Зображення сторінки
[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

"Twas likest heaven, ere yet day's purple stream
Ebbs o'er the western forest, while the gleam
Of the unrisen moon among the clouds
Is gathering-when with many a golden beam
The thronging constellations rush in crowds,
Paving with fire the sky and the marmoreal floods.

Like what may be conceived of this vast dome,
When from the depths which thought can seldom
Genius beholds it rise, his native home, [pierce,
Girt by the desarts of the universe:
Yet, nor in paintings light, or mightier verse,
Or sculpture's marble language, can invest
That shape to mortal sense, such glooms immerse
That incommunicable sight, and rest
Upon the labouring brain, and overburthened breast.

Winding among the lawny islands fair,
Whose blossomy forests starred the shadowy deep,
The wingless boat paused where an ivory stair
Its fretwork in the crystal sea did sleep,
Encircling that vast fane's aerial heap:
We disembarked, and through a portal wide
We past,--whose roof, of moonstone carved, did keep
A glimmering o'er the forms on every side, [eyed.
Sculptures like life and thought; immoveable, deep-

We came to a vast hall, whose glorious roof [sheen
Was diamond, which had drunk the lightning's
In darkness, and now poured it through the woof
Of spell-enwoven clouds hung there to screen
Its blinding splendour-through such veil was seen
That work of subtlest power divine and rare;
Orb above orb, with starry shapes between,
And horned moons, and meteors strange and fair,
On night-black columns poised—one hollow he-

Ten thousand columns in that quivering light
Distinct, between whose shafts wound far away
The long and labyrinthine aisles more bright
With their own radiance than the heaven of day;
And on the jasper walls around there lay
Paintings, the poesy of mightiest thought,
Which did the spirit's history display;
A tale of passionate change, divinely taught,
Which in their winged dance unconscious Genii

Beneath there sate on many a sapphire throne
The great, who had departed from mankind;
A mighty senate;—some whose white hair shone
Like mountain snow, mild, beautiful, and blind.
Some, female forms, whose gestures beamed with
And ardent youths, and children bright and fair;
And some had lyres, whose strings were intertwined
With pale and clinging flames, which ever there
Walked, faint yet thrilling sounds, that pierced the
crystal air.

One seal was vacant in the midst, a throne Reared on a pyramid, like sculptured flame Distinct, with circling steps, which rested on

Their own deep fire—soon as the woman came
Into that hall, she shrieked the spirit's name
And fell; and vanished slowly from the sight.
Darkness arose from her dissolving frame,
Which gathering filled that dome of woven light,
Blotting its sphered stars with supernatural night.

Then first, two glittering lights were seen to glide
In circles on the amethystine floor,
Small serpent eyes wailing from side to side,
Like meteors on a river's grassy shore,
They round each other rolled, dilating more
And more, then rose commingling into one,
One clear and mighty planet, hanging o'er
A cloud of deepest shadow, which was thrown
Athwart the glowing steps, and the crystalline

The cloud which rested on that cone of flame
Was cloven; beneath the planet sate a form,
Fairer than tongue can speak, or thought may frame,
The radiance of whose limbs rose-like and warm
Flowed forth, and did with softest light inform
The shadowy dome, the sculptures and the state
Of those assembled shapes—with clinging charm,
Sinking upon their hearts and mine.—He sate
Majestic, yet most mild—calm, yet compassionate.


“Lo, where red morning through the woods
Is burning o'er the dew;” said Rosalind. [flood
And with these words they rose, and towards the
Of the blue lake, beneath the leaves now wind
With equal steps and fingers intertwined;
Thence to a lonely dwelling, where the shore
Is shadowed with steep rocks, and cypresses
Cleave with their dark green cones the silent skies,
And with their shadows the clear depths below,
And where a little terrace from its bowers,
Of blooming myrtle and saint lemon-flowers,
Scatters its sense-dissolving fragrance o'er
The liquid marble of the windless lake;
And where the aged forest's limbs look hoar,
Under the leaves which their green garments make,
They come: 'tis Helen's home, and clean and white,
Like one which tyrants spare on our own land
In some such solitude; its casements bright
Shone through their vine-leaves in the morning sun,
And even within 'twas scarce like Italy. [ned,
And when she saw how all things there were plan-
As in an English home, dim memory
Disturbed poor Rosalind: she stood as one
Whose mind is where his body cannot be,
Till Helen led her where her child yet slept,
And said, “Observe, that brow was Lionel's,
Those lips were his, and so he ever kept
One arm in sleep, pillowing his head with it.
You cannot see his eyes, they are two wells
of liquid love; let us not wake him yet.”
But Rosalind could bear no more, and wept
A shower of burning tears, which fell upon

His face, and so his opening lashes shone With tears unlike his own, as he did leap In sudden wonder from his innocent sleep.

