Page images
PDF
EPUB

Which I have borne, and yet must bear,

Till death like sleep might steal on me, And I might feel in the warm air

My cheek grow cold, and hear the sea Breathe o'er my dying brain its last monotony.

Some might lament that I were cold,

As 'hen this sweet day is gone, Which my lost heart, too soon grown old,

Insults with this untimely moan; They might lament-for I am one

Whom men love noty—and yet regret, Unlike this day, which, when the sun

Shall on its stainless glory set, Will linger, though enjoyed, like joy in memory

yet.

December, 1818.

SONG FOR TASSO.

I loved-alas ! our life is love;
But when we cease to breathe and move,
I do suppose love ceases too.
I thought, but not as now I do,
Keen thoughts and bright of linked lore,
Of all that men had thought before,
And all that Nature shows, and more.
And still I love, and still I think,
But strangely, for my heart can drink

The dregs of such despair, and live,
And love;
And if I think, my thoughts come fast ;
I mix the present with the past,
And each seems uglier than the last.

Sometimes I see before me flee
A silver spirit's form, like thee,
O Leonora, and I sit
[ ] still watching it,
Till by the grated casement's ledge
It fades, with such a sigh, as sedge
Breathes o'er the breezy streamlet's edge.

THE PAST.

Wilt thou forget the happy hours
Which we buried in Lore's sweet bowers,
Heaping over their

corpses

cold Blossoms and leaves instead of mould ? Blossoms which were the joys that fell, And leaves, the hopes that yet remain.

for it;

Forget the dead, the past? O yet
There are ghosts that may

take revenge
Memories that make the heart a tomb,
Regrets which glide through the spirit's gloom,
And with ghastly whispers tell
That joy, once lost, is pain.

MAZENGHI. *

O! FOSTER-NURSE of man's abandoned glory
Since Athens, its great mother, sunk in splendor,
Thou shadowest forth that mighty shape in story,
As Ocean its wrecked fanes, severe yet tender :
The light-invested angel Poesy
Was drawn from the dim world to welcome thee.

And thou in painting didst transcribe all taught
By loftiest meditations; marble knew
The sculptor's fearless soul-and, as he wrought,
The

grace of his own power and freedom grew. And (more than all) heroic, just, sublime Thou wert among the false—was this thy crime?

Yes ;

and on Pisa's marble walls the twine Of direst weeds hangs garlanded—the snake Inhabits its wrecked palaces ;-in thine A beast of subtler venom now doth make Its lair, and sits amid their glories overthrown, And thus thy victim's fate is as thine own.

* This fragment refers to an event, told in Sismondi's Higa toire des Républiques Italiennes, which occurred during the war when Florence finally subdued Pisa, and reduced it to a province. The opening stanzas are addressed to the con quering city.-MS.

The sweetest flowers are ever frail and rare,
And love and freedom blossom but to wither;
And good and ill like vines entangled are,
So that their grapes may oft be plucked together:
Divide the vintage ere thou drink, then make
Thy heart rejoice for dead Mazenghi's sake.

No record of his crime remains in story,
But if the morning bright as evening shone,
It was some high and holy deed, by glory
Pursued into forgetfulness, which won
From the blind crowd he made secure and free
The Patriot's meed, toil, death, and infamy,

For when by sound of trumpet was declared
A price upon his life, and there was set
A penalty of blood on all who shared
So much of water with him as might wet
His lips, which speech divided not—he went
Alone, as you may guess, to banishment.

Amid the mountains, like a hunted beast,
He hid himself, and hunger, toil, and cold,
Month after month endured; it was a feast
Whene'er he found those globes of deep red gold
Which in the woods the strawberry-tree doth bear,
Suspended in their emerald atmosphere.

And in the roofless huts of vast morasses,
Deserted by the fever-stricken serf,
All overgrown with reeds and long rank grasses,

And hillocks heaped of moss-inwoven turf,
And where the huge and speckled aloe made,
Rooted in stones, a broad and pointed shade,

He housed himself. There is a point of strand
Near Vada's tower and town; and on one side
The treacherous marsh divides it from the land,
Shadowed by pine and ilex forests wide ;
And on the other creeps eternally,
Through muddy weeds, the shallow sullen sea.

NAPLES, 1818.

SONNET.

LIFT not the painted veil which those who live
Call Life; though unreal shapes be pictured there,
And it but mimic all we would believe
With colours idly spread, -behind, lurk Fear
And Hope, twin Destinies ; who ever weave
Their shadows, o'er the chasm, sightless and drear.

I knew one who had lifted it—he sought,
For his lost heart was tender, things to love,
But found them not, alas ! nor was there aught
The world contains, the which he could approve.
Through the unheeding many he did move,
A splendour among shadows, a bright blot
Upon this gloomy scene, a Spirit that strove
For truth, and like the Preacher found it not.

« EelmineJätka »