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Too long, alas ! through life's tempestuous tide,
Heedless of Heaven, my giddy course I steer’d,
Link'd with the scoffing crew, nor ought rever'd
Great Nature's God: such erring dreams belied
My fancy, swoln with unsubstantial pride:
While, uglier far than have been feign’d or fear’d,
Ten thousand phantoms to my sight appear’d,
And drew me darkling far from truth aside.
But vigorous now, with eagle-ken restor'd,
By nobler means aiming at nobler ends,
To the mild bosom of its saving Lord,
Elate with ardent hope, my soul ascends,
While o'er the dreadful gulph, yet unexplor’d,
Religion's golden sun its evening-beam extends.
SUPPOSED TO BE WRITTEN AT LEMNOS.
On this lone isle, whose rugged rocks affright
The cautious pilot, ten revolving years
Great Pæan's son, unwonted erst to tears,
Wept o'er his wound : alike each rolling light
Of heaven he watch’d, and blam'd its lingering flight:
By day the sea-mew, screaming round his cave,
Drove slumber from his eyes, the chiding wave,
And savage howlings chas'd his dreams by night.
Hope still was his: in each low breeze, that sigh'd
Through his rude grot, he heard a coming oar,
In each white cloud a coming sail he spied ;
Nor seldom listen’d to the fancied roar
Of Oeta's torrents, or the hoarser tide
That parts fam'd Trachis from th’ Euboic shore.
Ye holy towers that shade the wave-worn steep,
Long may ye rear your aged brows sublime,
Though, hurrying silent by, relentless Time
Assail you, and the winter whirlwind's sweep!
For far from blazing Grandeur's crowded halls,
Here Charity hath fix'd her chosen seat,
Oft listening tearful when the wild winds beat
With hollow bodings round your ancient walls ;
And Pity, at the dark and stormy hour
Of midnight, when the moon is hid on high,
Keeps her lone watch upon the topmost tower,
And turns her ear to each expiring cry;
Blest if her aid some fainting wretch might save,
And snatch him cold and speechless from the wave.
Itchin, when I behold thy banks again,
Thy crumbling margin, and thy silver breast,
On which the self-same tints still seem to rest,
Why feels my heart the shivering sense of pain ?
Is it—that many a summer's day has past
Since, in life's morn, I caroli'd on thy side ?
Is it, that oft, since then, my heart has sigh’d,
As Youth, and Hope's delusive gleams, flew fast?
Is it—that those, who circled on thy shore,
Companions of my youth, now meet no more?
Whate'er the cause, upon thy banks I bend,
Sorrowing, yet feel such solace at my heart,
As at the meeting of some long-lost friend,
From whom, in happier hours, we wept to part.
How sweet the tuneful bells' responsive peal!
As when, at opening morn, the fragrant breeze
Breathes on the trembling sense of wan disease,
So piercing to my heart their force I feel !
And hark! with lessening cadence now they fall,
And now, along the white and level tide,
They fling their melancholy music wide ;
Bidding me many à tender thought recall
Of summer-days, and those delightful years
When by my native streams, in life's fair prime,
The mournful magic of their mingling chime
First wak'd my wondering childhood into tears !
But soeming now,
when all those days are o'er, The sounds of joy once heard, and heard no more.