Amours de Voyage, Canto IV

Eastward, or Northward, or West? I wander and ask as I wander;
Weary, yet eager and sure, Where shall I come to my love?
Whitherward hasten to seek her? Ye daughters of Italy, tell me,
Graceful and tender and dark, is she consorting with you?
Thou that out-climbest the torrent, that tendest thy goats to the summit,
Call to me, child of the Alp, has she been seen on the heights?
Italy, farewell I bid thee! for whither she leads me, I follow.
Farewell the vineyard! for I, where I but guess her, must go;
Weariness welcome, and labour, wherever it be, if at last it
Bring me in mountain or plain into the sight of my love.

I. Claude to Eustace,--from Florence.

Gone from Florence; indeed! and that is truly provoking;--
Gone to Milan, it seems; then I go also to Milan.
Five days now departed; but they can travel but slowly;--
I quicker far; and I know, as it happens, the home they will go to.--
Why, what else should I do? Stay here and look at the pictures,
Statues and churches? Alack, I am sick of the statues and pictures!--
No, to Bologna, Parma, Piacenza, Lodi, and Milan,
Off go we to-night,--and the Venus go to the Devil!

II. Claude to Eustace,--from Bellaggio.

Gone to Como, they said; and I have posted to Como.
There was a letter left; but the cameriere had lost it.
Could it have been for me? They came, however, to Como,
And from Como went by the boat,--perhaps to the Splügen,--
Or to the Stelvio, say, and the Tyrol; also it might be
By Porlezza across to Lugano, and so to the Simplon
Possibly, or the St. Gothard,--or possibly, too, to Baveno,
Orta, Turin, and elsewhere. Indeed, I am greatly bewildered.

III. Claude to Eustace,--from Bellaggio.

I have been up the Splügen, and on the Stelvio also:
Neither of these can I find they have followed; in no one inn, and
This would be odd, have they written their names. I have been to Porlezza;
There they have not been seen, and therefore not at Lugano.
What shall I do? Go on through the Tyrol, Switzerland, Deutschland,
Seeking, an inverse Saul, a kingdom to find only asses?
There is a tide, at least, in the love affairs of mortals,
Which, when taken at flood, leads on to the happiest fortune,--
Leads to the marriage-morn and the orange-flowers and the altar,
And the long lawful line of crowned joys to crowned joys succeeding.--
Ah, it has ebbed with me! Ye gods, and when it was flowing,
Pitiful fool that I was, to stand fiddle-faddling in that way!

IV. Claude to Eustace,--from Bellaggio.

I have returned and found their names in the book at Como.
Certain it is I was right, and yet I am also in error.
Added in feminine hand, I read, By the boat to Bellaggio.--
So to Bellaggio again, with the words of he writing to aid me.
Yet at Bellaggio I find no trace, no sort of remembrance.
So I am here, and wait, and know every hour will remove them.

V. Claude to Eustace,--from Bellaggio.

I have but one chance left,--and that is going to Florence.
But it is cruel to turn. The mountains seem to demand me,--
Peak and valley from far to beckon and motion me onward.
Somewhere amid their folds she passes whom fain I would follow;
Somewhere amid those heights she haply calls me to seek her.
Ah, could I hear her call! could I catch the glimpse of her raiment!
Turn, however, I must, though it seem I turn to desert her;
For the sense of the thing is simply to hurry to Florence,
Where the certainty yet may be learnt, I suppose, from the Ropers.

VI. Mary Trevellyn, from Lucerne, to Miss Roper, at Florence.

Dear Miss Roper,--By this you are safely away, we are hoping,
Many a league from Rome; ere long we trust we shall see you.
How have you travelled? I wonder;--was Mr. Claude your companion?
As for ourselves, we went from Como straight to Lugano;
So by the Mount St. Gothard; we meant to go by Porlezza,
Taking the steamer, and stopping, as you had advised, at Bellaggio,
Two or three days or more; but this was suddenly altered,
After we left the hotel, on the very way to the steamer.
So we have seen, I fear, not one of the lakes in perfection.
Well, he is not come, and now, I suppose, he will not come.
What will you think, meantime? and yet I must really confess it;--
What will you say? I wrote him a note. We left in a hurry,
Went from Milan to Como, three days before we expected.
But I thought, if he came all the way to Milan, he really
Ought not to be disappointed: and so I wrote three lines to
Say I had heard he wa
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Arthur Hugh Clough

Arthur Hugh Clough was an English poet, an educationalist, and the devoted assistant to ground-breaking nurse Florence Nightingale. more…

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