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XLIV. How, to that vast and peopled city led, Which was a field of holy warfare then, I walk'd among the dying and the dead, And shared in fearless deeds with evil men. Calm as an angel in the dragon's den How I braved death for liberty and truth, And spurn'd at peace, and power, and fame; and when

Those hopes had lost the glory of their youth, How sadly I return'd-might move the hearer's ruth:

L. Like what may be conceived of this vast dome, When from the depths which thought can seldom

pierce
Genius beholds it rise, his native home,
Girt by the deserts of the Universe,
Yet, nor in painting's light, or mightier verse,
Or sculpture's marble language can invest
That shape to mortal sense-such glooins immerse

That incommunicable sight, and rest
Upon the labouring brain and overburthen'd breast.

LI. Winding among the lawny islands fair, Whose bloomy forests starred the shadowy deep, The wingless boat paused where an ivory stair Its fretwork in the crystal sea did steep, Encircling that vast Fane's aerial heap : We disembark'd, and through a portal wide We pass'd— whose roof of moonstone carved, did keep

A glimmering o'er the forms on every side, Sculptures like life and thought; immoveable, deep-cyed.

XLV. Warm tears throng fast! the tale may not be saidKnow then, that when this grief had been subdued, I was not left, like others, cold and dead; The Spirit whom I loved in solitude Sustain'd his child: the tempest-shaken wood, The waves, the fountains, and the hush of night These were his voice, and well I understood

His smile divine, when the calm sea was bright With silent stars, and Heaven was breathless with delight.

XLVI. In lonely glens amid the roar of rivers, When the dim nights were moonless, have I known Joys which no tongue can tell; my pale lip quivers When thought revisits them :-know thou alone, That after many wondrous years were flown, I was awaken'd by a shriek of woe; And over me a mystic robe was thrown,

By viewless hands, and a bright Star did glow Before my steps-the Snake then met his mortal foe.

XLVII. Thou fearest not then the Serpent on thy heart! Fear it! she said, with brief and passionate cry, And spake po more: that silence made me startI look'd, and we were sailing pleasantly, Swift as a cloud between the sea and sky, Beneath the rising moon seen far away; Mountains of ice, like sapphire, piled on high

Hemming the horizon round, in silence lay On the still waters, these we did approach alway.

LIT. We came to a vast hall, whose glorious roof Was diamond, which had drank the lightning's sheen Jo darkness, and now pour'd it through the woof Of spell-inwoven clouds hung there to screen Its blinding splendour-through such veil was seen That work of subtlest power, divine and rare; Orb above orb, with starry shapes between,

And horn'd moons, and meteors strange and fair, On night-black columns poised - one hollow hemisphere!

LIII.
Ten thousand columns in that quivering light
Distinct-between whose shafts wound far away
The long and labyrinthine aisles-more bright
With their own radiance than the Heaven of Day;
And on the jasper walls around, there lay
Paintings, the poesy of mightiest thought,
Which did the Spirit's history display;

A tale of passionate change, divinely taught, Which, in their winged dance, unconscious Genii wrought.

LIV. Beneath, there sate on many a sapphire throne, The Great, who had departed from mankind, A mighty Senate;---some, whose wbite hair shone Like mountain spow, mild, beautiful, and blind. Some, female forms, whose gestures beam'd with mind; And ardent youths, and children bright and fair; And some had lyres whose strings were intertwined

With pale and clinging flames, whiclı ever there Waked faint yet thrilling sounds that pierced the crystal air.

LV.
Onc seat was vacant in the midst, a throne,
Reard on a pyramid like sculptured flame,
Distinct with circling steps which rested on
Their own deep fire-soon as the Woman came
Into that hall, she shriek'd the Spirit's name
And fell; and vanish'd slowly from the sight.
Darkness arose from her dissolving frame,

Which gathering, filld that dome of woven light,
Blotting it's sphered stars with supernatural night.

