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To an old Oak.
The hour we met; and, when Aurora rose,
Rising, we climbed the rugged Apennine.
Well I remember how the golden sun
Filled, with its beams, the unfathomable gulphs,
As on we travelled, and along the ridge Once did the eagle scream above,
Mid groves of cork and cistus and wild fig, And the wolf howl beneath!
His motley household came. Not last nor least,
Battista, who upon the moonlight-sea There once the steel-clad knight reclined, Of Venice, had so ably, zealously
His sable plumage tempest-toss'd: Served, and, at parting, flung his oar away,
The gondolier's, in a patrician house,
Thou, tho' declining in thy beauty and strength, Then culture came, and days serene,
Faithful Moretto, to the latest hour And village-sports, and garlands gay:
Guarding his chamber-door, and now along Full many a pathway cross'd the green,
The silent, sullen strand of Missolunghi And maids and shepherd-youths were seen
Howling in grief. To celebrate the May!
He had just left that place
Of old renown, once in the Adrian sea, Father of many a forest deep,
Ravenna; where, from Dante's sacred tomb Whence many a navy thunder fraught!
He had so oft, as many a verse declares, Erst in thy acorn-cells asleep,
Drawn inspiration; where at twilight-time Soon destined o'er the world to sweep, Thro' the pine-forest wandering with loose rein, Opening new spheres of thought!
Wandering and lost, he had so oft beheld
(What is not visible to a poet's eye?) Wont in the night of woods to dwell,
The spectre-knight, the hell-hounds and their The holy Druid saw thee rise;
prey, And, planting there the guardian-spell, The chase, the slaughter, and the festal mirth Sung forth, the dreadful pornp to swell Suddenly blasted. 'Twas a theme he loved, Of human sacrifice!
But others claimed their turn: and many a
tower, Thy singed top and branches bare
Shattered, uprooted from its native rock, Now struggle in the evening sky;
It's strength the pride of some heroic age, And the wan moon wheels round to glare
Appeared and vanished (many a sturdy steer On the long corse that shivers there
Yoked and unyoked) while as in happier days Of him who came to die!
He poured his spirit forth. The past forgot,
He is now at rest,
Gone like a star that thro' the firmament
Shot and was lost, in its eccentric course
Dazzling, perplexing. Yet thy heart, methinks,
Was generous, noble noble in its scorn
Of all things low or little; nothing there
Things long regretted, oft, as many know, Grey, nor did aught recall the youth that swam None more than I, thy gratitude would build From Sestos to Abydos. Yet his voice,
On slight foundations: and, if in thy life, Still it was sweet, still from his eye the thought Not happy, in thy death thou surely wert. Flashed lightning-like nor lingered on the way, Thy wish accomplished; dying in the land, Waiting for words. Far, far into the night Where thy young mind had caught ethereal fire, We sat, conversing no unwelcome hour, Dying in Greece and in a cause so glorious !
They in thy train ah little did they think, When round the Ark the birds of tempest As round we went, that they so soon should sit
Thou art gone;
War and the Great in war let others sing, And he who would assail thee in thy grave,
Havoc and spoil, and tears and triumphing; Oh, let him pause! For who among us all,
The morning-march that flashes to the sun, Tried as thou wert even from thine earliest
The feast of vultures when the day is done; years,
And the strange tale of many slain for one! When wandering, yet unspoilt, a highland
I sing a Man amidst his sufferings here, boy
Who watch'd and serv'd in humbleness and fear; Tried as thou wert, and with thy soul of flame,
Gentle to others, to himself severe
Still unsubdued by Danger's varying form,
He look'd elate! His beard, his mien sublime,
The sweet expression of that face,
I dare not turn to trace,
Say who first pass'd the portals of the West,
L a n don.
Laetitia Elizabeth Landon (auf ihren frühern Werken nur durch die Initialen L. E. L. bezeichnet), ward 1804 in London geboren, erhielt eine sorgfältige Erziehung und zeichnete sich schon früh durch ihre dichterischen Fähigkeiten aus und trat zuerst um 1822 mit Poesieen hervor. Im Jahre 1838 vermählte sie sich mit George Maclean, dem Gouverneur von Cape-Coast-Castle und folgte diesem nach Südafrica, ward aber wenige Monate nachher am 15. October 1838 eines Morgens todt, ein Fläschchen mit Blausäure in der erstarrten Hand, an der Thür ihres Zimmers gefunden. Die Ursache ihres gewaltsamen Endes ist noch immer ein Räthsel. Vgl. The Life and Correspondence of L. E. L., London 1839, 3 Bde in 8.
