Verse > Anthologies > Samuel Kettell, ed. > Specimens of American Poetry
Samuel Kettell, ed.  Specimens of American Poetry.  1829.
The Bridal
By Oliver C. Wyman
THERE was a sound of music sweet as gentle notes that swell
At midnight from the moonlit caves of yonder leafy dell;
Where, at the dewfall, spirits cluster round the sleeping flowers,
To sing their plaintive melodies, and wreath their wild-rose bowers.
There were gallant forms and beauteous ones around the altar press’d,        5
And dazzlingly the torches flash’d on plume and burnish’d crest;
’T was a scene whereon a painter’s eye or poet’s lip might dwell,
When the young De Courcy wedded with the peerless Gabrielle.
He was a Knight a maid might love in days of wild romance,
For braver never wielded brand or placed in rest the lance;        10
Free as the wind that o’er his mountain-castle wildly blew,
Yet gentle as her gentle heart—and oh! as fervent too.
And through that land of tale and song, she shone the fairest one,
Where eyes are as its sparkling stars, and hearts are like its sun;
And still the wandering troubadour full many a tale can tell        15
Of her the ever brightest gem—the peerless Gabrielle.
Upon the altar-stone, there knelt the maiden young and fair,
Her blushes hid beneath a veil of flowing raven hair;
And by her side the lofty one, whose knee, like his of yore,
Had never bow’d save in the stirrup, and to God, before.        20
Oh! it is a touching sight when the lovely and the pure
Come up to pledge their faith, through sin, through sorrow to endure;
And never yet has man been bound within more potent spell,
Than linger’d in the heart and smile of peerless Gabrielle.
But as they knelt before the shrine, came on a sound of fear—        25
Each warrior grasp’d his sabre as it met his startled ear;
And through that quiet, holy place, the trumpet’s summons rang,
The fearful burst of musquetry, and meeting sabres clang:
In pour’d the savage mountain-clan like some enfranchised flood,
And fierce the struggle ’twixt the brave and that stern band of blood;        30
For gallantly the warriors fought, and valiantly they fell
Around the altar-stone where lay the dying Gabrielle.
A shot had pierced the gentle heart of that fair virgin-bride,
She perish’d in her loveliness, in her young beauty’s pride;
But where is he whose arm should guard, whose battle-blade defend,        35
The foremost in the raging fight, most eager to contend;
Could he forsake that sweetest rose, amid the deadly strife,
To purchase after hours of shame, to bear a hated life?—
Whose hand is clasp’d with that of one in life beloved so well—
De Courcy died a hero’s death beside his Gabrielle.        40

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