Samuel Rogers.

The poems of Samuel Rogers, with a memoir online

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The first in sober truth, no counterfeit ;
And, when his orisons were duly paid.
He rose, and we exchanged, as all are wont,
A traveller's greeting.

Young and of an age
When Youth is most attractive, when a light
Plays round and round, reflected, if I err not.
From some attendant Spirit, that ere-long
(His charge relinquish' d wit-j a sigh, a tear)
Wings his flight upward — wit a a look he won
My favour ; and, the spell of silence broke,
I cculd not but continue.



3TALY. 107

" Y/bence," I ask'd,
"Whence art thou ?"—" From Mont' a!tc."

he replied,
" My native village in the Apennines."
"And whither journeying?" — "To the holy

shrine
Of Saint Antonio, in the City of Padua.
Perhaps, if thou hast ever gone so far,
Thou wilt direct my course." — "Most wil-
lingly ;
But thou hast much to do, much to endure,
Ere thou hast enter' d where the silver lamps
Burn ever. Tell me — I ^vould not transgress,
Yet ask I must — what could have brought thee

forth;
Nothing in act or thought to be atoned for ?"—
" It was a vow I made in my distress.
We were so blest, none were so blest as we.
Till Sickness came. First, as death-struck, I

fell ;
Then my beloved sister ; and ere-long.
Worn with continual watchings, night and day..
Our saint-like mother. Worse and worse she

grew;
And in my anguish, my despair, I Yow'd,
That if she lived, if Pleaven restored her to us,
I would forthwith, and in a Pilgrim's weeds.
Visit that holy shrine. My vow was heard ;
And therefore am I come." — " Thou hast don«

well ;
And may those weeds, so reverenced of old.
Guard thee in danger !" —



106 ITA LY-

" They are nothing worth.
But they are worn in humble confidence ;
Nor would I for the richest robe resign them,
Wrought, as they were, by those I love so well,
Lauretta and my sister ; theirs the task,
But none to them, a pleasure, a delight,
To ply their utmost skill, and send me forth
As best became this service. Their last words,
' Fare thee well, Carlo. We shall count the

hours !'
Will not go from me." —

" Health and strength be thine
In thy long travel ! May no sun-beam strike ;
No vapour cling and wither ! Mayest thou be,
Sleeping or waking, sacred and secure !
And, when again thou comest, thy labour done,
Joy be among ye ] In that happy hour
All will pour forth to bid thee welcome, Carlo;
And there is one, or I am much deceived.
One thou hast named, who will not be the last."—
" Oh, she is true as Truth itself can be !
But ah, thou knowest her not. Would that

thou couldst !
My steps I quicken when I think of her ;
For, though they take me further from her door,
I shall return the sooner."

II.

AN INTERVIEW.

Pleasuee, that comes unlook'd-xi^r, is thrica
welcome .;



nxv7. 105?

And, if it stir the heart, if aught be there,
That may hereafter in a thouglnful hour
Wake but a sigh, 't is treasured up among
The things most precious ; and the day it camd,
Is noted as a white day in our hves.

The sun was wheeling westward, and the
chffs
And nodding woods, that everlastingly
(Such the dominion of thy mighty voice,
Thy voice, Velino, utter'd in the mist)
Hear thee and answer thee, were left at length
For others still as noon ; and on we stray' d
From wild to wilder, nothing hospitable
Seen up or down, no bush or green or dry.
That ancient symbol at the coitage-door,
Offering refreshment — when Luigi cried,
*' Well, of a thousand tracts we chose the best !"
And, turning round an oak, oracular once.
Now lightning-struck, a cave, a thoroughfare
For all that came, each entrance a broad arch^
Whence many a deer, rustling his velvet coat,
Had issued, many a gipsy and her brood
Peer'd forth, then housed again — the floor yet

grey
With ashes, and the sides, where roughest, hung
Loosely with locks of hair — I look'd and saw
What, seen in such an hour by Sancho Panzs,
Had given his honest countenance a breadth,
His cheeks a flush of pleasure and surprise,
Unknown before, had chain'd him to the spot,



1 10 ITALY.

And thou, Sir Knight, hadst raversed hill tM

dale
Squire-less.

5elow and winding far away,
A narrow glade unfolded, such as Spring
Broiders with flowers, and, when the moon is

high.
The hare delights to race in, scattering round
The silvery dews. Cedar and cypress threw
Singly their length of shadow, chequering
The greensward, and, what grew in frequent

tufts,
An underwood of myrtle, that by fits
Sent up a gale of fragrance. Through tha

midst,
Reflecting, as it ran, purple and gold,
A rainbow's splendour (somewhere in the east
Rain-drops were falling fast) a rivulet
Sported as loth to go ; and on the bank
Stood (in the eyes of one, if not of both,
Worth all the rest and more) a sumpter-mule
WelMaden, while two menials as in haste
Drew from his ample panniers, ranging round
Viands and fruits on many a shining salver,
And plunging in the cool translucent wave
Flasks of delicious wine.

Anon a horn
Blew, through the champaign bidding to the

feast.
Its jocund note to other ears addressed,
N


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Online LibrarySamuel RogersThe poems of Samuel Rogers, with a memoir → online text (page 6 of 16)