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Thou art but the mind's first chamber,
Round which its young fancies clamber,
Like weak insects in a cave,
Lighted up by stalactites;

But the portal of the grave,
Where a world of new delights

Will make thy best glories seem
But a dim and noon-day gleam
From the shadow of a dream!


Peace! the abyss is wreath'd with scorn
At your presumption, atom-born!

What is heaven? and what are ye
Who its brief expanse inherit?

What are suns and spheres which flee
With the instinct of that spirit
Of which are but a part?

Drops which Nature's mighty heart
Drives through thinnest veins. Depart!

What is heaven? a globe of dew,
Filling in the morning new

Some eyed flower, whose young leaves waken On an unimagined world:

Constellated suns unshaken,
Orbits measureless, are furl'd

In that frail and fading sphere,
With ten millions gather'd there,
To tremble, gleam, and disappear.



O WILD West-wind! thou breath of Autumn's being! Thou, from whose unseen presence the leaves dead Are driven, like ghosts from an enchanter fleeing,

Yellow, and black, and pale, and hectic red, Pestilence-stricken multitudes: O, thou, Who chariotest to their dark wintry bed

The winged seeds, where they lie cold and low,
Each like a corpse within its grave, until
Thine azure sister of the spring shall blow

Her clarion o'er the dreaming earth, and fill (Driving sweet buds like flocks to feed in air) With living hues and odours, plain and hill:

Wild Spirit, which art moving every where ; Destroyer and preserver; hear, O, hear!

This poem was conceived and chiefly written in a wood that skirts the Arno, near Florence, and on a day when that tempestuous wind, whose temperature is at once mild and animating, was collecting the vapours which pour down the autumnal rains. They began, as I foresaw, at sunset with a violent tempest of hail and rain, attended by that magnificent thunder and lightning peculiar to the Cisalpine regions.

The phenomenon alluded to at the conclusion of the third stanza is well known to naturalists. The vegetation at the bottom of the sea, of rivers, and of lakes, sympathises with that of the land in the change of seasons, and is consequently influenced by the winds which announce it.


Thou on whose stream, 'mid the steep sky's commotion, Loose clouds like earth's decaying leaves are shed, Shook from the tangled boughs of Heaven and Ocean,

Angels of rain and lightning: there are spread
On the blue surface of thine airy surge,
Like the bright hair uplifted from the head

Of some fierce Mænad, even from the dim verge Of the horizon to the zenith's height,

The locks of the approaching storm. Thou dirge

Of the dying year, to which this closing night
Will be the dome of a vast sepulchre,
Vaulted with all thy congregated might

Of vapours, from whose solid atmosphere
Black rain, and fire, and hail will burst: O, hear!


Thou who didst waken from his summer dreams
The blue Mediterranean, where he lay,
Lull'd by the coil of his crystalline streams,

Beside a pumice isle in Baia's bay,
And saw in sleep old palaces and towers
Quivering within the wave's intenser day,

All overgrown with azure moss and flowers
So sweet, the sense faints picturing them! Thou,
For whose path the Atlantic's level powers

Cleave themselves into chasms, while far below
The sea-blooms and the oozy woods which wear
The sapless foliage of the ocean, know

Thy voice, and suddenly grow grey with fear, And tremble and despoil themselves: O, hear!


If I were a dead leaf thou mightest bear;
If I were a swift cloud to fly with thee;
A wave to pant beneath thy power, and share

The impulse of thy strength, only less free
Than thou, O, uncontrollable! If even
I were as in my boyhood, and could be

The comrade of thy wanderings over heaven,
As then, when to outstrip thy skiey speed
Scarce seem'd a vision; I would ne'er have striven

As thus with thee in prayer in my sore need.
Oh! lift me as a wave, a leaf, a cloud!
I fall upon the thorns of life! I bleed!

A heavy weight of hours has chain'd and bow'd
One too like thee: tameless, and swift, and proud.


Make me thy lyre, even as the forest is : What if my leaves are falling like its own! The tumult of thy mighty harmonies

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Yet, Freedom, yet thy banner torn but flying, Streams like a thunder-storm against the wind. BYRON.


A GLORIOUS people vibrated again

The lightning of the nations: Liberty
From heart to heart, from tower to tower, o'er Spain,
Scattering contagious fire into the sky,

Gleam'd. My soul spurn'd the chains of its dismay,
And, in the rapid plumes of song,
Clothed itself, sublime and strong;

As a young eagle soars the morning clouds among,
Hovering in verse o'er its accustom'd prey;

Till from its station in the heaven of fame The Spirit's whirlwind rapt it, and the ray Of the remotest sphere of living flame Which paves the void was from behind it flung, As foam from a ship's swiftness, when there came A voice out of the deep: I will record the same.

