On Leaving Italy, For The Summer, On Account Of Health
Thou summer--land! that dost put on the sun
Not as a dress of pomp occasional,
But as thy natural and most fitting one,--
Yet still thy Beauty has its festival,
Its own chief day,
And I, though conscious of the bliss begun,
Must turn away!
I leave thee in thy royalest attire
Of affluent life,--I leave thee 'mid thy wealth
Of sunlight gold and jewels of all fire,--
Led by the paltry care of weakened health
And fear of pain;
Who knows that I shall see, ere I expire,
Thy face again!
I almost could persuade me that too dear
My Northern--island birthdom has been bought,
The vantage--ground of intellect, the clear
And bright expanse of action and of thought,
If I am bound
To limit all the good my heart has sought
To that cold ground.
What is my gain that I can take and mesh
The Beautiful in Nature's deepest sea,
If I am bound the bondman of the flesh,
And must not float upon the surface free?
Why should these powers
Bring nothing but a burden ever fresh
Of yearning hours?
Why do we wish the things we do not dare?
Why do I tremble at my aestuous Soul
That would embrace the burning god, and there
Give up into the elemental whole
Its worthless frame,
Whose instincts guide me captive everywhere,
In grief and shame?
Oh! what a world of strifes of good and ill
Is this that we are cast in? Head and Heart,
Body and Spirit, Faculties and Will,
Nothing at peace, all sundered and apart;
Who would not shun
This war, if Death were sure to make him still,
Or make him One!
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