Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

VIII.
I've taught me other tongues - and in strange eyes
Have made me not a stranger; to the mind
Which is itself, no changes bring surprise ;
Nor is it harsh to make, nor hard to find
A country with ay, or without mankind;
Yet was í born where men are proud to be,
Not without cause; and should I leave behind

The inviolate islands of the sage and free,
And seck me out a home by a remoter sea,

IX.

Perhaps I loved it well; and should I lay
My ashes in a soil which is not mine,
My spirit shall resume it — if we may
Unbodied choose a sanctuary. I twine
My hopes of being remember'd in my line
With my land's language : if too fond and får
These aspirations in their scope incline,

If my fame should be, as my fortunes are,
of hasty growth and blight, and dull Oblivion bar

[ocr errors]

X.

My name from out the temple where the dead
Are honour'd by the nations let it be
And light the laurels on a loftier head !
And be the Spartan's epitaph on me —
“ Sparta hath many a worthier son than he.”'/*;
Meantime I seek no sympathies, nor need ;
The thorus which I have reap'd are of the tree

I planted, — they have torn me, - and I bieed:
I should have known what fruit would spring from such a seed.

XI.

The spouseless Adriatic mourns her lord ;
And, annual marriage, now no more renew'd,
The Bucentaur lies rotting unrestored,
Neglected garment of her widowhood!
St. Nark yet sees his lion where he stood, (*)
Stand, but in mockery of his wither'd power,
Over the proud Place where an Emperor sued,

And monarchs gazed and envied in the hour
When Venice was a queen with an unequall'd dower.

(1) The answer of the mother of Brasidas to the strangers who praisod tho memory of her son.

(2) See" Historical Notes," No. III.

XII.

[blocks in formation]

The. Suabian sued, and now the Austrian reigns -10
An Emperor tramples where an Emperor knelt;
Kingdoms are shrunk to provinces, and chains
Clank over sceptred cities ; nations melt
From power's high pinnacle, when they have felt
The sunshine for a while, and downward go
Like lauwine loosen'd from the mountain's belt;

Oh for one hour of blind old Dandolo ! (°)
Th’octogenarian chief, Byzantium's conquering foe.

XIII.

Before St. Mark still glow his steeds of brass,
Their gilded collars glittering in the sun;
But is not Doria's menace come to pass ? (°)
Are they not bridled ? Venice, lost and won,
Her thirteen hundred years of freedom done,
Sinks, like a sea-weed, into whence she rose !
Better be whelm'd beneath the waves, and shun,

Even in aestruction's depth, her foreign foes,
From whom submission wrings an infamous repose.

XIV.

In youth she was all glory, a new Tyre, –
Her very by-word sprung from victory,
The “ Planter of the Lion,” (") which through fire
And blood she bore o'er subject earth and sea ;
Though making many slaves, herself still free,
And Enrore's bulwark 'gainst the Ottomite ;
Witness 'Trov's rival, Candia ! Vouch it, ye

Immortal waves that saw Lepanto's fight!
For ye are names no time nor tyranny can blight.

XV.

Statues of glass -- all shiver'd - the long file
Of her dead Hoges are declined to dust;
But where they dwelt, the vast and sumptuous pilo
Bespeaks the pageant of their splendid trust;
Their sceptre broken, and their sword in rusi,
Have yielded to the stranger : empty halls,
Thin streets, and foreign aspects, such as must

Too oft remind her who and what enthrals, (*)
Have flung a desolate cloud o'er Venice' lovely walls.
(1, 2, 3,5) See“ Historical Notes." Nos. IV. V. VI. VII.
(4) Plant the Lion--that is, the Lion of St. Mark tho standard of the republio,
which is the origin of the word Pantaloon-Piantaleone, Panteleon, Pantaloon.

XVI.

When Athens' armies fell ai Syracusc,
And setter'd thousands bore the yoke of wai,
Redemption rose up in the Attic Muse, (')
Her voice their only ramsom from asar :
See ! as they chant the tragic hymn, the car
or the o'ermaster'd victor stops, the reins
Fall from his hands - his idle scimitar

Sturts from its belt - he rends his captive's chains,
And bids him thank the bard for freedom and his strains.

XVII.

Thus, Venice, if no stronger claim were thine,
Were all thy proud historic deeds forgot,
Thy choral memory of the Bard divine,
Thy love of Tasso, should have cut the knot
Which ties thee to thy tyrants; and thy lot
Is shameful to the nations, - most of all,
Albion! to thee : the Ocean queen should not

Abandon Ocean's children; in the fall
of Venice think of thine, despite thy watery wall

XVIII.

