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By the small, still, sweet spirit of that sound,
So that the savage winds hung mute around;
And odours warm and fresh fell from her hair,
Dissolving the dull cold in the frore air.
Soft as an incarnation of the Sun,
When light is changed to love, this glorious one
Floated into the cavern where I lay,
And called my spirit ; and the dreaming clay
Was lifted by the thing that dreamed below
As smoke by fire, and in her beauty's glow
I stood, and felt the dawn of my long night
Was penetrating me with living light.
I knew it was the Vision veiled from me
So many years—that it was Emily.
Twin spheres of light who rule this passive earth, This world of love, this me; and into birth Awaken all its fruits and flowers, and dart Magnetic might into its central heart; And lift its billows and its mists, and guide By everlasting laws each wind and tide To its fit cloud and its appointed cave; And lull its storms, each in the craggy grave Which was its cradle, luring to faint bowers The armies of the rainbow-winged showers; And, as those married lights which from the towers Of heaven look forth, and fold the wandering globe In liquid sleep and splendour as a robe, And all their many-mingled influence blend, If equal yet unlike, to one sweet end, So ye, bright regents, with alternate sway, Govern my sphere of being, night and dayThou, not disdaining even a borrowed might, Thou, not eclipsing a remoter light, And through the shadow of the seasons three, From Spring to autumn's sere maturity, Light it into the winter of the tomb, Where it may ripen to a brighter bloom ! Thou too, O Comet, beautiful and fierce, Who drew'st the heart of this frail universe Towards thine own; till, wrecked in that convulsion, Alternating attraction and repulsion,
Thine went astray, and that was rent in twain;
Oh! float into our azure heaven again!
Be there love's folding-star at thy return!
The living Sun will feed thee from its urn
Of golden fire; the Moon will veil her horn
In thy last smiles; adoring Even and Morn
Will worship thee with incense of calm breath
And lights and shadows, as the star of death
And birth is worshiped by those sisters wild
Called Hope and Fear. Upon the heart are piled
Their offerings,-of this sacrifice divine
A world shall be the altar.
Scorn not these flowers of thought, the fading birth
Which from its heart of hearts that plant puts forth
Whose fruit, made perfect by thy sunny eyes,
Will be as of the trees of paradise.
The day is come, and thou wilt fly with me!
To whatsoe'er of dull mortality
Is mine remain a vestal sister still;
To the intense, the deep, the imperishable-
Not mine, but me-henceforth be thou united,
Even as a bride, delighting and delighted.
The hour is come :--the destined star has risen
Which shall descend upon a vacant prison.
The walls are high, the gates are strong, thick set
The sentinels—but true Love never yet
Was thus constrained. It overleaps all fence:
Like lightning, with invisible violence
Piercing its continents; like heaven's free breath,
Which he who grasps can hold not; liker Death,
Who rides upon a thought, and makes his way
Through temple, tower, and palace, and the array
Of arms. More strength has Love than he or they;
For he can burst his charnel, and make free
The limbs in chains, the heart in agony,
The soul in dust and chaos.
A ship is floating in the harbour now,
A wind is hovering o'er the mountain's brow.
There is a path on the sea's azure floor,
No keel has ever ploughed that path before;
The halycons brood around the foamless isles;
The treacherous ocean has forsworn its wiles;
The merry mariners are bold and free:
Say, my heart's sister, wilt thou sail with me?
Our bark is as an albatross whose nest
Is a far Eden of the purple east;
And we between her wings will sit, while Night
And Day and Storm and Calm pursue their flight,
Our ministers, along the boundless sea,
Treading each other's heels, unheededly.
It is an isle under Ionian skies,
Beautiful as a wreck of paradise;
And, for the harbours are not safe and good,
This land would have remained a solitude
But for some pastoral people native there,
Who from the elysian, clear, and golden air
Draw the last spirit of the age of gold,-
Simple and spirited, innocent and bold.
