Imágenes de páginas

To those sweet counsels between head and heart

Whence grew that genuine knowledge, fraught with peace,
Which, through the later sinkings of this cause,
Hath still upheld me, and upholds me now
In the catastrophe (for so they dream,
And nothing less), when, finally to close
And seal up all the gains of France, a Pope
Is summoned in, to crown an Emperor-*
This last opprobrium, when we see a people,
That once looked up in faith, as if to Heaven
For manna, take a lesson from the dog
Returning to his vomit; when the sun
That rose in splendour, was alive, and moved
In exultation with a living pomp

Of clouds his glory's natural retinue—

Hath dropped all functions by the gods bestowed,
And, turned into a gewgaw, a machine,

Sets like an Opera phantom.

Thus, O Friend!

Through times of honour and through times of shame
Descending, have I faithfully retraced

The perturbations of a youthful mind

Under a long-lived storm of great events

A story destined for thy ear, who now,
Among the fallen of nations, dost abide.
Where Etna, over hill and valley, casts
His shadow stretching towards Syracuse,†

The city of Timoleon!

Righteous Heaven!

* In 1804 Bonaparte sent for the Pope to anoint him as Emperor of France.-ED.

† Coleridge was then living in Sicily, whither he had gone from Malta. He ascended Etna. See Cottles' Early Recollections, chiefly relating to Samuel Taylor Coleridge (Vol. II., p. 77), and also compare the notes in this Volume, pp. 168, 238, and 258.-ED.

Timoleon, one of the greatest of the Greeks, was sent in command of an expedition to reduce Scilly to order; and was afterwards the Master, but

How are the mighty prostrated!

They first,

They first of all that breathe, should have awaked

When the great voice was heard from out the tombs
Of ancient heroes. If I suffered grief

For ill-requited France, by many deemed

A trifler only in her proudest day;

Have been distressed to think of what she once

Promised, now is; a far more sober cause

Thine eyes must see of sorrow in a land,
To the reanimating influence lost

Of memory, to virtue lost and hope,

Though with the wreck of loftier years bestrewn.

But indignation works where hope is not, And thou, O Friend! wilt be refreshed.

One great society alone on earth:

The noble Living and the noble Dead.

There is

Thine be such converse strong and sanative,
A ladder for thy spirit to reascend

To health and joy and pure contentedness;
To me the grief confined, that thou art gone
From this last spot of earth, where Freedom now
Stands single in her only sanctuary;

A lonely wanderer art gone, by pain
Compelled and sickness,* at this latter day,
This sorrowful reverse for all mankind.

I feel for thee, must utter what I feel:

The sympathies, erewhile in part discharged,

not the Tyrant, of Syracuse. He colonised it afresh from Corinth, and from the rest of Scilly; and enacted new laws of a democratic character, being ultimately the ruler of the whole island; although he refused office and declined titles, remaining a private citizen to the end. (See Plutarch's Life of him, and Cor. Nep.)-ED.

See p. 238, text, and note *.-ED.


Gather afresh, and will have vent again:

My own delights do scarcely seem to me
My own delights; the lordly Alps themselves,
Those rosy peaks, from which the Morning looks

Abroad on many nations, are no more

For me that image of pure gladsomeness

Which they were wont to be. Through kindred scenes,

For purpose, at a time, how different!

Thou tak'st thy way, carrying the heart and soul
That Nature gives to Poets, now by thought
Matured, and in the summer of their strength.
Oh! wrap him in your shades, ye giant woods,
On Etna's side; and thou, O flowery field
Of Enna!* is there not some nook of thine,
From the first play-time of the infant world
Kept sacred to restorative delight,

When from afar invoked by anxious love?

Child of the mountains, among shepherds reared, Ere yet familiar with the classic page,

I learnt to dream of Sicily; and lo,

The gloom, that, but a moment past, was deepened
At thy command, at her command gives way;
A pleasant promise, wafted from her shores,
Comes o'er my heart: in fancy I behold
Her seas yet smiling, her once happy vales;
Nor can my tongue give utterance to a name
Of note belonging to that honoured isle,

Philosopher or Bard, Empedocles,†

Or Archimedes, pure abstracted soul!‡

Compare Paradise Lost iv. 260.-Ed.

+ Empedocles, the philosopher of Agrigentum, physicist, metaphysician, poet, musician, and hierophant. (Flo. cir. 450 B.C.)—ED.

The geometrician of Syracuse (287-212 B.C.).—ED.

[ocr errors]

That doth not yield a solace to my grief;
And, O Theocritus, so far have some*

Prevailed among the powers of heaven and earth,
By their endowments, good or great, that they
Have had, as thou reportest, miracles

Wrought for them in old time: yea, not unmoved,

When thinking on my own beloved friend,

I hear thee tell how bees with honey fed
Divine Comates,† by his impious lord
Within a chest imprisoned; how they came
Laden from blooming grove or flowery field,
And fed him there, alive, month after month,
Because the goatherd, blessed man! had lips
Wet with the Muses' nectar.

Thus I soothe

The pensive moments by this calm fire-side,
And find a thousand bounteous images

To cheer the thoughts of those I love, and mine.
Our prayers have been accepted; thou wilt stand
On Etna's summit, above earth and sea,
Triumphant, winning from the invaded heavens
Thoughts without bound, magnificent designs,
Worthy of poets who attuned their harps
In wood or echoing cave, for discipline

Of heroes; or, in reverence to the gods,

'Mid temples, served by sapient priests, and choirs

Of virgins crowned with roses.

Not in vain

Those temples, where they in their ruins yet

Survive for inspiration, shall attract

Thy solitary steps: and on the brink
Thou wilt recline of pastoral Arethuse;

* The pastoral poet of Syracuse.—ED.
+ See Theocritus, Idyll vii. 78.-Ed.

Or, if that fountain be in truth no more,

Then, near some other spring-which by the name
Thou gratulatest, willingly deceived-

I see thee linger a glad votary,

And not a captive pining for his home.

Book Twelfth.


LONG time have human ignorance and guilt
Detained us, on what spectacles of woe
Compelled to look, and inwardly oppressed
With sorrow, disappointment, vexing thoughts,
Confusion of the judgment, zeal decayed,
And, lastly, utter loss of hope itself

And things to hope for! Not with these began
Our song, and not with these our song must end.—
Ye motions of delight, that haunt the sides

Of the green hills; ye breezes and soft airs,
Whose subtle intercourse with breathing flowers
Feelingly watched, might teach Man's haughty race
How without injury to take, to give

Without offence; ye who, as if to show

The wondrous influence of power gently used,
Bend the complying heads of lordly pines,

And, with a touch, shift the stupendous clouds
Through the whole compass of the sky; ye brooks
Muttering along the stones, a busy noise

By day, a quiet sound in silent night;

Ye waves, that out of the great deep steal forth
In a calm hour to kiss the pebbly shore,


« AnteriorContinuar »