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SONNET.-ON THE PAINTINGS OF

WALLIS.10

WALLI

ALLIS ! that hast with keen poetic eye

Looked through the very soul of visible things; And turned the loftiest imaginings To pencilled shapes, with hues that cannot die ; Thou of all Nature lover, friend, ally, Hast long conversed with southern skies, and hills, Forests, and floods ; there heard the voice that thrills Throughout creation everlastingly. Thee, therefore, cradled in the lap of Art, The cataract- the eagle of the rockEarth in the pomp of heaven at sunset dressedFruits, foliage, of the gardens of the blestItalian splendours, blind not; but unlock The vast resources of thy British heart.

Florence, May, 1844.

A SKETCH AT VALLOMBROSA.

“IN

N Vallombrosa, where the Etrurian shades
High over-arched embower"-in oak and chest-

nut glades,
Beneath the very trees by Milton seen
In autumn,* now spring-clad in freshest green ;
Three lovely boys it was our chance to see
Leaping the voiceful water-brooks in glee;
With golden flowering broom entwined around
Their heads; with merriment they came of pleasant

sound;
And to fill up the summer's vocal cheer,
The nightingale sang loud and long, and cuckoo

shouted clear.
But straight the boys left off their boisterous play,
When they came bounding on the mountain way;
For there, within a chapel, small and rude,
With words beneath of sacred import, stood
An image of the Virgin and the Child;
Dear emblems of protection in the wild ;

* In the year 1638; 206 years ago.

Each doffed his garland, each before the shrine
Knelt down, and kissed the sculptured forms divine;
And rising, each his brow crossed with the sacred sign.

One moment more, with shout and gambol new, Down the steep mountain path the truant comrades

flew; And though their passing reverence was brief, Their worship such as we must view with grief, Yet they are blest, nursed in devout belief: For it is written, by the will of heaven, High charge to intermediate powers is given ; Nor dare we say amidst these water-floods Sky-born, these solemn rocks, and caves, and glorious

woods, No guardian spirits dwell, no angels hover, Suppliants like these from injury to cover.

June, 1844.

THE SACRO EREMO, OR CITY OF

HERMITS.

THE UPPER CONVENT OF CAMALDOLI.

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O the recesses of the Apennine

We climbed, above Camaldoli, and found The Hermits' City in deep mountain woods Of pines and chestnuts; whence, by gray ravines, The cloud-engendered waterfalls descend, Whose glorious destination is to feed The Arno and the Tiber. We were met By a good Benedictine at the gate, Who signified a welcome, spoke it not; For these converse with heavenly things alone. To many a shrine he led us, many a cell, For centuries by Saint and Anchorite used ; And bowed his head, and knelt in prayer,

before Carved images of wondrous sanctity ; Whilst solemn intermittent undertones Dropped from his lips, like waters in a cave.

Mortification weans these men from earth :
Their food herbs and rock-water; iron their couch :
Morning, and noon, and night, year after year,
They dedicate their lives to prayer and praise.
Oft when the whirl-blast eddies round and round
The precipices hung with shuddering pines ;
Oft beneath skies distinct with frosty stars,
When the ice-brooks are voiceless, and the woods
Bow down beneath the snow-drifts, deadening all
The echoes, when the very convent bell
Is dumb with snow, forth come the punctual quire,
Gliding at midnight, an unearthly train,
To call on God with services and hymns.
Let us forbear to search too curiously
If all be done in genuine purity
And lowliness of heart. A cell's repose
Ensures not a soul's

very

meet
At times to reckon with ourselves, in league
With solitary thoughts; but wakeful fiends
Might fabricate a deadly snare for these
Out of their penances and solitude.
Too self-sufficient, and too much alone,
Is to go mad !—But hold, intruding thoughts :

thread

may

lead we will not follow. Rather by meditation let us dwell

peace. 'Tis

Whither your

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