« AnteriorContinuar »
For on the night that they were buried, she
The light out of the funeral lamps, to bo
And she unwound the woven imagery
Of second childhood's swaddling bands, and took
The coffin, its last cradle, from its niche,
And threw it with contempt into a ditch.
And there the body lay, age after age,
Mute, breathing, beating, warm, and undecaying,
Like one asleep in a green hermitage,
With gentle sleep about its eyelids playing,
And living in its dreams beyond the rage
Of death or life; while they were still arraying
In liveries ever new the rapid, blind,
And fleeting generations of mankind.
And she would write strange dreams upon the brain
All harsh and crooked purposes more vain
Which the sand covers,—all his evil gain
The miser in such dreams would rise and shake
Into a beggar's lap;—the lying scribe
Would his own lies betray without a bribe.
The priests would write an explanation full,
How the god Apis really was a bull,
And nothing more; and bid the herald stick
The same against the temple doors, and pull The old cant down; they licensed all to speak
Whate'er they thought of hawks, and cats, and geese,
By pastoral letters to each diocese.
The king would dress an ape up in his crown
And on the right hand of the sunlike throno
The chatterings of the monkey.—Every one
Of their great Emperor when the morning came;
And kissed—alas, how many kiss the same!
The soldiers dreamed that they were blacksmiths, Walked out of quarters in somnambulism, [and
Round the red anvils you might see them stand Like Cyclopses in Vulcan's sooty abysm,
Beating their swords to ploughshares;—in a band The gaolers sent those of the liberal schism
Free through the streets of Memphis; much, I wis,
To the annoyance of king Amasis.
And timid lovers who had been so coy,
They hardly knew whether they loved or not,
Would rise out of their rest, and take sweet joy,
And when next day the maiden and the boy
Blushed at the thing which each believed was
Only in fancy—till the tenth moon shone; [done
And then the Witch would let them take no ill: Of many thousand schemes which lovers find
The Witch found one,—and so they took their fill Of happiness in marriage warm and kind.
Friends who, by practice of some envious skill, Wero torn apart, a wide wound, mind from
She did unite again with visions clear [mind!
Of deep affection and of truth sincere.
Lxxvni. These were the pranks she played among the cities
Of mortal men, and what she did to sprites And Gods, entangling them in her sweet ditties,
To do her will, and show their subtle slights, I will declare another time; for it is
A tale more fit for the weird winter nights— Than for these garish summer days, when we Scarcely believe much more than we can see.
ODE TO NAPLES*.
EPODE I. a. I Stood within the city disinterred t; And heard the autumnal leaves like light footfalls Of spirits passing through the streets; and heard The Mountain's slumberous voice at intervals Thrill through those roofless halls; The oracular thunder penetrating shook
The listening soul in my suspended blood;
A plane of light between two heavens of azure:
Like winter leaves o'ergrown by moulded snow,
Weighed on their life; even as the Power divine, Which then lulled all things, brooded upon mine.
EPODE II. a. Then gentle winds arose, With many a mingled close Of wild /Eolian sound and mountain odour keen; And where the Baian ocean Welters with air-like motion, Within, above, around its bowers of starry green, Moving the sea-flowers in those purple caves, Even as the ever stormless atmosphere Floats o'er the Elysian realm, It bore me, like an Angel o'er the waves Of sunlight, whose swift pinnace of dewy air
* The Author has connected many recollections of his visit to Pompeii and Boite with the enthusiasm excited by the intelligence of the proclamation of a Constitutional Government at Naples. This has given a tinge of picturesque and descriptive imagery to the introductory Epodcs, which depicture the scenes and some of the majestic feelings permanently connected with the: of this animating event Author'! Note,
No storm can overwhelm;
I sailed where ever flows
Under the calm Serene
A spirit of deep emotion,
From the unknown graves
Of the dead kings of Melody *. Shadowy Aornos darkened o'er the helm The horizontal tether; heaven stript bare Its depths over Elysium, where the prow Made the invisible water white as snow; From that Typhsean mount, Inarime, There streamed a sunlit vapour, like the standard
Of some ethereal host;
Whilst from all the coast, Loudcrandlouder,gatheringround, there wandered i Over the oracular woods and divine sea Prophe8yings which grew articulate— They seize me—I must speak them;—be they fate!
STROPHE a. 1. Naples! thou Heart of men, which ever pantest I
Naked, beneath the lidless eye of heaven!
The mutinous air and sea! they round thee, even
Long lost, late won, and yet but half regained!
STROPHE 3. 2.
Thou youngest giant birth,
Which from the groaning earth Leap'st, clothed in armour of impenetrable scale!
Last of the Intercessors
Who 'gainst the Crowned Transgressors Pleadest before God's love! Arrayed in Wisdom's mail,
Wave thy lightning lance in mirth;
Nor let thy high heart fail, Though from their hundred gates the leagued Oppressors,
With hurried legions move!
Hail, hail, all hail!
What though Cimmerian Anarchs dare blaspheme
Freedom and thee 1 thy shield is as a mirror To make their blind slaves see, and with fierce gleam
To turn his hungry sword upon the wearer; A new Acbeon's error Shall theirs have been—devoured by their own
Be thou like the imperial Basilisk, [hounds! Killing thy foe with unapparent wounds!
Gaze on oppression, till, at that dread risk
Aghast, she pass from the Earth's disk; Fear not, but gaze—for freemen mightier grow, And slaves more feeble, gazing on their foe.
If Hope, and Truth, and Justice may avail,
Thou shalt be great.—All hail!
