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Prometheus gave to man, for which he hangs
What meanest thou ?
That terrible shadow floats
Of eart ke-ruined cities o'er the sea.
Thus I am answered : strange!
See, near the verge, another chariot stays ; Whom called'st thou God ?
An ivory shell inlaid with crimson fire,
Which comes and goes within its sculptured rim DEMOGORGON.
Of delicate strange tracery ; the young spirit I spoke but as ye speak, That guides it has the dove-like eyes of hope ; For Jove is the supreme of living things.
How its soft smiles attract the soul ! as light
Lures winged insects through the lampless air. Who is the master of the slave ?
My coursers are fed with the lightning,
They drink of the whirlwind's stream,
And when the red morning is bright’ning Is wanting, the deep truth is imageless ;
They bathe in the fresh sunbeam ; For what would it avail to bid thee gaze
They have strength for their swiftness I deem, On the revolving world? What to bid speak Then ascend with me, daughter of Ocean. Fate, Time, Occasion, Chance and Change! To these All things are subject but eternal Love.
I desire : and their speed makes night kindle;
I fear : they outstrip the Typhoon ; So much I asked before, and my heart gave
Ere the cloud piled on Atlas can dwindle
We encircle the earth and the moon :
We shall rest from long labours at noon: One more demand ; and do thou answer me
Then ascend with me, daughter of Ocean.
Asia, PANTHEA, and the SPIRIT OF THE HOUR.
My coursers are wont to respire ; Some look behind, as fiends pursued them there, But the Earth has just whispered a warning And yet I see no shapes but the keen stars :
That their flight must be swifter than fire: Others, with burning eyes, lean forth, and drink They shall drink the hot speed of desire ! With eager lips the wind of their own speed, As if the thing they loved fled on before, [locks And now, even now, they clasped it. Their bright Thou breathest on their nostrils, but my breath Stream like a comet's flashing hair: they all
Would give them swifter speed.
Alas! it could not.
Oh Spirit ! pause, and tell whence is the light
Which fills the cloud ? the sun is yet unrisen.
Which fills this vapour, as the aerial hue
Of fountain-gazing roses fills the water,
Flows from thy mighty sister.
Yes, I feel —
What is it with thee, sister? Thou art pale.
Fair are others ; none beholds thee,
But thy voice sounds low and tender Like the fairest, for it folds thee
From the sight, that liquid splendour, And all feel, yet see thee never, As I feel now, lost for ever!
Lamp of Earth! where'er thou movest
Its dim shapes are clad with brightness, And the souls of whom thou lovest
Walk upon the winds with lightness,
How thou art changed ! I dare not look on thee;
love Of all articulate beings ? Feelest thou not The inanimate winds enamoured of thee? List !
Which, like a sleeping swan, doth float
Beside the helm conducting it,
It seems to float ever, for ever,
A paradise of wildernesses !
Meanwhile thy spirit lifts its pinions
In music's most serene dominions; Catching the winds that fan that happy heaven.
And we sail on, away, afar,
Without a course, without a star,
Till through Elysian garden islets
The boat of my desire is guided :
Thy words are sweeter than aught else but his
List ! Spirits, speak.
VOICE (in the air, singing). Life of Life! thy lips enkindle
With their love the breath between them ; And thy smiles before they dwindle
Make the cold air fire ; then screen them In those looks, where whoso gazes Faints, entangled in their mazes.
We have passed Age's icy caves,
And Manhood's dark and tossing waves, And Youth's smooth ocean, smiling to betray :
Beyond the glassy gulfs we flee
Of shadow-peopled Infancy,
A paradise of vaulted bowers
Wildernesses calm and green,
Child of Light ! thy limbs are burning
Through the vest which seems to hide them ; As the radiant lines of morning
Through the clouds, ere they divide them ; And this atmosphere divinest
Shrouds thee wheresoe'er thou shinest.
END OF THE SECOND ACT.
Eternity. Demand no direr name.
Descend, and follow me down the abyss.
Mightier than thee : and we must dwell together Ye congregated powers of heaven, who share Henceforth in darkness. Lift thy lightnings not. The glory and the strength of him ye serve,
The tyranny of heaven none may retain, Rejoice! henceforth I am omnipotent.
