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But, like a steward in honest dealings tried,
With those who toiled and wept, the poor and wise,
His riches and his cares he did divide.

Fearless he was, and scorning all disguise,
What he dared do or think, though men might

start,
He spoke with mild yet unaverted eyes;

Liberal he was of soul, and frank of heart,
And to his many friends—all loved him well-
Whate'er he knew or felt he would impart,

If words he found those inmost thoughts to tell ;
If not, he smiled or wept ; and his weak foes
He neither spurned nor hated—though with fell

And mortal hate their thousand voices rose,
They past like aimless arrows from his ear.
Nor did his heart or mind its portal close

To those, or them, or any, whom life's sphere
May comprehend within its wide array.
What sadness made that vernal spirit sear?

He knew not. Though his life day after day,
Was failing, like an unreplenished stream,
Though in his eyes a cloud and burthen lay,

Through which his soul, like Vesper's sercne

beam

Piercing the chasms of ever rising clouds,
Shone, softly burning; though his lips did seein

Like reeds which quiver in impetuous floods; And through his sleep, and o'er each waking hour, Thoughts after thoughts, unresting multitudes,

Were driven within him by some secret power, Which bade them blaze, and live, and roll afar, Like lights and sounds, from haunted tower to

tower,

O'er castled mountains borne, when tempest's war
Is levied by the night-contending winds,
And the pale dalesmen watch with eager ear ;-

'Though such were in his spirit, as the fiends Which wake and feed on everliving woe,What was this grief, which ne'er in other minds

A mirror found,-he knew not—none could know ; But on whợe'er might question him he turned The light of his frank eyes, as if to show

He knew not of the grief within that burned,
But asked forbearance with a mournful look ;
Or spoke in words from which none ever learned

The cause of his disquietude; or shook
With spasms of silent passion; or turned pale:
So that his friends soon rarely undertook

To stir his secret pain without avail ;
For all who knew and loved him then perceived
That there was drawn an adamantine veil

Between his heart and mind,—both unrelieved Wrought in his brain and bosom separate strife. Some said that he was mad, others believed

That memories of an antenatal life
Made this, where now he dwelt, a penal hell:
And others said that such mysterious grief

From God's displeasure, like a darkness, fell
On souls like his, which owned no higher law
Than love; love calm, steadfast, invincible

By mortal fear or supernatural awe :
And others,—“ 'Tis the shadow of a dream
Which the veiled eye of memory never saw,

“But through the soul's abyss, like some dark

stream Through shattered mines and caverns underground, Rolls, shaking its foundations; and no beam

"Of joy may rise, but it is quenched and drowned In the dim whirlpools of this dream obscure. Soon its exhausted waters will have found

“A lair of rest beneath thy spirit pure,
() Athanase !-in one so good and great,
Evil or tumult cannot long endure.”

So spake they, idly of another's state
Babbling vain words and fond philosophy.
This was their consolation ; such debate

Men held with one another; nor did he,
Like one who labours with a human woe,
Decline this talk; as if its theme might be

Another, not himself, he to and fro
Questioned and canvassed it with subtlest wit ;
And none but those who loved him best could

know

That which he knew not, how it galled and bit His weary mind, this converse vain and cold; For like an eyeless nightmare grief did sit

L'pon his being; a snake which fold by fold Pressed out the life of life, a clinging fiend Which clenched him if he stirred with deadlier

hold ;And so his grief remained-let it remain—untold.*

• The Author was pursuing a fuller development of the ideal character of Athanase, when it struck him that in an attempt at extreme refinement and analysis, his conceptions might be betrayed into the assuming a morbid character. The reader will judge whether he is a loser or gainer by this difference.-Author's Note.

78

FRAGMENTS OF PRINCE ATHANASE."

PART II.

FRAGMENT I.

l’RINCE ATHANASE had one beloved friend, An old, old man, with hair of silver white, And lips where heavenly smiles would hang and

blend

. The idea Shelley had formed of Prince Athanase was a good deal modelled on Alastor. In the first sketch of the poem he named it Pandemos and Urania. Athanase seeks through the world the one whom he may love. He meets, in the ship in which he is embarked, a lady, who appears to him to embody his ideal of love and beauty. But she proves to be Pandemos, or the earthly and unworthy Venus, who, after disappointing his cherished dreams and hopes, deserts him. Athanase, crushed by sorrow, pines and dies. “On his death-bed, the lady, who can really reply to his soul, comes and kisses his lips."— The Death-bed of Athanase. The poet describes her

Her hair was brown, her spheròd eves were brown,
And in their dark and liquid moisture swam,
Like the dim orb of the eclipsed moon;

Yet when the spirit flashed beneath, there came
The light from them, as when tears of delight
Double the western planet's serene frame.

This slender note is all we have to aid our imagination in haping out the form of the poem, such as its author imaged.

M. &

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