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But who was she, the lady of the dead,
Tombed in a palace ? Was she chaste and fair ?
Worthy a king's--or more-a Roman's bed !!
What race of chiefs and heroes did she bear ?
What daughter of her beauties was the heir ?
How lived-how loved-how died she? Was she not
So honoured-and conspicuously there,
Where meaner relics must not dare to rot,
Placed to commemorate a more than mortal lot?
Was she as those who love their lords, or they
Who love the lords of others ? such have been,
Even in the olden time Rome's annals say.
Was she a matron of Cornelia's mien,
Or the light air of Egypt's graceful queen,
Profuse of joy-or 'gainst it did she war,
Inveterate in virtue ? Did she lean
To the soft side of the heart, or wisely bar
Love from amongst her griefs ? for such the affections are.
Perchance she died in youth : it may be, bowed
With woes far heavier than the ponderous tomb
That weighed upon her gentle dust, a cloud
Might gather o'er her beauty, and a gloom
In her dark eye, prohetic of the doom
Heaven gives its favourite early death; yet shed (47)
A sunset charm around her, and illume
With hectic light, the Hesperus of the dead,
Of her consuming cheek the autumnal leaf-like red.
Perchance she died in age-surviving all,
Charms, kindred, children with the silver grey
On her long tresses, which might yet recal,
It may be, still a something of the day
When they were braided, and her proud array
And lovely form were envied, praised, and eyed
By Rome-But wither would Conjecturę stray ?
Thus much alone we know-Metella died,
The wealthiest Roman's wife ; Behold his love or pride !
I know not why but standing thus by thee
It seems as if I had thine inmate known,
Thou tomb! and other days come back on me
With recollected music though the tone,
Is changed and solemn, like the cloudy groan
Of dying thunder on the distant wind;
Yet could I seat me by this ivied stone
Till I had bodied forth the heated mind
Forms from the foating wreck which Ruin leaves behind;
CV. And from the blanks, far shattered o'er the rocks, Built me a little bark of hope once more To battle with the ocean and the shocks Of the loud breakers, and the ceaseless roar Which rushes on the solitary shore Where all lies foundered that was ever dear; But could I gather from the wave-worn store Enough for my rude boat, where should I steer? There woos no home,nor hope, nor life, save what is here,
CVI Then let thy winds howl on their harmony Shall henceforth be my music, and the night The sound shall temper with the owlet's cry, As I now hear them, in the fading light Dim o'er the bird of darkness' native site, Answering each other on the Palatine, With their large eyes, all glistening grey and bright, And sailing pinions Upon such a shrine What are our petty griefs ? let me not number mine,
CVII. Cypress and ivy, weed and wall-flower grown Matted and mass'd togetber, hillocks heap'd On what were chambers, arch crush'd, coluwn strown In fragments, chok'd up vaults, and frescos steep'd la subterranean damps, where the owl peep'd, Deeming it midnight ;-Temples, baths or halls ? Pronounce who can; for all that learning reap'd
From her research hath been, that these are walls Bebold the Imperial Mount ! 'tis thus the mighty falls.
There is the mortal of all hunian tales; (48)
"Tis but the same rehearsal of the past,
First Freedom, and then Glory--when that fails,
Wealth, vice, corruption,-barbarism at last.
Aud History, with all her volumes vast,
Hath but one page,-'tis better written here,
Where gorgeous Tyranny had thus amass'd
All treasures, all delight, that eye or ear,
Heart, soul could seek, tongue ask-Away with words !
Admire, exult-despiselaugh, weep, for here
T'here is much matter for all feeling:~Man !
Thou pendulum betwixt a smile and tear,
Ages and realms are crowded in this span,
'This mountain, whose obliterated plan,
The pyramid of empires pinnacled,
Of Glory's gewgaws shining in the van
Till the sun's rays with added flame were fill'd! [build. Where are its golden roofs ? where those who dared to
Tully was not so eloquent as thou,
Thou nameless column with the buried base!
