« EelmineJätka »
Ah, let thy handmaid, sister, daughter, move,
Yet here for ever, ever must I stay; Sad proof how well a lover can obey! Death, only Death, can break the lasting chain; And here, ev'n then, shall my cold dust remain; Here all its frailties, all its flames resign,
And wait till 'tis no sin to mix with thine.
I ought to grieve, but cannot what I ought; I mourn the lover, not lament the fault;
Ah, wretch! believ'd the spouse of God in vain, I shriek, start up, the same sad prospect find,
For thee the Fates, severely kind, ordain
I view my crime, but kindle at the view,
"Tis sure the hardest science to forget!
Far other dreams my erring soul employ, Far other raptures of unholy joy: When, at the close of each sad, sorrowing day, Fancy restores what Vengeance snatch'd away, Then Conscience sleeps, and leaving Nature free, All my loose soul unbounded springs to thee. O curst, dear horrors of all-conscious night! How glowing guilt exalts the keen delight! Provoking demons all restraint remove, And stir within me every source of love. I hear thee, view thee, gaze o'er all thy charms, And round thy phantom glue my clasping arms. I wake-no more I hear, no more I view, The phantom flies me, as unkind as you. I call aloud; it hears not what I say: I stretch my empty arms; it glides away. To dream once more I close my willing eyes; Ye soft illusions, dear deceits, arise! Alas, no more! methinks we wandering go Through dreary wastes, and weep each other's woe Where round some mouldering tower pale ivy creeps, And low-brow'd rocks hang nodding o'er the deeps. Sudden you mount, you beckon from the skies: Clouds interpose, waves roar, and winds arise.
How happy is the blameless vestal's lot; The world forgetting, by the world forgot! Eternal sun-shine of the spotless mind! Each prayer accepted, and each wish resign'd; Labor and rest that equal periods keep; "Obedient slumbers that can wake and weep ;" Desires compos'd, affections ever even; Tears that delight, and sighs that waft to Heaven. Grace shines around her with serenest beams, And whispering angels prompt her golden dreams. For her th' unfading rose of Eden blooms, And wings of seraphs shed divine perfumes; For her the spouse prepares the bridal ring; For her white virgins hymenals sing: To sounds of heavenly harps she dies away, And melts in visions of eternal day.
And mild as opening gleams of promis'd Heaven. Come, Abelard! for what hast thou to dread? The torch of Venus burns not for the dead. Nature stands check'd; Religion disapproves; Ev'n thou art cold-yet Eloïsa loves.
Ah, hopeless, lasting flames! like those that burn To light the dead, and warm th' unfruitful urn.
What scenes appear where'er I turn my view! The dear ideas, where I fly, pursue, Rise in the grove, before the altar rise, Stain all my soul, and wanton in my eyes. I waste the matin lamp in sighs for thee, Thy image steals between my God and me; Thy voice I seem in every hymn to hear, With every bead I drop too soft a tear. When from the censer clouds of fragrance roll, And swelling organs lift the rising soul, One thought of thee puts all the pomp to flight, Priests, tapers, temples, swim before my sight: In seas of flame my plunging soul is drown'd, While altars blaze, and angels tremble round. While prostrate here in humble grief I lie, Kind, virtuous drops just gathering in my eye, While, praying, trembling, in the dust I roll, And dawning grace is opening on my soul: Come, if thou dar'st, all charming as thou art! Oppose thyself to Heaven; dispute my heart; Come, with one glance of those deluding eyes, Blot out each bright idea of the skies; Take back that grace, those sorrows, and those tears: Take back my fruitless penitence and prayers: Snatch me, just mounting, from the blest abode; Assist the fiends, and tear me from my God!
No, fly me, fly me, far as pole from pole! Rise Alps between us! and whole oceans roll! Ah, come not, write not, think not once of me, Nor share one pang of all I felt for thee.
Thy oaths I quit, thy memory resign!
O Grace serene! O Virtue heavenly fair!
