When music sounds, gone is the earth I know,
And all her lovely things even lovelier grow;
Her flowers in vision flame, her forest trees
Lift burdened branches, stilled with ecstasies.
When music sounds, out of the water rise
Naiads whose beauty dims my waking eyes,
Rapt in strange dreams burns each enchanted face,
With solemn echoing stirs their dwelling-place.
When music sounds, all that I was I am
Ere to this haunt of brooding dust I came;
And from Time's woods break into distant song
The swift-winged hours, as I hasten along.
- quotes about sound
- quotes about music
- quotes about time
- quotes about fire
- quotes about hours
- quotes about beauty
- quotes about water
- quotes about dreaming
- quotes about Earth
Your Dwelling Place
How lovely is your dwelling place
Will you let me in and give me a space?
It must be great and wonderful
You make all things beautiful
I want to be where you are
I know it is not so far
I only have to hear you say
Come..be with me and stay...
Oh..how lovely, is your dwelling place..my God
Every night, I fumble to scavenge
My place among estranged acquaintances
And when deception sought for suicide
I will return to a haunted chamber
Inside my cold steely heart
Where the lofty and glacial gates
Loomed hostilely in bolted chains
And I would mount the escalating height
As inebriation descends from liver to soul
And the equipoise of time let down its velvet robe
Draping the horrendous vicissitude hovering my home
And the heralding thought that when I knock the door
It would either be a hammering holiday
On my parent's irrational loathe
Or the crispy echoes of the hollow quietude
In the stretch of a colossal living room,
Darting through a number of quarters
That the eyes can both perceive and not
I'll shake the my fists and make believe
Then I'll get through with all the heedless pounding
And muse on the stairs spiraling up the languid attic
Where the ghosts were aloofly haunting,
And then the stairs skewing down to barren rooms
I'll take the descend to the refuge
Of my room in shades of green and of slumber
And as soon as we fondle our arms together
I will paste my scarce body into the cold tiles,
Pull a chimerical soap-dish form beneath the bed
Where I stack the lambasted butts of cigarettes
And the ashes of the squandered boy
Who lit a celebratory stick for a triumphant
Escape in the walls of his home.
For his home is in the clutters on the floor,
And the stains on the mint green walls,
For they are the things that he doesn't know
But the things he understands;
For here I know the things that I do not understand
Like the rasp of the soundless,
The sentience of the benumbed
The loneliness in the crowd,
The toppling resolutions,
The quietus in writing and the sketching of the unconscious,
The writing of quietus and the unconsciousness of sketching…
Perhaps, it was home from tangible to otherwise,
And sometimes, more often than not,
I like to leave my dwelling place
And stay inside the fringeless vault
Of my idea of a home.
- quotes about home
- quotes about tobacco
- quotes about victory
- quotes about walls
- quotes about height
- quotes about green
- quotes about numbers
- quotes about boys
- quotes about life
The Princes' Quest - Part the Second
A fearful and a lovely thing is Sleep,
And mighty store of secrets hath in keep;
And those there were of old who well could guess
What meant his fearfulness and loveliness,
And all his many shapes of life and death,
And all the secret things he uttereth.
But Wisdom lacketh sons like those that were,
And Sleep hath never an interpreter:
So there be none that know to read aright
The riddles he propoundeth every night.
And verily, of all the wondrous things
By potence wrought of mortal visionings
In that dark house whereof Sleep hath the keys-
Of suchlike miracles and mysteries
Not least, meseems, is this among them all:
That one in dream enamoured should fall,
And ever afterward, in waking thought,
Worship the phantom which the dream hath brought.
Howbeit such things have been, and in such wise
Did that king's son behold, with mortal eyes,
A more than mortal loveliness, and thus
Was stricken through with love miraculous.
For evermore thereafter he did seem
To see that royal maiden of his dream
Unto her palace riding sovranly;
And much he marvelled where that land might be
That basking lay beneath her beauty's beams,
Well knowing in his heart that suchlike dreams
Come not in idleness but evermore
Are Fate's veiled heralds that do fly before
Their mighty master as he journeyeth,
And sing strange songs of life and love and death.
And so he did scarce aught but dream all day
Of that far land revealed of sleep, that lay
He knew not where; and musing more and more
On her the mistress of that unknown shore,
There fell a sadness on him, thus to be
Vext with desire of her he might not see
Yet could not choose but long for; till erewhile
Nor man nor woman might behold the smile
Make sudden morning of his countenance,
But likest one he seemed half-sunk, in trance,
That wanders groping in a shadowy land,
Hearing strange things that none can understand.
Now after many days and nights had passed,
The queen, his mother well-beloved, at last,
Being sad at heart because his heart was sad,
Would e'en be told what hidden cause he had
To be cast down in so mysterious wise:
And he, beholding by her tearful eyes
How of his grief she was compassionate,
No more a secret made thereof, but straight
Discovered to her all about his dream-
The mystic happy marvel of the stream.
A fountain running Youth to all the land;
Flowing with deep dim woods on either hand
Where through the boughs did birds of strange song flit:
And all beside the bloomy banks of it
The city with its towers and domes far-seen.
And then he told her how that city's queen
Did pass before him like a breathing flower,
That he had loved her image from that hour.
'And sure am I,' upspake the Prince at last,
'That somewhere in this world so wide and vast
Lieth the land mine eyes have inly seen;-
Perhaps in very truth my spirit hath been
Translated thither, and in very truth
Hath seen the brightness of that city of youth.
Who knows?-for I have heard a wise man say
How that in sleep the souls of mortals may,
At certain seasons which the stars decree,
From bondage of the body be set free
To visit farthest countries, and be borne
Back to their fleshly houses ere the morn.'
At this the good queen, greatly marvelling,
Made haste to tell the story to the king;
Who hearing laughed her tale to scorn. But when
Weeks followed one another, and all men
About his person had begun to say
'What ails our Prince? He groweth day by day
Less like the Prince we knew… wan cheeks, and eyes
Hollow for lack of sleep, and secret sighs….
Some hidden grief the youth must surely have,'-
Then like his queen the king himself wox grave;
And thus it chanced one summer eventide,
They sitting in an arbour side by side,
All unawares the Pince passed by that way,
And as he passed, unmark'd of either-they
Nought heeding but their own discourse-could hear
Amidst thereof his own name uttered clear,
And straight was 'ware it was the queen who spake,
And spake of him; whereat the king 'gan make
Answer in this wise, somewhat angerly:
'The youth is crazed, and but one remedy
Know I, to cure such madness-he shall wed
Some princess; ere another day be sped,
Myself will bid this dreamer go prepare
To take whom I shall choose to wife; some fair
And highborn maiden, worthy to be queen
Hereafter.'-So the Prince, albeit unseen,
Heard, and his soul rebelled against the thing
His sire had willed; and slowly wandering
About the darkling pleasance-all amid
A maze of intertangled walks, or hid
In cedarn glooms, or where mysterious bowers
Were heavy with the breath of drowsèd flowers-
Something, he knew not what, within his heart
Rose like a faint-heard voice and said 'Depart
From hence and follow where thy dream shall lead.'
And fain would he have followed it indeed,
But wist not whither it would have him go.
Howbeit, while yet he wandered to and fro,
Among his thoughts a chance remembrance leapt
All sudden-like a seed, that long hath slept
In earth, upspringing as a flower at last,
When he that sowed forgetteth where 'twas cast;
A chance remembrance of the tales men told
Concerning one whose wisdom manifold
Made all the world to wonder and revere-
A mighty mage and learn'd astrologer
Who dwelt in honour at a great king's court
In a far country, whither did resort
Pilgrims innumerable from many lands,
Who crossed the wide seas and the desert sands
To learn of him the occult significance
Of some perplexing omen, or perchance
To hear forewhisperings of their destiny
And know what things in aftertime should be.
'Now surely,' thought the Prince, 'this subtile seer,
To whom the darkest things belike are clear,
Could read the riddle of my dream and tell
Where lieth that strange land delectable
Wherein mine empress hath her dwelling-place.
So might I look at last upon her face,
And make an end of all these weary sighs,
And melt into the shadow of her eyes!'
Thus musing, for a little space he stood
As holden to the spot; and evil, good,
Life, death, and earth beneath and heaven above,
Shrank up to less than shadows,-only Love,
With harpings of an hundred harps unseen,
Filled all the emptiness where these had been.
But soon, like one that hath a sudden thought,
He lifted up his eyes, and turning sought
The halls once more where he was bred, and passed
Through court and corridor, and reached at last
His chamber, in a world of glimmer and gloom.
Here, while the moonrays filled the wide rich room,
The Prince in haste put off his courtly dress
For raiment of a lesser sumptuousness
(A sober habit such as might disguise
His royal rank in any stranger's eyes)
And taking in his hand three gems that made
Three several splendours in the moonlight, laid
These in his bosom, where no eye might see
The triple radiance; then all noiselessly
Down the wide stair from creaking floor to floor
Passed, and went out from the great palace-door.
Crossing the spacious breadth of garden ground,
Wherein his footfalls were the only sound
Save the wind's wooing of the tremulous trees,
Forth of that region of imperial ease
He fared, amid the doubtful shadows dim,
No eye in all the place beholding him;
No eye, save only of the warders, who
Opened the gates that he might pass therethrough.
And now to the safe-keeping of the night
Intrusted he the knowledge of his flight;
And quitting all the purlieus of the court,
Out from the city by a secret port
Went, and along the moonlit highway sped.
And himself spake unto himself and said
(Heard only of the silence in his heart)
'Tarry thou here no longer, but depart
Unto the land of the Great Mage; and seek
The Mage; and whatsoever he shall speak,
Give ear to that he saith, and reverent heed;
And wheresoever he may bid thee speed,
Thitherward thou shalt set thy face and go.
For surely one of so great lore must know
Where lies the land thou sawest in thy dream:
Nay, if he know not that,-why, then I deem
The wisdom of exceeding little worth
That reads the heavens but cannot read the earth.'
Pharsalia - Book VIII: Death Of Pompeius
Now through Alcides' pass and Tempe's groves
Pompeius, aiming for Haemonian glens
And forests lone, urged on his wearied steed
Scarce heeding now the spur; by devious tracks
Seeking to veil the footsteps of his flight:
The rustle of the foliage, and the noise
Of following comrades filled his anxious soul
With terrors, as he fancied at his side
Some ambushed enemy. Fallen from the height
Of former fortunes, still the chieftain knew
His life not worthless; mindful of the fates:
And 'gainst the price he set on Caesar's head,
He measures Caesar's value of his own.
Yet, as he rode, the features of the chief
Made known his ruin. Many as they sought
The camp Pharsalian, ere yet was spread
News of the battle, met the chief, amazed,
And wondered at the whirl of human things:
Nor held disaster sure, though Magnus' self
Told of his ruin. Every witness seen
Brought peril on his flight: 'twere better far
Safe in a name obscure, through all the world
To wander; but his ancient fame forbad.
Too long had great Pompeius from the height
Of human greatness, envied of mankind,
Looked on all others; nor for him henceforth
Could life be lowly. The honours of his youth
Too early thrust upon him, and the deeds
Which brought him triumph in the Sullan days,
His conquering navy and the Pontic war,
Made heavier now the burden of defeat,
And crushed his pondering soul. So length of days
Drags down the haughty spirit, and life prolonged
When power has perished. Fortune's latest hour,
Be the last hour of life! Nor let the wretch
Live on disgraced by memories of fame!
But for the boon of death, who'd dare the sea
Of prosperous chance?
Upon the ocean marge
By red Peneus blushing from the fray,
Borne in a sloop, to lightest wind and wave
Scarce equal, he, whose countless oars yet smote
Upon Coreyra's isle and Leucas point,
Lord of Cilicia and Liburnian lands,
Crept trembling to the sea. He bids them steer
For the sequestered shores of Lesbos isle;
For there wert thou, sharer of all his griefs,
Cornelia! Sadder far thy life apart
Than wert thou present in Thessalia's fields.
Racked is thy heart with presages of ill;
Pharsalia fills thy dreams; and when the shades
Give place to coming dawn, with hasty step
Thou tread'st some cliff sea-beaten, and with eyes
Gazing afar art first to mark the sail
Of each approaching bark: yet dar'st not ask
Aught of thy husband's fate.
Behold the boat
Whose bending canvas bears her to the shore:
She brings (unknown as yet) thy chiefest dread,
Rumour of evil, herald of defeat,
Magnus, thy conquered spouse. Fear then no more,
But give to grief thy moments. From the ship
He leaps to land; she marks the cruel doom
Wrought by the gods upon him: pale and wan
His weary features, by the hoary locks
Shaded; the dust of travel on his garb.
Dark on her soul a night of anguish fell;
Her trembling limbs no longer bore her frame:
Scarce throbbed her heart, and prone on earth she lay
Deceived in hope of death. The boat made fast,
Pompeius treading the lone waste of sand
Drew near; whom when Cornelia's maidens saw,
They stayed their weeping, yet with sighs subdued,
Reproached the fates; and tried in vain to raise
Their mistress' form, till Magnus to his breast
Drew her with cherishing arms; and at the touch
Of soothing hands the life-blood to her veins
Returned once more, and she could bear to look
Upon his features. He forbad despair,
Chiding her grief. 'Not at the earliest blow
By Fortune dealt, inheritress of fame
Bequeathed by noble fathers, should thy strength
Thus fail and yield: renown shall yet be thine,
To last through ages; not of laws decreed
Nor conquests won; a gentler path to thee
As to thy sex, is given; thy husband's woe.
Let thine affection struggle with the fates,
And in his misery love thy lord the more.
I bring thee greater glory, for that gone
Is all the pomp of power and all the crowd
Of faithful senators and suppliant kings;
Now first Pompeius for himself alone
Tis thine to love. Curb this unbounded grief,
While yet I breathe, unseemly. O'er my tomb
Weep out thy full, the final pledge of faith.
Thou hast no loss, nor has the war destroyed
Aught save my fortune. If for that thy grief
That was thy love.'
Roused by her husband's words,
Yet scarcely could she raise her trembling limbs,
Thus speaking through her sobs: 'Would I had sought
Detested Caesar's couch, ill-omened wife
Of spouse unhappy; at my nuptials twice
A Fury has been bridesmaid, and the ghosts
Of slaughtered Crassi, with avenging shades
Brought by my wedlock to the doomed camp
The Parthian massacre. Twice my star has cursed
The world, and peoples have been hurled to death
In one red moment; and the gods through me
Have left the better cause. O, hero mine,
mightiest husband, wedded to a wife
Unworthy! 'Twas through her that Fortune gained
The right to strike thee. Wherefore did I wed
To bring thee misery? Mine, mine the guilt,
Mine be the penalty. And that the wave
May bear thee gently onwards, and the kings
May keep their faith to thee, and all the earth
Be ready to thy rule, me from thy side
Cast to the billows. Rather had I died
To bring thee victory; thy disasters thus,
Thus expiate. And, cruel Julia, thee,
Who by this war hast vengeance on our vows,
From thine abode I call: atonement find
In this thy rival's death, and spare at least
Thy Magnus.' Then upon his breast she fell,
While all the concourse wept -- e'en Magnus' self,
Who saw Thessalia's field without a tear.
But now upon the shore a numerous band
From Mitylene thus approached the chief:
'If 'tis our greatest glory to have kept
The pledge with us by such a husband placed,
Do thou one night within these friendly walls
We pray thee, stay; thus honouring the homes
Long since devoted, Magnus, to thy cause.
This spot in days to come the guest from Rome
For thee shall honour. Nowhere shalt thou find
A surer refuge in defeat. All else
May court the victor's favour; we long since
Have earned his chastisement. And though our isle
Rides on the deep, girt by the ocean wave,
No ships has Caesar: and to us shall come,
Be sure, thy captains, to our trusted shore,
The war renewing. Take, for all is thine,
The treasures of our temples and the gold,
Take all our youth by land or on the sea
To do thy bidding: Lesbos only asks
This from the chief who sought her in his pride,
Not in his fall to leave her.' Pleased in soul
At such a love, and joyed that in the world
Some faith still lingered, thus Pompeius said:
'Earth has for me no dearer land than this.
Did I not trust it with so sweet a pledge
And find it faithful? Here was Rome for me,
Country and household gods. This shore I sought
Home of my wife, this Lesbos, which for her
Had merited remorseless Caesar's ire:
Nor was afraid to trust you with the means
To gain his mercy. But enough -- through me
Your guilt was caused -- I part, throughout the world
To prove my fate. Farewell thou happiest land!
Famous for ever, whether taught by thee
Some other kings and peoples may be pleased
To give me shelter; or should'st thou alone
Be faithful. And now seek I in what lands
Right may be found or wrong. My latest prayer
Receive, O deity, if still with me
Thou bidest, thus. May it be mine again,
Conquered, with hostile Caesar on my tracks
To find a Lesbos where to enter in
And whence to part, unhindered.'
In the boat
He placed his spouse: while from the shore arose
Such lamentation, and such hands were raised
In ire against the gods, that thou had'st deemed
All left their kin for exile, and their homes.
And though for Magnus grieving in his fall
Yet for Cornelia chiefly did they mourn
Long since their gentle guest. For her had wept
The Lesbian matrons had she left to join
A victor husband: for she won their love,
By kindly modesty and gracious mien,
Ere yet her lord was conquered, while as yet
Their fortunes stood.
Now slowly to the deep
Sank fiery Titan; but not yet to those
He sought (if such there be), was shown his orb,
Though veiled from those he quitted. Magnus' mind,
Anxious with waking cares, sought through the kings
His subjects, and the cities leagued with Rome
In faith, and through the pathless tracts that lie
Beyond the southern bounds: until the toil
Of sorrowing thought upon the past, and dread
Of that which might be, made him cast afar
His wavering doubts, and from the captain seek
Some counsel on the heavens; how by the sky
He marked his track upon the deep; what star
Guided the path to Syria, and what points
Found in the Wain would pilot him aright
To shores of Libya. But thus replied
The well-skilled watcher of the silent skies:
'Not by the constellations moving ever
Across the heavens do we guide our barks;
For that were perilous; but by that star
Which never sinks nor dips below the wave,
Girt by the glittering groups men call the Bears.
When stands the pole-star clear before the mast,
Then to the Bosphorus look we, and the main
Which carves the coast of Scythia. But the more
Bootes dips, and nearer to the sea
Is Cynosura seen, so much the ship
Towards Syria tends, till bright Canopus shines,
In southern skies content to hold his course;
With him upon the left past Pharos borne
Straight for the Syrtes shalt thou plough the deep.
But whither now dost bid me shape the yards
And set the canvas?'
Magnus, doubting still;
'This only be thy care: from Thracia steer
The vessel onward; shun with all thy skill
Italia's distant shore: and for the rest
Trust to the winds for guidance. When I sought,
Pledged with the Lesbians, my spouse beloved,
My course was sure: now, Fortune, where thou wilt
Give me a refuge.' These his answering words.
The pilot, as they hung from level yards
Shifted the sails; and hauling to the stern
One sheet, he slacked the other, to the left
Steering, where Samian rocks and Chian marred
The stillness of the waters; while the sea
Sent up in answer to the changing keel
A different murmur. Not so deftly turns
Curbing his steeds, his wain the Charioteer,
While glows his dexter wheel, and with the left
He almost touches, yet avoids the goal.
Now Titan veiled the stars and showed the shore;
When, following Magnus, came a scattered band
Saved from the Thracian storm. From Lesbos' port
His son; next, captains who preserved their faith;
For at his side, though vanquished in the field,
Cast down by fate, in exile, still there stood,
Lords of the earth and all her Orient realms,
The Kings, his ministers.
