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THE BOAT,

ON THE SERCHIO.

Our boat is asleep on Serchio's stream,
Its sails are folded like thoughts in a dream,
The helm sways idly, hither and thither;
Dominic, the boat-man, has brought the mast,
And the oars and the sails ; but 'tis sleeping fast,
Like a beast, unconscious of its tether.

The stars burnt out in the pale blue air,

And the thin white moon lay withering there,

To tower, and cavern, and rift, and tree,

The owl and the bat fled drowsily.

Day had kindled the dewy woods

And the rocks above and the stream below,

And the vapours in their multitudes,

And the Apennines' shroud of summer snow,

And clothed with light of aery gold

The mists in their eastern caves uprolled.

Day had awakened all things that be,
The lark and the thrush and the swallow free;
And the milkmaid's song and the mower's scythe,
And the matin-bell and the mountain bee:
Fire-flies were quenched on the dewy corn,
Glow-worms went out on the river's brim,
Like lamps which a student forgets to trim:
The beetle forgot to wind his horn,
The crickets were still in the meadow and hill:
Like a flock of rooks at a farmer's gun,
Night's dreams and terrors, every one,
Fled from the brains which are their prey,
From the lamp's death to the morning ray.

All rose to do the task He set to each,
Who shaped us to his ends and not our own;
The million rose to learn, and one to teach
What none yet ever knew or can be known.

And many rose
Whose woe was such that fear became desire;—
Melchior and Lionel were not among those;
They from the throng of men had stepped aside,
And made their home under the green hill side.
It was that hill, whose intervening brow
Screens Lucca from the Pisan's envious eye,
Which the circumfluous plain waving below,
Like a wide lake of green fertility,
With streams and fields and marshes bare,
Divides from the far Apennines—which lie
Islanded in the immeasurable air.

"What think you, as she lies in her green cove,

Our little sleeping boat is dreaming of?

If morning dreams are true, why I should guess

That she was dreaming of our idleness,

And of the miles of watery way

We should have led her by this time of day."—

-" Never mind," said Lionel,

List, my dear fellow, the breeze blows fair;
How it scatters Dominic's long black hair .'
Singing of us, and our lazy motions,
If I can guess a boat's emotions."—

The chain is loosed, the sails are spread,

The living breath is fresh behind,

As, with dews and sunrise fed,

Comes the laughing morning wind ;—

The sails are full, the boat makes head

Against the Serchio's torrent fierce,

Then flags with intermitting course,

And hangs upon the wave,

Which fervid from its mountain source

Shallow, smooth, and strong, doth come,—

Swift as fire, tempestuously

It sweeps into the affrighted sea;

In morning's smile its eddies coil,

Its billows sparkle, toss, and boil,

Torturing all its quiet light

Into columns fierce and bright.

The Serchio, twisting forth Between the marble barriers which it clove At Ripafratta, leads through the dread chasm The wave that died the death which lovers love. Living in what it sought; as if this spasm Had not yet past, the toppling mountains cling, But the clear stream in full enthusiasm Pours itself on the plain, until wandering, Down one clear path of effluence crystalline Sends its clear waves, that they may fling At Arno's feet tribute of corn and wine: Then, through the pestilential deserts wild Of tangled marsh and woods of stunted fir, It rushes to the Ocean.

July, 1821.

"Give care to the winds, they can bear it well
About yon poplar tops ; and see!
The white clouds are driving merrily,
And the stars we miss this morn will light
More willingly our return to-night

THE AZIOLA.

"Do you not hear the Aziola cry I Methinks she must be nigh,"

Said Mary, as we sate
In dusk, ere the stars wesc lit, or candles brought;

And I, who thought
This Aziola was some tedious woman,

ABked, " Who is Aziola!" How elate
I felt to know that it was nothing human,

No mockery of myself to fear and hate!

And Mary saw my soul.
And laughed and said, " Disquiet yourself not,

'Tis nothing but a little downy owl."

Sad Aziola! many an eventide

Thy music I had heard By wood and stream, meadow and mountain side. And fields and marshes wide,—

Such as nor voice, nor lute, nor wind, nor bird.

The soul ever stirred;
Unlike and far sweeter than they all:
Sad Aziola! from that moment I
Loved thee and thy sad cry.

A FRAGMENT.

