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Such the ungentle sport that oft invites
The Spanish maid, and cheers the Spanish swain.
Nurtured in blood betimes, his heart delights
In vengeance, gloating on another's pain.
What private feuds the troubled village stain!
Though now one phalanx'd host should meet the foe,
Enough, alas! in humble homes remain,
To meditate 'gainst friends the secret blow,
For some slight cause of wrath, whence life's warm stream must flow.
But jealousy has fled; his bars, his bolts, His wither'd sentinel, duenna sage! And all whereat the generous soul revolts, Which the stern dotard deem'd he could encage, Have pass'd to darkness with the vanish'd age. Who late so free as Spanish girls were seen (Ere war uprose in his volcanic rage), With braided tresses bounding o'er the green, While on the gay dance shone night's lover-loving queen?
Oh! many a time and oft had Harold loved, Or dream'd he loved, since rapture is a dream; But now his wayward bosom was unmoved, For not yet had he drunk of Lethe's stream; And lately had he learn'd with truth to deem Love has no gift so grateful as his wings: How fair, how young, how soft soe'er he seem, 'Full from the fount of joy's delicious springs Some bitter o'er the flowers its bubbling venom flings. 16
Yet to the beauteous form he was not blind, Though now it moved him as it moves the wise; Not that philosophy on such a mind E'er deign'd to bend her chastely-awful eyes:] But passion raves itself to rest, or flies; And vice, that digs her own voluptuous tomb, Had buried long his hopes, no more to rise: Pleasure's pall'd victim! life-abhorring gloom Wrote on his faded brow cursed Cain's unresting doom.
Still he beheld, nor mingled with the throng; But view'd them not with misanthropic hate: Fain would he now have join'd the dance, the song; But who may smile that sinks beneath his fate? Nought that he saw his sadness could abate: Yet once he struggled 'gainst the demon's sway, And as in beauty's bower he pensive sate, Pour'd forth this unpremeditated lay, To charms as fair as those that soothed his happier day.
And dost thou ask, what secret woe
I bear, corroding joy and youth?
And wilt thou vainly seek to know
A pang even thou must fail to soothe ?
It is not love, it is not hate,
Nor low ambition's honours lost, That bids me loathe my present state, And fly from all I prized the most;
It is that weariness which springs
From all I meet, or hear, or see;
To me no pleasure beauty brings;
Thine eyes have scarce a charm for me.
It is that settled, ceaseless gloom
The fabled Hebrew wanderer bore; That will not look beyond the tomb, But cannot hope for rest before.
6. What exile from himself can flee?
To zones, though more and more remote, Still, still pursues, where'er I be,
The blight of life-the demon thought.
Yet others rapt in pleasure seem,
And taste of all that I forsake;
Oh! may they still of transport dream,
And ne'er, at least like me, awake!
Through many a clime 't is mine to go,
With many a retrospection curst;
And all my solace is to know,
Whate'er betides, I've known the worst.
What is that worst? Nay do not ask-
In pity from the search forbear:
Smile on-nor venture to unmask
Man's heart, and view the hell that's there.
Ye who would more of Spain and Spaniards know,
Go, read whate'er is writ of bloodiest strife:
Whate'er keen vengeance urged on foreign foe
Can act, is acting there against man's life:
From flashing scimitar to secret knife,
War mouldeth there each weapon to his need-
Such be the sons of Spain, and, strange her fate!
They fight for freedom who were never free;
A kingless people for a nerveless state,
Her vassals combat when their chieftains flee,
True to the veriest slaves of treachery:
Fond of a land which gave them nought but life,
Pride points the path that leads to liberty;
Back to the struggle, baffled in the strife,
War, war is still the cry, « war even to the knife!»>18
So may he guard the sister and the wife,
So may he make each curst oppressor bleed,
So may such foes deserve the most remorseless deed!
Flows there a tear of pity for the dead?
Look o'er the ravage of the reeking plain;
Look on the hands with female slaughter red;
Then to the dogs resign the unburied slain,
Then to the vulture let each corse remain;
Albeit unworthy of the prey-bird's maw,
Let their bleach'd bones, and blood's unbleaching stain,
Long mark the battle field with hideous awe:
Thus only may our sons conceive the scenes we saw!
Nor yet, alas! the dreadful work is done,
Fresh legions pour adown the Pyrenees;
It deepens still, the work is scarce begun,
Nor mortal eye the distant end foresees.
