L’envoi To A Poem On Tolerance
Go! little Book, thine own disciple be,
And learn to tolerate those who turn from thee.
Or laughed to scorn, or in oblivion sunk,
Go! little Book, and learn to line a trunk.
Some rain-bound traveller, in ennui's despair,
May cast a moment's notice on thee—there.
Thy last sad hope (and pride deserves such shocks)
Like hers—of old—at bottom of a box.
To A Female Friend,
RETURNING TO AMERICA.
Lady! you ask a farewell verse;
Reluctant I obey.
Far, gladlier far, would we rehearse
Some rhyme to bid thee stay.
For, if but lately we have met,
We all shall lose thee with regret.
But if full surely thou must go
From us, who fain would keep,
May westering breezes cheerly blow,
Rewafting o'er the Deep
To where thine own dear land imparts
Its bliss of loved and loving hearts.
Of late, like some full cargoed ship,
Thy mind did voyage forth;
Transporting on no vulgar trip
Its freight of precious worth;
And bartering on, from shore to shore,
Or thought for thought, or lore for lore.
Yet tho' from Gaul and Rome's own clime
Rich memories thou hast borne
For home-reflection's after-time,
I know thou wilt not scorn
To muse erewhile on Britain's bowers;
Thy native land scarce less than ours.
Blood, that was once our English blood,
No more let seas divide.
A mightier power hath stemmed the flood,
The old Atlantic tide;
And wide and wider hence shall roll
The glorious traffic—soul with soul.
Lady! not easily withstood!
Thy frolic wish is won;
And, if in somewhat pensive mood,
Behold five stanzas done.
But, Lady! only come agen,
For stanzas five—we'll write thee ten.
For The Sister’s Album
Soft lays, that dwell on lips and eyes.
Long since with me have had their day;
At fifty, hearts grow cold or wise;
This book receives a graver lay.
Ill suits with would-be-youthful rhyme
Clogged ink, for keeping all the worse;
Come, halting pen! grown stiff by time,
And limp admonitory verse.
Should he, who fawningly deceives,
His flatteries here be fain to write,
Then, budding volume! close thy leaves,
Like flowers, that shut them from the night.
Not wholesome every breeze that sighs;
And they who tend thee, Sister-pair,
Shall guard thy blossom from surprise
Of vulgar touch or baleful air.
E'en wit, too reckless in his game,
Might fray thy bloom; but biting sneer,
Though dignified with satire's name,
Let him not bring his canker here.
But here would open-hearted love,
Or friendship here inscribe his strain,
Then, gentle book! each fear remove,
And bid thy leaves expand again.
Nor needs it second-sighted eyes,
To know that both shall hither come,
(Sly love perchance in friendship's guise)
And join to feed the flow'ret's bloom.
But oh! if She, the matron Muse,
The loving Mother and the dear,
Some lay of her's should interfuse,
As sunny dew-drop bright and clear;
Then, Flower of Albums! clasp the gem
She hangs amid thy leaves; and tower,
With freshened hues and straighter stem,
A happy—fond—rejoicing flower.
Pretence. Part Ii - The Library
A. —If then, in sooth, Pretension and Pretence,
The coxcomb's half, the worldling's double sense,
If these our age divide, or jointly share,
Compelling to confederate or to bear;
To court Pretension, while we scorn its pride,
Pretence detect, and yet conspire to hide;
How sweet, my friend, as now, to steal away,
And give to frankness one unblushing day.
Chased from yon spreading oak's serene alcove
By modish nymph, our Dryad of the grove;
But, luckier far than Horace in his walk,
Escaped yon worldling's overweening talk;
Peaceful with books, come, let this shrouding room
Receive us to its window-tinted gloom;
Such, Lambeth! as thy towers have harboured long,
Like cowlèd monk amid the city's throng—
Here, from intrusion free of pride or pelf,
Here let us range, at will, each silent shelf;
And, odours round while tattered bindings cast,
Inhale the dying gales of centuries past.
Lo! here around, the minds of every age,
Pilgrim and bard, theologist and sage.
Some forth have fared, to paint, with faithful pen,
The modes and cities of far distant men;
Some choose a quest, more deep, if more confined,
And sound each process of the thinking mind;
Or quit that more abstracted search, to sean
Event or act of individual man;
Or legends old, or languages explore,
And guide from age to age, from lore to lore.
These watch the eternal planets eyeling by,
And win the wondrous wisdom of the sky;
These sift each smallest growth of earth or air,
And find, not less, ennobling knowledge there.
Here too are they who own no single thrall,
But catch, to re-transmit, the lights of all;
Now, track the One intelligence and rule
From system vast to tiniest molecule;
And now a yet more blessed lore impart,
And fix the principles, and mould the heart.
How oft, at evening, when the mind, o'erwrought,
Finds, in dim reverie, repose from thought,
Just at that hour when soft subsiding day
Slants on the glimmering shelves its latest ray;
And pensive breeze, from dewy jessamin,
Through open casement, scarcely felt, steals in,—
Along those darkling files I ponder slow,
And muse, how vast the debt to books we owe.
Yes! friends they are! and friends thro' life to last!
Hopes for the future! memories for the past!
With them, no fear of leisure unemployed;
Let come the leisure, they shall fill the void;
With them, no dread of joys that fade from view;
They stand beside us, and our youth renew;
Telling fond tales of that exalted time,
When lore was bliss, and power was in its prime.
Come then, delicious converse still to hold,
And still to teach, ye long-loved volumes old!
Yet here commix, at will, the old and new,
Grave first-editions and the last review.
All sizes, as all ages, crowd the wall,
Sermons from Oxford, pamphlets from Whitehall;
Huge quarto tomes, that curve the groaning shelves,
Sedate octavos; petit-maître twelves;
Here thick black hides some ancient sage enfold;
Here last year's witlings fade in green and gold.
Yon folios, jerkined, clasped, in stout array,
Were all renowned polemics in their day;
Right fierce were they to argue or to rail,
Nor boded once yon spider's dusky veil.
But thou, polemic though thou wert, o'er thee,
Thou mild as learned, mitred Jeremy!
If ever that dark spinner chance to stray,
With pious hand I brush the film away.
More near, and often stirred with reverent hand,
No cobwebbed race, immortal poets stand.
Their leaves, by Time's own autumn tinted o'er,
Come turn we now, and fondly taste their lore;
With curious eye oft pausing to survey
Where the shy worm hath worked his ancient way;
And, undiverted then by fresh review,
A hermit-student, went his volume through.
Due honour to the stout-built Man of Prose!
Reasoner on facts! who scorns to feel, but knows!
Yet be it mine, who love not less the true,
To lead, well-feigning bards! my hours with you;
And sick, long since, of facts that falsify,
And reasonings, that logically lie,
With you live o'er my wisely-credulous youth,
And in your fictions find life's only truth.
And sweet 'twill be, or hope would so believe,
When close round life its fading tints of eve,
To turn again our earlier volumes o'er,
And love them then, because we've loved before;
And inly bless the waning hour that brings
A will to lean once more on simple things.
If this be weakness, welcome life's decline!
If this be second childhood, be it mine!
Yet to the radiance of new-risen mind
Nor stupidly, nor insolently blind,
And no mere praisers of departed hours,
We hate no day, because more bright than ours.
But, as the pilgrim, worn with toil or time,
Will fondly hanker for his native clime,
And wins, or hopes to win, reviving powers
From first-loved fields and childhood's simple bowers,
E'en so do we reclaim our youthful light,
To us more mildly healing, if less bright.
Who has not loved, erewhile, to pause and look
On childhood's record in some old school-book,
Name—or grim portrait scrawled in ink—agen
Awakening memories, which had slept till then?
What if the spirit shrink in sudden grief,
When the eye lights on some remembered leaf,
With parent, or beloved friend, once read,
The, now, for-ever-parted—or the dead!
Though for brief space the stroke be still severe,
Not long we shun the line that wakes the tear,
But, stealing back to that love-hallowed page,
With its own balsam its own wound assuage.
Digression o'er, turn once again to see
These witnesses of many a century.
Yes! ages—present—past—are mingling here;
Yet, welcome elders! still to me most dear.
As when along some gallery's pictured line
Frown statesmen old, and modern beauties shine;
Though Reynolds there bestow his breathing skill,
Hard-featuring Holbein holds the fancy still.
Now—doubly sweet such refuge found with books!
To stray with mild Piscator up the brooks;
With Cowley muse beneath the greenwood tree,
Or taste old Fuller's wise simplicity.
Or if his Worthies, though removed their span,
Smack yet too strongly of the living man,
Then backward turn to question Homer o'er,
Or dream of storied ages, rolled before;
Faint-glimmering now, like far-off beacon light
O'er misty ocean scarcely read aright.
But if, perplexed by history's fabling theme,
Vexed thought would float entire on fancy's stream,
To me more dear than all the East e'er gave,
Those nightly tales, Arabia's gift, I crave
With Sinbad let me wander, sailor bold,
And hear his mighty marvels, ten times told;
Or read again of Morgiana, who
The robber-chief with whirling dagger slew;
Or, fondlier lingering, through charmed hours prolong
'Of Thalaba the wild and wondrous song.'
Thrice summoned, scarce I quit those Genii bowers,
Most loved, as most unlike this world of ours.
To us the mere material world is all;
Our pride; our tax; our pleasure and our thrall.
Science, whom scarce the circling spheres may fold,
Chained to a desk we hire to scheme for gold;
Drag from his heights Imagination down,
To please, for daily bread, the modish town;
And daintiest Art, the dreaming child of Grace,
Wake from her dream to paint some idiot face.
Virtue herself, born guest of Heaven's high roof,
Gift of the Godhead; gift at once and proof;
E'en Her, blind bigots of our planet birth,
E'en Her, we fain would fetter down to earth;
Just mark where Bat-Expedience flits at height,
And meanly, there, would bound her eagle-flight.
From such a world, all touch, all ear, all eye,
What marvel, then, if proud Abstraction fly;
Amid Hercynian shades pursue his theme,
And leave the land of Locke to gold and steam?
But thou art not of those who, hence and thence,
Glean for low ends their pic-nie scraps of sense;
A lofty thinker, proud thy thirst to slake
At truth's well-head, unbribed, for truth's own sake;
Or art thou of the race still more unfit
To wrestle with the clans of worldly wit;
One, whom ere yet thy youngling thought could reach
To wield sweet verse, or e'en well-painting speech,
Some unseen presence fed with many a dream
Won from old bard, or caught from cloud or stream;
And still, though turmoiled mid the things that are,
Still dost thou love to muse on Good and Fair;
And, faith outworking from far names sublime,
The brethren-band of every age and clime,
To thy young heart's first creed of virtue cling,
Nor stoop to think her an unreal thing;
Oh! prize those dreams, oh! guard that creed of thine;
But guard it hid within thy bosom's shrine;
To clasp, at silent eve, at unwatched morn,
But let not garish day detect to scorn.
And scorn it will. For, while on viewless wings
Thou soarest 'mid thy high imaginings,
The future, not the present, is thy lot;
Thou livest in a world that knows thee not.
Of this be warned; nor yet of this alone;
Those who once loved shall mock thee or disown.
Lo! one and all the former friendly band,
Who stand in lofty place, or wish to stand,
Look on, and 'do confess they wonder much
They e'er could hold companionship with such!
'Tis true, those dreams of Good, in earlier youth,
Might wear—did wear—a sort of look of truth;
But forty years should surely tame the brain,
Such reveries at forty scarce are sane,
And hurt one's fortune, when they last such while!'
—Then hug they their own wisdom with a smile.
'But books, thou say'st, shall shield thee; and when men
Neglect or scorn, thou'lt turn to books agen;
And, safe from all that slight and all that sneer,
With truth and wisdom nurse high musings here.'
And blest it were with them, if wise and true,
Once more to live and candid youth renew;
But truth and wisdom guide not every pen;
In trust we flee to books, and find them—men.
And here, e'en here, 'mid this conventual gloom,
And sacred, as might seem, Pretence finds room,
Mid ancient tomes niched in, and learned dust,
To offend the moral or the taste disgust;
And plies herself a hundred worldly ways
For petty interest, or as petty praise.
The sordid tribes who say and then unsay,
And flatter or asperse, and each for pay,
Of these, though here full rife, no talk we hold,
But leave them—glad to leave them—to their gold.
Mere pelf Furilio scorns, and burns for fame;
But easier finds to filch than build a name;
So picks and steals from authors little read,
As birds of carrion banquet on the dead.
Such rob in silence. Some, hard rogues, abuse
The very victims they design to use.
Some praise to steal; but cloak in such disguise,
The stolen babe might cheat a mother's eyes.
