Page images
PDF
EPUB

Now the scene shifts to Venice-to a square Glittering with light, all nations masking there, With light reflected on the tremulous tide, Where gondolas in gay confusion glide, Answering the jest, the song on every side;

[graphic]

1

To Naples next—and at the crowded gate,
Where Grief and Fear and wild Amazement wait,
Lo, on his back a Son brings in his Sire,
Vesuvius blazing like a World on fire!
Then, at a sign that never was forgot,
A strain breaks forth (who hears and loves it not?)
From harp or organ! 'Tis at parting given,
That in their slumbers they may dream of Heaven;
Young voices mingling, as it floats along,
In Tuscan air or Handel's sacred song!

And She inspires, whose beauty shines in all;
So soon to weave a daughter's coronal,
And at the nuptial rite smile through her tears ;-
So soon to hover round her full of fears,
And with assurance sweet her soul revive
In child-birth-when a mother's love is most alive!

No, 'tis not here that Solitude is known.
Through the wide world he only is alone
Who lives not for another. Come what will,
The generous man has his companion still;
The cricket on his hearth; the buzzing fly,
That skims his roof, or, be his roof the sky,
Still with its note of gladness passes by:
And, in an iron cage condemned to dwell,
The cage that stands within the dungeon-cell,
He feeds his spider-happier at the worst
Than he at large who in himself is curst!

O thou all-eloquent, whose mighty mind
Streams from the depth of ages on mankind,

Streams like the day-who, angel-like, hast shed
Thy full effulgence on the hoary head,
Speaking in Cato's venerable voice,
“ Look up, and faint not-faint not, but rejoice!"
From thy Elysium guide him. Age has now
Stamped with its signet that ingenuous brow;
And, 'mid his old hereditary trees,
Trees he has climbed so oft, he sits and sees
His children's children playing round his knees :
Then happiest, youngest, when the quoit is flung,
When side by side the archers' bows are strung;
His to prescribe the place, adjudge the prize,
Envying no more the young their energies
Than they an old man when his words are wise;
His a delight how pure . . . without alloy;
Strong in their strength, rejoicing in their joy!

Now in their turn assisting, they repay The anxious cares of many and many a day; And now by those he loves relieved, restored, His very wants and weaknesses afford A feeling of enjoyment. In his walks, Leaning on them, how oft he stops and talks, While they look up! Their questions, their replies, Fresh as the welling waters, round him rise, Gladdening his spirit: and, his theme the past, How eloquent he is! His thoughts flow fast; And, while his heart (oh can the heart grow old? False are the tales that in the World are told !)

« PreviousContinue »