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The Complete Poems of Sir Thomas Moore by Thomas Moore et al

Part 22 out of 33

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Nearer and near till he dies--
No, it was wonder, such as thrilled
At all God's works my dazzled sense;
The same rapt wonder, only filled
With passion, more profound, intense,--
A vehement, but wandering fire,
Which, tho' nor love, nor yet desire,--
Tho' thro' all womankind it took
Its range, its lawless lightnings run,
Yet wanted but a touch, a look,
To fix it burning upon _One_.

Then too the ever-restless zeal,
The insatiate curiosity,
To know how shapes so fair must feel--
To look but once beneath the seal
Of so much loveliness and see
What souls belonged to such bright eyes--
Whether as sunbeams find their way
Into the gem that hidden lies,
Those looks could inward turn their ray,
And make the soul as bright as they:
All this impelled my anxious chase.
And still the more I saw and knew
Of Woman's fond, weak, conquering race,
The intenser still my wonder grew.
I had beheld their First, their EVE,
Born in that splendid Paradise,
Which sprung there solely to receive
The first light of her waking eyes.
I had seen purest angels lean
In worship o'er her from above;
And man--oh yes, had envying seen
Proud man possest of all her love.

I saw their happiness, so brief,
So exquisite,--her error, too,
That easy trust, that prompt belief
In what the warm heart wishes true;
That faith in words, when kindly said.
By which the whole fond sex is led
Mingled with--what I durst not blame,
For 'tis my own--that zeal to _know_,
Sad, fatal zeal, so sure of woe;
Which, tho' from heaven all pure it came,
Yet stained, misused, brought sin and shame
On her, on me, on all below!

I had seen this; had seen Man, armed
As his soul is with strength and sense,
By her first words to ruin charmed;
His vaunted reason's cold defence,
Like an ice-barrier in the ray
Of melting summer, smiled away.
Nay, stranger yet, spite of all this--
Tho' by her counsels taught to err,
Tho' driven from Paradise for her,
(And _with_ her--_that_ at least was bliss,)
Had I not heard him ere he crost
The threshold of that earthly heaven,
Which by her bewildering smile he lost--
So quickly was the wrong forgiven--
Had I not heard him, as he prest
The frail, fond trembler to a breast
Which she had doomed to sin and strife,
Call her--even then--his Life! his Life![8]
Yes, such a love-taught name, the first,
That ruined Man to Woman gave,
Even in his outcast hour, when curst
By her fond witchery, with that worst
And earliest boon of love, the grave!
She who brought death into the world
There stood before him, with the light
Of their lost Paradise still bright
Upon those sunny locks that curled
Down her white shoulders to her feet--
So beautiful in form, so sweet
In heart and voice, as to redeem
The loss, the death of all things dear,
Except herself--and make it seem
Life, endless Life, while she was near!
Could I help wondering at a creature,
Thus circled round with spells so strong--
One to whose every thought, word, feature.
In joy and woe, thro' right and wrong,
Such sweet omnipotence heaven gave,
To bless or ruin, curse or save?

Nor did the marvel cease with her--
New Eves in all her daughters came,
As strong to charm, as weak to err,
As sure of man thro' praise and blame,
Whate'er they brought him, pride or shame,
He still the unreasoning worshipper,
And they, throughout all time, the same
Enchantresses of soul and frame,
Into whose hands, from first to last,
This world with all its destinies,
Devotedly by heaven seems cast,
To save or ruin as they please!
Oh! 'tis not to be told how long,
How restlessly I sighed to find
Some _one_ from out that witching throng,
Some abstract of the form and mind
Of the whole matchless sex, from which,
In my own arms beheld, possest,
I might learn all the powers to witch,
To warm, and (if my fate unblest
_Would_ have it) ruin, of the rest!
Into whose inward soul and sense,
I might descend, as doth the bee
Into the flower's deep heart, and thence
Rifle in all its purity
The prime, the quintessence, the whole
Of wondrous Woman's frame and soul!
At length my burning wish, my prayer--
(For such--oh! what will tongues not dare,
When hearts go wrong?--this lip preferred)--
At length my ominous prayer was heard--
But whether heard in heaven or hell,
Listen--and thou wilt know _too_ well.

There was a maid, of all who move
Like visions o'er this orb most fit.
To be a bright young angel's love--
Herself so bright, so exquisite!
The pride too of her step, as light
Along the unconscious earth she went,
Seemed that of one born with a right
To walk some heavenlier element,
And tread in places where her feet
A star at every step should meet.
'Twas not alone that loveliness
By which the wildered sense is caught--
Of lips whose very breath could bless;
Of playful blushes that seemed naught
But luminous escapes of thought;
Of eyes that, when by anger stirred,
Were fire itself, but at a word
Of tenderness, all soft became
As tho' they could, like the sun's bird,
Dissolve away in their own flame--
Of form, as pliant as the shoots
Of a young tree, in vernal flower;
Yet round and glowing as the fruits,
That drop from it in summer's hour;--
'Twas not alone this loveliness
That falls to loveliest women's share,
Tho' even here her form could spare
From its own beauty's rich excess
Enough to make even _them_ more fair--
But 'twas the Mind outshining clear
Thro' her whole frame--the soul, still near,
To light each charm, yet independent
Of what it lighted, as the sun
That shines on flowers would be resplendent
Were there no flowers to shine upon--
'Twas this, all this, in one combined--
The unnumbered looks and arts that form
The glory of young womankind,
Taken, in their perfection, warm,
Ere time had chilled a single charm,
And stampt with such a seal of Mind,
As gave to beauties that might be
Too sensual else, too unrefined,
The impress of Divinity!

'Twas this--a union, which the hand
Of Nature kept for her alone,
Of every thing most playful, bland,
Voluptuous, spiritual, grand,
In angel-natures and her own--
Oh! this it was that drew me nigh
One, who seemed kin to heaven as I,
A bright twin-sister from on high--
One in whose love, I felt, were given
The mixt delights of either sphere,
All that the spirit seeks in heaven,
And all the senses burn for here.

Had we--but hold!--hear every part
Of our sad tale--spite of the pain
Remembrance gives, when the fixt dart
Is stirred thus in the wound again--
Hear every step, so full of bliss,
And yet so ruinous, that led
Down to the last, dark precipice,
Where perisht both--the fallen, the dead!

From the first hour she caught my sight,
I never left her--day and night
Hovering unseen around her way,
And mid her loneliest musings near,
I soon could track each thought that lay,
Gleaming within her heart, as clear
As pebbles within brooks appear;
And there among the countless things
That keep young hearts for ever glowing--
Vague wishes, fond imaginings,
Love-dreams, as yet no object knowing--
Light, winged hopes that come when bid,
And rainbow joys that end in weeping;
And passions among pure thoughts hid,
Like serpents under flowerets sleeping:--
'Mong all these feelings--felt where'er
Young hearts are beating--I saw there
Proud thoughts, aspirings high--beyond
Whate'er yet dwelt in soul so fond--
Glimpses of glory, far away
Into the bright, vague future given;
And fancies, free and grand, whose play,
Like that of eaglets, is near heaven!
With this, too--what a soul and heart
To fall beneath the tempter's art!--
A zeal for knowledge, such as ne'er
Enshrined itself in form so fair,
Since that first, fatal hour, when Eve,
With every fruit of Eden blest
Save one alone--rather than leave
That _one_ unreached, lost all the rest.

It was in dreams that first I stole
With gentle mastery o'er her mind--
In that rich twilight of the soul,
When reason's beam, half hid behind
The clouds of sleep, obscurely gilds
Each shadowy shape that Fancy builds--
'Twas then by that soft light I brought
Vague, glimmering visions to her view,--
Catches of radiance lost when caught,
Bright labyrinths that led to naught,
And vistas with no pathway thro';--
Dwellings of bliss that opening shone,
Then closed, dissolved, and left no trace--
All that, in short, could tempt Hope on,
But give her wing no resting-place;
Myself the while with brow as yet
Pure as the young moon's coronet,
Thro' every dream _still_ in her sight.
The enchanter of each mocking scene,
Who gave the hope, then brought the blight,
Who said, "Behold yon world of light,"
Then sudden dropt a veil between!

