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THE LIBRARY OF THE


UNIVERSITY OF
NORTH CAROLINA

ENDOWED BY THE
DIALECTICAND PHILANTHROPIC
SOCIETIES

PR5^02
1911*
APR 8 m UNIVERSITY OF N.C. AT CHAPEL HILL
^3 /

DEC 5 1971 00008675980

This book is due at the LOUIS R. WILSON LIBRARY on the


last date stamped under "Date Due." If not on hold it may be
renewed by bringing it to the library.

DATE DirT DATE RET


DUE DUE
itlV A 4%
«y«
llfgiHRHMP FEB 259 i
Digitized by the Internet Archive
in 2011 with funding from
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

http://www.archive.org/details/completepoeticalshel
PERCY BYSSHE SHELLEY
From a rainting made at Rome in iSiq by Miss Cnri-an
OXFORD EDITION

THE COMPLETE

POETICAL WORKS
OF

PERCY BYSSHE SHELLEY


INCLUDING MATERIALS NEVER BEFORE
PRINTED IN ANY EDITION OF THE POEMS
A-
EDITED WITH TEXTUAL NOTES

THOMAS HUTCHINSON, M.A.


EDITOR OF THE OXFORD WORDSWORTH

HUMPHREY MILFORD
OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS
LONDON, NEW YORK, TORONTO, MELBOURNE
1914
PREFACE
This edition of his Poetical Works contains all Shelley's
ascertained poems and fragments of verse that have hitherto
appeared in print. In preparing the volume I have worked
as far as possible on the principle of recognizing the editio
princeps as the primary textual authority. I have not been
content to reprint Mrs. Shelley's recension of 1839, or that of
any subsequent editor of the Poems. The present text is the
result of a fresh collation of the early editions; and in every
material instance of departure from the wording of those
originals the rejected reading has been subjoined in a foot-
note. Again, wherever— as in the case of Julian and Maddalo—
there has appeared to be good reason for superseding the authority
of the editio princeps, the fact is announced, and the substituted
exemplar indicated, in the Prefatory Note. In the case of a few
pieces extant in two or more versions of debatable authority
the alternative text or texts will be found at the foot of the page ;

but it may be said once for all that this does not pretend to be
a variorum edition, in the proper sense of the term— the textual
apparatus does not claim to be exhaustive. Thus I have not
thought it necessary to cumber the footnotes with every minute
grammatical correction introduced by Mrs. Shelley, apparently
on her own authority, into the texts of 1839 nor has it come
;

within the scheme of this edition to record every conjectural


emendation adopted or proposed by Kossetti and others in recent
times. But it is hoped that, up to and including the editions
of 1839 at least, no important variation of the text has been over-
looked. Whenever a reading has been adopted on MS. authority,
a reference to the particular source has been added below.
I have been chary of gratuitous interference with the punc-
tuation of the MSS. and early editions in this direction, however,
;

some revision was indispensable. Even in his most carefully


finished 'fair copy' Shelley under-punctuates 1 and sometimes
,

punctuates capriciously. In the very act of transcribing his


mind was apt to stray from the work in hand to higher things ;

he would lose himself in contemplating those airy abstractions


and lofty visions of which alone he greatly cared to sing, to the
neglect and detriment of the merely external and formal element
of his song. Shelley recked little of the jots and tittles of literary
craftsmanship; he committed many a small sin against the rules
of grammar, and certainly paid but a halting attention to the
nice distinctions of punctuation. Thus in the early editions
a comma occasionally plays the part of a semicolon ; colons
and semicolons segm to be employed interchangeably ; a semi-
colon almost invariably appears where nowadays we should
employ the dash and, lastly, the dash itself becomes a point
;

of all work, replacing indifferently commas, colons, semicolons


1
Thus in the exquisite autograph Hunt MS.' of Julian and Maddalo,

Mr. Buxton Forman, the most conservative of editors, finds it necessary


to supplement Shelley's punctuation in no fewer than ninety-four Dlacps.

591913
'

iv PREFACE
or periods. Inadequate and sometimes haphazard as it is, how-
ever, Shelley's punctuation, so far as it goes, is of great value
as an index to nis metrical, or at times, it may be, to his rhe-
torical intention— for, in Shelley's hands, punctuation serves
rather to mark the rhythmical pause and onflow of the verse,
or to secure some declamatory effect, than to indicate the
structure or elucidate the sense. For this reason the original
pointing has been retained, save where it tends to obscure or
pervert the poet's meaning. Amongst the Editor's Notes at
the end of the volume the reader will find lists of the punctual
variations in the longer poems, by means of which the supple-
mentary points now added may be identified, and the original
points, which in this edition have been deleted or else replaced
by others, ascertained, in the order of their occurrence. In the
use of capitals Shelley's practice has been followed, while an
attempt has been made to reduce the number of his incon-
sistencies in this regard.
To have reproduced the spelling of the MSS. would only
have served to divert attention from Shelley's poetry to my own
ingenuity in disgusting the reader according to the rules of
editorial punctilio l. Shelley was neither very accurate, nor
always consistent, in his spelling. He was, to say the truth,
indifferent about all such matters indeed, to one absorbed in
:

the spectacle of a world travailing for lack of the gospel of


Political Justice, the study of orthographical niceties must have
seemed an occupation for Bedlamites. —
Again as a distin-
guished critic and editor of Shelley, Professor Dowden, aptly
observes in this connexion— 'a great poet is not of an age, but
for all time.' Irregular or antiquated forms such as recieve,' '

'
sacrifize,' 'tyger,' 'gulph,' desart,' 'falshood,' and the like, can
'

only serve to distract the reader's attention, and mar his enjoy-
ment of the verse. Accordingly Shelley's eccentricities in this
kind have been discarded, and his spelling revised in accordance
with modern usage. All weak preterite-forms, whether indica-
tives or participles, have been printed with ed rather than t,
participial adjectives and substantives, such as past,' alone
'

excepted. In the case of leap,' which has two preterite-forms,


'


both employed by Shelley 2 one with the long vowel of the
3
present-form, the other with a vowel-change like that of 'crept
from 'creep'— I have not hesitated to print the longer form
'
leaped,' and the shorter (after Mr. Henry Sweet's example)
lept,' in order clearly to indicate the pronunciation intended by
1

1 two from the preface to The Revolt of Islam.


I adapt a phrase or
See for an example of the longer form, the Hymn to Mercury, xviii. 5,
2

where leaped' rhymes with 'heaped' (1. 1). The*shorter form, rhym-
'

ing to 'wept,' 'adapt,' &c, occurs more frequently.


3
Of course, wherever this vowel-shortening takes place, whether
indicated by a corresponding change in the spelling or not, t, not ed is
properly used—' cleave,' 'cleft'; 'deal,' 'dealt'; &c. The forms dis-
carded under the general rule laid down above are such as 'wrackt,'
' prankt,' snatch t,' lust,' opprest,' &c.
' ' '
PREFACE v

Shelley. In the editions the two vowel-sounds are confounded


under the one spelling, leapt.' In a few cases Shelley's
'

spelling, though unusual or obsolete, has been retained. Thus


in aethereal,' paean,' and one or two more words the ae will
' '

be found, and 'airy' still appears as 'aery.' Shelley seems to


have uniformly written lightening here the word is so
'
' :

printed whenever it is employed as a trisyllable elsewhere ;

the ordinary spelling has been adopted \


The editor of Shelley to-day enters upon a goodly heritage, the
accumulated gains of a series of distinguished predecessors.
Mrs. Shelley's two editions of 1839 form the nucleus of the
present volume, and her notes are here reprinted in full but ;

the arrangement of the poems differs to some extent from that


followed by her— chiefly in respect of Queen Mob, which is here
placed at the head of the Juvenilia, instead of at the forefront
of the poems of Shelley's maturity. In 1862 a slender volume
of poems and fragments, entitled Relics of Shelley, was published
by Dr. Eichard Garnett, C.B.— a precious sheaf gleaned from the
MSS. preserved at Boscombe Manor. The Relics constitute
a salvage second only in value to the Posthumous Poems of 1824.
To the growing mass of Shelley's verse yet more material was
added in 1870 by Mr. William Michael Bossetti, who edited for
Moxon the Complete Poetical Works published in that year. To
him we owe in particular a revised and greatly enlarged version
of the fragmentary drama of Charles I. But though not seldom
successful in restoring the text, Mr. Bossetti pushed revision
beyond the bounds of prudence, freely correcting grammatical
errors, rectifying small inconsistencies in the sense, and too
lightly adopting conjectural emendations on the grounds of
rhyme or metre. In the course of an article published in the
Westminster Revieio for July, 1870, Miss Mathilde Blind, with
the aid of material furnished by Dr. Garnett, 'was enabled,'
in the words of Mr. Buxton Forman, 'to supply omissions,
make authoritative emendations, and controvert erroneous
changes' in Mr. Eossetti's work; and in the more cautiously

1
Not a written about uprest {Revolt of Islam, III.
little has been '
'

xxi. 5), as a nonce-word deliberately coined


which has been described
by Shelley on no better warrant than the exigency of the rhyme.'
'

There can be little doubt that uprest' is simply an overlooked misprint


'

for uprist
' '

not by any means a nonce-word, but a genuine English
verbal substantive of regular formation, familiar to many from its employ-
ment by Chaucer. True, the corresponding rhyme-words in the passage
above referred to are 'nest,' 'possessed,' 'breast'; but a laxity such as
'nest '

uprist is quite in Shelley's manner. Thus in this very poem
' '


we find 'midst' 'shed'st' (VI. xvi), 'mist' 'rest' blest' (V. Iviii),— —
'loveliest' — — —
'mist' 'kissed' 'dressed' (V. xliii). Shelley may have
'

first seen the word in The Ancient Mariner but he employs it mora ;

correctly than Coleridge, who seems to have mistaken it for a preterite-


form (=' uprose'), whereas in truth it serves either as the third person
singular of the present ( = upriseth '), or, as here, for the verbal aub-
'

stantive(= 'uprising').
BHEI.IVEY a O
vi PREFACE
edited text of his later edition, published by Moxon in 1878. may
be traced the influence of her strictures.
Six years later appeared a variorum edition in which for the
first time Shelley's text was edited with scientific exactness
of method; and with a due respect for the authority of the
original editions. It would be difficult indeed to over-estimate
the gains which have accrued to the lovers of Shelley from the
strenuous labours of Mr. Harry Buxton Forman, C.B. He too
has enlarged the bod}7 of Shelley's poetry but. important as
'

his additions undoubtedly are, it may safely be affirmed that his


services in this direction constitute the least part of what wo
owe hiaa. He has vindicated the authenticity of the text in
many places, while in many others he has succeeded, with the
aid of manuscripts, in restoring it. His untiring industry in
research, his wide bibliographical knowledge and experience,
above all, his accuracy, as invariable as it is minute, have com-
bined to make him, in the words of Professor Dowden, our '

chief living authority on all that relates to Shelley's wri tings.'


His name stands securely linked for all time to Shelley's by
a long series of notable works, including three successive
editions (1876, 1882, 1892) of the Poems, an edition of the Prose
Remains, as well as many minor publications a Bibliography —
{The Shelley Library, 1886) and several Facsimile Reprints of the
early issues, edited for the Shelley Society.
To Professor Dowden, whose authoritative Biography of the
poet, published in 1886, was followed in 1890 by an edition of
the Poems (Macmillans), is due the addition of several pieces
belonging to the juvenile period, incorporated by him in the
pages of the Life of Shelley. Professor JDowden has also been
enabled, with the aid of the manuscripts placed in his hands,
to correct the text of the Juvenilia in many places. In 1893
Professor George E. Woodberry edited a Centenary Edition of the
Complete Poetical Works, in which, to quote his own words, an
attempt is made 'to summarize the labours of more than half
a century on Shelley's text, and on his biography so far as the
biography is bound up with the text.' In this Centenary edition
the textual variations found in the Harvard College MSS., as
well as those in the MSS. belonging to Mr. Frederickson of
Brooklyn, are fully recorded. Professor Wood berry's text is
conservative on the whole, but his revision of the punctuation
is drastic, and occasionally sacrifices melody to perspicuity.
In 1903 Mr, C. D. Locock published, in a quarto volume of
seventy-five pages, the fruits of a careful scrutiny of the
Shelley MSS. now lodged in the Bodleian Library. Mr. Locock
succeeded in recovering several inedited fragments of verse and
prose. Amongst the poems chiefly concerned in the results
1
Mr. Forman's most notable addition the second part of The Daemon
is

of the World, which he printed privately in 1876, and included in his


Library Edition of the Poetical Works published in the same year. See the
List of Editions, &c. at the end of this volume.

PREFACE vii

of his Examination may be named Marenghi, Prince Athanase,


Tlie Witch of Atlas, To Gonstantia, the Ode to Naples, and (last,
not least) Prometheus Unbound. Full use has been made in this
edition of Mr. Locock's collations, and the fragments recovered
and printed by him are included in the text. Variants
derived from the Bodleian MSS. are marked JB. in the foot-
notes.
On the state of the text generally, and the various quarters in
which it lies open to conjectural emendation, I cannot do better
than quote the following succinct and luminous account from
a Causerie on the Shelley MSS. in the Bodleian Library, con-
tributed by Dr. Bichard Garnett, C.B., to the columns of The
Speaker of December 19, 1903 :

'From the textual point of view Shelley's works may be



divided into three classes those published in his lifetime under
his own direction those also published in his lifetime, but in
;

his absence from the press and those published after his death.
;

The first class includes Queen Mob, The Bevolt of Islam, and
Alastor with its appendages, published in England before his
final departure for the continent and The Genci and Adonais,
;

printed under his own eye at Leghorn and Pisa respectively.


Except for some provoking but corrigible misprints in The Revolt
of Islam and one crucial passage in Alastor, these poems afford
little material for conjectural emendation for the Alexandrines
;

now and then left in the middle of stanzas in The Bevolt of Islam
must remain untouched, as proceeding not from the printer's
carelessness but the author's. The second class, poems printed
during Shelley's lifetime, but not under his immediate inspec-
tion, comprise Prometheus Unbound and Rosalind and Helen,
t

together with the pieces which accompanied them, Epipsuchidion,


Hellas, and Swellfoot the Tyrant. The correction of the most
important of these, the Prometheus, was the least satisfactory.
Shelley, though speaking plainly to the publisher, rather hints
than expresses his dissatisfaction when writing to Gisborne, the
corrector, but there is a pretty clear hint when on a subsequent
occasion he says to him, " I have received Hellas, which is
prettily printed, and with fewer mistakes than any poem I ever
Eublished." This also was probably not without influence on
is determination to have The Genci and Adonais printed in
Italy —
Of the third class of Shelley's writings those which
were first published after his death— sufficient facsimiles have
been published to prove that Trelawny's graphic description
of the chaotic state of most of them was really in no respect
exaggerated. .... The difficulty is much augmented by the fact
that these pieces are rarely consecutive, but literally disiecti
membra poetae^ scattered through various notebooks in a way
to require piecing together as well as deciphering. The editors
of the Posthumous Poems, moreover, though diligent according
to their light, were neither endowed with remarkable acumen nor
possessed of the wide knowledge requisite for the full intelli-
gence of so erudite a poet as Shelley, hence the perpetration
viii PREFACE
of numerous mistakes. Some few of the MSS., indeed, such as
those of The Witch of Atlas, Julian and Maddalo, and the Lines at
Naples, were beautifully written out for the press in Shelley's
best hand, but their very v; lue and beauty necessitated the
ordeal of transcription, with disastrous results in several in-
stances. An entire Line dropped out of the Lines at Naples, and
although Julian and Maddalo was extant in more than one very
clear copy, the printed text had several such sense-destroying
errors as least for lead.
'
The corrupt state of the text has stimulated the ingenuity
of numerous correctors, who have suggested many acute and
convincing emendations, and some very specious ones which
sustained scrutiny has proved untenable. It should be needless
to remark that success has in general been proportionate to the
facilities of access to the MSS., which have only of late become
generally available. If Shelley is less fortunate than most
modern poets in the purity of his text, he is more fortunate
than many in the preservation of his manuscripts. These have
not, as regards a fair proportion, been destroyed or dispersed
at auctions, but were protected from either fate by their very
character as confused memoranda. As such they remained in
the possession of Shelley's widow, and passed from her to her
son and daughter-in-law. After Sir Percy Shelley's death, Lady
Shelley took the occasion of the erection of the monument to
Shelley at University College, Oxford, to present [certain of]
the MSS. to the Bodleian Library, and verse and sculpture form
an imperishable memorial of Ins connection with the University
where his residence was so brief and troubled V
1
Dr. Garnett proceeds :

'The most important of the Bodleian MSS. is
that of Prometheus Unbound, which, says Mr. Locock, has the appearance of
being an intermediate draft, and also the first copy made. This should
confer considerable authority on its variations from the accepted text,
as this appears to have been printed from a copy not made by Shelley
himself. " My Prometheus," he writes to Oilier on September 6, 1819, " is
now being transcribed," an expression which he would hardly have used if
he had himself been the copyist. He wished the proofs to be sent to him
in Italy for correction, but to this Oilier objected, and on May 14, 1820,
Shelley signifies his acquiescence, adding, however, " In this case I shall
repose trust in your care respecting the correction of the press ; Mr.
Gisborne will revise it ; he heard it recited, and will therefore more
readily seize any error." This confidence in the accuracy of Gisborne's
verbal memory is touching From a letter to Gisborne on May 26
!

following it appears that the offer to correct came from him, and that
Shelley sent him " two little papers of corrections and additions," which
were probably made use of, or the fact would have been made known. In
the case of additions this may satisfactorily account for apparent
omissions in the Bodleian MS. Gisborne, after all, did not prove fully
up to the mark. "It is to be regretted," writes Shelley to Oilier on
November 20, "that the errors of the press are so numerous," adding,
" I shall send you the list of errata in a day or two." This was probably
"the list of errata written by Shelley himself," from which Mrs. Shelley
corrected the edition of 1839/
PREFACE ix

In placing Queen Mab at the head of the Juvenilia I have


followed the arrangement adopted by Mr. Buxton Forman in
his Library Edition of 1876. I have excluded The Wandering
Jew, having failed to satisfy myself of the sufficiency of the
grounds on which, in certain quarters, it is accepted as the
work of Shelley. The shorter fragments are printed, as in
Professor Dowden's edition of 1890, along with the miscellaneous
poems of the years to which they severally belong, under titles
which are sometimes borrowed from Mr. Buxton Forman. some-
times of my own choosing. I have added a few brief Editor's
Notes, mainly on textual questions, at the end of the book. Of
the poverty of my work in this direction I am painfully aware ;

but in the present edition the ordinary reader will, it is hoped,


find an authentic, complete, and accurately printed text, and,
if this be so, the principal end and aim of the Oxford Shelley
will have been attained.
I desire cordially to acknowledge the courtesy of Mr. H.
Buxton Forman, C.B., by whose kind sanction the second part
of The Daemon of the World appears in this volume. And
I would fain express my deep sense of obligation for manifold
information and guidance, derived from Mr. Buxton Forman '"s

various editions, reprints and other publications especially from
the monumental Library Edition of 1876. Acknowledgements
are also due to the poet's grandson, Charles E. J. Esdaile, Esq.,
for permission to include the early poems first printed in
Professor Dowden's Life of Shelley and to Mr. C. D. Locock,
;

for leave to make full use of the material contained in his inter-
esting and stimulating volume. To Dr. Richard Garnett, C.B.,
and to Professor Dowden, cordial thanks are hereby tendered
for good counsel cheerfully bestowed. To two of the editors
of the Shelley Society Reprints, Mr. Thomas J. Wise and

Mr. Robert A. Potts both generously communicative col-
lectors— I am deeply indebted for the gift or loan of scarce
volumes, as well as for manv kind offices in other ways. Lastly,
to the staff of the Oxford University Press my heartiest thanks
are owing, for their unremitting ^are in all that relates to the
printing and correcting of the sheets.

THOMAS HUTCHINSON.
December, 1904.

Postscript.— In a valuable paper, 'Notes on Passages in


Shelley,' contributed to The Modern Language Review (October,
1905), Mr. A. C. Bradley discussed, amongst other things, some
fifty places in the text of Shelley's verse, and indicated certain
errors and omissions in this edition. With the aid of these
Notes the editor has now carefully revised the text, and has in
many places adopted the suggestions or conclusions of their
accomplished author.
June, 1913.
PREFACE BY MRS. SHELLEY
TO FIRST COLLECTED EDITION, 1839

Obstacles have long existed to my presenting the public with


a perfect edition of Shelley's Poems. These being at last happily

removed, I hasten to fulfil an important duty, that of giving the
productions of a sublime genius to the world, with all the correctness
possible, and of, at the same time, detailing the history of those
productions, as they sprang, living and warm, from his heart and brain.
I abstain from any remark on the occurrences of his private life, except
inasmuch as the passions which they engendered inspired his poetry.
This is not the time to relate the truth and I should reject any
;

colouring of the truth. No account of these events has ever been


given at all approaching reality in their details, either as regards him-
self or others; nor shall I further allude to them than to remark that
the errors of action committed by a man as noble and generous as
Shelley, may, as far as he only is concerned, be fearlessly avowed by
those who loved him, in the firm conviction that, were they judged
impartially, his character would stand in fairer and brighter light than
that of any contemporary. Whatever faults he had ought to find
extenuation among his fellows, since they prove him to be human ;

without them, the exalted nature of his soul would have raised him
into something divine.
The qualities that struck any one newly introduced to Shelley
were,— First, a gentle and cordial goodness that animated his inter-
course with warm affection and helpful sympathy. The other, the
eagerness and ardour with which he was attached to the cause of
human happiness and improvement ; and the fervent eloquence with
which he discussed such subjects. His conversation was marked by
its happy abundance, and the beautiful language in which he clothed
his poetic ideas and philosophical notions. To defecate life of its
misery and its evil was the ruling passion of his soul he dedicated to
;

it every power of his mind, every pulsation of his heart. He looked


on political freedom as the direct agent to effect the happiness of
mankind and thus any new-sprung hope of liberty inspired a joy and
;

an exultation more intense and wild than he could have felt for any
personal advantage. Those who have never experienced the workings
of passion on general and unselfish subjects cannot understand this ;

and it must be difficult of comprehension to the younger generation


rising around, since they cannot remember the scorn and hatred with
which the partisans of reform were regarded some few years ago, nor
the persecutions to which they were exposed. He had been from
youth the victim of the state of feeling inspired by the reaction of the
French Revolution and believing firmly in the justice and excellence
;

of his views, it cannot be wondered that a nature as sensitive, as


impetuous, and as generous as his, should put its whole force into the
attempt to alleviate for others the evils of those systems from which
he had himself suffered. Many advantages attended his birth he ;

spurned them all when balanced with what he considered his duties.
He was generous to imprudence, devoted to heroism.

PREFACE BY MRS. SHELLEY xi

These characteristics breathe throughout his poetry. The struggle


for human weal the resolution firm to martyrdom the impetuous
; ;

pursuit, the glad triumph in good the determination not to despair


; ;

— such were the features that marked those of his works which he
regarded with most complacency, as sustained by a lofty subject and
useful aim.
In addition to these, his poems may be divided into two classes,
the purely imaginative, and those which sprang from the emotions of
his heart. Among the former may be classed the Witch of Atlas,
Adonais, and his latest composition, left imperfect, the Triumph of
Life. In the first of these particularly he gave the reins to his fancy,
and luxuriated in every idea as it rose ; in all there is that sense
of mystery which formed an essential portion of his perception of hfe
a clinging to the subtler inner spirit, rather than to the outward

form a curious and metaphysical anatomy of human passion and
perception.
The second class is, of course, the more popular, as appealing at
once to emotions common to us all some of these rest on the passion
;

of love others on grief and despondency ; others on the sentiments


;

inspired by natural objects. Shelley's conception of love was exalted,


absorbing, allied to all that is purest and noblest in our nature, and
warmed by earnest passion such it appears when he gave it a voice
;

in verse. Yet he was usually averse to expressing these feelings,


except when highly idealized and many of his more beautiful effusions
;

he had cast aside unfinished, and they were never seen by me till
after I had lost him. Others, as for instance Rosalind and Helen
and Lines written among the Euc/anean Hills, I found among his
papers by chance ; and with some difficulty urged him to complete
them. There are others, such as the Ode to the Skylark and The
Cloud, which, in the opinion of many critics, bear a purer poetical
stamp than any other of his productions. They were written as his
mind prompted listening to the carolling of the bird, aloft in the
:

azure sky of Italy or marking the cloud as it sped across the heavens,
;

while he floated in his boat on the Thames.


No poet was ever warmed by a more genuine and unforced inspira-
tion. His extreme sensibility gave the intensity of passion to his
intellectual pursuits and rendered his mind keenly alive to every
;

perception of outward objects, as well as to his internal sensations.


Such a gift is, among the sad vicissitudes of human life, the disappoint-
ments we meet, and the galling sense of our own mistakes and errors,
fraught with pain to escape from such, he delivered up his soul
;

to poetry, and felt hanpy when he sheltered himself, from the influence
of human sympathies, in the wildest regions of fancy. His imagination
has been termed too brilliant, his thoughts too subtle. He loved to
idealize reality and this is a taste shared by few.
;
We are willing to
have our passing whims exalted into passions, for this gratifies our
vanity but few of us understand or sympathize with the endeavour to
;

ally the love of abstract beauty, and adoration of abstract good, the
to dyadov ml to Ka\<>v of the Socratic philosophers, with our sympathies
with our kind. In this, Shelley resembled Plato both taking more
;

delight in the abstract and the ideal than in the special and tangible.
xii PREFACE BY MRS SHELLEY
This did not result from imitation for it was not till Shelley resided
;

in Italy that he made Plato his study. He then translated his


Symposium and his Ion ; and the English language boasts of no
more brilliant composition than Plato's Praise of Love translated by
Shelley. To return to his own poetry. The luxury of imagination,
which sought nothing beyond itself (as a child burdens itself with
spring flowers, thinking of no use beyond the enjoyment of gathering
them), often showed itself in his verses they will be only appreciated
:

by minds which have resemblance to his own and the mystic subtlety
;

of many of his thoughts will share the same fate. The metaphysical
strain that characterizes much of what he has written was, indeed, the
portion of his works to which, apart from those whose scope was to
awaken mankind to aspirations for what he considered the true and
good, he was himself particularly attached. There is much, however,
that speaks to the many. When he would consent to dismiss these
huntings after the obscure (which, entwined with his nature as they
were, he did with difficulty), no poet ever expressed in sweeter, more
heart-reaching, or more passionate verse, the gentler or more forcible
emotions of the soul.
A wise friend once wrote to Shelley ' You are still very young,
:

and in certain essential respects you do not yet sufficiently perceive


that you are so.' It is seldom that the young know what youth is,
till they have got beyond its period and time was not given him to
;

attain this knowledge. It must be remembered that there is the


stamp of such inexperience on all he wrote he had not completed his
;

nine-and-twentieth year when he died. The calm of middle life did


not add the seal of the virtues which adorn maturity to those generated
by the vehement spirit of youth. Through life also he was a martyr
to ill-health, and constant pain wound up his nerves to a pitch of
susceptibility that rendered his views of life different from those of
a man in the enjoyment of healthy sensations. Perfectly gentle and
forbearing in manner, he sufTered a good deal of internal irritability,
or rather excitement, and his fortitude to bear was almost always on
the stretch ; and thus, during a short life, he had gone through more
experience of sensation than many whose existence is protracted.
'If I die to-morrow,' he said, on the eve of his unanticipated death,
'I have lived to be older than my father.' The weight of thought
and feeling burdened him heavily you read his sufferings in his
;

attenuated frame, while you perceived the mastery he held over them
in his animated countenance and brilliant eyes.
He died, and the world showed no outward sign. But his influence
over mankind, though slow in growth, is fast augmenting and, in the
;

ameliorations that have taken place in the political state of his country,
we may trace in part the operation of his arduous struggles. His
spirit gathers peace in its new state from the sense that, though late,
his exertions were not made in vain, and in the progress of the liberty
he so fondly loved.
He died, and his place, among those who knew him intimately, has
never been filled up. He walked beside them like a spirit of good to

comfort and benefit to enlighten the darkness of life with irradiations
of genius, to cheer it with his sympathy and love. Any one, once

TO FIRST 1839 EDITION xiii

attached to Shelley, must feel all other affections, however true and
fond, as wasted on barren soil in comparison. It is our best consola-
tion to know that such a pure-minded and exalted being was once
among us, and now exists where we hope one day to join him ;

although the intolerant, in their blindness, poured down anathemas,


the Spirit of Good, who can judge the heart, never rejected him.
In the notes appended to the poems I have endeavoured to narrate
the origin and history of each. The loss of nearly all letters and
papers which refer to his early life renders the execution more
imperfect than it would otherwise have been. I have, however, the
liveliest recollection of all that was done and said during the period of
my knowing him. Every impression is as clear as if stamped yester-
day, and I have no apprehension of any mistake in my statements as
far as they go. In other respects I am indeed incompetent but :

I feel the importance of the task, and regard it as my most sacred


dutj 7
. I endeavour to fulfil it in a manner he would himself approve ;
and hope, in this publication, to lay the first stone of a monument due
to Shelley's genius, his sufferings, and his virtues :

Se al seguir son tarda,


Forse avverra die '1 bel nome gentile
Consacrero con questa stanca penna.

POSTSCRIPT IN SECOND EDITION OF 1839


In revising this new edition, and carefully consulting Shelley's
scattered and confused papers, I found a few fragments which had
hitherto escaped me, and was enabled to complete a few poems hitherto
left unfinished. What at one time escapes the searching eye, dimmed
by its own earnestness, becomes clear at a future period. By the aid
of a friend, I also present some poems complete and correct which
hitherto have been defaced by various mistakes and omissions. It
was suggested that the poem To the Queen of my Heart was falsely
attributed to Shelley. I certainly find no trace of it among his papers ;

and, as those of his intimate friends whom I have consulted never


heard of it, I omit it.
Two poems are added of some length, Swellfoot the Tyrant and
Peter Bell the Third. I have mentioned the circumstances under
which they were written in the notes and need only add that they
;

are conceived in a very different spirit from Shelley's usual com-


positions. They are specimens of the burlesque and fanciful but, ;

although they adopt a familiar style and homely imagery, there shine
through the radiance of the poet's imagination the earnest views and
opinions of the politician and the moralist.
At my request the publisher has restored the omitted passages
of Queen Mab. I now present this edition as a complete collection of
my husband's poetical works, and I do not foresee that I can hereafter
add to or take away a word or line.
Putney, November 6, 1839.

PREFACE BY MRS. SHELLEY


TO THE VOLUME OF POSTHUMOUS POEMS
PUBLISHED IN 1824
In nobil sangue vita umile e queta,
Ed in alto intelletto un puro core ;

Frutto senile in sul giovenil fiore,


E in aspetto pensoso anima lieta. Petrarca.
It had been my wish, on presenting the public with the Posthumous
Poems of Mr. Shelley, to have accompanied them by a biographical
notice ; asappeared to me that at this moment a narration of the
it
events of my
husband's life would come more gracefully from other
hands than mine, I applied to Mr. Leigh Hunt. The distinguished
friendship that Mr. Shelley felt for him, and the enthusiastic affection
with which Mr. Leigh Hunt clings to his friend's memory, seemed to
point him out as the person best calculated for such an undertaking.
His absence from this country, which prevented our mutual explana-
tion, has unfortunately rendered my scheme abortive. I do not doubt
but that on some other occasion he will pay this tribute to his lost
friend, and sincerely regret that the volume which I edit has not been
honoured by its insertion.
The comparative solitude in which Mr. Shelley lived was the
occasion that he was personally known to few and his fearless
;

enthusiasm in the cause which he considered the most sacred upon


earth, the improvement of the moral and physical state of mankind,
was the chief reason why he, like other illustrious reformers, was
pursued by hatred and calumny. No man was ever more devoted
than he to the endeavour of making those around him happy no man ;

ever possessed friends more unfeignedly attached to him. The un-


grateful world did not feel his loss, and the gap it made seemed to
close as quickly over his memory as the murderous sea above his
living frame. Hereafter men will lament that his transcendent powers
of intellect were extinguished before they had bestowed on them their
choicest treasures. To his friends his loss is irremediable the wise,
:

the brave, the gentle, is gone for ever He is to them as a bright


!

vision, whose radiant track, left behind in the memory, is worth all
the realities that society can afford. Before the critics contradict me,
let them appeal to any one who had ever known him. To see him
was to love him and his presence, like Ithuriel's spear, was alone
:

sufficient to disclose the falsehood of the tale which his enemies


whispered in the ear of the ignorant world.
His life was spent in the contemplation of Nature, in arduous study,
or in acts of kindness and affection. He was an elegant scholar and
a profound metaphysician without possessing much scientific know-
;

ledge, he was unrivalled in the justness and extent of his observations


on natural objects he knew every plant by its name, and was familiar
;

with the history and habits of every production of the earth he could ;

interpret without a fault each appearance in the sky and the varied
;

phenomena of heaven and earth rilled him with deep emotion. He


made his study and reading-room of the shadowed copse, the stream,

PREFACE BY MRS. SHELLEY (1824) xv

the lake, and the waterfall. Ill health and continual pain preyed
upon his powers and the solitude in which we lived, particularly on
;

our first arrival in Italy, although congenial to his feelings, must


frequently have weighed upon his spirits those beautiful and affecting
;

Lines written in Dejection near Naples were composed at such an


interval but, when in health, his spirits were buoyant and youthful
;

to an extraordinary degree.
Such was his love for Nature that every page of his poetry is
associated, in the minds of his friends, with the loveliest scenes of the
countries which he inhabited. In early life he visited the most
beautiful parts of this country and Ireland. Afterwards the Alps of
Switzerland became his inspirers. Prometheus Unbound was written
among the deserted and flower-grown ruins of Rome and, when he
;

made his home under the Pisan hills, their roofless recesses harboured
him as he composed the Witch of Atlas, Adonais, and Hellas.
In the wild but beautiful Bay of Spezzia, the winds and waves which
he loved became his playmates. His days were chiefly spent on the
water the management of his boat, its alterations and improvements,
;

were his principal occupation. At night, when the unclouded moon


shone on the calm sea, he often went alone in his little shallop to the
rocky caves that bordered it, and, sitting beneath their shelter, wrote
the Triumph of Life, the last of his productions. The beauty but
strangeness of this lonely place, the refined pleasure which he felt in
the companionship of a few selected friends, our entire sequestration
from the rest of the world, all contributed to render this period of his
life one of continued enjoyment. I am convinced that the two months
we passed there were the happiest which he had ever known his :

health even rapidly improved, and he was never better than when
I last saw him, full of spirits and joy, embark for Leghorn, that he
might there welcome Leigh Hunt to Italy. I was to have accompanied
him but illness confined me to my room, and thus put the seal on my
;

misfortune. His vessel bore out of sight with a favourable wind, and
I remained awaiting his return by the breakers of that sea which was
about to engulf him.
He spent a week at Pisa, employed in kind offices toward his friend,
and enjoying with keen delight the renewal of their intercourse. He
then embarked with Mr. Williams, the chosen and beloved sharer
of his pleasures and of his fate, to return to us. We waited for them
in vain the sea by its restless moaning seemed to desire to inform us
;

of what we would not learn :— but a veil may well be drawn over such
misery. The real anguish of those moments transcended all the
fictions that the most glowing imagination ever portrayed ; our
seclusion, the savage nature of the inhabitants of the surrounding
villages, and our immediate vicinity to the troubled sea, combined to
imbue with strange horror our days of uncertainty. The truth was at
last known, —
a truth that made our loved and lovely Italy appear
a tomb, its sky a pall. Every heart echoed the deep lament, and my
only consolation was in the praise and earnest love that each voice
bestowed and each countenance demonstrated for him we had lost,
not. I fondly hope, for ever ; his unearthly and elevated nature is
a pledge of the continuation of his being, although in an altered form.
xvi PREFACE BY MRS. SHELLEY (1824)

Home received his ashes they are deposited beneath its weed-grown
;

wall, and the world's sole monument is enriched by his remains.



'

I must add a few words concerning the contents of this volume.


Julian and Maddalo, the Witch of Atlas, and most of the Transla-
iions, were written some years ago and, with the exception of the
;

Oyclops, and the Scenes from the Magico Prodigioso, may be con-
sidered as having received the author's ultimate corrections. The
Triumph of Life was his last work, and was left in so unfinished
a state that I arranged it in its present form with great difficulty. All
his poems which were scattered in periodical works are collected in
this volume, and I have added a reprint of Alastor, or the Spirit oj
Solitude :the difficulty with which a copy can be obtained is the
cause of its republication. Mary of the Miscellaneous Poems, written
on the spur of the occasion, and never retouched, I found among his
manuscript books, and have carefully copied. I have subjoined,
whenever I have been able, the date of their composition.
I do not know whether the critics will reprehend the insertion
of some of the most imperfect among them ; but I frankly own that
I have been more actuated by the fear lest any monument of his
genius should escape me than the wish of presenting nothing but what
was complete to the fastidious reader. I feel secure that the lovers of
Shelley's poetry (who know how, more than any poet of the present
day, every line and word he wrote is instinct with peculiar beauty)
will pardon and thank me I consecrate this volume to them.
:

The size of this collection has prevented the insertion of any prose
pieces. They will hereafter appear in a separate publication.

MARY W. SHELLEY.
London, June 1, 1824.
CONTENTS
PAGE
Editor's Preface iii

Mrs. Shelley's Preface to First Collected Edition,


1839
Postscript in Second Edition of 1839
Mrs. Shelley's Preface to Posthumous Poems, 1824
.... . .
x
xiii
xiv
The Daemon of the World. A Fragment.
Part I 1
Part II
Alastor or, the Spirit of Solitude
;

Note by Mrs. Shelley


.... 14
30
7

The Revolt of Islam. A Poem in Twelve Cantos.


Preface 32
Dedication : To Mary •
38
Canto I 41
Canto II 54
Canto III 64
Canto IV 72
Canto V 79
Canto VI 93
Canto VII 105
Canto VIII 114
Canto IX 121
Canto X 128
Canto XI 139
Canto XII 144
Note by Mrs. Shelley 153
Prince Athanase. A Fragment 156
Rosalind and Helen. A Modern Eclogue . . . 164
Note by Mrs. Shelley
Julian and Maddalo. A Conversation
Note by Mrs. Shelley
.... 184
185
199
Prometheus Unbound. A Lyrical Drama in Four Acts.
Preface 201
Act I 204
Act II 223
Act III 238
Act IV 250
Note by Mrs. Shelley 266
The Cenci. A Tragedy in Five Acts.
Dedication, to Leigh Hunt, Esq 271
Preface 272
Act I 276
Act II .. .
285
Act III • 293
Act IV 304
ActV 317
Note by Mrs. Shelley 331
The Mask of Anarchy 335
Note by Mrs. Shelley
Peter Bell the Third
Note by Mrs. Shelley
........ 341
342
357
xviii CONTENTS
PAGE
Letter to Maria Gisborne 358
The Witch of Atlas.
To Mary .366
The Witch of Atlas 367
Note by Mrs. Shelley 382
Oedipus Tyrannus or. Swellfoot
; the Tyrant. A
Tragedy in Two Acts 384
Note by Mrs. Shelley .404
Epipsychidion.
Fragments connected with Epipsychidion
Adonais. An Elegy on the Death of John Keats.
.... 405
419

Preface 425
Adonais
Cancelled Passages
Hellas. A Lyrical Drama.
........ 427
439

Preface . 441
Prologue 444
Hellas 448
Shelley's Notes 473
Note by Mrs. Shelley
Fragments of an Unfinished
Charles the First
Drama .... 475
477
484
The Triumph of Life 503
Cancelled opening 516
Early Poems. [1814, 1815.]
Stanza, written at Bracknell 517
Stanzas.— April, 1814 517
To Harriet 518
To Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin 518
To .Yet look on me
' '
519
Mutability 519
On Death -520
A Summer Evening Churchyard 520
To Oh • ' ! there are spirits of the air' . . . 521
To Wordsworth 522
Feelings of a Republican on the Fall of Bonaparte . . 522
Lines : The cold earth slept below
'

Note on the Early Poems, by Mrs. Shelley


Poems written in 1816.
'

.... 523
524

The Sunset 525


Hymn to Intellectual Beauty 526
Mont Blanc 528
Cancelled Passage of
Fragment Home :

Fragment of a Ghost Story


........
Mont Blanc 531
531
531
Note on Poems of 1816, by Mrs. Shelley . . . .532
Poems written in 1817.
Marianne's Dream 532
To Constantia, Singing 535
The Same Stanzas I and II
:
536
To Constantia 537
Fragment: To One Singing 537
' ' '

CONTENTS xix
Poems written in 1817 (continued) —
A Fragment To Music :

Another Fragment to Music .

'
Mighty Eagle ' .

To the Lord Chancellor


To William Shelley
From the Original Draft
On Fanny Godwin
Lines :
'
That time is
....
of the Poem
dead for ever '
to William Shelley

Death
Otho
Fragments supposed to be parts of Otho
'
that a Chariot of Cloud were mine
Fragments:
To a Friend released from Prison
Satan broken loose
Igniculus Desiderii
Amor Aeternus ....
A
Thoughts come and go in Solitude
Hate-Song
Lines to a Critic
.....
....
Ozymandias
Note on Poems of 1817, by Mrs. Shelley
Poems written in 1818.
To the Nile "

Passage of the Apennines


The Past
To Mary
On a Faded Violet
Lines written among the Euganean Hills
....
Scene from Tasso
Song for Tasso
Invocation to Misery
.....
....
Stanzas written in Dejection, near Naples
The Woodman and the Nightingale
Marenghi
Sonnet Lift not the painted
:
'
veil
Fragments :

To Byron
Apostrophe to Silence
The Lake's Margin ....
'
My
head is wild with weeping
The Vine-Shroud
Note on Poems of 1818, by Mrs. Shelley
....
Poems written in 1819.
Lines written during the Castlereagh Administration
Song to the Men of England
Similes for two Political Characters of 1819
Fragment To the People of England
:

Fragment What men gain fairly'


:
'

A New National Anthem


Sonnet England in 1819
:

An Ode written October, 1819


: '

XX CONTENTS
Poems written in 1819 (continued)— page
Cancelled Stanza 571
Ode to Heaven 572
Ode to the West Wind 570
An Exhortation 575
The Indian Serenade 575
Cancelled Passage 575
To Sophia [Miss Stacey] 576
To William Shelley, I 576
To William Shelley, II 577
To Mary Shelley, I 577
To Mary Shelley, II 577
On the Medusa of Leonardo da Vinci 577
Love's Philosophy 578
Fragment 'Follow to the deep wood's weeds'
: . . . 579
The Birth of Pleasure 579
Fragments
Love the Universe to-day 579
'
A gentle story of two lovers young 579
Love's Tender Atmosphere 579
Wedded Souls 580
Is it that in some brighter sphere

' 580
Sufficient unto the day
Ye gentle visitations of calm thought'
'

Music and Sweet Poetry


.... 580
580
581
The Sepulchre of Memory 581
'
When a lover clasps his fairest ' 581
'
Wake the serpent not '
581
Rain 581
A Tale Untold 581
To Italy 582
Wine of the Fairies 582
A Roman's Chamber 582
Rome and Nature 582
Variation of the Song of the Moon
Cancelled Stanza of the Mask of Anarchy
Note by Mrs. Shelley
.... 582
583
583
Poems written in 1820.
The Sensitive Plant 583
Cancelled Passage • • 591
A Vision of the Sea 591
The Cloud 595
To a Skylark 596
Ode to Liberty 598
Cancelled Passage 604
To I fear thy kisses, gentle maiden
.
' ' . . . . 605
Arethusa 605
Song of Proserpine 606
Hymn of Apollo 606
Hymn of Pan 607
The Question 608
The Two Spirits. An Allegory 609
Ode to Naples 610
CONTENTS xxi
Poems written in 1820 (continued) — page
Autumn A Dirge : 614
The Waning Moon 615
To the Moon 615
Death 616
Liberty . 616
Summer and Winter . . . . . . . .616
The Tower of Famine 617
AnAllegory 618
The World's Wanderers
Sonnet: Ye hasten to the grave
Lines to a Reviewer
' !'
..... .
618
618
619
Fragment of a Satire on Satire 619
Good-night 620
Buona Notte 621
Orpheus 621
Fiordispina 624
Time Long Past 626
Fragments:
The Deserts of Dim Sleep
'
The viewless and invisible consequence
....... ' . . . . .
626
626
A Serpent-face 627
Death in Life
'

'
Such hope, as
Alasthis is not !
is the sick despair of good
what I thought life was
"...
"...
627
627
627
Milton's Spirit 627
Unrisen splendour of the brightest sun
' '
. . . . 628
Pater Omnipotens . 628
To the Mind of Man 628
Note on Poems of 1820, by Mrs. Shelley . . . .629
Poems written in 1821.
Dirge for the Year 630
To Night 630
Time 631
Lines :
'
Far, far
From tbe Arabic An Imitation
To Emilia Viviani
away
:
'

...... 631
631
632
The Fugitives . . . 632
To Music, when soft voices die
. ' ' . . . . 633
Song Rarely, rarely, comest thou
:
'
' . . . . . 633
Mutability . 633
Lines written on hearing the
Sonnet Political Greatness
The Aziola
: ....... News of the Death of Napoleon 634
635
636
A Lament
Remembrance
To Edward Williams
......... 636
637
637
To 'One word is too often profaned'
. . . . 639
To When passion's trance is overpast
. ' ' . . . 639
A Bridal Song 639
Epithalamium
Another Version of the Same
Love, Hope, Desire, and Fear
...... 640
640
641
' ' '

XX11 CONTENTS
Poems written in 1821 (continued) —
Fragments written for Hellas
Fragment
Ginevra
I would not be a king

Evening Ponte al Mare, Pisa


:
:
'

.... :

The Boat on the Serchio


Music
Sonnet to Byron
..... .

Fragment on Keats
Fragment Methought I was a billow in the ciwwd
:
'

To-morrow
'
Stanza If :
'
I walk in Autumn's even
Fragments:
A Wanderer
Life rounded with Sleep
'
I faint, I perish with my love
'

The Lady of the South


Zephyrus the Awakener
Rain
'
When winds and sunny skies
soft '
.

'
And walk thus proudly crowned
that I
'

'The rude wind is singing


'Great Spirit '

'0 thou immortal deitj '


.

The False Laurel and the True


May
the Limner
Beauty's Halo
.... .

'
"The death knell is ringing
'I stood upon a heaven-cleaving turret'
Note on Poems of 1821, by Mrs. Shelley
Poems written in 1822.
The Zucca
The Magnetic Lady to her Patient
Lines :
'
When
the lamp is shattered '
.

To Jane The Invitation :

To Jane The Recollection : .

The Pine Forest of the Cascine near Pisa


With a Guitar, to Jane
To Jane The keen stars were twinkling
:
'
.... '

A Dirge
Lines written in the Bay of Lerici
Lines We meet not as we parted
:
'

The Isle
Fragment : To the Moon . ,

Epitaph
Note on Poems of 1822, by Mrs. Shelley
Translations.
Hymn to Mercury. Translated from the Greek of Homer
Homer's
Homer's
Homer's
Hymn to Castor and
Hymn to the Moon
Hymn to the Sun
....
Pollux

....
.

Homer's
Homer's
Hymn to the Earth
Hymn to Minerva ....
: Mother of All
CONTENTS xxiii

Translations (continued) — page


Homer's Hymn to Venus .
695
The Cyclops A Satyric Drama. : Translated from the
Greek of Euripides 696
Epigrams :

I. To Stella. From the Greek of Plato . . . .712


Kissing Helena. From the Greek of Plato
II. . . 712
III. Spirit of Plato.
IV. Circumstance.
From the Greek
From the Greek
Fragment of the Elegy on the Death of Adonis.
....
. .

From
.

the
.712
713

Greek of Bion 713


Fragment of the Elegy on the Death of Bion. From the
Greek of Moschus 714
From the Greek of Moschus 714
Pan, Echo, and the Satyr. From the Greek of Moschus . 715
From Vergil's Tenth Eclogue 715
The Same 716
From Vergil's Fourth Georgic .717
Sonnet. From the Italian of Dante 717
The First Canzone of the Convito. From the Italian of Dante 718
Matilda gathering Flowers. From the Pargntorio of Dante 719
Fragment. Adapted from the Vita Nuova of Dante . 721 .

Ugolino. Inferno, xxxiii. 22-75, translated by Medwin and


corrected by Shelley
Sonnet. From the Italian of Cavalcanti
Scenes from the Mugico Prodigioso. From the Spanish of
.... 721
723

Calderon 723
Stanzas from Calderon's Cisma de Inglaterra . . . 739
Scenes. from the Faust of Goethe 740
Juvenilia.
Queen Mab. A Philosophical Poem.
To Harriet ***** 754
Queen Mab 754
Shelley's Notes 791
Note by Mrs. Shelley
Verses on a Cat
Fragment Omens :
......... 825
829
830
Epitaphium [Latin Version of the Epitaph in Gray's Elegip, . 830
In Horologium . . . . , . . , 830
A Dialogue 830

....... ...
. .

To the Moonbeam 831


The Solitary
To Death .......... 831
832
Love's Rose
Eyes a Fragment
: .........
Original Poetry by Victor and Cazire.
833
833

I. 'Here I sit with my


paper, my pen and my ink '
. . 833
II. To Miss [Harriet Grove] From Miss
[Elizabeth Shelley]
III. Song Cold, cold is the blast
:

IV. Song: Come [Harriet] '


'

sweet is the hour' !


' ...
. . .
835
836
837
V. Song: Despair 837
VI. Song Sorrow :
838
VII. Song Hope :
838
XXIV CONTENTS
Juvenilia (continued) — page
VIII. Song Translated from the Italian
:

IX. Song Translated from tbe German


X. The Irishman's Song
: .... 838
839
839
XL Song: 'Fierce roars the midnight storm '
. . . 839
XII. Song To [Harriet]
: 840
XIII. Song To [Harriet]
: .
840
XIV. Saint Edmond's Eve 840
XV. Revenge 842
XVI. Ghasta or, The Avenging Demon; 844
XVII. Fragment or, The Triumph of Conscience
; . . . 846
Poems from St. Irvyne or. The Rosicrucian. ;

Victoria
I. . 847
On the Dark Height of Jura
II. '
'
847
III. Sister Rosa. Ballad A 848
IV. St. Irvyne's Tower
V. Bereavement
VI. The Drowned Lover
.

......... . • 849
850
850

War
..........
Posthumous Fragments of Margaret Nicholson.
Advertisement 851
851
Fragment Supposed to be an Epithalamium of Francis Ravaillae

...........
:

and Charlotte Corday 853


Despair.
Fragment
The Spectral Horseman
...........
........
855
855
856
Melody to a Scene of Former Times 857
Stanza from a Translation of the Marseillaise Hymn . . . 858
Bigotry's Victim
....
........ ....
On an Icicle that clung to the Grass of a Grave
Love
858
859
859
On a Fete at Carlton House Fragment : 860
To a Star 860
To Mary, who died in this opinion 860
A Tale of Society as it is : From Facts. 1811 860
To the Republicans of North America 862
To Ireland
On Robert Emmet's Grave ........ 863
863
The Retrospect Cwm Elan, 1812
Fragment of a Sonnet To Harriet
:

: ....... 803
865
To Harriet
Sonnet To a Balloon laden with Knowledge
:

Sonnet On launching some Bottles filled with Knowledge


:
.... into
865
867

the Bristol Channel 867


The Devil's Walk
Fragment of a Sonnet Farewell to North Devon
On leaving London for Wales
:

.
....
.......
867
870
870
The Wandering Jew's Soliloquy 871
Evening To Harriet : . 871
Tolanthe 871
Song from the Wandering Jew 872
Fragment from the Wandering Jew 872
To the Queen of my Heart 872
Editor's Notes 873
Bibliographical List of Editions 899
Index oe First Lines 904

: : !

