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Who reign'd before religion made men blind;
A lady came with him from France, and when And those who suffer with their suffering kind, She left him and return'd, he wander'd then Yet feel this faith, religion..
About yon lonely isles of desert sand,
Till he grew wild. He had no cash or land
Remaining :— the police had brought him here-Said Maddalo, . my judgment will not bend
Some fancy look him, and he would not bear To your opinion, though I think you might
Removal, so I fitted up for him Make such a system refutation-tight,
Those rooms beside the sea, to please his whim; As far as words go. I knew one like you,
And sent him busts, and books, and urns for flowers, Who to this city came some months ago,
Which had adoro'd his life in happier hours, With whom I argued in this sort,—and he
And instruments of music. You may guess Is now gone mad-and so he answer'd me,
A stranger could do liule more or less Poor fellow !—But if you would like to go,
For one so gentle and unfortunateWe'll visit him, and his wild talk will show
And those are his sweet strains which charm the weight How vain are such aspiring theories.»—
From madmen's chains, and make this hell appear I hope to prove the induction otherwise,
A heaven of sacred silence, hush'd to hear.,
• Nay, this was kind of you,—he had no claim,
As the world Or in himself or others, has thus bow'd
says.» His being :—there are some by nature proud, Who, patient in all else, demand but this
• None but the very same To love and be beloved with gentleness :
Which I on all mankind, were I, as he, And being scorn'd, what wonder if they die
Fall'n to such deep reverse. His melody Some living death? This is not destiny,
Is interrupled now; we hear the din But man's own wilful ill.,
Of madmen, shriek on shriek, again begin:
Let us now visit him : after this strain,
He ever communes with himself again,
And sees and hears not any."
Near a piano, bis. pale fingers twined
One with the other; and the ooze and wind Then, fragments of most touching melody,
Rush'd through an open casement, and did sway But looking up saw not the singer there. —
His hair, and starr'd it with the brackish spray; Through the black bars in the tempestuous air His head was leaning on a music-book, I saw, like weeds on a wreck'd palace growing, And he was muttering; and bis lean limbs shook ; Long tangled locks flung wildly forth and flowing, His lips were press'd against a folded leaf Of those who on a sudden were beguiled
In hue too beautiful for health, and grief Into strange silence, and look'd forth and smiled, Smiled in their motions as they lay apart, Hearing sweet sounds. Then I :
As one who wrought from his own fervid heart
The eloquence of passion : soon he raised
• Methinks there were His sad meek face, and eyes lustrous and glazed, A cure of these with patience and kind care,
And spoke,-sometimes as one who wrote, and thought If music can thus move. But what is he,
His words might move some bicart that heeded not, Whom we seek here!,
If sent lo distant lands; -and then as one
Reproaching deeds never to be undone,
With wondering self-compassion ;-then his speech To Venice a dejected man, and fame
Was lost in grief, and then his words came each Said he was wealthy, or he had been so.
Uomodulated and expressionless,Some thought the loss of fortune wrought him woe;
But that from one jarr'd accent you might guess But he was ever talking in such sort
It was despair made them so uniform :
And all the while the loud and gusty storm
Hiss'd through the window, and we stood behind, To hear but of the oppression of the strong,
Stealing his accents from the envious wind, Or those absurd deceits (I think with you
Unseed. I yet remember what he said
Distinctly, such impression his words made.
Month after month, , he cried, to bear this load, Poor fellow! but a humourist in his way.»
And, as a jade urged by the whip and goad,
To drag life on—which like a heavy chain Alas, what drove him mad?,
Lengthens behind with many a link of pain,
And not to speak my grief—0, not to dare «I cannot say:
To give a human voice to my despair;
But live, and move, and, wretched thing! smile on, To avarice or misanthropy or lust.
Heap on me soon, O grave, tlıy welcome dust!
Till then the dungeon may demand its prey; Who are most dear-pot for my own repose
And Poverty and Shame may meet and say, Alas! no scorn, or pain, or bate, could be
Halting beside me in the public way,So heavy as that falsehood is to me
* That love-devoted youth is ours : let's sit But that I cannot bear more alter'd faces
Beside him : he may live some six months yet.' — Than needs must be, more changed and cold embraces, Or the red scaffold, as our country bends, More misery, disappointment, and mistrust
May ask some willing victim; or ye, friends! To own me for their father. Would the dust
May fall under some sorrow, which this heart Were cover'd in upon my body now!
