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From her deep eyes far wandering, on the
wing Of visions that were mine, beyond its utmost
xxx. For, before Cythna loved it, bad my song Peopled with thoughts the boundless uni
verse, A mighty congregation, which were strong 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 And fate, or whate'er else binds the world's
And this beloved child thus felt the sway
endowed With music and with light, their fountains
flowed In poesy; and her still and earnest face, Pallid with feelings which intensely glowed Within, was turned on mine with speechless
grace, Watching the hopes which there her heart had
learned to trace.
In knowledge, which in hers mine own mind
seeing, Left in the human world few mysteries : How without fear of evil or disguise 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
XXXIII. New lore was this-old age with its grey
hair, And wrinkled legends of unworthy things, And icy sneers, is naught: 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 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
XXXIV. Nor are the strong and the severe to keep The empire of the world: thus Cythna
taught 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 Why the deceiver and the slave has sway O’er heralds so divine of truth's arising day.
XXXV. Within that fairest form, the female mind, Untainted by the poison clouds which rest On the dark world, a sacred home did find : 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, Till they had learned to breathe the atmosphere
XXXVI. This misery was but coldly felt, till she Became my only friend, who had indued My purpose with a wider sympathy; Thus, Cythna mourned with me the servitude 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 hyena lust, who, among graves, Over his loathèd meal, laughing in agony,
XXXVII. And I, still gazing on that glorious child, Even as these thoughts flushed o'er her :
“Cythna sweet, Well with the world art thou unreconciled; Never will peace and human nature meet Till free and equal man and woman greet Domestic peace; and, ere this power can
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.
XXXVIII. She replied earnestly:-“It shall be mine, 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 The Golden City.”—Then the child did strain My arm upon her tremulous heart, and
wound Her own about my neck, till some reply she found.
XXXIX. I smiled, and spake not—“Wherefore dost
thou smile At what I say ? Laon, I am not weak, And though my cheek might become pale
the while, With thee, if 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 To scorn and shame, and this beloved spot And thee, O dearest friend, to leave and
XL. “ Whence came I what I am ? thou, Laon,
How a young child should thus undaunted
Methinks, it is a power which thou bestowest, 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 As I have learnt from them, like me would fear no more.
XLI. “ Think'st thou that I shall speak unskil.
fully, And none will heed me? I remember now, How once, a slave in tortures doomed to die, Was saved, because in accents sweet and low 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!
“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 Will disenchant the captives, and will pour For the despairing, from the crystal wells