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men

caves

saw

With his sweet voice and eyes, from

savage men, His rest and food. Nature's most secret

steps He like her shadow has pursued, where'er The red volcano overcanopies Its fields of snow and pinnacles of ice With burning smoke, or where bitumen

lakes On black bare pointed islets ever beat With sluggish surge, or where the secret Rugged and dark, winding among the

springs Of fire and poison, inaccessible To avarice or pride, their starry domes Of diamond and of gold expand above Numberless and immeasurable halls, Frequent with crystal column, and clear

shrines Of pearl, and thrones radiant with chrys

olite. Nor had that scene of ampler majesty Than gems or gold, the varying roof of

heaven And the green earth lost in his heart its

claims To love and wonder; he would linger

long In lonesome vales, making the wild his

home. Until the doves and squirrels would

partake From his innocuous hand his bloodless

food, Lured by the gentle meaning of his

looks, And the wild antelope, that starts

whene er The dry leaf rustles in the brake, suspend Her timid steps to gaze upon a form More graceful than her own.

His wandering step Obedient to high thoughts, has visited The awful ruins of the days of old : Athens, and Tyre, and Balbec, and the

waste Where stood Jerusalem, the fallen towers Of Babylon, the eternal pyramids, Memphis and Thebes, and whatsoe'er of

strange Sculptured on alabaster obelisk, Or jasper tomb, or mutilated splıynx, Dark Æthiopia in her desert bills Conceals. Among the ruined temples

there, Stupendous columns, and wild images Of more than man, where marble

demons watch

The Zodiac's brazen mystery, and dead Hang their mute thoughts on the mute

walls around, He lingered, poring on memorials Of the world's youth, through the long

burning day Gazed on those speechless shapes, nor,

when the moon Filled the mysterious halls with floating

shades Suspended he that task, but ever gazed And gazed, till meaning on his vacant

mind Flashed like strong inspiration, and he The thrilling secrets of the birth of

time. Meanwhile an Arab maiden brought his

food, Her daily portion, from her father's tent, And spread her matting for his couch,

and stole From duties and repose to tend his

steps :Enamored, yet not daring for deep awe To speak her love :--and watched his

nightly sleep, Sleepless herself, to gaze upon his lips Parted in slumber, whence the regular

breath Of innocent dreams arose : then, when

red morn Made paler the pale moon, to her cold

home Wildered, and wan, and panting, she

returned.

pour down

The Poet wandering on, through

Arabie And Persia, and the wild Carmanian

waste, And o'er the aërial mountains which Indus and Oxus from their icy caves, In joy and exultation held his way; Till in the vale of Cashmire, far within Its loneliest dell, where odorous plants

entwine Beneath the hollow rocks a natural

bower, Beside a sparkling rivulet he stretched His languid limbs. A vision on his sleep There came, a dream of hopes that never

vet Had flushed his cheek. He dreamed a

veiled maid Sate near him, talking in low solemu

tunes.

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Her voice was like the voice of his own

soul Heard in the calm of thought; its music

long, Like woven sounds of streams and

breezes, held His inmost sense suspended in its web of many-colored woof and shifting

hues. Knowledge and truth and virtue were

her theme, And lofty hopes of divine liberty, Thoughts the most dear to him, and

poesy, Herself a poet. Soon the solemn mood Of her pure mind kindled through all her

frame A permeating fire: wild numbers then She raised, with voice stifled in tremu

lous sobs Subdued by its own pathos: her fair

hands Were bare alone, sweeping from some

strange harp Strange symphony, and in their branch

ing veins The eloquent blood told an ineffable tale. The beating of her heart was heard to fill The pauses of her music, and her breath Tumultuously accorded with those fits Of intermitted song. Sudden she rose, As if her heart impatiently endured Its bursting burthen : at the sound he

turned, And saw by the warm light of their own

life Her glowing limbs beneath the sinuous

veil Of woven wind, her outspread arms now

bare, Her dark locks floating in the breath of

night, Her beamy bending eyes, her parted lips Outstretched, and pale, and quivering

eagerly. His strong heart sunk and sickened with

Roused by the shock he started from

his tranceThe cold white light of morning, the

blue moon Low in the west, the clear and garish

hills, The distinct valley and the vacant woods, Spread round him where he stood.

