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For on the night that 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.
And there the body lay, age after age,
Mute, breathing, beating, warm, and undecaying, Like one asleep in a green hermitage,
With gentle sleep 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.
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.
Lxxiii. | The priests would write an explanation full, Translating hieroglyphics into Greek, How the god Apis really was a bull, 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 geese, By pastoral letters to each diocese.
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 !
Lxxv. The soldiers dreamed that they were blacksmiths, Walked out of quarters in somnambulism, [and 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.
And timid lovers who had been so coy,
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 Only in fancy—till the tenth moon shone; [done
EPODE I. o. I stood within the city disinterred:#; And heard the autumnal leaves like light footfalls Of spirits passing through the streets; and heard The Mountain's slumberous voice at intervals Thrill through those roofless halls; The oracular thunder penetrating shook The listening soul in my suspended blood ; I felt that Earth out of her deep heart spoke— I felt, but heard not :—through white columns The isle-sustaining Ocean flood, [glowed | A plane of light between two heavens of azure: Around me gleamed many a bright sepulchre Of whose pure beauty, Time, as if his pleasure Were to spare Death, had never made erasure; But every living lineament was clear As in the sculptor's thought; and there The wreaths of stony myrtle, ivy and pine, Like winter leaves o'ergrown by moulded snow, Seemed only not to move and grow Because the crystal silence of the air Weighed on their life; even as the Power divine, Which then lulled all things, brooded upon mine.
Epode II. a. Then gentle winds arose, With many a mingled close Of wild AEolian sound and mountain odour keen ; And where the Baian ocean Welters with air-like motion, Within, above, around its bowers of starry green, Moving the sea-flowers in those purple caves, Even as the ever stormless atmosphere Floats o'er the Elysian realm, It bore me like an Angel, o'er the waves | Of sunlight, whose swift pinnace of dewy air
• The Author has connected many recollections of his visit to Pompeii and Baiae with the enthusiasm excited by the intelligence of the proclamation of a Constitutional | Government at Naples. This has given a tinge of picturesque and descriptive imagery to the introductory Epodes, which depicture the scenes and some of the majestic feelings permanently connected with the scene of this animating event.—Author's Notc.
ANTiSTROPHE c. What though Cimmerian Anarchs dare blaspheme Freedom and thee ? thy shield is as a mirror To make their blind slaves see, and with fierce gleam To turn his hungry sword upon the wearer; A new Actaeon's error Shall theirs have been—devoured by their own Be thou like the imperial Basilisk, [hounds ! Killing thy foe with unapparent wounds ! Gaze on oppression, till at that dread risk Aghast she pass from the Earth's disk: Fear not, but gaze—for freemen mightier grow, And slaves more feeble, gazing on their foe. If Hope, and Truth, and Justice may avail, Thou shalt be great.—All hail
ANTISTRoPHE 8. 2. From Freedom's form divine, From Nature's inmost shrine,
• Homer and Virgil.
There streamed a sunlike vapour, like the standard
Didst thou not start to hear Spain's thrilling paean
Hear ye the march as of the Earth-born Forms
+ The viper was the armorial device of the Visconti, tyrants of Milan.