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The only heart, the only eye
Had bled or wept to see him die,
Had seen those scatter'd limbs composed,
And mourn'd above his turban-stone,?
That heart hath burst—that eye was closed
Yea-closed before his own!
282. A SHIP IN FULL SAIL.
How gloriously her gallant course she goes !
Her white wings flying-never from her foes—
She walks the waters like a thing of life,
And seems to dare the elements to strife.
Who would not brave the battle-fire, the wreck,
To move the monarch of her peopled deck ?
There is a war, a chaos of the mind,
When all its elements convulsed—combined-
Lie dark and jarring with perturbed force,
And gnashing with impenitent Remorse;
That juggling fiend –who never spake before-
But cries “I warn'd thee!” when the deed is o'er.
No single passion, and no ruliug thought
That leaves the rest as once unseen, unsought;
But the wild prospect when the soul reviews-
All rushing through their thousand avenues.
Ambition's dreams expiring, love's regret,
Endanger'd glory, life itself beset;
The joy untasted, the contempt or hate
'Gainst those who fain would triumph in our fate;
The hopeless past, the hasting future driven
Too quickly on to guess if hell or heaven;
Deeds, thoughts, and words, perhaps remember'd not
So keenly till that hour, but ne'er forgot ;
Things light or lovely in their acted time,
But now to stern reflection each a crime;
The withering sense of evil unreveald,
Not cankering less because the more conceal'd-
2 A turban is carved in stone above the graves of men only.
All, in a word, from which all eyes must start,
That opening sepulchre—the naked heart
Bares with its buried woes, till Pride awake,
To snatch the mirror from the soul—and break.
284. FROM THE PRISONER OF CHILLON.'
Lake Leman lies by Chillon's walls :
A thousand feet in depth below
Its massy waters meet and flow;
Thus much the fathom-line was sent
From Chillon's snow-white battlement,
Which round about the wave inthrals:
A double dungeon wall and wave
Have made—and like a living grave.
Below the surface of the lake
The dark vault lies wherein we lay,
We heard it ripple night and day ;
Sounding o'er our heads it knock’d;
And I have felt the winter's spray
Wash through the bars when winds were high
And wanton in the happy sky;
And then the very rock hath rock'd,
And I have felt it shake, unshock'd,
Because I could have smiled to see
The death that would have set me free.
285. MANFRED's SOLILOQUY ON THE JUNGFRAU.
My mother Earth! And thou fresh breaking Day, and you, ye Mountains, Why are ye beautiful ? I cannot love ye. And thou, the bright eye of the universe, That openest over all, and unto all Art a delight—thou shin’st not on my heart. And you, ye crags, upon whose extreme edge I stand, and on the torrent's brink beneath Behold the tall pines dwindled as to shrubs In dizziness of distance; when a leap, A stir, a motion, even a breath, would bring My breast upon its rocky bosom's bed To rest for ever-wherefore do I pause ?
I feel the impulse—yet I do not plunge;
I see the peril-yet do not recede ;
And my brain reels—and yet my foot is firm :
There is a power upon me which withholds,
And makes it my fatality to live;
If it be life to wear within myself
This barrenness of spirit, and to be
My own soul's sepulchre, for I have ceased
To justify my deeds unto myself-
The last infirmity of evil. Ay,
Thou winged and cloud-cleaving minister,
[An eagle passes.
Whose happy flight is highest into heaven,
Well mayst thou swoop so near me I should be
Thy prey, and gorge thine eaglets; thou art gone
Where the eye cannot follow thee; but thine
Yet pierces downward, onward, or above,
With a pervading vision.—Beautiful !
How beautiful is all this visible world!
How glorious in its action and itself !
But we, who name ourselves its sovereigns, we,
Half dust, half deity, alike unfit
To sink or soar, with our mix'd essence make
A conflict of its elements, and breathe
The breath of degradation and of pride,
Contending with low wants and lofty will,
Till our mortality predominates,
And men are—what they name not to themselves,
And trust not to each other. Hark! the note,
[The Shepherd's pipe in the distance is heard. The natural music of the mountain reedFor here the patriarchal days are not A pastoral fable-pipes in the liberal air, Mix'd with the sweet bells of the sauntering herd ; My soul would drink those echoes.—Oh, that I were The viewless spirit of a lovely sound, A living voice, a breathing harmony, A bodiless enjoyment—born and dying With the blest tone which made me!
The stars are forth, the moon above the tops
Of the snow-shining mountains. Beautiful !
I linger yet with Nature, for the Night
Hath been to me a more familiar face
Than that of man; and in her starry shade
Of dim and solitary loveliness,
I learn’d the language of another world.
I do remember me, that in my youth,
When I was wandering-upon such a night
I stood within the Coliseum's wall,
'Midst the chief relics of almighty Rome;
The trees which grew along the broken arches
Waved dark in the blue midnight, and the stars
Shone through the rents of ruin ; from afar
The watch-dog bay'd beyond the Tiber; and
More near from out the Cæsars' palace came
The owl's long cry, and, interruptedly,
Of distant sentinels the fitful song
Begun and died upon the gentle wind.
Some cypresses beyond the time-worn breach
Appear’d to skirt the horizon, yet they stood
Within a bowshot. Where the Cæsars dwelt,
And dwell the tuneless birds of night, amidst
A grove which springs through levell’d battlements,
And twines its roots with the imperial hearths,
Ivy usurps the laurel's place of growth;
But the gladiators' bloody Circus stands,
A noble wreck in ruinous perfection,
While Cæsar's chambers, and the Augustan halls,
Grovel on earth in indistinct decay.
And thou didst shine, thou rolling moon, upon
All this, and cast a wide and tender light,
Which soften'd down the hoar austerity
Of rugged desolation, and fill’d up,
As 'twere anew, the gaps of centuries ;
Leaving that beautiful which still was so,
And making that which was not, till the place
Became religion, and the heart ran o'er
With silent worship of the great of old, -
The dead, but scepter'd sovereigns, who still rule
Our spirits from their urns.
287. THE SINKING OF THE SHIP. 'Twas twilight, and the sunless day went down
Over the waste of waters ; like a veil,
Which, if withdrawn, would but disclose the frown
Of one whose hate is mask'd but to assail.
Thus to their hopeless eyes the night was shown,
And grimly darkled o’er the faces pale,
And the dim desolate deep: twelve days had Fear
Been their familiar, and now Death was here.
At half-past eight o'clock, booms, hencoops, spars,
And all things, for a chance, had been cast loose, That still could keep afloat the struggling tars,
For yet they strove, although of no great use : There was no light in heaven but a few stars,
The boats put off, o'ercrowded with their crews; She gave a heel, and then a lurch to port,
And, going down head foremost-sunk, in short.
Then rose from sea to sky the wild farewell
Then shriek'd the timid, and stood still the brave, Then some leap'd overboard with dreadful yell,
As eager to anticipate their grave;
And the sea yawn'd around her like a hell,
And down she suck'd with her the whirling wave,
Like one who grapples with his enemy,
And strives to strangle him before he die.
And first one universal shriek there rushid,
Louder than the loud ocean, like a crash Of echoing thunder; and then all was hush'd,
Save the wild wind and the remorseless dash
Of billows; but at intervals there gush'd,
Accompanied with a convulsive splash,
A solitary shriek, the bubbling cry
Of some strong swimmer in his agony.