See in her cell sad Eloïsa spread,
I come! I come! prepare your roseate bowers, Celestial palms, and ever-blooming flowers. Thither, where sinners may have rest, I go, Where flames refin'd in breasts seraphic glow; Thou, Abelard! the last sad office pay, And smooth my passage to the realms of day; See my lips tremble, and my eyeballs roll, Suck my last breath, and catch my flying soul! Ah, no-in sacred vestments may'st thou stand, The hallow'd taper trembling in thy hand, Present the cross before my lifted eye, Teach me at once, and learn of me to die. Ah, then thy once-lov'd Eloïsa see! It will be then no crime to gaze on me. See from my cheek the transient roses fly! See the last sparkle languish in my eye! Till every motion, pulse, and breath be o'er; And ev'n my Abelard be lov'd no more. O Death all eloquent! you only prove What dust we dote on, when 'tis man we love.
Then too, when Fate shall thy fair frame destroy (That cause of all my guilt, and all my joy,) In trance ecstatic may thy pangs be drown'd, Bright clouds descend, and angels watch thee round. From opening skies may streaming glories shine, And saints embrace thee with a love like mine!
May one kind grave unite each hapless name, And graft my love immortal on thy fame! Then, ages hence, when all my woes are o'er, When this rebellious heart shall beat no more; If ever chance two wandering lovers brings To Paraclete's white walls and silver springs, O'er the pale marble shall they join their heads, And drink the falling tears each other sheds; Then sadly say, with mutual pity mov'd, "O, may we never love as these have lov'd!" From the full choir, when loud hosannas rise, And swell the pomp of dreadful sacrifice, Amid that scene if some relenting eye Glance on the stone where our cold relics lie, Devotion's self shall steal a thought from Heaven, One human tear shall drop, and be forgiven. And sure if Fate some future bard shall join In sad similitude of griefs to mine, Condemn'd whole years in absence to deplore, And image charms he must behold no more:
Such, if there be, who loves so long, so well;
THE TEMPLE OF FAME.
Written in the Year 1711.
The hint of the following piece was taken from Chaucer's House of Fame. The design is in a manner entirely altered, the descriptions and most of the particular thoughts my own; yet I could not suffer it to be printed without this acknowledgment. The reader, who would compare this with Chaucer, may begin with his third book of Fame, there being nothing in the two first books that answers to their title.
The poem is introduced in the manner of the Pro
vençal poets, whose works were for the most part visions, or pieces of imagination, and constantly descriptive. From these, Petrarch and Chaucer frequently borrowed the idea of their poems. See the Trionfi of the former, and the Dream, Flower and the Leaf, &c. of the latter. The author of this therefore chose the same sort of exordium.
IN that soft season, when descending showers
I stood, methought, betwixt earth, seas, and skies;
O'er the wide prospect as I gaz'd around, Sudden I heard a wild promiscuous sound, Like broken thunders that at distance roar, Or billows murmuring on the hollow shore: Then gazing up, a glorious pile beheld, Whose towering summit ambient clouds conceal'd. High on a rock of ice the structure lay. Steep its ascent, and slippery was the way; The wondrous rock like Parian marble shone, And seem'd, to distant sight, of solid stone. Inscriptions here of various names I view'd, The greater part by hostile time subdued; Yet wide was spread their fame in ages past, And poets once had promis'd they should last. Some fresh engrav'd appear'd of wits renown'd; I look'd again, nor could their trace be found.
Of talismans and sigils knew the power,
But on the south, a long majestic race
Critics I saw, that other names deface,
Westward, a sumptuous frontispiece appear'd,
The eastern front was glorious to behold,
To midnight banquets in the glimmering glades;
The temple shakes, the sounding gates unfold,
As Heaven with stars, the roof with jewels glows,
And his horn'd head belied the Lybian god.
Much-suffering heroes next their honors claim,
Here his abode the martyr'd Phocian claims, With Agis, not the last of Spartan names: Unconquer'd Cato shows the wound he tore, And Brutus his ill genius meets no more.
