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POEMS WRITTEN IN 1821.
VERSES ADDRESSED TO THE NOBLE AND UNFORTUNATE
LADY EMILIA V
NOW IMPRISONED IN THE CONVENT OB
“L'anima amante si slancia furio del creato, e si crea nel infinito un Mondo tutto per essa, diverso assai da questo oscuro e pauroso baratro."- Her own words.
My Song, I fear that thou wilt find but few
THE writer of the following lines died at Florence, as he was preparing for a voyage to one of the wildest of the Sporades, which he had bought, and where he had fitted up the ruins of an old building, and where it was his hope to have realized a scheme of life, suited perhaps to that happier and better world of which he is now an inhabitant, but hardly practicable in this. His life was singular; less on account of the romantic vicissitudes which diversified it, than the ideal tinge which it received from his own character and feelings. The present Poem, like the Vita Nuova of Dante, is sufficiently intelligible to a certain class of readers without a matter-of-fact history of the circumstances to which it relates; and to a certain other class it must ever remain incomprehensible, from a defect of a common organ of perception for the ideas of which it treats. Not but that, gran vergogna sarebbe a colui, che rimasse cosa sotto veste di figura, o di colore rettorico : e domandato non sapesse denudare le sue parole da cotal veste, in guisa che avessero verace intendimento.
The present poem appears to have been intended by the writer as the dedication to some longer one. The stanza on the preceding page is almost a literal translation from Dante's famous canzone
Voi ch' intendendo, il terzo ciel movete, &c.
The presumptuous application of the concluding lines to his own composition will raise a smile at the expense of my unfortunate friend: be it a smile not of contempt, but pity.
Sweet Spirit! Sister of that orphan one, Whose empire is the name thou weepest on, In my heart's temple I suspend to thee These votive wreaths of withered memory.
Poor captive bird ! who, from thy narrow cage, Pourest such music, that it might assuage The rugged hearts of those who prisoned thee, Were they not deaf to all sweet melody ; This song
shall be thy rose : its petals pale Are dead, indeed, my adored Nightingale! But soft and fragrant is the faded blossom, And it has no thorn left to wound thy bosom.
High, spirit-winged Heart! who dost for ever Beat thine unfeeling bars with vain endeavour, Till those bright plumes of thought, in which
arrayed It over-soared this low and worldly shade, Lie shattered ; and thy panting wounded breast Stains with dear blood its unmaternal nest! I weep vain tears : blood would less bitter be, Yet poured forth gladlier, could it profit thee.
Seraph of Heaven ! too gentle to be human, Veiling beneath that radiant form of Woman
All that is insupportable in thee
Thou Harmony of Nature's art! Thou Mirror
thee that thou blot from this sad song All of its much mortality and wrong, With those clear drops, which start like sacred
dew From the twin lights thy sweet soul darkens
through, Weeping, till sorrow becomes ecstasy : Then smile on it, so that it may not die.
I never thought before my death to see Youth's vision thus made perfect: Emily, I love thee; though the world by no thin name Will hide that love from its unvalued shame. Would we two had been twins of the same mo
ther! Or, that the name my heart lent to another
Could be a sister's bond for her and thee,
Sweet Lamp! my moth-like Muse has burnt
its wings, Or, like a dying swan who soars and sings, Young Love should teach Time, in his own gray
style, All that thou art. Art thou not void of guile, A lovely soul formed to be blest and bless ? A well of sealed and secret happiness, Whose waters like blithe light and music are, Vanquishing dissonance and gloom? A Star Which moves not in the moving Heavens, alone ? A smile amid dark frowns? a gentle tone Amid rude voices ? a beloved light? A Solitude, a Refuge, a delight? A lute, which those whom love has taught to play Make music on, to soothe the roughest day And lull fond grief asleep? a buried treasure ? A cradle of young thoughts of wingless pleasure ? A violet-shrouded grave of Woe ?-I measure The world of fancies, seeking one like thee, And find-alas ! mine own infirmity.