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Outwatching weary night,
Her dewy eyes are closed:
On their translucent lids, whose texture fine
The baby Sleep is pillowed:
Her golden tresses shade
Twining like tendrils of the parasite
Around a marble column.
Hark! whence that rushing sound?
'Tis like a wondrous strain that sweeps
When west winds sigh and evening waves respond
"Tis wilder than the unmeasured notes
Which from the unseen lyres of dells and groves
Its shape reposed within: slight as some cloud
Bright as that fibrous woof when stars indue
Four shapeless shadows bright and beautiful
The Demon leaning from the ethereal car
Gazed on the slumbering maid.
Human eye hath ne'er beheld
A shape so wild, so bright, so beautiful,
As that which o'er the maiden's charmed sleep
Waving a starry wand,
Hung like a mist of light.
Such sounds as breathed around like odorous winds
Of wakening spring arose,
Filling the chamber and the moonlight sky.
Maiden, the world's supremest spirit
Beneath the shadow of her wings
Folds all thy memory doth inherit
Feelings that lure thee to betray,
For thou hast earned a mighty boon,
Entranced in some diviner mood
Custom, and Faith, and Power thou spurnest;
A living light to cheer it long,
Therefore from nature's inner shrine,
The flame to seize, the veil to rend,
All that inspires thy voice of love,
Or through thy frame doth burn or move,
Earth's unsubstantial mimicry!
it ceased, and from the mute and moveless frame A radiant spirit arose,
All beautiful in naked purity.
Robed in its human hues it did ascend,
It moved towards the car, and took its seat
Obedient to the sweep of aëry song,
The magic car moved on;
The night was fair, innumerable stars
The magic car moved on
Eddied above the mountain's loftiest peak
Now far above a rock the utmost verge
The rival of the Andes, whose dark brow
Far, far below the chariot's stormy path
Its broad and silent mirror gave to view
The pale and waning stars,
The chariot's fiery track,
Tinging those fleecy clouds
That cradled in their folds the infant dawn.
The chariot seemed to fly
Through the abyss of an immense concave,
As they approached their goal,
The winged shadows seemed to gather speed.
With the sun's cloudless orb,
Parted around the chariot's swifter course,
Dashed from the boiling surge
Before a vessel's prow.
The magic car moved on.
Earth's distant orb appeared
The smallest light that twinkles in the heavens,
It was a sight of wonder! Some were horned,
Spirit of Nature! here
In this interminable wilderness
Of worlds, at whose involved immensity
Here is thy fitting temple.
Yet not the lightest leaf
That quivers to the passing breeze
Is less instinct with thee,
Yet not the meanest worm,
That lurks in graves and fattens on the dead,
Spirit of Nature! thou
If solitude hath ever led thy steps
Until the sun's broad orb
Seemed resting on the fiery line of ocean,
Thou must have marked the braided webs of gold
That without motion hang
Over the sinking sphere;
Thou must have marked the billowy mountain clouds, Edged with intolerable radiancy,
Towering like rocks of jet
When the sun's highest point
Peers like a star o'er ocean's western edge,
When those far clouds of feathery purple gleam
Like fairy lands girt by some heavenly sea;
Where in the midst of all existing things
That gleam amid yon flood of purple light,
That canopy the sun's resplendent couch,
As the eternal temple could afford.
Its vast and azure dome;
And on the verge of that obscure abyss
The magic car no longer moved;
Entered the eternal gates.
Those clouds of aëry gold
That slept in glittering billows
Beneath the azure canopy,
With the ethereal footsteps trembled not;
While slight and odorous mists
Floated to strains of thrilling melody
Through the vast columns and the pearly shrines.
The Demon and the Spirit
That limits swift imagination's flight,
Eternal Nature's law.
The circling systems formed
A wilderness of harmony,
In eloquent silence through the depths of space
Awhile the Spirit paused in ecstasy.
Yet soon she saw, as the vast spheres swept by,
Shadows, and skeletons, and fiendly shapes,
In verse, such as malignant gods pronounce,
With bosoms bare, and bowed heads, and false looks
Of true submission, as the sphere rolled by,
Which human hearts must feel, while human tongues
Breathing in self contempt fierce blasphemies
Against the Demon of the World, and high
Hurling their armed hands where the pure Spirit,
Serene and inaccessibly secure,
Stood on an isolated pinnacle,
The flood of ages combating below,