Imatges de pàgina
PDF
EPUB

Thou art pervaded with that ceaseless motion,
Thou art the path of that unresting sound-
Dizzy Ravine! and when I gaze on thee
I seem as in a trance sublime and strange
To muse on my own separate phantasy,
My own, my human mind, which passively
Now renders and receives fast influencings,
Holding an unremitting interchange
With the clear universe of things around;
One legion of wild thoughts, whose wandering wings
Now float above thy darkness, and now rest
Where that or thou art no unbidden guest,
In the still cave of the witch Poesy,
Seeking among the shadows that pass by,
Ghosts of all things that are, some shade of thee,
Some phantom, some faint image; till the breast
From which they fled recals them, thou art there!

All things that move and breathe with toil and sound
Are born and die, revolve, subside and swell.
Power dwells apart in its tranquillity
Remote, serene, and inaccessible :
And this, the naked countenance of earth,
On which I gaze, even these primaval mountains,
Teach the adverting mind. The glaciers creep,
Like snakes that watch their prey, from their far foun-

tains,
Slow rolling on; there, many a precipice
Frost and the Sun in scorn of mortal power
Have piled-dome, pyramid, and pinnacle,
A city of death, distinct with many a tower
And wall impregnable of beaming ice.
Yet not a city, but a flood of ruin
Is there, that from the boundaries of the sky
Rolls its perpetual stream; vast pines are strewing
Its destined path, or in the mangled soil
Branchless and shatter'd stand; the rocks, drawn down
From yon remotest waste, have overthrown
The limits of the dead and living world,
Never to be reclaim'd. The dwelling-place
Of insects, beasts, and birds becomes its spoil;
Their food and their retreat for ever gone,
So much of life and joy is lost. The race
Of map flies far in dread; his work and dwelling
Vanish, like smoke before the tempest's stream,
And their place is not known. Below, vast caves
Shine in the rushing torrents' restless gleam,
Which, from those secret chasms in tumult welling,
Meet in the vale, and one majestic River,
The breath and blood of distant lands, for ever
Rolls its loud waters to the ocean waves,
Breathes its swift vapours to the circling air.

JIT Some say that gleams of a remoter world Visit the soul in sleep, -that death is slumber, And that its shapes the busy thoughts outnumber Of those who wake and live. - I look on high; Has some unknown omnipotence unfurl'd The veil of life and death? or do I lie In dream, and does the mightier world of sleep Spread far around and inaccessibly Iis circles? For the very spirit fails, Driven like a homeless cloud from steep to steep That vanishes among the viewless gales ! Far, far above, piercing the infinite sky, Mont Blanc appears,-still, snowy, and sereneIts subject mountains their unearthly forms Pile around il, ice and rock; broad vales between Of frozen floods, unfathomable deeps, Blue as the overhanging heaven, that spread And wind among the accumulated steeps; A desert peopled by the storms alone, Save when the eagle brings some hunter's bone, And the wolf tracks her there-how hideously Its shapes are heap'd around! rude, bare, and high, Ghastly, and scarr'd, and riven.- Is this the scene Where the old Earthquake-dæmon taught ber young Ruin ? Were these their toys? or did a sea Of fire envelop once this silent snow? None can reply-all seems eternal now. The wilderness has a mysterious tongue Which teaches awful doubt, or faith so mild, So solemn, so serene, that man may be But for such faith with nature reconciled : Thou hast a voice, great Mountain, to repeal Large codes of fraud and woe; not understood By all, but which the wise, and great, and good Interpret, or make felt, or deeply feel.

V. Mont Blanc yet gleams on high :--the power is there, The still and solemn power of many sights And many sounds, and much of life and death. In the calm darkness of the moonless nights, In the lone glare of day, the snows descend Upon that Mountain; none beholds them there, Nor when the flakes burn in the sinking sun, Or the star-beams dart through them :-Winds contend Silently there, and heap the snow with breath Rapid and strong, but silently! Its home The voiceless lightning in these solitudes Keeps innocently, and like vapour broods Over the snow. The secret strength of things Which governs thought, and to the infinite dome Of heaven is as a law, inhabits thee ! And what were thou, and earth, and stars, and sea, If to the human mind's imaginings Silence and solitude were vacancy?