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Man, the imperial shape, then multiplied
His generations under the pavilion
Of the Sun's throne: palace and pyramid,
Temple and prison, to many a swarming million,
Were, as to mountain-wolves their ragged caves.
This human living multitude

Was savage, cunning, blind, and rude,
For thou wert not; but o'er the populous solitude,
Like one fierce cloud over a waste of waves,
Hung tyranny; beneath, sate deified
The sister-pest, congregator of slaves;

Into the shadow of her pinions wide, Anarchs and priests who feed on gold and blood, Till with the stain their inmost souls are dyed, Drove the astonish'd herds of men from every side.


The nodding promontories, and blue isles,

And cloud-like mountains, and dividuous waves Of Greece, bask'd glorious in the open smiles of favouring heaven: from their enchanted caves

Prophetic echoes flung dim melody

On the unapprehensive wild.

The vine, the corn, the olive mild, Grew savage yet, to human use unreconciled; And, like unfolded flowers beneath the sea,

Like the man's thought dark in the infant's brain, Like aught that is which wraps what is to be,

Art's deathless dreams lay veil'd by many a vein Of Parian stone; and yet a speechless child,

Verse murmur'd, and Philosophy did strain Her lidless eyes for thee; when o'er the Ægean main


Athens arose a city such as vision

Builds from the purple crags and silver towers

Of battlemented cloud, as in derision

Of kingliest masonry: the ocean-floors Pave it; the evening sky pavilions it;

Its portals are inhabited

By thunder-zoned winds, each head

Within its cloudy wings with sun-fire garlanded, A divine work! Athens diviner yet

Gleam'd with its crest of columns, on the will

Of man, as on a mount of diamond, set;

For thou wert, and thine all-creative skill Peopled with forms that mock the eternal dead In marble immortality, that hill

Which was thine earliest throne and latest oracle.


Within the surface of Time's fleeting river

Its wrinkled image lies, as then it lay

Immovably unquiet, and for ever

It trembles, but it cannot pass away! The voices of thy bards and sages thunder With an earth-awakening blast

Through the caverns of the past;

Religion veils her eyes; Oppression shrinks aghast : A winged sound of joy, and love, and wonder, Which soars where Expectation never flew, Rending the veil of space and time asunder!

One ocean feeds the clouds, and streams, and dew;

One sun illumines heaven; one spirit vast
With life and love makes chaos ever new,
As Athens doth the world with thy delight renew.


Then Rome was, and from thy deep bosom fairest,
Like a wolf-cub from a Cadmæan Mænad,t
She drew the milk of greatness, though thy dearest
From that Elysian food was yet unwean'd;
And many a deed of terrible uprightness

By thy sweet love was sanctified;
And in thy smile, and by thy side,

Saintly Camillus lived, and firm Atilius died.
But when tears stain'd thy robe of vestal whiteness,
And gold prophaned thy capitolian throne,
Thou didst desert, with spirit-winged lightness,
The senate of the tyrants: they sunk prone

Slaves of one tyrant: Palatinus sigh'd

Faint echoes of Jonian song; that tone
Thou didst delay to hear, lamenting to disown.

1 See the Baccha of Euripides.


From what Hyrcanian glen or frozen hill,
Or piny promontory of the Arctic main,
Or utmost islet inaccessible,

Didst thou lament the ruin of thy reign,
Teaching the woods and waves, and desert rocks,
And every Naiad's ice-cold urn,

To talk in echoes sad and stern,

Of that sublimest lore which man had dared unlearn? For neither didst thou watch the wizard flocks

Of the Scald's dreams, nor haunt the Druid's sleep. What if the tears rain'd through thy shatter'd locks Were quickly dried? for thou didst groan, not weep, When from its sea of death to kill and burn, The Galilean serpent forth did creep,

And made thy world an undistinguishable heap.


A thousand years the Earth cried, Where art thou?
And then the shadow of thy coming fell

On Saxon Alfred's olive-cinctured brow:
And many a warrior-peopled citadel,
Like rocks which fire lifts out of the flat deep,
Arose in sacred Italy,

Frowning o'er the tempestuous sea

Of kings, and priests, and slaves, in tower-crown'd ma


That multitudinous anarchy did sweep,

And burst around their walls, like idle foam, Whilst from the human spirit's deepest deep,

Strange melody with love and awe struck dumb Dissonant arms; and Art, which cannot die, With divine wand traced on our earthly home Fit imagery to pave heaven's everlasting dome.


