Зображення сторінки

The tyrant of the Chersonese

Was freedom's best and bravest friend ;
That tyrant was Miltiades !

0, that the present hour would lend
Another despot of the kind !
Such chains as his were sure to bind.
Fill high the bowl with Samian wine !

On Şuli's rock and Parga's shore
Exists the remnant of a line

Such as the Doric mothers bore;
And there, perhaps, some seed is sown
The Heracleidan blood might own.
Trust not for freedom to the Franks-

They have a king who buys and sells :
In native swords and native ranks

The only hope of courage dwells;
But Turkish force and Latin fraud
Would break your shield, however broad.
Fill high the bowl with Samian wine!

Our virgins dance beneath the shade-
I see their glorious black eyes shine ;

But, gazing on each glowing maid,
My own the burning tear-drop laves,
To think such breasts must suckle slaves.
Place me on Sunium's marble steep,

Where nothing save the waves and I
May hear our mutual murmurs sweep :

There, swan-like, let me sing and die :
A land of slaves shall ne'er be mine
Dash down yon cup of Samian wine !


(From Childe Harold.]
The moon is up, and yet it is not night-
Sunset divides the sky with her-a sea
Of glory streams along the Alpine height
Of blue Friuli's mountains : heaven is free
From clouds, but ot all colours seems to be
Melted to one vast Iris of the west,
Where the day joins the past eternity;

While, on the other hand, meek Dian's crest
Floats through the azure air-an island of the blest.

A single star is at her side, and reigns
With her o'er half the lovely heaven; but still
Yon sunny sea heaves brightly, and remains
Rolled o'er the peak of the far Rhætian hill,
As day and night contending were until
Nature reclaimed her order : gently flows
The deep-dyed Brenta, where their hues instil

The odorous purple of a new-born rose,
Which streams upon her stream, and glassed within it glows.

Filled with the face of heaven, which from afar
Comes down upon the waters, all its hues,
From the rich sunset to the rising star,
Their magical variety diffuse:
And now they change; a paler shadow strews
Its mantle o'er the mountains ; parting day
Dies like the dolphin, whom each pang imbues

With a new colour as it gasps away,
The last still loveliest, till—'tis gone—and all is gray.


[From Manfred.]
The stars are forth, the moon above the tops
Of the snow-shining mountains. Beautiful!
I linger yet with Nature; for the night
Hath been to me a more familiar face
Than that of man; and in her starry shade
Of dim and solitary loveliness
I learn’d the language of another world.
I do remember me, that in my youth,
When I was wandering, upon such a night
I stood within the Coliseum's wall,
'Midst the chief relics of all-mighty Rome :
The trees which grew along the broken arches
Waved dark in the blue midnight, and the stars
Shone through the rents of ruin ; from afar
The watch-dog bayed beyond the Tiber; and
More near, from out the Cæsars' palace came
The owl's long cry, and, interruptedly,
Of distant sentinels the fitful song
Begun and died upon the gentle wind.
Some cypresses beyond the time-worn breach
A to skirt the horizon; yet they stood
Within a bow-shot. Where the Cæsars dwelt,

And dwell the tuneless birds of night, amidst
A grove which springs through levelled battlements
And twines its roots with the imperial hearths,
Ivy usurps the laurel's place of growth;
But the gladiators' bloody circus stands
A noble wreck in ruinous perfection ;
While Cæsar's chambers and the Augustan halls
Grovel on earth in indistinct decay.
And thou didst shine, thou rolling moon, upon
All this; and cast a wide and tender light,
Which softened down the hoar austerity
Of rugged desolation, and filled up,
As 'twere anew,


of centuries;
Leaving that beautiful which still was so,
And making that which was not, till the place
Became religion, and the heart ran o'er
With silent worship of the great of old-
The dead but sceptred sovereigns, who still rule
Our spirits from their urns !


PERCY BYSSHE SHELLEY, eldest son of Sir Timothy Shelley, was born A.D. 1792. From the family residence, Field Place, in Sussex, he was sent to Eton at the age of thirteen, and thence to Oxford, whence he was expelled in consequence of a tract opposed to Christianity which had been brought before the notice of the college-authorities. At eighteen he contracted an unfortunate and ill-assorted marriage; and at the end of three years he and his wife separated by mutual consent. Her lamentable death, some years afterwards, filled him with sorrow and remorse. After travelling about var parts of England, and a brief residence in Ireland, where he wrote a vehement political pamphlet, Shelley went abroad. In 1816 he resided on the Lake of Geneva, where he formed an intimacy with Lord Byron, by which the poetic taste of the latter was much improved. In 1818 he visited Italy, where he passed almost the whole of his remain. ing life. He perished on the 4th of July 1822, his boat on the gulf of Spezzia having been upset by a sudden tempest. His remains, with those of his friend Mr. Williams, were washed on shore; where, a pyre having been built, they were consumed by fire, in the presence of Lord Byron, Mr. Leigh Hunt, and Mr. Trelawney. Shel. ley's heart was preserved, and buried at Rome, near the pyramid of Caius Cestius, and not far from the remains of Keats, to whose poetic genius he had offered a tribute in the poem entitled “ Adonais.”