To the furthest lands
He bids Deiotarus: 'O faithful friend,
Since in Emathia's battle-field was lost
The world, so far as Roman, it remains
To test the faith of peoples of the East
Who drink of Tigris and Euphrates' stream,
Secure as yet from Caesar. Be it thine
Far as the rising of the sun to trace
The fates that favour Magnus: to the courts
Of Median palaces, to Scythian steppes;
And to the son of haughty Arsaces,
To bear my message, `Hold ye to the faith,
Pledged by your priests and by the Thunderer's name
Of Latium sworn? Then fill your quivers full,
Draw to its fullest span th' Armenian bow;
And, Getan archers, wing the fatal shaft.
And you, ye Parthians, if when I sought
The Caspian gates, and on th' Alaunian tribes
Fierce, ever-warring, pressed, I suffered you
In Persian tracts to wander, nor compelled
To seek for shelter Babylonian walls;
If beyond Cyrus' kingdom and the bounds
Of wide Chaldaea, where from Nysa's top
Pours down Hydaspes, and the Ganges flood
Foams to the ocean, nearer far I stood
Than Persia's bounds to Phoebus' rising fires;
If by my sufferance, Parthians, you alone
Decked not my triumphs, but in equal state
Sole of all Eastern princes, face to face
Met Magnus in his pride, nor only once
Through me were saved; (for after that dread day
Who but Pompeius soothed the kindling fires
Of Latium's anger?) -- by my service paid
Come forth to victory: burst the ancient bounds
By Macedon's hero set: in Magnus' cause
March, Parthians, to Rome's conquest. Rome herself
Prays to be conquered.''
Hard the task imposed;
Yet doffed his robe, and swift obeyed, the king
Wrapped in a servant's mantle. If a Prince
For safety play the boor, then happier, sure,
The peasant's lot than lordship of the world.
The king thus parted, past Icaria's rocks
Pompeius' vessel skirts the foamy crags
Of little Samos: Colophon's tranquil sea
And Ephesus lay behind him, and the air
Breathed freely on him from the Coan shore.
Cuidos he shunned, and, famous for its sun,
Rhodos, and steering for the middle deep
Escaped the windings of Telmessus' bay;
Till rose Pamphylian coasts before the bark,
And first the fallen chieftain dared to find
In small Phaseils shelter; for therein
Scarce was the husbandman, and empty homes
Forbad to fear. Next Taurus' heights he saw
And Dipsus falling from his lofty sides:
So sailed he onward.
Did Pompeius hope,
Thus severed by the billows from the foe,
To make his safety sure? His little boat
Flies unmolested past Cilician shores;
But to their exiled lord in chiefest part
The senate of Rome was drawn. Celendrae there
Received their fleet, where fair Selinus' stream
In spacious bay gives refuge from the main;
And to the gathered chiefs in mournful words
At length Pompeius thus resolved his thoughts:
'O faithful comrades mine in war and flight!
To me, my country! Though this barren shore
Our place of meeting, and no gathered host
Surrounds us, yet upon our changed estate
I seek your counsel. Rouse ye as of yore
With hearts of courage! Magnus on the field
Not all is perished, nor do fates forbid
But that I rise afresh with living hope
Of future victories, and spurn defeat.
From Libyan ruins did not Marius rise
Again recorded Consul on the page
Full of his honours? shall a lighter blow
Keep Magnus down, whose thousand chiefs and ships
Still plough the billows; by defeat his strength
Not whelmed but scattered? And the fame alone
Of our great deeds of glory in the past
Shall now protect us, and the world unchanged
Still love its hero.
'Weigh upon the scales
Ye chiefs, which best may help the needs of Rome,
In faith and armies; or the Parthian realm
Egypt or Libya. For myself, ye chiefs,
I veil no secret thoughts, but thus advise.
Place no reliance on the Pharian king;
His age forbids: nor on the cunning Moor,
Who vain of Punic ancestors, and vain
Of Carthaginian memories and descent
Supposed from Hannibal, and swollen with pride
At Varus' supplication, sees in thought
Rome lie beneath him. Wherefore, comrades, seek
At speed, the Eastern world. Those mighty realms
Disjoins from us Euphrates, and the gates
Called Caspian; on another sky than ours
There day and night revolve; another sea
Of different hue is severed from our own.
Rule is their wish, nought else: and in their plains
Taller the war-horse, stronger twangs the bow;
There fails nor youth nor age to wing the shaft
Fatal in flight. Their archers first subdued
The lance of Macedon and Baetra's walls,
Home of the Mede; and haughty Babylon
With all her storied towers: nor shall they dread
The Roman onset; trusting to the shafts
By which the host of fated Crassus fell.
Nor trust they only to the javelin blade
Untipped with poison: from the rancorous edge
The slightest wound deals death.
'Would that my lot
Forced me not thus to trust that savage race
Of Arsaces! Yet now their emulous fate
Contends with Roman destinies: the gods
Smile favouring on their nation. Thence I'll pour
On Caesar peoples from another earth
And all the Orient ravished from its home.
But should the East and barbarous treaties fail,
Fate, bear our shipwrecked fortunes past the bounds
Of earth, as known to men. The kings I made
I supplicate not, but in death shall take
To other spheres this solace: chief of all;
His hands, my kinsman's, never shed my blood
Nor soothed me dying. Yet as my mind in turn
The varying fortunes of my life recalls,
How was I glorious in that Eastern world!
How great my name by far Maeotis marsh
And where swift Tanais flows! No other land
Has so resounded with my conquests won,
So sent me home triumphant. Rome, do thou
Approve my enterprise! What happier chance
Could favouring gods afford thee? Parthian hosts
Shall fight the civil wars of Rome, and share
Her ills, and fall enfeebled. When the arms
Of Caesar meet with Parthian in the fray,
Then must kind Fortune vindicate my lot
Or Crassus be avenged.'
But murmurs rose,
And Magnus speaking knew his words condemned.
Then Lentulas answered, with indignant soul,
Foremost to rouse their valour, thus in words
Worthy a Consul: 'Have Thessalian woes
Broken thy spirit so? One day's defeat
Condemned the world to ruin? Is the cause
Lost in one battle and beyond recall?
Find we no cure for wounds? Does Fortune drive
Thee, Magnus, to the Parthians' feet alone?
And dost thou, fugitive, spurn the lands and skies
Known heretofore, and seek for other poles
And constellations, and Chaldaean gods,
And rites barbarian, servant of the realm Of
Parthia? But why then took we arms
For love of liberty? If thou canst slave
Thou hast deceived the world! Shall Parthia see
Thee at whose name, ruler of mighty Rome,
She trembled, at whose feet she captive saw
Hyrcanian kings and Indian princes kneel,
Now humbly suppliant, victim of the fates;
And at thy prayer her puny strength extol
In mad contention with the Western world?
Nor think, Pompeius, thou shalt plead thy cause
In that proud tongue unknown to Parthian ears
Of which thy fame is worthy; sobs and tears
He shall demand of thee. And has our shame
Brought us to this, that some barbarian foe
Shall venge Hesperia's wrongs ere Rome her own?
Thou wert our leader for the civil war:
Mid Scythia's peoples dost thou bruit abroad
Wounds and disasters which are ours alone?
Rome until now, though subject to the yoke
Of civic despots, yet within her walls
Has brooked no foreign lord. And art thou pleased
From all the world to summon to her gates
These savage peoples, while the standards lost
By far Euphrates when the Crassi fell
Shall lead thy columns? Shall the only king
Who failed Emathia, while the fates yet hid
Their favouring voices, brave the victor's power,
And join with thine his fortune? Nay, not so
This nation trusts itself. Each race that claims
A northern birth, unconquered in the fray
Claims but the warrior's death; but as the sky
Slopes towards the eastern tracts and gentler climes
So are the nations. There in flowing robes
And garments delicate are men arrayed.
True that the Parthian in Sarmatia's plains,
Where Tigris spreads across the level meads,
Contends invincible; for flight is his
Unbounded; but should uplands bar his path
He scales them not; nor through the night of war
Shall his weak bow uncertain in its aim
Repel the foeman; nor his strength of arm
The torrent stem; nor all a summer's day
In dust and blood bear up against the foe.
They fill no hostile trench, nor in their hands
Shall battering engine or machine of war
Dash down the rampart; and whate'er avails
To stop their arrows, battles like a wall.
Wide sweep their horsemen, fleeting in attack
And light in onset, and their troops shall yield
A camp, not take it: poisoned are their shafts;
Nor do they dare a combat hand to hand;
But as the winds may suffer, from afar
They draw their bows at venture. Brave men love
The sword which, wielded by a stalwart arm,
Drives home the blow and makes the battle sure.
Not such their weapons; and the first assault
Shall force the flying Mede with coward hand
And empty quiver from the field. His faith
In poisoned blades is placed; but trustest thou
Those who without such aid refuse the war?
For such alliance wilt thou risk a death,
With all the world between thee and thy home?
Shall some barbarian earth or lowly grave
Enclose thee perishing? E'en that were shame
While Crassus seeks a sepulchre in vain.
Thy lot is happy; death, unfeared by men,
Is thy worst doom, Pompeius; but no death
Awaits Cornelia -- such a fate for her
This king shall not reserve; for know not we
The hateful secrets of barbarian love,
Which, blind as that of beasts, the marriage bed
Pollutes with wives unnumbered? Nor the laws
By nature made respect they, nor of kin.
In ancient days the fable of the crime
By tyrant Oedipus unwitting wrought,
Brought hate upon his city; but how oft
Sits on the throne of Arsaces a prince
Of birth incestuous? This gracious dame
Born of Metellus, noblest blood of Rome,
Shall share the couch of the barbarian king
With thousand others: yet in savage joy,
Proud of her former husbands, he may grant
Some larger share of favour; and the fates
May seem to smile on Parthia; for the spouse
Of Crassus, captive, shall to him be brought
As spoil of former conquest. If the wound
Dealt in that fell defeat in eastern lands
Still stirs thy heart, then double is the shame
First to have waged the war upon ourselves,
Then ask the foe for succour. For what blame
Can rest on thee or Caesar, worse than this
That in the clash of conflict ye forgot
For Crassus' slaughtered troops the vengeance due?
First should united Rome upon the Mede
Have poured her captains, and the troops who guard
The northern frontier from the Dacian hordes;
And all her legions should have left the Rhine
Free to the Teuton, till the Parthian dead
Were piled in heaps upon the sands that hide
Our heroes slain; and haughty Babylon
Lay at her victor's feet. To this foul peace
We pray an end; and if Thessalia's day
Has closed our warfare, let the conqueror march
Straight on our Parthian foe. Then should this heart,
Then only, leap at Caesar's triumph won.
Go thou and pass Araxes' chilly stream
On this thine errand; and the fleeting ghost
Pierced by the Scythian shaft shall greet thee thus:
`Art thou not he to whom our wandering shades
Looked for their vengeance in the guise of war?
And dost thou sue for peace?' There shalt thou meet
Memorials of the dead. Red is yon wall
Where passed their headless trunks: Euphrates here
Engulfed them slain, or Tigris' winding stream
Cast on the shore to perish. Gaze on this,
And thou canst supplicate at Caesar's feet
In mid Thessalia seated. Nay, thy glance
Turn on the Roman world, and if thou fear'st
King Juba faithless and the southern realms,
Then seek we Pharos. Egypt on the west
Girt by the trackless Syrtes forces back
By sevenfold stream the ocean; rich in glebe
And gold and merchandise; and proud of Nile
Asks for no rain from heaven. Now holds this boy
Her sceptre, owed to thee; his guardian thou:
And who shall fear this shadow of a name?
Hope not from monarchs old, whose shame is fled,
Or laws or troth or honour of the gods:
New kings bring mildest sway.'
His words prevailed
Upon his hearers. With what freedom speaks,
When states are trembling, patriot despair!
Pompeius' voice was quelled.
They hoist their sails
For Cyprus shaped, whose altars more than all
The goddess loves who from the Paphian wave
Sprang, mindful of her birth, if such be truth,
And gods have origin. Past the craggy isle
Pompeius sailing, left at length astern
Its southern cape, and struck across the main
With winds transverse and tides; nor reached the mount
Grateful to sailors for its nightly gleam:
But to the bounds of Egypt hardly won
With battling canvas, where divided Nile
Pours through the shallows his Pelusian stream.
Now was the season when the heavenly scale
Most nearly balances the varying hours,
Once only equal; for the wintry day
Repays to night her losses of the spring;
And Magnus learning that th' Egyptian king
Lay by Mount Casius, ere the sun was set
Or flagged his canvas, thither steered his ship.
Already had a horseman from the shore
In rapid gallop to the trembling court
Brought news their guest was come. Short was the time
For counsel given; but in haste were met
All who advised the base Pellaean king,
Monsters, inhuman; there Achoreus sat
Less harsh in failing years, in Memphis born
Of empty rites, and guardian of the rise
Of fertilising Nile. While he was priest
Not only once had Apis lived the space
Marked by the crescent on his sacred brow.
First was his voice, for Magnus raised and troth
And for the pledges of the king deceased:
But, skilled in counsel meet for shameless minds
And tyrant hearts, Pothinus, dared to claim
Judgment of death on Magnus. 'Laws and right
Make many guilty, Ptolemmus king.
And faith thus lauded brings its punishment
When it supports the fallen. To the fates
Yield thee, and to the gods; the wretched shun
But seek the happy. As the stars from earth
Differ, and fire from ocean, so from right
Expedience. The tyrant's shorn of strength
Who ponders justice; and regard for right
Bring's ruin on a throne. For lawless power
The best defence is crime, and cruel deeds
Find safety but in doing. He that aims
At piety must flee the regal hall;
Virtue's the bane of rule; he lives in dread
Who shrinks from cruelty. Nor let this chief
Unpunished scorn thy youth, who thinks that thou
Not even the conquered from our shore can'st bar.
Nor to a stranger, if thou would'st not reign,
Resign thy sceptre, for the ties of blood
Speak for thy banished sister. Let her rule
O'er Nile and Pharos: we shall at the least
Preserve our Egypt from the Latian arms.
What Magnus owned not ere the war was done,
No more shall Caesar. Driven from all the world,
Trusting no more to Fortune, now he seeks
Some foreign nation which may share his fate.
Shades of the slaughtered in the civil war
Compel him: nor from Caesar's arms alone
But from the Senate also does he fly,
Whose blood outpoured has gorged Thessalian fowl;
Monarchs he fears whose all he hath destroyed,
And nations piled in one ensanguined heap,
By him deserted. Victim of the blow
Thessalia dealt, refused in every land,
He asks for help from ours not yet betrayed.
But none than Egypt with this chief from Rome
Has juster quarrel; who has sought with arms
To stain our Pharos, distant from the strife
And peaceful ever, and to make our realm
Suspected by his victor. Why alone
Should this our country please thee in thy fall?
Why bringst thou here the burden of thy fates,
Pharsalia's curse? In Caesar's eyes long since
We have offence which by the sword alone
Can find its condonation, in that we
By thy persuasion from the Senate gained
This our dominion. By our prayers we helped
If not by arms thy cause. This sword, which fate
Bids us make ready, not for thee I hold
Prepared, but for the vanquished; and on thee
(Would it had been on Caesar) falls the stroke;
For we are borne. as all things, to his side.
And dost thou doubt, since thou art in my power,
Thou art my victim? By what trust in us
Cam'st thou, unhappy? Scarce our people tills
The fields, though softened by the refluent Nile:
Know well our strength, and know we can no more.
Rome 'neath the ruin of Pompeius lies:
Shalt thou, king, uphold him? Shalt thou dare
To stir Pharsalia's ashes and to call
War to thy kingdom? Ere the fight was fought
We joined not either army -- shall we now
Make Magnus friend whom all the world deserts?
And fling a challenge to the conquering chief
And all his proud successes? Fair is help
Lent in disaster, yet reserved for those
Whom fortune favours. Faith her friends selects
Not from the wretched.'
They decree the crime:
Proud is the boyish tyrant that so soon
His slaves permit him to so great a deed
To give his favouring voice; and for the work
They choose Achillas.
Where the treacherous shore
Runs out in sand below the Casian mount
And where the shallow waters of the sea
Attest the Syrtes near, in little boat
Achillas and his partners in the crime
With swords embark. Ye gods! and shall the Nile
And barbarous Memphis and th' effeminate crew
That throngs Pelusian Canopus raise
Its thoughts to such an enterprise? Do thus
Our fates press on the world? Is Rome thus fallen
That in our civil frays the Phaxian sword
Finds place, or Egypt? O, may civil war
Be thus far faithful that the hand which strikes
Be of our kindred; and the foreign fiend
Held worlds apart! Pompeius, great in soul,
Noble in spirit, had deserved a death
From Caesar's self. And, king, hast thou no fear
At such a ruin of so great a name?
And dost thou dare when heaven's high thunder rolls,
Thou, puny boy, to mingle with its tones
Thine impure utterance? Had he not won
A world by arms, and thrice in triumph scaled
The sacred Capitol, and vanquished kings,
And championed the Roman Senate's cause;
He, kinsman of the victor? 'Twas enough
To cause forbearance in a Pharian king,
That he was Roman. Wherefore with thy sword
Dost stab our breasts? Thou know'st not, impious boy,
How stand thy fortunes; now no more by right
Hast thou the sceptre of the land of Nile;
For prostrate, vanquished in the civil wars
Is he who gave it.
Furling now his sails,
Magnus with oars approached th' accursed land,
When in their little boat the murderous crew
Drew nigh, and feigning from th' Egyptian court
A ready welcome, blamed the double tides
Broken by shallows, and their scanty beach
Unfit for fleets; and bade him to their craft
Leaving his loftier ship. Had not the fates'
Eternal and unalterable laws
Called for their victim and decreed his end
Now near at hand, his comrades' warning voice
Yet might have stayed his course: for if the court
To Magnus, who bestowed the Pharian crown,
In truth were open, should not king and fleet
In pomp have come to greet him? But he yields:
The fates compel. Welcome to him was death
Rather than fear. But, rushing to the side,
His spouse would follow, for she dared not stay,
Fearing the guile. Then he, 'Abide, my wife,
And son, I pray you; from the shore afar
Await my fortunes; mine shall be the life
To test their honour.' But Cornelia still
Withstood his bidding, and with arms outspread
Frenzied she cried: 'And whither without me,
Cruel, departest? Thou forbad'st me share
Thy risks Thessalian; dost again command
That I should part from thee? No happy star
Breaks on our sorrow. If from every land
Thou dost debar me, why didst turn aside
In flight to Lesbos? On the waves alone
Am I thy fit companion?' Thus in vain,
Leaning upon the bulwark, dazed with dread;
Nor could she turn her straining gaze aside,
Nor see her parting husband. All the fleet
Stood silent, anxious, waiting for the end:
Not that they feared the murder which befell,
But lest their leader might with humble prayer
Kneel to the king he made.
As Magnus passed,
A Roman soldier from the Pharian boat,
Septimius, salutes him. Gods of heaven!
There stood he, minion to a barbarous king,
Nor bearing still the javelin of Rome;
But vile in all his arms; giant in form
Fierce, brutal, thirsting as a beast may thirst
For carnage. Didst thou, Fortune, for the sake
Of nations, spare to dread Pharsalus field
This savage monster's blows? Or dost thou place
Throughout the world, for thy mysterious ends,
Some ministering swords for civil war?
Thus, to the shame of victors and of gods,
This story shall be told in days to come:
A Roman swordsman, once within thy ranks,
Slave to the orders of a puny prince,
Severed Pompeius' neck. And what shall be
Septimius' fame hereafter? By what name
This deed be called, if Brutus wrought a crime?
