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A change came o'er the spirit of my dream.
There was an ancient mansion, and before
Its walls there was a steed caparison'd;
Within an antique Oratory stood
The Boy of whom I spake ;--he was alone,
And pale, and pacing to and fro: anon
He sate him down, and seized a pen, and traced Words which I could not guess of; then he lean'd
His bow'd head on his hands, and shook as 'twere
With a convulsion-then arose again,
And with his teeth and quivering hands did tear
What he had written, but he shed no tears,
And he did calm himself, and fix his brow
Into a kind of quiet: as he paused,
The Lady of his love re-enter'd there;
She was serene and smiling then, and yet
She knew she was by him beloved,--she knew,
For quickly comes such knowledge, that his
Was darken'd with her shadow, and she saw
That he was wretched, but she saw not all.
He rose, and with a cold and gentle grasp
He took her hand; a moment o'er his face
A tablet of unutterable thoughts
Was traced, and then it faded, as it came;
He dropp'd the hand he held, and with slow
A change came o'er the spirit of my dream.
The Boy was sprung to manhood; in the wilds
Of fiery climes he made himself a home,
And his soul drank their sunbeams: he was girt
With strange and dusky aspect; he was not
Himself like what he had been; on the sea
And on the shore he was a wanderer;
There was a mass of many images
Crowded like waves upon me, but he was
A part of all; and in the last he lay
Reposing from the noontide sultriness,
Couch'd among fallen columns, in the shade
Of ruin'd walls that had survived the names
Of those who rear'd them; by his sleeping side
Stood camels grazing, and some goodly steeds
Were fasten'd near a fountain; and a man,
Clad in a flowing garb, did watch the while,
While many of his tribe slumber'd around:
And they were canopied by the blue sky,
So cloudless, clear, and purely beautiful,
That God alone was to be seen in heaven.
What could her grief be?-she had all she loved;
And he who had so loved her was not there
To trouble with bad hopes, or evil wish,
Or ill-repress'd affliction, her pure thoughts.
What could her grief be?-she had loved him
Nor given him cause to deem himself beloved; Nor could he be a part of that which prey'd Upon her mind-a spectre of the past.
A change came o'er the spirit of my dream.
The Wanderer was return'd.-I saw him stand
Before an altar-with a gentle bride;
Her face was fair, but was not that which made
The starlight of his Boyhood. As he stood
Even at the altar, o'er his brow there came
The self-same aspect, and the quivering shock
That in the antique Oratory shook
His bosom in its solitude; and then-
As in that hour-a moment o'er his face
The tablet of unutterable thoughts
Was traced, and then it faded as it came,
And he stood calm and quiet, and he spoke
The fitting vows, but heard not his own words,
And all things reel'd around him; he could see
Not that which was, nor that which should
But the old mansion, and the accustom'd hall, And the remember'd chambers, and the place, The day, the hour, the sunshine, and the shade, All things pertaining to that place and hour, And her who was his destiny,-came back And thrust themselves between him and the light:
What business had they there at such a time?
A change came o'er the spirit of my dream.
The Lady of his love;-oh! she was changed
As by the sickness of the soul; her mind
Had wander'd from its dwelling, and her eyes,
They had not their own lustre, but the look
Which is not of the earth; she was become
The queen of a fantastic realm; her thoughts
Were combinations of disjointed things;
And forms impalpable and unperceived
Of others' sight familiar were to hers.
And this the world calls frenzy: but the wise
Have a far deeper madness, and the glance
Of melancholy is a fearful gift;
What is it but the telescope of truth?
Which strips the distance of its fantasies,
And brings life near in utter nakedness,
Making the cold reality too real!
A change came o'er the spirit of my dream.
The Wanderer was alone as heretofore,
The beings which surrounded him were gone,
Or were at war with him; he was a mark
For blight and desolation, compass'd round
With Hatred and Contention; Pain was mix'd
In all which was served up to him, until,
Like to the Pontic monarch of old days,
He fed on poisons, and they had no power,
But were a kind of nutriment; he lived
Through that which had been death to many
And made him friends of mountains: with the
And the quick Spirit of the Universe
He held his dialogues; and they did teach
To him the magic of their mysteries;
To him the book of Night was open'd wide,
And voices from the deep abyss reveal'd
A marvel and a secret.-Be it so.
My dream is past; it had no further change.
It was of a strange order, that the doom
Of these two creatures should be thus traced out
Almost like a reality-the one
To end in madness-both in misery.
