Imagens da página
PDF
ePub

LOVE AMONG THE RUINS.

[Men and Women 1855.]
WHERE the quiet-coloured end of evening smiles,

Miles and miles
On the solitary pastures where our sheep

Half-asleep
Tinkle homeward thro’ the twilight, stray or stop

As they crop-
Was the site once of a city great and gay,

(So they say)
Of our country's very capital, its prince

Ages since
Held his court in, gathered councils, wielding far

Peace or war.

Now,- the country does not even boast a tree,

As you see,
To distinguish slopes of verdure, certain rills

From the hills
Intersect and give a name to, (else they run

Into one)
Where the domed and daring palace shot its spires

Up like fires
O’er the hundred-gated circuit of a wall

Bounding all,
Made of marble, men might march on nor be pressed,

Twelve abreast.

And such plenty and perfection, see, of grass

Never was!
Such a carpet as, this summer-time, o'erspreads

And embeds
Every vestige of the city, guessed alone,

Stock or stone-
Where a multitude of men breathed joy and woe

Long ago;

Lust of glory pricked their hearts up, dread of shame

Struck them tame;
And that glory and that shame alike, the gold

Bought and sold.

Now,--the single little turret that remains

On the plains,
By the caper overrooted, by the gourd

Overscored,
While the patching houseleek's head of blossom winks

Through the chinks-
Marks the basement whence a tower in ancient time

Sprang sublime,
And a burning ring, all round, the chariots traced

As they raced,
And the monarch and his minions and his dames

Viewed the games.

And I know, while thus the quiet-coloured eve

Smiles to leave
To their folding, all our many-tinkling fleece

In such peace,
And the slopes and rills in undistinguished grey

Melt away
That a girl with eager eyes and yellow hair

Waits me there
In the turret whence the charioteers caught soul

For the goal, When the king looked, where she looks now, breathless, dumb

Till I come.

But he looked upon the city, every side,

Far and wide, All the mountains topped with temples, all the glades'

Colonnades,

All the causeys, bridges, aqueducts, – and then,

All the men!
When I do come, she will speak not, she will stand,

Either hand
On my shoulder, give her eyes the first embrace

Of my face,
Ere we rush, ere we extinguish sight and speech

Each on each.

In one year they sent a million fighters forth

South and North,
And they built their gods a brazen pillar high

As the sky,
Yet reserved a thousand chariots in full force-

Gold, of course.
Oh heart! oh blood that freezes, blood that burns!

Earth's returns
For whole centuries of folly, noise and sin!

Shut them in,
With their triumphs and their glories and the rest!

Love is best.

TWO IN THE CAMPAGNA.

[Men and Women 1855.]
I wonder do you feel to-day

As I have felt since, hand in hand,
We sat down on the grass, to stray

In spirit better through the land,
This morn of Rome and May?

For me, I touched a thought, I know,

Has tantalized me many times,
(Like turns of thread the spiders throw

Mocking across our path) for rhymes
To catch at and let go.

Help me to hold it! First it left

The yellowing fennel, run to seed There, branching from the brickwork's cleft,

Some old tomb's ruin: yonder weed Took up the floating weft,

Where one small orange cup amassed

Five beetles, - blind and green they grope Among the honey-meal: and last,

Everywhere on the grassy slope I traced it. Hold it fast!

The champaign with its endless fleece

Of feathery grasses everywhere! Silence and passion, joy and peace,

An everlasting wash of airRome's ghost since her decease.

Such life here, through such lengths of hours,

Such miracles performed in play, Such primal naked forins of flowers,

Such letting nature have her way While heaven looks from its towers!

How say you? Let us, O my dove,

Let us be unashamed of soul,
As earth lies bare to heaven above!

How is it under our control
To love or not to love?

I would that you were all to me,

You that are just so much, no more. Nor yours nor mine, nor slave nor free!

Where does the fault lie? What the core O'the wound, since wound must be?

I would I could adopt your will,

See with your eyes, and set my heart
Beating by yours, and drink my fill

At your soul's springs,-your part my part
In life, for good and ill.

No. I yearn upward, touch you close,

Then stand away. I kiss your cheek,
Catch your soul's warmth,-i pluck the rose

And love it more than tongue can speak-
Then the good minute goes.

Already how am I so far

Out of that minute? Must I go
Still like the thistle-ball, no bar,

Onward, whenever light winds blow,
Fixed by no friendly star?

Just when I seemed about to learn!

Where is the thread now? Off again!
The old trick! Only I discern-

Infinite passion, and the pain
Of finite hearts that yearn.

SAUL. [I—IX Dram. Rom. and Lyrics 1845; ganz: Men and Women 1855.]

I.

SAID Abner, "At last thou art come! Ere I tell, ere

thou speak, “Kiss my cheek, wish me well!” Then I wished it,

and did kiss his cheek. And he, “Since the King, O my friend, for thy coun

tenance sent, "Neither drunken nor eaten have we; nor until from

his tent

« AnteriorContinuar »