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And love for innocence, when thou didst face
The treble-shaped Chimæra. But he is gone
That struck the sparkling stream from Helicon;
And never hath one risen in his place,
Stamped with the features of that mighty race.
Yet wherefore grieve I-seeing how easily
The plumed spirit may its journey take
Through yon blue regions of the middle air;
And note all things below that own a grace,
Mountain, and cataract, and silent lake,
And wander in the fields of poesy,
Where avarice never comes, and seldom care.
GUIDO AND ISABEL.
He was the last of all his race, and fled
To haughty Genoa where the Dorias reigned:
A mighty city once, tho' now she sleeps
Amidst her amphitheatre of hills,
Or sits in silence by her dashing deeps,
And not a page in living story fills.
He had that look which poets love to paint,
And artists fashion, in their happier mood,
And budding girls when first their dreamings faint
Shew them such forms as maids may love. He stood
Fine as those shapely spirits heaven-descended,
Hermes or young Apollo, or whom she
The moon-lit Dian, on the Latmian hill,
When all the woods and all the winds were still,
Kissed with the kiss of immortality.
And in his eye where love and pride contended,
His dark, deep-seated eye, there was a spell
Which they who love and have been lov'd can tell.
And she-but what of her, his chosen bride,
His own, on whom he gazed in secret pride,
And loved almost too much for happiness?
Enough to say that she was born to bless.
She was surpassing fair: her gentle voice
Came like the fabled music that beguiles
The sailor on the waters, and her smiles
Shone like the light of heaven, and said 'rejoice!'
That morn they sat upon the sea-beach green;
For in that land the sward springs fresh and free
Close to the ocean, and no tides are seen
To break the glassy quiet of the sea:
And Guido, with his arm 'round Isabel,
Unclasped the tresses of her chesnut hair,
Which in her white and heaving bosom fell
Like things enamour'd, and then with jealous air
Bade the soft amorous winds not wanton there;
And then his dark eyes sparkled, and he wound
The fillets like a coronet around
Her brow, and bade her rise and be a queen.
And oh! 'twas sweet to see her delicate hand
Pressed 'gainst his parted lips, as tho' to check
In mimic anger all those whispers bland
He knew so well to use, and on his neck
Her round arm hung, while half as in command
And half entreaty did her swimming eye
Speak of forbearance, 'till from her pouting lip
He snatched the honey-dews that lovers sip,
And then, in crimsoning beauty, playfully
She frowned, and wore that self-betraying air
That women loved and flattered love to wear.
Oft would he, as on that same spot they lay
Beneath the last light of a summer's day,
Tell (and would watch the while her stedfast eye,)
How on the lone Pacific he had been,
When the sea lion on his watery way
Went rolling thro' the billows green,
And shook that ocean's dead tranquillity:
And he would tell her of past times, and where
He rambled in his boyhood far away,
And spoke of other worlds and wonders fair
And mighty and magnificent, for he
Had seen the bright sun worshipp'd like a god
Upon that land where first Columbus trod;
And travelled by the deep Saint Lawrence' tide,
And by Niagara's cataracts of foam,
And seen the wild deer roam
Amongst interminable forests, where
The serpent and the savage have their lair
Together. Nature there in wildest guise
Stands undebased and nearer to the skies;
And midst her giant trees and waters wide
The bones of things forgotten, buried deep,
Give glimpses of an elder world, espied
By us but in that fine and dreamy sleep,
When fancy, ever the mother of deep truth,
Breathes her dim oracles on the soul of youth.
CONCLUSION of the FALCON.
Giana! my Giana! we will have
Nothing but halcyon days: Oh! we will live
As happily as the bees that hive their sweets,
And gaily as the summer fly, but wiser:
I'll be thy servant ever; yet not so.
Oh! my own love, divinest, best, I'll be
Thy sun of life, faithful through every season,
And thou shalt be my flower perennial,
My bud of beauty, my imperial rose,
My passion flower, and I will wear thee on
My heart, and thou shalt never never fade.
I'll love thee mightily, my queen, and in
The sultry hours I'll sing thee to thy rest
With music sweeter than the wild birds' song:
And I will swear thine eyes are like the stars,
(They are, they are, but softer) and thy shape
Fine as the vaunted nymphs who, poets feign'd,
Dwelt long ago in woods of Arcady.
