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We feel more than all may see;
And thine full of doubt for me.
One moment has bound the free.
That moment is gone for ever;
Like lightning that flashed and died,
Like a snowflake upon the river,
That moment from time was singled
The cup of its joy was mingled
Sweet lips, could my heart have hidden
Ye would not have then forbidden
SWIFT as a spirit hastening to his task
Of glory and of good, the Sun sprang forth Rejoicing in his splendour, and the mask
Of darkness fell from the awakened earth. The smokeless altars of the mountain snows Flamed above crimson clouds, and at the birth
Of light the ocean's orison arose,
To which the birds tempered their matin lay.
Their trembling eyelids to the kiss of day,
Burned slow and inconsumably, and sent
Their odorous sighs up to the smiling air;
Isle, ocean, and all things that in them wear
Their portion of the toil which he of old
Took as his own, and then imposed on them. But I, whom thoughts which must remain untold
Had kept as wakeful as the stars that gem The cone of night, now they were laid asleep Stretched my faint limbs beneath the hoary stem
Which an old chesnut flung athwart the steep
Of a green Apennine. Before me fled
Was at my feet, and heaven above my head ;—
Was so transparent that the scene came through
As clear as, when a veil of light is drawn O'er evening hills, they glimmer; and I knew That I had felt the freshness of that dawn
Bathe in the same cold dew my brow and hair,
And sate as thus upon that slope of lawn
Under the selfsame bough, and heard as there
Sweet talk in music through the enamoured air.
As in that trance of wondrous thought I lay,
This was the tenour of my waking dream.— Methought I sate beside a public way
Thick strewn with summer dust; and a great stream Of people there was hurrying to and fro,
Numerous as gnats upon the evening gleam,—
All hastening onward, yet none seemed to know
Was borne amid the crowd as through the sky
Mixed in one mighty torrent did appear:
Some flying from the thing they feared, and some Seeking the object of another's fear.
And others, as with steps towards the tomb, Poured on the trodden worms that crawled beneath; And others mournfully within the gloom
Of their own shadow walked, and called it death;
And some fled from it as it were a ghost, Half fainting in the affliction of vain breath.
But more, with motions which each other crossed, — Pursued or spurned the shadows the clouds threw, Or birds within the noonday ether lost,
Upon that path where flowers never grew,—
And, weary with vain toil and faint for thirst,
Out of their mossy cells for ever burst,
With overarching elms, and caverns cold,
And violet-banks where sweet dreams brood;—but they Pursued their serious folly as of old.
And, as I gazed, methought that in the way The throng grew wilder, as the woods of June
When the south wind shakes the extinguished day;
And a cold glare, intenser than the noon
But icy cold, obscured with blinding light
When on the sunlit limits of the night
Doth, as the herald of its coming, bear
The ghost of her dead mother, whose dim form
So came a chariot on the silent storm
Beneath a dusky hood and double cape,
Crouching within the shadow of a tomb.
Was bent, a dun and faint ctherial gloom
The guidance of that wonder-winged team.
The shapes which drew it in thick lightenings Were lost:—I heard alone on the air's soft stream
The music of their ever-moving wings. All the four faces of that Charioteer
Had their eyes banded. Little profit brings
Speed in the van and blindness in the rear,
Nor then avail the beams that quench the sun: Or that with banded eyes could pierce the sphere
Of all that is, has been, or will be, done. So ill was the car guided—but it passed With solemn speed majestically on.
The crowd gave way; and I arose aghast,
Or seemed to rise, so mighty was the trance,
The million with fierce song and maniac dance
Imperial Rome poured forth her living sea
From senate-house and forum and theatre, When .... upon the free
Had bound a yoke which soon they stooped to bear. Nor wanted here the just similitude Of a triumphal pageant, for, where'er
The chariot rolled, a captive multitude
Was driven:—all those who had grown old in power Or misery; all who had their age subdued
By action or by suffexingrand whose hour Was drained to its last sand in weal or woe,
So that the trunk survived both fruit and flower;
All those whose fame or infamy must grow
Till the great winter lay the form and name Of this green earth with them for ever low;
All but the sacred few who could not tame Their spirits to the conquerors, but, as soon
As they had touched the world with living flame,
Fled back like eagles to their native noon,
Or those who put aside the diadem
Were there, of Athens or Jerusalem,
Nor those who went before fierce and obscene.
The wild dance maddens in the van; and those Who lead it, fleet as shadows on the green,
Outspeed the chariot, and without repose Mix with each other in tempestuous measure To savage music, wilder as it grows.