BETA

The Betrothed.

—— They were lovers ;1
And May’s bright morn, and genial month of love,2
Was destined by the young and happy pair3
To seal their nuptial vows. Short sight, alas !4
Hath human wisdom ! —Ere that season came,5
A chilling blight pass’d o’er the maid, and Death6
Rode, triumphing, the winter’s hollow blast !7
Soon as the first spring-buds put forth their bloom,8
And the young linnet mid the bushes sang ;9
When Nature, casting off her russet garb,10
Put the green robe of her gay bridal on ;11
In the fair marble brow, and hectic cheek,12
And the unearthly lustre of her eye,13
Death’s faithful herald spoke; but veil’d his dart,14
Like him of old *, who hid his warrior-sword15
Beneath a festal garland. To the maid16
No ghastly shape he wore ;  for, clad in smiles,17
Amid the song of birds, the breath of flowers,18
And borne on zephyr’s soft and balmy wing,19
The awful conqueror came ! —She saw him not,20
Nor shrank at his approach ! —No heavy weight21
Press’d on her heart, that, pure as mountain-snow22
Ere sun’s rays have kiss’d it, knew no guile.23
* Harmodius.
Alas !  on him, the lover ! —not on her,24
Fell the destroyer’s stroke! how would he sit,25
The live-long day, counting each flutt’ring pulse,26
And watching, with hope’s keen and eager gaze,27
Till hope itself expired, her fading form ! —28
As day by day, and hour by hour, a part29
Of earth’s frail dross, like silver tried by fire,30
And seven times purified, was cast away ; —31
For, purged by suff’ring, mortal flesh assumes32
A more angelic nature !  As of yore,33
The guests were in the bridal garb array’d ;34
Against the bridegroom came, so wears the form,35
Before its final change from earth to heaven,36
A shadowy type of immortality ! —37
Oft would the lover press to his sad heart38
Her thin transparent hand ; —then turn aside39
To check the starting tear, lest it should wake40
A chord of sorrow in that gentle breast.41
Thus time roll’d on ; —and summer’s glowing noon42
Gave place to yellow autumn ; —yet it brought43
No healthful change to her ;  but gradual still44
Life’s current ebb’d away ! —One balmy eve,45
When autumn’s parting clouds borrow’d the hues46
Of summer’s golden sunset, from the world47
Her gentle spirit pass’d, melting away48
Like rainbow tints from heaven ! ——49