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And not the fixed—he knew the way to To sounds which echo further west wheedle;

| Than your sires' “Islands of the Blest.''10 So vile he 'scaped the doom which oft avenges;

The mountains look on MarathonAnd being fluent (save indeed when fee'd

| And Marathon looks on the sea; ill), He lied with such a fervour of intention

And musing there an hour alone, There was no doubt he earned his laureate

I dreamed that Greece might still be free; pension.

For standing on the Persians' grave,
I could not deem myself a slave.
A king sate on the rocky brow

Which looks o'er sea-born Salamis;
Thus, usually, when he was asked to sing,

And ships, by thousands, lay below, He gave the different nations something na- |

s something na And men in nations ;—all were his! tional;

He counted them at break of day'Twas all the same to him—“God save the

And when the sun set, where were they?
King,''
Or, “Ca ira,''4 according to the fashion all: And where are they? and where art thou,
His Muse made increment of anything,

My country? On thy voiceless shore
From the high lyric down to the low rational; | The heroic lay is tuneless now-
If Pindar5 sang horse-races, what should hinder The heroic bosom beats no more!
Himself from being as pliable as Pindar. And must thy lyre, so long divine,

Degenerate into hands like mine?

'Tis something, in the dearth of fame, In France, for instance, he would write al Though linked among a fettered race, chanson;

To feel at least a patriot's shame, In England a six canto quarto tale;

Even as I sing, suffuse my face;
In Spain he'd make a ballad or romance on

For what is left the poet here?
The last war-much the same in Portugal; | For Greeks a blush—for Greece a tear.
In Germany, the Pegasus he'd prance on
Would be old Goethe's (see what says De Must we but weep o'er days more blest?
Stael();

Must we but blush –Our fathers bled. In Italy he'd ape the “Trecentisti;'7

Earth! render back from out thy breast
eece, he'd sing some sort of hymn like A remnant of our Spartan dead!
this t'ye:

Of the three hundred grant but three,

To make a, new Thermopylæ! The isles of Greece, the isles of Greece!

What, silent still? and silent all? Where burning Sappho loved and sung,

Ah! no;—the voices of the dead Where grew the arts of war and peace,

Sound like a distant torrent's fall, Where Delos8 rose, and Phæbus sprung!

And answer, “Let one living head, Eternal summer gilds them yet,

But one arise,—we come, we come!” But all, except their sun, is set.

'Tis but the living who are dumb.

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In

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The Scian and the Teian muse, 9

In vain-in vain: strike other chords; The hero's harp, the lover's lute,

Fill high the cup with Samian wine! Have found the fame your shores refuse: Leave battles to the Turkish hordes, Their place of birth alone is mute

And shed the blood of Scio's vine!

Hark! rising to the ignoble call4 A song of the French 7 Writers in the Ital- | How answers each bold Bacchanal! revolution.

ian style of the ists, . "It will suc

14th century. ceed."

8 The birth-place of You have the Pyrrhic dance11 as yet; 5 An ancient Greek

Phoebus Apollo. poet who com 9 Homer was some

Where is the Pyrrhic phalanx12 gone? posed songs in

times said to | Of two such lessons, why forget honor of the vic

have been born on tors in the na

the isle of Chios

The nobler and the manlier one? tional games, for

(Italian name, which he was 'Scio). Anacreon | 10 The fabled Western Isles, lying somewhere in doubtless well re

was born at Teios the Atlantic. munerated.

in Asia Minor. 11 A war-dance. 6 Madame de Staël had lately written a book on 12 The Greek phalanx as employed by the great Germany.

general, Pyrrhus.

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78

You have the letters Cadmus13 gave

His strain displayed some feeling-right or Think ye he meant them for a slave? 60 wrong;

And feeling, in a poet, is the source Fill high the bowl with Samian wine!

Of others' feeling; but they are such liars, We will not think of themes like these!

And take all colours—like the hands of dyers. 19 It made Anacreon's song divine; He served—but served Polycrates14—

88 A tyrant; but our masters then

But words are things, and a small drop of ink, Were still, at least, our countrymen.

