Imatges de pàgina

XXXIII. The Meteor showed the leaves on which we sate, And Cythna's glowing arms, and the thick ties Of her soft hair, which bent with gathered weight My neck near hers, her dark and deepening eyes, Which, as twin phantoms of one star that lies O'er a dim well, move, though the star reposes, Swam in our mute and liquid ecstacies, Her marble brow, and eager lips, like roses, With their own fragrance pale, which spring but half


The meteor to its far morass return'd :
The beating of our veins one interval
Made still ; and then I felt the blood that burn'd
Within her frame, mingle with mine, and fall
Around my heart like fire; and over all
A mist was spread, the sickness of a deep
And speechless swoon of joy, as might befall
Two disunited spirits when they leap
In union from this earth's obscure and fading sleep.

xxxv. Was it one moment that confounded thus All thought, all sense, all feeling, into one Unutterable power, which shielded us Even from our own cold looks, when we had gone Into a wide and wild oblivion Of tumult and of tenderness? or now Had ages, such as make the moon and sun, The seasons, and mankind their changes know, Left fear and time unfelt by us alone below

XXXVI. I know not. What are kisses whose fire clasps The failing heart in languishment, or limb Twined within limb or the quick dying gasps of the life meeting, when the faint eyes swim Through tears of a wide mist boundless and dim, In one caress? What is the strong control Which leads the heart that dizzy steep to climb, Where far over the world those vapours roll, Which blend two restless frames in one reposing soul?

XxxWII. It is the shadow which doth float unseen, But not unfelt, o'er blind mortality, Whose divine darkness fled not, from that green And lone recess, where lapt in peace did lie Our linked frames; till, from the changing sky, That night and still another day had fled; And then I saw and felt. The moon was high, And clouds, as of a coming storm, were spread Under its orb, loud winds were gathering overhead.

xxxviii. Cythna's sweet lips seemed lurid in the moon, Her fairest limbs with the night wind were chill, And her dark tresses were all loosely strewn O'er her pale bosom:-all within was still, And the sweet peace of joy did almost fill The depth of her unfathomable look;And we sate calmly, though that rocky hill, The waves contending in its caverns strook, For they foreknew the storm, and the grey ruin shook.

Xxxix. There we unheeding sate, in the communion Of interchanged vows, which, with a rite Of faith most sweet and sacred, stamp'd our union.— Few were the living hearts which could unite Like ours, or celebrate a bridal night With such close sympathies, for they had sprung From linked youth, and from the gentle might Of earliest love, delayed and cherish'd long, Which common hopes and fears made, like a tempest, strong. XL. And such is Nature's law divine, that those Who grow together cannot chuse but love, If faith or custom do not interpose, Or common slavery mar what else might move All gentlest thoughts; as in the sacred grove Which shades the springs of Æthiopian Nile, That living tree, which, if the arrowy dove Strike with her shadow, shrinks in fear awhile, But its own kindred leaves clasps while the sun-beams smile; XLI. And clings to them, when darkness may dissever The close caresses of all duller plants Which bloom on the wide earth—thus we forever Were link'd, for love had nurst us in the haunts Where knowledge, from its secret source inchants Young hearts with the fresh music of its springing, Ere yet its gather'd flood feeds human wants, As the great Nile feeds Egypt; ever flinging Light on the woven boughs which o'er its waves are swinging. XLII. The tones of Cythna's voice like echoes were Of those far murmuring streams; they rose and fell, Mix'd with mine own in the tempestuous air, And so we sate, until our talk befel Of the late ruin, swift and horrible, And how those seeds of hope might yet be sown, Whose fruit is evil's mortal poison: well, For us, this ruin made a watch-tower lone, But Cythna's eyes looked faint, and now two days were gone XLIII. Since she had food —therefore I did awaken The Tartar steed, who, from his ebon mane, Soon as the clinging slumbers he had shaken, Bent his thin head to seek the brazen rein, Following me obediently; with pain Of heart, so deep and dread, that one caress, When lips and heart refuse to part again, Till they have told their fill, could scarce express The anguish of her mute and fearful tenderness.

XLIV. Cythna beheld me part, as I bestrode That willing steed—the tempest and the night, Which gave my path its safety as I rode Down the ravine of rocks, did soon unite, The darkness and the tumult of their might Borne on all winds.-Far through the streaming rain Floating at intervals the garments white of Cythma gleam'd, and her voice once again Came to me on the gust, and soon I reach'd the plain.