What are the laurels of the Cæsar's brow !
Crown me with ivy from his dwelling-place.
Whose arch or pillar meets me in the face,
Titus or Trajan's? Now'Tis that of Time;
Triumph, arch, pillar, all he doth displace
Scoffing; and apostolic statues climb.
To crush the imperial urn, whose ashes slept sublime,(49)
Buried in air, the deep blue sky of Rome,
And looking to the stars; they had contain'd
A spirit which with these would find a home,
The last of those who o'er the whole earth reign'd,
The Roman globe, for after none sustain'd,
But yielded back his conquest ;-he was more
Then a mere Alexander, and, unstain'd
With household blood and wine, serenely wore
His sovereiga virtues-still we Trajau's pame adore. (50)
CXII. Where is the rock of Triumph, the high place Where Rome embraced her heroes ? where the steep Tarpeian? fittest goal of Treason's race, The promontory whence the Traitor's Leap Cured all ambition. Did the conquerors heap Their spoils here? Yes; and in yon field below, A thousand years of silenced factions sleep
The Forum, where the immortal accents glow,
And still the eloquent air breathes-burns with Cicero !
The field of freedom, faction, fame, and blood;
Here a proud people's passions were exhaled,
From the first hour of empire in the bud
To that when further worlds to conquer fail'd ;
But long before had Freedom's face been veil'd;
And Anarchy assumed her attributes;
Till every lawless soldier who assail'd
Trod on the trembling senate's slavish mutes,
Or raised the venal voice of baser prostitutes.
Then turn we to her latest tribune's name,
From her ten thousand tyrants turn to thee,
Redeemer of dark centuries of shame
The friend of Petrarch-hope of Italy
Rienzi! last of Romans! While the tree (51)
Of Freedom's withered trunk puts forth a leaf,
Even for thy tomb a garland let it be
The forum's champion, and the people's chief
Her new-born Numa thou-with reign, alas! too brief.
Egeria! sweet creation of some heart (52)
Which found no mortal resting-place so fair
As thine ideal breast; whate'er thou art
Or wert, a young Aurora of the air,
The vympholepsy of some fond despair;
Or, it might be, a beauty of the earth,
Who found a more than common votary there
Too much adoring; whatsoe'er thy birth,
Thou wert a beautiful thought, and softly bodied fortha,
The mosses of thy fountain still are sprinkled
With thine Elysian water-drops; tbe face
Of tby cave-guarded spring, with years unwrinkled,
Reflects the meek-eyed genius of the place,
Whose greeo, wild margin now no more erase
Art's works; nor must the delicate waters sleep,
Poisoned in marble, bubbling from the base
Of the cleft statue, with a gentle leap
The rill runs o'er, and round,
fern, flowers, and ivy, creep,
Fantastically tangled; the green hills
Are clothed with early blossoms, through the grass
The quick-eyed lizard rustles, and the bills
Of summer birds sing welcome as ye pass;
Flowers fresh in hue, and many in their class,
Implore the pausing step, and with their dyes
Dance in the soft breeze in a fairy mass;
The sweetness of the violet's deep blue eyes,
Kiss'd by the breath of heaven, seems coloured by its skies
Here didst thou dwell, in this enchanted cover,
Eg eria! thy all heavenly bosom beating
For the far footsteps of thy mortal lover
The purple Midnight veil'd that mystic meeting
With her most starry canopy, and seating
Thyself by thipe adorer, wbat befel?
This cave was surely shaped out for the greeting
Of an enamour'd Goddess, and the cell
Haunted by holy Love-the earliest oracle!
And didst thou not, thy breast to his replying,
Blend a celestial with a human heart
And love, which dies as it was born, in sighing,
Share with immortal transports; could thine art
Make them indeed immortal, and impart
The purity of heaven to earthly joys,
Expel the venom and not blunt the dart
The dull satiety which all destroys
And root from out the soul the deadly weed which clogs?