Whither have fled The hues of heaven that canopied his

bower Of yesternight? The sounds that

soothed his sleep, The mystery and the inajesty of Earth, The joy, the exultation ? His wan eyes Gaze on the empty scene as vacantly As ocean's moon looks on the moon in

heaven, The spirit of sweet human love has sent A vision to the sleep of him who spurned Her choicest gifts. He eagerly pursues Beyond the realms of drearn that fleet

ing shade ; He overleaps the bounds. Alas! alas! Were limbs, and breath, and being in.

tertwined Thus treacherously? Lost, lost, for ever

lost, In the wide pathless desert of dim sleep, That beautiful shape! Does the dark

gate of death Conduct to thy mysterious paradise, O Sleep? Does the bright arch of rain.

bow clouds, And pendent mountains seen in the calm

lake, Lead only to a black and watery depth, While death's blue vault, with loathliest

vapors hung, Where every shade which the foul grave

exhales Hides its dead eye from the detested day, Conduct, 0 Sleep, to tly delightful

realms? This doubt with sudden tide flowed on

his heart ; The insatiate hope which it awakened

stung His brain even like despair.

While daylight held The sky, the Poet kept mute conference With his still soul. “At night the pas.

sion came,

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Like the fierce fiend of a distempered

dream And shook him from his rest, and led

him forth Into the darkness. As an eagle, grasped In folds of the green serpent, feels her

breast Burn with the poison, and precipitates Through night and day, tempest, and

calm, and cloud, Frantic with dizzying anguish, her blind

fight O'er the wide aëry wilderness : thus

driven By the bright shadow of that lovely

dream, Beneath the cold glare of the desolate

pight, Through tangled swamps and deep pre

cipitous dells, Startling with careless step the moon

light snake, He fled. Red morning dawned upon his

flight, Shedding the mockery of its vital hues Upon his cheek of death. He wandered

With lightning eyes, and eager breath,

and feet Disturbing not the drifted snow, had

paused In its career: the infant would conceal His troubled visage in his mother's robe In terror at the glare of those wild eyes, To remember their strange light in

many a dream Of after-times; but youthful maidens,

taught By nature, would interpret half the woe That wasted him, would call him with

false names Brother, and friend, would press his

pallid hand At parting, and watch, dim through

tears, the path Of his departure from their father's

door.

on

At length upon the lone Chorasmian

shore He paused, a wide and melancholy waste Of putrid marshes. A strong impulse

urged His steps to the sea-shore. A swan was

there, Beside a sluggish stream among the

reeds. It rose as he approached, and with strong

wings Scaling the upward sky, bent its bright

course High over the immeasurable main. His eyes pursued its Aight. —"Thou

hast a home, Beautiful bird ; thou voyagest to thine

home, Whero thy sweet mate will twine her

downy neck With thine, and welcome thy return Bright in the lustre of their own fond

joy. And what am I that I should linger

here, With voice far sweeter than thy dying

notes, Spirit more vast than thine, frame more

attuned To beauty, wasting these surpassing

powers In the deaf air, to the blind earth, and

heaven That echoes not my thoughts ?" A

gloomy smile Of desperate hope wrinkled his quiver

ing lips.

Till vast Aornos seen from Petra's

steep, Hung o'er the low horizon like a cloud ; Through Balk, and where the desolated

tombs Of Parthian kings scatter to every wind Their wasting dust, wildly he wandered

on, Day after day, a weary waste of hours, Bearing within his life the brooding care That ever fed on its decaying flame. And now his limbs were lean; his scat

tered hair Sered by the autumn of strange suffer

ing Sung dirges in the wind : his listless

hand Hung like dead bone within its withered

skin ; Life, and the lustre that consumed it,

shone As in a furnace burning secretly From his dark eyes alone. The cot

tagers, Who ministered with human charity His human wants, beheld with wonder

ing awe Their fleeting visitant. The moun

taineer, Encountering on some dizzy precipice That spectral form, deemed that the

Spirit of wind

with eyes

For sleep, he knew, kept most relent

lessly Its precious charge, and silent death

exposed, Faithless perhaps as sleep, a shadowy

lure, With doubtful smile mocking its own

strange charms.

Startled by his own thoughts he

looked around. There was no fair fiend near him, not a

sight Or sound of awe but in his own deep

mind. A little shallop floating near the shore Caught the impatient wandering of his

gaze. It had been long abandoned, for its sides Gaped wide with many a rift, and its

frail joints Swayed with the undulations of the tide. A restless impulse urged him to embark And meet Jone Death on the drear

ocean's waste; For well he knew that mighty Shadow

loves The slimy caverns of the populous deep.

