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And mine was thankful till my eyes,
Ran over with the glad surprise,
And they that moment could not see
I was the mate of misery.
But then by dull degrees came back
My senses to their wonted track:
I saw the dungeon walls and floor
Close slowly round me as before;
I saw the glimmer of the sun
Creeping as it before had done, —
But through the crevice where it came
That bird was perched, as fond and tame,
And tamer than upon the tree;
A lovely bird, with azure wings,
And song that said a thousand things,
And seemed to say them all for me!
I never saw its like before,
I ne'er shall see its likeness more:
It seemed like me to want a mate,
But was not half so desolate,
And it was come to love me when
None lived to love me so again,
And cheering from my dungeon's brink
Had brought me back to feel and think.
I know not if it late were free,
Or broke its cage to perch on mine,
But knowing well captivity,
Sweet bird! I could not wish for thine; Or if it were, in winged guise, A visitant from paradise; For—Heaven forgive that thought! the while Which made me both to weep and smile — I sometimes deemed that it might be My brother's soul come down to me. But then at last away it flew, And then't was mortal well I knew;
386 THE PRISONER OF CHILLON.
For he would never thus have flown,
And left me twice so doubly lone,—
Lone as the corse within its shroud,
Lone as a solitary cloud,
A single cloud on a sunny day,
While all the rest of heaven is clear,
A frown upon the atmosphere,
That hath no business to appear
When skies are blue and earth is gay.
A kind of change came in my fate,—
My keepers grew compassionate:
I know not what had made them so,
They were inured to sights of woe,
But so it was : — my broken chain
With links unfastened did remain,
And it was liberty to stride
Along my cell from side to side,
And up and down, and then athwart,
And tread it over every part,
And round the pillars one by one,
Returning where my walk begun,—
Avoiding only, as I trod,
My brothers' graves without a sod;
For if I thought with heedless tread
My step profaned their lowly bed,
My breath came gaspingly and thick,
And my crushed heart fell blind and sick.
I made a footing in the wall, —
It was not therefrom to escape;For I had buried one and all
Who loved me in a human shape,
And the whole earth would henceforth be
A wider prison unto me:
No child, no sire, no kin had I,
No partner in my misery;
I thought of this, and I was glad,
For thought of them had made me mad;
But I was curious to ascend
To my barred windows, and to bend
Once more upon the mountains high
The quiet of a loving eye.
I saw them,—and they were the same,
They were not changed like me in frame;
I saw their thousand years of snow
On high, — their wide long lake below,
And the blue Rhone in fullest flow;
I heard the torrents leap and gush
O'er channelled rock and broken bush;
I saw the white-walled distant town,
And whiter sails go skimming down;
And then there was a little isle,
Which in my very face did smile,
The only one in view;
A small green isle, — it seemed no more,—
Scarce broader than my dungeon floor;
But in it there were three tall trees,
And o'er it blew the mountain breeze,
And by it there were waters flowing,
And on it there were young flowers growing
Of gentle breath and hue.
The fish swam by the castle wall,
And they seemed joyous each and all;
The eagle rode the rising blast,—
Methought he never flew so fast
888 THE PRISONER OF' CHILLON",
As then to me he seemed to fly,
And then new tears came in my eye,
And I felt troubled, — and would fain
I had not left my recent chain;
And when I did descend again,
The darkness of my dim abode
Fell on me as a heavy load;
It was as is a new-dug grave
Closing o'er one we sought to save,
And yet my glance, too much oppressed..
Had almost need of such a rest.
It might be months, or years, or days, — .
I kept no count, I took no note,
I had no hope my eyes to raise,
And clear them of their dreary mote;
At last men came to set me free, —
I asked not why, and recked not where.
It was at length the same to me
Fettered or fetterless to be,
I learned to love despair.
And thus when they appeared at last,
And all my bonds aside were cast,
These heavy walls to me had grown
A hermitage, — and all my own!
And half I felt as they were come
To tear me from a second home:
With spiders I had friendship made,
And watched them in their sullen trade,
Had seen the mice by moonlight play,
And why should I feel less than they «?
We were all inmates of one place,
And I, the monarch of each race,
Had power to kill, — yet, strange to tell,
In quiet we had learned to dwell;
My very chains and I grew friends,
So much a long communion tends
To make us what we are : — even I
Regained my freedom with a sigh.
SONNET. —J. Blanco White.
Mysterious night! when our first parent knew
Thee, from report divine, and heard thy name,
Did he not tremble for this lovely frame,
This glorious canopy of light and blue r
Yet 'neath a curtain of translucent dew, Bathed in the rays of the great setting flame,
Hesperus with the host of heaven came,
And, lo! creation widened in man's view.
Who could have thought such darkness lay concealed
Within thy beams, O sun? or who could find,
Whilst fly, and leaf, and insect stood revealed,
That to such countless orbs thou mad'st us blind?
Why do we, then, shun death with anxious strife?
If light can thus deceive, wherefore not life?
THE ANCIENT MARINER. — Coleridge.
An ancient mariner eeteth
It is an ancient mariner,
And he stoppeth one of three, SrSeegai
"By thy long gray beard and glittering eye, IVfl^
Now wherefore stopp's thou me? Jid'deuS.