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Can stay him in his silent course, or melt
His iron heart to pity ? On, still on
presses, and forever.
The proud bird,
The condor of the Andes, that can soar
Through heaven's unfathomable depths, or brave
The fury of the northern hurricane,
And bathe his plumage in the thunder's home,
Furls his broad wings at nightfall, and sinks down
To rest upon his mountain-crag, — but Time
Knows not the weight of sleep or weariness,
And night's deep darkness has no chain to bind
His rushing pinion. Revolutions sweep
O'er Earth, like troubled visions o'er the breast
Of dreaming sorrow; cities rise and sink
Like bubbles on the water; fiery isles
Spring blazing from the ocean, and go back
To their mysterious caverns; mountains rear
To heaven their bald and blackened cliffs, and bow
Their tall heads to the plain; new empires rise,
Gathering the strength of hoary centuries,
And rush down like the Alpine avalanche,
Startling the nations; and the very stars,
Yon bright and burning blazonry of God,
Glitter awhile in their eternal depths,
And, like the Pleiad, loveliest of their train,
Shoot from their glorious spheres, and pass away
To darkle in the trackless void; yet Time,
Time, the tomb-builder, holds his fierce career,
Dark, stern, all-pitiless, and pauses not
Amid the mighty wrecks that strew his path,
To sit and muse, like other conquerors,
Upon the fearful ruin he has wrought.
The Spirit of Poetry.—H. W. LONGFELLOW.
There is a quiet spirit in these woods,
That dwells where'er the south wind blows;
Where underneath the white thorn in the glade,
The wild flowers bloom, or, kissing the soft air,
The leaves above their sunny palms outspread.
With what a tender and impassioned voice
It fills the nice and delicate ear of thought,
When the fast-ushering star of morning comes,
O'er-riding the gray hills with golden scarf;
Or when the cowled and dusky-sandaled Eve,
10 In mourning weeds from out the western gate, Departs with silent pace! That spirit moves In the green valley, where the silver brook, From its full laver, pours the white cascade; And, babbling low amid the tangled woods,
15 Slips down through moss-grown stones with endless laughter. And frequent, on the everlasting hills, Its feet go forth, when it doth
itself In all the dark embroidery of the storm, And shouts the stern, strong wind. And here, amid 20 The silent majesty of these deep woods, Its presence shall uplift thy thoughts from earth, As to the sunshine, and the pure bright air, Their tops the green trees lift. Hence gifted bards Have ever loved the calm and quiet shades.
25 For them there was an eloquent voice in all The sylvan pomp of woods, the golden sun, The flowers, the leaves, the river on its way, Blue skies, and silver clouds, and gentle winds ; The swelling upland, where the sidelong sun
Aslant the wooded slope at evening goes ;
Groves, through whose broken roof the sky looks in;
Mountain, and shattered cliff, and sunny vale,
The distant lake, fountains, and mighty trees,
In many a lazy syllable, repeating
Their old poetical legends to the wind.
And this is the sweet spirit that doth fill
The world; and, in these wayward days of youth,
My busy fancy oft embodies it,
As the bright image of the light and beauty
That dwell in nature, of the heavenly forms
We worship in our dreams, and the soft hues
That stain the wild bird's wing, and flush the clouds
When the sun sets. Within her eye
The heaven of April, with its changing light,
And when it wears the blue of May, is hung,
And on her lip the rich red rose.
Is like the summer tresses of the trees,
When twilight makes them brown, and on her cheek
Blushes the richness of an autumn sky,
With ever-shifting beauty. Then her breath,
It is so like the gentle air of Spring,
As, from the morning's dewy flowers, it comes
Full of their fragrance, that it is a joy
To have it round us, and her silver voice
Is the rich music of a summer bird,
Heard in the still night, with its passionate cadence.
Character of the Italians.-GOLDSMITH.
Far to the right, where Appenine ascends,
Bright as the summer, Italy extends :
Its uplands sloping deck the mountain's side,
Woods over woods in gay theatric pride:
While oft some temple's mouldering tops between, 5
With venerable grandeur mark the scene.
Could Nature's bounty satisfy the breast,
The sons of Italy were surely blessed.
Whatever fruits in distant climes are found,
That proudly rise, or humbly court the ground; 10
Whatever blooms in torrid tracts appear,
Whose bright succession decks the varied year;
Whatever sweets salute the northern sky
With vernal lives, that blossom but to die;
These here disporting, own the kindred soil,
15 Nor ask luxuriance from the planter’s toil ; While sea-born gales their gelid wings expand To winnow fragrance round the smiling land.
But small the bliss that sense alone bestows, And sensual bliss is all the nation knows.
20 In florid beauty groves and fields appear; Man seems the only growth that dwindles here. Contrasted faults through all his manners reign : Though poor, luxurious; though submissive, vain; Though grave, yet trifling; zealous, yet untrue; 25 And even in penance planning sins anew. All evils here contaminate the mind, That opulence departed leaves behind; For wealth was theirs, not far removed the date, When commerce proudly flourished through the state; 30 At her command the palace learned to rise, Again the long-fallen column sought the skies ; The canvass glowed, beyond e'en Nature warm, The pregnant quarry teemed with human form: Till, more unsteady than the southern gale,
35 Commerce on other shores displayed her sail ; While nought remained of all that riches gave,
But towns unmanned, and lords without a slave;
And late the nation found, with fruitless skill,
Its former strength was but plethoric ill
Yet still the loss of wealth is here supplied
By arts, the splendid wrecks of former pride;
From these the feeble heart and long-falleň mind
An easy compensation seem to find.
Here may be seen in bloodless pomp arrayed,
The pasteboard triumph and the cavalcade :
By sports like these are all their cares beguiled;
The sports of children satisfy the child :
Each nobler aim, repressed by long control,
Now sinks at last, or feebly mans the soul;
While low delights, succeeding fast behind,
In happier meanness occupy the mind :
As in those domes, where Cæsars once bore sway,
Defaced by time and tottering in decay,
There in the ruin, heedless of the dead,
The shelter-seeking peasant builds his shed;
And, wondering man could want the larger pile,
Exults, and owns his cottage with a smile.
Character of the Swiss.—GOLDSMITH.
My soul, turn from them, turn we to survey
Where rougher climes a nobler race display,
Where the bleak Swiss their stormy mansion tread,
And force a churlish soil for scanty bread;
No product here the barren hills afford,
But man and steel, the soldier and his sword:
No vernal blooms their torpid rocks array,