Зображення сторінки
PDF

ind rocks, whereby they grew, a paradise, Vhere I did lay me down within the shade of waving trees, and dream'd uncounted hours, 'hough I was chid for wandering; and the wise hook their white aged heads o'er me, and said )f such materials wretched men were made, And such a truant boy would end in woe, And that the only lesson was a blow; And then they smote me, and I did not weep, 3ut cursed them in my heart, and to my haunt teturn’d and wept alone, and dream'd again The visions which arise without a sleep. \nd with my years my soul began to pant Vith feelings of strange tumult and soft pain; And the whole heart exhaled into one want, But undefined and wandering, till the day found the thing I sought—and that was thee; And then I lost my being all to be Absorb’d in thine—the world was past away— Thou didst annihilate the earth to me!

loved all solitude—but little thought To spend I know not what of life, remote *rom all communion with existence, save The maniac and his tyrant; had I been Their fellow, many years ere this had seen vsy mind like theirs corrupted to its grave, But who hath seen me writhe, or heard me rave? Perchance in such a cell we suffer more Than the wreck'd sailor on his desert shore; The world is all before him—mine is here, Scarce twice the space they must accord my bier. What though he perish, he may lift his eye And with a dying glance upbraid the sky— I will not raise my own in such reproof, Although 'tis clouded by my dungeon roof.

Yet do I feel at times my mind decline,
But with a sense of its decay:—I see
Unwonted lights along my prison shine,
And a strange demon, who is vexing me
With pilfering pranks and petty pains, below
The feeling of the healthful and the free;
Hut much to one, who long hath suffer'd so,
Sickness of heart, and narrowness of place,
And all that may be borne, or can debase.
I thought mine enemies had been but man,
But spirits may be leagued with them—all earth
Abandons—Heaven forgets me; in the dearth
Of such defence the powers of evil can,
It may be, tempt me further, and prevail
Against the outworn creature they assail.
Why in this furnace is my spirit proved
Like steel in tempering fire * because I loved?---
Because I loved what not to love, and see,
Was more or less than mortal, and than me!

I was once quick in feeling—that is o'er;— My scars are callous, or I should have dash'd My brain against these bars as the sun flash'd In mockery through them; if I bear and bore The much I have recounted, and the more Which hath no words, 'tis that I would not die

And sanction with self-slaughter the dull lie
Which snared me here, and with the brand of shame
Stamp madness deep into my memory,
And woo compassion to a blighted name,
Sealing the sentence which my foes proclaim.
No—it shall be immortal!—and I make
A future temple of my present cell,
Which nations yet shall visit for my sake.
While thou, Ferrara! when no longer dwell
The ducal chiefs within thee, shalt fall down,
And crumbling piecemeal view thy hearthless halls,
A poet's wreath shall be thine only crown,
A poet's dungeon thy most far renown,
While strangers wander o'er thy unpeopled walls!
And thou, Leomora! thou—who wert ashamed
That such as I could love—who blush'd to hear
To less than monarchs that thou couldst be dear,
Go! tell thy brother that my heart, untamed
By grief, years, weariness—and it may be
A taint of that he would impute to me—
From long infection of a den like this,
Where the mind rots congenial with the abyss,
Adores thee still;-and add—that when the towers
And battlements which guard his joyous hours
Of banquet, dance, and revel, are forgot,
Or left untended in a dull repose,
This—this shall be a consecrated spot!
But thou—when all that birth and beauty throws
Of magic round thee is extinct—shalt have
One half the laurel which o'ershades my grave.
No power in death can tear our names apart,
As none in life could rend thee from my heart.
Yes, Leonora! it shall be our fate
To be entwined for ever—but too late!

