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xix. Yet if we could scorn Hate, and pride, and fear; If we were things born Not to shed a tear, I know not how thy joy we ever should come near.
xx. Better than all measures Of delightful sound, Better than all treasures That in books are found, Thy skill to poet were, thou scorner of the ground!
xxi. Teach me half the gladness That thy brain must know, Such harmonious madness From my lips would flow, The world should listen then, as I am listening now.
ODE TO LIBERTY.
Yet freedom, yet, thy banner torn but flying, Streams like a thunder-storm against the wind. BYrton. I. A GLoRious people vibrated again The lightning of the nations: Liberty, From heart to heart, from tower to tower, o'er Spain, Scattering contagious fire into the sky, Gleamed. My soul spurned the chains of its dismay, And, in the rapid plumes of song, Clothed itself sublime and strong ; As a young eagle soars the morning clouds among, Hovering in verse o'er its accustomed prey; Till from its station in the heaven of fame The Spirit's whirlwind rapt it, and the ray Of the remotest sphere of living flame Which paves the void, was from behind it flung, As foam from a ship's swiftness, when there came A voice out of the deep; I will record the saille.
it. The Sun and the serenest Moon sprang forth; The burning stars of the abyss were hurl’d Into the depths of heaven. The daedal earth, That island in the ocean of the world, Hung in its cloud of all-sustaining air : But this divinest universe Was yet a chaos and a curse, Forthouwertnot: but power from worst producing worse, The spirit of the beasts was kindled there, And of the birds, and of the watery forms, And there was war among them and despair Within them, raging without truce or terms: The bosom of their violated nurse Groaned, for beasts warred on beasts, and worms on worms, [storins. And men on men; each heart was as a hell of
iii. Man, the imperial shape, then multiplied His generations under the pavilion Of the sun's throne: palace and pyramid, Temple and prison, to many a swarming million, Were, as to mountain-wolves their ragged caves. This human living multitude Was savage, cunning, blind and rude, For thou wert not ; but o'er the populous solitude, Like one fierce cloud over a waste of waves, Hung tyranny ; beneath, sate deified The sister-pest, congregator of slaves; Into the shadow of her pinions wide, Anarchs and priests who feed on gold and blood, Till with the stain their inmost souls are dyed, Drove the astonished herds of men from every side. IV. The nodding promontories, and blue isles, And cloud-like mountains, and dividuous waves Of Greece, basked glorious in the open smiles Of favouring heaven: from theirenchanted caves Prophetic echoes flung dim melody On the unapprehensive wild. The vine, the corn, the olive mild, Grew, savage yet, to human use unreconciled ; And like unfolded flowers beneath the sea, Like the man's thought dark in the infant's brain, Like aught that is which wraps what is to be, Art's deathless dreamslay veiled by manya vein Of Parian stone; and yet a speechless child, Verse murmured, and Philosophy did strain Her lidless eyes for thee; when o'er the AEgean IIlalil v. Athens arose : a city such as vision Builds from the purple crags and silver towers Of battlemented cloud, as in derision Of kingliest masonry: the ocean floors Pave it; the evening sky pavilions it ; Its portals are inhabited By thunder-zoned winds, each head Within its cloudy wings with sun-fire garlanded, A divine work Athens diviner yet Gleamed with its crest of columns, on the will Of man, as on a mount of diamond, set ; For thou wert, and thine all-creative skill Peopled, with forms that mock the eternal dead In marble immortality, that hill Which was thine earliest throne and latest oracle.
vi. Within the surface of Time's fleeting river Its wrinkled image lies, as then it lay Immoveably unquiet, and for ever It trembles, but it cannot pass away ! The voices of thy bards and sages thunder With an earth-awakening blast Through the caverns of the past; Religion veils her eyes; Oppression shrinks aghast: A winged sound of joy, and love, and wonder, Which soars where Expectation never flew, Rending the veil of space and time asunder 1 One ocean feeds the clouds, and streams, and dew ; One sun illumines Heaven; one spirit vast With life and love makes chaos ever new, As Athens doth the world with thy delight vii. Then Rome was, and from thy deep bosom fairest, Like a wolf-cub from a Cadmaean Maenad”, She drew the milk of greatness, though thy dearest From that Elysian food was yet unweaned; And many a deed of terrible uprightness By thy sweet love was sanctified ; And in thy smile, and by thy side, Saintly Camillus lived, and firm Atilius died. [ness, But when tears stained thy robe of vestal whiteAnd gold profaned thy capitolian throne, Thou didst desert, with spirit-winged lightness, The senate of the tyrants: they sunk prone Slaves of one tyrant. Palatinus sighed Faint echoes of Ionian song ; that tone Thou didst delay to hear, lamenting to disown.
