« PreviousContinue »
Thy soil shall still be pregnant with the Thus trammell'd, thus condemnd to wise,
Flattery's trebles, The gay, the learn'd, the generous, and He toils through all , still trembling to the brave,
be wrong: Native to thee as summer to thy skies, For fear some noble thoughts, like heavenly Conquerors on foreign shores and the far
Should rise up in high treason to his brain, Discoverers of new worlds, which take He sings, as the Athenian spoke, with their name;
pebbles For thee alone they have no arm to save, In's mouth, lest truth should stammer And all thy recompense is in their fame,
through his strain. A noble one to them, but not to thee -- But out of the long file of sonneteers Shall they be glorious, and thou still There shall be some who will not sing the same ?
in vain, Oh! more than these illustrious far shall be And he, their prince, shall rank among my The being-and even yet he may be born
peers, The mortal saviour who shall set thee free, And love shall be his torment; but his And see thy diadem, so changed and worn
grief By fresh barbarians,on thy brow replaced; Shall make an immortality of tears,
And the sweet sun replenishing thy morn, And Italy shall hail him as the Chief Thy moral morn, too long with clouds Of Poet-lovers, and his higher song
Of Freedom wreathe him with as green And noxious vapours from Avernus risen,
a leaf. Such as all they must breathe who are But in a farther age shall rise along
The banks of Po two greater still than he; By servitude, and have the mind in prison. The world which smiled on him shall do Yet through this centuried eclipse of woe
them wrong Some voices shall be heard, and earth Till they are ashes and repose with me.'
shall listen; The first will make an epoch with his lyre, Poets shall follow in the path I show, And fill the earth with feats of chivalry :
And make it broader;the same brilliant sky His fancy like a rainbow, and his fire, Which cheers the birds to song shall bid Like that of heaven, immortal, and his them glow,
thought And raise their notes as natural and high; Borne onward with a wing that cannot tire; Tuneful shall be their numbers: they Pleasure shall, like a butterfly new caught,
Flutter her lovely pinions o'er his theme, Many of love, and some of liberty, And Art itself seem into Nature wrought But few shall soar upon that eagle's wing, By the transparency of his bright dream.
And look in the sun's face with eagle's gaze The second, of a tenderer, sadder mood,
All free and fearless as the feather'd king, Shall pour his soul ont o'er Jerusalem; But fly more near the earth; how many a He, too, shall sing of arms, and christian phrase
blood Sublime shall lavish'd be on some small Shed where Christ bled for man; and prince
his high harp In all the prodigality of praise!
Shall, by the willow over Jordan's flood, And language, eloquently false, evince Revive a song of Sion, and the sharp
The harlotry of genius,which, like beanty, Conflict, and final triumph of the brave
Too oft forgets its own self-reverence, And pious, and the strife of hell to warp And looks on prostitution as a duty.
Their hearts from their great purpose, He who once enters in a tyrant's hall
until wave As guest is slave, his thoughts become The red-cross banners where the first a booty,
red Cross And the first day which sees the chain enthral Was crimson'd from his veins who died A captive, sees his half of manhood gone
to save, The soul's emasculation saddens all Shall be his sacred argument; the loss His spirit; thus the Bard too near the throne Of years, of favour, freedom, even of fame Quails from his inspiration, bound to Contested for a time, while the smooth please,,
gloss How servile is the task to please alone! Of courts would slide o'er his forgotten name, To smooth the verge to suit his sovereign's And call captivity a kindness, meant
To shield him from insanity or shame, And royal leisnre, nor too much prolong Such shall be his meet guerdon! who was Aught save his eulogy, and find, and
To be Christ's Laureate – they reward Or force, or forge fit argument of song!
Florence dooms me but death or banish Were prouder than more dazzling fame ment,
unblest; Ferrara him a pittance and a cell,
The Alp's snow-summit nearer heaven le Harder to bear and less deserved, for I Had stung the factions which I strove Than the volcano's fierco eruptive crest,
Whose splendour from the black abyse But this meek man, who with a lover's eye
is flung, Will look on earth and heaven, and who While the scorch'd mountain, from whose will deign
burning breast To embalm with his celestial flattery A temporary torturing fame is wrung, As poor a thing as e'er was spawn’d to reign, Shines for a night of terror, then repels
What will he do to merit such a doom? Its fire back to the hell from whence it Perhaps he'll love,-- and is not love in vain
sprung, Torture enough without a living tomb ? The hell which in its entrails ever dwells.
