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Another, not himself, he to and fro
That which he knew not, how it galled and bit His weary mind, this converse vain and cold; For like an eyeless nightmare grief did sit 120
Upon his being; a snake which fold by fold Pressed out the life of life, a clinging fiend Which clenched him if he stirred with deadlier
hold ;So that his grief remained—let it remain-un
FRAGMENT I. Prince Athanase had one beloved friend, An old, old man, with hair of silver white, And lips where heavenly smiles would hang and
With his wise words; and eyes whose arrowy
light Shone like the reflex of a thousand minds. He was the last whom superstition's blight
1 The Author was pursuing a fuller developement of the ideal character of Athanase, when it struck him that, in an attempt at extreme refinement and analysis, his conceptions might be betrayed into the assuming a morbid character. The reader will judge whether he is a loser or gainer by this difference.
2 Mrs. Shelley records that this character was meant to represent Shelley's Eton friend, Dr. Lind, the original of the hermit in Laon and Cythna.--ED.
Had spared in Greece—the blight that cramps
and blinds,And in his olive bower at Enoe Had sate from earliest youth. Like one who
finds A fertile island in the barren sea,.
10 One mariner who has survived his mates Many a drear month in a great ship--so he With soul-sustaining songs,-and sweet debates Of ancient lore, there fed his lonely being :“ The mind becomes that which it contem
plates," — And thus Zonoras, by forever seeing Their bright creations, grew like wisest men ; And when he heard the crash of nations fleeing A bloodier power than ruled thy ruins then, O sacred Hellas! many weary years He wandered, till the path of Laian's glen
Was grass-grown-and the unremembered tears Were dry in Laian for their honoured chief, Who fell in Byzant, pierced by Moslem spears :
And as the lady looked with faithful grief
And blighting hope, who with the news of death Struck body and soul as with a mortal blight, She saw beneath the chesnuts, far beneath, 30
An old man toiling up, a weary wight;
Of the wood fire, and round his shoulders fall;
And Athanase, her child, who must have been Then three years old, sate opposite and gazed In patient silence.
FRAGMENT II. Such was Zonoras; and as daylight finds One amaranth glittering on the path of frost, When autumn nights have nipped all weaker
Thus through his age, dark, cold, and tempest
tossed, Shone truth upon Zonoras; and he filled From fountains pure, nigh overgrown and lost,
The spirit of Prince Athanase, a child, With soul-sustaining songs of ancient lore And philosophic wisdom, clear and mild.
And sweet and subtle talk they evermore,
The youth, as shadows on a grassy hill
Strange truths and new to that experienced man; Still they were friends, as few have ever been Who mark the extremes of life's discordant
So in the caverns of the forest green,
By summer woodmen; and, when winter's
roar Sounded o'er earth and sea its blast of war, The Balearic fisher, driven from shore,
Hanging upon the peaked wave afar,
Which pours beyond the sea one steadfast beam,
30 For, lo! the wintry clouds are all gone by, And bright Arcturus through yon pines is
glowing, And far o'er southern waves, immovably
Belted Orion hangs—warm light is flowing From the young moon into the sunset's chasm.“ 0, summer eve! with power divine, bestowing
“On thine own bird the sweet enthusiasm “ Which overflows in notes of liquid gladness, “ Filling the sky like light! How many a spasm
“ Of fevered brains, oppressed with grief and madness,
40 “ Were lulled by thee, delightful nightingale ! “ And these soft waves, murmuring a gentle “ And the far sighings of yon piny dale “ Made vocal by some wind, we feel not here,“I bear alone what nothing may avail
“ To lighten—a strange load!”—No human ear Heard this lament; but o'er the visage wan Of Athanase, a ruffling atmosphere
Of dark emotion, a swift shadow ran,
Beheld his mystic friend's whole being shake, Even where its inmost depths were gloomiestAnd with a calm and measured voice he spake,
And with a soft and equal pressure, pressed That cold lean hand :-“ Dost thou remember
yet, “ When the curved moon then lingering in the
“ Paused in yon waves her mighty horns to wet, “ How in those beams we walked, half resting on the sea ?
59 “ 'Tis just one year-sure thou dost not forget
“ Then Plato's words of light in thee and me “ Lingered like moonlight in the moonless east, “ For we had just then read--thy memory
“ Is faithful now—the story of the feast; “ And Agathon and Diotima seemed “ From death and dark forgetfulness released.”