Imágenes de páginas

O that the free would stomp the impious name

Of * * * * into the dust; or write it there, So that this blot upon the page of fame

Were as a serpent's path, which the light air Erases, and the hat sands close behind! Ye the oracle have heard: Lift the victory-flashing sword, And cut the snaky knots of this foul gordian word, Which, weak itself as stubble, yet can bind

Into a mass, irrefragably firm, The axes and the rods which awe mankind; The sound has poison in it, 'tis the sperm Of what makes life foul, cankerous, and abhorred; Disdain not thou, at thine appointed term, To set thine armed heel on this reluctant worm.

O that the wise from their bright mindswould kindle
Such lamps within the dome of this dim world,
That the pale name of Pbiest might shrink and
Into the hell from which it first was hurled,
A scoff of impious pride from fiends impure,
Till human thoughts might kneel alone,
Each before the judgment-throne
Of its own aweless soul, or of the power unknown!
Othat the words which make the thoughts obscure
From which they spring, as clouds of glimmer-
ing dew
From a white lake blot heaven's blue portraiture,
Were stript of their thin masks and various hue,
Andfrownsandsmilesand splendours not their own,
Till in the nakedness of false and true
They stand before their Lord, each to receive its


He who taught man to vanquish whatsoever
Can be between the cradle and the grave,
Crowned him the King of Life. O vain endeavour!

If on his own high will a willing slave,
He has enthroned the oppression and the oppressor.
What if earth can clothe and feed
Amplest millions at their need,
And power in thought be as the tree within the
Or what if art, an ardent intercessor, [seed i

Diving on fiery wings to Nature's throne,

Checks the great mother stooping to caress her,

And cries, give me, thy child, dominion

Overall height and depth '. if Life can breed [groan,

New wants, and wealth from those who toil and

Rend of thy gifts and hers a thousandfol d for one.

Come thou, but lead out of the inmost cavo
Of man's deep spirit, as the morning-star
Beckons the Sun from the Eoan wave,

Wisdom. I hear the pennons of her car
Self-moving like clond charioted by flame;
Comes she not, and come ye not,
Rulers of eternal thought.
To judge with solemn truth life's ill-apportioned lot!
Blind Love, and equal Justice, and the Fame

Of what has been, the Hope of what will be! O, Liberty ! if such could be thy name

Wert thou disjoined from these, or they from I f thine or theirs were treasures to be bought [thee: By blood or tears, have not the wise and free Wept tears, and blood like tears! The solemn harmony

Paused, and the spirit of that mighty singing

To its abyss was suddenly withdrawn; Then as a wild swan, when sublimely winging

Its path athwart the thunder-smoke of dawn, Sinks headlong through the aerial golden light On the heavy sounding plain, When the bolt has pierced its brain; As summer clouds dissolve unburthened of their As a far taper fades with fading night; [rain;

As a brief insect dies with dying day, My song, its pinions disarrayed of might,

Drooped; o'er it closed the echoes far away Of the great voice which did its flight sustain, As waves which lately paved his watery way Uissroundadrowner's head in their tempestuous play.


AuEtmsA arose

From her couch of snows

In the Acroceraunian mountains,—
From cloud and from crag
With many a jag,

Shepherding her bright fountains.
She leapt down the rocks
With her rainbow locks

Streaming among the streams ;—
Her steps paved with green
The downward ravine

Which slopes to the western gleams:
And gliding and springing,
She went, ever singing,

In murmurs as soft as sleep;

The Earth seemed to love her,
And Heaven smiled above her.

As she lingered towards the deep.

Then Alpheus bold,

On his glacier cold, With his trident the mountains strook;

And opened a chasm

In the rocks;—with the spasm All Erymanthus shook.

And the black south wind

It concealed behind The urns of the silent snow,

And earthquake and thunder

Did rend in sunder
The bars of the springs below:

The beard and the hair

Of the river God were
Seen through the torrent's sweep,

As he followed the light

Of the fleet nymph's flight To the brink of the Dorian deep.

"Oh, save me! Oh, guide me I
And bid the deep hide me,

For he grasps me now by the hair!"
The loud Ocean heard,
To its blue depth stirred,

And divided at her prayer;
And under the water
The Earth's white daughter

Fled like a sunny beam;

Behind her descended

Her billowB, unblended With the brackish Dorian stream:

Like a gloomy stain

On the emerald main Alpheus rushed behind,—

As an eagle pursuing

A dove to its ruin
Down the streams of the cloudy wind.

