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THE DÆMON OF THE WORLD
Nec tantum prodere vati,
How wonderful is Death,
Death and his brother Sleep!
One, pale as yonder wan and hornèd moon,
With lips of lurid blue;
The other, glowing like the vital morn
When throned on ocean's wave
Yet both so passing strange and wonderful!
Hath then the iron-sceptred Skeleton,
The Damon of the World. Published with Alastor, 1816.
On which the lightest heart might moralize?
To watch their own repose?
Will they, when morning's beam
Seek far from noise and day some western cave,
A lulling murmur weave?
Ianthe doth not sleep
Nor in her moonlight chamber silently
Doth Henry hear her regular pulses throb,
With interchange of hues mock the broad moon, Outwatching weary night,
Without assured reward.
Her dewy eyes are closed;
On their translucent lids, whose texture fine
Scarce hides the dark blue orbs that burn below
With unapparent fire,
The baby Sleep is pillowed;
Twining like tendrils of the parasite
Hark! whence that rushing sound?
When west winds sigh and evening waves respond
Floating on waves of music and of light
Its shape reposed within; slight as some cloud
Bright as that fibrous woof when stars endue
Four shapeless shadows bright and beautiful
The Dæmon, leaning from the ethereal car,
Human eye hath ne'er beheld
A shape so wild, so bright, so beautiful,
As that which o'er the maiden's charmèd sleep,
Hung like a mist of light.
Such sounds as breathed around like odorous winds
Of wakening spring arose,
Filling the chamber and the moonlight sky.
"Maiden, the world's supremest spirit Beneath the shadow of her wings Folds all thy memory doth inherit
From ruin of divinest things,
Feelings that lure thee to betray,
"For thou hast earned a mighty boon;
Entranced in some diviner mood
"Custom and Faith and Power thou spurnest;
A living light, to cheer it long,
"Therefore from Nature's inner shrine,
Where gods and fiends in worship bend,
The flame to seize, the veil to rend,
"All that inspires thy voice of love,
Spirit, leave for mine and me
It ceased, and from the mute and moveless frame A radiant spirit arose,
All beautiful in naked purity.
Robed in its human hues it did ascend,
Obedient to the sweep of aëry song,
The magic car moved on.
The magic car moved on. From the swift sweep of wings The atmosphere in flaming sparkles flew ; And where the burning wheels Eddied above the mountain's loftiest peak Was traced a line of lightning. Now far above a rock, the utmost verge Of the wide earth, it flew,
The rival of the Andes, whose dark brow Frowned o'er the silver sea.
Far, far below the chariot's stormy path,
Its broad and silent mirror gave to view