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In hymns of joy, which proudly rise,
To tell the calm untroubled skies,
That earth hath banish'd care and woe,
And man holds festivals below!
Note 1, page 287, line 40. The original of the scene here described is presented by the moun tain called the Feldberg, in the Bergstrasse :-“ Des masses énormes de rochers, entassées l'une sur l'autre depuis le sommet de la montagne jusqu'à son pied, viennent y, présenter un aspect superbe qu' aucune description ne saurait rendre. Ce furent, dit-on, des géans, qui en se livrant un combat du haut des montagnes, lantèrent les uns sur les autres ces énormes masses de rochers. On arrive, avec beaucoup de peine, jusqu'au sommet du Feldberg, en suivant un sentier qui passe à côté de cette chaine de rochers. On entend continuelle ment un bruit sourd, qui parait venir d'un ruisseau au dessous des rochers; mais on a beau decendre, en se glissant å travers les ouvertures qui s'y trouvent, on ne decouvrira jamais le ruisseau. La Co lonne, dite Riesensäule, se trouve un peu plus haut qu'à la moitie de la montagne ; c'est un bloc de granit taille, d'une longueur de 30 pieds et d'un diamètre de 4 pieds. Il y a plus de probabilité de croire que les anciens Germains voulaient faire de ce bloc une colonne pour l'érige: en l'honneur de leur dieu Odin, quede prétendre, comme le fort plusieurs auteurs, que les Romains aient eu le dessein de la transporter dans leur capitale. On voit un peu plus haut un autre bloc d'une forme presque carrée, qu'on appelle Riesenaltar (autel du géant) qui, à en juger par sa grosseur et sa forme, était destiné à servir de pie destal å la colonne susdite."--Manuel pour les Voyageurs sur le Rhin.
Note 2, page 292, line 42 Minnesingers (bards of love), the appellation of the German winstrels in the Middle Ages.
SUPERSTITION AND REVELATION,
BEINGS of brighter worlds! that rise at times
As phantoms, with ideal beauty fraught,
In those brief visions of celestial climes,
Which pass, like sunbeams, o'er the realms of thought,
Dwell ye around us ?-are ye hovering nigh,
Throned on the cloud, or buoyant in the air ?
And in deep solitudes, where human eye
Can trace no step, Immortals! are ye there?
Oh! who can tell ?—what power, but Death alone
Can lift the mystic veil that shades the world unknown ?
But Earth hath seen the days, ere yet the flowers
Of Eden wither'd, when reveal'd ye shone,
In all your brightness, ʼmidst those holy bowers
Holy, but not unfading, as your own!
While He, the child of that primeval soil,
With you its paths in high communion trode,
His glory yet undimm'd by guilt or toil,
And beaming in the image of his God.
And his pure spirit glowing from the sky
Exulting in its light, a spark of Deity.
Then, haply mortal and celestial lays
Mingling their tones, from Nature's temple rose,
When nought but that majestic song of praise
Broke on the sanctity of night's repose,
With music since unheard : and man might trace,
By stream and vale, in deep embow'ring shade,
Devotion's first and loveliest dwelling-place,
The footsteps of th' Omnipotent, who made
That spot a shrine, where youthful nature cast
Her consecrated wealth, rejoicing as fle pass’d.
Short were those days, and soon, ( sons of Heaven!
Your aspect changed from man; in that dread hour,
When from his paradise the alien driven,
Beheld your forms in angry splendor tower,
Guarding the clime where he no more might dwell,
With meteor-swords: he saw the living flame,
And his first cry of misery was --"Farewell !"
His heart's first anguish, exile : he became
A pilgrim on the earth, whose children's lot
Is still for happier lands to pine-and reach them not.
v. Where now the chosen bowers that once beheld Delight and Love their first bright Sabbath keep? From all its founts the world of waters swell’d, And wrapt them in the mantle of the deep! For He, to whom the elements are slaves, In wrath unchain'd the oceans of the cloud, And heaved the abyss beneath ; till waves on waves Folded creation in their mighty shroud, Then left the earth a solitude, o'el'spread With its own awful wrecká desert of the dead.
VI. But onward flow'd life's busy course again, And rolling ages with them bore awayAs to be lost amidst the boundless main, Rich orient streams their golden sands conveyThe hallow'd lore of old—the guiding light Left by tradition to the sons of earth, And the blest memory of each sacred rite, Known in the region of their father's birth, When in each breeze around his fair abode Whisper'd a seraph's voice, or lived the breath of God.