Under the bowers
Where the Ocean Powers

Sit on their pearled thrones:

Through the coral woods
Of the weltering floods,

Over heaps of unvalued stones;
Through the dim beams
Which amid the streams

Weave a net-work of coloured light;
And under the caves,
Where the shadowy waves

Are as green as the forest's night:—
Outspeeding the shark,
And the sword-fish dark,

Under the ocean foam,

And up through the rifts
Of the mountain clifts

They passed to their Dorian home.

And now from their fountains

In Enna's mountains, Down one vale where the morning basks,

Like friends once parted

Grown single-hearted, They ply their watery tasks.

At sunrise they leap

From their cradles steep In the cave of the shelving hill;

At noon-tide they flow

Through the woods below And the meadows of Asphodel;

And at night they sleep

In the rocking deep Beneath the Ortygian shore ;—

Like spirits that lie

In the azure sky
When they love but live no more.

Pisa, 1820.



Sacked Goddess, Mother Earth,
Thou from whose immortal bosom,

Gods, and men, and beasts have birth,
Leaf and blade, and bud and blossom,

Breathe thine influence most divine

On thine own child, Proserpine.

If with mists of evening dew

Thou dost nourish these young flowers

Till they grow, in scent and hue,
Fairest children of the hours,

Breathe thine influence most divine

On thine own child, Proserpine.


The sleepless Hours who watch me as I lie,
Curtained with star-enwoven tapestries

From the broad moonlight of the sky,
Fanning the busy dreams from my dim eyes,—

Waken me when their Mother, the grey Dawn,

Tolls them that dreams and that the moon is gone.

Then I arise, and climbing Heaven's blue dome,
I walk over the mountains and the waves,

Leaving my robe upon the ocean foam;
My footsteps pave the clouds with fire; the caves

Are filled with my bright presence, and the air

Leaves the green earth to my embraces bare.

The sunbeams are my shafts, with which I kill
Deceit, that loves the night and fears the day;

All men who do or even imagine ill
Fly me, and from the glory of my ray

Good minds and open actions take new might,

Until diminished by the reign of night

I feed the clouds, the rainbows, and the flowers,
With their ethereal colours; the Moon's globe

And the pure stars in their eternal bowers
Are cinctured with my power as with a robe;

Whatever lamps on Earth or Heaven may shine

Are portions of one power, which is mine.

I stand at noon upon the peak of Heaven,
Then with unwilling steps I wander down

Into the clouds of the Atlantic even;
For grief that I depart they weep and frown:

What look is more delightful than the smile

With which I soothe them from the western isle!

I am the eye with which the Universe
Beholds itself and knows itself divine;

All harmony of instrument or verse,
All prophecy, all medicine are mine,

All light of art or nature ;—to my song

Victory and praise in their own right belong.


From the forests and highlands

We come, we come; From the river-girt islands,

Where loud waves are dumb
Listening to my sweet pipings.
The wind in the reeds and the rushes,

The bees on the bells of thyme,
The birds on the myrtle bushes,
The cicale above in the lime,
And the lizards below in the grass,
Were as silent as ever old Tmolus * was,
Listening to my sweet pipings.

Liquid Peneus was flowing,

And all dark Tempo lay
In Pclion's shadow, outgrowing

The light of the dying day,

• This and tho former poem were written at the request of a friend, to be inserted in a drama on the subject of Midas. Apollo and Pan contended before Tmolus fur the prixe in music.

Speeded with my sweet pipings. The Sileni, and Sylvans, and Fauns,

And the Nymphs of the woods and waves, To the edge of the moist river-lawns,

And the brink of the dewy caves,
And all that did then attend and follow,
Were silent with love, as you now, Apollo,
With envy of my sweet pipings.

I sang of the dancing stars,

I sang of the diedal Earth,
And of Heaven—and the giant wars,
And Love, and Death, and Birth,—
And then I changed my pipings,—
Singing how down the vale of Menalus

1 pursued a maiden and clasped a reed: Gods and men, we are all deluded thus!

It breaks in our bosom and then we bleed: AU wept, as I think both ye now would, I f envy or age had not frozen your blood, At the sorrow of my sweet pipings.


I Dreamed that, as I wandered by the way,
Bare winter suddenly was changed to spring,

And gentle odours led my steps astray,
Mixed with a sound of waters murmuring

Along a shelving bank of turf, which lay
Under a copse, and hardly dared to fling

Its green arms round the bosom of the stream,

But kissed it and then fled, as thoumightest in dream.