Thou huntress swifter than the Moon! thou terror
Of the world's wolves! thou bearer of the quiver,
Whose sunlike shafts pierce tempest-winged Error,
As light may pierce the clouds when they dissever
In the calm regions of the orient day!

Luther caught thy wakening glance:
Like lightning, from his leaden lance
Reflected, it dissolved the visions of the trance
In which, as in a tomb, the nations lay;
And England's prophets hail'd thee as their queen,
In songs whose music cannot pass away, `
Though it must flow for ever: not unseen
Before the spirit-sighted countenance

Of Milton didst thou pass, from the sad scene Beyond whose night he saw, with a dejected mien.

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Like shadows: as if day had cloven the skies At dreaming midnight o'er the western wave, Men started, staggering with a glad surprise, Under the lightnings of thine unfamiliar eyes.


Lift the victory-flashing sword,

And cut the snaky knots of this foul gordian word, Which weak itself as stubble, yet can bind

Into a mass, irrefragably firm,

The axes and the rods which awe mankind;
The sound has poison in it, 't is the sperm

Thou heaven of earth! what spells could pall thee then, Of what makes life foul, cankerous, and abhorr'd;

In ominous eclipse? A thousand years,
Bred from the slime of deep oppression's den,
Dyed all thy liquid light with blood and tears,
Till thy sweet stars could weep the stain away.
How like Bacchanals of blood

Round France, the ghastly vintage, stood
Destruction's sceptred slaves, and folly's mitred brood!
When one, like them, but mightier far than they,
The Anarch of thine own bewilder'd powers
Rose: armies mingled in obscure array,

Like clouds with clouds, darkening the sacred bowers

Of serene heaven. He, by the past pursued,

Rests with those dead, but unforgotten hours,
Whose ghosts scare victor kings in their ancestral



England yet sleeps: was she not call'd of old? Spain calls her now, as with its thrilling thunder Vesuvius wakens Etna, and the cold

Snow-crags by its reply are cloven in sunder : O'er the lit waves every Æolian isle

From Pithecusa to Pelorus

Howls, and leaps, and glares in chorus:
They cry, Be dim, ye lamps of heaven suspended o'er us.
Her chains are threads of gold, she need but smile
And they dissolve; but Spain's were links of steel,
Till bit to dust by virtue's keenest file.
Twins of a single destiny! appeal

To the eternal years enthroned before us,
In the dim West; impress us from a seal,

All ye have thought and done! Time cannot dare conceal.


Tomb of Arminius! render up thy dead,

Till, like a standard from a watch-tower's staff,
His soul may stream over the tyrant's head!
Thy victory shall be his epitaph,
Wild Bacchanal of truth's mysterious wine,
King-deluded Germany,

His dead spirit lives in thee.

Why do we fear or hope? thou art already free!
And thou, lost Paradise of this divine

And glorious world! thou flowery wilderness! Thou island of eternity! thou shrine

Where desolation, clothed with loveliness,

Worships the thing thou wert! O Italy,

Gather thy blood into thy heart; repress

The beasts who make their dens thy sacred palaces.

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Disdain not thou, at thine appointed term,

To set thine armed heel on this reluctant worm.


O, that the wise from their bright minds would kindle
Such lamps within the dome of this dim world,
That the pale name of PRIEST might shrink and dwindle
Into the hell from which it first was hurl'd,
A scoff of impious pride from fiends impure;
Till human thoughts might kneel alone
Each before the judgment-throne

Of its own aweless soul, or of the power unknown!
O, that the words which make the thoughts obscure
From which they spring, as clouds of glimmering

From a white lake blot heaven's blue portraiture, Were stript of their thin masks and various hue, And frowns and smiles and splendours not their own, Till in the nakedness of false and true

They stand before their Lord, each to receive its due.


He who taught man to vanquish whatsoever

Can be between the cradle and the grave, Crown'd him the King of Life. O vain endeavour! If on his own high will a willing slave, He has enthroned the oppression and the oppressor. What if earth can clothe and feed Amplest millions at their need, And power in thought be as the tree within the seed? Or what if Art, an ardent intercessor

Diving on fiery wings to Nature's throne, Checks the great mother stooping to caress her, And cries: Give me, thy child, dominion Over all height and depth? if Life can breed New wants, and wealth from those who toil and groan Rend of thy gifts and hers a thousandfold for one.


