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cLxW. Which gathers shadow, substance, life, and all That we inherit in its mortal shroud, And spreads the dim and universal pall Through which all things grow phantoms; and the cloud Between us sinks and all which ever glow’d, Till Glory's self is twilight, and displays A melancholy halo scarce allow’d To hover on the verge of darkness; rays Sadder than saddest night, for they distract the gaze,
CLXVI. And send us prying into the abyss, To gather what we shall be when the frame Shall be resolved to something less than this Its wretched essence; and to dream of fame, And wipe the dust from off the idle name We never more shall hear, but never more, Oh, happier thought! can we be made the same: It is enough in sooth that once we bore These fardels of the heart—the heart whose sweat was gore. CLXVII. Hark! forth from the abyss a voice proceeds, A long low distant murmur of dread sound, Such as arises when a nation bleeds With some deep and immedicable wound; Through storm and darkness yawns the rending ground, The gulf is thick with phantoms, but the chief Seems royal still, though with her head discrown'd, And pale, but lovely, with maternal grief She clasps a babe, to whom her breast yields no relief.
Scion of chiefs and monarchs, where art thou? Fond hope of many nations, art thou dead? Could not the grave forget thee, and lay low Some less majestic, less beloved head? In the sad midnight, while thy heart still bled, The mother of a moment, o'er thy boy, Death hush'd that pang for ever: with thee fled The present happiness and promised joy Which fill'd the imperial isles so full it seem'd to cloy.
Peasants bring forth in safety.—Can it be,
Of sackcloth was thy wedding garment made; Thy bridal's fruit is ashes: in the dust The fair-hăir’d Daughter of the Isles is laid, The love of millions ! How we did entrust Futurity to her! and, though it must Darken above our bones, yet fondly deem'd Our children should obey her child, and bless'd Her and her hoped-for seed, whose promise seem'd Like stars to shepherds' eyes:—'t was but a meteor beam'd.
LXXI. Woe unto us, not her; for she sleeps well: The fickle reek of popular breath, the tongue Of hollow counsel, the false oracle, Which from the birth of monarchy hath rung Its knell in princely ears, till the o’erstung Nations have arm'd in madness, the strange fate Which tumbles mightiest sovereigns, and hath flung Against their blind omnipotence a weight Within the opposing scale, which crushes soon or late,
CLXXII. These might have been her destiny; but no, Our hearts deny it: and so young, so fair, Good without effort, great without a foe; But now a bride and mother—and now there / How many ties did that stern moment tear ! From thy Sire's to his humblest subject's breast Is link'd the electric chain of that despair, Whose shock was as an earthquake's, and opprest The land which loved thee so that none could love thee best. CLXXIII. Lo, Nemi' navell'd in the woody hills So far, that the uprooting wind which tears The oak from his foundation, and which spills The ocean o'er its boundary, and bears Its foam against the skies, reluctant spares The oval mirror of thy glassy lake; And, calm as cherish’d hate, its surface wears A deep cold settled aspect nought can shake, All coil'd into itself and round, as sleeps the snake.
cLxxvii. Oh! that the Desert were my dwelling-place, With one fair Spirit for my minister, That I might all forget the human race, And, hating no one, love but only her Ye Elements!—in whose ennobling stir I feel myself exalted—Can ye not Accord me such a being? Do I err In deeming such inhabit many a spot? Though with them to converse can rarely be our lot.
cLxxix. Roll on, thou deep and dark blue Ocean—roll! Ten thousand fleets sweep over thee in vain; Man marks the earth with ruin—his control Stops with the shore;—upon the watery plain The wrecks are all thy deed, nor doth remain A shadow of man's ravage, save his own, When, for a moment, like a drop of rain, He sinks into thy depths with bubbling groan, Without a grave, unknell’d, uncoffin'd, and unknown.