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“Afin que cette application vous forcât de penser à autre chose ; il n'y a en vérité de remède que celui-là et le temps."
Lettre du Roi de Prusse à D'Alembert,
Septembre 7, 1776.
CHILDE HAROLD'S PILGRIMAGE.
Is thy face like thy mother's, my fair child!
Ada! sole daughter of my house and heart?
When last I saw thy young blue eyes they smiled,
And then we parted,—not as now we part,
But with a hope.-
Awaking with a start,
The waters heave around me; and on high
The winds lift up their voices : I depart,
Whither I know not; but the hour's gone by, When Albion's lessening shores could grieve or glad mine eye.
Once more upon the waters ! yet once more!
And the waves bound beneath me as a steed
That knows his rider. Welcome to the roar!
Swift be their guidance, wheresoe'er it lead!
Though the strain'd mast should quiver as a reed,
And the rent canvass fluttering strew the gale,
Still must I on; for I am as a weed,
Flung from the rock, on Ocean's foam to sail
Where'er the surge may sweep, the tempest's breath
In my youth's summer I did sing of One,
The wandering outlaw of his own dark mind;
Again I seize the theme, then but begun,
And bear it with me, as the rushing wind
Bears the cloud onwards : in that Tale I find
The furrows of long thought, and dried-up tears,
Which, ebbing, leave a sterile track behind,
O'er which all heavily the journeying years
Plod the last sands of life,—where not a flower appears.
Since my young days of passion-joy, or pain,
Perchance my heart and harp have lost a string,
And both may jar : it may be, that in vain
I would essay as I have sung to sing.
Yet, though a dreary strain, to this I cling
So that it wean me from the weary
Of selfish grief or gladness—so it fling
Forgetfulness around me-
-it shall seem
To me, though to none else, a not ungrateful theme.
He, who grown aged in this world of woe,
In deeds, not years, piercing the depths of life,
So that no wonder waits him ; nor below
Can love or sorrow, fame, ambition, strife,
Cut to his heart again with the keen knife
Of silent, sharp endurance: he can tell
Why thought seeks refuge in lone caves, yet rife
With airy images, and shapes which dwell
Still unimpair'd, though old, in the soul's haunted cell.
IX. His had been quafid too quickly, and he found The dregs were wormwood; but he filld again, And from a purer fount, on holier ground, And deem'd its spring perpetual ; but in vain ! Still round him clung invisibly a chain Which gall'd for ever, fettering though unseen, And heavy though it clank'd not; worn with pain,
Which pined although it spoke not, and grew keen, Entering with every step he took through many a scene.
Secure in guarded coldness, he had mix'd
Again in fancied safety with his kind,
And deem'd his spirit now so firmly fix'd
And sheathed with an invulnerable mind,
That, if no joy, no sorrow lurk'd behind;
And he, as one, might ’midst the many stand
Unheeded, searching through the crowd to find
Fit speculation ; such as in strange land
He found in wonder-works of God and Nature's hand.
But who can view the ripen'd rose, nor seek
To wear it? who can curiously behold
The smoothness and the sheen of beauty's cheek,
Nor feel the heart can never all grow old?
Who can contemplate Fame through clouds unfold
The star which rises o'er her steep, nor climb?
Harold, once more within the vortex, rolld
On with the giddy circle, chasing Time,
Yet with a nobler aim than in his youth's fond prime.