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XI. • Those who were sent to bind me, wept, and felt Their minds outsoar the bonds which clasp'd them round, Even as a waxen shape may waste and melt In the white furnace; and a vision'd swound, A pause of hope and awe the City bound, Which, like the silence of a tempest's birth, When in its awful shadow it has wound The sun, the wind, the ocean, and the earth, Hung terrible, ere yet the lightnings have leapt forth. XII. * Like clouds inwoven in the silent sky, By winds from distant regions meeting there, In the high name of truth and liberty Around the City milions gather'd were, By hopes which sprang from many a hidden lair; Words, which the lore of truth in hues of grace Array'd, thine own wild songs which in the air Like homeless odours floated, and the name Of thee, and many a tongue which thou hadst dipp'd in flame. XIII. • The Tyrant knew his power was gone, but Fear, The nurse of Wengeance, bade him wait the event— That perfidy and custom, gold and prayer, And whatsoe'er, when force is impotent, To fraud the sceptre of the world has lent, Might, as he judged, confirm his failing sway. Therefore throughout the streets, the Priests he sent To curse the rebels—To their gods did they For Earthquake, Plague, and Want, kneel in the public way. XIV. “And grave and hoary men were bribed to tell From seats where law is made the slave of wrong, How glorious Athens in her splendour fell, Because her sons were free,_and that among Mankind, the many to the few belong, By Ileaven, and Nature, and Necessity. They said, that age was truth, and that the young Marr'd with wild hopes the peace of slavery, With which old times and men had quell'd the vain and free. xW. “And with the falsehood of their poisonous lips They breathed on the enduring memory Of sages and of bards a brief eclipse; There was one teacher, who, necessity Had armed, with strength and wrong against mankind, Isis slave and his avenger aye to be; That we were weak and sinful, frail and blind, And that the will of one was peace, and we Should seek for nought on earth but toil and misery.
XVI. “‘For thus we might avoid the hell hereafter.’ So spake the hypocrites, who cursed and lied; Alas, their sway was past, and tears and laughter Clung to their hoary hair, withering the pride Which in their hollow hearts dared still abide; And yet obscener slaves with smoother brow, And sneers on their strait lips, thin, blue and wide, Said, that the rule of men was over now,
xWii. - And gold was scatter'd through the streets, and wine Flow'd at a hundred feasts within the wall. In vain! the steady towers in Heaven did shine As they were wont, nor at the priestly call, Left Plague her banquet in the AEthiop's hall, Nor famine from the rich man's portal came, Where at her ease she ever preys on all Who throng to kneel for food : nor fear nor shame, Nor faith, nor discord, dimm'd hope's newly kindlel flame. XWiii. a For gold was as a god whose faith began To fade, so that its worshippers were few, And Faith itself, which in the heart of man Gives shape, voice, name, to spectral Terror, knew Its downfall, as the altars lonelier grew, Till the Priests stood alone within the fame; The shafts of falsehood unpolluting flew, And the cold sneers of calumny were vain The union of the free with discord's brand to stain.
xix. « The rest thou knowest—Lo! we two are here— We have survived a ruin wide and deep— Strange thoughts are mine.—I cannot grieve or fear, Sitting with thee upon this lonely steep I smile, though human love should make me weep. We have survived a joy that knows no sorrow, And I do feel a mighty calmness creep Over my heart, which can no longer borrow Its hues from chance or change, dark children of toInorrow. XX. • We know not what will come—yet Laon, dearest, Cythna shall be the prophetess of love, Her lips shall rob thee of the grace thou wearest, To hide thy heart, and clothe the shapes which rove Within the homeless future's wintry grove; For I now, sitting thus beside thee, seem Even with thy breath and blood to live and move, And violence and wrong are as a dream Which rolls from stedfast truth an unreturning stream.