Thet were two cousins, almost like two twins,
Except that from the catalogue of sins
Nature had razed their love—which could not be
But by dissevering their nativity.
And so they grew together, like two flowers
Upon one stem, which the same beams and showers
Lull or awaken in their purple prime,
Which the same hand will gather—the same clime
Shake with decay. This fair day smiles to see
All those who love,—and who e'er loved like thee,
Fiordispina 1 Scarcely Cosimo,
Within whose bosom and whose brain now glow
The ardours of a vision which obscure
The very idol of its portraiture;
He faints, dissolved into a sense of love;
But thou art as a planet sphered above,
But thou art Love itself—ruling the motion
Of his subjected spirit :such emotion
Must end in sin or sorrow, if sweet May
Had not brought forth this morn—your wedding-
day.

TO—

O.ne word is too often profaned

For me to profane it,
One feeling too falsely disdained

For thee to disdain it.
One hope is too like despair

For prudence to smother, And Pity from thee more dear

Than that from another.

I can give not what men call love,

But wilt thou accept not
The worship the heart lifts above

And the Heavens reject not:
The desire of the moth for the star,

Of the night for the morrow, The devotion to something afar

From the sphere of our sorrow!

GOOD-NIGHT.

Good-night? ah! no ; the hour is ill
Which severs those it should unite;

Let us remain together still,
Then it will be good night.

How can I call the lone night good,
Though thy sweet wishes wing its flight!

Be it not said, thought, understood,
That it will be good night.

To hearts which near each other move
From evening close to morning light,

The night is good ; because, my love,
They never say good-night.

LINES TO AN INDIAN AIR.

I Arise from dreams of thee
In the first sweet sleep of night,
When the winds are breathing low,
And the stars are shining bright.
I arise from dreams of thee,
And a spirit in my feet
Has led me—who knows how?
To thy chamber window, sweet!

The wandering airs they faint
On the dark, the silent stream—
The champak odours fail
Like sweet thoughts in a dream;
The nightingale's complaint,
It dies upon her heart,
As I must die on thine,
O beloved as thou art 1

0 lift me from the grass I

1 die, I faint, I fail!

Let thy love in kisses rain
On my lips and eyelids pale.
My check is cold and white, alas '.
My heart beats loud and fast,
Oh ! press it close to thine again,
Where it will break at last.

MUSIC.

I Pant for the music which is divine,
My heart in its thirst is a dying flower;

Pour forth the sound like enchanted wine.
Loosen the notes in a silver shower;

Like a herbless plain for the gentle rain,

I gasp, I faint, till they wake again.

Let me drink of the spirit of that sweet sound,
More, O more !—I am thirsting yet,

It loosens the serpent which care has bound
Upon my heart, to stifle it;

The dissolving strain, through every vein,

Passes into my heart and brain.

As the scent of a violet withered up,

Which grew by the brink of a silver lake,

When the hot noon has drained its dewy cup, And mist there was none its thirst to slake—

And the violet lay dead while the odour flew

On the wings of the wind o'er the waters blue—

As one who drinks from a charmed cup
Of foaming, and sparkling, and murmuring wine,

Whom, a mighty Enchantress filling up,
I nvites to love with her kiss divine.

TO

The serpent is shut out from paradise.

The wounded deer must seek the herd no more

In which its heart-cure lies:
The widowed dove must cease to haunt a bower,
Like that from which its mate with feigued sighs

Fled in the April hour.
I too, must seldom seek again
Near happy friends a mitigated pain.

a.

Of hatred I am proud,—with scorn content;
Indifference, that once hurt me, now is grown

Itself indifferent.
But, not to speak of love, pity alone
Can break a spirit already more than bent.

The miserable one
Turns the mind's poison into food,—
Its medicine is tears,—its evil good.

HI.

Therefore if now I see you seldomer,

Dear friends, dear friend! know that I only fly

Your looks because they stir
Griefs that should sleep, and hopes that cannot die:
The very comfort that they minister

I scarce can bear; yet I,
So deeply is the arrow gone,
Should quickly perish if it were withdrawn.

IV.

When I return to my cold home, you ask
Why I am not as I have ever been?

You spoil mo for the task
Of acting a forced part on life's dull scene,—
Of wearing on my brow the idle mask

Of author, great or mean,
In the world's Carnival. I sought
Peace thus, and but in you I found it not.

v.
Full half an hour, to-day, I tried my lot
With various flowers, and every one still saiil,

"She loves me, loves me not *."

