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"But one was mate, her cheeks and lips most fair,
■ That night we anchored in a woody bay,
Of poplars and dark oaks, whose shade did cover
■ The joyous mariners, and each fiee maiden,
Doomed to pursue those waves that cannot cease to smile.
m. "The many ships spotting the dark blue deep With snowy sails, fled fast as ours came nigh, In fear and wonder; and on every steep Thousands did gaze, they heard the startling cry, Like earth's own voice lifted unconquerably To all her children, the unbounded mirth, The glorious joy of thy name—Liberty! They beard!—As o'er the mountains of the earth From peak to peak leap on the beams of morning's birth:
rv. "So from that cry over the boundless hills, Sodden was caught one universal sound, Like a volcano's voice, whose thunder fills Remotest skies,—such glorious madness found A path through human hearts with stream which
drowned Its struggling fears and cares, dark custom's brood; They knew not whence it came, but felt around A wide contagion poured—they called aloud On Liberty—that name lived on the sunny flood.
■ We reached the port—alas! from many spirits
"I walked through the great City then, but free
"For, with strong speech I tore the veil that hid
"Some said I was a maniac wild and lost; Some, that I scarce had risen from the grave The Prophet's virgin bride, a heavenly ghost:— Some said I was a fiend from my weird cave, Who had stolen human shape, and o'er the wave, The forest, and the mountain, came ;—some said I was the child of God, sent down to save Women from bonds and death, and on my head The burthen of their sins would frightfully be laid.
"But soon my human words found sympathy
Those hosts of meaner cares, which life's strong wings encumber.
x. "But chiefly women, whom my voice did waken From their cold, careless, willing slavery, Sought me: one truth their dreary prison has
shaken, They looked around, and lo! they became free! Their many tyrants sitting desolately In slave-deserted halls, could none restrain; For wrath's red fire had withered in the eye, WhoBe lightning once was death,—nor fear, nor gain
Could tempt one captive now to lock another's chain.
■ Those who were sent to bind me, wept, and felt
"Like clouds inwoven in the silent sky,
By winds from distant regions meeting there,
In the high name of truth and liberty,
Around the City millions gathered were,
By hopes which sprang from many a hidden lair;
Words, which the lore of truth in hues of grace
Arrayed, thine own wild songs which in the air
Like homeless odours floated, and the name
Of thee, and many a tongue which thou hadst dipped in flame.
im. "The Tyrant knew his power was gone, hut Fear, The nurse of Vengeance, bade him wait the event— That perfidy and custom, gold and prayer, And whatsoe'er, when force is impotent, To fraud the sceptre of the world has lent, Might, as he judged, confirm his failing sway. Therefore throughout the streets, the Priests he To curse the rebels.—To their gods did they [sent
For Earthquake, Plague, and Want, kneel in the public way.
"And grave and hoary men were bribed to tell From seats where law is made the slave of wrong, How glorious Athens in her splendour fell, Because her sons were free,—and that among Mankind, the many to the few belong, By Heaven, and Nature, and Necessity. They said, that age was truth, and that the young Marred with wild hopes the peace of slavery, With which old times and men had quelled the vain and free.
"And with the falsehood of their poisonous lips
That we were weak and sinful, frail and blind, And that the will of one was peace, and we Should seek fornought on earth but toil and misery.
"' For thus we might avoid the hell hereafter.' So spake the hypocrites, who cursed and lied; Alas, their sway was past, and tears and laughter Clung to their hoary hair, withering the pride Which in their hollow hearts dared still abide; And yet obscener slaves with smoother brow, And sneers on their strait lips, thin, blue, and
wide, Said, that the rule of men was over now, And hence, the subject world to woman's will must
xvn. "And gold was scattered through the streets, and Flowed at a hundred feasts within the wall, [wine In vain I The steady towers in Heaven did shine As they were wont, nor at the priestly call Left Plague her banquet in the yEthiop's hall, Nor Famine from the rich man's portal came, Where at her ease she ever preys on all Who throng to kneel for food: nor fear, nor shame, Nor faith, nor discord, dimmed hope's newly-kindled flame.
"For gold was as a god whose faith began To fade, so that its worshippers were few, And Faith itself, which in the heart of man Gives shape, voice, name, to spectral Terror, knew Its downfall, as the altars lonelier grew, Till the Priests stood alone within the fane; The shafts of falsehood unpolluting flew, And the cold sneers of calumny were vain The union of the free with discord's brand to stain.
"The rest thou knowest Lo!—we two are here—
We have survived a ruin wide and deep —
"We know not what will come—yet, Laon, dearest, Cythna shall be the prophetess of love, Her lips shall rob thee of the grace thou wearest, To hide thy heart, and clothe the shapes which rovs Within the homeless future's wintry grove; For I now, sitting thus beside thee, seem Even with thy breath and blood to Uve and move, And violence and wrong are as a dream Which rolls from steadfast truth, an unreturning stream.
"The blasts of autumn drive the winged seeds Over the earth,—next come the snows, and rain. And frosts, and storms, which dreary winter leads Out of his Scythian cave, a savage train; Behold I Spring sweeps over the world again, Shedding soft dews from her aetherial wings; Flowers on the mountains, fruits over the plain, And music on the waves and woods she flings, And love on all that lives, and calm on lifeless things.
