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2-292 (Raw)

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author,male,Harpur, Charles,32 addressee
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Harpur, 1845
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How wonderful are dreams! If they but be
As some have said, the thin disjoining shades
Of thoughts or feelings, long foregone or late,
All interweaving, set in ghostly act
And strange procession, fair, grotesque, or grim,
By mimic fancy ; wonderful no less
Are they though this be true and wondrous more 
Is she, who in the dark, and stript of sense,
Can wield such sovereignty - the Queen of Art!
For what a cunning painter is she then,
Who hurriedly embodying, from the waste
Of things memorial littering life's dim floor,
The forms and features, manifold and quaint,
That crowd the timeless vistas of a dream,
[20] Fails in no stroke, but breathes Pygmalion-like
A soul of motion into all her work;
And doth full oft in magic mood inspire
Her phantom creatures with more eloquent tones
Than ever broke upon a waking ear.
But are they more ? True glimpses oft, though vague,
Over that far unnavigable sea
Of mystic being, where the impatient soul
Is sometimes wont to stray and roam at large ?
No answer comes. Yet are they wonderful
However we may rank them in our lore,
And worthy some fond record are these dreams
That with so capable a wand can bring
Back to the faded heart the rosy flush
And sweetness of a long-fled love, or touch
The eyes of an old enmity with tears
Of a yet older friendship ; or restore
A world-lost mate, or reunite in joy
The living and the dead !-can, when so wills
Their wand's weird wielder, whatsoe'er it be,
Lift up the fallen-fallen however low!
Give youth unto the worn, enrich the poor;
Build in the future higher than the hope
[21] Of power, when boldest, ever dared to soar;
Annul the bars of space, the dens of time,
Giving the rigid and cold-clanking chain
Which force, that grey iniquity, hath clenched
About its captive, to relent,-yea, stretch
Forth into fairy-land, or melt like wax
In that fierce life whose spirit lightens wide
Round freedom, seated on her mountain throne.
But not thus always are our dreams benign ;
Oft are they miscreations-gloomier worlds,
Crowded tempestuously with wrongs and fears,
More ghastly than the actual ever knew,
And rent with racking noises, such as should
Go thundering only through the wastes of hell.
Yes, wonderful are dreams: and I have known
Many most wild and strange. And once, long since,
As in the death-like mystery of sleep
My body lay impalled, my soul arose
And journeyed outward in a wondrous dream.
In the mid-hour of a dark night, methought
I roamed the margin of a waveless lake,
That in the knotted forehead of the land
[22] Deep sunken, like a huge Cyclopean eye,
Lidless and void of speculation, stared
Glassily up-for ever sleepless-up
At the wide vault of heaven ; and vaguely came
Into my mind a mystic consciousness
That over against me, on the farther shore
Which yet I might not see, there stood a tower.
The darkness darkened, until overhead
Solidly black the starless heaven domed, 
And earth was one wide blot ;-when, as I looked,
A light swung blazing from the tower (as yet
Prophesied only in my inner thought),
And brought at once its rounded structure forth
Massive and tall out of the mighty gloom.
On the broad lake that streaming radiance fell,
Through the lit fluid like a shaft of fire,
Burning its sullen depths with one red blaze.
Long at that wild light was I gazing held
In speechless wonder, till I thence could feel
A strange and thrillingly attractive power ;
My bodily weight seemed witched away, aloft
I mounted, poised within the passive air,
[23] Then felt I through my veins a branching warmth,
The herald of some yet unseen content,
The nearness of some yet inaudible joy,
As if some spell of golden destiny
Lifted me onwards to the fateful tower.

High up the tower, a circling balcony
Emporched a brazen door. The silver roof
Rested on shafts of jet, and ivory work
Made a light fence against the deep abyss.
Before that portal huge a lady stood
In radiant loveliness, serene and bright,
Yet as it seemed expectant ; for as still
She witched me towards her, soft she beckon'd me
With tiny hand more splendid than a star ;
And then she smiled, not as a mortal smiles
With visible throes, to the mere face confined,
But with her whole bright influence all at once
In gracious act, as the Immortals might,
God-happy, or as smiles the morning, when
Its subtle lips in rosy beauty part
[24] Under a pearly cloud, and breathe the while
A golden prevalence of power abroad,
That taketh all the orient heaven and earth
Into the glory of its own delight.
Then in a voice, keen, sweet, and silvery clear,
And intimately tender as the first
Fine feeling of a love-born bliss, she spoke,
"Where hast thou stayed so long? Oh, tell me where?"
With thrilling ears and heart I heard, but felt
Pass from me forth a cry of sudden fear,
As swooning through the wildness of my joy,
Methought I drifted,-whither ? All was now
One wide cold blank ; the lady and the tower,
The gleaming lake, with all around it, one
Wide dreary blank ;- the drearier for that still
A dizzy, clinging, ghostly consciousness
Kept flickering from mine inmost pulse of life,
Like a far meteor in some dismal marsh ;
How long I knew not, but the thrilling warmth
That, like the new birth of a passionate bliss,
Erewhile had searched me to the quick, again
Shuddered within me, more and more, until
Mine eyes had opened under two that made
[25] All else like darkness ; and upon my cheek
A breath that seemed the final spirit of health
And floral sweetness, harbingered once more
The silver accents of that wondrous voice,
Which to have heard was never to forget ;
And with her tones came, warbled as it seemed,
In mystical respondence to her voice,
Still music, such as Eolus gives forth,
But purer, deeper ;-warbled as from some
Unsearchable recess of soul supreme,
Some depth of the Eternal ! echoing thence
Through the sweet meanings of its spirit speech.
I answered not, but followed in mute love
The beamy glances of her eyes ; methought
Close at her side I lay upon a couch
Of purple, blazoned all with stars of gold
Tremblingly rayed with spiculated gems ;
Thus sat we, looking forth ; nor seemed it strange
That the broad lake, with its green shelving shores,
And all the hills and woods and winding vales,
Were basking in the beauty of a day
So goldenly serene, that never yet
The perfect power of life-essential light
[26] Had so enrobed, since paradise was lost,
The common world inhabited by man.
I saw this rare surpassing beauty;-yea,
But saw it all through her superior life,
Orbing mine own in love ; I felt her life,
The source of holiest and truth-loving thoughts,
Breathing abroad like odours from a flower,
Enriched with rosy passion, and pure joy
And earnest tenderness. Nor ever might
The glassy lake below more quickly give
Nimble impressions of the coming wind's
Invisible footsteps, dimpling swift along,
Than instant tokens of communion sweet
With outward beauty's subtle spirit, passed
Forth from her eyes, and thence in lambent waves
Suffused and lightened o'er her visage bright.
But as upon the wonder of her face
My soul now feasted, even till it seemed
Instinct with kindred lustre, lo ! her eyes
Suddenly saddened ; then abstractedly
Outfixing them as on some far wild thought
That darkened up like a portentous cloud
[27] Over the morning of our peace, she flung
Her silver voice into a mystic song
Of many measures, which, as forth they went,
Slid all into a sweet abundant flood
Of metric melody! And to her voice
As still she sung, invisible singers joined
A choral burden that prolonged the strain's
Rich concords, till the echoes of the hills
Came forth in tidal flow, and backward then
Subsiding like a refluent wave, died down
In one rich harmony. It strangely seemed
As though the song were ware that I but slept,
And that its utterer was but a dream ;
'Tis traced upon the tablet of my soul
In shining lines that intonate themselves-
Not sounding to the ear but to the thought-
Out of the vague vast of the wonderful,
And might, when hardened into mortal speech,
And narrowed from its wide and various sweep
Into such flows as make our waking rhymes
Most wildly musical, be written thus:- [28] 

