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By time and grief ennobled, not subdued;
Though from his height descending, day by day, “ What hangs behind that curtain ?"_“ Wouldst. And, as his upward look at once betray'd, thou learn ?
Blind as old Homer. At a fount he sate, If thou art wise, thou wouldst not. 'Tis by some
Well-known to many a weary traveller ; Believed to be his master-work, who look'd
His little guide, a boy not seven years old, Beyond the grave, and on the chapel wall,
But grave, considerate beyond his years, As though the day were come, were come and past, Sitting beside him. Each had ate his crust Drew the last judgment."-But the wisest err.
In silence, drinking of the virgin spring; He who in secret wrought, and gave it life,
And now in silence, as their custom was, For life is surely there and visible change,
The sun's decline awaited.
But the child Life, such as none could of himself impart, (They who behold it, go not as they came,
Was worn with travel. Heavy sleep weigh'd down But meditate for many and many a day,)
His eyelids; and the grandsire, when we came, Sleeps in the vault beneath. We know not much; Embolden'd by his love and by his fear, But what we know, we will communicate.
His fear lest night o’ertake them on the road, 'Tis in an ancient record of the house ;
Humbly besought me to convey them both And may it make thee tremble, lest thou fall!
A little onward. Such small services Once-on a Christmas eve-ere yet the roof
Who can refuse ? -Not I; and him who can, Rung with the hymn of the Nativity,
Blest though he be with every earthly gift, There came a stranger to the convent gate,
I cannot envy. He, if wealth be his, And ask'd admittance; ever and anon,
Knows not its uses. So from noon till night, As if he sought what most he feard to find
Within a crazed and tatter'd vehicle, Looking behind him. When within the walls,
That yet display'd, in old emblazonry, These walls so sacred and inviolable,
A shield as splendid as the Bardi wear; Still did he look behind him; oft and long,
We lumber'd on together; the old man With haggard eye, and curling, quivering lip,
Beguiling many a league of half its length, Catching at vacancy. Between the fits,
When question'd the adventures of his life, For here, 'tis said, he linger'd while he lived,
And all the dangers he had undergone; He would discourse, and with a mastery,
His shipwrecks on inhospitable coasts, A charm by none resisted, none explain'd,
And his long warfare. Unfelt before ; but when his cheek grew pale,
They were bound, he said, All was forgotten. Then, howe'er employ’d,
To a great fair at Reggio ; and the boy, He would break off, and start as if he caught
Believing all the world were to be there, A glimpse of something that would not be gone
And I among the rest, let loose his tongue, And turn and gaze, and shrink into himself,
And promised me much pleasure. His short trance, As though the fiend was there, and, face to face,
Short as it was, had, like a charmed cup,
Restored his spirit, and, as on we crawld,
Slow as the snail, (my muleteer dismounting,
And now his mules addressing, now his pipe, Then, only then, untroubled, unassail'd ;
And now Luigi,) he pour'd out his heart, And, to beguile a melancholy hour,
Largely repaying me. At length the sun Would sometimes exercise that noble art
Departed, setting in a sea of gold ; He learnt in Florence; with a master's hand,
And, as we gazed, he bade me rest assured As to this day the sacristy attests,
That like the setting would the rising be. Painting the wonders of the Apocalypse.
Their harp—it had a voice oracular, At length he sunk to rest, and in his cell
And in the desert, in the crowded street, Left, when he went, a work in secret done,
Spoke when consulted. If the treble chord The portrait, for a portrait it must be,
Twanged shrill and clear, o'er hill and dale they That hangs behind the curtain. Whence he drew,
went, None here can doubt: for they that come to catch
The grandsire, step by step, led by the child The faintest glimpse—to catch it and be gone,
And not a rain-drop from a passing cloud Gaze as he gazed, then shrink into themselves,
Fell on their garments. Thus it spoke to-day ; Acting the selfsame part. But why 'twas drawn, Inspiring joy, and, in the young one's mind, Whether in penance, to atone for guilt,
Brightening a path already full of sunshine. Or to record the anguish guilt inflicts,
Day glimmer'd; and beyond the precipice
(Which my mule follow'd as in love with fear, XXI.
