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TO THE APENNINES.
YOUR peaks are beautiful, ye Apennines!
There, rooted to the aërial shelves that wear
The glory of a brighter world, might spring Sweet flowers of heaven to scent the unbreathed air,
And heaven's fleet messengers might rest the wing, To view the fair earth in its summer sleep,
Silent, and cradled by the glimmering deep.
Below you lie men's sepulchres, the old
Etrurian tombs, the graves of yesterday;
The herd's white bones lie mixed with human mould
Yet up the radiant steeps that I survey
Death never climbed, nor life's soft breath, with pain, Was yielded to the elements again.
Ages of war have filled these plains with fear;
Ah me! what armed nations-Asian horde,
And Libyan host-the Scythian and the Gaul, Have swept your base and through your passes poured,
Like ocean-tides uprising at the call
Of tyrant winds-—against your rocky side
The bloody billows dashed, and howled, and died.
How crashed the towers before beleaguering foes,
Sacked cities smoked and realms were rent in twain; And commonwealths against their rivals rose,
Trode out their lives and earned the curse of Cain! While in the noiseless air and light that flowed Round your far brows, eternal Peace abode.
Here pealed the impious hymn, and altar flames
While, as the unheeding ages passed along,
In you the heart that sighs for freedom seeks
Her image; there the winds no barrier know, Clouds come and rest and leave your fairy peaks;
While even the immaterial Mind, below, And Thought, her winged offspring, chained by power,
Pine silently for the redeeming hour.
A MIDNIGHT black with clouds is in the sky;
A voice of many tones-sent up from streams
From rocky chasms where darkness dwells all day,
O Earth! dost thou too sorrow for the past Like man thy offspring? Do I hear thee mourn