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TO THE FRAGMENT OF A STATUE OF HERCULES,
AND dost thou still, thou mass of breathing stone,
(Thy giant limbs to night and chaos hurled)
Still sit as on the fragment of a world;
Surviving all, majestic and alone?
What tho' the Spirits of the North, that swept
Rome from the earth, when in her pomp she slept,
Smote thee with fury, and thy headless trunk
Deep in the dust 'mid tower and temple sunk;
Soon to subdue mankind 'twas thine to rise,
Still, still unquelled thy glorious energies!
Aspiring minds, with thee conversing, caught
Bright revelations of the Good they sought;*
By thee that long-lost spellt in secret given,
To draw down Gods, and lift the soul to Heaven!
* In the gardens of the Vatican, where it was placed by Julius II., it was long the favourite study of those great men to whom we owe the revival of the arts, Michael Angelo, Raphael, and the Caracci.
Once in the possession of Praxiteles, if we may believe an ancient epigram on the Gnidian Venus.-Analecta Vet. Poetarum, III. 200.
MINE be a cot beside the hill;
A bee-hive's hum shall soothe my ear;
A willowy brook, that turns a mill,
With many a fall shall linger near.
The swallow, oft, beneath my thatch,
Shall twitter from her clay-built nest;
Oft shall the pilgrim lift the latch,
And share my meal, a welcome guest.
Around my ivy'd porch shall spring
Each fragrant flower that drinks the dew;
And Lucy, at her wheel, shall sing
In russet gown and apron blue.
The village-church, among the trees, Where first our marriage-vows were given, With merry peals shall swell the breeze, And point with taper spire to heaven.
WHEN by the green-wood side, at summer eve,
Poetic visions charm my closing eye;
And fairy-scenes, that fancy loves to weave,
Shift to wild notes of sweetest minstrelsy;
"Tis thine to range in busy quest of prey,
Thy feathery antlers quivering with delight,
Brush from my lids the hues of heaven away,
And all is Solitude, and all is Night!
-Ah now thy barbed shaft, relentless fly,
Unsheaths its terrors in the sultry air!
No guardian sylph, in golden panoply,
Lifts the broad shield, and points the glittering spear.
Now near and nearer rush thy whirring wings,
Thy dragon-scales still wet with human gore.
Hark, thy shrill horn its fearful larum flings!
—I wake in horror, and dare sleep no more!
TREAD lightly here, for here, 'tis said,
When piping winds are hushed around,
A small note wakes from underground,
Where now his tiny bones are laid.
No more in lone and leafless groves,
With ruffled wing and faded breast,
His friendless, homeless spirit roves ;
-Gone to the world where birds are blest!
Where never cat glides o'er the green,
Or school-boy's giant form is seen;
But Love, and Joy, and smiling Spring
Inspire their little souls to sing!
* Inscribed on an urn in the flower-garden at Hafod.
DEAR is my little native vale,
The ring-dove builds and murmurs there;
Close by my cot she tells her tale
To every passing villager.
The squirrel leaps from tree to tree,
And shells his nuts at liberty.
In orange-groves and myrtle-bowers,
That breathe a gale of fragrance round,
I charm the fairy-footed hours
With my loved lute's romantic sound;
Or crowns of living laurel weave,
For those that win the race at eve.
The shepherd's horn at break of day,
The ballet danced in twilight glade,
The canzonet and roundelay
Sung in the silent green-wood shade;
These simple joys, that never fail,
Shall bind me to my native vale.