« AnteriorContinuar »
At first-happy news came,-in gay letters,--moiled
With my kisses,—of camp-life—and glory! and how
They both loved me, and—soon,-coming home-to be spoiled,
In return—would fan off every fly-from my brow
With their green-laurel bough..
Then—was triumph-at Turin: “Ancona-was free!”
And some one—came out of the cheers—(in the street,-
With a face-pale-as stone),—to say something to me.
My Guido—was dead! I fell down—at his feet,
While they-cheer'd—in the street.
I bore it; friends—sooth'd me: my grief-look'd sublime,
As the ransom—of Italy! One boy-remained
To be leant on—and walked with, -recalling the time-
When the first-grew immortal,—while both of us—strained
To the height—he had gained.
And letters—still came, -shorter, -sadder,-more strong,-
Writ—(now) but in one hand. (“I was not to faint !
One-loved me for two .... would be with memere long :
And— Viva–l'Italia !'-he died for our saint,
Who forbids-our complaint.")
My Nanni—would add—“He was safe,—and aware
Of a presence—th't turned off the balls .... was imprest-
It was Guido-himself, who knew—what I could bear,
And-how-—'t was impossible,—(quite dispossessed,)-
To live on-for the rest."
On which-(without pause) up the telegraph-line
Swept smoothly—the next news—from Gaeta—“Shot!
Tell his mother.” Ah, ah! “his”—“their” mother:-not-"mine."
No voice-says "my mother”-again to me. What!
You think Guido-forgot?
Are souls-straight—so happy—th't,—dizzy_with heaven,-
They drop-earth's affections,-conceive not of woe?
I think not. Themselves—were too lately-forgiven—
Through that Love—and Sorrow—which reconciled so—
The Above,—and Below.
O Christ-of the seven wounds,—who look’dstą(through the dark)-
To the face-of thy mother! consider, I pray,-
How we—common mothers-stand desolate, mark,-
Whose sons,-(not being Christs,) die—with eyes-turned away
And no-last-word—to say!
Both boys-dead! but that's out of nature. We all
Have been patriots,-yet-each house-must always keep one,
’T were imbecile-hewing out roads—to a wall.
And, when Italy 's—made,- for what end-is it done
If we-have not a son?
Ah, ah, ah! when Gaeta's taken,-what then?
When the fair-wicked queen-sits no more—at her sport-
Of the fire-balls—of death-crashing souls-out of men ?
When the guns-of Cavalli—(with final retort)
Have cut the game short;
When Venice--and Rome-keep their new jubilee,-
When your flag-takes all heaven-for its white-green,--and rech
When you—have your country—from mountain-to sea,
When King Victor-has Italy's crown-on his head,
(And I-have-my dead 1)-
What then? Do not mock me. (Ah,-ring your bells low,
And burn your lights-faintly.) My country—is there,
Above the star-pricked-by the last peak of snow.
My Italy's—there! with my brave-civic Pair,
Forgive me. Some women- -bear children-in strength,
And bite back--the cry—of their pain-in self-scorn;
But-the birth-pangs—of Nations--will wring us (at length)-
Into wail-such as this and we sit on —(forlorn)-
When the man-child-is born.
THE RUM MANIAC. ALLISON.
Say,-(Doctor,) may I not have rum
To quench—this burning thirst-within ?
Here, on this cursed bed I lie,
And can not get one drop of gin.
I ask not health,—nor even life:-
LIFE! what a curse—it's been to me!
I'd rather sink-in deepest hell
Than drink-again—its misery.
But, (Doctor,) may I not have rum?
One drop-alone is all I crave:
Grant—this small boon;-I ask no more.
Then I'll defy—even the grave:
Then, (without fear,) I'll fold my arms,
And bid the monster-strike his dart
To haste me—from this world of woe,
And claim his own,—this ruin'd heart!
A thousand curses-on his head
Who gave me first--the poison'd bowl,—
Who taught me first—this bane—to drink;-
Drink-death—and ruin-to my soul.
My soul! Oh! cruel,-horrid thought!
Full well—I know—thy certain fate;
With what instinctive horror-shrinks
The spirit-from that awful state!
Lost! Lost! I know-forever lost!
To meno ray of hope-can come:
My fate—is sealed; my doom is
But give me-rum; I will have rum.
But, (Doctor,) don't you see him—there?
In that dark corner-low he sits;
See! how he sports—his fiery tongue, -
And at me-burning brimstone spits !
Say,—don't you see- -this demon face?
Does no one-hear ? will no one-come?
Oh! save me! SAVE me! I will give-
But rum !-I must have,-will have-rum.
-be's gone! once more—I'm free!
He-(the boasting knave—and liar)-
He said—th't he would take me off-
Downto But there! my head's on fire!
FIRE! water! HELP! come,-haste! I'll die!
COME-take me from this burning bed !
The SMOKE! I'm choking! can not cry!
There! now it's catching—at my head!
But see! again—that demon 's come!
