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Of battlemented cloud, as in derision

Of kingliest masonry: the ocean-floors Pave it; the evening sky pavilions it ;

Its portals are inhabited

By thunder-zoned winds, each head Within its cloudy wings with sunfire garlanded, A divine work! Athens diviner yet

Gleamed with its crest of columns, on the will Of man, as on a mount of diamond, set;

For thou wert, and thine all-creative skill
Peopled with forms that mock the eternal dead

In marble immortality, that hill
Which was thine earliest throne and latest oracle.


Within the surface of Time's fleeting river

Its wrinkled image lies, as then it lay Immovably unquiet, and for ever

It trembles, but it cannot pass away! The voices of thy bards and sages

thunder With an earth-awakening blast

Through the caverns of the past; Religion veils her eyes; Oppression shrinks aghast : A winged sound of joy, and love, and wonder,

Which soars where Expectation never flew, Rending the veil of space and time asunder! One ocean feeds the clouds, and streams, and dew; One sun illumines heaven; one spirit vast

With life and love makes chaos ever new,
As Athens doth the world with thy delight renew.



Then Rome was, and from thy deep bosom fairest,

Like a wolf-cub from a Cadmæan Mænad,
She drew the milk of greatness, though thy dearest

From that Elysian food was yet unweaned;
And many a deed of terrible uprightness

By thy sweet love was sanctified ;

And in thy smile, and by thy side, Saintly Camillus lived, and firm Atilius died. But when tears stained thy robe of vestal whiteness,

And gold profaned thy capitolian throne, Thou didst desert, with spirit-winged lightness,

The senate of the tyrants : they sunk prone
Slaves of one tyrant: Palatinus sighed

Faint echoes of Ionian song; that tone
Thou didst delay to hear, lamenting to disown.


From what Hyrcanian glen or frozen hill,

Or piny promontory of the Arctic main,
Or utmost islet inaccessible,
Didst thou lament the ruin of thy reign,

Teaching the woods and waves, and desart rocks,

And every Naiad's ice-cold urn,

To talk in echoes sad and stern, Of that sublimest lore which man had dared unlearn? For neither didst thou watch the wizard flocks

Of the Scald's dreams, nor haunt the Druid's sleep What if the tears rained through thy shattered locks

Were quickly dried? for thou didst groan, not weep. When from its sea of death to kill and burn,

The Galilean serpent forth did creep,
And made thy world an undistinguishable heap.


A thousand years the Earth cried, Where art thou?

And then the shadow of thy coming fell
On Saxon Alfred's olive-cinctured brow :

And many a warrior-peopled citadel,
Like rocks which fire lifts out of the flat deep,

Arose in sacred Italy,

Frowning o'er the tempestuous sea
Of kings, and priests, and slaves, in tower-crowned

That multitudinous anarchy did sweep,

And burst around their walls, like idle foam,
Whilst from the human spirit's deepest deep

Strange melody with love and awe struck dumb Dissonant arms; and Art, which cannot die,

With divine wand traced on our earthly home
Fit imagery to pave heaven's everlasting dome.


Thou huntress swifter than the Moon ! thou terror

Of the world's wolves ! thou bearer of the quiver, Whose sunlike shafts pierce tempest-winged Error,

As light may pierce the clouds when they dissever In the calm regions of the orient day!

Luther caught thy wakening glance,

Like lightning, from his leaden lance Reflected, it dissolved the visions of the trance In which, as in a tomb, the nations lay;

And England's prophets hailed thee as their queen, In songs whose music cannot pass away,

Though it must flow for ever : not unseen Before the spirit-sighted countenance

Of Milton didst thou pass, from the sad scene Beyond whose night he saw, with a dejected mien.


The eager hours and unreluctant years

As on a dawn-illumined mountain stood, Trampling to silence their loud hopes and fears,

Darkening each other with their multitude, And cried aloud, Liberty! Indignation

Answered Pity from her cave ;

Death grew pale within the grave,
And Desolation howled to the destroyer, Save !
When like heaven's sun girt by the exhalation

Of its own glorious light, thou didst arise,
Chasing thy foes from nation unto nation

Like shadows : as if day had cloven the skies
At dreaming midnight o'er the western wave,

Men started, staggering with a glad surprise,
Under the lightnings of thine unfamiliar eyes.


Thou heaven of earth ! what spells could pall thee then,

In ominous eclipse? a thousand years
Bred from the slime of deep oppression's den,

Dyed all thy liquid light with blood and tears,
Till thy sweet stars could weep the stain away ;

How like Bacchanals of blood

Round France, the ghastly vintage, stood Destruction's sceptred slaves, and Folly's mitred brood ! When one, like them, but mightier far than they,

The Anarch of thine own bewildered powers Rose : armies mingled in obscure array, Like clouds with clouds, darkening the sacred

bowers Of serene heaven. He, by the past pursued,

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