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I, who weep little, did, I will confess,
The moment I was seated here alone,
Honor my little cell with some few tears
Which anger and resentment could not dry.
All night the storm endured; and, soon as help
Had been collected from the neighboring vale,
With morning we renewed our quest: the wind
Was fallen, the rain abated, but the hills
Lay shrouded in impenetrable mist;
And long and hopelessly we sought in vain:
"Till, chancing on that lofty ridge to pass
A heap of ruin-almost without walls
And wholly without roof (the bleached remains
Of a small chapel, where, in ancient time,
The peasants of these lonely valleys used
To meet for worship on that central height)—
We there espied the object of our search,
Lying full three parts buried among tufts
Of heath-plant, under and above him strewn,
To baffle, as he might, the watery storm:
And there we found him breathing peaceably,
Snug as a child that hides itself in sport
'Mid a green hay-cock in a sunny field.
We spake he made reply, but would not stir
At our entreaty: less from want of power
Than apprehension and bewildering thoughts.
So was he lifted gently from the ground, And with their freight homeward the shepherds moved
Through the dull mist, I following-when a step,
A single step, that freed me from the skirts
Of the blind vapor, opened to my view
Glory beyond all glory ever seen
By waking sense or by the dreaming soul!
The appearance, instantaneously disclosed,
Was of a mighty city-boldly say
A wilderness of building, sinking far
And self-withdrawn into a boundless depth,
Far sinking into splendor-without end!
Fabric it seemed of diamond and of gold,
With alabaster domes, and silver spires,
And blazing terrace upon terrace, high
Uplifted; here, serene pavilions bright,
In avenues disposed; there, towers begirt
With battlements that on their restless fronts
Bore stars-illumination of all gems!
By earthly nature had the effect been wrought
Upon the dark materials of the storm
Now pacified; on them, and on the coves
And mountain-steeps and summits, whereunto
The vapors had receded, taking there
Their station under a cerulean sky.
Oh, 't was an unimaginable sight!
Clouds, mists, streams, watery rocks and emerald
Clouds of all tincture, rocks and sapphire sky.
Confused, commingled, mutually inflamed,
Molten together, and composing thus,
Each lost in each, that marvellous array
Of temple, palace, citadel, and huge
Fantastic pomp of structure without name,
In fleecy folds voluminous, enwrapped.
Right in the midst, where interspace appeared
open court, an object like a throne
Under a shining canopy of state
Stood fixed; and fixed resemblances were seen
To implements of ordinary use,
But vast in size, in substance glorified;
Such as by Hebrew Prophets were beheld
In vision-forms uncouth of mightiest power
For admiration and mysterious awe.
This little Vale, a dwelling place of Man,.
Lay low beneath my feet; 't was visible—
I saw not, but I felt that it was there.
That which I saw was the revealed abode
Of Spirits in beatitude: my heart
Swelled in my breast.-' I have been dead,' I cried,
'And now I live! Oh! wherefore do I live?'
And with that pang I prayed to be no more!-
—But I forget our Charge, as utterly
I then forgot him :-there I stood and gazed:
The apparition faded not away,
And I descended.
Having reached the house, I found its rescued inmate safely lodged, And in serene possession of himself, Beside a fire whose genial warmth seemed met By a faint shining from the heart, a gleam Of comfort, spread over his pallid face. Great show of joy the housewife made, and truly Was glad to find her conscience set at ease; And not less glad, for sake of her good name, That the poor Sufferer had escaped with life. But, though he seemed at first to have received No harm, and uncomplaining as before Went through his usual tasks, a silent change Soon showed itself: he lingered three short weeks; And from the cottage hath been borne to-day.
So ends my dolorous tale, and glad I am
That it is ended." At these words he turned-
And, with blithe air of open fellowship,
Brought from the cupboard wine and stouter cheer,
Like one who would be merry. Seeing this,
My grey-haired Friend said courteously—“ Nay,
You have regaled us as a hermit ought;
Now let us forth into the sun!"-Our Host
Rose, though reluctantly, and forth we went.