Imatges de pÓgina
PDF
EPUB

QUEEN.
Your brain is overwrought with these deep thoughts ;
Come, I will sing to you ; let us go try
These airs from Italy, -and you shall see
A cradled miniature of yourself asleep,
Stamped on the heart by never-erring love;
Liker than any Vandyke ever made,
A pattern to the unborn age of thee,
Over whose sweet beauty I have wept for joy
A thousand times, and now should weep for sorrow,
Did I not think that after we were dead
Our fortunes would spring high in him, and that
The cares we waste upon our heavy crown
Would make it light and glorious as a wreath
Of heaven's beams for his dear innocent brow.

[blocks in formation]

HAMPDEN, PYM, CROMWELL, and the younger VANE.

HAMPDEN.
England, farewell ! thou, who hast been my cradle,
Shalt never be my dungeon or my grave !
I held what I inherited in thee,
As pawn for that inheritance of freedom
Which thou hast sold for thy despoiler's smile :
How can I call thee England, or my country?
Does the wind hold?

VANE.

The vanes sit steady Upon the Abbey towers. The silver lightnings of the evening star, spite of the city's smoke, Tell that the north wind reigns in the upper air. Mark too that flock of fleecy winged clouds Sailing athwart St. Margaret's.

HAMPDEN.

Hail, fleet herald Of tempest ! that wild pilot who shall guide Hearts free as his, to realms as pure as thee, Beyond the shot of tyranny! And thou, Fair star, whose bcan lies on the wide Atlantic, Athwart its zones of tempest and of calm, Bright as the path to a beloved home, O light us to the isles of th' evening land ! Like floating Edens, cradled in the glimmer Of sunset, through the distant mist of years Tinged by departing Hope, they gleam! Lone regions, Where power's poor dupes and victims, yet have never Propitiated the savage fear of kings With purest blood of noblest hearts; whose dew

NN

Is yet unstained with tears of those who wake
To weep each day the wrongs on which it dawns ;
Whose sacred silent air owns yet no echo
Of formal blasphemies; nor impious rites
Wrest man's free worship from the God who loves
Towards the worm, who envies us his love,
Receive thou young [ ] of Paradise,
These exiles from the old and sinful world!
This glorious clime, this firmament, whose lights
Dart mitigated influence through the veil
Of pale blue atmosphere ; whose tears keep green
The pavement of this moist all-feeding earth,
This vaporous horizon ; whose dim round
Is bastioned by the circumfluous sea,
Repelling invasion from the sacred towers,
Presses upon me like a dungeon's grate,
A low dark roof, a damp and narrow vault :
The mighty universe becomes a cell
Too narrow for the soul that owns no master.

While the loathliest spot
Of this wide prison, England, is a nest
Of cradled peace built on the mountain tops,
To which the eagle-spirits of the free,
Which range through heaven and earth, and scorn the storm
Of time, and gaze upon the light of truth,
Return to brood over the [ ] thoughts
That cannot die, and may not be repelled.

PROLOGUE TO HELLAS-A FRAGMENT.

HERALD OF ETERNITY.
It is the day when all the Sons of God
Wait in the roofless senate-house whose (place)
Is chaos and the immovable abyss
Frozen by his steadfast word to hyaline.

The shadow of God, and delegate
Of that before whose breath the universe
Is as a print of dew.

Hierarchs and kings,
Who from your thrones pinnacled on the past
Sway the reluctant present, ye who sit
Pavilioned on the radiance or the gloom
Of mortal thought, which, like an exhalation
Steaming from earth, conceals the * * of heaven
Which gave it birth, * assemble here
Before your Father's throne. The swift decree
Yet hovers, and the fiery incarnation
Is yet withheld, clothed in which it shall

annul
The fairest of those wandering isles that gem
The sapphire space of interstellar air,-
That green and azure sphere, that earth enwrapped
Less in the beauty of its tender light

[ocr errors]

Than in an atmosphere of living spirit
Which interpenetrating all the *

* it rolls from realm to realm
And age to age, and in its ebb and flow
Impels the generations
To their appointed place,
Whilst the high Arbiter
Beholds the strife, and at the appointed time
Sends his decrees veiled in eternal
Within the circuit of this pendent orb
There lies an antique region, on which fell
The dews of thought, in the world's golden dawn,
Earliest and most benign; and from it sprung
Temples and cities and immortal forms,
And harmonies of wisdom and of song,
And thoughts, and deeds worthy of thoughts so fair.
And, when the sun of its dominion failed,
And when the winter of its glory came,
The winds that stripped it bare blew on, and swept
That dew into the utmost wildernesses
In wandering clouds of sunny rain that thawed
The unmaternal bosom of the North.
Haste, Sons of God, * * for ye beheld,
Reluctant or consenting or astonished,
The stern decrees go forth which heaped on Greece
Ruin and degradation and despair.
A fourth now waits. Assemble, Sons of God,
To speed or to prevent or to suspend
(If, as ye dream, such power be not withheld)
The unaccomplished destiny.

