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Too firm to yield, and far too proud to stoop,
Doom'd by his very virtues for a dupe,
He cursed those virtues as the cause of ill,
And not the traitors who betray'd him still;
Nor deem'd that gifts bestow'd on better men
Had left him joy, and means to give again.
Fear'd_shunned_belied_ere youth had lost her force,
He hated man too much to feel remorse,
And thought the voice of wrath a sacred call,
To pay the injuries of some on all.
He knew himself a villain but he deem'd
The rest do better than the thing he seemid,
And scorn'd the best as hypocrites who hid
Those deeds the bolder spirit plainly did.
He knew himself detested, but he knew
The hearts that loath'd him, crouch'd and dreaded too.
Lone, wild, and strange, he stood alike exempt
From all affection, and from all contempt :
His name could sadden, and his acts surprise ;
But they that fear'd him dared not to despise :
Man spurns the worm, but pauses ere he wake
The slumbering venom of the folded snake;
The first may turn_but not avenge the blow; ·
The last expires_but leaves no living foe;
Fast to the doom'd offender's form it clings,
And he may crush_not conquer-still it stings !
None are all evil-quickening round his heart,
One softer feeling would not yet depart;
Oft would he sneer at others as beguiled
By passions worthy of a fool or child;
Yet 'gainst that passion vainly still he strove,
And even in him it asks the name of Love!
Yes, it was love-unchangeable-unchanged,
Felt but for one from whom he never ranged;
Though fairest captives daily met his eye,
He shunned nor sought, but coldly pass'd them by ;
Though many a beauty droop'd in prison'd bower,
None ever soothed his most unguarded hour.
Yes_it was Love-if thoughts of tenderness,
Tried in temptation, strengthen'd by distress,
Unmoved by absence, firm in every clime,
And yet-Oh more than all !-untired by time;
Which nor defeated hope nor baffled wile,
Could render sullen were she near to smile,
Nar rage could fire, nor sickness fret to vent
On her one murmur of his discontent;
Which still would meet with joy, with calmness part,
Lest that his look of grief should reach her heart;
Which nought removed, nor menaced to remove-
If there be love in mortals—this was love!
He was a villain—ay-reproaches shower
On him—but not the passion, nor its power,
Which only proved all other virtues gone,
Not guilt itself could quench this loveliest one !
A kind of sleepy Venus seemed Dudù,
Yet very fit to “ murder sleep” in those
Who gazed upon her cheek's transcendant hue,
Her Attic forehead, and her Phidian nose : Few angles were there in her form, 'tis true,
Thinner she might have been and yet scarce lose; Yet, after all, 'twould puzzle to say where It would not spoil some separate charm to pare. She was not violently lively, but
Stole on your spirits like a May-day breaking ; Her eyes were not too sparkling, yet, half-shut,
They put beholders in a tender taking ;
She looked (this simile's quite new) just cut
From marble, like Pygmalion's statue waking,
The mortal and the marble still at strife,
And timidly expanding into life.
Dudù, as has been said, was a sweet creature,
Not very dashing, but extremely winning, With the most regulated charms of feature,
Which painters cannot catch like faces sinning
Against proportion—the wild strokes of nature
Which they hit off at once in the beginning,
Full of expression, right or wrong, that strike,
And, pleasing or unpleasing, still are like.
But she was a soft Landscape of mild Earth,
Where all was harmony, and calm, and quiet ;
Luxuriant, budding; cheerful, without mirth,
Which, if not happiness, is much more night it Than are your mighty passions and so forth, [try it.
Which some call “ the sublime:” I wish they'd I've seen your storiny seas, and stormy women, And pity lovers rather more than seamen. But she was pensive more than melancholy,
And serious more than pensive, and serene, It may be, more than either—not unholy
Her thoughts, at least till now, appear to have been. The strangest thing was, beauteous, she was wholly
Unconscious, albeit turned of quick seventeen,
That she was fair, or dark, or short, or tall ;
She never thought about herself at all.
THE FOUNTAIN OF EGERIA.
Egeria! sweet creation of some heart
Which found no mortal resting-place so fair
As thine ideal breast; whate'er thou art
Or wert,-a young Aurora of the air,
The nympholepsy of some fond despair;
Or, it might be, a beauty of the earth,
Who found a more than common votary there,
Too much adoring; whatsoe'er thy birth,
Thou wert a beautiful thought, and softly bodied forth.
The mosses of thy fountain still are sprinkled
With thine Elysian water-drops; the face
Of thy cave-guarded spring, with years unwrinkled,
Reflects the meek-eyed genius of the place,
Whose green, wild margin now no more erase
Art's works; nor must the delicate waters sleep,
Prison'd in marble; bubbling from the base
Of the cleft statue, with a gentle leap (creep
The rill runs o'er, and round, fern, flowers, and ivy,
Fantastically tangled; the green hills
Are clothed with early blossoms, through the grass ·
The quick-eyed lizard rustles, and the bills
Of summer-birds sing welcome as ye pass;
Flowers fresh in hue, and many in their class,
Implore the pausing step, and with their dyes
Dance in the soft breeze in a fairy mass;
The sweetness of the violet's deep-blue eyes, Kissed by the breath of heaven, seems colour'd by its
Here didst thou dwell, in this enchanted cover,
Egeria! thy all heavenly bosom beating
For the far footsteps of thy mortal lover ;
The purple Midnight veil'd that mystic meeting
With her most starry canopy, and seating
Thyself by thine adorer, what befell?
This cave was surely shaped out for the greeting
Of an enamoured Goddess, and the cell
Haunted by holy Love_the earliest oracle !
And didst thou not, thy breast to his replying,
Blend a celestial with a human heart;
And Love, which dies as it was born, in sighing,
Share with immortal transports ? Could thine art
Make them indeed immortal, and impart
The purity of heaven to earthly joys,
Expel the venom and not blunt the dart
The dull satiety which all destroys [cloys ? And root from out the soul the deadly weed which
Alas! our young affections run to waste,
Or water but the desert; whence arise
The weeds of dark luxuriance, tares of haste,
Rank at the core, though tempting to the eyes;
Flowers whose wild odours breathe but agonies,
And trees whose gums are poison ; such the plants
Which spring beneath her steps as Passion Aies
O'er the world's wilderness, and vainly pants
For some celestial fruit forbidden to our wants.
Oh, Love! no habitant of earth thou art
An unseen seraph, we believe in thee,
A faith whose martyrs are the broken heart,
But never yet hath seen, nor e'er shall see
The naked eye, thy form, as it should be;
The mind hath made thee, as it peopled heaven,
Even with its own desiring phantasy,
And to a thought such shape and image given, As haunts the unquench'd soul-parch'd wearied wrung—and riven.
When Time, or soon or late, shall bring
The dreamless sleep that lulls the dead,