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xlvi. In lonely glens, amid the roar of rivers, When the dim nights were moonless, have I known Joys which no tongue can tell; my pale lip quivers When thought revisits them:—know thou alone, That after many wondrous years were flown, I was awakened by a shriek of woe; And over me a mystic robe was thrown, By viewless hands, and a bright star did glow
Beforemy steps—the Snake then met hismortal foe.
xlvii. Thou fear'st not then the Serpent on thy heart? Fear it! she said with brief and passionate cry, And spake no more: that silence made me start— I looked, and we were sailing pleasantly, Swift as a cloud between the sea and sky, Beneath the rising moon seen far away; Mountains of ice, like sapphire piled on high Hemming the horizon round, in silence lay
On the still waters, these we did approach alway.
xlviii. And swift and swifter grew the vessel's motion, So that a dizzy trance fell on my brain– Wild music woke me: we had past the ocean Which girds the pole, Nature's remotest reign— And we glode fast o'er a pellucid plain Of waters, azure with the noon-tide day. Ethereal mountains shone around—a Fane Stood in the midst, girt by green isles which lay On the blue sunny deep, resplendent far away.
x Liz. It was a Temple, such as mortal hand Has never built, nor ecstacy, or dream, Reared in the cities of enchanted land : "Twas likest Heaven, ere yet day's purple streak Ebbs o'er the western forest, while the gleam Of the unrisen moon among the clouds Is gathering—when with many a golden beam The thronging constellations rush in crowds, Paving with fire the sky and the marmoreal floods.
L. Like what may be conceived of this vast dome, When from the depths which thought can seldom Genius beholds it rise, his native home, [pierce Girt by the deserts of the Universe, Yet, nor in painting's light, or mightier verse, Or sculpture's marble language, can invest That shape to mortal sense—such glooms immerse That incommunicable sight, and rest
Upon the labouring brain and over-burthened
tly. Winding among the lawny islands fair, Whose bloomy forests starred the shadowy deep, The wingless boat paused where an ivory stair Its fretwork in the crystal sea did steep, Encircling that vast Fane's atrial heap : We disembarked, and through a portal wide We passed—whose roof of moonstone carved, did A glimmering o'er the forms on every side, [keep
Sculptures like life and thought; immoveable,
lit. We came to a vasthall, whose glorious roof [sheen Was diamond, which had drunk the lightning's In darkness, and now poured it through the woof Of spell-inwoven clouds hung there to screen Its blinding splendour—through such veil was seen That work of subtlest power, divine and rare ; Orb above orb, with starry shapes between, And horned moons, and meteors strange and fair, On night-black columns poised—one hollow hemisphere ! Litt. Ten thousand columns in that quivering light Distinct—between whose shafts wound far away The long and labyrinthine aisles—more bright With their own radiance than the Heaven of Day; And on the jasper walls around, there lay Paintings, the poesy of mightiest thought, Which did the Spirit's history display ; A tale of passionate change, divinely taught, Which, in their winged dance, unconscious Genii wrought. liv. Beneath, there sate on many a sapphire throne, The great, who had departed from mankind, A mighty Senate; some whose white hair shone Like mountain snow, mild, beautiful, and blind. Some, female forms, whose gestures beamed with mind ; And ardent youths, and children bright and fair; And some had lyres whose strings were intertwined With pale and clinging flames, which ever there Waked faint yet thrilling sounds that pierced the crystal air. Lv. One seat was vacant in the midst, a throne, Reared on a pyramid like sculptured flame, Distinct with circling steps which rested on Their own deep fire—soon as the woman came Into that hall, she shrieked the Spirit's name And fell ; and vanished slowly from the sight. Darkness arose from her dissolving frame, Which gathering, filled that dome of woven light, Blotting its sphered stars with supernatural night.
Wonder and joy a passing faintness threw
A tale of human power—despair not—list and
Lix. I looked, and lo! one stood forth eloquently, His eyes were dark and deep, and the clear brow Which shadowed them was like the morning sky, The cloudless Heaven of Spring, when in their flow Through the bright air, the soft winds as they blow Wake the green world—his gestures did obey The oracular mind that made his features glow, And where his curved lips half open lay, Passion's divinest stream had made impetuous way.
