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That not of life or earth they seem'd,
But shadows from some world unknown More oft, however, 'twas the thought
How soon that scene, with all its play
Of life and gladness, must decayThose lips I prossid, the hands I caughtMyself—the crowd that mirth had brought
Around me-swept like weeds away:
To make earth's meanest slave regret
Leaving a world so soft and bright.
Mong stars that came out one by one,
Among her living jewels—shone. “Oh that from yonder orbs,” I thought,
“ Pure and eternal as they are, “ There could to earth some power be brought, “Some charm, vith their own essence fraught.
“ To make man deathless as a star; “And open to his vast desires
“A course, as boundless and sublime “ As that which waits those comet-fires,
“ That burn and roam throughout all time !"
This thought it was that came to shed
O'er rapture's hour its worst alloys; And, close as shade with sunshine, wed
Its sadness with my happiest joys. Oh, but for this disheart'ning voice,
Stealing amid our mirth to say That all, in which we most rejoice,
Ere night may be the earth-worm's prey ; But for this bitter-only this Full as the world is brimm'd with bliss, And capable as feels my soul Of draining to its dregs the whole, I should turn earth to heav'n, and be, If bliss made Gods, a Deity!
Thou know'st that night—the very last
When he set Pleasure on the throne
In human hearts, was felt and knownNot in unreal dreams, but true Substantial joy as pulse e'er knew By hearts and bosoms, that each felt Itself the realm where Pleasure dwelt.
While thoughts like these absorbid my rud,
That weariness which earthly bliss, However sweet, still leaves behind,
As if to show how earthly 'tis, Came lulling o'er me, and I laid
My limbs at that fair statue's paseThat miracle, which Art hath made
Of all the choice of Nature's graceTo which so oft I've knelt and sworn,
That, could a living maid like her Unto this wondering world be born,
I would, myself, turn worshipper.
Sleep came then o'er me and I seem'd
To be transported far away
One single, melancholy ray,
From a small taper in the hand Of one, who, pale as are the dead,
Before me took his spectral stand, And said, while, awfully, a smile
Came o'er the wanness of his cheek“Go, and beside the sacred Nile
“ You'll find th' Eternal Lifo you seek.”
That night, when all our mirth was o'er,
The minstrels silent, and the feet Of the young maidens heard no more
So stilly was the time, so sweet, And such a calm came o'er that scene, Where life and revel late had beenLone as the quiet of some bay, From which the sea hath ebb’d awayThat still I linger’d, lost in thought,
Gazing upon the stars of night, Sad and intent, as if I sought
Some mournful secret in their light; And ask'd them, 'mid that silence, why Man, glorious man, alone must die, While they, less wonderful than he, Shine on through all eternity.
Soon as he spoke these words, the hue
Even to the far horizon's line
Gardens and groves, that seem'd to shine, As if then o'er them freshly play'd A vernal rainbow's rich cascade ;
That night—thou haply may'st forget
Its loveliness—but 'twas a night
And music floated everywhere,
Of Fate itself, urged me away
From Athens to this Holy Land; Where, 'mong the secrets, still untaught,
The myst'ries that, as yet, nor sun Nor eye hath reach'doh, blessed thought!
May sleep this everlasting one.
Such was my dream ;-and, I confess,
Though none of all our creedless School E’er conn'd, believed, or reverenced less
The fables of the priest-led fool,
Of Gods are on him-as if, blest
To let weak man disturb their rest! Though thinking of such creeds as thou
And all our Garden sages think,
a sort of link With worlds unseen, which, from the hour
I first could lisp my thoughts till now, Hath master'd me with spell-like power.
Farewell-when to our Garden friends
Or, howsoe'er they now condemn
Is worthy of the School and them ;Still, all their own-nor o'er forgets,
Ev'n while his heart and soul pursue Th’ Eternal Light which never sets,
The many meteor joys that do, But seeks them, hails them with delight, Where'er they meet his longing sight. And, if his life must wane away, Like other lives, at least the day, The hour it lasts shall, like a fire With incense fed, in sweets expire.
FROM THE SAME TO THE SAME.