XLVIII. And swift and swifter grew the vessel's motion, So that a dizzy trance fell on my brainWild music woke me: we had past the ocean Which girds the pole, Nature's remotest reignAnd we glode fast o'er a pellucid plain Of waters, azure with the noon-tide day. Exherial mountains shone around-a Fane

Stood in the midst, girt by green isles which lay On the blue sunny deep, resplendent far away.

XLIX. It was a Temple, such as mortal hand Has never built, nor ecstacy, nor dream, Reared in the cities of enchanted land : 'T was likest Heaven, ere yet day's purple stream Ebbs o'er the western forest, while the gleam Of the unrisen moon among the clouds Is gathering—when with many a golden beam

The thronging constellations rush in crowds, Paving with fire the sky and the marmoreal floods.

LVI.
Then first, two glittering lights were seen to glide
Jo circles on the amethystine floor,
Small serpent eyes trailing from side to side,
Like meteors on a river's grassy shore,
They round each other rolld, dilating more
And more—then rose, commingling into one,
One clear and mighty planet hanging o'er

A cloud of deepest shadow, which was thrown
Atliwart the glowing steps and the crystalline throne.

CANTO II.

LVI.
The cloud which rested on that cone of fame
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.

LVIII.
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 listeper 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!

1.
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.

III.
I heard, as all have heard, the various story
Of human life, and wept unwilling tears.
Feeble historians of its shame and glory,
False disputants on all its hopes and fears,
Victims who worshipp'd ruin,-chroniclers
Of daily scorn, and slaves who loathed their state;
Yet flattering power had given its ministers

A throne of judgment in the grave:-'t was fate,
That among such as these my youth should seek its

LIX.
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.

mate.

LX.

IV. Beneath the darkness of his outspread hair

The land in which I lived, by a fell bane lle stood thus beautiful: but there was One

Was wither'd up. Tyrants dwelt side by side,
Who sale beside him like his shadow there,

And stabled in our homes,-until the chain
And held his hand-far lovelier-she was known Stifled the captive's cry, and to abide
To be thus fair, by the few lines alone

That blasting curse men had no shame-all vied
Which through her floating locks and gather'd cloke, In evil, slave and despot; fear with lust,
Glances of soul-dissolving glory, shone: -

Strange fellowship through mutual bate had tied, None else beheld her eyes--in him they woke

Like two dark serpents langled in the dust, Memories which found a tongue, as thus he silence which on the paths of men their mingling poison thrust. broke.

V.
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, yone 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.

XII. This vital world, this home of happy spirits,

Such man has been, and such may yet become! Was as a dungeon to my blasted kind,

Aye, wiser, greater, gentler, even than they All that despair from murder'd hope inherits

Who on the fragments of yon shatter'd dome They sought, and in their helpless misery blind, Have stamp'd the sign of power-I felt the sway A deeper prison and heavier chains did find,

Of the vast stream of ages bear away And stronger tyrants:-a dark gulf before,

My floating thoughts-my lieart beat loud and fastThe realm of a stern Ruler, yawn'd; behind,

Even as a storm let loose beneath the ray Terror and Time conflicting drove, and bore

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. shorc. VII.

XIII. Out of that Ocean's wrecks had Guilt and Woe

It shall be thus no more! too long, too long, Framed a dark dwelling for their homeless thought, Sons of the glorious dead! bave ye lain bound And, starting at the ghosts which to and fro

In darkness and in ruin.-Hope is strong, Glide o'er its dim and gloomy strand, had brought Justice and Truth their winged child have found The worship thence which they each other taught. Awake! arise! until the mighty sound Well might men loathe their life, well might they of your career shall scatter in its gust turn

The thrones of the oppressor, and the ground Even to the ills again from which they sought

Hide the last altar's unregarded dust,
Such refuge after death!--well might they learn Whose Idol has so long betray'd your impious trust.
To gaze on this fair world with hopeless unconcern!
VIII.