The day was fair and sunny, sea and

Calm and rejoicing in the fearful war Of wave ruining on wave, and blast on

blast Descending, and black flood on whirl.

pool driven Wi dark obliterating course, he sate : As if their genii were the ministers Appointed to conduct him to the light Of those beloved eyes, the Poet sate Holding the steady helm. Evening

came on, The beams of sunset hung their rain.

bow hues High 'mid the shifting doines of sheeted

spray That canopied his path o'er the waste

deep; Twilight, ascending slowly from the

east, Entwined in duskier wreaths her braided

locks O'er the fair front and radiant eyes of

day; Night followed, clad with stars. On

every side More horribly the multitudinous streams Of ocean's mountainous waste to mutual

war Rushed in dark tumult thundering, as

to mock The calm and spangled sky. The little

boat Still fled before the storm ; still fled,

like foam Down the steep cataract of a wintry

river; Now pausing on the edge of the riven

wave; Now leaving far behind the bursting That fell, convulsing ocean. Safely

fledAs if that frail and wasted human form, Had been an elemental god.

At midnight The moon arose : and lo! the ethereal

cliffs Of Caucasus, whose icy summits shone Among the stars like sunlight, and

around Whose caverned base the whirlpools

and the waves Bursting and eddying irresistibly Rage and resound for ever.- Who shall

save?The boat fled on,-the boiling torrent

drove,The crags closed round with black and

jagged arms,

sky

:

Drank its inspiring radiance, and the

wind Swept strongly from the shore, blacken

ing the waves. Following his eager soul, the wanderer Leaped in the boat, he spread his cloak

aloft On the bare mast, and took his lonely

seat, And felt the boat speed o'er the tran

quil sea Like a torn cloud before the hurricane.

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waves

Now shall it fall ?-A wandering stream

of wind, Breathed from the west, has caught the

expanded sail, And, lo! with gentle motion, between

banks Of mossy slope, and on a placid stream, Beneath a woven grove it sails, and bark ! The ghastly torrent mingles its far roar, With the breeze murmuring in the

musical woods. Where the embowering trees recede,

and leave A little space of green expanse, the cove Is closed by meeting banks, whose

yellow flowers Forever gaze on their own drooping eyes, Reflected in the crystal calm. The wave Of the boat's motion marred their pen

sive task, Which nought but vagrant bird, or

wanton wind, Or falling spear-grass,

or their own decay Had e'er disturbed before. The Poet

longed To deck with their bright hues his with

ered hair, But on his heart its solitude returned, And be forebore. Not the strong impulse

bid In those flushed cheeks, bent eyes, and

shadowy frame Had yet performed its ministry: it hung Upon his life, as lightning in a cloud Gleams, horering ere it vanish, ere the

floods Of night close over it.

The noonday sun Now shone upon the forest, one vast Of mingling shade, whose brown mag

nificence A narrow vale embosoms. There, huge

caves, Scooped in the dark base of their aëry

rocks Mocking its moans, respond and roar for

ever, The meeting boughs and implicated

leaves Wove twilight o'er the Poet's path, as led By love, or dream, or god, or mightier

Death, He sought in Nature's dearest baunt,

some bank, Her cradle, and his sepulchre. More dark And dark the shades accumulalə. The

oak,

With unrelaxing speed.—“ Vision and

Love!” The Poet cried aloud, “I have bebeld The path of thy departure. Sleep and

death Shall not divide us long!”

The boat pursued The windings of the cavern. Daylight

shone At length uprn that gloomy river's flow; Now, where the fiercest war among the Is calm, on the unfathomable stream The boat moved slowly. Where the

mountain, riven, Exposed those black depths to the azure

sky, Ere yet the flood's enormous volume fell Even to the base of Caucasus, with sound That shook the everlasting rocks, the Filled with one whirlpool all that ample

chasm ; Stair above stair the eddying water rose, Circling immeasurably fast, and lared With alternating dash the gnarled roots Of mighty trees, that stretched their

giant arms In darkuess over it. I'the midst was left, Retlecting, yet distorting every cloud, A pool of treacherous and tremendous

calm. Seized by the sway of the ascending

stream, With dizzy swiftness, round, and round,

and round, Ridge after ridge the straining boat

arose, Till on the verge of the extremest curve, Where, through an opening of the rocky

bank, The waters overflow, and a smooth spot Of glassy quiet mid those battling tides Is left, the boat paused shuddering.

Shall it sink Down the abyss ? Shall the reverting

stress Of that resistless gulf embosom it?

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