XXI. * The blasts of autumn drive the winged seeds Over the earth,-next corne the snows, and rain, And frost, and storms, which dreary winter leads Out of lis Scythian cave, a savage train; Behold! Spring sweeps over the world again, Shedding soft dews from her actherial wings; Flowers on the mountains, fruits over the plain, And music on the waves and woods she flings, And love on all that lives, and calm on lifeless things.
XXII. « O Spring' of hope, and love, and youth, and gladness Wind-winged emblem! brightest, best and fairest! Whence comest thou, when, with dark winter'ssadness The tears that fade in sunny smiles thou sharest Sister of joy thou art the child who wearest Thy mother's dying smile, tender and sweet; Thy mother Autumn, for whose grave thou bearest Fresh flowers, and beams like flowers, with gentle feet,
And hence, the subject world to woman's will must bow;
Disturbing not the leaves which are her winding-sheet.
xxiii. • Virtue, and Hope, and Love, like light and Heaven, Surround the world.—We are their chosen slaves. Has not the whirlwind of our spirit driven Truth's deathless germs to thought's remotest caves? Lo, Winter comes!—the grief of many graves, The frost of death, the tempest of the sword, The flood of tyranny, whose sanguine waves Stat; nate like ice at Faith, the enchanter's word, And bind all human hearts in its repose abhorr'd.
XXIV. • The seeds are sleeping in the soil; meanwhile The tyrant peoples dungeons with his prey, Pale victims on the guarded scaffold simile Because they cannot speak ; and, day by day, The moon of wasting Science wanes away Among her stars, and in that darkness vast The sons of earth to their foul idols pray, And grey Priests triumph, and like blight or blast A shade of selfish care o'er human looks is cast.
XXV. - This is the winter of the world ; –and here We die, even as the winds of Autumn fade, Expiring in the frone and foggy air.— Behold Spring comes, though we must pass, who made
The promise of its birth, even as the shade
From its dark gulf of chains, Earth like an eagle springs.
X \Wi. • 0 dearest love! we shall be dead and cold Before this morn may on the world arise; wouldst thou the glory of its dawn behold? Alas! gaze not on me, but turn thine eyes On thine own heart—it is a paradise Which everlasting spring has made its own, And while drear Winter fills the naked skies, Sweet streams of sunny thought, and flowers fresh blown,
Are there, and weave their sounds and odours into one.
XXVI.i. . In their own hearts the earnest of the hope which made them great, the good will ever find; And though some envious shade may interlope Between the effect and it, one connes behind, who aye the future to the past will bind– Necessity, whose sightless strength forever Evil with evil, good with tood must wind In bands of union, which no power may sever:
They must bring forth their kind, and be divided never!
XXVIII. - The good and mighty of departed ages Are in their graves, the innocent and free, Heroes, and l’oets, and prevailing Sages, who leave the vesture of their majesty To adorn and clothe this naked world;—and we Are like to them—such perish, but they leave All hope, or love, or truth, or liberty, Whose forms their mighty spirits could conceive To be a rule and law to ages that survive.
XXIX. • So be the turf heap'd over our remains Even in our happy youth, and that strange lot, Whate'er it be, when in these mingling veins The blood is still, be ours; let sense and thought Pass from our being, or be number'd not Among the things that are; let those who come Behind, for whom our stedfast will has brought A calm inheritance, a glorious doom, Insult with careless tread, our undivided tomb.
XVX. • Our many thoughts and deeds, our life and love, Our happiness, and all that we have been, Immortally must live, and burn and move, When we shall be no more;—the world has seen A type of peace; and as some most serene And lovely spot to a poor maniac's eye, After long years, some sweet and moving scene Of youthful hope returning suddenly, Quells his long inadness—thus man shall remember thee.
MXWi. “And Calumny meanwhile shall feed on us, As worms devour the dead, and near the throne And at the altar, most accepted thus Shall sneers and curses be;—what we have done None shall dare vouch, though it be truly known; That record shall remain, when they must pass Who built their pride on its oblivion; And faine, in human hope which sculptured was, Survive the perished scrolls of unenduring brass.
