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The race of life becomes a hopeless flight
All objects, if compared with these ? and stem To those that walk in darkness : on the sea, A tide of suffering, rather than forego The boldest steer but where their ports invite, Such feelings for the hard and worldly phlegm But there are wanderers o'er Eternity
Of those whose eyes are only turned below, Whose bark drives on and on, and anchor'd ne'er Gazing upon the ground, with thoughts which dare shall be.
But this is not my theme; and I return
To that which is immediate, and require By the blue rushing of the arrowy Rhone, 1
Those who find contemplation in the urn, Or the pure bosom of its nursing lake,
To look on One whose dust was once all fire, Which feeds it as a mother who doth make
A native of the land where I respire A fair but froward infant her own care,
The clear air for awhile-a passing guest, Kissing its cries away as these awake;
Where he became a being—whose desire Is it not better thuis our lives to wear,
Was to be glorious ; 'twas a foolish quest, Thau join the crushing crowd, doom'd to inflict or
The which to gain and keep he sacrificed all rest. bear?
Here the self-torturing sophist, wild Rousseau, I live not in myself, but I become
The apostle of affliction, he who threw Portion of that around me; and to me,
Enchantment over passion, and from woe High mountains are a feeling, but the hum
Wrung overwhelming eloquence, first drew Of human cities torture : I can see
The breath which made him wretched; yet he
knew Nothing to loathe in nature, save to be A link reluctant in a fleshly chain,
How to make madness beautiful, and cast Class'd among creatures, when the soul can flee,
O'er erring deeds and thoughts, a heavenly hue And with the sky, the peak, the heaving plain
Of words, like sunbeams, dazzling as they past Of ocean, or the stars, mingle, and not in vain.
The eyes, which o'er them shed tears feelingly and fast.
His love was passion's essence as a tree And thus I am absorb'd, and this is life:
On fire by lightning; with ethereal flame I look upon the peopled desert past,
Kindled he was, and blasted; for to be As on a place of agony and strife,
Thus, and enamour'd, were in him the same.
Nor of the dead who rise upon our dreams,
Which it would cope with, on delighted wing, Along bis burning page, distemper'd though it Spurning the clay.cold bonds which round” our
This breathed itself to life in Julie, this
Invested ber with all that's wild and sweet; From what it bates in this degraded form,
This hallow'd, too, the memorable kiss Reft of its carnal life, save what shall be
Which every morn his fever'd lip would greet, Existent happier in the fly and worm,
From hers, who but with friendship his would
meet : When elements to elements conform, And dust is as it should be, shall I not
But to that gentle touch, through brain and
breast Feel all I see, less dazzling, but more warm? The bodiless thought ? the Spirit of each spot ?
Flash'd the thrill'd spirit's love-devouring heat; of whiclı, even now, I share at times the immortal Than vulgar minds may be with all they seek
In that absorbing sigh perchance more blest, lot ?
LXXX. Are not the mountains, waves, and skies a part His life was one long war with self-sought foes, Of me and of my soul, as I of them ?
Or friends by him self-banish’d; for his mind Is not the love of these deep in my heart
Had grown Suspicion's sanctuary, and close With a pure passion ? should I not contemn For its own cruel sacrifice, the kind,
(1) The colour of the Rhone at Geneva is blue, to a depth acquaintance. Rousseau's description of his feelings on this of tínt which I have never seen equalled in water, salt or occasion may be considered as the most passionate, yet not fresh, except in the Mediterranean and Archipelago.
impure, description and expression of love that ever kindled (2) This refers to the account in his Confessions of his into words; which, after all, must be felt, from their very passion for the Comtesse d'Houdetot (the mistress of St. forco, to be inadequate to the delineation. A painting can Lambert), înd his long walk every morning, for the sake of give no sufficient idea of the ocean the single kiss which was the common salutation of French
grown fears ?
'Gainst whom he raged with fury strange and blind.
Thy margin and the mountains, dusk, yet clear, But he was frenzied by disease or woe
Mellow'd and niingling, yet distinctly seen, To that worst pitch of all, which wears a reasoning Save darken'd Jura, whose capt heights appear show.
Precipitously steep; and drawing near,
There breathes a living fragrance from the shore, LXXXI.
