TO DELLA CRUSCA.
1 OH stay, oh stay! thy rash speed check,
2 Not yet ascend the flying deck;
3 Nor Europe's Hemisphere forsake,
4 Nor from THY NATION's pleasures take
5 A bliss so exquisite and chaste —
6 A feast so dear to polish'd taste,
7 As that thy Lyre correctly flings,
8 As that they feel when DELLA CRUSCA sings.
9 Alas! thou'rt gone, and to my straining eye
10 Thy Bark seems buoyant on the distant sky; —
11 See! in the clouds its mast it proudly laves,
12 Scorning the aid of Ocean's humble waves:
13 Well may it soar and bear aloft the prize
14 Whose verse immortal links him to the skies;
15 Well may it scorn rough Neptune's rocky way,
16 Which bears the Genius of the GOD OF DAY!
17 And now, MATILDA, bind thy lyre
18 With cypress wreathes! the lambent fire
19 Thou kindled'st at his fervid rays
20 Can gleam no more; — thy future days[Page 78]
21 Lost to the Muses and to Taste,
22 Each torpid hour will joyless waste.
23 In vain each morning now will glow —
24 In vain soft MAIA's music flow,
25 And to my pillow force its way,
26 And on my wak'ning senses play.
27 Her notes my wak'ning senses fill,
28 And conscious slumbers own the trill;
29 But when at length Remembrance bids
30 The filmy slumber quit my lids,
31 Saying "THE WORLD its Wit hath brought,
32 " Its various point, its well-turn'd thought,
33 "But DELLA CRUSCA lends no ray" —
34 Oh what is Morning — what is May?
35 Yet hold! some solace yet remains,
36 And pensive joys await my pains.
37 I too must leave this laurel'd coast
38 Which all, that ROME adorn'd, can boast;
39 But not like thee, for GRECIAN shores; —
40 Ah no! my humbler prow explores
41 The Sea unsung, which lies between
42 Dover's proud cliffs, and France serene.
43 Thou'lt skim th' Egean's brilliant tide,
44 I, o'er the British channel glide*[Page 79]
* This passage when given in the WORLD was by mistake alter'd, and some of its lines left out; — it is here printed from the original copy.;
45 Thou, all enthusiast! fondly trace
46 The Isle where PHAON's beauteous face
47 Gave birth to SAPPHO's glorious art —
48 Illum'd her name, but tore her heart:
49 Thy SAPPHO seek the shores vicine,
50 Where England's lovely great-soul'd QUEEN
51 Sublimely knelt, and snatch'd from blushing Fate
52 The Godlike victims of her Edward's hate.
53 Thou, at AONIA's sacred feet
54 Wilt duly pour libations meet;
55 I, roam o'er GALLIA's sportive plains
56 Where thoughtless Pleasure ever reigns.
57 But 'tis not sportive GALLIA's plains,
58 Tho' Pleasure there for ever reigns,
59 Which promises the boasted bliss —
60 No, BARD BELOV'D! the hope is this,
61 That there thy footsteps I may tread,
62 Press the same turf where sunk thy head;
63 Sip the quick stream thy thirst hath slaked,
64 And greet the Dawn where thou hast waked —
65 Fancying her waves of mazy gold
66 Ne'er with such rich refulgence roll'd;
67 And when her tints of various dye
68 Burst from the pallid sickly sky,
69 There rush in violet, there in green,
70 Here in soft red imbue the scene;[Page 80]
71 Then lose themselves by growing bright,
72 'Till swallow'd up in one vast flood of light —
73 Thus shall I say, HE saw her rays,
74 Thus was HE rous'd t'adore and praise!
75 Oh SYMPATHY, of birth divine,
76 Descend, and round my heart-strings twine!
77 Touch the fine nerve whene'er I breathe
78 Where DELLA CRUSCA dropt his wreath!
79 Lead me the sacred way of ROME,
80 Lead me to kneel at Virgil's tomb,
81 Where he th'enduring marble round
82 With fresh-wove laurels graceful bound.
83 Then guide where still with sweeter note,
84 Than flow'd from Petrarch's tuneful throat,
85 On Laura's grave he pour'd the lay
86 Amidst the sighs of sinking day:
87 Then point where on the sod his tear
88 Fell from its chrystal source so clear,
89 That there my mingling tear may sink,
90 And the same dust its moisture drink!
91 Thus dying Swans are said to sing,
92 And their last breath in numbers fling.
93 O'er the dear liquid shining plains,
94 Which nurs'd their joys, and nurs'd their pains.
95 Like them my Muse pines fast away,
96 And this her last, her closing day. [Page 81]
97 When one blest word her lips hath seal'd,
98 In lasting silence she'll be veil'd.
99 Expiring, still her note's the same,
100 She murmurs DELLA CRUSCA's name! —
101 The SACRED WORD! ye heard it spoke; —
102 Her Book is clos'd — her Lyre is broke!