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Russian Fugitive, The Analysis



Author: Poetry of William Wordsworth Type: Poetry Views: 390

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I



Enough of rose-bud lips, and eyes

Like harebells bathed in dew,

Of cheek that with carnation vies,

And veins of violet hue;

Earth wants not beauty that may scorn

A likening to frail flowers;

Yea, to the stars, if they were born

For seasons and for hours.



Through Moscow's gates, with gold unbarred,

Stepped One at dead of night,

Whom such high beauty could not guard

From meditated blight;

By stealth she passed, and fled as fast

As doth the hunted fawn,

Nor stopped, till in the dappling east

Appeared unwelcome dawn.



Seven days she lurked in brake and field,

Seven nights her course renewed,

Sustained by what her scrip might yield,

Or berries of the wood;

At length, in darkness travelling on,

When lowly doors were shut,

The haven of her hope she won,

Her foster-mother's hut.



"To put your love to dangerous proof

I come," said she, "from far;

For I have left my Father's roof,

In terror of the czar."

No answer did the Matron give,

No second look she cast,

But hung upon the fugitive,

Embracing and embraced.



She led the Lady to a seat

Beside the glimmering fire,

Bathed duteously her wayworn feet,

Prevented each desire:---

The cricket chirped, the house-dog dozed,

And on that simple bed,

Where she in childhood had reposed,

Now rests her weary head.



When she, whose couch had been the sod,

Whose curtain, pine or thorn,

Had breathed a sigh of thanks to God,

Who comforts the forlorn;

While over her the Matron bent

Sleep sealed her eyes, and stole

Feeling from limbs with travel spent,

And trouble from the soul.



Refreshed, the Wanderer rose at morn,

And soon again was dight

In those unworthy vestments worn

Through long and perilous flight;

And "O beloved Nurse," she said,

"My thanks with silent tears

Have unto Heaven and You been paid:

Now listen to my fears !



"Have you forgot"---and here she smiled---

"The babbling flatteries

You lavished on me when a child

Disporting round your knees?

I was your lambkin, and your bird,

Your star, your gem, your flower;

Light words, that were more lightly heard

In many a cloudless hour!



"The blossom you so fondly praised

Is come to bitter fruit;

A mighty One upon me gazed;

I spurned his lawless suit,

And must be hidden from his wrath:

You, Foster-father dear,

Will guide me in my forward path;

I may not tarry here!



"I cannot bring to utter woe

Your proved fidelity."---

"Dear Child, sweet Mistress, say not so!

For you we both would die."

"Nay, nay, I come with semblance feigned

And cheek embrowned by art;

Yet, being inwardly unstained,

With courage will depart."



"But whither would you, could you, flee?

A poor Man's counsel take;

The Holy Virgin gives to me

A thought for your dear sake;

Rest, shielded by our Lady's grace,

And soon shall you be led

Forth to a safe abiding-place,

Where never foot doth tread."



II

THE dwelling of this faithful pair

In a straggling village stood,

For One who breathed unquiet air

A dangerous neighbourhood;

But wide around lay forest ground

With thickets rough and blind;

And pine-trees made a heavy shade

Impervious to the wind.



And there, sequestered from the eight,

Was spread a treacherous swamp,

On which the noonday sun shed light

As from a lonely lamp;

And midway in the unsafe morass,

A single Island rose

Of firm dry ground, with healthful grass

Adorned, and shady boughs.



The Woodman knew, for such the craft

This Russian vassal plied,

That never fowler's gun, nor shaft

Of archer, there was tried;

A sanctuary seemed the spot

From all intrusion free;

And there he planned an artful Cot

For perfect secrecy.



With earnest pains unchecked by dread

Of Power's far-stretching hand,

The bold good Man his labor sped

At nature's pure command;

Heart-soothed, and busy as a wren,

While, in a hollow nook,

She moulds her sight-eluding den

Above a murmuring brook.