Now came the end, the latest hour of all:
Rapt to the boat was Magnus, of himself
No longer master, and the miscreant crew
Unsheathed their swords; which when the chieftain saw
He swathed his visage, for he scorned unveiled
To yield his life to fortune; closed his eyes
And held his breath within him, lest some word,
Or sob escaped, might mar the deathless fame
His deeds had won. And when within his side
Achillas plunged his blade, nor sound nor cry
He gave, but calm consented to the blow
And proved himself in dying; in his breast
These thoughts revolving: 'In the years to come
Men shall make mention of our Roman toils,
Gaze on this boat, ponder the Pharian faith;
And think upon thy fame and all the years
While fortune smiled: but for the ills of life
How thou could'st bear them, this men shall not know
Save by thy death. Then weigh thou not the shame
That waits on thine undoing. Whose strikes,
The blow is Caesar's. Men may tear this frame
And cast it mangled to the winds of heaven;
Yet have I prospered, nor can all the gods
Call back my triumphs. Life may bring defeat,
But death no misery. If my spouse and son
Behold me murdered, silently the more
I suffer: admiration at my death
Shall prove their love.' Thus did Pompeius die,
Guarding his thoughts.
But now Cornelia filled
The air with lamentations at the sight;
'O, husband, whom my wicked self hath slain!
That lonely isle apart thy bane hath been
And stayed thy coming. Caesar to the Nile
Has won before us; for what other hand
May do such work? But whosoe'er thou art
Sent from the gods with power, for Caesar's ire,
Or thine own sake, to slay, thou dost not know
Where lies the heart of Magnus. Haste and do!
Such were his prayer -- no other punishment
Befits the conquered. Yet let him ere his end
See mine, Cornelia's. On me the blame
Of all these wars, who sole of Roman wives
Followed my spouse afield nor feared the fates;
And in disaster, when the kings refused,
Received and cherished him. Did I deserve
Thus to be left of thee, and didst thou seek
To spare me? And when rushing on thine end
Was I to live? Without the monarch's help
Death shall be mine, either by headlong leap
Beneath the waters; or some sailor's hand
Shall bind around this neck the fatal cord;
Or else some comrade, worthy of his chief,
Drive to my heart his blade for Magnus' sake,
And claim the service done to Ceasar's arms.
What! does your cruelty withhold my fate?
Ah! still he lives, nor is it mine as yet
To win this freedom; they forbid me death,
Kept for the victor's triumph.' Thus she spake,
While friendly hands upheld her fainting form;
And sped the trembling vessel from the shore.
Men say that Magnus, when the deadly blows
Fell thick upon him, lost nor form divine,
Nor venerated mien; and as they gazed
Upon his lacerated head they marked
Still on his features anger with the gods.
Nor death could change his visage -- for in act
Of striking, fierce Septimius' murderous hand
(Thus making worse his crime) severed the folds
That swathed the face, and seized the noble head
And drooping neck ere yet was fled the life:
Then placed upon the bench; and with his blade
Slow at its hideous task, and blows unskilled
Hacked through the flesh and brake the knotted bone:
For yet man had not learned by swoop of sword
Deftly to lop the neck. Achillas claimed
The gory head dissevered. What! shalt thou
A Roman soldier, while thy blade yet reeks
From Magnus' slaughter, play the second part
To this base varlet of the Pharian king?
Nor bear thyself the bleeding trophy home?
Then, that the impious boy (ah! shameful fate)
Might know the features of the hero slain,
Seized by the locks, the dread of kings, which waved
Upon his stately front, on Pharian pike
The head was lifted; while almost the life
Gave to the tongue its accents, and the eyes
Were yet scarce glazed: that head at whose command
Was peace or war, that tongue whose eloquent tones
Would move assemblies, and that noble brow
On which were showered the rewards of Rome.
Nor to the tyrant did the sight suffice
To prove the murder done. The perishing flesh,
The tissues, and the brain he bids remove
By art nefarious: the shrivelled skin
Draws tight upon the bone; and poisonous juice
Gives to the face its lineaments in death.
Last of thy race, thou base degenerate boy,
About to perish soon, and yield the throne
To thine incestuous sister; while the Prince
From Macedon here in consecrated vault
Now rests, and ashes of the kings are closed
In mighty pyramids, and lofty tombs
Of thine unworthy fathers mark the graves;
Shall Magnus' body hither and thither borne
Be battered, headless, by the ocean wave?
Too much it troubled thee to guard the corse
Unmutilated, for his kinsman's eye
To witness! Such the faith which Fortune kept
With prosperous Pompeius to the end.
'Twas not for him in evil days some ray
Of light to hope for. Shattered from the height
Of power in one short moment to his death!
Years of unbroken victories balanced down
By one day's carnage! In his happy time
Heaven did not harass him, nor did she spare
In misery. Long Fortune held the hand
That dashed him down. Now beaten by the sands,
Torn upon rocks, the sport of ocean's waves
Poured through its wounds, his headless carcase lies,
Save by the lacerated trunk unknown.
Yet ere the victor touched the Pharian sands
Some scanty rites to Magnus Fortune gave,
Lest he should want all burial. Pale with fear
Came Cordus, hasting from his hiding place;
Quaestor, he joined Pompeius on thy shore,
Idalian Cyprus, bringing in his train
A cloud of evils. Through the darkening shades
Love for the dead compelled his trembling steps,
Hard by the marin of the deep to search
And drag to land his master. Through the clouds
The moon shone sadly, and her rays were dim;
But by its hue upon the hoary main
He knew the body. In a fast embrace
He holds it, wrestling with the greedy sea,
And deftly watching for a refluent wave
Gains help to bring his burden to the land.
Then clinging to the loved remains, the wounds
Washed with his tears, thus to the gods he speaks,
And misty stars obscure: 'Here, Fortune, lies
Pompeius, thine: no costly incense rare
Or pomp of funeral he dares to ask;
Nor that the smoke rise heavenward from his pyre
With eastern odours rich; nor that the necks
Of pious Romans bear him to the tomb,
Their parent; while the forums shall resound
With dirges; nor that triumphs won of yore
Be borne before him; nor for sorrowing hosts
To cast their weapons forth. Some little shell
He begs as for the meanest, laid in which
His mutilated corse may reach the flame.
Grudge not his misery the pile of wood
Lit by this menial hand. Is't not enough
That his Cornelia with dishevelled hair
Weeps not beside him at his obsequies,
Nor with a last embrace shall place the torch
Beneath her husband dead, but on the deep
Hard by still wanders?'
Burning from afar
He sees the pyre of some ignoble youth
Deserted of his own, with none to guard:
And quickly drawing from beneath the limbs
Some glowing logs, 'Whoe'er thou art,' he said
'Neglected shade, uncared for, dear to none,
Yet happier than Pompeius in thy death,
Pardon I ask that this my stranger hand
Should violate thy tomb. Yet if to shades
Be sense or memory, gladly shalt thou yield
This from thy pyre to Magnus. 'Twere thy shame,
Blessed with due burial, if his remains
Were homeless.' Speaking thus, the wood aflame
Back to the headless trunk at speed he bore,
Which hanging on the margin of the deep,
Almost the sea had won. In sandy trench
The gathered fragments of a broken boat,
Trembling, he placed around the noble limbs.
No pile above the corpse nor under lay,
Nor was the fire beneath. Then as he crouched
Beside the blaze, 'O, greatest chief,' he cried,
Majestic champion of Hesperia's name,
If to be tossed unburied on the deep
Rather than these poor rites thy shade prefer,
From these mine offices thy mighty soul
Withdraw, Pompeius. Injuries dealt by fate
Command this duty, lest some bird or beast
Or ocean monster, or fierce Caesar's wrath
Should venture aught upon thee. Take the fire;
All that thou canst; by Roman hand at least
Enkindled. And should Fortune grant return
To loved Hesperia's land, not here shall rest
Thy sacred ashes; but within an urn
Cornelia, from this humble hand received,
Shall place them. Here upon a meagre stone
We draw the characters to mark thy tomb.
These letters reading may some kindly friend
Bring back thine head, dissevered, and may grant
Full funeral honours to thine earthly frame.'
Then did he cherish the enfeebled fire
Till Magnus' body mingled with its flames.
But now the harbinger of coming dawn
Had paled the constellations: he in fear
Seeks for his hiding place. Whom dost thou dread,
Madman, what punishment for such a crime,
For which thy fame by rumour trumpet-tongued
Has been sent down to ages? Praise is thine
For this thy work, at impious Caesar's hands;
Sure of a pardon, go; confess thy task,
And beg the head dissevered. But his work
Was still unfinished, and with pious hand
(Fearing some foe) he seizes on the bones
Now half consumed, and sinews; and the wave
Pours in upon them, and in shallow trench
Commits them to the earth; and lest some breeze
Might bear away the ashes, or by chance
Some sailor's anchor might disturb the tomb,
A stone he places, and with stick half burned
Traces the sacred name: HERE MAGNUS LIES.
And art thou, Fortune, pleased that such a spot
Should be his tomb which even Caesar's self
Had chosen, rather than permit his corse
To rest unburied? Why, with thoughtless hand
Confine his shade within the narrow bounds
Of this poor sepulchre? Where the furthest sand
Hangs on the margin of the baffled deep
Cabined he lies; yet where the Roman name
Is known, and Empire, such in truth shall be
The boundless measure of his resting-place.
Blot out this stone, this proof against the gods!
Oeta finds room for Hercules alone,
And Nysa's mountain for the Bromian god;
Not all the lands of Egypt should suffice
For Magnus dead: and shall one Pharian stone
Mark his remains? Yet should no turf disclose
His title, peoples of the earth would fear
To spurn his ashes, and the sands of Nile
No foot would tread. But if the stone deserves
So great a name, then add his mighty deeds:
Write Lepidus conquered and the Alpine war,
And fierce Sertorius by his aiding arm
O'erthrown; the chariots which as knight he drove;
Cilician pirates driven from the main,
And Commerce safe to nations; Eastern kings
Defeated and the barbarous Northern tribes;
Write that from arms he ever sought the robe;
Write that content upon the Capitol
Thrice only triumphed he, nor asked his due.
What mausoleum were for such a chief
A fitting monument? This paltry stone
Records no syllable of the lengthy tale
Of honours: and the name which men have read
Upon the sacred temples of the gods,
And lofty arches built of hostile spoils,
On desolate sands here marks his lowly grave
With characters uncouth, such as the glance
Of passing traveller or Roman guest
Might pass unnoticed.
Thou Egyptian land
By destiny foredoomed to bear a part
In civil warfare, not unreasoning sang
High Cumae's prophetess, when she forbad
The stream Pelusian to the Roman arms,
And all the banks which in the summer-tide
Are covered by his flood. What grievous fate
Shall I call down upon thee? May the Nile
Turn back his water to his source, thy fields
Want for the winter rain, and all the land
Crumble to desert wastes! We in our fanes
Have known thine Isis and thy hideous gods,
Half hounds, half human, and the drum that bids
To sorrow, and Osiris, whom thy dirge
Proclaims for man. Thou, Egypt, in thy sand
Our dead containest. Nor, though her temples now
Serve a proud master, yet has Rome required
Pompeius' ashes: in a foreign land
Still lies her chief. But though men feared at first
The victor's vengeance, now at length receive
Thy Magnus' bones, if still the restless wave
Hath not prevailed upon that hated shore.
Shall men have fear of tombs and dread to move
The dust of those who should be with the gods?
O, may my country place the crime on me,
If crime it be, to violate such a tomb
Of such a hero, and to bear his dust
Home to Ausonia. Happy, happy he
Who bears such holy office in his trust!
Haply when famine rages in the land
Or burning southern winds, or fires abound
And earthquake shocks, and Rome shall pray an end
From angry heaven -- by the gods' command,
In council given, shalt thou be transferred
To thine own city, and the priest shall bear
Thy sacred ashes to their last abode.
Who now may seek beneath the raging Crab
Or hot Syene's waste, or Thebes athirst
Under the rainy Pleiades, to gaze
On Nile's broad stream; or whose may exchange
On the Red Sea or in Arabian ports
Some Eastern merchandise, shall turn in awe
To view the venerable stone that marks
Thy grave, Pompeius; and shall worship more
Thy dust commingled with the arid sand,
Thy shade though exiled, than the fane upreared
On Casius' mount to Jove! In temples shrined
And gold, thy memory were viler deemed:
Fortune lies with thee in thy lowly tomb
And makes thee rival of Olympus' king.
More awful is that stone by Libyan seas
Lashed, than are Conquerors' altars. There in earth
A deity rests to whom all men shall bow
More than to gods Tarpeian: and his name
Shall shine the brighter in the days to come
For that no marble tomb about him stands
Nor lofty monument. That little dust
Time shall soon scatter and the tomb shall fall
And all the proofs shall perish of his death.
And happier days shall come when men shall gaze
Upon the stone, nor yet believe the tale:
And Egypt's fable, that she holds the grave
Of great Pompeius, be believed no more
Than Crete's which boasts the sepulchre of Jove.
I know not why or whence he came
Or how he chanced to go;
I only know he brought me love,
And going, left me woe.
I do not ask that he turn back
Nor seek where he may rove,
For where woe rules can never be
The dwelling place of love.
For love went out the door of hope
And on and on has fled,
Caring no more to dwell within
The house where faith is dead.
Editing Same Path
I HAVE walked upon this path
and that was years ago
when i still cry
water the pebbles with tears
they do not grow
there are no trees there
I come down from the clouds
since i am heavy with
rain in my
heart and decide to
walk back the path
I have seeds of clouds in my pocket
rainbow shoots in my hands
The path have since then
bloomed with dew
and vapors rise to the skies
Trees grow and
a new world is born
and children come and play
Cry Nature's Angel, Cry
Thine opal eyes weep sparkling tears
Pervading the petals of a violet anemone
Forming stars of dew, as old as years
Thy twin beauty, the new Gemini
Untrammeled by the indifference of snow
Superb in vitality of color's soul
Thy purple heart of harmony glow
Surpassing nature and her earth whole
Vivid thy grow to my imagination
Into a realm, an illustrious glory
Undisturbed, like an magic fascination
Thy beauty tells all love's story
Thy opal eyes weep into dew
Preserving color and beauty
through and through
Cry nature's angel, cry
The Girl Who Came from the Moon
I noticed the glow through my window-pane,
A glow, set deep in the wood,
I thought that it might be a tree on fire
And it didn't enhance my mood,
I took the jeep, an extinguisher,
And stuck to the well worn trail,
My headlights picked out a wreck of a car
Ablaze, and a girl, quite pale.
Beyond the car was a meteorite
That glowed and pulsed in the dark,
The girl stood shivering, next to a tree
Reached out, and picked at the bark,
She wore a jacket of silver thread
That was scorched, and torn at the seams,
‘So this is the place that the Master said,
A planet, cocooned in dreams! '
I thought she was probably quite deranged
And helped her into the jeep,
Her form was slender and angular
And she promptly fell asleep,
I doused the fire in the burning wreck
But the meteorite still glowed,
Buried quite deep in the undergrowth
It was only the top that showed.
I sprayed it all with a burst of foam
But the foam dispersed in the air,
It floated away like candy floss,
The kind you see at the fair,
I turned and made for the Willy's Jeep
And raced back out on the track,
I don't know why, but a shiver ran
From my neck to the small of my back.
Back at the house she looked around
And a smile lit up her face,
‘So this is the place you hide at night,
From the monsters, deep in space! '
Her cheekbones were quite angular
And her forehead broad and square,
But the feature most that startled me
Was the sheen of her silver hair.
It fell straight down to her shoulders, swept
Around like a silver bowl,
And looked much more like a helmet, set
For it didn't move at all,
‘We'd better see where you're from, ' I said,
‘Your folks will be worried soon.'
She laughed, a tinkling bell-like sound,
‘I just dropped in from the Moon! '
I thought, ‘Oh yes, here's a likely one,
Perhaps she should be restrained? '
The shock of the car and the meteorite
Had rendered her quite deranged.
‘I came to warn you, the Argonauts
Are waiting, up in the sky,
When Pluto enters Aquarius
They will come, and your race will die! '
I settled her down to sleep the night,
In the morning she was gone,
But out in the woods there were flashing lights
And cars and trucks in a swarm,
There were Police and Special Agents there
And the Army in full force,
While standing silent, watching them there
Was a grey and silver horse.
It watched as a truck had pulled away
With a globe strapped under a tarp,
A bevy of Military Police were there,
By now, it was almost dark,
Then the horse looked back and it stared at me
And I noticed the silver mane,
That swept down over its shoulders
As it cantered off, in the rain.
27 September 2012
She Will Tell Me Mine
i walked a thousand miles
before this journey began...
i carried a hundred crosses,
said prayers you cant imagine.
i died death after death,
behind bars and in windows...
before i burned my shoes,
and took off my clothes.
i've seen beauty i cant express,
felt sorrow so deep i drowned.
been both hungry and desperate,
gave away my heart to perfect strangers....
i've named tears and set stars free,
to follow their own desire...
i've held universes in my hands,
and broke the cup countless times.
i looked the devil face to face,
and recognized myself.
i've been to Gethsemene,
Golgatha, and hell....
i've grown flowers on pavement,
wiped the asses of those that groaned.
i've fought windmills and shadows,
and lit the torch a million times.
i've fathered children and given birth,
i've made love in empty churches.
i've been buried in countless libraries,
and beneath infinite trees.
i've been both semen and holy water,
not as much difference as you think!
i've seen the face of god,
and heard her secret name...
and perhaps if i die just one more time,
she will tell me mine!
Make Love To Ya
(l. stansfield/i. devaney/a. morris)
Ive got to say it now
And Ill explain somehow
The way I feel about the way we are
I know no other way that just to say it straight
I want to shout it from the rooftops
cos you wake me up and light me up
When your eyes start dancing with my mind
You fill me up and cheer me up
I wanna tell you time after time
Every little thing that I do reminds me of you
All I wanna do is make love to ya
I breathe in and breathe out in every breath theres no doubt
All I wanna do is make love to ya
Youve put a spell on me
And baby hopefully youll never break the spell Im under
Whatever this shall be
I know youve made me see a feeling louder than the thunder
cos you wake me up and light me up
When your eyes start dancing with my mind
You fill me up and cheer me up
I wanna tell you time after time
Chorus x 2
Ive got to say it now
But Ill explain somehow
The way I feel about the way we are
I know no other way than just to sat it straight
I want to shout it from the rooftops
cos you wake me up and light me up
When your eyes start dancing with my mind
You fill me up and cheer me up
I wanna tell you time after time
MUSIC, on the air's edge, rides alone,
Plumed like empastured Caesars of the sky
With a god's helmet; now, in the gold dye
Of sunlight, the iron cloak, the Tuscan stone,
Melt to enchanted flesh—a voice is blown
Down from the windy pit, like a star falling.
Men think it is a lost eagle calling,
But the fool and the lover know it for Music's cry.
He is running with the Valkyrs on a road of manes,
Darkness draws back its fur, the stars course by,
Fighting the windy beaks of hurricanes
To keep their stations in the sky—
Away, away! The little earth-light wanes,
The moon has drowned herself, cold music rings,
The battering of a thousand Vulcanals
Hammers the blood; a thousand horsemen fly
Belly to air, away! Now Music sings
Harshly, like horns of Tartars blown on high.
A SHIP in hell marooned;
He lies under the mast,
Caked with the sticky unguents of the sun.
Sluggishly at his wound,
The rat Pain, biting with bloody teeth
And broken nails, is fed at last,
The tale is done.
Let the shell of bleeding flesh remain,
This crusted finery is nothing worth.
He flings his body carelessly to Pain,
Meat for the earth.
