Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

XV.

XIX.

O that the free would stamp the impious name Paused, and the spirit of that mighty singing Of **** into the dust ; or write it there,

To its abyss was suddenly withdrawn ; So that this blot upon the page of fame

Then as a wild swan, when sublimely winging Were as a serpent's path, which the light air Its path athwart the thunder-smoke of dawn, Erases, and the flat sands close behind !

Sinks headlong through the aerial golden light
Ye the oracle have heard :

On the vy sound plain,
Lift the victory-flashing sword,

When the bolt has pierced its brain ;
And cut the snaky knots of this foul gordian word, As summer clouds dissolve unburthened of their
Which, weak itself as stubble, yet can bind As a far taper fades with fading night ; [rain;
Into a mass, irrefragably firm,

As a brief insect dies with dying day, The axes and the rods which awe mankind; My song its pinions disarrayed of might, The sound has poison in it, 'tis the sperm

Drooped ; o'er it closed the echoes far away Of what makes life foul, cankerous, and abhorred; of the great voice which did its flight sustain, Disdain not thou, at thine appointed term,

As waves which lately paved his watery way To set thine armed heel on this reluctant worm.

Hiss round a drowner's head in their tempestuous

play.

XVI.

ARETHUSA.

O that the wise from their bright minds would kindle

Such lamps within the dome of this dim world, That the pale name of Priest might shrink and

dwindle
Into the hell from which it first was hurled,
A scoff

of impious pride from fiends impure
Till human thoughts might kneel alone,

Each before the judgment-throne
Of its own aweless soul, or of the power unknown !
O that the words which make the thoughts obscure
From which they spring, as clouds of glimmer-

ing dew
From a white lake blot heaven's blue portraiture,

Were stript of their thin masks and various hue,
And frowns and smiles and splendours not their own,

Till in the nakedness of false and true
They stand before their Lord, each to receive its
due,

XVII.
He who taught man to vanquish whatsoever

Can be between the cradle and the grave,
Crowned him the King of Life. O vain endeavour!

If on his own high will a willing slave,
He has enthroned the oppression and the oppressor.

What if earth can clothe and feed

Amplest millions at their need,
And power in thought be as the tree within the
Or what if art, an ardent intercessor, (seed ?

Diving on fiery wings to Nature's throne,
Checks the great mother stooping to caress her,

And cries, give me, thy child, dominion
Over all height and depth? if Life can breed [groan,

New wants, and wealth from those who toil and
Rend of thy gifts and hers a thousandfold for one.

ARETHUSA arose

From her couch of snows
In the Acroceraunian mountains,

From cloud and from crag,

With many a jag,
Shepherding her bright fountains.

She leapt down the rocks

With her rainbow locks
Streaming among the streams ;-

Her steps paved with green

The downward ravine
Which slopes to the western gleams :

And gliding and springing,

She went, ever singing,
In murmurs as soft as sleep ;

The earth seemed to love her,

And Heaven smiled above her,
As she lingered towards the deep.

Then Alpheus bold,

On his glacier cold,
With his trident the mountains strook ;

And opened a chasm

In the rocks ;-with the spasm
All Erymanthus shook.

And the black south wind

It concealed behind
The urns of the silent snow,

And earthquake and thunder

Did rend in sunder
The bars of the springs below:

The beard and the hair

Of the river God were
Seen through the torrent's sweep,

As he followed the light

Of the fleet nymph's flight
To the brink of the Dorian deep.

XVUI.

Come thou, but lead out of the inmost cave

Of man's deep spirit, as the morning-star Beckons the Sun from the Eoan wave,

Wisdom. I hear the pennons of her car Self-moving like cloud charioted by flame ;

Comes she not, and come ye not,

Rulers of eternal thought,
To judge with solemn truth life's ill-apportioned lot?
Blind Love, and equal Justice, and the Fame

Of what has been, the Hope of what will be ? 0, Liberty ! if such could be thy name

Wert thou disjoined from these, or they from
If thine or theirs were treasures to be bought (thee:

By blood or tears, have not the wise and free
Wept tears, and blood like tears? The solemn

harmony

“Oh, save me! Oh, guide me !

And bid the deep hide me,
For he grasps me now by the hair !"

The loud Ocean heard,

To its blue depth stirred,
And divided at her prayer ;

And under the water
The Earth's white daughter

HYMN OF APOLLO.

Fled like a sunny beam ;

Behind her descended

Her billows, unblended With the brackish Dorian stream:

Like a gloomy stain

On the emerald main Alpheus rushed behind,

As an eagle pursuing

A dove to its ruin Down the streams of the cloudy wind.

The sleepless Hours who watch me as I lie,

Curtained with star-enwoven tapestries, From the broad moonlight of the sky,

Fanning the busy dreams from my dim eyes, Waken me when their Mother, the grey Dawn, Tells them that dreams and that the moon is gone.

Then I arise, and climbing Heaven's blue dome,

I walk over the mountains and the waves, Leaving my robe upon the ocean foam ;

My footsteps pave the clouds with fire; the caves Are filled with my bright presence, and the air Leaves the green earth to my embraces bare.

Under the bowers

Where the Ocean Powers Sit on their pearled thrones :

Through the coral woods

Of the weltering floods, Over heaps of unvalued stones;

Through the dim beams

Which amid the streams Weave a net-work of coloured light ;

And under the caves,

Where the shadowy waves Are as green as the forest's night :

Outspeeding the shark,

And the sword-fish dark, Under the ocean foam,

And up through the rifts

Of the mountain clifts
They passed to their Dorian home.

And now from their fountains

In Enna's mountains, Down one vale where the morning basks,

Like friends once parted

Grown single-hearted, They ply their watery tasks.

At sunrise they leap

From their cradles steep In the cave of the shelving hill ;

At noon-tide they flow

Through the woods below And the meadows of Asphodel ;

And at night they sleep

In the rocking deep Beneath the Ortygian shore ;

Like spirits that lie

In the azure sky
When they love but live no more.

Pisa, 1820.

The sunbeams are my shafts, with which I kill

Deceit, that loves the night and fears the day ; All men who do or even imagine ill

Fly me, and from the glory of my ray Good minds and open actions take new might, Until diminished by the reign of night. I feed the clouds, the rainbows, and the flowers,

With their ethereal colours; the Moon's globe And the pure stars in their eternal bowers

Are cinctured with my power as with a robe ; Whatever lamps on Earth or Heaven may shine Are portions of one power, which is mine. I stand at noon upon the peak of Heaven,

Then with unwilling steps I wander down Into the clouds of the Atlantic even ;

For grief that I depart they weep and frown: What look is more delightful than the smile With which I soothe them from the western isle !

I am the eye with which the Universe

Beholds itself and knows itself divine; All harmony of instrument or verse,

All prophecy, all medicine are mine, All light of art or nature ;—to my song Victory and praise in their own right belong.

HYMN OF PAN.

SONG OF PROSERPINE,

WHILE GATHERING FLOWERS ON THE PLAIN OF ENNA.

Sacred Goddess, Mother Earth,

Thou from whose immortal bosom, Gods, and men, and beasts have birth,

Leaf and blade, and bud and blossom, Breathe thine influence most divine On thine own child, Proserpine.

From the forests and highlands

We come, we come ;
From the river-girt islands,

Where loud waves are dumb

Listening to my sweet pipings.
The wind in the reeds and the rushes,

The bees on the bells thyme,
The birds on the myrtle bushes,

The cicale above in the lime,
And the lizards below in the grass,
Were as silent as ever old Tmolus * was,

Listening to my sweet pipings.
Liquid Peneus was flowing,

And all dark Tempe lay
In Pelion's shadow, outgrowing

The light of the dying day, • This and the former poem were written at the request of a friend, to be inserted in a drama on the subject of Midas. Apollo and Pan contended before Tmolus for the prize in music.

If with mists of evening dew

Thou dost nourish these young flowers Till they grow, in scent and hue,

Fairest children of the hours, Breathe thine influence most divine On thine own child, Proserpine.

THE TWO SPIRITS.

Speeded with my sweet pipings. The Sileni, and Sylvans, and Fauns,

And the nymphs of the woods and waves,
To the edge of the moist river-lawns,

And the brink of the dewy caves,
And all that did then attend and follow,
Were silent with love, as you now, Apollo,

With envy of my sweet pipings.

AN ALLEGORY.

FIRST SPIRIT.

I sang of the dancing stars,

I sang of the daedal Earth,
And of Heaven-and the giant wars,

And Love, and Death, and Birth,

And then I changed my pipings,Singing how down the vale of Menalus

I pursued a maiden and clasped a reed :
Gods and men, we are all deluded thus !

It breaks in our bosom and then we bleed :
All wept, as I think both ye now would,
If envy or age had not frozen your blood,

At the sorrow of my sweet pipings.

