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In the desert a fountain is springing,
In the wide waste there still is a tree,
And a bird in the solitude singing,
Which speaks to my spirit of thee.
I HAD a dream, which was not all a dream.
The bright sun was extinguish'd, and the stars
Did wander darkling in the eternal space,
Rayless, and pathless, and the icy earth
Swung blind and blackening in the moonless air.
Morn came, and went-and came, and brought no day;
And men forgot their passions in the dread
Of this their desolation; and all hearts
Were chill'd into a selfish prayer for light:
And they did live by watch-fires--and the thrones,
The palaces of crowned kings-the huts,
The habitations of all things which dwell,
Were burnt for beacons; cities were consumed,
And men were gather'd round their blazing homes
To look once more into each other's face:
Happy were those who dwelt within the eye
Of the volcanos and their mountain-torch.
A fearful hope was all the world contain'd.
Forests were set on fire-but hour by hour
They fell and faded—and the crackling trunks
Extinguish'd with a crash-and all was black.
The brows of men by the despairing light
Wore an unearthly aspect, as by fits
The flashes fell upon them: some lay down
And hid their eyes and wept; and some did rest
Their chins upon their clenched hands, and smiled;
And others hurried to and fro, and fed
Their funeral piles with fuel, and look'd up
With mad disquietude on the dull sky,
The pall of a past world; and then again
With curses cast them down upon the dust,
Where had been heap'd a mass of holy things
For an unholy usage; they raked up,
And shivering scraped with their cold skeleton hands
The feeble ashes, and their feeble breath
And, terrified, did flutter on the ground,
And flap their useless wings; the wildest brutes
Came tame and tremulous; and vipers crawld
And twined themselves among the multitude,
Hissing, but stingless-they were slain for food:
And war, which for a moment was no more,
Did glut himself again. A meal was bought
With blood, and each sate sullenly apart,
Gorging himself in gloom: no love was left;
All earth was but one thought-and that was death,
Immediate and inglorious; and the pang
Of famine fed upon all entrails. Men
Died, and their bones were tombless as their flesh;
The meagre by the meagre were devour'd.
Even dogs assail'd their masters, all save one,
And he was faithful to a corse, and kept
The birds and beasts and famish'd men at bay,
Till hunger clung them, or the dropping dead
Lured their lank jaws; himself sought out no food,
But with a piteous and perpetual moan
And a quick desolate cry, licking the hand
Which answer'd not with a caress-he died.
The crowd was famish'd by degrees; but two
Of an enormous city did survive,
And they were enemies; they met beside
The dying embers of an altar-place
Blew for a little life, and made a flame
Which was a mockery; then they lifted up
Their eyes as it grew lighter, and beheld
Each other's aspects-saw, and shriek'd and died—
Even of their mutual hideousness they died,
Unknowing who he was upon whose brow
Famine had written fiend. The world was void,
The populous and the powerful was a lump,
Seasonless, herbless, treeless, manless, lifeless—
A lump of death-a chaos of hard clay.
The rivers, lakes, and ocean, all stood still,
And nothing stirred within their silent depths;
Ships sailorless lay rotting on the sea,
And their masts fell down piecemeal; as they dropp'd,
They slept on the abyss without a surge.
The waves were dead; the tides were in their grave,
The moon their mistress had expired before;
The winds were wither'd in the stagnant air,
And the clouds perish'd; darkness had no need
Of aid from them-she was the universe.
A FACT LITERALLY RENDERED.
I STOOD beside the grave of him who blazed
The comet of a season, and I saw
The humblest of all sepulchres, and gazed
With not the less of sorrow and of awe
On that neglected turf and quiet stone,
With name no clearer than the names unknown,
Which lay unread around it; and I ask'd
The gardener of that ground, why it might be
That for this plant strangers his memory task'd
And gnash'd their teeth and howl'd. The wild birds Through the thick deaths of half a century;
And thus he answer'd-« Well, I do not know
Why frequent travellers turn to pilgrims so;
He died before my day of sextouship,
And I had not the digging of this grave. »
And is this all? I thought,-and do we rip
The veil of immortality? and crave
I know not what of honour and of light
Through unborn ages, to endure this blight?
