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MEMORIALS OF A TOUR ON THE CONTINENT, 1820

XXIV. THE ITALIAN ITINERANT AND THE SWISS GOATHERD.

PART I

                                   I

          NOW that the farewell tear is dried,
          Heaven prosper thee, be hope thy guide
          Hope be thy guide, adventurous Boy;
          The wages of thy travel, joy!
          Whether for London bound--to trill
          Thy mountain notes with simple skill;
          Or on thy head to poise a show
          Of Images in seemly row;
          The graceful form of milk-white Steed,
          Or Bird that soared with Ganymede;
          Or through our hamlets thou wilt bear
          The sightless Milton, with his hair
          Around his placid temples curled;
          And Shakspeare at his side--a freight,
          If clay could think and mind were weight,
          For him who bore the world!
          Hope be thy guide, adventurous Boy;
          The wages of thy travel, joy!

                                   II

          But thou, perhaps, (alert as free
          Though serving sage philosophy)
          Wilt ramble over hill and dale,
          A Vender of the well-wrought Scale,
          Whose sentient tube instructs to time
          A purpose to a fickle clime:
          Whether thou choose this useful part,
          Or minister to finer art,
          Though robbed of many a cherished dream,
          And crossed by many a shattered scheme,
          What stirring wonders wilt thou see
          In the proud Isle of liberty!
          Yet will the Wanderer sometimes pine
          With thoughts which no delights can chase,
          Recall a Sister's last embrace,
          His Mother's neck entwine;
          Nor shall forget the Maiden coy
          That 'would' have loved the bright-haired Boy!

                                  III

          My Song, encouraged by the grace
          That beams from his ingenuous face,
          For this Adventurer scruples not
          To prophesy a golden lot;
          Due recompence, and safe return
          TO COMO'S steeps--his happy bourne!
          Where he, aloft in garden glade,
          Shall tend, with his own dark-eyed Maid,
          The towering maize, and prop the twig
          That ill supports the luscious fig;
          Or feed his eye in paths sun-proof
          With purple of the trellis-roof,
          That through the jealous leaves escapes
          From Cadenabbia's pendent grapes.
          --Oh might he tempt that Goatherd-child
          To share his wanderings! him whose look
          Even yet my heart can scarcely brook,
          So touchingly he smiled--
          As with a rapture caught from heaven--
          For unasked alms in pity given.


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