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now begins generated list of local instances, definitions, quotes, instances in chapters, wordnet info if available and instances among weblinks









The Room of Portals
the Room of Portals



Portal: A permanent Gate, allowing access to or from (not always both) a particular location. Portals can be keyed to allow only certain access or certain times of activation or any number of security measures.

Portal: A permanent Gate, typically guarded by puzzles, wards, guardian creatures, and/ or other precautions.

portal ::: a doorway, entrance, or gate, especially one that is large and imposing.

portal ::: n. --> A door or gate; hence, a way of entrance or exit, especially one that is grand and imposing.
The lesser gate, where there are two of different dimensions.
Formerly, a small square corner in a room separated from the rest of the apartment by wainscoting, forming a short passage to another apartment.
By analogy with the French portail, used by recent writers

PORTAL ::: Process-Oriented Real-Time Algorithmic Language.[PORTAL - A Pascal-based Real-Time Programming Language, R. Schild in Algorithmic Languages, J.W. deBakker et al eds, N-H 1981].

PORTAL Process-Oriented Real-Time Algorithmic Language. ["PORTAL - A Pascal-based Real-Time Programming Language", R. Schild in Algorithmic Languages, J.W. deBakker et al eds, N-H 1981].

portal "web" A {website} that aims to be an entry point to the {web}, typically offering a {search engine} and/or links to useful pages, and possibly news or other services. These services are usually provided for free in the hope that users will make the site their default {home page} or at least visit it often. Popular examples are {Yahoo} and {MSN}. Most portals on the {Internet} exist to generate advertising income for their owners, others may be focused on a specific group of users and may be part of an {intranet} or {extranet}. Some may just concentrate on one particular subject, say technology or medicine, and are known as a {vertical portals}. (2001-07-07)


Babel (Hebrew) Bābāh The inner meaning of the Tower of Babel, by which it was hoped that divinity might be reached or attained, is a house of initiation, a gate, portal, opening, or entrance to the divine. The physical tower was both the building set aside to house and protect the initiation chambers, together with the ceremonies that take place in them, and an architectural emblem to signify a raising up towards heaven. The tower may have either a divine or evil significance, either haughty pride and self-sufficiency or spiritual aspiration. Similar is the lightning-struck tower of the Tarot cards, and the Arabian Nights story of the man who built a palace completely except only for a roc’s egg to hang in the dome, and when the egg is thus hung, the whole palace collapses. The work of the black magician, building from below upwards, is impermanent and, when it strikes the sky, is blasted. If such a tower and system be followed by adepts of the left-hand path for ultimate and foredestined confusion, it is one thing; but if the tower and its inner mysteries be in the charge of adepts of the right-hand path, it is another. The concentration of the narrator in the Bible concerning the Tower of Babel seems to have been entirely upon its aspect of left-hand magic.

Book of the Dead, Egyptian The name given to certain ancient papyri of the Egyptian, more correctly called Pert em hru (coming forth into day or light). They have been discovered in many of the tombs, interred with the mummies. Although by no means the only text of importance coming down from the ancient Egyptians, it is a work of extreme antiquity, containing the system expounded by the priests, and is far older than the two other extant works known as the Book of the Pylons and the Book of the Tuat. The work depicts in symbolic form the afterdeath state, as presented by the priests to the populace of Egypt. The soul is depicted in the guise of a pilgrim, journeying through various halls, at the portals of each of which he was obliged to give a correct answer — an account of the life he had lived upon earth. The pilgrim eventually reached the judgment hall, within which he was tried by the company of gods and goddesses. Before Osiris his heart was placed in a balance to testify for or against him. If he passed the test satisfactorily, he was permitted by Osiris to enter his domain and become as one of the deities.

Portal: A permanent Gate, allowing access to or from (not always both) a particular location. Portals can be keyed to allow only certain access or certain times of activation or any number of security measures.

Portal: A permanent Gate, typically guarded by puzzles, wards, guardian creatures, and/ or other precautions.

Community of Massive Gaming Agency "body" (CMGA) An online {gaming portal} introduced by German Telekom. (2003-06-15)

Community of Massive Gaming Agency ::: (body) (CMGA) An online gaming portal introduced by the German Telekom.(2003-06-15)

CompuServe Information Service "company" (CIS, CompuServe Interactive Services). An ISP and on-line service {portal} based in Columbus, Ohio, USA; part of {AOL} since February 1998. CIS was founded in 1969 as a computer {time-sharing service}. Along with {AOL} and {Prodigy}, CIS was one of the first pre-Internet, on-line services for consumers, providing {bulletin boards}, on-line conferencing, business news, sports and weather, financial transactions, {electronic mail}, {Usenet} news, travel and entertainment data and on-line editions of computer publications. CIS was originally run by {CompuServe Corporation}. In 1979, CompuServe was the first service to offer {electronic mail} and technical support to personal computer users. In 1980 they were the first to offer {real-time} {chat} with its CB Simulator. By 1982, the company had formed its Network Services Division to provide wide-area networking to corporate clients. Initially mostly serving the USA, in 1986 they developed a Japanese version called NIFTYSERVE. In 1989, they expanded into Europe and became a leading {Internet service provider}. In 2001 they released version 7.0 of their client program. {CompuServe home (}. (2009-04-02)

digital dashboard "software" A personalised desktop {portal} that focuses on {business intelligence} and {knowledge management}. {Microsoft}'s version has a launch screen including stock quotes, voice mail and e-mail messages, a calendar, a weather forecast, traffic information, access to news feeds, customer and sales data, and Internet conferences. A digital dashboard might previously have been thought of as an executive information system. In the future, digital dashboards could be available on {personal digital assistants} and mobile phones. ["Gates pitches 'digital dashboards' to bevy of top CEOs", Bob Trott, pub. InfoWorld Electric, 1999-05-19]. (1999-09-14)

digital dashboard ::: (software) A personalised desktop portal that focuses on business intelligence and knowledge management.Microsoft's version has a launch screen including stock quotes, voice mail and e-mail messages, a calendar, a weather forecast, traffic information, access to system. In the future, digital dashboards could be available on personal digital assistants and cellular phones.[Gates pitches 'digital dashboards' to bevy of top CEOs, Bob Trott, pub. InfoWorld Electric, 1999-05-19]. (1999-09-14)

Gate: A temporary magickal bridge between places. (See Portal.)

holocaust ::: “The Mother not only governs all from above but she descends into this lesser triple universe. Impersonally, all things here, even the movements of the Ignorance, are herself in veiled power and her creations in diminished substance, her Nature-body and Nature-force, and they exist because, moved by the mysterious fiat of the Supreme to work out something that was there in the possibilities of the Infinite, she has consented to the great sacrifice and has put on like a mask the soul and forms of the Ignorance. But personally too she has stooped to descend here into the Darkness that she may lead it to the Light, into the Falsehood and Error that she may convert it to the Truth, into this Death that she may turn it to godlike Life, into this world-pain and its obstinate sorrow and suffering that she may end it in the transforming ecstasy of her sublime Ananda. In her deep and great love for her children she has consented to put on herself the cloak of this obscurity, condescended to bear the attacks and torturing influences of the powers of the Darkness and the Falsehood, borne to pass though the portals of the birth that is a death, taken upon herself the pangs and sorrows and sufferings of the creation, since it seemed that thus alone could it be lifted to the Light and Joy and Truth and eternal Life. This is the great sacrifice called sometimes the sacrifice of the Purusha, but much more deeply the holocaust of Prakriti, the sacrifice of the Divine Mother.” The Mother

I: (C.) The One, which is engendered by Tao and which in turn engenders the Two (yin and yang). (Lao Tzu.) "The Formless is the One. The One has no compare in the universe . . . It is the Great Infinite and forms the Unity. It is the life of myriad generations, everlasting without beginning, and most mysterious. It enfolds the universe and opens the portal of Tao. . . . When the One is established and the myriad things are engendered, there is Tao." (Huai-nan Tzu, d. 112 B.C.) Unity of mind, "not allowing one impression to harm another." (Hsun Tzu c 335-c 288 B.C.) The number for Heaven, as two is the number for Earth. See Ta i and T'a i.

interlobular ::: a. --> Between lobules; as, the interlobular branches of the portal vein.

machicolation ::: n. --> An opening between the corbels which support a projecting parapet, or in the floor of a gallery or the roof of a portal, shooting or dropping missiles upen assailants attacking the base of the walls. Also, the construction of such defenses, in general, when of this character. See Illusts. of Battlement and Castle.
The act of discharging missiles or pouring burning or melted substances upon assailants through such apertures.

Microcosm(Greek) ::: A compound meaning "little arrangement," "little world," a term applied by ancient and modernmystics to man when considering the seven, ten, and even twelve aspects or phases or organic parts of hisconstitution, from the superdivine down to and even below the physical body.Just as throughout the macrocosm there runs one law, one fundamental consciousness, one essentialorderly arrangement and habitude to which everything contained within the encompassing macrocosm ofnecessity conforms, just so does every such contained entity or thing, because it is an inseparable part ofthe macrocosm, contain in itself, evolved or unevolved, implicit or explicit, active or latent, everythingthat the macrocosm contains -- whether energy, power, substance, matter, faculty, or what not. Themicrocosm, therefore, considered as man or indeed any other organic entity, is correctly viewed as areflection or copy in miniature of the great macrocosm, the former being contained, with hosts of otherslike it, within the encircling frontiers of the macrocosm. Thus it was stated by the ancient mystics that thedestiny of man, the microcosm, is coeval with the universe or macrocosm. Their origin is the same, theirenergies and substances are the same, and their future is the same, of course mutatis mutandis. It was novain figment of imagination and no idle figure of speech which brought the ancient mystics to declareman to be a son of the Boundless.The teaching is one of the most suggestive and beautiful in the entire range of the esoteric philosophy,and the deductions that the intuitive student will immediately draw from this teaching themselvesbecome keys opening even larger portals of understanding. The universe, the macrocosm, is thus seen tobe the home of the microcosm or man, in the former of which the latter is at home everywhere.

Paramita (Sanskrit) Pāramitā [from pāram beyond + ita gone from the verbal root i to go] Gone or crossed to the other shore; derivatively, virtue or perfection. The paramitas vary in number according to the Buddhist school: some quoting six, others seven or ten; but they are the glorious or transcendental virtues — the keys to the portals of jnana (wisdom). Blavatsky gives these seven keys as (VS 47-8): 1) dana “the key of charity and love immortal”; 2) sila (good character), “the key of Harmony in word and act, the key that counterbalances the cause and the effect, and leaves no further room for Karmic action”; 3) kshanti, “patience sweet, that nought can ruffle”; 4) viraga, “indifference to pleasure and to pain, illusion conquered, truth alone perceived”; 5) virya (strength, power), “the dauntless energy that fights its way to the supernal TRUTH, out of the mire of lies terrestrial”; 6) dhyana (profound spiritual-intellectual contemplation, with utter detachment from all objects of sense and of a lower mental character), human consciousness in the higher reaches of this state becomes purely buddhic, with the summit of the manas acting as vehicle for the retention of what the percipient consciousness experiences; once the golden gate of dhyana is opened, the pathway stretching thence leads towards the realm of “Sat eternal”; and 7) prajna (understanding, wisdom), that part of the mind that functions when active as the vehicle of the higher self; “the key to which makes of man a god, creating him a Bodhisattva, son of the Dhyanis.”

parumbilical ::: a. --> Near the umbilicus; -- applied especially to one or more small veins which, in man, connect the portal vein with the epigastric veins in the front wall of the abdomen.

Pastophori (Greek) Shrine-bearers; a class of candidates for initiation, especially in ancient Egypt, who bore the coffin containing the defunct — the sun god killed and resurrected — in the ceremony at which a candidate for higher initiation has to pass through the portals of death.

portal ::: a doorway, entrance, or gate, especially one that is large and imposing.

portal ::: n. --> A door or gate; hence, a way of entrance or exit, especially one that is grand and imposing.
The lesser gate, where there are two of different dimensions.
Formerly, a small square corner in a room separated from the rest of the apartment by wainscoting, forming a short passage to another apartment.
By analogy with the French portail, used by recent writers

PORTAL ::: Process-Oriented Real-Time Algorithmic Language.[PORTAL - A Pascal-based Real-Time Programming Language, R. Schild in Algorithmic Languages, J.W. deBakker et al eds, N-H 1981].

PORTAL Process-Oriented Real-Time Algorithmic Language. ["PORTAL - A Pascal-based Real-Time Programming Language", R. Schild in Algorithmic Languages, J.W. deBakker et al eds, N-H 1981].

portal "web" A {website} that aims to be an entry point to the {web}, typically offering a {search engine} and/or links to useful pages, and possibly news or other services. These services are usually provided for free in the hope that users will make the site their default {home page} or at least visit it often. Popular examples are {Yahoo} and {MSN}. Most portals on the {Internet} exist to generate advertising income for their owners, others may be focused on a specific group of users and may be part of an {intranet} or {extranet}. Some may just concentrate on one particular subject, say technology or medicine, and are known as a {vertical portals}. (2001-07-07)

port ::: n. --> A dark red or purple astringent wine made in Portugal. It contains a large percentage of alcohol.
A passageway; an opening or entrance to an inclosed place; a gate; a door; a portal.
An opening in the side of a vessel; an embrasure through which cannon may be discharged; a porthole; also, the shutters which close such an opening.
A passageway in a machine, through which a fluid, as steam,

QNX "operating system" A {realtime}, network distributed, {POSIX}-certified, {microkernel}, multi-user, {multitasking}, {ROMable}, {fault-tolerant}, embeddable {operating system} that supports {TCP/IP}, {NFS}, {FTP}, the {X Window System}, {Microsoft Windows} as a guest process, {Ethernet}, {Token Ring}, {Arcnet} and {Watcom} {ANSI C}/{C++}. Support for {Pentium}, {486}, {386}, {286}, {80x87}. Developed and distributed by QNX Software Systems, Ltd. {QNX Home (}. {OpenQNX: The QNX community portal (}. {Papers (}. ( {Usenet} newsgroup: {news:comp.os.qnx}. E-mail: "". (2003-07-27)

renal-portal ::: a. --> Both renal and portal. See Portal.

Sangariel —an angel who guards the portals of

Shamshiel would be posted at the portal of the 1st Heaven. Which leaves Shamshiel where?

sportal ::: a. --> Of or pertaining to sports; used in sports.

Sprintnet ::: A public packet-switched network using the ITU-T X.25 protocols, that provides dial-up access to services like Delphi, Portal, GEnie and Compuserve. (1994-10-17)

Sprintnet A public {packet-switched} network using the {ITU-T} {X.25} {protocols}, that provides {dial-up} access to services like {Delphi}, {Portal}, {GEnie} and {Compuserve}. (1994-10-17)

Sri Aurobindo: "The Mother not only governs all from above but she descends into this lesser triple universe. Impersonally, all things here, even the movements of the Ignorance, are herself in veiled power and her creations in diminished substance, her Nature-body and Nature-force, and they exist because, moved by the mysterious fiat of the Supreme to work out something that was there in the possibilities of the Infinite, she has consented to the great sacrifice and has put on like a mask the soul and forms of the Ignorance. But personally too she has stooped to descend here into the Darkness that she may lead it to the Light, into the Falsehood and Error that she may convert it to the Truth, into this Death that she may turn it to godlike Life, into this world-pain and its obstinate sorrow and suffering that she may end it in the transforming ecstasy of her sublime Ananda. In her deep and great love for her children she has consented to put on herself the cloak of this obscurity, condescended to bear the attacks and torturing influences of the powers of the Darkness and the Falsehood, borne to pass though the portals of the birth that is a death, taken upon herself the pangs and sorrows and sufferings of the creation, since it seemed that thus alone could it be lifted to the Light and Joy and Truth and eternal Life. This is the great sacrifice called sometimes the sacrifice of the Purusha, but much more deeply the holocaust of Prakriti, the sacrifice of the Divine Mother.” The Mother

stationed at the 1st portal; he provides new souls

Teth (Hebrew) Ṭēith The ninth letter of the Hebrew alphabet, standing for the number nine. In the Qabbalah, used as a symbolic device for the cosmic intelligent electric force, in theosophy called fohat, “whose symbol is the serpent which played such a prominent part in the Mysteries. Its universal value is nine, . . . and the ninth door of the fifty portals or gateways that lead to the concealed mysteries of being” (SD 1:76).

The whole underworld was said to be ruled over by Nergal, god of wisdom, and was divided into seven spheres or regions, each under the guardianship of a watcher stationed at a massive portal. The deceased is represented as a traveler who must surrender a portion of his vestments (his sheaths of consciousness) to each one of the seven guardians in turn. See also ISHTAR

transportal ::: n. --> Transportation; the act of removing from one locality to another.

vagina ::: n. --> A sheath; a theca; as, the vagina of the portal vein.
Specifically, the canal which leads from the uterus to the external orifice if the genital canal, or to the cloaca.
The terminal part of the oviduct in insects and various other invertebrates. See Illust., of Spermatheca.
The basal expansion of certain leaves, which inwraps the stem; a sheath.
The shaft of a terminus, from which the bust of figure

QUOTES [6 / 6 - 366 / 366]

KEYS (10k)

   1 Ralph Waldo Emerson
   1 Orson Scott Card
   1 Joseph Goodman
   1 Antoine de Saint Exupery
   1 Sri Ramakrishna
   1 Sri Aurobindo


   13 Cassandra Clare
   13 Anonymous
   6 Ibrahim Ibrahim
   6 Eckhart Tolle
   5 Patti Smith
   4 Rachel Caine
   4 James Joyce
   4 Eugene Field
   3 Paramahansa Yogananda
   3 Kresley Cole
   3 James Allen
   3 Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
   3 Helen Keller
   3 G S Jennsen
   3 Geneen Roth
   3 Edgar Lee Masters
   3 Brian Godawa
   3 Brian Froud
   3 Arthur Conan Doyle
   2 Valmiki

1:Stand guard at the portal of your mind. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson,
2:A library is the first step of a thousand journeys, portal to a thousand worlds. ~ Orson Scott Card,
3:Before him She stood as the transparent portal to the shrine of Ineffable Reality. ~ Sri Ramakrishna,
4:Behind all seen things lies something vaster; everything is but a path, a portal or a window opening on something other than iteself. ~ Antoine de Saint Exupery,
5:At the dim portal of the inner life
That bars out from our depths the body's mind
And all that lives but by the body's breath,
She knocked and pressed against the ebony gate.
The living portal groaned with sullen hinge: ~ Sri Aurobindo, Savitri, The Entry into the Inner Countries,
6:[an Integral conception of the Divine :::
   But on that which as yet we know not how shall we concentrate? And yet we cannot know the Divine unless we have achieved this concentration of our being upon him. A concentration which culminates in a living realisation and the constant sense of the presence of the One in ourselves and in all of which we are aware, is what we mean in Yoga by knowledge and the effort after knowledge. It is not enough to devote ourselves by the reading of Scriptures or by the stress of philosophical reasoning to an intellectual understanding of the Divine; for at the end of our long mental labour we might know all that has been said of the Eternal, possess all that can be thought about the Infinite and yet we might not know him at all. This intellectual preparation can indeed be the first stage in a powerful Yoga, but it is not indispensable : it is not a step which all need or can be called upon to take. Yoga would be impossible, except for a very few, if the intellectual figure of knowledge arrived at by the speculative or meditative Reason were its indispensable condition or a binding preliminary. All that the Light from above asks of us that it may begin its work is a call from the soul and a sufficient point of support in the mind. This support can be reached through an insistent idea of the Divine in the thought, a corresponding will in the dynamic parts, an aspiration, a faith, a need in the heart. Any one of these may lead or predominate, if all cannot move in unison or in an equal rhythm. The idea may be and must in the beginning be inadequate; the aspiration may be narrow and imperfect, the faith poorly illumined or even, as not surely founded on the rock of knowledge, fluctuating, uncertain, easily diminished; often even it may be extinguished and need to be lit again with difficulty like a torch in a windy pass. But if once there is a resolute self-consecration from deep within, if there is an awakening to the soul's call, these inadequate things can be a sufficient instrument for the divine purpose. Therefore the wise have always been unwilling to limit man's avenues towards God; they would not shut against his entry even the narrowest portal, the lowest and darkest postern, the humblest wicket-gate. Any name, any form, any symbol, any offering has been held to be sufficient if there is the consecration along with it; for the Divine knows himself in the heart of the seeker and accepts the sacrifice.
   But still the greater and wider the moving idea-force behind the consecration, the better for the seeker; his attainment is likely to be fuller and more ample. If we are to attempt an integral Yoga, it will be as well to start with an idea of the Divine that is itself integral. There should be an aspiration in the heart wide enough for a realisation without any narrow limits. Not only should we avoid a sectarian religious outlook, but also all onesided philosophical conceptions which try to shut up the Ineffable in a restricting mental formula. The dynamic conception or impelling sense with which our Yoga can best set out would be naturally the idea, the sense of a conscious all-embracing but all-exceeding Infinite. Our uplook must be to a free, all-powerful, perfect and blissful One and Oneness in which all beings move and live and through which all can meet and become one. This Eternal will be at once personal and impersonal in his self-revelation and touch upon the soul. He is personal because he is the conscious Divine, the infinite Person who casts some broken reflection of himself in the myriad divine and undivine personalities of the universe. He is impersonal because he appears to us as an infinite Existence, Consciousness and Ananda and because he is the fount, base and constituent of all existences and all energies, -the very material of our being and mind and life and body, our spirit and our matter. The thought, concentrating on him, must not merely understand in an intellectual form that he exists, or conceive of him as an abstraction, a logical necessity; it must become a seeing thought able to meet him here as the Inhabitant in all, realise him in ourselves, watch and take hold on the movement of his forces. He is the one Existence: he is the original and universal Delight that constitutes all things and exceeds them: he is the one infinite Consciousness that composes all consciousnesses and informs all their movements; he is the one illimitable Being who sustains all action and experience; his will guides the evolution of things towards their yet unrealised but inevitable aim and plenitude. To him the heart can consecrate itself, approach him as the supreme Beloved, beat and move in him as in a universal sweetness of Love and a living sea of Delight. For his is the secret Joy that supports the soul in all its experiences and maintains even the errant ego in its ordeals and struggles till all sorrow and suffering shall cease. His is the Love and the Bliss of the infinite divine Lover who is drawing all things by their own path towards his happy oneness. On him the Will can unalterably fix as the invisible Power that guides and fulfils it and as the source of its strength. In the impersonality this actuating Power is a self-illumined Force that contains all results and calmly works until it accomplishes, in the personality an all wise and omnipotent Master of the Yoga whom nothing can prevent from leading it to its goal. This is the faith with which the seeker has to begin his seeking and endeavour; for in all his effort here, but most of all in his effort towards the Unseen, mental man must perforce proceed by faith. When the realisation comes, the faith divinely fulfilled and completed will be transformed into an eternal flame of knowledge.
   ~ Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis Of Yoga, Self-Consecration, 82-83 [T1],


1:It is as though a portal in time has opened, and the Christians of the 14th century are pouring into our world. ~ sam-harris, @wisdomtrove
2:Know Thyself" was written over the portal of the antique world. Over the portal of the new world, "Be Thyself" shall be written. ~ oscar-wilde, @wisdomtrove
3:Behind all seen things lies something vaster; everything is but a path, a portal or a window opening on something other than iteself. ~ antoine-de-saint-exupery, @wisdomtrove
4:There is no death! What seems so is transition; this life of mortal breath is but a suburb of the life elysian, whose portal we call Death. ~ henry-wadsworth-longfellow, @wisdomtrove
5:The Portal of God is nonexistence. All things sprang from nonexistence. Existence could not make existence existence. It must have proceeded from nonexistence, and nonexistence and nothing are one. Herein is the abiding place of the sage. ~ zhuangzi, @wisdomtrove
6:I regard the Masonic institution as one of the means ordained by the Supreme Architect to enable mankind to work out the problem of destiny; to fight against, and overcome, the weaknesses and imperfections of his nature, and at last to attain to that true life of which death is the herald and the grave the portal. ~ theodore-roosevelt, @wisdomtrove
7:I am confident that for the foreseeable future (barring some catastrophic event affecting economic, energy, electrical, and communications systems), many subpopulations that use information intensively (e.g., students, academics, library patrons, white collar workers) will be using some sort of portal information appliance. ~ tom-peters, @wisdomtrove
8:Art is a window to The Infinite, and opening to the goddess, a portal through which you and I, with the help of the artist, may discover depths and heights of our soul undreamed of by the vulgar world. Art is the eye of the spirit, through which the sublime can reach down to us, and we up to it, and be transformed, transfigured in the process. ~ ken-wilber, @wisdomtrove
9:It was like time would stop, and the dancer would sort of step through some kind of portal and he wasn't doing anything different than he had ever done, 1,000 nights before, but everything would align. And all of a sudden, he would no longer appear to be merely human. He would be lit from within, and lit from below and all lit up on fire with divinity. And when this happened, back then, people knew it for what it was, you know, they called it by it's name. They would put their hands together and they would start to chant, "Allah, Allah, Allah, God God, God." That's God, you know. ~ elizabeth-gilbert, @wisdomtrove

