The Bengali Book of English Verse/On an Old Romaunt (Greece Chunder Dutt)

On an Old Romaunt.

When the night is dark and dreary, and the north wind whistles shrill,
And the snow storm drives in fury down the gorges of the hill,
Like the necromancer's mirror, when his magic perfumes burn,
Mocking Time, these curious volumes make the glorious Past return.

Fast as ripples on the river, or cloud-shadows on the grass,
As I read their quaint old pages, down my curtained chamber pass
Mitred priest, and hospitaller, armed and mounted for the fray,
Bands of bronzed condottieri, maidens fair as laughing May.

All that fancy loves to cherish, of the grand old feudal times,
Palmer guides, and weary pilgrims, wending home from distant climes,
Trembling Jews with jewel caskets, border chiefs who own no law,
Quivered bands of merry archers, mustered on the 'greene shaw.'

Norman holds, embattled belfrys, gyves, and chains, and dungeons dim,
Winding stairs, and blazing beacons, ancient arms grotesque and grim,
Pensive nuns, in quest of simples, in the lonely midnight hour,
Adepts o'er alembics chanting uncouth rhymes of mystic power.

Foreign marts, Venetian Doges, bales of precious merchandise,
Stately streets in Flemish cities, burgher crowds in peaceful guise,
Mighty dukes by guards attended, foresters in kirtles green,
Silver fonts and flaring tapers, ladies sheathed in jewels' sheen.

Moorish forts in far Grenada, portals barred and turbans blue,
Gardens green as blissful Eden, crystal fountains fair to view,
Divans in the proud Alhambra, fairy mosques of Parian stone,
Groups of Moors and whiskered Spaniards tilting round the Soldan's throne.

And enrapt I gaze in silence, like a child before a show,
Heedless in my joy and wonder, how the golden moments flow,
Till the cock's shrill ringing clarion breaks the spell and clears the air,
And I find me silent seated in my old accustomed chair.