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And what art thou? I know, but dare not speak:
Time may interpret to his silent years.
Yet in the paleness of thy thoughtful cheek,
And in the light thine ample forehead wears,
And in thy sweetest smiles, and in thy tears,
And in thy gentle speech, a prophecy
Is whispered, to subdue my fondest fears:
And thro' thine eyes, even in thy soul I see
A lamp of vestal fire burning internally.
They say that thou wert lovely from thy birth,
Of glorious parents, thou aspiring Child.
I wonder not-for One then left this earth
Whose life was like a setting planet mild,
Which clothed thee in the radiance undefiled
Of its departing glory; still her fame
Shines on thee, thro' the tempests dark and wild
Which shake these latter days; and thou canst claim
The shelter, from thy Sire, of an immortal name.
One voice came forth from many a mighty spirit,
Which was the echo of three thousand years ;
And the tumultuous world stood mute to hear it,
As some lone man who in a desart hears
The music of his home :-unwonted fears
Fell on the pale oppressors of our race,
And Faith, and Custom, and low-thoughted cares,
Like thunder-stricken dragons, for a space
Left the torn human heart, their food and dwelling-place.
Truth's deathless voice pauses among mankind !
If there must be no response to my cry-
If men must rise and stamp with fury blind
On his pure name who loves them,—thou and I,
Sweet friend ! can look from our tranquillity
Like lamps into the world's tempestuous night,-
Two tranquil stars, while clouds are passing by
Which wrap then from the foundering seaman's sight, That burn from year to year with unextinguished light.
Οσαις δε βρoτον εθνος αγλαιαις απτομεσθα, ,
Περαινει προς εσχατον
Πλοον. ναυσι δ' ουτε πεος των αν ευρoις
Ες υπερβορεων αγωνα θαυματαν οδον.
PIND. Pyth. X.
I. WHEN the last hope of trampled France had failed Like a brief dream of unremaining glory, From visions of despair I rose, and scaled The peak of an aërial promontory, Whose caverned base with the vext surge was hoary; And saw the golden dawn break forth, and waken Each cloud, and every wave :-but transitory
The calm: for sudden, the firm earth was shaken, As if by the last wreck its frame were overtaken.
So as I stood, one blast of muttering thunder
Burst in far peals along the waveless deep,
When, gathering fast, around, above and under,
Long trains of tremulous mist began to creep,
Until their complicating lines did steep
The orient sun in shadow:-not a sound
Was heard ; one horrible repose did keep
The forests and the floods, and all around
Darkness more dread than night was poured upon the ground.
Hark! 'tis the rushing of a wind that sweeps
Earth and the ocean. See! the lightnings yawn
Deluging Heaven with fire, and the lashed deeps
Glitter and boil beneath : it rages on,
One mighty stream, whirlwind and waves upthrown,
Lightning, and hail, and darkness eddying by.
There is a pause—the sea-birds, that were gone
Into their caves to shriek, come forth, to spy
What calm has falln on earth, what light is in the sky.
For, where the irresistible storm had cloven
That fearful darkness, the blue sky was seen
Fretted with many a fair cloud interwoven
Most delicately, and the ocean green,
Beneath that opening spot of blue serene,
Quivered like burning emerald: calm was spread
On all below; but far on high, between
Earth and the upper air, the vast clouds fled, Countless and swift as leaves on autumn's tempest shed.
V. For ever, as the war became more fierce Between the whirlwinds and the rack on high, That spot grew more serene; blue light did pierce The woof of those white clouds, which seemed to lie Far, deep, and motionless; while thro' the sky The pallid semicircle of the moon Past on, in slow and moving majesty;
Its upper horn arrayed in mists, which soon But slowly fled, like dew beneath the beams of noon.
VI. I could not choose but gaze; a fascination Dwelt in that moon, and sky, and clouds, which drew My fancy thither, and in expectation Of what I knew not, I remained :—the hue Of the white' moon, amid that heaven so blue, Suddenly stained with shadow did appear; A speck, a cloud, a shape, approaching grew,
Like a great ship in the sun's sinking sphere Beheld afar at sea, and swift it came anear.
VII. Even like a bark, which from a chasm of mountains, Dark, vast, and overhanging, on a river Which there collects the strength of all its fountains, Comes forth, whilst with the speed its frame doth quiver, Sails, oars, and stream, tending to one endeavour; So, from that chasm of light a winged Form On all the winds of heaven approaching ever
Floated, dilating as it came: the storm
Pursued it with fierce blasts, and lightnings swift and warın.
A course precipitous, of dizzy speed,
Suspending thought and breath; a monstrous sight!
For in the air do I behold indeed
An Eagle and a Serpent wreathed in fight:
And now relaxing its impetuous flight,
Before the aërial rock on which I stood,
The Eagle, hovering, wheeled to left and right,
And hung with lingering wings over the flood,
And startled with its yells the wide air's solitude.
A shaft of light upon its wings descended,
And every golden feather gleamed therein-
Feather and scale inextricably blended.
The Serpent's mailed and many-coloured skin
Shone thro' the plumes its coils were twined within
By many a swollen and knotted fold, and high
And far, the neck receding lithe and thin,
Sustained a crested head, which warily
Shifted and glanced before the Eagle's stedfast eye.
Around, around, in ceaseless circles wheeling
With clang of wings and scream, the Eagle sailed
Incessantly—sometimes on high concealing
Its lessening orbs, sometimes as if it failed,
Drooped thro' the air; and still it shrieked and wailed
And casting back its eager head, with beak
And talon unremittingly assailed
The wreathed Serpent, who did ever seek
Upon his enemy's heart a mortal wound to wreak.
What life, what power, was kindled and arose
Within the sphere of that appalling fray!
For, from the encounter of those wondrous foes,
A vapour like the sea's suspended spray
Hung gathered: in the void air, far away,
Floated the shattered plumes; bright scales did leap,
Where'er the Eagle's talons made their way,
Like sparks into the darkness ;-as they sweep, Blood stains the snowy foam of the tumultuous deep.
Swift chances in that combat—many a check,
And many a change, a dark and wild turmoil;
Sometimes the Snake around his enemy's neck
Locked in stiff rings his adamantine coil,
Until the Eagle, faint with pain and toil,
Remitted his strong flight, and near the sea
Languidly fluttered, hopeless so to foil
His adversary, who then reared on high
His red and burning crest, radiant with victory.
Then on the white edge of the bursting surge,
Where they had sank together, would the Snake
Pelax his suffocating grasp, and scourge
The wind with his wild writhings; for to break
That chain of torment, the vast bird would shake
The strength of his unconquerable wings
As in despair, and with his sinewy neck,
Dissolve in sudden shock those linked rings,
Then soar-as swift as smoke from a volcano springs.
XIV. Wile baffled wile, and strength encountered strength, Thus long, but unprevailing :—the event Of that portentous fight appeared at length: Until the lamp of day was almost spent It had endured, when lifeless, stark, and rent, Hung high that mighty Serpent, and at last Fell to the sea, while o'er the continent,
With clang of wings and scream the Eagle past, Ileavily borne away on the exhausted blast.