*** NEWFULLDB 2.4M ***

1:Manannan’s door-cum-portal ~ Kevin Hearne,
2:Dark Portal and the Blasted Lands. ~ Christie Golden,
3:My portal to another world was fiction. ~ Ransom Riggs,
4:Nïx : Poach her portal. So going on a T-shirt. ~ Kresley Cole,
5:Stand guard at the portal of your mind. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson,
6:Philosophy, satan's portal into man's insanity. ~ Ibrahim Ibrahim,
7:The portal to pain is caring too deeply about anyone. ~ Ellen Hopkins,
8:Yahoo today is not a portal. Yahoo today is a search engine. ~ Jack Ma,
9:The interior of our skulls contains a portal to infinity. ~ Grant Morrison,
10:The portal into people's hearts is being interested in them. ~ Peter Guber,
11:A good book is a portal that will take you anywhere in the world. ~ Colette,
12:It’s hardest when I’m by a computer. Such a brutal portal. ~ David Levithan,
13:Maybe heaven is another dimension, and our dreams are a portal. ~ Carrie Firestone,
14:Pain is a portal to transformation,
It does not knock politely. ~ Lucy H Pearce,
15:We can’t make a portal—” “We’ve got a flying boat,” Carter offered. ~ Rick Riordan,
16:We can’t make a portal—”
“We’ve got a flying boat,” Carter offered. ~ Rick Riordan,
17:Cuando el portal se activa,es que las coordenadas no son incorrectas ~ Laura Gallego Garc a,
18:The study of the past is the main portal through which culture is acquired. ~ Joseph Epstein,
19:Buying a book is not about obtaining a possession, but about securing a portal. ~ Laura Miller,
20:The gods to each ascribe a differing lot: Some enter at the portal. Some do not! ~ Ford Madox Ford,
21:A library is the first step of a thousand journeys, portal to a thousand worlds. ~ Orson Scott Card,
22:The portal of healing and creativity always takes us into the realm of the spirit. ~ Angeles Arrien,
23:A library is the first step of a thousand journeys, portal to a thousand worlds. ~ Orson Scott Card,
24:Your task is not to search for love but to find a portal through which love can enter. ~ Eckhart Tolle,
25:There’s just something magical about a library. It’s like a portal to many different worlds. ~ Amo Jones,
26:The Internet is your portal to the rest of the world. The people online are your only friends. ~ Bunmi Laditan,
27:If someone says there's a portal to hell under some rocks, you bet your ass I'm going to move them. ~ Ryan Buell,
28:Even the sublime portal, half of a circlet the color of the first snow, knew their names. ~ Gina Marinello Sweeney,
29:Eduard Raban avanzó por el pasillo, entró en la abertura del portal y vio que estaba lloviendo. Llovía poco. ~ Anonymous,
30:handicapping heaven, searching for patterns, and a portal of probability opening up onto the meaning of life ~ Patti Smith,
31:It is as though a portal in time has opened, and the Christians of the 14th century are pouring into our world. ~ Sam Harris,
32:The thirteenth search engine- and without all the features of a web portal, most people thought that was pointless. ~ Sam Altman,
33:carved over the portal of the Temple of Isis: 'I am whatever has been, is, or ever will be; and my veil no man hath yet lifted. ~ Anonymous,
34:Know thyself' was written over the portal of the antique world. Over the portal of the new world, 'Be thyself' shall be written. ~ Oscar Wilde,
35:I pull away from her. “I can’t believe you blew up a portal to the Otherworld.” “Bitch, that’s just called making an entrance. ~ Laura Thalassa,
36:Prayer is the portal that brings the power of heaven down to earth. It is kryptonite to the enemy and to all his ploys against you. ~ Priscilla Shirer,
37:To wish the best for all people; to find the good in everything; to be content in all circumstances—such thoughts are the portal to heaven. ~ James Allen,
38:It'd be like a combination lock. Every new portal would make the number of possible worlds she could have gone to increase exponentially. ~ Robert Liparulo,
39:Prayer is the portal that brings the power of heaven down to earth. It is kryptonite to the enemy and to all his ploys against you. That’s ~ Priscilla Shirer,
40:We enter the world of the story, delighted to go through that reliable and recognizable portal of promise, the magical words “Once upon a time. ~ Paula Munier,
41:You've to make consumers smart. An e-commerce portal doesn't sell a product at cheaper rates, instead an offline shop sells it at a costlier prices. ~ Jack Ma,
42:Behind all seen things lies something vaster; everything is but a path, a portal or a window opening on something other than iteself. ~ Antoine de Saint Exupery,
43:Behind all seen things lies something vaster; everything is but a path, a portal or a window opening on something other than iteself. ~ Antoine de Saint Exup ry,
44:The interior of our skulls contain a portal to infinity...of course it's happening in your head but why on earth should that mean it's not real? ~ Grant Morrison,
45:I felt my heart drop to my feet, and I stepped over it to enter the portal that would take me home without my Dark Prince of secrets by my side. ~ Amelia Hutchins,
46:The Home Shopping Channel played backward to summon a portal into a dimension of unknown horror? That was totally a thing. Do not try it at home, kids. ~ Devon Monk,
47:Your physical body is the portal of your spirit, the God fragment that you are, through which you physically experience and shape the world you create. ~ Mike Dooley,
48:There is no death! What seems so is transition; this life of mortal breath is but a suburb of the life elysian, whose portal we call Death. ~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow,
49:remember the night of my Deathday. The portal opened up, and she was on the other side, waiting, her face hidden by the horned skull of a hideous beast. ~ Zoraida C rdova,
50:In the back of the cabinet, over the plates, there was a portal through which I viewed the windless void of a new ecosystem. I could almost hear it breathing. ~ Amelia Gray,
51:Pay more attention to the silence than to the sounds. Paying attention to outer silence creates inner silence: the mind becomes still. A portal is opening up. ~ Eckhart Tolle,
52:The plan, my fellow nightmares, is simple. One—find the boy. Two—keep the portal open. Three—conquer the Waking World. Four—try a Krispy Kreme doughnut. Five—never die. ~ Jason Segel,
53:The demon caught me and chained me to his bed.” “He did what? As soon as I lose these assholes, I’m coming after the demon.” “What are you going to do? Portal him to death? ~ Kresley Cole,
54:The ecliptic is shifted clockwise away from falling into the Akheru portal, which means the setting n the zodiac is that of the Winter Solstice's; this is Christmas time. ~ Ibrahim Ibrahim,
55:Libraries may embody our notion of permanence, but their patrons are always in flux. In truth, a library is as much a portal as it is a place—it is a transit point, a passage. ~ Susan Orlean,
56:Olive brought me into this world and trained me up to be the man I recognized as myself. But Celestial was the portal to the rest of my life, the shiny door to the next level. ~ Tayari Jones,
57:The grandest and simplest things contain worlds within worlds. Seeing them is a matter of the right point of view, and your painter's eye is the special portal to such sights. ~ Richard Schmid,
58:Time is the horizontal dimension of life, the surface layer of reality. Then there is the vertical dimension of depth, accessible only through the portal of the present moment. ~ Eckhart Tolle,
59:Austin was engrossed in some mobile gaming device. “No, no, bad portal,” he scolded, totally oblivious to the world. “Stop—evil—eurgh! Suck my flagellated balls, douchenozzle! ~ Robyn Schneider,
60:Even the trip throught the Portal had not disarranged Magnus's hair spikes. He tugged on one proudly. "Check it out", he said to Isabelle. "Magic?" "Hair gel. $3.99 at Ricky's. ~ Cassandra Clare,
61:The 5/6 ratio was devised to count the lunar phases and the rest sixth portion was dedicated to the House of the Sun (i.e. the Eastern Portal) whence the Royal Cubit were derived! ~ Ibrahim Ibrahim,
62:Even the trip throught the Portal had not disarranged Magnus's hair spikes. He tugged on one proudly. "Check it out", he said to Isabelle.
"Hair gel. $3.99 at Ricky's. ~ Cassandra Clare,
63:As she turned to concentrate on the portal, Eve tugged on Claire's shirt. "What?"
"Ask him where he got the boots."
"You ask." Personally, Claire wanted the vampire bunny slippers. ~ Rachel Caine,
64:But in the darkness of her room he was reminded that helplessness was often a portal to God, because rarely did the fragile, self-serving human pray for things in his complete control. ~ Rene Gutteridge,
65:In theory, it makes a lot of sense to combine the two operations, especially on the back end. But merging the two actual portal consumer experiences into a unified site will be a nightmare. ~ Charlene Li,
66:An environment-based education movement--at all levels of education--will help students realize that school isn't supposed to be a polite form of incarceration, but a portal to the wider world. ~ Richard Louv,
67:What emerged from the portal was not the feared armada. Instead, it was a single ship. A familiar ship. I felt a quickening in my atoms.

Clever, dangerous girl. I have been expecting you. ~ G S Jennsen,
68:All doors are open to the believer. It is the lesson of the Samaritan woman at the well. In my sleepy state it occurred to me that if the well was a portal out, there must also be a portal in. There ~ Patti Smith,
69:There came a time, however, when death ceased to be the enforcer of finitude and began to look, instead, like the last opportunity for radical transformation, the only plausible portal to the infinite. ~ Anonymous,
70:Every door is a portal leading through time as well as space. The same doorway that leads us into and out of a room also leads us into the past of the room and its ceaselessly unfolding future. ~ Gregory David Roberts,
71:To begin to understand your Soul as an integral part of yourself and begin to connect with your Soul as a part of your full being and your true nature, is the beginning of wisdom and the portal to true joy. ~ Genevieve,
72:Prague. Praha. The name actually meant “threshold”. Pollina had said the city was a portal between the life of the good and … the other. A city of dark magic, Alessandro had called it. ~ Magnus Flyte,
73:There came a time, however, when death ceased to be the enforcer of finitude and began to look, instead, like the last opportunity for radical transformation, the only plausible portal to the infinite. ~ Jonathan Franzen,
74:Love Has Forgotten No One is not really a book—rather, it’s a portal, a transport system, a rearranging of the mind. When you’ve finished reading it, I believe you’ll be closer to knowing your True Nature. ~ Gary R Renard,
75:I have a radio show on Sirius XM. I put it up as a free download on my Soundcloud and on iTunes. That's a portal for me once a month, to play songs I know aren't getting played on that station the rest of the week. ~ A Trak,
76:A gate has open.
A portal has been awaken.
Arisen from gray ash.
A beast is out.
This one has large wings and sharp feet.
Its heart is soft as flowers,
It runs fast and doesn't look back. ~ Sahndra Fon Dufe,
77:I am the goblin king," he said with a shrug. "Tell your people this and demand that they help us find the portal back to Mylena."
Wyatt started to laugh like a frickin' hyena, which made Greta groan again. ~ Chloe Jacobs,
78:I am the goblin king," he said with a shrug. "Tell your people this and demand that they help us find the portal back to Mylena."
Wyatt started to laugh like a frickin' hyena, which made Greta groan again. ~ Chloe Jacobs,
79:When I was in theater I was forever trying to inhabit a space which puts yourself under the microscope as an actor and your personality and your take on life, but actually through another portal of a character. ~ Andy Serkis,
80:Beauty is momentary in the mind -- The fitful tracing of a portal; But in the flesh it is immortal. The body dies; the body's beauty lives. So evenings die, in their green going, A wave, interminably flowing. ~ Wallace Stevens,
81:Locked inside the black vault of our skulls, stuck forever in the solitude of our own hallucinated universe, story is a portal, a hallucination within the hallucination, the closest we'll ever really come to escape. ~ Will Storr,
82:Never go into a book. Either it's a dimensional portal, which is bad, or it's some sort of Dungeons and Dragons-style mimic-thing, which is also bad, although in a less 'we'll never find your body' sort of a way. ~ Seanan McGuire,
83:Felix! You dumb asshat. What the fuck are you doing to my lab?” came a shouted call from the portal. “Move, ya dumb wolf.” “Ah, the ever pleasant shriek of my employees who are so joyous to see me,” Felix muttered. ~ William D Arand,
84:EdX will be a creating a platform which will be open source, not for profit, and a portal for a website where universities will offer their courses. For example, MIT courses will be offered as MITx and Harvard courses as HarvardX. ~ Anant Agarwal,
85:Magnus held up a warning finger. "Don't overstep yourself, biscuit," he said, and moved past them, disappearing into the crowd around the portal.
"Biscuit?" said Simon.
"Believe it or not, he's called me that before," Clary said. ~ Cassandra Clare,
86:Cobbled streets and no shops open past six o'clock, a communal life that seemed to revolve around church, and where you could often hear bird song and nothing else: Gaia felt as though she had fallen through a portal into a land lost in time. ~ J K Rowling,
87:Here is the door of my mom's house, well-remembered childhood portal. Here is the yard, and a set of wires that runs from the house to a wooden pole, and some fat birds sitting together on the wires, five of them lined up like beads on an abacus. ~ Dan Chaon,
88:[Zelden] turned to me. “Wait here. Inform Marcus that we will be setting up in the first-floor kitchen. I believe it may function as a portal to the other realm.”
“The demons crawl out of the oven,” Annalise whispered to me as she passed. ~ Mara Purnhagen,
89:People in my band and in my life see me as someone who is seeking out chaos, and that's why it comes to me. And these people who have never met me say because of when I was born and how the planets are aligned, chaos sees me as a portal. ~ Omar Rodriguez Lopez,
90:Under a full marmalade moon, she sat with her wedded husband in a small thatched room. Through the portal of the cane latticed window, she heard the ominous crow lapse into terrible wail, as it flew through the stooping, bunched up bamboo bush. ~ Mehreen Ahmed,
91:But with my mother and Celestial, I was actually split down the middle. Olive brought me into this world and trained me up to be the man I recognized as myself. But Celestial was the portal to the rest of my life, the shiny door to the next level. ~ Tayari Jones,
92:The apparent so-called error in aligning the Great Pyramid to the north served in fact as a deterrent decoy to lure away the uninvited from accessing the annual portal (which is entered by the ram-headed god) of the Duat during the Equinox event. ~ Ibrahim Ibrahim,
93:Caminó lentamente, despidiéndose de cada portal, de cada esquina, preguntándose se la trampa de tiempo sería cierta y algún día sólo sería capaz de recordar lo bueno, de olvidar la soledad que tantas veces le había perseguido en aquellas calles. ~ Carlos Ruiz Zaf n,
94:None of us wanted you to go through the portal because we would never put your life in danger before our own.” “Why?” “Because we’re adults, and we care about you. We’ve had a chance to grow up and become what we are. Yours is a life still to be lived, ~ A G Riddle,
95:I think I needed to remind myself that wherever my future might take me, it was important never to forget where I'd come from. That sweater is still a portal to another time, another life. Yet it is a part of my happiness today because it is a part of me. ~ Alan Cumming,
96:The narrow portal opens into a wide corridor that looks like a giant jaw full of thin, sharp teeth. The rocks growing down from the top almost touch the growths from the bottom. Galen hopes that if humans ever do infiltrate this site, they'll feel like a meal. ~ Anna Banks,
97:Pino at that moment seemed to me like a portal into a long-ago world where the ghosts of war and courage, the demons of hatred and inhumanity, and the arias of faith and love still played out within the good and decent soul who'd survived to tell the tales. ~ Mark T Sullivan,
98:“Dreams are a portal to
our fears, a harbinger of what may
come to pass. Thus we must
cull the most valuable insights of our
sleeping minds, unafraid,
or risk life’s greatest mysteries eluding us forever.”

99:If death, mused the great thinker Dr. Samuel Johnson, is merely a gateway on the path from life into eternity, a portal from mortality to immortality, then what does it matter how a man dies? The act of dying is not of importance. It is how he lives that counts. ~ Tessa Harris,
100:Husband and wife stood regarding each other for the first time in years. Amid the smoke and drifting embers, neither said a word. Emerging from behind the figure in the portal, C-3PO walked out into the scorched field to confront the motionless droid beside Han. ~ Alan Dean Foster,
101:He had the innate sense that something bad was just around the bend, but a hope that something incredible was waiting in the distance. It had to be. His burning love for her cursed through him until he felt so full he didn’t know whether he would fit through the portal. ~ Lauren Kate,
102:Your protagonist is your reader’s portal into the story. The more observant he or she can be, the more vivid will be the world you’re creating. They don’t have to be super-educated, they just have to be mentally active. Keep them looking, thinking, wondering, remembering. ~ Janet Fitch,
103:In Jungian terms, it is only after the confrontation with the repressed life power in the shadow & the differentiation of emotions & instincts (the differentiation of the anima, the portal to the unconscious), that the problem of opposites fully presents itself. ~ Keiron Le Grice,
104:Adore God. Reverence and cherish your parents. Love your neighbor as yourself, and your country more than yourself. Be just. Be true. Murmur not at the ways of Providence. So shall the life into which you have entered be the portal to one of eternal and ineffable bliss. ~ Thomas Jefferson,
105:It felt somehow comforting to return to the sparkling lake tucked into the mountains on Portal Prime. But why, when everything about Mesme made her the antithesis of comfortable?

Because here was where desperation had become hope. Where helplessness had become purpose. ~ G S Jennsen,
106:It follows that to embrace deep work in your own career, and to direct it toward cultivating your skill, is an effort that can transform a knowledge work job from a distracted, draining obligation into something satisfying—a portal to a world full of shining, wondrous things. ~ Cal Newport,
107:Geologists on the whole are inconsistent drivers. When a roadcut presents itself, they tend to lurch and weave. To them, the roadcut is a portal, a fragment of a regional story, a proscenium arch that leads their imaginations into the earth and through the surrounding terrane. ~ John McPhee,
108:He had the innate sense that something bad was just around the bend, but a hope that something incredible was waiting in the distance.
It had to be.
His burning love for her cursed through him until he felt so full he didn’t know whether he would fit through the portal. ~ Lauren Kate,
109:A heavenly portal is a spherical opening of light that offers divine protection by which angels and heavenly beings can come and go, without demonic interference. God has designed portals to begin in the third Heaven, travel through the second Heaven, and open upon Earth. ~ John Paul Jackson,
110:Ask yourself if you are in this for the long run-if it's only your weight you want to change or if you are willing to use your eating patterns as a portal to the inner universe. And if the answer is the latter, then there is no end to what you can learn, be, understand, become. ~ Geneen Roth,
111:Ask yourself if you are in this for the long run--if it's only your weight you want to change or if you are willing to use your eating patterns as a portal to the inner universe. And if the answer is the latter, then there is no end to what you can learn, be, understand, become. ~ Geneen Roth,
112:At the dim portal of the inner life
That bars out from our depths the body’s mind
And all that lives but by the body’s breath,
She knocked and pressed against the ebony gate.
The living portal groaned with sullen hinge: ~ Sri Aurobindo, Savitri, The Entry into the Inner Countries,
113:Entra a ver -parecía susurrar ese algo en mi cabeza-. Olvídate de todo lo demás, Jake. Entra a ver. Entra a visitarme. El tiempo aquí no importa; aquí, el tiempo flota. Sabes que quieres hacerlo, sabes que sientes curiosidad. A lo mejor es otra madriguera de conejo. Otro portal. ~ Stephen King,
114:In 1978, in the space of 10 months, 28 leukemia patients came to me and they could all work after six days. It is a portal vein circulation disease, not cancer of the blood. So far 150 leukemia patients have come to me and I could help all of them. Do not fear this disease any more. ~ Rudolf Breuss,
115:Each life is unique. But for all, repentance will surely include passing through the portal of humble prayer. Our Father in Heaven can allow us to feel fully the conviction of our sins. He knows the depths of our remorse. He can then direct what we must do to qualify for forgiveness. ~ Henry B Eyring,
116:Come to me said the world. I was standing
in my wool coat at a kind of bright portal—
I can finally say
long ago; it gives me considerable pleasure. Beauty
the healer, the teacher—

death cannot harm me
more than you have harmed me,
my beloved life. ~ Louise Gl ck,
117:my tailbone colliding with the floor of previously pristine bakery Cake My Day. That floor had been a spotless expanse of ivory up ’til about fifteen minutes ago, when a posse of demons leapt through their portal of choice, assumed pastry form, and started acting like a bunch of assholes. ~ Sarah Kuhn,
118:I don’t know what just happened here. But all those things I said before, about how you were a big fat fake and a liar, and your portal was a piece of crap that couldn’t heat a bowl of soup, and you were gay and all scientists were gay?’


‘Well… I was wrong. I’m sorry. ~ Paul Murray,
119:A fundamental premise of American democratic theory is that government exists to serve the people. ... Public records are one portal through which the people observe their government, ensuring its accountability, integrity, and equity while minimizing sovereign mischief and malfeasance ~ Sandra Day O Connor,
120:Emerson and Darwin each found in nature a portal between the realm of the profane and the realm of the sacred. Even if the hive switch was originally a group-related adaptation, it can be flipped when you’re alone by feelings of awe in nature, as mystics and ascetics have known for millennia. ~ Jonathan Haidt,
121:You didn't have to tie us up!" Shay shrugged the frayed ropes off.
"Yes, we did!" Adne's hands were on her hips. "You would have torn right through that portal to get to her. You were both acting like morons."
"She's right," Ren said. "They probably did have to tie us up."
Shay grinned. ~ Andrea Cremer,
122:How many awful poems did I write thinking of her? I know now what she was to me - the first glimpse of a space-bridge, a wormhole, a galactic portal of this bound and blind planet. She had seen other worlds, and she held the lineage of other worlds, spectacularly, in the vessel of her black body. ~ Ta Nehisi Coates,
123:He looked back at her, and when she saw the look on his face, she saw his eyes at Renwick’s, when he had watched the Portal that separated him from his home shatter into a thousand irretrievable pieces. He held her gaze for a split second, then looked away from her, the muscles in his throat working. ~ Cassandra Clare,
124:It says the American people are full of goodness and wisdom, and you just have to be paying attention. And sometimes that's hard to do when you're inside this bubble, but this was a little portal through which I could remind myself of that every day. The letters are beautiful, aren't they? -Obama ~ Jeanne Marie Laskas,
125:Cinema is a technologically mediated dreamspace, a way to access, a portal to the numinous that unfolded in the fourth dimension, so cinema became sort of a waking dream where we can travel in space and time, where we can travel in mind. This became more than virtual reality, this became a real virtuality. ~ Jason Silva,
126:And.. are you willing to go all the way? To understand that food is only a stand-in for love and possibility and spirit? Because if you aren't, you will get caught up in gaining and losing weight for the rest of your life. But if you are willing, then the portal to what you say you want is truly on your plate. ~ Geneen Roth,
127:Biocentrism, like everything else, has its logical limits, even as it offers far-and-away the best explanation for why things are as they are. As such, it could perhaps be viewed as a jumping-off place, not an ending of itself, but a portal to yet deeper explanations and explorations of nature and the universe. ~ Robert Lanza,
128:There was already an executive search operation. The company added Jeevansathi (a matrimony site), 99acres and (property sites), naukrigulf (on local job trends in the Middle East), which is a social networking site and most recently, asknaukri, and an education portal, ~ Rashmi Bansal,
129:Portal Bridge is based on a design from the 1840s and was already obsolete shortly after it was completed in 1910. It's a swing bridge that needs to be opened several times a week so barges can pass up and down the river. It takes about a half an hour. The problem is it fails to lock back into place on a regular basis. ~ Ray LaHood,
130:I regard the Masonic institution as one of the means ordained by the Supreme Architect to enable mankind to work out the problem of destiny; to fight against, and overcome, the weaknesses and imperfections of his nature, and at last to attain to that true life of which death is the herald and the grave the portal. ~ Theodore Roosevelt,
131:The online credential, the online certificate is very different from an on campus certificate. And we really believe that online learning and the EdX platform and the EdX portal, these are ways in which - you can think of them as a rising tide that's going to lift all boats whether for students worldwide or on our campuses. ~ John Agar,
132:I am confident that for the foreseeable future (barring some catastrophic event affecting economic, energy, electrical, and communications systems), many subpopulations that use information intensively (e.g., students, academics, library patrons, white collar workers) will be using some sort of portal information appliance. ~ Tom Peters,
133:I care not how humble your bookshelf may be, nor how lowly the room which it adorns. Close the door of that room behind you, shut off with it all the cares of the outer world, plunge back into the soothing company of the great dead, and then you are through the magic portal whither worry and vexation can follow you no more. ~ Arthur Conan Doyle,
134:There's people who feel that, Well, if I could profit off of sellin' sex to an eleven-year-old kid that comes through some kind of virtual portal, then I'm not really doin' it in actuality. I'm just kind of co-signing or fostering it, 'cause it can't be attached to me. I'm like, Yes it can, 'cause people are livin' through their avatar. ~ Chuck D,
135:Remember what I said at the very beginning? Now, I’m giving you a choice: You can put the book down now— but you’ll just have some of the story. Look other places for more of it. Dig even deeper, and you could become part of it. The web of answers is out there. If you can find the portal. Be careful. And don’t say I didn’t warn you. Max ~ Anonymous,
136:Now he needs our ships intact to get the drive.” Venturi sat like a statue until finally his eyes began blinking. “If you are correct,” he said, “we must self-destruct at once.” “Come on!” I said, exasperated. “Will you listen to yourself? That makes no sense. If we fail, the portal planet will open a route into our universe anyway. ~ Vaughn Heppner,
137:What do we do with those that can be accessed and dismissed by a channel changer, that we love no less than a nineteenth-century poet or an admired stranger or a character from the pen of Emily Brontë? What do we do when one of them commingles with our own sense of self, only to be transferred into a finite space within an on-demand portal? ~ Patti Smith,
138:In the last three months, I’ve started having creepy dreams that give me a glimpse of the future. Or sometimes a portal will open up in the middle of the night and something will try to kill me. There’s no way to know which one I’m gonna get hit with each day. It’s kinda like playing Russian roulette every night with a drunk who hates you. ~ Erica Cameron,
139:Art is a window to The Infinite, and opening to the goddess, a portal through which you and I, with the help of the artist, may discover depths and heights of our soul undreamed of by the vulgar world. Art is the eye of the spirit, through which the sublime can reach down to us, and we up to it, and be transformed, transfigured in the process. ~ Ken Wilber,
140:That one, there,” Tonio murmured, but the weight of his suspicion was breaking him, sickening him. Send death for me, like that, some paid assassin? It seemed he’d already been dealt the blow and this was not life any longer, rather some nightmare place where that sentinel stood on the bridge and these strangers urged him to a meaningless portal. ~ Anne Rice,
141:Things are shifting; man is evolving in many different ways. The Internet has created a portal for people to connect with each other in a way they never could have before. When it comes to African-American or black films, it's different because there is a model that you can actually look at, an equation that shows that these films earn money. ~ Forest Whitaker,
142:I care not how humble your bookshelf may be, nor how lowly the room which it adorns. Close the door of that room behind you, shut off with it all the cares of the outer world, plunge back into the soothing company of the great dead, and then you are through the magic portal into that fair land whither worry and vexation can follow you no more. ~ Arthur Conan Doyle,
143:Who Is This Mortal
Who is this mortal
Who ventures to-night
To woo an immortal,
Cold, cold the moon's light
For sleep at this portal,
Bold lover of night.
Fair is the mortal
In soft, silken white,
Who seeks an immortal.
Ah, lover of night,
Be warned at the portal,
And save thee in flight!
~ Ernest Christopher Dowson,
144:I was thinking about what a magical portal this lobby was when the heavy glass door opened as if swept by wind and a familiar figure in a black and scarlet cape entered. It was Salvador Dali. He looked around the lobby nervously, and then, seeing my crow, smiled. He placed his elegant, bony hand atop my head and said: "You are like a crow, a gothic crow. ~ Patti Smith,
145:This was a great book! It follows how Jason Walker is transported back to earth after spending months in Lyrian. He knows that he has things that he still must do in Lyrian. He decides to try and find a way back. The problem is that if he doesn't travel through the portal correctly, he will die. What happens next? You'll have to read the book to find out. ~ Brandon Mull,
146:They are simple activities, common as grass. And they’re sacred. Pilgrims seeking bliss carry water and chop wood, and they’re simple things, too, but if they’re approached with mindfulness and care, with attention to the present and humility, they can provide a portal to transcendence. They can illuminate the path leading to something larger than ourselves. ~ Scott Jurek,
147:Hundreds in the East and in the West are pressing onwards towards this goal. and in the unity of the one ideal, in their common aspiration and endeavour, they will meet before the one Portal. They will then recognise themselves as brothers, severed by tongue and apparent diversity of belief, hut fundamentally holding to the same one truth and serving the same God. ~ Alice A Bailey,
148:Those seraphim who escaped into the neighbor world Eretz managed to hold the portal closed, and they held it to this day, pouring their strength into shoring up their sky to keep the darkness at bay. A bold young queen in that distant world was even now training a legion of angels and chimaera to battle the darkness and hopefully destroy it. But that’s another story. ~ Laini Taylor,
149:Claire was struggling through last summer’s diary volume when Myrnin popped in through the portal, wearing a big floppy black hat and a kind of crazy/stylish pimp coat that covered him from neck to ankles, black leather gloves, and a black and silver walking stick with a dragon’s head on it. And, on his lapel was a button that said, If you can read this, thank a teacher. ~ Rachel Caine,
150:Mindfulness is the key to everything, and this is especially true when one approaches the cultural portal known as "middle age." This is when people mindlessly believe that it's normal to get diseases and start to fall apart. But the truth is that midlife is the time when people need to wake up and be far more mindful about their everyday habits and thinking patterns. ~ Christiane Northrup,
151:Tras somera inspección, Jorge de León dictaminó que el cuaderno había sido compuesto en una lengua ajena a la cristiandad y ordenó que sus hombres fueran a buscar a un impresor llamado Raimundo de Sempere que tenía un modesto taller junto al portal de Santa Ana y que, habiendo viajado en su juventud, conocía más lenguas de las que eran aconsejables para un cristiano de bien. ~ Carlos Ruiz Zaf n,
152:Finding it so directly on the threshold of our narrative, which is now about to issue from that inauspicious portal, we could hardly do otherwise than pluck one of its flowers and present it to the reader. It may serve, let us hope, to symbolize some sweet moral blossom, that may be found along the track, or relieve the darkening close of a tale of human frailty and sorrow. ~ Nathaniel Hawthorne,
153:I fell in love with books. Some people find beauty in music, some in painting, some in landscape, but I find it in words. By beauty, I mean the feeling you have suddenly glimpsed another world, or looked into a portal that reveals a kind of magic or romance out of which the world has been constructed, a feeling there is something more than the mundane, and a reason for our plodding. ~ Donald Miller,
154:They are watching for magic, so avoid traveling by Portal whenever possible,” Tessa said.
“You’re using a Portal right now,” said Magnus, amused. “Always ‘do as I say and not as I do,’ I see. Will you be safe?”
Tessa was more than a century old, but she was so much younger than Magnus, and he had known her almost her whole life. He had never stopped feeling protective of her. ~ Cassandra Clare,
155:The flower inside the fruit that is both its parent and its child. Decadent as ancestors. The portal and that which passes. Nuclear devices activated, and the machine keeps pushing time through the cogs, like paste into strings into paste again, and only the machine keeps using time to make time to make time. And when the machine stops, time was an illusion that we created free will. ~ Ronald D Moore,
156:Music was an entry point, like a passport or a key that allows you through an invisible portal into the beating heart of the world. The collective heart that unites us . . . (in a unified field of consciousness, in the bodily experience of being animals in time) and also into the hearts of individuals . . . (into that person and that person). Music showed itself to me as a fractal way in. ~ Ani DiFranco,
157:Science is the only news. When you scan a news portal or magazine, all the human interest stuff is the same old he-said-she-said, the politics and economics the same cyclical dramas, the fashions a pathetic illusion of newness; even the technology is predictable if you know the science behind it. Human nature doesn't change much; science does, and the change accrues, altering the world irreversibly ~ Stewart Brand,
158:The Minotaur comes and goes. He has for centuries. And there have been many bridges.

