« PředchozíPokračovat »
Still wilt thou dream on future joy and woe?
Regard and weigh yon dust before it flies:
That little urn saith more than thousand homilies.
Or burst the vanished hero's lofty mound:
Far on the solitary shore he sleeps:
He fell, and falling, nations mourned around;
But now not one of saddening thousands weeps,
Nor warlike worshipper his vigil keeps
Where demi-gods appeared, as records tell.
Remove yon skull from out the scattered heaps:
Is that a temple where a god may dwell?
Why, even the worm at last disdains her shattered cell.
Look on its broken arch, its ruined wall,
Its chambers desolate, and portals foul:
Yes, this was once ambition's airy hall,
The dome of thought, the palace of the soul:
Behold through each lack-lustre eyeless hole,
The gay recess of wisdom and of wit,
And passion's host, that never brooked control:
Can all saint, sage, or sophist ever writ,
People this lonely tower, this tenement refit?
Well didst thou speak, Athena's wisest son! “All that we know is, nothing can be known.” Why should we shrink from what we cannot shun! Each hath his pang, but feeble sufferers groan With brain-born dreams of evil all their own. Pursue what chance or fate proclaimeth best; Peace waits us on the shores of Acheron : There no forced banquet claims the sated guest, But silence spreads the couch of ever-welcome rest.
Yet if, as holiest men have deemed, there be
A land of souls beyond that sable shore,
To shame the doctrine of the Sadducee
And sophists, madly vain of dubious lore,
How sweet it were in concert to adore
With those who made our mortal labours light!
To hear each voice we feared to hear no more!
Behold each mighty shade revealed to sight,
The Bactrian, Samian sage, and all who taught the right!
EVENING ON LAKE LEMAN.
IT is the hush of night; and all between
Thy margin and the mountains, dusk, yet clear, Mellowed and mingling, yet distinctly seen
Save darkened Jura, whose capped heights appear
Precipitously steep; and drawing near,
There breathes a living fragrance from the shore,
Of flowers yet fresh with childhood: on the ear
Drops the light drip of the suspended oar,
Or chirps the grasshopper one good-night carol more;
He is an evening reveller, who makes
His life an infancy, and sings his fill!
At intervals, some bird from out the brakes
Starts into voice a moment—then is still.
There seems a floating whisper on the hill-
But that is fancy, for the star-light dews
All silently their tears of love instil,
Weeping themselves away, till they infuse
Deep into Nature's breast the spirit of her hues.
HE sky is changed!—and such a change! O night,
And storm, and darkness, ye are wondrous strong,
Yet lovely in your strength, as is the light
Of a dark eye in woman! Far along
From peak to peak, the rattling crags among,
Leaps the live thunder! not from one lone cloud,
But every mountain now hath found a tongue,
And Jura answers, through her misty shroud,
Back to the joyous Alps, who call to her aloud.
And this is in the night: most glorious night!
Thou wert not sent for slumber! let me be
A sharer in thy fierce and far delight-
A portion of the tempest and of thee!
How the lit lake shines, a phosphoric sea,
And the big rain comes dancing to the earth!
And now again 'tis black—and now the glee
Of the loud hill shakes with its mountain-mirth,
As if they did rejoice o'er a young earthquake's birth.
THE seal is set.-Now welcome, thou dread power! Nameless, yet thus omnipotent, which here Walk'st in the shadow of the midnight hour
With a deep awe, yet all distinct from fear;
Thy haunts are ever where the dead walls rear
Their ivy mantles, and the solemn scene
Derives from thee a sense so deep and clear, That we become a part of what has been, And grow unto the spot, all-seeing, but unseen.
And here the buzz of eager nations ran,
In murmured pity, or loud-roared applause,
As man was slaughtered by his fellow-man.
And wherefore slaughtered? wherefore, but because
Such were the bloody circus' genial laws,
And the imperial pleasure. Wherefore not?
What matters where we fall to fill the maws
Of worms-on battle-plains or listed spot?
Both are but theatres where the chief actors rot.
I see before me the Gladiator lie:
He leans upon his hand; his manly brow
Consents to death, but conquers agony,
And his drooped head sinks gradually low :
And through his side the last drops, ebbing slow
From the red gash, fall heavy, one by one,
Like the first of a thunder-shower; and now
The arena swims around him; he is gone,
Ere ceased the inhuman shout which hailed the wretch
He heard it, but he heeded not; his eyes.
Were with his heart, and that was far away:
He recked not of the life he lost nor prize,
But where his rude hut by the Danube lay;
There were his young barbarians all at play,
There was their Dacian mother-he, their sire,
Butchered to make a Roman holiday.
All this rushed with his blood. Shall he expire, And unavenged? Arise, ye Goths, and glut your ire!
UR life is twofold: sleep hath its own worla, A boundary between the things misnamed Death and existence; sleep hath its own world, And a wide realm of wild reality,
And dreams in their development have breath,
And tears, and tortures, and the touch of joy:
They leave a weight upon our waking thoughts,
They take a weight from off our waking toils,
They do divide our being; they become
A portion of ourselves as of our time,
And look like heralds of eternity;
They pass like spirits of the past, they speak
Like sibyls of the future; they have power—
The tyranny of pleasure and of pain;
They make us what we were not-what they will,
And shake us with the vision that's gone by,—
The dread of vanished shadows. Are they so?
Is not the past all shadow? What are they?
Creations of the mind? The mind can make
Substance, and people planets of its own
With beings brighter than have been, and give
A breath to forms which can outlive all flesh.
I would recall a vision which I dreamed
Perchance in sleep,-for in itself a thought,
A slumbering thought, is capable of years,
And curdles a long life into one hour.
I saw two beings in the hues of youth
Standing upon a hill, a gentle hill,
Green and of mild declivity,-the last