Falling like dew, upon a thought, produces

That which makes thousands, perhaps millions, The tyrant of the Chersonese15

think; Was freedom's best and bravest friend ;

'Tis strange, the shortest letter which man That tyrant was Miltiades!

uses • Oh! that the present hour would lend

Instead of speech, may form a lasting link Another despot of the kind!

Of ages; to what straits old Time reduces Such chains as his were sure to bind.

Frail man when paper—even a rag like this, Fill high the bowl with Samian wine!

Survives himself, his tomb, and all that's his! On Suli's rock, and Parga's shore, 16 Exists the remnant of a line

101 Such as the Doric mothers bore; And there, perhaps, some seed is sown,

T' our tale.—The feast was over, the slaves The Heracleidan17 blood might own.

gone,

The dwarfs and dancing girls had all retired: Trust not for freedom to the Franks

The Arab lore and poet's song were done, They have a king who buys and sells;

And every sound of revelry expired; In native swords and native ranks,

The lady and her lover, left alone, The only hope of courage dwells:

The rosy flood of twilight's sky admired; But Turkish force, and Latin fraud,

Ave Maria! o'er the earth and sea, Would break your shield, however broad. 84

That heavenliest hour of Heaven is worthiest Fill high the bowl with Samian wine!

thee!

102 Our virgins dance beneath the shadeI see their glorious black eyes shine;

Ave Maria! blessed be the hour! But gazing on each glowing maid,

The time, the clime, the spot, where I so oft

Have felt that moment in its fullest power My own the burning tear-drop laves, To think such breasts must suckle slaves. 90 | Sink o'er the earth so beautiful and soft,

While swung the deep bell in the distant tower, Place me on Sunium's18 marbled steep,

Or the faint dying day-hymn stole aloft, Where nothing, save the waves and I,

And not a breath crept through the rosy air, May hear our mutual murmurs sweep;

And yet the forest leaves seemed stirred with There, swan-like, let me sing and die:

prayer. A land of slaves shall ne'er be mine

103 Dash down yon cup of Samian wine!

96 | Ave Maria! 't is the hour of prayer!

: Ave Maria! 't is the hour of love!

Ave Maria! may our spirits dare Thus sung, or would, or could, or should have Look up to thine and to thy Son's above!

Ave Maria! oh that face so fair! sung, The modern Greek, in tolerable verse;

Those downcast eyes beneath the Almighty If not like Orpheus quite, when Greece was doveyoung,

What though 't is but a pictured image?Yet in these times he might have done much

strikeworse :

That painting is no idol,—'t is too like.

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13 Cadmus was said to have introduced the Greek

104 alphabet from Phænicia. 14 Tyrant (ruler) of Samos, who gave refuge to Some kinder casuists are pleased to say. Anacreon.

In nameless print-that I have no devotion; 13 A Thracian peninsula. 16 In western Greece.

But set those persons down with me to pray, 17 i. e., ancient Greek 18 The southernmost promontory of Attica. | 19 Shakespeare: Sonnet 111.

(1792-1822)

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throng

And you shall see who has the properest | PERCY BYSSHE SHELLEY

notion Of getting into heaven the shortest way;

My altars are the mountains and the ocean, Earth. air. stars.-all that springs from thé | ALASTOR, OR THE SPIRIT OF SOLITUDE* great Whole,

Nondum amabam, et amare amabam, quærebam Who hath produced, and will receive the soul. I quid amarem, amans amare.f-Confes. St. August.

PREFACE

The poem entitled Alastor may be considered as Sweet hour of twilight!-in the solitude allegorical of one of the most interesting situations

of the human mind. It represents a youth of unOf the pine forest, and the silent shore

corrupted feelings and adventurous genius led forth Which bounds Ravenna's immemorial wood, by an imagination inflamed and purified through

familiarity with all that is excellent and majestic. Rooted where once the Adrian20 wave flowed

to the contemplation of the universe. He drinks o'er,

deep of the fountains of knowledge, and is still

insatiate. The magnificence and beauty of the To where the last Cæsarean fortress stood,

external world sinks profoundly into the frame of Evergreen forest! which Boccaccio's lore his conceptions, and affords to their modifications

a variety not to be exhausted. So long as it is And Dryden's lay made haunted ground to

possible for his desires to point towards objects me,21

thus infinite and unmeasured, he is joyous, and How have I loved the twilight hour and thee!

