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When, gathering fast, around, above and

under, Long trains of tremulous mist began to creep, Until their complicating lines did steep 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.

III. Hark! 'tis the rushing of a wind that sweeps Earth and the ocean. See! the lightnings

yawn Deluging Heaven with fire, and the lashed

deeps Glitter and boil beneath: it rages on, One mighty stream, whirlwind and waves

upthrown, Lightning, and hail, and darkness eddying

by. 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 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 all below; but far on high, between

Earth and the upper air, the vast clouds fled, Countless and swift as leaves on autumn's

tempest shed.

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 .
The woof of those white clouds, which

seemed to lie
Far, deep, and motionless; while through

the sky
The pallid semicircle of the moon
Passed on, in slow and moving majesty;

Its upper horn arrayed in mists, which soon
But slowly fled, like dew beneath the beams of



I could not choose but gaze; a fascination
Dwelt in that moon, and sky, and clouds,

which drew
My fancy thither, and in expectation
Of what I knew not, I remained :—the hue
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.



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


Comes forth, whilst with the speed its frame

doth quiver, Sails, oars, and stream, tending to one en

deavour; So, from that chasm of light a wingèd 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. "

VIII. A course precipitous, of dizzy speed, 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 aërial rock on which I stood, The Eagle, hovering, wheeled to left and right, And hung with lingering wings over the

flood, And startled with its yells the wild air's solitude.

IX. A shaft of light upon its wings descended, And every golden feather gleamed therein. Feather and scale inextricably blendedThe Serpent's mailed and many-coloured skin Shone through the plumes its coils were

twined within By many a swollen and knotted fold, and

high And far, the neck receding lithe and thin,

Sustained a crested head, which warily Shifted and glanced before the Eagle's stead

fast eye.

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Around, around, in ceaseless circles wheeling With clang of wings and scream, the Eagle

sailed Incessantly—sometimes on high concealing Its lessening orbs, sometimes as if it failed, Drooped thro' the air; and still it shrieked

and wailed And, casting back its eager head, with beak And talon unremittingly assailed

The wreathèd Serpent, who did ever seek Upon his enemy's heart a mortal wound to


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What life, what power, was kindled and arose Within the sphere of that appalling fray ! For, from the encounter of those wondrous

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A vapour like the sea's suspended spray 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.


Swift chances in that combat-many a check,
And many a change, a dark and wild turmoil;
Sometimes the Snake around his enemy's

Locked in stiff rings his adamantine coil,
Until the Eagle, faint with pain and toil,
Remitted 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, Where they had sank together, would the

Snake Relax his suffocating grasp, and scourge The wind with his wild writhings; for to

break That chain of torment, the vast bird would

shake The strength of his unconquerable wings As in despair, and with his sinewy neck, Dissolve in sudden shock those linked rings, Then soar—as swift as smoke from a volcano


XIV. Wile baffled wile, and strength encountered

strength, Thus long, but unprevailing : the event Of that portentous fight appeared at length: Until the lamp of day was almost spent It had endured, when lifeless,' stark, and

rent, Hung high that mighty Serpent, and at last Fell to the sea, while o'er the continent, With clang of wings and scream the Eagle

passed, Heavily borne away on the exhausted blast.

i Not literally lifeless, as we find later on ; but the word is presumably used to mean without visible sign of life. -ED.

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