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" Like a fair lady at her casement shines

The Evening Star, the star of love and rest." The Evening Star - P. 51

DANTE.
Tuscan, that wanderest through the realms of gloom,

With thoughtful pace, and sad majestic eyes,
Stern thoughts and awful from thy soul arise,

Like Farinata from his fiery tomb.
Thy sacred song is like the trump of doom;

Yet in thy heart what human sympathies,
What soft compassion glows, as in the skies

The tender stars their clouded lamps relume!
Methinks I see thee stand, with pallid cheeks,

By Fra Hilario in his diocese,

As up the convent-walls, in golden streaks,
The ascending sunbeams mark the day's decrease;

And, as he asks what there the stranger seeks,
Thy voice along the cloisters whispers, “ Peace !"

TO-MORROW.
"Tis late at night, and in the realm of sleep

My little lambs are folded like the flocks;
From room to room I hear the wakeful clocks

Challenge the passing hour, like guards that keep Their solitary watch on tower and steep;

Far off I hear the crowing of the cocks,
And through the opening door that time unlocks

Feel the fresh breathing of To-morrow creep.
To-morrow! the mysterious, unknown guest,

Who cries to me: Remember Barmecide,

And tremble to be happy with the rest.”
And I make answer: "I am satisfied;

I dare not ask; I know not what is best;
God hath already said what shall betide.”

THE EVENING STAR.

Lo! in the painted oriel of the West,

Whose panes the sunken sun incarnadines,
Like a fair lady at her casement shines

The Evening Star, the star of love and rest!
And then anon she doth herself divest

Of all her radiant garments, and reclines
Behind the sombre screen of yonder pines,
With slumber and soft dreams of love of pressed.

O my beloved, my sweet Hesperus!

My morning and my evening star of love

My best and gentlest lady! even thus,
As that fair planet in the sky above,

Dost thou retire unto thy rest at night,
And from thy darkened window fades the light.

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I.
Oft have I seen at some cathedral door

A labourer, pausing in the dust and heat,
Lay down his burden, and with reverent feet

Enter, and cross himself, and on the floor
Kneel to repeat his paternoster o'er;

Far off the noises of the world retreat.
The loud vociferations of the street

Become an undistinguishable roar.
So, as I enter here from day to day,

And leave my burden at this minster gate,

Kneeling in prayer, and not ashamed to pray,
The tumult of the time discon solate

To inarticulate murmurs dies away,
While the eternal ages watch and wait.

II.

How strange the sculptures that adorn these towers!

This crowd of statues, in whose folded sleeves
Birds build their nests; while canopied with leaves

Parvis and portal bloom like trellised bowers,
And the vast minster seems a cross of flowers !

But fiends and dragons on the gargoyled eaves
Watch the dead Christ between the living thieves,

And, underneath, the traitor Judas lowers !
Ah! from what agonies of heart and brain,

What exultations trampling on despair,

What tenderness, what tears, what hate of wrong, What passionate outcry of a soul in pain,

Uprose this poem of the earth and air,
This mediæval miracle of song!

III.

I ENTER, and I see thee in the gloom

Of the long aisles, () poet saturnine!
And strive to make my steps keep pace with thine.

The air is filled with some unknown perfume;
The congregation of the dead make room

For thee to pass; the votive tapers shine;
Like rooks that haunt Ravenna's groves of pine

The hovering echoes fly from tomb to tomb.
From the confessionals I hear arise

Rehearsals of forgotten tragedies,

And lamentations from the crypts below;
And then voice celestial, that begins

With the pathetic words, Although your sins
As scarlet be," and ends with “as the snow.”

66

IV.

I lift mine eyes, and all the windows blaze

With forms of saints and holy men who died,
Here martyred and hereafter glorified;

And the great Rose upon its leaves displays
Christ's Triumph, and the angelic roundelays

With splendour upon splendour multiplied;
And Beatrice again at Dante's side

No more rebukes, but smiles her words of praise. And then the organ sounds, and unseen choirs

Sing the old Latin hymns of peace and love,

And benedictions of the Holy Ghost;
And the melodious bells among the spires

O'er all the house-tops and through heaven above
Proclaim the elevation of the Host!

V.

O STAR of morning and of liberty :

O bringer of the light whose splendour shines
Above the darkness of the Appenines,

Forerunner of the day that is to be!
The voices of the city and the sea,

The voices of the mountains and the pines,
Repeat thy song, till the familiar lines

Are footpaths for the thought of Italy !
Thy fame is blown abroad from all the heights,

Through all the nations, and a sound is heard,

As of a mighty wind, and men devout,
Strangers of Rome, and the new proselytes,

In their own language hear thy wondrous word,
And many are amazed and

many doubt.

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