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The weary sound and the heavy breath.
And the silent motions of passing death,
And the smell, cold, oppressive, and dank,
Sent through the pores of the coffin plank;

The dark grass, and the flowers among the grass,
Were bright with tears as the crowd did pass;
From their sighs the wind caught a mournful tone,
And sate in the pines and gave groan for groan.

The garden, once fair, became cold and foul,
Like the corpse of her who had been its soul:
Which at first was lovely as if in sleep,
Then slowly changed, till it grew a heap
To make men tremble who never weep.

Swift summer into the autumn flowed,
And frost in the mist of the morning rode,
Though the noon-day sun looked clear and bright,
Mocking the spoil of the secret night.

The rose-leaves, like flakes of crimson snow,
Paved the turf and the moss below.
The lilies were drooping, and white, and wan,
Like the head and the skin of a dying man,

And Indian plants, of scent and hue
The sweetest that ever were fed on dew,
Leaf after leaf, day by day, ,
Were massed into the common clay.

And the leaves, brown, yellow, and grey, and red,
And white with the whiteness of what is dead,
Like troops of ghosts on the dry wind past;
Their whistling noise made the birds aghast.

And the gusty winds waked the winged seeds
Out of their birth-place of ugly weeds,
Till they clung round many a sweet flower's stem,
Which rotted into the earth with them.

The water-blooms under the rivulet
Fell from the stalks on which they were sot ; •
And the eddies drove them here and there,
As the winds did those of the upper air.

Then the rain came down, and the broken stalks
Were bent and tangled across the walks;
And the leafless net-work of parasite bowers
Massed into ruin, and all sweet flowers.

Between the time of the wind and the snow,

All loathliest weeds began to grow,

Whose coarse leaves were splashed with many a speck.

Like the water-snake's belly and the toad's back.

And thistles, and nettles, and darnels rank,
And the dock, and henbane, and hemlock dank,
Stretch'd out its long and hollow shank,
And stifled the air till the dead wind stank.

And plants, at whose names the verse feels loath,
Filled the place with a monstrous undergrowth.
Prickly, and pulpous, and blistering, and blue
Livid, and starred with a lurid dew.

And agarics and fungi, with mildew and mould,
Started like mist from the wet ground cold;
Palo, fleshy, as if the decaying dead
With a spirit of growth had been animated!

Spawn, weeds, and filth, a leprous scum,

Made the running rivulet thick and dumb.

And at its outlet, flags huge as stakes

Dammed it up with roots knotted like water-snake*.

And hour by hour, when the air was still,
The vapours arose which have strength to kill:
At morn they were seen, at noon they were felt,
At night they were darkness no star could melt.

And unctuous meteors from spray to spray
Crept and flitted in broad noon-day
Unseen; every branch on which they alit
By a venomous blight was burned and bit.

The Sensitive Plant, like one forbid,
Wept, and the tears within each lid
Of its folded leaves which together grew,
Were changed to a blight of frozen glue.

For the leaves soon fell, and the branches soon
By the heavy axe of the blast were hewn;
The sap shrank to the root through every pore.
As blood to a heart that will beat no more.

For Winter came: the wind was his whip;
One choppy finger was on his lip:
He had torn the cataracts from the hills,
And they clanked at his girdle like manacles;
His breat h was a chain which without a sound
The earth, and the air, and the water bound;
He came, fiercely driven in his chariot-throne
By the tenfold blasts of the arctic zone.

Then the weeds which were forms of living death.
Fled from the frost to the earth beneath:
Their decay and sudden flight from frost
Was but like the vanishing of a ghost I

And under the roots of the Sensitive Plant
The moles and the dormice died for want:
The birds dropped stiff from the frozen air,
And were caught in the branches naked and bare.

First there came down a thawing rain,
And its dull drops froze on the boughs again,
Then there steamed up a freezing dew
Which to the drops of the thaw-rain grew;

And a northern whirlwind, wandering about
Like a wolf that had smelt a dead child out,
Shook the boughs thus laden, and heavy and stiff,
And snapped them off with his rigid griff.

When winter had gone and spring came back,

The Sensitive Plant was a leafless wreck;

But the mandrakes, and toadstools, and docks, and darnels,

Rose like the dead from their ruined charnels.


Whether the Sensitive Plant, or that
Which within its boughs like a spirit sat,
Ere its outward form had known decay,
Now felt this change, I cannot say.

