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From rock to rock, with giant-bound,
High on their iron poles they pass;
Mute, lest the air, convulsed by sound,
Rend from above a frozen mass.
The goats wind slow their wonted way,
Up craggy steeps and ridges rude;
Marked by the wild wolf for his prey,
From desert cave or hanging wood.
And while the torrent thunders loud,
And as the echoing cliffs reply,
The huts peep o'er the morning-cloud, ,
Perched, like an eagle's nest, on high.
While thro' the broken pane the tempest sighs,
And my step falters on the faithless floor,
Shades of departed joys around me rise,
With many a face that smiles on me no more;
With many a voice that thrills of transport gave,
Now silent as the grass that tufts their grave!
Go — you may call it madness, folly;
You shall not chase my gloom away.
There's such a charm in melancholy,
I would not, if I could, be gay.
Oh, if you knew the pensive pleasure
That fills my bosom when I sigh,
You would not rob me of a treasure
Monarchs are too poor to buy.
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 spell + 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.
t Once in the possession of Praxiteles, if we may believe an ancient epigram on the Gnidian Venus.
Analecta Vet. Poctarum, III. 200.
Mine be a cot beside the hill;
A bee-hive's hum shall sooth 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;