Lx. Beneath the darkness of his outspread hair He stood thus beautiful: but there was One Who sate beside him like his shadow there, And held his hand—far lovelier—she was known To be thus fair, by the few lines alone Which through her floating locks and gathered Glances of soul-dissolving glory, shone:— [cloke None else beheld her eyes—in him they woke
Memories which found a tongue, as thus he silence
I. The star-light smile of children, the sweet looks Of women, the fair breast from which I fed, The murmur of the unreposing brooks, And the green light which, shifting overhead, Some tangled bower of vines around me shed, The shells on the sea-sand, and the wild flowers, The lamp-light through the rafters cheerly spread, And on the twining flax—in life's young hours These sights and sounds did nurse my spirit's folded powers.
ir. In Argolis beside the echoing sea, Such impulses within my mortal frame Arose, and they were dear to memory, Like tokens of the dead:—but others came Soon, in another shape: the wondrous fame Of the past world, the vital words and deeds Of minds whom neither time nor change can tame, Traditions dark and old, whence evil creeds Start forth, and whose dim shade a stream of poison feeds. irr. I heard, as all have heard, the various story Of human life, and wept unwilling tears Feeble historians of its shame and glory, False disputants on all its hopes and fears, Victims who worshipped ruin, chroniclers Of daily scorn, and slaves who loathed their state; Yet flattering power had given its ministers A throne of judgment in the grave—'twas fate, That among such as these my youth should seek its Imate.
iv. The land in which I lived, by a fell bane Was withered up. Tyrants dwelt side by side, And stabled in our homes, until the chain Stifled the captive's cry, and to abide That blasting curse men had no shame—all vied In evil, slave and despot; fear with lust Strange fellowship through mutual hate had tied, Like two dark serpents tangled in the dust, Which on the paths of men their mingling poison thrust. v. Earth,ourbrighthome,its mountainsandits waters, And the ethereal shapes which are suspended Over its green expanse, and those fair daughters, The clouds, of Sun and Ocean, who have blended The colours of the air since first extended It cradled the young world, none wandered forth To see or feel : a darkness had descended On every heart: the light which shows its worth, Must among gentle thoughts and fearless take its birth.
v1. This vital world, this home of happy spirits, Was as a dungeon to my blasted kind, All that despair from murdered hope inherits They sought, and in their helpless misery blind, A deeper prison and heavier chains did find, And stronger tyrants:–a dark gulf before, The realm of a stern Ruler, yawned; behind, Terror and Time conflicting drove, and bore On their tempestuous flood the shrieking wretch from shore.
Out of that Ocean's wrecks had Guilt and Woe Framed a dark dwelling for their homeless
thought, And, starting at the ghosts which to and fro Glide o'er its dim and gloomy strand, had brought The worship thence which they each other taught. Well might men loathe their life, well might they
turn Even to the ills again from which they sought Such refuge after death !—well might they learn
To gaze on this fair world with hopeless unconcern I
Vin. For they all pined in bondage ; body and soul, Tyrant and slave, victim and torturer, bent Before one Power, to which supreme control Over their will by their own weakness lent, Made all its many names omnipotent; All symbols of things evil, all divine; And hymns of blood or mockery, which rent The air from all its fanes, did intertwine
Imposture's impious toils round each discordant
12×. I heard, as all have heard, life's various story, And in no careless heart transcribed the tale; But, from the sneers of men who had grown hoary In shame and scorn, from groans of crowds made By famine, from a mother's desolate wail [pale O'er her polluted child, from innocent blood Poured on the earth, and brows anxious and pale With the heart's warfare; did I gather food To feed my many thoughts:—a tameless multitude. x. I wandered through the wrecks of days departed Far by the desolated shore, when even O'er the still sea and jagged islets darted The light of moonrise; in the northern Heaven, Among the clouds near the horizon driven, The mountains lay beneath one planet pale; Around me broken tombs and columns riven Looked vast in twilight, and the sorrowing gale
Waked in those ruins grey its everlasting wail
xt. I knew not who had framed these wonders then, Nor had I heard the story of their deeds; But dwellings of a race of mightier men, And monuments of less ungentle creeds Tell their own tale to him who wisely heeds The language which they speak; and now, to me The moonlight making pale the blooming weeds, The bright stars shining in the breathless sea,
Interpreted those scrolls of mortal mystery.
xii. Such man has been, and such may yet become! Aye, wiser, greater, gentler, even than they Who on the fragments of yon shattered dome Have stamped the sign of power—I felt the sway Of the vast stream of ages bear away My floating thoughts—my heart beat loud and Even as a storm let loose beneath the ray [fast— Of the still moon, my spirit onward past Beneath truth's steady beams upon its tumult cast.