THE DAEMON OF THE WOULD


A FRAGMENT
PAKT I

[Sections i and ii of Queen Mob rehandled, and published by Shelley


in the Alastor volume, 1816. See Bibliographical List, and the
Editor's Introductory Note to Queen Mab.~\

Nee tantum prodere vati,


Quantum Venit aetas omnis in unam
scire licet.
Congeriem, miserumque premunt tot saecula pectus.
Lucan, Phars. v. 176.

How wonderful is Death,


Death and his brother Sleep !

One pale as yonder wan and horned moon,


With lips of lurid blue,
The other glowing like the vital morn, 5
When throned on ocean's wave
It breathes over the world
Yet both so passing strange and wonderful
Hath then the iron-sceptred Skeleton,
Whose reign in the tainted sepulchres,
is 10
To the hell dogs that couch beneath his throne
Cast that fair prey '? Must that divinest form,
Which love and admiration cannot view
Without a beating heart, whose azure veins
Steal like dark streams along a field of snow, 15
Whose outline is as fair as marble clothed
In light of some sublimest mind, decay '?
Nor putrefaction's breath
Leave aught of this pure spectacle
But loathsomeness and ruin ?— zo
Spare aught but a dark theme,
On which the lightest heart might moralize ?
Or is it but that downy-winged slumbers
Have charmed then* nurse coy Silence near her lids
To watch their own repose? 25
Will they, when morning's beam
Flows through those wells of light,
Seek far from noise and day some western cave,
Where woods and streams with soft and pausing winds
A lulling murmur weave ? 3°
Ianthe doth not sleep
The dreamless sleep of death
Nor in her moonlight chamber silently
: : ::

THE DAEMON OF THE WORLD


Doth Henry hear her regular pulses throb,
Or mark her delicate cheek 35
With interchange of hues mock the broad moon,
Outwatching weary night,
Without assured reward.
Her dewy eyes are closed ;

On their translucent lids, whose texture fine 40


Scarce hides the dark blue orbs that burn below
With un apparent fire,
The baby Sleep is pillowed
Her golden tresses shade
The bosom's stainless pride, 45
Twining like tendrils of the parasite
Around a marble column.
Hark ! whence that rushing sound ?
'Tis like a wondrous strain that sweeps
Around a lonely ruin 5°
When west winds sigh and evening waves respond
In whispers from the shore
'Tis wilder than the unmeasured notes
Which from the unseen lyres of dells and groves
The genii of the breezes sweep. 55
Floating on waves of music and of light.
The chariot of the Daemon of the World
Descends in silent power
Its shape reposed within : slight as some cloud
That catches but the palest tinge of day 60
When evening yields to night,
Bright as that fibrous woof when stars indue
Its transitory robe.
Four shapeless shadows bright and beautiful
Draw that strange car of glory, reins of light 65
Check their unearthly speed ;/they stop and fold
Their wings of braided air
The Daemon leaning from the ethereal car
Gazed on the slumbering maid.
Human eye hath ne'er beheld 7°
A shape so wild, so bright, so beautiful,
As that which o'er the maiden's charmed sleep
Waving a starry wand,
Hung like a mist of light.
Such sounds as breathed around like odorous winds
Of wakening spring arose, 76
Filling the chamber and the moonlight sky.
Maiden, the world's supremest spirit
Beneath the shadow of her wings
Folds all thy memory doth inherit 80
From ruin of divinest things,
Feelings that lure thee to betray,
And light of thoughts that pass away.
: ! 5

PART I 3

For thou hast earned a mighty boon,


The truths which wisest poets see 85
Dimly, thy mind may make its own,
Rewarding its own majesty,
Entranced in some diviner mood
Of self-oblivious solitude.
Custom, and Faith, and Power thou spurnest; 90
From hate and awe thy heart is free;
Ardent and pure as day thou burnest,
For dark and cold mortality
A living light, to cheer it long,
The watch-fires of the world among. 95
Therefore from nature's inner shrine,
Where gods and fiends in worship bend,
Majestic spirit, be it thine
The flame to seize, the veil to rend,
Where the vast snake Eternity 100
In charmed sleep doth ever lie.
All that inspires thy voice of love,
Or speaks in thy unclosing eyes,
Or through thy frame doth burn or move,
Or think or feel, awake, arise! 105
mine and me
Spirit, leave for
Earth's unsubstantial mimicry
It ceased, and from the mute and moveless frame
A radiant spirit arose,
All beautiful in naked purity. no
Robed in its human hues it did ascend,
Disparting as it went the silver clouds,
It moved towards the car, and took its seat
Beside the Daemon shape.
Obedient to the sweep of aery song, 1 1

The mighty ministers


Unfurled their prismy wings.
The magic car moved on
The night was fair, innumerable stars
Studded heaven's dark blue vault; 120
The eastern wave grew pale
With the first smile of morn.
The magic car moved on.
Fromthe swift sweep of wings
The atmosphere in flaming sparkles flew; 125
And where the burning wheels
Eddied above the mountain's loftiest peak
Was traced a line of lightning.
Now far above a rock the utmost verge
Of the wide earth it flew, 130
The rival of the Andes, whose dark brow
87 Regarding ej. A. C. Bradley.
THE DAEMON OF THE WORLD
Frowned o'er the silver sea.
Far, farbelow the chariot's stormy path,
Calm as a slumbering babe,
Tremendous ocean lay. 135
Its broad and silent mirror gave to view
The pale and waning stars,
The chariot's fiery track,
And the grey light of morn
Tingeing those fleecy clouds 140
That cradled in their folds the infant dawn.
The chariot seemed to fly
Through the abyss of an immense concave,
Radiant with million constellations, tinged
With shades of infinite colour, 145
And semicircled with a belt
Flashing incessant meteors.
As they approached their goal.
The winged shadows seemed to gather speed.
The sea no longer was distinguished; earth 150
Appeared a vast and shadowy sphere, suspended
In the black concave of heaven
With the sun's cloudless orb,
Whose rays of rapid light
Parted around the chariot's swifter course, 155
And fell like ocean's feathery spray
Dashed from the boiling surge
Before a vessel's prow.
The magic car moved on.
Earth's distant orb appeared 160
The smallest light that twinkles in the heavens,
Whilst round the chariot's way
Innumerable systems widely rolled,
And countless spheres diffused
An ever varying glory. 165
It was a sight of wonder Some were homed,
!

And like the moon's argentine crescent hung


In the dark dome of heaven some did shed;

A clear mild beam like Hesperus, while the sea


Yet glows with fading sunlight; others dashed 170
Athwart the night with trains of bickering fire,
Like sphered worlds to death and ruin driven ;

Some shone like stars, and as the chariot passed


Bedimmed all other light.
Spirit of Nature here ! 175
In this interminable wilderness
Of worlds, at whose involved immensity
Even soaring fancy staggers,
Here is thy fitting temple.
Yet not the lightest leaf 180
: — ; :

PART I 5

That quivers to the passing breeze


Is less instinct with thee,
Yet not the meanest worm.
That lurks in graves and fattens on the dead,
Less shares thy eternal breath. 185
Spirit of Nature thou
!

Imperishable as this glorious scene,


Here is thy fitting temple.
If solitude hath ever led thy steps
To the shore of the immeasurable sea, 19°
And thou hast lingered there
Until the sun's broad orb
Seemed resting on the fiery line of ocean.
Thou must have marked the braided webs of gold
That without motion hang 195
Over the sinking sphere :

Thou must have marked the billowy mountain clouds,


Edged with intolerable radiancy,
Towei'ing like rocks of jet
Above the burning deep 200
And yet there is a moment
When the sun's highest point
Peers like a star o'er ocean's western edge,
When those far clouds of feathery purple gleam
Like fairy lands girt by some heavenly sea 205
Then has thy rapt imagination soared
Where in the midst of all existing things
The temple of the mightiest L^aemon stands.
Yet not the golden islands
That gleam amid yon flood of purple light, 210
Nor the feathery curtains
That canopy the sun's resplendent couch,
Nor the burnished ocean waves
Paving that gorgeous dome,
So fair, so wonderful a sight 215
As the eternal temple could afford.
The elements of all that human thought
Can frame of lovely or sublime, did join
To rear the fabric of the fane, nor aught
Of earth may image forth its majesty. 2:0
Yet likest evening s vault that faery hall,
As heaven low resting on the wave it spread
Its floors of flashing light,
Its vast and azure dome ;

And on the verge of that obscure abyss 225


Where crystal battlements o'erhang the gulf
Of the dark world, ten thousand spheres diffuse
Their lustre through its adamantine gates.
The magic car no longer moved
— : ; !

THE DAEMON OF THE WORLD


The Daemon and the Spirit 230
Entered the eternal gates.
Those clouds of agry gold
That slept in glittering billows
Beneath the azure canopy,
With the ethereal footsteps trembled not 235
While slight and odorous mists
Floated to strains of thrilling melody
Through the vast columns and the pearly shrines.
The Daemon and* the Spirit
Approached the overhanging battlement, 240
Below lay stretched the boundless universe
There, far as the remotest line
That limits swift imagination's flight.
Unending orbs mingled in mazy motion,
Immutably fulfilling 245
Eternal Nature's law.
Above, below, around.
The circling systems formed
A wilderness of harmony.
Each with undeviating aim 250
In eloquent silence through the depths of space
Pursued its wondrous way.
Awhile the Spirit paused in ecstasy.
Yet soon she saw, as the vast spheres swept by,
Strange things within their belted orbs appear. 255
Like animated frenzies, dimly moved
Shadows, and skeletons, and fiendly shapes,
Thronging round human graves, and o'er the dead
Sculpturing records for each memory
In verse, such as malignant gods pronounce, 260
Blasting the hopes of men, when heaven and hell
Confounded burst in ruin o'er the world
And they did build vast trophies, instruments
Of murder, human bones, barbaric gold,
Skins torn from living men, and towers of skulls 265
With sightless holes gazing on blinder heaven.
Mitres, and crowns, and brazen chariots stained
With blood, and scrolls of mystic wickedness,
The sanguine codes of venerable crime.
The likeness of a thronSd king came by, 270
When these had passed, bearing upon his brow
A threefold crown; his countenance was calm,*
His eye severe and cold but his right hand
;

Was charged with bloody coin, and ne did gnaw


By fits, with secret smiles, a human heart 275
Concealed beneath his robe and motley shapes,
;

A multitudinous throng, around him knelt.


With bosoms bare, and bowed heads, and false looks
Of true submission, as the sphere rolled by.
! —;! !; : :

PART I 7

Brooking no eye to witness their foul shame, 280


Which human hearts must feel, while human tongues
Tremble to speak, they did rage horribly,
Breathing in self-contempt fierce blasphemies
Against the Daemon of the World, and high
Hurling their armed hands where the pure Spirit, 285
Serene and inaccessibly secure,
Stood on an isolated pinnacle,
The flood of ages combating below,
The depth of the unbounded universe
Above, and all around 29a
Necessity's unchanging harmony.

PAET II

[Sections viii and ix of Queen Mab rehandled by Shelley. First


printed in 1876 by Mr. H. Buxton Forman, C.B., by whose kind
permission it is here reproduced. See Editor's Introductory Note
to Queen Mab.]
O happy Earth reality of Heaven
! !

To which those restless powers that ceaselessly


Throng through the human universe aspire
Thou consummation of all mortal hope! 295
Thou glorious prize of blindly-working will
Whose rays, diffused throughout all space and time,
Verge toone point and blend for ever there
Of purest spirits thou pure dwelling-place
Where care and sorrow, impotence and crime, 300
Languor, disease, and ignorance dare not come
O happy Earth, reality of Heaven
Genius has seen thee in her passionate dreams,
And dim forebodings of thy loveliness,
Haunting the human heart, have there entwined 305
Those rooted hopes, that the proud Power of Evil
Shall not for ever on this fairest world
Shake pestilence and Avar, or that his slaves
With blasphemy for prayer, and human blood
For sacrifice, before his shrine for ever 310
In adoration bend, or Erebus
With all its banded fiends shall not uprise
To overwhelm in envy and revenge
The dauntless and the good, who dare to hurl
Defiance at his throne, girt tho' it be 315
With Death's omnipotence. Thou hast beheld
His empire, o'er the present and the past
It was a desolate sight — now gaze on mine,
Futurity. Thou hoary giant Time,
Bender thou up thy half-devoured babes, 320
And from the cradles of eternity,
— ; ; : : : ; ;

8 THE DAEMON OF THE WORLD


Where millions lie lulled to their portioned sleep
By the deep murmuring stream of passing things,
Tear thou that gloomy shroud.— Spirit, behold
Thy glorious destiny!
The Spirit saw 325
The vast frame of the renovated world
Smile in the lap of Chaos, and the sense
Of hope thro' her fine texture did suffuse
Such varying glow, as summer evening casts
On undulating clouds and deepening lakes. 330
Like the vague sighings of a wind at even,
That wakes the wavelets of the slumbering sea
And dies on the creation of its breath,
And sinks and rises, fails and swells by fits,
Was the sweet stream of thought that with wild motion
Flowed o'er the Spirit's human sympathies. 336
The mighty tide of thought had paused awhile.
Which from the Daemon now like Ocean's stream
Again began to pour.
To me is given
The wonders of thehuman world to keep— 340
Space, matter, time and mind— let the sight
Renew and strengthen all thy failing hope.
All things are recreated, and the flame
Of consentaneous love inspires all life
The fertile bosom of the earth gives suck 345
To myriads, who still grow beneath her care,
Rewarding her with their pure perfectness
The balmy breathings of the wind inhale
Her virtues, and diffuse them all abroad
Health floats amid the gentle atmosphere, 350
Glows in the fruits, and mantles on the stream
No storms deform the beaming brow of heaven.
Nor scatter in the freshness of its pride
The foliage of the undecaying trees
But fruits are ever ripe, flowers ever fair, 3 55
And Autumn proudly bears her matron grace,
Kindling a flush on the fair cheek of Spring,
Whose virgin bloom beneath the ruddy fruit
Reflects its tint and blushes into love.

The habitable earth is full of bliss 360


Those wastes of frozen billows that were hurled
By everlasting snow-storms round the poles,
Where matter dared not vegetate nor live,
But ceaseless frost round the vast solitude
Bound its broad zone of stillness, are unloosed 365
And fragrant zephyrs there from spicy isles
Ruffle the placid ocean-deep, that rolls
Its broad, bright surges to the sloping sand,
Whose roar is wakened into echoings sweet
: ;

PART II 9

To murmur through the heaven-breathing groves 370


And melodise with man's blest nature there.
Thevast tract of the parched and sandy waste
Now teems with countless rills and shady woods,
Corn-fields and pastures and white cottages ;

And where the startled wilderness did hear 375


A savage conqueror stained in kindred blood,
Hymning his victory, or the milder snake
Crushing the bones of some frail antelope
Within nis brazen folds— the dewy lawn,
Offering sweet incense to the sunrise, smiles 380
To see a babe before his mother's door,
Share with the green and golden basilisk
That comes to lick his feet, his morning's meal.
Those trackless deeps, where many a weary sail
Has seen, above the illimitable plain, 3S5
Morning on night and night on morning rise,
Whilst still no land to greet the wanderer spread
Its shadowy mountains on the sunbright sea,
Where the loud roarings of the tempest-waves
So long have mingled with the gusty wind 390
In melancholy loneliness, and swept
The desert of those ocean solitudes,
But vocal to the sea-bird's harrowing shriek,
The bellowing monster, and the rushing storm,
Now to the sweet and many-mingling sounds 395
Of kindliest human impulses respond
Those lonely realms bright garden-isles begem,
With lightsome clouds and shining seas between,
And fertile valleys, resonant withlfliss,
Whilst green woods overcanopy the wave, 400
Which like a toil-worn labourer leaps to shore,
To meet the kisses of the flowerets there.
Man chief perceives the change, his being notes
The gradual renovation, and defines
Each movement of its progress on his mind. 405
Man, where the gloom of the long polar night
Lowered o'er the snow-clad rocks and frozen soil,
Where scarce the hardiest herb that braves the frost
Basked in the moonlight's ineffectual glow, 409
Shrank with the plants, and darkened with the night
Nor where the tropics bound the realms of day
With a broad belt of mingling cloud and flame,
Where blue mists through the unmoving atmosphere
Scattered the seeds of pestilence, and fed
Unnatural vegetation, where the land 415
Teemed with all earthquake, tempest and disease,
Was man a nobler being slavery
;

Had crushed him to his country's blood-stained dust.


e3
: ; ;

10 THE DAEMON OF THE WORLD


Even where the milder zone afforded man
A seeming shelter, yet contagion there, 420
Blighting his being with unnumbered ills,
Spread like a quenchless fire nor truth availed
;

Till late to arrest its progress, or create


That peace which first in bloodless victory waved
Her snowy standard o'er this favoured clime: 425
There man was long the train-bearer of slaves,
The mimic of surrounding misery,
The jackal of ambition's non-rage,
The bloodhound of religion's hungry zeal.
Here now the human being stands adorning 430
This loveliest earth with taintless body and mind ;
Blest from his birth with all bland impulses,
Which gently in his noble bosom wake
All kindly passions and all pure desires.
Him, still from hope to hope the bliss pursuing, 435
Which from the exhaustless lore of human weal
Dawns on the virtuous mind, the thoughts that rise
In time-destroying infiniteness gift
With self-enshrined eternity, that mocks
The unpre vailing hoariness of age, 440
And man, once fleeting o'er the transient scene
Swift as an unremembered vision, stands
Immortal upon earth no longer now
:

He slays the beast that sports around his dwelling


And horribly devours its mangled flesh, 4 45
Or drinks its vital blood, which like a stream
Of poison thro' his fevered veins did flow
Feeding a plague that secretly consumed
His feeble frame, and kindling in his mind
Hatred, despair, and fear and vain belief, 450
The germs of misery, death, disease, and crime.
No longer now the winged habitants,
That in the woods their sweet lives sing away,
Flee from the form of man but gather round,
;

And prune their sunny feathers on the hands 455


Which children stretch in friendly sport
little
Towards these dreadless partners of their play.
All things are void of terror man has lost
:

His desolating privilege, and stands


An equal amidst equals: happiness 46°
And science dawn though late upon the earth
Peace cheers the mind, health renovates the frame
Disease and pleasure cease to mingle here,
Reason and passion cease to combat there ;

Whilst mind unfettered o'er the earth extends 46 5


Its all-subduing energies, and wields
The sceptre of a vast dominion there.
Mild is the slow necessity of death
: ! ! :

PART II 11

The tranquil spirit fails beneath its grasp,


Without a groan, almost without a fear, 470
Eesigned in peace to the necessity,
Calm as a voyager to some distant land,
And full of wonder, full of hope as he.
The deadly germs of languor and disease
Waste in the human frame, and Nature gifts 475
With choicest boons her human worshippers.
How vigorous now the athletic form of age
How clear its open and unwrinkled brow
Where neither avarice, cunning, pride, or care,
Had stamped the seal of grey deformity 4G0
On all the mingling lineaments of time.
How lovely the intrepid front of youth !

How sweet the smiles of taintless infancy.

Within the massy prison's mouldering courts,


Fearless and free the ruddy children play,
485
Weaving gay chaplets for their innocent brows
With the green ivy and the red wall-flower,
That mock the dungeon's unavailing gloom
;
The ponderous chains, and gratings of strong iron,
There rust amid the accumulated ruins
490
Now mingling slowly with their native earth
There the broad beam of day, which feebly once
Lighted the cheek of lean captivity
With a pale and sickly glare, now freely shines
On the pure smiles of infant playfulness: 495
No more the shuddering voice of hoarse despair
Peals through the echoing vaults, but soothing notes
Ot ivy-fingered winds and gladsome birds
And merriment are resonant around.
The fanes of Fear and Falsehood hear no more 500
The voice that once waked multitudes to war
Thundering thro' all their aisles but now respond
:

±0 the death dirge of the melancholy wind :

It were a sight of awfulness to see


The works of faith and slavery, so vast, 505
So sumptuous, yet withal so perishing!
Even as the corpse that rests beneath their wall.
A thousand mourners deck the pomp of death
To-day, the breathing marble glows above
To decorate its memory, and tongues 510
Are busy of its life to-morrow, worms
:

In silence and in darkness seize their prey.


These ruins soon leave not a wreck behind :
Their elements, wide-scattered o'er the globe,
To happier shapes are moulded, and become 515
Ministrant to all blissful impulses
Thus human things are perfected, and earth,
; : ; : :

12 THE DAEMON OF THE WORLD


Even as a child beneath its mother's love,
Is strengthened in all excellence, and grows
Fairer and nobler with each passing year. 520

Now Time his dusky pennons o'er the scene


Closes in steadfast darkness, and the past
Fades from our charmed sight. My task is done
Thy lore is learned. Earth s wonders are thine own.
With all the fear and all the hope they bring. 525
My spells are past the present now recurs.
:

Ah me a pathless wilderness remains


!

Yet unsubdued by man's reclaiming hand.


Yet, human Spirit, bravely hold thy course,
Let virtue teach thee firmly to pursue 530
The gradual paths of an aspiring change
For birth and life and death, and that strange state
Before the naked powers that thro' the world
Wander like winds have found a human home,
All tend to perfect happiness, and urge 535
The restless wheels of being on their way,
Whose flashing spokes, instinct with infinite life,
Bicker and burn to gain their destined goal
For birth but wakes the universal mind
Whose mighty streams might else in silence flow 540
Thro' the vast world, to individual sense
Of outward shows, whose unexperienced shape
New modes of passion to its frame may lend ;

Life is its state of action, and the store


Of all events is aggregated there 545
That variegate the eternal universe
Death is a gate of dreariness and gloom,
That leads 10 azure isles and beaming skies
And happy regions of eternal hope.
Therefore, O Spirit! fearlessly bear on: 550
Though storms may break the primrose on its stalk,
Though frosts may blight the freshness of its bloom,
Yet spring's awakening breath will woo the earth,
To feed with kindliest dews its favourite flower,
That blooms in mossy banks and darksome glens, 555
Lighting the green wood with its sunny smile.
Fear not then, Spirit, death's disrobing hand,
So welcome when the tyrant is awake,
So welcome when the bigot's hell-torch flares;
'Tis but the voyage of a darksome hour, 560
The transient gulf-dream of a startling sleep.
For what thou art shall perish utterly,
But what is thine may never cease to be
Death is no foe to virtue earth has seen
:

Love's brightest roses on the scaffold bloom, 565


Mingling with freedom's fadeless laurels there,
: ; :

PART II 13

And presaging the truth of visioned bliss.


Are there not hopes within thee, which this scene
Of linked and gradual being has confirmed?
Hopes that not vainly thou, and living fires 570
Of mind as radiant and as pure as thou,
Have shone upon the paths of men— return,
Surpassing Spirit, to that world, where thou
Art destined an eternal war to wage
With tyranny and falsehood, and uproot 575
The germs ot misery from the human heart.
Thine is the hand whose piety would soothe
The thorny pillow of unhappy crime,
Whose impotence an easy pardon gains,
Watching its wanderings as a friend's disease 580
Thine is the brow whose mildness would defy
Its fiercest rage, and brave its sternest will,
When fenced by power and master of the world.
Thou art sincere and good of resolute mind,
;

Free from heart- withering custom's cold control, 585


Of passion lofty, pure and unsubdued.
Earth's pride and meanness could not vanquish thee,
And therefore art thou worthy of the boon
Which thou hast now received virtue shall keep
:

Thy footsteps in the path that thou hast trod, 590


And many days of beaming hope shall bless
Thy spotless life of sweet and sacred love.
Go, happy one, and give that bosom joy
Whose sleepless spirit waits to catch
Light, life and rapture from thy smile. 595
The Daemon called its winged ministers.
Speechless with bliss the Spirit mounts the car,
That rolled beside the crystal battlement,
Bending her beamy eyes in thankfulness.
The burning wheels inflame 600
The steep descent of Heaven's untrodden way.
Fast and far the chariot flew
The mighty globes that rolled
Around the gate of the Eternal Fane
Lessened by slow degrees, and soon appeared 605
Such tiny twinklers as the planet orbs
That ministering on the solar power
With borrowed light pursued their narrower way.
Earth floated then below:
The chariot paused a moment 610
The Spirit then descended :

And from the earth departing


The shadows with swift wings
Speeded like thought upon the light of Heaven.
The Body and the Soul united then, 615
A gentle start convulsed Ianthe's frame:
; ;

14 THE DAEMON OF THE WORLD


Her veiny eyelids quietly unclosed
Moveless awhile the dark blue orbs remained :
She looked around in wonder and beheld
Henry, who kneeled in silence by her couch, 620
Watching her sleep with looks of speechless love,
And the bright beaming stars
That through the casement shone.

ALASTOR
OK

THE SPIRIT OF SOLITUDE


[Composed at Bishopsgate Heath, near Windsor Park, 1815 (autumn)
published, as the title-piece of a slender volume containing other
poems (see Bibliographical List, by Baldwin, Cradock and Joy,

London, 1816 (March). Reprinted the first edition being sold out
— amongst the Posthumous Poems, 1824. Sources of the text are
(1) the editio princeps, 1816 (2) Posth. Poems, 1824
; (3) Poetical ;

Works, 1839, edd. 1st and 2nd. For (2) and (3) Mrs. Shelley is
responsible.]
PKEFACE
The poementitled Alastor may intelligence similar to itself. He
be considered as allegorical of one images to himself the Being whom
of the most interesting situations he loves. Conversant with specu-
of the human mind. It represents lations of the sublimest and most
a youth of uncorrupted feelings perfect natures, the vision in which
and adventurous genius led forth he embodies his own imaginations
by an imagination inflamed and unites all of wonderful, or wise,
purified through familiarity with or beautiful, which the poet, the
all that is excellent and majestic, philosopher, or the lover could
to the contemplation of the uni- depicture. The intellectual facul-
verse. He drinks deep of the ties, the imagination, the functions
fountains of knowledge, and is of sense, have their respective
still insatiate. The magnificence requisitions on the sympathy of
and beauty of the external world corresponding powers in other
sinks profoundly into the frame human beings. The Poet is re-
of his conceptions, and affords to presented as uniting these requisi-
their modifications a variety not tions, and attaching them to a
to be exhausted. So long as it is single image. He seeks in vain
possible for his desires to point for a prototype of his conception.
towards objects thus infinite and Blasted by his disappointment, he
unmeasured, he is joyous, and descends to an untimely grave.
tranquil, and self-possessed. But The picture is not barren of
the period arrives when these instruction to actual men. The
objects cease to suffice. His mind Poet's self-centred seclusion was
is at length suddenly awakened avenged by the furies of an ir-
and thirsts for intercourse with an resistible passion pursuing him to
— ! ; ' ; 5

THE SPIRIT OF SOLITUDE 15

speedy ruin. But that Power They are morally dead. They
which strikes the luminaries of are neither friends, nor lovers,
the world with sudden darkness nor fathers, nor citizens of the
and extinction, by awakening them world, nor benefactors of their
to too exquisite a perception of its country. Among those who at-
influences, dooms to a slow and tempt to exist without human
poisonous decay those meaner sympathy, the pure and tender-
spirits that dare to abjure its hearted perish through the inten-
dominion. Their destiny is more sity and passion of their search
abject and inglorious as their after its communities, when thb
delinquency is more contempti- vacancy of their spirit suddenly
ble and pernicious. They who, makes itself felt. All else, selfish,
deluded by no generous error, blind, and torpid, are those un-
instigated by no sacred thirst of foreseeing multitudes who consti-
doubtful knowledge, duped by tute, together with their own, the
no illustrious superstition, loving lasting misery and loneliness of
nothing on this earth, and cherish- the world. Those who love not
ing no hopes beyond, yet keep their fellow-beings live unfruitful
aloof from sympathies with their lives, and prepare for their old age
kind, rejoicing neither in human a miserable grave.
joy nor mourning with human ' The good die first,
grief; these, and such as they, And those whose hearts are dry as
have their apportioned curse. summer dust,
!

They languish, because none feel Burn to the socket


with them their common nature. December 14, 1815.

Nondum amabam, et amare amabam, quaerebam quid


amarem, amans amare. Confess. St. August.

Earth, ocean, air, beloved brotherhood !

If our great Mother has imbued my soul


With aught of natural piety to feel
Your love, and recompense the boon with mine ;

If dewy morn, and odorous noon, and even, 5


With sunset and its gorgeous ministers,
And solemn midnight's tingling silentness
If autumn's hollow sighs in the sere wood,
And winter robing with pure snow and crowns
Of starry ice the grey grass and bare boughs 10
If spring's voluptuous pantings when she Dreathes
Her first sweet Kisses, have been dear to me ;

If no bright bird, insect, or gentle beast


I consciously have injured, but still loved
And cherished these my kindred then forgive
; 1

This boast, beloved brethren, and withdraw


No portion of your wonted favour now
Mother of this unfathomable world !

Favour my solemn song, for I have loved


Thee ever, and thee only I have watched
; 20
— :

16 ALASTOR; OR
Thy shadow, and the darkness of thy steps,
And my heart ever gazes on the depth
Of thy deep mysteries. I have made my bed
In charnels and on coffins, where black death
Keeps record of the trophies won from thee, 25
Hoping to still these obstinate questionings
Of thee and thine, by forcing some lone ghost
Thy messenger, to render up the tale
Of what we are. In lone and silent hours,
When night makes a weird sound of its own stillness,
Like an inspired and desperate alchymist 31
Staking his very life on some dark hope,
Have I mixed awful talk and asking looks
With my most innocent love, until strange tears
Uniting with those breathless kisses, made 35
Such magic as compels the charmed night
To render up thy charge : and, though ne'er yet
. . .

Thou hast unveiled thy inmost sanctuary,


Enough from incommunicable dream,
And twilight phantasms, and deep noon-day thought, 40
Has shone within me, that serenely now
And moveless, as a long-forgotten lyre
Suspended in the solitary dome
Of some mysterious and deserted fane,
I wait thy breath, Great Parent, that my strain 45
May modulate with murmurs of the air,
And motions of the forests and the sea,
And voice of living beings, and woven hymns
Of night and day, and the deep heart of man.
There was a Poet whose untimely tomb 50
No human hands with pious reverence reared,
But the charmed eddies of autumnal winds
Built o'er his mouldering bones a pyramid
Of mouldering leaves in the waste wilderness :—
A —
lovely youth, no mourning maiden decked 55
With weeping flowers, or votive cypress wreath,
The lone couch of his everlasting sleep :

Gentle, and brave, and generous,— no lorn bard


Breathed o'er his dark fate one melodious sigh
He lived, he died, he sung, in solitude. 60
Strangers have wept to hear his passionate notes,
And virgins, as unknown he passed, have pined
And wasted for fond love of his wild eyes.
The fire of those soft orbs has ceased to burn,
And Silence, too enamoured of that voice, 65

By solemn vision, and bright silver dream,


His infancy was nurtured. Every sight
And sound from the vast earth and ambient air,
THE SPIRIT OF SOLITUDE 17

Sent to his heart its choicest impulses. 70


The fountains of divine philosophy-
Fled not his thirsting lips, and all of great,
Or good, or lovely, which the sacred past
In truth or fable consecrates, he felt
And knew. When early youth had passed, he left 75
His cold fireside and alienated home
To seek strange truths in undiscovered lands.
Many a wide waste and tangled wilderness
Has lured his fearless steps and he has bought
;

With his sweet voice and eyes, from savage men, 80


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 85
On black bare pointed islets ever beat
With sluggish surge, or where the secret caves
Rugged and dark, winding among the springs
Of fire and poison, inaccessible
To avarice or pride, their starry domes 90
Of diamond and of gold expand above
Numberless and immeasurable halls,
Frequent with crystal column, and clear shrines
Of pearl, and thrones radiant with chrysolite.
Nor had that scene of ampler majesty 95
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 100
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 105
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 no
Of Babylon, the eternal pyramids,
Memphis and Thebes, and whatsoe'er of strange
Sculptured on alabaster obelisk,
Or jasper tomb, or mutilated sphynx,
Dark ^Ethiopia in her desert hills 115
Conceals. Among the ruined temples there,
Stupendous columns, and wild images
Of more than man, where marble daemons watch
The Zodiac's brazen mystery, and dead men

18 ALASTOR; OR
Hang their mute thoughts on the mute walls around, 120
He on memorials
lingered, poring
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 '
125
Ana gazed, till meaning on his vacant mind
Flashed like strong inspiration, and he saw
The thrilling secrets of the birth of time.

Meanwhile an Arab maiden brought his food,


Her daily portion, from her father's tent, 130
And spread her matting for his couch, and stole
From duties and repose to tend his steps :

Enamoured, yet not daring for deep awe


To speak her love :— and watched his nightly sleep,
Sleepless herself, to gaze upon his lips 135
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.

The Poet wandering on, through Arabie 140


And and the wild Carmanian waste,
Persia,
And o'er the aerial mountains which pour down
Indus and Oxus from then- icy caves,
In joy and exultation held his way ;

Till in the vale of Cashmire, far within 145


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 yet 150
Had flushed his cheek. He dreamed a veiled maid
Sate near him, talking in low solemn tones.
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 155


His inmost sense suspended in its web
Of many-coloured 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, 160
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 tremulous sobs


Subdued by its own pathos her fair hands
: 165
Were bare alone, sweeping from some strange harp
Strange symphony, and in their branching veins
The eloquent blood told an ineffable tale.
;

THE SPIRIT OF SOLITUDE 19

The beating of her heart was heard to fill


The pauses of her music, and her breath 170
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 175


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. 180
His strong heart sunk and sickened with excess
Of love. He reared his shuddering limbs and quelled
His gasping breath, and spread Ins arms to meet
Her panting bosom : she drew back a while,
. . .

Then, yielding to the irresistible joy, 185


With frantic gesture and short breathless cry
Folded his frame in her dissolving arms.
Now blackness veiled his dizzy eyes, and night
Involved and swallowed up the vision sleep, ;

Like a dark flood suspended in its course, 190


Boiled back its impulse on his vacant brain.

Roused by the shock he started from his trance—


The cold white light of morning, the blue moon
Low in the west, the clear and garish hills,
The distinct valley and the vacant woods, 195
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 majesty of Earth,
The joy, the exultation? His wan eyes 200
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 205
Beyond the realms of dream that fleeting shade
He overleaps the bounds. Alas ! Alas !

Were limbs, and breath, and being intertwined


Thus treacherously? Lost, lost, for ever lost,
In the wide pathless desert of dim sleep, 210
That beautiful shape ! Does the dark gate of death
Conduct to thy mysterious paradise,
O Sleep ? Does the bright arch of rainbow clouds,
And pendent mountains seen in the calm lake,
Lead only to a black and watery depth, 215
While death's blue vault, with loathliest vapours hung,
Where every shade which the foul grave exhales
Hides its dead eye from the detested day,
;

20 ALASTOR; OR
Conducts, Sleep, to thy delightful realms?
This doubt with sudden tide flowed on his heart, 220
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 passion came,
Like the fierce fiend of a distempered dream, 225
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 flight 231
O'er the wide aery wilderness thus driven
:

By the bright shadow of that lovely dream,


Beneath the cold glare of the desolate night,
Through tangled swamps and deep precipitous dells, 235
Startling with careless step the moonlight snake,
He fled. Red morning dawned upon his flight,
Shedding the mockery of its vital hues
Upon his cheek of death. He wandered on
Till vast Aornos seen from Petra's steep 240
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, 245
Bearing within his life the brooding care
That ever fed on its decaying flame.
And now his limbs were lean his scattered hair
;

Sered by the autumn of strange suffering


Sung dirges in the wind his listless hand
; 250
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 cottagers,
Who ministered with human charity 255
His human wants, beheld with wondering awe
Their fleeting visitant. The mountaineer,
Encountering on some dizzy precipice
That spectral form, deemed that the Spirit of wind
With lightning eyes, and eager breath, and feet 260
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 265
Of after-times but youthful maidens, taught
;

By nature, would interpret half the woe


219 Conduct ed. 1816. See notes at end.
1

THE SPIRIT OF SOLITUDE 21

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 270
Of his departure from their father's door.
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, 275
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 flight.— Thou hast a home,
' 280
Beautiful bird thou voyagest to thine home,
;

Where thy sweet mate will twine her downy neck


With thine, and welcome thy return with eyes
Bright in the lustre of then- own fond joy.
And what am I that I should linger here, 285
With voice far sweeter than thy dying notes,
Spiritmore 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 290
Of desperate hope wrinkled his quivering lips.
For sleep, he knew, kept most relentlessly
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. 296


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. 3 00
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 impulse urged him to embark
restless
And meet lone Death on the drear ocean's waste ; 3°5
For well he knew that mighty Shadow loves
The slimy caverns of the populous deep.
The day was fair and sunny, sea and sky
Drank its inspiring radiance, and the wind
Swept strongly from the shore, blackening the waves.
Following his eager soul, the wanderer 3 1

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 tranquil sea
Like a torn cloud before the hurricane. 3 :
5

: ;; ; ——
;

22 ALASTOR; OR
As one that in a silver vision floats
Obedient to the sweep of odorous winds
Upon resplendent clouds, so rapidly
Along the dark and ruffled waters fled
The straining boat. — A whirlwind swept it on, 320
With and precipitating force,
fierce gusts
Through the white ridges of the chafed sea.
The waves arose. Higher and higher still
Their fierce necks writhed beneath the tempest's scourge
Like serpents struggling in a vulture's grasp. 325
Calm and rejoicing in the fearful war
Of wave ruining on wave, and blast on blast
Descending, and black flood on whirlpool driven
With dark obliterating course, he sate
As if their genu were the ministers 330
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 rainbow hues
High 'mid the shifting domes of sheeted spray 335
That canopied his path the waste deep
o'er
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 340
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 345
Down the steep cataract of a wintry river
Now pausing on the edge of the riven wave
Now leaving far behind the bursting mass
That fell, convulsing ocean : safely fled
As if that frail and wasted human form, 35°
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 355
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 Hack and jagged arms,
The shattered mountain overhung the sea, 360
And faster still, beyond all human speed,
Suspended on the sweep of the smooth wave,
The little boat was driven. cavern thereA
Yawned, and amid its slant and winding depths
Ingulfed the rushing sea. The boat fled on 365
' ! :

THE SPIRIT OF SOLITUDE 23

With unrelaxing speed.


— 'Vision
and Love!'
The Poet cried aloud, I have beheld
'

The path of thy departure. Sleep and death


!
Shall not divide us long

The boat pursued


The windings of the cavern. Daylight shone 370
At length upon that gloomy river's flow ;

Now, where the fiercest war among the waves


Is calm, on the unfathomable stream
The boat moved slowly. Where the mountain, riven,
Exposed those black depths to the azure sky, 375
Ere yet the flood's enormous volume fell
Even to the base of Caucasus, with sound
That shook the everlasting rocks, the mass
Filled with one whirlpool all that ample chasm
Stair above stair the eddying waters rose, 380
Circling immeasurably fast, and laved
With alternating dash the gnarled roots
Of mighty trees, that stretched their giant arms
In darkness over it. I' the midst was left,
Reflecting, yet distorting every cloud, 385
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, 390
Where, through an opening of the rocky bank,
The waters overflow, and a smooth spot
Of glassy quiet mid those battling tides
Is the boat paused shuddering.— Shall it sink
left,
Down the abyss? Shall the re verting stress 395
Of that resistless gulf embosom it?
A
Now shall it fall?— 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, 400


Beneath a woven grove it sails, and, hark
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 405
Is closed by meeting banks, whose yellow flowers
For ever gaze on their own drooping eyes,
Reflected in the crystal calm. The wave
Of the boat's motion marred their pensive task.
Which nought but vagrant bird, or wanton wind, 410
Or falling spear-grass, or their own decay
Had e'er disturbed before. The Poet longed
To deck with their bright hues his withered hair,
But on his heart its solitude returned,
;

24 ALASTOR; OR
And he forbore. Not the strong impulse hid 415
In those flushed cheeks, bent eyes, and shadowy frame
Had yet performed its ministry it hung
:

Upon his as lightning in a cloud


life,
Gleams, hovering ere it vanish, ere the floods
Of night close over it.
The noonday sun 420
Now shone upon the forest, one vast mass
Of mingling shade, whose brown magnificence
A narrow vale embosoms. There, huge caves,
Scooped in the dark base of their aery rocks
Mocking its moans, respond and roar for ever. 425
The meeting boughs and implicated leaves
Wove twilight o'er the Poet s patb, as led
By love, or dream, or god, or mightier Death,
He sought in Nature's dearest haunt, some bank,
Her cradle, and his sepulchre. More dark 430
And dark the shades accumulate. The oak,
Expanding its immense and knotty arms,
Embraces the light beech. The pyramids
Of the tall cedar overarching, frame
Most solemn domes within, and far below, 435
Like clouds suspended in an emerald sky,
The ash and the acacia floating hang
Tremulous and pale. Like restless serpents, clothed
In rainbow and in fire, the parasites,
Starred with ten thousand blossoms, flow around 440
The grey trunks, and, as gamesome infants' eyes,
With gentle meanings, and most innocent wiles,
Fold their beams round the hearts of those that love,
These twine their tendrils with the wedded boughs
Uniting their close union; the woven leaves 445
Make net-work of the dark blue light of day,
And the night's noontide clearness, mutable
As shapes in the weird clouds. Soft mossy lawns
Beneatn these canopies extend their swells,
Fragrant with perfumed herbs, and eyed with blooms 45°
Minute yet beautiful. One darkest glen
Sends from its woods of musk-rose, twined with jasmine,
A soul-dissolving odour, to invite
To some more lovely mystery. Through the dell,
Silence and Twilight here, twin-sisters, keep 455
Their noonday watch, and sail among the shades,
Like vaporous shapes half seen beyond, a well,
;

Dark, gleaming, and of most translucent wave,


Images all the woven boughs above,
And each depending leaf, and every speck 460
Of azure sky, darting between their chasms
Nor aught else in the liquid mirror laves
Its portraiture, but some inconstant star
Between one foliaged lattice twinkling fair,
THE SPIRIT OF SOLITUDE 25

Or, painted bird, sleeping beneath the moon,


465
Or gorgeous insect floating motionless.
Unconscious of the day, ere yet his win^s
Have spread their glories to the gaze of &noon.
Hither the Poet came. His eyes beheld
Their own wan light through the reflected lines
470
Ot his thin hair, distinct in the dark depth
Of that still fountain ; as the human heart,
Gazing in dreams over the gloomy grave,
Sees its own
treacherous likeness there. He heard
The motion of the leaves, the grass that sprung
475
Startled and glanced and trembled even to feel
An unaccustomed presence, and the sound
Of the sweet brook that from the secret springs
Of that dark fountain rose. Spirit seemed A
To stand beside him— clothed in no bright robes 480
Of shadowy silver or enshrining light.
Borrowed from aught the visible world affords
Of grace, or majesty, or mystery;—
But, undulating woods, and silent well,
And leaping rivulet, and evening gloom
£ow deepening the dark shades, for speech assuming485
Held commune with him, as if he and it
Were all that was,— only when his regard
. . .

Was raised by intense pensiveness, two eyes . . .

Iwo starry eyes hung m


the gloom of thought,
And seemed with their serene and azure smiles
490 '

±0 beckon him.

wlhat Obedient to the light


shone within his soul, he went, pursuing
The windings of the dell. -The rivulet
Wanton and wild, through many a green ravine 495
Beneath the forest flowed. Sometimes it fell
Among the moss with hollow harmony
Dark and profound. Now on the polished stones
i* danced; like childhood laughing as it went •

1 hen, through the plain in tranquil wanderings crept, 500


Keflecting every herb and drooping bud
lhat overhung its quietness.— <0 stream!
.JVhose source is inaccessibly profound,
Whither do thy mysterious waters tend ?
Ihou imagest my life. Thy darksome stillness,
505
Ihy dazzling waves, thy loud and hollow gulfs,
lhy searchless fountain, and invisible course
Wave each their type in me and the wide sky, :
And measureless ocean may declare as soon
What oozy cavern or what wandering cloud 510
rr°Ti u
S y waters as the universe
>
I ell where these living thoughts reside, when stretched
' 5

26 ALASTOR; OR
Upon thy flowers my bloodless limbs shall waste
I' the passing wind !

Beside the grassy shore


Of the small stream he went he did impress ; 5 1
On the green moss his tremulous step, that caught
Strong shuddering from his burning limbs. As one
Roused by some joyous madness from the couch
Of fever, he did move yet, not like him.
;

Forgetful of the grave, where, when the flame 520


Of his frail exultation shall be spent,
He must descend. With rapid steps he went
Beneath the shade of trees, oeside the flow
Of the wild babbling rivulet and now ;

The forest's solemn canopies were changed 525


For the uniform and lightsome evening sky.
Grey rocks did peep from the spare moss, and stemmed
The struggling brook tall spires of windlestrae
:

Threw their thin shadows down the rugged slope,


And nought but gnarled roots of ancient pines 530
Branchless and blasted, clenched with grasping roots
The unwilling soil. A gradual change was here,
Yet ghastly. For, as fast years flow away,
The smooth brow gathers, and the hair grows thin
And white, and where irradiate dewy eyes 535
Had shone, gleam stony orbs :— so from his steps
Bright flowers departed, and the beautiful shade
Of the green groves, with all their odorous winds
And musical motions. Calm, he still pursued
The stream, that with a larger volume now 540
Rolled through the labyrinthine dell and there ;

Fretted a path through its descending curves


With its wintry speed. On every side now rose
Rocks, which, in unimaginable forms,
Lifted their black and barren pinnacles 545
In the light of evening, and, its precipice
Obscuring the ravine, disclosed above,
Mid toppling stones, black gulfs and yawning caves,
Whose windings gave ten thousand various tongues
To the loud stream. Lo where the pass expands
! 550
Its stony jaws, the abrupt mountain breaks,
And seems, with its accumulated crags,
To overhang the world for wide expand :

Beneath the wan stars and descending moon


Islanded seas, blue mountains, mighty streams, 555
Dim tracts and vast, robed in the lustrous gloom
Of leaden-coloured even, and fiery hills
Mingling their flames with twilight, on the verge
Of the remote horizon. The near scene,
In naked and severe simplicity, 560
530 roots ed. 1816
: query stumps or trunks. See note at end.
!

THE SPIRIT OF SOLITUDE 27

Made contrast with the universe. A


pine,
Eock-rooted, stretched athwart the vacancy
Its swinging boughs, to each inconstant blast
Yielding one only response, at each pause
In most familiar cadence, with the howl 565
The thunder and the hiss of homeless streams
Mingling its solemn song, whilst the broad river,
Foaming and hurrying o er its rugged path,
Fell into that immeasurable void
Scattering its waters to the passing winds. 570

Yet the grey precipice and solemn pine


And torrent, were not all ;— one silent nook
Was there. Even on the edge of that vast mountain,
Upheld by knotty roots and fallen rocks,
It overlooked in its serenity 575
The dark earth, and the bending vault of stars.
It was a tranquil spot, that seemed to smile
Even in the lap of horror. Ivy clasped
The fissured stones with its entwining arms,
And did embower with leaves for ever green, 580
And berries dark, the smooth and even space
Of its inviolated floor, and here
The children of the autumnal whirlwind bore,
In wanton sport, those bright leaves, whose decay,
Red, yellow, or ethereally pale, 585
Eivals the pride of summer. 'Tis the haunt
Of every gentle wind, whose breath can teach
The wilds to love tranquillity. One step,
One human step alone, has ever broken
The stillness of its solitude: — one voice 590
Alone inspired its echoes; —
even that voice
Which hither came, floating among the winds,
And led the loveliest among human forms
To make their wild haunts the depository
Of all the grace and beauty that endued 595
Its motions, render up its majesty,
Scatter its music on the unfeeling storm,
And to the damp leaves and blue cavern mould,
Nurses of rainbow flowers and branching moss,
Commit the colours of that varying cheek, 600
That snowy breast, those dark and drooping eyes.

The dim and horned moon hung low, and poured


A sea of lustre on the horizon's verge
That overflowed its mountains. Yellow mist
Filled the unbounded atmosphere, and drank 605
Wan moonlight even to fulness not a star
:

Shone, not a sound was heard the very winds,


;

Danger's grim playmates, on that precipice


Slept, clasped in his embrace.— O, storm of death
:

28 ALASTOR; OR
Whose sightless speed divides this sullen night : 610
And thou, colossal Skeleton, that, still
Guiding its irresistible career
In thy devastating omnipotence,
Art king of this frail world, from the red field
Of slaughter, from the reeking hospital, 615
The patriot's sacred couch, the snowy bed
Of innocence, the scaffold and the throne,
A mighty voice invokes thee. Kuin calls
His brother Death. A
rare and regal prey
He hath prepared, prowling around the world ;
620
Glutted with which thou mayst repose, and men
Go to their graves like flowers or creeping worms,
Nor ever more offer at thy dark shrine
The unheeded tribute of a broken heart.
When on the threshold of the green recess 625
The wanderer's footsteps fell, he knew that death
Was on him. Yet a little, ere it fled,
Did he resign his high and holy soul
To images of the majestic past,
That paused within his passive being now, 630
Like winds that bear sweet music, when they breathe
Through some dim latticed chamber. He did place
His pale lean hand upon the rugged trunk
Of the old pine. Upon an ivied stone
Reclined his languid head, his limbs did rest, 635
Diffused and motionless, on the smooth brink
Of that obscurest chasm ;— and thus he lay,
Surrendei'ing to their final impulses
The hovering powers of life. Hope and despair,
The torturers, slept no mortal pain or fear
; 640
Marred his repose, the influxes of sense,
And his own being unalloyed by pain,
Yet feebler and more feeble, calmly fed
The stream of thought, till he lay breathing there
At peace, and faintly smiling:— his last sight 645
Was the great moon, which o'er the western line
Of the wide world her mighty horn suspended,
With whose dun beams inwoven darkness seemed
To mingle. Now upon the jagged hills
It rests, and still as the divided frame 650
Of the vast meteor sunk, the Poet's blood,
That ever beat in mystic sympathy
With nature's ebb and flow, grew feebler still
And when two lessening points of light alone
Gleamed through the darkness, the alternate gasp 655
Of his faint respiration scarce did stir
The stagnate night —
till the minutest ray
:

Was quenched, the pulse yet lingered in his heart.


It paused — it fluttered. But when heaven remained
!

THE SPIRIT OF SOLITUDE 29

Utterly black, the murky shades involved 660


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— 665
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-voiced waves — a dream
Of youth, which night and time have quenched for ever,
Still, dark, and dry, and unremembered now. 671
O, 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 0. that God,
! 675
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, 680
Lone as incarnate death O, that the dream
!

Of dark magician in his visioned cave,


Baking the cinders of a crucible
For life and power, even when his feeble hand
Shakes in its last decay, were the true law 685
Of tins 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 690
Are done and said i' the world, and many wouns
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— 695
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 7C°
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 705
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: poweis. Art and eloquence, 71°
: ;

30 ALASTOR
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 7i5
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. 720

NOTE ON ALASTOK, BY MKS. SHELLEY


Alastor is written in a very that he was dying rapidly of
different tone from Queen Mai). a consumption ;abscesses were
In the latter, Shelley poured out formed on his lungs, and he
all the cherished speculations of suffered acute spasms. Suddenly
his —
youth all the irrepressible a complete change took place
emotions of sympathy, censure, and, though through life he was
and hope, to which the present a martyr to pain and debility,
suffering, and what he considers every symptom pulmonary
of
the proper destiny, of his fellow- disease vanished. His nerves,
creatures, gave birth. Alastor, which nature had formed sensitive
on the contrary, contains an indi- to an unexampled degree, Avere
vidual interest only. very few A rendered still more susceptible by
years, with their attendant events, the state of his health.
hadchecked the ardour of Shelley's As soon as the peace of 1814
hopes, though he still thought had opened the Continent, he
them well grounded, and that to went abroad. He visited some
advance their fulfilment was the of the more magnificent scenes
noblest task man could achieve. of Switzerland, and returned to
This is neither the time nor England from Lucerne, by the
place to speak of the misfortunes Reuss and the Rhine. The river-
that chequered his life. It will navigation enchanted him. In
be sufficient to say that, in all he his favourite poem of Thalaba, his
did, he at the time of doing it imagination had been excited by
believed himself justified to his a description of such a voyage.
own conscience while the various
; In the summer of 1815, after a
ills of poverty and loss of friends tour along the southern coast of
brought home to him the sad Devonshire and a visit to Clifton,
realities of life. Physical suffering he rented a house on Bishopgate
had also considerable influence in Heath, on the borders of Windsor
causing him to turn his eyes Forest, where he enjoyed several
inward inclining him rather to
; months of comparative health and
brood over the thoughts and emo- tranquilhappiness. The later
tions of his own soul than to summer months were warm and
glance abroad, and to make, as in dry. Accompanied by a few
Queen Mab, the whole universe friends, he visited the source of
the object and subject of his the Thames, making a voyage
song. In the Spring of 1815 in a wherry from Windsor to
an eminent physician pronounced Cricklade. His beautiful stanzas
;

NOTE BY MRS. SHELLEY 31

in the churchyard of Lechlade parts —


give a touching interest to
were written on that occasion. the whole. The death which he
Alastor was composed on his had often contemplated during
return. He spent his days under the last months as certain and
the oak-shades of Windsor Great near he here represented in such
Park and the magnificent wood-
; colours as had, in his lonely
land was a fitting study to inspire musings, soothed his soul to
the various descriptions of forest- peace. The versification sustains
scenery we find in the poem. the solemn spirit which breathes
None of Shelley's poems is throughout it is peculiarly melo-
:

more characteristic than this. The dious. The poem ought rather
solemn through-
spirit that reigns to be considered didactic than
out, the worship of the majesty of narrative it was the outpouring
:

nature, the broodings of a poet's of his own emotions, embodied



heart in solitude the mingling of in the purest form he could con-
the exulting joy which the various ceive, painted in the ideal hues
aspects of the visible universe in- which his brilliant imagination
spires with the sad and struggling inspired, and softened by the
pangs which human passion im- recent anticipation of death.

