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To decorate its memory, and tongues
Are busy of its life; to-morrow, worms
In silence and in darkness seize their prey.
These ruins soon leave not a wreck behind;
Their elements, wide scattered o'er the globe,
To happier shapes are moulded, and become
Ministrant to all blissful impulses ;
Thus human things are perfected, and earth,
Even as a child beneath its mother's love,
Is strengthened in all excellence, and grows
Fairer and nobler with each passing year.
Now Time his dusky pennons o'er the scene
Closes in steadfast darkness, and the past
Fades from our charmed sight. My task is done;
Thy lore is learned. Earth's wonders are thine
With all the fear and all the hope they bring.
My spells are past; the present now recurs.
Ah me! a pathless wilderness remains
Yet unsubdued by man's reclaiming hand.
Yet, human Spirit, bravely hold thy course. Let virtue teach thee firmly to pursue The gradual paths of an aspiring change. For birth and life and death, and that strange
state Before the naked powers, that through the world Wander like winds, have found a human home, All tend to perfect happiness, and urge The restless wheels of being on their way, Whose flashing spokes, instinct with infinite life, Bicker and burn to gain their destined goal;
For birth but wakes the universal mind,
Whose mighty streams might else in silence flow
Through the vast world, to individual sense
Of outward shows, whose unexperienced shape
New modes of passion to its frame may lend;
Life is its state of action, and the store
Of all events is aggregated there
That variegate the eternal universe;
Death is a gate of dreariness and gloom,
That leads to azure isles and beaming skies
And happy regions of eternal hope.
Therefore, O Spirit I fearlessly bear on.
Though storms may break the primrose on its stalk,
Though frosts may blight the freshness of its
Yet spring's awakening breath will woo the earth
To feed with kindliest dews its favorite flower,
That blooms in mossy banks and darksome glens,
Lighting the green wood with its sunny smile.
Fear not then, Spirit, death's disrobing hand, So welcome when the tyrant is awake, So welcome when the bigot's hell-torch flares; 'Tis but the voyage of a darksome hour, The transient gulf-dream of a startling sleep. For what thou art shall perish utterly, But what is thine may never cease to be ; Death is no foe to virtue ; earth has seen Love's brightest roses on the scaffold bloom, Mingling with freedom's fadeless laurels there, And presaging the truth of visioned bliss. Are there not hopes within thee, which this scene Of linked and gradual being has confirmed ?
Hopes that not vainly thou, and living fires
Of mind, as radiant and as pure as thou
Have shone upon the paths of men return
Surpassing Spirit, to that world, where thou
Art destined an eternal war to wage
With tyranny and falsehood, and uproot
germs of misery from the human heart.
Thine is the hand whose piety would soothe
The thorny pillow of unhappy crime,
Whose impotence an easy pardon gains,
Watching its wanderings as a friend's disease;
Thine is the brow whose mildness would defy
Its fiercest rage, and brave its sternest will,
When fenced by power and master of the world.
Thou art sincere and good ; of resolute mind,
Free from heart-withering custom's cold control,
Of passion lofty, pure and unsubdued.
Earth's pride and meanness could not vanquish
And therefore art thou worthy of the boon
Which thou hast now received ; virtue shall keep
Thy footsteps in the path that thou hast trod,
And many days of beaming hope shall bless
Thy spotless life of sweet and sacred love.
Go, happy one, and give that bosom joy
Whose sleepless spirit waits to catch
Light, life and rapture from thy smile.
The Dæmon called its winged ministers. Speechless with bliss the Spirit mounts the car, That rolled beside the crystal battlement, Bending her beamy eyes in thankfulness.
The burning wheels inflame
The steep descent of Heaven's untrodden way.
Fast and far the chariot flew.
The mighty globes that rolled
Around the gate of the Eternal Fane
Lessened by slow degrees, and soon appeared
Such tiny twinklers as the planet orbs,
That, ministering on the solar power,
With borrowed light, pursued their narrower way.
Earth floated then below.
The chariot paused a moment;
The Spirit then descended ;
And from the earth departing
The shadows with swift wings
Speeded like thought upon the light of Heaven.
The Body and the Soul united then ;
A gentle start convulsed Ianthe's frame;
Her veiny eyelids quietly unclosed;
Moveless awhile the dark blue orbs remained.
She looked around in wonder and beheld
Henry, who kneeled in silence by her couch,
Watching her sleep with looks of speechless love,
And the bright beaming stars
That through the casement shone.
THERE was a youth, who, as with toil and travel, Had grown quite weak and gray before his time ; Nor any could the restless griefs unravel
Which burned within him, withering up his prime And goading him, like fiends, from land to land. Not his the load of any secret crime,
For nought of ill his heart could understand,
But pity and wild sorrow for the same;
Not his the thirst for glory or command,
Baffled with blast of hope-consuming shame;
Nor evil joys, which fire the vulgar breast
And quench in speedy smoke its feeble flame,
Had left within his soul their dark unrest;
Nor what religion fables of the grave
Feared he, — Philosophy's accepted guest.
For none than he a purer heart could have,
Or that loved good more for itself alone;
Of nought in heaven or earth was he the slave.
Prince Athanase. Published by Mrs. Shelley, 1824. Composed,