[ocr errors][merged small]
[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

Titan to thee the strife was given
Between the suffering and the will,
Which torture where they cannot kill;
And the inexorable heaven,
And the deaf tyranny of fate,
The ruling principle of hate,
Which for its pleasure doth create
The things it may annihilate,
Refused thee even the boon to die:
The wretched gift eternity
Was thine—and thou hast borne it well.
All that the thunderer wrung from thee
Was but the menace which flung back
On him the torments of thy rack;
The fate thou didst so well foresee,
But would not to appease him tell;
And in thy silence was his sentence,
And in his soul a vain repentance,
And evil dread so ill dissembled
That in his hand the lightnings trembled.

Thy godlike crime was to be kind,
To render with thy precepts less
The sum of human wretchedness,
And strengthen man with his own mind;
But baffled as thou wert from high,
Still in thy patient energy,
In the endurance, and repulse
Of thine impenetrable spirit,
Which earth and heaven could not convulse,
A mighty lesson we inherit:
Thou art a symbol and a sign
To mortals of their fate and force;
Like thee, man is in part divine,
A troubled stream from a pure source:
And man in portions can foresee
His own funereal destiny;
His wretchedness, and his resistance,
And his sad unallied existence:
To which his spirit may oppose
Itself—an equal to all woes,
And a firm will, and a deep sense,
Which even in torture can descry
Its own concenter'd recompense,
Triumphant where it dares defy,
And making death a victory.

ODE TO WENICE.

Oh Venice! Venice! when thy marble walls
Are level with the waters, there shall be
A cry of nations o'er thy sunken halls,
A loud lament along the sweeping sea!
If I, a northern wanderer, weep for thee,
What should thy sons do?—anything but weep:
And yet they only murmur in their sleep.
In contrast with their fathers—as the slime,
The dull green ooze of the receding deep,
Is with the dashing of the spring-tide foam,
That drives the sailor shipless to his home,
Are they to those that were; and thus they creep,

Crouching and crab-like, through their sapping
Oh! agony—that centuries should reap [streets.
No mellower harvest! Thirteen hundred years
Of wealth and glory turn'd to dust and tears:
And every monument the stranger meets,
Church, palace, pillar, as a mourner greets;
And even the lion all subdued appears:
And the harsh sound of the barbarian drum,
With dull and daily dissonance, repeats
The echo of thy tyrant's voice along
The soft waves, once all musical to song,
That heaved beneath the moonlight with the throng
Of gondolas—and to the busy hum -
Of cheerful creatures, whose most sinful deeds
Were but the overbeating of the heart,
And flow of too much happiness, which needs
The aid of age to turn its course apart
From the luxuriant and voluptuous flood
Of sweet sensations, battling with the blood.
But these are better than the gloomy errors,
The weeds of nations in their last decay,
When vice walks forth with her unsoften'd terrors,
And mirth is madness, and but smiles to slay;
'And hope is nothing but a false delay,
The sick man's lightning half an hour ere death,
When faintness, the last mortal birth of pain,
And apathy of limb, the dull beginning
Of the cold staggering race which death is winning,
Steals vein by vein and pulse by pulse away;
Yet so relieving the o'er-tortured clay
To him appears renewal of his breath,
And freedom the mere numbness of his chain;–
And then he talks of life, and how again
He feels his spirits soaring—albeit weak,
And of the fresher air, which he would seek;
And as he whispers knows not that he gasps,
That his thin finger feels not what it clasps,
And so the film comes o'er him—and the dizzy
Chamber swims round and round—and shadows
At which he vainly catches, flit and gleam,
Till the last rattle chokes the strangled scream,
And all is ice and blackness, and the earth
That which it was the moment ere our birth.

