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The writer of the following lines died at Florence, as he was preparing for a voyage to one of the wildest of the Sporades, which he had bought, and where he had fitted up the ruins of an old building, and where it was his hope to have realised a scheme of life, suited perhaps to that happier and better world of which he is now an inhabitant, but hardly practicable in this. His life was singular; less on account of the romantic vicissitudes which diversified it, than the ideal tinge which it received from his own character and feelings. The present Poem, like the Vita Nuova of Dante, is sufficiently intelligible to a certain class of readers without a matter-of-fact history of the circumstances to which it , relates ; and to a certain other class it must ever remain incomprehensible, from a defect of a common organ of perception for the ideas of which it treats. Not but that, gran vergogna sarebbe a colui, che rimasse cosa sotto veste di figura, o di colore rettorico : e domandato non sapesse denudare le sue parole da cotal veste, in guisa che avessero verace intendimento.
The present poem appears to have been intended by the writer as the dedication to some longer one. The stanza on the preceding page is almost a literal translation from Dante's famous
Voi ch' intendendo, il terzo ciel movete, &c.
The presumptuous application of the concluding lines to his own composition will raise a smile at the expense of my unfortunate friend : be it a smile not of contempt, but pity.
SWEET Spirit! Sister of that orphan one, Whose empire is the name thou weepest on, In my heart's temple I suspend to thee These votive wreaths of withered memory.
Poor captive bird ! who, from thy narrow cage,
song shall be thy rose : its petals pale
High, spirit-winged Heart! who dost for ever Beat thine unfeeling bars with vain endeavour, Till those bright plumes of thought, in which arrayed It over-soared this low and worldly shade, Lie shattered ; and thy panting wounded breast Stains with dear blood its unmaternal nest!
vain tears : blood would less bitter be, Yet poured forth gladlier, could it profit thee.
Seraph of Heaven ! too gentle to be human,
Sweet Benediction in the eternal Curse!
thee that thou blot from this sad song
I never thought before my death to see.
Sweet Lamp! my moth-like Muse has burnt its wings, Or, like a dying swan who soars and sings, Young Love should teach Time, in his own grey style, All that thou art. Art thou not void of guile, A lovely soul formed to be blest and bless ?
A well of sealed and secret happiness,
She met me, Stranger, upon life's rough way, And lured me towards sweet Death ; as Night by Day, Winter by Spring, or Sorrow by swift Hope, Led into light, life, peace. An antelope, In the suspended impulse of its lightness, Were less ethereally light : the brightness Of her divinest presence trembles through Her limbs, as underneath a cloud of dew Embodied in the windless heaven of June, Amid the splendour-winged stars, the Moon Burns inextinguishably beautiful: And from her lips, as from a hyacinth full Of honey-dew, a liquid murmur drops, Killing the sense with passion : sweet as stops Of planetary music heard in trance. In her mild lights the starry spirits dance, The sunbeams of those wells which ever leap Under the lightnings of the soul—too deep For the brief fathom-line of thought or sense. The glory of her being, issuing thence,
Stains the dead, blank, cold air with a warm shade
Ah! woe is me!! What have I dared ? where am I lifted ? how