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CXVI.

To aid thy mind's development, to watch
Thy dawn of little joys,-to sit and see
Almost thy very growth,—to view thee catch
Knowledge of objects,—wonders yet to thee!
To hold thee lightly on a gentle knee,
And print on thy soft cheek a parent's kiss,--
This, it should seem, was not reserved for me;
Yet this was in my nature :-As it is

I know not what is there, yet something like to this.

CXVII.

Yet, though dull Hate as duty should be taught,
I know that thou wilt love me; though my name
Should be shut from thee, as a spell still fraught
With desolation,—and a broken claim :

Though the grave closed between us,---'twere the same, I know that thou wilt love me, though to drain

My blood from out thy being were an aim,

And an attainment,-all would be in vain,—

Still thou wouldst love me, still that more than life retain.

CXVIII.

The child of love,-though born in bitterness, And nurtured in convulsion. Of thy sire These were the elements-and thine no less. As yet such are around thee-but thy fire Shall be more temper'd, and thy hope far higher. Sweet be thy cradled slumbers! O'er the sea, And from the mountains where I now respire, Fain would I waft such blessing upon thee, As, with a sigh, I deem thou mightst have been to me!

CANTO THE FOURTH.

1818.

"Visto ho Toscana, Lombardia, Romagna,
Quel monte che divide, e quel che serra
Italia, e un mare e l' altro, che la bagna."
Ariosto, Satira iv.

I.

I STOOD in Venice, on the Bridge of Sighs;
A palace and a prison on each hand:

I saw from out the wave her structures rise
As from the stroke of the enchanter's wand:
A thousand years their cloudy wings expand
Around me, and a dying glory smiles
O'er the far times when many a subject land
Look'd to the winged Lion's marble piles,

Where Venice sate in state, throned on her hundred isles!

II.

She looks a sea Cybele, fresh from ocean,
Rising with her tiara of proud towers
At airy distance, with majestic motion,
A ruler of the waters and their powers:

And such she was; her daughters had their dowers From spoils of nations, and the exhaustless East Pour'd in her lap all gems in sparkling showers. In purple was she robed, and of her feast Monarchs partook, and deem'd their dignity increased.

92

III.

In Venice Tasso's echoes are no more,
And silent rows the songless gondolier;
Her palaces are crumbling to the shore,
And music meets not always now the ear;
Those days are gone-but Beauty still is here.
States fall, arts fade-but Nature doth not die,
Nor yet forget how Venice once was dear,
The pleasant place of all festivity,
The revel of the earth, the masque of Italy!

IV.

But unto us she hath a spell beyond Her name in story, and her long array Of mighty shadows, whose dim forms despond Above the Dogeless city's vanish'd sway; Ours is a trophy which will not decay With the Rialto; Shylock and the Moor, And Pierre, cannot be swept or worn awayThe keystones of the arch! though all were o'er, For us repeopled were the solitary shore.

V.

The beings of the mind are not of clay;
Essentially immortal, they create
And multiply in us a brighter ray

And more beloved existence: that which Fate
Prohibits to dull life, in this our state
Of mortal bondage, by these spirits supplied,
First exiles, then replaces what we hate;
Watering the heart whose early flowers have died,
And with a fresher growth replenishing the void.

VI.

Such is the refuge of our youth and age, The first from Hope, the last from Vacancy; And this wan feeling peoples many a page, And, may be, that which grows beneath mine eye; Yet there are things whose strong reality Outshines our fairy-land; in shape and hues More beautiful than our fantastic sky, And the strange constellations which the Muse O'er her wild universe is skilful to diffuse:

VII.

I saw or dream'd of such,—but let them go,—
They came like truth, and disappear'd like dreams;
And whatsoe'er they were-are now but so;
I could replace them if I would; still teems
My mind with many a form which aptly seems
Such as I sought for, and at moments found;
Let these too go-for waking Reason deems
Such overweening phantasies unsound,

And other voices speak, and other sights surround.

VIII.

I've taught me other tongues-and in strange eyes Have made me not a stranger; to the mind Which is itself, no changes bring surprise; Nor is it harsh to make, nor hard to find A country with-ay, or without mankind; Yet was I born where men are proud to be, Not without cause; and should I leave behind The inviolate island of the sage and free, And seek me out a home by a remoter sea,

IX.

Perhaps I loved it well: and should I lay
My ashes in a soil which is not mine,
My spirit shall resume it—if we may
Unbodied choose a sanctuary. I twine
My hopes of being remember'd in my line
With my land's language: if too fond and far
These aspirations in their scope incline,—
If my fame should be, as my fortunes are,
Of hasty growth and blight, and dull Oblivion bar

X.

My name from out the temple where the dead
Are honour'd by the nations-let it be-
And light the laurels on a loftier head!
And be the Spartan's epitaph on me—
"Sparta hath many a worthier son than he."
Meantime I seek no sympathies, nor need;
The thorns which I have reap'd are of the tree
I planted, they have torn me—and I bleed :

I should have known what fruit would spring from such a

seed.

XI.

The spouseless Adriatic mourns her lord;
And, annual marriage now no more renew'd,
The Bucentaur lies rotting unrestored,
Neglected garment of her widowhood!
St. Mark yet sees his lion where he stood
Stand, but in mockery of his wither'd power,
Over the proud Place where an Emperor sued,
And monarchs gazed and envied in the hour
When Venice was a queen with an unequall'd dower.

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