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Panthea. The heaven around, the earth below Was peopled with thick shapes of human death, All horrible, and wrought by human hands, And some appear'd the work of human hearts, For men were slowly kill'd by frowns and smiles:
And other sights too foul to speak and live PANTheA.
Fury. Behold an emblem: those who do endure Deep wrongs for man, and scorn, and chains, but heap Thousandfold torment on themselves and him.
PROMETHEUS. Remit the anguish of that lighted stare; Close those wan lips; let that thorn-wounded brow Stream not with blood; it mingles with thy tears! Fix, fix those tortured orbs in peace and death, So thy sick throes shake not that crucifix, So those pale fingers play not with thy gore. 0 horrible : Thy name I will not speak, It hath become a curse. I see, I see The wise, the mild, the lofty, and the just, Whom thy slaves hate for being like to thee, Some hunted by soul lies from their heart's home, An early-chosen, late-lamented home; As hooded ounces cling to the driven hind ; Some link'd to corpses in unwholesome cells: Some—Hear I not the multitude laugh loud — Impaled in lingering fire: and mighty realms Float by my feet, like sea-uprooted isles, Whose sons are kneaded down in common blood By the red light of their own burning homes.
Blood thou canst see, and fire; and canst hear groans: Worse things unheard, unseen, remain behind.
PROMETheus. Worse 1 FURY. In each human heart terror survives The ruin it has gorged: the loftiest fear All that they would disdain to think were true: Hypocrisy and custom make their minds The sanes of many a worship, now outworn. They dare not devise good for man's estate, And yet they know not that they do not dare. The good want power, but to weep barren tears. The powerful goodness want: worse need for them. The wise want love; and those who love, want wisdom; And all best things are thus confused to ill. Many are strong and rich, and would be just, But live among their suffering fellow-men As if none felt: they know not what they do. ProMEThrus. Thy words are like a cloud of winged snakes; And yet I pity those they torture not.
There are two woes; To speak and to behold; thou spare me one. Names are there, Nature's sacred watch-words, they Were borne aloft in bright emblazonry; The nations throng'd around, and cried aloud, As with one voice, Truth, liberty, and love! Suddenly fierce confusion fell from heaven Among them: there was strife, deceit, and fear: Tyrants rush'd in, and did divide the spoil. This was the shadow of the truth I saw.
The EARTH. I felt thy torture, son, with such mix'd joy As pain and virtue give. To cheer thy state I bid ascend those subtle and fair spirits, Whose homes are the dim caves of human thought, And who inhabit, as birds wing the wind, Its world-surrounding ether: they behold Beyond that twilight realm, as in a glass, The future: may they speak comfort to thee!
PANTheA. Look, sister, where a troop of spirits gather, Like flocks of clouds in spring's delightful weather Thronging in the blue air!
10NE. And see more come, Like fountain vapors when the winds are dumb, That climb up the ravine in scatter'd lines. And, hark' is it the music of the pines? Is it the lake Is it the waterfall !
PANTheA. "Tis something sadder, sweeter far than all.
Chorus OF SPIRITS.
From unremember'd ages we
Ione. More yet come, one by one: the air around them
I am a God, and cannot find it there,
Looks radiant as the air around a star.
FIRST spirit. On a battle-trumpet's blast I fled hither, fast, fast, fast, "Mid the darkness upward cast. From the dust of creeds outworn, From the tyrant's banner torn, Gathering round me, onward borne, There was mingled many a cry— Freedom! Hope! Death ! Victory! Till they faded through the sky; And one sound above, around, One sound beneath, around, above, Was moving; 't was the soul of love; "Twas the hope, the prophecy, Which begins and ends in thee.
A rainbow's arch stood on the sea,
I sat beside a sage's bed,
On a poet's lips I slept,
Ione. Behold'st thou not two shapes from the east and west Come, as two doves to one beloved nest, Twin nurslings of the all-sustaining air On swift still wings glide down the atmosphere? And, hark! their sweet, sad voices! 'tis despair Mingled with love and then dissolved in sound.
PANThe A. Canst thou speak, sister all my words are drown'd.
Ione. Their beauty gives me voice. See how they float On their sustaining wings of skiey grain, Orange and azure deepening into gold : Their soft smiles light the air like a star's fire.
Chorus or spirits. Hast thou beheld the form of Love?
Fifth Spirit. As over wide dominions I sped, like some swift cloud that wings the wide air's wildernesses, That planet-crested shape swept by on lightning. braided pinions, Scattering the liquid joy of life from his ambrosial tresses: His footsteps paved the world with light; but as I pass'd 't was fading, And hollow Ruin yawn'd behind: great sages bound in madness, And headless patriots, and pale youths who perish'd, unupbraiding, Gleam'd in the night. I wander'd o'er, till thou, O King of sadness, Turn'd by thy smile the worst I saw to recollected gladness. sixth SPIRIT. Ah, sister! Desolation is a delicate thing: It walks not on the earth, it floats not on the air, But treads with silent footstep, and fans with silent wing The tender hopes which in their hearts the best and gentlest bear; Who, soothed to false repose by the fanning plumes above, And the music-stirring motion of its soft and busy feet, Dream visions of aerial joy, and call the monster, Love, And wake and find the shadow Pain, as he whom now we greet.
