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Think ye hy gazing on each other's eyes
To multiply your lovely selves, and fill
With sphered fires the interlunar air ?
Spirit of the Earth. Nay, mother, while my sister trims
ris hard I should go darkling.
A a. Listen; look!
The SPIRIT OF THE HOUR enters.
Pro. We feel what thou hast heard and seen : yet speak.
Spirit of the Hour. Soon as the sound had ceased
whose thunder filled
The abysses of the sky and the wide earth,
There was a change : the impalpable thin air
And the all-circling sunlight were transformed,
As if the sense of love dissolved in them
Had folded itself round the sphered world.
My vision then grew clear, and I could see
Into the niysteries of the universe.
Dizzy as with delight I floated down,
Winnowing the lightsome air with languid plumes,
My coursess sought their birth-place in the sun,
Where they henceforth will live exempt from toil,
Pasturing flowers of vegetable fire;
And where my moonlight car will stand within
A temple, gazed upon by Phidian forms
of thee, and Asia, and the Earth, and me,
And you fair nymphs looking the love we feel,
In memory of the tidings it has borne;
Beneath a dome fretted with graven flowers,
Poised on twelve columns of resplendent stone,
and open to the bright and liquid sky.
Yoked to it by an amphisbenic snake,
The likeness of those winged steeds will mock
The light from which they find repose. Alas,
Whither has wandered now my partial tongue
When all remains untold which ye would hear?
As I have said I floated to the earth:
It was, as it is still, the pain of bliss
To move, to breathe, to be. I wandering went
Among the haunts and dwellings of mankind,
And first was disappointed not to see
Such mighty change as I had felt within
Expressed in outward things; but soon I looked,
And, behold! thrones were kingless, and men walked
One with the other even as spirits do ;
None fawned, none trampled ; hate, disdain, or fear,
Self-love or self-contempt, on human brows
No more inscribed, as o'er the gate of hell,
“ All hope abandon ye who enter here ;"
Nope frowned, none trembled, none with eager fear
Gazed on another's eye of cold command,
Until the subject of a tyrant's will
Became, worse fate, the abject of his own,
Which spurred him, like an outspent horse, to death.
None wrought his lips in truth-entangling lines
Which smiled the lie his tongue disdained to speak;
None, with firm sneer, trod out in his own heart
The sparks of love and hope till there remained
Those bitter ashes, a soul self-consumed,
And the wretch crept a vampire among men,
Infecting all with his own hideous ill;
None talked that common, false, cold, hollow talk,
Which makes the heart deny the yes it breathes,
Yet question that unmeant hypocrisy
With such a self-mistrust as has no name.
And women too, frank, beautiful, and kind,
As the free heaven which rains fresh light and dew
On the wide earth, pass'd; gentle radiant forms,
From custom's evil taint exempt and pure;
Speaking the wisdom once they could not think,
Looking emotions once they feared to seel,
And changed to all which once they dared not be,
Yet being now, made earth like heaven; nor pride,
Nor jealousy, nor envy, nor ill shame,
The bitterest of those drops of treasured gall,
Spoilt the sweet taste of the nepenthe, love.
Thrones, altars, judgment-seats, and prisons, wherein,
And beside which, by wretched men were borne
Sceptres, tiaras, swords, and chains, and tomes
of reasoned wrong, glozed on by ignorance,
Were like those monstrous and barbaric shapes,
The ghosts of a vo-more-rememberedi farne,
Which, from their unworn obelisks, look forth
In triumph o'er the palaces and tombs
of those who were their conquerors ; mouldering round
Those imaged to the pride of kings and priests,
A dark, yet mighty faith, a power as wide
As is the world it wasted, and are now
But an astonishment; even so the tools
And emblems of its last captivity,
Amid the dwellings of the peopled earth,
Stand not o'erthrown, but unregarded now.
And those foul shapes, abhorred by god and man,
Which, under many a name and many a form,
Strange, savage, ghastly, dark, and execrable,
Were Jupiter, the tyrant of the world ;
And which the nations, panic-stricken, served
With blood, and hearts broken by long hope, and love
Dragged to his altars soiled and garlandless,
And slain among men's unreclaiming tears,
Flattering the thing they feared, which fear was hate,
Frown, mouldering fast, o'er their abandoned shrines;
The painted veil, by those who were, called life,
Which mimicked, as with colours idly spread,
All men believed and hoped, is torn aside ;
The loathsome mask has fallen, the man remain
Sceptreless, free, uncircumscribed, but man
Equal, unclassed, tribeless, and nationless,
Except from awe, worship, degree, the king
Over himself, just, gentle, wise : but man
Passionless ; nor yet free from guilt or pain,
Which were, for his will made or suffered them,
Nor yet exempt, tho' ruling them like slaves,
From chance, and death, and mutability,
The clogs of that which else might oversoar
The loftiest star of unascended heaven,
Pinnacled dim in the intense inane.
Scene, a part of the forest near the Cave of PROMETHEUS.
PANTHEA and Ione are sleeping ; they awake gradually during the first Song.
The pale stars are gone!
For the sun, their swift shepherd,
To their folds them compelling,
In the depths of the dawn,
Hasten, in meteor-eclipsing array, and they fee
Beyond his blue dwelling
As fawns flee the leopard.
But where are ye
? A train of dark forms and shadows passes by confusedly.
Here, oh, here!
We bear the bier
of the Father of many a cancelled year!
or the dead Hours be,
We bear Time to his tomb in eternity.
Strew, oh, strew
Hair, not yew!
Wet the dusty pall with tears, not dew!
Be the faded flowers
of Death's bare bowers
Spread on the corpse of the King of Hours!
Haste, oh, haste!
As shades are chased,
Trembling, by day, from heaven's blue waste,
We melt away,
Like dissolving spray,
From the children of a diviner day,
With the lullaby
Of winds that die
On the bosom of their own harmony !
lone. What dark forms were they?
The past Hours, weak and grey
With the spoil which their toil
From the conquest but One could foil.
Ione. Have they pass'd ?
They have pass'd;
They outspeeded the blast,
While'tis said, they are fled.
Whither, oh, whither ?
To the dark, to the past, to the dead.
Voice of unseen Spirits.
Bright clouds float in heaven,
Dew stars gleam on earth,
Waves assemble on ocean,
They are gathered and driven
By the storm of delight, by the panic of glee!
They shake with emotion,
They dance in their mirth.
But where are ye?
The pine-boughs are singing
old songs with new gladness,
The billows and fountains
Fresh music are flinging,
Like the notes of a spirit from land and from sea :
The storms mock the mountains
With the thunder of gladness,
But where are ye?
Ione. What charioteers are these?
Pan. Where are their chariots ?
Semichorus of Hours.
The voices of the Spirits of Air and Earth
Have drawn back the figured curtain of sleep
Which covered our being and darkened our birth
In the deep