So Rosalind and Helen lived together Thenceforth, changed in all else, yet friends again, Such as they were, when o'er the mountain heather They wandered in their youth, through sun and rain. And after many years, for human things Change even like the ocean and the wind, Her daughter was restored to Rosalind, And in their circle thence some visitings Ofjoy 'mid their new calm would intervene: A lovely child she was, of looks serene, And motions which o'er things indifferent shed The grace and gentleness from whence they came. And Helen's boy grew with her, and they fed From the same flowers of thought, until each mind Like springs which mingle in one flood became, And in their union soon their parents saw The shadow of the peace denied to them. And Rosalind, for when the living stem Is cankered in its heart, the tree must fall, Died ere her time; and with deep grief and awe The pale survivors followed her remains Beyond the region of dissolving rains, Up the cold mountain she was wont to call Her tomb; and on Chiavenna's precipice They raised a pyramid of lasting ice, Whose polished sides, ere day had yet begun, Caught the first glow of the unrisen sun, The last, when it had sunk; and through the night The charioteers of Arctos wheeled round Its glittering point, as seen from Helen's home, Whose sad inhabitants each year would come, With willing steps climbing that rugged height, And hang long locks of hair, and garlands bound With amaranth flowers,which,in the clime's despite, Filled the frone air with unaccustomed light: Such flowers, as in the wintry memory bloom Of one friend left, adorned that frozen tomb.

Helen, whose spirit was of softer mould,
Whose sufferings too were less, death slowlier led
Into the peace of his dominion cold:
She died among her kindred, being old.
And know, that if love die not in the dead
As in the living, none of mortal kind
Are blest, as now Helen and Rosalind.

Sun-girt City, thou hast been
Ocean's child, and then his queen;
Now is come a darker day,
And thou soon must be his prey,
If the power that raised thee here
Hallow so thy watery bier.
A less drear ruin then than now,
With thy conquest-branded brow
Stooping to the slave of slaves
From thy throne, among the waves

Wilt thou be, when the sea-mew Flies, as once before it flew, O'er thine isles depopulate, And all is in its antient state, Save where many a palace gate With green sea-flowers overgrown Like a rock of ocean's own, Topples o'er the abandoned sea As the tides change sullenly. The fisher on his watery way, Wandering at the close of day, Will spread his sail and seize his car Till he pass the gloomy shore, Lest thy dead should, from their sleep Bursting o'er the starlight deep, Lead a rapid masque of death O'er the waters of his path.

Those who alone thy towers behold Quivering through aerial gold, As I now behold them here, Would imagine not they were Sepulchres, where human forms, Like pollution-nourished worms, To the corpse of greatness cling, Murdered, and now mouldering: But if Freedom should awake In her omnipotence, and shake From the Celtic Anarch's hold All the keys of dungeons cold, Where a hundred cities lie Chained like thee, ingloriously, Thou and all thy sister band Might adorn this sunny land. Twining memories of old time With new virtues more sublime; If not, perish thou and they Clouds which stain truth's ris"; day By her sun consumed away, Earth can spare ye: while like flowth In the waste of years and hour, From your dust new nations spring With more kindly blossoming. Perish : let there only be Floating o'er thy hearthless sea, As the garment of thy sky Clothes the world immortally, One remembrance, more * Than the tattered pall of time, which scarce hides thy visogo" That a tempest-cleavingswo" Of the songs of Albion, Driven from his ancestral * By the might of evil dreams, Found a nest in thee; and * welcomed him with such " That its joy grew his, and "P" From his lips like music flung o'er a mighty thunder-fit, et Chastening terror: what though) Poesy's unfailing river,

which through Albion winds for evo

Lashing with melodious wave
Many a sacred poet's grave,
Mourn its latest nursling fled!
What though thou with all thy dead
Scarce can for this fame repay
Aught thine own, oh, rather say,
Though thy sins and slaveries foul
Overcloud a sunlike soul!
As the ghost of Homer clings
Round Scamander's wasting springs;
As divinest Shakespeare's might
Fills Avon and the world with light
Like omniscient power, which he
Imaged 'mid mortality;
As the love from Petrarch's urn
Yet amid yon hills doth burn,
A quenchless lamp, by which the heart
Sees things unearthly; so thou art,
Mighty spirit: so shall be
The city that did refuge thee.

Lo, the sun floats up the sky
Like thought-winged liberty,
Till the universal light
Seems to level plain and height;
From the sea a mist has spread,
And the beams of morn lie dead
On the towers of Venice now,
Like its glory long ago.
By the skirts of that grey cloud
Many-domed Padua proud
Stands, a peopled solitude,
"Mid the harvest shining plain,
Where the peasant heaps his grain
In the garner of his foe,
And the milk-white oxen slow
With the purple vintage strain,
Heaped upon the creaking wain,
That the brutal Celt may swill
Drunken sleep with savage will;
And the sicle to the sword
Lies unchanged, though many a lord,
Like a weed whose shade is poison,
Overgrows this region's foizon,
Sheaves of whom are ripe to come
To destruction's harvest home:
Men must reap the things they sow,
Force from force must ever flow,
Or worse ! but 'tis a bitter woe
That love or reason cannot change
The despot's rage, the slave's revenge.

