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Back on the heart the weight which it would fling
Aside for ever: it may be a sound-
A tone of music,-summer's eve-or spring,
A flower-the wind--the Ocean-which shall wound, Striking the electric chain wherewith we are darkly bound;
And how and why we know not, nor can trace
Home to its cloud this lightning of the mind,
But feel the shock renew'd, nor can efface
The blight and blackening which it leaves behind,
Which out of things familiar, undesign'd
When least we deem of such, calls up to view
The spectres whom no exorcism can bind,
The cold—the changed-perchance the dead-anew,
The mourn'd, the loved, the lost—too many yet how few!
But my soul wanders; I demand it back
To meditate amongst decay, and stand
A ruin amidst ruins; there to track
Fall'n states and buried greatness, o'er a land
Which was the mightiest in its old command,
And is the loveliest, and must ever be
The master-mould of Nature's heavenly hand,
Wherein were cast the heroic and the free,
The beautiful, the brave-the lords of earth and sea.
The commonwealth of kings, the men of Rome!
And even since, and now, fair Italy !
Thou art the garden of the world, the home
Of all Art yields, and Nature can decree;
Even in thy desert, what is like to thee?
Thy very weeds are beautiful, thy waste
More rich than other climes' fertility;
Thy wreck a glory, and thy ruin graced
With an immaculate charm which cannot be defaced.
The moon is up, and yet it is not night-
Sunset divides the sky with her-a sea
Of glory streams along the Alpine height
Of blue Friuli's mountains; heaven is free
From clouds, but of all colours seems to be
Melted to one vast Iris of the West,
Where the day joins the past Eternity;
While, on the other hand, meek Dian's crest
Floats through the azure air-an island of the blest!
A single star is at her side, and reigns
With her o’er half the lovely heaven; but still
Yon sunny sea heaves brightly, and remains
Roll'd o'er the peak of the far Rhætian hill,
As Day and night contending were, until
Nature reclaim'd her order :-gently flows
The deep-dyed Brenta, where their hues instil
The odorous purple of a new-born rose,
Which streams upon her stream, and glass'd within it glows,
Fill'd with the face of heaven, which, from afar
Comes down upon the waters: all its hues,
From the rich sunset to the rising star,
Their magical variety diffuse:
And now they change; a paler shadow strews
Its mantle o'er the mountains; parting day
Dies like the dolphin, whom each pang imbues
With a new colour as it gasps a way,
The last still loveliest, tilltis gone, and all is gray.
Oh Rome! my country! city of the soul!
The orphans of the heart must turn to thee,
Lone mother of dead empires! and control
In their shut breasts their petty misery.
What are our woes and sufferance ? Come and see
The cypress, hear the owl, and plod your way
O'er steps of broken thrones and temples, Ye!
Whose agonies are evils of a day-
A world is at our feet as fragile as our clay.
The Niobe of nations! there she stands,
Childless and crownless, in her voiceless woe;
An empty urn within her withered hands,
Whose holy dust was scatter'd long ago;
The Scipio's tomb contains no ashes now;
The very sepulchres lie tenantless
Of their heroic dwellers : dost thou flow,
Old Tiber! through a marble wilderness ?
Rise, with thy yellow waves, and mantle her distress.
The Goth, the Christian, Time, War, Flood, and Fire, Have dealt upon the seven-hill'd city's pride; ! She saw her glories star by star expire, And up the steep barbarian monarchs ride, Where the car climb'd the capitol; far and wide Temple and tower went down, nor left a site :Chaos of ruins! who shall trace the void, • O'er the dim fragments cast a lunar light,
And say, “here was, or is,” where all is doubly night?
THERE is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society, where none intrudes,
By the deep Sea, and music in its roar:
I love not Man the less, but Nature more,
From these our interviews, in which I steal
From all I may be, or have been before,
To mingle with the Universe, and feel,
What I can ne’er express, yet cannot all conceal.
Roll on, thou deep and dark blue Ocean-roll!
Ten thousand fleets sweep over thee in vain;
Man marks the earth with ruin-bis control
Stops with the shore;-upon the watery plain
The wrecks are all thy deed, nor doth remain
A shadow of man's ravage, save his own,
When, for a moment, like a drop of rain,
He sinks into thy depths with bubbling groan, Without a grave, unknell’d, uncoffin'd, and unknown.
