« PreviousContinue »
But where they dwelt, the vast and sumptuous pile
Too oft rensind her who and what enthrals, 10) Have flung a desolate cloud o'er Venice' lovely
When Athens' armies fell at Syracuse,
Starts from its belt-he rends his captive's chains, And bids him thank the bard for freedom and his
XVII. Thus, Venice, if no stronger claim were thine, Were all thy proud historic deeds forgot, Thy choral memory of the Bard divine, Thy love of Tasso, should have cut the knot Which ties thee to thy tyrants; and thy lot Is shameful to the nations, - most of all, Albion! to thee: the Ocean queen should not
Abandon Ocean's children; in the fall Of Venice think of thine, despite thy watery wall.
XVIII. I loved her from my boyhood - she to me Was as a fairy city of the heart, Rising like water - columns from the sea, Of joy the sojourn, and of wealth the mart; And Otway, Radcliffe, Schiller, Shakspeare's
art, 12) Had stamp'd her image in me, and even so, Although I found her thus, we did not part,
Perchance even dearer in her day of woe, Than when she was a boast, a marvel, and a XIX. I can repeople with the past — and of The present there is still for eye and thought, And meditation chasten'd down, enough; And more, it may be, than I hoped or sought; And of the happiest moments which were wrought Within the web of my existence, some From thee, fair Venice! have their colours caught : There are some feelings Time can not benumb, Nor Torture shake, or mine would now be cold
XX. But from their nature will the tannen grow 15) Loftiest on loftiest and least shelter'd rocks, Rooted in barrenness, where nought below Of soil supports them 'gainst the Alpine shocks Of eddying storms; yet springs the trunk, and
mocks The howling tempest, till its height and frame Are worthy of the mountains from whose blocks
Of bleak, gray granite into life it came, And grew a giant tree; – the mind may grow
XXI. Existence may be borne, and the deep root Of life and sufferance make its firm abode In bare and desolated bosoms: mute The camel labours with the heaviest load, And the wolf dies in silence, - not bestow'd In vain should such example be; if they, Things of ignoble or of savage mood, Endure and shrink not, we of nobler clay May temper it to bear, it is but for a day.
XXII. All suffering doth destroy, or is destroy'd, Even by the sufferer; and, in each event, Ends: Some, with hope replenish'd and re
buoy'd, Return to whence they came – - with like intent, And weave their web again; some, bow'd and bent,
Wax gray and ghastly, withering ere their time, And perish with the reed on which they leant;
Some seek devotion, toil, war, good or crime, According as their souls were form'd to sink or
XXIII. But ever and anon of griefs subdued There comes a token like a scorpion's sting, Scarce seen, but with fresh bitterness imbued; And slight withal may be the things which bring Back on th heart the weight which it would
fling Aside for ever: it may be a sound
tone of music - summer's eve - or spring A flower – the wind - the ocean - which shall
wound, Striking the electric chain wherewith we are darkly bound;
XXIV. And how and why we know not, nor can trace Home to its cloud this lightning of the mind, But feel the shock renew'd, nor can efface The blight and blackening which it leaves behind, Which out of things familiar, undesign'd, When least we deem of such, calls up to view The spectres whom no exorcism can bind, The cold — the changed — perchance the dead
anew, The mourn'd, the loved, the lost - too many!. yet how few!
XXV. But my soul wanders; I demand it back To meditate amongst decay, and stand A ruin amidst ruins; there to track Fall’n states and buried greatness, o'er a land Which was the mightiest in its old command, And is the loveliest, and must ever be The master-mould of Nature's heavenly hand,
Wherein were cast the heroic and the free, The beautiful, the brave - the lords of earth and
The commonwealth of kings, the men of Rome! And even since, and now, fair Italy! Thou art the garden of the world, the liome Of all Art yields, and Nature can decree; Even in thy desert, what is like to thee? Thy very weeds are beautiful, thy waste More rich than other climes' fertility; Thy wreck a glory, and thy ruin graced With an immaculate charm which can not be de.
While, on the other hand, meek Dian's crest Floats through the azure air- an island of the blest!
XXVIII. A single star is at her side, and reigns With her o'er half the lovely heaven; but still 14) Yon sunny sea heaves brightly, and remains Rolld o'er the peak of the far Rhaetian hill, As Day and Night contending were, until Nature reclaim'd her order:
gently flows The deep-dyed Brenta, where their hues instil The odorous purple of a new-born rose, Which streams upon her stream, and glass'd within it glows,
XXIX. Fill'd with the face of heaven, which, from afar, Comes down upon the waters; all its hues, From the rich sunset to the rising star, Their magical variety diffuse: And now they change; a paler shadow strews Its mantle o'er the mountains; parting day Dies like the dolphin, whom each pang imbues
With a new colour as it gasps away, The last still loveliest, till - 'tis gone
There is a tomb in Arqua; rear'd in air,
Watering the tree which bears his lady's name 15) With his melodious tears, he gave himself to fame.
They keep his dust in Arqua, where he died; 16) The mountain - village where his latter days Went down the vale of years; and 'tis their prideAn honest pride — and let it be their praise, To offer to the passing stranger's gaze His mansion and his sepulchre; both plain And venerably simple, such as raise A feeling more accordant with his strain Than if a pyramid form’d his monumental fane.
And the soft quiet hamlet where he dwelt
For they can lure no further; and the ray
hath its morality.