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"Who made this earth their charnel. Others, more
Humble, like falcons, sat upon the fist
"Or, like small gnats and flies as thick as mist
"And others, like discoloured flakes of snow,
On fairest bosoms and the sunniest hair Fell, and were melted by the youthful glow
"Which they extinguished; and, like tears, they were A veil to those from whose faint lids they rained In drops of sorrow. I became aware
"Of whence those forms proceeded which thus stained
The track in which we moved. After brief space, From every form the beauty slowly waned;
"From every firmest limb and fairest face The strength and freshness fell like dust, and left The action and the shape without the grace
"Of life. The marble brow of youth was cleft
With care; and, in those eyes where once hope shone, Desire, like a lioness bereft
"Of her last cub, glared ere it died. Each one Of that great crowd sent forth incessantly These shadows, numerous as the dead leaves blown
"In autumn evening from a poplar tree.
Each like himself, and each like other, were At first. But some distorted seemed to be,—
"Obscure clouds moulded by the casual air; And of this stuff the car's creative ray Wrapped all the busy phantoms that were there,
"As the sun shapes the clouds. Thus on the way
Mask after mask fell from the countenance And form of all. And, long before the day
"Was old, the joy which waked like heaven's glance The sleepers in the oblivious valley died; And some grew weary of the ghastly dance,
"And fell, as I have fallen, by the way-side;—
Those soonest from whose forms most shadows passed,
And least of strength and beauty did abide.
SHELLEY'S NOTE TO PRINCE ATHANASE.
And so his griff 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.
HYMNS OF HOMER.
HYMN TO MERCURY.
Sing, Muse, the son of Maia and of Jove,
The Herald-child, King of Arcadia
Having been interwoven, modest May
Shadowed the cavern where the lovers lay
Now, when the joy of Jove had its fulfilling,
And Heaven's tenth moon chronicled her relief,
A schemer subtle beyond all belief,
A night-watching, and door-waylaying thief,
And other glorious actions to achieve.
iII. The babe was born at the first peepof day;
He began playing on the lyre at noon; And the same evening did he steal away
Apollo's herds. The fourth day of the moon
From her immortal limbs he leaped full soon,
Out of the lofty cavern wandering,
He found a tortoise, and cried out " A treasure!" (For Mercury first made the tortoise sing).
The beast before the portal at his leisure
Moving his feet in a deliberate measure
King of the dance, companion of the feast, Lovely in all your nature! Welcome, you
Excellent plaything! Where, sweet mountain beast, Got you that speckled shell? Thus much I know,
You must come home with me and be my guest;
So come with me; and, though it has been said That you alive defend from magic power,
I know you will sing sweetly when you're dead."
Lifting it from the grass on which it fed,
Then, scooping with a chisel of grey steel,
Not swifter a swift thought of woe or weal
Which thronging cares annoy—not swifter wheel
The flashes of its torture and unrest Out of the dizzy eyes—than Maia's son All that he did devise hath featly done.
And through the tortoise's hard stony skin
At proper distances small holes he made;
And with a piece of leather overlaid
When he had wrought the lovely instrument,
He tried the chords, and made division meet, Preluding with the plectrum; and there went
Up from beneath his hand a tumult sweet
A strain of unpremeditated wit,
Dallied in love not quite legitimate;
And naming his own name, did celebrate;
In plastic verse, her household stuff and state,
Seized with a sudden fancy for fresh meat,
He in his sacred crib deposited
Rushed with great leaps up to the mountain's head,—
Lo! the great Sun under the ocean's bed has
O'er the Pierian mountains clothed in shadows,
Where the immortal oxen of the God
And safely stalled in a remote abode.
He drove them wandering o'er the sandy way;
But, being ever mindful of his craft, Backward and forward drove he them astray,
So that the tracks, which seemed before, were aft. His sandals then he threw to the ocean spray;
And for each foot he wrought a kind of raft
And on his feet he tied these sandals light,
The trail of whose wide leaves might not betray His track; and then, a self-sufficing wight,
Like a man hastening on some distant way, He from Pieria's mountain bent his flight. But an old man perceived the infant pass Down green Onchestus, heaped like beds with grass.
xv. The old man stood dressing his sunny vine.
"Halloo! old fellow with the crooked shoulder! You grub those stumps? Before they will bear wine
Methinks even you must grow a little older. Attend, I pray, to this advice of mine,
As you would 'scape what might appall a bolder—
O'er shadowy mountain, and resounding dell,
Till the black night divine, which favouring fell
Wakened the world to work, and from her cell,