Imágenes de páginas

Its precious charge, and silent death exposed,
Faithless perhaps as sleep, a shadowy lure,
With doubtful smile mocking its own strange charms.

Startled by bis own thoughts he look'd around. There was no fair fiend near him, not a sight Or sound of awe but in his own deep mind. A little shallop floating near the shore Caught the impatient wandering of his gaze. It had been long abandon'd, for its sides Gaped wide with many a rift, and its frail joints Sway'd with the undulations of the lide. A restless impulse urged him to embark, And meet lone Death on the drear ocean's waste; For well he knew that mighty Shadow loves The slimy caverns of the populous deep.

In folds of the green serpent, feels her breast
Burn with the poison, and precipitates
Through night and day, tempest, and calm and cloud,
Frantic with dizzying anguish, her blind flight
O'er the wide aëry wilderness: thus driven
By the bright shadow of that lovely dream,
Beneath the cold glare of the desolate night,
Through tangled swamps and deep precipitous dells,
Startling with careless step the moonlight snake,
He fled. --Red morning dawnd upon his flight.
Shedding the mockery of its vital hues
Upon his cheek of death. He wandered on,
Till vast Aornos seen from Petra's steep
Hung o'er the low horizon like a cloud;
Through Balk, and where the desolated tombs
Of Parthian kings scatter to every wind
Their wasting dust, wildly he wander'd on,
Day after day, a weary waste of hours,
Bearing within his life the brooding care
That ever fed on its decaying flame.
And now his limbs were lcan; his scatter'd hair,
Sered by the autumn of strange suffering,
Sung dirges in the wind ; his listless hand
Hung like dead bone within its wither'd skin;
Life, and the lustre that consumed it, shone
As in a furnace burning secretly
From his dark eyes alone. The cottagers,
Who moisten’d with human charity
His human wants, beheld with wondering awe
Their fleeting visitant. The mountaineer,
Encountering on some dizzy precipice
That spectral form, deem'd that the Spirit of wind,
With lightning eyes, and eager breath, and feet
Disturbing not the drifted snow, had paused
In his career.

The infant would conceal
His troubled visage in his mother's robe,
In terror at the glare of those wild eyes,
To remember their strange light in many a dream
Of after-times: but youthful maidens taught
By nature, would interpret half the woe
That wasted him, would call him with false names
Brother, and friend, would press his pallid hand
At parting, and watch, dim through tears, the path
Of his departure from their father's door.

The day was fair and sunny: sea and sky
Drank its inspiring radiance, and the wind
Swept strongly from the shore, blackening the waves.
Following his eager soul, the wanderer
Leap'd in the boat, he spread his cloak aloft
On the bare mast, and took liis lonely seat,
And felt the boat speed o'er the tranquil sea
Like a torn cloud before the hurricane.

As one that in a silver vision floats
Obedient to the sweep of odorous winds
Upon resplendent clouds, so rapidly
Along the dark and ruffled waters fled
The straining boat.- A whirlwind swept it

With fierce gusts and precipitating force,
Through the white ridges of the chafed sea.
The waves arose. Higher and higher still
Their fierce necks writhed beneath the tempest's scourge,
Like serpents struggling in a vulture's grasp
Calm and rejoicing in the fearful war
Of wave running on wave, and blast on blast
Descending, and black flood on whirlpool driven
With dark obliterating course, he sale:
As if their genii were the ministers
Appointed to conduct him to the light
Of those beloved eyes, the Poet sate
Holding the steady helm. Evening came on,
The beams of sunset hung their rainbow hues
High 'mid the shifting domes of sheeted spray
That canopied his path o'er the waste deep;
Twilight, ascending slowly from the east,
Entwined in duskier wreaths her braided locks
O'er the fair front and radiant

