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XXVI. Then on the sands the Woman sate again,.
The earliest dweller of the world alone, And wept and clasp'd her hands, and all between, Stood on the verge of chaos: Lo! afar Renew'd the unintelligible strain
O'er the wide wild abyss two meteors shone, Of her melodious voice and eloquent mien ; Sprung from the depth of its tempestuous jar: And she unveil'd her bosom, and the green A blood-red Comet and the Morning Star And glancing shadows of the sea did play Mingling their beams in combat—as he stood, O'er its marmoreal depth :=one moment seen, All thoughts within his mind waged mutual war, For ere the next, the Serpent did obey
In dreadful sympathy—when to the flood
One Power of many shapes which none may know,
With me and with this Serpent, o'er the deep, He changed from starry shape, beauteous and mild, A voyage divine and strange, companionship to keep. To a dire Snake, with man and beast unreconciled.
And that strange boat like the moon's shade did sway
In mockery o'er the fane where many a groan,
XXIX. A boat of rare device, which had no sail
The fiend, whose name was Legion; Death, Decay, But its own curved prow of thin moonstone, Earthquake and Blight, and Want,and Madness pale, Wrought like a web of texture fine and frail, Winged and wan diseases, an array To catch those gentlest winds which are not known Numerous as leaves that strew the autumnal gale; To breathe, but by the steady speed alone,
Poison, a snake in flowers, beneath the veil With which it cleaves the sparkling sea ; and now Of food and mirth, hiding his mortal head; We are embark'd, the mountains hang and frown And, without whom all these might naught avail, Over the starry deep that gleams below
Fear, Hatred, Faith, and Tyranny, who spread A vast and dim expanse, as o'er the waves we go. Those subtle nets which snare the living and the dead. XXIV.
XXX. And as we sail'd, a strange and awful tale His spirit is their power, and they his slaves That Woman told, like such mysterious dream In air, and light, and thought, and language dwell; As makes the slumberer's cheek with wonder pale! And keep their state from palaces to graves, Twas midnight, and around, a shoreless stream, In all resorts of men-invisible, Wide ocean rolld, when that majestic theme But when, in ebon mirror, Nightmare fell Shrined in her heart found utterance, and she bent To tyrant or impostor bids them rise, Her looks on mino; those eyes a kindling beam Black winged demon forms—whom, from the hell, Of love divine into my spirit sent,
His reign and dwelling beneath nether skies, And ere her lips could move, made the air eloquent. He loosens to their dark
and blasting ministries. XXV.
Though in the likeness of a lothesome worm,
Renew'd the doubtful war—thrones then first shook, Immortal, all pervading, manifold,
And earth's immense and trampled multitude, Twin Genü, equal Gods--when life and thought In hope on their own powers began to look, Sprang forth, they burst the womb of inessential And Fear, the demon pale, his sanguine shrine forNaught.
XXXVIII. Then Greece arose, and to its bards and sages, Thus the dark tale which history doth unfold, In dream, the golden-pinion'd Genii came,
I knew, but not, methinks, as others know, Even where they slept arnid the night of ages, For they weep not; and Wisdom had unrolla Steeping their hearts in the divinest flame,
The clouds which hide the gulf of mortal woe: Which thy breath kindled, Power of holiest name! To few can she that warning vision show, And oft in cycles since, when darkness gave For I loved all things with intense devotion ; New weapons to thy foe, their sunlike fame So that when Hope's deep source in fullest flow, Upon the combat shone-a light to save,
Like earthquake did uplift the stagnant ocean Like Paradise spread forth beyond the shadowy grave. Of human thoughts—mine shook beneath the wide
XXXIX. Such is this conflict—when mankind doth strive When first the living blood through all these veins With its oppressors in a strife of blood,
Kindled a thought in sense, great France sprang Or when free thoughts, like lightnings, are alive ;
forth, And in each bosom of the multitude
And seized, as if to break, the ponderous chairs Justice and truth, with custom's hydra brood, Which bind in woe the nations of the earth. Wage silent war;-when priests and kings dissemble I saw, and started from my cottage hearth; In smiles or frowns their fierce disquietude, And to the clouds and waves in tameless gladness,
When round pure hearts, a host of hopes assemble, Shriek’d, till they caught immeasurable mirthThe Snake and Eagle meet the world's foundations And laugh'd in light and music: soon,sweet madness tremble !
Was pour'd upon my heart, a soft and thrilling sadnet. XXXIV.
