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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,

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
Mix with each other in tempestuous measure

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,

Maidens and youths fling their wild arms in air;
As their feet twinkle they recede, and now
Bending within each other's atmosphere

Kindle invisibly—and as they glow,
Like moths by light attracted and repelled,
Oft to their bright destruction come and go,

Till like two clouds into one vale impelled
That shake the mountains when their lightnings mingle
And die in rain—the fiery band which held

Their natures, snaps—the shock still may tingle;
One falls and then another in the path
Senseless-nor is the desolation single,

Yet ere I can say where—the chariot hath
Past over them-por other trace I find
But as of foam after the ocean's wrath

Is spent upon the desert shore ;-behind,
Old men and women foully disarrayed,
Shake their grey hairs in the insulting wind,

And follow in the dance, with limbs decayed,
Seeking to reach the light which leaves them still
Farther behind and deeper in the shade.

But not the less with impotence of will
They wheel, though ghastly shadows interpose
Round them and round each other, and fulfil

Their part, and in the dust from whence they rose
Sink, and corruption veils them as they lie,
And past in these performs what [ ] in those.

Struck to the heart by this sad pageantry,
Half to myself I said—And what is this?
Whose shape is that within the car? And why-

I would have added is all here amiss ? But a voice answered—“Life!"-I turned, and knew (0 Heaven, have mercy on such wretchedness !)

That what I thought was an old root which grew
To strange distortion out of the hill side,
Was indeed one of those deluded crew,

And that the grass, which methought hung so wide
And white, was but his thin discoloured hair,
And that the holes it vainly sought to hide,

Were or had been eyes : If thou canst, forbear
To join the dance, which I had well forborne!'
Said the grim Feature, (of my thought aware);

I will unfold that which to this deep scorn
Led me and my companions, and relate

progress of the pageant since the morn;

“ If thirst of knowledge shall not then abate,
Follow it thou even to the night, but I
Am weary.”—Then like one who with the weight

Of his own words is staggered, wearily
He paused; and, ere he could resume, I cried,
First, who art thou ?”—“Before thy memory,

“I feared, loved, hated, suffered, did and died, And if the spark with which Heaven lit my spirit Had been with purer sentiment supplied,

Corruption would not now thus much inherit Of what was once Rousseau,

,—nor this disguise Stained that which ought to have disdained to wear it;

"If I have been extinguished, yet there rise A thousand beacons from the spark I bore”“And who are those chained to the car ?"-" The wise,

"The great, the unforgotten,—they who wore Mitres and helms and crowns, or wreaths of light, Signs of thought's empire over thought-their lore

“ Taught them not this, to know themselves; their might Could not repress the mystery within, And for the morn of truth they feigned, deep night

Caught them ere evening.”—“ Who is he with chin Upon his breast, and hands crost on his chain ?"“ The Child of a fierce hour; he sought to win

“ The world, and lost all that it did contain
Of greatness, in its hope destroyed; and more
Of fame and peace than virtue's self can gain

“Without the opportunity which bore
Him on his eagle pinions to the peak
From which a thousand climbers have before

“Fallen, as Napoleon fell."— I felt my cheek
Alter to see the shadow pass away,

grasp had left the giant world so weak,

That every pigmy kicked it as it lay;
And much I grieved to think how power and will
In opposition rule our mortal day,

And why God made irreconcilable
Good and the means of good ; and for despair
I half disdained mine eyes' desire to fill

With the spent vision of the times that were
And scarce have ceased to be.—“Dost thou behold,”
Said my guide, “ those spoilers spoiled, Voltaire,


"Frederick, and Paul, Catherine, and Leopold, And hoary anarchs, demagogues, and sage

-names which the world thinks always old,

“ For in the battle life and they did wage, She remained conqueror.

I was overcome But my own heart alone, which neither age,

“ Nor tears, nor infamy, nor now the tomb Could temper to its object.”—“Let them pass,” I cried, "the world and its mysterious doom

“Is not so much more glorious than it was, That I desire to worship those who drew New figures on its false and fragile glass

As the old faded.”—“Figures ever new
Rise on the bubble, paint them as you may ;
We have but thrown, as those before us threw,

“Our shadows on it as it past away.
But mark how chained to the triumphal chair
The mighty phantoms of an elder day ;

“ All that is mortal of great Plato there Expiates the joy and woe his master knew not: The star that ruled his doom was far too fair,

“ And life, where long that flower of Heaven grew not, Conquered that heart by love, which gold, or pain, Or age, or sloth, or slavery, could subdue not.

“And near him walk the [ ] twain, The tutor and his pupil, whom Dominion Followed as tame as vulture in a chain.

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