Of flowers yet fresh with childhood; on the ear For then he was inspired, and from him came, Drops the light drip of the suspended oar, As from the Pythian's mystic cave of yore, Or chirps the grasshopper one good-night carol Those oracles which set the world in flame,
more; Nor ceased to burn till kingdoms were no more : Did he not this for France, which lay before
LXXXVII. Bow'd to the inborn tyranny of years ?
He is an evening reveller, who makes Broken and trembling to the yoke she bore, His life an infancy, and sings his fill; Till by the voice of him and his compeers
At intervals, some bird from out the brakes Roused up to too much wrath, which follows o'er
Starts into voice a moment, then is still.
But that is fancy, for the starlight dews
All silently their tears of love instil,
LXXXVIII. Leaving but ruins, wherewith to rebuild
Ye stars ! which are the poetry of heaven, Upon the same foundation, and renew
If in your bright leaves we would read the fate Dungeons and thrones, which the same hour refillid,
Of men and empires,—'tis to be forgiven,
That in our aspirations to be great, As heretofore, because ambition was self-will’d.
Our destinies o’erleap their mortal state,
And claim a kindred with you; for ye are
A beauty and a mystery, and create
selves a star.
All heaven and earth are still: From the high host
Of stars, to the lullid lake and mountain-coast,
All is concenter'd in a life intense,
xc. Fix'd Passion holds his breath, until the hour Then stirs the feeling infinite, so felt Which shall atone for years ; none need despair : In solitude, where we are least alone :
It came, it cometh, and will come,—the power A truth, which through our being then doth melt, To punish or forgive-in one we shall be slower. And purifies from self: it is a tone,
The soul and source of music, which makes known LXXXV.
Eternal harmony, and sheds a charm,
Like to the fabled Cytherea's zone,
Binding all things with beauty ;-'twould disarm Which warns me, with its stillness, to forsake
The spectre Death, had he substantial power to
Sounds sweet as if a Sister's voice reproved, His altar the high places and the peak
A fit and unwall d temple, there to seek
The Spirit, in whose honour shrines are weak,
XCVII. Upreard of human hands. Come, and compare Could I embody and unbosom now Columns and idol-dwellings, Goth or Greek, That which is most within me,-could I wreak With Nature's realms of worship, earth and air,
My thoughts upon expression, and thus throw Nor fix on fond abodes to circumscribe thy prayer ! Soul, heart, mind, passions, feelings, strong or
All that I would have sought, and all I seek, The sky is changed !--and such a change! O night, Bear, know, feel, and yet breathe-into one word, And storm, and darkness, ye are wondrous strong; And that one word were Lightning, I would Yet lovely in your strength, as is the light
speak; Of a dark eye in woman! Far along,
But as it is, I live and die unheard, From peak to peak, the rattling crags among With a most voiceless thought, sheathing it as a Leaps the live thunder! Not from one lone cloud,
sword. But every mountain now hath found a tongue;
And Jura answers, through her misty shroud,
The morn is up again, the dewy morn,
With breath all incense, and with cheek all bloom,
Laughing the clouds away with playful scorn, And this is in the night :-Most glorious night!
And living as if earth contain’d no tomb, — Thou wert not sent for slumber ! let me be
And glowing into day: we may resume
The march of our existence : and thus I,
Still on thy shores, fair Leman! may find room
And food for meditation, nor pass by And the big rain comes dancing to the earth! Much, that may give us pause, if pondered fittingly. And now again 'tis black,—and now, the glee
Of the loud bills shakes with its mountain-mirth, As if they did rejoice o'er a young earthquake's birth. XCIV.
Clarens ! sweet Clarens ! birthplace of deep Love! Now, where the swift Rhone cleaves his way
Thine air is the young breath of passionate
Thy trees take root in love; the snows above Heights which appear as lovers who have parted In hate, whose mining depths so intervene,
The very Glaciers lave his colours caught,
And sunset into rose-hues sees them wrought That they can meet no more, though brokenhearted;
By rays which sleep there lovingly: the rocks, Though in their souls, which thus each other
The permanent crags, tell here of Love, who thwarted,
sought Love was the very root of the fond rage
In them a refuge from the worldly shocks, Which blighted their life's bloom, and then de- / Wbich stir and sting the soul with hope that woog, parted;
then mocks. Itself expired, but leaving them an age Of years all winters—war within themselves to wage.
