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Lake Leman woos me, with its crystal face
The mirror where the stars and mountains view
The stillness of their aspect in each trace
Its clear depth yields of their far height and hue ;
There is too much of man here, to look through,
With a fit mind the might which I behold;
But soon in me shall Loneliness renew,
Thoughts hid, but not less cherish'd than of old,
Ere mingling with the herd had penn'd me in their fold.
To fy from, need not be to hate mankind;
All are not fit with them to stir and toil,
Nor is it discontent to keep the mind
Deep in its fountain, lest it overboil
In the hot throng, where we become the spoil
Of our infection, till too late and long
We may deplore and struggle with the coil,
In wretched interchange of wrong for wrong,
Midst a contentious world,striving where noneare strong.
There, in a moment, we may plunge our years
In fatal penitence, and in the blight
Of our own sonl, turo all our blood to tears,
And colour things to come with hues of Night';
The race of life becomes a hopeless flight
To those that walk in darkness ; on the sea,
The boldest steer but where their ports invite,
But there are wanderers o'er Eternity
Whose bark drives on and on, and anchored ne'er shall be
It is no better, then, to be alone,
Aud love Earth only for its eartbly sake?
By the blue rushing of the arrowy Rhone, (18)
Or the pure bosom of its nursing lake,
Which feeds it as a mother who doth make
A fair but froward infant her own care,
Kissing its cries away as these awake;
Is it not better thus our lives to wear,
Than join the crushing crowd, doom'd to inflict or bear ?
I live not in myself, but I become
Portion of that around me ? and to me
High mountains are a feeling, but the hum
Of human cities torture; I can see.
Nothing to loathe in nature, save to be
A link reluctant in a fleshly chain,
Class'd among creatures, when the soul can fee,
And with the sky, the peak, the heaving plain
Of ocean, or the stars, mingle, and not in vain.
And thus Iarn absorbed, and this is life,
I look upon the peopled desart past,
As on a place of agony and strife,
Where, for some sin, to sorrow I was cast,
To act and suffer, but remount at last
With a fresh pinion ; which I feel to spring,
Though young, yet waxing vigorous, as the blast
Which it would cope with, on delighted wing,
Spurning the clay-cold bonds which round our being cling.
And when, at length, the mind shall be all free,
From what it hates in this degraded form,
Reft of its carnal life, save what shall be
Existent happier in the fly and worm, 1,
When elementsto elements conform,
And dust is as it should be, shall I not,
Feel all I see, less dazzling, but more warm?
The bodiless thought? the Spirit of each spot!
Of which, even now, I share at times the immortal lot ?".
Are not the mountains, waves, and skies, a part
Of me and of my soul, as I of them?
Is not the love of these deep in my heart
With a pure passion ? should I not contemn
All objects, if compared with these; and stem
A tide of suffering, rather than forego
Such feelings for ihe hard and wordly phlegm
Of those whose eyes are only, turn'd below, [glow Gazing upon the ground, with thoughts which dare 20$
But this is not my theme ? and I return
To that which is immediate and require
Those who find contemplation in the urn,
To look on One, whose dust was once all fire,
A native of the land where I respire
The clear air for a while a passing guest,
Where he became a being, whose desire
Was to be glorious ; 'twas a foolish quest,
The which to gain and keep, he sacrificed all rest.
Here the self torturing sophist, wild Rousseau,
The apostle of affliction, he who threw
Enchantment over passion, and from woe
Wrung overwhelming eloquence, first drew
The breath which made him wretched ; yet he knew
How to make madness beautiful, and cast
O'er erring deeds and thoughts a heavenly hue
Of words, like sunbeams dazzling as they past
The eyes, which o'er them shed tears feelingly and fasta
His love was passion's essence--as a tree
On fire by lightning; with ethereal flame
Kindled he was, and blasted; for to be
Thus, and enamoured, were in him the same.
But his was not tbe love of living dame,
Nor of the dead who rise upon our dreams,
But of ideal Beauty, which became
In him existence, and o'erflowing teems
Along his burning page, distempered though it seem .
This breathed itself to life in Julie, this
Invested her with all that's wild and sweet ;
This hallowed, too, the memorable kiss
Which every morn his fevered lip would greet,
From her’s who but with friendship his would meet ;
But to that gentle touch, through brain and breast
Flash'd the thrill'd spirit's love devouring heat ;
In that absorbing sigh perchance more blest,
Than vulgar minds may be with all they seek possest.(19)
LXXX. His life was one long war with self-sought foes, Or friends by him self-banish'd ; for his mind Had grown Suspicion's.sanctuary, and chose For its own cruel sacrifice, the kind, 'Gainst whom he raged with fury strange and blind. But be was phrenzied, wherefore, who may know? Since cause migbt be wbich skill could uever find;
But be was phrenzied by disease or woe,
To that worst pitch of all, which wears a reasoning show.
For then he was inspired, and from him.came,
As from the Pythian's mystic cave of yore,
Those oracles which set the world in flame,
Nor ceased to burn till kingdoms were no more :
Did he not this for France
? which lay before Bowed to the inborn tyranny of years? Broken and trembling, to the yoke she bore.
Till by the voice of him and his compeers, (fears? Roused up to too much wrath which follows o'ergrown
LXXXII. They made themselves a fearful monument ! The wreck of old opinions--things which grew Breathed from the birth of time : the veil they rent: And what bebind it lay, all earth shall view, But good with ill they also overthrew, Leaving but ruins, wherewith to rebuild Upon the same foundation, and renew
Dungeons and thrones, which the same hour refill’d, As heretofore because ambition was self-will'd.
LXXXIII. But this will not endure, nor be endured! Mankind have felt their strength, and made it felt. They might have used it better, but allured By their new vigour, sternly have they dealt On one another ; pity ceased to melt With her once natural charities. But they, Who in oppression's darkness caved bad dwelt, They were not eagles, nourish'd with the day; What marvel then, at times, if they mistook their prey?
LXXXIV. 1 What deep wounds ever closed without a scar ; 'The heari's bleed longest, and but heal to wear
That which disfigures it; and they who war With their own hopes, and have been vanquish'd, bear Silence, but not submission; in his lair · Fix'd Passion holds his breath, until the hour Which shal) atone for years; none need despair;
It came, it cometh, and will come the power
To punish or forgive--in one we shall be slower.
Clear, placid Leman! thy contrasted lake,
With the wide world I dwelt in, is a thing
Which warns me, with its stillness to forsake
Earth's troubled waters for a purer spring
This quiet sail is as a noiseless wing
To waft me from distraction : once I loved
Torn ocean's roar, but thy soft murmuring
Sounds sweet as if a sister's voice reproved,
That I with stern delights should e'er have beeu so mov'd'.
It is the bush of night, and all between
Tby margin and the mountain dusk, yet clear,
Mellowed and mingling, yet distinctly seen,
Save darkened Jura, whose capt 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;
Atintervals, 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 starlight dews
All silently their tears of love instil,
Weeping themselves away, till they infuse
Deep into Nature's breast the spirit of her bues.