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July, 1844. LEYDEN.

Upon his couch at eventide,
With earnest, restless eye,
An artist watched the paling tints
Of sweet Italia's sky,
As o'er fair temple, palace, dome,
And aisles of glorious dead,
And Coliseum of old Rome,
The lingering light was shed.


The crimson rays flashed proudly up;
And on that wasted cheek,
So pensive in its manliness,
So sadly, strangely meek,
The hectic spot burned deep and bright,
And those dark, troubled eyes
Seemed, in their wild intensity
To melt into the skies.


A sudden moisture o'er them passed,
Like mist o'er some bright star
That sheds above the solemn seas
Its radiance afar.
He bowed his head and pressed it close
Within his fevered palm,
As if to crush the thought that broke
His spirit's lofty calm.


His life's wild passion-flame was spent--
His wildering dream of fame;
Amid the halls of glorious art
He wearied of a name!
A melting thought of homely scenes
O'er his weak spirit swept--
A yearning for familiar things;
He bowed his head, and wept.


"O, let me breathe my native air
Once more before I die!"
And raised his feeble hands to Heaven
With agonizing cry.
"O, let me tread my native hills,
Their fields of stately corn,
And stand beneath the elms that shade
The spot where I was born!"


They bore him from the city's heat,
Its splendor's painful glare,
To lovely Como's quiet lake,
Its fresh and fragrant air.
The vine-leaves clustered round his door,
Young roses climbed the wall,
And soothingly the wave's low voice
Came up at even-fall.


It mingled softly with his dreams
Through all the starry night,
While through the dewy orange boughs
Quivered the pale moonlight.
Yet from that nested loveliness
Went out a wailing cry:
"O, let me breathe my native air
Once more before I die!"


His couch stood empty by the wall,
And in his favorite bowers
That sad young face was missed at morn,
And at the shut of flowers.
The Como rolled its crystal tide,
Italia's groves were fair,
But tenderly the peasant named
The stranger in his prayer.


He stood upon the vessel's deck,
His pulse beat fast and high
And steadfast on the filling sails
He fixed his eager eye.
"O, for one glimpse of that dear shore!
I tearless could depart,
If I might press its coldest clod
Once more upon my heart!"


Long weeks had passed; a faint blue line
In misty distance lay,
And manly hearts and steady eyes
Had sought it day by day.
They sought it for the stranger's sake,
To quence the mania thirst
That strengthened on his wasting frame,
And by his life was nurst.


For he had grown a gentle care,
Through that one, moving cry,
"O let me breathe my native air
Once more before I die!"
Land! land! they raised him from his couch,
That on the deck was spread--
One short, faint cry of wild delight--
The artist's soul had fled.