Night follow'd, clad with stars. On every side
More horribly the multitudinous streams
Of ocean's mountainous waste to mutual war
Rush'd in dark tumult thundering, as 10 mock
The calm and spangled sky. The little boat
Still ned before the storm; still fled, like foam
Down the steep cataract of a wintry river;
Now pausing on the edge of the riven wave;
Now leaving far behind the bursting mass
That fell, convulsing occan. Safely fled-
As if that frail and wasted human form
Had been an elemental god.

of day;

At length upon the lone Chorasmian shore He paused, a wide and melancholy waste Of putrid marshes—a strong impulse urged His steps to the sea-shore. A swan was there Beside a sluggish stream among the reeds. It rose as he approach'd, and with strong wings Scaling the upward sky, bent its bright course Iligh over the immeasurable main. His eyes pursued its flight :- :- Thou hast a home, Beautiful bird! thou voyagest to thine home, Where thy sweet mate will twine her downy neck With thine, and welcome thy return with eyes Bright in the lustre of their own fond joy. And what am I that I should linger here, With voice far sweeter than thy dying notes, Spirit more vast than thine, frame more attuned To beauty, wasting these surpassing powers In the deaf air, to the blind earth, and heaven, That echoes not my thoughts?• A gloomy smile Of desperate hope wrinkled his quivering lips. For sleep, he knew, kept most relentlessly

At midnight The moon arose : and lo! obe ethereal cliffs Of Caucasus, whose icy summits shone

Upon his life, as lightning in a cloud
Gleams, hovering ere it vanish, ere the floods
Of night close over it.

The crags

Among the stars like sunlight, and around
Whose cavernd base the whirlpools and tbe waves
Bursting and eddying irresistibly
Rage and resound for ever.—Who shall save?
The boat fled on,-the boiling torrent drove,-

closed round with black and jagged arms,
The shatter'd mountain overhung the sea,
And faster still, beyond all human speed,
Suspended on the sweep of the smooth wave,
The little boat was driven. A cavern there
Yawn'd, and amid its slant and winding depths
Ingulf'd the rushing sea. The boat fled on
With unrelaxing speed. « Vision and Love!»
The Poet cried aloud, « I have bebeld
The path of thy departure. Sleep and death
Shall not divide us long..

The boat pursued The windings of the cavern.—Day-light shone At length upon that gloomy river's flow; Now, where the fiercest war among the waves Is calm, on the unfathomable stream The boat moved slowly. Where the mountain riven Exposed those black depths to the azure sky, Ere yet the flood's enormous volumc fell Even to the base of Caucasus, with sound That shook the everlasting rocks, the mass Fill'd with one whirlpool all that ample chasm; Stair above stair the eddying waters rose, Circling immcasurably fast, and laved With alternating dash the gnarl'd roots Of mighty trees, that stretcli'd their giant arms In darkness over it. l' the midst was left, Reflecting, yet distorting every cloud, A pool of treacherous and tremendous calm. Seized by the sway of the ascending stream, With dizzy swiftness, round, and round, and round, Ridge after ridge the straining boat arose, Till on the verge of the extremest curve, Where through an opening of the rocky bank The waters overflow, and a smooth spot Of glassy quiet mid those battling tides Is left, the boat paused shuddering. Shall it sink Down the abyss ? Shall the reverting stress Of that resistless gulf embosom it? Now shall it fall? A wandering stream of wind, Breathed from the west, has caught the expanded sail, And, lo! with gentle motion between banks Of mossy slope, and on a placid stream, Beneath a woven grove, it sails, and, hark! The ghasily torrent mingles its far roar With the breeze murmuring in the musical woods. Where the embowering trees recede, and leave A lille space of green expanse, Is closed by meeting banks, whose yellow flowers Forever gaze on their own drooping eyes, Reflected in the crystal calm. The wave Of the boat's motion marr'd their pensive task, Which nought but vagrant bird, or wanton wind, Or falling spear-grass, or their own decay Had e'er disturb'd before. The Poet long'd To deck with their bright hues his wither'd hair, But on his heart its solitude return'd, And he forebore. Not the strong impulse hid In those flush'd cheeks, bent eyes, and shadowy frame, Had yet perform'd its ministry: it hung