XIV.
For they all pined in bondage ; body and soul, It must be so I will arise and waken
Tyrant and slave, victim and torturer, bent

The multitude, and like a sulphurous hill,
Before one Power, to which supreme control

Which on a sudden from its snows has shaken Over their will by their own weakness lent,

The swoon of ages, it shall burst and fill Made all its many names omnipotent;

The world with cleansing fire; it must, it will All symbols of things evil, all divine;

It may not be restrain'd !-and who shall stand And hymns of blood or mockery, which rent

Amid the rocking earthquake stedfast still, · The air from all its fanes, did intertwine

But Laon? on high Freedom's desert land Imposture's impious toils round each discordant shrine. A tower whose marble walls the leagued storms willi

stand! IX.

XV. I heard, as all have heard, life's various story,

One summer night, in commune with the hope And in no careless heart transcribed the tale;

Thus deeply fed, amid those ruins Grey
But, from the sneers of men who had grown hoary I watch'd, beneath the dark sky's starry cope;
In shame and scorn, from groans of crowds made pale And ever from that hour upon me lay
By famine, from a mother's desolate wail

The burthen of this hope, and night or day,
O'er her polluted child, from innocent blood

In vision or in dream, clove to my

breast : Pour'd on the earth, and brows anxious and pale Among mankind, or when gone

far

away With the heart's warfare; did I gather food

To the lone shores and mountains, 't was a guest, To feed my many thoughtsma tameless multitude ! Which follow'd where I fled, and watch'd when I did

rest.

X.
I wander'd through the wrecks of days departed
Far by the desolated shore, when even
O'er the still sea and jagged islets darted
The light of moonrise; in the northern Heaven,
Among the clouds near the horizon driven,
The mountains lay beneath one planet pale;
Around me, broken tombs and columns riven

Look'd vast in twilight, and the sorrowing gale
Waked in those ruins grey its everlasting wail !

XVI.
These hopes found words thro' which my spirit sought
To weave a bondage of such sympathy,
As might create some response to the thought
Which ruled me now-and as the vapours lie
Bright in the outspread morning's radiancy,
So were these thoughts invested with the light
Of language; and all bosoms made reply

On which its lustre stream'd, whene'er it might
Thro'darkness wide and deep those tranced spirits smite.

XI.
I knew not who had framed these wonders then,
Nor had I heard the story of their deeds;
But dwellings of a race of mightier men,
And monuments of less ungentle creeds
Tell their own tale to bim who wisely heeds
The language which they speak; and now, to me
The moonlight making pale the blooming weeds,

The bright stars shining in the breathless sea,
Interpreted those scrolls of mortal mystery.

XVII.
Yes, many an eye with dizzy tears was dim,
And oft I thought to clasp my own heart's brother,
When I could feel the listener's senses swim,
And hear his breath its own swift gaspings smother
Even as my words evoked them-and another,
And yet another, I did fondly deem,
felt that we all were sons of one great motlier;

And the cold truth such sad reverse did seem,
As to awake in grief from some delightful dream.

XVIIT.

XXIV. Yes, oft beside the ruin'd labyrinth

As mine own shadow was this child to 'me, Which skirts the hoary caves of the green deep, A second self, far dearer and more fair; Did Laon and his friend on one grey plinth,

Which clothed in undissolving radiancy, Round whose worn base the wild waves luiss and leap, All those steep paths which languor and despair Resting at eve, a lofty converse keep:

Of human things, had made so dark and bare, And that this friend was false, may now be said But which I trod alone-nor, till bereft Calmly—that he like other men could wecp

Of friends, and overcome by lonely care, Tears which are lics, and could betray and spread

Knew I what solace for that loss was left, Snares for that guileless heart which for his own had Though by a bitter wound my trusting heart was cleft. bled. XIX.

XXV. Then, had no great aim recompensed my sorrow, Once she was dear, now she was all I had I must have sought dark respite from its stress, To love in human life-this playmate sweet, In dreamless rest, in sleep that sees no morrow This child of twelve years old-so she was made For to tread life's dismaying wilderness

My sole associate, and her willing feet Without one smile to cheer, one voice to bless,

Wander'd with mine where earth and ocean meet, Amid the snares and scoffs of human kind,

Beyond the aërial mountains whose vast cells Is hard—but I betray'd it not, nor less

The unreposing billows ever beat, With love that scorn'd return, sought to unbind Through forests wide and old, and lawny dells, The interwoven clouds which make its wisdom blind. Where boughs of incense droop over the emerald wells.