THE REVOLT OF ISLAM


A POEM IN TWELVE CANTOS
"Oaais Se Bporov ZBvos ayXaiais cnrropfada
irepaivei irpos ftr^aroi'
n\6ov' vavai 8 ovre Trevor lav av evpois
ts YTrepfiopetov dywva davparav 6Sof.
nivd. n v 0. X.

[Composed in the neighbourhood of Bisham Wood, near Great


Maiiow, Bucks, 1817 (April— Sept. 23) printed, with title (dated 1818),
;

Laon and Cythna ; or, The Revolution of the Golden City : A Vision of
the Nineteenth Century, Oct., Nov., 1817, but suppressed, pending
revision, by the publishers, C. J. Oilier. & (A few copies had got out,
but these were recalled, and some recovered.) Published, with a fresh
title-page and twenty-seven cancel-leaves, as The Revolt of Islam,
Jan. 10, 1818. Sources of the text are (1) Laon and Cythna, 1818
(2) The Revolt of Islam, 1818 (3) Poetical Works, 1839, edd. 1st and

;

2nd both edited by Mrs. Shelley. A copy, with several pages


missing, of the Preface, the Dedication, and Canto I of Laon and
Cythna is amongst the Shelley MSS. at the Bodleian. For a full
collation of this MS. see Mr. C. D. Locock's Examination of the Shelley
MSS. at the Bodleian Library. Oxford Clarendon Press, 1903. Two
:

MS. fragments from the Hunt papers are also extant one (twenty- :

four lines) in the possession of Mr. W. M. Rossetti, another (IX.


xxiii. 9 —
xxix. 6) in that of Mr. H. Buxton Forman, C.B. See The
Shelley Library, pp. 83-86, for an account of the copy of Laon upon
which Shelley worked in revising for publication.]
;

32 THE REVOLT OF ISLAM

PEEFACE
The Poem which I now present intellects in the world. The Poem
to the world is an attempt from therefore (with the exception of
which I scarcely dare to expect the first canto, which is purely
success, and in which a writer of introductory) is narrative, not
established fame might fail with- didactic. It is a succession of
out disgrace. It is an experiment pictures illustrating the growth
on the temper of the public mind, and progress of individual mind
as to how far a thirst for a happier aspiring after excellence, and de-
condition of moral and political voted to the love of mankind its ;

society survives, among the en- influence in refining and making


lightened and refined, the tempests pure the most daring and uncom-
which have shaken the age in mon impulses of the imagination,
which we live. I have sought to the understanding, and the senses
enlist the harmony of metrical its impatience at all the oppres-
'

language, the ethereal combina- sions which are done under the
tions of the fancy, the rapid and sun '
its tendency to awaken
;

subtle transitions of human pas- public hope, and to enlighten and


sion, all those elements which improve mankind the rapid effects
;

essentially compose a Poem, in of the application of that tendency


the cause of a liberal and compre- the awakening of an immense
hensive morality and in the view
; nation from their slavery and
of kindling within the bosoms of degradation to a true sense of
my readers a virtuous enthusiasm moral dignity and freedom the ;

for those doctrines of liberty and bloodless dethronement of their


justice, that faith and hope in oppressors, and the unveiling of
something good, which neither the religious frauds by which they
violence nor misrepresentation nor had been deluded into submis-
prejudice can ever totally extin- sion; the tranquillity of success-
guish among mankind. ful patriotism, and the universal
For this purpose I have chosen toleration and benevolence of true
a story of human passion in its philanthropy the treachery and
;

most universal character, diversi- barbarity of hired soldiers ;vice


fied with moving and romantic not the object of punishment and
adventures, and appealing, in con- hatred, but kindness and pity ;

tempt of all artificial opinions or the faithlessness of tyrants the ;

institutions, to the common sym- confederacy of the Rulers of the


pathies of every human breast. World, and the restoration of the
I have made no attempt to recom- expelled Dynasty by foreign arms
mend the motives which I would the massacre and extermination
substitute for those at present of the Patriots, and the victory
governing mankind, by methodical of established power ;the conse-
and systematic argument. I would quences of legitimate despotism,
only awaken the feelings, so that — civil war, famine, plague, super-
the reader should see the beauty stition, and an utter extinction
of true virtue, and be incited to of the domestic affections ; the
those inquiries which have led judicial murder of the advocates
to my moral and political creed, of Liberty the temporary triumph
;

and that of some of the sublimest of oppression, that secure earnest


PREFACE 33

of its final and inevitable fall; the who now live have survived an
transient nature of ignorance and age of despair.
error, and the eternity of genius The French Revolution may be
and virtue. Such is the series of considered as one of those mani-
delineations of which the Poem festations of a general state of
consists. And, if the lofty passions feeling among civilised mankind
with which it has been my scope produced by a defect of corre-
to distinguish this story shall not spondence between the knowledge
excite in the reader a generous existing in society and the im-
impulse, an ardent thirst for ex- provement or gradual abolition of
cellence, an interest profound and political institutions. The year
strong such as belongs to uu 17SS may be assumed as the epoch
meaner desires, let not the failure of one of the most important crises
be imputed to a natural unfitness produced by this feeling. The
for human sympathy in these sympathies connected with that
sublime and animating themes. event extended to every bosom.
It is the business of the Poet to The most generous and amiable
communicate to others the pleasure natures were those which parti-
and the enthusiasm arising out cipated the most extensively in
of those images and feelings in these sympathies. But such a
the vivid presence of which within degree of unmingled good was
his own mind consists at once expected as it was impossible to
his inspiration and
his reward. realise. If the Revolution had
The panic which, like an epi- been in every respect prosperous,
demic transport, seized upon all then misrule and superstition
men during the excesses
classes of would lose half their claims to
consequent upon the French Revo- our abhorrence, as fetters which
lution, is gradually giving place the captive can unlock with the
to sanity. It has ceased to be slightest motion of his fingers, and
believed that whole generations of which do not eat with poisonous
mankind ought to consign them- rust into the soul. The revulsion
selves to a hopeless inheritance occasioned by the atrocities of the
of ignorance and misery, because demagogues, and the re-establish-
a nation of men who had been ment of successive tyrannies in
dupes and slaves for centuries France, was terrible, and felt
were incapable of conducting in the remotest corner of the
themselves with the wisdom and civilised world. Could they listen
trauquillity of freemen so soon as to the plea of reason who had
some of their fetters were partially groaned under the calamities of
loosened. That their conduct a social state according to the
could not have been marked by provisions of which one man riots
any other characters than ferocity in luxury whilst another famishes
and thoughtlessness is the his- forwant of bread ? Can he who
torical fact from which liberty the day before was a trampled
derives all its recommendations, slave suddenly become liberal-
and falsehood the worst features minded, forbearing, and indepen-
of its deformity. There is a reflux dent ? This is the consequence
in the tide of human things which of the habits of a state of society
bears the shipwrecked hopes of to be produced by resolute perse-
men into a secure haven after the verance and indefatigable hope,
storms are past. Methinks, those and long-suffering and long-be-
34 THE REVOLT OF ISLAM
lieving courage, and the systematic security of everlasting triumph.
efforts of generations of men of Our works of fiction and poetry
intellect and virtue. Such is the have been overshadowed by the
lesson which experience teaches same infectious gloom. But man-
now. But, on the first reverses kind appear to me to be emerging
of hope in the progress of French from their trance. I am aware,
liberty, the sanguine eagerness methinks, of a slow, gradual, silent
for good overleaped the solution change. In that belief I have
of these questions, and for a time composed the following Poem.
extinguished itself in the unex- I do not presume to enter into
pectedness of their result. Thus, competition with our greatest
many of the most ardent and contemporary Poets. Yet I am
tender-hearted of the worshippers unwilling to tread in the footsteps
of public good have been morally of any who have preceded me.
ruined by what a partial glimpse I have sought to avoid the imita-
of the events they deplored ap- tion of any style of language or
peared to show as the melancholy versification peculiar to the ori-
desolation of all their cherished ginal minds of which it is the
hopes. Hence gloom and misan- character ; designing that, even
thropy have become the character- if what I have produced be worth-

istics of the age in which we Uve, less, it should still be properly


the solace of a disappointment my own. Nor have I permitted
that unconsciously finds relief only any system relating to mere words
in the wilful exaggeration of its to divert the attention of the
own despair. This influence has reader, from whatever interest I
tainted the literature of the age may have succeeded in creating,
with the hopelessness of the minds to my own ingenuity in contriving
from which it flows. Metaphysics to disgust them according to the
1

and inquiries into moral and poli- rules of criticism. I have simply
tical science, have become little clothed my thoughts in what ap-
else than vain attempts to re- peared to me the most obvious and
vive exploded superstitions, or appropriate language. A person
sophisms Like those 2 of Mr. familiar with nature, and with
Malthus, calculated to lull the the most celebrated productions
oppressors of mankind into a of the human mind, can scarcely
err in following the instinct, with
1
I ought to except Sir W. Drum- respect to selection of language,
mond's Academical Questions a vol-
;
produced by that familiarity.
ume of very acute and powerful There is an education peculiarly
metaphysical criticism. fitted for a Poet, without which
- It is remarkable, as a symptom
genius and sensibility can hardly
of the revival of public hope, that fill the circle of their capacities.
Mr. Malthus has assigned, in the No education, indeed, can entitle
later editions of his work, an in-
to this appellation a dull and
definite dominion to moral restraint
unobservant mind, or one, though
over the principle of population.
neither dull nor unobservant, in
This concession answers all the
inferences from his doctrine un-
which the channels of communi-
favourable to human improvement, cation between thought and ex-
and reduces the Essaxj on Population pression have been obstructed or
to a commentary illustrative of the closed. How far it is my fortune
unansweiableness of PoliticalJustice. to belong to either of the latter
PREFACE 85

classes I cannot know. I aspire been accessible to me, and have


to be something better. The looked upon the beautiful and
circumstances of my
accidental majestic scenery of the earth, as
education have been favourable common sources of those elements
to this ambition. I have been which it is the province of the
familiar from boyhood with moun- Poet to embody and combine.
tains and lakes and the sea, and Yet the experience and the feel-
the solitude of forests Danger,
: ings to which I refer do not in
which sports upon the brink of themselves constitute men Poets,
precipices, has been my playmate. but only prepares them to be the
I have trodden the glaciers of auditors of those who are. How
the Alps, and lived under the far I shall be found to possess
eye of Mont Blanc. I have been that more essential attribute of
a Avanderer among distant fields. Poetry, the power of awakening
I have sailed down mighty rivers, in others sensations like those
and seen the sun rise and set, which animate my own bosom, is
and the stars come forth, whilst that which, to speak sincerely,
I have sailed night and day down I know not and which, with an
;

a rapid stream among mountains. acquiescent and contented spirit,


I have seen populous cities, and I expect to be taught by the
have watched the passions which effect which I shall produce upon
rise and spread, and sink and those whom
I now address.
change, amongst assembled multi- I have avoided, as I have said
tudes of men. I have seen the before, the imitation of any con-
theatre of the more visible ravages temporary style. But there must
of tyranny and war cities and
; be a resemblance, which does
villages reduced to scattered groups not depend upon their own will,
of black and roofless houses, and between all the writers of any
the naked inhabitants sitting fam- particular age. They cannot es-
ished upon their desolated thresh- cape from subjection to a common
olds. I have conversed with living influence which arises out of an
men of genius. The poetry of, infinite combination of circum-
ancient Greece and Rome, and stances belonging to the times in
modern Italy, and our own which they live ; though each is
country, has been to me, like in a degree the author of the very
external nature, a passion and influence by which his being is
an enjoyment. Such are the thus pervaded. Thus, the tragic
sources from which the materials poets of the age of Pericles ; the
for the imagery of my Poem have Italian revivers of ancient learn-
been drawn. I have considered ing ; those mighty intellects of
Poetry in its most comprehensive our own country that succeeded
sense ;and have read the Poets the Reformation, the translators of
and the Historians and the Meta- the Bible, Shakespeare, Spenser,
physicians 1 whose writings have the dramatists of the reign of
Elizabeth, and Lord Bacon 2 the ;
1
In this sense there may be colder spirits of the interval that
such a thing as perfectibility in
works of fiction, notwithstanding
succeeded ; —
all resemble each
other, and differ from every other
the concession often made by the
advocates of human improvement, in their several classes. In this
that perfectibility is a term applic- 2
Milton stands alone in the age
able only to science. which he illumined.
36 THE REVOLT OF ISLAM
view of things, Ford can no more sist together. Longinus could
be called the imitator of Shake- not have been the contemporary
speare than Shakespeare the imi- of Homer, nor Boileau of Horace.
tator of Ford. There were perhaps Yet this species of criticism never
few other points of resemblance presumed to assert an under-
between these two men than that standing of its own it has always,
:

which the universal and inevitable unlike true science, followed, not
influence of their age produced. preceded, the opinion of mankind,
And this is an influence which and would even now bribe with
neither the meanest scribbler nor worthless adulation some of our
the sublimest genius of any era greatest Poets to impose gratuitous
can escape and which I have not
; fetters on their own imaginations,
attempted to escape. and become unconscious accom-
I have adopted the stanza of plices in the daily murder of all
Spenser (a measure inexpressibly genius either not so aspiring or
beautiful), not because I con- not so fortunate as their own.
model of poetical
sider it a finer I have sought therefore to write,
harmony than the blank verse as I beheve that Homer, Shake-
of Shakespeare and Milton, but speare, and Milton, wrote, with an
because in the latter there is no utter disregard of anonymous cen-
shelter for mediocrity; you must sure. I am certain that calumny
either succeed or fail. This per- and misrepresentation, though it
haps an aspiring spirit should may move me to compassion, can-
desire. But I was enticed also not disturb my peace. I shall
by the brilliancy and magnificence understand the expressive silence
of sound which a mind that of those sagacious enemies who
has been nourished upon musical dare not trust themselves to speak.
thoughts can produce by a just I shall endeavour to extract, from
and harmonious arrangement of the midst of insult and contempt
the pauses of this measure. Yet and maledictions, those admoni-
there will be found some instances tions which may tend to correct
where I have completely failed whatever imperfections such cen-
in this attempt and one, which
; surers may discover in this my
I here request the reader to first serious appeal to the Pubhc.
consider as an erratum, where If certain Critics were as clear-
there is left, most inadvertently, sighted as they are malignant,
an alexandrine in the middle of how great would be the benefit
a stanza. to be derived from their virulent
But in this as in every other writings ! As it is, I fear I shall
respect I have written fearlessly. be malicious enough to be amused
It is the misfortune of this age with their paltry tricks and lame
that its Writers, too thoughtless invectives. Should the Public
of immortality, are exquisitely judge that my composition is
sensible to temporary praise or worthless, I shall indeed bow
blame. They write with the fear before the tribunal from which
of Reviews before their eyes. Milton received his crown of
This system of criticism sprang immortality ; and shall seek to
up in that torpid interval when gather, if I live, strength from
Poetry was not. Poetry, and the that defeat, which may nerve me
art which professes to regulate to some new enterprise of thought
and limit its powers, cannot sub- which may not be worthless. I
PREFACE 37

cannot conceive that Lucretius, and enthusiasm. I have exercised


when he meditated that poem a watchful and earnest criticism
whose doctrines are yet the basis on my work as it grew under my
of our metaphysical knowledge, hands. I would willingly have
and whose eloquence has been sent it forth to the world with
the wonder of mankind, wrote that perfection which long labour
in awe of such censure as the and revision is said to bestow.
hired sophists of the impure and But I found that, if I should gain
superstitious noblemen of Rome something in exactness by this
might affix to what he should method, I might lose much of the
produce. It was at the period newness and energy of imagery
when Greece was led captive, and and language as it flowed fresh
Asia made tributary to the Re- from my mind. And, although
public, fast verging itself to slavery the mere composition occupied
and ruin, that a multitude of no more than six months, the
Syrian captives, bigoted to the thoughts thus arranged were slowly
worship of their obscene Ashta- gathered in as many years.
roth, and the unworthy successors I trust that the reader will care-
of Socrates and Zeno, found there fully distinguish between those
a precarious subsistence by ad- opinions which have a dramatic
ministering, under the name of propriety in reference to the
freedmen, to the vices and vanities characters which they are designed
of the great. These wretched men to elucidate, and such as are
were skilled to plead, with a super- properly my own. The erroneous
ficial but plausible set of sophisms, and degrading idea which men
in favour of that contempt for have conceived of a Supreme
virtue which is the portion of Being, for instance, is spoken
slaves, and that faith in por- against, but not the Supreme
tents, the most fatal substitute Being itself. The belief which
for benevolence in the imagina- some superstitious persons whom
tions of men, which, arising from I have brought upon the stage
the enslaved communities of the entertain of the Deity, as injurious
East, then first began to over- to the character of his benevo-
whelm the western nations in its lence, is widely different from my
stream. Were these the kind of own. In recommending also a
men whose disapprobation the great and important change in
wise and lofty-minded Lucretius the spirit which animates the
should have regarded with a social institutions of mankind, I
salutary awe ? The latest and have avoided all flattery to those
perhaps the meanest of those violent and malignant passions of
who follow in his footsteps would our nature which are ever on the
disdain to hold life on such, watch to mingle with and to alloy
conditions. the most beneficial innovations.
The Poem now presented to the There is no quarter given to
Public occupied little more than Revenge, or Envy, or Prejudice.
six months in the composition. Love is celebrated everywhere as
That period has been devoted to the sole law which should govern
the task with unremitting ardour the moral world.
——
! : —

38 THE REVOLT OF ISLAM

DEDICATION
There is no danger to a man, that knows
What life and death is: there's not any law
Exceeds his knowledge ; neither is it lawful
That he should stoop to any other law. Chapman.

TO MARY

So now my summer task is ended, Mary,


And I return to thee, mine own heart's home ;
As to his Queen some victor Knight of Faery,
Earning bright spoils for her enchanted dome ;

Nor thou disdain, that ere my fame become 5


Astar among the stars of mortal night,
If it indeed may cleave its natal gloom,
Its doubtful promise thus I would unite
With thy beloved name, thou Child of love and light.
ii
The toil whichfrom thee so many an hour,
stole 10
Is ended, — and
the fruit is at thy feet
No longer where the woods to frame a bower
With interlaced branches mix and meet,
Or where with sound like many voices sweet,
Waterfalls leap among wild islands green, 15
Which framed for my lone boat a lone retreat
Of moss-grown trees and weeds, shall I be seen
But beside thee, where still my heart has ever been.
in
Thoughts of great deeds were mine, dear Friend, when first
The clouds which wrap this world from youth did pass. 20
I do remember well the hour which burst
My spirit's sleep a fresh May-dawn it was,
:

When I walked forth upon the glittering grass,


And wept, I knew not why until there rose ;

From the near schoolroom, voices, that, alas! 25


Were but one echo from a world of woes
The harsh and grating strife of tyrants and of foes.

IV
And then I clasped my hands and looked around
— But
none was near to mock my streaming eyes,
Which poured their warm drops on the sunny ground
— — 30
So, without shame, I spake I will be wise, : '

And just, and free,and mild, if in me lies


Such power, for I grow weary to behold
The selfish and the strong still tyrannise
Without reproach or check. I then controlled 35
My tears, my heart grew calm, and I was meek and bold.
; ! ;

DEDICATION 39

v
And from that hour did I with earnest thought
Heap knowledge from forbidden mines of lore,
Yet nothing that my tyrants knew or taught
I cared to learn, but from that secret store 40
Wrought linked armour for my
soul, before
It might walk forth to war among mankind
Thus power and hope were strengthened more and more
Within me, till there came upon my mind
A sense of loneliness, a thirst with which I pined. 45

VI
Alas, that love should be a blight and snare
To those who seek all sympathies in one !—
Such once I sought in vain ; then black despair,
The shadow ot a starless night, was thrown
Over the world in which I moved alone :— 50
Yet never found I one not false to me,
Hard hearts, and cold, like weights of icy stone
Which crushed and withered mine, that could not be
Aught but a lifeless clod, until revived by thee.

VII
Thou Friend, whose presence on my wintry heart 55
Fell, like bright Spring upon some herbless plain
How beautiful and calm and free thou wert
In thy young wisdom, when the mortal chain
Of Custom thou didst burst and rend in twain,
And walked as free as light the clouds among, 60
Which many an envious slave then breathed in vain
From his dim dungeon, and my spirit sprung
To meet thee from the woes which had begirt it long!
VIII
No more alone through the world's wilderness,
Although I trod the paths of high intent, 65
I journeyed now: no more companionless,
Where solitude is like despair, I went.—
There is the wisdom of a stern content
When Poverty can blight the just and good,
When Infamy dares mock the innocent, 70
And cherished friends turn with the multitude
To trample this was ours, and we unshaken stood
:

IX
Now has descended a serener hour,
And with inconstant fortune, friends return
Though suffering leaves the knowledge and the power 75
Which says :— Let scorn be not repaid with scorn.
And from thy side two gentle babes are born
54 clog ed. 1818. See notes at end.
:

40 THE REVOLT OF ISLAM


fill our home with smiles, and thus are we
To
Most fortunate beneath life's beaming morn ;

And these delights, and thou, have been to me 80


The parents of the Song I consecrate to thee.
x
Is it, that now my inexperienced fingers
But strike the prelude of a loftier strain?
Or, must the lyre on which my spirit fingers
Soon pause in silence, ne'er to sound again, 85
Though it might shake the Anarch Custom's reign.
And charm the minds of men to Truth's own sway
Holier than was Amphion's? I would fain
Reply in hope— but I am worn away,
And Death and Love are yet contending for their prey. 90
XI
And Avhat art thou? I know, but dare not speak:
Time may interpret to his silent years.
Yet in the paleness of thy thoughtful cheek,
And in the light thine ample forehead wears,
And in thy sweetest smiles, and in thy tears, '
95
And in thy gentle speech, a prophecy
Is whispered, to subdue my fondest fears
And through thine eyes, even in thy soul I see
A lamp of vestal fire burning internally.
XII
They say that thou wert lovely from thy birth, 10c
Or glorious parents, thou aspiring Child.
I wonder not— for One then left this earth
Whose life was like a setting planet mild.
Whichclothed thee in the radiance undefiled
Of departing glory; still her fame
its 105
Shines on thee, through the tempests dark and wild
Which shake these latter days and thou canst claim
;

The shelter, from thy Sire, of an immortal name.


XIII
One came forth from many a mighty spirit,
voice
Which was the echo of three thousand years; no
And the tumultuous world stood mute to hear it,
As some lone man who in a desert hears
The music of his home — unwonted fears
:

Fell on the pale oppressors of our race,


And Faith, and Custom, and low-thoughted cares, 115
Like thunder-stricken dragons, for a space
Left the torn human heart, their food and dwelling-place.
XIV
Truth's deathless voice pauses among mankind !
If there must be no response to my cry —
If men must rise and stamp with fury blind 120
On his pure name who loves them,— thou and I,
Sweet friend can look from our tranquillity
!

DEDICATION 41

Like lamps into the world's tempestuous night,


Two tranquil stars, while clouds are passing by
Which wrap them from the foundering seaman's sight, 125
That burn from year to year with unextinguished light.

CANTO I

When the last hope of trampled France had failed


Like a brief dream of unremaining glory,
From visions of despair I rose, and scaled
The peak of an aereal promontory, 130
Whose cavemed base with the vexed surge was hoary ;

And saw the golden dawn break forth, and waken


Each cloud, and every wave — but transitory
:

The calm for sudden, the firm earth was shaken,


:

As if by the last wreck its frame were overtaken. 135

11
Soas I stood, one blast of muttering thunder
Burst in far peals along the waveless deep,
When, gathering fast, around, above, and under,
Long trains of tremulous mist began to creep,
Until their complicating lines did steep 140
The orient sun in shadow :— not a sound
Was heard ; one horrible repose did keep
The forests and the floods, and all around
Darkness more dread than night was poured upon the ground.
in
Hark! the rushing of a wind that sweeps
'tis 145
Earth and the ocean. See the lightnings yawn
!

Deluging Heaven with fire, and the lashed deeps


GUtter and boil beneath it rages on,
:

One mighty stream, whirlwind and waves upthrown,


Lightning, and hail, and darkness eddying by. 150

There is a pause the sea-birds, that were gone
Into their caves to shriek, come forth, to spy
What calm has fall'n on earth, what light is in the sky.
IV
For,where the irresistible storm had cloven
That fearful darkness, the blue sky was seen 155
Fretted with many
a fair cloud interwoven
Most delicately, and the ocean green,
Beneath that opening spot of blue serene,
Quivered like burning emerald calm was spread
:

On below; but far on high, between


all 160
Earth and the upper air, the vast clouds fled,
Countless and swift as leaves on autumn's tempest shed.
c 3
; — !

4.2 THE REVOLT OF ISLAM

For ever, as the war became more fierce


Between the whirlwinds and the rack on high,
That spot grew more serene; blue light did pierce 165
The woof of those white clouds, which seem to lie
Far, deep, and motionless while through the sky
;

Thepallid semicircle of the moon


Passed on, in slow and moving majesty
Its upper horn arrayed in mists, which soon 170
But slowly fled, like dew beneath the beams of noon.

I could not choose but gaze ; a fascination


Dwelt in that moon, and sky, and clouds, which drew
Myfancy thither, and in expectation
Of what I knew not, I remained: the hue — 175
Of the white moon, amid that heaven so blue,
Suddenly stained with shadow did appear;
A
speck, a cloud, a shape, approaching grew,
Like a great ship in the sun's sinking sphere
Beheld afar at sea, and swift it came anear. 180

Even like a bark, which from a chasm of mountains,


Dark, vast, and overhanging, on a river
Which there collects the strength of all its fountains,
forth, whilst with the speed its frame doth quiver,
Comes
Sails, oars, and stream, tending to one endeavour; 185
So, from that chasm of light a winged Form
On all the winds of heaven approaching ever
Floated, dilating as it came the storm
:

Pursued it with fierce blasts, and lightnings swift and warm.

A course precipitous, of dizzy speed, 19°


Suspending thought and breath a monstrous sight
;

For in the air do I behold indeed


An Eagle and a Serpent wreathed in fight :—
And now relaxing its impetuous flight,
Before the aereal rock on which I stood, _
195
The Eagle, hovering, wheeled to left and right,
And hung with lingering wings over the flood,
And startled with its }T ells the wide air's solitude.

A upon its wings descended,


shaft of light
Andevery golden feather gleamed therein aoo
Feather and scale, inextricably blended.
The Serpent's mailed and many-coloured skin
Shone through the plumes its coils were twined within
: ;

CANTO I 43

By many a swoln and knotted fold, and high


And far, the neck, receding lithe and thin, 205
Sustained a crested head, which warily
Shifted and glanced before the Eagle's steadfast eye.
x
Around, around, in ceaseless circles wheeling
With clang of wings and scream, the Eagle sailed
Incessantly — sometimes on high concealing 210
Its lessening orbs, sometimes as if it failed,
Drooped through the air and still it shrieked and wailed,
;

And casting back its eager head, with beak


And talon unremittingly assailed
The wreathed Serpent, who did ever seek 215
Upon his enemy's heart a mortal wound to wreak.
XI
What life, what power, was kindled and arose
Within the sphere of that appalling fray!
For, from the encounter of those wondrous foes,
A vapour
like the sea's suspended spray 220
Hung gathered in the void air, far away,
:

Floated the shattered plumes bright scales did leap,


;

Where'er the Eagle's talons made their way,


Like sparks into the darkness ;— as they sweep,
Blood stains the snowy foam of the tumultuous deep. 225
XII

Swift chances in that combat many a check,
And many a change, a dark and wild turmoil
Sometimes the Snake around his enemy's neck
Locked in stiff rings his adamantine coil,
UntO the Eagle, faint with pain and toil, 230
Eemitted his strong flight, and near the sea
Languidly fluttered, hopeless so to foil
His adversary, who then reared on high
His red and burning crest, radiant with victory.
XIII
Then on the white edge of the bursting surge, 235
Where they had sunk together, would the Snake
Eelax his suffocating grasp, and scourge
The wind with his wild writhings for to break ;

That chain of torment, the vast Dird would shake


The strength of his unconquerable wings 240
As in despair, and with nis sinewy neck,
Dissolve in sudden shock those linked rings,

Then soar as swift as smoke from a volcano springs.
XIV
Wile baffled wile, and strength encountered strength,
Thus long, but unprevailing the event : — 245
Of that portentous fight appeared at length
;

44 THE REVOLT OF ISLAM


Until the lamp of day was almost spent
had endured, when lifeless, stark, and rent.
It
Hung high that mighty Serpent, and at last
Fell to the sea, while o'er the continent, 250
With clang of wings and scream the Eagle passed,
Heavily borne away on the exhausted blast.

And with it fledthe tempest, so that ocean


And earth and sky shone through the atmosphere-
Only, 'twas strange to see the red commotion 255
Of waves like mountains o'er the sinking sphere
Of sunset sweep, and their fierce roar to hear
Amid the calm down the steep path I wound
:


To the sea-shore the evening was most clear
And beautiful, and there the sea I found 260
Calm as a cradled child in dreamless slumber bound.
XVI
There was a Woman, beautiful as morning,
Sitting beneath the rocks, upon the sand
Of the waste sea— fair as one flower adorning

An icy wilderness each delicate hand 265
Lay crossed upon her bosom, and the band
Of her dark hair had fall'n, and so she sate
Looking upon the waves on the bare strand
;

Upon the sea-mark a small boat did wait,


Fair as herself, like Love by Hope left desolate. 270

XVII
It seemed that this fair Shape had looked upon
That unimaginable fight, and now
That her sweet eyes were weary of the sun,
As brightly it illustrated her woe
For in the tears which silently to flow 275
Paused not, its lustre hung: she watching aye
The foam-wreaths which the faint tide wove below
Upon the spangled sands, groaned heavily,
And after every groan looked up over the sea.
XVIII
And when she saw the wounded Serpent make 280
His path between the waves, her lips grew pale,
Parted, and quivered the tears ceased to break
:

From her immovable eyes no voice of wail ;

Escaped her but she rose, and on the gale


;

Loosening her star-bright robe and shadowy hair 285


Poured forth her voice the caverns of the vale
;

That opened to the ocean, caught it there,


And filled with silver sounds the overflowing air.
; ——
; : ;

CANTO I 45

XIX
She spake in language whose strange melody
Might not belong to earth. I heard, alone, 290
What made its music more melodious be,
The pity and the love of every tone
But to the Snake those accents sweet were known
His native tongue and hers nor did he beat
;

The hoar spray idly then, but winding on 295


Through the green shadows of the waves that meet
Near to the shore, did pause beside her snowy feet.

xx
Then on the sands the Woman sate again.
And wept and clasped her hands, and all between,
Eenewed the unintelligible strain 300
Of her melodious voice and eloquent mien
And she unveiled her bosom, and the green
And glancing shadows of the sea did play
O'er its marmoreal depth:— one moment seen,
For ere the next, the Serpent did obey 305
Her voice, and, coiled in rest in her embrace it lay.

Then she arose, and smiled on me with eyes


Serene yet sorrowing, like that planet fair,
While yet the daylight lingereth in the skies
Which cleaves with arrowy beams the dark-red air, 3 1 o
And said : To grieve is wise, but the despair
;

Was weak and vain which led thee here from sleep
This shalt thou know, and more, if thou dost dare
With me and with this Serpent, o'er the deep,
A voyage divine and strange, companionship to keep,' 315

Her voice was like the wildest, saddest tone,


Yet sweet, of some loved voice heard long ago.
I wept. 'Shall this fair woman all alone,
Over the sea with that fierce Serpent go?
His head is on her heart, and who can know 320
How soon he may devour his feeble prey?'
Such were my thoughts, when the tide gan to flow
And that strange boat like the moon's shade did sway
Amid reflected stars that in the waters lay :

XXIII
A boat of rare device, which had no sail 325
But its own curved prow of thin moonstone,
Wrought like a web of texture fine and frail,
To catch those gentlest winds which are not known
To breathe, but Dy the steady speed alone
:

46 THE REVOLT OF ISLAM


With whichit cleaves the sparkling sea; and now 330
We embarked — the mountains hang and frown
are
Over the starry deep that gleams below,
A vast and dim expanse, as o'er the waves we go.
XXIV
And as we sailed, a strange and awful tale
That Woman told, like such mysterious dream 335
As makes the slumberer's cheek with wonder pale !

'Twas midnight, and around, a shoreless stream,


Wide ocean rolled, when that majestic theme
Shrined in her heart found utterance, and she bent
Her looks on mine those eyes a kindling beam
; 340
Of love divine into my spirit sent,
And ere her lips could move, made the air eloquent.
xxv
'Speak not to me, but hear! Much shalt thou learn,
Much must remain unthought, and more untold,
In the dark Future's ever-flowing urn 345
Know then, that from the depth of ages old,
Two Powers o'er mortal things dominion hold
Ruling the world with a divided lot,
Immortal, all-pervading, manifold,
Twin Genii, equal Gods— when life and thought 35°
Sprang forth, they burst the womb of inessential Nought.
XXVI
'
The earliest dweller of the world, alone,
Stood on the verge of chaos. Lo afar !

O'er the wide wild abyss two meteors shone,_


Sprung from the depth of its tempestuous jar: 355
Ablood-red Comet and the Morning Star
Mingling their beams in combat as he stood, —
All thoughts within his mind waged mutual war,

In dreadful sympathy when to the flood
That fair Star fell, he turned and shed his brother's blood.
XXVII
'Thus evil triumphed, and the Spirit of evil, 361
One Power of many shapes which none may know,
One Shape of many names the Fiend did revel
;

In victory, reigning o'er a world of woe,


For the new race of man went to and fro, 365
Famished and homeless, loathed and loathing, wild,

And hating good for his immortal foe,
He changed from starry shape, beauteous and mild,
To a dire Snake, with man and beast unreconciled.
XXVIII
'The darkness lingering o'er the dawn of things, 370
Was Evil's breath and life this made him strong
;

To soar aloft with overshadowing wings ;


; —
CANTO I 47

And the great Spirit of Good did creep among


The nations mankind, and every tongue
of
Cursed and blasphemed him as he passed; for none 375
Knew good from evil, though then* names were hung
In mockery o'er the fane where many a groan,
As King, and Lord, and God, the conquering Fiend did own,
XXIX
'The Fiend, whose name was Legion Death, Decay, ;

Earthquake and Blight, and Want, and Madness pale,


Winged and wan diseases, an array 381
Numerous as leaves that strew the autumnal gale;
Poison, a snake in flowers, beneath the veil
Of food and mirth hiding his mortal head ;

And, without whom all these might nought avail, 385


Fear, Hatred, Faith, and Tyranny, who spread
Those subtle nets which snare the living and the dead.

XXX
'His spirit is their power, and they his slaves
In air, and light, and thought, and language, dwell
And keep their state from palaces to graves, 390
In all resorts of men— invisible,
But when, in ebon mirror, Nightmare fell
To tyrant or impostor bids them rise,
Black-winged demon forms — whom, from the hell,
His reign and dwelling beneath nether skies, 395
He loosens to their dark and blasting ministries.

XXXI
'In the world's youth his empire was as firm
As its foundations Soon the Spirit of Good,
. . .

Though in the likeness of a loathsome worm,


Sprang from the billows of the formless flood, 400
Which shrank and fled and with that Fiend of blood
;

Eenewed the doubtful war Thrones then first shook,


. . .

And earth's immense and trampled multitude


In hope on their own powers began to look,
And Fear, the demon pale, his sanguine shrine forsook. 405

XXXII
'Then Greece arose, and to its bards and sages,
In dream, the golden-pinioned Genii came,
Even where they slept amid the night of ages,
Steeping their hearts in the divinest flame
Which thy breath kindled, Power of holiest name! 410
And oft in cycles since, when darkness gave
New weapons to thy foe, their sunlike fame
Upon the combat shone— a light to save,
Like Paradise spread forth beyond the shadowy grave.
: : !

48 THE REVOLT OF ISLAM


XXXIII
'Such conflict— when mankind doth strive
is this 415
With its oppressors in a strife of blood,
Or when free thoughts, like lightnings, are alive,
And in each bosom of the multitude
Justice and truth with Custom's hydra brood
Wage silent war when Priests and Kings dissemble 420
;

In smiles or frowns their fierce disquietude,


When round pure hearts a host of hopes assemble,
The Snake and Eagle meet— the world's foundations tremble
xxxiv
'Thou hast beheld that fight— when to thy home
Thou dost return, steep not its hearth in tears ; 425
Though thou may'st hear that earth is now become
The tyrant's garbage, which to his compeers,
The vile reward of their dishonoured years,
He will dividing give. — The victor Fiend,
Omnipotent of vore, now quails, and fears 43°
His triumph dearly won, which soon will lend
An impulse swift and sure to his approaching end.

list, mine is an human form,


'List, stranger,
Like that thou wearest— touch me— shrink not now!
My hand thou feel'st is not a ghost's, but warm 4 35
With human blood.— 'Twas many years ago,
Since first my
thirsting soul aspired to know
The secrets of this wondrous world, when deep
My heart was pierced with sympathv, for woe
could not be mine own— and thought did keep,
Which
In dream, unnatural watch beside an infant's sleep. 441

'Woe could not be mine own, since far from men'


I dwelt, a free and happy orphan child,
By the sea-shore, in a deep mountain-glen ;
And
near the waves, and through the forests wild, 445
storm and darkness reconciled
I roamed, to
For I was calm while tempest shook the sky :

But when the breathless heavens in beauty smiled,


I wept, sweet tears, yet too tumultuously
For peace, and clasped my hands aloft in ecstasy. 45°

XXXVII
'
These were forebodings of my fate— before
A woman's heart beat in my virgin breast,
It had been nurtured in divinest lore
A dving poet gave me books, and blessed
With wild but holy talk the sweet unrest 455
—— — — !

CANTO I 49

In which I watched him as he died away


A youth with hoary hair— a fleeting guest
Of our lone mountains and this lore did sway
:

My spirit like a storm, contending there alway.

'Thus the dark tale which history doth unfold 460


I knew, but not, methinks, as others know,
For they weep not and Wisdom had unrolled
;

The clouds which hide the gulf of mortal woe,


To few can she that warning vision show
For I loved all things with intense devotion ; 465
So that when Hope's deep source in fullest flow,
Like earthquake did uplift the stagnant ocean
Of human thoughts — mine shook beneath the "wide emotion.

'
When
first the living blood through all these veins
Kindled a thought in sense, great France sprang forth,
And seized, as if to break, the ponderous chains 471
Which bind in woe the nations of the earth.
I saw, and started from my cottage-hearth ;

And to the clouds and waves in tameless gladness,


Shrieked, till they caught immeasurable mirth 475 —
And laughed in light and music soon, sweet madness:

Was poured upon my heart, a soft and thrilling sadness.

Deep slumber fell on me :— my dreams were fire-


'

Soft and delightful thoughts did rest and hover


Like shadows o'er my brain and strange desire,
; 480
The tempest of a passion, raging over
My
tranquil soul, its depths with light did cover,
Which passed ; and calm, and darkness, sweeter far,
Came— then I loved ; but not a human lover
For when I rose from sleep, the Morning Star 485
Shone through the woodbine-wreaths which round my case-
ment were.

'
;
Twas
like an eye which seemed to smile on me.
watched, till by the sun made pale, it sank
I
Under the billows of the heaving sea ;

But from its beams deep love my spirit drank, 490


And to my brain the boundless world now shrank
Into one thought— one image yes, for ever — !

Even like the dayspring, poured on vapours dank,


The beams of that one Star did shoot and quiver

Through my benighted mind and were extinguished never.
— : ; — ——
;

50 THE REVOLT OF ISLAM

'Theclay passed thus: at night, methought in dream 496


A
shape of speechless beauty did appear
It stood like light on a careering stream
Of golden clouds which shook the atmosphere
A
winged youth, his radiant brow did wear 500
The Morning Star a wild dissolving bliss
:

Over my frame he breathed, approaching near,


And bent his eyes of kindling tenderness
Near mine, and on my lips impressed a lingering kiss,

XLIII
'And said: "A
Spirit loves thee, mortal maiden, 505
Howwilt thou prove thy worth ? " Then joy and sleep
Together fled, my
soul was deeply laden,
And to the shore I went to muse and weep
But as I moved, over my
heart did creep
Ajoy less soft, but more profound and strong 510
Than mysweet dream and it forbade to keep
;

The path of the sea-shore that Spirit's tongue


:

Seemed whispering in my
heart, ana bore my
steps along.

'How, to that vast and peopled


city led,
Which was a fieldof holy warfare then, 515
I walked among the d}7 ing and the dead,
And shared in fearless deeds with evil men,
Calm as an angel in the dragon's den
How I braved death for liberty and truth,
And spurned at peace, and power, and fame— and when
Those hopes had lost the glory of their youth, 521
How —
sadly I returned might move the hearer's ruth :

'Warm tears throng fast! the tale may not be said


Know then, that when this grief had been subdued,
I Avas not left, like others, cold and dead; 525
The Spirit whom I loved, in solitude
Sustained his child the tempest-shaken wood,
:

The waves, the fountains, and the hush of night


These were his voice, and well I understood
His smile divine, when the calm sea was bright 530
With silent stars, and Heaven was breathless with delight.
XL VI
'In lonely glens, amid the roar of rivers,
When the dim nights were moonless, have I known
Joys which no tongue can tell my pale lip quivers
;

When thought revisits them know thou alone,


:
— 535
That after many wondrous years were flown,
; ; — ; ——

CANTO I 51

I was awakened by a shriek of woe


And over me a mystic robe was thrown,
By viewless hands, and a bright Star did glow
Before my steps— the Snake then met his mortal foe.' 540
XL VII
'Thou fearest not then the Serpent on thy heart?'
!
Fear it
'
she said, with brief and passionate cry,
'

And that silence made me start


spake no more
:

I looked, and we were sailing pleasantly,


Swift as a cloud between the sea and sky 545
Bpneath the rising moon seen far away,
Mountains of ice, like sapphire, piled on high,
Hemming the horizon round, in silence lay
On the still waters— these we did approach alway.
XLVIII
And swift and swifter grew the vessel's motion, 550
So that a dizzy trance fell on brain my
Wild music woke me we had passed the
: ocean
Which girds the pole, Nature's remotest reign
And we glode fast o'er a pellucid plain
Of waters, azure with the noontide day. 555
Ethereal mountains shone around— a Fane
Stood in the midst, girt by green isles which lay
On the blue sunny deep, resplendent far away.
XLIX
It was a Temple, such as mortal hand
Has never built, nor ecstasy, nor dream 560
Reared in the cities of enchanted land :

'Twas likest Heaven, ere yet dav's purple stream


Ebbs o'er the western forest, while the gleam
Of the unrisen moon among the clouds
Is gathering— when with many a golden beam 565
The thronging constellations rush in crowds,
Paving with fire the sky and the marmoreal floods :

L
Like what may be conceived of this vast dome,
When from the depths which thought can seldom pierce
Genius beholds it rise, his native home, 570
Girt by the deserts of the Universe
Yet, nor in painting's light, or mightier verse,
Or sculpture's marble language, can invest
That shape to mortal sense— such glooms immerse
That incommunicable sight, and rest 575
Upon the labouring brain and overburdened breast.
LI
Winding among the lawny islands fair,
Whose blosmy forests starred the shadowy deep,
The wingless boat paused where an ivory stair
; : ; ; ; ;

52 THE REVOLT OF ISLAM


Its fretwork in the crystal sea did steep, 580
Encircling that vast Fane's aerial heap
We disembarked, and through a portal wide
We —
passed whose roof of moonstone carved, did keep
Aglimmering o'er the forms on every side,
Sculptures like life and thought immovable, deep-eyed. 585
;

We came to a vast hall, whose glorious roof


Wasdiamond, which had drank the lightning's sheen
In darkness, and now poured it through the woof
Of spell-inwoven clouds hung there to screen
Its blinding splendour— through such veil was seen 590
That work of subtlest power, divine and rare
Orb above orb, with starry shapes between,
And horned moons, and meteors strange and fair.
On night-black columns poised — one hollow hemisphere!
LIII
Ten thousand columns in that quivering light 595
Distinct— between whose shafts wound far away
The long and labyrinthine aisles— more bright
With their own radiance than the Heaven of Day
And on the jasper walls around, there lay
Paintings, the poesy of mightiest thought, 600
Which did the Spirit's history display
Atale of passionate change, divinely taught,
Which, in their winged dance, unconscious Genii wrought.

Beneath, there sate onmany a sapphire throne,


The Great, who had
departed from mankind, 605
A
mighty Senate ;— some, whose white hair shone
Like mountain snow, mild, beautiful, and blind ;

Some, female forms, whose gestures beamed with mind


And ardent youths, and children bright and fair
And some had lyres whose strings were intertwined 610
With pale and clinging flames, which ever there
Waked faint yet thrilling sounds that pierced the crystal air.
LV
One seat was vacant
in the midst, a throne,
Reared on a pyramid like sculptured flame,
Distinct with circling steps which rested on 615
Their own deep fire— soon as the Woman
came
Into that hall, she shrieked the Spirit's name
And fell and vanished slowly from the sight.
;

Darkness arose from her dissolving frame,


Which gathering, filled that dome of woven light, 620
Blotting its sphered stars with supernatural night.
; '

CANTO I 53

Then first, two glittering lights were seen to glide


In circles on the amethystine floor,
Small serpent eyes trailing from side to side,
Like meteors on a river's grassy shore, 625
They round each other rolled, dilating more

And more then rose, commingling into one,
One clear and mighty planet hanging o'er
Acloud of deepest shadow, which was thrown
Athwart the glowing steps and the crystalline throne. 630

The cloud which rested on that cone of flame


Was
cloven beneath the planet sate a Form,
;

Fairer than tongue can speak or thought may frame,


The radiance of whose limbs rose-like and warm
Flowed forth, and did with softest light inform 635
The shadowy dome, the sculptures, and the state

Of those assembled shapes with clinging charm
Sinking upon their hearts and mine. He sate
Majestic, yet most mild— calm, yet compassionate.

Wonder and joy a passing faintness threw 640


Over my brow— a hand supported me,
Whose touch was magic strength: an eye of blue
Looked into mine, like moonlight, soothingly
And a voice said:— 'Thou must a listener oe
This day— two mighty Spirits now return, >
645
Like birds of calm, from the world's raging sea,
They pour fresh light from Hope's immortal urn ;

A —
tale of human power— despair not list and learn
!

I looked, and lo one stood forth eloquently,


!

His eyes were dark and deep, and the clear brow 650
Which shadowed them was like the morning sky,
The cloudless Heaven of Spring, when in their flow
Through the bright air, the soft winds as they blow
Wake the green world— his gestures did obey
The oracular mind that made his features glow, 655
And where his curved lips half-open lay,
Passion's divinest stream had made impetuous way.

LX
Beneath the darkness of his outspread hair
He stood thus beautiful but there was One
:

Who sate beside him like his shadow there, C60


And held his hand— far lovelier— she was known
To be thus fair, by the few lines alone

54 THE REVOLT OF ISLAM


Which throughher floating locks and gathered cloak,
Glances of soul-dissolving glory, shone :

None else beheld her eyes— in him they woke 665


Memories which found a tongue as thus he silence broke.

CANTO II

The starlight smile of children, the sweet looks


Of women, the fair breast from which I fed,
The murmur of the unreposing brooks,
And
the green light which, shifting overhead, 670
tangled bower of sines around me shed,
Some
The shells on the sea-sand, and the wild flowers,
The lamplight through the rafters cheerly spread,

And on the twining flax in life's young hours
These sights and sounds did nurse my spirit's folded powers.
11
In Argolis, beside the echoing sea, 676
Such impulses within my mortal frame
Arose, and they were dear to memory,
Like tokens of the dead :— but others came
Soon, in another shape the wondrous fame
: 680
Of the past world, the vital words and deeds
Of minds whom neither time nor change can tame,
Traditions dark and old, whence evil creeds
Start forth, and whose dim shade a stream of poison feeds.

in
I heard, as all have heard, the various story 685
Of human and wept unwilling tears.
life,
Feeble historians of its shame and glory,
False disputants on all its hopes and fears,
Victims who worshipped ruin, chroniclers —
Of daily scorn, and slaves who loathed their state 690
Yet, flattering power, had given its ministers
A throne of judgement in the grave 'twas fate. :

That among such as these my youth should seek its mate.
IV
The land in which I lived, by a fell bane
Was withered up. Tyrants dwelt side by side, 695
And stabled in our homes,— until the chain
Stifled the captive's cry, and to abide
That blasting curse men had no shame— all vied
In evil, slave and despot fear with lust
;
»

Strange fellowship through mutual hate had tied, 700


Like two dark serpents tangled in the dust,
Which on the paths of men their mingling poison thrust.
; ; !

CANTO II 55

v
Earth, our bright home, its mountains and its waters,
And the ethereal shapes which are suspended
Over its green expanse, and those fair daughters, 705
The clouds, of Sun and Ocean, who have blended
The colours of the air since first extended
It cradled the young world, none wandered forth
To see or feel a darkness had descended
:

On every heart the light which shows its worth,


: 710
Must among gentle thoughts and fearless take its birth.

home of happy spirits,


This vital world, this
Was as a dungeon to my
blasted kind ;

All that despair from murdered hope inherits


They sought, and in their helpless miserv blind, 715
A deeper prison and heavier chains did find,

And stronger tyrants a dark gulf before,
:

The realm of a stern Ruler, yawned • behind,


Terror and Time conflicting drove, and bore
On their tempestuous flood the shi-ieking wretch from shore.
VII
Out of that Ocean's wrecks had Guilt and Woe 721
Framed a dark dwelling for their homeless thought,
And, starting at the ghosts which to and fro
Glide o'er its dim and gloomy strand, had brought
The worship thence which they each ^»ther taught. 725
Well might men loathe their life, well might they turn
Even to the ills again from which they sought
Such refuge after death !— well might they learn
To gaze on this fair world with hopeless unconcern

For they all pined in bondage body and soul,


; 730
Tyrant and slave, victim and torturer, bent
Before one Power, to which supreme control
Over their will by their own weakness lent,
Made all its many names omnipotent
All symbols of things evil, all divine; 755
And hymns of blood or mockery, which rent
The air from all its fanes, did intertwine
Imposture's impious toils round each discordant shrine.

I heard, as all have heard, life's various story,


And in no careless heart transcribed the tale 740
But, from the sneers of men who had grown hoary
In shame and scorn, from groans of crowds made pale
By famine, from a mother's desolate wail
! —
!