Shelley was but twenty-nine years of age when he perished. The number of poems which he published during his brief literary career, in spite of calamity, ill-health, and a hectic habit of body amounting to constant disease, attest an extraordinary vigour and industry; while the character of them proves that by few modern writers was he equalled in originality. In him an imagination equally expansive and soaring was combined with a logical subtlety not less remarkable; the faculty of judgment being perhaps the only one wanting to make his intellectual conformation poetically complete. His poetry is to a high degree abstract, abiding almost constantly in the region of speculation and imagination. As a consequence, it is frequently obscure, though written with a scholarly precision, correctness, and pointedness of language. It is unquestionably too remote from human sympathies, and over-brightened with a superfluity of metaphors. These defects are least felt in his lyrical pieces, many of which cannot be surpassed for imaginative sweetness, beauty, and harmony. In early youth his taste had been in a large measure formed by the works of Wordsworth, Coleridge, and Southey; but in maturer life his models were chiefly the Greek poets, especially Æschylus and Sophocles, and, among the moderns, Calderon and Goethe. Had he lived to mix more with his fellow. men, his poetry would probably bave freed itself from one of its defects, viz. the exaggerated degree in which its character is vision. ary, and acquired a self-possession and collected strength, for which its brilliancy and buoyancy are not adequate substitutes.

There is, however, a blight upon Shelley's poetry, for which he was responsible as a man not less than as an author. In his case, as in that of others among our modern poets,—who lived long enough to repudiate many of their early errors,-philosophical speculation, undirected by any sacred authority to which they could confide their Faith and Conscience, had resulted in infidelity. To Shelley, however, there belonged besides an audacity especially his own. Disposed to look on the whole visible world with an enraptured admiration, his precipitance and self-confidence left his mind no sphere for veneration. The consequence was, that at a period when his proper place was that of a learner, he set himself up for a teacher; and committed himself, in some cases with a blasphemous nakedness of language, to statements, both respecting revealed religion and moral philosophy, which he afterwards regretted; though he had learned but in part to see how fatal such views must prove to that which he so ardently desired, viz, the regeneration of society. The disposition of Shelley was in several respects as richly endowed as his genius. He was unsensual and disinterested; abounding in aspirations and generous affections; burning with zeal for the welfare of his fellow-men, and not immoderately anxious for their praise. Gifts so high, and yet so frustrated, make his example & yet more significant as well as a sadder warning.


(From the Revolt of Islam.]
An orphan with my parents lived, whose eyes
Were loadstars of delight, which drew me home
When I might wander forth ; nor did I prize
Aught human thing beneath Heaven's mighty dome
Błyond this child: so when sad hours were come,
And baffled hope like ice still clung to me,
Since kin were cold, and friends had now become

Heartless and false, I turn’d from all to be,
Cythna, the only source of tears and smiles to thee.

What wert thou then? A child most infantine,
Yet wandering far beyond that innocent age
In all but its sweet looks and mien divine;
Even then, methought, with the world's tyrant rage
A patient warfare thy young heart did wage,
When those soft eyes of scarcely conscious thought
Some tale, or thine own fancies, would engage

To overflow with tears, or converse fraught
With passion o'er their depths its fleeting light had wrought.

She moved upon this earth a shape of brightness,
A power, that from its objects scarcely drew
One impulse of her being-in her lightness
Most like some radiant cloud of morning dew
Which wanders through the waste air's pathless blue
To nourish some far desert; she did seem
Beside me, gathering beauty as she grew,
Like the bright shade of some immortal dream,
Which walks when tempest sleeps the wave of life's dark stream.

As mine own shadow was this child to me,
A second self, far dearer and more fair;
Which clothed in undissolving radiancy
All those steep paths which languor and despair
Of human things had made so dark and bare,
But which I trod alone; nor, till bereft
Of friends, and overcome by lonely care,

Knew I what solace for that loss was left,
Though by a bitter wound my trusting heart was cleft.

Once she was dear, now she was all I had
To love in human life—this playmate sweet,
This child of twelve years old; so she was made
My sole associate, and her willing feet

« НазадПродовжити »