XIII. It shall be thus no more too long, too long, Sons of the glorious dead have ye lain bound In darkness and in ruin.—Hope is strong, Justice and Truth their winged child have found— Awake! arise until the mighty sound Of your career shall scatter in its gust The thrones of the oppressor, and the ground Hide the last altar's unregarded dust, Whose Idol has so long betrayed your impious trust.
xiv. It must be so—I will arise and waken The multitude, and like a sulphurous hill, Which on a sudden from its snows had shaken The swoon of ages, it shall burst, and fill The world with cleansing fire; it must, it will— It may not be restrained —and who shall stand Amid the rocking earthquake stedfast still, But Laon' on high Freedom's desert land A tower whose marble walls the leagued storms withstand 1
Which followed where I fled, and watched when I
xvi. These hopes found words through which my spirit To weave a bondage of such sympathy [sought As might create some response to the thought Which ruled me now—and as the vapours lie Bright in the outspread morning's radianey, So were these thoughts invested with the light Of language; and all bosoms made reply On which its lustre streamed, whene'er it might
Thro' darkness wide and deep those tranced spirits
Yes, many an eye with dizzy tears was dim,
As to awake in grief from some delightful dream.
xviii. Yes, oft beside the ruined labyrinth Which skirts the hoary caves of the green deep, Did Laon and his friend on one grey plinth, Round whose worn base the wild waves hiss and Resting at eve, a lofty converse keep : [leap, And that his friend was false, may now be said Calmly—that he like other men could weep Tears which are lies, and could betray and spread Snares for that guileless heart which for his own had bled. xix. Then, had no great aim recompensed my sorrow, I must have sought dark respite from its stress In dreamless rest, in sleep that sees no morrow— For to tread life's dismaying wilderness Without one smile to cheer, one voice to bless, Amid the snares and scoffs of human kind, Is hard—but I betrayed it not, nor less With love that scorned return, sought to unbind The interwoven clouds which make its wisdom blind. xx. With deathless minds, which leave where they have A path of light, my soul communion knew; [past Till from that glorious intercourse, at last, As from a mine of magic store, I drew Words which were weapons;–round my heart there grew The adamantine armour of their power, And from my fancy wings of golden hue Sprang forth—yet not alone from wisdom's tower, A minister of truth, these plumes young Laon bore.
xxi. An orphan with my parents lived, whose eyes Were load-stars of delight, which drew me home When I might wander forth; nor did I prize Aught human thing beneath Heaven's mighty dome Beyond this child: so when sad hours were come, And baffled hope like ice still clung to me, Since kin were cold, and friends had now become Heartless and false, I turned from all, to be, Cythna, the only source of tears and smiles to thee.
xxviii. And, in the murmur of her dreams, was heard Sometimes the name of Laon :-suddenly She would arise, and, like the secret bird Whom sunset wakens, fill the shore and sky With her sweet accents—a wild melody Hymns which my soul had woven to Freedom, strong The source of passion, whence they rose to be Triumphant strains, which, like a spirit's tongue, To the enchanted waves that child of glory sung.
Her white arms lifted through the shadowy stream
Of visions that were mine, beyond its utmost
For, before Cythna loved it, had my song
And fate, or whate'er else binds the world's won
And this beloved child thus felt the sway
Watching the hopes which there her heart had
learned to trace.
xxxii. In me, communion with this purest being Kindled intenser zeal, and made me wise Inknowledge, which in hers mine own mind seeing, Left in the human world few mysteries: How without fear of evil or disguise Was Cythna —what a spirit strong and mild, Which death, or pain, or peril, could despise, Yet melt in tenderness what genius wild, , . Yet mighty, was inclosed within one simple child!
New lore was this—old age with its grey hair,
Laughs o'er the grave in which his living hopes