The Minotaur pauses, as he walks, midway through the covered bridge that serves, in more ways than one, as the entrance to Old Scald Village. He rests his heavy snout against one of the wooden trusses. The Minotaur likes this portal, both ingress and egress, a breach in the terribly human construct of time. ~ Steven Sherrill,
159:Sahasrara is not really a chakra; it’s a stage, a state, an outcome. It is your portal to infinite possibilities. You are no longer just one person struggling through life or trying to attain a goal. Instead, you become an embodiment of divinity, of the Goddess. The momentum, focus and power of your every thought grow in multiples of thousands. It’s like you have thousands of hands to assist you. Reaching ~ Om Swami,
160:The bookstore itself was cozy but not crowded, with posters of classic novels framed and hung on the walls. And it was filled with that wonderful book smell that anyone who's ever even been near a book will recognize. It's more than the smell of paper; it's the smell of the high seas and adventure and far off worlds. It's the smell of a billion billion worlds, each a portal to somewhere new. ~ Shaun David Hutchinson,
161:There is no Death! What seems so is transition;
This life of mortal breath
Is but a suburb of the life elysian,
Whose portal we call Death.

She is not dead,--the child of our affection,--
But gone unto that school
Where she no longer needs our poor protection,
And Christ himself doth rule.

Excerpt from the poem "Resignation" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow ~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow,
162: "It’s time for you to tell me the truth. All of it.”
My stomach winds up like a fist. “That’s a lot of years to cover. Where should I start?”
“Baby steps. Your mom’s history. How Jeb’s involved. Does he know what you are? And that winged creature who carried me out of Wonderland’s portal—what part does he play?”
“Wow, Dad. Baby steps?”
“Baby brontosaurus, maybe,” I tease.
~ A G Howard,
163:Thou, -- dost thou pray?” cried Giovanni, still with the same fiendish scorn. “Thy very prayers, as they come from thy lips, taint the atmosphere with death. Yes, yes; let us pray! Let us to church and dip our fingers in the holy water at the portal! They that come after us will perish as by a pestilence! Let us sign crosses in the air! It will be scattering curses abroad in the likeness of holy symbols! ~ Nathaniel Hawthorne,
164:In Britain, a cup of tea is the answer to every problem. Fallen off your bicycle? Nice cup of tea. Your house has been destroyed by a meteorite? Nice cup of tea and a biscuit. Your entire family has been eaten by a Tyrannosaurus Rex that has travelled through a space/time portal? Nice cup of tea and a piece of cake. Possibly a savoury option would be welcome here too, for example a Scotch egg or a sausage roll. ~ David Walliams,
165:Given that ever-broadening array of options and alternatives, as consumers and investors, we are often bewildered. We need guidance. That's where today's brands come in. They are not so much signals about a particular product, they are signals about good judgment, trustworthiness. A big brand, whether it's Schwab or Disney, is becoming analogous to a portal that sells us advice about where we can find great deals. ~ Robert Reich,
166:Possibilities: 1. Persistent hallucination. 2. Really long dream. (Or maybe normal-length dream, perceived as really long from the inside?) 3. Schizophrenic episode. 4. Unprovoked Somewhere in Time scenario. 5. Am already dead? Like on Lost? 6. Drug use. Unrecalled. 7. Miracle. 8. Interdimensional portal. 9. It’s a Wonderful Life? (Minus angel. Minus suicide. Minus quasirational explanation.) 10. Magic fucking phone. ~ Anonymous,
167:In Britain, a cup of tea is the answer to every problem.
Fallen off your bicycle? Nice cup of tea.
Your house has been destroyed by a meteorite? Nice cup of tea and a biscuit.
Your entire family has been eaten by a Tyrannosaurus Rex that has travelled through a space/time portal? Nice cup of tea and a piece of cake. Possibly a savoury option would be welcome here too, for example a Scotch egg or a sausage roll. ~ David Walliams,
168:We kept walking until a low stone wall with an arched portal appeared in front of us. We passed through, and at first, I didn’t understand what the place was. On the Island of the Mighty, we burned our dead or buried them beneath mounds of earth. We did not lock them away in cold little houses made of stone where their spirits would be trapped forever, barred from ever reaching the peace and plenty of the Otherworld. ~ Lesley Livingston,
169:He takes two steps back. Closer to the portal.

I can't stop myself. "Ben," I call. And I'm not even embarrassed about how helpless my voice sounds.

Don't go.

"I'll come back for you." He takes another step back. "I promise."


"Janelle Tenner," he says. "I will always fucking love you." And then he takes one more step back. Into the portal.

And the blackness swallows him whole. ~ Elizabeth Norris,
170:He returned to Pinch, waiting for the mine whistle to break the day into pieces. When it did, the miners surfaced with empty lunch buckets, leaving the portal, walking the narrow main drag with its bank, post office, and commissary. They found their own company shacks in straggling rows three deep, each one identical, with the same stovepipe, same curl of smoke, same yellow dog lazing in a bare yard. its tail beginning to wag. ~ Matthew Neill Null,
171:This huge tower would become the new cosmic mountain of the gods. They would engage in an occultic ceremony that would transform the ziggurat into a portal, a literal stairway to heaven that would enable the pantheon to recruit from the myriads of Elohim’s heavenly host to join their revolution. The original two hundred had accomplished much since the days of Noah. They eagerly imagined what they could do with thousands or even millions. ~ Brian Godawa,
172:Gamers even develop some unusual emotional “superpowers.” Perhaps the most surprising power has to do with dreaming. People who frequently play first-person games (which graphically show you the game world from the point of view of the hero, like Minecraft, Halo, and Portal) develop two rather amazing skills: They can halt nightmares in their tracks, controlling themselves in their dreams the way they control a character in a video game. ~ Jane McGonigal,
173:Adiyogi’s legacy offers you the licence to believe in the god of your choice, or not to believe at all. And if you do not find a god to your taste, it allows you the freedom to create one. That is how the Indian subcontinent arrived at an exuberant 330 million gods and goddesses at last count! To see the divine in a tree, rock or elephant is not considered absurd because every speck of creation is seen as a portal to the ultimate reality. These ~ Sadhguru,
174:Portrait Of The Artist
Oh, lead me to a quiet cell
Where never footfall rankles,
And bar the window passing well,
And gyve my wrists and ankles.
Oh, wrap my eyes with linen fair,
With hempen cord go bind me,
And, of your mercy, leave me there,
Nor tell them where to find me.
Oh, lock the portal as you go,
And see its bolts be double....
Come back in half an hour or so,
And I will be in trouble.
~ Dorothy Parker,
175:What our phrenological exam says is that we understand how the universe behaved, but that most of the universe is made of stuff about which we are clueless. Our profound areas of ignorance notwithstanding, today, as never before, cosmology has an anchor, because the CMB reveals the portal through which we all walked. It’s a point where interesting physics happened, and where we learned about the universe before and after its light was set free. ~ Neil deGrasse Tyson,
176:She knew that this silent, motionless portal opened into the street; if the sidelights had not been filled with green paper, she might have looked out on the little brown stoop and the well-worn brick pavement. But she had no wish to look out, for this would have interfered with her theory that there was a strange, unseen place on the other side--a place which became, to the child’s imagination, according to its different moods, a region of delight or terror. ~ Henry James,
177:The goal of natural history is to catalog the creations of the Lord,” Reverend Finnias insisted one night. “I disagree,” Father replied. “This new age of scientific reason insists that we ask the question of how things work. We must be continually measuring and weighing our results in a scientific manner.” “Don’t speak to me of science!” Reverend Finnias thundered. “Science is the portal by which the Devil works his malfeasance. Science makes people question God. ~ Suzanne Weyn,
178:But her beauty and stillness broke the balance in me. In my small apartment, she kissed me, and the ground opened up, swallowed me, buried me right there in that moment. How many awful poems did I write thinking of her? I know now what she was to me - the first glimpse of a space-bridge, a wormhole, a galactic portal off this bound and blind planet. She had seen other worlds, and she held the lineage of other worlds, spectacularly, in the vessel of her black body. ~ Ta Nehisi Coates,
179:I think it's hard to have a brand portal and an economy of trustworthiness in one of them that sloshes over into another. But saying that there will be only a limited number of these giant brand portals doesn't mean a limited number of companies; it doesn't mean that everybody's going to be working for these companies. Quite the opposite. Most of us will be working through much smaller entities that simply use these portals as vehicles for getting and identifying customers. ~ Robert Reich,
180:Smarmy little prig,” Will snarled, leaning father forward, as if he longed to reach through the magical portal and strangle Gabriel. “When I get him alone…” “I ought to go in with her instead,” Gabriel went on. “I can look out for her a bit more. Instead of simply looking out for myself.” “Hanging’s too good for him,” agreed Jem, who looked as if he were trying not to laugh. “Tessa knows Will,” protested Charlotte. “She trusts Will.” “I wouldn’t go that far,” muttered Tessa. ~ Cassandra Clare,
181:Glacier blue plasma rippled and sparked across the interior of the portal. “It seems keeping secrets is what you do.”

“Secrets are merely the necessary means. Survival is the end goal. Survival of ourselves, survival of species who do not deserve to be eradicated from the universe. Survival of the universe itself.”

“Survival’s noble and all, but what good is it without the freedom to live as you choose?”

“A question you have the luxury to ask because you survive. ~ G S Jennsen,
182:Feeling more tired than I'd ever felt after work, I walked through the sliding glass doors leading to the small alley that separated the parking garage from the hospital. I usually experienced this passage as a sort of limbo: a seven-foot-long stretch of asphalt that got me to where I parked, a portal where tired nurses left as fresh ones entered. On that morning, though, I felt a breeze on my face as I stepped through the double doors and saw the day's first light, and it hit me: I'm alive. ~ Lee Gutkind,
183:Smarmy little prig,” Will snarled, leaning father forward, as if he longed to reach through the magical portal and strangle Gabriel. “When I get him alone…”
“I ought to go in with her instead,” Gabriel went on. “I can look out for her a bit more. Instead of simply looking out for myself.”
“Hanging’s too good for him,” agreed Jem, who looked as if he were trying not to laugh.
“Tessa knows Will,” protested Charlotte. “She trusts Will.”
“I wouldn’t go that far,” muttered Tessa. ~ Cassandra Clare,
184:A magical portal opened inside my mind and conducted me into an astonishing world. [...] Before this moment I had divined but had never known with such positiveness that the world is extremely large and that suffering and toil are the companions and fellow warriors not only of Cretan, but of every man. [...] That by means of poetry all this suffering and effort could be transformed into dream; no matter how much of the ephemeral existed, poetry could immortalize it by turning it into song. ~ Nikos Kazantzakis,
185:Cole stilled when his feral eyes found her, roaming every inch as though searching for a wound. The doorway framed him like a portal to purgatory, and he stood like an avenging archangel come to wreak a wrath no less than biblical. The swells of his powerful chest heaved against the white of his shirtsleeves now blotched and stained with blood. The blade on his prosthesis was extended past the motionless metal fingers, and blood dripped from it into a thick crimson puddle on the marble floor. ~ Kerrigan Byrne,
186:Here in my heart, my happiness, my house. Here inside the lighted window is my love, my hope, my life. Peace is my companion on the pathway winding to the threshold. Inside this portal dwells new strength in the security, serenity, and radiance of those I love above life itself. Here two will build new dreams--dreams that tomorrow will come true. The world over, these are the thoughts at eventide when footsteps turn ever homeward. In the haven of the hearthside is rest and peace and comfort. ~ Abraham Lincoln,
187:They banged doors, they shouted Trick or Treat and their brown paper bags began to fill with incredible sweets. They galloped with their teeth glued shut with pink gum. They ran with red wax lips bedazzling their faces. But all the people who met them at doors looked like candy factory duplicates of their own mothers and fathers. It was like never leaving home. Too much kindness flashed from every window and every portal. What they wanted was to hear dragons belch in basements and banged castle doors. ~ Ray Bradbury,
188:You could’ve sent a message to a letter station at one of the portal gates.”
“What should I have written? Dear Harlot, rumor has it that you are very happy with your new life in Rothkalina with your beloved brother Omort. I hear that you have all the gold you could ever want, and I know how much you always enjoyed a good blood orgy. Well done, Melanthe! By the way, would you like to meet for a rational discussion about our future?”
“Well. I did have a lot of gold.”
Do not strangle her! ~ Kresley Cole,
189:That is a horrible thing in a way, but it is the one thing poets can bring back to experience, this intense focus on language, which activates words as a portal back into experience. It's a mysterious process that's very hard to articulate, because it's focused entirely on the material of language in a way, but in the interests not just of language itself whatever that would mean - that's the mistake, by the way, that so many so-called "experimental" poets make - but in service to human experience. ~ Matthew Zapruder,
190:Each breaking open, each initiation into the underworld through grief, illness, depression, anxiety or loss — is a potential initiation, a portal of possibility where we get the chance to see and feel the very root of our own fire in the deepest dark. In this place we get to see our inner spark more clearly, as we are detached from our daily busyness and sense of belonging. We get to move further inwards, to let go of the shells of ourselves, and break open our self-concept to include our fuller selves. ~ Lucy H Pearce,
191:Twitter was only the gateway, the portal into the endless city of the internet. Whole days went by on clicking, my attention snared over and over by pockets and ladders of information; an absent, ardent witness to the world, the Lady of Shalott with her back to the window, watching the shadows of the real appear in the lent blue glass of her magic mirror. I used to read like that, back in the age of paper, the finished century, to bury myself in a book, and now I gazed at the screen, my cathected silver lover. ~ Olivia Laing,
192:Here in my heart, my happiness, my house.
Here inside the lighted window is my love, my hope, my life.
Peace is my companion on the pathway winding to the threshold.
Inside this portal dwells new strength in the security, serenity, and radiance of those I love above life itself.
Here two will build new dreams--dreams that tomorrow will come true.
The world over, these are the thoughts at eventide when footsteps turn ever homeward.
In the haven of the hearthside is rest and peace and comfort. ~ Abraham Lincoln,
193:But instead of the portal opening up for more Watchers to come down, the assembly of the gods felt the horrifying pull of the whirlwind upward. This was not the plan.   Abram saw all the gods in the shrine sucked up into the whirlwind. He looked at Mikael, who laughed heartily. It was the opposite of what the gods had expected. Before Abram could grasp what he had seen, the earth rumbled beneath their feet. The land before them rose up like a rug being shaken. The ripple of earth traveled speedily toward Babylon. ~ Brian Godawa,
194:Fame _Vs._ Riches
The Greeks had genius,--'t was a gift
The Muse vouchsafed in glorious measure;
The boon of Fame they made their aim
And prized above all worldly treasure.
But _we_,--how do we train _our_ youth?
_Not_ in the arts that are immortal,
But in the greed for gains that speed
From him who stands at Death's dark portal.
Ah, when this slavish love of gold
Once binds the soul in greasy fetters,
How prostrate lies,--how droops and dies
The great, the noble cause of letters!
~ Eugene Field,
195:If you are forced to confront your fears on a daily basis, they disintegrate, like illusions when viewed up close. Maybe being always protected made me more fearful, and I would later dip cautiously into the outside world, never allowing myself to be submerged completely, and always jerking back into the familiarity of my own life when my senses were overwhelmed. For years I would stand with a foot in each sphere, drawn to the exotic universe that lay on the other side of the portal, wrenched back by the warnings that sounded like alarm bells in my mind. ~ Deborah Feldman,
196:I have come to the conclusion that human beings are born with an innate capacity to triumph over trauma. I believe not only that trauma is curable, but that the healing process can be a catalyst for profound awakening—a portal opening to emotional and genuine spiritual transformation. I have little doubt that as individuals, families, communities, and even nations, we have the capacity to learn how to heal and prevent much of the damage done by trauma. In so doing, we will significantly increase our ability to achieve both our individual and collective dreams. ~ Peter A Levine,
197:I have come to the conclusion that human beings are born with an innate capacity to triumph over trauma. I believe not only that trauma is curable, but that the healing process can be a catalyst for profound awakening - a portal opening to emotional and genuine spiritual transformation. I have little doubt that as individuals, families, communities, and even nations, we have the capacity to learn how to heal and prevent much of the damage done by trauma. In so doing, we will significantly increase our ability to achieve both our individual and collective dreams. ~ Peter A Levine,
198:Smartphone makers sought deeper ties with retail buyers by adding ring tones, games, Web browsers, and other applications to their phones. Carriers, however, wanted this business to themselves. If they couldn’t sell applications within their “walled gardens,” carriers worried they would be reduced to mere utilities or “dumb pipes” carrying data and voice traffic. Nokia learned the hard way just how ferociously carriers could defend their turf. In the late 1990s the Finnish phone maker launched Club Nokia, a Web-based portal that allowed customers to buy and download ~ Jacquie McNish,
199:Come in and see, that something seemed to whisper in my head. Never mind all the rest of it, Jake—come in and see. Come in and visit. Time doesn’t matter in here; in here, time just floats away. You know you want to, you know you’re curious. Maybe it’s even another rabbit-hole. Another portal. Maybe it was, but I don’t think so. I think it was Derry in there—everything that was wrong with it, everything that was askew, hiding in that pipe. Hibernating. Letting people believe the bad times were over, waiting for them to relax and forget there had ever been bad times at all. ~ Stephen King,
200:The Following Pair
O very remarkable mortal,
What food is engaging your jaws
And staining with amber their portal?
'It's 'baccy I chaws.'
And why do you sway in your walking,
To right and left many degrees,
And hitch up your trousers when talking?
'I follers the seas.'
Great indolent shark in the rollers,
Is ''baccy,' too, one of your faults?
You, too, display maculate molars.
'I dines upon salts.'
Strange diet!-intestinal pain it
Is commonly given to nip.
And how can you ever obtain it?
'I follers the ship.'
~ Ambrose Bierce,
201:When in Rome, Alexander," said Magnus, "one drives a Maserati."
They had to get to Rome as fast as possible, and they couldn't use a Portal, so Magnus said he was selecting the next best option. Shinyun was reading the Red Scrolls of Magic and ignoring them both, which was fine with Alec.
"An excellent choice," said the attendant at teh luxury car rental lot. "Gotta love a classic 3500 GT Spyder."
Alec leaned into Magnus. "The car is also a spider?"
Magnus shrugged, flashing Alec an irresistibly bright smile. "No idea. I just picked it because it was Italian and red. ~ Cassandra Clare,
202:It was like time would stop, and the dancer would sort of step through some kind of portal and he wasn't doing anything different than he had ever done, 1,000 nights before, but everything would align. And all of a sudden, he would no longer appear to be merely human. He would be lit from within, and lit from below and all lit up on fire with divinity. And when this happened, back then, people knew it for what it was, you know, they called it by it's name. They would put their hands together and they would start to chant, "Allah, Allah, Allah, God God, God." That's God, you know. ~ Elizabeth Gilbert,
203:An Old-Fashioned Welcome
There's nothing cheers a fellow up just like a hearty greeting,
A handclasp and an honest smile that flash the joy of meeting;
And when at friendly doors you ring, somehow it seems to free you
From all life's doubts to hear them say: 'Come in! We're glad to
see you!'
At first the portal slips ajar in answer to your ringing,
And then your eyes meet friendly eyes, and wide the door goes flinging;
And something seems to stir the soul, however troubled be you,
If but the cheery host exclaims: 'Come in! We're glad to see you!'
~ Edgar Albert Guest,
204:Disintermediated brands appear in other contexts, too. For instance, Facebook creates no content, yet it brokers content for billions of individuals and thousands of media markets; Uber owns almost no vehicles, yet it is the world’s largest taxi service. In a hyper-networked world where mobile phones, speakers, thermostats, and even exercise clothes are connected to the internet and potentially each other, brands have to learn to play well with each other or give up a certain amount of control to those that own the most popular interfaces. For better or for worse, the power is in the portal. ~ Paul R Daugherty,
205:The Beatific Vision
OH God! if I do my duty
And walk in the thorny way,
Will you pay me with heavens of beauty,
Millions of lives away?
Will you give me the music of heaven,
And the joy that none understands,
In place of what life would have given
If I had held out my hands?
I have lived in a narrow prison,
I have writhed 'neath a bitter creed,
And I dare to say that no heaven can pay
The renounced dream and deed,
But when my life's portal closes,
If you have no heaven to spare
God! give me a garden of roses,
And some one to walk with there.
~ Edith Nesbit,
206:I care not how humble your bookshelf may be, or how lonely the room which it adorns. Close the door of that room behind you, shut off with it all the cares of the outer world, plunge back into the soothing company of the great dead, and then you are through the magic portal into that fair land whither worry and vexation can follow you no more. You have left all that is vulgar and all that is sordid behind you. There stand your noble, silent comrades, waiting in their ranks. Pass your eye down their files. Choose your man. And then you have but to hold up your hand to him and away you go together into dreamland ~ Arthur Conan Doyle,
207:Did you know we were leaving for Idris?" "Catarina told me she'd been summoned to make a portal. I guessed," Magnus said wryly. "I was a little surprised you hadn't called or texted to tell me you were going away."
"You never answer my calls or texts," said Alec.
"That hasn't stopped you before."
"Everyone gives up eventually," Alec said. "Besides, Jace broke my phone."
Magnus huffed a laughter. "Oh, Alexander."
"What?" alec asked, honestly puzzled.
"you're just--You're so--I really want to kiss you," Magnus said abruptly, and then shook his head. "See this is why I haven't been willing to see you. ~ Cassandra Clare,
208:I gradually shrank in size until I was a teenager, then a child, and then, at last, a baby, crawling, until inevitably I was sucked naked and screaming through that portal every man's mother possesses, into a black hole where all light vanished. As that last glimmer faded, it occurred to me that the light at the end of the tunnel seen by people who have died and come back to life was not Heaven. Wasn't it much more plausible that what they saw was not what lay ahead of them but what lay behind? This was the universal memory of the first tunnel we all pass through, the light at its end penetrating our fetal darkness... ~ Viet Thanh Nguyen,
209:She looked over at the clock. The afternoon update would come on soon. She never missed it. She told herself she wanted to know what was happening out there, but the truth was more simple. What she really wanted to hear was news of one person: David Vale. But that report never came, and it probably wouldn’t. There were two ways out of the tombs in Antarctica—through the ice entrance there in Antarctica or via the portal to Gibraltar. Her father had closed the Gibraltar exit permanently, and the Immari army was waiting in Antarctica. They would never let David live. Kate tried to push the thought away as the radio announcer came on. ~ A G Riddle,
210:How many toes did I have when we left London, does anyone remember?" Jim asked, examining its feet. "I think one is missing."

"Stop fussing about a missing toe. We have more important things to focus on, like finding Drake and saving him from whatever trouble he’s in," I answered, straightening my clothing and zipping up my heavy parka.

"Oh, man, I am missing one! I know I had four on this foot! What sort of place was that company you used, demon-haters or something?"

"Budget Teleporters is a perfectly good company. Didn’t you listen to their warning about keeping your arms and legs in the portal at all times? ~ Katie MacAlister,
211:Alec: So you met jace. What did you think?
Kit: Of Jace?
Alec: Just making small talk.
Kit: Jace isn't much like you.
Alec: That's an understatement. But it doesn't matter. Parabatai don't need to be like each other. They just need to complement each other. To work well together.
Kit: And you and Jace complement each other?
Alec: I remember when I met him. He walked out of a Portal from Idiris. He was skinny and he had bruises and he had these big eyes. He was arrogant, too. He and Isabelle used to fight ... But to me everything aobut him said "Love me, because nobody else has". It was all over him, like fingerprints. ~ Cassandra Clare,
212:Consciousness isn’t a state to arrive at, a destination. After we become conscious, it doesn’t mean we experience no more moments of unconsciousness. Rather, living consciously is an ongoing process. Nobody is fully conscious, and we can be conscious in one aspect of our life and not in another—conscious in the way we act one moment but unconscious the next moment. To become conscious is to witness our unconsciousness, which progressively makes it conscious. For this reason, there’s no need to treat our unconsciousness as if it were the boogey man. It’s nothing to be frightened of, but is the portal to our development into whole human beings. ~ Shefali Tsabary,
213:Roderic Quinn
No more will Rod his lyrics sing,
As tuneful as the thrush when Spring
With minstrel voice is calling;
As joyous as the gentle chime
Of bellbirds in the Summertime
From sylvan spires down-falling.
The harp is mute from which he drew
The magic of a music new
Of woods and golden beaches;
Its silent strings tell ne'er again
Enraptured tales of hill and plain
And gleaming river reaches.
But this fair land shall ever be
Indebted to his minstrelsy,
So, written on the portal
Of Art's proud temple, will his name
Go down forevermore in fame
Untarnished and immortal.
~ Edwin James Brady,
214:Wedding Day
The enchanted hour,
The magic bower,
Where, crowned with roses,
Love love discloses.
'Kiss me, my lover;
Doubting is over,
Over is waiting;
Love lights our mating!'
'But roses wither,
Chill winds blow hither,
One thing all say, dear,
Love lives a day, dear!'
'Heed those old stories?
New glowing glories
Blot out those lies, love!
Look in my eyes, love!
'Ah, but the world knows Naught of the true rose;
Back the world slips, love!
Give me your lips, love!
'Even were their lies true,
Yet were you wise to
Swear, at Love's portal,
The god's immortal.'
~ Edith Nesbit,
215:Another Hole For W.R Rodgers
Speak like a singularity, a lack
residing deep inside every lock, just
past the point keys can jab: against all thrust
make safe-ensure your door's core is held back,
for reckless access to that pure center
quarks more quintessence than taking exits
from those pried voids whose secret quickly sates:
ubiquitous if Space presses Enter.
Which inadmissible sill still calls loud
with imagine: our skeleton keeping
each such portal neither open nor shut,
unhoused of that exclusive dustborne cloud
we breathe, though there must be something
it accumulates, accommodates: what?
~ Bill Knott,
216:It was probably about two, two thirty right now; the man might be waiting for the magic ambush hour of four a.m., the hour used by police and assassins and generals worldwide, the dead of night, insomniacs’ bane, the Portal. He’d always thought of it that way: that there were portals in reality, in time and space, in geography, in seasons, when and where the dead or the very far away rubbed up against the living. It was in that hour or two before dawn, when the slip of ruddy moon was sinking like a lightship over the mesa at home, that he would hear his mother singing. That he would call to her and she would answer back in a voice as quiet as those lights. ~ Peter Heller,
217:Claire was just coming down the stairs, humming and thinking about how nice it was to have things getting back to normal, and how she'd tell Shane about the January thing tonight, when Myrnin sent a message through the portal.
Well, more of a rock with a note tied to it, which rolled across the floor and scared Eve into a scream before the portal snapped shut. Eve kicked the rock resentfully with her thick black boots and glared at it, then at the wall.
Claire gave her a "What the hell?" kind of look.
"Your boss," Eve said, and reached down to grab the rock, "needs to figure out texting. Seriously. Who does this? Is he actually from the Stone Age? ~ Rachel Caine,
218:A crack of thunder resounded overhead. The funnel cloud swirled above the shrine. Below, in the huge courtyard of Etemenanki, the entire army of ten thousand Stone Ones assembled and stood to attention at the command of Terah. Nimrod, with bandaged throat, stood beside Terah. The king oversaw the complete entourage of every magician, every sorcerer, every astrologer and omen diviner in Babylon surround the ziggurat with ritual incantations. The temple towered over them, standing three hundred feet high. It was a small mountain, a cosmic mountain. Soon it would be the new home of the gods, and an occultic portal through which they might storm heaven. It was time. ~ Brian Godawa,
The atmosphere of Heaven is love, and when
The portal outward swings for souls redeemed,
The precious ether, so released, is streamed
Upon a weary world. God's gift to men
It is, for spirits turned to Him. Oh, then,
They, over whom this wondrous waft is beamed,
Inbreathing it, see visions brain ne'er dreamed,
Or through another source may dream again.
The world is glorified; they sing and sound
A quivering key-note of such ecstasy,
The keen vibrations throb till there is found
A soul companion of rare harmony.
If lightly breathed it ends in one brief round;
If deeply drawn it chords eternally.
~ Alma Frances McCollum,
220:In February
Rich meanings of the prophet-Spring adorn,
Unseen, this colourless sky of folded showers,
And folded winds; no blossom in the bowers;
A poet's face asleep in this grey morn.
Now in the midst of the old world forlorn
A mystic child is set in these still hours.
I keep this time, even before the flowers,
Sacred to all the young and the unborn.
To all the miles and miles of unsprung wheat,
And to the Spring waiting beyond the portal,
And to the future of my own young art,
And, among all these things, to you, my sweet,
My friend, to your calm face and the immortal
Child tarrying all your life-time in your heart.
~ Alice Meynell,
221:My love, she sleeps! Oh, may her sleep,         As it is lasting, so be deep;         Soft may the worms about her creep!         Far in the forest, dim and old,         For her may some tall vault unfold—         Some vault that oft hath flung its black         And wingèd panels fluttering back,         Triumphant, o’er the crested palls,         Of her grand family funerals—         Some sepulchre, remote, alone,         Against whose portal she hath thrown,         In childhood many an idle stone—         Some tomb from out whose sounding door         She ne’er shall force an echo more,         Thrilling to think, poor child of sin!         It was the dead who groaned within. ~ Edgar Allan Poe,
222:There are different kinds of people in this world. Some people, if they stepped outside and saw a glowing portal hovering in their yard—a shimmering doorway that led to another world where the sky is the color of emeralds and crystal palaces shimmer in the distance—they would go right back inside the house and lock the door and pray for the freaky thing to go away. Other people would grab a couple of power bards, a bottle of water, and a baseball bat for self-defense and step on through, because the regret of wondering what might have been would tear them to pieces eventually if they did anything else. Turns out I'm the kind of girl who has a hard time turning her back on what might be. ~ Tim Pratt,
A portal as of shadowy adamant
Stands yawning on the highway of the life
Which we all tread, a cavern huge and gaunt;
Around it rages an unceasing strife
Of shadows, like the restless clouds that haunt
The gap of some cleft mountain, lifted high
Into the whirlwinds of the upper sky.