XL Thou hast beheld that fight-when to thy home Deep slumber fell on me :-my dreams were fire, Thou dost retur, steep not its hearth in tears; Soft and delightful thoughts did rest and hover Though thou mayst hear that earth is now become Like shadows o'er my brain; and strange desire, The tyrant's garbage, which to his compeers,
The tempest of a passion, raging over The vile reward of their dishonor'd years,
My tranquil soul, its depths with light did cover, He will dividing give.—The victor Fiend
Which past ; and calm, and darkness, sweeter far Omnipotent of yore, now quails, and fears
Came—then I loved; but not a human lover! His triumph dearly won, which soon will lend For when I rose from sleep, the Morning Star An impulse swift and sure to his approaching end. Shone through the woodbine wreaths which rund
my casement were. XXXV.
XLI. List, stranger, list! mine is a human form, 'Twas like an eye which seem'd to smile on me. Like that thou wearest-touch me-shrink not now! I watch'd, till by the sun made pale, it sank My hand thou feel’st is not a ghost's, but warm
Under the billows of the heaving sea; With human blood.— "T was many years ago, But from its beams deep love my spirit drank, Since first my thirsting soul aspired to know And to my brain the boundless world now shrank The secrets of this wondrous world, when deep Into one thought-one image-yes, for ever! My heart was pierced with sympathy, for woe Even like the day-spring, pour'd on vapors dank, Which could not be mine own--and thought did The beams of that one Star did shoot and quiver keep
Through my benighted mind—and were extinguish'd In dream, unnatural watch beside an infant's sleep. XXXVI.
XLII. Woe could not be mine own, since far from men The day past thus : at night, methought in dream I dwelt, a free and happy orphan child,
A shape of speechless beauty did appear : By the sea-shore, in a deep mountain glen ; It stood like light on a careering stream And near the waves, and through the forests wild, Of golden clouds which shook the atmosphere ; I roam'd, to storm and darkness reconciled : A winged youth, its radiant brow did wear For I was calm while tempest shook the sky: The Morning Star: a wild dissolving bliss But when the breathless heavens in beauty smiled, Over my frame he breathed, approaching near, I wept, sweet tears, yet too tumultuously
And bent his eyes of kindling tenderness
And said: a Spirit loves thee, mortal maiden, These were forebodings of my fate-before How wilt thou prove thy worth ? Then joy and sleep A woman's heart beat in my virgin breast
Together fled, my soul was deeply laden, It had been nurtured in divinest lore :
And to the shore I went to muse and weep; A dying poet gave me books, and blest
But as I moved, over my heart did creep With wild but holy talk the sweet unrest
A joy less soft, but more profound and strong In which I watch'd him as he died away
Than my sweet dream; and it forbade to keep A youth with hoary hair-a fleeting guest
The path of the sea-shore: that Spirit's tongue of our lone mountains and this lore did sway Seem'd whispering in my heart, and bore my steps My spirit like a storm, contending there alway.
L. How, to that vast and peopled city led,
Like what may be conceived of this vast dome, Which was a field of holy warfare then,
When from the depths which thought can seldom I walk'd among the dying and the dead,
pierce, And shared in fearless deeds with evil men. Genius beholds it rise, his native home, Calm as an angel in the dragon's den
Girt by the deserts of the Universe, How I braved death for liberty and truth,
Yet, nor in painting's light, or mightier verse, And spurn'd at peace, and power, and fame; and Or sculpture's marble language can invest when
That shape to mortal sense-such glooms immerse
Whose bloomy forests starr'd the shadowy deep, I was not left, like others, cold and dead ;
The wingless boat paused where an ivory stair The Spirit whom I loved in solitude
Its fretwork in the crystal sea did steep, Sustain'd his child: the tempest-shaken wood, Encircling that vast Fane's aerial heap: The waves, the fountains, and the hush of night
We disembark’d, and through a portal wide These were his voice, and well I understood We pass'd-whose roof of moonstone carved, did His smile divine, when the calm sea was bright
keep With silent stars, and Heaven was breathless with A glimmering o'er the forms on every side, delight.