Thus Gulo, at a feast, tactician fine,
Hints the fish stale on which he schemes to dine;
Yon limner thus, with skill to understand,
Views the great product of some master's hand;
Extols each firmer touch, each finer trace,
The strength of muscle and the turn of grace;
Then to his task; where, if not line by line,
He steals the spirit of the whole design.
Changes perhaps a gesture, helm, or gown,
For posture, arms, or drapery of his own;
And having wrought a picture not amiss,
Brings forth the pilfered piece and calls it his.
And not Pretence alone, in borrowed dress,
Pretension comes to taint these shelves no less,
And, false to mere-affected softened down,
Infects alike the laic and the gown;
And, as herself more slender, wadded more,
Struts in such robe as nature never wore;
Whate'er the theme more pleased to seem than be,
And verse and prose one wide hyperbole.
Behold her there, where, scorning sponge or file,
She o'erinforms yon bard's plethoric style;
And with strange freight of similes, far sought,
Cumbers all o'er his shallow waves of thought.
'Tis true, by fits e'en mighty Homer slept,
Then from repose to freshened force up-leapt;
But bard nor critic now give truce to vigour;
Each syllable must strive; each word be figure.
So fame is won. Nor only poet's rhyme
Must feed on flowers and flutter in sublime;
But, like false head that froths on sickly beer,
When drugs belie sweet malt and hop austere,
Church-briefs themselves with tropes are mantling o'er,
And humble prose is humble prose no more.
Yet strip, more oft, from each its fine brocade,
How mean the mould of thought beneath displayed!
Thus, posset-stirred, old January pranks
In youthful hose too wide for shrunken shanks;
Thus when, the booth without, some bumpkin's eye
Hath fed on pictured monster, ten feet high,
Giant or huge Bonassus, from his lair
Hurling at once three hunters high in air,
Let in, his visage takes most rueful touch,
To find that In and Out unlike so much.
From them—the grandiose or superfine,
In various guise who travesty the Nine;
And them, who thus in petty pilferings deal,
And them, yet more, who slander while they steal;
But most from such as serve men's hates for hire,
And burn with coals from off the Muse's fire,
Oft would I flee, beyond all printing's reach,
Back to the golden days of simple speech,
When yet of Press no prophecy could wot,
And e'en preserving Manuscript was not.
Oh! blessed days, too blest again to see,
Alike from authors and from critics free.
Then talk to simple topics was addrest;
Who best dispatched the boar, or cooked him best;
Which fur was found the warmest, wolf's or bear's;
If turf or clay best fenced from wintry airs;
Who foremost his bold spear in battle bore,
Or dared his vessel farthest from the shore.
Then none sat, chair-bound, forced to hear or say
Of this man's sermon, or of that man's play;
Nor inly yawned, while evenings ran to waste
In wise discourse on learning or on taste.
Then, too, no promised guest, engaged to dine
With scribbler-host, so tempted by his wine,
Was bound, as now, in rueful compliment,
To read that host's dull book before he went.
Yet minds were then, as now, with fruitage fraught,
And wit could point his jest, while wisdom thought;
And each passed current, for delight or law,
In gay allusion or the solid saw.
Yet whoso thus aspired to please or teach
Was strained to hang his fame on passing speech;
Such transient fame as living breaths afford;
A fleeting glory from a winged word!
So sped the unwriting age. Came Cadmus then,
To leave in doubt if worse his lettered pen,
Or serpents' teeth that grew to armèd men.
For smothered hates could now find seemlier vent,
And stab with peaceful-looking instrument.
Yet Wit and Wisdom hence advantage gained;
Their Spoken would have flown; their Writ remained;
And them the pen most served, if not alone;
—As gems we set, but slight the meaner stone.
Nay, when, as chance it would, the hungry scribe
Was won to toil for Folly's tempting bribe,
The ephemeral birth just fluttered, and was gone;
Bavius soon passed, while Maro still lived on.
The great Emathian conqu'ror bade infold
Iliad and Odyssee in cist of gold!
Nor less did every age, in safest crypt,
Strive to preserve the darling manuscript.
But when the wild barbarians, horde on horde,
Surged on, and letters died beneath the sword;
Then every secret nook, designed to save
The fondly-reverenced scroll, became its grave,
Where lost it lay, through mouldering years of gloom,
Like mummy-king, forgotten in his tomb.
Princely Lorenzo, who not scorned the gown,
But wreathed the scholar's with the statesman's crown,
With generous quest explored them, where they lay,
And gave each glorious vellum back to day.
They came, like heralds from some far-off clime
Of ancient fame, ambassadors from Time;
And who but burned to unseal their trusted lore,
And turn the high dispatches o'er and o'er?
Nay, then, 'twas held no scorn to copy out,
And pause, and pore, till texts were free from doubt;
Genius himself on such slow task might moil;
Where great the End, ne'er vulgar is the Toil.
Oh matchless line of years, whose generous strife
Reared man's reviving mind to perfect life.
Then Petrarch's native lay refined on love;
Then Angelo the' impetuous chisel drove;
Then Oracles, that stirred young Raphael's breast,
Spoke forth in colours, clear as words, exprest;
And Learning, made no coldly gainful art,
Was Sacrifice, and offered from the heart.
When first, our questing age to scourge or bless,
Ingenious Faust had framed the wondrous press,
And taught to each, intent on good or ill,
To waft on volant leaf the thought at will,
Along the skies what dubious omen sailed,
What prophecy or greeted, or bewailed?
Or who might guess from whence the power was given,
Upsent—from hell—to tempt, or dropt—in love—from heaven?
Come back, long-toiling Faust! come back and see
The produce of thy Good-and-Evil tree;
Count o'er its mingled fruits of joy and pain,
Then say if thou wouldst plant it o'er again!
Thou too, wise Caliph Omar! who art said
All Alexandria's ovens to have fed,
Visit our shelves once more. Where'er we look
Pamphlet on pamphlet, book buds out on book;
Turn wheresoe'er we will, new volumes sprout;
Some of fair promise; most lack clearing out.
Come, then, thou Critic-Caliph—come again,
Nor decimate; but take the nine in ten!
B. —The ground thus cleared, you plant your own instead,
And shrewdly gain one chance of being read.
Pretence. Part I - Table-Talk
A. —True! nor recant I—true! I did engage
That e'en in this most seeming virtuous age,
With no vast stretch, with no far-scenting wind,
Fit game for Satire were not hard to find.
Nay, would you question? let us cast around
'Mid our home walks, and loosely try the ground.
If Folly fly, her flight is full in view;
If Guilt have coverts, we may track them through.
B. —Dost thou then doubt this matchless excellence,
Our age's boast?
A. —Nay, deem it—half—Pretence.
Whether she flit through high judicial halls,
Or snugly nestle in cathedral stalls;
Whether to crowded mart she make resort;
Or proudly perch in senate or at court;
Or, reared remote, accomplish her desires
'Mid fields, the haunts of justices and squires;
After long beat, by failure undeterred,
I ne'er, at least, could flush this phoenix-bird.
As fossil growths, yet not like ours, are found;
As maladies through centuries run their round,
(So saith the Leech, his cane beneath his chin,)
And leprosies went out, when nerves came in;
E'en so, I deem, some equal average
Its good and ill metes out to every age;
In each its own peculiar virtue flowers;
Each grows its vicious weed; Pretence is Ours.
To seem, not be, our ever-anxious aim,
Such is our vice, beneath a double name;
In turn by Folly nursed, and crafty Sense,
And now Pretension called, and now Pretence.
This seeks a vain display; this seeks to hide;
And one from Interest springs, and one from Pride;
Sometimes apart; more oft, in holy tether,
Like sovereigns leagued, they rule and rob together.
But oh! what type may paint each varying form,
Shadow or light, the zephyr or the storm?
Prompt as aërial clouds that drift and wreathe;
Changeful of hue, as seas that roll beneath;
They take all colours, turn at every call;
Shift through a thousand shapes, and cheat in all.
Blest are the brutes untaught! to Nature true,
Their earliest instincts last their Being through;
On man, scarce swaddled yet, grave teachers tend,
Yet not a lesson holds him to the end.
Mistaken mother! why, in gentle sooth,
On us instil your cradle-creed of truth?
Mere nursery tale; our after sole concern
To live a lie, and all our lore unlearn.
Oh Faith! with childhood thou art found alone,
That ne'er suspects a guilt, except its own.
With happy play tired out, it drops to bed,
And leaves, sleep-seized, the little prayer unsaid;
And this it is, full sure, the innocent sin,
That, all next day, grieves its poor heart within;
Its pretty self it scarce enough can chide,
But dreams all good of all the world beside.
And still, sweet child! from each misgiving free,
Sport on 'mid snares, as yet no snares for thee;
And love the fair-browed visions, while they last,
And cling to Faith, which will but fleet too fast.
The youth, who long hath trod with trusting feet,
Starts from the flash which shows him life's deceit;
Then, with slow footstep, ponders, undeceived,
On all his heart, for many a year, believed;
But hence he eyes the world with sharpened view,
And learns, too soon, to separate false from true.
Yet keenest searcher, though his lanthorn light,
Veered sudden round, flash many a rogue to sight,
Foiled, oftener still, by deep hypocrisies,
Must ask, at length, not what each does, but is;
With sadder, subtler wisdom learns to scan,
And tests, more oft, the action by the man.
Seen from new points what various comment bear
In life, as landscape, shows of Dark or Fair!
How misty motives hinder truth to spy!
How deeds but flare to cheat the observer's eye!
What searching sermon wrought that solemn turn
In Aspro's faith? the man was always stern.
Swerved to Rome's worship, what conviction strong
Swayed Gusto? love for picture and for song.
When Servio gave that vote for liberty,
A place refused might hint the reason why.
When Hirco raised yon Magdalen from the dust,
Who doubts 'twas Charity that pimped to Lust?
Or thin or deep, all tricked in some disguise;
Discreet observance just what satisfies;
Looks free, hearts closed; or but by license drawn,
Like water, sentried in a garrison;
We shift, with easy air, our things of dross,
Counterfeit medals with a well-feigned gloss,
While each receives the other's coin untold,
And counters, by convention, pass for gold.
To show—to hide—to seem what we are not.
Some willing feigners—some constrained by lot—
(For who would combat naked needs must fail,
Where others sheathe in visor and in mail)
Lo! here of half the virtues, which we count,
The mighty secret, and the true amount.
And feign they might, from my poor comment free,
Myself to criticise enough for me,
So each, snug nestled in his borrowed skin,
Would cease to bawl for praise with sturdy din.
But when, false claims not timorous to discuss,
All clamour forth 'For models look on Us,'
Mere silent scorn no longer I may nurse,
And honest indignation vents the verse.
But come, if still conviction poise in doubt,
And see if facts may bear our thesis out.
Forth then we fare, and, no wide tract surveyed,
Pause where the Lombards plied their ancient trade;
Where still, 'mid tawny ledgers, loves to hold
His daily watch the Sacred Thirst of Gold,
And sniffs, by noon-lit lamp, in dusky lane,
The rich, rank odours steamed around from gain.
Yet these but breathe the city's morning air,
No vesper-star must see Sir Balaam there,
For Pride, long since, hath whispered in each ear,
That gold, at such a rate, were bought too dear.
Soon some vast tract reluctant Ceres yields,
The lake is wound, and parked a hundred fields,
And mansion huge, at Wealth's supreme command,
Like snowy mountain, glistens o'er the land;
And clump-encircled, and plantation-bound,
Proud as its lord scorns all the country round;
While each excess luxurious city loves
Parades its pride, or riots, through the groves.
There Taste, run mad, on high, like Muezzin, set,
Shouts o'er the roof from many a minaret,
Or shows, right happy, to the gaping clown
The Moorish front, and pillars upside down.
Antiques within—'tis so the broker calls—
And varnished Raphaels, vouched originals;
There books, unread, bedizened all and new,
Flaunt in the gold their writers never knew;
Puzzling the host, there sparkle hard-named wines,
De Reyniere scarce might count the varying vines;
And there, while flatterers swill in thirsty strife,
Capricious smiles or frowns the haughty wife.
Are these, grave Whittington, respected Shade!
Are these thine ancient, simple sons of trade?
B. —I grant 'tis luxury; yet the race who moil
May rightly claim remission from their toil;
And if excess unduly there be found,
'Tis but degree; and who shall fix the bound?
A. —And so shall Satire graduate each offence,
Nor treat Pretension as she treats Pretence;
Shall merely smile to mark the smaller spot,
But justly frowns indignant on the blot.
She smiles when Balaam quits his old resort,
And city-friends, to leave his card at court;
And smiles to see the new-bought blazonry
Far flaming from his chariot, flashing by.