Trumpets of godhood! The voice of Music sings,
Lost in the dark forest, riding out,
Louder and nearer, with triumphant wings,
Music and his eternal cavaliers—
Now Tristan rises with a mighty shout.
O, SILENT night, dark beach,
Drowning like lovers, each in each,
Uncharge thy musky boughs, unbend
Thy mouths of air, and give them speech—
Then, like a nest of thieves,
The golden, tattling leaves
Will sell their mask for bravoes' love,
Or cry their fruit to stranger Eves,
And voices ride
By foam and field
Of drowsy lovers, lips unsealed,
Blown to the lazy tide—
'With love we put the planets out,
With kissing drowned the bells,
And struck the clambering moon to ice;
Now we shall sleep and hide . . . '
I sang with Nonie, side by side,
Sunk in a drift of tumbled laces,
Till Music breathed his enormous flute
Over our small, upturned faces.
IN the pans of straw-coned country
This river is the solitary traveller;
Nothing else moves, the sky lies empty,
Birds there are none, and cattle not many.
Now it is sunlight, what is the difference?
Nothing. The sun is as white as moonlight.
Wind has buffeted flat the grasses,
Long, long ago; but now there is nothing,
Wind gone and men gone, only the water
Stumbling over the stones in silence—
Nothing but fields with roots gone rotten,
Paddocks unploughed and clotted marshes.
Even the wind that stirred them has vanished,
Only the river remains with its water,
Shambling over the straw-coned country.
Nothing else moves, the sky lies empty,
Only the river remains with its water,
And droughts will come . . . .
IN and out the countryfolk, the carriages and carnival,
Pastry-cooks in all directions push to barter their confections,
Trays of little gilded cakes, caramels in painted flakes,
Marzipan of various makes and macaroons of all complexions,
Riding on a tide of country faces.
Up and down the smoke and crying,
Girls with apple-eyes are flying,
Country boys in costly braces
Run with red, pneumatic faces;
Trumpets gleam, whistles scream,
Organs cough their coloured steam out,
Dogs are worming, sniffing, squirming;
Air-balloons and paper moons,
Roundabouts with curdled tunes,
Drowned bassoons and waggon-jacks;
Tents like flowers of candle-wax;
'Buy, buy, buy, buy!
Cotton ties, cakes and pies, what a size, test your eyes, hairdyes,
candy-shies, all a prize, penny tries, no lies, watch it rise,
buy, buy, buy, buy!'
So everybody buys.
Gently the doctor of magic mutters,
Opens his puppet-stall,
Pulls back the painted shutters,
Ruffles the golden lace.
Ha! The crowd flutters . . .
Reddened and sharp and small,
O, Petroushka's face!
TORCHES and running fire; the flagstones drip
Like a black mirror, wet from killing. Smoke goes up,
Clouding the gilded rafter-birds, and the flying cup
That floats with magic wine to Konchak's lip.
Then the Khan claps his beard, and harps are brushed
Clear in the darkness; dancers' bells far off
Blab at their ankles. Now, from the gold trough,
We have dipped bowls of mare's milk; all is hushed.
Suddenly, dull bubbling drums uprise, grow thicker,
Split with a scream of metal—glazed in the flare,
Tartar girls rapidly whirl in storms of animal hair,
Spinning in islands of movement, quicker and quicker.
In the middle of the dance, smiling at his whim,
Khan Konchak rose, and left the golden hall.
Soon there was silent darkness over all.
One of the dancers was sent after him.
IN the apple-country, in the apple-trees,
The boughs are bubbling with pink snow
To frost the fields. A thousand birds fall crying,
Sharp and sweet, like morning-stars, in seas
Deeper than air. A thousand blossoms blow,
Drops of gold blood, like flowers gone flying,
Drowning with foam the drowsy girls below.
These country-girls, in hats of straw,
Take kissing as a natural law,
Put up their cheeks, like rosy saucers,
Gravely on tiptoe waiting.
They plainly do not know the dangers
This practice breeds from courteous strangers,
Who find, on airing their politeness,
Such local customs captivating.
As for my part, under the trees,
I found a girl with tawny knees,
Pretty enough, at a hurried view.
We lay on blossoms, glassed with dew.
I didn't notice her till we kissed.
How pleasant, a sentimentalist!
OPEN! It is the moon knocking with fists of air
To break thy doors down, it is the lusty moon
More clamorous than hunting-cries, come tramping
With lanterns to uprouse thee, drown the fields
In drifts of crystal, waken the farms with light,
And lovers call to buffet the rough smoke
From valleys rising up—then, like the juice
Of Juno's apples, the rich, Indian glow
Shall cast them out of Time, and all be running,
Dancing and kissing, in this headlong, breathless moon,
This moon pulling at old hinges, bawling through keyholes,
Crying out 'Siegmund! Siegmund! Siegmund!'
The door flies open.
In this house, there is anger, in the forest, night,
But love is under my laughter, and under my cloak, flight.
O, hast thou not yet woken?
In night, there is bitterness, in sorrow, tears to weep,
But love is under my music, and under my cloak, sleep.
O, Lady, hast thou spoken?
In tears, there is remembering, in memory, no release,
But love is under my kissing, and under my cloak, peace.
O, hide beneath my cloak!
So shall we steal into the deeps of Spring,
Clasped each to each, and swim the merry tide,
Rounding the world, on the green floods astride,
Till, drowned in a bubble of flowers, too dazed to cling,
We're thrown up, pink and naked castaways,
On some old beach, where Time is put to rout,
And the world a buried star, not talked about—
So shall we daunt the gods, conceal their gaze.
ONCE, at your words, I would have struck to flame
The ground I strode on, all the hives of blood
Gone bursting mad—but now, congealed and thick,
Anger, the wine, chokes me, hoods me with stone,
Clogs and corrodes me with its marish flood.
Suddenly, as though to metal grown,
I stand immovable, feel strangely sick,
And hear your voice far off, crying my name.
The clouds dissolve. Now I can see your face,
Immense and sweating; the room has fallen in,
Tiny beside it—your face, immense and sweating,
Blurred into mockery at the words that fill you.
Come, then. You wish to crush me. Let us begin;
Since it is obvious I shall have to kill you,
Have done with useless voices and regretting.
I want to get it over, and leave this place.
Then, like some god on a stone pedestal
Who stirs by night with unfamiliar limbs,
I turn to an automation, upraise
Half-wondering an arm I find in the air,
Clammy with grappled iron. Everything swims,
Fogged in the coughing gas-light. Blindly I stare,
And stab once or twice . . . stabbing in a daze . . . .
No need for more. He is dead, this animal.
Dead, dead. There was no need to strike
So many times, there is no need to hide—
It's nothing to be ashamed of nowadays.
He was my enemy. Now he has perished,
Charred in the smoking ovens of my pride.
Why should the splendid fury that I cherished
Seem now to be a cold and fruitless blaze?
Good God! Can't I kill my enemy if I like!
NOTHING grows on the stone trees
But lanterns, frosty gourds of colour,
Melting their bloody drops in water
Over the dark seas.
These peaks of stucco, smoking light,
These Venice-roads, the pools and channels,
Tunnel the night with a thousand planets,
Daubing their glaze of white,
Where belfries glitter, spire on spire,
Shining on men with paper faces,
And boats, in the glass billow fading,
Beetles of cloudy fire.
Faintly the dripping, crystal strings
Unlock their Spanish airs, their festival
Which, far away, resolves to emptiness,
Echoes of bitter things,
Far away music, cold and small,
Which, like a child's delight remembered,
Falls to mocked effigy for ever,
Melancholy to recall.
COME in your painted coaches, friends of mine,
We'll keep the stars night-company with wine,
Morning shall find us bending to the flute,
And daybreak mock us at our candleshine.
Pile all thy jewelled berries in a heap,
Almonds and musk and sweetmeats, all for thee—
We'll rest on silk a thousand cushions deep,
Wake up and shake the cassia-tree,
And eat a sticky cake, and sleep,
Look up! Thou hast a shining Guest
Whose body in the dews hath lain,
His face like a strange wafer pressed
Secret and starry, at thy pane;
And he shall sing with human tongue
Old music men have never sung
Since Orpheus on earth was young,
And shall not sing again.
But life and all its lies of stone
Shall crack to fumes and disappear,
Thy little golden shells be blown
Like stars in water, far and near,
And thou shalt wake behind the Glass,
In stone dissolved, and phantom brass—
O, deaf! The bells of Music pass,
Not can, but darest, thou hear!
A Girl’s Day Dream And Its Fulfilment
“Child of my love, why wearest thou
That pensive look and thoughtful brow?
Can’st gaze abroad on this world so fair
And yet thy glance be fraught with care?
Roses still bloom in glowing dyes,
Sunshine still fills our summer skies,
Earth is still lovely, nature glad—
Why dost thou look so lone and sad?”
“Ah! mother it once sufficed thy child
To cherish a bird or flow’ret wild;
To see the moonbeams the waters kiss,
Was enough to fill her heart with bliss;
Or o’er the bright woodland stream to bow,
But these things may not suffice her now.”
“Perhaps ’tis music thou seekest, child?
Then list the notes of the song birds wild,
The gentle voice of the mountain breeze,
Whispering among the dark pine trees,
The surge sublime of the sounding main,
Or thy own loved lute’s soft silvery strain.”
“Mother, there’s music sweeter I know
Than bird’s soft note or than ocean’s flow,
Vague to me yet as sounds of a dream,
Yet dearer, brighter than sunshine’s gleam;
Such is the music I fain would hear,
All other sounds but tire mine ear!”
“Ah! thou seekest then a loving heart,
That in all thy griefs will bear a part,
That shelter will give in doubt and fear,
Come to me, loved one, thou’lt find it here!”
“Sweet mother, I almost fear to speak,
And remorseful blushes dye my cheek,
For though thou’st watched me from childhood’s hour,
As thou would’st have done a precious flower,
Though I love thee still as I did of yore,
Yet this weak heart seeketh something more:
A bliss as yet to my life unknown,
A heart whose throbs will be all mine own,
The tender tones of a cherished voice,
Of him who shall be my heart’s first choice;
And who at my feet alone shall bow,
This, this is the dream that haunts me now.”
“Alas, poor child, has it come to this?
Then bid farewell to thy childhood’s bliss,
To thy girlhood’s bright unfettered hours,
Thy sunny revels ’mid birds and flowers;
Of the golden zone yield up each strand
To cling to a hope, unstable as sand,
And forget the joys thy youth hath wove
In the stormy doubts of human love,
The feverish hopes and wearing pain
That form the links of Love’s bright chain!”
Alas! the mother spoke in vain!
The girl’s dream was soon fulfilled,
Her hopes by no dark cloud were chilled;
A lover ardent, noble too,
With flashing eyes of jetty hue,
With voice like music, sweet and soft,
Such as her dreams had pictured oft,
Now at her feet, a suppliant bowed,
And love eternal, changeless vowed.
Listening, then, with glowing cheek,
And rapture which no words might speak,
She thought, with bright and joyous smile,
They erred who thus could love revile,
Or say it had many a dark alloy,—
Had it not proved a dream of joy?
But, alas for her! she learned too soon
That love is fleeting as rose of June,
That her eyes might shine with olden light,
And yet be found no longer bright;
That she might devoted, faithful prove,
Yet her lover grow weary of her love.
Many an hour of silent tears,
Of heart-sick doubts, of humbling fears,
Of angry regrets, were hers, before
Her heart would say, “He loves no more.”
Weary of life and its thorny ways,
She sought the friend of her early days:
“Mother, I bring thee a breaking heart,
In sorrows deep it hath borne a part;
Speak to me tenderly as of yore,
Let thy kiss rest on my brow once more;
To the joys of my girlhood back I flee,
To live alone for them and for thee!”
The Lady Of La Garaye - Prologue
RUINS! A charm is in the word:
It makes us smile, it makes us sigh,
'Tis like the note of some spring bird
Recalling other Springs gone by,
And other wood-notes which we heard
With some sweet face in some green lane,
And never can so hear again!
Ruins! They were not desolate
To us,--the ruins we remember:
Early we came and lingered late,
Through bright July, or rich September;
With young companions wild with glee,
We feasted 'neath some spreading tree--
And looked into their laughing eyes,
And mocked the echo for replies.
Oh! eyes--and smiles--and days of yore,
Can nothing your delight restore?
Return? In vain we listen;
Those voices have been lost to earth!
Our hearts may throb--our eyes may glisten,
They'll call no more in love or mirth.
For, like a child sent out to play,
Our youth hath had its holiday,
And silence deepens where we stand
Lone as in some foreign land,
Where our language is not spoken,
And none know our hearts are broken.
Ruins! How we loved them then!
How we loved the haunted glen
Which grey towers overlook,
Mirrored in the glassy brook.
How we dreamed,--and how we guessed,
Looking up, with earnest glances,
Where the black crow built its nest,
And we built our wild romances;
Tracing in the crumbled dwelling
Bygone tales of no one's telling!
This was the Chapel: that the stair:
Here, where all lies damp and bare,
The fragrant thurible was swung,
The silver lamp in beauty hung,
And in that mass of ivied shade
The pale nuns sang--the abbot prayed.
This was the Kitchen. Cold and blank
The huge hearth yawns; and wide and high
The chimney shows the open sky;
There daylight peeps through many a crank
Where birds immund find shelter dank,
And when the moonlight shineth through,
Echoes the wild tu-whit tu-whoo
Of mournful owls, whose languid flight
Scarce stirs the silence of the night.
This is the Courtyard,--damp and drear!
The men-at-arms were mustered here;
Here would the fretted war-horse bound,
Starting to hear the trumpet sound;
And Captains, then of warlike fame,
Clanked and glittered as they came.
Forgotten names! forgotten wars!
Forgotten gallantry and scars!
How is your little busy day
Perished and crushed and swept away!
Here is the Lady's Chamber, whence
With looks of lovely innocence
Some heroine our fancy dresses
In golden locks or raven tresses,
And pearl embroidered silks and stuffs,
And quaintly quilted sleeves and ruffs,
Looked forth to see retainers go,
Or trembled at the assaulting foe.
This was the Dungeon; deep and dark!
Where the starved prisoner moaned in vain
Until Death left him, stiff and stark,
Unconscious of the galling chain
By which the thin bleached bones were bound
When chance revealed them under ground.
Oh, Time! oh, ever conquering Time!
These men had once their prime:
But now, succeeding generations hear
Beneath the shadow of each crumbling arch
The music low and drear,
The muffled music of thy onward march,
Made up of piping winds and rustling leaves
And plashing rain-drops falling from slant eaves,
And all mysterious unconnected sounds
With which the place abounds.
Time doth efface
Each day some lingering trace
Of human government and human care:
The things of air
And earth, usurp the walls to be their own;
Creatures that dwell alone,
Occupy boldly: every mouldering nook
Wherein we peer and look,
Seems with wild denizens so swarming rife,
We know the healthy stir of human life
Must be for ever gone!
The walls where hung the warriors' shining casques
Are green with moss and mould;
The blindworm coils where Queens have slept, nor asks
For shelter from the cold.
The swallow,--he is master all the day,
And the great owl is ruler through the night;
The little bat wheels on his circling way
With restless flittering flight;
And that small black bat, and the creeping things,
At will they come and go,
And the soft white owl with velvet wings
And a shriek of human woe!
The brambles let no footstep pass
By that rent in the broken stair,
Where the pale tufts of the windle-strae grass
Hang like locks of dry dead hair;
But there the keen wind ever weeps and moans,
Working a passage through the mouldering stones.
Oh, Time! oh, conquering Time!
I know that wild wind's chime
Which, like a passing bell,
Or distant knell,
Speaks to man's heart of Death and of Decay;
While thy step passes o'er the necks of Kings
And over common things,--
And into Earth's green orchards making way,
Halts, where the fruits of human hope abound,
And shakes their trembling ripeness to the ground.
But hark, a sudden shout
Of laughter! and a nimble giddy rout,
Who know not yet what saddened hours may mean,
Come dancing through the scene!
Ruins! Ruins! let us roam
Through what was a human home,
What care we
How deep its depths of darkness be?
Down the hollow
Through the bramble-fencing thorns
Where the white snail hides her horns;
Leap across the dreadful gap
To that corner's mossy lap,--
Do, and dare!
Clamber up the crumbling stair;
Trip along the narrow wall,
Where the sudden rattling fall
Of loosened stones, on winter nights,
In his dreams the peasant frights:
And push them, till their rolling sound,
Dull and heavy, beat the ground.
Now a song, high up and clear,
Like a lark's enchants the ear;
Or some happy face looks down,
Looking, oh! so fresh and fair,
Wearing youth's most glorious crown,
One rich braid of golden hair:
Or two hearts that wildly beat,
And two pair of eager feet,
Linger in the turret's bend
As they side by side ascend,
For the momentary bliss
Of a lover's stolen kiss;
And emerge into the shining
Of that summer day's declining,
Disengaging clasping hands
As they meet their comrade bands;
With the smile that lately hovered,
(Making lips and eyes so bright,)
And the blush which darkness covered
Mantling still in rosy light!
Ruins! Oh! ye have your charm;
Death is cold, but life is warm;
And the fervent days we knew
Ere our hopes grew faint and few,
Claim even now a happy sigh,
Thinking of those hours gone by:
Of the wooing long since passed,--
Of the love that still shall last,--
Of the wooing and the winning;
Brightest end to bright beginning;
When the feet we sought to guide
Tripped so lightly by our side,
That, as swift they made their way
Through the path and tangled brake,
Safely we could swear and say
We loved all ruins for their sake!
Gentle hearts, one ruin more
From amongst so many score--
One, from out a host of names,
To your notice puts forth claims.
Come! with me make holiday,
In the woods of La Garaye,
Sit within those tangled bowers,
Where fleet by the silent hours,
Only broken by a song
From the chirping woodland throng.
Listen to the tale I tell:
Grave the story is--not sad;
And the peasant plodding by
Greets the place with kindly eye
For the inmates that it had!
When Ruth was left half desolate,
Her Father took another Mate;
And Ruth, not seven years old,
A slighted child, at her own will
Went wandering over dale and hill,
In thoughtless freedom, bold.
And she had made a pipe of straw,
And music from that pipe could draw
Like sounds of winds and floods;
Had built a bower upon the green,
As if she from her birth had been
An infant of the woods.
Beneath her father's roof, alone
She seemed to live; her thoughts her own;
Herself her own delight;
Pleased with herself, nor sad, nor gay;
And, passing thus the live-long day,
She grew to woman's height.
There came a Youth from Georgia's shore--
A military casque he wore,
With splendid feathers drest;
He brought them from the Cherokees;
The feathers nodded in the breeze,
And made a gallant crest.
From Indian blood you deem him sprung:
But no! he spake the English tongue,
And bore a soldier's name;
And, when America was free
From battle and from jeopardy,
He 'cross the ocean came.
With hues of genius on his cheek
In finest tones the Youth could speak:
--While he was yet a boy,
The moon, the glory of the sun,
And streams that murmur as they run,
Had been his dearest joy.
He was a lovely Youth! I guess
The panther in the wilderness
Was not so fair as he;
And, when he chose to sport and play,
No dolphin ever was so gay
Upon the tropic sea.
Among the Indians he had fought,
And with him many tales he brought
Of pleasure and of fear;
Such tales as told to any maid
By such a Youth, in the green shade,
Were perilous to hear.
He told of girls--a happy rout!
Who quit their fold with dance and shout,
Their pleasant Indian town,
To gather strawberries all day long;
Returning with a choral song
When daylight is gone down.
He spake of plants that hourly change
Their blossoms, through a boundless range
Of intermingling hues;
With budding, fading, faded flowers
They stand the wonder of the bowers
From morn to evening dews.
