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Thus bending o’er the vessel's laving side,
To gaze on Dian's wave-reflected sphere;
The soul forgets her schemes of Hope and Pride,
And flies unconscious o'er each backward year.
None are so desolate but something dear,
Dearer than self, possesses or possess'd
A thought, and claims the homage of a tear;
A flashing pang! of which the weary breast
Would still, albeit in vain, the heavy heart divest.
XXV. To sit on rocks, to muse o'er flood and fell, To slowly trace the forest's shady scene, Where things that own not man's dominion dwell, And mortal foot hath ne'er, or rarely been; To climb the trackless mountain all unseen, With the wild flock that never needs a fold; Alone o'er steeps and foaming falls to lean;
This is not solitude ; 'tis but to hold Converse with Nature's charms, and view her stores unroll’d.
But midst the crowd, the hum, the shock of men,
To hear, to see, to feel, and to possess,
And roam along, the world's tired denizen,
With none who bless us, none whom we can bless;
Minions of splendour shrinking from distress !
None that, with kindred consciousness endued,
If we were not, would seem to smile the less
Of all that flatter'd, follow'd, sought and sued ;
This is to be alone; this, this is solitude!
More blest the life of godly Eremite,
Such as on lonely Athos may be seen,
Watching at eve upon the giant height,
Which looks o'er waves so blue, skies so serene,
That he who there at such an hour hath been
Will wistful linger on that hallow'd spot;
Then slowly tear him from the 'witching scene,
Sigh forth one wish that such had been his lot,
Then turn to hate a world he had almost forgot.
Pass we the long, unvarying course, the track
Oft trod, that never leaves a trace behind;
Pass we the calm, the gale, the change, the tack,
And each well known caprice of wave and wind;
Pass we the joys and sorrows sailors find,
Coop'd in their winged sea-girt citadel;
The foul, the fair, the contrary, the kind,
As breezes rise and fall and billows swell,
Till on some jocund morn-lo, land! and all is well.
XXIX. But not in silence pass Calypso's isles, (10) The sister tenants of the middle deep; There for the weary still a haven smiles, Though the fair goddess long hath ceased to weep, And o'er her cliffs a fruitless watch to keep For him who dared prefer a mortal bride: Here, too, his boy essay'd the dreadful leap
Stern Mentor urged from high to yonder tide ; While thus of both bereft, the nymph-queen doubly sighd.
Her reign is past, her gentle glories gone:
But trust not this; too easy youth, beware!
A mortal sovereign holds her dangerous throne,
And thou may'st find a new Calypso there.
Sweet Florence! could another ever share
This wayward, loveless heart, it would be thine :
But check'd by every tie, I may not dare
To cast a worthless offering at thy shrine,
Nor ask so dear a breast to feel one pang for mine.
Thus Harold deem'd, as on that lady's eye
He look'd, and met its beam without a thought,
Save Admiration glancing harmless by:
Love kept aloof, albeit not far remote,
Who knew his votary often lost and caught,
But knew him as his worshipper no more,
And ne'er again the boy his bosom sought:
Since now he vainly urged him to adore,
Well deem'd the little God his ancient sway was o'er.
XXXII. Fair Florence found, in sonth with some amaze, One who, 'twas said, still sigh'd to all he saw, Withstand, unmoved, the lustre of her gaze, Which others haild with real, or mimic awe, Their hope, their doom, their punishment, their law; All that gay Beauty from her bondsmen claims : And much she marvell'd that a youth so raw
Nor felt, nor feign'd at least, the oft-told flames, Which, though sometimes they frown, yet rarely anger
Little knew she that seeming marble-heart,
Now mask'd in silence or withheld by pride,
Was not unskilful in the spoiler's art,
And spread its snares licentious far and wide;
Nor from the base pursuit had turn'd aside,
As long as aught was worthy to pursue :
But Harold on such arts no more relied;
And had he doated on those eyes so blue,
Yet never would he join the lover's whining crew.
Not much he kens, I ween, of woman's breast,
Who thinks that wanton thing is won by sighs;
What careth she for hearts when once possess'd ?
Do proper homage to thine idol's eyes;
But not too humbly, or she will despise
Thee and thy suit, though told in moving tropes :
Disguise ev'n tenderness, if thou art wise ;
Brisk Confidence still best with woman copes;
Pique her and soothe in turn,soon Passion crowns thy hopes.
'Tis an old lesson; Time approves it true,
And those who know it best, deplore it most;
When all is won that all desire to woo,
The paltry prize is hardly worth the cost :
Youth wasted, minds degraded, honour lost,
These are thy fruits, successful Passion ! these!
If, kindly cruel, early Hope is crost,
Still to the last it rankles, a disease,
Not to be cured when Love itself forgets to please.
Away! nor let me loiter in my song,
For we have many a mountain-path to tread,
And many a varied shore to sail along,
By pensive Sadness, not by Fiction, led-
Climes, fair withal as ever mortal head
Imagined in its little schemes of thought;
Or e'er in new Utopias were ared,
To teach man what he might be, or he ought;
If that corrupted thing could ever such be taught.
Dear Nature is the kindest mother still,
Though alway changing, in her aspect mild ;
From her bare bosom let me take my fill,
Her never-wean'd, though not her favour'd child.
Oh! she is fairest in her features wild,
Where nothing polish'd dares pollute her path :
To me by day or night she ever smiled,
Though I have mark'd her when none other hath, And sought her more and more, and loved her best in wrath.
XXXVIII. Land of Albania ! where Iskander rose, Theme of the young, and beacon of the wise, And he his name-sake, whose oft-baffled foes Shrunk from his deeds of chivalrous emprize : Land of Albania ! (11) lat me bend mine eyes On thee, thou rugged nurse of savage men! The cross descends, thy minarets arise, And the pale crescent sparkles in the glen, Through many a cypress grove within each city's ken.