ON HEARING THAT LADY BYRON WAS ILL.
AND thou wert sad-yet I was not with thee! And thou wert sick, and yet I was not near; Methought that joy and health alone could be Where I was not-and pain and sorrow here! And is it thus?-it is as I foretold,
And shall be more so; for the mind recoils Upon itself, and the wreck'd heart lies cold, While heaviness collects the shatter'd spoils. It is not in the storm nor in the strife,
We feel benumb'd, and wish to be no more, But in the after-silence on the shore, When all is lost, except a little life. I am too well avenged!-but 'twas my right! Whate'er my sins might be, thou wert not sent To be the Nemesis who should requite
Nor did Heaven choose so near an instrument. Mercy is for the merciful!-if thou Hast been of such, 'twill be accorded now. Thy nights are banish'd from the realms of sleep!
Yes! they may flatter thee, but thou shalt feel A hollow agony which will not heal, For thou art pillow'd on a curse too deep; Thou hast sown in my sorrow, and must reap The bitter harvest in a woe as real! I have had many foes, but none like thee;
Even upon such a basis hast thou built
A monument, whose cement hath been guilt!
The moral Clytemnestra of thy lord,
And hew'd down with an unsuspected sword,
Fame, peace, and hope--and all the better life
Which, but for this cold treason of thy heart,
Might still have risen from out the grave of
And found a nobler duty than to part.
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.
And thus once enter'd into crooked ways,
The early truth, which was thy proper praise,
Did not still walk beside thee--but at times,
And with a breast unknowing its own crimes,
Deceit, averments incompatible,
Equivocations, and the thoughts which dwell
In Janus-spirits-the significant eye
Which learns to lie with silence-the pretext
Of prudence, with advantages annex'd-
The acquiescence in all things which tend,
No matter how, to the desired end-
All found a place in thy philosophy.
The means were worthy, and the end is won-
I would not do by thee as thou hast done!
Ar Ferrara, in the Library, are preserved the original MSS. of Tasso's Gierusalemme and of Guarini's Pastor Fido, with letters of Tasso, one from Titian to Ariosto, and the inkstand and chair, the tomb and the house, of the latter. But as misfortune has a greater interest for posterity, and little or none for the contemporary, the cell where Tasso was confined in the hospital of St Anna attracts a more fixed attention than the residence or the monument of Ariosto-at least it had this effect on me. There are two inscriptions, one on the outer gate, the second over the cell itself, inviting unnecessarily the wonder and the indignation of the spectator. Ferrara is much decayed and depopulated: the castle still exists entire; and I saw the court where Parisina and Hugo were beheaded, according to the annal of Gibbon.
LONG years! It tries the thrilling frame to bear,
And eagle-spirit of a child of Song--
Long years of outrage, calumny, and wrong;
Imputed madness, prison'd solitude,
And the mind's canker in its savage mood,
When the impatient thirst of light and air
Parches the heart; and the abhorred grate,
Marring the sunbeams with its hideous shade,
Works through the throbbing eyeball to the
With a hot sense of heaviness and pain;
And bare, at once, Captivity display'd
Stands scoffing through the never-open'd gate,
Which nothing through its bars admits, save day,
And tasteless food, which I have eat alone
Till its unsocial bitterness is gone;
And I can banquet like a beast of prey,
Sullen and lonely, couching in the cave
Which is my lair, and-it may be-my grave.
All this hath somewhat worn me, and may wear,
But must be borne. I stoop not to despair;
For I have battled with mine agony,
And made me wings wherewith to overfly
The narrow circus of my dungeon wall,
And freed the Holy Sepulchre from thrall;
And revell'd among men and things divine,
And pour'd my spirit over Palestine
In honour of the sacred war for Him,
The God who was on earth and is in heaven,
For he has strengthen'd me in heart and limb. That through this sufferance I might be forgiven,
I have employ'd my penance to record
How Salem's shrine was won, and how adored.
But this is o'er-my pleasant task is done ;—
My long-sustaining friend of many years!
If I do blot thy final page with tears,
Know that my sorrows have wrung from me
But thou, my young creation! my soul's child!
Which ever playing round me came and smiled,
And woo'd me from myself with thy sweet sight,
Thou too art gone-and so is my delight:
And therefore do I weep and inly bleed
With this last bruise upon a broken reed.
Thou too art ended-what is left me now?
For I have anguish yet to bear-and how?
I know not that--but in the innate force
Of my own spirit shall be found resource.
