Imatges de pàgina




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
All refuge, all revenge, all consequence,

When my life is laid asleep?
But that which thou hast call'd my father's death ? Little cares for a smile or a tear,
Which is or is not what men call a crime,

The clay-cold corpse upon the bier!
Which either I have done, or have not done ;

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 so an end of all. Now do your will;

And bitter poison within thy tear.
No other pains shall force another word.

Sweet Sleep! were Death like to thee,
She is convicted, but has not confess'd.

Or if thou couldst mortal be, Be it enough. Until their final sentence

I would close these eyes of pain;
Let none have converse with them. You, young lord, When to wake? Never again.
Linger not here!

O World ! farewell!

Listen to the passing bell!
O, tear him not away!

It says, thou and I must part,

With a light and a heavy heart.
Guards! do your duty.

[The scene closes.
Oh! would ye divide

Body from soul?

A Hall of the Prison.
That is the headsman's business.
[Exeunt all bul LUCRETIA, BEATRICE and Giacomo.

Have I confess'd? Is it all over now?

The Pope is stem; not to be moved or bent.
No hope! No refuge! 0, weak, wicked tongue lle look'd as calm and keen as is the engine
Which nast destroy'd me, would that thou hadst been which tortures and which kills, exempt itself
Cut out and thrown to dogs first! To have kill'd

From aught that it inflicts; a marble form,
My father first, and then betray'd my sister; A rite, a law, a custom: not a man.
Ay, thee! the one thing innocent and pure

He frown'd, as if to frown had been the trick
In this black guilty world, to that which I

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 ?
Those torments! Oh! that I were all dissolved

Into these fast and unavailing tears,
Which flow and feel not!

I urged him still ;

Pleading, as I could guess, the devilish wrong
What 't was weak to do, And he replied, “ Paolo Santa Croce

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.
Seems, and but seems to have abandon'd us.
Let us not think that we shall die for this.

Authority, and power, and hoary hair
Brother, sit near me; give me your firm hand.

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
Oh! dearest Lady, put your gentle head

Till, to the letter, it be all fulfill'd."
Upon my lap. and try to sleep awhile :
Your eyes look pale, hollow, and overworn,

With heaviness of watching and slow grief. O, God, not so! I did believe indeed
Come, I will sing you some low, sleepy tune, That all you said was but sad preparation
Not cheerful, nor yet sad ; some dull old thing, For happy news. 0, there are words and looks
Some outworn and unused old monotony,

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,

GIACOMO advances.
And remorse waken mercy? I will do it!
O, wait till I return!

(Rushes out.

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.

May God in heaven be less inexorable

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 :
BEATRICE (wildly).

It is the only ill which can find place

Upon the giddy, sharp and narrow hour
My God! Can it be possible I have

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;
No God, no Heaven, no Earth in the void world ; Such the alleviation of worst wrongs,
The wide, gray, lampless, deep unpeopled world! And whilst our murderers live, and hard, cold men,
If all things then should be-my father's spirit Smiling and slow, walk through a world of tears
His eye, his voice, his touch surrounding me; To death as to life's sleep; 't were just the grave
The atmosphere and breath of my dead life! Were some strange joy for us. Come, obscure Death
If sometimes, as a shape more like himself, And wind me in thine all-embracing arms!
Even the form which tortured me on earth, Like a fond mother hide me in thy bosom,
Mask'd in gray hairs and wrinkles, he should come And rock me to the sleep from which none wale.
And wind me in his hellish arms, and fix

Live ye, who live, subject to one another
His eyes on mine, and drag me down, down, down! As we were once, who now-
For was he not alone omnipotent
On Earth, and ever present ? even though dead,

BERNARDO rushes in.
Does not his spirit live in all that breathe,
And work for me and mine still the same ruin,

Scorn, pain, despair? Who ever yet return'd

Oh, horrible!
To teach the laws of death's untrodden realm? That tears, that looks, that hope pour'd forth in prayer.
Unjust perhaps as those which drive us now, Even till the heart is vacant and despairs,
O, whither, whither?

Should all be vain! The ministers of death
Are waiting round the doors. I thought I saw

Blood on the face of one-what if 't were fancy!
Trust in God's sweet love,

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
Think we shall be in Paradise.

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
They come! Let me Forbear, and never think a thought unkind
Kiss those warm lips before their crimson leaves Of those who perhaps love thee in their graves.
Are blighted-white-cold. Say farewell, before So mayest thou die as I do ; fear and pain
Death chokes that gentle voice! O let me hear Being subdued. Farewell! Farewell! Farewell!
You speak!

I cannot say farewell!
Farewell, my tender brother. Think
Of our sad fate with gentleness, as now:

And let mild, pitying thoughts lighten for thee

0, Lady Beatrice !
Thy sorrow's load. Err not in harsh despair,
Bui tears and patience. One thing more, my child, Give yourself no unnecessary pain,
For thine own sake be constant to the love My dear Lord Cardinal. Here, mother, tie
Thou bearest us; and to the faith that I,

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
Lived ever holy and unstain'd. And though Have we done this for one another! now
Ill tongues shall wound me, and our common name We shall not do it any more. My Lord,
Be as a mark stamp'd on thine innocent brow We are quite ready. Well, 't is very well.


Prometheus Unbound;


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,
PANTHEA, , Oceanides.

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
If they disdain'd not such a prostrate slave.
Disdain! Ah no! I pity thee. What ruin
Will hunt thee undefended through the wide Heaven!

How will thy soul, cloven to its depth with terror, PROMETHEUS UNBOUND.

Gape like a hell within! I speak in grief,
Not exultation, for I hate no more
As then, ere misery made me wise. The curse

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
Be bold with sleepless eyes! regard this Earth,
Made multitudinous with thy slaves, whom thou

Of what is hate, let them not lose it now!
Requitest for knee-worship, prayer, and praise,

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,
Three thousand years of sleep-unshelter'd hours,

We trembled in our multitude.
And moments aye divided by keen pangs
Till they seem'd years, torture and solitude,
Seom and despair,-these are mine empire,

More glorious far than that which thou surveyest Thunderbolts had parch'd our water,
From thine unenvied throne, O, Mighty God!

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.
Nail'd to this wall of eagle-baffling mountain,
Black, wintry, dead, unmeasured; without herb,
Insect, or beast, or shape or sound of life.
Ab me, alas! pain, pain ever, for ever!

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.



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