Felicia Dorothea Hemans
The Troubadour And Richard Coeur De Lion - Poem by Felicia Dorothea Hemans
The Troubadour o'er many a plain
Hath roamed unwearied, but in vain.
O'er many a rugged mountain-scene
And forest wild his track hath been;
Beneath Calabria's glowing sky
He hath sung the songs of chivalry;
His voice hath swelled on the Alpine breeze,
And wrung through the snowy Pyrenees;
From Ebro's banks to Danube's wave,
He hath sought his prince, the loved, the brave;
And yet, if still on earth thou art,
Oh, monarch of the lion-heart!
The faithful spirit, which distress
But heightens to devotedness,
By toil and trial vanquished not,
Shall guide thy minstrel to the spot.
He hath reached a mountain hung with vine,
And woods that wave o'er the lovely Rhine:
The feudal towers that crest its height
Frown in unconquerable might;
Dark is their aspect of sullen state -
No helmet hangs o'er the massy gate
To bid the wearied pilgrim rest,
At the chieftain's board a welcome guest;
Vainly rich evening's parting smile
Would chase the gloom of the haughty pile,
That 'midst bright sunshine lowers on high,
Like a thunder-cloud in a summer sky.
Not these the halls where a child of song
Awhile may speed the hours along;
Their echoes should repeat alone
The tyrant's mandate, the prisoner's moan,
Or the wild huntsman's bugle-blast,
When his phantom-train are hurrying past.
The weary minstrel paused - his eye
Roved o'er the scene despondingly:
Within the lengthening shadow, cast
By the fortress-towers and ramparts vast,
Lingering he gazed. The rocks around
Sublime in savage grandeur frowned;
Proud guardians of the regal flood,
In giant strength the mountains stood -
By torrents cleft, by tempests riven,
Yet mingling still with the calm blue heaven.
Their peaks were bright with a sunny glow,
But the Rhine all shadowy rolled below;
In purple tints the vineyards smiled,
But the woods beyond waved dark and wild
Nor pastoral pipe, nor convent's bell,
Was heard on the sighing breeze to swell;
But all was lonely, silent, rude,
A stern, yet glorious solitude.
But hark! that solemn stillness breaking,
The Troubadour's wild song is waking.
Full oft that song, in days gone by,
Hath cheered the sons of chivalry;
It hath swelled o'er Judah's mountains lone,
Hermon! thy echoes have learned its tone;
On the Great Plain its notes have rung,
The leagued Crusaders' tents among;
'Twas loved by the Lion-heart, who won
The palm in the field of Ascalon;
And now afar o'er the rocks of Rhine
Peals the bold strain of Palestine.
The Troubadour's Song
'Thine hour is come, and the stake is set,'
The Soldan cried to the captive knight,
'And the sons of the Prophet in throngs are met
To gaze on the fearful sight.
'But be our faith by thy lips professed,
The faith of Mecca's shrine,
Cast down the red-cross that marks thy vest,
And life shall yet be thine.'
'I have seen the flow of my bosom's blood,
And gazed with undaunted eye;
I have borne the bright cross through fire and flood
And think'st thou I fear to die?
'I have stood where thousands, by Salem's towers,
Have fallen for the name Divine;
And the faith that cheered
Shall be the light of mine.'
'Thus wilt thou die in the pride of health,
And the glow of youth's fresh bloom?
Thou art offered life, and pomp, and wealth,
Or torture and the tomb.'
'I have been where the crown of thorns was twined
For a dying Saviour's brow;
spurned the treasures that lure mankind,
And I reject them now!'
'Art thou the son of a noble line
In a land that is fair and blest?
And doth not thy spirit, proud captive! pine,
Again on its shores to rest?
'Thine own is the choice to hail once more
The soil of thy father's birth,
Or to sleep, when thy lingering pangs are o'er
Forgotten in foreign earth.'
'Oh! fair are the vine-clad hills that rise
In the country of my love;
But yet, though cloudless my native skies,
There's a brighter clime above!'
The bard hath paused - for another tone
Blends with the music of his own;
And his heart beats high with hope again,
As a well-known voice prolongs the strain.
'Are there none within thy father's hall,
Far o'er the wide blue main,
Young Christian! left to deplore thy fall
With sorrow deep and vain?'
'There are hearts that still, through all the past,
Unchanging have loved me well;
There are eyes whose tears were streaming fast
When I bade my home farewell.
Better they wept o'er the warrior's bier
Than the apostate's living stain;
There's a land where those who loved when here,
Shall meet to love again.'
'Tis he! thy prince - long sought, long lost,
The leader of the red-cross host!
'Tis he! to none thy joy betray,
Young Troubadour! away, away!
Away to the island of the brave,
The gem on the bosom of the wave;
Arouse the sons of the noble soil,
To win their Lion from the toil;
And free the wassail-cup shall flow,
Bright in each hall the hearth shall glow;
The festal board shall be richly crowned,
While knights and chieftains revel round,
And a thousand harps with joy shall ring,
When merry England hails her king.
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