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IO

But found them not, alas! nor was there aught
The world contains, the which he could approve.
Through the unheeding many he did move,
A splendour among shadows, a bright blot
Upon this gloomy scene, a Spirit that strove
For truth, and like the Preacher found it not.

1818.

SONG, ON A FADED VIOLET.

I.

The odour from the flower is gone

Which like thy kisses breathed on me; The colour from the flower is flown

Which glowed of thee and only thee !

II.

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A shrivelled, lifeless, vacant form,

It lies on my abandoned breast,
And mocks the heart which yet is warm,

With cold and silent rest.

III.

I weep,

I sigh,

IO

my tears revive it not !

- it breathes no more on me ; Its mute and uncomplaining lot

Is such as mine should be.

STANZAS,

WRITTEN IN DEJECTION NEAR NAPLES.

I.

The sun is warm, the sky is clear,

The waves are dancing fast and bright, Blue isles and snowy mountains wear

The purple noon's transparent might,

The breath of the moist earth is light,
Around its unexpanded buds ;

Like many a voice of one delight,
The winds, the birds, the ocean floods,
The City's voice itself is soft like Solitude's.

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II.

I see the Deep's untrampled floor

With green and purple seaweeds strown; I see the waves upon the shore,

Like light dissolved in star-showers, thrown :

I sit upon the sands alone,
The lightning of the noon-tide ocean

Is flashing round me, and a tone
Arises from its measured motion,
How sweet! did any heart now share in my emotion.

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III.

20

Alas! I have nor hope nor health,

Nor peace within nor calm around, Nor that content surpassing wealth

The sage in meditation found,

And walked with inward glory crowned Nor fame, nor power, nor love, nor leisure.

Others I see whom these surround

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Smiling they live, and call life pleasure ;-
To me that cup has been dealt in another measure.

IV.

30

Yet now despair itself is mild,

Even as the winds and waters are ; I could lie down like a tired child,

And weep away the life of care

Which I have borne and yet must bear,
Till death like sleep might steal on me,

And I might feel in the warm air
My cheek grow cold, and hear the sea
Breathe o'er my dying brain its last monotony.

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V.

40

Some might lament that I were cold,

As I, when this sweet day is gone, Which

my

lost heart, too soon grown old, Insults with this untimely moan;

They might lament—for I am one
Whom men love not, —- and yet regret,

Unlike this day, which, when the sun
Shall on its stainless glory set,
Will linger, though enjoyed, like joy in memory yet.

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December, 1818.

PROMETHEUS UNBOUND:

A LYRICAL DRAMA IN FOUR ACTS.

PREFACE.

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THE Greek tragic writers, in selecting as their subject any portion of their national history or mythology, employed in their treatment of it a certain arbitrary discretion. They by no means conceived themselves bound to adhere to the common interpretation or to imitate in story as in title their rivals 5 and predecessors. Such a system would have amounted to a resignation of those claims to preference over their competitors which incited the composition. The Agamemnonian story was exhibited on the Athenian theatre with as many variations as dramas.

I have presumed to employ a similar licence. The Prometheus Unbound of Æschylus supposed the reconciliation of Jupiter with his victim as the price of the disclosure of the danger threatened to his empire by the consummation of his marriage with Thetis. Thetis, according to this view of the 15 subject, was given in marriage to Peleus, and Prometheus, by the permission of Jupiter, delivered from his captivity by Hercules. Had I framed my story on this model, I should have done no more than have attempted to restore the lost drama of Æschylus; an ambition which, if my preference to this mode 20 of treating the subject had incited me to cherish, the recollection of the high comparison such an attempt would challenge might well abate. But, in truth, I was averse from a catastrophe so feeble as that of reconciling the Champion with the Oppressor of mankind. The moral interest of the fable, which

25 is so powerfully sustained by the sufferings and endurance of

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