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Such as our country gossips sing and spin, Art thou not guilty of thy father's death? Till they almost forget they live : lie down!
So, that will do. Have I forgot the words? Or wilt thou rather tax high-judging God
Faith! they are sadder than I thought they were. That he permitted such an act as that Which I have suffer'd, and which he beheld;
SONG. Made it unutterable, and took from it
False friend, wilt thou smile or weep
When my life is laid asleep?
The clay-cold corpse upon the bier!
Farewell! Heigh ho! Say what ye will. I shall deny no more.
What is this whisper low? If ye desire it thus, thus set it be,
There is a snake in thy smile, my dear ;
And bitter poison within thy tear.
Sweet Sleep! were Death like to thee,
Or if thou couldst mortal be, Be it enough. Until their final sentence
I would close these eyes of pain;
O World ! farewell!
Listen to the passing bell!
It says, thou and I must part,
With a light and a heavy heart.
[The scene closes.
A Hall of the Prison.
Enter CAMILLO and BERNARDO.
The Pope is stem; not to be moved or bent.
From aught that it inflicts; a marble form,
He frown'd, as if to frown had been the trick
Of his machinery, on the advocates So well deserve! My wife! my little ones!
Presenting the defences, which he tore Destitute, helpless; and 1-Father! God!
And threw behind, muttering with hoarse, harsh voice; Canst thou forgive even the unforgiving,
" Which among ye defended their old father When their full hearts break thus, thus
Kill'd in his sleep?" Then to another: "Thou [Covers his face and weeps. Dost this in virtue of thy place ; 't is well.”
He turn'd to me then, looking deprecation,
O, my child! And said these three words, coldly: “They must die." To what a dreadful end are we all come!
BERNARDO. Why did I yield? Why did I not sustain
And yet you left him not ?
I urged him still ;
Pleading, as I could guess, the devilish wrong
Which prompted your unnatural parent's death: "Tis weaker to lament, once being done ;
Murder'd his mother yester-evening, Take cheer! The God who knew my wrong, and
And he is fled. Parricide grows so rife made
That soon, for some just cause no doubt, the young Our speedy act the angel of his wrath,
Will strangle us all, dozing in our chairs.
Authority, and power, and hoary hair
Are grown crimes capital. You are my nephew,
You come to ask their pardon; stay a moment; You had a manly heart. Bear up! bear up!
Here is their sentence; never see me more
Till, to the letter, it be all fulfill'd."
To bend the sternest purpose! Once I knew them,
Now I forget them at my dearest need.
I am cut off from the only world I know, What think you if I seek him out, and bathe From light, and life, and love, in youth's sweet prime. His feet and robe with hot and bitter tears? You do well telling me to trust in God, Importune him with prayers, vexing his brain I hope I do trust in him. In whom else With my perpetual cries, until in rage
Can any trust? And yet my heart is cold. He strike me with his pastoral cross, and trample (During the latter speeches GIACOMO has retired Upon my prostrate head, so that my blood
conversing with CAMILLO, who now goes out; May stain the senseless dust on which he treads,
Know you not, Mother—Sister, know you not ! Alas! poor boy!
Bemardo even now has gone to implore A wreck-devoted seaman thus might pray
The Pope to grant our pardon. To the deaf sea.
LUCRETIA Enter LUCRETIA, BEATRICE and Giacomo, guarded.
Child, perhaps It will be granted. We may all then live BEATRICE
To make these woes a tale for distant years : I hardly dare to fear
o, what a thought! It gushes to my heart That thou bring'st other news than a just pardon.
Like the warm blood.
Yet both will soon be cold. To the Pope's prayers, than he has been to mine. Here is the sentence and the warrant.
O, trample out that thought! Worse than despair,
Worse than the bitterness of death, is hope :
It is the only ill which can find place
Upon the giddy, sharp and narrow hour
Tottering beneath us. Plead with the swift frost To die so suddenly! So young to go
That it should spare the eldest flower of spring : Under the obscure, cold, rotting, wormy ground ! Plead with awakening Earthquake, o'er whose couch To be nail'd down into a narrow place;
Even now a city stands, strong, fair, and free; To see no more sweet sunshine ; hear no more Now stench and blackness yawns, like death. O, Blithe voice of living thing ; muse not again
plead Upon familiar thoughts, sad, yet thus lost.
