« PoprzedniaDalej »
Legions of foul and ghastly shapes, which
hung Upon my flight; and ever as we fled, They plucked at Cythna—soon to me then
clung A sense of actual things those monstrous
VI. And I lay struggling in the impotence Of sleep, while outward life had burst its
bound. Though, still deluded, strove the tortured
sense To its dire wanderings to adapt the sound Which in the light of morn was poured
around Our dwelling-breathless, pale, and unaware I rose, and all the cottage crowded found With armèd men, whose glittering swords
were bare, And whose degraded limbs the tyrant's garb
VII. And ere with rapid lips and gathered brow I could demand the cause—a feeble shriekIt was a feeble shriek, faint, far and low, Arrested me—my mien grew calm and meek, 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 :-80 I passed quietly Till I beheld where, bound, that dearest child
VIII. I started to behold her, for delight And exultation, and a joyance 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, 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.
“Look not so, Laon—say farewell in hope, 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 rest thou knowest-return, dear
friend ! Let our first triumph trample the despair Which would ensnare us now, for in the end, In victory or in death our hopes and fears must
These words bad fallen on my unheeding ear, Whilst I had watched the motions of the
crew With seeming careless glance; not many
were. Around her, for their comrades just with
To guard some other victim—so I drew
with loud cry
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, 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,-over
thrown The vineyards and the harvests, and the glow Of blazing roofs shone far o'er the white Ocean's
Upon that rock a mighty column stood,
cast The sunken daylight farthrough the aërial waste.
They bore me to a cavern in the hill
Beneath that column, and unbound me there:
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, 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: The grate, as they departed to repass,
With horrid clangour fell, and the far sound Of their retiring steps in the dense gloom were
The noon was calm and bright:-around
that column The overhanging sky and circling sea Spread forth in silentness profound and
solemn The darkness of brief frenzy cast on me, i This is the right reading, concord having perhaps been sacrificed to sound. -ED.
? Here the reading has been disputed and the change of cast to past has been suggested ; but Shelley's text (that adopted above) clearly means that the surrounding stillness so oppressed the mind of Laon as to cast on it the darkness of frenzy. -ED.
So that I knew not my own misery :
The town among the woods below that lay, And the dark rocks which bound the bright and glassy bay.
XVI. It was so calm that scarce the feathery weed Sown by some eagle on the topmost stone Swayed in the air:-so bright that noon did
breed No shadow in the sky beside mine ownMine, 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, But of the living blood that ran within my frame.
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 noonIts shadow lay beyond—that sight again Waked, with its presence, in my trancèd 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
I watched, until the shades of evening
wrapped Earth like an exhalation—then the bark Moved, for that calm was by the sunset