wiii. From what Hyrcanian glen or frozen hill, Or piny promontory of the Arctic main, Or utmost islet inaccessible, Didst thou lament the ruin of thy reign, Teaching the woods and waves, and desert rocks, And every Naiad's ice-cold urn, To talk in echoes sad and stern, Of that sublimestlore which man had dared unlearn? For neither didst thou watch the wizard flocks Of the Scald's dreams, nor haunt the Druid's sleep. [locks, What if the tears rained through thy shattered Were quickly dried? for thou didst groan, not When from its sea of death to kill and burn, [weep, The Galilean serpent forth did creep, And made thy world an undistinguishable heap.
Ix. A thousand years the Earth cried, Where art thou? And then the shadow of thy coming fell On Saxon Alfred's olive-cinctured brow : And many a warrior-peopled citadel, Like rocks, which fire lifts out of the flat deep, Arose in sacred Italy, Frowning o'er the tempestuous sea Of kings, and priests, and slaves, in tower-crowned That multitudinous anarchy did sweep, [majesty; And burst around their walls, like idle foam, Whilst from the human spirit's deepest deep, Strange melody with love and awe struck dumb Dissonant arms; and Art which cannot die, With divine want traced on our earthly home Fit imagery to pave heaven's everlasting dome.
X. Thou huntress swifter than the Moon! thou terror Of the world's wolves! thou bearer of the quiver, Whose sun-like shaftspierce tempest-winged Error, As light may pierce the clouds when they dissever In the calm regions of the orient day ! Luther caught thy wakening glance: Like lightning from his leaden lance Reflected, it dissolved the visions of the trance In which, as in a tomb, the nations lay ; And England's prophets hailed thee as their In songs whose music cannot pass away, [queen, Though it must flow for ever : not unseen Before the spirit-sighted countenance Of Milton didst thou pass, from the sad scene Beyond whose night he saw, with a dejectedmien.
* See the Bacchae of Euripides. |
xi. The eager hours and unreluctant years As on a dawn-illumined mountain stood, Trampling to silence their loud hopes and fears Darkening each other with their multitude, And cried aloud, Liberty 1 Indignation Answered Pity from her cave; Death grew pale within the grave, And desolation howled to the destroyer, Save 1 When, like heaven's sun, girt by the exhalation Of its own glorious light, thou didst arise, Chasing thy foes from nation unto nation Like shadows: as if day had cloven the skies At dreaming midnight o'er the western wave, Men started, staggering with a glad surprise, Under the lightnings of thine unfamiliar eyes.
Whose ghosts scare victor kings in their ances
tral towers. xiii. England yet sleeps: was she not called of old : Spain calls her now, as with its thrilling thunder Vesuvius wakens AEtna, and the cold Snow-crags by its reply are cloven in sunder: O'er the lit waves every AEolian isle From Pithecusa to Pelorus Howls, and leaps, and glares in chorus: [us. They cry, Bedim, yelamps of heaven suspended o'er Herchains are threads of gold, she need but smile And they dissolve ; but Spain's were links of Till bit to dust, by virtue's keenest file. [steel, Twins of a single destiny appeal To the eternal years enthroned before us, In the dim West; impress us from a seal, All ye have thought and done! Time cannot dare conceal.
Thou island of eternity thou shrine Where desolation, clothed with loveliness, Worships the thing thou wert O Italy, Gather thy blood into thy heart; repress The beasts who make their dens thy sacred palaces.
xv. O that the free would stamp the impious name Of “*** into the dust; or write it there, So that this blot upon the page of fame Were as a serpent's path, which the light air Erases, and the flat sands close behind Ye the oracle have heard : Lift the victory-flashing sword, And cut the snaky knots of this foul gordian word, Which, weak itself as stubble, yet can bind Into a mass, irrefragably firm, The axes and the rods which awe mankind ; The sound has poison in it, 'tis the sperm Of what makes life foul, cankerous, and abhorred; Disdain not thou, at thine appointed term, To set thine armed heel on this reluctant worm.
