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(CHILDE HAROLD, Canto iii. Stanzas 13-15.) WHERE rose the mountains, there to him were friends ; Where rollid the ocean, thereon was his home ; Where a blue sky, and glowing clime, extends, He had the passion and the power to roam ; The desert, forest, cavern, breaker's foam, Were unto him companionship; they spake A mutual language, clearer than the tome
Of his land's tongue, which he would oft forsake For Nature's pages glass’d by sunbeams on the lake.
Like the Chaldean, he could watch the stars,
Till he had peopled them with beings bright
As their own beams; and earth, and earth-born jars,
And human frailties, were forgotten quite :
Could he have kept his spirit to that flight
He had been happy; but this clay will sink
Its spark immortal, envying it the light
To which it mounts, as if to break the link
That keeps us from yon heaven which woos us to its brink.
But in Man's dwellings he became a thing
Restless and worn, and stern and wearisome,
Droop'd as a wild-born falcon with clipt wing,
To whom the boundless air alone were home :
Then came his fit again, which to o'ercome,
As eagerly the barr'd-up bird will beat
His breast and beak against his wiry dome
Till the blood tinge his plumage, so the heat
Of his impeded soul would through his bosom eat.
(CHILDE HAROLD, Canto iii. Stanzas 71-75.)
Is it not better, then, to be alone,
And love Earth only for its earthly sake ?
By the blue rushing of the arrowy Rhone,
Or the pure bosom of its nursing lake,
Which feeds it as a mother who doth make
A fair but froward infant her own care,
Kissing its cries away as these awake ;-
Is it not better thus our lives to wear,
Than join the crushing crowd, doom'd to inflict or bear?
I live not in myself, but I become
Portion of that around me; and to me
High mountains are a feeling, but the hum
Of human cities torture : I can see
Nothing to loathe in nature, save to be
A link reluctant in a fleshly chain,
Class'd among creatures, when the soul can flee,
And with the sky, the peak, the heaving plain
Of ocean, or the stars, mingle, and not in vain.
And thus I am absorb'd, and this is life;
I look upon the peopled desert past,
As on a place of agony and strife,
Where, for some sin, to sorrow I was cast,
To act and suffer, but remount at last
With a fresh pinion ; which I feel to spring,
Though young, yet waxing vigorous, as the blast
Which it would cope with, on delighted wing, Spurning the clay-cold bonds which round our being cling.
And when, at length, the mind shall be all free
From what it hates in this degraded form,
Reft of its carnal life, save what shall be
Existent happier in the fly and worm, —
When elements to elements conform,
And dust is as it should be, shall I not
Feel all I see, less dazzling, but more warm ?
The bodiless thought ? the Spirit of each spot ?
Of which, even now, I share at times the immortal lot?
Are not the mountains, waves, and skies, a part
Of me and of my soul, as I of them?
Is not the love of these deep in my heart
With a pure passion ? should I not contemn
All objects, if compared with these ? and stem
A tide of suffering, rather than forego
Such feelings for the hard and worldly phlegm
Of those whose eyes are only turn'd below,
Gazing upon the ground, with thoughts which dare not
(CHILDE HAROLD, Canto iii. Stanzas 113, 114.)
I HAVE not loved the world, nor the world me;
I have not flatter'd its rank breath, nor bow'd
To its idolatries a patient knee,-
Nor coin'd my cheek to smiles, –
-nor cried aloud
In worship of an echo ; in the crowd
They could not deem me one of such ; I stood
Among them, but not of them ; in a shroud
Of thoughts which were not their thoughts, and still could, Had I not filed my mind, which thus itself subdued.
I have not loved the world, nor the world me,-
But let us part fair foes; I do believe,
Though I have found them not, that there may
Words which are things,-hopes which will not deceive,
And virtues which are merciful, nor weave
Snares for the failing : I would also deem
O'er others' griefs that some sincerely grieve ;
That two, or one, are almost what they seem,That goodness is no name, and happiness no dream.
(CHILDE HAROLD, Canto ii. Stanza 98.)
What is the worst of woes that wait on age ?
What stamps the wrinkle deeper on the brow?
To view each loved one blotted from life's page,
And be alone on earth, as I am now.
Before the Chastener humbly let me bow,
O'er hearts divided and o'er hopes destroy'd :
Roll on, vain days ! full reckless may ye flow,
Since Time hath reft whate'er my soul enjoy'd,
And with the ills of Eld mine earlier years alloy'd.
(Childe HAROLD, Canto iii. Stanzas I, 2.)
Is thy face like thy mother's, my fair child !
ADA ! sole daughter of my house and heart?
When last I saw thy young blue eyes they smiled,
And then we parted, -not as now we part,
But with a hope. —
Awaking with a start,
The waters heave around me; and on high
The winds lift up their voices : I depart,
Whither I know not; but the hour's gone by, When Albion's lessening shores could grieve or glad
Once more upon the waters ! yet once more !
And the waves bound beneath me as a steed
That knows his rider. Welcome to the roar!
Swift be their guidance, wheresoe'er it lead !
Though the strain'd mast should quiver as a reed,
And the rent canvass fluttering strew the gale,
Still must I on; for I am as a weed,
Flung from the rock, on Ocean's foam, to sail Where'er the surge may sweep, the tempest's breath