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Oh, latest-born and loveliest vision far

Of all Olympus' faded hierarchy!
Fairer than Phæbe's sapphire-region'd star,

Or Vesper, amorous glow-worm of the sky; Fairer than these, though temple thou hast none,

Nor altar heap'd with flowers ;
Nor virgin-choir to make delicious moan

Upon the midnight hours ;
No voice, no lute, no pipe, no incense sweet

From chain-swung censer teeming ;
No shrine, no grove, no oracle, no heat

Of pale-mouthed prophet dreaming.
Oh brightest! though too late for antique vows,

Too, too late for the fond believing lyre,
When holy were the haunted forest boughs,

Holy the air, the water, and the fire; Yet even in these days, so far retired

From happy pieties, thy lucent fans,

Fluttering among the faint Olympians,
I see and sing, by my own eyes inspired.
So let me be thy choir, and make a moan

Upon the midnight hours ;
Thy voice, thy lute, thy pipe, thy incense sweet

From swinged censer teeming ;
Thy shrine, thy grove, thy oracle, thy heat

Of pale-mouthed prophet dreaming
Yes, I will be thy priest, and build a fane

In some untrodden region of my mind, [pain, Where branched thoughts, new-grown with pleasant

Instead of pines, shall murmur in the wind : Far, far around shall these dark-cluster'd trees

Fledge the wild-ridged mountains steep by steep; And there by zephyrs, streams, and birds, and bees,

The moss-lain Dryads shall be lull’d to sleep;
And in the midst of this wide quietness
A rosy sanctuary will I dress

With the wreathed trellis of a working brain,

With buds, and bells, aird stars without a name, With all the gardener Fancy e'er could feign,

Who, breeding flowers, will never breed the same; And there shall be for thee all soft delight

That shadowy thought can win,
A bright to and a casement ope at night

To let the warm Love in !

FROM

PERCY BYSSHE SHELLEY. 1792–1822.

"ALASTOR, OR THE SPIRIT OF SOLITUDE." THERE was a poet whose untimely tomb No human hands with pious reverence rear'd, But the charm'd eddies of autumnal winds Built o'er his mouldering bones a pyramid Of mouldering leaves in the waste wilderness; A lovely youth! no mourning maiden deck'd With weeping flowers, or votive cypress wreath, The lone couch of his everlasting sleep: Gentle, and brave, and generous, no lorn bard Breathed o'er his dark fate one melodious sigh: He lived, he died, he sung in solitude. Strangers have wėpt to hear his passionate notes, And virgins, as unknown he passd, have sigh'd And wasted for fond love of his wild eyes. The fire of those soft orbs has ceased to burn, And Silence, too enamour'd of that voice, Locks its mute music in her rugged cell.

By solemn vision and bright silver dream His infancy was nurtured. Every sight And sound from the vast earth and ambient air Sent to his heart its choicest impulses. The fountains of divine philosophy Fled not his thirsting lips; and all of great, VOL. II.

!

Or good, or lovely, which the sacred past
In truth or fable consecrates, he felt
And knew. When early youth had pass'd, he left
His cold fireside and alienated home,
To seek strange truths in undiscover'd lands.
Many a wide waste and tangled wilderness
Has lured his fearless steps; and he has bought
With his sweet voice and eyes, from savage men,
His rest and food. Nature's most secret steps
He, like her shadow, has pursued, where'er
The red volcano overcanopies
Its fields of snow and pinnacles of ice
With burning smoke; or where bitumen lakes,
On black, bare-pointed islets ever beat
With sluggish surge; or where the secret caves,
Rugged and dark, winding among the springs
Of fire and poison, inaccessible
To avarice or pride, their starry domes
Of diamond and of gold expand above
Numberless and immeasurable halls,
Frequent with crystal column, and clear shrines
Of pearl, and thrones radiant with chrysolite.
Nor had that scene of ampler majesty
Than gems or gold, the varying roof of heaven
And the green earth, lost in his heart its claims
To love and wonder; he would linger long
In lonesome vales, making the wild his home,
Until the doves and squirrels would partake
From his innocuous hand his bloodless food,
Lured by the gentle ineaning of his looks,
And the wild antelope, that starts whene'er
The dry leaf rustles in the brake, suspend
Her timid steps, to gaze upon a form
More graceful than her own.

His wandering step,
Obedient to high thoughts, has visited
The awful ruins of the days of old :
Athens, and Tyre, and Balbec, and the waste

Where stood Jerusalem, the fallen towers
Of Babylon, the eternal pyramids,
Memphis and Thebes, and whatsoe'er of strange,
Sculptured on alabaster obelisk,
Or jasper tomb, or mutilated sphinx,
Dark Ethiopia on her desert hills
Conceals. Among the ruin'd temples there,
Stupendous columns, and wild images
Of more than man, where marble demons watch
The Zodiac's brazen mystery, and dead men
Hang their mute thoughts on the mute walls around,
He linger’d, poring on memorials
Of the world's youth, through the long, burning day
Gazed on those speechless shapes, nor, when the

moon

Fill’d the mysterious halls with floating shades,
Suspended he that task, but ever gazed
And gazed, till meaning on his vacant mind
Flash'd like strong inspiration, and he saw
The thrilling secrets of the birth of time.

Meantime an Arab maiden brought his food,
Her daily portion, from her father's tent,
And spread her matting for his couch, and stole
From duties and repose to tend his steps:
Enamour'd, yet not daring for deep awe
To speak her love: and watch'd his nightly sleep,
Sleepless herself, to gaze upon his lips,
Parted in slumber, whence the regular breath
Of innocent dreams arose : then, when red morn
Made paler the pale moon, to her cold home,
Wilder'd, and wan, and panting, she return'd.

When on the threshold of the green recess The wanderer's footsteps fell, he knew that death Was on him. Yet a little, ere it fled, Did he resign his high and holy soul To images of the majestic past, That paused within his passive being now,

Like winds that bear sweet music, when they

breathe Through some dim, latticed chamber. He did place His pale, lean hand upon the rugged trunk of the old pine. Upon an ivied stone Reclined his languid head; his limbs did rest,

Diffused and motionless, on the smooth brink Of that obscurest chasm ; and thus he lay, Surrendering to their final impulses The hovering powers of life. Hope and Despair, The torturers, slept : no mortal pain or fear Marr'd his repose; the influxes of sense, And his own being unalloy'd by pain, Yet feebler and more feeble, calmly fed The stream of thought, till he lay breathing there At peace, and faintly smiling : his last sight Was the great moon, which o'er the western line Of the wide world her mighty horn suspended, With whose dun beams inwoven darkness seem'd To mingle. Now upon the jagged hills It rests, and still, as the divided frame of the vast meteor sunk, the poet's blood, That ever beat in mystic sympathy With nature's ebb and flow, grew feebler still: And when two lessening points of light alone Gleam'd through the darkness, the alternate gasp Of his faint respiration scarce did stir The stagnate night : till the minutest ray Was quench'd, the pulse yet linger'd in his heart. It paused, it flutter'd. But when heaven remain'd Utterly black, the murky shades involved An image, silent, cold, and motionless, As their own voiceless earth and vacant air. Even as a vapour fed with golden beams That minister'd on sunlight, ere the west Eclipses it, was now that wondrous frameNo sense, no motion, no divinityA fragile lute, on whose harmonious strings The breath of heaven did wander-a bright stream

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