Look! there-he peeps through yonder crack !
Mark-how his burning eyeballs flash!
How fierce he grins! what–brought him back :
There, --stands his burning coach of fire!
He smiles,- and beckons me—to come!
What are those words-he's written there?
"In hell we never want-for rum!"
One loud-one piercing shriek—was heard;
One yell—rang out-upon the air;
One sound, and one-alone-came forth,-
The victim's cry-of wild despair.
Why longer wait? I'm ripe for hell!
A spirit's sent—to bear me down;
There,—in the regions
of the lost,
I sure—will wear-a fiery crown!
Damn'd—(I know,) without a hope !
One moment-more-and then I'll come!
And there—I'll quench—my awful thirst-
With boiling! burning! fiery RUM!
! SOLILOQUY OF THE DYING ALCHEMIST. N. P. WILL18.
The night wind-(with a desolate moan)-swept by;
And the old shutters--of the turret swung
Creaking-upon their hinges; and the moon,
(As the torn edges of the clouds flew past,)
Struggled aslant—the stained and broken panes
So dimly, that the watchful eye of death
Scarcely was conscious—when it went—and came.
The fire-beneath his crucible-was low :
Yet still—it burned ; and ever, (as his thoughts
Grew insupportable,) he raised himself-
Upon his wasted arm and stirred the coals-
With difficult energy, and when the rod
Fell from his nerveless fingers, and his eye-
Felt-faint within its socket, he shrunk back
Upon his pallet, and-(with unclosed lips)
Muttered a curse-on death!
The silent room,
(From its dim corners) mockingly gave back
His rattling breath; the humming—in the fire-
Had the distinctness of a knell; and when-
Duly—the antique horologe-beat one
He drew a vial-(from beneath his head)
And drank. And instantly—his lips compressed,
And (with a shudder—in his skeleton frame)
He rose—with supernatural strength, and sat
Upright,--and communed—with himself :-
I did not think to die-
Till I had finished—what I had to do;
I thought~to pierce th' eternal secret through-
With this—my mortal eye;
I felt_0 God! it seemeth—even now
This can not be the death-dew-on my brow !
And yet—it is; I feel (Of this dull sickness—at my heart) afraid ; And in my eyes—the death-sparks—flash—and fade;
And something seems to steal
Over my bosom-like a frozen hand,-
Binding its pulses—with an icy band.
And this—is death! But why-
Feel I this recoil? It can not be
The immortal spirit-shuddereth—to be freel
Would it not leap-to fly
Like a chain'd eaglet—at its parent's call?
I fear,-I fear--that this poor life is all !
Yet thus—to pass away!
To live—but for a hope—that mocks—at last, –
To agonize, -to strive,—to watch,--to fast,
To waste—the light of day,
Night's better beauty,-feeling,-fancy,—thought,
AlL—that we have—and are,—for this,-for naught!
Grant me another year,
God of my spirit !—but a day,--to win
Something—to satisfy this thirst-within !
I would know something-here!
Break for me, but one seal—that is unbroken!
Speak for me-but one word—that is unspoken !
Vain, -vain!—my brain—is turning With a swift dizziness, and my heart grows sick, And these hot temple-throbs—come fast—and thick,
And I am freezing,—burning, Dying! O God! if I might only live! My vial
-Ha! it thrills me,- I revive.
Aye, -were not man to die,-
He were too mighty-for this narrow sphere!
Had he but time to brood on knowledge-here,–
Could he but train' his eye, -
Might he but wait—the mystic word--and hour,-
Only his Maker-would transcend—his power!
Earth-has no mineral strange,
Th’ illimitable air-no hidden wings,–
Water-no quality-in covert springs,
And fire—no power--to change,-
Seasons—no mystery,—and stars—no spell,
Which the unwasting soul-might not compel.
Oh! but for time-to track
The upper stars—into the pathless sky, -
To see th' invisible spirits, eye-to eye, -
To burl the lightning back,-
To tread-unhurt—the sea's dim-lighted halls, –
To chase Day's chariot-to the horizon-walls,-
And more, -much more--for now--
The life-sealed fountains of my nature move, –
To nurse- —and purify—this human love,-
To clear the godlike brow
Of weakness—and mistrust, and bow it down,-
Worthy—and beautiful,—to the much-loved one,-
The soul-thirst-slaken-at the living stream,-
To live,-0 God! that life-is but a dream!
And death- -Aha! I reel ;-
Dim,-dim,-I faint,--darkness comes o'er my eye ;-
Cover me! save me! God of heaven! I die !
'T was morning,--and the old man—lay alone.
No friend—had closed his eyelids,--and his lips,
(Open—and ashy pale,) th' expression wore
Of his death-struggle. His long silvery hair
Lay on his hollow temples—thin—and wild;
His frame-was wasted,—and his features—wan
And haggard—as with want ;—and in his palm
His nails were driven-deep, as if the throe
Of the last agony—had wrung him sore.