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BEFORE THE PICTURE OF THE BAPTIST,

BY RAPHAEL, IN THE GALLERY AT
FLORENCE.

THE Baptist might have been ordained to cry
Forth from the towers of that huge pile, wherein
His father served Jehovah; but how win
Due audience, how for aught but scorn defy
The obstinate pride and wanton revelry

Of the Jerusalem below, her sin

And folly, if they with united din

Drown not at once mandate and prophecy? Therefore the voice spake from the desert, thence To her, as to her opposite in peace,

Silence, and holiness, and innocence,

To her and to all lands its warning sent,

Crying with earnestness that might not cease, "Make straight a highway for the Lord-repent!"

AT FLORENCE. FROM MICHAEL ANGELO

RAPT above earth by power of one fair face,
Hers in whose sway alone my heart delights,
I mingle with the blest on those pure heights
Where man, yet mortal, rarely finds a place.
With him who made the work that work accords
So well, that by its help and through his grace
I raise my thoughts, inform my deeds and words,
Clasping her beauty in my soul's embrace.

Thus, if from two fair eyes mine cannot turn,

I feel how in their presence doth abide

Light which to God is both the way and guide; And, kindling at their lustre, if I burn,

My noble fire emits the joyful ray

That through the realms of glory shines for aye

AT FLORENCE. FROM MICHAEL ANGELO

ETERNAL Lord! eased of a cumbrous load,
And loosened from the world, I turn to thee;
Shun, like a shattered bark, the storm, and flee
To thy protection for a safe abode.

The crown of thorns, hands pierced upon the tree,
The meek, benign, and lacerated face,
To a sincere repentance promise grace,
To the sad soul give hope of pardon free.
With justice mark not Thou, O Light divine,
My fault, nor hear it with thy sacred ear;
Neither put forth that way thy arm severe;
Wash with thy blood my sins; thereto incline
More readily the more my years require
Help, and forgiveness speedy and entire.

AMONG THE RUINS OF A CONVENT IN THE APENNINES

YE trees! whose slender roots entwine

Altars that piety neglects;

Whose infant arms enclasp the shrine
Which no devotion now respects;

If not a straggler from the herd
Here ruminate, nor shrouded bird,
Chanting her low-voiced hymn, take pride
In aught that ye would grace or hide-
How sadly is your love misplaced,
Fair trees, your bounty run to waste!

Ye, too, wild flowers! that no one heeds,
And ye, full often spurned as weeds,

In beauty clothed, or breathing sweetness
From fractured arch and mouldering wall,
Do but more touchingly recall

Man's headstrong violence and time's fleetness,
Making the precincts ye adorn
Appear to sight still more forlorn.

IN LOMBARDY

SEE, where his difficult way that old man wins
Bent by a load of mulberry leaves !—most hard
Appears his lot, to the small worm's compared,
For whom his toil with early day begins.
Acknowledging no task-master, at will
(As if her labour and her ease were twins)
She seems to work, at pleasure to lie still ;-
And softly sleeps within the thread she spins.
So fare they, the man serving as her slave.
Ere long their fates do each to each conform :
Both pass into new being, but the worm,
Transfigured, sinks into a hopeless grave;
His volant spirit will, he trusts, ascend
To bliss unbounded, glory without end.

AFTER LEAVING ITALY

FAIR land! Thee all men greet with joy; how few,
Whose souls take pride in freedom, virtue, fame,
Part from thee without pity dyed in shame :
I could not, while from Venice we withdrew,
Led on till an Alpine strait confined our view
Within its depths, and to the shore we came
Of Lago Morto, dreary sight and name,

Which o'er sad thoughts a sadder colouring threw.

Italia! on the surface of thy spirit,

(Too aptly emblemed by that torpid lake) Shall a few partial breezes only creep?

Be its depths quickened; what thou dost inherit Of the world's hopes, dare to fulfil; awake, Mother of heroes, from thy death-like sleep!

CONTINUED

As indignation mastered grief, my tongue
Spake bitter words; words that did ill agree
With those rich stores of Nature's imagery,
And divine Art, that fast to memory clung,
Thy gifts, magnificent region, ever young
In the sun's eye, and in his sister's sight
How beautiful! how worthy to be sung
In strains of rapture, or subdued delight!
I feign not; witness that unwelcome shock
That followed the first sound of German speech,
Caught the far-winding barrier Alps among.
In that announcement, greeting seemed to mock
Parting; the casual word had power to reach
My heart, and filled that heart with conflict strong.

COMPOSED AT RYDAL ON MAY MORNING, 1838

IF with old love of you, dear hills! I share
New love of many a rival image brought
From far, forgive the wanderings of my thought:
Nor art thou wronged, sweet May! when I compare
Thy present birth-morn with thy last, so fair,
So rich to me in favours. For my lot
Then was, within the famed Egerian grot
To sit and muse, fanned by its dewy air

Mingling with thy soft breath! That morning too, Warblers I heard their joy unbosoming

Amid the sunny, shadowy, Colosseum;

Heard them, unchecked by aught of saddening hue, For victories there won by flower-crowned spring, Chant in full choir their innocent Te Deum.

THE PILLAR OF TRAJAN

WHERE towers are crushed, and unforbidden weeds
O'er mutilated arches shed their seeds;
And temples, doomed to milder change, unfold
A new magnificence that vies with old;
Firm in its pristine majesty hath stood
A votive column, spared by fire and flood:
And, though the passions of man's fretful race
Have never ceased to eddy round its base,
Not injured more by touch of meddling hands
Than a lone obelisk, 'mid Eubian sands,
Or aught in Syrian deserts left to save
From death the memory of the good and brave.
Historic figures round the shaft embost
Ascend, with lineaments in air not lost :
Still as he turns, the charmed spectator sees
Group winding after group with dream-like ease;
Triumphs in sunbright gratitude displayed
Or softly stealing into modest shade.

So, pleased with purple clusters to entwine
Some lofty elm-tree, mounts the daring vine;
The woodbine so, with spiral grace, and breathes
Wide-spreading odours from her flowery wreaths.

Borne by the muse from rills in shepherds' ears Murmuring but one smooth story for all years, I gladly commune with the mind and heart Of him who thus survives by classic art, His actions witness, venerate his mien, And study Trajan as by Pliny seen;

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