So soon and so successless? As I said,
The architect of all on which we tread,
For earth is but a tombstone, did essay
To extricate remembrance from the clay,
Whose minglings might confuse a Newton's thought,
Were it not that all life must end in one,
Of which we are but dreamers;-as he caught
As 't were the twilight of a former sun,
Thus spoke he,--«I believe the man of whom
You wot, who lies in this selected tomb,
Was a most famous writer in his day,
And therefore travellers step from out their way
To pay him honour,—and myself whate`er
Your honour pleases.» Then most pleased I shook
From out my pocket's avaricious nook
Some certain coins of silver, which as 't were
Perforce I gave this man, though I could spare
So much but inconveniently. Ye smile,
I see ye, ye profane ones! all the while,
Because my homely phrase the truth would tell.
You are the fools, not I-for I did dwell
With a deep thought, and with a soften'd eye,
On that old sexton's natural homily,
In which there was obscurity and fame,
The glory and the nothing of a name.
TITAN! to whose immortal eyes
The sufferings of mortality,
Seen in their sad reality,
Were not as things that gods despise;
What was thy pity's recompense!
A silent suffering, and intense;
The rock, the vulture, and the chain,
All that the proud can feel of pain,
The agony they do not show,
The suffocating sense of woe,
Which speaks but in its loneliness, And then is jealous lest the sky Should have a listener, nor will sigh Until its voice is echoless.
Titan! to thee the strife was given
Between the suffering and the will,
Which torture where they cannot kill;
And the inexorable heaven,
And the deaf tyranny of fate,
The ruling principle of hate,
Which for its pleasure doth create
The things it may annihilate,
Refused thee even the boon to die:
The wretched gift eternity
Was thine-and thou hast borne it well.
All that the Thunderer wrung from thee
Was but the menace which flung back
On him the torments of thy rack;
The fate thou didst so well foresee,
But would not to appease him tell :
And in thy silence was his sentence,
And in his soul a vain repentance,
And evil dread, so ill dissembled
That in his hand the lightnings trembled.
Thy godlike crime was to be kind,
To render with thy precepts less
The sum of human wretchedness,
And strengthen man with his own mind.
But baffled as thou wert from high,
Still in thy patient energy,
In the endurance, and repulse
Of thine impenetrable spirit,
Which earth and heaven could not convulse,
A mighty lesson we inherit.
Thou art a symbol and a sign
To mortals of their fate and force;
Like thee, man is in part divine,
A troubled stream from a pure source:
And man in portions can foresee
His own funereal destiny;
His wretchedness, and his resistance,
And his sad unallied existence :
To which his spirit may oppose
Itself-an equal to all woes,
"T is the shout of delight, 't is the millions that swear | Next-for some gracious service unexprest,
His sceptre shall rule them alone.
Reverses shall brighten their zeal,
Misfortune shall hallow his name,
And from its wages only to be guess'd-
Raised from the toilet to the table, where
Her wondering betters wait behind her chair:
And the world that pursues him shall mournfully feel With eye unmoved, and forehead unabash'd,
How quenchless the spirit and flame
She dines from off the plate she lately wash'd.
That Frenchmen will breathe, when their hearts are Quick with the tale, and ready with the lie, on fire,
For the hero they love, and the chief they admire!
Their hero has rush'd to the field;
His laurels are cover'd with shade-
But where is the spirit that never should yield,
The loyalty never to fade?
In a moment desertion and guile
Abandon'd him up to the foe;
The dastards that flourish'd and grew in his smile
Forsook and renounced him in woe;
And the millions that swore they would perish to save,
Beheld him a fugitive, captive, and slave!
The savage all wild in his glen
Is nobler and better than thou;
Thou standest a wonder, a marvel to men,
Such perfidy blackens thy brow!
If thou wert the place of my birth,
At once from thy arms would I sever;
I'd fly to the uttermost ends of the earth,
And quit thee for ever and ever;
And thinking of thee in my long after
Should but kindle my blushes and waken my tears.
Oh, shame to thee, land of the Gaul!
Oh, shame to thy children and thee!
Unwise in thy glory, and base in thy fall,
How wretched thy portion shall be!
Derision shall strike thee forlorn,
A mockery that never shall die:
The curses of hate, and the hisses of scorn,
Shall burthen the winds of thy sky;
And proud o'er thy ruin for ever be hurl'd
The laughter of triumph, the jeers of the world!
Lines composed on the occasion of H. R. H. the Pe R-g-t being
seen standing betwixt the coffins of Henry VIII and Charles I, in
the royal vault at Windsor.
FAMED for contemptuous breach of sacred ties,
By headless Charles, see heartless Henry lies;
Between them stands another sceptred thing.
It moves, it reigns-in all but name, a king:
Charles to his people, Henry to his wife,
In him the double tyrant starts to life.
Justice and death have mix'd their dust in vain,
Each royal vampyre wakes to life again.
