Imatges de pàgina

Which with the shattered present chokes the past;
And in that best philosophy, whose taste

Makes this cold common hell, our life, a doom
As glorious as a fiery martyrdom;

Her Spirit was the harmony of truth.

Then from the caverns of my dreary youth
I sprang, as one sandalled with plumes of fire,
And towards the loadstar of my one desire,
I flitted, like a dizzy moth, whose flight
Is as a dead leaf's in the owlet light,

When it would seek in Hesper's setting sphere
A radiant death, a fiery sepulchre,

As if it were a lamp of earthly flame.

But She, whom prayers or tears then could not tame,
Past, like a God throned on a winged planet,

Whose burning plumes to tenfold swiftness fan it,
Into the dreary cone of our life's shade;

And as a man with mighty loss dismayed,

I would have followed, though the grave between

Yawned like a gulf whose spectres are unseen:

When a voice said:-"O Thou of hearts the weakest,

The phantom is beside thee whom thou seekest."

Then I-"Where?" the world's echo answered "Where:"

And in that silence, and in my despair,

I questioned every tongueless wind that flew

Over my tower of mourning, if it knew

Whither 'twas fled, this soul out of my soul;

And murmured names and spells which have control

Over the sightless tyrants of our fate;

But neither prayer nor verse could dissipate

The night which closed on her; nor uncreate

That world within this Chaos, mine and me,

Of which she was the veiled Divinity,

The world I say of thoughts that worshipped her:
And therefore I went forth, with hope and fear
And every gentle passion sick to death,
Feeding my course with expectation's breath,
Into the wintry forest of our life;

And struggling through its error with vain strife,
And stumbling in my weakness and my haste,
And half bewildered by new forms, I past
Seeking among those untaught foresters

If I could find one form resembling hers,

In which she might have masked herself from me.
There,-One, whose voice was venomed melody

Sate by a well, under blue nightshade bowers;

The breath of her false mouth was like faint flowers,
Her touch was as electric poison,-flame

Out of her looks into my vitals came,

And from her living cheeks and bosom flew
A killing air, which pierced like honey-dew
Into the core of my green heart, and lay
Upon its leaves; until, as hair grown grey
O'er a young brow, they hid its unblown prime
With ruins of unseasonable time.

In many mortal forms I rashly sought
The shadow of that idol of my thought.

And some were fair-but beauty dies away:
Others were wise-but honeyed words betray:
And One was true-oh! why not true to me?
Then, as a hunted deer that could not flee,
I turned upon my thoughts, and stood at bay,
Wounded and weak and panting; the cold day
Trembled, for pity of my strife and pain.

When, like a noonday dawn, there shone again
Deliverance. One stood on my path who seemed
As like the glorious shape which I had dreamed,
As is the Moon, whose changes ever run

Into themselves, to the eternal Sun;

The cold chaste Moon, the Queen of Heaven's bright isles,
Who makes all beautiful on which she smiles.
That wandering shrine of soft yet icy flame
Which ever is transformed, yet still the same
And warms not but illumes. Young and fair
As the descended Spirit of that sphere,

She hid me, as the Moon may hide the night
From its own darkness, until all was bright
Between the Heaven and Earth of my calm mind,
And, as a cloud charioted by the wind,
She led me to a cave in that wild place,

And sate beside me, with her downward face
Illumining my slumbers, like the Moon
Waxing and waning o'er Endymion.
And I was laid asleep, spirit and limb,
And all my being became bright or dim
As the Moon's image in a summer sea,
According as she smiled or frowned on me;
And there I lay, within a chaste cold bed:
Alas, I then was nor alive nor dead:

For at her silver voice came Death and Life,
Unmindful each of their accustomed strife,
Masked like twin babes, a sister and a brother,
The wandering hopes of one abandoned mother,
And through the cavern without wings they flew,
And cried, Away, he is not of our crew.'

I wept, and though it be a dream, I weep.

What storms then shook the ocean of my sleep,
Blotting that Moon, whose pale and waning lips
Then shrank as in the sickness of eclipse;
And how my soul was as a lampless sea,
And who was then its Tempest; and when She
The Planet of that hour, was quenched, what frost
Crept o'er those waters, till from coast to coast
The moving billows of my being fell

Into a death of ice, immovable;

And then-what earthquakes made it gape and split,
'The white Moon smiling all the while on it,
These words conceal:-If not, each word would be
The key of staunchless tears. Weep not for me!

At length, into the obscure Forest came
The Vision I had sought through grief and shame.
Athwart that wintry wilderness of thorns

Flashed from her motion splendour like the Morn's,

And from her presence life was radiated

Through the grey earth and branches bare and dead;
So that her way was paved, and roofed above
With flowers as soft as thoughts of budding love;
And music from her respiration spread

Like light, all other sounds were penetrated
By the small, still, sweet spirit of that sound,
So that the savage winds hung mute around;
And odours warm and fresh fell from her hair
Dissolving the dull cold in the frore air:
Soft as an Incarnation of the Sun,

When light is changed to love, this glorious One
Floated into the cavern where I lay,

And called my Spirit, and the dreaming clay
Was lifted by the thing that dreamed below
As smoke by fire, and in her beauty's glow
I stood, and felt the dawn of my long night
Was penetrating me with living light:

I knew it was the Vision veiled from me
So many years-that it was Emily.

