« AnteriorContinua »
Of what has been, the Hope of what will be ?
0, Liberty! if such could be thy name
Wert thou disjoined from these, or they from thee:
If thine or theirs were treasures to be bought
By blood or tears, have not the wise and free
Wept tears, and blood like tears? The solemn harmony
Paused, and the spirit of that mighty singing
To its abyss was suddenly withdrawn;
Then, as a wild swan, when sublimely winging
Its path athwart the thunder-smoke of dawn,
Sinks headlong through the aërial golden light
On the heavy sounding plain
When the bolt has pierced its brain;
As summer clouds dissolve, unburthened of their rain;
As a far taper fades with fading night,
As a brief insect dies with dying day,
My song, its pinions disarrayed of might,
Drooped; o'er it closed the echoes far away
Of the great voice which did its flight sustain,
As waves which lately paved his watery way
Hiss round a drowner's head in their tempestuous play.
I STOOD within the city disinterred;t
And heard the autumnal leaves like light footfalls
Of spirits passing through the streets; and heard
The mountain's slumberous voice at intervals
Thrill through those roofiess halls;
The oracular thunder penetrating shook
The listening soul in my suspended blood;
I felt that Earth out of her deep heart spoke-
I felt, but heard not:-through white columns glowed
The isle-sustaining Ocean-flood,
A plane of light between two Heavens of azure:
Around me gleamed many a bright sepulchre
Of whose pure beauty, Time, as if his pleasure
Were to spare Death, had never made erasure;
But every living liceament was clear
As in the sculptor's thought; and there
The wreathes of stony myrtle, ivy and pine,
Like winter leaves o'ergrown by moulded snow,
Seemed only not to move and grow
Because the crystal silence of the air
Weighed on their life, even as the Power divine
Which then lulled all things, brooded upon mine.
* The Author has connected many recollections of his visit to Pompeii and Baia with the enthusiasm excited by the intelligence of the proclamation of a Constitutional Government at Naples. This has given a tinge of picturesque and descriptive imagery to the introductory Epodes which depicture these scenes, and some of the majestic feelings per. manently connected with the scene of this animating event. - Author's Note.
EPODE II. a.
Then gentle winds arose
With many a mingled close
Of wild Æolian sound and mountain odour keen;
And where the Baian ocean
Welters with airlike motion,
Within, above, around its bowers of starry green,
Moving the sea flowers in those purple caves
Even as the ever stormless atmosphere
Floats o'er the Elysian realm,
It bore me like an Angel, o'er the waves
Of sunlight, whose swift pinnace of dewy air
No storm can overwhelm;
I sailed, where ever flows
Under the calm Serene
A spirit of deep emotion
Froin the unknown graves
Of the dead kings of Melody.*
Shadowy Aornos darkened o'er the helm
The horizontal ether; heaven stript bare
Its depths over Elysium, where the prow
Made the invisible water white as snow;
From that Typhæan mount, Inarime
'There streamed a sunlike vapour, like the standard
Of some ethereal host;
Whilst from all the coast, Louder and louder, gathering round, there wandered Over the oracular woods and divine sea Prophesyings which grew articulateThey seize me-I must speak them-be they fate!
STROPHE a. I.
Naples ! thou Heart of men which ever pantest
Naked, beneath the lidless eye of heaven !
Elysian City which to calm enchantest
The mutinous air and sea: they round thee, even
As sleep round Love, are driven !
Metropolis of a ruined Paradise
Long lost, late won, and yet but half regained !
Bright Altar of the bloodless sacrifice,
Which armed Victory offers up unstained
To Love, the flower-enchained !
'Thou which wert once, and then didst cease to be,
Now art, and henceforth ever shalt be, free,
If Hope, and Truth, and Justice can avail,
Hail, hail, all hail !
STROPHE B, 2.
Thou youngest giant birth
Which from the groaning earth
Leap'st, clothed in armour of impenetrable scale !
Last, of the Intercessors!
Who 'gainst the Crowned Transgressors Pleadest before God's love! Arrayed in Wisdom's mail,
Wave thy lightning lance in mirth
Nor let thy high heart fail,
Though from their hundred gates the leagued Oppressors,
With hurried legions move!
Hail, hail, all hail !
What though Cimmerian Anarchs dare blaspheme
Freedom and thee? thy shield is as a mirror
To make their blind slaves see, and with fierce gleam
To turn his hungry sword upon the wearer,
A new Acteon's error
Shall theirs have been-devoured by their own hounds!
Be thou like the imperial Basilisk
Killing thy foe with unapparent wounds!
Gaze on oppression, till at that dread risk
Aghast she pass from the Earth's disk,
Fear not, but gaze—for freemen mightier grow,
And slaves more feeble, gazing on their foe;
If Hope and Truth and Justice may avail,
Thou shalt be great-all hail !
ANTISTROPHE B. 2.
