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Hath sought its quiet, rocking nest,
Folded its wings, and gone to rest,
And still I hear thy waters play
In welcome music, far away.
Oh! earth hath many a gallant show
Of towering peak and glacier height,
But ne'er beneath the glorious moon,
Hath nature framed a lovelier sight,
Than thy fair tide with diamonds fraught,
When every drop with light is caught,
And o'er the bridge, the village girls
Reflect below their waving curls,
While merrily thy waters play
In welcome music, far away!
On Arno's bosom, as he calmly flows, And his cool arins round Vallombrosa throws, Rolling his crystal tide through classic vales, Alone,-at night,—the Italian boatman sails. High o'er Mont' Alto walks, in maiden pride, Night's queen ;-he sees her image on that tide, Now, ride the wave that curls its infant crest Around his prow, then rippling sinks to rest; Now, glittering dance around his eddying oar, Whose every sweep is echoed from the shore ; Now, far before him, on a liquid bed Of waveless water, rest her radiant head. How mild the empire of that virgin queen! How dark the mountain's shade! how still the scene! Hushed by her silver sceptre, zephyrs sleep On dewy leaves, that overhang the deep, Nor dare to whisper through the boughs, nor stir The valley's willow, nor the mountain's fir,
Nor make the pale and breathless aspen quiver,
Nor brush, with ruffling wing, that glassy river.
Hark !—'tis a convent's bell :—its midnight chime;
For music measures even the march of Time :-
O'er bending trees, that fringe the distant shore,
Gray turrets rise :—the eye can catch no more.
The boatman, listening to the tolling bell,
Suspends his oar:-a low and solemn swell,
From the deep shade, that round the cloister lies,
Rolls through the air, and on the water dies.
What melting song wakes the cold ear of Night?
A funeral dirge, that pale nuns, robed in white,
Chant round a sister's dark and narrow bed,
To charm the parting spirit of the dead.
Triumphant is the spell! with raptured ear,
That uncaged spirit hovering lingers near;-
Why should she mount? why pant for brighter bliss,
A lovelier scene, a sweeter song, than this !
On Caledonia's hills, the ruddy morn Breathes fresh :—the huntsman winds his clamorous horn. The youthful minstrel from his pallet springs, Seizes his harp, and tunes its slumbering strings. Lark-like he mounts o'er gray rocks, thunder-riven, Lark-like he cleaves the white mist, tempest-driven, And lark-like carols, as the cliff he climbs,
Whose oaks were vocal with his earliest rhymes.
With airy foot he treads that giddy height;
Ilis heart all rapture, and his eye all light;
His voice all melody, his yellow hair
Floating and dancing on the mountain air,
Shaking from its loose folds the liquid pearls,
'That gather clustering on his golden curls ;-
And, for a moment, gazes on a scene,
'Tinged with deep shade, dim gold, and brightening green;
Then plays a mournful prelude, while the star
Of morning fades;—but when heaven's gates unbar,
And on the world a tide of glory rushes,
Burns on the hill, and down the valley blushes;
The mountain bard in livelier numbers sings,
While sunbeams warm and gild the conscious strings,
And his young bosom feels the enchantment strong
Of light, and joy, and minstrelsy, and song.
From rising morn, the tuneful stripling roves Through smiling valleys and religious groves ;
Here, the lone turtle pour her mournful note,
Till night descends, and round the wanderer flings
The dew-drops dripping from her dusky wings.
Far from his native vale and humble shed
By nature's smile and nature's music led,
This child of melody has thoughtless strayed,
Till darkness wraps him in her deepening shade. The scene that cheered him, when arrayed in light, Now lowers around him with the frown of night.
With weary foot the nearest height he climbs,
Crowned with huge oaks, giants of other times;
Who feel, but fear not, Autumn's breath, and cast
Their summer robes upon the roaring blast,
And glorying in their majesty of form,
Toss their old arms, and challenge every storm.
Below him, Ocean rolls:-deep in a wood,
Built on a rock, and frowning o'er the flood,
Like the dark Cyclops of Trinacria's isle,
Rises an old and venerable pile :
Gothic its structure; once a cross it bore,
And pilgrims thronged to hail it and adore.
Mitres and crosiers awed the trembling friar,
The solemn organ led the chanting quire,
When in those vaults the midnight dirge was sung,
And o'er the dead a requiescat rung.
Now, all is still :--the midnight anthem hushed:
The cross is crumbled, and the mitre crushed.
And is all still ?-No: round those ruined altars,
With feeble foot as our musician falters,
Faint, wearv, lost, benighted, and alone,
He sinks, all trembling, on the threshold stone.
Here nameless fears the young enthusiast chill :