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But ere these matchless heights I dare to scan,
There is a spot should not be pass'd in vain, -
Morat! the proud, the patriot field! where man
May gaze on ghastly trophies of the slain,
Nor blush for those who conquer'd on that plain ;
Here Burgundy bequeath'd his tombless host,
A bony heap, through ages to remain,
Themselves their monument ; - the Stygian coast Unsepulchred they roam'd, and shriek'd each wandering
While Waterloo with Canna's carnage vies,
Morat and Marathon twin names shall stand ;
They were true Glory's stainless victories,
Won by the unambitious heart and hand
Of a proud, brotherly, and civic band,
All unbought champions in no princely cause
Of vice-entail'd Corruption; they no land
Doom'd to bewail the blasphemy of laws
Making kings' rights divine, by some Draconic clause.
By a lone wall a lonelier column rears
A gray and grief-worn aspect of old days ;
'Tis the last remnant of the wreck of
And looks as with the wild-bewilderd gaze
Or one to stone converted by amaze,
Yet still with consciousness; and there it stands
Mak'ng a marvel that it not decays,
When the coeval pride of human hands,
Levell’d Aventicum, (*) hath strew'd her subject lands.
(1)The chapel is destroyed, and the pyramid of bones diminished to a small number by the Burgundian legion in the service of France, who anxiously effaced this record of their ancestors' less successful invasions. A few still remain, notwithstanding the pains taken by toe Burgundians for ages, (all who passed that way removing a bone io their own country,) and the less justifiablo larcenies of the Swiss postilions, who carried them off to sell for knifo-handles, a purpose for which the whiteness inbibed by the bleaching of years had rendered them in great request. Of these relics I ventured to bring away as much as may have made a quarter of a hero, for which the sole excuse is, that if I had not, the next passer by might have perverted them to worso uzes than the careful preservation which I intend for them.
(2) Aventicum (near Morat) was the Roman capital of Helvetia, where Avenoner NOW stands,
And there -oh! sweet and sacred be the name!
Julia — the daughter, the devoted — gave
Her youth to Heaven ; her heart, beneath a claim
Nearest to Heaven's, broke o'er a father's grave.
Justice is sworn 'gainst tears, and hers would crave
The life she lived in ; but the judge was just,
And then she died on him she could not save.
Their tomb was simple, and without a bust,
And held within their urn one mind, one heart, one dust. (')
But these are deeds which should not pass away,
And names that must not wither, though the earth
Forgets her empires with a just decay,
The enslavers and the enslaved, their death and birth ;
The high, the mountain-majesty of worth
Should be, and shall, survivor of its woe,
And from its immortality look forth
In the sun's face, like yonder Alpine snow, (*)
Imperishably pure beyond all things below.
Lake Leman woos me with its crystal face,
The mirror where the stars and mountains view
The stillness of their aspect in each trace
Its clear depth yields of their fair height and hue :
There is too much of man here, to look through
With a fit mind the might which I behold;
But soon in ine shall Joneliness renew
Thoughts hid, but not less cherished than of old,
Ere mingling with the herd had penn'd me in their fold.
1) Julia Alpinula, a young Aventian priestess, died soon after a vain enacavour to save her father, condemned to death as a traitor by Aulus Cæcina. Her epitaph was discovered many years ago ;-it is thus :
Infelicis patris, infelix proles
Deæ Aventiæ Sacerdos;
Exorare patris necem non potui
Male mori in fatis ille erat.
Vixi annos xxIII. I know of no human composition so affecting as this, nor a history of deeper mterest. These are the names and actions which ought not to perish, and to which we turn with a true and healthy tenderness, from the wretched and glittering detail of a confused mass of conquests and battles, with which the mind is roused for a time to a false and severish sympathy, from whence it recurs at length with all the nausca consequent on such intoxication.
(2) This is written in the eye of Mont Blanc, (Juno 3d, 1816,) which even at this sistance dazzlcs mine.
To fly from, need not be to hate, mankind:
All are not fit with them to stir and toil,
Nor is it discontent to keep the mind
Deep in its fountain, lest it overboil
In the hot throng, where we become the spoil
Of our infection, till too late and long
We may deplore and struggle with the coil,
In wretched interchange of wrong for wrong
Midst a contentious world, striving where none are strong.
There, in a moment, we may plunge our years
In fatal penitence, and in the blight
Of our own soul turn all our blood to tears,
And colour things to come with hues of Night ;
The race of life becomes a hopeless flight
To those that walk in darkness : on the sea,
The boldest steer but where their ports invite,
But there are wanderers o'er Eternity
Whose bark drives on and on, and anchor'd ne'er shall be.
