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That which from thee they should implore:-the weak
Alone kneel to thee, offering up the hearts
The strong have broken-yet where shall any seek
A garment whom thou clothest not?
A PALE dream came to a Lady fair,
I know the secrets of the air;
And things are lost in the glare of day,
And thou shalt know of things unknown,
At first all deadly shapes were driven
And o'er the vast cope of bending heaven
And the Lady ever looked to spy
And as towards the east she turned,
She saw aloft in the morning air, Which now with hues of sunrise burned, A great black Anchor rising there; And wherever the Lady turned her eyes It hung before her in the skies.
The sky was blue as the summer sea,
There was no sight nor sound of dread,
The Lady grew sick with a weight of fear,
And veiled her eyes; she then did hear
There was a mist in the sunless air,
Which shook as it were with an earthquake's shock,
But the very weeds that blossomed there
Stood on its basis steadfastly;
The Anchor was seen no more on high.
But piled around with summits hid
Among whose everlasting walls
On two dread mountains, from whose crest, Might seem, the eagle for her brood Would ne'er have hung her dizzy nest,
Those tower-encircled cities stood. A vision strange such towers to see, Sculptured and wrought so gorgeously, Where human art could never be.
And columns framed of marble white,
With workmanship, which could not come
But still the Lady heard that clang
So that the Lady's heart beat fast,
Sudden from out that city sprung
A light that made the earth grow red; Two flames that each with quivering tongue Licked its high domes, and overhead Among those mighty towers and fanes Dropped fire, as a volcano rains Its sulphurous ruin on the plains.
And hark! a rush, as if the deep
Had burst its bonds; she looked behind And saw over the western steep
A raging flood descend, and wind
And now those raging billows came
Where that fair Lady sat, and she Was borne towards the showering flame By the wild waves heaped tumultuously; And, on a little plank, the flow Of the whirlpool bore her to and fro.
The waves were fiercely vomited
And dreary light did widely shed
O'er that vast flood's suspended foam, Beneath the smoke which hung its night On the stained cope of heaven's light.
The plank whereon that Lady sate
Was driven through the chasms, about and about Between the peaks so desolate
Of the drowning mountain, in and out,
At last her plank an eddy crost,
And bore her to the city's wall,
Which now the flood had reached almost ;
To hear the fire roar and hiss
The eddy whirled her round and round
For it was filled with sculptures rarest,
Of forms most beautiful and strange, Like nothing human, but the fairest
Of winged shapes, whose legions range Throughout the sleep of those who are, Like this same Lady, good and fair.