O Thou, who plumed with strong desire

Wouldst float above the earth, beware!
A shadow tracks thy flight of fire-

Night is coming !
Bright are the regions of the air,

And among the winds and beams
It were delight to wander there-

Night is coming !

SECOND SPIRIT.

The deathless stars are bright above :

If I would cross the shade at night,
Within my heart is the lamp of love,

And that is day!
And the moon will smile with gentle light

On my golden plumes where'er they move ;
The meteors will linger round my flight,

And make night day.

THE QUESTION.

FIRST SPIRIT.

SECOND SPIRIT.

I DREAMED that, as I wandered by the way,
Bare winter suddenly was changed to spring,

But if the whirlwinds of darkness waken
And gentle odours led my steps astray,

Hail, and lightning, and stormy rain ; Mixed with a sound of waters murmuring

See the bounds of the air are shakenAlong a shelving bank of turf, which lay

Night is coming ! Under a copse, and hardly dared to fling

The red swift clouds of the hurricane Its green arms round the bosom of the stream,

Yon declining sun have overtaken, But kissed it and then fled, as thou mightest in dream.

The clash of the hail sweeps over the plainThere grew pied wind-flowers and violets,

Night is coming !
Daisies, those pearled Arcturi of the earth,
The constellated flower that never sets ;

Faint oxlips ; tender blue bells, at whose birth | I see the light, and I hear the sound ;
The sod scarce heaved ; and that tall fower that I'll sail on the flood of the tempest dark,
Its mother's face with heaven-collected tears, [wets With the calm within and the light around
When the low wind, its playmate's voice, it hears.

Which makes night day :

And thou, when the gloom is deep and stark, And in the warm hedge grew lush eglantine, Look from thy dull earth, slumber-bound,

Green cow-bind and the moonlight-coloured May, My moonlight flight thou then may’st mark And cherry blossoms, and white cups, whose wine

On high, far away.
Was the bright dew yet drained not by the day;
And wild roses, and ivy serpentine,

Some say there is a precipice
With its dark buds and leaves, wandering astray; Where one vast pine is frozen to ruin
And flowers azure, black, and streaked with gold, O'er piles of snow and chasms of ice
Fairer than any wakened eyes behold.

'Mid Alpine mountains ;

And that the languid storm pursuing And nearer to the river's trembling edge

That winged shape, for ever flies Theregrew broad flag-flowers, purple prankt with

Round those hoar branches, aye renewing
And starry river buds among the sedge, [white,

Its aëry fountains.
And Hoating water-lilies, broad and bright,
Which lit the oak that overhung the hedge

Some
With moonlight beams of their own watery light;

say when nights are dry and clear, And bulrushes, and reeds of such deep green

And the death-dews sleep on the morass, As soothed the dazzled eye with sober sheen.

Sweet whispers are heard by the traveller,

Which makes night day : Methought that of these visionary flowers

And a silver shape like his early love doth pass I made a nosegay, bound in such a way

Upborne by her wild and glittering hair, That the same hues, which in their natural bowers

And when he awakes on the fragrant grass, Were mingled or opposed, the like array

He finds night day.
Kept these imprisoned children of the Hours

Within my hand,—and then, elate and gay,
I hastened to the spot whence I had come,
That I might there present it !-Oh! to whom?

Pledging the demons of the earthquake, who

Reply to them in lava-cry, halloo !
LETTER

And call out to the cities o'er their head,

Roofs, towns, and shrines,—the dying and the dead TO MARIA GISBORNE.

Crash through the chinks of earth-and then all

quaff

Another rouse, and hold their sides and laugh. LEGHORN, July 1, 1820.

This quicksilver no gnome has drunk-within The spider spreads her webs, whether she be

The walnut-bowl it lies, veined and thin, In poet's tower, cellar, or barn, or tree ;

In colour like the wake of light that stains The silkworm in the dark-green mulberry leaves

The Tuscan deep, when from the moist moon rains His winding-sheet and cradle ever weaves ! The inmost shower of its white fire-the breeze So I, a thing whom moralists call worm,

Is still-blue heaven smiles over the pale seas.
Sit spinning still round this decaying form, And in this bowl of quicksilver—for I
From the fine threads of rare and subtle thought, Yield to the impulse of an infancy
No net of words in garish colours wrought, Outlasting manhood—I have made to float
To catch the idle buzzers of the day-

A rude idealism of a paper boat-
But a soft cell, where, when that fades away, A hollow screw with cogs-Henry will know
Memory may clothe in wings my living name The thing I mean, and laugh at me,mif so
And feed it with the asphodels of fame,

He fears not I should do more mischief.—Next
Which in those hearts which most remember me Lie bills and calculations much perplext,
Grow, making love an immortality.

