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ON A NUN.
TRANSLATION FROM VITTORELLI. Mine, while the torch of Hymen newly fired
Becomes extinguish'd, soon—too soon-expires :
But thine, within the closing grate retired, Sonnet composed in the name of a father whose daughter had Eternal captive, to her God aspires.
recently died shortly after her marriage : and addressed to But thou at least from out the jealous door,
Which shuts between your never-meeting eyes,
Rush,—the swoln flood of bitterness I pour,
EPISTLE TO AUGUSTA. My sister! my sweet sister ! if a name
Dearer and purer were, it should be thine : Mountains and seas divide us, but I claim
No tears, but tenderness to answer mine :
A loved regret which I would not resign.
It were the haven of my happiness;
And mine is not the wish to make them less.
Recalling, as it lies beyond redress
In other eleinents, and on the rocks
I have sustained my share of worldly shocks,
My errors with defensive paradox ;
My whole life was a contest, since the day
The gift—a fate, or will, that walk'd astray;
And thought of shaking off my bonds of clay :
Oh that thou wert but with me!-but I grow
The fool of my own wishes, and forget
Has lost its praise in this but one regret;
I am not of the plaintive mood, and yet
Kingdoms and empires in my little day
I have outlived, and yet I am not old; And when I look on this, the petty spray
Of my own years of trouble, wliich have rollid
I know not what-does still uphold
I did remind thee of our own dear Lake,
By the old Hall which may be mine no more.
The sweet remembrance of a dearer shore :
Ere that or thou can fade these eyes before;
Resign’d for ever, or divided far,
The world is all before me: I but ask
Methought that joy and health alone could be Of Nature that with which she will comply-, Where I was not-and pain and sorrow here ! It is but in her summer's sun to bask,
And is it thus ?-it is as I foretold, To mingle with the quiet of her sky,
And shall be more so; for the mind recoils To see her gentle face without a sk,
Upon itself, and the wreck'd heart lies cold, And never gaze on it with apathy.
While heaviness collects the shatter'd spoils. She was my early friend, and now shall be
It is not in the storm nor in the strife My sister-till I look again on thee.
We feel benumb’d, and wish to be no more,
But in the after-silence on the shore, I can reduce all feelings but this one ;
When all is lost, except a little life. And that I would not ;-for at length I see I am too well avenged !-but 'twas my right! Such scenes as those wherein my life begun.
Whate'er my sins might be, thou wert not sent The earliest-even the only paths for me- To be the Nemesis who should requiteHad I but sooner learnt the crowd to shun,
Nor did Heaven choose so near an instrument. I had been better than I now can be ;
Mercy is for the merciful !--if thou The passions which have torn me would have slept; Hast been of such, 't will be accorded now. I had not suffer'd, and thou hadst not wept. Thy nights are banish’d from the realms of sleep!
Yes! they may flatter thee, but thou shalt feel With false Ambition what had I to do?
A hollow agony which will not heal, Little with Love, and least of all with Fame; For thou art pillow'd on a curse too deep: And yet they came unsought, and with me grew, Thou hast sown in my sorrow, and must reap
And made me all which they can make-a name. The bitter harvest in a woe as real ! Yet this was not the end I did pursue ;
I have had many foes, but none like thee ; Surely I once beheld a nobler aim.
For 'gainst the rest myself I could defend, But all is over-I am one the more
And be avenged, or turn them into friend ; To baffled millions which have gone before. But thou in safe implacability
Hadst nought to dread—in thy own weakness And for the future, this world's future may
shielded, From me demand but little of my care;
And in my love, which hath but too much yielded, I bave outlived myself by many a day,
And spared, for thy sake, some I should not Having survived so many things that were ;
spare ; My years have been no slumber, but the prey And thus upon the world-trust in thy truth, Of ceaseless vigils : for I had the share
And the wild fame of my ungovern’d youthOf life which might have fill’d a century,
On things that were not, and on things that Before its fourth in time had pass’d me by.
