Lines For Music (Ii)

Oh, sunny Love!
Crowned with fresh flowering May,
Breath like the Indian clove,
Eyes like the dawn of day;
Oh, sunny Love!
Oh, fatal Love!
Thy wreath is nightshade all,
With gloomy cypress wove,
Thy kiss is bitter gall,
Oh, fatal Love!

I planted in my heart one seed of love,
Water'd with tears and watch'd with sleepless care.
It grew—and when I look'd that it should prove
A gracious tree—and blessed harvests bear,
Blossom nor fruit was there to crown my pain,
Tears, care, and labour, all had been in vain;
And yet I dare not pluck it from my heart,
Lest with the deep-struck root my life depart.

When the sun rises where will you be
Wandering, sweetheart of mine?
On the wild mountain or on the wild sea,
Treading the heather or breasting the brine:
Sweetheart, come back to me.
When the moon rises where will you be
Wandering, sweetheart of mine?
Cold on the sea-sand or stark on the lea,
Never again to see sun or moon shine,
Never to come back to me.

Never, oh never more! shall I behold
Thy form so fair;
Or loosen from its braids the rippling gold
Of thy long hair.
Never, oh never more! shall I be blest
By thy voice low,
Or kiss, while thou art sleeping on my breast,
Thy marble brow.
Never, oh never more! shall I inhale
Thy fragrant sighs,
Or gaze, with fainting soul, upon the veil
Of thy bright eyes.

Lines For Music (I)

Loud wind, strong wind, where art thou blowing?
Into the air, the viewless air,
To be lost there,
There am I blowing.
Clear wave, swift wave, where art thou flowing?
Unto the sea, the boundless sea,
To be whelmed there,
There am I flowing.
Young life, swift life, where art thou going?
Down to the grave, the loathsome grave,
To moulder there,
There am I going.

Lines For Music

False Love, take hence thy roses,
Give me the bitter Rue
That on my heart reposes,
Sorrow at least is true.

Maiden so fair and pale,
Wandering adown the dale,
What flow'r that drinks the dew
Or light is dear to you?—
The bitter Rue.

Maid on thy wedding day,
Wan as the flower of May,
What buds of brightest hue,
Say shall we weave for you?—
The bitter Rue.

You gave your love a posy and she set it on a stand,
Where it freshly bloom'd and sweetly did smell:
I gave my love a daisy and she held it in her hand,
Till it died—because she loved it so well.
You gave your love a jewel and she laid it safe apart,
Where it shone like the stars in Heav'n that dwell:
I gave my love a rosebud and she wore it on her heart,
Till it died—because she loved it so well.

Lines For Music (Iii)

Good night! from music's softest spell
Go to thy dreams: and in thy slumbers,
Fairies, with magic harp and shell,
Sing o'er to thee thy own sweet numbers.
Good night! from hope's intense desire
Go to thy dreams: and may to-morrow,
Love, with the sun returning, fire
These evening mists of doubt and sorrow.
Good night! from hours of weary waking
I'll to my dreams: still in my sleep
To feel the spirit's restless aching,
And even with eyelids closed, to weep.

No—not to win the world's applause
Would I be great or good or wise;
But to find favour in your eyes
And win one smile from you—because,
O Fairest Fair, I love you.
Power or riches to obtain
By aught that I could do or dare,
I would not strive, I should not care,
So long as I must say in vain,—
O Sweetest Sweet, I love you.
But if I thought that by my death
You could be mov'd to pity me,
Then would I die right joyfully,
And tell you with my latest breath,—
O Dearest Dear, I love you.

Yet once again, but once, before we sever,
Fill we one brimming cup,—it is the last!
And let those lips, now parting, and for ever,
Breathe o'er this pledge, 'the memory of the past!'
Joy's fleeting sun is set; and no to-morrow
Smiles on the gloomy path we tread so fast,
Yet, in the bitter cup, o'er filled with sorrow,
Lives one sweet drop,—the memory of the past.
But one more look from those dear eyes, now shining
Through their warm tears, their loveliest and their last;
But one more strain of hands, in friendship twining,
Now farewell all, save memory of the past.