Come Thou, but lead out of the inmost cave
Of man's deep spirit, as the morning-star
Beckons the Sun from the Eoan wave,

Wisdom. I hear the pennons of her car
Self-moving, like cloud charioted by flame;
Comes she not, and come ye not,
Bulers of eternal thought,

To judge with solemn truth, life's ill-apportion'd lot? Blind Love, and equal Justice, and the Fame

Of what has been, the Hope of what will be!

O, Liberty! if such could be thy name

Wert thou disjoin'd from these, or they from thee:

If thine or theirs were treasures to be bought

By blood or tears, have not the wise and free

Wept tears, and blood like tears? The solemn harmony


Paused, and the spirit of that mighty singing

To its abyss was suddenly withdrawn ;

Then, as a wild swan, when sublimely winging
Its path athwart the thunder-smoke of dawn,
Sinks headlong through the aerial golden light
On the-heavy sounding plain,

When the bolt has pierced its brain;

As summer clouds dissolve, unburthen'd of their rain; As a far taper fades with fading night,

As a brief insect dies with dying day, My song, its pinions disarray'd of might,

Droop'd; o'er it closed the echoes far away Of the great voice which did its flight sustain, As waves which lately paved his watery way

From the unknown graves

Of the dead kings of Melody.' Shadowy Aornos darken'd o'er the helm The horizontal æther; heaven stript bare Its depths over Elysium, where the prow Made the invisible water white as snow; From that Typhæan mount, Inarime There stream'd a sunlike vapour, like the standard Of some ethereal host;

Whilst from all the coast,


Louder and louder, gathering round, there wander'd
Over the oracular woods and divine sea

Hiss round a drowner's head in their tempestuous play. Prophesyings which grew articulate



I STOOD within the city disinterr'd; 2

And heard the autumnal leaves like light footfalls Of spirits passing through the streets; and heard The Mountain's slumberous voice at intervals Thrill through those roofless_halls;

The oracular thunder penetrating shook

The listening soul in my suspended blood;

I felt that Earth out of her deep heart spoke

They seize me--I must speak them-be they fate!


Naples! thou Heart of men which ever pantest
Naked, beneath the lidless eye of heaven!

Elysian City, which to calm enchantest

The mutinous air and sea! they round thee, even As sleep round Love, are driven !

Metropolis of a ruin'd Paradise

Long lost, late won, and yet but half regain'd! Bright Altar of the bloodless sacrifice,

Which armed Victory offers up unstain'd

To Love, the flower-enchain'd!

I felt, but heard not :-through white columns glow'd Thou which wert once, and then didst cease to be,

The isle-sustaining Ocean flood,

A plane of light between two Heavens of azure:
Around me gleam'd many a bright sepulchre
Of whose pure beauty, Time, as if his pleasure
Were to spare Death, had never made erasure;
But every living lineament was clear
As in the sculptor's thought; and there
The wreathes of stony myrtle, ivy and pine,
Like winter leaves o'ergrown by moulded snow,
Seem'd only not to move and grow
Because the crystal silence of the air

Weigh'd on their life; even as the Power divine,
Which then lull'd all things, brooded upon mine.

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Now art, and henceforth ever shalt be, free, If Hope, and Truth, and Justice can avail. Hail, hail, all hail!


Thou youngest giant birth

Which from the groaning earth

Leap'st, clothed in armour of impenetrable scale!
Last, of the Intercessors!

Who 'gainst the Crown'd Transgressors

Pleadest before God's love! Array'd in Wisdom's mail, Wave thy lightning lance in mirth;

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What though Cimmerian Anarchs dare blaspheme
Freedom and thee? thy shield is as a mirror
To make their blind slaves see, and with fierce gleam
To turn his hungry sword upon the wearer,
A new Acteon's error

Shall their's have been-devour'd by their own hounds!
Be thou like the imperial Basilisk,
Killing thy foe with unapparent wounds!

Gaze on oppression, till at that dread risk
Aghast she pass from the Earth's disk:
Fear not, but gaze-for freemen mightier grow,
And slaves more feeble, gazing on their foe.
If Hope and Truth and Justice may avail,
Thou shalt be great.-All hail!


From Freedom's form divine, From Nature's inmost shrine,

Homer and Virgil.

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