56 THE REVOLT OF ISLAM


O'er her polluted child, from innocent blood
Poured on the earth, and brows anxious and pale 745
With the heart's warfare did I gather food
;

To feed my many thoughts: a tameless multitude!


x
I wandered through the wrecks of days departed
Far by the desolated shore, when even
O'er the still sea and jagged islets darted 750
The light of moonrise in the northern Heaven,
;

Among the clouds near the horizon driven,


The mountains lay beneath our planet pale;
Around me, broken tombs and columns riven
Looked vast in twilight, and the sorrowing gale 755
Waked in those ruins gray its everlasting wail
XI
I knew not who had framed these wonders then,
Nor had I heard the story of their deeds ;

But dwellings of a race of mightier men,


And monuments of less ungentle creeds 760
Tell their own tale to him who wisely heeds
The language which they speak and now, to me ;

The moonlight making pale the blooming weeds,


The bright stars sinning in the breathless sea,
Interpreted those scrolls of mortal mystery. 765

xn
Such man has been, and such may yet become !

Ay, wiser, greater, gentler, even than they


Who on the fragments of yon shattered dome
Have stamped the sign of power — I felt the sway
Of the vast stream of ages bear away 77°
My floating thoughts— my heart beat loud and fast
Even as a storm let loose beneath the ray
Of the still moon, my spirit onward past
Beneath truth's steady beams upon its tumult cast.
XIII
It shall be thus no more! too long, too long, 775
Sons of the glorious dead, have ye lain bound
In darkness and in ruin !— Hope is strong,
Justice and Truth their winged child have found
Awake ! arise ! until the mighty sound
Of your career shall scatter in its gust 780
The thrones of the oppressor, and the ground
Hide the last altar's unregarded dust,
Whose Idol has so long betrayed your impious trust
XIV
It must be so — I will arise and waken
The multitude, and like a sulphurous hill, 7 85
Which on a sudden from its snows has shaken
: !

CANTO II 57

The swoon of ages, it shall burst and fill


The world with cleansing fire it must, it will-
:

It may
not be restrained !

and who shall stand
Amid
the rocking earthquake steadfast still, 790
But Laon? on high Freedom's desert land
A tower whose marble walls the leagued storms withstand

xv
One summer night, in commune with the hope
Thus deeply fed, amid those ruins gray
I watched, beneath the dark sky's starry cope ; 795
ever from that hour upon me lay
And
The burden of this hope, and night or day,
In vision or in dream, clove to my breast
Among mankind, or when gone far away
To the lone shores and mountains, 'twas a guest 800
Which followed where I fled, and watched when I did rest.

XVI
These hopes found words through which my spirit sought
To weave a bondage of such sympathy,
As might create some response to the thought

Which ruled me now and as the vapours lie 805
Bright in the outspread morning's radiancy,
So were these thoughts invested with the light
Of language and all bosoms made reply
:

On which its lustre streamed, whene'er it might


Through darkness wide and deep those tranced spirits smite.

XVII
Yes, many an eye with dizzy tears was dim. 811
And oft I thought to clasp my own heart's brother,
When I could feel the listener's senses swim,
And
hear his breath its own swift gaspings smother
Even as my
words evoked them— and another, 815
And yet another, I did fondly deem,
Felt that we all were sons of one great mother ;

And the cold truth such sad reverse did seem,


As to awake in grief from some delightful dream.
XVIII
Yes, oft beside the ruined labyrinth 820
Which skirts the hoary caves of the green deep,
Did Laon and his friend, on one gray plinth,
Round whose worn base the wild waves hiss and leap,
Resting at eve, a lofty converse keep :

And that this friend was false, may now be said 825

Calmlv that he like other men could weep
Tears which are lies, and could betray and spread
Snares for that guileless heart which for his own had bled.
; — 5

58 THE REVOLT OF ISLAM


XIX
Then, had no great aim recompensed my sorrow,
I must have sought dark respite from its stress 830
In dreamless rest, in sleep that sees no morrow
For to tread life's dismaying wilderness
Without one smile to cKeer, one voice to bless,
Amid the snares and scoffs of human kind,

Is hard but I betrayed it not, nor less S3
With love that scorned return, sought to unbind
The interwoven clouds which make its wisdom blind.

With deathless minds which leave where they have passed


A path of light, my soul communion knew
from that glorious intercourse, at last,
Till 840
As from a mine of magic store, I drew
Words which were weapons ;— round my heart there grew
The adamantine armour of their power,
And from my fancy wings of golden hue
Sprang forth— yet not alone from wisdom's tower, 845
A minister of truth, these plumes young Laon bore.

An orphan with my parents lived, whose eyes


Were lodestars of delight, which drew me home
When I might wander forth nor did I prize
;

Aught human thing beneath Heaven's mighty dome C50


Beyond this child so when sad hours were come,
:

Andbaffled hope like ice still clung to me,


Since kin were cold, and friends had now become
Heartless and false, I turned from all, to be,
Cythna, the only source of tears and smiles to thee. 855

XXII
What wert thou then? A child most infantine,
Yet wandering far beyond that innocent age
In all but its sweet looks and mien divine :

Even then, methought, with the world's tyrant rage


A patient warfare thy young heart did wage, 860
When those soft eyes of scarcely conscious thought
Some tale, or thine own fancies, would engage
To overflow with tears, or converse fraught
With passion, o'er their depths its fleeting light had wrought.

She moved upon this earth a shape of brightness, 865


A power, that from its objects scarcely drew
One impulse of her being— in her lightness
CANTO II 59

Most like some radiant cloud of morning dew,


Which wanders through the waste air's pathless blue,
To nourish some far desert she did seem : 870
Beside me, gathering beauty as she grew,
Like the bright shade of some immortal dream
Which walks, when tempest sleeps, the wave of life's dark stream.
XXIV
As mine own shadow was this child to me,
A second self, far dearer and more fair;
875
Which clothed in undissolving radiancy
All those steep paths which languor and despair
Of human things, had made so dark and bare,

But which I trod alone nor, till bereft
Of friends, and overcome by lonely care, 8S0
Knew I what solace for that loss was left.
Though by a bitter wound my trusting heart was cleft.

Once she was dear, now she was all I had


To —
love in human life this playmate sweet,
This child of twelve years old— so she was made 8S5
My sole associate, and her willing feet
Wandered with mine where earth and ocean meet,
Beyond the aereal mountains whose vast cells
The unreposing billows ever beat.
Through forests wide and old, and lawny dells 890
Where boughs of incense droop over the emerald wells.

And warm and light I felt her clasping hand


When twined in mineshe followed where I went,
:

Through the lone paths of our immortal land.


It had no waste but some memorial lent 895
Which strung me to my toil— some monument
Vital with mind : then, Cythna by my side,
Until the bright and beaming day were spent.
Would rest, with looks entreating to abide,
Too earnest and too sweet ever to be denied. 90c

XXVII
And soon I could not have refused her— thus
For ever, day and night, we two were ne er :

Parted, but when brief sleep divided us :

And when the pauses of the lulling air


Of noon beside the sea, had made a lair 9C 3
For her soothed senses, in my arms she slept,
And I kept watch over her slumbers there,
While, as the shifting visions o'er her swept,
Amid her innocent rest by turns she smiled and wept.
: ! ;

60 THE REVOLT OF ISLAM


XXVIII
And, in the murmur of her dreams was heard 9 10
Sometimes the name of Laon :— suddenly
She would arise, and, like the secret bird
Whom sunset wakens, fill the shore and sky
With her sweet accents — a wild melody
Hymns which my soul had woven to Freedom, strong 9 J
5
The source of passion, whence they rose, to be
Triumphant strains, which, like a spirit's tongue,
To the enchanted waves that child of glory sung—
XXIX
Her white arms lifted through the shadowy stream
Of her loose hair— oh, excellently great 92°
Seemed to me then my purpose, the vast theme
Of those impassioned songs, when Cythna sate
Amid the calm which rapture doth create
After its tumult, her heart vibrating,
Her spirit o'er the ocean's floating state 925
From her deep eyes far wandering, on the wing
Of visions that were mine, beyond its utmost spring.

Cythna loved it, had my song


For, before
Peopled with thoughts the boundless universe,
A mighty congregation, which were strong 930
Where'er they trod the darkness to disperse
The cloud of that unutterable curse
Which clings upon mankind :— all things became
Slaves to my
holy and heroic verse,
Earth, sea and sky, the planets, life and fame 935
And fate, or whate'er else binds the world's wondrous frame.
XXXI
And this beloved child thus felt the sway
Of myconceptions, gathering like a cloud
The very wind on which it rolls away
Hers too were all my
thoughts, ere yet, endowed 940
With music and with light, their fountains flowed
In poesy ; and earnest face,
and her still
which intensely glowed
Pallid with feelings
Within, was turned on mine with speechless grace,
Watching the hopes which there her heart had learned to trace.

XXXII
In me, communion with this purest being 94 6
Kindled intenser zeal, and made me wise
In knowledge, which, in hers mine own mind seeing,
Left in the human world few mysteries :

How without fear of evil or disguise 95°


;

CANTO II 61

Was Cythna!— what a spirit strong and mild,


Which
death, or pain or peril could despise,
Yet melt in tenderness what genius wild
!

Yet mighty, was enclosed within one simple child !

XXXIII
New lore was —
old age, with its gray hair,
this 955
And wrinkled legends of unworthy things,
And icy sneers, is nought it cannot dare
:

To burst the chains which life for ever flings


On the entangled soul's aspiring wings,
So is it cold and cruel, and is made 960
The
careless slave of that dark power which brings
Evil, like blight, on man, who, still betrayed,
Laughs o'er the grave in which his living hopes are laid.
xxxiv
Nor are the strong and the severe to keep
The empire of the world thus Cythna taught : 965
Even in the visions of her eloquent sleep.
Unconscious of the power through which she wrought
The woof of such intelligible thought,
As from the tranquil strength which cradled lay
In her smile-peopled rest, my spirit sought 970
Why the deceiver and the slave has sway
O'er heralds so divine of truth's arising day.
xxxv
Within that female mind
fairest form, the
Untainted by the poison-clouds which rest
On the dark world, a sacred home did find : 975
But else, from the wide earth's maternal breast,
Victorious Evil, which had dispossessed
All native power, had those fair children torn,
And made them slaves to soothe his vile unrest,
And minister to lust its joys forlorn, 980
Till they had learned to breathe the atmosphere of scorn.
XXXVI
This misery was but coldly felt, till she
Became my only friend, who had endued
Jly purpose with a wider sympathy
Thus, Cythna mourned with me the servitude 985
In which the half of humankind were mewed
Victims of lust and hate, the slaves of slaves,
She mourned that grace and power were thrown as food
To the hyaena lust, who, among graves,
Over his loathed meal, laughing in agony, raves. 990
XXXVII
And I,gazing on that glorious child,
still
Even as these thoughts flushed o'er her :— Cythna sweet, '

Well with the world art thou unreconciled;


62 THE REVOLT OF ISLAM
Never will peace and human nature meet
Till free and equal man and woman greet 995
Domestic peace and ere this power can niako
;

In human hearts its calm and holy seat,


This slavery must be broken' — as I spake,
From Cythna's eyes a light of exultation brake.

She replied earnestly :— It shall be mine,


'
#
1000
This task, mine, Laon !— thou hast much to gain ;

Nor wilt thou at poor Cythna's pride repine,


If she should lead a happy female train
To meet thee over the rejoicing plain,
When myriads at thy call shall throng around 1005
The Golden City.'— Then the child did stiain
My arm upon her tremulous heart, and wound
Her own about my neck, till some reply she found.
xxxix

and spake not. 'Wherefore dost thou smile
I smiled,
At what I say ? Laon, I am not weak, 10 10
And though my cheek might become pale the while,
With thee, it thou desirest, will I seek
Through their array of banded slaves to wreak
Ruin upon the tyrants. I had thought
It was more hard to turn my unpractised cheek 1015
To scorn and shame, and this beloved spot
And thee, O dearest friend, to leave and murmur not.
XL
'Whence came I what I am? Thou, Laon, knowest
How a young child should thus undaunted be ;
Methinks, it is a power which thou best o west, 1020
Through which I seek, by most resembling thee,
So to become most good and great and free,
Yet far beyond this Ocean's utmost roar
In towers and huts are many like to me,
Who, could they see thine eyes, or feel such lore 1025
As I have learnt "from them, like me would fear no more.
XLI
'Think'st thou that I shall speak unskilfully,
And none will heed me? I remember now,
Howonce, a slave in tortures doomed to die,
Was saved, because in accents sweet and low 1030
He sung a song his Judge loved long ago,

As he was led to death. All shall relent
Who —
hear me tears, as mine have flowed, shall flow,
Hearts beat as mine now beats, with such intent
As renovates the world; a will omnipotent! 1035
! —
CANTO II 63

XLII
'Yes, I will tread Pride's golden palaces,
Through Penury's roofless huts and squalid cells
Will I descend, where'er in abjectness
Woman with some vile slave her tyrant dwells,
There with the music of thine own sweet spells 1040
Will disenchant the captives, and will pour
For the despairing, from the crystal wells
Of thy deep spirit, reason's mighty lore,
And power shall then abound, and hope arise once more.

XLIII
'Can man be free if woman be a slave? 1045
Chain one who lives, and breathes this boundless air,
To the corruption of a closed grave
Can they whose matesare beasts, condemned to bear
Scorn, heavier far than toil or anguish, dare
To trample their oppressors? in their home 1050
Among their babes, thou knowest a curse would wear
The shape of woman— hoary Crime would come
Behind, and Fraud rebuild religion's tottering dome.

'I am a —
child: I would not yet depart.
WhenI go forth alone, bearing the lamp 1055
Aloft which thou hast kindled in my
heart,
Millions of slaves from many a dungeon camp
Shall leap in joy, as the benumbing cramp
Of ages leaves their limbs— no ill may harm
Thy Cythna ever— truth its radiant stamp 1060
Has fixed, as an invulnerable charm
Upon her children's brow, dark Falsehood to disarm.
XLV
'Wait yet awhile for the appointed day
Thou wilt depart, and I with tears shall stand
Watching thv dim sail skirt the ocean giay; 1065
Amidthe dwellers of this lonely land

I shall remain alone and thy command
Shall then dissolve the world's unquiet trance,
And, multitudinous as the desert sand
Borne on the storm, its millions shall advance, 1070
Thronging round thee, the light of their deliverance.

XLVI
'Then, like the forests of some pathless mountain,
Which from remotest glens two warring winds
Involve in fire which not the loosened fountain
Of broadest floods might quench, shall all the kinds
Of evil, catch from our uniting minds 1076
: —
; !

64 THE REVOLT OF ISLAM


The spark which must consume them ;— Cythna then
Will have impotence that hinds
cast off the
Her childhood now, and through the paths of men
Will pass, as the charmed hird that haunts the serpent's den.
XLVII
'We
part !— Laon. I must dare nor tremble 1081
To meet those looks no more !— Oh, heavy stroke
Sweet brother of my soul can I dissemble
!

The agony of this thought ? As thus she spoke'



The gathered sobs her quivering accents broke, 1085
And in my
arms she hid her beating breast.

I remained still for tears sudden she woke
As one awakes from sleep, and wildly pressed
My bosom, her whole frame impetuously possessed.
XLVIII
'We part to meet again— but yon blue waste, 1090
Yon desert wide and deep holds no recess,
Within whose happy silence, thus embraced
We might survive all ills in one caress
Nor doth the grave— I fear 'tis passionless
Nor yon cold vacant Heaven — we meet again
:
1095
Within the minds of men, whose lips shall bless
Our memory, and whose hopes its light retain
When these dissevered bones are trodden in the plain.'
XLIX
though she had ceased, for now
I could not speak,
The fountains of her feeling, swift and deep, 1 1 00
Seemed to suspend the tumult of their flow
So we arose, and by the starlight steep
Went homeward— neither did we speak nor weep,
But. pale, were calm with passion thus subdued —
Like evening shades that o'er the mountains creep, 1105
We moved towards our home where, in this mood, ;

Each from the other sought refuge in solitude.

CANTO HI

What thoughts had sway o'er Cythna's lonely slumber


That night, I know not but my own did seem
;

As if they might ten thousand years outnumber mo


Of waking life, the visions of a dream
Which hid in one dim gulf the troubled stream
Of mind a boundless chaos wild and vast.
;

Whose limits yet were never memory's theme:


And I lay struggling as its whirlwinds passed, 11 15
Sometimes for rapture sick, sometimes for pain aghast.
;: :

CANTO III 65

ii
Two whose mighty circle did embrace
hours,
More time than might make gray the infant world,
Rolled thus, a weary and tumultuous space
When the third came, like mist on breezes curled, 1120
From my
dim sleep a shadow was unfurled
Methought, upon the threshold of a cave
I sate with Cythna drooping briony, pearled
;

With dew from the wild streamlet's shattered wave,


Hung, where we sate to taste the joys which Nature gave.

We lived a day as we were wont to live, n 26


But Nature had a robe of glory on,
And the bright air o'er every shape did weave
Intenser hues, so that the herbless stone,
The leafless bough among the leaves alone, n 30
Had being clearer than its own could be,
And Cythna's pure and radiant self was shown,
In this strange vision, so divine to me,
That, if I loved before, now love was agony.

IV
Morn noon came, evening, then night descended,
fled,
And we prolonged calm talk beneath the sphere 1
1 36
Of the calm moon— when suddenly was blended
With our
repose a nameless sense of fear
j And from
the cave behind I seemed to hear
Sounds gathering upwards !— accents incomplete, n 40
And stifled shrieks, — and now, more near and near,
A tumult and a rush of thronging feet
The cavern's secret depths beneath the earth did beat.

v
The scene was changed, and away, away, away!
Through the air and over the sea we sped, 1145
And Cythna in my sheltering bosom lay.
And the winds bore me— through the darkness spread
Around, the gaping earth then vomited
Legions of foul and ghastly shapes, which hung
Upon my flight; and ever, as we fled, 11 50
They plucked at Cythna— soon to me then clung
A sense of actual things those monstrous dreams among:.

And I lay struggling in the impotence


Of sleep, while outward life had burst its bound,
Though, still deluded, strove the tortured sense 1155
To its direwanderings to adapt the sound
Which in the light of morn was poured around
! —
! :

66 THE REVOLT OF ISLAM


Our dwelling — breathless,
pale, and unaware
and all the cottage crowded found
I rose,
With armed men, whose glittering swords were bare, n 60
And whose degraded limbs the tyrant's garb did wear.
VII
And, ere with rapid and gathered brow
lips
I could demand the cause— a feeble shriek-
It was a feeble shriek, faint, far and low,
Arrested me— my mien grew calm and meek, 11 6s
And grasping a small knife, I went to seek

That voice among the crowd 'twas Cythna's cry
Beneath most calm resolve did agony wreak
Its whirlwind rage — so I passed quietly
:

Till I beheld, where bound, that dearest child did lie. 1170
VIII
I started to behold her, for delight
And exultation, and a jovance free,
Solemn, serene and lofty, filled the light
Of the calm smile with which she looked on me
So that I feared some brainless ecstasy, 1175
Wrought from that bitter woe, had wildered her
'Farewell! farewell!' she said, as I drew nigh.
At first my peace was marred by this strange stir,
'

Now I am calm as truth— its chosen minister.


IX
'Look not so, Laon— say farewell in hope, 1180
These bloody men are but the slaves who bear
Their mistress to her task— it was my scope
The slavery where they drag me now, to share,
And among captives willing chains to wear
Awhile— the thou knowest— return, dear friend! 1185
rest
Let our triumph trample the despair
first
Which would ensnare us now, for in the end,
In victory or in death our hopes and fears must blend.'
x
These words had fallen on my unheeding ear,
Whilst I had watched the motions of the crew 1 90 1

With seeming-careless glance not many were ;

Around her, for their comrades just withdrew


To guard some other victim— so I drew
My knife, and with one impulse, suddenly
All unaware three of their number slew, 1195
And grasped a fourth by the throat, and with loud cry
My countrymen invoked to death or liberty
XI
What followed then, I know not — for a stroke
On my raised arm and naked head, came down,
Filling my eyes with blood— when I awoke, 1200
: ! :

CANTO III 67

I felt that they had bound me in my swoon,


And up a rock which overhangs the town,
By the steep path were bearing me : below,
The plain was filled with slaughter, — overthrown
The vineyards and the harvests, and the glow 1205
Of blazing roofs shone far o'er the white Ocean's flow.
XII
Upon that rock a mighty column stood,
Whose capital seemed sculptured in the sky,
Which to the wanderers o'er the solitude
Of from ages long gone by,
distant seas, 12 10
Had made a landmark o'er its height to fly
;

Scarcely the cloud, the vulture, or the blast.


Has power— and when the shades of evening lie
On Earth and Ocean, its carved summits cast
The sunken daylight far through the aerial waste. 1215

They bore me to a cavern in the hill


Beneath that column, and unbound me there
And one did strip me stark and one did fill
;

A vessel from the putrid pool one bare ;

A lighted torch, and four with friendless care


Guided my steps the cavern-paths along,
Then up a steep and dark and narrow stair
We wound, until the torch's fiery tongue
Amid the gushing day beamless and pallid hung.

They raised me to the platform of the pile, 1225


That column's dizzy height — the grate of brass
:

Through which they thrust me, open stood the while,


As to its ponderous and suspended mass,
With chains which eat into the flesh, alas
With brazen Links, my naked limbs they bound: 1230
The grate, as they departed to repass,
With horrid clangour fell, and the far sound
Of their retiring steps in the dense gloom were drowned.
xv
The noon was calm and bright :— around that column
The overhanging sky and circling sea 1235
Spread forth in silentness profound and solemn
The darkness of brief frenzy cast on me,
So that I knew not my own misery
The islands and the mountains in the day
Like clouds reposed afar; and I could see 1240
The town among the woods below that lay,
And the dark rocks which bound the bright and glassy bay.
1223 torches' edd. 1818, 1839.
:: — ——
! : ;

68 THE REVOLT OF ISLAM


XVI
It was
so calra, that scarce the feathery weed
Sown by some eagle on the topmost stone
Swayed in the air:— so bright, that noon did breed 1245
No shadow in the sky beside mine own
Mine, and the shadow of my
chain alone.
Below, the smoke of roofs involved in flame
Rested like night, all else was clearly shown
In that broad glare, yet sound to me none came, 1250
But of the living blood that ran within frame.my
XVII
The peace of madness fled, and ah, too soon
A ship was lying on the sunny main,
Its sails were flagging in the breathless noon
Its shadow lay beyond— that sight again 1255
Waked, with its presence, in my
tranced brain
The stings of a known sorrow, keen and cold
I knew that ship bore Cythna o'er the plain
Of waters, to her blighting slavery sold,
And watched it with such thoughts as must remain untold.
XVIII
I watched, until the shades of evening wrapped 1261

Earth like an exhalation then the bark
Moved, for that calm was by the sunset snapped.
It moved a speck upon the Ocean dark
Soon the wan stars came forth, and I could mark 1265
Its path no more !

I sought to close mine eyes,
But like the balls, their lids were stiff and stark
I would have risen, but ere that I could rise,
My parched skin was split with piercing agonies.

XIX
I gnawed my brazen chain, and sought to sever 1270
Its adamantine links, that I might die
OLiberty forgive the base endeavour,
!

Forgive me, if, reserved for victory,


The Champion of thy faith e'er sought to fly.
That starry night, with its clear silence, sent 1275
Tameless resolve which laughed at misery
Into my soul— linked remembrance lent
To that such power, to me such a severe content.

To breathe, to be, to hope, or to despair


Anddie, I questioned not; nor, though the Sun 1280
Its shafts of agony kindling through the air
Moved over me, nor though in evening dun,
Or when the stars their visible courses run,
— ; ! —

CANTO III 69

Or morning, the wide universe was spread


In dreary calmness round me, did I shun 1285
Its presence, nor seek refuge with the dead
From one faint hope whose flower a dropping poison shed.
XXI
Two
days thus passed— I neither raved nor died
Thirst raged within me, like a scorpion's nest
Built in mine entrails; I had spurned aside 1290
The water-vessel, while despair possessed
My thoughts, and now no drop remained The uprest !

Of the third sun brought hunger— but the crust


Which had been left, was to my craving breast
Fuel, not food. I chewed the bitter dust, 1295
And bit my bloodless arm, and licked the brazen rust.
XXII
My brain began to fail when the fourth morn
Burst o'er the golden isles— a fearful sleep,
Which through the caverns dreary and forlorn
Of the riven soul, sent its foul dreams to sweep 1300
With whirlwind swiftness— a fall far and deep, — •

Agulf, a void, a sense of senselessness


These things dwelt in me, even as shadows keep
Their watch in some dim enamel's loneliness,
A shoreless sea, a sky sunless and planetless 1305
XXIII
The forms which peopled this terrific trance
I well remember— like a choir of devils,
Around me they involved a giddy dance
Legions seemed gathering from the misty levels
Of Ocean, to supply those ceaseless revels, 1310
Foul, ceaseless shadows —
thought could not divide
:

The actual world from these entangling evils.


Which so bemocked themselves, that I descried
All shapes like mine own self, hideously multiplied.
XXIV
The sense of day and night, of false and true, 13 15
Was dead within me. Yet two visions burst
That darkness— one, as since that hour I knew,
Was not a phantom of the realms accursed,
Where then myspirit dwelt— but of the first
I know not yet, was it a dream or no. 1320
But both, though not distincter, were immersed
In hues which, when through memory's waste they flow,
Make their divided streams more bright and rapid now.
xxv
Methought that grate was lifted, and the seven
Who Drought me thither four stiff corpses bare, 1325
And from the frieze to the four winds of Heaven
1324 grate] gate ed. 1818.
: —
70 THE REVOLT OF ISLAM
Hung them on high by the entangled hair
Swarthy were three — the fourth was very fair:
As they retired, the golden moon upsprung,
And eagerly, out in the giddy air, 1330
Leaning that I might eat, I stretched and clung
Over the shapeless depth in which those corpses hung.
XXVI
Awoman's shape, now lank and cold and blue,
The dwelling of the many-coloured worm,
Hung there; the white ana hollow cheek I drew 1335
To my dry lips— what radiance did inform
Those horny eyes? whose was that withered form?
Alas, alas it seemed that Cythna's ghost
!

Laughed in those looks, and that the flesh was warm


Within my teeth!— A whirlwind keen as frost 1340
Then in its sinking gulfs my sickening spirit tossed.
XXVII
Then seemed it that a tameless hurricane
Arose, and bore me in its dark career
Beyond the sun, beyond the stars that wane
On the verge of formless space— it languished there, 1345
And dying, left a silence lone and drear,
More horrible than famine :— in the deep
The shape of an old man did then appear,
Stately and beautiful that dreadful sleep
;

His heavenly smiles dispersed, and I could wake and weep.


XXVIII
And, when the blinding tears had fallen, I saw 1351
That column, and those corpses, and the moon,
And felt the poisonous tooth of hunger gnaw
My vitals, I rejoiced, as if the boon
Of senseless death would be accorded soon; 1355
When from that stony gloom a voice arose,
Solemn and sweet as when low winds attune
The midnight pines the grate did then unclose,
;

And on that reverend form the moonlight did repose.


XXIX
He struck my
and gently spake and smiled: 1360
chains,
As they were loosened by that Hermit old,
Mine eyes were of their madness half beguiled,
To answer those kind looks— he did enfold
His giant arms around me, to uphold
My wretched frame, my scorched limbs he wound 1365
In linen moist and balmy, and as cold
As dew to drooping leaves — the chain, with sound
;

Like earthquake, through the chasm of that steep stair did


bound,
' ;

CANTO III n
xxx
As, lifting me, it fell !

What next I heard,
Were billows leaping on the harbour-bar, 1370
And the shrill sea-wind, whose breath idly stirred

My hair I looked abroad, and saw a star
:

Shining beside a sail, and distant far


That mountain and its column, the known mark
Of those who in the wide deep wandering are, 1375
So that I feared some Spirit, fell and dark,
In trance had lain me thus within a fiendish bark.
XXXI
For now indeed, over the salt sea-billow
I sailed yet dared not look upon the shape
:

Of him who ruled the helm, although the pillow 1380


For my light head was hollowed his lap, m
And my bare limbs his mantle did enwrap,
Fearing it was a fiend at last, he bent
:

O'er me his aged face, as if to snap


Those dreadful thoughts the gentle grandsire bent, 1385
And to my inmost soul his soothing looks he sent.
XXXII
A softand healing potion to my lips
At intervals he raised— now looked on high,
To mark if yet the starry' giant dips
His zone in the dim sea— now cheeringly, 1390
Though he said little, did he speak to me.
' It is a friend beside thee — take good cheer,
Poor victim, thou art now at liberty !

I joyed as those a human tone to hear.


Who in cells deep and lone have languished many a year.
XXXIII
A dim and feeble joy, whose glimpses oft 1396
Were quenched in a relapse of wildering dreams,
Yet still meth ought we sailed, until aloft
The stars of night grew pallid, and the beams
Of morn descended on the ocean-streams, 1400
And still that aged man, so grand and mild,
Tended me, even as some sick mother seems
To hang in hope over a dying child,
Till in the azure East darkness again was piled.
xxxiv
And then the night-wind steaming from the shore, 1405
Sent odours dying sweet across the sea,
And the swift boat the waves which bore,
little
Were cut by its keen though slantingly
keel,
Soon I could hear the leaves sign, and could see
The myrtle- blossoms starring the dim grove, 14 10
As
past the pebbly beach the boat did flee
On sidelong wing, into a silent cove,
Where ebon pines a shade under the starlight wove.
1385 bent] meant cj. J. Nettleship.
—; ; 5

72 THE REVOLT OF ISLAM

CANTO IV
i

The old man


took the oars, and soon the bark
Smote on the beach beside a tower of stone ; 1 4 1
It was a crumbling heap, whose portal dark
With blooming ivy-trails was overgrown
Upon whose floor the spangling sands were strown,
And rarest sea-shells, which the eternal flood,
Slave to the mother of the months, had thrown 1420
Within the walls of that gray tower, which stood
A changeling of man's art, nursed amid Nature's brood.
11
When man his boat had anchored,
the old
He wound me in his arms with tender care,
And very few, but kindly words he said, 1425
And bore me through the tower adown a stair,
Whose smooth descent some ceaseless step to wear
For many a year had fallen. — We came at last
To a small chamber, which with mosses rare
Was tapestried, where me his soft hands placed 1430
Upon a couch of grass and oak-leaves interlaced.
in
The moon was darting through the lattices
Its yellow light, warm as the beams of day—
So warm, that to admit the dewy breeze,
The old man opened them; the moonlight lay 1435
Upon a lake whose waters wove their play
Even to the threshold of that lonely home :

Within was seen in the dim wavering ray


The antique sculptured roof, and many a tome
Whose lore had made that sage all that he had become.
IV
The rock-built barrier of the sea was past, 1441
And I was on the margin of a lake,
A lonely lake, amid the forests vast
And snowy mountains did : — my
spirit wake
From sleep as many-coloured as the snake 1445
That girds eternity? in life and truth,
Might not my
heart its cravings ever slake ?
WasCythna then a dream, and all my youth,
And all its hopes and fears, and all its joy and ruth ?

v
Thus madness came again,— a milder madness, 1450
Which darkened nought but time's unquiet flow
With supernatural shades of clinging sadness
That gentle Hermit, in my helpless woe,
By my sick couch was busy to and fro,

CANTO IV 73

Like a strong spirit ministrant of good: 1455


When was healed, he led me Forth
I to show
The wonders of his sylvan solitude,
And we together sate by that isle-fretted flood.

VI
He knew words to weave with skill
his soothing
From all my
madness told; like mine own heart, 1460
Of Cythna would he question me, until
That thrilling name had ceased to make me start,
From his familiar lips — it was not art,
Of wisdom and of justice when he spoke-
When mid soft looks of pity, there would dart 1465
A glance as keen as is the lightning's stroke
When it doth rive the knots of some ancestral oak.
VII
Thus slowly from my
brain the darkness rolled,
My thoughts their due array did re-assume
Through the enchantments of that Hermit old 1470 ;

Then I bethought me of the glorious doom


Of those who sternly struggle to relume
The lamp of Hope o'er man s bewildered lot,
And, sitting by the waters, in the gloom
Of eve, to that friend's heart I told my thought 1475 —
That heart which had grown old, but had corrupted not.
VIII
That hoary man had spent his livelong age
In converse with the dead, who leave the stamp
Of ever-burning thoughts on many a page,
When they are gone into the senseless damp 1480
Of graves ;— his spirit thus became a lamp
Of splendour, like to those on which it fed :

Through peopled haunts, the City and the Camp,


Deep thirst for knowledge had his footsteps led.
And all the ways of men among mankind he read. 1485
IX
But custom maketh blind and obdurate
The loftiest hearts :— he had beheld the woe
In which mankind was bound, but deemed that fate
Which made them abject, would preserve them so ;

And in such faith, some steadfast joy to know, 1490


He sought this cell but when fame went abroad,
:

That one in Argolis did undergo


Torture for liberty, and that the crowd
High truths from gifted lips had heard and understood ;

x
And that the multitude was gathering wide, 1495
His spirit leaped within his aged frame,
In lonely peace he could no more abide,
; 5
*

74 THE REVOLT OF ISLAM


But on which the victor's flame
to the land
Had ray native land, the Hermit came
fed, :

Each heart was there a shield, and every tongue 1500


Was as a sword, of truth— young Laon's name
Rallied their secret hopes, though tyrants sung
Hymns of triumphant joy our scattered tribes among.

He came to the lone column on the rock,


And with his sweet and mighty eloquence 1505
The hearts of those who watched it did unlock,
And made them melt in tears of penitence.
They gave him entrance free to bear me thence.
'Since this,' the old man said, 'seven years are spent,
While slowly truth on thy benighted sense 1510
Has crept the hope which wildered it has lent
;

Meanwhile, to me the power of a sublime intent.

'Yes, from the records of my youthful state,


And from the lore of bards and sages old,
From whatsoe'er my
wakened thoughts create 151
Out of the hopes of thine aspirings bold,
Have I collected language to unfold
Truth to mycountrymen from shore to shore
;

Doctrines of human power my


words have told,
They have been heard, and men aspire to more 1520
Than they have ever gained or ever lost of yore.
XIII
'In secret chambers parents read, and weep,
My writings to their babes, no longer blind ;

And voung men gather when their tyrants sleep,


And vows of faith each to the other bind ;
1525
And marriageable maidens, who have pined
With love, till life seemed melting through their look,
A warmer zeal, a nobler hope now find
And eveiy bosom thus is rapt and shook,
Like autumn's m}7 riad leaves in one swoln mountain-brook.

'The tyrants of the Golden City tremble 153


At voices which are heard about the streets,
The ministers of fraud can scarce dissemble
The lies of their own heart but when one meets
;

Another at the shrine, he inly weets, 15 35


Though he says nothing, that tne truth is known ;

Murderers are pale upon the judgement-seats,


And gold grows vile even to the wealthy crone,
And laughter fills the Fane, and curses shake the Throne.
; —

CANTO IV 75

xv
4
Kind thoughts, and mighty hopes, and gentle deeds 1540
Abound, for fearless love, and the pure law
Of mild equality and peace, succeeds*
To faiths which long have held the world in awe,
Bloody and false, and cold :— as Avhirlpools draw
All wrecks of Ocean to their chasm, the sway 1545
Of thy strong genius, Laon, which foresaw
This hope, compels all spirits to obey,
Which round thy secret strength now throng in wide array.

'For I have been thy passive instrument'


(As thus the old man spake, his countenance 1550

Gleamed on me like a spirit's) 'thou hast lent
To me, to all, the power to advance
Towardsthis unforeseen deliverance
From our ancestral chains— ay, thou didst rear
That lamp of hope on high, which time nor chance 1555
Nor change may not extinguish, and my share
Of good, was o'er the world its gathered beams to bear.

XVII
'
But I, alas ! am both unknown and old,
And thoughthe woof of wisdom I know well
To dye in hues of language, I am cold 1560
In seeming, and the hopes which inly dwell,
My manners note that I did long repel
But Laon's name to the tumultuous throng
Were like the star whose beams the waves compel
And tempests, and his soul-subduing tongue 1565
Were as a lance to quell the mailed crest of wrong.
XVIII
'Perchance blood need not flow, if thou at length
Wouldst rise, perchance the very slaves would spare
Their brethren and themselves great is the strength
;

Of words— for lately did a maiden fair, 1570


Who from her childhood has been taught to bear
The tyrant's heaviest yoke, arise, and make
Her sex the law of truth and freedom hear,
And with these quiet words— "For thine own sake
I prithee spare me;" — did with ruth so take 1575

XIX
'All hearts, that even the torturer who had bound
Her meek calm frame, ere it was yet impaled.
Loosened her, weeping then nor could be found
;

One human hand to harm her— unassailed


Therefore she walks through the great City, veiled 15 So
; — ;

76 THE REVOLT OF ISLAM


In
virtue's adamantine eloquence,
'Gainst scorn, and death and pain thus trebly mailed,
And blending, in the smiles of that defence,
The Serpent and the Dove, Wisdom and Innocence.
xx
'The wild-eyed women
throng around her path: 1585
From their luxurious dungeons, from the dust
Of meaner thralls, from the oppressor's wrath.
Or the caresses of his sated lust
They congregate :— in her they put their trust;
The tyrants send their armed slaves to quell 1590
Her power — they, even like a thunder-gust
;

Caught by some forest, bend beneath the spell


Ot that young maiden's speech, and to their chiefs rebel.
XXI
'Thus she doth equal laws and justice teach
To woman, outraged and polluted long; 1595
Gathering the sweetest fruit in human reach
For those fair hands now free, while armed wrong
Trembles before her look, though it be strong
Thousands thus dwell beside her, virgins bright,
And matrons with their babes, a stately throng! 1600
Lovers renew the vows which they did plight
In early faith, and hearts long parted now unite,
XXII
'And homeless orphans find a home near her,
And those poor victims of the proud, no less,
Fair wrecks, on whom the smiling world with stir, 1605
Thrusts the redemption of its wickedness :

In squalid huts, and in its palaces


Sits Lust alone, while o'er the land is borne
Her voice, whose awful sweetness doth repress
All evil, and her foes relenting turn, 1610
And cast the vote of love in hope's abandoned urn.
XXIII
'So in the populous City, a young maiden
Has baffled Havoc of the prey which he
Marks as his own, whene'er with chains o'erladen
Men make them arms to hurl down tyranny, — 16 15
False arbiter between the bound and free
And o'er the land, in hamlets and in towns
The multitudes collect tumultuously,
And throng in arms but tyranny disowns
;

Their claim, and gathers strength around its trembling


thrones. 1620
XXIV
1
Blood soon, although unwillingly, to shed,

The free cannot forbear the Queen of Slaves,
The hoodwinked Angel of the blind and dead,
; : !

CANTO IV 77

Custom, with iron mace points to the graves


Where her own standard desolately waves 1625
Over the dust of Prophets and of Kings.
Many yet stand in her array "she paves —
Her path with human hearts," and o'er it flings
The wildering gloom of her immeasurable wings.
xxv
'There is a plain beneath the City's wall, 1630
Bounded by misty mountains, wide and vast,
Millions there lift at Freedom's thrilling call
Ten thousand standards wide, theyload the blast
Which bears one sound of many voices past,
And startles on his throne their sceptred foe: 1635
He sits amid his idle pomp aghast,
And that his power hath passed away, doth know-
Why pause the victor swords to seal his overthrow?
XXVI
'
The
tyrant's guards resistance yet maintain
Fearless, and fierce, and hard as beasts of blood, 1640
They stand a speck amid the peopled plain
Carnage and ruin have been made their food
From infancy— ill has become their good,
And for its hateful sake their will has wove
The chains which eat their hearts the multitude— 1645
Surrounding them, with words of human love,
Seek from their own decay their stubborn minds to move.
XXVII
Over the land is felt a sudden pause,
'

As night and day those ruthless bands around,


The watch of love is kept —
a trance which awes
:
1650
The thoughts of men with hope— as, when the sound
Of whirlwind, whose fierce blasts the waves and clouds
confound,
Dies suddenly, the mariner in fear
Feels silence sink upon his heart— thus bound,
The conquerors pause, and oh! may freemen. ne'er 1655
Clasp the relentless knees of Dread the murderer
XXVIII
'
If blood be shed, but a change and choice
'tis

Of bonds, from slavery to cowardice
A wretched fall!— Uplift thy charmed voice!
Pour on those evil men the love that lies 1660
Hovering within those spirit-soothing eyes—
Arise, my friend, farewell '—As thus he spake,
!

From the green earth lightly I did arise,


As one out of dim dreams that doth awake,
And looked upon the depth of that reposing lake. 1665
1625 Where] When eel. 1818.

78 THE REVOLT OF ISLAM

I saw my
countenance reflected there ;

then my youth fell on me like a wind


And
Descending on still waters— my thin hair
Was prematurely gray, my face was lined
With channels, such as suffering leaves behind, 1670
Not age my broAV was pale, but in my cheek
;

And lips a flush of gnawing fire did find


Their food and dwelling though mine eyes might speak
;

A subtle mind and strong within a frame thus weak.

And though their lustre now was spent and faded, 1675
Yet in my hollow looks and withered mien
The likeness of a shape for which was braided
The brightest woof of genius, still was seen—
One who, methought, had gone from the world's scene,
And left it vacant— twas her lover's face— 1680
It might resemble her— it once had been
The mirror of her thoughts, and still the grace
Which her mind's shadow cast, left there a lingering trace.

XXXI
Whatthen was I? She slumbered with the dead.
Glory and joy and peace, had come and gone. 1685
Doth the cloud perish, when the beams are fled
Which steeped its skirts in gold? or, dark and lone,
Doth it not through the paths of night unknown,
On outspread wings of its own wind upborne
Pour rain upon "the earth? The stars are shown, 1690
When the cold moon sharpens her silver horn
Under the sea, and make the wide night not forlorn.

Strengthened in heart, yet sad, that aged man


I left, with interchange of looks and tears,
And lingering speech, and to the Camp began 1695
My way. O'er many a mountain-chain which rears
Itshundred crests aloft, my spirit bears
My frame o'er many a dale and many a moor,
;

And gaily now meseems serene earth wears


The blosmy spring's star-bright investiture, 1700
A vision which augnt sad from sadness might allure.

My powers revived within me. and I went


As one whom winds waft o'er the bending grass,
Through many a vale of that broad continent.
At night when I reposed, fair dreams did pass i7°5
Before my pillow;— my own Cythna was,
; ; ! ; !

CANTO IV 79

Not like a child of death, among them ever


When I arose from rest, a woful mass
That gentlest sleep seemed from my life to sever,
As if the light of youth were not withdrawn for ever. 17 10
xxxiv
Aye as I went, that maiden who had reared
The torch of Truth afar, of whose high deeds
The Hermit in his pilgrimage had heard,
Haunted my thoughts. — Ah, Hope its sickness feeds
With whatso'er it finds, or flowers or weeds! 17 15
Could she be Cythna?— Was that corpse a shade
Such as self-torturing thought from madness breeds?
Why was this hope not torture? Yet it made
A light around my steps which would not ever fade.

CANTO V

Over the utmost hill at length I sped, 1720


A snowy steep :— the moon was hanging low
Over the Asian mountains, and outspread
The plain, the City, and the Camp below,
Skirted the midnight Ocean's glimmering flow
The City's moonlit spires and myriad lamps, 1725
Like stars in a sublunar sky did glow,
And fires blazed far amid the scattered camps,
Like springs of flame, which burst where'er swift Earthquake
stamps.
11
All slept but those in watchful arms who stood,
And those who sate tending the beacon's light, 1730
And the few sounds from that vast multitude
Made silence more profound. — Oh, what a might
Of human thought was cradled in that night
How many hearts impenetrably veiled
Beat underneath its shade, what secret fight 1735
Evil and good, in woven passions mailed,
Waged through that silent throng a war that never failed
;

in
And now the Power of Good held victory,
So, through the labyrinth of many a tent,
Among the silent millions who did lie 17^0
In innocent sleep, exultingly I went
The moon had left Heaven desert now, but lent
From eastern morn the first faint lustre snowed
An armed youth— over his spear he bent

His downward face. 'A friend!' I cried aloud, 1745
And quickly common hopes made freemen understood.
; ! : ; : :

80 THE REVOLT OF ISLAM


IV
I sate beside the morning beam
him while
Crept slowly over Heaven, and talked with him
Of those immortal hopes, a glorious theme
Which led us forth, until the stars grew dim: 1750
And all the while, methought, his voice did swim
As if it drowned in remembrance were
Of thoughts which make the moist eyes overbrim
At last, when daylight 'gan to fill the air,
He looked on me, and cried in wonder—' Thou art here !
' 1755

v
Then, suddenly, I knew it was the youth
In whom its earliest hopes my spirit found
But envious tongues had stained his spotless truth,
And thoughtless pride his love in silence bound,
And shame and sorrow mine in toils had wound, 1760
Whilst he was innocent, and I deluded ;

The truth now came upon me, on the ground


Tears of repenting joy, which fast intruded.
Fell fast, and o'er its peace our mingling spirits brooded.

Thus, while with rapid lips and earnest eyes 1765


We sound of sweeping conflict spread
talked, a
As from the earth did suddenly arise
From every tent roused by that clamour dread,
Our bands outsprung and seized their arms we sped —
Towards the sound: our tribes were gathering far. 1770
Those sanguine slaves amid ten thousand dead
Stabbed in their sleep, trampled in treacherous war
The gentle hearts whose power their lives had sought to spare.

Like rabid snakes, that sting some gentle child


Who brings them food, when winter false and fair 1775
Allures them forth with its cold smiles, so wild
They rage among the camp ;— they overbear
The patriot hosts— confusion, then despair

Descends like night when Laon '
!
one did cry
'

Like a bright ghost from Heaven that shout did scare


The slaves, and widening through the vaulted sky, 1781
Seemed sent from Earth to Heaven in sign of victory.

In sudden panic those false murderers fled,


Like insect tribes before the northern gale
But swifter still, our hosts encompassed 1785
Their shattered ranks, and in, a craggy vale,
Where even their fierce despair might nought avail,
—— : ——
! ! ' 5

CANTO V 81

Hemmed them around !


— and then revenge and fear
Made the high virtue of the patriots fail
One pointed on his foe the mortal spear 1790
!
I rushed before its point, and cried, '
Forbear, forbear
IX
The spear transfixed my arm that was uplifted
In swift expostulation, and the blood
Gushed round its point : I smiled, and Oh thou 4
! gifted
With eloquence which shall not be withstood, 1795
Flow —
thus ' I cried in joy, ' thou vital flood,
!

Until my heart be dry, ere thus the cause


For which thou wert aught worthy be subdued
Ah. ye are pale,— ye weep, — your passions pause,
'Tis well! ye feel the truth of love's benignant laws. 1800
x
'Soldiers, our brethren and our friends are slain.
Ye murdered them, I think, as they did sleep
Alas, what have ye done? the slightest pain
Which ye might suffer, there were eyes to weep,
But ye have quenched them— there were smiles to steep
Your hearts in balm, but they are lost in woe; 1806
And those whom
love did set his watch to keep
Around your tents, truth's freedom to bestow,
Ye stabbed as they did sleep— but they forgive ye now.
XI
'Oh wherefore should ever flow from ill,
ill 1S10
And pain still keener pain for ever breed ?
We all —
are brethren even the slaves who kill
For hire,' are men ; and to avenge misdeed
On the misdoer, doth but Misery feed
With her own brokG^n heart O Earth, O Heaven ! ! 1 8 1

And thou, dread Nature, which to every deed


And all that lives or is, to be hath given,
Even as to thee have these done ill, and are forgiven
XII
'Join then your hands and hearts, and let the past
Be as a grave which gives not up its dead 1820
To evil thoughts.' —A
film then overcast
My sense with dimness, for the wound, which bled
Freshly, swift shadows o'er mine eyes had shed.
When I awoke, I lay mid friends and foes,
And earnest countenances on me shed 1825
The light of questioning looks, whilst one did close
My wound with balmiest herbs, and soothed me to repose ;

XIII
And one whose spear had pierced me, leaned beside,
With quivering lips and humid eyes ;— and all
Seemed like some brothers on a journey wide 1830
;

82 THE REVOLT OF ISLAM


Goneforth, whom now strange meeting did befall
In a strange land, round one whom they might call
Their friend, their chief, their father, for assay
Of peril, which had saved them from the thrall
Of death, now suffering. Thus the vast array 1835
Of those fraternal bands were reconciled that day.

XIV
Lifting the thunder of their acclamation,
Towards the City then the multitude.
And I among them, went in joy— a nation

Made free by love; a mighty brotherhood 1840
Linked by a jealous interchange of good
Aglorious pageant, more magnificent
lhan kingly slaves arrayed in gold and blood,
When they return from carnage, and are sent
In triumph bright beneath the populous battlement. 1845

Afar, the city-walls were thronged on high,


And myriads on each giddy turret clung,
And to each spire far lessening in the sky
Bright pennons on the idle winds were hung;
As we approached, a shout of joyance sprung 1O50
At once from all the crowd, as if the vast
And peopled Earth its boundless skies among
The sudden clamour of delight had cast,
When from before its face some general wreck had passed.

Our armies through the (Jit}T 's hundred gates 1855


Were poured, like brooks which to the rocky lair
Of some deep lake, whose silence them awaits,
Throng from the mountains when the storms are there
And, as we passed through the calm sunny air
A thousand flower-inwoven crowns were shed, i860
The token flowers of truth and freedom fair,
And fairest hands bound them on many a head,
Those angels of love's heaven, that over all was spread.

I trod asone tranced in some rapturous vision:


Those bloody bands so lately reconciled, 1865
Were, ever as they went, by the contrition
Of anger turned to love, from ill beguiled,
And every one on them more gently smiled,
Because they had done evil :

the sweet awe
Of such mild looks made their own hearts grow mild,
And did with soft attraction ever draw 1871
Their spirits to the love of freedom's equal law.

; : 1

CANTO V 83

XVIII
And and all. in one loud symphony
they,
My name with Liberty commingling, lifted,
'The friend and the preserver of the free ! 1875
The parent of this joy!' and fair eyes gifted
With feelings, caught from one who had uplifted
The light of a great spirit, round me shone
And all the shapes of this grand scenery shifted
Like restless clouds before the steadfast sun, '1880
Where was that Maid? I asked, but it was known of none.

XIX
Laone was the name her love had chosen,
For she was nameless, and her birth none knew
Where was Laone now'?— The words were frozen
• Within my lips with fear; but to subdue 1885
Such dreadful hope, to my great task was due,
And when at length one brought reply, that she
To-morrow would appear, I then withdrew
To judge what need for that great throng might be,
For now the stars came thick over the twilight sea. 1890

xx
Yet need was none for rest or food to care,
Even though that multitude was passing great,
Since each one for the other did prepare

All kindly succour Therefore to the gate
Of the Imperial House, now desolate, 1S95
I passed, and there was found aghast, alone,
The fallen Tyrant !- Silently he sate
Upon the footstool of his golden throne,
Which, starred with sunny gems, in its own lustre shone.

