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Teach me half the gladness
That thy brain must know;
Such harmonious madness
From my lips would flow

The world should listen then as I am listening now.



Spouse! sister! angel! pilot of the fate

Whose course has been so starless! O too late
Beloved, O too soon adored, by me!

For in the fields of immortality

My spirit should at first have worshipped thine,
A divine presence in a place divine;

Or should have moved beside it on this earth,
A shadow of that substance, from its birth:
But not as now. I love thee; yes, I feel
That on the fountain of my heart a seal
Is set, to keep its waters pure and bright
For thee, since in those tears thou hast delight.
We are we not formed, as notes of music are,
For one another, though dissimilar?

Such difference without discord as can make
Those sweetest sounds in which all spirits shake,

As trembling leaves in a continuous air.

Thy wisdom speaks in me, and bids me dare
Beacon the rocks on which high hearts are wrecked.
I never was attached to that great sect

Whose doctrine is that each one should select

Out of the crowd a mistress or a friend,

And all the rest, though fair and wise, commend

To cold oblivion; though it is in the code

Of modern morals, and the beaten road

Which those poor slaves with weary footsteps tread
Who travel to their home among the dead

By the broad highway of the world, and so
With one chained friend, perhaps a jealous foe,
The dreariest and the longest journey go.

True love in this differs from gold and clay,
That to divide is not to take away.
Love is like understanding, that grows bright,
Gazing on many truths; 'tis like thy light,
Imagination, which from earth and sky,
And from the depths of human fantasy,
As from a thousand prisms and mirrors, fills
The universe with glorious beams, and kills
Error the worm with many a sunlike arrow

Of its reverberated lightning. Narrow

The heart that loves, the brain that contemplates,

The life that wears, the spirit that creates,
One object and one form, and builds thereby
A sepulchre for its eternity!

Mind from its object differs most in this:
Evil from good; misery from happiness;
The baser from the nobler; the impure
And frail from what is clear and must endure.
If you divide suffering and dross, you may
Diminish till it is consumed away;

If you divide pleasure and love and thought,
Each part exceeds the whole; and we know not
How much, while any yet remains unshared,
Of pleasure may be gained, of sorrow spared.
This truth is that deep well whence sages draw
The unenvied light of hope; the eternal law
By which those live to whom this world of life
Is as a garden ravaged, and whose strife
Tills for the promise of a later birth

The wilderness of this elysian earth.

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The day is come, and thou wilt fly with me!
To whatsoe'er of dull mortality

Is mine remain a vestal sister still;

To the intense, the deep, the imperishable-
Not mine, but me—henceforth be thou united,
Even as a bride, delighting and delighted.

The hour is come :-the destined star has risen
Which shall descend upon a vacant prison.
The walls are high, the gates are strong, thick set
The sentinels-but true Love never yet
Was thus constrained. It overleaps all fence:
Like lightning, with invisible violence

Piercing its continents; like heaven's free breath,
Which he who grasps can hold not; liker Death,
Who rides upon a thought, and makes his way
Through temple, tower, and palace, and the array
Of arms. More strength has Love than he or they;
For it can burst his charnel, and make free

The limbs in chains, the heart in agony,

The soul in dust and chaos.


A ship is floating in the harbour now;
A wind is hovering o'er the mountain's brow;
There is a path on the sea's azure floor,-
No keel has ever ploughed that path before;
The halcyons brood around the foamless isles;
The treacherous ocean has forsworn its wiles;
The merry mariners are bold and free:
Say, my heart's sister, wilt thou sail with me?
Our bark is as an albatross whose nest

Is a far Eden of the purple east ;

And we between her wings will sit, while Night And Day and Storm and Calm pursue their flight, Our ministers, along the boundless sea,

Treading each other's heels, unheededly.

It is an isle under Ionian skies,

Beautiful as a wreck of paradise ;

And, for the harbours are not safe and good,
This land would have remained a solitude

But for some pastoral people native there,
Who from the elysian, clear, and golden air
Draw the last spirit of the age of gold,—
Simple and spirited, innocent and bold.
The blue Ægean girds this chosen home,
With ever-changing sound and light and foam
Kissing the sifted sands and caverns hoar;
And all the winds wandering along the shore
Undulate with the undulating tide.

There are thick woods where sylvan forms abide ;

And many a fountain, rivulet, and pond,

As clear as elemental diamond,

Or serene morning air. And far beyond,

The mossy tracks made by the goats and deer
(Which the rough shepherd treads but once a year)
Pierce into glades, caverns, and bowers, and halls
Built round with ivy, which the waterfalls
Illumining, with sound that never fails,
Accompany the noonday nightingales.

And all the place is peopled with sweet airs.
The light clear element which the isle wears
Is heavy with the scent of lemon-flowers,
Which floats like mist laden with unseen showers,
And falls upon the eyelids like faint sleep;
And from the moss violets and jonquils peep,
And dart their arrowy odour through the brain,
Till you might faint with that delicious pain.
And every motion, odour, beam, and tone,
With that deep music is in unison :
Which is a soul within the soul,-they seem
Like echoes of an antenatal dream.

It is an isle 'twixt heaven, air, earth, and sea,
Cradled, and hung in clear tranquillity ;
Bright as that wandering Eden, Lucifer,
Washed by the soft blue oceans of young air.
It is a favoured place. Famine or blight,
Pestilence, war, and earthquake, never light
Upon its mountain-peaks; blind vultures, they
Sail onward far upon their fatal way.

The winged storms, chaunting their thunder-psalm
To other lands, leave azure chasms of calm
Over this isle, or weep themselves in dew,
From which its fields and woods ever renew
Their green and golden immortality.
And from the sea there rise, and from the sky
There fall, clear exhalations, soft and bright,
Veil after veil, each hiding some delight:
Which sun or moon or zephyr draw aside,
Till the isle's beauty, like a naked bride
Glowing at once with love and loveliness,
Blushes and trembles at its own excess.
Yet, like a buried lamp, a soul no less
Burns in the heart of this delicious isle,
An atom of the Eternal, whose own smile
Unfolds itself, and may be felt not seen
O'er the grey rocks, blue waves, and forests green,
Filling their bare and void interstices.






This isle and house are mine, and I have vowed
Thee to be lady of the solitude.

And I have fitted up some chambers there
Looking towards the golden eastern air,
And level with the living winds which flow
Like waves above the living waves below.
I have sent books and music there, and all
Those instruments with which high spirits call
The future from its cradle, and the past
Out of its grave, and make the present last

In thoughts and joys which sleep but cannot die,
Folded within their own eternity.

Our simple life wants little, and true taste
Hires not the pale drudge Luxury to waste

The scene it would adorn; and therefore still
Nature with all her children haunts the hill.
The ringdove in the embowering ivy yet
Keeps up her love-lament; and the owls flit
Round the evening tower; and the young stars glance
Between the quick bats in their twilight dance;

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