The armaments which thunderstrike the walls
Of rock-built cities, bidding nations quake,
And monarchs tremble in their capitals,
The oak leviathans, whose huge ribs make
Their clay creator the vain title take
Of lord of thee, and arbiter of war;
These are thy toys, and, as the snowy flake,
They melt into thy yeast of waves, which mar
Alike the Armada's pride, or spoils of Trafalgar.
Thy shores are empires, changed in all save thee
Assyria, Greece, Rome, Carthage, what are they !
Thy waters wasted them while they were free,
And many a tyrant since; their shores obey
The stranger, slave, or savage; their decay
Has dried up realms to deserts :-not so thou,
Unchangeable save to thy wild waves' play
Time writes no wrinkle on thine azure brow-
Such as creation's dawn beheld, thou rollest pow.
Thou glorious mirror, where the Almighty's form
Glasses itself in tempests; in all time,
Calm or convuls'd-in-breeze, or gale, or storm,
Icing the pole, or in the torrid clime
Dark heaving ;-boundless, endless, and sublime
The image of Eternity-the throne
Of the invisible; even from out thy slime
The monsters of the deep are made; each zone
Obeys thee; thou goest forth, dread, fathomless, alone.
GREECE. No breath of air to break the wave That rolls below the Athenian's grave, That tomb which, gleaming o'er the cliff, First greets the homeward-veering skiff, High o'er the land he saved in vain: When shall such hero live again ?
Fair clime! where every season smiles Benignant o'er those blessed isles, Which seen from far Colonna's height, Make glad the heart that hails the sight, And lend to loneliness delight. There, mildly dimpling, Ocean's cheek Reflects the tints of many a peak Caught by the laughing tides that lave These Edens of the eastern wave; And if at times a transient breeze Break the blue crystal of the seas, Or sweep one blossom from the trees, How welcome is each gentle air That wakes and wafts the odours there! For there-the Rose o’er crag or vale, Sultana of the Nightingale, The maid for whom his melody, His thousand songs are heard on high, Blooms blushing to her lover's tale: His queen, the garden queen, his Rose, Unbent by winds, unchilled by snows, Far from the winters of the west, By every breeze and season blest, Returns the sweets by nature given In softest incense back to heaven, And grateful yields that smiling sky Her fairest hue and fragrant sigh. And many a summer flower is there, And many a shade that love might share, And many a grotto, meant for rest, That holds the pirate for a guest; Whose bark in sheltering cove below Lurks for the passing peaceful prow, Till the gay mariner's guitar Is heard, and seen the evening star; Then stealing with the muffled oar, Far shaded by the rocky shore, Rush the night-prowlers on the pre, And turn to groans his roundelay. Strange—that where Nature loved to trace, As if for Gods, a dwelling place,
And every charm and grace hath mixed
Within the paradise she fixed,
There man, enamoured of distress,
Should mar it into wilderness,
And trample, brute-like, o'er each flower
That tasks not one laborious hour;
Nor claims the culture of his hand,
To bloom along the fairy land,
But springs as to preclude his care,
And sweetly woos him-but to spare!
Strange-that where all is peace beside
There passion riots in her pride,
And lust and rapine wildly reign
To darken o’er the fair domain.
It is as though the fiends prevailed
Against the seraphs they assailed,
And, fixed on heavenly thrones, should dwell
The freed inheritors of hell;
So soft the scene, so formed for joy,
So cursed the tyrants that destroy!
He who hath bent him o'er the dead Ere the first day of death is fled, Before Decay's effacing fingers Have swept the lines where beauty lingers, And marked the mild angelic air, The rapture of repose that's there, The fixed yet tender traits that streak The languor of the placid cheek, And—but for that sad shrouded eye, That fires not, wins not, weeps not, now, And but for that chill changeless brow, Where cold obstruction's apathy Appals the gazing mourner's heart, As if to him it could impart The doom he dreads, yet dwells upon; Yes, but for these and these alone, Some moments, ay, one treacherous hour, He still might doubt the tyrant's power; So fair, so calm, so softly sealed, The first last look by death revealed! Such is the aspect of this shore; 'Tis Greece, but living Greece no more So coldly sweet, so deadly fair, We start, for soul is wanting there. Hers is the loveliness in death, That parts not quite with parting breath; But beauty with that fearful bloom, That hue which haunts it to the tomb, Expression's last receding ray,