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Some hand erects a cross of mouldering lath ;
And grove and glen with thousand such are rife Throughout this purple land, where law secures not
life. On sloping mounds, or in the vale beneath, Are domes where whilome kings did make repair ; But now the wild flowers round them only breathe, Yet ruin'd splendour still is lingering there ! And yonder towers the Prince's palace fair : There thou too, Vathek ! England's wealthiest son, Once form'd thy Paradise, as not aware
When wanton Wealth her mightiest deeds hath done, Meek Peace voluptuous lures was
Clarens ! sweet Clarens, birth-place of deep Love!
Thine air is the young breath of passionate thought ;
Thy trees take root in Love; the snows above
The very glaciers have her colours caught,
And sunset into rose-hues sees them wrought
By rays which sleep there lovingly : the rocks,
The permanent crags, tell here of Love, who sought
In them a refuge from the worldly shocks,
Which stir and sting the soul with hope that woos,
then mocks. Clarens ! by heavenly feet thy paths are trod, Undying Love's, who here ascends a throne To which the steps are mountains ; where the god Is a pervading life and light, so shown Not on those summits solely, nor alone In the still cave and forest; o'er the flower His eye is sparkling, and his breath hath blown,
His soft and summer breath, whose tender power Passes the strength of storms in their most desolate hour.
All things are here of him ; from the black pines,
Which are his shade on high, and the loud roar
Of torrents, where he listeneth to the vines
Which slope his green path downward to the shore,
Where the bow'd waters meet him, and adore,
Kissing his feet with murmurs; and the wood,
* The covert of old trees, with trunks all hoar,
But light leaves, young as joy, stands where it stood, Offering to him, and his, a populous solitude.
A populous solitude of bees and birds,
And fairy-form'd, and many-colour'd things,
Who worship him with notes more sweet than words,
And innocently open their glad wings,
Fearless and full of life; the gush of springs,
And fall of lofty fountains, and the bend
Of stirring branches, and the bud which brings
The swiftest thought of beauty, here extend, Mingling, and made by Love, unto one mighty end.
He who hath loved not, here would learn that lore,
And make his heart a spirit; he who knows
That tender mystery, will love the more,
For this is Love's recess, where vain men's woes,
And the world's waste, have driven him far from
For 'tis his nature to advance or die; [those,
He stands not still, but or decays, or grows
Into a boundless blessing, which may vie
With the immortal lights, in its eternity!
The mind that broods o'er guilty woes
Is like the scorpion girt by fire,
In circle narrowing as it glows,
The flames around their captive close
Till inly search'd by thousand throes,
And maddening in her ire,
One sad and sole relief she knows,
The sting she nourish'd for her foes,
Whose venom never yet was vain,
Gives but one pang, and cures all pain,
And darts into her desperate brain :
So do the dark in soul expire,
Or live like Scorpion girt by fire ;
So writhes the mind Remorse hath riven,
Unfit for earth, undoom'd for heaven,
Darkness above, despair beneath,
Around it flame, within it death!
CONRAD THE CORSAIR. They make obeisance, and retire in haste, Too soon to seek again the watery waste : Yet they repine not-so that Conrad guides, And who dare question aught that he decides ? That man of loneliness and mystery, Scarce seen to smile, and seldom heard to sigh; Whose name appals the fiercest of his crew, And tints each swarthy cheek with sallower hue ; Still sways their souls with that commanding art That dazzles, leads, yet chills the vulgar heart. What is that spell, that thus his lawless train Confess and envy, yet oppose in vain ? What should it be, that thus their faith cab bind ? The power of Thought the magic of the Mind ! Link'd with success, assumed and kept with skill, That moulds another's weakness to its will; Wields with their hands, but, still to these unknown, Makes even their mightiest deeds appear his own.
Such hath it been_shall be-beneath the sun
The many still must labour for the one !
'Tis Nature's doom_but let the wretch who toils
Accuse not, hate not him who wears the spoils.
Oh! if he knew the weight of splendid chains,
How light the balance of his humbler pains !
Unlike the heroes of each ancient race,
Demons in act, but gods at least in face,
In Conrad's form seems little to admire,
Though his dark eyebrow shades a glance of fire :
Robust but not Herculean—to the sight
No giant frame sets forth his common height;
Yet, in the whole, who paused to look again
Saw more than marks the crowd of vulgar men ;
They gaze and marvel how—and still confess
That thus it is, but why they cannot guess.
Sun-burnt his cheek, his forehead high and pale
The sable curls in high profusion veil ;
And oft perforce his rising lip reveals
The haughtier thought it curbs but scarce conceals.
Though smooth his voice, and calm his gentle mien,
Still seems there something he would not have seen :
His features' deepening lines and varying hue
At times attracted, yet perplexed the view,
As if within that murkiness of mind
Work'd feelings fearful, and yet undefined ;
Such might it be that none could truly tell
Too close inquiry his stern glance would quell.
There breathe but few whose aspect might defy
The full encounter of his searching eye:
He had the skill, when Cunning's gaze would seek
To probe his heart and watch his changing cheek,
At once the observer's purpose to espy,
And on himself roll back his scrutiny,
Lest he to Conrad rather should betray
Some secret thought, than drag that chief's to day.
There was a laughing Devil in his sneer,
That raised emotions both of rage and fear;
And where his frown of hatred darkly fell,
Hope withering fled—and Mercy sigh'd farewell !
Slight are the outward signs of evil thought,
Within-within-'twas there the spirit wrought !
Love shows all changes_Hate, Ambition, Guile,
Betray no further than the bitter smile;
The lip's least curl, the lightest paleness thrown
Along the govern’d aspect, speak alone
Of deeper passions, and to judge their mien,
He, who would see, must be himself unseen.
Then—with the hurried tread, the upward eye,
The clenched hand, the pause of agony,
That listens, starting, lest the step too near
Approach intrusive on that mood of fear :
Theri-with each feature working from the heart,
With feelings loosed to strengther.—not depart:
That rise-convulse-contend—that freeze, or glow,
Flush in the cheek, or damp upon the brow ; *
Then-Stranger ! if thou canst, and tremblest rot,
Behold his soul_ the rest that soothes his lot!
Mark-how that lone and blighted bosom sears
The scathing thought of execrated years !
Behold but who hath seen, or e'er shall see,
Man as himself-the secret spirit free ?
Yet was not Conrad thus by Nature sent To lead the guilty-guilt's worst instrumentHis soul was chang'd, before his deeds had driven Him forth to war with man and forfeit heaven. Warp'd by the world in Disappointment's school, In words too wise, in conduct there a fool :