Sculptures like life and thought; immovable, deep
LII. In lonely glens amid the roar of rivers,
We came to a vast hall, whose glorious roof When the dim nights were moonless, have I known
Was diamond, which had drunk the lightning's sheen Joys which no tongue can tell; my pale lip quivers
In darkness, and now pour'd it through the woof When thought revisits them :-know thou alone, Of spell-inwoven clouds hung there to screen That after many wondrous years were flown,
Its blinding splendor--through such veil was seen I was awakend by a shriek of woe;
That work of subulest power, divine and rare ; And over me a mystic robe was thrown,
Orb above orb, with starry shapes between, By viewless hands, and a bright star did glow
And horned moons, and meteors strange and fair, Before my steps—the Snake then met his mortal foe. On night-black columns poised—one hollow hemi
LIII. Thou fearest not then the Serpent on thy heart ? Ten thousand columns in that quivering light Fear it! she said, with brief and passionate cry,
Distinct between whose shafts wound far away And spake no more: that silence made me start The long and labyrinthine aisles—more bright I look'd, and we were sailing pleasantly,
With their own radiance than the Heaven of Day; Swift as a cloud between the sea and sky,
And on the jasper walls around, there lay Beneath the rising moon seen far away ;
Paintings, the poesy of mightiest thought, Mountains of ice, like sapphire, piled on high,
Which did the Spirit's history display; Hemming the horizon round, in silence lay A tale of passionate change, divinely taught, On the still waters--these we did approach alway.
Which, in their winged dance, unconscious Genii
Beneath, there sate on many a sapphire throne,
The Great, who had departed from mankind, So that a dizzy trance fell on my brainWild music woke me: we had past the ocean
A mighty Senate ;--some, whose white hair shone
Like mountain snow, mild, beautiful, and blind. Which girds the pole, Nature's remotest reign
Some, female forms, whose gestures beam'd with And we glode fast o'er a pellucid plain
mind; Of waters, azure with the noon-tide day. Ethereal mountains shone around—a Fane
And ardent youths, and children bright and fair ; Stood in the midst, girt by green isles which lay
And some had lyres whose strings were intertwined On the blue sunny deep, resplendent far away.
With pale and clinging flames, which ever there Waked faint yet thrilling sounds that pierced the
crystal air. XLIX.
LV. It was a Temple, such as mortal hand
One seat was vacant in the midst, a throne, Has never built, nor ecstasy, nor dream,
Rear'd on a pyramid like sculptured flame, Rear'd in the cities of enchanted land :
Distinct with circling steps which rested on *T was likest Heaven, ere yet day's purple stream Their own deep fire-soon as the Woman came Ebba o'er the western forest, while the gleam Into that hall, she shriek'd the Spirit's name Of the unrisen moon among the clouds
And fell; and vanish'd slowly from the sight. Is gathering--when with many a golden beam Darkness arose from her dissolving frame,
The thronging constellations rush in crowds, Which gathering, filled that dome of woven light, Paving with fire the sky and the marmoreal floods. Blotting its sphered stars with supernatural night.
A cloud of deepest shadow, which was thrown
1. The cloud which rested on that cone of flame The starlight smile of children, the sweet looks Was cloven ; beneath the planet sate a Form, Of women, the fair breast from which I fed, Fairer than tongue can speak or thought may frame, The murmur of the unreposing brooks, The radiance of whose limbs rose-like and warm
And the green light which, shifting overhead, Flow'd forth, and did with softest light inform Some tangled bower of vines around me shed, The shadowy dome, the sculptures, and the state The shells on the sea-sand, and the wild flowers, Of those assembled shapes—with clinging charm The lamp-light through the rafters cheerly spread Sinking upon their hearts and mine-He sate
And on the twining flax-in life's young hours Majestic, yet most mild-calm, yet compassionate. These sights and sounds did nurse my spirit's folded
II. Wonder and joy a passing faintness threw
In Argolis, beside the echoing sea, Over my brow-a hand supported me,
Such impulses within my mortal frame Whose touch was magic strength: an eye of blue Arose, and they were dear to memory, Look'd into mine, like moonlight, soothingly; Like tokens of the dead :—but others came And a voice said–Thou must a listener be
Soon, in another shape : the wondrous fame This day-two mighty Spirits now return,
Of the past world, the vital words and deeds Like birds of calm, from the world's raging sea, Of minds whom neither time nor change can tame,
They pour fresh light from Hope's immortal urn; Traditions dark and old, whence evil creeds A tale of human power-despair not-list and learn! Start forth, and whose dim shade a stream of poisch
III. I look'd, and lo! one stood forth eloquently, I heard, as all have heard, the various story His eyes were dark and deep, and the clear brow
Of human life, and wept unwilling tears. Which shadow'd them was like the morning sky, Feeble historians of its shame and glory, The cloudless Heaven of Spring, when in their flow False disputants on all its hopes and fears,
Through the bright air, the soft winds as they blow Victims who worshipp'd ruin,-chroniclers Wake the green world-his gestures did obey Of daily scorn, and slaves who lothed their state ; The oracular mind that made his features glow, Yet flattering power had given its ministers And where his curved lips half open lay,
A throne of judgment in the grave :-'I was fate, Passion's divinest stream had made impetuous way. That among such as these my youth should seek its
The land in which I lived, by a fell bane
And stabled in our homes,-until the chain And held his hand-far lovelier-she was known Stifled the captive's cry, and to abide To be thus fair, by the few lines alone
That blasting curse men bad no shame-all vied Which through her floating locks and gather'd cloak, In evil, slave and despot; fear with lust, Glances of soul-dissolving glory, shone :
Strange fellowship through mutual hate had tied, None else beheld her eyes in him they woke Like two dark serpents tangled in the dust, Memories which found a tongue, as thus he silence Which on the paths of men their mingling poison thrust broke.
