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But when, alas ! I turned the theme,
And when of vows and oaths I spoke, Of truth and hope's beguiling dream
The chord beneath my finger broke! False harp! false woman !—such, oh! such
Are lutes too frail and maids too willing! Every hand's licentious touch
Can learn to wake their wildest thrilling! And when that thrill is most awake,
And when you think heaven's joys await you, The nymph will change, the chord will break
O Love! O Music ! how I hate you !
ON SOME CALUMNIES AGAINST HER CHARACTER.
Is not thy mind a gentle mind ?
Is not thy heart a heart refined ?
Hast thou not every blameless grace
That man should love or Heaven can trace ?
And oh! art thou a shrine for Sin
To hold her hateful worship in ?
No, no, be happy--dry that tear-
Though some thy heart hath harboured near
May now repay its love with blame;
Though man, who ought to shield thy fame,
Ungenerous man, be first to wound thee;
Though the whole world may freeze around thee!
Oh! thou'lt be like that lucid tear
Which bright within the crystal's sphere
In liquid purity was found,
Though all had grown congealed around;
Floating in frost, it mocked the chill,
Was pure, was soft, was brilliant still !
HYMN OF A VIRGIN OF DELPHI
AT THE TOMB OF HER MOTHER.
Oh ! lost, for ever lost !—no more
Shall vesper light
our dewy way Along the rocks of Crissa's shore,
To hymn the fading fires of day! No more to Tempe's distant vale
In holy musings shall we roam, Through summer's glow and winter's gale,
To bear the mystic chaplets home ! *
'Twas then my soul's expanding zeal,
By nature warmed and led by thee,
In every breeze was taught to feel
The breathings of a deity!
Guide of my heart ! to memory true,
Thy looks, thy words are still my own-
I see thee raising from the dew
Some laurel, by the wind o'erthrown;
And hear thee say, “ This humble bough
Was planted for a dome divine,
And though it weep in languor now,
Shall flourish on the Delphic shrine !
Thus, in the vale of earthly sense,
Though sunk a while the spirit lies,
A viewless hand shall cull it thence,
To bloom immortal in the skies !"
Thy words had such a melting flow,
And spoke of truth so sweetly well,
They dropped like heaven's serenest snow,
And all was brightness where they fell !
Fond soother of my infant tear!
Fond sharer of my infant joy!
Is not thy shade still lingering here?
Am I not still thy soul's employ?
And oh ! as oft, at close of day
When, meeting on the sacred mount,
Our nymphs awaked the choral lay,
And danced around Cassotis' fount ;
As then, 'twas all thy wish and care,
That mine should be the simplest mien,
My lyre and voice the sweetest there,
My foot the lightest o'er the green :
So still, each little grace to mould,
Around my form thine eyes are shed,
Arranging every snowy fold,
And guiding every mazy tread !
And when I lead the hymning choir,
Thy spirit still, unseen and free,
Hovers between my lip and lyre,
And weds them into harmony!
Flow, Plistus, flow; thy murmuring wave
Shall never drop its silvery tear
Upon so pure, so blest a grave,
To memory so divinely dear . * The laurel, for the common uses of the temple, for adorning the altars and sweeping the pavement, was supplied by a tree near the fountain of Castalia ; but upon all important occasions they sent to Tempe for their laurel. We find in Pausanias that this valley supplied the branches of which the temple was originally constructed; and Plutarch says, in his Dialogue on Music, “The youth who brings the Tempic laurel to Delphi is always attended by a player on the flute."
RINGS AND SEALS.
"Ωσπερ σφραγιδες τα φιληματα.
Achilles Tatius, lib. ii.
“Go!” said the angry, weeping maid,
“The charm is broken -once betrayed,
Oh! never can my heart rely
On word or look, on oath or sigh.
Take back the gifts, so sweetly given,
With promised faith and vows to heaven ;
That little ring which, night and morn,
With wedded truth my hand hath worn ;
That seal, which oft in moments blest,
Thou hast upon my lip impressed,
And sworn its dewy spring should be
A fountain sealed * for only thee!
Take, take them back, the gift and vow,
All sullied, lost, and hateful now!”
I took the ring—the seal I took,
While oh! her every tear and look
Were such as angels look and shed,
When man is by the world misled !
Gently I whispered, “ Fanny, dear!
Not half thy lover's gists are here :
Say, where are all the seals he gave
To every ringlet's jetty wave,
And where is every one he printed
Upon that lip, so ruby-tinted,-
Seals, of the purest gem of bliss,
Oh! richer, softer, far than this!
