Page images
PDF

THE GENIUS OF HARMONY,

AN IRREGULAR ODE.
Ad harmoniam canere mundum.

Cicero. de Nat. Deor. lib. ii.
There lies a shell beneath the waves,
In many a hollow winding wreathed,

Such as of old
Echoed the breath that warbling sea-maids breathed ,

This magic shell
From the white bosom of a Siren fell,
As once she wandered by the tide that laves
Sicilia's sands of gold.

It bears,
Upon its shining side, the mystic notes

Of those entrancing airs
The genii of the deep were wont to swell,
When heaven's eternal orbs their midnight music rolled!
Oh! seek it, wheresoe'er it floats;

And, if the power
Of thrilling numbers to thy soul be dear,

Go, bring the bright shell to my bower,
And I will fold thee in such downy dreams

As lap the spirit of the seventh sphere,
When Luna's distant tone falls faintly on his ear!

And thou shalt own
That, through the circle of creation's zone,
Where matter darkles or where spirit beams;

From the pellucid tides that whirl
The planets through their maze of song,
To the small rill that weeps along
Murmuring o'er beds of pearl ;

From the rich sigh
Of the sun's arrow through an evening sky,
To the faint breath the tuneful osier yields

On Afric's burning fields;
Oh! thou shalt own this universe divine

Is mine!
That I respire in all and all in me,
One mighty mingled soul of boundless harmony !

Welcome, welcome, mystic shell !
Many a star has ceased to burn,

Many a tear has Saturn's urn
O'er the cold bosom of the ocean wept,

Since thy aërial spell
Hath in the waters slept !

I fly,
With the bright treasure, to my choral sky,

Where she who waked its early sweli,

The Siren, with a foot of fire,
Walks o'er the great string of my Orphic Lyre,

Or guides around the burning pole
The winged chariot of some blissful soul !

While thou,
O son of earth! what dreams shall rise for thee!

Beneath Hispania's sun

Thou'lt see a streamlet run
Which I have warmed with dews of melody;

Listen !-when the night-wind dies
Down the still current, like a harp it sighs!
A liquid chord is every wave that flows,
An airy plectrum every breeze that blows !

There, by that wondrous stream,

Go, lay thy languid brow,
And I will send thee such a godlike dream,
Such-mortal! mortal! hast thou heard of him
Who, many a night, with his primordial lyre,

Sat on the chill Pangæan mount,

And, looking to the orient dim, Watched the first flowing of that sacred fount

From which his soul had drunk its fire ! Oh! think what visions, in that lonely hour,

Stole o'er his musing breast !

What pious ecstacy
Wafted his prayer to that eternal Power

Whose seal upon this world impressed
The various forms of bright divinity?

Or dost thou know what dreams I wove 'Mid the deep horror of that silent bower Where the rapt Samian slept his holy slumber?

When, free From every earthly chain, From wreaths of pleasure and from bonds of pain,

His spirit flew through fields above,
Drank at the source of Nature's fontal number,
And saw, in mystic choir, around him move
The stars of song, Heaven's burning minstrelsy!
Such dreams, so heavenly bright,

I swear
By the great diadem that twines my hair,
And by the seven gems that sparkle there,

Mingling their beams
In a soft iris of harmonious light,

O mortal ! such shall be thy radiant dreams ! Oh! for the boat the angel gave

To him who, in his heavenward flight,
Sailed, o'er the sun's ethereal wave,

To planet-isles of odorous light !
Sweet Venus, what a clime he found
Within thy orb's ambrosial round !
There spring the breezes, rich and warm,

That pant around thy twilight car ;
There angels dwell, so pure of form

That each appears a living star!
These are the sprites, O radiant queen !

Thou send'st so often to the bed
Of her I love, with spell unseen,

Thy planet's brightening balm to shed :
To make the eye's enchantment clearer,

To give the cheek one rosebud more,
And bid that flushing lip be dearer

Which had been oh! too dear before!
But, whither means the muse to roam ?