I have not sunk, for I had no remorse,
Nor cause for such: they call'd me mad-and
O Leonora, wilt not thou reply?
I was indeed delirious in my heart
To lift my love so lofty as thou art:
But still my frenzy was not of the mind;
I knew my fault, and feel my punishment
Not less because I suffer it unbent.
That thou wert beautiful, and I not blind,
Hath been the sin which shuts me from man-
But let them go, or torture as they will,
My heart can multiply thine image still;
Successful love may sate itself away,
The wretched are the faithful; 'tis their fate
To have all feeling save the one decay,
And every passion into one dilate,
As rapid rivers into ocean pour;
And ours is fathomless, and hath no shore.
Above me, hark! the long and maniac cry
Of minds and bodies in captivity.
And hark! the lash and the increasing howl,
And the half-inarticulate blasphemy!
There be some here with worse than frenzy foul,
Some who do still goad on the o'erlabour'd mind,
And dim the little light that's left behind
With needless torture, as their tyrant will
Is wound up to the lust of doing ill:
With these and with their victims am I class'd,
'Mid sounds and sights like these long years
'Mid sights and sounds like these my life may close:
So let it be for then I shall repose.
I have been patient-let me be so yet;
I had forgotten half I would forget,
But it revives-oh! would it were my lot
To be forgetful as I am forgot!-
Feel I not wroth with those who bade me dwell
In this vast lazar-house of many woes?
Where laughter is not mirth, nor thought the
Nor words a language, nor even men mankind;
Where cries reply to curses, shrieks to blows,
And each is tortured in his separate hell-
For we are crowded in our solitudes-
Many, but each divided by the wall,
Which echoes Madness in her babbling moods,
While all can hear, none heed his neighbour's
None! save that One, the veriest wretch of all
Who was not made to be the mate of these,
Nor bound between Distraction and Disease.
Feel I not wroth with those who placed me here!
Who have debased me in the minds of men,
Debarring me the usage of my own,
Blighting my life in best of its career,
Branding my thoughts as things to shun and
Would I not pay them back these pangs again.
And teach them inward Sorrow's stifled groan
The struggle to be calm, and cold distress?
Which undermines our stoical success?
No!-still too proud to be vindictive-I
Have pardon'd princes' insults, and would die.
Yes, Sister of my Sovereign! for thy sake
I weed all bitterness from out my breast,
It hath no business where thou art a guest:
Thy brother hates--but I can not detest;
Thou pitiest not-but I can not forsake.
Look on a love which knows not to despair,
But all unquench'd is still my better part,
Dwelling deep in my shut and silent heart,
As dwells the gather'd lightning in its cloud,
Encompass'd with its dark and rolling shroud,
Till struck-forth flies the all-ethereal dart!
And thus at the collision of thy name
The vivid thought still flashes through my frame,
And for a moment all things as they were
Flit by me: they are gone-I am the same.
And yet my love without ambition grew;
I knew thy state, my station, and I knew
A Princess was no love-mate for a bard:
I told it not, I breathed it not; it was
Sufficient to itself, its own reward:
And if my eyes reveal'd it, they, alas,
Were punish'd by the silentness of thine,
And yet I did not venture to repine.
Thou wert to me a crystal-girded shrine,
Worshipp'd at holy distance, and around
Hallow'd and meekly kiss'd the saintly ground
Not for thou wert a princess, but that Love
Had robed thee with a glory, and array'd
Thy lineaments in beauty that dismay'd-
Oh! not dismay'd-but awed, like One above;
And in that sweet severity there was
A something which all softness did surpass:
My star stood still before thee: if it were
I know not how-thy genius master'd mine-
Presumptuous thus to love without design,
That sad fatality hath cost me dear;
But thou art dearest still, and I should be
Fit for this cell, which wrongs me--but for thee.
The very love which lock'd me to my chain
Hath lighten'd half its weight; and for the rest,
Though heavy, lent me vigour to sustain,
And look to thee with undivided breast,
And foil the ingenuity of Pain.
It is no marvel-from my very birth My soul was drunk with love, which did pervade
And mingle with whate'er I saw on earth; Of objects all inanimate I made
Idols, and out of wild and lonely flowers,
And rocks, whereby they grew, a paradise,
Where I did lay me down within the shade
Of waving trees, and dream'd uncounted hours,
Though I was chid for wandering; and the Wise
Shook their white aged heads o'er me, and said
Of such materials wretched men were made,
And such a truant boy would end in woe,
And that the only lesson was a blow.
