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"Twas not for fiction chose Rousseau this spot,
Peopling it with affections ; but he found
It was the scene which passion must allot
To the mind's purified beings; 'twas the ground
Where early Love his Psyche's zone unbound,
And hallowed it with loveliness : 'tis lone,
And wonderful, and deep, and hath a sound,
And sense, and sight of sweetness; here the Rhone
Hath spread himself a couch, the Alps have reared a throne.
CV. Lausanne! and Ferney! ye have been the abodes (23) Of names which unto you bequeathed a name Mortals, who sought and found, by dangerous roads, A path to perpetuity of fame : They were gigantic minds, and their steep aim, Was, Titan-like, on daring doubts to pile Thoughts which should call down thunder, and the flame
Of Heaven, again assailed, if Heaven the while
On man and man's research could deign do more than smile.
The one was fire and fickleness, a child,
Most mutable in wishes, but in mind,
A wit as various,-gay, grave, sage, or wild,-
Historian, bard, philosopher, combined ;
He multiplied himself among mankind,
The Proteus of their talents : But his own
Breathed most in ridicule,—which, as the wind,
Blew where it listed, laying all things prone,
Now to o’erthrow a fool, and now to shake a throne.
CVII. The other, deep and slow, exhausting thought, And hiving wisdom with each studious year, In meditation dwelt, with learning wrought, And shaped his weapon with an edge severe, Sapping a solemn creed with solemn sneer ; The lord of irony,that master-spell, Which stung his foes to wrath, which grew from fear,
And doomed him to the zealot's ready Hell, Which answers to all doubts so eloquently well.
Yet, peace be with their ashes,-for by them,
If merited, the penalty is paid;
It is not ours to judge,-far less condemn;
The hour must come when such things shall be made
known unto all, -or hope and dread allayed
By slumber, on one pillow,-in the dust,
Which, thus much we are sure, must lie decayed;
And when it shall revive, as is our trust,
'Twill be to be forgiven, or suffer what is just.
But let me quit man's works, again to read
His Maker's, spread around me, and suspend
This page, which from my reveries I feed,
Until it seems prolonging without end.
The clouds above me to the white Alps tend,
And I must pierce them, and survey whate’er
May be permitted, as my steps I bend
To their most great and growing region, where
The earth to her embrace compels the powers of air.
Italia! too, Italia! looking on thee,
Full Gashes on the soul the light of ages,
Since the fierce Carthaginian almost won thee,
To the last halo of the chiefs and sages,
Who glorify thy consecrated pages ;
Thou wert the throne and grave of empires; still,
The fount at which the panting mind assuages
Her thirst of knowledge, quaffing there her fill,
Flows from the eternal source of Rome’s imperial hill
Thus far I have proceeded in a theme
Renewed with no kind auspices :—to feel
We are not what we have been, and to deem
We are not what we should be, and to steel
The heart against itself; and to conceal,
With a proud caution, love, or hate, or aught,-
Passion or feeling, purpose, grief or zeal,-
Which is the tyrant spirit of our thought,
Is a stern task of soul :-No matter,-it is taught.
And for these words, thus woven into song,
It may be that they are a harmless wile,
The colouring of the scenes which fleet along,
Which I would seize, in passing, to beguile
My breast, or that of others, for a while.
Fame is the thirst of youth,-but I am not
So young as to regard men's frown or smile,
As loss or guerdon of a glorious lot;
I stood and stand alone,-remembered or forgot.
I have not loved the world, nor the world me;
I have not flattered its rank breath, nor bowed
To its idolatries a patient knee,
Nor coined my cheek to smiles,-ror cried aloud
In worship of an echo; in the crowd
They could not deem me one of such ; I stood
Among them, but not of them ; in a shroud
Of thoughts which were not their thoughts, and still could, Had I not filed (24) my mind, which thus itself subdued.
CXIV. I have not loved the world, nor the world me, But let us part fair foes ; I do believe, 'Though I have found them not, that there may be Words which are things,-hopes which will not deceive And virtues which are merciful, nor weave Snares for the failing ; I would also deem O'er others' griefs that some sincerely grieve : (25)
That two, or one, are almost what they seem,-
That goodness is no name, and happiness no dream.
My daughter! with thy name this song begun-
My daughter! with thy name thus much shall end
I see thee not,- hear thee not,—but none
Can be so wrapt in thee; thou art the friend
To whom the shadows of far years extend :
Albeit my brow thou never should'st behold,
My voice shall with thy future visions blend,
And reach into thy heart,
when mine is cold.A token and a tone, even from thy father's mould.
To aid thy mind's development,--to watch
Thy dawn of little joys,-to sit and see
Almost thy very growth,-to view thee catch
Knowledge of objects,-wonders yet to thee !
To hold thee lightly on a gentle knee,
And print on thy soft cheek a parent's kiss,
This, it should seem, was not reserved for me;
Yet this was in my nature :-as it is,
I know not what is there, yet something like to this.
Yet, though dull Hate as duty should be taught,
I know that thou wilt love me; though my name
Should be shut from thee, as a spell still fraught
With desolation,-and a broken claim :
Though the grave closed between us,-'twere the same,
I know that thou wilt love me, though to drain
My blood from out thy being, were an aim,
And an attainment,
all would be in vain, Still thou would'st love me, still that more than life retain.
The child of love,—though born in bitterness,
And nurtured in convulsion. Of thy sire
These were the elements,-and thine no less.
As yet such are around thee,-but thy fire
Shall be more tempered, and thy hope far higher.
Sweet he thy cradled slumbers ! O'er the sea,
And from the mountains where I now respire,
Fain would I waft such blessing upon thee,
As, with a sirh I deem thou might'st have been to me.
JOHN HOBHOUSE, ESQ. A. M. F. R. S.
&c. &c. &c.
MY DEAR HOBHOUSE,
AFTER an interval of eight years between the composition of the first and last cantos of Childe Harold, the conclusion of the poem is about to be submitted to the public. In parting with so old a friend it is not extraordinary that I should recur to one still older and better to one who has beheld the birth and death of the other, and to whom I am far more indebted for the social advantages of an enlightened friendship, than-though not ungrateful -I can, or could be, to Childe Harold, for any public favour reflected through the poem on the poet,--to one, whom I have known long and accompanied far, whom I have found wakeful over my sickness and kind in my sorrow, glad in my prosperity, and firm in my adversity, true in counsel and trusty in peril to a friend often tried and never found wanting ;-to yourself.
In so doing, I recur from fiction to truth; and in dedicating to you in its complete, or at least concluded state, a poetica! work which is the longest, the most thoughtful and comprehensive of my compositions, I wish to do honour to myself by the record of many years' intimacy with a man of learning, of talent, of steadiness, and of honour. It is not for minds like ours to give or to receive flattery; yet the praises of sincerity have ever been permitted to the voice of friendship ; and it is not for you, nor even for others, but to relieve a heart which has not elsewhere, or lately, been so much accustomed to the encounter of goodwill as to withstand the shock firmly, that I thus attempt to commemorate your good qualities, or rather the advantages which I have derived from their exertion. Even the recurrence to the date of this letter, the anniversary of the