« PoprzedniaDalej »
She all those human figures breathing there
Beheld as living spirits—to her eyes The naked beauty of the soul lay bare,
And often through a rude and worn disguise She saw the inner form most bright and fair
And then she had a charm of strange device, Which, murmured on mute lips with tender tone, Could make that spirit mingle with her own,
LXVII. Alas! Aurora, what wouldst thou have given
For such a charm when Tithon became grey ? Or how much, Venus, of thy silver Heaven
Wouldst thou have yielded, ere Proserpina Had half (oh! why not all ?) the debt forgiven
Which dear Adonis had been doomed to pay, To any witch who would have taught you it ? The Heliad doth not know its value yet.
LXVIII. 'Tis said in after times her spirit free
Knew what love was, and felt itself aloneBut holy Dian could not chaster be,
Before she stooped to kiss Endymion, Than now this lady-like a sexless bee
Tasting all blossoms, and confined to none, Among those mortal forms, the wizard-maiden Passed with an eye serene and heart unladen.
Strange panacea in a crystal bowl:-
wave, And lived thenceforward as if some control,
Mightier than life, were in them; and the grave
Of such, when death oppressed the weary soul, Was as a green and overarching bower Lit by the gems of many a starry flower.
LXX. For on the night when they were buried, she
Restored the embalmers' ruining, and shook The light out of the funeral lamps, to be
A mimic day within that deathy nook; And she unwound the woven imagery Of second childhood's swaddling bands, and
took The coffin, its last cradle, from its niche, And threw it with contempt into a ditch.
LXXI. And there the body lay, age after age, Mute, breathing, beating, warm and unde
caying, Like one asleep in a green hermitage,
With gentle smiles about its eyelids playing, And living in its dreams beyond the rage
Of death or life; while they were still arraying In liveries ever new the rapid, blind And fleeting generations of mankind.
LXXII, And she would write strange dreams upon the
brain Of those who were less beautiful, and make All harsh and crooked purposes more vain
Than in the desert is the serpent's wake Which the sand covers,—all his evil gain The miser in such dreams would rise and
shake Into a beggar's lap ;—the lying scribe Would his own lies betray without a bribe.
Translating hieroglyphics into Greek,
And nothing more; and bid the herald stick The same against the temple doors, and pull
The old cant down; they licensed all to speak Whate'er they thought of hawks, and cats, and
By pastoral letters to each diocese.
LXXIV. The king would dress an ape up in his crown
And robes, and seat him on his glorious seat, And on the right hand of the sunlike throne
Would place a gaudy mock-bird to repeat The chatterings of the monkey.-Every one
Of the prone courtiers crawled to kiss the feet Of their great Emperor, when the morning came, And kissed-alas, how many kiss the same!
The soldiers dreamed that they were black
smiths, and Walked out of quarters in somnambulism; Round the red anvils you might see them stand
Like Cyclopses in Vulcan's sooty abysm, Beating their swords to ploughshares ;—in a
band The gaolers sent those of the liberal schism Free through the streets of Memphis, much, I
wis To the annoyance of king Amasis.
They hardly knew whether they loved or not
Would rise out of their rest, and take sweet joy,
To the fulfilment of their inmost thought; And when next day the maiden and the boy
Met one another, both, like sinners caught, Blushed at the thing which each believed was
done Only in fancy_till the tenth moon shone ;
And then the Witch would let them take no ill:
Of many thousand schemes which lovers find, The Witch found one,-and so they took their
Of happiness in marriage warm and kind. Friends who, by practice of some envious skill, Were torn apart,-a wide wound, mind from
mind !She did unite again with visions clear Of deep affection and of truth sincere.
LXXVIII. These were the pranks she played among the
cities Of mortal men, and what she did to sprites And Gods, entangling them in her sweet ditties
To do her will, and show their subtle slights, I will declare another time; for it is
A tale more fit for the weird winter nights, Than for these garish summer days, when we Scarcely believe much more than we can see.
FRAGMENTS OF AN UNFINISHED
SCENE, before the Cavern of the Indian Enchantress. The ENCHANTRESS comes forth.
He fled like a shadow before its noon;
O sweet Echo, wake,
And for my sake Make answer the while my heart shall break!
i Mrs. Shelley records that the unfinished drama of which these are the fragments was undertaken for the amusement of their Pisa intimates of 1822. Trelawny's adventures, afterwards published to the world in his book, The Adventures of a Younger Son, must be reckoned among the sources of suggestion. The scheme of the drama is thus described by Mrs. Shelley :-“An Enchantress, living in one of the islands of the Indian Archipelago, saves the life of a Pirate, a man of savage but noble nature. She becomes enamoured of him ; and he, inconstant to his mortal love, for a while returns her passion : but at length, recalling the memory of her whom he left, and who laments his loss, he escapes from the enchanted island, and returns to his lady. His mode of life makes him again go to sea ; and the Enchantress seizes the opportunity to bring him, by a spiritbrewed tempest, back to her island." The first 27