And then they smote me, and I did not weep,
But cursed them in my heart, and to my haunt
Return'd and wept alone, and dream'd again
The visions which arise without a sleep,
And with my years my soul began to pant
With feelings of strange tumult and soft pain;
And the whole heart exhaled into One Want,
But undefined and wandering, till the day
I found the thing I sought-and that was thee;
And then I lost my being, all to be
Absorb'd in thine-the world was pass'd away-
Thou didst annihilate the earth to me!
I loved all Solitude, but little thought
To spend I know not what of life, remote
From all communion with existence, save
The maniac and his tyrant: had I been
Their fellow, many years ere this had seen
My mind like theirs corrupted to its grave.
But who hath seen me writhe, or heard me rave?
Perchance in such a cell we suffer more
Than the wreck'd sailor on his desert shore:
The world is all before him-mine is here,
Scarce twice the space they must accord my
What though he perish, he may lift his eye,
And with a dying glance upbraid the sky;
I will not raise my own in such reproof,
Although 'tis clouded by my dungeon roof.
Yet do I feel at times my mind decline,
But with a sense of its decay;-I see
Unwonted lights along my prison shine,
And a strange demon, who is vexing me
With pilfering pranks and petty pains, below
The feeling of the healthful and the free;
But much to One, who long hath suffer'd so.
Sickness of heart, and narrowness of place.
And all that may be borne or can debase,
I thought mine enemies had been but Man,
But spirits may be leagued with them; all Earth
Abandons, Heaven forgets me: in the dearth
Of such defence the Powers of Evil can,
It may be, tempt me further, and prevail
Against the outworn creature they assail.
Why in this furnace is my spirit proved
Like steel in tempering fire ?-because I loved?
Because I loved what not to love, and see,
Was more or less than mortal, and than me
I once was quick in feeling-that is o'er :
My scars are callous, or I should have dash'd
My brain against these bars, as the sun flash'd
In mockery through them: If I bear and bore
The much I have recounted, and the more
Which hath no words- 'tis that I would not die,
And sanction with self-slaughter the dull lie
Which snared me here, and with the brand of
Stamp Madness deep into my memory,
And woo Compassion to a blighted name,
Sealing the sentence which my foes proclaim.
No-it shall be immortal! and I make
A future temple of my present cell,
Which nations yet shall visit for my sake.
While thou, Ferrara, when no longer dwell
The ducal chiefs within thee, shalt fall down,
And crumbling piecemeal view thy heartless
A poet's wreath shall be thy only crown--
A poet's dungeon thy most far renown,
While strangers wonder o'er thy unpeopled
That such as I could love-who blush'd to hear
And thou, Leonora ! thou-who wert ashamed
To less than monarchs that thou couldst be dear,
Go! tell thy brother that my heart, untamed
By grief, years, weariness-and it may be
A taint of that he would impute to me-
From long infection of a den like this,
Where the mind rots congenial with the abyss-
Adores thee still; and add-that when the towers
And battlements which guard his joyous hours
Of banquet, dance, and revel are forgot,
Or left untended in a dull repose,
This, this, shall be a consecrated spot!
But Thou-when all that Birth and Beauty
Of magic round thee is extinct-shalt have
One half the laurel which o'ershades my grave.
No power in death can tear our names apart,
As none in life could rend thee from my heart.
Yes, Leonóra! it shall be our fate
To be entwined for ever-but too late!
WITHOUT a stone to mark the spot,
And say, what Truth might well have said,
By all, save one, perchance forgot,
Ah! wherefore, art thou lowly laid?
By many a shore and many a sea
Divided, yet beloved in vain;
The past, the future fled to thee,
To bid us meet-no-ne'er again!
The identity of Thyrza is open to question. Trelawny regards her as Byron's cousin Margaret Parker.
Could this have been-a word, a look, That softly said, "We part in peace," Had taught my bosom how to brook,
With fainter sighs, thy soul's release.
And didst thou not, since Death for thee Prepared a light and pangless dart, Once long for him thou ne'er shalt see, Who held, and holds thee in his heart!
Oh! who like him had watch'd thee here,
Or sadly marked thy glazing eye,
In that dread hour ere death appear,
When silent sorrow fears to sigh.
Till all was past? But when no more
'Twas thine to reck of human woe,
Affection's heart-drops, gushing o'er,
Had flow'd as fast-as now they flow.