XXI
Alone, but for one child, who led before him 1900
A graceful dance the only living thing
:

Of all the crowd, which thither to adore him


Flocked yesterday, who solace sought to bring
In his abandonment !— She knew the King
Had praised her dance of yore, and now she wove 1905
Its circles, aye weeping and murmuring
Mid her sad task of unregarded love,
That to no smiles it might his speechless sadness move.
XXII
She him, and wildly clasped his feet
fled to
When human steps were heard :— he moved nor spoke,
Nor changed his hue, nor raised his looks to meet 191

The gaze of strangers our loud entrance woke
The echoes of the hall, which circling broke
;

84 THE REVOLT OF ISLAM


The calm —
of its recesses, like a tomb
Its sculptured walls vacantly to the stroke 19 15
Of footfalls answered, and the twilight's gloom
Lay like a 'enamel's mist within the radiant dome.
XXIII
The little child stood up when we came nigh ;

Her lips and cheeks seemed verv pale and wan,


But on her forehead, and within her eye 1920
Lay beauty, which makes hearts that feed thereon
Sick with excess of sweetness on the throne
;

She leaned *—the King, with gathered brow, and lips


Wreathed by long scorn, did inly sneer and frown
With hue bike that/ when some great painter dips 1925
His pencil in the gloom of earthquake and eclipse.
xxiv #
She stood beside him bike a rainbow braided
Within some storm, when scarce its shadows vast
From the blue paths of the swift sun have faded
A sweet and solemn smile, like Cythna's, cast 1930
One moment's light, which made my heart beat fast,
O'er that child's parted lips— a gleam of bliss,
A shade of vanished days,— as the tears passed
Which wrapped it, even as with a father's kiss
I pressed those softest eyes in trembling tenderness. 1935
xxv
Thesceptred wretch then from that solitude
I drew, and, of his change compassionate,
With words of sadness soothed his rugged mood.
But he, while pride and fear held deep debate,
With sullen guile of ill-dissembled hate 1940
Glared on me as a toothless snake might glare :
Pity, not scorn I felt, though desolate
The desolator now, and unaAvare
The curses which he mocked had caught him by the hair.
XXVI
I led him forth from that which now might seem 1945
A gorgeous grave through portals sculptured deep
:

With imagery beautiful as dream


We went, and left the shades which tend on sleep
Over its unregarded gold to keep

Their silent watch. The child trod faintingly, 1950
And as she went, the tears which she did weep
Glanced in the starlight wildered seemed she,
;

And when I spake, for sobs she could not answer me.
XXVII
At last the tyrant cried. She hungers, slave,
'

Stab her, or give her bread ! '— It was a tone 1955


Such as sick fancies in a new-made grave
! — — — '

CANTO V 85

Might hear. I trembled, for the truth was known ;

He with this child had thus been left alone,


And neither had gone forth for food,— but he
In mingled pride and awe cowered near his throne,
And she a nursling of captivity 1961
Knew nought beyond those walls, nor what such change
might be.
XXVIII
And he was troubled at a charm withdrawn
Thus suddenly that sceptres ruled no more
;

That even from gold the dreadful strength was gone, 1965
Which once made all thiDgs subject to its power
Such wonder seized him, as if hour by hour
The past had come again and the swift fall ;

Of one so great and terrible of yore,


To desolateness, in the hearts of all 1970
Like wonder stirred, who saw such awful change befall.

XXIX
A mighty crowd, such as the wide land pours
Once in a thousand years, now gathered round
The fallen tyrant ;— like the rush of showers
Of hail in spring, pattering along the ground, 1975
Their many footsteps fell, else came no sound
From the wide multitude that lonely man :

Then knew the burden of his change, and found,


Concealing in the dust his visage wan,
Eefuge from the keen looks which through his bosom ran.

XXX
And he was faint withal I sate beside him
: 19S1
Upon the earth, and took that child so fair
From his weak arms, that ill might none betide him
Or her —when food was brought to them, her share
;

To his averted lips the child did bear, 1985


But, when she saw he had enough, she ate
And wept the while — the lonely man's despair
;

Hunger then overcame, and of his state


Forgetful, on the dust as in a trance he sate.

XXXI
Slowly the silence of the multitudes 1990
Passed, as when far is heard in some lone dell
The gathering of a wind among the woods
'And he is fallen they cry, he who did dwell
!
'
'

Like famine or the plague, or aught more fell


Among our homes, is fallen! the murderer 1995
Who slaked his thirsting soul as from a well
Of blood and tears with ruin he is here !

Sunk in a gulf of scorn from which none may him rear !



; !

86 THE REVOLT OF ISLAM


XXXII
Then was heard—' He who judged let him be brought
To judgement blood for blood cries from the soil 2000
!

On which his crimes have deep pollution wrought


Shall Othman only unavenged despoil ?
Shall they who by the stress of grinding toil
Wrest from the unwilling earth his luxuries.
Perish for crime, while his foul blood may boil, 2005
Or creep within his veins at will?— Arise!
And to high justice make her chosen sacrifice.'
xxxm
'What do ye seek? what fear ye,' then I cried.
Suddenly starting forth, 'that ye should shed
The —
blood of Othman? if your hearts are tried 2010
In the true love of freedom, cease to dread
This one poor lonely man— beneath Heaven spread
In purest light above us all, through earth
Maternal earth, who doth her sweet smiles shed
For all, let him go free; until the worth 2015
Of human nature win from these a second birth.

xxxiv
'What ye justice? Is there one who ne'er
call
In secret thought has wished another's ill ?
Are ye all pure? Let those stand forth who hear.
And tremble not. Shall they insult and kill, 2020
If such they be? their mild eyes can they fill
With the false anger of the hypocrite?

Alas, such were not pure, the chastened will
Of virtue sees that justice is the light
Of love, and not revenge, and terror and despite.' 2025

xxxv
The murmur of the people, slowly dying,
Paused as I spake, then those who near me were,
Cast gentle looks where the lone man was lying
Shrouding his head, which now that infant fair
Clasped on her lap in silence;— through the air 2030
Sobs were then heard, and many kissed my feet
In pity's madness, and to the despair
Of him whom late they cursed, a solace sweet

His very victims brought soft looks and speeches meet.

Then to a home for his repose assigned, 2035


Accompanied by the throng he went
still
In silence, where, to soothe his rankling mind,
Some likeness of his ancient state was lent
And if hisheart could have been innocent
— !

CANTO V 87

As those who pardoned hirn, he might have ended 2040


His days in peace but his straight lips were bent,
;

Men said, into a smile which guile portended,


A sight with which that child like hope with fear was blended.
XXXVII
'Twas midnight now, the eve of that great day
Whereon the many nations at whose call 2045
The chains of earth like mist melted away,
Decreed to hold a sacred Festival,
A rite to attest the equality of all
Who live. So to their homes, to dream or wake
All went. The sleepless silence did recall
2050
Laone to my
thoughts, with hopes that make
The flood recede from which their thirst they seek to slake.
XXXVIII
The dawn flowed and from its purple fountains
forth,
Idrank those hopes which make the spirit quail,
As to the plain between the misty mountains 2055
And the great City, with a countenance pale
I went :

it was a sight which might avail
To make men weep exulting tears, for whom
Now first from human power the reverend veil
Was torn, to see Earth from her general womb 2060
Pour forth her swarming sons to a fraternal doom :

xxxix
To see, far glancing in the misty morning,
The signs of that innumerable host,
To hear one sound of many made, the warning
Of Earth to Heaven from its free children tossed, 2065
While the eternal hills, and the sea lost
In wavering light, and, starring the blue sky
The city's myriad spires of gold, almost
With human joy made mute society
Its witnesses with men who must hereafter be. 2070
XL
To see, like some vast island from the Ocean,
The Altar of the Federation rear
Its pile i' the midst a work, which the devotion
;

Of millions in one night created there,


Sudden, as when the moonrise makes appear 2075
Strange clouds in the east a marble pyramid ;

Distinct with steps that mighty shape did wear


:

The light of genius its still shadow hid


;

Far ships to know its height the morning mists forbid


:

XLI
To hear the restless multitudes for ever 2080
Around the base of that great Altar flow,
As on some mountain-islet Tburst and shiver
;

88 THE REVOLT OF ISLAM


Atlantic waves and solemnly and slow
;

As the wind bore that tumult to and fro,


To feel the dreamlike music, which did swam 2085
Like beams through floating clouds on waves below
Falling in pauses, from that Altar dim
As silver-sounding tongues breathed an aereal hymn.
XLII
To hear, to see, to live, was on that morn
Lethean joy so that all those assembled
! 2090
Cast off their memories of the past outworn
Two only bosoms with their own life trembled,
And mine was one,— and we had both dissembled ;

So with a beating heart I went, and one,


Who having much, covets yet more, resembled ; 2095
A lost and dear possession, which not won,
He walks in lonely gloom beneath the noonday sun.
XLIII
To the great Pyramid I came : its stair
With
female choirs was thronged the loveliest:

Among the free, grouped with its sculptures rare; 2100


As I approached, the morning's golden mist,
Which now the wonder-stricken breezes kissed
With their cold lips, fled, and the summit shone
Like Athos seen from Samothracia, dressed
In earliest light, by vintagers, and one 2105
Sate there, a female Shape upon an ivory throne :

A Form most like the imagined habitant


Of silver exhalations sprung from dawn,
By winds which feed on sunrise woven, to enchant
The faiths of men: all mortal eyes were drawn, 2 no
As famished mariners through strange seas gone
Gaze on a burning watch-tower, by the light
Of those divinest lineaments— aione
With thoughts which none could share, from that fair sight
I turned in sickness, for a veil shrouded her countenance bright.

XLV
And, neither did I hear the acclamations, 21 16
Which from brief silence bursting, filled the air
With her strange name and mine, from all the nations
Which we, they said, in strength had gathered there
From the sleep of bondage; nor the vision fan 2120
Of that bright pageantry beheld,— but blind
And a breathing corpse did fare,
silent, as
Leaning upon my
friend, till like a wind
To fevered cheeks, a voice flowed o'er my troubled mind.
; —— ; : ; ;

CANTO V 89

XLVI
Like music of some minstrel heavenly-gifted, 2125
To one whom fiends enthral, this voice to me
Scarce did I wish her veil to be uplifted,
I was so calm and joyous. —
I could see
The platform where we stood, the statues three
Which kept their marble watch on that high shrine, 2130
The multitudes, the mountains, and the sea ;

As when eclipse hath passed, things sudden shine


To men's astonished eyes most clear and crystalline.
XLVII
At first Laone spoke most tremulously :

But soon her voice the calmness which it shed


Gathered, and
— Thou art whom I sought to see,
'
2135

And thou art our first votary here,' she said


'
I had a dear friend once, but he is dead !

And of all those on the wide earth who breathe,


Thou dost resemble him alone I spread — 2140
This veil between us two, that thou beneath
Shouldst image one who may have been long lost in death.

XLVIII
'For this wilt thou not henceforth pardon me?
Yes, but those joys which silence well requite
Forbid reply :— why men have chosen me 2145
To be the Priestess of this holiest rite
I scarcely know, but that the floods of light
Which flow over the world, have borne me hither
To meet thee, long most dear and now unite
;

Thine hand with mine, and may all comfort wither 2150
From both the hearts whose pulse in joy now beat together,
XLIX
'If our own will as others' law we bind.
If the foul worship trampled here we fear
If as ourselves we cease to love our kind ! '

She paused, and pointed upwards — sculptured there 2155


Three shapes around her ivory throne appear
One was a Giant, like a child asleep
On a loose rock, whose grasp crushed, as it were
In dream, sceptres and crowns and one did keep
;

Its watchful eyes in doubt whether to smile or weep; 2160

L
A Woman sitting on the sculptured disk
Of the broad earth, and feeding from one breast
A human babe and a young basilisk
Her looks were sweet as Heaven's when loveliest
In Autumn eves. The third Image Avas dressed 2165
— —— ;: !

90 THE REVOLT OF ISLAM


In white wings swift as clouds in winter skies;
Beneath his feet, 'mo-ngst ghastliest forms, repi'essed
Lay Faith, an obscene worm, who sought to rise,
While calmly on the Sun he turned his diamond eyes.
LI
Beside that Image then I sate, while she 2170
Stood, mid the throngs which ever ebbed and flowed,
Like light amid the shadows of the sea
Cast from one cloudless star, and on the crowd
That touch which none who feels forgets, bestowed ;

And whilst the sun returned the steadfast gaze 2175


Of the great Image, as o'er Heaven it glode.
That rite had place it ceased when sunset's blaze
;

Burned o'er the isles. All stood in joy and deep amaze —
—"When in the silence of all spirits there
Laone's voice was felt, and through the air 2180
Her thrilling gestures spoke, most eloquently fair:—
1

'Calm yon sunset! swift and strong


art thou as
As new-fledged Eagles, beautiful and young.
That float among the blinding beams of morning
And underneath thy feet writhe Faith, and Folly, 2185
Custom, and Hell, and mortal Melancholy
Hark the Earth starts to hear the mighty warning
!

Of thy voice sublime and holy ;

Its free spirits here assembled,


See thee, feel thee, know thee now, 2190
To thy voice their hearts have trembled
Like ten thousand clouds which flow
With one wide wind as it flies !

Wisdom thy irresistible children rise


!

To hail thee, and the elements they chain 2195


And their own will, to swell the glory of thy train.
2
'O Spirit vast and deep as Night and Heaven!
Mother and soul of all to which is given
The light of life, the loveliness of being,
Lo! thou dost re-ascend the human heart, 2200
Thy throne of power, almighty as thou werfc
In dreams of Poets old grown pale by seeing
The shade of thee :— now, millions start
To feel thy lightnings through them burning
Nature, or God, or Love, or Pleasure, 2205
Or Sympathy the sad tears turning
To mutual smiles, a drainless treasure,
Descends amidst us ;— Scorn, and Hate,
Revenge and Selfishness are desolate—
A hundred nations swear that there shall be 2210
Pitv and Peace and Love, among the good and free
; ! —
:

CANTO V 91

3
Eldest of things, divine Equality !
'

Wisdom and Love are but the slaves of thee,


The Angels of thy sway, who pour around thee
Treasures from all the cells of human thought, 2215
And from the Stars, and from the Ocean brought,
And the last living heart whose beatings bound thee
The powerful and the wise had sought
Thy coming, thou in light descending
O'er the wide land which is thine own 2220
Like the Spring whose breath is blending
All blasts of fragrance into one,
Comest upon the paths of men !

Earth bares her general bosom to thy ken,
And all her children here in glory meet 2225
To feed upon thy smiles, and clasp thy sacred feet.

4
'
My brethren, we are free the plains and mountains,
!

The gray sea-shore, the forestsand the fountains,


. Are haunts of happiest dwellers ;

man and woman,
Their common Dondage
burst, may freely borrow 2230
From lawless love a solace for their sorrow
For oft we still must weep, since we are human.
A
stormy night's serenest morrow,
Whose showers are pity's gentle tears,
Whose clouds are smiles of those that die 2235
Like infants without hopes or fears,
And whose beams are joys that lie
In blended hearts, now holds dominion ;
The dawn of mind, which upwards on a pinion
Borne, swift as sunrise, far illumines space, 2240
And clasps this barren world in its own bright embrace !

5
'
My
brethren, we are free The fruits are glowing
!

Beneath the stars, and the night winds are flowing


O'er the ripe corn, the birds and beasts are dreaming
Never again may blood of bird or beast 2245
Stain with its venomous stream a human feast,
To the pure skies in accusation steaming ;

Avenging poisons shall have ceased


To feed disease and fear and madness,
The dwellers of the earth and air 2250
Shall throng around our steps in gladness
Seeking their food or refuge there.
Our toil from thought all glorious forms shall cull.
To make this Earth, our home, more beautiful,
And Science, and her sister Poesy, 2255
Shall clothe in lisdit the fields and cities of the free
! : !'

92 THE REVOLT OF ISLAM


6
'Victory, Victory to the prostrate nations!
Bear witness Night, and ye mute Constellations
Who gaze on us from your crystalline cars
Thoughts have gone forth whose powers can sleep no more
Victory! Victory! Earth's remotest shore, 2261
Regions which groan beneath the Antarctic stars,
The green lands cradled in the roar
Of western waves, and wildernesses
Peopled and vast, which skirt the oceans 2265
"Where morning dyes her golden tresses,
Shall soon partake our high emotions
Kings shall turn pale Almighty Fear
!

The Fiend-God, when our charmed name he hear,


Shall fade like shadow from his thousand fanes, 2270
!
While Truth with Joy enthroned o'er his lost empire reigns

Ere she had ceased, the mists of night entwining


Their dim woof, floated o'er the infinite throng ;

She, like a spirit through the darkness shining,


In tones wnose sweetness silence did prolong, 2275
As if to lingering winds they did belong,
Poured forth her inmost soul a passionate speech
:

With wild and thrilling pauses woven among.


Which whoso heard, was mute, for it could teach
To rapture like her own all listening hearts to reach. 22 So

Her voice was as a mountain-stream which sweeps


The withered leaves of Autumn to the lake,
And in some deep and narrow bay then sleeps
In the shadow of the shores as dead leaves wake
;

Under the wave, in flowers and herbs which make 2385


Those green depths beautiful when skies are blue,
The multitude so moveless did partake
Such living change, and kindling murmurs flew
As o'er that speechless calm delight and wonder grew.
LIV
Over the plain the throngs were scattered then 2290
In groups around the fires, which from the sea
Even to the gorge of the first mountain-glen
Blazed wide and far the banquet of the free
:

Was spread beneath many a dark cypress-tree,


Beneath whose spires, which swayed in the red flame, 2295
Reclining, as they ate, of Liberty,
And Hope, and Justice, and Laone's name,
Earth's children did a woof of happy converse frame.
2295 fiame] light ed. 1818.

CANTO V 93

Their feast was such as Earth, the general mother,


Pours from her fairest bosom, when she smiles 2300
In the embrace of Autumn —
to each other
;

As when some parent fondly reconciles


Her warring children, she their wrath beguiles
With her own sustenance they relenting weep
; :

Such was this Festival, which from their isles 2305


And continents, and winds, and oceans deep,
All shapes might throng to share, that fly, or walk, or creep,
LVI
Might share in peace and innocence, for gore
Or poison none this festal did pollute,
But piled on high, an overflowing store 2310
Of pomegranates, and citrons, fairest fruit,
Melons, and dates, and figs, and many a root
Sweet and sustaining, and bright grapes ere yet
Accursed fire their mild juice could transmute
Into a mortal bane, and brown corn set 2315
In baskets with pure streams their thirsting lips they wet.
;

LVII
Laone had descended from the shrine,
And every deepest look and holiest mind
Fed on her form, though now those tones divine
Were silent as she passed; she did unwind 2320
Her veil, as with the crowds of her, own kind
She mixed some impulse made my heart refrain
;

From seeking her that night, so I reclined


Amidst a group, where on the utmost plain
A festal watch-fire burned beside the dusky main. 2325
LVIII
And joyous was our feast pathetic talk,
;

And wit, and harmony of choral strains,


Whilefar Orion o'er the waves did walk
That flow among the isles, held us in chains
Of sweet captivity, which none disdains 2330
Who feels but when his zone grew dim in mist
:

Which clothes the Ocean's bosom, o'er the plains


The multitudes went homeward, to their rest,
Which that delightful day with its own shadow blessed.

CANTO VI
1
Beside the dimness of the glimmering sea, 2;
Weaving swift language from impassioned themes,
With that dear friend 1 lingered, who to me
' — !

94 THE REVOLT OF ISLAM


So late had been restored, beneath the gleams
Of the silver stars; and ever in soft dreams
Of future love and peace sweet converse lapped 2340
Our willing fancies, till the pallid beams
Of the last watchfire fell, and darkness wrapped
The waves, and each bright chain of floating fire was snapped :

And till we came even to the City's wall


And the great gate then, none knew whence
; or why,
Disquiet on the multitudes did fall: 2346
And first, one pale and breathless passed us by,
And stared and spoke not ;— then with piercing cry
Atroop of wild-eyed women, by the shrieks
Of their own terror driven,— tumultuously 2350
Hither and thither hurrying with pale cheeks.
Each one from fear unknown a sudden refuge seeks

Then, rallying cries of treason and of danger


Eesounded and—' They come to arms to arms
: ! ! !

The Tyrant is amongst us. and the stranger 2355


Comes to enslave us in his name to arms
!
!

In vain for Panic, the pale fiend who charms


:

Strength to forswear her right, those millions swept


Like waves before the tempest— these alarms
Came to me, as «to know their cause I lept 2360
On the gate's turret, and in rage and grief and scorn I wept

For to the North I saw the town on fire,


And its red light made morning pallid now,
Which burst over wide Asia ;— louder, higher,
The yells of victory and the screams of woe 2365
I heard approach, and saw the throng below
Stream through the gates like foani- wrought waterfalls
Fed from a thousand storms— the fearful glow
Of bombs flares overhead— at intervals
The red artillery's bolt mangling among them falls. 2370

And now the horsemen come— and all was dono



Swifter than I have spoken I beheld
Their red swords flash in the unrisen sun.
I rushed among the rout, to have repelled
That miserable flight— one moment quelled 2375
By voice and looks and eloquent despair,
As if reproach from their own hearts withheld
Their steps, they stood but soon came pouring there
;

New multitudes, and did those rallied bands o'erbear.



CANTO VI 95

VI
I strove, on some cataract
as, drifted 2 3 So
By irresistible streams, some wretch might strive
Who hears its fatal roar:— the files compact
Whelmed me, and from the gate availed to drive
With quickening impulse, as each bolt did rive
Their ranks with bloodier chasm: — into the plain 2385
Disgorged at length the dead and the alive
In one dread mass, were parted, and the stain
Of blood, from mortal steel fell o'er the fields like rain.

For now the despot's bloodhounds with their prey


Unarmed and unaware, were gorging deep 2390
Their gluttony of death the loose array
;

Of horsemen o'er the wide fields murdering sweep,


And with loud laughter for their tyrant reap
A harvest sown with other hopes, the while,
Far overhead, ships from Propontis keep 2395
A killing rain of fire —
when the waves smile
:

As sudden earthquakes light many a volcano-isle,


VIII
Thus sudden, unexpected feast was spread
For the carrion-fowls of Heaven. I saw the sight —
— —
I moved I lived as o'er the heaps of dead, 2400
Whosestony eyes glared in the morning light
I trod me there came no thought of flight,
;— to
But with loud cries of scorn which whoso heard
That dreaded death, felt in his veins the might
Of virtuous shame return, the crowd I stirred, 2405
And desperation's hope in many hearts recurred.

A band of brothers gathering round me, made,


Although unarmed, a steadfast front, and still
Retreating, with stern looks beneath the shade
Of gathered eyebrows, did the victors fill 2410
With doubt even in success ; deliberate will
Inspired our growing troop, not overthrown
It gained the shelter of a grassy hill,
And ever still our comrades were hewn down,
And then: defenceless limbs beneath our footsteps strown.
x
Immovably we stood— in joy I found, 2416
Beside me then, firm as a giant pine
Among the mountain-vapours driven around,
The old man whom I loved his eyes divine —
With a mild look of courage answered mine, 2420
2397 -isle. Bradley, who cps. Marianne's Dream, st. xii. See note, p. 880.
;

96 THE REVOLT OF ISLAM


And my young friend was near, and ardently
His hand grasped mine a moment— now
the line
Of war extended, to our rallying cry
As myriads' flocked in love and brotherhood to die.
XI
For ever while the sun was climbing Heaven 2.425
The horseman hewed our unarmed myriads down
Safely, though when by thirst of carnage driven
Too near, those slaves were swiftly overthrown
By hundreds leaping on them :— flesh and bone
Soon made our ghastly ramparts; then the shaft 2430
Of the artillery from the sea was thrown
More fast and fiery, and the conquerors laughed
In pride to hear the wind our screams of torment waft.
XII
For on one side alone the hill gave shelter,
So vast that phalanx of unconquered men, 2435
Andthere the living in the blood did welter
Of the dead and dying, which, in that green glen,
Like stifled torrents, made a plashy fen
Under the feet— thus was the butchery waged
While the sun clomb Heaven's eastern steep— but when
It 'gan to sink— a fiercer combat raged, 2441
For in more doubtful strife the armies were engaged.
XIII
Within a cave upon the hill were found
Abundle of rude pikes, the instrument
Of those who war but on their native ground 2445
For natural rights a shout of joyance sent
:

Even from our hearts the wide air pierced and rent,
As those few arms the bravest and the best
Seized, and each sixth, thus armed, did now present
A line which covered and sustained the rest, 2450
A confident phalanx, which the foe on every side invest.
XIV
That onset turned the foes to flight almost
But soon they saw their present strength, and knew
That coming night would to our resolute host
Bring victory; so dismounting, close they drew 2455
Their glittering files, and then the combat grew
Unequal but most horrible ;— and ever
Our myriads, whom the swift bolt overthrew,
Or the red sword, failed like a mountain-river
Which rushes forth in foam to sink in sands for ever. 2460
xv
Sorrow and shame, to see with their own kind
Our human brethren mix, like beasts of blood,
To mutual ruin armed by one behind
; : —
; ;

CANTO VI 97

Who sits and scoffs — That friend so mild and good,


!

Who like its shadow near my youth had stood, 2465


Was stabbed —
my old preserver's hoary hair
!

Withthe flesh clinging to its roots, was strewed


Under my feet !— I lost all sense or care,
And like the rest I grew desperate and unaware.
XVI
The became ghastlier— in the midst
battle 2470
I paused, and saw, how ugly and how fell
O Hate thou art, even when thy life thou shedd'st
!

For love. The ground in many a little dell


Was broken, up and down whose steeps befell
Alternate victory and defeat, and there 2475
The combatants with rage most horrible
Strove, and their eyes started with cracking stare,
And impotent their tongues they lolled into the air,

XVII
Flaccid and foamy, like a mad dog's hanging
Want, and Moon-madness, and the pest's swift Bane 2480
When its shafts smite— while yet its bow is twanging
Have each their mark and sign— some ghastly stain
And this was thine, O War! of hate and pain
Thou loathed slave. I saw all shapes of death
And ministered to many, o'er the plain 2485
While carnage in the sunbeam's warmth did seethe,
Till twilight o'er the east wove her serenest wreath.

The few who yet survived, resolute and firm


Around me fought. At the decline of day
Winding above the mountain's snowy term 2490
New banners shone : they quivered in the ray
Of the sun's unse.en orb— ere night the array
Of fresh troops hemmed us in— of those brave bands
I soon survived alone —and now I lay
Vanquished and faint, the grasp of bloody hands 2495
I felt, and saw on high the glare of falling brands

When on my foes a sudden terror came,


And —
they fled, scattering lo with reinless speed
!

A black Tartarian horse of giant frame


Comes trampling over the dead, the living bleed 2500
Beneath the hoofs of that tremendous steed,
On which, like to an Angel, robed in white,
Sate one waving a sword —
the hosts recede
;

And fly, as through their ranks with awful might,


Sweeps in the shadow of eve that Phantom swift and bright

! ;

98 THE REVOLT OF ISLAM

And it's path made a solitude. — I rose 2506


And marked its coming; it relaxed its :course
As it approached me, and the wind that flows
Through night, bore accents to mine ear whose force
Might create smiles in death the Tartar horse — 2510
Paused, and I saw the shape its might which swayed,
And heard her musical pants, like the sweet source
Of waters in the desert, as she said,
'
Mount with me Laon, now '—I rapidly obeyed.
!

XXI
Then Away away she cried, and stretched her sword
:
'
!
!
'

As 'twere a scourge over the courser's head, 2516


And lightly shook the reins. — We
spake no word,
But
like the vapour of the tempest fled
Over the plain her dark hair was dispread
;

Like the pine's locks upon the lingering Mast 2520


Over mine eyes its shadowy strings it spread
Fitfully, and the hills and streams fled fast,
As o'er their glimmering forms the steed's broad shadow passed.

xxn
And his hoofs ground the rocks to fire and dust,
His strong sides made the torrents rise in spray, 2525
And turbulence, as of a whirlwind's gust
Surrounded us ;— and still away away !

Through the desert night we sped, while she alway


Gazed on a mountain which we neared, whose crest,
Crowned with a marble ruin, in the ray 2530
Of the obscure stars gleamed — its rugged breast;

The steed strained up, and then his impulse did arrest.
xxm
A l'ocky hill which overhung the Ocean :

From when the steed that panted


that lone ruin,
Paused, might be heard the murmur of the motion 2535
Of waters,
as in spots for ever haunted
By the choicest winds of Heaven, which are enchanted
To music, by the wand of Solitude,
That wizard wild, and the far tents implanted
Upon the plain, be seen by those who stood 2540
Thence marking the dark shore of Ocean's curved flood.

One moment these were heard and seen— another _

Passed and the two who stood beneath that night,


;

Each only heard, or saw, or felt the other ;

As from the lofty steed she did alight, 2545


Cythna, (for, from the eyes whose deepest light
: ; —

CANTO VI 99

love and sadness made my lips feel pale


Of
With influence strange of mournfullest delight,
My own sweet Cythna looked), with joy did quail,
And felt her strength in tears of human weakness fail. 2550
xxv
And for a space in my embrace she rested,
Her head on my unquiet heart reposing,
While my faint arms her languid frame invested
At length she looked on me, and half unclosing
Her tremulous lips, said Friend, thy bands were losing
:
'

The battle, as I stood before the King 2556


In bonds. — I burst them then, and swiftly choosing
The time, did seize a Tartar's sword, and spring
Upon his horse, and, swift as on the whirlwind's wing,
XXVI
i
Have thou and I been borne beyond pursuer, 2560
And we are here.' — Then turning to the steed,
She pressed the white moon on his front with pure
And rose-like lips, and many a fragrant weed
From the green ruin plucked, that he might feed ;

ButI to a stone seat that Maiden led, 2565


And kissing her fair eyes, said, 'Thou hast need
Of rest,' and I heaped up the courser's bed
In a green mossy nook, with mountain-flowers dispread.
XXVII
Within that ruin, where a shattered portal
Looks to the eastern stars, abandoned now 2570
By man, to be the home of things immortal,
Memories, like awful ghosts which come and go,
And must inherit all ne builds below,
When he is gone, a hall stood o'er whose roof
;

Fair clinging weeds with ivy pale did grow, 2575


Clasping gray rents with a verdurous woof,
its
A hanging dome of leaves, a canopy moon-proof.
XXVIII
The autumnal winds, as if spell-bound, had made
A
natural couch of leaves in that recess,
Which seasons none disturbed, but, in the shade 3580
Of flowering parasites, did Spring love to dress
With their sweet blooms the wintry loneliness
Of those dead leaves, shedding their stars, whene'er
The wandering wind her nurslings might caress
Whose intertwining fingers ever there 2585
Made music wild and soft that filled the listening air.
XXIX
We know not where we go, or what sweet dream
May pilot us through caverns strange and fair
Of far and pathless passion, while the stream
— ;

100 THE REVOLT OF ISLAM


Of
life, our bark doth on its whirlpools bear, 2590
Spreading swift wings as sails to the dim air
Nor should we seek to know, so the devotion
Of love and gentle thoughts be heard still there
Louder and louder from the utmost Ocean
Of universal life, attuning its commotion. 2595

To the pure all things are pure Oblivion wrapped


!

Our spirits, and the fearful overthrow


Of public hope was from our being snapped,
Though Linked years had bound it there for now ;

A power, a knowledge, which below


thirst, a 2600
All thoughts, like light beyond the atmosphere,
Clothing its clouds with grace, doth ever flow,
Came on us, as we sate in silence there,
Beneath the golden stars of the clear azure ah :

In silence which doth follow talk that causes 2605


The baffled heart to speak with sighs and tears,
Whenwildering passion swalloweth up the pauses
Of inexpressive speech :— the youthful years
Which we together passed, their hopes and fears,
The blood itself which ran within our frames, 2610
That likeness of the features which endears
The thoughts expressed by them, our very names,
And all the winged hours which speechless memory claims,
XXXII
Had found a voice — and ere that voice did pass,
The night grew damp and dim, and through a rent 2615
Of the ruin where we sate, from the morass,
A wandering Meteor by some wild wind sent,
Hung high in the green dome, to which it lent
A faint and pallid lustre while the song
;

Of blasts, in which its blue hair quivering bent, 2630


Strewed strangest sounds the moving leaves among;
A wondrous light, the sound as of a spirit's tongue.
XXXIII
The Meteor showed the leaves on which we sate,
And Cythna's glowing arms, and the thick ties
Of her soft hair, which bent with gathered weight 2625
Mv neck near hers, her dark and deepening eyes,
Which, as twin phantoms of one star that lies
dim well, move, though the star reposes,
O'er a
Swam in our mute and liquid ecstasies,
Her marble brow, and eager lips, like roses, 2630
With then own fragrance pale, which Spring but half
uncloses.
:

CANTO VI 101

xxxrv
The Meteor to its far morass returned
The beating of our veins one interval
Made still; and then I felt the blood that burned
Within her frame, mingle with mine, and fall 2635
Around my heart like hre and over all ;

A mist was spread, the sickness of a deep


And speechless swoon of joy, as might befall
Two disunited spirits when they leap
In union from this earth's obscure and fading sleep. 2640

xxxv
Was it one moment
that confounded thus
All thought, all sense, all feeling, into one
Unutterable power, which shielded us
Even from our own cold looks, when we had gone
Into a wide and wild oblivion 2645
Of tumult and of tenderness? or now
Had ages, such as make the moon and sun,
The seasons, and mankind their changes know,
Left fear and time unfelt by us alone below?

Iknow not. What are kisses whose fire clasps 2650


The failing heart in languishment, or limb
Twined within limb? or the quick dying gasps
Of the life meeting, when the faint eyes swim
Through tears of a wide mist boundless and dim,
In one caress? What is the strong control 2655
Which leads the heart that dizzy steep to climb,
Where far over the world those vapours roll.
Winch blend two restless frames in one reposing soul?
XXXVII
It is the shadow which doth float unseen,
But not
unfelt, o'er blind mortality, 2660
Whose divine darkness fled not, from that green
And lone recess, where lapped in peace did lie
Our linked frames till, from the changing sky,
That night and still another day had fled ;

And then I saw and felt. The moon was high, 2665
And clouds, as of a coming storm, were spread

Under its orb, loud winds were gathering overhead.

XXXVIII
Cythna's sweet lips seemed lurid in the moon,
Her fairest limbs with the night wind were chill,
And her dark tresses were all loosely strewn 2670
O'er her pale bosom —
all within was still,
:

And the sweet peace of joy did almost fill



102 THE REVOLT OF ISLAM
of her unfathomable look ;—
The depth
And we though that rocky hill,
sate calmly,
The waves contending in its caverns strook, 3675
For they foreknew the storm, and the gray ruin shook.
XXXIX
There we unheeding sate, in the communion
Of interchanged vows, which, with a rite
Of faith most sweet and sacred, stamped our union.
Few were the living hearts which could unite 2680
Like ours, or celebrate a bridal-night
With such close sympathies, for they had sprung
From linked youth, and from the gentle might
Of earliest love, delayed and cherished long,
Which common hopes and fears made, like a tempest, strong.
XL
And such Nature's law divine, that those
is 2686
Who grow together cannot choose but love,
If faith or custom do not interpose,
Or common slavery mar what else might move
All gentlest thoughts as in the sacred grove
; 2690
Which shades the springs of Ethiopian Nile,
That living tree, which, if the arrowy dove
Strike with her shadow, shrinks in fear awhile,
But its own kindred leaves clasps while the sunbeams smile ;

XLI
And clings to them, when darkness may dissever 2695
The close caresses of all duller plants
Which bloom on the wide earth— thus we for ever
Were linked, for love had nursed us in the haunts
Where knowledge, from its secret source enchants
Young hearts with the fresh music of its springing, 2700
Ere yet its gathered flood feeds human wants,
As the great Nile feeds Egypt ever flinging;

Light on the woven boughs which o'er its waves are swinging.
XLII
The tones of Cythna's voice like echoes were
Of those far murmuring streams they rose and
;
fell,
Mixed with mine own in the tempestuous air,— 2706
Ajnd so we sate, until our talk befell
Of the late ruin, swift and horrible,
And how those seeds of hope might yet be sown,
Whose fruit is evil's mortal poison: well, 2710
For us, this ruin made a watch-tower lone,
But Cythna's eyes looked faint, and now two days were gone
XLIII
Since she had food :— therefore I did awaken
The Tartar steed, who, from his ebon mane
Soon as the clinging slumbers he had shaken, 2715
CANTO VI 103

Bent his thinhead to seek the brazen rein,


Following me obediently with pain
;

Of heart, so deep and dread, that one caress,


When lips and heart refuse to part again
Till they have told their fill, could scarce express 2720
The anguish of her mute and fearful tenderness,
XLIV
Cythna beheld me part, as I bestrode
That willing steed— the tempest and the night,
Which gave my path I rode
its safety as
Down the ravine of rocks, did soon unite 2725
The darkness and the tumult of their might
Borne on all winds.— Far through the streaming rain
Floating at intervals the garments white
Of Cythna gleamed, and her voice once again
Came to me on the gust, and soon I reached the plain. 2730
XLV
I dreaded not the tempest, nor did he
Who bore me, but his eyeballs wide and red
Turned on the lightning's cleft exultingly ;

And when the earth beneath his tameless tread,


Shook with the sullen thunder, he would spread 2735
His nostrils to the blast, and joyously
Mock the fierce peal with neighings ;— thus we sped
O'er the lit plain, and soon I could descry
Where Death and Fire had gorged the spoil of victory.
XLVI
There was a desolate village in a wood 2740
Whose bloom-inwoven leaves now scattering fed
The hungry storm it was a place of blood,
;

A heap of hearthless walls ;— the flames were dead


Within those dwellings now,— the life had fled
From all those corpses now,— but the wide sky 2745
Flooded with lightning was ribbed overhead
By the black rafters, and around did lie
Women, and babes, and men, slaughtered confusedly.
XL VII
Beside the fountain in the market-place
Dismounting, I beheld those corpses stare 2750
With horny eyes upon each other s face,
And on the earth and on the vacant air,
And upon me, close to the waters where
I stooped to slake my thirst ;— I shrank to taste,
For the salt bitterness of blood was there; 2755
But tied the steed beside, and sought in haste
If any yet survived amid that ghastly waste.
! : — — ' —'

104 THE REVOLT OF ISLAM


XLVIII
No living thing was there beside one woman,
WhomI found wandering in the streets, and she
Was withered from a likeness of aught human 2760
Into a fiend, by some strange misery
Soon as she heard my
steps she leaped on me,
And
glued her burning lips to mine, and laughed
With a loud, long, and frantic laugh of glee,
And cried, Now, Mortal, thou hast deeply quaffed 2765
'

The Plague's blue kisses— soon millions shall pledge the


draught
XLIX
'
My name Pestilence— this bosom dry,
is

Once fed two babes a sister and a brother—
When I came home, one in the blood did lie
Of three death-wounds— the flames had ate the other!
Since then I have no longer been a mother, 2771
But I am —hither
and thither
Pestilence ;

I flit about, that I may


slay and smother :

All lips which I have kissed must surely wither,


But Death's— if thou art he, we'll go to work together ! 2775

L
' What seek'st thou here ? The moonlight comes in flashes,
The dew is rising dankly from the dell
'Twill moisten her ! and thou shalt see the gashes
In my
sweet boy, now full of worms— but tell
First what thou seek'st.'—' I seek for food.'—' 'Tis well,
Thou shalt have food; Famine, paramour, my 2781
Waits for us at the feast— cruel and fell
Is Famine, but he drives not from his door
Those whom these lips have kissed, alone. No more, no more !
LI
As thus she spake, she grasped me with the strength 2785
Of madness, and by many a ruined hearth
She led, and over many a corpse at length :

Wecame to a lone hut where on the earth
Which made its floor, she in her ghastly mirth
Gathering from all those homes now desolate, 2790
Had piled three heaps of loaves, making a dearth
Among the dead— round which she set in state
A ring of cold, stiff babes silent and stark they sate.
;

LII
She leaped upon a pile, and lifted high
Her mad
looks to the lightning, and cried: 'Eat! 2795
Share the great feast— to-morrow we must die !

And then she spurned the loaves with her pale feet,
Towards her bloodless guests ;— that sight to meet,
; : ;

CANTO VI 105

Mine eyes and my heart ached, and but that she


Who loved me, did with absent looks defeat 2800
Despair, I might have raved in sympathy
But now I took the food that woman offered me
LIII
And vainly having with her madness striven
If I might win ner to return with me,
Departed. In the eastern beams of Heaven 2805
The Hghtning now grew pallid— rapidly,
As by the shore of the tempestuous sea
The dark steed bore me, and the mountain gray
Soon echoed to his hoofs, and I could see
Cythna among the rocks, where she alway 2810
Had sate, with anxious eyes fixed on the lingering day.
LIV
And joy was ours to meet she was most pale,
:

Famished, and wet and weary, so I cast


My arms around her, lest her steps should fail
As to our home we went, and thus embraced, 2815
Her full heart seemed a deeper joy to taste
Than e'er the prosperous know the steed behind
;

Trod peacefully along the mountain waste


"We reached our home ere morning could unbind
Night's latest veil, and on our bridal-couch reclined. 2820
LV
Pier chilled heart having cherished in my
bosom,
And sweetest kisses past, we two did share
Our peaceful meal:— as an autumnal blossom
Which spreads its shrunk leaves in the sunny air,
After cold showers, like rainbows woven there, 2825
Thus in her lips and cheeks the vital spirit
Mantled, and in her eyes, an atmosphere
Of health, and hope and sorrow languished near it,
;

And fear, and all that dark despondence doth inherit.

CANTO VII

So we sate joyous as themorning ray 2830


Which fed upon the wrecks of night and storm
Now lingering on the winds ; light airs did play
Among the dewy weeds, the sun was warm,
And we sate linked in the inwoven charm
Of converse and caresses sweet and deep, 2835
Speechless caresses, talk that might disarm
Time, though he wield the darts of death and sleep,
And those thrice mortal barbs in his own poison steep.
106 THE REVOLT OF ISLAM

I told her of my sufferings and my madness,


And how, awakened from that dreamy mood 2840
By Liberty's uprise, the strength of gladness
Came to my spirit in my solitude ;

And all that now I was— while tears pursued


Each other down her fair and listening cheek
Fast as the thoughts which fed them, like a flood 2845
From sunbright dales and when I ceased to speak,
;

Her accents soft and sweet the pausing air did wake.

She told me a strange tale of strange endurance,


Like broken memories of many a heart
Woven into one to which no firm assurance,
; 2C50
So wild were they, could her own faith impart.
She said that not a tear did dare to start
From the swoln brain, and that her thoughts were firm
When from all mortal hope she did depart,
Borne by those slaves across the Ocean's term,_ 2855
And that she reached the port without one fear infirm.

IV
One was she among many there, the thralls
Of the cold Tyrant's cruel lust and they:

Laughed mournfully in those polluted halls ;

But she was calm and sad, musing alway 2860


On loftiest enterprise, till on a day
The Tyrant heard lier singing to her lute
A wild, and sad, and spirit-thrilling lay,
Like winds that die in wastes— one moment mute
The evil thoughts it made, which did his breast pollute. 2865

v
Even when he saw her wondrous loveliness,
One moment to great Nature's sacred power
He bent, and was no longer passionless ;

But when he bade her to his secret bower


Be borne, a loveless victim, and she tore 2870
Her locks in agony, and her words of flame
And mightier looks availed not ; then he bore
Again his load of slavery, and became
A king, a heartless beast, a pageant and a name.
VI
She told me what a loathsome agony 2875
Is that when selfishness mocks love's delight,
Foul as in dream's most fearful imagery
To dally with the mowing dead— that night
All torture, fear, or horror made seem light
2877 dreams ed. 1818.
: —
; :

CANTO VII 107

Which the soul dreams or knows, and when the day 2S80
Shone on her awful frenzy, from the sight
Where like a Spirit in fleshly chains she lay
Struggling, aghast and pale the Tyrant fled away.
VII
Her madness was a beam of light, a power 2884
Which dawned through the rent soul; and words it gave,
Gestures, and looks, such as in whirlwinds bore
Which might not be withstood — whence none could save-
All who approached their sphere, — like some calm wave
Vexed into whirlpools by the chasms beneath
And sympathy made each attendant slave 2890
Fearless and free, and they began to breathe
Deep curses, like the voice of flames far underneath.
VIII
The King felt pale upon his noonday throne
At night two slaves he to her chamber sent,
One was a green and wrinkled eunuch, grown 2895
From human shape into an instrument
Of all things ill— distorted, bowed and bent.
The other was a wretch from infancy
Made dumb by poison who nought knew or meant
;

But to obey from the fire-isles came he,


: 2900
A diver lean and strong, of Oman's coral sea.
IX
They bore her to a bark, and the swift stroke
Of silent rowers clove the blue moonlight seas,
Until upon their path the morning broke ;

They anchored then, where, be there calm or breeze, 2905


The gloomiest of the drear Symplegades
Shakes with the sleepless surge ;— the Ethiop there
Wound his long arms around her, and with knees
Like iron clasped her feet, and plunged with her
Among the closing waves out of the boundless air. 2910
x
'Swift as an eagle stooping from the plain
Of morning light, into some shadowy wood,
He plunged through the green silence of the main,
Through many a cavern which the eternal flood
Had scooped, as dark lairs for its monster brood; 2915
And among mighty shapes which fled in wonder,
And among mightier shadows which pursued
Flis heels, he wound until the dark rocks under
:

He touched a golden chain— a sound arose like thunder.


XI
'A stunning clang of massive bolts redoubling 2920
Beneath the deep— a burst of waters driven
As from the roots of the sea, raging and bubbling
:

108 THE REVOLT OF ISLAM


And in that roof of crags a space "was riven
Through which there shone the emerald beams of heaven,
Shot through the lines of many waves inwoven, 2925
Like sunlight through acacia woods at even,
Through which, his way the diver having cloven,
Passed like a spark sent up out of a burning oven.

XII
'
And he laid me in a cave
then,' she said, '

Above the waters, by that chasm of sea, 2930


A fountain round and vast, in which the wave
Imprisoned, boiled and leaped perpetually,
Down which, one moment resting, he did flee,
Winning the adverse depth that spacious cell
;

Like an hupaithric temple wide and high, 2935


Whose aery dome is inaccessible,
Was pierced "with one round cleft through which the sun-
oeams fell.

XIII
Below, the fountain's brink was richly paven
1

With the deep's wealth, coral, and pearl, and sand


Like spangling gold, and purple shells engraven 2940
With mystic legends by no mortal hand.
Left there, when thronging to the moon's command,
The gathering waves rent the Hesperian gate
Of mountains, and on such bright floor did stand
Columns, and shapes like statues, and the state 2945
Of kingless thrones, which Earth did in her heart create.
XIV
'
The madness which had made its prey
fiend of
my poor heart, was lulled to sleep awhile
Of
There was an interval of many a day,
And a sea-eagle brought me food the while, 2950
Whose nest was built in that untrodden isle,
And who, to be the gaoler had been taught
Of that strange dungeon as a friend whose smile
;

Like light and rest at morn and even is sought 2954


That wild bird was to me, till madness misery brought.
xv
* The misery of a madness slow and creeping,
Which made the earth seem fire, the sea seem air,
And
the white clouds of noon which oft were sleeping,
In the blue heaven so beautiful and fair,
Like hosts of ghastly shadows hovering there; 2960
Ajid the sea-eagle looked a fiend, who boi-e
Thy mangled limbs for food!— Thus all things wero
Transformed into the agony which I wore
Even as a poisoned robe around my bosom's core.
—— ——
; ; ; ; : :

CANTO VII 109

*Again I knew the day and night fast fleeing, 2965


The eagle, and the fountain, and the air
Another frenzy came — there seemed a being
Within me— a strange load my heart did bear,'
As if some living thing had made its lair
Even in the fountains of my life :— a long 2970
And wondrous vision wrought from my despair,
Then grew, like sweet reality among
Dim visionary woes, an unreposing throng.

XVII
'Methought I was about to be a mother
Month after month went by, and still I dreamed 2975
That we should soon be all to one another,
I and my child and still new pulses seemed
;

To beat beside my heart, and still I deemed


There was a babe within— and, when the rain
Of winter through the rifted cavern streamed, 2980
Methought, after a lapse of lingering pain,
I saw that lovely shape, which near my heart had lain.

XVIII
(
It was a babe, beautiful from its birth,
It was like thee, dear love, its eyes were thine,
Its brow, its lips, and so upon the earth 2985
It laid its fingers, as now rest on mine
Thine own, beloved !
— 'twas a dream divine
to remember how it fled, how swift,
Even
How
utterly, might make the heart repine,

Though 'twas a dream.' Then Cythna did uplift 2990
Her looks on mine, as if some doubt she sought to shift
XIX
A doubt which would not flee, a tenderness
Of questioning grief, a source of thronging tears
Which having passed, as one whom sobs oppress
She spoke: 'Yes, in the wilderness of years 2995
Her memory, aye, like a green home appears
She sucked her fill even at this breast, sweet love,
For many months. I had no mortal fears
Methought I felt her lips and breath approve,
It was a human thing which to my bosom clove. 3 000

xx
'
I watched the dawn of her first smiles, and soon
When zenith-stars were trembling on the wave,
Or when the beams of the invisible moon,
Or sun, from many a prism within the cave
Then- gem-born shadows to the water gave, 3°°5
2994 opprest eel. 1S18.
: —
:

110 THE REVOLT OF ISLAM


Her looks would hunt them, and with outspread hand.
From the swift lights which might that fountain pave,
She would mark one. and laugh, when that command
Slighting, it lingered there, and could not understand.
XXI
'Methought her looks began to talk with me; 3010
And no articulate sounds, but something sweet

Her lips would frame, so sweet it could not be,
That it was meaningless her touch would meet
;

Mine, and our pulses calmly flow and beat


In response while we slept; and on a day 3015
When I was happiest
in that strange retreat,
With heaps of golden shells we two did play,
Both infants, weaving wings for time's perpetual way.
XXII
'Ere night, methought, her waning eyes were grown
Weary with joy, and tired with our delight, 3020
We, on the earth, like sister twins lay down
On one fair mother's bosom :— from that night
She fled — like those illusions clear and bright,
;

Which dwell in lakes, when the red moon on high


Pause ere it wakens tempest;— and her flight, 3025
Though 'twas the death of brainless fantasy,
Yet smote my lonesome heart more than all misery.
XXIII
seemed that in the dreary night, the diver
'It
Who brought me thither, came again, and bore
My child away. I saw the waters quiver, 3030
When he so swiftly sunk, as once before
Then morning came— it shone even as of yore,
But I was changed— the very life was gone

Out of my heart I wasted more and more,
Day after day, and sitting there alone, 3035
Vexed the inconstant waves with my perpetual moan.
XXIV
'I was no longer mad, and yet methought
My breasts Avere swoln and changed :— in every vein
The blood stood still one moment, while that thought
Was passing —with a gush of sickening pain 3040
It ebbed even to its withered springs again
When my wan eyes in stern resolve I turned
From that most strange delusion, which would fain
Have waked the dream for which my spirit yearned
With more than human love, — then left it unre turned. 3045
xxv
'So now my reason was restored to me
I struggled with that dream, which, like a beast
Most fierce and beauteous, in my memory

; : ;; ; ;

CANTO VII 111

Had made its lair, and on my heart did feast


But that cave and all its shapes, possessed
all 3050
By thoughts which could not fade, renewed each one
Some smile, some look, some gesture which had blessed
Me heretofore I, sitting there alone,
:

Vexed the inconstant waves with my perpetual moan.

xxvi
Time passed, I know not whether months or years
4

For day, nor night, nor change of seasons made 3056


Its note, but thoughts and unavailing tears
And I became at last even as a shade,
A smoke, a cloud on which the winds have preyed,
Till it be thin as air ; until, one even, 3060
A Nautilus upon the fountain played,
Spreading his azure sail where breath of Heaven _

Descended not, among the waves and whirlpools driven.

XXVII
'And, when the Eagle came, that lovely thing,
Oaring with rosy feet its silver boat, 3065
Fled near me as for shelter on slow wing,
;

The Eagle, hovering o'er his prey did float


But when he saw that I with fear did note
His purpose, proffering my own food to him,
The eager plumes subsided on his throat 3070
He came where that bright child of sea did swim,
And o'er it cast in peace his shadow broad and dim.
XXVIII
* This wakened me, gave me human strength
it ;

And hope, I know not whence or wherefore, rose,


But I resumed my ancient powers at length 3075
My spirit felt again like one of those
Like thine, whose fate it is to make the woes
Of humankind their prey— what was this cave?
Its deep foundation no firm purpose knows
Immutable, resistless, strong to save, 3080
Like mind while yet it mocks the all-devouring grave.

