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The mists disperse—and where a sullen cloud Hung on the mountain's verge, the sun bursts forth In all its majesty of purple light. It is a winter's evening, and the year Is fast departing; yet the hues of heaven Are bright as in the summer's warmest month. It is the season of the sleep of things; But nature in her sleep is lovely still ! The trees display no green, no forms of life; And yet a magic foliage clothes them round,And purest crystals of pellucid ice, All purple in the sunset. Midst the wood Fantastically rise the towering cliffs, That in another season had been white, But now, contrasted with the brilliant ice, Shine in aerial tints of purest blue ! The varied outline has a thousand charms; Here rises high a venerable wood, Where oaks are seen with massy ice girt round, And birches pendent with their glittering arms, And graceful beeches clinging to the soil; There, massy forms exist of rocks alone,— Rising as if the work of human art, The pride of some great Paladin of old, In awful ruins. Nearer I behold * The palace of a race of mighty kings; But now another tenants. On these walls, Where erst the silver lily spread her leaves— The graceful symbol of a brilliant court— The golden eagle shines, the bird of prey, Emblem of rapine and of lawless power: Such is the fitful change of human things: An empire rises, like a cloud in heaven, Red in the morning sun, spreading its tints Of golden hue along the feverish sky, And filling the horizon;–soon its tints Are darken'd, and it brings the thunder-storm, Lightning, and hail, and desolation comes; But in destroying it dissolves, and lalls Never to rise !
WRITTEN AFTER RECOVERY FROM A DANGEROUS ILLNESS.
Lo! o'er the earth the kindling spirits pour
The limpid dew becomes the rosy flower,
All speaks of change : the renovated forms
The light of suns, the breath of angry storms,
These are but engines of the Eternal will,
Has ever acted, and is acting still,
Without whose power, the whole of mortal things
Silent as are the harp's untuned strings
A sacred spark created by His breath,
A spirit living 'midst the forms of death,
A germ, preparing in the winter's frost
An unfledged eagle by the tempest toss'd,
The child of trial, to mortality
On the green earth decreed to move and die,
Soon as it breathes, to feel the mother's form
The nobler charms astonish'd to behold,
Cast in expression's rich and varied mould,
The heavenly balm of mutual hope to taste, Soother of life, affection's bliss to share;
Sweet as the stream amidst the desert waste, As the first blush of arctic daylight fair;
To mingle with its kindred, to descry
To gain the voice of popularity,
To govern others by an influence strong [main, As that high law which moves the murmuring
Raising and carrying all its waves along, Beneath the full-orb’d moon's meridian reign;
To scan how transient is the breath of praise, A winter’s zephyr trembling on the snow,
Chill'd as it moves; or, as the northern rays, First fading in the centre, whence they fiow.
With joy I view thee, bathed in purple light, Whilst all around is dark; with joy I see Thee rising from thy sea of pitchy clouds Into the middle heaven, As if a temple to the Eternal raised By all the earth, framed of the pillar'd rock, And canopied with everlasting snow !— That lovely river, rolling at my feet Its bright green waves, and winding 'midst the rocks, Brown in their winter's foliage, gain'd from thee Its flood of waters; through a devious course, Though it has laved the fertile plains, and wash'd The cities' walls, and mingled with the streams Of lowland origin, yet still preserves Its native character of mountain strength,<Its colour, and its motion. Such are those Amongst the generations of mankind [heaven, To whom the stream of thought descends from With all the force of reason and the power Of sacred genius. Through the world they pass Still uncorrupted, and on what they take From social life bestow a character Of dignity. Greater they become, But never lose their native purity.
THE SYBIL's TEMPLE."
