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Who ministered with human charity
His human wants, beheld with wondering awe
Their fleeting visitant. The mountaineer,
Encountering on some dizzy precipice
That spectral form, deemed that the Spirit of wind
With lightning eyes, and eager breath, and feet
Disturbing not the drifted snow, had paused
In its career: the infant would conceal
His troubled visage in his mother's robe
In terror at the glare of those wild eyes,
To remember their strange light in many a dream
Of after-times; but youthful maidens, taught
By nature, would interpret half the woe
That wasted him, would cail him with false names
Brother, and friend, would press his pallid hand
At parting, and watch, dim through tears, the path 27)
Of his departure from their father's door.

At length upon the lone Chorasmian shore
He paused, a wide and melancholy waste
Of putrid marshes. A strong impulse urged
His steps to the sea-shore. A swan was there,
Beside a sluggish stream among the reeds.
It rose as he approached, and with strong wings
Scaling the upward sky, bent its bright course
High over the immeasurable main.
His eyes pursued its flight.-"Thou hast a home,
Beautiful bird ; thou voyagest to thine home,
Where thy sweet mate will twine her downy neck
With thine, and welcome thy return with eyes
Bright in the lustre of their own fond joy.
And what am I that I should linger here,
With voice far sweeter than thy dying notes,
Spirit more vast than thine, frame more attuned
To beauty, wasting these surpassing powers
In the deaf air, to the blind earth, and heaven
That echoes not my thoughts?" A gloomy smile
Of desperate hope wrinkled his quivering lips.
For sleep, he knew, kept most relentlessly
Its precious charge, and silent death exposed,

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Faithless perhaps as sleep, a shadowy lure,
With doubtful smile mocking its own strange charms.

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Startled by his own thoughts he looked around.
There was no fair fiend near him, not a siglit
Or sound of awe but in his own deep mind.
A little shallop floating near the shore
Caught the impatient wandering of his gaze.
It had been long abandoned, for its sides
Gaped wide with many a rift, and its frail joints
Swayed with the undulations of the tide.
A restless impulse urged him to embark
And meet lone Death on the drear ocean's waste;
For well he knew that mighty Shadow loves
The slimy caverns of the populous deep.

The day was fair and sunny, sea and sky
Drank its inspiring radiance, and the wind
Swept strongly from the shore, blackening the waves.
Following his eager soul, the wanderer
Leaped in the boat, he spread his cloak aloft
On the bare mast, and took his lonely seat,
And felt the boat speed o'er the tranquil sea
Like a torn cloud before the hurricane.

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As one that in a silver vision floats Obedient to the sweep of odorous winds Upon resplendent clouds, so rapidly Along the dark and ruffled waters fled The straining boat.-A whirlwind swept it on, With fierce gusts and precipitating force, Through the white ridges of the chafèd sea. The waves arose. Higher and higher still Their fierce necks writhed beneath the tempest's scourge Like serpents struggling in a vulture's grasp. Calm and rejoicing in the fearful war Of wave ruining on wave, and blast on blast Descending, and black flood on whirlpool driven With dark obliterating course, he sate: As if their genii were the ministers

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Appointed to conduct him to the light
Of those beloved eyes, the Poet sate
Holding the steady helm. Evening came on,
The beams of sunset hung their rainbow hues
High ʼmid the shifting domes of sheeted spray
That canopied his path o'er the waste deep;
Twilight, ascending slowly from the east,
Entwined in duskier wreaths her braided locks
O'er the fair front and radiant eyes of day;
Night followed, clad with stars. On every side
More horribly the multitudinous streams
Of ocean's mountainous waste to mutual war
Rushed in dark tumult thundering, as to mock
The calm and spangled sky. The little boat
Still fled before the storm; still fled, like foam
Down the steep cataract of a wintry river;
Now pausing on the edge of the riven wave;
Now leaving far behind the bursting mass
That fell, convulsing ocean. Safely fled-
As if that frail and wasted human form,
Had been an elemental god.