Yet it will be so--- he and his conipeer,
The Bard of Chivalry, will both consumo
And, dying in despondency, bequeath
CAN T O IV. yield a tear, A heritage enriching all who breathe Many are poets who have never penn'd
With the wealth of a genuinc poet's soul, Their inspiration, and perchance the best :
And to their country a redoubled wreath, They felt, and loved, and died, but would Unmatch'd by time; not Hellas can unrol
pot lend Through her Olympiads two such names, Their thoughts to meaner beings; they though one
compressa Of hers be mighty ;-and is this the whole The god within them, and rejoin’d the Of such men's destiny beneath the sun ?
stars Must all the finer thoughts, the thrilling Unlaurell'd upon earth, but far more blest
Than those who are degraded by the jars The electric blood with which their arte Of passion, and their frailties link'd to
fame, Their body's self turn'd soul with the intense Conquerors of high renown, but full of
Feeling of that which is, and fancy of
For what is poesy but to create Conduct? shall their bright plumage on From overfeeling good or ill; and aim
the rough At an external life beyond our fate, Storm be still scatter'd? Yes,and it must be, And be the new Promethens of new men,
For, form'd of far too penetrable stuff, Bestowing fire from heaven, and then These birds of Paradise but long to flee
too late, Back to their native mansion, soon they Finding the pleasure given repaid with pain,
And vultures to the heart of the bestower, Earth's mist with their pure pinions not Who,having lavish'd his high gift in vain,
Lies chain'd to his lone rock by the seaAnd die, or are degraded, for the mind
shore? Succumbs to long infection, and despair, So be it: we can bear.- But thus all they,
And vulture-passions flying close behind, Whose intellect is an o’ermastering power Await the moment to assail and tear; Which still recoils from its encu
cumbering And when at length the winged wander
clay ers stoop,
Or lightens it to spirit, whatsoe'er Then is the prey-birds' triumph, then The form which their creations may essay,
Are bards; the kindled marble's bust may The spoil, o'erpower'd at length by one fell
More poesy upon its speaking brow Yet some have been untouch'd, who Than aught less than the Homeric page learn’d to bear,
may bear; Some whom no power could ever force One noble stroke with a whole life may glow,
Or deify the canvas till it shine Who could resist themselves even, hardest With beauty so surpassing all below,
That they who kneel to idols so divine And task most hopeless! but some such Break no commandment, for high heaven have been,
is there And if my name amongst the number were, Transfused, transfignrated : and the line Tliat destiny austere, and yet serene, Of poesy which peoples but the air
With thonght and beings of our thought And Art's mistaken gratitude shall raise
reflected, To tyrants, who but take her for a toy, Can do no more: then let the artist share Emblems and monuments, and prostitute The palm, he shares the peril, and dejected Her charms to pontiffs proud, who but Faints o’er the labour unapproved — Alas!
employ Despair and Genius are too oft connected. The man of genius as the meanest brute Within the ages which before me pass, To bear a burthen, and to serve a need,
Art shall resume and equal even the sway To sell his labours, and his soul to boot :
Which with Apelles and old Phidias Who toils for nations may be poor indeed She held in Hellas' unforgotten day.
But free; who sweats for monarchs is no Ye shall be taught by Ruin to revivo The Grecian forms at least from their Than the gilt chamberlain, who, clothed decay,
and fee'd, And Roman souls at last again shall live Stands sleek and slavish bowing at his door.
In Roman works wrought by Italian hands, Oh, Power that rulest and inspirest! how And temples, loftier than the old temples, Is it that they on earth, whose earthly give
power New wonders to the world; and while still is likest thine in heaven in outward show,
Least like to thee in attributes divine, The austere Pantheon, into heaven shall Tread on the universal necks that bow,
And then assure us that their rights are A dome, its image, while the base expands
thine ? Into a fane surpassing all before,
And how is it that they, the sons of fame, Such as all flesh shall flock to kneel in : Whose inspiration seems to them to shine
From high, they whom the nations oftest Such sight hath been unfolded by a door
name, As this, to which all nations shall repair Must pass their days in penury or pain, And lay their sins at this huge gate of Or step to grandeur through the paths of heaven.
