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Hear ye the march as of the Earth-born Forms
Array'd against the ever-living Gods?

The crash and darkness of a thousand storms
Bursting their inaccessible abodes

Of crags and thunder-clouds?

See ye the banners blazon'd to the day,

Inwrought with emblems of barbaric pride?
Dissonant threats kill Silence far away,

The serene Heaven which wraps our Eden wide
With iron light is dyed,

The Anarchs of the North lead forth their legions
Like Chaos o'er creation, uncreating;
An hundred tribes nourish'd on strange religions
And lawless slaveries, -down the aerial regions
Of the white Alps, desolating,
Famish'd wolves that bide no waiting,
Blotting the glowing footsteps of old glory,
Trampling our column'd cities into dust,
Their dull and savage Just

On Beauty's corse to sickness satiating

They come! The fields they tread look black and hoary With fire-from their red feet the streams run gory!

Exa, the Island of Circe.

The viper was the armorial device of the Visconti, tyrants of Milan.


Great Spirit, deepest Love!
Which rulest and dost move

All things which live and are, within the Italian shore;
Who spreadest heaven around it,

Whose woods, rocks, waves, surround it;
Who sittest in thy star, o'er Ocean's western floor,
Spirit of beauty! at whose soft command
The sunbeams and the showers distil its foison
From the Earth's bosom chill;

O bid those beams be each a blinding brand
Of lightning! bid those showers be dews of poison!
Bid the Earth's plenty kill!

Bid thy bright Heaven above,
Whilst light and darkness bound it,
Be their tomb who planu'd

To make it ours and thine!

Or, with thine harmonizing ardours fill
And raise thy sons, as o'er the prone horizon
Thy lamp feeds every twilight wave with fire-
Be man's high hope and unextinct desire
The instrument to work thy will divine!

Then clouds from sunbeams, antelopes from leopards,
And frowns and fears from Thee,
Would not more swiftly flee

Than Celtic wolves from the Ausonian shepherds.—
Whatever, Spirit, from thy starry shrine
Thou yieldest or withholdest, Oh let be
This city of thy worship ever free!

September, 1820.


I BRING fresh showers for the thirsting flowers,
From the seas and the streams;

I bear light shades for the leaves when laid
In their noon-day dreams.

From my wings are shaken the dews that waken
The sweet buds every one,

When rock'd to rest on their mother's breast,
As she dances about the sun.

I wield the flail of the lashing hail,

And whiten the green plains under,
And then again I dissolve it in rain,
And laugh as I pass in thunder.

I sift the snow on the mountains below,
And their great pines groan aghast;
And all the night 't is my pillow white,

While I sleep in the arms of the blast.
Sublime on the towers of my skiey bowers,
Lightning my pilot sits,

In a cavern under is fetter'd the thunder,
It struggles and howls at fits;
Over earth and ocean, with gentle motion,
This pilot is guiding me,

Lured by the love of the genii that move
In the depths of the purple sea;

Over the rills, and the crags, and the hills,
Over the lakes and the plains,
Wherever he dream, under mountain or stream,
The Spirit he loves remains;

And I all the while bask in heaven's blue smile,

Whilst he is dissolving in rains.

The sanguine sunrise, with his meteor eyes,
And his burning plumes outspread,

Leaps on the back of my sailing rack, '

When the morning-star shines dead.

As on the jag of a mountain crag,

Which an earthquake rocks and swings,

An eagle alit one moment may sit

In the light of its golden wings.

And when sunset may breathe, from the lit sea beneath, Its ardours of rest and of love,

And the crimson pall of eve may fall

From the depth of heaven above,

With wings folded I rest, on mine airy nest,
As still as a brooding dove.

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Higher still and higher,
From the earth thou springest
Like a cloud of fire;

The blue deep thou wingest,

And singing still dost soar, and soaring ever singest.

In the golden lightning

Of the sunken sun,

O'er which clouds are brightening,

Thou dost float and run;

Like an unbodied joy whose race is just begun.