With steam-boats, frigates, and machinery quaint

Traced over them in blue and yellow paint. Whoever should behold me now, I wist,

Then comes a range of mathematical Would think I were a mighty mechanist,

Instruments, for plans nautical and statical, Bent with sublime Archimedean art

A heap of rosin, a green broken glass To breathe a soul into the iron heart

With ink in it ;-a china cup that was Of some machine portentous, or strange gin, What it will never be again, I think, Which by the force of figured spells might win A thing from which sweet lips were wont to drink Its way over the sea, and sport therein ;

The liquor doctors rail at-and which I For round the walls are hung dread engines, such Will quaff in spite of them—and when we die As Vulcan never wrought for Jove to clutch We'll toss up who died first of drinking tea, Ixion or the Titan :-or the quick

And cry out,- heads or tails? where'er we be. Wit of that man of God, St. Dominic,

Near that a dusty paint-box, some old books, To convince Atheist, Turk, or Heretic ;

A half burnt match, an ivory block, three books, Or those in philosophic councils met,

Where conic sections, spherics, logarithms, Who thought to pay some interest for the debt To great Laplace, from Saunderson and Sims, They owed to Jesus Christ for their salvation, Lie heaped in their harmonious disarray By giving a faint foretaste of damnation

Of figures,-disentangle them who may. To Shakspeare, Sidney, Spenser, and the rest Baron de Tott's Memoirs beside them lie, Who made our land an island of the blest,

And some odd volumes of old chemistry. When lamp-like Spain, who now relumes her fire Near them a most inexplicable thing, On Freedom's hearth, grew dim with Empire : With least in the middle— I'm conjecturing With thumb-screws, wheels, with tooth and spike How to make Henry understand ;-but-no, and jag,

I'll leave, as Spenser says, with many mo,
With fishes found under the utmost crag

This secret in the pregnant womb of time,
Of Cornwall, and the storm-encompassed isles, Too vast a matter for so weak a rhyme.
Where to the sky the rude sea seldom smiles
Unless in treacherous wrath, as on the morn And here like some weird Archimage sit I,
When the exulting elements in scorn

Plotting dark spells, and devilish enginery,
Satiated with destroyed destruction, lay

The self impelling steam-wheels of the mind Sleeping in beauty on their mangled prey, Which pump up oaths from clergymen, and grind As panthers sleep :—and other strange and dread The gentle spirit of our meek reviews Magical forms the brick-floor overspread

Into a powdery foam of salt abuse, Proteus transformed to metal did not make Ruffling the ocean of their self-content ;More figures, or more strange ; nor did he take I sit-and smile or sigh as is my bent, Such shapes of unintelligible brass,

But not for them-Libeccio rushes round Or heap himself in such a horrid mass

With an inconstant and an idle sound, Of tin and iron not to be understood,

I heed him more than them—the thunder-smoke And forms of unimaginable wood,

Is gathering on the mountains, like a cloak To puzzle Tubal Cain and all his brood :

Folded athwart their shoulders broad and bare ; Great screws, and cones, and wheels, and grooved The ripe corn under the undulating air blocks,

Undulates like an ocean ;-and the vines The elements of what will stand the shocks Are trembling wide in all their trellised lines ;Of wave and wind and time.-Upon the table The murmur of the awakening sea doth fill More knacks and quips there be than I am able The empty pauses of the blast ;- the hill To cataloguise in this verse of mine :

Looks hoary through the white electric rain, A pretty bowl of wood—not full of wine,

And from the glens beyond, in sullen strain But quicksilver; that dew which the gnomes drink The interrupted thunder howls ; above When at their subterranean toil they swink, One chasm of heaven smiles, like the eye of love

On the unquiet world ;—while such things are, At once is deaf and loud, and on the shore How could one worth your friendship heed the war Vomits its wrecks, and still howls on for more. Of worms? The shriek of the world's carrion Yet in its depth what treasures! You will see jays,

Your old friend Godwin, greater none than he ; Their censure, or their wonder, or their praise ? Though fallen on evil times, yet will he stand,

Among the spirits of our age and land, You are not here! The quaint witch Memory sees

Before the dread tribunal of To-come In vacant chairs your absent images,

The foremost, whilst rebuke stands pale and dumb. And points where once you sat, and now should be, You will see Coleridge ; he who sits obscure But are not.-I demand if ever we