My gentle deity! I'll crown thee with
The whitest lilies and then bow me down
Love's own idolater, and worship thee.
And thou wilt then be mine? my love, love!
How fondly will we pass our lives together;
And wander, heart-link'd, thro' the busy world
Like birds in eastern story.
Fred. I'll be a miser of thee; watch thee ever: At morn, at noon, at eve, and all the night. We will have clooks that with their silver chime Shall measure out the moments: and I'll mark The time, and keep love's pleasant calendar. To day I'll note a smile: to-morrow how Your bright eyes spoke-how saucily; and then Record a kiss pluck'd from your currant lip, And say how long 'twas taking: then, thy voice As rich as stringed harp swept by the winds In autumn, gentle as the touch that falls On serenader's moonlit instrumentNothing shall pass unheeded. Thou shalt be My household goddess-nay smile not, nor shake Backwards thy clustering curls, incredulous:
I swear it shall be so: it shall, my love.
Gia. Why, now thou'rt mad indeed: mad.
Fred. Oh! not so.
There was a statuary once who lov'd
And worshipped the white marble that he shaped;
Till, as the story goes, the Cyprus' queen,
Or some such fine kind-hearted deity,
Touch'd the pale stone with life, and it became
At last, Pygmalion's bride: but thee-on whom
Nature had lavish'd all her wealth before,
Now love has touch'd with beauty: doubly fit
For human worship thou, thou-let me pause,
My breath is gone.
Gia. With talking.
Fred. With delight.
But I may worship thee in silence, still.
Gia. The evening's dark; now I must go: farewell Until to-morrow.
Fred. Oh! not yet, not yet.
Behold! the moon is up, the bright ey'd moon,
And seems to shed her soft delicious light
On lovers reunited. Why, she smiles,
And bids you tarry: will you disobey
The lady of the sky? beware.
A few more words, and then I'll part with thee,
For one long night: to-morrow bid me come
(Thou hast already with thine eyes) and bring
My load of love and lay it at thy feet.
-Oh! ever while those floating orbs look bright,
Shalt thou to me be a sweet guiding light.
Once, the Chaldean from his topmost tower
Did watch the stars, and then assert their power
Throughout the world: so, dear Giana, I
Will vindicate my own idolatry.
And in the beauty and the spell that lies
In the dark azure of thy love-lit eyes;
In the clear veins that wind thy neck beside,
"Till in the white depths of thy breast they hide,
And in thy polish'd forehead, and thy hair
Heap'd in thick tresses on thy shoulders fair;
In thy calm dignity; thy modest sense;
In thy most soft and winning eloquence;
In woman's gentleness and love (now bent
On me, so poor) shall lie my argument.
Thou shalt sing to me
When the waves are sleeping,
And the winds are creeping
'Round the embowering chesnut tree.
Thou shalt sing by night,
When no birds are calling,
And the stars are falling
Brightly from their mansions bright.
Of those thy song shall tell
From whom we've never parted,
The young, the tender-hearted,
The gay, and all who loved us well.
But we'll not profane
Such a gentle hour,
Nor our favourite bower,
With a thought that tastes of pain.
"Yes,-mixed with these wild visionings, a form Descended, fragile as a summer cloud,
And with her gentle voice she stilled the storm:
I never saw her face, and yet I bowed
Down to the dust, as savage men, they say,
Adore the sun in countries far away.
I felt the music of her words like balm
Raining upon my soul, and I grew calm
As the great forest lion that lay down
At Una's feet, without a single moan,
Vanquish'd by love; or as the herds that hung
Their heads in silence when the Thracian sung.
-I never saw her, never: but her voice
Was the whole world to me. It said rejoice,'
For I am come to love thee, youth, at last,
To recompense thy pains and sorrow past.
No longer now, amongst the mountains high,
Shalt thou over thy single destiny
Mourn: I am come to share it. I, whom all
Have worshipped like a shrine, have left the hall
Of my proud parents, and without a sigh
Am come to roam by caverns and by floods,
And be a dweller with thee in the woods."
