« AnteriorContinuar »
In the desert a fountain is springing,
Where had been heap'd a mass of holy things in the wide waste there still is a tree,
For an unholy usage; they raked up, And a bird in the solitade singing,
And shivering scraped with their cold skeleton hands
The fecble ashes, and their feeble breath
Which was a mockery; then they lifted up
Their eyes as it grew lighter, and beheld
Each other's aspects-saw, and shriek'd and diedThe bright sun was extinguish'd, and the stars
Evcn of their mutual hideousness they died, Did wander darkling in the eternal space,
Unknowing who he was upon whose brow Rayless, and pathless, and the icy earth
Famine had written fiend. The world was void, Swung blind and blackening in the moonless air. The populous and the powerful was a lump, Morn came, and went-and came, and brought no day; Seasonless, berbless, treeless, manless, lifelessAnd men forgot their passions in the dread
A lump of death-a chaos of hard clay. Of this their desolation, and all hearts
The rivers, lakes, and ocean, all stood still,
And nothing stirred within their silent depths ;
And their masts fell down piecemeal; as they dropp d, The babitations of all things which dwell,
They slept on the abyss without a surge. Were burnt for beacons; cities were consumed,
The waves were dead; the tides were in their grave, And men were gather'd round their blazing homes The moon their mistress had expired before; To look once more into each other's face :
The winds were wither'd in the stagnant air, Happy were those who dwelt within the eye
And the clouds perish'd; darkness had no need
Of aid from them-she was the universe.
A FACT LITERALLY RENDERED.
I stoop beside the grave of him wlio blazed
The comet of a season, and I saw
On that neglected turf and quiet stone,
With name no clearer than the names unknown, With mad disquietude on the dull sky,
Which lay unread around it; and I ask'd The pall of a past world; and then again
The gardener of that ground, why it might be With curses cast them down upon the dust,
That for this plant strangers his memory task'd And goash'd their tecthi and howld. The wild birds Through the thick deaths of half a century; shrieka,
And thus he answer'd—«Well, I do not know
Why frequent travellers turn to pilgrims so;
And is this all? I thought, -and do we rip
I kuow not what of honour and of light Did clut himself again. A meal was bought
Through unborn ages, lo endure this blight? With blood, and each sate sullenly apart,
So soon and so successless ? As I said, Gorging himself in gloom: no love was left;
The architect of all on which we tread, All carth was but one thought-and that was death,
For earth is but a tombstone, did essay Immediate and inglorious, and the pang
To extricate remembrance from the clay, Of famive fed upon all entrails. Men
Whose minglings might confuse a Newton's thought, Died, and their bones were tombless as their flesh; Were it not that all life must end in one, The meagre by the meagre were devour'd.
Of which we are but dreamers ;-as he caugbt Even dogs assail'd their masters, all save one,
As 't were the twilight of a former sun, And he was faithful to a corse, and kept
Thus spoke he, -«I believe the man of whom The birds and beasts and famish'd men at bay,
You wot, who lies in this selected tomb, Till lunger clung them, or the dropping dead
Was a most famous writer in his day, Lured their lank jaws; himself sought out no food, And therefore travellers step from out their way But with a pitcous and perpetual moan
To pay him honour,-and myself whate'er And a quick desolate cry, licking the land
Your honour pleases .» Then most pleased I shook Which answer'd not with a caress-he died.
From out my pockets avaricious nook The crowd was famislı'd by degrees; but iwo
Some certaju coius of silver, which as 't were Of an enormous city did survive,
Perforce 1 gave this man, though I could spare And they were enemies; they met beside
So much but inconveniently. Ye smile, The dying embers of an altar-place
I see ye, ye profane ones! all the while,
Because my homely phrase the truth would tell.
And a firm will, and a deep sense,
Which even in torture can descry Its own concentred recompense,
Triumphant where it dares defy,
PROMETHEUS. Titan! to whose immortal
eyes The sufferings of mortality,
Seen in their sad reality, Were not as things that gods despise ; What was thy pity's recompense! A silent suffering, and intense; The rock, the vulture, and the chain, All that the proud can feel of pain, The agony they do not show, The suffocating sense of woe,
Which speaks but in its loneliness, And then is jealous lest the sky Should have a listener, nor will sigh
Until its voice is echoless.