At length when I perceived each thought,
Waking or sleeping, fixt on naught
But these illusive scenes and me--
The phantom who thus came and went,
In half revealments, only meant
To madden curiosity--
When by such various arts I found
Her fancy to its utmost wound.
One night--'twas in a holy spot
Which she for prayer had chosen--a grot
Of purest marble built below
Her garden beds, thro' which a glow
From lamps invisible then stole,
Brightly pervading all the place--
Like that mysterious light the soul,
Itself unseen, sheds thro' the face.
There at her altar while she knelt,
And all that woman ever felt,
When God and man both claimed her sighs--
Every warm thought, that ever dwelt,
Like summer clouds, 'twixt earth and skies,
Too pure to fall, too gross to rise,
Spoke in her gestures, tones, and eyes--
Then, as the mystic light's soft ray
Grew softer still, as tho' its ray
Was breathed from her, I heard her say:--

"O idol of my dreams! whate'er
"Thy nature be--human, divine,
"Or but half heavenly--still too fair,
"Too heavenly to be ever mine!

"Wonderful Spirit who dost make
"Slumber so lovely that it seems
"No longer life to live awake,
"Since heaven itself descends in dreams,

"Why do I ever lose thee? why
"When on thy realms and thee I gaze
"Still drops that veil, which I could die,
"Oh! gladly, but one hour to raise?

"Long ere such miracles as thou
"And thine came o'er my thoughts, a thirst
"For light was in this soul which now
"Thy looks have into passion burst.

"There's nothing bright above, below,
"In sky--earth--ocean, that this breast
"Doth not intensely burn to know,
"And thee, thee, thee, o'er all the rest!

"Then come, oh Spirit, from behind
"The curtains of thy radiant home,
"If thou wouldst be as angel shrined,
"Or loved and claspt as mortal, come!

"Bring all thy dazzling wonders here,
"That I may, waking, know and see;
"Or waft me hence to thy own sphere,
"Thy heaven or--ay, even _that_ with thee!

"Demon or God, who hold'st the book
"Of knowledge spread beneath thine eye,
"Give me, with thee, but one bright look
"Into its leaves and let me die!

"By those ethereal wings whose way
"Lies thro' an element so fraught
"With living Mind that as they play
"Their every movement is a thought!

"By that bright, wreathed hair, between
"Whose sunny clusters the sweet wind
"Of Paradise so late hath been
"And left its fragrant soul behind!

"By those impassioned eyes that melt
"Their light into the inmost heart,
"Like sunset in the waters, felt
"As molten fire thro' every part--

"I do implore thee, oh most bright
"And worshipt Spirit, shine but o'er
"My waking, wondering eyes this night
"This one blest night--I ask no more!"

Exhausted, breathless, as she said
These burning words, her languid head
Upon the altar's steps she cast,
As if that brain-throb were its last---

Till, startled by the breathing, nigh,
Of lips that echoed back her sigh,
Sudden her brow again she raised;
And there, just lighted on the shrine,
Beheld me--not as I had blazed
Around her, full of light divine,
In her late dreams, but softened down
Into more mortal grace;--my crown
Of flowers, too radiant for this world,
Left hanging on yon starry steep;
My wings shut up, like banners furled,
When Peace hath put their pomp to sleep;
Or like autumnal clouds that keep
Their lightnings sheathed rather than mar
The dawning hour of some young star;
And nothing left but what beseemed
The accessible, tho' glorious mate
Of mortal woman--whose eyes beamed
Back upon hers, as passionate;
Whose ready heart brought flame for flame,
Whose sin, whose madness was the same;
And whose soul lost in that one hour
For her and for her love--oh more
Of heaven's light than even the power
Of heaven itself could now restore!
And yet, that hour!--

The Spirit here
Stopt in his utterance as if words
Gave way beneath the wild career
Of his then rushing thoughts--like chords,
Midway in some enthusiast's song,
Breaking beneath a touch too strong;
While the clenched hand upon the brow
Told how remembrance throbbed there now!
But soon 'twas o'er--that casual blaze
From the sunk fire of other days--
That relic of a flame whose burning
Had been too fierce to be relumed,
Soon passt away, and the youth turning
To his bright listeners thus resumed:--

Days, months elapsed, and, tho' what most
On earth I sighed for was mine, all--
Yet--was I happy? God, thou know'st,
Howe'er they smile and feign and boast,
What happiness is theirs, who fall!
'Twas bitterest anguish--made more keen
Even by the love, the bliss, between
Whose throbs it came, like gleams of hell
In agonizing cross-light given
Athwart the glimpses, they who dwell
In purgatory[9] catch of heaven!
The only feeling that to me
Seemed joy--or rather my sole rest
From aching misery--was to see
My young, proud, blooming LILIS blest.
She, the fair fountain of all ill
To my lost soul--whom yet its thirst
Fervidly panted after still,
And found the charm fresh as at first--
To see _her_ happy--to reflect
Whatever beams still round me played
Of former pride, of glory wreckt,
On her, my Moon, whose light I made,
And whose soul worshipt even my shade--
This was, I own, enjoyment--this
My sole, last lingering glimpse of bliss.
And proud she was, fair creature!--proud,
Beyond what even most queenly stirs
In woman's heart, nor would have bowed
That beautiful young brow of hers
To aught beneath the First above,
So high she deemed her Cherub's love!

Then too that passion hourly growing
Stronger and stronger--to which even
Her love at times gave way--of knowing
Everything strange in earth and heaven;
Not only all that, full revealed,
The eternal ALLA loves to show,
But all that He hath wisely sealed
In darkness for man _not_ to know--
Even this desire, alas! ill-starred
And fatal as it was, I sought
To feed each minute, and unbarred
Such realms of wonder on her thought
As ne'er till then had let their light
Escape on any mortal's sight!

In the deep earth--beneath the sea--
Thro' caves of fire--thro' wilds of air--
Wherever sleeping Mystery
Had spread her curtain, we were there--
Love still beside us as we went,
At home in each new element
And sure of worship everywhere!

Then first was Nature taught to lay
The wealth of all her kingdoms down
At woman's worshipt feet and say
"Bright creature, this is all thine own!"
Then first were diamonds from the night,
Of earth's deep centre brought to light
And made to grace the conquering way
Of proud young beauty with their ray.

Then too the pearl from out its shell
Unsightly, in the sunless sea,
(As 'twere a spirit, forced to dwell
In form unlovely) was set free,
And round the neck of woman threw
A light it lent and borrowed too.
For never did this maid--whate'er
The ambition of the hour--forget
Her sex's pride in being fair;
Nor that adornment, tasteful, rare,
Which makes the mighty magnet, set
In Woman's form, more mighty yet.
Nor was there aught within the range
Of my swift wing in sea or air,
Of beautiful or grand or strange,
That, quickly as her wish could change,
I did not seek, with such fond care,
That when I've seen her look above
At some bright star admiringly,
I've said, "Nay, look not there, my love,[10]
"Alas, I _can not_ give it thee!"

But not alone the wonders found
Thro' Nature's realm--the unveiled, material,
Visible glories, that abound
Thro' all her vast, enchanted ground--
But whatsoe'er unseen, ethereal,
Dwells far away from human sense,
Wrapt in its own intelligence--
The mystery of that Fountainhead,
From which all vital spirit runs,
All breath of Life, where'er 'tis spread
Thro' men or angels, flowers or suns--
The workings of the Almighty Mind,
When first o'er Chaos he designed
The outlines of this world, and thro'
That depth of darkness--like the bow,
Called out of rain-clouds hue by hue[11]
Saw the grand, gradual picture grow;--
The covenant with human kind
By ALLA made--the chains of Fate
He round himself and them hath twined,
Till his high task he consummate;--
Till good from evil, love from hate,
Shall be workt out thro' sin and pain,
And Fate shall loose her iron chain
And all be free, be bright again!

