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Hardly we breathe, although the air be free :
How massively doth awful Nature pile
The living rock, like some cathedral aisle,
Sacred to Silence and the solemn Sea.
How that clear pool lies sleeping tranquilly,
And under its glassed waters seems to smile,
With many hues, a mimic grove the while
Of foliage submarine, shrub, flower, and tree.
Beautiful scene! and fitted to, allure
The printless footsteps of some sea-born maid,
Who here, with her green tresses disarrayed,
Mid the clear bath, unfearing and secure,
May sport at noontide in the caverned shade-
Cold as the shadow-as the waters pure.
'Twas on a Holy Thursday, their innocent faces clean, The children walking two and two, in red, and blue, and
green ; Grey-headed beadles walked before, with wands as white as
snow, Till into the high dome of Paul's, they like Thames' waters
O what a multitude they seemed, these flowers of London town,
5 Seated in companies they sit, with radiance all their own : The hum of multitudes was there, but multitudes of lambs, Thousands of little boys and girls, raising their innocent
Now like a mighty wind they raise to heaven the voice of song,
9 Or like harmonious thunderings the seats of heaven among : Beneath them sit the agèd men, wise guardians of the poor. Then cherish pity, lest you drive an angel from your door.
ON AN ANTIQUE GEM BEARING THE HEADS OF
PERICLES AND ASPASIA.
This was the ruler of the land,
When Athens was the land of fame ;
This was the light that led the band,
When each was like a living flame;
The centre of earth's noblest ring-
Of more than men the more than king !
Yet not by fetter, nor by spear,
His sovereignty was held or won :
Feared—but alone as freemen fear,
Loved—but as freemen love alone,
He waved the sceptre o'er his kind
By nature's first great title-mind!
Resistless words were on his tongue-
Then eloquence first flashed below ;
Full armed to life the portent sprung-
Minerva from the Thunderer's brow!
And his the sole, the sacred hand
That shook her ægis o'er the land.
And throned immortal by his side,
A woman sits with eye sublime,-
Aspasia, all his spirit's bride;
But, if their solemn love were crime,
Pity the Beauty and the Sage-
Their crime was in their darkened age.
He perished, but his wreath was won
He perished in his height of fame; Then sunk the cloud on Athens' sun,
Yet still she conquered in his name. Filled with his soul, she could not die ; Her conquest was posterity
All thoughts, all passions, all delights,
Whatever stirs this mortal frame,
All are but ministers of Love,
And feed his sacred flame.
Oft in iny waking dreams do I
Live o'er again that happy hour,
When midway on the mount I lay,
Beside the ruined tower.
The moonshine stealing o'er the scene,
Had blended with the lights of eve;
And she was there, my hope, my joy,
My own dear Genevieve !
She leaned against the armèd man,
The statue of the armed knight;
She stood and listened to my lay,
Amid the lingering light.
Few sorrows hath she of her own,
My hope! my joy! my Genevieve !
She loves me best, whene'er I sing
The songs that make her grieve.
I played a soft and doleful air,
I sang an old and moving story-
An old rude song, that suited well
That ruin wild and hoary.
She listened with a fitting blush,
With downcast eyes, and modest grace ;
For well she knew, I could not choose
But gaze upon her face.
I told her of the Knight that wore
Upon his shield a burning brand ;
And that for ten long years he wooed
The Lady of the Land.
I told her how he pined : and ah!
The deep, the low, the pleading tone
With which I sang another's love,
Interpreted my own.
She listened with a flitting blush,
With downcast eyes, and modest grace ;
And she forgave me, that I gazed
Too fondly on her face.
But when I told the cruel scorn
That crazed that bold and lovely Knight,
And that he crossed the mountain-woods,
Nor rested day nor night ;
That sometimes from the savage den,
And sometimes from the darksome shade,
And sometimes starting up at once
In green and sunny glade,-
There came and looked him in the face
An angel beautiful and bright;
And that he knew it was a fiend,
This miserable Knight!
And that unknowing what he did,
He leaped amid a murderous band,
And saved from outrage worse than death
The Lady of the Land ;
And how she wept, and clasped his knees,
And how she tended him in vain ;
And ever strove to expiate
The scorn that crazed his brain
And that she nursed him in a cave;
And how his madness went away,
When on the yellow forest-leaves
A dying man he lay ;-
His dying words—but when I reached
That tenderest strain of all the ditty,
My faltering voice and pausing harp
Disturbed her soul with pily!
All impulses of soul and sense
Had thrilled my guileless Genevieve ;
The music and the doleful tale,
The rich and balmy eve ;
And hopes, and fears that kindle hope,
An undistinguishable throng,
And gentle wishes long subdued,
Subdued and cherished long !
She wept with pity and delight,
She blushed with love and virgin shame;
And like the murmur of a dream,
I heard her breathe my name.
Her bosom heaved—she stepped aside,
As conscious of my look she stept-
Then suddenly, with timorous eye,
She fled to me and wept.
She half enclosed me with her arms,
She pressed me with a meek embrace ;
And bending back her head, looked up,
And gazed upon my face.