Imatges de pàgina

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
Could medicine the sick soul to happy sleep,
And change eternal death into a night

Of glorious dreams-or if eyes needs must weep,
Could make their tears all wonder and delight,
She in her crystal vials did closely keep:

If men could drink of those clear vials, 'tis said
The living were not envied of the dead.


Her cave was stored with scrolls of strange device,
The works of some Saturnian Archimage,
Which taught the expiations at whose price

Men from the Gods might win that happy age
Too lightly lost, redeeming native vice;

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,
Not to be checked and not to be confined,

Obey the spells of wisdom's wizard skill;

Time, Earth and Fire-the Ocean and the Wind,
And all their shapes-and man's imperial will;
And other scrolls whose writings did unbind

The inmost lore of Love-let the profane
Tremble to ask what secrets they contain.


And wondrous works of substances unknown,
To which the enchantment of her father's power
Had changed those ragged blocks of savage stone,
Were heaped in the recesses of her bower;
Carved lamps and chalices, and phials which shone
In their own golden beams-each like a flower,
Out of whose depth a firefly shakes his light
Under a cypress in a starless night.


At first she lived alone in this wild home,
And her own thoughts were each a minister,
Clothing themselves or with the ocean-foam,
Or with the wind, or with the speed of fire,
To work whatever purposes might come

Into her mind; such power her mighty Sire
Had girt them with, whether to fly or run,
Through all the regions which he shines upon.


The Ocean-nymphs and Hamadryades,
Oreads and Naiads with long weedy locks,
Offered to do her bidding through the seas,
Under the earth, and in the hollow rocks,
And far beneath the matted roots of trees,
And in the gnarled heart of stubborn oaks,
So they might live for ever in the light
Of her sweet presence-each a satellite.


"This may not be," the wizard maid replied;
"The fountains where the Naiades bedew
Their shining hair, at length are drained and dried;
The solid oaks forget their strength, and strew
Their latest leaf upon the mountains wide;

The boundless ocean, like a drop of dew
Will be consumed-the stubborn centre must
Be scattered, like a cloud of summer dust.


"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
Of sobbing voices came upon her ears
From those departing Forms, o'er the serene
Of the white streams and of the forest green.


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,
Each flame of it is as a precious stone

Dissolved in ever moving light, and this

Belongs to each and all who gaze upon.
The Witch beheld it not, for in her hand
She held a woof that dimmed the burning brand.


This lady never slept, but lay in trance

All night within the fountain-as in sleep.
Its emerald crags glowed in her beauty's glance:
Through the green splendour of the water deep
She saw the constellations reel and dance

Like fireflies-and withal did ever keep
The tenour of her contemplations calm,
With open eyes, closed feet and folded palm.


And when the whirlwinds and the clouds descended
From the white pinnacles of that cold hill,
She past at dewfall to a space extended,
Where in a lawn of flowering asphodel
Amid a wood of pines and cedars blended,
There yawned an inextinguishable well
Of crimson fire, full even to the brim
And overflowing all the margin trim.


Within the which she lay when the fierce war
Of wintry winds shook that innocuous liquor

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
For Venus, as the chariot of her star;

But it was found too feeble to be fraught
With all the ardours in that sphere which are,

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,
The first-born Love out of his cradle leapt,
And clove dun Chaos with his wings of gold,
And like an horticultural adept,

Stole a strange seed, and wrapt it up in mould,
And sowed it in his mother's star, and kept
Watering it all the summer with sweet dew,
And with his wings fanning it as it grew.


The plant grew strong and green-the snowy flower
Fell, and the long and gourd-like fruit began
To turn the light and dew by inward power

To its own substance; woven tracery ran
Of light firm texture, ribbed and branching, o'er
The solid rind, like a leafs veined fan,

Of which Love scooped this boat, and with soft motion
Piloted it round the circumfluous ocean.


This boat she moored upon her fount, and lit
A living spirit within all its frame,
Breathing the soul of swiftness into it.

Couched on the fountain like a panther tame,
One of the train at Evan's feet that sit;

Or as on Vesta's sceptre a swift flame,

Or on blind Homer's heart a winged thought,-
In joyous expectation lay the boat.


Then by strange art she kneaded fire and snow
Together, tempering the repugnant mass
With liquid love-all things together grow
Through which the harmony of love can pass;
And a fair Shape out of her hands did flow
A living Image, which did far surpass
In beauty that bright shape of vital stone
Which drew the heart out of Pygmalion.


A sexless thing it was, and in its growth
It seemed to have developed no defect
Of either sex, yet all the grace of both,-

In gentleness and strength its limbs were decked;
The bosom swelled lightly with its full youth,
The countenance was such as might select
Some artist that his skill should never die,
Imaging forth such perfect purity.


From its smooth shoulders hung two rapid wings,
Fit to have borne it to the seventh sphere,

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
Of icy crag cleaving the purple sky,
And caverns yawning round unfathomably.


The silver noon into that winding dell,
With slanted gleam athwart the forest tops,
Tempered like golden evening, feebly fell;

A green and glowing light, like that which drops
From folded lilies in which glowworms dwell,
When earth over her face night's mantle wraps;
Between the severed mountains lay on high
Over the stream, a narrow rift of sky.


And ever as she went, the Image lay
With folded wings and unawakened eyes;

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
Upon a stream of wind, the pinnace went:
Now lingering on the pools, in which abode
The calm and darkness of the deep content
In which they paused; now o'er the shallow road
Of white and dancing waters all besprent
With sand and polished pebbles:-mortal boat
In such a shallow rapid could not float.


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.

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