Or as in scorn, yet more and more inclining
To tempt the danger where it menaced most)
Along the utmost edge of this, our world ;
But soon the surges Aed, and we descried, * Michael Angelo.
Nor dimly, though the lark was silent yet,
Thy gulf, La Spezzia. Ere the morning gun, Surely a sense of our mortality,
How sure to look upon our brother's grave,
Reveals below, nor often-scenes that fied
And left behind them, as their parting gift,
A thousand nameless odours. All was still; Gainst the dark meshes.
And now the nightingale her song pour'd forth
Soon a boatman's shout in such a torrent of heartfelt delight,
Still unassail'd and unassailable,
Burning in stillness on its craggy seat;
That guiding star, so oft the only one, Ruffling with many an oar the crystalline sea, When those now glowing in the azure vault On from the rising to the setting sun,
Are dark and silent. 'Twas where o'er the sea, In silence-underneath a mountain ridge,
For we were now within a cable's length, Untamed, untameable, reflecting round
Delicious gardens hung: green galleries, The saddest purple; nothing to be seen
And marble terraces in many a flight, Of life or culture, save where, at the foot, And fairy arches sung from cliff to cliff, Some village aud its church, a scanty line, Wildering, enchanting; and, above them all, Athwart the wave gleam'd faintly. Fear of ill A palace, such as somewhere in the east, Narrow'd our course, fear of the hurricane, In Zenastan or Araby the blest, And that yet greater scourge, the crafty Moor, Among its golden groves and fruits of gold, Who, like a tiger prowling for his prey,
And fountains scattering rainbows in the sun, Springs and is gone, and on the adverse coast Rose, when Aladdin rubb’d the wondrous lamp; (Where Tripoli and Tunis and Algiers
Such, if not fairer; and, when we shot by,
A city far renown'd ;* and wonder ceased.
GENOA Flash'd through the lattice, and a swarthy crew Dragg'd forth, ere long to number them for sale, This house was Andrea Doria's. Here he lived, Ere long to part them in their agony,
And here at eve relaxing, when ashore, Parent and child! How oft where now we rode Held many a pleasant, many a grave discourse Over the billow, has a wretched son,
With them that sought him, walking to and fro Or yet more wretched sire, grown gray in chains, As on his deck. 'Tis less in length and breadth Labour'd, his hands upon the oar, his eyes
Than many a cabin in a ship of war; Upon the land—the land, that gave him birth ; But 'tis of marble, and at once inspires And, as he gazed, his homestall through his tears The reverence due to ancient dignity. Fondly imagined; when a Christian ship
He left it for a better ; and 'tis now Of war appearing in her bravery,
A house of trade, the meanest merchandise A voice in anger cried, “ Use all your strength !” Cumbering its floors. Yet, fallen as it is,
But when, ah when, do they that can, forbear 'Tis still the noblest dwelling-even in Genoa ! To crush the unresisting? Strange, that men, And hadst thou, Andrea, lived there to the last, Creatures so frail, so soon, alas ! to die,
Thou hadst done well; for there is that without, Should have the power, the will to make this world that in the wall, which monarchs could not give, A dismal prison-house, and life itself,
Nor thou take with thee, that which says aloud, Life in its prime, a burden and a curse
It was thy country's gift to her deliverer. To him who never wrong'd them! Who that 'Tis in the heart of Genoa, (he who comes, breathes
Must come on foot,) and in a place of stir ;
Men on their daily business, early and late, Is lost in rank luxuriance, and to breathe
Where the wild boar retreats, when hunters chafe,
Save here and there the likeness of a head, Giving what lost, makes life not worth the keeping. Savage, uncouth ; where none in human shape There thou didst do indeed an act divine;
Come, save the herdsman, levelling his length Nor couldst thou leave thy door or enter in, Of lance with many a cry, or, Tartar-like, Without a blessing on thee.