There is no hope for nations!—Search the page

Of many thousand years—the daily scene, The flow and ebb of each recurring age,

The everlasting to be which hath been,

Hath taught us nought or little: still we lean On things that rot beneath our weight, and wear Our strength away in wrestling with the air; For 'tis our nature strikes us down: the beasts Slaughter'd in hourly hecatombs for feasts Are of as high an order—they must go [slaughter. Even where their driver goads them, though to Ye men, who pour your blood for kings as water, What have they given your children in return ? A heritage of servitude and woes, A blindful bondage, where your hire is blows. what! do not yet the red-hot ploughshares burn, O'er which you stumble in a false ordeal, And deem this proof of loyalty the real;

Kissing the hand that guides you to your scars,
And glorying as you tread the glowing bars?
All that your sires have left you, all that time
Bequeaths of free, and history of sublime,
Spring from a different theme.—Ye see and read,
Admire and sigh, and then succumb and bleed!
Save the few spirits, who, despite of all,
And worse than all, the sudden crimes engender'd
By the down-thundering of the prison-wall,
And thirst to swallow the sweet waters tender'd,
Gushing from freedom's fountains—when the crowd,
Madden'd with centuries of drought, are loud,
And trample on each other to obtain
The cup which brings oblivion of a chain
Heavy and sore–in which long yoked they plough'd
The sand,-or, if there sprung the yellow grain,
'Twas not for them, their necks were too much
bow'd,
And their dead palates chew'd the cud of pain:—
Yes! the few spirits—who, despite of deeds
Which they abhor, confound not with the cause
Those momentary starts from nature's laws,
Which, like the pestilence and earthquake, smite
But for a term, then pass, and leave the earth
With all her seasons to repair the blight
With a few summers, and again put forth
Cities and generations—fair, when free—
For, tyranny, there blooms no bud for thee!

Glory and empire! once upon these towers
With freedom—godlike Triad! how ye sate!
The league of mightiest nations, in those hours
When Venice was an envy, might abate,
But did not quench, her spirit—in her fate
All were enwrapp'd: the feasted monarchs knew
And loved their hostess, nor could learn to hate,
Although they humbled—with the kingly few
The many felt, for from all days and climes
She was the voyager's worship;-even her crimes
Were of the softer order—born of love,
She drank no blood, nor fatten’d on the dead,
But gladden'd where her harmless conquests spread:
For these restored the cross, that from above
Hallow'd her sheltering banners, which incessant
Flew between earth and the unholy crescent,

Which, if it waned and dwindled, earth may thaa
The city it has clothed in chains, which clank
Now, creaking in the ears of those who owe
The name of freedom to her glorious struggles;
Yet she but shares with them a common woe,
And call'd the “kingdom” of a conquering fee—
But knows what all—and, most of all, ore know.—
With what set gilded terms a tyrant juggles!

The name of commonwealth is past and gone
O'er the three fractions of the groaning globe;
Venice is crush'd, and Holland deigns to own
A sceptre, and endures the purple robe;
If the free Switzer yet bestrides alone
His chainless mountains, 'tis but for a time,
For tyranny of late is cunning grown,
And in its own good season tramples down
The sparkles of our ashes. One great cline.
Whose vigourous offspring by dividing ocean
Are kept apart and nursed in the devotion
Of freedom, which their fathers fought for, and
Bequeath’d—a heritage of heart and hand,
And proud distinction from each other land,
Whose sons must bow them at a monarch's motion.
As if his senseless sceptre were a wand
Full of the magic of exploded science—
Still one great clime, in full and free defiance,
Yet rears her crest, unconquer'd and sublime,
Above the far Atlantic!—She has taught
Her Esau-brethren that the haughty flag,
The floating fence of Albion's feebler crag, [bought
May strike to those whose red right hands have
Rights cheaply earn'd with blood. Still, still.free
Better, though each man's life-blood were anner,
That it should flow, and overflow, than creep
Through thousand lazy channels in our veins,
Damm'd like the dull canal with locks and chains,
And moving, as a sick man in his sleep,
Three paces, and then faltering:—better be
Where the extinguish'd Spartans still are free,
In their proud charnel of Thermopylae,
Than stagnate in our marsh, or o'er the deep
Fly, and one current to the ocean add,
One spirit to the souls our fathers had,
One freeman more, America, to theet

)

TO THE INVISIBLE GIRL.

