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How much, while any yet remains unshared,
There was a Being whom my spirit oft Met on its visioned wanderings, far aloft, In the clear golden prime of my youth's dawn, Upon the fairy isles of sunny lawn, Amid the enchanted mountains, and the caves Of divine sleep, and on the air-like waves Of wonder-level dream, whose tremulous floor Paved her light steps ;-on an imagined shore, Under the gray beak of some promontory She met me, robed in such exceeding glory, That I beheld her not. In solitudes [woods, Her voice came to me through the whispering And from the fountains, and the odours deep Of flowers, which, like lips murmuring in their
Of the sweet kisses which had lulled them there,
Of antique verse and high romance,-in form,
Then, from the caverns of my dreamy youth
As if it were a lamp of earthly flame. [tame,
I would have followed, though the grave between
The phantom is beside thee whom thou seekest." Then I-"Where?" the world's echo answered "Where?"
And in that silence, and in my despair,
I questioned every tongueless wind that flew
Over my tower of mourning, if it krew
Whither 'twas fled, this soul out of my soul; [trol
And struggling through its error with vain strife,
Her touch was as electric poison,-flame
In many mortal forms I rashly sought The shadow of that idol of my thought. And some were fair-but beauty dies away; Others were wise-but honeyed words betray; And one was true-oh! why not true to me? Then, as a hunted deer that could not flee, I turned upon my thoughts, and stood at bay, Wounded, and weak, and panting; the cold day Trembled, for pity of my strife and pain, When, like a noonday dawn, there shone again Deliverance. One stood on my path who seemed As like the glorious shape which I had dreamed, As is the Moon, whose changes ever run
Into themselves, to the eternal Sun;
The cold chaste Moon, the Queen of Heaven's bright isles,
Who makes all beautiful on which she smiles; That wandering shrine of soft yet icy flame, Which ever is transformed, yet still the same, And warms not but illumines. Young and fair As the descended Spirit of that sphere,
She hid me, as the Moon may hide the night From its own darkness, until all was bright Between the Heaven and Earth of my calm mind, And, as a cloud charioted by the wind,
She led me to a cave in that wild place,
And sat beside me, with her downward face
As the Moon's image in a summer sea,
And cried, "Away! he is not of our crew."
What storms then shook the ocean of my sleep, Blotting that Moon, whose pale and waning lips Then shrank as in the sickness of eclipse; And how my soul was as a lampless sea,
And who was then its Tempest; and when She, The Planet of that hour, was quenched, what frost Crept o'er those waters, till from coast to coast The moving billows of my being fell
Into a death of ice, immovable;
And then-what earthquakes made it gape and split,
The white Moon smiling all the while on it,— These words conceal;-if not, each word would be The key of staunchless tears: weep not for me!
At length, into the obscure forest came The vision I had sought through grief and shame.