xvi. O that the wise from their bright minds would kindle Such lamps within the dome of this dim world, That the pale name of PRIEST might shrink and dwindle Into the hell from which it first was hurled, A scoff of impious pride from fiends impure Till human thoughts might kneel alone, Each before the judgment-throne Of its own aweless soul, or of the power unknown Othat the words which make the thoughts obscure From which they spring, as clouds of glimmering dew From a white lake blot heaven's blue portraiture, Were stript of their thin masks and various hue, And frowns and smiles and splendours not their own, Till in the nakedness of false and true They stand before their Lord, each to receive its due.
xvii. He who taught man to vanquish whatsoever Can be between the cradle and the grave, Crowned him the King of Life. O vain endeavour! If on his own high will a willing slave, He has enthroned the oppression and the oppressor. What if earth can clothe and feed Amplest millions at their need, And power in thought be as the tree within the Or what if art, an ardent intercessor, [seed Diving on fiery wings to Nature's throne, Checks the great mother stooping to caress her, And cries, give me, thy child, dominion Over all height and depth if Life can breed [groan, New wants, and wealth from those who toil and Rend of thy gifts and hers a thousandfold for one.
xviii. Come thou, but lead out of the inmost cave Of man's deep spirit, as the morning-star Beckons the Sun from the Eoan wave, Wisdom. I hear the pennons of her car Self-moving like cloud charioted by flame; Comes she not, and come ye not, Rulers of eternal thought, To judge with solemn truth life's ill-apportioned lot? Blind Love, and equal Justice, and the Fame Of what has been, the Hope of what will be O, Liberty if such could be thy name Wert thou disjoined from these, or they from If thine or theirs were treasures to be bought [thee: By blood or tears, have not the wise and free Wept tears, and blood like tears : The solemn
xix. Paused, and the spirit of that mighty singing To its abyss was suddenly withdrawn; Then as a wild swan, when sublimely winging Its path athwart the thunder-smoke of dawn, Sinks headlong through the aerial golden light On the heavy sounding plain, When the bolt has pierced its brain ; As summer clouds dissolve unburthened of their As a far taper fades with fading night; [rain; As a brief insect dies with dying day, My song its pinions disarrayed of might, Drooped ; o'er it closed the echoes far away Of the great voice which did its flight sustain, As waves which lately paved his watery way Hiss rounda drowner's head in their tempestuous play.
ARETHUSA arose From her couch of snows In the Acroceraunian mountains,— From cloud and from crag, With many a jag, Shepherding her bright fountains. She leapt down the rocks With her rainbow locks Streaming among the streams;– Her steps paved with green The downward ravine Which slopes to the western gleams: And gliding and springing, She went, ever singing, In murmurs as soft as sleep ; The earth seemed to love her, And Heaven smiled above her, As she lingered towards the deep.
Then Alpheus bold, On his glacier cold, With his trident the mountains strook; And opened a chasm In the rocks;–with the spasm All Erymanthus shook. And the black south wind It concealed behind The urns of the silent snow, And earthquake and thunder Did rend in sunder The bars of the springs below: The beard and the hair Of the river God were Seen through the torrent's sweep, As he followed the light Of the fleet nymph's flight To the brink of the Dorian deep.
“Oh, save me! Oh, guide me ! And bid the deep hide me, For he grasps me now by the hair " The loud Ocean heard, To its blue depth stirred, And divided at her prayer; And under the water The Earth's white daughter
Fled like a sunny beam :
Under the bowers Where the Ocean Powers Sit on their pearled thrones: Through the coral woods Of the weltering floods, Over heaps of unvalued stones; Through the dim beams Which amid the streams Weave a net-work of coloured light; And under the caves, Where the shadowy waves Are as 5. as the forest's night:— utspeeding the shark, And the sword-fish dark, Under the ocean foam, And up through the rifts Of the mountain clifts They passed to their Dorian home.
And now from their fountains In Enna's mountains, Down one vale where the morning basks, Like friends once parted Grown single-hearted, They ply their watery tasks. At sunrise they leap From their cradles steep In the cave of the shelving hill; At noon-tide they flow Through the woods below And the meadows of Asphodel; And at night they sleep In the rocking deep Beneath the Ortygian shore;— Like spirits that lie In the azure sky When they love but live no more.
SONG OF PROSERPINE,
While GATheRING FLOWERS ON THE PLAIN OF ENNA.
SACRED Goddess, Mother Earth,
If with mists of evening dew
* This and the former poem were written at the request of a friend, to be inserted in a drama on the subject of Midas. Apollo and Pan contended before Tmolus for the prize in music.
Fanning the busy dreams from my dim eyes,
Tells them that dreams and that the moon is gone.
With their ethereal colours; the Moon's globe