Obrázky na stránke
PDF
ePub

now

at

I

At intervals he raised-now looked As past the pebbly beach the boat on high,

did Alce To mark if yet the starry giant dips On sidelong wing into a silent cove, His zone in the dim sea -- now Where ebon pines a shade under the cheeringly,

starlight wove. Though he said little, did he speak

to me.
“ It is a friend beside thee - take

CANTO IV
good cheer,
Poor victim, thou art
liberty!"

The old man took the oars, and soon I joyed as those, a human tone to

the bark hear,

Smote on the beach beside a tower Who in cells deep and lone have lan

of stone; guished many a year.

It was a crumbling heap whose portal

dark XXXIII

With blooming ivy-trails was overA dim and feeble joy, whose glimpses grown; oft

Upon whose foor the spangling Were quenched in a relapse of sands were strown, wildering dreams,

And rarest sea-shells, which the eterYet still methought we sailed, until nal flood, aloft

Slave to the mother of the months, The stars of night grew pallid, and had thrown the beams

Within the walls of that gray tower, Of morn descended on the ocean

which stood streams,

A changeling of man's art nursed amid And still that aged man, so grand

Nature's brood.
and mild,
Tended me,

as some sick
mother seems

When the old man his boat had To hang in hope over a dying child,

anchored, Till in the azure East darkness again

He wound me in his arms with was piled.

tender care,

And very few but kindly words he XXXIV

said, And then the night-wind, steaming And bore me through the tower from the shore,

adown a stair, Sent odours dying sweet across the Whose smooth descent some ceasesea,

less step to wear And the swift boat the little waves For many a year had fallen. - We which bore

came at last Were cut by its keen keel, though To a small chamber which with slantingly ;

mosses rare Soon I could hear the leaves sigh, Was tapestried, where me his soft and could see

hands placed The myrtle-blossoms starring the dim Upon a couch of grass and oak-leaves grove,

interlaced.

even

[ocr errors]

VI

IV

III

When I was healed, he led me The moon was darting through the

forth to show lattices

The wonders of his sylvan solitude, Its yellow light, warm as the beams And we together sate by that isle-fretted of day

flood. So warm that, to admit the dewy breeze,

He knew his soothing words to weave The old man opened them; the

with skill moonlight lay

From all my madness told: like Upon a lake whose waters wove mine own heart, their play

Of Cythna would he question me, Even to the threshold of that lonely

until home:

That thrilling name had ceased to Within was seen in the dim waver

make me start, ing ray

From his familiar lips-it was not The antique sculptured roof, and

art, many a tome

Of wisdom and of justice when he Whose lore had made that sage all that spokehe had become.

When mid soft looks of pity there

would dart

A glance as keen as is the lightning's The rock-built barrier of the sea was

stroke past,

When it doth rive the knots of some And I was on the margin of a lake,

ancestral oak.
A lonely lake, amid the forests vast
And snowy mountains :—did my

spirit wake
From sleep as many-coloured as

Thus slowly from my brain the dark the snake

ness rolled ; That girds eternity? in life and truth

My thoughts their due array did Might not my heart its cravings

Through the enchantments of that ever slake?

Hermit old; Was Cythna then a dream, and all

Then I bethought me of the glori. my youth,

ous doom And all its hopes and sears, and all its

Of those who sternly struggle to joy and ruth?

relume

The lamp of Hope o'er man's bewildThus madness came again,

-a milder

ered lot; madness

And, sitting by the waters in the Which darkened nought but time's gloom unquiet flow

Of eve, to that friend's heart I told With supernatural shades of clinging my thoughtsadness;

That heart which had grown old, but That gentle IIermit, in my helpless

had corrupted not. woe, By my sick couch was busy to and fro,

That hoary man had spent his liveLike a strong spirit ministrant of good :

long age

VII

re-assume

VIII

XI

IX

sense

In converse with the dead who Each heart was there a shield, and leave the stamp

every tongue Of ever-burning thoughts on many a

Was as a sword, of truth-young page,

Laon's name
When they are gone into the sense-

Kallied their secret hopes, though less damp

tyrants sung Of graves: his spirit thus became Hymns of triumphant joy our scattered a lamp

tribes among. Of splendour, like to those on which

it fed :
Through peopled haunts, the city
and the camp,

lle came to the lone column on the

rock, Deep thirst for knowledge had his

And with his sweet and mighty footsteps led, And all the ways of men among man

eloquence kind he read.