Ah! what can tombs avail-since these disgorge
The blood and dust of both-to mould a G...ge.
A SKETCH FROM PRIVATE LIFE.
If that thou be'st a devil, I cannot kill thee!
BORN in the garret, in the kitchen bred,
Promoted thence to deck her mistress' head;
The genial confidante, and general spy;
Who could, ye gods! her next employment guess?
An only infant's earliest governess!
She taught the child to read, and taught so well,
That she herself, by teaching, learn'd to spell.
An adept next in penmanship she
As many a nameless slander deftly shows:
What she had made the pupil of her art,
None know-but that high soul secured the heart,
And panted for the truth it could not hear,
With longing breast and undeluded ear.
Foil'd was perversion by that youthful mind,
Which flattery fool'd not, baseness could not blind,
Deceit infect not, near contagion soil,
Indulgence weaken, nor example spoil,
Nor master'd science tempt her to look down
On humbler talents with a pitying frown,
Nor genius swell, nor beanty render vaiu,
Nor envy ruffle to retaliate pain,
Nor fortune change, pride raise, nor passion bow,
Nor virtue teach austerity-till now.
Serenely purest of her sex that live.
But wanting one sweet weakness-to forgive;
Too shock'd at faults her soul can never know,
She deems that all could be like her below:
Foe to all vice, yet hardly virtue's friend—
For virtue pardons those she would amend.
But to the theme-now laid aside too long,
The baleful burthen of this honest song-
Though all her former functions are no more,
She rules the circle which she served before.
If mothers-none know why-before her quake.
If daughters dread her for the mother's sake;
If early habits-those false links which bind,
At times, the loftiest to the meanest mind-
The angry essence of her deadly will ;
Have given her power too deeply to instil
If like a snake she steal within your walls,
Till the black slime betray her as she crawls;
If like a viper to the heart she wind,
And leave the venom there she did not find;
What marvel that this hag of hatred works
Eternal evil latent as she lurks,
To make a Pandemonium where she dwells,
And reign the Hecate of domestic hells!
Skill'd by a touch to deepen scandal's tints,
With all the kind mendacity of hints,
While mingling truth with falsehood, sneers with smiles,
A thread of candour with a web of wiles;
A plain blunt show of briefly-spoken seeming,
To hide her bloodless heart's soul-harden'd scheming;
A lip of lies, a face form'd to conceal,
And, without feeling, mock at all who feel;
With a vile mask the Gorgon would disown,
A cheek of parchment, and an eye of stone.
Mark how the channels of her yellow blood
Ooze to her skin, and stagnate there to mud,
Cased like the centipede in saffron mail,
Or darker greenness of the scorpion's scale
(For drawn from reptiles only may we trace
Congenial colours in that soul or face).
Look on her features! and behold her mind,
As in the mirror of itself defined:
Look on the picture! deem it not o'ercharged—
This is no trait which might not be enlarged;
Yet true to << Nature's journeymen,»> who made
This monster when their mistress left off trade,—
This female dog-star of her little sky,
Where all beneath her influence droop or die.
Oh! wretch without a tear-without a thought,
Save joy above the ruin thou hast wrought-
The time shall come, nor long remote when thou
Shalt feel far more than thou inflictest now;
Feel for thy vile self-loving self in vain,
And turn thee howling in unpitied pain.
May the strong curse of crush'd affections light
Back on thy bosom with reflected blight!
And make thee, in thy leprosy of mind,
As loathsome to thyself as to mankind!
Till all thy self-thoughts curdle into hate,
Black as thy will for others would create :
Till thy hard heart be calcined into dust,
And thy soul welter in its hideous crust.
Oh, may thy grave be sleepless as the bed,
The widow'd couch of fire, that thou hast spread!
Then, when thou fain wouldst weary Heaven with prayer,
Look on thine earthly victims-and despair!
Down to the dust!-and, as thou rott'st away,
Even worms shall perish on thy poisonous clay.
But for the love I bore, and still must bear,
To her thy malice from all ties would tear,
Thy name-thy human name-to every eye
The climax of all scorn, should hang on high,
Exalted o'er thy less abhorr'd compeers,
And festering in the infamy of years.
CARMINA BYRONIS IN C. ELGIN. ASPICE, quos Scoto Pallas concedit honores, Subter stat nomen, facta superque vide. Scote miser! quamvis nocuisti Palladis ædi,
Infandum facinus vindicat ipsa Venus. Pygmalion statuam pro sponsa arsisse refertur ; In statuam rapias, Scote, sed uxor abest.
LINES TO MR MOORE.