And who can tell, as we're combined
And brightest atoms of our frame,
Those most akin to stellar flame, That shine out thus, when we're at rest ; Ev'n as the stars themselves, whose light, Comes out but in the silent night. Or is it that there lurks, indeed, Some truth in Man's prevailing creed, And that our Guardians, from on high,
Come, in that pause from toil and sin, To put the senses' curtain by,
And on the wakeful soul look in!
Memplis. 'Tis true, alas-the myst'ries and the loro I came to study on this wondrous shore, Are all forgotten in the new delights, The strange, wild joys that fill my days and nights. Instead of dark, dull oracles that speak From subterranean temples, those I seek Come from the breathing shrines where Beauty
lives, And Love, her priest, the sost responses gives Instead of honoring Isis in those rites At Coptos held, I hail her, when she lights Her first young crescent on the holy streamWhen wandering youths and maidens watch her
beam, And number o'er the nights she hath to run, Ere she again embrace her bridegroom sun. While o'er some mystic leaf, that dimly lends A clue into past times, the student bends, And by its glimmering guidance learns to tread Back through the shadowy knowledge of the deadThe only skill, alas, I yet can claim Lios in deciphering somo new loved-one's nameSome gentle missive, hinting time and place, In language, soft as Memphian reed can trace.
Vain thought:--but yet, howe'er it be,
The words that phantom seem'd to speak“ Go, and beside the sacred Nile
“ You'll find the Eternal Life you seek—" That, haunting me by night, by day,
At length, as with the unseen hand
And where-oh where's the heart that could with Is play'd in the cool current by a train stand
Of laughing nymphs, lovely as she,' whose chain Th' unnumber'd witcheries of this sun-born land, Around two conquerors of the world was cast, Where first young Pleasure's banner was unfurid, But, for a third too seeble, broke at last. And Love hath temples ancient as the world ! Where mystery, like the veil by Beauty worn,
For oh, believe not them, who dare to brand, Hides but to win, and shades but to adorn;
As poor in charms, the women of this land. Where that luxurious melancholy, born
Though darken'd by that sun, whose spirit flexs Of passion and of genius, sheds a gloom
Thi "ugh every vein, and tinges as it goos, Making joy holy ;-where the bower and tomb "T'is but th' embrowning of the fruit that tells Stand side by side, and Pleasure learns from Death How rich within the soul of ripeness dwells The instant value of each moment's breath.
The hue their own dark sanctuaries wear,
Announcing heaven in half-caught glimpses there. Couldst thou but see how like a poet's dream And never yet did tell-tale looks set free This lovely land now looks!-the glorious stream, The secret of young hearts more tenderly. That late, between its banks, was seen to glide Such eyes !-long, shadowy, with that languid fall 'Mong shrines and marble cities, on each side Of the fringed lids, which may be seen in all Glitt'ring like jewels strung along a chain,
Who live beneath the sun's too ardent rays Hath now sent forth its waters, and o'er plain Lending such looks as, on their marriage days, And valley, like a giant from his bed
Young maids cast down before a bridegroom's gaze! Rising with outstretch'd limbs, hath grandly spread; Then for their grace-mark but the nymph.like While far as sight can reach, beneath as clear
shapes And blue a heaven as ever bless'd our sphere, Of the young village girls, when carrying grapes Gardens, and pillar'd streets, and porphyry domes, From green Anthylla, or light urns of flowers And high-built temples, fit to be the homes
Not our own Sculpture, in her happiest hours, Of mighty Gods, and pyramids, whose hour E’er imaged forth, even at the touch of him* Outlasts all time, above the waters tower !
Whose touch was life, more luxury of limb;
Then, canst thou wonder if, 'mid scenes like these, Then, too, the scenes of pomp and joy, that make I should forget all graver mysteries, One theatre of this vast, peopled lake,
All lore but Love's, all secrets but that best Where all that Love, Religion, Commerce gives In heaven or earth, the art of being blest ! Of life and motion, ever moves and lives.