She frowns on knavish show, that yet awhile
Tricks out some tottering credit, to beguile,
Then bursts, at once, in ruin, wide and deep,
Whence orphans pine and widowed mothers weep.
She frowns on seals to broken contracts set,
And the long file that glooms the last gazette,
Which honest Gripus reads with clenching fist,
Then sends his own pure name to swell the list.
She frowns on hollow scheme, on puffed-up share,
And that late gulf, fraud-scooped, in Gresham's square;
(The ravening Southsea flowed not more profound,
A gulf, not greedier, cleft Rome's forum ground)
Round which, in gamester strife, all England stood,
City and court—and all for England's good!
Nor closed we saw it, till those jaws between
Pride, Conscience, Honour, all were tumbled in;
All! for the chance some lucky hit affords
To strut a Croesus and to herd with lords.
'He who would taste of true felicity,'
Quoth Martial, 'let his friends his equals be;'
'Pares Amici;' which Servilio hears,
And inly renders, 'let your friends be Peers.'
Servilio—thus I mask a once-loved name—
Be he our type; the race are all the same;
With whom through childhood's trusting bowers I strayed;
Conversed with school-boy earnestness or played;
Our young affections wreathed in strictest twine;
Of his love jealous; all his quarrels mine;
And still we loved, as years familiar ran
From childhood up to youth; from youth to man;
Servilio scarcely knows my name of late;
Servilio, now, may only know the Great.
On a low pony asked, as suits, to ride,
Him late I saw, with pity for his pride,
Straining, in vain, behind the spanking blood,
And happy to receive his Lordship's mud.
For days his Grace's well-watched pathway trod,
A bow perchance he wrests or wins a nod;
Then, home returned, his own full pride he wakes,
Bows, like the Duke; and gives the nod he takes.
You meet Servilio with his only boy,
A very dream of love! a living joy!
'Why, 'tis a cherub every heart to stir,
Your own sweet child?'—'Sir Simon's godchild, Sir.'
Ignobly proud to tell the honour done,
And happier in the sponsor than the son!
Such are the tribe in Grandeur's skirts who nest,
And soil, with reptile crawl, his crmined vest.
Keep Us alike from cold and fawning friends;
Where flattery begins, there friendship ends.
Friendless the Great, whom friended most we call;
A King—the most unfriended wretch of all!
Where'er his palace-gate its front shall rear,
Be graved thereon 'No friendship enters here.'
His easy days Charles Stuart—not the First—
Best of companions, if of Kings the worst;
Whiled gaily, with a witty, merry crew,
Friends! nay, not courtiers—loving all and true!
How true, how loving—tell that proving hour
When Death shall lay his clay-cold hand on Power;
Yea, even before hath ceased the death-bed knell,
Let many a kingly couch, deserted, tell.
The closing hour hath passed, which, soon or late,
Must pass o'er all; a monarch lies in state;
In lonely state; for Love hath gone, and Sorrow,
To plan the crowning pageant for to-morrow.
Now, let thy fancy pierce yon glimmering room,
That coffin's only guard one sordid groom;
Mark how, the prowling night-rat scarce forbid,
The varlet snores beside the ready lid.
And what his dreams? Are they of kingly fame,
A weeping people, and a world's acclaim?
Ah, no! he dreams of some contested grace,
Trapping or plume, his perquisite of place;
Mutters his greedy discontent, half loud,
And gropes, with sleep-tied hand, to clutch the shroud!
Yet, e'en for him, deserted thus who dies,
Ere long shall statues gleam; shall columns rise;
And epitaphs Servility shall bring;
Who lauds dead Kingship, flatters living King.
City and court found each so strictly true,
Grave seats of Themis! turn we now to you.
B. —Let Prudence prompt, and spare each learned hall.
A. —If Prudence prompt, say rather, 'Praise them all;'
Thus, so we trust, the eulogistic rhyme
May turn to profit in the fitting time,
And haply, when we stand arrest to move,
No Midas curl his brows, an adverse Jove.
Begin the song! Pleas—Bench—whate'er the name,
Crack the round globe, they stand in fearless fame!
Truth's ancient ramparts, built to guard and stem,
Pretence found never resting-place in them!
There no convenient fictions lie for truth,
But deed avowed is deed in very sooth!
No merely formal there prevails o'er fact,
But essence stamps its character on act!
There too the Moral Sense, severely keen,
A very prude, keeps trembling quarantine;
Refuses still, indignantly sublime,
Or shuddering takes her tainted fee from crime!
And there, within should plague-spot chance to steal,
Pure Spurcio sits to fumigate and heal!
B. —Ironic thus your skin you scarce shall save;
For—spite the opinion old Trebatius gave—
Had these, our courts, tried Flaccus, much I doubt
If even his wit had borne him harmless out.
A. —The smoke, the riches and the strifes of Rome
Right glad I quit; come, rural blisses! come.
To sweet retreats, unostentatious bowers,
We wend us now; to fields and farms and flowers!
'God made the country and man made the town,'
Or true or false, so Cowper wrote it down;
And fields, I ween, might boast a purer race,
Ere change of manners grew on change of place,
While yet broad Trent and Cumbrian mountains bold
Were real barriers, guarding habits old.
Then if the goodman, or the goodinan's wife,
Sighed sore to view the far-famed city's strife,
Soon the rough waggon stage and quagmire road
Stirred fond remembrance of the old abode.
E'en when amid the mighty city set,
E'en there they gazed, less wonder than regret;
Till, back returning from the great event,
Their life's one pride, they died—at home—content.
For such dull bliss our age hath too much wit;
Home, now, no resting-place, but place to quit.
In endless change we live; in change we die;
Found scarcely one, of all life's flitters by,
The turf to tenant where his fathers lie.
For ancient village lane, irriguous, deep,
Through moss and wreathing roots that loved to creep;
For church-way paths, through meadows wandering free;
Sweet records of an old civility;
By many a faded generation trod,
Who simply sought their fathers' house of God,
There, where it rose, with old grey tower serene,
From forth the elm-trees on the village green,
Ere town and country yet were clustered thick
With trim new-fangled chapels of red brick;
For these—fork forth new roads, like branching veins,
And strong thro' each the living current strains,
Till every pulse from fevered city's heart
Fires with fierce throb the realm's extremest part.
'When shall I see the country once again?'
Thus sighed the Latian bard his ancient strain;
But we—his sylvan longings should we share—
Must ask not when we shall behold, but where.
For now, as travels on mid wigwamed hills
The civilizing power, that taints or kills,
Along each British valley's sweet approach
Whirls in the city with the whirling coach;
Cigars and waltzes; latest caps; last news
Of Crockford's—Almack's—justice-rooms and stews,
And controversial preachers, and French shoes.
Its vices roused, its roughness ill smoothed down,
Each village now would ape the lordly town;
'Rustic' mere term for what no longer is,
And all the land one vast metropolis.
Thou best companion of the wise and good,
For so the wise have named thee, Solitude!
If wise and good but co-exist with thee,
Like Indian tribes, they soon must cease to be.
For lo! Publicity with searching spell
Hath pierced the shade of every household cell;
The day's gazette her scroll of magic might,
Within—without—she pours unnatural light;
Bids the keen beam thro' cottage, palace—pass,
And shows each tenant as in house of glass,
Till, like sun-loving plants, life's general crew
Lives but in one broad glare of public view.
Scorning all bliss from home-bred duties wrought,
And all just pride of individual thought,
Distorted worth she gives, with twisting lens,
To vulgar show and proudly-base expense.
Scorning no less, so gaping crowds approve,
'That perfect witness of all-judging Jove,'
Which, fallen on evil days, and poor and blind,
Its grand composure breathed o'er Milton's mind,
She stamps, instead, on a theatric age
The false and conscious movements of the stage,
Till, perfect actors grown, men play life's part
To the last scene with calculated art.
Vexed by hypocrisies, or chafed by pride,
'What walls shall guard us, or what shades shall hide?'
Where'er we turn, for ever—ever nigh,
Publicity pursues us as we fly;
At every hour, in each remotest place
Prescribes the phrase, or modifies the face;
Of pettiest hamlet pettiest deed notes down,
And makes the country fastuous as the town.
So now, when rural squires would meet to dine,
The county press must vaunt the vast design;
E'en as when Muckworm his town-feast would blaze,
Himself the paragraph both writes and pays.
And not alone where roaring feast goes round,
Is heard the pride-proclaiming trumpet's sound;
On Charity, scarce charity if told,
It waits, as 'mid the Pharisees of old;
And if gorged wealth, with patronizing air,
Buy some small pasteboard at a Serious Fair;
Or keep his oldest friend, broke down and grey,
Just one degree above mere parish pay,
The ready newsman, on our modest plan,
Makes known to Heaven 'The Charitable Man.'
So left hands learn each action of the right,
And not a bushel now conceals a light.
The Great themselves, who, from their loftier sky,
Might view small glories with disdainful eye,
The very Great themselves—
B. —Nay, spare the Great,
The world will swear, 'tis envy all or hate.
A. —Yet falsely swear. Nor sect's nor party's slave,
Each topic free to choose, or gay or grave;
With equal friends, and peaceful daily bread,
Me envy quits, to fret the Great instead.
Nay, more! Each lingering glory fond to trace,
The Muse hath ever loved an ancient race;
Loved, where she might, to deck with sweetest rhyme
Each precious relic of the olden time,
And snatch and wreathe anew, with greenest bay,
The fading chaplets Age would cast away;
But when, as now, low-stooping to Pretence—
B. —Was Walpole then such perfect innocence?
A. —Yet, if Sir Robert knew each patriot's price,
Pretence, at least, was not his age's vice.
No idle blushes—no grimaces made—
The account was rendered in, and Cato paid.
If guileful they, yet ours the graver guile;
We cheat with vows—they cheated with a smile.
Yes! now—pretences—oaths—have current use
To blanch the apostate's plea—the knave's excuse.
Himself lynx-eyed, this finds a people's mind
Besotted deep, and lends his blaze to blind.
This vows reform; reform full deftly planned
To hinder warmer heart and franker hand.
'To shirk one's party' Gyro damns for sin,
Nor 'rats' from his, as long as they keep in.
Old Syphax cries, 'I hate a party's thrall,'
And, pledged to none, receives his bribes from all.
E'en loftiest natures, with ambition curst,
Hard penalty! to lead must follow first;
And when the rest, at length, the van concede,
Keep the old track, and only just precede;
On useful knavery hold the bridle slack,
And, when seems useful, rein frank honour back;
With falsehood, nay with treachery, oft must mate,
And greatness lose, in striving to be great.
Hence, if, at last, the struggling will thou bend,
And stoop to herd awhile for worthiest end;
Add thy proud venture to their vulgar wares,
Nor scorn to let thy motives mix with theirs;
Yet, in disgust, thou oft shalt quit the band,
To take, like Abdiel, solitary stand;
Or, held impracticable and high-flown,
Left, if not leaving, find thyself alone.
And what for him who leans on others' part,
But disappointed hopes, and sickening heart!
In freedom reared, for treachery deemed too young,
A nation's hopes on high-born Cassius hung.
When stormy senates raised the stern debate,
Of power he seemed to save a sinking state;
And many a bold, confiding heart, I wis,
Had pledged its dearest, holiest hopes to his.
Gods! how we felt, when, strong in honour's might,
For England's fame he rose, for England's right;
Hurled his proud threats, impeachment and disgrace;
Flashed—flamed—then perorated—snug in place!
Greatness is goodness, else not worth a pin;
Mere talent's greatness stirs no chord within,
But, like keen razor plied the surface o'er,
Acts simply on the surface, and no more.
Sick to the core of thin or deep Pretence,
The attack, false-motived, or as false defence;
Of furious partisan, and dirty job,
And bribing candidate, and greedy mob;
Sick of great names, wherewith all Europe rings,
Of peoples sick, and ministers, and kings,
In soul I turn to scenes beloved of yore,
And fret for Greeks and Catholics no more.
Granta! beneath whose mildly-cloistering bowers
Swift years I passed, made up of idlest hours;
Ere yet on hearts, in flowing frankness bold,
Unfeeling Time had fixed his freezing hold;
For still this praise be thine, gone spirit of youth!
Thy very vices had their touch of truth—
Granta! for thee though wreath I never won,
Granta! receive again thy world-tired son;
Pleased, as of old, by thy calm stream to stray,
And where youth smoothly sped, dream age away.
In vain! To college halls, to churchmen's bowers
The feigning spirit pierces and o'erpowers;
Gains on the vulgar thought, nay—finer sense,
Watches his hour, and whispers the pretence.
Rufus, the scape-grace of a public school,
Focus of mischief! scorner of each rule!
Not held quite 'raff,' nor quite without a flaw,
If tried by school-boy honour's nicer law,
To Alma came; as if to show how place
Could work no miracle; at least in grace.