He told of the magnolia, spread
High as a cloud, high over head!
The cypress and her spire;
--Of flowers that with one scarlet gleam
Cover a hundred leagues, and seem
To set the hills on fire.
The Youth of green savannahs spake,
And many an endless, endless lake,
With all its fairy crowds
Of islands, that together lie
As quietly as spots of sky
Among the evening clouds.
"How pleasant," then he said, "it were
A fisher or a hunter there,
In sunshine or in shade
To wander with an easy mind;
And build a household fire, and find
A home in every glade!
"What days and what bright years! Ah me!
Our life were life indeed, with thee
So passed in quiet bliss,
And all the while," said he, "to know
That we were in a world of woe,
On such an earth as this!"
And then he sometimes interwove
Fond thoughts about a father's love
"For there," said he, "are spun
Around the heart such tender ties,
That our own children to our eyes
Are dearer than the sun.
"Sweet Ruth! and could you go with me
My helpmate in the woods to be,
Our shed at night to rear;
Or run, my own adopted bride,
A sylvan huntress at my side,
And drive the flying deer!
"Beloved Ruth!"--No more he said,
The wakeful Ruth at midnight shed
A solitary tear:
She thought again--and did agree 0
With him to sail across the sea,
And drive the flying deer.
"And now, as fitting is and right,
We in the church our faith will plight,
A husband and a wife."
Even so they did; and I may say
That to sweet Ruth that happy day
Was more than human life.
Through dream and vision did she sink,
Delighted all the while to think
That on those lonesome floods,
And green savannahs, she should share
His board with lawful joy, and bear
His name in the wild woods.
But, as you have before been told,
This Stripling, sportive, gay, and bold,
And, with his dancing crest,
So beautiful, through savage lands
Had roamed about, with vagrant bands
Of Indians in the West.
The wind, the tempest roaring high,
The tumult of a tropic sky,
Might well be dangerous food
For him, a Youth to whom was given
So much of earth--so much of heaven,
And such impetuous blood.
Whatever in those climes he found
Irregular in sight or sound
Did to his mind impart
A kindred impulse, seemed allied
To his own powers, and justified
The workings of his heart.
Nor less, to feed voluptuous thought,
The beauteous forms of nature wrought,
Fair trees and gorgeous flowers;
The breezes their own languor lent;
The stars had feelings, which they sent
Into those favoured bowers.
Yet, in his worst pursuits, I ween
That sometimes there did intervene
Pure hopes of high intent:
For passions linked to forms so fair
And stately, needs must have their share
Of noble sentiment.
But ill he lived, much evil saw,
With men to whom no better law
Nor better life was known;
Deliberately, and undeceived,
Those wild men's vices he received,
And gave them back his own.
His genius and his moral frame
Were thus impaired, and he became
The slave of low desires:
A Man who without self-control
Would seek what the degraded soul
And yet he with no feigned delight
Had wooed the Maiden, day and night
Had loved her, night and morn:
What could he less than love a Maid
Whose heart with so much nature played?
So kind and so forlorn!
Sometimes, most earnestly, he said,
"O Ruth! I have been worse than dead;
False thoughts, thoughts bold and vain,
Encompassed me on every side
When I, in confidence and pride,
Had crossed the Atlantic main.
"Before me shone a glorious world--
Fresh as a banner bright, unfurled
To music suddenly:
I looked upon those hills and plains,
And seemed as if let loose from chains,
To live at liberty.
"No more of this; for now, by thee
Dear Ruth! more happily set free
With nobler zeal I burn;
My soul from darkness is released,
Like the whole sky when to the east
The morning doth return."
Full soon that better mind was gone;
No hope, no wish remained, not one,--
They stirred him now no more;
New objects did new pleasure give,
And once again he wished to live
As lawless as before.
Meanwhile, as thus with him it fared,
They for the voyage were prepared,
And went to the sea-shore,
But, when they thither came the Youth
Deserted his poor Bride, and Ruth
Could never find him more.
God help thee, Ruth!--Such pains she had,
That she in half a year was mad,
And in a prison housed;
And there, with many a doleful song
Made of wild words, her cup of wrong
She fearfully caroused.
Yet sometimes milder hours she knew,
Nor wanted sun, nor rain, nor dew, 0
Nor pastimes of the May;
--They all were with her in her cell;
And a clear brook with cheerful knell
Did o'er the pebbles play.
When Ruth three seasons thus had lain,
There came a respite to her pain;
She from her prison fled;
But of the Vagrant none took thought;
And where it liked her best she sought
Her shelter and her bread.
Among the fields she breathed again:
The master-current of her brain
Ran permanent and free;
And, coming to the Banks of Tone,
There did she rest; and dwell alone
Under the greenwood tree.
The engines of her pain, the tools
That shaped her sorrow, rocks and pools,
And airs that gently stir
The vernal leaves--she loved them still;
Nor ever taxed them with the ill
Which had been done to her.
A Barn her 'winter' bed supplies;
But, till the warmth of summer skies
And summer days is gone,
(And all do in this tale agree)
She sleeps beneath the greenwood tree,
And other home hath none.
An innocent life, yet far astray!
And Ruth will, long before her day,
Be broken down and old:
Sore aches she needs must have! but less
Of mind, than body's wretchedness,
From damp, and rain, and cold.
If she is prest by want of food,
She from her dwelling in the wood
Repairs to a road-side;
And there she begs at one steep place
Where up and down with easy pace
The horsemen-travellers ride.
That oaten pipe of hers is mute,
Or thrown away; but with a flute
Her loneliness she cheers:
This flute, made of a hemlock stalk,
At evening in his homeward walk
The Quantock woodman hears.
I, too, have passed her on the hills
Setting her little water-mills
By spouts and fountains wild--
Such small machinery as she turned
Ere she had wept, ere she had mourned,
A young and happy Child!
Farewell! and when thy days are told,
Ill-fated Ruth, in hallowed mould
Thy corpse shall buried be,
For thee a funeral bell shall ring,
And all the congregation sing
A Christian psalm for thee.
Edith: A Tale Of The Woods
Du Heilige! rufe dein Kind zur?ch habe genossen das irdische Gl?ch habe gelebt und geliebet. ~
The woods? oh! solemn are the boundless woods
Of the great Western World, when day declines,
And louder sounds the roll of distant floods,
More deep the rustling of the ancient pines;
When dimness gathers on the stilly air,
And mystery seems o'er every leaf to brood,
Awful it is for human heart to bear
The might and burden of the solitude!
Yet, in that hour, midst those green wastes, there sate
One young and fair,?and oh! how desolate!
But undismay'd; while sank the crimson light,
And the high cedars darken'd with the night,
Alone she sate; tho' many lay around,
They, pale and silent on the bloody ground,
Were sever'd from her need and from her wo,
Far as Death severs Life. O'er that wild spot
Combat had rag'd, and brought the valiant low,
And left them, with the history of their lot,
Unto the forest oaks. A fearful scene
For her whose home of other days had been
Midst the fair halls of England! but the love
Which fill'd her soul was strong to cast out fear,
And by its might upborne all else above,
She shrank not?mark'd not that the dead were near.
Of him alone she thought, whose languid head
Faintly upon her wedded bosom fell;
Memory of aught but him on earth was fled,
While heavily she felt his life-blood well
Fast o'er her garments forth, and vainly bound
With her torn robe and hair the streaming wound,
Yet hoped, still hoped!?Oh! from such hope how long
Affection wooes the whispers that deceive,
Ev'n when the pressure of dismay grows strong,
And we, that weep, watch, tremble, ne'er believe
The blow indeed can fall! So bow'd she there
Over the dying, while unconscious prayer
Fill'd all her soul. Now pour'd the moonlight down,
Veining the pine-stems thro' the foliage brown,
And fire-flies, kindling up the leafy place,
Cast fitful radiance o'er the warrior's face,
Whereby she caught its changes: to her eye,
The eye that faded look'd through gathering haze,
Whence love, o'ermastering mortal agony,
Lifted a long, deep, melancholy gaze,
When voice was not: that fond, sad meaning pass'd?
She knew the fulness of her wo at last!
One shriek the forests heard,?and mute she lay,
And cold; yet clasping still the precious clay
To her scarce-heaving breast. O Love and Death!
Ye have sad meetings on this changeful earth,
Many and sad! but airs of heavenly breath
Shall melt the links which bind you, for your birth
Is far apart.
Now light, of richer hue
Than the moon sheds, came flushing mist and dew;
The pines grew red with morning; fresh winds play'd,
Bright-colour'd birds with splendour cross'd the shade,
Flitting on flower-like wings; glad murmurs broke
From reed, and spray, and leaf, the living strings
Of Earth's Eolian lyre, whose music woke
Into young life and joy all happy things.
And she too woke from that long dreamless trance,
The widow'd Edith: fearfully her glance
Fell, as in doubt, on faces dark and strange,
And dusky forms. A sudden sense of change
Flash'd o'er her spirit, ev'n ere memory swept
The tide of anguish back with thoughts that slept;
Yet half instinctively she rose, and spread
Her arms, as 'twere for something lost or fled,
Then faintly sank again. The forest-bough,
With all its whispers, wav'd not o'er her now,?
Where was she? Midst the people of the wild,
By the red hunter's fire: an aged chief,
Whose home look'd sad?for therein play'd no child?
Had borne her, in the stillness of her grief,
To that lone cabin of the woods; and there,
Won by a form so desolately fair,
Or touch'd with thoughts from some past sorrow sprung,
O'er her low couch an Indian matron hung;
While in grave silence, yet with earnest eye,
The ancient warrior of the waste stood by,
Bending in watchfulness his proud grey head,
And leaning on his bow.
And life return'd,
Life, but with all its memories of the dead,
To Edith's heart; and well the sufferer learn'd
Her task of meek endurance, well she wore
The chasten'd grief that humbly can adore,
Midst blinding tears. But unto that old pair,
Ev'n as a breath of spring's awakening air,
Her presence was; or as a sweet wild tune
Bringing back tender thoughts, which all too soon
Depart with childhood. Sadly they had seen
A daughter to the land of spirits go,
And ever from that time her fading mien,
And voice, like winds of summer, soft and low,
Had haunted their dim years; but Edith's face
Now look'd in holy sweetness from her place,
And they again seem'd parents. Oh! the joy,
The rich deep blessedness?tho' earth's alloy,
Fear, that still bodes, be there?of pouring forth
The heart's whole power of love, its wealth and worth
Of strong affection, in one healthful flow,
On something all its own!?that kindly glow,
Which to shut inward is consuming pain,
Gives the glad soul its flowering time again,
When, like the sunshine, freed.?And gentle cares
Th' adopted Edith meekly gave for theirs
Who lov'd her thus: her spirit dwelt the while,
With the departed, and her patient smile
Spoke of farewells to earth;?yet still she pray'd,
Ev'n o'er her soldier's lowly grave, for aid
One purpose to fulfil, to leave one trace
Brightly recording that her dwelling-place
Had been among the wilds; for well she knew
The secret whisper of her bosom true,
Which warn'd her hence.
And now, by many a word
Link'd unto moments when the heart was stirr'd,
By the sweet mournfulness of many a hymn,
Sung when the woods at eve grew hush'd and dim,
By the persuasion of her fervent eye,
All eloquent with child-like piety,
By the still beauty of her life, she strove
To win for heaven, and heaven-born truth, the love
Pour'd out on her so freely.?Nor in vain
Was that soft-breathing influence to enchain
The soul in gentle bonds: by slow degrees
Light follow'd on, as when a summer breeze
Parts the deep masses of the forest shade
And lets the sunbeam through:?her voice was made
Ev'n such a breeze; and she, a lowly guide,
By faith and sorrow rais'd and purified,
So to the Cross her Indian fosterers led,
Until their prayers were one. When morning spread
O'er the blue lake, and when the sunset's glow
Touch'd into golden bronze the cypress-bough,
And when the quiet of the Sabbath time
Sank on her heart, tho' no melodious chime
Waken'd the wilderness, their prayers were one.
?Now might she pass in hope, her work was done!
And she was passing from the woods away;
The broken flower of England might not stay
Amidst those alien shades; her eye was bright
Ev'n yet with something of a starry light,
But her form wasted, and her fair young cheek
Wore oft and patiently a fatal streak,
A rose whose root was death. The parting sigh
Of autumn thro' the forests had gone by,
And the rich maple o'er her wanderings lone
Its crimson leaves in many a shower had strown,
Flushing the air; and winter's blast had been
Amidst the pines; and now a softer green
Fring'd their dark boughs; for spring again had come,
The sunny spring! but Edith to her home
Was journeying fast. Alas! we think it sad
To part with life, when all the earth looks glad
In her young lovely things, when voices break
Into sweet sounds, and leaves and blossoms wake:
Is it not brighter then, in that far clime
Where graves are not, nor blights of changeful time,
If here such glory dwell with passing blooms,
Such golden sunshine rest around the tombs?
So thought the dying one. 'Twas early day,
And sounds and odours with the breezes' play,
Whispering of spring-time, thro' the cabin-door,
Unto her couch life's farewell sweetness bore;
Then with a look where all her hope awoke,
'My father!'?to the grey-hair'd chief she spoke?
'Know'st thou that I depart?'?'I know, I know,'
He answer'd mournfully, 'that thou must go
To thy belov'd, my daughter!'?'Sorrow not
For me, kind mother!' with meek smiles once more
She murmur'd in low tones; 'one happy lot
Awaits us, friends! upon the better shore;
For we have pray'd together in one trust,
And lifted our frail spirits from the dust
To God, who gave them. Lay me by mine own,
Under the cedar-shade: where he is gone,
Thither I go. There will my sisters be,
And the dead parents, lisping at whose knee
My childhood's prayer was learn'd?the Saviour's prayer
Which now ye know?and I shall meet you there,
Father and gentle mother!?ye have bound
The bruised reed, and mercy shall be found
By Mercy's children.'?From the matron's eye
Dropp'd tears, her sole and passionate reply;
But Edith felt them not; for now a sleep,
Solemnly beautiful, a stillness deep,
Fell on her settled face. Then, sad and slow,
And mantling up his stately head in wo,
'Thou'rt passing hence,' he sang, that warrior old,
In sounds like those by plaintive waters roll'd.
'Thou'rt passing from the lake's green side,
And the hunter's hearth away;
For the time of flowers, for the summer's pride,
Daughter! thou canst not stay.
Thou'rt journeying to thy spirit's home,
Where the skies are ever clear!
The corn-month's golden hours will come,
But they shall not find thee here.
And we shall miss thy voice, my bird!
Under our whispering pine;
Music shall midst the leaves be heard,
But not a song like thine.
A breeze that roves o'er stream and hill,
Telling of winter gone,
Hath such sweet falls?yet caught we still
A farewell in its tone.
But thou, my bright one! thou shalt be
Where farewell sounds are o'er;
Thou, in the eyes thou lov'st, shalt see
No fear of parting more.
The mossy grave thy tears have wet,
And the wind's wild moanings by,
Thou with thy kindred shalt forget,
Midst flowers?not such as die.
The shadow from thy brow shall melt,
The sorrow from thy strain,
But where thine earthly smile hath dwelt,
Our hearts shall thirst in vain.
Dim will our cabin be, and lone,
When thou, its light, art fled;
Yet hath thy step the pathway shown
Unto the happy dead.
And we will follow thee, our guide!
And join that shining band;
Thou'rt passing from the lake's green side?
Go to the better land!'
The song had ceas'd, the listeners caught no breath,
That lovely sleep had melted into death.
By the Fire-side
How well I know what I mean to do
When the long dark Autumn evenings come:
And where, my soul, is thy pleasant hue?
With the music of all thy voices, dumb
In life's November too!
I shall be found by the fire, suppose,
O'er a great wise book as beseemeth age,
While the shutters flap as the cross-wind blows
And I turn the page, and I turn the page,
Not verse now, only prose!
Till the young ones whisper, finger on lip,
"There he is at it, deep in Greek:
Now then, or never, out we slip
To cut from the hazels by the creek
A mainmast for our ship!"
I shall be at it indeed, my friends:
Greek puts already on either side
Such a branch-work forth as soon extends
To a vista opening far and wide,
And I pass out where it ends.
The outside-frame, like your hazel-trees:
But the inside-archway widens fast,
And a rarer sort succeeds to these,
And we slope to Italy at last
And youth, by green degrees.
I follow wherever I am led,
Knowing so well the leader's hand:
Oh woman-country, wooed not wed,
Loved all the more by earth's male-lands,
Laid to their hearts instead!
Look at the ruined chapel again
Half way up in the Alpine gorge!
Is that a tower, I point you plain,
Or is it a mill, or an iron forge
Breaks solitude in vain?
A turn, and we stand in the heart of things;
The woods are round us, heaped and dim;
From slab to slab how it slips and springs,
The thread of water single and slim,
Thro' the ravage some torrent brings!
Does it feed the little lake below?
That speck of white just on its marge
Is Pella; see, in the evening glow
How sharp the silver spear-heads charge
When Alp meets Heaven in snow!
On our other side is the straight-up rock;
And a path is kept 'twixt the gorge and it
By boulder-stones where lichens mock
The marks on a moth, and small ferns fit
Their teeth to the polished block.
Oh the sense of the yellow mountain-flowers,
And the thorny balls, each three in one,
The chestnuts throw on our path in showers!
For the drop of the woodland fruit's begun
These early November hours,
That crimson the creeper's leaf across
Like a splash of blood, intense, abrupt,
O'er a shield else gold from rim to boss,
And lay it for show on the fairy-cupped
Elf-needled mat of moss,
By the rose-flesh mushrooms, undivulged
Last evening—nay, in to-day's first dew
Yon sudden coral nipple bulged
Where a freaked fawn-coloured flaky crew
Of toadstools peep indulged.
And yonder, at foot of the fronting ridge
That takes the turn to a range beyond,
Is the chapel reached by the one-arched bridge
Where the water is stopped in a stagnant pond
Danced over by the midge.
The chapel and bridge are of stone alike,
Blackish gray and mostly wet;
Cut hemp-stalks steep in the narrow dyke.
See here again, how the lichens fret
And the roots of the ivy strike!
Poor little place, where its one priest comes
On a festa-day, if he comes at all,
To the dozen folk from their scattered homes,
Gathered within that precinct small
By the dozen ways one roams—
To drop from the charcoal-burners' huts,
Or climb from the hemp-dressers' low shed,
Leave the grange where the woodman stores his nuts,
Or the wattled cote where the fowlers spread
Their gear on the rock's bare juts.
It has some pretension too, this front,
With its bit of fresco half-moon-wise
Set over the porch, Art's early wont:
'Tis John in the Desert, I surmise,
But has borne the weather's brunt—
Not from the fault of the builder, though,
For a pent-house properly projects
Where three carved beams make a certain show,
Dating—good thought of our architect's—
'Five, six, nine, he lets you know.
And all day long a bird sings there,
And a stray sheep drinks at the pond at times;
The place is silent and aware;
It has had its scenes, its joys and crimes,
But that is its own affair.
My perfect wife, my Leonor,
Oh heart, my own, oh eyes, mine too,
Whom else could I dare look backward for,
With whom beside should I dare pursue
The path gray heads abhor?
For it leads to a crag's sheer edge with them;
Youth, flowery all the way, there stops—
Not they; age threatens and they contemn,
Till they reach the gulf wherein youth drops,
One inch from life's safe hem!
With me, youth led . . . I will speak now,
No longer watch you as you sit
Reading by fire-light, that great brow
And the spirit-small hand propping it
Mutely, my heart knows how—
When, if I think but deep enough,
You are wont to answer, prompt as rhyme;
And you, too, find without rebuff
The response your soul seeks many a time
Piercing its fine flesh-stuff.