XXVI.
And warm and light I felt her clasping hand
When twined in mine: she followed where I went,
Through the lone paths of our immortal land.
It had no waste, but some memorial lent
Which strung me to my toil-some monument
Vital with mind: then, Cythna by my side,
Until the bright and beaming day were spent,

Would rest, with looks entreating to abide,
Too earnest and too sweet ever to be denied.

XX.
With deathless minds which leave where they have past
A path of light, my soul communion knew;
Till from that glorious intercourse, at last,
As from a mine of magic store, I drew
Words which were weapons ;-round my heart there

grew
The adamantine armour of their power,
And from my fancy wings of golden hue

Sprang forth-yet not alone from wisdom's tower,
A minister of truth, these plumes young Laon bore.

XXI.
An orphan with my parents lived, whose eyes
Were load-stars of delight, which drew me home
When I might wander forth; nor did I prize
Aught human thing beneath Heaven's mighty dome
Beyond this child: so when sad hours were come,
And baffled hope like ice still clung to me,
Since kin were cold, and friends had now become

Heartless and false, I turn'd from all, to be,
Cythna, the only source of tears and smiles to thee.

XXVII.
And soon I could not have refused her-thus
For ever, day and night, we two were ne'er
Parted, but when brief sleep divided us:
And when the pauses of the lulling air
Of noon beside the sea, had made a lair
For her soothed senses, in my arms she slept,
And I kept watch over her slumbers there,

While, as the shifting visions o'er her swepl,
Amid her innocent rest by turns she smiled and wept.-

XXII.

XXVIII.
What wert thou then? A child most infantine, And, in the murmur of her dreams was heard
Yet wandering far beyond that innocent age

Sometimes the name of Laon :-suddenly
In all but its sweet looks and mien divine;

She would arise, and like the secret bird Even then, methought, with the world's tyrant rage Whom sunset wakens, fill the shore and sky A patient warfare thy young heart did wage,

With her sweet accents—a wild melody! When those soft eyes of scarcely conscious thought, Hymns which my soul had woven to Freedom, strong Some tale, or thine own fancies would engage

The source of passion whence they rose, to be; To overflow with tears, or converse fraught

Triumphant strains, which, like a spirit's tongue, With passion, o'er their depths its fleeting light had to the enchanted waves that child of Glory sung, wrought. XXIII.

XXIX. She moved upon this earth a shape of brightness, Her white arms lifted through the shadowy stream A power, that from its objects scarcely drew

Of her loose hair-oh, excellently great One impulse of her being-in her lightness

Seem'd to me then my purpose, the vast theme Most like some radiant cloud of morning dew, Of those impassion'd songs, when Cythna sate Which wanders through the waste air's pathless blue, Amid the calm which rapture doth create To nourish some far desert; she did seem

After its tumult, her heart vibrating, Beside me, gathering beauty as she grew,

Her spirit o'er the ocean's floating state Like the bright shade of some immortal dream

From her deep eyes far wandering, on the wing Which walks, when tempest sleeps, the wave of life's of visions that were mine, beyond its utmost spring.

dark stream.

XXX.

XXXVI. For, before Cythoa loved it, had my song

This misery was but coldly felt, till she Peopled with thoughts the boundless universe, Became my only friend, who had indued A mighty congregation, which were strong

My purpose with a wider sympathy; Where'er they trod the darkness to disperse

Thus, Cythna mourn'd with me the servitude The cloud of that unutterable curse

In which the half of humankind were mew'd Which clings upon mankind :-all things became Victims of lust and hate, the slaves of slaves, Slaves to my holy and heroic verse,

She mourn'd that grace and power were thrown as Earth, sea and sky, the planets, life and fame

food
And fate, or whate'er else binds the world's wondrous To the hyena Lust, who, among graves,
frame.