shame, And the bold architect unto whose care And wear a deeper brand and gaudier chain? The daring charge to raise it shall be given, Or if their destiny be born aloof Whom all arts shall acknowledge as From lowliness,or tempted thence in vain,
their lord, In their own souls sustain a harder proof, Whether into the marble-chaos driven The inner war of passions deep and fierce? His chisel bid the Hebrew, at whose word Florence! when thy harsh sentence razed
Israel left Egypt, stop the waves in stone,
Or hues of hell be by his pencil pour'd I loved thee, but the vengeance of my verse, Over the damn'd before the Judgment-throne, The hate of injuries, which every year
Such as I saw them, such as all shall see, Makes greater and accumulates my cnrse,
Or fanes be built of grandeur yet unknown, Shall live, outliving all thou holdest dear, The stream of his great thoughts shall spring Thy pride, thy wealth, thy freedom, from me,
and even that, The Ghibelline, who traversed the three The most infernal of all evils here,
The sway of petty tyrants in a state; Which form the empire of eternity. For such sway is not limited to kings, Amidst the clash of swords and clang of And demagogues yield to them but in helms,
date The age which I anticipate, no less As swept off sooner; in all deadly things Shall be the Age of Beauty, and while Which make men hate themselves, and whelms
one another, Calamity the nations with distress,
In discord, cowardice, cruelty, all that The genius of my country shall arise,
springs A Cedar towering o'er the Wilderness, From Death the Sin-born's incest with his Lovely in all its branches to all eyes,
mother, Fragrant as fair, and recognized afar, In rank oppression in its rudest shape, Wafting its native incense through the The faction-Chief is but the Sultan's skies.
brother, Sovereigns shall pause amidst their sport And the worst despot's far less human ape :
Florence! when this lone spirit, which Wean'd for an hour from blood, to turn
Yearn'd as the captive toiling at escape, On canvas or on stone; and they who mar To fly back to thee in despite of wrong, All beanty upon earth, compell'd to praise, An exile, saddest of all prisoners, Shall feel the power of that which they Who has the whole world for a dungeon destroy;
Seas, mountains, and the horizon's verge Are all thy dealings, but in this they pass.
The limits of man's common malice, for Which shut him from the sole small spot All that a citizen could be I was;
Raised by thy will,all thine io peace or war, Where whatsoe'er his fate -- he still And for this thou hast warr'd with ine.-were hers,
Tis done : His country's, and might die where he had I may not overleap the eternal bar
Built up between us, and will die alone, Florence! when this lone spirit shall return Beholding, with the dark eye of a scer, To kindred spirits, thou wilt feel my The evil days to gifted souls foreshown,
Foretelling them to those who will not hear, And seek to honour with an empty urn As in the old time, till the hour be come
The ashes thou shalt ne'er obtain.--Alas! When Truth shall strike their eyes “What have I done to thee, my people?"
through many a tear, Stern
And make them own the Prophet in his tomb.
THE DRE A M.
Our life is twofold; Sleep hath its own | But a most living landscape, and the wave
Of woods and corn-fields, and the abodes A boundary between the things misnamed
of men Death and existence: Sleep hath its own Scattered at intervals, and wreathing sinoke
Arising from such rustic roofs; - the hill And a wide realın of wild reality;
Was crown'd with a peculiar diadem And dreams in their development have of trees, in circular array, so fix’d,
Not by the sport of nature, but of man: And tears, and tortures, and the touch of joy; These two, a maiden and a youth, were there They leave a weight upon our waking Gazing-the one on all that was beneath
Fair as herself, but the boy gazed on her; They takea weight from offourwaking toils, And both were young and one was beautiful: They do divide our being; they become And both were young – yet not alike in A portion of ourselves as of our time,
youth. And look like heralds of eternity;
As the sweet moon on the horizon's verge They pass like spirits of the past ,- they The maid was on the eve of womanhood;
The boy had fewer summers, but his heart Like sibyls of the future; they have power- Had far outgrown his years, and to his eye The tyranny of pleasure and of pain ; There was but one beloved face on earth, They make us what we were not — what And that was shining on him ; he had look'd
Upon it till it could not pass away; And shake us with the vision that's gone by, He had no breath, no being, but in hers, The dread of vanish'd shadows_Are they so? She was his voice; he did not speak to her, Is not the past all shadow? What are they? But trembled on her words; she was his Creation of the mind ? --The mind can make
sight, Substance, and people planets of its own for his eye follow'd hers, and saw with hers, With beings brighter than have been, and which colour'd all his objects :-he had give
ceased A breath to forms which can outlive all flesh. To live within himself; she was his life, I would recal a vision which I dream'd | The ocean to the river of his thoughts, Perchance in sleep-for in itself a thought, Which terminated all : upon a tone, A slumbering thought, is capable of years, A touch of hers, his blood would ebb and And curdles a long life into one hour.