My own, confirm me! If I tread
This path back, is it not in pride
To think how little I dreamed it led
To an age so blest that, by its side,
Youth seems the waste instead?
My own, see where the years conduct!
At first, 'twas something our two souls
Should mix as mists do; each is sucked
In each now: on, the new stream rolls,
Whatever rocks obstruct.
Think, when our one soul understands
The great Word which makes all things new,
When earth breaks up and Heaven expands,
How will the change strike me and you
In the house not made with hands?
Oh I must feel your brain prompt mine,
Your heart anticipate my heart,
You must be just before, in fine,
See and make me see, for your part,
New depths of the Divine!
But who could have expected this
When we two drew together first
Just for the obvious human bliss,
To satisfy life's daily thirst
With a thing men seldom miss?
Come back with me to the first of all,
Let us lean and love it over again,
Let us now forget and now recall,
Break the rosary in a pearly rain,
And gather what we let fall!
What did I say?—that a small bird sings
All day long, save when a brown pair
Of hawks from the wood float with wide wings
Strained to a bell: 'gainst the noonday glare
You count the streaks and rings.
But at afternoon or almost eve
'Tis better; then the silence grows
To that degree, you half believe
It must get rid of what it knows,
Its bosom does so heave.
Hither we walked, then, side by side,
Arm in arm and cheek to cheek,
And still I questioned or replied,
While my heart, convulsed to really speak,
Lay choking in its pride.
Silent the crumbling bridge we cross,
And pity and praise the chapel sweet,
And care about the fresco's loss,
And wish for our souls a like retreat,
And wonder at the moss.
Stoop and kneel on the settle under,
Look through the window's grated square:
Nothing to see! For fear of plunder,
The cross is down and the altar bare,
As if thieves don't fear thunder.
We stoop and look in through the grate,
See the little porch and rustic door,
Read duly the dead builder's date;
Then cross the bridge we crossed before,
Take the path again—but wait!
Oh moment, one and infinite!
The water slips o'er stock and stone;
The West is tender, hardly bright:
How grey at once is the evening grown—
One star, its chrysolite!
We two stood there with never a third,
But each by each, as each knew well:
The sights we saw and the sounds we heard,
The lights and the shades made up a spell
Till the trouble grew and stirred.
Oh, the little more, and how much it is!
And the little less, and what worlds away!
How a sound shall quicken content to bliss,
Or a breath suspend the blood's best play,
And life be a proof of this!
Had she willed it, still had stood the screen
So slight, so sure, 'twixt my love and her:
I could fix her face with a guard between,
And find her soul as when friends confer,
Friends—lovers that might have been.
For my heart had a touch of the woodland-time,
Wanting to sleep now over its best.
Shake the whole tree in the summer-prime,
But bring to the last leaf no such test!
"Hold the last fast!" says the rhyme.
For a chance to make your little much,
To gain a lover and lose a friend,
Venture the tree and a myriad such,
When nothing you mar but the year can mend:
But a last leaf—fear to touch!
Yet should it unfasten itself and fall
Eddying down till it find your face
At some slight wind—best chance of all!
Be your heart henceforth its dwelling-place
You trembled to forestall!
Worth how well, those dark grey eyes,
That hair so dark and dear, how worth
That a man should strive and agonize,
And taste a very hell on earth
For the hope of such a prize!
You might have turned and tried a man,
Set him a space to weary and wear,
And prove which suited more your plan,
His best of hope or his worst despair,
Yet end as he began.
But you spared me this, like the heart you are,
And filled my empty heart at a word.
If two lives join, there is oft a scar,
They are one and one, with a shadowy third;
One near one is too far.
A moment after, and hands unseen
Were hanging the night around us fast;
But we knew that a bar was broken between
Life and life: we were mixed at last
In spite of the mortal screen.
The forests had done it; there they stood;
We caught for a moment the powers at play:
They had mingled us so, for once and for good,
Their work was done—we might go or stay,
They relapsed to their ancient mood.
How the world is made for each of us!
How all we perceive and know in it
Tends to some moment's product thus,
When a soul declares itself—to wit,
By its fruit—the thing it does!
Be hate that fruit or love that fruit,
It forwards the general deed of man,
And each of the Many helps to recruit
The life of the race by a general plan;
Each living his own, to boot.
I am named and known by that hour's feat;
There took my station and degree;
So grew my own small life complete,
As nature obtained her best of me—
One born to love you, sweet!
And to watch you sink by the fire-side now
Back again, as you mutely sit
Musing by fire-light, that great brow
And the spirit-small hand propping it,
Yonder, my heart knows how!
So the earth has gained by one man the more,
And the gain of earth must be heaven's gain too;
And the whole is well worth thinking o'er
When the autumn comes: which I mean to do
One day, as I said before.
In the Bay
Beyond the hollow sunset, ere a star
Take heart in heaven from eastward, while the west,
Fulfilled of watery resonance and rest,
Is as a port with clouds for harbour bar
To fold the fleet in of the winds from far
That stir no plume now of the bland sea's breast:II
Above the soft sweep of the breathless bay
Southwestward, far past flight of night and day,
Lower than the sunken sunset sinks, and higher
Than dawn can freak the front of heaven with fire,
My thought with eyes and wings made wide makes way
To find the place of souls that I desire.III
If any place for any soul there be,
Disrobed and disentrammelled; if the might
The fire and force that filled with ardent light
The souls whose shadow is half the light we see,
Survive and be suppressed not of the night;
This hour should show what all day hid from me.IV
Night knows not, neither is it shown to day,
By sunlight nor by starlight is it shown,
Nor to the full moon's eye nor footfall known,
Their world's untrodden and unkindled way.
Nor is the breath nor music of it blown
With sounds of winter or with winds of May.V
But here, where light and darkness reconciled
Held earth between them as a weanling child
Between the balanced hands of death and birth,
Even as they held the new-born shape of earth
When first life trembled in her limbs and smiled,
Here hope might think to find what hope were worth.VI
Past Hades, past Elysium, past the long
Slow smooth strong lapse of Lethe--past the toil
Wherein all souls are taken as a spoil,
The Stygian web of waters--if your song
Be quenched not, O our brethren, but be strong
As ere ye too shook off our temporal coil;VII
If yet these twain survive your worldly breath,
Joy trampling sorrow, life devouring death,
If perfect life possess your life all through
And like your words your souls be deathless too,
To-night, of all whom night encompasseth,
My soul would commune with one soul of you.VIII
Above the sunset might I see thine eyes
That were above the sundawn in our skies,
Son of the songs of morning,--thine that were
First lights to lighten that rekindling air
Wherethrough men saw the front of England rise
And heard thine loudest of the lyre-notes there--IX
If yet thy fire have not one spark the less,
O Titan, born of her a Titaness,
Across the sunrise and the sunset's mark
Send of thy lyre one sound, thy fire one spark,
To change this face of our unworthiness,
Across this hour dividing light from dark.X
To change this face of our chill time, that hears
No song like thine of all that crowd its ears,
Of all its lights that lighten all day long
Sees none like thy most fleet and fiery sphere's
Outlightening Sirius--in its twilight throng
No thunder and no sunrise like thy song. XI
Hath not the sea-wind swept the sea-line bare
To pave with stainless fire through stainless air
A passage for thine heavenlier feet to tread
Ungrieved of earthly floor-work? hath it spread
No covering splendid as the sun-god's hair
To veil or to reveal thy lordlier head?XII
Hath not the sunset shown across the sea
A way majestical enough for thee?
What hour save this should be thine hour--and mine,
If thou have care of any less divine
Than thine own soul; if thou take thought of me,
Marlowe, as all my soul takes thought of thine?XIII
Before the morn's face as before the sun
The morning star and evening star are one
For all men's lands as England. O, if night
Hang hard upon us,--ere our day take flight,
Shed thou some comfort from thy day long done
On us pale children of the latter light!XIV
For surely, brother and master and lord and king,
Where'er thy footfall and thy face make spring
In all souls' eyes that meet thee wheresoe'er,
And have thy soul for sunshine and sweet air--
Some late love of thine old live land should cling,
Some living love of England, round thee there.XV
Here from her shore across her sunniest sea
My soul makes question of the sun for thee,
And waves and beams make answer. When thy feet
Made her ways flowerier and their flowers more sweet
With childlike passage of a god to be,
Like spray these waves cast off her foemen's fleet.XVI
Like foam they flung it from her, and like weed
Its wrecks were washed from scornful shoal to shoal,
From rock to rock reverberate; and the whole
Sea laughed and lightened with a deathless deed
That sowed our enemies in her field for seed
And made her shores fit harbourage for thy soul.XVII
Then in her green south fields, a poor man's child,
Thou hadst thy short sweet fill of half-blown joy,
That ripens all of us for time to cloy
With full-blown pain and passion; ere the wild
World caught thee by the fiery heart, and smiled
To make so swift end of the godlike boy.XVIII
For thou, if ever godlike foot there trod
These fields of ours, wert surely like a god.
Who knows what splendour of strange dreams was shed
With sacred shadow and glimmer of gold and red
From hallowed windows, over stone and sod,
On thine unbowed bright insubmissive head?XIX
The shadow stayed not, but the splendour stays,
Our brother, till the last of English days.
No day nor night on English earth shall be
For ever, spring nor summer, Junes nor Mays,
But somewhat as a sound or gleam of thee
Shall come on us like morning from the sea.XX
Like sunrise never wholly risen, nor yet
Quenched; or like sunset never wholly set,
A light to lighten as from living eyes
The cold unlit close lids of one that lies
Dead, or a ray returned from death's far skies
To fire us living lest our lives forget.XXI
For in that heaven what light of lights may be,
What splendour of what stars, what spheres of flame
Sounding, that none may number nor may name,
We know not, even thy brethren; yea, not we
Whose eyes desire the light that lightened thee,
Whose ways and thine are one way and the same.XXII
But if the riddles that in sleep we read,
And trust them not, be flattering truth indeed,
As he that rose our mightiest called them,--he,
Much higher than thou as thou much higher than we--
There, might we say, all flower of all our seed,
All singing souls are as one sounding sea.XXXIII
All those that here were of thy kind and kin,
Beside thee and below thee, full of love,
Full-souled for song,--and one alone above
Whose only light folds all your glories in--
With all birds' notes from nightingale to dove
Fill the world whither we too fain would win.XXIV
The world that sees in heaven the sovereign light
Of sunlike Shakespeare, and the fiery night
Whose stars were watched of Webster; and beneath,
The twin-souled brethren of the single wreath,
Grown in kings' gardens, plucked from pastoral heath,
Wrought with all flowers for all men's heart's delight.XXV
And that fixed fervour, iron-red like Mars,
In the mid moving tide of tenderer stars,
That burned on loves and deeds the darkest done,
Athwart the incestuous prisoner's bride-house bars;
And thine, most highest of all their fires but one,
Our morning star, sole risen before the sun.XXVI
And one light risen since theirs to run such race
Thou hast seen, O Phosphor, from thy pride of place.
Thou hast seen Shelley, him that was to thee
As light to fire or dawn to lightning; me,
Me likewise, O our brother, shalt thou see,
And I behold thee, face to glorious face?XXVII
You twain the same swift year of manhood swept
Down the steep darkness, and our father wept.
And from the gleam of Apollonian tears
A holier aureole rounds your memories, kept
Most fervent-fresh of all the singing spheres,
And April-coloured through all months and years.XXVIII
You twain fate spared not half your fiery span;
The longer date fulfils the lesser man.
Ye from beyond the dark dividing date
Stand smiling, crowned as gods with foot on fate.
For stronger was your blessing than his ban,
And earliest whom he struck, he struck too late.XXIX
Yet love and loathing, faith and unfaith yet
Bind less to greater souls in unison,
And one desire that makes three spirits as one
Takes great and small as in one spiritual net
Woven out of hope toward what shall yet be done
Ere hate or love remember or forget.XXX
Woven out of faith and hope and love too great
To bear the bonds of life and death and fate:
Woven out of love and hope and faith too dear
To take the print of doubt and change and fear:
And interwoven with lines of wrath and hate
Blood-red with soils of many a sanguine year.XXXI
Who cannot hate, can love not; if he grieve,
His tears are barren as the unfruitful rain
That rears no harvest from the green sea's plain,
And as thorns crackling this man's laugh is vain.
Nor can belief touch, kindle, smite, reprieve
His heart who has not heart to disbelieve.XXXII
But you, most perfect in your hate and love,
Our great twin-spirited brethren; you that stand
Head by head glittering, hand made fast in hand,
And underfoot the fang-drawn worm that strove
To wound you living; from so far above,
Look love, not scorn, on ours that was your land.XXXIII
For love we lack, and help and heat and light
To clothe us and to comfort us with might.
What help is ours to take or give? but ye--
O, more than sunrise to the blind cold sea,
That wailed aloud with all her waves all night,
Much more, being much more glorious, should you be.XXXIV
As fire to frost, as ease to toil, as dew
To flowerless fields, as sleep to slackening pain,
As hope to souls long weaned from hope again
Returning, or as blood revived anew
To dry-drawn limbs and every pulseless vein,
Even so toward us should no man be but you.XXXV
One rose before the sunrise was, and one
Before the sunset, lovelier than the sun.
And now the heaven is dark and bright and loud
With wind and starry drift and moon and cloud,
And night's cry rings in straining sheet and shroud,
What help is ours if hope like yours be none?XXXVI
O well-beloved, our brethren, if ye be,
Then are we not forsaken. This kind earth
Made fragrant once for all time with your birth,
And bright for all men with your love, and worth
The clasp and kiss and wedlock of the sea,
Were not your mother if not your brethren we.XXXVII
Because the days were dark with gods and kings
And in time's hand the old hours of time as rods,
When force and fear set hope and faith at odds,
Ye failed not nor abased your plume-plucked wings;
And we that front not more disastrous things,
How should we fail in face of kings and gods?XXXVIII
For now the deep dense plumes of night are thinned
Surely with winnowing of the glimmering wind
Whose feet we fledged with morning; and the breath
Begins in heaven that sings the dark to death.
And all the night wherein men groaned and sinned
Sickens at heart to hear what sundawn saith.XXXIX
O first-born sons of hope and fairest, ye
Whose prows first clove the thought-unsounded sea
Whence all the dark dead centuries rose to bar
The spirit of man lest truth should make him free,
The sunrise and the sunset, seeing one star,
Take heart as we to know you that ye are.XL
Ye rise not and ye set not; we that say
Ye rise and set like hopes that set and rise
Look yet but seaward from a land-locked bay;
But where at last the sea's line is the sky's
And truth and hope one sunlight in your eyes,
No sunrise and no sunset marks their day.
Lamia. Part II
Love in a hut, with water and a crust,
Is—Love, forgive us!—cinders, ashes, dust;
Love in a palace is perhaps at last
More grievous torment than a hermit’s fast:—
That is a doubtful tale from faery land,
Hard for the non-elect to understand.
Had Lycius liv’d to hand his story down,
He might have given the moral a fresh frown,
Or clench’d it quite: but too short was their bliss
To breed distrust and hate, that make the soft voice hiss.
Besides, there, nightly, with terrific glare,
Love, jealous grown of so complete a pair,
Hover’d and buzz’d his wings, with fearful roar,
Above the lintel of their chamber door,
And down the passage cast a glow upon the floor.
For all this came a ruin: side by side
They were enthroned, in the even tide,
Upon a couch, near to a curtaining
Whose airy texture, from a golden string,
Floated into the room, and let appear
Unveil’d the summer heaven, blue and clear,
Betwixt two marble shafts:—there they reposed,
Where use had made it sweet, with eyelids closed,
Saving a tythe which love still open kept,
That they might see each other while they almost slept;
When from the slope side of a suburb hill,
Deafening the swallow’s twitter, came a thrill
Of trumpets—Lycius started—the sounds fled,
But left a thought, a buzzing in his head.
For the first time, since first he harbour’d in
That purple-lined palace of sweet sin,
His spirit pass’d beyond its golden bourn
Into the noisy world almost forsworn.
The lady, ever watchful, penetrant,
Saw this with pain, so arguing a want
Of something more, more than her empery
Of joys; and she began to moan and sigh
Because he mused beyond her, knowing well
That but a moment’s thought is passion’s passing bell.
“Why do you sigh, fair creature?” whisper’d he:
“Why do you think?” return’d she tenderly:
“You have deserted me;—where am I now?
“Not in your heart while care weighs on your brow:
“No, no, you have dismiss’d me; and I go
“From your breast houseless: ay, it must be so.”
He answer’d, bending to her open eyes,
Where he was mirror’d small in paradise,
“My silver planet, both of eve and morn!
“Why will you plead yourself so sad forlorn,
“While I am striving how to fill my heart
“With deeper crimson, and a double smart?
“How to entangle, trammel up and snare
“Your soul in mine, and labyrinth you there
“Like the hid scent in an unbudded rose?
“Ay, a sweet kiss—you see your mighty woes.
“My thoughts! shall I unveil them? Listen then!
“What mortal hath a prize, that other men
“May be confounded and abash’d withal,
“But lets it sometimes pace abroad majestical,
“And triumph, as in thee I should rejoice
“Amid the hoarse alarm of Corinth’s voice.
“Let my foes choke, and my friends shout afar,
“While through the thronged streets your bridal car
“Wheels round its dazzling spokes.”—The lady’s cheek
Trembled; she nothing said, but, pale and meek,
Arose and knelt before him, wept a rain
Of sorrows at his words; at last with pain
Beseeching him, the while his hand she wrung,
To change his purpose. He thereat was stung,
Perverse, with stronger fancy to reclaim
Her wild and timid nature to his aim:
Besides, for all his love, in self despite,
Against his better self, he took delight
Luxurious in her sorrows, soft and new.
His passion, cruel grown, took on a hue
Fierce and sanguineous as ’twas possible
In one whose brow had no dark veins to swell.
Fine was the mitigated fury, like
Apollo’s presence when in act to strike
The serpent—Ha, the serpent! certes, she
Was none. She burnt, she lov’d the tyranny,
And, all subdued, consented to the hour
When to the bridal he should lead his paramour.
Whispering in midnight silence, said the youth,
“Sure some sweet name thou hast, though, by my truth,
“I have not ask’d it, ever thinking thee
“Not mortal, but of heavenly progeny,
“As still I do. Hast any mortal name,
“Fit appellation for this dazzling frame?
“Or friends or kinsfolk on the citied earth,
“To share our marriage feast and nuptial mirth?”
“I have no friends,” said Lamia, “no, not one;
“My presence in wide Corinth hardly known:
“My parents’ bones are in their dusty urns
“Sepulchred, where no kindled incense burns,
“Seeing all their luckless race are dead, save me,
“And I neglect the holy rite for thee.
“Even as you list invite your many guests;
“But if, as now it seems, your vision rests
“With any pleasure on me, do not bid
“Old Apollonius—from him keep me hid.”
Lycius, perplex’d at words so blind and blank,
Made close inquiry; from whose touch she shrank,
Feigning a sleep; and he to the dull shade
Of deep sleep in a moment was betray’d.
It was the custom then to bring away
The bride from home at blushing shut of day,
Veil’d, in a chariot, heralded along
By strewn flowers, torches, and a marriage song,
With other pageants: but this fair unknown
Had not a friend. So being left alone,
(Lycius was gone to summon all his kin)
And knowing surely she could never win
His foolish heart from its mad pompousness,
She set herself, high-thoughted, how to dress
The misery in fit magnificence.
She did so, but ’tis doubtful how and whence
Came, and who were her subtle servitors.
About the halls, and to and from the doors,
There was a noise of wings, till in short space
The glowing banquet-room shone with wide-arched grace.