Whether that lady's gentle mind,
No longer with the form combined
Which scattered love, as stars do light,
Found sadness, where it left delight,

I dare not guess; but in this life
Of error, ignorance and strife,
Where nothing is, but all things seem,
And we the shadows of the dream,


It is a modest creed, and yet
Pleasant, if one considers it,
To own that death itself must be.
Like all the rest, a mockery.

That garden sweet, that lady fair.
And all sweet shapes and odours tneri.
In truth nave never passed away:
'Tis we, 'tis ours, are changed! not they.

For love, and beauty, and delight,
There is no death nor change; their might
Exceeds our organs, which endure
No light, being themselves obscure.


'Tis the terror of tempest . The rags of the sail

Are nickering in ribbons within the fierce gale:

From the stark night of vapours the dim rain is driven.

And when lightning is loosed like a deluge from heaven,

She sees the black trunks of the water-spouts spin,

And bend, as if heaven was ruining in,

Which they seemed to sustain with their terrible mass

As if ocean had sunk from beneath them: they pass

To their graves in the deep with an earthquake of sound,

And the waves and the thunders, made silent around,

Leave the wind to its echo. The vessel, now tossed

Through the low trailing rack of the tempest, is lost

In the skirts of the thunder-cloud: now down the sweep

Of the wind-cloven wave to the chasm of the deep

It sinks, and the walls of the watery vale

Whose depths of dread calm are unmoved by the gale,

Dim mirrors of ruin, hang gleaming about;

While the surf, like a chaos of stars, like a rout

Of death flames, like whirlpools of fire flowing iron,

With splendour and terror the black ship environ;

Or like sulphur-flakes hurled from a mine of pale fire,

In fountains spout o'er it. In many a spire

The pyramid-billows, with white points of brine,

In the cope of the lightning inconstantly shine,

As piercing the sky from the floor of the sea.

The great ship seems splitting ! it cracks as a tree,
While an earthquake is splintering its root, ere the blast
Of the whirlwind that stript it of branches has past.

The intense thunder-balls which are raining from heaven

Have shattered its ma»t. ind it stands black and riven.

The chinks suck destruction. The heavy dead hulk

On the living sea rolls an inanimate bulk,

Like a corpse on the day which is hung'ring to fold

Its corruption ar^vnd it. Meanwhile, from the hold,

One deck is burst up from the waters below,

And it splits like the ice when the thaw-breezes blow

O'er the lakes of the desert I Who sit on the other?

Is that all the crew that lie burying each other,

Like tne dead in a breach, round the foremast? Are those

"?win tigers, who burst, when the waters arose,

In the agony of terror, their chains in the hold

(What now makes them tame, is what then made them bold)

Who crouch, side by side, and have driven, like a crank,

The deep grip of their claws through the vibrating plauk?

Are these all?

Nine weeks the tall vessel had lain On the windless expanse of the watery plain, Where the death-darting sun cast no shadow at noon, And there seemed to be fire in the beams of the moon, Till a lead-coloured fog gathered up from the deep, Whose breath was quick pestilence; then, the cold sleep Crept, like blight through the ears of a thick field of corn, O'er the populous vessel. And even and morn, With their hammocks for coffins the seamen aghast Like dead men the dead limbs of their comrades cast Down the deep, which closed on them above and around, And the sharks and the dog-fish their grave-clothes unbound. And were glutted like Jews with this manna rained down From God on their wilderness. One after one The mariners died; on the eve of this day, When the tempest was gathering in cloudy array, But seven remained. Six the thunder had smitten, And they lie black as mummies on which Time has written His scorn of the embalmer; the seventh, from the deck An oak splinter pierced through his breast and his back, And hung out to the tempest, a wreck on the wreck.

No more? At the helm sits n woman more fair

Than heaven, when, unbinding its star braided hair,

It sinks with the sun on the earth and the sea.

She clasps a bright child on her up-gathered knee,

It laughs at the lightning, it mocks the mixed thundnr

Of the air and the sea, with desire and with wonder

It is beckening the tigers to rise and come near,

It would play with those eyes where the radiance of tsar

Is outshining the meteors; its bosom beats high,

The heart-fire of pleasure has kindled its eye;

Whilst its mother's is lustreless. "Smile not, my child,

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