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My days among the dead are past

My days among the Dead are past;

Around me I behold,

Where'er these casual eyes are cast,

The mighty minds of old;

My never-failing friends are they,

With whom I converse day by day.

With them I take delight in weal,

And seek relief in woe;

And while I understand and feel

How much to them I owe,

My cheeks have often been bedew'd

With tears of thoughtful gratitude.

My thoughts are with the Dead, with them

I live in long-past years,

Their virtues love, their faults condemn,

Partake their hopes and fears,

And from their lessons seek and find

Instruction with an humble mind.

My hopes are with the Dead, anon

My place with them will be,

And I with them shall travel on

Through all Futurity;

Yet leaving here a name, I trust,

That will not perish in the dust.

How beautiful is night

How beautiful is night!

A dewy freshness fills the silent air;

No mist obscures, nor cloud, nor speck, nor stain,

Breaks the serene of heaven;

In full-orb’d glory, yonder moon divine

Rolls through the dark blue depths.

Beneath her steady ray

The desert-circle spreads

Like the round ocean, girdled with the sky.

How beautiful is night!

Go, Valentine

Go, Valentine, and tell that lovely maid

Whom fancy still will portray to my sight,

How here I linger in this sullen shade,

This dreary gloom of dull monastic night;

Say, that every joy of life remote

At evening's closing hour I quit the throng,

Listening in solitude the ring-dome's note,

Who pours like me her solitary song;

Say, that of her absence calls the sorrowing sigh;

Say, that of all her charms I love to speak,

In fancy feel the magic of her eye,

In fancy view the smile illume her cheek,

Court the lone hour when silence stills the grove,

And heave the sigh of memory and of love.


HE found a Woman in the cave,

A solitary Woman,

Who by the fire was spinning,

And singing as she spun.

The pine boughs were cheerfully blazing,

And her face was bright with the flame;

Her face was as a Damsel’s face,

And yet her hair was grey.

She bade him welcome with a smile,

And still continued spinning,

And singing as she spun….

The thread she spun it gleam’d like gold

In the light of the odorous fire,

Yet was it so wonderously thin,

That, save when it shone in the light,

You might look for it closely in vain.

The youth sate watching it,

And she observed his wonder,

And then again she spake,

And still her speech was song;

‘Now twine it round thy hands I say,

Now twine it round thy hands I pray;

My thread is small, my thread is fine,

But he must be

A stronger than thee,

Who can break this thread of mine!’

And up she raised her bright blue eyes,

And sweetly she smiled on him,

And he conceived no ill;

And round and round his right hand,

And round and round his left,

He wound the thread so fine.

And then again the Woman spake,

And still her speech was song,

‘Now thy strength, O Stranger, strain!

Now then break the slender chain.’

Thalaba strove, but the thread

By magic hands was spun,

And in his cheek the flush of shame

Arose, commixt with fear.

She beheld and laugh’d at him,

And then again she sung,

‘My thread is small, my thread is fine,

But he must be

A stronger than thee,

Who can break this thread of mine!’

And up she raised her bright blue eyes,

And fiercely she smiled on him;

‘I thank thee, I thank thee, Hodeirah’s son!

I thank thee for doing what can’t be undone,

For binding thyself in the chain I have spun!’

Then from his head she wrench’d

A lock of his raven hair,

And cast it in the fire,

And cried aloud as it burnt,

‘Sister! Sister! hear my voice!

Sister! Sister! come and rejoice!

The thread is spun,

The prize is won,

The work is done,

For I have made captive Hodeirah’s Son.’