Percy Bysshe Shelley

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    Biographical information

  1. A Dream Of The Unknown
  2. A Lament
  3. A Summer Evening Churchyard, Lechlade, Gloucestershire
  4. A Widow Bird Sate Mourning For Her Love
  5. Adonais: An Elegy On The Death Of John Keats
  6. Alastor: Or The Spirit Of Solitude
  7. An Exhortation
  8. And Like A Dying Lady, Lean And Pale
  9. Archy's Song From Charles The First
  10. Art thou Pale for Weariness
  11. Asia: From Prometheus Unbound
  12. Autumn: A Dirge
  13. Bereavement
  14. Chorus From Hellas
  15. English In 1819
  16. Epipsychidion (Excerpt)
  17. Feelings Of A Republican On The Fall Of Bonaparte
  18. From "Adonais," 49-52
  19. From The Arabic, An Imitation
  20. Good-Night
  21. Hellas
  22. Hymn Of Pan
  23. Hymn To Intellectual Beauty
  24. I Arise From Dreams Of Thee
  25. Julian And Maddalo (Excerpt)
  26. Lift Not The Painted Veil Which Those Who Live
  27. Lines
  28. Lines Written Among The Euganean Hills
  29. Lines Written In The Bay Of Lerici
  30. Love's Philosophy
  31. Mont Blanc: Lines Written In The Vale Of Chamouni
  32. Music, When Soft Voices Die
  33. Mutability
  34. Night
  35. Ode To The West Wind
  36. On A Dead Violet
  37. On Death
  38. One Sung Of Thee Who Left The Tale Untold
  39. One Word Is Too Often Profaned
  40. Ozymandias
  41. Poetical Essay
  42. Prometheus Unbound: Act I (Excerpt)
  43. Queen Mab: Part VI (Excerpts)
  44. Rarely, Rarely, Comest thou
  45. Remorse
  46. Rosalind And Helen: A Modern Eclogue
  47. Song Of Proserpine
  48. Stanzas Written In Dejection Near Naples
  49. The Cloud
  50. The Cold Earth Slept Below
  51. The Fitful Alternations of the Rain
  52. The Indian Serenade
  53. The Invocation
  54. The Poet's Dream
  55. The Question
  56. The Recollection
  57. The Triumph Of Life
  58. The Two Spirits: An Allegory
  59. The Waning Noon
  60. The Witch Of Atlas
  61. Time Long Past
  62. To A Lady, With A Guitar
  63. To A Skylark
  64. To Coleridge
  65. To Harriet
  66. To Jane
  67. To Night
  68. To The Men Of England
  69. To Wordsworth
  70. Unfanthomable Sea, Whose Waves Are Years
  71. When the Lamp Is Shatered




    Biographical information

      Name: Percy Bysshe Shelley
      Place and date of birth: Field Place, Horsham (England); August 4, 1792
      Place and date of death: Viareggio, Grand Duchy of Tuscany (Italy); July 8, 1822 (aged 29)

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      A Dream Of The Unknown

        I dream'd that as I wander'd by the way
        Bare winter suddenly was changed to spring,
        And gentle odours led my steps astray,
        Mix'd with a sound of waters murmuring
        Along a shelving bank of turf, which lay
        Under a copse, and hardly dared to fling
        Its green arms round the bosom of the stream,
        But kiss'd it and then fled, as thou mightest in dream.

        There grew pied windflowers and violets,
        Daisies, those pearl'd Arcturi of the earth,
        The constellated flower that never sets;
        Faint oxlips; tender bluebells, at whose birth
        The sod scarce heaved; and that tall flower that wets-
        Like a child, half in tenderness and mirth-
        Its mother's face with heavencollected tears,
        When the low wind, its playmate's voice, it hears.

        And in the warm hedge grew lush eglantine,
        Green cowbind and the moonlightcolour'd may,
        And cherryblossoms, and white cups, whose wine
        Was the bright dew yet drain'd not by the day;
        And wild roses, and ivy serpentine
        With its dark buds and leaves, wandering astray;
        And flowers azure, black, and streak'd with gold,
        Fairer than any waken'd eyes behold.

        And nearer to the river's trembling edge
        There grew broad flagflowers, purple prank'd with white,
        And starry riverbuds among the sedge,
        And floating waterlilies, broad and bright,
        Which lit the oak that overhung the hedge
        With moonlight beams of their own watery light;
        And bulrushes, and reeds of such deep green
        As soothed the dazzled eye with sober sheen.

        Methought that of these visionary flowers
        I made a nosegay, bound in such a way
        That the same hues, which in their natural bowers
        Were mingled or opposed, the like array
        Kept these imprison'd children of the Hours
        Within my hand, -and then, elate and gay,
        I hasten'd to the spot whence I had come
        That I might there present it -oh! To whom?

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      A Lament

        O World! O Life! O Time!
        On whose last steps I climb,
        Trembling at that where I had stood before;
        When will return the glory of your prime?
        No more -Oh, never more!

        Out of the day and night
        A joy has taken flight:
        Fresh spring, and summer, and winter hoar
        Move my faint heart with grief, but with delight
        No more -Oh, never more!

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      A Summer Evening Churchyard, Lechlade, Gloucestershire

        The wind has swept from the wide atmosphere
        Each vapour that obscured the sunset's ray,
        And pallid Evening twines its beaming hair
        In duskier braids around the languid eyes of Day:
        Silence and Twilight, unbeloved of men,
        Creep hand in hand from yon obscurest glen.

        They breathe their spells towards the departing day,
        Encompassing the earth, air, stars, and sea;
        Light, sound, and motion, own the potent sway,
        Responding to the charm with its own mystery.
        The winds are still, or the dry church-tower grass
        Knows not their gentle motions as they pass.

        Thou too, aerial pile, whose pinnacles
        Point from one shrine like pyramids of fire,
        Obey'st I in silence their sweet solemn spells,
        Clothing in hues of heaven thy dim and distant spire,
        Around whose lessening and invisible height
        Gather among the stars the clouds of night.

        The dead are sleeping in their sepulchres:
        And, mouldering as they sleep, a thrilling sound,
        Half sense half thought, among the darkness stirs,
        Breathed from their wormy beds all living things around,
        And, mingling with the still night and mute sky,
        Its awful hush is felt inaudibly.

        Thus solemnized and softened, death is mild
        And terrorless as this serenest night.
        Here could I hope, like some enquiring child
        Sporting on graves, that death did hide from human sight
        Sweet secrets, or beside its breathless sleep
        That loveliest dreams perpetual watch did keep.

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      A Widow Bird Sate Mourning For Her Love

        A widow bird sate mourning for her Love
        Upon a wintry bough;
        The frozen wind crept on above,
        The freezing stream below.

        There was no leaf upon the forest bare,
        No flower upon the ground,
        And little motion in the air
        Except the mill-wheel's sound.

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      Adonais: An Elegy On The Death Of John Keats

        I weep for Adonais--he is dead!
        Oh, weep for Adonais! though our tears
        Thaw not the frost which binds so dear a head!
        And thou, sad Hour, selected from all years
        To mourn our loss, rouse thy obscure compeers,
        And teach them thine own sorrow, say: "With me
        Died Adonais; till the Future dares
        Forget the Past, his fate and fame shall be
        An echo and a light unto eternity!"

        Where wert thou, mighty Mother, when he lay,
        When thy Son lay, pierc'd by the shaft which flies
        In darkness? where was lorn Urania
        When Adonais died? With veiled eyes,
        'Mid listening Echoes, in her Paradise
        She sate, while one, with soft enamour'd breath,
        Rekindled all the fading melodies,
        With which, like flowers that mock the corse beneath,
        He had adorn'd and hid the coming bulk of Death.

        Oh, weep for Adonais--he is dead!
        Wake, melancholy Mother, wake and weep!
        Yet wherefore? Quench within their burning bed
        Thy fiery tears, and let thy loud heart keep
        Like his, a mute and uncomplaining sleep;
        For he is gone, where all things wise and fair
        Descend--oh, dream not that the amorous Deep
        Will yet restore him to the vital air;
        Death feeds on his mute voice, and laughs at our despair.

        Most musical of mourners, weep again!
        Lament anew, Urania! He died,
        Who was the Sire of an immortal strain,
        Blind, old and lonely, when his country's pride,
        The priest, the slave and the liberticide,
        Trampled and mock'd with many a loathed rite
        Of lust and blood; he went, unterrified,
        Into the gulf of death; but his clear Sprite
        Yet reigns o'er earth; the third among the sons of light.

        Most musical of mourners, weep anew!
        Not all to that bright station dar'd to climb;
        And happier they their happiness who knew,
        Whose tapers yet burn through that night of time
        In which suns perish'd; others more sublime,
        Struck by the envious wrath of man or god,
        Have sunk, extinct in their refulgent prime;
        And some yet live, treading the thorny road,
        Which leads, through toil and hate, to Fame's serene abode.

        But now, thy youngest, dearest one, has perish'd,
        The nursling of thy widowhood, who grew,
        Like a pale flower by some sad maiden cherish'd,
        And fed with true-love tears, instead of dew;
        Most musical of mourners, weep anew!
        Thy extreme hope, the loveliest and the last,
        The bloom, whose petals nipp'd before they blew
        Died on the promise of the fruit, is waste;
        The broken lily lies--the storm is overpast.

        To that high Capital, where kingly Death
        Keeps his pale court in beauty and decay,
        He came; and bought, with price of purest breath,
        A grave among the eternal.--Come away!
        Haste, while the vault of blue Italian day
        Is yet his fitting charnel-roof! while still
        He lies, as if in dewy sleep he lay;
        Awake him not! surely he takes his fill
        Of deep and liquid rest, forgetful of all ill.

        He will awake no more, oh, never more!
        Within the twilight chamber spreads apace
        The shadow of white Death, and at the door
        Invisible Corruption waits to trace
        His extreme way to her dim dwelling-place;
        The eternal Hunger sits, but pity and awe
        Soothe her pale rage, nor dares she to deface
        So fair a prey, till darkness and the law
        Of change shall o'er his sleep the mortal curtain draw.

        Oh, weep for Adonais! The quick Dreams,
        The passion-winged Ministers of thought,
        Who were his flocks, whom near the living streams
        Of his young spirit he fed, and whom he taught
        The love which was its music, wander not--
        Wander no more, from kindling brain to brain,
        But droop there, whence they sprung; and mourn their lot
        Round the cold heart, where, after their sweet pain,
        They ne'er will gather strength, or find a home again.

        And one with trembling hands clasps his cold head,
        And fans him with her moonlight wings, and cries,
        "Our love, our hope, our sorrow, is not dead;
        See, on the silken fringe of his faint eyes,
        Like dew upon a sleeping flower, there lies
        A tear some Dream has loosen'd from his brain."
        Lost Angel of a ruin'd Paradise!
        She knew not 'twas her own; as with no stain
        She faded, like a cloud which had outwept its rain.

        One from a lucid urn of starry dew
        Wash'd his light limbs as if embalming them;
        Another clipp'd her profuse locks, and threw
        The wreath upon him, like an anadem,
        Which frozen tears instead of pearls begem;
        Another in her wilful grief would break
        Her bow and winged reeds, as if to stem
        A greater loss with one which was more weak;
        And dull the barbed fire against his frozen cheek.

        Another Splendour on his mouth alit,
        That mouth, whence it was wont to draw the breath
        Which gave it strength to pierce the guarded wit,
        And pass into the panting heart beneath
        With lightning and with music: the damp death
        Quench'd its caress upon his icy lips;
        And, as a dying meteor stains a wreath
        Of moonlight vapour, which the cold night clips,
        It flush'd through his pale limbs, and pass'd to its eclipse.

        And others came . . . Desires and Adorations,
        Winged Persuasions and veil'd Destinies,
        Splendours, and Glooms, and glimmering Incarnations
        Of hopes and fears, and twilight Phantasies;
        And Sorrow, with her family of Sighs,
        And Pleasure, blind with tears, led by the gleam
        Of her own dying smile instead of eyes,
        Came in slow pomp; the moving pomp might seem
        Like pageantry of mist on an autumnal stream.

        All he had lov'd, and moulded into thought,
        From shape, and hue, and odour, and sweet sound,
        Lamented Adonais. Morning sought
        Her eastern watch-tower, and her hair unbound,
        Wet with the tears which should adorn the ground,
        Dimm'd the aëreal eyes that kindle day;
        Afar the melancholy thunder moan'd,
        Pale Ocean in unquiet slumber lay,
        And the wild Winds flew round, sobbing in their dismay.

        Lost Echo sits amid the voiceless mountains,
        And feeds her grief with his remember'd lay,
        And will no more reply to winds or fountains,
        Or amorous birds perch'd on the young green spray,
        Or herdsman's horn, or bell at closing day;
        Since she can mimic not his lips, more dear
        Than those for whose disdain she pin'd away
        Into a shadow of all sounds: a drear
        Murmur, between their songs, is all the woodmen hear.

        Grief made the young Spring wild, and she threw down
        Her kindling buds, as if she Autumn were,
        Or they dead leaves; since her delight is flown,
        For whom should she have wak'd the sullen year?
        To Phoebus was not Hyacinth so dear
        Nor to himself Narcissus, as to both
        Thou, Adonais: wan they stand and sere
        Amid the faint companions of their youth,
        With dew all turn'd to tears; odour, to sighing ruth.

        Thy spirit's sister, the lorn nightingale
        Mourns not her mate with such melodious pain;
        Not so the eagle, who like thee could scale
        Heaven, and could nourish in the sun's domain
        Her mighty youth with morning, doth complain,
        Soaring and screaming round her empty nest,
        As Albion wails for thee: the curse of Cain
        Light on his head who pierc'd thy innocent breast,
        And scar'd the angel soul that was its earthly guest!

        Ah, woe is me! Winter is come and gone,
        But grief returns with the revolving year;
        The airs and streams renew their joyous tone;
        The ants, the bees, the swallows reappear;
        Fresh leaves and flowers deck the dead Seasons' bier;
        The amorous birds now pair in every brake,
        And build their mossy homes in field and brere;
        And the green lizard, and the golden snake,
        Like unimprison'd flames, out of their trance awake.

        Through wood and stream and field and hill and Ocean
        A quickening life from the Earth's heart has burst
        As it has ever done, with change and motion,
        From the great morning of the world when first
        God dawn'd on Chaos; in its stream immers'd,
        The lamps of Heaven flash with a softer light;
        All baser things pant with life's sacred thirst;
        Diffuse themselves; and spend in love's delight,
        The beauty and the joy of their renewed might.

        The leprous corpse, touch'd by this spirit tender,
        Exhales itself in flowers of gentle breath;
        Like incarnations of the stars, when splendour
        Is chang'd to fragrance, they illumine death
        And mock the merry worm that wakes beneath;
        Nought we know, dies. Shall that alone which knows
        Be as a sword consum'd before the sheath
        By sightless lightning?--the intense atom glows
        A moment, then is quench'd in a most cold repose.

        Alas! that all we lov'd of him should be,
        But for our grief, as if it had not been,
        And grief itself be mortal! Woe is me!
        Whence are we, and why are we? of what scene
        The actors or spectators? Great and mean
        Meet mass'd in death, who lends what life must borrow.
        As long as skies are blue, and fields are green,
        Evening must usher night, night urge the morrow,
        Month follow month with woe, and year wake year to sorrow.

        He will awake no more, oh, never more!
        "Wake thou," cried Misery, "childless Mother, rise
        Out of thy sleep, and slake, in thy heart's core,
        A wound more fierce than his, with tears and sighs."
        And all the Dreams that watch'd Urania's eyes,
        And all the Echoes whom their sister's song
        Had held in holy silence, cried: "Arise!"
        Swift as a Thought by the snake Memory stung,
        From her ambrosial rest the fading Splendour sprung.

        She rose like an autumnal Night, that springs
        Out of the East, and follows wild and drear
        The golden Day, which, on eternal wings,
        Even as a ghost abandoning a bier,
        Had left the Earth a corpse. Sorrow and fear
        So struck, so rous'd, so rapt Urania;
        So sadden'd round her like an atmosphere
        Of stormy mist; so swept her on her way
        Even to the mournful place where Adonais lay.

        Out of her secret Paradise she sped,
        Through camps and cities rough with stone, and steel,
        And human hearts, which to her aery tread
        Yielding not, wounded the invisible
        Palms of her tender feet where'er they fell:
        And barbed tongues, and thoughts more sharp than they,
        Rent the soft Form they never could repel,
        Whose sacred blood, like the young tears of May,
        Pav'd with eternal flowers that undeserving way.

        In the death-chamber for a moment Death,
        Sham'd by the presence of that living Might,
        Blush'd to annihilation, and the breath
        Revisited those lips, and Life's pale light
        Flash'd through those limbs, so late her dear delight.
        "Leave me not wild and drear and comfortless,
        As silent lightning leaves the starless night!
        Leave me not!" cried Urania: her distress
        Rous'd Death: Death rose and smil'd, and met her vain caress.

        "Stay yet awhile! speak to me once again;
        Kiss me, so long but as a kiss may live;
        And in my heartless breast and burning brain
        That word, that kiss, shall all thoughts else survive,
        With food of saddest memory kept alive,
        Now thou art dead, as if it were a part
        Of thee, my Adonais! I would give
        All that I am to be as thou now art!
        But I am chain'd to Time, and cannot thence depart!

        "O gentle child, beautiful as thou wert,
        Why didst thou leave the trodden paths of men
        Too soon, and with weak hands though mighty heart
        Dare the unpastur'd dragon in his den?
        Defenceless as thou wert, oh, where was then
        Wisdom the mirror'd shield, or scorn the spear?
        Or hadst thou waited the full cycle, when
        Thy spirit should have fill'd its crescent sphere,
        The monsters of life's waste had fled from thee like deer.

        "The herded wolves, bold only to pursue;
        The obscene ravens, clamorous o'er the dead;
        The vultures to the conqueror's banner true
        Who feed where Desolation first has fed,
        And whose wings rain contagion; how they fled,
        When, like Apollo, from his golden bow
        The Pythian of the age one arrow sped
        And smil'd! The spoilers tempt no second blow,
        They fawn on the proud feet that spurn them lying low.

        "The sun comes forth, and many reptiles spawn;
        He sets, and each ephemeral insect then
        Is gather'd into death without a dawn,
        And the immortal stars awake again;
        So is it in the world of living men:
        A godlike mind soars forth, in its delight
        Making earth bare and veiling heaven, and when
        It sinks, the swarms that dimm'd or shar'd its light
        Leave to its kindred lamps the spirit's awful night."

        Thus ceas'd she: and the mountain shepherds came,
        Their garlands sere, their magic mantles rent;
        The Pilgrim of Eternity, whose fame
        Over his living head like Heaven is bent,
        An early but enduring monument,
        Came, veiling all the lightnings of his song
        In sorrow; from her wilds Ierne sent
        The sweetest lyrist of her saddest wrong,
        And Love taught Grief to fall like music from his tongue.

        Midst others of less note, came one frail Form,
        A phantom among men; companionless
        As the last cloud of an expiring storm
        Whose thunder is its knell; he, as I guess,
        Had gaz'd on Nature's naked loveliness,
        Actaeon-like, and now he fled astray
        With feeble steps o'er the world's wilderness,
        And his own thoughts, along that rugged way,
        Pursu'd, like raging hounds, their father and their prey.

        A pardlike Spirit beautiful and swift--
        A Love in desolation mask'd--a Power
        Girt round with weakness--it can scarce uplift
        The weight of the superincumbent hour;
        It is a dying lamp, a falling shower,
        A breaking billow; even whilst we speak
        Is it not broken? On the withering flower
        The killing sun smiles brightly: on a cheek
        The life can burn in blood, even while the heart may break.

        His head was bound with pansies overblown,
        And faded violets, white, and pied, and blue;
        And a light spear topp'd with a cypress cone,
        Round whose rude shaft dark ivy-tresses grew
        Yet dripping with the forest's noonday dew,
        Vibrated, as the ever-beating heart
        Shook the weak hand that grasp'd it; of that crew
        He came the last, neglected and apart;
        A herd-abandon'd deer struck by the hunter's dart.

        All stood aloof, and at his partial moan
        Smil'd through their tears; well knew that gentle band
        Who in another's fate now wept his own,
        As in the accents of an unknown land
        He sung new sorrow; sad Urania scann'd
        The Stranger's mien, and murmur'd: "Who art thou?"
        He answer'd not, but with a sudden hand
        Made bare his branded and ensanguin'd brow,
        Which was like Cain's or Christ's--oh! that it should be so!

        What softer voice is hush'd over the dead?
        Athwart what brow is that dark mantle thrown?
        What form leans sadly o'er the white death-bed,
        In mockery of monumental stone,
        The heavy heart heaving without a moan?
        If it be He, who, gentlest of the wise,
        Taught, sooth'd, lov'd, honour'd the departed one,
        Let me not vex, with inharmonious sighs,
        The silence of that heart's accepted sacrifice.

        Our Adonais has drunk poison--oh!
        What deaf and viperous murderer could crown
        Life's early cup with such a draught of woe?
        The nameless worm would now itself disown:
        It felt, yet could escape, the magic tone
        Whose prelude held all envy, hate and wrong,
        But what was howling in one breast alone,
        Silent with expectation of the song,
        Whose master's hand is cold, whose silver lyre unstrung.

        Live thou, whose infamy is not thy fame!
        Live! fear no heavier chastisement from me,
        Thou noteless blot on a remember'd name!
        But be thyself, and know thyself to be!
        And ever at thy season be thou free
        To spill the venom when thy fangs o'erflow;
        Remorse and Self-contempt shall cling to thee;
        Hot Shame shall burn upon thy secret brow,
        And like a beaten hound tremble thou shalt--as now.

        Nor let us weep that our delight is fled
        Far from these carrion kites that scream below;
        He wakes or sleeps with the enduring dead;
        Thou canst not soar where he is sitting now.
        Dust to the dust! but the pure spirit shall flow
        Back to the burning fountain whence it came,
        A portion of the Eternal, which must glow
        Through time and change, unquenchably the same,
        Whilst thy cold embers choke the sordid hearth of shame.

        Peace, peace! he is not dead, he doth not sleep,
        He hath awaken'd from the dream of life;
        'Tis we, who lost in stormy visions, keep
        With phantoms an unprofitable strife,
        And in mad trance, strike with our spirit's knife
        Invulnerable nothings. We decay
        Like corpses in a charnel; fear and grief
        Convulse us and consume us day by day,
        And cold hopes swarm like worms within our living clay.

        He has outsoar'd the shadow of our night;
        Envy and calumny and hate and pain,
        And that unrest which men miscall delight,
        Can touch him not and torture not again;
        From the contagion of the world's slow stain
        He is secure, and now can never mourn
        A heart grown cold, a head grown gray in vain;
        Nor, when the spirit's self has ceas'd to burn,
        With sparkless ashes load an unlamented urn.

        He lives, he wakes--'tis Death is dead, not he;
        Mourn not for Adonais. Thou young Dawn,
        Turn all thy dew to splendour, for from thee
        The spirit thou lamentest is not gone;
        Ye caverns and ye forests, cease to moan!
        Cease, ye faint flowers and fountains, and thou Air,
        Which like a mourning veil thy scarf hadst thrown
        O'er the abandon'd Earth, now leave it bare
        Even to the joyous stars which smile on its despair!

        He is made one with Nature: there is heard
        His voice in all her music, from the moan
        Of thunder, to the song of night's sweet bird;
        He is a presence to be felt and known
        In darkness and in light, from herb and stone,
        Spreading itself where'er that Power may move
        Which has withdrawn his being to its own;
        Which wields the world with never-wearied love,
        Sustains it from beneath, and kindles it above.

        He is a portion of the loveliness
        Which once he made more lovely: he doth bear
        His part, while the one Spirit's plastic stress
        Sweeps through the dull dense world, compelling there
        All new successions to the forms they wear;
        Torturing th' unwilling dross that checks its flight
        To its own likeness, as each mass may bear;
        And bursting in its beauty and its might
        From trees and beasts and men into the Heaven's light.

        The splendours of the firmament of time
        May be eclips'd, but are extinguish'd not;
        Like stars to their appointed height they climb,
        And death is a low mist which cannot blot
        The brightness it may veil. When lofty thought
        Lifts a young heart above its mortal lair,
        And love and life contend in it for what
        Shall be its earthly doom, the dead live there
        And move like winds of light on dark and stormy air.

        The inheritors of unfulfill'd renown
        Rose from their thrones, built beyond mortal thought,
        Far in the Unapparent. Chatterton
        Rose pale, his solemn agony had not
        Yet faded from him; Sidney, as he fought
        And as he fell and as he liv'd and lov'd
        Sublimely mild, a Spirit without spot,
        Arose; and Lucan, by his death approv'd:
        Oblivion as they rose shrank like a thing reprov'd.

        And many more, whose names on Earth are dark,
        But whose transmitted effluence cannot die
        So long as fire outlives the parent spark,
        Rose, rob'd in dazzling immortality.
        "Thou art become as one of us," they cry,
        "It was for thee yon kingless sphere has long
        Swung blind in unascended majesty,
        Silent alone amid a Heaven of Song.
        Assume thy winged throne, thou Vesper of our throng!"

        Who mourns for Adonais? Oh, come forth,
        Fond wretch! and know thyself and him aright.
        Clasp with thy panting soul the pendulous Earth;
        As from a centre, dart thy spirit's light
        Beyond all worlds, until its spacious might
        Satiate the void circumference: then shrink
        Even to a point within our day and night;
        And keep thy heart light lest it make thee sink
        When hope has kindled hope, and lur'd thee to the brink.

        Or go to Rome, which is the sepulchre,
        Oh, not of him, but of our joy: 'tis nought
        That ages, empires and religions there
        Lie buried in the ravage they have wrought;
        For such as he can lend--they borrow not
        Glory from those who made the world their prey;
        And he is gather'd to the kings of thought
        Who wag'd contention with their time's decay,
        And of the past are all that cannot pass away.

        Go thou to Rome--at once the Paradise,
        The grave, the city, and the wilderness;
        And where its wrecks like shatter'd mountains rise,
        And flowering weeds, and fragrant copses dress
        The bones of Desolation's nakedness
        Pass, till the spirit of the spot shall lead
        Thy footsteps to a slope of green access
        Where, like an infant's smile, over the dead
        A light of laughing flowers along the grass is spread;

        And gray walls moulder round, on which dull Time
        Feeds, like slow fire upon a hoary brand;
        And one keen pyramid with wedge sublime,
        Pavilioning the dust of him who plann'd
        This refuge for his memory, doth stand
        Like flame transform'd to marble; and beneath,
        A field is spread, on which a newer band
        Have pitch'd in Heaven's smile their camp of death,
        Welcoming him we lose with scarce extinguish'd breath.

        Here pause: these graves are all too young as yet
        To have outgrown the sorrow which consign'd
        Its charge to each; and if the seal is set,
        Here, on one fountain of a mourning mind,
        Break it not thou! too surely shalt thou find
        Thine own well full, if thou returnest home,
        Of tears and gall. From the world's bitter wind
        Seek shelter in the shadow of the tomb.
        What Adonais is, why fear we to become?

        The One remains, the many change and pass;
        Heaven's light forever shines, Earth's shadows fly;
        Life, like a dome of many-colour'd glass,
        Stains the white radiance of Eternity,
        Until Death tramples it to fragments.--Die,
        If thou wouldst be with that which thou dost seek!
        Follow where all is fled!--Rome's azure sky,
        Flowers, ruins, statues, music, words, are weak
        The glory they transfuse with fitting truth to speak.

        Why linger, why turn back, why shrink, my Heart?
        Thy hopes are gone before: from all things here
        They have departed; thou shouldst now depart!
        A light is pass'd from the revolving year,
        And man, and woman; and what still is dear
        Attracts to crush, repels to make thee wither.
        The soft sky smiles, the low wind whispers near:
        'Tis Adonais calls! oh, hasten thither,
        No more let Life divide what Death can join together.

        That Light whose smile kindles the Universe,
        That Beauty in which all things work and move,
        That Benediction which the eclipsing Curse
        Of birth can quench not, that sustaining Love
        Which through the web of being blindly wove
        By man and beast and earth and air and sea,
        Burns bright or dim, as each are mirrors of
        The fire for which all thirst; now beams on me,
        Consuming the last clouds of cold mortality.

        The breath whose might I have invok'd in song
        Descends on me; my spirit's bark is driven,
        Far from the shore, far from the trembling throng
        Whose sails were never to the tempest given;
        The massy earth and sphered skies are riven!
        I am borne darkly, fearfully, afar;
        Whilst, burning through the inmost veil of Heaven,
        The soul of Adonais, like a star,
        Beacons from the abode where the Eternal are.

      Up

      Alastor: Or The Spirit Of Solitude

        Earth, Ocean, Air, belovèd brotherhood!
        If our great Mother has imbued my soul
        With aught of natural piety to feel
        Your love, and recompense the boon with mine;
        If dewy morn, and odorous noon, and even,
        With sunset and its gorgeous ministers,
        And solemn midnight's tingling silentness;
        If Autumn's hollow sighs in the sere wood,
        And Winter robing with pure snow and crowns
        Of starry ice the gray grass and bare boughs;
        If Spring's voluptuous pantings when she breathes
        Her first sweet kisses,--have been dear to me;
        If no bright bird, insect, or gentle beast
        I consciously have injured, but still loved
        And cherished these my kindred; then forgive
        This boast, belovèd brethren, and withdraw
        No portion of your wonted favor now!

        Mother of this unfathomable world!
        Favor my solemn song, for I have loved
        Thee ever, and thee only; I have watched
        Thy shadow, and the darkness of thy steps,
        And my heart ever gazes on the depth
        Of thy deep mysteries. I have made my bed
        In charnels and on coffins, where black death
        Keeps record of the trophies won from thee,
        Hoping to still these obstinate questionings
        Of thee and thine, by forcing some lone ghost,
        Thy messenger, to render up the tale
        Of what we are. In lone and silent hours,
        When night makes a weird sound of its own stillness,
        Like an inspired and desperate alchemist
        Staking his very life on some dark hope,
        Have I mixed awful talk and asking looks
        With my most innocent love, until strange tears,
        Uniting with those breathless kisses, made
        Such magic as compels the charmèd night
        To render up thy charge; and, though ne'er yet
        Thou hast unveiled thy inmost sanctuary,
        Enough from incommunicable dream,
        And twilight phantasms, and deep noonday thought,
        Has shone within me, that serenely now
        And moveless, as a long-forgotten lyre
        Suspended in the solitary dome
        Of some mysterious and deserted fane,
        I wait thy breath, Great Parent, that my strain
        May modulate with murmurs of the air,
        And motions of the forests and the sea,
        And voice of living beings, and woven hymns
        Of night and day, and the deep heart of man.

        There was a Poet whose untimely tomb
        No human hands with pious reverence reared,
        But the charmed eddies of autumnal winds
        Built o'er his mouldering bones a pyramid
        Of mouldering leaves in the waste wilderness:
        A lovely youth,--no mourning maiden decked
        With weeping flowers, or votive cypress wreath,
        The lone couch of his everlasting sleep:
        Gentle, and brave, and generous,--no lorn bard
        Breathed o'er his dark fate one melodious sigh:
        He lived, he died, he sung in solitude.
        Strangers have wept to hear his passionate notes,
        And virgins, as unknown he passed, have pined
        And wasted for fond love of his wild eyes.
        The fire of those soft orbs has ceased to burn,
        And Silence, too enamoured of that voice,
        Locks its mute music in her rugged cell.