With famine, or wind-walking Pestilence, How fearful! to be nothing ! or to be
Blind lightning, or the deaf sea, not with man! What? 0, where am I? Let me not go mad!
Cruel, cold, formal man; righteous in words, Sweet Heaven, forgive weak thoughts! if there In deeds a Cain. No, mother, we must die: should be
Since such is the reward of innocent lives;
Live ye, who live, subject to one another
BERNARDO rushes in.
Should all be vain! The ministers of death
Blood on the face of one-what if 't were fancy!
Soon the heart's blood of all I love on earth The tender promises of Christ : ere night
Will sprinkle him, and he will wipe it off
As if 't were only rain. O, life! O, world!
Cover me! let me be no more! To see
"Tis past ! That perfect mirror of pure innocence Whatever comes my heart shall sink no more. Wherein I gazed, and grew happy and good, And yet, I know not why, your words strike chill : Shiver'd to dust! To see thee, Beatrice, How tedious, false and cold seem all things. I Who made all lovely thou didst look upon Have met with much injustice in this world; Thee, light of life-dead, dark! while I say, No difference has been made by God or man, To hear I have no sister; and thou, mother, Or any power moulding my wretched lot,
Whose love was as a bond to all our loves 'Twixt good or evil, as regarded me.
Dead! The sweet bond broken!
Enter CAMILLO and Guards.
For men to point at as they pass, do thou
I cannot say farewell!
0, Lady Beatrice !
My girdle for me, and bind up this hair Though wrapt in a strange cloud of crime and In any simple knot; ay, that does well. shame,
And yours I see is coming down. How often
A LYRICAL DRAMA, IN FOUR ACTS.
Audisne hæc, Amphiarae, sub terram abdite ?
sary The only imaginary being resembling in any degree Prometheus, is Satan; and Prometheus is, in
my judgment, a more poetical character than Satan, THE Greek tragic writers, in selecting as their subject because, in addition to courage, and majesty, and firm any portion of their national history or mythology, and patient opposition to omnipotent force, he is susemployed in their treatment of it a certain arbitrary ceptible of being described as exempt from the taints discretion. They by no means conceived themselves of ambition, envy, revenge, and a desire for personal bound to adhere to the common interpretation, or to aggrandizement, which, in the Hero of Paradise Lost, imitate in story as in title their rivals and predeces- interfere with the interest. The character of Satan sors Such a system would have amounted to a engenders in the mind a pernicious casuistry, which resignation of those claims to preference over their leads us to weigh his faults with his wrongs, and to competitors which incited the composition. The excuse the former because the latter exceed all meaAgamemnonian story was exhibited on the Athenian sure. In the minds of those who consider that magtheatre with as many variations as dramas. nificent fiction with a religious feeling, it engenders
I have presumed to employ a similar license. The something worse. But Prometheus is, as it were, * Prometheus Unbound” of Æschylus supposed the the type of the highest perfection of moral and intelreconciliation of Jupiter with his victim as the price lectual nature, impelled by the purest and the truest of the disclosure of the danger threatened to his motives to the best and noblest ends. empire by the consummation of his marriage with This Poem was chiefly written upon the mountain Thetis. Thetis, according to this view of the subject, ous ruins of the Baths of Caracalla, among the was given in marriage to Peleus, and Prometheus, Powery glades, and thickets of odoriferous blossomby the permission of Jupiter, delivered frem his cap- ing trees, which are extended in ever-winding labytivity by Hercules. Had I framed my story on this rinths upon its immense platforms and dizzy arches model, I should have done no more than have at- suspended in the air. The bright blue sky of Rome, Lempied to restore the lost drama of Æschylus; an and the effect of the vigorous awakening spring in ambition, which, if my preference to this mode of that divinest climate, and the new life with which it treating the subject had incited me to cherish, the drenches the spirits even to intoxication, were the recollection of the high comparison such an attempt inspiration of this drama.. would challenge might well abate. But, in truth, I The imagery which I have employed will be was averse from a catastrophe so feeble as that of found, in many instances, to have been drawn from reconciling the Champion with the Oppressor of man- the operations of the human mind, or from those exkind. "The moral interest of the fable, which is so ternal actions by which they are expressed. This is Powerfully sustained by the sufferings and endurance unusual in modern poetry, although Dante and Shakof Prometheus, would be annihilated if we could speare are full of instances of the same kind : Dante conceive of him as unsaying his high language and indeed more than any other poet, and with greater quailing before his successful and perfidious adver- success. But the Greek poets, as writers to whom no
resource of awakening the sympathy of their con- the mirror of all that is lovely in the visible universe, temporaries was unknown, were in the habitual use as exclude from his contemplation the beautiful włuch of this power; and it is the study of their works exists in the writings of a great contemporary. The (since a higher merit would probably be denied me), pretence of doing it would be a presumption in any to which I am willing that my readers should impute but the greatest; the effect, even in him, would be this singularity.