\\\li. • The while we two, beloved, must depart, And Sense and Reason, those inchanters fair, Whose wand of power is hope, would bid the heart That gazed beyond the wormy grave despair: These eyes, these lips, this blood, seems darkly there To fade in hideous ruin; no calm sleep Peopling with golden dreams the stagnant air, Seems our obscure and rotting eyes to steep In joy;-but senseless death—a ruin dark and deep!
XXVIII. - These are blind fancies—reason cannot know What sense can neither feel, nor thought conceive; There is delusion in the world—and woe, And fear, and pain—we know not whence we live, Or why, or how, or what mute Power may give Their being to each plant, and star, and beast, Or even these thoughts:—Come near me! I do weave A chain I cannot break—I am possest With thoughts too swift and strong for one lone human breast. xxxiv. * Yes, ves—thy kiss is sweet, thy lips are warmO! willingly beloved, would these eyes, Might they no more drink being from thy form, Even as to sleep whence we again arise, Close their faint orbs in death : I fear nor prize Aught that can now betide, unshared by theeYes, Love when wisdom fails makes Cythna wise: Darkness and death, if death be true, must be Dearer than life and hope, if unenjoy'd with thee.
• Alas, our thoughts flow on with stream, whose waters
Meanwhile had fallen on earth from the sky's sunless
Though she had ceased, her countenance uplifted
She turn'd to me and smiled—that smile was Paradise'
CAN TO X.
I. Was there a human spirit in the steed, That thus with his proud voice, ere night was gone, He broke our linked rest? or do indeed All living things a common nature own, And thought erect a universal throne, Where many shapes one tribute ever bear? And Earth, their mutual mother, does she groan To see her sons contend ? and makes she bare lier breast, that all in peace its drainless stores may share : ii. I have heard friendly sounds from many a tongue, Which was not human—the lone Nightingale IIas answer'd me with her most soothing song, Out of her ivy bower, when I sate pale with grief, and sigh’d beneath; from many a dale The Antelopes who flock'd for food have spoken with happy sounds, and motions, that avail Like man's own speech; and such was now the token Of waning night, whose calm by that proud neigh was broken. iii. Each night, that mighty steed bore me abroad, And I returned with food to our retreat, And dark intelligence; the blood which flow'd Over the fields, had stain'd the courser's feet;Soon the dust drinks that bitter dew,-then meet The vulture, and the wild-dog, and the snake, The wolf, and the hyaena grey, and eat The dead in horrid truce: their throngs did make Behind the steed, a chasm like waves in a ship's wake.
IV. For, from the utmost realms of earth, came pouring The banded slaves whom every despot sent At that throned traitor's summons; like the roaring Of fire, whose floods the wild deer circumvent In the scorch'd pastures of the South; so bent The armies of the leagued kings around Their files of steel and flame;—the continent Trembled, as with a zone of ruin bound,
Beneath their feet, the sea shook with their Navies sound.
V. From every nation of the earth they came, The multitude of moving heartless things, Whom slaves call men: obediently they came, Like sheep whom from the fold the shepherd brings To the stall, red with blood; their many kings Led them, thus erring, from their native home; Tartar and Frank, and millions whom the wings Of Indian breezes lull, and many a band The Arctic Anarch sent, and Idumea's sand,
Wi. Fertile in prodigies and lies;–so there Strange natures made a brotherhood of ill. The desert savage ceased to grasp in fear Ilis Asian shield and bow, when, at the will of Europe's subtler son, the bolt would kill Some shepherd sitting on a rock secure; But smiles of wondering joy his face would fill, And savage sympathy: those slaves impure, Each one the other thus from ill to ill did lure.
Wit. For traitorously did that foul Tyrant robe His countenance in lies, –even at the hour When he was snatch'd from death, then o'er the globe, With secret signs from many a mountain tower, With smoke by day, and fire by night, the power Of kings and priests, those dark conspirators He call d –they knew his cause their own, and swore Like wolves, and serpents to their mutual wars Strange truce, with many a rite which Earth and Heaven abhors. VIII. Myriads had come—millions were on their way; The Tyrant past, surrounded by the steel Of hired assassins, through the public way, Choked with his country's dead:—his footsteps reel On the fresh blood—he smiles, . Ave, now I feel I am a King in truth!- he said, and took His royal seat, and bade the torturing wheel Be brought, and fire, and pincers, and the hook, And scorpions; that his soul on its revenge might look.
ix. • But first, go slay the rebels—why return The victor bands?" he said, . millions yet live, Of whom the weakest with one word might turn The scales of victory yet;-let none survive But those within the walls—each fifth shall give The expiation for his brethren here.— Go forth, and waste and kill!--. O king, forgive My speech,” a soldier answer'd–- but we fear The spirits of the night, and morn is drawing near;
X. • For we were slaving still without remorse, And now that dreadful chief beneath my hand Defenceless lav, when, on a hell-black horse, An Angel bright as day, waving a brand Which flash'd among the stars, past.”—- Dost thou stand Parleying with me, thou wretch - the king replied; • Slaves, bind him to the wheel; and of this band, Whoso will drag that woman to his side That scared him thus, may burn his dearest foe beside; XI. • And gold and glory shall be his.-Go forth!. They rush'd into the plain.—Loud was the roar Of their career: the horsemen shook the earth; The wheel'd artillery's speed the pavement tore; The infantry, file after file, did pour Their clouds on the utmost hills. Five days they slew Among the wasted fields: the sixth saw gore Stream through the city; on the seventh, the dew Of slaughter became stiff; and there was peace anew :
XII. Peace in the desert fields and villages, Between the glutted beasts and mangled dead! Peace in the silent streets' save when the cries Of victims to their fiery judgment led, Made pale their voiceless lips who seem'd to dread Even in their dearest kindred, lest some tongue Be faithless to the fear yet unbetray'd; Peace in the Tyrant's palace, where the throng Waste the triumphal hours in festival and song!
xiii. Day after day the burning Sun rolled on Over the death-polluted land—it came Out of the east like fire, and fiercely shone A lamp of Autumn, ripening with its laune The few lone ears of corn;–the sky became Stagnate with heat, so that each cloud and blast Languish'd and died,—the thirsting air did claim All moisture, and a rotting vapour past From the unburied dead, invisible and fast.
xi W. First want, then Plague came on the beasts; their food Failed, and they drew the breath of its decay. Millions on millions, whom the scent of blood Had lured, or who, from regions far away, Had track'd the hosts in festival array, From their dark deserts; gaunt and wasting now, Stalk d like fell shades among their perish'd prey; In their green eyes a strange disease did glow, They sank in hideous spasm, or pains severe and slow.
wV. The fish were poison'd in the streams; the birds In the green woods perish'd; the insect race was wither'd up; the scatter'd flocks and herds who had survived the wild beasts' hungry chace
Died moaning, each upon the other's face In helpless agony gazing; round the City All night, the lean hyenas their sad case Like starving infants wailed; a woeful ditty! And many a mother wept, pierced with unnatural pity.
XVI. Amid the aerial minarets on high, The AEthiopian vultures fluttering fell From their long line of brethren in the sky, Startling the concourse of mankind.—Too well These signs the coming mischief did foretell:— Strange panic first, a deep and sickening dread Within each heart, like ice, did sink and dwell, A voiceless thought of evil, which did spread With the quick glance of eyes, like withering lightnings shed. XWii. Day after day, when the year wanes, the frosts Strip its green crown of leaves, till all is bare; So on those strange and congregated hosts Came Famine, a swift shadow, and the air Groaned with the burthen of a new despair; Famine, than whom Misrule no deadlier daughter Feeds from her thousand breasts, though sleeping there With lidless eyes, lie Faith, and Plague, and Slaughter, A ghastly brood; conceived of Lethe's sullen water.
