They told her that he, to whose vows she had listened
Thro' night's fleeting hours, was a spirit unblest;--
Unholy the eyes, that beside her had glistened,
And evil the lips she in darkness had prest.
"When next in thy chamber the bridegroom reclineth,
"Bring near him thy lamp, when in slumber he lies;
"And there, as the light, o'er his dark features shineth,
"Thou'lt see what a demon hath won all thy sighs!"
Too fond to believe them, yet doubting, yet fearing,
When calm lay the sleeper she stole with her light;
And saw--such a vision!--no image, appearing
To bards in their day-dreams, was ever so bright.
A youth, but just passing from childhood's sweet morning,
While round him still lingered its innocent ray;
Tho' gleams, from beneath his shut eyelids gave warning
Of summer-noon lightnings that under them lay.
His brow had a grace more than mortal around it,
While, glossy as gold from a fairy-land mine,
His sunny hair hung, and the flowers that crowned it
Seemed fresh from the breeze of some garden divine.
Entranced stood the bride, on that miracle gazing,
What late was but love is idolatry now;
But, ah--in her tremor the fatal lamp raising--
A sparkle flew from it and dropt on his brow.
All's lost--with a start from his rosy sleep waking;
The Spirit flashed o'er her his glances of fire;
Then, slow from the clasp of her snowy arms breaking,
Thus said, in a voice more of sorrow than ire:
"Farewell--what a dream thy suspicion hath broken!
"Thus ever. Affection's fond vision is crost;
"Dissolved are her spells when a doubt is but spoken,
"And love, once distrusted, for ever is lost!"