Fall'n nations gaze on Spain; if freed, she frees
More than her fell Pizarros once enchain'd:
Strange retribution! now Columbia's ease
Repairs the wrongs that Quito's sons sustain'd,
While o'er the parent clime prowls murder unrestrain'd.
Not all the blood at Talavera shed,
Not all the marvels of Barossa's fight,
Not Albuera, lavish of the dead,
Have won for Spain her well asserted right.
When shall her olive-branch be free from blight?
When shall she breathe her from the blushing toil?
How many a doubtful day shall sink in night,
Ere the Frank robber turn him from his spoil,
And freedom's stranger-tree grow native of the soil!
Adieu, fair Cadiz! yea, a long adieu!
Who may forget how well thy walls have stood?
When all were changing thou alone wert true,
First to be free, and last to be subdued:
And if amidst á scene, a shock so rude,
Some native blood was seen thy streets to dye;
A traitor only fell beneath the feud :17
And thou, my friend!19-since unavailing woe
Bursts from my heart, and mingles with the strain-
Had the sword laid thee with the mighty low,
Pride might forbid even friendship to complain:
But thus unlaurell'd, to desceud in vain,
By all forgotten, save the lonely breast,
And mix unbleeding with the boasted slain,
While glory crowns so many a meaner crest!
Here all were noble, save nobility;
None hugg'd a conqueror's chain, save fallen chivalry! What hadst thou done to sink so peacefully to rest?
Oh, known the earliest, and esteem'd the most!
Dear to a heart where nought was left so dear!
Though to my hopeless days for ever lost,
In dreams deny me not to see thee here!
And morn in secret shall renew the tear
Of consciousness awaking to her woes,
And fancy hover o'er thy bloodless bier,
Till my frail frame return to whence it rose,
And mourn'd and mourner lie united in repose.
Here is one fytte of Harold's pilgrimage:
Ye who of him may further seek to know,
Shall find some tidings in a future page,
If he that rhymeth now may scribble moe.
Is this too much? stern critic! say not so:
Patience! and ye shall hear what he beheld
In other lands, where he was doom'd to go:
Lands that contain the monuments of Eld,
Ere Greece and Grecian arts by barbarous hands were Why even the worm at last disdains her shatter'd cell!
Or burst the vanish'd hero's lofty mound;
Far on the solitary shore he sleeps :3
He fell, and falling nations mourn'd around;
But now not one of saddening thousands weeps,
Nor warlike worshipper his vigil keeps
Where demi-gods appear'd, as records tell.
Remove yon skull from out the scatter'd heaps:
Is that a temple where a god may dwell?
COME, blue-eyed maid of heaven!--but thou, alas!
Didst never yet one mortal song inspire-
Goddess of wisdom! here thy temple was,
And is, despite of war and wasting fire, 1
And years, that bade thy worship to expire;
But worse than steel, and flame, and ages slow,
Is the dread sceptre and dominion dire
Of men who never felt the sacred glow
Ancient of days! august Athena! where,
Where are thy men of might? thy grand in soul?
Gone, glimmering thro' the dream of things that were;
First in the race that led to glory's goal,
They won, and pass'd away-is this the whole?
A school-boy's tale, the wonder of an hour?
The warrior's weapon and the sophist's stole
Are sought in vain, and o'er each mouldering tower,
Dim with the mist of years, grey flits the shade of power.
Look on its broken arch, its ruin'd wall,
Its chambers desolate, and portals foul:
Yes, this was once ambition's airy hall,
The dome of thought, the palace of the soul:
Behold through each lack-lustre, eyeless hole,
The gay recess of wisdom and of wit,
And passion's host, that never brook'd control:
Can all, saint, sage, or sophist ever writ,
People this lonely tower, this tenement refit?
Well didst thou speak, Athena's wisest son!
« All that we know is, nothing can be known.>>
Why should we shrink from what we cannot shun?
Each has his pang, but feeble sufferers groan
With brain-born dreams of evil all their own.
Pursue what chance or fate proclaimeth best;
Peace waits us on the shores of Acheron :
There no forced banquet claims the sated guest,
¡ That thoughts of thee and thine on polish'd breasts But silence spreads the couch of ever-welcome rest.
Bound to the earth, he lifts his eye to heaven-
Is it not enough, unhappy thing! to know
Thou art? Is this a boon so kindly given,
That being, thou wouldst be again, and go,
Thou know'st not, reck'st not to what region, so
On earth no more, but mingled with the skies?
Still wilt thou dream on future joy and woe?
Regard and weigh yon dust before it flies:
That little urn saith more than thousand homilies.