"0Spring! oftiope,aiHllc>ve,andyouth,and gladness, Wind-winged emblem 1 brightest, best, and fairest! Whence comest thou, when, with dark winter's
sadness The tears that fade in sunny smiles thou shares' Sister of joy! thou art the child who wearest Thy mother's dying smile, tender and sweet; Thy mother Autumn, forwhose grave thou bearest Fresh flowers, and beams like flowers, with gentle
Disturbing not the leaves which are her winding
"Virtue, and Hope, and Love, like light and Heaven,
* The seeds axe sleeping in the soil: meanwhile The tyrant peoples dungeons with his prey; Pale victims on the guarded scaffold smile Because they cannot speak; and, day by day, The moon of wasting Science wanes away Among her stars, and in that darkness vast The sons of earth to their foul idols pray, And grey Priests triumph, and like blightor blast A shade of selfish care o'er human looks is cast.
"This is the Winter of the world;—and here
"0 dearest love t we shall be dead and cold
blown Are there, and weave their sounds and odours into
"In their own hearts the earnest of the hope
* The good and mighty of departed ages
"So be the turf heaped over our remains
"Our many thoughts and deeds, our life and love, Our happiness, and all that we have been, Immortally must live, and burn, and move, When we shall be no more; the world has seen A type of peace; and as some most serene And lovely spot to a poor maniac's eye, After long years, some sweet and moving scene Of youthful hope returning suddenly, Quells his long madness—thus man shall remember thee.
"And calumny meanwhile shall feed on us, As worms devour the dead, and near the throne And at the altar, most accepted thus Shall sneers and curses be ;—what we have done None shall dare vouch, though it be truly known; That record shall remain, when they must pass Who built their pride on its oblivion; And fame, in human hope which sculptured was, Survive the perished scrolls of unenduring brass.
"The while we two, beloved, must depart,
xxxin. These are blind fancies. Reason cannot know What sense can neither feel, nor thought conceive; There is delusion in the world—and woe, And fear, and pain—we know not whence we live, Or why, or how, or what mute Power may give Their being to each plant, and star, and beast, Or even these thoughts.—Come near me! I do A chain I cannot break—I am possest [weave With thoughts too swift and strong for one lone human breast.
"Yes, yes—thy kiss is sweet, thy lips are warm— 0! willingly, beloved, would these eyes, Might they no more drink being from thy form, Even as to sleep whence we again arise, Close their faint orbs in death. I fear nor prize Aught that can now betide, unshared by thee— Yes, Love, when wisdom fails, makes Cythnawise; Darkness and death, if death be true, must be Dearer than life and hope, if unenjoyed with thee.
"Alas! our thoughts flow on with stream, whose
waters Return not to their fountain—Earth and Heaven, The Ocean and the Sun, the clouds their daughters, Winter, and Spring, and Morn, and Noon, and All that we are or know, is darkly driven [Even, Towards one gulf.—Lo! what a change is come Since I first spake—but time shall be forgiven, Though it change all but thee !" She ceased—
night's gloom [dome.
Meanwhile had fallen on earth from the sky's sunless Though she had ceased, her countenance, uplifted To heaven, still spake, with solemn glory bright; Her dark deep eyes, her lips, whose motions gifted The air they breathed with love, her locks undight; "Fair star of life and love," I cried," my soul's deWhy lookest thou on the crystalline skiesI [light, 0 that my spirit were yon Heaven of night, Which gazes on thee with its thousand eyes!" She turned to me and smiled—that smile was Paradise!
CANTO X. i. Was there a human spirit in the steed, That th us with his proud voice, ere night was gone, He broke our linked rest! or do indeed All living things a common nature own, And thought erect a universal throne, Where many shapes one tribute ever bear! And Earth, their mutual mother, does she groan To see her sons contend! and makes she bare
Her breast, that all in peace its drainless stores may share!
u. I have heard friendly sounds from many a tongue Which was not human—the lone Nightingale Has answered me with her most soothing song, Out of her ivy bower, when I sate pale With grief, and sighed beneath; from many a dale The Antelopes who flocked for food have spoken With happy sounds, and motions, that avail Like man'sown speech; and such was nowthetoken
Of waning night, whose calm by that proud neigh was broken.
in. Each night, that mighty steed bore me abroad, And I returned with food to our retreat, And dark intelligence; the blood which flowed Over the fields, had stained the courser's feet;— Soon the dust drinks that bitter dew,—then meet The vulture, and the wild-dog, and the snake, The wolf, and the hyssna grey, and eat The dead in horrid truce: their throngs did make
Behind the steed,a chasm like waves in a ship's wake.