Urging his steed along the distant hill
Thou art now As from a danger. There, but not to rest, Again among them. Thy brave mariners, I travell’d many a dreary league, nor turn'd They who had fought so often by thy side, (Ah then least willing, as who had not been ?) Staining the mountain billows, bore thee back; When in the south, against the azure sky, And thou art sleeping in thy funeral chamber. Three temples rose in soberest majesty, Thine was a glorious course; but couldst thou The wondrous work of some heroic race.* there,
But now a long farewell! Oft, while I live, Clad in thy cere-cloth-in that silent vault, If once again in England, once again Where thou art gather'd to thy ancestors
In my own chimney nook, as night steals on, Open thy secret heart and tell us all,
With half shut eyes reclining, oft, methinks, Then should we hear thee with a sigh confess, While the wind blusters, and the pelting rain A sigh how heavy, that thy happiest hours Clatteis without, shall I recall to mind Were pass'd before these sacred walls were left, The scenes, occurrences I met with here, Before the ocean wave thy wealth reflected, And wander in elysium ; many a note And pomp and power drew envy, stirring up Of wildest melody, magician-like, Th' ambitious man,* that in a perilous hour Awakening, such as the Calabrian horn, Fell from the plank.
Along the mountain side, when all is still,
Pours forth at folding time; and many a chant, A FAREWELL
Solemn, sublime, such as at midnight flows AND now farewell to Italy—perhaps
From the full choir, when richest harmonies For ever! Yet, methinks, I could not go,
Break the deep silence of thy glens, La Cava ; I could not leave it, were it mine to say,
To him who lingers there with listening ear, “ Farewell for ever!”
Now lost and now descending as from heaven!
ODE TO SUPERSTITION.
HENCE, to the realms of night, dire demon, hence From flowers that minister'd like unseen spirits ;
Thy chain of adamant can bind From the first hour, when vintage songs broke forth,
That little world, the human mind, A grateful earnest, and the southern lakes,
And sink its noblest powers to impotence. Dazzlingly bright, unfolded at my feet;
Wake the lion's loudest roar, They that receive the cataracts, and ere long
Clot his shaggy mane with gore, Dismiss them, but how changed-onward to roll
With flashing fury bid his eyeballs shine ; From age to age in silent majesty,
Meek is his savage, sullen soul, to thine! Blessing the nations, and reflecting round
Thy touch, thy deadening touch has steel'd the The gladness they inspire.
breast, Gentle or rude,
Whence, through her April shower, soft pity No scene of life but has contributed
smiled ; Much to remember—from the Polesine,
Has closed the heart each godlike virtue bless'd, Where, when the south wind blows, and clouds on
To all the silent pleadings of his child. I clouds
At thy command he plants the dagger deep, Gather and fall, the peasant freights his bark,
At thy command exults, though nature bids him Mindful to migrate when the king of foodst
weep! Visits his humble dwelling, and the keel, Slowly uplifted over field and fence,
I. 2. Floats on a world of waters—from that low,
When, with a frown that froze the peopled earth, That level region, where no echo dwells,
Thou dartedst thy huge head from high, Or, if she comes, comes in her saddest plight,
Night waved her banners o'er the sky, Moarse, inarticulate on to where the path
And, brooding, gave her shapeless shadows birth,
Written at Susa, May 1, 1822.
* The temples of Pæstum. + Written in early youtha. The sacrifice of Iphigenia. Lucretius, I. 63.
Rocking on the billowy air,
Clouds of incense woo thy smile, Ha ! what withering phantoms glare !
Scaly monarch of the Nile !* As blows the blast with many a sudden swell, But ah! what myriads claim the bended knee! At each dead pause, what shrill-toned voices yell! Go, count the busy drops that swell the sea. The sheeted spectre, rising from the tomb, Proud land! what eye can trace thy mystic lore, Points to the murderer's stab, and shudders by ; Lock'd up in characters as dark as night?! In every grove is felt a heavier gloom,
What eye those long, long labyrinths dare exThat veils its genius from the vulgar eye:
plore, The spirit of the water rides the storm,
To which the parted soul oft wings her flight; And, through the mist, reveals the terrors of his Again to visit her cold cell of clay, form.