Yet if, as holiest men have deem'd, there be
A land of souls beyond that sable shore,
To shame the doctrine of the Sadducee
And sophists, madly vain of dubious lore;
How sweet it were in concert to adore
With those who made our mortal labours light!
To hear each voice we fear'd to hear no more!
Behold each mighty shade reveal'd to sight,
The Bactrian, Samian sage, and all who taught the right!
Son of the morning, rise! approach you here!
Come-but molest not yon defenceless urn:
Look on this spot-a nation's sepulchre !
Abode of gods, whose shrines no longer burn.
Even gods must yield-religions take their turn :
T was Jove's-t is Mahomet's-and other creeds
Will rise with other years, till man shall learn
Vainly his incense soars, his victim bleeds;
There, thou!-whose love and life together fled,
Have left me here to love and live in vain-
Twined with my heart, and can I deem thee dead,
When busy memory flashes on my brain?
Well-I will dream that we may meet again,
And woo the vision to my vacant breast:
If aught of young remembrance then remain,
Be as it may futurity's behest,
Poor child of doubt and death, whose hope is built on For me 't were bliss enough to know thy spirit blest!
Here let me sit upon this massy stone,
The marble column's yet unshaken base;
Here, son of Saturn! was thy fav'rite throne: 4
Mightiest of many such! Hence let me trace
The latent grandeur of thy dwelling-place.
It may not be nor even can fancy's eye
Restore what time hath labour'd to deface.
Yet these proud pillars claim no passing sigh-
Unmoved the Moslem sits, the light Greek carols by.
But where is Harold? shall I then forget
the gloomy wanderer o'er the wave?
Little reck'd he of all that men regret ;
No loved-one now in fegu'd lament could rave;
No friend the parting hand extended gave,
Ere the cold stranger pass'd to other climes :
Hard is his heart whom charms may not enslave;
But Harold felt not as in other times,
And left without a sigh the land of war and crimes.
And oh, the little warlike world within!
The well-reeved guns, the netted canopy,9
The hoarse command, the busy humming din,
When, at a word, the tops are manu'd ou high :
Hark to the boatswain's call, the cheering cry!
While through the seaman's hand the tackle glides:
Or school-boy midshipman that, standing by,
Strains his shrill pipe as good or ill betides,
And well the docile crew that skilful urchin guides.
White is the glassy deck, without a stain,
Where on the watch the staid lieutenant walks:
Look on that part which sacred doth remain
For the lone chieftain, who majestic stalks,
Silent and fear'd by all-not oft he talks
With aught beneath him, if he would preserve
That strict restraint, which broken, ever balks
Conquest and fame: but Britons rarely swerve
From law, however stern, which tends their strength
Blow! swiftly blow, thou keel-compelling gale!
Till the broad sun withdraws his lessening ray;
Then must the pennant-bearer slacken sail,
That lagging barks may make their lazy way.
Ah! grievance sore, and listless dull delay,
To waste on sluggish hulks the sweetest breeze!
What leagues are lost before the dawn of day,
Thus loitering pensive on the willing seas,
The flapping sail haul'd down to halt for logs like these!
The moon is up; by Heaven a lovely eve!
Cold is the heart, fair Greece! that looks on thee,
Nor feels as lovers o'er the dust they loved;
Dull is the eye that will not weep to see
Thy walls defaced, thy mouldering shrines removed
By British hands, which it had best beloved
To guard those relics ne'er to be restored.
Curst be the hour when from their isle they roved,
And once again thy hapless bosom gored,
Long streams of light o'er dancing waves expand;
Now lads on shore may sigh, and maids believe:
Such be our fate when we return to land!
Meantime some rude Arion's restless hand
Wakes the brisk harmony that sailors love;
A circle there of merry listeuers stand,
Or to some well-known measure featly move,
And snatch'd thy shrinking gods to northern climes Thoughtless, as if on shore they still were free to rove. abhorr'd!
Through Calpe's straits survey the steepy shore;
Europe and Afric on each other gaze!
Lands of the dark-eyed maid and dusky Moor
Alike beheld beneath pale Hecate's blaze:
How softly on the Spanish shore she plays,
Disclosing rock, and slope, and forest brown,
Distinct, though darkening with her waning phase;
But Mauritania's giant-shadows frown,
From mountain-cliff to coast descending sombre down.
T is night, when meditation bids us feel
We once have loved, though love is at an end:
The heart, lone mourner of its baffled zeal,
Though friendless now, will dream it had a friend.