Still his old duns relate his every shift;
Still proctors tell how wary or how swift;
Boon friends—how very prone his clay to wet;
While fellow-freshmen never can forget
His strange good luck, or judgment in a bet;
How oft he cleaned 'em out on Bibury course,
And what a hand he was to sell a horse.
E'en when the bishop's mild ordaining hand
Had stricter rule imposed with gown and band,
Our deacon yet of strictness little smacked,
Nor made he vast pretence to what he lacked.
But when his lot befell to settle down,
A well-paid curate in a thriving town,
Where mammon and devotion, each a pride,
'Twixt prayer and pelf th' ambitious crowd divide,
To his clear interests never quite a dunce,
A change came o'er the outward man at once.
You know him, now, by somewhat straighter hair;
And a strained look of sanctimonious care,
Which, as must seem, no worldly thought distracts;
And a huge quarto pocket, stuffed with tracts;
And sermon sour; and week-day talk austere;
Save when he holds some female follower's ear;
Such gifts to rich preferment needs must come,
Or win a trusting wife—with half a plum.
But these—the coarser clays—the common strain!
On gifted Hiero muse with deeper pain;
Hiero—who poor beneath the tempting stole,
Still proudly kept the freedom of his soul;
Nor on another's mind could grant it good
To screw the fetters which himself eschewed;
Till placed, as chanced, a minister beside,
Those vows he changed, and quelled that barren pride.
The palinodia soon, in graceful sort,
For this he meant it—kisses hands at court;
'A charming candour' all the maids avow,
And the meek mitre veils his blushing brow.
Oh! ruined promise of a brighter hour!
Oh! throb for honour, ill exchanged for power!
So some sweet forest plant, born for the shade,
To richer soil, or sunnier skies conveyed,
Tho' there with stem to worthless stature grown,
Offends with a coarse blossom—not its own.
B. —If these be facts, or only talk severe,
I stand in doubt, and interrupt you here;
Yet frankly own, if half you say be true,
Satire, e'en now, may find enough to do.
A. —When least—then best. In my own doing's spite,
Little love I the Satire which I write.
Harsh drugs, tho' given but to drive ailments out,
Will sometimes in the giver wake a doubt;
And this the Satirist still must take in trust,
E'en those hate him who own his Satire just.
Rhymed Plea For Tolerance - Prefatory Dialogue
A.— Yes, I confess, I do regret the times
When Pope and Dryden knit their manly rhymes;
When Sense, to Fancy near, like light and shade
Each chasing each, their due succession made;
Or, wisely intermingled, wrought to view
Some master-work, not brilliant more than true.
That sister-reign is o'er; and, Queen sublime,
Fancy alone now rules each realm of rhyme;
And too fastidious direct to borrow
From human heart its homely joy or sorrow,
Distils her loves and hatreds, smiles and tears
From flowers and moon-beams, clouds and gossamers,
And fierce by turns or languishingly fine,
Burns, shivers, sobs and throbs through every line.
On as I read, what marvel, if perplext—
Now by half phrases, now half meanings vext;
Now by descriptions tired, that find no close,
Now strained by unimaginable woes;
'Mid flickering lights, to no one focus brought;
'Mid mirage mists, still baffling thirsty thought;
And nightmare fantasies from drowsy grot,
And far similitudes that liken not;
Where, style and story, all is wild or dim
As Pythian oracle or Orphic hymn;
What marvel if my wondering spirit seem
To drift amid the fragments of a dream,
And mocked by moony mysteries all too long,
Crave the clear sense of Pope's and Dryden's song.
Ye, thus who write in spite of critic law,
How had their satire kept your freaks in awe!
And, to sole sway controlling her pretence,
Bound Fancy down to compromise with Sense!
B.— Nay, call not up your satirists,—railers all,
From Gifford downward up to Juvenal.
A.— 'Tis true, of all that ink satiric page,
Few dip the pen from purely virtuous rage.
'Tis true, each stroke erased, not honest quite,
And blackened leaves not few must turn to white
Gone with the trash of many a blockhead's brains,
And perished, too, some else immortal strains.
Fond of the frail applause that waits on wit,
Curio deals right and left each reckless hit;
Dines at their board, then sketches, to the life,
His simple neighbour or his neighbour's wife;
Nay, should the need be pressing, without ruth,
To win a smile will gently wrest a truth.
Yet deem not Curio cruel. Merely gay
He wounds, like gamesome tiger, all in play.
And what, if once he broke an honest heart,
Wit stands his bail—it was but pride of art.
Keen surgeons thus, where milder means might heal,
Will sometimes fly, too fondly, to the steel.
Thus idle sportsmen, over-proud to kill,
Will maim and murder, just to show their skill.
Stern Milo never strove to raise a smile;
Satire with him is but a vent for bile.
Fretful of stomach and of soul severe,
The vice he marks, and paints it broad and clear
So broad, so clear, that his unblushing text
Mends not the present age, and taints the next.
The dilettanti these. Then comes the trade,
With portraits drawn and fitted, ready made;
Prepared, as hunger prompts them, or the metre,
To hang on hapless James or fated Peter.
Some clothe their subjects all in masquerade,
Like great incognitos thence more displayed
From Rome or Greece the gauzy drapery bring,
Then wink and whisper, 'Nero means the king.'
Pimp of the soul, this tickles prurient ears,
Resistless bait, with living characters;
Ambiguous facts gleans up, nor one rejects—
All he half knows, and all but half suspects;
Then o'er each page his nauseous notes he throws,
And tastes, for verse too dull, provokes with prose.
So mountebanks, who know their craft full well,
Loose jests hitch in to bid their poisons sell;
The crowd corrupt flock round with eager eyes,
And buy at once their nostrums, and despise.
Sage Furio's deeplier speculating quill
A nephew's name rhymed from his uncle's will;
Then changed, like serpent's skin, the satirist's tone,
Wound round that uncle, and rhymed in his own.
Not Boileau knew with subtler art to raise
On satire's ground adroit relief of praise;
Boileau, who swooped on every feebler thing,
But tamed his beak in flattery for a king.
These are the vile—but his a viler part,
Who makes his prey some woman's breaking heart,
And pours on penitence his caustic in,
Till the seared frailty hardens into sin.
Or, if the better nature, somewhat nice,
Though dropt to frailty, yet revolt at vice,
And, deeply sorrowing and repenting deep,
Cling to the pardon meant for those that weep;
Each day to some atoning duty given,
Yet deeming all she may too scant for heaven;
Still, not the less, around her home forlorn,
Whirls he the unpitying blast of public scorn,
Till wrecked She sink beneath the driving gale,
Like some unsheltered flow'ret, meek and pale,
That, meant for warmer suns and gentler skies,
Hangs its dejected head, and pines, and dies.
Oh! deem for such I hold a scorn like thine—
Better than this the workshop, or the mine—
Or rag-man's trade, or scavenger's, obscene—
A toil more innocent, and quite as clean.
But when, more strong than pulpit and than laws,
Satire her voice uplifts in virtue's cause,
—Stern as the clang from Joshua's trumpet blown,
When the stout walls of Jericho crashed down—
That powerful voice I hail in honest trust,
Join in the fray and vaunt our quarrel just.
With joy I see, beneath the withering blast,
Forth from their holds the conscious vices haste;
Follies and coxcombries their stations yield,
And many a bluff pretension quit the field;
While, 'mid the scared and scampering herds of flight,
Virtue stands firm, and smiles in temperate might.
B.— Thus exercised, e'en I her power revere—
A.— And what though Satire, sometimes too austere,
With reckless onset, whirl away together
Guilt's braving plume, and Folly's harmless feather,
They, who on public stage uncalled appear,
Must take the fortune of the theatre.
And, though I ne'er would grant the searching knife
To probe the trembling quick of private life,
Some wife's, some sister's gentle heart to strain,
The good uncertain, but assured the pain;
Yet still, if so it chance, on private ground,
(Such weeds on virtue's soil are often found)
Some happy folly show its smirking pride,
Too gaily tempting to be passed aside;
Some butt legitimate for gamesome wit;
Why—we must sketch the trifler—bid him sit.
Yet here let satire veil with quaint disguise,
And, while our mirth she tickles, cheat our eyes—
Throw in a whisker—hide a blotch that shows—
And, if not yet be-purpled, tint the nose;
That, while 'the sketch is nature,' all agree,
Nor friend nor foe shall whisper, 'This is he.'
Yet, I re-echo, when by shame unawed,
Some bold intruding villain stalks abroad—
Honour and right who counts as things of straw,
Evading, or perhaps above, the law;
Some prætor knave, half India in his purse,
Some royal favourite, a nation's curse;
Who not content to pamper vice, his own,
Crawls to his Prince's ear and taints the throne;
Some statesman, chafed at liberty's least word,
Whose will would change the pandeets for the sword;
Some patriot, reckless the mad crowd to drive
On danger's brink, if he thenceforth may thrive;
Some muck-worm prelate, earthly gains made sure,
Who leaves a bloated million from the poor;
Some title-hunting judge, whose slanting sight
Can meanly blink a wrong, or wrest a right,
Shifting th' unsteady scales from hour to hour,
Or crushing freedom with the mace of power;
Him (and that worst corruption as I name,
The kindling passion almost bursts to flame)—
Him let the verse with eager hate pursue,
Till seized, and bound, and dragged to public view.
Beneath the well-earned scourge he writhe at length,
And own that Satire hath her hour of strength.
Truth—justice—freedom—these are your's—are mine;
These to no power unquestion'd we resign;
These who invades, or rich, or learn'd, or high,
His meet reward, drinks satire's chalice dry.
'Twas thus of old, when plague his arrows sped—
(Of moral plagues we have our store instead—)
Thy lazarets, fair Venice, could confine
The noblest, proudest, of each ancient line;
Great names, for whom immortal Titian wrought,
And gave to time each beaming brow of thought;
Yet stern o'er these the state-physician stood,
And stoutly drenched them for the public good.
B.— So be it. For the guilty, great or rich,
Her cup let satire, conscience have her twitch.
A.— Yet rank, with crime though stained, hath many a charm
Satire to soothe, nay, conscience to disarm.
Where, chafing at the bold affront, he sits,
Levéed by hungry knaves and fawning wits,
See venal Eloquence—oh! task unmeet—
Cull fairest flowers and strew them at his feet.
See Poesy, that plies a shameless trade,
A prostitute in vestal robes arrayed,
For him her lyre attune, and wreathe her bays,
And brim, with Hebe smile, her cup of praise,
Whose lulling draught, like oil to waves applied,
Steals o'er each rising throb of guilt and pride.
'Gold too, thou puissant lord where'er we roam,
Yet Britons find thee powerful most at home;
Standard with us of manners and of worth,
Far more than virtue—rival e'en of birth.
On every rank though now this rule be prest,
'Rise if thou canst—keep sternly down the rest,'
E'en where frore coteries their ice oppose,
Thy ray can pierce, dissolving as it goes;
Slides through saloons for proud Precedence built,
And glints its softening hues on vulgarest guilt.
Peeps forth some stigma, wresting Honour's groan,
'True, 'tis a blotch, yet such as friend may own.'
But where the Pylades who dares to note
With recognition frank a threadbare coat?
B.— Thus guarded, why attempt the rich—the great?
Let the muse pause, admonish'd ere too late,
Ere yet, suspended by a single thread,
Stern 'ex officio' tremble o'er her head.
Let learning, talent, weep o'er Wakefield's tomb,
Share thou the grief, but shun the kindred doom.
A.— True! some have made a quarry of a king,
But found a minister a dangerous thing;
Tenacious, sensitive, resentful more;
While e'en the best are ticklish, if not sore.
'Twas thus when once a sprightly kid had dared
The lion's den, the generous despot spared,
But spared in vain.—He 'scaped the monarch's might,
To die beneath the snarling jackal's bite.
Yet laureate Dryden, in no sparing sort,
Could lash, by turns, the people and the court.
On glowing wheels the satire swept along,
And no stern judge forbade the sounding song.
Pope followed next; by toil, by genius fit,
To point the lightest dart of polished wit;
To bend no less firm reason's bow of strength,
And give the high-drawn arrow all its length;
With art, to all beside himself denied,
And such successful art that art to hide,
His best aimed hit seemed but a casual glance,
And labour's finished work th' effect of chance.
His too a sportive scorn—the happy mean
Satire's fierce frown and ribald jest between—
A tempered vein yet feared not less by all,
The court, the town, the senate and the hall.
Him still untired successive lustres saw,
Yet on he wrote, and all unscathed by law.
Churchill, e'en him, the eloquent, the coarse,
The gifted spendthrift, profligate of force,
Spirit and power to scorn, degrade, belie,—
Even him the Dracos of his day passed by.
