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NOW IMPRISONED IN THE CONVENT OF
L'anima amante si slancia fuori del creato, e si crea Del infinito un Mondo tutto per essa, diverso assai da questo oscuro e pauroso baratro.
HER OWN WORDS.
My Song, I fear that thou wilt find but few
THE WRITER of the following Lines died at Florence, as he was preparing for a voyage to one of the wildest of the Sporades, which he had bought, and where he had fitted up the ruins of an old building, and where it was his hope to have realised a scheme of life, suited perhaps to that happier and better world of which he is now an inhaliit ant, but hardly practicable in this. His life was siurular; less on account of the romantic vicissitudes which diversified it, than the ideal tinge which it received from his own character and feelings. The present Poem, like the Vita Nuova of Dante, is sufficiently intelligible
to a certain class of readers without a matter-of-fact history of the circumstances to which it relates; and to a certain other class it must ever remain incomprehensible, from a defect of a common organ of perception for the ideas of which it treats.
Not but that, gran vergogna sarebbe a colui, che rimasse cosa sotto veste di figura, o di colore rettorico : e domandato non sapesse denudare le sue parole da cotul veste, in guisa che avessero verace intendimento,
The present poem appears to have been intended by the Writer as the dedication to some longer one. The stanza on the opposite page is almost a literal translation from Dante's famous Canzone
Voi, ch' intendendo, il terzo ciel movete, dc. The presumptuous application of the concluding lines to bis own composition will raise a smile at the expense of my unfortunate friend: be it a smile not of contempt, but pity. .
SWEET Spirit! Sister of that orphan one, Whose empire is the name thou weepest on, In my heart's temple I suspend to thee These votive wreaths of withered memory.
Poor captive bird I who, from thy narrow cage,
High, spirit-winged Heart! who dost for ever
Till those bright plumes of thought, in which arrayed
Seraph of Heaven ! too gentle to be human, Veiling beneath that radiant forin of Woman All that is insupportable in thee Of light, and love, and immortality! Sweet Benediction in the eternal Curse! Veiled Glory of this lampless Universe ! Thou Moon beyond the clouds! Thou living Form Among the Dead ! Thou Star above the Storm! Thou Wonder, and thou Beauty, and thou Terror! Thou Harmony of Nature's art! Thou Mirror In whom, as in the splendour of the Sun, All shapes look glorious which thou gazest on! Aye, even the dim words which obscure thee now Flash, lightning-like, with unaccustomed glow; I pray thee that thou blot from this sad song All of its much mortality and wrong, With those clear drops, which start like sacred dew From the twin lights thy sweet soul darkens througi Weeping, till sorrow becomes ecstasy: Then smile on it, so that it may not die.
I never thought before my death to see Youth's vision thus made perfect. Emily, I love thee; though the world by no thin name Will hide that love, from its unvalued shame. Would we two had been twins of the same mother: Or, that the name my heart lent to another Could be a sister's bond for her and thee, Blending two beams of one eternity! Yet were one lawful and the other true, These names, though dear, could paint not, as is due, How beyond refuge I am thine. Ah me! I am not thine: I am a part of thee.
Sweet Lamp! my moth-like Muse has burnt its wings ; Or, like a dying swan who soars and sings, Young Love should teach Time, in his own grey style, All that thou art. Art thou not void of guile, A lovely soul formed to be blest and bless ? A well of sealed and secret happiness, Whose waters like blithe light and music are, Vanquislıing dissonance and gloom? A Star Which moves not in the moving Heavens, alone ? A smile amid dark frowns ? a gentle tone Amid rude voices ? a beloved light? A Solitude, a Refuge, a Delight? A Lute, which those whom love has taught to play Make music on, to soothe the roughest day And lull fond grief asleep ? a buried treasure ? A cradle of young thoughts of wingless pleasure ? A violet-shrouded grave of Woe?-I measure The world of fancies, seeking one like thee, And find-alas! mine own infirmity.
She met me, Stranger, upon life's rough way, And lured me towards sweet Death; as Night by Day, Winter by Spring, or Sorrow by swift Hope, Led into light, life, peace. An antelope, In the suspended impulse of its lightness, Were less ætherially light: the brightness Of her divinest presence trembles through Her limbs, as underneath a cloud of dew Embodied in the windless Heaven of June Amid the splendour-winged stars, the Moon Burns, inextinguishably beautiful: And from her lips, as from a hyacinth full Of honey-dew, a liquid murmur drops, Killing the sense with passion; sweet as stops Of planetary music heard in trance. In her mild lights the starry spirits dance, The sun-beams of those wells which ever leap Under the lightnings of the soul-too deep For the brief fathom-line of thought or sense. The glory of her being, issuing thence,
Stains the dead, blank, colii air with a warm shade
Ah, woe is me!