He ended, and with kisses sweet and soft
She recompensed his words, and bade him dwell
No more upon the past, but look aloft
And pray to heaven; and yet she bade him tell Again the story of that lady young,
Who o'er him in such dream-like beauty hung. "You saw her, Marcian-No?"—" My love, my love,
My own," he said, " 'twas thou, my forest dove, Who soothed me in the wilderness, and crept Into my heart, and o'er my folly wept
From dusky evening to the streaming morn,
Showers of sparkling tears. Oh! how forlorn
Was I without thee. Should I lose thee now-"
Away, away," she said, and on his brow
Pressed her vermillion lips, and drew his hair
Aside and kissed again his forehead fair.
"Come, thou shalt lie upon-aye, on my breast,
And I will sing thee into golden rest."
Thus talked they, following, as lovers will;
A pleasant pastime,-and when worldly pain
Comes heavily on us, it is pleasant still
To read of this in song: it brings again
The hours of youth before man's jaded eye,
Spreading a charm about him silently.
-Oh! never shall thy name, sweet Poesy,
Be flung away, or trampled by the crowd
As a thing of little worth, while I aloud
May-(with a feeble voice indeed) proclaim
The sanctity, the beauty of thy name.
Thy grateful servant am I, for thy power
Has solaced me thro' many a wretched hour;
In sickness-aye, when frame and spirit sank,
I turned me to thy crystal cup and drank
Intoxicating draughts. Faithfullest friend,
Most faithful—perhaps best—when none were nigh,
Unto thy green recesses did I send
My thoughts, and freshest rills of poesy
Came streaming all around from fountains old;
And so I drank and drank, and haply told
How thankful was I unto the night wind
Alone, a cheerless confidant, but kind.
Sleep softly, on your bridal pillows, sleep, Excellent pair! happy and young and true; And o'er your days, and o'er your slumbers deep And airy dreams, may love's divinest dew Be scatter'd like the April rains of heaven: And may your tender words, whispered at even, Be woven into music; and as the wind Leaves when it flies a sweetness still behind, When distant, may each silver-sounding tone Weigh on the other's heart, and bring (tho' gone) The absent back; and may no envy sever Your joys, but may each love-be loved for ever.
Now, as I write, lo! thro' my window streams
The midnight moon-crescented Dian, who
"Tis said once wandered from her wastes of blue,
And all for love; filling a shepherd's dreams
With beauty and delight. He slept, he slept,
And on his eyelids white the huntress wept
Till morning; and looked thro', on nights like this,
His lashes dark, and left her dewy kiss.—
But never more upon the Latmos hill
May she descend to kiss that forest boy,
And give-receive gentle and innocent joy,
When clouds are distant far, and winds are still:
Her bound is circumscribed, and curbed her will.
-Those were immortal stories:-are they gone?
The pale queen is dethroned. Endymion
Hath vanished; and the worship of this earth
Is bowed to golden gods of vulgar birth.
O thou vast Ocean! ever sounding sea!
Thou symbol of a dread immensity!
Thou thing that windest round the solid world
Like a huge animal, which, downward hurl'd
From the black clouds, lies weltering and alone,
Lashing and writhing till its strength be gone.
Thy voice is like the thunder, and thy sleep
Is as a giant's slumber, loud and deep.
Thou speakest in the east and in the west
At once, and on thy heavily laden breast
Fleets come and go, and shapes that have no life
Or motion yet are moved and meet in strife.
The earth hath nought of this: no chance nor change
Ruffles its surface, and no spirits dare
Give answer to the tempest-waken air;
But o'er its wastes the weakly tenants range
At will, and wound its bosom as they go:
Ever the same, it hath no ebb, no flow;
But to their stated rounds the seasons come,
And pass like visions to their viewless home,
And come again, and vanish: the young spring
Looks ever bright with leaves and blossoming,
And winter always winds his sullen horn,
When the wild autumn with a look forlorn
Dies in his stormy manhood; and the skies
Weep, and flowers sicken when the summer flies.
-Thou only, terrible Ocean, hast a power,
A will, a voice, and in thy wrathful hour,
When thou dost lift thine anger to the clouds,
A fearful and magnificent beauty shrouds
Thy broad green forehead. If thy waves be driven
Backwards and forwards by the shifting wind,
How quickly dost thou thy great strength unbind,
And stretch thine arms, and war at once with heaven.
Thou trackless and immeasurable main!
