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He changed from starry shape, beauteous

and mild, To a dire Snake, with man and beast unrecon


XXVIII. The darkness lingering o'er the dawn of

things Was Evil's breath and life: this made him

strong To soar aloft with overshadowing wings; And the great Spirit of Good did creep among The nations of mankind, and every tongue Cursed and blasphemed him as he passed ; for

none Knew good from evil, though their names

were hung In mockery o'er the fane where many a groan, As King, and Lord, and God, the conquering

Fiend did own,

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The Fiend, whose name was Legion; Death,

Decay, Earthquake and Blight, and Want, and

Madness pale, Winged and wan diseases, an array 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 naught

avail, 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, In all resorts of men-invisible, But, when in ebon mirror, Nightmare fell To tyrant or impostor bids them rise, Black winged dæmon forms—whom, from

the hell, His reign and dwelling beneath nether skies, 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, Which shrank and fled ; and with that Fiend

of blood Renewed 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 dæmon pale, his sanguine shrine


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! And oft in cycles since, when darkness gave New weapons to thy foe, their sunlikę fame

Upon the combat shone-a light to save, Like Paradise spread forth beyond the shadowy


Such is this conflict—when mankind doth

strive 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 In smiles or frowns their fierce disquietude, When round pure hearts a host of hopes

assemble, The Snake and Eagle meet—the world's founda

tions tremble !

Thou hast beheld that fight—when to thy

Thou dost return, steep not its hearth in

tears; Though thou mayst 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 yore, now quails, and fears

His triumph dearly won, which soon will lend An impulse swift and sure to his approaching


List, stranger, list !—mine is an human form, Like that thou wearest-touch me-shrink

not now! My hand thou feel'st is not a ghost's, but

warm 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 sympathy, for woe Which could not be mine own—and thought

did keep, In dream, unnatural watch beside an infant's


The series

and with sympathy, forucht

XXXVI. 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, I roamed, to storm and darkness reconciled : 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


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 dying poet gave me books, and bless'd With wild but holy talk the sweet unrest 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.

XXXVIII. Thus the dark tale which history doth unfold I knew, but not, methinks, as others know; For they weep not; and Wisdom had unrolled The clouds which hide the gulph of mortalwoe: To few can she that warning vision show, For I loved all things with intense devotion; 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.

XXXIX. 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 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

mirthAnd laughed in light and music: soon, sweet

madness Was poured upon my heart, a soft and thrilling


? Compare this passage with the episode of the Arab maiden in Alastor. --ED.

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