For thee alone they have no arm to save,
And all thy recompense is in their fame,
A noble one to them, but not to thee—50
Shall they be glorious, and thou still the same?
Oh! more than these illustrious far shall be
The Being—and even yet he may be born—
The mortal Saviour who shall set thee free,
And see thy diadem, so changed and worn
By fresh barbarians, on thy brow replaced;
And the sweet Sun replenishing thy morn,
Thy moral morn, too long with clouds defaced,
And noxious vapours from Avernus risen,
Such as all they must breathe who are debased60
By Servitude, and have the mind in prison.
Yet through this centuried eclipse of woe
Some voices shall be heard, and Earth shall listen;
Poets shall follow in the path I show,
And make it broader: the same brilliant sky
Which cheers the birds to song shall bid them glow,
And raise their notes as natural and high;
Tuneful shall be their numbers; they shall sing
Many of Love, and some of Liberty,
But few shall soar upon that Eagle's wing,70
And look in the Sun's face, with Eagle's gaze,
All free and fearless as the feathered King,
But fly more near the earth; how many a phrase
Sublime shall lavished be on some small prince
In all the prodigality of Praise!
And language, eloquently false, evince
"Ah! servile Italy, grief's hostelry!
A ship without a pilot in great tempest!"
Purgatorio, vi. 76, 77.]
- Yet through this many-yeared eclipse of Woe.—[MS, Alternative reading.]
Yet through this murky interreign of Woe.—[MS. erased.]
- Which choirs the birds to song ——.—[MS. Alternative reading.]
- And Pearls flung down to regal Swine evince.—[MS. Alternative reading.]
- The whoredom of high Genius ——.—[MS. Alternative reading.]