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LAMENT OF TASSO.

a

LONG years !—It tries the thrilling frame to bear
And eagle-spirit of a Child of Song-
Long years of outrage, calumny, and wrong ;
Imputed madness, prison'd solitude,
And the mind's canker in its savage mood,
When the impatient thirst of light and air
Parches the heart; and the abhorred grate,
Marring the sunbeams with its hideous shade,
Works through the throbbing eyeball to the brain
With a hot sense of heavine

and pain;
And bare, at once, Captivity display'd
Stands scoffing through the never-open'd gate,
Which nothing through its bars admits, save day,
And tasteless food, which I have eat alone
Till its unsocial bitterness is gone ;
And I can banquet like a beast of prey,
Sullen and lonely, couching in the cave
Which is my lair, and—it may be—my grave.
All this hath somewhat worn me, and may wear,
But must be borne. I stoop not to despair ;
For I have battled with mine agony,
And made me wings wherewith to overfly
The narrow circus of my dungeon wall,
And freed the Holy Sepulchre from thrall ;
And revell’d among men and things divine,
And pour'd my spirit over Palestine,
In honour of the sacred war for Him,
The God who was on earth and is in heaven,

For he hath strengthen’d me in heart and limb.
That through this sufferance I might be forgiven,
I have employ'd my penance to record
How Salem's shrine was won, and how adored.
But this is o'er—my pleasant task is done :-
My long-sustaining friend of many years !
If I do blot thy final page with tears,
Know, that my sorrows have wrung from me none.
But thou, my young creation ! my soul's child !
Which ever playing round me came and smiled
And woo'd me from myself with that sweet sight,
Thou too art gone—and so is my delight :
And therefore do I weep and inly bleed
With this last bruise upon a broken reed.

DANTE IN EXILE.

(PROPHECY OF DANTE, Canto i.) ALAS! with what a weight upon my brow

The sense of earth and earthly things come back,

Corrosive passions, feelings dull and low, The heart's quick throb upon the mental rack,

Long day, and dreary night; the retrospect

Of half a century bloody and black, And the frail few years I may yet expect

Hoary and hopeless, but less hard to bear,

For I have been too long and deeply wreck'd On the lone rock of desolate Despair

To lift my eyes more to the passing sail

Which shuns that reef so horrible and bare ; Nor raise my voice--for who would heed

my

wail ? I am not of this people, nor this age,

And yet my harpings will unfold a tale
Which shall preserve these times when not a page

Of their perturbed annals could attract

An eye to gaze upon their civil rage,
Did not my verse embalm full many an act

Worthless as they who wrought it : 'tis the doom

Of spirits of my order to be rack'd
In life, to wear their hearts out, and consume

Their days in endless strife, and die alone ;

Then future thousands crowd around their tomb, And pilgrims come from climes where they have known

The name of him—who now is but a name,

And wasting homage o'er the sullen stone, Spread his—by him unheard, unheeded-fame;

And mine at least hath cost me dear : to die

Is nothing ; but to wither thus—to tame My mind down from its own infinity

To live in narrow ways with little men,

A common sight to every common eye,
A wanderer, while even wolves can find a den,

Ripp'd from all kindred, from all home, all things

That make communion sweet, and soften painTo feel me in the solitude of kings

Without the power that makes them bear a crown

To envy every dove his nest and wings
Which waft him where the Apennine looks down

On Arno, till he perches, it may be,

Within my all inexorable town,
Where yet my boys are, and that fatal she,

Their mother, the cold partner who hath brought

Destruction for a dowry—this to see
And feel, and know without repair, hath taught

A bitter lesson ; but it leaves me free :

I have not vilely found, nor basely sought, They made an Exile-not a slave of me.

THE ISLES OF GREECE.

(SONG OF A GREEK.)

The isles of Greece, the isles of Greece !

Where burning Sappho loved and sang, Where grew the arts of war and peace,

Where Delos rose, and Phæbus sprang ! Eternal summer gilds them yet, But all, except their sun, is set.

The Scian and the Teian muse,

The hero's harp, the lover's lute,
Have found the fame your shores refuse ;

Their place of birth alone is mute
To sounds which echo further west
Than your sires' “Islands of the Blest."

The mountains look on Marathon

And Marathon looks on the sea; And musing there an hour alone,

I dream'd that Greece might still be free ; For standing on the Persians' grave, I could not deem myself a slave.

A king sate on the rocky brow

Which looks o'er sea-born Salamis;
And ships, by thousands, lay below,

And men in nations ;-all were his !
He counted them at break of day-
And when the sun set where were they?

F

And where are they? and where art thou,

My country? On thy voiceless shore The heroic lay is tuneless now

The heroic bosom beats no more ! And must thy lyre, so long divine, Degenerate into hands like mine?

'Tis something, in the dearth of fame,

Though link'd among a fetter'd race,
To feel at least a patriot's shame,

Even as I sing, suffuse my face ;
For what is left the poet here?
For Greeks a blush—for Greece a tear.

Must we but weep o'er days more blest?

Must we but blush ?-Our fathers bled. Earth! render back from out thy breast

A remnant of our Spartan dead ! Of the three hundred grant but three, To make a new Thermopylæ !

What, silent still ? and silent all !

Ah ! no ;—the voices of the dead Sound like a distant torrent's fall,

And answer, “Let one living head, But one arise,—we come, we come!” 'Tis but the living who are dumb.

In vain-in vain : strike other chords;

Fill high the cup with Samian wine ! Leave battles to the Turkish hordes,

And shed the blood of Scio's vine ! Hark! rising to the ignoble call — How answers each bold Bacchanal !

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