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Thou hadst no home, green land !
For the fair creature from her bosom gone,
With life's first flowers just opening in her hand,
And all the lovely thoughts and dreams unknown,
Which in its clear eye shone
Like the spring's wakening !—But that light was past
-Where went the dew-drop, swept before the blast ?
Not where thy soft winds play'd,
Not where thy waters lay in glassy sleep !
Fade, with thy bowers, thou land of visions, fade!
From thee no voice came o’er the gloomy deep,
And bade man cease to weep!
Fade, with the amaranth-plain, the myrtle-grove,
Which could not yield one hope to sorrowing love!
For the most loved are they,
Of whom Fame speaks not with her clarion-voice
In regal halls the shades o'erhang their way,
The vale, with its deep fountains, is their choice,
And gentle hearts rejoice
Around their steps !-till silently they die,
As a stream shrinks from summer's burning eye.
And the world knows not then,
Not then, nor ever, what pure thoughts are fled !
Yet these are they, that on the souls of men
Come back, when night her folding veil hath spread,
The long-remember'd dead !
But not with thee might aught save glory dwell-
-Fade, fade away, thou shore of Asphodel!
“Debout, courouné de fleurs, les bras élevés et posés sur la tête, et le dos appuyé contre un pin, ce génie semble exprimer par son attitude le repos des morts. Les bas-reliefs des tombeaux offrent souvent des figures semblables."
Visconti, Description des Antiques du Musée Royal.
Thou shouldst be look’d on when the starlight falls
Through the blue stillness of the summer-air,
Not by the torch-fire wavering on the walls ;
It hath too fitful and too wild a glare !
And thou !—thy rest, the soft, the lovely, seems
To ask light steps, that will not break its dreams.
Flowers are upon thy brow; for so the dead
Were crown’d of old, with pale spring-flowers like these :
Sleep on thine eye hath sunk; yet softly shed,
As from the wing of some faint southern breeze :
And the pine-boughs o’ershadow thee with gloom
Which of the grove seems breathing—not the tomb.
They fear'd not death, whose calm and gracious thought
Of the last hour, hath settled thus in thee!
They who thy wreath of pallid roses wrought,
And laid thy head against the forest-tree,
As that of one, by music's dreamy close,
On the wood-violets lull'd to deep repose.
They fear'd not death! yet who shall say his touch
Thus lightly falls on gentle things and fair ?
Doth he bestow, or will he leave so much
Of tender beauty as thy features wear ?
Thou sleeper of the bower ! on whose young eyes
So still a night, a night of summer, lies !
Had they seen aught like thee ?-Did some fair boy
Thus, with his graceful hair, before them rest?
-His graceful hair, no more to wave in joy,
But drooping, as with heavy dews oppress’d !
And his eye veild so softly by its fringe,
And his lip faded to the white-rose tinge?
Oh! happy, if to them the one dread hour
Made known its lessons from a brow like thine !
If all their knowledge of the spoiler's power
Came by a look, so tranquilly divine !
-Let him, who thus hath seen the lovely part,
Hold well that image to his thoughtful heart !
But thou, fair slumberer! was there less of woe,
Or love, or terror, in the days of old,
That men pour’d out their gladdening spirit's flow,
Like sunshine, on the desolate and cold,
And gave thy semblance to the shadowy king
Who for deep souls had then a deeper sting?
In the dark bosom of the earth they laid
Far more than we-for loftier faith is ours !
Their gems were lost in ashes—yet they made
The grave a place of beauty and of flowers,
With fragrant wreaths, and summer boughs array'd,
And lovely sculpture gleaming through the shade.
Is it for us a darker gloom to shed
O’er its dim precincts ?-do we not entrust
But for a time, its chambers with our dead,
And strew immortal seed upon the dust ?
-Why should we dwell on that which lies beneath,
When living light hath touch'd the brow of death?