long self-exiled chieftain is restored:
There be bright faces in the busy hall,
Bowls on the board, and banners on the wall;
Far chequering o'er the pictured window, plays
The unwonted fagots' hospitable blaze;
And gay retainers gather round the hearth,
With tongues all loudness, and with eyes all mirth.

II.
The chief of Lara is return'd again:
And why had Lara cross'd the bounding main?
Left by his sire, too young such loss to know,
Lord of himself;--that heritage of woe,
That fearful empire which the human breast
But holds to rob the heart within of rest!--
With none to check, and few to point in time
The thousand paths that slope the way to crime;
Then, when he most required commandment, then
Had Lara's daring boyhood govern'd men.
It skills not, boots not, step by step to trace
His youth through all the mazes of its race;
Short was the course his restlessness had run,
But long enough to leave him half undone.

III.
And Lara left in youth his fatherland;
But from the hour he waved his parting hand
Each trace wax'd fainter of his course, till all
Had nearly ceased his memory to recall.
His sire was dust, his vassals could declare,
'Twas all they knew, that Lara was not there;
Nor sent, nor came he, till conjecture grew
Cold in the many, anxious in the few.
His hall scarce echoes with his wonted name,
His portrait darkens in its fading frame,
Another chief consoled his destined bride,
The young forgot him, and the old had died;
'Yet doth he live!' exclaims the impatient heir,
And sighs for sables which he must not wear.
A hundred scutcheons deck with gloomy grace
The Laras' last and longest dwelling-place;
But one is absent from the mouldering file,
That now were welcome to that Gothic pile.

IV.
He comes at last in sudden loneliness,
And whence they know not, why they need not guess;
They more might marvel, when the greeting's o'er,
Not that he came, but came not long before:
No train is his beyond a single page,
Of foreign aspect, and of tender age.
Years had roll'd on, and fast they speed away
To those that wander as to those that stay;
But lack of tidings from another clime
Had lent a flagging wing to weary Time.
They see, they recognise, yet almost deem
The present dubious, or the past a dream.

He lives, nor yet is past his manhood's prime,
Though sear'd by toil, and something touch'd by time;
His faults, whate'er they were, if scarce forgot,
Might be untaught him by his varied lot;
Nor good nor ill of late were known, his name
Might yet uphold his patrimonial fame.
His soul in youth was haughty, but his sins
No more than pleasure from the stripling wins;
And such, if not yet harden'd in their course,
Might be redeem'd, nor ask a long remorse.

V.
And they indeed were changed--'tis quickly seen,
Whate'er he be, 'twas not what he had been:
That brow in furrow'd lines had fix'd at last,
And spake of passions, but of passion past;
The pride, but not the fire, of early days,
Coldness of mien, and carelessness of praise;
A high demeanour, and a glance that took
Their thoughts from others by a single look;
And that sarcastic levity of tongue,
The stinging of a heart the world hath stung,
That darts in seeming playfulness around,
And makes those feel that will not own the wound:
All these seem'd his, and something more beneath
Than glance could well reveal, or accent breathe.
Ambition, glory, love, the common aim
That some can conquer, and that all would claim,
Within his breast appear'd no more to strive,
Yet seem'd as lately they had been alive;
And some deep feeling it were vain to trace
At moments lighten'd o'er his livid face.

VI.
Not much he loved long question of the past,
Nor told of wondrous wilds, and deserts vast,
In those far lands where he had wander'd lone,
And--as himself would have it seem--unknown:
Yet these in vain his eye could scarcely scan,
Nor glean experience from his fellow-man;
But what he had beheld he shunn'd to show,
As hardly worth a stranger's care to know;
If still more prying such inquiry grew,
His brow fell darker, and his words more few.

VII.
Not unrejoiced to see him once again,
Warm was his welcome to the haunts of men;
Born of high lineage, link'd in high command,
He mingled with the magnates of his land;
Join'd the carousals of the great and gay,
And saw them smile or sigh their hours away;
But still he only saw, and did not share
The common pleasure or the general care;
He did not follow what they all pursued,
With hope still baffled, still to be renew'd;
Nor shadowy honour, nor substantial gain,
Nor beauty's preference, and the rival's pain:
Around him some mysterious circle thrown
Repell'd approach, and showed him still alone;
Upon his eye sate something of reproof,
That kept at least frivolity aloof;
And things more timid that beheld him near,
In silence gazed, or whisper'd mutual fear;
And they the wiser, friendlier few confess'd
They deem'd him better than his air express'd.

VIII.
'Twas strange--in youth all action and all life,
Burning for pleasure, not averse from strife;
Woman--the field--the ocean--all that gave
Promise of gladness, peril of a grave,
In turn he tried--he ransack'd all below,
And found his recompence in joy or woe,
No tame, trite medium; for his feelings sought
In that intenseness an escape from thought:
The tempest of his heart in scorn had gazed
On that the feebler elements hath raised;
The rapture of his heart had look'd on high,
And ask'd if greater dwelt beyond the sky:
Chain'd to excess, the slave of each extreme,
How woke he from the wildness of that dream?
Alas! he told not--but he did awake
To curse the wither'd heart that would not break.

IX.
Books, for his volume heretofore was Man,
With eye more curious he appear'd to scan,
And oft, in sudden mood, for many a day
From all communion he would start away:
And then, his rarely call'd attendants said,
Through night's long hours would sound his hurried tread
O'er the dark gallery, where his fathers frown'd
In rude but antique portraiture around.
They heard, but whisper'd--'that must not be known--
The sound of words less earthly than his own.
Yes, they who chose might smile, but some had seen
They scarce knew what, but more than should have been.
Why gazed he so upon the ghastly head
Which hands profane had gather'd from the dead,
That still beside his open'd volume lay,
As if to startle all save him away?
Why slept he not when others were at rest?
Why heard no music, and received no guest?
All was not well, they deem'd--but where the wrong?
Some knew perchance--but 'twere a tale too long;
And such besides were too discreetly wise,
To more than hint their knowledge in surmise;
But if they would--they could'--around the board,
Thus Lara's vassals prattled of their lord.

X.
It was the night--and Lara's glassy stream
The stars are studding, each with imaged beam:
So calm, the waters scarcely seem to stray,
And yet they glide like happiness away;
Reflecting far and fairy-like from high
The immortal lights that live along the sky:
Its banks are fringed with many a goodly tree,
And flowers the fairest that may feast the bee;
Such in her chaplet infant Dian wove,
And Innocence would offer to her love.
These deck the shore; the waves their channel make
In windings bright and mazy like the snake.
All was so still, so soft in earth and air,
You scarce would start to meet a spirit there;
Secure that nought of evil could delight
To walk in such a scene, on such a night!
It was a moment only for the good:
So Lara deem'd, nor longer there he stood,
But turn'd in silence to his castle-gate;
Such scene his soul no more could contemplate.
Such scene reminded him of other days,
Of skies more cloudless, moons of purer blaze,
Of nights more soft and frequent, hearts that now--
No — no — the storm may beat upon his brow,
Unfelt — unsparing — but a night like this,
A night of beauty mock'd such breast as his.

XI.
He turn'd within his solitary hall,
And his high shadow shot along the wall;
There were the painted forms of other times,
'Twas all they left of virtues or of crimes,
Save vague tradition; and the gloomy vaults
That hid their dust, their foibles, and their faults;
And half a column of the pompous page,
That speeds the specious tale from age to age:
When history's pen its praise or blame supplies,
And lies like truth, and still most truly lies.
He wandering mused, and as the moonbeam shone
Through the dim lattice o'er the floor of stone,
And the high fretted roof, and saints, that there
O'er Gothic windows knelt in pictured prayer,
Reflected in fantastic figures grew,
Like life, but not like mortal life, to view;
His bristling locks of sable, brow of gloom,
And the wide waving of his shaken plume,
Glanced like a spectre's attributes, and gave
His aspect all that terror gives the grave.

XII.
'Twas midnight — all was slumber; the lone light
Dimm'd in the lamp, as loth to break the night.
Hark! there be murmurs heard in Lara's hall--
A sound--voice--a shriek--a fearful call!
A long, loud shriek--and silence--did they hear
That frantic echo burst the sleeping ear?
They heard and rose, and tremulously brave
Rush where the sound invoked their aid to save;
They come with half-lit tapers in their hands,
And snatch'd in startled haste unbelted brands.

XIII.
Cold as the marble where his length was laid,
Pale as the beam that o'er his features play'd,
Was Lara stretch'd; his half-drawn sabre near,
Dropp'd it should seem in more than nature's fear;
Yet he was firm, or had been firm till now,
And still defiance knit his gather'd brow;
Though mix'd with terror, senseless as he lay,
There lived upon his lip the wish to slay;
Some half-form'd threat in utterance there had died,
Some imprecation of despairing pride;
His eye was almost seal'd, but not forsook
Even in its trance the gladiator's look,
That oft awake his aspect could disclose,
And now was fix'd in horrible repose.
They raise him — bear him: hush! he breathes, he speaks!
The swarthy blush recolours in his cheeks,
His lip resumes its red, his eye, though dim,
Rolls wide and wild, each slowly quivering limb
Recalls its function, but his words are strung
In terms that seem not of his native tongue;
Distinct but strange, enough they understand
To deem them accents of another land,
And such they were, and meant to meet an ear
That hears him not — alas! that cannot hear!

XIV.
His page approach'd, and he alone appear'd
To know the import of the words they heard;
And by the changes of his cheek and brow
They were not such as Lara should avow,
Nor he interpret, yet with less surprise
Than those around their chieftain's state he eyes,
But Lara's prostrate form he bent beside,
And in that tongue which seem'd his own replied,
And Lara heeds those tones that gently seem
To soothe away the horrors of his dream;
If dream it were, that thus could overthrow
A breast that needed not ideal woe.

XV.
Whate'er his frenzy dream'd or eye beheld,
If yet remember'd ne'er to be reveal'd,
Rests at his heart: the custom'd morning came,
And breathed new vigour in his shaking frame;
And solace sought he none from priest nor leech,
And soon the same in movement and in speech
As heretofore he fill'd the passing hours,
Nor less he smiles, nor more his forehead lours
Than these were wont; and if the coming night
Appear'd less welcome now to Lara's sight,
He to his marvelling vassals shew'd it not,
Whose shuddering proved their fear was less forgot.
In trembling pairs (alone they dared not) crawl
The astonish'd slaves, and shun the fated hall;
The waving banner, and the clapping door;
The rustling tapestry, and the echoing floor;
The long dim shadows of surrounding trees,
The flapping bat, the night song of the breeze;
Aught they behold or hear their thought appals
As evening saddens o'er the dark gray walls.

XVI.
Vain thought! that hour of ne'er unravell'd gloom
Came not again, or Lara could assume
A seeming of forgetfulness that made
His vassals more amazed nor less afraid--
Had memory vanish'd then with sense restored?
Since word, nor look, nor gesture of their lord
Betray'd a feeling that recall'd to these
That fever'd moment of his mind's disease.
Was it a dream? was his the voice that spoke
Those strange wild accents; his the cry that broke
Their slumber? his the oppress'd o'er-labour'd heart
That ceased to beat, the look that made them start?
Could he who thus had suffer'd, so forget
When such as saw that suffering shudder yet?
Or did that silence prove his memory fix'd
Too deep for words, indelible, unmix'd
In that corroding secresy which gnaws
The heart to shew the effect, but not the cause?
Not so in him; his breast had buried both,
Nor common gazers could discern the growth
Of thoughts that mortal lips must leave half told;
They choke the feeble words that would unfold.

XVII.
In him inexplicably mix'd appear'd
Much to be loved and hated, sought and fear'd;
Opinion varying o'er his hidden lot,
In praise or railing ne'er his name forgot;
His silence form'd a theme for others' prate--
They guess'd--they gazed--they fain would know his fate.
What had he been? what was he, thus unknown,
Who walk'd their world, his lineage only known?
A hater of his kind? yet some would say,
With them he could seem gay amidst the gay;
But own'd that smile, if oft observed and near,
Waned in its mirth and wither'd to a sneer;
That smile might reach his lip, but pass'd not by,
None e'er could trace its laughter to his eye:
Yet there was softness too in his regard,
At times, a heart as not by nature hard,
But once perceived, his spirit seem'd to chide
Such weakness, as unworthy of its pride,
And steel'd itself, as scorning to redeem
One doubt from others' half withheld esteem;
In self-inflicted penance of a breast
Which tenderness might once have wrung from rest;
In vigilance of grief that would compel
The soul to hate for having loved too well.

XVIII.
There was in him a vital scorn of all:
As if the worst had fall'n which could befall,
He stood a stranger in this breathing world,
An erring spirit from another hurled;
A thing of dark imaginings, that shaped
By choice the perils he by chance escaped;
But 'scaped in vain, for in their memory yet
His mind would half exult and half regret:
With more capacity for love than earth
Bestows on most of mortal mould and birth,
His early dreams of good outstripp'd the truth,
And troubled manhood follow'd baffled youth;
With thought of years in phantom chase misspent,
And wasted powers for better purpose lent;
And fiery passions that had pour'd their wrath
In hurried desolation o'er his path,
And left the better feelings all at strife
In wild reflection o'er his stormy life;
But haughty still, and loth himself to blame,
He call'd on Nature's self to share the shame,
And charged all faults upon the fleshly form
She gave to clog the soul, and feast the worm;
'Till he at last confounded good and ill,
And half mistook for fate the acts of will:
Too high for common selfishness, he could
At times resign his own for others' good,
But not in pity, not because he ought,
But in some strange perversity of thought,
That sway'd him onward with a secret pride
To do what few or none would do beside;
And this same impulse would, in tempting time,
Mislead his spirit equally to crime;
So much he soar'd beyond, or sunk beneath
The men with whom he felt condemn'd to breathe,
And long'd by good or ill to separate
Himself from all who shared his mortal state;
His mind abhorring this had fix'd her throne
Far from the world, in regions of her own;
Thus coldly passing all that pass'd below,
His blood in temperate seeming now would flow:
Ah! happier if it ne'er with guilt had glow'd,
But ever in that icy smoothness flow'd:
'Tis true, with other men their path he walk'd,
And like the rest in seeming did and talk'd,
Nor outraged Reason's rules by flaw nor start,
His madness was not of the head, but heart;
And rarely wander'd in his speech, or drew
His thoughts so forth as to offend the view.

