DEAD lay the vanquished LION at my feet,
And I, the stern possessor of his den,
Enter with gratitude the wild retreat,
Now more congenial than th’ abodes of men.
Tho’ haply here, to shun the blaze of day,
Dark birds of omen, wing their frequent flight,
Croak deep-toned horror o’er their mangled prey,
While hissing snakes discordantly unite.
Yet here, far happier—far more tranquil, here,
On the bare rock, I’ll lay my pensive head,
Than thou, base author of my lot severe,
Wilt ever sleep on Luxury’s silken bed.
No scorpion CONSCIENCE hourly stings my soul!
ENVY, self-torturing fiend, ne’er haunts this cave;
Here AVARICE, wolf insatiate, will not prowl,
Nor black DESPONDENCE mark me for her slave.
One only cause of anguish breaks my rest,
Or bids the sadly-silent tear to flow.
Oh! SELIMA!—but, let me think thee blest
With saints above, for bliss ne’er dwells below.
And yet, with thee, ere FORTUNE’s angry frown
Blasted each joy, and tore me from thy charms,
Heedless of wealth, of honors, or renown,
All—all I dreamt of Heaven was in thine arms!
Short dream, alas!—yet, does the miscreant live,
Whose perjured breath impell’d AFFLICTION’s dart?
But why revenge?—No stroke this arm might give,
Could add new HELL to that which fires his heart.