Samuel Rogers.

The poems of Samuel Rogers, with a memoir online

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Online LibrarySamuel RogersThe poems of Samuel Rogers, with a memoir → online text (page 13 of 16)
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" Unknown he lived, unenvied, not unblest;
Reason his guide, and Happiness his guest.
In the clear mirror of his moral page,
We trace the manners of a purer age.
His soul, with thirst of genuine glory fraught,
Scorn'd the 'false lustre of licentious thought.
"—One fair asylum from the wo.ld he knew,
One chosen seat, that charms with various view!
Who boasts of more (believe the serious strain
Sighs for a home, and sighs, alas ! in vain.
Through each he roves the tenant of a day,
And, with the swallow, wing" the yevir avsray !"



JACQUELINE.



I.

'T WAS Autumn ; through Provence had ceased

The vintage, and the vintage-feast.

The sun had set behind the hill,

The moon was up, and all was still,

And from the convent's neighbouring tower

The clock had toU'd the midnight-hour,

When Jacqueline came forth alone,

Her kerchief o'er her tresses thrown :

A guilty thing and full of fears,

Yet ah, how lovely in her tears!

She starts, and what has caught her eye ?

What — but her shadow gliding by ?

She stops, she pants ; with lips apart

She listens— to her beating heart !

Then, through the scanty orchard stealing,

The clustering boughs her track concealing,

She flies, nor casts a thought behind.

But gives her terrors to the wind ;

Flies from her horns, the humble sphere

Of all her joys and sorrows here.

Her father's house of mountain-stone,

And by a mountain-vine o'ergrown.

At such ai; hour in such a night,

251



E52 JACQVJELI.NE.

So calm, so clear, so heavenly bright,
Who would have seen, and not confewi'd
It Jooked as all within were blest ?
What will not woman, when she loves f
Yet lost, alas, who can restore her ?-
She lifts the latch, the wicket moves ,
And now the world is all before her.

Up rose St. Pierre, when morning shone,
And Jacqueline, his child, was gone !
Oh what the madd'ning thought that came?
Dishonour coupled with his name I
By Conde at Rocroy he stood ;
By Turenne, when the Rhine ran blood;
Two banners of Castile he gave
Aloft in Notre Dame to wave ;
Nor did thy Cross, St. Louis, rest
Upon a purer, nobler breast.
He slung his old sword by his side.
And snatch'd his staff and rush'd to save ;
Then sunk — and on his threshold cried,
" Oh lay me in my grave !
—Constance ! Claudine ! where were ye thent
But stand not there. Away ! away I
Thou, Frederic, by thy father stay.
Though old, and now forgot of men,
Both must not leave him in a day."
Then, and he shook his huary head,
•' Unhappy in thy youth !" he said.
*' Call as thou wilt, thou call'st in vain ;
No voice sends back thy name again.
To mourn is all thou hast to do ;
Thy play-mate lost, and teacher too."



JACQUELINE. 253

And v,ho but she could soothe the boy,
Or turn his tears to tears of joy ?
Long had she kiss'd him as he slept,
Long o'er his pillow hung and wept;
And, as she pass'd her father's door,
She stood as she would stir no more.
But she is gone, anj gone for ever !
No, never shall they clasp her — never !
They sit and listen to their fears ;
And ho, who through the breach had led
Over the dying and the dead,
Shakes if a cricket's cry he hears I

Oh ! she was good as she was fair ;
None — none on earth above her I
As pure in thought as angels are,
To know her was to love her.
When little, and her eyes, her voice.
Her every gesture said "rejoice,"
Hor coming was a gladness ;
And, as she grew, her modest grace,
Her down-cast look 'twas heaven to traca,
When, shading with her hand her face
She half inclined to sadness.
Her voice, whate'er she said, enchanted.
Like music to the heart it went.
And her dark eyes— how eloquent !
Ask what they wov Id, 't was granted.
Her father loved her as his fame ;
—And Bayard's self had done the same!

Soon as the sun the glittering pane
On the red floor in diamonds threw,
His songs she sung and sang again.



?54 JACQUELINE.

Tin the last light withdrew.

Every day, and all day long.

He mused or sluniber'd to a soi y,

But she is dead to him, to all!

Her lute hangs silent on the wa'l ;

And on the stairs, and at the door

Her fairy-step is heard no more !

At every meal an empty chair

Tells him that she is not there ;

8he, who would lead him where he went,

Charm with her converse while he leant ;

Or, hovering, every wish prevent ;

At eve light up the chimney-nook,

Lay there his glass within his book ;

And that small chest of curious mould,

iQueen Mab's, perchance, in days of old,)

Tusk of elephant and gold ;

Which, when a tale is long, dispenses

Its fragrant dust to drowsy senses.

In her whomourn'd not, when they miss'd hef

The old a child, the young a sister ?

No more the orphan runs to take

From her loved hand the barley-cake.

No more the matron in the school

Expects her in the hour of rule,

To sit amid the elfin brood.

Praising the busy and the good.

The widow trims her hearth in vain,

She comes not — nor will come again !

Not now, his little lesson done,

With Frederic blowing bubbles in the sun;

Nor spinning by the fountain-side,



JACQUELIXE. 255

(Some story of the days of old,

Barbe Bleue or Chaperon Rouge half-lold

To him who would not be denied ;)

Not now, to while an hour away,

Gone to the falls in Valombre, •

Where 't is night at noon of day ;

Nor wandering up and down the wood,

To all but her a solitude,

Where once a wild deer, wild no more,

Her chaplet on his antlers wore,

And at her bidding stood.

