Felicia Hemans in Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine Volume 25 1829/The Storm-Painter in his Dungeon

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For other versions of this work, see The Storm-Painter in his Dungeon.

Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 25, Pages 227-228


THE STORM-PAINTER*[1] IN HIS DUNGEON.


—Where of ye, O tempests, is the goal!
Are ye like those that shake the human breast,
Or do ye find at length, like eagles, some high nest?
Childe Harold.


Midnight! and silence deep!
The air is fill'd with sleep,
With the stream's whisper and the citron's breath;
The fixed and solemn stars
Gleam thro' my dungeon-bars—
Wake, rushing winds! this breezeless calm is death!


Ye watch-fires of the skies!
The stillness of your eyes
Looks too intensely thro' my troubled soul;
I feel this weight of rest
An earth-load on my breast—
Wake, rushing winds, awake! and dark clouds, roll!

I am your own, your child,
O ye, the fierce and wild
And kingly tempests! Will ye not arise?
Hear the bold Spirit's voice,
That knows not to rejoice,
But in the peal of your strong harmonies!

By sounding Ocean-waves,
And dim Calabrian caves,
And flashing torrents, I have been your mate;
And with the rocking pines
Of the olden Apennines,
In your dark path stood fearless and elate!

Your lightnings were as rods
That smote the deep abodes
Of thought within me, and the stream gush'd free;
Come, that my soul again
May swell to burst its chain—
Bring me the music of the sweeping sea!

Within me dwells a flame,
An eagle caged and tame,
Till call'd forth by the harping of the blast;
Then is its triumph's hour,
It springs to sudden power,
As mounts the billow o'er the quivering mast.

Then, then, the canvass o'er,
With hurried hand I pour
The lava-floods and gusts of my own soul;
Kindling to fiery life
Dreams, worlds, of pictured strife;—
Wake, rushing winds, awake! and dark clouds, roll!

Wake, rise!—the reed may bend,
The trembling leaf descend,
The forest branch give way before your might;
But I, your strong compeer,
Call, summon, wait you here—
Answer, my Spirit, answer! Storm and Night!
F.H.

  1. * Pietro Mulier, called Il Tempesta, from his surprising pictures of storms. "His compositions," says Lanzi, "inspire a real horror, presenting to our eyes death-devoted ships overtaken by tempests and darkness, fired by lightning, now rising on the mountain-waves, and again submerged in the abyss of ocean." During an imprisonment of five years in Genoa, the pictures which he painted in his dungeon were marked by additional power and gloom.—See Lanzi's History of Painting, translated by Roscoe.