XIX.
With all that chilling mystery of mien,
And seeming gladness to remain unseen,
He had (if 'twere not nature's boon) an art
Of fixing memory on another's heart:
It was not love, perchance — nor hate — nor aught
That words can image to express the thought;
But they who saw him did not see in vain,
And once beheld, would ask of him again:
And those to whom he spake remember'd well,
And on the words, however light, would dwell.
None knew nor how, nor why, but he entwined
Himself perforce around the hearer's mind;
There he was stamp'd, in liking, or in hate,
If greeted once; however brief the date
That friendship, pity, or aversion knew,
Still there within the inmost thought he grew.
You could not penetrate his soul, but found
Despite your wonder, to your own he wound.
His presence haunted still; and from the breast
He forced an all-unwilling interest;
Vain was the struggle in that mental net,
His spirit seem'd to dare you to forget!

XX.
There is a festival, where knights and dames,
And aught that wealth or lofty lineage claims,
Appear — a high-born and a welcomed guest
To Otho's hall came Lara with the rest.
The long carousal shakes the illumined hall,
Well speeds alike the banquet and the ball;
And the gay dance of bounding Beauty's train
Links grace and harmony in happiest chain:
Blest are the early hearts and gentle hands
That mingle there in well according bands;
It is a sight the careful brow might smooth,
And make Age smile, and dream itself to youth,
And Youth forget such hour was pass'd on earth,
So springs the exulting bosom to that mirth!

XXI.
And Lara gazed on these sedately glad,
His brow belied him if his soul was sad,
And his glance follow'd fast each fluttering fair,
Whose steps of lightness woke no echo there:
He lean'd against the lofty pillar nigh
With folded arms and long attentive eye,
Nor mark'd a glance so sternly fix'd on his,
Ill brook'd high Lara scrutiny like this:
At length he caught it, 'tis a face unknown,
But seems as searching his, and his alone;
Prying and dark, a stranger's by his mien,
Who still till now had gazed on him unseen;
At length encountering meets the mutual gaze
Of keen inquiry, and of mute amaze;
On Lara's glance emotion gathering grew,
As if distrusting that the stranger threw;
Along the stranger's aspect fix'd and stern
Flash'd more than thence the vulgar eye could learn.

XXII.
''Tis he!' the stranger cried, and those that heard
Re-echo'd fast and far the whisper'd word.
''Tis he!'--''Tis who?' they question far and near,
Till louder accents rang on Lara's ear;
So widely spread, few bosoms well could brook
The general marvel, or that single look;
But Lara stirr'd not, changed not, the surprise
That sprung at first to his arrested eyes
Seem'd now subsided, neither sunk nor raised
Glanced his eye round, though still the stranger gazed;
And drawing nigh, exclaim'd, with haughty sneer,
''Tis he!--how came he thence?--what doth he here?'

XXIII.
It were too much for Lara to pass by
Such question, so repeated fierce and high;
With look collected, but with accent cold,
More mildly firm than petulantly bold,
He turn'd, and met the inquisitorial tone--
'My name is Lara!--when thine own is known,
Doubt not my fitting answer to requite
The unlook'd for courtesy of such a knight.
'Tis Lara!--further wouldst thou mark or ask?
I shun no question, and I wear no mask.'
'Thou shunn'st no question! Ponder — is there none
Thy heart must answer, though thine ear would shun?
And deem'st thou me unknown too? Gaze again!
At least thy memory was not given in vain.
Oh! never canst thou cancel half her debt,
Eternity forbids thee to forget.'
With slow and searching glance upon his face
Grew Lara's eyes, but nothing there could trace
They knew, or chose to know--with dubious look
He deign'd no answer, but his head he shook,
And half contemptuous turn'd to pass away;
But the stern stranger motion'd him to stay.
'A word!--I charge thee stay, and answer here
To one, who, wert thou noble, were thy peer,
But as thou wast and art--nay, frown not, lord,
If false, 'tis easy to disprove the word--
But as thou wast and art, on thee looks down,
Distrusts thy smiles, but shakes not at thy frown.
Art thou not he? whose deeds--'

'Whate'er I be,
Words wild as these, accusers like to thee,
I list no further; those with whom they weigh
May hear the rest, nor venture to gainsay
The wondrous tale no doubt thy tongue can tell,
Which thus begins courteously and well.
Let Otho cherish here his polish'd guest,
To him my thanks and thoughts shall be express'd.'
And here their wondering host hath interposed--
'Whate'er there be between you undisclosed,
This is no time nor fitting place to mar
The mirthful meeting with a wordy war.
If thou, Sir Ezzelin, hast ought to show
Which it befits Count Lara's ear to know,
To-morrow, here, or elsewhere, as may best
Beseem your mutual judgment, speak the rest;
I pledge myself for thee, as not unknown,
Though, like Count Lara, now return'd alone
From other lands, almost a stranger grown;
And if from Lara's blood and gentle birth
I augur right of courage and of worth,
He will not that untainted line belie,
Nor aught that knighthood may accord deny.'
'To-morrow be it,' Ezzelin replied,
'And here our several worth and truth be tried:
I gage my life, my falchion to attest
My words, so may I mingle with the blest!'

What answers Lara? to its centre shrunk
His soul, in deep abstraction sudden sunk;
The words of many, and the eyes of all
That there were gather'd, seem'd on him to fall;
But his were silent, his appear'd to stray
In far forgetfulness away--away--
Alas! that heedlessness of all around
Bespoke remembrance only too profound.

XXIV.
'To-morrow!--ay, to-morrow!'--further word
Than those repeated none from Lara heard;
Upon his brow no outward passion spoke,
From his large eye no flashing anger broke;
Yet there was something fix'd in that low tone
Which shew'd resolve, determined, though unknown.
He seized his cloak--his head he slightly bow'd,
And passing Ezzelin he left the crowd;
And as he pass'd him, smiling met the frown
With which that chieftain's brow would bear him down:
It was nor smile of mirth, nor struggling pride
That curbs to scorn the wrath it cannot hide;
But that of one in his own heart secure
Of all that he would do, or could endure.
Could this mean peace? the calmness of the good?
Or guilt grown old in desperate hardihood?
Alas! too like in confidence are each
For man to trust to mortal look or speech;
From deeds, and deeds alone, may he discern
Truths which it wrings the unpractised heart to learn.

XXV.
And Lara call'd his page, and went his way--
Well could that stripling word or sign obey:
His only follower from those climes afar
Where the soul glows beneath a brighter star;
For Lara left the shore from whence he sprung,
In duty patient, and sedate though young;
Silent as him he served, his fate appears
Above his station, and beyond his years.
Though not unknown the tongue of Lara's land,
In such from him he rarely heard command;
But fleet his step, and clear his tones would come,
When Lara's lip breathed forth the words of home:
Those accents, as his native mountains dear,
Awake their absent echoes in his ear,
Friends', kindreds', parents', wonted voice recall,
Now lost, abjured, for one--his friend, his all:
For him earth now disclosed no other guide;
What marvel then he rarely left his side?

XXVI.
Light was his form, and darkly delicate
That brow whereon his native sun had sate,
But had not marr'd, though in his beams he grew,
The cheek where oft the unbidden blush shone through;
Yet not such blush as mounts when health would show
All the heart's hue in that delighted glow;
But 'twas a hectic tint of secret care
That for a burning moment fever'd there;
And the wild sparkle of his eye seem'd caught
From high, and lighten'd with electric thought,
Though its black orb those long low lashes' fringe
Had temper'd with a melancholy tinge;
Yet less of sorrow than of pride was there,
Or, if 'twere grief, a grief that none should share:
And pleased not him the sports that please his age,
The tricks of youth, the frolics of the page;
For hours on Lara he would fix his glance,
As all-forgotten in that watchful trance;
And from his chief withdrawn, he wander'd lone,
Brief were his answers, and his questions none;
His walk the wood, his sport some foreign book;
His resting-place the bank that curbs the brook;
He seem'd, like him he served, to live apart
From all that lures the eye, and fills the heart;
To know no brotherhood; and take from earth
No gift beyond that bitter boon--our birth.

XXVII.
If aught he loved, 'twas Lara; but was shown
His faith in reverence and in deeds alone;
In mute attention; and his care, which guess'd
Each wish, fulfill'd it ere the tongue express'd.
Still there was haughtiness in all he did,
A spirit deep that brook'd not to be chid;
His zeal, though more than that of servile hands,
In act alone obeys, his air commands;
As if 'twas Lara's less than
his
desire
That thus he served, but surely not for hire.
Slight were the tasks enjoin'd him by his lord,
To hold the stirrup, or to bear the sword;
To tune his lute, or, if he will'd it more,
On tomes of other times and tongues to pore;
But ne'er to mingle with the menial train,
To whom he shew'd not deference nor disdain,
But that well-worn reserve which proved he knew
No sympathy with that familiar crew:
His soul, whate'er his station or his stem,
Could bow to Lara, not descend to them.
Of higher birth he seem'd, and better days,
Nor mark of vulgar toil that hand betrays,
So femininely white it might bespeak
Another sex, when match'd with that smooth cheek,
But for his garb, and something in his gaze,
More wild and high than woman's eye betrays;
A latent fierceness that far more became
His fiery climate than his tender frame:
True, in his words it broke not from his breast,
But from his aspect might be more than guess'd.
Kaled his name, though rumour said he bore
Another ere he left his mountain shore;
For sometimes he would hear, however nigh,
That name repeated loud without reply,
As unfamiliar, or, if roused again,
Start to the sound, as but remember'd then;
Unless 'twas Lara's wonted voice that spake,
For then, ear, eyes, and heart would all awake.

XXVIII.
He had look'd down upon the festive hall,
And mark'd that sudden strife so mark'd of all;
And when the crowd around and near him told
Their wonder at the calmness of the bold,
Their marvel how the high-born Lara bore
Such insult from a stranger, doubly sore,
The colour of young Kaled went and came,
The lip of ashes, and the cheek of flame;
And o'er his brow the dampening heart-drops threw
The sickening iciness of that cold dew
That rises as the busy bosom sinks
With heavy thoughts from which reflection shrinks.
Yes — there be things which we must dream and dare
And execute ere thought be half aware:
Whate'er might Kaled's be, it was enow
To seal his lip, but agonise his brow.
He gazed on Ezzelin till Lara cast
That sidelong smile upon on the knight he pass'd;
When Kaled saw that smile his visage fell,
As if on something recognised right well;
His memory read in such a meaning more
Than Lara's aspect unto others wore.
Forward he sprung--a moment, both were gone,
And all within that hall seem'd left alone;
Each had so fix'd his eye on Lara's mien,
All had so mix'd their feelings with that scene,
That when his long dark shadow through the porch
No more relieves the glare of yon high torch,
Each pulse beats quicker, and all bosoms seem
To bound as doubting from too black a dream,
Such as we know is false, yet dread in sooth,
Because the worst is ever nearest truth.
And they are gone--but Ezzelin is there,
With thoughtful visage and imperious air;
But long remain'd not; ere an hour expired
He waved his hand to Otho, and retired.

XXIX.
The crowd are gone, the revellers at rest;
The courteous host, and all-approving guest,
Again to that accustom'd couch must creep
Where joy subsides, and sorrow sighs to sleep,
And man, o'erlabour'd with his being's strife,
Shrinks to that sweet forgetfulness of life:
There lie love's feverish hope. and cunning's guile,
Hate's working brain and lull'd ambition's wile;
O'er each vain eye oblivion's pinions wave,
And quench'd existence crouches in a grave.
What better name may slumber's bed become?
Night's sepulchre, the universal home,
Where weakness, strength, vice, virtue, sunk supine,
Alike in naked helplessness recline;
Glad for awhile to heave unconscious breath,
Yet wake to wrestle with the dread of death,
And shun, though day but dawn on ills increased,
That sleep, the loveliest, since it dreams the least.

CANTO THE SECOND.

I.
Night wanes--the vapours round the mountains curl'd,
Melt into morn, and Light awakes the world.
Man has another day to swell the past,
And lead him near to little, but his last;
But mighty Nature bounds as from her birth,
The sun is in the heavens, and life on earth;
Flowers in the valley, splendour in the beam,
Health on the gale, and freshness in the stream.
Immortal man! behold her glories shine,
And cry, exulting inly, 'They are thine!'
Gaze on, while yet thy gladden'd eye may see,
A morrow comes when they are not for thee;
And grieve what may above thy senseless bier,
Nor earth nor sky will yield a single tear;
Nor cloud shall gather more, nor leaf shall fall,
Nor gale breathe forth one sigh for thee, for all;
But creeping things shall revel in their spoil,
And fit thy clay to fertilise the soil.

II.
'Tis morn--'tis noon--assembled in the hall,
The gather'd chieftains come to Otho's call:
'Tis now the promised hour, that must proclaim
The life or death of Lara's future fame;
When Ezzelin his charge may here unfold,
And whatsoe'er the tale, it must be told.
His faith was pledged, and Lara's promise given,
To meet it in the eye of man and Heaven.
Why comes he not? Such truths to be divulged,
Methinks the accuser's rest is long indulged.

III.
The hour is past, and Lara too is there,
With self-confiding, coldly patient air;
Why comes not Ezzelin? The hour is past,
And murmurs rise, and Otho's brow's o'ercast,
'I know my friend! his faith I cannot fear,
If yet he be on earth, expect him here;
The roof that held him in the valley stands
Between my own and noble Lara's lands;
My halls from such a guest had honour gain'd,
Nor had Sir Ezzelin his host disdain'd,
But that some previous proof forbade his stay,
And urged him to prepare against to-day;
The word I pledge for his I pledge again,
Or will myself redeem his knighthood's stain.'

He ceased--and Lara answer'd, 'I am here
To lend at thy demand a listening ear,
To tales of evil from a stranger's tongue,
Whose words already might my heart have wrung,
But that I deem'd him scarcely less than mad,
Or, at the worst, a foe ignobly bad.
I know him not--but me it seems he knew
In lands where--but I must not trifle too:
Produce this babbler--or redeem the pledge;
Here in thy hold, and with thy falchion's edge.'

Proud Otho on the instant, reddening, threw
His glove on earth, and forth his sabre flew.
'The last alternative befits me best,
And thus I answer for mine absent guest.'

With cheek unchanging from its sallow gloom,
However near his own or other's tomb;
With hand, whose almost careless coolness spoke
Its grasp well-used to deal the sabre-stroke;
With eye, though calm, determined not to spare,
Did Lara too his willing weapon bare.
In vain the circling chieftains round them closed,
For Otho's frenzy would not be opposed;
And from his lip those words of insult fell--
His sword is good who can maintain them well.

