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cxxxW. That curse shall be Forgiveness.-Have I not— Hear me, my mother Earth! behold it, Heaven!— Have I not had to wrestle with my lot? Have I not suffer'd things to be forgiven? Have I not had my brain sear'd, my heart riven, Hopes sapp'd, name blighted, Lise's life lied away? And only not to desperation driven, Because not altogether of such clay As rots into the souls of those whom I survey.
From mighty wrongs to petty perfidy
Deal round to happy fools its speechless obloquy.
cxxxvii. But I have lived, and have not lived in vain: My mind may lose its force, my blood its fire, And my frame perish even in conquering pain; But there is that within me which shall tire Torture and Time, and breathe when I expire; Something unearthly, which they deem not of, Like the remember'd tone of a mute lyre, Shall on their soften’d spirits sink, and move
In hearts all rocky now the late remorse of love.
CXL. I see before me the Gladiator lie: He leans upon his hand—his manly brow Consents to death, but conquers agony, And his droop'd head sinks gradually low— And through his side the last drops, ebbing slow From the red gash, fall heavy, one by one, Like the first of a thunder-shower; and now The arena swims around him—he is gone, Ere ceased the inhuman shout which hail'd the wretch who won.
CXLI. He heard it, but he heeded not—his eyes Were with his heart, and that was far away; He reck’d not of the life he lost nor prize, But where his rude hut by the Danube lay, There were his young barbarians all at play, There was their Dacian mother—he, their sire Butcher'd to make a Roman holiday— All this rush'd with his blood—Shall he expire And unavenged?—Arise! ye Goths, and glut your ire!
CXLII. But here, where Murder breathed her bloody steam; And here, where buzzing nations choked the ways, And roar'd or murmur'd like a mountain stream Dashing or winding as its torrent strays; Here, where the Roman million's blame or praise Was death or life, the playthings of a crowd, My voice sounds much—and fall the stars' faint rays On the arena void—seats crush’d—walls bow’d— And galleries, where my steps seem echoes strangely loud.
CXLIII. A ruin—yet what ruin from its mass Walls, palaces, half-cities, have been rear'd; Yet oft the enormous skeleton ye pass, And marvel where the spoil could have appear'd. Hath it indeed been plundur'd, or but clear'd? Alas! developed, opens the decay, When the colossal fabric's form is near'd: It will not bear the brightness of the day, Which streams too much on all years, man, have rest away.
CXLIV. But when the rising moon begins to climb Its topmost arch, and gently pauses there; When the stars twinkle through the loops of time, And the low night-breeze waves along the air The garland-forest, which the gray walls wear, Like laurels on the bald first Caesar's head; When the light shines serene but doth not glare, Then in this magic circle raise the dead: Heroes have trod this spot—’t is on their dust ye tread.
CXLV. “While stands the Coliseum, Rome shall stand; “When falls the Coliseum, Rome shall fall; [land “And when Rome falls—the World.” From our own Thus spake the pilgrims o'er this mighty wall In Saxon times, which we are wont to call Ancient; and these three mortal things are still On their foundations, and unalter'd all ; Rome and her Ruin past Redemption's skill, The World, the same wide den—of thieves, or what ye will.
Simple, erect, severe, austere, sublime— Shrine of all saints and temple of all gods, From Jove to Jesus—spared and blest by time; Looking tranquillity, while falls or nods Arch, empire, each thing round thee, and man plods His way through thorns to ashes—glorious dome! Shalt thou not last? Time's scythe and tyrants’ rods Shiver upon thee—sanctuary and home of art and picty—Pantheon!—pride of Rome!
CXLVII. Relic of nobler days, and noblest arts! Despoil'd yet perfect, with thy circle spreads A holiness appealing to all hearts— To art a model; and to him who treads Rome for the sake of ages, Glory sheds Her light through thy sole aperture; to those Who worship, here are altars for their beads; And they who feel for genius may repose Their eyes on honour'd forms, whose busts around them close. CXLVIII. There is a dungeon, in whose dim drear light What do I gaze on ? Nothing: Look again! Two forms are slowly shadow'd on my sight— Two insulated phantoms of the brain: It is not so; I see them full and plain— An old man, and a female young and fair, Fresh as a nursing mother, in whose vein The blood is nectar:—but what doth she there, With her unmantled neck, and bosom white and bare?
CXLIX. Full swells the deep pure fountain of young life, Where on the heart and from the heart we took Our first and sweetest nurture, when the wife, Blest into mother, in the innocent look, Or even the piping cry of lips that brook No pain and small suspense, a joy perceives Man knows not, when from out its cradled nook She sees her little bud put forth its leaves— What may the fruit be yet?—I know not—Cain was Eve's.