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A hunter, as it chanced, of old renown,
And, as it chanced, their father.
In the South
A speck appeared, enlarging; and ere long,
As on his journey to the golden sun,
Upward he came, the felon in his flight,
Ascending through the congregated clouds,
That, like a dark and troubled sea, obscured
The world beneath. - But what is in his grasp ?
Ha! 't is a child – and may it not be ours ?
I dare not, cannot; and yet why forbear,
When, if it lives, a cruel death awaits it?
May He who winged the shaft when Tell stood forth
And shot the apple from the youngling's head, 28
Grant me the strength, the courage!” As he spoke,
He aimed, he fired; and at his feet they fell,
The eagle and the child -- the child unhurt --
Though, such the grasp, not even in death relinquished. *
Who first beholds those everlasting clouds,
Seed-time and harvest, morning, noon and night,
Still where they were, steadfast, immovable,
Those mighty hills, so shadowy, so sublime,
As rather to belong to heaven than earth,
But instantly receives into his soul
A sense, a feeling that he loses not,
A something that informs him 't is an hour
Whence he may date henceforward and forever ?
To me they seemed the barriers of a world,
Saying, Thus far, no further! and as o'er
The level plain I travelled silently,
Nearing them more and more, day after day,
My wandering thoughts my only company,
And they before me still -- oft as I looked,
A strange delight was mine, mingled with fear,
A wonder as at things I had not heard of!
And still and still I felt as if I gazed
For the first time! Great was the tumult there,
Deafening the din when in barbaric pomp
The Carthaginian on his march to ROME
Entered their fastnesses. Trampling the snows,
The war-horse reared ; and the towered elephant
Upturned his trunk into the murky sky,
Then tumbled headlong, swallowed up and lost,
He and his rider.
Now the scene is changed ;
And o'er the Simplon, o'er the Splugen, winds
A path of pleasure. Like a silver zone
Flung about carelessly, it shines afar,
Catching the eye in many a broken link,
In many a turn and traverse as it glides ;
And oft above and oft below appears,
Seen o’er the wall by him who journeys up,
As if it were another, through the wild
Leading along he knows not whence or whither.
Yet through its fairy course, go where it will,
The torrent stops it not, the rugged rock
Opens and lets it in; and on it runs,
Winning its easy way from clime to clime
Through glens locked up before. — Not such my path!
The very path for them that dare defy
Danger, nor shrink, wear he what shape he will;
That o'er the caldron, when the flood boils up,
Hang as in air, gazing and shuddering on
Till fascination comes and the brain turns ! 30
The very path for them, that list, to choose
Where best to plant a monumental cross,
And live in story like EMPEDOCLES;
A track for heroes, such as he who came,
Ere long, to win, to wear the iron crown;
And (if aright I judge from what I felt
Over the DRANCE, just where the Abbot fell,
Rolled downward in an after-dinner's sleep)
The same as HANNIBAL’S. But now 't is passed,
That turbulent chaos; and the promised land
Lies at my feet in all its loveliness!
To him who starts up from a terrible dream,
And, lo! the sun is shining, and the lark
Singing aloud for joy — to him is not
Such sudden ravishment as now I feel
At the first glimpses of fair ITALY.
I LOVE to sail along the LARIAN Lake 32
Under the shore --- though not, where'er he dwelt, 33
To visit PLINY; not, in loose attire,
When from the bath or from the tennis-court,
To catch him musing in his plane-tree walk,
Or angling from his window : 34 and, in truth,
Could I recall the ages past and play
The fool with Time, I should perhaps reserve
My leisure for Catullus on his lake, 35
Though to fare worse, or VIRGIL at his farm
A little further on the way to MANTUA.
But such things cannot be. So I sit still,
And let the boatman shift his little sail
His sail so forked and so swallow-like,
Well-pleased with all that comes.
Plays on my cheek how gently, flinging round
A silvery gleam! and now the purple mists
Rise like a curtain; now the sun looks out,
Filling, o'erflowing with his glorious light
This noble amphitheatre of hills;
And now appear as on a phosphor-sea
Numberless barks, from MILAN, from PAVIA;
Some sailing up, some down, and some at rest,
Lading, unlading at that small port-town
Under the promontory -- its tall tower
And long flat roofs, just such as GASPAR drew,
Caught by a sunbeam slanting through a cloud;
A quay-like scene, glittering and full of life,
And doubled by reflection.
After so long a sojourn in the wild,
To hear once more the peasant at his work !
But in a clime like this where is he not?
Along the shores, among the hills, 't is now
The hey-day of the vintage; all abroad,
But most the young and of the gentler sex,
Busy in gathering; all among the vines,
Some on the ladder and some underneath,
Filling their baskets of green wicker-work,
While many a canzonet and frolic laugh
Come through the leaves; the vines in light festoons
From tree to tree, the trees in avenues,
every avenue a covered walk
Hung with black clusters. 'Tis enough to make
The sad man merry, the benevolent one
Melt into tears so general is the joy !
While up and down the cliffs, over the lake,
Wains oxen-drawn and panniered mules are seen,
Laden with grapes and dropping rosy wine.
Here I received from thee, BASILICO,
One of those courtesies so sweet, so rare !
When, as I rambled through thy vineyard ground
On the hill-side, thy little son was sent,
Charged with a bunch almost as big as he,
To press it on the stranger. May thy vats
O’erflow, and he, thy willing gift-bearer,
Live to become a giver; and, at length,
When thou art full of honor and wouldst rest,
The staff of thine old age !
In a strange land
Such things, however trivial, reach the heart,
And through the heart the head, clearing away
The narrow notions that grow up at home,
And in their place grafting good-will to all.
At least I found it so, nor less at eve,
When, bidden as a lonely traveller
('T was by a little boat that gave me chase
With oar and sail, as homeward-bound I crossed
The bay of TRAMEZZINE), right readily
I turned my prow and followed, landing soon
Where steps of purest marble met the wave;