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THE DÆMON OF THE WORLD.

A FRAGMENT OF QUEEN MAB, REVISED.]

[PART 1]

Nec tantum prodere vati,
Quantum scire licet. Venit ætas omnis in unam
Congeriem, miserumque premunt tot sæcula pectus.

Lucan Phars. L. v. I. 176.

How wonderful is Death,

Death and his brother Sleep!
Oue pale as yonder wan and hornèd moon,

With lips of lurid blue,
The other glowing like the vital morn,

When throned on ocean's wave

It breathes over the world :
Yet both so passing strange and wonderful!

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Hath then the iron-sceptred Skeleton,
Whose reign is in the tainted sepulchres,
To the hell dogs that couch beneath his throne
Cast that fair prey ? Must that divinest form,
Which love and admiration cannot view
Without a beating heart, whose azure veins
Steal like dark streams along a field of snow,
Whose outline is as fair as marble clothed
In light of some sublimest mind, decay?

Nor putrefaction's breath
Leave aught of this pure spectacle

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But loathsomeness and ruin?

Spare aught but a dark theme,
On which the lightest heart might moralize?
Or is it but that downy-winged slumbers
Have charmed their nurse coy Silence near her lids

To watch their own repose ?
Will they, when morning's beam

Flows through those wells of light,
Seek far from noise and day some western cave,
Where woods and streams with soft and pausing winds

A lulling murmur weave ?-
Ianthe doth not sleep

The dreamless sleep of death:
Nor in her moonlight chamber silently
Doth Henry hear her regular pulses throb,

Or mark her delicate cheek
With interchange of hues mock the broad moon,

Outwatching weary night,
Without assured reward.

Her dewy eyes are closed;
On their translucent lids, whose texture fine
Scarce hides the dark blue orbs that burn below

With unapparent fire,
The baby Sleep is pillowed:
Her golden tresses shade

The bosom's stainless pride,
Twining like tendrils of the parasite

Around a marble column.
Hark! whence that rushing sound ?
'Tis like a wondrous strain that sweeps

Around a lonely ruin
When west winds sigh and evening waves respond

In whispers from the shore:
'Tis wilder than the unmeasured notes
Which from the unseen lyres of dells and groves

The genii of the breezes sweep. Floating on waves of music and of light The chariot of the Dæmon of the World

Descends in silent power:

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Its shape reposed within: slight as some cloud
That catches but the palest tinge of day

When evening yields to night,
Bright as that fibrous woof when stars indue

Its transitory robe.
Four shapeless shadows bright and beautiful
Draw that strange car of glory, reins of light
Check their unearthly speed; they stop and fold

Their wings of braided air:
The Dæmon leaning from the etherial car

Gazed on the slumbering maid.
Human eye hath ne'er beheld
A. shape so wild, so bright, so beautiful,
As that which o'er the maiden's charmed sleep

Waving a starry wand,

Hung like a mist of light.
Such sounds as breathed around like odorous winds 75

Of wakening spring arose,
Filling the chamber and the moonlight sky.

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Maiden, the world's supremest spirit

Beneath the shadow of her wings Folds all thy memory doth inherit

From ruin of divinest things,

Feelings that lure thee to betray,
And light of thoughts that pass away.

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For thou hast earned a mighty boon,

The truths which wisest poets see Dimly, thy mind may make its own,

Rewarding its own majesty,

Entranced in some diviner mood
Of self-oblivious solitude.

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Custom, and Faith, and Power thou spurnest;

From hate and awe thy heart is free; Ardent and pure as day thou burnest,

For dark and cold mortality

A living light, to cheer it long,
The watch-fires of the world among.

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Therefore from nature's inner shrine,

Where gods and fiends in worship bend, Majestic spirit, be it thine

The flame to seize, the veil to rend,

Where the vast snake Eternity

In charmed sleep doth ever lie.
All that inspires thy voice of love,

Or speaks in thy unclosing eyes,
Or through thy frame doth burn or move,

Or think or feel, awake, arise!

Spirit, leave for mine and me

Earth's unsubstantial mimicry!
It ceased, and from the mute and moveless fraine

A radiant spirit arose,
All beautiful in naked purity.
Robed in its human hues it did ascend,
Disparting as it went the silver clouds
It moved towards the car, and took its seat

Beside the Dæmon shape.
Obedient to the sweep of aery, song,

The mighty ministers
Unfurled their prismy wings.

The magic car moved on;
The night was fair, innumerable stars

Studded heaven's dark blue vault;
The eastern wave grew pale
With the first smile of morn.
The magic car moved on.

From the swift sweep of wings
The atmosphere in flaming sparkles flew;

And where the burning wheels
Eddied above the niountain's loftiest peak

Was traced a line of lightning.
Now far above a rock the utmost verge

Of the wide earth it flew,
The rival of the Andes, whose dark brow

Frowned o'er the silver sea.
VOL. I.

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Far, far below the chariot's stormy path,

Calm as a slumbering babe,

Tremendous ocean lay.
Its broad and silent mirror gave to view

The pale and waning stars,
The chariot's fiery track,
And the grey light of morn ,

Tinging those fleecy clouds
That cradled in their folds the infant dawn.

The chariot seemed to fly
Through the abyss of an immense concave,
Radiant with million constellations, tinged

With shades of infinite colour,
And semicircled with a belt
Flashing incessant meteors.

As they approached their goal,
The winged shadows seemed to gather speed.
The sea no longer was distinguished; earth
Appeared a vast and shadowy sphere, suspended

In the black concave of heaven
With the sun's cloudless orb,

Whose rays of rapid light
Parted around the chariot's swifter course,
And fell like ocean's feathery spray

Dashed from the boiling surge
Before a vessel's prow.

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The magic car moved on.

Earth's distant orb appeared
The smallest light that twinkles in the heavens,

Whilst round the chariot's way
Innumerable systems widely rolled,
And countless spheres diffused

An ever varying glory.
It was a sight of wonder! Some were horned,
And, like the moon's argentine crescent hung
In the dark dome of heaven, some did shed
A clear mild beam like Hesperus, while the sea
Yet glows with fading sun-light; others dashed

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