Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

Darken above our bones, yet fondly deem'd Our children should obey her child, and bless'd Her and her hoped-for seed, whose promise seem'd Like stars to shepherds' eyes—'twas but a meteor beam'd.

Woe unto us, not her; for she sleeps well:
The fickle wreath of popular breath, the tongue
Of hollow counsel, the false oracle,
Which from the birth of monarchy hath rung
Its knell in princely ears, till the o'erstung
Nations have arm'd in madness, the strange fate
Which tumbles mightiest sovereigns, and hath flung

Against their blind omnipotence a weight
Within the opposing scale, which crushes soon or late-

These might have been her destiny; but no,
Our hearts deny it: and so young, so fair,.
Good without effort, great without a foe;
But now a bride and mother-and now there!
How many ties did that stern moment tear!
From thy sire's to his humblest subject's breast
Is link'd the electric chain of that despair,

Whose shock was as an earthquake's, and oppress'd The land which loved thee so that none could love thee

best.

From Childe Harold.

A SINKING SHIP.

At half-past eight o'clock, booms, hen-coops, spars,

And all things, for a chance, had been cast loose, That still could keep afloat the struggling tars,

For yet they strove, although of no great use:
There was no light in heaven but a few stars;

The boats put off o'ercrowded with their crews;
She gave a heel, and then a lurch to port,
And, going down head-foremost-sunk, in short.

Then rose from sea to sky the wild farewell!

Then shriek'd the timid, and stood still the brave;
Then some leap'd overboard with dreadful yell,

As eager to anticipate their grave;
And the sea yawn'd around her like a hell,

And down she suck'd with her the whirling wave,
Like one who grapples with his enemy,
And strives to strangle him before he die.

And first one universal shriek there rush'd,

Louder than the loud ocean, like a crash Of echoing thunder; and then all was hush’d,

Save the wild wind and the remorseless dash
Of billows; but at intervals there gushd,

Accompanied with a convulsive splash,
A solitary shriek--the bubbling cry
Of some strong swimmer in his agony.

From Don Juan.

THE MOON.

The sun set, and up rose the yellow moon:

The devil's in the moon for mischief; they Who call'd her chaste, methinks, began too soon

Their nomenclature; there is not a day, The longest, not the twenty-first of June,

Sees half the business in a wicked way On which three single hours of moonshine smile And then she looks so modest all the while. There is a dangerous silence in that hour,

A stillness which leaves room for the full soul
To open all itself, without the power

Of calling wholly back its self-control;
The silver light which, hallowing tree and tower,

Sheds beauty and deep softness o'er the whole,
Breathes also to the heart, and o'er it throws
A loving languor, which is not repose.

From Don Juan,

SONG OF THE GREEK BARD.

The isles of Greece! the isles of Greece!

Where burning Sappho loved and sung-
Where grew the arts of war and peace-

Where Delos rose and Phæbus sprung!
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 Bless'd.”

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?

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 bless’d?

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,

“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!

And answer,

You have the Pyrrhic dance as yet,

Where is the Pyrrhic phalanx gone? Of two such lessons, why forget

The nobler and the manlier one? You have the letters Cadmus gaveThink ye he meant them for a slave? Fill high the bowl with Samian wine!

We will not think of themes like these!
It made Anacreon's song divine:

He served—but served Polycrates-
A tyrant; but our masters then
Were still, at least, our countrymen.
The tyrant of the Chersonese

Was freedom's best and bravest friend;
That tyrant was Miltiades!

Oh! that the present hour would lend
Another despot of the kind!
Such chains as his were sure to bind.
Fill high the bowl with Samian wine!

On Suli's rock, and Parga's shore,
Exists the remnant of a line

Such as the Doric mothers bore; And there, perhaps, some seed is sown The Heracleidan blood might own. Trust not for freedom to the Franks

They have a king who buys and sells.
In native swords, and native ranks,

The only hope of courage dwells;
But Turkish force, and Latin fraud,
Would break your shield, however broad.
Fill high the bowl with Samian wine!

Our virgins dance beneath the shade-
I see their glorious black eyes shine;

But, gazing on each glowing maid,
My own the burning tear-drop laves,
To think such breasts must suckle slaves.
Place me on Sunium's marbled steep-

Where nothing, save the waves and I,
May hear our mutual murmurs sweep;

There, swan-like, let me sing and die: A land of slaves shall ne'er be mineDash down yon cup of Samian wine!

From Don Juan. THE EVENING HYMN.

Ave Maria! o'er the earth and sea,
That heavenliest hour of Heaven is worthiest thee!
Ave Maria! blessed be the hour!

The time, the clime, the spot, where I so oft
Have felt that moment in its fullest power

Sink o'er the earth so beautiful and soft, While

swung the deep bell in the distant tower, Or the faint dying day-hymn stole aloft, And not a breath crept through the rosy air, And yet the forest leaves seem'd stirr*d with prayer. Ave Maria! 'tis the hour of prayer!

Ave Maria! 'tis the hour of love! Ave Maria! may our spirits dare

Look up to thine and to thy Son's above ? Ave Maria! oh that face so fair!

Those downcast eyes beneath the almighty DoveWhat though 'tis but a pictured image strikeThat painting is no idol, 'tis too like.

From Don Juan,

STANZA S.

I heard thy fate without a tear,

Thy loss with scarce a sigh;
And yet thou wert surpassing dear-

Too loved of all to die.
I know not what hath sear’d mine eye:

The tears refuse to start;
But every drop its lids deny

Falls dreary on my heart.
Yes—deep and heavy, one by one,

They sink, and turn to care;
As cavern'd waters wear the stone,

Yet, dropping, harden there.
They cannot petrify more fast

Than feelings sunk remain,
Which, coldly fix'd, regard the past,

But never melt again.

« ZurückWeiter »