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In joy I've sigh'd to think thy flight
Would soon subside from swift to slow;
Thy cloud could overcast the light,
But could not add a night to woe;
For then, however drear and dark,
My soul was suited to thy sky;
One star alone shot forth a spark
To prove thee-not Eternity.
That beam hath sunk, and now thou art
A blank; a thing to count and curse,
Through each dull tedious trifling part,
Which all regret, yet all rehearse.
One scene even thou canst not deform;
The limit of thy sloth or speed
When future wanderers bear the storm
Which we shall sleep too sound to heed:
And I can smile to think how weak
Thine efforts shortly shall be shown, When all the vengeance thou canst wreak Must fall upon-a nameless stone.
TRANSLATION OF A ROMAIC LOVE
AH! Love was never yet without
The pang, the agony, the doubt,
Which rends my heart with ceaseless sigh,
While day and night roll darkling by.
Without one friend to hear my woe,
I faint, I die beneath the blow.
That Love had arrows well I knew ;
Alas! I find them poison'd too.
Birds, yet in freedom, shun the net
Which Love around your haunts hath set;
Or, circled by his fatal fire,
Your hearts shall burn, your hopes expire.
A bird of free and careless wing
Was I through many a smiling spring;
But caught within the subtle snare,
I burn, and feebly flutter there.
Who ne'er have loved, and loved in vain,
Can neither feel nor pity pain,
The cold repulse, the look askance,
The lightning of Love's angry glance.
In flattering dreams I deem'd thee mine;
Now hope, and he who hoped, decline;
Like melting wax, or withering flower,
I feel my passion, and thy power.
My light of life! ah, tell me why
That pouting lip, and alter'd eye?
My bird of love! my beauteous mate!
And art thou changed, and canst thou hate?
Mine eyes like wintry streams o'erflow:
What wretch with me would barter woe?
My bird! relent: one note could give
A charm to bid thy lover live.
My curdling blood, my madd'ning brain,
In silent anguish I sustain;
And still thy heart, without partaking
One pang, exults-while mine is breaking.
Pour me the poison; fear not thou!
Thou canst not murder more than now:
I've lived to curse my natal day.
And Love, that thus can lingering slay.
My wounded soul, my bleeding breast,
Can patience preach thee into rest?
Alas! too late, I dearly know
That joy is harbinger of woe.
THOU ART NOT FALSE, BUT THOU ART
THOU art not false, but thou art fickle,
To those thyself so fondly sought;
The tears that thou hast forced to trickle
Are doubly bitter from that thought:
"T is this which breaks the heart thou grieves* Too well thou lov'st-too soon thou leavest. The wholly false the heart despises,
And spurns deceiver and deceit ;
But she who not a thought disguises,
Whose love is as sincere as sweet,
When she can change who loved so truly,
It feels what mine has felt so newly.
To dream of joy and wake to sorrow
Is doom'd to all who love or live;
And if, when conscious on the morrow,
We scarce our fancy can forgive,
That cheated us in slumber only,
To leave the waking soul more lonely,
What must they feel whom no false vision,
But truest, tenderest passion warm'd?
Sincere, but swift in sad transition;
As if a dream alone had charm'd?
Ah! sure such grief is faney's scheming,
And all thy change can be but dreaming!
ON BEING ASKED WHAT WAS THE "ORIGIN OF LOVE."
THE "Origin of Love!"-Ah, why
That cruel question ask of me,
When thou may'st read in many an eye
He starts to life on sceing thee?
And should'st thou seek his end to know:
My heart forebodes, my fears foresee,
He'll linger long in silent woe;
But live-until I cease to be.
REMEMBER HIM WHOM PASSION'S
REMEMBER him whom passion's power
Severely, deeply, vainly proved:
Remember thou that dangerous hour,
When neither fell, though both were loved.
That yielding breast, that melting eye,
Too much invited to be bless'd:
That gentle prayer, that pleading sigh,
The wilder wish reproved, repress'd.
Oh! let me feel that all I lost
But saved thee all that conscience fears; And blush for every pang it cost
To spare the vain remorse of years.
Yet think of this when many a tongue,
Whose busy accents whisper blame,
Would do the heart that loved thee wrong,
And brand a nearly blighted name.
Think that, whate'er to others, thou
Hast seen each selfish thought subdued:
I bless thy purer soul even now,
Even now, in midnight solitude.
Oh, God! that we had met in time,
Our hearts as fond, thy hand more free;
When thou hadst loved without a crime,
And I been less unworthy thee!
Far may thy days, as heretofore,
From this our gaudy world be past!
And that too bitter moment o'er,
Oh! may such trial be thy last.
