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As bats at the wired window of a dairy,
They beat their vans; and each was an adept, When loosed and missioned, making wings of winds, To stir sweet thoughts or sad in destined minds.
And liquors clear and sweet, whose healthful might
Of glorious dreams-or if eyes needs must weep,
If men could drink of those clear vials, 'tis said
Her cave was stored with scrolls of strange device,
Men from the Gods might win that happy age
And which might quench the earth-consuming rage Of gold and blood-till men should live and move Harmonious as the sacred stars above.
And how all things that seem untameable,
Obey the spells of wisdom's wizard skill;
Time, Earth and Fire-the Ocean and the Wind,
The inmost lore of Love-let the profane
And wondrous works of substances unknown,
At first she lived alone in this wild home,
Into her mind; such power her mighty Sire
The Ocean-nymphs and Hamadryades,
"This may not be," the wizard maid replied;
The boundless ocean, like a drop of dew
"And ye with them will perish one by one: If I must sigh to think that this shall be,
If I must weep when the surviving Sun
Shall smile on your decay-Oh, ask not me
To love you till your little race is run;
I cannot die as ye must-over me
Your leaves shall glance-the streams in which ye dwell Shall be my paths henceforth, and so, farewell!"
She spoke and wept: the dark and azure well
Sparkled beneath the shower of her bright tears,
And every little circlet where they fell,
Flung to the cavern-roof inconstant spheres
And intertangled lines of light:-a knell
All day the wizard lady sat aloof
Spelling out scrolls of dread antiquity Under the cavern's fountain-lighted roof; Or broidering the pictured poesy
Of some high tale upon her growing woof,
Which the sweet splendour of her smiles could dye In hues outshining heaven-and ever she
Added some grace to the wrought poesy.
While on her hearth lay blazing many a piece
Of sandal wood, rare gums and cinnamon;
Men scarcely know how beautiful fire is,
Dissolved in ever moving light, and this
Belongs to each and all who gaze upon.
This lady never slept, but lay in trance
All night within the fountain-as in sleep.
Like fireflies-and withal did ever keep
And when the whirlwinds and the clouds descended
Within the which she lay when the fierce war
In many a mimic moon and bearded star
O'er woods and lawns--the serpent heard it flicker
In sleep, and dreaming still, he crept afar
And when the windless snow descended thicker Than autumn leaves, she watched it as it came Melt on the surface of the level flame.
She had a Boat which some say Vulcan wrought
But it was found too feeble to be fraught
And so she sold it, and Apollo bought,
And gave it to this daughter: from a car Changed to the fairest and the lightest boat Which ever upon mortal stream did float.
And others say, that when but three hours old,
Stole a strange seed, and wrapt it up in mould,
The plant grew strong and green-the snowy flower
To its own substance; woven tracery ran
Of which Love scooped this boat, and with soft motion
This boat she moored upon her fount, and lit
Couched on the fountain like a panther tame,
Or as on Vesta's sceptre a swift flame,
Or on blind Homer's heart a winged thought,-
Then by strange art she kneaded fire and snow
A sexless thing it was, and in its growth
In gentleness and strength its limbs were decked;
From its smooth shoulders hung two rapid wings,
Tipt with the speed of liquid lightnings,
Dyed in the ardours of the atmosphere:
She led her creature to the boiling springs
Where the light boat was moored-and said, "Sit here!"
And pointed to the prow, and took her seat
Beside the rudder with opposing feet.
And down the streams which clove those mountains vast
Around their inland islets, and amid
The panther-peopled forests, whose shade cast
Darkness and odours, and a pleasure hid
In melancholy gloom, the pinnace past;
By many a star-surrounded pyramid
The silver noon into that winding dell,
A green and glowing light, like that which drops
And ever as she went, the Image lay
And o'er its gentle countenance did lay
The busy dreams, as thick as summer flies, Chasing the rapid smiles that would not stay,
And drinking the warm tears, and the sweet sighs Inhaling, which, with busy murmur vain,
They had aroused from that full heart and brain.
And ever down the proud vale, like a cloud
And down the earthquaking cataracts which shiver Their snow-like waters into golden air,
Or under chasms unfathomable ever
Sepulchre them, till in their rage they tear
A subterranean portal for the river,
It fled the circling sunbows did upbear Its fall down the hoar precipice of spray, Lighting it far upon its lampless way.
And when the wizard lady would ascend
The labyrinths of some many winding vale, Which to the inmost mountain upward tendShe called "Hermaphroditus!" and the pale And heavy hue which slumber could extend
Over its lips and eyes, as on the gaie A rapid shadow from a slope of grass, Into the darkness of the stream did pass.