But in the centre of the hallow'd choir, Six pompous columns o'er the rest aspire; Around the shrine itself of Fame they stand, Hold the chief honors, and the fane command. High on the first, the mighty Homer shone; Eternal adamant compos'd his throne; Father of verse! in holy fillets drest, His silver beard wav'd gently o'er his breast; Though blind, a boldness in his looks appears; In years he seem'd, but not impair'd by years. The wars of Troy were round the pillar seen: Here fierce Tydides wounds the Cyprian queen; Here Hector glorious from Patroclus' fall, Here dragg'd in triumph round the Trojan wall. Motion and life did every part inspire, Bold was the work, and prov'd the master's fire; A strong expression most he seem'd t' affect, And here and there disclos'd a brave neglect. A golden column next in rank appear'd, On which a shrine of purest gold was rear'd; Finish'd the whole, and labor'd every part, With patient touches of unwearied Art: The Mantuan there in sober triumph sate, Compos'd his posture, and his look sedate; On Homer still he fix'd a reverent eye, Great without pride, in modest majesty. In living sculpture on the sides were spread The Latian wars, and haughty Turnus dead; Eliza stretch'd upon the funeral pyre, Æneas bending with his aged sire: Troy flam'd in burning gold, and o'er the throne ARMS AND THE MAN in golden ciphers shone. Four swans sustain a car of silver bright, With heads advanc'd, and pinions stretch'd for flight: Here, like some furious prophet, Pindar rode, And seem'd to labor with th' inspiring god. Across the harp a careless hand he flings, And boldly sinks into the sounding strings. The figur'd games of Greece the column grace, Neptune and Jove survey the rapid race. The youths hang o'er their chariots as they run; The fiery steeds seem starting from the stone; The champions in distorted postures threat; And all appear'd irregularly great.
Here happy Horace tun'd th' Ausonian lyre To sweeter sounds, and temper'd Pindar's fire: Pleas'd with Alcaus' manly rage to infuse The softer spirit of the Sapphic Muse. The polish'd pillar different sculptures grace; A work outlasting monumental brass. Here smiling Loves and Bacchanals appear, The Julian star and great Augustus here. The doves that round the infant poet spread Myrtles and bays, hung hovering o'er his head.
Here, in a shrine that cast a dazzling light, Sate fix'd in thought the mighty Stagirite; His sacred head a radiant zodiac crown'd, And various animals his sides surround; His piercing eyes, erect, appear to view Superior worlds, and look all Nature through. With equal rays immortal Tully shone, The Roman rostra deck'd the consul's throne: Gathering his flowing robe, he seem'd to stand In act to speak, and graceful stretch'd his hand. Behind, Rome's genius waits with civic crowns, And the great father of his country owns.
These massy columns in a circle rise, O'er which a pompous dome invades the skies: Scarce to the top I stretch'd my aching sight, So large it spread, and swell'd to such a height. Full in the midst proud Fame's imperial seat With jewels blaz'd, magnificently great; The vivid emeralds there revive the eye, The flaming rubies show their sanguine dye, Bright azure rays from lively sapphires stream, And lucid amber casts a golden gleam. With various-color'd light the pavement shone, And all on fire appear'd the glowing throne; The dome's high arch reflects the mingled blaze, And forms a rainbow of alternate rays. When on the goddess first I cast my sight, Scarce seem'd her stature of a cubit's height; But swell'd to larger size, the more I gaz'd, Till to the roof her towering front she rais'd. With her, the temple every moment grew, And ampler vistas open'd to my view: Upward the columns shoot, the roofs ascend, And arches widen, and long aisles extend. Such was her form, as ancient bards have told, Wings raise her arms, and wings her feet infold; A thousand busy tongues the goddess bears, And thousand open eyes, and thousand listening
Beneath, in order rang'd, the tuneful Nine
Around these wonders as I cast a look,
First at the shrine the learned world appear, And to the goddess thus prefer their prayer. "Long have we sought t'instruct and please mankind,
With studies pale, with midnight vigils blind;
The goddess heard, and bade the Muses raise
By just degrees they every moment rise,
Next these the good and just, an awful train, Thus on their knees address the sacred fane. "Since living virtue is with envy curs'd, And the best men are treated like the worst, Do thou, just goddess, call our merits forth, And give each deed th' exact intrinsic worth." "Not with bare justice shall your act be crown'd," (Said Fame)" but high above desert renown'd: Let fuller notes th' applauding world amaze, And the loud clarion labor in your praise."
