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Italia ! too, Italia ! looking on thee, Full flashes on the soul the light of ages, Since the fierce Carthaginian almost won thee, To the last halo of the chiefs and sages Who glorify thy consecrated pages ; Thou wert the throne and grave of empires; still, The fount at which the panting mind assuages Her thirst of knowledge, quafting there her fill, Flows from the eternal source of Rome's imperial hill.
Thus far have I proceeded in a theme
Renew'd with no kind auspices :—to feel
We are not what we have been, and to deem
We are not what we should be, and to steel
The heart against itself; and to conceal,
With a proud caution, love, or hate, or aught,-
Passion or feeling, purpose, grief, or zeal,-
Which is the tyrant spirit of our thought,
Is a stern task of soul :-No matter,-it is taught.
And for these words, thus woven into song,
It may be that they are a harmless wile,-
The colouring of the scenes which fleet along,
Which I would seize, in passing, to beguile
My breast, or that of others, for a while.
Fame is the thirst of youth, but I am no:
So young as to regard men's frown or smile,
As loss or guerdon of a glorious lot ;
I stood and stand alone,-remember'd or forgot.
I have not loved the world, nor the world me;
I have not flatter'd its rank breath, nor bow d
To its idolatries a patient knee,
Nor coin'd my cheek to smiles, nor cried aloud
In worship of an echo; in the crowd
They could not deem me one of such ; I stood
Among them, but not of them ; in a shroud
Of thoughts which were not their thoughts, and still
could Had I not filed“ my mind, which thus itself subdued.
I have not loved the world, nor the world me,-
But let us part fair foes; I do believe,
Though I have found them not, that there may be
Words which are things, hopes which will not deceive,
And virtues which are merciful, nor weave
Snares for the failing ; I would also deem
O'er others' griefs that some sincerely grieve ;49
That two, or one, are almost what they seem,
That goodness is no name, and happiness no dream.
My daughter! with thy name this song begun ;
My daughter! with thy name thus much shall end ;
I see thee not, I hear thee not, but none
Can be so wrapt in thee; thou art the friend
To whom the shadows of far years extend :
Albeit my brow thou never should’st behold,
My voice shall with thy future visions blend,
And reach into thy heart, when mine is cold,
A token and a tone, even from thy father's mould.43
To aid thy mind's developement, to watch
Thy dawn of little joys, to sit and see
Almost thy very growth, to view thee catch
Knowledge of objects,-wonders yet to thee !
To hold thee lightly on a gentle knee,
And print on thy soft cheek a parent's kiss.-
This, it should seem, was not reserved for me;
Yet this was in my nature: as it is,
I know not what is there, yet something like to this.
Yet, though dull Hate as duty should be taught,
I know that thou wilt love me; though my name
Should be shut from thee, as a spell still fraught
With desolation, and a broken claim:
Though the grave closed between us,—'twerethe same,
I know that thou wilt love me; though to drain
My blood from out thy being were an aim,
And an attainment,-all would be in vain,-
Still thou would'st love me, still that more than life
The child of love, though born in bitterness,
And nurtured in convulsion. Of thy sire
These were the elements, and thine no less.
As yet such are around thee, but thy fire
Shall be more temper’d, and thy hope far higher.
Sweet be thy cradled slumbers! O’er the sea
And from the mountains where I now respire,
Fain would I waft such blessing upon thee,
As, with a sigh, I deem thou might'st have been to me!**
NOTES TO CANTO THE THIRD.
["Begun July 10th, 1816. Diodati, near Lake of Geneva."--MS.)
2.-Stanza i., line 2.
ADA! sole daughter of my house and heart? (In a letter, dated Verona, November 6, 1816, Lord Byron says--" By the way, Ada's name (which I found in our pedigree, under king John's reiga), is the same with that of the sister of Charlemagne, as I redde, the other day, in a book treating of the Rhine."]
3.–Stanza i., line 8.
Whither I know not; but the hour's gone by, (Lord Byron quitted England, for the second and last time, on the 25th of April, 1816, attended by William Fletcher and Robert Rushton, the yeoman " and "page" of Canto I.; his physician, Dr. Polidori; and a Swiss valet.)
4.-Stanza ii., line 6. And the rent canvass fluttering strew the gale, (" And the rent canvass tattering." --MS.)
5.-Stanza xv., line 1.
But in Man's dwellings he became a thing (The reason, he used to say, why he disliked society was because the follies and passions of others excited the evil qualities of his own nature.]