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XLVI.

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

Frum my dim sleep a shadow was unfurld : The spark which must consume them ;-Cythoa then Methought, upon the threshold of a cave Will have cast off the impotence that binds

I sate with Cythna; drooping briony, pearled 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 ihe serpent's Hung, where we sate to taste the joys which Nature den.

gave. XLVII.

IIL - We part!-0 Laon, I must dare nor tremble

We lived a day as we were wont to live,
To meet those 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 possesi. That if I loved before, now love was agony.

IV.
Morn fled, noon came, evening, then night descended,
And we prolong'd calm talk beneath the sphere
Of the calm moon-when, suddenly was blended
With our repose a nameless sense of fear;
And from the cave behind I seem'd to hear
Sounds gathering upwards !-accents incomplete,
And stilled shrieks,--and now, more near and near,

A tumult and a rush of thronging feet
The cavern's secret depths beneath the earth did beat.

X.
These words had fallen on my unheeding ear,
Whilst I had watch'd the motions of the crew
With seeming careless glance; not many were
Around her, for their comrades just withdrew
To guard some other victim--so I drew
My knife, and with one impulse, suddenly
All unaware three of their number slew,

And grasp'd a fourth by the throat, and with loud cry
My countrymen invoked to death or liberty!

V.

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 vomiled

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,--overtbrown They pluck'd at Cythina-soon to me then clung The vineyards and the harvests, and the glow A sense of actual things those monstrous dreams among. Of blazing roofs shone far o'er the white Ocean's flow.

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IX,

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 reposed 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 blend. And the dark rocks which bound the bright and glassy

bay.

XVI.
It was so calm, that scarce the feathery weed
Sown by some cagle on the topmost stone
Sway'd in the air :--so bright, that noon did breed
No shadow in the sky beside mine own-
Mine, and the shadow of my chain alone.
Below the smoke of roofs involved in flame
Rested like night, all else was clearly shown

lo that broad glare, yet sound to me none came, But of the living blood that ran within my frame.

XXII.
My brain began to fail when the fourth morn
Burst o'er the golden isles—a fearful sleep,
Which through the caverns dreary and forlorn
Of the riven soul, sent its foul dreams to sweep
With whirlwind swiftness—a fall far and deep, -
A gulf, a void, a sense of senselessness-
These things dwelt in me, even as shadows keep

Their watch in some dim charnel's loneliness,
A shoreless sea, a sky sunless and planetless !

XVII.

XXIIT. The peace of madness fled, 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 tlagging in the breathless noon

Around me they involved a giddy dance; Jis sladow lay beyond—that sight again

Legions seem'd gathering from the misty levels
Waked, with its presence,

in
my
tranced brain

Of Ocean, to supply those ceaseless revels,
The stings of a known sorrow, keen and cold:

Foul, ceaseless shadows :-- thought 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 untold. All shapes like ininc own self, hideously multiplied.

XVIII.
I watch'd, until the shades of evening wrapt
Earth like an exhalation-then the bark
Moved, for that calm was by the sunset snapt.
It moved a speck upon the Ocean dark :
Soon the wan stars came forth, and I could mark
Its path no more!-I songht to close mine eyes,
But like the balls, their lids were stiff and stark;

I would have risen, but ere that I could rise,
My parched skin was split with piercing agonies.

XXIV.
The sense of day and night, of false and true,
Was dead within me. Yet two visions burst
That darkness-one, as since that hour I knew,
Was not a phantom of the realms accurst,
Where then my spirit dwelt—but of the first
I know not yet, was it a dream or no.
But both, though not distincter, were immersed
In hues ich, when through memory's waste they

flow,
Made their divided streams more bright and rapid now.

XXV.
Methought that gate was lifted, and the seven
Who brought me thither, four stiff corpses bare,
And from the frieze to the four winds of Heaven
Hung them on high by the entangled hair:
Swarthy were three-the fourth was very fair:
As they retired, the golden moon upsprung,
And eagerly, out in the giddy air,

Leaning that I might eat, I stretch'd and clung
Over the shapeless depth in which those corpses hung.

XIX.
I gnaw'd my brazen, chain, and sought to sever
Ils adamantine links, that I might die:
O Liberty! forgive the base endeavour,
Forgive me, if reserved for victory,
The Champion of thy faith e'er sought to fly.-
That starry night, with its clear silence, sent
Tameless resolve which laugh'd at misery

Into my soul-link'd remembrance lent
To that such power, to me such a severe content.

XX.

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 pot; nor, though the Sun The dwelling of the many-colour'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,

Thosc horny eyes? whose was that wither's form? Or morning, the wide universe was spread

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

Laugh'd in those looks, and that the tlesh was warm Its presence, nor seek refuge with the dead

Within my tecth!-a whirlwind kcen as frost From one faint hope whose flower a dropping poison shed. Then in its sinking gulfs my sickening spirit tost. XXI.

