Oldalképek
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Are but a slime, a thin-pervading scum,

The which I breathe away, and thronging come

Like things of yesterday my youthful pleasures.

"I touch'd no lute, I sang not, trod no measures: I was a lonely youth on desert shores. My sports were lonely, 'mid continuous roars, And craggy isles, and seamews' plaintive cry Plaining discrepant between sea and sky. Dolphins were still my playmates; shapes unseen Would let me feel their scales of gold and green, Nor be my desolation ; and, full oft, When a dread waterspout had rear'd aloft Its hungry hugeness, seeming ready ripe To burst with hoarsest thunderings, and wipe My life away like a vast sponge of fate, Some friendly monster, pitying my sad state, Has dived to its foundations, gulf d it down, And left me tossing safely. But the crown Of all my life was utmost quietude: More did I love to lie in cavern rude, Keeping in wait whole days for Neptune's voice, And if it came at last, hark, and rejoice! There blush'd no summer eve but I would steer My skiff along green shelving coasts, to hear The shepherd's pipe come clear from aery steep, Mingled with ceaseless bleatings of his sheep: And never was a day of summer shine, But I beheld its birth upon the brine: For I would watch all night to see unfold Heaven's gates, and ^Ethon snort his morning gold Wide o'er the swelling streams: and constantly At brim of day-tide, on some grassy lea, My nets would be spread out, and I at rest. The poor folk of the sea-country I blest With daily boon of fish most delicate: They knew not whence this bounty, and elate Would strew sweet flowers on a sterile beach.

"Why was I not contented? Wherefore reach At things which, but for thee, O Latmian! Had been my dreary death! Fool ! I began To feel distemper'd longings: to desire The utmost privilege that ocean's sire

Could grant in benediction : to be free

Of all his kingdom. Long in misery

I wasted, ere in one extremest fit

I plunged for life or death. To interknit

One's senses with so dense a breathing stuff

Might seem a work of pain; so not enough

Can I admire how crystal-smooth it felt,

And buoyant round my limbs. At first I dwelt

Whole days and days in sheer astonishment;

Forgetful utterly of self-intent;

Moving but with the mighty ebb and flow.

Then, like a new-fledged bird that first doth show

His spreaded feathers to the morrow chill,

I tried in fear the pinions of my will.

'T was freedom! and at once I visited

The ceaseless wonders of this ocean-bed.

No need to tell thee of them, for I see

That thou hast been a witness—it must be

For these I know thou canst not feel a drouth,

By the melancholy corners of that mouth.

So I will in my story straightway pass

To more immediate matter. Woe, alas!

That love should be my bane! Ah, Scylla fair!

Why did poor Glaucus ever—ever dare

To sue thee to his heart? Kind stranger-youth!

I loved her to the very white of truth,

And she would not conceive it. Timid thing!

She fled me swift as sea-bird on the wing,

Round every isle, and point, and promontory,

From where large Hercules wound up his story

Far as Egyptian Nile. My passion grew

The more, the more I saw her dainty hue

Gleam delicately through the azure clear:

Until 'twas too fierce agony to bear;

And in that agony, across my grief

It flash'd, that Circe might find some relief—

Cruel enchantress! So above the water

I reared my head,and look'd for Phoebus' daughter.

jEsea's isle was wondering at the moon :—

It seem'd to whirl around me, and a swoon

Left me dead-drifting to that fatal power.

"When I awoke, 'twas in a twilight bower; Just when the light of morn, with hum of bees, Stole through its verdurous matting of fresh trees.

How sweet, and sweeter ! for I heard a lyre,
And over it a sighing voice expire.
It ceased—I caught light footsteps ; and anon
The fairest face that morn e'er look'd upon
Push'd through a screen of roses. Starry Jove!
With tears, and smiles, and honey-words she wove
A net whose thraldom was more bliss than all
The range of flower'd Elysium. Thus did fall
The dew of her rich speech : 'Ah ! art awake?

O let me hear thee speak, for Cupid's sake!

I am so oppress'd with joy! Why, I have shed
An urn of tears, as though thou wert cold dead;
And now I find thee living, I will pour

From these devoted eyes their silver store,
Until exhausted of the latest drop,
So it will pleasure thee, and force thee stop
Here, that I too may live: but if beyond
Such cool and sorrowful offerings, thou art fond
Of soothing warmth, of dalliance supreme;
If thou art ripe to taste a long love-dream;
If smiles, if dimples, tongues for ardour mute,
Hang in thy vision like a tempting fruit,

O let me pluck it for thee.' Thus she link'd
Her charming syllables, till indistinct
Their music came to my o'er-sweeten'd soul;
And then she hover'd over me, and stole

So near, that if no nearer it had been
This furrow'd visage thou hadst never seen.

