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CX. Italia I too, Italia I looking on thee, Full flashes on the soul the light of ages, Since the fierce Carthaginian almost won thee, To the last halo of the chiefs and sages Who glorify thy consecrated pages; Thou wert the throne and grave of empires; still, The fount at which the panting mind assuages Her thirst of knowledge, quaffing there her fill, Flows from the eternal source of Rome's imperial hill.
CXI. Thus far have I proceeded in a theme Renew’d with no kind auspices:—to feel We are not what we have been, and to deem We are not what we should be, –and to steel The heart against itself; and to conceal, With a proud caution, love, or hate, or aught, — Passion or feeling, purpose, grief, or zeal,— Which is the tyrant spirit of our thought, Is a stern task of soul:—No matter, —it is taught.
I stood and stand alone,—remember'd or forgot.
Nor coin'd my cheek to smiles,—nor cried aloud
In worship of an echo; in the crowd
Had Inot filed(1) my mind, which thus itself subdued.
(1) o “If it be thus,
For Banquo's issue have I filed my mind.”— MACBETH.
(2) It is said by Rochefoucault, that “there is always something in the misfortunes of men's best friends not displeasing to them.”
(3) [“It is not the temper and talents of the poet, but the use to which he puts them, on which his happiness or misery is grounded. A powerful and unbridled imagination is the author and architect of its own disappointments. Its fascinations, its exaggerated pictures of good and evil, and the mental distress to which they give rise, are the natural and necessary evils attending on that quick susceptibility of feeling and fancy incident to the poetical temperament. But the Giver of all talents, while he has qualified them each with its separate and peculiar alloy, has endowed the owner with the power of purifying and refining them,
t CXV My daughter l with thy name this song begun— My daughter! with thy name thus much shallend— I see thee not, — I hear thee not, — but none Can be so wrapt in thee; thou art the friend To whom the shadows of far years extend: Albeit my brow thou never should'st behold, My voice shall with thy future visions blend And reach into thy heart, — when mine is cold,— A token and a tone, even from thy father's mould.
But, as if to moderate the arrogance of genius, it is justly and wisely made requisite, that he must regulate and tame the fire of his fancy, and descend from the heights to which she exalts him, in order to obtain ease of mind and tranquillity. The materials of happiness, that is, of such degree of happiness as is consistent with our present state, lie around us in profusion. But the man of talents must stoop to gather them, otherwise they would be beyond the reach of the mass of society, for whose benefit, as well as for his, Providence has created them. There is no royal and no poetical path to contentment and heart's-ease: that by which they are attained is open to all classes of mankind, and lies within the most limited range of intellect To marrow our wishes and desires within the scope of our powers of attainment; to consider our misfortunes, however peculiar in their character, as our inevitable share in the patrimony of Adam; to bridle those irritable feelings, which ungoverned are sure to become governors; to shun that intensity of galling and self-wounding reflection which our poet has so forcibly described in his own burning language:–
—to stoop, in short, to the realities of life; repent if we have offended, and pardon if we have been trespassed against; to look on the world less as our foe than as a doubtful and capricious friend, whose applause we ought as far as possible to deserve, but neither to court nor contemn—such seem the most obvious and certain means of keeping or regaining mental tramquillity.
* Semita certe Tranquilla per virtutem patet unica vitae.”—SrR WALTER Scott.] 186 CHILDE HAROLD's PILGRIMAGE. canto III.
CXVI. To aid thy mind's developement, — to watch Thy dawn of little joys, – to sit and see Almost thy very growth, – to view thee catch Knowledge of objects, – wonders yet to thee! To hold thee lightly on a gentle knee, And print on thy soft cheek a parent's kiss, – This, it should seem, was not reserved for me ; Yet this was in my nature : — as it is, . S.
I know not what is there, yet something like to this.