Wide apart, wide apart,
In old Time's dim heart
One terrible Fiend doth his stern watch keep
Over the mystery
Lovely and deep,
Locked in thy history,
Beautiful Sleep !
Could we disarm him,
Could we but charm him,
The soul of the sleeper might happily leap,
Through the dark of the dim waste so deathly and deep
That shroudeth the triple divinity,
The three of thy mystical Trinity:
Gratitude, Liberty,
Joy from all trammels free,
Beautiful Spirit of Sleep !
Beautiful Spirit !
Could we confound him
Who darkens thy throne,
Could we surround him
With spells like thine own
[29] For the divinity
Then of thy Trinity,
Oh, what a blesseder reign were begun!
For then it were evermore one,
With all that soul, freed from the body's strait scheme,
Inherits of seer-light and mystical dream.
And to sleep were to die
Into life in the Infinite,
Holy and high,
Spotless and bright,
Calmly, peacefully deep
Ah then ! that dread gulf should be crossed by a mortal,
Ah then ! to what life were thy bright arch the portal,
Beautiful Spirit of Sleep.

She ceased, and a deep tingling silence fell
Instantly round,-silence complete, and yet
Instinct as with a breathing sweetness, left
By the rare spirit of her voice foregone ;
Even as the fragrance of a flower were felt
[30] Pervading the mute air through which erewhile,
It had been borne by the delighted hand
Of some sweet-thoughted maiden. Turning then
Her bright face towards me, as I stood entranced,
Yet with keen wonder stung, she said, "I love thee
As first love loveth-utterly ! But ah
This love itself-this purple-wingëd love-
This life-enriching spirit of delight
Is but a honey-bee of paradise,
That only in the morning glory dares
To range abroad, only in vagrant mood,
Adventures out into the common world
Of man and woman, thither lured by sight
Of some sweet human soul that blooms apart,
Untainted by a rank soil's weedy growths
Lured thither thus, yet being even then
A wilful wanderer from its birthplace pure,
Whereto it sadly must return again,
Or forfeit else its natal passport, ere
The dread night cometh. Yet of how great worth
Is love within the world ! By the fair spring
Of even the lowliest love, how many rich
And gracious things that could not else have been,
Grow up like flowers, and breathe a perfume forth
[31] That never leaves again the quickened sense
It once hath hit, as with a fairy's wand!"
She spoke in mournful accents wild and sweet,
And lustrous tears brimmed over from the eyes
That met my own now melancholy gaze.
But not all comfortless is grief that sees
Itself reflected in another's eyes,
And love again grew glad: alas, not long
For with a short low gasp of sudden fear
She started back, and hark ! within the tower
A sound of strenuous steps approaching fast
Rang upwards, as it seemed, from the hard slabs
Of a steep winding stair; and soon the huge
And brazen portal, that behind us shut,
Burst open with a clang of loosened bolts-
A clang like thunder, that went rattling out
Against the echoes of the distant hills.
With deafened ears and looks aghast I turned
Towards the harsh noise, there to behold, between
The mighty jambs in the strong wall from which
The door swung inward, a tremendous form !
[32] A horrid gloomy form that shapeless seemed,
And yet, in all its monstrous bulk, to man
A hideous likeness bare ! Still more and more
Deformed it grew, as forth it swelled, and then
Its outlines melted in a grizzly haze,
That hung about them, even as grey clouds
Beskirt a coming tempest's denser mass,
That thickens still internally, and shows
The murkiest in the midst-yea, murkiest there,
Where big with fate, and hid in solid gloom,
The yet still spirit of the thunder broods,
And menaces the world.
Beholding that dread form, the lady of light
Had rushed to my extended arms, and hid
Her beamy face, fright-harrowed, in my breast!
And thus we stood, made one in fear; while still
That terrible vision out upon us glared
With horny eyeballs-horrible the more
For that no evidence of conscious will,
No touch of passion, vitalized their fixed
Eumenidèan, stone-cold stare, as towards
Some surely destined task they seemed to guide
Its shapeless bulk and awful ruthless strength.
[33] Then with a motion as of one dark stride
Shadowing forward, and outstretching straight
One vague-seen arm, from my reluctant grasp
It tore the radiant lady, saying "This
Is love forbidden !" in a voice whose tones
Were like low guttural thunders heard afar,
Outgrowling from the clouded gorges wild
Of steep-cragged mountains, when a sultry storm
Is pondering in its dark pavilions there.
Me then he seized, and threw me strongly back
Within the brazen door ; its massive beam
Dropped with a wall-quake, and the bolts were shot
Into their sockets with a shattering jar.
I may not paint the horrible despair
That froze me now; more horrible than aught
In actual destiny, in waking life,
Could give the self-possession of my soul.
Within, without,-all silent, stirless, cold
Whither was she, my lady of delight
Reft terribly away? Time-every drip of which
Was as an age-kept trickling on and on,
Brought no release, no hope; brought not a breath
That spake of fellowship, or even of life
[34] Out of myself. Utterly blank I stood
In marble-cold astonishment of heart !
And when at length I cast despairing eyes-
Eyes so despairing that the common gift
Of vision stung me like a deadly curse-
The dungeon round, pure pity of myself
So warmed and loosened from my brain, the pent
And icy anguish, that its load at once
Came like an Alp-thaw streaming through my eyes;
Till resignation, that balm-fragrant flower
Of meek pale grief that hath its root in tears,
Grew out of mine, and dewed my soul with peace.
My dungeon was a half-round lofty cell,
Massively set within the crossing wall
That seemed to cut the tower's whole round in twain ;
A door with iron studs and brazen clamps
Shut off the inner stairway of the tower ;
And by this door a strange and mystic thing,
A bat-winged steed on scaly dragon claws,
Stood mute and rigid in the darkening cell.
The night came on ; I saw the bat-winged steed
Fade, melt and die into the gathering gloom,
Then in the blackness hour by hour I paced,
[35] And heard my step- the only sound to me
In all the wide world-throb with a dull blow
Down through the hollow tower that seemed to yawn.
A monstrous well beneath, with wide waste mouth
Bridged only by the quaking strip of floor
On which I darkling strode. Then hour on hour
Paused as if clotting at the heart of time,
And yet no other sound had being there
And still that strange, mute, mystic, bat-winged steed
Stood waiting near me by the inner door.

