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POEMS WRITTEN IN 1820.

(Continued.)

THE WITCH OF ATLAS.

I.

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 learned rhyme, A lady-witch there lived on Atlas' mountain Within a cavern by a secret fountain.

II.

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 chanıber of gray rock in which she lay ; She, in that dream of joy, dissolved away.

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VOL. IV.

III.

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Tis said, she was first changed into a vapour,

And then into a cloud, such clouds as flit, Like splendour-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.

IV.

Ten times the Mother of the Months had bent

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 splendour hidden, Took shape and motion : with the living form Of this embodied Power, the cave grew warm.

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A lovely lady garmented in light

From her own beauty-deep her eyes, as are
Two openings of unfathomable night
Seen through a tempest's cloven rocf;- 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.

VI.

And first the spotted camelopard 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.

VII.

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.

VIII.

And old Silenus, shaking a green stick

Of lilies, and the wood-gods in a crew Came, blithe, as in the olive copses thick

Cicadæ are, drunk with the noonday dew: And Dryope and Faunus followed quick,

Teasing the god to sing them something new, Till in this cave they found the lady lone, Sitting upon a seat of emerald stone.

IX.

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, Ile 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.

X.

And every nymph of stream and spreading tree,

And every shepherdess of Ocean's flocks, Who drives her white waves over the green sca;

And Ocean,with the brine on his gray 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 inirth.

XI.

The herdsman and the mountain maidens came,

And the rude kings of pastoral GaramantTheir 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.

XII.

For she was beautiful: her beauty made

The bright world dim, and every thing 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 un her form, and in her inmost eyes.

XIII.

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 star-beams, ere their lamps could dwindle

In the belated moon, wound skilfully ; And with these threads a subtile veil she wove, A shadow for the splendour of her love.

XIV.

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

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