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And life seemed sweeter from the recent ill;
We struck upon a sunken rock ;-no skill
Availed to save our shattered bark, and few
Rose, when she sunk, of my once gallant crew;
Around me still these swim, till one by one,
Shrieking, they sink, and I am left alone.”
He paused and smiled, as if he deemed such pain
And peril were but things to dare again.
While Atthis marked in Sappho's changing cheek,
A sympathy more keen than words could speak;
The blushing nymph, his eyes but faintly heed,
Yet wooed the glances which they shunned to read,
And now her lips forget their fluent tone,
Her eyes, bedewed, are eloquent alone.
“Thy piteous tale demands our best relief,
Let all our shores afford assuage thy grief;
For so preserved, the present of the wave
Is welcome here, if despot he or slave.
“ Nor slave, nor monarch I, my home the sea,
My life as stormy, and my heart as free;
No greater boast can Phaon justly claim,
Than the rude honors of a sailor's fame,
Whose guide is yon bright stellar field above,
Whose glory danger, and whose pleasure love.”
His gaze expressive full on Sappho shone,
His looks intently fixed on her alone,
From her alone he seemed to ask reply,
The fairer maiden stood neglected by.
As the smooth speech proceeded from his tongue,
His seaman's cap upon the ground he flung;
Then fell the curls luxuriant large and low,
Round his high forehead, o'er his arching brow,
His look was not the boy's unsettling gaze,
Nor had his language boyhood's awkward phrase,
And, scarce could Love one added spell supply
To his fond accent, and voluptuous eye.
Oh! what felt Sappho when the youth drew near,
And marked her quivering lip, her single tear?
The cold of heart may doubt how love can rise,
In the first greeting of enamoured eyes;
The fool, made prudent by the world, may deem
Such feelings wild creations of a dream;
Should ease demand, or cautious friends approve,
Then will the pausing theorist dare to love!
In vain to such would passion's power appeal,
They, who begin to reason, cease to feel.
But, ask the eagle darting through the sky,
Why o'er the world he loves to mount so high!
Or ask the soldier, just about to die,
Why wave the sword, and shout out Victory'!
These cannot answer thee:-and know, the spell,
That weakens love is as inscrutable.
Through danger's path it wings its fearless flight,
Spurns the dull crowd, and far from vulgar sight,
Soars proudly over all of lesser worth --
The grovelling worldling, and the dregs of earth.”
The maidens lead the youth, where stands their bower,
A light but safe retreat from storm and shower;
No cumbrous art disturbs their rustic seat,
No foreign labour mars their fair retreat ;
Green as their souls the extending branches twine,
And bend with grapes just bursting into wine.
A few young slaves their mild commands obey,
Spread the fresh board, and bloom-clad fruit display,
the Lesbian wine in rosy tide,
While Sappho pensive sits by Phaon's side.
Why should their words be many ? half suppressed,
And few in number ?-love could read the rest !
Fair Atthis found too numerous, e'en the few,
And tired, or piqued, she soon unseen withdrew.
Then rose that silence eloquently still,
Like the checked source of some inchanted rill,
When the bright waters mock the traveller's eyes,
And perish in the springs, from which they rise,
In each fond bosom charming feelings swell,
Become apparent, but unutterable:
Their hearts, creative, teem with visioned joy,
The loveliest dreams delightful thoughts destroy:
Through earth, air, sea, their wandering fancies fly,
And cloudless worlds of pleasure light the sky-
Some blissful sphere, where they immortal rove,
Some happier planet, peopled by their love,
Rolls into life, and kindles into day,
And moves already subject to their sway.
Oh moment! known but once, when Passion brings
To the young heart these fond imaginings,
When, as the berry bears the imaged tree,
The bosom pictures love's maturity,
Vigorous and fresh the extending branches stray,
No tempests threaten, and no lightnings play;
Safe in the soul the infant passion glows,
Nor fears its dangers, nor demands its woes ;
It starts with strength and beauty into life,
And boldly dares the elemental strife,
Untaught to dread that shaft, the fates foredoom,
To burst its solid heart, and wither
its bloom, (End of Canto 1.]
