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Which would ensnare us now, for,
in the end,

Arrested me-my mien grew calm In victory or in death our hopes and
and meek,
fears must blend."

And, grasping a small knife, I went
to seek

It was a feeble shriek, faint, far, and

low

That voice among the crowd-'twas
Cythna's cry!

Beneath most calm resolve did
agony wreak

Its whirlwind

rage: so I past

quietly,

Till I beheld where bound that dearest child did lie.

These words had fallen on my unheeding ear,

Whilst I had watched the motions of the crew

With seeming-careless glance; not many were

Around her, for their comrades just withdrew

To guard some other victim-so I drew

VIII

I started to behold her, for delight

My knife, and with one impulse, suddenly,

And exultation, and a joyance free, Solemn, serene, and lofty, filled the light

All unaware three of their number
slew,

Of the calm smile with which she
looked on me :

And grasped a fourth by the throat,
and with loud cry

So that I feared some brainless My countrymen invoked to death or ecstasy,

liberty!

Wrought from that bitter woe, had

wildered her-

"Farewell! farewell!" she said, as
I drew nigh.

"At first my peace was marred by this strange stir,

Now I am calm as truth-its chosen minister.

IX

"Look not so, Laon-say farewell in
hope,

These bloody men are but the slaves
who bear

Their mistress to her task-it was

X

my scope

The slavery where they drag me now to share,

And among captives willing chains

to wear

Awhile-the rest thou knowest--return, dear friend!

Let our first triumph trample the despair

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Whose capital seemed sculptured in the sky,

Which to the wanderers o'er the solitude

The grate, as they departed to

repass,

With horrid clangour fell, and the
far sound

Of distant seas, from ages long Of their retiring steps in the dense
gone by,
gloom were drowned.

Had made a landmark; o'er its
height to fly
Scarcely the cloud, the vulture, or
the blast,

Has power-and, when the shades
of evening lie

On earth and ocean, its carved sum-
mits cast
The sunken daylight far through the
aërial waste.

XIII

They bore me to a cavern in the hill Beneath that column, and unbound me there:

And one did strip me stark; and one

did fill

A lighted torch, and four with
friendless care

Guided my steps the cavern-paths

along.

Then up a steep and dark and
narrow stair

We wound, until the torch's fiery
tongue

Amid the gushing day beamless and pallid hung.

XIV

They raised me to the platform of the pile,

That column's dizzy height: the grate of brass, Through which they thrust me, open stood the while,

XV

The noon was calm and bright
around that column
The overhanging sky and circling

sea

With chains which eat into the flesh, alas! With brazen links, my naked limbs they bound:

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The town among the woods below
that lay,

A vessel from the putrid pool; one And the dark rocks which bound the
bare
bright and glassy bay.

Spread forth, in silentness profound and solemn,

The darkness of brief frenzy cast

on me,

So that I knew not my own misery : The islands and the mountains in the day

Like clouds reposed afar; and I could see

XVI

It was so calm that scarce the feathery weed

Sown by some eagle on the top

most stone

Swayed in the air :-so bright that noon did breed

No shadow in the sky beside mine

own

Mine, and the shadow of my chain alone.

Below, the smoke of roofs involved in flame

Rested like night, all else was clearly shown

In that broad glare,-yet sound to me

none came,

As to its ponderous and suspended | But of the living blood that ran within

mass,

my frame.

XVII

The peace of madness fled, and ah too soon!

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Burst o'er the golden isles—a fear-
ful sleep,

Which through the caverns dreary
and forlorn

But both, though not distincter, were immersed

In hues which, when through memory's waste they flow,

Of the riven soul sent its foul Make their divided streams more bright and rapid now.

dreams to sweep With whirlwind swiftness far and deep

-a fall

A gulf, a void, a sense of senseless

ness

These things dwelt in me, even as
shadows keep

Their watch in some dim charnel's
loneliness,-

A shoreless sea, a sky sunless and planetless!

XXIII

The forms which peopled this terrific

trance

I well remember-like a choir of
devils,

Around me they involved a giddy
dance;

Legions seemed gathering from the
misty levels

Of ocean to supply those ceaseless
revels,

Foul ceaseless shadows:-1
-thought
I could not divide

The actual world from these en-
tangling evils,

Which so bemocked themselves that
I descried

All shapes like mine own self hideously
multiplied.

XXIV

The sense of day and night, of false and true,

Was dead within me. Yet two visions burst That darkness- -one, as since that hour I knew,

Was not a phantom of the realms

accurst

Where then my spirit dwelt-but,
of the first,

I know not yet was it a dream or no.

S

XXV

Methought that grate was lifted, and the seven

Who brought me thither four stiff corpses bare,

And from the frieze to the four winds of Heaven

Hung them on high by the entangled hair;

Swarthy were three-the fourth was very fair :

As they retired, the golden moon upsprung,

And eagerly, out in the giddy air Leaning that I might eat, I stretched and clung

Over the shapeless depth in which those corpses hung.

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Arose, and bore me in its dark

career

Beyond the sun, beyond the stars that

wane

On the verge of formless space-it languished there,

As dew to drooping leaves: the chain, with sound

And, dying, left a silence lone and Like earthquake, through the chasm of drear, that steep stair did bound,

More horrible than famine:-in the

deep

The shape of an old man did then appear,

Stately and beautiful; that dreadful sleep

His heavenly smiles dispersed, and I could wake and weep.

XXVIII

And, when the blinding tears had
fallen, I saw

That column and those corpses and
the moon,

And felt the poisonous tooth of hunger

gnaw

My vitals, I rejoiced, as if the
boon

Of senseless death would be ac-
corded soon;—

When from that stony gloom a voice

arose,

Solemn and sweet as when low
winds attune

The midnight pines; the grate did then unclose, And on that reverend form the moonlight did repose.

XXIX

He struck my chains, and gently spake and smiled;

My wretched frame, my scorched limbs he wound

In linen moist and balmy, and as cold

As they were loosened by that
Hermit old,

Mine eyes were of their madness half

beguiled,

To answer those kind looks. -He
did enfold

His giant arms around me, to
uphold

XXX

As, lifting me, it fell!-What next I heard

Were billows leaping on the harbourbar,

And the shrill sea-wind, whose breath idly stirred

My hair; I looked abroad, and

saw a star

Shining beside a sail, and distant far

That mountain and its column, the known mark

Of those who in the wide deep wandering are,

So that I feared some Spirit fell and

dark

In trance had lain me thus within a fiendish bark.

XXXI

For now indeed over the salt sea-billow I sailed yet dared not look upon the shape

Of him who ruled the helm, although the pillow

For my light head was hollowed in his lap,

And my bare limbs his mantle did enwrap,

Fearing it was a fiend at last, he bent

O'er me his aged face, as if to snap Those dreadful thoughts the gentle grandsire bent,

And to my inmost soul his soothing looks he sent.

XXXII

A soft and healing potion to my lips

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