XVIII. There was no food, the corn was trampled down, The flocks and herds had perished; on the shore The dead and putrid fish were ever thrown: The deeps were foodless, and the winds no more Creak'd with the weight of birds, but as before Those winged things sprang forth, were void of shade; The vines and orchards, Autumn's golden store, Were burn'd;—so that the meanest food was weigh'd With gold, and Avarice died before the god it made.
xix. There was no corn—in the wide market-place All loathliest things, even human flesh, was sold; They weigh’d it in small scales—and many a face Was fix’d in eager horror then : his gold The miser brought, the tender maid, grown bold Through hunger, bared her scorned charms in vain: The mother brought her eldest born, controll'd By instinct blind as love, but turn'd again And bade her infant suck, and died in silent pain.
xx. Then fell blue Plague upon the race of man. • O, for the sheathed steel, so late which gave Oblivion to the dead, when the streets ran With brothers' blood! 0, that the earthquake's grave would gape, or Ocean lift its stifling wave!” Vain cries—throughout the streets, thousands pursurd Each by his fiery torture howl and rave, Or sit, in frenzy’s unimagined mood, Upon fresh heaps of dead; a ghastly multitude.
xxi. It was not hunger now, but thirst. Each well was choked with rotting corpses, and became A cauldron of green mist made visible At sunrise. Thither still the myriads came, Seeking to quench the agony of the flame which raged like poison through their bursting veins; Naked they were from torture, without shame, Spotted with nameless scars and lurid blains, Childhood, and youth, and age, writhing in savage pains.
XYViii. ... O King of Glory' thou alone hast power! Who can resist thy will? who can restrain Thy wrath, when on the guilty thou dost shower The shafts of thy revenge, a blistering rain? Greatest and best, be merciful again! Have we not stabb'd thine enemies, and made The Earth an altar, and the Heavens a fane, Where thou wert worshipp'd with their blood, and laid Those hearts in dust which would thy searchless works . have weigh'd? xxiv. • Well didst thou loosen on this impious City Thine angels of revenge: recall them now; t Thy worshippers, abased, here kneel for pity, And bind their souls by an immortal vow: We swear by thee! and to our oath do thou Give sanction, from thine hell of fiends and flame, That we will kill with fire and torments slow, The last of those who mock'd thy holy name, And scorn'd the sacred laws thy prophets did proclaim - .
xxx. Thus they with trembling limbs and pallid lips Worshipp'd their own hearts image, dim and vast, Scared by the shade wherewith they would eclipse The light of other minds;–troubled they past From the great Temple;—fiercely still and fast The arrows of the plague among them fell, And they on one another gazed aghast, And through the hosts contention wild befell, As each of his own god the wondrous works did tell.
XXXi. And Oromaze, Joshua, and Mahomet, Moses, and Buddh, Zerdusht, and Brahm, and Foh. A tumult of strange names, which never niet Before, as watch-words of a single woe, Arose; each raging votary 'gan to throw Aloft his armed hands, and each did how! • Our God alone is God!" and slaughter now Would have gone forth, when from beneath a cowl A voice came forth, which pierced like ice through every soul. XXXii. "T was an Iberian Priest from whom it came, A zealous man, who led the legion'd west With words which faith and pride had steep'd in flame, To quell the unbelievers; a dire guest Even to his friends was he, for in his breast Did hate and guile lie watchful, intertwined, Twin serpents in one deep and winding nest; He loathed all faith beside his own, and pined To wreak his fear of Heaven in vengeance on mankind. XXXIII. But more he loathed and hated the clear light Of wisdom and free thought, and more did fear, Lest, kindled once, its beams might pierce the night, Even where his liol stood; for, far and near Did many a heart in Europe leap to hear That faith and tyranny were trampled down; Many a pale victim, doom'd for truth to share The murderer's cell, or see, with helpless groan, The priests his children drag for slaves to serve their own.