Obrázky na stránke
PDF
ePub

150

155

And hissings crawl fast o'er the sinooth ocean streams,
Each sound like a centipede. Near this commotion,
A blue shark is hanging within the blue ocean,
The fin-winged tomb of the victor. The other
Is winning his way from the fate of his brother,
To his own with the speed of despair. Lo! a boat
Advances; twelve rowers with the impulse of thought
Urge on the keen keel, the brine foams. At the stern
Three marksmen stand levelling. Hot bullets burn
In the breast of the tiger, which yet bears him on
To his refuge and ruin. One fragment alone,
'Tis dwindling and sinking, 'tis now almost gone,
Of the wreck of the vessel peers out of the sea.
With her left hand she grasps it impetuously,
With her right she sustains her fair infant. Death, Fear,
Love, Beauty, are mixed in the atmosphere;
Which trembles and burns with the fervour of dread
Around her wild eyes, her bright hand, and her head,
Like a meteor of light o'er the waters! her child
Is yet smiling, and playing, and murmuring; so smiled
The false deep ere the storm. Like a sister and brother
The child and the ocean still sinile on each other,
Whilst

160

165

ODE TO HEAVEN.

CHORUS OF SPIRITS,

FIRST SPIRIT.
PALACE-ROOF of cloudless nights !
Paradise of golden lights !

Deep, immeasurable, vast,
Which' art now, and which wert then

Of the present and the past,
Of the eternal where and when,

Presence-chamber, temple, home,
Ever-canopying dome,
Of acts and ages yet to como

10

Glorious shapes have life in thee,
Earth, and all earth's company;

Living globes which ever throng
Thy deep chasms and wildernesses;

And green worlds that glide along;
And swift stars with flashing tresses;

And icy moons most cold and bright,
And mighty suns beyond the night,
Atoms of intensest light.

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

Even thy name is as a god,
Heaven ! for thou art the abode

Of that power which is the glass
Wherein man his nature sees.

Generations as they pass
Worship thee with bended knees.

Their unremaining gods and they
Like a river roll away :
Thou remainest such alway.

SECOND SPIRIT,
Thou art but the mind's first chamber,
Round which its young fancies clamber,

Like weak insects in a cave,
Lighted up by stalactites;

But the portal of the grave,
Where a world of new delights

Will make thy best glories seem
But a dim and noonday gleam
From the shadow of a dream!

THIRD SPIRIT.
Peace! the abyss is wreathed with scorn
At your presumption, atom-born!

What is heaven? and what are ye
Who its brief expanse inherit ?

What are suns and spheres which flee
With the instinct of that spirit

Of which ye are but a part ?
Drops which Nature's mighty heart
Drives through thinnest veins. Depart!

[ocr errors]

What is heaven? a globe of dew,
Filling in the morning new

Some eyed flower whose young leaves waken
On an unimagined world:

Constellated suns unshaken,
Orbits measureless, are furled

In that frail and fading sphere,
With ten millions gathered there,
To tremble, gleam, and disappear.

AN EXHORTATION.

[ocr errors][merged small]

CAMELIONS feed on light and air:

Poets' food is love and fame: If in this wide world of care

Poets could but find the same With as little toil as they,

Would they ever change their hue

As the light camelions do,
Suiting it to every ray
Twenty times a-day?
Poets are on this cold earth,

As camelions might be,
Hidden from their early birth

In a cave beneath the sea; Where light is camelions change:

Where love is not, poets do:

Fame is love disguised: if few
Find either never think it strange
That poets range.
Yet dare not stain with wealth or power

A poet's free and heavenly mind:
If bright camelions should devour

Any food but beams and wind, They would grow as earthly soon

As their brother lizards are.

Children of a sunnier star, Spirits from beyond the moon, O, refuse the boon!

13

90

ODE TO THE WEST WIND.1

I. O, WILD West Wind, thou breath of Autumn's being, Thou, from whose unseen presence the leaves dead Are driven, like ghosts from an enchanter fleeing, Yellow, and black, and pale, and hectic red, Pestilence-stricken multitudes : 0, thou, Who chariotest to their dark wintry bed The winged seeds, where they lie cold and low, Each like a corpse within its grave, until Thine azure sister of the spring shall blow Her clarion o'er the dreaming earth, and fill (Driving sweet buds like flocks to feed in air) With living hues and odours plain and hill: Wild Spirit, which art moving every where; Destroyer and preserver; hear, o, hear!

II.

Thou on whose stream, ʼmid the steep sky's commotion,
Loose clouds like earth's decaying leaves are shed,
Shook from the tangled boughs of Heaven and Ocean,
Angels of rain and lightning: there are spread
On the blue surface of thine airy surge,
Like the bright hair uplifted from the head
Of some fierce Mænad, even from the dim verge
Of the horizon to the zenith's height
The locks of the approaching storm. Thou dirge

This poem was conceived and chiefly written in a wood that skirts the Arno, near Florence, and on a day when that tempestuous wind, whose temperature is at once mild and animating, was collecting the vapours which pour down the autumnal rains. They began, as I foresaw, at sunset with a violent tempest bail and rain, attended by that magnificent thunder and lightning peculiar to the Cisalpine regions.

The phenomenon alluded to at the conclusion of the third stanza is well known to naturalists. The vegetation at the bottom of the sea, of rivers, and of lakes, sympathises with that oî the land in the change of seasons, and is consequently influenced by the winds which announce it.

Of the dying year, to which this closing night
Will be the dome of a vast sepulchre,
Vaulted with all thy congregated might
Of vapours, from whose solid atmosphere
Black rain, and fire, and hail will burst: 0, hear!

III. Thou who didst waken from his summer dreams The blue Mediterranean, where he lay, Lulled by the coil of his crystalline streams, Beside a pumice isle in Baiæ's bay, And saw in sleep old palaces and towers Quivering within the wave's intenser day, All overgrown with azure moss and flowers So sweet, the sense faints picturing them! Thou For whose path the Atlantic's level powers Cleave themselves into chasms, while far below The sea-blooms and the oozy woods which wear The sapless foliage of the ocean, know Thy voice, and suddenly grow grey with fear, And tremble and despoil themselves: O, hear!

IV. If I were a dead leaf thou mightest bear; If I were a swift cloud to fly with thee; A wave to pant beneath thy power, and share The impulse of thy strength, only less free Than thou, 0, uncontroulable! If even I were as in my boyhood, and could be The comrade of thy wanderings over heaven, As then, when to outstrip thy skiey speed Scarce seemed a vision; I would ne'er have striven As thus with thee in prayer in my sore need. Oh! lift me as a wave, a leaf, a cloud ! I fall upon the thorns of life! I bleed i A heavy weight of hours has chained and bowed One too like thee: tameless, and swift, and proud.

« PredošláPokračovať »