Ode to Selene or Diana
Immortal Moon, in maiden splendour shine.
Dispense thy beams, divine Latona’s child.
Thy silver rays all grosser things define,
And hide harsh truth in sweet illusion mild.
In thy soft light, the city of unrest
That stands so squalid in thy brother’s glare
Throws off its habit, and in silence blest
Becomes a vision, sparkling bright and fair.
The modern world, with all it’s care & pain,
The smoky streets, the hideous clanging mills,
Face ’neath thy beams, Selene, and again
We dream like shepherds on Chaldæa’s hills.
Take heed, Diana, of my humble plea.
Convey me where my happiness may last.
Draw me against the tide of time’s rough sea
And let my sprirt rest amid the past.
To the Old Pagan Religion
Olympian gods! How can I let ye go
And pin my faith to this new Christian creed?
Can I resign the deities I know
For him who on a cross for man did bleed?
How in my weakness can my hopes depend
On one lone God, though mighty be his pow’r?
Why can Jove’s host no more assistance lend,
To soothe my pain, and cheer my troubled hour?
Are there no Dryads on these wooded mounts
O’er which I oft in desolation roam?
Are there no Naiads in these crystal founts?
Nor Nereids upon the Ocean foam?
Fast spreads the new; the older faith declines.
The name of Christ resounds upon the air.
But my wrack’d soul in solitude repines
And gives the Gods their last-receivèd pray’r.
On the Ruin of Rome
Low dost thou lie, O Rome, neath the foot of the Teuton
Slaves are thy men, and bent to the will of thy conqueror:
Wither hath gone, great city, the race that gave law to all nations,
Subdu’d the east and the west, and made them bow down to thy consuls.
Knew not defeat, but gave it to all who attack’d thee?
Dead! and replac’d by these wretches who cower in confusion
Dead! They who gave us this empire to guard and to live in
Rome, thou didst fall from thy pow’r with the proud race that made thee,
And we, base Italians, enjoy’d what we could not have builded.
Seated in a woodland glen
By a shallow reedy stream
Once I fell a-musing, when
I was lull’d into a dream.
From the brook a shape arose
Half a man and half a goat.
Hoofs it had instead of toes
And a beard adorn’d its throat
On a set of rustic reeds
Sweetly play’d this hybrid man
Naught car’d I for earthly needs,
For I knew that this was Pan
Nymphs & Satyrs gather’d ’round
To enjoy the lively sound.
All to soon I woke in pain
And return’d to haunts of men.
But in rural vales I’d fain
Live and hear Pan’s pipes again.
On the Vanity of Human Ambition
Apollo, chasing Daphne, gain’d his prize
But lo! she turn’d to wood before his eyes.
More modern swains at golden prizes aim,
And ever strive some worldly thing to claim.
Yet ’tis the same as in Apollo’s case,
For, once attain’d, the purest gold seems base.
All that men seek ’s unworthy of the quest,
Yet seek they will, and never pause for rest.
True bliss, methinks, a man can only find
In virtuous life, & cultivated mind.