Or hand may share, or vanquish, or avert;
J am prepared, in truth, with no proud joy,
I did devole to justice, and to love,
My nature, worthless now. « What Power delights to torture us ? I know
«I must remove That to myself I do not wholly owe What now I suffer, though in part I may.
A veil from my pent mind. 'T is torn aside!
0! pallid as Death's dedicated bride, Alas! none strew'd fresh flowers
Thou mockery which art sitting by my side,
Am I not wan like thee? At the grave's call My shadow, which will leave me not again.
I haste, invited to thy wedding-ball, If I have err'd, there was no joy in error,
To meet the ghastly paramour, for whom But pain, and insult, and unrest, and terror;
Thou hast descrted me,- and made the tomb I have not, as some do, bought penitence
Thy bridal bed. But I beside thy feet With pleasure, and a dark yet sweet offence;
Will lie, and watch ye from my winding-sheet For then if love, and tenderness, and truth
Thus-wide awake though dead --Yet slay, 0, stay! Had overlived Hope's momentary youth,
Go not so soon-I know not what I sayMy creed should have redeem'd me from repenting;
Hlear but my reasons-I am mad, I fear, But loathed scorn and outrage unrelenting
My fancy is o'erwrought-thou art not here. Met love excited by far other secming,
Pale art thou, 't is most true--but thou art goneUntil the end was gaind :-as one from dreaming
Thy work is finish’d; I am left alone.
« Nay, was it I who woocd thee to this breast,
Which like a serpent thou envenomest Who, for thou art compassionate and wise,
As in repayment of the warmth it lent? Wouldst pity me from thy most gentle eyes,
Didst thou pot seek me for thine own content? If this sad writing thou shouldst ever see,
Did not thy love awaken mine? I thought
That thou wert she who said 'You kiss me not
In truth I loved even to my overthrow
Her, who would fain forget these words; but they In friendship, let me not that name degrade,
Cling to her mind, and cannot pass awaya
You say that I am proud; that when I speak,
My lip is tortured with the wrongs, which break
Humbled himself before, as I have done!
Even the instinctive worm on which we tread Of sacred nature with its own unrest;
Turns, though it wound not-then, with prostrate liead, As some perverted beings think to find
Sinks in the dust, and writhes like memand dies In scorn or hate a medicine for the mind
--No :-wears a living death of agonies ! Which scorn or hate hath wounded.-0, how vain!
As the slow shadows of the pointed grass The dagger heals not, but may rend again.
Mark the eternal periods, its pangs pass, Believe that I am ever still the same
Slow, ever-moving, making moments be
As mine seem,-each an immortality!
acony.-Nor dream that I will join the vulgar eye,
had never seen me! never licard Or with my silence sanction tyranny,
My voice! and, more than all, had ne'er endured Or seek a moment's shelter from my pain
The deep pollution of my loathcd embrace! In any madness which the world calls gain;
your eyes ne'er had lied love in my face! Ambition, or revenge, or thoughts as stern
That, like some maniac monk, I had torn out As those which make me what I am, or turn
The nerves of manhood by their bleeding root
With mine own quivering fingers! so that ne'cr Our chastisement or recompense.-0, cuila!
I would that thine were like to be more mild,
For both our wretched sakes,- for thine the mosi, With thee like some suppress'd and hideous thought, Who feel'st already all that thou hast lost, Which llits athwart our musings, but can find
Without the power to wish it thine again. No rest within a pure and gentle mind
And, as slow years pass, a funereal train,
No thought on my dead memory?
Alas, love! Didst imprecate for on me--death!
