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Felicia Dorothea Hemans 1793 (Liverpool, Lancashire) – 1835 (Dublin, County Dublin)
Hast thou a scene that is not spread
With records of thy glory fled?
A monument that doth not tell
The tale of liberty's farewell?
Italia! thou art but a grave
Where flowers luxuriate o'er the brave,
And nature gives her treasures birth
O'er all that hath been great on earth.
Yet smile thy heavens as once they smiled,
When thou wert freedom's favoured child:
Though fane and tomb alike are low,
Time hath not dimmed thy sunbeam's glow;
Oh, yet, though by thy sorrows bent,
In nature's pomp magnificent;
What marvel if, when all was lost,
Still on thy bright, enchanted coast,
Though many an omen warned him thence,
Lingered the lord of eloquence?
Still gazing on the lovely sky,
Whose radiance wooed him - but to die:
would not linger there,
Where heaven, earth, ocean, all are fair?
Who 'midst thy glowing scenes could dwell,
Nor bid awhile his griefs farewell?
Hath not thy pure and genial air
Balm for all sadness but despair?
No! there are pangs, whose deep-worn trace
magic can efface!
Hearts by unkindness wrung may learn
The world and all its gifts to spurn:
Time may steal on with silent tread,
And dry the tear that mourns the dead,
May change fond love, subdue regret,
And teach e'en vengeance to forget:
But thou, Remorse! there is no charm,
sting, avenger, to disarm!
Vain are bright suns and laughing skies
To soothe thy victim's agonies:
The heart once made thy burning throne,
Still, while it beats, is thine alone.
In vain for Otho's joyless eye
Smile the fair scenes of Italy,
As through her landscapes' rich array
The imperial pilgrim bends his way.
Thy form, Crescentius, on his sight
Rises when nature laughs in light,
Glides round him at the midnight hour,
Is present in his festal bower,
With awful voice and frowning mien,
By all but him unheard, unseen.
Oh! thus to shadows of the grave
Be every tyrant still a slave!
Where through Gargano's woody dells,
O'er bending oaks the north wind swells,
A sainted hermit's lowly tomb
Is bosomed in umbrageous gloom,
In shades that saw him live and die
Beneath their waving canopy.
'Twas his, as legends tell, to share
The converse of immortals there;
Around that dweller of the wild
There 'bright appearances' have smiled.
And angel-wings, at eve, have been
Gleaming the shadowy boughs between.
And oft from that secluded bower
Hath breathed, at midnight's calmer hour
A swell of viewless harps, a sound
Of warbled anthems pealing round.
Oh, none but voices of the sky
Might wake that thrilling harmony,
Whose tones, whose very echoes made
An Eden of the lonely shade!
Years have gone by; the hermit sleeps
Amidst Gargano's woods and steeps:
Ivy and flowers have half o'ergrown,
And veiled his low sepulchral stone:
Celestial footsteps haunt the hill;
And oft the awe-struck mountaineer
Aerial vesper-hymns may hear
Around those forest-precincts float,
Soft, solemn, clear, but still remote.
Oft will Affliction breathe her plaint
To that rude shrine's departed saint,
And deem that spirits of the blest
There shed sweet influence o'er her breast.
And thither Otho now repairs,
To soothe his soul with vows and prayers;
And if for him, on holy ground,
The lost one, Peace, may yet be found,
'Midst rocks and forests, by the bed,
Where calmly sleep the sainted dead,
She dwells, remote from heedless eye,
With Nature's lonely majesty.
Vain, vain the search - his troubled breast
Nor vow nor penance lulls to rest;
The weary pilgrimage is o'er,
The hopes that cheered it are no more.
Then sinks his soul, and day by day
Youth's buoyant energies decay.
The light of health his eye hath flown,
The glow that tinged his cheek is gone.
Joyless as one on whom is laid
Some baleful spell that bids him fade,
Extending its mysterious power
O'er every scene, o'er every hour
withers; and to him
He withers - in that glorious clime
Where Nature laughs in scorn of Time;
And suns, that shed on all below
Their full and vivifying glow,
From him alone their power withhold,
And leaves his heart in darkness cold.
Earth blooms around him, heaven is fair,
only seems to perish there.
Yet sometimes will a transient smile
Play o'er his faded cheek awhile,
When breathes his minstrel boy a strain
Of power to lull all earthly pain;
So wildly sweet, its notes might seem
The ethereal music of a dream,
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"The Widow Of Crescentius : Part II." Poetry.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 16 Jun 2021. <https://www.poetry.com/poem/13635/the-widow-of-crescentius-:-part-ii.>.
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