Imágenes de página

Than strength of nerve and sinew, or the sway
Of magic potent over sun and star,

Is love, though oft to agony distrest,

And tho' his favorite seat be feeble woman's breast.

But if thou goest, I follow"" Peace!" he said,—
She looked upon him and was calmed and cheered;
The ghastly color from his lips had fled;
In his deportment, shape, and mien, appeared
Elysian beauty, melancholy grace,

Brought from a pensive though a happy place.

He spake of love, such love as Spirits feel
In worlds whose course is equable and pure;
No fears to beat away-no strife to heal
The past unsighed for, and the future sure;
Spake of heroic arts in graver mood
Revived, with finer harmony pursued ;

Of all that is most beauteous-imaged there
In happier beauty; more pellucid streams,
An ampler ether, a diviner air,

And fields invested with purpureal gleams;

Climes which the sun, who sheds the brightest day Earth knows, is all unworthy to survey.

Yet there the Soul shall enter which hath earned

That privilege by virtue." Ill," said he, "The end of man's existence I discerned, Who from ignoble games and revelry

Could draw, when we had parted, vain delight, While tears were thy best pastime, day and night;

And while my youthful peers before my eyes (Each hero following his peculiar bent)

Prepared themselves for glorious enterprise
By martial sports,—or, seated in the tent,
Chieftains and kings in council were detained;
What time the fleet at Aulis lay enchained.

The wished-for wind was given :-I then revolved
The oracle, upon the silent sea;

And, if no worthier led the way, resolved
That, of a thousand vessels, mine should be
The foremost prow in pressing to the strand,-
Mine the first blood that tinged the Trojan sand.

Yet bitter, oft-times bitter, was the pang
When of thy loss I thought, beloved Wife!
On thee too fondly did my memory hang,
And on the joys we shared in mortal life,—
The paths which we had trod-these fountain


My new-planned cities, and unfinished towers.

But should suspense permit the Foe to cry,
Behold they tremble !-haughty their array,
Yet of their number no one dares to die?'
In soul I swept the indignity away:

Old frailties then recurred:-but lofty thought

In act embodied, my deliverance wrought.

And Thou, though strong in love, art all too weak

In reason, in self-government too slow;

I counsel thee by fortitude to seek

Our blest re-union in the shades below.

The invisible world with thee hath sympathized;
Be thy affections raised and solemnized.

Learn, by a mortal yearning, to ascend-
Seeking a higher object. Love was given,

Encouraged, sanctioned, chiefly for that end;
For this the passion to excess was driven-
That self might be annulled: her bondage prove
The fetters of a dream, opposed to love."-

Aloud she shrieked! for Hermes reappears! [vain :
Round the dear shade she would have clung-'t is
The hours are past-too brief had they been years;
And him no mortal effort can detain:

Swift toward the realms that know not earthly day,
He through the portal takes his silent way,
And on the palace-floor a lifeless corse She lay.

Thus, all in vain exhorted and reproved,
She perished; and, as for a wilful crime,
By the just Gods whom no weak pity moved,
Was doomed to wear out her appointed time,
Apart from happy Ghosts, that gather flowers
Of blissful quiet 'mid unfading bowers.

-Yet tears to human suffering are due;
And mortal hopes defeated and o'erthrown
Are mourned by man, and not by man alone,
As fondly he believes.-Upon the side
Of Hellespont (such faith was entertained,
A knot of spiry trees for ages grew

From out the tomb of him for whom she died;
And ever, when such stature they had gained
That Ilium's walls were subject to their view,
The trees' tall summits withered at the sight;
A constant interchange of growth and blight!* 1814.

*For the account of these long-lived trees, see Pliny's Natural History, lib. xvi. cap. 44; and for the features in the character of Protesi. laus, see the Iphigenia in Aulis of Euripides. Virgil places the Shade of Laodamia in a mournful region, among unhappy Lovers,

It comes

His Laodamia



The Ear addressed, as occupied by a spiritual functionary, in communion with sounds, individual, or combined in studied harmony.-Sources and effects of those sounds (to the close of the 6th Stanza).-The power of music, whence proceeding, exemplified in the idiot.-Origin of music, and its effect in early ages-how produced (to the middle of the 10th stanza) The mind recalled to sounds acting casually and severally-Wish uttered (11th Stanza) that these could be united into a scheme or system for moral interests and intellectual contemplation.(Stanza 12th). The Pythagorean theory of numbers and music, with their supposed power over the motions of the universe-imaginations consonant with such a theory.-Wish expressed (in 11th Stanza) realized, in some degree, by the representation of all sounds under the form of thanksgiving to the Creator.-(Last Stanza) the destruction of earth and the planetary system-the survival of audible harmony and its support in the Divine Nature, as revealed in Holy Writ.


THY functions are ethereal,

As if within thee dwelt a glancing mind,
Organ of vision! And a Spirit aërial
Informs the cell of Hearing dark and blind;
Intricate labyrinth, more dread for thought
To enter than oracular cave;

Strict passage, through which sighs are brought,

And whispers for the heart their slave;

And shrieks, that revel in abuse

Of shivering flesh; and warbled air,

Whose piercing sweetness can unloose
The chains of frenzy, or entice a smile
Into the ambush of despair;

Hosannas pealing down the long-drawn aisle,
And requiems answered by the pulse that beats
Devoutly, in life's last retreats?


The headlong streams and fountains

Serve Thee, invisible Spirit, with untired powers;
Cheering the wakeful tent on Syrian mountains,
They lull perchance ten thousand thousand flowers.
That roar, the prowling lion's Here I am,
How fearful to the desert wide!

That bleat, how tender! of the dam
Calling a straggler to her side.

Shout, cuckoo! let the vernal soul

Go with thee to the frozen zone;

Toll from thy loftiest perch, lone bell-bird, toll!
At the still hour to Mercy dear,

Mercy from her twilight throne

Listening to Nun's faint throb of holy fear,

To sailor's prayer breathed from a darkening sea, Or widow's cottage-lullaby.


Ye Voices and ye shadows,

And Images of voice-to hound and horn
From rocky steep and rock-bestudded meadows
Flung back, and, in the sky's blue caves, reborn-
On with your pastime! till the church tower bells
A greeting give of measured glee;
And milder echoes from their cells
Repeat the bridal symphony.
Then, or far earlier, let us rove

Where mists are breaking up or gone,
And from aloft look down into a cove,
Besprinkled with a careless quire,
Happy milk-maids, one by one,
Scattering a ditty each to her desire,
A liquid concert matchless by nice Art,
A stream as if from our full heart.

« AnteriorContinuar »