And many pass it by with careless tread,
Not knowing that a shadowy...
Tracks every traveller even to where the dead
Wait peacefully for their companion new;
But others, by more curious humour led,
Pause to examine;these are very few,
And they learn little there, except to know
That shadows follow them whereer they go.

~ Percy Bysshe Shelley, An Allegory
224:Church—door Should Still Stand Open
Church-doors should still stand open, night and day,
Open to all who come for praise or prayer,
Laden with gift of love or load of care,
Nimbused with gold, or flecked with locks of gray,
Mother, or snow-white bride, or pallid clay,
The blithe, the sad, the uncomely as the fair,
Each on his secret errand wending there,
Nor even the mighty and strong be turned away.
And so the poet's heart should ever be
Portal of joy and welcomer of woe,
That makes the deaf to hear, the blind to see,
Open confessional for high and low,
An unshut shrine where all may come and go,
And by their tears an enriched sanctuary.
~ Alfred Austin,
225:A twitchy nose popped up underneath her hand, near the rim of the portal. “They’re like this all the time. I can’t bear it any longer. I can’t and I shan’t!”
“Edgar!” Lex’s face melted into a grin as she lowered her hand. “Oh, man. I’ve missed you.”
Edgar Allan Poe smoothed out his frock coat. “Yes. Well. Your absence has been noted as well. I’m left to fend for myself with these simpering nincompoops.”
“Hey, Poe,” said Tut. “Your mustache is showing!” He smiled a jockish grin and gave Cordy a high-five.
“I know my mustache is—that’s not even a joke—” Edgar’s lip quivered. “You see what I mean? It seems the presidents have taught him the ever-popular sport of Torture the Poet. Oh, yes. Taught. Him. Well. ~ Gina Damico,
226:Sonnet Xlviii: Death-In-Love
There came an image in Life's retinue
That had Love's wings and bore his gonfalon:
Fair was the web, and nobly wrought thereon,
O soul-sequestered face, thy form and hue!
Bewildering sounds, such as Spring wakens to,
Shook in its folds; and through my heart its power
Sped trackless as the immemorable hour
When birth's dark portal groaned and all was new.
But a veiled woman followed, and she caught
The banner round its staff, to furl and cling,—
Then plucked a feather from the bearer's wing
And held it to his lips that stirred it not,
And said to me, “Behold, there is no breath:
I and this Love are one, and I am Death.”
~ Dante Gabriel Rossetti,
Grace, Beauty, and Caprice
Build this golden portal;
Graceful women, chosen men,
Dazzle every mortal.
Their sweet and lofty countenance
His enchanted food;
He need not go to them, their forms
Beset his solitude.
He looketh seldom in their face,
His eyes explore the ground,--
The green grass is a looking-glass
Whereon their traits are found.
Little and less he says to them,
So dances his heart in his breast;
Their tranquil mien bereaveth him
Of wit, of words, of rest.
Too weak to win, too fond to shun
The tyrants of his doom,
The much deceived Endymion
Slips behind a tomb.
by owner. provided at no charge for educational purposes

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson, Manners
228:You might wonder how those on the Other Side know to use my screen or my body, or even how they find me. My answer: they just know. We are tied to all those we’ve ever loved by cords of light. Those cords can never be broken. Think of them like a fishing line of love. If you tug on one end, the other end feels the tug. And those on the Other Side are always on the lookout for openings between the worlds. They can locate the portal they need. The most important thing for a sitter to know is that he or she doesn’t need a psychic medium to communicate with loved ones who have passed. If we open our minds and our hearts, we will begin to see the signs and messages they send for us to feel their presence in our everyday lives. ~ Laura Lynne Jackson,
229:Documentation: • Azure Websites Portal page for documentation about Azure Websites. • Azure Websites, Cloud Services, and Virtual Machines Comparison Azure Websites as shown in this introduction is just one of three ways you can run web apps in Azure. Read this article for guidance on how to choose which one is right for your scenario. Like Websites, Cloud Services is a Platform as a Service (PaaS) feature of Azure. VMs are an Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) feature. For an explanation of PaaS versus IaaS, see Chapter 6, “Data storage options.” Videos: • Scott Guthrie starts at Step 0 - What is the Azure Cloud OS? • Websites Architecture - with Stefan Schackow. • Windows Azure Websites Internals with Nir Mashkowski. ~ Anonymous,
230:There came a time, however, when death ceased to be the enforcer of finitude and began to look, instead, like the last opportunity for radical transformation, the only plausible portal to the infinite.
But to be seen as the finite carcass in a sea of blood and bone chips and gray matter-- to inflict that version of himself on other people-- was a violation of privacy so profound it seemed it would outlive him.
He was also afraid that it might hurt.
And there was a very important question that he still wanted answered. His children were coming, Gary and Denise and maybe even Chip, his intellectual son. It was possible that Chip, if he came, could answer the very important question.
And the question was:
The question was: ~ Jonathan Franzen,
231:Now let your spiritual practice be this: As you go about your life, don’t give 100 percent of your attention to the external world and to your mind. Keep some within. I have spoken about this already. Feel the inner body even when engaged in everyday activities, especially when engaged in relationships or when you are relating with nature. Feel the stillness deep inside it. Keep the portal open. It is quite possible to be conscious of the Unmanifested throughout your life. You feel it as a deep sense of peace somewhere in the background, a stillness that never leaves you, no matter what happens out here. You become a bridge between the Unmanifested and the manifested, between God and the world. This is the state of connectedness with the Source that we call enlightenment. ~ Eckhart Tolle,
232:Surrender — the letting go of mental-emotional resistance to what is — also becomes a portal into the Unmanifested. The reason for this is simple: inner resistance cuts you off from other people, from yourself, from the world around you. It strengthens the feeling of separateness on which the ego depends for its survival. The stronger the feeling of separateness, the more you are bound to the manifested, to the world of separate forms. The more you are bound to the world of form, the harder and more impenetrable your form identity becomes. The portal is closed, and you are cut off from the inner dimension, the dimension of depth. In the state of surrender, your form identity softens and becomes somewhat “transparent,” as it were, so the Unmanifested can shine through you. ~ Eckhart Tolle,
233:She left quietly, closing the door behind her.
Only then did Hunter move, wandering to the portal, his large hand clasping the oval brass knob that she had just touched, searching for any remaining warmth her skin might have imparted. He leaned his cheek against the cool, glossy panel and closed his eyes. He craved her body, her sweetness, her hands on his body, her legs open to him, her throat tightening with feminine cries as he pleasured her... He shoved the thoughts away, but it was too late, he was left with a painful erection that wouldn't subside.
How long would it take for her to accept him? What the devil would she require? If only she would assign him some herculean task for him to accomplish and prove himself. 'Tell me what to do,' he thought, emitting a slight groan, 'and by God, I'll do it ten times over. ~ Lisa Kleypas,
234:to allow our hearts to break, to soften them, to sink deeply into the knowing that everything will fall, everything will pass, everything will crumble, can be the great portal to awakening. We simply stop taking everything for granted. We stop living in “tomorrow” and turn toward the living day. We stop seeking our happiness in the future, clinging to the promises of others, and begin to break open into a bigger happiness that is rooted in presence, and truth, that allows for the coming but also the going of things, that accepts the little deaths as they happen each day, the disappointments, the losses, the shattered expectations, the good-byes. The Unexpected becomes our friend, a constant companion. We break open into bitter-sweetness, into fragility and utter vulnerability, into the gift of every moment, of every encounter with a friend, a lover, a stranger. ~ Jeff Foster,
235:IN the dusky path of a dream I went to seek the love who was mine in a former life.
      Her house stood at the end of a desolate street.
      In the evening breeze her pet peacock sat drowsing on its perch, and the pigeons were silent in their corner.
      She set her lamp down by the portal and stood before me.
      She raised her large eyes to my face and mutely asked, "Are you well, my friend?"
      I tried to answer, but our language had been lost and forgotten.
      I thought and thought; our names would not come to my mind.
      Tears shone in her eyes. She held up her right hand to me. I took it and stood silent.
      Our lamp had flickered in the evening breeze and died.

~ Rabindranath Tagore, In The Dusky Path Of A Dream
236:At Cheyenne
Young Lochinvar came in from the West,
With fringe on his trousers and fur on his vest;
The width of his hat-brim could nowhere be beat,
His No.
brogans were chuck full of feet,
His girdle was horrent with pistols and things,
And he flourished a handful of aces on kings.
The fair Mariana sate watching a star,
When who should turn up but the young Lochinvar!
Her pulchritude gave him a pectoral glow,
And he reined up his hoss with stentorian "Whoa!"
Then turned on the maiden a rapturous grin,
And modestly asked if he might n't step in.
With presence of mind that was marvellous quite,
The fair Mariana replied that he might;
So in through the portal rode young Lochinvar,
Pre-empted the claim, and cleaned out the bar.
Though the justice allowed he wa'n't wholly to blame,
He taxed him ten dollars and costs, just the same.
~ Eugene Field,
237:I see you with that shell
Held to your sensitive abstracted ear,
Hunting the ocean’s rumor till you hear it well,
Until you can set down the sound you hear:—
Fixed to a shell like that you made immortal,
This heart listens, this fragile auricle
Holds rumor like your ocean’s, is a portal
That sometimes opens to contain the miracle.
If there are miracles we can record
They happen in the places that you curse.
Blessèd the pure in heart and the enduring word
Sings of that love that spins the universe.
My honor (and I cherish it for it is hardly won)
Is to be pure in this: is to believe
That to write down these perishable songs for one,
For one alone, and out of love, is not to grieve
But to build on the quicksand of despair
A house where every man may take his ease,
May come to shelter from the outer air,
A little house where he may find his peace. ~ May Sarton,
238:You're right," he said, jerking open the portal. "There is one place she's sure to go."
"And you.You should take your own advice and leave this place," Daniel said grimly. "You're rotting in here."
"At least this body's pain distracts me from the pain in my soul," his past self said. "No.I wish you luck, but I won't leave these walls now.Not until she's settled in her next incarnation."
Daniel's wings bristled at his neck. He tried to sort out time and lives and memories in his head, but he kept circling around the same irksome thought. "She-she should be settled now. In conception. Can't you feel it?"
"Oh," his imprisoned past self said softly. He closed his eyes. "I don't know that I can feel anything anymore." The prisoner sighed heavily. "Life's a nightmare."
"No,it's not. Not anymore. I'll find her.I'll redeem us both," Daniel shouted, desperate to get out of there, desperately taking another leap of faith through time. ~ Lauren Kate,
239:Then the Announcer would transform: into a screen through which to glimpse the past-or into a portal through which to step.
This Announcer was sticky,but she soon pulled it apart,guided it into shape. She reached inside and opened the portal.
She couldn't stay here any longer. She had a mission now: to find herself alive in another time and learn what price the Outcasts had referred to, and eventually,to trace the origin of the curse between Daniel and her.
Then to break it.
The others gasped as she manipulated the Announcer.
"When did you learn how to do that?" Daniil whispered.
Luce shook her head. Her explanation would only baffle Daniil.
"Lucinda!" The last thing she heard was his voice calling out her true name.
Strange,she'd been looking right at his stricken face but hadn't seen her lips move. Her mind was playing tricks.
"Lucinda!" he shouted once more, his voice rising in panic,just before Luce dove headfirst into the beckoning darkness. ~ Lauren Kate,
240:A footman knocked at the door, the sound echoing through the entrance hall.
The sisters looked at each other uneasily. “We can’t answer it,” Amelia said. “We’re in our nightclothes.”
A maid came into the entrance hall. Setting down a pail of coal, she wiped her hands on her apron and hastened to the door. Unlocking the massive portal, she tugged it open and bobbed a curtsy.
“Come away,” Amelia muttered, urging Poppy back to the stairs with her. But as she glanced back over her shoulder to see who had come, the sight of a man’s tall, dark form struck sparks inside her. She stopped with her foot on the first step, staring and staring, until a pair of amber eyes looked in her direction.
He looked disheveled and disreputable, like an outlaw on the run. A smile came to his lips, while he stared at her intently. “It seems I can’t stay away from you,” he said.
She rushed to him without thinking, almost stumbling in her haste. “Cam—”
He caught her up with a low laugh. ~ Lisa Kleypas,
241:When we had shaken enough hands and embraced enough people, Amar pulled me away from the sounds, back through the room with flimsy walls where the torn obsidian mirror-portal glowed blearily. There was only a handful of air between us, but it was all illusion. We were closer than that, two souls sewn together with light.
His palm slid to my cheek and my skin sang. I loved him with two loves. One, a relic of another era. Another, unformed and hot, a freshly wrought star. All enigma and song. I think he felt the same way because his next words were almost resentful:
“You are quite deceptive, my queen. Like a handful of light one moment and then winged night the next.” He smiled. “I would know all your mysteries if you would let me.”
“You can try, but you’ll never know them,” I said. “I have a thousand smiles, a hundred forms. Not to mention all my names.”
He closed the space between us, lips skimming hungrily across mine.
“Then I am pleased we have eternity,” he said, pulling me into a kiss. ~ Roshani Chokshi,
242:Ghosts are just one of the possible causes of these phenomena. Other such causes include, but are not limited to, the following: poltergeists, psychic children, magic, aliens, hallucinatory drugs, an alternate dimension analog of my apartment, a Hollywood special effects team, intergalactic space wizards, LASERS, ninjas, demons, vengeful deities, mischievous deities, uncaring impersonal but very clumsy and unapologetic deities, Silent Hill, that little kid from the Twilight Zone, Old Scratch himself, a curse, trapped spirits and/or demons, a building with hemophilia that cuts itself, one really really pissed ex girlfriend, a dimensional portal to Hell, an erection lasting more than four hours, a manifestation of a horror movie into the real world caused by a djinn or other bad wishing, fever dreams, a sentient building, Bizarro Elvis, the Antichrist, the Best Little Demonic Whorehouse in Texas, mental illness, brain damage, living downstairs from a cut-rate blood bank, a vision from God, or even a cursed sword. ~ Dennis Liggio,
243:Claire was just coming down the stairs, humming and thinking about how nice it was to have things getting back to normal, and how she'd tell Shane about the January thing tonight, when Myrnin sent a message through the portal--well, more of a rock with a note tied to it, which rolled across the floor and scared Eve into a scream before the portal snapped shut. Eve kicked the rock resentfully with her thick black boots and glared at it, then at the wall. Claire, who was coming down the steps, gave her a "What the hell?" kind of look.
"Your boss," Eve said, and reached down the grab the rock, "needs to figure out texting. Seriously. Who does this? Is he actually from the Stone Age? And you need to figure out how to put something here that we can lock. What if this thing opens when I'm naked?"
"Why would you be naked down here?"
"Well--" Eve didn't have an answer for that one. She handed over the rock. "Okay, bad example. But I don't like it that he can just drop in any damn time he wants. Or throw rocks at us. ~ Rachel Caine,
244:And the cloven waters like a chasm of mountains
Stood, and received him in its mighty portal
And led him through the deeps untrampled fountains

He went in wonder through the path immortal
Of his great Mother and her humid reign
And groves profaned not by the step of mortal

Which sounded as he passed, and lakes which rain
Replenished not girt round by marble caves
Wildered by the watery motion of the main

Half wildered he beheld the bursting waves
Of every stream beneath the mighty earth
Phasis and Lycus which the ... sand paves,

[And] The chasm where old Enipeus has its birth
And father Tyber and Anienas[?] glow
And whence Caicus, Mysian stream, comes forth

And rock-resounding Hypanis, and thou
Eridanus who bearest like empires sign
Two golden horns upon thy taurine brow

Thou than whom none of the streams divine
Through garden-fields and meads with fiercer power,
Burst in their tumult on the purple brine.

~ Percy Bysshe Shelley, From Vergils Fourth Georgic
245:His hand reached out and really touched the sky, The blue dome wasn't sky at all- it was ceiling. The realization struck him like a thunderbolt. He was in a giant room. What he had thought were tree trunks were the legs of chairs. The horizon was a wall. That strange formation to the south was actually a bed. There was a dressing table, a cupboard, a wardrobe. The 'hill' he'd used as a launch pad was a crumpled garment somebody had left lying on the floor. Not a giant room. Not a giant room at all! Henry had shrunk. It all came together now. The strange perspectives. The missing biofilter on the portal control. He had reached the palace all right- he was in somebody's bedroom- but he had undergone a transformation in the process. He fluttered down to the dressing table and examined himself in the towering mirror. He was a fairy creature. Except for the patterns on his wings, he looked like Pyrgus had looked like the first time they met. He was a fairy creature who could fly! He felt like dancing with delight.
Then he saw the spider. ~ Herbie Brennan,
246:Ash!” I called, squinting through the rain and darkness, through the glow of the streetlamps that made it impossible to see more than a few feet. “Ash, I’m here! Where are you?”
“You’ll wake everyone up if you keep shouting like that.”
I whirled around. He stood where the portal had been, hands in his pockets, the rain drumming his shoulders and making his hair run into his eyes. Lamplight fell around him, shining off his slick coat, surrounding him with a faint nimbus of light. But to me, he’d never looked so real.
“You came after me,” he murmured, sounding awed, incredulous, and relieved at the same time. I walked up to him, smiling through my tears.
“You didn’t think I’d let you go off alone, did you?”
“I was hoping.” Ash stepped forward and hugged me, pulling me close with desperate relief. I slid my arms beneath his coat and held him tight, closing my eyes. The rain pounded us, and a lone car passed us on the road, spraying us with gutter water, but I felt no urge to move. As long as Ash held me, I could stay here forever. ~ Julie Kagawa,
247:After working my way through three security guards and a busy but very dignified outer office, I was finally handed off to a gray-haired woman at an enormous desk of steel and walnut. She looked like a member of MENSA who had been a supermodel in her youth before moving on to a career as a Marine Corps drill instructor. She looked me over with a steely, unflinching eye, and then nodded, stood up, and led me to the end of a hall, where a massive door stood open. She waved a hand to indicate that I might have the great boon of passing through the portal and into the Presence. I bowed to her formally and stepped into a large office, and found Frank Kraunauer standing by the window looking down at the beach. The window was actually a floor-to-ceiling wall of thick and tinted glass, but in spite of the huge expanse of window I didn’t think he could see very much detail from this high up. Still, the light from the window lit him with what looked like a full-body halo, the perfect effect for the Attorney Messiah. I wondered whether it was on purpose. ~ Jeff Lindsay,
248:I care not how humble your bookshelf may be, nor how lowly the room which it adorns. Close the door of that room behind you, shut off with it all the cares of the outer world, plunge back into the soothing company of the great dead, and then you are through the magic portal into that fair land whither worry and vexation can follow you no more. You have left all that is vulgar and all that is sordid behind you. There stand your noble, silent comrades, waiting in their ranks. Pass your eye down their files. Choose your man. And then you have but to hold up your hand to him and away you go together into dreamland. Surely there would be something eerie about a line of books were it not that familiarity has deadened our sense of it. Each is a mummified soul embalmed in cere-cloth and natron of leather and printer's ink. Each cover of a true book enfolds the concentrated essence of a man. The personalities of the writers have faded into the thinnest shadows, as their bodies into impalpable dust, yet here are their very spirits at your command. ~ Arthur Conan Doyle,
249:One must build to the praise of a Being above, to build the noblest memorial of himself. Then, Angelo may verily " hang the Pantheon in the air." Then the unknown builder, whose personality disappears in his work, may stand an almost inspired mediator between the upward-looking thought and the spheres overhead. Each line then leaps with a swift aspiration, as the vast structure rises, in nave and transept into pointed arch and vanishing spire. The groined roof grows dusky with majestic glooms; while, beneath, the windows flame, as with apocalyptic light of jewels. Angelic presences, sculptured upon the portal, invite the wayfarer, and wave before him their wings of promise. Within is a worship which incense only clouds, which spoken sermons only mar. The building itself becomes a worship, a Gloria in Excelsis, articulate in stone; the noblest tribute offered on earth, by any art, to Him from whom its impulse came, and with the ineffable majesty of whose spirit all skies are filled! ~ Richard Salter Storrs, The Recognition of the Supernatural in Letters and in life (1881),
250:A problem related to perceptions of Mormonism’s monopoly on truth is the impression that Mormons claim a monopoly on salvation. It grows increasingly difficult to imagine that a body of a few million, in a world of seven billion, can really be God’s only chosen people and heirs of salvation. That’s because they aren’t. One of the most unfortunate misperceptions about Mormonism is in this tragic irony: Joseph Smith’s view is one of the most generous, liberal, and universalist conceptions of salvation in all Christendom. In section 49, when the Lord refers to “holy men” about whom Joseph knew nothing, and whom the Lord had reserved unto Himself, He is clearly indicating that Mormons do not have a monopoly on righteousness, truth, or God’s approbation. That temple covenants may be made and kept here or hereafter, and the ordinances of salvation performed in person or vicariously, means our conception of His church should be as large and as generous as God’s heart. Joseph’s teachings suggest that the Church is best understood as a portal for the saved, not the reservoir of the righteous. As ~ Terryl L Givens,
251:When we hear the ancient bells growling on a Sunday morning we ask ourselves: Is it really possible! This, for a jew, crucified two thousand years ago, who said he was God's son? The proof of such a claim is lacking. Certainly the Christian religion is an antiquity projected into our times from remote prehistory; and the fact that the claim is believed - whereas one is otherwise so strict in examining pretensions - is perhaps the most ancient piece of this heritage. A god who begets children with a mortal woman; a sage who bids men work no more, have no more courts, but look for the signs of the impending end of the world; a justice that accepts the innocent as a vicarious sacrifice; someone who orders his disciples to drink his blood; prayers for miraculous interventions; sins perpetrated against a god, atoned for by a god; fear of a beyond to which death is the portal; the form of the cross as a symbol in a time that no longer knows the function and ignominy of the cross -- how ghoulishly all this touches us, as if from the tomb of a primeval past! Can one believe that such things are still believed? ~ Friedrich Nietzsche,
252:The ducks of Mackinac Island are apparently not easily taken down. “Found a portion of the Lungs as large as a turkey’s egg protruding through the external wound, lacerated and burnt, and below this another protrusion resembling a portion of the Stomach, what at first view I could not believe possible to be that organ in that situation with the subject surviving, but on closer examination I found it to be actually the Stomach, with a puncture in the protruding portion large enough to receive my forefinger, and through which a portion of his food that he had taken for breakfast had come out and lodged among his apparel.” Thus reads Beaumont’s somewhat windy account of the injury. Through that puncture—and in the slop of half-digested meat and bread suddenly visible in the folds of St. Martin’s wool shirt—lay Beaumont’s ticket to the spotlight of national renown. Italian digestion experimenters had pulled food in and out of live animal stomachs, soaked it up in sponges on strings, even regurgitated their own dinners, but St. Martin’s portal presented an unprecedented opportunity to document the human juices and processes in vivo. ~ Mary Roach,
253:A True Hero
JAMES BRAIDWOOD: Died June 22, 1861.
NOT at the battle front,--writ of in story;
Not on the blazing wreck steering to glory;
Not while in martyr-pangs soul and flesh sever,
Died he--this Hero new; hero forever.
No pomp poetic crowned, no forms enchained him,
No friends applauding watched, no foes arraigned him:
Death found him there, without grandeur or beauty,
Only an honest man doing his duty:
Just a God-fearing man, simple and lowly,
Constant at kirk and hearth, kindly as holy:
Death found--and touched him with finger in flying:-Lo! he rose up complete--hero undying.
Now, all men mourn for him, lovingly raise him
Up from his life obscure, chronicle, praise him;
Tell his last act, done midst peril appalling,
And the last word of cheer from his lips falling;
Follow in multitudes to his grave's portal;
Leave him there, buried in honor immortal.
So many a Hero walks unseen beside us,
Till comes the supreme stroke sent to divide us.
Then the LORD calls His own,--like this man, even,
Carried, Elijah-like, fire-winged, to heaven.
~ Dinah Maria Mulock Craik,
254:One night, during a storm, an engineer named W. W. Bradfield was sitting at the Wimereux transmitter, when suddenly the door to the room crashed open. In the portal stood a man disheveled by the storm and apparently experiencing some form of internal agony. He blamed the transmissions and shouted that they must stop. The revolver in his hand imparted a certain added gravity. Bradfield responded with the calm of a watchmaker. He told the intruder he understood his problem and that his experience was not unusual. He was in luck, however, Bradfield said, for he had “come to the only man alive who could cure him.” This would require an “electrical inoculation,” after which, Bradfield promised, he “would be immune to electro-magnetic waves for the rest of his life.” The man consented. Bradfield instructed him that for his own safety he must first remove from his person anything made of metal, including coins, timepieces, and of course the revolver in his hand. The intruder obliged, at which point Bradfield gave him a potent electrical shock, not so powerful as to kill him, but certainly enough to command his attention. The man left, convinced that he was indeed cured. ~ Erik Larson,
255:The Church Bells
The Viennese authorities have melted down
the great bell in St. Stephen's to supply metal
for guns or muntions. Every poor village
has made a similar gift.—Lokal Anzeiger.
The great bell booms across the town,
Reverberant and slow,
And drifting from their houses down
The calm-eyed people go.
Their feet fall on the portal stones
Their fathers' fathers trod;
And still the bell, with reverent tones,
From cottage nooks and purple thrones
Is calling souls to God.
The chapel bells with ardor spake
Above the poplars tall,
And perfumed Sabbath seemed to wake.
Responsive to their call
From dappled vale and green hillside
And nestling village hives
The peasants came in simple pride
To hear how their Lord Jesus died
To sweeten all their lives.
They boom beyond the battered town;
The hills are belching smoke;
And valleys charred and ranges brown
Are quaking 'neath the stroke.
The iron roar to Heaven swells,
And domes and steeples nod;
Through cities vast and ferny dells
And village streets the clamant bells
Are calling souls to God!
~ Edward George Dyson,
256:If, when he disappeared through his portal, he went to Faery, time moves differently there.”
“That’s what V’lane said.” I emptied the cash drawer, counted the bills into stacks, then began punching in numbers on an adding machine. The store wasn’t computerized, which made bookkeeping a real pain in the neck.
He gave me a look. “The two of you are getting downright chatty, aren’t you, Miss Lane? When did you last see him? What else did he tell you?”
“I’m asking the questions tonight.” One day I was going to write a book: How to Dictate to a Dictator and Evade an Evader, subtitled How to Handle Jericho Barrons.
He snorted. “If an illusion of control comforts you, Ms. Lane, by all means, cling to it.”
“Jackass.” I gave him a look modeled on his own.
He laughed, and I stared, then blinked and looked away. I finished rubber-banding the cash, put it in a leather pouch, and punched the final numbers in, running the day’s total. For a moment there he hadn’t looked dark, forbidding, and cold, but dark, forbidding, and . . . warm. In fact, when he’d laughed he’d looked . . . well . . . kind of hot.
I grimaced. Obviously I’d eaten something bad for lunch. ~ Karen Marie Moning,
257:On Editors:

"... The chief qualification of ninety-nine per cent of all editors is failure. They have failed as writers. Don't think they prefer the drudgery of the desk and the slavery to their circulation and to the business manager to the joy of writing. They have tried to write, and they have failed. And right there is the cursed paradox of it. Every portal to success in literature is guarded by those watch-dogs, the failures of literature. The editors, the sub-editors, associate editors, most of them, and the manuscript readers for the magazines and book-publishers, most of them, nearly all of them, are men who wanted to write and failed. And yet they, of all creatures under the sun the most unfit, are the very creatures who decide what shall and what shall not find its way into print–they, who have proved themselves not original, who have demonstrated that they lack the divine fire, sit in judgment upon originality and genius. And after them comes the reviewers, just so many more failures. Don't tell me that they have not dreamed the dream and attempted to write poetry and fiction; for they have, and they have failed. Why, the average review is more nauseating than cod-liver oil.... ~ Jack London,
Hollow a grave where the willows wave,
And lay him under the grasses,
Where the pitying breeze bloweth up from the seas,
And murmurs a chant as it passes.
Lay the beautiful face and the form of grace
Away from the gaze of mortal.
Let us hope that his soul has gained the goal
Over the shining portal.
Hope! Ah! we thrill with a terrible chill.
Ah! pen, can you tell the story
Of the one who died in his manhood's pride,
Slain in the morn of his glory?
There's a blemish of shame on the dear one's name,
For he died as the drunkard dieth.
The ruddy wine-mug was the fiend who dug
The grave where our darling lieth.
O God! and his soul, was it lost in the bowl?
Has it gone where the wicked goeth?
Shall he bear the sin, and the tempter go in
Where the beautiful city gloweth?
Hush! O my heart! act well thy part,
Nor question a Father's kindness,
And strive not to see the thing hid from thee
By a veil of earthly blindness.
But all through the wine may there shimmer and shine,
As it glimmers and glows in the glasses,
A coffin and grave, and the willows that wave
Over our dead 'neath the grasses.
~ Ella Wheeler Wilcox,
259:How long’s the ride?” I asked. Berleand looked at his wristwatch. “About thirty seconds.” He may have overestimated. I had, in fact, seen the building before—the “bold and stark” sandstone fortress sitting across the river. The mansard roofs were gray slate, as were the cone-capped towers scattered through the sprawl. We could have easily walked. I squinted as we approached. “You recognize it?” Berleand said. No wonder it had grabbed my eye before. Two armed guards moved to the side as our squad car pulled through the imposing archway. The portal looked like a mouth swallowing us whole. On the other side was a large courtyard. We were surrounded now on all sides by the imposing edifice. Fortress, yeah, that did fit. You felt a bit like a prisoner of war in the eighteenth century. “Well?” I did recognize it, mostly from books by Georges Simenon and because, well, I just knew it because in law-enforcement circles it was legendary. I had entered the courtyard of 36 quai des Orfèvres—the renowned French police headquarters. Think Scotland Yard. Think Quantico. “Soooo,” I said, stretching the word out, gazing through the window, “whatever this is, it’s big.” Berleand turned both palms up. “We don’t process traffic violations here.” Count ~ Harlan Coben,
260:Youth's gay springtime scarcely knowing
Went I forth the world to roam
And the dance of youth, the glowing,
Left I in my father's home,
Of my birthright, glad-believing,
Of my world-gear took I none,
Careless as an infant, cleaving
To my pilgrim staff alone.
For I placed my mighty hope in
Dim and holy words of faith,
"Wander forththe way is open,
Ever on the upward path
Till thou gain the golden portal,
Till its gates unclose to thee.
There the earthly and the mortal,
Deathless and divine shall be!"
Night on morning stole, on stealeth,
Never, never stand I still,
And the future yet concealeth,
What I seek, and what I will!
Mount on mount arose before me,
Torrents hemmed me every side,
But I built a bridge that bore me
O'er the roaring tempest-tide.
Towards the east I reached a river,
On its shores I did not rest;
Faith from danger can deliver,
And I trusted to its breast.
Drifted in the whirling motion,
Seas themselves around me roll
Wide and wider spreads the ocean,
Far and farther flies the goal.
While I live is never given
Bridge or wave the goal to near
Earth will never meet the heaven,
Never can the there be here!

