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LAMENT OF TASSO.
LONG years !—It tries the thrilling frame to bear
For he hath strengthen’d me in heart and limb.
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
wail ? I am not of this people, nor this age,
And yet my harpings will unfold a tale
Of their perturbed annals could attract
An eye to gaze upon their civil rage,
Worthless as they who wrought it : 'tis the doom
Of spirits of my order to be rack'd
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,
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
On Arno, till he perches, it may be,
Within my all inexorable town,
Their mother, the cold partner who hath brought
Destruction for a dowry—this to see
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,
Their place of birth alone is mute
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 men in nations ;-all were his !
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,
Even as I sing, suffuse my face ;
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 !