« AnteriorContinuar »
Her mighty youth with morning, doth complain,
Ah woe is me! Winter is come and gone,
But grief returns with the revolving year:
The airs and streams renew their joyous tone;
The ants, the bees, the swallows reappear;
Fresh leaves and flowers deck the dead Season's bier ,
The amorous birds now pair in every brake,
And build their mossy homes in field and brere,
And the green lizard, and the gulden snake.
Like unimprisoned flames, out of their trance awake.
Through wood and stream, and field and hill and ocean,
The leprous corpse touched by this spirit tender Exhales itself in flowers of gentle breath;Like incarnations of the stars, when splendour Is changed to fragrance, they illumine death And mock the merry worm that wakes beneath;Nought we know, dies. Shall that alone which knows Be as a sword consumed before the sheath By sightless lightning ?—th' intense atom glows A moment, then is quenched in a most cold repose.
Alas! that all we loved of him should be,
But for our grief, as if it had not been,
And grief itself be mortal I Woe is me!
Whence are we, and why are we? of what scene
The actors or spectators? Great and mean
Meet massed in death, who lends what life must borrow
As long as skies are blue, and fields are green,
Evening must usher night, night urge the morrow,
Month follow month with woe, and year wake year to sorrow.
He will awake no more, oh, never more!
"Wake thou," cried Misery, "childless Mother, rise
Out of thy sleep, and slake, in thy heart's core,
A wound more fierce than his with tears and sighs.'
And all the Dreams that watched Urania's eyes,
And all the Echoes whom their sister's song
Had held in holy silence, cried: "Arise!"
She rose like an autumnal Night, that springs
Out of the East, and follows wild and drear
The goldeu Day, which, on eternal wings,
Even as a ghost abandoning a bier,
Had left the Earth a corpse. Sorrow and fear
So struck, so roused, so rapt Urania;
So saddened round her like an atmosphere
Of stormy mist; so swept her on her way
Even to the mournful place where Adonais lay.
Out of her secret Paradise she sped,
Through camps and cities rough with stone, and steel,
And human hearts, which to her airy tread
Yielding not, wounded the invisible
Palms of her tender feet where'er they fell,
And barbed tongues, and thoughts more sharp than they
Rent the soft Form they never could repel,
Whose sacred blood, like the young tears of May,
Paved with eternal flowers that undeserving way.
In the death chamber for a moment Death
Shamed by the presence of that living Might
Blushed to annihilation, and the breath
Revisited those lips, and life's pale light
Flashed through those limbs, so late her dear delight.
"Leave me not wild and drear and comfortless,
As silent lightning leaves the starless night I
Leave me not!" cried Urania: her distress
Roused Death: Death rose and smiled, and met her vain caress.
"Stay yet a while! speak to me once again ,
Kiss me, so long but as a kiss may live;
And in my heartless breast and burning brain
That word, that kiss shall all thoughts else survive,
With food of saddest memory kept alive,
Now thou art dead, as if it were a part
Of thee, my Adonais! I would give
All that 1 am to be as thou now art!
But I am chained to Time, and cannot thence depart!
"O gentle child, beautiful as thou wert,
Why didst thou leave the trodden paths of men
Too soon, and with weak hands though mighty heart
Dare the unpastured dragon in his den i:
Defenceless as thou wert, ah where was then
Wisdom the mirrored shield, or scorn the spear?
Or hadst thou waited the full cycle, when
Thy spirit should have filled its crescent sphere,
The monsters of life's waste had fled from thee like deer.
"The herded wolves, bold only to pursue;
The obscene ravens, clamorous o'er the dead ,
The vultures to the conqueror's banner true
Who feed where Desolation first has fed,
And whose wings rain contagion;—how they fled,
When like Apollo, from his golden bow,
The Pythian of the age one arrow sped
And smiled!—The spoilers tempt no second Mm-.-,,
They fawn on the proud feet that spurn them as they go.
"The ;• i'"i comes forth, and many reptiles spawn;
He sets, and each ephemeral insect then
Is gathered into death without a dawn,
And the immortal stars awake again;
So is it in the world of living men:
A godlike mind soars forth, in its delight
Making earth bare and veiling heaven, and when
It sinks, the swarms that dimmed or shared its light
Leave to its kindred lamps the spirit's awful night."
