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Here the earth's breath is pestilence, and few But things whose nature is at war with life Snakes and ill worms endure its mortal dew. The trophies of the clime's victorious strifeWhite bones, and locks of dun and yellow hair, And ringed horns which buffaloes did wear
And at the utmost point stood there The relics of a weed-inwoven cot, Thatched with broad flags. An outlawed murderer
Had lived seven days there; the pursuit was hot When he was cold. The birds that were his grave Fell dead upon their feast in Vado's wave.
There must have lived within Marenghi's heart That fire, more warm and bright than life or hope,
(Which to the martyr makes his dungeon
More joyous than the heaven's majestic cope
Nor was his state so lone as you might think.
He had tamed every newt and snake and toad, And every seagull which sailed down to drink ere the death-mist went abroad.
And each one, with peculiar talk and play,
And the marsh-meteors, like tame beasts, at night Came licking with blue tongues his veinèd feet; And he would watch them, as, like spirits bright,
In many entangled figures quaint and sweet To some enchanted music they would dance Until they vanished at the first moon-glance.
He mocked the stars by grouping on each weed
Its pictured footprints, as on spots of lawn
And many a fresh Spring morn would he awaken, While yet the unrisen sun made glow, like iron Quivering in crimson fire, the peaks unshaken
Of mountains and blue isles which did environ With air-clad crags that plain of land and sea, And feel liberty.
And in the moonless nights, when the dim ocean Heaved underneath the heaven,
Starting from dreams . . .
Communed with the immeasurable world; And felt his life beyond his limbs dilated, Till his mind grew like that it contemplated.
His food was the wild fig and strawberry ;
The milky pine-nuts which the autumnal blast Shakes into the tall grass; and such small fry
As from the sea by winter-storms are cast; And the coarse bulbs of iris flowers he found Knotted in clumps under the spongy ground.
And so were kindled powers and thoughts which made
His solitude less dark. When memory came (For years gone by leave each a deepening shade), His spirit basked in its internal flame,As, when the black storm hurries round at night The fisher basks beside his red firelight.
Yet human hopes and cares and faiths and errors, Like billows unawakened by the wind,
Slept in Marenghi still; but that all terrors,
Weakness, and doubt, had withered in his mind. His couch
And, when he saw beneath the sunset's planet
Its sails and ropes all tense and without motion,
The thought of his own kind who made the
Which sped that winged shape through night and day,
The thought of his own country
LINES WRITTEN FOR JULIAN AND MADDALO
WHAT think you the dead are?
What should they be?
'Tis the last hour of day. Look on the west, how beautiful it is Vaulted with radiant vapors! The deep bliss Of that unutterable light has made The edges of that cloud fade Into a hue, like some harmonious thought, Wasting itself on that which it had wrought, Till it dies and between The light hues of the tender, pure, serene, And infinite tranquillity of heaven. Ay, beautiful! but when our
Why, dust and clay,
Perhaps the only comfort which remains
Lines written for Julian and Maddalo. Published by Garnett,
LINES WRITTEN FOR PROMETHEUS UNBOUND
As a violet's gentle eye
Gazes on the azure sky,
Until its hue grows like what it beholds;
As a gray and empty mist
Over the western mountain it enfolds,
When the sunset sleeps
Upon its snow;
As a strain of sweetest sound
LINES WRITTEN FOR MONT BLANC
THERE is a voice, not understood by all,
Lines written for Prometheus Unbound. Published by Mrs. Shelley, 18391.
Lines written for Mont Blanc. Published by Garnett, 1862.