The Turkish Lady

Thomas Campbell (b. July 27th, 1777 d. June 15, 1844) was a Scottish poet. A line from his poem, The Turkish Lady, is quoted in Jane Eyre (Chapter 8 of Book Two). I rather like the poem, so I thought I’d reproduce it here.

‘Twas the hour when rites unholy
  Called each Paynim voice to prayer,
And the star that faded slowly
  Left to dews the freshened air.

Day her sultry fires had wasted,
  Calm and sweet the moonlight rose;
Ev’n a captive spirit tasted
  Half oblivion of his woes.

Then ’twas from an Emir’s palace
  Came an Eastern lady bright:
She, in spite of tyrants jealous,
  Saw and loved an English knight.

“Tell me, captive, why in anguish
  Foes have dragged thee here to dwell,
Where poor Christians as they languish
  Hear no sound of Sabbath bell ?”—

“’Twas on Transylvania’s Bannat,
  When the Crescent shone afar,
Like a pale disastrous planet
  O’er the purple tide of war—

In that day of desolation,
  Lady, I was captive made;
Bleeding for my Christian nation
  By the walls of high Belgrade.”

“Captive! could the brightest jewel
  From my turban set thee free?”
“Lady, no!—the gift were cruel,
  Ransomed, yet if reft of thee.

Say, fair princess! would it grieve thee
  Christian climes should we behold?”—
“Nay, bold knight! I would not leave thee
  Were thy ransom paid in gold!”

Now in Heaven’s blue expansion
  Rose the midnight star to view,
When to quit her father’s mansion
  Thrice she wept, and bade adieu!

“Fly we then, while none discover!
  Tyrant barks, in vain ye ride!”—
Soon at Rhodes the British lover
  Clasped his blooming Eastern bride.

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