On thee no record ever lived again
To meet the hand that writ it: line nor lead
Hath ever fathomed thy profoundest deeps,
Where haply the huge monster swells and sleeps,
King of his watery limit, who, 'tis said,
Can move the mighty ocean into storm-
Oh! wonderful thou art, great element:
And fearful in thy spleeny humours bent,
And lovely in repose: thy summer form
Is beautiful, and when thy silver waves
Make music in earth's dark and winding caves,
I love to wander on thy pebbled beach,
Marking the sunlight at the evening hour,
And hearken to the thoughts thy waters teach-
"Eternity, eternity, and power."
THE RAPE OF PROSERPINE. SCENE. The Vale of Enna.
Proser. Now come and sit around me, And I'll divide the flowers, and give to each What most becomes her beauty. What a vale
Is this of Enna! every thing that comes
From the green earth, springs here more graciously;
And the blue day, methinks, smiles lovelier now
Than it was wont, even in Sicily.
My spirit mounts as triumphing, and my heart,
In which the red blood hides, seems tumulted
By some delicious passion. Look, above,
Above-how nobly through the cloudless sky
The great Apollo goes!-Jove's radiant son-
My father's son: and here, below, the bosom
Of the green earth is almost hid by flowers.
Who would be sad to-day! come round, and cast
Each one her odorous heap from out her lap,
Into one pile. Some we'll divide amongst us,
And, for the rest, we'll fling them to the hours;
So may Aurora's path become more fair,
And we be blest in giving.
(This one half blown) shall be my Maia's portion,
For that like it her blush is beautiful:
And this deep violet, almost as blue
As Pallas' eye, or thine, Lycimnia,
I'll give to thee; for like thyself it wears
Its sweetness, never obtruding. For this lily,
Where can it hang but at Cyane's breast?
And yet 'twill wither on so white a bed,
If flowers have sense for envy :-It shall lie
Amongst thy raven tresses, Cytheris,
Like one star on the bosom of the night.
The cowslip, and the yellow primrose,-they
Are gone, my sad Leontia, to their graves;
And April hath wept o'er them, and the voice
Of March hath sung, even before their deaths,
The dirge of those young children of the year.
But here is heart's-ease for your woes. And now,
The honeysuckle flower I give to thee,
And love it for my sake, my own Cyane:
It hangs upon the stem it loves, as thou
Hast clung to me, thro' every joy and sorrow;
It flourishes with its guardian's growth, as thou dost;
And if the woodman's axe should droop the tree,
The woodbine too must perish.-Hark! what
Do ye see aught?
Behold, behold, Proserpina!
Dark clouds from out the earth arise,
And wing their way towards the skies,
As they would veil the burning blush of day.
And, look! upon a rolling car,
Some fearful being from afar
Comes onward. As he moves along the ground, A dull and subterranean sound
Companions him; and from his face doth shine, Proclaiming him divine,
A light that darkens all the vale around.
"Tis he, 'tis he: he comes to us
From the depths of Tartarus.
For what of evil doth he roam
From his red and gloomy home,
In the centre of the world,
Where the sinful dead are hurled?
Mark him as he moves along
Drawn by horses black and strong,
Such as may belong to night
Ere she takes her morning flight.
Now the chariot stops: the god
On our grassy world hath trod:
Like a Titan steppeth he,
Yet full of his divinity.
On his mighty shoulders lie
Raven locks, and in his eye
A cruel beauty, such as none
Of us may wisely hook upon.
Proser. He comes indeed. How like a god he looks! Terribly lovely-shall I shun his eye, Which even here looks brightly beautiful? What a wild leopard glance he has.—I am Jove's daughter, and shall I then deign to fly? I will not: yet, methinks, I fear to stay. Come, let us go, Cyane.
Pluto. Stay, oh! stay.
Proserpina, Proserpina, I come
From my Tartarean kingdom to behold you.
The brother of Jove am I. I come to say
Gently, beside this blue Sicilian stream,
How much I love you, fair Proserpina.
Think me not rude that thus at once I tell
My passion. I disarm me of all power;
And in the accents of a man I sue,
Bowing before your beauty. Brightest maid!