        By solemn vision and bright silver dream
        His infancy was nurtured. Every sight
        And sound from the vast earth and ambient air
        Sent to his heart its choicest impulses.
        The fountains of divine philosophy
        Fled not his thirsting lips, and all of great,
        Or good, or lovely, which the sacred past
        In truth or fable consecrates, he felt
        And knew. When early youth had passed, he left
        His cold fireside and alienated home
        To seek strange truths in undiscovered lands.
        Many a wide waste and tangled wilderness
        Has lured his fearless steps; and he has bought
        With his sweet voice and eyes, from savage men,
        His rest and food. Nature's most secret steps
        He like her shadow has pursued, where'er
        The red volcano overcanopies
        Its fields of snow and pinnacles of ice
        With burning smoke, or where bitumen lakes
        On black bare pointed islets ever beat
        With sluggish surge, or where the secret caves,
        Rugged and dark, winding among the springs
        Of fire and poison, inaccessible
        To avarice or pride, their starry domes
        Of diamond and of gold expand above
        Numberless and immeasurable halls,
        Frequent with crystal column, and clear shrines
        Of pearl, and thrones radiant with chrysolite.
        Nor had that scene of ampler majesty
        Than gems or gold, the varying roof of heaven
        And the green earth, lost in his heart its claims
        To love and wonder; he would linger long
        In lonesome vales, making the wild his home,
        Until the doves and squirrels would partake
        From his innocuous band his bloodless food,
        Lured by the gentle meaning of his looks,
        And the wild antelope, that starts whene'er
        The dry leaf rustles in the brake, suspend
        Her timid steps, to gaze upon a form
        More graceful than her own.

        His wandering step,
        Obedient to high thoughts, has visited
        The awful ruins of the days of old:
        Athens, and Tyre, and Balbec, and the waste
        Where stood Jerusalem, the fallen towers
        Of Babylon, the eternal pyramids,
        Memphis and Thebes, and whatsoe'er of strange,
        Sculptured on alabaster obelisk
        Or jasper tomb or mutilated sphinx,
        Dark Æthiopia in her desert hills
        Conceals. Among the ruined temples there,
        Stupendous columns, and wild images
        Of more than man, where marble daemons watch
        The Zodiac's brazen mystery, and dead men
        Hang their mute thoughts on the mute walls around,
        He lingered, poring on memorials
        Of the world's youth: through the long burning day
        Gazed on those speechless shapes; nor, when the moon
        Filled the mysterious halls with floating shades
        Suspended he that task, but ever gazed
        And gazed, till meaning on his vacant mind
        Flashed like strong inspiration, and he saw
        The thrilling secrets of the birth of time.

        Meanwhile an Arab maiden brought his food,
        Her daily portion, from her father's tent,
        And spread her matting for his couch, and stole
        From duties and repose to tend his steps,
        Enamoured, yet not daring for deep awe
        To speak her love, and watched his nightly sleep,
        Sleepless herself, to gaze upon his lips
        Parted in slumber, whence the regular breath
        Of innocent dreams arose; then, when red morn
        Made paler the pale moon, to her cold home
        Wildered, and wan, and panting, she returned.

        The Poet, wandering on, through Arabie,
        And Persia, and the wild Carmanian waste,
        And o'er the aërial mountains which pour down
        Indus and Oxus from their icy caves,
        In joy and exultation held his way;
        Till in the vale of Cashmire, far within
        Its loneliest dell, where odorous plants entwine
        Beneath the hollow rocks a natural bower,
        Beside a sparkling rivulet he stretched
        His languid limbs. A vision on his sleep
        There came, a dream of hopes that never yet
        Had flushed his cheek. He dreamed a veilèd maid
        Sate near him, talking in low solemn tones.
        Her voice was like the voice of his own soul
        Heard in the calm of thought; its music long,
        Like woven sounds of streams and breezes, held
        His inmost sense suspended in its web
        Of many-colored woof and shifting hues.
        Knowledge and truth and virtue were her theme,
        And lofty hopes of divine liberty,
        Thoughts the most dear to him, and poesy,
        Herself a poet. Soon the solemn mood
        Of her pure mind kindled through all her frame
        A permeating fire; wild numbers then
        She raised, with voice stifled in tremulous sobs
        Subdued by its own pathos; her fair hands
        Were bare alone, sweeping from some strange harp
        Strange symphony, and in their branching veins
        The eloquent blood told an ineffable tale.
        The beating of her heart was heard to fill
        The pauses of her music, and her breath
        Tumultuously accorded with those fits
        Of intermitted song. Sudden she rose,
        As if her heart impatiently endured
        Its bursting burden; at the sound he turned,
        And saw by the warm light of their own life
        Her glowing limbs beneath the sinuous veil
        Of woven wind, her outspread arms now bare,
        Her dark locks floating in the breath of night,
        Her beamy bending eyes, her parted lips
        Outstretched, and pale, and quivering eagerly.
        His strong heart sunk and sickened with excess
        Of love. He reared his shuddering limbs, and quelled
        His gasping breath, and spread his arms to meet
        Her panting bosom:--she drew back awhile,
        Then, yielding to the irresistible joy,
        With frantic gesture and short breathless cry
        Folded his frame in her dissolving arms.
        Now blackness veiled his dizzy eyes, and night
        Involved and swallowed up the vision; sleep,
        Like a dark flood suspended in its course,
        Rolled back its impulse on his vacant brain.

        Roused by the shock, he started from his trance--
        The cold white light of morning, the blue moon
        Low in the west, the clear and garish hills,
        The distinct valley and the vacant woods,
        Spread round him where he stood. Whither have fled
        The hues of heaven that canopied his bower
        Of yesternight? The sounds that soothed his sleep,
        The mystery and the majesty of Earth,
        The joy, the exultation? His wan eyes
        Gaze on the empty scene as vacantly
        As ocean's moon looks on the moon in heaven.
        The spirit of sweet human love has sent
        A vision to the sleep of him who spurned
        Her choicest gifts. He eagerly pursues
        Beyond the realms of dream that fleeting shade;
        He overleaps the bounds. Alas! alas!
        Were limbs and breath and being intertwined
        Thus treacherously? Lost, lost, forever lost
        In the wide pathless desert of dim sleep,
        That beautiful shape! Does the dark gate of death
        Conduct to thy mysterious paradise,
        O Sleep? Does the bright arch of rainbow clouds
        And pendent mountains seen in the calm lake
        Lead only to a black and watery depth,
        While death's blue vault with loathliest vapors hung,
        Where every shade which the foul grave exhales
        Hides its dead eye from the detested day,
        Conducts, O Sleep, to thy delightful realms?
        This doubt with sudden tide flowed on his heart;
        The insatiate hope which it awakened stung
        His brain even like despair.

        While daylight held
        The sky, the Poet kept mute conference
        With his still soul. At night the passion came,
        Like the fierce fiend of a distempered dream,
        And shook him from his rest, and led him forth
        Into the darkness. As an eagle, grasped
        In folds of the green serpent, feels her breast
        Burn with the poison, and precipitates
        Through night and day, tempest, and calm, and cloud,
        Frantic with dizzying anguish, her blind flight
        O'er the wide aëry wilderness: thus driven
        By the bright shadow of that lovely dream,
        Beneath the cold glare of the desolate night,
        Through tangled swamps and deep precipitous dells,
        Startling with careless step the moon-light snake,
        He fled. Red morning dawned upon his flight,
        Shedding the mockery of its vital hues
        Upon his cheek of death. He wandered on
        Till vast Aornos seen from Petra's steep
        Hung o'er the low horizon like a cloud;
        Through Balk, and where the desolated tombs
        Of Parthian kings scatter to every wind
        Their wasting dust, wildly he wandered on,
        Day after day, a weary waste of hours,
        Bearing within his life the brooding care
        That ever fed on its decaying flame.
        And now his limbs were lean; his scattered hair,
        Sered by the autumn of strange suffering,
        Sung dirges in the wind; his listless hand
        Hung like dead bone within its withered skin;
        Life, and the lustre that consumed it, shone,
        As in a furnace burning secretly,
        From his dark eyes alone. The cottagers,
        Who ministered with human charity
        His human wants, beheld with wondering awe
        Their fleeting visitant. The mountaineer,
        Encountering on some dizzy precipice
        That spectral form, deemed that the Spirit of Wind,
        With lightning eyes, and eager breath, and feet
        Disturbing not the drifted snow, had paused
        In its career; the infant would conceal
        His troubled visage in his mother's robe
        In terror at the glare of those wild eyes,
        To remember their strange light in many a dream
        Of after times; but youthful maidens, taught
        By nature, would interpret half the woe
        That wasted him, would call him with false names
        Brother and friend, would press his pallid hand
        At parting, and watch, dim through tears, the path
        Of his departure from their father's door.

        At length upon the lone Chorasmian shore
        He paused, a wide and melancholy waste
        Of putrid marshes. A strong impulse urged
        His steps to the sea-shore. A swan was there,
        Beside a sluggish stream among the reeds.
        It rose as he approached, and, with strong wings
        Scaling the upward sky, bent its bright course
        High over the immeasurable main.
        His eyes pursued its flight:--'Thou hast a home,
        Beautiful bird! thou voyagest to thine home,
        Where thy sweet mate will twine her downy neck
        With thine, and welcome thy return with eyes
        Bright in the lustre of their own fond joy.
        And what am I that I should linger here,
        With voice far sweeter than thy dying notes,
        Spirit more vast than thine, frame more attuned
        To beauty, wasting these surpassing powers
        In the deaf air, to the blind earth, and heaven
        That echoes not my thoughts?' A gloomy smile
        Of desperate hope wrinkled his quivering lips.
        For sleep, he knew, kept most relentlessly
        Its precious charge, and silent death exposed,
        Faithless perhaps as sleep, a shadowy lure,
        With doubtful smile mocking its own strange charms.

        Startled by his own thoughts, he looked around.
        There was no fair fiend near him, not a sight
        Or sound of awe but in his own deep mind.
        A little shallop floating near the shore
        Caught the impatient wandering of his gaze.
        It had been long abandoned, for its sides
        Gaped wide with many a rift, and its frail joints
        Swayed with the undulations of the tide.
        A restless impulse urged him to embark
        And meet lone Death on the drear ocean's waste;
        For well he knew that mighty Shadow loves
        The slimy caverns of the populous deep.

        The day was fair and sunny; sea and sky
        Drank its inspiring radiance, and the wind
        Swept strongly from the shore, blackening the waves.
        Following his eager soul, the wanderer
        Leaped in the boat; he spread his cloak aloft
        On the bare mast, and took his lonely seat,
        And felt the boat speed o'er the tranquil sea
        Like a torn cloud before the hurricane.

        As one that in a silver vision floats
        Obedient to the sweep of odorous winds
        Upon resplendent clouds, so rapidly
        Along the dark and ruffled waters fled
        The straining boat. A whirlwind swept it on,
        With fierce gusts and precipitating force,
        Through the white ridges of the chafèd sea.
        The waves arose. Higher and higher still
        Their fierce necks writhed beneath the tempest's scourge
        Like serpents struggling in a vulture's grasp.
        Calm and rejoicing in the fearful war
        Of wave ruining on wave, and blast on blast
        Descending, and black flood on whirlpool driven
        With dark obliterating course, he sate:
        As if their genii were the ministers
        Appointed to conduct him to the light
        Of those belovèd eyes, the Poet sate,
        Holding the steady helm. Evening came on;
        The beams of sunset hung their rainbow hues
        High 'mid the shifting domes of sheeted spray
        That canopied his path o'er the waste deep;
        Twilight, ascending slowly from the east,
        Entwined in duskier wreaths her braided locks
        O'er the fair front and radiant eyes of Day;
        Night followed, clad with stars. On every side
        More horribly the multitudinous streams
        Of ocean's mountainous waste to mutual war
        Rushed in dark tumult thundering, as to mock
        The calm and spangled sky. The little boat
        Still fled before the storm; still fled, like foam
        Down the steep cataract of a wintry river;
        Now pausing on the edge of the riven wave;
        Now leaving far behind the bursting mass
        That fell, convulsing ocean; safely fled--
        As if that frail and wasted human form
        Had been an elemental god.

        At midnight
        The moon arose; and lo! the ethereal cliffs
        Of Caucasus, whose icy summits shone
        Among the stars like sunlight, and around
        Whose caverned base the whirlpools and the waves
        Bursting and eddying irresistibly
        Rage and resound forever.--Who shall save?--
        The boat fled on,--the boiling torrent drove,--
        The crags closed round with black and jagged arms,
        The shattered mountain overhung the sea,
        And faster still, beyond all human speed,
        Suspended on the sweep of the smooth wave,
        The little boat was driven. A cavern there
        Yawned, and amid its slant and winding depths
        Ingulfed the rushing sea. The boat fled on
        With unrelaxing speed.--'Vision and Love!'
        The Poet cried aloud, 'I have beheld
        The path of thy departure. Sleep and death
        Shall not divide us long.'

        The boat pursued
        The windings of the cavern. Daylight shone
        At length upon that gloomy river's flow;
        Now, where the fiercest war among the waves
        Is calm, on the unfathomable stream
        The boat moved slowly. Where the mountain, riven,
        Exposed those black depths to the azure sky,
        Ere yet the flood's enormous volume fell
        Even to the base of Caucasus, with sound
        That shook the everlasting rocks, the mass
        Filled with one whirlpool all that ample chasm;
        Stair above stair the eddying waters rose,
        Circling immeasurably fast, and laved
        With alternating dash the gnarlèd roots
        Of mighty trees, that stretched their giant arms
        In darkness over it. I' the midst was left,
        Reflecting yet distorting every cloud,
        A pool of treacherous and tremendous calm.
        Seized by the sway of the ascending stream,
        With dizzy swiftness, round and round and round,
        Ridge after ridge the straining boat arose,
        Till on the verge of the extremest curve,
        Where through an opening of the rocky bank
        The waters overflow, and a smooth spot
        Of glassy quiet 'mid those battling tides
        Is left, the boat paused shuddering.--Shall it sink
        Down the abyss? Shall the reverting stress
        Of that resistless gulf embosom it?
        Now shall it fall?--A wandering stream of wind
        Breathed from the west, has caught the expanded sail,
        And, lo! with gentle motion between banks
        Of mossy slope, and on a placid stream,
        Beneath a woven grove, it sails, and, hark!
        The ghastly torrent mingles its far roar
        With the breeze murmuring in the musical woods.
        Where the embowering trees recede, and leave
        A little space of green expanse, the cove
        Is closed by meeting banks, whose yellow flowers
        Forever gaze on their own drooping eyes,
        Reflected in the crystal calm. The wave
        Of the boat's motion marred their pensive task,
        Which naught but vagrant bird, or wanton wind,
        Or falling spear-grass, or their own decay
        Had e'er disturbed before. The Poet longed
        To deck with their bright hues his withered hair,
        But on his heart its solitude returned,
        And he forbore. Not the strong impulse hid
        In those flushed cheeks, bent eyes, and shadowy frame,
        Had yet performed its ministry; it hung
        Upon his life, as lightning in a cloud
        Gleams, hovering ere it vanish, ere the floods
        Of night close over it.

        The noonday sun
        Now shone upon the forest, one vast mass
        Of mingling shade, whose brown magnificence
        A narrow vale embosoms. There, huge caves,
        Scooped in the dark base of their aëry rocks,
        Mocking its moans, respond and roar forever.
        The meeting boughs and implicated leaves
        Wove twilight o'er the Poet's path, as, led
        By love, or dream, or god, or mightier Death,
        He sought in Nature's dearest haunt some bank,
        Her cradle and his sepulchre. More dark
        And dark the shades accumulate. The oak,
        Expanding its immense and knotty arms,
        Embraces the light beech. The pyramids
        Of the tall cedar overarching frame
        Most solemn domes within, and far below,
        Like clouds suspended in an emerald sky,
        The ash and the acacia floating hang
        Tremulous and pale. Like restless serpents, clothed
        In rainbow and in fire, the parasites,
        Starred with ten thousand blossoms, flow around
        The gray trunks, and, as gamesome infants' eyes,
        With gentle meanings, and most innocent wiles,
        Fold their beams round the hearts of those that love,
        These twine their tendrils with the wedded boughs,
        Uniting their close union; the woven leaves
        Make network of the dark blue light of day
        And the night's noontide clearness, mutable
        As shapes in the weird clouds. Soft mossy lawns
        Beneath these canopies extend their swells,
        Fragrant with perfumed herbs, and eyed with blooms
        Minute yet beautiful. One darkest glen
        Sends from its woods of musk-rose twined with jasmine
        A soul-dissolving odor to invite
        To some more lovely mystery. Through the dell
        Silence and Twilight here, twin-sisters, keep
        Their noonday watch, and sail among the shades,
        Like vaporous shapes half-seen; beyond, a well,
        Dark, gleaming, and of most translucent wave,
        Images all the woven boughs above,
        And each depending leaf, and every speck
        Of azure sky darting between their chasms;
        Nor aught else in the liquid mirror laves
        Its portraiture, but some inconstant star,
        Between one foliaged lattice twinkling fair,
        Or painted bird, sleeping beneath the moon,
        Or gorgeous insect floating motionless,
        Unconscious of the day, ere yet his wings
        Have spread their glories to the gaze of noon.

        Hither the Poet came. His eyes beheld
        Their own wan light through the reflected lines
        Of his thin hair, distinct in the dark depth
        Of that still fountain; as the human heart,
        Gazing in dreams over the gloomy grave,
        Sees its own treacherous likeness there. He heard
        The motion of the leaves--the grass that sprung
        Startled and glanced and trembled even to feel
        An unaccustomed presence--and the sound
        Of the sweet brook that from the secret springs
        Of that dark fountain rose. A Spirit seemed
        To stand beside him--clothed in no bright robes
        Of shadowy silver or enshrining light,
        Borrowed from aught the visible world affords
        Of grace, or majesty, or mystery;
        But undulating woods, and silent well,
        And leaping rivulet, and evening gloom
        Now deepening the dark shades, for speech assuming,
        Held commune with him, as if he and it
        Were all that was; only--when his regard
        Was raised by intense pensiveness--two eyes,
        Two starry eyes, hung in the gloom of thought,
        And seemed with their serene and azure smiles
        To beckon him.

        Obedient to the light
        That shone within his soul, he went, pursuing
        The windings of the dell. The rivulet,
        Wanton and wild, through many a green ravine
        Beneath the forest flowed. Sometimes it fell
        Among the moss with hollow harmony
        Dark and profound. Now on the polished stones
        It danced, like childhood laughing as it went;
        Then, through the plain in tranquil wanderings crept,
        Reflecting every herb and drooping bud
        That overhung its quietness.--'O stream!
        Whose source is inaccessibly profound,
        Whither do thy mysterious waters tend?
        Thou imagest my life. Thy darksome stillness,
        Thy dazzling waves, thy loud and hollow gulfs,
        Thy searchless fountain and invisible course,
        Have each their type in me; and the wide sky
        And measureless ocean may declare as soon
        What oozy cavern or what wandering cloud
        Contains thy waters, as the universe
        Tell where these living thoughts reside, when stretched
        Upon thy flowers my bloodless limbs shall waste
        I' the passing wind!'

        Beside the grassy shore
        Of the small stream he went; he did impress
        On the green moss his tremulous step, that caught
        Strong shuddering from his burning limbs. As one
        Roused by some joyous madness from the couch
        Of fever, he did move; yet not like him
        Forgetful of the grave, where, when the flame
        Of his frail exultation shall be spent,
        He must descend. With rapid steps he went
        Beneath the shade of trees, beside the flow
        Of the wild babbling rivulet; and now
        The forest's solemn canopies were changed
        For the uniform and lightsome evening sky.
        Gray rocks did peep from the spare moss, and stemmed
        The struggling brook; tall spires of windlestrae
        Threw their thin shadows down the rugged slope,
        And nought but gnarlèd roots of ancient pines
        Branchless and blasted, clenched with grasping roots
        The unwilling soil. A gradual change was here
        Yet ghastly. For, as fast years flow away,
        The smooth brow gathers, and the hair grows thin
        And white, and where irradiate dewy eyes
        Had shone, gleam stony orbs:--so from his steps
        Bright flowers departed, and the beautiful shade
        Of the green groves, with all their odorous winds
        And musical motions. Calm he still pursued
        The stream, that with a larger volume now
        Rolled through the labyrinthine dell; and there
        Fretted a path through its descending curves
        With its wintry speed. On every side now rose
        Rocks, which, in unimaginable forms,
        Lifted their black and barren pinnacles
        In the light of evening, and its precipice
        Obscuring the ravine, disclosed above,
        'Mid toppling stones, black gulfs and yawning caves,
        Whose windings gave ten thousand various tongues
        To the loud stream. Lo! where the pass expands
        Its stony jaws, the abrupt mountain breaks,
        And seems with its accumulated crags
        To overhang the world; for wide expand
        Beneath the wan stars and descending moon
        Islanded seas, blue mountains, mighty streams,
        Dim tracts and vast, robed in the lustrous gloom
        Of leaden-colored even, and fiery hills
        Mingling their flames with twilight, on the verge
        Of the remote horizon. The near scene,
        In naked and severe simplicity,
        Made contrast with the universe. A pine,
        Rock-rooted, stretched athwart the vacancy
        Its swinging boughs, to each inconstant blast
        Yielding one only response at each pause
        In most familiar cadence, with the howl,
        The thunder and the hiss of homeless streams
        Mingling its solemn song, whilst the broad river
        Foaming and hurrying o'er its rugged path,
        Fell into that immeasurable void,
        Scattering its waters to the passing winds.

        Yet the gray precipice and solemn pine
        And torrent were not all;--one silent nook
        Was there. Even on the edge of that vast mountain,
        Upheld by knotty roots and fallen rocks,
        It overlooked in its serenity
        The dark earth and the bending vault of stars.
        It was a tranquil spot that seemed to smile
        Even in the lap of horror. Ivy clasped
        The fissured stones with its entwining arms,
        And did embower with leaves forever green
        And berries dark the smooth and even space
        Of its inviolated floor; and here
        The children of the autumnal whirlwind bore
        In wanton sport those bright leaves whose decay,
        Red, yellow, or ethereally pale,
        Rivals the pride of summer. 'T is the haunt
        Of every gentle wind whose breath can teach
        The wilds to love tranquillity. One step,
        One human step alone, has ever broken
        The stillness of its solitude; one voice
        Alone inspired its echoes;--even that voice
        Which hither came, floating among the winds,
        And led the loveliest among human forms
        To make their wild haunts the depository
        Of all the grace and beauty that endued
        Its motions, render up its majesty,
        Scatter its music on the unfeeling storm,
        And to the damp leaves and blue cavern mould,
        Nurses of rainbow flowers and branching moss,
        Commit the colors of that varying cheek,
        That snowy breast, those dark and drooping eyes.

        The dim and hornèd moon hung low, and poured
        A sea of lustre on the horizon's verge
        That overflowed its mountains. Yellow mist
        Filled the unbounded atmosphere, and drank
        Wan moonlight even to fulness; not a star
        Shone, not a sound was heard; the very winds,
        Danger's grim playmates, on that precipice
        Slept, clasped in his embrace.--O storm of death,
        Whose sightless speed divides this sullen night!
        And thou, colossal Skeleton, that, still
        Guiding its irresistible career
        In thy devastating omnipotence,
        Art king of this frail world! from the red field
        Of slaughter, from the reeking hospital,
        The patriot's sacred couch, the snowy bed
        Of innocence, the scaffold and the throne,
        A mighty voice invokes thee! Ruin calls
        His brother Death! A rare and regal prey
        He hath prepared, prowling around the world;
        Glutted with which thou mayst repose, and men
        Go to their graves like flowers or creeping worms,
        Nor ever more offer at thy dark shrine
        The unheeded tribute of a broken heart.

        When on the threshold of the green recess
        The wanderer's footsteps fell, he knew that death
        Was on him. Yet a little, ere it fled,
        Did he resign his high and holy soul
        To images of the majestic past,
        That paused within his passive being now,
        Like winds that bear sweet music, when they breathe
        Through some dim latticed chamber. He did place
        His pale lean hand upon the rugged trunk
        Of the old pine; upon an ivied stone
        Reclined his languid head; his limbs did rest,
        Diffused and motionless, on the smooth brink
        Of that obscurest chasm;--and thus he lay,
        Surrendering to their final impulses
        The hovering powers of life. Hope and Despair,
        The torturers, slept; no mortal pain or fear
        Marred his repose; the influxes of sense
        And his own being, unalloyed by pain,
        Yet feebler and more feeble, calmly fed
        The stream of thought, till he lay breathing there
        At peace, and faintly smiling. His last sight
        Was the great moon, which o'er the western line
        Of the wide world her mighty horn suspended,
        With whose dun beams inwoven darkness seemed
        To mingle. Now upon the jagged hills
        It rests; and still as the divided frame
        Of the vast meteor sunk, the Poet's blood,
        That ever beat in mystic sympathy
        With Nature's ebb and flow, grew feebler still;
        And when two lessening points of light alone
        Gleamed through the darkness, the alternate gasp
        Of his faint respiration scarce did stir
        The stagnate night:--till the minutest ray
        Was quenched, the pulse yet lingered in his heart.
        It paused--it fluttered. But when heaven remained
        Utterly black, the murky shades involved
        An image silent, cold, and motionless,
        As their own voiceless earth and vacant air.
        Even as a vapor fed with golden beams
        That ministered on sunlight, ere the west
        Eclipses it, was now that wondrous frame--
        No sense, no motion, no divinity--
        A fragile lute, on whose harmonious strings
        The breath of heaven did wander--a bright stream
        Once fed with many-voicèd waves--a dream
        Of youth, which night and time have quenched forever--
        Still, dark, and dry, and unremembered now.

        Oh, for Medea's wondrous alchemy,
        Which wheresoe'er it fell made the earth gleam
        With bright flowers, and the wintry boughs exhale
        From vernal blooms fresh fragrance! Oh, that God,
        Profuse of poisons, would concede the chalice
        Which but one living man has drained, who now,
        Vessel of deathless wrath, a slave that feels
        No proud exemption in the blighting curse
        He bears, over the world wanders forever,
        Lone as incarnate death! Oh, that the dream
        Of dark magician in his visioned cave,
        Raking the cinders of a crucible
        For life and power, even when his feeble hand
        Shakes in its last decay, were the true law
        Of this so lovely world! But thou art fled,
        Like some frail exhalation, which the dawn
        Robes in its golden beams,--ah! thou hast fled!
        The brave, the gentle and the beautiful,
        The child of grace and genius. Heartless things
        Are done and said i' the world, and many worms
        And beasts and men live on, and mighty Earth
        From sea and mountain, city and wilderness,
        In vesper low or joyous orison,
        Lifts still its solemn voice:--but thou art fled--
        Thou canst no longer know or love the shapes
        Of this phantasmal scene, who have to thee
        Been purest ministers, who are, alas!
        Now thou art not! Upon those pallid lips
        So sweet even in their silence, on those eyes
        That image sleep in death, upon that form
        Yet safe from the worm's outrage, let no tear
        Be shed--not even in thought. Nor, when those hues
        Are gone, and those divinest lineaments,
        Worn by the senseless wind, shall live alone
        In the frail pauses of this simple strain,
        Let not high verse, mourning the memory
        Of that which is no more, or painting's woe
        Or sculpture, speak in feeble imagery
        Their own cold powers. Art and eloquence,
        And all the shows o' the world, are frail and vain
        To weep a loss that turns their lights to shade.
        It is a woe "too deep for tears," when all
        Is reft at once, when some surpassing Spirit,
        Whose light adorned the world around it, leaves
        Those who remain behind, not sobs or groans,
        The passionate tumult of a clinging hope;
        But pale despair and cold tranquillity,
        Nature's vast frame, the web of human things,
        Birth and the grave, that are not as they were.

      Up

      An Exhortation

        Chameleons feed on light and air:
        Poets' food is love and fame:
        If in this wide world of care
        Poets could but find the same
        With as little toil as they,
        Would they ever change their hue
        As the light chameleons do,
        Suiting it to every ray
        Twenty times a day?

        Poets are on this cold earth,
        As chameleons might be,
        Hidden from their early birth
        In a cave beneath the sea;
        Where light is, chameleons change:
        Where love is not, poets do:
        Fame is love disguised: if few
        Find either, never think it strange
        That poets range.

        Yet dare not stain with wealth or power
        A poet's free and heavenly mind:
        If bright chameleons should devour
        Any food but beams and wind,
        They would grow as earthly soon
        As their brother lizards are.
        Children of a sunnier star,
        Spirits from beyond the moon,
        O, refuse the boon!

      Up

      And Like A Dying Lady, Lean And Pale

        And like a dying lady, lean and pale,
        Who totters forth, wrapp'd in a gauzy veil,
        Out of her chamber, led by the insane
        And feeble wanderings of her fading brain,
        The moon arose up in the murky East,
        A white and shapeless mass

      Up

      Archy's Song From Charles The First

        Heigho! the lark and the owl!
        One flies the morning, and one lulls the night:
        Only the nightingale, poor fond soul,
        Sings like the fool through darkness and light.

        "A widow bird sate mourning for her love
        Upon a wintry bough;
        The frozen wind crept on above,
        The freezing stream below.

        "There was no leaf upon the forest bare,
        No flower upon the ground,
        And little motion in the air
        Except the mill-wheel's sound."

      Up

      Art Thou Pale For Weariness

        Art thou pale for weariness
        Of climbing heaven and gazing on the earth,
        Wandering companionless
        Among the stars that have a different birth,
        And ever changing, like a joyless eye
        That finds no object worth its constancy?

      Up

      Asia: From Prometheus Unbound

        My soul is an enchanted boat,
        Which, like a sleeping swan, doth float
        Upon the silver waves of thy sweet singing;
        And thine doth like an angel sit
        Beside a helm conducting it,
        Whilst all the winds with melody are ringing.
        It seems to float ever, for ever,
        Upon that many-winding river,
        Between mountains, woods, abysses,
        A paradise of wildernesses!
        Till, like one in slumber bound,
        Borne to the ocean, I float down, around,
        Into a sea profound, of ever-spreading sound:

        Meanwhile thy spirit lifts its pinions
        In music's most serene dominions;
        Catching the winds that fan that happy heaven.
        And we sail on, away, afar,
        Without a course, without a star,
        But, by the instinct of sweet music driven;
        Till through Elysian garden islets
        By thee, most beautiful of pilots,
        Where never mortal pinnace glided,
        The boat of my desire is guided:
        Realms where the air we breathe is love,
        Which in the winds and on the waves doth move,
        Harmonizing this earth with what we feel above.

        We have past Age's icy caves,
        And Manhood's dark and tossing waves,
        And Youth's smooth ocean, smiling to betray:
        Beyond the glassy gulfs we flee
        Of shadow-peopled Infancy,
        Through Death and Birth, to a diviner day;
        A paradise of vaulted bowers,
        Lit by downward-gazing flowers,
        And watery paths that wind between
        Wildernesses calm and green,
        Peopled by shapes too bright to see,
        And rest, having beheld; somewhat like thee;
        Which walk upon the sea, and chant melodiously!

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      Autumn: A Dirge

        The warm sun is falling, the bleak wind is wailing,
        The bare boughs are sighing, the pale flowers are dying,
        And the Year
        On the earth is her death-bed, in a shroud of leaves dead,
        Is lying.
        Come, Months, come away,
        From November to May,
        In your saddest array;
        Follow the bier
        Of the dead cold Year,
        And like dim shadows watch by her sepulchre.

        The chill rain is falling, the nipped worm is crawling,
        The rivers are swelling, the thunder is knelling
        For the Year;
        The blithe swallows are flown, and the lizards each gone
        To his dwelling.
        Come, Months, come away;
        Put on white, black and gray;
        Let your light sisters play--
        Ye, follow the bier
        Of the dead cold Year,
        And make her grave green with tear on tear.

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      Bereavement

        How stern are the woes of the desolate mourner
        As he bends in still grief o'er the hallowed bier,
        As enanguished he turns from the laugh of the scorner,
        And drops to perfection's remembrance a tear;
        When floods of despair down his pale cheeks are streaming,
        When no blissful hope on his bosom is beaming,
        Or, if lulled for a while, soon he starts from his dreaming,
        And finds torn the soft ties to affection so dear.
        Ah, when shall day dawn on the night of the grave,
        Or summer succeed to the winter of death?
        Rest awhle, hapless victim! and Heaven will save
        The spirit that hath faded away with the breath.
        Eternity points, in its amaranth bower
        Where no clouds of fate o'er the sweet prospect lour,
        Unspeakable pleasure, of goodness the dower,
        When woe fades away like the mist of the heath.

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      Chorus From Hellas

        The world`s great age begins anew,
        The golden years return,
        The earth doth like a snake renew
        Her winter weeds outworn:
        Heaven smiles, and faith and empires gleam,
        Like a wrecks of a dissolving dream.

        A brighter Hellas rears its mountains
        From waves serener far;
        A new Peneus rolls his fountains
        Against the morning star.
        Where fairer Tempes bloom, there sleep
        Young Cyclads on a sunnier deep.

