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Fools our fond gaze, and greatest of the great.
Defies at first our Nature's littleness, . . i
Till, growing with its growth, we thus dilate
Our spirits to the size, of that they contemplate:
. CLIX. .
Then pause, and be enlightened ; there is more
In such a survey than the sating gaze ......:: ::.
Of wonder pleased, or awe which would adore
The worship of the place, or the mere praise
Of art and its great masters, who could raise
What former time, nor skill, nor thought could plan;
The fountain of sublimity displays
Its depth, and thence may draw the mind of man
Its golden sands, and learn what great conceptions can.
Or, turning to the Vatican, go see . . ,
Laocoon's torture dignifying pain
A fathers' love and mortal's agony
With an immortal's patience blending :-Vain
The struggle ; vain against the coiling strain . .
And gripe, and deepening of the dragon's grasp,
The old man's clench; the long envenomed chain
Rivets the living links,-the enormous asp .:.::. Enforces pang on pang, and stifles gasp on gasp. . . CLXI.
... ; Or view the Lord of the unerring bow, ... , The God of life, and poesy, and light : : ,, ,:.
The Sun in human limbs arrayed, and brow
All radiant from his triumph in the fight,
The shaft hath just been sliot-the arrow bright
With an immortal's vengeance; in his eye
And nostril beautiful disdain, and might,
And majesty, flash their full lightnings by,
Developing in that one glance, the Deity.
But in his delicate form-a dream of Love,
Shaped by some solitary nymph, whose breast
Long’d for a deathless lover from above
And madden'd in that vision--are exprest
All that ideal beauty ever bless'd
The mind within its most unearthly mood,
When each conception was a heavenly guest
A ray of immortality--and slood,
Star-like, around, until they gathered to a god !
And if it be Prometheus stole from Heaveni
The fire which we endure, it was repaid
By him to whom the energy was given
Which this poetic marble hath array'd
With an eternal glory-which, if made
By human hands, is not of human thought;
And Time himself hath hallowed it , nor laid
One ringlet in the dust--nor hath it caught
A linge of years, but breathes the flame with which 'twas wrought
But where is he, the Pilgrim of my song,
The being who upheld it through the pa st ?
Methinks he cometh late and tarries long.
He is no morem-these breathings are his last;
His wanderings done , his visions ebbing fast,
And he himself as nothing :--if he was
Aught but a phantasy , and could be class’d
With forms which live and suffer let that pass
His shadow fades away, into Destruction's mass
Which gathers shadow, substance, life, and all
That we inherit in ils mortal shroud,
And spreads the dim and universal pall
Through which all things grow phantoms ; and the cloud
Between us sinks and all which ever glowed,
Till Glory's self is twilight, and displays
A melancholy halo scarce allowed
To hover on the verge of darkness; rays
Sadder than saddest night, for they distract the gaze,
And send us prying into the abyss,
To gather what we shall be, when the frame
Shall be resolv'd to something less than this,
Its wretched essence; and to dream of fame,
And wipe the dust from off the idle name
We never more shall hear ,--but never more,
Oh, happier thought ! can we be made the same:
It is enough in sooth that once we bore These fardels of the heart—the heart whose sweat was gore.
Hark ! forth from the abyss a voice proceeds ,
A long low distant murmur of dread sound,
Such as arises when a nation bleeds
With some deep and immedicable wound;
Through storm and darkness yawns the rending ground,
The gulf is thick with phantoms , but the chief
Seems royal still , though with her dis-crown'd,
And pale, but lovely, with maternal grief
She clasps a babe, to whom her breast yields no relief.
Scion of chiefs and monarchs, where art thou ?
Fond hope of many nations, art thou dead ?
Could not the grave forget thee, and lay low
Some less majestic, less beloved head ?
In the sad midnight, while thy heart still bled,
The mother of a moment, o'er thy boy, ..
Death hush'd that pang for ever: with thee fled
The present happiness and promissed joy
Which fill'd the imperial isles so full it seem’d to cloy.
Peasants bring forth in safety.--Can it be ,
Oh thou that wert so happy , so adored !
Those who weep not for kings shall weep for thee,
And Freedom's heart, grown heavy, cease to hoard
Her many griefs for One; for she had pour'd
Her orisons for thee, and o'er thy head
Beheld her Iris.--Thou, too , lonely lord,
And desolate consort-vainly wert thou wed !
The husband of a year ! the father of the dead !
Of sackcloth was thy wedding garment made;
Thy bridals fruit is ashes: in the dust
The fair-haired Daughter of the Isles is laid,
The love of millions ! How we did entrust
Futurity to her ! and, though it must
Darken above our bones, yet fondly deem'd
Our children should obey her child, and blessid
Her and her hoped-for seed, whose promise seem'd
Like stars to shepherds' eyes :—'twas but a meteor beam'd
Woe unto us, not her; for she sleeps well:
The fickle reek of popular breath, the tongue
Of hollow counsel, the false oracle,
Which from the birth of monarchy hath rung
Its knell in princely ears , till the o’erstung
Nations have arm'd in madness, the strange fate 65
Which tumbles mightiest sovereigns , and hath flung
Against their blind omnipotence a weight
Within the opposing scale, which crushes soon or late ,