SWITZERLAND, June 23, 1816.

a

ON THE MEDUSA OF LEONARDO DA VINCI,

IN TEE FLORENTINE GALLERY.

IV. The fields, the lakes, the forests, and the streams, Ocean, and all the living things that dwell Within the dædal earth ; lightning, and rain, Earthquake, and fiery tlood, and hurricane, The torpor of the year when feeble dreams Visit the hidden buds, or dreamless sleep Holds every future leaf and flower ;--the bound With which from that detested tránce they leap; The works and

their death and birth, And that of him and all that his may be ;

ways

of man,

It lieth, gazing on the midnight sky,

Upon the cloudy mountain peak supine; Below, far lands are seen tremblingly;

Its horror and its beauty are divine. Upon its lips and eyelids seems to lie

Loveliness like a shadow, from which shrine,

[blocks in formation]

'T is the tempestuous loveliness of terror;

For from the serpents gleams a brazen glare Kindled by that inextricable error,

Which makes a thrilling vapour of the air Become a [ ] and ever-shifting mirror

Of all the beauty and the terror thereA woman's countenance, with serpent locks, Gazing in death on heaven from those wet rocks.

Florence, 1819.

Thus to be lost, and thus to sink and die,

Perchance were death indeed !--Constantia, turn! In thy dark eyes a power like light doth lie, Even though the sounds which were thy voice, which

burn Between thy lips, are laid to sleep;

Within thy breath, and on thy hair, like odour it is yet, And from thy touch like fire doth leap.

Even while I write, my burning cheeks are wetAlas, that the torn heart can bleed, but not forget!

SONG.

RARELY, rarely, comest thou,

Spirit of Delight! Wherefore hast thou left me now

Many a day and night? Many a weary night and day "T is since thou art fled away. How shall ever one like me

Win thee back again? With the joyous and the free

Thou wilt scoff at pain. Spirit false! thou hast forgot All but those who need thee not.

A breathless awe, like the swift change

Unseen, but felt in youthful slumbers, Wild, sweet, but uncommunicably strange,

Thou breathest now in fast ascending numbers. The cope of heaven seems rent and cloven

By the enchantment of thy strain, And on my shoulders wings are woven,

To follow its sublime career, Beyond the mighty moons that wane

Upon the verge of nature's utmost sphere, 'Till the world's shadowy walls are past and disappear.

As a lizard with the shade

Of a trembling leaf,
Thou with sorrow art dismay'd;

Even the sighs of grief
Reproach thee, that thou art not near,
And reproach thou will not hear.

Her voice is hovering o'er my soul-it lingers,

O'ershadowing it with soft and lulling wings ; The blood and life within those snowy fingers

Teach witchcraft to the instrumental strings. My brain is wild, my breath comes quick

The blood is listening in my frame,
And thronging shadows, fast and thick,

Fall on my overflowing eyes;
My heart is quivering like a flame;

[blocks in formation]
[graphic]
[ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]

PONTE A MARE, PISA.
The sun is set; the swallows are asleep;

The bats are flicting fast in the grey air;
The slow soft toads out of damp corners creep,

And evening's breath, wandering here and there
Over the quivering surface of the stream,
Wakes not one ripple from its silent dream,

There is no dew on the dry grass to-night,

Nor damp within the shadow of the trees; The wind is intermiiting, dry, and light;

And in the inconstant motion of the breeze The dust and straws are driven up and down, And whirl'd about the pavement of the town.

« Oh, save me! Oh, guide me!

And bid the deep hide me, For he grasps me now by the hair!,

The loud Ocean heard,

To its blue depth stirr'd, And divided at her prayer ;

And under the water

The Earth's wbite daughter Fled like a sunny beam;

Behind her descended,

ller billows unblended With the brackish Dorian stream:

Like a gloomy stain

On the emerald main Alpheus rush'd behind,

As an eagle pursuing

A dove to its ruin, Down the streams of the cloudy wind.

Within the surface of the fleeting river

The wrinkled image of the city lay, Immoveably unquiet, and for ever

It trembles, but it never fades away; Go to the

] You, being changed, will find it then as now.

« AnteriorContinua »