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Winning it with eager eyes,
From the old enchanted stories,
Lingering with a long delight,
On the unforgotten glories
Of the infant sight?
Giving us a sweet surprise
In Red Riding Hood, the darling,
The flower of fairy lore ?
Too long in the meadow staying,
Where the cowslip bends,
With the buttercups delaying
As with early friends,
Did the little maiden stay.
Sorrowful the tale for us,
We, too, loiter mid life's flowers,
A little while so glorious,
So soon lost in darker hours.
All love lingering on their way,
Like Red Riding Hood, the darling,
The flower of fairy lore.
A sixgle grave!—the only one
In this unbroken ground,
Where yet the garden leaf and flower
Are lingering around.
A single grave!—my heart has felt
How utterly alone
In crowded halls, were breathed for me
Not one familiar tone;
The shade where forest-trees shut out
All but the distant sky; —
I've felt the loneliness of night
When the dark winds pass'd by:
My pulse has quicken'd with its awe,
My lip has gasped for breath;
But what were they to such as this,
The solitude of death !
A single grave!—we half forget
How sunder human ties,
When round the silent place of rest
A gathered kindred lies.
We stand beneath the haunted yew,
And watch each quiet tomb;
And in the ancient churchyard feel
Solemnity, not gloom:
The place is purified with hope,
The hope that is of prayer;
And human love, and heavenward thought,
And pious faith, are there.
The wild flowers spring amid the grass,
And many a stone appears,
Carved by affection's memory,
Wet with affection's tears.
The golden chord which binds us all
Is loosed, not rent in twain;
And love, and hope, and fear, unite
To bring the past again.
But this grave is so desolate,
With no remembering stone;
No fellow-graves for sympathy,
"Tis utterly alone.
I do not know who sleeps beneath,
His history or name,
Whether if, lonely in his life,
He is in death the same :
Whether he died unloved, unmourned,
The last leaf on the bough;
Or, if some desolated hearth
Is weeping for him now.
Perhaps this is too fanciful:—
Though single be his sod,
Yet not the less it has around
The presence of his God.
It may be weakness of the heart,
But yet its kindliest, best :
Better if in our selfish world
It could be less represt.
Those gentler charities which draw
Man closer with his kind;
Those sweet humanities which make
The music which they find.
How many a bitter word 'twould hush,_
How many a pang 'twould save,
If life more precious held those ties
Which sanctify the grave!
The moon is sailing o'er the sky,
But lonely all, as if she pined
For somewhat of companionship,
And felt it were in vain she shined :
Earth is her mirror, and the stars
Are as the court around her throne;
She is a beauty and a queen,
But what is this 2 she is alone.
Is there not one—not one—to share
Thy glorious royalty on high
I cannot choose but pity thee,
Thou lovely orphan of the sky.
I'd rather be the meanest flower
That grows, my mother earth, on thee,
So there were others of my kin,
To blossom, bloom, droop, die with me.
Earth, thou hast sorrow, grief, and death;
But with these better could I bear,
Than reach and rule yon radiant sphere,
And be a solitary there.
MoRN on the Adriatic, every wave
Is turned to light, and mimics the blue sky,
As if the ocean were another heaven ;
Column, and tower, and fretted pinnacle
Are white with sunshine; and the few soft shades
Do but relieve the eye.
The morning-time— The summer time, how beautiful they are A buoyant spirit fills the natural world, And sheds its influence on humanity; Man draws his breath more lightly, and forgets The weight of cares that made the night seem long. How beautiful the summer, and the morn, When opening over forest and green field, Waking the singing birds, till every leaf Vibrates with music; and the flowers unfold, Heavy and fragrant with their dewy sleep. But here they only call to life and light The far wide waste of waters, and the walls Of a proud city,+yet how beautiful! Not the calm beauty of a woodland world, Fraught with sweet idleness and minstrel-dreams:
. But beauty which awakes the intellect
More than the feelings; that of power and mind—
Man's power, man's mind—for never city raised
A prouder or a fairer brow than Venice,
The daughter and the mistress of the sea.
Far spread the ocean,—but it spread to bear
Her galleys o'er its depths, for war or wealth;
And raised upon foundations, which have robbed
The waters of its birthright, stand her halls.
Now enter in her palaces: a world
Has paid its tribute to their luxury;
The harvest of the rose, on Syria's plains,
Is reaped for Venice; from the Indian vales
The sandal-wood is brought to burn in Venice;
The ambergris that floats on eastern seas,
And spice, and cinnamon, and pearls that lie
Deep in the gulf of Ormus, are for Venice;
The Persian loom doth spread her silken floors;
And the clear gems from far Golconda's mines
Burn on the swanlike necks of her proud daughters—
For the fair wife of a Venetian noble
Doth often bear upon her ivory arm
The ransom of a kingdom. By the sword,
Drawn by the free and fearless; by the sail,
That sweeps the sea for riches, which are power,
The state of Venice is upheld : she is
A Christian Tyre, save that her sea-girt gates
Do fear no enemy, and dread no fall.
Morn on the Adriatic, bright and glad And yet we are not joyful; there is here A stronger influence than sweet Nature's joy: The scene hath its own sorrow, and the heart Ponders the lessons of mortality Too gravely to be warmed by that delight Born of the sun, and air, and morning prime. For we forget the present as we stand So much beneath the shadow of the past: And here the past is mighty. Memory Lies heavy on the atmosphere around; There is the sea, but where now are the ships That bore the will of Venice round the world 2 Where are the sails that brought home victory And wealth from other nations No glad prows Break up the waters into sparkling foam : I only see some sluggish fishing-boats. There are the palaces, their marble fronts Are grey and worn; and the rich furniture Is stripped from the bare walls; or else the moth Feeds on the velvet hangings. There they hangThe many pictures of the beautiful, The brave, the noble, who were once Venetians : But hourly doth the damp destroy their colours, And Titian's hues are faded as the face From which he painted. With a downcast brow, Drawing his dark robe round him, which no more Hides the rich silk or gems, walks the Venetian ; Proud, with a melancholy pride which dwells Only upon the glories of the dead; And humble, with a bitter consciousness Of present degradation.
These are the things that tame the pride of man; The spectral writings on the wall of time, Warnings from the Invisible, to show Man's destiny is not in his own hands. Cities and nations, each are in their turn The mighty sacrifice which Time demands, And offers up at the eternal throne,— Signs of man's weakness, and man's vanity.