Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]

And with it fled the tempest, so that ocean And earth and sky shone through the atmo

sphereOnly, 'twas strange to see the red commotion Of waves like mountains o'er the sinking

sphere Of sun-set 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 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 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.

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 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
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 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.

XIX.
She spake in language whose strange melody
Might not belong to earth. I heard, alone,
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
Thro' the green shadows of the waves tbat

meet Near to the shore, did pause beside her snowy

feet.

[ocr errors]

Then on the sands the Woman sate again, And wept and clasped her hands, and all

between,

Renewed the unintelligible strain
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
Her voice, and, coiled in rest, in her embrace

it lay.

XXI. Then she arose, and smiled on me with eyes Serene yet sorrowing, like that planet fair, While yet the day-light lingereth in the skies Which cleaves with arrowy beams the dark

red air, 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

XXII. 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 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 But its own curvèd 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 by the steady speed alone With which it cleaves the sparkling sea; and

now We are embarked, the mountains hang and

frown 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 As makes the slumberer's cheek with won

der 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 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,

? Note that the woman is the speaker up to the end of stanza 46.-ED.

Much must remain unthought, and more

untold, In the dark Future's ever-flowing urn: 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 Sprang forth, they burst the womb of in

essential Naught.

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: A blood-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, 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, Famished and homeless, loathed and loathing,

wild, And hating good—for his immortal foe,

ve

« PoprzedniaDalej »