Yet are there times—though brief, I own, their Here, up the steps of temples from the wave
stay, Ascending, in procession slow and grave,
Like Summer clouds that shine themselves away Priests in white garments go, with sacred wands Moments of gloom, when even these pleasures pall And silver cymbals gleaming in their hands ; Upon my sadd’ning heart, and I recall While there, rich barks-fresh from those sunny
That Garden dream—that promise of a powertracts
Oh, were there such !-to lengthen out life's hour, Far off, beyond the sounding cataracts
On, on, as through a vista, far away Glide, with their precious lading to the sea,
Opening before us into endless day! Plumes of bright birds, rhinoceros ivory,
And chiefly o'er my spirit did this thought Gems from the Isle of Meroe, and those grains Come on that evening-bright as ever brought Of gold, wash'd down by Abyssinian rains. Light's golden farewell to the world—when first Here, where the waters wind into a bay
Th' eternal pyramids of Memphis burst Shadowy and cool, some pilgrims, on their way Awfully on my sight-standing sublime To Sais or Bubastus, among beds
"Twixt earth and heaven, the watch-towers of Time, Of lotus flowers, that close above their heads, From whose lone summit, when his reign hath pass'd Push their light barks, and there, as in a bowe:, From earth forever, he will look his last ! Sing, talk, or sleep away the sultry hour ; Oft dipping in the Nile, when faint with heat, There hung a calm and solemn sunshine round That leaf, from which its waters drink most sweet. Those mighty monuments, a hushing sound While haply, not far off, beneath a bank
In the still air that circled them, which stole Of blossoming acacias, many a prank
Like music of past times into my soul.
I thought what myriads of the wise, and brave, Then do these spirit whisperings, like the sound And beautiful, had sunk into the grave,
Of the Dark Future, come appalling round; Since earth first saw these wonders—and I said, Nor can I break the trance that holds me then, “ Are things eternal only for the Dead ?
Till high o'er Pleasure's surge I mount again! “ Hath man no loftier hope than this, which dooms “ His only lasting trophies to be tombs?
Even now for new adventure, new delight, “ But 'tis not somearth, heaven, all nature shows My heart is on the wing ;-this very night, “ He may become immortal-may unclose The Temple on that Island, half-way o'er “ The wings within him wrapt, and proudly rise, From Memphis' gardens to the eastern shore, “Redeem'd from earth, a creature of the skies ! Sends up its annual rite to her, whose beams
Bring the sweet time of night-flowers and dreams; “ And who can say, among the written spells The nymph, who dips her urn in silent lakes, “ From Hermes' hand, that, in these shrines and And turns to silvery dew each drop it takes ;cells
Oh, not our Dian of the North, who chains “ Have, from the Flood, lay hid, there may not be
In yestal ice the current of young veins, “ Some secret clue to immortality,
But she who haunts the gay Bubastian* grove, “ Some amulet, whose spell can keep life's fire And owns she sees, from her brigl.t heaven above, “ Awake within us, never to expire !
Nothing on earth to match that heaven but Love. « 'Tis known that, on the Emerald Table,' hid Think, then, what bliss will be abroad to-night “ For ages in yon loftiest pyramid,
Besides those sparkling nymphs, who meet the sight 66 The Thrice-Great did himself engrave, of old, Day after day, familiar as the sun, “ The chymic mystery that gives endless gold. Coy buds of beauty, yet unbreathed upon, “ And why may not this mightier secret dwell And all the hidden loveliness, that lies, “ Within the same dark chambers? who can tell Shut up, as are the beams of sleeping eyes, “ But that those kings, who, by the written skill Within these twilight shrines_to-night shall be “Of th' Emerald Table, call'd forth gold at will, Let loose, like birds, for this festivity! “ And quarries upon quarries heap'd and hurlid, “ To build them domes that might outstand the And mark, 'tis nigh ; already the sun bids world
His evening farewell to the Pyramids, • Who knows but that the heavenlier art, which As he bath done, age after age, till they shares
Alone on earth seem ancient as his ray ; “The life of Gods with man, was also theirg- While their great shadows, stretching from the light, “ That they themselves, triumphant o'er the power
Look like the first colossal steps of Night, “ Of fate and death, are living at this hour; Stretching across the valley, to invade “ And these, the giant homes they still possess, The distant hills of porphyry with their shade. “ Not tombs, but everlasting palaces,
Around, as signals of the setting beam, “ Within whose depths, bid from the world above, Gay, gilded flags on every house-top gleam: “Even now they wander, with the fow they love, While, hark !—from all the temples a rich swell Through subterranean gardens, by a light
Of music to the Moon-farewell-farewell. “ Unknown on earth, which hath nor dawn nor
night! “ Else, why those deathless structures ? why the
grand “ And hidden halls, that undermine this land ? Why else hath none of earth e'er dared to go
LETTER III. “ Through the dark windings of that realm below, “ Nor aught from heav'n itself, except the God “ Of Silence, through those endless labyrinths trod ?"
