Слике страница
PDF
ePub

And Milton's self (at that thrice-honour'd name Well may we glow; as men, we share his fame), And Milton's self, apart with beaming eye, Planning, he knows not what that shall not die!

BYRON.

'Twas night; the noise and bustle of the day Were o'er. The mountebank no longer wrought Miraculous cures: he and his stage were gone; And he who, when the crisis of his tale Came, and all stood breathless with hope and fear, Sent round his cap; and he who thrumm'd his wire And sang, with pleading look and plaintive strain Melting the passenger. Thy thousand cries, So well portray'd, and by a son of thine, Whose voice had swell’d the hubbub in his youth, Were hush'd, Bologna; silence in the streets, The squares, when, hark! the clattering of fleet hoofs, And soon a courier, posting as from far, Housing and holster, boot and belted coat, And doublet stain'd with many a various soil, Stopp'd and alighted. 'Twas where hangs aloft That ancient sign, the Pilgrim, welcoming All who arrive there; all, perhaps, save those Clad, like himself, with staff and scallop-shell, Those on a pilgrimage: and now approach'd Wheels, through the lofty porticoes resounding, Arch beyond arch, a shelter or a shade As the sky changes. To the gate they come; And, ere the man had half his story done, Mine host received the master: one long used To sojourn among strangers, everywhere (Go where he would, along the wildest track) Flinging a charm that shall not soon be lost, And leaving footsteps to be traced by those Who love the haunts of genius; one who saw, Observed, nor shumn'd the busy scenes of life,

VOL. II.-Cc

But mingled not; and, mid the din, the stir,
Lived as a separate spirit.

Much had pass'd
Since last we parted; and those five short years,
Much had they told! His clustering locks were turn'd
Gray; nor did aught recall the youth that swam
From Sestos to Abydos. Yet his voice,
Still it was sweet; still from his eye the thought
Flash'd lightning-like,

nor linger'd on the way,
Waiting for words. Far, far into the night
We sat, conversing : no unwelcome hour,
The hour we met; and, when Aurora rose,
Rising, we climbed the rugged Apennine.

Well I remember how the golden sun
Fill'd with its beams the unfathomable gulfs
As on we travell’d, and along the ridge,
Mid groves of cork, and cistus, and wild fig,
His motley household came. Not last nor least,
Battista, who, upon the moonlight sea
Of Venice, had so ably, zealously
Served, and, at parting, flung his oar away
To follow through the world; who without stain
Had worn so long that honourable badge,
The gondolier's, in a patrician house,
Arguing unlimited trust. Not last nor least,
Thou, though declining in thy beauty and strength,
Faithful Moretto, to the latest hour
Guarding his chamber door, and now along
The silent, sullen strand of Missolonghi
Howling in grief.

He had just left that place Of old renown, once in the Adrian Sea, Ravenna; where, from Dante's sacred tomb, He had so oft, as many a verse declares, Drawn inspiration; where, at twilight-time, Through the pine forest wandering with loose reing Wandering and lost, he had so oft beheld (What is not visible to a poet's eye ?)

The spectre knight, the hellhounds and their prey,
The chase, the slaughter, and the festal mirth
Suddenly blasted. 'Twas a theme he loved,
But others claim'd their turn; and many a tower,
Shatter'd, uprooted from its native rock,
Its strength the pride of some heroic age,
Appeard and vanish'd (many a sturdy steer
Yoked and unyoked), while, as in happier days,
He pour'd his spirit forth. The past forgot,
All was enjoyment. Not a cloud obscured
Present or future.

He is now at rest;
And praise and blame fall on his ear alike,
Now dull in earth. Yes, Byron, thou art gone ;
Gone like a star that through the firmament
Shot and was lost, in its eccentric course
Dazzling, perplexing. Yet thy heart, methinks,
Was generous, noble : noble in its scorn
Of all things low or little; nothing there
Sordid or servile. If imagined wrongs
Pursued thee, urging thee sometimes to do
Things long regretted, oft, as many know,
None more than I, thy gratitude would build
On slight foundations : and if in thy life
Not happy, in thy death thou surely wert,
Thy wish accomplish'd; dying in the land
Where thy young mind had caught ethereal fire,
Dying in Greece, and in a cause so glorious !

They in thy train-ah, little did they think,
As round we went; that they so soon should sit
Mourning beside thee, while a nation mourn'd,
Changing her festal for her funeral song;
That they so soon should hear the minute-gun,
As morning gleam'd on what remaind of thee,
Roll o'er the sea, the mountains, numbering
Thy years of joy and sorrow.

Thou art gone :
And he who would assail thee in thy grave,

Oh, let him pause! For who among us all,
Tried as thou wert-even from thine earliest years,
When wandering, yet unspoil'd, a Highland boy-
Tried as thou wert, and with thy soul of flame;
Pleasure, while yet the down was on thy cheek,
Uplifting, pressing, and to lips like thine,
Her charmed cup-ah, who among us all
Could say he had not err'd as much, and more!

TO

Ah! little thought she, when, with wild delight,

By many a torrent's shining track she flew, When mountain glens and caverns full of night

O'er her young mind divine enchantment threw,

That in her veins a secret horror slept,

That her light footsteps should be heard no more, That she should die : nor watch'd, alas ! nor wept

By thee, unconscious of the pangs she bore. Yet round her couch indulgent fancy drew

The kindred forms her closing eye required. There didst thou stand : there, with the smile she

knew, She moved her lips to bless thee-and expired. And now to thee she comes; still, still the same

As in the hours gone unregarded by! To thee, how changed! comes as she ever came,

Health on her cheek, and pleasure in her eye!

Nor less, less oft, as on that day, appears,

When lingering, as prophetic of the truth, By the wayside she shed her parting tearsFor ever lovely in the light of youth!

TO A FRIEND ON HIS MARRIAGE.

On thee, bless'd youth, a father's hand confers

The maid thy earliest, fondest wishes knew. Each soft enchantment of the soul is hers;

Thine be the joys to firm attachment due. As on she moves with hesitating grace,

She wins assurance from his soothing voice ; And, with a look the pencil could not trace, [choice."

Smiles through her blushes, and confirms the Spare the fine tremours of her feeling frame!

To thee she turns : forgive a virgin's fears ! To thee she turns with surest, tenderest claim :

Weakness that charms, reluctance that endears! At each response the sacred rite requires,

From her full bosom bursts the unbidden sigh. A strange, mysterious awe the scene inspires,

And on her lips the trembling accents die. O'er her fair face what wild emotions play!

What lights and shades in sweet confusion blend! Soon shall they fly, glad harbingers of day,

And settled sunshine on her soul descend ! Ah soon, thine own confess'd, ecstatic thought! That hand shall strew thy summer-path with

flow'rs; And those blue eyes, with mildest lustre fraught,

Gild the calm current of domestic hours !

A WISH.

MINE be a cot beside the hill,

A beehive's hum shall sooth my ear;
A willowy brook, that turns a mill,
With many a fall, shall linger near.

« ПретходнаНастави »