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Wit of that man of God, St. Dominic,
To convince Atheist, Turk or Heretic,
Or those in philanthropic council met,
Who thought to pay some interest for the debt
They owed to Jesus Christ for their salvation,
By giving a faint foretaste of damnation
To Shakespeare, Sidney, Spenser and the rest
Who made our land an island of the blest,
When lamp-like Spain, who now relumes her fire
On Freedom's hearth, grew dim with Empire:
With thumbscrews, wheels, with tooth and spike
Which fishers found under the utmost crag
Of Cornwall and the storm-encompassed isles,
Where to the sky the rude sea rarely smiles
Unless in treacherous wrath, as on the morn
When the exulting elements in scorn,
Satiated with destroyed destruction, lay
Sleeping in beauty on their mangled prey,
As panthers sleep; and other strange and dread
Magical forms the brick floor overspread
Proteus transformed to metal did not make
More figures, or more strange; nor did he take
Such shapes of unintelligible brass,
Or heap himself in such a horrid mass
Of tin and iron, not to be understood,
And forms of unimaginable wood
27 philanthropic, Boscombe MS. || philosophic, Mrs. Shelley, transcript, 1824.
29 Mrs. Shelley, 18392 || They owed Mrs. Shelley, 1824. 36 Which fishers, Boscombe MS., Mrs. Shelley, transcript || Which fishes, Mrs. Shelley, 1824, With fishes, Mrs. Shelley, 18391. 38 rarely, Mrs. Shelley, transcript || seldom, Mrs. Shelley, 1824. 49 and, Mrs. Shelley, 1824 || or, Mrs. Shelley, transcript.
To puzzle Tubal Cain and all his brood;
Great screws, and cones, and wheels, and groovèd blocks,
The elements of what will stand the shocks
Of wave and wind and time. Upon the table More knacks and quips there be than I am able To catalogize in this verse of mine:
A pretty bowl of wood-not full of wine,
But quicksilver; that dew which the gnomes drink When at their subterranean toil they swink, Pledging the demons of the earthquake, who Reply to them in lava- cry halloo!
And call out to the cities o'er their head,
Roofs, towers and shrines, the dying and the dead,
Crash through the chinks of earth- and then all
Another rouse, and hold their sides and laugh.
This quicksilver no gnome has drunk - within
The walnut bowl it lies, veinèd and thin,
In color like the wake of light that stains
The Tuscan deep, when from the moist moon rains The inmost shower of its white fire the breeze
Is still-blue heaven smiles over the pale seas.
And in this bowl of quicksilver - for I
Yield to the impulse of an infancy
Outlasting manhood - I have made to float
A rude idealism of a paper boat, --
A hollow screw with cogs Henry will know
The thing I mean and laugh at me, if so
He fears not I should do more mischief. Next
Lie bills and calculations much perplexed,
With steamboats, frigates, and machinery quaint
63 towers, Mrs. Shelley, transcript || towns, Mrs. Shelley, 1824.
Traced over them in blue and yellow paint.
Then comes a range of mathematical
Instruments, for plans nautical and statical;
A heap of rosin, a queer broken glass
With ink in it; a china cup that was
What it will never be again, I think,
A thing from which sweet lips were wont to drink
The liquor doctors rail at- and which I
Will quaff in spite of them—and when we die
We'll toss up who died first of drinking tea,
And cry out, "heads or tails?" where'er we be.
Near that a dusty paint box, some odd hooks,
A half-burnt match, an ivory block, three books,
Where conic sections, spherics, logarithms,
To great Laplace from Saunderson and Sims,
Lie heaped in their harmonious disarray
Of figures, disentangle them who may.
Baron de Tott's Memoirs beside them lie,
And some odd volumes of old chemistry.
Near those a most inexplicable thing,
With lead in the middle - I'm conjecturing
How to make Henry understand; but no-
I'll leave, as Spenser says, with many mo,
This secret in the pregnant womb of time,
Too vast a matter for so weak a rhyme.
And here like some weird Archimage sit I, Plotting dark spells, and devilish enginery,
84 queer, Boscombe MS. || green, Mrs. Shelley, transcript, 1824. 92 odd hooks, Mrs. Shelley transcript || old hooks, Mrs. Shelley, 1824, old books, Mrs. Shelley, 18391.
100 those Mrs. Shelley, transcript || them, Mrs. Shelley, 1824. 101 lead, Boscombe MS. || least, Mrs. Shelley, transcript, 1824.
The self-impelling steam-wheels of the mind Which pump up oaths from clergymen, and grind The gentle spirit of our meek reviews
Into a powdery foam of salt abuse,
Ruffling the ocean of their self-content;
I sit and smile or sigh as is my bent,
But not for them; Libeccio rushes round
With an inconstant and an idle sound -
I heed him more than them; the thunder-smoke
Is gathering on the mountains, like a cloak
Folded athwart their shoulders broad and bare;
The ripe corn under the undulating air
Undulates like an ocean; and the vines
Are trembling wide in all their trellised lines.
The murmur of the awakening sea doth fill
The empty pauses of the blast; the hill
Looks hoary through the white electric rain,
And from the glens beyond, in sullen strain,
The interrupted thunder howls; above
One chasm of heaven smiles, like the eye of Love
On the unquiet world; - while such things are,
How could one worth your friendship heed the war
Of worms? the shriek of the world's carrion jays,
Their censure, or their wonder, or their praise?
You are not here! the quaint witch Memory sees In vacant chairs your absent images,
And points where once you sat, and now should be
But are not. I demand if ever we
Shall meet as then we met; and she replies,
Veiling in awe her second-sighted eyes;
127 eye, Boscombe MS., Mrs. Shelley, transcript, 18391 || age, Mrs. Shelley, 1824.
"I know the past alone but summon home
My sister Hope, - she speaks of all to come."
But I, an old diviner, who knew well
Every false verse of that sweet oracle,
Turned to the sad enchantress once again,
And sought a respite from my gentle pain,
In citing every passage o'er and o'er
Of our communion -how on the seashore
We watched the ocean and the sky together,
Under the roof of blue Italian weather;
How I ran home through last year's thunder-storm,
And felt the transverse lightning linger warm
Upon my cheek; and how we often made
Feasts for each other, where good-will outweighed
The frugal luxury of our country cheer,
As well it might, were it less firm and clear
Than ours must ever be; and how we spun
A shroud of talk to hide us from the sun
Of this familiar life which seems to be
But is not or is but quaint mockery
Of all we would believe - and sadly blame
The jarring and inexplicable frame
Of this wrong world; and then anatomize
The purposes and thoughts of men whose eyes
Were closed in distant years; or widely guess
The issue of the earth's great business,
When we shall be as we no longer are,
140 knew, Boscombe MS. || know, Mrs. Shelley, transcript, 1824. 144 citing, Boscombe MS, || acting, Mrs. Shelley, transcript, 1824. 151 Feasts, Mrs. Shelley, transcript || Treats, Mrs. Shelley, 1824. 153 well it, Mrs. Shelley, transcript it well, Mrs. Shelley, 1824. 158 believe, and, Mrs. Shelley, transcript || believe; or, Mrs. Shelley, 1824.
164 Mrs. Shelley, transcript, 1824 || no longer as we are, Forman conj.