There grew pied wind-flowers and violets,

Daisies, those pearled Arcturi of the earth, The constellated flower that never sets;

Faint oxlips ; tender blue bells, at whose birth The sod scarce heaved ; and that tall flower that I ts mother's face with heaven-collected teal's, [wets When the low wind, its playmate's voice, it hears.

And in the warm hedge grew lush eglantine, Green cow-bind and the moonlight-coloured May,

And cherry blossoms, and white cups, whose wine Was the bright dew yet drained not by the day;

And wild roses, and ivy serpentine,

With its dark buds and leaves, wandering astray;

And flowers azure, black, and streaked with gold,

Fairer than any wakened eyes behold.

And nearer to the river's trembling edge
There grew broad flag-flowers, purple pranktwith

And starry river buds among the sedge, [white,
And floating water-lilies, broad and bright,

Which lit the oak that overhung the hedge

With moonlight beams of their own watery light;

And bulrushes, and reeds of such deep green

As soothed the dazzled eye with sober sheen.

Methought that of these visionary flowers
I made a nosegay, bound in such a way

That the same hues, which in their natural bowers
Were mingled or opposed, the like array

Kept these imprisoned children of the Hours
Within my hand,—and then, elate and gay,

I hastened to the spot whence I had come,

That I might there present it !—Oh! to whom I




0 Thou, who plumed with strong desire
Wouldst float above the earth, beware!

A shadow tracks thy flight of fire-
Night is coming!

Bright are the regions of the air,
And among the winds and beams

It were delight to wander there—
Night is coming!


The deathless stars are bright above:

If I would cross the shade at night,

Within my heart is the lamp of love,

And that is day!
And the moon will smile with gentle light

On my golden plumes where'er they move;
The meteors will linger round my flight,
And make night day.


But if the whirlwinds of darkness waken
Hail, and lightning, and stormy rain;
See the bounds of the air are shaken—

Night is coming!
The red swift clouds of the hurricane
Yon declining sun have overtaken,
The clash of the hail sweeps over the plain—■
Night is coming!


1 see the light, and I hear the sound;

I'll sail on the flood of the tempest dark, With the calm within and the light around

Which makes night day: And thou, when the gloom is deep and stark,

Look from thy dull earth, slumber-bound, My moonlight flight thou then may'st mark On high, far away.

Some say there is a precipice

Where one vast pine is frozen to ruin O'er piles of snow and chasms of ice

'Mid Alpine mountains;
And that the languid storm, pursuing

That winged shape, for ever flies
Round those hoar branches, aye renewing
Its aery fountains.

Some say when nights are dry and clear,

And the death-dews sleep on the morass, Sweet whispers are heard by the traveller,

Which make night day: And a silver shape like his early love doth pass

Upborne by her wild and glittering hair, And when he awakes on the fragrant grass, He finds night day.



Leghorn, July 1, 1820.

The spider spreads her webs, whether Bhe be

In poet's tower, cellar, or barn, or tree;

The silkworm in the dark-green mulberry leaTea

His winding-sheet and cradle ever weaves 1

So I, a thing whom moralists call worm,

Sit spinning still round this decaying form,

From the fine threads of rare and subtle thought—

No net of words in garish colours wrought,

To catch the idle buzzers of the day—

But a soft cell, where, when that fades away,

Memory may clothe in wings my living name

And feed it with the asphodels of fame,

Which in those hearts which most remember me

Grow, making love an immortality.

Whoever should behold me now, I wist,

Would think I were a mighty mechanist,

Bent with sublime Archimedean art

To breathe a soul into the iron heart

Of some machine portentous, or strange gin,

Which by the force of figured spells might win

Its way over the sea, and sport therein;

For round the walls are hung dread engines, such

As Vulcan never wrought for Jove to clutch

Ixion or the Titan :—or the quick

Wit of that man of God, St. Dominic,

To convince Atheist, Turk, or Heretic;

Or those in philosophic councils met,

Who thought to pay some interest for the debt

They owed to Jesus Christ for their salvation,

By giving a faint foretaste of damnation

To Shakspearc, Sidney, Spenser, and the rest

Who made our land an island of the blest.