The hearts of those who watched it

did unlock, And made them melt in tears of

penitence. But custom maketh blind and obs

They gave him entrance free to durate

bear me thence. The loftiest hearts :-he had beheld

• Since this,” the old man said, the woe

“seven years are spent In which mankind was bound, but

While slowly truth on thy benighted deemed that fate Which made them abject would

llas crept; the hope which wildered

it has lent preserve them so; And in such faith,' some steadfast Meanwhile to me the power of a sublime

intent. joy to know, Ile sought this cell: but, when fame

went abroad That one in Argolis did undergo “ Yes, from the records of my youth. Torture for liberty, and that the

ful state, crowd

And from the lore of bards and Iligh truths from gifted lips had heard and understood;

From whatsoe'er my wakened thoughts

create Out of the hopes of thine aspirings

bold, And that the multitude was gathering llave I collected language to unwide,

fold His spirit leaped within his aged Truth to my countrymen; from sbore frame,

to shore In lonely peace he could no

Doctrines of human power my abide,

words have told, But to the land on which the vic- They have been heard, and men astor's flame

pire to more Had fed, my native land, the Than they have ever gained or ever lost

Ilermit came:

XII

sages old,

more

of yore.

and weep,

the sway

XIII

Bloody and false and cold :- as “In secret chambers parents read,

whirlpools draw

All wrecks of ocean to their chasm, My writings to their babes, no longer blind;

Of thy strong genius, Laon, which

foresaw And young men gather when their tyrants sleep,

This hope, compels all spirits to obey And vows of faith each to the other Which round thy secret strength now bind;

throng in wide array. And marriageable maidens, who

have pined With love till life seemed melting

“For I have been thy passive in

strument
through their look,
A warmer zeal, a nobler hope,

(As thus the old man spake, his

countenance now find;

Gleamed on And every bosom thus is rapt and

me like a spirit's)

"Thou hast lent shook, Like autumn's myriad leaves in one

To me, to all, the power to adswoln mountain-brook.

Towards this unforeseen deliver

XVI

vance

ance

my share

XVII

XIV

From our ancestral chains--ay, thou “The tyrants of the Golden City

didst rear tremble

That lamp of hope on high which At voices which are heard about

time nor chance the streets,

Nor change may not extinguish, and The ministers of fraud can scarce disseinble

Of good was o'er the world its gathered
The lies of their own heart,- but,

beams to bear.
when one meets
Another at the shrine, he inly
weets,

“But I, alas ! am both unknown and Though he says nothing, that the

old, truth is known;

And, though the woof of wisdom I Murderers are pale upon the judg. know well ment-seats,

To dye in hues of language, I am And gold grows vile even to the cold wealthy crone,

In seeming, and the hopes which And laughter fills the Fane, and curses

inly dwell shake the Throne.

My manners note that I did long

repel;

But Laon's name to the tumultuous “ Kind thoughts and mighty hopes throng and gentle deeds

Were like the star whose beams Abound, for fearless love, and the the waves compel,

And tempests, and his soul-subduing Of mild equality and peace, succeeds tongue To faiths which long have held the Were as a lance to quell the mailed crest world in awe,

of wrong

XV

pure law

XIX

XVIII

They congregate: in her they put

their trust; “ Perchance blood need not flow, if

The tyrants send their armed slaves thou at length

to quell Wouldst rise, perchance the very

Iler power; they, even like a slaves would spare

thunder-gust Their brethren and themselves; great

Caught by some forest, bend beneath is the strength

the spell Of words—for lately did a maiden of that young maiden's speech, and to fair,

their chiefs rebel. Who from her childhood has been taught to bear

XXI The tyrant's heaviest yoke, arise, and make

“Thus she doth equal laws and jusHer sex the law of truth and free

tice teach dom hear,

To woman, outraged and polluted And with these quiet words — For

long; thine own sake,

Gathering the sweetest fruit in human I prithee spare me'-did with ruth so reach take

For those fair hands now free,

while armed wrong Trembles before her look, though it

be strong; “ All hearts that even the torturer, Thousands thus dwell beside her, who had bound

virgins bright, Iler meek calm frame, ere it was And matrons with their babes, a yet impaled,

stately throng! Loosened her, weeping then; nor Lovers renew the vows which they could be found

did plight One human hand to harm her-un- In early faith, and hearts long parted assailed

now unite. Therefore she walks through the

great City, veiled In virtue's adamantine eloquence, 'Gainst scorn and death and pain

“ And homeless orphans find a home thus trebly mailed,

near her, And blending, in the smiles of that

And those poor victims of the defence,

proud, no less, The serpent and the dove, wisdom and

Fair wrecks, on whom the smiling innocence.

world, with stir, Thrusts the redemption of its

wickedness:

In squalid huts and in its palaces “ The wild-eyed

throng Sits Lust alone, while o'er the land around her path:

is borne From their luxurious dungeons, Her voice, whose awsul sweetness from the dust

doth repress of meaner thralls, from the oppres

All evil, and her foes relenting turn, sor's wrath,

And cast the vote of love in hope's Or the caresses of his sated lust,

abandoned urn.

XXII

XX

women

« PredošláPokračovať »