From the Italian of Alfieri
My bier, my tomb, the record that shall say
That once I liv’d, already I prepare, And unsurpriz’d to me shall death declare
The doom, that brooks not man’s too fond delay.
O monstrous Tyranny! untaught t’obey
Or law or right; untaught alike to spare
Or high or low; yet one there is who dare
Snatch from thy grip his freeborn soul away.
Not mute or unreveng’d shall rest my shade
In the cold tomb; my yet stern voice shall bear
Tormenting sounds, that fearful shall invade
The Tyrant’s ear — I see the moment near
When Freedom shall the miscreant pow’r degrade,
And Freedom’s future sons my bright example cheer.
Note. It will be seen that the Tyranny alluded to is that of Napoleon; the translation has this coincidence, that it was made before his utter fall was an event to be expected. The originals of this and the following sonnet are added on the opposite pages.
Già il feretro, e la Lapida, e la Vita
Che scritta resti, preparando io stommi;
Nè inaspettata sopraggiunger puommi
Omai Colei, ch’ogni indugiare irrita
La schiavesca Tirannide inaudita,
Che tutti schiaccia al par minimi e sommi,
Di ciò ringrazio, che il poter losciommi
Di furarle almen una anima ardita.
Ma no inulta l’Ombra mia, nè muta,
Starassi, no : fia dei Tiranni scempio
La sempre viva mia voce temuta.
Nè lunge molto al mio cessar, d’ogni empio
Veggio la vil possanza al suol caduta,
Me forse altrui di liber’uomo Esempio.
To a Bride
From the Italian of Salandri
The more thy charms delight and love inspire,
Unsullied keep the faith thy vows impart;
Live jealous of that beauty all admire,
And lovely openness that knows not art.
Temptation’s witching gale with dread respire,
Whose lightest breath will baleful influence dart
To quench affection’s sweet and holy fire
Drunk at your eyes and nourish’d in your heart.
From mountain cave upspringing, limpid flows
The rill, and as it pure and sparkling plays,
Sol with delight upon its bosom glows;
But if to kiss each herb or flow’r it strays,
Or from its course in ev’ry furrow goes,
By small degrees it shrinks, and soon to nought decays.
Più che leggiadra sei, più che vezzosa;
Serba intatta la fede al tuo diletto,
Vivi di tua beltà, vivi gelosa
Del bel candore che non ha difetto.
Ogni alito di molle insidiosa
Aura che spiri da caduco obbietto,
Può la dolce scemar vampa amorosa
Che per gli occhi bevesti e nutrì in petto.
Sgorga dal cavo sen di balza alpina
Limpido il fonte, nel cui vivo umbre
Il sole per vaghezza i raggi affina.
Ma se da picciol solco or erba or flore
Folleggiando a lambir per via declina,
A poco a poco impoverisce e muore.
A Morning Thought
How many million particles of light
Upon this nether world have ceaseless stream’d,
Since moon and stars have silver’d o’er the night,
And the great sun diurnal glory beam’d!
How many countless waves have kiss’d the shore
Since ocean first to know his bounds began!
How many forms has varying fancy wore,
Thro’ all the restless race of busy man!
Go, count all these, and still in vain essay
HIS blessings, mercies, goodness, to display
Whose word created and upholds them all:
They ever change, but He is still the same;
They fade and die, but His eternal fame
Shall brightest shine when they to nothing fall.
On the departure of an amiable Family for the West Indies. Written at the end of a collection of jeux d’esprit by several of their friends
Our little day of mirth and song is flown,
And all our souls are wrapt in cheerless night,
Since o’er the wave to western worlds are gone
Our Band’s lov’d Chiefs, its centre and delight.
So fades o’er ocean’s bound the purple light,
And our dark groves are left in silence line,
When as the circling sun directs his flight
To gild those Isles, whose empire is his own.
Yet not for aye departs the cheerful beam;
Night past, for us again his lamp shall burn,
And so in little space, if right we deem,
Our song shall wake to hail their glad return.
Ah quickly fly, thou night of tuneless sorrow!
Speed, winged hours, and bring our wish’d-for morrow!