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I strove, as drifted on some cataract

For on one side alone the hill gave shelter, By irresistible streams, some wretch might strive So vast that phalanx of unconquered men, Who hears its fatal roar: the files compact And there the living in their blood did welter Whelmed me, and from the gate availed to drive Of the dead and dying, which, in that green glen, With quickening impulse, as each bolt did rive Like stifled torrents, made a plashy fen Their ranks with bloodier chasm : into the plain Under the feet-thus was the butchery waged Disgorged at length the dead and the alive, While the sun clomb Heaven's eastern steep—but

In one dread mass, were parted, and the stain It'gan to sink, a fiercer combat raged, (when Of blood from mortal steel fell o'er the fields like For in more doubtful strife the armies were engaged.


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A band of brothers gathering round me, made, Sorrow and shame, to see with their own kind Although unarmed, a steadfast front, and still Our human brethren mix, like beasts of blood Retreating, with stern looks beneath the shade To mutual ruin armed by one behind, [good Of gathered eyebrows, did the victors fill

Who sits and scoffs !-- That friend so mild and With doubt even in success; deliberate will Who like its shadow near my youth had stood, Inspired our growing troop; not overthrown Was stabbed !- my old preserver's hoary hair, It gained the shelter of a grassy hill,

With the flesh clinging to its roots, was strewed And ever still our comrades were hewn down, Under my feet ! I lost all sense or care, And their defenceless limbs beneath our footsteps And like the rest I grew desperate and unaware.



Immoveably we stood-in joy I found,

The battle became ghastlier, in the midst Beside me then, firm as a giant pine

I paused, and saw, how ugly and how fell, Among the mountain vapours driven around, O Hate! thou art, even when thy life thou shedd'st The old man whom I loved-his eyes divine For love. The ground in many a little dell With a mild look of courage answered mine, Was broken, up and down whose steeps befell And my young friend was near, and ardently Alternate victory and defeat, and there His hand grasped mine a moment—now the line The combatants with rage most horrible Of war extended, to our rallying cry,

Strove, and their eyes started with cracking stare, As myriads flocked in love and brotherhood to die. And impotent their tongues they lolled into the air,



For ever while the sun was climbing Heaven
The horsemen hewed our unarmed myriads down
Safely, though when by thirst of carnage driven
Too near, those slaves were swiftly overthrown
By hundreds leaping on them : Hesh and bone
Soon made our ghastly ramparts; then the shaft
Of the artillery from the sea was thrown
More fast and fiery, and the conquerors laughed
In pride to hear the wind our screams of torment


Flaccid and foamy, like a mad dog's hanging;
Want,and Moon-madness, and the Pest's swift bane
When its shafts smite—while yet its bow is

Have each their mark and sign—some ghastly stain;
And this was thine, 0 War ! of hate and pain
Thou loathed slave. I saw all shapes of death,
And minister'd to many, o'er the plain
While carnage in the sunbeam's warmth did seethe,
Till twilight o'er the east wove her serenest wreath.



The few who yet survived, resolute and firm, One moment these were heard and seen—another
Around me fought. At the decline of day, Past ; and the two who stood beneath that night,
Winding above the mountain's snowy term,

Each only heard, or saw, or felt, the other;
New banners shone : they quivered in the ray As from the lofty steed she did alight,
Of the sun's unseen orb-ere night the array Cythna (for, from the eyes whose deepest light
Offresh troops hemmed usin—of those brave bands of love and sadness made my lips feel pale
I soon survived alone-and now I lay

With influence strange of mournfullest delight, Vanquished and faint, the grasp of bloody hands My own sweet Cythna looked), with joy did quail, I felt, and saw on high the glare of falling brands ; And felt her strength in tears of human weakness




When on my foes a sudden terror came,

And for a space in my embrace she rested,
And they fled, scattering.–Lo! with reinless speed Her head on my unquiet heart reposing,
A black Tartarian horse of giant frame

