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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 Baiæ'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 gray 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 skyey speed
Scarce seemed a vision, I would ne'er have striven

As thus with thee in prayer in my sore need.
O! 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 rugb my lips to unawakened earth

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

AN EXHORTATION.

CHAMELEONS feed on light and air :

Poets' food is love and fame :
If in this wide world of care

Poets could but tind 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!

ON

THE MEDUSA OF LEONARDO DA VINCI

IN THE FLORENTINE GALLERY.

Ir lieth, gazing on the midnight sky,

Upon the cloudy mountain peak supine ; Below, far lands are seen tremblingly;

Its horror and its beauty are divine. Upon its lips and eyelids seems to lie

Loveliness like a shadow, from which shine, Fiery and lurid, struggling underneath, The agonies of anguish and of death.

Yet it is less the horror than the grace

Which turns the gazer's spirit into stone Whereon the lineaments of that dead face

Are graven, till the characters be grown Into itself, and thought no more can trace;

'Tis the melodious hues of beauty tbrown Athwart the darkness and the glare of pain, Which humanize and harmonize the strain.

As [

And from its head as from one body grow,

) grass out of a watery rock, Hairs which are vipers, and they curl and flow,

And their long tangles in each other lock, And with unending involutions show

Their mailed radiance, as it were to mock The torture and the death within, and saw The solid air with many a ragged jaw.

And from a stone beside, a poisonous eft

Peeps idly into these Gorgonian eyes ; Whilst in the air a ghastly bat, bereft

Of sense, has flitted with a mad surprise Out of the cave this hideous light hath cleft,

And he comes hastening like a moth that hies After a taper; and the midnight sky Flares, a light more dread than obscurity.

'Tis the tempestuous loveliness of terror;

For from the serpents gleams a brazen glare Kindled by that inextricable error,

Which makes a thrilling vapour of the air Become a [ ] and ever-shifting mirror

Of all the beauty and the terror there,— A woman's countenance, with serpent locks, Gazing in death on heaven from those wet rocks.

FLORENCE, 1819.

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