        A loftier Argo cleaves the main,
        Fraught with a later prize;
        Another Orpheus sings again,
        And loves, and weeps, and dies.
        A new Ulyssses leaves once more
        Calypso for his native shore...

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      English In 1819

        An old, mad, blind, despised, and dying king,--
        Princes, the dregs of their dull race, who
        Through public scorn,--mud from a muddy spring,--
        Rulers who neither see, nor feel, nor know,
        But leech-like to their fainting country cling,
        Till they drop, blind in blood, without a blow,--
        A people starved and stabbed in the untilled field,--
        An army, which liberticide and prey
        Makes as a two-edged sword to all who wield,--
        Golden and sanguine laws which tempt and slay;
        Religion Christless, Godless--a book sealed;
        A Senate, Time's worst statute unrepealed,--
        Are graves, from which a glorious Phantom may
        Burst, to illumine our tempestuous day.

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      Epipsychidion (Excerpt)

        Emily,
        A ship is floating in the harbour now,
        A wind is hovering o'er the mountain's brow;
        There is a path on the sea's azure floor,
        No keel has ever plough'd that path before;
        The halcyons brood around the foamless isles;
        The treacherous Ocean has forsworn its wiles;
        The merry mariners are bold and free:
        Say, my heart's sister, wilt thou sail with me?
        Our bark is as an albatross, whose nest
        Is a far Eden of the purple East;
        And we between her wings will sit, while Night,
        And Day, and Storm, and Calm, pursue their flight,
        Our ministers, along the boundless Sea,
        Treading each other's heels, unheededly.
        It is an isle under Ionian skies,
        Beautiful as a wreck of Paradise,
        And, for the harbours are not safe and good,
        This land would have remain'd a solitude
        But for some pastoral people native there,
        Who from the Elysian, clear, and golden air
        Draw the last spirit of the age of gold,
        Simple and spirited; innocent and bold.
        The blue Aegean girds this chosen home,
        With ever-changing sound and light and foam,
        Kissing the sifted sands, and caverns hoar;
        And all the winds wandering along the shore
        Undulate with the undulating tide:
        There are thick woods where sylvan forms abide;
        And many a fountain, rivulet and pond,
        As clear as elemental diamond,
        Or serene morning air; and far beyond,
        The mossy tracks made by the goats and deer
        (Which the rough shepherd treads but once a year)
        Pierce into glades, caverns and bowers, and halls
        Built round with ivy, which the waterfalls
        Illumining, with sound that never fails
        Accompany the noonday nightingales;
        And all the place is peopled with sweet airs;
        The light clear element which the isle wears
        Is heavy with the scent of lemon-flowers,
        Which floats like mist laden with unseen showers,
        And falls upon the eyelids like faint sleep;
        And from the moss violets and jonquils peep
        And dart their arrowy odour through the brain
        Till you might faint with that delicious pain.
        And every motion, odour, beam and tone,
        With that deep music is in unison:
        Which is a soul within the soul--they seem
        Like echoes of an antenatal dream.
        It is an isle 'twixt Heaven, Air, Earth and Sea,
        Cradled and hung in clear tranquillity;
        Bright as that wandering Eden Lucifer,
        Wash'd by the soft blue Oceans of young air.
        It is a favour'd place. Famine or Blight,
        Pestilence, War and Earthquake, never light
        Upon its mountain-peaks; blind vultures, they
        Sail onward far upon their fatal way:
        The wingèd storms, chanting their thunder-psalm
        To other lands, leave azure chasms of calm
        Over this isle, or weep themselves in dew,
        From which its fields and woods ever renew
        Their green and golden immortality.
        And from the sea there rise, and from the sky
        There fall, clear exhalations, soft and bright,
        Veil after veil, each hiding some delight,
        Which Sun or Moon or zephyr draw aside,
        Till the isle's beauty, like a naked bride
        Glowing at once with love and loveliness,
        Blushes and trembles at its own excess:
        Yet, like a buried lamp, a Soul no less
        Burns in the heart of this delicious isle,
        An atom of th' Eternal, whose own smile
        Unfolds itself, and may be felt not seen
        O'er the gray rocks, blue waves and forests green,
        Filling their bare and void interstices.
        But the chief marvel of the wilderness
        Is a lone dwelling, built by whom or how
        None of the rustic island-people know:
        'Tis not a tower of strength, though with its height
        It overtops the woods; but, for delight,
        Some wise and tender Ocean-King, ere crime
        Had been invented, in the world's young prime,
        Rear'd it, a wonder of that simple time,
        An envy of the isles, a pleasure-house
        Made sacred to his sister and his spouse.
        It scarce seems now a wreck of human art,
        But, as it were, Titanic; in the heart
        Of Earth having assum'd its form, then grown
        Out of the mountains, from the living stone,
        Lifting itself in caverns light and high:
        For all the antique and learned imagery
        Has been eras'd, and in the place of it
        The ivy and the wild-vine interknit
        The volumes of their many-twining stems;
        Parasite flowers illume with dewy gems
        The lampless halls, and when they fade, the sky
        Peeps through their winter-woof of tracery
        With moonlight patches, or star atoms keen,
        Or fragments of the day's intense serene;
        Working mosaic on their Parian floors.
        And, day and night, aloof, from the high towers
        And terraces, the Earth and Ocean seem
        To sleep in one another's arms, and dream
        Of waves, flowers, clouds, woods, rocks, and all that we
        Read in their smiles, and call reality.

        This isle and house are mine, and I have vow'd
        Thee to be lady of the solitude.
        And I have fitted up some chambers there
        Looking towards the golden Eastern air,
        And level with the living winds, which flow
        Like waves above the living waves below.
        I have sent books and music there, and all
        Those instruments with which high Spirits call
        The future from its cradle, and the past
        Out of its grave, and make the present last
        In thoughts and joys which sleep, but cannot die,
        Folded within their own eternity.
        Our simple life wants little, and true taste
        Hires not the pale drudge Luxury to waste
        The scene it would adorn, and therefore still,
        Nature with all her children haunts the hill.
        The ring-dove, in the embowering ivy, yet
        Keeps up her love-lament, and the owls flit
        Round the evening tower, and the young stars glance
        Between the quick bats in their twilight dance;
        The spotted deer bask in the fresh moonlight
        Before our gate, and the slow, silent night
        Is measur'd by the pants of their calm sleep.
        Be this our home in life, and when years heap
        Their wither'd hours, like leaves, on our decay,
        Let us become the overhanging day,
        The living soul of this Elysian isle,
        Conscious, inseparable, one. Meanwhile
        We two will rise, and sit, and walk together,
        Under the roof of blue Ionian weather,
        And wander in the meadows, or ascend
        The mossy mountains, where the blue heavens bend
        With lightest winds, to touch their paramour;
        Or linger, where the pebble-paven shore,
        Under the quick, faint kisses of the sea,
        Trembles and sparkles as with ecstasy--
        Possessing and possess'd by all that is
        Within that calm circumference of bliss,
        And by each other, till to love and live
        Be one: or, at the noontide hour, arrive
        Where some old cavern hoar seems yet to keep
        The moonlight of the expir'd night asleep,
        Through which the awaken'd day can never peep;
        A veil for our seclusion, close as night's,
        Where secure sleep may kill thine innocent lights;
        Sleep, the fresh dew of languid love, the rain
        Whose drops quench kisses till they burn again.
        And we will talk, until thought's melody
        Become too sweet for utterance, and it die
        In words, to live again in looks, which dart
        With thrilling tone into the voiceless heart,
        Harmonizing silence without a sound.
        Our breath shall intermix, our bosoms bound,
        And our veins beat together; and our lips
        With other eloquence than words, eclipse
        The soul that burns between them, and the wells
        Which boil under our being's inmost cells,
        The fountains of our deepest life, shall be
        Confus'd in Passion's golden purity,
        As mountain-springs under the morning sun.
        We shall become the same, we shall be one
        Spirit within two frames, oh! wherefore two?
        One passion in twin-hearts, which grows and grew,
        Till like two meteors of expanding flame,
        Those spheres instinct with it become the same,
        Touch, mingle, are transfigur'd; ever still
        Burning, yet ever inconsumable:
        In one another's substance finding food,
        Like flames too pure and light and unimbu'd
        To nourish their bright lives with baser prey,
        Which point to Heaven and cannot pass away:
        One hope within two wills, one will beneath
        Two overshadowing minds, one life, one death,
        One Heaven, one Hell, one immortality,
        And one annihilation. Woe is me!
        The winged words on which my soul would pierce
        Into the height of Love's rare Universe,
        Are chains of lead around its flight of fire--
        I pant, I sink, I tremble, I expire!

      Up

      Feelings Of A Republican On The Fall Of Bonaparte

        I hated thee, fallen tyrant! I did groan
        To think that a most unambitious slave,
        Like thou, shouldst dance and revel on the grave
        Of Liberty. Thou mightst have built thy throne
        Where it had stood even now: thou didst prefer
        A frail and bloody pomp which Time has swept
        In fragments towards Oblivion. Massacre,
        For this I prayed, would on thy sleep have crept,
        Treason and Slavery, Rapine, Fear, and Lust,
        And stifled thee, their minister. I know
        Too late, since thou and France are in the dust,
        That Virtue owns a more eternal foe
        Than Force or Fraud: old Custom, legal Crime,
        And bloody Faith the foulest birth of Time.

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      From "Adonais," 49-52

        49

        Go thou to Rome,--at once the Paradise,
        The grave, the city, and the wilderness;
        And where its wrecks like shattered mountains rise,
        And flowering weeds, and fragrant copses dress
        The bones of Desolation's nakedness
        Pass, till the spirit of the spot shall lead
        Thy footsteps to a slope of green access
        Where, like an infant's smile, over the dead
        A light of laughing flowers along the grass is spread;

        50

        And gray walls moulder round, on which dull Time
        Feeds, like slow fire upon a hoary brand;
        And one keen pyramid with wedge sublime,
        Pavilioning the dust of him who planned
        This refuge for his memory, doth stand
        Like flame transformed to marble; and beneath,
        A field is spread, on which a newer band
        Have pitched in Heaven's smile their camp of death,
        Welcoming him we lose with scarce extinguished breath.

        51

        Here pause: these graves are all too young as yet
        To have outgrown the sorrow which consigned
        Its charge to each; and if the seal is set,
        Here, on one fountain of a mourning mind,
        Break it not thou! too surely shalt thou find
        Thine own well full, if thou returnest home,
        Of tears and gall. From the world's bitter wind
        Seek shelter in the shadow of the tomb.
        What Adonais is, why fear we to become?

        52

        The One remains, the many change and pass;
        Heaven's light forever shines, Earth's shadows fly;
        Life, like a dome of many-coloured glass,
        Stains the white radiance of Eternity,
        Until Death tramples it to fragments.--Die,
        If thou wouldst be with that which thou dost seek!
        Follow where all is fled!--Rome's azure sky,
        Flowers, ruins, statues, music, words, are weak
        The glory they transfuse with fitting truth to speak.

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      From The Arabic, An Imitation

        My faint spirit was sitting in the light
        Of thy looks, my love;
        It panted for thee like the hind at noon
        For the brooks, my love.
        Thy barb, whose hoofs outspeed the tempest's flight,
        Bore thee far from me;
        My heart, for my weak feet were weary soon,
        Did companion thee.

        Ah! fleeter far than fleetest storm or steed,
        Or the death they bear,
        The heart which tender thought clothes like a dove
        With the wings of care;
        In the battle, in the darkness, in the need,
        Shall mine cling to thee,
        Nor claim one smile for all the comfort, love,
        It may bring to thee.

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      Good-Night

        Good-night? ah! no; the hour is ill
        Which severs those it should unite;
        Let us remain together still,
        Then it will be good night.

        How can I call the lone night good,
        Though thy sweet wishes wing its flight?
        Be it not said, thought, understood --
        Then it will be -- good night.

        To hearts which near each other move
        From evening close to morning light,
        The night is good; because, my love,
        They never say good-night.

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      Hellas

        THE world's great age begins anew,
        The golden years return,
        The earth doth like a snake renew
        Her winter weeds outworn;
        Heaven smiles, and faiths and empires gleam
        Like wrecks of a dissolving dream.

        A brighter Hellas rears its mountains
        From waves serener far;
        A new Peneus rolls his fountains
        Against the morning star;
        Where fairer Tempes bloom, there sleep
        Young Cyclads on a sunnier deep.

        A loftier Argo cleaves the main,
        Fraught with a later prize;
        Another Orpheus sings again,
        And loves, and weeps, and dies;
        A new Ulysses leaves once more
        Calypso for his native shore.

        O write no more the tale of Troy,
        If earth Death's scroll must be--
        Nor mix with Laian rage the joy
        Which dawns upon the free,
        Although a subtler Sphinx renew
        Riddles of death Thebes never knew.

        Another Athens shall arise,
        And to remoter time
        Bequeath, like sunset to the skies,
        The splendour of its prime;
        And leave, if naught so bright may live,
        All earth can take or Heaven can give.

        Saturn and Love their long repose
        Shall burst, more bright and good
        Than all who fell, than One who rose,
        Than many unsubdued:
        Not gold, not blood, their altar dowers,
        But votive tears and symbol flowers.

        O cease! must hate and death return?
        Cease! must men kill and die?
        Cease! drain not to its dregs the urn
        Of bitter prophecy!
        The world is weary of the past--
        O might it die or rest at last!

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      Hymn Of Pan

        From the forests and highlands
        We come, we come;
        From the river-girt islands,
        Where loud waves are dumb
        Listening to my sweet pipings.
        The wind in the reeds and the rushes,
        The bees on the bells of thyme,
        The birds on the myrtle-bushes,
        The cicale above in the lime,
        And the lizards below in the grass,
        Were as silent as ever old Tmolus was,
        Listening to my sweet pipings.

        Liquid Peneus was flowing,
        And all dark Temple lay
        In Pelion's shadow, outgrowing
        The light of the dying day,
        Speeded by my sweet pipings.
        The Sileni and Sylvans and fauns,
        And the Nymphs of the woods and wave
        To the edge of the moist river-lawns,
        And the brink of the dewy caves,
        And all that did then attend and follow,
        Were silent with love,--as you now, Apollo,
        With envy of my sweet pipings.

        I sang of the dancing stars,
        I sang of the dedal earth,
        And of heaven, and the Giant wars,
        And love, and death, and birth.
        And then I changed my pipings,--
        Singing how down the vale of Maenalus
        I pursued a maiden, and clasped a reed:
        Gods and men, we are all deluded thus;
        It breaks in our bosom, and then we bleed.
        All wept--as I think both ye now would,
        If envy or age had not frozen your blood--
        At the sorrow of my sweet pipings.

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      Hymn To Intellectual Beauty

        The awful shadow of some unseen Power
        Floats through unseen among us, -- visiting
        This various world with as inconstant wing
        As summer winds that creep from flower to flower, --
        Like moonbeams that behind some piny mountain shower,
        It visits with inconstant glance
        Each human heart and countenance;
        Like hues and harmonies of evening, --
        Like clouds in starlight widely spread, --
        Like memory of music fled, --
        Like aught that for its grace may be
        Dear, and yet dearer for its mystery.

        Spirit of Beauty, that dost consecrate
        With thine own hues all thou dost shine upon
        Of human thought or form, -- where art thou gone?
        Why dost thou pass away and leave our state,
        This dim vast vale of tears, vacant and desolate?
        Ask why the sunlight not for ever
        Weaves rainbows o'er yon mountain-river,
        Why aught should fail and fade that once is shown,
        Why fear and dream and death and birth
        Cast on the daylight of this earth
        Such gloom, -- why man has such a scope
        For love and hate, despondency and hope?

        No voice from some sublimer world hath ever
        To sage or poet these responses given --
        Therefore the names of Demon, Ghost, and Heaven,
        Remain the records of their vain endeavour,
        Frail spells -- whose uttered charm might not avail to sever,
        From all we hear and all we see,
        Doubt, chance, and mutability.
        Thy light alone -- like mist oe'er the mountains driven,
        Or music by the night-wind sent
        Through strings of some still instrument,
        Or moonlight on a midnight stream,
        Gives grace and truth to life's unquiet dream.

        Love, Hope, and Self-esteem, like clouds depart
        And come, for some uncertain moments lent.
        Man were immortal, and omnipotent,
        Didst thou, unknown and awful as thou art,
        Keep with thy glorious train firm state within his heart.
        Thou messgenger of sympathies,
        That wax and wane in lovers' eyes --
        Thou -- that to human thought art nourishment,
        Like darkness to a dying flame!
        Depart not as thy shadow came,
        Depart not -- lest the grave should be,
        Like life and fear, a dark reality.

        While yet a boy I sought for ghosts, and sped
        Through many a listening chamber, cave and ruin,
        And starlight wood, with fearful steps pursuing
        Hopes of high talk with the departed dead.
        I called on poisonous names with which our youth is fed;
        I was not heard -- I saw them not --
        When musing deeply on the lot
        Of life, at that sweet time when winds are wooing
        All vital things that wake to bring
        News of birds and blossoming, --
        Sudden, thy shadow fell on me;
        I shrieked, and clasped my hands in ecstasy!

        I vowed that I would dedicate my powers
        To thee and thine -- have I not kept the vow?
        With beating heart and streaming eyes, even now
        I call the phantoms of a thousand hours
        Each from his voiceless grave: they have in visioned bowers
        Of studious zeal or love's delight
        Outwatched with me the envious night --
        They know that never joy illumed my brow
        Unlinked with hope that thou wouldst free
        This world from its dark slavery,
        That thou - O awful Loveliness,
        Wouldst give whate'er these words cannot express.

        The day becomes more solemn and serene
        When noon is past -- there is a harmony
        In autumn, and a lustre in its sky,
        Which through the summer is not heard or seen,
        As if it could not be, as if it had not been!
        Thus let thy power, which like the truth
        Of nature on my passive youth
        Descended, to my onward life supply
        Its calm -- to one who worships thee,
        And every form containing thee,
        Whom, Spirit fair, thy spells did bind
        To fear himself, and love all human kind.

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      I Arise From Dreams Of Thee

        I arise from dreams of thee
        In the first sweet sleep of night,
        When the winds are breathing low,
        And the stars are shining bright
        I arise from dreams of thee,
        And a spirit in my feet
        Has led me -- who knows how? --
        To thy chamber-window, sweet!

        The wandering airs they faint
        On the dark, the silent stream, --
        The champak odors fall
        Like sweet thoughts in a dream,
        The nightingale's complaint,
        It dies upon her heart,
        As I must die on thine,
        O, beloved as thou art!

        O, lift me from the grass!
        I die, I faint, I fall!
        Let thy love in kisses rain
        On my lips and eyelids pale,
        My cheek is cold and white, alas!
        My Heart beats loud and fast
        Oh! press it close to thine again,
        Where it will break at last!

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      Julian And Maddalo (Excerpt)

        I rode one evening with Count Maddalo
        Upon the bank of land which breaks the flow
        Of Adria towards Venice: a bare strand
        Of hillocks, heap'd from ever-shifting sand,
        Matted with thistles and amphibious weeds,
        Such as from earth's embrace the salt ooze breeds,
        Is this; an uninhabited sea-side,
        Which the lone fisher, when his nets are dried,
        Abandons; and no other object breaks
        The waste, but one dwarf tree and some few stakes
        Broken and unrepair'd, and the tide makes
        A narrow space of level sand thereon,
        Where 'twas our wont to ride while day went down.
        This ride was my delight. I love all waste
        And solitary places; where we taste
        The pleasure of believing what we see
        Is boundless, as we wish our souls to be:
        And such was this wide ocean, and this shore
        More barren than its billows; and yet more
        Than all, with a remember'd friend I love
        To ride as then I rode; for the winds drove
        The living spray along the sunny air
        Into our faces; the blue heavens were bare,
        Stripp'd to their depths by the awakening north;
        And, from the waves, sound like delight broke forth
        Harmonizing with solitude, and sent
        Into our hearts aëreal merriment.
        So, as we rode, we talk'd; and the swift thought,
        Winging itself with laughter, linger'd not,
        But flew from brain to brain--such glee was ours,
        Charg'd with light memories of remember'd hours,
        None slow enough for sadness: till we came
        Homeward, which always makes the spirit tame.
        This day had been cheerful but cold, and now
        The sun was sinking, and the wind also.
        Our talk grew somewhat serious, as may be
        Talk interrupted with such raillery
        As mocks itself, because it cannot scorn
        The thoughts it would extinguish: 'twas forlorn,
        Yet pleasing, such as once, so poets tell,
        The devils held within the dales of Hell
        Concerning God, freewill and destiny:
        Of all that earth has been or yet may be,
        All that vain men imagine or believe,
        Or hope can paint or suffering may achieve,
        We descanted, and I (for ever still
        Is it not wise to make the best of ill?)
        Argu'd against despondency, but pride
        Made my companion take the darker side.
        The sense that he was greater than his kind
        Had struck, methinks, his eagle spirit blind
        By gazing on its own exceeding light.
        Meanwhile the sun paus'd ere it should alight,
        Over the horizon of the mountains--Oh,
        How beautiful is sunset, when the glow
        Of Heaven descends upon a land like thee,
        Thou Paradise of exiles, Italy!
        Thy mountains, seas, and vineyards, and the towers
        Of cities they encircle! It was ours
        To stand on thee, beholding it: and then,
        Just where we had dismounted, the Count's men
        Were waiting for us with the gondola.
        As those who pause on some delightful way
        Though bent on pleasant pilgrimage, we stood
        Looking upon the evening, and the flood
        Which lay between the city and the shore,
        Pav'd with the image of the sky.... The hoar
        And aëry Alps towards the North appear'd
        Through mist, an heaven-sustaining bulwark rear'd
        Between the East and West; and half the sky
        Was roof'd with clouds of rich emblazonry
        Dark purple at the zenith, which still grew
        Down the steep West into a wondrous hue
        Brighter than burning gold, even to the rent
        Where the swift sun yet paus'd in his descent
        Among the many-folded hills: they were
        Those famous Euganean hills, which bear,
        As seen from Lido thro' the harbour piles,
        The likeness of a clump of peakèd isles--
        And then--as if the Earth and Sea had been
        Dissolv'd into one lake of fire, were seen
        Those mountains towering as from waves of flame
        Around the vaporous sun, from which there came
        The inmost purple spirit of light, and made
        Their very peaks transparent. "Ere it fade,"
        Said my companion, "I will show you soon
        A better station"--so, o'er the lagune
        We glided; and from that funereal bark
        I lean'd, and saw the city, and could mark
        How from their many isles, in evening's gleam,
        Its temples and its palaces did seem
        Like fabrics of enchantment pil'd to Heaven.
        I was about to speak, when--"We are even
        Now at the point I meant," said Maddalo,
        And bade the gondolieri cease to row.
        "Look, Julian, on the west, and listen well
        If you hear not a deep and heavy bell."
        I look'd, and saw between us and the sun
        A building on an island; such a one
        As age to age might add, for uses vile,
        A windowless, deform'd and dreary pile;
        And on the top an open tower, where hung
        A bell, which in the radiance sway'd and swung;
        We could just hear its hoarse and iron tongue:
        The broad sun sunk behind it, and it toll'd
        In strong and black relief. "What we behold
        Shall be the madhouse and its belfry tower,"
        Said Maddalo, "and ever at this hour
        Those who may cross the water, hear that bell
        Which calls the maniacs, each one from his cell,
        To vespers." "As much skill as need to pray
        In thanks or hope for their dark lot have they
        To their stern Maker," I replied. "O ho!
        You talk as in years past," said Maddalo.
        " 'Tis strange men change not. You were ever still
        Among Christ's flock a perilous infidel,
        A wolf for the meek lambs--if you can't swim
        Beware of Providence." I look'd on him,
        But the gay smile had faded in his eye.
        "And such," he cried, "is our mortality,
        And this must be the emblem and the sign
        Of what should be eternal and divine!
        And like that black and dreary bell, the soul,
        Hung in a heaven-illumin'd tower, must toll
        Our thoughts and our desires to meet below
        Round the rent heart and pray--as madmen do
        For what? they know not--till the night of death,
        As sunset that strange vision, severeth
        Our memory from itself, and us from all
        We sought and yet were baffled." I recall
        The sense of what he said, although I mar
        The force of his expressions. The broad star
        Of day meanwhile had sunk behind the hill,
        And the black bell became invisible,
        And the red tower look'd gray, and all between
        The churches, ships and palaces were seen
        Huddled in gloom;--into the purple sea
        The orange hues of heaven sunk silently.
        We hardly spoke, and soon the gondola
        Convey'd me to my lodgings by the way.

        The following morn was rainy, cold and dim:
        Ere Maddalo arose, I call'd on him,
        And whilst I waited with his child I play'd;
        A lovelier toy sweet Nature never made,
        A serious, subtle, wild, yet gentle being,
        Graceful without design and unforeseeing,
        With eyes--Oh speak not of her eyes!--which seem
        Twin mirrors of Italian Heaven, yet gleam
        With such deep meaning, as we never see
        But in the human countenance: with me
        She was a special favourite: I had nurs'd
        Her fine and feeble limbs when she came first
        To this bleak world; and she yet seem'd to know
        On second sight her ancient playfellow,
        Less chang'd than she was by six months or so;
        For after her first shyness was worn out
        We sate there, rolling billiard balls about,
        When the Count enter'd. Salutations past--
        "The word you spoke last night might well have cast
        A darkness on my spirit--if man be
        The passive thing you say, I should not see
        Much harm in the religions and old saws
        (Though I may never own such leaden laws)
        Which break a teachless nature to the yoke:
        Mine is another faith"--thus much I spoke
        And noting he replied not, added: "See
        This lovely child, blithe, innocent and free;
        She spends a happy time with little care,
        While we to such sick thoughts subjected are
        As came on you last night. It is our will
        That thus enchains us to permitted ill.
        We might be otherwise. We might be all
        We dream of happy, high, majestical.
        Where is the love, beauty, and truth we seek
        But in our mind? and if we were not weak
        Should we be less in deed than in desire?"
        "Ay, if we were not weak--and we aspire
        How vainly to be strong!" said Maddalo:
        "You talk Utopia." "It remains to know,"
        I then rejoin'd, "and those who try may find
        How strong the chains are which our spirit bind;
        Brittle perchance as straw.... We are assur'd
        Much may be conquer'd, much may be endur'd,
        Of what degrades and crushes us. We know
        That we have power over ourselves to do
        And suffer--what, we know not till we try;
        But something nobler than to live and die:
        So taught those kings of old philosophy
        Who reign'd, before Religion made men blind;
        And those who suffer with their suffering kind
        Yet feel their faith, religion." "My dear friend,"
        Said Maddalo, "my judgement will not bend
        To your opinion, though I think you might
        Make such a system refutation-tight
        As far as words go. I knew one like you
        Who to this city came some months ago,
        With whom I argu'd in this sort, and he
        Is now gone mad--and so he answer'd me--
        Poor fellow! but if you would like to go
        We'll visit him, and his wild talk will show
        How vain are such aspiring theories."
        "I hope to prove the induction otherwise,
        And that a want of that true theory, still,
        Which seeks a 'soul of goodness' in things ill
        Or in himself or others, has thus bow'd
        His being. There are some by nature proud,
        Who patient in all else demand but this--
        To love and be belov'd with gentleness;
        And being scorn'd, what wonder if they die
        Some living death? this is not destiny
        But man's own wilful ill."

        As thus I spoke
        Servants announc'd the gondola, and we
        Through the fast-falling rain and high-wrought sea
        Sail'd to the island where the madhouse stands.

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      Lift Not The Painted Veil Which Those Who Live

        Lift not the painted veil which those who live
        Call Life: though unreal shapes be pictured there,
        And it but mimic all we would believe
        With colours idly spread,--behind, lurk Fear
        And Hope, twin Destinies; who ever weave
        Their shadows, o'er the chasm, sightless and drear.
        I knew one who had lifted it--he sought,
        For his lost heart was tender, things to love,
        But found them not, alas! nor was there aught
        The world contains, the which he could approve.
        Through the unheeding many he did move,
        A splendour among shadows, a bright blot
        Upon this gloomy scene, a Spirit that strove
        For truth, and like the Preacher found it not.

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      Lines

        WHEN the lamp is shatter'd,
        The light in the dust lies dead;
        When the cloud is scatter'd,
        The rainbow's glory is shed;
        When the lute is broken,
        Sweet tones are remember'd not
        When the lips have spoken,
        Loved accents are soon forgot.

        As music and splendour
        Survive not the lamp and the lute,
        The heart's echoes render
        No song when the spirit is mute--
        No song but sad dirges,
        Like the wind through a ruin'd cell,
        Or the mournful surges
        That ring the dead seaman's knell.

        When hearts have once mingled,
        Love first leaves the well-built nest;
        The weak one is singled
        To endure what it once possest.
        O Love, who bewailest
        The frailty of all things here,
        Why choose you the frailest
        For your cradle, your home, and your bier?

        Its passions will rock thee,
        As the storms rock the ravens on high:
        Bright reason will mock thee,
        Like the sun from a wintry sky.
        From thy nest every rafter
        Will rot, and thine eagle home
        Leave thee naked to laughter,
        When leaves fall and cold winds come.

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      Lines Written Among The Euganean Hills

        Many a green isle needs must be
        In the deep wide sea of Misery,
        Or the mariner, worn and wan,
        Never thus could voyage on -
        Day and night, and night and day,
        Drifting on his dreary way,
        With the solid darkness black
        Closing round his vessel's track:
        Whilst above the sunless sky,
        Big with clouds, hangs heavily,
        And behind the tempest fleet
        Hurries on with lightning feet,

        He is ever drifted on
        O'er the unreposing wave
        To the haven of the grave.
        What, if there no friends will greet;
        What, if there no heart will meet
        His with love's impatient beat;
        Wander wheresoe'er he may,
        Can he dream before that day
        To find refuge from distress
        In friendship's smile, in love's caress?
        Then 'twill wreak him little woe
        Whether such there be or no:
        Senseless is the breast, and cold,
        Which relenting love would fold;
        Bloodless are the veins and chill
        Which the pulse of pain did fill;
        Every little living nerve
        That from bitter words did swerve
        Round the tortured lips and brow,
        Are like sapless leaflets now
        Frozen upon December's bough.

        On the beach of a northern sea
        Which tempests shake eternally,
        As once the wretch there lay to sleep,
        Lies a solitary heap,
        One white skull and seven dry bones,
        On the margin of the stones,
        Where a few grey rushes stand,
        Boundaries of the sea and land:
        Nor is heard one voice of wail
        But the sea-mews, as they sail
        O'er the billows of the gale;
        Or the whirlwind up and down
        Howling, like a slaughtered town,
        When a king in glory rides
        Through the pomp and fratricides:
        Those unburied bones around
        There is many a mournful sound;
        There is no lament for him,
        Like a sunless vapour, dim,
        Who once clothed with life and thought
        What now moves nor murmurs not.

        Ay, many flowering islands lie
        In the waters of wide Agony:
        To such a one this morn was led,
        My bark by soft winds piloted:
        'Mid the mountains Euganean
        I stood listening to the paean
        With which the legioned rooks did hail
        The sun's uprise majestical;
        Gathering round with wings all hoar,
        Through the dewy mist they soar
        Like gray shades, till the eastern heaven
        Bursts, and then, as clouds of even,
        Flecked with fire and azure, lie
        In the unfathomable sky,
        So their plumes of purple grain,
        Starred with drops of golden rain,
        Gleam above the sunlight woods,
        As in silent multitudes
        On the morning's fitful gale
        Through the broken mist they sail,
        And the vapours cloven and gleaming
        Follow, down the dark steep streaming,
        Till all is bright, and clear, and still,
        Round the solitary hill.

        Beneath is spread like a green sea
        The waveless plain of Lombardy,
        Bounded by the vaporous air,
        Islanded by cities fair;
        Underneath Day's azure eyes
        Ocean's nursling, Venice, lies,
        A peopled labyrinth of walls,
        Amphitrite's destined halls,
        Which her hoary sire now paves
        With his blue and beaming waves.
        Lo! the sun upsprings behind,
        Broad, red, radiant, half-reclined
        On the level quivering line
        Of the waters crystalline;
        And before that chasm of light,
        As within a furnace bright,
        Column, tower, and dome, and spire,
        Shine like obelisks of fire,
        Pointing with inconstant motion
        From the altar of dark ocean
        To the sapphire-tinted skies;
        As the flames of sacrifice
        From the marble shrines did rise,
        As to pierce the dome of gold
        Where Apollo spoke of old.

