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WRITTEN ON A BLANK LEAF OF “THE PLEASURES OF

MEMORY."

ABSENT or present, still to thee,
My friend, what magic spells belong!
As all can tell, who share, like me,

In turn thy converse, and thy song.
But when the dreaded hour shall come

By Friendship ever deem'd too nigh,
And "MEMORY" o'er her Druid's tomb
Shall weep that aught of thee can die,
How fondly will she then repay

Thy homage offer'd at her shrine,
And blend, while ages roll away,
Her name immortally with thine!

SONNET.

April 19, 1812.

ROUSSEAU Voltaire our Gibbon- and de Staël -
(1) Leman! these names are worthy of thy shore,
Thy shore of names like these! wert thou no more,
Their memory thy remembrance would recall;
To them thy banks were lovely as to all,

But they have made them lovelier, for the lore
Of mighty minds doth hallow in the core
Of human hearts the ruin of a wall

Where dwelt the wise and wond'rous; but by thee
How much more, Lake of Beauty! do we feel,
In sweetly gliding o'er thy crystal sea,
The wild glow of that not ungentle zeal,
Which of the heirs of immortality

Is proud, and makes the breath of glory rea

(1) Geneva, Ferney, Coppet, Lausanne.

STANZAS TO

I.

THOUGH the day of my destiny 's over,
And the star of my fate hath declined,
Thy soft heart refused to discover

The faults which so many could find ;
Though thy soul with my grief was acquainted,
It shrunk not to share it with me,
And the love which my spirit hath painted
It never hath found but in thee.

II.

Then when nature around me is smiling,
The last smile which answers to mine,
I do not believe it beguiling,

Because it reminds me of thine;

And when winds are at war with the ocean,
As the breasts I believed in with me,

If their billows excite an emotion,

It is that they bear me from thee.

III.

Though the rock of my last hope is shiver'd,
And its fragments are sunk in the wave,
Though I feel that my soul is deliver'd
To pain
it shall not be its slave.
There is many a pang to pursue me:

They may crush, but they shall not contemn
They may torture, but shall not subdue me
'T is of thee that I think—not of them.

VOL. IV.-L

IV.

Though human, thou didst not deceive me,
Though woman, thou didst not forsake,
Though loved, thou forborest to grieve me,

Though slander'd, thou never couldst shake,
Though trusted, thou didst not disclaim me,

Though parted, it was not to fly,
Though watchful, 't was not to defame me,
Nor, mute, that the world might belie.

* His sister, Mrs. Leigh.

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V.

Yet I blame not the world, nor despise it,
Nor the war of the many with one
If my soul was not fitted to prize it,

'T was folly not sooner to shun : And if dearly that error hath cost me,

And more than I once could foresee, I have found that, whatever it lost me, It could not deprive me of thee.

VI.

From the wreck of the past, which hath perish'd,
Thus much I at least may recall,

It hath taught me that what I most cherish'd
Deserved to be dearest of all:

In the desert a fountain is springing,

In the wide waste there still is a tree, And a bird in the solitude singing, Which speaks to my spirit of thee.

DARKNESS.

I HAD a dream, which was not all a dream.
The bright sun was extinguish'd, and the stars
Did wander darkling in the eternal space,
Rayless, and pathless, and the icy earth
Swung blind and blackening in the moonless air;
Morn came, and went and came, and brought no day,
And men forgot their passions in the dread

Of this their desolation; and all hearts
Were chill'd into a selfish prayer for light:
And they did live by watchfires—and the thrones,
The palaces of crowned kings - the huts,
The habitations of all things which dwell,
Were burnt for beacons ; cities were consumed,
And men were gather'd round their blazing homes
To look once more into each other's face;
Happy were those who dwelt within the eye
Of the volcanos, and their mountain-torch :
A fearful hope was all the world contain'd;
Forests were set on fire but hour by hour
They fell and faded — and the crackling trunks
Extinguish'd with a crash

- and all was black.

July 24, 1816

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The brows of men by the despairing light
Wore an unearthly aspect, as by fits
The flashes fell upon them; some lay down
And hid their eyes and wept; and some did rest
Their chins upon their clenched hands, and smiled;
And others hurried to and fro, and fed

Their funeral piles with fuel, and look'd up
With mad disquietude on the dull sky,

The pall of a past world; and then again
With curses cast them down upon the dust,

And gnash'd their teeth and howl'd: the wild birds shriek'd,
And, terrified, did flutter on the ground,
And flap their useless wings; the wildest brutes
Came tame and tremulous; and vipers crawl'd
And twined themselves among the multitude,
Hissing, but stingless - - they were slain for food:
And War, which for a moment was no more,
Did glut himself again; a meal was bought
With blood, and each sate sullenly apart
Gorging himself in gloom : no love was left;
All earth was but one thought—and that was death,
Immediate and inglorious; and the pang
Of famine fed upon all entrails
Died, and their bones were tombless as their flesh;
The meagre by the meagre were devour'd,
Even dogs assail'd their masters, all save one,
And he was faithful to a corse, and kept
The birds and beasts and famish'd men at bay,
Till hunger clung them, or the dropping dead
Lured their lank jaws; himself sought out no food,
But with a piteous and perpetual moan,

men

And a quick desolate cry, licking the hand
Which answer'd not with a caress he died.
The crowd was famish'd by degrees; but two
Of an enormous city did survive,

And they were enemies; they met beside
The dying embers of an altar-place

Where had been heap'd a mass of holy things
For an unholy usage; they raked up,

And shivering scraped with their cold skeleton hands
The feeble ashes, and their feeble breath

-

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Blew for a little life, and made a flame

Which was a mockery; then they lifted up
Their
eyes as it
grew lighter, and beheld
Each other's aspects
saw, and shriek'd, and died
Even of their mutual hideousness they died,

Unknowing who he was upon whose brow
Famine had written Fiend. The world was void,
The populous and the powerful was a lump,
Seasonless, herbless, treeless, manless, lifeless
A lump of death —a chaos of hard clay.
The rivers, lakes, and ocean all stood still,
And nothing stirr'd within their silent depths;
Ships sailorless lay rotting on the sea,
And their masts fell down piecemeal; as they dropp'd
They slept on the abyss without a surge

The waves were dead; the tides were in their grave,
The Moon, their mistress, had expired before;
The winds were wither'd in the stagnant air,
And the clouds perish'd; Darkness had no need
Of aid from them- She was the universe.

Diodati, July, 1816.

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CHURCHILL'S GRAVE.

A FACT LITERALLY RENDERED.

I STOOD beside the grave of him who blazed
The comet of a season, and I saw
The humblest of all sepulchres, and gazed
With not the less of sorrow and of awe
On that neglected turf and quiet stone,
With name no clearer than the names unknown,
Which lay unread around it; and I ask'd

The Gardener of that ground, why it might be
That for this plant strangers his memory task'd
Through the thick deaths of half a century;
And thus he answer'd - 66
Well, I do not know
Why frequent travellers turn to pilgrims so;
He died before my day of Sextonship,

And I had not the digging of this grave."
And is this all? I thought, and do we rip
The veil of Immortality? and crave
I know not what of honour and of light
Through unborn ages, to endure this blight?
So soon and so successless? As I said,
The Architect of all on which we tread,

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