At midnight
The moon arose: and lo! the etherial clills
Of Caucasus, whose icy summits shone
Among the stars like sunlight, and around
Whose caverned base the whirlpools and the waves
Bursting and eddying irresistibly
Rage and resound for ever.— Who shall save ?-
The boat fled on,—the boiling torrent drove,-
The crags closed round with black and jagged arms,
The shattered mountain overhung the sea,
And faster still, beyond all human speed,
Suspended on the sweep of the smooth wave,
The little boat was driven. A cavern there
Yawned, and amid its slant and winding depths
Ingulphed the rushing sea. The boat fled on
With unrelaxing speed.—'Vision and Love!'
The Poet cried aloud, 'I have beheld
The path of thy departure. Sleep and death
Shall not divide us long!'

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The boat pursued The windings of the cavern. Day-light shone At length upon that gloomy river's flow; Now, where the fiercest war among the waves Is calm, on the unfathomable stream The boat moved slowly. Where the mountain, riven, Exposed those black depths to the azure sky, -Ere yet the flood's enormous volume fell Even to the base of Caucasus, with sound That shook the everlasting rocks, the mass Filled with one whirlpool all that ample chasm; Stair above stair the eddying waters rose, Circling immeasurably fast, and laved With alternating dash the knarlèd roots Of mighty trees, that stretched their giant arms In darkness over it. l' the midst was left, Reflecting, yet distorting every cloud, A pool of treacherous and tremendous calm. Seized by the sway of the ascending stream, With dizzy swiftness, round, and round, and round, Ridge after ridge the straining boat arose, Till on the verge of the extremest curve, Where, through an opening of the rocky bank, The waters overflow, and a smooth spot Of glassy quiet mid those battling tides Is left, the boat paused shuddering:-Shall it sink Down the abyss ? Shall the reverting stress Of that resistless gulph embosom it? Now shall it fall ?-A wandering stream of wind, Breathed from the west, has caught the expanded sail, And, lo! with gentle motion, between banks Of mossy slope, and on a placid stream, Beneath a woven grove it sails, and, hark ! The ghastly torrent mingles its far roar, With the breeze murmuring in the musical woods. Where the embowering trees recede, and leave A little space of green expanse, the cove Is closed by meeting banks, whose yellow flowers For ever gaze on their own drooping eyes, Reflected in the crystal calm. The wave

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Of the boat's motion marred their pensive task,
Which nought but vagrant bird, or wanton wind,
Or falling spear-grass, or their own decay
Had e'er disturbed before. The Poet longed

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But on his heart its solitude returned,
And he forbore. Not the strong impulse hid
In those flushed cheeks, bent eyes, and shadowy frame
Had yet performed its ministry: it hung
Upon his life, as lightning in a cloud
Gleams, hovering ere it vanish, ere the floods
Of night close over it.

The noonday sun
Now shone upon the forest, one vast mass
Of mingling shade, whose brown magnificence
A narrow vale embosoms. There, huge caves,
Scooped in the dark base of their aëry rocks
Mocking its moans, respond and roar for ever.
The meeting boughs and implicated leaves
Wove twilight o'er the Poet's path, as led
By love, or dream, or god, or mightier Death,
He sought in Nature's dearest haunt, some bank,
Her cradle, and his sepulchre. More dark
And dark the shades accumulate. The oak,
Expanding its immense and knotty arms,
Embraces the light beech. The pyramids
of the tall cedar overarching, frame
Most solemn domes within, and far below,
Like clouds suspended in an emerald sky,
The ash and the acacia floating hang
Tremulous and pale. Like restless serpents, clothed

In rainbow and in fire, the parasites,
Starred with ten thousand blossoms, flow around
The gray trunks, and, as gamesome infants' eyes,
With gentle meanings, and most innocent wiles,
Fold their beams round the hearts of those that love,
These twine their tendrils with the wedded boughs
Uniting their close union; the woven leaves
Make net-work of the dark blue light of day,
And the night's noontide clearness, mutable

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