~ Friedrich Schiller, The Pilgrim
261:A Dog's Mistake
He had drifted in among us as a straw drifts with the tide,
He was just a wand'ring mongrel from the weary world outside;
He was not aristocratic, being mostly ribs and hair,
With a hint of spaniel parents and a touch of native bear.
He was very poor and humble and content with what he got,
So we fed him bones and biscuits, till he heartened up a lot;
Then he growled and grew aggressive, treating orders with disdain,
Till at last he bit the butcher, which would argue want of brain.
Now the butcher, noble fellow, was a sport beyond belief,
And instead of bringing actions he brought half a shin of beef,
Which he handed on to Fido, who received it as a right
And removed it to the garden, where he buried it at night.
'Twas the means of his undoing, for my wife, who'd stood his friend,
To adopt a slang expression, "went in off the deepest end",
For among the pinks and pansies, the gloxinias and the gorse
He had made an excavation like a graveyard for a horse.
Then we held a consultation which decided on his fate:
'Twas in anger more than sorrow that we led him to the gate,
And we handed him the beef-bone as provision for the day,
Then we opened wide the portal and we told him, "On your way."
~ Banjo Paterson,
262:The ideal of quiet and of genteel retirement, in 1835, was found in Washington Square, where the Doctor built himself a handsome, modern, wide-fronted house, with a big balcony before the drawing-room windows, and a flight of marble steps ascending to a portal which was also faced with white marble. This structure, and many of its neighbours, which it exactly resembled, were supposed, forty years ago, to embody the last results of architectural science, and they remain to this day very solid and honourable dwellings. In front of them was the Square, containing a considerable quantity of inexpensive vegetation, enclosed by a wooden paling, which increased its rural and accessible appearance; and round the corner was the more august precinct of the Fifth Avenue, taking its origin at this point with a spacious and confident air which already marked it for high destinies. I know not whether it is owing to the tenderness of early associations, but this portion of New York appears to many persons the most delectable. It has a kind of established repose which is not of frequent occurrence in other quarters of the long, shrill city; it has a riper, richer, more honourable look than any of the upper ramifications of the great longitudinal thoroughfare—the look of having had something of a social history. ~ Henry James,
263:The Wake Of The King Of Spain
Arrayed in robes of regal state,
But stiff and cold, the monarch sate;
In gorgeous vests, his chair beside,
Stood prince and peer, the nation's pride;
And paladin and high-born dame
Their place amid the circle claim:
And wands of office lifted high,
And arms and blazoned heraldry,—
All mute like marble statues stand,
Nor raise the eye, nor move the hand:
No voice, no sound to stir the air,
The silence of the grave is there.
The portal opens—hark, a voice!
“Come forth, O king! O king, rejoice!
The bowl is filled, the feast is spread,
Come forth, O king!”—The king is dead.
The bowl, the feast, he tastes no more,
The feast of life for him is o'er.
Again the sounding portals shake,
And speaks again the voice that spake:
—“The sun is high, the sun is warm,
Forth to the field the gallants swarm,
The foaming bit the courser champs,
His hoof the turf impatient stamps;
Light on their steeds the hunters spring:
The sun is high—Come forth, O king!”
Along these melancholy walls
In vain the voice of pleasure calls:
The horse may neigh, and bay the hound,—
He hears no more; his sleep is sound.
Retire;—once more the portals close;
Leave, leave him to his dread repose.
~ Anna Laetitia Barbauld,
264:Tonight I get down from my horse,
before the door of the house, where
I said farewell with the cock's crowing.
It is shut and no one responds.
The stone bench on which mama gave birth
to my older brother, so he could saddle
backs I had ridden bare,
through lanes, past hedges, a village boy;
the bench on which I left my heartsick childhood
yellowing in the sun ... And this mourning
that frames the portal?
God in alien peace,
the beast sneezes, as if calling too;
noses about, prodding the cobbles. Then doubts,
his ears all ears.
Papa must be up praying, and perhaps
he will think I am late.
My sisters, humming their simple,
bubblish illusions,
preparing for the approaching holy day,
and now it's almost here.
I wait, I wait, my heart
an egg at its moment, that gets blocked.
Large family that we left
not long ago, no one awake now, and not even a candle
placed on the altar so that we might return.
I call again, and nothing.
We fall silent and begin to sob, and the animal
whinnies, keeps on whinnying.
They're all sleeping forever,
and so nicely, that at last
my horse dead-tired starts nodding
in his turn, and half-asleep, with each pardon, says
it's all right, everything is quite all right.
~ Cesar Vallejo,
265:To Poesy
These vessels of verse, O Great Goddess, are filled with invisible tears,
With the sobs and sweat of my spirit and her desolate brooding for years;
See, I lay them -- not on thine altar, for they are unpolished and plain,
Not rounded enough by the potter, too much burnt in the furnace of pain;
But here in the dust, in the shadow, with a sudden wild leap of the heart
I kneel to tenderly kiss them, then in silence arise to depart.
I linger awhile at the portal with the light of the crimsoning sun
On my wreathless brow bearing the badges of battles I've fought in not won.
At the sound of the trumpet I've ever been found in thy thin fighting line,
And the weapons I've secretly sharpened have flashed in defence of thy shrine.
I've recked not of failure and losses, nor shrunk from the soilure of strife
For thy magical glamour was on me and art is the moonlight of life.
I move from the threshold, Great Goddess, with steps meditative and slow;
Night steals like a dream to the landscape and slips like a pall
o'er its glow.
I carry no lamp in my bosom and dwindling in gloom is the track,
No token of man's recognition to prompt me to ever turn back.
I strike eastward to meet the great day-dawn with the soul of my soul
by my side,
My goal though unknown is assured me, and the planet of Love is my guide.
~ Arthur Bayldon,
266:The gate downstairs has a dead bolt,” said Frost. “There’s no way you could pick the lock.” “Then how could anyone …” She went dead silent. Turned toward the doorway. Footsteps were thumping up the stairs. In an instant her weapon was drawn and clutched in both hands. Pushing aside Mr. Kwan, she quickly slipped out of the bedroom. As she eased her way across the living room, she felt her heart banging, heard Frost’s footsteps creaking on her right. Smelled incense and mold and sweat, a dozen details assaulting her at once. But it was the stairwell door she focused on, a black portal to something that was now climbing toward them. Something that suddenly took on the shape of a man. “Freeze!” Frost commanded. “Boston PD!” “Whoa, Frost.” Johnny Tam gave a startled laugh. “It’s just me.” Behind her, Jane heard Mr. Kwan give a squawk of fear. “Who is he? Who is he?” “What the hell, Tam,” said Frost, huffing out a breath as he holstered his weapon. “I could have blown your head off.” “You did tell me to meet you here, didn’t you? I would’ve gotten here sooner, but I got stuck in traffic coming back from Springfield.” “You talk to the owner of that Honda?” “Yeah. Said it was stolen right out of his driveway. And that wasn’t his GPS in the car.” He swept his flashlight around the room. “So what’s going on in here?” “Mr. Kwan’s giving us a tour of the building.” “It’s been boarded up for years. ~ Tess Gerritsen,
267:Why did we come back this way instead of popping up somewhere less…cramped?” I asked, substituting the word cramped for creepy. I was trying not to feel weirded out that I was in my boyfriend’s crypt. It was only a building, after all.
A very unpleasant one.
“This is a portal,” he said, as if that explained everything.
“A what?”
“A portal,” John whispered. “A direct link from here to the Underworld. That’s why you don’t feel dizzy this time.”
I hadn’t even noticed, but he was right. I didn’t feel sick, for once, though we’d just jumped between astral planes.
“This is a doorway through which the souls of the departed enter the world of the dead after they pass,” John explained softly. “The doorway closes behind the dead once they enter. They can never leave again-“
“Unless they escape,” I interrupted. Because this was what had happened to me.
He glanced down at me with a teasing smile. “Unless I choose to let them escape,” he said, “because they seem to want their mothers so badly.”
“That was two years ago,” I reminded him. I shouldn’t have mentioned the thing that morning about being inexperienced with men, even if it was technically true. He was never going to let me help him if he always thought of me as someone he had to protect. “And do I have to remind you that you didn’t let me escape, I-“
“Shhh.” He held up a hand. “Someone’s coming. ~ Meg Cabot,
268:All God seems to be known for is legalism, rules, judgments, commands and wrath. In fact, Jesus calls us to live a life of unimaginable adventure. It begins the moment we choose to follow Him. It is no less than to pass from existence to life. Though we are not taken out of time and space, we are translated into an entirely different dimension of living. Jesus tells us that He is the portal into this life and the quest that follows. Jesus describes Himself as a door, a gate, a portal. In other words, an escape hatch. He has come to free us from a meaningless existence and liberate us to a life filled with adventure. He has come to lead us out of the mundane and into the extraordinary. Strangely enough we find it hard to trust Him, while all the time He has been trying to lead us out of the dark dungeons we have created for ourselves and let us run free in the light of day. When we come to Him, he translates us into an entirely new realm of living. His promise is that in Him we will find the life that our hearts have always longed for. Jesus was crucified as a criminal, but what His accusers didn’t know was that He was planning and fulfilling history’s most extraordinary prison break. When we open our lives to Him, we can live our lives wide open. We are translated from one reality into another. We are now forever in relationship with the One who is the source of love, life, and freedom. Everything ~ Erwin Raphael McManus,
269:So what happens if you withdraw attention from the objects in space and become aware of space itself? What is the essence of this room? The furniture, pictures, and so on are in the room, but they are not the room. The floor, walls, and ceiling define the boundary of the room, but they are not the room either. So what is the essence of the room? Space, of course, empty space. There would be no “room” without it. Since space is “nothing,” we can say that what is not there is more important than what is there. So become aware of the space that is all around you. Don’t think about it. Feel it, as it were. Pay attention to “nothing.” As you do that, a shift in consciousness takes place inside you. Here is why. The inner equivalent to objects in space such as furniture, walls, and so on are your mind objects: thoughts, emotions, and the objects of the senses. And the inner equivalent of space is the consciousness that enables your mind objects to be, just as space allows all things to be. So if you withdraw attention from things — objects in space — you automatically withdraw attention from your mind objects as well. In other words: You cannot think and be aware of space — or of silence, for that matter. By becoming aware of the empty space around you, you simultaneously become aware of the space of no-mind, of pure consciousness: the Unmanifested. This is how the contemplation of space can become a portal for you. ~ Eckhart Tolle,
270:Driven by that extraordinary oppression which falls on every human being when, childhood over, he begins to divine that he is fated to go on in isolation and unaided towards his own death; driven by this extraordinary oppression, which may with justice be called a fear of God, man looks round him for a companion hand in hand with whom he may tread the road to the dark portal, and if he has learned by experience how pleasurable it undoubtedly is to lie with another fellow-creature in bed, then he is ready to believe that this extremely intimate association of two bodies may last until these bodies are coffined: and even if at the same time it has its disgusting aspects, because it takes place under coarse and badly aired sheets, or because he is convinced that all a girl cares for is to get a husband who will support her in later life, yet it must not be forgotten that every fellow-creature, even if she has a sallow complexion, sharp, thin features and an obviously missing tooth in her left upper jaw, yearns, in spite of her missing tooth, for that love which she thinks will for ever shield her from death, from that fear of death which sinks with the falling of every night upon the human being who sleeps alone, a fear that already licks her as with a tongue of flame when she begins to take off her clothes, as Fraulein Erna was doing now; she laid aside her faded red-velvet blouse and took off her dark-green shirt and her petticoat. ~ Hermann Broch,
When the evening broods quiescent
Over mountain, vale and lea,
And the moon uplifts her crescent
Far above the peaceful sea,
Little Rose, the fisher's daughter,
Passes in her cedar skiff
O'er the dreamy waste of water,
To the signal on the cliff.
Have a care, my merry maiden!
Young Adonis though he be,
Many hearts are secret-laden
That have trusted such as he.
Has he worth, and is he truthful?
Thoughtless maiden rarely knows;
But, 'He's handsome, brave and youthful,'
Says the heart of little Rose.
Hark! the horn-its shrill vibrations
Tremble through the maiden's breast,
As the sweet reverberations
Dwindle to their whispered rest;
Sweeter far the honied sentence
Sealing up her mind's repose;
Love as yet needs no repentance
In the heart of little Rose.
Heaven shield thee, trusting mortal!
Love has heaved its firstborn sigh;
But from the pellucid portal
Of her calm, indignant eye,
Darts that make the strong man tremble
Pierce his bosom ere he goes;
Rank and station may dissemble,
There is truth in little Rose.
Take my hand, my fisher maiden,
There's a grasp for thee and thine;
Constancy is love's bright Aiden,
Self-denial is divine.
Take my hand upon this plateau,
Let me share thy mortal throes;
Come, dear Love! we'll build our chateau
In the heart of little Rose.
~ Charles Sangster,
272:Fly A Clean Flag
This I heard the Old Flag say
As I passed it yesterday:
'Months ago your friendly hands
Fastened me on slender strands
And with patriotic love
Placed me here to wave above
You and yours. I heard you say
On that long departed day:
'Flag of all that's true and fine,
Wave above this house of mine;
Be the first at break of day
And the last at night to say
To the world this word of cheer:
Loyalty abideth here.'
'Here on every wind that's blown,
O'er your' portal I have flown;
Rain and snow have battered me,
Storms at night have tattered me;
Dust of street and chimney stack
Day by day have stained me black,
And I've watched you passing there,
Wondering how much you care.
Have you noticed that your flag,
Is to-day a wind-blown rag?
Has your love so careless grown
By the long neglect you've shown
That you never raise your eye
To the symbol that you fly?'
'Flag, on which no stain has been,
'Tis my sin that you're unclean,'
Then I answered in my shame.
'On my head must lie the blame.
Now with patriotic hands
I release you from your strands,
And a spotless flag shall fly
Here to greet each passer-by.
Nevermore shall Flag of mine
Be a sad and sorry sign
Telling all who look above
I neglect the thing I love.
But my Flag of faith shall be
Fit for every eye to see.'
~ Edgar Albert Guest,
273:The weaker sex has in no previous age been treated with so much respect by men as at present — this belongs to the tendency and fundamental taste of democracy, in the same way as disrespectfulness to old age — what wonder is it that abuse should be immediately made of this respect? They want more, they learn to make claims, the tribute of respect is at last felt to be well-nigh galling; rivalry for rights, indeed actual strife itself, would be preferred: in a word, woman is losing modesty. And let us immediately add that she is also losing taste. She is unlearning to fear man: but the woman who 'unlearns to fear' sacrifices her most womanly instincts. That woman should venture forward when the fear-inspiring quality in man — or more definitely, the man in man — is no longer either desired or fully developed, is reasonable enough and also intelligible enough; what is more difficult to understand is that precisely thereby — woman deteriorates. This is what is happening nowadays: let us not deceive ourselves about it! Wherever the industrial spirit has triumphed over the military and aristocratic spirit, woman strives for the economic and legal independence of a clerk: ''woman as clerkess' is inscribed on the portal of the modern society which is in course of formation.

While she thus appropriates new rights, aspires to be 'master,' and inscribes 'progress' of woman on her flags and banners, the very opposite realises itself with terrible obviousness: woman retrogrades. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche,
274:We are all, of course, wayfaring strangers on this earth. But coming out of the rainbow tunnel, the liminal portal between Marin and San Francisco, myth and reality, I catch sight of a beautiful, sparkling city that might as well be on the moon. I can name the sights, the streets, the eateries, but in my heart it feels as unfamiliar as Cape Town or Cuzco. I've lived here for fourteen years. This is the arena of my adult life, with its large defeats and small victories. Maybe, like all transplants (converts?), I've asked too much of the city. I would never have moved to Pittsburh or Houston or L.A. expecting it to save my soul. Only here in the great temple by the bay. It's a mistake we've been making for decades, and probably a necessary one. The city's flaws, of course, are numerous. Our politics can suffer from humourless stridency, and life here is menacingly expensive. But if you're insulated from these concerns, sufficiently employed and housed, if you are -in other words- like most people, you are in view of the unbridgeable ideal. Here, with our plentiful harvest, our natural beauty, our bars, our bookstores, our cliffs and ocean, out free to be you and me; here, where pure mountain water flows right out of the tap. It's here that the real questions become inescapable. In fact the proximity of the ideal makes us more acutely aware of the real questions. Not the run-of-the-mill insolubles-Why am I here? Who am I?- but the pressing questions of adult life: Really? and Are you sure? And Now what? ~ Scott Hutchins,
275:Daniel could feel ir,like a layer of skin was lifting off his bones. His past self's body was slowly cleaving from his own.The venom of separation coursed through him,threading deep into the fibers of his wings.The pain was so raw it was nauseating, roiling deep inside him with great tidal swells. His vision clouded; ringing filled his ears.The starshot in his hand tumbled to the ground.Then,all at once, he felt a great shove and a sharp,cold breath of air.There was a long grunt and two thuds,and then-
His vision cleared.The ringing ceased. He felt lightness, simplicity.
Miles lay on the ground below him, chest heaving. The starshot in Daniel's hand disappeared. Daniel spun around to find a specter of his past self standing behind him,his skin gray and his body wraithlike,his eyes and teeth coal-black,the starshot grasped in his hand. His profile wobbled in the hot wind,like the picture on a shorted-out television.
"I'm sorry," Daniel said,reaching forward and clutching his past self at the base of his wings.When Daniel lifted the shadow of himself off the ground, his body felt scant and insufficient.His fingers found the graying portal of the Announcer through which both Daniels had traveled just before it fell apart. "Your day will come," he said.
Then he pitched his past self back into the Announcer.
He watched the void fading in the hot sun. The body made a drawn-out whistling sound as it tumbled into time, as if it were falling off a cliff. The Announcer split into infinitesimal traces,and was gone. ~ Lauren Kate,
276:Came Those Who Saw And Loved Her
Came those who saw and loved her,
She was so fair to see!
No whit their homage moved her,
So proud she was, so free;
But, ah, her soul was turning
With strange and mystic yearning,
With some divine discerning,
Beyond them all–to me!
As light to lids that quiver
Throughout a night forlorn,
She came–a royal giver–
My temple to adorn;
And my soul rose to meet her,
To welcome her, to greet her,
To name, proclaim, her sweeter
And dearer than the morn:
For her most rare devising
Was mixed no common clay,
Nor earthly form, disguising
Its frailty for a day;
But sun and shadow blended,
And fire and love descended
In one creation splendid
Nor less superb than they.
You–of the finer moulding,
You–of the clearer light,
Whose spirit life, unfolding,
Illumed my spirit's night,
Stoop not to end my dreaming,
[Page 286]
To stain the vision gleaming,
Or mar that glory, seeming
Too high for touch or sight.
Dear as the viewless portal
Of dream embroidered sleep,
Lift me to dreams immortal,
Till, purified, I leap
To hear the distant thunder
Of dark veils rent asunder,
And lose myself in wonder
At mysteries so deep.
Till, past the sombre meadows,
Tearless and unafraid,
Linked even in the shadows,
Our deathless souls have strayed;
And you, my soul's defender
O valiant one and tender,
Cry out to God's own splendour,
'Behold the man I made!'
~ Alan Sullivan,
277:As we mentioned earlier,” Yusuf began, “Mount Moriah is the hill in Jerusalem that is graced by the Muslim shrine known as the Dome of the Rock. This real estate is no doubt the most religiously revered in the world. It is valued by Muslims as one of their holiest sites, remembered by Jews and Christians alike as the site of the Holy Temple in ancient times, and looked to by some as the site at which another temple will one day be built. The eyes and hearts of the world are focused on Mount Moriah. “Because of this, that revered piece of land is an outward symbol both of our conflicts and our possibilities. One side may say it is their holy place, set apart for millennia. Others may believe it was bequeathed them by God. There seems to be little opportunity for peace in such views. Looked at in another way, however, this passionate belief provides the portal to peace. “Think about it. From within the box, passions, beliefs, and personal needs seem to divide us. When we get out of the box, however, we learn that this has been a lie. Our passions, beliefs, and needs do not divide but unite: it is by virtue of our own passions, beliefs, and needs that we can see and understand others’. If we have beliefs we cherish, then we know how important others’ beliefs must be to them. And if we have needs, then our own experience equips us to notice the needs of others. To scale Mount Moriah is to ascend a mountain of hope. At least it is if one climbs in a way that lifts his soul to an out-of-the-box summit—a place from where he sees not only buildings and homes but people as well. ~ The Arbinger Institute,
278:In the secret places of her thymus gland Louise is making too much of herself. Her faithful biology depends on regulation but the white T-cells have turned bandit. They don't obey the rules. They are swarming into the bloodstream, overturning the quiet order of spleen and intestine. In the lymph nodes they are swelling with pride. It used to be their job to keep her body safe from enemies on the outside. They were her immunity, her certainty against infection. Now they are the enemies on the inside. The security forces have rebelled. Louise is the victim of a coup.

Will you let me crawl inside you, stand guard over you, trap them as they come at you? Why can't I dam their blind tide that filthies your blood? Why are there no lock gates on the portal vein? The inside of your body is innocent, nothing has taught it fear. Your artery canals trust their cargo, they don't check the shipments in the blood. You are full to overflowing but the keeper is asleep and there's murder going on inside. Who comes here? Let me hold up my lantern. It's only the blood; red cells carrying oxygen to the heart, thrombocytes making sure of proper clotting. The white cells, B and T types, just a few of them as always whistling as they go.

The faithful body has made a mistake. This is no time to stamp the passports and look at the sky. Coming up behind are hundreds of them. Hundreds too many, armed to the teeth for a job that doesn't need doing. Not needed? With all that weaponry?

Here they come, hurtling through the bloodstream trying to pick a fight. There's no-one to fight but you Louise. You're the foreign body now. ~ Jeanette Winterson,
279:A Poet's Hope
'Twas a weary-looking mortal, and he wandered near the portal
Of the melancholy City of the Discontented Dead.
He was pale and worn exceeding and his manner was unheeding,
As if it could not matter what he did nor what he said.
'Sacred stranger'-I addressed him with a reverence befitting
The austere, unintermitting, dread solemnity he wore;
'Tis the custom, too, prevailing in that vicinage when hailing
One who possibly may be a person lately 'gone before'
'Sacred stranger, much I ponder on your evident dejection,
But my carefulest reflection leaves the riddle still unread.
How do you yourself explain your dismal tendency to wander
By the melancholy City of the Discontented Dead?'
Then that solemn person, pausing in the march that he was making,
Roused himself as if awaking, fixed his dull and stony eye
On my countenance and, slowly, like a priest devout and holy,
Chanted in a mournful monotone the following reply:
'O my brother, do not fear it; I'm no disembodied spirit
I am Lampton, the Slang Poet, with a price upon my head.
I am watching by this portal for some late lamented mortal
To arise in his disquietude and leave his earthy bed.
'Then I hope to take possession and pull in the earth above me
And, renouncing my profession, ne'er be heard of any more.
For there's not a soul to love me and no living thing respects me,
Which so painfully affects me that I fain would 'go before.''
Then I felt a deep compassion for the gentleman's dejection,
For privation of affection would refrigerate a frog.
So I said: 'If nothing human, and if neither man nor woman
Can appreciate the fashion of your merit-buy a dog.'
~ Ambrose Bierce,
280:It got to the point where he didn’t even look up at the sky any more as he blundered back and forth. The human mind had evolved for just one universe, he thought. How much of this crap was he supposed to take? He felt exhausted, resentful, bewildered. “Wait.” He paused. He had loped out of the portal onto another stretch of scuffed, anonymous regolith. She was lying in his arms, her weight barely registering. He looked down into her face, and pushed up her gold sun visor. “Emma?” She licked her lips. “Look. Up there.” No Galaxy visible, but a starry sky. The stars looked, well, normal. But he’d learned that meant little. “So what?” Emma was lifting her arm, pointing. He saw three stars, dull white points, in a row. And there was a rough rectangle of stars around them—one of them a distinctive red—and what looked like a Galaxy disc, or maybe just a nebula, beneath … “Holy shit,” he said. She whispered, “There must be lots of universes like ours. But, surely to God, there is only one Orion.” And then light, dazzling, unbearably brilliant, came stabbing over the close horizon. It was a sunrise. He could actually feel its heat through the layers of his suit.

