Imatges de pàgina


Never such a sound before
To the Indian waves we bore.
A pilot asleep on the howling sea
Leaped up from the deck in agony,

And heard, and cried, "Ah, woe is me!"
And died as mad as the wild waves be.


By such dread words from Earth to Heaven
My still realm was never riven:

When its wound was closed, there stood
Darkness o'er the day like blood.


And we shrank back: for dreams of ruin
To frozen caves our flight pursuing

Made us

keep silence-thus-and thus

Though silence is a hell to us.

The Earth. The tongueless Caverns of the craggy hills
Cried, "Misery!" then; the hollow Heaven replied,
"Misery!" And the Ocean's purple waves,
Climbing the land, howled to the lashing winds,
And the pale nations heard it, “Misery!"

Pro. I hear a sound of voices: not the voice
Which I gave forth. Mother, thy sons and thou
Scorn him, without whose all-enduring will
Beneath the fierce omnipotence of Jove,
Both they and thou had vanished, like thin mist
Unrolled on the morning wind. Know ye not me,

The Titan?

He who made his agony

The barrier to your else all-conquering foe? Oh, rock-embosomed lawns, and snow-fed streams, Now seen athwart frore vapours, deep below, Through whose o'ershadowing woods I wandered once With Asia, drinking life from her loved eyes; Why scorns the spirit which informs ye, now As one who checks a fiend-drawn charioteer, To commune with me? me alone, who checked, The falsehood and the force of him who reigns Fills your dim glens and liquid wildernesses : Supreme, and with the groans of pining slaves Why answer ye not, still? Brethren! The Earth. They dare not.

Ha, what an awful whisper rises up!

Pro. Who dares? for I would hear that curse again.

"Tis scarce like sound: it tingles through the frame

As lightning tingles, hovering ere it strike.
Speak, Spirit! from thine inorganic voice
I only know that thou art moving near

And love.

The Earth. How canst thou hear
How cursed I him?
Who knowest not the language of the dead?
Pro. Thou art a living spirit; speak as they.

The Earth. dare not speak like life, lest Heaven's fell King
Should hear, and link me to some wheel of pain
More torturing than the one whereon I roll."
Subtle thou art and good, and though the Gods
Hear not this voice, yet thou art more than God
Being wise and kind: earnestly hearken now.

Pro. Obscurely through my brain, like shadows dim,
Sweep awful thoughts, rapid and thick. I feel
Faint, like one mingled in entwining love;

Yet 'tis not pleasure.

The Earth. No, thou canst not hear:

Thou art immortal, and this tongue is known
Only to those who die.

Pro. And what art thou,

O melancholy Voice?

The Earth. I am the Earth,

Thy mother; she within whose stony veins,

To the last fibre of the loftiest tree

Whose thin leaves trembled in the frozen air,
Joy ran, as blood within a living frame,

When thou didst from her bosom, like a cloud
Of glory, arise, a spirit of keen joy!
And at thy voice her pining sons uplifted
Their prostrate brows from the polluting dust,

And our almighty Tyrant with fierce dread
Grew pale, until his thunder chained thee here.
Then, see those million worlds which burn and roll
Around us their inhabitants beheld

My sphered light wane in wide Heaven; the sea
Was lifted by strange tempest, and new fire
From earthquake-rifted mountains of bright snow
Shook its portentous hair beneath Heaven's frown;
Lightning and Inundation vexed the plains;
Blue thistles bloomed in cities; foodless toads
Within voluptuous chambers panting crawled:

When Plague had fallen on man, and beast, and worm,
And famine; and black blight on herb and tree;
And in the corn, and vines, and meadow-grass,
Teemed ineradicable poisonous weeds

Draining their growth, for my wan breast was dry
With grief; and the thin air, my breath, was stained
With the contagion of a mother's hate

Breathed on her child's destroyer; ay, I heard
Thy curse, the which, if thou rememberest not,

Yet my innumerable seas and streams,

Mountains, and caves, and winds, and yon wide air,
And the inarticulate people of the dead,

Preserve, a treasured spell. We meditate

In secret joy and hope those dreadful words

But dare not speak them.

Pro. Venerable mother!

All else who live and suffer take from thee

Some comfort; flowers, and fruits, and happy sounds,

And love, though fleeting; these may not be mine.

But mine own words, I pray, deny me not.

The Earth. They shall be told. Ere Babylon was dust,

The Magus Zoroaster, my dead child,

Met his own image walking in the garden.

That apparition, sole of men, he saw.

For know there are two worlds of life and death:
One that which thou beholdest; but the other

Is underneath the grave, where do inhabit
The shadows of all forms that think and live
Till death unite them and they part no more;
Dreams and the light imaginings of men,
And all that faith creates or love desires,
Terrible, strange, sublime and beauteous shapes.
There thou art, and dost hang, a writhing shade,
'Mid whirlwind-peopled mountains; all the gods
Are there, and all the powers of nameless worlds,
Vast, sceptred phantoms; heroes, men, and beasts;
And Demogorgon, a tremendous gloom;
And he, the supreme Tyrant, on his throne
Of burning gold. Son, one of these shall utter
The curse which all remember. Call at will
Thine own ghost, or the ghost of Jupiter,
Hades or Typhon, or what mightier Gods
From all-prolific Evil, since thy ruin

Have sprung, and trampled on my prostrate sons.
Ask, and they must reply: so the revenge

Of the Supreme may sweep through vacant shades,
As rainy wind through the abandoned gate
Of a fallen palace.

