THE MANY-MANSIONED HOUSE
AND OTHER POEMS


By
EDWARD WILLIAM THOMSON




 

GASTIBELZAH

FROM THE FRENCH OF VICTOR HUGO

(Guitare)



GASTIBELZAH who bore the carabine
             Was wont to sing:
“Did any of you people know Sabine
             Who are listening?
Dance, villagers, and sing, dusk settles nigh

5

             Phalou again.
The wind that blows across the mountain sky
             Will craze my brain.

“Does any one remember fair Sabine,
             My señora?

10

Her mother was the wrinkled maugrabine
             Of Antrigra,
Who from the tower screamed down her owlish cry
             At evening’s wane.
The wind that blows across the mountain sky

15

             Will craze my brain.

“Dancing and singing!  All such pleasant things
             We ought to prize.
Sabine was young, and happiness had springs
             In her clear eyes.

20

They’d make you think.  [Old beggar, catch!  I shy
             You coppers twain.]
The wind that blows across the mountain sky
             Will craze my brain.

“Truly, the Queen herself would beauty lack

25

             Beside Sabine,
Crossing Toledo’s bridge in bodice black
             At fall of e’en; [Page 137]
Beads of the time of Charlemagne supply
             Her necklet skein.

30

The wind that blows across the mountain sky
             Will craze my brain.

“The King, on seeing her so lovely, said—
             ‘O nephew dear,
To win one kiss, one ringlet of her head,

35

             One smile—right here,
Don Ruiz, Prince, I’d put my kingdoms by,
             Peru and Spain!’
The wind that blows across the mountain sky
             Will craze my brain.

40


“I know not if I loved that lady, though
             I know full well,
Poor dog, to gain one loving look, I’d go
             And gladly dwell
Ten mortal years a galley slave to lie

45

             With ball and chain.
The wind that blows across the mountain sky
             Will craze my brain.

“One summer day, when all was life and gleam
             And tenderness,

50

She and her sister played about the stream
             In half undress—
The girlish foot, the knee—I could descry
             Each tiny vein.
The wind that blows across the mountain sky

55

             Will craze my brain.

“When I, of old the herdsman of this place,
             Beheld the maid,
I deemed I saw sweet Cleopatra’s grace,
             Who once, ’t is said,

60

Led Cæsar, Emperor of Germany,
             Her haltered swain. [Page 138]
The wind that blows across the mountain sky
             Will craze my brain.

“Dance, villagers, and sing—night glooms above—

65

             Sabine, one day,
Sold all her spotless beauty of a dove,
             Cast love away,
For golden rings, for gawds, she took the tie
             Of Count Saldagne.

70

The wind that blows across the mountain sky
             Will craze my brain.

“On this old bench I beg you let me lean,
             I’m tired sore—
Well, then—she fled with Count Saldagne—I’ve seen

75

             Her nevermore.
She took the road I know not where, to fly
             Beyond Cerdagne.
The wind that blows across the mountain sky
             Will craze my brain.

80


“I saw her pass my hut, and that was all,
             One moment brief,
But now I see her every hour, and fall
             To wearier grief—
Idle, my dirk hung up, with dreaming eye,

85

             I roam the plain.
The wind that blows across the mountain sky
             Has crazed my brain.” [Page 139]