Or reassume, or hold, succeeding thee : All else had been subdued to me ; alone
Yet if thou wilt, as 'tis the destiny The soul of man, like unextinguished fire,
Of trodden worms to writhe till they are dead, Yet burns towards heaven with fierce reproach, Put forth thy might. and doubt,
JUPITER. And lamentation, and reluctant prayer,
Detested prodigy! Hurling up insurrection, which might make
Even thus beneath the deep Titanian prisons Our antique empire insecure, though built On eldest faith, and hell's coeval, fear ;
I trample thee ! Thou lingerest? And though my curses through the pendulous air,
Mercy ! mercy! Like snow on herbless peaks, fall fake by flake, No pity, no release, no respite ! Oh, And cling to it ; though under my wrath's night That thou wouldst make mine enemy my judge, It climb the crags of life, step after step,
Even where he hangs, seared by my long revenge, Which wound it, as ice wounds unsandalled feet, On Caucasus! he would not doom me thus. It yet remains supreme o'er misery,
Gentle, and just, and dreadless, is he not Aspiring, unrepressed, yet soon to fall :
The monarch of the world? What then art thou? Even now have I begotten a strange wonder, No refuge ! no appeal ! That fatal child, the terror of the earth,
Sink with me then, Who waits but till the destined hour arrive, We two will sink on the wide waves of ruin, Bearing from Demogorgon's vacant throne Even as a vulture and a snake outspent The dreadful might of ever-living limbs
Drop, twisted in inextricable fight,
Into a shoreless sea. Let hell unlock
And whelm on them into the bottomless void
The conqueror and the conquered, and the wreck And from the flower-inwoven soil divine,
Of that for which they combated. Ye all-triumphant harmonies arise,
Ai! Ai! As dew from earth under the twilight stars : Drink! be the nectar circling through your veins Dizzily down, ever, for ever, down.
The elements obey me not. I sink The soul of joy, ye ever-living Gods,
And, like a cloud, mine enemy above Till exultation burst in one wide voice
Darkens my fall with victory! Ai, Ai !
The Mouth of a great River in the Island Atlantis. OCEAN The penetrating presence ; all my being,
is discovered reclining near the Shore; APOLLO stands
He fell, thou sayest, beneath his conqueror's frown? Two mighty spirits, mingling made a third
APOLLO. Mightier than either, which, unbodied now,
Ay, when the strife was ended which made dim Between us floats, felt, although unbeheld,
The orb I rule, and shook the solid stars, Waiting the incarnation, which ascends,
The terrors of his eye illumined heaven (Hear ye the thunder of the fiery wheels
With sanguine light, through the thick ragged skirts Griding the winds ?) from Demogorgon's throne.
Of the victorious darkness, as he fell : Victory! victory ! Feelest thou not, o world!
Like the last glare of day's red agony, The earthquake of his chariot thundering up
Which, from a rent among the fiery clouds, Olympus ?
Burns far along the tempest-wrinkled deep.
cends and moves towards the Throne of JUPITER.
Shadow of beauty unbeheld; and ye, An eagle so caught in some bursting cloud
Fair sister nymphs, who made long years of pain On Caucasus, his thunder-baffled wings
Sweet to remember, through your love and care ; Entangled in the whirlwind, and his eyes
Henceforth we will not part. There is a cave, Which gazed on the undazzling sun, now blinded
All overgrown with trailing odorous plants, By the white lightning, while the ponderous hail
Which curtain out the day with leaves and flowers, Beats on his struggling form, which sinks at length And paved with veined emerald, and a fountain, Prone, and the aërial ice clings over it.
Leaps in the midst with an awakening sound.
Like snow, or silver, or long diamond spires,
As the world ebbs and flows, ourselves unchanged. The floating bark of the light laden moon
What can hide man from mutability ?
The tears she brought, which yet were sweet to shed.
Like human babes in their brief innocence;
For hidden thoughts, each lovelier than the last,
Our unexhausted spirits; and like lutes
Touched by the skill of the enamoured wind, Darkens the sphere I guide; but list, I hear
Weave harmonies divine, yet ever new,
From difference sweet where discord cannot be ;
Which meet from all the points of heaven, as bees
From every flower aërial Enna feeds,
Of the low voice of love, almost unheard,
Itself the echo of the heart, and all Their wavering libs borne on the wind-like stream, That tempers or improves man's life, now free; Their white arms listed o'er their streaming hair And lovely apparitions, dim at first, With garlands pied and starry sea-flower crowns, Then radiant, as the mind, arising bright Hastening to grace their mighty sister's joy. From the embrace of beauty, whence the forms
(A sound of waves is heard. Of which these are the phantoms, casts on them It is the unpastured sea hungering for calm. The gathered rays which are reality, Peace, monster; I come now. Farewell.
