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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,
The depths were cloudless overhead, The air was calm as it could be,
There was no sight or sound of dread, But that black Anchor floating still Over the piny eastern hill.
The Lady grew sick with a weight of fear
To see that Anchor ever hanging,
The sound as of a dim low clanging,
There was a mist in the sunless air,
Were moveless, and each mighty rock
Stood on its basis steadfastly ;
But piled around, with summits hid
In lines of cloud at intervals, Stood many a mountain pyramid,
Among whose everlasting walls Two mighty cities shone, and ever Through the red mist their domes did quiver.
On two dread mountains, from whose crest
Might seem the eagle for her brood
Those tower-encircled cities stood.
And columns framed of marble white,
And giant fanes, dome over dome Piled, and triumphant gates, all bright
With workmanship, which could not come From touch of mortal instrument, Shot o'er the vales, or lustre lent From its own shapes magnificent.
But still the Lady heard that clang
Filling the wide air far away;
x. 6 vales a, Rossetti conj. ; 7 its || their, Rossetti conj.
And still the mist whose light did hang
Among the mountains shook alway;
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
Had burst its bonds; she looked behind, And saw over the western steep
A raging flood descend, and wind
Where that fair Lady sate, and she
By the wild waves heaped tumultuously ; And, on a little plank, the flow Of the whirlpool bore her to and fro.
From every tower and every dome,
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
Of the drowning mountains, in and out, As the thistle-beard on a whirlwind sails While the flood was filling those hollow vales.
And bore her to the city's wall,
It might the stoutest heart appall
Before a gorgeous gate, which stood
Its aëry arch with light like blood; She looked on that gate of marble clear With wonder that extinguished fear;
xv. 1 flames, Rossetti || waves, Hunt, 1819.
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 that are, Like this same Lady, good and fair.
And as she looked, still lovelier grew
Those marble forms; — the sculptor sure Was a strong spirit, and the hue
Of his own mind did there endure, After the touch, whose power had braided Such grace, was in some sad change faded.
She looked, - the flames were dim, the flood
Grew tranquil as a woodland river Winding through hills in solitude;
Those marble shapes then seemed to quiver, And their fair limbs to float in motion, Like weeds unfolding in the ocean;
And their lips moved; one seemed to speak,
When suddenly the mountains cracked, And through the chasm the flood did break
With an earth-uplifting cataract; The statues gave a joyous scream, And on its wings the pale thin dream Lifted the Lady from the stream.