For, from the utmost realms of earth, came
pouring The banded slaves whom every despot sent At that throned traitor's summons; like the roaring Of fire, whose floods the wild doer circumvent In the scorched pastures of the South; so bent The armies of the leagued kings around Their files of steel and flame;—the continent Trembled, as with a zone of ruin bound;
Beneath their feet, the sea shook with their navies' sound.
v. From every nation of the earth they came, The multitude of moving heartless things, Whom slaves call men: obediently they came, Like sheep whom from the fold the shepherd brings To the stall, red with blood; their many kings Led them, thus erring, from their native home; Tartar and Frank, and millions whom the wings Of Indian breezes lull, and many a band
The Arctic Anarch sent, and ldumea's sand,
Fertile in prodigies and lies;—so there Strange natures made a brotherhood of ill. The desert savage ceased to grasp in fear His Asian shield and bow, when, at the will Of Europe's subtler son, the bolt would kill Some shepherd sitting on a rock secure; But smiles of wondering joy bis face would fill, And savage sympathy: those slaves impure, Each one tile other thus from ill to ill did lure.
For traitorously did that foul Tyrant robe
swore Like wolves and serpents to their mutual wars Strange truce, with many a rite which Earth and
Myriads had come—millions were on their way; The Tyrant passed, surrounded by the steel Of hired assassins, through the public way, Choked with his country's dead;—his footsteps reel On the fresh blood—he smiles. "Aye, now I (eel I am a King in truth!" he said, and took His royal seat, and bade the torturing wheel Be brought, and fire, and pincers, and the hook, And scorpions I that his soul on its revenge might look.
"But first, go slay the rebels.—Why return The victor bands!" he said : "millions yet lire, Of whom the weakest with one word might turn The scales of victory yet;—let none survive But those within the walla—each fifth shall give The expiation for his brethren here.— Go forth, and waste and kill;"—" O king, forgive My speech," a soldier answered ;—" but we fear The spirits of the night, and morn is drawing near;
"For we were slaying still without remorse,
thou stand Parleying with me, thou wretch 1" the king replied; "Slaves, bind him to the wheel; and of this band, Whoso will drag that woman to his side That scared him thus, may burn his dearest foe
"And gold and glory shall bo his—Go forth I" They rushed into the plain.—Loud was the roar Of their career: the horsemen shook the earth; The wheeled artillery's speed the pavement tore; The infantry, file after file, did pour [slew
Their clouds on the utmost hills. Five days they Among the wasted fields: the sixth saw gore Stream through the city; on the seventh, the dew Of slaughter became stiff; and there was peace ■
Peace in the desert fields and villages,
Day after day the burning Sun rolled on Over the death-polluted land;—it came Out of the east like fire, and fiercely shone A lamp of Autumn, ripening with its flame The few lone ears of corn;—the sky became Stagnate with heat, so that each cloud and blast Languished and died; the thirsting air did claim All moisture, and a rotting vapour past From the unburied dead, invisible and fast.
First Want, then Plague, came on the beasts; their
The fish were poisoned in the streams; the birds In the green woods perished; the insect race Was withered up ; the scattered flocks and herds Who had survived the wild beasts' hungry chase Died moaning, each upon the other's face In helpless agony gazing; round the City All night, the lean hyaenas their sad case Like starving infants wailed—a woeful ditty! And many a mother wept, pierced with unnatural pity.
Amid the aerial minarets on high,
With the quick glance of eyes, like withering lightnings shed.
xvn. Day after day, when the year wanes, the frosts Strip its green crown of leaves, till all is bare; So on those strange and congregated hosts Came Famine, a swift shadow, and the air Groaned with the burden of a new despair; Famine, than whom Misrule no deadlier daughter Feeds from her thousand breasts, though sleeping there [Slaughter,
With lidlcss eyes, lie Faith, and Plague, and
A ghastly brood; conceived of Lethe's sullen water.
There was no food; the corn was trampled down,
There was no corn—in the wide market-place All loathliest things, even human flesh, was sold; They weighed it in small scales—and many a face Was fixed in eager horror then: his gold The miser brought; the tender maid, grown bold Through hunger, bared her scorned cliarmsin vain; The mother brought her eldest-born, controlled By instinct blind as love, but turned again And bade her infant suck, and died in silent pain.
Then fell blue Plague upon the race of man. "O, for the sheathed steel, so late which gave Oblivion to the dead, when the streets ran [grave With brothers' blood! 0, that the earthquake's Would gape, or Ocean lift its stifling wave I" Vain cries—throughout the streets, thousands Each by his fiery torture, howl and rave, [pursued Or sit, in frenzy's unimagined mood, Upon fresh heaps of dead—a ghastly multitude.
It was not hunger now, but thirst. Each well
Childhood, and youth, and age, writhing in savage pains.
xxu. It was not thirst but madness I Many saw Their own lean image everywhere ; it went A ghastlier self beside them, till the awe Of that dread sight to self-destruction sent Those shrieking victims; some, ere life was spent, Sought, with a horrid sympathy, to shed Contagion on the sound; and others rent Their matted hair, and cried aloud," We tread
On fire! the avenging Power his hell on earth has spread."
zxni. Sometimes the living by the dead were hid. Near the great fountain in the public square, Where corpses made a crumbling pyramid Under the sun, was heard one stifled prayer For life, in the hot silence of the air; And strange 'twas, amid that hideous heap
to see Some shrouded in their long and golden hair, As if not dead, but slumbermg quietly,
Like forms which sculptors carve, then love to agony.