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And bare to thee her rosy breast,
And pour for thee the golden wine
That throngs thy brain with visions blest,
Each than the last more inly thine.
'Tis but the phantom of an hour
That fades before thy waking glance,
And not that high ideal of thought
Which forms the bounds of hope and chance.
Bind not the giant of the soul
By bootless vows to wear a chain,
Whose narrow fetters, pressing close,
Its nobler growth shall rend in twain.
The Infinite, that sees us thus
Mould its transcendent form in clay,
Tramples our idol into dust,
And we afresh must seek and pray.
And thou shalt suffer to be free.
But most shall suffer to be bound,
Pour, then, the cup of thy desire
An offering upon holy ground.
But our fair and earnest minstrel is not altogether sad; sometimes she is playful, and at the same time significant, as in " The Mill Stream ;" sometimes historically picturesque, as in parts of " Wherefore?" sometimes true to the most natural feeling, in its most simple utterance, as in the beautiful and touching verses occasioned by the death of a faithful servant. She knows, too, the delight of intellectual gifts: witness—
THE JOY OF POESY.
Voices of care and pleasure, cease—
Harp! thou and I have room at length;
Incline thy sweetness to my skill,
And give back melody for strength.
Oh! not amiss tho Master Bard
Is pictured to the vulgar mind
Possessed of inner sight alone;
The poet at his song is blind.
He sees nor circumstance, nor friend,
His listeners press not in on him;
Cloud-wrapt in possibility,
His thoughts and ways are far and dim.
Led by the wonder of his theme,
He writes his word in doubt and shade;
Its glory scarcely shows to him—
Do stars look bright to God that made?
He leaves, and follows on for mora,
By winged steed or Stygian boat;
Men see the letters all in light,
And bless the unconscious hand that wrote.
For sure, among all arts is none
So far transcending sense as this,
That follows its own painful way,
And cannot rest in bane or bliss;
That moulds, to more than face or form,
That paints, to more than Nature's hue,
And from th' intense of passion brings
The deeply, passionlessly true;
That, in unlettered ages, read
The thoughts that in God's heavens are;
Divined the Orient speech of Day,
And told the tale of star to star.
Oh! tremblingly I sit to sing,
And take the lyre upon my knee;
Like child divine to mortal maid,
My gift is full of awe to me.
To sing for praise, to sing for gold,
Or ev'n for mere delight of singing,
Were as if empty joy of smell
Should prompt the censer's fragrant swinging.
Dear soul of bliss, and bliss of song,
Be thou and song insphered with me;
Thus may I hold the sacred gift,
Possessing, but possest in thee.
One of the longest and best poems in the volume, is that entitled " Rome." Here the author has managed blank verse with the exquisite skill of Tennyson in "The Princess;" it
aptly unites the familiar and the rhythmical, and is an affecting memorial of a sojourn in the Eternal City, such as every poetic mind, which has tasted u like experience, will thoroughly appreciate. Hear a passage:
A day of fuller joy arose for me
When the young spring-tide came, and dark-eyed boys
Bound violets and anemones to sell.
The later litjht gave scope to long delight,
And I might stray, unhaunted by the fear
Of fever, or the chill of evening air,
While happiest companionship enriched
The ways whose very dust was gold before.
Then the enchantment of an orange grove
First overcame me, entering thy lone walks
Cloistered in twilight, Villa Massimo!
Where the stern cypresses siand up to guard
A thousand memories of blessedness.
There seemed a worship in the concentrate
Deep-breathing sweetness of those virgin flowers,
Fervid as worship is in passionate souls
That have not found their vent in earthly lite,
And soar too wild untaught, and sink unaided.
They filled the air with inwnte gathered up
For the pale vesper of the evening star.
Nor failed the rite of meet antiphony—
I felt the silence holy, (ill a note
Fell, as a sound of ravishment from heaven—
Fell, as a star falls, trailing sound for light;
And, ere its thread of melody was broken,
From the serene sprang other sounds, its fellows,
That fluttered back celestial welcoming.
Astonished, penetrate, too past myself
To know I sinned in speaking, where a breath
Less exquisite was sacrilege, my lips
Gave passage to one cry: God! what is that!
• (Oh! not to know what has no peer on earth!)
And one, not distant, stooped to me and said:
'If ever thou recall thy friend afar,
Let him but be commemorate with this hour,
The first in which thou heard'st our Nightingale.'
The author of " Passion Flowers" has a profound sympathy with her race. She has a soul alive to the 'cry of the human,' as her noble sister, Mrs. Browning, would say. It is natural that one who so loved Rome, and entered so deeply
into the associations of the past and natural beauty of the present, so abounding in Italy, should feel deep sympathy in her glorious though abortive struggles for freedom. She was at Newport, in the midst of the gaieties of a fashionable watering-place, when every steamer was bringing tidings of the siege of Rome, in the summer of 1848. With her fond memories, her admiration of the heroic, her sense of the momentous nature of the strife, no wonder she thought more of the distant martyrs of Italy than of the frivolous crowd around her; and her feelings found eloquent vent in the following glowing verses:
Constrained to learn of you the arts
Which half dishonour, half deceive,
I've felt my burning soul flash out
Against the silken web you weave.
No earnest feeling passes you
Without dilution infinite;
No word with frank abruptness breathed,
Must vent itself on ears polite.
In your domain, so brilliant all,
So fitly jewelled, wreathed and hung,
Vocal wilh music, faint with sweets
From living flowsr-censers swung;
Thronged by fair women, tireless all
As ever-moving streams of light,
Yielding their wild electric strength
To contact, as their bloom to sight;
I wandered, while the flow of sound
Made Reason drunken through the ear,
Dreaming: "This is soul-paradise,
The tree of knowledge must be here.
"The treo whoso fruitage of delight
Imparts the wisdom of the Gods,
Unlike the scanty, seedling growth
That Learning's ploughshare wins from clods."
"And if that tree be here," said one,
Who read my meaning in mine eyes,
"No serpent can so soothly speak
As tempt these women to be. wise."
A sound of fear came wafted in,
While these careered in giddy rout.
None heeded—I alone could hear
The wailing of the world without.
In dreadful symphony of death
And hollow echoes from the grave,
It was a brother's cry that swept,
Unweakened, o'er the Atlantic wave.
It breathed so deep, it rose so high,
No other sound seemed there to be;
"Oh! do you hear that woeful strain?"
I asked of all the company—
They stared, as at a madman struck
Beneath the melancholy moon;
"We hear the sweetest waltz," they said,
"And not a string is out of tune."
Then, with one angry leap, I sprang
To where the chief musician stood;
I seized his rod of rule, I pushed
The idol from his shrine of wood.
"I've sat among you long enough,
Or followed where your music led,
I never marred your pleasure yet,
But you shall listen now," I said:
"I hear the battle-thunder boom,
Cannon to cannon answering loud;
I hear the whizzing shots that fling
Their handful to the stricken crowd.
"I see the bastions bravely manned,
The patriots gathered in the breach;
I see the bended brows of men
Whom the next dreadful sweep must reach;
I feel the breath of agony,
I hear the thick and hurried speech.
"Before those lurid bursts of flame
Your clustering wax lights flicker pale;
In that condensed and deadly smoke
Your blossoms drop, your perfumes fail.
"Brave blood is shed, whose generous flow Quickens the pulses of the river;