(The following lines were addressed extempore by Lord Byron to his friend Mr. Moore, on the latter's last visit to Italy.]
My boat is on the shore,
And my bark is on the sea; But, before I go, TOM MOORE, Here's a double health to thee. Here's a sigh to those who love me, And a smile to those who hate; And, whatever sky 's above me,
Here's a heart for every fate. Though the ocean roar around me, Yet it still shall bear me on; Though a desert should surround me, It hath springs that may be won.
In the different pamphlets which you have had the goodness to send me, on the Pope and Bowles' controversy, I perceive that my name is occasionally introduced by both parties. Mr Bowles refers more than once to what he is pleased to consider «a remarkable circumstance,» not only in his letter to Mr Campbell, but in his reply to the Quarterly. The Quarterly also, and Mr Gilchrist, have conferred on me the dangerous honour of a quotation; and Mr Bowles indirectly makes a kind of appeal to me personally, by saying, «Lord Byron, if he remembers the circumstance, will witness» (witness IN ITALIC, an ominous character for a testimony at present).
with accuracy. Of «< the tone of seriousness >> I certainly recollect nothing: on the contrary, I thought Mr Bowles rather disposed to treat the subject lightly; for he said (I have no objection to be contradicted if incorrect) that some of his good-natured friends had come to him and exclaimed, « Eh! Bowles! how came you to make the Woods of Madeira,» etc., etc., and that he had been at some pains and pulling down of the poem to convince them that he had never made « the Woods» do any thing of the kind. He was right, and I was wrong, and have been wrong still up to this acknowledgment; for I ought to have looked twice before I wrote that which involved an inaccuracy capable of giving pain. The fact was, that although I had certainly before read << the Spirit of Discovery,» I took the quotation from the review. But the mistake was mine, and not the review's, which quoted the passage correctly enough, I believe. I blundered-God knows how-into attribut
by which they were surrounded. And I hereby do fully and freely declare and asseverate, that the Woods did not tremble to a kiss, and that the lovers did. I quote from memory—
Stole on the lisning silence, etc., etc.
They (the lovers) trembled, even as if the power, etc. And if I had been aware that this declaration would have been in the smallest degree satisfactory to Mr Bowles, I should not have waited nine years to make it, notwithstanding that << English Bards and Scotch Reviewers» had been suppressed some time previously to my meeting him at Mr Rogers's. Our worthy host might indeed have told him as much, as it was at his representation that I suppressed it. A new edition of that lampoon was preparing for the press, when Mr Rogers represented to me, that «I was now acquainted with many of the persons mentioned in it, and with some on terms of intimacy;» and that he knew « one
I shall not avail myself of a «non mi ricordo,» evening the tremors of the lovers to the «Woods of Madeira,» after so long a residence in Italy;-I do « remember the circumstance»-and have no reluctance to relate it (since called upon so to do) as correctly as the distance of time and the impression of intervening events will permit me. In the year 1812, more than three years after the publication of «English Bards and Scotch Reviewers,» I had the honour of meeting Mr Bowles in the house of our venerable host of «Human Life, etc.>> the last Argonaut of classic English poetry, and the Nestor of our inferior race of living poets. Mr Bowles calls this << soon after» the publication; but to me three years appear a considerable segment of the immortality of a modern poem. I recollect nothing of «< the rest of the company going into another room »>-nor, though I well remember the topography of our host's elegant and classically-furnished mansion, could I swear to the very room where the conversation occurred, though the taking down the poem» seems to fix it in the library. Had it been taken up,» it would probably have been in the drawing-room. I presume also that the «re-family in particular to whom its suppression would markable circumstance» took place after dinner, as I conceive that neither Mr Bowles's politeness nor appetite would have allowed him to detain « the rest of the company» standing round their chairs in the « other room» while we were discussing « the woods of Madeira,» instead of circulating its vintage. Of Mr Bowles's « good-to humour>> I have a full and not ungrateful recollection; as also of his gentlemanly manners and agreeable conversation. I speak of the whole, and not of particulars; for whether he did or did not use the precise words printed in the pamphlet, I cannot say, nor could he
give pleasure.» I did not hesitate one moment; it was cancelled instantly; and it is no fault of mine that it has ever been republished. When I left England, in April, 1816, with no very violent intentions of troubling that country again, and amidst scenes of various kinds distract my attention-almost my last act, I believe, was to sign a power of attorney, to yourself, to prevent or suppress any attempts (of which several had been made in Ireland) at a re-publication. It is proper that! should state, that the persons with whom I was subsequently acquainted, whose names had occurred in that