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And it unfurled its heaven-coloured pinions,
In which spring clothes her emerald-winged minions.
And then it winnowed the Elysian air
Breasting the whirlwind with impetuous flight; The pinnace, oared by those enchanted wings, Clove the fierce streams towards their upper springs.
The water flashed like sunlight, by the prow
In tempest down the mountains,-loosely driven
Or, when the weary moon was in the wane,
Her spirit; but sailed forth under the light
Of shooting stars, and bade extend amain
His storm-outspeeding wings, the Hermaphrodite; She to the Austral waters took her way, Beyond the fabulous Thamondocona.
Where, like a meadow which no scythe has shaven, Which rain could never bend, or whirl-blast shake, With the Antarctic constellations paven,
Canopus and his crew, lay th' Austral lakeThere she would build herself a windless haven Out of the clouds whose moving turrets make The bastions of the storm, when through the sky The spirits of the tempest thundered by.
A haven, beneath whose translucent floor
Lifted their dreadful crags; and like a shore
And whilst the outer lake beneath the lash
Of the winds' scourge, foamed like a wounded thing;
Ploughed up the waters, and the flagging wing
On which that lady played her many pranks,
Outspeeds the Antelopes which speediest are,
And then she called out of the hollow turrets
Of those high clouds, white, golden and vermilion,
The armies of her ministering spirits
In mighty legions million after million
They came, each troop emblazoning its merits
On meteor flags; and many a proud pavilion,
Of the intertexture of the atmosphere,
They pitched upon the plain of the calm mere.
They framed the imperial tent of their great Queen
With lambent lightning-fire, as may be seen
And on a throne o'erlaid with starlight, caught
Pale as that moon, lost in the watery night--
These were tame pleasures.-She would often climb
Ride singing through the shoreless air. Oft-time
Aud laughed to hear the fireballs roar behind.
And sometimes to those streams of upper air,
To let her join their chorus. Mortals found
But her choice sport was, in the hours of sleep,
Of utmost Axumè, until he spreads,
Like a calm flock of silver-fleeced sheep,
His waters on the plain: and crested heads
By Maris and the Mareotid lakes,
Strewn with faint blooms like bridal chamber floors; Where naked boys bridling tame water-snakes,
Or charioteering ghastly alligators,
Had left on the sweet waters mighty wakes
Of those huge forms:-within the brazen doors Of the great Labyrinth slept both boy and beast, Tired with the pomp of their Osirian feast.
And where within the surface of the river
And never are erased-but tremble ever
Like things which every cloud can doom to die,
With tombs, and towers, and fanes, 'twas her delight
With motion like the spirit of that wind
Whose soft step deepens slumber, her light feet Passed through the peopled haunts of human kind, Scattering sweet visions from her presence sweet,
Through fane and palace-court and labyrinth mined
A pleasure sweet doubtless it was to see
There, a lone youth who in his dreams did weep; Within, two lovers linked innocently
In their loose locks which over both did creep Like ivy from one stem;--and there lay calm, Old age with snow-bright hair and folded palm.
But other troubled forms of sleep she saw,
And pale imaginings of visioned wrong,
Written upon the brows of old and young "This," said the wizard maiden, "is the strife, Which stirs the liquid surface of man's life."
And little did the sight disturb her soul-
Our course unpiloted and starless make
But she in the calm depths her way could take, Where in bright bowers immortal forms abide, Beneath the weltering of the restless tide.
And she saw princes couched under the glow
Of sunlike gems; and round each temple-court
In dormitories ranged, row after row,
She saw the priests asleep,-all of one sort,
For all were educated to be so.
The peasants in their huts, and in the port
The sailors she saw cradled on the waves,
And the dead lulled within their dreamless graves.
And all the forms in which those spirits lay,
Were to her sight like the diaphanous Veils, in which those sweet ladies oft array Their delicate limbs, who would conceal from us
Only their scorn of all concealment they
Move in the light of their own beauty thus. But these, and all now lay with sleep upon them, And little thought a Witch was looking on them.
She all those human figures breathing there
And often through a rude and worn disguise
And then, she had a charm of strange device, Which murmured on mute lips with tender tone, Could make that spirit mingle with her own.
Alas, Aurora! what wouldst thou have given
Wouldst thou have yielded, ere Proserpina
'Tis said in after times her spirit free
Before she stooped to kiss Endymion,
Than now this lady-like a sexless bee
Tasting ail blossoms, and confined to noneAmong those mortal forms, the wizard maiden Passed with an eye serene and heart unladen.
To those she saw most beautiful, she gave
They drank in their deep sleep of that sweet wave,
Mightier than life, were in them; and the grave Of such, when death oppressed the weary soul, Was as a green and overarching bower
Lit by the gems of many a starry flower.
For on the night that they were buried, she
Of second childhood's swaddling bands, and took The coffin, its last cradle, from its niche,
And threw it with contempt into a ditch.
And there the body lay, age
Mute, breathing, beating, warm, and undecaying
Like one asleep in a green hermitage,
With gentle sleep about its eyelids playing,