While my faint arms her languid frame invested: Comes trampling o'er the dead ; the living bleed At length she looked on me, and half unclosing Beneath the hoofs of that tremendous steed, Her tremulous lips, said: “Friend, thy bands were On which, like to an angel, robed in white, The battle, as I stood before the King [losing Sate one waving a sword; the hosts recede In bonds.- I burst them then, and swiftly choosing And fly, as through their ranks, with awful might, The time, did seize a Tartar's sword, and spring Sweeps in the shadow of eve that Phantom swift Upon his horse, and swift as on the whirlwind's wing,

and bright;



And its path made a solitude.--I rose
And marked its coming ; it relaxed its course
Asit approached me, and the wind that flows [force
Through night, bore accents to mine ear whose
Might create smiles in death.— The Tartar horse
Paused, and I saw the shape its might which swayed,
And heard her musical pants, like the sweet source
Of waters in the desert, as she said,
“ Mount with me, Laon, now "- 1 rapidly obeyed.

“ Have thou and I been borne beyond pursuer,
And we are here."--Then, turning to the steed,
She pressed the white moon on his front with pure
And rose-like lips, and many a fragrant weed
From the green ruin plucked, that he might feed;-
But I to a stone seat that Maiden led,
And kissing her fair eyes, said, “ Thou hast need
Of rest,” and I heaped up the courser's bed
In a green mossy nook, with mountain flowers


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Then “Away! away!" she cried, and stretched her Within that ruin, where a shattered portal
As'twerea scourgeover the courser's head, (sword Looks to the eastern stars, abandoned now
And lightly shook the reins.-We spake no word, By man, to be the home of things immortal,
But like the vapour of the tempest fled

Memories, like awful ghosts which come and go,
Over the plain; her dark hair was dispread, And must inherit all he builds below,
Like the pine's locks upon the lingering blast ; When he is gone, a hall stood; o'er whose roof
Over mine eyes its shadowy strings it spread Fair clinging weeds with ivy pale did grow,
Fitfully, and the hills and streams fled fast, Clasping its grey rents with a verdurous woof,
As o'er their glimmering forms the steed's broad A hanging dome of leaves, a canopy moon-proof.

shadow past ;

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Had found a voice :—and ere that voice did pass, Cythna's sweet lips seemed lurid in the moon,
The night grew damp and dim, and through a rent Her fairest limbs with the night wind were chill,
Of the ruin where we sate, from the morass, And her dark tresses were all loosely strewn
A wandering Meteor, by some wild wind sent, O'er her pale bosom :-all within was still,
Hung high in the green dome, to which it lent And the sweet peace of joy did almost fill
A faint and pallid lustre; while the song

The depth of her unfathomable look ;
Of blasts, in which its blue hair quivering bent, And we sate calmly, though that rocky hill,
Strewed strangest sounds themoving leavesamong; The waves contending in its caverns strook,
A wondrous light, the sound as of a spirit's tongue. For they foreknew the storm, and the grey ruin



The Meteor showed the leaves on which we sate,
And Cythna's glowing arms, and the thick ties
Of her soft hair, which bent with gathered weight
My neck near hers, her dark and deepening eyes,
Which, as twin phantoms of one star that lies
O'er a dim well, move, though the star reposes,
Swam in our mute and liquid ecstacies,
Her marble brow, and eager lips, like roses,
With their own fragrance pale, which spring but

half uncloses.

There we unheeding sate, in the communion
Of interchanged vows, which, with a rite
Of faith most sweet and sacred, stamped ourunion.-
Few were the living hearts which could unite
Like ours, or celebrate a bridal night
With such close sympathies, for they had sprung
From linked youth, and from the gentle might
Of earliest love, delayed and cherished long,
Which common hopes and fears made, like a

tempest, strong.