IV.
Short was the conflict; furious, blindly rash,
Vain Otho gave his bosom to the gash:
He bled, and fell; but not with deadly wound,
Stretch'd by a dextrous sleight along the ground.
'Demand thy life!' He answer'd not: and then
From that red floor he ne'er had risen again,
For Lara's brow upon the moment grew
Almost to blackness in its demon hue;
And fiercer shook his angry falchion now
Than when his foe's was levell'd at his brow;
Then all was stern collectedness and art,
Now rose the unleaven'd hatred of his heart;
So little sparing to the foe he fell'd,
That when the approaching crowd his arm withheld
He almost turn'd the thirsty point on those
Who thus for mercy dared to interpose;
But to a moment's thought that purpose bent;
Yet look'd he on him still with eye intent,
As if he loathed the ineffectual strife
That left a foe, howe'er o'erthrown, with life;
As if to search how far the wound he gave
Had sent its victim onward to his grave.

V.
They raised the bleeding Otho, and the Leech
Forbade all present question, sign, and speech;
The others met within a neighbouring hall,
And he, incensed and heedless of them all,
The cause and conqueror in this sudden fray,
In haughty silence slowly strode away;
He back'd his steed, his homeward path he took,
Nor cast on Otho's tower a single look.

VI.
But where was he? that meteor of a night,
Who menaced but to disappear with light.
Where was this Ezzelin? who came and went
To leave no other trace of his intent.
He left the dome of Otho long ere morn,
In darkness, yet so well the path was worn
He could not miss it: near his dwelling lay;
But there he was not, and with coming day
Came fast inquiry, which unfolded nought
Except the absence of the chief it sought.
A chamber tenantless, a steed at rest,
His host alarm'd, his murmuring squires distress'd:
Their search extends along, around the path,
In dread to met the marks of prowlers' wrath:
But none are there, and not a brake hath borne
Nor gout of blood, nor shred of mantle torn;
Nor fall nor struggle hath defaced the grass,
Which still retains a mark where murder was;
Nor dabbling fingers left to tell the tale,
The bitter print of each convulsive nail,
When agonised hands that cease to guard,
Wound in that pang the smoothness of the sward.
Some such had been, if here a life was reft,
But these were not; and doubting hope is left;
And strange suspicion, whispering Lara's name,
Now daily mutters o'er his blacken'd fame;
Then sudden silent when his form appear'd,
Awaits the absence of the thing it fear'd;
Again its wonted wondering to renew,
And dye conjecture with a darker hue.

VII.
Days roll along, and Otho's wounds are heal'd,
But not his pride; and hate no more conceal'd:
He was a man of power, and Lara's foe,
The friend of all who sought to work him woe,
And from his country's justice now demands
Account of Ezzelin at Lara's hands.
Who else than Lara could have cause to fear
His presence? who had made him disappear,
If not the man on whom his menaced charge
Had sate too deeply were he left at large?
The general rumour ignorantly loud,
The mystery dearest to the curious crowd;
The seeming friendlessness of him who strove
To win no confidence, and wake no love;
The sweeping fierceness which his soul betray'd,
The skill with which he wielded his keen blade;
Where had his arm unwarlike caught that art?
Where had that fierceness grown upon his heart?
For it was not the blind capricious rage
A word can kindle and a word assuage;
But the deep working of a soul unmix'd
With aught of pity where its wrath had fix'd;
Such as long power and overgorged success
Concentrates into all that's merciless:
These, link'd with that desire which ever sways
Mankind, the rather to condemn than praise,
'Gainst Lara gathering raised at length a storm,
Such as himself might fear, and foes would form,
And he must answer for the absent head
Of one that haunts him still, alive or dead.

VIII.
Within that land was many a malcontent,
Who cursed the tyranny to which he bent;
That soil full many a wringing despot saw,
Who work'd his wantonness in form of law;
Long war without and frequent broil within
Had made a path for blood and giant sin,
That waited but a signal to begin
New havoc, such as civil discord blends,
Which knows no neuter, owns but foes or friends;
Fix'd in his feudal fortress each was lord,
In word and deed obey'd, in soul abhorr'd.
Thus Lara had inherited his lands,
And with them pining hearts and sluggish hands;
But that long absence from his native clime
Had left him stainless of oppression's crime,
And now, diverted by his milder sway,
All dread by slow degrees had worn away;
The menials felt their usual awe alone,
But more for him than them that fear was grown;
They deem'd him now unhappy, though at first
Their evil judgment augur'd of the worst,
And each long restless night, and silent mood,
Was traced to sickness, fed by solitude:
And though his lonely habits threw of late
Gloom o'er his chamber, cheerful was his gate;
For thence the wretched ne'er unsoothed withdrew,
For them, at least, his soul compassion knew.
Cold to the great, contemptuous to the high,
The humble pass'd not his unheeding eye;
Much he would speak not, but beneath his roof
They found asylum oft, and ne'er reproof.
And they who watch'd might mark that, day by day,
Some new retainers gather'd to his sway;
But most of late, since Ezzelin was lost,
He play'd the courteous lord and bounteous host:
Perchance his strife with Otho made him dread
Some snare prepared for his obnoxious head;
Whate'er his view, his favour more obtains
With these, the people, than his fellow thanes.
If this were policy, so far 'twas sound,
The million judged but of him as they found;
From him by sterner chiefs to exile driven
They but required a shelter, and 'twas given.
By him no peasant mourn'd his rifled cot,
And scarce the serf could murmur o'er his lot;
With him old avarice found its hoard secure,
With him contempt forbore to mock the poor;
Youth present cheer and promised recompense
Detain'd, till all too late to part from thence:
To hate he offer'd, with the coming change,
The deep reversion of delay'd revenge;
To love, long baffled by the unequal match,
The well-won charms success was sure to snatch.
All now was ripe, he waits but to proclaim
That slavery nothing which was still a name.
The moment came, the hour when Otho thought
Secure at last the vengeance which he sought
His summons found the destined criminal
Begirt by thousands in his swarming hall,
Fresh from their feudal fetters newly riven,
Defying earth, and confident of heaven.
That morning he had freed the soil-bound slaves
Who dig no land for tyrants but their graves!
Such is their cry--some watchword for the fight
Must vindicate the wrong, and warp the right;
Religion--freedom--vengeance--what you will,
A word's enough to raise mankind to kill;
Some factious phrase by cunning caught and spread,
That guilt may reign, and wolves and worms be fed!

IX.
Throughout that clime the feudal chiefs had gain'd
Such sway, their infant monarch hardly reign'd;
Now was the hour for faction's rebel growth,
The serfs contemn'd the one, and hated both:
They waited but a leader, and they found
One to their cause inseparably bound;
By circumstance compell'd to plunge again,
In self-defence, amidst the strife of men.
Cut off by some mysterious fate from those
Whom birth and nature meant not for his foes,
Had Lara from that night, to him accurst,
Prepared to meet, but not alone, the worst:
Some reason urged, whate'er it was, to shun
Inquiry into deeds at distance done;
By mingling with his own the cause of all,
E'en if he fail'd, he still delay'd his fall.
The sullen calm that long his bosom kept,
The storm that once had spent itself and slept,
Roused by events that seem'd foredoom'd to urge
His gloomy fortunes to their utmost verge,
Burst forth, and made him all he once had been,
And is again; he only changed the scene.
Light care had he for life, and less for fame,
But not less fitted for the desperate game:
He deem'd himself mark'd out for others' hate,
And mock'd at ruin, so they shared his fate.
What cared he for the freedom of the crowd?
He raised the humble but to bend the proud.
He had hoped quiet in his sullen lair,
But man and destiny beset him there:
Inured to hunters, he was found at bay;
And they must kill, they cannot snare the prey.
Stern, unambitious, silent he had been
Henceforth a calm spectator of life's scene;
But dragg'd again upon the arena, stood
A leader not unequal to the feud;
In voice--mien--gesture--savage nature spoke,
And from his eye the gladiator broke.

X.
What boots the oft-repeated tale of strife,
The feast of vultures, and the waste of life?
The varying fortune of each separate field,
The fierce that vanquish, and the faint that yield?
The smoking ruin, and the crumbled wall?
In this the struggle was the same with all;
Save that distemper'd passions lent their force
In bitterness that banish'd all remorse.
None sued, for Mercy know her cry was vain,
The captive died upon the battle-slain:
In either cause, one rage alone possess'd
The empire of the alternate victor's breast;
And they that smote for freedom or for sway,
Deem'd few were slain, while more remain'd to slay.
It was too late to check the wasting brand,
And Desolation reap'd the famish'd land;
The torch was lighted, and the flame was spread,
And Carnage smiled upon her daily bread.

XI.
Fresh with the nerve the new-born impulse strung,
The first success to Lara's numbers clung:
But that vain victory hath ruin'd all;
They form no longer to their leader's call:
In blind confusion on the foe they press,
And think to snatch is to secure success.
The lust of booty, and the thirst of hate,
Lure on the broken brigands to their fate:
In vain he doth whate'er a chief may do,
To check the headlong fury of that crew,
In vain their stubborn ardour he would tame,
The hand that kindles cannot quench the flame.
The wary foe alone hath turn'd their mood,
And shewn their rashness to that erring brood:
The feign'd retreat, the nightly ambuscade,
The daily harass, and the fight delay'd,
The long privation of the hoped supply,
The tentless rest beneath the humid sky,
The stubborn wall that mocks the leaguer's art,
And palls the patience of his baffled heart,
Of these they had not deem'd: the battle-day
They could encounter as a veteran may;
But more preferr'd the fury of the strife,
And present death, to hourly suffering life:
And famine wrings, and fever sweeps away
His numbers melting fast from their array;
Intemperate triumph fades to discontent,
And Lara's soul alone seems still unbent:
But few remain to aid his voice and hand,
And thousands dwindled to a scanty band:
Desperate, though few, the last and best remain'd
To mourn the discipline they late disdain'd.
One hope survives, the frontier is not far,
And thence they may escape from native war;
And bear within them to the neighbouring state
An exile's sorrows, or an outlaw's hate:
Hard is the task their fatherland to quit,
But harder still to perish or submit.

XII.
It is resolved--they march--consenting Night
Guides with her star their dim and torchless flight;
Already they perceive its tranquil beam
Sleep on the surface of the barrier stream;
Already they descry--Is yon the bank?
Away! 'tis lined with many a hostile rank.
Return or fly!--What glitters in the rear?
'Tis Otho's banner--the pursuer's spear!
Are those the shepherds' fires upon the height?
Alas! they blaze too widely for the flight:
Cut off from hope, and compass'd in the toil,
Less blood, perchance, hath bought a richer spoil!

XIII.
A moment's pause--'tis but to breathe their band
Or shall they onward press, or here withstand?
It matters little--if they charge the foes
Who by their border-stream their march oppose,
Some few, perchance, may break and pass the line,
However link'd to baffle such design.
'The charge be ours! to wait for their assault
Were fate well worthy of a coward's halt.'
Forth flies each sabre, rein'd is every steed,
And the next word shall scarce outstrip the deed:
In the next tone of Lara's gathering breath
How many shall but hear the voice of death!

XIV.
His blade is bared--in him there is an air
As deep, but far too tranquil for despair;
A something of indifference more than then
Becomes the bravest, if they feel for men.
He turn'd his eye on Kaled, ever near,
And still too faithful to betray one fear;
Perchance 'twas but the moon's dim twilight threw
Along his aspect an unwonted hue
Of mournful paleness, whose deep tint express'd
The truth, and not the terror of his breast.
This Lara mark'd, and laid his hand on his:
It trembled not in such an hour as this;
His lip was silent, scarcely beat his heart,
His eye alone proclaim'd--
'We will not part!
Thy band may perish, or thy friends may flee,
Farewell to life, but not adieu to thee!'

The word hath pass'd his lips, and onward driven,
Pours the link'd band through ranks asunder riven;
Well has each steed obey'd the armed heel,
And flash the scimitars, and rings the steel;
Outnumber'd, not outbraved, they still oppose
Despair to daring, and a front to foes;
And blood is mingled with the dashing stream,
Which runs all redly till the morning beam.

XV.
Commanding, aiding, animating all,
Where foe appear'd to press, or friend to fall,
Cheers Lara's voice, and waves or strikes his steel,
Inspiring hope himself had ceased to feel.
None fled, for well they knew that flight were vain,
But those that waver turn to smite again,
While yet they find the firmest of the foe
Recoil before their leader's look and blow;
Now girt with numbers, now almost alone,
He foils their ranks, or reunites his own;
Himself he spared not--once they seem'd to fly--
Now was the time, he waved his hand on high,
And shook--Why sudden droops that plumed crest?
The shaft is sped--the arrow's in his breast!
That fatal gesture left the unguarded side,
And Death hath stricken down yon arm of pride.
The word of triumph fainted from his tongue;
That hand, so raised, how droopingly it hung!
But yet the sword instinctively retains,
Though from its fellow shrink the falling reins;
These Kaled snatches: dizzy with the blow,
And senseless bending o'er his saddle-bow
Perceives not Lara that his anxious page
Beguiles his charger from the combat's rage:
Meantime his followers charge and charge again;
Too mix'd the slayers now to heed the slain!

XVI.
Day glimmers on the dying and the dead,
The cloven cuirass, and the helmless head;
The war-horse masterless is on the earth,
And that last gasp hath burst his bloody girth:
And near, yet quivering with what life remain'd,
The heel that urged him, and the hand that rein'd:
And some too near that rolling torrent lie,
Whose waters mock the lip of those that die;
That panting thirst which scorches in the breath
Of those that die the soldier's fiery death,
In vain impels the burning mouth to crave
One drop--the last--to cool it for the grave;
With feeble and convulsive effort swept
Their limbs along the crimson'd turf have crept:
The faint remains of life such struggles waste,
But yet they reach the stream, and bend to taste:
They feel its freshness, and almost partake--
Why pause?--No further thirst have they to slake--
It is unquench'd, and yet they feel it not--
It was an agony--but now forgot!

XVII.
Beneath a lime, remoter from the scene,
Where but for him that strife had never been,
A breathing but devoted warrior lay:
'Twas Lara bleeding fast from life away.
His follower once, and now his only guide,
Kneels Kaled watchful o'er his welling side,
And with his scarf would stanch the tides that rush
With each convulsion in a blacker gush;
And then, as his faint breathing waxes low,
In feebler, not less fatal tricklings flow:
He scarce can speak, but motions him 'tis vain,
And merely adds another throb to pain.
He clasps the hand that pang which would assuage,
And sadly smiles his thanks to that dark page,
Who nothing fears, nor feels, nor heeds, nor sees,
Save that damp brow which rests upon his knees;
Save that pale aspect, where the eye, though dim,
Held all the light that shone on earth for him.