Such were the deep-drawn mysteries,
And some, even more obscure, profound,
And wildering to the mind than these,
Which--far as woman's thought could sound,
Or a fallen, outlawed spirit reach--
She dared to learn and I to teach.
Till--filled with such unearthly lore,
And mingling the pure light it brings
With much that fancy had before
Shed in false, tinted glimmerings--
The enthusiast girl spoke out, as one
Inspired, among her own dark race,
Who from their ancient shrines would run,
Leaving their holy rites undone,
To gaze upon her holier face.
And tho' but wild the things she spoke,
Yet mid that play of error's smoke
Into fair shapes by fancy curled,
Some gleams of pure religion broke--
Glimpses that have not yet awoke,
But startled the still dreaming world!
Oh! many a truth, remote, sublime,
Which Heaven would from the minds of men
Have kept concealed till its own time,
Stole out in these revealments then--
Revealments dim that have forerun,
By ages, the great, Sealing One![12]
Like that imperfect dawn or light[13]
Escaping from the Zodiac's signs,
Which makes the doubtful east half bright,
Before the real morning shines!

Thus did some moons of bliss go by--
Of bliss to her who saw but love
And knowledge throughout earth and sky;
To whose enamored soul and eye
I seemed--as is the sun on high--
The light of all below, above,
The spirit of sea and land and air,
Whose influence, felt everywhere,
Spread from its centre, her own heart,
Even to the world's extremest part;
While thro' that world her rainless mind
Had now careered so fast and far,
That earth itself seemed left behind
And her proud fancy unconfined
Already saw Heaven's gates ajar!

Happy enthusiast! still, oh! still
Spite of my own heart's mortal chill,
Spite of that double-fronted sorrow
Which looks at once before and back,
Beholds the yesterday, the morrow,
And sees both comfortless, both black--
Spite of all this, I could have still
In her delight forgot all ill;
Or if pain _would_ not be forgot,
At least have borne and murmured not.
When thoughts of an offended heaven,
Of sinfulness, which I--even I,
While down its steep most headlong driven--
Well knew could never be forgiven,
Came o'er me with an agony
Beyond all reach of mortal woe--
A torture kept for those who know.

Know _every_ thing, and--worst of all--
Know and love Virtue while they fall!
Even then her presence had the power
To soothe, to warm--nay, even to bless--
If ever bliss could graft its flower
On stem so full of bitterness--
Even then her glorious smile to me
Brought warmth and radiance if not balm;
Like moonlight o'er a troubled sea.
Brightening the storm it cannot calm.

Oft too when that disheartening fear,
Which all who love, beneath yon sky,
Feel when they gaze on what is dear--
The dreadful thought that it must die!
That desolating thought which comes
Into men's happiest hours and homes;
Whose melancholy boding flings
Death's shadow o'er the brightest things,
Sicklies the infant's bloom and spreads
The grave beneath young lovers' heads!
This fear, so sad to all--to me
Most full of sadness from the thought
That I most still live on,[14] when she
Would, like the snow that on the sea
Fell yesterday, in vain be sought;
That heaven to me this final seal
Of all earth's sorrow would deny,
And I eternally must feel
The death-pang without power to die!

Even this, her fond endearments--fond
As ever cherisht the sweet bond
'Twixt heart and heart--could charm away;
Before her looks no clouds would stay,
Or if they did their gloom was gone,
Their darkness put a glory on!
But 'tis not, 'tis not for the wrong,
The guilty, to be happy long;
And she too now had sunk within
The shadow of her tempter's sin,
Too deep for even Omnipotence
To snatch the fated victim thence!
Listen and if a tear there be
Left in your hearts weep it for me.

'Twas on the evening of a day,
Which we in love had dreamt away;
In that same garden, where--the pride
Of seraph splendor laid aside,
And those wings furled, whose open light
For mortal gaze were else too bright--
I first had stood before her sight,
And found myself--oh, ecstasy,
Which even in pain I ne'er forget--
Worshipt as only God should be,
And loved as never man was yet!
In that same garden where we now,
Thoughtfully side by side reclining,
Her eyes turned upward and her brow
With its own silent fancies shining.

It was an evening bright and still
As ever blusht on wave or bower,
Smiling from heaven as if naught ill
Could happen in so sweet an hour.
Yet I remember both grew sad
In looking at that light--even she,
Of heart so fresh and brow so glad,
Felt the still hour's solemnity,
And thought she saw in that repose
The death-hour not alone of light,
But of this whole fair world--the close
Of all things beautiful and bright--
The last, grand sunset, in whose ray
Nature herself died calm away!

At length, as tho' some livelier thought
Had suddenly her fancy caught,
She turned upon me her dark eyes,
Dilated into that full shape
They took in joy, reproach, surprise,
As 'twere to let more soul escape,
And, playfully as on my head
Her white hand rested, smiled and said:--

"I had last night a dream of thee,
"Resembling those divine ones, given,
"Like preludes to sweet minstrelsy,
"Before thou camest thyself from heaven.

"The same rich wreath was on thy brow,
"Dazzling as if of starlight made;
"And these wings, lying darkly now,
"Like meteors round thee flasht and played.

"Thou stoodest, all bright, as in those dreams,
"As if just wafted from above,
"Mingling earth's warmth with heaven's beams,
"And creature to adore and love.

"Sudden I felt thee draw me near
"To thy pure heart, where, fondly placed,
"I seemed within the atmosphere
"Of that exhaling light embraced;

"And felt methought the ethereal flame
"Pass from thy purer soul to mine;
"Till--oh, too blissful--I became,
"Like thee, all spirit, all divine!

"Say, why did dream so blest come o'er me,
"If, now I wake, 'tis faded, gone?
"When will my Cherub shine before me
"Thus radiant, as in heaven he shone?

"When shall I, waking, be allowed
"To gaze upon those perfect charms,
"And clasp thee once without a cloud,
"A chill of earth, within these arms?

"Oh what a pride to say, this, this
"Is my own Angel--all divine,
"And pure and dazzling as he is
"And fresh from heaven--he's mine, he's mine!

"Thinkest thou, were LILIS in thy place,
"A creature of yon lofty skies,
"She would have hid one single grace,
"One glory from her lover's eyes?

"No, no--then, if thou lovest like me,
"Shine out, young Spirit in the blaze
"Of thy most proud divinity,
"Nor think thou'lt wound this mortal gaze.

"Too long and oft I've looked upon
"Those ardent eyes, intense even thus--
"Too near the stars themselves have gone,
"To fear aught grand or luminous.

"Then doubt me not--oh! who can say
"But that this dream may yet come true
"And my blest spirit drink thy ray,
"Till it becomes all heavenly too?

"Let me this once but feel the flame
"Of those spread wings, the very pride
"Will change my nature, and this frame
"By the mere touch be deified!"

Thus spoke the maid, as one not used
To be by earth or heaven refused--
As one who knew her influence o'er
All creatures, whatsoe'er they were,
And tho' to heaven she could not soar,
At least would bring down heaven to her.

Little did she, alas! or I--
Even I, whose soul, but halfway yet
Immerged in sin's obscurity
Was as the earth whereon we lie,
O'er half whose disk the sun is set--
Little did we foresee the fate,
The dreadful--how can it be told?
Such pain, such anguish to relate
Is o'er again to feel, behold!
But, charged as 'tis, my heart must speak
Its sorrow out or it will break!
Some dark misgivings _had_, I own,
Past for a moment thro' my breast--
Fears of some danger, vague, unknown,
To one, or both--something unblest
To happen from this proud request.