        Sea-girt City, thou hast been
        Ocean's child, and then his queen;
        Now is come a darker day,
        And thou soon must be his prey,
        If the power that raised thee here
        Hallow so thy watery bier.
        A less drear ruin then than now,
        With thy conquest-branded brow
        Stooping to the slave of slaves
        From thy throne, among the waves
        Wilt thou be, when the sea-mew
        Flies, as once before it flew,
        O'er thine isles depopulate,
        And all is in its ancient state,
        Save where many a palace gate
        With green sea-flowers overgrown
        Like a rock of Ocean's own,
        Topples o'er the abandoned sea
        As the tides change sullenly.
        The fisher on his watery way,
        Wandering at the close of day,
        Will spread his sail and seize his oar
        Till he pass the gloomy shore,
        Lest thy dead should, from their sleep
        Bursting o'er the starlight deep,
        Lead a rapid masque of death
        O'er the waters of his path.

        Those who alone thy towers behold
        Quivering through aereal gold,
        As I now behold them here,
        Would imagine not they were
        Sepulchres, where human forms,
        Like pollution-nourished worms,
        To the corpse of greatness cling,
        Murdered, and now mouldering:
        But if Freedom should awake
        In her omnipotence and shake
        From the Celtic Anarch's hold
        All the keys of dungeons cold,
        Where a hundred cities lie
        Chained like thee, ingloriously,
        Thou and all thy sister band
        Might adorn this sunny land,
        Twining memories of old time
        With new virtues more sublime;
        If not, perish thou ldering:
        But if Freedom should awake
        In her omnipotence and shake
        From the Celtic Anarch's hold
        All the keys of dungeons cold,
        Where a hundred cities lie
        Chained like thee, ingloriously,
        Thou and all thy sister band
        Might adorn this sunny land,
        Twining memories of old time
        With new virtues more sublime;
        If not, perish thou and they! -
        Clouds which stain truth's rising day
        By her sun consumed away -
        Earth can spare ye; while like flowers,
        In the waste of years and hours,
        From your dust new nations spring
        With more kindly blossoming.

        Perish -let there only be
        Floating o'er thy heartless sea
        As the garment of thy sky
        Clothes the world immortally,
        One remembrance, more sublime
        Than the tattered pall of time,
        Which scarce hides thy visage wan; -
        That a tempest-cleaving Swan
        Of the sons of Albion,
        Driven from his ancestral streams
        By the might of evil dreams,
        Found a nest in thee; and Ocean
        Welcomed him with such emotion
        That its joy grew his, and sprung
        From his lips like music flung
        O'er a mighty thunder-fit,
        Chastening terror: -what though yet
        Poesy's unfailing River,
        Which through Albion winds forever
        Lashing with melodious wave
        Many a sacred Poet's grave,
        Mourn its latest nursling fled?
        What though thou with all thy dead
        Scarce can for this fame repay
        Aught thine own? oh, rather say
        Though thy sins and slaveries foul
        Overcloud a sunlike soul?
        As the ghost of Homer clings
        Round Scamander's wasting springs;
        As divinest Shakespeare's might
        Fills Avon and the world with light
        Like omniscient power which he
        Imaged 'mid mortality;
        As the love from Petrarch's urn,
        Yet amid yon hills doth burn,
        A quenchless lamp by which the heart
        Sees things unearthly; -so thou art,
        Mighty spirit -so shall be
        The City that did refuge thee.

        Lo, the sun floats up the sky
        Like thought-winged Liberty,
        Till the universal light
        Seems to level plain and height;
        From the sea a mist has spread,
        And the beams of morn lie dead
        On the towers of Venice now,
        Like its glory long ago.
        By the skirts of that gray cloud
        Many-domed Padua proud
        Stands, a peopled solitude,
        'Mid the harvest-shining plain,
        Where the peasant heaps his grain
        In the garner of his foe,
        And the milk-white oxen slow
        With the purple vintage strain,
        Heaped upon the creaking wain,
        That the brutal Celt may swill
        Drunken sleep with savage will;
        And the sickle to the sword
        Lies unchanged, though many a lord,
        Like a weed whose shade is poison,
        Overgrows this region's foison,
        Sheaves of whom are ripe to come
        To destruction's harvest-home:
        Men must reap the things they sow,
        Force from force must ever flow,
        Or worse; but 'tis a bitter woe
        That love or reason cannot change
        The despot's rage, the slave's revenge.

        Padua, thou within whose walls
        Those mute guests at festivals,
        Son and Mother, Death and Sin,
        Played at dice for Ezzelin,
        Till Death cried, "I win, I win!"
        And Sin cursed to lose the wager,
        But Death promised, to assuage her,
        That he would petition for
        Her to be made Vice-Emperor,
        When the destined years were o'er,
        Over all between the Po
        And the eastern Alpine snow,
        Under the mighty Austrian.
        She smiled so as Sin only can,
        And since that time, ay, long before,
        Both have ruled from shore to shore, -
        That incestuous pair, who follow
        Tyrants as the sun the swallow,
        As Repentance follows Crime,
        And as changes follow Time.

        In thine halls the lamp of learning,
        Padua, now no more is burning;
        Like a meteor, whose wild way
        Is lost over the grave of day,
        It gleams betrayed and to betray:
        Once remotest nations came
        To adore that sacred flame,
        When it lit not many a hearth
        On this cold and gloomy earth:
        Now new fires from antique light
        Spring beneath the wide world's might;
        But their spark lies dead in thee,
        Trampled out by Tyranny.
        As the Norway woodman quells,
        In the depth of piny dells,
        One light flame among the brakes,
        While the boundless forest shakes,
        And its mighty trunks are torn
        By the fire thus lowly born:
        The spark beneath his feet is dead,
        He starts to see the flames it fed
        Howling through the darkened sky
        With a myriad tongues victoriously,
        And sinks down in fear: so thou,
        O Tyranny, beholdest now
        Light around thee, and thou hearest
        The loud flames ascend, and fearest:
        Grovel on the earth; ay, hide
        In the dust thy purple pride!

        Noon descends around me now:
        'Tis the noon of autumn's glow,
        When a soft and purple mist
        Like a vapourous amethyst,
        Or an air-dissolved star
        Mingling light and fragrance, far
        From the curved horizon's bound
        To the point of Heaven's profound,
        Fills the overflowing sky;
        And the plains that silent lie
        Underneath the leaves unsodden
        Where the infant Frost has trodden
        With his morning-winged feet,
        Whose bright print is gleaming yet;
        And the red and golden vines,
        Piercing with their trellised lines
        The rough, dark-skirted wilderness;
        The dun and bladed grass no less,
        Pointing from this hoary tower
        In the windless air; the flower
        Glimmering at my feet; the line
        Of the olive-sandalled Apennine
        In the south dimly islanded;
        And the Alps, whose snows are spread
        High between the clouds and sun;
        And of living things each one;
        And my spirit which so long
        Darkened this swift stream of song, -
        Interpenetrated lie
        By the glory of the sky:
        Be it love, light, harmony,
        Odour, or the soul of all
        Which from Heaven like dew doth fall,
        Or the mind which feeds this verse
        Peopling the lone universe.

        Noon descends, and after noon
        Autumn's evening meets me soon,
        Leading the infantine moon,
        And that one star, which to her
        Almost seems to minister
        Half the crimson light she brings
        From the sunset's radiant springs:
        And the soft dreams of the morn
        (Which like winged winds had borne
        To that silent isle, which lies
        Mid remembered agonies,
        The frail bark of this lone being)
        Pass, to other sufferers fleeing,
        And its ancient pilot, Pain,
        Sits beside the helm again.

        Other flowering isles must be
        In the sea of Life and Agony:
        Other spirits float and flee
        O'er that gulf: even now, perhaps,
        On some rock the wild wave wraps,
        With folded wings they waiting sit
        For my bark, to pilot it
        To some calm and blooming cove,
        Where for me, and those I love,
        May a windless bower be built,
        Far from passion, pain, and guilt,
        In a dell mid lawny hills,
        Which the wild sea-murmur fills,
        And soft sunshine, and the sound
        Of old forests echoing round,
        And the light and smell divine
        Of all flowers that breathe and shine:
        We may live so happy there,
        That the Spirits of the Air,
        Envying us, may even entice
        To our healing Paradise
        The polluting multitude;
        But their rage would be subdued
        By that clime divine and calm,
        And the winds whose wings rain balm
        On the uplifted soul, and leaves
        Under which the bright sea heaves;
        While each breathless interval
        In their whisperings musical
        The inspired soul supplies
        With its own deep melodies;
        And the love which heals all strife
        Circling, like the breath of life,
        All things in that sweet abode
        With its own mild brotherhood:
        They, not it, would change; and soon
        Every sprite beneath the moon
        Would repent its envy vain,
        And the earth grow young again.

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      Lines Written In The Bay Of Lerici

        She left me at the silent time
        When the moon had ceas'd to climb
        The azure path of Heaven's steep,
        And like an albatross asleep,
        Balanc'd on her wings of light,
        Hover'd in the purple night,
        Ere she sought her ocean nest
        In the chambers of the West.
        She left me, and I stay'd alone
        Thinking over every tone
        Which, though silent to the ear,
        The enchanted heart could hear,
        Like notes which die when born, but still
        Haunt the echoes of the hill;
        And feeling ever--oh, too much!--
        The soft vibration of her touch,
        As if her gentle hand, even now,
        Lightly trembled on my brow;
        And thus, although she absent were,
        Memory gave me all of her
        That even Fancy dares to claim:
        Her presence had made weak and tame
        All passions, and I lived alone
        In the time which is our own;
        The past and future were forgot,
        As they had been, and would be, not.
        But soon, the guardian angel gone,
        The daemon reassum'd his throne
        In my faint heart. I dare not speak
        My thoughts, but thus disturb'd and weak
        I sat and saw the vessels glide
        Over the ocean bright and wide,
        Like spirit-winged chariots sent
        O'er some serenest element
        For ministrations strange and far,
        As if to some Elysian star
        Sailed for drink to medicine
        Such sweet and bitter pain as mine.
        And the wind that wing'd their flight
        From the land came fresh and light,
        And the scent of winged flowers,
        And the coolness of the hours
        Of dew, and sweet warmth left by day,
        Were scatter'd o'er the twinkling bay.
        And the fisher with his lamp
        And spear about the low rocks damp
        Crept, and struck the fish which came
        To worship the delusive flame.
        Too happy they, whose pleasure sought
        Extinguishes all sense and thought
        Of the regret that pleasure leaves,
        Destroying life alone, not peace!

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      Love's Philosophy

        The fountains mingle with the river
        And the rivers with the ocean,
        The winds of Heaven mix for ever
        With a sweet emotion;
        Nothing in the world is single,
        All things by a law divine
        In one spirit meet and mingle -
        Why not I with thine?

        See the mountains kiss high Heaven
        And the waves clasp one another;
        No sister-flower would be forgiven
        If it disdained its brother;
        And the sunlight clasps the earth,
        And the moonbeams kiss the sea -
        What are all these kissings worth
        If thou kiss not me?

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      Mont Blanc: Lines Written In The Vale Of Chamouni

        I
        The everlasting universe of things
        Flows through the mind, and rolls its rapid waves,
        Now dark--now glittering--now reflecting gloom--
        Now lending splendour, where from secret springs
        The source of human thought its tribute brings
        Of waters--with a sound but half its own,
        Such as a feeble brook will oft assume,
        In the wild woods, among the mountains lone,
        Where waterfalls around it leap for ever,
        Where woods and winds contend, and a vast river
        Over its rocks ceaselessly bursts and raves.

        II
        Thus thou, Ravine of Arve--dark, deep Ravine--
        Thou many-colour'd, many-voiced vale,
        Over whose pines, and crags, and caverns sail
        Fast cloud-shadows and sunbeams: awful scene,
        Where Power in likeness of the Arve comes down
        From the ice-gulfs that gird his secret throne,
        Bursting through these dark mountains like the flame
        Of lightning through the tempest;--thou dost lie,
        Thy giant brood of pines around thee clinging,
        Children of elder time, in whose devotion
        The chainless winds still come and ever came
        To drink their odours, and their mighty swinging
        To hear--an old and solemn harmony;
        Thine earthly rainbows stretch'd across the sweep
        Of the aethereal waterfall, whose veil
        Robes some unsculptur'd image; the strange sleep
        Which when the voices of the desert fail
        Wraps all in its own deep eternity;
        Thy caverns echoing to the Arve's commotion,
        A loud, lone sound no other sound can tame;
        Thou art pervaded with that ceaseless motion,
        Thou art the path of that unresting sound--
        Dizzy Ravine! and when I gaze on thee
        I seem as in a trance sublime and strange
        To muse on my own separate fantasy,
        My own, my human mind, which passively
        Now renders and receives fast influencings,
        Holding an unremitting interchange
        With the clear universe of things around;
        One legion of wild thoughts, whose wandering wings
        Now float above thy darkness, and now rest
        Where that or thou art no unbidden guest,
        In the still cave of the witch Poesy,
        Seeking among the shadows that pass by
        Ghosts of all things that are, some shade of thee,
        Some phantom, some faint image; till the breast
        From which they fled recalls them, thou art there!

        III
        Some say that gleams of a remoter world
        Visit the soul in sleep, that death is slumber,
        And that its shapes the busy thoughts outnumber
        Of those who wake and live.--I look on high;
        Has some unknown omnipotence unfurl'd
        The veil of life and death? or do I lie
        In dream, and does the mightier world of sleep
        Spread far around and inaccessibly
        Its circles? For the very spirit fails,
        Driven like a homeless cloud from steep to steep
        That vanishes among the viewless gales!
        Far, far above, piercing the infinite sky,
        Mont Blanc appears--still, snowy, and serene;
        Its subject mountains their unearthly forms
        Pile around it, ice and rock; broad vales between
        Of frozen floods, unfathomable deeps,
        Blue as the overhanging heaven, that spread
        And wind among the accumulated steeps;
        A desert peopled by the storms alone,
        Save when the eagle brings some hunter's bone,
        And the wolf tracks her there--how hideously
        Its shapes are heap'd around! rude, bare, and high,
        Ghastly, and scarr'd, and riven.--Is this the scene
        Where the old Earthquake-daemon taught her young
        Ruin? Were these their toys? or did a sea
        Of fire envelop once this silent snow?
        None can reply--all seems eternal now.
        The wilderness has a mysterious tongue
        Which teaches awful doubt, or faith so mild,
        So solemn, so serene, that man may be,
        But for such faith, with Nature reconcil'd;
        Thou hast a voice, great Mountain, to repeal
        Large codes of fraud and woe; not understood
        By all, but which the wise, and great, and good
        Interpret, or make felt, or deeply feel.

        IV
        The fields, the lakes, the forests, and the streams,
        Ocean, and all the living things that dwell
        Within the daedal earth; lightning, and rain,
        Earthquake, and fiery flood, and hurricane,
        The torpor of the year when feeble dreams
        Visit the hidden buds, or dreamless sleep
        Holds every future leaf and flower; the bound
        With which from that detested trance they leap;
        The works and ways of man, their death and birth,
        And that of him and all that his may be;
        All things that move and breathe with toil and sound
        Are born and die; revolve, subside, and swell.
        Power dwells apart in its tranquillity,
        Remote, serene, and inaccessible:
        And this, the naked countenance of earth,
        On which I gaze, even these primeval mountains
        Teach the adverting mind. The glaciers creep
        Like snakes that watch their prey, from their far fountains,
        Slow rolling on; there, many a precipice
        Frost and the Sun in scorn of mortal power
        Have pil'd: dome, pyramid, and pinnacle,
        A city of death, distinct with many a tower
        And wall impregnable of beaming ice.
        Yet not a city, but a flood of ruin
        Is there, that from the boundaries of the sky
        Rolls its perpetual stream; vast pines are strewing
        Its destin'd path, or in the mangled soil
        Branchless and shatter'd stand; the rocks, drawn down
        From yon remotest waste, have overthrown
        The limits of the dead and living world,
        Never to be reclaim'd. The dwelling-place
        Of insects, beasts, and birds, becomes its spoil;
        Their food and their retreat for ever gone,
        So much of life and joy is lost. The race
        Of man flies far in dread; his work and dwelling
        Vanish, like smoke before the tempest's stream,
        And their place is not known. Below, vast caves
        Shine in the rushing torrents' restless gleam,
        Which from those secret chasms in tumult welling
        Meet in the vale, and one majestic River,
        The breath and blood of distant lands, for ever
        Rolls its loud waters to the ocean-waves,
        Breathes its swift vapours to the circling air.

        V
        Mont Blanc yet gleams on high:--the power is there,
        The still and solemn power of many sights,
        And many sounds, and much of life and death.
        In the calm darkness of the moonless nights,
        In the lone glare of day, the snows descend
        Upon that Mountain; none beholds them there,
        Nor when the flakes burn in the sinking sun,
        Or the star-beams dart through them. Winds contend
        Silently there, and heap the snow with breath
        Rapid and strong, but silently! Its home
        The voiceless lightning in these solitudes
        Keeps innocently, and like vapour broods
        Over the snow. The secret Strength of things
        Which governs thought, and to the infinite dome
        Of Heaven is as a law, inhabits thee!
        And what were thou, and earth, and stars, and sea,
        If to the human mind's imaginings
        Silence and solitude were vacancy?

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      Music, When Soft Voices Die

        Music, when soft voices die,
        Vibrates in the memory,
        Odours, when sweet violets sicken,
        Live within the sense they quicken.

        Rose leaves, when the rose is dead,
        Are heaped for the beloved's bed;
        And so thy thoughts, when thou art gone,
        Love itself shall slumber on.

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      Mutability

        We are as clouds that veil the midnight moon;
        How restlessly they speed, and gleam, and quiver,
        Streaking the darkness radiantly! -yet soon
        Night closes round, and they are lost for ever:

        Or like forgotten lyres, whose dissonant strings
        Give various response to each varying blast,
        To whose frail frame no second motion brings
        One mood or modulation like the last.

        We rest. -- A dream has power to poison sleep;
        We rise. -- One wandering thought pollutes the day;
        We feel, conceive or reason, laugh or weep;
        Embrace fond woe, or cast our cares away:

        It is the same! -- For, be it joy or sorrow,
        The path of its departure still is free:
        Man's yesterday may ne'er be like his morrow;
        Nought may endure but Mutablilty.

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      Night

        Swiftly walk o'er the western wave,
        Spirit of Night!
        Out of the misty eastern cave,--
        Where, all the long and lone daylight,
        Thou wovest dreams of joy and fear
        Which make thee terrible and dear,--
        Swift be thy flight!

        Wrap thy form in a mantle grey,
        Star-inwrought!
        Blind with thine hair the eyes of Day;
        Kiss her until she be wearied out.
        Then wander o'er city and sea and land,
        Touching all with thine opiate wand--
        Come, long-sought!

        When I arose and saw the dawn,
        I sigh'd for thee;
        When light rode high, and the dew was gone,
        And noon lay heavy on flower and tree,
        And the weary Day turn'd to his rest,
        Lingering like an unloved guest,
        I sigh'd for thee.

        Thy brother Death came, and cried,
        'Wouldst thou me?'
        Thy sweet child Sleep, the filmy-eyed,
        Murmur'd like a noontide bee,
        'Shall I nestle near thy side?
        Wouldst thou me?'--And I replied,
        'No, not thee!'

        Death will come when thou art dead,
        Soon, too soon--
        Sleep will come when thou art fled.
        Of neither would I ask the boon
        I ask of thee, beloved Night--
        Swift be thine approaching flight,
        Come soon, soon!

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      Ode To The West Wind

        I

        O wild West Wind, thou breath of Autumn's being,
        Thou, from whose unseen presence the leaves dead
        Are driven, like ghosts from an enchanter fleeing,

        Yellow, and black, and pale, and hectic red,
        Pestilence-stricken multitudes: 0 thou,
        Who chariotest to their dark wintry bed

        The wingèd seeds, where they lie cold and low,
        Each like a corpse within its grave,until
        Thine azure sister of the Spring shall blow

        Her clarion o'er the dreaming earth, and fill
        (Driving sweet buds like flocks to feed in air)
        With living hues and odours plain and hill:

        Wild Spirit, which art moving everywhere;
        Destroyer and Preserver; hear, O hear!

        II
        Thou on whose stream, 'mid the steep sky's commotion,
        Loose clouds like Earth's decaying leaves are shed,
        Shook from the tangled boughs of Heaven and Ocean,

        Angels of rain and lightning: there are spread
        On the blue surface of thine airy surge,
        Like the bright hair uplifted from the head

        Of some fierce Maenad, even from the dim verge
        Of the horizon to the zenith's height,
        The locks of the approaching storm. Thou dirge

        Of the dying year, to which this closing night
        Will be the dome of a vast sepulchre
        Vaulted with all thy congregated might

        Of vapours, from whose solid atmosphere
        Black rain, and fire, and hail will burst: O hear!

        III
        Thou who didst waken from his summer dreams
        The blue Mediterranean, where he lay,
        Lulled by the coil of his crystalline streams,

        Beside a pumice isle in Baiae's bay,
        And saw in sleep old palaces and towers
        Quivering within the wave's intenser day,

        All overgrown with azure moss and flowers
        So sweet, the sense faints picturing them! Thou
        For whose path the Atlantic's level powers

        Cleave themselves into chasms, while far below
        The sea-blooms and the oozy woods which wear
        The sapless foliage of the ocean, know

        Thy voice, and suddenly grow grey with fear,
        And tremble and despoil themselves: O hear!

        IV
        If I were a dead leaf thou mightest bear;
        If I were a swift cloud to fly with thee;
        A wave to pant beneath thy power, and share

        The impulse of thy strength, only less free
        Than thou, O Uncontrollable! If even
        I were as in my boyhood, and could be

        The comrade of thy wanderings over Heaven,
        As then, when to outstrip thy skiey speed
        Scarce seemed a vision; I would ne'er have striven

        As thus with thee in prayer in my sore need.
        Oh! lift me as a wave, a leaf, a cloud!
        I fall upon the thorns of life! I bleed!

        A heavy weight of hours has chained and bowed
        One too like thee: tameless, and swift, and proud.

        V
        Make me thy lyre, even as the forest is:
        What if my leaves are falling like its own!
        The tumult of thy mighty harmonies

        Will take from both a deep, autumnal tone,
        Sweet though in sadness. Be thou, Spirit fierce,
        My spirit! Be thou me, impetuous one!

        Drive my dead thoughts over the universe
        Like withered leaves to quicken a new birth!
        And, by the incantation of this verse,

        Scatter, as from an unextinguished hearth
        Ashes and sparks, my words among mankind!
        Be through my lips to unawakened Earth

        The trumpet of a prophecy! O Wind,
        If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?

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      On A Dead Violet

        The odor from the flower is gone
        Which like thy kisses breathed on me;
        The color from the flower is flown
        Which glowed of thee and only thee!

        A shrivelled, lifeless, vacant form,
        It lies on my abandoned breast;
        And mocks the heart, which yet is warm,
        With cold and silent rest.

        I weep--my tears revive it not;
        I sigh--it breathes no more on me:
        Its mute and uncomplaining lot
        Is such as mine should be.

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      On Death

        The pale, the cold, and the moony smile
        Which the meteor beam of a starless night
        Sheds on a lonely and sea-girt isle,
        Ere the dawning of morn's undoubted light,
        Is the flame of life so fickle and wan
        That flits round our steps till their strength is gone.

        O man! hold thee on in courage of soul
        Through the stormy shades of thy wordly way,
        And the billows of clouds that around thee roll
        Shall sleep in the light of a wondrous day,
        Where hell and heaven shall leave thee free
        To the universe of destiny.

        This world is the nurse of all we know,
        This world is the mother of all we feel,
        And the coming of death is a fearful blow
        To a brain unencompass'd by nerves of steel:
        When all that we know, or feel, or see,
        Shall pass like an unreal mystery.

        The secret things of the grave are there,
        Where all but this frame must surely be,
        Though the fine-wrought eye and the wondrous ear
        No longer will live, to hear or to see
        All that is great and all that is strange
        In the boundless realm of unending change.

        Who telleth a tale of unspeaking death?
        Who lifteth the veil of what is to come?
        Who painteth the shadows that are beneath
        The wide-winding caves of the peopled tomb?
        Or uniteth the hopes of what shall be
        With the fears and the love for that which we see?

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      One Sung Of Thee Who Left The Tale Untold

        One sung of thee who left the tale untold,
        Like the false dawns which perish in the bursting;
        Like empty cups of wrought and daedal gold,
        Which mock the lips with air, when they are thirsting.

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      One Word Is Too Often Profaned

        One word is too often profaned
        For me to profane it;
        One feeling too falsely disdained
        For thee to disdain it;
        One hope is too like despair
        For prudence to smother;
        And pity from thee more dear
        Than that from another.

        I can give not what men call love;
        But wilt thou accept not
        The worship the heart lifts above
        And the heavens reject not, --
        The desire of the moth for the star,
        Of the night for the morrow,
        The devotion to something afar
        From the sphere of our sorrow?

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      Ozymandias

        I met a traveller from an antique land
        Who said: "Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
        Stand in the desert... Near them, on the sand,
        Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
        And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
        Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
        Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
        The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed:
        And on the pedestal these words appear:
        'My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
        Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!'
        Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
        Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
        The lone and level sands stretch far away."

      Up

      Poetical Essay

        Millions to fight compell'd, to fight or die
        In mangled heaps on War's red altar lie . . .
        When the legal murders swell the lists of pride;
        When glory's views the titled idiot guide

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      Prometheus Unbound: Act I (Excerpt)

        SCENE.--A Ravine of Icy Rocks in the Indian Caucasus. Prometheus is discovered bound to the Precipice. Panthea and Ione areseated at his feet. Time, night. During the Scene, morning slowly breaks.
        Prometheus.
        Monarch of Gods and Dæmons, and all Spirits
        But One, who throng those bright and rolling worlds
        Which Thou and I alone of living things
        Behold with sleepless eyes! regard this Earth
        Made multitudinous with thy slaves, whom thou
        Requitest for knee-worship, prayer, and praise,
        And toil, and hecatombs of broken hearts,
        With fear and self-contempt and barren hope.
        Whilst me, who am thy foe, eyeless in hate,
        Hast thou made reign and triumph, to thy scorn,
        O'er mine own misery and thy vain revenge.
        Three thousand years of sleep-unsheltered hours,
        And moments aye divided by keen pangs
        Till they seemed years, torture and solitude,
        Scorn and despair,--these are mine empire:--
        More glorious far than that which thou surveyest
        From thine unenvied throne, O Mighty God!
        Almighty, had I deigned to share the shame
        Of thine ill tyranny, and hung not here
        Nailed to this wall of eagle-baffling mountain,
        Black, wintry, dead, unmeasured; without herb,
        Insect, or beast, or shape or sound of life.
        Ah me! alas, pain, pain ever, for ever!

        No change, no pause, no hope! Yet I endure.
        I ask the Earth, have not the mountains felt?
        I ask yon Heaven, the all-beholding Sun,
        Has it not seen? The Sea, in storm or calm,
        Heaven's ever-changing Shadow, spread below,
        Have its deaf waves not heard my agony?
        Ah me! alas, pain, pain ever, for ever!

        The crawling glaciers pierce me with the spears
        Of their moon-freezing crystals, the bright chains
        Eat with their burning cold into my bones.
        Heaven's wingèd hound, polluting from thy lips
        His beak in poison not his own, tears up
        My heart; and shapeless sights come wandering by,
        The ghastly people of the realm of dream,
        Mocking me: and the Earthquake-fiends are charged
        To wrench the rivets from my quivering wounds
        When the rocks split and close again behind:
        While from their loud abysses howling throng
        The genii of the storm, urging the rage
        Of whirlwind, and afflict me with keen hail.
        And yet to me welcome is day and night,
        Whether one breaks the hoar frost of the morn,
        Or starry, dim, and slow, the other climbs
        The leaden-coloured east; for then they lead
        The wingless, crawling hours, one among whom
        --As some dark Priest hales the reluctant victim--
        Shall drag thee, cruel King, to kiss the blood
        From these pale feet, which then might trample thee
        If they disdained not such a prostrate slave.
        Disdain! Ah no! I pity thee. What ruin
        Will hunt thee undefended through wide Heaven!
        How will thy soul, cloven to its depth with terror,
        Gape like a hell within! I speak in grief,
        Not exultation, for I hate no more,
        As then ere misery made me wise. The curse
        Once breathed on thee I would recall. Ye Mountains,
        Whose many-voicèd Echoes, through the mist
        Of cataracts, flung the thunder of that spell!
        Ye icy Springs, stagnant with wrinkling frost,
        Which vibrated to hear me, and then crept
        Shuddering through India! Thou serenest Air,
        Through which the Sun walks burning without beams!
        And ye swift Whirlwinds, who on poisèd wings
        Hung mute and moveless o'er yon hushed abyss,
        As thunder, louder than your own, made rock
        The orbèd world! If then my words had power,
        Though I am changed so that aught evil wish
        Is dead within; although no memory be
        Of what is hate, let them not lose it now!
        What was that curse? for ye all heard me speak....

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      Queen Mab: Part VI (Excerpts)

        "Throughout these infinite orbs of mingling light,
        Of which yon earth is one, is wide diffus'd
        A Spirit of activity and life,
        That knows no term, cessation, or decay;
        That fades not when the lamp of earthly life,
        Extinguish'd in the dampness of the grave,
        Awhile there slumbers, more than when the babe
        In the dim newness of its being feels
        The impulses of sublunary things,
        And all is wonder to unpractis'd sense:
        But, active, steadfast and eternal, still
        Guides the fierce whirlwind, in the tempest roars,
        Cheers in the day, breathes in the balmy groves,
        Strengthens in health, and poisons in disease;
        And in the storm of change, that ceaselessly
        Rolls round the eternal universe and shakes
        Its undecaying battlement, presides,
        Apportioning with irresistible law
        The place each spring of its machine shall fill;
        So that when waves on waves tumultuous heap
        Confusion to the clouds, and fiercely driven
        Heaven's lightnings scorch the uprooted ocean-fords,
        Whilst, to the eye of shipwreck'd mariner,
        Lone sitting on the bare and shuddering rock,
        All seems unlink'd contingency and chance,
        No atom of this turbulence fulfils
        A vague and unnecessitated task,
        Or acts but as it must and ought to act.
        Even the minutest molecule of light,
        That in an April sunbeam's fleeting glow
        Fulfils its destin'd, though invisible work,
        The universal Spirit guides; nor less,
        When merciless ambition, or mad zeal,
        Has led two hosts of dupes to battlefield,
        That, blind, they there may dig each other's graves,
        And call the sad work glory, does it rule
        All passions: not a thought, a will, an act,
        No working of the tyrant's moody mind,
        Nor one misgiving of the slaves who boast
        Their servitude to hide the shame they feel,
        Nor the events enchaining every will,
        That from the depths of unrecorded time
        Have drawn all-influencing virtue, pass
        Unrecogniz'd or unforeseen by thee,
        Soul of the Universe! eternal spring
        Of life and death, of happiness and woe,
        Of all that chequers the phantasmal scene
        That floats before our eyes in wavering light,
        Which gleams but on the darkness of our prison,
        Whose chains and massy walls
        We feel, but cannot see.

        "Spirit of Nature! all-sufficing Power,
        Necessity! thou mother of the world!
        Unlike the God of human error, thou
        Requir'st no prayers or praises; the caprice
        Of man's weak will belongs no more to thee
        Than do the changeful passions of his breast
        To thy unvarying harmony: the slave,
        Whose horrible lusts spread misery o'er the world,
        And the good man, who lifts with virtuous pride
        His being in the sight of happiness
        That springs from his own works; the poison-tree,
        Beneath whose shade all life is wither'd up,
        And the fair oak, whose leafy dome affords
        A temple where the vows of happy love
        Are register'd, are equal in thy sight:
        No love, no hate thou cherishest; revenge
        And favouritism, and worst desire of fame
        Thou know'st not: all that the wide world contains
        Are but thy passive instruments, and thou
        Regard'st them all with an impartial eye,
        Whose joy or pain thy nature cannot feel,
        Because thou hast not human sense,
        Because thou art not human mind.

