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A sexless thing it was, and in its growth
It seemed to have developed no defect
Of either sex, yet all the grace of both,

In gentleness and strength its limbs
were decked;

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;
By many a star-surrounded pyramid
Of icy crag cleaving the purple sky,
And caverns yawning round unfathom-



The silver noon into that winding dell,
With slanted gleam athwart the forest
Tempered like golden evening, feebly

A green and glowing light, like that
which drops

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
Tipt with the speed of liquid lightenings,

Dyed in the ardours of the atmosphere:
She led her creature to the boiling springs
Where the light boat was moored,
and said: "Sit here!"

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
sweet sighs

Inhaling, which, with busy murmur vain,
They had aroused from that full heart

and brain.


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.


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winged minions,

All interwoven with fine feathery snow And moonlight splendour of intensest rime,

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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

has shaven,


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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,
Dyed in the beams of the ascending



And on a throne o'erlaid with starlight, caught

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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,
Like a calm flock of silver-fleeced sheep,
His waters on the plain: and crested

Of cities and proud temples gleam amid,
And many a vapour-belted pyramid.


And sometimes to those streams of upper air

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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 fair,

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

sence sweet,

Through fane, and palace-court, and Where in bright bowers immortal forms

labyrinth mined


With many a dark and subterranean Beneath the weltering of the restless tide.


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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
Written upon the brows of old and
"This," said the wizard maiden, "is
the strife

Which stirs the liquid surface of man's


And little did the sight disturb her soul.-
We, the weak mariners of that wide
Where'er its shores extend or billows


And she saw princes couched under the glow

Of sunlike gems; and round each temple-court

In dormitories ranged, row after row,
She saw the priests asleep-all of one


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
Were to her sight like the diaphanous


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.

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