A haunting music, sole perhaps and lone
Supportress of the faery-roof, made moan
Throughout, as fearful the whole charm might fade.
Fresh carved cedar, mimicking a glade
Of palm and plantain, met from either side,
High in the midst, in honour of the bride:
Two palms and then two plantains, and so on,
From either side their stems branch’d one to one
All down the aisled place; and beneath all
There ran a stream of lamps straight on from wall to wall.
So canopied, lay an untasted feast
Teeming with odours. Lamia, regal drest,
Silently paced about, and as she went,
In pale contented sort of discontent,
Mission’d her viewless servants to enrich
The fretted splendour of each nook and niche.
Between the tree-stems, marbled plain at first,
Came jasper pannels; then, anon, there burst
Forth creeping imagery of slighter trees,
And with the larger wove in small intricacies.
Approving all, she faded at self-will,
And shut the chamber up, close, hush’d and still,
Complete and ready for the revels rude,
When dreadful guests would come to spoil her solitude.
The day appear’d, and all the gossip rout.
O senseless Lycius! Madman! wherefore flout
The silent-blessing fate, warm cloister’d hours,
And show to common eyes these secret bowers?
The herd approach’d; each guest, with busy brain,
Arriving at the portal, gaz’d amain,
And enter’d marveling: for they knew the street,
Remember’d it from childhood all complete
Without a gap, yet ne’er before had seen
That royal porch, that high-built fair demesne;
So in they hurried all, maz’d, curious and keen:
Save one, who look’d thereon with eye severe,
And with calm-planted steps walk’d in austere;
’Twas Apollonius: something too he laugh’d,
As though some knotty problem, that had daft
His patient thought, had now begun to thaw,
And solve and melt:—’twas just as he foresaw.
He met within the murmurous vestibule
His young disciple. “’Tis no common rule,
“Lycius,” said he, “for uninvited guest
“To force himself upon you, and infest
“With an unbidden presence the bright throng
“Of younger friends; yet must I do this wrong,
“And you forgive me.” Lycius blush’d, and led
The old man through the inner doors broad-spread;
With reconciling words and courteous mien
Turning into sweet milk the sophist’s spleen.
Of wealthy lustre was the banquet-room,
Fill’d with pervading brilliance and perfume:
Before each lucid pannel fuming stood
A censer fed with myrrh and spiced wood,
Each by a sacred tripod held aloft,
Whose slender feet wide-swerv’d upon the soft
Wool-woofed carpets: fifty wreaths of smoke
From fifty censers their light voyage took
To the high roof, still mimick’d as they rose
Along the mirror’d walls by twin-clouds odorous.
Twelve sphered tables, by silk seats insphered,
High as the level of a man’s breast rear’d
On libbard’s paws, upheld the heavy gold
Of cups and goblets, and the store thrice told
Of Ceres’ horn, and, in huge vessels, wine
Came from the gloomy tun with merry shine.
Thus loaded with a feast the tables stood,
Each shrining in the midst the image of a God.
When in an antichamber every guest
Had felt the cold full sponge to pleasure press’d,
By minist’ring slaves, upon his hands and feet,
And fragrant oils with ceremony meet
Pour’d on his hair, they all mov’d to the feast
In white robes, and themselves in order placed
Around the silken couches, wondering
Whence all this mighty cost and blaze of wealth could spring.
Soft went the music the soft air along,
While fluent Greek a vowel’d undersong
Kept up among the guests discoursing low
At first, for scarcely was the wine at flow;
But when the happy vintage touch’d their brains,
Louder they talk, and louder come the strains
Of powerful instruments:—the gorgeous dyes,
The space, the splendour of the draperies,
The roof of awful richness, nectarous cheer,
Beautiful slaves, and Lamia’s self, appear,
Now, when the wine has done its rosy deed,
And every soul from human trammels freed,
No more so strange; for merry wine, sweet wine,
Will make Elysian shades not too fair, too divine.
Soon was God Bacchus at meridian height;
Flush’d were their cheeks, and bright eyes double bright:
Garlands of every green, and every scent
From vales deflower’d, or forest-trees branch rent,
In baskets of bright osier’d gold were brought
High as the handles heap’d, to suit the thought
Of every guest; that each, as he did please,
Might fancy-fit his brows, silk-pillow’d at his ease.
What wreath for Lamia? What for Lycius?
What for the sage, old Apollonius?
Upon her aching forehead be there hung
The leaves of willow and of adder’s tongue;
And for the youth, quick, let us strip for him
The thyrsus, that his watching eyes may swim
Into forgetfulness; and, for the sage,
Let spear-grass and the spiteful thistle wage
War on his temples. Do not all charms fly
At the mere touch of cold philosophy?
There was an awful rainbow once in heaven:
We know her woof, her texture; she is given
In the dull catalogue of common things.
Philosophy will clip an Angel’s wings,
Conquer all mysteries by rule and line,
Empty the haunted air, and gnomed mine—
Unweave a rainbow, as it erewhile made
The tender-person’d Lamia melt into a shade.
By her glad Lycius sitting, in chief place,
Scarce saw in all the room another face,
Till, checking his love trance, a cup he took
Full brimm’d, and opposite sent forth a look
’Cross the broad table, to beseech a glance
From his old teacher’s wrinkled countenance,
And pledge him. The bald-head philosopher
Had fix’d his eye, without a twinkle or stir
Full on the alarmed beauty of the bride,
Brow-beating her fair form, and troubling her sweet pride.
Lycius then press’d her hand, with devout touch,
As pale it lay upon the rosy couch:
’Twas icy, and the cold ran through his veins;
Then sudden it grew hot, and all the pains
Of an unnatural heat shot to his heart.
“Lamia, what means this? Wherefore dost thou start?
“Know’st thou that man?” Poor Lamia answer’d not.
He gaz’d into her eyes, and not a jot
Own’d they the lovelorn piteous appeal:
More, more he gaz’d: his human senses reel:
Some hungry spell that loveliness absorbs;
There was no recognition in those orbs.
“Lamia!” he cried—and no soft-toned reply.
The many heard, and the loud revelry
Grew hush; the stately music no more breathes;
The myrtle sicken’d in a thousand wreaths.
By faint degrees, voice, lute, and pleasure ceased;
A deadly silence step by step increased,
Until it seem’d a horrid presence there,
And not a man but felt the terror in his hair.
“Lamia!” he shriek’d; and nothing but the shriek
With its sad echo did the silence break.
“Begone, foul dream!” he cried, gazing again
In the bride’s face, where now no azure vein
Wander’d on fair-spaced temples; no soft bloom
Misted the cheek; no passion to illume
The deep-recessed vision:—all was blight;
Lamia, no longer fair, there sat a deadly white.
“Shut, shut those juggling eyes, thou ruthless man!
“Turn them aside, wretch! or the righteous ban
“Of all the Gods, whose dreadful images
“Here represent their shadowy presences,
“May pierce them on the sudden with the thorn
“Of painful blindness; leaving thee forlorn,
“In trembling dotage to the feeblest fright
“Of conscience, for their long offended might,
“For all thine impious proud-heart sophistries,
“Unlawful magic, and enticing lies.
“Corinthians! look upon that gray-beard wretch!
“Mark how, possess’d, his lashless eyelids stretch
“Around his demon eyes! Corinthians, see!
“My sweet bride withers at their potency.”
“Fool!” said the sophist, in an under-tone
Gruff with contempt; which a death-nighing moan
From Lycius answer’d, as heart-struck and lost,
He sank supine beside the aching ghost.
“Fool! Fool!” repeated he, while his eyes still
Relented not, nor mov’d; “from every ill
“Of life have I preserv’d thee to this day,
“And shall I see thee made a serpent’s prey?
Then Lamia breath’d death breath; the sophist’s eye,
Like a sharp spear, went through her utterly,
Keen, cruel, perceant, stinging: she, as well
As her weak hand could any meaning tell,
Motion’d him to be silent; vainly so,
He look’d and look’d again a level--No!
“A Serpent!” echoed he; no sooner said,
Than with a frightful scream she vanished:
And Lycius’ arms were empty of delight,
As were his limbs of life, from that same night.
On the high couch he lay!—his friends came round--
Supported him—no pulse, or breath they found,
And, in its marriage robe, the heavy body wound.
O! nothing earthly save the ray
(Thrown back from flowers) of Beauty's eye,
As in those gardens where the day
Springs from the gems of Circassy-
O! nothing earthly save the thrill
Of melody in woodland rill-
Or (music of the passion-hearted)
Joy's voice so peacefully departed
That like the murmur in the shell,
Its echo dwelleth and will dwell-
Oh, nothing of the dross of ours-
Yet all the beauty- all the flowers
That list our Love, and deck our bowers-
Adorn yon world afar, afar-
The wandering star.
'Twas a sweet time for Nesace- for there
Her world lay lolling on the golden air,
Near four bright suns- a temporary rest-
An oasis in desert of the blest.
Away- away- 'mid seas of rays that roll
Empyrean splendor o'er th' unchained soul-
The soul that scarce (the billows are so dense)
Can struggle to its destin'd eminence,-
To distant spheres, from time to time, she rode
And late to ours, the favor'd one of God-
But, now, the ruler of an anchor'd realm,
She throws aside the sceptre- leaves the helm,
And, amid incense and high spiritual hymns,
Laves in quadruple light her angel limbs.
Now happiest, loveliest in yon lovely Earth,
Whence sprang the 'Idea of Beauty' into birth,
(Falling in wreaths thro' many a startled star,
Like woman's hair 'mid pearls, until, afar,
It lit on hills Achaian, and there dwelt)
She looked into Infinity- and knelt.
Rich clouds, for canopies, about her curled-
Fit emblems of the model of her world-
Seen but in beauty- not impeding sight
Of other beauty glittering thro' the light-
A wreath that twined each starry form around,
And all the opal'd air in color bound.
All hurriedly she knelt upon a bed
Of flowers: of lilies such as rear'd the head
On the fair Capo Deucato, and sprang
So eagerly around about to hang
Upon the flying footsteps of- deep pride-
Of her who lov'd a mortal- and so died.
The Sephalica, budding with young bees,
Upreared its purple stem around her knees:-
And gemmy flower, of Trebizond misnam'd-
Inmate of highest stars, where erst it sham'd
All other loveliness:- its honied dew
(The fabled nectar that the heathen knew)
Deliriously sweet, was dropp'd from Heaven,
And fell on gardens of the unforgiven
In Trebizond- and on a sunny flower
So like its own above that, to this hour,
It still remaineth, torturing the bee
With madness, and unwonted reverie:
In Heaven, and all its environs, the leaf
And blossom of the fairy plant in grief
Disconsolate linger- grief that hangs her head,
Repenting follies that full long have Red,
Heaving her white breast to the balmy air,
Like guilty beauty, chasten'd and more fair:
Nyctanthes too, as sacred as the light
She fears to perfume, perfuming the night:
And Clytia, pondering between many a sun,
While pettish tears adown her petals run:
And that aspiring flower that sprang on Earth,
And died, ere scarce exalted into birth,
Bursting its odorous heart in spirit to wing
Its way to Heaven, from garden of a king:
And Valisnerian lotus, thither flown'
From struggling with the waters of the Rhone:
And thy most lovely purple perfume, Zante!
Isola d'oro!- Fior di Levante!
And the Nelumbo bud that floats for ever
With Indian Cupid down the holy river-
Fair flowers, and fairy! to whose care is given
To bear the Goddess' song, in odors, up to Heaven:
'Spirit! that dwellest where,
In the deep sky,
The terrible and fair,
In beauty vie!
Beyond the line of blue-
The boundary of the star
Which turneth at the view
Of thy barrier and thy bar-
Of the barrier overgone
By the comets who were cast
From their pride and from their throne
To be drudges till the last-
To be carriers of fire
(The red fire of their heart)
With speed that may not tire
And with pain that shall not part-
Who livest- that we know-
In Eternity- we feel-
But the shadow of whose brow
What spirit shall reveal?
Tho' the beings whom thy Nesace,
Thy messenger hath known
Have dream'd for thy Infinity
A model of their own-
Thy will is done, O God!
The star hath ridden high
Thro' many a tempest, but she rode
Beneath thy burning eye;
And here, in thought, to thee-
In thought that can alone
Ascend thy empire and so be
A partner of thy throne-
By winged Fantasy,
My embassy is given,
Till secrecy shall knowledge be
In the environs of Heaven.'
She ceas'd- and buried then her burning cheek
Abash'd, amid the lilies there, to seek
A shelter from the fervor of His eye;
For the stars trembled at the Deity.
She stirr'd not- breath'd not- for a voice was there
How solemnly pervading the calm air!
A sound of silence on the startled ear
Which dreamy poets name 'the music of the sphere.'
Ours is a world of words: Quiet we call
'Silence'- which is the merest word of all.
All Nature speaks, and ev'n ideal things
Flap shadowy sounds from visionary wings-
But ah! not so when, thus, in realms on high
The eternal voice of God is passing by,
And the red winds are withering in the sky:-
'What tho 'in worlds which sightless cycles run,
Linked to a little system, and one sun-
Where all my love is folly and the crowd
Still think my terrors but the thunder cloud,
The storm, the earthquake, and the ocean-wrath-
(Ah! will they cross me in my angrier path?)
What tho' in worlds which own a single sun
The sands of Time grow dimmer as they run,
Yet thine is my resplendency, so given
To bear my secrets thro' the upper Heaven!
Leave tenantless thy crystal home, and fly,
With all thy train, athwart the moony sky-
Apart- like fire-flies in Sicilian night,
And wing to other worlds another light!
Divulge the secrets of thy embassy
To the proud orbs that twinkle- and so be
To ev'ry heart a barrier and a ban
Lest the stars totter in the guilt of man!'
Up rose the maiden in the yellow night,
The single-mooned eve!- on Earth we plight
Our faith to one love- and one moon adore-
The birth-place of young Beauty had no more.
As sprang that yellow star from downy hours
Up rose the maiden from her shrine of flowers,
And bent o'er sheeny mountains and dim plain
Her way, but left not yet her Therasaean reign.
High on a mountain of enamell'd head-
Such as the drowsy shepherd on his bed
Of giant pasturage lying at his ease,
Raising his heavy eyelid, starts and sees
With many a mutter'd 'hope to be forgiven'
What time the moon is quadrated in Heaven-
Of rosy head that, towering far away
Into the sunlit ether, caught the ray
Of sunken suns at eve- at noon of night,
While the moon danc'd with the fair stranger light-
Uprear'd upon such height arose a pile
Of gorgeous columns on th' unburthen'd air,
Flashing from Parian marble that twin smile
Far down upon the wave that sparkled there,
And nursled the young mountain in its lair.
Of molten stars their pavement, such as fall
Thro' the ebon air, besilvering the pall
Of their own dissolution, while they die-
Adorning then the dwellings of the sky.
A dome, by linked light from Heaven let down,
Sat gently on these columns as a crown-
A window of one circular diamond, there,
Look'd out above into the purple air,
And rays from God shot down that meteor chain
And hallow'd all the beauty twice again,
Save, when, between th' empyrean and that ring,
Some eager spirit Flapp'd his dusky wing.
But on the pillars Seraph eyes have seen
The dimness of this world: that greyish green
That Nature loves the best Beauty's grave
Lurk'd in each cornice, round each architrave-
And every sculptur'd cherub thereabout
That from his marble dwelling peered out,
Seem'd earthly in the shadow of his niche-
Achaian statues in a world so rich!
Friezes from Tadmor and Persepolis-
From Balbec, and the stilly, clear abyss
Of beautiful Gomorrah! O, the wave
Is now upon thee- but too late to save!
Sound loves to revel in a summer night:
Witness the murmur of the grey twilight
That stole upon the ear, in Eyraco,
Of many a wild star-gazer long ago-
That stealeth ever on the ear of him
Who, musing, gazeth on the distance dim,
And sees the darkness coming as a cloud-
Is not its form- its voice- most palpable and loud?
But what is this?- it cometh, and it brings
A music with it- 'tis the rush of wings-
A pause- and then a sweeping, falling strain
And Nesace is in her halls again.
From the wild energy of wanton haste
Her cheeks were flushing, and her lips apart;
And zone that clung around her gentle waist
Had burst beneath the heaving of her heart.
Within the centre of that hall to breathe,
She paused and panted, Zanthe! all beneath,
The fairy light that kiss'd her golden hair
And long'd to rest, yet could but sparkle there.
Young flowers were whispering in melody
To happy flowers that night- and tree to tree;
Fountains were gushing music as they fell
In many a star-lit grove, or moon-lit dell;
Yet silence came upon material things-
Fair flowers, bright waterfalls and angel wings-
And sound alone that from the spirit sprang
Bore burthen to the charm the maiden sang:
''Neath the blue-bell or streamer-
Or tufted wild spray
That keeps, from the dreamer,
The moonbeam away-
Bright beings! that ponder,
With half closing eyes,
On the stars which your wonder
Hath drawn from the skies,
Till they glance thro' the shade, and
Come down to your brow
Like- eyes of the maiden
Who calls on you now-
Arise! from your dreaming
In violet bowers,
To duty beseeming
These star-litten hours-
And shake from your tresses
Encumber'd with dew
The breath of those kisses
That cumber them too-
(O! how, without you, Love!
Could angels be blest?)
Those kisses of true Love
That lull'd ye to rest!
Up!- shake from your wing
Each hindering thing:
The dew of the night-
It would weigh down your flight
And true love caresses-
O, leave them apart!
They are light on the tresses,
But lead on the heart.
My beautiful one!
Whose harshest idea
Will to melody run,
O! is it thy will
On the breezes to toss?
Or, capriciously still,
Like the lone Albatros,
Incumbent on night
(As she on the air)
To keep watch with delight
On the harmony there?
Thy image may be,
No magic shall sever
Thy music from thee.
Thou hast bound many eyes
In a dreamy sleep-
But the strains still arise
Which thy vigilance keep-
The sound of the rain,
Which leaps down to the flower-
And dances again
In the rhythm of the shower-
The murmur that springs
From the growing of grass
Are the music of things-
But are modell'd, alas!-
Away, then, my dearest,
Oh! hie thee away
To the springs that lie clearest
Beneath the moon-ray-
To lone lake that smiles,
In its dream of deep rest,
At the many star-isles
That enjewel its breast-
Where wild flowers, creeping,
Have mingled their shade,
On its margin is sleeping
Full many a maid-
Some have left the cool glade, and
Have slept with the bee-
Arouse them, my maiden,
On moorland and lea-
Go! breathe on their slumber,
All softly in ear,
Thy musical number
They slumbered to hear-
For what can awaken
An angel so soon,
Whose sleep hath been taken
Beneath the cold moon,
As the spell which no slumber
Of witchery may test,
The rhythmical number
Which lull'd him to rest?'
Spirits in wing, and angels to the view,
A thousand seraphs burst th' Empyrean thro',
Young dreams still hovering on their drowsy flight-
Seraphs in all but 'Knowledge,' the keen light
That fell, refracted, thro' thy bounds, afar,
O Death! from eye of God upon that star:
Sweet was that error- sweeter still that death-
Sweet was that error- even with us the breath
Of Science dims the mirror of our joy-
To them 'twere the Simoom, and would destroy-
For what (to them) availeth it to know
That Truth is Falsehood- or that Bliss is Woe?
Sweet was their death- with them to die was rife
With the last ecstasy of satiate life-
Beyond that death no immortality-
But sleep that pondereth and is not 'to be'!-
And there- oh! may my weary spirit dwell-
Apart from Heaven's Eternity- and yet how far from Hell!
What guilty spirit, in what shrubbery dim,
Heard not the stirring summons of that hymn?
