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TO ROSALIND AND HELEN, AND LINES WRITTEN AMONG
THE EUGANEAN HILLS.
The story of ROSALIND and HELEN is, undoubtedly, not an attempt in the highest style of poetry. It is in no degree calculated to excite profound meditation; and if, by interesting the affections and amusing the imagination, it awaken a certain ideal melancholy favourable to the reception of more important impressions, it will produce in the reader all that the writer experienced in the composition. I resigned myself, as I wrote, to the impulse of the feelings which moulded the conception of the story; and this impulse determined the pauses of a measure, which only pretends to be regular, inasmuch as it corresponds with, and expresses, the irregularity of the imaginations which inspired it.
I do not know which of the few scattered poems I left in England will be selected by my bookseller to add to this collection. One, which I sent from Italy, was written after a day's excursion among those lovely mountains which surround what was once the retreat, and where is now the sepulchre, of Petrarch. If any one is inclined to condemn the insertion of the introductory lines, which image forth the sudden relief of a state of deep despondency by the radiant visions disclosed by the sudden burst of an Italian sunrise in autumn, on the highest peak of those delightful mountains, I can only offer as my excuse, that they were not erased at the request of a dear friend, with whom added years of intercourse only add to my apprehension of its value, and who would have had more right than any one to complain, that she has not been able to extinguish in me the very power of delineating sadness.
NAPLES, Dec. 20, 1818.
ROSALIND AND HELEN.
SCENE. The Shore of the Lake of Como.
ROSALIND, HELEN, and her Child.
COME hither, my sweet Rosalind.
Of that our land, whose wilds and floods
come, When evening fell upon our common home, When for one hour we parted,—do not frown; I would not chide thee, though thy faith is broken; But turn to me. O! by this cherished token Of woven hair, which thou wilt not disown, Turn, as 'twere but the
me, And not my scorned self who prayed to thee.
Is it a dream, or do I see
Nor ever did I love thee less,
Alas! not there; I cannot bear
The ghost of peace
Thou lead, my sweet, And I will follow.
'Tis Fenici's seat
Yes ; I know;
I do not know : But it might break any one's heart to see You and the lady cry so bitterly.
It is a gentle child, my friend. Go home,
Lifted a sudden look upon his mother,