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But keener thy gaze than the lightning's glare, And swifter thy step than the earthquake's tramp; Thou deafenest the rage of the ocean ; thy stare Makes blind the volcanoes; the sun's bright lamp
To thine is a fen-fire damp.
From billow and mountain and exhalation
The sunlight is darted through vapour and blast;
From spirit to spirit, from nation to nation,
From city to hamlet, thy dawning is cast,-
And tyrants and slaves are like shadows of night
In the van of the morning light.
TELL me, thou star, whose wings of light
Speed thee in thy fiery flight,
In what cavern of the night
Will thy pinions close now ?
Tell me, moon, thou pale and gray
Pilgrim of heaven's homeless way,
In what depth of night or day
Seekest thou repose now?
Weary wind, who wanderest
Like the world's rejected guest,
Hast thou still some secret nest
On the tree or billow?
AMID the desolation of a city,
Which was the cradle, and is now the grave,
Of an extinguished people; so that pity
Weeps o'er the shipwrecks of oblivion's wave,
There stands the Tower of Famine. It is built
Upon some prison-homes, whose dwellers rave
For bread, and gold, and blood: pain, linked to guilt,
Agitates the light flame of their hours,
Until its vital oil is spent or spilt :
There stands the pile, a tower amid the towers
And sacred domes; each marble-ribbed roof,
The brazen-gated temples, and the bowers
Of solitary wealth! the tempest-proof
Pavilions of the dark Italian air
Are by its presence dimmed—they stand aloof,
And are withdrawn-so that the world is bare,
As if a spectre, wrapt in shapeless terror,
Amid a company of ladies fair
Should glide and glow, till it became a mirror
Of all their beauty, and their hair and hue,
The life of their sweet eyes, with all its error,
Should be absorbed, till they to marble grew.
* At Pisa there still exists the prison of Ugolino, which goes by the name of “ La Torre della Fame:" in the adjoining building the galley-slaves are confined. It is situated near the Ponte al Mare on the Arno.
It was a bright and cheerful afternoon,
Towards the end of the sunny month of June,
When the north wind congregates in crowds
The floating mountains of the silver clouds
From the horizon—and the stainless sky
Opens beyond them like eternity.
All things rejoiced beneath the sun, the weeds,
The river, and the corn-fields, and the reeds;
The willow leaves that glanced in the light breeze,
And the firm foliage of the larger trees.
It was a winter such as when birds die
In the deep forests; and the fishes lie
Stiffened in the translucent ice, which makes
Even the mud and slime of the warm lakes
A wrinkled clod, as hard as brick; and when,
Among their children, comfortable men
Gather about great fires, and yet feel cold:
Alas! then for the homeless beggar old !
A PORTAL as of shadowy adamant
Stands yawning on the highway of the life Which we all tread, a cavern huge and gaunt;
Around it rages an unceasing strife Of shadows, like the restless clouds that haunt The
gap of some cleft mountain, lifted high Into the whirlwinds of the upper sky.
And many passed it by with careless tread,
Not knowing that a shadowy [ ] Tracks every traveller even to where the dead
Wait peacefully for their companion new; But others, by more curious humour led,
Pause to examine,—these are very few, And they learn little there, except to know That shadows follow them where'er they go.
YE hasten to the dead! What seek ye there,
Ye restless thoughts and busy purposes
Of the idle brain, which the world's livery wear?
O thou quick Heart, which pantest to possess
All that anticipation feigneth fair !
Thou vainly curious Mind which wouldest guess Whence thou didst come, and whither thou mayest
go, And that which never yet was known wouldst
knowOh, whither hasten ye, that thus ye press With such swift feet life's green and pleasant path, Seeking alike from happiness and woe A refuge in the cavern of gray death? [you O heart, and mind, and thoughts! What thing do Hope to inherit in the grave below?
Alas! good friend, what profit can you see
In hating such a hateless thing as me?
There is no sport in hate where all the rage
Is on one side. In vain would you assuage
Your frowns upon an unresisting smile,
In which not even contempt lurks, to beguile
Your heart, by some faint sympathy of hate.
cannot satiate !
For to your passion I am far more coy
Than ever yet was coldest maid or boy
In winter noon. Of your antipathy
If I am the Narcissus you are free
To pine into a sound with hating me.