        "Yes! when the sweeping storm of time
        Has sung its death-dirge o'er the ruin'd fanes
        And broken altars of the almighty Fiend
        Whose name usurps thy honours, and the blood
        Through centuries clotted there has floated down
        The tainted flood of ages, shalt thou live
        Unchangeable! A shrine is rais'd to thee,
        Which, nor the tempest-breath of time,
        Nor the interminable flood
        Over earth's slight pageant rolling,
        Availeth to destroy--
        The sensitive extension of the world.
        That wondrous and eternal fane,
        Where pain and pleasure, good and evil join,
        To do the will of strong necessity,
        And life, in multitudinous shapes,
        Still pressing forward where no term can be,
        Like hungry and unresting flame
        Curls round the eternal columns of its strength."

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      Rarely, Rarely, Comest Thou

        Rarely, rarely comest thou,
        Spirit of Delight!
        Wherefore hast thou left me now
        Many a day and night?
        Many a weary night and day
        'Tis since thou art fled away.

        How shall ever one like me
        Win thee back again?
        With the joyous and the free
        Thou wilt scoff at pain.
        Spirit false! thou hast forgot
        All but those who need thee not.

        As a lizard with the shade
        Of a trembling leaf,
        Thou with sorrow art dismayed;
        Even the sighs of grief
        Reproach thee, that thou art not near,
        And reproach thou wilt not her.

        Let me set my mournful ditty
        To a merry measure;--
        Thou wilt never come for pity,
        Thou wilt come for pleasure;
        Pity then will cut away
        Those cruel wings, and thou wilt stay.

        I love all that thou lovest,
        Spirit of Delight!
        The fresh Earth in new leaves dressed,
        And the starry night;
        Autumn evening, and the morn
        When the golden mists are born.

        I love snow and all the forms
        Of the radiant frost;
        I love waves, and winds, and storms,
        Everything almost
        Which is Nature's, and may be
        Untainted by man's misery.

        I love tranquil solitude,
        And such society
        As is quiet, wise, and good;
        Between thee and me
        What difference? but thou dost possess
        The things I seek, not love them less.

        I love Love--though he has wings,
        And like light can flee,
        But above all other things,
        Spirit, I love thee--
        Thou art love and life! O come!
        Make once more my heart thy home!

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      Remorse

        Away! the moor is dark beneath the moon,
        Rapid clouds have drunk the last pale beam of even:
        Away! the gathering winds will call the darkness soon,
        And profoundest midnight shroud the serene lights of heaven.
        Pause not! the time is past! Every voice cries, 'Away!'
        Tempt not with one last tear thy friend's ungentle mood:
        Thy lover's eye, so glazed and cold, dares not entreat thy stay:
        Duty and dereliction guide thee back to solitude.

        Away, away! to thy sad and silent home;
        Pour bitter tears on its desolated hearth;
        Watch the dim shades as like ghosts they go and come,
        And complicate strange webs of melancholy mirth.
        The leaves of wasted autumn woods shall float around thine head,
        The blooms of dewy Spring shall gleam beneath thy feet:
        But thy soul or this world must fade in the frost that binds the dead,
        Ere midnight's frown and morning's smile, ere thou and peace, may
        meet.

        The cloud shadows of midnight possess their own repose,
        For the weary winds are silent, or the moon is in the deep;
        Some respite to its turbulence unresting ocean knows;
        Whatever moves or toils or grieves hath its appointed sleep.
        Thou in the grave shalt rest:--yet, till the phantoms flee,
        Which that house and heath and garden made dear to thee erewhile,
        Thy remembrance and repentance and deep musings are not free
        From the music of two voices, and the light of one sweet smile.

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      .Rosalind And Helen: A Modern Eclogue

        ROSALIND, HELEN, and her Child.

        SCENE. The Shore of the Lake of Como.

        HELEN
        Come hither, my sweet Rosalind.
        'T is long since thou and I have met;
        And yet methinks it were unkind
        Those moments to forget.
        Come, sit by me. I see thee stand
        By this lone lake, in this far land,
        Thy loose hair in the light wind flying,
        Thy sweet voice to each tone of even
        United, and thine eyes replying
        To the hues of yon fair heaven.
        Come, gentle friend! wilt sit by me?
        And be as thou wert wont to be
        Ere we were disunited?
        None doth behold us now; the power
        That led us forth at this lone hour
        Will be but ill requited
        If thou depart in scorn. Oh, come,
        And talk of our abandoned home!
        Remember, this is Italy,
        And we are exiles. Talk with me
        Of that our land, whose wilds and floods,
        Barren and dark although they be,
        Were dearer than these chestnut woods;
        Those heathy paths, that inland stream,
        And the blue mountains, shapes which seem
        Like wrecks of childhood's sunny dream;
        Which that we have abandoned now,
        Weighs on the heart like that remorse
        Which altered friendship leaves. I seek
        No more our youthful intercourse.
        That cannot be! Rosalind, speak,
        Speak to me! Leave me not! When morn did come,
        When evening fell upon our common home,
        When for one hour we parted,--do not frown;
        I would not chide thee, though thy faith is broken;
        But turn to me. Oh! by this cherished token
        Of woven hair, which thou wilt not disown,
        Turn, as 't were but the memory of me,
        And not my scornèd self who prayed to thee!

        ROSALIND
        Is it a dream, or do I see
        And hear frail Helen? I would flee
        Thy tainting touch; but former years
        Arise, and bring forbidden tears;
        And my o'erburdened memory
        Seeks yet its lost repose in thee.
        I share thy crime. I cannot choose
        But weep for thee; mine own strange grief
        But seldom stoops to such relief;
        Nor ever did I love thee less,
        Though mourning o'er thy wickedness
        Even with a sister's woe. I knew
        What to the evil world is due,
        And therefore sternly did refuse
        To link me with the infamy
        Of one so lost as Helen. Now,
        Bewildered by my dire despair,
        Wondering I blush, and weep that thou
        Shouldst love me still--thou only!--There,
        Let us sit on that gray stone
        Till our mournful talk be done.

        HELEN
        Alas! not there; I cannot bear
        The murmur of this lake to hear.
        A sound from there, Rosalind dear,
        Which never yet I heard elsewhere
        But in our native land, recurs,
        Even here where now we meet. It stirs
        Too much of suffocating sorrow!
        In the dell of yon dark chestnut wood
        Is a stone seat, a solitude
        Less like our own. The ghost of peace
        Will not desert this spot. To-morrow,
        If thy kind feelings should not cease,
        We may sit here.

        ROSALIND
        Thou lead, my sweet,
        And I will follow.

        HENRY
        'T is Fenici's seat
        Where you are going? This is not the way,
        Mamma; it leads behind those trees that grow
        Close to the little river.

        HELEN
        Yes, I know;
        I was bewildered. Kiss me and be gay,
        Dear boy; why do you sob?

        HENRY
        I do not know;
        But it might break any one's heart to see
        You and the lady cry so bitterly.

        HELEN
        It is a gentle child, my friend. Go home,
        Henry, and play with Lilla till I come.
        We only cried with joy to see each other;
        We are quite merry now. Good night.

        The boy
        Lifted a sudden look upon his mother,
        And, in the gleam of forced and hollow joy
        Which lightened o'er her face, laughed with the glee
        Of light and unsuspecting infancy,
        And whispered in her ear, 'Bring home with you
        That sweet strange lady-friend.' Then off he flew,
        But stopped, and beckoned with a meaning smile,
        Where the road turned. Pale Rosalind the while,
        Hiding her face, stood weeping silently.

        In silence then they took the way
        Beneath the forest's solitude.
        It was a vast and antique wood,
        Through which they took their way;
        And the gray shades of evening
        O'er that green wilderness did fling
        Still deeper solitude.
        Pursuing still the path that wound
        The vast and knotted trees around,
        Through which slow shades were wandering,
        To a deep lawny dell they came,
        To a stone seat beside a spring,
        O'er which the columned wood did frame
        A roofless temple, like the fane
        Where, ere new creeds could faith obtain,
        Man's early race once knelt beneath
        The overhanging deity.
        O'er this fair fountain hung the sky,
        Now spangled with rare stars. The snake,
        The pale snake, that with eager breath
        Creeps here his noontide thirst to slake,
        Is beaming with many a mingled hue,
        Shed from yon dome's eternal blue,
        When he floats on that dark and lucid flood
        In the light of his own loveliness;
        And the birds, that in the fountain dip
        Their plumes, with fearless fellowship
        Above and round him wheel and hover.
        The fitful wind is heard to stir
        One solitary leaf on high;
        The chirping of the grasshopper
        Fills every pause. There is emotion
        In all that dwells at noontide here;
        Then through the intricate wild wood
        A maze of life and light and motion
        Is woven. But there is stillness now--
        Gloom, and the trance of Nature now.
        The snake is in his cave asleep;
        The birds are on the branches dreaming;
        Only the shadows creep;
        Only the glow-worm is gleaming;
        Only the owls and the nightingales
        Wake in this dell when daylight fails,
        And gray shades gather in the woods;
        And the owls have all fled far away
        In a merrier glen to hoot and play,
        For the moon is veiled and sleeping now.
        The accustomed nightingale still broods
        On her accustomed bough,
        But she is mute; for her false mate
        Has fled and left her desolate.

        This silent spot tradition old
        Had peopled with the spectral dead.
        For the roots of the speaker's hair felt cold
        And stiff, as with tremulous lips he told
        That a hellish shape at midnight led
        The ghost of a youth with hoary hair,
        And sate on the seat beside him there,
        Till a naked child came wandering by,
        When the fiend would change to a lady fair!
        A fearful tale! the truth was worse;
        For here a sister and a brother
        Had solemnized a monstrous curse,
        Meeting in this fair solitude;
        For beneath yon very sky,
        Had they resigned to one another
        Body and soul. The multitude,
        Tracking them to the secret wood,
        Tore limb from limb their innocent child,
        And stabbed and trampled on its mother;
        But the youth, for God's most holy grace,
        A priest saved to burn in the market-place.

        Duly at evening Helen came
        To this lone silent spot,
        From the wrecks of a tale of wilder sorrow
        So much of sympathy to borrow
        As soothed her own dark lot.
        Duly each evening from her home,
        With her fair child would Helen come
        To sit upon that antique seat,
        While the hues of day were pale;
        And the bright boy beside her feet
        Now lay, lifting at intervals
        His broad blue eyes on her;
        Now, where some sudden impulse calls,
        Following. He was a gentle boy
        And in all gentle sorts took joy.
        Oft in a dry leaf for a boat,
        With a small feather for a sail,
        His fancy on that spring would float,
        If some invisible breeze might stir
        Its marble calm; and Helen smiled
        Through tears of awe on the gay child,
        To think that a boy as fair as he,
        In years which never more may be,
        By that same fount, in that same wood,
        The like sweet fancies had pursued;
        And that a mother, lost like her,
        Had mournfully sate watching him.
        Then all the scene was wont to swim
        Through the mist of a burning tear.
        For many months had Helen known
        This scene; and now she thither turned
        Her footsteps, not alone.
        The friend whose falsehood she had mourned
        Sate with her on that seat of stone.
        Silent they sate; for evening,
        And the power its glimpses bring,
        Had with one awful shadow quelled
        The passion of their grief. They sate
        With linkèd hands, for unrepelled
        Had Helen taken Rosalind's.
        Like the autumn wind, when it unbinds
        The tangled locks of the nightshade's hair
        Which is twined in the sultry summer air
        Round the walls of an outworn sepulchre,
        Did the voice of Helen, sad and sweet,
        And the sound of her heart that ever beat
        As with sighs and words she breathed on her,
        Unbind the knots of her friend's despair,
        Till her thoughts were free to float and flow;
        And from her laboring bosom now,
        Like the bursting of a prisoned flame,
        The voice of a long-pent sorrow came.

        ROSALIND
        I saw the dark earth fall upon
        The coffin; and I saw the stone
        Laid over him whom this cold breast
        Had pillowed to his nightly rest!
        Thou knowest not, thou canst not know
        My agony. Oh! I could not weep.
        The sources whence such blessings flow
        Were not to be approached by me!
        But I could smile, and I could sleep,
        Though with a self-accusing heart.
        In morning's light, in evening's gloom,
        I watched--and would not thence depart--
        My husband's unlamented tomb.
        My children knew their sire was gone;
        But when I told them, 'He is dead,'
        They laughed aloud in frantic glee,
        They clapped their hands and leaped about,
        Answering each other's ecstasy
        With many a prank and merry shout.
        But I sate silent and alone,
        Wrapped in the mock of mourning weed.

        They laughed, for he was dead; but I
        Sate with a hard and tearless eye,
        And with a heart which would deny
        The secret joy it could not quell,
        Low muttering o'er his loathèd name;
        Till from that self-contention came
        Remorse where sin was none; a hell
        Which in pure spirits should not dwell.

        I 'll tell thee truth. He was a man
        Hard, selfish, loving only gold,
        Yet full of guile; his pale eyes ran
        With tears which each some falsehood told,
        And oft his smooth and bridled tongue
        Would give the lie to his flushing cheek;
        He was a coward to the strong;
        He was a tyrant to the weak,
        On whom his vengeance he would wreak;
        For scorn, whose arrows search the heart,
        From many a stranger's eye would dart,
        And on his memory cling, and follow
        His soul to its home so cold and hollow.
        He was a tyrant to the weak,
        And we were such, alas the day!
        Oft, when my little ones at play
        Were in youth's natural lightness gay,
        Or if they listened to some tale
        Of travellers, or of fairyland,
        When the light from the wood-fire's dying brand
        Flashed on their faces,--if they heard
        Or thought they heard upon the stair
        His footstep, the suspended word
        Died on my lips; we all grew pale;
        The babe at my bosom was hushed with fear
        If it thought it heard its father near;
        And my two wild boys would near my knee
        Cling, cowed and cowering fearfully.

        I 'll tell thee truth: I loved another.
        His name in my ear was ever ringing,
        His form to my brain was ever clinging;
        Yet, if some stranger breathed that name,
        My lips turned white, and my heart beat fast.
        My nights were once haunted by dreams of flame,
        My days were dim in the shadow cast
        By the memory of the same!
        Day and night, day and night,
        He was my breath and life and light,
        For three short years, which soon were passed.
        On the fourth, my gentle mother
        Led me to the shrine, to be
        His sworn bride eternally.
        And now we stood on the altar stair,
        When my father came from a distant land,
        And with a loud and fearful cry
        Rushed between us suddenly.
        I saw the stream of his thin gray hair,
        I saw his lean and lifted hand,
        And heard his words--and live! O God!
        Wherefore do I live?--'Hold, hold!'
        He cried, 'I tell thee 't is her brother!
        Thy mother, boy, beneath the sod
        Of yon churchyard rests in her shroud so cold;
        I am now weak, and pale, and old;
        We were once dear to one another,
        I and that corpse! Thou art our child!'
        Then with a laugh both long and wild
        The youth upon the pavement fell.
        They found him dead! All looked on me,
        The spasms of my despair to see;
        But I was calm. I went away;
        I was clammy-cold like clay.
        I did not weep; I did not speak;
        But day by day, week after week,
        I walked about like a corpse alive.
        Alas! sweet friend, you must believe
        This heart is stone--it did not break.

        My father lived a little while,
        But all might see that he was dying,
        He smiled with such a woful smile.
        When he was in the churchyard lying
        Among the worms, we grew quite poor,
        So that no one would give us bread;
        My mother looked at me, and said
        Faint words of cheer, which only meant
        That she could die and be content;
        So I went forth from the same church door
        To another husband's bed.
        And this was he who died at last,
        When weeks and months and years had passed,
        Through which I firmly did fulfil
        My duties, a devoted wife,
        With the stern step of vanquished will
        Walking beneath the night of life,
        Whose hours extinguished, like slow rain
        Falling forever, pain by pain,
        The very hope of death's dear rest;
        Which, since the heart within my breast
        Of natural life was dispossessed,
        Its strange sustainer there had been.

        When flowers were dead, and grass was green
        Upon my mother's grave--that mother
        Whom to outlive, and cheer, and make
        My wan eyes glitter for her sake,
        Was my vowed task, the single care
        Which once gave life to my despair--
        When she was a thing that did not stir,
        And the crawling worms were cradling her
        To a sleep more deep and so more sweet
        Than a baby's rocked on its nurse's knee,
        I lived; a living pulse then beat
        Beneath my heart that awakened me.
        What was this pulse so warm and free?
        Alas! I knew it could not be
        My own dull blood. 'T was like a thought
        Of liquid love, that spread and wrought
        Under my bosom and in my brain,
        And crept with the blood through every vein,
        And hour by hour, day after day,
        The wonder could not charm away
        But laid in sleep my wakeful pain,
        Until I knew it was a child,
        And then I wept. For long, long years
        These frozen eyes had shed no tears;
        But now--'t was the season fair and mild
        When April has wept itself to May;
        I sate through the sweet sunny day
        By my window bowered round with leaves,
        And down my cheeks the quick tears ran
        Like twinkling rain-drops from the eaves,
        When warm spring showers are passing o'er.
        O Helen, none can ever tell
        The joy it was to weep once more!

        I wept to think how hard it were
        To kill my babe, and take from it
        The sense of light, and the warm air,
        And my own fond and tender care,
        And love and smiles; ere I knew yet
        That these for it might, as for me,
        Be the masks of a grinning mockery.
        And haply, I would dream, 't were sweet
        To feed it from my faded breast,
        Or mark my own heart's restless beat
        And watch the growing soul beneath
        Dawn in faint smiles; and hear its breath,
        Half interrupted by calm sighs,
        And search the depth of its fair eyes
        For long departed memories!
        And so I lived till that sweet load
        Was lightened. Darkly forward flowed
        The stream of years, and on it bore
        Two shapes of gladness to my sight;
        Two other babes, delightful more,
        In my lost soul's abandoned night,
        Than their own country ships may be
        Sailing towards wrecked mariners
        Who cling to the rock of a wintry sea.
        For each, as it came, brought soothing tears;
        And a loosening warmth, as each one lay
        Sucking the sullen milk away,
        About my frozen heart did play,
        And weaned it, oh, how painfully--
        As they themselves were weaned each one
        From that sweet food--even from the thirst
        Of death, and nothingness, and rest,
        Strange inmate of a living breast,
        Which all that I had undergone
        Of grief and shame, since she who first
        The gates of that dark refuge closed
        Came to my sight, and almost burst
        The seal of that Lethean spring--
        But these fair shadows interposed.
        For all delights are shadows now!
        And from my brain to my dull brow
        The heavy tears gather and flow.
        I cannot speak--oh, let me weep!

        The tears which fell from her wan eyes
        Glimmered among the moonlight dew.
        Her deep hard sobs and heavy sighs
        Their echoes in the darkness threw.
        When she grew calm, she thus did keep
        The tenor of her tale:--

        He died;
        I know not how; he was not old,
        If age be numbered by its years;
        But he was bowed and bent with fears,
        Pale with the quenchless thirst of gold,
        Which, like fierce fever, left him weak;
        And his strait lip and bloated cheek
        Were warped in spasms by hollow sneers;
        And selfish cares with barren plough,
        Not age, had lined his narrow brow,
        And foul and cruel thoughts, which feed
        Upon the withering life within,
        Like vipers on some poisonous weed.
        Whether his ill were death or sin
        None knew, until he died indeed,
        And then men owned they were the same.

        Seven days within my chamber lay
        That corse, and my babes made holiday.
        At last, I told them what is death.
        The eldest, with a kind of shame,
        Came to my knees with silent breath,
        And sate awe-stricken at my feet;
        And soon the others left their play,
        And sate there too. It is unmeet
        To shed on the brief flower of youth
        The withering knowledge of the grave.
        From me remorse then wrung that truth.
        I could not bear the joy which gave
        Too just a response to mine own.
        In vain. I dared not feign a groan;
        And in their artless looks I saw,
        Between the mists of fear and awe,
        That my own thought was theirs; and they
        Expressed it not in words, but said,
        Each in its heart, how every day
        Will pass in happy work and play,
        Now he is dead and gone away!

        After the funeral all our kin
        Assembled, and the will was read.
        My friend, I tell thee, even the dead
        Have strength, their putrid shrouds within,
        To blast and torture. Those who live
        Still fear the living, but a corse
        Is merciless, and Power doth give
        To such pale tyrants half the spoil
        He rends from those who groan and toil,
        Because they blush not with remorse
        Among their crawling worms. Behold,
        I have no child! my tale grows old
        With grief, and staggers; let it reach
        The limits of my feeble speech,
        And languidly at length recline
        On the brink of its own grave and mine.

        Thou knowest what a thing is Poverty
        Among the fallen on evil days.
        'T is Crime, and Fear, and Infamy,
        And houseless Want in frozen ways
        Wandering ungarmented, and Pain,
        And, worse than all, that inward stain,
        Foul Self-contempt, which drowns in sneers
        Youth's starlight smile, and makes its tears
        First like hot gall, then dry forever!
        And well thou knowest a mother never
        Could doom her children to this ill,
        And well he knew the same. The will
        Imported that, if e'er again
        I sought my children to behold,
        Or in my birthplace did remain
        Beyond three days, whose hours were told,
        They should inherit nought; and he,
        To whom next came their patrimony,
        A sallow lawyer, cruel and cold,
        Aye watched me, as the will was read,
        With eyes askance, which sought to see
        The secrets of my agony;
        And with close lips and anxious brow
        Stood canvassing still to and fro
        The chance of my resolve, and all
        The dead man's caution just did call;
        For in that killing lie 't was said--
        'She is adulterous, and doth hold
        In secret that the Christian creed
        Is false, and therefore is much need
        That I should have a care to save
        My children from eternal fire.'
        Friend, he was sheltered by the grave,
        And therefore dared to be a liar!
        In truth, the Indian on the pyre
        Of her dead husband, half consumed,
        As well might there be false as I
        To those abhorred embraces doomed,
        Far worse than fire's brief agony.
        As to the Christian creed, if true
        Or false, I never questioned it;
        I took it as the vulgar do;
        Nor my vexed soul had leisure yet
        To doubt the things men say, or deem
        That they are other than they seem.

        All present who those crimes did hear,
        In feigned or actual scorn and fear,
        Men, women, children, slunk away,
        Whispering with self-contented pride
        Which half suspects its own base lie.
        I spoke to none, nor did abide,
        But silently I went my way,
        Nor noticed I where joyously
        Sate my two younger babes at play
        In the courtyard through which I passed;
        But went with footsteps firm and fast
        Till I came to the brink of the ocean green,
        And there, a woman with gray hairs,
        Who had my mother's servant been,
        Kneeling, with many tears and prayers,
        Made me accept a purse of gold,
        Half of the earnings she had kept
        To refuge her when weak and old.
        With woe, which never sleeps or slept,
        I wander now. 'T is a vain thought--
        But on yon Alp, whose snowy head
        'Mid the azure air is islanded,
        (We see it--o'er the flood of cloud,
        Which sunrise from its eastern caves
        Drives, wrinkling into golden waves,
        Hung with its precipices proud--
        From that gray stone where first we met)
        There--now who knows the dead feel nought?--
        Should be my grave; for he who yet
        Is my soul's soul once said: ''T were sweet
        'Mid stars and lightnings to abide,
        And winds, and lulling snows that beat
        With their soft flakes the mountain wide,
        Where weary meteor lamps repose,
        And languid storms their pinions close,
        And all things strong and bright and pure,
        And ever during, aye endure.
        Who knows, if one were buried there,
        But these things might our spirits make,
        Amid the all-surrounding air,
        Their own eternity partake?'
        Then 't was a wild and playful saying
        At which I laughed or seemed to laugh.
        They were his words--now heed my praying,
        And let them be my epitaph.
        Thy memory for a term may be
        My monument. Wilt remember me?
        I know thou wilt; and canst forgive,
        Whilst in this erring world to live
        My soul disdained not, that I thought
        Its lying forms were worthy aught,
        And much less thee.

        HELEN
        Oh, speak not so!
        But come to me and pour thy woe
        Into this heart, full though it be,
        Aye overflowing with its own.
        I thought that grief had severed me
        From all beside who weep and groan,
        Its likeness upon earth to be--
        Its express image; but thou art
        More wretched. Sweet, we will not part
        Henceforth, if death be not division;
        If so, the dead feel no contrition.
        But wilt thou hear, since last we parted,
        All that has left me broken-hearted?

        ROSALIND
        Yes, speak. The faintest stars are scarcely shorn
        Of their thin beams by that delusive morn
        Which sinks again in darkness, like the light
        Of early love, soon lost in total night.

        HELEN
        Alas! Italian winds are mild,
        But my bosom is cold--wintry cold;
        When the warm air weaves, among the fresh leaves,
        Soft music, my poor brain is wild,
        And I am weak like a nursling child,
        Though my soul with grief is gray and old.

        ROSALIND
        Weep not at thine own words, though they must make
        Me weep. What is thy tale?

        HELEN
        I fear 't will shake
        Thy gentle heart with tears. Thou well
        Rememberest when we met no more;
        And, though I dwelt with Lionel,
        That friendless caution pierced me sore
        With grief; a wound my spirit bore
        Indignantly--but when he died,
        With him lay dead both hope and pride.

        Alas! all hope is buried now.
        But then men dreamed the aged earth
        Was laboring in that mighty birth
        Which many a poet and a sage
        Has aye foreseen--the happy age
        When truth and love shall dwell below
        Among the works and ways of men;
        Which on this world not power but will
        Even now is wanting to fulfil.

        Among mankind what thence befell
        Of strife, how vain, is known too well;
        When Liberty's dear pæan fell
        'Mid murderous howls. To Lionel,
        Though of great wealth and lineage high,
        Yet through those dungeon walls there came
        Thy thrilling light, O Liberty!
        And as the meteor's midnight flame
        Startles the dreamer, sun-like truth
        Flashed on his visionary youth,
        And filled him, not with love, but faith,
        And hope, and courage mute in death;
        For love and life in him were twins,
        Born at one birth. In every other
        First life, then love, its course begins,
        Though they be children of one mother;
        And so through this dark world they fleet
        Divided, till in death they meet;
        But he loved all things ever. Then
        He passed amid the strife of men,
        And stood at the throne of armèd power
        Pleading for a world of woe.
        Secure as one on a rock-built tower
        O'er the wrecks which the surge trails to and fro,
        'Mid the passions wild of humankind
        He stood, like a spirit calming them;
        For, it was said, his words could bind
        Like music the lulled crowd, and stem
        That torrent of unquiet dream
        Which mortals truth and reason deem,
        But is revenge and fear and pride.
        Joyous he was; and hope and peace
        On all who heard him did abide,
        Raining like dew from his sweet talk,
        As where the evening star may walk
        Along the brink of the gloomy seas,
        Liquid mists of splendor quiver.
        His very gestures touched to tears
        The unpersuaded tyrant, never
        So moved before; his presence stung
        The torturers with their victim's pain,
        And none knew how; and through their ears
        The subtle witchcraft of his tongue
        Unlocked the hearts of those who keep
        Gold, the world's bond of slavery.
        Men wondered, and some sneered to see
        One sow what he could never reap;
        For he is rich, they said, and young,
        And might drink from the depths of luxury.
        If he seeks fame, fame never crowned
        The champion of a trampled creed;
        If he seeks power, power is enthroned
        'Mid ancient rights and wrongs, to feed
        Which hungry wolves with praise and spoil
        Those who would sit near power must toil;
        And such, there sitting, all may see.
        What seeks he? All that others seek
        He casts away, like a vile weed
        Which the sea casts unreturningly.
        That poor and hungry men should break
        The laws which wreak them toil and scorn
        We understand; but Lionel,
        We know, is rich and nobly born.
        So wondered they; yet all men loved
        Young Lionel, though few approved;
        All but the priests, whose hatred fell
        Like the unseen blight of a smiling day,
        The withering honey-dew which clings
        Under the bright green buds of May
        Whilst they unfold their emerald wings;
        For he made verses wild and queer
        On the strange creeds priests hold so dear
        Because they bring them land and gold.
        Of devils and saints and all such gear
        He made tales which whoso heard or read
        Would laugh till he were almost dead.
        So this grew a proverb: 'Don't get old
        Till Lionel's Banquet in Hell you hear,
        And then you will laugh yourself young again.'
        So the priests hated him, and he
        Repaid their hate with cheerful glee.

        Ah, smiles and joyance quickly died,
        For public hope grew pale and dim
        In an altered time and tide,
        And in its wasting withered him,
        As a summer flower that blows too soon
        Droops in the smile of the waning moon,
        When it scatters through an April night
        The frozen dews of wrinkling blight.
        None now hoped more. Gray Power was seated
        Safely on her ancestral throne;
        And Faith, the Python, undefeated
        Even to its blood-stained steps dragged on
        Her foul and wounded train; and men
        Were trampled and deceived again,
        And words and shows again could bind
        The wailing tribes of humankind
        In scorn and famine. Fire and blood
        Raged round the raging multitude,
        To fields remote by tyrants sent
        To be the scornèd instrument
        With which they drag from mines of gore
        The chains their slaves yet ever wore;
        And in the streets men met each other,
        And by old altars and in halls,
        And smiled again at festivals.
        But each man found in his heart's brother
        Cold cheer; for all, though half deceived,
        The outworn creeds again believed,
        And the same round anew began
        Which the weary world yet ever ran.

        Many then wept, not tears, but gall,
        Within their hearts, like drops which fall
        Wasting the fountain-stone away.
        And in that dark and evil day
        Did all desires and thoughts that claim
        Men's care--ambition, friendship, fame,
        Love, hope, though hope was now despair--
        Indue the colors of this change,
        As from the all-surrounding air
        The earth takes hues obscure and strange,
        When storm and earthquake linger there.

        And so, my friend, it then befell
        To many,--most to Lionel,
        Whose hope was like the life of youth
        Within him, and when dead became
        A spirit of unresting flame,
        Which goaded him in his distress
        Over the world's vast wilderness.
        Three years he left his native land,
        And on the fourth, when he returned,
        None knew him; he was stricken deep
        With some disease of mind, and turned
        Into aught unlike Lionel.
        On him--on whom, did he pause in sleep,
        Serenest smiles were wont to keep,
        And, did he wake, a wingèd band
        Of bright Persuasions, which had fed
        On his sweet lips and liquid eyes,
        Kept their swift pinions half outspread
        To do on men his least command--
        On him, whom once 't was paradise
        Even to behold, now misery lay.
        In his own heart 't was merciless--
        To all things else none may express
        Its innocence and tenderness.

        'T was said that he had refuge sought
        In love from his unquiet thought
        In distant lands, and been deceived
        By some strange show; for there were found,
        Blotted with tears--as those relieved
        By their own words are wont to do--
        These mournful verses on the ground,
        By all who read them blotted too.

        'How am I changed! my hopes were once like fire;
        I loved, and I believed that life was love.
        How am I lost! on wings of swift desire
        Among Heaven's winds my spirit once did move.
        I slept, and silver dreams did aye inspire
        My liquid sleep; I woke, and did approve
        All Nature to my heart, and thought to make
        A paradise of earth for one sweet sake.

        'I love, but I believe in love no more.
        I feel desire, but hope not. Oh, from sleep
        Most vainly must my weary brain implore
        Its long lost flattery now! I wake to weep,
        And sit through the long day gnawing the core
        Of my bitter heart, and, like a miser, keep--
        Since none in what I feel take pain or pleasure--
        To my own soul its self-consuming treasure.'