XXIX
'And where was Laon? might my heart be dead,
While that far dearer heart could move and be?
Or whilst over the earth the pall was spread,
Which I had sworn to rend? I might be free, 3085
Could I but win that friendly bird to me,
To bring me ropes and long in vain I sought
;

By intercourse of mutual imagery


Of objects, if such aid he could be taught
But fruit, and flowers, and boughs, yet never ropes he brought.
— ; ;: : 5

112 THE REVOLT OF ISLAM


XXX
'We live in our own world, and mine was made 3091
Fromglorious fantasies of hope departed
Aye weare darkened with their floating shade,
Or cast a lustre on them— time imparted
Such power to me—
I became fearless-hearted, 3095
My
eye and voice grew firm, calm was my mind,
And piercing, like the morn, now it has darted
Its lustre on all hidden things, behind
Yon dim and fading clouds which load the weary wind.
XXXI
'My mind became the book through which I grew 3100
Wise in all human wisdom, and its cave,
Which like a mine I rifled through and through,
To me the keeping of its secrets gave
One mind, the type of all, the moveless wave
Whose calm reflects all moving things that are, 3105
Necessity, and love, and life, the grave,
And sympathy, fountains of hope and fear
Justice, and truth, and time, and the world's natural sphere.

'And on the sand would I make signs to range


These woofs, as they were woven, of my thought ; 311°
whose smallest change
Clear, elemental shapes,
A subtler language within language wrought
The key of truths which once were dimly taught
In old Crotona ;
— and sweet melodies
Of love, in that lorn solitude I caught 3 1 1
From mine own voice in dream, when thy dear eyes
Shone through my sleep, and did that utterance harmonize.

XXXIII
'Thy songs were winds whereon I fled at will,
As in a winged chariot, o'er the plain
Of crystal youth and thou wert there to
; fill 3 I2 °
My
heart with joy, and there we sate again
On the gray margin of the glimmering main,
Happy as then but wiser far, for we
Smiled on the flowery grave in which were lain
Fear, Faith, and Slavery; and mankind was free, 3125
Equal, and pure, and wise, in Wisdom's prophecy.
XXXIV
'For to my will my fancies were as slaves
To do their sweet and subtile ministries
And oft from that bright fountain's shadowy waves
They would make human throngs gather and rise 3130
To combat with my overflowing eyes,
3 1 15 lone solitude ed. ISIS.
: — —
;

CANTO VII 113

And —
voice made deep with passion thus I grew
Familiar with the shock and the surprise
And war of earthly minds, from which I drew
The power which has been mine to frame their thoughts
anew.
xxxv
'And thus my prison was the populous earth 3136
Where 1 saw— even as misery dreams of morn
Before the east has given its glory birth
Religion's pomp made
desolate by the scorn
Of Wisdom's faintest smile, and thrones uptorn, 3140
And dwellings of mild people interspersed
With undivided fields of ripening corn,

And love made free, a hope which we have nursed
Even with our blood and tears,— until its glory burst.
xxxvi
'All not lost! There is some recompense
is 3145
For hope whose fountain can be thus profound,
Even throned Evil's splendid impotence,
Girt by its hell of power, the secret sound

Of hymns to truth and freedom the dread bound
Of life and death passed fearlessly and well, 3150
Dungeons wherein the high resolve is found,
Racks which degraded woman's greatness tell,
And what may else be good and irresistible.
XXXVII
'
Such are the thoughts which, like the fires that flare
In storm-encompassed isles, we cherish yet 3155
In this dark ruin— such were mine even there
As in its sleep some odorous violet.
While yet its leaves with nightly dews are wet,
Breathes in prophetic dreams of day's uprise,
Or, as ere Scythian frost in fear has met 3160
Spring's messengers descending from the skies,

The buds foreknow their life this hope must ever rise.
XXXVIII
'
So years had passed, when sudden earthquake rent
The depth of ocean, and the cavern cracked
With sound, as if the world's wide continent 3165
Had fallen in universal ruin wracked
And through the cleft streamed in one cataract
The stifling waters— when I woke, the flood
Whose banded waves that crystal cave had sacked
Was ebbing round me, and my bright abode 3 7° T

Before me yawned— a chasm desert, and bare, and broad.


XXXIX
'Above me was
the sky, beneath the sea:
I stood upon a point of shattered stone,
And heard loose rocks rushing tumultuously
—— "

114 THE REVOLT OF ISLAM


With splash and shock into the deep— anon 3175
All ceased, and there "was silence wide and lone.
I felt that I was free The Ocean-spray
!

Quivered beneath my feet, the broad Heaven shone


Around, and in my hair the winds did play
Lingering as they pursued their unimpeded way. 3180
XL
'My moved upon the sea like wind
spirit
Which round some thymy cape will lag and hover,
Though it can wake the still cloud, and unbind
The strength of tempest day was almost over,
:

When through the 'fading light I could discover 3185


A ship approaching— its Avhite sails were fed
With the north wind— its moving shade did cover
The twilight deep ;— the Mariners in dread
Cast anchor when they saw new rocks around them spread.
XLI
'And when they saw one sitting on a crag, 3190
They sent a boat to me ;— the Sailors rowed
In awe through many a new and fearful jag
Of overhanging rock, through which there flowed
The foam of streams that cannot make abode.
They came and questioned me, but when they heard 3195
My voice, they became silent, and they stood
And moved as men in whom new love had stirred
Deep thoughts : so to the ship we passed without a word.

CANTO VIII
1
'I sate beside the Steersman then, and gazing
Upon the -west, cried, "Spread the sails! Behold! 3200
The sinking moon is like a watch-tower blazing
Over the mountains yet ;— the City of Gold
Yon Cape alone does from the sight withhold;
The stream fleet— the north breathes steadily
is
Beneath thestars, they tremble with the cold! 3205
Ye cannot rest upon the dreary sea !

Haste, haste to the warm home of happier destiny


!

11
'The Mariners obeyed— the Captain stood
Aloof, and, whispering to the Pilot, said,
"Alas, alas! I fear we are pursued 3210
By wicked ghosts a Phantom of the Dead,
:

The night before we sailed, came to my bed


In dream, like that!"_ The Pilot then replied,
"It cannot be— she is a human Maid
Her low voice makes you weep— she is some bride, 3215
Or daughter of high birth— she can be nought beside."
: — ; ; ! !

CANTO VIII 115

'
We passed the islets, borne by wind and stream,
And as we sailed, the Mariners came near
And thronged around to listen ;— in the gleam
Of the pale moon I stood, as one whom fear 3220
May not attaint, and my calm voice did rear
"Ye all are human— yon broad moon gives light
To millions who the selfsame likeness wear,

Even while I speak beneath this very night, 3224
Their thoughts flow on like ours, in sadness or delight.

IV
'"What dream ye? Your own hands have built an home,
Even for yourselves on a beloved shore
For some, fond eyes are pining till they come,
How
they will greet hmi when his toils are o'er, 3229
And laughing babes rush from the well-known door
Is this your care? ye toil for your own good
Ye feel and think— has some immortal power
Such purposes? or in a human mood,
Dream ye some Power thus builds for man in solitude?

'"What is that Power? Ye mock yourselves, and give


A human heart to what ye cannot know: 3236
As. if the cause of life could think and live!
'Twere as if man's own works should feel, and show
The hopes, and fears, and thoughts from which they flow,
And he Be like to them! Lo Plague is free ! 3240
To waste, Blight, Poison, Earthquake, Hail, and Snow,
Disease, and Want, and worse Necessity
Of hate and ill, and Pride, and Fear, and Tyranny

'
What is that Power ? Some moon-struck sophist stood
"
Watching the shade from his own soul upthrown 3245
Fill Heaven and darken Earth, and in such mood
The Form he saw and worshipped was his own,
His likeness in the world's vast mirror shown
And 'twere an innocent dream, but that a faith
Nursed by fear's dew of poison, grows thereon, 3250
And that men say, that Power has chosen Death
On all who scorn its laws, to wreak immortal wrath.

*
Men say that they themselves have heard and seen,
"
Or known from others who have known such things,
A Shade, a Form, which Earth and Heaven between 3255
Wields an invisible rod — that Priests and Kings,
Custom, domestic sway, ay, all that brings
— —
! ;

116 THE REVOLT OF ISLAM


Man's freeborn soul beneath the oppressor's heel,
Are his strong ministers, and that the stings
Of death will make the wise his vengeance feel, 3260
Though truth and virtue arm their hearts with tenfold steel.

VIII
'
" And it is said, this Power will punish wrong
Yes, add despair to crime, and pain to pain
And deepest hell, and deathless snakes among,
Will bind the wretch on whom is fixed a stain, 3265
Which, like a plague, a burden, and a bane,
to him while he lived ;— for love and hate,
Clung
Virtue and vice, they say are difference vain
The will of strength is right— this human state
Tyrants, that they may rule, with lies thus desolate. 3270
IX
' " Alas, what strength ? Opinion is more frail
Than yon dim cloud now fading on the moon
EA en while we
r
gaze, though it awhile avail
To hide the orb of truth— and every throne
Of Earth or Heaven, though shadow, rests thereon, 3275
One shape of many names — for this ye plough :

The barren waves of ocean, hence each one


Is slave or tyrant all betray and bow,
;

Command, or kill, or fear, or wreak, or suffer woe.


x
'"Its names are each a sign which maketh holy 3280
All power— ay, the ghost, the dream, the shade
Of power— lust, falsehood, hate, and pride, and folly ;

The pattern whence all fraud and wrong is made,


A law to which mankind has been betrayed ;

And human love, is as the name well known 3285


Of a dear mother, whom the murderer laid
In bloody grave, and into darkness thrown,
Gathered her wildered babes around him as his own.
XI
'
" O
Love, who to the hearts of wandering men
Art as the calm to Ocean's weary waves! 3290
Justice, or Truth, or Joy those only can !

From slavery and religion's labyrinth caves


Guide us, as one clear star the seaman saves.
To give to all an equal share of good,
To track the steps of Freedom, though through graves
She pass, to suffer all in patient mood, 3296
To weep for crime, though stained with thy friend's dearest
blood,
XII
'"To feel the peace of self-contentment's lot,
To own all sympathies, and outrage none,
And in the inmost bowers of sense and thought, 3300
; — — ; ; 5

CANTO VIII 117

Until life's sunny day is quite gone down,


To sit and smile with Joy, or, not alone,
To kiss salt tears from the worn cheek of Woe
To live, as if to love and live were one,
This is not faith or law, nor those who bow 3 3°

To thrones on Heaven or Earth, such destiny may know.

'
But children near their parents tremble now,
"
Because they must obey— one rules another,
And as one Power rules both high and low,
So man is made the captive of his brother, 3310
And Hate is throned on high with Fear her mother,
Above the Highest— and those fountain-cells,
Whence love yet flowed when faith had choked all other,
Are darkened—Woman as the bond-slave dwells
Of man, a slave and life is poisoned in its wells.
;
3315

XIV
'"Man seeks for gold in mines, that he may weave
A
lasting chain for his own slavery ;—
In fear and restless care that he may live
He toils for others, who must ever be
The joyless thralls of like captivity ;
3320
He murders, for his chiefs delight in ruin
He builds the altar, that its idol's fee
May be his very blood he is pursuing—;

0, blind and willing wretch! -his own obscure undoing.

'"Woman!— she is his slave, she has become 3 325

A
thing I weep to speak— the child of scorn,
The outcast of a desolated home
Falsehood, and fear, and toil, like waves have worn
Channels upon her cheek, which smiles adorn,
As calm decks the false Ocean :— well ye know 323°
What Woman is, for none of Woman born,
Can choose but drain the bitter dregs of woe,
Which ever from the oppressed to the oppressors flow.

xvr
'
" This need not beye might arise, and will
;

That gold should lose its power, and thrones then* glory ;

That love, which none may bind, be free to fill 333 6


The world, like light and evil faith, grown hoary
;

With crime, be quenched and die.— Yon promontory


Even now eclipses the descending moon !—
Dungeons and palaces are transitory 3 34°
High temples fade like vapour— Man alone
Bemains, whose will has power when all beside is gone.
— —— ;

118 THE REVOLT OF ISLAM


XVII
'
" Let all be free and equal — From your hearts
!

I feel an echo ; through my inmost frame


Like sweetest sound, seeking its mate, it darts 3345
Whence come ye, friends? Alas, I cannot name
All that I read of sorrow, toil, and shame,
On your wornfaces; as in legends old
Which make immortal the disastrous fame
Of conquerors and impostors false and bold, 3350
The discord of your hearts, I in your looks behold.
XVIII
"'Whence come from pouring human blood
ye, friends'?
Forth on the earth? Or bring ye steel and gold,
That Kings may dupe and slay the multitude?
Or from the famished poor, pale, weak, and cold, 3355
Bear ye the earnings of their toil ? Unfold !

Speak Are your hands in slaughter's sanguine hue


!

Stained freshly? have your hearts in guile grown old?


Know yourselves thus ye shall be pure as dew,
!

And I will be a friend and sister unto you. 3360

XIX
"'Disguise it not— we have one human heart
All mortal thoughts confess a common home:
Blush not for what may to thyself impart
Stains of inevitable crime the doom :

which has, or may, or must become


Is this, 3365
Thine, and all humankind's. Ye are the spoil
Which Time thus marks for the devouring tomb,
Thou and thy thoughts and they, and all the toil
Wherewith ye twine the rings of life's perpetual coil.

'"Disguise it not— ye blush


for what ye hate, 3370
And Enmity unto Shame
is sister ;


Look on your mind it is the book of fate
Ah it is dark with many a blazoned name
!


Of misery all are mirrors of the same ;

But the dark fiend who with his iron pen 3375
Dipped in scorn's fiery poison, makes his fame
Enduring there, would o'er the heads of men
Pass harmless, if they scorned to make their hearts his den.

it is Hate — that shapeless fiendly thing


'
" Yes,
Of many names, all evil, some divine, 3380
Whom self-contempt arms with a mortal sting
Which, when the heart its snaky folds entwine
Is wasted quite, and when it doth repine
— ;

CANTO VIII 119

To gorge such bitter prey, on all beside


with ninefold rage, as with its twine
It turns 3385
When Amphisbsena some fair bird has tied,
Soon o'er the putrid mass he threats on every side.
XXII
'
" Eeproach not thine own soul, but know thyself,
another's crime, nor loathe thine own.
Nor hate
It is the dark idolatry of self, 3 39°

Which, when our thoughts and actions once are gone,


Demands that man should weep, and bleed, and groan ;

O vacant expiation Be at rest. !

The past is Death's, the future is thine own ;


And love and joy can make the foulest breast 3395
A paradise of flowers, where peace might build her nest.
XXIII
'
" Speak thou ! whence come ye ? "—A Youth made reply :

" Wearily, wearily o'er the boundless deep


Wesail ;— thou readest well the misery
Told in these faded eyes, but much doth sleep 34°°
Within, which there the poor heart loves to keep,
Or dare not write on the dishonoured brow
Even from our childhood have we learned to steep
The bread of slavery in the tears of woe,
And never dreamed of hope or refuge until now. 3405
XXIV
"Yes— I must speak— my secret should have perished
'

Even with the heart it wasted, as a brand


Fades in the dying flame whose life it cherished,
But that no human bosom can withstand
Thee, wondrous Lady, and the mild command 341°
Of thy keen eyes :— yes, we are wretched slaves,
Who from their wonted loves and native land
Are reft, and bear o'er the dividing waves
The unregarded prey of calm and happy graves.
XXV
'"We drag afar from pastoral vales the fairest 3415
Among the daughters of those mountains lone,
We drag them there, where all things best and rarest
Are stained and trampled :— years have come and gone
Since, like the ship which bears me, I have known
No thought;— but now the eyes of one dear Maid 34 2 °
On mine with light of mutual love have shone—
She is my life,— I am but as the shade
Of her,— a smoke sent up from ashes, soon to fade.
XXVI
" For she must perish in the Tyrant's hall-
'

Alas, alas "—He ceased, and by the sail


! 34 2 5
Sate cowering— but his sobs were heard by all,
" —
120 THE REVOLT OF ISLAM
And still before the ocean and the gale
The ship fled fast till the stars 'gan to fail,
And, round me gathered with mute countenance,
The Seamen gazed, the Pilot, worn and pale 3430
With toil, the Captain with gray locks, whose glance
Met mine in restless awe— they stood as in a trance.

'
Recede not pause not now
" ! Thou art grown old,
!

But Hope will make thee young, for Hope and Youth
Are children of one mother, even Love— behold 3435 !

The eternal stars gaze on us !— is the truth


Within your soul? care for your own, or ruth
For others' sufferings ? do ye thirst to bear
A heart which not the serpent Custom's tooth
May violate?— Be free! and even here, 3440
Swear to be firm till death " They cried "
! We swear We !

swear !

XXVIII
'The very darkness shook, as with a blast
Of subterranean thunder, at the cry ;

The hollow shore its thousand echoes cast


Into the night, as if the sea, and sky, 3445
And new-born liberty,
earth, rejoiced with
For in that name they swore Bolts were undrawn,
!

And on the deck, with unaccustomed eye


The captives gazing stood, and every one 3449
Shrank as the inconstant torch upon her countenance shone.

'They wereearth's purest children, young^ and fair,


With
eyes the shrines of unawakened thought,
And brows as bright as Spring or Morning, ere
Dark time had there its evil legend wrought
In characters of cloud which wither not. 3455
The change was like a dream to them but soon ;

They knew the glory of their altered lot,


In the bright wisdom of youth's breathless noon,
Sweet talk, and smiles, and sighs, all bosoms did attune.

XXX
'But one was mute, her cheeks and lips most fair, 3460
Changing their hue like lilies newly blown,
Beneath a bright acacia's shadowy hair,
Waved by
the wind amid the sunny noon,
Showed that her soul was quivering and full soon ;

That Youth arose, and breathlessly did look 3465


On her and me. as for some speechless boon :

I smiled, and both their hands in mine I took,


And felt a soft delight from what their spirits shook.
! :

121

CANTO IX

'
That we anchored in a woody bay,
night
And no more around us dared to hover
sleep 3470
Than, when all doubt and fear has passed away,
It shades the couch of some unresting lover,
Whose heart now
at rest : thus night passed over
is
In mutual joy : — around,
a forest grew
Of poplars and dark oaks, whose shade did cover 3475
The waning stars pranked in the waters blue.
And trembled in the wind which from the morning flew.
11

'The joyous Mariners, and each free Maiden,


Now brought from the deep forest many a bough,
With woodland spoil most innocently laden 3480 ;

Soon wreaths of budding foliage seemed to flow


Over the mast and sails, the stern and prow
Were canopied with blooming boughs, — the while
_

On the slant sun's path o'er the waves we go


Rejoicing, like the dwellers of an isle 34 8 5
Doomed to pursue those waves that cannot cease to smile.
in
'The many ships spotting the dark blue deep
With snowy sails, fled fast as ours came nigh,
In fear and wonder; and on every steep
Thousands did gaze, they heard the startling cry, 3490
Like Earth's own voice lifted unconquerably
To all her children, the unbounded north,
The glorious joy of thy name- Liberty
They heard ! —
As o'er the mountains of the earth
From peak to peak leap on the beams of Morning's birth :

IV
'So from that cry over the boundless hills 3496
Sudden was caught one universal sound,
Like a volcano's voice, whose thunder fills
Remotest skies,— such glorious madness found
A
path through human hearts with stream which drowned
Its struggling fears and cares, dark Custom's brood; 3501
They Knew not whence it came, but felt around
A —
wide contagion poured they called aloud
On Liberty— that name lived on the sunny flood.
v
'We reached the port.— Alas! from many spirits 3505
The wisdom which had waked that cry, was fled,
Like the brief glory which dark Heaven inherits
From the false dawn, which fades ere it is spread,
Upon the night's devouring darkness shed
; ; ——— —

122 THE REVOLT OF ISLAM


Yet soon' bright day will burst — even like a chasm 3510
Of fire, to burn the shrouds outworn and dead,
Which wrap the world a wide enthusiasm,
;

To cleanse the fevered world as with an earthquake's spasm !

VI
'
I walked through the great City then, but free
From shame or fear; those toil-worn Mariners 3515
And happy Maidens did encompass me
And like a subterranean wind that stirs
Some forest among caves, the hopes and fears
From every human soul, a murmur strange
Made as I passed: and many wept, with tears 3520
Of joy and awe, and winged thoughts did range,
And naif-extinguished words, which prophesied of change.
VII
'For, with strong speech I tore the veil that hid
Nature, and Truth, and Liberty, and Love,
As one who from some mountain's pyramid 3525
Points to the unrisen sun —
the shades approve
!

His truth, and flee from every stream and grove.


Thus, gentle thoughts did many a bosom fill,
Wisdom, the mail of tried affections wove
For many a heart, and tameless scorn of ill, 3530
Thrice steeped in molten steel the unconquerable will.
VIII
'
Some
said I was a maniac wild and lost
Some, that I scarce had risen from the grave,
The Prophet's virgin bride, a heavenly ghost :

Some said, I was a fiend from my


Aveird cave, 3535
Who
had stolen human shape, and o'er the wave,
The forest, and the mountain came some said ;

I was the child of God, sent down to save
Women from bonds and death, and on head my
The burden of their sins would frightfully be laid. 3540
IX
'But soon my human words found sympathy
In human hearts the purest and the best,
:

As friend with friend, made common cause with me,


And they were few, but resolute the rest, ; —
Ere yet success the enter prise had blessed, 3545
Leagued with me in their hearts ;— their meals, their slumber,
Their hourly occupations, Avere possessed
By hopes which I had armed to overnumber
Those hosts of meaner cares, which life's strong Avings
encumber.
x
'But chiefly women, Avhoin my voice did AA'aken 3550
From their cold, careless, Avilling slavery,
Sought me : one truth their dreary prison has shaken,
——
CANTO IX 123

They looked around, and lo! they became free!


Their many tyrants sitting desolately
In slave-deserted halls, could none restrain; 3555
For wrath's red fire had withered in the eye,

Whose lightning once was death, nor fear, nor gain
Could tempt one captive now to lock another's chain.

XI
'Those who were sent to bind me, wept, and felt
Their minds outsoar the bonds which clasped them round,
Even as a waxen shape may waste and melt 3561
In the white furnace and a visioned swound,
;

A pause of hope and awe the City bound,


Which, like the silence of a tempest's birth,
When in its awful shadow it has wound 3565
The sun, the wind, the ocean, and the earth,
Hung terrible, ere yet the lightnings have leaped forth.
XII
'Like clouds inwoven in the silent sky,
By winds from distant regions meeting there,
In the high name of truth and liberty, 3570
Around the City millions gathered were.
By hopes which sprang from many a hidden lair,
Words which the lore ot truth in hues of flame
Arrayed, thine own wild songs which in the air
Like homeless odours floated, and the name 3575
Of thee, and many a tongue which thou hadst dipped in
flame.
XIII
'The Tyrant knew his power was gone, but Fear,
The nurse of Vengeance, bade him wait the event
That perfidy and custom, gold and prayer,
And whatsoe'er, when force is impotent, 3580
To fraud the sceptre of the world has lent,
Might, as he judged, confirm his failing sway.
Therefore throughout the streets, the Priests he sent

To curse the rebels. To their gods did thev
For Earthquake, Plague, and Want, kneel in the public way.
XIV
'And grave and hoary men were bribed to tell 3586
From seats where law is made the slave of wrong,
How glorious Athens in her splendour fell,

Because her sons were free, and that among
Mankind, the many to the few belong, 3590
By Heaven, and Nature, and Necessity.
They said, that age was truth, and that the young
Marred with wild hopes the peace of slavery,
With which old times and men had quelled the vain and free.
3573 hues of grace ed. ISIS.
; — —
; ; ;

124 THE REVOLT OF ISLAM

'And with the falsehood of their poisonous lips 3595


They breathed on the enduring memory
Of sages and of bards a brief eclipse ;

There was one teacher, who necessity


Had armed with strength and wrong against mankind,
His slave and his avenger aye to be; 3600
That we were weak and sinful, frail and blind,
And that the will of one was peace, and we
Should seek for nought on earth but toil and misery

XVI
'"For thus we might avoid the hell hereafter."
So spake the hypocrites, who cursed and lied 3605
Alas, their sway was past, and tears and laughter
Clung to their hoary hair, withering the pride
Which in their hollow hearts dared still abide
And yet obscener slaves with smoother brow,
And sneers on their strait lips, thin, blue and wide, 3610
Said, that the rule of men was over now,
And hence, the subject world to woman's will must bow
XVII
'And gold was scattered through the streets, and wine
Flowed at a hundred feasts within the wall.
In vain! the steady towers in Heaven did shine 3615
As they were wont, nor at the priestly call
Left Plague her banquet in the Ethiop's hall,
Nor Famine from the rich man's portal came,
Where at her ease she ever preys on all
Whothrong to kneel for food: nor fear nor shame, 3620
Nor faith, nor discord, dimmed hope's newly kindled flame.

XVIII
'For gold was as a god whose faith began
To fade, so that its worshippers were few,
And Faith itself, which in the heart of man
Gives shape, voice, name, to spectral Terror, knew 3625
Its downfall, as the altars lonelier grew,
Till the Priests stood alone within the fane
The shafts of falsehood unpolluting flew,
And the cold sneers of calumny were vain,
The union of the free with discord's brand to stain. 3630

XIX
'The rest —
thou knowest. Lo we two are here
!

We have survived a ruin wide and deep-


Strange thoughts are mine.— I cannot grieve or fear,
Sitting with thee upon this lonely steep
I smile, though human love should make me weep. 3635
; ;; ; !

CANTO IX 125

We have survived a joy that knows no sorrow,


And I do feel a mighty calmness creep
Over my heart, which can no longer borrow
Its hues from chance or change, dark children of to-morrow.

'We know —
not what will come yet Laon, dearest, 3 6 4°
Cythnashall be the prophetess of Love,
Her lips shall rob thee of the grace thou wearest,
To hide thy heart, and clothe the shapes which rove
Within the homeless Future's wintry grove
For I now, sitting thus beside thee, seem 3645
Even with thy breath and blood to live and move,
And violence and wrong are as a dream
Which rolls from steadfast truth, an unreturning stream.
XXI
'
The blasts of Autumn drive the winged seeds
Over the earth,— next come the snows, and rain, 3650
And frosts, and storms, which dreary Winter leads
Out of his Scythian cave, a savage train
Behold Spring sweeps over the world again,
!

Shedding soft dews from her ethereal wings


Flowers on the mountains, fruits over the plain, 3655
And music on the waves and woods she flings.
And love on all that lives, and cahn on lifeless things.
XXII
'
Spring, of hope, and love, and youth, and gladness
Wind-winged emblem brightest, best and fairest
!

Whence comest thou, when, with dark Winter's sadness 3660


The tears that fade in sunny smiles thou sharest?
Sister of joy. thou art the child who wearest
Thv mother's dying smile, tender and sweet
Thy mother Autumn, for whose grave thou bearest
Fresh flowers, and beams like flowers, with gentle feet, 3665
Disturbing not the leaves which are her winding-sheet.
XXIII
'Virtue, and Hope, and Love, like light and Heaven,
Surround the world.— We are their chosen slaves.
Has not the whirlwind of our spirit driven
Truth's deathless germs to thought's remotest caves? 3670
Lo, Winter comes !— the grief of many graves,
The frost of death, the tempest of the sword,
The flood of tyranny, whose sanguine waves
Stagnate like ice at Faith the enchanter's word.
And bind all human hearts in its repose abhorred. 3675
XXIV
'The seeds are sleeping in the soil: meanwhile
The Tyrant peoples dungeons with his prey,
Pale victims on the guarded scaffold smile
— —
; ;

126 THE REVOLT OF ISLAM


Because they cannot speak and, day by day,
' ;
"
The moon of wasting Science wanes away 3680
Among her stars, and in that darkness vast
The sons of earth to their foul idols pray,
And gray Priests triumph, and like blight or blast
A shade of selfish care o'er human looks is cast.
xxv
'This the winter of the world ;— and here
is 3685
We
die, even as the winds of Autumn fade,
Expiring in the frore and foggy air.
Behold Spring comes, though we must pass, who made
!


The promise of its birth, even as the shade
Which from our death, as from a mountain, flings 3690
The future, a broad sunrise thus arrayed ;

As with the plumes of overshadowing wings,


From its dark gulf of chains, Earth like an eagle springs.
XXVI
'
O dearest love ! we shall be dead and cold
Before this morn may on the world arise 3695
Wouldst thou the glory of its dawn behold?
Alas ! gaze not on me, but turn thine eyes
On thine own heart — it is a paradise
Which everlasting Spring has made its own.
And while drear Winter tills the naked skies, 3700
Sweet streams of sunny thought, and flowers fresh-blown,
Are there, and weave their sounds and odours into one.

'In their own hearts


the earnest of the hope
Which made them good will ever find
great, the
And though some envious shades may interlope 3705
Between the effect and it, One comes behind,
Who aye the future to the past will bind
Necessity, whose sightless strength for ever
Evil with evil, good with good must wind
In bands of union, which no power may sever: 3710
They must bring forth their kind, and be divided never!

'The good and mighty of departed ages


Are in their graves, the innocent and free,
Heroes, and Poets, and prevailing Sages,
Who leave the vesture of their majesty 3715
To adorn and clothe this naked world ;— and we
Are like to them— such perish, but they leave
All hope, or love, or truth, or liberty,
Whose forms their mighty spirits could conceive,
To be a rule and law to ages that survive. 3720
; ;

CANTO IX 127

XXIX
1
So be the turf heaped over our remains
Even in our happy youth, and that strange lot,
Whate'er it be, when in these mingling veins
The blood is still, be ours let sense and thought
;

Pass from our being, or be numbered not 3725


Among the things that are let those who come
;

Behind, for whom our steadfast will has bought


A calm inheritance, a glorious doom, tomb.
Insult with careless tread, our undivided

xxx
'Our many thoughts and deeds, our life and love, 373°
Our happiness, and all that we have been,
Immortally must live, and burn and move.
When we shall be no more ;— the world has seen
A type of peace and— as some most serene
;

And lovely spot to a poor maniac's eye, 3735


After long years, some sweet and moving scene
Of youthful hope, returning suddenly,
Quells his long madness— thus man shall remember thee.

XXXI
'And Calumny meanwhile shall feed on us,
As worms devour the dead, and near the throne 374°
And most accepted thus
at the altar,
Shall sneers and curses be ;— what we have done
None shall dare vouch, though it be truly known ;

That record shall remain, when they must pass


Who built their pride on its oblivion 3745
And fame, in human hope which sculptured was,
Survive the perished scrolls of unenduring brass.

XXXII
'The while we two, beloved, must depart,
And Sense and Eeason, those enchanters fair.
Whose wand of power is hope, would bid the heart 3750
That gazed beyond the wormy grave despair:
These eyes, these lips, this blood, seems darkly there
To fade in hideous ruin no calm sleep
;

Peopling with golden dreams the stagnant air,


Seems our obscure and rotting eyes to steep 3755
In joy ;— but senseless death— a ruin dark and deep !

XXXIII
'These are blind fancies —reason cannot know
What sense can neither feel, nor thought conceive
There is delusion in the world—and woe,
And fear, and pain— we know not whence we live, 37 6 °
Or why, or how, or what mute Power may give
——
' :

128 THE REVOLT OF ISLAM


Their being to each plant, and star, and beast.
Or even these thoughts.— Come near me I do weave!

A. chain I cannot break —


I am possessed
With thoughts too swift and strong for one lone human
breast. 3765
xxxiv
'Yes, yes— thy kiss is sweet, thy lips are wami
O willingly, beloved, would these eyes,
!

Might they no more drink being from thy form,


Even as to sleep whence we again arise,
Close their faint orbs in death I fear nor prize
: 3770
that can now betide, unshared by thee
Aught
Yes, Love when Wisdom fails makes Cythna wise
Darkness and death, if death be true, must be
Dearer than life and hope, if unenjoyed with thee.
xxxv
'Alas, our thoughts flow on with stream, whose waters
Return not to their fountain— Earth and Heaven, 3776
The Ocean and the Sun, the Clouds their daughters,
"Winter, and Spring, and Morn, and Noon, and Even,
All that we are or know, is darkly driven
Towards one gulf.— Lo! what a' change is come 3780

Since I first spake but time shall be forgiven,
— —
Though it change all but thee ' She ceased night's gloom
!

Meanwhile had fallen on earth from the sky's sunless dome.


xxxvi
Though she had ceased, her countenance uplifted
To Heaven, still spake, with solemn glory bright; 3785
Her dark deep eyes, her lips, whose motions gifted
The air they breathed with love, her locks undight.
Fair star of life and love,' I cried, my soul's delight,
' *

Whylookest thou on the crystalline skies ?


O. that my spirit were yon Heaven of night, 3790
!
Which gazes on thee with its thousand eyes
She turned to me and smiled— that smile was Paradise !

CANTO X

Was there a human spirit in the steed,


That thus with his proud voice, ere night was gone,
He
broke our linked rest? or do indeed 3795
All living things a common nature own,
And thought erect an universal throne,
Where many shapes one tribute ever bear?
And Earth, their mutual mother, does she groan
To see her sons contend ? and makes she bare 3800
Her breast, that all in peace its drainless stores may share ?
;

CANTO X 129

I have heard friendly sounds from many a tongue


Which was not human— the lone nightingale
Has answered me with her most soothing song,
Out of her ivy bower, when I sate pale 3805
With grief, and sighed beneath ; from many a dale
The antelopes who nocked for food have spoken
With happy sounds, and motions, that avail
Like man's own speech and such was now the token
;

Of waning night, whose calm by that proud neigh was


broken. 3 8l °
in
Each night, that me abroad,
mighty steed bore
And I returned with food to our retreat,
And dark intelligence the blood which flowed
;

Over the fields, had stained the courser's feet


Soon the dust drinks that bitter dew, then meet 3815 —
The vulture, and the wild dog, and the snake,
The wolf, and the hyaena gray, and eat
The dead in horrid truce their throngs did make
:

Behind the steed, a chasm like waves in a ship's wake.


IV
For,from the utmost realms of earth, came pouring 3820
The banded slaves whom every despot sent
At that throned traitor's summons ; Like the roaring
Of fire, floods the wild deer circumvent
whose
In the scorched pastures of the South so bent ;

The armies of the leagued Kings around 3825


Their files of steel and flame ;— the continent
Trembled, as with a zone of ruin bound,
Beneath their feet, the sea shook with their Navies' sound.
v
From every nation of the earth they came,
The multitude of moving heartless things, 3830
Whom slaves call men obediently they came,
:

Like sheep whom from the fold the shepherd brings


To the stall, red with blood; their many kings
Led them, thus erring, from tneir native land ;

Tartar and Frank, and millions whom the wings 3835


Of Indian breezes lull, and many a band
The Arctic Anarch sent, and Idumea's sand,
VI
Fertile in prodigies and lies ; —so there
Strange natures made a brotherhood of ill.
The desert savage ceased to grasp in fear 3S40
His Asian shield and bow, when, at the will
Of Europe's subtler son, the bolt would kill
3834 native home ed. 1818.
— ; ; ; ;

130 THE REVOLT OF ISLAM


Some shepherd sitting on a rock secure
But smfles of wondering joy Ins face would fill,
And savage sympathy: those slaves impure, 3845
Each one the other thus from ill to ill did lure.
VII
For traitorously did that foul Tyrant robe
His countenance in lies,— even at the hour
When he was snatched from death, then o'er the globe,
With secret signs from many a mountain-tower, 3850
With smoke by day, and fire by night, the power
Of Kings and Priests, those dark conspirators,
He called — they knew his cause their own, and swore
:

Like wolves and serpents to their mutual wars


Strange truce, with many a rite which Earth and Heaven
abhors. 3855
VIII
Myriads had come— millions were on their way
The Tyrant passed, surrounded by the steel
Of hired assassins, through the public way,
Choked with his country's dead :— his footsteps reel

On the fresh blood he smiles. 'Ay, now I feel 3860
I am a King in truth
!
he said, and took
'

His royal seat, and bade the torturing wheel


Be brought, and fire, and pincers, and the hook,
And scorpions; that his- soul on its revenge might look.
IX
'But go slay the rebels— why return
first, 3865
The victor bands?' he said, 'millions yet live,
Of whom the weakest with one word might turn
The scales of victory yet ;— let none survive

But those within the walls each fifth shall give
The expiation for his brethren here. 3870
Go forth, and waste and kill '
!
king, forgive
— O
My —
speech,' a soldier answered ' but we fear
'

The spn*its of the night, and morn is drawing near


x
'
For we were slaying without remorse,
still
that dreadful chief beneath my hand
And now 3875
Defenceless lay, when, on a hell-black horse,
An Angel bright as day, waving a brand —
Which flashed among the stars, passed.' Dost thou stand '

Parleying with me, thou wretch ? the king replied '


;

'Slaves, bind him to the wheel; and of this hand, 3880


Whoso will drag that woman to his side
That scared him thus, may burn his dearest foe beside
XI
'And gold and glory shall be his. Go forth!' —
They rushed into the plain. Loud was the roar —
Of their career: the horsemen shook the earth; 3885
; ! ! 5

CANTO X 131

The wheeled artillery's speed the pavement tore;


The infantry, file after file, did pour
Their clouds on the utmost hills. Five days they slew
_

Among the wasted fields the sixth saw gore


;

Stream through the city on the seventh, the dew


; 3890
Of slaughter became stiff, and there was peace anew :

XII
Peace in the desert fields and villages,
Between the glutted beasts and mangled dead
Peace in the silent streets ! save when the cries
Of victims to their fiery judgement led, 3895
Made pale their voiceless lips who seemed to dread
Even some tongue
in their dearest kindred, lest
Be unbetrayed
faithless to the fear yet
Peace in the Tyrant's palace,where the throng
"Waste the triumphal hours in festival and song! 5900

Day after day the burning sun rolled on


Over the death-polluted land— it came
Out of the east like fire, and fiercely shone
A lamp of Autumn, ripening with its flame
The few lone ears of corn ;— the sky became 3905
Stagnate with heat, so that each cloud and blast
Languished and died,— the thirsting air did claim
All moisture, and a rotting vapour passed
From the unburied dead, invisible and fast.
xiv
First Want, then Plague came on the beasts ; their food
Failed, and they drew the breath of its decay. 39"
Millions on millions, whom the scent of blood
Had lured, or who, from regions far away,
Had tracked the hosts in festival array,
From their dark deserts; gaunt and wasting now, 39 *
Stalked like fell shades among their perished prey ;
In their green eyes a strange disease did glow,
They sank in hideous spasm, or pains severe and slow.

The fish were poisoned in the streams the birds ;

In the green woods perished; the insect race 39 2 °


Was withered up the scattered flocks and herds
;

Who had survived the wild beasts' hungry chase


Died moaning, each upon the other's face
In helpless agony gazing; round the City
All night, the lean hyaenas their sad case 39 2 5
Like starving infants wailed a woeful ditty
;

And many a mother wept, pierced with unnatural pity.


; ; ' —
; ; ;

132 THE REVOLT OF ISLAM

Amid the aereal minarets on high,


The Ethiopian vultures fluttering fell
From their long line of brethren in the sky, 3930
Startling the concourse of mankind.— Too well
These signs the coming mischief did foretell :

Strange panic first, a deep and sickening dread


Within each heart, like ice, did sink and dwell,
A voiceless thought of evil, which did spread 3935
With the quick glance of eyes, like withering lightnings shed.
xvn
Day after day, when the year wanes, the frosts
Strip its green crown 01 leaves, till all is bare
So on those strange and congregated hosts
Came Famine, a swift shadow, and the air 3940
Groaned with the burden of a new despair
Famine, than whom Misrule no deadlier daughter
Feeds from her thousand breasts, though sleeping there
With lidless eyes, lie Faith, and Plague, and Slaughter,
A ghastly brood ; conceived of Lethe's sullen water. 3945

XVIII
There was no food, the corn was trampled down,
The flocks and herds had perished on the shore ;

The dead and putrid fish were ever thrown


The deeps were foodless, and the winds no more
Creaked with the weight of birds, but, as before 3950
Those winged things sprang forth, were void of shade
The vines and orchards. Autumn's golden store,
Were burned ;— so that the meanest food was weighed
With gold, and Avarice died before the god it made.
XIX
There was no corn— in the wide market-place 3955
All loathliest things, even human flesh, was sold

They weighed it in small scales and many a face
Was fixed in eager horror then his gold :

The miser brought the tender maid, grown bold


;

Through hunger, oared her scorned charms in vain ; 3960


The mother brought her eldest-born, controlled
By instinct blind as love, but turned again
And. bade her infant suck, and died in silent pain.
xx
Then blue Plague upon the race of man.
fell
'O, for the sheathed steel, so late which gave 3965
Oblivion to the dead, when the streets ran
With brothers' blood O, that the earthquake's grave
!
!
Would gape, or Ocean lift its stifling wave
3967 earthquakes ed. 1S18.
; ; '

CANTO X 133

Vain cries— throughout the streets, thousands pursued


Each by his fiery torture howl and rave, 397°
Or sit, in frenzy's unimagined mood,
Upon fresh heaps of dead ; a ghastly multitude.
XXI
It was not hunger now, but thirst. Each well
Was choked with rotting corpses, and became
A cauldron of green mist made visible 3975
At
sunrise. Thither still the myriads came,
Seeking to quench the agony of the flame,
Which raged like poison through their bursting veins
Naked they were from torture, without shame,
Spotted with nameless scars and lurid blains, 3980 _

Childhood, and youth, and age, writhing in savage pains.


XXII
It was not but madness Many saw
thirst !

Their own lean image everywhere, it went


A ghastlier self beside them, till the awe
Of that dread sight to self-destruction sent 3985
Those shrieking victims some, ere life was spent,
;

Sought, with a horrid sympathy, to shed


Contagion on the sound and others rent
;

Their matted hair, and cried aloud, 'We tread


On fire the avenging Power his hell on earth has spread
!
!

XXIII
Sometimes the living by the dead were hid. 399 1
Near the great fountain in the public square,
Where corpses made a crumbling pyramid
Under the sun, was heard one stifled prayer
life, in the hot silence of the air
For 3995
And strange 'twas, amid that hideous heap to see
Some shrouded in their long and golden hair,
As if not dead, but slumbering quietly
Like forms which sculptors carve, then love to agony.
XXIV
Famine had spared the palace of the king :— 4 000
He rioted in festival the while,
He and his guards and priests ; but Plague did fling
One shadow upon all. Famine can smile
On him who brings it food, and pass, with guile
Of thankful falsehood, like a courtier gray, 4 00 5 _

The house-dog of the throne but many a mile


;

Comes Plague, a winged wolf, who loathes alway


The garbage and the scum that strangers make her prey.
xxv
So, near the throne, amid the gorgeous feast,
Sheathed in resplendent arms, or loosely dight 4 010
To luxury, ere the mockery yet had ceased
! !! ;: ; ;

134 THE REVOLT OF ISLAM


That lingered on his lips, the warrior's might
Was
loosened, and a new and ghastlier night
In dreams of frenzy lapped his eyes he fell ;

Headlong, or with stiff ej'eballs sate upright 4015


Among the guests, or raving mad, did tell
Strange truths a dying seer of dark oppression's
; hell.

XXVI
The Princes and the were pale with terror
Priests
That monstrous faith wherewith they ruled mankind.
Fell, like a shaft loosed by the bowman's error, 4020
On their own hearts thev sought and they could find
:

No refuge— 'twas the blind who led the blind !

So. through the desolate streets to the high fane,


The many-tongued and endless armios wind
In sad procession each among the train
: 4025
To his own Idol lifts his supplications vain.

XXVII
'O God!' they cried, 'we know our secret pride
Has scorned thee, and thy worship, and thy name
Secure in human power we have defied
Thy fearful might; we bend in fear and shame 4030
Before thy presence with the dust we claim
;

Kindred be merciful, O King of Heaven


;

Most justly have we suffered for thy fame


Made dim, but be at length our sins forgiven^
Ere to despair and death thy worshippers be driven. 4035

1
King
of Glory ! thou alone hast power
Who
can resist thy will? who can restrain
Thy wrath, when on the guilty thou dost shower
The shafts of thy revenge, a blistering rain?
Greatest and best, be merciful again 4040
Have we not stabbed thine enemies, and made
The Earth an altar, and the Heavens a fane,
Where thou wert worshipped with their blood, and laid
Those hearts in dust which would thy searchless works have
weighed ?
XXIX
'Well didst thou loosen on this impious City 4045
Thine angels of revenge recall them now :

Thy
worshippers, abased, here kneel for pity,
And
bind their souls by an immortal vow
We
swear by thee and to our oath do thou
!

Give sanction, from thine hell of fiends and flame, 4050


That we will kill with fire and torments slow,
The last of those who mocked thy holy name,
And scorned the sacred laws thy prophets did proclaim.'
: ;;

CANTO X 135

Thus they with trembling limbs and pallid lips


Worshipped their own hearts' image, dim and vast,
Scared by the shade wherewith they would eclipse 4056
The light of other minds ;—troubled they passed
From the great Temple ;—fiercely still and fast
The arrows of the plague among them fell,
4060
And they on one another gazed aghast,
And through the hosts contention wild befell,
As each of his own god the wondrous works did tell.

XXXI
And Oromaze, Joshua, and Mahomet, .

Moses and Buddh, Zerdusht, and Brahm, and loh,


never met 4o°5
A tumult of strange names, which
Before, as watchwords of a single woe,
Arose each raging votary 'gan to throw
;

Aloft his armed hands, and each did howl


'
Our God alone is God '—and slaughter now
!

Would have gone forth, when from beneath a cowl 4070


A voice came forth, which pierced like ice through every soul.
XXXII
'Twas an Iberian Priest from whom it came,
A zealous man, who led the legioned West,
With words which faith and pride had steeped in name,
To quell the unbelievers; a dire guest 4°75
Even to his friends was he, for in his breast
Did hate and guile lie watchful, intertwined,
Twin serpents in one deep and winding nest
He loathed all faith beside his own, and pined >

To wreak his fear of Heaven in vengeance on mankind.


XXXIII
40S1
But more he loathed and hated the clear light
Of wisdom and free thought, and more did tear,
Lest, kindled once, its beams might pierce the night,
Even where his Idol stood for, far and near
;

Did many a heart in Europe leap to hear 4085


That faith and tyranny were trampled down:
Many a pale victim, doomed for truth to share
The murderer's cell, or see, with helpless groan, _

The priests his children drag for slaves to serve their own,
XXXIV
the infidels with fire 4°9Q
He dared not kill
Or steel, in Europe the slow agonies
;

Of legal torture mocked his keen desire


So he made truce with those who did despise
The expiation, and the sacrifice,
That, though detested, Islam's kindred creed 4°95
Might crush for him those deadlier enemies
For fear of God did in his bosom breed
A jealous hate of man, an unreposing need.

!: ;

136 THE REVOLT OF ISLAM


XXXV
'
Peace ! Peace !
' he cried, when we
'
are dead, the Day
Of Judgement comes, and all shall surely know 4100
Whose God is God, each fearfully ,shall pay
The errors of his faith in endless woe
But there is sent a mortal vengeance now
On earth, because an impious
race had spurned
Him whom
we all adore,— a subtle foe, 4105
Bv whom
for ye this dread reward was earned,
And kingly thrones, which rest on faith, nigh overturned.
xxxvi
'
Think ye, because ye weep, and kneel, and pray,
That God will lull the pestilence? It rose
Even from beneath his throne, where, many a day, 4 no
His mercy soothed it to a dark repose
It walks upon the earth to judge his foes
And what are thou and I, that he should deign
To curb his ghastly minister, or close
The gates of death, ere they receive the twain 41 15
Who shook with mortal spells his undefended reign?

XXXVII
'Ay, there famine in the gulf of hell,
is
Its giant worms of fire for ever yawn.
Their lurid eyes are on us! those who fell
By the swift shafts of pestilence ere dawn, 4120
Are in their jaws they hunger for the spawn
!

Of Satan, their own brethren, who were sent


To make our souls their spoil. See see they fawn ! !

Like dogs, and they will sleep with luxury spent,


When those detested hearts their iron fangsliave rent! 4125

'Our God may then lull Pestilence to sleep:—


Pile high the pvre of expiation now,
A forest's spoil of boughs, and on the heap
Pour venomous gums, which sullenly and slow,
When touched by flame, shall burn, and melt, and flow,
A stream of clinging fire,— and fix on high 4131
A net of iron, and spread forth below
A couch of snakes, and scorpions, and the fry
Of centipedes and worms, earth's hellish progeny!

xxxix
'Let Laon and Laone on that pyre, 4135
Linked tight with burning brass, perish !— then pray
That, with this sacrifice, the withering ire
Of Heaven may be appeased.' He ceased, and they
A space stood silent, as far, far away
: ; ; —
!

CANTO X * 137

The echoes of his voice among them died; 4140


And he knelt down upon the dust, alway
Muttering the curses of his speechless pride,
"Whilst shame, and fear, and awe, the armies did divide.
XL
His voice was like a blast that burst the portal
Of fabled hell; and as he spake, each one 4145
Saw gape beneath the chasms of fire immortal,
And Heaven above seemed cloven, where, on a throne
Girt round with storms and shadows, sate alone
Their King and Judge— fear killed in every breast
All natural pity then, a fear unknown 4150
Before, and with an inward fire possessed,
They raged like homeless beasts whom burning woods invest.
XLI

'Twas morn. At noon the public crier went forth,
Proclaiming through the living and the dead,
'The Monarch saith, that his great Empire's worth 4155
Is set on Laon and Laone's nead
He who but one yet living here can lead,
Or who the life from both their hearts can wring,
Shall be the kingdom's heir, a glorious meed
But he who both alive can hither bring, 4160
The Princess shall espouse, and reign an equal King.'
XLII
Ere night the pyre was piled, the net of iron
Was spread above, the fearful couch below
It overtopped the towers that did environ
That spacious square for Fear is never slow
; 4165
To build the thrones of Hate, her mate and foe,
So, she scourged forth the maniac multitude
To rear this pyramid— tottering and slow,
Plague-stricken, foodless, like lean herds pursued
By gadflies, they have piled the heath, and gums, and wood.
XLIII
Night came, a starless and a moonless gloom. 4 1 ?*
Until the dawn, those hosts of many a nation
Stood round that pile, as near one lover's tomb
Two gentle sisters mourn their desolation
And in the silence of that expectation, 4175
Was heard on high the reptiles' hiss and crawl
It was so deep— save when the devastation
Of the swift pest, with fearful interval,
Marking its path with shrieks, among the crowd would fall.
XLIV
Morn came, — among those sleepless multitudes, 4 lSo
Madness, and Fear, and Plague, and Famine still
Heaped corpse on corpse, as in autumnal woods
4176 reptiles'] reptiles ed. 1818.
' ! ;! —

138 THE REVOLT OF ISLAM


The frosts of many a wind with dead leaves fill
Earth's cold and sullen brooks in silence, still ;

The pale survivors stood ere noon, the fear ; 4185


Of Hell became a panic, which did kill
Like hunger or disease, with whispers drear.
As 'Hush! hark! Come they yet? !
Just Heaven! thine
hour is near
XLV
And Priests rushed through their ranks, some counterfeiting
The rage they did inspire, some mad indeed 4190
With their own lies ; they said their god was waiting
To see his enemies writhe, and burn, and bleed.
And that, till then, the snakes of Hell had need
Of human souls —
three hundred furnaces
:

Soon blazed through the wide City, where, with speed,


Men brought their infidel kindred to appease 4196
God's wrath, and while they burned, knelt round on quivering
knees.
XLVI
The noontide sun was darkened with that smoke,
The winds of eve dispersed those ashes gray.
The madness which these rites had lulled, awoke 4200
Again sunset.— Who shall dare to say
at
The deeds which night and fear brought forth, or weigh
In balance just the good and evil there?
He might man's deep and searchless heart display,
And cast a light on those dim labyrinths, where 4205
Hope, near imagined chasms, is struggling with despair.

'Tis said, amother dragged three children then,


To
those fierce flames which roast the eyes in the head,
And laughed, and died and that unholy men, ;

Feasting like fiends upon the infidel dead, 4210


Looked from their meal, and saw an Angel tread
The visible floor of Heaven, and it was she
And, on that night, one without doubt or dread
Came to the fire, and said, Stop, I am he '

Kill me
!

They burned them both with hellish mockery.
'

XLVIII
And, one by one, that night, young maidens came, 4216
Beauteous and calm, like shapes of living stone
Clothed in the light of dreams, and by the flame
Which shrank as overgorged, they laid them down,
And sung a low sweet song, of which alone 4220
One word was heard, and that was Liberty
And that some kissed their marble feet, with moan
Like love, and died and then that they did die
;

With happy smiles, which sunk in white tranquillity.