Is it not better, then, to be alone,
And love Earth only for its earthly sake?
By the blue rushing of the arrowy Rhone, (“)
Or the pure bosom of its nursing lake,
Which feeds it as a mother who doth make
A fair but froward infant her own care,
Kissing its cries away as these awake;
Is it not better thus our lives to wear,
Than join the crushing crowd, doom'd to inflict or bear?
I live not in myself, but I become
Portion of that around me : and to me
High mountains are a feeling, but the hum
Of human cities torture : I can see
Nothing to loathe in nature, save to be
A link reluctant in a fleshly chain,
Class'd among creatures, when the soul can flee
And with the sky, the peak, the heaving plain
Of ocean, or the stars, mingle, and not in vain.
(July 20th.) I this day observed for some time the distinct reflection of Mont Blanc and Mont Argentière in the calm of the lake, which I was crossing in my boat ; the distance of these mountains from their mirror is 60 miles.
(1) The colour of the R.hone at Geneva, is blue, to a depth of tint which I have never scen 'equalled in water, salt or fresh, except in the Mediterranean and Archipelago.
And thus I am absorb'd, and this is life ;
I look upon the peopled desert past,
As on a place of agony and strife,
Where, for some sin, to Sorrow I was cast,
To act and suffer, but remount at last
With a fresh pinion ; which I feel to spring,
Though young, yet waxing vigorous, as the blast
Which it would cope with, on delighted wing,
Spurning the clay-cold bonds which round our being cling.
And when, at length, the mind shall be all free
From what it hates in this degraded form,
Reft of its carnal liso, save what shall be
Existent happier in the fly and worm,
When elements to elements conform,
And dust is as it should be, shall I not
Feel all I see, less dazzling, but more warm ?
The bodiless thought ? the Spirit of each spot?
Of which, even now, I share at times the immortal lot ?
Are not the mountains, waves, and skies, a part
Of me and of my soul, as I.of them?
Is not the love of these deep in my heart
With a pure passion ? should I not contemn
All objects, if compared with these ? and stem
A tide of suffering, rather than forego
Such feelings for the hard and worldly phlegm
Of those whose eyes are only turn'd below,
Gazing upon the ground, with thoughts which dare not glow!
But this is not my theme ; and I return
To that which is immediate, and require
Those who find contemplation in the urn,
To look on One, whose dust was once all fire,
A native of the land where I respire
The clear air for a while - a passing guest,
Where he became a being, whose desire
Was to be glorious ; 'twas a foolish quest,
The which to gain and keep, he sacrificed all rest.
IIere the self-torturing sophist, wild Rousseau,
The apostle of affliction, he who threw
Enchantment over passion, and from woe
Wrung overwhelming eloquence, first drew
The breath which made him wretched; yet he knew
How to make madness beautiful, and cast
O’er erring deeds and thoughts a heavenly hue
Of words, like sunbeams, dazzling as they past
The eyes, which o'er them shed tears feelingly and fast.
His love was passion's essence as a tree
On fire by lightning; with ethereal flame
Kindled he was, and blasted; for to be
Thus, and enamour'd, were in him the same.
But his was not the love of living dame,
Nor of the dead who rise upon our dreams,
But of ideal beauty, which became
In him existence, and o’erflowing teems
Along his burning page, distemper'd though it seems.
This breathed itself to life in Julie, this
Invested her with all that's wild and sweet;
This hallow'd, too, the memorable kiss
Which every morn his fever'd lip would greet,
From hers, who but with friendship his would meet,
But to that gentle touch, through brain and breast
Flash'd the thrill'd spirit's love-devouring heat ;
In that absorbing sigh perchance more blest,
Than vulgar minds may be with all they seek possest. (*)
llis life was one long war with self-sought foes,
Or friends by him self-banish’d; for his mind
Had grown Suspicion's sanctuary, and chose,
For its own cruel sacrifice, the kind
'Gainst whom he raged with fury strange and blind.
But he was phrensied, — wherefore, who may
Since cause might be which skill could never find ;
But he was phrensied by disease or woe, To that worst pitch of all, which wears a reasoning show. 1) This refers to the account in his " Confessions " of his passion for the Comtesse d Houdetot, (the mistress of St. Lambert,) and his long walk overy morning for the Jake of the single kiss which was the common salutation of French acquaintanco.Rosseau's description of his feelings on this occasion may bo considered as the most