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THE DEAD REPUBLIC OF RAGUSA.
O DEAD Republic! Gloom and dust
Are in thy ruined palace halls;
And on thy terraces and walls
The moss and ivy shroud decay.
No ships swing in thy silent bay :
No merchants throng thy streets of stairs;
Thine armour lies bedimmed with rust ;
No lofty lance thy pennon bears.
The centuries pass on, nor turn
Ragusa with their feet to spurn.
Yet once thy sails on every sea
Proclaimed thy proud and long renown,
Nor ever was Italian town,
Nor Venice with her argosies,
Nor Pisa 'mid her olive trees,
Nor Florence mistress of the arts,
That in thy day could scoff at thee.
E'en to the globe's remotest parts
Dalmatian keels, triumphant, bore
The story of thy wealth and lore.
Thy poets from thy people sprang
To sing, in soft melodious lays,
Republican Ragusa's praise.
Thy monks wrought on their missal's page
Thy glory's tale from age to age.
The traders from the hot Levant
Brought gold that in thy coffers rang :
From Afric and from Alicant
Came spices rare, and oil, and wine;
The fruits of all the earth were thine.
In splendour lonely and forlorn
The temple of thy Doges stands :
Hard by it, o'er the stony lands
The peasant grimly leads his flocks.
The savage grandeur of the rocks,
The high and immemorial hills
Seem but to mock thee, and to scorn
Thy glorious history, that fills
With echoes trumpet-like and vast
The shaded valleys of the past.
AND now the time grew ripe, and, sword in hand,
I climbed among the crags, and sought the camp
Where hardy earnest mountaineers defied
The Turkish legions from the lands below.
All night, beside a trusty guide, who spoke
In fragmentary Greek, which halting came
From long unpractised lips, I clambered up
And over giant boulders. Now we sat,
Panting and heated, near a precipice,
Uncertain of our pathway, and we heard,
Far off, the heavy beating of the sea
Upon the rocky bold Dalmatian shore.
Or now we halted in a hollow cave,
And heard above us rushing streams that leaped And raced in dusky channels.
And rose again, and saw a beacon-fire,
And hailed it with a shout and now we watched
Despairingly its cheerful flames die down,
And trembled at the darkness.
But the moon
Came stealing from behind a gloomy cloud,
And wooëd us onward.
'Tis enchanted land!
I see it still. It floats before mine eyes
By day and night; a region strange, forlorn,
Titanic, awful, full of mysteries !
NIGHT IN THE HERZEGOVINA.
A WILDERNESS of stone! The deep ravines
Lie stern and naked 'neath the moon's pale light: And mighty barriers, gigantic screens,
Frown on the wanderer from every height.
No blade of grass nor any green is here,
Save on a crag one starving olive tree :
The torrents into caverns disappear,
Or hasten, moaning, downward to the sea.
The shepherd homeward to the fold his flock
Leads to the crooning of his rustic reed :
The goats bound airily from rock to rock,
And gambol where our human feet would bleed.