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The fire that on my bosom preys
Is lone as some volcanic isle ;
No torch is kindled at its blaze-
A funeral pile.
The hope, the fear, the jealous care,
The exalted portion of the pain
And power of love, I cannot share,
But wear the chain.
But 'tis not thus—and 'tis not here-
Such thoughts should shake my soul, nor now,
Where glory decks the hero's bier,
Or binds his brow.
The sword, the banner, and the field,
Glory and Greece, around me see !
The Spartan, borne upon his shield,
Was not more free.
Awake! (not Greece-she is awake!)
Awake, my spirit! Think through whom
Thy life-blood tracks its parent lake,
And then strike home! Tread those reviving passions down,
Unworthy manhood !-unto thee
Indifferent should the smile or frown
Of beauty be.
If thou regret'st thy youth, why live ?
The land of honourable death
Is here :-up to the field, and give
Away thy breath !
Seek out- less often sought than found-
A soldier's grave, for thee the best ;
Then look around, and choose thy ground,
And take thy rest.
What voice did on my spirit fall,
Peschiera, when thy bridge I crost?
"'Tis tter to have fought and lost,
Than never to have fought at all.'
The tricolor-a trampled rag
Lies, dirt and dust ; the lines I track
By sentry boxes yellow-black,
Lead up to no Italian flag.
I see the Croat soldier stand
Upon the grass of your redoubts ;
The eagle with his black wings flouts
The breadth and beauty of your land.
Yet not in vain, although in vain,
O men of Brescia, on the day
Of loss past hope, I heard you say
Your welcome to the noble pain.
You said, 'Since so it is, good bye
Sweet life, high hope ; but whatsoe'er
May be, or must, no tongue shall dare
To tell, “ The Lombard feared to die!”.
You said, (there shall be answer fit,)
* And if our children must obey,
They must ; but thinking on this day,
'Twill less debase them to submit.'
You said, (oh, not in vain you said,)
“ Haste, brothers, haste, while yet we may ;
The hours ebb fast of this one day,
When blood may yet be nobly shed.?
Ah! not for idle hatred, not
For honour, fame, nor self-applause,
But for the glory of the cause,
You did, what will not be forgot.
And though the stranger stand, 'tis true,
By force and fortune's right he stands;
By fortune, which is in God's hands,
And strength, which yet shall spring in you.
This voice did on my spirit fall,
Peschiera, when thy bridge I crost,
"'Tis better to have fought and lost,
Than never to have fought at all.'
Arthur Hugh Clough.
LINES SUGGESTED BY A PICTURE OF PEELE
CASTLE IN A STORM, PAINTED BY SIR GEORGE
I was thy neighbour once, thou rugged Pile !
Four summer weeks I dwelt in sight of thee :
I saw thee every day ; and all the while
Thy form was sleeping on a glassy sea.
So pure the sky, so quiet was the air !
So like, so very like, was day to day !
Whene'er I looked, thy image still was there ;
It trembled, but it never passed away.
How perfect was the calm ! It seemed no sleep,
No mood, which season takes away, or brings :
I could have fancied that the mighty Deep
Was even the gentlest of all gentle things.
Ah! then, if mine had been the painter's hand
To express what then I saw ; and add the gleam,
The light that never was, on sea or land,
15 The consecration, and the poet's dream,
I would have planted thee, thou hoary Pile,
Amid a world how different from this!
Beside a sea that could not cease to smile ;
On tranquil land, beneath a sky of bliss.
Thou should'st have seemed a treasure-house divine
Of peaceful years, a chronicle of heaven ;
Of all the sunbeams that did ever shine
The very sweetest had to thee been given.
A picture had it been of lasting ease,
Elysian quiet, without toil or strife ;
No motion but the moving tide, a breeze,
Or merely silent Nature's breathing life.
Such, in the fond illusion of my heart,
Such picture would I at that time have made ;
And seen the soul of truth in every part,
A steadfast peace that might not be betrayed.
So once it would have been,-'tis so no more;
I have submitted to a new control :
A power is gone, which nothing can restore;
A deep distress hath humanized my soul.
Not for a moment could I now behold
A smiling sea, and be what I have been :
The feeling of my loss will ne'er be old ;
This, which I know, I speak with mind serene.
Then, Beaumont, Friend! who would have been the friend,
If he had lived, of him whom I deplore,
This work of thine I blame not, but commend ;
This sea in anger, and that dismal shore.
O’tis a passionate work !-yet wise and well,
Well chosen is the spirit that is here ;
That hulk which labours in the deadly swell,
This rueful sky, this pageantry of fear!
And this huge Castle, standing here sublime,
I love to see the look with which it braves,
-Cased in the unfeeling armour of old time-
The lightning, the fierce wind, and trampling waves.
Farewell, farewell the heart that lives alone,
Housed in a dream, at distance from the Kind !
Such happiness, wherever it be known,
Is to be pitied; for 'tis surely blind.
But welcome fortitude, and patient cheer,
And frequent sights of what is to be borne !
Such sights, or worse, as are before me here :-
Not without hope we suffer and we mourn.
Thou still unravished bride of quietness!
Thou foster-child of Silence and slow Time, Sylvan historian, who canst thus express
A flowery tale more sweetly than our rhyme :
What leaf-fringed legend haunts about thy shape
Of deities or mortals, or of both,
In Tempe or the dales of Arcady?
What men or gods are these? What maidens loath?
What mad pursuit? What struggle to escape?
What pipes and timbrels? What wild ecstasy?
Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard
Are sweeter; therefore, ye soft pipes, play on;
Not to the sensual ear, but, more endeared,
Pipe to the spirit ditties of no tone:
Fair youth, beneath the trees, thou canst not leave
Thy song, nor ever can those trees be bare;