To see or feel: a darkness had descended
XII. This vital world, this home of happy spirits, Such man has been, and such may yet become! Was as a dungeon to my blasted kind,
Ay, wiser, greater, gentler, even than they All that despair from murder'd hope inherits Who on the fragments of yon shatter'd dome They sought, and in their helpless misery blind, Have stamp'd the sign of power-I felt the sway A deeper prison and heavier chains did find, of the vast stream of ages bear away And stronger tyrants :--a dark gulf before, My floating thoughts-my heart beat loud and The realm of a stern Ruler, yawn'd ; behind,
fastTerror and Time conflicting drove, and bore Even as a storm let loose beneath the ray On their tempestuous flood the shrieking wretch from Of the still moon, my spirit onward past shore.
Beneath Truth's steady beams upon its tumult cast. VII.
XIII. Out of that Ocean's wrecks had Guilt and Woe It shall be thus no more! too long, too long, Framed a dark dwelling for their homeless thought, Sons of the glorious dead! have ye lain bound And, starting at the ghosts which to and fro In darkness and in ruin.—Hope is strong, Glide o'er its dim and gloomy strand, had brought Justice and Truth their winged child have foundThe worship thence which they each other taught, Awake! arise! until the mighty sound Well might men lothe their life, well might they Of your career shall scatter in its gust turn
The thrones of the oppressor, and the ground Even to the ills again from which they sought Hide ne last altar's unregarded dust,
Such refuge after death well might they learn Whose Idol has so long betray'd your impious trust.
It must be so I will arise and waken
Which on a sudden from its snows has shaken
It may not be restrain'd -and who shall stand All symbols of things evil, all divine;
Amid the rocking earthquake stedfast still, And hymns of blood or mockery, which rent But Laon? on high Freedom's desert land
The air from all its fanes, did intertwine A tower whose marble walls the leagued storms Imposture's impious toils round each discordant shrine.
One summer night, in commune with the hope I heard, as all have heard, life's various story,
Thus deeply fed, amid those ruins gray And in no careless heart transcribed the tale;
I watch'd, beneath the dark sky's starry cope; But, from the sneers of men who had grown hoary
And ever from that hour upon me lay In shame and scorn, from groans of crowds made
The burihen of this hope, and night or day, pale
In vision or in dream, clove to my breast : By famine, from a mother's desolate wail
Among mankind, or when gone far away O'er her polluted child, from innocent blood
To the lone shores and mountains, 't was a guest, Pour'd on the earth, and brows anxious and pale which follow'd where I fled, and watch'd when I With the heart's warfare ; did I gather food
did rest. To feed my many thoughtsma tameless multitude !
These hopes found words through which my spirit I wander'd through the wrecks of days departed
sought Far by the desolated shore, when even
To weave a bondage of such sympathy, O'er the still sea and jagged islets darted
As might create some response to the thought The light of moonrise ; in the northern Heaven,
Which ruled me now—and as the vapors lie Among the clouds near the horizon driven,
Bright in the outspread morning's radiancy, The mountains lay beneath one planet pale ;
So were these thoughts invested with the light Around me, broken tombs and columns riven
Of language; and all bosoms made reply Look'd vast in twilight, and the sorrowing gale
On which its lustre stream'd, whene'er it might Waked in those ruins gray its everlasting wail!
Thro' darkness wide and deep those tranced spirits
XVII. I knew not who had framed these wonders then, Yes, many an eye with dizzy tears was dim, Nor had I heard the story of their deeds;
And oft I thought to clasp my own heart's brother, But dwellings of a race of mightier men,
When I could feel the listener's senses swim, And monuments of less ungentle creeds
And hear his breath its own swift gaspings smother Tell their own tale to him who wisely heeds Even as my words evoked them-and another, The language which they speak; and now, to me And yet another, I did fondly deem, The moonlight making pale the blooming weeds, Felt that we all were sons of one great mother ;
The bright stars shining in the breathless sea, And the cold truth such sad reverse did seem, Interpreted those scrolls of mortal mystery. As to awake in grief from some delightful dream.