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Though to the last, in verge of our decay,
For all are meteors with a different name,
CXXV Few-none-find what they love or could have loved, Though accident, blind contact, and the strong Necessity of loving, have removed Antipathies—but to recur, ere long, Envenomed with irrevocable wrong ; And Circumstance, that unspiritual god And miscreator, makes and helps along
Our coming evils with a crutch-like rod, Whose touch turns Hope to dust, -the dust we all havo trod.
CXXVI Our life is a false nature : 'tis not in 1 The harmony of things,-this hard decree, This uneradicable taint of sin, This boundless upas,” this all-blasting tree, Whose root is earth, whose leaves and branches be The skies which rain their plagues on men like dewDisease, death, bondage-all the woes we see, And worse, the woes we see not-which throb through The immedicable soul, with heart-aches ever new.
Yet let us ponder boldly—'tis a base
1 'T'is not in.] See the Introduction on the versification. This ending is found in Shakspeare's latest works.
? Upas.] A poisonous tree, native to Java.
3 Cabined, cribbed, confined.] A quotation from Macbeth,' Again quoted .D. J.' iv. 75.
The Suabian 1 sued, and now the Austrian 2 reigns-
Oh for one hour of blind old Dandolo ! 4
Before St. Mark still glow his steeds of brass,
Even in destruction’s depth, her foreign foes,
In youth she was all glory,-a new Tyre ;?
· The Suabian.] Though elected Emperor of Austria, Frederick Barbarossa was Duke of Suabia.
2 The Austrian.] Venice was given up to Austria in 1814, and she was at this time still trampled on. She was, however, freed from the Austrian yoke by Napoleon III.
3 Lauviine.] German lawine, 'avalanche.'
4 Dandolo.] From A.D. 1110 to 1205. The Eastern Emperor Manuel Comnenus put out his eyes in 1173. Taking part in the fourth Crusade in 1202, he diverted his forces and took Constantinople, i.e. Byzantium.
5 His steeds of brass.] These horses were removed by Napoleon I., but subsequently restored.
6 Doria.] Peter Doria, the Genoese, who made himself master or Chiozza, and proudly rejected the terms of the Venetians, A.D. 1380.
? A new Tyre.] The Phænician town on the coast of Palestine. 8 The lion on the flag of St. Mark-Pianta-leone, the planter of
Though making many slaves, herself still free,
Immortal waves that saw Lepanto’s 3 fight!
Statues of glass—all shivered—the long file
Too oft remind her who and what enthrals,
When Athens' armies fell at Syracuse,
Starts from its belt—he rends his captive's chains, And bids him thank the bard for freedom and his strains.
Were all thy proud historic deeds forgot, the lion; hence pantaloon,' in the sense of a character on the stage. The French pantalon (a garment) is a modern word.
1 Ottomite.] Follower of Othman, or Osman, i.e. the Ottoman, a Turk.
2 Candia.] The island of Crete, with its Mount Ida. See Virg. Æn. iii. 180, Agnovit prolem ambiguam.'
Lepanto.] Alluding to the fleet of Venice which fought the battle.
4 Thin streets.] In the sense of empty, as opposed to frequens or creber. Note modern use: a thin house (an empty theatre):
5 Syracuse.] After the disastrous termination of the Athenian expedition to Syracuse, A.D. 413, the Athenian captives were said to have gained their freedom by citing some of the poems of les, the Attic muse.
And bred in darkness, lest the truth should shine
Too brightly on the unprepared mind, The beam pours in, for time and skill will couch the
Arches on arches ! as it were that Rome,
all her triumphs in one dome,
Of contemplation ; and the azure gloom
Hues which have words, and speak to ye of heaven,
For which the palace of the present hour
3 Oh Time! the beautifier of the dead, Adorner of the ruin, comforter And only healer when the heart hath bled ; Time! the corrector where our judgments err, The test of truth, love-sole philosopher, For all beside are sophists—from thy thrift, Which never loses though it doth deferTime, the avenger ? unto thee I lift My hands, and eyes, and heart, and crave of thee a gift:
Couch the blind.] Couch (from collocare, to depress) the tilm that forms over the eye in cataract.
2 Coliseum.] The great Flavian Amphitheatre, commenced by Vespasian A.D. 77, and completed by his son Titus.
3 Time—the test of truth-of love; sole philosopher, for all besides are sophists. Thou hast for me a store (thrift) of restitution wbich shall certainly be mine, though I wait long for it.
Amidst this wreck, where thou hast made a shrine
Which shall not whelm me, let me not have worn
And thou, who never yet of human wrong
Thy former realm, I call thee from the dust! Dost thou not hear my heart ?—Awake! thou shalt, and must.
Which if I have not taken for the sake
And if my voice break forth, 'tis not that now
1 Orestes. For the murder of his mother, Clytemnestra, wag pursued by the Eumenides or Furies. (See the plays of Æschylus.) His inother's fate was deserved, had it been inflicted upon hier by any other hand, for she had murdered her husband Agamemnon.