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The stagnate night :-till the minutest ray
Was quenched, the pulse yet lingered in his heart.
It paused-it fluttered. But, when heaven remained
Utterly black, the murky shades involved
An image silent, cold, and motionless,
As their own voiceless earth and vacant air.
Even as a vapour fed with golden beams
That ministered on sunlight, ere the west
Eclipses it, was now that wondrous frame-
No sense, no motion, no divinity-
A fragile lute, on whose harmonious strings
The breath of heaven did wander—a bright stream
Once fed with many-voicèd waves—a dream
Of youth which night and time have quenched for ever-
Still, dark and dry, and unremembered now.
Oh for Medea's wondrous alchemy,
Which, wheresoe'er it fell, made the earth gleam
With bright flowers, and the wintry boughs exhale
From vernal blooms fresh fragrance! Oh that God,
Profuse of poisons, would concede the chalice
Which but one living man has drained, who now,
Vessel of deathless wrath, a slave that feels
No proud exemption in the blighting curse
He bears, over the world wanders for ever,
Lone as incarnate death! Oh that the dream
Of dark magician in his visioned cave,
Raking the cinders of a crucible
For life and power even when his feeble hand
Shakes in its last decay, were the true law
Of this so lovely world !-- But thou art fled,
Like some frail exhalation which the dawn
Robes in its golden beams,-ah thou hast fled !
The brave, the gentle, and the beautiful,
The child of grace and genius! Heartless things
Are done and said i' the world, and many worms
And beasts and men live on, and mighty earth,
From sea and mountain, city and wilderness,
In vesper low or joyous orison,
Lifts still its solemn voice :-but thou art fled-
Thou canst no longer know or love the shapes
Of this phantasmal scene, who have to thee
Been purest ministers, who are, alas!
Now thou art not! Upon those pallid lips,
So sweet even in their silence, on those eyes
That image sleep in death, upon that form
Yet safe from the worm's outrage, let no tear
Be shed—not even in thought. Nor, when those hues
Are gone, and those divinest lineaments,
Worn by the senseless wind, shall live alone
In the frail pauses of this simple strain,
Let not high verse mourning the memory
Of that which is no more, or painting's woe,
Or sculpture, speak in feeble imagery
Their own cold powers. Art and eloquence,
And all the shows o' the world, are frail and vain
To weep a loss that turns their lights to shade.
It is a woe too deep for tears' when all
Is reft at once, when some surpassing Spirit,
Whose light adorned the world around it, leaves
Those who remain behind, not sobs or groans,
The passionate tumult of a clinging hope, -
But pale despair and cold tranquillity,
Nature's vast frame, the web of human things,
Birth and the grave, that are not as they were.
STANZAS WRITTEN IN DEJECTION NEAR NAPLES.
The sun is warm, the sky is clear,
The waves are dancing fast and bright, Blue isles and snowy mountains wear
The purple noon's transparent might;
The breath of the moist earth is light
Around its unexpanded buds ;
Like many a voice of one delight,
The winds', the birds', the ocean-floods',
The city's voice itself is soft like Solitude's.
I see the deep's untrampled floor
With green and purple sea-weeds strown; I see the waves upon the shore,
Like light dissolved in star-showers, thrown.
I sit upon the sands alone.
The lightning of the noontide ocean
Is flashing round me, and a tone
Arises from its measured motion, -
How sweet, did any heart now share in my emotion!
Alas! I have nor hope nor health,
Nor peace within nor calm around ;
Nor that content, surpassing wealth,
The sage in meditation found,
And walked with inward glory crowned ;
Nor fame nor power nor love nor leisure.
Others I see whom these surround-
Smiling they live, and call life pleasure ;-
To me that cup has been dealt in another measure.
Yet now despair itself is mild,
Even as the winds and waters are ; I could lie down like a tired child,
And weep away the life of care
Which I have borne and yet must bear,-
Till death like sleep might steal on me,
And I might feel in the warm air
My cheek grow cold, and hear the sea
Breathe o'er my dying brain its last monotony.
Some might lament that I were cold,
As I when this sweet day is gone, Which my lost heart, too soon grown old,
Insults with this untimely moan.
They might lament--for I am one
Whom men love not, and yet regret ;
Unlike this day, which, when the sun
Shall on its stainless glory set,
Will linger, though enjoyed, like joy in memory yet.
O wild West Wind, thou breath of Autumn's being,
Thou from whose unseen presence the leaves dead Are driven like ghosts from an enchanter fleeing,
Yellow, and black, and pale, and hectic red,
Pestilence-stricken multitudes ! O thou
Who chariotest to their dark wintry bed
The winged seeds, where they lie cold and low,
Each like a corpse within its grave, until
Thine azure sister of the Spring shall blow
Her clarion o’er the dreaming earth, and fill (Driving sweet buds like flocks to feed in air)
With living hues and odours plain and hill ;
Wild Spirit which art moving everywhere ;
Destroyer and preserver ; hear, oh hear!
Thou on whose stream, mid the steep sky's commotion,
Loose clouds like earth's decaying leaves are shed, Shook from the tangled boughs of heaven and ocean,
Angels of rain and lightning! there are spread
On the blue surface of thine airy surge,
Like the bright hair uplifted from the head
Of some fierce Mænad, even from the dim verge
Of the horizon to the zenith's height,
The locks of the approaching storm. Thou dirge
Of the dying year, to which this closing night
Will be the dome of a vast sepulchre,
Vaulted with all thy congregated might Of vapours, from whose solid atmosphere Black rain, and fire, and hail, will burst : Oh hear!
Thou who didst waken from his summer dreams
The blue Mediterranean, where he lay, Lulled by the coil of his crystalline streams,
Beside a pumice isle in Baiæ's bay, And saw in sleep old palaces and towers
Quivering within the wave's intenser day, All overgrown with azure moss, and flowers
So sweet the sense faints picturing them! Thou For whose path the Atlantic's level powers
Cleave themselves into chasms, while far below
The sea-blooms and the oozy woods which wear
The sapless foliage of the ocean know
Thy voice, and suddenly grow grey with fear,
And tremble and despoil themselves : Oh hear !