The Earthquake.

A poem by Susanna Moodie

There was no sound in earth or air,
And soft the moonbeams smiled
On stately tower and temple fair,
Like mother o'er her child;
And all was hushed in the deep repose
That welcomes the summer evening's close.

Many an eye that day had wept,
And many a cheek with joy grew bright,
Which now, alike unconscious, slept
Beneath the wan moonlight;
And mandolin and gay guitar
Had ceased to woo the evening star.

The lover has sought his couch again,
And the maiden's eyes no longer glisten,
As she comes to the lattice to catch his strain,
And sighs while she bends to smile and listen.
She sleeps, but her rosy lips still move,
And in dreams she answers the voice of love.

Sleep on, ye thoughtless and giddy train,
Sorrow comes with the dawning ray;
Ye never shall wake to joy again,
Or your gay laugh gladden the rising day:
Death sits brooding above your towers,
And destruction rides on the coming hours.--

The day has dawned--but not a breath
Sighs through the sultry air;
The heavens above and earth beneath
One gloomy aspect wear--
Horror and doubt and wild dismay
Welcome the dawn of that fatal day.

Hark!--'tis not the thunder's lengthened peal!
Hark!--'tis not the winds that rise;
Or the heavy crush of the laden wheel,
That echoes through the skies--
'Tis the sound that gives the earthquake birth!
'Tis the heavy groans of the rending earth!

Oh, there were shrieks of wild affright,
And sounds of hurrying feet,
And men who cursed the lurid light,
Whose glance they feared to meet:
And some sunk down in mute despair
On the parched earth, and perished there.--

It comes!--it comes!--that lengthened shock--
The earth before it reels--
The stately towers and temples rock,
The dark abyss reveals
Its fiery depths--the strife is o'er,
The city sinks to rise no more.

She has passed from earth like a fearful dream;--
Where her pomp and splendour rose,
There runs a dark and turbid stream,
And a sable cloud its shadow throws;
Pale sorrow broods in silence there,
To mourn the perished things that were.

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