[ocr errors]

CHORUS
The curtain of the universe

Is rent and shattered,
The splendour-winged worlds disperse

Like wild doves scattered.

Space is roofless and bare,
And in the midst of a cloudy shrine,

Dark amid thrones of light.
In the blue glow of hyaline
Golden worlds revolve and shine.
In

flight
From every point of the Infinite,
Like a thousand dawns on a single night

The splendours rise and spread.
And through thunder and darkness dread

Light and music are radiated,
And, in their pavilioned chariots led
By living wings, high overhead

The giant Powers move,
Gloomy or bright as the thrones they fill.

A chaos of light and motion
Upon that glassy ocean.

The senate of the Gods is met,
Each in his rank and station set;

There is silence in the spaces-
Lo! Satan, Christ, and Mahomet,

Start from their places !

CHRIST.

Almighty Father!
Low-kneeling at the feet of Destiny
There are two fountains in which spirits weep
When mortals err, Discord and Slavery named;
And with their bitter dew two Destinies
Filled each their irrevocable urns. The third,
Fiercest and mightiest, mingled both, and added
Chaos and death, and slow oblivion's lymph,
And hate and terror, and the poisoned rain

[ocr errors]

The Aurora of the nations. By this brow
Whose pores wept tears of blood; by these wide wounds;
By this imperial crown of agony;
By infamy and solitude and death,
(For this I underwent); and by the pain
Of pity for those who would •

• for me
The unremembered joy of a revenge,
(For this I felt); by Plato's sacred light,
Of which my spirit was a burning morrow;
By Greece, and all she cannot cease to be,
Her quenchless words, sparks of immortal truth,
Stars of all night-her harmonies and forms,
Echoes and shadows of what Love adores
In thee; I do compel thee, send forth Fate,
Thy irrevocable child! Let her descend,
A seraph-winged victory (arrayed]
In tempest of the omnipotence of God
Which sweeps through all things.
From hollow leagues, from Tyranny which arms
Adverse miscreeds and emulous anarchies
To stamp, as on a winged serpent's seed,
Upon the name of Freedom; from the storm
Of faction, which like earthquake shakes and sickens
The solid heart of enterprise; from all
By which the holiest dreams of highest spirits
Are stars beneath the dawn

• She shall arise
Victorious as the world arose from chaos !
And, as the heavens and the earth arrayed
Their presence in the beauty and the light
Of thy first smile, O Father; as they gather
The spirit of thy love, which paves for them
Their path o'er the abyss, till every sphere
Shall be one living spirit; so shall "Greece-

SATAN.
Be as all things beneath the empyrean,
Mine! Art thou eyeless like old Destiny,

[ocr errors]

Thou mockery-king, crowned with a wreath of thorns-
Whose sceptre is a reed, the broken reed
Which pierces thee, whose throne a chair of scorn!
For seest thou not beneath this crystal floor
The innumerable worlds of golden light
Which are my empire, and the least of them

which thou wouldst redeem from me?
Know'st thou not them my portion?
Or wouldst rekindle the

strife
Which our great Father then did arbitrate
When he assigned to his competing sons
Each his apportioned realmı?

Thou Destiny,
Thou who art mailed in the omnipotence
Of Him who sends thee forth, whate'er thy task,
Speed, spare not to accomplish ! and be mine
Thy trophies, whether Greece again become
The fountain the desert whence the earth
Shall drink of freedom, which shall give it strength
To suffer, or a gulf of hollow death
To swallow all delight, all life, all hope.
Go, thou vicegerent of my will, no less
Than of the Father's. But, lest thou shouldst faint,
The bloodhounds famine and pestilence
Shall wait on thee; the hundred-forked snake
Insatiate superstition still shall*
The earth behind thy steps; and war shall hover
Above, and fraud shall gape below, and change
Shall flit before thee on her dragon wings,
Convulsing and consuming. And I add
'Three phials of the tears which demons weep
When virtuous spirits through the gate of death
Pass triumphing over the thorns of life,-
Sceptres and crowns, mitres and swords and snares
Trampling in scorn, like Him and Socrates.
The first is anarchy; when power and pleasure,
Glory and science and security,
On freedom hang like fruit on the green tree,
Then pour it forth, and men shall gather ashes.
The second, tyranny-

CHRIST.

Obdurate spirit !
Thou seest but the past in the to-come.
Pride is thy error and thy punishment.
Boast not thine empire, dream not that thy worlds
Are more than furnace-sparks or rainbow-drops
Before the power that wields and kindles them.
True greatness asks not space; true excellence
Lives in the Spirit of all things that live,
Which lends it to the worlds thou callest thine.

MAHOMET.

Haste thou, and fill the waning crescent With beams as keen as those which pierced the shadow

« AnteriorContinua »