Page images
PDF
EPUB

As roves from gaudier tints the aching eye
Woos the pure green, and dwells delighted there,
So loves the soul the world has worn, to fly
Languid and weak the glitter and the glare,
And on the fresh tints of its verdant days
To turn and drink deep quiet in the gaze.
The visions of the Minstrel, which in vain
Had woo'd his noon-day-brightly rolld again
Like sun-lit waters o'er his mind, and gave
The waste the welcome freshness of the wave.

VI.

There, as a river in its hidden course,
Mighty and secret thro' his spirit flow'd
The inspirations none but God might see,
The cave their channel, and the rock their source,
But rolling on to Immortality.-
Old-blind-deserted--lone amid the crowd,-
No hopes--save those of heaven---upon the earth,
Amid the wrecks of Freedom only free,
Cold-rapt-estrang'd amid that courtly mirth
Where Pleasure lent the veil to Tyranny,
He stood-like some grey

Column far

away From life-and crumbling in its proud decay-There wildest flowerets bloom—and nightly there Wails with mysterious voice the wandering Air-Amid the stars--the dews--the eternal hills--And the far voices of the dashing rills--

Amid the haunted darkness of the night,
When earth and heaven are mingled in their might,
It stands begirt with each-and looks on high
Thro' Shade and Cloud to commune with the Sky.---

*

*

Beneath a church's chancel there were laid
A great Man's bones,--and when the crowd was gone,
An aged woman, in black robes arrayed,
Lingered and wept beside the holy stone.
None knew her name, or land; her voice was sweet,
With the strange music of a foreign tongue:--
Thrice on that spot her bending form they meet,
Thrice on that stone are freshest garlands hung.
On the fourth day she came not; and the wreath,
Look'd dim and withered from its odorous breath;
And if I err not wholly, on that day,
A soul that loved till death, had passed away !

THE END OF MILTON.

363

ON THE VANITY OF SMALL SUCCESSES.

Ergo hominum genus incassum frustràque laborat
Semper, et in curis consumit inanibus ævum.

LUCRET. Lib. 5. 1. 1429.

Sick, wearied, worn; the harsh Ixion wheel

Within the heart shall have a moment's rest; And thoughts---deep thoughts, I would but rarely feel,

Shall not be now represt.

Out on this curse of earth! we toil--we yearn,

We coil and shrivel the smooth heart with care ; We make each hour a'task--And our return ?--

GO---ask our tombs---'tis there!

O God, that from this small and wizard ring

The pent but all-impatient soul could strain! Lo! round the air-within the exulting wing-

Why this eternal chain ?

We see-we feel-we pant--and we aspire,

Ay; for one hour we dream we have arisen ; Earth fades below---we wake

behold the mire, And grating of our prison !

Oh! that our youth had dreamt to what an urn

Of dust our quick and high desires would shrink ! We stand upon the beach-and ask return,

For barks ordained to sink !

There's not one plank on which we freight an aim

Purer than aught by life's coarse natures sought, Which the harsh sea engulphs not :---can we blame

Those who adventure nought? But in a calm and chill philosophy

Suppress within them each more vague desire; For them no half-felt feelings pant and sigh;

No unfledg’d hopes expire !

Mother of Fate---primæval Night--thine old

And unvex'd oracles are round me still; The sybil Stars, and She who lost her cold

Name on the Carian Hill !

Say thou,--..for in thy weird and demon homes

Thou shroud'st the spectres of departed lore, Dread Egypt's mysteries, and the mouldering tomes,

From which the Samian bore

The treasure of his doctrine !---All that glow'd

Out from the heart of man in ages gone Like perish'd stars into thy black abode,

Without a dirge have wonne !

Say-boots our labour?---Were it not more wise

To drink Life's tide unwitting where it flows, Renounce the high-sould toil, and only prize

The Cnidian vine and rose ?

True, for some few on whom her lavish smile,

Fame--the false Lais of the doting sage-Bestows;-there may be somewhat to beguile

Youth's travail into Age!

The laurel lulls the aching brow it decks ;

And the loud pæäns of the gazing horde,
As speeds our bark among surrounding wrecks,

Bring no disdained reward.

But here, among the dense and struggling herd,

For me no proud success and glory wait;
The wronging judgment and the venomed word,

The Envy and the Hate

Envy and Hate !--for what ?--for boons so slight,

That I could gnaw my heart that mine they are, Did I not know that proud heart's baffled flight

Sought meeds how different far !

O Night !---my woo'd and won, and earliest friend,

Was it for this my soul I shaped and bowed, And from my dreams' Olympus did descend

To the self-yassal'd crowd?

« PreviousContinue »