Imágenes de páginas
PDF

XXXVII.
From its smooth shoulders hung two rapid wings

Fit to have borne it to the seventh sphere,
Tipped with the speed of liquid lightenings,

Dyed in the ardours of the atmosphere. She led her creature to the boiling springs

Where the light boat was moored, and said “Sit here,” And pointed to the prow, and took her seat Beside the rudder with opposing feet.

XXXVIII.
And down the streams which clove those mountains vast,

Around their inland islets, and amid
The panther-peopled forests (whose shade cast

Darkness and odours, and a pleasure hid
In melancholy gloom) the pinnace passed ;

By many a star-surrounded pyramid
Of icy crag cleaving the purple sky,
And caverns yawning round unfathomably.

[ocr errors]

The silver moon into that winding dell,

With slanted gleam athwart the forest tops, Tempered like golden evening, feebly fell ;

A green and glowing light, like that which drops
From folded lilies in which glow-worms dwell,

When Earth over her face Night's mantle wraps ;
Between the severed mountains lay on high,
Over the stream, a narrow rift of sky,

XL.
And, ever as she went, the Image lay

With folded wings and unawakened eyes;
And o'er its gentle countenance did play

The busy dreams, as thick as summer flies,
Chasing the rapid smiles that would not stay,

And drinking the warm tears, and the sweet sighs
Inhaling, which with busy murmur vain
They had aroused from that full heart and brain.

XLI.
And ever down the prone vale, like a cloud

Upon a stream of wind, the pinnace went :
VOL. II.

Now lingering on the pools, in which abode

The calm and darkness of the deep content
In which they paused ; now o'er the shallow road

Of white and dancing waters, all besprent
With sand and polished pebbles :mortal boat
In such a shallow rapid could not float.

XLII. And down the earthquaking cataracts, which shiver

Their snow-like waters into golden air, Or under chasms unfathomable ever

Sepulchre them, till in their rage they tear A subterranean portal for the river,

It fled. The circling sunbows did upbear Its fall down the hoar precipice of spray, Lighting it far upon its lampless way.

XLIII.
And, when the Wizard Lady would ascend

The labyrinths of some many-winding vale
Which to the inmost mountain upward tend,

She called “Hermaphroditus !”—and the pale
And heavy hue which slumber could extend

Over its lips and eyes, as on the gale
A rapid shadow from a slope of grass,
Into the darkness of the stream did pass.

XLIV.
And it unfurled its heaven-coloured pinions ;

With stars of fire spotting the stream below,
And from above into the Sun's dominions

Flinging a glory like tlte golden glow
In which Spring clothes her emerald-winged minions,

All interwoven with fine feathery snow,
And moonlight splendour of intensest rime
With which frost paints the pines in winter time.

XLV.
And then it winnowed the elysian air

Which ever hung about that Lady bright,
With its etherial vans : and, speeding there,

Like a star up the torrent of the night,

Or a swift eagle in the morning glare

Breasting the whirlwind with impetuous flight, The pinnace, oared by those enchanted wings, Clove the fierce streams towards their upper springs.

XLVI.
The water flashed,—like sunlight, by the prow

Of a noon-wandering meteor flung to heaven;
The still air seemed as if its waves did flow

In tempest down the mountains ; loosely driven, The Lady's radiant hair streamed to and fro;

Beneath, the billows, having vainly striven
Indignant and impetuous, roared to feel
The swift and steady motion of the keel.

XLVII.
Or, when the weary moon was in the wane,

Or in the noon of interlunar night,
The Lady Witch in visions could not chain

Her spirit ; but sailed forth under the light
Of shooting stars, and bade extend amain

His storm-outspeeding wings the Hermaphrodite ; She to the austral waters took her way, Beyond the fabulous Thamondocana.

XLVIII. Where, like a meadow which no scythe has shaven,

Which rain could never bend or whirlblast shake, With the antarctic constellations paven,

Canopus and his crew, lay the austral lakeThere she would build herself a windless haven,

Out of the clouds whose moving turrets make The bastions of the storm, when through the sky The spirits of the tempest thundered by :

XLIX.
A haven beneath whose translucent floor

The tremulous stars sparkled unfathomably;
And around which the solid vapours hoar,

Based on the level waters, to the sky
Lifted their dreadful crags, and, like a shore

Of wintry mountains, inaccessibly

Hemmed in with rifts and precipices grey,
And hanging crags, many a cove and bay.

And, whilst the outer lake beneath the lash

Of the wind's scourge foamed like a wounded thing, And the incessant hail with stony clash

Ploughed up the waters, and the flagging wing
Of the roused cormorant in the lightning flash

Looked like the wreck of some wind-wandering
Fragment of inky thunder-smoke-this haven
Was as a gem to copy heaven engraven.

LI.
On which that Lady played her many pranks,

Circling the image of a shooting star (Even as a tiger on Hydaspes' banks

Outspeeds the antelopes which speediest are) In her light boat; and many quips and cranks

She played upon the water ; till the car Of the late moon, like a sick matron wan, To journey from the misty east began.

LII.
And then she called out of the hollow turrets

Of those high clouds, white, golden, and vermilion, The armies of her ministering spirits.

In mighty legions million after million
They came, each troop emblazoning its merits

On meteor flags ; and many a proud pavilion
Of the intertexture of the atmosphere
They pitched upon the plain of the calm mere.

LIII.
They framed the imperial tent of their great Queen

Of woven exhalations, underlaid
With lambent lightning-fire, as may be seen

A dome of thin and open ivory inlaid
With crimson silk. Cressets from the serene

Hung there, and on the water for her tread
A tapestry of fleece-like mist was strewn,
Dyed in the beams of the ascending moon.

LIV.
And on a throne o'erlaid with starlight, caught

Upon those wandering isles of aery dew
Which highest shoals of mountain shipwreck not,

She sate, and heard all that had happened new Between the earth and moon since they had brought

The last intelligence : and now she grew Pale as that moon lost in the watery night, And now she wept, and now she laughed outright.

[ocr errors]

These were tame pleasures. She would often climb

The steepest ladder of the crudded rack Up to some beaked cape of cloud sublime,

And like Arion on the dolphin's back Ride singing through the shoreless air. Oft-time,

Following the serpent lightning's winding track, She ran upon the platforms of the wind, And laughed to hear the fireballs roar behind.

LVI.
And sometimes to those streams of upper air

Which whirl the earth in its diurnal round
She would ascend, and win the Spirits there

To let her join their chorus. Mortals found That on those days the sky was calm and fair,

And mystic snatches of harmonious sound Wandered upon the earth where'er she passed, And happy thoughts of hope, too sweet to last.

LVII.
But her choice sport was, in the hours of sleep,

To glide adown old Nilus, when he threads
Egypt and Ethiopia from the steep

Of utmost Axumé until he spreads,
Like a calm flock of silver-fleeced sheep,

His waters on the plain,--and crested heads
Of cities and proud temples gleam amid,
And many a vapour-belted pyramid :

LVIII.
By Moris and the Mareotid lakes,

Strewn with faint blooms like bridal-chamber floors,

« AnteriorContinuar »