The noonday sun Now shone upon the forest, one vast mass Of mingling shade, whose brown magnificence A narrow vale embosoms. There, huge caves, Scoop'd in the dark base of those aery rocks, Mocking its moans, respond and roar for ever. The meeting boughs and' implicated leaves Wove twilight o'er the Poet's path, as led By love, or dream, or god, or mightier Death, He sought in Nature's dearest haunt, some bank, Her cradle, and his sepulchre. More dark And dark the shades accumulate-the oak, Expanding its immeasurable arms, Embraces the light beech. The pyramids Of the tall cedar overarching, frame Most solemn domes within, and far below, Like clouds suspended in an emerald sky, The ash and the acacia floating hang Tremulous and pale. Like restless serpents, clothed In rainbow and in fire, the parasites, Starr'd with ten thousand blossoms, flow around The grey trunks, and as gamesome infants' eyes, With gentle meanings, and most innocent wiles, Fold their beams round the hearts of those that love, These twine their tendrils with the wedded boughs, Uniting their close union; the woven leaves Make net-work of the dark blue light of day, And the night's noontide clearness, mutable As shapes in the wierd clouds. Soft mossy lawns Beneath these canopies extend their swells, Fragraut with perfumed herbs, and eyed with blooms Minute yet beautiful. One darkest glen Sends from its woods of musk-rose, twined with jasmine, A soul-dissolving odour, to invite To some more lovely mystery. Through the dell, Silence and Twilight here, twin-sisters, keep Their noonday watch, and sail among the shades Like vaporous shapes half seen; beyond, a well, Dark, gleaming, and of most translucent wave, Images all the woven boughs above, And each depending leaf, and every speck Of azure sky, darting between their chasms; Nor aught else in the liquid mirror laves Its portraiture, but some inconstant star Between one foliaged lattice twinkling fair, Or, painted bird, sleeping beneath the moon, Or gorgeous insect floating motionless, Unconscious of the day, ere yet his wings Have spread their glories to the gaze of noon.

the cove

Hither the Poet came.

His eyes beheld Their own wan light through the reflected lines Of his thin hair, distinct in the dark depth Of that still fountain; as the human heart, Gazing in dreams over the gloomy grave, Sees its own treacherous likeness there. He heard The motion of the leaves, the grass that

sprung Startled and glanced and trembled even to feel An unaccustom'd presence, and the sound Of the sweet brook that from the secret springs Of that dark fountain rose. A Spirit scem'd To stand beside him-clothed in no bright robes

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Of shadowy silver or enshrining light,

With its wintry speed. On every side now rose Borrow'd from aught the visible world affords

Rocks, which, in unimaginable forms, Of grace, or majesty, or mystery;

Lifted their black and barren pinnacles But undulating woods, and silent well,

In the light of evening, and its precipice
And reaping rivulet, and cvening gloom

Obscuring the ravine, disclosed above,
Now deepening the dark sbades, for speech assuining 'Mid toppling stones, black gulfs, and yawning caves,
Held commune with him, as if he and it

Whose windings gave ten thousand various tongues
Were all that was,-only-when his regard

To the loud stream, Lo! Where the pass expands
Was raised by intense pensiveness—wo eyes,

Its stony jaws, the abrupt mountain breaks,
Two starry eyes, hung in the gloom of thought, And seems, with its accumulated crags,
And seem'd with their serene and azure smiles

To overhang the world : for wide expand
To beckon him.

Beneath the wan stars and descending moon


blue mountains, mighty streams, Obedient to the light

Dim tracts and vast, robed in the lustrous gloom That shone within his soul, he went, pursuing

Of leaden-colour'd even, and fiery bills 'The windings of the dell.--The rivulet

Mingling their flames with twilight, on the verge Wanton and wild, through many a green ravine Of the remote horizon.

