Through Alpine meadows soft-suffused
With rain, where thick the crocus
Past the dark forges long disused,
The mule-track from Saint
The bridge is cross'd, and slow we ride,
Through forest, up
The autumnal evening darkens round,
The wind is
up, and drives the rain;
While, hark! far down, with strangled sound
the Dead Guier's stream complain,
Where that wet smoke, among the
Over his boiling cauldron broods.
Swift rush the spectral
Past limestone scars with ragged pines,
blotting from our sight!--
Halt--through the cloud-drift something
High in the valley, wet and drear,
The huts of Courrerie appear.
Strike leftward! cries our guide; and higher
Mounts up the stony
At last the encircling trees retire;
Look! through the showery
What pointed roofs are these advance?--
A palace of the
Kings of France?
Approach, for what we seek is here!
sparely sup, and wait
For rest in this outbuilding near;
Then cross the
sward and reach that gate.
Knock; pass the wicket! Thou art come
Carthusians' world-famed home.
The silent courts, where night and
Into their stone-carved basins cold
The splashing icy fountains
The humid corridors behold!
Where, ghostlike in the deepening
Cowl'd forms brush by in gleaming white.
The chapel, where no
Invests the stern and naked prayer--
With penitential cries
And wrestle; rising then, with bare
And white uplifted faces
Passing the Host from hand to hand;
Each takes, and then his
Is buried in his cowl once more.
The cells!--the suffering Son
Upon the wall--the knee-worn floor--
And where they sleep, that
Which shall their coffin be, when dead!
where tract and tome
Not to feed priestly pride are there,
To hymn the
conquering march of Rome,
Nor yet to amuse, as ours are!
They paint of
souls the inner strife,
Their drops of blood, their death in life.
The garden, overgrown--yet mild,
See, fragrant herbs are flowering
Strong children of the Alpine wild
Whose culture is the brethren's
Of human tasks their only one,
And cheerful works beneath the sun.
Those halls, too, destined to contain
Each its own pilgrim-host of
From England, Germany, or Spain--
All are before me! I behold
House, the Brotherhood austere!
--And what am I, that I am here?
rigorous teachers seized my youth,
And purged its faith, and trimm'd its
Show'd me the high, white star of Truth,
There bade me gaze, and
Even now their whispers pierce the gloom:
What dost thou
in this living tomb?
Forgive me, masters of the mind!
At whose behest
I long ago
So much unlearnt, so much resign'd--
I come not here to be your
I seek these anchorites, not in ruth,
To curse and to deny your
Not as their friend, or child, I speak!
But as, on some far
Thinking of his own Gods, a Greek
In pity and mournful
awe might stand
Before some fallen Runic stone--
For both were faiths,
and both are gone.
Wandering between two worlds, one dead,
powerless to be born,
With nowhere yet to rest my head,
Like these, on
earth I wait forlorn.
Their faith, my tears, the world deride--
I come to
shed them at their side.
Oh, hide me in your gloom profound,
solemn seats of holy pain!
Take me, cowl'd forms, and fence me round,
I possess my soul again;
Till free my thoughts before me roll,
by hourly false control!
For the world cries your faith is now
dead time's exploded dream;
My melancholy, sciolists say,
Is a pass'd
mode, an outworn theme--
As if the world had ever had
A faith, or
sciolists been sad!
Ah, if it be pass'd, take away,
At least, the
restlessness, the pain;
Be man henceforth no more a prey
out-dated stings again!
The nobleness of grief is gone
Ah, leave us not
the fret alone!
But--if you cannot give us ease--
Last of the race of
them who grieve
Here leave us to die out with these
Last of the people who
Silent, while years engrave the brow;
Silent--the best are
Achilles ponders in his tent,
The kings of modern thought
Silent they are though not content,
And wait to see the future
They have the grief men had of yore,
But they contend and cry no
Our fathers water'd with their tears
This sea of time whereon
Their voices were in all men's ears
We pass'd within their
Still the same ocean round us raves,
But we stand mute,
and watch the waves.
For what avail'd it, all the noise
And outcry of
the former men?--
Say, have their sons achieved more joys,
Say, is life
lighter now than then?
The sufferers died, they left their pain--
pangs which tortured them remain.
What helps it now, that Byron
With haughty scorn which mock'd the smart,
Through Europe to the
The pageant of his bleeding heart?
That thousands counted
And Europe made his woe her own?
What boots it, Shelley!
that the breeze
Carried thy lovely wail away,
Musical through Italian
Which fringe thy soft blue Spezzian bay?
Inheritors of thy
Have restless hearts one throb the less?
Or are we easier,
to have read,
O Obermann! the sad, stern page,
Which tells us how thou
hidd'st thy head
From the fierce tempest of thine age
In the lone brakes
Or chalets near the Alpine snow?
Ye slumber in your
The world, which for an idle day
Grace to your mood of
Long since hath flung her weeds away.
The eternal trifler
breaks your spell;
But we--we learned your lore too well!
hence, perhaps, may dawn an age,
More fortunate, alas! than we,
without hardness will be sage,
And gay without frivolity.
Sons of the
world, oh, speed those years;
But, while we wait, allow our tears!
Allow them! We admire with awe
The exulting thunder of your
You give the universe your law,
You triumph over time and space!
Your pride of life, your tireless powers,
We laud them, but they are not
We are like children rear'd in shade
Beneath some old-world
Forgotten in a forest-glade,
And secret from the eyes of
Deep, deep the greenwood round them waves,
Their abbey, and its
close of graves!
But, where the road runs near the stream,
through the trees they catch a glance
Of passing troops in the sun's
Pennon, and plume, and flashing lance!
Forth to the world those
To life, to cities, and to war!
And through the wood,
Faint bugle-notes from far are borne,
Where hunters gather,
Round some fair forest-lodge at morn.
Gay dames are
there, in sylvan green;
Laughter and cries--those notes between!
banners flashing through the trees
Make their blood dance and chain their
That bugle-music on the breeze
Arrests them with a charm'd
Banner by turns and bugle woo:
Ye shy recluses, follow too!
O children, what do ye reply?--
'Action and pleasure, will ye
Through these secluded dells to cry
And call us?--but too late ye
Too late for us your call ye blow,
Whose bent was taken long ago.
'Long since we pace this shadow'd nave;
We watch those yellow tapers
Emblems of hope over the grave,
In the high altar's depth
The organ carries to our ear
Its accents of another sphere.
'Fenced early in this cloistral round
Of reverie, of shade, of
How should we grow in other ground?
How can we flower in foreign
--Pass, banners, pass, and bugles, cease;
And leave our desert to its