Twin Spheres of light who rule this passive Earth, This world of love, this me; and into birth Awaken all its fruits and flowers, and dart Magnetic might into its central heart; And lift its billows and its mists, and guide By everlasting laws, each wind and tide To its fit cloud, and its appointed cave; And lull its storms, each in the craggy grave Which was its cradle, luring to faint bowers The armies of the rainbow-winged showers; And, as those married lights, which from the towers Of Heaven look forth and fold the wandering globe In liquid sleep and splendour, as a robe;

And all their many-mingled influence blend,

If equal, yet unlike, to one sweet end;

So ye, bright regents, with alternate sway
Govern my sphere of being, night and day!
Thou, not disdaining even a borrowed might;

Thou, not eclipsing a remoter light;

And, through the shadow of the seasons three,
From Spring to Autumn's sere maturity,

Light it into the Winter of the tomb,

Where it may ripen to a brighter bloom.

Thou too, O Comet, beautiful and fierce,

Who drew the heart of this frail Universe

Towards thine own; till, wrecked in that convulsion,
Alternating attraction and repulsion,

Thine went astray and that was rent in twain;
Oh, float into our azure heaven again!
Be there love's folding-star at thy return;
The living Sun will feed thee from its urn
Of golden fire; the Moon will veil her horn
In thy last smiles; adoring Even and Morn
Will worship thee with incense of calm breath
And lights and shadows; as the star of Death
And Birth is worshipped by those sisters wild

Called Hope and Fear-upon the heart are piled
Their offerings,-of this sacrifice divine

A World shall be the altar.

Lady mine,

Scorn not these flowers of thought, the fading birth
Which from its heart of hearts that plant put forth
Whose fruit made perfect by thy sunny eyes,
Will be as of the trees of Paradise.

The day is come, and thou wilt fly with me.
To whatsoe'er of dull mortality

Is mine, remain a vestal sister still;
To the intense, the deep, the imperishable,
Not mine but me, henceforth be thou united
Even as a bride, delighting and delighted.
Thine hour is come:-the destined Star has risen
Which shall descend upon a vacant prison.
The walls are high, the gates are strong, thick set
The sentinels-but true love never yet
Was thus constrained: it overleaps all fence:
Like lightning, with invisible violence
Piercing its continents; like Heaven's free breath,
Which he who grasps can hold not; liker Death,
Who rides upon a thought, and makes his way
Through temple, tower, and palace, and the array
Of arms: more strength has Love than he or they;
For it can burst his charnel, and make free
The limbs in chains, the heart in agony,
The soul in dust and chaos.


A ship is floating in the harbour now,
A wind is hovering o'er the mountain's brow;
There is a path on the sea's azure floor,
No keel has ever ploughed that path before;
The halcyons brood around the foamless isles;
The treacherous Ocean has forsworn its wiles;
The merry mariners are bold and free:

Say, my heart's sister, wilt thou sail with me?
Our bark is as an albatross, whose nest

Is a far Eden of the purple East;

And we between her wings will sit, while Night

And Day, and Storm, and Calm, pursue their flight, Our ministers, along the boundless Sea,

Treading each other's heels, unheededly.

It is an isle under Ionian skies,

Beautiful as a wreck of Paradise,

And, for the harbours are not safe and good,
This land would have remained a solitude

But for some pastoral people native there,
Who from the Elysian, clear, and golden air
Draw the last spirit of the age of gold,
Simple and spirited; innocent and bold
The blue Ægean girds this chosen home,
With ever-changing sound and light and foam,
Kissing the sifted sands, and caverns hoar ;
And all the winds wandering along the shore

Undulate with the undulating tide:

There are thick woods where sylvan forms abide; And many a fountain, rivulet, and pond,

As clear as elemental diamond,

Or serene morning air; and far beyond,

The mossy tracks made by the goats and deer
(Which the rough shepherd treads but once a year),
Pierce into glades, caverns, and bowers, and halls
Built round with ivy, which the waterfalls
Illumining, with sound that never fails
Accompany the noonday nightingales;
And all the place is peopled with sweet airs;
The light clear element which the isle wears
Is heavy with the scent of lemon-flowers,
Which floats like mist laden with unseen showers,
And falls upon the eyelids like faint sleep;
And from the moss violets and jonquils peep,
And dart their arrowy odour through the brain
Till you might faint with that delicious pain.
And every motion, odour, beam and tone,
With that deep music is in unison;

Which is a soul within the soul-they seem
Like echoes of an antenatal dream.

It is an isle 'twixt Heaven, Air, Earth, and Sea,
Cradled, and hung in clear tranquillity;
Bright as that wandering Eden Lucifer,
Washed by the soft blue Oceans of young air.
It is a favoured place. Famine or Blight,
Pestilence, War, and Earthquake, never light
Upon its mountain peaks; blind vultures, they
Sail onward far upon their fatal way:

The winged storms, chanting their thunder-psalm
To other lands, leave azure chasms of calm
Over this isle, or weep themselves in dew,
From which its fields and woods ever renew
Their green and golden immortality.
And from the sea there rise, and from the sky
There fall, clear exhalations, soft and bright,
Veil after veil, each hiding some delight,
Which Sun or Moon or zephyr draw aside,
Till the isle's beauty, like a naked bride
Glowing at once with love and loveliness,
Blushes and trembles at its own excess:
Yet, like a buried lamp, a Soul no less
Burns in the heart of this delicious isle,
An atom of the Eternal, whose own smile
Unfolds itself, and may be felt not seen

O'er the grey rocks, blue waves, and forests green,
Filling their bare and void interstices.

But the chief marvel of the wilderness

Is a lone dwelling, built by whom or how
None of the rustic island-people know:

"Tis not a tower of strength, though with its height

It overtops the woods; but, for delight,

Some wise and tender Ocean-King, ere crime

Had been invented, in the world's young prime,
Reared it, a wonder of that simple time,

An envy of the isles, a pleasure-house

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