At last, all suddenly, in the air aloft
Over the tower a wild wailful song
Woke, flying many-voiced, then sweeping off
Far o'er the echoing hills, so passed away
In dying murmurs through the hollow dark.
In vain was the charm sought
In vain was our spell wrought
Which that dread watcher's eyes drowsy might keep;
[36] In vain was the dragon-steed
There at the hour of need
Out with his double freight blissward to sweep.
Lost-lost-lost-lost !
In vain were our spells of an infinite cost
Lost-lost-lost-lost !
Yon gulf by a mortal may never be crossed
Never, ah never!
The doom holds for ever
For ever ! for ever!
Away, come away!
For see, wide uprolling, the white front of day !
Away to the mystic mid-regions of sleep,
Of the beautiful Spirit of sleep.
Lost-lost-lost-lost !
The gulf we are crossing may never be crossed
By a mortal, ah, never!
The doom holds for ever!
For ever ! for ever!
So passed that song (of which the drift alone
Is here reached after in such leaden speech
[37] As uncharmed mortals use). And when its tones
Out towards the mountains in the dark afar
Had wasted, light began to pierce the gloom,
Marbling the dusk with grey; and then the steed,
With his strange dragon-claws and half-spread wings,
Grew slowly back into the day again.
The sunrise ! Oh, it was a desolate pass
Immured in that relentless keep, to feel
How o'er the purple hills came the bright sun,
Rejoicing in his strength ; and then to know
That he was wheeling up the heaven, and o'er
My prison roof, tracking his midway course
With step of fire, loud rolling through the world
The thunder of its universal life !
Thus seven times wore weary day and night
Wearily on, and still I could not sleep.
And still through this drear time the wintry tooth
Of hunger never gnawed my corporal frame;
No thirst inflamed me ; while by the grim door
That strange, unmoving, dragon-footed steed
Stood as at first. Mere wonder at my doom
Relieved the else-fixed darkness of despair !
But on the seventh night at midnight-hark !
[38] What might I hear ? A step ?- asmall light step,
That by the stair ascending, swiftly came
Straight to the inner door-then stopped. Alas!
The black leaf opened not; and yet, the while,
A rainbow radiance through its solid breadth
Came flushing bright, in subtle wave on wave,
As sunset glow in swift rich curves wells forth
Through some dense cloud upon the verge of heaven:
So came it, filling all the cell at length
With rosy lights; and then the mystic steed
Moved, and spread wide his glimmering bat-like wings.
When hark ! deep down in the mysterious tower
Another step ! Yea, the same strenuous tramp
That once before I heard, big beating up-
A cry, a struggle, and retreating steps !
And that fair light had faded from the air.
Again the hateful tramp came booming up;
The great door opened, and the monster-fiend
Filled all the space between the mighty jambs.
My heart glowed hot with rage and hate at once;
Fiercely I charged him, but his horrible glooms
Enwrapped me closer, in yet denser coils
Every dread moment! But my anguish now,
[39] My pain, and hate, and loathing, all had grown
Into so vast a horror that methought
I burst with irresistible strength away-
Rushed through the door and down the stairway-down
An endless depth-till a portcullis, hinged
In the tower's basement, opened to my flight
It fell behind me, and my passage lay
By the long ripples of the rock-edged lake.
Then, breathless, pausing in my giddy flight,
I saw the lustrous lady upward pass
Through the lit air, with steadfast downward look
Of parting recognition-full of love,
But painless, passionless. Above the tower
And o'er the clouds her radiance passed away,
And melted into heaven's marble dome !
Then fell there on my soul a sense of loss
So bleak, so desolate, that with a wild
Sleep-startling outcry, sudden I awoke
Awoke to find it but a wondrous dream;
Yet ever since to feel as if some pure
And guardian soul, out of the day and night,
Had passed for ever from the reach of love !

He shone in the senate, the camp, and the grove,
The mirror of manhood, the darling of love.
He fought for his country, the star of the brave, 
And died for it's weal when to die was to save.
And Wisdom and Valour long over him wept, 
And Beauty, for ages, strewed flowers where he slept.
And the bards of the people inwrought with their lays 
The light of his glory, the sound of his praise.
But afar in the foreworld have faded their strains, 
And now of his being what record remains?
Within a lone valley a tomb crumbles fast, 
And the name of the Sleeper is lost in the past.

[41] A LAMENT.
FLOWERS in their freshness are flushing the earth, 
And the voice-peopled forest is loud in its mirth, 
And streams in their fulness are laughing at dearth -
Yet my bosom is aching.
There's shadow on all things - the shadow of woe -
It falls from my spirit wherever I go, 
As from a dark cloud drifting heavy and slow, 
For my spirit is weary.
Ah ! what can be flowers in their gladness to me, 
Or the voices that people the green forest tree, 
Or the full joy of streams - since my soul sighs, ah me! 
O'er the grave of my Mary.
Under the glad face of nature, her face 
Hath carried down with it all beauty and grace; 
Pale is it there in that dark silent place -
Mary! oh Mary! [42] 
Children are by me - her children ; oh God ! 
To see where their feet have unwittingly trod, 
Tiny tracks in the loam of the new broken sod
Betwixt them and their mother!
Betwixt them and the true one who loved us in truth, 
Who bore them, and died 'mid the hopes of her youth ! 
Who would live in a world where nor anguish nor ruth 
May avail the bereaved ones.
Yet must I live, lest her spirit should say, 
Meeting mine in its flight from this vesture of clay,
"Where are our little ones ? Where do they stay ?
And why did you leave them ?"
If for them only, then, so must it be, 
See, I remain with them, Mary! but see 
How lonely we stand in a world without thee!
Mary! oh Mary!
I live, but death's shadow is over me cast ; 
And even when wearied woe sleepeth at last, 
Some dream of the dead, sighing out of the past, 
Is alive in the darkness ! [43] 
Could I but weep, it were comfort, though brief; 
But the fountain of tears by the fire of my grief 
Hath been dried to its dregs, and can shed no relief 
On the thirst of my eyelids.
As music that wasteth away on the blast, 
As the last ray by the sunken sun cast, 
All my heart's gladness hath died in the past, -
Mary! oh Mary!

