« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »
I see before me the Gladiator lie: (55)
He leans upon his hand-his manly brow
Consents to death, but conquers agony,
And his drooped head sinks gradually low-
And through his side the last drops ebbing slow
From the red gash, fall heavy, one by one,
Like the first of a thunder-shower; and now
The arena swims around him he is gone, (who won. Ere ceased the inhuman shout which hail'd the wretch
He heard it, but he heeded not-his eyes
Were with his heart, and that was far away;
He reck'd not of the life he lost nor prize,
But where his rude hut by the Danube lay
There were his young Barbarians all at play,
There was their Dacian mother-he, their sire,
Butcher'd to make a Roman holiday-(56)
All this rush'd with his blood-Shall he expire
And unavenged ?--Arise! Goths, and glut your ire !
CXLII. But here, where Murder breathed her bloody stream; And here, where buzzing nations choked the ways, And roar'd or murmur'd like a mountain stream Dashing or winding as its torrent strays; Here, with the Roman million's blame or praise Was death or life, the plaything of a crowd, My voice sounds much-and fall the stars' faint rays
On the arena void-seats crush'd-walls bow'd-
And galleries, where my steps seeni echoes strangely loud
A ruin-yet what ruin ! from its mass
Walls, palaces, half-cities, have been reared ;
Yet oft the enormous skeletou ye pass
And marvel where the spoil could have appeared.
Hath it indeed been plundered, or but cleared ?
Alas! developed, opens the decay,
When the colossal fabric's form is neared :
It will not bear the brighiness of the day,
Which streams (00 much on all years, man, have reft away
But when the rising moon begins to climb
Its topmost arch, and gently pauses there;
Wheu the stars twinkle through the loops of time,
Aud the low night-breeze waves along the air
The garland-forest, which the grey walls wear,
Like laurels on the bald first Cæsar's head ;
When the light shines serene but doth not glare,
Then in this magic circle raise the dead :
Heroes have trod this spoi-'tis on their dust ye tread.
“While stands the Coliseum, Rome shall stand ;
“When falls the Coliseum, Rome shall fall; (laod
“And when Rome falls-the World." From our owa
Thus spake the pilgrims o'er this mighty walli
In Saxon times, wbich we are wont to call
Ancient; and these three mortal things are still
On their foundations and unaltered all ;
Rome and her Ruin past Redemption's skill, [ will
The World, the same wide den-of thieves, or what ye
Simple, erect, severe, austere, sublime
Shrine of all saints and temple of all gods,
From Jove to Jesus-spared and blessed by time;
Looking tranquillity, while falls or nods
Arch, empire, each thing round thee, and man plods
His way through thorns to ashes-glorious dome!
Shalt thou not last ? Time's scythe and tyrant's rods
Shiver upon thee-sanctuary and home
Of art and piety-Pantheon k-pride of Rome !
Relic of nobler days, and noblest arts !
Despoiled yet perfect, with thy circle spreads
A holiness appealing to all hearts-
To art a model; and to him who treads
Rome for the sake of ages, Glory sheds
Her light through thy sole aperture; to those
Who worship, here are altars for their beads;
And they who feel for genius may repose [close.
Their eyes on honoured forms, whose busts around them
There is a dungeon, in whose dim drear light
What do I gaze on ? Nothing : Look again!
Two forms are slowly shadowed on my sight
Two insulated phantoms of the brain :
It is not so ; I see them full and plain-
An old man, and a female young and fair,
Fresh as a nursing mother, in whose vein
The bloud is nectar : but what doth she there,
With her unmantled neck, and bosom white aud bare.
Full swells the deep pure fountain of young life,
Where on the heart and from the heart we took
Our first and sweetest nurture, when the wife,
Blest into mother, in the innocent look,
Or even the piping cry of lips that brook
No pain and small suspense, a joy perceives
Man knows not, when from out its cradled nook
She sees her little bud put forth its leaves
What may the fruit be yet?-I know not-Cain was Eve's.
But here youth offers to old age the food,
The milk of his own gift :-it is her sire
To whom she renders back the debt of blood
Born with her birth. No ; he shall not expire
While in those warm and lovely veins the fire
Of health and holy feeling can provide
Great Nature's Nile, whose deep stream rises higher
Than Egypt's river : from that gentle side
Drink, drink and live, old man ! Heaven's realms holds
[no such tide.
The starry fable of the milky way
Has not thy story's purity; it is
A constellation of a sweeter ray,
And sacred Nature triumphs inore in tliis
Reverse of her decree, than in the abyss
Where sparkle distant worlds :-Oh, holiest nurse!
No drop of that clear stream its way shall miss
To thy sire's heart, replenishing its source
With life, as our freed souls rejoin the universe. .
Turn to the Mole which Hadrian rear'd on high,
Imperial mimic of old Egypt's piles
Colossal copyist of deformity,
Whose travelled phantasy from the far Nile's
Enormous model, doom'd the artist's toils
To build for giants, and for bis vain earth
His shrunken ashes raise his dome: How smiles
The gazer's eye with philosophic mirth,
To view the huge design which sprung from such a birth!
But lo! the dome--the vast and wondrous dome,
To which Diana's marvel' was a cell
Christ's mighty shrine above his martyr's tomb !
I have beheld the Ephesian's miracle-
Its columns strew the wilderness, and dwell
The Hyæna and the jackall in their shade;
I have beheld Sophia's bright roofs swell
Their glittering mass i' the sun, and have survey'd
Its sanctuary the while the usurping Moslem pray'd ;
But thou, of Temple old, or altars new,
Standest alone with nothing like to thee
Worthiest of God, the holy and the true
Since Zion's desolation, when that He
Forsook his former city, what could be,
of earthly structures, in his honour piled,
Of a sablimer aspect ? Majesty,
Power, Glory, Strength, and Beauty, all are aisled
In this eternal ark of worship undefiled.
Enter : its grandeur overwhelms thee not;
And why ? it is not lessened; but thy mind,
Expanded by the Genius of the spot,
Has grown colossal, and can only find
A fit abode wherein appear enshrined
Thy hopes of immortality; and thou
Shalt one day, if found worthy, so defined,
See thy God face to face, as thou dost now
His Holy of Holies, nor be blasted by his brow.
CVI Thou movest—but increasing with the advance, Like climbing some great Alp, which still doth rise, Deceived by its gigantic elegance; Vastness which grows_but grows to harmonizeAll musical in its immensities; Rich marbles richer painting-shrine where flame The lamps of Gold-and haughty dome which vies
In air with Earth's chief structures, though their frame Sits on the firm-set ground—and this the clouds must claim.
Thou sees't not all ; but piecemeal thou must break,
To seperate conteniplation, the great whole;
And as the ocean many bays will make,
That ask the eye-so here condense the soul
To more immediate objects, and control
Thy thoughts until thy mind hath got by heart
Its eloquent proportions, and unroll
In mighty graduations, part by part,
The glory which at once upon thee did not dart,
Not by its fault-but thine: Our outward sepse
Is but of gradual grasp--and as it is
That what we have of feeling most intense
Outstrips our faint expression; even so this
Outshining and o’erwhelming edifice
Fools our fond gaze, and greatest of the great
Defies at first our Nature's littleness,
Till, growing with its growth, we thus dilate
Our spirits to the size of that they contemplate.
CLIX. Then pause, and be enlightened; there is more In such a survey than the sating gaze Of wonder pleased, or awe which would adore The worship of the place, or the mere praise Of art and its great masters, who could raise What former time, nor skill, por thought could plan The fountain of sublimity displays
Its depth, and thence may draw the mind of man Its golden sands, and learn what great conceptions can.