— ; ; ; ; ;

139

CANTO XI

She saw me not— she heard me not— alone 4225


Upon the mountain's dizzy brink she stood
She spake not, breathed not, moved not— there was thrown
Over her look, the shadow of a mood
Which only clothes the heart in solitude,
A thought ot voiceless depth ;— she stood alone, 4230
Above, the Heavens were spread ;— below, the flood
Was murmuring in its caves:— the wind had blown
Her hair apart, through which her eyes and forehead shone.
11

A cloud was hanging western mountains


o'er the
Before its blue and moveless depth were flying 4235
Gray mists poured forth from the unresting fountains
Of darkness in the North :

the day was dying :—
Sudden, the sun shone forth, its beams were lying
Like boiling gold on Ocean, strange to see,
And on the shattered vapours, which defying 4 2 4°
The power of light in vain, tossed restlessly
In the red Heaven, like wrecks in a tempestuous sea.
in
Itwas a stream of living beams, whose bank
On either side by the cloud's cleft was made
And where its chasms that flood of glory drank, 4245
Its waves gushed forth like fire, and as if swayed
By some mute tempest, rolled on her; the shade
Of her bright image floated on the river
Of liquid light, which then did end and fade —
Her radiant shape upon its verge did shiver 4250
Aloft, her flowing hair like strings of flame did quiver.
IV
I stood beside her, but she saw me not
She looked upon the sea, and skies, and earth
Rapture, and love, and admiration wrought
A
passion deeper far than tears, or mirth, 4 2 55
Or speech, or gesture, or whate'er has birth
From common joy which with the speechless feeling
;

That led her there united, and shot forth


From her far eyes a light of deep revealing,
All but her dearest self from my regard concealing. 4 260

v
Her were parted, and the measured breath
lips

Was now heard there her dark and intricate eyes
;

Orb within orb, deeper than sleep or death,


Absorbed the glories of the burning skies,
Which, mingling with her heart's deep ecstasies, 4265
! ; ! ; ; :

140 THE REVOLT OF ISLAM


Burst from her looks and gestures ;— and a light
Of liquid tenderness, like love, did rise
From
her whole frame, an atmosphere which quite
Arrayed her in its beams, tremulous and soft and bright,
VI
She would have clasped me to her glowing frame; 4270
Those warm and odorous lips might soon have shed
On mine the fragrance and the invisible flame
Which now the cold winds stole ;— she would have laid
Upon my languid heart her dearest head
might have heard her voice, tender and sweet;
I 4275
Her eyes mingling with mine, might soon have fed
My soul with their own joy. — One moment yet

I gazed we parted then, never again to meet
VII
Never but once to meet on Earth again
She heard me as I fled— her eager tone 42S0
Sunk on my heart, and almost wove a chain
Around my will to link it with her own,
So that my stern resolve was almost gone.
I cannot reach thee
'
whither dost thou fly ?
!

My steps are faint— Come back, thou deafest one-


Return, ah me! return '—The wind passed by
!
4286
On which those accents died, faint, far, and lingeringly.
VIII
Woe ! Woe ! that moonless midnight !— Want and Pest
Were horrible, but one more fell doth rear,
As in a
hydra's swarming lair, its crest 4 2 9°
Eminent among those victims— even the Fear
Of Hell each girt by the hot atmosphere
:

Of his blind agony, like a scorpion stung


By his own rage upon his burning bier
Of circling coals of fire but still there clung
; 4295
One hope, like a keen sword on starting threads uphung
IX
Not death— death was no more refuge or rest
Not life — it was despair to be!— not sleep,
For fiends and chasms of fire had dispossessed
All natural dreams to wake was not to weep,
: 4300
But to gaze mad and pallid, at the leap
To which the Future, like a snaky scourge,
Or like some tyrant's eye, which aye doth keep
Its withering beam upon his slaves, did urge
Their steps ; they heard the roar of Hell's sulphureous surge.
x
Each of that multitude, alone, and lost 4306
To sense of outward things, one hope yet knew
As on a foam-girt crag some seaman tossed
; — ; — 1

CANTO XI 141

Stares at the rising tide, or like the crew


Whilst now the ship is splitting through and through ;

Each, if the tramp of a far steed was heard, 431


Started from sick despair, or if there flew
One murmur on the wind, or if some word
Which none can gather yet, the distant crowd has stirred.
XI
Why became cheeks, wan with the kiss of death, 4315
Paler from hope? they had sustained despair.
Why watched those myriads with suspended breath
Sleepless a second night? they are not here,
The victims, and hour by hour, a vision drear,
Warm corpses fall upon the clay-cold dead; 4320
And even in death their lips are wreathed with fear.
The crowd mute and moveless — overhead
is
Silent Arcturus shines
— 'Ha! hear'st thou not the tread

XII
'Of rushing feet? laughter? the shout, the scream,
Of triumph not to be contained? See! hark! 4325
They come, they come give way
— ! Alas, ye deem
!
'

Falsely 'tis but a crowd of maniacs stark


Driven, like a troop of spectres, through the dark,
From the choked well, whence a bright death-fire sprung,
A lurid earth-star, which dropped many a spark 433°
From its blue train, and spreading widely, clung
To their wild hair, like mist the topmost pines among.
Xtii
And many, from the crowd collected there,
Joined that strange dance in fearful sympathies
There was the silence of a long despair, 43 35
When the last echo of those terrible cries
Came from a distant street, like agonies
Stifled afar. —
Before the Tyrant's throne
All night his aged Senate sate, their eyes
In stony expectation fixed when one
; 434°
Sudden before them stood, a Stranger and alone.
XIV
Dark Priests and haughty Warriors gazed on him
With baffled wonder, for a hermit's vest
Concealed his face but, when he spake, his tone,
;

Ere yet the matter did their thoughts arrest, 4 345


Earnest, benignant, calm, as from a breast

Void of all hate or terror made them start
For as with gentle accents he addressed
His speech to them, on each unwilling heart
Unusual awe did fall— a spirit-quelling dart. 4 35°
4321 wreathed] writhed. Poetical Works, 1839, 1st ed.
! ! ;

142 THE REVOLT OF ISLAM


xv
'Ye Princes of the Earth, ye sit aghast
Amid the ruin which yourselves have made,
Yes, Desolation heard your trumpet's blast,
And sprang from sleep !— dark Terror has obeyed
Your bidding— O, that I whom ye have made 4355
Your foe, could set my dearest enemy free
From pain and fear! but evil casts a shade,
Which cannot pass so soon, and Hate must be
The nurse and parent still of an ill progeny.

to Heaven for aid in your distress;


'Ye turn 43 6 °
Alas, that ye, the mighty and the wise,
Who, if ye dared, might not aspire to less
Than ye conceive of power, should fear the lies
"Which" thou, and thou, didst frame for mysteries
To blind your slaves :— consider your own thought, 4365
An empty and a cruel sacrifice
Ye now prepare, for a vain idol wrought
Out of the fears and hate which vain desires have brought.

'
Ye seek
for happiness— alas, the day
Ye
find it not in luxury nor in gold, 437°
Nor in the fame, nor in the envied sway
For which, O willing slaves to Custom old,
^ Severe taskmistress ! ye your hearts have sold.
Ye seek for peace, and when ye die, to dream
No evil dreams: all mortal things are cold 4375
And senseless then if aught survive, I deem
;

It must be love and joy, for they immortal seem.


XVIII
'Fear not the future, weep not for the past.
O, could I win your ears to dare be now
Glorious, and great, and calm! that ye would cast 4380
Into the dust those symbols of your woe,
Purple, and gold, and steel that ye would go !

Proclaiming to the nations whence ye came.


That Want, and Plague, and Fear, from slavery flow
And that mankind is free, and that the shame 4385
Of royalty and faith is lost in freedom's fame

'If thus, 'tis


That Laon —well—
'
if not,
while the
I come to say
Stranger spoke, among
The Council sudden tumult and affray
Arose, for many of those warriors young, 4390
Had on his eloquent accents fed and hung
4361 the mighty] tho' mighty ed. 1818. 436a ye] he ed. 1S18.
! ; ; ; ;

CANTO XI 143

Like bees on mountain-flowers they knew the truth,


;

And from their thrones in vindication sprung


The men of faith and law then without ruth
Drew forth their secret steel, and stabbed each ardent youth.
xx
They stabbed them in the back and sneered— a slave 4396
Who stood behind the throne, those corpses drew
Each to its bloody, dark, and secret grave
And one more daring raised his steel anew
To pierce the Stranger. 'What hast thou to do 4-i°o
With me, poor wretch?'— Calm, solemn, and severe,
That voice unstrung his sinews, and he threw
His dagger on the ground, and pale with feai*,

Sate silently his voice then did the Stranger rear.
XXI
'It doth avail not that I weep for ye— 44°5
Ye cannot change, since ye are old and gray,
And ye have chosen your lot— your fame must be
A book of blood, wltence in a milder day
Men shall learn truth, when ye are wrapped in clay :

Now ye shall triumph. I am Laon's friend, 441°


And him to your revenge will I betray,
So ye concede one eas3' boon. Attend
For now I speak of things which ye can apprehend.
XXII
'There a People mighty in its youth,
is
A land beyond the Oceans of the West, 441 5
Where, though with rudest rites, Freedom and Truth
Are worshipped from a glorious Mother's breast,
;

Who, since nigh Athens fell, among the rest


Sate like the Queen of Nations, but in woe,
By inbred monsters outraged and oppressed, 4 4 20
Turns to her chainless child for succour now,
It draws the milk of Power in Wisdom's fullest flow.
XXIII
'That land is like an Eagle, whose young gaze
Feeds on the noontide beam, whose golden plume
Floats moveless on the storm, and in the blaze 4425
Of sunrise gleams when Earth is wrapped in gloom
An epitaph of glory for the tomb
Of murdered Europe may thy fame be made,
Great People! as the sands shalt thou become; 44 2 9
Thy growth is swift as morn, when night must fade
The multitudinous Earth shall sleep beneath thy shade.
XXIV
'Yes, in the desert there is builta home
For Freedom. Genius is made
strong to rear
The monuments of man beneath the dome
4432 there] then ed. 1818.
; ——
' '

144 THE REVOLT OF ISLAM


Of a new Heaven ; myriads assemble there, 4435
Whom
the proud lords of man, in rage or fear,
Drive from their wasted homes the boon I pray :

Is this— that Cythna shall be convoyed there


Nay, start not at the name— America !

And then to you this night Laon will I betray. 4440


xxv
'
With me do what you will. I am your foe !

The light of such a joy as makes the stare


Of hungry snakes like living emeralds glow,
Shone in a hundred human eyes— 'Where, where
Is Laon ? Haste drag him swiftly here
fly !
— !

We grant thy boon.' 'I put no trust in ye,


4445 !

Swear by the Power ye dread.'— 'We swear, we swear!'


The Stranger threw his vest back suddenlv.
And smiled in gentle pride, and said, Lo I am he !
!

CANTO XII
1

The
transport of a fierce and monstrous gladness 4450
Spread through the multitudinous streets, fast flying
Upon the winds of fear from his dull madness
;

The starveling waked, and died in joy the dying, ;

Among the corpses in stark agony lying,


Just heard the happy tidings, and in hope 4455
Closed their faint eyes from house to house replying
;

With loud acclaim, the living shook Heaven's cope,


And filled the startled Earth with echoes morn did ope :

u
Its pale eyes then ; and lo ! the long array
Of guards in golden arms, and Priests beside, 4460
Singing their bloody hymns, whose garbs betray
The blackness of the faith it seems to hide
And see, the Tyrant's gem-wrought chariot glide
Among the gloomy cowls and glittering spears
A
Shape of light is sitting by his side, 4465
A child most beautiful. I' the midst appears
Laon, — exempt alone from mortal hopes and fears.
in
His head and feet are bare, his hands are bound
Behind with heavy chains, yet none do wreak
Their scoffs on him, though myriads throng around ; 4470
There are no sneers upon his lip which speak
That scorn or hate has made him bold his cheek ;

Resolve has not turned pale, his eyes are mild —


And calm, and. like the morn about to break,
Smile on mankind— Ins heart seems reconciled 4475
To all things and itself, like a reposing child.
CANTO XII 145

IV
Tumult was in the soul of all beside,
111 joy, or doubt, or fear ; but those
who saw
lheir tranquil victim pass, felt wonder glide
Into their bram, and became calm with
awe.— 44 8o
bee, the slow pageant near the pile
doth draw.
A
thousand torches in the spacious square
Borne by the ready slaves of ruthless law,
Await the signal round the morning fair
:

Is changed to a dim night by that


unnatural glare. 44S5

v
And beneath a sun-bright canopy,
see !

Upon a platform level with the pile


The anxious Tyrant sit, enthroned on hfrh
Orirt by the chieftains of the host
all smile ;
In expectation, but one child the while :
4490
'
11 'by mutes ascend my bier
rv/'c >

and
t J i-' the look ar <>und each distant isle
Is dark m :

bright dawn; towers far and near,


Fierce like reposing flames the tremulous
atmosphere.

VI
There was such silence through the host, as
An earthquake trampling on some populouswhen 4495
Has crushed ten thousand with one tread, andtown
Bxpect the second all were mute but one,
men
;

I hat fairest child, who, bold with


love, alone
Stood up before the King, without avail,
4 , 00
Pleading for Laon's life— her stifled groan
Was heard— she trembled like one aspen pale
Among the gloomy pines of a Norwegian vale
VII
What were his thoughts linked in the morning sun
Among those reptiles, stingless with delay, '
4c e
Even like a tyrant's wrath? -The signal-gun
Koared-hark, again! In that dread pause he lav
Asin a quiet dream— the slaves obey—
A thousand torches drop —and hark, the last
Bursts on that awful silence; far away,
4SIO
Milhons, with hearts that beat both loud
and fast,
W atcn tor the springing flame expectant
and aghast.
VIII
They fly— the torches fall-a cry of fear
Has startled the triumphant !- they recede'
± or ere the cannon's roar has died, they
hear 4S i<
The tramp of hoofs like earthquake, and a
Bark and gigantic, with the tempest's speedsteed
— : ; —
;'

146 THE REVOLT OF ISLAM


Bursts through their ranks: a woman sits thereon,
Fairer, it seems, than aught that earth can breed,
Calm, radiant, like the phantom of the dawn, 4520
A spirit from the caves of daylight wandering gona.
IX
All thought it was God's Angel come to sweep
The lingering guilty to their fiery grave
The Tyrant from his throne in dread did leap,
Her innocence his child from fear did save 4525
Scared by the faith they feigned, each priestlv slave
Knelt for his mercy whom they served with blood,
And, like the refluence of a mighty wave
Sucked into the loud seaj the multitude
With crushing panic, fled in terror's altered mood. 4530
x
They —
pause, they blush, they gaze, a gathering shout
Bursts like one sound from the ten thousand streams

Of a tempestuous sea: that sudden rout
One checked, who, never in his mildest dreams
Felt awe from grace or loveliness, the seams 4535
Of his rent heart so hard and cold a creed
Had seared with blistering ice— but he misdeems
That he is wise, whose wounds do only bleed
Inly for self— thus thought the Iberian Priest indeed,
XI
And others too, thought he was wise to see^ 4540
In pain, and fear, and hate, something divine
In love and beauty, no divinity.
Now with a bitter smile, whose light did shine
Like a fiend's hope upon his lips and eyne,
He said, and the persuasion of that sneer 4545
Rallied his trembling comrades— 'Is it mine
To stand alone, when kings and soldiers fear
A woman? Heaven has sent its other victim here.'
XII
'Were it not impious,' said the King, break'to
Our holy oath ?'—' Impious to keep say!'
— it,
Shrieked the exulting Priest 'Slaves, to the stake
4550

Bind her, and on my head the burden lay


Of her just torments :— at the Judgement Day
"Will I stand up before the golden throne
Of Heaven, and cry, "To thee did I betray 4555
An Infidel but for me she would have known"
;

Another moment's joy the glory be thine own


!
!

XIII
They trembled, but replied not, nor obeyed,
Pausing in breathless silence. Cythna sprung
From her gigantic steed, who, like a shade 4560
; —
;

CANTO XII 147

Chased by the winds, those vacant streets among


Fled tameless, as the brazen rein she flung
Upon his neck, and kissed his mooned brow.
A piteous sight, that one so fair and young,
The clasp of such a fearful death should woo 4565
With smiles of tender joy as beamed from Cythna now.

The warm tears burst in spite of faith and fear


From many a tremulous eye, but like soft dews
Which feed Spring's earliest buds, hung gathered there,
Frozen by doubt,— alas! they could not choose 457c
But weep for when her faint limbs did refuse
;

To climb the pyre, upon the mutes she smiled


And with her eloquent gestures, and the hues
Of her quick lips, even as a weary child
Wins sleep from some fond nurse with its caresses mild,

She won them, though unwilling, her to bind 4576


Near me, among the snakes. When there had fled
One soft reproach that was most thrilling kind,
She smiled on me, and nothing then we said,
But each upon the other's countenance fed 4580
Looks of insatiate love the mighty veil
;

Which doth divide the living and the dead


Was almost rent, the world grew dim and pale,
All light in Heaven or Earth beside our love did fail. —

XVI
—yet —one brief relapse, like the last beam
Yet
Of dying flames, the stainless air around
4585

Hung silent and serene — a blood-red gleam


Burst upwards, hurling fiercely from the ground
The globed smoke, — I neard the mighty sound
Of a tempestuous ocean
its uprise, like ; 4590
And through chasms I saw, as in a swound,
its
The tyrant's child fall without life or motion
Before his throne, subdued by some unseen emotion.
XVII
And is this death?— The pyre has disappeared,
The Pestilence, the Tyrant, and the throng; 4595
The flames grow silent— slowly there is heard
The^ music of a breath-suspending song,
Which, like the kiss of love when life is young,
Steeps the faint eyes in darkness sweet and deep
With ever-changing notes it floats along, 4600
Till on my passive soul there seemed to creep
A melody, like waves on wrinkled sands that leap.
4577 there] then ed. 1818.
; —
148 THE REVOLT OF ISLAM
XVIII
The warm touch of a soft and tremulous hand
Wakened me then ; lo ! Cythna sate reclined
Beside me, on the waved and golden sand 4605
Of upon a bank o'ertwined
a clear pool,
"With strange and star-bright flowers, which to the wind
Breathed divine odour high above, was spread
;

The emerald heaven unknown kind,


of trees of
Whose moonlike blooms and bright fruit overhead 4610
A shadow, which was light, upon the waters shed.

XIX
And round about sloped many
a lawny mountain
With incense-bearing forests, and vast caves
Of marble radiance, to that mighty fountain
And where the flood its own bright margin laves, 4615
Their echoes talk with its eternal waves,
Which, from the depths whose jagged caverns breed
Their unreposing strife, it lifts and heaves,—
Till through a chasm of hills they roll, and feed
A river deep, which flies with smooth but arrowy speed.

xx
As we sate gazing in a trance of wonder, 4621
A
boat approached, borne by the musical air
Along the waves which sung and sparkled under
Its rapid keel— a winged shape sate there,
A
child with silver-shining wings, so fair, 4625
That as her bark did through the waters glide,
The shadow of the lingering waves did wear
Light, as from starry beams from side to side,
;

While veering to the wind her plumes the bark did guide.

The boat was one curved shell of hollow pearl, 4630


Almost translucent with the light divine
Of her within the prow and stern did curl
;

Horned on high, like the young moon supine,


When o'er dim twilight mountains dark with pine,
upon the sunset's sea of beams,
It floats 4635
Whosegolden waves in many a purple line
Fade fast, till borne on sunlight's ebbing streams,
Dilating, on earth's verge the sunken meteor gleams.

XXII
Its keel has struck the sands beside our feet ;
Then CjT thna turned to me, and from her eyes 4640
Which swam with unshed tears, a look more sweet
Than happy love, a wild and glad surprise,
Glanced as she spake: 'Ay, this is Paradise
; '

CANTO XII 149

And not a dream, and we are all united !

Lo, that is mine own child, who in the guise 4 6 45


Of madness came, like day to one benighted !

In lonesome woods : my heart is now too well requited


XXIII
And then she wept aloud, and in her arms
Clasped that bright Shape, less marvellously fair
Than her own human hues and living charms 4650
Which, as she leaned in passion's silence there,
Breathed warmth on the cold bosom of the air,
Which seemed to blush and tremble with delight;
The glossv darkness of her streaming hair
Fell o'er that snowy child, and wrapped from sight 4655
The fond and long embrace winch did their hearts unite.
XXIV
Then the bright child, the plumed Seraph came,
And fixed its blue and beaming eyes on mine,
And said, 'I was disturbed by tremulous shame
When once we met, yet knew that I was thine 4660
From the same hour in which thy lips divine
Kindled a clinging dream within my brain,
Which ever waked when I might sleep, to twine
Thine image with her memory dear— again
We meet ; exempted now from mortal fear or pain. 4665
XXV
'When the consuming flames had wrapped ye round,
The hope which I had cherished went away ;

I fell in agony on the senseless ground,


And hid mine eyes in dust, and far astray
My mind was gone, when bright, like dawning day,
The Spectre of the Plague before me flew, 4671
And breathed upon my lips, and seemed to say,
" They wait for thee, beloved "—then I knew!

The death-mark on my and became calm anew.


breast,
XXVI
'It was the calm of love— for I was dying. 4 6 75
I saw the black and half-extinguished pyre
In its own gray and shrunken ashes lying ;

The pitchy smoke


of the departed fire
Still hung in many a hollow dome and spire
Above the towers, like night; beneath whose shade 46S0
Awed by the ending of their own desire
The armies stood a vacancy was made
;

In expectation's depth, and so they stood dismayed.


XXVII
'The frightful silence of that altered mood,
The tortures of the dying clove alone, 4 68 5
Till one uprose among the multitude,
; ; ;
; — 1

L50 THE REVOLT OF ISLAM


And —
said " The flood of time is rolling on,
We
stand upon its brink, whilst tlxey are gone
To glide in peace down death's mysterious stream. 4689
Have ye done well? They moulder flesh and bone,
Who might have made this life's envenomed dream
A sweeter draught than ye will ever taste, I deem.

1
"
These perish as the good and great of yore
Have
perished, and their murderers will repent,
Yes, vain and barren tears shall flow before 4695
Yon smoke has faded from the firmament
Even for this cause, that ye who must lament
The death of those that made this world so fair,
Cannot recall them now but there is lent ;

To man the wisdom of a high despair, 4700


When such can die, and he live on and linger here.
XXIX
'"Ay, ye may
fear not now the Pestilence,
From fabled hell as by a charm withdrawn
All power and faith must pass, since calmly hence
In pain and
fire have unbelievers gone 4705
And
ye must sadly turn away, and moan
In secret, to his home each one returning,
And to long ages shall this hour be known
And slowly shall its memory, ever burning,
Fill this dark night of things with an eternal morning.

XXX
'"For me
the world is grown too void and cold, 47 J
Since Hope pursues immortal Destiny
With steps thus slow— therefore shall ye behold
How those who love, yet fear not, dare to die ;

Tell to your children this!" Then suddenly 4715


He sheathed a dagger in his heart and fell
My brain grew dark in death, and yet to me
There came a murmur from the crowd, to tell
Of deep and mighty change which suddenly befell
XXXI
'Then suddenly I stood, a winged Thought, 4720
Before the immortal Senate, and the seat
Of that star-shining spirit, whence is wrought
The strength of its dominion, good and great,
The better Genius of this world's estate.
His realm around one mighty Fane is spread, 4725
Elysian islands bright and fortunate,
Calm dwellings of the free and happy dead,
Where I am sent to lead These winged words she
!
' said,
4699 there] then ed. 1818.
; ;

CANTO XII 151

And with the silence of her eloquent smile,


Bade us embark in her divine canoe; 4730
Then at the helm we took our seat, the while
Above her head those plumes of dazzling hue
Into the winds' invisible stream she threw,
Sitting beside the prow : like gossamer
On the swift breath of morn, the vessel flew 4735
O'er the bright whirlpools of that fountain fair,
Whose shores receded fast, whilst we seemed lingering there ;

XXXIII
Till down that mighty stream, dark, calm, and fleet,
Between a chasm of cedarn mountains riven,
Chased by the thronging winds whose viewless feet 4740
As swift as twinkling beams, had, under Heaven,
From woods and waves wild sounds and odours driven,
The boat fled visibly— three nights and days,
Borne like a cloud through morn, and noon, and even,
We sailed along the winding watery ways 4745
Of the vast stream, a long and labyrinthine maze.
XXXIV
A scene of joy and wonder to behold
That river's shapes and shadows changing ever.
When the broad sunrise filled with deepening gold
Its whirlpools, where all hues did spread and quiver
And where melodious falls did burst and shiver 4751
Among rocks clad with flowers, the foam and spray
Sparkled like stars upon the sunny river,
Or when the moonlight poured a holier day,
One vast and glittering lake around green islands lay. 4755
xxxv
Morn, noon, and even, that boat of pearl outran
The streams which bore it, like the arrowy cloud
Of tempest, or the speedier thought of man.
Which flieth forth and cannot make abode
Sometimes through forests, deep like night, we glode,
Between the walls of mighty mountains crowned 4761
With Cyclopean piles, whose turrets proud,
The homes of the departed, dimly frowned
O'er the bright waves which girt their dark foundations
round.
xxxvi
Sometimes between the wide and flowering meadows,
Mile after mile we sailed, and 'twas delight 4766
To see far off the sunbeams chase the shadows
Over the grass sometimes beneath the night
;

Of wide and vaulted caves, whose roofs were bright


4749 When] Where ed. 1818.
: —
152 THE REVOLT OF ISLAM
With starry gems, we fled, whilst from their deep 4770
And dark-green chasms, shades beautiful and white,
Amid sweet sounds across our path would sweep,
Like swift and lovely dreams that walk the waves of sleep.
XXXVII
And ever as we sailed, our minds were full
Of love and wisdom, which would overflow 4775
In converse wild, and sweet, and wonderful,
And in quick smiles whose light would come and go
Like music o'er wide waves, and in the flow
Of sudden tears, and in the mute caress—
For a deep shade was cleft, and we did know, 4780
That virtue, though obscured on Earth, not less
Survives all mortal "change in lasting loveliness.
XXXVIII
Three days and nights we sailed, as thought and feeling
Number delightful hours— for through the sky
The sphered lamps of day and night, revealing 4785
New changes and new glories, rolled on high,
Sun. Moon, and moonlike lamps, the progeny
Of a diviner Heaven, serene and fair
On the fourth day, wild as a windwrought sea
The stream became, and fast and faster bare 4790
The spirit- winged boat, steadily speeding there.
XXXIX
Steady and swift, where the waves rolled like mountains
Within the vast ravine, whose rifts did pour
Tumultuous floods from their ten thousand fountains,
The thunder of whose earth-uplifting roar 4795
Made the air sweep in whirlwinds from the shore,
Calm as» a shade, the boat of that fan* child
Securaly fled, that rapid stress before,
Amid the topmost spray, and sunbows wild,
Wreathed in the silver mist in joy and pride
: we smiled.
XL
The torrent of that wide and racing river 4801
Is passed, and our aereal speed suspended.
We look behind a golden mist did quiver
;

Where its wild surges with the lake were blended,


Our bark hung there, as on a line suspended 4805
Between two heavens,— that windless waveless lake
Which four great cataracts from four vales, attended
By mists, aye feed from rocks and clouds they break,
;

And of that azure sea a silent refuge make.


XLI
Motionless resting on the lake awhile, 4810
I saw its marge of snow-bright mountains rear
Their peaks aloft, I saw each radiant isle,
4804 Where] When ed. 1818. 4805 on a line] one line ed. 1818.

CANTO XII 153

And in the midst, afar, even like a sphere


Hung in one hollow sky, did there appear
The Temple of the Spirit; on the sound 4815
Which issued thence, drawn nearer and more near,
Like the swift moon this glorious earth around,
The charmed boat approached, and there its haven found.

NOTE ON THE EEVOLT OF ISLAM,


BY MRS. SHELLEY
Shelley possessed two re- he again visited Switzerland, and
markable qualities of intellect rented a house on the banks of
a brilliant imagination, and a the Lake of Geneva and many
;

logical exactness of reason. His a day, in cloud or sunshine, was


inclinations led him (he fancied) passed alone in his boat sailing—
almost alike to poetry and meta- as the wind listed, or weltering
physical discussions. I say ' he on the calm waters. The majestic
fancied,' because I believe the aspect of Nature ministered such
former to have been paramount, thoughts as he afterwards enwove
and that it would have gained the in verse. His lines on the Bridge
mastery even had he struggled of the Arve, and his Hymn to In-
against it. However, he said that tellectual Beauty, were written at
he deliberated at one time whether this time. Perhaps during this
he should dedicate himself to summer his genius was checked
poetry or metaphysics and, re-
; by association with another poet
solving on the former, he educated whose nature was utterly dissimi-
himself for it, discarding in a lar to his own, yet who, in the
great measure his philosophical poem he wrote at that time, gave
pursuits, and engaging himself in tokens that he shared for a period
the study of the poets of Greece, the more abstract and etherealised
Italy, and England. To these inspiration of Shelley. The sad-
may be added a constant perusal dest events awaited his return to
of portions of the Old Testament England but such was his fear
;

— the Psalms, the Book of Job, to wound the feelings of others


the Prophet Isaiah, and others, that he never expressed the an-
the sublime poetry of which filled guish he felt, and seldom gave
him with delight. vent to the indignation roused by
As a poet, his intellect and the persecutions he underwent ;

compositions were powerfully in- while the course of deep unex-


fluenced by exterior circumstances, pressed passion, and the sense of
and especially by his place of injury, engendered the desire to
abode. He was very fond of embody themselves in forms defe-
travelling, and ill-health increased cated of all the weakness and evil
this restlessness. The sufferings which cling to real life.
occasioned by a cold English winter He chose therefore for his hero
made him pine, especially when a youth nourished in dreams of
our colder spring arrived, for a liberty, some of whose actions are
more genial climate. In 1816 in direct opposition to the opinions
;

154 NOTE ON THE REVOLT OF ISLAM


of the world but who is animated
; ill paid. The Poor-laws ground
throughout by an ardent love of to the dust not only the paupers,
virtue,and a resolution to confer but those who had risen just above
the boons of political and intellec- that state, and were obliged to
tual freedom on his fellow-crea- pay poor-rates. The changes pro-
tures. He created for this youth duced by peace following a long
a woman such as he delighted to war, and a bad harvest, brought

imagine full of enthusiasm for with them the most heart-rending
the same objects and they both,
; evils to the poor. Shelley afforded
with will unvanquished, and the what alleviation he could. In the
deepest sense of the justice of winter, while bringing out his
their cause, met adversity and poem, he had a severe attack of
death. There exists in this poem ophthalmia, caught while visiting
a memorial of a friend of his youth. the poor cottages. I mention these
The character of the old man who —
things for this minute and active
liberates Laon from his tower- sympathy with his fellow-crea-
prison, and tends on him in sick- tures gives a thousandfold interest
ness, isfounded on that of Doctor to his speculations, and stamps
Lind, who, when Shelley was at with reality his pleadings for the
Eton, had often stood by to be- human race.
friend and support him, and whose The poem, bold in its opinions
name he never mentioned without and uncompromising in their ex-
love and veneration. pression, met with many censurers,
During the year 1817 we were not only among those who allow
established at Mario w in Buck- of no virtue but such as supports
inghamshire. Shelley's choice of the cause they espouse, but even
abode was fixed chiefly by this among those whose opinions were
town being at no great distance similar to his own. I extract a
from London, and its neighbour- portion of a letter written in an-
hood to the Thames. The poem swer to one of these friends. It
was written in his boat, as it best details the impulses of Shel-
floated under the beech-groves of ley's mind, and his motives it :

Bisham, or during wanderings in was written with entire unreserve


the neighbouring country, which is and therefore a precious monu-
is
distinguished for peculiar beauty. ment of his own opinion of his
The chalk hills break into cliffs powers, of the purity of his de-
that overhang the Thames, or form signs, and the ardour with which
valleys clothed with beech the ; he clung, in adversity and through
wilder portion of the country is the valley of the shadow of death,
rendered beautiful by exuberant to views from which he believed
vegetation and the cultivated
; the permanent happiness of man-
part is peculiarly fertile. With kind must eventually spring.
all this wealth of Nature which,
1
either in the form of gentlemen's Marlow, Dec. 11, 1817.
parks or soil dedicated to agri- ' have read and considered all
I
culture, flourishes around, Marlow that you say about my general
was inhabited (I hope it is altered powers, and the particular in-
now) by a very poor population. stance of the poem in which I have
The women are lacemakers, and attempted to develop them. No-
lose their health by sedentary thing can be more satisfactory
labour, for which they were very to me than the interest which
NOTE ON THE REVOLT OF ISLAM 155

your admonitions express. But to communicate the conceptions


I think you are mistaken in some which result from considering
points with regard to the peculiar either the moral or the material
nature of my powers, whatever universe as a whole. Of course,
be their amount. I listened with I believe these faculties, which
deference and self-suspicion to perhaps comprehend all that is
your censures of The Revolt of Is- sublime in man, to exist very im-
lam but the productions of mine
; perfectly in my own mind. But,
which you commend hold a very when you advert to my Chan-
low place in my own esteem and ; cery-paper, a cold, forced, unim-
this reassures me, in some degree passioned, insignificant piece of
at least. The poem was produced cramped and cautious argument,
by a series of thoughts which filled and to the little scrap about Man-
my mind with unbounded and deville, which expressed my feel-
sustained enthusiasm. I felt the ings indeed, but cost scarcely two
precariousness of my life, and I minutes' thought to express, as
engaged in this task, resolved to specimens of my powers more
leave some record of myself. favourable than that which grew
Much of what the volume con- as it were from '
the agony and
'

tains was written with the same bloody sweat" of intellectual tra-
feeling —as real, though not so vail ;surely I must feel that, in

prophetic as the communications some manner, either I am mis-
of a dying man. I never pre- taken in believing that I have any
sumed indeed to consider it any- talent at all, or you in the selec-
thing approaching to faultless ;
tion of the specimens of it. Yet,
but, when I consider contem- after all, I cannot but be con-
porary productions of the same scious, in much of what I write,
apparent pretensions, I own I was of an absence of that tranquillity
filled with confidence. I felt that which is the attribute and accom-
it was in many respects a genuine paniment of power. This feeling
picture of my own mind. I felt alone would make your most kind
that the sentiments were true, and wise admonitions, on the
not assumed. And in this have subject of the economy of intel-
I long believed that my power lectual force, valuable to me.
consists ;in sympathy, and that And, if I live, or if I see any
part of the imagination which re- trust in coming years, doubt not
lates to sentiment and contem- but that I shall do something,
plation. I am formed, if for any- whatever it may be, which a
thing not in common with the serious and earnest estimate of
herd of mankind, to apprehend my powers will suggest to me,
minute and remote distinctions and which will be in every respect
of feeling, whether relative to accommodated to their utmost
external nature or the living limits.' [Shelley to Godwin.]
beings which surround us, and
— :

PRINCE ATHANASE 1

A FRAGMENT
[Written at Marlow in 1817, towards the close of the year first ;

published in Posthumous Poems, 1824. Part I is dated by Mrs.


Shelley, 'December, 1817,' the remainder, 'Marlow, 1817.' The
verses were probably rehandled in Italy during the following year.
Sources of the text are (1) Posth. Poems, 1824 (2) Poetical Works,
;

1839, edd. 1st and 2nd (3) a much-tortured draft amongst the Bod-
;

leian MSS., collated by Mr. C. D. Locock. For (1) and (2) Mrs.
Shelley is responsible. Our text (enlarged by about thirty lines from
the Bodleian MS.) follows for the most part the P. W., 1839 verbal ;

exceptions are pointed out in the footnotes. See also the Editor's
Notes at the end of this volume, and Mr. Locock's Examination of the
Shelley MSS. in the Bodleian Library, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1903.]

PAET I
There was a youth, who, as with toil and travel,
Had grown Quite weak and gray before his time ;

Nor any could the restless griefs unravel


Which burned within him, withering up his prime
And goading him, like fiends, from land to land. 5
Not his the load of any secret crime,

For nought of ill his heart could understand,


But pity and wild sorrow for the same ;

Not his the thirst for glory or command,


Baffled with blast of hope-consuming shame ;
10
Nor evil joys which fire the vulgar oreast,
And quench in speedy smoke its feeble flame,

Had within his soul their dark unrest


left
Nor what religion fables of the grave
Feared he,— Philosophy's accepted guest. 15

For none than he a purer heart could have,


Or that loved good more for itself alone ;

Of nought in heaven or earth was he the slave.


1
The idea Shelley had formed of Prince Athamase was a good deal
modelled on Alastor. In the first sketch of the poem, he named it
Pandemos and Urania. Athanase seeks through the world the One whom
he may love. He meets, in the ship in which he is embarked, a lady
who appears to him to embody his ideal of love and beauty. But she
proves to be Pandemos, or the earthly and unworthy Venus who, after ;

disappointing his cherished dreams and hopes, deserts him. Athanase,


crushed by sorrow, pines and dies. ' On his deathbed, the lady who can
really reply to his soul comes and kisses his lips (The Deathbed 0/ Athanase).
'

The poet describes her [in the words of the final fragment, p. 164]. This
slender note is all we have to aid our imagination in shaping out the form
of the poem, such as its author imagined. [Mrs. Shelley's Note.]
— —— ; ;

PRINCE ATHANASE 157

What sorrow, strange, and shadowy, and unknown,


Sent him, a hopeless wanderer, through mankind ? — 20
If with a human sadness he did groan,
He had a gentle yet aspiring mind ;

Just, innocent, with varied learning fed ;

And such a glorious consolation find


In others' joy, when all their own is dead : 25
He loved, and laboured for his kind in grief,
And yet, unlike all others, it is said

That from such toil he never found relief.


Although a child of fortune and of power,
Of an ancestral name the orphan chief, 30
His soul had wedded Wisdom, and her dower
Is love and justice, clothed in which he sate
Apart from men, as in a lonely tower,
Pitying the tumult of their dark estate.
Yet even in youth did he not e'er abuse 35
The strength of wealth or thought, to consecrate
Those false opinions which the harsh rich use
To blind the world they famish for their pride
Nor did he hold from any man his dues,

But, like a steward in honest dealings tried, 40


With those who toiled and wept, the poor and wise,
His riches and his cares he dia divide.
Fearless he was, and scorning all disguise,
What he dared do or think, though men might start,
He spoke with mild yet unaverted eyes; 45
Liberal he was of soul, and frank of heart,
And to his many friends— all loved him well
Whate'er he knew or felt he would impart,
If words he found those inmost thoughts to tell
If not, he smiled or wept ; and his weak foes 50
He neither spurned nor hated— though with fell
And mortal hate their thousand voices rose,
They passed like aimless arrows from his ear—
Nor did his heart or mind its portal close
To those, or them, or any, whom life's sphere 55
May comprehend within its wide array.
What sadness made that vernal spirit sere?
He knew not. Though his life, day after day,
Was failing like an unreplenished stream,
Though in his eyes a cloud and burthen lay, 60
19 strange eel. 1839 ; deep ed. 1824.
— — ; :

158 PRINCE ATHANASE


Through which his soul, like Vesper's serene beam
Piercing the chasms of ever rising clouds,
Shone, softly burning though his lips did seem
;

Like reeds which quiver in impetuous floods ;

And through his sleep, and o'er each waking hour, 65


Thoughts after thoughts, unresting multitudes,
Were driven within him by some secret power,
Which bade them blaze, and live, and roll afar,
Like lights and sounds, from haunted tower to tower
O'er castled mountains borne, when tempest's war to
Is levied by the night-contending winds,
Axid the pale dalesmen watch with eager ear ;

Though such were in his spirit, as the fiends


Which wake and feed an overliving woe,
What was this grief, which ne'er in other minds 75

A mirror found,— he knew not— none could know;


But on whoe'er might question him he turned
The light of his frank eyes, as if to show
He knew not of the grief within that burned,
But asked forbearance with a mournful look ;
80
Or spoke in words from which none ever learned
The cause of his disquietude ; or shook
With spasms of silent passion or turned pale
;

So that his friends soon rarely undertook


To stir his secret pain without avail
;— 85
For all who knew and loved him then perceived
That there was drawn an adamantine veil
Between his heart and mind,— both unrelieved
Wrought in his brain and bosom separate strife.
Some said that he was mad, others believed 9°

That memories of an antenatal life


Made this, where now he dwelt, a penal hell
And others said that such mysterious grief
From God's displeasure, like a darkness, fell
On souls hike his, which owned no higher law 95
Than love ; love calm, steadfast, invincible

By mortal fear or supernatural awe ;

And others,—' 'Tis the shadow of a dream


Which the veiled eye of Memory never saw,
'But through the soul's abyss, like some dark stream 100
Through shattered mines and caverns underground,
Kolls, shaking its foundations and no beam
;

74 feed an Bodl. MS. ; feed on edd. 1S24, 1S39.


— ;; — ——

PRINCE ATHANASE 159

1
Of ioy may rise, but it is quenched and drowned
In the dim whirlpools of this dream obscure
Soon its exhausted waters will have found 105
'
A beneath thy spirit pure,
lair of rest
O Athanase !— in one so good and great,
Evil or tumult cannot long endure.'
So spake they idly of another's state
:

Babbling vain words and fond philosophy; no


This was their consolation such debate ;

Men held with one another ; nor did he,


Like one who labours with a human woe,
Decline this talk as if its theme might be
:

Another, not himself, he to and fro 115


Questioned and canvassed it with subtlest wit
And none but those who loved him best could know
That which he knew not, how it galled and bit
His weary mind, this converse vain and cold
For like an eyeless nightmare grief did sit 120
Upon a snake which fold by fold
his being ;

Pressed out the life of life, a clinging fiend


Which clenched him if he stirred with deadlier hold ;

And so his grief remained— let it remain— untold \


PAET II
FRAGMENT I
Prince Athanase had one beloved friend, 125
An old, old man, with hair of silver white,
And lips where heavenly smiles would hang and blend
With his wise words and eyes whose arrowy light
;

Shone like the reflex of a thousand minds.


He was the last whom superstition's blight 130
Had spared in Greece— the blight that cramps and blinds,
And in his olive bower at (Enoe
Had sate from earliest youth. Like one who finds
A fertile island in the barren sea,
One mariner who has survived his mates 135
Many a drear month in a great ship — so he
With soul-sustaining songs, and sweet debates
Of ancient lore, there fed his lonely being :

'
The mind becomes that which it contemplates,'
1
The Author was pursuing a fuller development of the ideal character
of Athanase, when it struck him that in an attempt at extreme refine-
ment and analysis, his conceptions might be betrayed into the assuming
a morbid character. The reader will judge whether he is a loser or
gainer by this diffidence. [Shelley's Note.]
Footnote diffidence cj. Rossetti (1878) ; difference eclcl. 1824, 1839.
; ; —

160 PRINCE ATHANASE


And thus Zonoras. by forever seeing 140
Their bright creations, grew like wisest men*
And when he heard the crash of nations fleeing
A bloodier power than ruled thy ruins then,
O sacred Hellas many weary years
!

He wandered, till the path of Laian's glen 145


Was grass-grown— and the unremembered tears
Were dry in Laian for their honoured chief,
Who fell in Byzant, pierced by Moslem spears :

And as the lady looked with faithful grief


From her high lattice o'er the rugged path, 150
Where she once saw that horseman toil, with brief
And blighting hope, who with the news of death
Struck body and soul as with a mortal blight,
She saw between the chestnuts, far beneath,
An old man toiling up, a weary wight 155
And soon within her nospitable hall
She saw his white hairs glittering in the light

Of the wood and round his shoulders fall


fire,
And his wan visage and his withered mien,
Yet calm and gentle and majestical. 160

And Athanase, her child, who must have been


Then three years old, sate opposite and gazed
In patient silence.

FRAGMENT II

Such was Zonoras and as daylight finds


;

One amaranth glittering on the path of frost, 165


When autumn nights have nipped all weaker kinds,
Thus through his age, dark, cold, and tempest-tossed,
Shone truth upon Zonoras and he filled ;

From fountains pure, nigh overgrown and lost,


The spirit of Prince Athanase, a child, 170
With soul-sustaining songs of ancient lore
And philosophic wisdom, clear and mild.
And sweet and subtle talk they evermore,
The pupil and the master, shared until, ;

Sharing that undiminishable store, 175


The youth, shadows on a grassy hill
as
Outrun the winds that chase them, soon outran
His teacher, and did teach with native skill
154 beneath edd. 1824, 1839; between Bodl. MS. 165 One Bodl. MS.
ed.1839 ;An ed. 1824. 167 Thus thro' Bodl. MS. (?), ed. 1S39 ; Thus
had ed. 1824. 173 talk they ed. 1824, Bodl. MS. ; talk now erf. 1839.
175 that ed. 1839 the ed. 1824.
;
— — ;

PRINCE ATHANASE 161

Strange truths and new to that experienced man


Still they were friends, as few have ever been iSo
Who mark the extremes of life's discordant span.
So in the caverns of the forest green,
Or on the rocks of echoing ocean hoar,
Zonoras and Prince Athanase were seen
By summer woodmen; and when winter's roar 1S5
Sounded o'er earth and sea its blast of war,
The Balearic fisher, driven from shore,

Hanging upon the peaked wave afar,


Then saw their lamp from Laian's turret gleam,
Piercing the stormy darkness, like a star 19°

Which pours beyond the sea one steadfast beam,


Whilst all the constellations of the sky
Seemed reeling through the storm They did but
. . . seem—
For, lo! the wintry clouds are all gone by,
And bright Arcturus through yon pines is glowing, 195
And far o'er southern waves, immovably
Belted Orion hangs— warm light is flowing
From the young moon into the sunset's chasm.
'O, summer eve! with power divine, bestowing

'On thine own bird the sweety enthusiasm '-*oo

Which overflows in notes of liquid gladness,


Filling the sky like light! How many a spasm
'
Of fevered brains, oppressed with grief and madness,
Were lulled by thee, delightful nightingale,—
And these soft waves, murmuring a gentle sadness,— 205

'And the far sighings of yon piny dale


Made vocal by some wind we feel not here.
I bear alone what nothing may avail
'To lighten— a strange load!'— No human ear
Heard this lament out o'er the visage wan
;
210
Of Athanase, a ruffling atmosphere
Of dark emotion, a swift shadow, ran,
Like wind upon some forest-bosomed lake,
Glassy and dark.— And that divine old man
Beheld his mystic friend's whole being shake, 215
Even where its inmost depths were gloomiest—
And with a calm and measured voice he spake,
182 So 1839 And ed. 1824.
ed. ; 183 Or on Bodl. MS. ; Or by edd. 1824,
1S39. 199 eve Bodl. MS. ed. 1839; night ed. 1824. 212 emotion, a
swift edd. 1824, 1839 ; emotion with swift Bodl. MS.
; ——

162 PRINCE ATHANASE


And, with a soft and equal pressure, pressed
That cold lean hand — 'Dost thou remember yet
:

When the curved moon then lingering in the west 220


'Paused, in yon waves her mighty horns to wet,
How in those beams we walked, half resting on the sea ?
'Tis just one year— sure thou dost not forget—
'Then Plato's words of light in thee and me
Lingered like moonlight in the moonless east, 225
For we had just then read— thy memory
'
Is faithful now— the story of the feast
And Agathon and Diotima seemed
From death and dark forgetfulness released
'

FRAGMENT III

And when man saw


that on the green
the old 230
Leaves of his opening a blight had lighted
He said My friend, one grief alone can wean
: '

A gentle mind from all that once delighted :

Thou lovest, and thy secret heart is laden


With feelings which should not be unrequited.' 235
And Athanase then smiled, as one o'erladen
. . .

With iron chains might smile to talk (?) of bands


Twined round her lover's neck by some blithe maiden,
And said

FRAGMENT IV
'Twas at the season when the Earth upsprings 240
From slumber, as a sphered angel's child,
Shadowing its eyes with green and golden wings,
Stands up before its mother bright and mild,
Of whose soft voice the air expectant seems
So stood before the sun, which shone and smiled 245
To see it rise thus joyous from its dreams,
The fresh and radiant Earth. The hoary grove
Waxed green— and flowers burst forth like starry beams ;—
The grass in the warm sun did start and move,
And sea-buds burst under the waves serene : 250
How many a one, though none be near to love,
Loves then the shade of his own soul, half seen
In any mirror— or the spring's young minions,
The winged leaves amid the copses green — ;

How many a spirit then puts on the pinions 255


Of fancy, and outstrips the lagging blast,
And his own steps— and over wide dominions
250 under ed. 1S24, Bodl. MS. ; beneath ed. 1839. 256 outstrips edd.
1824, 1839 ; outrides Bodl. MS.

PRINCE ATHANASE 163

Sweeps in his dream-drawn chariot, far and fast,


More fleet than storms— the wide world shrinks below,
When winter and despondency are past. 260

FRAGMENT V
'Twas at this season that Prince Athanase
Passed the white Alps— those eagle-baffling mountains
Slept in their shrouds of snow ;— beside the ways

The waterfalls were voiceless— for their fountains


Were changed to mines of sunless crystal now, 265
Or by the curdling winds— like brazen wings
Which clanged along the mountain's marble brow
Warped into adamantine fretwork, hung
And filled with frozen light the chasms below.
Vexed by the blast, the great pines groaned and swung
Under their load of [snow]— . . . . 271

Such as the eagle sees, when he dives down


From the gray deserts of wide air, [beheld] 275
[Prince] Athanase and o'er his mien (?) was
; thrown
The shadow of that scene, field after field,
Purple and dim and wide

FRAGMENT VI
Thou wine whose drunkenness is all
art the
We can desire, O Love! and happy souls, 280
Ere from thy vine the leaves of autumn fall.
Catch thee, and feed from their o'erflowing bowls
Thousands who thirst for thine ambrosial dew ;—
Thou art the radiance which where ocean rolls
Investeth it; andwhen the heavens are blue 285:
Thou fillest them and when the earth is fair
;

The shadow of thy moving wings imbue


Its deserts and its mountains, till they wear
Beauty like some light robe ;— thou ever soarest
Among the towers of men, and as soft air 290

In spring, which moves the unawakened forest,


Clothing with leaves its branches bare and bleak,
Thou floatest among men and aye implorest
;

259 Exulting, while the wide Bodl. MS. 262 mountains ecld. 1824, 1839 crags
;

odl. MS. 264 fountains edd. 1824, 1839 springs Bodl. MS.
; 269 chasms Bodl.
ft; chasm edd. 1824, 1839. 283 thine Bodl. MS. thy edd. 1824, 1839.
; 285 In-
isteth Bodl. MS. Investest edd. 1824, 1S39.
; 289 light Bodl. MS. bright edd. 1824, 1839.
;
164 PRINCE ATHANASE
That which from thee they should implore the weak
:

Alone kneel to thee, offering up the hearts 295

The strong have broken yet where shall any seek
A garment whom thou clothest not? the darts
Of the keen winter storm, barbed with frost,
Which, from the everlasting snow that parts
The Alps from Heaven, pierce some traveller lost 300
In the wide waved interminable snow
Ungarmented,

ANOTHER FRAGMENT (a)

Yes, often when


the eyes are cold and dry,
And the lips calm, the Spirit weeps within
Tears bitterer than the blood of agony 305
Trembling in drops on the discoloured skin
Of those who love their kind and therefore perish
In ghastly torture— a sweet medicine
Of peace and sleep are tears, and quietly
Them soothe from whose uplifted eyes they fall 310
But
ANOTHER FRAGMENT (b)

Her hair was brown, her sphered eyes were brown,


And in their dark and liquid moisture swam,
Like the dim orb of the eclipsed moon
Yet when the spirit flashed beneath, there came 315
The light from them, as when tears of delight
Double the western planet's serene flame.

KOSALIND AND HELEN


A MODERN ECLOGUE
[Begun at Marlow, 1817 (summer) already in the press, March, 1818
;

finished at the Baths of Lucca, August, 1818 published with other poems, as
;

the title-piece of a slender volume, by C. & J. Oilier, London, 1819 (spring).