ONE summer morn, out of the sea-waves wild, 
A speck-like Cloud, the season's fated child, 
Came softly floating up the boundless sky, 
And o'er the sun-parched hills all brown and dry.
Onward she glided through the azure air,
Borne by its motion without toil or care,
When looking down in her ethereal joy,
She marked earth's moilers at their hard employ; [44] 
"And oh!" she said, "that by some act of grace
'Twere mine to succour yon fierce-toiling race,
To give the hungry meat, the thirsty drink -
The thought of good is very sweet to think."
The day advanced, and the cloud greater grew, 
And greater; likewise her desire to do 
Some charity to men had more and more, 
As the long sultry summer day on wore, 
Greatened and warmed within her fleecy breast, 
Like a dove fledging in its downy nest.
The heat waxed fiercer, until all the land
Clared in the sun as 'twere a monstrous brand
And the shrunk rivers, few and far between,
Like molten metal lightened in the scene.
Ill could Earth's sons endure their toilsome state,
Though still they laboured, for their need was great,
And many a long beseeching look they sped
Towards that fair cloud, with many a sigh that said:
"We famish for thy bounty ! For our sake
O break thou! in a showery blessing, break !"
"I feel, and fain would help you," said the cloud,
And towards the earth her bounteous being bowed ;
[45] But then remem'bring a tradition she 
Had in her youth learned from her native sea, 
That when a cloud adventures from the skies 
Too near the altar of the hills, it dies ! 
Awhile she wavered and was blown about 
Hither and thither by the winds of doubt; 
But in the midst of heaven at length all still 
She stood ; then suddenly, with a keen thrill 
Of light, she said within herself, "I will !
Yea, in the glad strength of devotion, I Will help
you, though in helping you I die."
Filled with this thought's divinity, the cloud 
Grew worldlike vast, as earthward more she bowed ! 
Oh, never erewhile had she dreamed her state 
So great might be, beneficently great !
O'er the parched fields in her angelic love 
She spread her wide wings like a brooding dove 
Till as her purpose deepened, drawing near, 
Divinely awful did her front appear, 
And men and beasts all trembled at the view, 
And the woods bowed, though well all creatures knew 
That near in her, to every kind the same, 
A great predestined benefactress came. [46] 
And then wide-flashed throughout her full-grown form
The glory of her will! the pain and storm 
Of life's dire dread of death, whose mortal threat 
From Christ himself drew agonizing sweat, 
Flashed seething out of rents amid her heaps 
Of lowering gloom, and thence with arrowy leaps 
Hissed jagging downward, till a sheety glare 
Illumined all the illimitable air; 
The thunder followed, a tremendous sound, 
Loud doubling and reverberating round;
Strong was her will, but stronger yet the power 
Of love, that now dissolved her in a shower, 
Dropping in blessings to enrich the earth 
With health and plenty at one blooming birth.
Far as the rain extended o'er the land, 
A splendid bow the freshened landscape spanned 
Like a celestial arc, hung in the air 
By angel artists, to illumine there 
The parting triumph of that spirit fair. 
The rainbow vanished, but the blessing craved 
Rested upon the land the cloud had saved. [47] 

A SETTLER in the olden times went forth
With four of his most bold and trusted men
Into the wilderness - went forth to seek
New streams and wider pastures for his fast
Increasing flocks and herds. O'er mountain routes
And over wild wolds clouded up with brush,
And cut with marshes perilously deep, -
So went they forth at dawn ; at eve the sun,
That rose behind them as they journeyed out,
Was firing with his nether rim a range
Of unknown mountains, that like ramparts towered
Full in their front. and his last glances fell
Into the gloomy forest's eastern glades
In golden gleams, like to the Angel's sword,
And flashed upon the windings of a creek
That noiseless ran betwixt the pioneers
And those new Apennines - ran, shaded o'er
With boughs of the wild willow, hanging mixed
From either-bank, or duskily befringed
With upward tapering feathery swamp-oaks,
[48] The sylvan eyelash always of remote
Australian waters, whether gleaming still 
In lake or pool, or bickering along, 
Between the marges of some eager stream.
Before them, thus extended, wilder grew 
The scene each moment and more beautiful ;
For when the sun was all but sunk below 
Those barrier mountains, in the breeze that o'er 
Their rough enormous backs deep-fleeced with wood 
Came whispering down, the wide up-slanting sea 
Of fanning leaves in the descending rays 
Danced dazzlingly, tingling as if the trees 
Thrilled to the roots for very happiness.
But when the sun had wholly disappeared
Behind those mountains - O what words, what hues
Might paint the wild magnificence of view
That opened westward! Out extending, lo!
The heights rose crowding, with their summits all
Dissolving as it seemed, and partly lost
In the exceeding radiancy aloft;
And thus transfigured, for awhile they stood
Like a great company of archaeons, crowned
[49] With burning diadems, and tented o'er
With canopies of purple and of gold.
Here halting wearied now the sun was set,
Our travellers kindled for their first night's camp
A brisk and crackling fire, which seemed to them,
A wilder creature than 'twas elsewhere wont, 
Because of the surrounding savageness. 
And as they supped, birds of new shape and plume 
And wild strange voice came by; and up the steep 
Between the climbing forest growths they saw 
Perched on the bare abutments of the hills, 
Where haply yet some lingering gleam fell through, 
The wallaroo look forth. Eastward at last 
The glow was wasted into formless gloom, 
Night's front; then westward the high massing woods
Steeped in a swart but mellow Indian hue, 
A deep dusk loveliness, lay ridged and heaped, 
Only the more distinctly for their shade, 
Against the twilight hearen - a cloudless depth, 
Yet luminous with sunset's fading glow; 
And thus awhile in the lit dusk they seemed
[50] To hang like mighty pictures of themselves 
In the still chambers of some vaster world.
At last, the business of the supper done, 
The echoes of the solitary place
Came as in sylvan wonder wide about 
To hear and imitate the voices strange, 
Within the pleasant purlieus of the fire 
Lifted in glee; but to be hushed erelong, 
As with the darkness of the night there came 
O'er the adventurers, each and all, some sense 
Of danger lurking in its forest lairs.
But, nerved by habit, they all gathered round
About the well-built fire, whose nimble tongues
Sent up continually a strenuous roar
Of fierce delight, and from their fuming pipes
Drawing rude comfort, round the pleasant light
With grave discourse they planned their next day's deeds.
Wearied at length, their couches they prepared
Of rushes, and the long green tresses pulled
From the bent boughs of the wild willows near;
Then the four men stretched out their tired limbs
Under the dark arms of the forest trees That mixed aloft, high in the starry air, [51]
In arcs and leafy domes whose crossing curves, 
Blended with denser intergrowth of sprays, 
Were seen,in mass traced out against the clear 
Wide gaze of heaven ; and trustful of the watch 
Kept near them by their master, soon they slept, 
Forgetful of the perilous wilderness 
That lay around them like a spectral world; 
And all things slept ; the circling forest trees, 
Their foremost boles carved from a crowded mass 
Less visible by the watch-fire's bladed gleams 
That ran far out in the umbrageous dark 
Beyond the broad red ring of constant light; 
And,even the shaded mountains darkly seen, 
Their bluff brows looming through the stirless air, 
Looked in their stillness solemnly asleep : 
Yea, thence surveyed, the universe might have seemed
Coiled in vast rest;-only that one dark cloud, 
Diffused and shapen like a spider huge, 
Crept as with scrawling legs along the sky 
And that the stars in their bright orders, still 
Cluster by cluster glowingly revealed, 
As this slow cloud moved on, high over all, 
Peaceful and wakeful, watched the world below.
A kind of large kangaroo peculiar to the higher and more difficult mountains. [52] 