XVIII.
The foe arrives, who long had search'd the field,
Their triumph nought till Lara too should yield;
They would remove him, but they see 'twere vain,
And he regards them with a calm disdain,
That rose to reconcile him with his fate,
And that escape to death from living hate:
And Otho comes, and leaping from his steed,
Looks on the bleeding foe that made him bleed,
And questions of his state; he answers not,
Scarce glances on him as on one forgot,
And turns to Kaled:--each remaining word,
They understood not, if distinctly heard;
His dying tones are in that other tongue,
To which some strange remembrance wildly clung.
They spake of other scenes, but what--is known
To Kaled, whom their meaning reach'd alone;
And he replied, though faintly, to their sound,
While gazed the rest in dumb amazement round:
They seem'd even then--that twain--unto the last
To half forget the present in the past;
To share between themselves some separate fate,
Whose darkness none beside should penetrate.

XIX.
Their words though faint were many — from the tone
Their import those who heard could judge alone;
From this, you might have deem'd young Kaled's death
More near than Lara's by his voice and breath,
So sad, so deep, and hesitating broke
The accents his scarce-moving pale lips spoke;
But Lara's voice, though low, at first was clear
And calm, till murmuring death gasp'd hoarsely near:
But from his visage little could we guess,
So unrepentant, dark, and passionless,
Save that when struggling nearer to his last,
Upon that page his eye was kindly cast;
And once, as Kaled's answering accents ceased,
Rose Lara's hand, and pointed to the East:
Whether (as then the breaking sun from high
Roll'd back the clouds) the morrow caught his eye,
Or that 'twas chance, or some remember'd scene
That raised his arm to point where such had been,
Scarce Kaled seem'd to know, but turn'd away,
As if his heart abhorr'd that coming day,
And shrunk his glance before that morning light
To look on Lara's brow — where all grew night.
Yet sense seem'd left, though better were its loss;
For when one near display'd the absolving cross,
And proffer'd to his touch the holy bead,
Of which his parting soul might own the need,
He look'd upon it with an eye profane,
And smiled — Heaven pardon! if 'twere with disdain;
And Kaled, though he spoke not, nor withdrew
From Lara's face his fix'd despairing view,
With brow repulsive, and with gesture swift,
Flung back the hand which held the sacred gift,
As if such but disturb'd the expiring man,
Nor seem'd to know his life but then began,
The life immortal infinite, secure,
To all for whom that cross hath made it sure!

XX.
But gasping heaved the breath that Lara drew,
And dull the film along his dim eye grew;
His limbs stretch'd fluttering, and his head droop'd o'er
The weak yet still untiring knee that bore:
He press'd the hand he held upon his heart--
It beats no more, but Kaled will not part
With the cold grasp, but feels, and feels in vain,
For that faint throb which answers not again.
'It beats!' --Away, thou dreamer! he is gone--
It once was Lara which thou look'st upon.

XXI.
He gazed, as if not yet had pass'd away
The haughty spirit of that humble clay;
And those around have roused him from his trance,
But cannot tear from thence his fixed glance;
And when in raising him from where he bore
Within his arms the form that felt no more,
He saw the head his breast would still sustain,
Roll down like earth to earth upon the plain;
He did not dash himself thereby, nor tear
The glossy tendrils of his raven hair,
But strove to stand and gaze, but reel'd and fell,
Scarce breathing more than that he loved so well.
Than that he lov'd! Oh! never yet beneath
The breast of man such trusty love may breathe!
That trying moment hath at once reveal'd
The secret long and yet but half conceal'd;
In baring to revive that lifeless breast,
Its grief seem'd ended, but the sex confess'd;
And life return'd, and Kaled felt no shame--
What now to her was Womanhood or Fame?

XXII.
And Lara sleeps not where his fathers sleep,
But where he died his grave was dug as deep;
Nor is his mortal slumber less profound,
Though priest nor bless'd, nor marble deck'd the mound;
And he was mourn'd by one whose quiet grief,
Less loud, outlasts a people's for their chief.
Vain was all question ask'd her of the past,
And vain e'en menace — silent to the last;
She told nor whence nor why she left behind
Her all for one who seem'd but little kind.
Why did she love him? Curious fool!--be still--
Is human love the growth of human will?
To her he might be gentleness; the stern
Have deeper thoughts than your dull eyes discern,
And when they love, your smilers guess not how
Beats the strong heart, though less the lips avow.
They were not common links that form'd the chain
That bound to Lara Kaled's heart and brain;
But that wild tale she brook'd not to unfold,
And seal'd is now each lip that could have told.

XXIII.
They laid him in the earth, and on his breast,
Besides the wound that sent his soul to rest,
They found the scattered dints of many a scar
Which were not planted there in recent war:
Where'er had pass'd his summer years of life,
It seems they vanish'd in a land of strife;
But all unknown his glory or his guilt,
These only told that somewhere blood was spilt.
And Ezzelin, who might have spoke the past,
Return'd no more--that night appear'd his last.

XXIV.
Upon that night (a peasant's is the tale)
A Serf that cross'd the intervening vale,
When Cynthia's light almost gave way to morn,
And nearly veil'd in mist her waning horn;
A Serf, that rose betimes to thread the wood,
And hew the bough that bought his children's food,
Pass'd by the river that divides the plain
Of Otho's lands and Lara's broad domain:
He heard a tramp--a horse and horseman broke
From out the wood--before him was a cloak
Wrapt round some burthen at his saddle-bow,
Bent was his head, and hidden was his brow.
Roused by the sudden sight at such a time,
And some foreboding that it might be crime,
Himself unheeded watch'd the stranger's course,
Who reach'd the river, bounded from his horse,
And lifting thence the burthen which he bore,
Heaved up the bank, and dash'd it from the shore,
Then paused, and look'd, and turn'd, and seem'd to watch,
And still another hurried glance would snatch,
And follow with his step the stream that flow'd,
As if even yet too much its surface show'd:
At once he started, stoop'd, around him strewn
The winter floods had scatter'd heaps of stone;
Of these the heaviest thence he gather'd there,
And slung them with a more than common care.
Meantime the Serf had crept to where unseen
Himself might safely mark what this might mean.
He caught a glimpse, as of a floating breast,
And something glitter'd starlike on the vest,
But ere he well could mark the buoyant trunk,
A massy fragment smote it, and it sunk:
It rose again, but indistinct to view,
And left the waters of a purple hue,
Then deeply disappear'd: the horseman gazed
Till ebb'd the latest eddy it had raised;
Then turning, vaulted on his pawing steed,
And instant spurr'd him into panting speed.
His face was mask'd--the features of the dead,
If dead it were, escaped the observer's dread;
But if in sooth a star its bosom bore,
Such is the badge that knighthood ever wore,
And such 'tis known Sir Ezzelin had worn
Upon the night that led to such a morn.
If thus he perish'd, Heaven receive his soul!
His undiscover'd limbs to ocean roll;
And charity upon the hope would dwell
It was not Lara's hand by which he fell.

XXV.
And Kaled--Lara--Ezzelin, are gone,
Alike without their monumental stone!
The first, all efforts vainly strove to wean
From lingering where her chieftain's blood had been.
Grief had so tamed a spirit once too proud,
Her tears were few, her wailing never loud;
But furious would you tear her from the spot
Where yet she scarce believed that he was not,
Her eye shot forth with all the living fire
That haunts the tigress in her whelpless ire;
But left to waste her weary moments there,
She talk'd all idly unto shapes of air,
Such as the busy brain of Sorrow paints,
And woos to listen to her fond complaints;
And she would sit beneath the very tree,
Where lay his drooping head upon her knee;
And in that posture where she saw him fall,
His words, his looks, his dying grasp recall;
And she had shorn, but saved her raven hair,
And oft would snatch it from her bosom there,
And fold and press it gently to the ground,
As if she stanch'd anew some phantom's wound.
Herself would question, and for him reply;
Then rising, start, and beckon him to fly
From some imagined spectre in pursuit;
Then seat her down upon some linden's root,
And hide her visage with her meagre hand,
Or trace strange characters along the sand.--
This could not last--she lies by him she loved;
Her tale untold--her truth too dearly proved.

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Ubiquitous

Being one who observes is a benefit.
Life is to be experienced and adventured,
To gain insight.

Many express no wish to stretch.
Finding a comfort in a daily sameness.
A routine that flows in a rotation.
And this for them is the best.

Being everywhere is also ridiculous.
Is it?
Is the mind 'that' tremendous?
Is it possible to comprehend,
From ubiquitous activities that see no end?

Those who achieve knowledge and wisdom,
From travels they mention...
Seem to be aware of everything.
And this is what experiencing means and brings.
At least lives and possibilities are being explored.

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The Poor Know manythings what the rich may not know..

Plenty of food on the table,
plenty of restaurants that serve,
plenty of appetite that we have,
Eat and wash it with drinks soft and hard,
come back home and sleep on the bed,
middle of the night, start the burbs,
then lie down to have the sleep,
again, burps, burps with rolling gas,
sometimes hiccups accompany and rocks,
look for the antacid in the shelves,
in the drawer and kitchen cabinets,
if find a sachet or a bottle,
that seems to be a God,
mix it with water and gulp it,
slowly the stomach is quietened,
rumbles not heard, the gas is not out,
the sleep arrives and we sleep..
A poor man who has no food,
may sleep silently in trance.
A poor man who has no comfort,
may not feel anything uncomfortable.
Those who know the comfort,
can differentiate the difference,
those who are poor and ill,
are comfortable with these evils.
as they know not meaning for good life,
as they are not aware of,
what they have to strive.

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Dark Goes Invain

alone in the dark room
is like a miracle
those who love bright
and lives very straight

I too have the same
but nobody is to blame
because if you are confident
dark goes invain

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Who Am I?

Who I'm I in the world?
I ask myself
I'm neither a bird
Nor a wooden shelf

But a vacuum of ignorance.
That describes me perfectly

Being hate by those who I love
And being ashamed of what I have
Being disappointed by my only lover
I even feel better to be judged by my cover
Because inside it's a mess
And the worries about love have made it worse

Darling you know me better
Tell me who I am in the world
I try to think more and greater
But without you I've failed

If I'm nothing in the world
I do not exist in your heart.

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Own World

Come here,
Quick!
We're hoping you can help us,
Make some sense of this.

We are diehard conformists.
To that we admit.
And those we chose to ridicule...
Had been the ones we selected,
As 'do-nothing' mavericks.
Shouldn't we have been the ones,
To have prospered?
To benefit from our loyalty.
The ones to make the gains...
With lifestyles to benefit?

In fact...
They had been those we ostracized.
And we made sure of it!
Now they appear to have profited...
From anti-social behavior,
That declared them lunatics.

Come here,
Quick!
Do you have an explanation,
For any of this?

'Well,
As an observer...
I can only offer this quip.
It seems those who chose to live free,
Of restrictions...
Are happier they did and did not quit.
Regardless of who thought what of them.
Or who passed judgement on their 'craziness'!

They do not seem to be complaining at all,
About an economic crisis...
That has marched the rest of you,
To the edge of an abyss.

And here you are filled with anger.
The ones gritting your teeth.
And spitting expletives.

You stand in a group...
Shouting in fits.
Cursing others loudly.
And with clenched fists!

Shouldn't that be the actions of those you claim...
To have been the ones isolated and brought to shame?
Didn't you say,
You all had gone out of your way...
To smear their reputations and ruin their names? '

Yeah,
But...

'I thank God I do not live in this neighborhood! '

Where do you live?

'I've been told I live in my own world years ago.
And I am so glad I decided to make it comfortable.

Thank you for asking for my opinion.
I thought I had been totally ignored.

You don't mind if I leave,
And take my peace of mind with me?
I've had it for so long...
Your question caught me off guard! '

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Lenexa Baptist Church Poet Tom Zart's = HEAVEN’S HEROES

HEAVEN’S HEROES


Winning souls tend to change everything
Including who and what we are.
When our darkness within transforms to light
And our eyes have the luster of a star.

We must always pray for the lost among us
Who eagerly race toward the wrong direction.
So they may know their own repentance
Blessed by God’s, grace, love and protection.

All of Heaven’s heroes have suffered remorse
From hate, fear, lust, loneliness and war.
They do what they do with deliverance of heart
Defeating the dark side of life and more.

Noah found safety within the beams of his ark
To endure Heaven’s cleansing of earth.
Moses the deliverer, climbed a mountain
Descending with God’s guidelines of worth.

David the shepherd, a boy among men
Slew evil’s giant with a flying stone.
Samson the strong man broke from his chains
Toppling the temple with God’s help alone.

Jonah was swallowed by a monster fish
To be cast up on shore with a prophecy to tell.
Jesus of Nazareth was nailed to the cross
And without His forgiveness we’re doomed to fail.

Lord I’ll feel blessed to greet all your heroes
When it is my time to escape my woes.
I’ll clutch their hands and kiss their face
As we celebrate the journey we chose.


GOD’S WISPERS


Think of young David when he faced the giant
With nothing but his sling and five stones.
He listened to God and ran forth to glory
Toppling Goliath for birds, to pluck his bones.

When we fully surrender our soul to God
Our life is complete without blame.
Our heart beats to the joy of fulfillment
As we no longer shoulder our shame.

The more we heed to the whispers of God
The more we achieve His glorious goal.
All through life we escape temptation
Responding to evil with pureness of soul.

God keeps no secrets from all who love Him
When they repent and obey His voice.
He speaks to those who truly conform
And follow His doctrine by choice.

When we listen to God our fears fade away
And all He has proclaimed shall be.
Our trust in His love, grace and protection
Allows us to be modified, by Thee.


DAVID AND GOLIATH


David, the shepherd, a tender of sheep
Would pray to his God before he would sleep.
One day he awoke to the roar of beasts
A bear and a lion in search of a feast.

David slew both with his knife and his hand
Though still just a boy and not yet a man.
The Lord's love for David was proven once again
When he challenged the champion of the Philistine men.

Goliath's beastly fingers and hideous toes
Made David more selective with the stones that he chose.
One for the giant, he knew he would slay
Four more for his brothers who were laughing that day.

The giant told David, 'I'll tear you apart;
The birds and the animals shall feast on your heart.'
David yelled back, 'I'll soon see you dead
And when I'm through I'll cut off your head! '

The worst of all men, drew high with his arm
Came forth to David to do him great harm.
The youth jumped ahead just as quick as a lynx
A stone from his sling popped the giant where he thinks.

Blood and bone spewed forth as that devil fell down;
A thousand pound soldier lie dead on the ground.
With Goliath's own sword, David chopped off his head
Then took it to Jerusalem, to prove he was dead.


JESUS


There once was a traveler who was driven out of town
On his shoulders was a burden that pushed him to the ground.

