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Florence! whom I will love as well
As ever yet was said or sung, (Since Orpheus sang his spouse from helly
Whilst thou art fair and I am young;
Sweet Florence! those were pleasant times,
When worlds were staked for ladies' eyes:
Had bards as many realms as rhymes,
Thy charms might raise new Anthonies.
Though Fate forbids such things to be,
Yet, by thine eyes and ringlets curled! I cannot lose a world for thee,
But would not lose thee for a world.
Composed October 11th 1809, during the night, in a
thunder-storm ; when the guides had lost the road to Zitza, near the range of mountains formerly called Pindus, in Albania.
Caill and mirk is the nightly blast,
Where Pindus' mountains rise, And angry clouds are pouring fast The vengeance
of the skies.
Our guides are gone, our hope is lost,
And lightnings, as they play, But show where rocks our path have crost,
Or gild the torrent's spray.
Is yon a cot I saw, though low?
When lightning broke the gloom
How welcome were its shade!-ah, no!
'Tis but a Turkish tomb.
Through sounds of foaming waterfalls,
I hear a voice exclaim
My way-worn countryman, who calls
On distant England's name.
A shot is fired-by foe or friend?
Another-'tis to tell
The mountain-peasants to descend,
And lead us where they dwell.
Oh! who in such a night will dare
To tempt the wilderness?
And who 'mid thunder peals can hear
Our signal of distress?
And who that heard our shouts would rise
To try the dubious road?
Nor rather deem from nightly cries
That outlaws were abroad.
Clouds burst, skies flash, oh, dreadful hour!
More fiercely pours the storm!
To keep my bosom warm.
While wand'ring through each broken path,
O'er brake and craggy brow ;
While elements exhaust their wrath;
Sweet Florence, where art thou?
Not on the sea, not on the sea,
Thy bark hath long been gone:
Bow down my head alone!