Meanwhile the cloudless eastern heaven had grown 
More luminous, and now the moon arose 
Above the hill, when lo! that giant cone 
Erewhile so dark, seemed inwardly aglow 
With her instilled irradiance, while the trees 
That fringed its outline, their huge statures dwarfed 
By distance into brambles and yet all 
Clearly defined against her ample orb, 
Out of its very disc appeared to swell 
In shadowy relief, as they had been 
All sculptured from its surface as she rose. 
Then her full light in silvery sequence still 
Cascading forth from ridgy slope to slope, 
Chased mass by mass the broken darkness down 
Into the dense-brushed valleys, where it crouched, 
And shrank, and struggled, like a dragon-doubt 
Glooming a lonely spirit.
His lone watch 
The master kept, and wakeful looked abroad
On all the solemn beauty of the world;
[53] And by some sweet and subtle tie that joins 
The loved and cherished, absent from our side, 
With all that is serene and beautiful 
In Nature, thoughts of home began to steal 
Into his musings-when, on a sudden, hark! 
A bough cracks loudly in a neighbouring brake !
Against the shade-side of a bending gum. 
With a strange horror gathering to his heart, 
As if his blood were charged with insect life 
And writhed along in clots, he stilled himself 
And listened heedfully, till his held breath 
Became a pang. Nought heard he : silence there 
Had recomposed her ruffled wings, and now 
Deep brooded in the darkness ; so that he 
Again mused on, quiet and reassured.
But there again-crack upon crack ! Awake!
O heaven! have hell's worst fiends burst howling up
Into the death-doomed world ? Or whence, if not
From diabolic rage, could surge a yell
So horrible as that which now affrights
The shuddering dark ! Beings as fell are near !
Yea, beings in their dread inherited hate
Awful, vengeful as hell's worst fiends, are come
[54] In vengeance! For behold from the long grass 
And nearer brakes arise the bounding forms 
Of painted savages, full in the light 
Thrown outward by the fire, that roused and lapped. 
The rounding darknesswith its ruddy tongues 
More fiercely than before, as though even it 
Had felt the sudden shock the air received 
From those terrific cries.
On then they came
And rushed upon the sleepers, three of whom
But started, and then weltered prone beneath
The first fell blow dealt down on each by three
Of the most stalwart of their pitiless foes
But one again, and yet again, rose up,
Rose to his knees, under the crushing strokes
Of huge clubbed nulla-nullas, till his own
Warm blood was blinding him. For he was one
Who had with misery nearly all his days
Lived lonely, and who therefore in his soul
Did hunger after hope, and thirst for what
Hope still had promised him, some taste at least
Of human good however long deferred.
And now he could not, even in dying, loose
[55] His hold on life's poor chances still to come, 
Could not but so dispute the terrible fact 
Of death, e'en in death's presence. Strange it is, 
Yet oft 'tis seen, that fortune's pampered child
Consents to death's untimely power with less
Reluctance, less despair, than does the wretch 
Who hath been ever blown about the world, 
The straw-like sport of fate's most bitter blasts 
So though the shadows of untimely death, 
Inevitably under every stroke 
But thickened more and more, against them still 
The poor wretch struggled, nor would cease until 
One last great blow, dealt down upon his head 
As if in mercy, gave him to the dust, 
With all his many woes and frustrate hopes.
The master, chilled with horror, saw it all; 
From instinct more than conscious thought he raised 
His death-charged tube, and at that murderous crew 
Firing, saw one fall ox-like to the earth, 
Then turned and fled. Fast fled he, but as fast 
His deadly foes went thronging on his track. 
Fast ! for in full pursuit behind him yelled 
Men whose wild speech no word for mercy hath!
[56] And as he fled the forest beasts as well 
In general terror through the brakes ahead 
Crashed scattering, or with maddening speed athwart 
His course came frequent. On, still on, he flies -
Flies for dear life, and still behind him hears 
Nearer and nearer, the light rapid dig ,
Of many feet - nearer and nearer still.

