Obrazy na stronie

Their portion of the toil, which he of old
Took as his own, and then imposed on them : 20
But I, whom thoughts which must remain


Had kept as wakeful as the stars that gem
The cone of night, now they were laid asleep
Stretched my faint limbs beneath the hoary


Which an old chesnut flung athwart the steep
Of a green Apennine: before me fled
The night; behind me rose the day; the deep

Was at my feet, and Heaven above my head, When a strange trance over my fancy grew Which was not slumber, for the shade it spread


Was so transparent, that the scene came

through As clear as when a veil of light is drawn O’er evening hills they glimmer; and I knew

That I had felt the freshness of that dawn, Bathed in the same cold dew my brow and


And sate as thus upon that slope of lawn Under the self-same bough, and heard as there The birds, the fountains and the ocean hold Sweet talk in music through the enamoured air, And then a vision on my brain was rolled. 40

As in that trance of wondrous thought I lay, This was the tenour of my waking dream :Methought I sate beside a public way

Thick strewn with summer dust, and a great

stream Of people there was hurrying to and fro, Numerous as gnats upon the evening gleam,

All hastening onward, yet none seemed to know
Whither he went, or whence he came, or why
He made one of the multitude, and so
Was borne amid the crowd, as through the

50 One of the million leaves of summer's bier ; Old age and youth, manhood and infancy

Mixed in one mighty torrent did appear,
Some flying from the thing they feared, and

Seeking the object of another's fear;
And others, as with steps towards the tomb,
Pored on the trodden worms that crawled

beneath, And others mournfully within the gloom

Of their own shadow walked and called it

death; And some fled from it as it were a ghost, 60 Half fainting in the affliction of vain breath : But more, with motions which each other

crossed, Pursued or shunned the shadows the clouds

threw, Or birds within the noon-day æther lost,

Upon that path where flowers never grew,
And, weary with vain toil and faint for thirst,
Heard not the fountains, whose melodious dew

Out of their mossy cells for ever burst;
Nor felt the breeze which from the forest told
Of grassy paths and wood-lawns interspersed 70
With overarching elms and caverns cold,
And violet banks where sweet dreams brood ;

but they
Pursued their serious folly as of old.
And, as I gazed, methought that in the way
The throng grew wilder, as the woods of June
When the south wind shakes the extinguished

day; And a cold glare, intenser than the noon, But icy cold, obscured with blinding light The sun, as he the stars. Like the young

moon When on the sunlit limits of the night 80 Her white shell trembles amid crimson air, And whilst the sleeping tempest gathers might

Doth, as the herald of its coming, bear
The ghost of its dead mother, whose dim form
Bends in dark æther from her infant's chair, —

So came a chariot on the silent storm
Of its own rushing splendour, and a Shape
So sate within, as one whom years deform,

Beneath a dusky hood and double cape, Crouching within the shadow of a tomb; 90 And o’er what seemed the head a cloud-like

crape Was bent, a dun and faint ætherial gloom Tempering the light. Upon the chariot-beam A Janus-visaged Shadow did assume

The guidance of that wonder-winged team; The shapes which drew it in thick lightnings Were lost: -I heard alone on the air's soft

stream The music of their ever-moving wings. All the four faces of that charioteer Had their eyes banded ; little profit brings 100

Speed in the van and blindness in the rear, Nor then avail the beams that quench the sun Or that with banded eyes could pierce the sphere

Of all that is, has been or will be done;
So ill was the car guided—but it passed
With solemn speed majestically on.
The crowd gave way, and I arose aghast,
Or seemed to rise, so mighty was the trance,
And saw, like clouds upon the thunder-blast,

The million with fierce song and maniac dance Raging around—such seemed the jubilee in As when to greet some conqueror's advance

Imperial Rome poured forth her living sea
From senate-house, and forum, and theatre,

upon the free Had bound a yoke, which soon they stooped to

bear. Nor wanted here the just similitude Of a triumphal pageant, for where'er

The chariot rolled, a captive multitude
Was driven ;-all those who had grown old in

Or misery,—all who had their age subdued


By action or by suffering, and whose hour
Was drained to its last sand in weal or woe,
So that the trunk survived both fruit and

flower ;-
All those whose fame or infamy must grow
Till the great winter lay the form and name
Of this green earth with them for ever low ;-

All but the sacred few who could not tame Their spirits to the conquerors—but, as soon As they had touched the world with living flame,

130 Fled back like eagles to their native noon, Or those who put aside the diadem Of earthly thrones or gems ....

Were there, of Athens or Jerusalem,
Were neither 'mid the mighty captives seen,
Nor mid the ribald crowd that followed them,

Nor those who went before fierce and obscene. The wild dance maddens in the van, and those Who lead it-fleet as shadows on the green,

Outspeed the chariot, and without repose 140 Mix with each other in tempestuous measure To savage music; wilder as it grows,

They, tortured by their agonizing pleasure, Convulsed and on the rapid whirlwinds spun Of that fierce spirit, whose unholy leisure

Was soothed by mischief since the world begun, Throw back their heads and loose their streaming

hair; And, in their dance round her who dims the sun,

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