« PreviousContinue »
On tables set, as if for rights divine ;
And as the great deliverer marches by,
He looks on festal ground with fruits bestrown;
And flowers are on his person thrown
In boundless prodigality;
Nor doth the general voice abstain from prayer,
Invoking Dion's tutelary care,
As if a very deity he were !
Mourn, hills and groves of Attica! and mourn
Ilissus, bending o'er thy classic urn!
Mourn, and lament for him whose spirit dreads
Your once-sweet memory, studious walks and shades !
For him who to divinity aspired,
Not on the breath of popular applause,
But through dependence on the sacred laws
Framed in the schools where wisdom dwelt retired,
Intent to trace the ideal path of right
(More fair than heaven's broad causeway paved with
Which Dion learned to measure with delight;
But he hath overleaped the eternal bars;
And, following guides whose craft holds no consent
With aught that breathes the ethereal element,
Hath stained the robes of civil power with blood,
Unjustly shed, though for the public good.
Whence doubts that come too late, and wishes vain,
Hollow excuses, and triumphant pain;
And oft his cogitations sink as low
As, through the abysses of a joyless heart,
The heaviest plummet of despair can go;
But whence that sudden check? that fearful start!
He hears an uncouth sound
Anon his lifted eyes
Saw at a long-drawn gallery's dusky bound,
A shape of more than mortal size
And hideous aspect, stalking round and round;
A woman's garb that phantom wore,
And fiercely swept the marble floor,
Like Auster whirling to and fro,
His force on Caspian foam to try ;
Or Boreas when he scours the snow
That skins the plains of Thessaly,
Or when aloft on Mänalus he stops
His flight, mid eddying pine-tree tops !
So, but from toil less sign of profit reaping
The sullen spectre to her purpose bowed,
No pause admitted, no design avowed ?
Avaunt, inexplicable guest !-avaunt !" Exclaimed the chieftain—“Let me rather see The coronal that coiling vipers make; The torch that flames with many a lurid flake, And the long train of doleful pageantry Which they behold, whom vengeful furies haunt: Who, while they struggle from the scourge to flee, Move where the blasted soil is not unworn, And, in their anguish, bear what other minds have
But shapes that come not at an earthly call,
Will not depart when mortal voices bid ;
Lords of the visionary eye whose lid
Once raised, remains aghast and will not fall !
Ye gods, thought he, that servile implement
Obeys a mystical intent!
Your minister would brush away
The spots that to my soul adhere;
But should she labour night and day,
They will not, cannot disappear ;
Whence angry perturbations, and that look
Which our philosophy can brook !
Ill-fated chief; there are whose hopes are built
Upon the ruins of thy glorious name;
Who, through the portal of one moment's guilt,
Pursue thee with their deadly aim !
O matchless perfidy! portentous lust
Of monstrous crime;—that horror-striking blade,
Drawn in defiance of the gods, hath laid
The noble Syracusan low in dust!
Shudder the walls--the marble city wept-
And sylvan places heaved a pensive sigh:
But in calm peace the appointed victim slept,
As he had fallen in magnanimity;
Of spirit too capacious to require
That Destiny her course should change; too just
To his own native greatness to desire
That wretched boon, days lengthened by mistrust.
So were the hopeless troubles, that involved
The soul of Dion, instantly dissolved.
Released from life and cares of princely state,
He left this moral grafted on his fate-
“ Him only pleasure leads, and peace attends,
Him, only him, the shield of Jove defends,
Whose means are fair and spotless as his ends."
A PEN—to register; a key-
That winds through secret wards;
Are well assigned to memory
By allegoric bards.
As aptly, also, might be given
A pencil to her hand;
That, softening objects, sometimes even
Outstrips the heart's demand;
That smooths foregone distress, the lines
Of lingering care subdues,
Long-vanished happiness refines,
And clothes in brighter hues:
Yet, like a tool of fancy, works
Those spectres to dilate
That startle Conscience, as she lurks
Within her lonely seat.
Oh that our lives, which flee so fast,
In purity were such,
That not an image of the past
Should fear that pencil's touch!
Retirement then might hourly look
Upon a soothing scene,
Age steal to his allotted nook,
Contented and serene;
With heart as calm as lakes that sleep,
In frosty moonlight glistening ;
Or mountain rivers, where they creep
Along a channel smooth and deep,
To their own far-off murmurs listening.
ODE TO DUTY.
Stern daughter of the voice of God!
O Duty! if that name thou love,
Who art a light to guide, a rod
To check the erring, and reprove;
Thou who art victory and law
When empty terrors overawe;
From vain temptations dost set free ;
And calm'st the weary strife of frail humanity!
There are who ask not if thine eye
Be on them ; who, in love and truth,
Where no misgiving is, rely
Upon the genial sense of youth;
Glad hearts ! without reproach or blot ;
Who do thy work, and know it not:
Long may the kindly impulse last !
But thou, if they should totter, leach them to stand fast !
Serene will be our days and bright,
And happy will our nature be,
When love is an unerring light,
And joy its own security.
And they a blissful course may hold
Even now, who, not unwisely bold,
Live in the spirit of this creed;
Yet find that other strength, according to their need.
I, loving freedom, and untried ;
No sport of every random gust,
Yet being to myself a guide,
Too blindly have reposed my trust:
And oft, when in my heart was heard
Thy timely mandate, I deferred
The task, in smoother walks to stray;
But thee I now would serve more strictly, if I may.
Through no disturbance of my soul,
Or strong compunction in me wrought,
I supplicate for thy control;
But in the quietness of thought: