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XXIV. Yes, oft beside the ruin'd labyrinth

As mine own shadow was this child to me, Which skirts the hoary caves of the green deep, A second self, far dearer and more fair; Did Laon and his friend on one gray plinth, Which clothed in undissolving radiancy Round whose worn base the wild waves hiss and All those steep paths which languor and despair leap,

Of human things, had made so dark and bare, Resting at eve, a lofty converse keep;

But which I trod alone-nor, till bereft And that this friend was false, may now be said Of friends, and overcome by lonely care, Calmly—that he like other men could weep Knew I what solace for that loss was left,

Tears which are lies, and could betray and spread Though by a bitter wound my trusting heart was Snares for that guileless heart which for his own had


Then, had no great aim recompensed my sorrow, Once she was dear, now she was all I had
I must have sought dark respite from its stress, To love in human life-this playmate sweet,
In dreamless rest, in sleep that sees no morrow- This child of twelve years old—so she was made
For to tread life's dismaying wilderness

My sole associate, and her willing feet Without one smile to cheer, one voice to bless, Wander'd with mine where earth and ocean meet, Amid the snares and scoffs of human-kind,

Beyond the aërial mountains whose vast cells Is hard—but I betray'd it not, nor less

The unreposing billows ever beat, With love that scorn'd return, sought to unbind Through forests wide and old, and lawny dells, The interwoven clouds which make its wisdom blind. Where boughs of incense droop over the emerald

wells. XX. With deathless minds which leave where they

XXVI. have past

And warm and light I felt her clasping hand A path of light, my soul communion krew; When twined in mine: she follow'd where I went, Till from that glorious intercourse, at last,

Through the lone paths of our immortal land. As from a mine of magic store, I drew

It had no waste, but some memorial lent Words which were weapons ;-round my heart Which strung me to my toil—some monument

Vital with mind : then, Cythna by my side, The adamantine armor of their power,

Until the bright and beaming day were spent, And from my fancy wings of golden hue

Would rest, with looks entreating to abide,
Sprang forth—yet not alone from wisdom's tower, Too earnest and too sweet ever to be denied.
A minister of truth, these plumes young Laon bore.

An orphan with my parents lived, whose eyes And soon I could not have refused her-thus
Were load-stars of delight, which drew me home For ever, day and night, we two were ne'er
When I might wander forth ; nor did I prize Parted, but when brief sleep divided us :
Aught human thing beneath Heaven's mighty dome And when the pauses of the lulling air
Beyond this child : so when sad hours were come, Of noon beside the sea, had made a lair
And baffled hope like ice still chung to me,

For her soothed senses, in my arms she sleph, Since kin were cold, and friends had now become And I kept watch over her slumbers there,

Heartless and false, I turn'd from all, to be, While, as the shifting visions o'er her swept, Cythna, the only purce of tears and smiles to thee. Amid her innocent rest by turns she smiled and wept XXII.

What wert thou then? A child most infantine,
Yet wandering far beyond that innocent age

And, in the murmur of her dreams was heard In all but its sweet looks and mien divine ;

Sometimes the name of Laon :-suddenly Even then, methought, with the world's tyrant rage

She would arise, and like the secret bird A patient warfare thy young heart did wage,

Whom sunset wakens, fill the shore and sky When those soft eyes of scarcely conscious thought,

With her sweet accents—a wild melody! Some tale, or thine own fancies would engage Hymns which my soul had woven to Freedom To overflow with tears, or converse fraught

strong With passion, o'er their depths its fleeting light had The source of passion whence they rose, to be ; wrought

Triumphant strains, which, like a spirit's tongue, XXIII.

To the enchanted waves that child of glory sung. She moved upon this earth a shape of brightness,

XXIX. A power, that from its objects scareely drew One impulse of her being in her lightness Her white arms listed through the shadowy stream Most like some radiant cloud of morning dew, Of her loose hair-oh, excellently great Which wanders through the waste-air's pathless Seem'd to me then my purpose, the vast theme blue,

Of those impassion'd songs, when Cythna sale To nourish some far desert; she did seem

Amid the calm which rapture doth create Beside me, gathering beauty as she grew,

After its tumult, her heart vibrating, Like the bright shade of some immortal dream Her spirit o'er the ocean's floating state which walks, when tempest sleeps, the wave of From her deep eyes far wandering, on the wing life's dork stream.

Of visions that were mine, beyond its utmost spring XXX.

XXXVI. For, before Cythna loved it, had my song

This misery was but coldly felt, till she Peopled with thoughts the boundless universe, Became my only friend, who had indued A mighty congregation, which were strong

My purpose with a wider sympathy; Where'er they trod the darkness to disperse Thus, Cythna mourn'd with me the servitude The cloud of that unutterable curse

In which the half of human-kind were mew'd, Which clings upon mankind :-all things became Victims of lust and hate, the slaves of slaves. Slaves to my holy and heroic verse,

She mourn'd that grace and power were thrown Earth, sea and sky, the planets, life and fame

as food And fate, or whate'er else binds the world's wondrous To the hyena Lust, who, among graves, frame.

Over his lothed meal, laughing in agony, raves.

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XXXVII. And this beloved child thus felt the sway

And I, still gazing on that glorious child, Of my conceptions, gathering like a cloud

Even as these thoughts flush'd o'er her.—"Cythna The very wind on which it rolls away:

sweet, Hers too were all my thoughts, ere yet endow'd Well with the world art thou unreconciled : With music and with light, their fountains flow'd Never will peace and human nature meet In poesy; and her still and earnest face,

Till free and equal man and woman greet Pallid with feelings which intensely glow'd Domestic peace; and ere this power can make

Within, was turn'd on mine with speechless grace, In human hearts its calm and holy seat: Watching the hopes which there her heart had learn'd This slavery must be broken." -As I spake, to trace.

From Cythna's eyes a light of exultation brake.


XXXVIII. In me, communion with this purest being

She replied earnestly :-" It shall be mine, Kindled intenser zeal, and made me wise

This task, mine, Laonthou hast much to gain; In knowledge, which in hers mine own mind seeing Nor wilt thou at poor Cythna's pride repine, Lest in the human world few mysteries :

If she should lead a happy female train How without fear of evil or disguise

To meet thee over the rejoicing plain, Was Cythna !-what a spirit strong and mild, When myriads at thy call shall throng around Which death, or pain or peril could despise, The Golden City.”—Then the child did strain Yet melt in tenderness! what genius wild,

My arm upon her tremulous heart, and wound Yet mighty, was inclosed within one simple child ! Her own about my neck, till some reply she found.


XXXIX. New lore was this-old age with its gray hair, I smiled and spake not"Wherefore dost thou smile And wrinkled legends of unworthy things,

At what I say ? Laon, I am not weak, And icy sneers, is naught: it cannot dare

And though my cheek might become pale the while, To burst the chains which life for ever flings With thee, if thou desirest, will I seek On the entangled soul's aspiring wings,

Through their array of banded slaves to wreak So is it cold and cruel, and is made

Ruin upon the tyrants. I had thought The careless slave of that dark power which brings It was more hard to turn my unpractised cheek

Evil, like blight on man, who, still betray'd, To scorn and shame, and this beloved spot Laughs o'er the grave in which his living hopes are laid. And thee, 0 dearest friend, to leave and murmur not.


XL Nor are the strong and the severe to keep

“Whence came I what I am ? thou, Laon, knowest The empire of the world : thus Cythna taught How a young child should thus undaunted be; Even in the visions of her eloquent sleep,

Methinks, it is a power which thou bestowest, Unconscious of the power through which she Through which I seek, by most resembling thee. wrought

So to become most good, and great and free, The woof of such intelligible thought,

Yet far beyond this Ocean's utmost roar As from the tranquil strength which cradled lay In towers and huts are many like to me, In her smile-peopled rest, my spirit sought

Who, could they see thine eyes, or feel such lore Why the deceiver and the slave has sway As I have learnt from them, like me would fear no more O'er heralds so divine of truth's arising day. XXXV.

XLI. Within that fairest form, the female mind

Think'st thou that I shall speak unskilfully, Untainted by the poison-clouds which rest

And none will heed me? I remember now, On the dark world, a sacred home did find :

How once, a slave in tortures doom'd to die, But else, from the wide earth's maternal breast, Was saved, because in accents sweet and low Victorious Evil, which had dispossest

He sung a song his Judge loved long ago, All native power, had those fair children torn, As he was led to death.-All shall relent And made them slaves to soothe his vile unrest, Who hear me—tears as mine have flow'd, shal And minister to lust its joys forlorn,

flow, Till they had learn'd to breathe the atmosphere of Hearts beat as mine now beats, with such intent

As renovates the world; a will omnipotent!

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XLVIII. “ Yes, I will tread Pride's golden palaces,

“We part to meet again—but yon blue waste, Through Penury's roofless huts and squalid cells Yon desert wide and deep holds no recess, Will I descend, where'er in abjectness

Within whose happy silence, thus embraced Woman with some vile slave her tyrant dwells, We might survive all ills There with the music of thine own sweet spells Nor doth the grave-I fear 't is passionlessWill disenchant the captives, and will pour Nor yon cold vacant Heaven :-we meet again For the despairing, from the crystal wells

Within the minds of men, whose lips shall bless Of thy deep spirit, reason's mighty lore,

Our memory, and whose hopes its light retain And power shall then abound, and hope arise once When these dissever'd bones are trodden in the

plain." XLIII. “ Can man be free if woman be a slave?

XLIX. Chain one who lives, and breathes this boundless air I could not speak, though she had ceased, for now To the corruption of a closed grave!

The fountains of her feeling, swift and deep, Can they whose mates are beasts, condemn'd to bear Seem'd to suspend the tumult of their flow; Scorn, heavier far than toil or anguish, dare

So we arose, and by the starlight steep To trample their oppressors ? in their home

Went homeward-neither did we speak nor weep, Among their babes, thou knowest a curse would But pale, were calm with passion—thus subdued

Like evening shades that o'er the mountains creep, The shape of woman-hoary crime would come We moved towards our home; where, in this mood, Behind, and fraud rebuild Religion's tottering dome. Each from the other sought refuge in solitude.



“I am a child :-) would not yet depart.
When I go forth alone, bearing the lamp
Aloft which thou hast kindled in my heart,
Millions of slaves from many a dungeon damp
Shall leap in joy, as the benumbing cramp

Of ages leaves their limbs-no ill may harm
'Thy Cythna ever-truth its radiant stamp

Has fix'd, as an invulnerable charm
Upon her children's brow, dark falsehood to disarm.


What thoughts had sway o'er Cythna's lonely “ Wait yet awhile for the appointed day

slumber Thou wilt depart, and I with tears shall stand That night, I know not; but my own did seem Watching thy dim sail skirt the ocean gray ; As if they might ten thousand years outnumber Amid the dwellers of this lonely land

Of waking life, the visions of a dream, I shall remain alone—and thy command

Which hid in one dim gulf the troubled stream Shall then dissolve the world's unquiet trance,

Of mind; a boundless chaos wild and vast, And, multitudinous as the desert sand

Whose limits yet were never memory's theme: Borne on the storm, its millions shall advance, And I lay struggling as its whirlwinds past, C'hronging round thee, the light of their deliverance. Sometimes for rapture sick, sometimes for pain aghast.


II. “Then, like the forests of some pathless mountain, Which from remotest glens two warring winds Two hours, whose mighty circle did embrace Involve in fire, which not the loosen'd fountain More time than might make gray the infant world Of broadest floods might quench, shall all the kinds Roll'd thus, a weary and tumultuous space : Of evil, catch from our uniting minds

When the third came, like mist on breezes curl'd The spark which must consume them ;-Cythna From my dim sleep a shadow was unfurld: then

Methought, upon the threshold of a cave Will have cast off the impotence that binds I sate with Cythna; drooping briony, pearl'd Her childhood now, and through the paths of men

With dew from the wild streamlet's shatter'd wave, Will pass, as the charm'd bird that haunts the serpent's Hung, where we sate to taste the joys which Nature den.




III. * We part - Laon, I must dare nor tremble We lived a day as we were wont to live, To meet these looks no more !-Oh, heavy stroke, But Nature had a robe of glory on, Sweet brother of my soul! can I dissemble And the bright air o'er every shape did weave The agony of this thought ?"-As thus she spoke Intenser hues, so that the herbless stone, The gather'd sobs her quivering accents broke, The leafless bough among the leaves alone, And in my arms she hid her beating breast. Had being clearer than its own could be, I remain'd still for tears-sudden she woke

And Cythna's pure and radiant self was shown As one awakes from sleep, and wildly prest In this strange vision, so divine to me, My bosom, her whole frame impetuously possest. That if I loved before, now love was agony.


X. Morn fled, noon came, evening, then night de- These words had fallen on my unheeding ear, scended,

Whilst I had watch'd the motions of the crew And we prolong'd calm talk beneath the sphere With seeming careless glance; not many were Of the calm moon--when suddenly was blended Around her, for their comrades just withdrew With our repose a nameless sense of fear;

To guard some other victimso I drew And from the cave behind I seem'd to hear My knife, and with one impulse, suddenly Sounds gathering upwards ! - accents incomplete, All unaware three of their number slew, And stifled shrieks,-and now, more near and near, And grasp'd a fourth by the throat, and with loud A tumult and a rush of thronging feet

cry The cavern's secret depths beneath the earth did beat. My countrymen invoked to death or liberty!



XI. The scene was changed, and away, away, away! What follow'd then, I know not-for a stroke Through the air and over the sea we sped,

On my raised arm and naked head, came down, And Cythna in my sheltering bosom lay,

Filling my eyes with blood—when I awoke, And the winds bore me-through the darkness spread I felt that they had bound me in my swoon, Around, the gaping earth then vomited

And up a rock which overhangs the town, Legions of foul and ghastly shapes, which hung By the steep path were bearing me: below, Upon my flight; and ever, as we fled,

The plain was fill’d with slaughter, -overthrown They pluck'd at Cythna—soon to me then clung The vineyards and the harvests, and the glow å sense of actual things those monstrous dreams among. Of blazing roofs shone far o'er the white Ocean's flow.


XII. And I lay struggling in the impotence

Upon that rock a mighty column stood, Of sleep, while outward life had burst its bound, Whose capitol seemed sculptured in the sky, Though, still deluded, strove the tortured sense Which to the wanderers o'er the solitude To its dire wanderings to adapt the sound

of distant seas, from ages long gone by, Which in the light of morn was pour'd around Had made a landmark ; o'er its height to fly Our dwelling-breathless, pale, and unaware Scarcely the cloud, the vulture, or the blast I rose, and all the cottage crowded found

Has power—and when the shades of evening lie With armed men, whose glittering swords were bare, On Earth and Ocean, its carved summits cast And whose degraded limbs the tyrant's garb did wear. The sunken daylight far through the aërial waste.

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XIII. And ere with rapid lips and gather'd brow

They bore me to a cavern in the hill I could demand the cause-a feeble shriek

Beneath that column, and unbound me there: It was a feeble shriek, faint, far and low,

And one did strip me stark; and one did fill Arrested me-my mien grew calm and meek, A vessel from the putrid pool; one bare And grasping a small knife, I went to seek

A lighted worch, and four with friendless care That voice among the crowd—'t was Cythna's cry! Guided my steps the cavern-paths along, Beneath most calm resolve did agony wreak Then up a steep and dark and narrow stair Its whirlwind rage so I past quietly

We wound, until the torches' fiery tongue Till I beheld, where bound, that dearest child did lie. Amid the gushing day beamless and pallid hung.

I started to behold her, for delight
And exultation, and a joyance free,
Solemn, serene and lofty, fill'd the light
Of the calm smile with which she look'd on me :
So that I fear'd some brainless ecstasy,
Wrought from that bitter woe, had wilder'd her-
“Farewell! farewell!" she said, as I drew nigh.

" At first my peace was marr'd by this strange stir, Now I am calm as truth-its chosen minister.

They raised me to the platform of the pile,
That column's dizzy height:-the grate of brass
Through which they thrust me, open slood the while,
As to its ponderous and suspended mass,
With chains which eat into the flesh, alas!
With brazen links, my naked limbs they bound:
The grate, as they departed to repass,

With horrid clangor fell, and the far sound
Of their retiring steps in the dense gloom was drown'd.



XV. Look not so, Laon—say farewell in hope, The noon was calm and bright-around that column These bloody men are but the slaves who bear The overhanging sky and circling sea Their mistress to her task-it was my scope Spread forth in silentness profound and solemn The slavery where they drag me now, to share, The darkness of brief frenzy cast on me, And among captives willing chains to wear So that I knew not my own misery: Awhile-the rest thou knowest-return, dear friend! The islands and the mountains in the day Let our first triumph trample the despair

Like clouds reposcd afar; and I could see Which would ensnare us now, for in the end, The town among the woods below that lay, In victory or in death our hopes and fears must And the dark rocks which bound the bright and glassy blend.'