Tis time to call the wanderer home.
Who could have ever thought to search her
Up in the clouds with Father Kircher?
So, health and love to all your mansion !

Long may the bowl that pleasures bloom in
The flow of heart, the soul's expansion,

Mirth and song your board islumine:
Fare you well—remember too,

When cups are flowing to the brim,
That here is one who drinks to you,

And oh !—as warmly drink to him.

TO

THE RING.

- 1801. No_Lady! Lady! keep the ring ;

Oh! think, how many a future year. Of placid smile and downy wing,

May sleep within its holy sphere ! Do not disturb their tranquil dream ;

Though love hath ne'er the mystery warmed, Yet Heaven will shed a soothing beam,

To bliss the bond itself hath formed. But then, that eye, that burning eye !

Oh! it doth ask, with magic power, If Heaven can ever bless the tie

Where love inwreathes no genial flower ! Away, away, bewildering look !

Or all the boast of virtue's o'er ; Go-hie thee to the sage's book,

And learn from him to feel no more!

I cannot warn thee; every touch,

That brings my pulses close to thine, Tells me I want thy aid as much,

Oh ! quite as much, as thou dost mine! Yet stay, dear love-one effort yet

A moment turn those eyes away, And let me, if I can, forget

The light that leads my soul astray ! Thou sayest that we were born to meet,

That our hearts bear one common seal O Lady! think how man's deceit

Can seem to sigh and feign to feel ! When o'er thy face some gleam of thought,

Like daybeams through the morning air, Hath gradual stole, and I have caught

The feeling ere it kindled there : The sympathy I then betrayed

Perhaps was but the child of art; The guise of one who long hath played

With all these wily nets of heart. Oh! thou hast not my virgin vow;

Though few the years I yet have told, Canst thou believe I live till now

With loveless heart or senses cold ? No_many a throb of bliss and pain

For many a maid my soul hath proved : With some I wantoned wild and vain,

While some I truly, dearly loved ! The cheek to thine I fondly lay

To theirs hath been as fondly laid ; The words to thee I warmly say

To them have been as warmly said.

Then, scorn at once a languid heart

Which long hath lost its early spring ; Think of the pure, bright soul thou art,

And-keep the ring, oh! keep the ring. Enough—now, turn thine eyes again ;

What, still that look and still that sigh ! Dost thou not feel my counsel then ?

Oh! no, beloved !-nor do I. While thus to mine thy bosom lies,

While thus our breaths commingling glo", "Twere more than woman to be wise,

'Twere more than man to wish thee so !

Did we not love so true, so dear,

This lapse could never be forgiven; But hearts so fond and lips so near

Give me the ring, and now- heaven!

[merged small][ocr errors]

Μαργαριται δηλουσι δακρυων ροον.

Ap. Nicephor. in Oneirocritico.
Put off the vestal veil, nor oh!

Let weeping angels view it;
Your cheeks belie its virgin snow,

And blush repenting through it.
Put off the fatal zone you wear;

The lucid pearls around it
Are tears that fell from Virtue there,

The hour that Love unbound it.

THE RESEMBLANCE.

- vo cercand' io
Donna, quant' e possibile, in altrui
La desiata vostra forma vera.

Petrarc, Sonett. 14.
YES, if 'twere any common love

That led my pliant heart astray,
I grant, there's not a power above

Could wipe the faithless crime away!

But 'twas my doom to err with one

In every look so like to thee
That oh beneath the blessed sun

So fair there are but thou and she !

Whate'er may be her angel birth,

She was thy lovely, perfect twin,
And wore the only shape on earth,

That could have charmed my soul to sin !

Your eyes !--the eyes of languid doves

Were never half so like each other !
The glances of the baby loves

Resemble less their warm-eyed mother !

Her lip !-oh, call me not false-hearted,

"Nhen such a lip I fondly pressed;
" was Love some melting cherry parted,

Gave thee half and her the rest i

« PreviousContinue »