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And I was laid asleep, spirit and limb,
And all my being became bright or dim
As the Moon's image in a summer sea,
According as she smiled or frowned on me;
And there I lay, within a chaste cold bed :
Alas, I then was nor alive nor dead :-
For at her silver voice came Death and Life,
Unmindful each of their accustomed strife,
Masked like twin babes, a sister and a brother,
The wandering hopes of one abandoned mother,
And through the cavern without wings they flew,
And cried “ Away, he is not of our crew.”
I wept, and though it be a dream, I weep.
What storms then shook the ocean of my sleep, Blotting that Moon, whose pale and waning lips Then shrank as in the sickness of eclipse ; — And how my soul was as a lampless sea, And who was then its Tempest; and when She, The Planet of that hour, was quenched, what frost Crept o'er those waters, till from coast to coast The moving billows of my being fell Into a death of ice, immovable ; — And then — what earthquakes made it gape and split, The white Moon smiling all the while on it, These words conceal : — If not, each word would be The key of staunchless tears. Weep not for me !
At length, into the obscure Forest came The Vision I had sought through grief and shame. Athwart that wintry wilderness of thorns Flashed from her motion splendour like the Morn's, And from her presence life was radiated Through the grey earth and branches bare and dead; So that her way was paved, and roofed above With flowers as soft as thoughts of budding love ; And music from her respiration spread Like light, - all other sounds were penetrated By the small, still, sweet spirit of that sound, So that the savage winds hung mute around; And odours warm and fresh fell from her hair Dissolving the dull cold in the frore air : Soft as an Incarnation of the Sun, When light is changed to love, this glorious One Floated into the cavern where I lay, And called my Spirit, and the dreaming clay Was lifted by the thing that dreamed below As smoke by fire, and in her beauty's glow I stood, and felt the dawn of my long night Was penetrating me with living light : I knew it was the Vision veiled from me tid So many years — that it was Emily. huone
Twin Spheres of light who rule this passive Earth, This world of love, this me; and into birth
Awaken all its fruits and flowers, and dart
Magnetic might into its central heart;
And lift its billows and its mists, and guide
By everlasting laws, each wind and tide
To its fit cloud, and its appointed cave;
And lull its storms, each in the craggy grave
Which was its cradle, luring to faint bowers
The armies of the rain-bow-winged showers;
And, as those married lights, which from the towers
Of Heaven look forth and fold the wandering globe
In liquid sleep and splendour, as a robe;
And all their many-mingled influence blend,
If equal, yet unlike, to one sweet end ;-
So ye, bright regents, with alternate sway
Govern my sphere of being, night and day!
Thou, not disdaining even a borrowed might;
Thou, not eclipsing a remoter light;
And, through the shadow of the seasons three,
From Spring to Autumn's sere maturity,
Light it into the Winter of the tomb,
Where it may ripen to a brighter bloom.
Thou too, O Comet beautiful and fierce,
Who drew the heart of this frail Universe
Towards thine own; till, wreckt in that convulsion,
Alternating attraction and repulsion,
Thine went astray and that was rent in twain ;
Oh, float into our azure heaven again !
Be there love's folding-star at thy return;
The living Sun will feed thee from its urn
Of golden fire; the Moon will veil her horn
In thy last smiles; adoring Even and Morn
Will worship thee with incense of calm breath
And lights and shadows; as the star of Death
And Birth is worshipped by those sisters wild
Called Hope and Fear upon the heart are piled
Their offerings, — of this sacrifice divine
A World shall be the altar.
Lady mine, Scorn not these flowers of thought, the fading birth Which from its heart of hearts that plant puts forth Whose fruit, made perfect by thy sunny eyes, Will be as of the trees of Paradise.
The day is come, and thou wilt fly with me.
To whatsoe'er of dull mortality
Is mine, remain a vestal sister still ;
To the intense, the deep, the imperishable,
Not mine but me, henceforth be thou united
Even as a bride, delighting and delighted.
The hour is come :---
-- the destined Star has risen
Which shall descend upon a vacant prison.
The walls are high, the gates are strong, thick set
The sentinels --- but true love never yet
Was thus constrained : it overleaps all fence :
Like lightning, with invisible violence
Piercing its continents; like Heaven's free breath,
Which he who grasps can hold not; liker Death,
Who rides upon a thought, and makes his way
Through temple, tower, and palace, and the array
Of arms : more strength has Love than he or they ;
For it can burst his charnel, and make free
The limbs in chains, the heart in agony,
The soul in dust and chaos.
A ship is floating in the harbour now,
A wind is hovering o'er the mountain's brow;
There is a path on the sea's azure floor,
No keel has ever ploughed that path before;
The halcyons brood around the foamless isles;
The treacherous Ocean has forsworn its wiles;
mariners are bold and free :
Say, my heart's sister, wilt thou sail with me?
Our bark is as an albatross, whose nest
Is a far Eden of the purple East;
And we between her wings will sit, while Night
And Day, and Storm, and Calm, pursue their flight,
Our ministers, along the boundless Sea,
Treading each other's heels, unheededly.