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And wherever the Lady turned her eyes
It hung before her in the skies.

The sky was blue as the summer sea,

The depths were cloudless over head,
The air was calm as it could be,

There was no sight or sound of dread,
But that black Anchor floating still
Over the piny eastern hill.

The Lady grew sick with a weight of fear,

To see that Anchor ever hanging,
And veiled her eyes; she then did hear

The sound as of a dim low clanging,
And looked abroad if she might know
Was it aught else, or but the flow
Of the blood in her own veins, to and fro.


There was a mist in the sunless air,
Which shook as it were with an earthquake's

But the very weeds that blossomed there

Were moveless, and each mighty rock
Stood on its basis steadfastly;
The Anchor was seen no more on high.


But piled around, with summits hid

In lines of cloud at intervals, Stood many a mountain pyramid

Among whose everlasting walls Two mighty cities shone, and ever Through the red mist their domes did quiver.

IX. On two dread mountains, from whose crest

Might seem, the eagle, for her brood,
Would ne'er have hung her dizzy nest,

Those tower-encircled cities stood.
A vision strange such towers to see,
Sculptured and wrought so gorgeously,
Where human art could never be.


And columns framed of marble white,

And giant fanes, dome over dome
Piled, and triumphant gates, all bright

With workmanship, which could not come From touch of mortal instrument, Shot o'er the vales, or lustre lent From its own shapes magnificent.

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But still the Lady heard that clang

Filling the wide air far away;
And still the mist whose light did hang

Among the mountains shook alway,
So that the Lady's heart beat fast,
As half in joy, and half aghast,
On those high domes her look she cast.

XII. • Sudden from out that city sprung

A light that made the earth grow red; Two flames that each with quivering tongue

Licked its high domes, and over head
Among those mighty towers and fanes
Dropped fire, as a volcano rains
Its sulphurous ruin on the plains.

And hark! a rush as if the deep

Had burst its bonds; she looked behind
And saw over the western steep

A raging flood descend, and wind
Through that wide vale; she felt no fear,
But said within herself, “ 'Tis clear
These towers are Nature's own, and she
To save them has sent forth the sea.”

And now those raging billows came

Where that fair Lady sate, and she
Was borne towards the showering flame

By the wild waves heaped tumultuously; And, on a little plank, the flow Of the whirlpool bore her to and fro.

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The flames' were fiercely vomited

From every tower and every dome, And dreary light did widely shed

O’er that vast flood's suspended foam, Beneath the smoke which hung its night On the stained cope of heaven's light.


The plank whereon that Lady sate
Was driven through the chasms, about and

Between the peaks so desolate

Of the drowning mountains, in and out, As the thistle-beard on a whirlwind sails— While the flood was filling those hollow vales.

i The word waves stood here till Mr. Rossetti substituted flames, which is unquestionably right.-ED.

At last her plank an eddy crossed,

And bore her to the city's wall,
Which now the flood had reached almost;

It might the stoutest heart appall
To hear the fire roar and hiss
Through the domes of those mighty palaces.


The eddy whirled her round and round

Before a gorgeous gate, which stood Piercing the clouds of smoke which bound

Its aëry arch with light like blood; She looked on that gate of marble clear, With wonder that extinguished fear.

For it was filled with sculptures rarest,

Of forms most beautiful and strange,
Like nothing human, but the fairest

Of wingèd shapes, whose legions range Throughout the sleep of those that are, Like this same Lady, good and fair.

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And, as she looked, still lovelier grew

Those marble forms;—the sculptor sure
Was a strong spirit, and the hue

Of his own mind did there endure
After the touch, whose power had braided
Such grace, was in some sad change faded.

She looked, the flames were dim, the flood

Grew tranquil as a woodland river
Winding through hills in solitude;

Those marble shapes then seemed to quiver,

And their fair limbs to float in motion,
Like weeds unfolding in the ocean.

And their lips moved; one seemed to speak,

When suddenly the mountains cracked, And through the chasm the flood did break

With an earth-uplifting cataract: The statues gave a joyous scream, And on its wings the pale thin dream Lifted the Lady from the stream.

The dizzy flight of that phantom pale

Waked the fair Lady from her sleep,
And she arose, while from the veil

Of her dark eyes the dream did creep, And she walked about as one who knew That sleep has sights as clear and true As any waking eyes can view.


1. Thus to be lost and thus to sink and die Perchance were death indeed !-Constantia,

turn! In thy dark eyes a power like light doth lie, Even though the sounds which were thy voice,

which burn Between thy lips, are laid to sleep; Within thy breath, and on thy hair, like

odour it is yet, 1 Claire Clairmont claimed to be the Constantia of this and the next poem; and Constantia was among the many names she bore from time to time. -ED.

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