Page images
PDF
EPUB

My mind like theirs corrupted to its grave,
But who hath seen me writhe, or heard me rave?
Perchance in such a cell we suffer more
Than the wrecked sailor on his desart shore;
The world is all before him—mine is here,
Scarce twice the space they must accord my bier.
What though he perish, he may lift his eye
And with a dying glance upbraid the sky—
I will not raise my own in such reproof,
Although 'tis clouded by my dungeon roof.

VIII.

Yet do I feel at times my mind decline,
But with a sense of its decay :—I see
Unwonted lights along my prison shine,
And a strange demon, who is vexing me
With pilfering pranks and petty pains, below
The feeling of the healthful and the free;
But much to One, who long hath suffered so,
Sickness of heart, and narrowness of place,
And all that may be borne, or can debase.
I thought mine enemies had been but man,
But spirits may be leagued with them—all Earth
Abandons—Heaven forgets me ;—in the dearth
Of such defence the Powers of Evil can,
It may be, tempt me further, and prevail v
Against the outworn creature they assail.
Why in this furnace is my spirit proved
Like steel in tempering fire ? because I loved?
Because I loved what not to love, and see.
Was more or less than mortal, and than me.

IX.

I once was quick in feeling—that is o'er;— My scars are callous, or I should have dashed My brain against these bars as the sun flashed In mockery through them ;—if I bear and bore The much I have recounted,' and the more

Which hath no words, 'tis that I would not die
And sanction with self-slaughter the dull lie
Which snared me here, and with the brand of shame
Stamp madness deep into my memory,
And woo compassion to a blighted name,
Sealing the sentence which my foes proclaim.
No—it shall be immortal!—and I make
A future temple of my present cell,
Which nations yet shall visit for my sake.
While thou, Ferrara! when no longer dwell
The ducal chiefs within thee, shalt fall down,
And crumbling piecemeal view thy hearthless halls,
A poet's wreath shall be thine only crown,
A poet's dungeon thy most far renown,
While strangers wonder o'er thy unpeopled walls!
And thou, Leonora ! thou—who wert ashamed
That such as I could love—who blushed to hear
To less than monarchs that thou couldst be dear,
Go! tell thy brother that my heart, untamed

By grief, years, weariness—and it may be
A taint of that he would impute to me—
From long infection of a den like this,
Where the mind rots congenial with the abyss,
Adores thee still;—and add—that when the towers
And battlements which guard his joyous hours
Of banquet, dance, and revel, are forgot,
Or'left untended in a dull repose,
This—this shall be a consecrated spot!
But Thou—when all that Birth and Beauty throws
Of magic round thee is extinct—shalt have
One half the laurel which o'ershades my grave.
No power in death can tear our names apart,
As none in life could rend thee from my heart.
Yes, Leonora! it shall be our fate
To be entwined for ever—but too late!

END OF THE SIXTH VOLUME.

[graphic]
« PreviousContinue »