From Freedom's form divine,
From Nature's inmost shrine,
Strip every impious gawd, rend Error veil by veil:
O'er Ruin desolate,
O'er Falsehood's fallen state
Sit thou sublime, unawed; be the Destroyer pale !
And equal laws be thine,
And winged words let sail,
Freighted with truth even from the throne of God:
That wealth, surviving fate,
Be thine.-All hail !
ANTISTROPHE Q. g.
Didst thou not start to hear Spain's thrilling pæan
From land to land re-echoed solemnly,
Till silence became music? From the Æean®
To the cold Alps, eternal Italy
Starts to hear thine ! The Sea
Which paves the desert streets of Venice laughs
In light and music; widowed Genoa wan
By moonlight spells ancestral epitaphs,
Murmuring, where is Doria ? 'fair Milan,
Within whose veins long ran
The viper'st palsying venom, lifts her heel
To bruise his head. The signal and the seal
(If Hope and Truth and Justice can avail)
Art Thou of all these hopes.- hail !
ANTISTROPHE B. y.
Florence ! beneath the sun,
Of cities fairest one,
• Æva, the island of Circe. + The viper was the armorial device of the Visconti, tyrants of Milan.
Blushes within her bower for Freedom's expectation:
From eyes of quenchless hope
Rome tears the priestly cope,
As ruling once by power, so now by admiration,
An athlete stript to run
From a remoter station
For the high prize lost on Philippi's shore:
As then Hope, Truth, and Justice did avail,
So now may Fraud and Wrong! O hail !
EPODE I. B.
Hear ye the march as of the Earth-born Forms
Arrayed against the everliving Gods?
The crash and darkness of a thousand storms
Bursting their inaccessible abodes
Of crags and thunder-clouds ?
See ye the banners blazoned to the day,
Inwrought with emblems of barbaric pride?
Dissonant threats kill Silence far away,
The serene Heaven which wraps our Eden wide
With iron light is dyed,
The Anarchs of the North lead forth their legions
Like Chaos o'er creation, uncreating;
An hundred tribes nourished on strange religions
And lawless slaveries, — down the aërial regions
Of the white Alps, desolating,
Famished wolves that bide no waiting, Blotting the glowing footsteps of old glory, Trampling our columned cities into dust,
Their dull and savage lust On Beauty's corse to sickness satiatingThey come! The fields they tread look black and hoary With fire—from their red feet the streams run gory!
EPODE II. B.
Great Spirit, deepest Love!
Which rulest and dost move
All things which live and are, within the Italian shore;
Who spreadest heaven around it,
Whose woods, rocks, waves, surround it;
Who sittest in thy star, o'er Ocean's western floor,
Spirit of beauty ! at whose soft command
The sunbeams and the showers distil its foison
From the Earth's bosom chill;
O bid those beams be each a blinding brand
Of lightning ! bid those showers be dews of poison !
Bid the Earth's plenty kill !
Bid thy bright Heaven above,
Whilst light and darkness bound it,
Be their tomb who planned
To make it ours and thine !
Or, with thine harmonizing ardours fill
And raise thy sons, as o'er the prone horizon
Thy lamp feeds every twilight wave with fire
Be man's high hope and unextinct desire,
The instrument to work thy will divine !
Then clouds from sunbeanis, antelopes from leopards,
And frowns and fears from Thee,
Would not more swiftly flee
Than Celtic wolves from the Ausonian shepherds.
Whatever, Spirit, from thy starry shrine
Thou yieldest or withholdest, Oli let be
This city of thy worship ever free!
THERE was a youth, who, as with toil and travel,
Had grown quite weak and grey before his time;
Nor any could the restless griefs unravel
Which burned within him, withering up his prime
And goading him, like fiends, from land to land.
Not his the load of any secret crime,
For nought of ill his heart could understand,
But pity and wild sorrow for the same;-
Not his the thirst for glory or command
Baffled with blast of hope-consuming shame;
Nor evil joys which fire the vulgar breast
And quench in speedy smoke its feeble flame,
Had left within his soul their dark unrest:
Nor what religion fables of the grave
Feared he, - Philosophy's accepted guest.
For none than he a purer heart could have,
Or that loved good more for itself alone;
Of nought in heaven or earth was he the slave.
What sorrow deep, and shadowy, and unknown.
Sent him, a hopeless wanderer, ihrough mankindi
If with a human sadness he did groan,
He had a gentle yet aspiring mind;
Just, innocent, with varied learning fed.
And such a glorious consolation find
In others' joy, when all their own is dead:
He loved, and laboured for his kind in grief,
And yet, unlike all others, it is said,
That from such toil he never found relief;
Although a child of fortune and of power,
Of an ancestral name the orphan chief.
His soul had wedded wisdom, and her dower
Is love and justice, clothed in which he sate
Apart from men, as in a lonely tower,
Pitying the tumult of their dark estate-
Yet even in youth did he not e'er abuse
The strength of wealth or thought, to consecrate