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WRITTEN IN 1817.
A PALE dream came to a Lady fair,
And things are lost in the glare of day,
And thou shalt know of things unknown,
Over thine eyes so dark and sheen:
At first all deadly shapes were driven
And o'er the vast cope of bending heaven
And as towards the east she turned,
The sky was blue as the summer sea,
The depths were cloudless over head, The air was calm as it could be,
There was no sight or sound of dread,
But that black Anchor floating still
The Lady grew sick with a weight of fear,
Were moveless, and each mighty rock
There was a mist in the sunless air,
Which shook as it were with an earthquake's shock,
But the very weeds that blossomed there
But piled around, with summits hid
On two dread mountains, from whose crest,
And columns framed of marble white,
With workmanship, which could not come
But still the Lady heard that clang
Sudden, from out that city sprung
A light that made the earth grow red; Two flames that each with quivering tongue Licked its high domes, and over head Among those mighty towers and fanes Dropped fire, as a volcano rains Its sulphurous ruin on the plains.
And hark! a rush as if the deep
Had burst its bonds; she looked behind And saw over the western steep
A raging flood descend, and wind Through that wide vale; she felt no fear, But said within herself, 'Tis clear These towers are Nature's own, and she To save them has sent forth the sea.
And now those raging billows came
Where that fair Lady sate, and she Was borne towards the showering flame
By the wild waves heaped tumultuously And on a little plank, the flow Of the whirlpool bore her to and fro.
The flames were fiercely vomited
O'er that vast flood's suspended foam,
The plank whereon that Lady sate
Was driven through the chasms, about and about, Between the peaks so desolate
Of the drowning mountains, in and out,
At last her plank an eddy crost,
And bore her to the city's wall,
The eddy whirled her round and round
For it was filled with sculptures rarest,
Of winged shapes, whose legions range
And as she looked, still lovelier grew
Of his own mind did there endure
She looked, the flames were dim, the flood
Those marble shapes then seemed to quiver,
And their fair limbs to float in motion,
And their lips moved; one seemed to speak,
The dizzy flight of that phantom pale
Of her dark eyes the dream did creep, And she walked about as one who knew That sleep has sights as clear and true As any waking eyes can view.
TO CONSTANTIA, SINGING.
THUS to be lost and thus to sink and die,
Even though the sounds which were thy voice, which burn
Within thy breath, and on thy hair, like odour it is yet, And from thy touch like fire doth leap.
Even while I write, my burning cheeks are wet,
A breathless awe, like the swift change
Unseen, but felt in youthful slumbers, Wild, sweet, but uncommunicably strange,
Thou breathest now in fast ascending numbers. The cope of heaven seems rent and cloven
By the inchantment of thy strain,