Statesmen of purer then, or hardier frame,
Or shunned the vice, or stoutly dared the blame.
Our prudish age, more sensitively nice,
Starts from the blame and merely hugs the vice.
B.— Yet these, your wits, oft leapt the boundary line,
The manor right, which conscience must define.
E'en when from sportive mood the chase arose,
Hatred too oft came mangling at the close.
A.— Yet one there was who spurned the lawless taint—
Monster, how rare! The poet and the saint!
Cowper—who, keen and free to choose his ground,
Still made the fence of truth his satire's bound;
Winged lighter follies with no rancorous aim,
And when he smote a vice, yet spared the name.
So still be Satire's chemistry refined,
Her sane drawn forth, mere acrid left behind.
Nay, when, perchance, some glowing guilt may seem
Justly to claim her penalty extreme,
Yet, let her think how oft th' envenomed blame
Of falsehood's tongue hath scarred some noblest name,
And, check'd awhile, suspend the bitter cup,
Lest Socrates himself should drain it up.
Nor turn away, e'en when hard words she use,
Nor always quite refined, our Moral Muse.
If busied oft amid the worthless brood,
Her best-loved themes are still the wise and good;
And strained, betimes, to weave satiric lays,
She strikes her favourite lyre to virtue's praise.
Just so, within that loathsome prison gate,
'Mid guilt and crime, and ribald laugh and hate,
Yon female Saint, with steadfast footstep, moves,
And bears the ill, because the good she loves;
Untainted walks amid that tainted leaven,
Sees earth's worst part, and communes still with heaven.
And thou, my Master-Bard, to whom belong
The heights, at once, of satire and sweet song;
Whom, as I read, my humbled hopes incline
Still but to read, and blot each verse of mine;
Though in thy strain harsh notes erewhile prevail,
'Sporus at court, or Japhet in a jail;'
Yet, led by thee, what purest thoughts engage!
With thee I rock a mother's cradled age,
Or following Harley to his dungeon cell,
'When the last lingering friend hath bade farewell,'
There learn, contemptuous of all meaner fame,
That poesy and virtue are the same.
B.— So stout your plea—almost I deem that You,
In nature's spite, would join the scribbling crew.
A.— Ironic, flout not thus the race sublime,
Founders of souls—immortal heirs of time;
When laws are changed, when dynasties are gone,
Names that shall live transcendent and alone.
When ruin drives, as ruin oft hath driven,
O'er realms, the favoured realms long deemed of heaven;
Thy peopled shores, my more than native land,
(Far be the day) like Tyre's, a desert strand;
Yet then—if prophet thought unscorned may press
Through time's far scope, nor faint beneath the stress—
O'er southern isles, now struggling from the deep,
When busy sounds of population sweep,
To dusky tribes shall these their power impart,
And of new clustering nations build the heart;
While coral reefs, where now but sea-birds throng,
Learn Bacon's sense and echo Milton's song.
Proud lot is his, whose comprehensive soul,
Keen for the parts, capacious for the whole,
Thought's mingled hues can separate, dark from bright,
Like the fine lens that sifts the solar light;
Then recompose again th' harmonious rays,
And pour them powerful in collected blaze—
Wakening, where'er they glance, creations new,
In beauty steeped, nor less to nature true;
With eloquence that hurls from reason's throne
A voice of might, or pleads in pity's tone;
To agitate, to melt, to win, to soothe,
Yet kindling ever on the side of truth;
Or swerved, by no base interest warped awry,
But erring in his heart's deep fervency;
Genius for him asserts the unthwarted claim,
With these to mate—the sacred Few of fame—
Explore, like them, new regions for mankind,
And leave, like theirs, a deathless name behind.
But ne'er for me 'twas meant, with daring prow,
To cleave wide oceans, unexplored till now;
And having gained some yet sea-shrouded clime,
Scale with intrepid foot its cliffs sublime;
Then point to some untravelled upland's brow,
Or green savannah, sweetly spread below;
Or gaily plunging thro' some new found glade,
Invite the rest 'to choice of sun and shade;'
Strange stream to track, refreshening unnam'd flowers,
Of sweeter scent, or brighter hue than ours;
Or taste the fruit, yet plucked by none but me,
Or the wild honey, spoil of forest bee.
Enough for me, to whom benignant heaven,
That still dooms best, far humbler lot hath given;
Enough for me, remote from tracks of praise,
To stray through well-known fields by trodden ways;
Musing of things, tho' neither new nor deep,
Well pleased to smile, and not too cold to weep;
Content, tho' conscious of no lofty call,
And if not high, thence fearless of a fall.
Yet in our Carib isle, young Savage yet,
—My earliest playmates of the race of jet;
With whom, unclad, I crawled or climbed at will,
And loved them then—and love in memory still;
There, if some palm-tree, to my wondering sight,
Strained up aloft—as seemed to infinite;
Or, flung from thunder-cloud, down-clashing rain
Smote the live rock, then upward steamed amain;
—Or when some day of languid heat was done,
And woke the land-breeze to the setting sun,
Wafting, how sweet! its perfumed snatches by,
From citrons or ananas clustering nigh;
Or from that garden-nook, with flowers o'ercrept—
My Mother's grave—the first o'er which I wept,
(For so in that fair isle our 'Parted slept
Or when from forth night's darkly blue expanse
Bright tropic stars by myriads met my glance,
Or countless fire-flies, frisking as in mirth,
Twinkled along—my little stars of earth;
All these, if fancy cheat not, breathed for me—
Young Savage yet—their silent poesy.
But when, o'er years, as yet of lore quite scant,
Uprose the horn-book—Glorious Visitant!
The Muses came with that expanding day,
First pious Watts, then—strange transition—Gray!
A chance-found book! Oh! how I loved to read
Of kingly Odin and the coal-black steed—
The gory shuttle, tossed from hand to hand,
And all the mysteries of that Runic land.
Still 'mid the depths my childish thought was drown'd,
But when the sense I miss'd I hung upon the sound.
The Sacred Volume, too, in that fond time,
Would stir me with its Beauteous or Sublime;
Yet pictures more than precepts for each age
Culls its own lore from that all-pregnant page.
There novice Childhood pores with curious eye,
There learns the Man—to live, the Sire—to die.
Then every image won, where all was new,
And more to win, the Wondrous was the True;
The stork, who knows th' appointed hour at hand;
The turtle heard soft murmuring thro' the land;
Ships that to Ophir or to Tarshish sail;
Then too the Cherubim and sword of flame,
And Red Sea rushing round as Egypt came,
And Burning Bush, and that dread issuing Voice,
With fearful joy—all bade my heart rejoice,
And then, as now, I thrilled beneath Prose speech
Of loftier power than Verse shall ever reach.
Next he, the lord of each upgrowing mind,
Poet and legislator of mankind,
Next Homer came—as yet, not He of Greek,
But Homer, such as Pope had made him speak.
What vows were straight for every hero sped,
The while, as temper willed, or fancy led,
We parted, like Seamander's branching tide,
This to the Grecian, this the Trojan side;
Then with mock sword, and slate, our mimic shield,
Hector or Ajax, overfought each field!
E'en now, when years their dawning tints of rose
Have lost, and hopes, like flowers, are fain to close;
E'en now I feel o'er life's descending hour
Steal back those joys with recollected power;
My school-boy days around me group anew,
And the heart's witness vouches Rogers true!
Thee, Shakspeare, half might memory overlook,
For thou to me wert Nature more than Book.
To thee my days, my nights, I loved to give,
Nor seemed, the while, so much to read—as live.
A further day maturer pleasures brought,
Yet Feeling still was powerful over Thought;
Then proud I heard the pomp of Dryden roll,
And humbly dared to measure Milton's soul.
Thus years trod upward, till the impatient mind
Stood on the verge of manhood unconfined;
A World beneath at will, and Alps sublime
Sparkling afar, a very bliss to climb;
And Pleasures then were an uncounted Sum,
And Being—but a Poesy to come.
Nay, I confess, in those tumultuous hours
When future life seemed glory all or flowers,
Yet to myself unknown—then who can blame?—
I 'scaped not quite the Calenture of Fame.
As one who sails with some long-lingering fleet,
Till his brain fevers with the tropic heat,
In the green hue that clothes the barren seas,
Views his own native fields, his village trees;
Vision or truth in vain he questions o'er,
The strong delusion gains him more and more;
Till down he dashes 'mid the ravening foam,
And the wave closes o'er his dream of home;
So on my youth the strong temptation came,
The cheating view, the feverish thirst of fame.
To me her sterile waves, her storm-ridged sands,
Were thrifty meadows all or furrowed lands.
Long time I gazed, long ponder'd on the brink,
And all but took the headlong plunge—in ink.
B.— Temptation mad! If such again allure,
And hellebore and blister fail of cure,
Why, let the critic lancet breathe a vein,
And free from folly at the expense of pain.
A.— Nor need. For, disenchanted now by truth,
Stand forth in real guise the dreams of youth.
Dicers I know them now in desperate game,
Mad jousters in the tournament of fame,
Where the too tempting prize though thousands miss,
Yet every rash adventurer deems it his.
—Mere doting usurers, their last guinea lent,
E'en avarice dozed in dreams of cent. per cent.,
Whom Hope, long Promiser that seldom pays,
Cheats with post-obit bonds of distant praise.
Oh lettered life, for men of rich degree
Soft cradle, rocking them to rickety,
Thou art for Him—the unstivered Wretch—to whom
Genius for curse was given—the treadmill's doom.
He, while plump Publishers stand by and smile,
Whirls endless on his still revolving mile,
Sighs for his labour's end—sighs on—and dies the while!
How blest are they to whom the immortal lyre
Yields their full joy to listen and admire.
What anxious hopes, what jealous fears arise,
Ourselves the candidates and fame the prize.
The Student pale, with glory's passion fraught,
To glory gives his daily, nightly thought;
Day following day, long week succeeding week,
More strong his love, and paler grows his cheek,
While to that inner heart's consuming glow
The lofty Mistress still replies him 'No.'
Yet still lured on, tho' trembling for his pains,
When of ten blotted lines scarce one remains,
Of love, of fear, he knows each anxious turn,
Now fondly prizes, gladly now would burn
Till blest, at length, in Bulmer's loveliest dress,
Proudly his babe he shows, his darling of the press.
But as, not seldom, o'er the peasant's field,
His children's bread, with hope, with rapture till'd,
Comes sudden blight to mar his fondest aim,—
So fares it with the toiling Serf of fame.
Too soon, on hurrying wings, or grey or blue,
Sweeps o'er his hopes the Demon of Review,
Casts on his babe an eye of evil power,
And withers all his greatness in an hour.
Struggles awhile the strong but shrinking pride,
The hapless frame with genius still allied,
Struggles awhile, in vain; then, bending low,
Disdains, yet bows in anguish to the blow,
Spirits, I know, there are of steadfast force,
With genius linked, steel-strung and yet not coarse,
That proved, not worsted, in the Herculean thrall,
Rise, like Antæus, stronger from the fall.
But they, the most, whom weaker nerves sustain,
Shrink, like the plant, instinctive from the pain;
And some, like Keats, heart-stricken overmuch,
While the world sneer'd, have died beneath the touch.
Or grant, perchance, the splendid guerdon gained
Springs sorrow sudden on the good attained.
The critic's jest though 'scaped, or truth severe,
Yet comes the foe's loud laugh or silent sneer;
While every dunce would mar the hard-won fame,
And mix his hisses with the world's acclaim.
Or if thy verse, in high poetic spasm,
Hath stirred some unadvised enthusiasm;
Or calmlier-purposed, yet mean fears above,
Roused from drugged sleep duty, or human love;
Such love—such duty—as cold worldlings shun,
Or one, or both; or both more oft in one;
Then of those worldly tribes starts each thy foe,
The thoughtful wish derides—the impassioned glow,
And shouts it crime—to Teach—and guilt—to Know.
Nor foes alone, nor dunces, shall combine;—
E'en he, that earliest, best-loved friend of thine,
With whom thou brak'st the bread of trusting truth,
Sheltering beneath the sacred tents of youth;
With him, so love had planned, through scenes to go
Of mingled pleasure or partaken woe;
The last affections of the parting man
To close in fondness, as the boy's began —
E'en he, at length, takes up the torturer's part,
With surer knowledge barbs the unthought-of dart,
Or drives the poniard right into the heart.
But He for blighted hopes thus doomed to mourn,
And warmest friendship chilled with cold return,
And all too-conscious of the grief that stings,
Or soothed awhile yet startled by the strings,
Well may He shrink with touch of tuneful shell
To rouse the slumberers from their silent cell.