Even upon such a basis hast thou built And for the remnant which may be to come
A monument, whose cement hath been guilt! I am content; and for the past I feel
The moral Clytemnestra of thy lord, Not thankless,-for within the crowded sum
And hew'd down with an unsuspected sword, Of struggles, happiness at times would steal :
Fame, peace, and hope-and all the better life And for the present, I would not benumb
Wbich, but for this cold treason of thy heart, My feelings further.-Nor sball I conceal
Might still have risen from out the grave of strife, That with all this I still can look around,
And found a nobler duty than to part. And worship Nature with a thought profound.
But of thy virtues didst thou make a vice,
Trafficking with them in a purpose cold,
For present anger, and for future gold
And buying other's grief at any price. We were and are-I am, even as thou art
And thús once enter'd into crooked ways, Beings who ne'er each other can resign;
The early truth, which was thy proper praise, It is the same, together or apart,
Did not still walk beside thee-but at times, From life's commencement to its slow decline
And with a breast unknowing its own crimes, We are entwined: let death come slow or fast,
Deceit, averments incompatible, The tie which bound the first endures the last !
Equivocations, and the thoughts which dwell
In Janus-spirits-the siguificant eye
Of prudence, with advantages annex’d-
The acquiescence in all things which tend,
No matter how, to the desired endON HEARING THAT LADY BYRON WAS ILL.
All found a place in thy philosophy. And thou wert sad—yet I was not with thee ! The means were worthy, and the end is won
And thou wert sick, and yet I was not near ; I would not do by thee as thou hast done !
The Age of Bronze ;
OR, CARMEN SECULARE ET ANNUS HAUD MIRABILIS.
“Impar Congressus Achilli."
Yes! where is he, the champion and the child Tue “good old times”-all times when old are of all that's great or little, wise or wild ; good —
Whose game was empires, and whose stakes were
thrones; Are gone; the present might be if they would ; Great things have been, and are, and greater still
Whose table earth-whose dice were human bones? Want little of mere mortals but their will:
Behold the grand result in yon
lone isle, A wider space, a greener field, is given
And, as thy nature urges, weep or smile. To those who
play their “tricks before high heaven.” Sigh to behold the eagle's lofty rage I know not if the angels weep, but
Reduced to nibble at his narrow cage;
Smile to survey the queller of the nations
Weep to perceive him mourning, as he dines,
O’er curtail'd dishes and o'er stinted wines;
O'er petty quarrels upon petty things.
Is this the man who scourged or seasted kings ? Then Pitt was all; or, if not all, so much,
Behold the scales in which his fortune hangs, His very rival almost deem'd him such.
A surgeon's statement, and an earl's harangues ! We, we have seen the intellectual race
A bust delayed, a book refused, can shake
The sleep of him who kept the world awake.
Is this indeed the tamer of the great, Of eloquence between, which flow'd all free,
Now slave of all could tease or irritateAs the deep billows of the Ægean roar
The paltry gaoler and the prying spy, Betwixt the Hellenic and the Phrygian shore.
The staring stranger with his note-book nigh? But where are they—the rivals! a few feet Of sullen earth divide each winding sheet.
Plunged in a dungeon he had still been great ;
How low, how little was this middle state,
Between a prison and a palace, where
How few could feel for what he had to bear ! Which oversweeps the world. The theme is old
Vain his complaint, -my lord presents his bill, Of“ dust to dust ; ” but half its tale untold :
His food and wine were doled out duly still ; Time tempers not its terrors-still the worm
Vain was his sickness, never was a clime Winds its cold folds, the tomb preserves its form,
So free from homicide—to doubt's a crime ; Varied above, but still alike below;
And the stiff surgeon, who maintain'd his cause, The urn may shine, the ashes will not glow,
Hath lost his place, and gain’d the world's applause. Tlough Cleopatra's mummy cross the sea O'er which from empire she lured Anthony;
But smile—though all the pangs of brain and heart Though Alexander's urn a show be grown
Disdain, defy, the tardy aid of art; On shores he wept to conquer, though unknown
Though, save the few fond friends and imaged face How vain, how worse than vain, at length appear
Of that fair boy his sire shall ne'er embrace, The madman's wish, the Macedonian's tear!
