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Lit by the wan light of the hornéd moon,
The swift and silent lizard of the stones!
But stay! these walls--these ivy-clad arcades—
These mouldering plinths—these sad and blackened shafts-
These vague entablatures—this crumbling frieze-
These shattered cornices—this wreck—this ruin-
These stones-alas ! these gray stones—are they all-
All of the famed, and the colossal left
By the corrosive Hours to Fate and me?
“ Not all”—the Echoes answer me— not all !
“Prophetic sounds and loud, arise forever
“ From us, and from all Ruin, unto the wise,
“ As melody from Memnon to the Sun.
“We rule the hearts of mightiest men-we rule
“With a despotic sway all giant minds.
“ We are not impotent—we pallid stones.
“ Not all our power is gone—not all our fame-
“ Not all the magic of our high renown-
6 Not all the wonder that encircles us-
“ Not all the mysteries that in us lie-
“ Not all the memories that hang upon
“ And cling around about us as a garment,
“ Clothing us in a robe of more than glory.”
I saw thee once-once only—years ago :
I must not say
how many—but not many.
It was a July midnight; and from out
A full-orbed moon, that, like thine own soul, soaring,
Sought a precipitate pathway up through heaven,
There fell a silvery-silken veil of light,
With quietude, and sultriness, and slumber,
Upon the upturn'd faces of a thousand
Roses that grew in an enchanted garden,
Where no wind dared to stir, unless on tiptoe-
Fell on the upturn'd faces of these roses
That gave out, in return for the love-light,
Their odorous souls in an ecstatic death-
Fell on the upturn'd faces of these roses
That smiled and died in this parterre, enchanted
By thee, and by the poetry of thy presence.
Clad all in white, upon a violet bank
I saw thee half reclining; while the moon
Fell on thė upturn'd faces of the roses,
And on thine own, upturn'd--alas, in sorrow!
Was it not Fate, that, on this July midnight-
Was it not Fate, (whose name is also Sorrow,)
That bade me pause before that garden-gate,
To breathe the incense of those slumbering roses ?
No footstep stirred: the hated world all slept,
Save only thee and me. (Oh, Heaven !oh, God!
How my heart beats in coupling those two words !)
Save only thee and me.
I paused—I looked-
And in an instant all things disappeared.
(Ah, bear in mind this garden was enchanted !)
The pearly lustre of the moon went out:
The mossy banks and the meandering paths,
The happy flowers and the repining trees,
Were seen no more: the very roses' odors
Died in the arms of the adoring airs.
All—all expired save thee-save less than thou:
Save only the divine light in thine eyes-
Save but the soul in thine uplifted eyes.
I saw but them—they were the world to me.
I saw but them-saw only them for hours-
Saw only them until the moon went down.
What wild heart-histories seemed to lie enwritten
Upon those crystalline, celestial spheres !
How dark a wo! yet how sublime a hope !
How silently serene a sea of pride !
How daring an ambition ! yet how deep-
How fathomless a capacity for love!
But now, at length, dear Dian sank from sight,
Into a western couch of thunder-cloud;
And thou, a ghost, amid the entombing trees
Didst glide way. Only thine eyes remained.
They would not go—they never yet have gone.
Lighting my lonely pathway home that night,
They have not left me (as my hopes have) since.
They follow me—they lead me through the years.
They are my ministers—yet I their slave.
Their office is to illumine and enkindle-
My duty, to be saved by their bright light,
And purified in their electric fire,
And sanctified in their elysian fire.'
They fill my soul with Beauty (which is Hope,)
And are far up in Heaven—the stars I kneel to
In the sad, silent watches of my night;
While even in the meridian glare of day
I see them still—two sweetly scintillant
Venuses, unextinguished by the sun!
Not long ago, the writer of these lines,
In the mad pride of intellectuality,
of words” —denied that ever A thought arose within the human brain Beyond the utterance of the human tongue : And now, as if in mockery of that boast, Two words—two foreign soft dissyllablesItalian tones, made only to be murmured By angels dreaming in the moonlit “dew That hangs like chains of pearl on Hermon hill,”— Have stirred from out the abysses of his heart, Unthought-like thoughts that are the souls of thought, Richer, far wilder, far diviner visions Than even the seraph harper, Israfel, (Who has “the sweetest voice of all God's creatures,") Could hope to utter. And I! my spells are broken. The pen falls powerless from my shivering hand. With thy dear name as text, though bidden by thee, I cannot write—I cannot speak or thinkAlas, I cannot feel; for 'tis not feeling, This standing motionless upon the golden Threshold of the wide-open gate of dreams, Gazing, entranced, adown the gorgeous vista, And thrilling as I see, upon the right, Upon the left, and all the way along, Amid unpurpled vapors, far away To where the prospect terminates—thee only.
The skies they were ashen and sober;
The leaves they were crisped and sere
The leaves they were withering and sere;
It was night in the lonesome October
Of my most immemorial year;
It was hard by the dim lake of Auber,
In the misty mid region of Weir-
It was down the dank tarn of Auber,
In the ghoul-haunted woodland of Weir.
Here once, through an alley Titantic,
Of cypress, I roamed with my Soul
Of cypress, with Psyche, my Soul. These were days when my heart was volcanic
As the scoriac rivers that roll
As the lavas that restlessly roll Their sulphurous currents down Yaanek
In the ultimate climes of the poleThat groan as they roll down Mount Yaanek
In the realms of the boreal pole.
Our talk had been serious and sober,
But our thoughts they were palsied and sere—
Our memories were treacherous and sereFor we knew not the month was October,
And we marked not the night of the year
(Ah, night of all nights in the year!) We noted not the dim lake of Auber
(Though once we had journeyed down here) Remembered not the dank tarn of Auber,
Nor the ghoul-haunted woodland of Weir.