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That curse shall be Forgiveness.—Have I not-
Hear me, my nother Carth! behold it, Heaven !
Have I not had to wre: Je with ny lot?'
Have I not sutiered things to be forgiven?
Have I not had my brain seared, my heart riven,
Hopes sapp'd, name blighted, Life’s life lied away?
And only not to desperation driven,
Because not altogether of such clay
As rots into the souls of those whom I survey.
From mighty wrongs to petty perfidy
Have I' not sren what human things could do?
From the loud roar of foaming calumny
To the small whisper of the as paltry few,
And subtler venom of the reptile crew,
The Janus glance of whose significant eye,
Learning to lie with silence, would seem true,
And without utterance, save the shrug or sigh,
Deal round to happy fools its speechless obloquy.
CXXXVII. But I have lived, and have not lived in vain : My mind may lose its force, my blood its fire, And my frame perish even in conquering pain, But there is that within me which shall tire Torture and Time, and breathe when I expire ; Something unearthly, which they deem not of, Like the remembered tone of a mute lyre,
Shall on their softened spirits sink, and move In hearts all rocky now the late remorse of love.
The seal is set.-Now welcome, thou dread po wer
Nameless, yet thus omnipotent, which here
Walk'st in the shadow of the midnight hour
With a deep awe, yet all distinct froin fear;
Thy haunts are ever where the dead walls rear
Their ivy mantles ; and the solemn scene
Derives from thee a sense so deep and clear,
That we become a part of what has been,
And grow unto the spot, all-seeing but unseen.
And here the buzz of eager nations ran,
In murmured pity, or loud-roared applause,
As man was slaughtered by his fellow man.
And wherefore slaughtered? wherefore, but because
Such were the bloody Circus' genial laws,
And the imperial-pleasure-Wherefore not?
What matters where we fall to fill the maws
Of worms—on batılc-plains or listed spot?
Both are but theatres where the chief actors rot.
I see before me the gladiator lie :
He leans upon his hand-his manly brow
Consents to death, but conquers agony,
And his drooped head sinks gradually low-
And through his side the last drops, ebbing slow
From the red gash, fall heavy, one by one,
Like the first of a thunder-shower; and now
The arena swims around him-he is gone,
Ere ceased the inhuman shout which hail'd the wretch who wou
He heard it, but he heeded not his eyes
Were with his heart, and that was far away;
He reck'd not of the life he lost, nor prize,
But where his rude hut by the Danube lay,
There were his young barbarians all at play,
There was their Dacian mother-he, their sire,
Butcher'd to make a Roman holiday-
All this rush'd with his blood--Shall he expire
And unavenged ?-Arise! ye Goths, and glut your ire!
But here, where Murder breathed her bloody steam;
And here, where buzzing nations choked the ways,
And roar’d or murmur'd like a mountain stream
Dashing or winding as its torrent strays;
Here, where the Roman million's blame or praise,
Was death or life, the playthings of a crowd,
My voice sounds much-and fall the stars' faint rays
On the arena void-seats crush'd-walls bow'd
And galleries, where my steps seem echoes strangely loud.
A ruin-yet what ruin! from its mass
Walls, palaces, half-cities, have been reared;
Yet oft the enormous skeleton ye pass
And marvel where the spoil could have appeared.
Hath it indeed been plundered, or but cleared ?
Alas ! developed, opens the decay,
When the colossal fabric's form is neared :
It will not bear the brightness of the day,
Which streams too much on all years, man, have reft away.
But when the rising moon begins to climb
Its topmost arch, and gently pauses there ;
When the stars twinkle through the loops of time,
And the low night-breeze waves along the air
The garland-forest, which the grey walls wear,
Like laurels on the bald first Cæsar's head;
When the light shines serene but doth not glare,
Then in this magic circle raise the dead :
Heroes have trod this spot—'tis on their dust ye tread.
CXLV. « While stands the Coliseum, Rome shall stand; « When falls the Coliseum, Rome shall fall ; « And when Rome falls—the World. » From our own Thus spake the pilgrims o'er this mighty wall In Saxon times, which we are wont to call Ancient; and these three mortal things are still On their foundations, and unaltered all;
Rome and her ruia past redemption's skill, The World, the same wide den-of thieves, or what ye
Simple, erect, severe, austere, sublime-
Shrine of all saints and temple of all gods,
From Jove to Jesus—spared and blest by time;
Looking tranquillity, while falls or nods
Arch, empire, each thing round thee, and man plods
His way through thorns to ashesglorious dome!
Shalt thou not last ? Time's scythe and tyrants' rods
Shiver upon thee-sanctuary and home
Of art and piety--Pantheon !-pride of Rome!
Relic of nobler days, and noblest arts!
Despoiled yet perfect, with thy circle spreads
A holiness appealing to all hearts
To art a model; and to him who treads,
Rome for the sake of ages, Glory sheds
Her light through thy sole aperture; to those
Who worship, here are altars for their beads;
And they who feel for genius may repose
Their eyes on honoured forms, whose busts around them close.
There is a dungeon, in whose dim drear light
What do I gaze on ? Nothing : look again!
Two forms are slowly shadowed on my sight-
Two insulated phantoms of the brain :
It is not so; I see them full and plain-
An old man, and a female young and fair,
Fresh as a nursing mother, in whose vein
The blood is nectar :--but what doth she there,
With her unmantled neck, and bosom white and bare?
Full swells the deep pure fountain of young life,
Where on the heart and from the heart we took
Our first and sweetest nurture, when the wife,
Blest into mother, in the innocent look,
Or even the piping cry of lips that brook
No pain and small suspense, a joy perceives
Man knows not, when from out its cradled nook
She sees her little bud put forth its leaves -
What may the fruit be yet?--[kyow not-Cain was Eve's.