The meteor to its far morass returned :

And such is Nature's law divine, that those The beating of our veins one interval

Who grow together cannot choose but love, Made still; and then I felt the blood that burned If faith or custom do not interpose, Within her frame, mingle with mine, and fall Or common slavery mar what else might move Around my heart like fire; and over all

All gentlest thoughts; as in the sacred grove A mist was spread, the sickness of a deep

Which shades the springs of Æthiopian Nile, And speechless swoon of joy, as might befall That living tree, which, if the arrowy dove Two disunited spirits when they leap

Strike with her shadow, shrinks in fear awhile, In union from this earth's obscure and fading sleep. But its own kindred leaves clasps while the sun

beams smile;



Was it one moment that confounded thus
All thought, all sense, all feeling, into one
Unutterable power, which shielded us
Even from our own cold looks, when we had gone
Into a wide and wild oblivion
Of tumult and of tenderness? or now
Had ages, such as make the moon and sun,
The seasons and mankind, their changes know,
Left fear and time unfelt by us alone below ?

And clings to them, when darkness may dissever
The close caresses of all duller plants
Which bloom on the wide earth-thus we for ever
Were linked, for love had nurst us in the haunts
Where knowledge from its secret source enchants
Young hearts with the fresh music of its springing,
Ere yet its gathered flood feeds human wants,
As the great Nile feeds Egypt; ever flinging
Light on the woven boughs which o'er its waves

are swinging.



The tones of Cythna's voice like echoes were No living thing was there beside one woman,
Of those farmurmuring streams; they rose and fell, Whom I found wandering in the streets, and she
Mixed with mine own in the tempestuous air, Was withered from a likeness of aught human
And so we sate, until our talk befel

Into a fiend, by some strange misery:
Of the late ruin, swift and horrible,

Soon as she heard my steps she leaped on me, And how those seeds of hope might yet be sown, And glued her burning lips to mine, and laughed Whose fruit is evil's mortal poison : well

With a loud, long, and frantic laugh of glee, For us, this ruin made a watch-tower lone,

And cried,“ Now, Mortal, thou hast deeply quaffed But Cythna’s eyes looked faint, and now two days The Plague's blue kisses-soon millions shall were gone

pledge the drauglit!



Since she had food :—therefore I did awaken
The Tartar steed, who, from his ebon mane,
Soon as the clinging slumbers he had shaken,
Bent his thin head to seek the brazen rein,
Following me obediently; with pain
Of heart, so deep and dread, that one caress,
When lips and heart refuse to part again,
Till they have told their fill, could scarce express
The anguish of her mute and fearful tenderness,

“ My name is Pestilence-this bosom dry
Once fed two babes—a sister and a brother-
When I came home, one in the blood did lie
Of three death-wounds - the flames had ate the
Since then I have no longer been a mother, [other!
But I am Pestilence ;-hither and thither
I fit about, that I may slay and smother;-
All lips which I have kissed must surely wither,
But Death's—if thou art he, we'll go to work




Cythna beheld me part, as I bestrode

“What seekest thou here? the moonlight comes in That willing steed—the tempest and the night, The dew is rising dankly from the dell; [Hashes,Which gave my path its safety as I rode

'Twill moisten her! and thou shalt see the gashes Down the ravine of rocks, did soon unite

In my sweet boy-now full of worms_but tell The darkness and the tumult of their might First what thou seek'st.”—“I seek for food.”Borne on all winds.-Far through the streaming

“ 'Tis well, rain

Thou shalt have food ; Famine, my paramour, Floating at intervals the garments white

Waits for us at the feast-cruel and fell Of Cythna gleamed, and her voice once again Is Famine, but he drives not from his door Came to me on the gust, and soon I reached the plain. Those whom these lips have kissed, alone. No

more, no more !”



I dreaded not the tempest, nor did he

As thus she spake, she grasped me with the strength Who bore me, but his eyeballs wide and red Of madness, and by many a ruined hearth Turned on the lightning's cleft exultingly ; She led, and over many a corpse :-at length And when the earth beneath his tameless tread, We came to a lone hut, where on the earth Shook with the sullen thunder, he would spread Which made its floor, she in her ghastly mirth His nostrils to the blast, and joyously

Gathering from all those homes now desolate, Mock the fierce peal with neighings ;-thus wesped Had piled three heaps of loaves, making a dearth O'er the lit plain, and soon I could cry

Among the dead-round which she set in state Where Death and Fire had gorged the spoil of A ring of cold, stiff babes; silent and stark they sate.




