Poems of Letitia Elizabeth Landon (L. E. L.) in Pledge of Friendship, 1828/Othman
Morning, bright morning, thou art on the wave,
Where sweep the proud gallies, whose freight is the brave
The red flag is streaming—a meteor of war;
Woe to the eyes that watch for it afar!
Young warrior, the sabre is bright in thy hand,—
Why does thy dark eye yet linger on land?
The heart of the warrior should be, like his shield,
As firm in its temper, unknowing to yield.
Thou art brave; where's the Infidel foe dare advance,
For the blow of thy sword, or the flight of thy lance?
Thy white sails are spread, in their pride to the wind,
Why lingerest thou, with thy fond looks behind?
Oh! the heart has its softness, tho' covered with steel;
And the rock has deep waters it cannot conceal;
And he who has ridden in blood to the knee,
Will start at a shadow, when touched, Love by thee!
He turned to the shore; for a maiden is there,
The least rose of whose cheek, the least wave of whose hair,
Are dearer to him than the wealth of the world,
Or the red hour of triumph, when banners are furled.
That eye's slightest look, that lip's softest word,
He is meek as a slave in the chains of his lord:
Not the less, when the battle ships meet on the brine,
Will his bark and his brand be the first in the line.
But the wind fills the sails, and they sweep from the shore;
They part with that parting which never meets more:
They may gaze from the land on the desolate main,
But the bark of young Othman returns not again.
'Tis evening; alone, in her tower on the steep,
His lady sits watching the war of the deep.
Like a trumpet, the wild wind has rung to the charge,
And the unprisoned thunders are rushing at large.
Even fearful the strife of the sky and the sea—
The time of their battle; but what must it be,
When we know that our heart has its all on the wave,
And yet look on the main as we look on the grave.
But the clouds are dispersing, the wild hour is past,
And the setting sun masters the tempest at last;
There is peace on the sky, there is rest on the sea,
But the peace and the rest are not, Leila, for thee.
Scene of wild beauty, the black clouds are driven,
Like rebels subdued, from their empire o'er heaven;
Clear as a crystal, now spreads the bright west,
Where the glad orb is sinking in glory to rest.
A purple gloom hangs o'er the north, but the light
Is breaking around it, the waters are bright,
Like mirrors for sunshine, and silver with foam,
Like the sea-bird's white wings that now over them roam.
But sad is such hour, though the tempest be o'er,
And the sky and the sea be as calm as before:
The glory is mockery, the beauty is doom,—
The light froth, the glad sunlight, are they for the tomb?
The heart hath its omens; she rushed from her tower,
The wave wind-borne dashed o'er her, she felt not the shower:
We watched her dark hair stream as onwards she prest;
One faithful slave followed, and told us the rest.
She found him; some instinct had led her the way,
Where, borne by the billows, and washed by the spray,
Lay Othman. Oh, thus must he meet his young bride!
'Twas but one moment’s parting—she sank by his side!