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That some dramatic tale, endued with shapes
Livelier, and flinging out less guarded words
Than suit the work we fashion, might set forth
What then I learned, or think I learned, of truth,
And the errors into which I fell, betrayed
By present objects, and by reasonings false
From their beginnings, inasmuch as drawn
Out of a heart that had been turned aside
From Nature's way by outward accidents,
And which was thus confounded, more and more
Misguided, and misguiding. So I fared,
Dragging all precepts, judgments, maxims, creeds,
Like culprits to the bar; calling the mind,
Suspiciously, to establish in plain day
Her titles and her honours; now believing,
Now disbelieving; endlessly perplexed

With impulse, motive, right and wrong, the ground
Of obligation, what the rule and whence.
The sanction; till, demanding formal proof,
And seeking it in everything, I lost

All feeling of conviction, and, in fine,
Sick, wearied out with contrarieties,
Yielded up moral questions in despair.

This was the crisis of that strong disease,
This the soul's last and lowest ebb; I drooped,
Deeming our blessèd reason of least use
Where wanted most: "The lordly attributes
Of will and choice," I bitterly exclaimed,
"What are they but a mockery of a Being
Who hath in no concerns of his a test
Of good and evil; knows not what to fear
Or hope for, what to covet or to shun;

And who, if those could be discerned, would yet
Be little profited, would see, and ask
Where is the obligation to enforce ?
And, to acknowledged law rebellious, still,
As selfish passion urged, would act amiss;
The dupe of folly, or the slave of crime."

Depressed, bewildered thus, I did not walk

In reconcilement with an utter waste
Of intellect; such sloth I could not brook,

But turned to abstract science, and there sought
Work for the reasoning faculty enthroned
Where the disturbances of space and time-
Whether in matters various, properties
Inherent, or from human will and power
Derived-find no admission. Then it was,
Thanks to the bounteous giver of all good!
That the beloved sister in whose sight
Those days were passed, now speaking in a voice
Of sudden admonition-like a brook

That did but cross a lonely road, and now
Is seen, heard, felt, and caught at every turn,
Companion never lost through many a league--
Maintained for me a saving intercourse

With my true self; for, though bedimmed and changed
Much, as it seemed, I was no further changed
Than as a clouded and a waning moon:

She whispered still that brightness would return,
She, in the midst of all, preserved me still
A poet, made me seek beneath that name,
And that alone, my office upon earth;
And, lastly, as hereafter will be shown,
If willing audience fail not, Nature's self,
By all varieties of human love

Assisted, led me back through opening day

To those sweet counsels between head and heart

Whence grew that genuine knowledge, fraught with


Which, through the later sinkings of this cause,
Hath still upheld me, and upholds me now.

Thou, O friend! wilt be refreshed.
One great society alone on earth:

The noble living and the noble dead.

There is

Thine be such converse strong and sanative,
A ladder for thy spirit to reascend

To health and joy and pure contentedness;
To me the grief confined, that thou art gone
From this last spot of earth, where freedom now
Stands single in her only sanctuary;

A lonely wanderer art gone, by pain
Compelled and sickness, at this latter day,
This sorrowful reverse for all mankind.
I feel for thee, must utter what I feel:
The sympathies erewhile in part discharged,
Gather afresh, and will have vent again :
My own delights do scarcely seem to me
My own delights; the lordly Alps themselves,
Those rosy peaks, from which the morning looks
Abroad on many nations, are no more
For me that image of pure gladsomeness

Which they were wont to be. Through kindred scenes,
For purpose, at a time, how different!

Thou tak'st thy way, carrying the heart and soul
That Nature gives to poets, now by thought
Matured, and in the summer of their strength.
Oh! wrap him in your shades, ye giant woods,
On Etna's side; and thou, O flowery field
Of Enna! is there not some nook of thine,
From the first playtime of the infant world
Kept sacred to restorative delight,

When from afar invoked by anxious love?

Child of the mountains, among shepherds reared, Ere yet familiar with the classic page,

I learned to dream of Sicily; and lo,

The gloom, that, but a moment past, was deepened
At thy command, at her command gives way;
A pleasant promise, wafted from her shores,
Comes o'er my heart: in fancy I behold
Her seas yet smiling, her once happy vales;
Nor can my tongue give utterance to a name
Of note belonging to that honoured isle,
Philosopher or bard, Empedocles,

Or Archimedes, pure abstracted soul!

That doth not yield a solace to my grief:
And, O Theocritus, so far have some

Prevailed among the powers of heaven and earth,
By their endowments, good or great, that they
Have had, as thou reportest, miracles
Wrought for them in old time: yea, not unmoved,
When thinking on my own beloved friend,
I hear thee tell how bees with honey fed
Divine Comates, by his impious lord

Within a chest imprisoned; how they came
Laden from blooming grove or flowery field,
And fed him there, alive, month after month,
Because the goatherd, blessèd man! had lips
Wet with the Muses' nectar.

Thus I soothe
The pensive moments by this calm fireside,
And find a thousand bounteous images

To cheer the thoughts of those I love, and mine.
Our prayers have been accepted; thou wilt stand
On Etna's summit, above earth and sea,
Triumphant, winning from the invaded heavens
Thoughts without bound, magnificent designs,
Worthy of poets who attuned their harps
In wood or echoing cave, for discipline
Of heroes; or, in reverence to the gods,

'Mid temples, served by sapient priests, and choirs

Of virgins crowned with roses.

Not in vain

Those temples, where they in their ruins yet

Survive for inspiration, shall attract

Thy solitary steps: and on the brink

Thou wilt recline of pastoral Arethuse;

Or, if that fountain be in truth no more,

Then, near some other spring, which by the name Thou gratulatest, willingly deceived,

I see thee linger a glad votary,

And not a captive pining for his home.




OH! that I had a music and a voice
Harmonious as your own, that I might tell
What ye have done for me. The morning shines,
Nor heedeth man's perverseness; spring returns,—
I saw the spring return, and could rejoice,
In common with the children of her love,
Piping on boughs, or sporting on fresh fields,
Or boldly seeking pleasure nearer heaven
On wings that navigate cerulean skies.
So neither were complacency, nor peace,
Nor tender yearnings, wanting for my good
Through these distracted times; in Nature still
Glorying, I found a counterpoise in her,
Which, when the spirit of evil reached its height,
Maintained for me a secret happiness.

O soul of Nature! excellent and fair!
That didst rejoice with me, with whom I, too,
Rejoiced through early youth, before the winds.
And roaring waters, and in lights and shades
That marched and countermarched about the hills
In glorious apparition, Powers on whom

I daily waited, now all eye and now
All ear; but never long without the heart
Employed, and man's unfolding intellect :
O soul of Nature! that, by laws divine
Sustained and governed, still dost overflow
With an impassioned life, what feeble ones
Walk on this earth! how feeble have I been

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