XVIII. And they, and all, in one loud symphony My name which Liberty, commingling, lifted • The friend and the preserver of the freel The parent of this joy!, and fair eyes gifted With feelings, caught from one who had uplifted The light of a great spirit, round me shone; And all the shapes of this grand scenery shifted Like restless clouds before the stedfast sun, Where was that Maid? I asked, but it was known of none. XIX. Laone was the name her love had chosen, For she was nameless, and her birth none knew : Where was Laone now?—the words were frozen Within my lips with fear; but to subdue Such dreadful hope, to my great task was due, And when at length one brought reply, that she To-morrow would appear, I then withdrew To judge what need for that great throng might be, For now the stars came thick over the twilight sea.

XX. Yet need was none for rest or food to care, Even though that multitude was passing great, Since each one for the other did prepare All kindly succour—Therefore to the gate Of the Imperial House, now desolate, I past, and there was found aghast, alone, The fallen Tyrant!—silently he sate Upon the footstool of his golden throne, Which starred with sunny gems, in its own lustre shone.

XXI. Alone, but for one child, who led before him A graceful dance: the only living thing Of all the crowd, which thither to adore him Flock'd yesterday, who solace sought to bring In his abandonment!—she knew the King Had praised her dance of yore, and now she wove Its circles, aye weeping and murmuring "Mid her sad task of unregarded love, That to no smiles it might his speechless sadness move.

XXII. She fled to him, and wildly clasp'd his feet When human steps were heard:—he moved nor spoke, Nor changed his hue, nor raised his looks to meet The gaze of strangers—our loud entrance woke The echoes of the hall, which circling broke The calm of its recesses, like a tomb Its sculptured walls vacantly to the stroke Of footfalls answered, and the twilight's gloom, Lay like a charnel's mist within the radiant dome. XXIII. The little child stood up when we came nigh; Her lips and cheeks seemed very pale and wan, But on her forehead, and within her eye Lay beauty, which makes hearts that feed thereon Sick with excess of sweetness; on the throne She lean'd;—the King with gather'd brow, and lips Wreath'd by long scorn, did inly sneer and frown With hue like that when some great painter dips His pencil in the gloom of earthquake and eclipse.

xxiv. She stood beside him like a rainbow braided Within some storm, when scarce its shadows vast From the blue paths of the swift sun have faded ; A sweet and solemn smile, like Cythna's, cast One moment's light, which made my heart beat fast, O'er that child's parted lips—a gleam of bliss, A shade of vanish'd days, as the tears past Which wrapt it, even as with a father's kiss I press'd those softest eyes in trembling tenderness.

XXV. The sceptred wretch then from that solitude I drew, and of his change compassionate, With words of sadness soothed his rugged mood. But he, while pride and fear held deep debate, With sullen guile of ill-dissembled hate Glared on me as a toothless snake might glare: Pity, not scorn I felt, though desolate The desolator now, and unaware The curses which he mock'd had caught him by the hair.

XXVI. I led him forth from that which now might seem A gorgeous grave: through portals sculptured deep With imagery beautiful as dream We went, and left the shades which tend on sleep Over its unregarded gold to keep Their silent watch.-The child trod faintingly, And as she went, the tears which she did weep Glanced in the star-light; wilder'd seemed she, And when I spake, for sobs she could not answer me.

xxWii. At last the tyrant cried, . She hungers, slave, Stab her, or give her bread!"—It was a tone Such as sick fancies in a new-made grave Might hear. I trembled, for the truth was known, He with this child had thus been left alone, And neither had gone forth for food, but he In mingled pride and awe cower'd near his throne, And she, a nursling of captivity, Knew nought beyond those walls, nor what such change might be. xxWiii. And he was troubled at a charm withdrawn Thus suddenly; that sceptres ruled no more— That even from gold the dreadful strength was gone, Which once made all things subject to its power— Such wonder seized him, as if hour by hour The past had come again; and the swift fall Of one so great and terrible of yore, To desolateness, in the hearts of all Like wonder stirr'd, who saw such awful change befal.

xxix. A mighty crowd, such as the wide land pours Once in a thousand years, now bather'd round The fallen tyranti-like the rush of showers Of hail in spring, pattering along the ground, Their many footsteps fell, else came no sound From the wide multitude : that lonely man Then knew the burthen of his change, and found, Concealing in the dust his visage wan, Refuge from the keen looks which thro' his bosom ran.