On his head was a crown made of thorns from a bush
And the street was so crowded the guards had to push.

They beat him with nine tails each step of the way
Where Christ found the strength, only God could say.

They stopped at some sandstone at the top of a hill
There was a round hole the cross would soon fill.

They made him lie down upon that wood cross
There they nailed him to prove who was boss.

The beam was up-ended by the muscles of men
As it plunged down the hole it was carved to fit in.

Then Jesus looked up at the lightning that flew
And cried, 'God, My Father, they know not what they do.'

They crucified our Lord as his blood flowed to earth
If inside you believe, you feel what love is worth.

They wrapped him in loincloth when he was taken down
Then carefully removed his scarlet stained crown.

They placed him in a cave with a large, round, stone door
Before sealing forever, they lay lilies on the floor.

Though it wasn't very long, and the stone was rolled away
For Jesus resurrected, to rise on Easter Day!


NOAH'S ARK


God saw that wickedness had fouled his earth
To a state it could no longer be ignored.
While grieving sadly He chose to destroy it
Though Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.

The Lord told Noah to fashion a great ark
Made of gopher wood and pitch, outside and in.
Three hundred cubits long and fifty in width
Before the world he knew, would come to its end.

Bring your food, your sons, your wife and your son's wives
And two of every living sort, be with thee.
For with you I'll establish my covenant
And all who are with thee shall survive the sea.

They all marched forth, two by two, into the ark
And waited for God's waters to flood the land.
For forty days and for forty nights
The fountains of the deep consumed beast and man.

Inside the ark nostrils kept their breath of life
As the high waters prevailed upon the earth.
Every mountain and every hilltop vanished
As all within felt the power of God's worth.

The waters from heaven were finally restrained
And after ten months the tops of mountains were seen.
God had blessed Noah and all who had joined him
To multiply, plant and fulfill His dream.


SERVING GOD'S PURPOSE


There’s only one trip through life and that’s it;
So what are you leaving for those left behind?
Will they miss your wisdom and unselfish love
Or will there be laughter, happiness and words unkind?

You may live your life as wicked as the devil
And regardless of your sins God still loves you.
But when you serve His purpose and intent
You’re transformed by His grace and renew.

You can’t convince me nothing really happens
When righteous men gather, confess and pray.
God has His purpose for all who submit
To His commandments for believers to obey.

Always be ready to fight your battles on your knees
Before and after you are tested by time.
Never underestimate the power of God’s will
And what happens when your purpose is “Divine”.


ACCOUNTABILITY


All of us are accountable to the judgment of God
And when we die without Christ our sadness never ends.
By the deepest longings of our heart and soul
We serve our Lord, ourselves, family and friends.

With accountability we apply God’s wisdom
And His protection to promote a righteous life.
We receive His grace by our demeanor
As He leads us through sadness and strife.

All through the Bible over and over again
The chronicle of life is our accountability.
The devil is a roaring lion feasting on souls
Corrupting man’s heart with dominance and disability.

Always remember you are never alone
And God is aware of all things around you.
Through faith, prayer, trust, love and comment
We find fulfillment and purpose in the life we pursue.


ABRAHAM


Abraham is said to be the father of the Jewish faith
The first to believe in the power of one great god alone.
Instead of the many his forefather's worshiped
In Abraham's heart there was only room for one to be known.

With his wife Sarah and his nephew Lot
At 75 he departed to seek the Promised Land.
With followers he arrived at a place called Canaan
Where he prospered by hard work and God's hand.

Then famine in the land drove him to Egypt
Where Abraham and Lot grew rich in cattle, silver and gold.
They had so many sheep that their shepherds quarreled
Over grazing land, water and jealousies of old.

Abraham and Lot agreed to live separate
Lot chose Sodom and Abraham Hebron.
When the armies of four great kings took Lot captive
Abraham and 318 of his bravest, to the rescue, were gone.

Afterward, to Sodom and neighboring Gomorrah
Lot was brought back with his worldly goods and treasure.
But soon the inhabitants of both became wicked
Shamming the Lord and shunning His measure.

God told Abraham, I will soon demolish them
For there is not one of righteousness among all.
However, he warned Lot to escape with his wife
And not to look back and ignore His law.

Lot's wife looked back and was transformed to salt
While Lot, through observance of word, was spared.
Abraham, then 99 and Sarah at 90
Were still without child in the life they shared.

Arabs claim they are descendant from Ishmael,
At 86 Abraham's son, by Sarah's handmaiden, Hagar.
Sarah believed she was too old to bare a child
So she gave Hagar to Abraham to conceive a star.

God had promised Abraham a son by Sarah
And that his descendants will out number the stars.
In time a boy named Isaac was born
Free of all birth defects, disease and scars.

Later when Isaac was still just a child
God chose to test Abraham again.
Commanding him to take Isaac to the top of a mountain
And there, by sacrifice, put his life to its end.

Abraham built an alter of wood sticks, pilled high
Bound up Isaac and laid him within them.
Just as he was about to put the knife to his son
God stopped him and said: lay not thy hand upon him.

The Lord told Abraham, I know now you fear Me
Seeing that you have not withheld your son.
Then Abraham sacrificed a lamb provided
And God blessed him for what he had done.

The Bible says Abraham died at 175
And that Sarah lived to be 127.
Christians and Muslims both traced their faith
To Abraham's commitment to one God and Heaven.


‎ IT'S NOT HOW WE START IT'S HOW WE FINISH

It's not how we start it's how we finish
That lets others know how much we care.
We make our mistakes and pray to God
For all His blessings beyond compare.

God and Satan both whisper to every ear
For they know our soul control our passions.
The outcomes of life both joyful and sad
Teach which voice rewards or rations.

All Heaven's heroes except for Jesus
Had to be forgiven for their willingness to stray.
They let God down and paid the price
And their stories still relate today.


By God’s Poet Tom Zart
Most Published Poet
On The Web

To Read Or Listen To Tom Zart’s Poems Go To =

http: //new.pivtr.com/en/schedule/tom-zart/
http: //www.veteranstodayforum.com/viewforum.php? f=38

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Lenexa Baptist Church Poet Tom Zart's =POEMS of CHRISTIAN FAITH

“TOM ZART’S POEMS OF CHRISTIAN FAITH”

By God's Poet Tom Zart! = Most Published Poet On The Web!


‎ IT'S NOT HOW WE START IT'S HOW WE FINISH

It's not how we start it's how we finish
That lets others know how much we care.
We make our mistakes and pray to God
For all His blessings beyond compare.

God and Satan both whisper to every ear
For they know our soul control our passions.
The outcomes of life both joyful and sad
Teach which voice rewards or rations.

All Heaven's heroes except for Jesus
Had to be forgiven for their willingness to stray.
They let God down and paid the price
And their stories still relate today.


GOD WANTS US TO LOVE HIM


Jesus knocks on each and every door
To see who will invite him in to dine.
The power of His will can change forever
All which is evil to become divine.

God wants us to love Him, as He loves us
Finding spiritual fulfillment through His grace.
All who refuse to open their hearts
Will be unprotected from temptation and disgrace.

Whatever our pain, suffering and sorrow
Jesus knows exactly how we feel.
He is ready and able to help us with our needs
When we come to Him in prayer with nothing to conceal.

Believers have no problem hearing God’s voice
It’s the only one that speaks from the heart.
He’ll walk with us every step we take
If we just accept His love, and never part.


STAND UP FOR GOD


Christians are connected to God’s power and magnificence
Who has authority over everything that transpires.
He loves to hear the prayers from our heart
And provide us blessings that fulfill our desires.

Because God was the first to love us completely
He always gives us more than we deserve.
It’s up to us to stand up for God
And glorify His love by our willingness to serve.

There’s nothing more exciting and satisfying
Than our companionship with Jesus our Lord.
He teaches us what to shun, reject and avoid
Having consequences we could never afford.

Our lives are transformed and are never the same
Once Jesus has taken His appropriate place.
On the throne of our heart, conscience and soul
To deliver us from Satan’s shame, dishonor and disgrace.


FIGHT YOUR BATTLES ON YOUR KNEES


What does it mean to fight our battles on our knees
Simply-that you and I must depend on prayer.
We must invest our time in seeking the Lord
Listening for His answer to our despair.

Why should we fight our battles on our knees
Because it is the Biblical pattern of love.
Prayer connects us with the power of God’s will
As we surrender to His divineness above.

God causes all things to work together
For the good of those who willfully serve Him.
As we focus on faith and not our self
He gives us our hope to overcome the grim.

If you wish a new start, begin with prayer
And fall on your face before God.
It’s the last thing the devil wishes us to do
As the tongues of the unfaithful calls us odd.

Praying empowers us with comfort of heart
As we submit to the wisdom of God’s voice.
If you wish to feel happy, delivered and complete
You must heed to His whispers by choice.


MOMENT BY MOMENT


Moment by moment we must listen to our sprit
As God speaks through our soul within.
When we fail to comply and go our own way
We’re disobedient and suffer the punishment of sin.

The Devil whispers in each and every ear
And his favorite tool of corruption is fear.
But when we totally summit to our faith in God
We turn away from temptation and our destiny is clear.

Remember all the times you have had shameful thoughts
And there was a voice that warned you to beware.
Our holey sprit helps us stay hole and complete
When we heed to its call without hesitation or despair.

Surrender your soul to the power of God
And your life will be a testimony of love.
Surrender your heart to the deeds of evil
And you will loose your deliverance above.


SERVING GOD'S PURPOSE


There’s only one trip through life and that’s it;
So what are you leaving for those left behind?
Will they miss your wisdom and unselfish love
Or will there be laughter, happiness and words unkind?

You may live your life as wicked as the devil
And regardless of your sins God still loves you.
But when you serve His purpose and intent
You’re transformed by His grace and renew.

You can’t convince me nothing really happens
When righteous men gather, confess and pray.
God has His purpose for all who submit
To His commandments for believers to obey.

Always be ready to fight your battles on your knees
Before and after you are tested by time.
Never underestimate the power of God’s will
And what happens when your purpose is “Divine”.


ACCOUNTABILITY


All of us are accountable to the judgment of God
And when we die without Christ our sadness never ends.
By the deepest longings of our heart and soul
We serve our Lord, ourselves, family and friends.

With accountability we apply God’s wisdom
And His protection to promote a righteous life.
We receive His grace by our demeanor
As He leads us through sadness and strife.

All through the Bible over and over again
The chronicle of life is our accountability.
The devil is a roaring lion feasting on souls
Corrupting man’s heart with dominance and disability.

Always remember you are never alone
And God is aware of all things around you.
Through faith, prayer, trust, love and comment
We find fulfillment and purpose in the life we pursue.


ABRAHAM


Abraham is said to be the father of the Jewish faith
The first to believe in the power of one great god alone.
Instead of the many his forefather's worshiped
In Abraham's heart there was only room for one to be known.

With his wife Sarah and his nephew Lot
At 75 he departed to seek the Promised Land.
With followers he arrived at a place called Canaan
Where he prospered by hard work and God's hand.

Then famine in the land drove him to Egypt
Where Abraham and Lot grew rich in cattle, silver and gold.
They had so many sheep that their shepherds quarreled
Over grazing land, water and jealousies of old.

Abraham and Lot agreed to live separate
Lot chose Sodom and Abraham Hebron.
When the armies of four great kings took Lot captive
Abraham and 318 of his bravest, to the rescue, were gone.

Afterward, to Sodom and neighboring Gomorrah
Lot was brought back with his worldly goods and treasure.
But soon the inhabitants of both became wicked
Shamming the Lord and shunning His measure.

God told Abraham, I will soon demolish them
For there is not one of righteousness among all.
However, he warned Lot to escape with his wife
And not to look back and ignore His law.

Lot's wife looked back and was transformed to salt
While Lot, through observance of word, was spared.
Abraham, then 99 and Sarah at 90
Were still without child in the life they shared.

Arabs claim they are descendant from Ishmael,
At 86 Abraham's son, by Sarah's handmaiden, Hagar.
Sarah believed she was too old to bare a child
So she gave Hagar to Abraham to conceive a star.

God had promised Abraham a son by Sarah
And that his descendants will out number the stars.
In time a boy named Isaac was born
Free of all birth defects, disease and scars.

Later when Isaac was still just a child
God chose to test Abraham again.
Commanding him to take Isaac to the top of a mountain
And there, by sacrifice, put his life to its end.

Abraham built an alter of wood sticks, pilled high
Bound up Isaac and laid him within them.
Just as he was about to put the knife to his son
God stopped him and said: lay not thy hand upon him.

The Lord told Abraham, I know now you fear Me
Seeing that you have not withheld your son.
Then Abraham sacrificed a lamb provided
And God blessed him for what he had done.

The Bible says Abraham died at 175
And that Sarah lived to be 127.
Christians and Muslims both traced their faith
To Abraham's commitment to one God and Heaven.


GOD’S BIBLE


The Bible is our Lord’s infallible Holy Word
Of supreme authority in one God’s law.
Eternally existing in three persons of faith
The Father, the Son and the Spirit without flaw.

Jesus was conceived by the virgin named Mary
To soldier divine majesty, grace and reward.
He died and rose to be at the right hand of God
As our negotiator and passage to the Lord.

All men are lost and face God’s judgment
Along with their need to heed to the glory of His Son.
Who suffered the cross to save man’s soul
And to put the angles of darkness on the run.

Christ rose from the dead and is coming soon
And we must have concern for the hurts and needs of all.
Dedicating our lives to the service of our Lord
Whose authority and divine rule becomes our call.

We must use every means to spread the promise of grace
Throughout our world of corruption, greed and crime.
God always expects us to overcome our transgressions
Testing our faith and resolve through the passage of time.


GOD’S TEST of HEARTS


The shameless hunger for power, wealth and revenge
Therefore a cruel messenger will be sent to their door.
People who justify immoral behavior
Shall be measured by their misdeeds before.

Fools listen eagerly to the words of the pathetic
Whos mission in life is the corruption of man.
Where the righteous overrule the wicked of heart
Challenging Satan’s dominance and command.

Better is the heart filled with love and quietness
Than one that feasts on the loudness of strife.
Angry hearts fan the flames of failure
Eager to reject God’s blessings of life.

God’s test of hearts dates back to Adam
When Eve picked fruit from the forbidden tree.
Tempted by Satan they lost God’s grace
Revealing weakness to be punished by Thee.

Happy hearts prosper on what is truthful and good
Where dishonored ones fester and rot to the bone.
Life charts our course but God guides our way
As His wisdom and love become our own.