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Her chilled heart having cherished in my bosom,

She told me what a loathsome agony And sweetest kisses past, we two did share Is that when selfishness mocks love's delight, Our peaceful meal :-as an autumnal blossom, Foul as in dreams most fearful imagery Which spreads its shrunk leaves in the sunny air, To dally with the mowing dead - that night After cold showers, like rainbows woven there, All torture, fear, or horror, made seem light Thus in her lips and cheeks the vital spirit Which the soul dreams or knows, and when the Mantled, and in her eyes, an atmosphere [it, Shone on her awful frenzy, from the sight [day Of health, and hope ; and sorrow languished near Where like a Spirit in fleshly chains she lay And fear,and all that dark despondence doth inherit. Struggling, aghast and pale the tyrant fled away.





Her madness was a beam of light, a power

Which dawned through the rent soul; and words

it gave, So we sate joyous as the morning ray

Gestures and looks, such as in whirlwinds bore Which fed upon the wrecks of night and storm Which might not be withstood, whence none could Now lingering on the winds; light airs did play Among the dewy weeds, the sun was warm, All who approached their sphere, like some calm And we sate linked in the inwoven charm Of converse and caresses sweet and deep,

Vexed into whirlpools by the chasms beneath ; Speechless caresses, talk that might disarm And sympathy made each attendant slave Time, though he wield the darts of death and sleep, Fearless and free, and they began to breathe And those thrice mortal barbs in his own poison Deep curses, like the voice of flames farunderneath.

steep. I told her of my sufferings and my madness, The King felt pale upon his noon-day throne; And how, awakened from that dreamy mood At night two slaves he to her chamber sent, By Liberty's uprise, the strength of gladness One was a green and wrinkled eunuch, grown Came to my spirit in my solitude;

From human shape into an instrument And all that now I was, while tears pursued Of all things ill-distorted, bowed and bent. Each other down her fair and listening cheek The other was a wretch from infancy Fast as the thoughts which fed them, like a flood Made dumb by poison; who nought knew or meant From sunbright dales; and when I ceased to speak, But to obey: from the fire-isles came he, Her accents soft and sweet the pausing air did wake. A diver lean and strong, of Oman's coral sea.





She told me a strange tale of strange endurance, They bore her to a bark, and the swift stroke Like broken memories of many a heart

Of silent rowers clove the blue moonlight seas, Woven into one; to which no firm assurance, Until upon their path the morning broke; So wild were they, could her own faith impart. They anchored then, where, be there calm or She said that not a tear did dare to start [firm The gloomiest of the drear Symplegades [breeze, From the swoln brain, and that her thoughts were Shakes with thesleepless surge;--the Æthiop there When from all mortal hope she did depart, Wound his long arms around her, and with knees Borne by those slaves across the Ocean's term, Like iron clasped her feet, and plunged with her And that she reached the port without one fear Among the closing waves out of the boundless air.



One was she among many there, the thralls
Of the cold tyrant's cruel lust: and they
Laughed mournfully in those polluted halls;
But she was calm and sad, musing alway
On loftiest enterprise, till on a day
The tyrant heard her singing to her lute
A wild and sad, and spirit-thrilling lay,
Like winds that die in wastes--one moment mute
The evil thoughts it made, which did his breast


“ Swift as an eagle stooping from the plain
Of morning light, into some shadowy wood,
He plunged through the green silence of the main,
Through many a cavern which the eternal flood
Had scooped, as dark lairs for its monster brood;
And among mighty shapes which fled in wonder,
And among mightier shadows which pursued
His heels, he wound: until the dark rocks under
He touched a golden chain—a sound arose like


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