xxx. And he was faint withal: I sate beside him Upon the earth, and took that child so fair From his weak arms, that ill might none betide him Or her;—when food was brought to them, her share To his averted lips the child did bear, But when she saw he had enough, she ate And wept the while;—the lonely man's despair Hunger then overcame, and of his state Forgetful, on the dust as in a trance he sate.

xxxi. Slowly the silence of the multitudes Past, as when far is heard in some lone dell The gathering of a wind among the woods— And he is fallen! they cry, he who did dwell Like famine or the plague, or aught more fell Among our homes, is fallen the murderer Who slaked his thirsting soul as from a well Of blood and tears with ruin! he is here!

Sunk in a Gulf of scorn from which none may him rear! The flood recede from which their thirst they seek to

XXxii. Then was heard–He who judged let him be brought To judgment! blood for blood cries from the soil On which his crimes have deep pollution wrought ! Shall. Othman only unavenged despoil? Shall they who by the stress of grinding toil Wrest from the unwilling earth his luxuries, Perish for crime, while his foul blood may boil, Or creep within his veins at will!—Arise! And to high justice make her chosen sacrifice.

xxxiii. • What do ye seek? what fear yel, then I cried, Suddenly starting forth, - that ye should shed The blood of Othman—if your hearts are tried In the true love of freedom, cease to dread This one poor lonely man—beneath Heaven spread In purest light above us all, through earth Maternal earth, who doth her sweet smiles shed For all, let him go free; until the worth Of human nature win from these a second birth.

XXXIV. “What call ye justice? is there one who ne'er In secret thought has wish'd another's ill?— Are ye all pure? let those stand forth who hear, And tremble not. Shall they insult and kill, If such they be? their mild eyes can they fill With the false anger of the hypocrite? Alas, such were not pure—the chasten'd will Of virtue sees that justice is the light Of love, and not revenge, and terror and despite."

xxxV. The murmur of the people slowly dying, Paused as I spake, then those who near me were, Cast gentle looks where the lone man was lying Shrouding his head, which now that infant fair Clasp'd on her lap in silence i-through the air Sobs were then heard, and many kiss'd my feet In pity's madness, and to the despair Of him whom late they cursed, a solace sweet Ilis very victims brought—soft looks and speeches meet.

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xxxWii. T was midnight now, the eve of that great day Whereon the many nations at whose call The chains of earth like mist melted away, Decreed to hold a sacred Festival, A rite to attest the equality of all Who live. So to their homes, to dream or wake All went. The sleepless silence did recal Laone to my thoughts, with hopes that make

slake. xxxviii. The dawn flow'd forth, and from its purple fountains I drank those hopes which make the spirit quail; As to the plain between the misty mountains And the great City, with a countenance pale I went :—it was a sight which might avail To make men weep exulting tears, for whom Now first from human power the reverend veil Was torn, to see Earth from her general womb Pour forth her swarming sons to a fraternal doom :

xxxix. To see, far glancing in the misty morning, The signs of that innumerable host, To hear one sound of many made, the warning Of Earth to Heaven from its free children tost, While the eternal hills, and the sea lost In wavering light, and, starring the blue sky The city's myriad spires of gold, almost With human joy made mute society, Its witnesses with men who must hereafter be.

XL. To see like some vast island from the Ocean, The Altar of the Federation rear Its pile i' the midst; a work, which the devotion Of millions in one night created there, Sudden, as when the moonrise makes appear Strange clouds in the east; a marble pyramid Distinct with steps: that mighty shape did wear The light of genius; its still shadow hid Far ships: to know its height the morning mists forbid!

XLI. To hear the restless multitudes forever Around the base of that great Altar flow, As on some mountain islet burst and shiver Atlantic waves; and solemnly and slow As the wind bore that tumult to and fro, To feel the dreamlike music, which did swim Like beams through floating clouds on waves below Falling in pauses, from that Altar dim As silver sounding tongues breathed an aerial hymn.

XLII. To hear, to see, to live, was on that morn Lethean joy! so that all those assembled Cast off their memories of the past outworn; Two only bosoms with their own life trembled, And mine was one,—and we had both dissembled; So with a beating heart I went, and one, who having much, covets yet more, resembled; A lost and dear possession, which not won, He walks in lonely gloom beneath the noonday sun.