In the exceeding lustre and the pure Shall meet as then we met ;—and she replies, Intense irradiation of a mind, Veiling in awe her second-sighted eyes,

Which, with its own internal lustre blind, “I know the past alone-but summon home Flags wearily through darkness and despair-. My sister Hope, she speaks of all to come." A cloud-encircled meteor of the air, But I, an old diviner, who know well

A hooded eagle among blinking owls. Every false verse of that sweet oracle,

You will see Hunt ; one of those happy souls Turned to the sad enchantress once again,

Which are the salt of the earth, and without whom And sought a respite from my gentle pain,

This world would smell like what it is—a tomb; In acting every passage o'er and o'er

Who is, what others seem :-his room no doubt Of our communion.- How on the sea shore Is still adorned by many a cast from Shout, We watched the ocean and the sky together, With graceful flowers, tastefully placed about ; Under the roof of blue Italian weather ;

And coronals of bay from ribbons hung, How I ran home through last year's thunder-storm, And brighter wreaths in neat disorder fung, And felt the transverse lightning linger warm The gifts of the most learned among some dozens Upon my cheek : and how we often made

Of female friends, sisters-in-law and cousins. Treats for each other, where good will outweighed And there is he with his eternal puns, The frugal luxury of our country cheer,

Which beat the dullest brain for smiles, like duns As it well might, were it less firm and clear Thundering for money at a poet's door ; Than ours must ever be ;-and how we spun Alas! it is no use to say, “ I'm poor !”. A shroud of talk to hide us from the sun

Or oft in graver mood, when he will look Of this familiar life, which seems to be

Things wiser than were ever said in book, But is not,—or is but quaint mockery

Except in Shakspeare's wisest tenderness. Of all we would believe ; or sadly blame

You will see H-, and I cannot express The jarring and inexplicable frame

His virtues, though I know that they are great, Of this wrong world :-and then anatomize Because he locks, then barricades, the gate The purposes and thoughts of men whose eyes Within which they inhabit ;—of his wit, Were closed in distant years ;-or widely guess And wisdom, you'll cry out when you are bit. The issue of the earth's great business,

Не: a pearl within an oyster-shell,
When we shall be as we no longer are ;

One of the richest of the deep. And there
Like babbling gossips safe, who hear the war Is English P- with his mountain Fair
Of winds, and sigh, but tremble not; or how Turned into a Flamingo,—that shy bird
You listened to some interrupted flow

That gleams i'the Indian air. Have you not heard Of visionary rhyme ;—in joy and pain

When a man marries, dies, or turns Hindoo, Struck from the inmost fountains of my brain, His best friends hear no more of him? but you With little skill perhaps ;-or how we sought Will see him, and will like him too, I hope, Those deepest wells of passion or of thought With the milk-white Snowdonian Antelope Wrought by wise poets in the waste of years, Matched with his camelopard his fine wit Staining the sacred waters with our tears ; Makes such a wound, the knife is lost in it ; Quenching a thirst ever to be renewed !

A strain too learned for a shallow age, Or how I, wisest lady! then indued

Too wise for selfish bigots ;-let his page,
The language of a land which now is free,

Which charms the chosen spirits of the age,
And winged with thoughts of truth and majesty, Fold itself up for a serener clime
Flits round the tyrant's sceptre like a cloud, Of years to come, and find its recompense
And bursts the peopled prisons, and cries aloud, In that just expectation. Wit and sense,
“My name is Legion !”--that majestic tongue, Virtue and human knowledge, all that might
Which Calderon over the desert Aung

Make this dull world a business of delight,
Of ages and of nations; and which found

Are all combined in Horace Smith. And these, An echo in our hearts, and with the sound

With some exceptions, which I need not teaze Startled oblivion ;-thou wert then to me

Your patience by descanting on, are all
As is a nurse—when inarticulately

You and I know in London.
A child would talk as its grown parents do.
If living winds the rapid clouds pursue,

I recall
If hawks chase doves through the aerial way, My thoughts, and bid you look upon the night :
Huntsmen the innocent deer, and beasts their prey, As water does a sponge, so the moonlight
Why should not we rouse with the spirit’s blast Fills the void, hollow, universal air.
Out of the forest of the pathless past

What see you ?-Unpavilioned heaven is fair, These recollected pleasures ?

Whether the moon, into her chamber gone,

Leaves midnight to the golden stars, or wan
You are now

Climbs with diminished beams the azure steep ; In London, that great sea, whose ebb and flow Or whether clouds sail o'er the inverse deep,

« PoprzedniaDalej »