Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

XII. The Suabian sued, and now the Austrian reignsAn emperor tramples where an emperor knelt ; Kingdoms are shrunk to provinces, and chains Clank over sceptred cities; nations melt From power's high pinnacle, when they have felt The sunshine for a while, and downward go Like lauwine loosen'd from the mountain's belt;

Oh for one hour of blind old Dandolo ! The octogenarian chief, Byzantium's conquering foe.

XIII.

Before St. Mark still glow his steeds of brass,
Their gilded collars glittering in the sun;
But is not Doria's menace come to pass ?
Are they not bridled ? Venice, lost and won,
Her thirteen hundred years of freedom done,
Sinks, like a sea-weed, into whence she rose !
Better be whelm'd beneath the waves, and shun,

Even in destruction's depth, her foreign foes, From whom submission wrings an infamous repose.

. XIV. In youth she was all glory,-a new Tyre,Her very by-word sprung from victory, The “ Planter of the Lion,” which through fire And blood she bore o’er subject earth and sea; Though making many slaves, herself still free, And Europe's bulwark ’gainst the Ottomite; Witness Troy's rival, Candia! Vouch it, ye

Immortal waves that saw Lepanto’s fight! For ye are names no time nor tyranny can blight.

[graphic][ocr errors]

XV. Statues of glass—all shiver’d—the long file Of her dead Doges are declined to dust; But where they dwelt, the vast and sumptuous pile Bespeaks the pageant of their splendid trust ; Their sceptre broken, and their sword in rust, Have yielded to the stranger : empty halls, Thin streets, and foreign aspects, such as must

Too oft remind her who and what enthrals, Have flung a desolate cloud o'er Venice' lovely walls,

XVI.

When Athens' armies fell at Syracuse,
And fetter'd thousands bore the yoke of war,
Redemption rose up in the Attic Muse,
Her voice their only ransom from afar :
See! as they chant the tragic hymn, the car
Of the o'ermaster'd victor stops, the reins
Fall from his hands—his idle scimitar

Starts from its belt—he rends his captive's chains,
And bids him thank the bard for freedom and his strains.

XVII.
Thus, Venice, if no stronger claim were thine,
Were all thy proud historic deeds forgot,-
Thy choral memory of the Bard divine,
Thy love of Tasso, should have cut the knot
Which ties thee to thy tyrants; and thy lot
Is shameful to the nations,-most of all,
Albion! to thee: the Ocean queen should not

Abandon Ocean's children; in the fall
Of Venice think of thine, despite thy watery wall.

XVIII.
I loved her from my boyhood—she to me
Was as a fairy city of the heart,
Rising like water-columns from the sea,
Of joy the sojourn, and of wealth the mart;
And Otway, Radcliffe, Schiller, Shakspeare's art,
Had stamp'd her image in me, and even so,
Although I found her thus, we did not part,

Perchance even dearer in her day of woe
Than when she was a boast, a marvel, and a show.

XIX.
I can repeople with the past—and of
The present there is still for eye and thought,
And meditation chasten’d down, enough;
And more, it may be, than I hoped or sought;
And of the happiest moments which were wrought
Within the web of my existence, some
From thee, fair Venice! have their colours caught:

There are some feelings Time can not benumb,
Nor Torture shake, or mine would now be cold and dumb.

[ocr errors]

But from their nature will the tannen grow
Loftiest on loftiest and least shelter'd rocks,
Rooted in barrenness, where nought below
Of soil supports them 'gainst the alpine shocks
Of eddying storms; yet springs the trunk, and mocks
The howling tempest, till its height and frame
Are worthy of the mountains from whose blocks

Of bleak, gray granite, into life it came,
And grew a giant tree;—the mind may grow the same.

XXI.
Existence may be borne, and the deep root
Of life and sufferance make its firm abode
In bare and desolated bosoms : mute
The camel labours with the heaviest load,
And the wolf dies in silence, not bestow'd
In vain should such example be; if they,
Things of ignoble or of savage mood,

Endure and shrink not, we of nobler clay
Mav temper it to bear,-it is but for a day.

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]

XXII.
All suffering doth destroy, or is destroy'd,
Even by the sufferer; and, in each event
Ends :—Some, with hope replenish’d and rebuoy'd,
Return to whence they came—with like intent,
And weave their web again ; some, bow'd and bent,
Wax gray and ghastly, withering ere their time,
And perish with the reed on which they leant;

Some seek devotion, toil, war, good or crime,
According as their souls were form’d to sink or climb :

XXII.
But ever and anon of griefs subdued
There comes a token like a scorpion's sting,
Scarce seen, but with fresh bitterness imbued ;
And slight withal may be the things which bring
Back on the heart the weight which it would fling
Aside for ever: it may be a sound-
A tone of music,--summer's eve—or spring,

A flower—the wind—the ocean—which shall wound, Striking the electric chain wherewith we are darkly bound;

[ocr errors]

And how and why we know not, nor can trace
Home to its cloud this lightning of the mind,
But feel the shock renewid, nor can efface
The blight and blackening which it leaves behind,
Which out of things familiar, undesign’d,
When least we deem of such, calls up to view
The spectres whom no exorcism can bind,

The cold—the changed-perchance the dead—anew, The mourn'd, the loved, the lost—too many !—yet how few

« ElőzőTovább »