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Thou huntress swifter than the Moon! thou terror Of the world's wolves! thou bearer of the
Whose sun-like shafts pierce tempest-winged Error,
As light may pierce the clouds when they dis
In the calm regions of the orient day!
Luther caught thy wakening glance;
Like lightning, from his leaden lance Reflected, it dissolved the visions of the trance In which, as in a tomb, the nations lay;
And England's prophets hailed thee as their
songs whose music cannot pass away, Though it must flow forever; not unseen
Before the spirit-sighted countenance
Of Milton didst thou pass, from the sad scene Beyond whose night he saw, with a dejected mien.
The eager hours and unreluctant years
As on a dawn-illumined mountain stood, Trampling to silence their loud hopes and fears, Darkening each other with their multitude, And cried aloud, Liberty! Indignation Answered Pity from her cave;
Death grew pale within the grave,
And Desolation howled to the destroyer, Save! When, like heaven's sun girt by the exhalation Of its own glorious light, thou didst arise,
Chasing thy foes from nation unto nation
Like shadows: as if day had cloven the skies At dreaming midnight o'er the western wave, Men started, staggering with a glad surprise, Under the lightnings of thine unfamiliar eyes.
Thou heaven of earth! what spells could pall thee then,
In ominous eclipse? a thousand years, Bred from the slime of deep oppression's den, Dyed all thy liquid light with blood and tears, Till thy sweet stars could weep the stain away; How like Bacchanals of blood
Round France, the ghastly vintage, stood Destruction's sceptred slaves, and Folly's mitred
When one, like them, but mightier far than they,
The Anarch of thine own bewildered powers, Rose; armies mingled in obscure array,
Like clouds with clouds, darkening the sacred
Of serene heaven. He, by the past pursued,
England yet sleeps: was she not called of old?
Spain calls her now, as with its thrilling thunder Vesuvius wakens Etna, and the cold
Snow-crags by its reply are cloven in sunder; O'er the lit waves every Æolian isle
From Pithecusa to Pelorus
Howls, and leaps, and glares in chorus ; They cry, Be dim, ye lamps of heaven suspended o'er us!
Her chains are threads of gold, she need but smile
And they dissolve; but Spain's were links of steel,
Till bit to dust by virtue's keenest file.
Twins of a single destiny! appeal
To the eternal years enthroned before us
All ye have thought and done! Time cannot dare conceal.
Tomb of Arminius! render up thy dead
Till, like a standard from a watch-tower's staff, His soul may stream over the tyrant's head; Thy victory shall be his epitaph, Wild Bacchanal of truth's mysterious wine, King-deluded Germany,
His dead spirit lives in thee.
Why do we fear or hope? thou art already free! And thou, lost Paradise of this divine
And glorious world! thou flowery wilderness! Thou island of eternity! thou shrine
Where desolation clothed with loveliness
Worships the thing thou wert! O Italy,
The beasts who make their dens thy sacred palaces.
xiii. 14 us || as, Forman conj.
Oh, that the free would stamp the impious name
Were as a serpent's path, which the light air
Ye the oracle have heard.
Lift the victory-flashing sword,
And cut the snaky knots of this foul gordian word,
Which, weak itself as stubble, yet can bind
The axes and the rods which awe mankind;
To set thine armèd heel on this reluctant worm.
Oh, that the wise from their bright minds would kindle
Such lamps within the dome of this dim world, That the pale name of Priest might shrink and
Into the hell from which it first was hurled, A scoff of impious pride from fiends impure; Till human thoughts might kneel alone, Each before the judgment-throne
Of its own aweless soul, or of the power unknown! Oh, that the words which make the thoughts
xv. 2 King, Boscombe MS. ||
From which they spring, as clouds of glimmering dew
From a white lake blot heaven's blue portraiture, Were stripped of their thin masks and various
And frowns and smiles and splendors not their
Till in the nakedness of false and true
They stand before their Lord, each to receive its due.
He who taught man to vanquish whatsoever
Can be between the cradle and the grave Crowned him the King of Life. Oh, vain endeavor! If on his own high will, a willing slave,
He has enthroned the oppression and the oppressor. What if earth can clothe and feed
Amplest millions at their need,
And power in thought be as the tree within the seed?
Oh, what if Art, an ardent intercessor,
Driving on fiery wings to Nature's throne, Checks the great mother stooping to caress her And cries: "Give me, thy child, dominion Over all height and depth?" if Life can breed New wants, and wealth from those who toil and
Rend of thy gifts and hers a thousandfold for
Come thou, but lead out of the inmost cave
xvii. 9 Oh, Shelley, 1820 || Or, Mrs. Shelley, 18391.