Ou, shame to thee, land of the Gaul!
Oh shame to thy children and thee!
How wretched thy portion shall be!
A mockery that never shall die :
Shall burden the winds of thy sky;
Oh, where is thy spirit of yore,
The spirit that breathed in tby dead, When gallantry's star was the beacon before,
And honour the passion that led? Thy storms have awakend their sleep,
They groap from the place of their rest, And wrathfully murmur, and sullenly weep,
To see the foul stain on thy breast; For where is the glory they left thee in trust? 'T is scatter'd in darkness, 't is trampled in dust!
Titan! to thee the strife was given
Between the suffering and the will,
Which torture where they cannot kill; And the inexorable heaven, And the deaf tyranny of fate, The ruling principle of hate, Which for its pleasure doth create The things it may annihilate, Refused thee even the boon to die : The wretched gift eternity
Was thine-and thou hast borne it well. All that the Thunderer wrung from thee Was but the menace which flung back On him the torments of thy rack; The fate thou didst so well foresee,
But would not to appease him tell : And in thy silence was his sentence, And in his soul a vain repentance, And evil dread, so ill dissembled That in his hand the lightnings trembled.
Go look through the kingdoms of earth,
From Indus all round to the pole, And something of goodness, of honour, and worth,
Shall brighten the sins of the soul. But thou art alone in thy shame,
The world cannot liken thee there ; Abhorrence and vice have disfigured thy name
Beyond the low reach of compare: Stupendous in guilt, thou shalt lend us through time A proverb, a by-word, for treachery and crime!
While conquest illumined his sword,
While yet in his prowess he stood,
And welcomed the torrent of blood :
And wither'd the nations afar, Yec bright in thy view was that despot's renown, Til fortune deserted his
car; Then back from the chieftain thou slunkest away, The foremost to insult, the first to betray!
Thy godlike crime was to be kind,
To render with thy precepts less
The sum of human wretchedness,
la the endurance, and repulse Of thine impenetrable spirit,
Which earth and leaven could not convulse, A mighty lesson we inherit.
Thou art a symbol and a sign
Like thee, man is in part divine,
Forgot were the feats he had done,
The toils he had borne in thy cause; Thou turned'st to worship a new rising sun,
And waft other songs of applause. But the storm was beginning to lower,
Adversity clouded his beam ; And honour and faith were the brag of an hour,
And loyalty's self but a dream :To him thou hadst banislid thy vows were restored, And the first that had scoffd were the first that adored.
What tumult thus burthens the air ?
What throu; thus encircles his throne?
"T is the shout of delight, 't is the millions that swear Next- for some gracious service unexprest,
And from its wages only to be guess'de
Raised from the toilet to the table, where
Her wondering betters wait behind her chair :
She dines from off the plate she lately wash d. That Frenchmen will breathe, when their hearts are Quick with the tale, and ready with the lie, on fire,
The genial confidante, and general spy;
An only infant's earliest governess!
She taught the child to read, and taught so well,
That she herself, by teaching, learn'd to spell.
An adept next in penmanship she grows,
As many a nameless slander deftly shows:
What she had made the pupil of her art,
None know-but that high soul secured the heart, The dastards that flourish'd and grew in his smile
And panted for the truth it could not hear,
With longing breast and undeluded ear.
Foild was perversion by that youthful mind,
Which flattery fool'd not, baseness could not blind,
Deceit infect not, near contagion soil,
Indulgence weaken, nor example spoil,
Nor master'd science tempt her to look down
On humbler talents with a pitying frown,
Nor genius swell, nor beanty render vain,
envy ruffle to retaliate pain, La fly to the uttermost ends of the earth,
Nor fortune change, pride raise, nor passion bow, And quit thee for ever and ever;
Nor virtue teach austerity– till now. And thinking of thee in my long after years,
Serenely purest of her sex that live.