But two: they fell: for Heaven no grace imparts
To those who hear not for their beating hearts.
A maiden-angel and her seraph-lover-
O! where (and ye may seek the wide skies over)
Was Love, the blind, near sober Duty known?
Unguided Love hath fallen- 'mid 'tears of perfect moan.'
He was a goodly spirit- he who fell:
A wanderer by moss-y-mantled well-
A gazer on the lights that shine above-
A dreamer in the moonbeam by his love:
What wonder? for each star is eye-like there,
And looks so sweetly down on Beauty's hair-
And they, and ev'ry mossy spring were holy
To his love-haunted heart and melancholy.
The night had found (to him a night of woe)
Upon a mountain crag, young Angelo-
Beetling it bends athwart the solemn sky,
And scowls on starry worlds that down beneath it lie.
Here sat he with his love- his dark eye bent
With eagle gaze along the firmament:
Now turn'd it upon her- but ever then
It trembled to the orb of EARTH again.
'Ianthe, dearest, see- how dim that ray!
How lovely 'tis to look so far away!
She seem'd not thus upon that autumn eve
I left her gorgeous halls- nor mourn'd to leave.
That eve- that eve- I should remember well-
The sun-ray dropp'd in Lemnos, with a spell
On th' arabesque carving of a gilded hall
Wherein I sate, and on the draperied wall-
And on my eyelids- O the heavy light!
How drowsily it weigh'd them into night!
On flowers, before, and mist, and love they ran
With Persian Saadi in his Gulistan:
But O that light!- I slumber'd- Death, the while,
Stole o'er my senses in that lovely isle
So softly that no single silken hair
Awoke that slept- or knew that he was there.
'The last spot of Earth's orb I trod upon
Was a proud temple call'd the Parthenon;
More beauty clung around her column'd wall
Than ev'n thy glowing bosom beats withal,
And when old Time my wing did disenthral
Thence sprang I- as the eagle from his tower,
And years I left behind me in an hour.
What time upon her airy bounds I hung,
One half the garden of her globe was flung
Unrolling as a chart unto my view-
Tenantless cities of the desert too!
Ianthe, beauty crowded on me then,
And half I wish'd to be again of men.'
'My Angelo! and why of them to be?
A brighter dwelling-place is here for thee-
And greener fields than in yon world above,
And woman's loveliness- and passionate love.'
'But, list, Ianthe! when the air so soft
Fail'd, as my pennon'd spirit leapt aloft,
Perhaps my brain grew dizzy- but the world
I left so late was into chaos hurl'd-
Sprang from her station, on the winds apart.
And roll'd, a flame, the fiery Heaven athwart.
Methought, my sweet one, then I ceased to soar
And fell- not swiftly as I rose before,
But with a downward, tremulous motion thro'
Light, brazen rays, this golden star unto!
Nor long the measure of my falling hours,
For nearest of all stars was thine to ours-
Dread star! that came, amid a night of mirth,
A red Daedalion on the timid Earth.'
'We came- and to thy Earth- but not to us
Be given our lady's bidding to discuss:
We came, my love; around, above, below,
Gay fire-fly of the night we come and go,
Nor ask a reason save the angel-nod
She grants to us, as granted by her God-
But, Angelo, than thine grey Time unfurl'd
Never his fairy wing O'er fairier world!
Dim was its little disk, and angel eyes
Alone could see the phantom in the skies,
When first Al Aaraaf knew her course to be
Headlong thitherward o'er the starry sea-
But when its glory swell'd upon the sky,
As glowing Beauty's bust beneath man's eye,
We paused before the heritage of men,
And thy star trembled- as doth Beauty then!'
Thus, in discourse, the lovers whiled away
The night that waned and waned and brought no day.
They fell: for Heaven to them no hope imparts
Who hear not for the beating of their hearts.
Hyperion. Book II
Just at the self-same beat of Time's wide wings
Hyperion slid into the rustled air,
And Saturn gain'd with Thea that sad place
Where Cybele and the bruised Titans mourn'd.
It was a den where no insulting light
Could glimmer on their tears; where their own groans
They felt, but heard not, for the solid roar
Of thunderous waterfalls and torrents hoarse,
Pouring a constant bulk, uncertain where.
Crag jutting forth to crag, and rocks that seem'd
Ever as if just rising from a sleep,
Forehead to forehead held their monstrous horns;
And thus in thousand hugest phantasies
Made a fit roofing to this nest of woe.
Instead of thrones, hard flint they sat upon,
Couches of rugged stone, and slaty ridge
Stubborn'd with iron. All were not assembled:
Some chain'd in torture, and some wandering.
Caus, and Gyges, and Briareus,
Typhon, and Dolor, and Porphyrion,
With many more, the brawniest in assault,
Were pent in regions of laborious breath;
Dungeon'd in opaque element, to keep
Their clenched teeth still clench'd, and all their limbs
Lock'd up like veins of metal, crampt and screw'd;
Without a motion, save of their big hearts
Heaving in pain, and horribly convuls'd
With sanguine feverous boiling gurge of pulse.
Mnemosyne was straying in the world;
Far from her moon had Phoebe wandered;
And many else were free to roam abroad,
But for the main, here found they covert drear.
Scarce images of life, one here, one there,
Lay vast and edgeways; like a dismal cirque
Of Druid stones, upon a forlorn moor,
When the chill rain begins at shut of eve,
In dull November, and their chancel vault,
The Heaven itself, is blinded throughout night.
Each one kept shroud, nor to his neighbour gave
Or word, or look, or action of despair.
Creus was one; his ponderous iron mace
Lay by him, and a shatter'd rib of rock
Told of his rage, ere he thus sank and pined.
Iapetus another; in his grasp,
A serpent's plashy neck; its barbed tongue
Squeez'd from the gorge, and all its uncurl'd length
Dead: and because the creature could not spit
Its poison in the eyes of conquering Jove.
Next Cottus: prone he lay, chin uppermost,
As though in pain; for still upon the flint
He ground severe his skull, with open mouth
And eyes at horrid working. Nearest him
Asia, born of most enormous Caf,
Who cost her mother Tellus keener pangs,
Though feminine, than any of her sons:
More thought than woe was in her dusky face,
For she was prophesying of her glory;
And in her wide imagination stood
Palm-shaded temples, and high rival fanes
By Oxus or in Ganges' sacred isles.
Even as Hope upon her anchor leans,
So leant she, not so fair, upon a tusk
Shed from the broadest of her elephants.
Above her, on a crag's uneasy shelve,
Upon his elbow rais'd, all prostrate else,
Shadow'd Enceladus; once tame and mild
As grazing ox unworried in the meads;
Now tiger-passion'd, lion-thoughted, wroth,
He meditated, plotted, and even now
Was hurling mountains in that second war,
Not long delay'd, that scar'd the younger Gods
To hide themselves in forms of beast and bird.
Not far hence Atlas; and beside him prone
Phorcus, the sire of Gorgons. Neighbour'd close
Oceanus, and Tethys, in whose lap
Sobb'd Clymene among her tangled hair.
In midst of all lay Themis, at the feet
Of Ops the queen; all clouded round from sight,
No shape distinguishable, more than when
Thick night confounds the pine-tops with the clouds:
And many else whose names may not be told.
For when the Muse's wings are air-ward spread,
Who shall delay her flight? And she must chaunt
Of Saturn, and his guide, who now had climb'd
With damp and slippery footing from a depth
More horrid still. Above a sombre cliff
Their heads appear'd, and up their stature grew
Till on the level height their steps found ease:
Then Thea spread abroad her trembling arms
Upon the precincts of this nest of pain,
And sidelong fix'd her eye on Saturn's face:
There saw she direst strife; the supreme God
At war with all the frailty of grief,
Of rage, of fear, anxiety, revenge,
Remorse, spleen, hope, but most of all despair.
Against these plagues he strove in vain; for Fate
Had pour'd a mortal oil upon his head,
A disanointing poison: so that Thea,
Affrighted, kept her still, and let him pass
First onwards in, among the fallen tribe.
As with us mortal men, the laden heart
Is persecuted more, and fever'd more,
When it is nighing to the mournful house
Where other hearts are sick of the same bruise;
So Saturn, as he walk'd into the midst,
Felt faint, and would have sunk among the rest,
But that he met Enceladus's eye,
Whose mightiness, and awe of him, at once
Came like an inspiration; and he shouted,
'Titans, behold your God!' at which some groan'd;
Some started on their feet; some also shouted;
Some wept, some wail'd, all bow'd with reverence;
And Ops, uplifting her black folded veil,
Show'd her pale cheeks, and all her forehead wan,
Her eye-brows thin and jet, and hollow eyes.
There is a roaring in the bleak-grown pines
When Winter lifts his voice; there is a noise
Among immortals when a God gives sign,
With hushing finger, how he means to load
His tongue with the filll weight of utterless thought,
With thunder, and with music, and with pomp:
Such noise is like the roar of bleak-grown pines;
Which, when it ceases in this mountain'd world,
No other sound succeeds; but ceasing here,
Among these fallen, Saturn's voice therefrom
Grew up like organ, that begins anew
Its strain, when other harmonies, stopt short,
Leave the dinn'd air vibrating silverly.
Thus grew it up—-'Not in my own sad breast,
Which is its own great judge and searcher out,
Can I find reason why ye should be thus:
Not in the legends of the first of days,
Studied from that old spirit-leaved book
Which starry Uranus with finger bright
Sav'd from the shores of darkness, when the waves
Low-ebb'd still hid it up in shallow gloom;—-
And the which book ye know I ever kept
For my firm-based footstool:—-Ah, infirm!
Not there, nor in sign, symbol, or portent
Of element, earth, water, air, and fire,—-
At war, at peace, or inter-quarreling
One against one, or two, or three, or all
Each several one against the other three,
As fire with air loud warring when rain-floods
Drown both, and press them both against earth's face,
Where, finding sulphur, a quadruple wrath
Unhinges the poor world;—-not in that strife,
Wherefrom I take strange lore, and read it deep,
Can I find reason why ye should be thus:
No, nowhere can unriddle, though I search,
And pore on Nature's universal scroll
Even to swooning, why ye, Divinities,
The first-born of all shap'd and palpable Gods,
Should cower beneath what, in comparison,
Is untremendous might. Yet ye are here,
O'erwhelm'd, and spurn'd, and batter'd, ye are here!
O Titans, shall I say 'Arise!'—-Ye groan:
Shall I say 'Crouch!'—-Ye groan. What can I then?
O Heaven wide! O unseen parent dear!
What can I? Tell me, all ye brethren Gods,
How we can war, how engine our great wrath!
O speak your counsel now, for Saturn's ear
Is all a-hunger'd. Thou, Oceanus,
Ponderest high and deep; and in thy face
I see, astonied, that severe content
Which comes of thought and musing: give us help!'
So ended Saturn; and the God of the sea,
Sophist and sage, from no Athenian grove,
But cogitation in his watery shades,
Arose, with locks not oozy, and began,
In murmurs, which his first-endeavouring tongue
Caught infant-like from the far-foamed sands.
'O ye, whom wrath consumes! who, passion-stung,
Writhe at defeat, and nurse your agonies!
Shut up your senses, stifle up your ears,
My voice is not a bellows unto ire.
Yet listen, ye who will, whilst I bring proof
How ye, perforce, must be content to stoop:
And in the proof much comfort will I give,
If ye will take that comfort in its truth.
We fall by course of Nature's law, not force
Of thunder, or of Jove. Great Saturn, thou
Hast sifted well the atom-universe;
But for this reason, that thou art the King,
And only blind from sheer supremacy,
One avenue was shaded from thine eyes,
Through which I wandered to eternal truth.
And first, as thou wast not the first of powers,
So art thou not the last; it cannot be:
Thou art not the beginning nor the end.
From Chaos and parental Darkness came
Light, the first fruits of that intestine broil,
That sullen ferment, which for wondrous ends
Was ripening in itself. The ripe hour came,
And with it Light, and Light, engendering
Upon its own producer, forthwith touch'd
The whole enormous matter into life.
Upon that very hour, our parentage,
The Heavens and the Earth, were manifest:
Then thou first born, and we the giant race,
Found ourselves ruling new and beauteous realms.
Now comes the pain of truth, to whom 'tis pain;
O folly! for to bear all naked truths,
And to envisage circumstance, all calm,
That is the top of sovereignty. Mark well!
As Heaven and Earth are fairer, fairer far
Than Chaos and blank Darkness, though once chiefs;
And as we show beyond that Heaven and Earth
In form and shape compact and beautiful,
In will, in action free, companionship,
And thousand other signs of purer life;
So on our heels a fresh perfection treads,
A power more strong in beauty, born of us
And fated to excel us, as we pass
In glory that old Darkness: nor are we
Thereby more conquer'd, than by us the rule
Of shapeless Chaos. Say, doth the dull soil
Quarrel with the proud forests it hath fed,
And feedeth still, more comely than itself?
Can it deny the chiefdom of green groves?
Or shall the tree be envious of the dove
Because it cooeth, and hath snowy wings
To wander wherewithal and find its joys?
We are such forest-trees, and our fair boughs
Have bred forth, not pale solitary doves,
But eagles golden-feather'd, who do tower
Above us in their beauty, and must reign
In right thereof; for 'tis the eternal law
That first in beauty should be first in might:
Yea, by that law, another race may drive
Our conquerors to mourn as we do now.
Have ye beheld the young God of the seas,
My dispossessor? Have ye seen his face?
Have ye beheld his chariot, foam'd along
By noble winged creatures he hath made?
I saw him on the calmed waters scud,
With such a glow of beauty in his eyes,
That it enforc'd me to bid sad farewell
To all my empire: farewell sad I took,
And hither came, to see how dolorous fate
Had wrought upon ye; and how I might best
Give consolation in this woe extreme.
Receive the truth, and let it be your balm.'
Whether through pos'd conviction, or disdain,
They guarded silence, when Oceanus
Left murmuring, what deepest thought can tell?
But so it was, none answer'd for a space,
Save one whom none regarded, Clymene;
And yet she answer'd not, only complain'd,
With hectic lips, and eyes up-looking mild,
Thus wording timidly among the fierce:
'O Father! I am here the simplest voice,
And all my knowledge is that joy is gone,
And this thing woe crept in among our hearts,
There to remain for ever, as I fear:
I would not bode of evil, if I thought
So weak a creature could turn off the help
Which by just right should come of mighty Gods;
Yet let me tell my sorrow, let me tell
Of what I heard, and how it made me weep,
And know that we had parted from all hope.
I stood upon a shore, a pleasant shore,
Where a sweet clime was breathed from a land
Of fragrance, quietness, and trees, and flowers.
Full of calm joy it was, as I of grief;
Too full of joy and soft delicious warmth;
So that I felt a movement in my heart
To chide, and to reproach that solitude
With songs of misery, music of our woes;
And sat me down, and took a mouthed shell
And murmur'd into it, and made melody—-
O melody no more! for while I sang,
And with poor skill let pass into the breeze
The dull shell's echo, from a bowery strand
Just opposite, an island of the sea,
There came enchantment with the shifting wind,
That did both drown and keep alive my ears.
I threw my shell away upon the sand,
And a wave fill'd it, as my sense was fill'd
With that new blissful golden melody.
A living death was in each gush of sounds,
Each family of rapturous hurried notes,
That fell, one after one, yet all at once,
Like pearl beads dropping sudden from their string:
And then another, then another strain,
Each like a dove leaving its olive perch,
With music wing'd instead of silent plumes,
To hover round my head, and make me sick
Of joy and grief at once. Grief overcame,
And I was stopping up my frantic ears,
When, past all hindrance of my trembling hands,
A voice came sweeter, sweeter than all tune,
And still it cried, 'Apollo! young Apollo!
The morning-bright Apollo! young Apollo!'
I fled, it follow'd me, and cried 'Apollo!'
O Father, and O Brethren, had ye felt
Those pains of mine; O Saturn, hadst thou felt,
Ye would not call this too indulged tongue
Presumptuous, in thus venturing to be heard.'
So far her voice flow'd on, like timorous brook
That, lingering along a pebbled coast,
Doth fear to meet the sea: but sea it met,
And shudder'd; for the overwhelming voice
Of huge Enceladus swallow'd it in wrath:
The ponderous syllables, like sullen waves
In the half-glutted hollows of reef-rocks,
Came booming thus, while still upon his arm
He lean'd; not rising, from supreme contempt.
'Or shall we listen to the over-wise,
Or to the over-foolish, Giant-Gods?
Not thunderbolt on thunderbolt, till all
That rebel Jove's whole armoury were spent,
Not world on world upon these shoulders piled,
Could agonize me more than baby-words
In midst of this dethronement horrible.
Speak! roar! shout! yell! ye sleepy Titans all.
Do ye forget the blows, the buffets vile?
Are ye not smitten by a youngling arm?
Dost thou forget, sham Monarch of the waves,
Thy scalding in the seas? What! have I rous'd
Your spleens with so few simple words as these?
O joy! for now I see ye are not lost:
O joy! for now I see a thousand eyes
Wide-glaring for revenge!'—-As this he said,
He lifted up his stature vast, and stood,
Still without intermission speaking thus:
'Now ye are flames, I'll tell you how to burn,
And purge the ether of our enemies;
How to feed fierce the crooked stings of fire,
And singe away the swollen clouds of Jove,
Stifling that puny essence in its tent.
O let him feel the evil he hath done;
For though I scorn Oceanus's lore,
Much pain have I for more than loss of realms:
The days of peace and slumbrous calm are fled;
Those days, all innocent of scathing war,
When all the fair Existences of heaven
Carne open-eyed to guess what we would speak:—-
That was before our brows were taught to frown,
Before our lips knew else but solemn sounds;
That was before we knew the winged thing,
Victory, might be lost, or might be won.
And be ye mindful that Hyperion,
Our brightest brother, still is undisgraced—-
Hyperion, lo! his radiance is here!'
All eyes were on Enceladus's face,
And they beheld, while still Hyperion's name
Flew from his lips up to the vaulted rocks,
A pallid gleam across his features stern:
Not savage, for he saw full many a God
Wroth as himself. He look'd upon them all,
And in each face he saw a gleam of light,
But splendider in Saturn's, whose hoar locks
Shone like the bubbling foam about a keel
When the prow sweeps into a midnight cove.
In pale and silver silence they remain'd,
Till suddenly a splendor, like the morn,
Pervaded all the beetling gloomy steeps,
All the sad spaces of oblivion,
And every gulf, and every chasm old,
And every height, and every sullen depth,
Voiceless, or hoarse with loud tormented streams:
And all the everlasting cataracts,
And all the headlong torrents far and near,
Mantled before in darkness and huge shade,
Now saw the light and made it terrible.
It was Hyperion:—-a granite peak
His bright feet touch'd, and there he stay'd to view
The misery his brilliance had betray'd
To the most hateful seeing of itself.
Golden his hair of short Numidian curl,
Regal his shape majestic, a vast shade
In midst of his own brightness, like the bulk
Of Memnon's image at the set of sun
To one who travels from the dusking East:
Sighs, too, as mournful as that Memnon's harp
He utter'd, while his hands contemplative
He press'd together, and in silence stood.
Despondence seiz'd again the fallen Gods
At sight of the dejected King of day,
And many hid their faces from the light:
But fierce Enceladus sent forth his eyes
Among the brotherhood; and, at their glare,
Uprose Iapetus, and Creus too,
And Phorcus, sea-born, and together strode
To where he towered on his eminence.
There those four shouted forth old Saturn's name;
Hyperion from the peak loud answered, 'Saturn!'
Saturn sat near the Mother of the Gods,
In whose face was no joy, though all the Gods
Gave from their hollow throats the name of 'Saturn!'