He looked down at the ground at his feet. The rising light cast strong shadows, sharply illuminating the miniature crevices and craters there. And here was a “crater” that was elongated, and neatly ribbed. It was a footprint. He stepped forward, lifted his foot, and set it down in the print. It fit neatly. When he lifted his foot away the cleats of his boot hadn’t so much as disturbed a regolith grain. It was his own footprint. Good grief. After hundreds of universes of silence and remoteness and darkness, universes of dim light and shadows, he was right back where he started. ~ Stephen Baxter,
281:The sorrow for the dead is the only sorrow from which we refuse to be divorced. Every other wound we seek to heal - every other affliction to forget; but this wound we consider it a duty to keep open - this affliction we cherish and brood over in solitude. Where is the mother who would willingly forget the infant that perished like a blossom from her arms, though every recollection is a pang? Where is the child that would willingly forget the most tender of parents, though to remember be but to lament? Who, even in the hour of agony, would forget the friend over whom he mourns? Who, even when the tomb is closing upon the remains of her he most loved, when he feels his heart, as it were, crushed in the closing of its portal, would accept of consolation that must be bought by forgetfulness? No, the love which survives the tomb is one of the noblest attributes of the soul. If it has its woes, it has likewise its delights; and when the overwhelming burst of grief is calmed into the gentle tear of recollection, when the sudden anguish and the convulsive agony over the present ruins of all that we most loved are softened away in pensive meditation on all that it was in the days of its loveliness - who would root out such a sorrow from the heart? Though it may sometimes throw a passing cloud over the bright hour of gaiety, or spread a deeper sadness over the hour of gloom, yet who would exchange it even for the song of pleasure, or the burst of revelry? No, there is a voice from the tomb sweeter than song. There is a remembrance of the dead to which we turn even from the charms of the living. Oh, the grave! The grave! It buries every error - covers every defect - extinguishes every resentment! From its peaceful bosom spring none but fond regrets and tender recollections. ~ Washington Irving,
282:It got to the point where he didn’t even look up at the sky any more as he blundered back and forth. The human mind had evolved for just one universe, he thought. How much of this crap was he supposed to take? He felt exhausted, resentful, bewildered.
He paused. He had loped out of the portal onto another stretch of scuffed, anonymous regolith. She was lying in his arms, her weight barely registering. He looked down into her face, and pushed up her gold sun visor.
“Emma?” She licked her lips.
“Look. Up there.”
No Galaxy visible, but a starry sky. The stars looked, well, normal. But he’d learned that meant little. “So what?”
Emma was lifting her arm, pointing. He saw three stars, dull white points, in a row. And there was a rough rectangle of stars around them—one of them a distinctive red—and what looked like a Galaxy disc, or maybe just a nebula, beneath …
“Holy shit,” he said.
She whispered, “There must be lots of universes like ours. But, surely to God, there is only one Orion.”
And then light, dazzling, unbearably brilliant, came stabbing over the close horizon.
It was a sunrise. He could actually feel its heat through the layers of his suit.
He looked down at the ground at his feet. The rising light cast strong shadows, sharply illuminating the miniature crevices and craters there. And here was a “crater” that was elongated, and neatly ribbed.
It was a footprint. He stepped forward, lifted his foot, and set it down in the print. It fit neatly. When he lifted his foot away the cleats of his boot hadn’t so much as disturbed a regolith grain.
It was his own footprint. Good grief. After hundreds of universes of silence and remoteness and darkness, universes of dim light and shadows, he was right back where he started. ~ Stephen Baxter,
283:After tying Albert’s leash to a slender porch column, Christopher knocked at the door and waited tensely.
He reared back as the portal was flung open by a frantic-faced housekeeper.
“I beg your pardon, sir, we’re in the middle of--” She paused at the sound of porcelain crashing from somewhere inside the house. “Oh, merciful Lord,” she moaned, and gestured to the front parlor. “Wait there if you please, and--”
“I’ve got her,” a masculine voice called. And then, “Damn it, no I don’t. She’s heading for the stairs.”
“Do not let her come upstairs!” a woman screamed. A baby was crying in strident gusts. “Oh, that dratted creature has woken the baby. Where are the housemaids?”
“Hiding, I expect.”
Christopher hesitated in the entryway, blinking as he heard a bleating noise. He asked the housekeeper blankly, “Are they keeping farm animals in here?”
“No, of course not,” she said hastily, trying to push him into the parlor. “That’s…a baby crying. Yes. A baby.”
“It doesn’t sound like one,” he said.
Christopher heard Albert barking from the porch. A three-legged cat came streaking through the hallway, followed by a bristling hedgehog that scuttled a great deal faster than one might have expected. The housekeeper hastened after them.
“Pandora, come back here!” came a new voice--Beatrix Hathaway’s voice--and Christopher’s senses sparked in recognition. He twitched uneasily at the commotion, his reflexes urging him to take some kind of action, although he wasn’t yet certain what the bloody hell was going on.
A large white goat came leaping and capering and twisting through the hallway.
And then Beatrix Hathaway appeared, tearing around the corner. She skidded to a halt. “You might have tried to stop her,” she exclaimed. As she glanced up at Christopher, a scowl flitted across her face. “Oh. It’s you. ~ Lisa Kleypas,
284:Not only was the four-poster- a lofty structure that would have put princesses and peas to shame- a place of rest and relaxation but it was, and had been for quite some time now, a portal for her magic carpet escapades. It was there that Estelle first began to practice what Marjan had called "eating at the edge of a ready 'sofreh'."
Estelle always followed the same routine when assembling her dinner 'sofreh' on her bed. First, she would spread the paisley blanket Marjan had given her, tucking the fringed ends in tight around the sides of her mattress. Then, having already wetted a pot of jasmine tea, she would dig a trivet into the blanket's left corner and place the piping pot on top of it.
Following the Persian etiquette of placing the main dishes at the center of the 'sofreh', Estelle would position the plate of saffron 'chelow' (with crunchy 'tadig'), the bowl of stew or soup that was the day's special, and the 'lavash' or 'barbari' bread accordingly. She would frame the main dishes with a small plate of 'torshi', pickled carrots and cucumbers, as well as a yogurt dip and some feta cheese with her favorite herb: balmy lemon mint.
Taking off her pink pom-pom house slippers, Estelle would then hoist herself onto her high bed and begin her ecstatic epicurean adventure. She savored every morsel of her nightly meal, breathing in the tingle of sumac powder and nutmeg while speaking to a framed photograph of Luigi she propped up on its own trivet next to the tea.
Dinner was usually Persian, but her dessert was always Italian: a peppermint cannoli or marzipan cherry, after which she would turn on the radio, always set to the 'Mid-West Ceili Hour', and dream of the time when a young Luigi made her do things impossible, like when he convinced her to enter the Maharajah sideshow and stand on the tallest elephant's trunk during carnival season in her seaside Neapolitan town. ~ Marsha Mehran,
285:To the solemn abyss leads the terrible path,
The life and death winding dizzy between;
In thy desolate way, grim with menace and wrath,
To daunt thee the spectres of giants are seen;
That thou wake not the wild one, all silently tread
Let thy lip breathe no breath in the pathway of dread!

High over the marge of the horrible deep
Hangs and hovers a bridge with its phantom-like span,
Not by man was it built, o'er the vastness to sweep;
Such thought never came to the daring of man!
The stream roars beneathlate and early it raves
But the bridge, which it threatens, is safe from the waves.

Black-yawning a portal, thy soul to affright,
Like the gate to the kingdom, the fiend for the king
Yet beyond it there smiles but a land of delight,
Where the autumn in marriage is met with the spring.
From a lot which the care and the trouble assail,
Could I fly to the bliss of that balm-breathing vale!

Through that field, from a fount ever hidden their birth,
Four rivers in tumult rush roaringly forth;
They fly to the fourfold divisions of earth
The sunrise, the sunset, the south, and the north.
And, true to the mystical mother that bore,
Forth they rush to their goal, and are lost evermore.

High over the races of men in the blue
Of the ether, the mount in twin summits is riven;
There, veiled in the gold-woven webs of the dew,
Moves the dance of the cloudsthe pale daughters of heaven!
There, in solitude, circles their mystical maze,
Where no witness can hearken, no earthborn surveys.

August on a throne which no ages can move,
Sits a queen, in her beauty serene and sublime,
The diadem blazing with diamonds above
The glory of brows, never darkened by time,
His arrows of light on that form shoots the sun
And he gilds them with all, but he warms them with none!
~ Friedrich Schiller, The Lay Of The Mountain
286:The creative life! Ascension. Passing beyond oneself. Rocketing out into the blue, grasping at flying ladders, mounting, soaring, lifting the world up by the scalp, rousing the angels from their ethereal lairs, drowning in stellar depths, clinging to the tails of comets. Nietzsche had written of it ecstatically —and then swooned forward into the mirror to die in root and flower. «Stairs and contradictory stairs,» he wrote, and then suddenly there was no longer any bottom; the mind, like a splintered diamond, was pulverized by the hammer−blows of truth. There was a time when I acted as my father's keeper. I was left alone for long hours, cooped up in the little booth which we used as an office. While he was drinking with his cronies I was feeding from the bottle of creative life. My companions were the free spirits, the overlords of the soul. The young man sitting there in the mingy yellow light became completely unhinged; he lived in the crevices of great thoughts, crouched like a hermit in the barren folds of a lofty mountain range. From truth he passed to imagination and from imagination to invention. At this last portal, through which there is no return, fear beset him. To venture farther was to wander alone, to rely wholly upon oneself. The purpose of discipline is to promote freedom. But freedom leads to infinity and infinity is terrifying. Then arose the comforting thought of stopping at the brink, of setting down in words the mysteries of impulsion, compulsion, propulsion, of bathing the senses in human odors. To become utterly human, the compassionate fiend incarnate, the locksmith of the great door leading beyond and away and forever isolate.
Men founder like ships. Children also. There are children who settle to the bottom at the age of nine, carrying with them the secret of their betrayal. There are perfidious monsters who look at you with the bland, innocent eyes of youth; their crimes are unregistered, because we have no names for them. ~ Henry Miller,
287:To The Heroic Soul
Nurture thyself, O Soul, from the clear spring
That wells beneath the secret inner shrine;
Commune with its deep murmur,--'tis divine;
Be faithful to the ebb and flow that bring
The outer tide of Spirit to trouble and swing
The inlet of thy being. Learn to know
These powers, and life with all its venom and show
Shall have no force to dazzle thee or sting:
And when Grief comes thou shalt have suffered more
Than all the deepest woes of all the world;
Joy, dancing in, shall find thee nourished with mirth;
Wisdom shall find her Master at thy door;
And Love shall find thee crowned with love empearled;
And death shall touch thee not but a new birth.
Be strong, O warring soul! For very sooth
Kings are but wraiths, republics fade like rain,
Peoples are reaped and garnered as the grain,
And that alone prevails which is the truth:
Be strong when all the days of life bear ruth
And fury, and are hot with toil and strain:
Hold thy large faith and quell thy mighty pain:
Dream the great dream that buoys thine age with youth.
Thou art an eagle mewed in a sea-stopped cave:
He, poised in darkness with victorious wings,
Keeps night between the granite and the sea,
Until the tide has drawn the warder-wave:
Then from the portal where the ripple rings,
He bursts into the boundless morning,--free!
This is the mockery of the moving years;
Youth's colour dies, the fervid morning glow
Is gone from off the foreland; slow, slow,
Even slower than the fount of human tears
To empty, the consuming shadow nears
That Time is casting on the worldly show
Of pomp and glory. But falter not;--below
That thought is based a deeper thought that cheers.
Glean thou thy past; that will alone inure
To catch thy heart up from a dark distress;
It were enough to find one deed mature,
Deep-rooted, mighty 'mid the toil and press;
To save one memory of the sweet and pure,
From out life's failure and its bitterness.
~ Duncan Campbell Scott,
288:La muerte podía estar en una bolsa de cacahuetes, en un trozo de carne que se te atravesara, en el siguiente paquete de cigarrillos. Siempre te andaba rondando, de guardia en todas las estaciones de control entre lo mortal y lo eterno. Agujas infectadas, insectos venenosos, cables mal aislados, incendios forestales. Patines que lanzaban a intrépidos chiquillos a cruces muy transitados. Cada vez que te metes en la bañera para darte una ducha, Oz te acompaña: ducha para dos.

Cada vez que subes a un avión, Oz lleva tu misma tarjeta de embarque. Está en el agua que bebes y en la comida que comes. «¿Quién anda ahí?», gritas en la oscuridad cuando estás solo y asustado, y es él quien te responde: Tranquilo, soy yo. Eh, ¿cómo va eso? Tienes un cáncer en el vientre, qué lata, chico, sí que lo siento. ¡Cólera! ¡Septicemia! ¡Leucemia! ¡Arteriosclerosis! ¡Trombosis coronaria! ¡Encefalitis! ¡Osteomielitis! ¡Ajajá, vamos allá!

Un chorizo en un portal, con una navaja en la mano. Una llamada telefónica a medianoche. Sangre que hierve con ácido de la batería en una rampa de salida de una autopista de Carolina del Norte. Puñados de píldoras: anda, traga. Ese tono azulado de las uñas que sigue a la muerte por asfixia; en su último esfuerzo por aferrarse a la vida, el cerebro absorbe todo el oxígeno que queda en el cuerpo, incluso el de las células vivas que están debajo de las uñas.

Hola, chicos, me llamo Oz el Ggande y Teggible, pero podéis llamarme Oz a secas. Al fin y al cabo, somos viejos amigos. Pasaba por aquí y he entrado un momento para traerte este pequeño infarto, este derrame cerebral, etcétera; lo siento, no puedo quedarme, tengo un parto con hemorragia y, luego, inhalación de humo tóxico en Omaha.

Y la vocecita sigue gritando: «¡Te quiero, Tigger, te quiero! ¡Creo en ti, Tigger! ¡Siempre te querré y creeré en ti, y seguiré siendo niña, y el único Oz que habitará en mi corazón será ese simpático impostor de Nebraska! Te quiero…».

Vamos patrullando, mi hijo y yo…, porque lo que importa no es el sexo ni la guerra, sino la noble y terrible batalla sin esperanza contra Oz, el Ggande y Teggible. ~ Stephen King,
289:Béranger's "Broken Fiddle"
There, there, poor dog, my faithful friend,
Pay you no heed unto my sorrow:
But feast to-day while yet you may,-Who knows but we shall starve to-morrow!
"Give us a tune," the foemen cried,
In one of their profane caprices;
I bade them "No"--they frowned, and, lo!
They dashed this innocent in pieces!
This fiddle was the village pride-The mirth of every fête enhancing;
Its wizard art set every heart
As well as every foot to dancing.
How well the bridegroom knew its voice,
As from its strings its song went gushing!
Nor long delayed the promised maid
Equipped for bridal, coy and blushing.
Why, it discoursed so merrily,
It quickly banished all dejection;
And yet, when pressed, our priest confessed
I played with pious circumspection.
And though, in patriotic song,
It was our guide, compatriot, teacher,
I never thought the foe had wrought
His fury on the helpless creature!
But there, poor dog, my faithful friend,
Pay you no heed unto my sorrow;
I prithee take this paltry cake,-Who knows but we shall starve to-morrow!
Ah, who shall lead the Sunday choir
As this old fiddle used to do it?
Can vintage come, with this voice dumb
That used to bid a welcome to it?
It soothed the weary hours of toil,
It brought forgetfulness to debtors;
Time and again from wretched men
It struck oppression's galling fetters.
No man could hear its voice, and hate;
It stayed the teardrop at its portal;
With that dear thing I was a king
As never yet was monarch mortal!
Now has the foe--the vandal foe-Struck from my hands their pride and glory;
There let it lie! In vengeance, I
Shall wield another weapon, gory!
And if, O countrymen, I fall,
Beside our grave let this be spoken:
"No foe of France shall ever dance
Above the heart and fiddle, broken!"
So come, poor dog, my faithful friend,
I prithee do not heed my sorrow,
But feast to-day while yet you may,
For we are like to starve to-morrow.
~ Eugene Field,
290:The Wild Blue-Bells
Came a bouquet from the city,
Fragrant, rich and debonair Sweet carnation and geraniium,
Heliotrope and roses rare.
Down beside the crystal river,
Where the moss-grown rocks are high,
And the ferns, from niche and crevice,
Stretch to greet the azure sky;
In the chaste October sunlight,
High above the path below,
Grew a tuft of lovely blue-bells,
Softly wind-swung to and fro.
Reached a dainty hand to grasp them,
Bore them home with loving care,
Tenderly and proudly placed them
'Mid the flowers so sweet and fair.
But my timid little blue-bells,
Children of the leafy wild,
Dazzled by their city sisters,
Turned away and, tearful, smiled.
When alone, I bent to kiss them,
Pleadingly they sighed to me,
'Take us, when we die, we pray thee,
Back beneath the dear old tree.'
'We would sleep where first the sunshine
Kissed us in the dewy morn;
Where, while soft, warm zephyrs fanned us,
Leaf and bud and flower were born.'
So I bore them, when they faded,
Back to where love sighed for them;
Laid them near the ferns and mosses,
'Neath the dear old parent stem; -
Deeply grieved that all things lovely
Must so soon forever die, That upon the gentle blue-bells
Winter's cold, deep snow must lie.
And I half arraigned the goodness
That made Death king everywhere Stretching forth his cruel sceptre Lord of sea, and earth and air.
Summer came, and all the hillsides
Wore a shim'ring robe of green;
And with rifts of sky and cloudlet
Flashed the river's golden sheen.
I was walking the old pathway,
When a tiny shout I hears;
Harken! was it elfin fairy,
Or some truant mocking bird?
No! a family of blue-bells
Waved their slender arms on high
Clapped their tiny arms in triumph,
Crying, 'See! we did not die.'
'Never more distrust the Master,
Love and Truth his ways attend
Death is but a darkened portal
Of a life that ne'er shall end
'Loved ones, parted from in anguish,
Your glad eyes again shall see, Brighter than the hopes you cherished
Shall the glad fruition be.'
~ Ella Wheeler Wilcox,
291:If she could push him out of her mind and enter his, what else could she do? What might she be able to do with regard to someone else? Someone less skilled, untrained in the ways of the Force? The single guard posted just inside the front of her cell, for example? “You!” He turned toward her, patently unconcerned and not a little bored. She studied him closely. As he was about to speak, she addressed him clearly and firmly—and not only with her voice. “You will remove these restraints. And you will leave this cell, with the door open, and retire to your living quarters.” The guard eyed her silently. He did not look in the least intimidated. Her confidence wavering as she shifted slightly in her bonds, she repeated what she had said with as much authority as she could muster. “You will remove these restraints. And you will leave this cell, with the door open, and retire to your living quarters. You will speak of this encounter to no one.” Raising the heavy, black-and-white rifle he held, he came toward her. Heart pounding, she watched him approach. Was she going to be killed, freed, or maybe laughed at? Halting before her, he looked down into her eyes. When he spoke again, there was a notable alteration in his voice. It was significantly less confrontational and—distant. “I will remove these restraints. And leave this cell, with the door open, and retire to my living quarters. I will speak of this encounter to no one.” Working methodically, he unlatched her shackles. He stood and stared at her for a moment, then turned and wordlessly started for the doorway. Lying in shock on the reclined platform, Rey hardly knew what to do next. She was free. No, she corrected herself: She was free of this cell. That hardly constituted freedom. But it was a beginning. As the guard reached the doorway, she spoke hastily. “And you will drop your weapon.” “I will drop my weapon,” he responded in the same uninflected voice. This he proceeded to do, setting the rifle down on the floor, then turning left into the outside corridor to depart in silence. For a long moment she stared at the open portal. Deciding that it was not a joke and that the guard was not waiting for her just outside the cell, she moved to pick up the weapon and leave. — ~ Alan Dean Foster,
292:The Wind At Night
O SUDDEN blast, that through this silence black
Sweeps past my windows,
Coming and going with invisible track
As death or sin does,-Why scare me, lying sick, and, save thy own,
Hearing no voices?
Why mingle with a helpless human moan
Thy mad rejoices?
Why not come gently, as good angels come
To souls departing,
Floating among the shadows of the room
With eyes light-darting,
Bringing faint airs of balm that seem to rouse
Thoughts of a Far Land,
Then binding softly upon weary brows
Death's poppy-garland?
O fearful blast, I shudder at thy sound,
Like heathen mortal
Who saw the Three that mark life's doomèd bound
Sit at his portal.
Thou mightst be laden with sad, shrieking souls,
Carried unwilling
From their known earth to the unknown stream that rolls
All anguish stilling.
Fierce wind, will the Death-angel come like thee,
Soon, soon to bear me
--Whither? what mysteries may unfold to me,
What terrors scare me?
Shall I go wand'ring on through empty space
As on earth, lonely?
Or seek through myriad spirit-ranks one face,
And miss that only?
Shall I not then drop down from sphere to sphere
Palsied and aimless?
Or will my being change so that both fear
And grief die nameless?
Rather I pray Him who Himself is Love,
Out of whose essence
We all do spring, and towards him tending, move
Back to His presence,
That even His brightness may not quite efface
The soul's earth-features,
That the dear human likeness each may trace
Glorified creatures;
That we may not cease loving, only taught
Holier desiring;
More faith, more patience; with more wisdom fraught,
Higher aspiring.
That we may do all work we left undone
Here--though unmeetness;
From height to height celestial passing on
Towards full completeness.
Then, strong Azrael, be thy supreme call
Soft as spring-breezes,
Or like this blast, whose loud fiend-festival
My heart's blood freezes.
I will not fear thee. If thou safely keep
My soul, God's giving,
And my soul's soul, I, wakening from death-sleep,
Shall first know living.
~ Dinah Maria Mulock Craik,
293:The rose is a symbol of the inner mysteries of Witchcraft. A red rose symbolizes the mysteries as they reside in Nature, within the living things. The white rose symbolizes the Otherworld and the mysteries hidden in secret places. When a single rose appears with white petals in the center of red petals, this represents the mysteries joined together within one reality. Thorns appearing with the rose represent challenges and the dedication required to fully grasp the enlightenment of the rose. One of the symbolisms associated with the rose reveals the covenant between the Witch and the Faery. In this, we find that both are stewards of the portal that opens to the inner mysteries. The Faery holds the celestial key, and the Witch bears the terrestrial key. When the two are joined together, they form an X—the sign of the crossroads. In this formation, where the keys cross we find a third point, the in-between place at the center. This is where the portal exists, and this is where it opens between the worlds. Look at the shape of the X and you can see four pointed tip markers (the V shapes). The upper half of the X points down, and the lower half points up. On the sides of the X, you can see that the left and right halves point to the center. This shows us that when the celestial and terrestrial realms join, they pull together the left ways and the right ways. These are occult terms for esoteric and exoteric modes of consciousness. In the fusion, everything briefly loses its distinction, its ability to mask the opposite reality, and in doing so, the secret third reality emerges in the center of it all. If this sounds confusing or nonsensical, then the guardian of that portal is doing its job well. The material in this book will connect you with an entity connected to the rose and its mystery. This is the previously mentioned She of the Thorn-Blooded Rose. With her guidance, you can be directed to the portal, and through it you can meet a variety of beings and entities. However, her primary task is to connect you with the Greenwood Realm and the plant spirits within it. In your journey to encounter these spirits, you will pass through the organic memory of the earth. You'll walk upon roads of mystical concepts and be accompanied by the Old Ones of ~ Raven Grimassi,
294:The generation brought up during the Great Depression and the Second World War, still in measure steeped in the much-maligned Protestant work ethic, resolved to work hard and provide a more secure heritage for their children. And, in measure, they did. But the children, for whom the Depression and the War belonged to the relics of history, had nothing to live for but more “progress.” There was no grand vision, no taste of genuine want, and not much of the Protestant work ethic either.83 Soon the war in Vietnam became one of the central “causes” of that generation, but scarcely one that incited hard work, integrity in relationships, frugality, self-denial, and preparation for the next generation. That ’60s generation, the baby boomers, have now gone mainstream—but with a selfishness and consumerism that outstrips anything their parents displayed. There is no larger vision. Contrast a genuine Christian vision that lives life with integrity now because this life is never seen as more than the portal to the life to come, including perfect judgment from our Maker. At its best, such a stance, far from breeding withdrawal from the world, fosters industry, honest work for honest pay, frugality, generosity, provision for one’s children, honesty in personal relationships and in business relationships, the rule of law, a despising of greed. A “Protestant work ethic” of such a character I am happy to live with. Of course, a couple of generations later, when such a Christian vision has eroded, people may equate prosperity with God’s blessing, and with despicable religious cant protest that they are preparing for eternity when in their heart of hearts they are merely preparing for retirement. But a generation or two after that their children will expose their empty fatuousness. In any case, what has been lost is a genuinely Christian vision. This is not to say that such a vision will ensure prosperity. When it is a minority vision it may ensure nothing more than persecution. In any case, other unifying visions may bring about prosperity as well, as we have seen. From the perspective of the Bible, prosperity is never the ultimate goal, so that is scarcely troubling. What is troubling is a measuring stick in which the only scale is measured in terms of financial units. ~ D A Carson,
295:The Sleeper
At midnight, in the month of June,
I stand beneath the mystic moon.
An opiate vapor, dewy, dim,
Exhales from out her golden rim,
And, softly dripping, drop by drop,
Upon the quiet mountain top,
Steals drowsily and musically
Into the universal valley.
The rosemary nods upon the grave;
The lily lolls upon the wave;
Wrapping the fog about its breast,
The ruin molders into rest;
Looking like Lethe, see! the lake
A conscious slumber seems to take,
And would not, for the world, awake.
All Beauty sleeps!- and lo! where lies
Irene, with her Destinies!
O, lady bright! can it be rightThis window open to the night?
The wanton airs, from the tree-top,
Laughingly through the lattice dropThe bodiless airs, a wizard rout,
Flit through thy chamber in and out,
And wave the curtain canopy
So fitfully- so fearfullyAbove the closed and fringed lid
'Neath which thy slumb'ring soul lies hid,
That, o'er the floor and down the wall,
Like ghosts the shadows rise and fall!
Oh, lady dear, hast thou no fear?
Why and what art thou dreaming here?
Sure thou art come O'er far-off seas,
A wonder to these garden trees!
Strange is thy pallor! strange thy dress,
Strange, above all, thy length of tress,
And this all solemn silentness!
The lady sleeps! Oh, may her sleep,
Which is enduring, so be deep!
Heaven have her in its sacred keep!
This chamber changed for one more holy,
This bed for one more melancholy,
I pray to God that she may lie
For ever with unopened eye,
While the pale sheeted ghosts go by!
My love, she sleeps! Oh, may her sleep
As it is lasting, so be deep!
Soft may the worms about her creep!
Far in the forest, dim and old,
For her may some tall vault unfoldSome vault that oft has flung its black
And winged panels fluttering back,
Triumphant, o'er the crested palls,
Of her grand family funeralsSome sepulchre, remote, alone,
Against whose portal she hath thrown,
In childhood, many an idle stoneSome tomb from out whose sounding door
She ne'er shall force an echo more,
Thrilling to think, poor child of sin!
It was the dead who groaned within.
~ Edgar Allan Poe,
296:The Tryst
Just when all hope had perished in my soul,
And balked desire made havoc with my mind,
My cruel Ladye suddenly grew kind,
And sent those gracious words upon a scroll:
“When knowing Night her dusky scarf has tied
Across the bold, intrusive eyes of day,
Come as a glad, triumphant lover may,
No longer fearing that he be denied.”
I read her letter for the hundredth time,
And for the hundredth time my gladdened sight
Blurred with the rapture of my vast delight,
And swooned upon the page. I caught the chime
Of far off bells, and at each silver note
My heart on tiptoe pressed its eager ear
Against my breast; it was such a joy to hear
The tolling of the hour of which she wrote.
The curious day still lingered in the skies
And watched me as I hastened to the tryst.
And back, beyond great clouds of amethyst,
I saw Night’s soft, reassuring eyes.
“Oh, Night, ” I cried, “dear Love’s considerate friend,
Haste from the far, dim valleys of the west,
Rock the sad striving earth to quiet rest,
And bid the day’s insistent vigil end.”
Down brooding streets, and past the harboured ships
The Night’s young handmaid, Twilight, walked with me.
A spent moon leaned inertly o’er the sea;
A few, pale, phantom stars were in eclipse.
There was the house, My Ladye’s sea-girt bower
All draped in gloom, save for one taper’s glow,
Which lit the path, where willing feet would go.
There was the house, and this the promised hour.
The tide was out; and from the sea’s salt path
Rose amorous odours, filtering through the night
And stirring all the senses with delight;
Sweet perfumes left since Aphrodite’s bath.
Back in the wooded copse, a whip-poor-will
Gave love’s impassioned and impatient call.
On pebbled sands I heard the waves kiss fall,
And fall again, so hushed the hour and still.
Light was my knock upon the door, so light,
And yet the sound seemed rude. My pulses beat
So loud they drowned out the coming of her feet
The arrow of her taper pierced the gloom –
The portal closed behind me. She was there –
Love on her lips and yielding in her eyes
And but the sea to hear our vows and sighs.
She took my hand and led me up the stair.
~ Ella Wheeler Wilcox,
297:After I have demonstrated how ancient Egypt is connected with Mecca, let's look at the phrase 'Sema Tawy': It was not meant originally to be a reference to 'The Two Lands' because Sema as a noun means transcendence/elevation/sky, and as a verb it means to soar/rise/transcend; and Tawy as a noun is constructed from the verb which means to plummet/fall/descend and also to pleat/fold. Therefore, both words are references to the (Upper and/or Lower) Heavens and Earth/Land. However, trying to connect that which is above with that which is below should originally be observed on the Benben itself (aka, pyramidion) for that it resembled the mound that arose from the primordial waters 'Nu'; now one can appreciate with awe the repeating syllable of 'Ben' after I have proven the connection with Mecca, for that the water spring there (which saved the prophet Ishmael and his mother by God's order unto Gabriel to force its water gushing out of Earth to guarantee the survival of Noah's heir upon whom the tidings are yet to come) is called 'ZamZam'. Replacing 'Z' with 'S' takes place in non-Semitic and non pure Semitic tongues alike'; for example it even exists today in Italian when 'S' comes between vowels or before b, d, g, l, m, n, r, and v. In other words, that is a recurring theme which when applied to the word 'Sema', it shows how it is derived from 'Zam' = زم which means: 'tuck,tighten'. Therefore, not only the theme of the black cornerstone along with the Bennu bird were taken from Arabia's heritage, but even the creation story of the pyramidion is built upon that important site in Mecca which is a valley, or better said, a Tawy. Putting the capstone above it to lift it high into the sky thereby (while operating as a portal to the Upper Heavens as I have shown earlier) directly points to the fact that ancient Egypt was yearning to receive Noah's heritage for herself and it devised a whole tradition to reproduce Arabia's theme for that zeal. If 'Sema Tawy' later on came to mean 'Union of the Two Lands', then its context is now clear that: as in Mecca, so is in Egypt.

