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EPODE II. R.
Great Spirit, deepest Love!
Which rulest and dost move
All things which live and are, within the Italian shore ;
Who spreadest heaven around it,
Whose woods, rocks, waves, surround it;
Who sittest in thy star, o'er Ocean's western floor,
Spirit of beauty! at whose soft command
The sunbeams and the showers distil its foison !
From the Earth's bosom chill;
O bid those beams be each a blinding brand
Of lightning ! bid those showers be dews of poison !
Bid the Earth's plenty kill!
Bid thy bright Heaven above
Whilst light and darkness bound it,
Be their tomb who planned
To make it ours and thine !
Or, with thine harmonizing ardours fill
And raise thy sons, as o'er the prone
Thy lamp feeds every twilight wave with fire-
Be man's high hope and unextinct desire
The instrument to work thy will divine !
Then clouds from sunbeams, antelopes from leopards,
And frowns and fears from Thee,
Would not more swiftly flee,
Than Celtic wolves from the Ausonian shepherds.-
Whatever, Spirit, from thy starry shrine
Thou yieldest or withholdest, Oh let be
This City of thy worship, ever free!
THE warm sun is failing, the bleak wind is wailing,
The bare boughs are sighing, the pale flowers are dying,
And the year
On the earth her death-bed, in a shroud of leaves dead,
Come, months, come away,
From November to May,
Follow the bier
Of the dead cold year,
And like dim shadows watch by her sepulchre.
The chill rain is falling, the nipt worm is crawling,
The rivers are swelling, the thunder is knelling
The blithe swallows are flown, and the lizards each gone
To his dwelling;
Come, months, come away ;
Put on white, black, and grey,
Let your light sisters play-
Ye, follow the bier
Of the dead cold year,
And make her grave green with tear on tear.
DEATH is here, and death is there,
Death is busy everywhere,
All around, within, beneath,
Above is death—and we are death.
Death has set his mark and seal
On all we are and all we feel,
On all we know and all we fear,
First our pleasures die-and then
Our hopes, and then our fears—and when
These are dead, the debt is due,
Dust claims dust-and we die too.
All things that we love and cherish,
Like ourselves, must fade and perish ;
Such is our rude mortal lot
Love itself would, did they not.
The fiery mountains answer each other;
Their thunderings are echoed from zone to zone ;
The tempestuous oceans awake one another,
And the ice-rocks are shaken round winter's throne,
When the clarion of the Typhoon is blown.
From a single cloud the lightning flashes,
Whilst a thousand isles are illumined around;
Earthquake is trampling one city to ashes,
An hundred are shuddering and tottering; the sound
Is bellowing underground.
But keener thy gaze than the lightning's glare,
And swifter thy step than the earthquake's tramp;
Thou deafenest the rage of the ocean ; thy stare
Makes blind the volcanoes; the sun's bright lamp
To thine is a fen-fire damp.
From billow and mountain and exhalation
The sunlight is darted through vapour and blast;
From spirit to spirit, from nation to nation,
From city to hamlet, thy dawning is cast,
And tyrants and slaves are like shadows of night
In the van of the morning light.
TELL me, thou star, whose wings of light
Speed thee in thy fiery flight,
In what cavern of the night
Will thy pinions close now?
Tell me, moon, thou pale and grey
Pilgrim of heaven's homeless way,
In what depth of night or day
Seekest thou repose now?
Weary wind, who wanderest
Like the world's rejected guest,
Hast thou still some secret nest
On the tree or billow ?
Amid the desolation of a city,
Which was the cradle, and is now the grave,
Of an extinguished people ; so that pity
Weeps o'er the shipwrecks of oblivion's wave,
There stands the Tower of Famine. It is built
Upon some prison-homes, whose dwellers rave
For bread, and gold, and blood : pain, linked to guilt,
Agitates the light flame of their hours,
Until its vital oil is spent or spilt :
There stands the pile, a tower amid the towers
And sacred domes ; each marble-ribbed roof,
The brazen-gated temples, and the bowers
Of solitary wealth ! the tempest-proof
Pavilions of the dark Italian air
Are by its presence dimmed—they stand aloof,
And are withdrawn so that the world is bare,
As if a spectre, wrapt in shapeless terror,
Amid a company of ladies fair
Should glide and glow, till it became a mirror
Of all their beauty, and their hair and hue,
The life of their sweet eyes, with all its error,
Should be absorbed, till they to marble grew.
* At Pisa there still exists the prison of Ugolino, which goes by the name of “La Torre della Fame : " in the adjoining building the galleyslaves are confined. It is situated near the Ponte al Mare on the Arno.