His task accomplished to his mind,

The twain ere break of day

Creep forth, and through the forest wind

Their solitary way;

Few words they speak, nor dare to slack

Their pace from mile to mile,

Till they have crossed the quaking marsh,

And reached the lonely Isle.



The sun above the pine-trees showed

A bright and cheerful face;

And Ina looked for her abode,

The promised hiding-place;

She sought in vain, the Woodman smiled;

No threshold could be seen,

Nor roof, nor window;Ņall seemed wild

As it had ever been.



Advancing, you might guess an hour,

The front with such nice care

Is masked, 'if house it be or bower,'

But in they entered are;

As shaggy as were wall and roof

With branches intertwined,

So smooth was all within, air-proof,

And delicately lined:



And hearth was there, and maple dish,

And cups in seemly rows,

And couch---all ready to a wish

For nurture or repose;

And Heaven doth to her virtue grant

That here she may abide

In solitude, with every want

By cautious love supplied.



No queen, before a shouting crowd,

Led on in bridal state,

E'er struggled with a heart so proud,

Entering her palace gate:

Rejoiced to bid the world farewell,

No saintly anchoress

E'er took possession of her cell

With deeper thankfulness.



"Father of all, upon thy care

And mercy am I thrown;

Be thou my safeguard!"---such her prayer

When she was left alone,

Kneeling amid the wilderness

When joy had passed away,

And smiles, fond efforts of distress

To hide what they betray!



The prayer is heard, the Saints have seen,

Diffused through form and face,

Resolves devotedly serene;

That monumental grace

Of Faith, which doth all passions tame

That Reason should control;

And shows in the untrembling frame

A statue of the soul.



III

'TIS sung in ancient minstrelsy

That Phoebus wont to wear

The leaves of any pleasant tree

Around his golden hair;

Till Daphne, desperate with pursuit

Of his imperious love,

At her own prayer transformed, took root,

A laurel in the grove.



Then did the Penitent adorn

His brow with laurel green;

And 'mid his bright locks never shorn

No meaner leaf was seen;

And poets sage, through every age,

About their temples wound

The bay; and conquerors thanked the Gods,

With laurel chaplets crowned,



Into the mists of fabling Time

So far runs back the praise

Of Beauty, that disdains to climb

Along forbidden ways;

That scorns temptation; power defies

Where mutual love is not;

And to the tomb for rescue flies

When life would be a blot.



To this fair Votaress, a fate

More mild doth Heaven ordain

Upon her Island desolate;

And word, not breathed in vain,

Might tell what intercourse she found,

Her silence to endear;

What birds she tamed, what flowers the ground

Sent forth her peace to cheer.



To one mute Presence, above all,

Her soothed affections clung,

A picture on the cabin wall

By Russian usage hung---

The Mother-maid, whose countenance bright

With love abridged the day;

And, communed with by taper light,

Chased spectral fears away.



And oft as either Guardian came,

The joy in that retreat

Might any common friendship shame,

So high their heart would beat;

And to the lone Recluse, whate'er

They brought, each visiting

Was like the crowding of the year

With a new burst of spring.



But, when she of her Parents thought,

The pang was hard to bear;

And, if with all things not enwrought,

That trouble still is near.

Before her flight she had not dared

Their constancy to prove,

Too much the heroic Daughter feared

The weakness of their love.



Dark is the past to them, and dark

The future still must be,

Till pitying Saints conduct her bark

Into a safer sea---

Or gentle Nature close her eyes,

And set her Spirit free

From the altar of this sacrifice,

In vestal purity.



Yet, when above the forest-glooms

The white swans southward passed,

High as the pitch of their swift plume

Her fancy rode the blast;

And bore her toward the fields of France

Her Father's native land,

To mingle in the rustic dance,

The happiest of the band!



