« PoprzedniaDalej »
So thy worn form pursues me night and day,
Smiling reproach. Wise art thou, firm and good,
But vainly wouldst stand forth alone in strife
Against the Omnipotent; as yon clear lamps
That measure and divide the weary years
From which there is no refuge, long have taught,
And long must teach. Even now thy Torturer
With the strange might of unimagined pains
The powers who scheme slow agonies in Hell,
And my commission is to lead them here,
Or what more subtle, foul or savage fiends
People the abyss, and leave them to their task.
Be it not so ! there is a secret known 'Tis Jove's world-wandering herald, Mercury.
To thee, and to none else of living things,
Which may transfer the sceptre of wide Heaven,
The fear of which perplexes the Supreme ;
Clothe it in words, and bid it clasp his throne
In intercession ; bend thy soul in prayer,
And like a suppliant in some gorgeous fane,
Let the will kneel within thy haughty heart :
For benefits and meek submission tame
The fiercest and the mightiest.
Change good to their own nature. I gave all
He has; and in return he chains me here
Years, ages, night and day ; whether the Sun
Split my parched skin, or in the moony night On new pangs to be fed ?
The crystal-winged snow cling round my hair:
Whilst my beloved race is trampled down
By his thought-executing ministers.
Such is the tyrant's recompense : 'tis just :
He who is evil can receive no good ;
And for a world bestowed, or a friend lost,
He can feel hate, fear, shame ; not gratitude :
He but requites me for his own misdeed.
With bitter stings the light sleep of Revenge.
Submission, thou dost know I cannot try; The hope of torturing him smells like a heap For what submission but that fatal word, Of corpses, to a death-bird after battle.
The death-seal of mankind's captivity,
Like the Sicilian's hair-suspended sword,
Which trembles o'er his crown, would he accept, Darest thou delay, O Herald ! take cheer, Hounds
Or could I yield ? Which yet I will not yield.
Let others flatter Crime, where it sits 'throned
For Justice, when triumphant, will weep down
Pity, not punishment, on her own wrongs,
Enduring thus, the retributive hour
Oh, that we might be spared : I to inflict,
And thou to suffer ! once more answer me :
Oh, mercy! mercy! Thou knowest not the period of Jove's power ?
I know but this, that it must come.
Perchance no thought can count them, yet they pass. Can aught exult in its deformity ?
I must obey his words and thine : alas !
SECOND FURY. Most heavily remorse hangs at my heart !
We will but laugh into thy lidless eyes?
Being evil. Cruel was the power which called
You, or aught else so wretched, into light.
Like animal life, and though we can obscure not
Beside it, like a vain loud multitude
That we will be dread thought beneath thy brain, Immortal Titan!
And foul desire round thine astonished heart,
And blood within thy labyrinthine veins
Why, ye are thus now;
Yet am I king over myself, and rule
From the ends of the earth, from the ends of the
earth, And laugh and stare in loathsome sympathy.
Where the night has its grave and the morning its
birth, We are the ministers of pain and fear,
Come, come, come! And disappointment, and mistrust, and hate, Oh, ye who shake hills with the scream of your mirth, And clinging crime; and as lean dogs pursue (fawn, When cities sink howling in ruin; and ye Through wood and lake some struck and sobbing Who with wingless footsteps trample the sea, We track all things that weep, and bleed, and live, And close upon Shipwreck and Famine’s track, When the great King betrays them to our will. Sit chattering with joy on the foodless wreck;
CHORUS OF FURIES.
Come, come, come!
His words outlived him, like swift poison Leave the bed, low, cold, and red,
Withering up truth, peace, and pity. Strewed beneath a nation dead;
Look! where round the wide horizon
Many a million-peopled city
Vomits smoke in the bright air.
Mark that outcry of despair !
'Tis his mild and gentle ghost Leave the self-contempt implanted
Wailing for the faith he kindled :
Look again! the flames almost
To a glow-worm's lamp have dwindled : Leave Hell's secrets half unchanted
The survivors round the embers
Gather in dread.
