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CHILDE HAROLD'S PILGRIMAGE.
I stood in Venice, on the Bridge of Sighs; (1)
A palace and a prison on each hand:
I saw from out the wave her structure rise
As from the stroke of the enchanter's wand :
A thousand years their cloudy wings expand
Around me, and a dying glory smiles
O'er the far times, when many a subject land
Look'd to the winged Lion's marble piles,
Where Venice sate in state, thron'd on her hundred Isles!
II. She looks a sea Cybele, fresh from occan, (?) Rising with her tiara of proud towers At airy distance, with majestic motion, A ruler of the waters and their powers : And such she was ;--her daughters had their dowers From spoils of nations, and the exhaustless East Pour'd in her lap all gems in sparkling showers.
In purple was she robed, and of her feast
Monarchs partook, and deem'd their dignity increas'd.
In Venice Tasso's echoes are no more, (3)
And silent rows the songless gondolier;
Her palaces are crumbling to the shore,
And music meets not always now the ear :
Those days are govebut Beauty still is here.
States fall, arts fadebut Nature doth not die.
Nor yet forget how Venice once was dear,
The pleasant place of all testivity,
The revel of the earth, the inasque of Italy!
But unto us she hath a spell beyond
Her name in story, and her long array
Of mighty shadows. whose dim forms despond
Above the dogeless city's vanish'd sway;
Ours is a trophy which will not decay
With the Rialto; Shylock and the Moor,
And Picrre, can not be swept or worn away-
The keystones of the arch ! though all were o'er,
For us repeopled were the solitary shore.
The beings of the mind are not of clay;
Essentially immortal, they create
And multiply in us a brighter ray
And more beloved existence : that which Fate
Prohibits to dull life, in this our state
Of mortal bondage, by these spirits supplied
First exiles, then replaces what we hate;
Watering the heart whose early flowers bave died And with a fresher growth replenishing the void.
Such is the refuge of our youth and age, The first from Hope, the last from Vacancy ; And this worn feeling peoples many a page, And, may be, that which grows beneath mine eye ; Yet there are things whose strong reality Outshines our fairy-land ; in shapes and bues More beautiful than our fantastic sky, And the strange constellations which the Muse O'er her wild universe is skilful to diffuse :
I saw or dreamed of such, but let them go-
They came like truth, and disappeared like dreams;
Aud whatsoe'er they were are now but so.
I could replace them if I would, still teems
My wind with many a form which aptly seems
Such as I sought for, and at moments fouud;
Let these too go for waking Reason deems
Such over-weeping phantasies unsound
And other voices speak, and other sighs surround.
I've taught me other tongues--and in strange eges
Have made me not a stranger; to the mind
Which is it self, no changes bring surprise ;
Nor is it harsh to make, nor hard to find
A country with-ay, or without mankind ;
Yet was I born where men are proud to be,
Not without cause; and should I leave behind
The inviolate island of the sage and free,
And seek me out a home by a remoter sea,
Perhaps I loved it well: and should I lay
My ashes in a soil which is not mine,
My spirit shall resume it-if we may
Uobodicd choose a sanctuary. I twine
My hopes of being remembered in my line
With my land's language : If too fond and far
These aspirations in their scope incline,
If my fame should be, as my fortunes are,
Of hasty growth and blight, and dull Oblivion bar
My name from out the temple where the dead
Are honoured by the nationslet it be
And light the laurels on a loftier head !
And be the Spartan's epitaph on mei
“ Sparta hath many a worthier son than he.” (4).
Meantime I seek no sympathies, nor need ;
The thorps which I have reaped are of the tree
I planted,--they have torn me, and I bleed: (seed. I should have known what fruit would spring from such a
The spouseless Adriatic mourns her lord,
And, annual marriage now no more renewed,
The Bucentaur lies rotting unrestored,
Neglected garment of her widowhood!
St. Mark yet sees his Lion where he stood (5)
Stand but in mockery of his withered power,
Over the proud Place where an Emperor sued,
And monarchs gazed and envied in the hour
When Venice was a queen with an unequalled dower.
Suabian sued, and now the Austrian reigos—(6)
An Emperor tramples where an Emperor knelt;
Kingdoms are shrunk to provinces, and chains
Clank over sceptred cities; nations melt
Prom power's high pinnacle, when they have felt
The supshine for a while, and downward go
Like lauwine loosen'd from the mountain's belt;
Oh for one hour of blind old Dandolo!(7)
Th’octogenarian chief, Byzantium's conquering foe.
Before St. Mark still glow his steeds of brass,
Their gilded collars glittering in the sun ;
But is not Doria's menace come to pass ? (8)
Are they not bridted ? Venice, lost and wov,
Her thirteen hundred years of freedom dovie,
Sinks, like a sea-wced, into whence she rose!
Better be whelm'd beneath the waves and shun,
Even in destruction's depth, her foreign foes,
From whom submission wrings an infamous repose,
In youth she was all glory,-a new Tyre,
Her very by-word sprung from Victory,
The “ Planter of the Lion,” which through Fire
And blood she bore o'er subject earth and sea ;
Though making many slaves, herself still free,
And Europe's bulwark 'gainst the Ottomite ?
Witness Troy's rival, Candia ! Vouch it, ye
Immortal waves that saw Lepanto's fight!
For ye are pames do time nor tyranny oan blight.
Statues of glass-all shiver'd--the long file
Of her dead Doges are declin'd to dust;
But where they dwelt, the vast and sumptuous pile
Bespeaks the pageant of their splendid trust ;
Their sceptre broken, and their sword in rust,
Have yielded to the stranger : empty halls,
Thin streets, and foreign aspects, such as must
Too oft remind her who and what enthrals, (9) Have Hung a desolate cloud o'er Venice' lovely walls,
When Athens' armies fell at Syracuse,
And fettered thousands bore the yokeof war,
Redemption rose up in the Attic Muse,
Her voice their only ransom from afar :
See! as they chant the tragic hymn, the car
Ofthe o'ermaster'd victor stops, the reins
Fall from his hands-his idle scimitar
Starts from its belt-he rends his captive's chains,
And bids him thank the bard for freedom and his strains.
Thus, Venice, if no stronger claim were thine,
Werè all thy proud historic deeds forgot,
Thy choral memory of the Bard divine,
Thy love of Tasso, should have cut the knot
Which ties thee to thy tyrants ; and thy lot
Is shameful to the nations,_most of all,
Albion ! to thee : the Ocean queen should not
Abandon Ocean's children ; in the fall
of Venice thinķ of thine, despite thy watery wall,
I lov'd her from my boyhopd-she to me
Was as a fairy city of the heart,
Rising like water-columns from the sea,
Of joy the sojourn, and of wealth the mart;
And Otway, Radcliffe, Schiller, Shakespeare's art,
Had stamp'd her image in me, and even 80,
Although I found her thus, we did not part,
Perchance even dearer iu her day of woe,
Than when she was a boast, a marvel, and a show,
I can repeople with the past and of
The present there is still for eye and thought,
And meditation chasten’d down, enough ;
And more, it may be, than I hoped or sought;
And of the happiest moments which were wrought
Within the web of my existence, some
From thee, fair Vencie ! have their colours caught:
There are some feelings Time can not benumb,
Nor Torture shake, or minewould now be cold and dumb.