To The Nightingale

How passing sad! Listen, it sings again!
Art thou a spirit that, amongst the boughs,
The livelong night dost chant that wondrous strain,
Making wan Dian stoop her silver brows
Out of the clouds to hear thee? who shall say,
Thou lone one! that thy melody is gay,
Let him come listen now to that one note,
That thou art pouring o'er and o'er again
Through the sweet echoes of thy mellow throat,
With such a sobbing sound of deep, deep pain.
I prithee cease thy song! for from my heart
Thou hast made memory's bitter waters start,
And filled my weary eyes with the soul's rain.

When you mournfully rivet your tear-laden eyes,
That have seen the last sunset of hope pass away,
On some bright orb that seems, through the still, sapphire skies,
In beauty and splendour to roll on its way:
Oh, remember this earth, if beheld from afar,
Appears wrapt in a halo as soft, and as bright,
As the pure silver radiance enshrining you star,
Where your spirit is eagerly soaring to-night.
And at this very midnight, perhaps, some poor heart
That is aching, or breaking, in that distant sphere;
Gazes down on this dark world, and longs to depart
From its own dismal home, to a happier one here.

If In Thy Heart The Spring Of Joy Remains,

If in thy heart the spring of joy remains,
All beauteous things, being reflected there,
Most beautiful and joyful do appear;
But if that treasure hath been from thee ta'en,
If emptiness, and darkness, in thy heart
Sit silent—from all nature doth depart
Its joy and glory, and all beauty seems
Hollow and strange.—The poet's noble dreams,
The voice of music and of song, the sight
Of evening shadows, and of morning light,
Flowers, and bright faces—youth, and hope, and love,
Who hand in hand over life's threshold move
Like conquerors to a triumph—all things fair,
Shining upon thee darken thy despair.

Sonnet To Harriet St. Leger

Whene'er I recollect the happy time
When you and I held converse dear together,
There come a thousand thoughts of sunny weather,
Of early blossoms, and the fresh year's prime;
Your memory lives for ever in my mind
With all the fragrant beauties of the spring,
With od'rous lime and silver hawthorn twined,
And many a noonday woodland wandering.
There's not a thought of you, but brings along
Some sunny dream of river, field, and sky;
'Tis wafted on the blackbird's sunset song,
Or some wild snatch of ancient melody.
And as I date it still, our love arose
'Twixt the last violet and the earliest rose.

An Evening Song

Good night, love!
May heaven's brightest stars watch over thee!
Good angels spread their wings, and cover thee;
And through the night,
So dark and still,
Spirits of light
Charm thee from ill!
My heart is hovering round thy dwelling-place,
Good night, dear love! God bless thee with His grace!
Good night, love!
Soft lullabies the night-wind sing to thee!
And on its wings sweet odours bring to thee;
And in thy dreaming
May all things dear,
With gentle seeming,
Come smiling near!
My knees are bowed, my hands are clasped in prayer—
Good night, dear love! God keep thee in His care!

Saturday Night Song At Sea

Come fill the can again, boys,
One parting glass, one parting glass;
Ere we shall meet again, boys,
Long years may pass, long years may pass.
We'll drink the gallant bark, boys,
That's borne us through, that's borne us through,
Bright waves and billows dark, boys,
Our ship and crew, our ship and crew.
We'll drink those eyes that bright, boys,
With smiling ray, with smiling ray,
Have shone like stars to light, boys,
Our wat'ry way, our wat'ry way.
We'll drink our English home, boys,
Our fatherland, our fatherland,
And the shores to which we're come, boys,
A sister strand, a sister strand.