Line 49. Her form although diminutive.
“Sum brevis :"
SAPPHO. PHAONI. OVID.
Line 74. Charm balmy Zephyr, pausing on his way,
When tints arrested leave the rose-bud pale. The antients imagined, that the sweet breath of Zephyrus produced
Line 123. Methought I saw the harnessed sparrows sail,
The car thy wanton sparrows drew,
Hovering in air they lightly flew.
Philip's translation of
SAPPho's Hymn to Venus.
Line 242. They who begin to reason cease to feel.
Quand l'bomme commence a raisoner il cesse de sentir.
J. J. ROUSSEAU.
Line 283. When as the berry bears the imaged tree.
Far from the “land of the oak” I cannot ascertain, whether the
acorn, when cut open, contain a miniature figure of the tree, which
springs from it; but I believe it does; and those who admit, that
“ The sun-flower turns to her God when he sets,
The same look which she turned when he rose,' and, that The Vase, in which Roses have once been distilled, retains their odour
for ever; will soarcely pause to question the fact.
[By the same Author.]
I am not insensible! still in my breast,
Though hidden as deeply as lamps in the tomb,
Unquenched by corruption, and pure, though unblest,
Some feeling survives the heart's perishing bloom.
When I think of the world, 'tis in scorn or despair ;
When of heaven—with hope, which I cannot deem vain,
For there thou art seen, as a vision too fair,
Too blissful to last-there we may meet again.
We may meet ne'er to part; for I may be forgiven :
And surely, sweet soul ! thou art fated to dwell,
(Since near thee on earth, I anticipate heaven,)
Where hearts are ne'er broken, friends ne'er sigh" farewell!"
[By the same Author.)
I curse not the hour, that bears me away,
For hope is no longer deceiving;
And I feel there is nothing on earth can betray,
Now nothing on earth I believe in.
The land of my infancy, kindred and birth,
Had much, which my soul deemed enchanting;
But what wretch would weep for a portion of earth
When the spirit, that blessed it, is wanting ?
I have not a dog, that will pine, when I'm gone,
Or a friend who'll have much grief to smother ;
And my true faithful love in a week will smile on,"
And bless and be blessed by another.
Kensington, 1st June, 1827.
Circumstances have occurred, which induced me to substitute month for week; but, as such substitution may have been premature, I have resumed tho more probable period,
STANZAS, WRITTEN ON LEAVING the Cape of Good Hope, 26TH JANUARY, 1826, ON MY WAY TO ENGLAND,
[By the same Author.]
Farewell ! though this grief may be kindred to bliss,
Since the loss of one smile yields the hope of another ;
There are ties, which so bind us to moments like this,
That we scarce know if sorrow or joy they discover.
The sails that now lustfully swell to the wind,
Bear us on to our native,-our brighter abode ;
Yet the hill-hidden bower, which we leave far behind,
For a moment delighted our wearisome road.
It is true, that the eyes we can worship at home,
And the lips, which will fervently welcome us back,
May surpass in their lustre all beauties here known,
But they cheered not our lonely, our watery track.
SH the hawthorn, that rendered the wilderness sweet,
Be forgot, when in Gardens the rose we distill ?
Shall we frown on the bosoms of love we may meet,
Though at home there are others more exquisite still?
No—the wild grape to me as another is dear,
Though its clusters hang not so enticing above,
Though the noon day of Passion may not be found here,
'Tis bliss to repose in the twilight of Love.
Full many a cup, though distasteful to drain,
It is pleasant to sip, and then pass it away,
From its brim as it woos us refreshment to gain
And deliciously cool our hot lips in its spray.
Then farewell the Cape with its vine-covered site!
Farewell to the Girls, who consoled us awhile !
Though Fortune may bear us to greater delight,
She never can gain us a welcomer smile.
Though I would not remember with pangs long, or deep,
The joys, that delighted a moment or two:
In the nectar of memory their pleasures I steep,
And smiling, I bid them a grateful adieu.