OFF CAPE COLONNA
Aloof they crown the foreland lone,
From aloft they loftier rise—
Fair columns, in the aureole rolled
From sunned Greek seas and skies.
They wax, sublimed to fancy’s view,
A god-like group against the blue.
Over much like gods! Serene they saw
The wolf-waves board the deck,
And headlong hull of Falconer,
And many a deadlier wreck.
THE APPARITION The Parthenon uplifted on its rock first challenging the view on the approach to Athens.
Abrupt the supernatural Cross,
Vivid in startled air,
Smote the Emperor Constantine
And turned his soul’s allegiance there.
With other power appealing down,
Trophy of Adam’s best!
If cynic minds you scarce convert,
You try them, shake them, or molest.
Diogenes, that honest heart,
Lived ere your date began;
Thee had he seen, he might have swerved
In mood nor barked so much at Man.
The Return of the Sire de Nesle.
My towers at last! These rovings end,
Their thirst is slaked in larger dearth:
The yearning infinite recoils,
For terrible is earth.
Kaf thrusts his snouted crags through fog:
Araxes swells beyond his span,
And knowledge poured by pilgrimage
Overflows the banks of man.
But thou, my stay, thy lasting love
One lonely good, let this but be!
Weary to view the wide world’s swarm,
But blest to fold but thee.
Were I fastidiously anxious for the symmetry of this book, it would close with the notes. But the times are such that patriotism—not free from solicitude—urges a claim overriding all literary scruples.
It is more than a year since the memorable surrender, but events have not yet rounded themselves into completion. Not justly can we complain of this. There has been an upheaval affecting the basis of things; to altered circumstances complicated adaptations are to be made; there are difficulties great and novel. But is Reason still waiting for Passion to spend itself? We have sung of the soldiers and sailors, but who shall hymn the politicians?
In view of the infinite desirableness of Re-establishment, and considering that, so far as feeling is concerned, it depends not mainly on the temper in which the South regards the North, but rather conversely; one who never was a blind adherent feels constrained to submit some thoughts, counting on the indulgence of his countrymen.
And, first, it may be said that, if among the feelings and opinions growing immediately out of a great civil convulsion, there are any which time shall modify or do away, they are presumably those of a less temperate and charitable cast.
There seems no reason why patriotism and narrowness should go together, or why intellectual impartiality should be confounded with political trimming, or why serviceable truth should keep cloistered because not partisan. Yet the work of Reconstruction, if admitted to be feasible at all, demands little but common sense and Christian charity. Little but these? These are much.