And if this meant a vision long since fled—

If it meant fortune, fame, or peace of thought—

If it meant—but I dread
To speak what you may know too well:
Still there was truth in the sad oracle.

VI.

The crane o'er seas and forests seeks her home;
No bird so wild, but has its quiet nest,

When it no more would roam;
The sleepless billows on tiie ocean's breast
Break like a bursting heart, and die in foam,

And thus, at length, find rest:
Doubtless there is a place of peace
Where my weak heart and all its throbs will cease.

VII.

I asked her, yesterday, if she believed
That I had resolution. One who had

Would ne'er have thus relieved
His heart with words,—but what his judgment bade
Would do, and leave the scorner unreprieved

These verses are too sad
To send to you, but that I know,
Happy yourself, you feel another's woe.

A LAMENT.

O World 1 O life! 0 time!
On whose last steps I climb,

Trembling at that where I had stood before;
When will return the glory of your prime!
No more—Oh, never more!

Out of the day and night
A joy has taken flight:

Fresh spring, and summer, and winter hoar. Move my faint heart with grief, but with delight No more—Oh, never more!

SONNET.

POLITICAL GREATNESS.

Nor happiness, nor majesty, nor fame,
Nor peace, nor strength, nor skill in arms or arts.
Shepherd those herds whom tyranny makes tame;
Verse echoes not one beating of their hearts:
History is but the shadow of their shame;
Art veils her glass, or from the pageant starts
As to oblivion their blind millions fleet,
Staining that Heaven with obscene imagery
Of their own likeness. What are numbers, knit
By force or custom \ Man who man would be,
Must rule the empire of himself! in it
Must be supreme, establishing his throne
On vanquished will, quelling the anarchy
Of hopes and fears, being himself alone.

DIRGE FOR THE YEAR.

Orphan hours, the year is dead.
Come and sigh, come and weep!

Merry hours, smile instead,
For the year is but asleep:

See, it smiles as it is sleeping,

Mocking your untimely weeping.

As an earthquake rocks a corse

In its coffin in the clay,
So White Winter, that rough nurse.

Rocks the dead-cold year to-day;
Solemn hours! wail aloud
For your mother in her shroud.

As the wild air stirs and sways
The tree-swung cradle of a child,

So the breath of these rude days
Rocks the year:—be calm and mild.

Trembling hours; she will arise

With new love within her eyes.

January grey is here,

Like a sexton by her grave;

February bears the bier,

March with grief doth howl and rave.

And April weeps—but, 0 ye hours!

Follow with May's fairest flowers.

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Mv task becomes Inexpressibly painful as the year draws near that which sealed our earthly late; and each poem and each event it records, has a real or mysterious connexion with the fatal catastrophe. I feel that I am incapable of putting on paper the history of those times. The heart of the man, abhorred of the poet,

Who could peep and botanize upon his mother's grave.

does not appear to me less inexplicably framed than that of one who can dissect and probe past woes, and repeat to the public ear the groans drawn from them in the throes of their agony.

The year 1821 was spent in Pisa, or at the baths of San Giuliano. We were not, as our wont had been, alone—friends had gathered round us. Nearly all are dead ; and when memory recurs to the past, she wanders among tombs : the genius with all his blighting errors and mighty powers; the companion of Shelley's ocean-wanderings, and the sharer of his fate, than whom no man ever existed more gentle, generous, and fearless ; and others, who found in Shelley's society, and in his great knowledge and warm sympathy, delight, instruction and solace, have joined him beyond the grave. A few survive who have felt life a desert since he left it. What misfortune can equal death'! Change can convert every other into a blessing, or heal its sting—death alone has no cure ; it shakes the foundations of the earth on which we tread, it destroys its beauty, it casts down our shelter, it exposes us bare to desolation; when those we love have passed into eternity, "life is the desert and the solitude," in which we are forced to linger— bat never find comfort more.

There is much in the Adonais which seems now more applicable to Shelley himself, than to the young and gifted poet whom he mourned. The poetic view he takes of death, and the lofty scorn he displays towards his calumniators, are as a

prophecy on his own destiny, when received among immortal names, and the poisonous breath of critics has vanished into emptiness before the fame he inherits.