None stand by bis low bed—though even the mind He
Be wavering, which long awed and awes mankind : wept for worlds to conquer-half the earth Knows not bis name, or but his death, and birth,
Smile—for the fetter'd eagle breaks his chain,
And higher worlds than this are his again.
How, if that soaring spirit still retain
The little that he was and sought to be!
Than his ambition, though with scarce a bound;
the dust o'er which they crawld of late, How must he smile, and turn to yon lone grave, Chain'd to the chariot of the chieftain's state? | The proudest sea-mark that o'ertops the wave!
What though his gaoler, duteous to the last, Poland ! o'er which the avenging angel pass’d, Scarce deem'd the coffin's lead could keep hiin fast, But left thee as he found thee, still a waste, Refusing one poor line along the lid,
Forgetting all thy still enduring claim, To date the birth and death of all it bid;
Thy lotted people and extinguislı'd name. That name shall hallow the ignoble shore,
Thy sigh for freedom, thy long-flowing tear,
That sound that crashes in the tyrant's ear-
Gleam in the sun, but 'tis a sun that sets !
Moscow! thou limit of his long career, Shall crown the Atlantic like the liero's bust, For which rude Charles had wept his frozen tear And mighty nature o'er bis obsequies
To see in vain—he saw thee-how p with spire Do more than niggard envy still denies.
and palace fuel to one common fire.
this the merchant flung hoarded store, Nought if he sleeps-nor more if he exists : The prince his hall—and Moscow was no more ! Alike the better-seeing shade will smile
Sublímest of volcanoes ! Etna's flame On the rude cavern of the rocky isle,
Pales before thine, and quenchless Hecla's tame; As if his ashes found their latest home
Vesuvius shows his blaze, a usual sight
To come, in which all empires sball expire.
Thou other element ! as strong and stern,
To teach a lesson conquerors will not learn! To form, like Guesclin's' dust, her talisman. Whose icy wing flapped o'er the faltering foe, But be it as it is—the time may come
Till fell a hero with each flake of snow;
Pierce, till hosts perislı'd with a single pang!
For the gay thousands of his dashing ranks !
Her offspring chilld; its beams are now forsaken. Thou Rome, who saw’st thy Cæsar's deeds out. Of all the trophies gather'd from the war, done!
What shall return the conqueror's broken car! Alas! why pass'd he too the Rubicon
The conqueror's yet unbroken heart! Again The Rubicon of man's awaken'd rights,
The horn of Roland sounds, and not in vain. To herd with vulgar kings and parasites ?
Lutzen, where fell the Swede of victory, Egypt! from whose all dateless tombs arose Beholds him conquer, but, alas! not die: Forgotten Pharaohs from their long repose, Dresden surveys three despots fly once more And shook within their pyramids to hear
Before their sovereign, --sovereign as before ; A new Cambyses thundering in their ear :
But there exhausted Fortune quits the field, While the dark shades of forty ages stood, And Leipsic's treason bids the unvanquish'd yield. Like startled giants by Nile's famous flood ; The Saxon jackal leaves the lion's side Or from the pyramid's tall pinnacle
To turn the bear's, and wolf's, and fox's guide; Beheld the desert peopled, as from hell
And backward to the den of his despair With clashing hosts, who strew'd the barren sand, The forest monarch shrinks, but finds no lair ! To re-manure the uncultivated land ! Spain! which, a moment mindless of the Cid, Oh ye! and each and all! Oh France ! who Beheld his banner flouting thy Madrid !
found Austria! which saw thy twice-ta'en capital Tliy long fair fields plough'd up as hostile ground, Twice spared to be the traitress of his fall! Disputed foot by foot, till treason, still Ye race of Frederic !-Frederics but in name His only victor, from Montmartre's hill And falsehood-heirs to all except his fame : Look'd down o'er trampled Paris ! and thou Isle, Who, crush'd at Jena, crouched at Berlin, fell Which seest Etruria from thy ramparts smile, First, and but rose to follow! Ye who dwell Thou momentary shelter of his pride, Where Kosciusko dwelt, remembering yet: Till woo'd by danger, his yet weeping bride! The unpaid amount of Catherine's bloody debt! Oh, France ! retaken by a single march,
Whose path was through one long triumphal arch !
