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Florence, beneath the sun,

Of cities fairest one,

Blushes within her bower for Freedom's expectation : From eyes of quenchless hope

Rome tears the priestly cope,

As ruling once by power, so now by admiration,
An athlete stript to run

From a remoter station

For the high prize lost on Philippi's shore :—
As then Hope, Truth, and Justice did avail,
So now may Fraud and Wrong! O hail!


Hear ye the march as of the Earth-born Forms
Array'd against the ever-living Gods?
The crash and darkness of a thousand storms
Bursting their inaccessible abodes

Of crags and thunder-clouds?

See ye the banners blazon'd to the day,
Inwrought with emblems of barbaric pride?
Dissonant threats kill Silence far away,

The serene Heaven which wraps our Eden wide
With iron light is dyed,

The Anarchs of the North lead forth their legions
Like Chaos o'er creation, uncreating;
An hundred tribes nourish'd on strange religions
And lawless slaveries,--down the aerial regions
Of the white Alps, desolating,

Famish'd wolves that bide no waiting,
Blotting the glowing footsteps of old glory,
Trampling our column'd cities into dust,
Their dull and savage lust

On Beauty's corse to sickness satiating

They come ! The fields they tread look black and hoary With fire-from their red feet the streams run gory!


Great Spirit, deepest Love!

Which rulest and dost move

All things which live and are, within the Italian shore; Who spreadest heaven around it,

Whose woods, rocks, waves, surround it;

Who sittest in thy star, o'er Ocean's western floor,
Spirit of beauty! at whose soft command
The sunbeams and the showers distil its foison
From the Earth's bosom chill;

O bid those beams be each a blinding brand
Of lightning! bid those showers be dews of poison!
Bid the Earth's plenty kill!

Bid thy bright Heaven above,
Whilst light and darkness bound it,
Be their tomb who plann'd

To make it ours and thine!

Or, with thine harmonizing ardours fill
And raise thy sons, as o'er the prone horizon
Thy lamp feeds every twilight wave with fire-
Be man's high hope and unextinct desire,
The instrument to work thy will divine!

Then clouds from sunbeams, antelopes from leopards,
And frowns and fears from Thee,
Would not more swiftly flee

Than Celtic wolves from the Ausonian shepherds.—
Whatever, Spirit, from thy starry shrine

Thou yieldest or withholdest, Oh let be
This city of thy worship ever free!
September, 1820.



T lieth, gazing on the midnight sky,

Upon the cloudy mountain peak supine;
Below, far lands are seen tremblingly;
Its horror and its beauty are divine.

Upon its lips and eyelids seem to lie
Loveliness like a shadow, from which shine,
Fiery and lurid, struggling underneath,
The agonies of anguish and of death.

Yet it is less the horror than the grace
Which turns the gazer's spirit into stone;
Whereon the lineaments of that dead face

Are graven, till the characters be grown
Into itself, and thought no more can trace;
'Tis the melodious hue of beauty thrown
Athwart the darkness and the glare of pain,
Which humanize and harmonize the strain.

And from its head as from one body grow,
As [
] grass out of a watery rock,
Hairs which are vipers, and they curl and flow
And their long tangles in each other lock,
And with unending involutions shew

Their mailed radiance, as it were to mock
The torture and the death within, and saw
The solid air with many a ragged jaw.

And from a stone beside a poisonous eft
Peeps idly into those Gorgonian eyes;
Whilst in the air a ghastly bat, bereft

Of sense, has flitted with a mad surprise

Out of the cave this hideous light had cleft,
And he comes hastening like a moth that hies
After a taper; and the midnight sky

Flares, a light more dread than obscurity.

'Tis the tempestuous loveliness of terror; For from the serpents gleams a brazen glare Kindled by that inextricable error,

Which makes a thrilling vapour of the air Become a [ ] and ever-shifting mirror

Of all the beauty and the terror there— A woman's countenance, with serpent locks, Gazing in death on heaven from those wet rocks. Florence, 1819.



ARELY, rarely, comest thou,
Spirit of Delight!

Wherefore hast thou left me now
Many a day and night?

Many a weary night and day
'Tis since thou art fled away.

How shall ever one like me
Win thee back again?
With the joyous and the free
Thou wilt scoff at pain.
Spirit false thou hast forgot

All but those who need thee not.

As a lizard with the shade

Of a trembling leaf,

Thou with sorrow art dismay'd;

Even the sighs of grief

Reproach thee, that thou art not near,

And reproach thou wilt not hear.

Let me set my mournful ditty
To a merry measure,

Thou wilt never come for pity,
Thou wilt come for pleasure,
Pity then will cut away

Those cruel wings, and thou wilt stay.

I love all that thou lovest,

Spirit of Delight!

The fresh Earth in new leaves drest,
And the starry night;

Autumn evening, and the morn
When the golden mists are born.

I love snow, and all the forms
Of the radiant frost ;

I love waves, and winds, and storms,
Every thing almost

Which is Nature's, and may be
Untainted by man's misery.

I love tranquil solitude,
And such society

As is quiet, wise and good;

Between thee and me

What difference? but thou dost possess
The things I seek, not love them less.

I love Love-though he has wings,
And like light can flee,

But above all other things,

Spirit, I love thee

Thou art love and life! O come,

Make once more my heart thy home,

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