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A sexless thing it was, and in its growth
In gentleness and strength its limbs
The bosom swelled lightly with its full youth,
The countenance was such as might
select Some artist that his skill should never die,
Imaging forth such perfect purity.
Around their inland islets, and amid The panther - peopled forests, whose shade cast
Darkness and odours, and a pleasure
In melancholy gloom, the pinnace past;
The silver noon into that winding dell,
A green and glowing light, like that
From folded lilies in which glow-worms dwell,
And ever as she went, the Image lay
With folded wings and unawakened eyes;
And o'er its gentle countenance did play The busy dreams, as thick as summer flies,
From its smooth shoulders hung two Chasing the rapid smiles that would not rapid wings,
Fit to have borne it to the seventh sphere
Dyed in the ardours of the atmosphere:
And pointed to the prow, and took her
Beside the rudder, with opposing feet.
When earth over her face night's mantle wraps;
Between the severed mountains lay on
Over the stream, a narrow rift of sky.
And drinking the warm tears, and the
Inhaling, which, with busy murmur vain,
And ever down the prone vale, like a cloud
Upon a stream of wind, the pinnace And down the streams which clove those Now lingering on the pools, in which mountains vast, abode
The calm and darkness of the deep With which frost paints the pines in winter time.
All interwoven with fine feathery snow And moonlight splendour of intensest rime,
The water flashed like sunlight by the prow
Of a noon-wandering meteor flung to
The still air seemed as if its waves did
In tempest down the mountains ; loosely driven
The lady's radiant hair streamed to and fro:
Beneath, the billows having vainly striven Indignant and impetuous, roared to feel The swift and steady motion of the keel.
Or, when the weary moon was in the wane,
Or in the noon of interlunar night, The lady-witch in visions could not chain
Her spirit; but sailed forth under the light
And from above into the Sun's dominions
Flinging a glory, like the golden glow Of shooting stars, and bade extend In which Spring clothes her emerald
Its storm-outspeeding wings, the Hermaphrodite ;
She to the Austral waters took her way, Beyond the fabulous Thamondocana.
Where, like a meadow which no scythe On which that lady played her many
There she would build herself a windless haven
Out of the clouds whose moving turrets make
The bastions of the storm, when through the sky
The spirits of the tempest thundered by.
And around which the solid vapours hoar,
Based on the level waters, to the sky Lifted their dreadful crags, and like a shore
And then she called out of the hollow turrets
A haven beneath whose translucent floor
Of those high clouds, white, golden and vermilion,
The tremulous stars sparkled un- The armies of her ministering spirits
And hanging crags, many a cove and
And whilst the outer lake beneath the lash
They came, each troop emblazoning its merits
On meteor flags; and many a proud pavilion
Of wintry mountains, inaccessibly Of the intertexture of the atmosphere Hemmed in with rifts and precipices | They pitched upon the plain of the calm
Of the wind's scourge, foamed like a wounded thing
And the incessant hail with stony clash Ploughed up the waters, and the flagging wing
Of the roused cormorant in the lightning flash
Circling the image of a shooting star, Even as a tiger on Hydaspes' banks Outspeeds the antelopes which speediest are,
In her light boat; and many quips and
She played upon the water, till the
Looked like the wreck of some windwandering Fragment of inky thunder-smoke-this
Was as a gem to copy Heaven engraven.
Of the late moon, like a sick matron wan,
To journey from the misty east began.
In mighty legions, million after million,
They framed the imperial tent of their great Queen
Of woven exhalations, underlaid With lambent lightning-fire, as may be
A dome of thin and open ivory inlaid With crimson silk- cressets from the
Hung there, and on the water for her tread
A tapestry of fleece-like mist was strewn,
And on a throne o'erlaid with starlight, caught
Following the serpent lightning's winding track,
She ran upon the platforms of the wind,
And laughed to hear the fire-balls roar behind.
But her choice sport was, in the hours of sleep,
To glide adown old Nilus, where he threads
Egypt and Æthiopia, from the steep
Of utmost Axumè, until he spreads,
Of cities and proud temples gleam amid,
And sometimes to those streams of upper air
And where within the surface of the river
The shadows of the massy temples lie,
Which whirl the earth in its diurnal round,
And never are erased-but tremble ever Like things which every cloud can doom to die,
She would ascend, and win the spirits Through lotus-paven canals, and wherethere
To let her join their chorus.
The works of man pierced that serenest sky
That on those days the sky was calm With tombs, and towers, and fanes, 'twas her delight
And mystic snatches of harmonious To wander in the shadow of the night. sound Wandered upon the earth where'er she past, And happy thoughts of hope, too sweet to last.
With motion like the spirit of that wind Whose soft step deepens slumber, her light feet
Past through the peopled haunts of O'er its wild surface to an unknown human kind,
But she in the calm depths her way could take,
Scattering sweet visions from her pre
Through fane, and palace-court, and Where in bright bowers immortal forms
With many a dark and subterranean Beneath the weltering of the restless tide.
But other troubled forms of sleep she
Not to be mirrored in a holy songDistortions foul of supernatural awe,
And pale imaginings of visioned
And all the code of custom's lawless law
Which stirs the liquid surface of man's
And little did the sight disturb her soul.-
And she saw princes couched under the glow
Of sunlike gems; and round each temple-court
In dormitories ranged, row after row,
For all were educated to be so.
The peasants in their huts, and in the port
sailors she saw cradled on the waves, And the dead lulled within their dreamless graves.
And all the forms in which those spirits
Veils, in which those sweet ladies oft
Their delicate limbs, who would conceal from us
Only their scorn of all concealment: they Move in the light of their own beauty thus.
She, all those human figures breathing there,
Beheld as living spirits-to her eyes The naked beauty of the soul lay bare, And often through a rude and worn disguise
Our course unpiloted and starless She saw the inner form most bright and fair
But these and all now lay with sleep upon them,
And little thought a Witch was looking on them.