(The blue Ægean girds this chosen home,
With ever-changing sound and light and foam
Kissing the sifted sands and caverns hoar;
And all the winds wandering along the shore
Undulate with the undulating tide.
There are thick woods where sylvan forms abide
And many a fountain, rivulet, and pond,
As clear as elemental diamond,
Or serene morning air. And far beyond,
The mossy tracks made by the goats and deer
(Which the rough shepherd treads but once a year)
Pierce into glades, caverns, and bowers, and halls
Built round with ivy, which the waterfalls
Illumining, with sound that never fails,
Accompany the noonday nightingales.
And all the place is peopled with sweet airs.
The light clear element which the isle wears
Is heavy with the scent of lemon-flowers,
Which floats like mist laden with unseen showers,
And falls upon the eyelids like faint sleep;
And from the moss violets and jonquils peep,
And dart their arrowy odour through the brain,
Till you might faint with that delicious pain.
And every motion, odour, beam, and tone,
With that deep music is in unison
Which is a soul within the soul: they seem
Like echoes of an antenatal dream.
It is an isle 'twixt heaven, air, earth, and sea,
Cradled, and hung in clear tranquillity;
Bright as that wandering Eden, Lucifer,
Washed by the soft blue oceans of young air.
It is a favoured place. Famine or blight,
Pestilence, war, and earthquake, never light
Upon its mountain-peaks; blind vultures, they
Sail onward far upon their fatal way.
The winged storms, chanting their thunder-psalm
To other lands, leave azure chasms of calm
Over this isle, or weep themselves in dew,
From which its fields and woods ever renew
Their green and golden immortality.
And from the sea there rise, and from the sky
There fall, clear exhalations, soft and bright,
Veil after veil, each hiding some delight:
Which sun or moon or zephyr draws aside,
Till the isle's beauty, like a naked bride
Glowing at once with love and loveliness,
Blushes and trembles at its own excess.
Yet, like a buried lamp, a soul no less
Burns in the heart of this delicious isle,
An atom of the Eternal, whose own smile
Unfolds itself, and may be felt not seen
O'er the grey rocks, blue waves, and forests green,
Filling their bare and void interstices.
But the chief marvel of the wilderness
Is a lone dwelling, built by whom or how
None of the rustic island-people know.
'Tis not a tower of strength, though with its height
It overtops the woods; but, for delight,
Some wise and tender Ocean-king, ere crime
Had been invented, in the world's young prime,
Reared it, a wonder of that simple time,
And envy of the islesma pleasure-house
Made sacred to his sister and his spouse.
It scarce seems now a wreck of human art,
But, as it were, Titanic ; in the heart Of earth having assumed its form, then grown Out of the mountains, from the living stone Lifting itself in caverns light and high : For all the antique and learned imagery Has been erased, and in the place of it The ivy and the wild vine interknit The volumes of their many-twining stems. Parasite flowers illume with dewy gems The lampless halls; and, when they fade, the sky Peeps through their winter-woof of tracery With moonlight patches or star atoms keen, Or fragments of the day's intense serene, Working mosaic on their Parian floors. And, day and night, aloof, from the high towers And terraces, the Earth and Ocean seem To sleep in one another's arms, and dream Of waves, flowers, clouds, woods, rocks, and all that we Read in their smiles, and call reality.
This isle and house are mine, and I have vowed Thee to be lady of the solitude. And I have fitted up some chambers there Looking towards the golden eastern air, And level with the living winds which flow Like waves above the living waves below. I have sent books and music there, and all Those instruments with which high spirits call The future from its cradle, and the past Out of its grave, and make the present last In thoughts and joys which sleep but cannot die, Folded within their own eternity. Our simple life wants little, and true taste Hires not the pale drudge Luxury to waste The scene it would adorn; and therefore still Nature with all her children haunts the hill. The ringdove in the embowering ivy yet Keeps up her love-lament; and the owls fit Round the evening tower; and the young stars glance Between the quick bats in their twilight dance; The spotted deer bask in the fresh moonlight Before our gate ; and the slow silent night