YLIII. To the great Pyramid I came : its stair with female quires was throngd: the loveliest Among the free, grouped with its sculptures rare; As I approach'd, the morning's golden mist, which now the wonder-stricken breezes kist with their cold lips, fled, and the summit shone Like Athos seen from Samothracia, drest In earliest light by vintagers, and one Sate there, a female Shape upon an ivory throne. XLIV. A Form most like the imagined habitant Of silver exhalations sprung from dawn, by winds which feed on sunrise woven, to inchant The faiths of men: all mortal eyes were drawn, As famish'd mariners through strange seas gone Gaze on a burning watch-tower, by the light Of those divinest lineaments—alone with thoughts which none could share, from that fair sight I turn'd in sickness, for a veil shrouded her countenance bright. xlv. And, neither did I hear the acclamations, Which from brief silence bursting, filld the air with her strange name and mine, from all the nations which we, they said, in strength had gather'd there From the sleep of bondage; nor the vision fair Of that bright pageantry beheld,—but blind And silent, as a breathing corpse did fare, Leaning upon my friend, till like a wind To fever'd cheeks, a voice flow'd o'er my troubled mind.

XLVI. Like music of some minstrel heavenly gifted, To one whom fiends inthrall, this voice to me; Scarce did I wish her veil to be uplifted, I was so calm and joyous.-I could see The platform where we stood, the statues three Which kept their marble watch on that high shrine, The multitudes, the mountains, and the sea; As when eclipse hath past, things sudden shine To men's astonish'd eyes most clear and crystalline.

XLVII. At first Laone spoke most tremulously: But soon her voice the calmness which it shed Gatherd, and—a Thou art whom 1 sought to see, And thou art our first votary here, she said: * I had a dear friend once, but he is dead!— And of all those on the wide earth who breathe, Thou dost resemble him alone—I spread This veil between us two, that thou beneath Shouldst image one who may have been long lost in death.

xlviii. • For this wilt thou not henceforth pardon me? Yes, but those joys which silence well requite Forbid reply;-why men have chosen me, To be the Priestess of this holiest rite I scareely know, but that the floods of light which flow over the world, have borne me hither To meet thee, long most dear; and now unite Thine hand with mine, and may all comfort wither From both the hearts whose pulse in joy now beat together. xLiv. If our own will as others' law we bind, If the foul worship trampled here we fear; If as ourselves we cease to love our kind!-She paused, and pointed upwards—sculptured there Three shapes around her ivory throne appear; One was a Giant, like a child asleep On a loose rock, whose grasp crush'd, as it were | In dream, sceptres and crowns; and one did keep Its watchful eyes in doubt whether to smile or weep;

L. A Woman sitting on the sculptured disk Of the broad earth, and feeding from one breast A human babe and a young basilisk; Her looks were sweet as Heaven's when loveliest In Autumn eves.—The third Image was drest In white wings swift as clouds in winter skies, Beneath his feet, 'mongst ghastliest forms, represt - Lay Faith, an obscene worm, who sought to rise, While calmly on the Sun he turn'd his diamond eyes.

LI. Beside that Image then I sate, while she Stood, 'mid the throngs which ever ebb’d and flowd Like light amid the shadows of the sea Cast from one cloudless star, and on the crowd That touch which none who feels forgets, bestow'd; And whilst the sun return'd the stedfast gaze Of the great Image as o'er Ileaven it glode, That rite had place; it ceased when sunset's blaze Burn'd o'er the isles; all stood in joy and deep amaze.

When in the silence of all spirits there
Laone's voice was felt, and through the air
Her thrilling gestures spoke, most eloquently fair.

1. • Calm art thou as won sunset! swift and strong As new-fledged Eagles, beautiful and young, That float among the blinding beams of morning; And underneath thy feet writhe Faith, and Folly, Custom, and Hell, and mortal Melancholy— Hark! the Earth starts to hear the mighty warning Of thy voice sublime and holy; Its free spirits here assembled, See thee, feel thee, know thee now, To thy voice their hearts have trembled, Like ten thousand clouds which flow With one wide wind as it flies! Wisdom: thy irresistible children rise To hail thee, and the elements they chain And their own will to swell the glory of thy train.