When lamp-like Spain, who now relumes her fire

On Freedom's hearth, grew dim with Empire :—

With thumb-screws, wheels, with tooth and spike

and jag, With fishes found under the utmost crag Of Cornwall, and the storm-encompassed isles, Where to the sky the rude sea seldom smiles Unless in treacherous wrath, as on the morn When the exulting elements in scorn Satiated with destroyed destruction, lay Sleeping in beauty on their mangled prey, As panthers sleep :—and other strange and dread Magical forms the brick-floor overspread— Proteus transformed to metal did not mako More figures, or more strange ; nor did he take Such shapes of unintelligible brass, Or heap himself in such a horrid mass Of tin and iron not to be understood, And forms of unimaginable wood, To puzzle Tubal Cain and all his brood: Great screws, and cones, and wheels, and grooved

blocks, The elements of what will stand the shocks Of wave and wind and time.—Upon the table More knacks and quips there be than I am able To cataloguise in this verse of mine :— A pretty bowl of wood—not full of wine, But quicksilver; that dew which the gnomes drink When at their subterranean toil they swink,

Pledging the demons of the earthquake, who
Reply to them in lava-cry, halloo!
And call out to the cities o'er their head,—
Roofs, towns, and shrines,—the dying and the dead
Crash through the chinks of earth—and then all

Another rouse, and hold their sides and laugh.
This quicksilver no gnome has drunk—within
The walnut-bowl it lies, veined and thin,
In colour like the wake of light that stains
The Tuscan deep, when from the moist moon rains
The inmost shower of its white fire—the breeze
Is still—blue heaven smiles over the pale seas.
And in this bowl of quicksilver—for I
Yield to the impulse of an infancy
Outlasting manhood—1 have made to float
A rude idealism of a paper boat—
A hollow screw with cogs—Henry will know
The thing I mean, and laugh at me,—if so
He fears not I should do more mischief. -Next
Lie bills and calculations much perplext,
With steam-boats, frigates, and machinery quaint
Traced over them in blue and yellow paint.
Then comes a range of mathematical
Instruments, for plans nautical and statical,
A heap of rosin, a green broken glass
With ink in it;—a china cup that was
What it will never be again, I think,
A thing from which sweet lips were wont to drink
The liquor doctors rail at—and which I
Will quaff in spite of them—and when we die
We'll toss up who died first of drinking tea,
And cry out,—heads or tails 1 where'er we be.
Near that a dusty paint-box, some old hooks,
A half-burnt match, an ivory block, three books,
Where conic sections, spherics, logarithms,
To great Laplace, from Saunderson and Sims,
Lie heaped in their harmonious disarray
Of figures,—disentangle them who may.
Baron do Tott's Memoirs beside them lie,
And some odd volumes of old chemistry.
Near them a most inexplicable thing,
With least in the middle—I'm conjecturing
How to make Henry understand ;—but—no,
I'll leave, as Spenser says, with many mo,
This secret in the pregnant womb of time,
Too vast a matter for so weak a rhyme.

And here like some weird Archimage sit I,

Plotting dark spells, and devilish enginery,

The self impelling steam-wheels of the mind

Which pump up oaths from clergymen, and grin!

The gentle Bpirit of our meek reviews

Into a powdery foam of salt abuse,

Ruffling the ocean of their self-content:—

I sit—and smile or sigh as is my bent,

But not for them—Libeccio rushes round

With an inconstant and an idle sound,

I heed him more than them—the thunder-smoke

Is gathering on the mountains, like a cloak

Folded athwart their shoulders broad and" bare;

The ripe corn under the undulating air

Undulates like an ocean ;—and the vines

Are trembling wide in all their trellised lines ;—

The murmur of the awakening sea doth fill

The empty pauses of the blast;—the hill

Looks hoary through the white electric rain,

And from the glens beyond, in sullen strain

The interrupted thunder howls ; above

Une chasm of heaven smiles, like the eye of love

Ou the unquiet world ;—while such things are, How could one worth your friendship heed the war Of worms! The shriek of the world's carrion

Their censure, or their wonder, or their praise?

You are not here! The quaint witch Memory sees

In vacant chairs your absent images,

And points where once you sat, and now should be,!

But are not I demand if ever we

Shall meet as then we met;—and she replies,

Veiling in awe her second-sighted eyes,

'■ I know the past alone—but summon home

My sister Hope, she speaks of all to come."

