Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

FROM "THE PLEASURES OF MEMORY.' Oft may the spirits of the dead descend To watch the silent slumbers of a friend ; To hover round his evening-walk unseen, And hold sweet converse on the dusky green ; To hail the spot where first their friendship grew, And heaven and nature opened to their view ! Oft, when he trims his cheerful hearth, and sees A smiling circle emulous to please ; There may these gentle guests delight to dwell, And bless the scene they loved in life so well !

Oh thou! with whom my heart was wont to share From Reason's dawn each pleasure and each care ; With whom, alas ! I fondly hoped to know The humble walks of happiness below; If thy blest nature now unites above An angel's pity with a brother's love, Still o'er my life preserve thy mild controul, Correct my views, and elevate my soul; Grant me thy peace and purity of mind, Devout yet cheerful, active yet resigned ; Grant me, like thee, whose heart knew no disguise, Whose blameless wishes never aimed to rise, To meet the changes Time and Chance present With modest dignity and calm content. When thy last breath, ere Nature sunk to rest, Thy meek submission to thy God expressed, When thy last look, ere thought and feeling fled, A mingled gleam of hope and triumph shed, What to thy soul its glad assurance gave, Its hope in death, its triumph o'er the grave ? The sweet Remembrance of unblemished youth, The still inspiring voice of Innocence and Truth !

Hail, MEMORY, hail ! in thy exhaustless mine From age to age unnumbered treasures shine ! Thought and her shadowy brood thy call obey, And Place and Time are subject to thy sway!

Thy pleasures most we feel, when most alone ;
The only pleasures we can call our own.
Lighter than air, Hope's summer-visions die,
If but a fleeting cloud obscure the sky;
If but a beam of sober Reason play,
Lo, Fancy's fairy frost-work melts away!
But can the wiles of Art, the grasp of Power,
Snatch the rich relics of a well-spent hour ?
These, when the trembling spirit wings her flight,
Pour round her path a stream of living light,
And gild those pure and perfect realms of rest
Where Virtue triumphs and her sons are blest !

6

FROM 'HUMAN LIFE.' When by a good man's grave I muse alone, Methinks an Angel sits upon the stone, Like those of old, on that thrice-hallowed night, Who sate and watched in raiment heavenly bright, And, with a voice inspiring joy not fear, Says, pointing upward, 'Know, He is not here; He is risen !'

But the day is almost spent ; And stars are kindling in the firmament, To us how silent—though like ours perchance Busy and full of life and circumstance; Where some the paths of Wealth and Power pursue, Of Pleasure some, of Happiness a few; And, as the sun goes round-a sun not oursWhile from her lap another Nature showers Gifts of her own, some from the crowd retire, Think on themselves, within, without inquire ; At distance dwell on all that passes there, All that their world reveals of good and fair ; And, as they wander, picturing things, like me, Not as they are but as they ought to be, Trace out the journey through their little day, And fondly dream an idle hour away.

FROM ITALY.'

But who comes,
Brushing the floor with what was once, methinks,
A hat of ceremony? On he glides,
Slip-shod, ungartered ; his long suit of black
Dingy, thread-bare, tho', patch by patch, renewed
Till it has almost ceased to be the same.
At length arrived, and with a shrug that pleads
“'Tis my necessity !' he stops and speaks,
Screwing a smile into his dinnerless face.
'Blame not a Poet, Signor, for his zeal-
When all are on the wing, who would be last ?
The splendour of thy name has gone before thee ;
And Italy from sea to sea exults,
As well indeed she may! But I transgress.
He, who has known the weight of praise himself,
Should spare another.' Saying so, he laid
His sonnet, an impromptu, at my feet,
(If his, then Petrarch must have stolen it from him)
And bowed and left me ; in his hollow hand
Receiving my small tribute, a zecchine,
Unconsciously, as doctors do their fees.

My omelet, and a flagon of hill-wine,
Pure as the virgin-spring, had happily
Fled from all eyes; or, in a waking dream,
I might have sat as many a great man has,
And many a small, like him of Santillane,
Bartering my bread and salt for empty praise.

Am I in Italy? Is this the Mincius ?
Are those the distant turrets of Verona ?
And shall I sup where Juliet at the Masque
Saw her loved Montague, and now sleeps by him?
Such questions hourly do I ask myself;
And not a stone, in a cross-way, inscribed
'To Mantua'_'To Ferrara'—but excites
Surprise, and doubt, and self-congratulation.

O Italy, how beautiful thou art ! Yet I could weep-for thou art lying, alas, Low in the dust ; and we admire thee now As we admire the beautiful in death. Thine was a dangerous gift, when thou wast born, The gift of Beauty. Would thou hadst it not; Or wert as once, awing the caitiffs vile That now beset thee, making thee their slave ! Would they had loved thee less, or feared thee more !

-But why despair ? Twice hast thou lived already; Twice shone among the nations of the world, As the sun shines among the lesser lights Of heaven ; and shalt again. The hour shall come, When they who think to bind the ethereal spirit, Who, like the eagle cowering o'er his prey, Watch with quick eye, and strike and strike again If but a sinew vibrate, shall confess Their wisdom folly. Even now the flame Bursts forth where once it burnt so gloriously, And, dying, left a splendour like the day, That like the day diffused itself, and still Blesses the earth-the light of genius, virtue, Greatness in thought and act, contempt of death, Gol-like example. Echoes that have slept Since Athens, Lacedæmon, were Themselves, Since men invoked ‘By Those in Marathon !' Awake along the Ægean; and the dead, They of that sacred shore, have heard the call, And thro' the ranks, from wing to wing, are seen Moving as once they were-instead of rage Breathing deliberate valour.

GINEVRA.

[From the same.]
If thou shouldst ever come by choice or chance
To Modena, where still religiously
Among her ancient trophies is preserved
Bologna's bucket (in its chain it hangs
Within that reverend tower, the Guirlandine)

Stop at a Palace near the Reggio-gate,
Dwelt in of old by one of the Orsini.
Its noble gardens, terrace above terrace,
And rich in fountains, statues, cypresses,
Will long detain thee; thro' their arched walks,
Dim at noon-day, discovering many a glimpse
Of knights and dames, such as in old romance,
And lovers, such as in heroic song,
Perhaps the two, for groves were their delight,
That in the spring-time, as alone they sat,
Venturing together on a tale of love,
Read only part that day.- -A summer-sun
Sets ere one half is seen ; but, ere thou go,
Enter the house-prythee, forget it not-
And look awhile upon a picture there.

'Tis of a Lady in her earliest youth,
The very last of that illustrious race,
Done by Zampieri—but I care not whom.
He, who observes it--ere he passes on,
Gazes his fill, and comes and comes again,
That he may call it up, when far away.

She sits, inclining forward as to speak,
Her lips half-open, and her finger up,
As tho' she said “Beware !' her vest of gold
Broidered with flowers, and clasped from head to foot,
An emerald-stone in every golden clasp ;
And on her brow, fairer than alabaster,
A coronet of pearls. But then her face,
So lovely, yet so arch, so full of mirth,
The overflowings of an innocent heart-
It haunts me still, tho' many a year has fled,
Like some wild melody !

Alone it hangs
Over a mouldering heir-loom, its companion,
An oaken-chest, half-eaten by the worm,
But richly carved by Anthony of Trent
With scripture-stories from the Life of Christ;
A chest that came from Venice, and had held
The ducal robes of some old Ancestor.

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »