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Strophe III.J7Didst thou not start to hear Spain's thrilling pocan
From land to land re-echoed solemnly,
Till silence became music? From the ^Esan
To the cold Alps, eternal Italy
Starts to hear thine! The sea
Which paves the desert streets of Venice laughs
In light and music; widowed Genoa wan,
By moonlight, spells ancestral epitaphs,
Murmuring "Where is Doria?" fair Milan,
Within whose veins long ran
The viper's palsying venom, lifts her heel
To bruise his head. The signal and the seal
(If Hope and Truth and Justice can avail)
Art thou of all these hopes.—Oh hail!
Strophe IV. 5.
Florence, beneath the sun,
Of cities fairest one,
Blushes within her bower for Freedom's expectation:
From eyes of quenchless hope
Rome tears the priestly cope,
As ruling once by power, so now by admiration,—
An athlete stripped to run
From a remoter station
For the high prize lost on Philippi's shore :—
As then Hope, Truth, and Justice, did avail,
So now may Fraud and Wrong! Oh hail!
Epode I. o.
Hear ye the march as of the Earth-born Forms
Arrayed against the ever-living Gods?
The crash and darkness of a thousand storms
Bursting their inaccessible abodes
Of crags and thunder-clouds?
See ye the banners blazoned to the day,
Inwrought with emblems of barbaric pride?
Dissonant threats kill silence far away;
The serene heaven which wraps our Eden wide
With iron light is dyed.
The Anarchs of the North lead forth their legions,
Like chaos o'er creation, uncreating; An hundred tribes nourished on strange religions
And lawless slaveries. Down the aerial regions
Of the white Alps, desolating,
Famished wolves that bide no waiting,
Blotting the glowing footsteps of old glory,
Trampling our columned cities into dust,
Their dull and savage lust
On Beauty's corse to sickness satiating—
They come! The fields they tread look black and hoary
With fire—from their red feet the streams run gory!
Epodh II. §.
Great Spirit, deepest Love,
Which rulest and dost move
All things which live and are within the Italian shore;
Who spreadest heaven around it,
Whose woods, rocks, waves, surround it;
Who sittest in thy star, o'er ocean's western floor !—
Spirit of Beauty, at whose soft command
The sunbeams and the showers distil its foison
From the earth's bosom chill!—
Oh bid those beams be each a blinding brand
Of lightning! bid those showers be dews of poison!
Bid the earth's plenty kill!
Bid thy bright heaven above,
Whilst light and darkness bound it,
Be their tomb who planned
To make it ours and thine!
Or with thine harmonizing ardours fill
And raise thy sons, as o'er the prone horizon
Thy lamp feeds every twilight wave with fire!
Be man's high hope and unextinct desire
The instrument to work thy will divine!
Then clouds from sunbeams, antelopes from leopards,
And frowns and fears from thee,
Would not more swifty flee
Than Celtic wolves from the Ausonian shepherds.—
Whatever, Spirit, from thy starry shrine
Thou yieldest or withholdest, oh let be
This City of thy worship ever free!
35 August 1820.
SUMMER AND WINTER.
It was a bright and cheerful afternoon,
Towards the end of the sunny month of June,
When the north wind congregates in crowds
The floating mountains of the silver clouds
From the horizon, and the stainless sky
Opens beyond them like eternity.
All things rejoiced beneath the sun,—the weeds,
The river, and the cornfields, and the reeds,
The willow leaves that glanced in the light breeze,
And the firm foliage of the larger trees.
It was a Winter such as when birds die
In the deep forests; and the fishes lie
Stiffened in the translucent ice, which makes
Even the mud and slime of the warm lakes
A wrinkled clod as hard as brick; and when,
Among their children, comfortable men
Gather about great fires, and yet feel cold:
Alas then for the homeless beggar old!
LINES TO A REVIEWER.
Alas ! good friend, what profit can you see
In hating such a hateless thing as me?
There is no sport in hate, where all the rage
Is on one side. In vain would you assuage
Your frowns upon an unresisting smile,
In which not even contempt lurks, to beguile
Your heart by some faint sympathy of hate.
Oh! conquer what you cannot satiate:
For to your passion I am far more coy
Than ever yet was coldest maid or boy
In winter noon. Of your antipathy
If I am the Narcissus, you are free
To pine into a sound with hating me.
The warm sun is failing, the bleak wind is wailing,
The bare boughs are sighing, the pale flowers are dying,
And the Year
On the earth her death-bed, in a shroud of leaves dead,
Come, Months, come away,
From November to May,
In your saddest array;
Follow the bier
Of the dead cold Year,
And like dim shadows watch by her sepulchre.
The chill rain is falling, the nipped worm is crawling,
The rivers are swelling, the thunder is knelling
For the Year;
The blithe swallows are flown, and the lizards each gone
To his dwelling.
Come, Months, come away.;
Put on white, black, and grey;
Let your light sisters play—
Ye, follow the bier
Of the dead cold Year,
And make her grave green with tear on tear.
The fiery mountains answer each other,
Their thunderings are echoed from zone to zone;
The tempestuous oceans awake one another,
And the ice-rocks are shaken round Winter's throne,
When the clarion of the Typhoon is blown.
From a single cloud the lightning flashes,
Whilst a thousand isles are illumined around;
Earthquake is trampling one city to ashes,
An hundred are shuddering and tottering,—the sound
Is bellowing underground.
But keener thy gaze than the lightning's glare,
And swifter thy step than the earthquake's tramp;
Thou deafenest the rage of the ocean; thy stare
Makes blind the volcanoes; the sun's bright lamp
To thine is a fen-fire damp.
From billow and mountain and exhalation
The sunlight is darted through vapour and blast;
From spirit to spirit, from nation to nation,
From city to hamlet, thy dawning is cast,—
And tyrants and slaves are like shadows of night
In the van of the morning light.
THE TOWER OF FAMINE. Amid the desolation of a city
Which was the cradle and is now the grave Of an extinguished people, so that Pity
Weeps o'er the shipwrecks of oblivion's wave,
There stands the Tower of Famine. It is built
Upon some prison-homes, whose dwellers rave
For bread and gold and blood: Pain linked to Guilt,
Agitates the light flame of their hours,
Until its vital oil is spent or spilt.
There stands the pile, a tower amid the towers And sacred domes, each marble-ribbed roof,
The brazen-gated temples, and the bowers
Of solitary wealth. The tempest-proof
Pavilions of the dark Italian air
Are by its presence dimmed—they stand aloof,
And are withdrawn—so that the world is bare :—
As if a spectre, wrapped in shapeless terror,
Amid a company of ladies fair
Should glide and glow, till it became a mirror
Of all their beauty,—and their hair and hue,
The life of their sweet eyes with all its error,
Should be absorbed till they to marble grew.