Thy faith, O Roman was a natural faith, Well suited to an age in which the light Ineffable gleam'd through obscuring clouds Of objects sensible, not yet revealed In noontide brightness on the Syrian mount. For thee, the Eternal Majesty of heaven In all things lived and moved,—and to its power And attributes poetic fancy gave The forms of human beauty, strength, and grace. The Naiad murmur'd in the silver stream, The Dryad whisper'd in the nodding wood, (Her voice the music of the zephyr's breath ;) On the blue wave the sportive Nereid moved, Or blew her conch amidst the echoing rocks. I wonder not, that, moved by such a faith, Thou raisedst the Sybil's temple in this vale, For such a scene was suited well to raise The mind to high devotion,--to create Those thoughts indefinite which seem above Our sense and reason, and the hallowed dream Prophetic.—In the sympathy sublime, With natural forms and sounds, the mind forgets Its present being, images arise Which seem not earthly.—midst the awful rocks And caverns bursting with the living stream,_ In force descending from the precipice,— Sparkling in sunshine, nurturing with dews A thousand odorous plants and fragrant flowers. In the sweet music of the vernal woods, From winged minstrels, and the louder sounds Of mountain storms, and thundering cataracts, The voice of inspiration well might come !
* It was during a storm that he expired. Mr. Gordon, in his admirable History of the Greek Revolution, records it : “At six o'clock in the afternoon of Easter Monday, (April 19.) at the instant of an awful thunderstorm, Byron expired.” 18
* Tivoli. M3
It is alone in solitude we feel And know what powers belong to us. By sympathy excited, and constrain'd By tedious ceremony in the world, Many whom we are fit to lead we follow; And fools, and confident men, and those who think Themselves all knowing, from the littleness Of their own talents and the sphere they move in, Which is most little, these do rule the world; Even like the poet's dream of elder time The fabled Titans imaged to aspire Unto the infinitely distant heaven, Because they raised a pile of common stones, And higher stood than those around them. The great is ever Obscure, indefinite ; and knowledge still, The highest, the most distant, most sublime, Is like the stars composed of luminous points, But without visible image, or known distance. E’en with respect to human things and forms, We estimate and know them but in solitude. The eye of the worldly man is insect-like, Fit only for the near and single objects; The true philosopher in distance sees them, And scans their forms, their bearings, and relations. To view a lovely landscape in its whole, We do not fix upon one cave or rock, Or woody hill, out of the mighty range Of the wide scenery, we rather mount A lofty knoll to mark the varied whole,_ The waters blue, the mountains gray and dim, The shaggy hills and the embattled cliffs, With their mysterious glens, awakening Imagination wild,—interminable !
The mighty birds still upward rose, In slow but constant and most steady flight, The young ones following; and they would pause, As if to teach them how to bear the light, And keep the solar glory full in sight. So went they on till, from excess of pain, I could no longer bear the scorching rays; And when I looked again, they were not seen, Lost in the brightness of the solar blaze. Their memory left a type, and a desire: So should I wish towards the light to rise, Instructing younger spirits to aspire Where I could never reach amidst the skies, And joy below to see them listed higher, Seeking the light of purest glory's prize. So would I look on splendour's brightest day With an undazzled eye, and steadily Soar upwards full in the immortal ray, Through the blue depths of the unbounded sky, Portraying wisdom's boundless purity. Before me still a lingering ray appears, But broken and prismatic, seen through tears, The light of joy and immortality.
AGAIN that lovely lamp from half its orb Sends forth a mellow lustre, that pervades The eastern sky, and meets the rosy light Of the last sunbeams dying in the west. The mountains all above are clear and bright, Their giant forms distinctly visible, Crested with shaggy chestnuts, or erect, Bearing the helmed pine, or raising high Their marble columns crown'd with grassy slopes. From rock to rock the foaming Lima pours Full from the thunder-storm, rapid, and strong, And turbid. Hush'd is the air in silence; The smoke moves upwards, and its curling waves Stand like a tree above. E'en in my heart, By sickness weaken'd and by sorrow chill'd, The balm of calmness seems to penetrate,< Mild, soothing, genial in its influence. Again I feel a freshness, and a power, As in my youthful days, and hopes and thoughts Heroical and high . The wasted frame Soon in corporeal strength recruits itself, And wounds the deepest heal; so in the mind, The dearth of objects and the loss of hope Are in the end succeeded by some births Of new creative faculties and powers, Brought forth with pain, but, like a vigorous child, Repaying by its beauty for the pang.