So went the chase. Now at a sudden turn
Before him lay the steep-banked mountain creek;
Still on he kept perforce, and from a rock
That beaked the bank, a promontory bare,
Plunging right forth and shooting feet-first down,
Sunk to his middle in the flashing stream,
In which the imaged stars seemed all at once
To burst like rockets into one wide blaze.
Then wading through the ruffled waters, forth
He sprang, and seized a snake-like root that from
The opponent bank protruded, clenching there
His cold hand like a clamp of steel; and thence
He swung his dripping form aloft, the blind
[57] And breathless haste of one who flies for life 
Urging him on; up the dark ledge he climbed, 
When in its face - O verily our God 
Hath those in His peculiar care, for whom 
The daily prayers of spotless womanhood 
And helpless infancy are offered up!
There in its face a cavity he felt, 
The upper earth of which in one rude mass 
Was held fast bound by the enwoven roots 
Of two old trees, and which, beneath the mould, 
Over the dark and clammy cave below, 
Twisted like knotted snakes. 'Neath these he crept, Just as the dark forms of his hunters thronged 
The steep bold rock whence he before had plunged.
Duskily visible beneath the moon
They paused a space, to mark what bent his course
Might take beyond the stream. But now no form
Amongst the moveless fringe of fern was seen
To shoot up from its outline, 'mid the boles
And mixing shadows of the taller trees,
All standing now in the keen radiance there
So ghostly still as in a solemn trance;
But nothing in the silent prospect stirred
[58] Therefore they augured that their prey was yet 
Within the nearer distance, and they all 
Plunged forward till the fretted current boiled 
Amongst their crowding forms from bank to bank 
And searching thus the stream across, and then 
Along the ledges, combing down each clump 
Of long-flagged swamp-grass where it flourished high, 
The whole dark line passed slowly, man by man, 
Athwart the cave !
Keen was their search but vain,
There grouped in dark knots standing in the stream 
That glimmered past them moaning as it went,
They marvelled ; passing strange to them it seemed
Some old mysterious fable of their race, 
That brooded o'er the valley and the creek,
Returned upon their minds, and fear-struck all 
And silent, they withdrew. And when the sound
Of their retreating steps had died away, 
As back they hurried to despoil the dead 
In the stormed camp, then rose the fugitive,
Renewed his flight, nor rested from it, till 
He gained the shelter of his longed-for home.
[59] And in that glade, far in the doomful wild,
In sorrowing record of an awful hour
Of human agony and loss extreme,
Untimely spousals with a desert death,
Four grassy mounds are there beside the creek,
Bestrewn with sprays and leaves from the old trees
Which moan the ancient dirges that have caught
The heed of dying ages, and for long
The traveller passing then in safety there
Would call the place - The Creek of the Four Graves.

NEVER give up, though life be a battle
Wherein true men may fail, and true causes be sold;
Yet, on the whole, however may rattle
The thunders of chance, scaring cowards like cattle -
Clear victory's always the bride of the bold.
Armed in your right-though friendship deny you,
And love fall away when the storm's at the worst,
Count not your loss, Was destined to try you -
Bear the brunt like a man, and your deeds shall ally you
To natures more noble and true than the first.
Rail not at Fate : if rightly you scan her,
There's none loves more strongly the heart that endures:
On, in the hero's calm resolute manner,
Still bear aloft your hope's long-trusted banner,
And the day, if you do but live through it, is yours.
Be this your faith; and if killing strokes clatter
On your harness where true men before you have died,
Fight on, let your life-blood be poured out like water -
Fight on, make at least a brave end of the matter,
Brave end of the struggle if nothing beside.

Dedicated to a certain M.L.C, who is quite confident that Poetry, "and that sort of thing" is a mockery and delusion. 
YET do not thou forsake me now,
Poesy, with Peace-together!
Ere this last disastrous blow
Did lay my struggling fortunes low,
In love unworn have we not borne
Much wintry weather ?
The storm is past, perhaps the last,
Its rainy skirts are wearing over
But though yet a sunnier glow
Should give my ice-bound hopes to flow,
Forlorn of thee, 'twere nought to me
A lonely rover !
Ah, misery! what were then my lot
Amongst a race of unbelievers
Sordid men who all declare
That earthly gain alone is fair,
And they who pore on bardic lore
Deceived deceivers. [62] 
That all the love I've felt to move
Round beauty in thy fountain laving,
Move in music through the air, 
Gathering increase everywhere, 
The more to bless her loveliness,
Was Folly raving!
That to believe thought yet shall weave, -
Although with arm'd oppression coping,
Truth-bright banners which, unfurled, 
Shall herald freedom through the world, 
And give to man her kindly plan,
Is Folly hoping! 
On thy breast in sabbath rest
How often have I lain, deep musing 
In the golden eventide, 
Till all the dead, for truth that died,
Looked from the skies with starry eyes,
Great thoughts infusing!
But can it be life's mystery
Is but a baseless panorama, 
Peopled thick with passing dreams, 
Wild writhing glooms, and wandering gleams,
[63] And soul a breath exhaled by death,
Which ends the drama?
Then is the scope of this world's hope
No more than worldlings deem it ever,
Earth and sky, with nought between
Of spiritual truth serene : 
And if so, fly! for thou and I
At once should sever.
But if there lives, as love believes,
All underneath this silent heaven, 
In yon shades, and by yon streams, 
As we have seen them in our dreams,
A deathless race ; still let thy grace
My being leaven!
Thy mystic grace! that face to face
Full converse I may hold with nature,
Seeing published everywhere 
In forms, the soul that makes her fair, 
And grow the while to her large style
In mental stature.

[64] TO THE COMET OF 1843
Thy purpose, heavenly stranger, who may tell
But Him, who linked thee to the starry whole?
Wherefore, in this our darkness, be it ours
To must upon thee in thy high career,
As of some wandering symphony from amidst
Those highest stellar harmonies that track
Through infinite space and the great rounds of time
The mighty marches of creation.
Behold, how high thou travellest in heaven!
Myriads of wondering human spirits here,
Duly each night with upturned looks seek out
The mystery of thy advent.
In thy last
Bright visitation, even thus thou sawst
The young, the lovely, and the wise of earth- 
A buried generation - crowding out,
With looks upturned, to see thee passing forth
Beyond the signs of time - and then to know,
In all the awful vastness of the heaven,
Thy place no more! And when the flaming steps
[65] Of thy unspeakable speed, which of itself
Blows back the long strands of thy burning hair
Through half the arch of night, shall lead thee forth
Into the dim of the inane, beyond
Our utmost vision; all the eloquent eyes
Now opened wide with welcome and with wonder- 
Eyes tender as the turtles, or that speak
The fervent soul and the majestic mind;
All these, alas! - all these, ere thou once more
Shalt drive thus fulgently around the sun
Thy chariot of fire, fast closed in dust
And mortal darkness, shall have given for aye
Their lustre to the grave.
But human eyes
As many and beautiful - yea, more sublime
And radiant in their passion, from a more
Enlarged communion with the spirit of truth,- 
Shall welcome thee instead, mysterious stranger,
When thou return st anew.
And thus to think
Consoles us, even while we watch thee pass
Out of our times for ever; yea, although
[66] Some selfish entertainment of a truth
At all times mournful, whisper us the while:
So shall it be indeed, for God abides,
And nature, born of His eternal power,
Must share its dateless energy as well.
Yea, all that flows from the Eternal must,
If from divine necessity alone,
Work with its cause for ever - still, alas!
Though thence derived, how fugitive and swift,
How vague and shadow-like, this life of Man! 