But soon these boding fancies fled;
Nor saw I aught that could forbid
My full revealment save the dread
Of that first dazzle, when, unhid,
Such light should burst upon a lid
Ne'er tried in heaven;--and even this glare
She might, by love's own nursing care,
Be, like young eagles, taught to bear.
For well I knew, the lustre shed
From cherub wings, when proudliest spread,
Was in its nature lambent, pure,
And innocent as is the light
The glow-worm hangs out to allure
Her mate to her green bower at night.
Oft had I in the mid-air swept
Thro' clouds in which the lightning slept,
As in its lair, ready to spring,
Yet waked it not--tho' from my wing
A thousand sparks fell glittering!
Oft too when round me from above
The feathered snow in all its whiteness,
Fell like the moultings of heaven's Dove,[15]--
So harmless, tho' so full of brightness,
Was my brow's wreath that it would shake
From off its flowers each downy flake
As delicate, unmelted, fair,
And cool as they had lighted there.

Nay even with LILIS--had I not
Around her sleep all radiant beamed,
Hung o'er her slumbers nor forgot
To kiss her eyelids as she dreamed?
And yet at morn from that repose,
Had she not waked, unscathed and bright,
As doth the pure, unconscious rose
Tho' by the fire-fly kist all night?

Thus having--as, alas! deceived
By my sin's blindness, I believed--
No cause for dread and those dark eyes
Now fixt upon me eagerly
As tho' the unlocking of the skies
Then waited but a sign from me--
How could I pause? how even let fall
A word; a whisper that could stir
In her proud heart a doubt that all
I brought from heaven belonged to her?
Slow from her side I rose, while she
Arose too, mutely, tremblingly,
But not with fear--all hope, and pride,
She waited for the awful boon,
Like priestesses at eventide
Watching the rise of the full moon
Whose light, when once its orb hath shone,
'Twill madden them to look upon!

Of all my glories, the bright crown
Which when I last from heaven came down
Was left behind me in yon star
That shines from out those clouds afar--
Where, relic sad, 'tis treasured yet,
The downfallen angel's coronet!--
Of all my glories, this alone
Was wanting:--but the illumined brow,
The sun-bright locks, the eyes that now
Had love's spell added to their own,
And poured a light till then unknown;--
The unfolded wings that in their play
Shed sparkles bright as ALLA'S throne;
All I could bring of heaven's array,
Of that rich panoply of charms
A Cherub moves in, on the day
Of his best pomp, I now put on;
And, proud that in her eyes I shone
Thus glorious, glided to her arms;
Which still (tho', at a sight so splendid,
Her dazzled brow had instantly
Sunk on her breast), were wide extended
To clasp the form she durst not see![16]
Great Heaven! how _could_ thy vengeance light
So bitterly on one so bright?
How could the hand that gave such charms,
Blast them again in love's own arms?
Scarce had I touched her shrinking frame,
When--oh most horrible!--I felt
That every spark of that pure flame--
Pure, while among the stars I dwelt--
Was now by my transgression turned
Into gross, earthly fire, which burned,
Burned all it touched as fast as eye
Could follow the fierce, ravening flashes;
Till there--oh God, I still ask why
Such doom was hers?--I saw her lie
Blackening within my arms to ashes!
That brow, a glory but to see--
Those lips whose touch was what the first
Fresh cup of immortality
Is to a new-made angel's thirst!

Those clasping arms, within whose round--
My heart's horizon--the whole bound
Of its hope, prospect, heaven was found!
Which, even in this dread moment, fond
As when they first were round me cast,
Loosed not in death the fatal bond,
But, burning, held me to the last!
All, all, that, but that morn, had seemed
As if Love's self there breathed and beamed,
Now parched and black before me lay,
Withering in agony away;
And mine, oh misery! mine the flame
From which this desolation came;--
I, the curst spirit whose caress
Had blasted all that loveliness!

'Twas maddening!--but now hear even worse--
Had death, death only, been the curse
I brought upon her--had the doom
But ended here, when her young bloom
Lay in the dust--and did the spirit
No part of that fell curse inherit,
'Twere not so dreadful--but, come near--
Too shocking 'tis for earth to hear--
Just when her eyes in fading took
Their last, keen, agonized farewell,
And looked in mine with--oh, that look!
Great vengeful Power, whate'er the hell
Thou mayst to human souls assign,
The memory of that look is mine!--

In her last struggle, on my brow
Her ashy lips a kiss imprest,
So withering!--I feel it now--
'Twas fire--but fire, even more unblest
Than was my own, and like that flame,
The angels shudder but to name,
Hell's everlasting element!
Deep, deep it pierced into my brain,
Maddening and torturing as it went;
And here, mark here, the brand, the stain
It left upon my front--burnt in
By that last kiss of love and sin--
A brand which all the pomp and pride
Of a fallen Spirit cannot hide!

But is it thus, dread Providence--
_Can_ it indeed be thus, that she
Who, (but for _one_ proud, fond offence,)
Had honored heaven itself, should be
Now doomed--I cannot speak it--no,
Merciful ALLA! _'tis_ not so--
Never could lips divine have said
The fiat of a fate so dread.
And yet, that look--so deeply fraught
With more than anguish, with despair--
That new, fierce fire, resembling naught
In heaven or earth--this scorch I bear!--
Oh--for the first time that these knees
Have bent before thee since my fall,
Great Power, if ever thy decrees
Thou couldst for prayer like mine recall,
Pardon that spirit, and on me,
On me, who taught her pride to err,
Shed out each drop of agony
Thy burning phial keeps for her!
See too where low beside me kneel
Two other outcasts who, tho' gone
And lost themselves, yet dare to feel
And pray for that poor mortal one.
Alas, too well, too well they know
The pain, the penitence, the woe
That Passion brings upon the best,
The wisest, and the loveliest.--
Oh! who is to be saved, if such
Bright, erring souls are not forgiven;
So loath they wander, and so much
Their very wanderings lean towards heaven!
Again I cry. Just Power, transfer
That creature's sufferings all to me--
Mine, mine the guilt, the torment be,
To save one minute's pain to her,
Let mine last all eternity!

He paused and to the earth bent down
His throbbing head; while they who felt
That agony as 'twere their own,
Those angel youths, beside him knelt,
And in the night's still silence there,
While mournfully each wandering air
Played in those plumes that never more
To their lost home in heaven must soar,
Breathed inwardly the voiceless prayer,
Unheard by all but Mercy's ear--
And which if Mercy _did not_ hear,
Oh, God would _not_ be what this bright
And glorious universe of His,
This world of beauty, goodness, light
And endless love proclaims He _is_!

Not long they knelt, when from a wood
That crowned that airy solitude,
They heard a low, uncertain sound,
As from a lute, that just had found
Some happy theme and murmured round
The new-born fancy, with fond tone,
Scarce thinking aught so sweet its own!
Till soon a voice, that matched as well
That gentle instrument, as suits
The sea-air to an ocean-shell,
(So kin its spirit to the lute's),
Tremblingly followed the soft strain,
Interpreting its joy, its pain,
And lending the light wings of words
To many a thought that else had lain
Unfledged and mute among the chords.

All started at the sound--but chief
The third young Angel in whose face,
Tho' faded like the others, grief
Had left a gentler, holier trace;
As if, even yet, thro' pain and ill,
Hope had not fled him--as if still
Her precious pearl in sorrow's cup
Unmelted at the bottom lay,
To shine again, when, all drunk up,
The bitterness should pass away.
Chiefly did he, tho' in his eyes
There shone more pleasure than surprise,
Turn to the wood from whence that sound
Of solitary sweetness broke;
Then, listening, look delighted round
To his bright peers, while thus it spoke:--
"Come, pray with me, my seraph love,
"My angel-lord, come pray with me:
"In vain to-night my lips hath strove
"To send one holy prayer above--
"The knee may bend, the lip may move,
"But pray I cannot, without thee!
"I've fed the altar in my bower
"With droppings from the incense tree;
"I've sheltered it from wind and shower,
"But dim it burns the livelong hour,
"As if, like me, it had no power
"Of life or lustre without thee!

"A boat at midnight sent alone
"To drift upon the moonless sea,
"A lute, whose leading chord is gone,
"A wounded bird that hath but one
"Imperfect wing to soar upon,
"Are like what I am without thee!