Who with the weight of years would wish to bend,
When youth itself survives young love and joy?
Alas! when mingling souls forget to blend,
Death hath but little left him to destroy!
But not in silence pass Calypso's isles,1o
The sister tenants of the middle deep;
There for the weary still a haven smiles,
Though the fair goddess long hath ceased to weep,
And o'er her cliffs a fruitless watch to keep
For him who dared prefer a mortal bride:
Here, too, his boy essayed the dreadful leap
Stern Mentor urg'd from high to yonder tide;
Ah! happy years! once more who would not be a boy? While thus of both bereft, the nymph-queen doubly
Thus bending o'er the vessel's laving side,
To gaze on Dian's wave-reflected sphere,
The soul forgets her schemes of hope and pride,
And flies unconscious o'er each backward year.
None are so desolate but something dear,
Dearer than self, possesses or possess'd
A thought, and claims the homage of a tear;
A flashing pang! of which the weary breast
Would still, albeit in vain, the heavy heart divest.
To sit on rocks, to muse o'er flood and fell,
To slowly trace the forest's shady scene,
Where things that own not man's dominion dwell,
And mortal foot hath ne'er, or rarely been ;
To climb the trackless mountain all unseen,
With the wild flock that never needs a fold;
Alone o'er steeps and foaming falls to lean-
This is not solitude; 't is but to hold
Converse with Nature's charms, and 'view her stores
But 'midst the crowd, the hum, the shock of men,
To hear, to see, to feel, and to possess,
And roam along, the world's tired denizen,
With none who bless us, none whom we can bless;
Minions of splendour shrinking from distress!
None that, with kindred consciousness endued,
If we were not, would seem to smile the less
Of all that flatter'd, follow'd, sought, and sued;
This is to be alone; this, this is solitude!
More blest the life of godly eremite,
Such as on lonely Athos may be seen
Watching at eve upon the giant height,
Which looks o'er waves so blue, skies so serene,
That he who there at such an hour hath been
Will wistful linger on that hallow'd spot;
Then slowly tear him from the 'witching scene,
Sigh forth one wish that such had been his lot,
Then turn to hate a world he had almost forgot.
Pass we the long, unvarying course, the track
Oft trod, that never leaves a trace behind;
Pass we the calm, the gale, the change, the tack,
And each well-known caprice of wave and wind;
Pass we the joys and sorrows sailors find,
Coop'd in their winged sea-girt citadel;
The foul, the fair, the contrary, the kind,
As breezes rise and fall and billows swell,
Til on some jocund morn-lo, land! and all is well.
Her reign is past, her gentle glories gone :
But trust not this; too easy youth, beware!
A mortal sovereign holds her dangerous throne,
And thou mayst find a new Calypso there.
Sweet Florence! could another ever share
This wayward, loveless heart, it would be thine:
But check'd by every tie, I may not dare
To cast a worthless offering at thy shrine,
Nor ask so dear a breast to feel one pang for mine.
Thus Harold deem'd, as on that lady's eye
He look'd, and met its beam without a thought,
Save admiration glancing harmless by:
Love kept aloof, albeit not far remote,
Who knew his votary often lost and caught,
But knew him as his worshipper no more,
And ne'er again the boy his bosom sought:
Since now he vainly urged him to adore,
Well deem'd the little god his ancient sway was o'er.
Fair Florence found, in sooth with some amaze,
One who, it was said, still sigh'd to all he saw,
Withstand, unmoved, the lustre of her gaze,
Which others hail'd with real, or mimic awe,
Their hope, their doom, their punishment, their law;
All that gay beauty from her bondsmen claims:
And much she marvell'd that a youth so raw
Nor felt, nor feign'd at least, the oft-told flames,
Which, though sometimes they frown, yet rarely anger
Little knew she that seeming marble-heart,
Now mask'd in silence or withheld by pride,
Was not unskilful in the spoiler's art,
And spread its snares licentious far and wide;
Nor from the base pursuit had turn'd aside,
As long as aught was worthy to pursue :
But Harold on such arts no more relied;
And had he doated on those eyes so blue,
Yet never would he join the lovers' whining crew.
Not much he kens, I ween, of woman's breast,
Who thinks that wanton thing is won by sighs;
What careth she for hearts when once possess'd?
Do proper homage to thine idol's eyes;
But not too humbly, or she will despise
Thee and thy suit, though told in moving tropes:
Disguise even tenderness, if thou art wise;
Brisk confidence still best with woman copes;
Pique her and soothe in turn, soon passion crowns thy