I was one so deeply drowned,
That when the drag my body found,
Twas void of motion, void of breath,
And to sensation dead as death.
In a languid summer mood
I had plunged into a flood,
[67] That to the low sun s slanting beams
Gleamed with only quiet gleams,
Each with a wide flicker sheeting
From its still floor, fast and fleeting,
E en such a flood as, one would say,
Could never, or by night or day,
Have drenched a man s warm life away.
But what are these down in its bed
That trail so long and look so red,
Moving as in conscious sport?
Are they weeds of curious sort?
But I'll drive to them and see
Into all their mystery.
Down I dive. A plentious crop!
Some shall with me to the top,
For here there is too dim a light
To show their character aright.
I wind them in my arms, intent
To root them up in my ascent;
But they resist me, and again
I tug them with a stronger strain.
Full well, I trow, they hold their own,
[68] Gripping fast each bedded stone
With their tuby roots, that go
Down through the stiff slime below.
Well at last I find that I
Must leave them. - But in vain I try!
Fierce as lightning on my brain
Smites the dread truth - I try in vain!
Yea, more and more, in coils and flakes
Like long blood- red watersnakes,
The deadly things around me clasp - 
The more I tug the more they grasp!
My pent breath, growing hot and thin,
Explodes with a dull booming din;
While through my unclenched teeth the wave
Comes drenching! Is there none to save?
None near to see, to guess, to trace
Under the water s gleaming face
The dread extremity of one
Thus fastened down? Ah! Is there none?
Wild as vain my struggles grow- 
Horror, horror, life must go!
Hope gives up her ghost, despair;
I am dying; round me here
[69] The long weeds erst so deeply red,
Look, even where nearest, grey as lead,
As mid them, settling down, I sway
To and fro, and fast away
Life keeps bubbling - bubbling, aye
Through my cold lips wide agape,
White, and stiffening to that shape
They take at last when done with breath
In the rigid face of death.
And now, while sullen drummings make
My spirit through mine ears to ache,
Life- long memories interwrought
With all I ever felt or thought,
Sacred fancies hidden long
Lest the world should do them wrong,
Pent- back feelings that for years
Just below the source of tears
Folded close their glowing wings,
With a million other things,
All thick interthronging press
Through my drowning consciousness;
Then comes the thought of how my doom
Must wrap my mother in its gloom;
[70] And give my sire to hold his breath
For anguish, hearing of my death,
And wound one fond heart to the core
In the wide world evermore.
All in the same instant so
Do these quick thoughts come and go,
Life within my failing brain
Full of pity, full of pain.
Lastly a drear stupor blent
With a comfortless content,
Into one mass of clammy clay
Kneads mind and body. Drenched away
With one faint shudder, one last throe,
Life stagnates and its shell lies low,
Swaying weed- bound to and fro,
Void of feeling and of breath,
How die we, if this be not death?
Ah! What thrilling, thrilling pain
Kindles through my heart and brain!
Ah! What horrors o er me wave,
Shadowing forth as from the grave;
Ah! Those sudden gleams of light,
[71] They fall like firebrands on my sight!
Ah! What vast and heavy world
Is all at once upon me hurled,
Massing into one immense
Oppression, every tortured sense.
Yes; I now remember well
How my sudden fate befell;
And are we, then, in death s grim thrall,
Thus consciousness of our funeral?
But where are they who most should mourn
When by bier is graveward borne?
With her whose face I yearn to see- 
Where are they? And where is she?
Where the crape- trimm d followers all?
Where the coffin and the pall?
Or do death and nature strive
Within me? Is the drowned alive?

Trust and treachery, wisdom, folly,
Madness, mirth and melancholy,
Love and hatred, thrift and pillage,
All are housed in every village.
And in such a world s mixed being,
Where may peace, from ruin fleeing,
Find fit shelter and inherit
All the calm of her own merit?
In a bark of gentle motion
Sailing on the summer ocean?
There worst war the tempest wages,
And the hungry whirlpool rages.
In some lonely new- world bower
Hidden like a forest flower?
There, too, there, to fray the stranger
Stalks the wild- eyed savage, danger! [73] 
In some Alpine cot, by fountains
Flowing from snow- shining mountains?
There the avalanches thunder,
Crushing all that lieth under!
In some hermit- tent, pitched lowly
Mid the tombs of prophets holy?
There to harry and annoy her
Roams the infidel destroyer.
In palatial chambers gilded,
Guarded round with towers high- builded?
Change may enter these to- morrow,
And with change may enter sorrow.
Find, O peace, thy home of beauty
In the steadfast heart of duty,
Dwelling ever there, and seeing
God through every phase of being.

[74] DORA
It was, I well remember, the merry springtime when
Young Dora in the eventide came singing up the glen,
And the song came up the glen, till one oft- repeated part
In a subtle stream of melody ran glowing through my heart.
A fond desire, long cherished, till then I might control,
Till then - but oh! That witching strain swift drew it from my soul;
Swift drew it from my soul, and she did not say me nay,
And the world of love was all the world to us that happy day.
I'm happy now in thinking how happy I was then,
When towards the glowing west my love went homeward down the glen;
Went homeward down the glen, while my comfort surer grew,
Till methought the old- faced hills at looked as they were happy too.
[75] All happy, for that Dora and I so happy were!
All happy, for that human love had breathed its spirit there!
Had breathed its spirit there, and had made them conscious grow
Of the part they bore in that sweet time, that happy long ago.

Have the blasts of sorrow worn thee,
Have the rocks of danger torn thee,
And thus shifted, wreck- like drifted,
Wouldst thou find a port in time?
Vain the quest! That word sublime - 
God's great one word,
Silent never, pealeth ever, 
Hast thou done all loving duty,
Hast thou clothed thy soul with beauty,
[76] And wouldst rest then, wholly blest then,
In some sunny lapse of time?
Vain the hope! The word sublime - 
God's great one word,
Silent never, pealeth ever,
Hast thou won the heart of glory,
Hast thou charmed the tongue of story,
And wouldst pause then for applause then,
Underneath the stars of time?
Vain the lure! That word sublime - 
God's great one word,
Silent never, pealeth ever, 
Truth and virtue hast thou wrought for,
Faith and freedom hast thou fought for,
And then shrinkest for thou thinkest
Paid is all thy debt in time?
Vain the thought! That word sublime - 
God's great one word,
Silent never, pealeth ever, 
Onward! [77] 
From endeavour to endeavour,
Journeying with hours for ever,
Or aspiring, or acquiring
This, O man, is life in time,
Urged by that primal word sublime - 
God's great one word,
Silent never, pealeth ever,