Of those beloved fields she oft

Had heard her Father tell

In phrase that now with echoes soft

Haunted her lonely cell;

She saw the hereditary bowers,

She heard the ancestral stream;

The Kremlin and its haughty towers

Forgotten like a dream !



IV

THE ever-changing Moon had traced

Twelve times her monthly round,

When through the unfrequented Waste

Was heard a startling sound;

A shout thrice sent from one who chased

At speed a wounded deer,

Bounding through branches interlaced,

And where the wood was clear.



The fainting creature took the marsh,

And toward the Island fled,

While plovers screamed with tumult harsh

Above his antlered head;

This, Ina saw; and, pale with fear,

Shrunk to her citadel;

The desperate deer rushed on, and near

The tangled covert fell.



Across the marsh, the game in view,

The Hunter followed fast,

Nor paused, till o'er the stag he blew

A death-proclaiming blast;

Then, resting on her upright mind,

Came forth the Maid---"In me

Behold," she said, " a stricken Hind

Pursued by destiny!



"From your deportment, Sir! I deem

That you have worn a sword,

And will not hold in light esteem

A suffering woman's word;

There is my covert, there perchance

I might have lain concealed,

My fortunes hid, my countenance

Not even to you revealed.



"Tears might be shed, and I might pray,

Crouching and terrified,

That what has been unveiled to day,

You would in mystery hide;

But I will not defile with dust

The knee that bend to adore

The God in heaven;---attend, be just;

This ask I, and no more!



"I speak not of the winter's cold,

For summer's heat exchanged,

While I have lodged in this rough hold,

From social life estranged;

Nor yet of trouble and alarms:

High Heaven is my defence;

And every season has soft arms

For injured Innocence.



"From Moscow to the Wilderness

It was my choice to come,

Lest virtue should be harborless,

And honor want a home;

And happy were I, if the Czar

Retain his lawless will,

To end life here like this poor deer,

Or a lamb on a green hill."



"Are you the Maid," the Stranger cried,

"From Gallic parents sprung,

Whose vanishing was rumored wide,

Sad theme for every tongue;

Who foiled an Emperor's eager quest?

You, Lady, forced to wear

These rude habiliments, and rest

Your head in this dark lair!"



But wonder, pity, soon were quelled;

And in her face and mien

The soul's pure brightness she beheld

Without a veil between:

He loved, he hoped,---a holy flame

Kindled 'mid rapturous tears;

The passion of a moment came

As on the wings of years.



"Such bounty is no gift of chance,"

Exclaimed he; "righteous Heaven,

Preparing your deliverance,

To me the charge hath given.

The Czar full oft in words, and deeds

Is stormy and self-willed;

But, when the Lady Catherine pleads,

His violence is stilled.



"Leave open to my wish the course,

And I to her will go;

From that humane and heavenly source,

Good, only good, can flow.''

Faint sanction given, the Cavalier

Was eager to depart,

Though question followed question, dear

To the Maiden's filial heart.



Light was his step,---his hopes, more light,

Kept pace with his desires;

And the fifth morning gave him sight

Of Moscow's glittering spires.

He sued:---heart-smitten by the wrong,

To the lorn Fugitive

The Emperor sent a pledge as strong

As sovereign power could give.



O more than mighty change! If e'er

Amazement rose to pain,

And joy's excess produced a fear

Of something void and vain;

'Twas when the Parents, who had mourned

So long the lost as dead,

Beheld their only Child returned,

The household floor to tread.



Soon gratitude gave way to love

Within the Maiden's breast:

Delivered and Deliverer move

In bridal garments drest;

Meek Catherine had her own reward;

The Czar bestowed a dower;

And universal Moscow shared

The triumph of that hour.



Flowers strewed the ground; the nuptial feast

Was held with costly state;

And there, 'mid many a noble guest,

The foster-parent sate;

Encouraged by the imperial eye,

They shrank not into shade;

Great as their bliss, the honor high

To them and nature paid!





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