The sunny Italy may boast
The beauteous tints that flush her skies,
And lovely, round the Grecian coast,
May thy blue pillars rise.
I only know how fair they stand
Around my own beloved land.
And they are fair—a charm is theirs,
That earth, the proud green earth, has not—
With all the forms, and hues, and airs,
That haunt her sweetest spot.
We gaze upon thy calm pure sphere,
And read of Heaven’s eternal year.
Oh, when, amid the throng of men,
The heart grows sick of hollow mirth,
How willingly we turn us then
Away from this cold earth,
And look into thy azure breast,
For seats of innocence and rest!
“I cannot forget with what fervid devotion.”
I cannot forget with what fervid devotion
I worshipped the vision of verse and of fame.
Each gaze at the glories of earth, sky, and ocean,
To my kindled emotions, was wind over flame.
And deep were my musings in life’s early blossom,
Mid the twilight of mountain groves wandering long;
How thrilled my young veins, and how throbbed my full bosom,
When o’er me descended the spirit of song.
’Mong the deep-cloven fells that for ages had
To the rush of the pebble-paved river between,
Where the kingfisher screamed and gray precipice glistened,
All breathless with awe have I gazed on the scene;
Till I felt the dark power o’er my reveries
From his throne in the depth of that stern solitude,
And he breathed through my lips, in that tempest of feeling,
Strains lofty or tender, though artless and rude.
Bright visions! I mixed with the world, and ye
No longer your pure rural worshipper now;
In the haunts your continual presence pervaded,
Ye shrink from the signet of care on my brow.
In the old mossy groves on the breast of the mountain,
In deep lonely glens where the waters complain,
By the shade of the rock, by the gush of the fountain,
I seek your loved footsteps, but seek them in vain.
Oh, leave not, forlorn and for ever forsaken,
Your pupil and victim to life and its tears!
But sometimes return, and in mercy awaken
The glories ye showed to his earlier years.
Fair insect! that, with threadlike legs spread out,
And blood-extracting bill and filmy wing,
Does murmur, as thou slowly sail’st about,
In pitiless ears full many a plaintive thing,
And tell how little our large veins should bleed,
Would we but yield them to thy bitter need.
Unwillingly, I own, and, what is worse,
Full angrily men hearken to thy plaint;
Thou gettest many a brush, and many a curse,
For saying thou art gaunt, and starved, and faint:
Even the old beggar, while he asks for food,
Would kill thee, hapless stranger, if he could.