This band dismiss'd, behold another crowd Preferr'd the same request, and lowly bow'd; The constant tenor of whose well-spent days No less deserv'd a just return of praise. But straight the direful trump of Slander sounds; Through the big dome the doubling thunder bounds;
Loud as the burst of cannon rends the skies,
A troop came next, who crowns and armor wore, And proud defiance in their looks they bore: "For thee" (they cried), "amidst alarms and strife, We sail'd in tempests down the stream of life; For thee whole nations fill'd with flames and blood, And swam to empire through the purple flood. Those ills we dar'd, thy inspiration own; What virtue seem'd, was done for thee alone." "Ambitious fools!" (the queen replied, and frown'd) "Be all your acts in dark oblivion drown'd; There sleep forgot, with mighty tyrants gone, Your statues moulder'd, and your names unknown!" A sudden cloud straight snatch'd them from my sight, And each majestic phantom sunk in night.
Then came the smallest tribe I yet had seen; Plain was their dress, and modest was their mien. "Great idol of mankind! we neither claim The praise of merit, nor aspire to Fame! But, safe in deserts from th' applause of men, Would die unheard of, as we liv'd unseen. "Tis all we beg thee, to conceal from sight Those acts of goodness which themselves requite. O let us still the secret joys partake, To follow Virtue ev'n for Virtue's sake."
"And live there men, who slight immortal Fame? Who then with incense shall adore our name? But, mortals! know, 'tis still our greatest pride, To blaze those virtues which the good would hide. Rise! Muses, rise! add all your tuneful breath; These must not sleep in darkness and in death." She said in air the trembling music floats, And on the winds triumphant swell the notes; So soft, though high, so loud, and yet so clear, Ev'n listening angels lean from Heaven to hear: To farthest shores th' ambrosial spirit flies, Sweet to the world, and grateful to the skies.
Next these a youthful train their vows express'd, With feathers crown'd, with gay embroidery dress'd:
Hither," they cried, "direct your eyes, and see The men of pleasure, dress, and gallantry; Ours is the place at banquets, balls, and plays; Sprightly our nights, polite are all our days; Courts we frequent, where 'tis our pleasing care To pay due visits, and address the fair: In fact, 'tis true, no nymph we could persuade, But still in fancy vanquish'd every maid; Of unknown duchesses lewd tales we tell, Yet, would the world believe us, all were well. The joy let others have, and we the name, And what we want in pleasure, grant in fame."
The queen assents, the trumpet rends the skies, And at each blast a lady's honor dies.
Pleas'd with the same success, vast numbers prest Around the shrine, and made the same request :
What you!" (she cried) " unlearn'd in arts to please, Slaves to yourselves, and ev'n fatigu'd with ease, Who lose a length of undeserving days, Would you usurp the lover's dear-bought praise ? To just contempt, ye vain pretenders, fall, The people's fable, and the scorn of all." Straight the black clarion sends a horrid sound, Loud laughs burst out, and bitter scoffs fly round, Whispers are heard, with taunts reviling loud, And scornful hisses run through all the crowd.
Last, those who boast of mighty mischiefs done, Enslave their country, or usurp a throne! Or who their glory's dire foundation laid On sovereigns ruin'd, or on friends betray'd: Calm, thinking villains, whom no faith could fix, Of crooked counsels and dark politics; Of these a gloomy tribe surround the throne, And beg to make th' immortal treasons known. The trumpet roars, long flaky flames expire, With sparks that seem'd to set the world on fire. At the dread sound, pale mortals stood aghast, And startled Nature trembled with the blast.
This having heard and seen, some power unknown
Straight chang'd the scene, and snatch'd me from the throne.
Before my view appear'd a structure fair,
And the touch'd needle trembles to the Pole;
All various sounds from earth, and seas, and skies