        He dwelt beside me near the sea;
        And oft in evening did we meet,
        When the waves, beneath the starlight, flee
        O'er the yellow sands with silver feet,
        And talked. Our talk was sad and sweet,
        Till slowly from his mien there passed
        The desolation which it spoke;
        And smiles--as when the lightning's blast
        Has parched some heaven-delighting oak,
        The next spring shows leaves pale and rare,
        But like flowers delicate and fair,
        On its rent boughs--again arrayed
        His countenance in tender light;
        His words grew subtle fire, which made
        The air his hearers breathed delight;
        His motions, like the winds, were free,
        Which bend the bright grass gracefully,
        Then fade away in circlets faint;
        And wingèd Hope--on which upborne
        His soul seemed hovering in his eyes,
        Like some bright spirit newly born
        Floating amid the sunny skies--
        Sprang forth from his rent heart anew.
        Yet o'er his talk, and looks, and mien,
        Tempering their loveliness too keen,
        Past woe its shadow backward threw;
        Till, like an exhalation spread
        From flowers half drunk with evening dew,
        They did become infectious--sweet
        And subtle mists of sense and thought,
        Which wrapped us soon, when we might meet,
        Almost from our own looks and aught
        The wild world holds. And so his mind
        Was healed, while mine grew sick with fear;
        For ever now his health declined,
        Like some frail bark which cannot bear
        The impulse of an altered wind,
        Though prosperous; and my heart grew full,
        'Mid its new joy, of a new care;
        For his cheek became, not pale, but fair,
        As rose-o'ershadowed lilies are;
        And soon his deep and sunny hair,
        In this alone less beautiful,
        Like grass in tombs grew wild and rare.
        The blood in his translucent veins
        Beat, not like animal life, but love
        Seemed now its sullen springs to move,
        When life had failed, and all its pains;
        And sudden sleep would seize him oft
        Like death, so calm,--but that a tear,
        His pointed eye-lashes between,
        Would gather in the light serene
        Of smiles whose lustre bright and soft
        Beneath lay undulating there.
        His breath was like inconstant flame
        As eagerly it went and came;
        And I hung o'er him in his sleep,
        Till, like an image in the lake
        Which rains disturb, my tears would break
        The shadow of that slumber deep.
        Then he would bid me not to weep,
        And say, with flattery false yet sweet,
        That death and he could never meet,
        If I would never part with him.
        And so we loved, and did unite
        All that in us was yet divided;
        For when he said, that many a rite,
        By men to bind but once provided,
        Could not be shared by him and me,
        Or they would kill him in their glee,
        I shuddered, and then laughing said--
        'We will have rites our faith to bind,
        But our church shall be the starry night,
        Our altar the grassy earth outspread,
        And our priest the muttering wind.'

        'T was sunset as I spoke. One star
        Had scarce burst forth, when from afar
        The ministers of misrule sent
        Seized upon Lionel, and bore
        His chained limbs to a dreary tower,
        In the midst of a city vast and wide.
        For he, they said, from his mind had bent
        Against their gods keen blasphemy,
        For which, though his soul must roasted be
        In hell's red lakes immortally,
        Yet even on earth must he abide
        The vengeance of their slaves: a trial,
        I think, men call it. What avail
        Are prayers and tears, which chase denial
        From the fierce savage nursed in hate?
        What the knit soul that pleading and pale
        Makes wan the quivering cheek which late
        It painted with its own delight?
        We were divided. As I could,
        I stilled the tingling of my blood,
        And followed him in their despite,
        As a widow follows, pale and wild,
        The murderers and corse of her only child;
        And when we came to the prison door,
        And I prayed to share his dungeon floor
        With prayers which rarely have been spurned,
        And when men drove me forth, and I
        Stared with blank frenzy on the sky,--
        A farewell look of love he turned,
        Half calming me; then gazed awhile,
        As if through that black and massy pile,
        And through the crowd around him there,
        And through the dense and murky air,
        And the thronged streets, he did espy
        What poets know and prophesy;
        And said, with voice that made them shiver
        And clung like music in my brain,
        And which the mute walls spoke again
        Prolonging it with deepened strain--
        'Fear not the tyrants shall rule forever,
        Or the priests of the bloody faith;
        They stand on the brink of that mighty river,
        Whose waves they have tainted with death;
        It is fed from the depths of a thousand dells,
        Around them it foams, and rages, and swells,
        And their swords and their sceptres I floating see,
        Like wrecks, in the surge of eternity.'

        I dwelt beside the prison gate;
        And the strange crowd that out and in
        Passed, some, no doubt, with mine own fate,
        Might have fretted me with its ceaseless din,
        But the fever of care was louder within.
        Soon but too late, in penitence
        Or fear, his foes released him thence.
        I saw his thin and languid form,
        As leaning on the jailor's arm,
        Whose hardened eyes grew moist the while
        To meet his mute and faded smile
        And hear his words of kind farewell,
        He tottered forth from his damp cell.
        Many had never wept before,
        From whom fast tears then gushed and fell;
        Many will relent no more,
        Who sobbed like infants then; ay, all
        Who thronged the prison's stony hall,
        The rulers or the slaves of law,
        Felt with a new surprise and awe
        That they were human, till strong shame
        Made them again become the same.
        The prison bloodhounds, huge and grim,
        From human looks the infection caught,
        And fondly crouched and fawned on him;
        And men have heard the prisoners say,
        Who in their rotting dungeons lay,
        That from that hour, throughout one day,
        The fierce despair and hate which kept
        Their trampled bosoms almost slept,
        Where, like twin vultures, they hung feeding
        On each heart's wound, wide torn and bleeding,--
        Because their jailors' rule, they thought,
        Grew merciful, like a parent's sway.

        I know not how, but we were free;
        And Lionel sate alone with me,
        As the carriage drove through the streets apace;
        And we looked upon each other's face;
        And the blood in our fingers intertwined
        Ran like the thoughts of a single mind,
        As the swift emotions went and came
        Through the veins of each united frame.
        So through the long, long streets we passed
        Of the million-peopled City vast;
        Which is that desert, where each one
        Seeks his mate yet is alone,
        Beloved and sought and mourned of none;
        Until the clear blue sky was seen,
        And the grassy meadows bright and green.
        And then I sunk in his embrace
        Enclosing there a mighty space
        Of love; and so we travelled on
        By woods, and fields of yellow flowers,
        And towns, and villages, and towers,
        Day after day of happy hours.
        It was the azure time of June,
        When the skies are deep in the stainless noon,
        And the warm and fitful breezes shake
        The fresh green leaves of the hedge-row briar;
        And there were odors then to make
        The very breath we did respire
        A liquid element, whereon
        Our spirits, like delighted things
        That walk the air on subtle wings,
        Floated and mingled far away
        'Mid the warm winds of the sunny day.
        And when the evening star came forth
        Above the curve of the new bent moon,
        And light and sound ebbed from the earth,
        Like the tide of the full and the weary sea
        To the depths of its own tranquillity,
        Our natures to its own repose
        Did the earth's breathless sleep attune;
        Like flowers, which on each other close
        Their languid leaves when daylight's gone,
        We lay, till new emotions came,
        Which seemed to make each mortal frame
        One soul of interwoven flame,
        A life in life, a second birth
        In worlds diviner far than earth;--
        Which, like two strains of harmony
        That mingle in the silent sky,
        Then slowly disunite, passed by
        And left the tenderness of tears,
        A soft oblivion of all fears,
        A sweet sleep:--so we travelled on
        Till we came to the home of Lionel,
        Among the mountains wild and lone,
        Beside the hoary western sea,
        Which near the verge of the echoing shore
        The massy forest shadowed o'er.

        The ancient steward with hair all hoar,
        As we alighted, wept to see
        His master changed so fearfully;
        And the old man's sobs did waken me
        From my dream of unremaining gladness;
        The truth flashed o'er me like quick madness
        When I looked, and saw that there was death
        On Lionel. Yet day by day
        He lived, till fear grew hope and faith,
        And in my soul I dared to say,
        Nothing so bright can pass away;
        Death is dark, and foul, and dull,
        But he is--oh, how beautiful!
        Yet day by day he grew more weak,
        And his sweet voice, when he might speak,
        Which ne'er was loud, became more low;
        And the light which flashed through his waxen cheek
        Grew faint, as the rose-like hues which flow
        From sunset o'er the Alpine snow;
        And death seemed not like death in him,
        For the spirit of life o'er every limb
        Lingered, a mist of sense and thought.
        When the summer wind faint odors brought
        From mountain flowers, even as it passed,
        His cheek would change, as the noonday sea
        Which the dying breeze sweeps fitfully.
        If but a cloud the sky o'ercast,
        You might see his color come and go,
        And the softest strain of music made
        Sweet smiles, yet sad, arise and fade
        Amid the dew of his tender eyes;
        And the breath, with intermitting flow,
        Made his pale lips quiver and part.
        You might hear the beatings of his heart,
        Quick but not strong; and with my tresses
        When oft he playfully would bind
        In the bowers of mossy lonelinesses
        His neck, and win me so to mingle
        In the sweet depth of woven caresses,
        And our faint limbs were intertwined,--
        Alas! the unquiet life did tingle
        From mine own heart through every vein,
        Like a captive in dreams of liberty,
        Who beats the walls of his stony cell.
        But his, it seemed already free,
        Like the shadow of fire surrounding me!
        On my faint eyes and limbs did dwell
        That spirit as it passed, till soon--
        As a frail cloud wandering o'er the moon,
        Beneath its light invisible,
        Is seen when it folds its gray wings again
        To alight on midnight's dusky plain--
        I lived and saw, and the gathering soul
        Passed from beneath that strong control,
        And I fell on a life which was sick with fear
        Of all the woe that now I bear.

        Amid a bloomless myrtle wood,
        On a green and sea-girt promontory
        Not far from where we dwelt, there stood,
        In record of a sweet sad story,
        An altar and a temple bright
        Circled by steps, and o'er the gate
        Was sculptured, 'To Fidelity;'
        And in the shrine an image sate
        All veiled; but there was seen the light
        Of smiles which faintly could express
        A mingled pain and tenderness
        Through that ethereal drapery.
        The left hand held the head, the right--
        Beyond the veil, beneath the skin,
        You might see the nerves quivering within--
        Was forcing the point of a barbèd dart
        Into its side-convulsing heart.
        An unskilled hand, yet one informed
        With genius, had the marble warmed
        With that pathetic life. This tale
        It told: A dog had from the sea,
        When the tide was raging fearfully,
        Dragged Lionel's mother, weak and pale,
        Then died beside her on the sand,
        And she that temple thence had planned;
        But it was Lionel's own hand
        Had wrought the image. Each new moon
        That lady did, in this lone fane,
        The rites of a religion sweet
        Whose god was in her heart and brain.
        The seasons' loveliest flowers were strewn
        On the marble floor beneath her feet,
        And she brought crowns of sea-buds white
        Whose odor is so sweet and faint,
        And weeds, like branching chrysolite,
        Woven in devices fine and quaint;
        And tears from her brown eyes did stain
        The altar; need but look upon
        That dying statue, fair and wan,
        If tears should cease, to weep again;
        And rare Arabian odors came,
        Through the myrtle copses, steaming thence
        From the hissing frankincense,
        Whose smoke, wool-white as ocean foam,
        Hung in dense flocks beneath the dome--
        That ivory dome, whose azure night
        With golden stars, like heaven, was bright
        O'er the split cedar's pointed flame;
        And the lady's harp would kindle there
        The melody of an old air,
        Softer than sleep; the villagers
        Mixed their religion up with hers,
        And, as they listened round, shed tears.

        One eve he led me to this fane.
        Daylight on its last purple cloud
        Was lingering gray, and soon her strain
        The nightingale began; now loud,
        Climbing in circles the windless sky,
        Now dying music; suddenly
        'T is scattered in a thousand notes;
        And now to the hushed ear it floats
        Like field-smells known in infancy,
        Then, failing, soothes the air again.
        We sate within that temple lone,
        Pavilioned round with Parian stone;
        His mother's harp stood near, and oft
        I had awakened music soft
        Amid its wires; the nightingale
        Was pausing in her heaven-taught tale.
        'Now drain the cup,' said Lionel,
        'Which the poet-bird has crowned so well
        With the wine of her bright and liquid song!
        Heard'st thou not sweet words among
        That heaven-resounding minstrelsy?
        Heard'st thou not that those who die
        Awake in a world of ecstasy?
        That love, when limbs are interwoven,
        And sleep, when the night of life is cloven,
        And thought, to the world's dim boundaries clinging,
        And music, when one beloved is singing,
        Is death? Let us drain right joyously
        The cup which the sweet bird fills for me.'
        He paused, and to my lips he bent
        His own; like spirit his words went
        Through all my limbs with the speed of fire;
        And his keen eyes, glittering through mine,
        Filled me with the flame divine
        Which in their orbs was burning far,
        Like the light of an unmeasured star
        In the sky of midnight dark and deep;
        Yes, 't was his soul that did inspire
        Sounds which my skill could ne'er awaken;
        And first, I felt my fingers sweep
        The harp, and a long quivering cry
        Burst from my lips in symphony;
        The dusk and solid air was shaken,
        As swift and swifter the notes came
        From my touch, that wandered like quick flame,
        And from my bosom, laboring
        With some unutterable thing.
        The awful sound of my own voice made
        My faint lips tremble; in some mood
        Of wordless thought Lionel stood
        So pale, that even beside his cheek
        The snowy column from its shade
        Caught whiteness; yet his countenance,
        Raised upward, burned with radiance
        Of spirit-piercing joy whose light,
        Like the moon struggling through the night
        Of whirlwind-rifted clouds, did break
        With beams that might not be confined.
        I paused, but soon his gestures kindled
        New power, as by the moving wind
        The waves are lifted; and my song
        To low soft notes now changed and dwindled,
        And, from the twinkling wires among,
        My languid fingers drew and flung
        Circles of life-dissolving sound,
        Yet faint; in aëry rings they bound
        My Lionel, who, as every strain
        Grew fainter but more sweet, his mien
        Sunk with the sound relaxedly;
        And slowly now he turned to me,
        As slowly faded from his face
        That awful joy; with look serene
        He was soon drawn to my embrace,
        And my wild song then died away
        In murmurs; words I dare not say
        We mixed, and on his lips mine fed
        Till they methought felt still and cold.
        'What is it with thee, love?' I said;
        No word, no look, no motion! yes,
        There was a change, but spare to guess,
        Nor let that moment's hope be told.
        I looked,--and knew that he was dead;
        And fell, as the eagle on the plain
        Falls when life deserts her brain,
        And the mortal lightning is veiled again.

        Oh, that I were now dead! but such--
        Did they not, love, demand too much,
        Those dying murmurs?--he forbade.
        Oh, that I once again were mad!
        And yet, dear Rosalind, not so,
        For I would live to share thy woe.
        Sweet boy! did I forget thee too?
        Alas, we know not what we do
        When we speak words.

        No memory more
        Is in my mind of that sea-shore.
        Madness came on me, and a troop
        Of misty shapes did seem to sit
        Beside me, on a vessel's poop,
        And the clear north wind was driving it.
        Then I heard strange tongues, and saw strange flowers,
        And the stars methought grew unlike ours,
        And the azure sky and the stormless sea
        Made me believe that I had died
        And waked in a world which was to me
        Drear hell, though heaven to all beside.
        Then a dead sleep fell on my mind,
        Whilst animal life many long years
        Had rescued from a chasm of tears;
        And, when I woke, I wept to find
        That the same lady, bright and wise,
        With silver locks and quick brown eyes,
        The mother of my Lionel,
        Had tended me in my distress,
        And died some months before. Nor less
        Wonder, but far more peace and joy,
        Brought in that hour my lovely boy.
        For through that trance my soul had well
        The impress of thy being kept;
        And if I waked or if I slept,
        No doubt, though memory faithless be,
        Thy image ever dwelt on me;
        And thus, O Lionel, like thee
        Is our sweet child. 'T is sure most strange
        I knew not of so great a change
        As that which gave him birth, who now
        Is all the solace of my woe.

        That Lionel great wealth had left
        By will to me, and that of all
        The ready lies of law bereft
        My child and me,--might well befall.
        But let me think not of the scorn
        Which from the meanest I have borne,
        When, for my child's belovèd sake,
        I mixed with slaves, to vindicate
        The very laws themselves do make;
        Let me not say scorn is my fate,
        Lest I be proud, suffering the same
        With those who live in deathless fame.

        She ceased.--'Lo, where red morning through the woods
        Is burning o'er the dew!' said Rosalind.
        And with these words they rose, and towards the flood
        Of the blue lake, beneath the leaves, now wind
        With equal steps and fingers intertwined.
        Thence to a lonely dwelling, where the shore
        Is shadowed with steep rocks, and cypresses
        Cleave with their dark green cones the silent skies
        And with their shadows the clear depths below,

        And where a little terrace from its bowers
        Of blooming myrtle and faint lemon flowers
        Scatters its sense-dissolving fragrance o'er
        The liquid marble of the windless lake;
        And where the aged forest's limbs look hoar
        Under the leaves which their green garments make,
        They come. 'T is Helen's home, and clean and white,
        Like one which tyrants spare on our own land
        In some such solitude; its casements bright
        Shone through their vine-leaves in the morning sun,
        And even within 't was scarce like Italy.
        And when she saw how all things there were planned
        As in an English home, dim memory
        Disturbed poor Rosalind; she stood as one
        Whose mind is where his body cannot be,
        Till Helen led her where her child yet slept,
        And said, 'Observe, that brow was Lionel's,
        Those lips were his, and so he ever kept
        One arm in sleep, pillowing his head with it.
        You cannot see his eyes--they are two wells
        Of liquid love. Let us not wake him yet.'
        But Rosalind could bear no more, and wept
        A shower of burning tears which fell upon
        His face, and so his opening lashes shone
        With tears unlike his own, as he did leap
        In sudden wonder from his innocent sleep.

        So Rosalind and Helen lived together
        Thenceforth--changed in all else, yet friends again,
        Such as they were, when o'er the mountain heather
        They wandered in their youth through sun and rain.
        And after many years, for human things
        Change even like the ocean and the wind,
        Her daughter was restored to Rosalind,
        And in their circle thence some visitings
        Of joy 'mid their new calm would intervene.
        A lovely child she was, of looks serene,
        And motions which o'er things indifferent shed
        The grace and gentleness from whence they came.
        And Helen's boy grew with her, and they fed
        From the same flowers of thought, until each mind
        Like springs which mingle in one flood became;
        And in their union soon their parents saw
        The shadow of the peace denied to them.
        And Rosalind--for when the living stem
        Is cankered in its heart, the tree must fall--
        Died ere her time; and with deep grief and awe
        The pale survivors followed her remains
        Beyond the region of dissolving rains,
        Up the cold mountain she was wont to call
        Her tomb; and on Chiavenna's precipice
        They raised a pyramid of lasting ice,
        Whose polished sides, ere day had yet begun,
        Caught the first glow of the unrisen sun,
        The last, when it had sunk; and through the night
        The charioteers of Arctos wheelèd round
        Its glittering point, as seen from Helen's home,
        Whose sad inhabitants each year would come,
        With willing steps climbing that rugged height,
        And hang long locks of hair, and garlands bound
        With amaranth flowers, which, in the clime's despite,
        Filled the frore air with unaccustomed light;
        Such flowers as in the wintry memory bloom
        Of one friend left adorned that frozen tomb.

        Helen, whose spirit was of softer mould,
        Whose sufferings too were less, death slowlier led
        Into the peace of his dominion cold.
        She died among her kindred, being old.
        And know, that if love die not in the dead
        As in the living, none of mortal kind
        Are blessed as now Helen and Rosalind.

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      Song Of Proserpine

        Sacred Goddess, Mother Earth,
        Thou from whose immortal bosom
        Gods and men and beasts have birth,
        Leaf and blade, and bud and blossom,
        Breathe thine influence most divine
        On thine own child, Proserpine.

        If with mists of evening dew
        Thou dost nourish these young flowers
        Till they grow in scent and hue
        Fairest children of the Hours,
        Breathe thine influence most divine
        On thine own child, Proserpine.

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      Stanzas Written In Dejection Near Naples

        The sun is warm, the sky is clear,
        The waves are dancing fast and bright,
        Blue isles and snowy mountains wear
        The purple noon's transparent might,
        The breath of the moist air is light,
        Around its unexpanded buds;
        Like many a voice of one delight,
        The winds', the birds', the ocean floods',
        The City's voice itself, is soft like Solitude's.

        I see the Deep's untrampled floor
        With green and purple seaweeds strown;
        I see the waves upon the shore,
        Like light dissolved in star-showers, thrown:
        I sit upon the sands alone, --
        The lightning of the noontide ocean
        Is flashing round me, and a tone
        Arises from its measured motion,
        How sweet! did any heart now share in my emotion.

        Alas! I have nor hope nor health,
        Nor peace within nor calm around,
        Nor that content surpassing wealth
        The sage in meditation found,
        And walked with inward glory crowned --
        Nor fame, nor power, nor love, nor leisure.
        Others I see whom these surround --
        Smiling they live, and call life pleasure; --
        To me that cup has been dealt in another measure.

        Some might lament that I were cold,
        As I, when this sweet day is done,
        Which my lost heart, too soon grown old,
        Insults with this untimely moan;
        They might lament -- for I am one
        Whom men love not, -- and yet regret,
        Unlike this day which, when the sun
        Shall on its stainless glory set,
        Will linger, though enjoyed, like joy in memory yet.

        Yet now despair itself is mild,
        Even as the winds and waters are;
        I could lie down like a tired child,
        And weep away the life of care
        Which I have borne and yet must bear,
        Till death like sleep might steal on me,
        And I might feel in the warm air
        My cheek grow cold, and hear the sea
        Breathe o'er my dying brain its last monotony.

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      The Cloud

        I bring fresh showers for the thirsting flowers,
        From the seas and the streams;
        I bear light shade for the leaves when laid
        In their noonday dreams.
        From my wings are shaken the dews that waken
        The sweet buds every one,
        When rocked to rest on their mother's breast,
        As she dances about the sun.
        I wield the flail of the lashing hail,
        And whiten the green plains under,
        And then again I dissolve it in rain,
        And laugh as I pass in thunder.

        I sift the snow on the mountains below,
        And their great pines groan aghast;
        And all the night 'tis my pillow white,
        While I sleep in the arms of the blast.
        Sublime on the towers of my skiey bowers,
        Lightning my pilot sits;
        In a cavern under is fettered the thunder,
        It struggles and howls at fits;
        Over earth and ocean, with gentle motion,
        This pilot is guiding me,
        Lured by the love of the genii that move
        In the depths of the purple sea;
        Over the rills, and the crags, and the hills,
        Over the lakes and the plains,
        Wherever he dream, under mountain or stream,
        The Spirit he loves remains;
        And I all the while bask in Heaven's blue smile,
        Whilst he is dissolving in rains.

        The sanguine Sunrise, with his meteor eyes,
        And his burning plumes outspread,
        Leaps on the back of my sailing rack,
        When the morning star shines dead;
        As on the jag of a mountain crag,
        Which an earthquake rocks and swings,
        An eagle alit one moment may sit
        In the light of its golden wings.
        And when Sunset may breathe, from the lit sea beneath,
        Its ardours of rest and of love,
        And the crimson pall of eve may fall
        From the depth of Heaven above,
        With wings folded I rest, on mine aëry nest,
        As still as a brooding dove.

        That orbèd maiden with white fire laden,
        Whom mortals call the Moon,
        Glides glimmering o'er my fleecelike floor,
        By the midnight breezes strewn;
        And wherever the beat of her unseen feet,
        Which only the angels hear,
        May have broken the woof of my tent's thin roof,
        The stars peep behind her and peer;
        And I laugh to see them whirl and flee,
        Like a swarm of golden bees,
        When I widen the rent in my windbuilt tent,
        Till calm the rivers, lakes, and seas,
        Like strips of the sky fallen through me on high,
        Are each paved with the moon and these.

        I bind the Sun's throne with a burning zone,
        And the Moon's with a girdle of pearl;
        The volcanoes are dim, and the stars reel and swim,
        When the whirlwinds my banner unfurl.
        From cape to cape, with a bridgelike shape,
        Over a torrent sea,
        Sunbeamproof, I hang like a roof,
        The mountains its columns be.
        The triumphal arch through which I march
        With hurricane, fire, and snow,
        When the Powers of the air are chained to my chair,
        Is the millioncoloured bow;
        The spherefire above its soft colours wove,
        While the moist Earth was laughing below.

        I am the daughter of Earth and Water,
        And the nursling of the Sky;
        I pass through the pores of the ocean and shores;
        I change, but I cannot die.
        For after the rain when with never a stain
        The pavilion of Heaven is bare,
        And the winds and sunbeams with their convex gleams
        Build up the blue dome of air,
        I silently laugh at my own cenotaph,
        And out of the caverns of rain,
        Like a child from the womb, like a ghost from the tomb,
        I arise and unbuild it again.

      Up

      The Cold Earth Slept Below

        The cold earth slept below;
        Above the cold sky shone;
        And all around,
        With a chilling sound,
        From caves of ice and fields of snow
        The breath of night like death did flow
        Beneath the sinking Moon.

        The wintry hedge was black;
        The green grass was not seen;
        The birds did rest
        On the bare thorn's breast,
        Whose roots, beside the pathway track,
        Had bound their folds o'er many a crack
        Which the frost had made between.

        Thine eyes glow'd in the glare
        Of the moon's dying light;
        As a fenfire's beam
        On a sluggish stream
        Gleams dimly, so the Moon shone there,
        And it yellow'd the strings of thy tangled hair,
        That shook in the wind of night.

        The Moon made thy lips pale, belovèd;
        The wind made thy bosom chill;
        The night did shed
        On thy dear head
        Its frozen dew, and thou didst lie
        Where the bitter breath of the naked sky
        Might visit thee at will.

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      The Fitful Alternations Of The Rain

        The fitful alternations of the rain,
        When the chill wind, languid as with pain
        Of its own heavy moisture, here and there
        Drives through the gray and beamless atmosphere .

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      The Indian Serenade

        I arise from dreams of thee
        In the first sweet sleep of night,
        When the winds are breathing low,
        And the stars are shining bright.
        I arise from dreams of thee,
        And a spirit in my feet
        Has led me -who knows how?
        To thy chamber-window, Sweet!

        The wandering airs they faint
        On the dark, the silent stream -
        The champak odours fail
        Like sweet thoughts in a dream;
        The nightingale's complaint,
        It dies upon her heart,
        As I must die on thine,
        O beloved as thou art!

        Oh lift me from the grass!
        I die! I faint! I fail!
        Let thy love in kisses rain
        On my lips and eyelids pale.
        My cheek is cold and white, alas!
        My heart beats loud and fast;
        Oh press it close to thine again,
        Where it will break at last!

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      The Invocation

        Best and brightest, come away,
        Fairer far than this fair day,
        Which, like thee, to those in sorrow
        Comes to bid a sweet good-morrow
        To the rough year just awake
        In its cradle on the brake.
        The brightest hour of unborn Spring
        Through the Winter wandering,
        Found, it seems, the halcyon morn
        To hoar February born;
        Bending from Heaven, in azure mirth,
        It kissed the forehead of the earth,
        And smiled upon the silent sea,
        And bade the frozen streams be free,
        And waked to music all their fountains,
        And breathed upon the frozen mountains,
        And like a prophetess of May
        Strewed flowers upon the barren way,
        Making the wintry world appear
        Like one on whom thou smilest, dear.

        Away, away, from men and towns,
        To the wild wood and the downs -
        To the silent wilderness
        Where the soul need not repress
        Its music, lest it should not find
        An echo in another's mind,
        While the touch of Nature's art
        Harmonizes heart to heart.

        Radiant Sister of the Day
        Awake! arise! and come away!
        To the wild woods and the plains,
        To the pools where winter rains
        Image all their roof of leaves,
        Where the pine its garland weaves
        Of sapless green, and ivy dun,
        Round stems that never kiss the sun,
        Where the lawns and pastures be
        And the sandhills of the sea,
        Where the melting hoar-frost wets
        The daisy-star that never sets,
        And wind-flowers and violets
        Which yet join not scent to hue
        Crown the pale year weak and new;
        When the night is left behind
        In the deep east, dim and blind,
        And the blue noon is over us,
        And the multitudinous
        Billows murmur at our feet,
        Where the earth and ocean meet,
        And all things seem only one
        In the universal Sun.

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      The Poet's Dream

        On a Poet's lips I slept,
        Dreaming like a loveadept
        In the sound his breathing kept;
        Nor seeks nor finds he mortal blisses,
        But feeds on the aerial kisses
        Of shapes that haunt Thought's wildernesses.
        He will watch from dawn to gloom
        The lakereflected sun illume
        The yellow bees in the ivybloom,
        Nor heed nor see what things they be
        But from these create he can
        Forms more real than living man,
        Nurslings of Immortality!

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      The Question

        I dreamed that, as I wandered by the way,
        Bare Winter suddenly was changed to Spring,
        And gentle odours led my steps astray,
        Mixed with a sound of waters murmuring
        Along a shelving bank of turf, which lay
        Under a copse, and hardly dared to fling
        Its green arms round the bosom of the stream,
        But kissed it and then fled, as thou mightest in dream.

        There grew pied wind-flowers and violets,
        Daisies, those pearled Arcturi of the earth,
        The constellated flower that never sets;
        Faint oxlips; tender bluebells, at whose birth
        The sod scarce heaved; and that tall flower that wets--
        Like a child, half in tenderness and mirth--
        Its mother's face with Heaven's collected tears,
        When the low wind, its playmate's voice, it hears.

        And in the warm hedge grew lush eglantine,
        Green cowbind and the moonlight-coloured may,
        And cherry-blossoms, and white cups, whose wine
        Was the bright dew, yet drained not by the day;
        And wild roses, and ivy serpentine,
        With its dark buds and leaves, wandering astray;
        And flowers azure, black, and streaked with gold,
        Fairer than any wakened eyes behold.

        And nearer to the river's trembling edge
        There grew broad flag-flowers, purple pranked with white,
        And starry river buds among the sedge,
        And floating water-lilies, broad and bright,
        Which lit the oak that overhung the hedge
        With moonlight beams of their own watery light;
        And bulrushes, and reeds of such deep green
        As soothed the dazzled eye with sober sheen.

        Methought that of these visionary flowers
        I made a nosegay, bound in such a way
        That the same hues, which in their natural bowers
        Were mingled or opposed, the like array
        Kept these imprisoned children of the Hours
        Within my hand,--and then, elate and gay,
        I hastened to the spot whence I had come,
        That I might there present it!--Oh! to whom?

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      The Recollection

        Now the last day of many days,
        All beautiful and bright as thou,
        The loveliest and the last, is dead:
        Rise, Memory, and write its praise!
        Up-to thy wonted work! Come, trace
        The epitaph of glory fled,
        For now the earth has changed its face,
        A frown is on the heaven's brow.

        We wander'd to the Pine Forest
        That skirts the ocean's foam.
        The lightest wind was in its nest,
        The tempest in its home;
        The whispering waves were half asleep,
        The clouds were gone to play,
        And on the bosom of the deep
        The smile of heaven lay:
        It seem'd as if the hour were one
        Sent from beyond the skies
        Which scatter'd from above the sun
        A light of Paradise!

        We paused amid the pines that stood
        The giants of the waste,
        Tortured by storms to shapes as rude
        As serpents interlaced,
        And soothed by every azure breath
        That under heaven is blown,
        To harmonies and hues beneath,
        As tender as its own.
        Now all the treetops lay asleep
        Like green waves on the sea,
        As still as in the silent deep
        The oceanwoods may be.

        How calm it was! -The silence there
        By such a chain was bound,
        That even the busy woodpecker
        Made stiller by her sound
        The inviolable quietness;
        The breath of peace we drew
        With its soft motion made not less
        The calm that round us grew.
        There seem'd, from the remotest seat
        Of the wide mountain waste
        To the soft flower beneath our feet,
        A magic circle traced,
        A spirit interfused around
        A thrilling silent life;
        To momentary peace it bound
        Our mortal nature's strife;
        And still I felt the centre of
        The magic circle there
        Was one fair form that fill'd with love
        The lifeless atmosphere.

        We paused beside the pools that lie
        Under the forest bough;
        Each seem'd as 'twere a little sky
        Gulf'd in a world below
        A firmament of purple light
        Which in the dark earth lay,
        More boundless than the depth of night
        And purer than the day
        In which the lovely forests grew
        As in the upper air,
        More perfect both in shape and hue
        Than any spreading there.
        There lay the glade and neighbouring lawn,
        And through the darkgreen wood
        The white sun twinkling like the dawn
        Out of a speckled cloud.
        Sweet views which in our world above
        Can never well be seen
        Were imaged in the water's love
        Of that fair forest green;
        And all was interfused beneath
        With an Elysian glow,
        An atmosphere without a breath,
        A softer day below.
        Like one beloved, the scene had lent
        To the dark water's breast
        Its every leaf and lineament
        With more than truth exprest;
        Until an envious wind crept by,
        Like an unwelcome thought
        Which from the mind's too faithful eye
        Blots one dear image out.
        -Though thou art ever fair and kind,
        The forests ever green,
        Less oft is peace in Shelley's mind
        Than calm in waters seen!

