« AnteriorContinuar »
But the white shroud, and each extended tress,
Long_fair-but spread in utter lifelessness,
Which, late the sport of every summer wind,
Escaped the baffled wreath that strove to bind :
These--and the pale pure cheek, became the bier-
But she is nothing-wherefore is he here ?
He ask'd no question-all were answer'd now
By the first glance on that still-marble brow.
It was enough—she died—what reck'd it how ?
The love of youth, the hope of better years,
The source of softest wishes, tenderest fears,
The only living thing he could not hate,
Was reft at once-and he deserved his fate,
But did not feel it less :— the good explore,
For peace, those realms where guilt can never soar;
The proud--the wayward—who have fix'd below
Their joy—and find this earth enough for woe,
Lose in that one their all-perchance a mite--
But who in patience parts with all delight ?
Full many a stoic eye and aspect stern
Mask hearts where grief hath little left to learn ;
And many a withering thought lies hid, not lost,
In smiles that least befit who wear them most.
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
Rollid 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, [glows. Which streams upon her stream, and glass'd within it
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 away, The last still loveliest, till’tis gone and all is grey.
A PICTURE GALLERY BY MOONLIGHT.
Then, as the night was clear though cold, he threw
His chamber door wide open-and went forth Into a gallery of sombre hue,
Long, furnished with old pictures of great worth, Of knights and dames heroic and chaste too,
As doubtless should be people of high birth.
But by dim lights the portraits of the dead
Have something ghastly, desolate, and dread.
The forms of the grim knights and pictured saints
Look living in the moon; and as you turn
Backward and forward to the echoes faint
Of your own footsteps-voices from the um
Appear to wake, and shadows wild and quaint
Start from the frames which fence their aspects stern, As if to ask how you can dare to keep A vigil there, where all but death should sleep. And the pale smile of Beauties in the grave,
The charms of other days, in starlight gleams Glimmer on high; their buried locks still wave
Along the canvas; their eyes glance like dreams On ours, or spars within some dusky cave,
But death is imaged in their shadowy beams.
A picture is the past; even ere its frame
Be gilt, who sate hath ceased to be the same.
MORN IN THE SOUTH SEAS.
The morning watch was come; the vessel lay
Her course, and gently made her liquid way;
The cloven billow flashed from off her prow
In furrows formed by that majestic plough;
The waters with their world were all before;
Behind, the South Seas' many an islet shore.
The quiet night, now dappling, 'gan to wane,
Dividing darkness from the dawning main :
The dolphins, not unconscious of the day,
Swam high, as eager of the coming ray;
The stars from broader beams began to creep,
And lift their shining eyelids from the deep.
The sail resumed its lately shadowed white,
And the wind flutter'd with a freshening flight;
The purpling ocean owns the coming sun,
But ere he break--a deed is to be done.
MYRRHA DESCRIBED BY SARDANAPALUS.
I paused To look upon her, and her kindled cheek;
Her large black eyes, that flash'd through her long
hair As it stream'd o'er her; her blue veins that rose Along her most transparent brow; her nostril Dilated from its symmetry; her lips Apart; her voice that clove through all the din, As a lute's pierceth through the cymbal's clash, Jarred but not drown'd by the loud brattling; her Waved arms, more dazzling by their own born
whiteness Than the steel her hand held, which she caught up From a dead soldier's grasp; all these things made Her seem unto the troops a prophetess Of victory, or Victory herself, Come down to hail us hers.
NAPOLEON. But where is he, the modern, mightier far, Who, born no king, made monarchs draw his car ; The new Sesostris, whose unharnessed kings, Freed from the bit, believe themselves with wings, And spurn the dust o'er which they crawled of late, Chained to the chariot of the chieftain's state ? Yes! where is he, the Champion and the Child Of all that's great or little, wise or wild ? Whose game was empires and whose stakes were
thrones? Whose table earth whose dice were human bones? Behold the grand result in yon lone isle, And, as thy nature urges, weep or smile. Sigh to behold the eagle's lofty rage Reduced to nibble at his narrow cage; Smile to survey the Queller of the Nations Now daily squabbling o'er disputed rations;
Weep to perceive him mourning, as he dines,
On curtailed dishes and o'er stinted wines;
O'er petty quarrels upon petty things.
Is this the man who scourged or feasted kings?
Behold the scales in which his fortune hangs,
A surgeon's statement, and an earl's harangues !
A bust delayed, a book refused, can shake
The sleep of him who kept the world awake.
Is this indeed the Tamer of the Great,
Now slave of all could teaze or irritate
The paltry jailer and the prying spy,
The staring stranger with his note-book nigh?
Plunged in a dungeon, he had still been great ;
How low, how little was this middle state,
Between a prison and a palace, where
How few could feel for what he had to bear!
Vain his complaint-my lord presents his bill,
His food and wine were doled out duly still:
Vain was his sickness,-never was a clime
So free from homicide-to doubt's a crime;
And the stiff surgeon, who maintained his cause,
Hath lost his place, and gained the world's applause.
But smile_though all the pangs of brain and heart
Disdain, defy, the tardy aid of art;
Though, save the few fond friends, and imaged face
Of that fair boy his sire shall ne'er embrace,
None stand by his low bed-though even the mind
Be wavering, which long awed and awes mankind;
Smile-for the fetter'd eagle breaks his chain,
And higher worlds than this are his again.
How, if that soaring Spirit shall retain
A conscious twilight of his blazing reign,
How must he smile, on looking down, to see
The little that he was and sought to be!