tranquil, and self-possessed. But the period arrives when these objects cease to suffice. His mind is at length suddenly awakened and thirsts for intercourse with an intelligence similar to itself. He

images to himself the Being whom he loves. ConThe shrill cicalas, people of the pine,

versant with speculations of the sublimest and Making their summer lives one ceaseless song, most perfect natures, the vision in which he em

bodies his own imaginations unites all of wonderWere the sole echoes, save my steed's and

ful, or wise, or beautiful, which the poet, the mine,

philosopher, or the lover, could depicture. The

intellectual faculties, the imagination, the funcAnd vesper bell's that rose the boughs along;

tions of sense, have their respective requisitions on The spectre huntsman of Onesti's line,

the sympathy of corresponding powers in other His hell-dogs, and their chase, and the fair

human beings. The Poet is represented as uniting these requisitions, and attaching them to a single

image. He seeks in vain for a prototype of his Which learned from this example not to fly conception. Blasted by his disappointment, he

descends to an untimely grave. From a true lover,--shadowed my mind's eye. The picture is not barren of instruction to

actual men. The Poet's self-centred seclusion was avenged by the furies of an irresistible passion

pursuing him to speedy ruin. But that Power Oh, Hesperus! thou bringest all good things which strikes the luminaries of the world with Home to the weary, to the hungry cheer,

sudden darkness and extinction by awakening

them to too exquisite a perception of its influTo the young bird the parent's brooding wings,

The welcome stall to the o'erlaboured steer; | * The word Alastor means "the spirit of solitude," Whate'er of peace about our hearthstone clings,

which is treated here as a spirit of evil, or

a spirit leading to disaster : it must not be Whate'er our household gods protect of dear, mistaken for the name of the hero of the

poem. In the introduction (lines 1-49) ShelAre gathered round us by thy look of rest;

ley speaks in his own person, but the Poet Thou hring 'st the child, too, to the mother's whose history he then proceeds to relate bears

very markedly his own traits, and the whole breast.

must be considered as largely a spiritual au108

tobiography. It is difficult to resist calling

attention to some of the features of this Soft hour! which wakes the wish and melts impressive poem; to its quiet mastery of the heart

theme and sustained poetic power to its

blank-verse harmonies subtler than rhymes ; Of those who sail the seas, on the first day

to the graphic descriptions, as in lines 239When they from their sweet friends are torn

369, whence Bryant, l'oe, and Tennyson have

manifestly all drawn inspiration : to occaapart;

sional lines of an impelling swiftness (612, Or fills with love the pilgrim on his way

613), or occasional phrases of startling

strength (676, 681); to the fervent exaltaAs the far bell of vesper makes him start,

tion of self-sacrifice in the prayer that one Seeming to weep the dying day's decay;

life might arswer for all, and the pangs of

death be henceforth banished from the world Is this a fancy which our reason scorns?

(609-624); or to the unapproachable beauty Ah! surely, nothing dies but something

of the description of slow-coming death itself

-a euthanasia in which life passes away like mourns!

a strain of music or like an "exhalation."

There can be no higher definition of poetry 20 The Adriatic.

than is implicit in these things. 21 Dryden's Theodore and Tonoria is a translation † "Not yet did I love, yet I yearned to love; I

from Boccaccio of the tale of a spectre hunts sought what I might love, yearning to love." man who haunted this region. Byron lived In this vain pursuit of ideal loveliness, said for some time at Ravenna and frequently rode Mrs. Shelley, is the deeper meaning of in the adjoining forest.

Alastor to be found.