XXVII. 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

Arose, 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 uprest And dying, left a silence lone and drear, of the third sun brought hunger, but the crust More horrible than famine :-in the deep Which had been left, was to my craving breast The shape of an old man did then appear, Fucl, not food. I chew'd the bitter dust,

Stately and beautiful, that dreadful sleep And bit my bloodless arm, and lick'd the brazen rust. His heavenly smiles dispersed, and I could wake and weep.

XXVIII.
And when the blinding tears had fallen, I saw
That column, and those corpses, and the moon,
And felt the poisonous tooth of hunger gnaw
My vitals, I rejoiced, as if the boon
of senseless death would be accorded soon;
When from that stony gloom a voice arose,
Solemn and sweet as when low winds attune

The midnight pines, the grate did then upclose,
And on that reverend form the moonlight did repose.

XXXIV.
And then the night-wind steaming from the shore,
Sent odours dying sweet across the sca,
And the swift boat the liule waves which bore,
Were cut by its keen keel, though slantingly;
Soon I could hear the leaves sigh, and could see
The myrtle-blossoms starring the dim grove,
As past the pebbly beach the boat did lee

On sidelong wing, into a silent cove,
Where ebon pines a shade under the starlight wove.

CANTO IV.

XXIX.
He struck my chains, and gently spake and smiled :
As they were loosen'd by that Hermit old,
Mine eyes were of their madness half beguiled,
To answer those kind looks-he did infold
His giant arms around me, to uphold
My wretched frame, my scorched limbs he wound
In linen moist and balmy, and as cold

As dew to drooping leaves :-the chain, with sound Like earthquakc, througl. the chasm of that steep stair did bound,

XXX.
As lifting me, it fell !- What next I heard,
Were billows leaping on the harbour bar,
And the shrill sea-wind, whose breath idly stirr'd
My hair ;-1 look'd abroad, and saw a star
Shining beside a sail, and distant far
That mountain and its column, the known mark
Of those who in the wide deep wandering are,

So that I fear'd some Spirit, fell and dark,
In trance had lain me thus within a fiendish bark.

1.
The old man took the oars, and soon the bark
Smole on the beach beside a tower of stone;
It was a crumbling heap, whose portal dark
With blooming ivy trails was overgrown ;
Upon whosc tloor the spangling sands were strown,
And rarest sea-shells, which the eternal flood,
Slave to the mother of the months, bad thrown
Within the walls of that

grey tower, which stood
A changeling of man's art, nursed amid Nature's brood.

XXXI.
For now indeed, over the salt sea billow
I sail'd: yet dared not look upon the shape
Of him who ruled the helm, although the pillow
For my light head was hollow'd in his lap,
And my bare limbs bis mantle did enwrap,
*Fearing it was a fiend: at last, he bent
O'er me his aged face, as if to snap

Those dreadful thoughits the gentle grandsire bent,
And to my inmost soul his soothing looks he sent.

11.
When the old man his boat had anchored,
He wound me in luis arms with tender care,
And very few, but kindly words he said,
And bore me through the tower adown a stair,
Whose smooth descent some ceaseless step to wear
For many a year had fall’n-We came at last
To a small chamber, which with mosses rare

Was tapestried, where me his soft bands placed
Upon a couch of grass and oak-leaves interlaced.

XXXIJ.

III. A soft and healing potion to my lips

The moon was darting through the lattices At intervals he raised —now look'd on high,

Its yellow light, warm as the beams of dayTo mark if yet the starry giant dips

So warm, that to admit the dewy breeze, His zone in the dim sea-now cheeringly,

The old man open'd them; the moonlight lay Though he said little, did he speak to me.

Upon a lake whose waters wore their play « It is a friend beside thee---take good cheer,

Even to the threshold of that lonely home: Poor vicum, thou art pow at liberty!»

Within was seen in the dim wavering ray, I joy'd as those a human tone to hear,

The antique sculptured roof, and many a tome Who in cells deep and lone bave languish'd many a year. Whose lore had made that sage all that he had become.

XXXU.
dim and feeble joy, whose glimpses oft
Were quench'd in a relapse of wildering dreams,
Yet still methonght we sail'd, until aloft
The stars of night grew pallid, and the beams
Of morn descended on the ocean-streams,
And still that aged man, so grand and mild,
Tended me, even as some sick mother seems

To hang in hope over a dying child,
Till in the azure East darkness again was piled.

IV.
The rock-built barrier of the sea was past, -
And I was on the margin of a lake,
A lonely lake, amid the forests vast
And snowy mountains: did my spirit wake
From sleep, as many-coloured as the snake
That girds eternity ? in life and truth,
Might not my heart its cravings ever slake?