Clarens ! by heavenly feet thy paths are trod, — XCV. Now, where the quick Rhone thus hath cleft his
Undying Love's, who here ascends a throne
To which the steps are mountains ; where the way,
god The mightiest of the storms hath ta'en his stand;
Is a pervading life and light,--so shown
Not on those summits solely, nor alone
In the still cave and forest; o'er the flower Flashing and cast around: of all the band, The brightest through these parted hills hath
His eye is sparkling, and his breath hath blown,
His soft and summer breath, whose tender power fork'd
Passes the strength of storms in their most desolate His lightnings, as if he did understand
Which are his shade on bigh, and the loud roar Sky, mountains, river, winds, lake, lightnings! ye, Of torrents, where he listeneth, to the vines With night, and clouds, and thunder, and a soul Which slope his green path downward to the To make these felt and feeling, well may
shore, Things that have made me watchful; the far roll Where the bow'd waters meet him, and adore, Of your departing voices, is the knolli
Kissing his feet with murmurs; and the wood, Of what in me is sleepless,-if I rest.
The covert of old trees, with trunks all hoar, But where of ye, O tempests ! is the goal ? But light leaves, young as joy, stands where it Are ye like those within the human breast ?
stood, Or do ye find at length, like eagles, some high nest ?' Offering to him, and his, a populous solitude.
The other, deep and slow, exhausting thought, And fairy-form'd and many colour'd things, And hiving wisdom with each studious year, Who worship him with notes more sweet than In meditation dwelt, with learning wrought, words,
And shaped his weapon with an edge severe, And innocently open their glad wings,
Sapping a solemn creed with solemn sneer ; Fearless and full of life: the gush of springs, The lord of irony,-that master-spell
, And fall of lofty fountains, and the bend
Which stung his foes to wrath, which grew from Of stirring branches, and the bud which brings
fear, The swiftest thought of beauty, here extend, And doom'd him to the zealot's ready Hell, Mingling, and made by Love, unto one mighty Which answers to all doubts so eloquently well. end.
CVIII. He who hath loved not, here would learn that
Yet, peace be with their ashes,-for by them, lore,
If merited, the penalty is paid ; And make his heart a spirit; he who knows
It is not ours to judge,-far less condemn; That tender mystery, will love the more;
The hour must come when such things shall be
made For this is Love's recess, where vain men's woes, And the world's waste, have driven him far from
Known unto all, or hope and dread allay'd those,
By slumber, on one pillow, in the dust, For 'tis his nature to advance or die;
Which, thus much we are sure, must lie decay’d; He stands not still, but or decays, or grows
And when it shall revive, as is our trust, Into a boundless blessing, which
'Twill be to be forgiven, or suffer what is just. With the immortal lights, in its eternity!
But let me quit man's works, again to read 'Twas not for fiction chose Rousseau this spot,
His Maker's, spread around me, and suspend Peopling it withi affections ; but he found
This page, which from my reveries I feed, It was the scene which Passion must allot
Until it seems prolonging without end. To the mind's purified beings ; 'twas the ground
The clouds above me to the white Alps tend, Where early Love his Psyche's zone unbound, And I must pierce them, and survey whate'er And ballow'd it with loveliness ; 'tis lone,
May be permitted, as my steps I bend And wonderful, and deep, and hath a sound,
To their most great and growing region, where And sense, and sight of sweetness; here the The earth to her embrace compels the powers of Rhone
Full flashes on the soul the light of ages,
Since the fierce Carthaginian almost won thee, abodes
To the last halo of the chiefs and sages, Of names which unto you bequeatlı'd a name ;'
Who glorify thy consecrated pages; Mortals, who sought and found, by dangerous
Thou wert the throne and grave of enipires; still, roads,
The fount at which the panting mind assuages A path to perpetuity of fame :
Her thirst of knowledge, quafting there her fill, They were gigantic minds, and their steep aim
Flows from the eternal source of Rome's imperial Was, Titan-like, on daring doubts to pile
Renew'd with no kind auspices :-to feel
We are not what we should be, and to steel The one was fire and fickleness, a child
The heart against itself; and to conceal, Most mutable in wishes, but in mind
With a proud caution, love, or hate, or aught, A wit as various-gay, grave, sage, or wild,
Passion or feeling, purpose, grief, or zeal,Historian, bard, philosopher, combined:
Which is the tyrant spirit of our thought, He multiplied himself among mankind,
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 barmless wile,
The colouring of the scenes which fleet along, (1) Voltaire and Gibbon.
