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TASSO AND HIS SISTER.

119

For blindness wraps that world-our touch may turn
Some balance, fearfully and darkly hung,
Or put out some bright spark, whose ray should burn
To point the way a thousand rocks among-
Or break some subtle chain, which none discern,
Though binding down the terrible, the strong,
Th' o'ersweeping passions which to loose on life
Is to set free the elements for strife!
Who then to power and glory shall restore
That which our evil rashness hath undone ?
Who unto mystic harmony once more
Attune those viewless chords ? - There is but One!
He that through dust the stream of life can pour,
The Migbty and the Merciful alone!
-Yet oft His paths have midnight for their shade
He leaves to man the ruin man hath made!

TASSO AND HIS SISTER.

" Devant vous est Sorrente: là démeuroit la seur de Tasse, quand il vint en pélérin demander à cette obscure amie, un asile contre l'injustice des princes.Ses longues douleurs avoient presque égaré sa raison ; il ne lui restoit plus que du génie."

Corinne.

Siz sat, where on each wind that sigh'd

The citron's breath went by;
While the deep gold of eventide

Burn'd in the Italian sky.
Her bower was one where daylight's close

Full oft sweet laughter found,
As thence the voice of childhood rose

To the high vineyards round.
But still and thoughtful, at her knee,

Her children stood that hour,
Their bursts of song, and dancing glee,

Husb'd as by words of power.
With bright, fix'd, wondering eyes that gazed

Up to their mother's face;
With brows through parting ringlets raised,

They stood is silent grace.

120

TASSO AND HIS SISTER.

While she--yet something o'er her look

Of mournfulness was spread-
Forth from a poet's magic book

The glorious numbers rend;
The proud, undying lay, which pour'd

Its light on evil years;
His of the gifted Pen and Sword,*

The triumph and the tears.
She read of fair Erminia's flight,

Which Venice once might hear
Sung on her glittering seas at night,

By many a gondolier;
Of him she read, who broke the charm

That wrapt the myrtle grove;
Of Godfrey's deeds, of Tancred's arm,

That slew bis Paynim love.
Young cheeks around that bright page glow'd,

Young holy hearts were stirr'd;
And the meek tears of womnan flow'd

Fast o'er each burning word.
And sounds of breeze, and fount, and leaf,

Came sweet each pause between ;
When a strange voice of sudden grief

Burst on the gentle scene.
The mother turn'd-away-worn man,

In pilgrim garb stood nigh,
Of stately mien, yet wild and wan,

Of proud, yet restless eye.
But drops that would not stay for pride,

From that dark eye gush'd free,
As pressing his pale brow, he cried,

“Forgotten ! 'e'en by thee!
“ Am I so changed?--and yet we two

Oft hand in hand have play'd
This brow hath been all bathed in dew,

From wreaths which thou hast made.
We have knelt down and said one prayer,

And sung one vesper strain
My thoughts are dim with clouds of care

Tell me those words again!

* It is scarcely necessary to recall the well known Italian saying, that Tasso with his sword and pen was superior to all men.

TO THE POET WORDSWORTH.

121

- Life hath been beavy on my head;

I come, a stricken deer,
Bearing the heart, 'midst crowds that bled,

Po bleed in stillness here."
-She gazed-till thoughts that long had slept,

Shook all her thrilling fame-
She fell upon his neck, and wept,

And breathed her brother's name.
Her brother's name and who was he,

The weary one, th' unknown,
That came, the bitter world to flee,

A stranger to his own?
-He was the bard of gifts divine,

To sway the hearts of men;
He of the song for Salem's shrine,

He of the sword and Pen!

TO THE POET WORDSWORTH.

а

Thine is a strain to read among the bills,
The old and full of voices-by the source
of some free stream, whose gladdening presence fills
The solitude with sound - for in its course
Even such is thy deep song, that seems a part
Of those bigh scenes, a fountain from their heart.
Or its calm spirit fitly may be taken
To the still breast, in some sweet garden-bowers,
Where summer winds each tree's low tones awaken,
And bud and bell with changes mark the bours.
There let thy thoughts be with me, while the day
Sinks with a golden and serene decay.
Or by some hearth where happy faces meet,
When night hath bush'd the woods with all their birds,
There, from some gentle voice, that lay were sweet
As antique music, link'd with household words.
While, in pleased murmurs, woman's lip might move,
And the raised eye of childhood shine in love.

VOL. II.

11

122

THE SONG OF THE CURFEW.

Or where the shadows of dark solemn yews
Brood silently o'er some lone burial-ground,
Thy verse hath power that brightly might diffuse
A breath, a kindling, as of spring, around,
From its own glow of hope and courage bigh,
And steadfast faith's victorious constancy.
True bard and holy -thou art e'en as one
Wbo, by some secret gift of soul or eye, .
In every spot beneath the smiling sun,
Sees where the springs of living waters lie
Unseen awhile they sleep-till, touch'd by thee,
Bright, healthful waves flow forth, to each glad wanderer

free!

THE SONG OF THE CURFEW.

HARK! from the dim church-tower,

The deep, slow curfew's chime ! A heavy sound unto hall and bower,

In England's olden time !
Sadly 'twas heard by him who came

From the fields of his toil at night,
And who might not see his own hearth's flame

In his children's eyes make light.
Sadly and sternly heard

As it quench'd the wood-fire's glow,
Which had cheer'd the board, with the mirthful word,

And the red wine's foaming flow
Until that sullen, booming knell,

Flung out from every fane, On harp, and lip, and spirit fell,

With a weight, and with a chain. Wo for the wanderer then

In the wild.deer's forests far! No cottage lamp, to the haunts of men,

Might guide him as a star.
And wo for him, whose wakeful soul,

With lone aspirings fill'd,
Would have liv'd o'er soine immortal scroll,

While the sounds of earth were still'd.

HYMN FOR CHRISTMAS.

123

And yet a deeper wo,

For the watchers by the bed,
Where the fondiy loved, in pain lay low,

And rest forsook the head.
For the mother doom'd unseen to keep

By the dying babe her place,
And to feel its flitting pulse, and weep,

Yet not behold its face !
Darkness, in chieftain's hall!

Darkness, in peasant's cot!
While Freedom, under that shadowy pall,

Sat mourning o'er her lot.
Oh! the fireside's peace we well may prize,

For blood hath flow'd like rain,
Pour'd forth to make sweet sanctuaries

Of England's homes again!
Heap the yule-fagots high,

Till the red light fills the room!
It is home's own hour, when the stormy sky

Grows thick with evening gloom.
Gather ye round the boly hearth,

And by its gladdening blaze,
Unto thankful bliss we will change our mirth,

With a thought of the olden days.

HYMN FOR CHRISTMAS.

OH! lovely voices of the sky

Which bymn'd the Saviour's birth,
Are ye not singing still on high,
Ye that sang, “ Peace on earth”?

To us yet speak the strains

Wherewith, in time gone by,
Ye bless'd the Syrian swains,

Oh! voices of the sky !
Oh! clear and shining light, whose beams

That hour Heaven's glory shed,
Around the palms, and o'er the streams,

And on the shepherd's head.

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