Thus ceased she: and the mountain shepherds came,
Their garlands sere, their magic mantles rent;
The Pilgrim of Eternity, whose fame
Over his living head like Heaven is bent,
An early but enduring monument,
Came, veiling all the lightnings of his song
In sorrow; from her wilds letne sent
The sweetest lyrist of her saddest wrong,
And love taught grief to fall like music from his tongue.
'Midst others of less note, came one frail Form,
A phantom among men; companionless
As the last cloud of an expiring storm
Whose thunder is its knell , he, as I guess,
Had gttzed on Nature's naked loveliness
Acteeon-Iike; and now he fled astray
With feeble steps o'er the world's wilderness,
And his own thoughts, along that rugged way,
Pursued, like raging hounds, their father and their prey.
A pardlike Spirit beautiful and swift— A Love in desolation masked ;—a Power Girt round with weakness ;—it can scarce uplift The weight of the superincumbent hour; It is a dying lamp, a falling shower,
A breaking billow ;—even whilst we speak
Is it not broken? On the withering flower The killing sun smiles brightly: on a cheek The life can burn in blood, even while the heart may break. His head was bound with pansies over-blown,
And faded violets, white, and pied, and blue;
And a light spear topped with a cypress cone,
Round whose rude shaft dark ivy-tresses grew
Yet dripping with the forest's noonday dew,
Vibrated, as the ever-beating heart
Shook the weak hand that grasped it; of that crew
He came the last, neglected and apart;
A herd-abandon'd deer, struck by the hunter's dart.
All stood aloof, and at this partial moan
Smiled through their tears; well knew that gentle band
Who in another's fate now wept his own;
As in the accents of an unknown land,
He sang new sorrow; sad Urania scanned
The Stranger's mein, and murmured: " Who art thou?"
He answered not, but with a sudden hand
Made bare his branded and ensanguined brow,
Which was like Cain's or Christ's.—Oh! that it should be a
What softer voice is hushed over the dead?
Athwart what brow is that dark mantle thrown?
What form leans sadly o'er the white death-bed,
In mockery of monumental stone,
The heavy heart heaving without a moan?
If it be He, who, gentlest of the wise,
Taught, soothed, loved, honoured the departed one;
Let me not vex, with inharmonious aighs,
The silence of that heart's accepted sacrifice.
Our Adonais has drunk poison—oh!
What deaf and viperous murderer could crown
Life's early cup with such a drop of wo« V
The nameless worm would now itself disown:
It felt, yet could escape the magic tone
Whose prelude held all envy, hate, and wrong,
But what was howling in one breast alone,
Silent with expectation of the song,
Whose master's hand is cold, whose silver lyre unstrung.
Live thou, whose infamy is not thy fame!
Live! fear no heavier chastisement from me,
Thou noteless blot on a remembered name!
But be thyself, and know thyself to be!
And ever at thy season be thou free
To spill the venom, when thy fangs o'erflow:
Remorse and Self-contempt shall cling to thee:
Hot shame shall burn upon thy secret brow,
And like a beaten hound tremble thou shall—as now.
Nor let us weep that our delight is fled
Far from these carrion kites that scream below;
He wakes or sleeps with the enduring dead;
Thou canst not soar where he is sitting now.—
Dust to the dust! but the pure spirit shall flow
Back to the burning fountain whence it came,
A portion of the Eternal, which must glow
Through time and change, unquenchably the same,
Whilst thy culd timbers choke the sordid hearth of shame.
Peace, peace! he is not dead, he doth not sleep—-
He has outaoared the shadow of our night;
Envy and calumny and hate and pain,
And that unrest which men must call delight.
Can toucn him not and torture not again;
From the contagion of the world's slow stain
He is secure, and now can never mourn
A heart grown cold, a head grown grey in vain;
Nor, when the spirit's self has ceased to burn,
With sparkless ashes load an unlamented urn.
He lives, he wakes—'tis Death is dead, not he;
He is made one with Nature: there is heard
He is the portion of the loveliness
Which once he made more lovely; he doth bear
His part, while the one Spirit's plastic stress
Sweeps through the dull dense world, tompelling there.