But wanting one sweet weakness—to forgive ;
Too shock'd at faults her soul can never know,
She deems that all could be like her below:
Foe to all vice, yet hardly virtue's friend-
For virtue pardons those she would amend.
But to the theme-now laid aside too long,
The baleful burthen of this honest song-
Though all her former functions are no more,
She rules the circle which she served before.
If mothers-none know why-before her quake. The laughter of triumph, the jeers of the world!
If daughters dread her for the mother's sake;
If early habits—those false links which bind,
At times, the loftiest to the meanest mind
Have given her power too deeply to instil Lines composed on the occasion of A. R. H. the
PR-- being The angry essence of her deadly will ; seen standing betwixt the coffins of Henry VIII and Charles I, in the royal vault at Windsor.
If like a spake she steal within your walls,
Till the black slime betray her as she crawls; Faned for contemptuous breach of sacred ties,
If like a viper to the heart she wind, By headless Charles, see heartless Henry lies ;
And leave the venom there she did not find; Between them stands another sceptred thing.
What marvel that this hag of hatred works
Eternal evil latent as she lurks,
To make a Pandemonium where she dwells,
And reign the Hecate of domestic hells :
Skilla by a touch to deepen scandals tints,
1813. A thread of candour with a web of wiles ;
A plain blunt show of briefly-spoken seeming,
To hide her bloodless heart's sonl-hardend scheming;
A lip of lies, a face formd to conceal,
And, without feeling, mock at all who feel;
With a vile mask the Gorgon would disown,
A cheek of parchment, and an eye of stone.
Mark how the channels of her yellow blood Promoted thence to deck her mistress' head;
Ooze to her skin, and stagnate there to mud,
Wer't the last drop in the well,
And I gasping on the brink, Ere my fainting spirit fell,
'T is to thee that I would drink.
In that water, as this wine,
The libation I would pour Should be-Peace to thine and mine,
And a health to thee, Tom MOORE!
ON THIS DAY I COMPLETE MY THIRTY-SIXTH
Cased like the centipede in saffron mail,
Oh! wretch without a tear-without a thought,
March 30, 1816.
January 22, 1824, Missolonghi. 'T is time this heart should be unmoved,
Since others it hath ceased to move; Yet though I cannot be beloved,
Still let me love.
My days are in the yellow leaf;
The flowers and fruits of love are gone; The worm, the canker, and the grief,
Are mine alone!
The fire that on my bosom preys
Is lone as some volcanic isle; No torch is kindled at its blaze
A funeral pile!
The hope, the fear, the jealous care,
The exalted portion of the pain And power of love, I cannot share,
But wear the chain.
But 't is not thus, and 't is not here,
Such thoughts should shake my soul; nor now Where glory decks the hero's bier,
Or binds his brow.
CARMINA BYRONIS IN C. ELGIN. Aspice, quos Scoto Pallas concedit honores,
Subter stat nomen, facta superque vide. Scote miser! quamvis nocuisti Palladis ædi,
Infandum facinus vindicat ipsa Venus. Pygmalion statuam pro sponsa arsisse refertur ;
In statuam rapias, Scote, sed uxor abest.
The sword, the banner, and the field,
Glory and Greece around me see! The Spartan, borne upon his shield,
Was not more free.
Awake! (not Greece, -she is awake!)
Awake my, spirit!-think through whom Thy life-blood tracks its parent lake,
And then strike bome!
Tread all reviving passions down,
Unworthy manhood! Unto thee, Indifferent should the smile or frown
Of beauty be.
LINES TO MR MOORE. (The following lines were addressed extempore by Lord Byron to his
friend Mr. Moore, on the latter's last visit to Italy.)
And my bark is on the sea;
Here's a double health to thee.
And a smile to those who hate;
Here's a heart for every fate.
Yet it still shall bear me on;
It hath springs that may be won.
If thou regrett'st thy youth, why live ?
The land of honourable death Is here-up to the field, and give
Away thy breath!
Seek out--less often sought than found
A soldier's grave—for thee the best; Then look around, and chuse thy ground,
And take thy rest.
with accuracy. Of« the tone of seriousness» I certainly recollect nothing : on the contrary, I thought Mr Bowles
rather disposed to treat the subject lightly; for he said Ravenna, February 7th, 1821.