Ihre vorzüglichsten Schriften sind: The Improvisatrice, London 1825 u. ö.; the Troubadour, the golden Bracelet, the golden Violet, London 1825 — 1827; the Vow of the Peacock, London 1835, sämmtlich grössere romantisch - epische Gedichte, denen eine Reihe kleinerer angehängt ist. Ausserdem hat sie noch mehrere Bände Erzählungen und Romane, und viele kleinere prosaische Aufsätze und Dichtungen für Zeitschriften und Almanache verfasst.
Eine überaus reiche Phantasie, Geschmack, Eleganz der Sprache und Harmonie des Verses sind die Hauptzierden ihrer Leistungen, deren Reiz oft durch eine melancholische Stimmung, die fast in ihren sämmtlichen Schriften vorwaltet, auf eigenthümliche Weise erhöht wird: doch war sie zu schöpferisch um ihren Arbeiten Tiefe und die nothwendige Vollendung geben zu können, was sie vielleicht erlangt haben würde, wenn ihr das Schicksal ein längeres, ungetrübtes Leben gestattet hätte.
Is there not one
to share The harvest of the rose, on Syria's plains, Thy glorious royalty on high?
Is reaped for Venice; from the Indian vales I cannot choose but pity thee,
The sandal-wood is brought to burn in Venice; Thou lovely orphan of the sky.
The ambergris that floats on eastern seas,
And spice, and cinnamon, and pearls that lie I'd rather be the meanest flower
Deep in the gulf of Ormus, are for Venice; That grows, my mother earth, on thee, The Persian loom doth spread her silken floors; So there were others of my kin,
And the clear gems from far Golconda's mines To blossom, bloom, droop, die with me. Burn on the swanlike necks of her proud daugh
ters Earth, thou hast sorrow, grief, and death; For the fair wife of a Venetian noble But with these better could I bear,
Doth often bear upon her ivory arm
Drawn by the free and fearless; by the sail,
Morn on the Adriatic, bright and glad! Morn on the Adriatic, every wave
And yet we are not joyful; there is here Is turned to light, and mimics the blue sky, A stronger influence than sweet Nature's joy : As if the ocean were another heaven;
The scene hath its own sorrow, and the heart Column, and tower, and fretted pinnacle Ponders the lessons of mortality Are white with sunshine; and the few soft shades Too gravely to be warmed by that delight Do but relieve the eye.
Born of the sun, and air, and morning prime.
The morning-time For we forget the present as we stand, The summer time, how beautiful they are ! So much beneath the shadow of the past: A buoyant spirit fills the natural world,
And here the past is mighty. Memory And sheds its influence on humanity;
Lies heavy on the atmosphere around; Man draws his breath more lightly, and forgets There is the sea, but where now are the The weight of cares that made the night seem
That bore the will of Venice round the world? How beautiful the summer, and the morn, Where are the sails that brought home victory When opening over forest and green field, And wealth from other nations ? No glad prows Waking the singing birds, till every leaf Break up the waters into sparkling foam : Vibrates with music; and the flowers unfold, I only see some sluggish fishing-boats. Heavy and fragrant with their dewy sleep. There are the palaces, their marble fronts But here they only call to life and light
Are grey and worn; and the rich furniture The far wide waste of waters, and the walls Is stripped from the bare walls; or else the moth Of a proud city, - yet how beautiful!
Feeds on the velvet hangings. There they hang, Not the calm beauty of a woodland world, The many pictures of the beautiful, Fraught with sweet idleness and minstrel-dreams: The brave, the noble, who were once Venetians : But beauty which awakes the intellect
But hourly doth the damp destroy their colours, More than the feelings; that of power and And Titian's hues are faded as the face
From which he painted. With a downcast brow, Man's pover, man's mind for never city Drawing his dark robe round him, which no
raised A prouder or a fairer brow than Venice, Hides the rich silk or gems, walks the Venetian; The daughter and the mistress of the sea. Proud, with a melancholy pride which dwells Far spread the ocean, but it spread to Only upon the glories of the dead;
And humble, with a bitter consciousness Her galleys o'er its depths, for war or wealth; Of present degradation. And raised upon foundations, which have robbed These are the things that tame the pride of The waters of its birthright, stand her halls. Now enter in her palaces: a world
The spectral writings on the wall of time, Has paid its tribute to their luxury;
Warnings from the Invisible, to show