Spirit of all sweet sounds! who in mid air
Sittest enthroned, vouchsafe to hear my prayer!
Let all those instruments of music sweet,
That in great Nature's hymn bear burthen meet,
Sing round this mossy pillow, where my head
From the bright noontide sky is sheltered.
Thou southern wind! wave, wave thy od'rous wings,
O'er your smooth channels gush, ye crystal springs!
Ye laughing elves, that through the rustling corn
Run chattering; thou tawny-coated bee,
Who at thy honey-work sing'st drowsily;
And ye, oh ye! who greet the dewy morn,
And fragrant eventide, with melody,
Ye wild wood minstrels, sing my lullaby!

Life wanes, and the bright sunlight of our youth
Sets o'er the mountain-tops, where once Hope stood.
O Innocence! O Trustfulness! O Truth!
Where are ye all, white-handed sisterhood,
Who with me on my way did walk along,
Singing sweet scraps of that immortal song
That's hymned in Heaven, but hath no echo here?
Are ye departing, fellows bright and dear
Of the young spirit, when it first alights
Upon this earth of darkness and dismay?
Farewell! fair children of th' eternal day,
Blossoms of that far land where fall no blights,
Sweet kindred of my exiled soul, farewell!
Here I must wander, here ye may not dwell;
Back to your home beyond the founts of light
I see ye fly, and I am wrapt in night.

The merriest time of all the year
Is the time when the leaves begin to fall,
When the chestnut-trees turn yellow and sere,
And the flowers are withering one and all;
When the thick green sward is growing brown,
And the honeysuckle berries are red,
And the oak is shaking its acorns down,
And the dry twigs snap 'neath the woodman's tread.
The merriest dance that e'er was seen
Is the headlong dance of the whirling leaves,
And the rattling stubble that flies between
The yellow ranks of the barley sheaves.
The merriest song that e'er was heard
Is the song of the sobbing autumn wind;
When the thin bare boughs of the elm are stirr'd,
And shake the black ivy round them twined.
The merriest time of all the year
Is the time when all things fade and fall,
When the sky is bleak, and the earth is drear,
Oh, that's the merriest month of all.

Mother, mother! my heart is wild,
Hold me upon your bosom dear,
Do not frown on your own poor child,
Death is darkly drawing near.
Mother, mother! the bitter shame
Eats into my very soul;
And longing love, like a wrapping flame,
Burns me away without control.
Mother, mother! upon my brow
The clammy death-sweats coldly rise;
How dim and strange your features grow
Through the hot mist that veils my eyes.
Mother, mother! sing me the song
They sing on sunny August eves,
The rustling barley fields along,
Binding up the ripe, red sheaves.
Mother, mother! I do not hear
Your voice—but his—oh, guard me well!
His breathing makes me faint with fear,
His clasping arms are round me still.
Mother, mother! unbind my vest,
Upon my heart lies his first token:
Now lay me in my narrow nest,
Your withered blossom, crushed and broken.

Hail to thee, spirit of hope! whom men call Spring;
Youngest and fairest of the four, who guide
Our mortal year along Time's rapid tide.
Spirit of life! the old decrepit earth
Has heard thy voice, and at a wondrous birth,
Forth springing from her dark, mysterious womb,
A thousand germs of light and beauty come.
Thy breath is on the waters, and they leap
From their bright winter-woven fetters free;
Along the shore their sparkling billows sweep,
And greet thee with a gush of melody.
The air is full of music, wild and sweet,
Made by the joyous waving of the trees,
Wherein a thousand wingèd minstrels meet,
And by the work-song of the early bees,
In the white blossoms fondly murmuring,
And founts, that in the blessèd sunshine sing:
Hail to thee! maiden with the bright blue eyes!
And showery robe, all steeped in starry dew;
Hail to thee! as thou ridest through the skies,
Upon thy rainbow car of various hue.

Pass thy hand through my hair, love;
One little year ago,
In a curtain bright and rare, love,
It fell golden o'er my brow.
But the gold has paled away, love,
And the drooping curls are thin,
And cold threads of wintry gray, love,
Glitter their folds within:
How should this be, in one short year?
It is not age—can it be care?
Fasten thine eyes on mine, love;
One little year ago,
Midsummer's sunny shine, love,
Had not a warmer glow.
But the light is there no more, love,
Save in melancholy gleams,
Like wan moonlight wand'ring o'er, love,
Dim lands in troubled dreams:
How should this be, in one short year?
It is not age—can it be care?

