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THE Spirit of Antiquity — enshrined

In sumptuous buildings, vocal in sweet song,
In picture, speaking with heroic tongue,
And with devout solemnities entwined
Mounts to the seat of grace within the mind:
Hence Forms that glide with swan-like ease along,
Hence motions, even amid the vulgar throng,
To an harmonious decency confined:
As if the streets were consecrated ground,
The city one vast temple, dedicate
To mutual respect in thought and deed;
To leisure, to forbearances sedate;

To social cares from jarring passions freed;
A deeper peace than that in deserts found!



In Bruges town is many a street
Whence busy life hath fled;
Where, without hurry, noiseless feet
The grass-grown pavement tread.

There heard we, halting in the shade
Flung from a Convent-tower,
A harp that tuneful prelude made
To a voice of thrilling power.

The measure, simple truth to tell,
Was fit for some gay throng;
Though from the same grim turret fell
The shadow and the song.

When silent were both voice and chords,
The strain seemed doubly dear,
Yet sad as sweet,- for English words
Had fallen upon the ear.

It was a breezy hour of eve;
And pinnacle and spire

Quivered, and seemed almost to heave,
Clothed with innocuous fire;

But where we stood, the setting sun
Showed little of his state;

And, if the glory reached the Nun,
"T was through an iron grate.

Not always is the heart unwise,
Nor pity idly born,

If even a passing Stranger sighs
For them who do not mourn.
Sad is thy doom, self-solaced dove,
Captive, whoe'er thou be!

O, what is beauty, what is love

And opening life to thee?

Such feeling pressed upon my soul,
A feeling sanctified

By one soft trickling tear that stole

From the Maiden at my side;
than this,

Less tribute could she pay

Borne gaily o'er the sea,

Fresh from the beauty and the bliss
Of English liberty?




A WINGED Goddess, clothed in vesture wrought

Of rainbow colors,

one whose port was bold, Whose overburdened hand could scarcely hold The glittering crowns and garlands which it brought,

Hovered in air above the far-famed spot.
She vanished; leaving prospect blank and cold
Of wind-swept corn that wide around us rolled
In dreary billows, wood, and meagre cot,
And monuments that soon must disappear:
Yet a dread local recompense we found;

While glory seemed betrayed, while patriot zeal
Sank in our hearts, we felt as men should feel
With such vast hoards of hidden carnage near,
And horror breathing from the silent ground!



WHAT lovelier home could gentle Fancy choose?
Is this the stream whose cities, heights, and plains,
War's favorite playground, are with crimson stains
Familiar, as the Morn with pearly dews?

The Morn, that now, along the silver MEUSE,
Spreading her peaceful ensigns, calls the swains
To tend their silent boats and ringing wains,
Or strip the bough whose mellow fruit bestrews
The ripening corn beneath it. As mine eyes
Turn from the fortified and threatening hill,
How sweet the prospect of yon watery glade,
With its gray rocks clustering in pensive shade,
That, shaped like old monastic turrets, rise
From the smooth meadow-ground, serene and still!



WAS it to disenchant, and to undo,

That we approached the Seat of Charlemaine?
sweep from many an old romantic strain
That faith which no devotion may renew!
Why does this puny Church present to view
Her feeble columns? and that scanty chair!
This sword that one of our weak times might wear!

Objects of false pretence, or meanly true!
If from a traveller's fortune I might claim
A palpable memorial of that day,

Then would I seek the Pyrenean Breach
That ROLAND clove with huge two-handed sway,
And to the enormous labor left his name,
Where unremitting frosts the rocky crescent bleach.



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O FOR the help of Angels to complete
This Temple, Angels governed by a plan
Thus far pursued (how gloriously!) by Man;
Studious that He might not disdain the seat
Who dwells in heaven! But that aspiring heat
Hath failed; and now, ye Powers! whose gor-
geous wings

And splendid aspect yon emblazonings
But faintly picture, 't were an office meet
For you, on these unfinished shafts to try
The midnight virtues of your harmony: -
This vast design might tempt you to repeat
Strains that call forth upon empyreal ground
Immortal Fabrics, rising to the sound
Of penetrating harps and voices sweet!

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