Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

Were there e'en at his side!

The terror-stricken slave was mute-
Mercy would be denied,

E'en could he ask it-so he deemed,

And the poor boy half lifeless seemed.

Speechless, bewildered-for a space
They gazed upon that perfect face,
Each with an artist's joy;
At length Murillo silence broke,
And with affected sternness spoke-

"Who is your master, boy?"

"You, señor," said the trembling slave. "Nay, who, I mean, instruction gave, Before that Virgin's head you drew?" Again he answered, "Only you." "I gave you none!" Murillo cried. "But I have heard," the boy replied,

"What you to others said."

"And more than heard," in kinder tone,

The painter said; "'tis plainly shown
That you have profited.

"What (to his pupils) is his mead? Reward or punishment?"

"Reward, reward!" they warmly cried,

(Sebastian's ear was bent

To catch the sound he scarce believed,
But with imploring looks received.)
"What shall it be?" They spoke of gold
And of a splendid dress;

But still unmoved Sebastian stood,

Silent and motionless.

"Speak!" said Murillo, kindly, "choose

Your own reward-what shall it be? Name what you wish, I'll not refuse: Then speak at once and fearlessly." "Oh! if I dared!" Sebastian knelt,

And feelings he could not control, (But feared to utter even then)

With strong emotion, shook his soul.

"Courage!" his master said, and each Essayed, in kind, half-whispered speech, To soothe his overpow'ring dread. He scarcely heard, till some one said, "Sebastian-ask-you have your choice, Ask for your freedom." At the word,

The suppliant strove to raise his voice: At first but stifled sobs were heard, And then his prayer-breathed fervently— "O master, make my father free!" "Him and thyself, my noble boy!" Warmly the painter cried;

Raising Sebastian from his feet,
He pressed him to his side.
"Thy talents rare, and filial love,
E'en more have fairly won;

Still be thou mine by other bonds-
My pupil and my son."

Murillo knew, e'en when the words
Of generous feelings passed his lips,
Sebastian's talents soon must lead

To fame that would his own eclipse;
And, constant to his purpose still,
He joyed to see his pupil gain,
Beneath his care, such matchless skill
As made his name the pride of Spain.

Long Life.

OUNT not thy life by calendars; for

Years shall pass thee by unheeded, whilst an hour

Some little fleeting hour, too quickly past

May stamp itself so deeply on thy brain,

Thy latest years shall live upon its joy.

His life is longest, not whose boneless gums,

Sunk eyes, wan cheeks, and snow-white hairs bespeak
Life's limits; no! but he whose memory

Is thickest set with those delicious scenes

'Tis sweet to ponder o'er when even falls.

Reveries at a Mother's Grave.

HE trembling dew-drops fall

Upon the shutting flowers-like souls at rest;

The stars shine gloriously-and all,

Save me, is blest.

Mother! I love thy grave!

The violet, with the blossom blue and mild, Waves o'er thy head-when shall it wave Above thy child?

'Tis a sweet flower-yet must

Its bright leaves to the coming tempest bow, Dear mother-'tis thine emblem-dust

Is on thy brow!

And I could love to die

To leave untasted life's dark, bitter streams, By thee, as erst in childhood lie,

And share thy dreams.

And must I linger here

To stain the plumage of my sinless years, And mourn the hopes of childhood dear With bitter tears?

Aye must I linger here,

A lonely branch upon a blasted tree, Whose last frail leaf, untimely sere,

Went down with thee?

Oft from life's withered bower,

In still communion with the past I turn And muse on thee, the only flower

In memory's urn.

And, when the evening pale

Bows like a mourner on the dim, blue wave,

I stray to hear the night winds wail

Around thy grave.

Why is thy spirit flown?

I gaze above thy look is imaged there

I listen, and thy gentle tone

[blocks in formation]

My brow upon thy grave and, in those mild And thrilling tones of tenderness,

Bless, bless thy child!

Yes, bless thy weeping child,

And o'er thy urn-religion's holiest shrineOh, give his spirit undefiled.

To blend with thine.

« VorigeDoorgaan »