They try to persuade me, my dear little sprite, That you are not a daughter of ether and light, Nor have any concern with those fanciful forms That dance upon rainbows and ride upon storms; That, in short, you're a woman; your lip and your As mortal as ever were tasted or prest! [breast But I will not believe them—no, science: to you I have long bid a last and a careless adieu: Still flying from nature to study her laws, And dulling delight by exploring its cause, : You forget how superior, for mortals below, Is the fiction they dream to the truth that they know. Oh! who, that has ever had rapture complete, an. Would ask how we feel it, or why it is sweet; ra. How rays are confus'd, or how particles fly * Through the medium refin'd of a glance or a sight * Is there one, who but once would not rather have o known it, * Than written, with Harvey, whole volumes upon it? * - No, no—but for you, my invisible love, o I will swear, you are one of those spirits, that rove o: By the bank where, at twilight, the poet reclines, to When the star of the west on his solitude shines, And the magical fingers of fancy have hung Every breeze with a sigh, every leaf with a tongue! Oh! whisper him then, 'tis retirement alone Can hallow his harp or ennoble its tone; Like you, with a veil of seclusion between, His song to the world let him utter unseen; And like you, a legitimate child of the spheres, Escape from the eye to enrapture the ears! Sweet spirit of mystery; how I should love, In the wearisome ways I am fated to rove, To have you for ever invisibly nigh, Inhaling for ever your song and your sigh! Mid the crowds of the world and the murmurs of

care, [air,
I might sometimes converse with my nymph of the
And turn with disgust from the clamorous crew,
To steal in the pauses one whisper from you.

Oh! come and be near me, for ever be mine, We shall hold in the air a communion divine, As sweet as, of old, was imagin'd to dwell In the grotto of Numa, or Socrates' cell. And oft, at those lingering moments of night, [light, When the heart is weigh’d down and the eyelid is You shall come to my pillow and tell me of love, Such as angel to angel might whisper above! Oh spirit!—and then, could you borrow the tone Of that voice, to my ear so bewitchingly known, The voice of the one upon earth, who has twin'd With her essence for ever my heart and my mind!

Though lonely and far from the light of her smile,
An exile and weary and hopeless the while,
Could you shed for a moment that voice on my ear,
I will think at that moment my Cara is near,
That she comes with consolingenchantment to speak,
And kisses my eyelid and sighs on my cheek,
And tells me, the night shall go rapidly by,
For the dawn of our hope, of our heav'n is nigh!

Sweet spirit ! if such be your magical power, It will lighten the lapse of full many an hour; And let fortune's realities frown as they will, Hope, fancy, and Cara may smile for me still

TO NEA.

Well—peace to thy heart, though another's it be,
And health to thy cheek, though it bloom not for me!
To-morrow, I sail for those cinnamon groves,
Where nightly the ghost of the Carribee roves,
And, far from thine eye, oh! perhaps, 1 may yet
Its seduction forgive and its splendour forget!
Farewell to Bermuda, and long may the bloom
Of the lemon and myrtle its valleys perfume;
May spring to eternity hallow the shade,
Where Ariel has warbled and Waller has stray'd :
And thou—when, at dawn, thoushalt happen to roam
Through the lime-cover'd alley that leads to thy
home,
Where oft, when the dance and the revel were dome,
And the stars were beginning to fade in the sun,
I have led thee along, and have told by the way
What my heart all the night had been burning to
say—
Oh! think of the past—give a sigh to those times,
And a blessing for me to that alley of limes!

TO JOSEPH ATKINSON, ESQ. From Bermuda.

“The daylight is gone—but, before we depart,

One cup shall go round to the friend of my heart,

To the kindest, the dearest—oh judge by the tear,

That I shed while I name him, how kind and how dear!”

"Twas thus, by the shade of a calabash tree, With a few, who could feel and remember like me, The charm, that to sweeten my goblet I threw, Was a tear to the past and a blessing on you!

Oh! say, do you thus, in the luminous hour Of wine and of wit, when the heart is in flower And shoots from the lip, under Bacchus's dew,

[graphic]
[graphic]
« НазадПродовжити »