« AnteriorContinuar »
Then from his closing eyes thy form shall part,
And the last pang shail tear thee from his heart;
Life's idle business at one gasp be o'er,
The Muse forgot, and thou belov'd no more !
O thou that, with surpassing glory crown'd,
Look'st from thy sole dominion like the God
Of this new world; at whose sight all the stars
Hide their diminish'd heads; to thee I call,
But with no friendly voice, and add thy name,
O Sun, to tell thee how I hate thy beams,
That bring to my remembrance from what state
I fell, how glorious once above thy sphere!
Till pride, and worse ambition threw me down,
Warring in Heav'n against Heav'n's matchless King.
Ah, wherefore?: he deserv'd no such return
From me, whom he created what I was
In that bright eminence, and with his good
Upbraided none : nor was his service hard.
What could be less than to afford him praise,
The easiest recompense, and pay him thanks ?
How due! yet all his good prov'd ill in me,
And wrought but malice; lifted up so high,
I 'sdain'd subjection, and thought one step higher
Would set me highest, and in a moment quit
The debt immense of endless gratitude,
So burdensome, still paying, still to owe;
Forgetful what from him I still receiv'd ;
And understood not that a grateful mind
By owing owes not, but still pays, at once
Indebted and discharg'd: wliat burden then?
O had his pow'rsul destiny ordain'd
Me some inferior angel, I had stood
Then happy; no unbounded hope bad rais'd
Anibition. Yet why not? some other pow'r
As great might have aspir'd; and me, though mean,
Drawn to his part; but other pow'rs as great
Fell not, but stand unshaken, from within,
Or from without, to all temptations arm'd.
Had'st thou the same free will and pow'r to stand
Thou had'st. ' Whom hast thou then, or what t'accuse,
But Heav'n's free love, dealt equally to all
Be then his love accurs'd, since love or hate,
To me alike it deals eternal wo.
Nay, curs'd be thou; since against his thy will
Chose freely what it now so justly rues.
Me miserable ! which way shall I flee
Infinite wrath, and infinite despair
Which way I flee is Hell; myself am Hell;
And in the lowest deep a lower deep,
Still threat'ning to devour me, opens wide,
To which the Hell I suffer seems a Heav'n.
O then at last relent; is there no place
Left for repentance, none for pardon left?
None left but by submission; and that word so
Disdain forbids me, and my dread of shame
Among the spirits beneath, whom I seduc’d, . . . .
With other promises, and other vaunts, * . .
Than to submit, boasting I could subdue . . . . . . . .
Th' Omnipotent. Ah me, they little know . . . . .
How dearly I abide that boast so vain,
Under what torments inwardly I groan, -
While they adore me on the throne of Hell:
With diadem and sceptre high advanc'd,
The lower still I fall, only supreme
In misery; such joy ambition finds.
But say I could repent, and could obtain,
By act of grace, my former state; how soon
Would height recall high thoughts, how soon unsay
What feign'd submission swore l ease would recant
Vows made in pain, as violent and void:
For never can true reconcilement grow
Where wounds of deadly hate have pierc'd so deep
Which would but lead us to a worse relapse,
And heavier fall: so should I purchase dear
Short intermission, bought with double smart.
This knows my punisher: therefore as far
From granting he, as I from begging peace:
All hope excluded thus, behold instead
Of us outcast, exil'd, his new delight,
Mankind created, and for him this world.
So farewell hope; and, with hope, farewell fear;
Farewell remorse ; all good to me is lost;
Evil be thou my good : by thee at least
Divided empire with Heav'n's King I hold,
And by thee more than half perhaps will reign;
As man ere long, and this new world, shall know.
Ir must be so -Plato, thou reason'st well-
Else whence this pleasing hope, this fond desire,
This longing after immortality?
Or whence this secret dread, and inward horrour
Of falling into nought? Why shrinks the Soul
Back on herself, and startles at destruction?
'Tis the Divinity, that stirs within us ;
'Tis Heav'n itself, that points out a hereafter,
And intimates eternity to man. --
Eternity! thou pleasing, dreadful thought!
Through what variety of untried being,
Through what new scenes and clranges must we pass !
The wide, th' unbounded prospect lies before me;
But shadows, clouds, and darkness rest upon it.
Here will I hold. If there's a power above us,
(And that there is, all Nature cries aloud
Through all her works) he must delight in virtue ;
And that which he delights in must be happy.
But when, or where i-This world was made for Cæsar.
I'm weary of conjectures this must end 'em.
Thus am I doubly arm'd-My death and life,
My bane and antidote are both before me.
This in a moment brings me to an end;
But this informs me I shall never die.
The Soul, secur’d in her existence, smiles
At the drawn dagger, and defies it's point:
The stars shall fade away, the Sun himself
Grow dim with age, and Nature sink in years ;
But thou shalt flourish in immortal youth,
Unhurt amidst the war of elements,
The wreck of matter, and the crush of worlds.
SOUTHAMPTON AND ESSEX.
Officer. My Lord,
We bring an order for your execution,
And hope you are prepar’d; for you must die
This very hour.
South. Indeed! the time is sudden !
Essex. Is death th' event of all my flatter'd hope ?
False Sex! and Queen more perjur'd than them all!
But die I will without the least complaint;
My soul shall vanish silent as the dew
Attracted by the sun from verdant fields
And leaves of weeping flow'rs. Come, my dear frieud,
Partner in fate, give me thy body in
These faithful arms, and O now let me tell thee,
And you, my Lords, and Heav'n my witness too,
I have no weight, no heaviness on my soul,
But that I've lost my dearest friend his life. ,
South. And I protest, by the same powers divine,
And to the world, 'tis all my happiness,
The greatest bliss of mind yet e'er enjoyed,
Since we must die, my Lord, to die together.
Officer. The Queen, my lord Southampton, has been
To grant particular mercy to your person;
And has by us sent you a reprieve from death,
With pardon of your treasons, and commands
You to depart immediately from hence.
South. O my unguarded soul! Sure never was A man with mercy wounded so before.
Esser. Then I am loose to steer my wand'ring voyage ; Like a bad vessel, that has long been cross'd, And bound by adverse winds, at last gets liberty, And joyfully make all the sail she can To reach her wislı'd-for port-Angels protect The Queen ; for her my chiefest pray’rs shall be, That as in time she spar'd my noble friend, And owns his crimes worth mercy, may she ne'er Think so of me too late, when I am deadAgain, Southampton, let me hold thee fast, For 'tis my last embrace.
South. O be less kind, my friend, or move less pity, Or I shall sink beneath the weight of sadness! I weep that I am doom'd to live without
you, And should have smild to share the death of Essex.
Essex. O spare this tenderness for one that needs it. For her that I commit to thee, 'tis all I claim of my Southampton. O my wife ! Methinks that very name should stop thy pity, And make thee covetous of all as lost, That is not meant to her--be a kind friend To her, as we have been to one another; Name not the dying Essex to thy queen, Lest it should cost a tear, nor e'er offend her.
South. O stay, my Lord; let me have one word more;
One last farewell, before the greedy axe
Shall part my friend, my only friend, from me,
And Essex from himself-I know not what
Are call’d the pangs of death, but sure I am, !
I feel an agony that's worse than death-
Essex. Why that's well said Farewell to three
Then let us part just like two travellers,
Take distant paths, only this diff'rence is,
Thine is the longest, mine the shortest way
Now let me go—if there's a throne in Heav'n
For the most brave of men and best of friends,
I will bespeak it for Southampton.