Shall visit us, the progeny immortal
And arts, though unimagined, yet to be.
The wandering voices and the shadows these
Given and returned; swift shapes and sounds, which
More fair and soft as man grows wise and kind, Caucasus. PROMETHEUS, HERCULES, Ione, the EARTH, And veil by veil, evil and error fall: SPIRITS, Asia, and PANTHEA, borne in the Car with the Such virtue has the cave and place around.
[Turning lo the SPIRIT OF THE HOUR. HERCULES unbinds PROMETHEUS, who descends. For thee, fair Spirit, one toil remains. Ione, HERCULES.
Give her that curved shell, which Proteus old, Most glorious among spirits ! thus doth strength Made Asia's nuptial boon, breathing within it To wisdom, courage, and long-suffering love, A voice to be accomplished, and which thou And thee, who art the forın they animate,
Didst hide in grass under the hollow rock.
Thou most desired Hour, more loved and lovely
Than all thy sisters, this the mystic shell;
Lining it with a soft yet glowing light :
SPIRIT OF THE HOUR.
SPIRIT. It seems in truth the fairest shell of Ocean : Its sound must be at once both sweet and strange.
PROMETHEUS. Go, borne over the cities of mankind On whirlwind-footed coursers : once again Outspeed the sun around the orbed world ; And as thy chariot cleaves the kindling air, Thou breathe into the many-folded shell, Loosening its mighty music; it shall be As thunder mingled with clear echoes: then Return; and thou shalt dwell beside our cave. And thou, O Mother Earth!
I hear, I feel; Thy lips are on me, and thy touch runs down Even to the adamantine central gloom Along these marble nerves; 'tis life, 'tis joy, And, through my withered, old, and icy frame The warmth of an immortal youth shoots down Circling. Henceforth the many children fair Folded in my sustaining arms; all plants, And creeping forms, and insects rainbow-winged, And birds, and beasts, and fish, and human shapes, Which drew disease and pain from my wan bosom, Draining the poison of despair, shall take And interchange sweet nutriment; to me Shall they become like sister-antelopes By one fair dam, snow-white and swift as wind, Nursed among lilies near brimming stream. The dew-mists of my sunless sleep shall float Under the stars like balm : night-folded flowers Shall suck unwithering hues in their repose : And men and beasts in happy dreams shall gather Strength for the coming day, and all its joy : And death shall be the last embrace of her Who takes the life she gave, even as a mother, Folding her child, says, “ Leave me not again.”
With a serener light and crimson air
This is my torch-bearer;
Oh, mother! wherefore speak the name of death? Cease they to love, and move, and breathe, and Who die?
SCENE IV. A Forest. In the Back-ground a Cave. PRONETHEUS,
Asia, PANTHEA, Ione, and the SPIRIT OF THE EARTH.
It would avail not to reply: Thou art immortal, and this tongue is known But to the uncommunicating dead. Death is the veil which those who live call life: They sleep, and it is lifted: and meanwhile In mild variety the seasons mild With rainbow-skirted showers, and odorous winds, And long blue meteors cleansing the dull night, And the life-kindling shafts of the keen sun's All-piercing bow, and the dew-mingled rain Of the calm moonbeams, a soft influence mild, Shall clothe the forests and the fields, aye, even The crag-built deserts of the barren deep, With ever-living leaves, and fruits, and Howers. And thou! There is a cavern where my spirit Was panted forth in anguish whilst thy pain Made my heart mad, and those that did inhale it Became mad too, and built a temple there, And spoke, and were oracular, and lured The erring nations round to mutual war, And faithless faith, such as Jove kept with thee; Which breath now rises, as amongst tall weeds A violet's exhalation, and it fills
Sister, it is not earthly: how it glides
It is the delicate spirit That guides the earth through heaven. From afar The populous constellations call that light The loveliest of the planets; and sometimes It floats along the spray of the salt sea, Or makes its chariot of a foggy cloud, Or walks through fields or cities while men sleep, Or o'er the mountain tops, or down the rivers, Or through the green waste wilderness, as now,