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The last spot of Earth's orb I trod upon
Was a proud temple call'd the Parthenon : *
More beauty clung around her column'd wall
Than ev'n thy glowing bosom beats withal,f
And when old Time my wing did disenthral
Thence sprang I—as the eagle from his tower,
And years I left behind me in an hour.
What time upon her airy bounds I hung,
One half the garden of her globe was flung,
* It was entire in 1687, the most elevated spot in Athens.
+ " Shadowing more beauty in their airy brows
Than have the white breasts of the Queen of Love."
Unrolling as a chart unto my view—
Tenantless cities of the desert, too!
Ianthe, beauty crowded on me then,
And half I wish'd to be again of men."
"My Angelo! and why of them to be?
A brighter dwelling-place is here for thee;
And greener fields than in yon world above,
And woman's loveliness, and passionate love."
"But, list, Ianthe! when the air so soft
Fail'd, as my pennon'd * spirit leapt aloft,
Perhaps my brain grew dizzy—but the world
I left so late was into chaos hurl'd—
Sprang from her station, on the winds apart,
And roll'd, a flame, the fiery heaven athwart.
Methought, my sweet one, then I ceased to soar,
And fell, not swiftly as I rose before,
But with a downward, tremulous motion, through
Light, brazen rays, this golden star unto!
Nor long the measure of my falling hours,
For nearest of all stars was thine to ours—
Dread star! that came, amid a night of mirth,
A red Dffidalion on the timid Earth.
"We came, and to thy Earth,—but not to us
Be given our lady's bidding to discuss:
* Pennon, for pinion.—Milton.
We came, my love; around, above, below,
Gay fire-fly of the night we come and go,
Nor ask a reason, save the angel-nod
She grants to us, as granted by her God;
But, Angelo, than thine grey Time unfurl'd
Never his fairy wing o'er fairer world!
Dim was its little disk, and angel eyes
Alone could see the phantom in the skies,
When first Al Aaraaf knew her course to be
Headlong thitherward o'er the starry sea;
But when its glory swelled upon the sky,
As glowing Beauty's bust beneath man's eye,
We paused before the heritage of men,
And thy star trembled, as doth Beauty then!"
Thus, in discourse, the lovers whiled away
The night that waned, and waned and brought no day.
They fell: for Heaven to them no hope imparts,
Who hear not for the beating of their hearts.
Kind solace in a dying hour!
Such, father, is not (now) my theme—
I will not madly deem thy power
Of Earth may shrive me of the sin
Unearthly pride hath revell'd in—
I have no time to dote or dream:
You call it hope—that fire of fire!
It is but agony of desire:
If I can hope—O God! I can—
Its fount is holier, more divine,
I would not call thee fool, old man,
But such is not a gift of thine.*
Know thou the secret of a spirit
Bow'd from its wild pride into shame.
O yearning heart! I did inherit
Thy withering portion with the fame.
* Here we have traces enough of the influence of Byronism on the poet's youth. Those were the days when the "teeth-grinding, glass-eyed lone Caloyer"—to use Carlyle's words—was the ideal of the rising generation.. —Ed.
The searing glory which hath shone
Amid the jewels of my throne,
Halo of Hell! and with a pain
Not Hell shall make me fear again.
O craving heart, for the lost flowers
And sunshine of my summer hours!
The undying voice of that dead time,
With its interminable chime,
Rings, in the spirit of a spell,
Upon thy emptiness—a knell.
I have not always been as now:
The fever'd diadem on my brow
I claim'd and won usurpingly
Hath not the same fierce heirdom given
Rome to the Caesar—this to me?
The heritage of a kingly mind,
And a proud spirit which hath striven
Triumphantly with human kind.
On mountain soil I first drew life:
The mists of the Taglay have shed
Nightly their dews upon my head,
And, I believe, the winged strife
And tumult of the headlong air
Have nestled in my very hair.