Joy, joy, joy!
Past ages crowd on thee, but each one remembers;
And the future is dark, and the present is spread We are steaming up from Hell's wide gate, Like a pillow of thorns for thy slumberless head.
And we burthen the blasts of the atmosphere,
From his white and quivering brow.
Grant a little respite now :
See a disenchanted nation
Springs like day from desolation ;
To truth its state is dedicate, Even as the tremulous air: their shadows make
And Freedom leads it forth, her mate; The space within my plumes more black than night.
A legioned band of linked brothers,
Whom Love calls children Your call was as a winged car,
SEMICHORUS II. Driven on whirlwinds fast and far;
"Tis another's It rapt us from red gulfs of war.
See how kindred murder kin!
'Tis the vintage time for death and sin. From wide cities, famine-wasted;
Blood, like new wine, bubbles within :
Till Despair smothers
The struggling world, which slaves and tyrants win. Groans half heard, and blood untasted;
[All the Furies vanish, except one. FOURTH FURY. Kingly conclaves, stern and cold,
Hark, sister! what a low yet dreadful groan Where blood with gold is bought and sold; Quite unsuppressed is tearing up the heart
Of the good Titan, as storms tear the deep,
And beasts hear the sea moan in inland caves. From the furnace, white and hot,
Darest thou observe how the fiends torture him?
Alas! I looked forth twice, but will no more. I know all that ye would tell,
IONE. But to speak might break the spell
What didst thou see?
The stern of thought;
A woful sight: a youth
With patient looks nailed to a crucifix.
The heaven around, the earth below
Was peopled with thick shapes of human death The pale stars of the morn All horrible, and wrought by human hands, Shine on a misery, dire to be borne.
And some appeared the work of human hearts. Dost thou faint, mighty Titan! We laugh thee to
For men were slowly killed by frowns and smiles :
And other sights too foul to speak and live Dost thou boast the clear knowledge thou waken’dst Were wandering by. Let us not tempt worse fear for man!
By looking forth: those groans are grief enough. Then was kindled within him a thirst which outran Those perishing waters; a thirst of fierce fever, Hope, love, doubt, desire, which consume him for Behold an emblem : those who do endure
Deep wrongs for man, and scorn, and chains, but One came forth of gentle worth,
heap Smiling on the sanguine earth:
Thousandfold torment on themselves and him.
The nations thronged around, and cried aloud, Remit the anguish of that lighted stare;
As with one voice, Truth, liberty, and love! Close those wan lips: let that thorn-wounded brow Suddenly fierce confusion fell from heaven Stream not with blood; it mingles with thy tears !
Among them: there was strife, deceit, and fear : Fix, fix those tortured orbs in peace and death,
Tyrants rushed in, and did divide the spoil.
This was the shadow of the truth I saw.
THE EARTH. 0, horrible! Thy name I will not speak,
I felt thy torture, son, with such mixed joy It hath become a curse. I see, I see
As pain and virtue give. To cheer thy state The wise, the mild, the lofty, and the just,
I bid ascend those subtle and fair spirits, Whom thy slaves hate for being like to thee, Whose homes are the dim caves of human thought, Some hunted by foul lies from their heart's home, And who inhabit, as birds wing the wind, An early-chosen, late-lamented home,
Its world-surrounding ether: they behold As hooded ounces cling to the driven hind; Beyond that twilight realm, as in a glass, Some linked to corpses in unwholesome cells :
The future: may they speak comfort to thee! Some-Hear I not the multitude laugh loud ?Impaled in lingering fire : and mighty realms Float by my feet, like sea-uprooted isles,
Look, sister, where a troop of spirits gather, Whose sons are kneaded down in common blood
Like flocks of clouds in spring's delightful weather, By the red light of their own burning homes.
Thronging in the blue air !
And see! more come,
Like fountain-vapours when the winds are dumb,
And hark! is it the music of the pines ?
Is it the lake? Is it the waterfall !
