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ODE TO NAPLES.*
EPODE I. a.
I stood within the city disinterred; †
falls Of spirits passing through the streets; and heard The Mountain's slumberous voice at intervals
Thrill through those roofless halls ; The oracular thunder penetrating shook
The listening soul in my suspended blood; I felt that Earth out of her deep heart spokeI felt, but heard not:—through white columns
The isle-sustaining Ocean flood, A plane of light between two heavens of azure :
Around me gleamed many a bright sepulchre Of whose pure beauty, Time, as if his pleasure
Were to spare Death, bad never made erasure ;
* The Author has connected many recollections of his visit to Pompeii and Baiæ with the enthusiasm excited by the intelligence of the proclamation of a Constitutional Government at Naples. This has given a tinge of picturesque and descriptive imagery to the introductory Epodes, which depicture the scenes and some of the majestic feelings permanently connected with the scene of this animating event.—Author's Note.
But every living lineament was clear
As in the sculptor's thought; and there The wreaths of stony myrtle, ivy and pine,
Like winter leaves o’ergrown by moulded snow, Seemed only not to move and grow
Because the crystal silence of the air Weighed on their life ; even as the power divine, Which then lulled all things, brooded upon mine.
E PODE II. a.
Then gentle winds arose,
With many a mingled close Of wild Æolian sound and mountain odour keen;
And where the Baian ocean
Welters with air-like motion, Within, above, around its bowers of starry green,
Moving the sea-flowers in those purple caves, Even as the ever stormless atmosphere
Floats o'er the Elysian realm,
No storm can overwhelm ;)
Of the dead kings of melody.*
* Homer and Virgil.
The horizontal æther; heaven stript bare
Of some ethereal host;
Whilst from all the coast,
STROPHE a. l.
NAPLES ! thou Heart of men, which ever pantest
Naked, beneath the lidless eye of heaven!
The mutinous air and sea ! they round thee, even
Long lost, late won, and yet but half regained !
Which armed Victory offers up unstained
To Love, the flower-enchained ! Thou which wert once, and then didst cease to be, Now art, and henceforth ever shalt be, free, If Hope, and Truth, and Justice can avail.
Hail, hail, all hail !
STROPHE B. 2.
Which from the groaning earth
Last of the Intercessors
Who 'gainst the Crowned Transgressors Pleadest before God's love! Arrayed in Wisdom's
Nor let thy high heart fail,
Oppressors, With hurried legions move! Hail, hail, all hail !
What though Cimmerian Anarchs dare blaspheme
Freedom and thee? thy shield is as a mirror To make their blind slaves see, and with fierce
gleam To turn his hungry sword upon the wearer;
A new Actæon's error Shall theirs have been—devoured by their own
hounds! Be thou like the imperial Basilisk, Killing thy foe with unapparent wounds!
Gaze on oppression, till, at that dread risk
Aghast, she pass from the Earth's disk ;
If Hope, and Truth, and Justice may avail,
ANTISTROPHE B. 2.
From Nature's inmost shrine,
O’er Falsehood's fallen state,
And equal laws be thine,
And winged words let sail, Freighted with truth even from the throne of
God : That wealth, surviving fate, be thine.—All hail !
ANTISTROPHE a. y.
From land to land re-echoed solemnly,
To the cold Alps, eternal Italy
Starts to hear thine! 'The Sea Which paves the desert streets of Venice, laughs
In light and music; widowed Genoa wan,
Within whose veins long ran
* Ææa, the Island of Circe.
† The viper was the armorial device of the Visconti, tyrants of Milan.