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For this unthought-of greeting!

While allured From vale to hill, from hill to vale led on, We have pursued, through various lands, a long And pleasant course; flower after flower has

blown, ii

Embellishing the ground that gave them birth
With aspects novel to my sight; but still
Most fair, most welcome, when they drank the

dew In a sweet fellowship with kinds beloved, 15 For old remembrance sake. And oft—where

Displayed her richest blossoms among files
Of orange-trees bedecked with glowing fruit
Ripe for the hand, or under a thick shade
Of Ilex, or, if better suited to the hour, 20

The lightsome Olive's twinkling canopy—
Oft have I heard the Nightingale and Thrush
Blending as in a common English grove
Their love-songs; but, where'er my feet might

roam, Whate'er assemblages of new and old, 25

Strange and familiar, might beguile the way,
A gratulation from that vagrant Voice
Was wanting;—and most happily till now.

For see, Laverna! mark the far-famed Pile,
High on the brink of that precipitous rock, 30
Implanted like a Fortress, as in truth
It is, a Christian Fortress, garrisoned
In faith and hope, and dutiful obedience,
By a few Monks, a stern society,
Dead to the world and scorning earth-born joys.
Nay—though the hopes that drew, the fears
that drove, 36

St. Francis, far from Man's resort, to abide

Among these sterile heights of Apennine, Bound him, nor, since he raised yon House,

have ceased To bind his spiritual Progeny, with rules 40 Stringent as flesh can tolerate and live; His milder Genius (thanks to the good God That made us) over those severe restraints Of mind, that dread heart-freezing discipline, Doth sometimes here predominate, and works 45 By unsought means for gracious purposes; For earth through heaven, for heaven, by

changeful earth, 1llustrated, and mutually endeared.

Rapt though He were above the power of

sense, Familiarly, yet out of the cleansed heart 50 Of that once sinful Being overflowed On sun, moon, stars, the nether elements, And every shape of creature they sustain, Divine affections; and with beast and bird (Stilled from afar—such marvel story tells— 55 By casual outbreak of his passionate words, And from their own pursuits in field or grove Drawn to his side by look or act of love Humane, and virtue of his innocent life) He wont to hold companionship so free, 60 So pure, so fraught with knowledge and delight, As to be likened in his Followers' minds To that which our first Parents, ere the fall From their high state darkened the Earth with

fear, Held with all Kinds in Eden's blissful bowers.

Then question not that, 'mid the austere Band, 66 Who breathe the air he breathed, tread where

he trod, Some true Partakers of his loving spirit Do still survive, and, with those gentle hearts Consorted, Others, in the power, the faith, 70 Of a baptized imagination, prompt To catch from Nature's humblest monitors Whate'er they bring of impulses sublime.

Thus sensitive must be the Monk, though

pale With fasts, with vigils worn, depressed by

years, 75

Whom in a sunny glade I chanced to see,
Upon a pine-tree's storm-uprooted trunk,
Seated alone, with forehead sky-ward raised,
Hands clasped above the crucifix he wore
Appended to his bosom, and lips closed 80

By the joint pressure of his musing mood
And habit of his vow. That ancient Man—
Nor haply less the Brother whom I marked,
As we approached the Convent gate, aloft
Looking far forth from his aerial cell, 85

A young Ascetic—Poet, Hero, Sage,
He might have been, Lover belike he was—
If they received into a conscious ear
The notes whose first faint greeting startled me,
Whose sedulous iteration thrilled with joy 90
My heart—may have been moved like me to

Ah! not like me who walk in the world's ways,
On the great Prophet, styled the Voice of One
Crying amid the wilderness, and given,
Now that their snows must melt, their herbs

and flowers 95

Revive, their obstinate winter pass away,
That awful name to Thee, thee, simple Cuckoo,
Wandering in solitude, and evermore
Foretelling and proclaiming, ere thou leave
This thy last haunt beneath Italian skies ioo
To carry thy glad tidings over heights
Still loftier, and to climes more near the Pole.

Voice of the Desert, fare-thee-well; sweet
If that substantial title please thee more, 104
Farewell!—but go thy way, no need hast thou
Of a good wish sent after thee; from bower
To bower as green, from sky to sky as clear,
Thee gentle breezes waft—or airs that meet
Thy course and sport around thee softly fan-
Till Night, descending upon hill and vale, 110
Grants to thy mission a brief term of silence,
And folds thy pinions up in blest repose.



Gbieve for the Man who hither came bereft,
And seeking consolation from above;
Nor grieve the less that skill to him was left
To paint this picture of his lady-love:
Can she, a blessed saint, the work approve? 5
And O, good Brethren of the cowl, a thing
So fair, to which with peril he must cling,
Destroy in pity, or with care remove.
That bloom—those eyes—can they assist to bind
Thoughts that would stray from Heaven? The
dream must cease 10

To be; by Faith, not sight, his soul must live;
Else will the enamoured Monk too surely find
How wide a space can part from inward peace
The most profound repose his cell can give.



The world forsaken, all its busy cares

And stirring interests shunned with desperate

"flight, All trust abandoned in the healing might Of virtuous action; all that courage dares, Labour accomplishes, or patience bears— 5 Those helps rejected, they, whose minds perceive How subtly works man's weakness, sighs may

For such a One beset with cloistral snares.
Father of Mercy! rectify his view,
If with his vows this object ill agree; 10

Shed over it thy grace, and thus subdue
Imperious passion in a heart set free:—
That earthly love may to herself be true,
Give him a soul that cleaveth unto thee.'



What aim had they, the Pair of Monks, in size
Enormous, dragged, while side by side they sate,
By panting steers up to this convent gate?
How, with empurpled cheeks and pampered

eyes, Dare they confront the lean austerities 5

Of Brethren who, here fixed, on Jesu wait
In sackcloth, and God's anger deprecate
Through all that humbles flesh and mortifies?
Strange contrast!—verily the world of dreams,

1 See Note.

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