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In this low vale, the promise of the year,
Serene, thou openest to the nipping gale,
Unnoticed and alone,
Thy tender elegance.
So virtue blooms, brought forth amid the storms
Of chill adversity ; in some lone walk
Of life she rears her head,
Obscure and unobserved ;
While every bleaching breeze that on her blows
Chastens her spotless purity of breast,
And hardens her to bear
Serene the ills of life.
ARCHES on arches! as it were that Rome,
Collecting the chief trophies of her line,
Would build up all her triumph in one dome,
Her Coliseum stands; the moonbeams shine
As 'twere its natural torches, for divine
Should be the light which streams here, to illume
This long-explored, but still exhaustless mine
Of contemplation; and the azure gloom
Of an Italian night, where the deep skies assume
Hues which have words, and speak to ye of heaven,
Floats o'er this vast and wondrous monument,
And shadows forth its glory. There is given
Unto the things of earth, which Time hath bent,
A spirit's feeling, and where he hath leant
His hand, but broke his scythe, there is a power
And magic in the ruined battlement,
For which the palace of the present hour
Must yield its pomp, and wait till ages are its dower.
And here the buzz of eager nations ran,
In murmured pity, or loud-roared applause,
As man was slaughtered by his fellow man.
And wherefore slaughtered? wherefore, but because
Such were the bloody Circus' genial laws,
And the imperial pleasure.-Wherefore not ?
What matters where we fall, to fill the maws
Of worms-on battle-plains or listed spot ?
Both are but theatres where the chief actors rot.
I see before me the Gladiator lie:
He leans upon his hand-his manly brow
Consents to death, but conquers agony,
And his drooped head sinks gradually low-
And through his side the last drops, ebbing slow
From the red gash, fall heavy, one by one,
Like the first of a thunder-shower; and now
The arena swims around him—he is gone,
Ere ceased the inhuman shout which hailed the wretch
He heard it, but he heeded not-his eyes
Were with his heart, and that was far away:
He recked not of the life he lost, nor prize,
But where his rude hut by the Danube lay,
There were his young barbarians all at play,
There was their Dacian mother-he, their sire,
Butchered to make a Roman holiday-
All this rushed with his blood. Shall he expire, And unavenged? Arise! ye Goths, and glut your ire!
But here, where Murder breathed her bloody steam ;
And here, where buzzing nations choked the ways,
And roared or murmured like a mountain stream,
Dashing or winding, as its torrent strays;
Here, where the Roman million's blame or praise
Was death or life, the playthings of a crowd,
My voice sounds much—and fall the stars faint rays
On the arena void-seats crushed—walls bowed
And galleries, where my steps seem echoes strangely
A ruin-yet what ruin! from its mass
Walls, palaces, half-cities, have been reared;
Yet oft the enormous skeleton ye pass,
And marvel where the spoil could have appeared.
Hath it indeed been plundered, or but cleared ?
Alas ! developed, opens the decay,
When the colossal fabric's form is neared :
It will not bear the brightness of the day,
Which streams too much on all years, man, have reft
But when the rising moon begins to climb
Its topmost arch, and gently pauses there;
When the stars twinkle through the loops of time,
And the low night breeze waves along the air
The garland-forest, which the grey walls wear, ,
Like laurels on the bald first Cæsar's head;
When the light shines serene, but doth not glare,
Then in this magic circle raise the dead :
Heroes have trod this spot—'tis on their dust ye tread.
DEATH OF THE PRINCESS CHARLOTTE.
HARK! forth from the abyss a voice proceeds,
A long low distant murmur of dread sound,
Such as arises when a nation bleeds
With some deep and immedicable wound;
Through storm and darkness yawns the rending
ground, The gulf is thick with phantoms, but the chief Seems royal still, though with her head discrowned,
And pale, but lovely, with maternal grief She clasps a babe, to whom her breast yields no relief.
Scion of chiefs and monarchs, where art thou ? Fond hope of many nations, art thou dead ? Could not the grave forget thee, and lay low Some less majestic, less beloved head ? In the sad midnight, while thy heart still bled, The mother of a moment, o'er thy boy, Death hushed that pang for ever: with thee fled The present happiness and promised joy Which filled the imperial isles so full it seemed to cloy.
Peasants bring forth in safety.--Can it be,
Oh thou that wert so happy, so adored !
Those who weep not for kings shall weep for thee,
And Freedom's heart, grown heavy, cease to hoard
Her many griefs for ONE; for she had poured
Her orisons for thee, and o'er thy head
Beheld her Iris.-Thou, too, lonely lord,
And desolate consort-vainly wert thou wed!
The husband of a year! the father of the dead !
Of sackcloth was thy wedding garment made;
Thy bridal's fruit is ashes: in the dust
The fair-haired daughter of the isles is laid,
The love of millions! How we did entrust
Futurity to her! and, though it must
Darken above our bones, yet fondly deemed
Our children should obey her child, and blessed
Her and her hoped-for seed, whose promise seemed Like stars to shepherds' eyes :- 'twas but a meteor beamed.
How dear to me the hour when day-light dies,
And sunbeams melt along the silent sea, For then sweet dreams of other days arise,
And memory breathes her vesper sigh to thee.
And, as I watch the line of light, that plays
Along the smooth wave toward the burning west, I long to tread that golden path of rays, And think ’twould lead to some bright isle of rest !