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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:

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And other sights too foul to speak and live PANTheA.
Were wandering by. Let us not tempt worse fear Alas! what sawest thou?
By looking forth; those groans are grief enough. PROMEThe US.

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.

FURY.

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.

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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
Gentle guides and guardians be
Of heaven-oppress'd mortality;
And we breathe, and sicken not,
The atmosphere of human thought:
Be it dim, and dank, and gray,
Like a storm-extinguish'd day,
Travell'd o'er by dying gleams;
Be it bright as all between
Cloudless skies and windless streams,
Silent, liquid, and serene;
As the birds within the wind,
As the fish within the wave
As the thoughts of man's own mind
Float through all above the grave;
We make these our liquid lair,
Voyaging cloudlike and unpent
Through the boundless element:
Therce we bear the prophecy
Which begins and ends in thee!

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.

SECOND spirit.

A rainbow's arch stood on the sea,
Which rock'd beneath, immovably;
And the triumphant storm did flee,
Like a conqueror, swift and proud,
Between with many a captive cloud
A shapeless, dark and rapid crowd,
Each by lightning riven in half:
I heard the thunder hoarsely laugh :
Mighty fleets were strewn like chaff
And spread beneath a hell of death
O'er the white waters. I alit
On a great ship lightning-split,
And speeded hither on the sigh
Of one who gave an enemy
His plank, then plunged aside to die.

THIRD spirit.

I sat beside a sage's bed,
And the lamp was burning red
Near the book where he had fed,
When a Dream with plumes of flame, "
To his pillow hovering came,
And I knew it was the same
Which had kindled long ago
Pity, eloquence, and woe:
And the world awhile below
Wore the shade its lustre made.
It has borne me here as fleet
As Desire's lightning feet:
I must ride it back ere morrow,
Or the sage will wake in sorrow.

FourTH SPIRIT.

On a poet's lips I slept,
Dreaming like a love-adept
In the sound his breathing kept;
Nor seeks nor finds he mortal blisses,
But feeds on the aerial kisses
Of shapes that haunt thought's wildernesses.
He will watch from dawn to gloom
The lake-reflected sun illume
The yellow bees in the ivy-bloom,
Nor heed nor see, what things they be ;
But from these create he can
Forms more real than living man,
Nurslings of immortality!
One of these awaken'd me,
And I sped to succor thee.

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.

Cho RUS.

Though Ruin now Love's shadow be,
Following him, destroyingly,

On Death's white and winged steed,
Which the fleetest cannot flee,

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 !

ACT II.

SCENE I. Morning. A lovely Vale in the inian Caucasus.

Asia, alone.

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-
ed
Cradled in tempests; thou dost wake, O Spring!
O child of many winds! As suddenly
Thou comest as the memory of a dream,
Which now is sad because it hath been sweet!
Like genius, or like joy which riseth up
As from the earth, clothing with golden clouds
The desert of our life.
This is the season, this the day, the hour;
At sunrise thou shouldst come, sweet sister mine,
Too long desired, too long delaying, come!
How like death-worms the wingless moments crawl.'
The point of one white star is quivering still
Deep in the orange light of widening morn
Beyond the purple mountains: through a chasm
Of wind-divided mist the darker lake
Reflects it: now it wanes: it gleams again
As the waves fade, and as the burning threads
Of woven cloud unravel in pale air:
"Tis lost! and through yon peaks of cloudlike snow
The roseate sunlight quivers: hear I not
The AEolian music of her sea-green plumes
Winnowing the crimson dawn

PANTHEA enters.

I feel, I see

Those eyes which burn through smiles that fade in

tears,
Like stars half quench'd in mists of silver dew.
Beloved and most beautiful, who wearest
The shadow of that soul by which I live,
How late thou art the sphered sun had climb'd
The sea; my heart was sick with hope, before
The printless air felt thy belated plumes.

PANTheA.

Pardon, great Sister! but my wings were faint
With the delight of a remember'd dream,
As are the noontide plumes of summer winds
Satiate with sweet flowers. I was wont to sleep
Peacefully, and awake refresh'd and calm
Before the sacred Titan's fall, and thy
Unhappy love, had made, through use and pity,
Both love and woe familiar to my heart
As they had grown to thine; erewhile I slept
Under the glaucous caverns of old Ocean
Within dim bowers of green and purple moss,
Our young Ione's soft and milky arms
Lock'd then, as now, behind my dark, moist hair,
While my shut eyes and cheek were press'd within
The folded depth of her life-breathing bosom ;
But not as now, since I am made the wind
Which sails beneath the music that I bear
Of thy most wordless converse; since dissolved
Into the sense with which love talks, my rest
Was troubled and yet sweet; my waking hours
Too full of care and pain.

