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And a light spear topped with a cypress cone,
Shook the weak hand that grasped it; of that crew
A herd-abandoned deer, struck by the hunter's dart.
All stood aloof, and at his partial moan
Smiled through their tears; well knew that gentle band Who in another's fate now wept his own;
As in the accents of an unknown land
He sung new sorrow; sad Urania scanned
The Stranger's mien, and murmured: "Who art thou?"
He answered not, but with a sudden hand
Made bare his branded and ensanguined brow,
Which was like Cain's or Christ's.-Oh! that it should be so!
What softer voice is hushed over the dead?
Athwart what brow is that dark mantle thrown?
What form leans sadly o'er the white deathbed,
In mockery of monumental stone,
The heavy heart heaving without a moan?
If it be He, who, gentlest of the wise,
Taught, soothed, loved, honoured the departed one;
Let me not vex, with inharmonious sighs,
The silence of that heart's accepted sacrifice.
Our Adonais has drunk poison-oh,
What deaf and viperous murderer could crown
It felt, yet could escape the magic tone
Whose prelude held all envy, hate, and wrong,
Silent with expectation of the song,
Whose master's hand is cold, whose silver lyre unstrung.
Live thou, whose infamy is not thy fame!
To spill the venom, when thy fangs o'erflow;
Nor let us weep that our delight is fled
Far from these carrion kites that scream below;
He wakes or sleeps with the enduring dead: Thou canst not soar where he is sitting now. Dust to the dust! but the pure spirit shall flow Back to the burning fountain whence it came, A portion of the Eternal, which must glow Through time and change, unquenchably the same, Whilst thy cold embers choke the sordid hearth of shame.
Peace, peace! he is not dead, he doth not sleep-
'Tis we, who, lost in stormy visions, keep
With phantoms an unprofitable strife,
And in mad trance strike with our spirit's knife
Like corpses in a charnel; fear and grief
Convulse us and consume us day by day,
And cold hopes swarm like worms within our living clay.
He has outsoared the shadow of our night;
He lives, he wakes-'tis Death is dead, not he;
Ye caverns and ye forests, cease to moan!
He is made one with Nature: there is heard
In darkness and in light, from herb and stone,
He is a portion of the loveliness
Which once he made more lovely: he doth bear
His part, while the one Spirit's plastic stress
From trees and beasts and men into the Heaven's light.
The splendours of the firmament of time
Shall be its earthly doom, the dead live there
And move like winds of light on dark and stormy air.
The inheritors of unfulfilled renown
Rose from their thrones, built beyond mortal thought,
Arose; and Lucan, by his death approved:
And many more, whose names on earth are dark,
'It was for thee yon kingless sphere has long
Swung blind in unascended majesty,
Silent alone amid an Heaven of Song.
Assume thy wingèd throne, thou Vesper of our throng!"
Who mourns for Adonais? oh come forth,
Even to a point within our day and night;
Or go to Rome, which is the sepulchre,
O, not of him, but of our joy: 'tis nought
That ages, empires, and religions there
Go thou to Rome,-at once the Paradise,
And where its wrecks like shattered mountains rise,
A light of laughing flowers along the grass is spread.
And grey walls moulder round, on which dull Time
Like flame transformed to marble; and beneath
A field is spread, on which a newer band
Have pitched in Heaven's smile their camp of death, Welcoming him we lose with scarce extinguished breath.
Here, pause: these graves are all too young as yet
The One remains, the many change and pass;
Until Death tramples it to fragments.-Die,
Why linger, why turn back, why shrink, my Heart? Thy hopes are gone before: from all things here
They have departed; thou shouldst now depart!
No more let Life divide what Death can join together.
That Light whose smile kindles the Universe, That Beauty in which all things work and move, That Benediction which the eclipsing Curse Of birth can quench not, that sustaining Love Which through the web of being blindly wove By man and beast and earth and air and sea, Burns bright or dim, as each are mirrors of The fire for which all thirst; now beams on me Consuming the last clouds of cold mortality.
The breath whose might I have invoked in song
Whilst burning through the inmost veil of Heaven,
Beacons from the abode where the Eternal are.