Lay thy cheek to my cheek, love;
One little year ago
It was ripe, and round, and sleek, love,
As the autumn peaches grow.
But the rosy hue has fled, love,
Save a flush that goes and comes,
Like a flower born from the dead, love,
And blooming over tombs:
How should this be, in one short year?
It is not age—can it be care?

The moment must come, when the hands that unite
In the firm clasp of friendship, will sever;
When the eyes that have beamed o'er us brightly to-night,
Will have ceased to shine o'er us, for ever.
Yet wreathe again the goblet's brim
With pleasure's roseate crown!
What though the future hour be dim—
The present is our own!
The moment is come, and again we are parting,
To roam through the world, each our separate way;
In the bright eye of beauty the pearl-drop is starting,
But hope, sunny hope, through the tear sheds its ray.
Then wreathe again the goblet's brim
With pleasure's roseate crown!
What though the present hour be dim—
The future's yet our own!
The moment is past, and the bright throng that round us
So lately was gathered, has fled like a dream;
And time has untwisted the fond links that bound us,
Like frost wreaths, that melt in the morning's first beam.
Still wreathe once more the goblet's brim
With pleasure's roseate crown!
What though all else beside be dim—
The past has been our own!

Once more, once more into the sunny fields
Oh, let me stray!
And drink the joy that young existence yields
On a bright, cloudless day.
Once more let me behold the summer sky,
With its blue eyes,
And join the wild wind's voice of melody,
As far and free it flies.
Once more, once more, oh let me stand and hear
The gushing spring,
As its bright drops fall starlike, fast and clear,
And in the sunshine sing.
Once more, oh let me list the soft sweet breeze
At evening mourn:
Let me, oh let me say farewell to these,
And to my task I gaily will return.
Oh, lovely earth! oh, blessèd smiling sky!
Oh, music of the wood, the wave, the wind!
I do but linger till my ear and eye
Have traced ye on the tablets of my mind—

And then, fare ye well!
Bright hill and bosky dell,
Clear spring and haunted well,
Night-blowing flowers pale,
Smooth lawn and lonely vale,
Sleeping lakes and sparkling fountains,
Shadowy woods and sheltering mountains,
Flowery land and sunny sky,
And echo sweet, my playmate shy;
Fare ye well!—fare ye well!

Night comes upon the earth; and fearfully
Arise the mighty winds, and sweep along
In the full chorus of their midnight song.
The waste of heavy clouds, that veil the sky,
Roll like a murky scroll before them driven,
And show faint glimpses of a darker heaven.
No ray is there, of moon, or pale-eyed star,
Darkness is on the universe; save where
The western sky lies glimmering, faint and far,
With day's red embers dimly glowing there.
Hark! how the wind comes gathering in its course,
And sweeping onward, with resistless force,
Howls through the silent space of starless skies,
And on the breast of the swoln ocean dies.
Oh, thou art terrible, thou viewless power!
That rid'st destroying at the midnight hour!
We hear thy mighty pinions, but the eye
Knows nothing of thine awful majesty.
We see all mute creation bow before
Thy viewless wings, as thou careerest o'er
This rocking world; that in the boundless sky
Suspended, vibrates, as thou rushest by.
There is no terror in the lightning's glare,
That breaks its red track through the trackless air;
There is no terror in the voice that speaks
From out the clouds when the loud thunder breaks
Over the earth, like that which dwells in thee,
Thou unseen tenant of immensity.

