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White as the morning star; the streams that drift
In sandy channels to the Adrian main :
Till oue still eve, with duplicated stain
Of crimson sky and wave, disclosed to me
The domes of Venice, anchored on the sea,
- an airy city of the brain !
Forth from the shores of Earth we seemed to float,
Drawn by that vision, - hardly felt the breeze
That left one glassy ripple from the boat
To break the smoothness of the silken seas;
And far and near, as from the lucent air,
Came vesper chimes and wave-born melodies.
So might one die, if Death his soul could bear
So gently, heaven before him float so fair !
BETWEEN VENICE AND MILAN, AFTER SEEING
LAKE GARDA AND THE DISTANT ALPS.
ENICE lay dreaming in the morning light,
Her fairy towers reflected in the wave; As the dim islands faded from our sight,
One backward look we gave,
Then on! where duty calls, and smiling home
Her arms spreads forth the errant ones to greet !
Dear faces rise beyond the ocean foam,
And rest and peace are sweet.
But I must leave thee, Italy! To-day
Thou didst put on thy brightest smiles for me,
Mountain, and lake, and vine-clad valley lay
Wrapped in an azure sea;
While, floating in the magic atmosphere,
Like a mirage I saw thy beauty rise,
And loveliest as the parting hour drew near,
Thou didst enchant mine eyes !
Thus in my heart I bear thee, stamped in light,
Thine image leaves me not, where'er I go,
The shimmering lake, the mountains, height o'er height
Heaven-crowned with radiant snow.
Those Alps ! whose secrets I shall never see,
In whose blue depths such hidden glories lie,
Like the calm summits of futurity,
They rise against the sky!
On the horizon of my thought they stand, --
A barrier, yet an inspiration, too!
Beyond those heights there lies a lovelier land
Than poet ever drew.
Beyond, - ah yes! I linger on the word,-
Whate'er of earthly happiness we miss,
Still is the yearning soul more deeply stirred
By hopes of future bliss !
I seek not to attain, I hat aspire !
I yearn for joy no fleeting moment gives,
The soul grows great through infinite desire,
In what it longs for, lives!
GARIBALDI AND ITALY.
LONG desired by many a weary age,
Besought in prayer by many a martyred sage! While earth with pride thy footsteps doth upbear, Thy country's hope, for thou know'st not despair, Italia's true deliverer! soon thy star, Though dimmed by Northern clouds, shall shine afar! The tyrant priest, a Roman but in name, Who now exults and glories in the shame His country bears, may yet give place to thee, To purer worship and to liberty; And Gauls, who seek thy land to re-enslave, May find its soil, as oft before, their grave.
Three empires, 0 Italia, thou hast swayed :
First, when thy Cæsar's laws the world obeyed ;
And next, when, trembling at his proud command,
Monarchs obeyed imperious Hildebrand;
Last, when thy genius lit her torch again,
And won dominion o'er the minds of men.
These lost, men deemed thee sunk in slow decay,
And thought thy greatness wholly passed away;
But, soon or late, Time hath in store for thee –
Land of the Adrian and Tyrrhenian sea,
Crowned by the Alps, and ribbed by Apennine
A brighter age than ever yet was thine !
While burns the light that shone o'er all the West, Rekindled, first, at Petrarch's high behest;
While Freedom lives, that, rising from her tomb,
Resumed her ancient life and power and bloom
On that great day when ebbed the Northern tide,
Ard Lombard cities broke the German's pride,
Land of Columbus, fairest Italy,
Columbia's eyes shall still be turned on thee !
Still will we trust that Dante's prophet soul,
And, bright with fame, the innumerable roll
Of thine immortal dead, (e’en such as rest,
O Santa Croce, on thy sacred breast !) –
Foretokened, in thy night, the dawning day,
When, like a dream, thy foes shall pass away.
Can nation-building Cavour's work be lost ?
No! though by devious paths thy way be crost,
Italia! thou shalt yet attain the prize
Of honored peace, that clear before thee lies !
NCE more among the old gigantic hills
The vales of Lombardy grow dim behind,
The rocks ascend before.
They beckon me, the giants, from afar,
They wing my footsteps on;
Their helms of ice, their plumage of the pine,
Their cuirasses of stone.
My heart beats high, my breath comes freer forth,
Why should my heart be sore ?
I hear the eagle and the vulture's cry,
The nightingale's no more.
Where is the laurel, where the myrtle's blossom ?
Bleak is the path around : Where from the thicket comes the ringdove's cooing ?
Hoarse is the torrent's sound.
Yet should I grieve, when from my loaded bosom
A weight appears to flow?
Methinks the Muses come to call me home
From yonder rocks of snow.
I know not how, but in yon land of roses
My heart was heavy still,
I startled at the warbling nightingale,
The zephyr on the hill.
They said the stars shone with a softer gleam,
It seemed not so to me;
In vain a scene of beauty beamed around,
My thoughts were o'er the sea.
Adam Gottlob Oehlenschläger. Tr. Anon.