II.

The day was in the golden west ;

And, curtain'd close by leaf and flower,

The doves had cooed themselves to rest

In Jacqueline's deserted bower ;

The doves — that still would at her casemeat

peck.
And in her walks had ever flutter'd round
With purple feet and shining neck,
True as the echo to the sound.
That casement, underneath the trees,
Half open to the western breeze,
Look'd down, enchanting Garonnelle,
Thy wild and mulberry-shaded dell.
Round which the Alps of Peidmont rose,
The blush of sun-set on their snows :
While, blithe as lark on summer-morn,
When green and yellow waves the corn,
When harebells blow ir every grove,



25G JACQUELINE

And f brushes sing " I love ! I love!***
Within (so soon the early rain
Scatters, and 'tis fair again;
Though many a drop may yet be seen
To tell us where a cloud has been)
Within lay Frederic, o'er and o'er
Building castles on the floor,
And feigning, as they grew in size,
New troubles and new dangers ;
With dimpled cheeks and laughing eyes,
i.\s he and Fear were strangers.

St. Pierre sat by, nor saw nor smiled.
His eyes were on his loved Montaigne ;
But every leaf was turn'd in vain.
Then in that hour remorse he felt,
And his heart told him he had dealt
Unkindly with his child.
A father may awhile refuse ;
Yet who can for another choose ?
When her young blushes had reveal'd
The secret from herself conceal'd,
Why promise what her tears denied,
That she should be De Courcy's bride f
— VVouldst thou, presumptuous as thoucrt^,
O'er Nature play the tyrant's part.
And with the hand compel the heart ?
Oh rather, rather hope to bind
The ocean-wave, the mountain-wind ;
Or fix thy foot upon the ground

* Canlando " lo amo ! lo amo \—Ta9ao.



JACQUELINE. 257

To Stop the planet roiling round.

The hght was on his face ; and there
You might have seen the passions driven—
Resentme?.t, Pity, Hope, Despair —
Like clouds across the face of Heaven.
Now he sigh'd heavily ; and now,
His hand withdrawing from his brow,
He shut the volume with a frown,
To walk his troubled spirit down :
— When (faithful as that dog of yore*
Who wagg'd his tail and could no more)
Manchon, who long had snuff'd the ground,
And sought and sought, but never found,
Leapt up and to the casement flew.
And look'd and bark'd and vanish'd through*
*' 'T is Jacqueline ! 'T is Jacqueline '"
Her little brother laughing cried.
" I know her by her kirtle green,
She comes along the mountain-side ;
Now turning by the traveller's seat, —
Now resting in the hermit's cave, —
Now kneeling, where the pathways meet.
To the cross on the stranger's grave.
And by the soldier's cloak, I know
(There, there along the ridge they go)
D'Arcy, so gentle and so brave !
Lookup — why will you not ?" he crie«
His rosy hands before his eyes ;
For on that iticense-breathing eve
The sun shone out, as loth to leave.

♦ Argus.
17



858 JACQUELINE,

" Sec to the rugged rock she clinga f
She calls, she taints, and D'Arcy spring!
D'Arcy £o dear to us, to all ;
Who, for you told me on your knee,
When in the fight he saw you fall,
Saved you for Jacqueline and me !"

And true it was ! And true the tale '
When did she sue and not prevail ?
Five years before — it was the night
That on the village-green they parted,
The lilied banners streaming bright
O'er maids and mothers broken-hearted ;
The drum — it drown'd the last adieu,
When D'Arcy from the crowd she drew.
" One charge I have, and one alone,
Nor that refuse to take.
My father — if not for his own,
Oh for his daughter's sake !"
Inly he vow'd — " 'twas all he could !'*
And went and seal'd it with his blood.

Nor can ye wonder. When a child.
And in her playfulness she smiled,
Up many a ladder-path* he guided
Where meteor-like the chamois glided.
Through many a misty grove.
They loved — but under Friendship's namo
And Reason, Virtue fann'd the flame ;
Till in their houses Discord came,
And 'twas a crime to love.
Then what was Jacqueline to do ?

♦Called in the language of ihe country pas de V Ech*li4



JACQ CELINE. 259

Her father's angry hours she knew,
And when to soothe, nnd when persuade;
But now her path De Courcy cross' d,
Led by his falcon through the glade-
He turn'd, beheld, admired the maid;
And all her little arts were lost !
De Courcy, lord of Atgentiere !
Thy poverty, thy pride, St, Pierre,
Thy thirst for vengeance sought the snare
The day was named, the guests invited;
The bridegroom, at the gate, alighted;
When up the windings of the dell
A pastoral pipe was heard to swell,
And lo, an humble Peidmontese,
Whose music might a lady please,
This message through the lattice bore
(She listen'd, and her trembling frame
Told her at once from whom it came^
•' Oh let us fly — to part no more!"

III.
That morn ('twas in Ste Julienne's cell,
As at Ste Julienne's sacred well
Their dream of love began).
That morn, ere many a star was set,
Their hands had on the altar met
Before the holy man.
—And now the village gleams at last ;
The woods, the golden meadows pass'd.
Where, when Toulouse, thy splendour shon*
The Troubadour would journey on
Transported— or, from grove to grove,



2^0 JACQUELIVE.

Framing some roundelay of love.

Wander till the day was gone.

" All will be well, my Jacqueline '

Oh tremble not — but trust in m


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Online LibrarySamuel RogersThe poems of Samuel Rogers, with a memoir → online text (page 13 of 16)