Let me still unpresuming-say I have
Roamed through the earth, where many an eye hath
In love upon me, though it knew me not;
But I have passed free from amongst them all,
To gaze on you alone. I might have clasped
Lovely and royal maids, and throned queens,
Sea nymphs, and airy shapes, that glide along
Like light across the hills, or those that make
Mysterious music in the desert woods,
Or lend a voice to fountains or to caves,
Or answering hush the river's sweet reproach-
Oh! I've escaped from all, to come and tell
How much I love you, sweet Proserpina.
Come with me, away, away,
Fair and young Proserpina.
You will die unless you flee,
Child of crowned Cybele.
Think of all your mother's love,
Of every stream and pleasant grove
That you must for ever leave,
If the dark king you believe.
Think not of his eyes of fire,
Nor his wily heart's desire,
Nor the locks that round his head
Run like wreathed snakes, and fling
A shadow o'er his eyes glancing;
Nor, the dangerous whispers hung,
Like honey, roofing o'er his tongue.
But think of all thy mother's glory-
Of her love-of every story
Of the cruel Pluto told,
And which grey Tradition old,
With all its weight of grief and crime,
Hath plucked from out the grave of time.
Once again I bid thee flee,
Daughter of great Cybele.
Proser. You are too harsh, Cyane.
Pluto. Oh! my love,
Fairer than the white Naiad-fairer far
Than aught on earth, and fair as aught in heaven: Hear me, Proserpina!
I'll not believe you. What a cunning tongue
He has, Cyane; has he not?-Away.
Can the gods flatter?
Pluto. By my burning throne!
I love you, sweetest: I will make you queen
Of my great kingdom. One third of the world
Shall you reign over, my Proserpina;
And you shall rank as high as any she,
Save one, within the starry court of Jove.
Proser. Will you be true?
Pluto. I swear it. By myself!-
Come then, my bride.
Proser. Speak thou again, my friend.
Speak, harsh Cyane, in a harsher voice,
And bid me not believe him. Ah! you droop
Your head in silence.
Pluto. Come, my brightest queen!
Come, beautiful Proserpina, and see
The regions over which your husband reigns;
His palaces, and radiant treasures, which
Mock and outstrip all fable; his great power,
Which the living own, and wandering ghosts obey,
And all the elements.-Oh! you shall sit
On my illuminated throne, and be
A queen indeed; and round your forehead shall run
Circlets of gems, as bright as those which bind
The brows of Juno on heav'n's festal nights,
When all the gods assemble, and bend down
In homage before Jove.
Proser. Speak out, Cyane!
Pluto. But, above all, in my heart shall you reign
Supreme, a goddess and a queen indeed,
Without a rival. Oh! and you shall share
My subterranean power, and sport upon
The fields Elysian, where, 'midst softest sounds,
And odours springing from immortal flowers,
And mazy rivers, and eternal groves
Of bloom and beauty, the good spirits walk:
And you shall take your station in the skies
Nearest the queen of heaven, and with her hold
Celestial talk, and meet Jove's tender smile,
Proser. Away, away, away.
Nothing but force shall ever-Ah! away-
I'll not believe-fool that I am to smile.
Come round me, virgins. Am I then betrayed? O fraudful king!
Pluto. No, by this kiss, and this:
I am your own, my love; and you are mine
For ever and for ever.-Weep Cyane.
They are gone, afar-afar:
Like the shooting of a star,
See, their chariot fades away.
Farewell, lost Proserpina.
(Cyane is gradually transformed.)
But, ah! what frightful change is here?
Cyane, raise your eyes, and hear!
We call thee,-vainly; on the ground
She sinks, without a single sound,
And all her garments float around.
Again, again, she rises,-light;
Her head is like a fountain bright,
And her glossy ringlets fall,
With a murmur musical,
O'er her shoulders, like a river
That rushes and escapes for ever.
-Is the fair Cyane gone?
And is this fountain left alone
For a sad remembrance, where
We may in after times repair,
With heavy heart, and weeping eye,
To sing songs to her memory?
Oh! then farewell: and now with hearts that mourn
Deeply, to Dian's temple will we go:
But ever on this day we will return,
Constant, to mark Cyane's fountain flow:
And haply, for among us who can know
The secrets written on the scrolls of fate,
A day may come, when we may cease our woe;
And she, redeemed at last from Pluto's hate,
Rise in her beauty old, pure, and regenerate.