XXII. It was so calm, that scarce the feathery weed My brain began to fail when the fourth morn Sown by some eagle on the topmost stone

Burst o'er the golden islesma fearful sleep, Sway'd in the air :-so bright, that noon did breed Which through the caverns dreary and forlorn No shadow in the sky beside mine own

Of the riven soul, sent its foul dreams to sweep Mine, and the shadow of my chain alone.

With whirlwind swifiness—a fall far and deep,– Below the smoke of roofs involved in flame A gulf, a void, a sense of senselessnessRested like night, all else was clearly shown These things dwelt in me, even as shadows keep

In that broad glare, yet sound to me none came, Their watch in some dim charnel's loneliness, But of the living blood that ran within my frame. A shoreless sea, a sky sunless and planetless!


XXIII. The peace of madness fed, and ah, too soon! The forms which peopled this terrific trance A ship was lying on the sunny main,

I well remember-like a quire of devils, Its sails were flagging in the breathless noon- Around me they involved a giddy dance; Its shadow lay beyond—that sight again

Legions seem'd gathering from the misty levels Waked, with its presence, in my tranced brain Of Ocean, 10 supply those ceaseless revels, The stings of a known sorrow, keen and cold : Foul, ceaseless shadows:-hought could not divide I knew that ship bore Cythna o'er the plain The actual world from these entangling evils, Of waters, to her blighting slavery sold,

Which so bemock'd themselves, that I descried And watch'd it with such thoughts as must remain All shapes like mine own self, hideously multiplied untold. XVIII.

XXIV. I watch'd, until the shades of evening wrapt The sense of day and night, of false and true, Earth like an exhalation, then the bark

Was dead within me. Yet two visions burst Moved, for that calm was by the sunset snapt. That darkness-one, as since that hour I knew, It moved a speck upon the Ocean dark :

Was not a phantom of the realms accurst, Soon the wan stars came forth, and I could mark

Where then my spirit dwelt-but of the first Its path no more !-1 sought to close mine eyes, I know not yet, was it a dream or no. But like the balls, their lids were stiff and stark; But both, though not distincter, were immersed

I would have risen, but ere that I could rise, In hues which, when through memory's waste they My parched skin was split with piercing agonies.


Made their divided streams more bright and rapid now XIX.

XXV. I gnaw'd my brazen chain, and sought to sever Methought that gate was listed, and the seven Its adamantine links, that I might die:

Who brought me thither, four stiff corpses bare, O Liberty! forgive the base endeavor,

And from the frieze to the four winds of Heaven Forgive me, if reserved for victory,

Hung them on high by the entangled hair: The Champion of thy faith e'er sought to fly.- Swarthy were three-ihe fourth was very fair: That starry night, with its clear silence, sent As they retired, the golden moon upsprung, Tameless resolve which laugh'd at misery

And eagerly, out in the giddy air, Into my soul-linked remembrance lent

Leaning that I might eat, I stretch'd and clung To that such power, to me such a severe content. Over the shapeless depth in which those corpses hung


XXVI. To breathe, to be, to hope, or to despair

A woman's shape, now lank and cold and blue And die, I question'd not; nor, though the Sun The dwelling of the many-color'd worm, Its shafts of agony kindling through the air Hung there, the white and hollow cheek I drew Moved over me, nor though in evening dun, To my dry lips-what radiance did inform Or when the stars their visible courses run, Those horny eyes? whose was that wither'd form? Or morning, the wide universe was spread

Alas, alas! it seem'd that Cythna's ghost In dreary calmness round me, did I shun

Laugh'd in those looks, and that the flesh was warm
Its presence, nor seek refuge with the dead Within my teeth a whirlwind keen as frost
I'rom one faint hope whose flower a dropping poison Then in its sinking gulfs my sickening spirit tost

Two days thus past—I neither raved nor died- Then seem'd it that a tameless hurricane
Thirst raged within me, like a scorpion's nest A rose, and bore me in its dark career
Built in mine entrails: I had spurn'd aside

Beyond the sun, beyond the stars that wane The water-vessel, while despair possest

On the verge of formless space--it languish'd there, My thoughts, and now no drop remain'd! the And dying, left a silence lone and drear, uprest

More horrible than famine in the deep of the third sun brought hunger-but the crust The shape of an old man did then appear, Which had been left, was to my craving breast Stately and beautiful, that dreadful sleep

Fuel, not food. I chew'd the bitter dust, His heavenly smiles dispersed, and I could wake and And bit my bloodless arm, and lick'd the brazen rust.


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