This heart, alas! perverted long,
Itself destroy'd might there destroy;
To meet thee in the glittering throng,
Would wake Presumption's hope of joy.
Then to the things whose bliss or woe,
Like mine, is wild and worthless all,
That world resign-such scenes forego,
Where those who feel must surely fall.
Thy youth, thy charms, thy tenderness,
Thy soul from long seclusion pure;
From what even here hath pass'd, may guess
What there thy bosom must endure.
Oh! pardon that imploring tear,
Since not by Virtue shed in vain,
My frenzy drew from eyes so dear;
For me they shall not weep again.
Though long and mournful must it be,
The thought that we no more may meet;
Yet I deserve the stern decree,
And almost deem the sentence sweet.
Still, had I loved thee less, my heart
Had then less sacrificed to thine;
It felt not half so much to part
As if its guilt had made thee mine.
ON LORD THURLOW'S POEMS. WHEN Thurlow this damn'd nonsense sent (I hope I am not violent),
Nor men nor gods knew what he meant.
And since not even our Rogers' praise
To common sense his thoughts could raise-
Why would they let him print his lays?
To me, divine Apollo, grant-0!
Hermilda's first and second canto,
I'm fitting up a new portmanteau;
And thus to furnish decent lining,
My own and others' bays I'm twining,-
So, gentle Thurlow, throw me thine in.
"I lay my branch of laurel down, Then thus to form Apollo's crown, Let every other bring his own."
Lord Thurlow's lines to Mr. Rogers.
"I lay my branch of laurel down."
THOU "lay thy branch of laurel down!"
Why, what thou'st stole is not enow;
And, were it lawfully thine own,
Does Rogers want it most, or thou?
Keep to thyself thy wither'd bough,
Or send it back to Doctor Donne:
Were justice done to both, I trow,
He'd have but little, and thou-none.
"Then thus to form Apollo's crown."
A crown! why, twist it how you will,
Thy chaplet must be foolscap still.
When next you visit Delphi's town,
Inquire amongst your fellow-lodgers, They'll tell you Phoebus gave his crown, Some years before your birth, to Rogers.
"Let every other bring his own." When coals to Newcastle are carried, And owls sent to Athens, as wonders, From his spouse when the Regent 's unmarried, Or Liverpool weeps o'er his blunders; When Tories and Whigs cease to quarrel, When Castlereagh's wife has an heir, Then Rogers shall ask us for laurel, And thou shalt have plenty to spare.
WRITTEN THE EVENING BEFORE HIS VISIT TO MR. LEIGH HUNT IN HORSEMONGER LANE GAOL, MAY 19, 1813.
OH you, who in all names can tickle the town, Anacreon, Tom Little, Tom Moore, or Tom Brown, For hang me if I know of which you may most brag, Your Quarto two-pounds, or your Two-penny Post Bag;
But now to my letter-to yours 't is an answer-
To-morrow be with me, as soon as you can, sir,
All ready and dress'd for proceeding to spunge on
(According to compact) the wit in the dungeon-
Pray Phoebus at length our political malice
May not get us lodgings within the same palace!
I suppose that to-night you 're engaged with some
And for Sotheby's Blues have deserted Sam Rogers;
And I, though with cold I have nearly my death got,
Must put on my breeches, and wait on the Heath-
But to-morrow, at four, we will both play the
And you'll be Catullus, the Regent Mamurra.
[First published in 1830.]
IMPROMPTU, IN REPLY TO A FRIEND.
WHEN, from the heart where Sorrow sits,
Her dusky shadow mounts too high, And o'er the changing aspect flits,
And clouds the brow, or fills the eye; Heed not that gloom, which soon shall sink: My thoughts their dungeon know too well; Back to my breast the wanderers shrink, And droop within their silent cell.
SONNET, TO GENEVRA. THINE eyes' blue tenderness, thy long fair hair, And the wan lustre of thy features-caught From contemplation-where serenely wrought, Seems Sorrow's softness charm'd from its despairHave thrown such speaking sadness in thine air, That-but I know thy blessed bosom fraught With mines of unalloy'd and stainless thought— I should have deem'd thee doom'd to earthly care. With such an aspect, by his colours blent,
When from his beauty-breathing pencil born (Except that thou hast nothing to repent), The Magdalen of Guido saw the mornSuch seem'st thou-but how much more excellent! With nought Remorse can claim-nor Virtue
SONNET, TO THE SAME. THY cheek is pale with thought, but not from woe, And yet so lovely, that if Mirth could flush Its rose of whiteness with the brightest blush, My heart would wish away that ruder glow: And dazzle not thy deep-blue eyes-but, oh! While gazing on them sterner eyes will gush, And into mine my mother's weakness rush, Soft as the last drops round heaven's airy bow. For, through thy long dark lashes low depending, The soul of melancholy Gentleness Gleams like a seraph from the sky descending, Above all pain, yet pitying all distress; At once such majesty with sweetness blending, I worship more, but cannot love thee less.