Charm'd with perennial sweets, and smiling at I. 3.
decay. O'er solid seas, where winter reigns,
On yon hoar summit, mildly bright
With purple ether's liquid light, Breathes softly in her wondering ear
High o'er the world, the white-robed magi gaze Each potent spell thou badest him know.
On dazzling bursts of heavenly fire ;
Start at each blue, portentous blaze,
Each flame that fits with adverse spire.
But say, what sounds my ear invade
From Delphi's venerable shade? His spirit laughs in agonies,
The temple rocks, the laurel waves! Smit by the scorchings of the noontide beam.
“ The god ! the god !” the sibyl cries. Mark who mounts the sacred pyre,*
Her figure swells, she foams, she raves ! Blooming in her bridal vest:
Her figure swells to more than mortal size
Streams of rapture roll along,
Silver notes ascend the skies:
Wake, echo, wake and catch the song, And, sighing, sinks! but sinks to soar.
O catch it, ere it dies !
The sibyl speaks, the dream is o'er,
The holy harpings charm no more.
In vain she checks the god's control;
His madding spirit fills her frame,
And moulds the features of her soul, Sees o'er her hills advance the long-drawn funeral
Breathing a prophetic flame. train.
The cavern frowns! its hundred mouths unclose! II. 1.
And in the thunder's voice, the fate of empire
flows! Thou spakest, and lo! a new creation glow'd. Each unhewp mass of living stone
III. 1. Was clad in horrors not its own,
Mona, thy Druid rites awake the dead ! And at its base the trembling nations bow'd.
Rites thy brown oaks would never dare Giant Error, darkly grand,
E’en whisper to the idle air ; Grasp'd the globe with iron hand.
Rites that have chain'd old ocean on his bed. Circled with seats of bliss, the lord of light
Shiver'd by thy piercing glance, Saw prostrate worlds adore his golden height.
Pointless falls the hero's lance. The statue, waking with immortal powers,
Thy magic bids th’ imperial eagle fly, ** Springs from its parent earth, and shakes the
And blasts the laureate wreath of victory. spheres ;
Hark! the bard's soul inspires the vocal string ! Th' indignant pyramid sublimely towers,
At every pause dread silence hovers o'er: And braves the efforts of a host of years.
While murky night sails round on raven wing, Sweet music breathes her soul into the wind;
Deepening the tempest's howl, the torrent's And bright-eyed painting stamps the image of the
Chased by the morn from Snowdon's awful brow, II. 2.
Where late she sate and scowl'd on the black wave Round their rude ark old Egypt's sorcerers rise !
below. A timbrell'd anthem swells the gale, And bids the god of thunders hail ;|
* The crocodile. With lowings loud the captive god replies. † According to an ancient proverb, it was less difficult
in Egypt to find a god than a man. * The funeral rite of the Hindoos.
# The hieroglyphice. + The fates of the northern mythology. See Mallet's $ The catacombs. Antiquities.
11 " The Persians," says Herodotus, “have no temples, 1 An allusion to the second-sight.
aliars, or statues. They sacrifice on the tops of the high See that fine description of the sudden animation of est mountains.” I. 131. the Palladium, in the second book of the Æneid.
Æn. VI. 46, etc. I The bull, Apis.
** See Tacitus. l. xiv. c. 29.
Can she, with fiction, charm the cheated mind, Lo, steel-clad war his gorgeous standard rears!
When to be grateful is the part assign'd ? The red cross squadrons madly rage,*
Ah no! she scorns the trappings of her art; And mow through infancy and age ;
No theme but truth, no prompter but the heart Then kiss the sacred dust and melt in tears. But, ladies, say, must I alone unmask? Veiling from the eye of day,
Is here no other actress ? let me ask. Penance dreams her life away;
Believe me, those, who best the heart dissect, In cloister'd solitude she sits and sighs,
Know every woman studies stage effect. While from each shrine still, small responses rise. She moulds her manners to the part she fills, Hear, with what heartselt beat, the midnight bell As instinct teaches, or as humour wills; Swings its slow summons through the hollow And as the grave or gay her talent calls, pile !
