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Lord Byron (1788–1824). Poetry of Byron. 1881.

II. Descriptive and Narrative

Parting of Conrad and Medora

(Corsair, Canto i. Stanzas 14, 15.)

SHE rose—she sprung—she clung to his embrace,

Till his heart heaved beneath her hidden face.

He dared not raise to his that deep-blue eye,

Which downcast droop’d in tearless agony.

Her long fair hair lay floating o’er his arms,

In all the wildness of dishevell’d charms;

Scarce beat that bosom where his image dwelt

So full—that feeling seem’d almost unfelt!

Hark—peals the thunder of the signal-gun!

It told ’twas sunset—and he cursed that sun

Again—again—that form he madly press’d,

Which mutely clasp’d, imploringly caress’d!

And tottering to the couch his bride he bore,

One moment gazed—as if to gaze no more;

Felt—that for him earth held but her alone,

Kiss’d her cold forehead—turn’d—is Conrad gone?

“And is he gone?”—on sudden solitude

How oft that fearful question will intrude!

“’Twas but an instant past—and here he stood!

And now”—without the portal’s porch she rush’d,

And then at length her tears in freedom gush’d;

Big—bright—and fast, unknown to her they fell;

But still her lips refused to send—“Farewell!”

For in that word—that fatal word—howe’er

We promise—hope—believe—there breathes despair.

O’er every feature of that still, pale face,

Had sorrow fix’d what time can ne’er erase:

The tender blue of that large loving eye

Grew frozen with its gaze on vacancy,

Till—Oh, how far!—it caught a glimpse of him,

And then it flow’d—and phrensied seem’d to swim

Through those long, dark, and glistening lashes dew’d

With drops of sadness oft to be renew’d.

“He’s gone!”—against her heart that hand is driven,

Convulsed and quick—then gently raised to heaven;

She look’d and saw the heaving of the main;

The white sail set—she dared not look again;

But turn’d with sickening soul within the gate—

“It is no dream—and I am desolate!”