Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE WANDERER: 1. IN ITALY: CONDEMNED ONES, by EDWARD ROBERT BULWER-LYTTON



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THE WANDERER: 1. IN ITALY: CONDEMNED ONES, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Above thy child I saw thee bend
Last Line: That hope to help us was not given!
Alternate Author Name(s): Meredith, Owen; Lytton, 1st Earl Of; Lytton, Robert
Subject(s): Italy; Travel; Italians; Journeys; Trips


ABOVE thy child I saw thee bend,
Where in that silent room we sat apart.
I watched the involuntary tear descend;
The firelight was not all so dim, my friend,
But I could read thy heart.

Yet when, in that familiar room,
I strove, so moveless in my place,
To look with comfort in thy face,
That child's young smile was all that I could see
Ever between us in the thoughtful gloom, --
Ever between thyself and me, --
With its bewildering grace.

Life is not what it might have been,
Nor are we what we would!
And we must meet with smiling mien,
And part in careless mood,
Knowing that each retains unseen,
In cells of sense subdued,
A little lurking secret of the blood --
A little serpent-secret rankling keen --
That makes the heart its food.

Yet is there much for grateful tears, if sad ones,
And Hope's young orphans Memory mothers yet;
So let them go, the sunny days we had once,
Our night hath stars that will not ever set.
And in our hearts are harps, albeit not glad ones,
Yet not all unmelodious, through whose strings
The night-winds murmur their familiar things,
Unto a kindred sadness: the sea brings
The spirits of its solitude, with wings
Folden about the music of its lyre,
Thrilled vith deep duals by sublime desire,
Which never can attain, yet ever must aspire,
And glorify regret.

What might have been, I know, is not:
What must be, must be borne:
But, ah! what hath been will not be forgot,
Never, oh! never, in the years to follow!
Though all their summers light a waste forlorn,
Yet shall there be (hid from the careless swallow
And sheltered from the bleak wind in the thorn)
In Memory's mournful but beloved hollow,
One dear green spot!

Hope, the high will of Heaven
To help us hath not given,
But more than unto most of consolation:
Since heart from heart may borrow
Healing for deep heart-sorrow,
And draw from yesterday, to soothe tomorrow,
The sad, sweet divination
Of that unuttered sympathy, which is
Love's sorceress, and for Love's dear sake,
About us both such spells doth make,
As none can see, and none can break,
And none restrain; -- a secret pain
Claspt to a secret bliss!

A tone, a touch,
A little look, may be so much!
Those moments brief, nor often,
When, leaning laden breast to breast,
Pale cheek to cheek, life, long represt,
May gush with tears that leave half blest
The want of bliss they soften.
The little glance across the crowd,
None else can read, wherein there lies
A life of love at once avowed --
The embrace of pining eyes ....
So little more had made earth heaven,
That hope to help us was not given!





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