Oh, bloody and most bootless Waterloo ! (1) Guesclin died during the siege of a city; it surrendered, which proves how fools may have their fortune and the keys were brought and laid upon bis bier, so that the place might appear rendered to his ashes,
Won half by blander, half by treachery :
But driven from thence awhile, yet not for aye, Oh, dull Saint Helen! with thy gaoler nigli- Break o'er th' Ægean, mindful of the day Hear! hear Prometheus from his rock appeal
Of Salamis !—there, there the waves arise,
Not to be lullid by tyrant victories.
By Christians, unto whom they gave their creed, He teaches them the lesson taught so long,
The desolated lands, the ravaged isle, So oft, so vainly-learn to do no wrong!
The foster'd feud encouraged to beguile,
The aid evaded, and the cold delay,
These, these shall tell the tale, and Greece can His name a doubt to all the winds of heaven;
show The reed of Fortune, and of thrones the rod, The false friend worse than the infuriate foe. Of fame the Moloch or the demigod;
But this is well: Greeks only should free Greece, His country's Cæsar, Europe's Hannibal,
Not the barbarian, with his mask of peace. Without their decent dignity of fall.
How should the autocrat of bondage be Yet Vanity herself had better taught
The king of serfs, and set the nations free? A surer path even to the fame he sought,
Better still serve the haughty Mussulman,
Better still toil for masters, than await,
For the first courtier in the Czar's regard ;
While their immediate owner never tastes While even the Spaniard's thirst of gold and war His sleep, sans dreaming of Siberia's wastes : Forgets Pizarro to shout Bolivar!
Better succumb even to their own despair,
And drive the camel than purvey the bear.
But not alone within the hoariest clime The very fetters which his arm broke through,
Where Freedom dates her birth with that of And crush'd the rights of Europe and his own,
Time, To flit between a dungeon and a throne ?
And not alone where, plunged in night, a crowd
Of Incas darken to a dubious cloud,
The dawn revives : renown'd, romantic Spain
Holds back the invader from her soil again. The swarthy Spaniard feels his former glow; Not now the Roman tribe nor Punic horde The same high spirit which beat back the Moor Demand her fields as lists to prove the sword; Through eight long ages of alternate gore
Not now the Vandal or the Visigoth Revives—and where ? in that avenging clime
Pollute the plains, alike abhorring both; Where Spain was once synonymous with crime
Nor old Pelayo on bis mountain rears Where Cortes and Pizarro's banner flew,
The warlike fathers of a thousand years. The infant world redeems her name of “ New." That seed is sown and reap'd, as oft the Moor 'Tis the old aspiration breathed afresh,
Sighs to remember on his dusky shore. To kindle souls within degraded flesh,
Long in the peasant's song or poet's page Such as repulsed the Persian from the shore Has dwelt the memory of Abencerrage ; Where Greece was—No! she still is Greece once The Zegri, and the captive victors, flung more.
Back to the barbarous realm from whence they One common cause makes myriads of one breast,
sprung. Slaves of the East, or helots of the West :
But these are gone—their faith, their swords, their On Andes' and on Athos' peaks unfurl'd,
The Inquisition, with her burning feast,
That fiery festival of agony !
The stern or feeble sovereign, one or both Sweep slightly by the half-tamed land of France, By turns; the haughtiness whose pride was sloth ; Dash" o'er the old Spaniard's cradle, and would fain The long degenerate noble ; the debased Unite Ausonia to the mighty main :
Hidalgo, and the peasant less disgraced,
But more degraded; the unpeopled realm ; (1) I refer the reader to the first address of Prometheus in The once impervious phalanx disarray'd ;
The once proud navy which forgot the helm ; Æschylus, when he was left alone by his attendants, and before the arrival of the chorus of sea-nymphs.
The idle forge that form’d Toledo's blade;