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Hereditary bondsmen! know ye not
Who would be free themselves must strike the blow ? *
Oh Love! young Love ! bound in thy rosy band,
Let sage or cynic prattle as he will,
These hours, and only these, redeem life's years of ill !
Is thy face like thy mother's, my fair child !
Ada ! sole daughter of my house and heart ?
When last I saw thy young
And then we parted ;—not as now we part,
But with a hope.
I am as a weed, Flung from the rock, on ocean's foam to sail, Where'er the surge may sweep, the tempest's breath prevail.
Fire from the mind as vigour from the limb;
And life's enchanted cup but sparkles near the brim.
* These lines will be remembered by many readers as having been frequently used in the oratorical displays of the late Mr. Daniel O'Connell.
But who can view the ripen’d 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
old? Canto ill.
There was a sound of revelry by night,*
And Belgium's capital had gather'd then
Her Beauty and her Chivalry, and bright
The lamps shone o'er fair women and brave men ;
A thousand hearts beat happily ; and when
Music arose with its voluptuous swell,
Soft eyes look'd love to eyes which spake again,
And all went merry as a marriage bell ;
But hush! hark! a deep sound strikes like a rising knell !
I have not loved the world, nor the world me ;
I have not flatter'd its rank breath, nor bow'd
To its idolatries a patient knee,
cheek to smiles, nor cried aloud
In worship of an echo; in the crowd
They could not deem me one of such ; I stood
Among them, but not of them.
* The ball given at Brussels on the evening preceding the conflict was attended by a number of the officers in the Duke of Wellington's army; it has been said, that so hasty was the summons from Brussels, that some of them appeared on the field of Waterloo in their ball dresses.
The child of love, though born in bitterness,
And nurtur'd in convulsion ; of thy sire,
These were the elements, and thine no less.
yet such are around thee, but thy fire
Shall be more temper'd, and thy hope far higher.
Sweet be thy cradled slumbers ! o’er the sea
And from the mountains where I now respire,
Fain would I waft such blessing upon thee,
As, with a sigh, I deem thou might'st have been to me!*
And be the Spartan's epitaph on me-
Sparta hath many a worthier son than he." +
Perchance she died in youth ; it may be, bow'd
With woes far heavier than the ponderous tomb
That weigh'd upon her gentle dust, a cloud
Might gather o'er her beauty, and a gloom
In her dark eye, prophetic of the doom
Heaven gives its favourites—early death. I Stanza 102.
* These, the concluding lines of the third canto, are addressed by the noble poet to his daughter, whom he apostrophizes at the commencement of the canto,
"Ada ! sole daughter of my house and heart," as previously quoted.
+ The reply of the Spartan mother to those who spoke in eulogy of her dead son.
| This is a reference to Cecilia Metella, “ the wealthiest Roman's wife,” whose tomb Lord Byron has been describing.
Then turn we to her latest tribune's name,
From her ten thousand tyrants turn to thee,
Redeemer of dark centuries of shane-
The friend of Petrarch-hope of Italy-
Rienzi ! last of Romans ! while the tree
Of freedom's wither'd trunk puts forth a leaf,
Even for thy tomb a garland let it be-
The forum's champion, and the people's chief-
Her new-born Numa thou—with reign, alas ! too brief,*
I see before me the Gladiator lie;
He leans upon his hand—his manly brow
Consents to death, but conquers agony,
And his droop'd head sinks gradually low-
And through his side the last drops, ebbing slow
From the red gash, fall heavy, one by one,
Like the first of a thunder-shower ; and now
The arena swims around him—he is gone,
Ere ceased the inhuman shout which hail'd the wretch
Hark! forth from the abyss a voice proceeds,
A long low distant murmur of dread sound,
Such as arises when a nation bleeds
* The reader is referred to the pages of Gibbon for a narrative of the chequered career of Rienzi, the great Roman tribune.
With some deep and immedicable wound;
Through storm and darkness yawns the rending ground,
The gulf is thick with phantoms, but the chief
Seems royal still, though with her head discrown'd,
And pale, but lovely, with maternal grief
She clasps a babe, to whom her breast yields no relief.*
There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society, where none intrudes,
By the deep Sea, and music in its roar :
I love not Man the less, but Nature more,
From these our interviews, in which I steal
From all I may be, or have been before,
To mingle with the Universe, and feel
What I can ne’er express, yet cannot all conceal.
And I have loved thee, Ocean ! and my joy
Of youthful sports was on thy breast to be
Borne, like thy bubbles onward :—from a boy
I wanton'd with thy breakers—they to me
Were a delight : and if the freshening sea
Made them a terror—'t was a pleasing fear,
* These touching lines refer to the death of the Princess Charlotte, who expired in 1817, to the heartfelt griet of the nation.