Who hath not seen, what time the orb of day,
Cinctured with glory, seeks the ocean's breast,
A thousand clouds, all glowing in his say,
Catching brief splendor from the purple west ?
So round thy parting steps, fair Truth! awhile
With borrow'd hues unnumber'd phantoms shone;
And Superstition, from thy lingering smile,
Caught a faint glow of beauty not her own,
Blending her rites with thine-while yet afar
Thine eye's last radiance beam'd, a slow-receding stas
Yet still one stream was pure-one sever'd shrine
Was fed with holier fire, by chosen hands,
And sounds, and dreams, and impulses divine,
Where in the dwellings of the patriarch bands.
There still the father to his child bequeathed
The sacred torch of never-dying flame;,
There still Devotion's suppliant accents breathed
The One adored and everlasting Name,
And angel guests would linger and repose
Where those primeval tents amid their palm-trees rose
But far o'er earth the apostate wanderers bore
Their alien rites:-for them, by fount or shade.
Nor voice, nor vision, holy as of yore,
In thrilling whispers to the soul convey'd
High inspiration: yet in every clime,
Those sons of doubt and error fondly sought
With beings, in their essence more sublime,
To hold communion of mysterious thought;
On some dread power in trembling hope to lean,
And hear in every wind the accents of th' Unseen
Yes! we have need to bid our hopes repose
On some protecting influence; here confined,
Life hath no healing balm for mortal woes,
Earth is too narrow for th' immortal mind.
Our spirits burn to mingle with the day,
As exiles panting for their native coast,
Yet lured by every wild-flower from their way,
And shrinking from the gulf that must be cross’d;
Death hovers round us—in the zephyr's sigh,
As in the storm, he comes and lo! Eternity!
As one left lonely on the desert sands
Of burning Afric, where, without a guide,
He gazes as the pathless waste expands—
Around, beyond, interminably wide ;
While the red haze, presaging the Simoom,
Obscures the fierce resplendence of the sky,
Or suns of blasting light perchance illume
The glistening Serab* which illudes his eye;
Such was the wanderer Man, in ages flown,
Kneeling in doubt and fear before the dread 'Unknown
XII. His thoughts explored the past and where were they, The chiefs of men, the mighty ones gone by ? He turn'd-a boundless void before him lay, Wrapp'd in the shadows of futurity. How knew the child of Nature that the flame He felt within him, struggling to ascend, Should perish not with that terrestrial frame Doom'd with the earth on which it moved, to blend ? How, when affliction bade his spirit bleed, Il 'twere a Father's love or Tyrant's wrath decreed?
Oh! marvel not, it then he sought to trace,
In all sublimities of sight and sound,
In rushing winds that wander through all space,
Or ’midst deep woods, with holy gloom embrown'd,
The oracles of Fate ! or if the train
Of floating forms, that throng the world of sleep,
And sounds that vibrate on the slumberer's brain.
When mortal voices rest in stillness deep,
Were deem'd mysterious revelations, sent
From viewless powers, the lords of each dread element,
Was not wild Nature, in that elder time,
Clothed with a deeper power ?-earth’s wandering race,
Exploring realms of solitude sublime,
Not as we see, beheld her awful face !
Art had not tamed the mighty scenes which met
Their searching eyes : unpeopled kingdoms lay
In savage pomp before then--all was yet
Silent and vast, but not as in decay,
And the bright daystar, from his burning throne,
Look'd o'er a thousand shores, untrodden, voiceless, lone.
The forests in their dark luxuriance waved,
With all their swell of strange Æolian sound;
The fearful deep, sole region, ne'er enslaved,
Heaved, in its pomp of terror darkly round;
Then brooding o'er the images, imprest
By forms of grandeur thronging on his eye,
And faint traditions, guarded in his breast,
'Midst dim remembrances of infancy,
Man shaped unearthly presences, in dreams,
Peopling each wilder haunt of mountains, groves, and streams.
Then bled the victim-then in every shade
Of rock or turf arose the votive shrine ;
Fear bow'd before the phantoms she portray'd,
And nature teem'd with many a mystic sign.
Meteors, and storms, and thunders! ye whose course
E'en yet is awful to th' enlighten'd eye,
As wildly rushing from your secret source,
Your sounding chariot sweeps the realms on high,
Then o'er the earth prophetic gloom ye cast
And the wide nations gazed and trembled as ye pass’d.
But you, ye stars! in distant glory burning,
Nurtured with flame, bright altars of the sky!