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Low Birth and iron Fortune. Thy bright image,
Glassed in my soul, took all the hues of glory,
And lured me on to those inspiring toils
By which man masters men!
A midnight student o'er the dreams of sages :
For thee I sought to borrow from each Grace,
And every Muse, such attributes as lend
Ideal charms to Love. I thought of thee,
And Passion taught me poesy-of thee !
And on the painter's canvas grew the life
Of beauty-Art became the shadow
Of the dear starlight of thy haunting eyes !
Men called me vain, some mad-I heeded not,
But still toiled on, hoped on, for it was sweet,
If not to win, to feel more worthy thee !
Pau. Has he a magic to exorcise Hate ?
Mel. At last, in one mad hour, I dared to pour The thoughts that burst their channels into song, And sent them to thee—such a tribute, lady, As Beauty rarely scorns, even from the meanest. The name—appended by the burning heart That longed to show its idol what bright things It had created -yea, the enthusiast's name, That should have been thy triumph, was thy scorn! That very hour—when passion, turned to wrath, Resembled hatred most; when thy disdain Made my whole soul a chaos--in that hour The tempters found me a revengeful tool For their revenge! Thou hadst trampled on the wormIt turned and stung thee!
The Current of Time.
.. I do believe
That at our feet the tide of time Aows on
In strong and rapid course ; nor is one current
Or rippling eddy liker to the rest,
Than is one age unto its predecessor :
Men still are men, the stream is still a stream,
Through every change of changeful tide and time:
And 'tis, I fear, only our partial eye
That lends a brighter sunbeam to the wave
On which we launched our own adventurous bark.
The Constancy of Filial Love.
Bourbon. I had thought, Margaret, that Love forgot
All ranks and all distinctions ?
Margaret. Ay, so it doth-
All ties the world, its wealth, its fame, or fortune,
Can entwine; but never those of Nature.
So mine can give up all, save the first bond
My heart c'er knew,—the love of those who gave
Life and the power to love ;—those early links
Lie wreathed like close-knit fibres round my heart,
Never to sever thence till my heart break.
There's a love, which, born
In early days, lives on through silent years,
Nor ever shines, but in the hour of sorrow,
When it shows brightest : like the trembling light
Of a pale sunbeam, breaking o'er the face
Of the wild waters in their hour of warfare.
The Sacredness of Virtuous Women.
At those who do not feel the majesty-
By Heaven! I'd almost said the holiness-
That circles round a fair and virtuous woman:
There is a gentle purity that breathes
In such a one, mingled with chaste respect,
And modest pride of her own excellence-
A shrinking nature, that is so adverse
To aught unseemly, that I could as soon
Forget the sacred love I owe to Heaven,
As dare, with impure thoughts, to taint the air
Inhaled by such a being—than whom, my liege,
Heaven cannot look on any thing more holy,
Or earth be proud of any thing more fair.
Death on the Battle-field.
Death comes in on the bloody battle-field;
When with each gush of black and curdling life,
A curse was uttered—when the
Have been all drowned with din of clashing arms;
And shrieks, and shouts, and loud artillery,
That shook the slippery earth, all drunk with gore ;
I've seen it, swollen with subtle poison, black
And staring with concentrate agony ;
When every vein hath started from its bed,
And wreathed, like knotted snakes, around the brows
Which, frantic, dashed themselves in tortures down
Upon the earth. I've seen life float away
On the faint sound of a far-tolling bell;
Leaving its late warm tenement as fair,
As though 'twere th' incorruptible that lay
and all earthly taint had vanished With the departed spirit.
The Oracle at Delphi had announced that the vengeance which the mis
rule of the Race of Argos had brought on the People, in the form of a Pestilence, could only be disarmed by the Extirpation of the guilty Race; and Ion (Son of Adrastus, late King of Argos), on assuming the Crown, resolves to sacrifice himself to save his Country. Ion is installed in his royal dignity, attended by the High Priests and Scna
The People receive him with shouts.
Ion, Medon, Agenor, CRYTHES, Irus.
Ion. I thank you for your greetings-shout no more.
But in deep silence raise your hearts to Heaven,
That it may strengthen one so young and frail
As I am for the business of this hour.
Must I sit here?
Medon. My son! my son!
What ails thee? When thou shouldst reflect the joy
Of Argos, the strange paleness of the grave
Marbles thy face.
Ion. Am I indeed so pale !
It is a solemn office I
assume, Which well may make me falter; yet, sustained
By thee and by the gods I serve, I take it.
Stand forth, Agenor.
[Sits on the Throne. Agenor. I await thy will.
Ion. To thee I look as to the wisest friend
Of this afflicted people; thou must leave
Awhile the quiet which thy life has earned
To rule our councils; fill the seats of justice
With good men, not so absolute in justice
As to forget what human frailty is;
sad country Agenor. Pardon me
Ion. Nay, I will promise 'tis my last request;
Grant me thy help till this distracted state
Rise tranquil from her griefs—’twill not be long,
If the great gods smile on us now. Remember,
Meanwhile, thou hast all power my word can give,
Whether I live or die.
Agenor. Die! Ere that hour,
May even the old man's epitaph be moss-grown!
Ion. Death is not jealous of the mild decay
That gently wins thee his; exulting youth
Provokes the ghastly monarch's sudden stride,
And makes his horrid fingers quick to clasp
benumbed at noontide.
Let me see
The captain of the guard.
Crythes. I kneel to crave
Humbly the favour which thy sire bestowed
On one who loved him well.
Ion. I cannot mark thee,
That wakest the memory of my father's weakness,
But I will not forget that thou hast shared
The light enjoyments of a noble spirit,