The long-loved lyre, that would renew his pains,
He views in secret anguish and abstains,
Like Zion's saddened harps, which willows bore
Once struck with cheerful hand—now struck no more!
Monster of faith! or should the friend forbear;
Should foes molest not, nay, should dunces spare;
Yet wait not less, to nip or prose, or rhyme,
The silent blights, the sealing frosts of Time.
Men fade like leaves! Leaves, budded from the pen,—
Forgive the equivoque,—fade fast as men.
Fanned by hope's vernal breeze awhile they play,
Or fondly flaunt in glory's summer ray;
But o'er their freshness steals th' unheeded year,
Words change their hues, and very thought grows sere,
'Till winter comes to rend each lingering name,
And prove how few the evergreens of fame.
E'en Ye, majestic band, to whom I owe,
By turns, or lofty thrill, or pause from woe;
E'en Ye, far-beaming lights from centuries past,
Or so despondence deems, shall fade at last.
O'er surging years, our arts—our arms that whelm,
Shall unborn races drift, or guide the helm,
Nor heed, perchance, amid their fate or care,
To ask of old Tradition what We were.
Then by that deluge sea, our destined grave,
Shall lonely Silence sit, and watch the wave,
Where of all glory's peaks, now proudly steep,
Scarce one lone Ararat shall spot the deep.
B.— Enough! when talk thus allegoric grows,
Fain would I yawn, and wish it at a close.
A.— Then here we part. Yet end we here to say,
This hand may ne'er presume to touch the bay.
For me more fit, at leisure laid along,
My days to cheat with charm of others' song,
And court in peace, nor mocked at nor admired,
Th' unpurchased duties of a life retired.
From guilt, from hate, as best I may, aloof;
Too weak to cast, too shy to meet reproof;
Yet proud, in Virtue's cause, faint voice to raise,
And be, for one brief hour, the thing I praise;
Well pleased, meanwhile, to see once more commence
The reign of temperate Fancy, leagued with Sense;
And, if the lash were plied with honest view,
Not much displeased that Sense were Satire too.
A Day At Tivoli - Prologue
Fair blows the breeze—depart—depart—
And tread with me th' Italian shore;
And feed thy soul with glorious art;
And drink again of classic lore.
Nor sometime shalt thou deem it wrong,
When not in mood too gravely wise,
At idle length to lie along,
And quaff a bliss from bluest skies.
Or, pleased more pensive joy to woo,
At twilight eve, by ruin grey,
Muse o'er the generations, who
Have passed, as we must pass, away.
Or mark o'er olive tree and vine
Steep towns uphung; to win from them
Some thought of Southern Palestine;
Some dream of old Jerusalem.
Come, Pilgrim-Friend! At last our sun outbreaks,
And chases, one by one, dawn's lingering flakes.
Come, Pilgrim-Friend! and downward let us rove
(Thy long-vow'd vow) this old Tiburtian grove.
See where, beneath, the jocund runnels play,
All cheerly brighten'd in the brightening day.
E'en in the far-off years when Flaccus wrote,
('Tis here, I ween, no pedantry to quote,)
Thus led, they gurgled thro' those orchard-bowers
To feed the herb—the fruitage—and the flowers.
Come, then, and snatch Occasion; transient boon!
And sliding into Future all too soon.
That Future's self possession just as brief,
And stolen, soon as given, by Time—the Thief.
Well! if such filching knave we needs must meet,
Let us, as best we may, the Cheater cheat;
And, since the Then, the Now, will flit so fast,
Look back, and lengthen life into the Past.
That Past is here; where old Tiburtus found
Mere mountain-brow, and fenc'd with walls around;
And for his wearied Argives reared a home
Long ere yon seven proud hills had dream'd of Rome.
'Tis here, amid these patriarch olive trees,
Which Flaccus saw, or ancestry of these;
Oft musing, as he slowly strayed him past,
How here his quiet age should close at last.
And here behold them, still! Like ancient seers
They stand; the dwellers of a thousand years.
Deep-furrow'd, strangely crook'd, and ashy-grey,
As ghost might gleam beneath the touch of day.
All strangely perforate too; with rounded eyes,
That ever scan the traveller as he hies:
Fit guardians of the spot they seem to be,
With centuries seen, and centuries yet to see.
Who treads this pallid grove, by moonlight pale,
Might half believe the peasant's spectre tale
Of Latian heroes old, that come to glide
Along these silent paths at even-tide;
Or Sibyl, wan with ghastly prophecy,
From her near fane, as whilom, wandering by.
But Morning, now, and sunny vines are here,
From tree to tree gay-gadding without fear;
Or else in verdant rope their fibres string,
As if to tempt the little Loves to swing;
Or, tricking silvery head and wrinkled stem
With tendril-curl, or leafy diadem;
A sportive war of graceful contrast wage,
The Grave and Gay—green Youth and hoary Age.
Hence we may feel Resounding Anio's shock,
As his full river thunders from his rock.
Yet mark! meanwhile adown its own small dell
How falls or winds each little cascatelle.
With no rude sound—with no impetuous rush;
But blandly—fondly—or by bank or bush.
Or floats in air; as when mild mermaid frees
(Or so they feign) her tresses to the breeze;
And careless, for a while, of coral bower,
Basks on the sunny sands till noontide's scorching hour.
How sweet! to have such gentle waters near;
Just soothing, ne'er disturbing eye nor ear.
Nor deem I those unblest, whom choice—or fate—
Leads to prefer the Lesser to the Great.
'Repose, thou better privilege than fame.'—
So felt, we know, the great historic name,
Mecænas; he who owned those villa-halls,
All stately once, tho' now but rifted walls.
And hither, wisely truant, oft would come,
Forth from the smokes, the toils, the strifes of Rome.
For, tho' defaced, discolour'd, broken, bow'd,
Yet were they then of gold and ivory proud.
Or far beyond what proudest wealth might do,
From thoughtful art a nobler triumph drew.
There, dark-hued urns, with mythic picture fraught,
Time's treasures! stood, from old Etruria brought;
Which even then had claim'd uncounted date,
When you great Rome was yet a struggling state.
Or marble vases there, in white array,
Beam'd back an added lustre to the day.
Or, better, when the gladly-welcom'd guest
Came to the banquet, rich with every zest,
From lamp of chisell'd bronze, adjusted light
Threw out some Phidian marvel on the night;
Evoking, heightening thus, in form or face,
Each subtler beauty or diviner grace.
Nor yet, when hours of feast had found their close,
Or jaded statesman sighed for short repose,
Was wanting, there, some well-befitting room,
Nor all-too bright, nor quite subdued to gloom,
Whose odoriferous cedar-shelves along
Fair scrolls were ranged; philosophy or song.
There, all our Lost might be. All Livy told,
(Where now?) and all Menander limned of old,
Fresh from the life; with sweet Simonides;
And glorious Sappho, —greater yet than These.
And then, perchance, you small and sinuous rill,
In open day now glittering down the hill,
Slid underground its tube-directed path,
To feed or sculptured fount or perfumed bath.
Their graceful rites, their gorgeous prides are gone;
Their proudest monument a crumbled stone!
Yet if the marble and the bronze decay,
Their storied memories fade not thus away;
But cluster still, tho' dying centuries toll,
Beadrolls for thought, and relics for the soul.
Hence here have bowed, thro' farthest tracts of time,
Genius and Lore, from every cultured clime.
And hence, no less, thro' many a countless year,
Like us, shall unborn pilgrims worship here.
And how may pilgrim stand on spot like this,
Nor feel what flitting wayfarer he is?
Here, where the joys, the griefs, the hopes, the fears,
The busy doings of three thousand years,
Since first Tiburtus made these hills his hold,
Have dreamed their dream, and mingle with the mould.
Men pass like cloud, or wave, or morning dew:
A thought nor very deep, nor very new.
Yet who, as here, shall find him, face to face,
In presence of that Mighty Commonplace,
And not imbibe the moral of the spot,
Accept the general doom—and murmur not?
Yet, if All die, there are who die not All;
(So Flaccus hoped), and half escape the pall.
The Sacred Few! whom love of glory binds,
'That last infirmity of noble minds,
'To scorn delights, and live laborious days,'
And win thro' lofty toil undying praise.
What if for These, now verging to the tomb,
As yet, nor laurels spread nor myrtles bloom;
Proud mortgagees they stand of Fame's estate,
And for the brave reversion bear to wait.
Nay, what tho' never from th' ungrateful soil
Green chaplets spring, for guerdon of the toil;
In calm content their avarice sublime
May well forego those unpaid debts of Time;
Who, e'en while clutching at the generous pelf,
Priz'd ever, most, the virtue for itself.
So go we musing on. But, as we go,
Just glimpse yon lizard frisking to and fro.
Now here—now there—now straightly fixed he lies;
Then turns him sudden in a mock surprise.
Give him this southern wall, this sprightly sun,
And Past and Future are to him as One.
Tell him of either, (for he loves to talk
With loiterer, pausing on his easy walk,)
Tell him of either, and, with eyes that glisten,
And head aslant, awhile he seems to listen,
Then jerks him merry off, as if to say,
'Good Sirs! for me sufficient is the day.'
So, should grave memories ever come to press
Life's present hour with thought of past distress;
Or future years o'erhang us, vague or dim,
Why, we may come and take a hint from him.
And who not thus delights him, who or what,
In such a clime, or animate or not?
These hill-side vines; this wide expanding plain;
These fields—of pasture, here; and there, of grain;
These twisted chesnuts, with their cheery green;
Yon darker cypress, spired above them seen;
Which, many a century, land-mark, there, hath stood,
Self-lifted obelisk, immortal wood;
Those aloes, that with sworded panoply
Still warn the pilgrim, who would dare too nigh;
Yon steeply climbing town; that rocky height;
Seem they not living in the living light?
For each grey flake hath faded from the view,
And all around is one Ausonian Blue.
Not the fresh dawn, not evening's tenderest hour,
Speak to the spirit with a deeper power.
As eye and heart strain up that azure air,
What light—what love—what fixedness is there!
Transient—we know—Eternal—let it seem!
With such blue sky we only ask to dream.
E'en he, (behold! him in that shaggy coat)—
Yon goat-herd, with his only browsing goat,
On the hill-slope; beside that humming stream;
This heaven above; how can he help but dream!
He ne'er was train'd in thronging city vast,
For some huge deck to shape the mighty mast;
To face, in ship, the deadly Afran breeze;
Or drop the anchor deep in Arctic seas,
Like our stern sons. Yet not for this despise,
Albeit in seeming vacancy he lies.
Not idle they the most, who idlest seem;
Nor lost are all the hours in which we dream.
In trade's dim workshops all unused to moil,
Small share is his of luxuries won by toil.
But luxuries he hath not unrefin'd,
That please, perchance, yet more his southern mind.
Mere idlesse pleases; as supine he lies,
And gazing upward thro' the blazing skies,
Wins shifting colours to his dazzl'd eyes;
Or red or azure. And delights to see
The brilliant mockeries as they come and flee;
And wonders, why? Or makes of each a gem,
Such as might grace a pontiff's diadem;
Ruby or sapphire. Strange to me—or you;
But, here, All love this dreamy 'Nought-to-do.'
Or by tradition's tongue, or ruin old,
Of his own land's great deeds hath he been told;
And asks himself, erewhile, with wishful pain,
Why may not those brave days return again?
And tho' still mingling in confusion quaint
Profane and Sacred; Warrior and Saint;
Yet each in turn hath taught him, if need were,
Like This, to suffer—or, like That, to dare.
Think too that These were they, whose flags, unfurl'd
Beneath Rome's eagle crest, once shook the world.
Yon peasant-girl, —you mark'd her where she stood,
In her just pride of conscious womanhood—
(Against yon column now she leans awhile,
Graceful, you'll own, as milkmaid by a stile.)
Behold her in her country's old costume;
Is lady statelier in a palace room?
Too poor, we know; perchance, too inly great,
The town's last mode to wish to imitate.
Barefooted—but with no submissive mien;
In beauty's regal right—a lawful queen.
Such type to Michael's chisel had given a law;
And Raphael's self but painted what he saw.
In region, where not oft the Dryad charms
Town-loving Signor to his woods and farms;
And palaces, within proud city shut,
But rarely neighbour on the peasant's hut;
(He'privileg'd—or doom'd—by lot of birth
To see, but seldom, these the Lords of earth
'Mid equals rear'd, what other should he be
But equal too—a freeman 'mid the free?
Our nobler civil rights to him unknown,
Yet all his social freedom—all his own.
But where wealth's stringent or out-doling hand
From point to point wide stretches o'er a land;
In power or bounty ever seen or felt,
Like lictor's fasces or an almsman's belt;
Tho' order hence, with all its blessings, flow, —
As fertilizing waters guided go—
Yet as, henceforth, we lose the stream that played
Thro' its own runnels, free and not afraid;
So there, by wealth or purchased or controlled,
Word—gesture—look—in native frankness bold—
Are quelled, like sprite, beneath the Wand of Gold.