ANTISTROPHE 0. 2.
From Freedom's form divine,
• Homer and Virgil.
Strip every impious gawd, rend Error veil by veil:
O'er Ruin desolate,
O'er Falsehood's fallen state, Sit thou sublime, unawed ; be the Destroyer pale!
And equal laws be thine,
And winged words let sail, Freighted with truth even from the throne of God:
That wealth, surviving fate,
Be thine.—All hail!
ANTISTROPHE a. f.
Didst thou not start to hear Spain's thrilling p&ean
From land to land re-echoed solemnly,
In light and music ; widowed Genoa wan,
ANTISROPHE P. y.
Florence! beneath the sun,
Of cities fairest one, Blushes within her bower for Freedom's expecta
From eyes of quenchless hope [tion:
Rome tears the priestly cope, As ruling once by power, so now by admiration,—
An athlete stript to run
From a remoter station
Epode I. $. Hear ye the march as of the Earth-born Forms Arrayed against the ever-living Gods I < The crash and darkness of a thousand storms Bursting their inaccessible abodes
Of crags and thunder clouds t Sec ye the banners blazoned to the day,
Inwrought with emblems of barbaric pride! Dissonant threats kill Silence far away,
The Serene Heaven which wraps our Eden wide With iron light is dyed, The Anarchs of the North lead forth their legions
Like Chaos o'er creation, uncreating; An hundred tribes nourished on strange religions And lawless slaveries,—down the aerial regions Of the white Alps, desolating, Famished wolves that bide no waiting, Blotting the glowing footsteps of old glory, Trampling our columned cities into dust,
Their dull and savage lust On Beauty's corse to sickness satiating— [hoary They come I The fields they tread look black and With fire—from their red feet the streams run gory!
EPODE II. $.
Great Spirit, deepest Love!
• Mk», the Wand of Circe. t The riper was the armorial device of the Yisconti, tyrant* of Milan.
All things which live and are, within the Italian
The warm sun is failing, the bleak wind is wailing,
The bare boughs are sighing, the pale flowers are
And the year [dying,
On the earth her death-bed, in a shroud of leaves
Is lying. [dead,
Come, months, come away,
From November to May,
In your saddest array;
Follow tlie bier
Of the dead cold year,
The chill rain is falling, the nipt worm is crawling,
For the year; The blithe swallows are flown, and the lizards each gone To his dwelling; Come, months, come away; Put on white, black, and grey, Let your light sisters play— Ye, follow the bier Of the dead cold year, And make her grave green with tear on tear.
THE WANING MOON.
And like a dying lady, lean and pale,
Death is here, and death is there,
Death has set his mark and seal
First our pleasures die—and then
All things that we love and cherish.
The fiery mountains answer each other;
From a single cloud the lightning flashes,
But keener thy gaze than the lightning's glare,
From billow and mountain and exhalation
TO THE MOON.
Art thou pale for weariness Of climbing heaven, and gazing on the earth,
Wandering companionless Among the stars that have a different birth,— And ever-changing, like a joyless eye That finds no object worth its constancy I
SUMMER AND WINTER.
It was a bright and cheerful afternoon,
It was a winter such as when birds die
THE TOWER OF FAMINE ».
Amid the desolation of a city,
Which was the cradle, and is now the grave,
Of an extinguished people; so that pity
Weeps o'er the shipwrecks of oblivion s wave,
There stands the Tower of Famine. It is built
Upon some prison-homes, whose dwellers rave
For bread, and gold, and blood: pain, linked to
Agitates the light flame of their hours, [guilt,
Until its vital oil is spent or spilt:
There stands the pile, a tower amid the towers
And sacred domes ; each marble-ribbed roof,
The brazen-gated temples, and the bowers
Of solitary wealth ! the tempest-proof
Pavilions of the dark Italian air
Are by its presence dimmed—they stand aloof,
And are withdrawn—so that the world is bare,
As if a spectre, wrapt in shapeless terror,
Amid a company of ladies fair
Should glide and glow, till it became a mirror
Of all their beauty, and their hair and hue,
The life of their sweet eyes, with all its error,
Should be absorbed, till they to marble grew.
A Portal as of shadowy adamant
Stands yawning on the highway of the life Which we all tread, a cavern huge and gaunt;
Around it rages an unceasing strife
• At Piaa there still exists the priann of Ugolino, which goes by the name of "La Torre della Fame:" in the adjoining building the galley-slave* are confined. It is situated near the Ponte al Mare on the Arno.
And many passed it by with careless tread,
Tracks every traveller even to where the dead
But others, by more curious humour led,
And they learn little there, except to know
That shadows follow them where'er they go.
THE WORLD'S WANDERERS.
Tell me, thou star, whose wings of light
Will thy pinions close now 1
Tell me, moon, thou pale and grey
Weary wind, who wanderest
Ye hasten to the dead! What seek ye there,
Ye restless thoughts and busy purposes
Of the idle brain, which the world's livery wear!
0 thou quick Heart, which pantest to possess
All that anticipation feigneth fair!
Thou vainly curious Mind which wonldest guess
Whence thou didst come,and whither thou mayest go,
And that which never yet was known wouldst
know— Oh, whither hasten ye, that thus ye press With such swift feet life's green and pleasant path, Seeking alike from happiness and woe A refuge in the cavern of grey death! 0 heart, and mind, and thoughts! What thing
do you Hope to inherit in the grave below!
LINES TO A REVIEWER.
Alas! good friend, what profit can you see