I loved her from my boyhood - she to me
Was as a fairy city of the heart,
Rising like water-columns from the sea,
Of joy. the sojourn, and of wealth the marı ;
And Otway, Radcliffe, Schiller, Shakspeare's url, is
Had stamp'd her image in me, and even so,
Although I found her thus, we did not parl,

Perchance even dearer in her day of woe,
Than when she was a boast, a marvel, and a show.

XIX.
I can repeople with the past — and of
The present there is still for eye and thought,
And meditation chasten'd down, enough;
And
more,

it
may

be, than I hoped or sought ;
And of the happiest moments which were wrought
Within the web of my existence, some
From thee, fair Venice ! have their colours caught:

There are some feelings Time cannot benumb,
Nor Torture shake, or mine would now be cold and dumb.

(!). The story is told in Plutarch's life of Nicine. (2) Venice Preserved ; Mysteries of Udolpho; the Ghost-Soer, or Armenian: no Merchant of Venico; Othello.

VOL. III.-L

[ocr errors]

But from their nature will the tannen grow (")
Loftiest on loftiest and least shelter'd rocks,
Rooted in barrenness, where nought below
Of soil supports them 'gainst the Alpine shocks
Of eddying storms ; yet springs the trunk, and mocks
The howling tempest, till its height and frame
Are worthy of the mountains from whose blocks

Of bleak, gray granite into life it came,
And grew a giant tree ; -- the mind may grow the same,

XXI.

Existence

may be borne, and the deep root
Of life and sufferance make its firm abode
In bare and desolated bosoms : mute
The camel labours with the heaviest load,
And the wolf dies in silence, not bestow'd
In vain should such example be ; if they,
Things of ignoble or of savage mood,

Endure and shrink not, we of nobler clay
May temper it to bear, - it is but for a day.

XXII.

All suffering doth destroy, or is destroy'd,
Even by the sufferer; and, in each event,
Ends : - Some, with hope replenish'd and rebuoy'd,
Rruir to whence they came with like intent,
And weave their web again; some, bow'd and bent,
Wax gray and ghastly, withering ere their time,
And perish with the reed on which they leant;

Some erek devotion, toil, war, good or crime,
According as their souls were form’d to sink or climb:

XXIII.

But ever and anon of griefs subdued
There comes a token like a scorpion's sting,
Scarce seen, but with fresh bitterness imbued ;
And slight withal may be the things which bring
Back on the heart the weight which it would fing
Aside for ever: it may be a sound
A tone of music - summer's eve – or spring

A flower - the wind - the ocean which shall wound, Striking the electric chain wherewith we are darkly bound;

(1) Tannen is the plural of lanne, a species of fir peculiar to the Alps, whico only thrives in very rocky parts, where scarcely soil sufficient for its nourishment can be found. On these spots it grows to a greater height than any other mountain troe.

XXIV.

And how and why we know not, nor can trace
Home to its clond this lightning of the mind,
But feel the shock renew'd, nor can efface
The blight and blackening which it leaves behind,
Which out of things familiar, undesign'd,
When least we deem of such, calls up to view
The spectres whom no exorcism can bind,

The cold - the changed - perchance the dead - ane
The mourn'd, the loved, the lost - too many |-yat how few !

XXV.

But

my soul wanders ; I demand it back
To meditate amongst decay, and stand
A ruin amidst ruins; there to track
Fall'n states and buried greatness, o'er a land
Which was the inightiest in its old command,
And is the loveliest, and must ever be
The master-mould of Nature's heavenly hand,

Wherein were cast the heroic and the free,
The beautiful, the brave — the lords of earth and sea,

XXVI.
The commonwealth of kings, the men of Rome :
And even since, and now, fair Italy !
Thou art the garden of the world, the home
Of all Art yields, and Nature can decree;
Even in thy desert, what is like to thee ?
Thy very weeds are beautiful, thy waste
More rich than other climes' fertility ;

Thy wreck a glory, and thy ruin graced
With an immaculate charm which cannot be defaced.

XXVII.
The moon is up, and yet it is not night -
Sunset divides the sky with her - a sea
Of glory streams along the Alpine height
Of blue Friuli's mountains; Heaven is free
From clouds, but of all colours seems to bo
Melted to one vast Iris of the West,
Where the Day joins the past Eternity ;

While, on the other hand, meek Dian's crest
Floats through the calle wir-ju ilind of the blest :

« ForrigeFortsett »