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Sky, mountains, river, winds, lake, lightnings! ye
With night, and clouds, and thunder, and a soul
To make these felt and feeling, well may be
Things that have made me watchful; the far roll
of your departing voices is the knoll
Of what in me is sleepless,-if I rest.
But where of ye, oh tempests! is the goal ?
like those within the human breast?
Or do ye find, at length, like eagles, some high nest?
Could I embody and unbosom now
That which is most within me,-could I wreak
My thoughts upon expression, and thus throw
Soul, heart, mind, passions, feeling, strong or weak,
All that I would have sought, and all I seek,
Bear, know, feel, and yet breathe-into one word,
And that one word were Lightning, I would speak;
But as it is, I live and die unheard,
With a most voiceless thought, sheathing it as a sword.
The morn is up again, the dewy morn,
With breath all incense, and with cheek all bloom,
Laughing the clouds away with playful scorn,
And living as if earth contain'd no tomb,
And glowing into day: we may resume
The march of our existence: and thus I,
Still on thy shores, fair Leman ! may
And food for meditation, nor pass by
Much that may give us pause, if ponder'd fittingly.
Clarens ! sweet Clarens, birth-place of deep love!
Thine air is the young breath of passionate thought ;
Thy trees take root in love; the snows above
The very glaciers have his colours caught,
And sun-set into rose-hues sees them wrought 22
By rays which sleep there lovingly: the rocks,
permanent crags, tell here of love, who sought In them a refuge from the worldly shocks, Which stir and sting the soul with hope that woos, then mocks.
Clarens ! by heavenly feet thy paths are trod, -
Undying love's, who here ascends a throne
To which the steps are mountains ; where the god
Is a pervading life and light,-so shown
Not on those summits solely, nor alone
In the still cave and forest; o'er the flower
eye is sparkling, and his breath hath blown, His soft and summer breath, whose tender power Passes the strength of storms in their most desolate hour.
All things are here of him; from the black pines,
Which are his shade on high, and the loud roar
Of torrents, where he listeneth to the vines
Which slope his green path downward to the shore,
Where the bow'd waters meet him and adore,
Kissing his feet with murmurs; and the wood,
The covert of old trees, with trunks all hoar,
But light leaves, young as joy, stands where it stood, Offering to him, and his, a populous solitude.
A populous solitude of bees and birds,
And fairy-form'd and many-colour'd things,
Who worship him with notes more sweet than words,
And innocently open their glad wings,
Fearless and full of life: the gush of springs,
And fall of lofty fountains, and the bend
Of stirring branches, and the bud which brings
The swiftest thought of beauty, here extend,
Mingling, and made by love, unto one mighty end.
He who hath loved not, here would learn that lore,
And make his heart a spirit; he who knows
That tender mystery, will love the more ;
For this is love's recess, where vain men's woes,
And the world's waste, have driven him far from those,
For 't is his nature to advance or die :
He stands not still, but or decays, or grows
Into a boundless blessing, which may vie
With the immortal lights, in its eternity!
’T was not for fiction chose Rousseau this spot,
Peopling it with affections; but he found
It was the scene which passion must allot
To the mind's purified beings; 't was the ground
Where early love his Psyche's zone unbound,
And hallow'd it with loveliness ; 't is lone,
And wonderful, and deep, and hath a sound,
And sense, and sight of sweetness ; here the Rhone Hath spread himself a couch, the Alps have rear'd a throne.
Lausanne ! and Ferney! ye have been the abodes »3
Of names which unto you bequeath'd a name ;
Mortals, who sought and found, by dangerous roads,
A path to perpetuity of fame :
They were gigantic minds, and their steep aim
Was, Titan-like, on daring doubts to pile
Thoughts which should call down thunder and the flame
Of Heaven, again assail'd, if Heaven the while
On man and man's research could deign do more than smile.
The one was fire and fickleness, a child,
Most mutable in wishes, but in mind
A wit as various,-gay, grave, sage, or wild,
Historian, bard, philosopher combined ;
He multiplied himself among mankind,
The Proteus of their talents : but his own
Breathed most in ridicule,—which, as the wind,
Blew where it listed, laying all things prone,
Now to o'erthrow a fool, and now to shake a throne.
The other, deep and slow, exhausting thought,
And hiving wisdom with each studious year,
In meditation dwelt, with learning wrought,
And shaped his weapon
with an edge severe,
Sapping a solemn creed with solemn speer :
The lord of irony,—that master-spell,
Which stung his foes to wrath, which grew from fear,
And doom'd him to the zealot's ready hell,
Which answers to all doubts so eloquently well.
Yet, peace be with their ashes,-for by them,
If merited, the penalty is paid ;
It is not ours to judge,-far less condemn;
The hour must come when such things shall be made
Known unto all,- hope and dread allay'd
By slumber, on one pillow,-in the dust,
Which, thus much we are sure, must lie decay'd;
And when it shall revive, as is our trust,
'T will be to be forgiven, or suffer what is just.
But let me quit man's works, again to read
His Maker's spread around me, and suspend
This page, which from
reveries I feed,
Until it seems prolonging without end.
The clouds above me to the white Alps tend,
And I must pierce them, and survey whate'er
May be permitted, as my steps I bend
To their most great and growing region, where
The earth to her embrace compels the powers of air.
Italia! too,- Italia! looking on thee,
Full flashes on the soul the light of ages,
Since the fierce Carthaginian almost won thee,
To the last halo of the chiefs and
Who glorify thy consecrated pages ;
Thou wert the throne and grave of empires ; still,
The fount at which the panting mind assuages
Her thirst of knowledge, quaffing there her fill, Flows from the eternal source of Rome's imperial hill.
Thus far I have proceeded in a theme
Renew'd with no kind auspices: to feel
We are not what we have been, and to deem
We are not what we should be, and to steel
The heart against itself; and to conceal,
With a proud caution, love, or hate, or aught,-
Passion or feeling, purpose, grief, or zeal,-
Which is the tyrant spirit of our thought ;
Is a stern task of soul :--No matter,-it is taught.
And for these words, thus woven into song,
be that they are a harmless wile, -
The colouring of the scenes which fleet along,
Which I would seize, in passing, to beguile
My breast, or that of others, for a while.
Fame is the thirst of youth,—but I am not
So young as to regard men's frown or smile,
As loss or guerdon of a glorious lot;
I stood and stand alone,-remember'd or forgot.
I have not loved the world, nor the world me;
I have not flatter'd its rank breath, nor bow'd
To its idolatries a patient knee,-
Nor coin'd my cheek to smiles,
-nor cried aloud
In worship of an echo ; in the crowd
They could not deem me one of such ; I stood
Among them, but not of them ; in a shroud
Of thoughts which were not their thoughts, and still could, Had I not filed 24 my mind, which thus itself subdued.
I have not loved the world, nor the world me,-
But let us part fair foes; I do believe,
Though I have found them not, that there
Words which are things,—hopes which will not deceive,
And virtues which are merciful, nor weave
Snares for the falling : I would also deem
O’er others' griefs that some sincerely grieve ;)
That two, or one, are almost what they seem,That goodness is no name, and happiness no dream.
My daughter! with thy name this song begun-
My daughter ! with thy name thus much shall end-
I see thee not,I hear thee not,—but none
Can be so wrapt in thee; thou art the friend
To whom the shadows of far
Albeit brow thou never shouldst behold,
My voice shall with thy future visions blend,
And reach into thy heart,—when mine is cold,-
A token and a tone, even from thy father's mould.