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39. “ Siste Viator-heroa calcas !" was the epitaph on the famous Count Merci ;-what then must be our feelings when standing on the tumulus of the two hundred (Greeks) who fell on Marathon?
END OF NOTES TO CANTO 13.
CHILDE HAROLD'S PILGRIMAGE.
Is thy face like thy mother's my fair child!
Ada! sole daughter of my house and heart?
When last I saw thy young blue eyes they smiled,
And when we parted, -not as now we part,
But with a hope.
Awaking with a start,
The waters heave around me; and on high
The winds lift up their voices: I depart,
Whither I know not; but the hour's gone by, [eye. When Albion'slessening shores could grieve or glad mine
Once more upon the waters! yet once more!
And the waves bound beneath me as a steed
That knows his rider. Welcome, to their roar!
Swift be their guidance, wheresoe'er it lead!
Though the strain'd mast should quiver as a reed,
And the rent canvas fluttering strew the gale,
Still must I on; for I am as a weed,
Flung from the rock, on Ocean's foam, to sail [prevail. Where'er the surge may sweep, the tempest'de breath
In my youth's summer I did sing of One
The wandering outlaw of his own dark mind;
Again I sieze the theme then but begun,
And bear it with me, as the rushing wind
Bears the cloud on ward: in that Tale I and
The furrows of long thought, and dried-up tears
Which, ebbing, leave a sterile track behind,
O'er which all heavily the journeying years
Plod the last sand of life, where not a flower appears.
Since my young days of passion-joy, or pain,
Perchance my heart and harp have lost a string,
And both may jar: it may be, that in vain
I would essay as I have sung to sing
Yet, though a dreary strain, to this I cling;
So that it wean me from the weary dream
Of selfish grief or gladness-so it fing
Forgetfulness around me it shall seem
To me, though to none else, a not ungrateful theme.
He, who grown aged in this world of woe,
In deeds, not years. piercing the depths of life
So that no wonder waits bim; nor below
Can love, or sorrow, fame, ambition, strife,
Cut to his heart again with the keen knife
Of silent, sharp endurance : he can tell
Why thought seeks refuge in lone caves, yet rife
With airy images, and shapes which dweli
Still unimpair'd though old, in the soul's haunted cell.
'Tis to create, and in creating live in
A being more intense, that we endow
With form or fancy, gaining as we give
The life we image, even as I do now.
What am I? Nothing ; but not so art thou,
Soul of my thought! with whom I traverse earth,
Invisible but gazing, as I glow
Mix'd with thy spirit, blended with thy birth,
And feeling still with thee in my crush'd feelings' dearth.
· Yet must I think less wildly:-I have thought,
Too long and darkly, till my brain became,
In its own eddy boiling and o'erwrought,
A whirling gulf of phantasy and flame:
And thus, untaught in youth my heart to tame,
My springs of life were poison'd. 'Tis too late!
Yet am I chang'd; though still enough the same
In strength to bear what time cannot abate,
And feed on bitter fruits without accusing Fate,
Something too much of this :--but now 'tis past
And the spell closes with its silent seal,
Long absent HAROLD re-appears at last;
He of the breast wbich fain no more would feel,
Wrung with the wounds which kill not, but ne'er heal
Yet Time who changes all, had altered him
In soul and aspect as in age : years steal
Fire from the mind as vigour from the limb;
And life's enchanted cup but sparkles near the brim.
His had been quaffd too quickly, and he found
The dregs were wormwood ; but he fill'd again,
And from a purer fount, on holier ground,
And deem'd its spring perpetual; but in vain !
Still round him clung invisibly a chain !
Which gall'd for ever, fettering though unseen,
And heavy though it clank'd not; worn with pain,
Which pined although it spoke not, and grew keen, Entering with every step, he took, through many a seene.
Secured in guarded coldness, he had mix'd
Again in fancied safety with his kind,
And deem'd his spirit now so firmly fix'd
And sheath'd with an invulnerable mind,
That, if no joy, no sorrow lurk'd behind ;
And he, as one, might midst the many stand
Unheeded, searching through the crowd to find
Fit speculation! such as in strange land
He found in wonder-works of God and Nature's hand.
But who can view the ripened rose, nor seek
To wear it? who can curiously behold
The smoothness and the sheen of beauty's cheek,
Nor feel the heart can never all grow old ?
Who can contemplate Fame through clouds unfold
The star which rises o'er her steep, nor climb;
Harold, once more within the vortex, rollid
On with the giddy circle, chasing Time,
Yet with a nobler aim than in his youth's fond prime.