Shall they not flow, when many a day
In these, to me, deserted towers,
Ere call'd but for a time away,
Affection's mingling tears were ours?
Ours too the glance none saw beside,
The smile none else might understand; The whisper'd thoughts of hearts allied, The pressure of the thrilling hand; The kiss, so guiltless and refined,
That Love each warmer wish forbore; Those eyes proclaim'd so pure a mind, Even passion blush'd to plead for more. The tone, that taught me to rejoice,
When prone, unlike thee, to repine; The song, celestial from thy voice,
But sweet to me from none but thine; The pledge we wore-I wear it still,
But where is thine?-Ah! where art thou? Oft have 1 borne the weight of ill,
But never bent beneath till now! Well hast thou left in life's best bloom The cup of woe for me to drain.
If rest alone be in the tomb,
I would not wish thee here again.
But if in worlds more blest than this
Thy virtues seek a fitter sphere,
Impart some portion of thy bliss,
To wean me from mine anguish here.
Teach me-too early taught by thee!
To bear, forgiving and forgiven:
On earth thy love was such to me;
It fain would form my hope in heaven!
AWAY, AWAY, YE NOTES OF WOE! AWAY, away, ye notes of woe!
Be silent, thou once soothing strain, Or I must flee from hence-for, oh!
I dare not trust those sounds again. To me they speak of brighter days
But lull the chords, for now, alas! I must not think, I may not gaze,
On what I am-on what I was.
The voice that made those sounds more sweet
Is hush'd, and all their charms are fled;
And now their softest notes repeat
A dirge, an anthem o'er the dead!
Yes, Thyrza! yes, they breathe of thee,
Beloved dust! since dust thou art;
And all that once was harmony
Is worse than discord to my heart. 'Tis silent all!--but on my ear
The well-remember'd echoes thrill;
I hear a voice I would not hear,
A voice that now might well be still:
Yet oft my doubting soul 'twill shake,
Even slumber owns its gentle tone,
Till consciousness will vainly wake
To listen, though the dream be flown.
Sweet Thyrza! waking as in sleep,
Thou art but now a lovely dream;
A star that trembled o'er the deep,
Then turn'd from earth its tender beam.
But he who through life's dreary way
Must pass when heaven is veil'd in wrath, Will long lament the vanish'd ray That scatter'd gladness o'er his path.
ONE STRUGGLE MORE, AND I AM
ONE struggle more, and I am free
From pangs that rend my heart in twain;
One last long sigh to love and thee,
Then back to busy life again.
It suits me well to mingle now
With things that never pleased before:
Though every joy is fled below,
What future grief can touch me more?
Then bring me wine, the banquet bring;
Man was not form'd to live alone:
I'll be that light, unmeaning thing
That smiles with all, and weeps with none
It was not thus in days more dear,
It never would have been, but thou Hast fled, and left me lonely here,
Thou'rt nothing--all are nothing now. In vain my lyre would lightly breathe! The smile that sorrow fain would wear But mocks the woe that lurks beneath, Like roses o'er a sepulchre. Though gay companions o'er the bowl Dispel awhile the sense of ill; Though pleasure fires the maddening soul, The heart,-the heart is lonely still! On many a lone and lovely night
It soothed to gaze upon the sky; For then I deem'd the heavenly light Shone sweetly on thy pensive eye: And oft I thought at Cynthia's noon, When sailing o'er the Ægean wave, "Now Thyrza gazes on that moon"
Alas, it gleam'd upon her grave! When stretch'd on fever's sleepless bed, And sickness shrunk my throbbing veins ""Tis comfort still," I faintly said, "That Thyrza cannot know my pains:" Like freedom to the time-worn slave, A boon 'tis idle then to give, Relenting Nature vainly gave
My life, when Thyrza ceased to live! My Thyrza's pledge in better days,
When love and life alike were new! How different now thou meet'st my gaze! How tinged by time with sorrow's hue! The heart that gave itself with thee
Is silent-ah, were mine as still! Though cold as e'en the dead can be, It feels, it sickens with the chill. Thou bitter pledge! thou mournful token Though painful, welcome to my breast! Still, still preserve that love unbroken,
Or break the heart to which thou'rt pressed Time tempers love, but not removes,
More hallow'd when its hope is fled: Oh! what are thousand living loves
To that which cannot quit the dead?
EUTHANASIA. WHEN Time, or soon or late, shall bring The dreamless sleep that lulls the dead,