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ences, dooms to a slow and poisonous decay those | Like an inspired and desperate alchemist meaner spirits that dare to abjure its dominion. Their destiny is more abject and inglorious as Staking his very life on some dark hope, their delinquency is more contemptible and per- Have I mixed awful talk and asking looks nicious. They who, deluded by no generous error, instigated by no sacred thirst of doubtful knowl

With my most innocent love, until strange edge, duped by no illustrious superstition, loving

tears nothing on this earth, and cherishing no hopes beyond. vet keep aloof 'from sympathies with their | Uniting with those breathless kisses, made kind, rejoicing neither in human joy normourning Such magic as compels the charmèd night with human grief; these, and such as they, have their apportioned curse. They languish, because

To render up thy charge: and, though ne'er none feel with them their common nature. They

yet are morally dead. They are neither friends, nor

Thou hast unveiled thy inmost sanctuary, lovers, nor fathers, nor citizens of the world, nor benefactors of their country. Among those who attempt to exist without human sympathy, the | And twilight phantasms, and deep noonday pure and tender-hearted perish through the intensity and passion of their search after its com

thought,

40 munities, when the vacancy of their spirit sud

OW denly makes itself felt. All else, selfish, blind, and torpid, are those unforeseeing multitudes who constitute, together with their own, the lasting Suspended in the solitary dome misery and loneliness of the world. Those who love not their fellow-beings live unfruitful lives,

rted and prepare for their old age a miserable grave.

"The good die first, And those whose hearts are dry as summer dust,

strain Burn to the socket!”

May modulate with murmurs of the air, December 14, 1815.

And motions of the forests and the sea, Earth, ocean, air, beloved brotherhood!

And voice of living beings, and woven hymns If our great Mother has imbued my soul Of night and day, and the deep heart of man. With aught of natural pietyi to feel Your love, and recompense the boon with mine;

There was a Poet whose untimely tomb 50 If dewy morn, and odorous noon, and even, No human hands with pious reverence reared, With sunset and its gorgeous ministers,

But the charmed eddies of autumnal winds And solemn midnight's tingling silentness; Built o'er his mouldering bones a pyramid If autumn's hollow sighs in the serĄ wood, Of mouldering leaves in the waste wilderness:And winter robing with pure snow and crowns A lovely youth,—no mourning maiden decked Of starry ice the gray grass and bare boughs; / With weeping flowers, or votive cypress wreath, If spring's voluptuous pantings when she | The lone couch of his everlasting sleep :breathes

Gentle, and brave, and generous,-no lorn bard Her first sweet kisses,—have been dear to me; Breathed o'er his dark fate one melodious sigh: If no bright bird, insect, or gentle beast He lived, he died, he sung, in solitude. 60 I consciously have injured, but still loved

Strangers have wept to hear his passionate And cherished these my kindred; then forgive my kindred; then forgive

notes, This boast, beloved brethren, and withdraw

| And virgins, as unknown he passed, have pined No portion of your wonted favour now! And wasted for fond love of his wild eyes.

The fire of those soft orbs has ceased to burn, Mother of this unfathomable world!

And Silence, too enamoured of that voice, Favour my solemn song, for I have loved

Locks its mute music in her rugged cell. Thee ever, and thee only; I have watched 20 Thy shadow, and the darkness of thy steps, And my heart ever gazes on the depth ? By solemn vision, and bright silver dream, Of thy deep mysteries. I have made my bed | His infancy was nurtured. Every sight In charnels and on coffins,2 where black death And sound from the vast earth and ambient air Keeps record of the trophies won from thee,

Sent to his heart its choicest impulses, 70 Hoping to still these obstinate questionings3

The fountains of divine philosophy Of thee and thine, by forcing some lone ghost, Fled not his thirsting lips, and all of great, Thy messenger, to render up the tale

Or good, or lovely, which the sacred past Of what we are. In lone and silent hours, In truth or fable consecrates, he felt When night makes a weird sound of its own And knew. When early youth had passed, he stillness,

left 1 Wordsworth's phrase; see his My Heart Leaps

His cold fireside and alienated home Up, p. 422.