Fear me not : against thee I'd not move a lt were
A finger in despite. Do I not live
That thou mayst have less bitter cause to grieve? A cruel punishment for one most cruel,
I give thee tears for scorn, and love for hate;
And, that thy lot may be less desolate
Than his on whom thou tramplest, I refrain
From that sweet sleep which medicines all pain. Who loved and pitied all things, and could moan
Then-when thou speakest of me-never say, For woes which others hear not; and could see
“He could forgive noi'-Here I cast away The absent with the glass of phantasy,
All human passions, all revenge,
all pride ; And near the poor and trampled sit and weep,
I think, speak, act no ill; I do but hide
Under these words, like embers, every spark Following the captive to his dungeon deep;
Of that which has consumed me. Me, who am as a nerve o'er which do creep
Quick and dark The else-unfelt oppressions of this earth,
The grave is yawning :-as its roof shall cover And was to thee the flame upon thy hearth,
My limbs with dust and worms, under and over, When all beside was cold :--that thou on me
So let oblivion hide this grief-The air Shouldst rain these plagues of blistering agony
Closes upon my accents, as despair
Upon my heart—let death upon despair!,
lle ceased, and overcome, leant back awhile; llenceforth, if an example for the same
Then rising, with a melancholy smile, They seek :—for thou on me lookedst so and so, Went to a sofa, and lay down, and slept And didst speak thus and thus. I live to show
A heavy sleep, and in his dreams he wept,
And mutter'd some familiar name, and we
I think I never was impressid so much;
Thou wilt tell, The man who were not, must have lack'd a touch With the grimace of hate, how horrible
Of human nature. Then we linger'd not, It was to meet my love when thine grew less;
Although our argument was quite forgot; Thou wilt admire how I could e'er address
But, calling the attendants, went to dine Such features to love's work---This taunt, though true At Maddalo's :---yet neither cheer nor wine (For indeed nature nor in form nor hue
Could give us spirits, for we talk'd of him, Bestow'd on me her choicest workmanship),
And nothing else, till daylight made stars dim. Shall not be thy defence : for since thy life
And we agreed it was some dreadful ill Met mine first, years long past, -since thine eye kindled Wrought on him boldly, yet unspeakable, With soft fire under mine, - I have not dwindled, By a dear friend; some deadly change in love Nor changed in mind, or body, or in aught,
Of one vow'd deeply which he dream'd not of ; But as love changes what it loveth not
For whose sake he, it seem'd, had fix'd a blot
Of falsehood in his mind, which tlourish'd not
And having stamp'd this canker on his youth, • How vain
She bad abandon'd him :--and how much more Are words! I thought never to speak again,
Might be his woe, we guess'd not:--he had store Not even in secret, not to my own heart
Of friends and fortune once, as we could guess But from my lips the unwilling accents start,
From his nice habits and his gentleness :
These now were lost-it were a grief indeed
For all that such a man might else adorn.
The colours of his mind seemed yet unworn; And eats into it, blotting all things fair,
For the wild language of his grief was highAnd wise and gool, which time had written there. Such as in measure were called pociry. Those who ivilice must suffer, for they see
And I remember one remark, which then The work of their own hearts, and that must be
Maddalo made : !ıc suid-« Most wretched men
Are cradled into poetry by wrong :
«Why, her heart must have been tough; How did it end?»
And was not this enough? They met, they parted.»
Child, is there no more?» Something within that interval, which bore The stamp of why they parted, how they met; Yet if thine aged eyes disdain fo wet Those wrinkled cheeks with youth's remember'd tears, Ask me no more; but let the silent years Be closed and cered over their memory As yon mute marble where their corpses lie.. I urged and question'd still: she told me how All happen'd--but the cold world shall not know.
ROME, May, 1819.
THE WITCH OF ATLAS.
If I had been an unconnected man, I, from this moment, should have form'd some plan Never to leave sweet Venice : for to me It was delight to ride by the lone sea : And then the town is silent-one may write, Or read in gondolas by day or night, Having the little brazen lamp alight, Unseen, uninterrupted :-books are there, Pictures, and casts from all those statues fair Which were twin-born with poetry ;-and all We seek in towns, with little to recal Regret for the green country :- I might sit In Maddalo's great palace, and his wit And subtle talk would cheer the winter night, And make me know myself :-and the fire-lighe Would flash upon our faces, till the day Might dawn, and make me wonder at my stay. But I had friends in London too. The chief Attraction here was that I sought relief From the deep tenderness that maniac wrought Within me-'t was perbaps an idle thought, But I imagined that if, day by day, I watch'd him, and seldom went away, And studied all the beatings of his heart With zeal, as men study some stubborn art For their own good, and could by patience find. An entrance to the caverns of his mind, I might reclaim him from his dark estate. In friendships I had been most fortunate, Yel never saw I one whom I would call More willingly my friend ;-and this was all Accomplish'd not;-such dreams of baseless good Oft come and go, in crowds or solitude, And leave no trace !- but what I now design d, Made, for long years, inpression on my mind. -The following morning, urged by my affairs, I left bright Venice.-
Incestuous Change bore to her father Time,
All those bright natures which adorn'd its prime, And left us nothing to believe in, worth
The pains of putting into learned rhyme,
The all-bebolding Sun had ne'er beholden
So fair a creature, as she lay enfolden In the warm shadow of her loveliness ;
He kiss'd her with his beams, and made ali golden The chamber of grey rock in which she layShe, in that dream of joy, dissolved away.