Padua, thou within whose walls
Those mute guests at festivals,
Son and Mother, Death and Sin,
Played at dice for Ezzelin,
Till Death cried, “I win, I win 1"
And Sin cursed to lose the wager,
But Death promised, to assuage her,
That he would petition for
Her to be made Vice-Emperor,
When the destined years were o'er,

Over all between the Po
And the eastern Alpine snow,
Under the mighty Austrian.
Sin smiled so as Sin only can,
And since that time, aye long before,
Both have ruled from shore to shore,
That incestuous pair, who follow
Tyrants as the sun the swallow,
As Repentance follows Crime,
And as changes follow Time.

In thine halls the lamp of learning,
Padua, now no more is burning ;
Like a meteor, whose wild way
Is lost over the grave of day,
It gleams betrayed and to betray:
Once remotest nations came
To adore that sacred flame,
When it lit not many a hearth
On this cold and gloomy earth:
Now new fires from antique light
Spring beneath the wide world's might;
But their spark lies dead in thee,
Trampled out by tyranny.
As the Norway woodman quells,
In the depth of piny dells,
One light flame among the brakes,
While the boundless forest shakes,
And its mighty trunks are torn
By the fire thus lowly born:
The spark beneath his feet is dead,
He starts to see the flames it fed,
Howling through the darkened sky
With myriad tongues victoriously,
And sinks down in fear; so thou,
O tyranny, beholdest now
Light around thee, and thou hearest
The loud flames ascend, and fearest:
Grovel on the earth: aye, hide
In the dust thy purple pride!

Noon descends around me now:
"Tis the noon of autumn's glow,
When a soft and purple mist
Like a vaporous amethyst,
Or an air-dissolved star
Mingling light and fragrance, far
From the curved horizon's bound
To the point of heaven's profound,
Fills the overflowing sky;
And the plains that silent lie
Underneath, the leaves unsodden
Where the infant frost has trodden
With his morning-winged feet,
Whose bright print is gleaming yet;
And the red and golden vines,
Piercing with their trellised lines
The rough, dark-skirted wilderness;
The dun and bladed grass no less,
Pointing from this hoary tower
In the windless air; the flower
Glimmering at my feet; the line

Of the olive-sandaled Apennine In the south dimly islanded; And the Alps, whose snows are spread High between the clouds and sun; And of living things each one; And my spirit which so long Darkened this swift stream of song, Interpenetrated lie By the glory of the sky: Be it love, light, harmony, Odour, or the soul of all Which from heaven like dew doth fall Or the mind which feeds this verse, Peopling the lone universe.

Noon descends, and after noon
Autumn's evening meets me soon,
Leading the infantine moon,
And that one star, which to her
Almost seems to minister
Half the crimson light she brings
From the sunset's radiant springs:
And the soft dreams of the morn,
(Which like winged winds had borne
To that silent isle, which lies
"Mid remembered agonies,
The frail bark of this lone being.)
Pass, to other sufferers fleeing,
And its antient pilot, Pain,
Sits beside the helm again.

Other flowering isles must be In the sea of life and agony: Other spirits float and flee O'er that gulph; even now, perhaps, On some rock the wild wave wraps, With folded wings they waiting sit For my bark, to pilot it To some calm and blooming cove, Where for me, and those I love, May a windless bower be built, Far from passion, pain, and guilt, In a dell 'mid lawny hills, Which the wild sea-murmur fills, And soft sunshine, and the sound Of old forests echoing round, And the light and smell divine Of all flowers that breathe and shine: We may live so happy there, That the spirits of the air, Envying us, may even entice To our healing paradise The polluting multitude; But their rage would be subdued By that clime divine and calm, And the winds whose wings rain balm On the uplifted soul, and leaves Under which the bright sea heaves; While each breathless interval In their whisperings musical The inspired soul supplies With its own deep melodies,

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

No voice from some sublimer wor" hathere:

To sage or poet these responses;" Hat Therefore the names of Demon."” so Remain the records of their vain *. so Frail spells, whose uttered cham might" From all we hear and all were Doubt, chance, and mutability. Thy light alone, like mist o'er mountal Or music by the night wind ent Through strings of some still inst Or moonlight on a midnight**. Gives grace and truth to life's unquiet dra” Love, hope, and self-esteem, like clouds, o: And come, for some uncertain moments lo Man were immortal, and omnip" Didst thou, unknown and awful as tho' Keep with thy glorious train firm state Thou messenger of sympath” That wax and wane in love” Thou, that to human thought." * Like darkness to a dying * Depart not as thy shadow *. be Depart not, less the grao should be: Like life and fear, a dark reality.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


art, (or withio


« НазадПродовжити »