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CXII. Where is the rock of Triumph, the high place Where Rome embraced her heroes? where the steep Tarpeian? fittest goal of Treason's race, The promontory whence the Traitor's Leap Cured all ambition. Did the conquerors heap Their spoils here? Yes; and in yon field below, A thousand years of silenced factions sleep
The Forum, where the immortal accents glow,
And still the eloquent air breathes--burns with Cicere !
The field of freedom, faction, fame, and blood;
Here a proud people's passions were exhaled,
From the first hour of empire in the bud
To that when further worlds to conquer fail'd;
But long before had Freedom's face been veil'd ;
And Anarchy assumed her attributes ;
Till every lawless soldier who assail'd
Trod on the trembling senate's slavish mutes,
Or raised the venal voice of baser prostitutes.
Then turn we to her latest tribune's name,
From her ten thousand tyrants turn to thee,
Redeemer of dark centuries of shame--
The friend of Petrarch-hope of Italy~
Rienzi! last of Romans! While the tree (51).
Of Freedom's withered trunk puts forth a leaf,
Even for thy tomb a garland let it be-
The forum's champion, and the people's chiefiler new-born Numa thou—with reign, alas! too brief.
Egeria! sweet creation of some heart (52) Which found no mortal resting-place so fair As thine ideal breast; whate'er thou art Or wert,---a young Aurora of the air, The nympholepsy of some fond despair ; Or, it might be, a beauty of the earth, Who found a more than common votary there Too much adoring; whatsoe'er thy birth, Thou wert a beautiful thought, and softly bodied forth,
The mosses of thy fountain still are sprinkled
With thine Elysian water drops; the face
Of thy cave-guarded spring, with years unwrinkled,
Reflects the meek-eyed genius of the place,
Whose green, wild margin now no more erase
Art's works; nor must the delicate waters sleep,
Poisoned in marble, bubbling from the base
Of the cleft statue, with a gentle leap
The rill runs o'er, and round, fern, flowers, and ivy, creep,
Fantastically tangled; the green hills
Are clothed with early blossoms, through the grass
The quick-eyed lizard rustles, and the bills
Of summer birds sing welcome as ye pass;
Flowers fresh in hue, and many in their class,
Implore the pausing step, and with their dyes
Dance in the soft breeze in a fairy mass;
The sweetness of the violet's deep blue eyes,
Kiss'd by the breath of heaven, seems coloured by its skies
Here didst thou dwell, in this enchanted cover,
Egeria! thy all heavenly bosom beating
For the far footsteps of thy mortal lover
The purple Midnight veil'd that mystic meeting
With her most starry canopy, and seating
Thyself by thine adorer, what befel?
This cave was surely shaped out for the greeting
Ofan.enamour'd Goddess, and the cell
Haunted by holy Love--the earliest oracle!
And didst thou not, thy breast to his replying,
Blend a celestial with a human heart
And love, which dies as it was born, in sighing,
Share with immortal transports; could thine art
Make them indeed immortal, and impart
The purity of heaven to earthly joys,
Expel the venom and not blunt the dartman
The dull satiety which all destroys-
Add root from out the soul the deadly weed which cloys ?
Alas! our young affections run to waste.
Or water but the desart; whence arise
But weeds of dark luxuriance, tares of haste,
Rank at the core though tempting to the eyes,
Flowers whose wild odours breathe but agonies,
And trees whose gums are poison; such plants
Which spring beneath her steps as Passion flies
O'er the world's wilderness, and vainly pants
For some celestial fruit forbidden to our wants,
Oh love! no habitant of earth thou art-
An unseen seraph, we believe in thee,
A faith whose martyrs are the broken heart,
But never yet hath seen, nor e'er shall see
The naked eye, the form, as it should be ;
The mind hath made thee, as it peopled heaven,
Even with its own desiring phantasy,
And to a thought such shapes and image given [riven. As haunts the unquench'd soul, parch'd wearied, wrung, and
Of its own beauty is the mind diseased,
And fevers into false creation :-where
Where are the charms the sculptor's soul hath seized !
In him alone. Can Nature shew so fair?
Where are the charms and virtues which we dare
Conceive in boy-hood and pursue as men
Paradise of our despair,
Which o'er-informs the pencil and the pen,
page where it would bloom again?
Who loves, raves—’tis youth's frenzy--but the cure
Is bitterer still; as charm by charm unwinds
Which robed our idols, and we see too sure
Nor worth nor beauty dwells from out the mind's
Ideal shape of such; yet still it binds
The fatal spell, and still it draws us on,
Reaping the whirlwind from the oft-sown winds ;
The stubborn heart, its alchemy begun
Seems ever near the prize, -wealthiest when most undone.
We wither from our youth, we gasp away-
Sick--sick ; unfound the boon—unslack the thirst,
Though to the last, in verge of our decay,
Some phantoms lure, such as we sought at first
But all too late,--so are we doubly curst.
Love, fame, ambition, avarice, 'tis the same,
Each idle-and all ill--and none the worst
For all are meteors with a different name,
And death the sabre smoke where vamishes the flame.
Few-none-find what they love or could have loved,
Through accident, blind contract, and the strong
Necessity of loving, having removed
Antipathies—but to recur, ere long,
Envenomed with irrevocable wrong;
And Circumstance, that unspiritual god
And miscreator, makes and helps along
Our coming evils with a crutch-like rod,
Whose touch turns Hope to dust--the dust we all have trod.
Our life is a false nature-'tis not in
The harmony of things,--this hard decree,
This uneradicable taint of sin,
This boundless upas, this all-blasting tree,
Whose root is earth, whose leaves and branches be
The skies which rain their plagues on men like dewm
Disease, death, bondage all woes we see
And worse, the woes we see not—which throb through
The immedicable soul, with heart-aches ever new,
Yet let us ponder boldly~-'tis a base (53)
Abandonment of reason to resign
Our right of thought--our last and only place
Of refuge; this, at least, shall still be mine.
Though from our birth the faculty divine
Is chain'd and torturedcabin'd, cribb’d, confined,
And bred in darkness, lest the truth should shine
Too brightly on the unprepared mind,
The beams pours in, for time and skill will couch the blind.
Arches on arches ! as it were, that Rome,
Collecting the chief trophies of her line,
Would build up all her triumphs in one dome,
Her Coliseum stands; the moonbeams shine
As 'twere its natural torches, for divine
Should be the light which streams here, illume
This long-explored but still exhaustless mine
Of contemplation; and the azure gloom
Of an Italian night, where the deep skies assume
Hues which have words, and speak to ye of heaven,
Floats o'er this vast and wondrous monument,
And shadows forth its glory. There is given
Unto the things of earth, which time hath bent,
A spirit's feelings and where he hath leant
His hands, but broke his scythe, there is a power
And magic in the ruined battlement,
For which the palace of the present hour
Must yield its pomp, and wait till ages are its dower.
Oh time! the beautifier of the dead,
Adorner of the ruin, comforter
And only healer when the heart hath bled.
Time! the corrector where our judgments ers,
The test of truth, love,-sole philosopher,
For all beside are sophists, from thy thrift,
Which never loses though it doth defer-
Time, the avenger! unto thee I lift
My hands, and eyes, and heart, and crave of thee a gift:
CXXXI. Amidst this wreck, where thou hast made a shrine And temple more divinely, desolate Among thy mightier offerings here are mine, Ruins of years—though few, yet full of fate :If thou hast ever seen me too elate, Hear me not; but if calmly I have borne Good, and reserved my pride against the hate
Which shall not whelm me, let me not have worn This iron in my soul in vain-shall they not mourn?