strained, unnatural, and ineffectual. A poet is the One word is due in candor to the degree in which combined product of such internal powers as modify the study of contemporary writings may have tinged the nature of others; and of such external influences my composition, for such has been a topic of censure as excite and sustain these powers; he is not one, with regard to poems far more popular, and indeed but both. Every man's mind is, in this respect, more deservedly popular, than mine. It is impossible modified by all the objects of nature and art; by that any one who inhabits the same age with such every word and every suggestion which he ever ad. writers as those who stand in the foremost ranks of mitted to act upon his consciousness; it is the mrror our own, can conscientiously assure himself that his upon which all forms are reflected, and in stich language and tone of thought may not have been they compose one form. Poets, not otherwise than modified by the study of the productions of those ex- philosophers, painters, sculptors, and musicians, are, traordinary intellects. It is true, that, not the spirit in one sense, the creators, and in another, the cre of their genius, but the forms in which it has mani-ations, of their age. From this subjection the loftest fested itself, are due less to the peculiarities of their do not escape. There is a similarity between Horner own minds than to the peculiarity of the moral and and Hesiod, between Æschylus and Euripides, be intellectual condition of the minds among which they tween Virgil and Horace, between Dante and Pe have been produced. Thus a number of writers trarch, between Shakspeare and Fletcher, betwers possess the form, whilst they want the spirit of those Dryden and Pope; each has a generic reserablance whom, it is alleged, they imitate ; because the former under which their specific distinctions are arranged is the endowment of the age in which they live, and If this similarity be the result of imitation, I am will the latter must be the uncommunicated lightning of ing to confess that I have imitated. their own mind.
Let this opportunity be conceded to me of acThe peculiar style of intense and comprehensive knowledging that I have, what a Scotch philosopher imagery which distinguishes the modern literature characteristically terms, “ a passion for reforming the of England, has not been, as a general power, the world :” what passion incited him to write and pub product of the imitation of any particular writer. lish his book, he omits to explain. For my part, I The mass of capabilities remains at every period had rather be damned with Plato and Lord Boon materially the same; the circumstances which awaken than go to Heaven with Paley and Malthus. But it it to action perpetually change. If England were is a mistake to suppose that I dedicate my poetical divided into forty republics, each equal in population compositions solely to the direct enforcement of reand extent to Athens, there is no reason to suppose form, or that I consider them in any degree as con but that, under institutions not more perfect than taining a reasoned system on the theory of buruan those of Athens, each would produce philosophers life. Didactic poetry is my abhorrence ; nothing can and poets equal to those who (if we except Shak- be equally well expressed in prose that is not leku speare) have never been surpassed. We owe the and supererogatory in verse. My purpose has hitberto great writers of the golden age of our literature to been simply to familiarize the highly refined indagithat fervid awakening of the public mind which nation of the more select classes of poetical readers shook to dust the oldest and most oppressive form of with beautiful idealisms of moral excellence; awar the Christian religion. We owe Milton to the pro- that until the mind can love, and admire, and trust. gress and development of the same spirit: the sacred and hope, and endure, reasoned principles of moral Milton was, let it ever be remembered, a republican, conduct are seeds cast upon the highway of like, and a bold inquirer into morals and religion. The which the unconscious passenger tramples into dust. great writers of our own age are. we have reason although they would bear the harvest of his happi to suppose, the companions and forerunners of some ness. Should I live to accomplish what I porpose. unimagined change in our social condition or the that is, produce a systematical history of wtsi ap opinions which cement it. The cloud of mind is pear to me to be the genuine elements of human sodischarging its collected lightning, and the equilib- ciety, let not the advocates of injustice and super rium between institutions and opinions is now re- stition flatter themselves that I should take Exchytus storing, or is about to be restored.
