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Things, which we love with such deep tenderness,
But, through that love, to learn how much of woe
Dwells in one hour like this!—Yet weep thou not
We shall meet soon ; and many days, dear love,
Ere I depart.
Then there's a respite still.
Days'—not a day but in its course may bring
Some strange vicissitude to turn aside
Th’ impending blow we shrink from.—Fare thee well.
—Oh, Raimond' this is not our last farewell?
Thou wouldst not so deceive me
Doubt me not,
Gentlest and best beloved we meet again.
RAIMOND (after a pause).
When shall I breathe in freedom, and give scope
To those untameable and burning thoughts,
And restless aspirations, which consume
My heart i' th' land of bondage —Oh! with you,
Ye everlasting images of power,
And of infinity thou blue-rolling deep,
And you, ye stars whose beams are characters
Wherewith the oracles of fate are traced ;
With you my soul finds room, and casts aside
The weight that doth oppress her.—But my thoughts
Are wandering far; there should be one to share
This awful and majestic solitude - -
Of sea and heaven with me.
- (PRocidA enters unobserved.)
It is the hour
He named, and yet he comes not.
PRocIDA (coming forward).
He is here.
Now, thou mysterious stranger, thou, whose glance
Doth fix itself on memory, and pursue
Thought, like a spirit, haunting its lone hours;
Reveal thyself; what art thou ?
One, whose life
Hath been a troubled stream, and made its way
Through rocks and darkness, and a thousand storms,
With still a mighty aim.—But now the shades
Of eve are gathering round me, and I come
To this, my native land, that I may rest
Beneath its vines in peace.
Seek'st thou for peace
This is no land of peace; unless that deep
And voiceless terror, which doth freeze men's thoughts
Back to their source, and mantle its pale mien
With a dull hollow semblance of repose,
May so be call’d.
There are such calms full oft
Preceding earthquakes. But I have not been
So vainly school'd by fortune, and inured
To shape my course on peril's dizzy brink,
That it should irk my spirit to put on
Such guise of hush'd submissiveness as best
May suit the troubled aspect of the times.
Why, then, thou art welcome, stranger! to the land
Where most disguise is needful.—He were bold
Who now should wear his thoughts upon his brow
Beneath Sicilian skies. The brother's eye
Doth search distrustfully the brother's face;
And friends, whose undivided lives have drawn
From the same past, their long remembrances,
Now meet in terror, or no more ; lest hearts
Full to o'erflowing, in their social hour,
Should pour out some rash word, which roving winds
Might whisper to our conquerors.-This it is,
To wear a foreign yoke.
It matters not
To him who holds the mastery o'er his spirit,
And can suppress its workings, till endurance
Becomes as nature. We can tame ourselves
To all extremes, and there is that in life
To which we cling with most tenacious grasp,
Ev’n when its lofty claims are all reduced
To the poor common privilege of breathing.—
Why dost thou turn away P
What wouldst thou with me?
I deem'd thee, by th' ascendant soul which lived,
And made its throne on thy commanding brow,
One of a sovereign nature, which would scorn
So to abase its high capacities
For aught on earth.-But thou art like the rest.
What wouldst thou with me?
I would counsel thee. Thou must do that which men—aye, valiant men,_
Hourly submit to do; in the proud court,
And in the stately camp, and at the board
Of midnight revellers, whose flush'd mirth is all
A strife, won hardly.—Where is he, whose heart
Lies bare, through all its foldings, to the gaze
Of mortal eye *—If vengeance wait the foe,
Or sate th' oppressor, 'tis in depths conceal’d
Beneath a smiling surface.—Youth ! I say
Keep thy soul down —Put on a mask!—'tis worn
Alike by power and weakness, and the smooth
And specious intercourse of life requires
Its aid in every scene.
Life hath its high and its ignoble tasks,
Fitted to every nature. Will the free
And royal eagle stoop to learn the arts
By which the serpent wins his spell-bound prey
It is because I will not clothe myself
In a vile garb of coward semblances,
That now, e'en now, I struggle with my heart,
To bid what most I love a long farewell,
And seek my country on some distant shore,
Where such things are unknown |