Was Cythna then a dream, and all my youth,
And all its hopes and fears, and all its joy and ruth?

V.
Thus madness came again,-a milder madness,
Which darken'd nought but time's unquiet flow
With supernatural shades of clinging sadness;
That gentle Hermit, in my belpless woe,
By my sick couch was busy to and fro,
Like a strong spirit ministrant of good :
When I was healed, he led me forth to show

The wonders of his sylvan solitude,
And we together sale by that isle-frelted flood.

XI.
He came to the lone column on the rock,
And with his sweet and mighty eloquence
The hearts of those who watch'd it did unlock,
And made them mell in tears of penitence.
They gave him entrance free to bear me thence.
Since this, the old man said, seven years are spent,
While slowly truth on thy benighted sense

Has crept; the hope which wilder'd it has lent,
Meanwhile, to me the power of a sublime intent.

VI.
He knew his soothing words to weave with skill
From all my madness told ; like mine own heart,
Of Cythna would he question me, until
That thrilling name had ceased to make me start,
From his familiar lips-it was not art,
Of wisdom and of justice when he spoke-
When 'mid soft looks of pity, there would dart

A glance as keen as is the lightning's stroke
When it doth rive the knots of some ancestral oak.

XII.
Yes, from the records of my youthful slate,
And from the lore of bards and sages old,
From whatsoe'er my waken'd thoughts create
Out of the hopes of thine aspirings bold,
Ilave I collected language to unfold
Truth to my countrymen; from shore to shore
Doctrines of human power my words have told,

They have been heard, and men aspire to more
Than they have ever gain'd or ever lost of yore.

VII.

XIII. Thus slowly from my brain the darkness roll'd,

«In secret chambers parents read, and weep, My thoughts their duc array did re-assume

My writings to their babes, no longer blind; Through the enchantments of that Hermit old;

And young men gather when their tyrants sleep, Then I bethought me of the glorious doom

And vows of faith each to the other bind; Of those who sternly struggle to relume

And marriagcable maidens, who have pineal The lamp of Hope o'er man's bewilder'd lot,

With love, till life seem'd melting through their look, And, sitting by the waters, in the gloom

A warmer zeal, a nobler hope now find;
Of eve, to that friend's heart I told my thought-

And
every

bosom thus is rapt and shook, That heart which had grown old, but had corrupted not. Like autumn's myriad leaves in one swolo mountain

brook. VIII.

XIV. That boary man had spent his livelong age

« The tyrants of the Golden City tremble In converse with the dead, who leave the stamp Al voices which are heard about the streets, Of over-burning thoughts on many a page,

The ministers of fraud can scarce dissemble When they are gone into the senseless damp

The lies of their own heart; but when one meets Of graves;— his spirit thus became a lamp

Another at the shrine, he inly weets, Of splendour, like to those on which it fed

Though he says nothing, that the truth is known; Through peopled haunts, the City and the Camp, Murderers are pale upon the judgment seats,

Deep thirst for knowledge had his footsteps led, And gold grows vile even to the wealthy crone, And all the ways of men among mankind he read.

And laughter fills the Fane, and curses shake the Throne.

IX.

XV. But custom maketh blind and obdurate

Kind thoughts, and mighty hopes, and gentle deeds The lofliest hearts :-he bad beheld the woe

Abound, for fearless love, and the pure law In which mankind was bound, but deeni'd that fate Of mild equality and peace, succeeds Which mirde them abject, would preserve then so ; To faiths which long have held the world in awe, And in such faith, some stcdfast joy to know,

Bloody and false, and cold :-as whirlpools draw He sought this cell: but when fame went abroad, All wrecks of Ocean to their chasm, the sway That one in Argolis did undergo

Of thy strong genius, Laon, which foresaw Torture for liberty, and that the crowd

This hope, compels all spirits to obey, lligh truths from gifted lips had heard and understood; Which round thy secret strength now throng in wide

array. X.

XVI. And that the multitude was gathering wide;

• For I have been thy passive instrument His spirit leap'd within his aged frame,

(As thus the old man spake, his countenance In lonely peace he could no more abide,

Gleamed ou me like a spirit's) — thou hast lent But to the land on which the victor's flame

To me, to all, the

power to advance Had feu, my native land, the Hermit came:

Towards this unforeseen deliverance Each heart was there a shield, and every longue From our ancestral chains-aye, thou didst rear Was as a sword of truth-young Laon's name

That lamp of hope on bighi, which time nor chance, Rallied their secret hopes, though tyrants sung Nor change may not extinguish, and my share Ilymns of triumphant joy our scatter'd tribes among. Of good, was o'er the world its gather'd beams to bear.

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