Imagens da página
PDF
ePub

poetry, but letting it come when it will and how it will, and striking it off at a heat.

THE DEATH OF CLYTEMNESTRA.

ORESTES AND ELECTRA.

Electra. Pass on, my brother! she awaits the wretch,
Dishonourer, despoiler, murderer-
None other name shall name him-she awaits
As would a lover

Heavenly Gods ! what poison
O’erflows my lips !

Adultress! husband-slayer!
Strike her, the tigress!

Think upon our father-
Give the sword scope--think what a man was he,
How fond of her! how kind to all about,
That he might gladden and teach us—how proud
Of thee, Orestes ! tossing thee above
His joyous head and calling thee his crown.
Ah! boys remember not what melts our hearts
And marks them evermore!

Bite not thy lip,
Nor tramp as an unsteady colt the ground,
Nor stare against the wall, but think again
How better than all fathers was our father.
Go.

Orestes. Loose me then! for this white hand, Electra,
Hath fastened upon mine with fiercer grasp
Than I can grasp the sword.
Electra,

Go, sweet Orestes,

I knew not I was holding thee-Avenge him ! (Alone). How he sprang from me!

Sure he now hath reached The room before the bath!

The bath-door creaks !
It hath creaked thus since he since thou, O father!
Ever since thou didst loosen its strong valves,
Either with all thy dying weight, or strength
Agonized with her stabs-

What plunge was that ?
Ah! me!

What groans are those ?
Orestes (returning). They sound through hell
Rejoicing the Eumenides.

She slew
Our father : she made thee the scorn of slaves
Me (son of him who ruled this land and more)
She made an outcast-

Would I had been so
For ever! ere such vengeance-
Electra

Oh that Zeus
Had let thy arm fall sooner at thy side
Without those drops ! list ! they are audible-
For they are many—from the sword's point falling
And down from the mid blade!

Too rash Orestes !
Couldst thou not then have spared our wretched mother?

Orestes. The Gods could not.
Electra.

She was not theirs, Orestes !
Orestes. And didst not thou,-
Electra.

'Twas I! 'twas I who did it! Of our unhappy house the most unhappy!

Under this roof, by every God accurst,
There is no grief, there is no guilt, but mine.
Orestes. Electra ! no !

'Tis now my time to sufferMine be, with all its pangs, the righteous deed !

What a picture is that of Agamemnon and his

boy,

[ocr errors]

Tossing thee above
His joyous head and calling thee his crown!"

Long may Mr. Landor conceive such pictures, and write such scenes !

The days are happily past when the paltry epithet of “ Cockney Poets” could be bestowed

upon

Keats and Leigh Hunt: the world has outlived them. People would as soon think of applying such a word to Dr. Johnson. Happily, too, one of the delightful writers who were the objects of these unworthy attacks has outlived them also; has lived to attain a popularity of the most genial kind, and to diffuse, through a thousand pleasant channels, many of the finest parts of our finest writers. He has done good service to literature in another way, by enriching our language with some of the very best translations since Cowley. Who ever thought to see Tasso's famous passage in the "Amyntas” so rendered ?

[ocr errors]

ODE TO THE GOLDEN AGE.

O lovely age of gold !
Not that the rivers rolled
With milk, or that the woods wept honey-dew ;
Not that the reedy ground
Produced without a wound,
Or the mild serpent had no tooth that slew;
Not that a cloudless blue
For ever was in sight;
Or that the heaven which burns,
And now is cold by turns,
Looked out in glad and everlasting light;
No, nor that even the insolent ships from far
Brought war to no new lands, nor riches worse than war.

Who, again, ever hoped to see such an English version of one of Petrarch's most characteristic poems, conceits and all ?

PETRARCH'S CONTEMPLATIONS OF DEATH IN THE

BOWER OF LAURA.

Clear, fresh, and dulcet streams,
Which the fair shape who seems
To me sole woman, haunted at noontide ;
Fair bough, so gently lit,
(I sigh to think of it)
Which lent a pillar to her lovely side ;
And turf and flowers bright-eyed,

O’er which her folded

gown Flowed like an angel's down ; And you, O holy air and hushed, Where first my heart at her sweet glances gushed, Give ear, give ear, with one consenting, To my last words, my last, and my lamenting.

If ’tis my fate below,
And heaven will have it so,
That love must close these dying eyes in tears,
May my poor dust be laid
In middle of your shade,
While my soul, naked, mounts to its own spheres.
The thought would calm my

fears When taking, out of breath, The doubtful step of death ; For never could my spirit find A stiller port after the stormy wind; Nor in more calm abstracted bourne Slip from my travelled flesh, and from my bones out

worn.

Perhaps, some future hour,
To her accustomed bower
Might come the untamed, and yet gentle she;
And where she saw me first,
Might turn with

eyes

athirst
And kinder joy to look again for me;
Then, oh the charity!
Seeing amidst the stones
The earth that held my bones,
A sigh for very love at last
Might ask of heaven to pardon me the past;

« AnteriorContinuar »