Page images
PDF
EPUB

Why should I ope thy melancholy eyes?
Saturn ! sleep on, while at thy feet I weep."

[ocr errors]

350

355

360

As when upon a tranced summer-night
Forests, branch-charmed by the earnest stars,
Dream, and so dream all night without a noise,
Save from one gradual solitary gust
Swelling upon the silence, dying off,
As if the ebbing air had but one wave,
So came these words and went; the while in tears
She prest her fair large forehead to the earth,
Just where her fallen hair might spread in curls,
A soft and silken net for Saturn's feet.
Long, long these two were postured motionless,
Like sculpture builded-up upon the grave
Of their own power. A long awful time
I look'd upon them : still they were the same;
The frozen God still bending to the earth,
And the sad Goddess weeping at his feet;
Moneta silent. Without stay or prop
But my own weak mortality, I bore
The load of this eternal quietude,
The unchanging gloom and the three fixed shapes
Ponderous upon my senses, a whole moon;
For by my burning brain I measured sure
Her silver seasons shedded on the night,
And every day by day methought I grew
More gaunt and ghostly. Oftentimes I pray'd
Intense, that death would take me from the vale
And all its burthens; gasping with despair
Of change, hour after hour I curs'd myself,
Until old Saturn rais'd his faded eyes,

365

370

375

(376-9) Compare Hyperion, Book I, lines 89-92.

And look'd around and saw his kingdom gone,
And all the gloom and sorrow of the place,
And that fair kneeling Goddess at his feet.

381

As the moist scent of flowers, and grass, and leaves, Fills forest-dells with a pervading air, Known to the woodland nostril, so the words Of Saturn fill'd the mossy glooms around, Even to the hollows of time-eaten oaks, And to the windings of the foxes' hole,

385 With sad, low tones, while thus he spoke, and sent Strange moanings to the solitary Pan. "Moan, brethren, moan, for we are swallow'd up And buried from all godlike exercise Of influence benign on planets pale,

390 And peaceful sway upon man's harvesting, And all those acts which Deity supreme Doth ease its heart of love in. Moan and wail ; Moan, brethren, moan; for lo, the rebel spheres Spin round; the stars their ancient courses keep; 395 Clouds still with shadowy moisture haunt the earth, Still suck their fill of light from sun and moon; Still buds the tree, and still the seashores murmur; There is no death in all the universe, No smell of death.-There shall be death. Moan, moan;

400 Moan, Cybele, moan; for thy pernicious babes Have chang'd a god into an aching palsy. Moan, brethren, moan, for I have no strength left; Weak as the reed, weak, feeble as my voice. Oh! Oh! the pain, the pain of feebleness ;

405 Moan, moan, for still I thaw; or give me help;

(388-93) Compare Book I, lines 106-12.

Throw down those imps, and give me victory.
Let me hear other groans, and trumpets blown
Of triumph calm, and hymns of festival,
From the gold peaks of heaven's high-piled clouds; 410
Voices of soft proclaim, and silver stir
Of strings in hollow shells; and there shall be
Beautiful things made new, for the surprise
Of the sky-children.” So he feebly ceased,
With such a poor and sickly-sounding pause, 415
Methought I heard some old man of the earth
Bewailing earthly loss; nor could my eyes
And ears act with that unison of sense
Which marries sweet sound with the grace of form,
And dolorous accent from a tragic harp

420 With large-limb'd visions. More I scrutinized. Still fixt he sat beneath the sable trees, Whose arms spread straggling in wild serpent forms, With leaves all hush'd ; his awful presence there (Now all was silent) gave a deadly lie

425 To what I erewhile heard: only his lips Trembled amid the white curls of his beard ; They told the truth, though round the snowy locks Hung nobly, as upon the face of heaven A mid-day fleece of clouds. Thea arose,

430 And stretcht her white arm through the hollow dark, Pointing some whither : whereat he too rose, Like a vast giant, seen by men at sea To grow pale from the waves at dull midnight. They melted from my sight into the woods;

435 Ere I could turn, Moneta cry'd, “These twain Are speeding to the families of grief, Where, rooft in by black rocks, they waste in pain

(408-14) Compare Book I, lines 127-33.

440

And darkness, for no hope.” And she spake on,
As ye may read who can unwearied pass
Onward from the antechamber of this dream,
Where, even at the open doors, awhile
I must delay, and glean my memory
Of her high phrase-perhaps no further dare.

END OF CANTO I.

CANTO II.

5

“Mortal, that thou may'st understand aright,
I humanize my sayings to thine ear,
Making comparisons of earthly things;
Or thou might'st better listen to the wind,
Whose language is to thee a barren noise,
Though it blows legend-laden thro' the trees.
In melancholy realms big tears are shed,
More sorrow like to this, and such like woe,
Too huge for mortal tongue or pen of scribe.
The Titans fierce, self-hid or prison-bound,
Groan for the old allegiance once more,
Listening in their doom for Saturn's voice.
But one of the whole eagle-brood still keeps
His sovereignty, and rule, and majesty:
Blazing Hyperion on his orbed fire
Still sits, still snuffs the incense teeming up
From Man to the Sun's God-yet insecure.
For as upon the earth dire prodigies
Fright and perplex, so also shudders he;

10

15

(7) The remainder of this fragment should be compared in detail with the maturer version, Book I, lines 158-217.

20

Not at dog's howl or gloom-bird's hated screech,
Or the familiar visiting of one
Upon the first toll of his passing bell,
Or prophesyings of the midnight lamp;
But horrors, portioned to a giant nerve,
Make great Hyperion ache. His palace bright, 25
Bastion’d with pyramids of shining gold,
And touch'd with shade of bronzed obelisks,
Glares a blood-red thro' all the thousand courts,
Arches, and domes, and fiery galleries;
And all its curtains of Aurorian clouds

30 Flash angerly; when he would taste the wreaths Of incense breath'd aloft from sacred hills, Instead of sweets, his ample palate takes Savour of poisonous brass and metals sick; Wherefore when harbour'd in the sleepy West, 35 After the full completion of fair day, For rest divine upon exalted couch, And slumber in the arms of melody, He paces through the pleasant hours of ease, With strides colossal, on from hall to hall,

40 While far within each aisle and deep recess His winged minions in close clusters stand Amaz'd, and full of fear; like anxious men, Who on a wide plain gather in sad troops, When earthquakes jar their battlements and towers. 45 Even now where Saturn, rous'd from icy trance, Goes step for step with Thea from yon woods, Hyperion, leaving twilight in the rear, Is sloping to the threshold of the West. Thither we tend.” Now in clear light I stood, 50 Reliev'd from the dusk vale. Mnemosyne Was sitting on a square-edg'd polish'd stone, That in its lucid depth reflected pure

« PreviousContinue »