Shelley's favourite taste was boating; when living near the Thames, or by the lake of Geneva, much of his life was spent on the water. On the shore of every lake, or stream, or sea, near which he dwelt, he had a boat moored. He had latterly enjoyed this pleasure again. There are no pleasure-boats on the Arno, and the shallowness of its waters except in winter time, when the stream is too turbid and impetuous for boating, rendered it difficult to get any skiff light enough to float. Shelley, however, overcame the difficulty; he, together with a friend, contrived a boat such as the huntsmen carry about with them in the Maremma, to cross the sluggish but deep streams that intersect the forests, a boat of laths and pitched canvas; it held three persons, and he was often seen on the Arno in it, to the horror of the Italians, who remonstrated on the danger, and could not understand how any one could take pleasure in an exorcise that risked life. '" Ma va per la vita !" they exclaimed. I little thought how true their words would prove. He once ventured with a friend, on the glassy sea of a calm day, down the Arno and round the coast, to Leghorn, which by keeping close in shore was very practicable. They returned to Pisa by the canal, when, missing the direct cut, they got entangled among weeds, and the boat upset; a wetting was all the harm done, except that the intense cold of his drenched clothes made Shelley faint. Once I went down with him to the mouth of the Arno, where the stream, then high and swift, met the tideless sea and disturbed its sluggish waters ; it was a waste and dreary scene ; the desert sand stretched into a point surrounded by waves that broke idly though perpetually around ; it was a scene very similar to Lido, of which he had said,—

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I love all waste
And solitary places; where we taste
The pleasure of believing what we see
Is boundless, as we wish our souls to be;
And such was this wide ocean, and this shore
More barren than its billows.

Our little boat was of greater use, unaccompanied by any danger, when wo removed to the baths. Some friends lived at the village of Pugnano, four miles off, and we went to and fro to see them, in our boat, by the canal; which, fed by the Serchio,was, though an artificial, a full and picturesque stream, making its way under verdant banks sheltered, by trees that dipped their boughs into the murmuring waters. By day, multitudes of ephemera darted to and fro on the surface ; at night, the fire-flies came out among the shrubs on the banks; the cicale at noon day kept up their hum ; the aziola cooed in the quiet evening. It was a pleasant summer, bright in all but Shelley's health and inconstant spirits ; yet he enjoyed himself greatly, and became more and more attached to the part of the country where chance appeared to cast us. Sometimes he projected taking a farm, situated on the height of one of the near hills, surrounded by chesnut and pine woods, and overlooking a wide extent of country ; or of settling still further in the maritime Apennines, at Massa. Several of his slighter and unfinished poems were inspired by these scenes, and by the companions around us. It is the nature of that poetry however which overflows from the soul oftencr to express sorrow and regret than joy ; for it is when oppressed by the weight of life, and away from those he loves, that the poet has recourse to the solace of expression in verse.

Still Shelley's passion was the ocean ; and he wished that our summers, instead of being passed among the hills near Pisa, should be spent on the

shores of the sea. It was very difficult to find a spot. We shrank from Naples from a fear that the heats would disagree with Percy; Leghorn had lost its only attraction, since our friends who had resided there were returned to England; and Monte Nero being the resort of many English, we did not wish to find ourselves in the midst of a colony of chance travellers. No one then thought it possible to reside at Via Reggio, which latterly has become a summer resort. The low lands and bad air of Maremma stretch the whole length of the western shoresof the Mediterranean, till broken by the rocks and hills of Spezia. It was a vague idea; but Shelley suggested an excursion to Spezia, to see whether it would be feasible to spend a summer there. The beauty of the bay enchanted him—we saw no house to suit us—but the notion took root, and many circumstances, enchained as by fatality, occurred to urge him to execute it.

He looked forward this autumn with great pleasure to the prospect of a visit from Leigh Hunt. When Shelley visited Lord Byron at Ravenna, the latter had suggested his coming out, together with the plan of a periodical work, in which they should all join. Shelley saw a prospect of good for the fortunes of his friend, and pleasure in his society, and instantly exerted himself to have the plan executed. He did not intend himself joining in the work; partly from pride, not wishing to have the air of acquiring readers for his poetry by associating it with the compositions of more popular writers ; and, also, because he might feel shackled in the free expression of his opinions, if any friends were to be compromised; by those opinions, carried even to their utmost extent, he wished to live and die, as being in his conviction not only true, but such as alone would conduce to the moral improvement and happiness of mankind. The sale of the work might, meanwhile, either really or supposedly, be injured by the free expression of his thoughts, and this evil he resolved to avoid.

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