By the pure spring, whose haunted waters flow
Through thy sequestered dell unto the sea,
At sunny noon, I will appear to thee:
Not troubling the still fount with drops of woe,
As when I last took leave of it, and thee,
But gazing up at thee with tranquil brow,
And eyes full of life's early happiness,
Of strength, of hope, of joy, and tenderness.
Beneath the shadowy tree, where thou and I
Were wont to sit, studying the harmony
Of gentle Shakspeare, and of Milton high,
At sunny noon I will be heard by thee;
Not sobbing forth each oft-repeated sound,
As when I last faltered them o'er to thee,
But uttering them in the air around,
With youth's clear, laughing voice of melody.
On the wild shore of the eternal deep,
Where we have strayed so oft, and stood so long
Watching the mighty waters' conquering sweep,
And listening to their loud triumphant song,
At sunny noon, dearest! I'll be with thee:
Not as when last I lingered on the strand,
Tracing our names on the inconstant sand;
But in each bright thing that around shall be:
My voice shall call thee from the ocean's breast,
Thou'lt see my hair in its bright, showery crest,
In its dark, rocky depths, thou'lt see my eyes,
My form shall be the light cloud in the skies,
My spirit shall be with thee, warm and bright,
And flood thee o'er with love, and life, and light.

The Fellowship Of Genius

O hearts of flesh! O beating hearts of love!
O twining hands of human dear desire!—
How, when your glorious mate begins to move,
How shall ye follow those wide wings of fire
That bear him up? Ah! to the chariot wheels,
That wrap the child of genius to the sky,
Breathless ye cling till round the great world reels,
And ye fall fainting down despairingly!
Bleeding and blind ye fall, and still his flight,
Serene and strong, is upward to the light,
Nearer the sun and farther yet from ye,
Kindred alone of his mortality.
Awhile he stood beside ye, and awhile
His tender eyes, and lovely loving smile,
Made you believe he was indeed your brother:
But deep within that being lay another
Fearful as fair, no simple son of earth,
Of all created things the wondrous birth;
Immortal, Infinite, born to inherit
Matter, and mind, and sense, and subtlest spirit.
Lo! ye have called this King of all creation
Your fellow, and forgot the heaven-high station
Whence he must gather his great revenue:
Past, Present, Future, all things old and new,
All things in earth and heaven to him belong;
And in the pæans of his conquering song
Love is but one sweet chord, one single verse,
In the great chorus of the universe;
Which, with a voice resounding and sublime,
He utters forth unto all space and time.
O piteous, precious, hapless, human love!
Thou shalt be reaped by this bright son of Jove.
One flower 'mid the whole harvest of the world—
And when his mighty wings are gently furled,
Upon his heart thou shalt lie tenderly;
But when the summons of his destiny
Calls to him through the ages to awake,
One heavenward spring the drooping bud shall shake
Back to the earth, where it shall withering lie
In the broad light of Immortality.

Poor little sprite! in that dark, narrow cell
Caged by the law of man's resistless might!
With thy sweet, liquid notes, by some strong spell,
Compelled to minister to his delight!
Whence, what art thou? art thou a fairy wight
Caught sleeping in some lily's snowy bell,
Where thou hadst crept, to rock in the moonlight,
And drink the starry dew-drops as they fell?
Say, dost thou think, sometimes when thou art singing,
Of thy wild haunt upon the mountain's brow,
Where thou were wont to list the heath-bells ringing,
And sail upon the sunset's amber glow?
When thou art weary of thy oft-told theme,
Say, dost thou think of the clear pebbly stream,
Upon whose mossy brink thy fellows play?
Dancing in circles by the moon's soft beam,
Hiding in blossoms from the sun's fierce gleam,
Whilst thou, in darkness, sing'st thy life away.
And canst thou feel when the spring-time returns,
Filling the earth with fragrance and with glee;
When in the wide creation nothing mourns,
Of all that lives, save that which is not free?
Oh! if thou couldst, and we could hear thy prayer,
How would thy little voice beseeching cry,
For one short draught of the sweet morning air,
For one short glimpse of the clear azure sky!
Perchance thou sing'st in hopes thou shalt be free,
Sweetly and patiently thy task fulfilling;
While thy sad thoughts are wandering with the bee,
To every bud with honey dew distilling.
That hope is vain: for even could'st thou wing
Thy homeward flight back to the greenwood gay,
Thou'dst be a shunned and a forsaken thing,
'Mongst the companions of thy happier day.
For fairy sprites, like many other creatures,
Bear fleeting memories, that come and go;
Nor can they oft recall familiar features,
By absence touched, or clouded o'er with woe.
Then rest content with sorrow: for there be
Many that must that lesson learn with thee;
And still thy wild notes warble cheerfully,
Till, when thy tiny voice begins to fail,
For thy lost bliss sing but one parting wail,
Poor little sprite! and then sleep peacefully!

