« ElőzőTovább »
CHILDE HAROLD'S PILGRIMAGE.
I stood in Venice, on the Bridge of Sighs ; (1)
A palace and a prison on each hand:
I saw from out the wave her structure rise
As from the stroke of the enchanter's wand :
A thousand years their cloudy wings expand
Around me, and a dying glory smiles
O'er the far times, when many a subject land
Look'd to the winged Lion's marble piles,
Where Venice sate in state, thron'd on her hundred Isles!
II. She looks a sea Cybele, fresh from occan, (2) Rising with her tiara of proud towers At airy distance, with majestic motion, A ruler of the waters and their powers : And such she was ;-her daughters had their dowers From spoils of nations, and the exhaustless East Pour'd in her lap all gems in sparkling showers.
In purple was she robed, and of her feast
Monarchs partook, and deem'd their dignity increas'd.
In Venice Tasso's echoes are no more, (3)
And silent rows the songless gondolier;
Her palaces are crumbling to the shore,
And music meets not always now the ear :
Those days are gone but Beauty still is here.
States fall, arts fade.but Nature doth not die.
Nor yet forget how Venice once was dear,
The pleasant place of all festivity,
The revel of the earth, the masque of Ilaly!
But unto us she hath a spell beyond
Her name in story, and her long array
Of mighty shadows. .whose dim forms despond
Above ihe dogeless city's vanish'd sway;
Ours is a trophy which will not decay
With the Rialto; Shylock and the Moor,
And Pierre, can not be swept or worn away-
The keystones of the arch ! though all were o'er,
For us repeopled were the solitary shore.
The beings of the mind are not of clay;
Essentially immortal, they create
And multiply in us a brighter ray
And more beloved existence: that which Fate
Prohibits to dull life, in this our state
Of mortal bondage, by these spirits supplied
First exiles, then replaces what we hate;
Watering the heart whose early flowers have died And with a fresher growth replenishing the void,
VI. Such is the refuge of our youth and age, The first from Hope, the last fronu Vacancy ; Apd this worn feeling peoples many a page, And, may be, that which grows beneath mine eye : Yet there are things whose strong reality
Outshines our fairy-land ; in shapes and hues · More beautiful than our fantastic sky,
And the strange constellations which the Muse O'er her wild universe is skilful to diffuse :
I saw or dreamed of such, but let them go
They came like truth, and disappeared like dreams;
And whatsoe'er they were are now but so.
I could replace them if I would, still teems
My mind with many a forin which aptly seems
Such as I sought for, and at moments fouud;
Let these too go for waking Reason deems
Such over-weeping phantasies unsound
And other voices speak, and other sighs surround.
I've taught me other tongues and in strange eyes
Have made me not a stranger; to the mind
Which is it self, no changes bring surprise ;
Nor is it harsh to make, nor hard to find
A country with-ay, or without mankind ;
Yet was I born where men are proud to be,
Not without cause; and should I leave behind
The inviolate island of the sage and free,
And seek me out a home by a remoter sea,,,
Perhaps I loved it well : and should I lay
My ashes in a soil which is not mine, .
My spirit shall resume it if we may
Uubodied choose a sanctuary. I twine
My hopes of being remembered in my line
With my land's language : lf too fond and far
These aspirations in their scope incline,
If my fame should be, as my fortunes are,
Of hasty growth and blight, and dull Oblivion bar
My name from out the temple where the dead
Are honoured by the nations let it be
And light the laurels on a loftier head!
And be the Spartan's epitaph on me
“ Sparta bath many a worthier son than he." (4)
Meantime I seek no sympathies, nor peed;
The thorns which I have reaped are of the tree
I planted, they have torn me, and I bleed; [seed. I should have known what fruit would spring from such a
The spouseless Adriatic mourns her lord,
And, annual marriage now no more renewed,
The Bucentaur lies rotting unrestored,
Neglected garment of her widowhood!
St. Mark yet sees bis Lion where he stood (5)
Stand but in mockery of his withered power,
Over the proud Place where an Emperor sued,
And monarchs gazed and envied in the hour
When Venice was a queen with an unequalled dower.
XII. The Suabian sued, and now the Austrian reigos-(6) An 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 froin the mountain's belt;
Oh for one hour of blind old Dandolo!(7)
Th' octogenarian chief, Byzantium's conquering foe,
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 ? (8)
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 submissiun wrings an ipfamous repose,
In youth she was all glory,-a new Tyre,
Her very by-word sprung from Victory,
The “ Planter of the Lion,” which through Fire
Arid blood she bore o'er subject eurth 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 po time nor tyranny can blight.
Statues of glassmall shiver'd the long file
Of her dead Doges are declin'd to dust;
But where they dwelt, the vast and sumptuous pile
Bespeaks the pageant of their splendid trust;
Their sceptre broken, and their sword ip rust,
Have yielded to the stranger : empty halls,
Thin streets, and foreign aspects, such as must
Too oft remind her who and what enthrals, (9) Haye flung a desolate cloud o'er Venice' lovely walle.
When Athens' armies fell at Syracuse,
And fettered 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
Ofthe 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.
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.
I lov'd 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 sojouri, and of wealth the mart;
And Otway, Radcliffe, Schiller, Shakespeare'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,
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 Vencie ! have their colours caught :
There are some feelings Time can not benumb,
Nor Torture shake, or minewould now be cold and dumb.