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As winter to fair flowers (though some be poison)
In Pisa's church a cup of sculptured gold
Was brimming with the blood of feuds forsworn At sacrament: more holy ne'er of old
Etrurians mingled with the shades forlorn Of moon-illumined forests.
And reconciling factions wet their lips.
With that dread wine, and swear to keep each spirit Undarkened by their country's last eclipse.
Was Florence the liberticide? that band
Of free and glorious brothers who had planted, Like a green isle 'mid Ethiopian sand,
A nation amid slaveries, disenchanted.
Of many impious faiths-wise, just-do they,
O foster-nurse of man's abandoned glory,
Since Athens, its great mother, sunk in splendour; Thou shadowest forth that mighty shape in story,
As ocean its wrecked fanes, severe yet tender :-
And thou in painting didst transcribe all taught
The sculptor's fearless soul-and as he wrought,
The grace of his own power and freedom grew.
Yes; and on Pisa's marble walls the twine
Of direst weeds hangs garlanded-the snake Inhabits its wrecked palaces;-in thine
A beast of subtler venom now doth make
Its lair, and sits amid their glories overthrown,
The sweetest flowers are ever frail and rare,
And love and freedom blossom but to wither; And good and ill like vines entangled are,
So that their grapes may oft be plucked together;Divide the vintage ere thou drink, then make Thy heart rejoice for dead Marenghi's sake.
No record of his crime remains in story,
But if the morning bright as evening shone,
For when by sound of trumpet was declared
So much of water with him as might wet His lips, which speech divided not-he went Alone, as you may guess, to banishment.
Amid the mountains, like a hunted beast,
He hid himself, and hunger, toil, and cold, Month after month endured; it was a feast
Whene'er he found those globes of deep-red gold Which in the woods the strawberry-tree doth bear, Suspended in their emerald atmosphere.
And in the roofless huts of vast morasses,
All overgrown with reeds and long rank grasses,
He housed himself. There is a point of strand
The treacherous marsh divides it from the land,
Here the earth's breath is pestilence, and few
The trophies of the clime's victorious strifeWhite bones, and locks of dun and yellow hair, And ringed horns which buffaloes did wear
And at the utmost point [of land?] stood there
Thatched with broad flags. An outlawed murderer
Had lived seven days there: the pursuit was hot When he was cold. The birds that were his grave Fell dead upon their feast in Vado's wave.
There must have lived within Marenghi's heart
That fire, more warm and bright than life or hope, (Which to the martyr makes his dungeon
More joyous than the heaven's majestic cope
Nor was his state so lone as you might think.
He had tamed every newt and snake and toad, And every seagull which sailed down to drink
Those [marshes?] ere the death-mist went abroad. And each one, with peculiar talk and play, Wiled, not untaught, his silent time away.
And the marsh-meteors, like tame beasts, at night
Came licking with blue tongues his veinèd feet; And he would watch them, as, like spirits bright, In many entangled figures quaint and sweet To some inchanted music they would danceUntil they vanished at the first moon-glance.
He mocked the stars by grouping on each weed
And many a fresh Spring-morn would he awaken-
Of mountains and blue isles which did environ
And in the moonless nights, when the dim ocean
Communed with the immeasurable world;
His food was the wild fig and strawberry;
The milky pine-nuts which the autumnal blast Shakes into the tall grass; and such small fry
As from the sea by winter-storms are cast; And the coarse bulbs of iris-flowers he found Knotted in clumps under the spongy ground.
And so were kindled powers and thoughts which made His solitude less dark. When memory came
(For years gone by leave each a deepening shade),
His spirit basked in its internal flame,-
Yet human hopes and cares and faiths and errors,
Weakness, and doubt, had withered in his mind.
And, when he saw beneath the sunset's planet
Its sails and ropes all tense and without motion,
The thought of his own kind who made the soul Which sped that winged shape through night and day,— The thought of his own country...
POEMS WRITTEN IN 1819.
WRITTEN DURING THE CASTLEREAGH ADMINISTRATION.
CORPSES are cold in the tomb;
Stones on the pavement are dumb;
Abortions are dead in the womb,
And their mothers look pale-like the white shore
Her sons are as stones in the way-
Is Liberty, smitten to death.
Then trample and dance, thou Oppressor!