See Bibliographical List. Sources of the text are (1) editio princeps, 1819
(2) Poetical Works, ed. Mrs. Shelley, 1839, edd. 1st and 2nd. A fragment of
the text is amongst the Boscombe MSS. The poem is reprinted here from the
editio princeps verbal alterations are recorded in the footnotes, punctual in
;

the Editor's Notes at the end of this volume.]

ADVERTISEMENT
The story of Rosalind and Helen meditation ; and if, by interesting the
is, undoubtedly, not an attempt in the affections and amusing the imagination,

highest style of poetry. It is in no it awakens a certain ideal melancholy


degree calculated to excite profound favourable to the reception of more
ROSALIND AND HELEN 165

important impressions, it will produce chre, of Petrarch. If any one is in-


in the reader all that the writer ex- clined to condemn the insertion of the
perienced in the composition. I re- introductory lines, which image forth
signed myself, as I wrote, to the im- the sudden relief of a state of deep de-
pulse of the feelings which moulded spondency by the radiant visions dis-
the conception of the story and this
; closed by the sudden burst of an Italian
impulse determined the pauses of a sunrise in autumn on the highest peak
measure, which only pretends to be of those delightful mountains, I can
regular inasmuch as it corresponds only offer as my excuse, that they were
with, and expresses, the irregularity of not erased at the request of a dear
the imaginations which inspired it. friend, with whom added years of in-
I do not know which of the few scat- tercourse only add to my apprehension
tered poems I left in England will be of its value, and who would have had
selected by my bookseller to add to more right than any one to complain,
this collection. One l, which I sent that she has not been able to extinguish
from Italy, was written after a day's in me the very power of delineating
excursion among those lovely mount- sadness.
ains which surround what was once the Naples, Bee. 20, 1818.
retreat, and where is now the sepul-

Rosalind, Helen and her Child


Scene, the Shore of the Lake of Como
Helen. Come hither, my sweet Those heathy paths, that inland
Rosalind. stream,
'Tis long since thou and I have met And the blue mountains, shapes
And yet methinks it were unkind which seem 25
Those moments to forget. Like wrecks of childhood's sunny
Come sit by me. I see thee stand 5 dream
By this lone lake, in this far land, Which that we have abandoned
Thy loose hair in the light wind flying, now,
Thy sweet voice to each tone of even Weighs on the heart like that re-
United, and thine eyes replying morse
To the hues of yon fair heaven. 10 Which altered friendship leaves. I
Come, gentle friend wilt sit by me ?
: seek
And be as thou wert wont to be No more our youthful intercourse. 3 o
Ere we were disunited ? That cannot be Rosalind, speak.
!

None doth behold us now : the power Speak to me. Leave me not. —When
That led us forth at this lone hour 15 morn did come,
Will be but ill requited When evening fell upon our common
If thou depart in scorn :oh come,
! home,
And talk of our abandoned home. When
for one hour we parted, do —
Remember, this is Italy, not frown :

And we are exiles. Talk with me 20 I would not chide thee, though thy
Of that our land, whose wilds and faith is broken
floods, But turn to me. Oh by this cher- !

Barren and dark although they be, ished token, 36


Were dearer than these chestnut Of woven hair, which thou wilt not
woods disown,
'Lines written among the Euganean Hills.' Ed.
166 ROSALIND AND HELEN
Turn, as 'twere but the memory of Henry. 'Tis Fenici's seat
me, Where you are going ? This is not
And not my scorned self who prayed the way, 75
to thee. Mamma ; it leads behind those trees
Rosalind. Is it a dream, or do I that grow
see Close to the little river.

And hear frail Helen ? I would flee Helen. Yes I know :

Thy tainting touch but former years I was bewildered. Kiss me, and be
;

Arise, and bring forbidden tears gay,


;

And my o'erburthened memory Dear boy why do you sob ? :

Seeks yet its lost repose in thee. 4 5 Henry. 'I do not know
_

I share thy crime. I cannot choose But it might break any one's heart
But weep for thee mine own strange
: to see 80
grief You and the lady cry so bitterly.
But seldom stoops to such relief Helen. It is a gentle child, my
Nor ever did I love thee less, friend. Go home,
Though mourning o'er thy wicked- Henry, and play with Lilla till I
ness 50 come.
Even with a sister's woe. I knew We
only cried with joy to see each
What to the evil world is due, other
And therefore sternly did refuse We
are quite merry now: Good-
To link me with the infamy night.
Of one so lost as Helen. Now 55 The boy 85
Bewildered by my dire despair, Lifted a sudden look upon his
Wondering I blush, and weep that mother,
thou And in the gleam of forced and

Should'st love me still, thou only hollow joy
!

—There, Which lightened o'er her face,


Let us sit on that gray stone, laughed with the glee
Till our mournful talk be done. 60 Of light and unsuspecting infancy,
Helen. Alas not there I cannot And whispered in her ear, 'Bring
! ;

bear home with you 90


The murmur of this lake to hear. That sweet strange lady-friend.'
A sound from there, Kosalind dear, Then off he flew, *

Which never yet I heard elsewhere But stopped, and beckoned with
But in our native land, recurs, 65 a meaning smile,
Even here where now we meet. It Where the road turned. Pale Rosa-
stirs lind the while,
Too much of suffocating sorrow Hiding her face, stood weeping
In the dell of yon dark chestnut wood silently.
Is a stone seat, a solitude
Less like our own. The ghost of In silence then they took the way 95
Peace 7° Beneath the forest s solitude.
Will not desert this spot. To- It was a vast and antique wood,
morrow, Thro' which they took their way
If thy kind feelings should not cease, And the gray shades of evening
We may sit here. O'er that green wilderness did
Rosalind. Thou lead, my sweet, fling 100
And I will follow. Still deeper solitude.

63 from tli ere] from thee ed. 1S19.


ROSALIND AKD HELEN 167

Pursuing still the path that wound And gray shades gather in the woods:
The vast and knotted trees around And the owls have all fled far away
Through which slow shades were In a merrier glen to hoot and
wandering, play, 1 4°

To a deep lawny dell they came, 105 For the moon is veiled and sleeping
To a stone seat "beside a spring, now.
O'er which the columned wood did The accustomed nightingale still
frame broods
A roofless temple, like the fane On her accustomed bough.
Where, ere new creeds could faith But she is mute for her false mate
;

obtain, Has fled and left her desolate. 145


Man's early race once knelt be- This silent spot tradition old
neath no Had peopled with the spectral dead.
The overhanging deity. For the roots of the speaker's hair
O'er this fair fountain hung the sky,
felt cold
Now spangled with rare stars. The And
stiff, with tremulous lips he
as
snake, told
The pale snake, that with eager
That a hellish shape at midnight
breath led 15°
Creeps here his noontide thirst to
The ghost of a youth with hoary hair,
slake, 1

Is beaming with many a mingled


1
And sate on the seat beside him there,
Till a naked child came wandering
hue,
by,
Shed from yon dome's eternal blue, When the fiend would change to a
When he floats on that dark and lady fair
lucid flood
In the light of his own loveliness
A
fearful tale! The truth was
;
worse 155
And the birds that in the fountain For here a sister and a brother
dip 120
Their plumes, with fearless fellowship
Had solemnized a monstrous curse,
Meeting in this fair solitude
Above and round him wheel and For beneath 3^>n very sky,
hover.
The fitful wind is heard to stir Had they resigned to one another 1 60
One solitary leaf on high ; Body and soul. The multitude :
Tracking them to the secret wood,
The chirping of the grasshopper 125
Tore limb from limb their innocent
Fills every pause. There is emotion
child,
In all that dwells at noontide here :
Then, through the intricate wild
And stabbed and trampled on its
mother
wood, ;

most holy
But the youth, for God's
A maze of life and light and motion grace, 165
Is woven. But there is stillness
now: 130
A priest saved to burn in the market-
place.
Gloom, and the trance of Nature
now Duly at evening Helen came
The snake is in his cave asleep ;
To this lone silent spot,
The birds are on the branches From the wrecks of a tale of wilder
dreaming sorrow
Only the shadows creep So much of sympathy to borrow 1 70
Only the glow-worm is gleaming: 135 As soothed her own dark lot.
Only the owls and the nightingales Duly each evening from her home,
Wake in this dell when daylight fails, With her fair child would Helen come
168 ROSALIND AND HELEN
To sit upon that antique seat, As with siehs and words she breathed
While the hues of day wei-epale; 175 on her,
And the bright boy beside her feet Unbind the knots of her friend's
Now lay, lifting at intervals despair,
His broad blue eyes on her ;
her thoughts were free to float
Till
Now, where some sudden impulse and flow ;
215
calls And from her labouring bosom now,
Following. He was a gentle boy 180 Like the bursting of a prisoned flame,
And in all gentle sports took joy ;
The voice of a long pent sorrow came.
Oft in a dry leaf for a boat, Rosalind. I saw the dark earth
With a small feather for a sail, fall upon
His fancy on that spring would float, The coffin and I saw the stone 220
;

If some invisible breeze might stir Laid over him whom this cold breast
Its marble calm :and Helen smiled Had pillowed to his nightly rest
Through tears of aweonthe gay child. Thou knowest not, thou canst not
To think that a boy as fair as he, know
In years which never more may be, My agony. Oh I could not weep ! :

By that same fount, in that same The sources whence such blessings
wood, 1 90 flow 225
The like sweet fancies had pursued Were not to be approached by me
;
!

And that a mother, lost like her, But I could smile, and I could sleep,
Had mournfully sate watching him. Though with a self-accusing heart.
Then all the scene was wont to swim In morning's light, in evening's
Through the mist of a burning gloom,
tear. —
195 I watched, and would not thence
depart 230
For many months had Helen known My husband's unlamented tomb.
This scene and now she thither My children knewtheirsire was gone,
turned
;

But when I told them, 'he is dead,' —


Her footsteps, not alone. They laughed aloud in frantic glee,
The friend whose falsehood she had They clapped their hands and leaped
mourned, about, 235
Sate with her on that seat of stone. 200 Answering each other's ecstasy
Silent they sate ;for evening, _
With many a prank and merry
And the power its glimpses bring shout.
Had, with one awful shadow, quelled But I sate silent and alone.
The passion of their grief. They sate Wrapped in the mock of mourning
With linked hands, for unrepelled 205 weed.
Had Helen taken Rosalind s.
Like the autumn wind, when it un- They laughed,for he was dead:
binds but I 240
The tangled locks of the nightshade's Sate with a hard and tearless eye,
hair, And with a heart which would deny
Which is twined in the sultry The secret joy it could not quell,
summer air Low muttering o'er his loathed
Round the walls of an outworn name ;
sepulchre, 210 Till from that self - contention
Did the voice of Helen, sad and came 245
sweet, Remorse where sin was none ; a hell
And the sound of her heart that Which in pure spirits should not
ever beat, dwell.
ROSALIND AND HELEN 169

I'll tell thee truth. He was a man Day and night, day and night,
Hard, selfish, loving only gold, He was my breath and life and
Yet full of guile : his pale eyes ran 2 50 light, 285
With tears, which each some false- For three short years, which soon
hood told. were passed.
And oft his smooth and bridled tongue On the fourth, my gentle mother
Would give the lie tohis flushing cheek: Led me to the shrine, to be
He was a coward to the strong His sworn bride eternally.
He was a tyrant to the weak, 2 5 5 And now we stood on the altar stair,
On whom his vengeance he would When my father came from a dis-
wreak tant land,
For scorn, whose arrows search the And with a loud and fearful cry
heart, Eushed between us suddenly.
From many a stranger's eye would I saw the stream of his thin gray
dart, hair,
And on his memory cling, and follow I saw his lean and lifted hand, 295
His soul to its home so cold and And heard his words,— and live Oh !

hollow. 260 God!


He was a tyrant to the weak, Wherefore do I live ?—
!'
Hold, hold
He cried, — I tell thee
'

And we were such, alas the day ' 'tis her bro-
Oft, when my little ones at play, ther!
Werein youth's natural lightness gay, Thy mother, boy, beneath the sod
Or if they listened to some tale 265 Of yon churchyard rests in her
Of travellers, or of fairy land, shroud so cold 300 :

When the light from the wood-fire's I am now weak, and pale, and old :

dying brand We were once dear to one another,



Flashed on their faces, if they heard I and that corpse ! Thou art our
Or thought they heard upon the stair child !

His footstep, the suspended word 270 Then with a laugh both longand wild
Died on my lips we all grew pale
: : The youth upon the pavement fell
The babe at my bosom was hushed They found him dead All looked !

with fear on me,


If it thought it heard its father near The spasms of my despair to see :

And my two wild boys would near But I was calm. I went away :

my knee I was clammy-cold like clay


Cling, cowed and cowering fear- I did not weep I did not speak
: 310 :

fully. 275 But day by day, week after week,


I walked about like a corpse alive !

I'll tellthee truth : I loved another. Alas sweet friend, you must be-
!

His name in my ear was ever lieve


ringing, This heart
stone it did not break.
is :

His form to my brain was ever My father lived


a little while, 3 5 '

clinging But all might see that he was dying,


Yet if some stranger breathed that He smiled with such a woeful smile !

name, When he was in the churchyard


My lips turned white, and my heart lying
beat fast 2 So Among the worms, we grew quite
My nights were once haunted by poor,
dreams of flame, So that no one would give us
My days were dim in the shadow cast bread: 320
By the memory of the same 1 My mother looked at me, and said
G3

;; ; : :

170 ROSALIND AND HELEN


Faint words of cheer, which only Under my bosom and in my
brain,
meant And crept with the blood through
That she could die and be content every vein 355
So I went forth from the same And hour by hour, day after day,
church door The wonder could not charm away,
To another husband's bed. 325 But laid in sleep, my wakeful pain,
And this was he who died at last, Until I knew it was a child,
When weeks and months and years And then I wept. For long, long
had passed, years 3 60
Through which I firmly did fulfil These frozen eyes had shed no tears :

My duties, a devoted wife, But now— 'twas the season fair and
With the stern step of vanquished mild
will, 330 When April has wept itself to May
Walking beneath the night of life, I sate through the sweet sunny day
Whose hours extinguished, like slow By my window bowered round with
rain leaves, 365
Falling for ever, pain by pain, And down my cheeks the quick
The very hope of death s dear rest tears fell
Which, since the heart within my Like twinkling rain-drops from the
breast 335 eaves,
Of natural life was dispossessed, When warm spring showers are
Its strange sustainer there had been. passing o'er
Helen, none can ever tell
When flowers were dead, and grass The joy it was to weep once
was green more! 370
Upon my mother's grave,— that
mother 1 wept to think how hard it were
Whom to outlive, and cheer, and To kill my babe, and take from it
make 340 The sense of light, and the warm air,
My wan eyes glitter for her sake, And my own fond and tender care,
Was my vowed task, the single care And love and smiles; ere I knew
Which once gave life to my despair, yet 375
When she was a thing that did not That these for it might, as for me,
stir Be the masks of a grinning mockery.
And the crawling worms were And haply, I would dream, 'twere
cradling her 345 sweet
To a sleep more deep and so more To feed it from my faded breast,
sweet Or mark my own heart's restless
Than a baby's rocked on its nurse's beat 380
knee, Rock it to its untroubled rest,
I lived a living pulse then beat
: And watch the growing soul beneath
Beneath my heart that awakened Dawn in faint smiles and hear its ;

me. breath,
What was this pulse so warm and Half interrupted by calm sighs,
free? 350 And search the depth of its fair
Alas I knew it could not be
! eyes 385_

My own dull blood 'twas like a For long departed memories


: !

thought And so I lived till that sweet load


Of liquid love, that spread and Was lightened. Darkly forward
wrought flowed
366 fell] rfan ed. 1S19.
: : !! ; ; : ; ,

ROSALIND AND HELEN 171

The stream of years, and on it bore Which, like fierce fever, left him
Two shapes of gladness to my sight weak; 425
Two other babes, delightful more And his strait lipand bloated cheek
In my lost soul's abandoned night, Were warped in spasms by hollow
Than their own country ships may be sneers ;

Sailing towards wrecked mariners, And selfish cares with barren plough,
Who cling to the rock of a wintry sea. Notage, had lined his narrow brow,
For each, as it came, brought sooth- And foul and cruel thoughts, which
ing tears, 369 feed 430
And a loosening warmth, as each Upon the withering life within,
one lay Like vipers on some poisonous weed.
Sucking the sullen milk away Whether his ill were death or sin
About my frozen heart, did play, _
None knew, until he died indeed,
And weaned it, then men owned they were the
oh how pain- And
fully !— same. 4°o 435
As they themselves were weaned Seven days within my chamber lay
each one
That corse, and my babes made
From that sweet food,— even from holiday
the thirst
At last, I told them what is death :
Of death, and nothingness, and rest,
The eldest, with a kind of shame,
Strange inmate of a living breast
Which all that I had undergone 405 Came to my knees with silent
breath, 44°
Of grief and shame, since she, who And sate awe-stricken at feetmy
first
The gates of that dark refuge closed,
And soon the others left their play,
Came to mysight, and almost burst
And sate there too. It is unmeet
To shed on the brief flower of youth
The seal of that Lethean spring ; .The withering knowledge of the
But these fair shadows mter- grave
° 445
fosed : 4 1
From me remorse then wrung that
delights are shadows now
truth.
And from my
brain to my dull brow
I could not bear the joy which gave
The heavy tears gather and flow
Too just a response to mine own.
I cannot speak : Oh let me weep In vain. I dared not feign a groan ,

The tears which fell from her wan


And in their artless looks I saw, 450
Between the mists of fear and awe,
eyes 415
Glimmered among the moonlight
That my own thought was theirs
and they
dew: Expressed not in words, but said,
Her deep hard sobs and heavy sighs Each in itsitheart, how every day
Their echoes in the darkness threw.
When she grew calm, she thus did Will pass in happy work and play, 455 Now he is dead and gone away.
keep
The tenor of her tale After the funeral all our kin
:

He died 420 Assembled, and the will was read.


:

I know not how he was not old,


: My friend, I tell thee, even the dead
If age be numbered by its years Have strength, their putrid shrouds
But he was bowed and bent with within, 46°
fears, To blast and torture. Those who live
Pale with the quenchless thirst of the living, but a corse
Still fear
gold, Is merciless, and power doth give
405-408 See Editor's Note on this passage.
; : — !; ; : ! — 5

172 ROSALIND AND HELEN


To such pale tyrants half the spoil She is adulterous, and doth hold 500
'

He rends from those who groan and In secret that the Christian creed
toil, 4 6 5 Is false, and therefore is much need
Because they blush not with remorse That I should have a care to save
Among their crawling worms. Be- My children from eternal fire.'
hold, Friend, he was sheltered by the
I have no child ! my tale grows old grave, _
5°5
With grief, and staggers let it reach And therefore dared to be a liar
:

The limits of my feeble speech, 470 In truth, the Indian on the pyre
And languidly at length recline Of her dead husband, half consumed,
On the brink of its own grave and As well might there be false, as I
mine. To those abhorred embraces doomed,
Far worse than fire's brief agony
Thou knowest what a thing is As to the Christian creed, if true
Poverty Or false, I never questioned it
Among the fallen on evil days I took it as the vulgar do :

'Tis Cnme,'and Fear. and Infamy, 475 Nor my vexed soul had leisure yet 5 1

And houseless Want in frozen ways To doubt the things men say, or deem
Wandering ungarmented, and Pain. That they are other than they seem.
And, worse than all, that inward All present who those crimes did
stain hear,
Foul Self-contempt, which drowns In feigned or actual scorn and feat,
in sneers Men, women, children, slunk
Youth's stai-light smile, and makes away, 520
its tears 4 80
Whispering with self-contented
First like hot gall, then dry for ever pride,
And well thou knowest a mother Which half suspects its own base lie.
never I spoke to none, nor did abide,
Could doom her children to this ill, But silently I went my way,
And well he knew the same. The Nor noticed I where joyously 5 2 5
will
Sate my two younger babes at play,
Imported, that if e'er again 485
In the court-yard through which
I sought my children to behold, I passed
Or in my birthplace did remain
But went with footsteps firm and
Beyond three days, whose hours fast
were told, Till I came to the brink of the ocean
They should inherit nought and : he,
green,
To whom next came their patri- And there, a woman with gray
mony, 49° hairs, 53°
A sallow lawyer, cruel and cold, Who had my mother's servant been,
Aye watched me, as the will was Kneeling, with many tears and
read, prayers,
With eyes askance, which sought to Made me accept a purse of gold,
see
Half of the earnings she had kept
The secrets of my agony To refuge her when weak and old. 535
And with close lips and anxious
brow 495 With woe, which never sleeps or
Stood canvassing still to and fro slept,
The chance of my resolve, and all I wander now. 'Tis a vain thought
The dead man's caution just did call But on yon alp, whose snowy head
For in that killing lie 'twas said 'Mid the azure air is islanded,
: ': ;

ROSALIND AND HELEN 173

(We see it o'er the flood of cloud, 540 Its expressimage but thou art
;

"Which sunrise from its eastern caves More wretched. Sweet! we will not
Drives, wrinkling into golden waves, part
Hung with its precipices proud, Henceforth, if death be not division ;

From that gray stone where first we If so, the dead feel no contrition.
met) But wilt thou hear since last we

There now who knows the dead parted 5 80
feel nought?— 545 All that has left me broken hearted ?
Should be my grave for he who yet ; Rosalind. Yes, speak. The faint-
Is my soul's soul, once said 'Twere est stars are scarcely shorn
:
'

sweet Of their thin beams by that delusive


'Mid stars and lightnings to abide, morn
And winds and lulling snows, that Which sinks again in darkness, like
beat the light
With their soft flakes the mountain Of early love, soon lost in total
wide, 55° night. 585
Where weary meteor lamps repose, Helen. Alas! Italian winds are
And languid storms their pinions mild,
close But my bosom is cold— wintry cold—
And things strong and bright and When the warm air weaves, among
all
pure, the fresh leaves,
And ever during, aye endure Soft music, my poor brain is wild,
Who knows, if one were buried And I am weak like a nursling
there, _ 555 child, 590
But these things might our spirits Though my soul with grief is gray
make. and old.
Amid the all-surrounding air, Rosalind. Weep not at thine own
Their own eternity partake ? words, though they must make
Then 'twas a wild and playful saying Me weep. What is thy tale ?
At which I laughed, or seemed to Helen. I fear 'twill shake
laugh: 560 Thy gentle heart with tears. Thou
They were his words : now heed my well
praying, Remeniberest when we met no
And let them be my epitaph. more, 595 <
Thy memory for a term may be And, though I dwelt with Lionel,
My monument. Wilt remember That friendless caution pierced me
me? sore
I know thou wilt, and canst a wound my spirit bore
for- With grief;
give 565 Indignantly, but when he died
Whilst in this erring world to live With him lay dead both hope and
My soul disdained not, that I thought pride. 6c o
Its lying forms were worthy aught Alas all hope is buried now. !

And much less thee. But then men dreamed the aged
Helen. O speak not so, earth
But come to me and pour thy woe 570 Was labouring in that mighty birth,
Into this heart, full though it be, Which many a poet and a sage
Ay, overflowing with its own Has aye foreseen the happy age 605
: —
I thought that grief had severed me When truth and love shall dwell
From all beside who weep and groan below
Its likeness upon earth to be, 575 Among the works and ways of men
i ;

551 Where] When ed. 1819. 572 Ay, overflowing] Aye overflowing ed. 1819.
;; ; : ;

174 ROSALIND AND HELEN


Which on thisworld not power but Along the brink of the gloomy seas,
will Liquid mists of splendour quiver.
Even now is wanting to fulfil. His very gestures touched to tears
The unpersuaded tyrant, never
Among mankind what thence befell So moved before his presence stung :

Of strife, how vain, is known too well; The torturers with their victim's
When Liberty's dear paean fell pain, 650
'Mid murderous howls. To Lionel, And none knew how and through ;

Though of great wealth and lineage their ears,


high, The subtle witchcraft of his tongue
Yet through those dungeon walls Unlocked the hearts of those who
there came 615 keep
Thy thrilling light, Liberty Gold, the world's bond of slavery.
!

And as the meteor's midnight flame Men wondered, and some sneered
Startles the dreamer, sun-like truth to see 655
Flashed on his visionary youth, One sow what he could never reap :

And filled him, not with love, but For he is rich, they said, and young,
faith, 620 And might drink from the depths
And hope, and courage mute in of luxury.
death If he seeks Fame, Fame never
For love and life in him were twins, crowned
Born at one birth in every other
:
The champion of a trampled creed :
First life then love its course begins. If he seeKs Power, Power is en-
Though they be children of one throned
mother 625 'Mid ancient rights and wrongs, to
And so through this dark world they feed
fleet Which hungry wolves with praise
Divided, till in death they meet and spoil,
But he loved all things ever. Then Those who would sit near Power
He passed amid the strife of men, must toil 664
And stood at the throne of armed And such, there sitting, all may see.
power 630 What seeks he ? All that others seek
Pleading for a world of woe : He casts away, like a vile weed
Secure as one on a rock-built tower Which the sea casts unreturningly.
O'er the wrecks which the surge That poor and hungry men should
trails to and fro, oreak
'Mid the passions wild of human kind The laws which wreak them toil
He stood, like a spirit calming and scorn, 670
them 635 We understand but Lionel ;

For, it was said, his words could bind We know is rich and nobly born.
Like music the lulled crowd, and So wondered they yet all men loved :

stem Young Lionel, though few approved;


That torrent of unquiet dream, All but the priests, whose hatred fell
Which mortals truth and reason Like the unseen blight of a smiling
deem, day,
But is revenge and fear and pride. 640 The withering honey dew, which
Joyous he was and hope and peace
; clings
On all who heard him did abide, Under the bright green buds of May,
Raining like dew from his sweet talk, Whilst they unfold then emerald
As where the evening star may walk wings:
612 dear] clear cj. Bradley.
: —
ROSALIND AND HELEN 175

For he made verses wild and queer And in the streets men met each
On the strange creeds priests hold other,
so dear, And by old altars and in halls,
Because they bring them land and And smiled again at festivals. 715
gold. But each man found in his heart's
Of devils and saints and all such brother
gear, Cold cheer ; for all, though half de-
He made tales which whoso heard ceived,
or read The outworn creeds again believed,
Would laugh till he were almost And the same round anew began,
dead. 685 Which the weary world yet ever
So this grew a proverb : ' Don't ran. 720
get old
Till Lionel's "Banquet in Hell"
Many then wept, not tears, but gall
Within their hearts, like drops
you hear, which fall
And then you will laugh yourself
Wasting the fountain-stone away.
young again.' And in that dark and evil day
So the priests hated him, and he Did all desires and thoughts, that
Eepaid their hate with cheerful glee.
claim 725
Men's care— ambition, friendship,
Ah, smiles and joyance quick^7 died,
fame,
For public hope grew pale and dim
Love, hope, though hope was now
In an altered time ana tide,
despair
And in its wasting withered him,
Indue the colours of this change,
As a summer flower that blows too
As from the all-surrounding air
soon 695
Droops in the smile of the waning
The earth takes hues obscure and
strange, 730
moon,
When it scatters through an April
When storm and earthquake linger
there.
night
The frozen dews of wrinkling blight. And so, my friend, it then befell
None now hoped more. Gray Power To many, most to Lionel,
was seated Whose hope was like the life of
Safelv on her ancestral throne ; 700 youth
And Faith, the Python, undefeated, Within him, and when dead, became
Even to its blood-stained steps A spirit of unresting flame,
dragged on Which goaded him in his distress
Her foul and wounded train, and men Over the world's vast wilderness.
Were trampled and deceived again, Three years he left his native land,
And words and shows again could And on the fourth, when he re-
bind 705 turned, 740
The wailing tribes of human kind None knew him
he was stricken :

In scorn and famine. Fire and blood deep


Baged round the raging multitude, With some disease of mind, and
To fields remote by tyrants sent turned
To be the scorned instrument 7 1 o Into aught unlike Lionel.
With which they drag from mines On him, on whom, did he pause
of gore in sleep,
The chains their slaves yet ever Serenest smiles were wont to keep,
wore And, did he wake, a winged band
711 gore edd. 1S19, 1S39. See Editor's Note.
: : : :: :

176 ROSALIND AND HELEN


Of bright persuasions, which had fed He dwelt beside me near the sea : 780
On his sweet lips and liquid eyes, And oft in evening did we meet,
Kept their swift pinions half out- When
the waves, beneath the star-
spread, light, flee
To do on men his least command; 750 O'er the yellow sands with silver feet,
On him, whom
once 'twas paradise And talked our talk was sad and :

Even to behold, now misery lay : sweet,


In his own heart 'twas merciless, Till slowly from his mien there
To all things else none may express passed 785
Its innocence and tenderness. 755 The desolation which it spoke ;
And smiles,— as when the lightnings
'Twas said that he had refuge sought blast
In love from his unquiet thought Has parched some heaven-delighting
In distant lands, and been deceived oak,
By some strange show ; for there spring shows leaves pale
The next
were found, and rare,
Blotted with tears as those relieved
But like flowers delicate and fair,
By their own words are wont to do,
On rent boughs,— again arrayed
its
These mournful verses on the His countenance in tender light
ground, which
His words grew subtile fire,
By all who read them blotted too. made
1
How am I changed my hopes were The air his hearers breathed delight
!

once like fire His motions, like the winds, were


I loved, and I believed that life was free, 795
love. 76 5 Which bend the bright grass grace-
How am I lost ! on wings of swift fully,
desire Then fade awav in circlets faint
Among Heaven's Avinds my spirit And winged Hope, on which up-
once did move. borne
I slept, and silver dreams did aye His soul seemed hovering in his eyes,
inspire Like some bright spirit newly born
My liquid sleep: I woke, and did Floating amid the sunny skies,
approve Sprang forth from his rent heart anew.
All nature to my heart, and thought Yet o'er his talk, and looks, and mien,
to make 770 Tempering their loveliness too keen,
A paradise of ear th f or Past woe its shadow backward threw,
one sweet sake.
Till like an exhalation, spread
'
I love, but I believe in love no more. From flowers half drunk with even-
I feel desire, buthope not. 0,fromsleep ing dew,
Most vainly must my weary brain They did become
infectious sweet :

implore And subtile mists of sense and


Its long lost flattery now : I wake thought
to weep, 775 Which wrapped us soon, when we
And sit through the long day gnaw- might meet, 8 o 1

ing the core Almost from our own looks and


Of my bitter heart, and, like a miser, aught
keep, The wide world holds. And so, his
Since none in wbat I feel take pain mind
or pleasure, Was healed, while mine grew sick
To my own soul its self-consuming with fear
treasure.' For ever now his health declined,
— 5
, ; ;

ROSALIND AND HELEN 177

Like some frail bark which cannot 'T was sunset as I spoke
one star 855 :

bear 8 i Had
scarce burst forth, when from
The impulse of an altered wind, afar
Though prosperous : and my
heart The ministers of misrule sent,
grew full Seized upon Lionel, and bore
'Mid its new joy of a new care : His chained limbs to a dreary tower,
For his cheek became, not pale, but In the midst of a city vast and wide.
fair, For he, they said, from his mind
As rose-o'ershadowed lilies are ; 820 had bent 861
And soon his deep and sunny hair, Against their gods keen blasphemy,
In this alone less beautiful, For which, though his soul must
Like grass in tombs grew wild and roasted be
rare. In hell's red lakes immortally,
The blood in his translucent veins Yet even on earth must he abide 865
Beat, not like animal life, but love The vengeance of their slaves : a
Seemed now its sullen springs to trial,
move, 8 26 I think, men call it. What avail
When life had failed, and all its Are prayers and tears, which chase
pains : denial
And sudden sleep would seize him oft From the fierce savage, nursed in
Like death, so calm, but that a tear, hate?
His pointed eyelashes between, 830 the knit soul that pleadingWhat
Would gather in the light serene and pale 870
Of smiles, whose lustre bright and Makes wan the quivering cheek,
soft which late
Beneath lay undulating there. It painted with its own delight ?
His breath was like inconstant flame, We were divided. As I could,
As eagerly it went and came 835 I stilled the tingling of my blood,
;

And I hung him


in his sleep,
o'er And followed him in their despite,
Till, like an image in the lake As a widow follows, pale and wild,
Which rains disturb, my
tears would The murderers and corse of her only
break child
The shadow of that slumber deep : And when we came to the prison
Then he would bid me not to door
weep, 840 And I prayed to share his dungeon
And say with flattery false, yet sweet floor
That death and he could never meet, With prayers which rarely have
If I would never part with him. been spurned, 880
And so we loved, and did unite And when men drove me forth
All that in us was yet divided 845 and I :

For when he said, that many a rite, Stared with blank frenzy on the sky,
By men to bind but once provided, A farewell look of love he turned.
Could not be shared by him and me, Half calming me; then gazed awhile,
Or they would kill him in their glee, As if thro' that black and massy
I shuddered, and then laughing pile, 885
said 850 And thro' the crowd around him
1
We will have rites our faith to bind, there,
But our church shall be the starry And thro' the dense and murky air,
night, And the thronged streets, he did
Our altar the grassy earth outspread, espy
And our priest the muttering wind.' What poets know and prophesy
: : ' ;:; ; ; :

178 ROSALIND AND HELEN


And said, with voice that made them That they were human, till strong
shiver shame
890
And clung like music in my Made them again become the same.
brain,
And which the mute walls spoke The prison blood-hounds, huge and
again grim,
Prolonging it with deepened strain From human looks the infection
:

'
Fear not "the tyrants shall rule for caught, 925
ever, And fondly crouched and fawned on
Or the priests of the bloody faith 895 ; him
They stand on the brink of that And men nave heard the prisoners
mighty river,
Whose waves they have tainted with Who in their rotting dungeons lay,
death That from that hour, throughout
It is fed from the depths of a thou- one day,
sand dells, The fierce despair and hate which
Around them it foams, and rages, kept 930
and swells, Their trampled bosoms almost slept
And their swords and their sceptres Where, like twin vultures, they hung
I floating see, 900 feeding
Like wrecks in the surge of eternity. On each heart's wound, wide torn
and bleeding,—
I dwelt beside the prison gate, Because their jailors' rule, they
And the strange crowd that out and thought,
in Grew merciful, like a parent's sway.
Passed, some, no doubt, with mine
own fate, I know not how, but we were free :

Might have fretted me with its And Lionel sate alone with me,
ceaseless din, 905 As the carriage drove thro' the streets
But the fever of care was louder apace
within. And we looked upon each other's
Soon, but too late, in penitence face
Or fear, his foes released him thence And the blood in our fingers inter-
:

I saw his thin and languid form, twined 940


As leaning on the jailor's arm, 910 Ran like the thoughts of a single
Whose hardened eyes grew moist the mind,
while, As the swift emotions went and came
To meet his mute and faded smile. Thro' the veins of each united frame.
And hear his words of kind farewell, So thro' the long long streets we
He tottered forth from his damp passed
cell. Of the million-peopled City vast
Many had never wept before, 915 Which is that desert, where each one
From whom fast tears then gushed Seeks his mate yet is alone,
and fell Beloved and sought and mourned of
Many will relent no more, none
Who sobbed like infants then : aye, Until the clear blue sky was seen,
all And the grassy meadows bright and
Who thronged the prison's stony green, _ _
950
hall, Andthen I sunk in his embrace,
The rulers or the slaves of law, 920 Enclosing there a mighty space
Felt with a new surprise and awe Of love : and so we travelled on
93a Where] When ed. 1819.
;: 5

ROSALIND AND HELEN 179

By woods, and fields of yellow Which near the verge of the echoing
flowers, shore
And towns, and villages, and towers, The massy forest shadowed o'er.
Day day of happy hours.
after 956
It was the azure time of June, The ancient steward, with hair all
When the skies are deep in the hoar,
stainless noon, As we alighted, wept to see
And the warm and fitful breezes His master changed so fearfully 995 ;

shake And the old man's sobs did waken


The fresh green leaves of the hedge- me
row Driar, 96° From my dream of unremaining
And there were odours then to make gladness ;

The very breath we did respire The truth flashed o'er me like quick
A liquid element, whereon madness
Our spirits, like delighted things When I looked, and saw that there
That walk the air on subtle wings, was death
Floated and mingled far away, 966 On Lionel : yet day by day 1000
'Mid the warm winds of the sunny He lived, till fear grew hope and
day. faith,
And when the evening star came And in my soul I dared to say,
forth Nothing so bright can pass away
Above the curve of the new bent Death is dark, and foul, and dull,
moon, But he is— how beautiful 1005 !

And light and sound ebbed from the Yet day by day he grew more weak,
earth, 97° And his sweet voice, when he might
Like the tide of the full and weary speak,
sea Which ne'er was loud, became more
To the depths of its tranquillity, low;
Our natures to its own repose And the light which flashed through
Did the earth's breathless sleep at- his waxen cheek
tune : Grew faint, as the rose-like hues
Like flowers, which on each other which flow 1 010

close 975 From sunset o'er the Alpine snow :

Their languid leaves when day- And death seemed not like death
light 's gone, in him,
We lay, till new emotions came, For the spirit of life o'er every limb
Which seemed to make each mortal Lingered, amist of sense and thought.
frame When the summer wind faint odours
One soul of interwoven flame, brought 1 01

A life in life, a second birth 980 From mountain flowers, even as it


In worlds diviner far than earth, passed
Which, like two strains of harmony His cheek would change, as the
That mingle in the silent sky noonday sea
Then slowly disunite, passed by Which the dying breeze sweeps
And left the tenderness of tears, 985 fitfully.
A soft oblivion of all fears, If but a cloud the sky o'ercast,
A sweet sleep so we travelled
: on You might see his colour come and
Till we came to the home of Lionel, go, 1020
Among the mountains wild and And the softest strain of music made
lone, ISweet smiles, yet sad, arise and fade
Beside the hoary western sea, 990 Amid the dew of his tender eyes
1
1 ——
: ; 1

180 ROSALIND AND HELEN


And the breath, with intermitting Through that ethereal drapery. 1 060
flow, The left hand held the head, the
Made his pale lips quiver and part. right—
You might hear the beatings of his Beyond the veil, beneath the skin,
heart, 1026 You might see the nerves quivering
Quick, but not strong and with
; within—
my tresses Was forcing thepoint of abarbed dart
When oft he playfully would bind Into its side-convulsing heart. 1065
In the bowers of mossy lonelinesses An unskilled hand, yet one informed
His neck, and win me so to mingle With genius, had the marble warmed
In the sweet depth of woven caresses, With that pathetic life. This tale
And our faint lirubs were inter- It told A
dog had from the sea,
:

twined, 1032 When the tide was raging fearfully,


Alas the unquiet life did tingle
! Dragged Lionel's mother, weak and
From mine own heart through every pale, T071
vein, Then died beside her on the sand,
Like a captive in dreams of liberty, And she that temple thence had
Who beats the walls of his stony cell. planned
But his, it seemed already free, But it was Lionel's own hand
Like the shadow of fire surrounding Had wrought the image. Each new
me ! moon 1075
On my faint eyes and limbs did dwell That lady did, in this lone fane,
That spirit as it passed, till soon, The rites of a religion sweet,
As a frail cloud wandering o'er the Whose god was in her heart and
moon, 1 04 brain
Beneath its light invisible, The seasons' loveliest flowers were
Is seen when it folds its gray wings strewn
again On the marble floor beneath her feet,
To aliglit on midnight's dusky plain. And she brought crowns of sea-buds
Ilivedandsaw,andthegatheringsoul white, 108
Passed from beneath that strong Whose odour is so sweet and faint,
control, j 046 And weeds, like branching chryso-
And I fell on a life which was sick lite,
with fear Woven in devices fine and quaint.
Of all the woe that now I bear. And tears from her brown eyes did
stain 1085
Amid a bloomless myrtle wood, The altar need but look upon
:

On a green and sea-girt promontory, That dying statue fair and wan,
Not far from where we dwelt, there If tears should cease, to weep again :

stood 105 And rare Arabian odours came,


In record of a sweet sad story, Through the myrtle copses steaming
An altar and a temple bright thence 1090
Circled by steps, and o'er the gate From the hissing frankincense,
Was sculptured, To ' Fidelity ' 1055
;
Whose smoke, wool-white as ocean
And in the shrine an image sate, foam,
All veiled : but there was seen the Hung in dense flocks beneath the
light dome
Of smiles, which faintly could That ivory dome, whose azure night
express With golden stars, like heaven, was
A mingled pain and tenderness bright 1095
1093-1096 See Editor's Note.
: 5 ; : :

ROSALIND AND HELEN 181

O'er the split cedar's pointed flame Through all my limbs with the speed
;

And the lady's harp would kindle of fire


there And his keen eyes, glittering through
The melody of an old air, mine,
Softer than sleep the villagers
; Filled me with the flame divine, 1 1 35
Mixed their religion up with hers, Which in their orbs was burning far,
And as they listened round, shed Like the light of an unmeasured star.
tears. hoi In the sky of midnight dark and
deep :
^

One eve he led me to this fane Yes, 'twas his soul that did inspire
Daylight on purple cloud
its last Sounds, which my skill could ne'er
Was lingering gray, and soon her awaken;
1140
strain I felt And
fingers sweep
first, my
The nightingale began; now loud, The harp, and a long quivering cry
Climbing in circles the windless sky, Burst from lips in symphony my
Now dying music suddenly ; The dusk and solid air was shaken,
'Tis scattered in a thousand notes, As swift and swifter the notes
And now to the hushed ear it floats came 1145
Like field smells known in in- From my touch, that wandered like
fancy, I no quick flame,
Then failing, soothes the air again. And from my bosom, labouring
We sate within that temple lone, With some unutterable thing
Pavilioned round with Parian stone The awful sound of my own voice
:

His mother's harp stood near, and oft made


I had awakened music soft 1 My faint lips tremble in some
1 1 ;

Amid its the nightingale


wires : mood 1 1 5°

Was pausing in her heaven-taught Of wordless thought Lionel stood


tale : So pale, that even beside his cheek
'
Now drain the cup,' said Lionel, The snowy column from its shade
'Which the poet-bird has crowned Caught whiteness yet his counten- :

so well ance
With the wine of her bright and Raised upward, burned with radiance
liquid song! 1 120 Of spirit-piercing joy, whose light,
Heardst thou not sweet words among Like the moon struggling through
That heaven-resounding minstrelsy? the night
Heardst thou not, that those who Of whirlwind-rifted clouds, did break
die With beams that might not be con-
Awake in a world of ecstasy ? fined.
That love, when limbs are inter- I paused, but soon his gestures
woven, 1 1 2 5 kindled 1160
And sleep,when the night of life New power,
as by the moving wind
is cloven, The waves are lifted, and my song
And thought, to the world's dim To low soft notes now changed and
boundaries clinging, dwindled,
And music, when one beloved is And from the twinkling wiresamong,
singing, My
languid fingers drew and flung
Is death ? Let us drain right joyously Circles of life-dissolving sound, 1 1 66
The cup which the sweet bird fills Yet faint ; in aery rings they bound
for me.' 1130 My
Lionel, who, as every strain
He paused, and to my
lips he bent Grew fainter but more sweet, his
His own : like spirit his words went
1 : : 1 ; ;

182 ROSALIND AND HELEN


Sunk with the sound relaxedly 1 1 70 Whilst animal life many long years
;

And slowly now he turned to me, Had rescue from a chasm of fears ;

As slowly faded from his face And when I woke, I wept to find 1210
That awful joy with looks serene
: That the same lady, bright and
He was soon drawn to my embrace, wise,
And my wild song then died away With silver locks and quick brown
In murmurs words I dare not say
: eyes,
We mixed, and on his lips mine fed The mother of my Lionel,
Till they methought felt still and Had tended me in my distress,
cold And died some months before. Nor
'
What is it with thee, love ? I said ' : less 1215
No word, no look, no motion yes, Wonder, but far more peace and joy
!

There was a change, but spare to Brought in that hour my lovely


guess, 1 1 8 boy
Nor let that moment's hope be told. For through that trance my soul had
I looked, and knew that he was dead, well _

And fell, as the eagle on the plain The impress of thy being kept
Fallswhen life deserts her bram, 1 1 85 And if I waked, or if I slept, 1220
And the mortal lightning is veiled No doubt, though memory faithless
again. be,
Thy image ever dwelt on me ;

that I were now dead ! but such And thus, O Lionel, like thee
(Did they not, love, demand
too Is our sweet child. 'Tis sure most
much, strange
Those dying murmurs ?) he forbade. Iknewnot of so great a change, 1225
O that I once again were mad 1 190 As that winch gave him birth, who
!

And yet, dear Kosalind, not so, now


For I would live to share thy woe. Is all the solace of my woe.
Sweet boy, did I forget thee too ?
Alas, we know not what we do That Lionel great wealth had left
When we speak words. By will to me, and that of all
No memory more 1 195 The ready lies of law bereft 1230
Is in my mind of that sea shore. My child and me, might well befall.
Madness came on me, and a troop But let me think not of the scorn,
Of misty shapes did seem to sit Which from the meanest I have
Beside me, on a vessel's poop, borne,
And the clear north wind was driv- When, for my child's beloved sake,
ing it. 1200 I mixed with slaves, to vindicate 1235
Then I heard strange tongues, and The very laws themselves do make :

saw strange flowers, Let me not say scorn is my fate,


And the stars methought grew un- Lest I be proud, suffering the same
like ours, With those who live in deathless
And the azure sky and the storm- fame.
less sea
Made me believe that I had died, She ceased. 'Lo, where red morning —
And waked in a world, which was thro' the woods 1240
tome 1205 Is burning o'er the dew ' said
;

Drear hell, though heaven to all Rosalind.


beside And with these words they rose, and
Then a dead sleep fell on my mind, towards the flood
1 68-1 1 71] See Editor's Note. 1 209 rescue] rescued ed. 1819. See Editor's Note.
:

ROSALIND AND HELEN 183

Of the blue lake, beneath the leaves Of liquid love : let us not wake him
now wind yet.'.
With equal steps and fingers inter- But Rosalind could bear no more,
twined : and wept 1270
Thence to a lonely dwelling, where A shower of burning tears, which
the shore 1245 fell upon
Is shadowed with deep rocks, and His face, and so his opening lashes
cypresses shone
Cleave with their dark green cones With tears unlike his own, as he did
the silent skies, leap
And with their shadows the clear In sudden wonder from his innocent
depths below, sleep.
And where a little terrace from its
bowers, So Rosalind and Helen lived together
Of blooming myrtle and faint lemon- Thenceforth, changed in all else, yet
flowers, 1250 friends again, 1276
Such as they were, when o'er the
Scatters its sense-dissolving fragrance
o'er mountain heather
The liquid marble of the windless They wandered in their youth,
lake ;
through sun and rain.
And where the aged forest's limbs And after many years, for human
look hoar, tilings
Under the leaves which their green Change even like the ocean and the
garments make, wind, 1280
They come : 'tis Helen's home, and Her daughter was restored to
clean and white, 1255 Rosalind,
Like one which tyrants spare on our And in their circle thence some
own land visi tings
In some such solitude, its casements Of joy 'mid their new calm would
bright intervene
Shone through their vine-leaves in A
lovely child she was, of looks
the morning sun, serene,
And even within 'twas scarce like And motions which o'er things in-
Italy. different shed 1285
And when she saw how all things The grace and gentleness from
there were planned, 1260 whence they came.
As in an English home, dim memory And Helen's boy grew with her,
Disturbed poor Kosalind she stood : and they fed
as one From the same fioAvers of thought,
Whose mind is where his body can- until each mind
not be, Like springs which mingle in one
Till Helen led her where her child flood became,
yet slept, And in their union soon their parents
And said, Observe, that brow was
'
saw 1290
>
Lionel's, 1265 The shadow of the peace denied to
Those lips were his, and so he ever them.
kept And Rosalind for when the living stem
,

One arm in sleep, pillowing his head Is cankered in its heart, the tree
with it. must fall,
You cannot see his eyes, they are Died ere her time ; and with deep
two wells grief and awe
:

184 ROSALIND AND HELEN


The pale survivors followed her re- And hang
Ion" locks of hair, and
mains 1295 garlands hound
Beyond the region of dissolving With amaranth flowers, which, in
rains, the clime's despite.
Up the cold mountain she was wont Filled the frore air with unaccus-
to call tomed light
Her tomb ; and on Chiavenna's Such in the wintry
flowers, as
precipice memory bloom 1 3 1 o

They raised a pyramid of lasting ice. Of one friend left, adorned that
Whose polished sides, ere day had frozen tomb.
yet begun, 1300
Caught the first glow of the unrisen Helen, whose spirit was of softer
sun, mould,
The last, when it had sunk ; and Whose sufferings too were less.
thro' the night Death slowlier led
The charioteers of Arctos wheeled Into the peace of his dominion cold :

round She died among her kindred, being


Its glittering point, as seen from old. 13J5
Helen's home, And know, that if love die not in
Whose sad inhabitants each year the dead
would come, 1305 As living, none of mortal
in the
With willing steps climbing that kind
rugged height, Are blest, as now Helen and Rosalind.

NOTE BY MRS. SHELLEY


Eosalind and Helen was begun at err and injure ourselves and others, he

Marlow, and thrown aside till I found promulgated that which he considered
it; and, at my request, it was com- an irrefragable truth. In his eyes it
pleted. Shelley had no care for any of was the essence of our being, and all
his poems that did not emanate from woe and pain arose from the war made
the depths of his mind and develop some against it by selfishness, or insensibility,
high or abstruse truth. When he does or mistake. By reverting in his mind
touch on human life and the human to this first principle, he discovered the
heart, no pictures can be more faithful, source of many emotions, and could
more delicate, more subtle, or more disclose the secrets of all hearts and ;

pathetic. He never mentioned Love his delineations of passion and emo-


but he shed a grace borrowed from his tion touch the finest chords of our na-
own nature, that scarcely any other ture.
poet has bestowed, on that passion. Rosalind and Helen was finished dur-
When he spoke of it as the law of life, ing the summer of 1818, while we were
which inasmuch as we rebel against we at the baths of Lucca.
: —

JULIAN AND MADDALO


A CONVERSATION
[Composed at Este after Shelley's first visit to Venice, 1818
(Autumn) first published in the Posthumous Poems, London, 1824
;

(ed. Mrs. Shelley). Shelley's original intention had been to print the
poem in Leigh Hunt's Examiner but he changed his mind and, on
;

August 15, 1819, sent the MS. to Hunt to be published anonymously


by Oilier. This MS., found by Mr. Townshend Mayer, and by him
placed in the hands of Mr. H. Buxton Forman, C.B., is described at
length in Mr. Forman's Library Edition of the poems (vol. iii, p. 107).
The date, 'May, 1819,' affixed to Julian and Maddalo in the P. P.,
1824, indicates the time when the text was finally revised by Shelley.
Sources of the text are (1) P. P., 1824 (2) the Hunt MS. ; (3) a fair
;

draft of the poem amongst the Boscombe MSS. (4) Poetical Works,
;

1839, 1st and 2nd edd. (Mrs. Shelley). Our text is that of the Hunt MS.,
as printed in Forman's Library Edition of the Poems, 1876, vol. iii,
pp. 103-30 variants of 1824 are indicated in the footnotes ; questions
;

of punctuation are dealt with in the notes at end of the volume.]

PEEFACE
The meadows with fresh streams, the bees with thyme,
The goats with the green leaves of budding Spring,

Are saturated not nor Love with tears. Virgil's GaUus.
Count Maddalo is a Venetian other strength. His ambition
nobleman of ancient family and preys upon itself, for want of ob-
of great fortune, who, without jects which it can consider worthy
mixing much in the society of his of exertion. I say that Maddalo
countrymen, resides chiefly at his is proud, because I can find no
magnificent palace in that city. other word to express the con-
He is a person of the most con- centered and impatient feelings
summate genius, and capable, if which consume him but it is on
;

he would direct his energies to his own hopes and affections only
such an end, of becoming the re- that he seems to trample, for in
deemer of his degraded country. social life no human being can be
But it is his weakness to be proud more gentle, patient, and unas-
he derives, from a comparison of suming than Maddalo. He is
his own extraordinary mind with cheerful, frank, and witty. His
the dwarfish intellects that sur- more serious conversation is a
round him, an intense apprehen- sort of intoxication ; men are held
sion of the nothingness of human by it as by a spell. He has tra-
life. His passions and his powers velled much ; and there is an in-
are incomparably greater than expressible charm in his relation
those of other