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CXI. Buried in air, the deep blue sky of Rome, And looking to the stars: they had contain'd A spirit which with these would find a home, The last of those who o’er the whole earth reign'd, The Roman globe, for after none sustain'd, But yielded back his conquests :-he was more Than a mere Alexander, and, unstain'd
With household blood and wine, serenely wore His sovereign virtues--still we Trajan's name adore. (54)
CXII. Where is the rock of Triumph, the high place Where Rome embraced her heroes? where the steep Tarpeian? fittest goal of Treason's race, The promontory whence the Traitor's Leap Cured all ambition. Did the conquerors heap Their spoils here? Yes; and in yon field below, A thousand years of silenced factions sleep
The Forum, where the immortal accents glow, And still the eloquent air breathes--burns with Cicero!
Trod on the trembling senate's slavish mutes,
The forum's champion, and the people's chief
Too much adoring; whatsoe'er thy birth,
CXVI. The mosses of thy fountain still are sprinkled With thine Elysian water-drops; the face Of thy cave-guarded spring, with years unwrinkled, Reflects the meek-eyed genius of the place, Whose green, wild margin now no more erase Art's works; nor must the delicate waters sleep, Prison'd in marble, bubbling from the base
Of the cleft statue, with a gentle leap The rill runs o’er, and round, fern, flowers, and ivy, creep CXVII. Fantastically tangled; the green hills Are clothed with early blossoms, through the grass The quick-eyed lizard rustles, and the bills Of summer-birds sing welcome as ye pass; Flowers fresh in hue, and many in their class, Implore the pausing step, and with their dyes Dance in the soft breeze in a fairy mass; · The sweetness of the violet's deep blue eyes, Kiss'd by the breath of heaven, seems coloured by its skies.
Of an enamour'd Goddess, and the cell
The dull satiety which all destroys-
cxx. Alas! our young affections run to waste, Or water but the desert; whence arise But weeds of dark luxuriance, tares of haste, Rank at the core, though tempting to the eyes, Flowers whose wild odours breathe but agonies, And trees whose gums are poison ; such the plants Which spring beneath her steps as Passion flies
O'er the world's wilderness, and vainly pants For some celestial fruit forbidden to our wants.
And to a thought such shape and image given, As haunts the unquench'd soul-parch'd-wearied -wrung-and riven.
CXXII. Of its own beauty is the mind diseased, And fevers into false creation:-where, Where are the forms the sculptor's soul hath seized ? In him alone. Can Nature show so fair ? Where are the charms and virtues which we dare Conceive in boyhood and pursue as men, The unreach'd paradise of our despair, Which o'er-informs the pencil and the pen, And overpowers the page where it would bloom again? CXXIII. Who loves, raves—'tis youth's frenzy—but the cure Is bitterer still; as charm by charm unwinds Which robed our idols, and we see too sure Nor worth nor beauty dwells from out the mind's Ideal shape of such; yet still it binds The fatal spell, and still it draws us on, Reaping the whirlwind from the oft-sown winds;
The stubborn heart its alchemy begun, Seems ever near the prize,-wealthiest when most undone.
CXXIV. We wither from our youth, we gasp awaySick-sick; unfound the boon--unslaked the thirst, Though to the last, in verge of our decay, Some phantom lures, such as we sought at firstBut all too late,--so are we doubly curst. Love, fame, ambition, avarice-'tis the same, Each idle—and all ill--and none the worst
For all are meteors with a different name, And Death the sable smoke where vanishes the flame.
CXXV. Few-none-find what they love or could have loved, Though accident, blind contact, and the strong Necessity of loving, have removed Antipathies--but to recur, ere long, Envenom'd with irrevocable wrong; And Circumstance, that unspiritual god And miscreator, makes and helps alongi Our coming evils with a crutch-like rod, "touch turns Hope to dust,--the dust we all