The near scene, Beneath the forest flow'd. Sometimes it fell

Jo naked and severe simplicity, Among the moss with hollow harmony

Made contrast with the universe. A pine, Dark and profound. Now on the polish'd stones Rock-rooted, stretch'd athwart the vacancy It danced, like childhood laughing as it went:

Its swinging boughs, to each inconstant blast Then through the plain in tranquil wanderings crep', Yielding one only response at each pause, Reflecting every herb and drooping bud

In most familiar cadence, with the howl That overhung its quietness.—- 0) stream!

The thunder and the hiss of homeless streams Whose source is inaccessibly profound,

Mingling its solemn song, whilst the broad river, Whither do thy mysterious waters tend ?

Foaming and hurrying o'er its rugged path,
Thou imagest my life. Thy darksome stillness,

Fell into that immeasurable void
Thy dazzling waves, thy loud and hollow gulfs, Scaltering its waters to the passing winds.
Thy searchless fountain and invisible course
Have each their type in me: And the wide sky,

Yet the grey precipice, and solemn pine
And measureless occan may declare as soon

And torrent, were not all;

;-one silent nook

Was there. What oozy cavern or what wandering cloud

Even on the edge of that vast mountain,
Contains thy waters, as the universe

Upheld by knotty roots and fallen rocks,
Tell where these living thoughts reside, when stretch'd It overlook'd in its serenity
Upon thy flowers my bloodless limbs shall waste The dark earth, and the bending vault of stars.
l' the passing wind!,

It was a tranquil spot, that seem'd to smile

Even in the lap of horror. Ivy clasp'd
Beside the grassy shore

The fissured stones with its entwining arms,
Of the small stream he went; he did impress

And did embower with leaves for ever green,
On the green moss his tremulous step, that cauglit And berries dark, the smooth and even space
Strong shuddering from his burning limbs. As one Of its inviolated floor; and here
Roused by some joyous madness from the couch The children of the autumnal whirlwind bore,
Of fever, he did move; yet, not like him,

In wanton sport, those bright leaves, whose decay,
Forgetful of the grave, where, when the flame

Red, yellow, or etherially pale, Of his frail exultation shall be spent,

Rival the pride of summer. 'Tis the haunt He must descend. With rapid steps he went

Of every gentle wind, whose breath can teach Beneath the shade of trees, beside the tlow

The wilds to love tranquillity. One step, Of the wild babbling rivulet; and now

One human step alone, has ever broken The forest's solemn canopies were changed

The stillness of its solitude :-one voice For the uniform and lightsome evening sky.

Alone inspired jts echoes ;-even that voice Grey rocks did


from the spare moss, and stemm'd Which hither came, loating among the winds,
The struggling bruok : tall spires of windle-strae And led the loveliest among human forins
Threw their thin shadows down the rugged slope, To make their wild haunts the depository
And nought but gnarled roots of ancient pines, Of all the grace and beauty that endued
Branchless and blasted, clench'd with grasping roots Its motions, render up its majesty,
The unwilling soil. A gradual change was here, Scatter its music on the unfeeling storm,
Yet ghasily. For, as fast years

And to the damp leaves and blue cavern mould,
The smooth brow gathers, and the air grows thin Nurses of rainbow flowers and branching moss,
And white; and where irradiate dewy eyes

Commit the colours of that varying cheek,
llad shone, gleam slony orbs : 80 from his steps That snowy breast, those dark and drooping eyes.
Bright flowers departed, and the beautiful shade
Of the green groves, with all their odorous winds

The dim and horned moon hung low, and pour'd
And musical motions. Calm, he still pursued

A sea of lustre on the horizon's verge The stream, that with a larger volume now

That overflow'd its mountains. Yellow mist Roll'd through the labyrinthine dell; and there Filld the unbounded atmosphere, and drank Fretted a path through its descending curves

Wan moonlight even to fullness : not a star

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flow away,

That minister'd on sunlight, ere the west
Eclipses it, was now that wondrous frame-
No sense, no motion, no divinity-
A fragile lute, on whose harmonious strings
The breath of heaven did wander-a bright stream
Once fed with many-voiced waves-a dream
Of youth, which might and time have quench'd for ever,
Still, dark, and dry, and unremember'd now.

