Imagens das páginas

Still hae a stake-
I'm wae to think upo' yon den,

Ev'n for your sake! I need not say that these thoughts, which are here dilated, were in such a company only rapidly suggested, Our kind host smiled, and with a courteous compliment observed, that the defence was too good for the cause. My voice faltered a little, for I was somewhat agitated; though not so much on my own account as for the uneasiness that so kind and friendly a man would feel from the thought that he had been the occasion of distressing me. At length I brought out these words: “I must now confess, sir, that I am the author of that poem. It was written some years ago. I do not attempt to justify my past self, young as I then was; but as little as I would now write a similar poem, so far was I even then from imagining, that the lines would be taken as more or less than a sport of fancy. At all events, if I know my own heart, there was never a moment in my existence in which I should have been more ready, had Mr. Pitt's person been in hazard, to interpose my own body, and defended his life at the risk of my own."

I have prefaced the poem with this anecdote, because to have printed it without any remark might well have been understood as implying an unconditional approbation on my part, and this after many years' consideration. But if it be asked why I re-published it at all, I answer, that the poem had been attributed at different times to different other persons ; and what I had dared beget, 1 thought it neither manly nor honorable not to dare father. From the same motives I should have published perfect copies of two poems, the one entitled The Devil's Thoughts,* and the other, The Two round Spaces on the Tomb-Stone, but that the first three stanzas of the former, which were worth all the rest of the poem, and the best stanza of the remainder, were written by a friend of deserved celebrity; and because there are passages in both, which might have given offence to the religious feelings of certain readers. I myself indeed see no reasou why vulgar superstitions and absurd conceptions that deform the pure faith of a Christian, should possess a greater immunity from ridicule than sto

* See p. 36.

Thanks, gentle artist! now I can descry
Thy fair creation with a mastering eye,
And all awake! And now in fixed gaze stand,
Now wander through the Eden of thy hand;
Praise the green arches, on the fountain clear
See fragment shadows of the crossing deer;
And with that serviceable nymph I stoop
The crystal from its restless pool to scoop.
I see no longer! I myself am there,
Sit on the ground-sward, and the banquet share.
'Tis I, that sweep that lute's love-echoing strings,
And gaze upon the maid who gazing sings:
Or pause and listen to the tinkling bells
From the high tower, and think that there she

With old Boccaccio's soul I stand possest,
And breathe an air like life, that swells



The brightness of the world, O thou once free,
And always fair, rare land of courtesy !
O Florence! with the Tuscan fields and hills,
And famous Arno, fed with all their rills;
Thou brightest star of star-bright Italy !
Rich, ornate, populous, all treasures thine,
The golden corn, the olive, and the vine.
Fair cities, gallant mansions, castles old,
And forests, where, beside his leafy hold
The sullen boar hath heard the distant horn,
And whets his tusks against the gnarled thorn;
Palladian palace with its storied halls ;
Fountains, where Love lies listenʼng to their falls ;
Gardens, where flings the bridge its airy span,
And Nature makes her happy home with man;
Where many a gorgeous flower is duly fed

With its own rill, on its own spangled bed,
And wreaths the marble urn, or leans its head,
A mimic mourner, that with veil withdrawn
Weeps liquid gems, the presents of the dawn ;-
Thine all delights, and every muse is thine ;
And more than all, the embrace and intertwine
Of all with all in gay and twinkling dance !
Mid gods of Greece and warriors of romance,
See ! Boccace sits, unfolding on his knees
The new-found roll of old Mæonides, *
But from his mantle's fold, and near the heart,
Peers Ovid's holy book of Love's sweet smart.

O all-enjoying and all-blending sage,
Long be it mine to con thy mazy page,
Where, half concealed, the eye of Fancy views
Fauns, nymphs, and winged saints, all gracious to

thy muse.

Still in thy garden let me watch their pranks,
And see in Dian's vest between the ranks

* Boccaccio claimed for himself the glory of having first introduced the works of Homer to his countrymen.

T I know few more striking or more interesting proofs of the overwhelming influence which the study of the Greek and Roman classics exercised on the judgments, feelings, and imaginations of the literati of Europe at the commenceinent of the restoration of literature, than the passage in the Filocopo of Boccaccio : where the sage instructor, Racheo, as soon as the young prince and the beautiful girl Biancofiore had learned their letters, sets them to study the Holy Book, Ovid's Art of Love. “ Incominiciò Racheo a mettere il suo officio in esecuzione con intera sollecitudine. E loro, in breve tempo, insegnato a conoscer le lettere, fece leggere il santo libro d'Ovvidio, nel quale il sommo poeta mostra, come i santi fuochi di Venere si debbano ne' freddi cuori accendere."

Of the trim vines, some maid that half believes
The vestal fires, of which her lover grieves,
With that sly satyr peeping through the leaves !






Thou leapest from forth
The cell of thy hidden nativity;
Never mortal saw
The cradle of the strong one •
Never mortal heard
The gathering of his voices;
The deep-murmured charm of the son of the rock,
That is lisped evermore at his slumberless fountain.
There's a cloud at the portal, a spray-woven veil
At the shrine of his ceaseless renewing;
It embosoms the roses of dawn
It entangles the shafts of the noon,
And into the bed of its stillness
The moonshine sinks down as in slumber,
That the son of the rock, that the nursling of heaven
May be born in a holy twilight!

The wild goat in awe


and beholds
Above thee the cliff inaccessible ;-

* See Note at the end of the volume.

Thou at once full-born
Madd'nest in thy joyance,
Whirlest, shatter'st, splitt'st,
Life invulnerable.



LIKE a lone Arab, old and blind,

Some caravan had left behind,
Who sits beside a ruined well,

Where the shy sand-asps bask and swell ;
And now he hangs his aged head aslant,
And listens for a human sound-in vain!
And now the aid, which Heaven alone can grant,
Upturns his eyeless face from Heaven to gain ;-
Even thus, in vacant mood, one sultry hour,
Resting my eye upon a drooping plant,
With brow low bent, within my garden bower,
I sate upon the couch of camomile:
And--whether 'twas a transient sleep, perchance,
Flitted across the idle brain, the while
I watched the sickly calm with aimless scope,
In my own heart; or that, indeed, a trance,
Turned my eye inward—thee, O genial Hope,
Love's elder sister! thee did I behold,
Drest as a bridesmaid, but all pale and cold,
With roseless cheek, all pale and cold and dim
Lie lifeless at my

feet! And then came Love, a sylph in bridal trim, And stood beside my seat :

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