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Then first, two glittering lights were seen to glide In circles on the amethystine floor,
Small serpent eyes trailing from side to side,
Like meteors on a river's grassy shore,
A cloud of deepest shadow, which was thrown Athwart the glowing steps and the crystalline throne.
The cloud which rested on that cone of flame Was cloven; beneath the planet sate a Form, Fairer than tongue can speak or thought may frame, The radiance of whose limbs rose-like and warm Flow'd forth, and did with softest light inform The shadowy dome, the sculptures, and the state Of those assembled shapes-with clinging charm Sinking upon their hearts and mine-He sate Majestic, yet most mild--calm, yet compassionate.
Wonder and joy a passing faintness threw Over my brow-a hand supported me, Whose touch was magic strength : an eye of blue Look'd into mine, like moonlight, soothingly; And a voice said-Thou must a listener be This day-two mighty Spirits now return, Like birds of calm, from the world's raging sea, They pour fresh light from Hope's immortal urn; A tale of human power-despair not-list and learn!
I look'd, and lo! one stood forth eloquently, His eyes were dark and deep, and the clear brow Which shadow'd them was like the morning sky, The cloudless Heaven of Spring, when in their flow Through the bright air, the soft winds as they blow Wake the green world-his gestures did obey The oracular mind that made his features glow, And where his curved lips half open lay, Passion's divinest stream had made impetuous way.
Beneath the darkness of his outspread hair
Which through her floating locks and gather'd cloke,
THE star-light smile of children, the sweet looks Of women, the fair breast from which I fed, The murmur of the unreposing brooks, And the green light which, shifting overhead, Some tangled bower of vines around me shed, The shells on the sea-sand, and the wild flowers, The lamp-light through the rafters cheerly spread, And on the twining flax-in life's young hours These sights and sounds did nurse my spirits' folded powers. II.
In Argolis, beside the echoing sea, Such impulses within my mortal frame Arose, and they were dear to memory, Like tokens of the dead:-but others came Soon, in another shape: the wondrous fame Of the past world, the vital words and deeds Of minds whom neither time nor change can tame, Traditions dark and old, whence evil creeds Start forth, and whose dim shade a stream of poison feeds.
I heard, as all have heard, the various story
A throne of judgment in the grave:-'t was fate, That among such as these my youth should seek its
The land in which I lived, by a fell bane Was wither'd up. Tyrants dwelt side by side, And stabled in our homes,-until the chain Stifled the captive's cry, and to abide That blasting curse men had no shame-all vied In evil, slave and despot; fear with lust, Strange fellowship through mutual hate had tied, Like two dark serpents tangled in the dust, Which on the paths of men their mingling poison thrust.
Earth, our bright home, its mountains and its waters, And the etherial shapes which are suspended Over its green expanse, and those fair daughters, The clouds, of Sun and Ocean, who have blended The colours of the air since first extended It cradled the young world, none wander'd forth To see or feel: a darkness had descended On every heart: the light which shows its worth, Must among gentle thoughts and fearless take its birth.
VI. This vital world, this home of happy spirits, Was as a dungeon to my blasted kind, All that despair from murder'd hope inherits They sought, and in their helpless misery blind, A deeper prison and heavier chains did find, And stronger tyrants:—a dark gulf before, The realm of a stern Ruler, yawn'd; behind, Terror and Time conflicting drove, and bore
Such man has been, and such may yet become! Aye, wiser, greater, gentler, even than they Who on the fragments of yon shatter'd dome
Have stamp'd the sign of power-I felt the sway
Of the vast stream of ages bear away
My floating thoughts-my heart beat loud and fastEven as a storm let loose beneath the ray
Of the still moon, my spirit onward past
On their tempestuous flood the shrieking wretch from Beneath Truth's steady beams upon its tumult cast. shore.
Imposture's impious toils round each discordant shrine. A tower whose marble walls the leagued storms with
The adamantine armour of their power,
An orphan with my parents lived, whose eyes
What wert thou then? A child most infantine,
As mine own shadow was this child to me,
Once she was dear, now she was all I had
My sole associate, and her willing feet
Wander'd with mine where earth and ocean meet,
Through forests wide and old, and lawny dells,
And warm and light I felt her clasping hand
And soon I could not have refused her-thus
And, in the murmur of her dreams was heard
Hymns which my soul had woven to Freedom, strong
With passion, o'er their depths its fleeting light had To the enchanted waves that child of glory sung,
She moved upon this earth a shape of brightness,
Her white arms lifted through the shadowy stream
From her deep eyes far wandering, on the wing
For, before Cythna loved it, had my song
Which clings upon mankind :--all things became
Earth, sea and sky, the planets, life and fame
And fate, or whate'er else binds the world's wondrous frame.
And this beloved child thus felt the sway Of my conceptions, gathering like a cloud The very wind on which it rolls away: Hers too were all my thoughts, ere yet endow'd With music and with light, their fountains flow'd In poesy; and her still and earnest face, Pallid with feelings which intensely glow'd Within, was turn'd on mine with speechless grace, Watching the hopes which there her heart had learn'd
In me, communion with this purest being
In knowledge, which in hers mine own mind seeing,
Was Cythna!-what a spirit strong and mild,
New lore was this-old age with its grey hair,
The careless slave of that dark power which brings
Nor are the strong and the severe to keep
As from the tranquil strength which cradled lay
Within that fairest form, the female mind
Till they had learned to breathe the atmosphere of scorn.
This misery was but coldly felt, till she
To the hyena Lust, who, among graves,
Over his loathed meal, laughing in agony, raves.
And I, still gazing on that glorious child,
Even as these thoughts flush'd o'er her. Cythna
Well with the world art thou unreconciled;
She replied earnestly: - It shall be mine,
I smiled, and spake not-«Wherefore dost thou smile
And though my cheek might become pale the while,
It was more hard to turn my unpractised cheek
Whence came I what I am? thou, Laon, knowest How a young child should thus undaunted be; Methinks, it is a power which thou bestowest, Through which I seek, by most resembling thee, So to become most good, and great and free, Yet far beyond this Ocean's utmost roar In towers and huts are many like to me, Who, could they see thine eyes, or feel such lore As I have learnt from them, like me would fear no more.
Think'st thou that I shall speak unskilfully,
Who hear me-tears as mine have flow'd, shall flow,
As renovates the world; a wiH omnipotent!