Though Ruin now Love's shadow be,
On Death's white and winged steed,
Trampling down both flower and weed, Man and beast, and foul and fair, Like a tempest through the air; Thou shalt quell this horseman grim, Woundless though in heart or limb.
ProMEThe US. Spirits! how know ye this shall bef
Chorus. In the atmosphere we breathe, As buds grow red when the snow-storms flee,
From spring gathering up beneath, Whose mild winds shake the elder brake, And the wandering herdsmen know That the white-thorn soon will blow: Wisdom, Justice, Love, and Peace, When they struggle to increase, Are to us as soft winds be To shepherd boys, the prophecy Which begins and ends in thee.
none. Where are the spirits fled !
Panthea. Only a sense Remains of them, like the omnipotence Of music, when the inspired voice and lute Languish, ere yet the responses are mute, Which through the deep and labyrinthine soul, Like echoes through long caverns, wind and roll.
PROMETHEUS. How fair these air-borne shapes' and yet I feel Most vain all hope but love; and thou art far, Asia! who, when my being overflow'd, Wert like a golden chalice to bright wine Which else had sunk into the thirsty dust. All things are still: alas! how heavily This quiet morning weighs upon my heart; Though I should dream I could even sleep with grief, If slumber were denied not. I would fain Be what it is my destiny to be, The savior and the strength of suffering man, Or sink into the original gulf of things: There is no agony, and no solace left; Earth can console, Heaven can torment no more.
Panthea. Hast thou forgotten one who watches thee The cold dark night, and never sleeps but when The shadow of thy spirit falls on her?
PROMETheus. I said all hope was vain but love: thou lovest.
PANTheA. Deeply, in truth; but the eastern star looks white, And Asia waits in that far Indian vale The scene of her sad exile; rugged once And desolate and frozen, like this ravine; But now invested with fair flowers and herbs, And haunted by sweet airs and sounds, which flow Among the woods and waters, from the ether Of her transforming presence, which would fade If it were mingled not with thine. Farewell !
SCENE I. Morning. A lovely Vale in the inian Caucasus.
ASIA. From all the blasts of heaven thou hast descended : Yes, like a spirit, like a thought, which makes Unwonted tears throng to the horny eyes, And beatings haunt the desolated heart,
Which should have learnt repose: thou hast descend-
I feel, I see
Those eyes which burn through smiles that fade in
Pardon, great Sister! but my wings were faint
ASIA. List up thine eyes, And let me read thy dream. PANTheA. As I have said With our sea-sister at his feet I slept. The mountain mists, condensing at our voice Under the moon, had spread their snowy flakes, From the keen ice shielding our linked sleep. Then two dreams came. One, I remember not. But in the other his pale wound-worn limbs
Fell from Prometheus, and the azure night
Thou speakest, but thy words
PANThe A. I list them, though they drop beneath the load Of that they would express: what canst thou see But thine own fairest shadow imaged there
ASIA. Thine eyes are like the deep-blue, boundless heaven Contracted to two circles underneath Their long, fine lashes; dark, sar, measureless, Orb within orb, and line through line inwoven.
PANThe A. Why lookest thou as if a spirit past?
ASIA. There is a change: beyond their inmost depth I see a shade, a shape : 'tis He, array'd In the soft light of his own smiles, which spread Like radiance from the cloud-surrounded morn.
- As you speak, your words Fill, pause by pause, my own forgotten sleep With shapes. Methought among the lawns together We wander'd, underneath the young gray dawn, And multitudes of dense white fleecy clouds Were wandering in thick flocks along the mountains Shepherded by the slow, unwilling wind; And the white dew on the new-bladed grass, Just piercing the dark earth, hung silently; And there was more which I remember not : But on the shadows of the morning clouds, Athwart the purple mountain slope, was written, Follow, O, follow ! As they vanish'd by, And on each herb, from which Heaven's dew had
The like was stamp'd, as with a withering fire.
ASIA. Hark! Spirits, speak. The liquid responses Of their aerial tongues yet sound.
Echoes. O, follow, follow, As our voice recedeth Through the caverns hollow, Where the forest spreadeth; (More distant.) O, follow, follow ! Through the caverns hollow, As the song floats thou pursue, Where the wild bee never flew, Through the noontide darkness deep, By the odor-breathing sleep Of faint night-flowers, and the waves At the fountain-lighted caves, While our in usic, wild and sweet, Mocks thy gently falling feet, Child of Ocean :
ASIA. Shall we pursue the sound ! It grows more faint And distant. PANTHEA. List! the strain floats nearer now
In the world unknown
ASIA. How the notes sink upon the ebbing wind'
O, follow, follow !
Through the caverns hollow, As the song floats thou pursue, By the woodland noontide dew; By the forests, lakes, and sountains, Through the many-folded mountains; To the rents, and gulfs, and chasms, Where the Earth reposed from spasms, On the day when He and thou Parted, to commingle now;
Child of Ocean'
ASIA. Come, sweet Panthea, link thy hand in mine, And follow, ere the voices fade away.
A Forest, intermingled with Rocks and Caverns. Asia and PANTHEA pass into it. Two young Fauns are sitting on a Rock, listening semi Chorus I. or spirits. The path through which that lovely twain Have past, by cedar, pine, and yew, And each dark tree that ever grew,
Is curtain'd out from Heaven's wide blue;
Nor sun, nor moon, nor wind, nor rain,
There the voluptuous nightingales,
There those enchanted eddies play
Canst thou imagine where those spirits live