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Love And Madness

Thomas Campbell 1777 (Glasgow) – 1844 (Boulogne-sur-Mer)



Hark ! from the battlements of yonder tower
The solemn bell has tolled the midnight hour !
Roused from drear visions of distempered sleep,
Poor Broderick wakes—in solitude to weep !

"Cease, Memory; cease (the friendless mourner cried)
To probe the bosom too severely tried !
Oh ! ever cease, my pensive thoughts, to stray
Through tie bright fields of Fortune's better day,
When youthful Hope, the music of the mind,
Tuned all its charms, and Errington was kind !

Yet, can I cease, while glows this trembling frame,
In sighs to speak thy melancholy name !
I hear thy spirit wail in every storm !
In midniglit shades I view thy passing form !
Pale as in that sad hour when doomed to feel !
Deep in thy perjured heart, the bloody steel !

Demons of Vengeance ! ye, at whose command
I grasped the sword with more than woman's hand
Say ye, did Pity's trembling voice control,
Or horror damp the purpose of my soul ?
No ! my wild heart sat smiling o'er the plan,
'Till Hate fulfilled what baffled love began !

Yes ; let the clay-cold breast that never knew
One tender pang to generous nature true,
Half-mingling pity with the gall of scorn,
Condemn this heart, that bled in love forlorn !

And ye, proud fair, whose soul no gladness warms,
Save Rapture's homage to your conscious charms !
Delighted idols of a gaudy train,
Ill can your blunter feelings guess the pain,
When the fond, faithful heart, inspired to prove
Friendship refined, the calm delight of Love,
Feels all its tender strings with anguish torn,
And bleeds at perjured Pride's inhuman scorn.

Say, then, did pitying Heaven condemn the deed,
When Vengeance bade thee, faithless lover! bleed ?
Long had I watched thy dark foreboding brow,
What time thy bosom scorned its dearest vow !
Sad, though I wept the friend, the lover changed,
Still thy cold look was scornful and estranged,
Till from thy pity, love, and shelter thrown,
I wandered hopeless, friendless, and alone !

Oh ! righteous Heaven ! 't was then my tortured soul
First gave to wrath unlimited control !
Adieu the silent look ! the streaming eye !
The murmured plaint ! the deep heart-heaving sigh !
Long-slumbering Vengeance wakes to better deeds ;
He shrieks, he falls, the perjured lover bleeds !
Now the last laugh of agony is o'er,
And pale in blood he sleeps, to wake no more !

'T is done ! the flame of hate no longer burns :
Nature relents, but, ah! too late returns!
Why does my soul this gush of fondness feel ?
Trembling and faint, I drop the guilty steel !
Cold on my heart the hand of terror lies,
And shades of horror close my languid eyes !

Oh ! 't was a deed of Murder's deepest grain !
Could Broderick's soul so true to wrath remain ?
A friend long true, a once fond lover fell ?
Where Love was fostered could not Pity dwell ?

Unhappy youth ! while you pale cresscent glows
To watch on silent Nature's deep repose,
Thy sleepless spirit, breathing from the tomb ,
Foretells my fate, and summons me to come !
Once more I see thy sheeted spectre stand ,
Roll the dim eye, and wave the paly hand !

Soon may this fluttering spark of vital flame
Forsake its languid melancholy frame !
Soon may these eyes their trembling lustre close,
Welcome the dreamless night of long repose !
Soon may this woe-worn spirit seek the bourne
Where, lulled to slumber, Grief forgets to mourn !"

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

2:51 min read
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Thomas Campbell

Thomas Campbell was an Irish Protestant clergyman, best known as a travel writer and for his accounts of the circle of Samuel Johnson. more…

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