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      The Triumph Of Life

        Swift as a spirit hastening to his task
        Of glory & of good, the Sun sprang forth
        Rejoicing in his splendour, & the mask
        Of darkness fell from the awakened Earth.
        The smokeless altars of the mountain snows
        Flamed above crimson clouds, & at the birth
        Of light, the Ocean's orison arose
        To which the birds tempered their matin lay,
        All flowers in field or forest which unclose
        Their trembling eyelids to the kiss of day,
        Swinging their censers in the element,
        With orient incense lit by the new ray
        Burned slow & inconsumably, & sent
        Their odorous sighs up to the smiling air,
        And in succession due, did Continent,
        Isle, Ocean, & all things that in them wear
        The form & character of mortal mould
        Rise as the Sun their father rose, to bear
        Their portion of the toil which he of old
        Took as his own & then imposed on them;
        But I, whom thoughts which must remain untold
        Had kept as wakeful as the stars that gem
        The cone of night, now they were laid asleep,
        Stretched my faint limbs beneath the hoary stem
        Which an old chestnut flung athwart the steep
        Of a green Apennine: before me fled
        The night; behind me rose the day; the Deep
        Was at my feet, & Heaven above my head
        When a strange trance over my fancy grew
        Which was not slumber, for the shade it spread
        Was so transparent that the scene came through
        As clear as when a veil of light is drawn
        O'er evening hills they glimmer; and I knew
        That I had felt the freshness of that dawn,
        Bathed in the same cold dew my brow & hair
        And sate as thus upon that slope of lawn
        Under the self same bough, & heard as there
        The birds, the fountains & the Ocean hold
        Sweet talk in music through the enamoured air.
        And then a Vision on my brain was rolled.

        As in that trance of wondrous thought I lay
        This was the tenour of my waking dream.
        Methought I sate beside a public way
        Thick strewn with summer dust, & a great stream
        Of people there was hurrying to & fro
        Numerous as gnats upon the evening gleam,
        All hastening onward, yet none seemed to know
        Whither he went, or whence he came, or why
        He made one of the multitude, yet so
        Was borne amid the crowd as through the sky
        One of the million leaves of summer's bier.--
        Old age & youth, manhood & infancy,
        Mixed in one mighty torrent did appear,
        Some flying from the thing they feared & some
        Seeking the object of another's fear,
        And others as with steps towards the tomb
        Pored on the trodden worms that crawled beneath,
        And others mournfully within the gloom
        Of their own shadow walked, and called it death ...
        And some fled from it as it were a ghost,
        Half fainting in the affliction of vain breath.
        But more with motions which each other crost
        Pursued or shunned the shadows the clouds threw
        Or birds within the noonday ether lost,
        Upon that path where flowers never grew;
        And weary with vain toil & faint for thirst
        Heard not the fountains whose melodious dew
        Out of their mossy cells forever burst
        Nor felt the breeze which from the forest told
        Of grassy paths, & wood lawns interspersed
        With overarching elms & caverns cold,
        And violet banks where sweet dreams brood, but they
        Pursued their serious folly as of old ....
        And as I gazed methought that in the way
        The throng grew wilder, as the woods of June
        When the South wind shakes the extinguished day.--
        And a cold glare, intenser than the noon
        But icy cold, obscured with [[blank]] light
        The Sun as he the stars. Like the young moon
        When on the sunlit limits of the night
        Her white shell trembles amid crimson air
        And whilst the sleeping tempest gathers might
        Doth, as a herald of its coming, bear
        The ghost of her dead Mother, whose dim form
        Bends in dark ether from her infant's chair,
        So came a chariot on the silent storm
        Of its own rushing splendour, and a Shape
        So sate within as one whom years deform
        Beneath a dusky hood & double cape
        Crouching within the shadow of a tomb,
        And o'er what seemed the head, a cloud like crape,
        Was bent a dun & faint etherial gloom
        Tempering the light; upon the chariot's beam
        A Janus-visaged Shadow did assume
        The guidance of that wonder-winged team.
        The Shapes which drew it in thick lightnings
        Were lost: I heard alone on the air's soft stream
        The music of their ever moving wings.
        All the four faces of that charioteer
        Had their eyes banded . . . little profit brings
        Speed in the van & blindness in the rear,
        Nor then avail the beams that quench the Sun
        Or that his banded eyes could pierce the sphere
        Of all that is, has been, or will be done.--
        So ill was the car guided, but it past
        With solemn speed majestically on . . .
        The crowd gave way, & I arose aghast,
        Or seemed to rise, so mighty was the trance,
        And saw like clouds upon the thunder blast
        The million with fierce song and maniac dance
        Raging around; such seemed the jubilee
        As when to greet some conqueror's advance
        Imperial Rome poured forth her living sea
        From senatehouse & prison & theatre
        When Freedom left those who upon the free
        Had bound a yoke which soon they stooped to bear.
        Nor wanted here the true similitude
        Of a triumphal pageant, for where'er
        The chariot rolled a captive multitude
        Was driven; althose who had grown old in power
        Or misery,--all who have their age subdued,
        By action or by suffering, and whose hour
        Was drained to its last sand in weal or woe,
        So that the trunk survived both fruit & flower;
        All those whose fame or infamy must grow
        Till the great winter lay the form & name
        Of their own earth with them forever low,
        All but the sacred few who could not tame
        Their spirits to the Conqueror, but as soon
        As they had touched the world with living flame
        Fled back like eagles to their native noon,
        Of those who put aside the diadem
        Of earthly thrones or gems, till the last one
        Were there;--for they of Athens & Jerusalem
        Were neither mid the mighty captives seen
        Nor mid the ribald crowd that followed them
        Or fled before . . Now swift, fierce & obscene
        The wild dance maddens in the van, & those
        Who lead it, fleet as shadows on the green,
        Outspeed the chariot & without repose
        Mix with each other in tempestuous measure
        To savage music .... Wilder as it grows,
        They, tortured by the agonizing pleasure,
        Convulsed & on the rapid whirlwinds spun
        Of that fierce spirit, whose unholy leisure
        Was soothed by mischief since the world begun,
        Throw back their heads & loose their streaming hair,
        And in their dance round her who dims the Sun
        Maidens & youths fling their wild arms in air
        As their feet twinkle; they recede, and now
        Bending within each other's atmosphere
        Kindle invisibly; and as they glow
        Like moths by light attracted & repelled,
        Oft to new bright destruction come & go.
        Till like two clouds into one vale impelled
        That shake the mountains when their lightnings mingle
        And die in rain,--the fiery band which held
        Their natures, snaps . . . ere the shock cease to tingle
        One falls and then another in the path
        Senseless, nor is the desolation single,
        Yet ere I can say where the chariot hath
        Past over them; nor other trace I find
        But as of foam after the Ocean's wrath
        Is spent upon the desert shore.--Behind,
        Old men, and women foully disarrayed
        Shake their grey hair in the insulting wind,
        Limp in the dance & strain, with limbs decayed,
        Seeking to reach the light which leaves them still
        Farther behind & deeper in the shade.
        But not the less with impotence of will
        They wheel, though ghastly shadows interpose
        Round them & round each other, and fulfill
        Their work and to the dust whence they arose
        Sink & corruption veils them as they lie
        And frost in these performs what fire in those.
        Struck to the heart by this sad pageantry,
        Half to myself I said, "And what is this?
        Whose shape is that within the car? & why"-
        I would have added--"is all here amiss?"
        But a voice answered . . "Life" . . . I turned & knew
        (O Heaven have mercy on such wretchedness!)
        That what I thought was an old root which grew
        To strange distortion out of the hill side
        Was indeed one of that deluded crew,
        And that the grass which methought hung so wide
        And white, was but his thin discoloured hair,
        And that the holes it vainly sought to hide
        Were or had been eyes.--"lf thou canst forbear
        To join the dance, which I had well forborne,"
        Said the grim Feature, of my thought aware,
        "I will now tell that which to this deep scorn
        Led me & my companions, and relate
        The progress of the pageant since the morn;
        "If thirst of knowledge doth not thus abate,
        Follow it even to the night, but I
        Am weary" . . . Then like one who with the weight
        Of his own words is staggered, wearily
        He paused, and ere he could resume, I cried,
        "First who art thou?" . . . "Before thy memory
        "I feared, loved, hated, suffered, did, & died,
        And if the spark with which Heaven lit my spirit
        Earth had with purer nutriment supplied
        "Corruption would not now thus much inherit
        Of what was once Rousseau--nor this disguise
        Stained that within which still disdains to wear it.--
        "If I have been extinguished, yet there rise
        A thousand beacons from the spark I bore."--
        "And who are those chained to the car?" "The Wise,
        "The great, the unforgotten: they who wore
        Mitres & helms & crowns, or wreathes of light,
        Signs of thought's empire over thought; their lore
        "Taught them not this--to know themselves; their might
        Could not repress the mutiny within,
        And for the morn of truth they feigned, deep night
        "Caught them ere evening." "Who is he with chin
        Upon his breast and hands crost on his chain?"
        "The Child of a fierce hour; he sought to win
        "The world, and lost all it did contain
        Of greatness, in its hope destroyed; & more
        Of fame & peace than Virtue's self can gain
        "Without the opportunity which bore
        Him on its eagle's pinion to the peak
        From which a thousand climbers have before
        "Fall'n as Napoleon fell."--I felt my cheek
        Alter to see the great form pass away
        Whose grasp had left the giant world so weak
        That every pigmy kicked it as it lay--
        And much I grieved to think how power & will
        In opposition rule our mortal day--
        And why God made irreconcilable
        Good & the means of good; and for despair
        I half disdained mine eye's desire to fill
        With the spent vision of the times that were
        And scarce have ceased to be . . . "Dost thou behold,"
        Said then my guide, "those spoilers spoiled, Voltaire,
        "Frederic, & Kant, Catherine, & Leopold,
        Chained hoary anarch, demagogue & sage
        Whose name the fresh world thinks already old--
        "For in the battle Life & they did wage
        She remained conqueror--I was overcome
        By my own heart alone, which neither age
        "Nor tears nor infamy nor now the tomb
        Could temper to its object."--"Let them pass"--
        I cried--"the world & its mysterious doom
        "Is not so much more glorious than it was
        That I desire to worship those who drew
        New figures on its false & fragile glass
        "As the old faded."--"Figures ever new
        Rise on the bubble, paint them how you may;
        We have but thrown, as those before us threw,
        "Our shadows on it as it past away.
        But mark, how chained to the triumphal chair
        The mighty phantoms of an elder day--
        "All that is mortal of great Plato there
        Expiates the joy & woe his master knew not;
        That star that ruled his doom was far too fair--
        "And Life, where long that flower of Heaven grew not,
        Conquered the heart by love which gold or pain
        Or age or sloth or slavery could subdue not--
        "And near [[blank]] walk the [[blank]] twain,
        The tutor & his pupil, whom Dominion
        Followed as tame as vulture in a chain.--
        "The world was darkened beneath either pinion
        Of him whom from the flock of conquerors
        Fame singled as her thunderbearing minion;
        "The other long outlived both woes & wars,
        Throned in new thoughts of men, and still had kept
        The jealous keys of truth's eternal doors
        "If Bacon's spirit [[blank]] had not leapt
        Like lightning out of darkness; he compelled
        The Proteus shape of Nature's as it slept
        "To wake & to unbar the caves that held
        The treasure of the secrets of its reign--
        See the great bards of old who inly quelled
        "The passions which they sung, as by their strain
        May well be known: their living melody
        Tempers its own contagion to the vein
        "Of those who are infected with it--I
        Have suffered what I wrote, or viler pain!--
        "And so my words were seeds of misery--
        Even as the deeds of others."--"Not as theirs,"
        I said--he pointed to a company
        In which I recognized amid the heirs
        Of Caesar's crime from him to Constantine,
        The Anarchs old whose force & murderous snares
        Had founded many a sceptre bearing line
        And spread the plague of blood & gold abroad,
        And Gregory & John and men divine
        Who rose like shadows between Man & god
        Till that eclipse, still hanging under Heaven,
        Was worshipped by the world o'er which they strode
        For the true Sun it quenched.--"Their power was given
        But to destroy," replied the leader--"I
        Am one of those who have created, even
        "If it be but a world of agony."--
        "Whence camest thou & whither goest thou?
        How did thy course begin," I said, "& why?
        "Mine eyes are sick of this perpetual flow
        Of people, & my heart of one sad thought.--
        Speak."--"Whence I came, partly I seem to know,
        "And how & by what paths I have been brought
        To this dread pass, methinks even thou mayst guess;
        Why this should be my mind can compass not;
        "Whither the conqueror hurries me still less.
        But follow thou, & from spectator turn
        Actor or victim in this wretchedness,
        "And what thou wouldst be taught I then may learn
        From thee.--Now listen . . . In the April prime
        When all the forest tops began to burn
        "With kindling green, touched by the azure clime
        Of the young year, I found myself asleep
        Under a mountain which from unknown time
        "Had yawned into a cavern high & deep,
        And from it came a gentle rivulet
        Whose water like clear air in its calm sweep
        "Bent the soft grass & kept for ever wet
        The stems of the sweet flowers, and filled the grove
        With sound which all who hear must needs forget
        "All pleasure & all pain, all hate & love,
        Which they had known before that hour of rest:
        A sleeping mother then would dream not of
        "The only child who died upon her breast
        At eventide, a king would mourn no more
        The crown of which his brow was dispossest
        "When the sun lingered o'er the Ocean floor
        To gild his rival's new prosperity.--
        Thou wouldst forget thus vainly to deplore
        "Ills, which if ills, can find no cure from thee,
        The thought of which no other sleep will quell
        Nor other music blot from memory--
        "So sweet & deep is the oblivious spell.--
        Whether my life had been before that sleep
        The Heaven which I imagine, or a Hell
        "Like this harsh world in which I wake to weep,
        I know not. I arose & for a space
        The scene of woods & waters seemed to keep,
        "Though it was now broad day, a gentle trace
        Of light diviner than the common Sun
        Sheds on the common Earth, but all the place
        "Was filled with many sounds woven into one
        Oblivious melody, confusing sense
        Amid the gliding waves & shadows dun;
        "And as I looked the bright omnipresence
        Of morning through the orient cavern flowed,
        And the Sun's image radiantly intense
        "Burned on the waters of the well that glowed
        Like gold, and threaded all the forest maze
        With winding paths of emerald fire--there stood
        "Amid the sun, as he amid the blaze
        Of his own glory, on the vibrating
        Floor of the fountain, paved with flashing rays,
        "A shape all light, which with one hand did fling
        Dew on the earth, as if she were the Dawn
        Whose invisible rain forever seemed to sing
        "A silver music on the mossy lawn,
        And still before her on the dusky grass
        Iris her many coloured scarf had drawn.--
        "In her right hand she bore a crystal glass
        Mantling with bright Nepenthe;--the fierce splendour
        Fell from her as she moved under the mass
        "Of the deep cavern, & with palms so tender
        Their tread broke not the mirror of its billow,
        Glided along the river, and did bend her
        "Head under the dark boughs, till like a willow
        Her fair hair swept the bosom of the stream
        That whispered with delight to be their pillow.--
        "As one enamoured is upborne in dream
        O'er lily-paven lakes mid silver mist
        To wondrous music, so this shape might seem
        "Partly to tread the waves with feet which kist
        The dancing foam, partly to glide along
        The airs that roughened the moist amethyst,
        "Or the slant morning beams that fell among
        The trees, or the soft shadows of the trees;
        And her feet ever to the ceaseless song
        "Of leaves & winds & waves & birds & bees
        And falling drops moved in a measure new
        Yet sweet, as on the summer evening breeze
        "Up from the lake a shape of golden dew
        Between two rocks, athwart the rising moon,
        Moves up the east, where eagle never flew.--
        "And still her feet, no less than the sweet tune
        To which they moved, seemed as they moved, to blot
        The thoughts of him who gazed on them, & soon
        "All that was seemed as if it had been not,
        As if the gazer's mind was strewn beneath
        Her feet like embers, & she, thought by thought,
        "Trampled its fires into the dust of death,
        As Day upon the threshold of the east
        Treads out the lamps of night, until the breath
        "Of darkness reillumines even the least
        Of heaven's living eyes--like day she came,
        Making the night a dream; and ere she ceased
        "To move, as one between desire and shame
        Suspended, I said--'If, as it doth seem,
        Thou comest from the realm without a name,
        " 'Into this valley of perpetual dream,
        Shew whence I came, and where I am, and why--
        Pass not away upon the passing stream.'
        " 'Arise and quench thy thirst,' was her reply,
        And as a shut lily, stricken by the wand
        Of dewy morning's vital alchemy,
        "I rose; and, bending at her sweet command,
        Touched with faint lips the cup she raised,
        And suddenly my brain became as sand
        "Where the first wave had more than half erased
        The track of deer on desert Labrador,
        Whilst the fierce wolf from which they fled amazed
        "Leaves his stamp visibly upon the shore
        Until the second bursts--so on my sight
        Burst a new Vision never seen before.--
        "And the fair shape waned in the coming light
        As veil by veil the silent splendour drops
        From Lucifer, amid the chrysolite
        "Of sunrise ere it strike the mountain tops--
        And as the presence of that fairest planet
        Although unseen is felt by one who hopes
        "That his day's path may end as he began it
        In that star's smile, whose light is like the scent
        Of a jonquil when evening breezes fan it,
        "Or the soft note in which his dear lament
        The Brescian shepherd breathes, or the caress
        That turned his weary slumber to content.--
        "So knew I in that light's severe excess
        The presence of that shape which on the stream
        Moved, as I moved along the wilderness,
        "More dimly than a day appearing dream,
        The ghost of a forgotten form of sleep
        A light from Heaven whose half extinguished beam
        "Through the sick day in which we wake to weep
        Glimmers, forever sought, forever lost.--
        So did that shape its obscure tenour keep
        "Beside my path, as silent as a ghost;
        But the new Vision, and its cold bright car,
        With savage music, stunning music, crost
        "The forest, and as if from some dread war
        Triumphantly returning, the loud million
        Fiercely extolled the fortune of her star.--
        "A moving arch of victory the vermilion
        And green & azure plumes of Iris had
        Built high over her wind-winged pavilion,
        "And underneath aetherial glory clad
        The wilderness, and far before her flew
        The tempest of the splendour which forbade
        Shadow to fall from leaf or stone;--the crew
        Seemed in that light like atomies that dance
        Within a sunbeam.--Some upon the new
        "Embroidery of flowers that did enhance
        The grassy vesture of the desart, played,
        Forgetful of the chariot's swift advance;
        "Others stood gazing till within the shade
        Of the great mountain its light left them dim.--
        Others outspeeded it, and others made
        "Circles around it like the clouds that swim
        Round the high moon in a bright sea of air,
        And more did follow, with exulting hymn,
        "The chariot & the captives fettered there,
        But all like bubbles on an eddying flood
        Fell into the same track at last & were
        "Borne onward.--I among the multitude
        Was swept; me sweetest flowers delayed not long,
        Me not the shadow nor the solitude,
        "Me not the falling stream's Lethean song,
        Me, not the phantom of that early form
        Which moved upon its motion,--but among
        "The thickest billows of the living storm
        I plunged, and bared my bosom to the clime
        Of that cold light, whose airs too soon deform.--
        "Before the chariot had begun to climb
        The opposing steep of that mysterious dell,
        Behold a wonder worthy of the rhyme
        "Of him whom from the lowest depths of Hell
        Through every Paradise & through all glory
        Love led serene, & who returned to tell
        "In words of hate & awe the wondrous story
        How all things are transfigured, except Love;
        For deaf as is a sea which wrath makes hoary
        "The world can hear not the sweet notes that move
        The sphere whose light is melody to lovers---
        A wonder worthy of his rhyme--the grove
        "Grew dense with shadows to its inmost covers,
        The earth was grey with phantoms, & the air
        Was peopled with dim forms, as when there hovers
        "A flock of vampire-bats before the glare
        Of the tropic sun, bring ere evening
        Strange night upon some Indian isle,--thus were
        "Phantoms diffused around, & some did fling
        Shadows of shadows, yet unlike themselves,
        Behind them, some like eaglets on the wing
        "Were lost in the white blaze, others like elves
        Danced in a thousand unimagined shapes
        Upon the sunny streams & grassy shelves;
        "And others sate chattering like restless apes
        On vulgar paws and voluble like fire.
        Some made a cradle of the ermined capes
        "Of kingly mantles, some upon the tiar
        Of pontiffs sate like vultures, others played
        Within the crown which girt with empire
        "A baby's or an idiot's brow, & made
        Their nests in it; the old anatomies
        Sate hatching their bare brood under the shade
        "Of demon wings, and laughed from their dead eyes
        To reassume the delegated power
        Arrayed in which these worms did monarchize
        "Who make this earth their charnel.--Others more
        Humble, like falcons sate upon the fist
        Of common men, and round their heads did soar,
        "Or like small gnats & flies, as thick as mist
        On evening marshes, thronged about the brow
        Of lawyer, statesman, priest & theorist,
        "And others like discoloured flakes of snow
        On fairest bosoms & the sunniest hair
        Fell, and were melted by the youthful glow
        "Which they extinguished; for like tears, they were
        A veil to those from whose faint lids they rained
        In drops of sorrow.--I became aware
        "Of whence those forms proceeded which thus stained
        The track in which we moved; after brief space
        From every form the beauty slowly waned,
        "From every firmest limb & fairest face
        The strength & freshness fell like dust, & left
        The action & the shape without the grace
        "Of life; the marble brow of youth was cleft
        With care, and in the eyes where once hope shone
        Desire like a lioness bereft
        "Of its last cub, glared ere it died; each one
        Of that great crowd sent forth incessantly
        These shadows, numerous as the dead leaves blown
        "In Autumn evening from a popular tree--
        Each, like himself & like each other were,
        At first, but soon distorted, seemed to be
        "Obscure clouds moulded by the casual air;
        And of this stuff the car's creative ray
        Wrought all the busy phantoms that were there
        "As the sun shapes the clouds--thus, on the way
        Mask after mask fell from the countenance
        And form of all, and long before the day
        "Was old, the joy which waked like Heaven's glance
        The sleepers in the oblivious valley, died,
        And some grew weary of the ghastly dance
        "And fell, as I have fallen by the way side,
        Those soonest from whose forms most shadows past
        And least of strength & beauty did abide."--
        "Then, what is Life?" I said . . . the cripple cast
        His eye upon the car which now had rolled
        Onward, as if that look must be the last,
        And answered .... "Happy those for whom the fold
        Of ...

      Up

      The Two Spirits: An Allegory

        FIRST SPIRIT
        O thou, who plum'd with strong desire
        Wouldst float above the earth, beware!
        A Shadow tracks thy flight of fire--
        Night is coming!
        Bright are the regions of the air,
        And among the winds and beams
        It were delight to wander there--
        Night is coming!SECOND SPIRIT
        The deathless stars are bright above;
        If I would cross the shade of night,
        Within my heart is the lamp of love,
        And that is day!
        And the moon will smile with gentle light
        On my golden plumes where'er they move;
        The meteors will linger round my flight,
        And make night day.FIRST SPIRIT

        But if the whirlwinds of darkness waken
        Hail, and lightning, and stormy rain;
        See, the bounds of the air are shaken--
        Night is coming!
        The red swift clouds of the hurricane
        Yon declining sun have overtaken,
        The clash of the hail sweeps over the plain--
        Night is coming!SECOND SPIRIT

        I see the light, and I hear the sound;
        I'll sail on the flood of the tempest dark,
        With the calm within and the light around
        Which makes night day:
        And thou, when the gloom is deep and stark,
        Look from thy dull earth, slumber-bound,
        My moon-like flight thou then mayst mark
        On high, far away.----

        Some say there is a precipice
        Where one vast pine is frozen to ruin
        O'er piles of snow and chasms of ice
        Mid Alpine mountains;
        And that the languid storm pursuing
        That winged shape, for ever flies
        Round those hoar branches, aye renewing
        Its aëry fountains.

        Some say when nights are dry and dear,
        And the death-dews sleep on the morass,
        Sweet whispers are heard by the traveller,
        Which make night day:
        And a silver shape like his early love doth pass
        Upborne by her wild and glittering hair,
        And when he awakes on the fragrant grass,
        He finds night day.

      Up

      The Waning Moon

        And like a dying lady, lean and pale,
        Who totters forth, wrapped in a gauzy veil,
        Out of her chamber, led by the insane
        And feeble wanderings of her fading brain,
        The moon arose up in the murky east,
        A white and shapeless mass.

      Up

      The Witch Of Atlas

        Before those cruel twins whom at one birth
        Incestuous Change bore to her father Time,
        Error and Truth, had hunted from the earth
        All those bright natures which adorned its prime,
        And left us nothing to believe in, worth
        The pains of putting into learn?d rhyme,
        A Lady Witch there lived on Atlas mountain
        Within a cavern by a secret fountain.

        Her mother was one of the Atlantides.
        The all-beholding Sun had ne'er beholden
        In his wide voyage o'er continents and seas
        So fair a creature, as she lay enfolden
        In the warm shadow of her loveliness;
        He kissed her with his beams, and made all golden
        The chamber of gray rock in which she lay.
        She, in that dream of joy, dissolved away.

        'Tis said she first was changed into a vapor;
        And then into a cloud,--such clouds as flit
        (Like splendor-winged moths about a taper)
        Round the red west when the Sun dies in it;
        And then into a meteor, such as caper
        On hill-tops when the Moon is in a fit;
        Then into one of those mysterious stars
        Which hide themselves between the Earth and Mars.

        Ten times the Mother of the Months had ben
        Her bow beside the folding-star, and bidden
        With that bright sign the billows to indent
        The sea-deserted sand--(like children chidden,
        At her command they ever came and went)--
        Since in that cave a dewy splendor hidden
        Took shape and motion. With the living form
        Of this embodied Power the cave grew warm.

        A lovely Lady garmented in light
        From her own beauty: deep her eyes as are
        Two openings of unfathomable night
        Seen through a temple's cloven roof; her hair
        Dark; the dim brain whirls dizzy with delight,
        Picturing her form. Her soft smiles shone afar;
        And her low voice was heard like love, and drew
        All living things towards this wonder new.

        And first the spotted cameleopard came;
        And then the wise and fearless elephant;
        Then the sly serpent, in the golden flame
        Of his own volumes intervolved. All gaunt
        And sanguine beasts her gentle looks made tame,--
        They drank before her at her sacred fount;
        And every beast of beating heart grew bold,
        Such gentleness and power even to behold.

        The brinded lioness led forth her young,
        That she might teach them how they should forego
        Their inborn thirst of death; the pard unstrung
        His sinews at her feet, and sought to know,
        With looks whose motions spoke without a tongue,
        How he might be as gentle as the doe.
        The magic circle of her voice and eyes
        All savage natures did imparadise.

        And old Silenus, shaking a green stick
        Of lilies, and the Wood-gods in a crew,
        Came blithe as in the olive-copses thick
        Cicade are, drunk with the noonday dew;
        And Dryope and Faunus followed quick,
        Teazing the God to sing them something new;
        Till in this cave they found the Lady lone,
        Sitting upon a seat of emerald stone.

        And universal Pan, 'tis said, was there.
        And, though none saw him,--through the adamant
        Of the deep mountains, through the trackless air,
        And through those living spirits like a want,--
        He passed out of his everlasting lair
        Where the quick heart of the great world doth pant,
        And felt that wondrous Lady all alone,--
        And she felt him upon her emerald throne.

        And every Nymph of stream and spreading tree,
        And every Shepherdess of Ocean's flocks
        Who drives her white waves over the green sea,
        And Ocean with the brine on his grey locks,
        And quaint Priapus with his company,--
        All came, much wondering how the enwombed rocks
        Could have brought forth so beautiful a birth:
        Her love subdued their wonder and their mirth.

        The herdsmen and the mountain-maidens came,
        And the rude kings of pastoral Garamant--
        Their spirits shook within them, as a flame
        Stirred by the air under a cavern gaunt:
        Pygmies and Polyphemes, by many a name,
        Centaurs and Satyrs, and such shapes as haunt
        Wet clefts,--and lumps neither alive nor dead,
        Dog-headed, bosom-eyed, and bird-footed.

        For she was beautiful. Her beauty made
        The bright world dim, and everything beside
        Seemed like the fleeting image of a shade.
        No thought of living spirit could abide
        (Which to her looks had ever been betrayed)
        On any object in the world so wide,
        On any hope within the circling skies,--
        But on her form, and in her inmost eyes.

        Which when the Lady knew; she took her spindle,
        And twined three threads of fleecy mist, and three
        Long lines of light, such as the dawn may kindle
        The clouds and waves and mountains with, and she
        As many starbeams, ere their lamps could dwindle
        In the belated moon, wound skilfully;
        And with these threads a subtle veil she wove--
        A shadow for the splendour of her love.

        The deep recesses of her odorous dwelling
        Were stored with magic treasures:--sounds of air
        Which had the power all spirits of compelling,
        Folded in cells of crystal silence there;
        Such as we hear in youth, and think the feeling
        will never die--yet, ere we are aware,
        The feeling and the sound are fled and gone
        And the regret they leave remains alone.

        And there lay Visions swift and sweet and quaint,
        Each in its thin sheath like a chrysalis;--
        Some eager to burst forth; some weak and faint
        With the soft burden of intensest bliss
        It is their work to bear to many a saint
        Whose heart adores the shrine which holiest is,
        Even Love's; and others, white, green, grey, and black,
        And of all shapes:--and each was at her beck.

        And odours in a kind of aviary
        Of ever-blooming Eden-trees she kept,
        Clipped in a floating net a love-sick Fairy
        Had woven from dew-beams while the moon yet slept.
        As bats at the wired window of a dairy,
        They beat their vans; and each was an adept--
        When loosed and missioned, making wings of winds--
        To stir sweet thoughts or sad in destined minds.

        And liquors clear and sweet, whose healthful might
        Could medicine the sick soul to happy sleep,
        And change eternal death into a night
        Of glorious dreams--or, if eyes needs must weep,
        Could make their tears all wonder and delight--
        She in her crystal phials did closely keep:
        If men could drink of those clear phials, 'tis said
        The living were not envied of the dead.

        Her cave was stored with scrolls of strange device,
        The works of some Saturnian Archimage,
        Which taught the expiations at whose price
        Men from the Gods might win that happy age
        Too lightly lost, redeeming native vice,--
        And which might quench the earth-consuming rage
        Of gold and blood, till men should live and move
        Harmonious as the sacred stars above:--

        And how all things that seem untameable,
        Not to be checked and not to be confined,
        Obey the spells of Wisdom's wizard skill;
        Time, earth, and fire, the ocean and the wind,
        And all their shapes, and man's imperial will;--
        And other scrolls whose writings did unbind
        The inmost lore of love--let the profane
        Tremble to ask what secrets they contain.

        And wondrous works of substances unknown,
        To which the enchantment of her Father's power
        Had changed those ragged blocks of savage stone,
        Were heaped in the recesses of her bower;
        Carved lamps and chalices, and phials which shone
        In their own golden beams--each like a flower
        Out of whose depth a firefly shakes his light
        Under a cypress in a starless night.

        At first she lived alone in this wild home,
        And her own thoughts were each a minister,
        Clothing themselves or with the ocean-foam,
        Or with the wind, or with the speed of fire,
        To work whatever purposes might come
        Into her mind: such power her mighty Sire
        Had girt them with, whether to fly or run
        Through all the regions which he shines upon.

        The Ocean-nymphs and Hamadryades,
        Oreads, and Naiads with long weedy locks,
        Offered to do her bidding through the seas,
        Under the earth, and in the hollow rocks,
        And far beneath the matted roots of trees,
        And in the gnarled heart of stubborn oaks;
        So they might live for ever in the light
        Of her sweet presence--each a satellite.

