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XXXVII. Nothing they saw, but a low voice was

heard Threading the oninous silence of

that fear, Gentle and terrorless as if a bird, Wakened by some volcano's giare,

should cheer The murk air with his song; yet every

word Inthecathedral's farthest arch seemed

near, As if it spoke to every one apart, Like the clear voice of conscience in

each heart.

XL. "This little spirit with imploring, eyes Wanders alone the dreary wild of

space; The shadow of his pain forever lies Upon my soul in this new dwelling

place; His loneliness makes me in Paradise More lonely, and, unless I see his

face, Even here for grief could I lie down

and die, Save for my curse of immortality.

XLI. World after world he sees around him

swim Crowded with happy souls, that take Like a robbed bird that cries in vain to

no heed

bring Her nestlings back beneath herwings'

embrace ; But still he answers not, and I but know That Heaven and earth are both alike

in woe.”

Of the sad eyes that from the night's

faint rim Gaze sick with longing on them as

they speed With golden gates, that only shut out

him ; And shapes sometimes from Hell's

abysses freed Flap darkly by him, with enormous

sweep Of wings that roughen wide the pitchy deep.

XLII. “I am a mother, — spirits do not shake This much of earth from them,

and I must pine Till I can feel his little hands, and take His weary head upon this heart of

mine; And, might it be, full gladly for his

sake Would I this solitude of bliss resign, And be shut out of Heaven to dwell

with him Forever in that silence drear and dim.

XLV. Then the pale priests, with ceremony

due, Baptized the child within its dread

ful tomb Beneath that mother's heart, whose in

stinct true Star-like bad battled dowu the triple

gloom Of sorrow, love, and death : young

maidens, too, Strewed the pale corpse with many

a milkwhite bloom, And parted the bright hair, and on the

breast Crossed the unconscious hands in sign

of rest.

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gaunt loins

Of the North-star, hath shrunk into

his den, Scared by the blithesoine footsteps of

the Dawn, Whose blushing smile floods all the

Orient; And now bright Lucifer grows less and

less, Into the heaven's blue quiet deep-with

drawn. Sunless and starless all, the desert sky A hes above me, empty as this heart For ages hath been empty of all joy, Except to brood upon its silent hope, As o'er its hope of day the sky doth All night have I heard voices : deeper

yet The deep low breathing of the silence

grew, While all about, muffled in awe, there

stood Shadows, or forms, or both, clear-felt

at heart, But, when I turned to front them, far

along Only a shudder through the midnight

ran, And the dense stillness walled me

closer round. But still I heard them wander up and

down That solitude, and flappings of dusk

wings Did mingle with them, whether of

those hags Let slip upon me once from Hades deep, Or of yet direr torments, if such be, I could but guess; and then toward me

came A shape as of a woman: very pale It was, and calm ; its cold eyes did not

move, And mine moved not, but only stared

on them. Their fixed awe went through my brain

like ice ; A skeleton hand seemed clutching at

• my heart, And a sharp chill, as if a dank night

fog Suddenly closed me in, was all I felt : And then, methought, I heard a freez

ing sigh,

A long, deep, shivering sigh, as from

blue lips Stiffening in death, close to mine ear

I thought Some doom was close upon me, and I

looked And saw the red moon through the

heavy mist, Just setting, and it seemed as it wer.

falling, Or reeling to its fall, so dim and dead And palsy-struck it looked.

all sounds merged Into the rising surges of the pines, Which, leagues below me, clothing the Of ancient Caucasus with hairy strength, Sent up a murmur in the morning

wind, Sad as the wail that from the populous

earth All day and night to high Olympus

soars, Fit incense to thy wicked throne, O

Thy hated name is tossed once more

in scorn From off my lips, for I will tell thy

doom. And are these tears? Nay, do not tri

umph, Jove! They are wrung from me but by the

agonies Of prophecy, like those sparse drops

which fall From clouds in travail of the lightning,

when The great wave of the storm high

curled and black Rolls steadily onward to its thunderous

break. Why art thou made a god of, thou poor

type Of anger, and revenge, and cunning

force ? True Power was never born of brutish

Streng:h, Nor sweet Truth suckled at the shaggy

dugs Of that old she-wolf. Are thy thunder

bolts, That quell the darkness for a space, so


of peace,


no more :