Note that the word 'ZamZam' (bring together, collect) was that action which Ishmael's mother was doing once she saw water coming out of the ground as the sources tell us, for that she was afraid that what happened before her eyes was coincidental rather than being brought up from a well beneath her. ~ Ibrahim Ibrahim,
298:Remember that the Bennu bird came from Arabia, and this is where the black stone -which is the cornerstone of the Kaaba- exists on Earth. Most of the pyramidia which were discovered in ancient Egypt were made of black granite. The ancient Egyptian symbolism tried to reproduce Adam's heritage according to the same theme and yet on its own location and for its own bloodline aspiring thereby to assume the role of Noah's heir. The sole function of the black capstone/cornerstone was to pinpoint/receive the Messenger with the tidings which he carried; once that role was fulfilled, the stone was rendered operative only on the parallel domain of authority (i.e., Solar System and/or Political) and no more as a portal to the perpendicular (i.e., Upper Heavens). It is significant to note also that the root of the word 'Phoenix' in Arabic is the same root that delivers the word 'Ankh' and 'Enki'. The Babylonian Nabu (the son of Marduk) was in Sumerian times identified with Enki, and it is a straightforward observation to acknowledge the Semitic word 'Nabu' for what it means, i.e., Prophet. It gets even more interesting when one sees what happened to ancient Egypt once heresy broke out after waiting for so long and eventually giving up on seizing the Bennu bird exclusively for Egypt's cause: The Ankh is "finally" received by the heretic Pharaoh Akhenaten and his family through the veneration of Aten. Prior to Amenhotep IV, the sun disk served as a symbol in which major gods appeared, however, from that point on, it was the disk itself that became a god and obviously it was powerful enough to send its own prophets and tidings as one observes in the depictions of that dynasty. After all, it was an Eighteenth Dynasty ruler who succeeded in evicting the Semite Hyksos out of Egypt. [The final expulsion of the Hyksos from Egypt by Ahmose I, most probably took place by this pharaoh of the 18th dynasty, Thebes once again became the central capital of Egypt. There was no distinct break in the line of the royal family between the 17th and 18th dynasties.] This is most interestingly the time when [the New Kingdom marked a period of high-quality Shabtis (i.e., answerers). Especially during the 18th and 19th dynasties. Ahmose I, was probably the first pharaoh to take Shabtis with him into the tomb.] It is now obvious that when the Upper Heavens didn't answer Egypt, the Shabtis and Ankhs started to. ~ Ibrahim Ibrahim,
299:Her Going
The Wife
Child, why do you linger beside her portal?
None shall hear you now if you knock or clamor*
All is dark, hidden in heaviest leafage.
None shall behold you.
Gone, gone, the dear, the beautiful lady!
I, her comrade, tarry but to lament her.
Ah, the day of her vanishing all things lovely
Shared in her fleetness!
Tell me her going.
The Wife
You are a child. How tell you?
I am a child, yet old as the earliest sorrow.
Talk to me as you would to an old, old woman.
I own the ages.
The Wife
Voices, they say, gossipped around her dwelling.
She awoke, departing, they say, in silence.
I am glad she is gone. The old hurt fastens.
Hate is upon me.
It was hard to live down the day, and wonder,
Wonder why the tears were forever welling,
Wonder if on his lips her kiss I tasted
Turning to claim him.
Jealousy, mad, brooding blind and unfettered,
Takes its terrible leap over lie and malice.
Who shall question her now in the land of shadow?
Who shal1 uphold her?
The Wife
It was hard to know that peace had forsaken
All my house, to greet with a dull endeavor
Babe or book, so to forget a moment
I was forgotten.
Who shall question her now in the land of shadow,
Question the mute pale lips, and the marble fingers,
Eyelids fallen on eyes grown dim as the autumn?
Ah, the beloved!
The Wife
Go, go, bringer of ache and discord!
Go I may not. Some, they think to inter me.
Out of the mold and clay my visible raiment
Rises forever.
The Wife
Hers the sin that lured the light from our threshold,
Hers the sin that I lost his love and grew bitter.
Lost his love? You never possessed it, woman.
The Wife
Sharp tongue, have pity! . . .
Yes, I knew. But I loved him, hoping for all.
I said in my heart: 'Time shall bring buds to blossom.'
I almost saw the flower of the flame descending.
Then she came toying.
He is mine, mine, by the laws of the ages!
Mine, mine, mine yes, body and spirit!
I am glad she has gone her way to the shadow.
Hate is upon me.
Oh, the bar over which my soul would see
All that eludes my soul, while he remembers!
You, dispel if you can my avenging passion
Clouds are before me!
~ Eleanor Agnes Lee,
300:Counterpoint: Two Rooms
He, in the room above, grown old and tired;
She, in the room below, his floor her ceiling,
Pursue their separate dreams. He turns his light,
And throws himself on the bed, face down, in laughter.
She, by the window, smiles at a starlight night.
His watch—the same he has heard these cycles of ages—
Wearily chimes at seconds beneath his pillow.
The clock upon her mantelpiece strikes nine.
The night wears on. She hears dull steps above her.
The world whirs on. New stars come up to shine.
His youth—far off—he sees it brightly walking
In a golden cloud .... wings flashing about it....
Walls it around with dripping enormous walls.
Old age, far off—or death—what do they matter?
Down the smooth purple night a streaked star falls.
She hears slow steps in the street; they chime like music,
They climb to her heart, they break and flower in beauty,
Along her veins they glisten and ring and burn.
He hears his own slow steps tread down to silence.
Far off they pass. He knows they will never return.
Far off, on a smooth dark road, he hears them faintly.
The road, like a sombre river, quietly flowing,
Moves among murmurous walls. A deeper breath
Swells them to sound: he hears his steps more clearly.
And death seems nearer to him; or he to death.
What's death?—she smiles. The cool stone hurts her elbow,
The last few raindrops gather and fall from elm-boughs,
She sees them glisten and break. The arc-lamp sings,
The new leaves dip in the warm wet air and fragrance,
A sparrbw whirs to the eaves and shakes its wings.
What's death—what's death ? The spring returns like music ;
The trees are like dark lovers who dream in starlight;
The soft grey clouds go over the stars like dreams.
The cool stone wounds her arms to pain, to pleasure.
Under the lamp a circle of wet street gleams.
And death seems far away—a thing of roses,
A golden portal where golden music closes,
Death seems far away;
And spring returns, the countless singing of lovers,
And spring returns to stay....
He, in the room above, grown old and tired,
Flings himself on the bed, face down, in laughter,
And clenches his hands, and remembers, and desires to die.
And she, by the window, smiles at a night of starlight....
The soft grey clouds go slowly across the sky.
~ Conrad Potter Aiken,
301:Judgment Day
Saint Peter stood, at Heaven's gate,
All souls claims to adjudicate
Saying to some souls, 'Enter in!'
'Go to Hell,' to others, 'you are steeped in sin.'
When up from earth, with a great hubbub,
Came all the members of the Tuscarora Club.
The angel Gabriel, peering out,
Said, 'What, the devil, is this noise about?'
'Gabe,' said Peter, 'There's always lots of noise,
At any get-together of the Tuscarora boys Those are anglers and they all tell lies
About the trout that got away, their fierceness and their size They want to enter Heaven, for our brooks are full of trout,
But I won't have any liars, and I'll keep the whole gang out;
No liars enter Heaven, and I'll most distinctly tell
The whole danged Tuscarora Club, it has to go to Hell.'
Then, at a little distance from the precious pearly gate,
The Tuscarora fellows paused to talk and cogitate;
One Barr said this, one Barr said that, McAlpin had his say,
But foxy Charley Roberts said, 'This is the only way 'You'd best leave this to me,' he said. 'Just let me handle Pete
and in a trice we'll be inside upon the golden street;
I'll show him that he's one of us, because he used to be,
Himself, a brother fisher, in the Sea of GallileeAnd I move you, Mr. President, we make the poor old dub
An honorary member of the Tuscarora Club.'
'Agreed! Agreed!' the members cried, but Manny Barr said, 'Wait!
Amend it thus 'PROVIDED - That he didn't fish with bait.''
Saint Peter saw them coming but his face was hard and stern,
He had formed his resolution from which he would not turn,
Not even Roberts' palaver would ever change him so
He'd send the Tuscarorans anywhere, but down below.
But now upon his countenance there came a look of pain,
He stepped from foot to foot, and then from foot to foot again:
He hailed a new-come resident, who near the portal stood,
A goodly Christian gentleman, whose name was Hubert Wood.
He said to him, 'Come here, my friend, and tend awhile this gateJust take my place for half an hour - I've got to urinate.'
With that Saint Peter hustled off. The gate-keeper pro tem
Observed the Tuscarorans and he waved his hand at them.
'Come in! come in!' he shouted, for he was an angler, too,
And he knew that anglers, as a whole, were earth's most harmless crew.
So all the Tuscarorans got to heaven, thanks to Wood,
And the Secretary's last report says, 'Fishing there is good.'
~ Ellis Parker Butler,
302:The Portal Potion Success! After weeks and weeks of trying, I’ve finally discovered the correct ingredients for the potion I’d hoped to create for my son! With just a few drops, the potion turns any written work into a portal to the world it describes. Even with my ability to create portals to and from the Otherworld, I never thought it would be possible to create a substance that allowed me passage to any world I wished. My son will get to see the places and meet the characters he’s spent his whole childhood dreaming about! And best of all, I’ll get to watch his happiness soar as it happens! The ingredients are much simpler than I imagined, but difficult to obtain. Their purposes are more metaphysical than practical, so it took some imagination to get the concoction right. The first requirement is a branch from the oldest tree in the woods. To bring the pages to life, I figured the potion would need the very thing that brought the paper to life in the first place. And what else has more life than an ancient tree? The second ingredient is a feather from the finest pheasant in the sky. This will guarantee your potion has no limits, like a bird in flight. It will ensure you can travel to lands far and wide, beyond your imagination. The third component is a liquefied lock and key that belonged to a true love. Just as this person unlocked your heart to a life of love, it will open the door of the literary dimensions your heart desires to experience. The fourth ingredient is two weeks of moonlight. Just as the moon causes waves in the ocean, the moonlight will stir your potion to life. Last, but most important, give the potion a spark of magic to activate all the ingredients. Send it a beam of joy straight from your heart. The potion does not work on any biographies or history books, but purely on works that have been imagined. Now, I must warn about the dangers of entering a fictional world: 1. Time only exists as long as the story continues. Be sure to leave the book before the story ends, or you may disappear as the story concludes. 2. Each world is made of only what the author describes. Do not expect the characters to have any knowledge of our world or the Otherworld. 3. Beware of the story’s villains. Unlike people in our world or the Otherworld, most literary villains are created to be heartless and stripped of all morals, so do not expect any mercy should you cross paths with one. 4. The book you choose to enter will act as your entrance and exit. Be certain nothing happens to it; it is your only way out. The ~ Chris Colfer,
303:Finis Aeternitatis
Strolling at sunset in my native land,
With fruits and flowers thick on either hand,
I crossed a Shadow flung athwart my way,
Emerging on a waste of rock and sand.
'The apples all are gone from here,' I said,
'The roses perished and their spirits fled.
I will go back.' A voice cried out: 'The man
Is risen who eternally was dead!'
I turned and saw an angel standing there,
Newly descended from the heights of air.
Sweet-eyed compassion filled his face, his hands
A naked sword and golden trumpet bare.
'Nay, 'twas not death, the shadow that I crossed,'
I said. 'Its chill was but a touch of frost.
It made me gasp, but quickly I came through,
With breath recovered ere it scarce was lost.'
'Twas the same land! Remembered mountains thrust
Grayed heads asky, and every dragging gust,
In ashen valleys where my sons had reaped,
Stirred in familiar river-beds the dust.
Some heights, where once the traveler was shown
The youngest and the proudest city known,
Lifted smooth ridges in the steely light
Bleak, desolate acclivities of stone.
Where I had worshiped at my father's tomb,
Within a massive temple's awful gloom,
A jackal slunk along the naked rock,
Affrighted by some prescience of doom.
Man's vestiges were nowhere to be found,
Save one brass mausoleum on a mound
(I knew it well) spared by the artist Time
To emphasize the desolation round.
Into the stagnant sea the sullen sun
Sank behind bars of crimson, one by one.
'Eternity's at hand!' I cried aloud.
'Eternity,' the angel said, 'is done.
For man is ages dead in every zone;
The angels all are dead but I alone;
The devils, too, are cold enough at last,
And God lies dead before the great white throne!
'Tis foreordained that I bestride the shore
When all are gone (as Gabriel did before,
When I had throttled the last man alive)
And swear Eternity shall be no more.'
'O Azrael-O Prince of Death, declare
Why conquered I the grave?' I cried. 'What rare,
Conspicuous virtues won this boon for me?'
'You've been revived,' he said, 'to hear me swear.'
'Then let me creep again beneath the grass,
And knock thou at yon pompous tomb of brass.
If ears are what you want, Charles Crocker's there
Betwixt the greatest ears, the greatest ass.'
He rapped, and while the hollow echoes rang,
Out at the door a curst hyena sprang
And fled! Said Azrael: 'His soul's escaped,'
And closed the brazen portal with a bang.
~ Ambrose Bierce,
304:The House Of Dust: Part 04: 04: Counterpoint: Two
He, in the room above, grown old and tired,
She, in the room below—his floor her ceiling—
Pursue their separate dreams. He turns his light,
And throws himself on the bed, face down, in laughter. . . .
She, by the window, smiles at a starlight night,
His watch—the same he has heard these cycles of ages—
Wearily chimes at seconds beneath his pillow.
The clock, upon her mantelpiece, strikes nine.
The night wears on. She hears dull steps above her.
The world whirs on. . . .New stars come up to shine.
His youth—far off—he sees it brightly walking
In a golden cloud. . . .Wings flashing about it. . . . Darkness
Walls it around with dripping enormous walls.
Old age—far off—her death—what do they matter?
Down the smooth purple night a streaked star falls.
She hears slow steps in the street—they chime like music;
They climb to her heart, they break and flower in beauty,
Along her veins they glisten and ring and burn. . . .
He hears his own slow steps tread down to silence.
Far off they pass. He knows they will never return.
Far off—on a smooth dark road—he hears them faintly.
The road, like a sombre river, quietly flowing,
Moves among murmurous walls. A deeper breath
Swells them to sound: he hears his steps more clearly.
And death seems nearer to him: or he to death.
What's death?—She smiles. The cool stone hurts her elbows.
The last of the rain-drops gather and fall from elm-boughs,
She sees them glisten and break. The arc-lamp sings,
The new leaves dip in the warm wet air and fragrance.
A sparrow whirs to the eaves, and shakes his wings.
What's death—what's death? The spring returns like music,
The trees are like dark lovers who dream in starlight,
The soft grey clouds go over the stars like dreams.
The cool stone wounds her arms to pain, to pleasure.
Under the lamp a circle of wet street gleams. . . .
And death seems far away, a thing of roses,
A golden portal, where golden music closes,
Death seems far away:
And spring returns, the countless singing of lovers,
And spring returns to stay. . . .
He, in the room above, grown old and tired,
Flings himself on the bed, face down, in laughter,
And clenches his hands, and remembers, and desires to die.
And she, by the window, smiles at a night of starlight.
. . . The soft grey clouds go slowly across the sky.
~ Conrad Potter Aiken,

Palace-roof of cloudless nights!
Paradise of golden lights!
Deep, immeasurable, vast,
Which art now, and which wert then
Of the Present and the Past,
Of the eternal Where and When,
Presence-chamber, temple, home,
Ever-canopying dome,
Of acts and ages yet to come!

Glorious shapes have life in thee,
Earth, and all earths company;
Living globes which ever throng
Thy deep chasms and wildernesses;
And green worlds that glide along;
And swift stars with flashing tresses;
And icy moons most cold and bright,
And mighty suns beyond the night,
Atoms of intensest light.

Even thy name is as a god,
Heaven! for thou art the abode
Of that Power which is the glass
Wherein man his nature sees.
Generations as they pass
Worship thee with bended knees.
Their unremaining gods and they
Like a river roll away:
Thou remainest suchalway!

Thou art but the minds first chamber,
Round which its young fancies clamber,
Like weak insects in a cave,
Lighted up by stalactites;
But the portal of the grave,
Where a world of new delights
Will make thy best glories seem
But a dim and noonday gleam
From the shadow of a dream!

Peace! the abyss is wreathed with scorn
At your presumption, atom-born!
What is Heaven? and what are ye
Who its brief expanse inherit?
What are suns and spheres which flee
With the instinct of that Spirit
Of which ye are but a part?
Drops which Natures mighty heart
Drives through thinnest veins! Depart!

What is Heaven? a globe of dew,
Filling in the morning new
Some eyed flower whose young leaves waken
On an unimagined world:
Constellated suns unshaken,
Orbits measureless, are furled
In that frail and fading sphere,
With ten millions gathered there,
To tremble, gleam, and disappear.

[Published by Mr. C.D. Locock, Examination, etc., 1903.]

The [living frame which sustains my soul]
Is [sinking beneath the fierce control]
Down through the lampless deep of song
I am drawn and driven along

When a Nation screams aloud
Like an eagle from the cloud
When a...


When the night...


Watch the look askance and old
See neglect, and falsehood fold...
Published with Prometheus Unbound, 1820. Dated 'Florence, December, 1819' in Harvard manuscript (Woodberry). A transcript exists amongst the Shelley manuscripts at the Bodleian Library.
~ Percy Bysshe Shelley, Ode To Heaven
306:The Muse And The Poet
The Muse said, Let us sing a little song
Wherein no hint of wrong,
No echo of the great world need, or pain,
Shall mar the strain.
Lock fast the swinging portal of thy heart;
Keep sympathy apart.
Sing of the sunset, of the dawn, the sea;
Of any thing or nothing, so there be
No purpose to thy art.
Yea, let us make, art for Art's sake.
And sing no more unto the hearts of men,
But for the critic's pen.
With songs that are but words, sweet sounding words,
Like joyous jargon of the birds.
Tune now thy lyre, O Poet, and sing on.
Sing of
The Virgin Night, all languorous with dreams
Of her belovèd Darkness, rose in fear,
Feeling the presence of another near.
Outside her curtained casement shone the gleams
Of burning orbs; and modestly she hid
Her brow and bosom with her dusky hair.
When lo! the bold intruder lurking there
Leaped through the fragile lattice, all unbid,
And half unveiled her. Then the swooning Night
Fell pale and dead, while yet her soul was white
Before that lawless Ravisher, the Light.
The Muse said, Poet, nay; thou hast not caught
My meaning. For there lurks a thought
Back of thy song.
In art, all thought is wrong.
Re-string thy lyre; and let the echoes bound
To nothing but sweet sound.
Strike now the chords
And sing of
One day sweet Ladye Language gave to me
A little golden key.
I sat me down beside her jewel box
And turned its locks.
And oh, the wealth that lay there in my sight.
Great solitaires of words, so bright, so bright;
Words that no use can commonize; like God,
And Truth, and Love; and words of sapphire blue;
And amber words; with sunshine dripping through;
And words of that strange hue
A pearl reveals upon a wanton's hand.
Again the Muse:
Thou dost not understand;
A thought within thy song is lingering yet.
Sing but of words; all else forget, forget.
Nor let thy words convey one thought to men.
Try once again.
Down through the dusk and dew there fell a word;
Down through the dew and dusk.
And all the garments of the air it stirred
Smelled sweet as musk;
And all the little waves of air it kissed
Turned gold and amethyst.
There in the dew and dusk a heart it found;
There in the dusk and dew
The sodden silence changed to fragrant sound;
And all the world seemed new.
Upon the path that little word had trod,
There shone the smile of God.
The Muse said, Drop thy lyre.
I tire, I tire.
~ Ella Wheeler Wilcox,
307:The Winter Scene
The rutted roads are all like iron; skies
Are keen and brilliant; only the oak-leaves cling
In the bare woods, or the hardy bitter-sweet
Drivers have put their sheepskin jackets on;
And all the ponds are sealed with sheeted ice
That rings with stroke of skate and hockey-stick
Or in the twilight cracks with running whoop.
Bring in the logs of oak and hickory,
And make an ample blaze on the wide hearth.
Now is the time, with winter o'er the world,
For books and friends and yellow candle-light
And timeless lingering by the settling fire.
While all the shuddering stars are keen with cold.
Out from the silent portal of the hours,
When frosts are come and all the hosts put on.
Their burnished gear to march across the night
And o'er a darkened earth in splendor shine,
Slowly above the world Orion wheels
His glittering square, while on the shadowy hill
And throbbing like a sea-light through the dusk,
Great Sirius rises in his flashing blue.
Lord of the winter night, august and pure,
Returning year on year untouched by time,
To hearten faith with thine unfaltering fire,
There are no hurts that beauty cannot ease,
No ills that love cannot at last repair,
In the victorious progress of the soul.
Russet and white and gray is the oak wood
In the great snow. Still from the North it comes,
Whispering, settling, sifting through the trees,
O'erloading branch and twig. The road is lost.
Clearing and meadow, stream and ice-bound pond
Are made once more a trackless wilderness
In the white hush where not a creature stirs;
And the pale sun is blotted from the sky.
In that strange twilight the lone traveller halts
To listen to the stealthy snowflakes fall.
And then far off toward the Stamford shore,
Where through the storm the coastwise liners go,
Faint and recurrent on the muffled air,
A foghorn booming through the Smother-har
When the day changed and the mad wind died down,
The powdery drifts that all day long had blown
Across the meadows and the open fields,
Or whirled like diamond dust in the bright sun,
Settled to rest, and for a tranquil hour
The lengthening bluish shadows on the snow
Stole down the orchard slope, and a rose light
Flooded the earth with beauty and with peace.
Then in the west behind the cedars black
The sinking sun stained red the winter dusk
With sullen flare upon the snowy ridge,As in a masterpiece by Hokusai,
Where on a background gray, with flaming breath
A scarlet dragon dies in dusky gold.
~ Bliss William Carman,
308:Many people in this room have an Etsy store where they create unique, unreplicable artifacts or useful items to be sold on a small scale, in a common marketplace where their friends meet and barter. I and many of my friends own more than one spinning wheel. We grow our food again. We make pickles and jams on private, individual scales, when many of our mothers forgot those skills if they ever knew them. We come to conventions, we create small communities of support and distributed skills--when one of us needs help, our village steps in. It’s only that our village is no longer physical, but connected by DSL instead of roads. But look at how we organize our tribes--bloggers preside over large estates, kings and queens whose spouses’ virtues are oft-lauded but whose faces are rarely seen. They have moderators to protect them, to be their knights, a nobility of active commenters and big name fans, a peasantry of regular readers, and vandals starting the occasional flame war just to watch the fields burn. Other villages are more commune-like, sharing out resources on forums or aggregate sites, providing wise women to be consulted, rabbis or priests to explain the world, makers and smiths to fashion magical objects. Groups of performers, acrobats and actors and singers of songs are traveling the roads once more, entertaining for a brief evening in a living room or a wheatfield, known by word of mouth and secret signal. Separate from official government, we create our own hierarchies, laws, and mores, as well as our own folklore and secret history. Even my own guilt about having failed as an academic is quite the crisis of filial piety--you see, my mother is a professor. I have not carried on the family trade.

We dwell within a system so large and widespread, so disorganized and unconcerned for anyone but its most privileged and luxurious members, that our powerlessness, when we can summon up the courage to actually face it, is staggering. So we do not face it. We tell ourselves we are Achilles when we have much more in common with the cathedral-worker, laboring anonymously so that the next generation can see some incremental progress. We lack, of course, a Great Work to point to and say: my grandmother made that window; I worked upon the door. Though, I would submit that perhaps the Internet, as an object, as an aggregate entity, is the cathedral we build word by word and image by image, window by window and portal by portal, to stand taller for our children, if only by a little, than it does for us. For most of us are Lancelots, not Galahads. We may see the Grail of a good Classical life, but never touch it. That is for our sons, or their daughters, or further off.

And if our villages are online, the real world becomes that dark wood on the edge of civilization, a place of danger and experience, of magic and blood, a place to make one’s name or find death by bear. And here, there be monsters. ~ Catherynne M Valente,
309:Bid Mccrae
The church was wrapped in darkness save for the alter-light,
And save where near the marble rail six tapers glimmered bright
O’er waxen heavy-scented flowers and coffin plated deep,
Where the good wife, Mary Halloran lay in her last long sleep.
Her life, calm, pure and prosperous, had scarcely known a care;
Four sons, three daughters, she had reared – all sturdy, strong and fair,
All like their parents, kindly, plain and practical-save one
That rare soul, marked for graces high, the young priest - Father John.
His beautiful young face was lit by spirit-light within
A new St. Michael armed against the powers of wrath and sinAnd now he knelt and prayed alone, amid the church’s gloom,
And heard his mother’s well loved voice come from beyond the tomb:
“Oh help me dearest son of mine to-night my soul has known
Our neighbours’ life is twined with ours; we cannot live alone;
My sins, our dear Lord has forgiven, their guilt is purged away,
But yet I cannot enter Heaven, because of Bid McCrae.”
Young Father John thought hard and long, till memory came again,
Of the poor, shiftless outcast, Bid, who dwelt in Padgett’s Lane,
A stone’s throw from his Mother’s yard, the by-word of the street,
Good women turned away in scorn at passing of her feet.
The gentle sisters often strove, with fond solicitude,
To bring to paths of light and peace bid’s wild and reckless brood;
And so, at Constance Halloran’s side, on first communion day,
Knelt little bright eyes Delia, the child of Bid McCrae.
Both pure souls, wrapt in loving awe, before the children’s King,
But ah, the coming, crowding years that swift temptations bring!
While Constance, safe and sheltered bloomed to happy girlhood bright.
Poor erring Delia’s wayward path knew sin’s un-holy blight.
“Blind in my selfish virtue wrapped I passed her all my days,
And god, He judgeth not as we – His ways are not our ways-“
Again his Mothers’ voice he heard, and read its message plain,
And Father John arose and sought the depths of Padgett’s Lane.
There by the dying sinner’s bed, he fought the powers of HellFought for the storm –tossed mother’s soul, the erring child as well
For kneeling by her mothers’ bed, the lamplight on her hair,
Poor broken-hearted Delia knelt in sorrow and despair.
And strange deep thoughts had Father John-how full of charity!
How rich in golden gleams of good a sinner’s heart can be!
And ere the dawnlight flushed the sky, both had been reconciledShriven and at rest the happy dead, and saved the wayward child.
Next night there came to father John a vision glad and bright:
He saw his gentle mother stand at Heaven’s portal bright,
And as the young priest raised his heart in humble fervent praise
To God, who judgeth not as we - whose ways are not our waysThe storm-tossed outcast, bid McCrae, all shriven from her sin,
Stood at this saintly woman’s side, and smiled, and led her in.
~ Alice Guerin Crist,
310:Come on, lovey, open up. These buckets is heavy.”
The plea accompanied another tapping.
“Patience, Molly.” Christopher paused for a brief moment, gathering the towel about him again. Then his muscles flexed, and if she had found the breath, Erienne would have shrieked as he lifted her and dumped her onto the bed. She half raised with her mouth open to hotly voice her objection to whatever he had in mind, but he flung the bedcovers over her head, squelching comment. “Lie still.” His whisper bore a tone of command that could prompt immediate obedience from even the most reluctant. Erienne froze, and with a smile Christopher reached across to turn down the other side of the bed to make it seem as if he had just left it. Frantic visions involving her possible fate flew through Erienne’s mind. She considered the horrible humiliation she would suffer if she were discovered in the man’s bed. Her fears burgeoned, her rage peaked, and she threw back the covers, intending to escape the trap he laid for her.
In the next brief second she caught her breath sharply and snatched the covers back over her head again, for the sight of him standing stark naked beside the chair where his clothes were draped was too much for her virgin eyes to bear. It had been no more than a glimpse, but the vision of his tall, tanned, wide-shouldered form bathed in the pinkish light of the rising sun was forever branded in her brain.
Christopher chuckled softly as Erienne curled into the bed and finally obeyed his warning. He slipped on his breeches, secured them, and moved across the room to unlock the door. Molly knew her trade and her competition, and the village of Mawbry suited her well, since there was an absolute lack of the latter. When Christopher opened the portal, she was through it in a trice and shrugging out of the yoke that bore the pails. Pressing herself tightly against the male form, she rubbed her fingers through the hair on his chest and fluttered her lashes. “Oh, lovey, ye are a wondrous sight for any girl to behold.”
“I’ve already told you, Molly. I have no need of yer services,” Christopher stated bluntly.
“I only want the water.”
“Ah, come now, lovey,” she crooned. “I knows ye’ve been away ter sea and needs a li’l tussle in bed. Why, with such a man as yerself, I’d be more’n willin’ ter give ye all ye need without a hint o’ a coin.”
Christopher swept his hand toward the mentioned furnishing, drawing the maid’s eyes to it. “I already have all I desire. Now be along with you.” Molly’s dark eyes widened in surprise as she turned to stare at the bed. Unable to mistake the curvaceous form hidden beneath the quilt, she straightened indignantly and with a swish of her skirts was gone from the room, slamming the door behind her. Erienne waited, not daring to come out from beneath the covering until Christopher tapped her on the shoulder. “ ’Tis safe now. You can come out.”
“Are you dressed?” she asked cautiously, her voice muffled beneath the covers.
Christopher chuckled. “I’ve got my breeches on, if that’s what you’re worried about."

