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And down the streams which clove those mountains vast,
Around their inland islets, and amid
Darkness and odours, and a pleasure hid
By many a star-surrounded pyramid
The silver noon into that winding dell,
With slanted gleam athwart the forest tops, Tempered like golden evening, feebly fell;
A green and glowing light, like that which drops
When earth over her face night's mantle wraps ;
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,
Chasing the rapid smiles that would not stay,
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 went : Now lingering on the pools, in which abode
The calm and darkness of the deep content In which they paused ; now o'er the shallow road
Of white and dancing waters, all besprent With sand and polished pebbles : — mortal boat In such a shallow rapid could not float.
And down the earthquaking cataracts which shiver
Their snow-like waters into golden air, Or under chasms unfathomable ever
Sepulchre them, till in their rage they tear A subterranean portal for the river,
It fled — the circling sunbows did upbear Its fall down the hoar precipice of spray, Lighting it far upon its lampless way.
And when the wizard lady would ascend
The labyrinths of some many-winding vale,
Over its lips and eyes, as on the gale
And it unfurled its heaven-coloured pinions,
With stars of fire spotting the stream below;
Flinging a glory, like the golden glow
All interwoven with fine feathery snow
And then it winnowed the Elysian air
Which ever hung about that lady bright, With its ætherial vans - and speeding there, Like a star up the torrent of the night,
Or a swift eagle in the morning glare
Breasting the whirlwind with impetuous flight, The pinnace, oared by those enchanted wings, Clove the fierce streams towards their upper springs.
The water flashed like sunlight by the prow
Of a noon-wandering meteor flung to Heaven; The still air seemed as if its waves did flow
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,
Her spirit; but sailed forth under the light
Its storm-outspeeding wings, the Hermaphrodite ; She to the Austral waters took her way, Beyond the fabulous Thamondocana.