Shone, not a sound was heard; (e very winds,
Danger's grim playmates, on that precipice
Slept, clasp'd in his embrace.-0, storm of death!
Whose sightless speed divides this sullen night:
And thou, colossal Skeleton, that, still
Guiding its irresistible career
In thy devastating omnipotence,
Art King of this frail world, from the red field
Of slaughter, from the reeking hospital,
The patriot's sacred couch, the snowy bed
Of innocence, the scaffold and the throne,
A mighty voice invokes thee. Ruin calls
His Brother Death. A rare and regal prey
He hath prepared, prowling around the world ;
Glutted with which thou mayest repose, and men
Go to their graves like flowers or creeping worms,
Nor ever more offer at thy dark shrine
The unheeded tribule of a broken heart.

When on the threshold of the green recess The wanderer's footsteps fell, he knew that death Was on him. Yet a little, ere it fled, Did he resign his bigh and holy soul To images of the majestic past, That paused within his passive being now, Like winds that bear sweet music, when they breathe Through some dim latticed chamber. He did place His pale lean hand upon the rugged trunk Of the old pine. Upon an ivied stone Reclined his languid head; his limbs did rest, Diffused and motionless, on the smooth brink Of that obscurest chasm ;--and thus he lay, Surrendering to their final impulses The hovering powers of life. Hope and Despair, The torturers, slept: no mortal pain or fear Marr'd his


the intuxes of sensc, And his own being unalloy'd by pain, Yet feebler and more feeble, calmly fed The stream of thought, till he lay breathing there At peace, and faintly smiling :-his last sight Was the great moon, which o'er the western line Of the wide world her mighty horn suspended, With whose dun beams inwoven darkness seem'd To mingle. Now upon the jagged hills It rests, and still as the divided frame Of the vast meteor sunk, the Poet's blood, That ever beat in mystic sympathy With nature's ebb and flow, grew feebler still : And when two lessening points of light alone Gleam'd through the darkness, the alternate gasp Of his faint respiration scarce did stir The stagnate night:- till the minutest ray Was quench'd, the pulse yet linger'd in his heart. le paused—it flutter'd. But when heaven remain'd Utterly black, the murky shades involved An image, silent, cold, and motionless, As their own voiceless earth and vacant air. Even as a vapour fed with golden beams

0, for Medea's wondrous alchymy,
Which wheresoe'er it fell made the earth gleam
With bright flowers, and the wintry boughs exhale
From vernal blooms fresh fragrance! O, that God,
Profuse of poisons, would concede the chalice
Which but one living man has drain'd, who now,
Vessel of deathless wrath, a slave that feels
No proud exemption in the blighting curse
He bears, over the world wanders for ever,
Lone as incarnate death! O, that the dream
Of dark magician in his visiond cave,
Raking the cinders of a crucible
For life and power, even when his feeble hand
Shakes in its last decay, were the true law
Of this so lovely world! But thou art fled
Like some frail exhalation, which the dawn
Robes in its golden beams,-ab! thou hast fled !
The brave, the gentle, and the beautiful,
The child of grace and genius. Heartless things
Are done and said i' the world, and many worms
And beasts and men live on, and mighty Earth
From sea and mountain, city and wilderness,
In vesper low or joyous orison,
Lifts still its solemn voice :--but thou art fled-
Thou canst no longer know or love the shapes
Of this phantasmal scene, who have to thee
Been purest ministers, who are, alas!
Now thou art not. Upon those pallid lips
So sweet even in their silence, on those eyes
That image sleep in death, upon that form
Yet safe from the worm's outrage, let no fear
Be shed-not even in thought. Nor, when those hues

