Far happier thou! ’twas thine to soar,
Careering on the winged wind.
Thy triumphs who shall dare explore?
Suns and their systems left behind.
No tract of space, no distant star,
No shock of elements at war,
Did thee detain. Thy wing of fire
Bore thee amidst the Cherub-choir;
And there awhile to thee ’twas giv’n
Once more that Voice [Footnote 2] belov’d to join,
Which taught thee first a flight divine,
And nurs’d thy infant years with many a strain from Heav’n!
[Footnote 1: In the winter of 1805.]
[Footnote 2: The late Mrs. Sheridan’s.]
While on the cliff with calm delight she kneels,
And the blue vales a thousand joys recall,
See, to the last, last verge her infant steals!
O fly—yet stir not, speak not, lest it fall.
Far better taught, she lays her bosom bare,
And the fond boy springs back to nestle there.
TO THE FRAGMENT OF
A STATUE OF HERCULES,
And dost thou still, thou mass of breathing stone,
(Thy giant limbs to night and chaos hurl’d)
Still sit as on the fragment of a world;
Surviving all, majestic and alone?
What tho’ the Spirits of the North, that swept
Rome from the earth, when in her pomp she slept,
Smote thee with fury, and thy headless trunk
Deep in the dust mid tower and temple sunk;
Soon to subdue mankind ’twas thine to rise.
Still, still unquell’d thy glorious energies!
Aspiring minds, with thee conversing, caught [Footnote 1]
Bright revelations of the Good they sought;
By thee that long-lost spell [Footnote 2] in secret given,
To draw down Gods, and lift the soul to Heav’n!
[Footnote 1: In the gardens of the Vatican, where it was placed by Julius II, it was long the favourite study of those great men, to whom we owe the revival of the arts, Michael Angelo, Raphael, and the Caracci.]
[Footnote 2: Once in the possession of Praxiteles, if we may believe an antient epigram on the Gnidian Venus. Analecta Vet. Poetarum, III. 200.]
TO ----- [Footnote]
Ah! little thought she, when, with wild delight,
By many a torrent’s shining track she flew,
When mountain-glens and caverns full of night
O’er her young mind divine enchantment threw,
That in her veins a secret horror slept,
That her light footsteps should be heard no more,
That she should die—nor watch’d, alas, nor wept
By thee, unconscious of the pangs she bore.
Yet round her couch indulgent Fancy drew
The kindred, forms her closing eye requir’d.
There didst thou stand—there, with the smile she knew.
She mov’d her lips to bless thee, and expir’d.
And now to thee she comes; still, still the same
As in the hours gone unregarded by!
To thee, how chang’d, comes as she ever came;
Health on her cheek, and pleasure in her eye!