Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

II

Five thousand warriors-O the rapturous day !1

Each crowned with flowers, and armed with spear and

shield,

Or ruder weapon which their course might yield,2
To Syracuse advance3 in bright array.
Who leads them on ?—The anxious people see
Long-exiled Dion marching at their head,
He also crowned with flowers of Sicily,
And in a white, far-beaming, corselet clad!
Pure transport undisturbed by doubt or fear
The gazers feel; and, rushing to the plain,
Salute those strangers as a holy train
Or blest procession (to the Immortals dear)
That brought their precious liberty again.

Lo! when the gates are entered, on each hand,
Down the long street, rich goblets filled with wine

In seemly order stand,

20

25

30

On tables set, as if for rites divine ;—

And, as the great Deliverer marches by,

35

He looks on festal ground with fruits bestrown;
And flowers are on his person thrown1

In boundless prodigality;

Nor doth the general voice abstain from prayer,
Invoking Dion's tutelary care,

As if a very Deity he were !

[blocks in formation]

40

III*

Mourn, hills and groves of Attica! and mourn
Ilissus, bending o'er thy classic urn!

Mourn, and lament for him whose spirit dreads

44

Your once sweet memory, studious walks and shades!
For him who to divinity aspired,

Not on the breath1 of popular applause,

But through dependence on the sacred laws

Framed in the schools where Wisdom dwelt retired,
Intent to trace the ideal path of right

50

(More fair than heaven's broad causeway paved with stars) Which Dion learned to measure with sublime delight;- 2 But He hath overleaped 3 the eternal bars ;

3

And, following guides whose craft holds no consent
With aught that breathes the ethereal element,
Hath stained the robes of civil power with blood,
Unjustly shed, though for the public good.
Whence doubts that came too late, and wishes vain,
Hollow excuses, and triumphant pain;

And oft his cogitations sink as low

As, through the abysses of a joyless heart,
The heaviest plummet of despair can go—

But whence that sudden check? that fearful start!

He hears an uncouth sound

Anon his lifted eyes

Saw, at a long-drawn gallery's dusky bound,

55

60

65

[blocks in formation]

The edition of 1840 returns to the text of 1820.

*

See, at the close of the poem (p. 122), several experimental renderings of this stanza, printed from MS.-ED.

A Shape 1 of more than mortal size

And hideous aspect, stalking round and round!

A woman's garb the Phantom wore,
And fiercely swept the marble floor,-
Like Auster whirling to and fro,2

His force on Caspian foam to try;
Or Boreas when he scours the snow
That skins the plains of Thessaly,
Or when aloft on Mænalus he stops
His flight, 'mid eddying pine-tree tops!

IV

So, but from toil less sign of profit reaping,
The sullen Spectre to her purpose bowed,

Sweeping vehemently sweeping—
No pause admitted, no design avowed!

66

[ocr errors]

Avaunt, inexplicable Guest !—avaunt,'
Exclaimed the Chieftain 3___"let me rather see
The coronal that coiling vipers make ;

The torch that flames with many a lurid flake,
And the long train of doleful pageantry

Which they behold, whom vengeful Furies haunt ;

[blocks in formation]

Sweeping-vehemently sweeping

Long gazed the chieftain-ere he spake-aloud—

With even voice and stern composure wrought

Into his brow by self-supporting thought:

"Avaunt, inexplicable Guest-avaunt,
Intrusive Phantom! let me rather see
What they behold,

Sweeping-vehemently sweeping—

No pause admitted-no design avowed!

70

75

MS.

80

85

Who, while they struggle from the scourge to flee,
Move where the blasted1 soil is not unworn,

And, in their anguish, bear what other minds have borne !"

V

But Shapes that come not at an earthly call,
Will not depart when mortal voices bid;
Lords of the visionary eye whose lid,

Once raised, remains aghast, and will not fall!
Ye Gods, thought He, that servile Implement
Obeys a mystical intent!

Your Minister would brush away

The spots that to my soul adhere;

But should she labour night and day,

They will not, cannot disappear;

Whence angry perturbations,—and that look
Which no philosophy can brook!

VI

Ill-fated Chief! there are 2 whose hopes are built
Upon the ruins of thy glorious name; 3
Who, through the portal of one moment's guilt,

Breathless the chieftain gazed-—at length,
Endeavouring to collect his strength,
With pallid cheek and rueful brow,

And a half-pleading, a half-threatening eye,
Such as the Fates exclusively allow

For the behoof of suffering majesty,

He rose and spake aloud

"Intrusive Presence! let me rather see
What they behold,

1 1820.

[blocks in formation]

2 1820.

wretched

MS.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]

Pursue thee with their deadly aim!1

O matchless perfidy! 2 portentous lust

Of monstrous crime !—that horror-striking blade,
Drawn in defiance of the Gods, hath laid

The noble Syracusan low in dust!

Shudder'd the walls-the marble city wept—
And sylvan places heaved a pensive sigh;

But in calm peace the appointed Victim slept,
As he had fallen in magnanimity;

Of spirit too capacious to require

[merged small][ocr errors]

That Destiny her course should change; too just 115
To his own native greatness 5 to desire

That wretched boon, days lengthened by mistrust.
So were the hopeless troubles, that involved
The soul of Dion, instantly dissolved.
Released from life and cares of princely state,
He left this moral grafted on his Fate;
"Him only pleasure leads, and peace attends,
Him, only him, the shield of Jove defends,
Whose means are fair and spotless as his ends."
1 1820.

[blocks in formation]

120

[blocks in formation]

Mourn, olive bowers of Attica! and Thou,

Partake the sadness of the groves,

Famed hill Hymettus, round whose fragrant brow,

Industrious bees, each seeking what she loves,

« AnteriorContinuar »