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Through tent, and cot, and proud saloon, This audible delight
Of nightingales that love the noon, Of larks that court the night,
We feel it all, the hopes and fears
These harmonies that all can share, When chronicled by one, Enclose us like the living air,
Unending, unbegun ;Poet! esteem thy noble part, Still listen, still record, Sacred historian of the heart, And moral nature's lord!
NAPLES AND VENICE. OVERLOOKING, overhearing,
Naples, and her subject bay Stands Camaldoli, the convent,
Shaded from the inclement ray. Thou, who to that lofty terrace
Lovest on summer eve to go, Tell me, poet! what thou seest,
What thou hearest, there below! Beauty, beauty, perfect beauty! Sea and city, hills and air, Rather blest imaginations
Than realities of fair.
Forms of grace alike contenting,
Casual glance and steadfast gaze, Tender lights of pearl and opal
Mingling with the diamond blaze. Sea as is but deepen'd ether:
White as snow-wreaths sunbeshone Lean the palaces and temples
Green and purple heights upon. Streets and paths mine eye is tracing,
All replete with clamorous throng, Where I see and where I see not
Waves of uproar roll along.
As the sense of bees unnumber'd, Burning through the walk of limes,As the thought of armies gathering
Round a chief in ancient times,So from Corso, Port, and Garden
Rises life's tumultuous strain, Not secure from wildest utterance
Rests the perfect-crystal main. Still the all-enclosing beauty
Keeps my spirit free from harm,Distance blends the veriest discords Into some melodious charm. -Overlooking, overhearing,
Venice and her sister isles, Stands the giant Campanile,
Massive mid a thousand piles.
Thou who to this open summit
What thou hearest, there below.
Seems the mighty weight to float:
As on land e'er city shall,Only moves that ocean-serpent, Tide-impell'd, the great canal. Rich arcades and statued pillars,
Gleaming banners, burnish'd domes,Ships approaching,-ships departing,Countless ships in harbour-homes. Yet so silent! scarce a murmur
Wing'd to reach this airy seat, Hardly from the close piazza
Rises sound of voice or feet.
That the work of life is here.
Where its myriad pulses beat.
Naples with her noisy speed? Which hath writ the goodlier tablet
For the past to hoard and show, Venice in her student stillness,
Naples in her living glow? Here are chronicles with virtues
Studded as the night with stars,— Records there of passions raging
Through a wilderness of wars: There a tumult of ambitions,
Power afloat on blood and tears,Here one simple reign of wisdom
Stretching thirteen hundred years: Self-subsisting, self-devoted,
There the moment's hero ruled,Here the state, each one subduing, Pride enchain'd and passion school'd: Here was art the nation's mistress, Art of colour, art of stone,There before the leman pleasure Bow'd the people's heart alone. Venice! vocal is thy silence,
Can our soul but rightly hear; Naples! dumb as death thy voices, Listen we however near.
I WANDER'D by the brook-side,
There was no burr of grasshopper,
I sat beside the elm-tree,
I watcht the long, long shade, And as it grew still longer, I did not feel afraid;
For I listen'd for a footfall,
I listen'd for a word,But the beating of my own heart Was all the sound I heard.
He came not, no, he came not,The night came on alone,The little stars sat one by one,
Each on a golden throne; The evening air past by my cheek,
The leaves above were stirr'd,But the beating of my own heart Was all the sound I heard. Fast silent tears were flowing,
When something stood behind,— A hand was on my shoulder,
I knew its touch was kind: It drew me nearer-nearer,
We did not speak one word, For the beating of our own hearts Was all the sound we heard.
SONG OF THOUGHTS.
LET the lays from poet-lips
Shadow forth the speech of heaven,Let melodious airs eclipse
All delight to senses given;
Ye that in the fields of love
Feel the breath and bloom of spring. While I sing, securely rove,
Rest in safety, while I sing.-
Back towards that holy ground,
From old friendships pass away!
Shine as in God's perfect day! Fix the faintest, fleetest smile,
E'er athwart your path has gleam'dTake the charm without the wile,
Be the beauty all it seem'd!
Mid the flowers you love the best,
Blush of eve or glow of noon,—
With the voices held most dear; Children cast on weary ways!
Rest in peace and pleasaunce here.
Be the future's glorious page
In my tones to youth reveal'd; Let the ruffled brow of age
With eternal calm be seal'd: High as heaven's ethereal cope,
Wide as light's rejoicing ray, Thoughts of memory! Thoughts of hope! Wander, wander, while ye may.
RICH AND POOR.
WHEN God built up the dome of blue,
A line between the rich and poor;
Or beauteous earth be scarr'd with flame, Or saving love be all in all,
That rule of life will rest the same.
We know not why, we know not how,
If such things are, they must be so.
One truth outshining bright and clear, That wealth is only hope and joy,
And poverty but pain and fear. Behold our children as they play!
Blest creatures, fresh from nature's hand; The peasant boy as great and gay
As the young heir to gold and land; Their various toys of equal worth,
Their little needs of equal care, And halls of marble, huts of earth,
All homes alike endear'd and fair.
BECAUSE, from all that round thee move, Planets of beauty, strength, and grace, I am elected to thy love,
And have my home in thy embrace, I wonder all men do not see
The crown that thou hast set on me. Because, when prostrate at thy feet,
Thou didst emparadise my pain,— Because thy heart on mine has beat,
Thy head within my hands has lain, I am transfigured, by that sign,
Into a being like to thine. The mirror from its glossy plain
Receiving still returns the light,
Augments the very solar might:
Gathers at first, and then obeys:
There seem'd to lie a weight upon her brain,
That ever prest her blue-vein'd eyelids down, But could not dim her lustrous eyes with pain, Nor seam her forehead with the faintest frown; She was as she were proud, So young, to be allow'd
To follow Him who wore the thorny crown. Nor was she sad, but over every mood,
To which her lightly-pliant mind gave birth, Gracefully changing, did a spirit brood,
Of quiet gayety and serenest mirth;
So beautifully low,
A stream whose music was no thing of earth.
Woman divine! ideal best-beloved,
Here was thy image realized to me; In sensible existence lived and moved The vision of my sacred phantasy; Madonna! Mary mine!
Her look, her smile, was thine,And gazing on that form, I worshipt thee.
EYES which can but ill define Shapes that rise about and near, Through the far horizon's line
Stretch a vision free and clear: Memories feeble to retrace
Yesterday's immediate flow, Find a dear familiar face
In each hour of long-ago.
Follow yon majestic train
Down the slopes of old renown, Knightly forms without disdain,
Sainted heads without a frown; Emperors of thought and hand
Congregate, a glorious show,
As the heart of childhood brings
Spirits, wandering to and fro,
In the peace of long-ago. Youthful hope's religious fire,
When it burns no longer, leaves Ashes of impure desire
On the altars it deceives; But the light that fills the past Sheds a still diviner glow, Ever farther it is cast
O'er the scenes of long-ago.
Many a growth of pain and care,
Cumbering all the present hour, Yields, when once transplanted there, Healthy fruit or pleasant flower; Thoughts that hardly flourish here, Feelings long have ceased to blow, Breathe a native atmosphere In the world of long-ago.
On that deep-retiring shore
Frequent pearls of beauty lie, Where the passion-waves of yore
Fiercely beat and mounted high: Sorrows that are sorrows still
Lose the bitter taste of woe; Nothing's altogether ill
In the griefs of long-ago.