Which I would seize, in passing, to beguile
CANTO THE FOURTH.
My breast, or that of others, for a while.
Thougla the grave closed between us--'twere the Fame is the thirst of youth,--but I am not
same, So young as to regard men's frown or smile I know that thou wilt love me; though to drain As loss or guerdon of a glorious lot ;
My blood from out thy being were an aim, I stood and stand alone,-remember'd or forgot. And an attainment, -all would be in vain;
Still thou wouldst love me, still that more than life
retain I have not loved the world, nor the world me;
CXVIII. I have not flatter'd its rank breath, nor bow'd The child of love, though born in bitterness, To its idolatries a patient knee,
And nurtured in convulsion. Of thy sire Nor coin'd my cheek to smiles, nor cried aloud These were the elements, and thine no less. In worship of an echo; in the crowd
As yet such are around thee; but thy fire They could not deem me one of such ; I stood Shall be more temper'd, and thy hope far higher. Among them, but not of them ; in a shroud Sweet be thy cradled slumbers! O'er the sea Of thoughts which were not their thoughts, and And from the mountains where I now respire, still could,
Faiu would I waft such blessing upon thee, Had I not filedi my mind, which thus itself sub- As, with a sigh, I deem thou might'st have been to dued.
“Visto ho Toscana, Lombardia, Romagna, That goodness is no name, and happiness no dream.
Quel Monte che divide, e quel che serra
Ariosto, Sat. iii.
VENICE, January 2, 1818. I see thee not, I hear thee not, but none
My Dear HOBHOUSE, -After an interval of eight Can be so wrapt in thee; thou art the friend
years between the composition of the first and last To whom the shadows of far years extend :
cantos of Childe Harold, the conclusion of the poem Albeit my brow thou never shouldst behold,
is about to be submitted to the public. In parting My voice shall with thy future visions blend, And reach into thy heart, when mine is cold,
with so old a friend, it is not extraordinary that I
should recur to one still older and better, -to one A token and a tone, even from thy father's mould.
who has beheld the birth and death of the other,
and to whom I am far more indebted for the social CXVI.
advantages of an enlightened friendship, thanTo aid thy mind's development, to watch
though not ungrateful - I can, or could be, to Thy dawn of little joys, to sit and see
Childe Harold, for any public favour reflected
through the poem on the poet,-to one, whom I Almost thy very growth, to view thee catch Knowledge of objects,-wonders yet to thee!
have known long and accompanied far, whom I To hold thee lightly on a gentle knee,
have found wakeful over my sickness and kind in And print on thy soft cheek a parent's kiss,
my sorrow, glad in my prosperity and firm in my This, it should seem, was not reserved for me,
adversity, true in counsel and trusty in peril,—to a
friend often tried and never found wanting ;-to Yet this was in my nature : as it is, I know not what is there, yet something like to yoursell
In so doing, I recur from fiction to truth; and this.
in dedicating to you, in its complete or at least CXVII.
concluded state, a poetical work, which is the Yet, though dull Hate as duty should be taught, longest, the most thoughtful and comprehensive of 1 know tliat thou wilt love me ; though my name my compositions, I wish to do honour to myself by Should be shut from thee, as a spell still fraught the record of many years' intimacy with a man of With desolation, and a broken claim :
learning, of talent, of steadiness, and of honour.
It is not for minds like ours to give or to receive "If it be thus,
flattery; yet the praises of sincerity have ever been For Banquo's issue have I fled my mind." -- Macbeth. permitted to the voice of friendship; and it is not (2) It is said by Rochefoucault that there is always soinething in the misfortunes of men's best friends not displeasing which has not elsewhere, or lately, been so much
for you, nor even for others, but to relieve a heart to them."