« AnteriorContinuar »
What daughter of her beauties was the heir? How lived, how loved, how died she? Was she not So honoured-and conspicuously there, Where meaner relics must not dare to rot, Placed to commemorate a more than mortal lot?
Was she as those who love their lords, or they
To the soft side of the heart, or wisely bar Love from amongst her griefs ?-for such the affections
Perchance she died in youth: it may be, bow'd With woes far heavier than the ponderous tomb That weigh'd upon her gentle dust, a cloud Might gather o'er her beauty, and a gloom In her dark eye, prophetic of the doom Heaven gives its favourites early death; yet shed A sunset charm around her, and illume With hectic light, the Hesperus of the dead, Of her consuming cheek the autumnal leaf-like red.
Perchance she died in age-surviving all, Charms, kindred, children-with the silver gray On her long tresses, which might yet recall, It may be, still a something of the day When they were braided, and her proud array And lovely form were envied, praised, and eyed By Rome-But whither would Conjecture stray? Thus much alone we know-Metella died, The wealthiest Roman's wife: Behold his love or pride
GROTTO OF EGERIA
(CANTO IV, cxv-cxxvii)
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
The rill runs o'er, and round fern, flowers, and ivy creep,
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, Kiss'd by the breath of heaven, seems colour'd by its
Here didst thou dwell, in this enchanted cover,
With her most starry canopy, and seating
And didst thou not, thy breast to his replying,
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 dartThe dull satiety which all destroysAnd root from out the soul the deadly weed which cloys?
Alas! our young affections run to waste,
But 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 poisons; such the plants Which spring beneath her steps as Passion flies 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-
And to a thought such shape and image given, As haunts the unquench'd soul-parch'd, wearied, wrung, and riven.
Of its own beauty is the mind diseased,
And fevers into false creation :—where,
Where are the forms the sculptor's soul hath seiz'd? In him alone. Can Nature show so fair?
Where are the charms and virtues which we dare Conceive in boyhood and pursue as men, The unreach'd Paradise of our despair, Which o'er-informs the pencil and the pen, And overpowers the page where it would bloom again?
Who loves, raves-'tis youth's frenzy-but the cure Is bitterer still, as charm by charm unwinds Which robed our idols, and we see too sure Nor worth nor beauty dwells from out the mind's Ideal shape of such; yet still it binds The fatal spell, and still it draws us on, Reaping the whirlwind from the oft-sown winds; The stubborn heart, its alchemy begun, Seems ever near the prize-wealthiest when most undone.
We wither from our youth, we gasp away-. Sick-sick; unfound the boon, unslaked the thirst, Though to the last, in verge of our decay, Some phantom lures, such as we sought at firstBut all too late, so are we doubly curst. Love, fame, ambition, avarice-'tis the same, Each idle, and all ill, and none the worstFor all are meteors with a different name, And Death the sable smoke where vanishes the flame.
Few-none-find what they love or could have loved, Though accident, blind contact, and the strong Necessity of loving, have removed Antipathies but to recur, ere long, Envenom'd with irrevocable wrong; And Circumstance, that unspiritual god And miscreator, makes and helps along Our coming evils with a crutch-like rod, Whose touch turns Hope to dust, the dust we all
Our life is a false nature: 'tis not in
The harmony of things,-this hard decree,
This boundless upas, this all-blasting tree,
Whose root is earth, whose leaves and branches be
The immedicable soul, with heart-aches ever new.
Yet let us ponder boldly-'tis a base
Our right of thought-our last and only place
The beam pours in, for time and skill will couch the
(CANTO IV, cxxxix-cxlv)
AND here the buzz of eager nations ran, In murmur'd pity, or loud-roar'd applause, As man was slaughter'd by his fellow-man. And wherefore slaughter'd? wherefore, but because Such were the bloody Circus' genial laws, And the imperial pleasure.-Wherefore not ? What matters where we fall to fill the maws Of worms-on battle-plains or listed spot? Both are but theatres where the chief actors rot.
I see before me the Gladiator lie :
He leans upon his hand-his manly brow Consents to death, but conquers agony, And his droop'd head sinks gradually low— And through his side the last drops, ebbing slow From the red gash, fall heavy, one by one, Like the first of a thunder-shower; and now The arena swims around him he is gone, Ere ceased the inhuman shout which hail'd the wretch