Acts in the drama till the curtain falls. The weak, wan votarist leaves her twilight cell,
First, how her little breast with triumph swells To walk, with taper dim, the winding aisle ;
When the red coral rings its golden bells ! With choral chantings vainly to aspire,
To play in pantomime is then the rage, Beyond this nether sphere, on rapture's wing of fire. Along the carpet's many-colourd stage ;
Or lisp her merry thoughts with loud endeavour, III. 3.
Now here, now theremin noise and mischief ever! Lord of each pang the nerves can feel,
A school-girl next, she curls her hair in papers, Hence with the rack and recking wheel. And mimics father's gout, and mother's vapours; Faith lifts the soul above this little ball!
Discards her doll, bribes Betty for romances; While gleams of glory open round,
Playful at church, and serious when she dances; And circling choirs of angels call,
Tramples alike on customs and on toes, Canst thou, with all thy terrors crown'd, And whispers all she hears to all she knows; Hope to obscure that latent spark,
Terror of caps, and wigs, and sober notions ! Destined to shine when suns are dark?
A romp! that longest of perpetual motions ! Thy triumphs cease! through every land,
— Till tamed and tortured into foreign graces, Hark! truth proclaims, thy triumphs cease! Snc ports her lovely face at public places; Her heavenly form, with glowing hand, And with blue, laughing eyes, behind her fan, Benignly points to piety and peace.
First acts her part with that great actor, man. Flush'd with youth, her looks impart
Too soon a flirt, approach her and she flies ! Each fine feeling as it Aows;
Frowns when pursued, and, when entreated, sighs! Her voice the echo of a heart
Plays with unhappy men as cats with mice; Pure as the mountain snows:
Till fading beauty hints the late advice. Celestial transports round her play
Her prudence dictates what her pride disdain'd, And softly, sweetly die away.
And now she sues to slaves herself had chain'd! She smiles! and where is now the cloud
Then comes that good old character, a wife, That blackend o'er thy baleful reign?
With all the dear, distracting cares of life; Grim darkness furls his leaden shroud.
A thousand cards a day at doors to leave, Shrinking from her glance in vain.
And, in return, a thousand cards receive ; Her touch unlocks the day-spring from above,
Rouge high, play deep, to lead the ton aspire, and lo! it visits man with beams of light and love.
With nightly blaze set Portland-place on fire;
And, when her shatter'd nerves forbid to roam,
In very spleen-rehearse the girls at home.
Last, the gray dowager, in ancient Rounces, WRITTEN TO BE SPOKEN BY MRS. SIDDONS.
With snufl' and spectacles the age denounces;
Boasts how the sires of this degenerate isle
Knelt for a look, and duell'd for a smile.
The scourge and ridicule of Goth and Vandal,
Her tea she sweetens, as she Sips, with scandal; Nor walks my spirit, when the sun is set,
With modern belles eternal warfare wages, With troubled step to haunt the fatal board,
Like her own birds that clamour from their cages; Where I died last-by poison or the sword;
And shutiles round to bear her tale to all,
Like some old ruin, “ nodding to its fall!" – To drop all metaphor, that little bell
Thus woman makes her entrance and her exit;
Not least an actress, when she least suspects it. Call'd back reality, and broke the spell. No heroine claims your tears with tragic tone;
Yet nature oft peeps out and mars the plot,
Each lesson lost, each poor pretence forgot ; A very woman-scarce restrains her own!
Full oft, with energy that scorns control,
At once lights up the features of the soul; * This remarkable event happened at the siege and Unlocks each thought chain'd down by coward art, sack of Jerusalem, in the last year of the eleventh century. Matth. Paris, p. 34.
And to full day the latent passions start! † After a tragedy, performed for her benefit, at the
- And she, whose first, best wish is your applause, Theatre Royal in Drury-lane, April 27, 1795.
Herself exemplifies the truth she draws. 36
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