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I have been patient, let me be so yet;
I had forgotten half I would forget,
But it revives-oh! would it were
lot To be forgetful as I am forgot! Feel I not wroth with those who bade me dwell In this vast lazar-house of many woes? Where laughter is not mirth, nor thought the mind, Nor words a language, nor ev’n men mankind ; Where cries reply to curses, shrieks to blows, And each is tortured in his separate hellFor we are crowded in our solitudesMany, but each divided by the wall, Which echoes Madness in her babbling moods ; While all can hear, none heed his neighbour's callNone! save that One, the veriest wretch of all, Who was not made to be the mate of these, Nor bound between distraction and disease. Feel I not wroth with those who placed me here? Who have debased me in the minds of men, Debarring me the usage of my own, Blighting my life in best of its career, Branding my thoughts as things to shun and fear? Would I not pay them back these pangs again, And teach them inward sorrow's stifled groan? The struggle to be calm, and cold distress, Which undermines our stoical success? No!-still too proud to be vindictive—I Have pardon'd princes’ insults, and would die. Yes, sister of my sovereign ! for thy sake I weed all bitterness from out
breast It hath no business where thou art a guest ; Thy brother hates—but I can not detest ; Thou pitiest not—but I can not forsake.
Look on a love which knows not to despair,
But all unquench'd is still my better part,
Dwelling deep in my shut and silent heart
As dwells the gather'd lightning in its cloud,
Encompass’d with its dark and rolling shroud,
Till struck,-forth flies the all-ethereal dart!
And thus at the collision of thy name
The vivid thought still flashes through my frame,
And for a moment all things as they were
Flit by me;—they are gone“I am the same.
And yet my love without ambition grew;
I knew thy state, my station, and I knew
A princess was no love-mate for a bard;
I told it not, I breathed it not, it was
Sufficient to itself, its own reward ;
And if my eyes reveal'd it, they, alas !
Were punish'd by the silentness of thine,
And yet I did not venture to repine.
Thou wert to me a crystal-girded shrine,
Worshipp'd at holy distance, and around
Hallow'd and meekly kiss'd the saintly ground;
Not for thou wert a princess, but that love
Had robed thee with a glory, and array'd
Thy lineaments in beauty that dismay'd-
Oh! not dismay'd—but awed, like One above ;
And in that sweet severity there was
A something which all softness did
I know not how~thy genius master'd mine-
My star stood still before thee :-if it were
Presumptuous thus to love without design,
That sad fatality hath cost me dear :
But thou art dearest still, and I should be
Fit for this cell, which wrongs me, but for thee.
love which lock’d me to my chain Hath lighten'd half its weight; and for the rest, Though heavy, lent me vigour to sustain, And look to thee with undivided breast, And foil the ingenuity of pain.
It is no marvel—from my very birth
My soul was drunk with love, which did pervade
And mingle with whate'er I saw on earth ;
Of objects all inanimate I made
Idols, and out of wild and lonely flowers,
And rocks, whereby they grew, a paradise,
Where I did lay me down within the shade
Of waving trees, and dream'd uncounted hours,
Though I was chid for wandering ; and the wise
Shook their white aged heads o'er me, and said
Of such materials wretched men were made,
And such a truant boy would end in woe,
And that the only lesson was a blow;
And then they smote me, and I did not weep,
But cursed them in my heart, and to my haunt
Return'd and wept alone, and dream'd again
The visions which arise without a sleep.
And with my years my soul began to pant
With feelings of strange tumult and soft pain,
And the whole heart exhaled into one want,
But undefined and wandering, till the day
I found the thing I sought-and that was thee ;
And then I lost my being, all to be
Absorb’d in thine—the world was past away-
Thou didst annihilate the earth to me!
VII. I loved all solitude—but little thought To spend I know not what of life, remote From all communion with existence, save The maniac and his tyrant: had I been Their fellow, many years ere this had seen My mind like theirs corrupted to its grave; But who hath seen me writhe, or heard me rave. Perchance in such a cell we suffer more Than the wreck'd sailor on his desert shore; The world is all before him-mine is here, Scarce twice the space they must accord my
bier. What though he perish, he may lift his eye, And with a dying glance upbraid the sky?I will not raise my own in such reproof, Although 't is clouded by my dungeon roof.
Yet do I feel at times my mind decline,
But with a sense of its decay ;-I see
Unwonted lights along my prison shine,
And a strange demon, who is vexing me
With pilfering pranks and petty pains, below
The feeling of the healthful and the free;
But much to one, who long hath suffer'd so,
Sickness of heart, and narrowness of place,
And all that may be borne, or can debase.
I thought mine enemies had been but man,
But spirits may be leagued with them--all earth
Abandons—Heaven forgets me—in the dearth
Of such defence the powers of evil can,
It may be, tempt me further, and prevail
Against the outworn creature they assail.
Why in this furnace is my spirit proved,
Like steel in tempering fire? because I loved !
Because I loved what not to love, and see,
Was more or less than mortal, and than me.
I once was quick in feeling—that is o'er ;-
My scars are callous, or I should have dash'd
My brain against these bars as the sun flash'd
In mockery through them ;-if I bear and bore
The much I have recounted, and the more
Which hath no words, 't is that I would not die
And sanction with self-slaughter the dull lie
Which snared me here, and with the brand of shame
Stamp madness deep into my memory,
And woo compassion to a blighted name,
Sealing the sentence which my foes proclaim.
No-it shall be inmortal !--and I make
A future temple of my present cell,
Which nations yet shall visit for my sake.
While thou, Ferrara! when no longer dwell
The ducal chiefs within thee, shalt fall down,
And crumbling piece-meal view thy hearthless halls,
A poet's wreath shall be thine only crown,
A poet's dungeon thy most far renown,
While strangers wonder o'er thy unpeopled walis
And thou, Leonora! thou—who wert ashamed
That such as I could love-who blush'd to hear
To less than monarchs that thou couldst be dear,
Go! tell thy brother that my heart, untamed
By grief, years, weariness—and it
be A taint of that he would impute to me, From long infection of a den like this, Where the mind rots congenial with the abyss,Adores thee still ;—and add—that when the towers And battlements which guard his joyous hours Of banquet, dance, and revel, are forgot, Or left untended in a dull repose, This—this shall be a consecrated spot! But thou—when all that birth and beauty throws Of magic round thee is extinct-shalt have One half the laurel which o'ershades my grave. No power
in death can tear our names apart, As none in life could rend thee from
heart. Yes, Leonora ! it shall be our fate To be entwined for ever-but too late!