Pro. Mother, let not aught

Of that which may be evil, pass again
My lips, or those of aught resembling me.
Phantasm of Jupiter, arise, appear!


My wings are folded o'er mine ears :
My wings are crossed o'er mine eyes
Yet through their silver shade appears,
And through their lulling plumes arise,
A Shape, a throng of sounds;

May it be no ill to thee

O thou of many wounds!

Near whom, for our sweet sister's sake,

Ever thus we watch and wake.


The sound is of whirlwind underground,
Earthquake, and fire, and mountains cloven :

The shape is awful like the sound,

Clothed in dark purple, star-inwoven.

A sceptre of pale gold

To stay steps proud, o'er the snow cloud

His veined hand doth hold.

Cruel he looks, but calm and strong,

Like one who does, not suffers wrong.

Phantasm of Jupiter. Why have the secret powers of this strange world

Driven me, a frail and empty phantom, hither

On direst storms? What unaccustomed sounds

Are hovering on my lips, unlike the voice


With which our pallid race hold ghastly talk
In darkness? And, proud sufferer, who art thou?
Pro. Tremendous Image, as thou art must be
He whom thou shadowest forth. I am his foe,
The Titan. Speak the words which I would hear,
Although no thought inform thine empty voice.

The Earth. Listen! And though your echoes must be mute,
Grey mountains, and old woods, and haunted springs,
Prophetic caves, and isle-surrounding streams,

Rejoice to hear what yet ye cannot speak.

Phan. A spirit seizes me and speaks within:

It tears me as fire tears a thunder-cloud.

Pan. See, how he lifts his mighty looks, the Heaven Darkens above.


He speaks! O shelter me!

Pro. I see the curse on gestures proud and cold,
And looks of firm defiance, and calm hate,

And such despair as mocks itself with smiles,
Written as on a scroll: yet speak: Oh, speak!


Fiend, I defy thee! with a calm, fixed mind,
All that thou canst inflict I bid thee do ;
Foul Tyrant both of Gods and Human-kind,
One only being shalt thou not subdue.
Rain then thy plagues upon me here,
Ghastly disease, and frenzying fear;
And let alternate frost and fire

Eat into me, and be thine ire

Lightning, and cutting hail, and legioned forms
Of furies, driving by upon the wounding storms.

Ay, do thy worst. Thou art omnipotent.

O'er all things but thyself I gave thee power,
And my own will. Be thy swift mischiefs sent
To blast mankind, from yon ethereal tower.
Let thy malignant spirit move
In darkness over those I love:
On me and mine I imprecate

The utmost torture of thy hate;

And thus devote to sleepless agony

This undeclining head, while thou must reign on high.

But thou, who art the God and Lord: O, thou,
Who fillest with thy soul this world of woe,
To whom all things of Earth and Heaven do bow
In fear and worship: all-prevailing foe!

I curse thee! let a sufferer's curse

Clasp thee, his torturer, like remorse;
Till thy Infinity shall be

A robe of envenomed agony;

And thine Omnipotence a crown of pain,

To cling like burning gold round thy dissolving brain.

Heap on thy soul, by virtue of this Curse,

Ill deeds, then be thou damned, beholding good;

Both infinite as is the universe,

And thou, and thy self-torturing solitude.

An awful image of calm power
Though now thou sittest, let the hour
Come, when thou must appear to be
That which thou art internally.

And after many a false and fruitless crime

Scorn track thy lagging fall through boundless space and time.

Pro. Were these my words, O Parent?

The Earth.

They were thine.

Pro. It doth repent me: words are quick and vain ; Grief for awhile is blind, and so was mine.

I wish no living thing to suffer pain.


Misery, Oh misery to me,

That Jove at length should vanquish thee.

Wail, howl aloud, Land and Sea,

The Earth's rent heart shall answer ye.

Howl, Spirits of the living and the dead,

Your refuge, your defence lies fallen and vanquished.


Lies fallen and vanquished!


Fallen and vanquishèd !


Fear not 'tis but some passing spasm,
The Titan is unvanquished still.
But see, where through the azure chasm
Of yon forked and snowy hill
Trampling the slant winds on high

With golden-sandalled feet, that glow

Under plumes of purple dye,

Like rose-ensanguined ivory,

A shape comes now,

Stretching on high from his right hand

A serpent-cinctured wand.

Pan. 'Tis Jove's world-wandering herald, Mercury.


And who are those with hydra tresses
And iron wings that climb the wind,
Whom the frowning God represses
Like vapours steaming up behind,
Clanging loud, an endless crowd ?—


These are Jove's tempest-walking hounds,

Whom he gluts with groans and blood,
When charioted on sulphurous cloud
He bursts Heaven's bounds.


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