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
Grew radiant with the glory of that form
Which lives unchanged within, and his voice fell
Like music which makes giddy the dim brain,
Faint with intoxication of keen joy:
“Sister of her whose footsteps pave the world
With loveliness—more fair than aught but her,
Whose shadow thou art—lift thine eyes on me.”
I lifted them : the overpowering light
Of that immortal shape was shadow'd o'er
By love; which, from his soft and flowing limbs,
And passion-parted lips, and keen, faint eyes,
Steam'd forth like vaporous fire; an atmosphere
Which wrapt me in its all-dissolving power,
As the warm ether of the morning sun
Wraps ere it drinks some cloud of wandering dew.
I saw not, heard not, moved not, only felt
His presence flow and mingle through my blood
Till it became his life, and his grew mine,
And I was thus absorb'd, until it past,
And like the vapors when the sun sinks down
Gathering again in drops upon the pines,
And tremulous as they, in the deep night
My being was condensed; and as the rays
Of thought were slowly gather'd, I could hear
His voice, whose accents linger'd ere they died
Like footsteps of weak melody: thy name
Among the many sounds alone I heard
Of what might be articulate; though still
I listen'd through the night when sound was none.
Ione waken'd then, and said to me:
“Canst thou divine what troubles me to-night?
I always knew what I desired before,
Nor ever found delight to wish in vain.
But now I cannot tell thee what I seek;
I know not; something sweet, since it is sweet
Even to desire; it is thy sport, false sister;
Thou hast discover'd some enchantment old,
Whose spells have stolen my spirit as I slept
And mingled it with thine: for when just now
We kiss'd, I felt within thy parted lips
The sweet air that sustain'd me, and the warmth
Of the life-blood, for loss of which I faint,
Quiver'd between our intertwining arms.”
I answer'd not, for the Eastern star grew pale,
But fled to thee.
ASIA.

Thou speakest, but thy words
Are as the air: I feel them not : Oh, lift
Thine eyes, that I may read his written soul!

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.

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ASIA.

- 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

fallen,

The like was stamp'd, as with a withering fire.
A wind arose among the pines: it shook
The clinging music from their boughs, and then
Low, sweet, faint sounds, like the farewell of ghosts.
Were heard : Oh, follow, follow, follow me !
And then I said ; “Panthea, look on me.”
But in the depth of those beloved eyes
Still I saw, follow, follow !-

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ASIA. Hark! Spirits, speak. The liquid responses Of their aerial tongues yet sound.

Panthea.
I hear.

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

Echoes.

In the world unknown
Sleeps a voice unspoken;
By thy step alone
Can its rest be broken;
Child of Ocean :

ASIA. How the notes sink upon the ebbing wind'

ECHOES.

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.

SCENE II.

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,
Can pierce its interwoven bowers,
Nor aught, save where some cloud of dew,
Drifted along the earth-creeping breeze,
Between the trunks of the hoar trees,
Hangs each a pearl in the pale flowers
Of the green laurel, blown anew ;
And bends, and then fades silently,
One frail and fair anemone:
Or when some star of many a one
That climbs and wanders through steep night,
Has found the cleft through which alone
Beams fall from high those depths upon
Ere it is borne away, away,
By the swift Heavens that cannot stay,
It scatters drops of golden light,
Like lines of rain that ne'er unite:
And the gloom divine is all around;
And underneath is the mossy ground.

seMichorus II.

There the voluptuous nightingales,
Are awake through all the broad noonday,
When one with bliss or sadness fails,
And through the windless ivy-boughs,
Sick with sweet love, droops dying away
On its mate's music-panting bosom;
Another from the swinging blossom,
Watching to catch the languid close
Of the last strain, then lifts on high
The wings of the weak melody,
Till some new strain of feeling bear
The song, and all the woods are mute;
When there is heard through the dim air
The rush of wings, and rising there
Like many a lake-surrounding flute,
Sounds overflow the listener's brain
So sweet, that joy is almost pain.

semichorus i.

There those enchanted eddies play
Of echoes, music-tongued, which draw,
By Demogorgon's mighty law,
With melting rapture, or sweet awe,
All spirits on that secret way;
As inland boats are driven to Ocean
Down streams made strong with mountain-thaw:
And first there comes a gentle sound
To those in talk or slumber bound,
And wakes the destined soft emotion,
Attracts, impels them : those who saw
Say from the breathing earth behind
There streams a plume-uplifting wind
Which drives them on their path, while they
Believe their own swift wings and feet
The sweet desires within obey:
And so they float upon their way,
Until, still sweet, but loud and strong,
The storm of sound is driven along,
Suck'd up and hurrying as they fleet
Behind, its gathering billows meet,
And to the fatal mountain bear
Like clouds amid the yielding air.

first Faun.

Canst thou imagine where those spirits live

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