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Might shock a connoisseur; but when combined
Form'd a whole which, irregular in parts,
Yet left a grand impression on the mind,
At least of those whose eyes are in their hearts.
We gaze upon a giant for his stature,
Nor judge at first if all be true to Nature.
Steel Barons, molten the next generation
To silken rows of gay and garter'd Earls,
Glanced from the walls in goodly preservation;
And Lady Marys blooming into girls
With fair long locks, had also kept their station :
And Countesses mature robes and pearls :
Also some beauties of Sir Peter Lely,
Whose drapery hints we may admire them freely.
Judges in very formidable ermine
Were there, with brows that did not much invite The accused to think their Lordships would determine
His cause by leaning much from might to right; Bishops who had not left a single sermon;
Attorneys-General, awful to the sight, As hinting more (unless our judgments warp us) Of the “ Star Chamber” than of “ Habeas Corpus.” Generals, some all in armour, of the old
And iron time ere Lead had ta'en the lead; Others in wigs of Marlborough's martial fold,
Huger than twelve of our degenerate breed ; Lordlings, with staves of white or keys of gold;
Nimrods, whose canvas scarce contain'd the steed; And here and there some stern high patriot stood, Who could not get the place for which he sued. But ever and anon, to soothe your vision
Fatigued with these hereditary glories,
There rose a Carlo Dolce or a Titian,
Or wilder group of savage Salvatore's* ;
There danced Albano's boys, and here the sea shone
In Vernet's ocean lights; and there the stories
Of martyrs awed, as Spagnoletto tainted
His brush with all the blood of all the sainted.
There sweetly spread a landscape of Loraine ;
There Rembrandt made his darkness equal light, Or gloomy Caravaggio's gloomier stain
Bronzed o'er some lean and stoic Anchorite: But lo! a Teniers woos, and not in vain,
Your eyes to revel in a livelier sight : His bell-mouthed goblet makes me feel quite Danish Or Dutch with thirst What ho! a flask of Rhenish.
Oh! that the Desert were my dwelling-place,
With one fair Spirit for my minister,
That I might all forget the human race,
And, hating no one, love but only her !
Ye Elements !-in whose ennobling stir
I feel myself exalted—can ye not
Accord me such a being? Do I err
In deeming such inhabit many a spot ?
Though with them to converse can rarely be our lot.
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 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 can not 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_his 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.
His steps are not upon thy paths,—thy fields
Are not a spoil for him—thou dost arise
And shake him from thee; the vile strength he wields
For earth's destruction thou dost all despise,
Spurning him from thy bosom to the skies,
And send'st him, shivering in thy playful spray
And howling, to his Gods, where haply lies
His petty hope in some near port or bay,
And dashest him again to earth :-there let him lay.
The armaments which thunder-strike 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 now.
Thou glorious mirror, where the Almighty's form
Glasses itself in tempests; in all time,
Calm or convulsed-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.
And I have loved thee, Ocean ! and my joy
Of youthful sports was on thy breast to be
Borne, like thy bubbles, onward : from a boy
I wanton'd with thy breakers—they to me
Were a delight; and if the freshening sea
Made them a terror—'twas a pleasing fear,
For I was as it were a child of thee,
And trusted to thy billows far and near,
And laid my hand upon thy mane—as I do here.
My task is done--my song hath ceased—my theme
Has died into an echo; it is fit
The spell should break of this protracted dream.
The torch shall be extinguish'd which hath lit
My midnight lamp--and what is writ, is writ-
Would it were worthier! but I am not now
That which I have been- and my visions flit
Less palpably before me—and the glow Which in my spirit dwelt, is fluttering, faint, and low.
PARISINA'S MEETING WITH HER LOVER.
And what unto them is the world beside,
With all its change of time and tide ?
Its living things—its earth and sky-
Are nothing to their mind and eye.
And heedless as the dead are they
Of aught around, above, beneath ;
As if all else had passed away,
They only for each other breathe;
Their very sighs are full of joy
So deep, that did it not decay,
That happy madness would destroy
The hearts which feel its fiery sway:
Of guilt, of peril, do they deem
In that tumultuous tender dream ?
Who that have felt that passion's power,
Or paused feared in such an hour ?
Or thought how brief such moments last ?
But yet—they are already past!
Alas! we must awake before
We know such vision comes no more.
They never fail who die In a great cause: the block may soak their
gore ; Their heads may sodden in the sun; their limbs Be strung to city gates and castle wallsBut still their spirit walks abroad. Though years Elapse, and others share as dark a doom, They but augment the deep and sweeping thoughts Which
overpower all others, and conduct