"Then ne'er, my spirit-love, divide,
"In life or death, thyself from me;
"But when again in sunny pride
"Thou walk'st thro' Eden, let me glide,
"A prostrate shadow, by thy side--
"Oh happier thus than without thee!"

The song had ceased when from the wood
Which sweeping down that airy height,
Reached the lone spot whereon they stood--
There suddenly shone out a light
From a clear lamp, which, as it blazed
Across the brow of one, who raised
Its flame aloft (as if to throw
The light upon that group below),
Displayed two eyes sparkling between
The dusky leaves, such as are seen
By fancy only, in those faces,
That haunt a poet's walk at even,
Looking from out their leafy places
Upon his dreams of love and heaven.
'Twas but a moment--the blush brought
O'er all her features at the thought
Of being seen thus, late, alone,
By any but the eyes she sought,
Had scarcely for an instant shore
Thro' the dark leaves when she was gone--
Gone, like a meteor that o'erhead
Suddenly shines, and, ere we've said,
"Behold, how beautiful!"--'tis fled,
Yet ere she went the words, "I come,
"I come, my NAMA," reached her ear,
In that kind voice, familiar, dear,
Which tells of confidence, of home,--
Of habit, that hath drawn hearts near,
Till they grow _one_,--of faith sincere,
And all that Love most loves to hear;
A music breathing of the past,
The present and the time to be,
Where Hope and Memory to the last
Lengthen out life's true harmony!

Nor long did he whom call so kind
Summoned away remain behind:
Nor did there need much time to tell
What they--alas! more fallen than he
From happiness and heaven--knew well,
His gentler love's short history!

Thus did it run--_not_ as he told
The tale himself, but as 'tis graved
Upon the tablets that, of old,
By SETH[17] were from the deluge saved,
All written over with sublime
And saddening legends of the unblest
But glorious Spirits of that time,
And this young Angel's 'mong the rest.

THIRD ANGEL'S STORY.

Among the Spirits, of pure flame,
That in the eternal heavens abide--
Circles of light that from the same
Unclouded centre sweeping wide,
Carry its beams on every side--
Like spheres of air that waft around
The undulations of rich sound--

Till the far-circling radiance be
Diffused into infinity!
First and immediate near the Throne
Of ALLA, as if most his own,
The Seraphs stand[18] this burning sign
Traced on their banner, "Love Divine!"
Their rank, their honors, far above
Even those to high-browed Cherubs given,
Tho' knowing all;--so much doth Love
Transcend all Knowledge, even in heaven!

'Mong these was ZARAPH once--and none
E'er felt affection's holy fire,
Or yearned towards the Eternal One,
With half such longing, deep desire.
Love was to his impassioned soul
Not as with others a mere part
Of its existence, but the whole--
The very life-breath of his heart!

Oft, when from ALLA'S lifted brow
A lustre came, too bright to bear,
And all the seraph ranks would bow,
To shade their dazzled sight nor dare
To look upon the effulgence there--
This Spirit's eyes would court the blaze
(Such pride he in adoring took),

And rather lose in that one gaze
The power of looking than _not_ look!
Then too when angel voices sung
The mercy of their God and strung
Their harps to hail with welcome sweet
That moment, watched for by all eyes,
When some repentant sinner's feet
First touched the threshold of the skies,
Oh! then how clearly did the voice
Of ZARAPH above all rejoice!
Love was in every buoyant tone--
Such love as only could belong
To the blest angels and alone
Could, even from angels, bring such song!
Alas! that it should e'er have been
In heaven as 'tis too often here,
Where nothing fond or bright is seen,
But it hath pain and peril near;--
Where right and wrong so close resemble,
That what we take for virtue's thrill
Is often the first downward tremble
Of the heart's balance unto ill;
Where Love hath not a shrine so pure,
So holy, but the serpent, Sin,
In moments, even the most secure,
Beneath his altar may glide in!

So was it with that Angel--such
The charm, that sloped his fall along,
From good to ill, from loving much,
Too easy lapse, to loving wrong.--
Even so that amorous Spirit, bound
By beauty's spell where'er 'twas found,
From the bright things above the moon
Down to earth's beaming eyes descended,
Till love for the Creator soon
In passion for the creature ended.

'Twas first at twilight, on the shore
Of the smooth sea, he heard the lute
And voice of her he loved steal o'er
The silver waters that lay mute,
As loath, by even a breath, to stay
The pilgrimage of that sweet lay;
Whose echoes still went on and on,
Till lost among the light that shone
Far off beyond the ocean's brim--
There where the rich cascade of day
Had o'er the horizon's golden rim,
Into Elysium rolled away!
Of God she sung and of the mild
Attendant Mercy that beside
His awful throne for ever smiled,
Ready with her white hand to guide
His bolts of vengeance to their prey--
That she might quench them on the way!
Of Peace--of that Atoning Love,
Upon whose star, shining above
This twilight world of hope and fear,
The weeping eyes of Faith are fixt
So fond that with her every tear
The light of that love-star is mixt!--
All this she sung, and such a soul
Of piety was in that song
That the charmed Angel as it stole
Tenderly to his ear, along
Those lulling waters where he lay,
Watching the daylight's dying ray,
Thought 'twas a voice from out the wave,
An echo, that some sea-nymph gave
To Eden's distant harmony,
Heard faint and sweet beneath the sea!

Quickly, however, to its source,
Tracking that music's melting course,
He saw upon the golden sands
Of the sea-shore a maiden stand,
Before whose feet the expiring waves
Flung their last offering with a sigh--
As, in the East, exhausted slaves
Lay down the far-brought gift and die--
And while her lute hung by her hushed
As if unequal to the tide
Of song that from her lips still gushed,
She raised, like one beatified,
Those eyes whose light seemed rather given
To be adored than to adore--
Such eyes as may have lookt _from_ heaven
But ne'er were raised to it before!

Oh Love, Religion, Music--all
That's left of Eden upon earth--
The only blessings, since the fall
Of our weak souls, that still recall
A trace of their high, glorious birth--
How kindred are the dreams you bring!
How Love tho' unto earth so prone,
Delights to take Religion's wing,
When time or grief hath stained his own!
How near to Love's beguiling brink
Too oft entranced Religion lies!
While Music, Music is the link
They _both_ still hold by to the skies,
The language of their native sphere
Which they had else forgotten here.

How then could ZARAPH fail to feel
That moment's witcheries?--one, so fair,
Breathing out music, that might steal
Heaven from itself, and rapt in prayer
That seraphs might be proud to share!
Oh, he _did_ feel it, all too well--
With warmth, that far too dearly cost--
Nor knew he, when at last he fell,
To which attraction, to which spell,
Love, Music, or Devotion, most
His soul in that sweet hour was lost.

Sweet was the hour, tho' dearly won,
And pure, as aught of earth could be,
For then first did the glorious sun
Before religion's altar see
Two hearts in wedlock's golden tie
Self-pledged, in love to live and die.
Blest union! by that Angel wove,
And worthy from such hands to come;
Safe, sole, asylum, in which Love,
When fallen or exiled from above,
In this dark world can find a home.

And, tho' the Spirit had transgrest,
Had, from his station 'mong the blest
Won down by woman's smile, allow'd
Terrestrial passion to breathe o'er
The mirror of his heart, and cloud
God's image there so bright before--
Yet never did that Power look down
On error with a brow so mild;
Never did Justice wear a frown,
Thro' which so gently Mercy smiled.