To seek strange truths in undiscovered lands. 2 According to Hogg, Shelley had actually done Many a wide waste and tangled wilderness

this. 3 Wordsworth's Ode on Immortality, line 142. Has lured his fearless steps; and he has bought

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eath

With his sweet voice and eyes, from savage! Meanwhile an Arab maiden brought his food, men,

80 IIer daily portion, from her father's tent, 130 His rest and food. Nature's most secret steps And sprcad her matting for his couch, and stole He like her shadow has pursued, where'er From duties and repose to tend his steps:The red volcano overcanopies

Enamoured, yet not daring for deep awe Its fields of snow and pinnacles of ice

To speak her love:-and watched his nightly With burning smoke, or where bitumen lakes

sleep, On black bare pointed islets ever beat

Sleepless herself, to gaze upon his lips With sluggish surge, or where the secret caves Parted in slumber, whence the regular bre Rugged and dark, winding among the springs Of innocent dreams arose: then, when red morn Of fire and poison, inaccessible

Made paler the pale moon, to her cold home To avarice or pride, their starry domes

Wildered, and wan, and panting, she returned. Of diamond and of gold expand above Numberless and immeasurable halls,

The Poet wandering on, through Arabie 140 Frequent with crystal column, and clear shrines And Persia, and the wild (armanian waste, Of pearl, and thrones radiant with chrysolite. And o'er the aërial mountains which pour down Vor had that scene of ampler majesty

Indus and Oxus from their icy caves, Than gems or gold, the varying roof of heaven In joy and exultation held his way; And the green earth, lost in his heart its claims | Till in the vale of Cashmire,3 far within To love and wonder; he would linger long Its loneliest dell, where odorous plants entwine In lonesome vales, making the wild his home, Beneath the hollow rocks a natural bower, Until the doves and squirrels would partake 100 Beside a sparkling rivulet he stretched From his innocuous hand his bloodless food, His languid limbs. A vision on his sleep 119 Lured by the gentle meaning of his looks,

There came, a dream of hopes that never yet And the wild antelope, that starts whene'er IIad flushed his cheek. Ile dreamed a veiled 'The dry leaf rustles in the brake, suspend

maid Her timid steps to gaze upon a form

Sate near him, talking in low solemn tones. More graceful than her own.

ITer voice was like the voice of his own soul
IIeard in the calm of thought; its music long,

Like woven sounds of streams and breezes, held
His wandering step,

Ilis inmost sense suspended in its web Obedient to high thoughts, has visited

Of many-coloured woof and shifting hues. The awful ruins of the days of oll:

Knowledge and truth and virtue were her theme, Athens, and Tyre, and Balbec, and the waste

And lofty hopes of divine liberty, Where stood Jerusalem, the fallen towers 110

Thcughts the most dear to him, and poesy, 160 Of Babylon, the eternal pyramids,

Herself a poet. Soon the solemn mood Memphis and Thebes, and whatsoe'er of strange Of her pure mind kindled through all her frame Sculptured on alabaster obelisk,

A permeating fire: wild numbers then Or jasper tomb, or mutilated sphinx,

She raised, with voice stifled in tremulous sobs Dark Ethiopia in her desert hills

Subdued by its own pathos: her fair hands Conceals. Among the ruined temples there,

| Were bare alone, sweeping from some strange Stupendous columns, and wild images Of more than man, where marble demons watch

Strange symphony, and in their branching veins The Zodiac's brazen mystery,1 and dead men

The eloquent blood told an ineffable tale. Hang their mute thoughts on the mute walls

The beating of her heart was heard to fill around,

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The pauses of her music, and her breath 170 He lingered, poring on memorials

Tumultuously accorded with those fits Of the world's youth, through the long burning

Of intermitted song. Sudden she rose, day

As if her heart impatiently endured Gazed on those speechless shapes, nor, when the

Its bursting burthen: at the sound he turned, moon

And saw by the warm light of their own life Filled the mysterious halls with floating shades

Her glowing limbs beneath the sinuous veil Suspended he that task, but ever gazed

Of woven wind, her outspread arms now bare, And gazed, till meaning on his vacant mind

Her dark locks floating in the breath of night, Flashell like strong inspiration, and he saw

Her beamy bending eyes, her parted lips 179 The thrilling secrets of the birth of time.

2 The desert of Kirman, Persia. 1 Figures on the temple of Denderah in Upper 3 In central Asia ; poetically regarded as an earthly Egypt.

paradise.

harp

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