Landon in The Literary Gazette 1823/False One

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For works with similar titles, see Poetic Sketches (L. E. L.).

Literary Gazette 29th November 1823, Page 763


ORIGINAL POETRY.
POETIC SKETCHES.
Fourth Series.


SKETCH III.— THE FALSE ONE.

And what must woman suffer, thus betrayed?
Her heart's most warm and precious feelings made
But things wherewith to wound; that heart so weak,
So soft, laid open to the vulture's beak,
Its sweet revealings given up to scorn
It burns to bear, and yet that must be borne:
And, sorer still, that bitterest emotion,
To know, the shrine which had our soul's devotion
Is that of a false deity; to look
Upon the eyes we worshipped, and brook
Their cold reply. Yet these are all for her.
The rude world's outcast and love's wanderer.
Alas! that love, which is so sweet a thing,
Should ever cause guilt, grief and suffering;
That the lorn heart should ever have to brood
O'er wrongs and ruin in its solitude;
And, worst of all, that ever love should be
Forgetful of its own dear memory!

Ride on, ride with thy bridal company.[1]
Ride on thy coal-black steed, thou false one! ride.
How gallant is thy bearing, and how proud
Wave the white glancings of thy plume! Ride on,
And at a thousand shout thy name, heed not
If one shall deeply curse it. When thy heart
Beats with the presence of thy fair young bride,
Remember not the one which thou hast left,
A jewel tarnished in its light, to break;
And when her blush looks beautiful, forget
The blush you kissed, when on your bosom lay
The now forsaken Maid of Arragon!
And when before the nobles of the land,
Beneath the proud cathedral's fretted aisle,
You plight your marriage vows, think not of those
You breathed in the lone citron grove, the stars
Witnesses of the contract. Fare thee well!—

    On rode the Bridegroom, to the breath of flutes
And the salute of trumpets. Suddenly
A gush of perfume and a sound of song
Rose slow and sweet,—they ushered in the Bride.
On came the Ladye, with her bright hair wreathed
Around with Indian pearls; a silver veil
Played o'er her jewelled waist. And they were wed,
That dark-eyed Cavalier, and that sweet dame.
And as the gay procession left the church,
Gathered a multitude around, and wished
All happiness to their Hero and his Bride;
And to the flourish of glad instruments,
A chorus of rich voices made reply.
Yet ever and anon a single song,
A low and melancholy song, was heard,
The very echo of a broken heart,
Like the swan dying in soft music. None
Of all the train could tell whence came that voice;
But each one felt its influence, as it waked
In each some sad forgotten memory;
But more than all, it seemed to call dark thought
Upon the Bridegroom's forehead, and his lip
Grew pale with some deep feeling. But it ceased,
And each felt as a weight had left his heart,
When died those tones of sorrow into silence;
But all remarked how strange a gloom had fallen
Over the Count. Yet on they rode, and reached
His palace, bright like day with perfumed lamps:
The stately banquet was spread gorgeously,
And in the glory of the festal hall,
And in the gladness of its melody,
All soon forgot the melancholy song. - - -

    Next day there was a sound of pity heard
In the proud streets of Seville: at the foot
Of Count Hernando's statue—(that one raised
To honour him, when, first and last in battle,
He singly stood against the Moors, and turned
The fortune of the fight)—as if in prayer,
A Maiden knelt; her long hair hid her face,
And its black curls were drenched with the thick dew.
She had been all night there, for some recalled
Seeing a pale girl kneeling there when first
Upon the statue fell the cold moonlight.
There was a wreath of laurel hung above,
Fresh, green; below it, like an offering,
A cypress braid, with one pale withered rose
Bound by a broken chain of gold. They touched the hands,
When the pale maiden answered not their words;
They were like marble, heavy, white and chill;
They parted from the face the thick dark hair,
And looked upon a corpse!L. E. L.

  1. Milman wrote the hymn 'Ride on, ride on in majesty' around 1822 but it wasn't published until 1827, so there would appear to be no connection.