For humble was their love--with awe
And trembling like some treasure kept,
That was not theirs by holy law--
Whose beauty with remorse they saw
And o'er whose preciousness they wept.
Humility, that low, sweet root,
From which all heavenly virtues shoot,
Was in the hearts of both--but most
In NAMA'S heart, by whom alone
Those charms, for which a heaven was lost.
Seemed all unvalued and unknown;
And when her Seraph's eyes she caught,
And hid hers glowing on his breast,
Even bliss was humbled by the thought--
"What claim have I to be so blest"?
Still less could maid, so meek, have nurst
Desire of knowledge--that vain thirst,
With which the sex hath all been curst
From luckless EVE to her who near
The Tabernacle stole to hear
The secrets of the Angels: no--
To love as her own Seraph loved,
With Faith, the same thro' bliss and woe--
Faith that were even its light removed,
Could like the dial fixt remain
And wait till it shone out again;--
With Patience that tho' often bowed
By the rude storm can rise anew;
And Hope that even from Evil's cloud
See sunny Good half breaking thro'!
This deep, relying Love, worth more
In heaven than all a Cherub's lore--
This Faith more sure than aught beside
Was the sole joy, ambition, pride
Of her fond heart--the unreasoning scope
Of all its views, above, below--
So true she felt it that to _hope_,
To _trust_, is happier than to _know_.
And thus in humbleness they trod,
Abasht but pure before their God;
Nor e'er did earth behold a sight
So meekly beautiful as they,
When with the altar's holy light
Full on their brows they knelt to pray,
Hand within hand and side by side,
Two links of love awhile untied
From the great chain above, but fast
Holding together to the last!--
Two fallen Splendors from that tree[19]
Which buds with such eternally,
Shaken to earth yet keeping all
Their light and freshness in the fall.

Their only punishment, (as wrong,
However sweet, must bear its brand.)
Their only doom was this--that, long
As the green earth and ocean stand,
They both shall wander here--the same,
Throughout all time, in heart and frame--
Still looking to that goal sublime,
Whose light remote but sure they see;
Pilgrims of Love whose way is Time,
Whose home is in Eternity!
Subject the while to all the strife
True Love encounters in this life--
The wishes, hopes, he breathes in vain;
The chill that turns his warmest sighs
To earthly vapor ere they rise;
The doubt he feeds on and the pain
That in his very sweetness lies:--
Still worse, the illusions that betray
His footsteps to their shining brink;
That tempt him on his desert way
Thro' the bleak world, to bend and drink,
Where nothing meets his lips, alas!--
But he again must sighing pass
On to that far-off home of peace,
In which alone his thirst will cease.

All this they bear but not the less
Have moments rich in happiness--
Blest meetings, after many a day
Of widowhood past far away,
When the loved face again is seen
Close, close, with not a tear between--
Confidings frank, without control,
Poured mutually from soul to soul;
As free from any fear or doubt
As is that light from chill or strain
The sun into the stars sheds out
To be by them shed back again!--
That happy minglement of hearts,
Where, changed as chymic compounds are,
Each with its own existence parts
To find a new one, happier far!
Such are their joys--and crowning all
That blessed hope of the bright hour,
When, happy and no more to fall,
Their spirits shall with freshened power
Rise up rewarded for their trust
In Him from whom all goodness springs,
And shaking off earth's soiling dust
From their emancipated wings,
Wander for ever thro' those skies
Of radiance where Love never dies!

In what lone region of the earth,
These Pilgrims now may roam or dwell,
God and the Angels who look forth
To watch their steps, alone can tell.
But should we in our wanderings
Meet a young pair whose beauty wants
But the adornment of bright wings
To look like heaven's inhabitants--
Who shine where'er they tread and yet
Are humble in their earthly lot,
As is the way-side violet,
That shines unseen, and were it not
For its sweet breath would be forgot
Whose hearts in every thought are one,
Whose voices utter the same wills--
Answering, as Echo doth some tone
Of fairy music 'mong the hills,
So like itself we seek in vain
Which is the echo, which the strain--
Whose piety is love, whose love
Tho' close as 'twere their souls' embrace.
Is not of earth but from above--
Like two fair mirrors face to face,
Whose light from one to the other thrown,
Is heaven's reflection, not their own--
Should we e'er meet with aught so pure,
So perfect here, we may be sure
'Tis ZARAPH and his bride we see;
And call young lovers round to view
The pilgrim pair as they pursue
Their pathway towards eternity.

[1] "To which will be joined the sound of the bells hanging on the trees,
which will be put in motion by the wind proceeding from the Throne, so
often as the Blessed wish for music."--See _Sale's Koran, Prelim.
Dissert_.

[2] The ancient Persians supposed that this Throne was placed in the Sun,
and that through the stars were distributed the various classes of Angels
that encircled it. The Basilidians supposed that there were three hundred
and sixty-five orders of angels.

[3] It appears that, in most languages, the term employed for an angel
means also a messenger.

[4] The name given by the Mahometans to the infernal regions, over which,
they say, the angel Tabliek presides.

[5] The Kerubilna, as the Mussulmans call them, are often joined
indiscriminately with the Asrafil or Seraphim, under one common name of
Azazil, by which all spirits who approach near the throne of Alla are
designated.

[6] A belief that the stars are either spirits or the vehicles of spirits,
was common to all the religions and heresies of the East. Kircher has
given the names and stations of the seven archangels, who were by the
Cabala of the Jews distributed through the planets.

[7] According to the cosmogony of the ancient Persians, there were four
stars set as sentinels in the four quarters of the heavens, to watch over
the other fixed stars, and superintend the planets in their course. The
names of these four Sentinel stars are, according to the Boundesh,
Taschter, for the east; Satevis, for the west; Venand, for the south; and
Haftorang. for the north.

[8] Chavah, or, as it is Arabic, Havah (the name by which Adam called the
woman after their transgression), means "Life".

[9] Called by the Mussulmans Al Araf--a sort of wall or partition which,
according to the 7th chapter of the Koran, separates hell from paradise,
and where they, who have not merits sufficient to gain them immediate
admittance into heaven, are supposed to stand for a certain period,
alternately tantalized and tormented by the sights that are on either side
presented to them.

[10] I am aware that this happy saying of Lord Albemarle's loses much of
its grace and playfulness, by being put into the mouth of any but a human
lover.

[11] According to Whitehurst's theory, the mention of rainbows by an
antediluvian angel is an anachronism; as he says, "There was no rain
before the flood, and consequently no rainbow, which accounts for the
novelty of this sight after the Deluge."

[12] In acknowledging the authority of the great Prophets who had preceded
him, Mahomet represented his own mission as the final "_Seal_," or
consummation of them all.

[13] The Zodiacal Light.

[14] Pococke, however, gives it as the opinion of the Mahometan doctors,
that all souls, not only of men and of animals, living either on land or
in the sea, but of angels also, must necessarily taste of death.

[15] The Dove, or pigeon which attended Mahomet as his Familiar, and was
frequently seen to whisper into his ear, was, if I recollect right, one of
that select number of animals [including also the ant of Solomon, the dog
of the Seven Sleepers, etc.] which were thought by the Prophet worthy of
admission into Paradise.

[16] "Mohammed [says Sale], though a prophet, was not able to bear the
sight of Gabriel, when he appeared in his proper form, much less would
others be able to support it."

[17] Seth is a favorite personage among the Orientals, and acts a
conspicuous part in many of their most extravagant romances. The Syrians
pretended to have a Testament of this Patriarch in their possession, in
which was explained the whole theology of angels, their different orders,
etc. The Curds, too (as Hyde mentions in his Appendix), have a book, which
contains all the rites of their religion, and which they call Sohuph
Sheit, or the Book of Seth.

[18] The Seraphim, or Spirits of Divine Love.

[19] An allusion to the Sephiroths or Splendors of the Jewish Cabala,
represented as a tree, of which God is the crown or summit.

RHYMES ON THE ROAD.

EXTRACTED FROM THE JOURNAL OF
A TRAVELLING MEMBER OF
THE POCO-CURANTE SOCIETY,

1819.

The greater part of the following Rhymes were written or composed in an
old _caleche_ for the purpose of beguiling the _ennui_ of solitary
travelling; and as verses made by a gentleman in his sleep, have been
lately called "a _psychological_ curiosity," it is to be hoped that
verses, composed by a gentleman to keep himself awake, may be honored with
some appellation equally Greek.

RHYMES ON THE ROAD

INTRODUCTORY RHYMES.

_Different Attitudes in which Authors compose.--Bayes, Henry Stevens,
Herodotus, etc.--Writing in Bed--in the Fields.--Plato and Sir Richard
Blackmore.--Fiddling with Gloves and Twigs.--Madame de Stael.--Rhyming on
the Road, in an old Caleche_.

