« PreviousContinue »
And lull fond grief asleep ?-a buried treasure ?
A cradle of young thoughts of wingless pleasure !
A violet-shrouded grave of woe ? I measure
The world of fancies, seeking one like thee,
And find-alas ! mine own infirmity.
Life, like a dome of many-coloured glass,
Stains the white radiance of eternity.
One word is too often profaned
For me to profane it ;
One feeling too falsely disdain'd
For thee to disdain it.
One hope is too like despair
For prudence to smother,
And pity from thee more dear
Than that from another.
I can give not what men call love;
But wilt thou accept not
The worship the heart lifts above,
And the Heavens reject not ?
The desire of the moth for the star;
Of the night for the morrow;
The devotion to something afar
From the sphere of our sorrow.
Ariel to Miranda :--Take
This slave of music, for the sake
Of him who is the slave of thee;
And teach it all the harmony
In which thou canst, and only thou,
Make the delighted spirit glow,
Till joy denies itself again,
And, too intense, is turned to pain.
For by permissiou and command
Of thine own Prince Ferdinand,
Poor Ariel sends this silent token
Of more than ever can be spoken ;
Your guardian spirit, Ariel, who
From life to life must still pursue
Your happiness, for thus alone
Can Ariel ever find his own :
From Prospero's enchanted cell,
As the mighty verses tell,
To the throne of Naples he
Lit you o'er the trackless sea,
Flitting on, your prow before,
Like a living meteor :
When you die, the sileut moon,
In her interlunar swoon,
Is not sadder in her cell
Than deserted Ariel :
When you live again on earth,
Like an unseen star of birth,
Ariel guides you o'er the sea
Of life from your nativity.
Many changes have been run,
Since Ferdinand and you begun
Your course of love, and Ariel still
Has track'd your steps and serv'd
Now in humbler, happier lot,
This is all remembered not ;
And now, alas ! the poor sprite is
Imprisoned for some fault of his
In a body like a grave.
From you, he only dares to crave,
For his service and his sorrow,
A smile to-day—a song to-morrow.
The artist who this idol wrought,
To echo all harmonious thought,
Fell'd a tree, while on the steep
The woods were in their winter sleep,
Rock'd in that repose divine
On the wind-swept Appenine :
And dreaming, some of autumn past,
And some of spring approaching fast,
And some of April buds and showers,
And some of songs in July bowers,
And all of love; and so this tree-
O that such our death may be !
Died in sleep, and felt no pain,
To live in happier form again :
From which, beneath Heaven's fairest star,
The artist wrought this lov'd Guitar,
And taught it justly to reply
To all who question skilfully,
In language gentle as thine owu;
Whispering in enamour'd tone
Sweet oracles of woods and dells,
And summer winds in sylvan cells ;
For it bad learnt all barmonies
Of the plains and of the skies,
Of the forest and the mountains,
And the many-voicèd fountains,
The clearest echoes of the hills,
The softest notes of falling rills,
The melodies of birds and bees,
The murmuring of summer seas,
And pattering rain, and breathing dew,
And airs of evening; and it knew
That seldom-heard mysterious sound,
Which, driv'n on its diurnal round,
As it foats through boundless day,
Our world enkindles on its way :-
All this it knows, but will not tell
To those who cannot question well
The spirit that inhabits it;
It talks according to the wit
Of its companions; and no more
Is heard than has been felt before,
By those who tempt it to betray
These secrets of an elder day.
But, sweetly as its answers will
Flatter hands of perfect skill,
It keeps its highest, holiest tone
For our beloved friend alone.
This is a Catullian melody of the first water. The transformation of the dreaming wood of the tree into a guitar was probably suggested by Catullus's Dedication of the Galley, — a poem
with which I know he was conversant, and which was particularly calculated to please him ; for it records the consecration of a fa
a vourite old sea-boat to the Dioscuri. The modern
poet's imagination beats the ancient; but Catullus
equals him in graceful flow; and there is one very Shelleian passage in the original :
1“ Music, when soft voices die.”—This song is a great favourite with musicians : and no wonder. Beaumont and Fletcher never wrote anything of the kind more lovely.