The pale purple even

Melts around thy flight;

Like a star of heaven,

In the broad day-light

Thou art unseen, but yet I hear thy shrill delight,

Keen as are the arrows

Of that silver sphere,
Whose intense lamp narrows

In the white dawn clear,

Until we hardly see, we feel that it is there.

All the earth and air

With thy voice is loud, As, when night is bare,

From one lonely cloud

The moon rains out her beams, and heaven is overflow'd.

What thou art we know not;

What is most like thee?

From rainbow clouds there flow not

Drops so bright to see,

As from thy presence showers a rain of melody.

Like a poet hidden

In the light of thought,
Singing hymns unbidden,

Till the world is wrought

To sympathy with hopes and fears it heeded not:

Like a high-born maiden

In a palace tower,

Soothing her love-laden

Soul in secret hour

With music sweet as love, which overflows her bower:

Like a glow-worm golden

In a dell of dew, Scattering unbeholden

Its aërial hue

And the winds and sunbeams with their convex gleams, Among the flowers and grass, which screen it from the

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Teach us, sprite or bird,

What sweet thoughts are thine:

I have never heard

Praise of love or wine

That panted forth a flood of rapture so divine.

Chorus hymeneal,

Or triumphal chaunt,

Match'd with thine would be all

But an empty vaunt

A thing wherein we feel there is some hidden want.

What objects are the fountains

Of thy happy strain?

What fields, or waves, or mountains?

What shapes of sky or plain?

What love of thine own kind? what ignorance of pain? |

With thy clear keen joyance

Langour cannot be :

Shadow of annoyance

Never came near thee:

Thou lovest; but ne'er knew love's sad satiety.

Waking or asleep,

Thou of death must deem Things more true and deep

Than we mortals dream,

Or how could thy notes flow in such a crystal stream?

We look before and after,

And pine for what is not:

Our sincerest laughter

With some pain is fraught;

Our sweetest songs are those that tell of saddest thought.

Yet if we could scorn

Hate, and pride, and fear;

If we were things born

Not to shed a tear,

I know not how thy joy we ever should come near.

Better than all measures

Of delightful sound,

Better than all treasures

That in books are found,

Thy skill to poet were, thou scorner of the ground!

Teach me half the gladness
That thy brain must know,
Such harmonious madness
From my lips would flow,

The world should listen then, as I am listening now.

AN EXHORTATION. CAMELEONS feed on light and air; Poets' food is love and fame: If in this wide world of care

Poets could but find the same

With as little toil as they,

Would they ever change their hue
As the light cameleons do,

Suiting it to every ray
Twenty times a-day?

Poets are on this cold earth,

As cameleons might be,
Hidden from their early birth
In a cave beneath the sea.
Where light is, cameleons change;
Where love is not, poets do:
Fame is love disguised-if few
Find either, never think it strange
That poets range.

Yet dare not stain with wealth or power
A poet's free and heavenly mind:
If bright cameleons should devour
Any food but beams and wind,
They would grow as earthly soon
As their brother lizards are.
Children of a sunnier star,
Spirits from beyond the moon,
O, refuse the boon!


THE awful shadow of some unseen Power
Floats, though unseen, among us; visiting
This various world with as inconstant wing
As summer winds that creep from flower to flower;
Like moonbeams that behind some piny mountain

It visits with inconstant glance
Each human heart and countenance;
Like hues and harmonies of evening,

Like clouds in starlight widely spread,
Like memory of music fled,
Like aught that for its

grace may be Dear, and yet dearer for its mystery.

Spirit of BEAUTY! that dost consecrate

With thine own hues all thou dost shine upon

Of human thought or form, where art thou gone?

Why dost thou pass away and leave our state,
This dim vast vale of tears, vacant and desolate?
Ask why the sunlight not for ever
Weaves rainbows o'er yon mountain river;
Why aught should fail and fade that once is shown;
Why fear and dream and death and birth
Cast on the daylight of this earth
Such gloom, why man has such a scope
For love and hate, despondency and hope?

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Keep with thy glorious train firm state within his heart.