2. .0 Spirit vast and deep as Night and Heaven! Mother and soul of all to which is given The light of life, the loveliness of being, Lo! thou dost re-ascend the human heart, Thy throne of power, almighty as thou wert, In dreams of Poets old grown pale by seeing The shade of thee:—now, millions start To feel thy lightnings through them burning: Nature, or God, or Love, or Pleasure, Or Sympathy the sad tears turning To mutual smiles, a drainless treasure, Descends amidst us;–Scorn and Hate, . Revenge and Selfishness are desolate— A hundred nations swear that there shall be Pity and Peace and Love, among the good and free!

3. • Eldest of things, divine Equality! Wisdom and Love are but the slaves of thee, The Angels of thy sway, the poor around thee Treasures from all the cells of human thought, And from the Stars, and from the Ocean brought, And the last living heart whose beatings bound thee: The powerful and the wise had sought Thy coming, thou in light descending O'er the wide land which is thine own Like the spring whose breath is blending All blasts of fragrance into one, Comest upon the paths of men — Earth bares her general bosom to thy ken, And all her children here in glory meet To feed upon thy smiles, and clasp thy sacred feet.

• My brethren, we are free! the plains and mountains
The grey sea-shore, the forests and the fountains,
Are haunts of happiest dwellers;-man and woman,
Their common bondage burst, may freely borrow
From lawless love a solace for their sorrow;
For oft we still must weep, since we are human.
A stormy night's serenest morrow,
Whose showers are pity's gentle tears,
Whose clouds are smiles of those that die
Like infants without hopes or fears,
And whose beams are joys that lie
In blended hearts, now holds dominion;
The dawn of mind, which upwards on a pinion
Borne, swift as sun-rise, far illumines space,
And clasps this barren world in its own bright
• My brethren, we are free! the fruits are glowing
Beneath the stars, and the night-winds are flowing
O'er the ripe corn, the birds and beasts are dreaming—
Never again may blood of bird or beast
Stain with its venomous stream a human feast,
To the pure skies in accusation steaming,
Avenging poisons shall have ceased
To feed disease and fear and madness,
The dwellers of the earth and air
Shall throng around our steps with gladness
Seeking their food or refuge there.
Our toil from thought all glorious forms shall cull,
To make this Earth, our home, more beautiful,

And Science, and her sister Poesy,
Shall clothe in light the fields and cities of the free!

6. « Victory, Victory to the prostrate nations! Bear witness Night, and ye mute Constellations Who gaze on us from your crystalline cars! Thoughts have gone forth whose powers can sleep no more! Victory! Victory! Earth's remotest shore, Regions which groan beneath the Antarctic stars, The green lands cradled in the roar Of western waves, and wildernesses Peopled and vast, which skirt the oceans Where morning dyes her golden tresses, Shall soon partake our high emotions: Kings shall turn pale! Almighty Fear, The Fiend-God, when our charmed name he hear, Shall fade like shadow from his thousand fanes, While Truth with Joy enthroned o'er his lost empire reigns!"

LII. Ere she had ceased, the mists of night intwining Their dim woof, floated o'er the infinite throng; She, like a spirit through the darkness shining, In tones whose sweetness silence did prolong, As if to lingering winds they did belong, Pour'd forth her inmost soul: a passionate speech With wild and thrilling pauses woven among, Which whoso heard, was mute, for it could teach To rapture like her own all listening hearts to reach.

LIII. Her voice was as a mountain stream which sweeps The wither'd leaves of Autumn to the lake, And in some deep and narrow bay then sleeps In the shadow of the shores; as dead leaves wake Under the wave, in flowers and herbs which make Those green depths beautiful when skies are blue, The multitude so moveless did partake Such living change, and kindling murmurs flew As o'er that speechless calm delight and wonder grew.

- LIV. Over the plain the throngs were scatter'd then In groups around the fires, which from the sea Even to the gorge of the first mountain glen Blazed wide and far: the banquet of the free Was spread beneath many a dark cypress tree, Beneath whose spires, which sway’d in the red light, Reclining as they ate, of Liberty, And Hope, and Justice, and Laone's name, Earth's children did a woof of happy converse fraine.

- LW. Their feast was such as Earth, the general mother, Pours from her fairest bosom, when she smiles In the embrace of Autumn;– to each other As when some parent fondly reconciles Her warring children, she their wrath beguiles With her own sustenance; they relenting weep: Such was this Festival, which from their isles And continents, and winds, and oceans deep, All shapes might throng to share, that fly, or walk, or


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