IN moments to delight devoted,
"My life!" with tenderest tone, you cry;
Dear words! on which my heart had doted,
If youth could neither fade nor die.
To death even hours like these must roll,
Ah! then repeat those accents never;
Or change "my life!" into "my soul!"
Which, like my love, exists for ever.
You call me still your life.-Oh! change the word-
Life is as transient as the inconstant sigh:
Say rather I 'm your soul; more just that name,
For, like the soul, my love can never die.
THE Devil return'd to hell by two,
And he stay'd at home till five;
When he dined on some homicides done in ragout,
And a rebel or so in an Irish stew,
And sausages made of a self-slain Jew-
And bethought himself what next to do,
"And," quoth he, "I'll take a drive.
I walk'd in the morning, I'll ride to-night;
In darkness my children take most delight,
And I'll see how my favourites thrive.
"And what shall I ride in?" quoth Lucifer then-
"If I follow'd my taste, indeed,
I should mount in a waggon of wounded men,
And smile to see them bleed.
But these will be furnish'd again and again,
And at present my purpose is speed;
To see my manor as much as I may,
And watch that no souls shall be poach'd away.
"I have a state-coach at Carlton House, A chariot in Seymour Place;
But they 're lent to two friends, who make me
By driving my favourite pace:
And they handle their reins with such a grace,
I have something for both at the end of their race.
"So now for the earth to take my chance: "
Then up to the earth sprung he;
And making a jump from Moscow to France,
He stepp'd across the sea,
And rested his hoof on a turnpike road,
No very great way from a bishop's abode.
But first as he flew, I forgot to say
That he hover'd a moment upon his way,
To look upon Leipsic plain;
And so sweet to his eye was its sulphury glare,
And so soft to his ear was the cry of despair,
That he perch'd on a mountain of slain;
And he gazed with delight from its growing height,
Nor often on earth had he seen such a sight,
Nor his work done half as well:
For the field ran so red with the blood of the dead,
That it blush'd like the waves of hell!
Then loudly, and wildly, and long laugh'd he:
"Methinks they have here little need of me!"
But the softest note that soothed his ear
Was the sound of a widow sighing;
And the sweetest sight was the icy tear,
Which horror froze in the blue eye clear
Of a maid by her lover lying-
As round her fell her long fair hair;
And she look'd to heaven with that frenzied air,
Which seem'd to ask if a God were there!
And, stretch'd by the wall of a ruin'd hut,
With its hollow cheek, and eyes half shut,
A child of famine dying:
And the carnage begun, when resistance is done,
And the fall of the vainly flying!
And what did he there, I pray?
But the Devil has reach'd our cliffs so white,
If his eyes were good, he but saw by night
What we see every day:
But he made a tour, and kept a journal
Of all the wondrous sights nocturnal,
And he sold it in shares to the Men of the Row,
Who bid pretty well-but they cheated him, though!
The Devil first saw, as he thought, the Mail,
Its coachman and his coat;
So instead of a pistol he cock'd his tail,
And seized him by the throat:
"L Aha!" quoth he, "what have we here?
Tis a new barouche, and an ancient peer!"
So he sat him on his box again,
And bade him have no fear,
But be true to his club, and stanch to his rein,
His brothel, and his beer;
"Next to seeing a lord at the council board,
I would rather see him here."
The Devil gat next to Westminster,
And he turn'd to "the room" of the Commons; But he heard, as he purposed to enter in there, That" the Lords" had received a summons; And he thought, as a " quondam aristocrat," He might peep at the peers, though to hear them were flat;
And he walk'd up the house so like one of our own,
That they say that he stood pretty near the throne.
He saw the Lord Liverpool seemingly wise,
The Lord Westmoreland certainly silly,
And Johnny of Norfolk-a man of some size-
And Chatham, so like his friend Billy;
And he saw the tears in Lord Eldon's eyes,
Because the Catholics would not rise,
In spite of his prayers and his prophecies;
And he heard-which set Satan himself a staring-
A certain Chief Justice say something like swearing.
And the Devil was shock'd-and quoth he," I must
For I find we have much better manners below: [go,
If thus he harangues when he passes my border,
I shall hint to friend Moloch to call him to order."
Lines composed on the occasion of His Royal Highness the Prince Regent being seen standing between the coffins of Henry VIII. and Charles I., in the royal vault at Windsor.
