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POEMS WRITTEN IN 1821.
Of parents, chance, or custom, time, or change, Or circumstance, or terror, or revenge, Or wildered looks, or words, or evil speech, With all their stings and venom, can impeach Our love, we love not:-if the grave, which hides The victim from the tyrant, and divides The cheek that whitens from the eyes that dart Imperious inquisition to the heart That is another's, could dissever ours, We love not.”—“What I do not the silent hours Beckon thee to Gherardi's bridal bed Is not that ring”—a pledge, he would have said, Of broken vows, but she with patient look The golden circle from her finger took, And said—“Accept this token of my faith, The pledge of vows to be absolved by death ; And I am dead or shall be soon—my knell Will mix its music with that merry bell; Does it not sound as if they sweetly said, * We toll a corpse out of the marriage bed ” The flowers upon my bridal chamber strewn Will serve unfaded for my bier—so soon That even the dying violet will not die Before Ginevra.” The strong fantasy Had made her accents weaker and more weak, And quenched the crimson life upon her cheek, And glazed her eyes, and spread an atmosphere Round her, which chilled the burning noon with fear, Making her but an image of the thought, Which, like a prophet or a shadow, brought News of the terrors of the coming time. Like an accuser branded with the crime He would have cast on a beloved friend, Whose dying eyes reproach not to the end The pale betrayer—he then with vain repentance Would share, he cannot now avert, the sentence— Antonio stood and would have spoken, when The compound voice of women and of men Was heard approaching ; he retired, while she Was led amid the admiring company Back to the palace, and her maidens soon Changed her attire for the afternoon, And left her at her own request to keep An hour of quiet and rest:-like one asleep With open eyes and folded hands she lay, Pale in the light of the declining day.
Meanwhile the day sinks fast, the sun is set, And in the lighted hall the guests are met; The beautiful looked lovelier in the light Of love, and admiration, and delight, Reflected from a thousand hearts and eyes Kindling a momentary Paradise. This crowd is safer than the silent wood, Where love's own doubts disturb the solitude; On frozen hearts the fiery rain of wine Falls, and the dew of music more divine Tempers the deep emotions of the time To spirits cradled in a sunny clime:— How many meet, who never yet have met, To part too soon, but never to forget How many saw the beauty, power, and wit Qf looks and words which ne'er enchanted yet 1 But life's familiar veil was now withdrawn, As the world leaps before an earthquake's dawn, And unprophetic of the coming hours, The matin winds from the expanded flowers Scatter their hoarded incense, and awaken The earth, until the dewy sleep is shaken
From every living heart which it possesses,
All hearts with its approach, though unbeheld;
They found Ginevra dead! if it be death, To lie without motion, or pulse, or breath, With waxen cheeks, and limbs cold, stiff, and white, And open eyes, whose fixed and glassy light Mocked at the speculation they had owned. If it be death, when there is felt around
A smell of clay, a pale and icy glare, And silence, and a sense that lifts the hair From the scalp to the ankles, as it were Corruption from the spirit passing forth, And giving all it shrouded to the earth, And leaving as swift lightning in its flight Ashes, and smoke, and darkness: in our night Of thought we know thus much of death, no more Than the unborn dream of our life before | Their barks are wrecked on its inhospitable shore. The marriage feast and its solemnity | Was turned to funeral pomp-the company, With heavy hearts and looks, broke up; nor they Who loved the dead went weeping on their way Alone, but sorrow mixed with sad surprise Loosened the springs of pity in all eyes, On which that form, whose fate they weep in vain, Will never, thought they, kindle smiles again. The lamps which, half extinguished in their haste, Gleamed few and faint o'er the abandoned feast, Showed as it were within the vaulted room A cloud of sorrow hanging, as if gloom Had passed out of men's minds into the air. Some few yet stood around Gherardi there, Friends and relations of the dead, and he, A loveless man, accepted torpidly The consolation that he wanted not, Awe in the place of grief within him wrought. Their whispers made the solemn silence seem More still—some wept, I J Some melted into tears without a sob, And some with hearts that might be heard to throb Leant on the table, and at intervals Shuddered to hear through the deserted halls And corridors the thrilling shrieks which came Upon the breeze of night, that shook the flame Of every torch and taper as it swept From out the chamber where the women 1-ept ;Their tears fell on the dear companion col Of pleasures now departed ; then was knoll The bell of death, and soon the priests arrived, And finding death their penitent had shrived, Returned like ravens from a corpse whereon A vulture has just feasted to the bone. And then the mourning women came.—
sk * + . *
THE BOAT, ON THE SERCHIO.
OUR boat is asleep on Serchio's stream,
The stars burnt out in the pale blue air,
Day had awakened all things that be,
All rose to do the task He set to each,
And many rose Whose woe was such that fear became desire;— Melchior and Lionel were not among those ; They from the throng of men had stepped aside, And made their home under the green hill side. It was that hill, whose intervening brow Screens Lucca from the Pisan's envious eye, Which the circumfluous plain waving below, Like a wide lake of green fertility, With streams and fields and marshes bare, Divides from the far Apennines—which lie Islanded in the immeasurable air.
“What think you, as she lies in her green cove,
———“Never mind,” said Lionel, “Give care to the winds, they can bear it well About yon poplar tops; and see! The white clouds are driving merrily, And the stars we miss this morn will light More willingly our return to-night.—
List, my dear fellow, the breeze blows fair;
The chain is loosed, the sails are spread,
The Serchio, twisting forth Between the marble barriers which it clove At Ripafratta, leads through the dread chasm The wave that died the death which lovers love, Living in what it sought ; as if this spasm Had not yet past, the toppling mountains cling, But the clear stream in full enthusiasm Pours itself on the plain, until wandering, Down one clear path of effluence crystalline Sends its clear waves, that they may fling At Arno’s feet tribute of corn and wine : Then, through the pestilential deserts wild Of tangled marsh and woods of stunted fir, It rushes to the Ocean.
| They were two cousins, almost like two twins,
I. THE serpent is shut out from paradise. The wounded deer must seek the herb no more In which its heart-cure lies : The widowed dove must cease to haunt a bower, Like that from which its mate with feigned sighs Fled in the April hour. I too, must seldom seek again Near happy friends a mitigated pain. II. Of hatred I am proud, with scorn content; Indifference, that once hurt me, now is grown Itself indifferent. But, not to speak of love, pity alone Can break a spirit already more than bent. The miserable one Turns the mind's poison into food, Its medicine is tears, its evil good. III. Therefore if now I see you seldomer, Dear friends, dear friend t know that I only fly Your looks because they stir Griefs that should sleep, and hopes that cannot die: The very comfort that they minister I scarce can bear; yet I, So deeply is the arrow gone, Should quickly perish if it were withdrawn.
When I return to my cold home, you ask
You spoil me for the task
Of author, great or mean,
Full half an hour, to-day, I tried my lot
“She loves me, loves me not *.”
If it meant—but I dread
The crane o'er seas and forests seeks her home;
When it no more would roam ;
And thus, at length, find rest:
I asked her, yesterday, if she believed
Would ne'er have thus relieved
These verses are too sad
* See Faust.
O World ! O life O time !
Out of the day and night
SONNET. POLITICAL Great NESS.
Nor happiness, nor majesty, nor fame,
DIRGE FOR THE YEAR.
ORPHAN hours, the year is dead,
As an earthquake rocks a corse
As the wild air stirs and sways
January grey is here,