Memphis. Thus did I dream-wild, wandering dreams, I own, There is some star-or it may be But such as haunt me ever, if alone,
That moon we saw so near last nightOr in that pause, 'twixt joy and joy I be,
Which comes athwart my destiny Like a ship hush'd between two waves at sea.
Forever, with misleading light.
FROM THE SAME TO THE SAME
1 See Notes on the Ep curean. : The Hermes Trismegistus.
* The great Festival of the Moon.
* Bubastis, or Isis, was the Diana of the Egyptian my thology.
If for a moment, pure and wise
And calm I feel, there quick doth fall A spark from some disturbing eyes, That through my heart, soul, being flies,
And makes a wildfire of it all. I've seen-oh, Cleon, that this earth Should e'er have giv'n such beauty birth! That man—but, hold-hear all that pass'a Since yesternight, from first to last.
Of every form and kind—from those
That down Syene's cataract shoots, To the grand, gilded barge, that rows
To tambour's beat and breath of flutes, And wears at night, in words of flame, On the rich prow, its master's name ;All were alive, and made this sea
Of cities busy as a hill
In the overflowing of a rill.
The rising of the Moon, calm, slow,
And beautiful, as if she came
Was, with a loud and sweet acclaim, Welcomed from every breezy height, Where crowds stood waiting for her light. And well might they who view'd the scene
Then lit up all around them, say, That never yet had Nature been
Caught sleeping in a lovelier ray, Or rivall'd her own noontide faco, With purer show of moonlight grace.
Landed upon the isle, I soon
Through marble alleys and small groves
Of that mysterious palm she loves, Reach'd the fair Temple of the Moon ; And there-as slowly through the last Dim-lighted vestibule I pass'dBetween the porphyry pillars, twined
With palm and ivy, I could see A band of youthful maidens wind,
In measured walk, half dancingly, Round a small shrine, on which was placed
That bird,' whose plumes of black and white Wear in their hue, by Nature traced,
A type of the moon's shadow'd light.
Memphis-still grand, though not the same
Unrivallid Memphis, that could seize From ancient Thebes the crown of Fame,
And wear it bright through centuries Now, in the moonshine, that came down Like a last smile upon that crown,Memphis, still grand, among her lakes,
Her pyramids and shrines of fire, Rose, like a vision, that half broaks On one who, dreaming still, awakes,
To music from some midnight choir : While to the west-where gradual sinks
In the red sands, from Libya rollid, Some mighty column, or fair sphynx,
That stood in kingly courts, of oldIt seem'd, as, 'mid the pomps that shono Thus gayly round him, Time look'd on, Waiting till all, now bright and bless'd, Should sink beneath him like the rest.
In drapery, liko woven snow,
A dark blue zone, or bandelet,
As are the skies at midnight, set, While in their tresses, braided through,
Sparkled that flower of Egypt's lakes, The silvery lotus, in whose hue
As much delight the young Moon takes, As doth the Day-God to behold The lofty bean-flower's buds of gold. And, as they gracefully went round
The worshipp'd bird, some to the beat
Of the shrill sistrum timed their feet;
No sooner had the setting sun
The Egyptian world was all afloat,
Like a young Nile-bird, turn'd my boat To the fair island, on whose shores, Through leafy palms and sycamores, Already shope the moving lights Of pilgrims hastening to the rites. While, far around, like ruby sparks Upon the water, lighted barks,
They seem'd all fair-but there was one
A charm about that unseen face-
Over that brow's imagined grace,
| The Ibis.