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ITINERARY SONNETS

SERIES I
Memorials of a Tour on the Continent

1820

DEDICATION Dear Fellow-travellers! think not that the Muse, To You presenting these memorial Lays, Can hope the general eye thereon would gaze, As on a mirror that gives back the hues Of living Nature ; no—though free to choose The greenest bowers, the most inviting ways, The fairest landscapes and the brightest days— Her skill she tried with less ambitious views. For You she wrought: Ye only can supply The life, the truth, the beauty: she confides In that enjoyment which with You abides, Trusts to your love and vivid memory; Thus far contented, that for You her verse Shall lack not power the “meeting soul to pierce!”

'Tis said, fantastic ocean doth enfold

Fish-women The likeness of whate'er on land is seen ; - on landing But, if the Nereid Sisters and their Queen,

at Calais
Above whose heads the tide so long hath rolled,
The Dames resemble whom we here behold,
How fearful were it down through opening waves
To sink, and meet them in their fretted caves,
Withered, grotesque, immeasurably old,
And shrill and fierce in accent !-Fear it not :
For they Earth’s fairest daughters do excel;
Pure undecaying beauty is their lot;
Their voices into liquid music swell,
Thrilling each pearly cleft and sparry grot,
The undisturbed abodes where Sea-nymphs dwell!

BRUGÈs I saw attired with golden light Bruges (Streamed from the west) as with a robe of

power:

The splendour fled; and now the sunless hour,
That, slowly making way for peaceful night,
Best suits with fallen grandeur, to my sight
Offers the beauty, the magnificence,
And sober graces, left her for defence
Against the injuries of time, the spite
Of fortune, and the desolating storms
Of future war. Advance not-spare to hide,
O gentle Power of darkness! these mild hues ;
Obscure not yet these silent avenues
Of stateliest architecture, where the Forms
Of nun-like females, with soft motion, glide !

Bruges The Spirit of Antiquity—enshrined

In sumptuous buildings, vocal in sweet song,
In picture, speaking with heroic tongue,
And with devout solemnities entwined-
Mounts to the seat of grace within the mind :
Hence Forms that glide with swan-like ease along;
Hence motions, even amid the vulgar throng,
To an harmonious decency confined:
As if the streets were consecrated ground,
The city one vast temple, dedicate
To mutual respect in thought and deed ;
To leisure, to forbearances sedate;
To social cares from jarring passions freed ;
A deeper peace than that in deserts found !

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After visiting A WINGèd Goddess-clothed in vesture wrought the Field of Of rainbow colours ; One whose port was bold, Waterloo Whose overburthened hand could scarcely no

The glittering crowns and garlands which it

brought-
Hovered in air above the far-famed Spot.
She vanished ; leaving prospect blank and cold.
Of wind-swept corn that wide around us rolled
In dreary billows, wood, and meagre cot,
And monuments that soon must disappear :
Yet a dread local recompense we found;
While glory seemed betrayed, while patriot-zeal
Sank in our hearts, we felt as men should feel
With such vast hoards of hidden carnage near,
And horror breathing from the silent ground!

What lovelier home could gentle Fancy choose ? Between
Is this the Stream, whose cities, heights, and plains, Namur and
War’s favourite playground, are with crimson stains Liege

Familiar, as the Morn with pearly dews?
cind The Morn, that now, along the silver Meuse,

Spreading her peaceful ensigns, calls the swains me. To tend their silent boats and ringing wains,

Or stript the bough whose mellow fruit bestrews
The ripening corn beneath it. As mine eyes
Turn from the fortified and threatening hill,
How sweet the prospect of yon watery glade,

With its grey rocks clustering in pensive shadewe That, shaped like old monastic turrets, rise

From the smooth meadow-ground, serene and still!

WION

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Was it to disenchant, and to undo,

Aix-laThat we approached the Seat of Charlemaine ? Chapelle Tv bord

To sweep from many an old romantic strain
That faith which no devotion may renew!
Why does this puny Church present to view
Her feeble columns ? and that scanty chair !
This sword that one of our weak times might wear!
Objects of false pretence, or meanly true !

If from a traveller's fortune I might claim ari A palpable memorial of that day,

Then would I seek the Pyrenean Breach -10

That ROLAND clove with huge two-handed sway,
Eter! And to the enormous labour left his name,
Eneda Where unremitting frosts the rocky crescent
Dund

bleach.

In the O FOR the help of Angels to complete Cathedral This Temple —Angels governed by a plan at Cologne Thus far pursued (how gloriously!) by Man,

Studious that He might not disdain the seat
Who dwells in heaven! But that aspiring heat
Hath failed, and now, ye Powers! whose gor-

geous wings
And splendid aspect yon emblazonings
But faintly picture, 'twere an office meet
For you, on these unfinished shafts to try
The midnight virtues of your harmony : :
This vast design might tempt you to repeat
Strains that call forth upon empyreal ground
Immortal Fabrics, rising to the sound
Of penetrating harps and voices sweet !

In a Car. Amid this dance of objects sadness steals riage, upon O'er the defrauded heart—while sweeping by, the banks of As in a fit of Thespian jollity, the Rhine Beneath her vine-leaf crown the green Earth reels:

Backward, in rapid evanescence, wheels
The venerable pageantry of Time,
Each beetling rampart, and each tower sublime,
And what the Dell unwillingly reveals
Of lurking cloistral arch, through trees espied
Near the bright River's edge. Yet why repine?
To muse, to creep, to halt at will, to gaze-
Such sweet wayfaring-of life's spring the pride,
Her summer's faithful joythat still is mine,
And in fit measure cheers autumnal days.

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