As the prevailing patience of meek

Light, Who, with the invincible tenderness Wins it to be a portion of herself? Why art thou made a god of, thou, who

hast The never-sleeping terror at thy heart, That birthright of all tyrants, worse to

bear Than this thy ravening bird on which

I smile? Thou swear'st to free me, if I will un

fold What kind of doom it is whose omen

flits Across thy heart, as o'er a troop of

doves The fearful shadow of the kite. What

need To know that truth whose knowledge

cannot save? Evil its errand hath, as well as Good; When thine is finished, thou art known There is a higher purity than thou, And higher purity is greater strength; Thy nature is thy doom, at which thy

heart Trembles behind the thick wall of thy

might. Let man but hope, and thou art straightWith thought of that drear silence and

deep night Which, like a dream, shall swallow thee

and thine : Let man but will, and thou art god no

more, More capable of ruin than the gold And ivory that image thee on earth. Ile who hurled down the monstrous

Titan-brood Blinded with lightnings, with rough

thunders stunned, Is weaker than a simple human thought. My slender voice can shake thee, as the

breeze, That seems but apt to stir a maiden's

hair, Sways huge Oceanus from pole to pole : For I am still Prometheus, and fore

know In my wise heart the end and doomof all.

Yes, I am still Prometheus, wiser

grown By years of solitude, that holds apart The past and future, giving the soul To search into itself, — and long com

mune With this eternal silence ; - more a

god, In my long-suffering and strength to

meet With equal front the direst shafts of

fate, Than thou in thy faint-hearted despot

ism, Girt with thy baby-toys of force and

wrath. Yes, I am that Prometheus who brought

down The light to man, which thou, in selfish

fear, Hadst to thyself usurped, - his by sole

right, For Man hath right to all save Tyr

anny, And which shall free him yet from thy

frail throne. Tyrants are but the spawn of Igno

rance, Begotten by the slaves they trample on, Who, could they win a glimmer of the

light, And see that Tyranny is always weak

ness, Or Fear with its own bosom ill at ease, Would laugh away in scorn the sand

wove chain Which their own blindness feigned for

adamant. Wrong ever builds on quicksands, but

the Right To the firm centre lays its moveless

base. The tyrant trembles, if the air but stirs The innocent ringlets of a child's free

hair, And crouches, when the thought of

some great spirit, With world-wide murmur, like a rising

gale, Over men's hearts, as over standing

corn, Rushes, and bends them to its own

way chilled

strong will.


So shall some thought of mine yet cir.

cle earth, And puff away thy crumbling altars,

Jove! And, wouldst thou know of my su

preme revenge, Poor tyrant, even now dethroned in

heart, Realmless in soul, as tyrants ever are, Listen ! and tell me if this bitter peak, This never-glutted vulture, and these

chains Shrink not before it ; for it shall befit A sorrow-taught, unconquered Titan

heart. Men, when their death is on them, seem

to stand On a precipitous crag that overhangs The abyss of doom, and in that depth

to see, As in a glass, the features dim and vast Of things to come, the shadows, as it

seems, Of what have been. Death ever fronts

the wise ; Not fearfully, but with clear promises Of larger life, on whose broad vans up

borne, Their outlook widens, and they see

beyond The horizon of the Present and the Past, Even to the very source and end of

things. Sucham I now: immortalwoe hath made My heart a seer, and my soul a judge Between the substance and the shadow

of Truth. The sure supremeness of the Beautiful, By all the martyrdoms made doubly

sure Of such as I am, this is my revenge, Which of my wrongs builds a trium

phal arch, Through which I see a sceptre and a

throne. The pipings of glad shepherds on the

hills, Tending the flocks no more to bleed for

thee, The songs of maidens pressing with

white feet The vintage on thine altars poured no

The murmurous bliss of lovers, under

neath Dim grapevine bowers, whose rosy

bunches press Not half so closely their warm cheeks,

unpaled By thoughts of thy brute lust,

- the hive-like hum Of peaceful commonwealths, where

sunburnt Toil Reaps for itself the rich earth made its By its own labor, lightened with glad

hymns To an omnipotence which thy mad bolts Would cope with as a spark with the

vast sea, Even the spirit of free love and peace, Duty's sure recompense through life

and death, These are such harvests as all master

spirits Reap, haply not on earth, but reapno less Because ihe sheaves are bound by hands

not theirs ; These are the bloodless daggers where

withal They stab fallen tyrants, this their high

revenge : For their best part of lifeon earth is when, Long after death, prisoned and pent no

more, Their thoughts, their wild dreams even,

have become Part of the necessary air men breathe : When, like the moon, herself behind a

cloud, They shed down light before us on life's

sea, That cheers us to steer onward still in

hope. Earth with her twining memories ivios

o'er Their holy sepulchres; the chainless

sea, In tempest or wide calm, repeats thei:

thoughts ; The lightning and the thunder, all free

things, Have legends of them for theears ofmen. All other glories are as falling stars, But universal Nature watches theirs : Such strength is won by love of human



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