        "This may not be," the Wizard Maid replied.
        "The fountains where the Naiades bedew
        Their shining hair at length are drained and dried;
        The solid oaks forget their strength, and strew
        Their latest leaf upon the mountains wide;
        The boundless ocean like a drop of dew
        Will be consumed; the stubborn centre must
        Be scattered like a cloud of summer dust.

        "And ye, with them, will perish one by one.
        If I must sigh to think that this shall be,
        If I must weep when the surviving Sun
        Shall smile on your decay--oh ask not me
        To love you till your little race is run;
        I cannot die as ye must.--Over me
        Your leaves shall glance--the streams in which ye dwell
        Shall be my paths henceforth; and so farewell."

        She spoke and wept. The dark and azure well
        Sparkled beneath the shower of her bright tears,
        And every little circlet where they fell
        Flung to the cavern-roof inconstant spheres
        And intertangled lines of light. A knell
        Of sobbing voices came upon her ears
        From those departing forms, o'er the serene
        Of the white streams and of the forest green.

        All day the Wizard Lady sat aloof;
        Spelling out scrolls of dread antiquity
        Under the cavern's fountain-lighted roof;
        Or broidering the pictured poesy
        Of some high tale upon her growing woof,
        Which the sweet splendor of her smiles could dye
        In hues outshining heaven--and ever she
        Added some grace to the wrought poesy:--

        While on her hearth lay blazing many a piece
        Of sandal-wood, rare gums, and cinnamon.
        Men scarcely know how beautiful fire is;
        Each flame of it is as a precious stone
        Dissolved in ever-moving light, and this
        Belongs to each and all who gaze thereon.'
        The Witch beheld it not, for in her hand
        She held a woof that dimmed the burning brand.

        This Lady never slept, but lay in trance
        All night within the fountain--as in sleep.
        Its emerald crags glowed in her beauty's glance:
        Through the green splendour of the water deep
        She saw the constellations reel and dance
        Like fireflies--and withal did ever keep
        The tenor of her contemplations calm,
        With open eyes, closed feet, and folded palm.

        And, when the whirlwinds and the clouds descended
        From the white pinnacles of that cold hill,
        She passed at dewfall to a space extended,
        Where, in a lawn of flowering asphodel
        Amid a wood of pines and cedars blended,
        There yawned an inextinguishable well
        Of crimson fire, full even to the brim,
        And overflowing all the margin trim:--

        Within the which she lay when the fierce war
        Of wintry winds shook that innocuous liquor,
        In many a mimic moon and bearded star,
        O'er woods and lawns. The serpent heard it flicker
        In sleep, and, dreaming still, he crept afar.
        And, when the windless snow descended thicker
        Than autumn-leaves, she watched it as it came
        Melt on the surface of the level flame.

        She had a boat which some say Vulcan wrought
        For Venus, as the chariot of her star;
        But it was found too feeble to be fraught
        With all the ardours in that sphere which are,
        And so she sold it, and Apollo bought
        And gave it to this daughter: from a car,
        Changed to the fairest and the lightest boat
        Which ever upon mortal stream did float.

        And others say that, when but three hours old,
        The firstborn Love out of his cradle leapt,
        And clove dun chaos with his wings of gold,
        And, like a horticultural adept,
        Stole a strange seed, and wrapped it up in mould,
        And sowed it in his mother's star, and kept
        Watering it all the summer with sweet dew,
        And with his wings fanning it as it grew.

        The plant grew strong and green--the snowy flower
        Fell, and the long and gourd-like fruit began
        To turn the light and dew by inward power
        To its own substance: woven tracery ran
        Of light firm texture, ribbed and branching, o'er
        The solid rind, like a leaf's veined fan,--
        Of which Love scooped this boat, and with soft motion
        Piloted it round the circumfluous ocean.

        This boat she moored upon her fount, and lit
        A living spirit within all its frame,
        Breathing the soul of swiftness into it.
        Couched on the fountain--like a panther tame
        (One of the twain at Evan's feet that sit,
        Or as on Vesta's sceptre a swift flame,
        Or on blind Homer's heart a winged thought--
        In joyous expectation lay the boat.

        Then by strange art she kneaded fire and snow
        Together, tempering the repugnant mass
        With liquid love--all things together grow
        Through which the harmony of love can pass;
        And a fair Shape out of her hands did flow--
        A living image which did far surpass
        In beauty that bright shape of vital stone
        Which drew the heart out of Pygmalion.

        A sexless thing it was, and in its growth
        It seemed to have developed no defect
        Of either sex, yet all the grace of both.
        In gentleness and strength its limbs were decked;
        The bosom lightly swelled with its full youth;
        The countenance was such as might select
        Some artist that his skill should never die,
        lmaging forth such perfect purity.

        From its smooth shoulders hung two rapid wings
        Fit to have borne it to the seventh sphere,
        Tipped with the speed of liquid lightenings,
        Dyed in the ardours of the atmosphere.
        She led her creature to the boiling springs
        Where the light boat was moored, and said "Sit here,"
        And pointed to the prow, and took her seat
        Beside the rudder with opposing feet.

        And down the streams which clove those mountains vast,
        Around their inland islets, and amid
        The panther-peopled forests (whose shade cast
        Darkness and odors, and a pleasure hid
        In melancholy gloom) the pinnace passed;
        By many a star-surrounded pyramid
        Of icy crag cleaving the purple sky,
        And caverns yawning round unfathomably.

        The silver noon into that winding dell,
        With slanted gleam athwart the forest-tops,
        Tempered like golden evening, feebly fell;
        A green and glowing light, like that which drops
        From folded lilies in which glow-worms dwell
        When Earth over her face Night's mantle wraps;
        Between the severed mountains lay on high,
        Over the stream, a narrow rift of sky.

        And, ever as she went, the Image lay
        With folded wings and unawakened eyes;
        And o'er its gentle countenance did play
        The busy dreams, as thick as summer flies,
        Chasing the rapid smiles that would not stay,
        And drinking the warm tears, and the sweet sighs
        Inhaling, which with busy murmur vain
        They has aroused from that full heart and brain.

        And ever down the prone vale, like a cloud
        Upon a stream of wind, the pinnace went:
        Now lingering on the pools, in which abode
        The calm and darkness of the deep content
        In which they paused; now o'er the shallow road
        Of white and dancing waters, all besprent
        With sand and polished pebbles:--mortal boat
        In such a shallow rapid could not float.

        And down the earthquaking cataracts, which shivcr
        Their snow-like waters into golden air,
        Or under chasms unfathomable ever
        Sepulchre them, till in their rage they tear
        A subterranean portal for the river,
        It fled. The circling sunbows did upbear
        Its fall down the hoar precipice of spray,
        Lighting it far upon its lampless way.

        And, when the Wizard Lady would ascend
        The labyrinths of some many-winding vale
        Which to the inmost mountain upward tend,
        She called "Hermaphroditus!"--and the pale
        And heavy hue which slumber could extend
        Over its lips and eyes, as on the gale
        A rapid shadow from a slope of grass,
        Into the darkness of the stream did pass

        And it unfurled its heaven-coloured pinions;
        With stars of fire spotting the stream below,
        And from above into the Sun's dominions
        Flinging a glory like the golden glow
        In which Spring clothes her emerald-winged minions,
        All interwoven with fine feathery snow,
        And moonlight splendour of intensest rime
        With which frost paints the pines in winter-time.

        And then it winnowed the elysian air
        Which ever hung about that Lady bright,
        With its etherial vans: and, speeding there,
        Like a star up the torrent of the night,
        Or a swift eagle in the morning glare
        Breasting the whirlwind with impetuous flight,
        The pinnace, oared by those enchanted wings,
        Clove the fierce streams towards their upper springs.

        The water flashed,--like sunlight, by the prow
        Of a noon-wandering meteor flung to heaven;
        The still air seemed as if its waves did flow
        In tempest down the mountains; loosely driven,
        The Lady's radiant hair streamed to and fro;
        Beneath, the billows, having vainly striven
        Indignant and impetuous, roared to feel
        The swift and steady motion of the keel.

        Or, when the weary moon was in the wane,
        Or in the noon of interlunar night,
        The Lady Witch in visions could not chain
        Her spirit; but sailed forth under the light
        Of shooting stars, and bade extend amain
        Its storm-outspeeding wings the Hermaphrodite;
        She to the austral waters took her way,
        Beyond the fabulous Thamondocana.

        Where, like a meadow which no scythe has shaven,
        Which rain could never bend or whirlblast shake,
        With the antarctic constellations paven,
        Canopus and his crew, lay the austral lake--
        There she would build herself a windless haven
        Out of the clouds whose moving turrets make
        The bastions of the storm, when through the sky
        The spirits of the tempest thundered by:--

        A haven beneath whose translucent floor
        The tremulous stars sparkled unfathomably;
        And around which the solid vapours hoar,
        Based on the level waters, to the sky
        Lifted their dreadful crags, and, like a shore
        Of wintry mountains, inaccessibly
        Hemmed-in with rifts and precipices grey,
        And hanging crags, many a cove and bay.

        And, whilst the outer lake beneath the lash
        Of the wind's scourge foamed like a wounded thing
        And the incessant hail with stony clash
        Ploughed up the waters, and the flagging wing
        Of the roused cormorant in the lightningflash
        Looked like the wreck of some wind-wandering
        Fragment of inky thunder-smoke--this haven
        Was as a gem to copy heaven engraven.

        On which that Lady played her many pranks,
        Circling the image of a shooting star
        (Even as a tiger on Hydaspes' banks
        Outspeeds the antelopes which speediest are)
        In her light boat; and many quips and cranks
        She played upon the water; till the car
        Of the late moon, like a sick matron wan,
        To journey from the misty east began.

        And then she called out of the hollow turrets
        Of those high clouds, white, golden, and vermilion,
        The armies of her ministering spirits.
        In mighty legions million after million
        They came, each troop emblazoning its merits
        On meteor flags; and many a proud pavilion
        Of the intertexture of the atmosphere
        They pitched upon the plain of the calm mere.

        They framed the imperial tent of their great Queen
        Of woven exhalations, underlaid
        With lambent lightning-fire, as may be seen
        A dome of thin and open ivory inlaid
        With crimson silk. Cressets from the serene
        Hung there, and on the water for her tread
        A tapestry of fleece-like mist was strewn,
        Dyed in the beams of the ascending moon.

        And on a throne o'erlaid with starlight, caught
        Upon those wandering isles of aery dew
        Which highest shoals of mountain shipwreck not,
        She sate, and heard all that had happened new
        Between the earth and moon since they had brought
        The last intelligence: and now she grew
        Pale as that moon lost in the watery night,
        And now she wept, and now she laughed outright.

        These were tame pleasures.--She would often climb
        The steepest ladder of the crudded rack
        Up to some beaked cape of cloud sublime,
        And like Arion on the dolphin's back
        Ride singing through the shoreless air. Oft-time,
        Following the serpent lightning's winding track,
        She ran upon the platforms of the wind,
        And laughed to hear the fireballs roar behid.

        And sometimes to those streams of upper air
        Which whirl the earth in its diurnal round
        She would ascend, and win the Spirits there
        To let her join their chorus. Mortals found
        That on those days the sky was calm and fair,
        And mystic snatches of harmonious sound
        Wandered upon the earth where'er she passed,
        And happy thoughts of hope, too sweet to last.

        But her choice sport was, in the hours of sleep,
        To glide adown old Nilus, where he threads
        Egypt and Ethiopia from the steep
        Of utmost Axume until he spreads,
        Like a calm flock of silver-fleeced sheep,
        His waters on the plain,--and crested heads
        Of cities and proud temples gleam amid,
        And many a vapour-belted pyramid:--

        By MÏris and the Mareotid lakes,
        Strewn with faint blooms like bridal-chamber floors,
        Where naked boys bridling tame water-snakes,
        Or charioteering ghastly alligators,
        Had left on the sweet waters mighty wakes
        Of those huge forms;--within the brazen doors
        Of the Great Labyrinth slept both boy and beast,
        Tired with the pomp of their Osirian feast.

        And where within the surface of the river
        The shadows of the massy temples lie,
        And never are erased, but tremble ever
        Like things which every cloud can doom to die,--
        Through lotus-paven canals, and wheresoever
        The works of man pierced that serenest sky
        With tombs and towers and fanes,--'twas her delight
        To wander in the shadow of the night.

        With motion like the spirit of that wind
        Whose soft step deepens slumber, her light feet
        Passed through the peopled haunts of humankind,
        Scattering sweet visions from her presence sweet,--
        Through fane and palace-court, and labyrinth mined
        With many a dark and subterranean street
        Under the Nile; through chambers high and deep
        She passed, observing mortals in their sleep.

        A pleasure sweet doubtless it was to see
        Mortals subdued in all the shapes of sleep.
        Here lay two sister-twins in infancy;
        There a lone youth who in his dreams did weep;
        Within, two lovers linked innocently
        In their loose locks which over both did creep
        Like ivy from one stem; and there lay calm
        Old age with snow-bright hair and folded palm.

        But other troubled forms of sleep she saw,
        Not to be mirrored in a holy song,--
        Distortions foul of supernatural awe,
        And pale imaginings of visioned wrong,
        And all the code of Custom's lawless law
        Written upon the brows of old and young.
        "This," said the Wizard Maiden, "is the strife
        Which stirs the liquid surface of man's life."

        And little did the sight disturb her soul.
        We, the weak mariners of that wide lake,
        Where'er its shores extend or billows roll,
        Our course unpiloted and starless make
        O'er its wild surface to an unknown goal;
        But she in the calm depths her way could take,
        Where in bright bowers immortal forms abide
        Beneath the weltering of the restless tide.

        And she saw princes couched under the glow
        Of sunlike gems; and round each temple-court
        In dormitories ranged, row after row,
        She saw the priests asleep,--all of one sort,
        For all were educated to be so.
        The peasants in their huts, and in the port
        The sailors she saw cradled on the waves,
        And the dead lulled within their dreamless graves.

        And all the forms in which those spirits lay
        Were to her sight like the diaphanous
        Veils in which those sweet ladies oft array
        Their delicate limbs who would conceal from us
        Only their scorn of all concealment: they
        Move in the light of their own beauty thus.
        But these and all now lay with sleep upon them,
        And little thought a Witch was looking on them.

        She all those human figures breathing there
        Beheld as living spirits. To her eyes
        The naked beauty of the soul lay bare,
        And often through a rude and worn disguise
        She saw the inner form most bright and fair:
        And then she had a charm of strange device,
        Which, murmured on mute lips with tender tone,
        Could make that spirit mingle with her own.

        Alas! Aurora, what wouldst thou have given
        For such a charm, when Tithon became grey--
        Or how much, Venus, of thy silver heaven
        Wouldst thou have yielded, ere Proserpina
        Had half (oh why not all?) the debt forgiven
        Which dear Adonis had been doomed to pay--
        To any witch who would have taught you it
        The Heliad doth not know its value yet.

        'Tis said in after times her spirit free
        Knew what love was, and felt itself alone.
        But holy Dian could not chaster be
        Before she stooped to kiss Endymion
        Than now this Lady,--like a sexless bee,
        Tasting all blossoms and confined to none:
        Among those mortal forms the Wizard Maiden
        Passed with an eye serene and heart unladen.

        To those she saw most beautiful she gave
        Strange panacea in a crystal bowl.
        They drank in their deep sleep of that sweet wave,
        And lived thenceforward as if some control,
        Mightier than life, were in them; and the grave
        Of such, when death oppressed the weary soul,
        Was as a green and overarching bower
        Lit by the gems of many a starry flower.

        For, on the night when they were buried, she
        Restored the embalmer's ruining, and shook
        The light out of the funeral-lamps, to be
        A mimic day within that deathy nook;
        And she unwound the woven imagery
        Of second childhood's swaddling-bands, and took
        The coffin, its last cradle, from its niche,
        And threw it with contempt into a ditch,

        And there the body lay, age after age,
        Mute, breathing, beating, warm, and undecaying,
        Like one asleep in a green hermitage,--
        With gentle smiles about its eyelids playing,
        And living in its dreams beyond the rage
        Of death or life; while they were still arraying
        In liveries ever new the rapid, blind,
        And fleeting generations of mankind.

        And she would write strange dreams upon the brain
        Of those who were less beautiful, and make
        All harsh and crooked purposes more vain
        Than in the desert is the serpent's wake
        Which the sand covers. All his evil gain
        The miser, in such dreams, would rise and shake
        Into a beggar's lap; the lying scribe
        Would his own lies betray without a bribe.

        The priests would write an explanation full,
        Translating hieroglyphics into Greek,
        How the God Apis really was a bull,
        And nothing more; and bid the herald stick
        The same against the temple-doors, and pull
        The old cant down: they licensed all to speak
        Whate'er they thought of hawks and cats and geese,
        By pastoral letters to each diocese.

        The king would dress an ape up in his crown
        And robes, and seat him on his glorious seat,
        And on the right hand of the sunlike throne
        Would place a gaudy mock-bird to repeat
        The chatterings of the monkey. Every one
        Of the prone courtiers crawled to kiss the feet
        Of their great emperor when the morning came;
        And kissed--alas, how many kiss the same!

        The soldiers dreamed that they were blacksmiths, and
        Walked out of quarters in somnambulism;
        Round the red anvils you might see them stand
        Like Cyclopses in Vulcan's sooty abysm,
        Beating their swords to ploughshares:--in a band
        The jailors sent those of the liberal schism
        Free through the streets of Memphis--much, I wis,
        To the annoyance of king Amasis.

        And timid lovers, who had been so coy
        They hardly knew whether they loved or not,
        Would rise out of their rest, and take sweet joy,
        To the fulfilment of their inmost thought;
        And, when next day the maiden and the boy
        Met one another, both, like sinners caught,
        Blushed at the thing which each believed was done
        Only in fancy--till the tenth moon shone;

        And then the Witch would let them take no ill;
        Of many thousand schemes which lovers find,
        The Witch found one,--and so they took their fill
        Of happiness in marriage warm and kind.
        Friends who, by practice of some envious skill,
        Were torn apart (a wide wound, mind from mind)
        She did unite again with visions clear
        Of deep affection and of truth sincere.

        These were the pranks she played among the cities
        Of mortal men. And what she did to Sprites
        And Gods, entangling them in her sweet ditties,
        To do her will, and show their subtle sleights,
        I will declare another time; for it is
        A tale more fit for the weird winter-nights
        Than for these garish summer-days, when we
        Scarcely believe much more than we can see.

      Up

      Time Long Past

        Like the ghost of a dear friend dead
        Is Time long past.
        A tone which is now forever fled,
        A hope which is now forever past,
        A love so sweet it could not last,
        Was Time long past.

        There were sweet dreams in the night
        Of Time long past:
        And, was it sadness or delight,
        Each day a shadow onward cast
        Which made us wish it yet might last,
        That Time long past.

        There is regret, almost remorse,
        For Time long past.
        'Tis like a child's belovèd corse
        A father watches, till at last
        Beauty is like remembrance, cast
        From Time long past.

      Up

      To A Lady, With A Guitar

        Ariel to Miranda: -- Take
        This slave of music, for the sake
        Of him who is the slave of thee;
        And teach it all the harmony
        In which thou canst, and only thou,
        Make the delighted spirit glow,
        Till joy denies itself again
        And, too intense, is turned to pain.
        For by permission and command
        Of thine own Prince Ferdinand,
        Poor Ariel sends this silent token
        Of more than ever can be spoken;
        Your guardian spirit, Ariel, who
        From life to life must still pursue
        Your happiness, for thus alone
        Can Ariel ever find his own.
        From Prospero's enchanted cell,
        As the mighty verses tell,
        To the throne of Naples he
        Lit you o'er the trackless sea,
        Flitting on, your prow before,
        Like a living meteor.
        When you die, the silent Moon
        In her interlunar swoon
        Is not sadder in her cell
        Than deserted Ariel.
        When you live again on earth,
        Like an unseen Star of birth
        Ariel guides you o'er the sea
        Of life from your nativity.
        Many changes have been run
        Since Ferdinand and you begun
        Your course of love, and Ariel still
        Has tracked your steps and served your will.
        Now in humbler, happier lot,
        This is all remembered not;
        And now, alas! the poor sprite is
        Imprisoned for some fault of his
        In a body like a grave --
        From you he only dares to crave,
        For his service and his sorrow,
        A smile today, a song tomorrow.

        The artist who this idol wrought
        To echo all harmonious thought,
        Felled a tree, while on the steep
        The woods were in their winter sleep,
        Rocked in that repose divine
        On the wind-swept Apennine;
        And dreaming, some of Autumn past,
        And some of Spring approaching fast,
        And some of April buds and showers,
        And some of songs in July bowers,
        And all of love; and so this tree, --
        O that such our death may be! --
        Died in sleep, and felt no pain,
        To live in happier form again:
        From which, beneath Heaven's fairest star,
        The artist wrought this loved Guitar;
        And taught it justly to reply
        To all who question skilfully
        In language gentle as thine own;
        Whispering in enamoured tone
        Sweet oracles of woods and dells,
        And summer winds in sylvan cells;
        -- For it had learnt all harmonies
        Of the plains and of the skies,
        Of the forests and the mountains,
        And the many-voiced fountains;
        The clearest echoes of the hills,
        The softest notes of falling rills,
        The melodies of birds and bees,
        The murmuring of summer seas,
        And pattering rain, and breathing dew,
        And airs of evening; and it knew
        That seldom-heard mysterious sound
        Which, driven on its diurnal round,
        As it floats through boundless day,
        Our world enkindles on its way:
        -- All this it knows, but will not tell
        To those who cannot question well
        The Spirit that inhabits it;
        It talks according to the wit
        Of its companions; and no more
        Is heard than has been felt before
        By those who tempt it to betray
        These secrets of an elder day.
        But, sweetly as its answers will
        Flatter hands of perfect skill,
        It keeps its highest holiest tone
        For one beloved Friend alone.

      Up

      To a Skylark

        Hail to thee, blithe Spirit!
        Bird thou never wert,
        That from heaven, or near it,
        Pourest thy full heart
        In profuse strains of unpremeditated art.

        Higher still and higher
        From the earth thou springest
        Like a cloud of fire;
        The blue deep thou wingest,
        And singing still dost soar, and soaring ever singest.

        In the golden lightning
        Of the sunken sun,
        O'er which clouds are bright'ning,
        Thou dost float and run,
        Like an unbodied joy whose race is just begun.

        The pale purple even
        Melts around thy flight;
        Like a star of heaven
        In the broad daylight
        Thou art unseen, but yet I hear thy shrill delight --

        Keen as are the arrows
        Of that silver sphere
        Whose intense lamp narrows
        In the white dawn clear
        Until we hardly see -- we feel that it is there.

        All the earth and air
        With thy voice is loud,
        As, when night is bare,
        From one lonely cloud
        The moon rains out her beams, and heaven is overflowed.

        What thou art we know not;
        What is most like thee?
        From rainbow clouds there flow not
        Drops so bright to see
        As from thy presence showers a rain of melody.

        Like a poet hidden
        In the light of thought,
        Singing hymns unbidden,
        Till the world is wrought
        To sympathy with hopes and fears it heeded not:

        Like a high-born maiden
        In a palace tower,
        Soothing her love-laden
        Soul in secret hour
        With music sweet as love, which overflows her bower:

        Like a glow-worm golden
        In a dell of dew,
        Scattering unbeholden
        Its aerial hue
        Among the flowers and grass, which screen it from the view:

        Like a rose embowered
        In its own green leaves,
        By warm winds deflowered,
        Till the scent it gives
        Makes faint with too much sweet these heavy-winged thieves:

        Sound of vernal showers
        On the twinkling grass,
        Rain-awakened flowers,
        All that ever was
        Joyous, and clear, and fresh, thy music doth surpass.

        Teach us, sprite or bird,
        What sweet thoughts are thine:
        I have never heard
        Praise of love or wine
        That panted forth a flood of rapture so divine.

        Chorus hymeneal
        Or triumphal chaunt
        Matched with thine would be all
        But an empty vaunt --
        A thing wherein we feel there is some hidden want.

        What objects are the fountains
        Of thy happy strain?
        What fields, or waves, or mountains?
        What shapes of sky or plain?
        What love of thine own kind? what ignorance of pain?

        With thy clear keen joyance
        Languor cannot be:
        Shadow of annoyance
        Never came near thee:
        Thou lovest, but ne'er knew love's sad satiety.

        Waking or asleep,
        Thou of death must deem
        Things more true and deep
        Than we mortals dream,
        Or how could thy notes flow in such a crystal stream?

        We look before and after,
        And pine for what is not:
        Our sincerest laughter
        With some pain is fraught;
        Our sweetest songs are those that tell of saddest thought.

        Yet if we could scorn
        Hate, and pride, and fear;
        If we were things born
        Not to shed a tear,
        I know not how thy joy we ever should come near.

        Better than all measures
        Of delightful sound,
        Better than all treasures
        That in books are found,
        Thy skill to poet were, thou scorner of the ground!

        Teach me half the gladness
        That thy brain must know,
        Such harmonious madness
        From my lips would flow
        The world should listen then, as I am listening now!

      Up

      To Coleridge

        Oh! there are spirits of the air,
        And genii of the evening breeze,
        And gentle ghosts, with eyes as fair
        As star-beams among twilight trees:
        Such lovely ministers to meet
        Oft hast thou turned from men thy lonely feet.

        With mountain winds, and babbling springs,
        And moonlight seas, that are the voice
        Of these inexplicable things,
        Thou dost hold commune, and rejoice
        When they did answer thee, but they
        Cast, like a worthless boon, thy love away.

        And thou hast sought in starry eyes
        Beams that were never meant for thine,
        Another's wealth: tame sacrifice
        To a fond faith ! still dost thou pine?
        Still dost thou hope that greeting hands,
        Voice, looks, or lips, may answer thy demands?

        Ah! wherefore didst thou build thine hope
        On the false earth's inconstancy?
        Did thine own mind afford no scope
        Of love, or moving thoughts to thee?
        That natural scenes or human smiles
        Could steal the power to wind thee in their wiles?

        Yes, all the faithless smiles are fled
        Whose falsehood left thee broken-hearted;
        The glory of the moon is dead;
        Night's ghosts and dreams have now departed;
        Thine own soul still is true to thee,
        But changed to a foul fiend through misery.

        This fiend, whose ghastly presence ever
        Beside thee like thy shadow hangs,
        Dream not to chase: the mad endeavour
        Would scourge thee to severer pangs.
        Be as thou art. Thy settled fate,
        Dark as it is, all change would aggravate.

      Up

      To Harriet

        Whose is the love that, gleaming through the world,
        Wards off the poisonous arrow of its scorn?
        Whose is the warm and partial praise,
        Virtue's most sweet reward?

        Beneath whose looks did my reviving soul
        Riper in truth and virtuous daring grow?
        Whose eyes have I gazed fondly on,
        And loved mankind the more?

        Harriet! On thine: thou wert my purer mind;
        Thou wert the inspiration of my song;
        Thine are these early wilding flowers,
        Though garlanded by me.

        Then press into thy breast this pledge of love;
        And know, though time may change and years may roll,
        Each floweret gathered in my heart
        It consecrates to thine.

      Up

      To Jane

        The keen stars were twinkling,
        And the fair moon was rising among them,
        Dear Jane.
        The guitar was tinkling,
        But the notes were not sweet till you sung them
        Again.

        As the moon's soft splendour
        O'er the faint cold starlight of Heaven
        Is thrown,
        So your voice most tender
        To the strings without soul had then given
        Its own.

        The stars will awaken,
        Though the moon sleep a full hour later
        To-night;
        No leaf will be shaken
        Whilst the dews of your melody scatter
        Delight.

        Though the sound overpowers,
        Sing again, with your dear voice revealing
        A tone
        Of some world far from ours,
        Where music and moonlight and feeling
        Are one.

      Up

      To Night

        Swiftly walk over the western wave,
        Spirit of Night!
        Out of the misty eastern cave
        Where, all the long and lone daylight,
        Thou wovest dreams of joy and fear,
        Which make thee terrible and dear, --
        Swift be thy flight!

        Wrap thy form in a mantle grey,
        Star-inwrought!
        Blind with thine hair the eyes of Day,
        Kiss her until she be wearied out,
        Then wander o'er city, and sea, and land,
        Touching all with thine opiate wand --
        Come, long-sought!

        When I arose and saw the dawn,
        I sighed for thee;
        When light rode high, and the dew was gone,
        And noon lay heavy on flower and tree,
        And the weary Day turned to his rest,
        Lingering like an unloved guest,
        I sighed for thee.

        Thy brother Death came, and cried
        `Wouldst thou me?'
        Thy sweet child Sleep, the filmy-eyed,
        Murmured like a noontide bee
        `Shall I nestle near thy side?
        Wouldst thou me?' -- And I replied
        `No, not thee!'

        Death will come when thou art dead,
        Soon, too soon --
        Sleep will come when thou art fled;
        Of neither would I ask the boon
        I ask of thee, beloved Night --
        Swift be thine approaching flight,
        Come soon, soon!

      Up

      To The Men Of England

        Men of England, wherefore plough
        For the lords who lay ye low?
        Wherefore weave with toil and care
        The rich robes your tyrants wear?

        Wherefore feed and clothe and save,
        From the cradle to the grave,
        Those ungrateful drones who would
        Drain your sweat -- nay, drink your blood?

        Wherefore, Bees of England, forge
        Many a weapon, chain, and scourge,
        That these stingless drones may spoil
        The forced produce of your toil?

        Have ye leisure, comfort, calm,
        Shelter, food, love's gentle balm?
        Or what is it ye buy so dear
        With your pain and with your fear?

        The seed ye sow another reaps;
        The wealth ye find another keeps;
        The robes ye weave another wears;
        The arms ye forge another bears.

        Sow seed, -- but let no tyrant reap;
        Find wealth, -- let no imposter heap;
        Weave robes, -- let not the idle wear;
        Forge arms, in your defence to bear.

        Shrink to your cellars, holes, and cells;
        In halls ye deck another dwells.
        Why shake the chains ye wrought? Ye see
        The steel ye tempered glance on ye.

        With plough and spade and hoe and loom,
        Trace your grave, and build your tomb,
        And weave your winding-sheet, till fair
        England be your sepulchre!

      Up

      To Wordsworth

        Poet of Nature, thou hast wept to know
        That things depart which never may return:
        Childhood and youth, friendship and love's first glow,
        Have fled like sweet dreams, leaving thee to mourn.
        These common woes I feel. One loss is mine
        Which thou too feel'st, yet I alone deplore.
        Thou wert as a lone star, whose light did shine
        On some frail bark in winter's midnight roar:
        Thou hast like to a rock-built refuge stood
        Above the blind and battling multitude:
        In honored poverty thy voice did weave
        Songs consecrate to truth and liberty,--
        Deserting these, thou leavest me to grieve,
        Thus having been, that thou shouldst cease to be.

      Up

      Unfathomable Sea, Whose Waves Are Years

        Unfathomable Sea! whose waves are years,
        Ocean of Time, whose waters of deep woe
        Are brackish with the salt of human tears!
        Thou shoreless flood, which in thy ebb and flow
        Claspest the limits of mortality!

        And sick of prey, yet howling on for more,
        Vomitest thy wrecks on its inhospitable shore;
        Treacherous in calm, and terrible in storm,
        Who shall put forth on thee,
        Unfathomable Sea?

      Up

      When the Lamp Is Shatered

        When the lamp is shattered
        The light in the dust lies dead --
        When the cloud is scattered,
        The rainbow's glory is shed.
        When the lute is broken,
        Sweet tones are remembered not;
        When the lips have spoken,
        Loved accents are soon forgot.

        As music and splendour
        Survive not the lamp and the lute,
        The heart's echoes render
        No song when the spirit is mute --
        No song but sad dirges,
        Like the wind through a ruined cell,
        Or the mournful surges
        That ring the dead seaman's knell.

        When hearts have once mingled,
        Love first leaves the well-built nest;
        The weak one is singled
        To endure what it once possessed.
        O Love! who bewailest
        The frailty of all things here,
        Why choose you the frailest
        For your cradle, your home, and your bier?

        Its passions will rock thee,
        As the storms rock the ravens on high;
        Bright reason will mock thee,
        Like the sun from a wintry sky.
        From thy nest every rafter
        Will rot, and thine eagle home
        Leave thee naked to laughter,
        When leaves fall and cold winds come.

      Up

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