FAMED for contemptuous breach of sacred ties,
By headless Charles see heartless Henry lies;
Between them stands another sceptred thing-
It moves, it reigns-in all but name, a king:
Charles to his people, Henry to his wife,
-In him the double tyrant starts to life:
Justice and death have mix'd their dust in vain,
Each royal vampire wakes to life again.
Ah, what can tombs avail!-since these disgorge
The blood and dust of both-to mould a George.
ODE TO NAPOLEON BUONAPARTE. "Expende Annibalem :-quot libras in duce summo Invenies?"-Juvenal, Sat. x.
"The Emperor Nepos was acknowledged by the Senate, by the Italians, and by the Provincials of Gaul; his moral virtues, and military talents, were loudly cele brated; and those who derived any private benefit from his government announced in prophetic strains the restoration of public felicity. By this shameful abdica
tion, he protracted his life a few years, in a very ambiguous state, between an Emperor and an Exile, till ."-Gibbon's Decline and Fall, vol. vi., p. 220.
'TIS done-but yesterday a King!
And arm'd with Kings to strive-
And now thou art a nameless thing:
So abject-yet alive!
Is this the man of thousand thrones,
Who strew'd our earth with hostile bones,
And can he thus survive?
Since he, miscall'd the Morning Star,
Nor man nor fiend hath fallen so far.
Ill-minded man! why scourge thy kind
Who bow'd so low the knee?
By gazing on thyself grown blind,
Thou taught'st the rest to see.
With might unquestion'd,-power to save,-
Thine only gift hath been the grave,
To those that worshipp'd thee; Nor till thy fall could mortals guess Ambition's less than littleness!
Thanks for that lesson-It will teach
To after-warriors more,
Than high Philosophy can preach,
And vainly preach'd before.
That spell upon the minds of men
Breaks never to unite again,
That led them to adore
Those Pagod things of sabre sway
With fronts of brass, and feet of clay.
The triumph and the vanity,
The rapture of the strife-
The earthquake voice of Victory,
To theé the breath of life;
The sword, the sceptre, and that sway
Which man seem'd made but to obey,
Wherewith renown was rife
All quell'd!-Dark Spirit! what must be The madness of thy memory!
The Desolator desolate!
The Victor overthrown! The Arbiter of others' fate
A Suppliant for his own! Is it some yet imperial hope
That with such change can calmly cope?
Or dread of death alone?
To die a prince-or live a slave-
Thy choice is most ignobly brave!
And Earth hath spilt her blood for him,
Who thus can hoard his own!
And Monarchs bow'd the trembling limb,
And thank'd him for a throne!
Fair Freedom! we may hold thee dear,
When thus thy mightiest foes their fear
In humblest guise have shown.
Oh! ne'er may tyrant leave behind
A brighter name to lure mankind!
Thine evil deeds are writ in gore,
Nor written thus in vain-
Thy triumphs tell of fame no more,
Or deepen every stain:
If thou hadst died as honour dies,
Some new Napoleon might arise,
To shame the world again-
But who would soar the solar height,
To set in such a starless night?
Weigh'd in the balance, hero dust
Is vile as vulgar clay;
Thy scales, Mortality! are just
To all that pass away:
But yet methought the living great
Some higher sparks should animate,
To dazzle and dismay :
Nor deem'd Contempt could thus make mirth Of these, the Conquerors of the earth.
And she, proud Austria's mournful flower, Thy still imperial bride;
How bears her breast the torturing hour?
Still clings she to thy side?
Must she too bend, must she too share
Thy late repentance, long despair,
Thou throneless Homicide?
If still she loves thee, hoard that gem,"T is worth thy vanish'd diadem!
Then haste thee to thy sullen Isle,
And gaze upon the sea;
That element may meet thy smile-
It ne'er was ruled by thee!
Or trace with thine all idle hand
In loitering mood upon the sand
That Earth is now as free!
That Corinth's pedagogue hath now
Transferr'd his by-word to thy brow.
Thou Timour! in his captive's cage
What thoughts will there be thine, While brooding in thy prison'd rage? But one-"The world was mine!" Unless, like he of Babylon, All sense is with thy sceptre gone, Life will not long confine That spirit pour'd so widely forthSo long obey'd-so little worth!
Or, like the thief of fire from heaven,
Wilt thou withstand the shock?
And share with him, the unforgiven,
His vulture and his rock!
Foredoom'd by God-by man accurst,
And that last act, though not thy worst,
The very Fiend's arch mock;
He in his fall preserved his pride,
And, if a mortal, had as proudly died!
There was a day-there was an hour, While earth was Gaul's-Gaul thineWhen that immeasurable power
Had been an act of purer fame
Than gathers round Marengo's name,
And gilded thy decline,
Through the long twilight of all time,
Despite some passing clouds of crime.