Imatges de pàgina

With the spent vision of the times that were
And scarce have ceased to be." Dost thou behold,"
Said my guide, "those spoilers spoiled, Voltaire,

"Frederic, and Paul, Catherine, and Leopold,
And hoary anarchs, demagogues, and sage-
-names the world thinks always old,

"For in the battle, life and they did wage, She remained conqueror. I was overcome By my own heart alone, which neither age,

"Nor tears, nor infamy, nor now the tomb Could temper to its object."-"Let them pass," I cried, "the world and its mysterious doom

"Is not so much more glorious than it was,
That I desire to worship those who drew
New figures on its false and fragile glass

"As the oid faded."-" Figures ever new
Rise on the bubble, paint them as you may;
We have but thrown, as those before us threw,

"Our shadows on it as it past away.
But mark how chained to the triumphal chair
The mighty phantoms of an elder day;

"All that is mortal of great Plato there

Expiates the joy and woe his master knew not;
The star that ruled his doom was far too fair,

"And life, where long that flower of Heaven grew not, Conquered that heart by love, which gold, or pain,

Or age, or sloth, or slavery could subdue not.

"And near walk the [

] twain,

The tutor and his pupil, whom Dominion

Followed as tame as vulture in a chain.

"The world was darkened beneath either pinion
Of him whom from the flock of conquerors
Fame singled out for her thunder-bearing minion;

"The other long outlived both woes and wars,
Throned in the thoughts of men, and still had kept
The jealous key of truth's eternal doors,

"If Bacon's eagle spirit had not leapt

Like lightning out of darkness-he compelled

The Proteus shape of Nature as it slept

"To wake, and lead him to the caves that held

The treasure of the secrets of its reign.

See the great bards of elder time, who quelled

"The passions which they sung, as by their strain
May well be known: their living melody
Tempers its own contagion to the vein

"Of those who are infected with it-I Have suffered what I wrote, or viler pain! And so my words have seeds of misery"

fill up.

[There is a chasm here in the MS. which it is impossible to It appears from the context, that other shapes pass, and that Rousseau still stood beside the dreamer, as]

he pointed to a company,

Midst whom I quickly recognised the heirs

Of Cæsar's crime, from him to Constantine;

The anarch chiefs, whose force and murderous snares

Had founded many a sceptre-bearing line,

And spread the plague of gold and blood abroad:

And Gregory and John, and men divine,

Who rose like shadows between man and God;

Till that eclipse, still hanging over heaven,

Was worshipped by the world o'er which they strode,

For the true sun it quenched-"Their power was given
But to destroy," replied the leader: "I
Am one of those who have created, even

"If it be but a world of agony."

"Whence comest thou? and whither goest thou?
How did thy course begin?" I said, "and why?

"Mine eyes are sick of this perpetual flow
Of people, and my heart sick of one sad thought-
Speak!"-"Whence I am, I partly seem to know,

"And how and by what paths I have been brought
To this dread pass, methinks even thou mayst guess;
Why this should be, my mind can compass not;

"Whither the conqueror hurries me, still less But follow thou, and from spectator turn

Actor or victim in this wretchedess,


And what thou wouldst be taught I then may learn

From thee. Now listen:-In the April prime,

When all the forest tips began to burn

"With kindling green, touched by the azure clime
Of the young year's dawn, I was laid asleep
Under a mountain, which from unknown time

"Had yawned into a cavern, high and deep;
And from it came a gentle rivulet,

Whose water, like clear air, in its calm sweep

"Bent the soft grass, and kept for ever wet
'The stems of the sweet flowers, and filled the grove
With sounds, which whoso hears must needs forget

"All pleasure and all pain, all hate and love,
Which they had known before that hour of rest;
A sleeping mother then would dream not of

"Her only child who died upon her breast
At eventide-a king would mourn no more
The crown of which his brows were dispossest

"When the sun lingered o'er his ocean floor,
To gild his rival's new prosperity.