" And then the ring--my love! recall
How many rings, delicious all,
His arms around that neck have twisted.
Twining warmer far than this did !
Where are they all, so sweet, so many?
Oh ! dearest, give back all, if any."
While thus I murmured, trembling too
Lest all the nymph had vowed was true,
I saw a smile relenting rise
'Mid the moist azure of her eyes,
Like daylight o'er a sea of blue,
While yet the air is dim with dew.
She let her cheek repose on mine,
She let my arms around her twine-
Oh! who can tell the bliss one feels
In thus exchanging rings and seals !
* "There are gardens, supposed to be those of King Solomon, in the neigh-
bourhood of Bethlehem. The friars show a fountain, which they say is the
sealed fountain' to which the holy spouse in the Canticles is compared ; and
they pretend a tradition that Solomon shut up these springs and put his signet
upon the door, to keep them for his own drinking."--Maundrell's Travels.
See also the notes to Mr. Good's Translation of the Song of Solomon,
TO MISS SUSAN BECKFORD,
ON HER SINGING.
I MORE than once have heard, at night,
A song like those thy lips have given,
And it was sung by shapes of light,
Who seemed, like thee, to breathe of heaven!
But this was all a dream of sleep,
And I have said, when morning shone
“Oh! why should fairy fancy keep,
These wonders for herself alone?"
I knew not then that fate had lent
Such tones to one of mortal birth ;
I knew not then that Heaven had sent
A voice, a form like thine on earth !
And yet, in all that flowery maze
Through which my life has loved to tread,
When I have heard the sweetest lays
From lips of dearest lustre shed;
When I have felt the warbled word
From beauty's mouth of perfume sighing,
Sweet as music's hallow'd bird
Upon a rose's bosom lying ;
Though form and song at once combined
Their loveliest bloom and softest thrill,
My heart hath sighed, my heart hath pined,
For something softer, lovelier still !
Oh! I have found it all, at last,
In thee, thou sweetest living lyre
Through which the soul hath ever pass'd
Its harmonizing breath of fire !
All that my best and wildest dream,
In fancy's hour, could hear or see
Of music's sigh or beauty's beam,
Are realized, at once, in thee!
WRITTEN AT THE COHOS, OR FALLS OF THE MOHAWK RIVER.*
Già era in loco ove s'udia 'l rimbombo
FROM rise of morn till set of sun
I've seen the mighty Mohawk run, * There is a dreary and savage character in the country immediately about these Falls, which is much more in harmony with the wildness of such a scene than the cultivated lands in the neighbourhood of Niagara. See the drawing of them in Mr. Weld's book. According to him, the perpendicular height of the Cohos Fall is fifty feet; but the Marquis de Chastellux makes it seventysix.
The fine rainbow, which is continually forming and dissolving as the spray rises into the light of the sun, is perhaps the most interesting beauty which these wonderful cataracts exhibit.
And as I marked the woods of pine
Along his mirror darkly shine,
Like tall and gloomy forms that pass
Before the wizard's midnight glass ;
And as I viewed the hurrying pace
With which he ran his turbid race,
Rushing, alike untired and wild,
Through shades that frowned and flowers that smiled,
Flying by every green recess
That woo'd him to its calm caress,
Yet, sometimes turning with the wind,
As if to leave one look behind, -
Oh! I have thought, and thinking sighed--
How like to thee, thou restless tide!
May be the lot, the life of him,
Who roams along thy water's brim !
Through what alternate shades of woe,
And flowers of joy my path may go !
How many an humble, still retreat
May rise to court my weary feet,
While still pursuing, still unblest,
I wander on, nor dare to rest !
But, urgent as the doom that calls
Thy water to its destined falls,
I see the world's bewildering force
Hurry my heart's devoted course
From lapse to lapse, till life be done,
And the lost current cease to run !
Oh may my falls be bright as thine !
May Heaven's forgiving rainbow shine
Upon the mist that circles me,
As soft as now it hangs o'er thee !
CHLORIS AND FANNY.
CHLORIS ! if I were Persia's king,
I'd make my graceful queen of thee;
While Fanny, wild and artless thing,
Should but thy humble handmaid be.
There is but one objection in it-
That, verily, I'm much afraid
I should, in some unlucky minute,
Forsake the mistress for the maid !
SONG OF THE EVIL SPIRIT OF THE WOODS.*
Qua via difficilis, quaque est via nulla
Orid. Metan. lib.ii. v. 227.
Now the vapour hot and damp,
Shed by day's expiring lamp, *. The idea of this poem occurred to me in passing through the very dreary wilderness between Batavia, a new settlement in the midst of the woods, and