And his check change tempestuously-his
heart I saw two beings in the hues of youth Unknowing of its cause of agony. Standing upon a hill, a gentle hill, But she in these fond feelings had no share : Green and of mild declivity, the last Her sighs were not for him; to her he was As 'lwere the cape of a long ridge of such, Even as a brother but no more; 'twas much, Save that there was no sca to lave its base, 1 For brotherless she was, save in the name
Her infant-friendship had bestow'd on him; Reposing from the noon-tide sultriness, Herself the solitary scion left
Couch'd among fallen columns, in the shade Of a time-honour'd race. It was a name of ruin'd walls that had survived the names Which pleased him, and yet pleased him of those who rear'd them; by his sleeping not- and why?
side Time tąught him a deep answer -- when Stood camels grazing, and some goodly she loved
steeds Another; even now she loved another, Were fasten'd near a fountain ; and a man And on the summit of that hill she stood Clad in a flowing garb did watch the while, Looking afar if yet her lover's steed While many of his tribe slumber'd around: Kept pace with her expectancy, and flew. And they were canopied by the blue sky,
So cloudless, clear, and purely beautiful,
That God alone was to be seen in Heaven. A change came o'er the spirit of my dream. There was an ancient mansion, and before Its walls there was a steed caparison'd : A change came o'er the spirit of my dream. Within an Antique Oratory stood
The Lady of his love was wed with One The Boy of whom I spake;- he was alone Who did not love her better:-in her home And pale, and pacing to and fro; anon A thousand leagues from his,- her native He sate him down, and seized a pen, and
She dwelt, begirt with growing Infancy, Words which I could not guess of; then Daughters and sons of Beauty,- but behold!
Upon her face there was the tint of grief, His bow'd head on his hands, and shook as The settled shadow of an inward strife,
And an unqniet drooping of the eye With a convulsion-then arose again, As if its lid were charged with unshed tears. And with his teeth and quivering hands What could her grief be? - she had all she did tear
loved, What he had written, but he shed no tears, And he who had so loved her was not there And he did calm himself, and fix his brow To trouble with bad hopes, or evil wish, Into a kind of quiet; as he paused, Or ill-repress'd affliction, her pure thoughts. The Lady of his love re-entered there ; What could her grief be? - she had loved She was serene and smiling then, and yet
him not, She knew she was by him beloved ,--she Nor given him cause to deem himself knew,
beloved, For quickly comes such knowledge, that Nor could he be a part of that which prey'd
Upon her mind -a spectre of the past. Was darken'd with her shadow, and she saw That he was wretched, but she saw not all. He rose, and with a cold and gentle grasp A change came o'er the spirit of my dream. He took her hand ; a moment o'er his face The Wanderer was return'd.-I saw him A tablet of unutterable thoughts
stand Was traced, and then it faded, as it came; Before an Altar—with a gentle bride; He dropped the hand he held, and with Her face was fair, but was not that which slow steps
made Retired, but not as bidding her adieu, The Starlight of his Boyhood ;-as he stood For they did part with mutual smiles: he Even at the altar, o'er his brow there camo
The selfsame aspect,and the quivering shock From out the massy gate of that old Hall, That in the antique Oratory shook And mounting on his steed he went his way; His bosom in its solitude; and thenAnd ne'er repass'd that hoary threshold more. As in that hour, a moment o'er his face
The tablet of unutterable thoughts
Was traced,- and then it faded, as it came, A change came o'er the spirit of my dream. And he stood calm and quiet, and he spoke The Boy was sprung to manhood: in the The fitting vows, but heard not his own wilde
words, Of fiery climes he made himself a home, And all things reeld around him; he And his soul drank their sunbeams; he was
could see girt
Not that which was, nor that which should With strange and dusky aspects ; he was not
have been Himself like what he had been; on the sea' But the old mansion, and the accustom'd hall, And on the shore he was a wanderer; And the remember'd chambers,and the place, There was a mass of many images The day, the hour, the sunshine, and the Crowded like waves upon me, but he was
shade, A part of all; and in the last he lay All things pertaining to that place and hour,