I LOST MY WAY FROM JESUS


I lost my way sweet Jesus
I can’t stand to shame you anymore.
While all the time your ocean of truth
Lay before me to explore.

When I closed my eyes to you Lord
Temptation slipped beyond my door.
I’m sick and tired of my behavior
Feeling lost, hopeless and more.

So here I am, “my sins exposed”
With nowhere for me to hide.
Whispering forth my prayers of faith
Sensing your presence inside.

I drifted from you Master
My shepherd of guiding light.
I lost my way sweet Jesus
And I pray to repent tonight.


WHERE ARE THE GOOD MEN?


Where are the men women seek and deserve
Where are the husbands excited to serve?
Where are the soul mates that hate being lonely
Gratified by the love of one woman only?

Where are the men who have earned their measure
Eager for a home, family and treasure?
Good guys remain truthful and complete
While the horrible lie, fornicate and cheat.

God makes sure there are always the few
Who gain their grace as through faith they renew.
The righteous remind us of the commitments of love
And that God is watching from Heaven above.

The shameful have no reason to sing or rejoice
Only the repentant who heed God’s voice.
Worthy men are driven by a charitable soul
Fortified by love, trust and control.


THE KING OF CHRISTMAS


The Son of God came down to Earth
To be our Lord by divine birth.
Born to a virgin in a stable He lie
Destine to lead, teach, suffer and die.

Satan transformed from laughter to rage
When Christ arrived to destroy man’s cage.
A never-ending chance to redeem our soul
A new opportunity to achieve God’s goal.

Evil doers hate the birth of God’s child
They love what is immoral, wicked and wild.
Degrading Christmas wherever they can
Jealous of the joy and rapture of man.

Hallelujah Jesus the King of Christmas night
With a star for His crown bathed in holy light.
Christ is our savior who leads by trust and love
Delivering us from Satan to the grace of God above.


GOD’S PRESENCE


The presence of God is not a mystery
When we surrender our soul to His will.
He sees us as His children of faith
And is willing to forgive and fulfill.

He shoulders our troubles and gives us peace
Flowers, songs, stars, wind, soil and oceans.
We learn that prayer is His power of love
As we struggle to maintain our emotions.

We may get lonely but we’re never alone
For God knows and feels our woes.
He is our Lord, Savior and Master
And has traveled every road we chose.

He knows we’ll falter, hesitate and weaken
Though He loves us enough to always show.
He whispers His words of grace and compliance
As the consequences of evil gather and grow.

David, Moses, Jonah, Samson, Peter and Jesus
We’re aware that God was their divine guide.
They changed the future of Christians forever
With the power of Divinity at their side.


THE STORMS of LIFE


The storms of life come to everyone
There are none who are immune.
Some approach in our later years
While others come to soon.

The Bible is our anchor
Our lifeline to endure.
Without it’s presence, we falter
And our future is unsure.

The Bible is our compass
To lead us through the dark.
Our souls lie among the lions
As we face the dogs that bark.

We cry out to our God Most High
Who performs all things in life.
To save us from our own plunder
Falsehoods, rebellion, and strife.

Conviction is our emotional union
As we weather the storms of Earth.
Thank God for His amazing grace
Which helps us reveal our worth.


PLEASING GOD


Lots of us wish to please God
But we really don’t know how.
His ways are higher than our ways
Because we’re wicked, weak and foul.

God works according to His schedule
Which sometimes is a problem for man.
His love, grace, wisdom and understanding
Keep believers obedient to command.

We have no choice but to obey
Following His Holy Spirit and Word.
By living to conform to His righteousness
Our passage to glory is assured.

We see God’s works in the lives of others
How exciting and fascinating it is.
God can do the same for us as well
As our purpose becomes the same as “His.”


GOODNESS BRAVERY AND GRATITUDE


What would you say if God asked you
Like Joshua to lead many others?
Like Daniel, Paul, David and Moses
And so many sisters and brothers.

Might you wonder who am I
To follow in the footsteps of Moses?
Bravery thrives on precious assurance
As the waters of God beckon the roses.

While earthly trials test our faith and resolve
Remember they’re never everlasting.
Caught in the crossfire for the soul of man
As the weapons of war do their casting.

Grab your Bible and research some stories
To share with loved ones or friend.
Help lead them to the mansion of God
Where the spirits of the righteous ascend.

Stand proud and preach for the Grace of God
If you wish to relay your gratitude.
Set an example for those who follow
By your goodness, bravery and attitude.


THE POWER Of COURAGE


Besides loving God, we need courage
Obeying His laws requires bravery.
For the power of sin is always festering
As evil condemns man’s soul to slavery.

God travels with us inside our spirit
Forewarning that which is right or wrong.
Satan tags along tempting our resolve
Spreading his doctrine by video and song.

God promises to defeat our enemies
If we retain faith and observe His rules.
We’ll still face battles to preserve our soul
As we endure the blindness of fools.

All of Gods heroes depend on courage
To overcome the dilemmas of strife.
God wants us to follow in His footsteps
As we practice His majesty of life.


LONELY WOMAN


Loneliness had me almost persuaded
To let my loyalty and favor stray
But I thought of you and our children
Then decided instead to pray.

For so long you’ve labored on the railroad
Called away any hour night or day.
Many times in the night when there’s thunder
I awake as in anguish and loneliness I lay.

When our children cry out, “where’s daddy? ”
I remind them you operate a train.
While my main concern is your safety
And will you return to us the same?

I know you’re a hard working Christian man
And it’s not your fault you’re always away.
I composed this poem to express my need
As for your love and tenderness I pray.

I love you more than words can express
As we shoulder our burdens as husband and wife.
We can’t help but be human and make mistakes
As we journey the struggles of life.

Our challenges are many and vary greatly
Raising children in earth’s ungodly throng.
Jesus never vows to remove all difficulty
Only His wisdom to endure what’s wrong.

Let God take the weight of our burdens
We were never meant to endure alone.
He will never bend us, break us or destroy us
As the seeds of His splendor are sown.


RUNNING FROM GOD


All of us at sometime have run from God
When He has asked us to do something we chose not to do
Though we are free to select who we follow
A life without faith is impossible to renew

Anytime at anywhere dilemmas may occur
Which we must overcome, endure and solve.
The falsehoods of hell consumes man’s soul
Challenging our devotion and resolve.

Jonah ran from God and took flight on a ship
To be thrown over and swallowed by a whale.
After three days he was cast up unharmed and alive
To preach at Nineveh which was doomed to fail.

Samson ran from God to the arms of Delilah
Who gave him pleasures beyond compare.
Soon she betrayed him and removed his hair
Exposing him to capture, imprisonment and despair.

Christians trust you can run but not hide
From the eyes of Jehovah who is always aware
Loving us regardless of weakness toward sin
And when we cry out, “He’s there.”


MY FAVORITE POET


My favorite poet is God above
Who gives Earth its rhythm and rhyme.
Not pied pipers of misguided souls
Who promote distrust, hatred and crime.

Poetry is nature serenading in song
The peaceful roar of the oceans waves.
The wind through the trees and over the hills
And the flowers in the fields by the graves.

The sound of rain as it waters the thirsty
The songs of children at play in the park.
The far off rumble of trains or thunder
As they pass through the night in the dark.

The joy of our babies first words and steps
The passion of life with its heroes and clowns.
The on going struggle to survive our sins
As we proliferate in hamlets and towns.

My favorite poet is our Father of love
Who was first to know us before birth.
His poetry prolongs every thing we love
As His deliverance gives life its worth.


HEAVEN’S HEROES


Winning souls tend to change everything
Including who and what we are.
When our darkness within transforms to light
And our eyes have the luster of a star.

We must always pray for the lost among us
Who eagerly race toward the wrong direction.
So they may know their own repentance
Blessed by God’s, grace, love and protection.

All of Heaven’s heroes have suffered remorse
From hate, fear, lust, loneliness and war.
They do what they do with deliverance of heart
Defeating the dark side of life and more.

Noah found safety within the beams of his ark
To endure Heaven’s cleansing of earth.
Moses the deliverer, climbed a mountain
Descending with God’s guidelines of worth.

David the shepherd, a boy among men
Slew evil’s giant with a flying stone.
Samson the strong man broke from his chains
Toppling the temple with God’s help alone.

Jonah was swallowed by a monster fish
To be cast up on shore with a prophecy to tell.
Jesus of Nazareth was nailed to the cross
And without His forgiveness we’re doomed to fail.

Lord I’ll feel blessed to greet all your heroes
When it is my time to escape my woes.
I’ll clutch their hands and kiss their face
As we celebrate the journey we chose.


GOD’S WISPERS


Think of young David when he faced the giant
With nothing but his sling and five stones.
He listened to God and ran forth to glory
Toppling Goliath for birds, to pluck his bones.

When we fully surrender our soul to God
Our life is complete without blame.
Our heart beats to the joy of fulfillment
As we no longer shoulder our shame.

The more we heed to the whispers of God
The more we achieve His glorious goal.
All through life we escape temptation
Responding to evil with pureness of soul.

God keeps no secrets from all who love Him
When they repent and obey His voice.
He speaks to those who truly conform
And follow His doctrine by choice.

When we listen to God our fears fade away
And all He has proclaimed shall be.
Our trust in His love, grace and protection
Allows us to be modified, by Thee.


THE DISTORTION OF MAN


We’re sought by Satan of that I’m sure
As he plots to derail our soul.
Greed, hate, lust, anger and fear
Are deeds which facilitate his goal.

He smiles at lies, cheating and theft
He laughs at never-ending war.
He drools to conquer the hearts of man
Shadowing every window and door.

Tempting all with unclean pleasures
His success is weakness and desire.
We triumph only through the power of faith
Avoiding eternal torment and fire.

Goodness and evil illustrate life
Like the two sides of every coin.
Most can’t help but experience both
As we learn who to trust, follow and join.

Praise our Lord for morals and ethics
The laws of Heavenly command.
Without God’s armor and His grace
We become the distortion of man.


THE RIVER OF NO RETURN


Beware of the streams of evil
Feeding the river of no return.
Where whatever gives us pleasure
Is our only worry and concern.

True happiness results from blessings
Handed down from Heaven to earth.
God seems to smile on people in love
Who have chosen to share their worth.

Three types of humans occupy earth
The bad, the not so bad and the horrible.
Somewhere in-between, most us are
And our babies are most adorable.

Far to many become disappointing
Mimicking adults as they stretch and grow.
Lost somewhere in self-indulgence
In a world they have yet to know.

Thanks to faith and spiritual teachings
Multitudes follow the path of grace.
The righteous are the hope of man
As we journey the dangers of space.

Reject what is selfish; cruel and unkind
Steer clear of evil deeds without fear.
Listen to the voice of God in man
And you’ll remain more civilized and clear.


THE FIRST ONE TO LOVE ME


The first one to love me was you; Lord
And nothing can take that away.
My soul is refreshed by living water
While my heart flows with love each day.

I thank you for the love of my family
And I thank you for the love of my life.
I thank you for all of the blessings
You give to each husband and wife.

Your glory rides high on the sunsets
Your voice is the thunder of rain.
I thank you for all of the heavens
And Jesus who came to be slain.

I feel when your eyes are upon me
As you listen to my humble cry,
You've redeemed the soul of your servant
To dwell in your mansion on high.

I'll claim each and every promise
From the Lord of the earth and sky.
I'm so glad I'm free from my bondage
Of the grave where my body shall lie.

I thank you for parting the darkness
And guiding my footsteps each day.
I thank you for being my shepherd
You've walked with me all the way.

I know your armor protects me
From the devil in search of his feast.
And all who are lost without you
Shall dwell in hell with the beast!


DAVID AND GOLIATH


David, the shepherd, a tender of sheep
Would pray to his God before he would sleep.
One day he awoke to the roar of beasts
A bear and a lion in search of a feast.

David slew both with his knife and his hand
Though still just a boy and not yet a man.
The Lord's love for David was proven once again
When he challenged the champion of the Philistine men.

Goliath's beastly fingers and hideous toes
Made David more selective with the stones that he chose.
One for the giant, he knew he would slay
Four more for his brothers who were laughing that day.

The giant told David, 'I'll tear you apart;
The birds and the animals shall feast on your heart.'
David yelled back, 'I'll soon see you dead
And when I'm through I'll cut off your head! '

The worst of all men, drew high with his arm
Came forth to David to do him great harm.
The youth jumped ahead just as quick as a lynx
A stone from his sling popped the giant where he thinks.

Blood and bone spewed forth as that devil fell down;
A thousand pound soldier lie dead on the ground.
With Goliath's own sword, David chopped off his head
Then took it to Jerusalem, to prove he was dead.


JESUS


There once was a traveler who was driven out of town
On his shoulders was a burden that pushed him to the ground.

On his head was a crown made of thorns from a bush
And the street was so crowded the guards had to push.

They beat him with nine tails each step of the way
Where Christ found the strength, only God could say.

They stopped at some sandstone at the top of a hill
There was a round hole the cross would soon fill.

They made him lie down upon that wood cross
There they nailed him to prove who was boss.

The beam was up-ended by the muscles of men
As it plunged down the hole it was carved to fit in.

Then Jesus looked up at the lightning that flew
And cried, 'God, My Father, they know not what they do.'

They crucified our Lord as his blood flowed to earth
If inside you believe, you feel what love is worth.

They wrapped him in loincloth when he was taken down
Then carefully removed his scarlet stained crown.

They placed him in a cave with a large, round, stone door
Before sealing forever, they lay lilies on the floor.

Though it wasn't very long, and the stone was rolled away
For Jesus resurrected, to rise on Easter Day!


DARTS OF THE DEVIL


The darts of the devil fly free on the winds
And sometimes they pierce both family and friends.
Remember young Adam and his wife, Eve?
When they gave into Satan, the Lord said, 'leave'.

Ever since then, right up to today
The devil makes sure we'll sin in some way.
Wear all of God's armor, whatever you do;
Should the darts of the devil seek out you.

Thank God for Jesus who died on the cross.
Our passage to heaven was paid by His loss.
Every knee shall bow and tongues confess all
That Jesus is our Lord at his final call.

Angels will descend with Jesus in the sky
He'll greet us with open arms when it's our time to fly.
For our Lord awaits all who believe
And those who do not, shall be told to leave.


NIGHT OF NIGHTS


In the tiny town of Bethlehem
Born in a stable, an infant lie.
While he slept his first dreamless night
A whole universe of stars passed by.

When Jesus Christ our savior was born
Most of the angels began to sing
Of peace, and good will to all mankind
And hallelujah to Earth's new king.

There were those angels, who did not sing
For they had passed through the devil's gate.
They knew this young lad belonged to God
And for them salvation was too late.