The Vision Of Life

Death and I,
On a hill so high,
Stood side by side:
And we saw below,
Running to and fro,
All things that be in the world so wide.
Ten thousand cries
From the gulf did rise,
With a wild discordant sound;
Laughter and wailing,
Prayer and railing,
As the ball spun round and round.
And over all
Hung a floating pall
Of dark and gory veils:
'Tis the blood of years,
And the sighs and tears,
Which this noisome marsh exhales.
All this did seem
Like a fearful dream,
Till Death cried with a joyful cry:
'Look down! look down!
It is all mine own,
Here comes life's pageant by!'

Like to a masque in ancient revelries,
With mingling sound of thousand harmonies,
Soft lute and viol, trumpet-blast and gong,
They came along, and still they came along!
Thousands, and tens of thousands, all that e'er
Peopled the earth, or ploughed th' unfathomed deep,
All that now breathe the universal air,
And all that in the womb of Time yet sleep.

Before this mighty host a woman came,
With hurried feet, and oft averted head;
With accursèd light
Her eyes were bright,
And with inviting hand them on she beckoned.
Her followed close, with wild acclaim,
Her servants three: Lust, with his eye of fire,
And burning lips, that tremble with desire,
Pale sunken cheek:—and as he staggered by,
The trumpet-blast was hushed, and there arose
A melting strain of such soft melody,
As breathed into the soul love's ecstasies and woes.
Loudly again the trumpet smote the air,
The double drum did roll, and to the sky
Bayed War's bloodhounds, the deep artillery;
And Glory,
With feet all gory,
And dazzling eyes, rushed by,
Waving a flashing sword and laurel wreath,
The pang, and the inheritance of death.

He passed like lightning—then ceased every sound
Of war triumphant, and of love's sweet song,
And all was silent.—Creeping slow along,
With eager eyes, that wandered round and round,
Wild, haggard mien, and meagre, wasted frame,
Bowed to the earth, pale, starving Av'rice came:
Clutching with palsied hands his golden god,
And tottering in the path the others trod.
These, one by one,
Came, and were gone:
And after them followed the ceaseless stream
Of worshippers, who, with mad shout and scream,
Unhallowed toil, and more unhallowed mirth,
Follow their mistress, Pleasure, through the earth.
Death's eyeless sockets glared upon them all,
And many in the train were seen to fall,
Livid and cold, beneath his empty gaze;
But not for this was stayed the mighty throng,
Nor ceased the warlike clang, or wanton lays,
But still they rushed—along—along—along!

O Rome, tremendous! who, beholding thee,
Shall not forget the bitterest private grief
That e'er made havoc of one single life?
O triple crowned, by glory, faith, and beauty!
Thine is the tiara which thy priest assumes,
By conquest of the nations of the earth,
By spiritual sovereignty o'er men's soul's,—
By universal homage of all memory.
When at thy Capitol's base I musing stand,
Thy ruined temple shafts rising all round me,
Masts of the goodliest wreck, 'neath Time's deep flood,
Whose tide shall ne'er rise high enough to cover them;
Thou comest in thy early strength before me,
Fair—stern—thy rapid footprints stamped in blood;
The iron sword clenched in thy hand resistless,
And helmeted like Pallas, whose great thoughts
Still made thy counsels as thy deeds victorious.
Beautiful—terrible—looking o'er the earth
With eyes like shafts of fire, and with a voice
That uttered doom, calling its ends thy border;
Resolute, absolute, steadfast, and most noble;
A mistress whom to love was to obey,
For whom to live was to be prompt to die.
Whose favour was the call to sterner duty,
Whose frown was everlasting ignominy.
So stand'st thou, virgin Rome, before mine eyes,
Type of all heathen national strength and virtue.

