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Oh, latest-born and loveliest vision far
Of all Olympus' faded hierarchy!
Or Vesper, amorous glow-worm of the sky; Fairer than these, though temple thou hast none,
Nor altar heap'd with flowers ;
Upon the midnight hours ;
From chain-swung censer teeming ;
Of pale-mouthed prophet dreaming.
Too, too late for the fond believing lyre,
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,
Upon the midnight hours ;
From swinged censer teeming ;
Of pale-mouthed prophet dreaming
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;
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,
To let the warm Love in !
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
His wandering step,
Where stood Jerusalem, the fallen towers
Fill’d the mysterious halls with floating shades,
Meantime an Arab maiden brought his food,
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