Εικόνες σελίδας
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση

How much, while any yet remains unshared,
Of pleasure may be gained, of sorrow spared.
This truth is that deep well, whence sages draw
The unenvied light of hope; the eternal law
By which those live, to whom this world of life
Is as a garden ravaged, and whose strife
Tills for the promise of a later birth
The wilderness of this Elysian earth.

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,
Breathed but of her to the enamoured air;
And from the breezes whether low or loud,
And from the rain of every passing cloud,
And from the singing of the summer-birds,
And from all sounds, all silence; in the words

Of antique verse and high romance,-in form,
Sound, colour-in whatever checks that storm
Which with the shattered present chokes the past:
And in that best philosophy, whose taste
Makes this cold common hell, our life, a doom
As glorious as a fiery martyrdom:
Her spirit was the harmony of truth.

Then, from the caverns of my dreamy youth
I sprang, as one sandalled with plumes of fire,
And towards the loadstar of my one desire
I flitted, like a dizzy moth, whose flight
Is as a dead leaf's in the owlet light,
When it would seek in Hesper's setting sphere
A radiant death, a fiery sepulchre,

As if it were a lamp of earthly flame. [tame,
But She, whom prayers or tears then could not
Past, like a god throned on a winged planet,
Whose burning plumes to tenfold swiftness fan it,
Into the dreary cone of our life's shade;
And as a man with mighty loss dismayed,

I would have followed, though the grave between
Yawned like a gulf whose spectres are unseen:
When a voice said :-"O thou of hearts the

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 murmured names and spells which have con-
Over the sightless tyrants of our fate;
But neither prayer nor verse could dissipate
The night which closed on her; nor uncreate
That world within this Chaos, mine and me,
Of which she was the veiled Divinity,-
The world I say of thoughts that worshipped her:
And therefore I went forth, with hope and fear,
And every gentle passion sick to death,
Feeding my course with expectation's breath,
Into the wintry forest of our life;

And struggling through its error with vain strife,
And stumbling in my weakness and my haste,
And half bewildered by new forms, I past
Seeking among those untaught foresters
If I could find one form resembling hers,
In which she might have masked herself from me.
There,-One, whose voice was venomed melody
Sat by a well, under blue night-shade bowers:
The breath of her false mouth was like faint

Her touch was as electric poison,-flame
Out of her looks into my vitals came;
And from her living cheeks and bosom flew
A killing air, which pierced like honey-dew
Into the core of my green heart, and lay
Upon its leaves; until, as hair grown gray
O'er a young brow, they hid its unblown prime
With ruins of unseasonable time.

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
Illumining my slumbers, like the Moon
Waxing and waning o'er Endymion.
And I was laid asleep, spirit and limb,
And all my being became bright or dim

As the Moon's image in a summer sea,
According as she smiled or frowned on me;
And there I lay, within a chaste cold bed:
Alas, I then was nor alive nor dead :—
For at her silver voice came Death and Life,
Unmindful each of their accustomed strife,
Masked like twin babes, a sister and a brother,
The wandering hopes of one abandoned mother,
And through the cavern without wings they

And cried, "Away! he is not of our crew."
I wept, and, though it be a dream, I weep.

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.

« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »