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CONTEMPLATION OF VIOLENCE.
(BY A MAN NOT BAD.)
Spare me now.
A ROCK AND A CHASM.
I remember, Two miles on this side of the fort, the road Crosses a deep ravine: 't is rough and narrow, And winds with short turns down the precipice; And in its depth there is a mighty rock, Which has, from unimaginable years, Sustain’d itself with terror and with toil Over a gulf, and with the agony With which it clings seems slowly coming down; Even as a wretched soul, hour after hour, Clings to the mass of life; yet clinging, leans, And, leaning, makes more dark the dread abyss In which it fears to fall. Beneath this crag, Huge as despair, as if in weariness, The melancholy mountain yawns. Below You hear, but see not, an impetuous torrent Raging among the caverns: and a bridge Crosses the chasm; and high above these grow, With intersecting trunks, from crag to crag, Cedars, and yews, and pines; whose tangled hair Is matted in one solid roof of shade By the dark ivy's twine. At noon-day here 'Tis twilight, and at sunset blackest night.
Sweet lamp! my moth-like muse has burnt its wings;
EXISTENCE IN SPACE.
Life, like a dome of many-colored glass,
One word is too often profaned
For me to profane it ;
For thee to disdain it.
And pity from thee more dear
Than that from another.
I can give not what men call love;
But wilt thou accept not
And the Heaven's reject not?
Of the night for the morrow; The devotion to something afar
From the sphere of our sorrow.
TO A LADY WITH A GUITAR.
Ariel to Miranda :-Take
Ariel guides you o'er the sea
The artist who this idol wrought, To echo all harmonious thought, Fell'd a tree, while on the steep The woods were in their winter sleep, Rock'd in that repose divine On the wind-swept Appenine : And dreaming, some of autumn past, And some of spring approaching fast, And some of April buds and showers, And some of songs in July bowers, And all of love: and so this treeO that such our death may be !Died in sleep, and felt no pain, To live in happier form again : From which, beneath Heaven's fairest star, The artist wrought this lov'd Guitar, And taught it justly to reply To all who question skilfully, In language gentle as thine own; Whispering in enamor'd tone Sweet oracles of woods and dells, And summer winds in sylvan cells; For it had learnt all harmonies Of the plains and of the skies, Of the forest and the mountains, And the many-voicèd fountains, The clearest echoes of the hills, The softest notes of falling rills, The melodies of birds and bees, The murmuring of summer seas, And pattering rain, and breathing dew,
And airs of evening; and it knew
This is a Catullian melody of the first water. The transform. ation of the dreaming wood of the tree into a guitar was probably suggested by Catullus's Dedication of the Galley,—a poem with which I know he was conversant, and which was particularly calculated to please him ; for it records the consecration of a favorite old sea-boat to the Dioscuri. The modern poet's imagination beats the ancient; but Catullus equals him in graceful flow; and there is one very Shelleian passage in the original :
Ubi iste, post phaselus, antea fuit
For of old, what now you see