"Young man of Latmos! thus particular
Am I, that thou may'st plainly see how far
This fierce temptation went: and thou may'st not
Exclaim, How, then, was Scylla quite forgot?

"Who could resist? Who in this universe?
She did so breathe ambrosia ; so immerse
My fine existence in a golden clime.
She took me like a child of suckling time,
And cradled me in roses. Thus condemn'd,
The current of my former life was stemm'd,
And to this arbitrary queen of sense

I bow'd a tranced vassal: nor would thence

Have moved, even though Amphion's heart had woo'd Me back to Scylla o'er the billows rude.

For as Apollo each eve doth devise
A new apparelling for western skies;
So every eve, nay every spendthrift hour
Shed balmy consciousness within that bower.
And I was free of haunts umbrageous;
Could wander in the mazy forest-house
Of squirrels, foxes shy, and antler'd deer,
And birds from coverts innermost and drear
Warbling for very joy mellifluous sorrow—
To me new-born delights!

"Now let me borrow
For moments few, a temperament as stern
As Pluto's sceptre, that my words not burn
These uttering lips, while I in calm speech tell
How specious heaven was changed to real hell.

"One morn she left me sleeping: half awake
I sought for her smooth arms and lips, to slake
My greedy thirst with nectarous camel-draughts;
But she was gone. Whereat the barbed shafts
Of disappointment stuck in me so sore,
That out I ran and search'd the forest o'er.
Wandering about in pine and cedar gloom
Damp awe assail'd me, for there 'gan to boom
A sound of moan, an agony of sound,
Sepulchral from the distance all around.
Then came a conquering earth-thunder, and rumbled
That fierce complain to silence: while I stumbled
Down a precipitous path, as if impell'd.
I came to B dark valley.—G mailings swell'd
Poisonous about my ears, and louder grew,
The nearer I approached a flame's gaunt blue,
That glared before me through a thorny brake.
This fire, like the eye of gordian snake,
Bewitch'd me towards ; and I soon was near
A sight too fearful for the feel of fear:
In thicket hid I cursed the haggard scene—
The banquet of my arms, my arbour queen,
Seated upon an uptorn forest root;
And all around her shapes, wizard and brute,
Laughing, and wailing, grovelling, serpentine,
Showing tooth, tusk, and venom-bag, and sting!

O such deformities! Old Charon's self,
Should he give up awhile his penny pelf,
And take a dream 'mong rushes StygianJ

It could not be so phantasied. Fierce, wan,

And tyrannising was the lady's look,

As over them a gnarled staff she shook.

Oft-times upon the sudden she laugh'd out,

And from a basket emptied to the rout

Clusters of grapes, the which they raven'd quick

And roar'd for more ; with many a hungry lick

About their shaggy jaws. Avenging, slow,

Anon she took a branch of mistletoe,

And emptied on't a black dull-gurgling phial:

Groan'd one and all, as if some piercing trial

Was sharpening for their pitiable bones.

She lifted up the charm: appealing groans

From their poor breasts went suing to her ear

In vain; remorseless as an infant's bier

She whisk'd against their eyes the sooty oil.

Whereat was heard a noise of painful toil,

Increasing gradual to a tempest rage,

Shrieks, yells, and groans of torture-pilgrimage;

Until their grieved bodies 'gan to bloat

And puff from the tail's end to stifled throat:

Then was appalling silence : then a sight

More wildering than all that hoarse affright;

For the whole herd, as by a whirlwind writhen,

Went through the dismal air like one huge Python

Antagonising Boreas,—and so vanish'd.

Yet there was not a breath of wind : she banish'd

These phantoms with a nod. Lo ! from the dark

Came waggish fauns, and nymphs, and satyrs stark,

With dancing and loud revelry,—and went

Swifter than centaurs after rapine bent.—

Sighing an elephant appear'd and bow'd

Before the fierce witch, speaking thus aloud

In human accent: 'Potent goddess! chief

Of pains resistless ! make my being brief,

Or let me from this heavy prison fly:

Or give me to the air, or let me die!

I sue not for my happy crown again;

I sue not for my phalanx on the plain;
I sue not for my lone, my widow'd wife:
I sue not for my ruddy drops of life,

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