Thou wouldst forget thus vainly to deplore

"Ills, which if ills can find no cure from thee, The thought of which no other sleep will quell, Nor other music blot from memory,

"So sweet and deep is the oblivious spell; And whether life had been before that sleep The heaven which I imagine, or a hell

"Like this harsh world in which I wake to weep,
I know not. I arose, and for a space
The scene of woods and waters seemed to keep,

"Though it was now broad day, a gentle trace
Of light diviner than the common sun
Sheds on the common earth, and all the place

"Was filled with magic sounds woven into one
Oblivious melody, confusing sense

Amid the gliding waves and shadows dun;

"And, as I looked, the bright omnipresence Of morning through the orient cavern flowed, And the sun's image radiantly intense

"Burned on the waters of the well that glowed Like gold, and threaded all the forest's maze With winding paths of emerald fire; there stood

"Amid the sun, as he amid the blaze Of his own glory, on the vibrating

Floor of the fountain, paved with flashing rays,

"A Shape all light, which with one hand did fling Dew on the earth, as if she were the dawn,

And the invisible rain did ever sing

"A silver music on the mossy lawn;

And still before me on the dusky grass,
Iris her many-coloured scarf had drawn:

"In her right hand she bore a crystal glass,

Mantling with bright Nepenthe; the fierce splendour Fell from her as she moved under the mass

"Out of the deep cavern, with palms so tender, Their tread broke not the mirror of its billow; She glided along the river, and did bend her

"Head under the dark boughs, till like a willow,
Her fair hair swept the bosom of the stream
That whispered with delight to be its pillow.

"As one enamoured is upborne in dream
O'er lily-paven lakes mid silver mist,

To wondrous music, so this shape might seem

"Partly to tread the waves with feet which kissed
The dancing foam; partly to glide along
The air which roughened the moist amethyst,

"Or the faint morning beams that fell among
The trees, or the soft shadows of the trees;
And her feet, ever to the ceaseless song

"Of leaves, and winds, and waves, and birds, and bees, And falling drops, moved to a measure new

Yet sweet, as on the summer evening breeze,


'Up from the lake a shape of golden dew Between two rocks, athwart the rising moon, Dances i' the wind, where never eagle flew;

"And still her feet, no less than the sweet tune

To which they moved, seemed as they moved, to blot
The thoughts of him who gazed on them; and soon

"All that was, seemed as if it had been not;
And all the gazer's mind was strewn beneath
Her feet like embers; and she, thought by thought,

"Trampled its sparks into the dust of death;
As day upon the threshold of the east
Treads out the lamps of night, until the breath

"Of darkness re-illumine even the least
Of heaven's living eyes-like day she came,
Making the night a dream; and ere she ceased

"To move, as one between desire and shame
Suspended, I said-If, as it doth seem,
Thou comest from the realm without a name,

"Into this valley of perpetual dream,

Show whence I came, and where I am, and why

Pass not away upon the passing stream.

"Arise and quench thy thirst, was her reply. And as a shut lily, stricken by the wand

Of dewy morning's vital alchemy,


"I rose; and, bending at her sweet command, Touched with faint lips the cup she raised, And suddenly my brain became as sand

"Where the first wave had more than half erased

The track of deer on desert Labrador;

Whilst the wolf, from which they fled amazed,

"Leaves his stamp visibly upon the shore,
Until the second bursts; so on my sight
Burst a new vision, never seen before,

"And the fair shape waned in the coming light,
As veil by veil the silent splendour drops
From Lucifer, amid the chrysolite

"Of sunrise, ere it tinge the mountain tops;
And as the presence of that fairest planet,
Although unseen, is felt by one who hopes

"That his day's path may end as he began it,
In that star's smile, whose light is like the scent
Of a jonquil when evening breezes fan it,

"Or the soft note in which his dear lament
The Brescian shepherd breathes, or the caress
That turned his weary slumber to content;*

"So knew I in that light's severe excess
The presence of that shape which on the stream
Moved, as I moved along the wilderness,

"More dimly than a day-appearing dream,
The ghost of a forgotten form of sleep;

A light of heaven, whose half-extinguished beam
"Through the sick day in which we wake to weep,
Glimmers, for ever sought, for ever lost;
So did that shape its obscure tenour keep

"Beside my path, as silent as a ghost;
But the new Vision, and the cold bright car.
With solemn speed and stunning music, crost

"The forest, and as if from some dread war
Triumphantly returning, the loud million
Fiercely extolled the fortune of her star.

"A moving arch of victory, the vermilion
And green and azure plumes of Iris had
Built high over her wind-winged pavilion,

"And underneath ethereal glory clad
The wilderness, and far before her flew
The tempest of the splendour, which forbade

"Shadow to fall from leaf and stone; the crew
Seemed in that light, like atomies to dance
Within a sunbeam;-some upon the new

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Embroidery of flowers, that did enhance
The grassy vesture of the desert, played,
Forgetful of the chariot's swift advance;

The favourite song,

"Stanco di pascolar le peccorelle," is a Brescian national air.

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