Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

From the high window I beheld the scene

On which Saint Benedict so oft had gazed ; The mountains and the valley in the sheen

Of the bright sun, and stood as one amazed. Gray mists were rolling, rising, vanishing;

The woodlands glisten'd with their jeweli'd crowns. Far off the mellow bells began to ring

For matins in the half-awaken’d towns. The conflict of the Present and the Past,

The ideal and the actual in our life, As on a field of battle held me fast,

Where this world and the next world were at strife. For, as the valley from its sleep awoke,

I saw the iron horses of the steam
Toss to the morning air their plumes of smoke,

And woke as one awaketh from a dream.

AMALFI.

SWEET the memory is to me
Of a land beyond the sea,
Where the waves and mountains meet;
Where amid her mulberry-trees
Sits Amalfi in the heat,
Bathing ever her white feet
In the tideless, summer seas.
In the middle of the town,
From its fountains in the hills,
Tumbling through the narrow gorge,
The Canneto rushes down,
Turns the great wheels of the mills,
Lifts the hammers of the forge.
'Tis a stairway, not a street,
That ascends the deep ravine,
Where the torrent leaps between
Rocky walls that almost meet.
Toiling up from stair to stair
Peasant girls their burdens bear;
Sunburnt daughters of the soil,
Stately figures tall and straight;
What inexorable fate
Dooms them to this life of toil ?
Lord of vineyards and of lands,
Far above the convent stands,

On its terraced walk aloof
Leans a monk with folded hands,
Placid, satisfied, serene,
Looking down upon the scene
Over wall and red-tiled roof;
Wondering unto what good end
All this toil and traffic tend,
And why all men cannot be
Free from care, and free from pain
And the sordid love of gain,
And as indolent as he.

Where are now the freighted barks
From the marts of east and west?
Where the knights in iron sarks
Journeying to the Holy Land
Glove of steel upon the hand,
Cross of crimson on the breast ?
Where the pomp of camp and court!
Where the pilgrims with their prayers ?
Where the merchants with their wares,
And their gallant brigantines
Sailing safely into port,
Chased by corsair Algerines ?

Vanish'd like a fleet of cloud,
Like a passing trumpet-blast,
Are those splendours of the past,
And the commerce and the crowd !
Fathoms deep beneath the seas
Lie the ancient wharves and quays,
Swallow'd by the engulfing waves;
Silent streets, and vacant halls,
Ruin'd roofs and towers and walls;
Hidden from all mortal eyes
Deep the sunken city lies;
Even cities have their graves !

This is an enchanted land !
Round the headlands far away
Sweeps the blue Salernian bay;
With its sickle of white sand;
Further still and furthermost
On the dim discovered coast
Pæstum with its ruins lies,
And its roses all in bloom
Seem to tinge the fatal skies
Of that lonely land of doom

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

On his terrace, high in air,
Nothing doth the good monk care
For such worldly themes as these.
From the garden just below
Little puffs of perfume blow,
And a sound is in his ears
Of the murmur of the bees
In the shining chestnut-trees;

Nothing else he heeds or hears.
All the landscape seems to swoon
In the happy afternoon;
Slowly o'er his senses creep
The encroaching waves of sleep,
And he sinks as sank the town,
Unresisting, fathoms down
Into caverns cool and deep !

Wall'd about with drifts of snow,
Hearing the fierce north wind blow,
Seeing all the landscape white,
And the river cased in ice,
Comes this memory of delight,
Comes this vision unto me
Of a long-post Paradise
In the land beyond the sea.

A DUTCH PICTURE.

SIMON DANZ has come home again,

From cruising about with his buccaneers; He has singed the beard of the King of Spain, And carried away the Dean of Jaen

And sold him in Algiers.

In his house by the Maese, with its roof of tiles

And weathercocks flying aloft in air, There are silver tankards of antique styles, Plunder of convent and castle, and piles

Of carpets rich and rare.

In his tulip-garden there by the town,

Overlooking the sluggish stream,
With his Moorish cap and dressing-gown
The old sea-captain, hale and brown,

Walks in a waking dream.

A smile in his gray mustachio lurks

Whenever he thinks of the King of Spain, And the listed tulips look like Turks, And the silent gardener as he works

Is changed to the Dean of Jaen.

The windmills on the outermost

Verge of the landscape in the haze,
To him are towers on the Spanish coast,
With whisker'd sentinels at their post,

Though this is the river Maese.

But when the winter rains begin,

He sits and smokes by the blazing brands, And old sea-faring men come in, Goat-bearded, gray, and with double chin,

And rings upon their hands.

They sit there in the shadow and shine

Of the flickering fire of the winter night; Figures in colour and design Like those by Rembrandt of the Rhine,

Half darkness and half light.

And they talk of their ventures lost or won,

And their talk is ever and ever the same, While they drink the red wine of Tarragon, From the cellars of some Spanish Don,

Or convent set on flame.

Restless at times, with heavy strides

He paces his parlour to and fro; He is like a ship that at anchor rides, And swings with the rising and falling tides

And tugs at her anchor-tow.

Voices mysterious far and near,

Sound of the wind and sound of the sea, Are calling and whispering in his ear, • Simon Danz! Why stayest thou here?

Come forth and follow me!'

So he thinks he shall take to the sea again

For one more cruise with his buccaneers, To singe the beard of the King of Spain, And capture another Dean of Jaen

And sell him in Algiers.

MORITURI SALUTAMUS.

(Harper's Magazine for August publishes Me LONGFELLOW's poem, which he delivered on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Bowdoin College Class of 1825. It is as follows:-)

Tempora labuntur, tacitisque senescimus annis,
Et fugiunt freno non remorante dies.

OVID, Fastorum, Lib. vi.
“O CÆSAR, we who are about to die
Salute you !” was the gladiators' cry
In the arena, standing face to face
With death and with the Roman populace

O ye familiar scenes—ye groves of pine,
That once were mine and are no longer mine,-
Thou river, widening through the meadows green
To the vast sea, so near and yet unseen,-
Ye halls, in whose seclusion and repose
Phantoms of fame, like exhalations, rose
And vanished,-We who are about to die
Salute you; earth and air and sea and sky,
And the Imperial Sun that scatters down
His sovereign splendours upon grove and town.

Ye do not answer us! ye do not hear !
We are forgotten; and in your austere
And calm indifference, ye little care
Whether we come or go, or whence or where.
What passing generations fill these halls,
What passing voices echo from these walls,
Ye heed not; we are only as the blast,
A moment heard, and then for ever past.

Not so the teachers who in earlier days
Led our bewildered feet through learning's maze;
They answer us—alas ! what have I said?
What greetings come there from the voiceless dead ?
What salutation, welcome, or reply?
What pressure from the hands that lifeless lie ?
They are no longer here; they all are gone
Into the land of shadows-all save one.
Honour and reverence, and the good repute
That follows faithful service as its fruit,
Be unto him, whom living we salute.

The great Italian poet, when he made
His dreadful journey to the realms of shade,
Met there the old instructor of his youth,
And cried in tones of pity and of ruth:

« AnteriorContinuar »