But I, an old diviner, who know well

Every false verse of that sweet oracle,

Turned to the sad enchantress once again,

And sought a respite from my gentle pain,

I n acting every passage o'er and o'er

Of our communion.—How on the sea shore

We watched the ocean and the sky together,

Under the roof of blue Italian weather;

How I ran home through last year's thunder-storm,

And felt the transverse lightning linger warm

Upon my cheek: and how we often made

Treats for each other, where good will outweighed

The frugal luxury of our country cheer,

As it well might, were it less firm and clear

Than ours must ever be ;—and how we spun

A shroud of talk to hide us from the sun

Of this familiar life, which seems to be

But is not,—or is but quaint mockery

Of all we would believe ; or sadly blame

The jarring and inexplicable frame

Of tins wrong world :—and then anatomize

The purposes and thoughts of men whose eyes

Were closed in distant years ;—or widely guess

The issue of the earth's great business,

When we shall be as we no longer arc;

Like babbling sossips safe, who hear the war

Of winds, and sigh, but tremble not; or how

You listened to some interrupted flow

Of visionary rhyme ;—in joy and pain

Struck from the inmost fountains of my brain,

With little skill perhaps ;—or how we sought

Those deepest wells of passion or of thought

Wrought by wise poets in the waste of years,

Staining the sacred waters with our tears;

Quenching a thirst ever to be renewed!

Or how I, wisest lady! then indued

The language of a land which now is free,

And winged with thoughts of truth and majesty,

Flits round the tyrant's sceptre like a cloud,

And bursts the peopled prisons, and cries aloud,

"My name is Legion !"—that majestic tongue,

Which Calderon over the desert flung

Of ages and of nations; and which found

An echo in our hearts, and with the sound

Startled oblivion ;—thou wert then to ine

As is a nurse—when inarticulately

A child would talk as its grown parents do.

If living winds the rapid clouds pursue,

If liawks chase doves through the aerial way,

Huntsmen the innocent deer, and beasts their prey,

Why should not we rouse with the spirit's blast

Out of the forest of the pathless past

These recollected pleasures?

You arc now In London, that great sea, whose ebb and flow

At once is deaf and loud, and on the shore

Vomits its wrecks, and still howls on for more.

Yet in its depth what treasures! You will see

Your old friend Godwin, greater none than he;

Though fallen on evil times, yet will he stand,

Among the spirits of our age and land,

Before the dread tribunal of To-come

The foremost, whilst rebuke stands pale and dumb.

You will see Coleridge ; he who sits obscure

In the exceeding lustre and the pure

Intense irradiation of a mind,

Which, with its own internal lustre blind,

Flags wearily through darkness and despair—

A cloud-encircled meteor of the air,

A hooded eagle among blinking owls.

You will see Hunt ; one of those happy souls

Which are the salt of the earth, and without whom

This world would smell like what it is—a tomb;

Who is, what others seem :—his room no doubt

Is still adorned by many a cast from Shout,

With graceful flowers, tastefully placed about;

And coronals of bay from ribbons hung,

And brighter wreaths in neat disorder flung,

The gifts of the most learned among some dozens

Of female friends, sisters-in-law and cousins.

And there is he with his eternal puns,

Which beat the dullest brain for smiles, like duns

Thundering for money at a poet's door;

Alas ! it is no use to say, " I'm poor!"

Or oft in graver mood, when he will look

Things wiser than were ever said in book,

Except in Shakspeare's wisest tenderness.

You will see H—, and I cannot express

His virtues, though I know that they are great,

Because he locks, then barricades, the gate

Within which they inhabit;—of his wit,

And wisdom, you'll cry out when you are bit.

He is a pearl within an oyster-shell,

One of the richest of the deep. And there

Is English P— with his mountain Fair

Turned into a Flamingo,—that shy bird

That gleams i'the Indian air. Have you not heard

When a man marries, dies, or turns Hindoo,

His best friends hear no more of him? but you

Will see him, and will like him too, I hope,

With the milk-white Snowdonian Antelope

Matched with his camelopard, his fine wit

Makes such a wound, the knife is lost in it;

A strain too learned for a shallow age,

Too wise for selfish bigots ;—let his page,

Which charms the chosen spirits of the age,

Fold itself up for a serencr clime

Of years to come, and find its recompense

In that just expectation. Wit and sense,

Virtue and human knowledge, all that might

Make this dull world a business of delight,

Are all combined in Horace Smith.— And these,

With some exceptions, which I need not teaze

Your patience by descanting on, are all

You and I know in London.

I recall My thoughts, and bid you look upon the night: Am water does a sponge, so the moonlight Fills the void, hollow, universal air. What see you ?—Unpavilioned heaven is fair, Whether the moon, into her chamber gone, Leaves midnight to the golden stars, or wan Climbs with diminished beams the azure steep; Or whether clouds sail o'er the inverse deep,

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