JII. ”T is said, she was first cbanged into a vapour,
And then into a cloud, such clouds as tlit, Like splendour-winged moths about a taper,
Round the red west when the sun dies in it: And then into a meteor, such as caper
On hill-tops when the moon is in a fit;
ller bow beside the folding-star, and bidden With that brighe sign the billows to indent
The sea-deserted sand : like children chidden, At her command they ever came and went :
Since in that cave a dewy splendour hidden,
From her own beauty-deep her eyes, as are
Seen through a tempest's cloven roof-her liair Dark--the dim brain wbirls dizzy with delight,
Picturing her form! her soft smiles shone afar, And her low voice was heard like love, and drew All living things towards this wonder new.
After many years,
And then the wise and fearless elephant;
Of his own volumes intervolved ;-all gaunt And sanguine beasts her gentle looks made tảme.
They drank before her at hier sacred fount, And
every beast of beating heart grew bold, Such gentleness and power even to behold.
That she might teach them how they should forego Their inborn thirst of death; the pard unstrung
His sinews at her feet, and sought to know,
How he might be as gentle as the doe.
Of lilies, and the wood-gods in a crew
Cicada are, drunk with the noonday dew: And Driope and Faunus follow'd quick,
Teasing the God to sing them something new,
And though none saw him,-through the adamant Of the deep mountains, through the trackless air,
And through those living spirits, like a want He past out of his everlasting lair
Where the quick heart of the great world doth pant,
And every shepherdess of Ocean's flocks,
And Ocean, with the brine on his And quaint Priapus with liis company
All came, much wondering how the enwombed rocks
And the rude kings of pastoral Garamant-
Stirr'd by the air under a cavern gaunt: Pigmies, and Polyphemes, by many a name,
Centaurs and Satyrs, and such shapes as haunt
The bright world dim, and every thing beside
No thought of living spirit could abide, Which to her looks had ever been hetray'd,
On any object in the world so wide, On any hope within the circling skies, But on her form, and in her inmost eyes.
And twined three threads of fleecy mist, and three Long lines of light, such as the dawn
may kindle The clouds and waves and mountains with, and she As many star-beams, ere their lamps could dwindle
In the belated moon, wound skilfully;
Were stored with magic treasures--sounds of air,
Folded in cells of crystal silence there ;
Will never die-yet ere we are aware,
Each in its thin sheath like a chrysalis;
With the soft burthen of intensest bliss; it is its work to bear to many a saint
Whose heart adores the shrine which holiest is, Even Love's—and others white, green, grey, and black, And of all shapes--and each was at her beck.
XVI. And odours in a kind of aviary
Of ever-blooming Eden-trees she kept, Clipt in a floating nel, a love-sick Fairy
Had woven from dew- beams while the moon yet slept; As bats at the wired window of a dairy,
They beat their vans; and each was an adept,
Could medicine the sick soul to happy sleep,
Of glorious dreams-or if eyes needs must weep,
She in her crystal vials did closely keep:
The works of some Saturnian Archimage, Which taught the expiations at whose price
Men from the Gods might win that happy age Too lighily lost, redeeming native vice;
And which might quench the earth-consuming rage Of gold and blood-uill men should live and move Harmonious as the sacred stars above.
Not to be check'd and not to be confined,
Time, Earth and Fire-the Ocean and the Wind, And all their shapes--and man's imperial will ;
And other scrolls whose writings did unbind The inmost lore of Love-let the prophane Tremble to ask what secrets they contain.