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35

The sanguine sunrise, with his meteor eyes,

And his burning plumes outspread, Leaps on the back of my sailing rack,

When the morning star shines dead, As on the jag of a mountain crag,

Which an earthquake rocks and swings,
An eagle alit one moment may sit

In the light of its golden wings.
And when sunset may breathe, from the lit sea beneath,

Its ardours of rest and of love,
And the crimson pall of eve may fall

From the depth of heaven above, With wings folded I rest, on mine airy nest,

As still as a brooding dove.

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That orbèd maiden with white fire laden,

Whom mortals call the moon,
Glides glimmering o'er my fleece-like floor,

By the midnight breezes strewn;
And wherever the beat of her unseen feet,

Which only the angels hear,
May have broken the woof of my tent's thin roof,

The stars peep behind her and peer ;
And I laugh to see them whirl and flee,

Like a swarm of golden bees,
When I widen the rent in my wind-built tent,

Till the calm rivers, lakes, and seas,
Like strips of the sky fallen through me on high,

Are each paved with the moon and these.

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I bind the sun's throne with a burning zone,

And the moon's with a girdle of pearl;
The volcanoes are dim, and the stars reel and swim,

When the whirlwinds my banner unfurl.

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From cape to cape, with a bridge-like shape,

Over a torrent sea,
Sunbeam-proof, I hang like a roof,

The mountains its columns be.
The triumphal arch through which I march

With hurricane, fire, and snow,
When the powers of the air are chained to my chair,

Is the million-coloured bow;
The sphere-fire above its soft colours wove,

While the moist earth was laughing below.

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I am the daughter of earth and water,

And the nursling of the sky;
I pass through the pores of the ocean and shores;

I change, but I cannot die.
For after the rain when, with never a stain,

The pavilion of heaven is bare,
And the winds and sunbeams with their convex gleams
Build

up

the blue dome of air, I silently laugh at my own cenotaph,

And out of the caverns of rain,
Like a child from the womb, like a ghost from the

tomb,
I arise and unbuild it again.

1820.

80

TO A SKYLARK.

HAIL to thee, blithe spirit!

Bird thou never wert,
That from heaven, or near it,

Pourest thy full heart
In profuse strains of unpremeditated art.

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Higher still and higher

From the earth thou springest
Like a cloud of fire ;

The blue deep thou wingest,
And singing still dost soar, and soaring ever singest.

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In the golden lightning

Of the sunken sun,
O'er which clouds are brightning,

Thou dost float and run;
Like an unbodied joy whose race is just begun.

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The pale purple even

Melts around thy flight;
Like a star of heaven

In the broad day-light
Thou art unseen, but yet I hear thy shrill delight,

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Keen as are the arrows

Of that silver sphere,
Whose intense lamp narrows

In the white dawn clear,
Until we hardly see, we feel that it is there.

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All the earth and air

With thy voice is loud,
As, when night is bare,

From one lonely cloud
The moon rains out her beams, and heaven is overflowed. 30

What thou art we know not;

What is most like thee?
From rainbow clouds there flow not

Drops so bright to see
As from thy presence showers a rain of melody.

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Like a poet hidden

In the light of thought,
Singing hymns unbidden,

Till the world is wrought
To sympathy with hopes and fears it heeded not:

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Like a high-born maiden

In a palace tower,
Soothing her love-laden

Soul in secret hour
With music sweet as love, which overflows her bower :

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Like a glow-worm golden

In a dell of dew,
Scattering unbeholden

Its aërial hue
Among the flowers and grass which screen it from the view: 50

Like a rose embowered

In its own green leaves,
By warm winds deflowered,

Till the scent it gives
Makes faint with too much sweet these heavy-winged

thieves.

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Sound of vernal showers

On the twinkling grass,
Rain-awakened flowers,

All that ever was
Joyous, and clear, and fresh, thy music doth surpass.

Teach us, sprite or bird,

What sweet thoughts are thine;
I have never heard

Praise of love or wine
That panted forth a flood of rapture so divine :

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Chorus Hymenaal,

Or triumphal chaunt,
Matched with thine, would be all

But an empty vaunt,
A thing wherein we feel there is some hidden want.

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What objects are the fountains,

Of thy happy strain?
What fields, or waves, or mountains ?

What shapes of sky or plain?
What love of thine own kind? what ignorance of pain?

With thy clear keen joyance

Languor cannot be
Shadow of annoyance

Never came near thee:
Thou lovest —— but ne'er knew love's sad satiety.

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Waking or asleep,

Thou of death must deem
Things more true and deep

Than we mortals dream,
Or how could thy notes flow in such a crystal stream?

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We look before and after

And pine for what is not:
Our sincerest laughter

With some pain is fraught;
Our sweetest songs are those that tell of saddest thought. 90

Yet if we could scorn

Hate, and pride, and fear;
If we were things born

Not to shed a tear,
I know not how thy joy we ever should come near.

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