A lonely boy, far venturing from home
Out on the half- wild herd s faint tracks I roam;
Mid rock- browned mountains, which with stony frown
Glare into haggard chasms deep adown;
A rude and craggy world, the prospect lies
Bounded in circuit by the bending skies.
Now at some clear pool scooped out by the shocks
Of rain-floods plunging from the upper rocks
[78] Whose liquid disc in its undimpled rest
Glows like a mighty gem brooching the mountain s breast,
I drink and must, or mark the wide- spread herd,
Or list the thinking of the dingle- bird;
And now towards some wild- hanging shade I stray,
To shun the bright oppression of the day;
For round each crag, and o er each bosky swell,
The fierce refracted heat flares visible,
Lambently restless, like the dazzling hem
Of some else viewless veil held trembling over them.
Why congregate the swallows in the air,
And northward then in rapid flight repair?
With sudden swelling din, remote yet harsh,
Why roar the bull- frogs in the tea- tree marsh?
Why cease the locusts to throng up in flight
And clap their gay wings in the fervent light?
Why climb they, bodingly demure, instead
The tallest spear- grass to the bending head?
Instinctively, along the sultry sky,
I turn a listless, yet inquiring, eye;
And mark that now with a slow gradual pace
A solemn trance creams northward o er its face;
[79] Yon clouds that late were labouring past the sun,
Reached by its sure arrest, one after one,
Come to a heavy halt; the airs that played
About the rugged mountains all are laid:
While drawing nearer far- off heights appear,
As in a dream s wild prospect, strangely near!
Till into wood resolves their robe of blue,
And the grey crags rise bluffly on the view.
Such are the signs and tokens that presage
A summer hurricane s forthcoming rage.
At length the south sends out her cloudy heaps
And up the glens at noontide dimness creeps;
The birds, late warbling in the hanging green
Off steep- set brakes, seek now some safer screen;
The herd, in doubt, no longer wanders wide,
But fast ingathering throngs yon mountain s side,
Whose echoes, surging to its tramp, might seem
The muttered troubles of some Titan s dream.
Fast the dim legions of the muttering storm
Throng denser, or protruding columns form;
While splashing forward from their cloudy lair,
Convolving flames, like scouting dragons, glare:
[80] Low thunders follow, labouring up the sky;
And as fore- running blasts go blaring by,
At once the forest, with a mighty stir,
Bows, as in homage to the thunderer!
Hark! From the dingoes blood- polluted dens
In the gloom- hidden chasms of the glens,
Long fitful howls wail up; and in the blast
Strange hissing whispers seem to huddle past;
As if the dread stir had aroused from sleep
Weird spirits, cloistered in yon cavy steep
(On which, in the grim past, some Cain s offence
Hath haply outraged heaven!) Who rising thence
Wrapped in the boding vapours, laughed again
To wanton in the wild- willed hurricane.
See in the storm s front, sailing dark and dread,
A wide- winged eagle like a black flag spread!
The clouds aloft flash doom! Short stops his flight!
He seems to shrivel in the blasting light!
The air is shattered with a crashing sound,
And he falls stonelike, lifeless, to the ground.
Now, like a shadow at great nature s heart,
The turmoil grows. Now wonder, with a start,
[81] Marks where right overhead the storm careers,
Girt with black horrors and wide- flaming fears!
Arriving thunders, mustering on his path,
Swell more and more the roarings of his wrath,
As out in widening circles they extend,
And then - at once - in utter silence end.
Portentous silence! Time keeps breathing past,
Yet it continues! May this marvel last?
This wild weird silence in the midst of gloom
So manifestly big with coming doom?
Tingles the boding ear; and up the glens
Instinctive dread comes howling from the wild- dogs dens.
Terrific vision! Heaven s great ceiling splits,
And a vast globe of writhing fire emits,
Which pouring down in one continuous stream,
Spans the black concave like a burning beam,
A moment; - then from end to end it shakes
With a quick motion - and in thunder breaks!
Peal rolled on peal! While heralding the sound,
As each concussion thrills the solid ground,
Fierce glares coil, snake- like, round the rocky wens
Of the red hills, or hiss into the glens,
[82] Or thick through heaven like flaming falchions swarm,
Cleaving the teeming cisterns of the storm,
From which rain- torrents, searching every gash,
Split by the blast come sheeting with a dash.
On yon grey peak, from rock- encrusted roots,
The mighty patriarch of the wood upshoots,
In whose proud-spreading top s imperial height,
The mountain-eagle loveth most to light:
Now dimly seen through the tempestuous air,
His form seems harrowed by a mad despair,
As with his ponderous arms uplifted high,
He wrestles with the storm and threshes at the sky!
A swift bolt hurtles through the lurid air,
Another thundering crash! The peak is bare!
Huge hurrying fragments all around are cast,
The wild- winged, mad- limbed monsters of the blast.
The darkness thickens! With despairing cry
From shattering boughs the rain- drenched parrtos fly;
Loose rocks roll rumbling from the mountains round,
And half the forest strews the smoking ground;
To the bared crags the blasts now wilder moan,
And the caves labour with a ghostlier groan.
[83] Wide raging torrents down the gorges flow
Swift bearing with them to the vale below
Those sylvan wrecks that littered late the path
Of the loud hurricane s all- trampling wrath.
The storm is past. Yet booming on afar
Is heard the rattling of the thunder- car,
And that low muffled moaning, as of grief,
Which follows with a wood- sigh wide and brief.
The clouds break up; the sun s forth- bursting rays
Clothe the wet landscape with a dazzling blaze;
The birds begin to sing a lively strain,
And merry echoes ring it o'er again;
The clustered herd is spreading out to graze,
Though lessening torrents still a hundred ways
Flash downward, and from many a rock ledge
A mantling gush comes quick and shining o er the edge.
'Tis evening; and the torrent's furious flow
Runs gentlier now into the lake below,
O'er all the freshened scene no sound is heard,
Save the short twitter of some busied bird,
Or a faint rustle made amongst the trees
By wasting fragments of a broken breeze.
[84] Along the wild and wreck- strewed paths I wind,
Watching earth s happiness with quiet mind,
And see a beauty all unmarked till now
Flushing each flowery nook and sunny brow;
Wished peace returning like a bird of calm,
Brings to the wounded world its blessed healing balm.
On nerveless, tuneless lines how sadly
Ringing rhymes may wasted be,
While blank verse oft is mere prose madly
Striving to be poetry:
While prose that s craggy as a mountain
May Apollo's sun-robe don,
Or hold the well- spring of a fountain
Bright as that in Helicon.