and those divinest lineaments,
Worn by the senseless wind, shall live alone
In the frail pauses of this simple strain,
Let not high verse, mourning the memory
Of that which is no more, or painting's woe
Or sculpture, speak in feeble imagery
Their own cold powers. Art and eloquence,
And all the shows o' the world are frail and vain
To weep a loss that turns their light to shade.
It is a woe too « deep for tears,, when all
Is reft at once, when some surpassing Spirit,
Whosc light adorn'd the world around it, leaves
Those who remain behind, nor sobs nor groans,
The passionate tumult of a clinging hope;
But pale despair and cold tranquillity,
Nature's vast frame, the web of human things,
Birth and the grave, that are not as they were.

Rosalind and Velen;



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Tue story of RosaLIND AND Helen is, undoubtedly, not an attempt in the highest style of poetry. It is in no degree calculated to excite profound meditation; and if, by interesting the affections and amusing the imagination, it awaken a certain ideal melancholy favourable to the reception of more important impressions, it will produce in the reader all that the writer experienced in the composition. I resigned myself, as I wrote, to the impulse of the feelings which moulded the conception of the story; and this impulse determined the pauses of a measure, which only pretends to be regular inasmuch as it corresponds with, and expresses, the irregularity of the imaginations which inspired it.

Naples, Dec. 20, 1818.

ROSALIND. Is it a dream, or do I see And hear frail Helen? I would flee Thy tainting touch; but former years Arise, and bring forbidden tears; And my o'erburthen'd memory Seeks yet its lost repose in thee. I share thy crime. I cannot chuse But weep for thee: mine own strange grief But seldom stoops to such relief; Nor ever did I love thee less, Though mourning o'er thy wickedness Even with a sister's woe. I knew What to the evil world is due, And therefore sternly did refuse To link me with the infamy Of one so lost as Helen. Now Bewilder'd by my dire despair, Wondering I blush, and weep that thou Shouldst love me still, -thou only!-- There, Let us sit on that grey stone, Till our mournful talk be done.


SCENE.- The Shore of the Lake of Como.

ROSALIND, HELEN, and her Child.


Come hither, my sweet Rosalind.
'T is long since thou and I have met;
And yet methinks it were unkind
Those moments to forget.
Come, sit by me. I see thee stand
By this lone lake, in this far land,
Thy loose hair in the light wind flying,
Thy sweet voice to each tone of even
United, and thine eyes replying
To the hues of yon fair heaven.
Come, gentle friend! wilt sit by me?
And be as thou wert wont to be
Ere we were disunited ?
None doth behold us now: the

That led us forth at this lone hour
Will be but ill requited
If thou depart in scorn : oh! come,
And talk of our abandon'd home.
Remember, this is Italy,
And we are exiles. Talk with me
Of that our land, whose wilds and floods,
Barren and dark although they be,
Were dearer than these chesnut woods;
Those heathy paths, that inland stream,
And the blue mountains, shapes which seem
Like wrecks of childhood's sunny dream:
Which that we have abandon'd now,
Weighs on the heart like that remorse
Which alter'd friendship leaves. I seek
No more our youthful intercourse.
That cannot be! Rosalind, speak,

HELEN. Alas! not there; I cannot bear The murmur of this lake to hear. A sound from thee, Rosalind dear, Which never yet I heard elsewhere But in our native land, recurs, Even here where now we meet. It stirs Too much of suffocating sorrow! In the dell of you dark chesnut wood Is a stone seat, a solitude Less like our own. The ghost of peace Will not desert this spot. To-morrow, If thy kind feelings should not cease, We may sit here.


Thou lead, my sweet, And I will follow.


"T is Fenici's seat Where you are going? This is not the way, Mamma; it leads behind those trees that grow Close to the little river.


Yes; I know:

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