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Thou art pervaded with that ceaseless motion,
All things that move and breathe with toil and sound
the accumulated steeps; A desert peopled by the storms alone, Save when the eagle brings some hunter's bone, And the wolf tracks her there-how hideously Its shapes are heap'd around! rude, bare, and bigh, Ghastly, and scarr'd, and riven.- Is this the scene Where the old Earthquake-dæmon taught her young Ruin ? Were these their toys? or did a sea Of fire envelop once this silent snow? None can reply-all seems eternal now. The wilderness has a mysterious tongue Which teaches awful doubt, or faith so mild, So solemn, so serene, that man may be But for such faith with nature reconciled : Thou hast a voice, great Mountain, to repeal Large codes of fraud and woe; not understood By all, but which the wise, and great, and good Interpret, or make felt, or deeply feel.
strong, but silently! Its home
SWITZERLAND, June 23, 1816.
ON THE MEDUSA OF LEONARDO DA VINCI,
IN THE FLORENTINE GALLERY.
IV. The fields, the lakes, the forests, and the streams, Ocean, and all the living things that dwell Within the dædal earth ; lightning, and rain, Earthquake, and fiery tlood, and hurricane, The torpor of the year wlien feeble dreams Visit the hidden buds, or dreamless sleep Holds every future leaf and flower ;- the bound With which from that detested tránce they leap; The works and ways of man, their death and birth, And that of him and all that his may be;
Ir lieth, gazing on the midnight sky,
Upon the cloudy mountain peak supine; Below, far lands are seen tremblingly;
Its horror and its beauty are divine. Upon its lips and eyelids seems to lie
Loveliness like a shadow, from which shrine,
Fiery and lurid, struggling underneath, The agonies of anguish and of death.
Pity then will cut away
Yet it is less the horror than the grace
Which turns the gazer's spirit into stone; Whereon the lineaments of that dead face
Are graven, till the characters be grown Into itself, and thought no more can trace;
'T is the melodious hue of beauty thrown Athwart the darkness and the glare of pain, Which humanize and harmonize the strain.
I love all that thou lovest,
Spirit of Delight!
And the starry night,
I love snow, and all the forms
Of the radiant frost;
Every thing almost
I love tranquil solitude,
And such society
Between thee and me
And from its head as from one body grow,
) grass out of a watery rock, Hairs which are vipers, and they curl and flow,
And their long tangles in each other lock,
Their mailed radiance, as it were to mock
Peeps idly into these Gorgonian eyes;
Of sense, has flitted with a mad surprise Out of the cave this hideous light had cleft,
And he comes hastening like a moth that hies After a taper; and the midnight sky Flares, a light more dread than obscurity. 'T is the tempestuous loveliness of terror;
For from the serpents gleams a brazen glare Kindled by that inextricable error,
Which makes a thrilling vapour of the air Become a [ ] and ever-shifting mirror
Of all the beauty and the terror thereA woman's countenance, with serpent locks, Gazing in death on heaven from those wet rocks.
I love Love-though he has wings,
And like light can flee, But above all other things,
Spirit, I love theeThou art love and life! O come, Make once more my heart thy home.
Thus to be lost, and thus to sink and die,
Perchance were death indeed !--Constantia, turn ! In thy dark eyes a power like light doth lie, Even though the sounds which were thy voice, which
burn Between thy lips, are laid to sleep;
Within thy breath, and on thy hair, like odour it is yet, And from thy touch like fire doth leap.
Even while I write, my burning cheeks are wetAlas, that the torn heart can bleed, but not forget!
RARELY, rarely, comest thou,
Spirit of Delight!
Many a day and night?
Win thee back again?
Thou wilt scoff at pain.
Of a trembling leaf,
Even the sighs of grief
A breathless awe, like the swift change
Unseen, but felt in youthful slumbers, Wild, sweet, but uncommunicably strange,
Thou breathest now in fast ascending numbers. The cope of heaven seems rent and cloven
By the enchantment of thy strain, And on my shoulders wings are woven,
To follow its sublime career, Beyond the mighty moons that wane
Upon the verge of nature's utmost sphere,
'Till the world's shadowy walls are past and disappear. Her voice is hovering o'er my soul-it lingers,
O'ershadowing it with soft and lulling wings ; The blood and life within those snowy fingers
Teach witchcraft to the instrumental strings. My brain is wild, my breath comes quick
The blood is listening in my frame,
Fall on my overflowing eyes;
Let me set my mournful ditty
To a merry measure, Thou wilt never come for pity,
Thou wilt come for pleasure :