When through the Vatican's sounding halls I stray,
Thy second sovereignty comes sweeping towards me,
In gold and blood-red splendour borne aloft,
The colour of thy garments still kept fresh,
With blood of thy confessors and deniers,
Poured for and by thee over the whole earth;
So com'st thou, carried in thy insolent meekness
Upon the shoulders of obedient Emperors,
Shrouded in clouds of mystic incense, voices
Of adoration in a thousand tongues,
Like mingling waters rolling round thy feet;
The cross, the sword, the keys,—potent insignia
Of thy stupendous double majesty,
Shining amid the lightnings of those curses
Which gleam with ominous brightness round thy path;
So sweeps thy second empire, Rome, before me.
And even now the pageant vanishes
Out from the portals of the palaces
Where it hath dwelt so long; I see the last
Waving and glancing of its impotent splendour
And a dim twilight fills the place it filled.
Twilight of coming night or coming morning
Who shall decide, save Him who rules them both?
And in the doubtful gray, one man alone
Stands in the place of that great mummery,
The throne borne on the backs of emperors
Lies at his feet; and lo! a ghastly bed,
Where, 'mid diseases and corruptions loathsome,
Infirm, decrepit, crippled, impotent,
Yet bright-eyed with vitality unconquerable,
At its great heart the ancient faith lies gasping;
Beneath his hand a glorious shape springs up,
From whose bright veins a stream of healing youth
Is poured into the withered blood-conduits
Of the bed-ridden Church; and she arises—
And they two stand together, and uplift
That song of praise whose first unearthly sound
Was the loud death-cry sent from Calvary;
Whose sweetness yet shall sound through all the world,
And rise to heaven, whence it shall echo back
His praise whose service shall be perfect freedom.
Loveliest and dearest art thou to me, Rome,
When from the terrace of my sometime home,
At early morning I behold thee lying,
All bathed in sunshine far below my feet.
Upon the ancient, sacred Quirinal
Gleam the white palaces and orange gardens,
Towards which are turned all eyes, are stretched all hands,
Where, guarded round by Faith, and Hope, and Love,
The expectation of the people dwells.
On the pale azure of the tender sky
Thy mighty outline lies like the huge features
Of some divine colossal type of beauty;
Far to the left, beyond the Angel's tower,
Rises the temple of the world, and stretch
The Vatican's glorious arsenals of art,
Where still abide the immortal gods of Greece,
Where worship still the tribes of all the earth;
While from the blue and tufted Doria pines,
My eye delighted round the horizon wanders
To where the Falconieri cypress shafts
Pierce the transparent ether. Close at hand,
Over the nunnery wall, where, in sweet mockery,
The bridal flower its silver blossoms spreads,
Rises a chorus of clear virgin voices,
Chanting sweet salutations—greetings holy—
As once did Gabriel to the 'blest 'mong women.'
No other sound makes vibrate the still air,
Save the quick beating of the wings of doves,
That from the sanctuary come to drink
At the clear dropping fountain in our garden.
Upon its curving margin they alight,
And make alive the graceful image traced
In the stone painting of the antique artist.
To me they call a lovelier image up—
A fair young girl, with shining braided hair,
And graceful head divine, gently inclined
Towards her shoulder, where a dove has lighted,
That with quick glancing eye and beak familiar,
And soft round head, and swelling purple breast,
Stands friendly, while the child towards it turns
Eyes like two streams of liquid light, and lips
Parted in smiling rosy eagerness.
O Rome! I do not see thee any more;
This do I see—this loveliest, dearest vision
But for a moment, and my tears have blotted
Thy glory and its sweetness out together.