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“And when the Eagle came, that lovely thing,
Oaring with rosy feet its silver boat,
Fled near me as for shelter; on slow wing,
The Eagle, hovering o'er his prey did float;
But when he saw that I with fear did note
His purpose, proffering my own food to him,
The eager plumes subsided on his throat,
He came where that bright child of sea did swim,
And o'er it cast in peace his shadow broad and dim.
“This wakened me, it gave me human strength,
And hope, I know not whence or wherefore, rose,
But I resumed my ancient powers at length;
My spirit felt again like one of those
Like thine, whose fate it is to make the woes
Of humankind their prey-what was this cave?
Its deep foundation no firm purpose knows
Immutable, resistless, strong to save,
Like mind while yet it mocks the all-devouring grave.
“And where was Laon? might my heart be dead,
While that far dearer heart could move and be ?
Or whilst over the earth the pall was spread,
Which I had sworn to rend? I might be free,
Could I but win that friendly bird to me,
To bring me ropes; and long in vain I sought
By intercourse of mutual imagery
Of objects, if such aid he could be taught;
But fruit, and flowers, and boughs, yet never ropes he brought.
We live in our own world, and mine was made
From glorious phantasies of hope departed:
Aye, we are darkened with their floating shade,
Or cast a lustre on them—time imparted
Such power to me, I became fearless-hearted,
My eye and voice grew firm, calm was my mind,
And piercing, like the morn, now it has darted
Its lustre on all hidden things, behind
Yon dim and fading clouds which load the weary wind.
“My mind became the book through which I grew
Wise in all human wisdom, and its cave,
Which like a mine I rifled through and through,
To me the keeping of its secrets gave-
One mind, the type of all, the moveless wave
Whose calm reflects all moving things that are,
Necessity, and love, and life, the grave,
And sympathy, fountains of hope and fear;
Justice, and truth, and time, and the world's natural sphere.
“And on the sand would I make signs to range
These woofs, as they were woven, of my thought;
Clear, elemental shapes, whose smallest change
A subtler language within language wrought:
The key of truths which once were dimly taught
In old Crotona ;-and sweet melodies
Of love, in that lorn solitude I caught
From mine own voice in dream, when thy dear eyes Shone thro' my sleep, and did that utterance harmonize.
"Thy songs were winds whereon I fled at will,
As in a winged chariot, o'er the plain
Of crystal youth; and thou wert there to fill
My heart with joy, and there we sate again
On the grey margin of the glimmering main,
Happy as then but wiser far, for we
Smiled on the flowery grave in which were lain
Fear, Faith, and Slavery; and mankind was free,
Equal, and pure and wise, in wisdom's prophecy.
For to my will my fancies were as slaves
To do their sweet and subtile ministries;
And oft from that bright fountain's shadowy waves
They would make human throngs gather and rise
To combat with my overflowing eyes,
And voice made deep with passion—thus I grew
Familiar with the shock and the surprise
And war of earthly minds, from which I drew
The power which has been mine to fratne their thoughts anew,
“And thus my prison was the populous earth-
Where I saw-even as misery dreams of morn
Before the east has given its glory birth-
Religion's pomp made desolate by the scorn
Of Wisdom's faintest smile, and thrones uptorn,
And dwellings of mild people interspersed
With undivided fields of ripening corn,
And love made free, –a hope which we have nurst
Even with our blood and tears,—until its glory burst.
“ All is not lost! there is some recompense
For hope whose fountain can be thus profound,
Even throned Evil's splendid impotence,
Girt by its hell of power, the secret sound
Of hymns to truth and freedom—the dread bound
Of life and death past fearlessly and well,
Dungeons wherein the high resolve is found,
Racks which degraded woman's greatness tell,
And what may else be good and irresistible.
“Such are the thoughts which, like the fires that flare
In storm-encompassed isles, we cherish yet
In this dark ruin—such were mine even there;
As in its sleep some odorous violet,
While yet its leaves with nightly dews are wet,
Breathes in prophetic dreams of day's uprise,
Or, as ere Scythian frost in fear has met
Spring's messengers descending from the skies,
The buds foreknow their life-this hope must ever rise.
“So years had past, when sudden earthquake rent
The depth of ocean and the cavern crackt
With sound, as if the world's wide continent
Had fallen in universal ruin wrackt;
And thro' the cleft streamed in one cataract,
The stifling waters when I woke, the flood
Whose banded waves that crystal cave had sacked
Was ebbing round me, and my bright abode
Before me yawned-a chasm desert, and bare, and broad.
"Above me was the sky, beneath the sea:
I stood upon a point of shattered stone,
And heard loose rocks rushing tumultuously
With splash and shock into the deep-anon
All ceased, and there was silence wide and lone.
I felt that I was free! the Ocean-spray
Quivered beneath my feet, the broad Heaven shone
Around, and in my hair the winds did play
Lingering as they pursued their unimpeded way.
"My spirit moved upon the sea like wind
Which round some thymy cape will lag and hover,
Tho' it can wake the still cloud, and unbind
The strength of tempest: day was almost over,
When thro' the fading light I could discover
A ship approaching-its white sails were fed
With the north wind—its moving shade did cover
The twilight deep ;-the mariners in dread
Cast anchor when they saw new rocks around them spread.
XLI, “And when they saw one sitting on a crag, They sent a boat to me ;-the sailors rowed In awe thro' many a new and fearful jag Of overhanging rock, thro' which there flowed The foam of streams that cannot make abode. They came and questioned me, but when they heard My voice, they became silent, and they stood And moved as men in whom new love had stirred Deep thoughts: so to the ship we past without a word.'
“I SATE beside the steersman then, and gazing
Upon the west, cried, 'Spread the sails ! behold!
The sinking moon is like a watch-tower blazing
Over the mountains yet;—the City of Gold
Yon Cape alone does from the sight withhold;
The stream is fleet-the north breathes steadily
Beneath the stars, they tremble with the cold !
Ye cannot rest upon the dreary sea !
Haste, haste to the warm home of happier destiny!'
II. “The Mariners obeyed—the Captain stood Aloof, and whispering to the Pilot, said, * Alas, alas! I fear we are pursued By wicked ghosts: a Phantom of the Dead, The night before we sailed, came to my bed In dream, like that!'-The Pilot then replied, • It cannot be—she is a human Maid
Her low voice makes you weep-she is some bride, Or daughter of high birth—she can be nought beside.
“We past the islets, borne by wind and stream,
And as we sailed, the Mariners came near
And thronged around to listen ;-in the gleam
Of the pale moon I stood, as one whom fear
May not attaint, and my calm voice did rear;
*Ye all are human—yon broad moon gives light
To millions who the self-same likeness wear,
Even while I speak—beneath this very night,
Their thoughts flow on like ours, in sadness or delight.