What various attitudes and ways
And tricks we authors have in writing!
While some write sitting, some like BAYES
Usually stand while they're inditing,
Poets there are who wear the floor out,
Measuring a line at every stride;
While some like HENRY STEPHENS pour out
Rhymes by the dozen while they ride.
HERODOTUS wrote most in bed;
And RICHERAND, a French physician,
Declares the clock-work of the head
Goes best in that reclined position.
If you consult MONTAIGNE and PLINY on
The subject, 'tis their joint opinion
That Thought its richest harvest yields
Abroad among the woods and fields,
That bards who deal in small retail
At home may at their counters stop;
But that the grove, the hill, the vale,
Are Poesy's true wholesale shop.
And verily I think they're right--
For many a time on summer eves,
Just at that closing hour of light,
When, like an Eastern Prince, who leaves
For distant war his Haram bowers,
The Sun bids farewell to the flowers,
Whose heads are sunk, whose tears are flowing
Mid all the glory of his going!--
Even _I_ have felt, beneath those beams,
When wandering thro' the fields alone,
Thoughts, fancies, intellectual gleams,
Which, far too bright to be my own,
Seemed lent me by the Sunny Power
That was abroad at that still hour.

If thus I've felt, how must _they_ feel,
The few whom genuine Genius warms,
Upon whose soul he stamps his seal,
Graven with Beauty's countless forms;--
The few upon this earth, who seem
Born to give truth to PLATO'S dream,
Since in their thoughts, as in a glass,
Shadows of heavenly things appear.
Reflections of bright shapes that pass
Thro' other worlds, above our sphere!
But this reminds me I digress;--
For PLATO, too, produced, 'tis said,
(As one indeed might almost guess),
His glorious visions all in bed.[1]
'Twas in his carriage the sublime
Sir RICHARD BLACKMORE used to rhyme;
And (if the wits don't do him wrong)
Twixt death and epics past his time,[2]
Scribbling and killing all day long--
Like Phoebus in his car, at ease,
Now warbling forth a lofty song,
Now murdering the young Niobes.

There was a hero 'mong the Danes,
Who wrote, we're told, mid all the pains
And horrors of exenteration,
Nine charming odes, which, if you'll look,
You'll find preserved with a translation
By BARTHOLINOS in his book.
In short 'twere endless to recite
The various modes in which men write.
Some wits are only in the mind.
When beaus and belles are round them prating;
Some when they dress for dinner find
Their muse and valet both in waiting
And manage at the self-same time
To adjust a neckcloth and a rhyme.

Some bards there are who cannot scribble
Without a glove to tear or nibble
Or a small twig to whisk about--
As if the hidden founts of Fancy,
Like wells of old, were thus found out
By mystic trick of rhabdomancy.
Such was the little feathery wand,[3]
That, held for ever in the hand
Of her who won and wore the crown[4]
Of female genius in this age,
Seemed the conductor that drew down
Those words of lightning to her page.

As for myself--to come, at last,
To the odd way in which _I_ write--
Having employ'd these few months past
Chiefly in travelling, day and night,
I've got into the easy mode
Of rhyming thus along the road--
Making a way-bill of my pages,
Counting my stanzas by my stages--
'Twixt lays and _re_-lays no time lost--
In short, in two words, _writing post_.

[1] The only authority I know for imputing this practice to Plato and
Herodotus, is a Latin poem by M. de Valois on his Bed, in which he says:--

_Lucifer Herodotum vidit Vesperque cubantem, desedit totos heic Plato
saepe dies_.

[2] Sir Richard Blackmore was a physician, as well as a bad poet.

[3] Made of paper, twisted up like a fan or feather.

[4] Madame de Stael.

EXTRACT I.

Geneva.

_View of the Lake of Geneva from the Jura.[1]--Anxious to reach it
before the Sun went down.--Obliged to proceed on Foot.--Alps.--Mont
Blanc.--Effect of the Scene_.

'Twas late--the sun had almost shone
His last and best when I ran on
Anxious to reach that splendid view
Before the daybeams quite withdrew
And feeling as all feel on first
Approaching scenes where, they are told,
Such glories on their eyes will burst
As youthful bards in dreams behold.

'Twas distant yet and as I ran
Full often was my wistful gaze
Turned to the sun who now began
To call in all his out-posts rays,
And form a denser march of light,
Such as beseems a hero's flight.
Oh, how I wisht for JOSHUA'S power,
To stay the brightness of that hour?
But no--the sun still less became,
Diminisht to a speck as splendid
And small as were those tongues of flame,
That on the Apostles' heads descended!

'Twas at this instant--while there glowed
This last, intensest gleam of light--
Suddenly thro' the opening road
The valley burst upon my sight!
That glorious valley with its Lake
And Alps on Alps in clusters swelling,
Mighty and pure and fit to make
The ramparts of a Godhead's dwelling.

I stood entranced--as Rabbins say
This whole assembled, gazing world
Will stand, upon that awful day,
When the Ark's Light aloft unfurled
Among the opening clouds shall shine,
Divinity's own radiant sign!

Mighty MONT BLANC, thou wert to me
That minute, with thy brow in heaven,
As sure a sign of Deity
As e'er to mortal gaze was given.
Nor ever, were I destined yet
To live my life twice o'er again,
Can I the deep-felt awe forget,
The dream, the trance that rapt me then!

'Twas all that consciousness of power
And life, beyond this mortal hour;--
Those mountings of the soul within
At thoughts of Heaven--as birds begin
By instinct in the cage to rise,
When near their time for change of skies;--
That proud assurance of our claim
To rank among the Sons of Light,
Mingled with shame--oh bitter shame!--
At having riskt that splendid right,
For aught that earth thro' all its range
Of glories offers in exchange!
'Twas all this, at that instant brought
Like breaking sunshine o'er my thought--
'Twas all this, kindled to a glow
Of sacred zeal which could it shine
Thus purely ever man might grow,
Even upon earth a thing divine,
And be once more the creature made
To walk unstained the Elysian shade!

No, never shall I lose the trace
Of what I've felt in this bright place.
And should my spirit's hope grow weak,
Should I, oh God! e'er doubt thy power,
This mighty scene again I'll seek,
At the same calm and glowing hour,
And here at the sublimest shrine
That Nature ever reared to Thee
Rekindle all that hope divine
And _feel_ my immortality!

[1] Between Vattay and Gex.

EXTRACT II.

Geneva.

FATE OF GENEVA IN THE YEAR 1782.

A FRAGMENT.

Yes--if there yet live some of those,
Who, when this small Republic rose,
Quick as a startled hive of bees,
Against her leaguering enemies--[1]
When, as the Royal Satrap shook
His well-known fetters at her gates,
Even wives and mothers armed and took
Their stations by their sons and mates;
And on these walls there stood--yet, no,
Shame to the traitors--_would_ have stood
As firm a band as e'er let flow
At Freedom's base their sacred blood;
If those yet live, who on that night
When all were watching, girt for fight,
Stole like the creeping of a pest
From rank to rank, from breast to breast,
Filling the weak, the old with fears,
Turning the heroine's zeal to tears,--
Betraying Honor to that brink,
Where, one step more, and he must sink--
And quenching hopes which tho' the last,
Like meteors on a drowning mast,
Would yet have led to death more bright,
Than life e'er lookt, in all its light!
Till soon, too soon, distrust, alarms
Throughout the embattled thousands ran,
And the high spirit, late in arms,
The zeal that might have workt such charms,
Fell like a broken talisman--
Their gates, that they had sworn should be
The gates of Death, that very dawn,
Gave passage widely, bloodlessly,
To the proud foe--nor sword was drawn,
Nor even one martyred body cast
To stain their footsteps, as they past;
But of the many sworn at night
To do or die, some fled the sight,
Some stood to look with sullen frown,
While some in impotent despair
Broke their bright armor and lay down,
Weeping, upon the fragments there!--
If those, I say, who brought that shame,
That blast upon GENEVA'S name
Be living still--tho' crime so dark
Shall hang up, fixt and unforgiven,
In History's page, the eternal mark
For Scorn to pierce--so help me, Heaven,
I wish the traitorous slaves no worse,
No deeper, deadlier disaster
From all earth's ills no fouler curse
Than to have *********** their master!