(I have no objection to be contradicted if incorrect)
that some of his good-natured friends had come to him In the different pamphlets which you have had the good and exclaimed, « Eh! Bowles! how came you to make ness to send me, on the Pope and Bowles' controversy, I the Woods of Madeira,» etc., etc., and that he had been perceive that my name is occasionally introduced by at some pains and pulling down of the poem to convince both parties. Mr Bowles refers more than once to what them that he had never made « the Woods» do any he is pleased to consider « a remarkable circumstance,» thing of the kind. He was right, and I was wrong, not only in his letter to Mr Campbell, but in his reply and have been wrong still up to this acknowledgment; to the Quarterly. The Quarterly also, and Mr Gilchrist, for I ought to have looked twice before I wrote that have conferred on me the dangerous honour of a quo- which involved an inaccuracy capable of giving pain. tation; and Mr Bowles indirectly makes a kind of appeal | The fact was, that although I had certainly before read to me personally, by saying, « Lord Byron, if he re- « the Spirit of Discovery,» I took the quotation from members the circumstance, will witness» — (witness IN
But the mistake was mine, and not the ITALIC, an ominous character for a testimony at pre-review's, which quoted the passage correctly enough, I sent).
believe. I blundered—God knows how-into attributI shall not avail myself of a «non mi ricordo,» even ing the tremors of the lovers to the «Woods of Madeira, after so long a residence in Italy ;-1 do « remember by which they were surrounded. And I hereby do fully the circumstance»-and have no reluctance to relate it and freely declare and asseverate, that the Woods did (since called upon so to do) as correctly as the distance not tremble to a kiss, and that the lovers did. I quote of time and the impression of intervening events will from memorypermit me. In the year 1812, more than three years after the publication of « English Bards and Scotch
Stole on the listning silence, etc., etc. Reviewers,» I had the honour of meeting Mr Bowles in
They (tho lovers) trembled, even as if the power, ete. the house of our venerable host of « Human Life, etc.» And if I had been aware that this declaration would the last Argonaut of classic English poetry, and the have been in the smallest degree satisfactory to Mr Nestor of our inferior race of living poets. Mr Bowles Bowles, I should not have waited nine years to make it, calls this « soon after» the publication; but to me three notwithstanding that «English Bards and Scotch Reyears appear a considerable segment of the immortality viewers» had been suppressed some time previously to of a modern poem. I recollect nothing of « the rest of my meeting him at Mr Rogers's. Our worthy host the company going into another room»--nor, though I might indeed have told him as much, as it was at his well remember the topography of our host's elegant and representation that I suppressed it. A new edition of classically-furnished mansion, could I swear to the very that lampoon was preparing for the press, when Nr room where the conversation occurred, though the Rogers represented to me, that «] was now acquainted « taking down the poem» seems to fix it in the library with many of the persons mentioned in it, and with Had it been « taken up,» it would probably have been some on terms of intimacy;» and that he knew one in the drawing-room. I presume also that the « re- family in particular to whom its suppression would markable circumstance» took place after dinner, as I give pleasure.» I did not hesitate one moment; it was conceive that neither Mr Bowles's politeness nor appetite cancelled instantly; and it is no fault of mine that it would have allowed him to detain the rest of the com- has ever been republished. When I left England, in pany» standing round their cbairs in the « other room» April, 1816, with no very violent intentions of troubling while we were discussing « the woods of Madeira,» in- that country again, and amidst scenes of various kinds stead of circulating its vintage. Of Mr Bowles's « good to distract my attention-almost my last act, I believe, humour» I have a full and not ungrateful recollection; was to sigo a power of attorney, to yourself, to prevent as also of his gentlemanly manners and agreeable con- or suppress any attempts (of which several had been versation. I speak of the whole, and not of particulars; made in Ireland) at a re-publication. It is proper that! for whether he did or did not use the precise words should state, that the persons with whom I was subse printed in the pamphlet, I cannot say, nor could lequently acquainted, whose names had occurred in that