'Tis something sadder, sweeter far than all. All that they would disdain to think were true:
CHORUS OF SPIRITS. Hypocrisy and custom make their minds
From unremembered ages we The fanes of many a worship, now outworn.
Gentle guides and guardians be
Of heaven-oppressed mortality!
Be it bright as all between
Cloudless skies and windless streams,
Silent, liquid, and serene;
As the fish within the wave,
As the thoughts of man's own mind
Float through all above the grave:
We make there our liquid lair,
Voyaging cloudlike and unpent
Thence we bear the prophecy
Which begins and ends in thee!
More yet come, one by one: the air around them Thou subtle tyrant! Peace is in the grave.
Looks radiant as the air around a star.
On a battle-trumpet's blast
'Mid the darkness upward cast. The sights with which thou torturest gird my soul From the dust of creeds outworn, With new endurance, till the hour arrives
From the tyrant's banner torn, When they shall be no types of things which are. Gathering round me, onward borne,
There was mingled
many a cryPANTHEA.
Freedom! Hope! Death! Victory !
Till they faded through the sky ;
And one sound above, around,
One sound beneath, around, above,
Was moving ; 'twas the soul of love ;
Which begins and ends in thee.
SECOND SPIRIT. A rainbow's arch stood on the sea, Which rocked beneath, immoveably ; And the triumphant storm did flee, Like a conqueror, swift and proud, Between with many a captive cloud A shapeless, dark and rapid crowd, Each by lightning riven in half : I heard the thunder hoarsely laugh : Mighty fleets were strewn like chaff And spread beneath a hell of death O'er the white waters. I alit On a great ship lightning-split, And speeded hither on the sigh Of one who gave an enemy His plank, then plunged aside to die.
As over wide dominions I sped, like some swift cloud that wings the wide
air's wildernesses, That planet-crested shape swept by on lightning
braided pinions, Scattering the liquid joy of life from his ambrosial
tresses: His footsteps paved the world with light; but as I
past 'twas fading, And hollow Ruin yawned behind: great sages bound
in madness, And headless patriots, and pale youths who perished,
unupbraiding, Gleamed in the night. I wandered o'er, till thou,
0 King of sadness, Turned by thy smile the worst I saw to recollected
THIRD SPIRIT. I sate beside a ge's bed, And the lamp was burning red Near the book where he had fed, When a Dream with plumes of flame, To his pillow hovering came, And I knew it was the same Which had kindled long ago Pity, eloquence, and woe; And the world awhile below Wore the shade its lustre inade. It has borne me here as fleet As Desire's lightning feet : I must ride it back ere morrow, Or the sage will wake in sorrow.
Ah, sister ! Desolation is a delicate thing :
wing The tender hopes which in their hearts the best
and gentlest bear; Who, soothed to false repose by the fanning plumes
above, And the music-stirring motion of its soft and
busy feet, Dream visions of aërial joy, and call the monster,
Love, And wake, and find the shadow Pain, as he whom
now we greet.
FOURTH SPIRIT. On a poet's lips I slept Dreaming like a love-adept In the sound his breathing kept ; Nor seeks nor finds he mortal blisses, But feeds on the aërial kisses Of shapes that haunt thought's wildernesses. He will watch from dawn to gloom The lake-reflected sup illume The yellow bees in the ivy-bloom, Nor heed nor see, what things they be ; But from these create he can Forms more real than living man, Nurslings of immortality! One of these awakened me, And I sped to succour thee.
Though Ruin now Love's shadow be,
On death's white and winged steed,
Trampling down both flower and weed, Man and beast, and foul and fair, Like a tempest through the air; Thou shalt quell this horseman grim, Woundless though in heart or limb.
Behold'st thou not two shapes from the east and
west Come as two doves to one beloved nest, Twin nurslings of the all-sustaining air On swift still wings glide down the atmosphere ? And, hark! their sweet sad voices ! 'tis despair Mingled with love and then dissolved in sound.
Spirits ! how know ye this shall be ?
From spring gathering up beneath,
Canst thou speak, sister? all my words are drowned.
Where are the Spirits fled?