Fiesolan Musings

Let me sit here and muse by thee
Awhile, aerial Fiesole!
Thy shelter'd walks and cooler grots,
Villas and vines and olive-plots,
Catch me, entangle me, detain me,
And laugh to hear that aught can pain me.
'Twere just, if ever rose one sigh
To find the lighter mount more high,
Or any other natural thing
So trite that Fate would blush to sing,
Of Honour's sport or Fortune's frown,
Clung to my heart and kept it down.
But shunn'd have I on every side
The splash of newly-mounted Pride,
And never riskt my taking cold
In the damp chambers of the old.
What has the zephyr brought so sweet!
'Tis the vine-blossom round my seat.
Ah! how much better here at ease
And quite alone to catch the breeze,
Than roughly wear life's waning day
On rotten forms with Castlereagh,
Mid public men for private ends,
A friend to foes, a foe to friends!
Long since with youthful chases warm,
And when ambition well might charm,
And when the choice before me lay,
I heard the din and turn'd away.
Hence oftentimes imperial Seine
Hath listen'd to my early strain,
And past the Rhine and past the Rhone
My Latian muse is heard and known,
Nor is the life of one recluse
An alien quite from public use.
Where alders mourn'd their fruitless beds
A thousand cedars raise their heads,
And from Segovia's hills remote,
My sheep enrich my neighbour's cote.
The wide and easy road I lead
Where never paced the harnest steed,
Where hardly dared the goat look down
Beneath her parent mountain's frown,
Suspended, while the torrent-spray
Springs o'er the crags that roll away.
Cares if I had, I turn'd those cares
Toward my partridges and hares,
At every dog and gun I heard
Ill-auguring for some truant birds,
Or whisker'd friend of jet-tipt ear,
Until the frighten'd eld limpt near.
These knew me . . and 'twas quite enough . .
I paid no Morning Post to puff,
Saw others fame and wealth increase,
Ate my own mutton-chop in peace,
Open'd my window, snacht my glass,
And, from the rills that chirp and pass,
A pure libation pour'd to thee,
Unsoil'd uncitied Liberty!
Lanthony! an ungenial clime,
And the broad wing of restless Time,
Have rudely swept thy massy walls
And rockt thy abbots in their palls . .
I loved thee by thy streams of yore,
By distant streams I love thee more;
For never is the heart so true
As bidding what we love adieu.
Yet neither where we first drew breath,
Nor where our fathers sleep in death,
Nor where the mystic ring was given,
The link from earth that reaches heaven,
Nor London, Paris, Florence, Rome . .
In his own heart's the wise man's home . .
Stored with each keener, kinder, sense,
Too firm, too lofty, for offence,
Unlittered by the tools of state,
And greater than the great world's great.
If mine no glorious work may be,
Grant, Heaven! and 'tis enough for me,
(While many squally sails flit past,
And many break the ambitious mast)
From all that they pursue, exempt,
The stormless bay of deep contempt!
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