So let's rejoice, and sing with great cheer
That night when Jesus slept without fear.
For our Lord's birthday comes once a year
On that night of nights we hold so dear.


GRACE


The Son of God came to save that which was lost
To redeem our soul from the power of the grave.
Where the prisoners of death must rest together
Except for the spirits of the kind and brave.

The preaching of the cross is ignored by fools
And sinners who are unable to conform.
By grace we are saved as a gift from our Lord
Who wipes tears from the faces that mourn.

By learning, loving, working, teaching, and prayer
We submit our years as a tale to be told.
The survival of life is our pilgrimage
As we tackle each challenge both young and old.

No one can be sure of how long they will last
Though all have a choice of whom they choose to be.
Warmongers, adulterers, thieves or saints
Everyone must some day bow down before Thee.

From dust we were made and shall return
After life has brought us to our earthly end.
Though all must walk in the shadow of death
The righteous are promised they will rise again.


NOAH'S ARK


God saw that wickedness had fouled his earth
To a state it could no longer be ignored.
While grieving sadly He chose to destroy it
Though Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.

The Lord told Noah to fashion a great ark
Made of gopher wood and pitch, outside and in.
Three hundred cubits long and fifty in width
Before the world he knew, would come to its end.

Bring your food, your sons, your wife and your son's wives
And two of every living sort, be with thee.
For with you I'll establish my covenant
And all who are with thee shall survive the sea.

They all marched forth, two by two, into the ark
And waited for God's waters to flood the land.
For forty days and for forty nights
The fountains of the deep consumed beast and man.

Inside the ark nostrils kept their breath of life
As the high waters prevailed upon the earth.
Every mountain and every hilltop vanished
As all within felt the power of God's worth.

The waters from heaven were finally restrained
And after ten months the tops of mountains were seen.
God had blessed Noah and all who had joined him
To multiply, plant and fulfill His dream.


MIRACLES


Miracles are the extraordinary acts of God
If you don't believe it, why pray?
Some say, they're just happenings brought about by luck
Thus, superstition has led the rest of us, astray.

Woe to what the misinformed might think
Who claim their excellence is their own.
A wise man knows his gifts are from Heaven
And by repentance, his gratitude is shown.

I believe in miracles for I'm alive and well
I'm loved by God, family, and a few good friends.
I've lived long enough to see miracles transpire
As one must end, another descends.


WHO?


Who wrote the tune the songbird sings?
Who made the diamonds we wear on rings?

Who caused the snow and rain to fall?
Who made spring, winter, summer and fall?

Who gave man a woman to love?
Who made the clouds and sky above?

Who lights the stars and moon in the night?
Who makes Heaven and beyond so bright?

Who gives us babies we follow till death?
Who made us able to speak with our breath?

Who gives us heroes willing to die?
Who made the tears we shed as we cry?

Who shows us hope and guides our way?
The same one who loves us night and day.


THE ARMOR OF GOD


Put on the whole armor of God
And soldiers we shall be.
Fighting the powers of darkness
Who thirst for the souls of the free.

Through lust, they try to enslave us
And silence God's voice in man.
With focus of faith we shun them
Avoiding the grasp of their hand.

Satan whispers his sadistic thoughts
In every language and every ear.
Tempting all with the sins of hell
Victims of misery, hopelessness and fear.

Eagerly plotting to disrupt God's works
Evil swallows up souls like the shifting sand.
The armor of God is our divine protection
Shielding every child, woman, and man.


THE MYSTERY OF PRAYER


Never be afraid to pray boldly to God
For no matter the crisis our Lord is aware.
Sometimes it's hard to recognize God's answers
But that's just part of the mystery of prayer.

Some of the greatest heroes in history
Wore holes in the knees of their pants.
For without God's grace and human prayer
Man's survival on earth is by chance.

Surrender your soul and make time for prayer
Sharing moments with your Savior alone
He'll shoulder your burden and give you rest
As the seeds of His goodness are sown.


FAITH


So perfect is nature, though not by man
It's the brush of our master that paints the land.
The sun comes up and sun goes down
As in every direction God's wonders are found.

The tide comes in and the tide goes out
Our faith in eternalness is what life is about.
Contentment depends on which path we walk
By daylight or darkness; our faith is our rock.

Our confidence and trust in a higher power
Helps guide us through every moment and hour.
Fidelity to ones promise and observance of law
Lets our Lord know we heed His call.


DIVINE INTERVENTION


I never write a poem
That doesn't write itself.
I catch a buzz and come alive
Like a puppet off it's shelf.

Hearing many voices
Whose words are never mine.
My pen becomes a painter's brush
Forming visions on a line.

I seem to be a better person
When it's time to sit down and write.
A higher power guides my hand
Sharing wisdom by day and night.

People born to create
Have no choice but to perform.
It's the rush of sharing their gift
That elevates them from the norm.

What would our world become
Without intervention from above?
Angry beings in a revolving cage
With no sense of passion or love.


LUCIFER LOVES TO BAIT HIS HOOK


Jesus is our Savior who whips the devil's hide
After death Heaven awaits for all with Him who ride.
Disobedience by believers was forgiven by His loss
The future of man was changed by His death on the cross.

We're free to believe whatever till time to say farewell
All who turn their back to Christ shall suffer the blaze of hell.
Lucifer loves to bait his hook and fish the pond of man
Once he has you in his net you're the victim of his hand.

Some say not to worry for man was once an ape
It's okay to hate, plunder, murder, lie and rape.
I choose to follow the Bible and observe God's laws
Praying for the mislaid in the clutch of Satan's claws.


SUCCESS WE’RE ON OUR OWN BUT NOT ALONE


Late to bed early to rise
Work like heck and advertise.
Tell the truth and refuse to lie
Be all we can be beneath God’s sky.

Love our families and strive to achieve
Triumph by goodness and how we believe.
Heed to the whispers of God in our heart
Retain integrity and from foulness depart.

Let voices proclaim after we have gone
Our love for others still lives on.
Real success comes by who we actually are
Not by trinkets, a big house or car.

We’re on our own but not alone
As the deeds of our lifetime are sown.
Love, fear, lust, greed, faith and hate
Are how we are measured and known.


GOD’S FELLOWSHIP


The angles of malice out number God’s
One hundred too one and more
Though faith commands who shall falter
As Heaven’s heroes emerge from their door.

Evil deeds are God’s test of convection
For us to destroy or increase our measure
All mankind has its weakness towards lust
As we hunger for happiness and treasure.

Lifes ultimate reward is our need for others
Honor, respect, compassion and heaven above,
Truthfulness, valor, worry and forgiveness
As we preserve God’s fellowship with love.


GOD DOESN’T KEEP SECRETS


We pray and pray when we should stop asking
And take the time to listen and say thank you.
Our motives of mind must stay righteous and clear
To overcome our transgressions and renew.

Think of young David as he faced Goliath
With nothing but a sling and five stones he chose.
He listened to God and ran forth to glory
Toppling the giant, for the vultures and crows.

When we fully surrender our trust to God
Our life will never remain the same
Our heart bows in obedient submission
And all that we are has divinity to blame.


THE POWER OF GOD’S WILL


God has the power to move Heaven and earth
If we just surrender and follow in His path.
By turning a deaf ear toward His commandments
We suffer punishment, desperation and wrath.

God never takes pleasure from the death of a sinner
Who has refused the splendor of His grace.
When we ignore Jesus as our Savior
Were lost to shame, despair and disgrace

Trust in the Lord to navigate your heart
And He will always be there to guide you.
Never question His power, love or deliverance
As you struggle to repent and renew.

Never be ashamed to get down on your knees
And pray for deliverance from sin.
As time closes doors, God opens others
And by the power of assurance we rise, again.


CHRISTIAN SOLDIER’S LOVE POEM


Humans have always had their need for love
Long before they could calculate the year.
Painting on the walls of caves and tombs
Stories of accomplishment, conquest and fear.

Life is a constant contest of struggle
Plagued by greed, love, war, work and debate.
Between all we love; those we tolerate
And some we can’t help but hate.

I’d rather be loved and love in return
Then have a rich man’s gold piled high.
Id rather be loved by someone worthy
With honor, compassion and no need to lie.

I’d rather be loved then be crowned a king
Of a vast empire of power and domain.
I’d rather be loved and never forgotten
Not alone, overwhelmed, and ashamed.

I’d rather be loved for my unselfish behavior
Eager to protect, provide and preserve.
I’d rather be loved for staying resolute
To my commitment to love and to serve.

I’d rather be loved for my awareness of duty
More than anything life can bestow me.
I’d rather be loved and receive God’s grace
As I lay down my life before Thee.


FAITH, LOVE AND DELIVERANCE


A wise man gives up what he can’t keep
To gain what he cannot lose.
All Through life we make our judgments
Praying for the right path to choose.

Believers feel God is a footstep away
With His love, forgiveness and power.
All we have to do is observe His word
And by divine intervention we flower.

Never be afraid to pray humbly to God
For His light to shine from your face.
The more we surrender and obey His will
The more we facilitate His Grace.

Life without faith, deliverance and love
Becomes a selfish person’s hell.
By severing our Lord without question
We stay happier, productive, and well.

The Lord is aware of all we commit
Our secrets, joys, evils and fears.
Loving us despite our repeated mistakes
And even more, when we cry out in tears.


WHAITING ON GOD


God can make life glorious and rewarding
When we continuously stay willing to wait.
He’s conscious of all and helps plan our purpose
When we trust Him without hesitation and debate.

David could have killed King Saul twice
But he was told by God to be patient and wait.
After ten years he was officially crowned King
For God was the master of his fortune and fate.

There’s something about waiting we just can’t stand
Though when we walk without God we fall.
When we patiently wait and trust His word
We’re blessed by His forgiveness and call.

Waiting on God means we honor His will
As we purify our motives and inspiration.
When we heed His word we obtain His best
Trusting our future to divine creation.

When we refuse to submit we’re overwhelmed by sin,
Fear, remorse, mistrust, selfishness and wrath.
As Christians we wait no matter how long
For God to reveal our purpose, destination and path.

God always knows what is best for us
And we must march to His will and power.
When we follow His commands we become as one
As His deliverance enables us to flower.


TRUST IN THE LORD WITH ALL YOUR HEART & SOUL


You will always have peace no mater your circumstance
When you trust in the Lord with all your heart and soul.
Why stay miserable, unhappy and lost
When the joys of goodness should be your goal?

The Lord’s hand is not short, it can save anyone
Sin is what separates you from His grace.
When you die without Christ you’re dead forever
Lost in the darkness of shame, despair and disgrace.

Remember God always keeps every promise
And you should trust Him to change your fate.
When you suffer from troubles, heartbreak and pain
Stay focused on His word before it’s too late.

The key to everlasting peace is your relationship with God
And His splendor surpasses all worldly understanding.
You will never know peace if you refuse to submit
Rendering life too dreadful, outrageous and demanding.

To keep from being doomed and blown off course.
Christ is your anchor in lifes storm filled sea.
When you’re tested by circumstance, He will override
Freeing you from trepidation to be blessed, by Thee.


WHEN LOVED ONES FAIL US


All of us have suffered the difficulties of betrayal and loss
If you haven’t, it’s because you haven’t lived long enough yet.
When we stay true to God no matter our pain or situation
He stands with us through victories, fears and regret.

Friends, family and loved ones will fail us from time to time
Though we should always stay eager to comprehend and forgive.
God will never fail us when we accept Christ as our savor
And follow His doctrine of how to respond, discipline and live.

What did Christ cry as He suffered crucifixion?
But Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.
When we stay true to the purpose of God’s will
He’s always present to teach, provide and renew.

We must strive to fulfill a faithful, fruitful, productive life
Till God decides it’s time to call us home.
When we give Him our best no matter the circumstance
He’s always with us and we’re never hopeless or alone.


PRAYING FOR OUR NEEDS


God fulfills our needs by His timing
When we focus, repent and obey.
He’s always there, working in our behalf
For what we truly deserve, ask for and pray.

God loves us completely despite our flaws
Even though we make Him happy or sad.
We must do our part and give life our best
Avoiding what is hateful, destructive and bad.

God our father wants what is best for us
And He doesn’t bless any that are lazy.
We must walk upright with honor and pride
Regardless of the lost that call us crazy.

Never waste prayers for all the wrong reasons
When God knows precisely what we need.
He wishes to protect, teach and transform us
To the image of His son that suffered without greed.

When we pray to God for what we truly deserve
And follow His path to Heaven’s rapture above.
We learn the value of Divine Intervention
And the wonder and splendor of His love.


WISDOM IS EVERLASTING


When the voice of wisdom cries out
The grace of God is never-ending.
Search for those who highlight the worthy
And shun what is selfish and condescending.

Wisdom is better than the touch of woman
Rubies, silver or kingdoms of gold.
Blessed are those who follow God’s path
Without fear of their deeds being told.

Man’s fear of death sustains his repentance
As God’s seed of Goodness stirs within.
When sinners entice you, refuse consent
For the shameless shall suffer without end.

When the gift of wisdom glorifies your heart
And the harmony of knowledge is pleasant to your soul.
You will be delivered from the deeds of ignorance
As the numbers of the wicked register their toll.

God’s wisdom is inspiration of spirit
In every thing we consume and employ.
Knowledge is mankind’s only hope
Of fulfillment, purpose and joy.


GOD’S WHISPERS


Think of young David when he faced the giant
With nothing but his sling and five stones.
He listened to God and ran forth to glory
Toppling Goliath for birds, to pluck his bones.

When we fully surrender our soul to God
Our life is complete without blame.
Our heart beats to the joy of fulfillment
As we no longer shoulder our shame.

The more we heed to the whispers of God
The more we achieve His glorious goal.
All through life we escape temptation
Responding to evil with pureness of soul.

God keeps no secrets from all who love Him
When they repent and obey His voice.
He speaks to those who truly conform
And follow His doctrine by choice.

When we listen to God our fears fade away
And all He has proclaimed shall be.
Our trust in His love, grace and protection
Allows us to be modified, by Thee.


WALKING WITH GOD


Walking with God is a progressive journey
Of fellowship, faith, love and understanding.
Walking without Him we’re doomed to unawareness
Lost in the shadows of ungodly demanding.

To walk with God we must be consistent
In our behavior through heartbreak and tribulation.
Walking with the Lord is not always easy
Though eager hearts comply without hesitation.

Our continuous surrender to the will of God
Enables us to hear His voice within.
The most important lesson we can ever learn
Is to listen for His deliverance from sin.

The champions of the Bible all listened to God
Or they would never have survived their story.
When we heed to the voice of supreme thought
We become a testimony to His goodness and glory.

