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Like to a harpstring stricken by the wind, The sound of her lament shall, rising o'er The seraph voices, touch the Almighty Mind. Meantime I, humblest of thy sons, and of Earth's dust by immortality refined

To sense and suffering, though the vain may scoff,
And tyrants threat, and meeker victims bow
Before the storm because its breath is rough,
To thee, my country! whom before, as now,
I loved and love, devote the mournful lyre
And melancholy gift high powers allow
To read the future; and if now my fire

Is not as once it shone o'er thee, forgive!
I but foretell thy fortunes-then expire;
Think not that I would look on them and live.
A spirit forces me to see and speak,

And for my guerdon grants not to survive;
My heart shall be pour'd over thee and break:
Yet for a moment, ere I must resume

Thy sable web of sorrow, let me take
Over the gleams that flash athwart thy gloom

A softer glimpse; some stars shine through thy night,
And many meteors, and above thy tomb

Leans sculptured Beauty, which Death cannot blight;
And from thine ashes boundless spirits rise
To give thee honour, and the earth delight;
Thy soil shall still be pregnant with the wise,

The gay, the learn'd, the generous, and the brave,
Native to thee as summer to thy skies,

Conquerors on foreign shores, and the far wave, (7)
Discoverers of new worlds, which take their name; (8)

For thee alone they have no arm to save, And all thy recompense is in their fame,

A noble one to them, but not to thee

Shall they be glorious, and thou still the same? Oh! more than these illustrious far shall be

The being and even yet he may be bornThe mortal saviour who shall set thee free, And see thy diadem, so changed and worn

By fresh barbarians, on thy brow replaced; And the sweet sun replenishing thy morn, Thy moral morn, too long with clouds defaced And noxious vapours from Avernus risen, Such as all they must breathe who are debased By servitude, and have the mind in prison. Yet through this centuried eclipse of woe Some voices shall be heard, and earth shall listen; Poets shall follow in the path I show,

And make it broader; the same brilliant sky
Which cheers the birds to song shall bid them glow,
And raise their notes as natural and high;

Tuneful shall be their numbers; they shall sing
Many of love, and some of liberty,

But few shall soar upon that eagle's wing,

And look in the sun's face with eagle's gaze
All free and fearless as the feather'd king,
But fly more near the earth; how many a phrase
Sublime shall lavish'd be on some small prince
In all the prodigality of praise!

And language, eloquently false, evince

The harlotry of genius, which, like beauty,

Too oft forgets its own self-reverence,

And looks on prostitution as a duty.

(9) He who once enters in a tyrant's hall

As guest is slave, his thoughts become a booty,
And the first day which sees the chain enthral
A captive, sees his half of manhood gone-(10)
The soul's emasculation saddens all

His spirit; thus the Bard too near the throne
Quails from his inspiration, bound to please,—
How servile is the task to please alone!
To smooth the verse to suit his sovereign's ease
And royal leisure, nor too much prolong
Aught save his eulogy, and find, and seize,
Or force, or forge fit argument of song!

Thus trammell'd, thus condemn'd to Flattery's trebles,
He toils through all, still trembling to be wrong:
For fear some noble thoughts, like heavenly rebels,
Should rise up in high treason to his brain,

He sings, as the Athenian spoke, with pebbles In's mouth, lest truth should stammer through his strain. But out of the long file of sonneteers

There shall be some who will not sing in vain,

And he, their prince, shall rank among my peers, (11)
And love shall be his torment; but his grief

Shall make an immortality of tears,

And Italy shall hail him as the Chief

Of Poet-lovers, and his higher song

Of Freedom wreathe him with as green a leaf.

But in a farther age shall rise along

The banks of Po two greater still than he;

The world which smiled on him shall do them wrong

Till they are ashes, and repose with me.

The first will make an epoch with his lyre,

And fill the earth with feats of chivalry:

His fancy like a rainbow, and his fire,

Like that of heaven, immortal, and his thought Borne onward with a wing that cannot tire: Pleasure shall, like a butterfly new caught, Flutter her lovely pinions o'er his theme, And Art itself seem into Nature wrought By the transparency of his bright dream. The second, of a tenderer, sadder mood, Shall pour his soul out o'er Jerusalem; He, too, shall sing of arms, and christian blood Shed where Christ bled for man; and his high harp

Shall, by the willow over Jordan's flood,

Revive a song of Sion, and the sharp

Conflict, and final triumph of the brave
And pious, and the strife of hell to warp
Their hearts from their great purpose, until wave
The red-cross banners where the first red Cross
Was crimson'd from his veins who died to save,
Shall be his sacred argument; the loss

Of years, of favour, freedom, even of fame
Contested for a time, while the smooth gloss
Of courts would slide o'er his forgotten name,
And call captivity a kindness, meant
To shield him from insanity or shame,
Such shall be his meet guerdon! who was sent
To be Christ's Laureate they reward him well!
Florence dooms me but death or banishment,
Ferrara him a pittance and a cell,

Harder to bear and less deserved, for I

Had stung the factions which I strove to quell ; But this meek man, who with a lover's eye

Will look on earth and heaven, and who will deign

To embalm with his celestial flattery

As poor a thing as e'er was spawn'd to reign,
What will he do to merit such a doom?
Perhaps he 'll love,—and is not love in vain
Torture enough without a living tomb?
Yet it will be so he and his compeer,
The Bard of Chivalry, will both consume
In penury and pain too many a year,

And, dying in despondency, bequeath

To the kind world, which scarce will yield a tear, A heritage enriching all who breathe

With the wealth of a genuine poet's soul, And to their country a redoubled wreath, Unmatch'd by time; not Hellas can unroll

Through her olympiads two such names, though one Of hers be mighty;—and is this the whole

Of such men's destiny beneath the sun?

Must all the finer thoughts, the thrilling sense, The electric blood with which their arteries run, Their body's self turn'd soul with the intense Feeling of that which is, and fancy of

That which should be, to such a recompense Conduct? shall their bright plumage on the rough Storm be still scatter'd? Yes, and it must be, For, form'd of far too penetrable stuff,

These birds of Paradise but long to flee

Back to their native mansion, soon they find
Earth's mist with their pure pinions not agree,
And die or are degraded, for the mind
Succumbs to long infection, and despair,
And vulture passions flying close behind,

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