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CL. But here youth offers to old age the food, The milk of his own gift:—it is her sire To whom she renders back the debt of blood Born with her birth. No; he shall not expire While in those warm and lovely veins the fire Of health and holy feeling can provide Great Nature's Nile, whose deep stream rises higher Than Egypt's river:-from that gentle side Drink, drink and live, old man | Heaven's realm holds no such tide. CLI. The starry fable of the milky way Has not thy story's purity; it is A constellation of a sweeter ray, And sacred Nature triumphs more in this Reverse of her decree, than in the abyss Where sparkle distant worlds:–Oh, holiest nurse! No drop of that clear stream its way shall miss To thy sire's heart, replenishing its source With life, as our freed souls rejoin the universe.

CLII. Turn to the Mole which Hadrian rear'd on high, Imperial mimic of old Egypt's piles, Colossal copyist of deformity, Whose travell'd phantasy from the far Nile's Enormous model, doom'd the artist’s toils To build for giants, and for his vain earth His shrunken ashes raise this dome : How smiles The gazer's eye with philosophic mirth, To view the huge design which sprung from such a birth !

CLIII.

But lo! the dome—the vast and wondrous dome, To which Diana's marvel was a cell— Christ's mighty shrine above his martyr's tomb! I have beheld the Ephesian's miracle— Its columns strew the wilderness, and dwell The hyaena and the jackal in their shade; I have beheld Sophia's bright roofs swell Their glittering mass i' the sun, and have survey’d Its sanctuary the while the usurping Moslem pray'd;

CLIV.

But thou, of temples old, or altars new, Standest alone—with nothing like to thee— Worthiest of God, the holy and the true. Since Zion's desolation, when that He Forsook his former city, what could be, Of earthly structures, in his honour piled, Of a sublimer aspect? Majesty, Power, Glory, Strength, and Beauty, all are aisled In this eternal ark of worship undefiled. o

CLV.
Enter: its grandeur overwhelms thee not;
And why? it is not lessen’d; but thy mind,
Expanded by the genius of the spot,
Has grown colossal, and can only find
A fit abode wherein appear enshrined
Thy hopes of immortality; and thou
Shalt one day, if found worthy, so defined,
See thy God face to face, as thou dost now
His Holy of Holies, nor be blasted by his brow.

cLVI. Thou movest—but increasing with the advance, Like climbing some great Alp, which still doth rise, Deceived by its gigantic elegance; Vastness which grows—but grows to harmonise— All musical in its immensities; Rich marbles—richer painting—shrines where flame The lamps of gold—and haughty dome which vies In air with Earth's chief structures, though their frame

Sits on the firm-set ground—and this the clouds must claim.

CLVii.

Thou seest not all; but piecemeal thou must break,
To separate contemplation, the great whole;
And as the ocean many bays will make,
That ask the eye—so here condense thy soul
To more immediate objects, and control
Thy thoughts until thy mind hath got by heart
Its eloquent proportions, and unroll
In mighty graduations, part by part,
The glory which at once upon thee did not dart,

cLWiii.
Not by its fault—but thine: Our outward sense
Is but of gradual grasp—and as it is
That what we have of feeling most intense
Outstrips our faint expression; even so this
Outshining and o'erwhelming edifice
Fools our fond gaze, and greatest of the great
Defies at first our Nature's littleness,
Till, growing with its growth, we thus dilate

Our spirits to the size of that they contemplate.

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CLIX. Then pause, and be enlighten’d; there is more In such a survey than the sating gaze Of wonder pleased, or awe which would adore The worship of the place, or the mere praise Of art and its great masters, who could raise What former time, nor skill, nor thought could plan; The fountain of sublimity displays Its depth, and thence may draw the mind of man Its golden sands, and learn what great conception can.

CLX.
Or, turning to the Vatican, go see
Laocoon's torture dignifying pain—
A father's love and mortal's agony
With an immortal's patience blending:—Wain
The struggle; vain, against the coiling strain
And gripe, and deepening of the dragon's grasp,
The old man's clench; the long envenom'd chain
Rivets the living links,—the enormous asp
Enforces pang on pang, and stifles gasp on gasp.

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Or view the Lord of the unerring bow,
The God of life, and poesy, and light—
The Sun in human limbs array'd, and brow
All radiant from his triumph in the fight;
The shaft hath just been shot—the arrow bright
With an immortal's vengeance; in his eye
And nostril beautiful disdain, and might
And majesty, flash their full lightnings by,
Developing in that one glance the Deity.

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CLXII.
But in his delicate form—a dream of Love,
Shaped by some solitary nymph, whose breast
Long'd for a deathless lover from above,
And madden’d in that vision—are exprest
All that ideal beauty ever bless'd
The mind with in its most unearthly mood,
When each conception was a heavenly guest—
A ray of immortality—and stood,
Starlike, around, until they gather'd to a god!

CLXIII.
And if it be Prometheus stole from Heaven
The fire which we endure, it was repaid
By him to whom the energy was given
Which this poetic marble hath array'd
With an eternal glory—which, if made
By human hands, is not of human thought;
And Time himself hath hallow'd it, nor laid
One ringlet in the dust—nor hath it caught
A tinge of years, but breathes the flame with which 'twas
wrought.
CLXIV.
But where is he, the Pilgrim of my song,
The being who upheld it through the past?
Methinks he cometh late and tarries long.
He is no more—these breathings are his last;
His wanderings done, his visions ebbing fast,
And he himself as nothing:—if he was
Aught but a phantasy, and could be class'd
With forms which live and suffer—let that pass—
His shadow fades away into Destruction's mass,

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