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Sound of vernal showers
On the twinkling grass, Rain-awakened flowers, All that ever was Joyous, and clear, and fresh, thy music doth surpass
Teach us, sprite or bird,
What sweet thoughts are thine;
Or triumphant chant, Matched with thine, would be all But an empty vaunt,— A thing wherein we feel there is some hidden want.
What objects are the fountains Of thy happy strain? What fields, or waves, or mountains? What shapes of sky or plain? What love of thine own kind? What ignorance of pain?
With thy clear, keen joyance
Languor cannot be:
Waking or asleep,
Thou of death must deem Things more true and deep Than we mortals dream, Or how could thy notes flow in such a crystal stream?
376 THE PRISONER OF CHILLONo
We look before and after,
And pine for what is not:
With some pain is fraught; Our sweetest songs are those that tell of saddest thought.
Yet if we could scorn
Hate, and pride, and fear; If we were things born Not to shed a tear, I know not how thy joy we ever should come near.
Better than all measures
Of delightful sound, Better than all treasures That in books are found, Thy skill to poet were, thou scorner of the ground!
Teach me half the gladness
That thy brain must know, Such harmonious madness From my lips would flow, The world should listen then, as I am listening now.
THE PRISONER OF CH1LLON. — Jfyrmt.
SONNET ON CHILLON,
Eteknal spirit of the chainless mind!
The heart which love of thee alone can bind;
And when thy sons to fetters are consigned,—
Chillon! thy prison is a holy place,
And thy sad floor an altar, — for't was trod,
Worn, as if thy cold pavement were a sod,
By Bonnivard ! — May none those marks efface . For they appeal from tyranny to God0
My hair is gray, but not with years;
But rusted with a vile repose;
And mine has been the fate of those
Six in youth, and one in age,
Proud of Persecution's rage;
378 THE PRISONER OF CHILLON.
Dying as their father died,
There are seven pillars of Gothic mould
And in each ring there is a chain;
For in these limbs its teeth remain,
They chained us each to a column stone,
And thus together, yet apart,
A grating sound, — not full and free,
I was the eldest of the three,
And, to uphold and cheer the rest,
And each did well in his degree.
The youngest, whom my father loved
Because our mother's brow was given
To him, with eyes as blue as heaven,— For him my soul was sorely moved;
And truly might it be distressed
To see such bird in such a nest;
For he was beautiful as day,—
A sunset till its summer's gone,
The snow-clad offspring of the sun:
And in his natural spirit gay,