[1] In the year 1782, when the forces of Berne, Sardinia, and France laid
siege to Geneva, and when, after a demonstration of heroism and
self-devotion, which promised to rival the feats of their ancestors in
1602 against Savoy, the Genevans, either panic-struck or betrayed, to the
surprise of all Europe, opened their gates to the besiegers, and submitted
without a struggle to the extinction of their liberties--See an account of
this Revolution in Coxe's Switzerland.

EXTRACT III.

Geneva.

_Fancy and Truth--Hippomenes and Atalanta. Mont Blanc.--Clouds_.

Even here in this region of wonders I find
That light-footed Fancy leaves Truth far behind;
Or at least like Hippomenes turns her astray
By the golden illusions he flings in her way.

What a glory it seemed the first evening I gazed!
MONT BLANC like a vision then suddenly raised
On the wreck of the sunset--and all his array
Of high-towering Alps, touched still with a light
Far holier, purer than that of the Day,
As if nearness to Heaven had made them so bright!
Then the dying at last of these splendors away
From peak after peak, till they left but a ray,
One roseate ray, that, too precious to fly,
O'er the Mighty of Mountains still glowingly hung,
Like the last sunny step of ASTRAEA, when high,
From the summit of earth to Elysium she sprung!
And those infinite Alps stretching out from the sight
Till they mingled with Heaven, now shorn of their light,
Stood lofty and lifeless and pale in the sky,
Like the ghosts of a Giant Creation gone by!

That scene--I have viewed it this evening again,
By the same brilliant light that hung over it then--
The valley, the lake in their tenderest charms--
MONT BLANC in his awfullest pomp--and the whole
A bright picture of Beauty, reclined in the arms
Of Sublimity, bridegroom elect of her soul!
But where are the mountains that round me at first
One dazzling horizon of miracles burst?
Those Alps beyond Alps, without end swelling on
Like the waves of eternity--where are _they_ gone?
Clouds--clouds--they were nothing but clouds, after all![1]
That chain of MONT BLANC'S, which my fancy flew o'er,
With a wonder that naught on this earth can recall,
Were but clouds of the evening and now are no more.

What a picture of Life's young illusions! Oh, Night,
Drop thy curtain at once and hide _all_ from my sight.

[1] It is often very difficult to distinguish between clouds and
Alps; and on the evening when I first saw this magnificent scene, the
clouds were so disposed along the whole horizon, as to deceive me into an
idea of the stupendous extent of these mountains, which my subsequent
observation was very far, of course, from confirming.

EXTRACT IV.

Milan.

_The Picture Gallery.--Albano's Rape of Proserpine.--Reflections.--
Universal Salvation.--Abraham sending away Agar, by Guercino.--Genius_.

Went to the _Brera_--saw a Dance of Loves
By smooth ALBANO! him whose pencil teems
With Cupids numerous as in summer groves
The leaflets are or motes in summer beams.

'Tis for the theft of Enna's flower from earth,
These urchins celebrate their dance of mirth
Round the green tree, like fays upon a heath--
Those that are nearest linkt in order bright,
Cheek after cheek, like rose-buds in a wreath;
And those more distant showing from beneath
The others' wings their little eyes of light.
While see! among the clouds, their eldest brother
But just flown up tells with a smile of bliss
This prank of Pluto to his charmed mother
Who turns to greet the tidings with a kiss!

Well might the Loves rejoice--and well did they
Who wove these fables picture in their weaving
That blessed truth, (which in a darker day
ORIGEN lost his saintship for believing,[1])--
That Love, eternal Love, whose fadeless ray
Nor time nor death nor sin can overcast,
Even to the depths of hell will find his way,
And soothe and heal and triumph there at last!
GUERCINO'S Agar--where the bondmaid hears
From Abram's lips that he and she must part,
And looks at him with eyes all full of tears
That seem the very last drops from her heart.
Exquisite picture!--let me not be told
Of minor faults, of coloring tame and cold--
If thus to conjure up a face so fair,[2]
So full of sorrow; with the story there
Of all that woman suffers when the stay
Her trusting heart hath leaned on falls away--
If thus to touch the bosom's tenderest spring,
By calling into life such eyes as bring
Back to our sad remembrance some of those
We've smiled and wept with in their joys and woes,
Thus filling them with tears, like tears we've known,
Till all the pictured grief becomes our own--
If _this_ be deemed the victory of Art--
If thus by pen or pencil to lay bare
The deep, fresh, living fountains of the heart
Before all eyes be Genius--it is _there_!

[1] The extension of the Divine Love ultimately even to the
regions of the damned.

[2] It is probable that this fine head is a portrait, as we find
it repeated in a picture by Guercino, which is in the possession of Signor
Carnuccini, the brother of the celebrated painter at Rome.

EXTRACT V.

Padua.

_Fancy and Reality.--Rain-drops and Lakes.--Plan of a Story.--Where to
place the Scene of it.--In some unknown Region.--Psalmanazar's Imposture
with respect to the Island of Formosa_.

The more I've viewed this world the more I've found,
That, filled as 'tis with scenes and creatures rare.
Fancy commands within her own bright round
A world of scenes and creatures far more fair.
Nor is it that her power can call up there
A single charm, that's not from Nature won,
No more than rainbows in their pride can wear
A single hue unborrowed from the sun--
But 'tis the mental medium it shines thro'
That lends to Beauty all its charm and hue;
As the same light that o'er the level lake
One dull monotony of lustre flings,
Will, entering in the rounded raindrop, make
Colors as gay as those on Peris' wings!

And such, I deem, the difference between real,
Existing Beauty and that form ideal
Which she assumes when seen by poets' eyes,
Like sunshine in the drop--with all those dyes
Which Fancy's variegating prism supples.

I have a story of two lovers, filled
With all the pure romance, the blissful sadness,
And the sad, doubtful bliss that ever thrilled
Two young and longing hearts in that sweet madness.
But where to choose the region of my vision
In this wide, vulgar world--what real spot
Can be found out sufficiently Elysian
For two such perfect lovers I know not.
Oh for some fair FORMOSA, such as he,
The young Jew fabled of, in the Indian Sea,
By nothing but its name of Beauty known,
And which Queen Fancy might make all her own,
Her fairy kingdom--take its people, lands,
And tenements into her own bright hands,
And make at least one earthly corner fit
For Love to live in, pure and exquisite!

EXTRACT VI.

Venice.

_The Fall of Venice not to be lamented--Former Glory.--Expedition
against Constantinople.--Giustinianis.--Republic.--Characteristics of the
old Government.--Golden Book.--Brazen Mouths.--Spies.--Dungeons.--Present
Desolation_.

Mourn not for VENICE--let her rest
In ruin, 'mong those States unblest,
Beneath whose gilded hoofs of pride,
Where'er they trampled, Freedom died.
No--let us keep our tears for them,
Where'er they pine, whose fall hath been
Not from a blood-stained diadem,
Like that which deckt this ocean-queen,
But from high daring in the cause
Of human Rights--the only good
And blessed strife, in which man draws
His mighty sword on land or flood.

Mourn not for VENICE; tho' her fall
Be awful, as if Ocean's wave
Swept o'er her, she deserves it all,
And Justice triumphs o'er her grave.
Thus perish every King and State
That run the guilty race she ran,
Strong but in ill and only great
By outrage against God and man!

True, her high spirit is at rest,
And all those days of glory gone,
When the world's waters, east and west,
Beneath her white-winged commerce shone;
When with her countless barks she went
To meet the Orient Empire's might.[1]
And her Giustinianis sent
Their hundred heroes to that fight.

Vanisht are all her pomps, 'tis true,

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