Again—(prolix beyond the thing I ought,
You kindly bear, and let me speak my thought)
In land—where from the plough men rushed to arms,
Just saved a state, and then re-sought their farms—
I love these breathings free; these heads erect;
I love, in look and speech, this brave neglect.
With ancient memories they better suit
Than balanced phrases or observance mute.
Nay, for a spot like this seem least unmeet,
As in high natures Grand and Simple greet.
Is this the race down-dwindled to a weed?
A rotted trunk? or but a buried seed?
Which, if the storm should rise and floods up-tear
The shrouding soil, and give it back to air,
Shall sprout again; no longer matter brute;
But gladden'd with green leaves and its own glorious fruit.
Oh Italy! if fallen (as some delight
To say thou art), yet fallen from what vast height;
Oh Italy! thou land of memories dear,
Yet not for these alone we prize thee here;
But gladly take thee, with acceptive heart,
Not for thy 'hast been,' but for what thou art.
For who that knows thy seas of brightest wave,
Their shelving shores or rocky steeps that lave;
Thy lakes, 'mid mountains laid, in soft blue length,
Like Beauty guarded at the feet of Strength;
Thy landscape, seen at morn or evening hour,
Town—village—cresting chapel—arch or tower;
Rich art—rich nature—each on each that press,
Till the sense aches with very loveliness;
Thy corn with fruitage mixed; thy realms of vine,
For ever beauteous—if they droop, or twine;
Thy balmiest clime, which daily tasks can leaven
With bliss, from out the common air of heaven;
Man's natural bearing; woman's easy grace;
From very rags—in gesture and in face;
Thy dark-eyed childhood's ever-ready smile
Of playful innocence or playful wile;
Or knows thy human nature's better part,
Swift thought, swift feeling, and the kindly heart;
And knows, beside, what thousand pulses beat
To win thy glories back, with generous heat;
Who but for thee must fervent vows forecast,
And hope thy Future, while he dreams thy Past?
But now 'tis Mid-day! and the deep retreat
Of Anio's grot must shield us from the heat.
'Twas in such deep recess Salvator's touch
Won its dark truth, and Gaspar fed on such.
Lo! the rapt river along its channel'd ledge
Precipitous hurrying to that dizzy edge.
Now, for one breathless moment, high uphung,
Like curled sea-wave; then—forth, as foamy, flung.
Here—in long lance-like flakes—straight down; while, there—
As if were all uncoiled Medusa's hair,
The serpent-waters twirl and hiss in air.
Or else, in black and rocky cauldron bound,
For ever eddy round and round and round;
Wakening the thought, or sadden'd or sublime,
Of endless toil, or never-ending time.
All types from clashing waters—all are here;
All types and all emotions; sound and fear;
Pent agonies, that struggle for relief;
Free gushing tears; dishevelled locks of grief;
Mad angers; sullen pause; re-bursting ire;
With flood still swifter than pursuing fire.
Yet beauty too. But such as poets shed
Round the great vision of that snake-tress'd head,
Perplexing beauty—beauty wreathed with dread.
'Tis a great scene! Yet, not by it opprest,
We feel its greatness in a buoyant breast.
For (not as when some wild Helvetian flood
Dives down its sombre depth of piny wood)
Here, all around, hath Gladness flung her braid
Of green festoons, and scattered light and shade.
Or rather—if the word were fitlier won—
Not shade, but shadow—playmate of the sun.
Gloom glorified! as suits a southern clime;
And (bear the phrase) a Cheerfuller Sublime.
E'en far within the grot Light sports with Dark;
Here—a long arrowy streak; and there—a spark.
If disappearing, soon to re-illume;
Like festive fire-fly, glancing thro' the gloom;
Or old Venetian masquer, richly dight,
Who, 'neath his waxen torches' orange light,
With gems and spangles glitters on the night.
Who, Anio! that hath come, or soon or late,
To this thy shrine, but deems the day—a date;
Whence to recal at will, his whole life's length,
Thy voice—thy speed—thy beauty and thy strength?
Whether thou tinklest from some mountain-rest,—
Thy birth-place—where the eagle builds his nest;
Or cruel bandit plants him; thence to strain
His greedy vision o'er the cowering plain;
Or whether, wandered from thy native hills,
(As strong and stronger grown from clustering rills)
Thou pausest for a while in silent lake,
Where that she-wolf her passing thirst might slake,
Who (prowled to Tiber down and destined thus)
Suckled great Rome in infant Romulus;
Or holdest on by feudal tower, or hall
From Cæsars named, or nameless ruined wall;
Or by quaint villa; such as after days
For Este's princely line made pride to raise;
Where, many a time, thy rushing wave would roll
Intenser power o'er Ariosto's soul;
Brightening, thro' secret sympathies, the lay,
Which here he loved to weave (or so they say);
And which for aye—like thee—shall flow along
As wild—as smooth—as playful and as strong;
Whether thou speak of simple Sabine farms,
Or call, as now, to song—or art—or arms;
Be welcome every dream thou waftest down,
And every tale; but most of old renown.
Tell us of statesman—warrior—bard—or sage—
Wonder or love of many a famous age—
What time, by seas shut in and rocky strand,
And all-undreaming of the Roman brand,
Our Britain lay, a yet unhistoried land.
Hail and Farewell! Resounding Anio!
And now, Fair Stream! with milder current flow
On 'mid thy vines and pasture; till thou come
'Neath the proud walls of twice Imperial Rome.
Thence, with old Tiber, soon to sport thee free
'Mid the blue waters of the Tyrrhene sea.
Thou, Pilgrim-Friend! (we know) wert never one,
Mere idle praiser of the days foregone;
Nor striving still to shroud with poor pretence
Of classic feeling gap of week-day sense;
But ever, in thy wisdom, taking heed
That worthy life is made of daily deed.
And tho' (by shrewd Saint Stephen stolen, of late,
From converse of thy friends—to serve the state)
It thee befits to pay thy studious vow
To Hansard rather than to Livy—now;
Yet hence, methinks, 'tis joyance doubly sweet
In this, the dream-land of our youth to meet;
Together turn again the classic page,
And win us back our boyhood's loftier age;
And church and state for some brief weeks eschew;
And make again this Ancient World our New.
But, here, far back the scroll must be unroll'd;
Here, where ten centuries do not make the Old.
Where old they deem in antiquarian thought
Some work by Ancus or by Tarquin wrought.
That tunnel huge, or prison Mammertine;
Or old may grant the Fabian—Julian—line;
But half a Modern make our Constantine;
And, as they pass his structures, on their way,
Scarce note them—as but things of yesterday.
Small matter! Old or new, we'll list the while,
As Ciceroni teach us—or beguile.
And, if some tales for question seem to call,
In sifting Niebuhr's spite, accept them all.
Where Curtius leapt, believe the very spot;
Or muse with Numa in th' Egerian grot.
Yea—sweet for him, by parent doomed to court—
Unwilling suitor—ancient law-report;
Awhile to snatch him from the hated thrall
Of pleader's desk, or point-contesting hall;
And sweet, not less, for thee, who legislate,
To 'scape committee-room and dull debate;
Corn question—currency—and funded debt;
French marriage—and the treaty of Utretcht;
And leaving—not too long—our own dear land,
To hail—as we of late—the Belgic strand;
Thence, o'er their ill-laid rail, right glad to roll,—
Tho' shaken sore—to this Ausonian Goal.
Not stately Bruges might detain us, now,
Nor Meuse, soft-gliding 'neath her fortress'd brow;
More pleased some while to thrust from off the scene
Battles and sieges, Marlborough and Eugene.
Nay, prizing thee, old Legendary Rhine!
Less for thy legends than thy climbing vine.
Nor yet in famed Helvetia tarrying long,
Tho' there green vales and glittering mountains throng;
And We aye pleased to feel the bosom swell,
By Uris rock, at thought of William Tell.
But onward still our purposed way we take
O'er tall Gothard and by Locarno's lake;
Or climbing slow, or if in full career,
With Rome! Rome! Rome! in heart and eye and ear.
Still thirsting; till at last we came to stand,
Glad Exodites! in it—our Promised Land.
And what our Pisgah view? Crushed piles of state
The walls within; and dun and desolate
Campagna round; with bridge and tower destruct
By age or war; and ruined aqueduct
Athwart the fading twilight. And is this
A Forum? or a vast Necropolis?
Temples—for tombs; a nation's dust beneath;
With silence round, that fears almost to breathe;
And city-solitude, so strangely drear,
The Living seem to have no business—here.
If in some vineyard ground our step be stayed,
Awhile, beside the peasant's delving spade;
(Now—vineyard; once—Patrician's client court,
When that near Forum was a world's resort)
As up and up the rank black mould is cast,
The very earth seems odorous of the Past.
Each after each, behold in turn out-thrown
Tile—faded stucco—scrap of sculptured stone.
Anon—some shattered urn, or broken frieze;
Power—turned to skeleton! His fragments—These.
Ruins and fragments! Is it these that Ye
From your own thriving land come forth to see?
We answer, 'Yea;' these are the things that We
From our own thriving land come forth to see.
We come to see how ancient power may die,
And ponder on a realm's mortality.
Yet, seeing how survive the Good—the Just;
In goodness and in justice learn to trust.
We come, as in fond youth, to sympathize,
Thro' backward ages, with the Great and Wise;
And feel—as then—some throb thro' inner heart,
Where life's low interests claim no smallest part.
We come from restless plan and restless deed,
Ambition's instrument, or habit's need,
To find the Calm which generous leisures give,
And less in act than meditation live.
We come from wit's and jest's enlivening strife,
And all the dearer bliss of household life,
To feed on pensive thoughts; yet not the less
To win a pleasure from our pensiveness.
And if those grave and pensive thoughts (and such
Our case may be) should press the heart too much;
'Twere not so very far to find our way
Mid glorious art, that tells of no decay.
Where beams each high conception just the same
As when from Grecian chisel first it came.
Tho' mortal-born, of beauty that might mate
With archetype celestial increate.
Nay, beauteous more than in their glittering prime,
Tinged softly by the sun-set hues of Time.
Then, if some friend should come, with best intent,
To warn of hours all uselessly misspent;
He too may learn (nor is the lore abstruse)
That uselessness, like this, is noblest use.
That while the busy serfs of wealth and power
Fawn only on the Present's sordid hour,
(No lofty thought or back—or forward—cast)
We pluck our nobler Present from the Past.
Nor pause we there, but, starting forth anew,
From thence shape out a nobler Future too.
This long discourse hath led us far away
'Mid other themes from our Tiburtian day,
But now again, with renovated grace,
We bow before the Genius of the Place,
Full of the scene around; and all-intent,
As slow we travel up this steep ascent,
To win the passing pictures, as they rise
From present hour, or ancient memories.
For here, glance where eye may, or footstep fall,
Or new or old, 'tis picture—picture—All.
This structure near, mere peasant's dwelling-place,
Is not itself without some claim of grace.
Its terraced roof, square tower, and arching gate
To Art, long since, thro' picture consecrate.
For Creed of Art hath not alone to do
With reason'd faith, but with tradition too;
And Beauty's self we hold for most divine,
When Memory stands Priestess at her shrine.
Behold! its sunward wall. How all-ablaze
With one full glow of ripest, yellowest maize;
Whose rich-ribbed cylinders, in order strung,
Seem tassels, for some festal rite uphung.
Or each might be fit cresting ornament
For regal canopy, or warrior-tent.
No brighter hues hath Ceres in her horn;
No cheerier ever broke from saffron morn.
More golden—ne'er from furnace-fires were rolled
Than these, sun-wrought in vegetable gold.
Which almost might requite his absent ray,
Themselves a sun-shine for each clouded day.
While yon ripe gourds, that strew the court-yard floor,
Beam upward, each a mass of glittering ore.
But now, with these our rural splendours done,
And we, like them, full-saturate with sun;
How fresh it is, as, step by step, we mount,
To watch the gushings of that marble fount.
Its cistern—some antique sarcophagus;
(Here, Old and New for ever mingle—thus)
While its raised cup, whenceforth the Naiads toss
O'erbrimming wave, is fringed with greenest moss.
(For, in these lands comes oft from mere neglect,
What art long while might ponder to effect.)
Each pendent tuft, with sparkling spray bedript,
Seems it not emerald, with diamond tipt?
And then those female forms, with braided hair,
And heads erect, that classic urns up-bear;
(From forth whose shapely rims dewed vine-leaves drop;—
Thrust partly in, escaping lymph to stop.)
These, as around the cistern's edge they throng,
Say, might not These to Grecian Art belong?
Whoe'er from life's mere prose awhile would flee,
Should roam with us this land of reverie.
Where museful fancy needeth not the aid
Of cloister dim, or silent colonnade,
Or solitary shore, or moonlight glen,
But meets her visions 'mid the haunts of men;
And feels in broadest sun-light round her stream
From every waking fact some answering dream.
And how that lofty Past exalts the Now!
That churl—a Cincinnatus at the plough!
Yon kite, slow circling up the Blue—afar—
An augury! or be it peace or war.
Those very geese, out clamouring, one and all,
The Sacred Birds that saved the Capitol!
And lo! thro' yonder arch those oxen twain;
On slowly swaying that grape-loaded wain.
Right goodly creatures, beautiful to view!
Dark-hoofed—dark-maned—the rest of creamy hue;
With large soft eyes. All soft as Here's were,
('Tis Homer's simile, so we may dare)—
When their pride slept, and love alone was there.
Now, thro' the spacious court behold they go;
Now, pause beside the pillared portico.
With foliage drest, and that rich ruby freight,
Nay—draw they not, in sacrificial state,
A Bacchic offering to some temple's gate?
Mark the broad wheels—but two! That yoking bar,
Just as of old! No wain—but ancient car!
And they, above the piled up grapes who ride,
Their naked limbs with purpling vintage dyed,
The Fauns! And here, ere long, the rest shall be:
Look with poetic eyes and thou shalt see
Bacchante lithe; and jesting Satyr near;
With broad Silenus, staggering in the rear,
Tho' doubly propped; while gay goat-footed Pan
'Mid pipe and cymbal triumphs in the van.
Then that old Crone, with lifted tambourine,
Which still she smites; and some strange rhythm between,
Or, rather, mixed; while to the double sound
A dark-tress'd girl is dancing round and round,
That Crone, with hair unkempt, yet scarce uncouth,
(So well it suits) and that fore-thrusting tooth,
Keen—almost prescient—tooth of prophetess;
(A flitting fancy, which I may not press)
That Crone shall be our Sibyl! And that Girl,
Still hurried round and round in dizzier whirl;
With her wild eye almost to frenzy fired,
(Such look in Delphi had been held inspired)
And flashing locks, and every flashing limb,
She shall be Priestess! and that Song—the Hymn!
And wherefore, 'No?' Why may not this be chaunt
From Pythian tripod or Dodona's haunt?
For, as some stream, by ancient fragments hid,
From earthquake—flung; or mighty hill—down slid;
(That cumber, many a league, the valleys round
With huge grey rock or grass-grown earthy mound
Still holds its silent way 'neath all that hides,
Then at some far-off point once more outglides,
Another stream; another, yet the same;
E'en those, who quaff, may guess not whence it came;
No otherwise this mystic rhythm may flow,
Far winding on, from ages long ago;
Some Grecian chaunt, its secret course unknown,
And heard, at last, in region not its own.
Old customs die not, but sprout forth again;
The names distorted, while the things remain.
Fane, 'Church' baptized, sees new-named votaries vow,
And old Chief Augur is Prime Pontiff, now.
E'en Jove himself, Great Jove Capitoline,
Rules in strange semblance o'er a later shrine.
His twice-fused bronze transformed, by pious feint,
From Pagan Deity to Christian Saint.
At this you smile; and who would smile refuse?
But when the smile is o'er, 'twere well to muse.
Olympian Zeus, upon his golden throne;
Calm Pallas, glorious in her Parthenon;
Or rudest Sibyl, from her rocky cave,
Mid spiky aloes, issued forth to rave;
Or curling smokes, o'er Judah wont to rise
From bull or goat, in barbarous sacrifice;
These, for rank falsehoods, while the most eschew,
In stern contempt for Gentile and for Jew;
These, for imperfect truths, let us accept;
Instalments of the universal debt;
Acknowledgment, we know, far off and dim;
Yet, not the less, acknowledgment of Him,
'In every age, in every clime adored;
(So sang the bard,) Jehovah—Jove—or Lord.'
This preachment o'er, (which yet you mildly bear,
Of preachments all-impatient as you are),
Yon church, whence now intones the holy mass,
If so you please, we'll enter as we pass.
For churches here (with reverence be it said)
Are not too holy held for week-day tread.
But each, at will and unrebuked for wrong,
May come and muse their column'd aisles along:
And some high influence win, or grave delight
From picture, incense, or the chaunted rite;
Or find fit hour, as every passing day
Its joy or sorrow brings—to praise or pray.
But now with festal silks the shafts are bound,
And glittering fringes edge the arches round.
Of granites red, or cippolino grey,
Or carvings quaint, small sight for us—to-day.
We quarrel not. There are, we know, who hate,
Or half unchristian deem such pious fête.
Yet silvered Saints, and Virgin fancy-drest
For peasant-worshipper may be the best.
Rare entrance his, or none, thro' palace gate;
Be this his palace hall—his room of state.
Or let him bring his humble sorrows here,
Secure, at least, of one Great Listener's ear.
These types, so falsified, from earliest youth
Have been to him the very types of truth;
And his own toil hath helped the monthly dole
That gilds the shrine, and bids the organ roll.
Worships—like tastes—have each their power and tone;
Church ne'er was meant for Dilletant' alone.
And Christians, such as would all rites confine
To their own forms, are Christians none of mine.
Then spare him, Critic! as he kneels in this
His ill-drest fane, and loves for God's—and his.
'Of all the ills unhappy mortals know,
A life of wandering is the greatest woe.'
So thought Ulysses; but we think not so.
And blest it is, with pilgrim-staff in hand,
At our own will to roam each ancient land,
(Of which in school-boy volume first we read,
Yet never dared to hope our feet should tread)
And test with manhood's sense the dreams of youth,
Nor lose the vision, and yet win the truth.
If nature-led; to track with pleasant pains
Their mountain-wilds and cultivated plains.
If student; in some shy monastic crypt,
To try old text by new found manuscript.
If vowed to art; its each attempt explore,
From primal Ægypt, or the Xanthian shore,
To where in Greece it triumphed; deified
And deifying; then like mortal died.
In this bright land again to spring to life,
And strive again; scarce conquered in the strife.
But he who to the land, that sent him forth,
Brings back but this, brings product little worth.
Huge virtuoso—true! But driveller blind
Beside the larger soul—the deeper mind—
Which, learning man, hath learnt to love mankind.
Our hostel hold us now; not undistrest
By pleasant toil; for pleasures must have rest.
Here, sit—or sleep—or scrawl the pane—your fill;
Or rhyme—like me, (against Minerva's will!)
Who for sublimer flight nor bold nor strong,
May just achieve to journalize in song.
Yet for brief space. For now, it seems, we dine:
Lo! here, wild boar—and, here, Falernian wine;
With figs—ripe grapes—and rarest wheaten bread.
And who may tell but here the board was spread
For genial Flaccus and for Maro—thus—
Two thousand years ago, as now for us?
Just fancy! when they sat, as here we sit,
The frolic—and the wisdom—and the wit.
And here came he, the blood of ancient kings,
To find the joyance equal converse brings.
With them gay chatting, as the whim might be,
Of one's arch Phillis, one's sweet Lalage.
Or last year's visit to Bandusia's fount;
Or journey planned to yon Soractes' mount.
Or laughing back, with still-recurring glee,
Those sparkling days from Rome to Brindisi.
Here too the Cæsar might consort with them;—
His Purple laid aside and Diadem—
Well-pleased, amid their talk and easy cheer,
To glimpse his own great Rome—yet feel it not too near.
What glimpse (had glimpse been given) of years to come!
The conquering Goth; and that twice pillaged Rome.
Gone! eagles—banners—lances—lictors' rods;
The temples crumbling o'er their crumbled Gods.
All steadfast as they seemed, his ancient stock
Uprooted from their Capitolian rock.
The far-off realms, they swayed but with the sword,
Crouched at a swordless pontiff's slightest word.
Their mighty palace (of each glory reft,
Nor marble frieze, nor porphyry pillar left;
Nor floor, as once, with rich mosaic spread;
Nor hues cerulean arching overhead)
Roofless and void; and only, now, renowned
As larger ruin 'mid the ruins round.
The baths with rubbish choked; the fountains dry;
The green acanthus, as in mockery,
(And wild, as when by chance in wicker sown,
It gave, of old, its graceful hint to stone)
Wandering, at will, amid those very halls,
Where once 'twas carved for golden capitals.
Some lingering terrace but a loftier spot,
Whence to discern that his own Rome was not.
Thee, Flaccus! the self-promised not to die,
A kindlier star hath sped thy prophecy.
Or song itself fulfils its own desire;
Realms fade away, and dynasties expire;
Yet on from age to age sounds thine—with Maro's lyre.
But here, by rightful and peculiar lot,
Ye hover most, the Genii of the spot.
Of memory—vision—feeling—thought—a part;
Heard from each lip, or borne in every heart.
Brave bliss! What braver may to bard belong?
Save its own joy from self-requiting song.
Diverse the strains. Yet would we figure how
Together oft ye trod this favorite brow.
Not now in jocund converse, as of late,
But each his inner theme to meditate.
Thou, it might be, some polished lyric verse;
Now, fondly dallying; now, brightly terse.
Or precept, each with its own wisdom rife,
That models—here—a poem; there—a life.
Or else wouldst hie thee to the busy street,
To sketch some silly pride or grave conceit.
Then round to us the playful picture turn,
And bid us in that glass ourselves re-learn.
Meanwhile (so dream we on) the Mantuan Bard
To yon tall peak hath paced the silent sward.
Thenceforth to scan, in prospect calm and free,
The various plain, from hill to circling sea.
Pale region, now; with culture ill be-sped;
Then, one wide Georgic, bright beneath him spread.
Or, not unprompted by that far sea-line,
Would ponder o'er th' Eneian tale divine;
Till clear before him, and in perfect plan,
The Heroic Vision stood — 'Arms and the Man.'
Once more I move you (our third flask is done,
And lo! the shadows lengthen in the sun)
To view yon time-hued fane, at this soft hour,
When eye and spirit best may feel its power.
Laud we the Gods! No connoisseur is near,
With his clipp'd talk our frank delight to sear.
Who, while a thousand admirations crave,
Still harps and harps on arch and architrave;
And, vowed to his five orders, fain would school
Our kindling spirits with his three-foot rule.
Scarce more, if we might choose our time and place,
Here would we wish that nobler critic race,
Esthetical; who stand on tiptoe still,
And see far less with eyesight than with will.
Would-be discoverers, on vague voyage bent;
Interpreters 'of meanings never meant;'
Of the true creed, but whose ecstatic faith
O'erpasseth ever what the Gospel saith;
These, while the smaller critics tease or vex,
With their dim dreams disturb us—or perplex;
Or, if such comment sound not civil quite,
Daze out our clearness with their too much light.
Digressive thus, ere passing thoughts be gone,
I crave your leave, and idly ramble on,
(You still indulging) till I bring you near
Our famous temple—and behold it!—here.
Amid these varying tales of ruin old,—
Some, scantly gathered up; some, falsely told—
Sibyl's or Vesta's we may hardly tell:
But he, who first devised, devised it well,
Here, where it stands, with circling columns bound,
And placed—how calm! above the gulf profound,
To tame these rugged rocks—this torrent's stress—
With power of Beauty and of Gentleness.
So might we feign, some fair high-lineaged queen
Rules o'er a raging crowd with look serene.
So too, when some great Master hath designed
To paint in human form th' Eternal Mind;
And humbly dares essay that lofty brow,
Which holds the Past—the Future—and the Now;
Awhile we pause before his art severe;
Then, reverent bend; yet less in love than fear.
But when, ere long, around those awful brows
In graceful curve his cherub-group he throws;
Each with its little arms—beneath—above—
Outstretch'd to clasp, and childhood's look of love;
Behold! those awful brows no longer lower,
But Sense of Love hath soothed the Sense of Power.
So—Pilgrim-Friend! our pleasant day is sped:
'To-morrow, to fresh woods;' to-night, to bed.
Yet from these heights throw one more glance abroad,
And some few moments dream with dreamy Claude.
Beneath—are field and stream and lake and wood,
And site, where ancient city stands—or stood.
Around—the hills. That—here—in bay recede,
As if for nestling culture taking heed;
Or boldly—there—indent the level plain,
Like promontory pronged into the main.
As parts for other clime th' unwilling day,
See! how that far Campagna sinks away.
A sea of purpled land, now, seems to be;
Now, scarce distinguished from the purple sea.
E'en while we gaze, how vanish on the view
Each bright—each fair—each fading—faded—hue!
A pensive light, while aught of light remains;
Then—pensive veil for these Deserted Plains!