God’s love is unconditional, total and complete
His goal is to make us aware of falsehoods and lies.
Whenever He speaks, He never contradicts His word
And all who actually listen are more Christ-like and wise.


THE DAY of JEHOVAH IS NEAR


The day of Jehovah is near
Judging the worst the world has seen.
Bringing relief to the righteous
And punishment to the mean.

Evil’s malice will expire
By the power of God and His glory.
The soldiers of Heaven shall prevail
To tell the world their story.

The day of Jehovah is near
So it’s time to select your side.
Remain lost, selfish and blind
Or march with the faithful with pride.

The word of God fills us with hope
Of new heavens and earth that await.
It’s up to us to chose our path
And there is no time to procrastinate.

The agents of hell cast their nets
Far and wide to mislead and use.
The goodness of man must overwhelm
Those who murder, rape and abuse.

The only way our world can prosper
Is by the grace of God’s law.
If we fail to heed His teachings
We must suffer the extinction of all.


THE PRECIOUS BLOOD of JESUS


Jesus didn’t arrive by accident
God sent Him to purchase our salvation.
When we deny Christ as our savior
We fail as an individual or nation.

Without access to God we’re nothing but a corpse
With no hope for the future or present.
We live in a world consumed by foulness
And we’re selfish, ungrateful and unpleasant.

When we seek God’s grace and deliverance
We truly confess our guilt and transform.
We place ourselves in the hands of God
And by faith and compliance we conform.

Never let Satin run away with your heart
Trust in the precious blood of Christ and His grace.
Set an example for all you disciple
Preaching His liberation from shame and disgrace.

The precious blood of Jesus the Son of God
Paid our debt that we could never afford.
God’s spotless perfect Lamb of righteousness
Was sacrificed to justify, sanctify and reward.

Never be reluctant to get down on your knees
And pray for God’s help and understanding.
Life on earth is God’s test of resolve
As we face what is inescapable and demanding.


THE REWARDS of TRUTH


God’s doctrine of truth is what lives are built on
For fulfillment and existence on Earth.
A spiritual guide to teach us His ways
The more we discover the more we’re worth.

Building truth is like digging for gold in the ground
If we find the tiniest flake we scratch for more.
As a result we become stronger
Setting an example for the world we love and more.

The Lord allows no good deed to go un-rewarded
When we build a scriptural foundation for our life.
We receive His wisdom, opportunities and blessings
As we serve Him proudly through good times and strife

How great the reward when we chose to surrender
And not merely just hear God’s words, but conform and heed.
The road of right is always narrow and problematic
Where the path of wrong is vast and pregnant with seed.

The rewards of truth are God’s blessings of love
As the pitfalls of lies are Satins weapons of demise.
Assurance, grace, trust and Heavenly intervention
Gives us the power to remain righteous and wise.

Unfortunately, some never apply honesty to their lives
By choice, they remain captive to the world of lies.
Christians survive by prayer, truth and fellowship
As you feel the power of conviction in their eyes.


FAITH, LOVE & TEMPTATION


The process of enticement begins in our brain
When we fantasize about what sparks our fire.
Eventually our thoughts stir our emotions
And we risk everything to obtain desire.

Our victory over sin can only be accomplished
As we follow the power of God’s rule.
Through faith, trust, compliance and love
We evade what is shameful and cruel.

When we heed to the voice of God within
We celebrate His power, majesty and grace.
We reject temptation and cling to His love
Till His blessings radiate from our face.

From all that’s immoral, wicked and hateful
Only through love of faith can we turn away.
When we humbly pray to gain God’s wisdom
We sidestep the penalty of misjudgments at play.

As we come the point where we must make our choice
Will we shun what is vile or seek its promise of pleasure?
Every time we blunder sad consequences occur
And we loose the lifes splendor, fulfillment and treasure.


SOLDIER FOR THE LORD


I'm a soldier for the Lord
Whos been up and who's been down
Though while on the battlefield
I have never turned around.

I face more than flesh and blood
With the devil's evil hoard.
But they shall not steal my soul
For I swing my Lord's swift sword.

I wear all of God's armor
With helmet, breastplate and shield.
As Satan’s arrows fly by
From his archers of the field.

The devil casts his dark net
Over any he may charm.
He’ll lead them from salvation
With his hands upon their arm.

I battle evil daily
And I pray that you’ll join me.
We're not alone in this world
For we're loved and watched by Thee.


MAN'S SPIRIT AND SOUL


The spirit of man will sustain his infirmities
And if he obeys God's law he will retain his soul.
The flesh of man shall return to the earth as it was
But for a spiritual life afterwards, is man's goal.

With his soul, man humbly prays to God in the night
And with his spirit he seeks Him by the light of day.
It's true that man may be taken by sickness or hate
Though only evil deeds can lead his soul astray.

The spirit of man is thus the candle of the Lord
Whose kingdom does not receive that which is flesh or blood.
The Lord shall preserve man's soul from all which is wicked
As He once destroyed the evil of earth with his flood.

The soul of man may be willing, but his flesh is week
As outward he must perish; inward he can renew.
It all depends on the road he chooses to follow
And the dreams in his heart he prefers to pursue.


FALL ON YOUR FACE BEFORE GOD


All Christians have prayed to God like Moses
For His Sovereignty is absolute, supreme and complete.
The power of God and prayer are always linked
And He will answer our needs through victory and defeat.

When we fall on our face before God and pray
It’s usually because of hurt, fear and despair.
God will answer our needs when we clean ourselves up
By repentance, faith, fellowship and prayer.

Always stay willing to do whatever God requires
And He will use you in the most awesome fashion.
Never refuse to answer His benevolent call
And your future will be blessed by love, grace and compassion.

Remember Nehemiah when God told him to rebuild the wall
He trusted the Lord, prayed and went before his king.
He asked him for supplies and soldiers to protect and succeed
And by the power of God’s will and prayer he got everything.

How many will you meet when you arrive in Heaven?
That was you who told them about God’s will?
They changed their ways and learned to trust God
To protect provide, glorify and fulfill.


OUR INTIMACY WITH GOD


When we accurately realize that our intimacy with God
Determines the impact of our lives and attitude.
We avoid doing anything that dishonors Him
Or our own self worth, humility and gratitude.

Recognizing that God The Father knows the path ahead
Far better than any politician, preacher or teacher.
We submit ourselves to respond to His call
As we struggle to be more than a wicked creature.

Always stay mindful of what must be done
With purpose, determination, prayer and accountability.
Giving your best to provide, protect and preserve
A life of freedom, faith, love and stability.

You and I some day shall stand before God
And give an account for our actions to measure.
Never give up and walk away from His grace
Lost in a world of impureness and ungodly pleasure.

Christians have a deep hunger and yearning for Gods approval
The ultimate purpose He created us to faithfully be.
Our intimacy with God is a relationship of love and trust
The more we pray and actually listen the more we become as He.


JESUS IS THE SALT AND LIGHT of THE WORLD


Jesus is the salt and the light of the world
And God uses us to point the way to His Grace.
By our own conviction, purpose, faith and conversation
We impact others to escape their shame and disgrace.

God gives us our passion to spread His word
So we can make a difference in the lives of those who are lost.
Wherever we are and wherever we live
We must remain His disciples regardless of cost.

God placed us here to be His salt and light
And we must set an example by how we live.
Our testimony is our goodness of heart
And how we are willing to love and forgive.

The more we stay determined to remain truthful
The brighter the glow of our faith shall be.
It’s not our person it’s our message
That enables the blind in the darkness to see.

When we live a just life we truly make a difference
As we set an example of the power of God’s will.
We point the way to the glory of His love
And how it can transform, nourish and fulfill.


FAITH COMMITMENT & PRAYER


When we totally surrender our lives to God
The power of His will overrules our behavior.
Everything that Satin can ruin or destroy
Can be resurrected by Jesus our Savior.

Life on Earth is Heaven’s test of resolve
And we need to stay aggressive in our defense of the cross.
When we fail to listen and ignore God’s call
We suffer from fear, mistrust, doubt and spiritual loss.

Any who are evil hate that which is good
For they only care to practice their self-serving greed.
Christians aren’t perfect but they repent and conform
To set an example of the glory of God’s Seed.

Remember the Bible and all of its heroes
And how they made history by their need to summit.
God loves us more then we love our own selves
When we open our hearts and totally commit.

Samson was God’s man of great strength and power
Till he gave in to lust and lost his hair.
All must suffer their own ungodliness
Before they transform by faith, commitment and prayer.


OBEDIENCE & GOD’S BLESSINGS


When we rebel against God’s will we stumble and fall
But when we follow His path we rejoice His call.
When we thrive by serving Heaven’s partnership with man
We receive God’s grace by divine hand.

God allows us to suffer, sin, repent and transform
And He loves us despite when we’re slow to conform.
All of us are tested from the first moment we cry
By the lives we enhance before we die.

Blessings take place when we have proven our measure
When the glory of God has become our treasure.
Righteous obedience pleases our Father above
As He watches His children with concern and love.

Obedience brings froth God’s Blessings of grace
Though sometimes we can’t tell they’ve even taken place.
God teaches what is best to purify our goals
As He leads us by faith to glorify our souls.


HOW DO WE MAKE GODLY DECISIONS?


Those who practice making Godly decisions
Always ask God to lead the way.
All who choose to live by their own preferences
Soon endure the pain of selfishness at play.

When we live by our Christian principles
Heaven awaits us after death.
When we live to fulfill our unclean pleasures
It’s Satan who shall foul our breath.

Like a blind man riding a fast horse
When we lose our purpose, we lose our grace.
No white line in the middle of a dark highway
As we swerve in the darkness of space.

King David lived both by God’s way and his
And as a result he suffered from his defiance.
God has His purpose for all to follow
And when we obey we’re blessed by compliance.

Never be afraid to get down on your knees
To ask God to answer your call.
He sees everything, even our thoughts
And He knows when we obey His Law.

Christians believe they’ll be an afterlife
For they can feel God’s presents within.
They seldom summit to anything evil
And by virtue they triumph over sin.

Jesus wants us to forgive others
And not necessarily because they deserve to be.
Nor even because He forgave us first
But because it is the glory of Thee.


WHY I LOVE GOD


When we listen to God and eagerly conform,
We respond with more righteous behavior.
When we hesitate, waver and refuse
We suffer disgrace and disappoint our Savior.

I love God because He was the first to love me
Long before my birth or last breath.
I serve my Lord by sharing His blessings
So others may learn of His love before death.

Look all about you in every direction
And God’s powers will astound you.
Life can be both heaven and hell
As we’re judged by what we say and do.

I love God because of all who have loved me
And how He has blessed me beyond my measure.
I love God for His achievements and Grace
For without His love we loose purpose and treasure.

I love God because of all His heroes
Who down through history have served the cross.
I love Jesus for giving me deliverance
And the joy of knowing I was saved by His loss.

If y

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Topics Generalized

Email.
Gossip.
And topics generalized,
Discussing the values...
How best to come to love,
An unfulfilled life...
I delet and do not respond.

If someone wants to touch me,
From a place I deem is personalized...
I have not kept it a secret,
How to be reached.

And those who play hide and seek,
On my buddy list...
Must have wishes to be ignored.
Because that's the first thing I do...
Dismiss that too!

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Feelings and Emotions Felt

There is nothing like watching,
A backfire taking place unexpected.
From a comfortable distance.

Especially when the heat,
Is on those who sneakily deceived.
And believed their actions,
Would never bring them grief.

'And you enjoy knowing this?
Even though your life now lived,
Is at peace that brings you...
Complete and total happiness? '

Of course.
My feelings and emotions felt,
Have never been from me divorced.

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Say Nothing

If you are not living your life...
What qualifies you as tour guide,
For those who do?
Those who have toiled in the trenches,
Without the benefit of assistance...
From those who only offer critique,
Spilled from motorized lips!

If you are not living your life...
Without sacrificing it.
Or knowing what that is like!
The best movement someone like you can do,
Is to shut up and walk away!
Say nothing!
It will be considered your best contribution.

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Garland of Faith

Faith is precious!
Faith can't be bought with wealth
Faith is our belief
And we believe from our heart
Faith is the thing not to play with!
People have their own faith according to religion!
Some believe in gods
Others not
Christians, Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists all
Christians believe in Jesus
Muslims believe in Allah
Hindus believe in God or Ishur
Some believe in friends, relatives and life partners
People those who have confidence and faith from heart
They are the real successor!

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Riding On My Back!

I don't concern myself
With your perceptions
Of my point of view!
There is not a pair of shoes
I wear
That you have worn.
And not one look of disgust,
Have you received
From those I distrust,
That you have shared!
Do you believe my existence
Relies on your assistance?
You are riding on 'my' back!
And that seems to have been
Your only objective!
If I did not exist...
Would you have any other interests at all?
Would your life be as fulfilling as mine?
If I did not exist...
Who would you then find offensive?
Or could you live your life,
Without the need of comparisons?

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Mighty Golden Gate

Walking over the span that's over sea and land,
I'll show her I'm no lower than the man,
Who told her he wanted to hold her hand.

Bridge to the other side, Mighty Golden Gate,
The Bay of Life and Death is wide,
You could get me to the other side,
Show me it's not too late.

I don't know who's to blame,
I don't know the list of the names,
Of those who flew like an airplane
From a bridge to the other side,
They were just falling.

Is it a twist of fate?
The line between love and hate?
I guess we'll just have to wait,
On a bridge to the other side,
Because I'm falling....

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Silly Clot

At times, we fall from grace
in absent mined moments.
Unfortunately, some people
have those all the time
and to compound the agony
they never learn the lesson
of keeping their big trap shut.

We all put our foot in our mouth
at sometime or the other,
then apologise for the error
and it is completely forgotten,
but about the person who keeps doing it
we call him a silly clot.

How many have you encountered
in your journey through life?
You know the type,
as soon as they open their mouth
they are chewing happily on their foot.
The higher position they are in
the bigger the clot you will see.


10 November 2009

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Live I Did and Still Do

Wrong I may have been,
When decisions then were made.
From a past I believed to live right,
As I perceived my life to be.
As was lived cautiously,
With a thoughtful insight...
Kept protectively within me.

But I will not fight against,
Those who hold...
Old and fixed defenses.
With an irreplaceable stubbornness.
As if mistakes I've made,
I have not learned from and still exist.

Wrong I may have been,
When decidions then were made.
But back then when I made them,
Living my life...
Whether others felt I was wrong or right,
Live I did.
And still do to improve.
Excuses made for what I've done...
Will not change a thing for anyone.

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