Thou messenger of sympathies
That wax and wane in lovers' eyes;

Thou, that to human thought art nourishment,
Like darkness to a dying flame!
Depart not as thy shadow came;

Depart not, lest the grave should be,
Like life and fear, a dark reality.

While yet a boy I sought for ghosts, and sped
Through many a listening chamber, cave and ruin,
And starlight wood, with fearful steps pursuing
Hopes of high talk with the departed dead :

I call'd on poisonous names with which our youth is fed:
I was not heard: I saw them not.
When musing deeply on the lot

Of life, at that sweet time when winds are wooing
All vital things that wake to bring
News of birds and blossoming,
Sudden, thy shadow fell on me:

I shriek'd, and clasp'd my hands in ecstacy!

I vow'd that I would dedicate my powers

To thee and thine: have I not kept the vow?
With beating heart and streaming eyes, even now
I call the phantoms of a thousand hours

Each from his voiceless grave: they have in vision'd bowers
Of studious zeal or love's delight
Outwatch'd with me the envious night:
They know that never joy illumed my brow,
Unlink'd with hope that thou wouldst free
This world from its dark slavery,
That thou, O awful LOVELINESS,
Wouldst give whate'er these words cannot express.

The day becomes more solemn and serene
When noon is past: there is a harmony
In autumn, and a lustre in its sky,
Which through the summer is not heard or seen,
As if it could not be, as if it had not been!

Thus let thy power, which like the truth
Of nature on my passive youth
Descended, to my onward life supply
Its calm, to one who worships thee,
And every form containing thee,

Whom, SPIRIT fair, thy spells did bind
To fear himself, and love all human kind.


A PALE dream came to a Lady fair,
And said, a boon, a boon, I pray!

I know the secrets of the air,

And things are lost in the glare of day, Which I can make the sleeping see, If they will put their trust in me.

And thou shalt know of things unknown,
If thou wilt let me rest between
The veiny lids, whose fringe is thrown

Over thine eyes so dark and sheen:
And half in hope, and half in fright,
The Lady closed her eyes so bright.

At first all deadly shapes were driven
Tumultuously across her sleep,
And o'er the vast cope of bending heaven
All ghastly visaged clouds did sweep;
And the Lady ever look'd to spy

If the gold sun shone forth on high.

And as towards the east she turn'd,
She saw aloft in the morning air,"
Which now with hues of sunrise burn'd,
A great black Anchor rising there;
And wherever the Lady turn'd her eyes,
It hung before her in the skies.

The sky was blue as the summer sea, The depths were cloudless over-head, The air was calm as it could be,

There was no sight or sound of dread, But that black Anchor floating still Over the piny eastern hill.

The Lady grew sick with a weight of fear,
To see that Anchor ever hanging,
And veil'd her eyes; she then did hear

The sound as of a dim low clanging,
And look'd abroad if she might know
Was it aught else, or but the flow
Of the blood in her own veins, to and fro.

There was a mist in the sunless air,

Which shook as it were with an earthquake's shock,

But the very weeds that blossom'd there
Were moveless, and each mighty rock
Stood on its basis stedfastly;

The Anchor was seen no more on high.

But piled around, with summits hid
In lines of cloud at intervals,
Stood many a mountain pyramid,
Among whose everlasting walls
Two mighty cities shone, and ever
Through the red mist their domes did quiver.

On two dread mountains, from whose crest,
Might seem, the eagle, for her brood,
Would ne'er have hung her dizzy nest,
Those tower-encircled cities stood.
A vision strange such towers to see,
Sculptured and wrought so gorgeously,
Where human art could never be.

And columns framed of marble white,
And giant fanes, dome over dome
Piled, and triumphant gates, all bright

With workmanship, which could not come From touch of mortal instrument,

Shot o'er the vales, or lustre lent
From its own shapes magnificent.

But still the Lady heard that clang
Filling the wide air far away;
And still the mist whose light did hang
Among the mountains shook alway,

So that the Lady's heart beat fast,
As, half in joy and half aghast,
On those high domes her look she cast.