rather than Plato as my model. As to imitation, poetry is a mimetic art. It creates, The having spoken of myself with unaffected free but it creates by combination and representation. dom will need little apology with the candid; and Poetical abstractions are beautiful and new, not be- let the uncandid consider that they injure me les cause the portions of which they are composed had than their own hearts and minds by misrepresents no previous existence in the mind of man or in nature, tion. Whatever talents a person may possess but because the whole produced by their combination amuse and instruct others, be they ever so inconsider has some intelligible and beautiful analogy with those able, he is yet bound to exert them: if his attemax sources of emotion and thought, and with the con- be ineffectual, let the punishment of an unaccomtemporary condition of them: one great poet is a plished purpose have been sufficient; let pone troekie masterpiece of nature, which another not only ought themselves to heap the dust of oblivion upon bues to study but must study. He might as wisely and as efforts; the pile they raise will betray his grare, easily determine that his mind should no longer be which might otherwise have been unknown.
Eat with their burning cold into my
bones. Heaven's winged hound, polluting from thy lips
His beak in poison not his own, tears up
My heart; and shapeless sights come wandering by,
The ghastly people of the realm of dream,
Mocking me: and the Earthquake-fiends are charged
To wrench the rivets from my quivering wounds
When the rocks split and close again behind :
While from their loud abysses howling throng
The genii of the storm, urging the rage
Of whirlwind, and amict me with keen hail.
And yet to me welcome is day and night,
Whether one breaks the hoar frost of the morn,
Or starry, dim, and slow, the other climbs
The leaden-color'd east; for then they lead
The wingless, crawling hours, one among whom
- As some dark Priest hales the reluctant victim SPIRITS. ECHOES. FAWNS.
Shall drag thee, cruel King, to kiss the blood
From these pale feet, which then might trample thee
How will thy soul, cloven to its depth with terror, PROMETHEUS UNBOUND.
Gape like a hell within! I speak in grief,
Once breathed on thee I would recall. Ye Mountains,
Whose many-voiced Echoes, through the mist
Of cataracts, fung the thunder of that spell ! SCENE, a Ravine of Icy Rocks in the Indian Caucasus PROMETHEUS is discovered bound to the Preci. Ye icy Springs, stagnant with wrinkling frost,
Which vibrated to hear me, and then crept pice. Panthea and lone are seated at his feet. Shuddering through India! Thou serenesi Air
, Time, Night. During the Scene, Morning slowly Through which the Sun walks burning without beams! brorks.
And ye swift Whirlwinds, who on poised wings
Hung mute and moveless o'er yon hush'd abyss, MOXARCH of Gods and Demons, and all Spirits
As thunder, louder than your own, made rock But One, who throng those bright and rolling worlds The orbed world! If then my words had power, Which 'Thou and I alone of living things
Though I am changed so that aught evil wish
Is dead within ; although no memory be
Of what is hate, let them not lose it now!
What was that curse? for ye all heard me speak. And toil, and hecatombs of broken hearts, With fear and self-contempt and barren hope.
FIRST VOICE: FROM THE MOUNTAINS. Whilst me, who am thy foe, eyeless in hate,
Thrice three hundred thousand years Hast thou made reign and triumph, to thy scorn,
O'er the Earthquake's couch we stood : O'er mine own misery and thy vain revenge.
Of, as men convulsed with fears,
We trembled in our multitude.
SECOND VOICE: FROM THE SPRINGS.
We had been stain'd with bitter blood, Almighty, had I deign'd to share the shame
And had run mute, 'mid shrieks of slaughter, Of thine ill tyranny, and hung not here
Through a city and a solitude.
I had clothed, since Earth uprose,
Its wastes in colors not their own; No change, no pause, no hope! Yet I endure.
And oft had my serene repose I ask the Earth, have not the mountains felt?
Been cloven by many a rending groan. I ask yon Heaven, the all-beholding Sun, Has it not seen? The Sea, in storm or calm,
FOURTH VOICE: FROM THE WHIRLWINDS. Heaven's ever-changing Shadow, spread below, Have its deaf waves not heard my agony?
We had soar'd beneath these mountains Ah me! alas, pain, pain ever, for ever!
Unresting ages; nor had thunder,
Nor yon volcano's flaming fountains, The crawling glaciers pierce me with the spears
Nor any power above or under Of their moon-freezing crystals ; the bright chains
Ever made us mute with wonder.
THIRD VOICE: FROM THE AIR.