Over his loathed meal, laughing in agony, raves.
XXXI.

XXXVII.
And this beloved child thus felt the sway

And I, still gazing on that glorious child, Of my conceptions, gathering like a cloud

Even as these thoughts flush'd o'er her.-- Cythipa The very wind on which it rolls away:

sweet, Hers too were all my thoughts, ere yet endow'd

Well with the world art thou unreconciled;
With music and with light, their fountains flow'd Never will peace and human nature meet
In poesy; and her still and earnest face,

Till free and equal man and woman greet
Pallid with feelings which intensely glow'd

Domestic peace; and ere this power can make Within, was turn'd on mine with speechless grace,

In human hearts its calm and holy seat: Watching the hopes which there her heart had learn'd This slavery must be broken ;-as I spake, to trace.

From Cythna's eyes a light of exultation brake.
XXXII.

XXXVIII.
In me, communion with this purest being

She replied earnestly :-. It shall be mine, Kindled intenser zeal, and made me wise

This task, mine, Laon!-thou hast much to gain; In knowledge, which in hers mine own mind seeing, Nor wilt thou at poor Cythna's pride repine, Left in the human world few mysteries :

If she should lead a happy female train How without fear of evil or disguise

To meet thee over the rejoicing plain, Was Cythna!—what a spirit strong and mild,

When myriads at thy call shall throng around, Which death, or pain or peril could despise,

The Golden City.»— Then the child did strain Yet melt in tenderness! what genius wild,

My arm upon her tremulous heart, and wound Yet mighty, was inclosed within one simple child! Her own about my neck, till some reply she found. XXXIII.

ΧΧΧΙΧ. . New lore was this-old age with its grey hair,

I smiled, and spake not—«Wherefore dost thou smile And wrinkled legends of unworthy things,

At what I say? Laon, I am not weak, And icy sneers, is nought : it cannot dare

And though my cheek might become pale the while, To burst the chains which life for ever flings

With thee, if thou desirest, will I seek On the entangled soul's aspiring wings,

Through their array of banded slaves to wreak So is it cold and cruel, and is made

Ruin upon the tyrants. I had thought The careless slave of that dark power which brings It was more hard to turn my unpractised cheek Evil, like blight on man, who still betray'd,

To scorn and shame, and this beloved spot Laughs o'er the grave in which his living hopes are laid. And thee, 0 dearest friend, to leave and murmur not. XXXIV.

XL. Nor are the strong and the severe to keep

• Whence came I what I am? thou, Laon, knowest The empire of the world : thus Cythna taught

How a young child should thus undaunted be ; Even in the visions of her eloquent sleep,

Methinks, it is a power which thou bestowest, Unconscious of the power through which she wrought Through which I seek, by most resembling thee, The woof of such intelligible thought,

So to become most good, and great and free,
As from the tranquil strength which cradled lay Yet far beyond this Ocean's utmost roar
In her smile-peopled rest, my spirit sought

In towers and huts are many like to me,
Why the deceiver and the slave has sway

Who, could they see thine eyes, or feel such lore O'er heralds so divine of truth's arising day,

As I have learnt from them, like me would fear no more. XXXV.

XLI. Within that faïrest form, the female mind

Think'st thou that I shall speak upskilfully, Untainted by the poison clouds which rest

And none will heed me? I remember now, On the dark world, a sacred home did find :

How once, a slave in tortures doom'd to die, But else, from the wide earth's maternal breast, Was saved, because in accents sweet and low Victorious Evil, which had dispossest

He sung a song his Judge loved long ago, All native power, had those fair children torn, As he was led to death.-All shall relent And made them slaves to soothe his vile unrest, Who hear me-lears as mine have flow'd, shall flow, And minister to lust its joys forlorn,

Hearts beat as mine now beats, wiili such intent Till they had learned to breathe the atmosphere of scorn. As renovates the world; a will omnipotent!

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