« AnteriorContinuar »
Hence in a season of calm weather
Though inland far we be,
Our Souls have sight of that immortal sea
Which brought us hither,
Can in a moment travel thither,
And see the Children sport upon the shore,
And hear the mighty waters rolling evermore.
Then sing, ye Birds, sing, sing a joyous song!
And let the young Lambs bound
As to the tabor's sound !
We in thought will join your throng,
Ye that pipe and ye that play,
Ye that through your hearts to-day
Feel the gladness of the May!
What though the radiance which was once so bright
Be now for ever taken from my sight,
Though nothing can bring back the hour
Of splendour in the grass, of glory in the flower;
We will grieve not, rather find
Strength in what remains behind;
In the primal sympathy
Which having been must ever be ;
In the soothing thoughts that spring
Out of human suffering ;
In the faith that looks through death,
In years that bring the philosophic mind.
And O, ye Fountains, Meadows, Hills, and Groves,
Forebode not any severing of our loves !
Yet in my heart of hearts I feel your might;
I only have relinquished one delight
To live beneath your more habitual sway.
I love the Brooks, which down their channels fret,
Even more than when I tripped lightly as they:
The innocent brightness of a new-born Day
Is lovely yet ;
The Clouds that gather round the setting sun
Do take a sober colouring from an eye
That hath kept watch o'er man's mortality ;
Another race hath been, and other palms are won.
Thanks to the human heart by which we live,
Thanks to its tenderness, its joys, and fears,
To me the meanest flower that blows can give
Thoughts that do often lie too deep for tears.
“With sacrifice before the rising morn
Vows have I made by fruitless hope inspired :
And from the infernal Gods, ’mid shades forlorn
Of night, my slaughtered Lord have I required:
Celestial pity I again implore ;
Restore him to my sight-great Jove, restore !'
So speaking, and by fervent love endowed
With faith, the Suppliant heavenward lifts her hands;
While, like the sun emerging from a cloud,
Her countenance brightens—and her eye expands ;
Her bosom heaves and spreads, her stature grows ;
And she expects the issue in repose.
O terror! what hath she perceived ?-0 joy !
What doth she look on ?-whom doth she behold?
Her Hero slain upon the beach of Troy?
His vital presence? his corporeal mould ?
It is-if sense deceive her not-'tis he!
And a god leads him-winged Mercury!
Mild Hermes spake—and touched her with his wand
That calms all fear : 'Such grace hath crowned thy prayer,
Laodamia ! that at Jove's command
Thy Husband walks the paths of upper air :
He comes to tarry with thee three hours' space ;
Accept the gift, behold him face to face !'
Forth sprang the impassioned Queen her Lord to clasp :
Again that consummation she essayed :
But unsubstantial Form eludes her grasp
As often as that eager grasp was made.
The Phantom parts—but parts to reunite,
And reassume his place before her sight.
Protesiláus, lo l thy guide is gone!
Confirm, I pray, the vision with thy voice :
This is our palace,-yonder is thy throne ;
Speak, and the floor thou tread’st on will rejoice.
Not to appal me have the gods bestowed
This precious boon; and blest a sad abode.'
'Great Jove, Laodamía ! doth not leave
His gifts imperfect :—Spectre though I be,
I am not sent to scare thee or deceive;
But in reward of thy fidelity.
And something also did my worth obtain ;
For fearless virtue bringeth boundless gain.
Thou knowest, the Delphic oracle foretold
That the first Greek who touched the Trojan strand
Should die ; but me the threat could not withhold:
A generous cause a victim did demand ;
And forth I leapt upon the sandy plain ;
A self-devoted chief-by Hector slain.'
Supreme of Heroes-bravest, noblest, best!
Thy matchless courage I bewail no more,
Which then, when tens of thousands were deprest
By doubt, propelled thee to the fatal shore ;
Thou found'st-and I forgive thee-here thou art-
A nobler counsellor than my poor heart.
But thou, though capable of sternest deed,
Wert kind as resolute, and good as brave ;
And he, whose power restores thee, hath decreed
Thou should'st elude the malice of the grave;
Redundant are thy locks, thy lips as fair
As when their breath enriched Thessalian air.
No Spectre greets me,-no vain Shadow this:
Come, blooming Hero, place thee by my side!
Give, on this well-known couch, one nuptial kiss
To me, this day, a second time thy bride!'
Jove frowned in heaven : the conscious Parcæ threw
Upon those roseate lips a Stygian hue.
“This visage tells thee that my doom is past :
Nor should the change be mourned even if the joys
Of sense were able to return as fast
And surely as they vanish. Earth destroys
Those raptures duly-Erebus disdains :
Calm pleasures there abide-majestic pains,
Be taught, O faithful Consort, to control
Rebellious passion ; for the Gods approve
The depth, and not the tumult, of the soul;
A fervent, not ungovernable, love.
Thy transports moderate ; and meekly mourn
When I depart, for brief is my sojourn-
"Ah, wherefore?-Did not Hercules by force
Wrest from the guardian Monster of the tomb
Alcestis, a reanimated corse,
Given back to dwell on earth in vernal bloom?
Medea's spells dispersed the weight of years,
And Æson stood a youth 'mid youthful peers.
The Gods to us are merciful-and they
Yet further may relent : for mightier far
Than strength of nerve and sinew, or the sway
Of magic potent over sun and star,
Is love, though oft to agony distrest,
And though his favourite seat be feeble woman's breast.
But if thou goest, I follow- Peace!' he said, -
She looked upon him and was calmed and cheered ;
The ghastly colour from his lips had fled ;
In his deportment, shape, and mien, appeared
Elysian beauty-melancholy grace-
Brought from a pensive though a happy place.
He spake of love, such love as Spirits feel
In worlds whose course is equable and pure ;
No fears to beat away-no strife to heal -
The past unsigh'd for, and the future sure ;
Spake of heroic hearts in graver mood
Revived, with finer harmony pursued ;
Of all that is most beauteous-imaged there
In happier beauty ; more pellucid streams,
An ampler ether, a diviner air,
And fields invested with purpureal gleams;
Climes which the sun, who sheds the brightest day
Earth knows, is all unworthy to survey.
Yet there the Soul shall enter which hath eai ned
That privilege by virtue.-III,' said he,
"The end of man's existence I discerned,
Who from ignoble games and revelry
Could draw, when we had parted, vain delight,
While tears were thy best pastime, day and night :
"And while my youthful peers before my eyes
(Each here following his peculiar bent)
Prepared themselves for glorious enterprise
By martial sports,-or, seated in the tent,
Chieftains and kings in council were detained ;
What time the feet at Aulis lay enchained.
“The wish’d-for wind was given :-I then revolved
The oracle, upon the silent sea;
And, if no worthier led the way, resolved
That, of a thousand vessels, mine should be
The foremost prow in pressing to the strand, -
Mine the first blood that tinged the Trojan sand.
‘Yet bitter, oft-times bitter, was the pang
When of thy loss I thought, beloved Wife!
On thee too fondly did my memory hang,
And on the joys we shared in mortal life,
The paths which we had trod-these fountains, flowers;
My new-planned cities, and unfinished towers.