Sudden, from out that city sprung

A light that made the earth grow red;
Two flames that each with quivering tongue
Lick'd its high domes, and over head
Among those mighty towers and fanes
Dropp'd fire, as a volcano rains
Its sulphurous ruin on the plains.

And hark! a rush as if the deep

Had burst its bonds; she look'd behind,
And saw over the western steep

A raging flood descend, and wind
Through that wide vale; she felt no fear,
But said within herself, 't is clear
These towers are Nature's own, and she
To save them has sent forth the sea.

And now those raging billows came

Where that fair Lady sate, and she Was borne towards the showering flame By the wild waves heap'd tumultuously, And on a little plank, the flow

Of the whirlpool bore her to and fro.

The waves were fiercely vomited

From every tower and every dome, And dreary light did widely shed

O'er that vast flood's suspended foam, Beneath the smoke which hung its night On the stain'd cope of heaven's light.

The plank whereon that Lady sate

Of his own mind did there endure
After the touch, whose power had braided
Such grace, was in some sad change faded.

She look'd, the flames were dim, the flood
Grew tranquil as a woodland river
Winding through hills in solitude;

Those marble shapes then seem'd to quiver,
And their fair limbs to float in motion,
Like weeds unfolding in the ocean.

And their lips moved; one seem'd to speak,
When suddenly the mountain crackt,
And through the chasm the flood did break
With an earth-uplifting cataract:
The statues gave a joyous scream,
And on its wings the pale thin dream
Lifted the Lady from the stream.

The dizzy flight of that phantom pale
Waked the fair Lady from her sleep,
And she arose, while from the veil

Of her dark eyes the dream did creep,
And she walk'd about as one who knew
That sleep has sights as clear and true
As any waking eyes can view.
Marlow, 1817.




THE everlasting universe of things

Flows through the mind, and rolls its rapid waves,
Now dark-now glittering-now reflecting gloom-

Was driven through the chasms, about and about, Now lending splendour, where from secret springs Between the peaks so desolate

Of the drowning mountain, in and out,
As the thistle-beard on a whirlwind sails-
While the flood was filling those hollow vales.

At last her plank an eddy crost,

And bore her to the city's wall,
Which now the flood had reach'd almost:
It might the stoutest heart appal
To hear the fire roar and hiss
Through the domes of those mighty palaces.

The eddy whirl'd her round and round
Before a gorgeous gate, which stood
Piercing the clouds of smoke which bound
Its aery arch with light like blood;
She look'd on that gate of marble clear,
With wonder that extinguish'd fear.

For it was fill'd with sculptures rarest,
Or forms most beautiful and strange,
Like nothing human, but the fairest

Of winged shapes, whose legions range
Throughout the sleep of those that are,
Like this same Lady, good and fair.

And as she look'd, still lovelier grew
Those marble forms;-the sculptor sure
Was a strong spirit, and the hue

The source of human thought its tribute brings
Of waters, with a sound but half its own,
Such as a feeble brook will oft assume

In the wild woods, among the mountains lone,
Where waterfalls around it leap for ever,
Where woods and winds contend, and a vast river
Over its rocks ceaselessly bursts and raves.


Thus thou, Ravine of Arve-dark, deep Ravine-
Thou many-colour'd, many-voiced vale,
Over whose pines and crags and caverns sail
Fast clouds, shadows, and sunbeams: awful scene,
Where Power in likeness of the Arve comes down
From the ice gulfs that gird his secret throne,
Bursting through these dark mountains, like the flame
Of lightning through the tempest; thou dost lie,
Thy giant brood of pines around thee clinging,
Children of elder time, in whose devotion
The chainless winds still come and ever came
To drink their odours, and their mighty swinging
To hear an old and solemn harmony:
Thine earthly rainbows stretch'd across the sweep
Of the ethereal waterfall, whose veil

Robes some unsculptured image; the strange sleep
Which, when the voices of the desert fail,
Wraps all in its own deep eternity;—
Thy caverns, echoing to the Arve's commotion
A loud lone sound, no other sound can tame:

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