-Molly, Christopher, & Erienne ~ Kathleen E Woodiwiss,
311:The Rendezvous
He faints with hope and fear. It is the hour.
Distant, across the thundering organ-swell,
In sweet discord from the cathedral-tower,
Fall the faint chimes and the thrice-sequent bell.
Over the crowd his eye uneasy roves.
He sees a plume, a fur; his heart dilates -Soars . . . and then sinks again. It is not hers he loves.
She will not come, the woman that he waits.
Braided with streams of silver incense rise
The antique prayers and ponderous antiphones.
`Gloria Patri' echoes to the skies;
`Nunc et in saecula' the choir intones.
He marks not the monotonous refrain,
The priest that serves nor him that celebrates,
But ever scans the aisle for his blonde head. . . . In vain!
She will not come, the woman that he waits.
How like a flower seemed the perfumed place
Where the sweet flesh lay loveliest to kiss;
And her white hands in what delicious ways,
With what unfeigned caresses, answered his!
Each tender charm intolerable to lose,
Each happy scene his fancy recreates.
And he calls out her name and spreads his arms . . . No use!
She will not come, the woman that he waits.
But the long vespers close. The priest on high
Raises the thing that Christ's own flesh enforms;
And down the Gothic nave the crowd flows by
And through the portal's carven entry swarms.
Maddened he peers upon each passing face
Till the long drab procession terminates.
No princess passes out with proud majestic pace.
She has not come, the woman that he waits.
Back in the empty silent church alone
He walks with aching heart. A white-robed boy
Puts out the altar-candles one by one,
Even as by inches darkens all his joy.
He dreams of the sweet night their lips first met,
And groans -- and turns to leave -- and hesitates . . .
Poor stricken heart, he will, he can not fancy yet
She will not come, the woman that he waits.
But in an arch where deepest shadows fall
He sits and studies the old, storied panes,
And the calm crucifix that from the wall
Looks on a world that quavers and complains.
Hopeless, abandoned, desolate, aghast,
On modes of violent death he meditates.
And the tower-clock tolls five, and he admits at last,
She will not come, the woman that he waits.
Through the stained rose the winter daylight dies,
And all the tide of anguish unrepressed
Swells in his throat and gathers in his eyes;
He kneels and bows his head upon his breast,
And feigns a prayer to hide his burning tears,
While the satanic voice reiterates
`Tonight, tomorrow, nay, nor all the impending years,
She will not come,' the woman that he waits.
Fond, fervent heart of life's enamored spring,
So true, so confident, so passing fair,
That thought of Love as some sweet, tender thing,
And not as war, red tooth and nail laid bare,
How in that hour its innocence was slain,
How from that hour our disillusion dates,
When first we learned thy sense, ironical refrain,
She will not come, the woman that he waits.
~ Alan Seeger,
312:Look at those women over there, Bella. They haven’t ceased staring at me all night. One would think they’d never seen a fictional character come to life before.”
“They and everybody else,” Arabella said impatiently. “But not for— Jackie, are you listening to me?”
“And that Baron whatever-his-name-is has winked at me six times. Six! Can you imagine? It is positively diverting.”
“Jackie, look at me.” Arabella held a cheaply printed broadsheet. “Have you read this? Part III?”
“I have. It is a very satisfying finale.”
“Everybody ends up just as they should,” she forced herself to say.
Arabella squeezed her hand. “This is not like you, darling. He hurt you terribly, and I understand that this ending satisfies that hurt. But you cannot like the stone princess’s fate. Do not tell me you have resigned yourself to it.”
“I haven’t, of course. She goes willingly, while I—”
“Willingly?” Arabella peered at her. “You haven’t read it, have you?” She pressed the page into her palm. Jacqueline cared nothing that at least a dozen pairs of eyes were on her as she uncreased the paper and yet again forced her misery behind the blockade of pride and confidence she had erected. If they must all see her read it to be satisfied she knew the ending— the ending she had written an hour after telling Duke Tarleton that she could not marry him or any other man— then so be it.
But as her eyes scanned the words, she did not recognize them.
This was not her writing.

The king he swore in fury’s rage
His daughter would be wed
To warlike man through violent force, And chained to mortal bed.

The princess wed; her husband learned The secret of the portal.
With axe and club he broke it down, Entrapping her as mortal.

The Sun Prince knew not this tragic fate;
He waited at the feast. ’Midst song and dance he watched for her,
Yet found in them no peace.

In silv’ry light he stood upon
The brook’s clear bank where once
With hands entwined they’d spoke of joy,
Yet now came still silence.

Days passed to weeks, weeks into months.
The princess did not come.
He called his heartbreak to the stars, Beneath which they had loved.

The trees whispered his sorrow’s grief, The Moon in solace shone,
But the prince no comfort would he take Now his mortal maid was gone.

His beauty waned; the prince grew weak. His golden luster faded.
For it was she who’d brought him life; From her his beauty came.

O’er song and feast the dark night crept
Upon the desolate shore.
Then sending forth his final breath, The Sun Prince was no more.

Jacqueline blinked, shedding a tear and marring the freshly printed ink. She swiped a finger beneath her lashes.
Before her appeared a linen kerchief. The hand that held it was masculine, strong and familiar.
She lifted her head. The Earl of Bedwyr knelt before her upon one knee. His hair was tousled, his coat wrinkled, his cravat hastily tied, and his hand extending the linen was unsteady.
His dark eyes spoke something she could not readily believe: hope.
“Princess.” His voice was rough. “Don’t let me die.”

-Jacqueline, Arabella, & Cam ~ Katharine Ashe,
313:Look at those women over there, Bella. They haven’t ceased staring at me all night. One would think they’d never seen a fictional character come to life before.”
“They and everybody else,” Arabella said impatiently. “But not for— Jackie, are you listening to me?”
“And that Baron whatever-his-name-is has winked at me six times. Six! Can you imagine? It is positively diverting.”
“Jackie, look at me.” Arabella held a cheaply printed broadsheet. “Have you read this? Part III?”
“I have. It is a very satisfying finale.”
“Everybody ends up just as they should,” she forced herself to say.
Arabella squeezed her hand. “This is not like you, darling. He hurt you terribly, and I understand that this ending satisfies that hurt. But you cannot like the stone princess’s fate. Do not tell me you have resigned yourself to it.”
“I haven’t, of course. She goes willingly, while I—”
“Willingly?” Arabella peered at her. “You haven’t read it, have you?” She pressed the page into her palm.
Jacqueline cared nothing that at least a dozen pairs of eyes were on her as she uncreased the paper and yet again forced her misery behind the blockade of pride and confidence she had erected. If they must all see her read it to be satisfied she knew the ending— the ending she had written an hour after telling Duke Tarleton that she could not marry him or any other man— then so be it.
But as her eyes scanned the words, she did not recognize them.
This was not her writing.

The king he swore in fury’s rage
His daughter would be wed
To warlike man through violent force,
And chained to mortal bed.

The princess wed; her husband learned
The secret of the portal.
With axe and club he broke it down,
Entrapping her as mortal.

The Sun Prince knew not this tragic fate;
He waited at the feast.
’Midst song and dance he watched for her,
Yet found in them no peace.

In silv’ry light he stood upon
The brook’s clear bank where once
With hands entwined they’d spoke of joy,
Yet now came still silence.

Days passed to weeks, weeks into months.
The princess did not come.
He called his heartbreak to the stars,
Beneath which they had loved.

The trees whispered his sorrow’s grief,
The Moon in solace shone,
But the prince no comfort would he take
Now his mortal maid was gone.

His beauty waned; the prince grew weak.
His golden luster faded.
For it was she who’d brought him life;
From her his beauty came.

O’er song and feast the dark night crept
Upon the desolate shore.
Then sending forth his final breath,
The Sun Prince was no more.

Jacqueline blinked, shedding a tear and marring the freshly printed ink. She swiped a finger beneath her lashes.
Before her appeared a linen kerchief. The hand that held it was masculine, strong and familiar.
She lifted her head. The Earl of Bedwyr knelt before her upon one knee. His hair was tousled, his coat wrinkled, his cravat hastily tied, and his hand extending the linen was unsteady.
His dark eyes spoke something she could not readily believe: hope.
“Princess.” His voice was rough. “Don’t let me die.”

-Jacqueline, Arabella, & Cam ~ Katharine Ashe,
314:'Ah! quit me not yet, for the wind whistles shrill,
Its blast wanders mournfully over the hill,
The thunders wild voice rattles madly above,
You will not then, cannot then, leave me my love.'--

I must dearest Agnes, the night is far gone--
I must wander this evening to Strasburg alone,
I must seek the drear tomb of my ancestors bones,
And must dig their remains from beneath the cold stones.

'For the spirit of Conrad there meets me this night,
And we quit not the tomb 'till dawn of the light,
And Conrad's been dead just a month and a day!
So farewell dearest Agnes for I must away,

'He bid me bring with me what most I held dear,
Or a month from that time should I lie on my bier,
And I'd sooner resign this false fluttering breath,
Than my Agnes should dread either danger or death,

'And I love you to madness my Agnes I love,
My constant affection this night will I prove,
This night will I go to the sepulchre's jaw
Alone will I glut its all conquering maw'--

'No! no loved Adolphus thy Agnes will share,
In the tomb all the dangers that wait for you there,
I fear not the spirit,--I fear not the grave,
My dearest Adolphus Id perish to save'--

'Nay seek not to say that thy love shall not go,
But spare me those ages of horror and woe,
For I swear to thee here that I'll perish ere day,
If you go unattended by Agnes away'--

The night it was bleak the fierce storm raged around,
The lightning's blue fire-light flashed on the ground,
Strange forms seemed to flit,--and howl tidings of fate,
As Agnes advanced to the sepulchre gate.--

The youth struck the portal,--the echoing sound
Was fearfully rolled midst the tombstones around,
The blue lightning gleamed oer the dark chapel spire,
And tinged were the storm clouds with sulphurous fire.

Still they gazed on the tombstone where Conrad reclined,
Yet they shrank at the cold chilling blast of the wind,
When a strange silver brilliance pervaded the scene,
And a figure advancedtall in formfierce in mien.

A mantle encircled his shadowy form,
As light as a gossamer borne on the storm,
Celestial terror sat throned in his gaze,
Like the midnight pestiferous meteors blaze.

Thy father, Adolphus! was false, false as hell,
And Conrad has cause to remember it well,
He ruined my Mother, despised me his son,
I quitted the world ere my vengeance was done.

I was nearly expiring--'twas close of the day,--
A demon advanced to the bed where I lay,
He gave me the power from whence I was hurled,
To return to revenge, to return to the world,--

Now Adolphus I'll seize thy best loved in my arms,
I'll drag her to Hades all blooming in charms,
On the black whirlwinds thundering pinion I'll ride,
And fierce yelling fiends shall exult o'er thy bride--

He spoke, and extending his ghastly arms wide,
Majestic advanced with a swift noiseless stride,
He clasped the fair Agneshe raised her on high,
And cleaving the roof sped his way to the sky--

All was now silent,--and over the tomb,
Thicker, deeper, was swiftly extended a gloom,
Adolphus in horror sank down on the stone,
And his fleeting soul fled with a harrowing groan.


~ Percy Bysshe Shelley, Revenge
315:Le Poison (The Poison)
Le vin sait revêtir le plus sordide bouge
D'un luxe miraculeux,
Et fait surgir plus d'un portique fabuleux
Dans l'or de sa vapeur rouge,
Comme un soleil couchant dans un ciel nébuleux.
L'opium agrandit ce qui n'a pas de bornes,
Allonge l'illimité,
Approfondit le temps, creuse la volupté,
Et de plaisirs noirs et mornes
Remplit l'âme au delà de sa capacité.
Tout cela ne vaut pas le poison qui découle
De tes yeux, de tes yeux verts,
Lacs où mon âme tremble et se voit à l'envers...
Mes songes viennent en foule
Pour se désaltérer à ces gouffres amers.
Tout cela ne vaut pas le terrible prodige
De ta salive qui mord,
Qui plonge dans l'oubli mon âme sans remords,
Et charriant le vertige,
La roule défaillante aux rives de la mort!
Wine knows how to adorn the most sordid hovel
With marvelous luxury
And make more than one fabulous portal appear
In the gold of its red mist
Like a sun setting in a cloudy sky.
Opium magnifies that which is limitless,
Lengthens the unlimited,
Makes time deeper, hollows out voluptuousness,
And with dark, gloomy pleasures
Fills the soul beyond its capacity.
All that is not equal to the poison which flows
From your eyes, from your green eyes,
Lakes where my soul trembles and sees its evil side...
My dreams come in multitude
To slake their thirst in those bitter gulfs.
All that is not equal to the awful wonder
Of your biting saliva,
Charged with madness, that plunges my remorseless soul
Into oblivion
And rolls it in a swoon to the shores of death.
— Translated by William Aggeler
Wine can conceal a sordid room
In rich, miraculous disguise,
And make such porticoes arise
Out of its flushed and crimson fume
As makes the sunset in the skies.
Opium the infinite enlarges,
And lengthens all that is past measure.
It deepens time, and digs its treasure,
With sad, black raptures it o'ercharges
The soul, and surfeits it with pleasure.
Neither are worth the drug so strong
That you distil from your green eyes,
Lakes where I see my soul capsize
Head downwards: and where, in one throng,
I slake my dreams, and quench my sighs.
But to your spittle these seem naught —
It stings and burns. It steeps my thought
And spirit in oblivious gloom,
And, in its dizzy onrush caught,
Dashes it on the shores of doom.
— Translated by Roy Campbell
Le Poison
wine clothes the sordid walls of hovels old
with pomp no palace knows,
evokes long peristyles in pillared rows
from vaporous red and gold;
like sunset with her cloud-built porticoes.
and opium widens all that has no bourn
in its unbounded sea;
moments grow hours, pleasures cease to be
in souls that, overworn,
drown in its black abyss of lethargy.
dread poisons, but more dread the poisoned well
of thy green eyes accurst;
tarns where I watch my trembling soul, reversed
my dreams innumerable
throng to those bitter gulfs to slake their thirst.
dread magic, but thy mouth more dread than these:
its wine and hellebore
burn, floods of Lethe, in my bosom's core,
till winds of madness seize
and dash me swooning on Death's barren shore!
— Translated by Lewis Piaget Shanks
~ Charles Baudelaire,
316:Reaching the door of his mother’s apartments, Marcus found it locked. He rattled the handle violently. “Open it,” he bellowed. “Open it now!”
Silence, and then a maid’s frightened reply from within. “Milord… the countess bade me to tell you that she is resting.”
“I’ll send her to her eternal fucking rest,” Marcus roared, “if this door isn’t opened now.”
“Milord, please—”
He drew back three or four paces and hurled himself against the door, which shook on its hinges and partially gave with a splintering sound. There were fearful cries in the hallway from a pair of female guests who happened to witness the astonishing display of raging frenzy. “Dear God,” one exclaimed to the other, “he’s gone berserk!”
Marcus drew back again and lunged at the door, this time sending chunks of paneling flying. He felt Simon Hunt’s hands grasp him from behind, and he whirled with his fist drawn back, ready to launch an attack on all fronts.
“Jesus,” Hunt muttered, retreating a step or two with his hands raised in a defensive gesture. His face was taut and his eyes were wide, and he stared at Marcus as if he were a stranger. “Westcliff—”
“Stay the hell out of my way!”
“Gladly. But let me point out that if our positions were reversed, you would be the first to tell me to keep a cool—”
Ignoring him, Marcus swerved back to the door and targeted the disjointed lock with a powerful, accurately aimed blow of his boot heel. The housemaid’s scream shot through the doorway as the ruined portal swung open. Bursting into the receiving room, Marcus charged toward the bedchamber, where the countess sat in a chair by a small hearth fire. Fully dressed and swathed in ropes of pearls, she stared at him with amused disdain.
Breathing heavily, Marcus advanced on her with bloodlust racing through his veins. It was certain that the countess had no idea that she was in mortal danger, or she would not have received him so calmly.
“Full of animal spirits today, are we?” she asked. “Your descent from gentleman to savage brute has been accomplished so very quickly. I must offer Miss Bowman my compliments on her efficacy.”
“What have you done with her?”
“Done with her?” Her expression taunted him with its innocent perplexity. “What the devil do you mean, Westcliff?”
“You met with her at Butterfly Court this morning.”
“I never walk that far from the manor,” the countess said haughtily. “What a ridiculous asser—” She let out a strident cry as Marcus seized her, his fingers wrapping around the pearl ropes and tightening them around her throat.
“Tell me where she is, or I’ll snap your neck like a wishbone!”
Simon Hunt seized him from behind once more, determined to prevent a murder from occurring. “Westcliff!”
Marcus closed his hand in a harder grip around the pearls. He glared without blinking into his mother’s face, not missing the flicker of vindictive triumph that lurked in her eyes. He did not take his gaze from hers even as he heard his sister Livia’s voice.
“Marcus,” she said urgently. “Marcus, listen to me! You have my permission to throttle her later. I’ll even help. But at least wait until we’ve found out what she’s done.”
Marcus tightened the tension of the pearls until the elderly woman’s eyes seemed to protrude from their shallow sockets. “Your only value to me,” he said in a low tone, “is your knowledge of Lillian Bowman’s whereabouts. If I can’t obtain that from you, I’ll send you to the devil. Tell me, or I’ll choke it from you. And believe that I have enough of my father in me to do it without a second thought. ~ Lisa Kleypas,
317:Beowulf (Episode 11)
THEN from the moorland, by misty crags,
with God's wrath laden, Grendel came.
The monster was minded of mankind now
sundry to seize in the stately house.
Under welkin he walked, till the wine-palace there,
gold-hall of men, he gladly discerned,
flashing with fretwork. Not first time, this,
that he the home of Hrothgar sought, -yet ne'er in his life-day, late or early,
such hardy heroes, such hall-thanes, found!
To the house the warrior walked apace,
parted from peace; the portal opended,
though with forged bolts fast, when his fists had
struck it,
and baleful he burst in his blatant rage,
the house's mouth. All hastily, then,
o'er fair-paved floor the fiend trod on,
ireful he strode; there streamed from his eyes
fearful flashes, like flame to see.
He spied in hall the hero-band,
kin and clansmen clustered asleep,
hardy liegemen. Then laughed his heart;
for the monster was minded, ere morn should dawn,
savage, to sever the soul of each,
life from body, since lusty banquet
waited his will! But Wyrd forbade him
to seize any more of men on earth
after that evening. Eagerly watched
Hygelac's kinsman his cursed foe,
how he would fare in fell attack.
Not that the monster was minded to pause!
Straightway he seized a sleeping warrior
for the first, and tore him fiercely asunder,
the bone-frame bit, drank blood in streams,
swallowed him piecemeal: swiftly thus
the lifeless corse was clear devoured,
e'en feet and hands. Then farther he hied;
for the hardy hero with hand he grasped,
felt for the foe with fiendish claw,
for the hero reclining, -- who clutched it boldly,
prompt to answer, propped on his arm.
Soon then saw that shepherd-of-evils
that never he met in this middle-world,
in the ways of earth, another wight
with heavier hand-gripe; at heart he feared,
sorrowed in soul, -- none the sooner escaped!
Fain would he flee, his fastness seek,
the den of devils: no doings now
such as oft he had done in days of old!
Then bethought him the hardy Hygelac-thane
of his boast at evening: up he bounded,
grasped firm his foe, whose fingers cracked.
The fiend made off, but the earl close followed.
The monster meant -- if he might at all -to fling himself free, and far away
fly to the fens, -- knew his fingers' power
in the gripe of the grim one. Gruesome march
to Heorot this monster of harm had made!
Din filled the room; the Danes were bereft,
castle-dwellers and clansmen all,
earls, of their ale. Angry were both
those savage hall-guards: the house resounded.
Wonder it was the wine-hall firm
in the strain of their struggle stood, to earth
the fair house fell not; too fast it was
within and without by its iron bands
craftily clamped; though there crashed from sill
many a mead-bench -- men have told me -gay with gold, where the grim foes wrestled.
So well had weened the wisest Scyldings
that not ever at all might any man
that bone-decked, brave house break asunder,
crush by craft, -- unless clasp of fire
in smoke engulfed it. -- Again uprose
din redoubled. Danes of the North
with fear and frenzy were filled, each one,
who from the wall that wailing heard,
God's foe sounding his grisly song,
cry of the conquered, clamorous pain
from captive of hell. Too closely held him
he who of men in might was strongest
in that same day of this our life.
~ Anonymous Olde English,
318:Not Aladdin magian
Ever such a work began;
Not the wizard of the Dee
Ever such a dream could see;
Not St. John, in Patmos' Isle,
In the passion of his toil,
When he saw the churches seven,
Golden aisl'd, built up in heaven,
Gaz'd at such a rugged wonder.
As I stood its roofing under
Lo! I saw one sleeping there,
On the marble cold and bare.
While the surges wash'd his feet,
And his garments white did beat.
Drench'd about the sombre rocks,
On his neck his well-grown locks,
Lifted dry above the main,
Were upon the curl again.
"What is this? and what art thou?"
Whisper'd I, and touch'd his brow;
"What art thou? and what is this?"
Whisper'd I, and strove to kiss
The spirit's hand, to wake his eyes;
Up he started in a trice:
"I am Lycidas," said he,
"Fam'd in funeral minstrely!
This was architectur'd thus
By the great Oceanus!--
Here his mighty waters play
Hollow organs all the day;
Here by turns his dolphins all,
Finny palmers great and small,
Come to pay devotion due--
Each a mouth of pearls must strew.
Many a mortal of these days,
Dares to pass our sacred ways,
Dares to touch audaciously
This Cathedral of the Sea!
I have been the pontiff-priest
Where the waters never rest,
Where a fledgy sea-bird choir
Soars for ever; holy fire
I have hid from mortal man;
Proteus is my Sacristan.
But the dulled eye of mortal
Hath pass'd beyond the rocky portal;
So for ever will I leave
Such a taint, and soon unweave
All the magic of the place."
* * * * * *
So saying, with a Spirit's glance
He dived!
'After a detention of a few hours at Inverary owing to Brown's suffering from sore feet, the travellers started again on the 19th of July, walked along "20 miles by the side of Loch Awe" -- southward, I suppose, for they next paused "between Loch Craignish and the sea just opposite Long Island," where Keats gives a very minute account to Tom of the locale. They then pushed on to Oban, "15 miles in a soaking rain" -- due north again. At Oban Keats finished the unpublished letter to Tom containing The Gadfly and the Stranger sonnet, and posted it, announcing that the travellers had given up the idea of Mull and Staffa on account of the expense. This was probably on the 22nd of July. On the 23rd he begins a fresh letter (Life, Letters &c.) stating that just after he had posted the other the guide to Mull came in and made a bargain with them. This latter letter is dated the 23rd of July, "Dunancullen" in the Life: "Dimancullen" is the name given in the same connexion in the New York World, where some Keats documents appeared; but probably the place indicated is Derrynaculen, which is at a situation on the walk through the southern part of the Isle of Mull corresponding with Keats's narrative. This narrative seems to show that on the 23rd of July they crossed from Oban to Kerrera by one ferry and from Kerrera to Mull by another, and walked across the south of the Island to the western extremity to cross to Iona by boat. By the 26th, Keats resumed his letter to Tom at Oban, and narrated that the thirty-seven miles of walking had been very miserable, and that he and Brown had taken a boat at a bargain to carry them from Iona to Staffa, and land them finally at the head of Loch Nakeal, whence they could return to Oban by a better route. He vividly describes Staffa, including Fingal's Cave, breaks into verse with the lines given above, and resumes prose with,
"I am sorry I am so indolent as to write such stuff as this." Probably the poem should be dated the 26th of July, 1818.'
~ Poetical Works of John Keats, ed. H. Buxton Forman, Crowell publ. 1895. by owner. provided at no charge for educational purposes
~ John Keats, Staffa
319:Joy, thou goddess, fair, immortal,
Offspring of Elysium,
Mad with rapture, to the portal
Of thy holy fame we come!
Fashion's laws, indeed, may sever,
But thy magic joins again;
All mankind are brethren ever
'Neath thy mild and gentle reign.


Welcome, all ye myriad creatures!
Brethren, take the kiss of love!
Yes, the starry realms above
Hide a Father's smiling features!

He, that noble prize possessing
He that boasts a friend that's true,
He whom woman's love is blessing,
Let him join the chorus too!
Aye, and he who but one spirit
On this earth can call his own!
He who no such bliss can merit,
Let him mourn his fate alone!


All who Nature's tribes are swelling
Homage pay to sympathy;
For she guides us up on high,
Where the unknown has his dwelling.

From the breasts of kindly Nature
All of joy imbibe the dew;
Good and bad alike, each creature
Would her roseate path pursue.
'Tis through her the wine-cup maddens,
Love and friends to man she gives!
Bliss the meanest reptile gladdens,
Near God's throne the cherub lives!


Bow before him, all creation!
Mortals, own the God of love!
Seek him high the stars above,
Yonder is his habitation!

Joy, in Nature's wide dominion,
Mightiest cause of all is found;
And 'tis joy that moves the pinion,
When the wheel of time goes round;
From the bud she lures the flower
Suns from out their orbs of light;
Distant spheres obey her power,
Far beyond all mortal sight.


As through heaven's expanse so glorious
In their orbits suns roll on,
Brethren, thus your proud race run,
Glad as warriors all-victorious!

Joy from truth's own glass of fire
Sweetly on the searcher smiles;
Lest on virtue's steeps he tire,
Joy the tedious path beguiles.
High on faith's bright hill before us,
See her banner proudly wave!
Joy, too, swells the angels' chorus,
Bursts the bondage of the grave!


Mortals, meekly wait for heaven
Suffer on in patient love!
In the starry realms above,
Bright rewards by God are given.

To the Gods we ne'er can render
Praise for every good they grant;
Let us, with devotion tender,
Minister to grief and want.
Quenched be hate and wrath forever,
Pardoned be our mortal foe
May our tears upbraid him never,
No repentance bring him low!


Sense of wrongs forget to treasure
Brethren, live in perfect love!
In the starry realms above,
God will mete as we may measure.

Joy within the goblet flushes,
For the golden nectar, wine,
Every fierce emotion hushes,
Fills the breast with fire divine.
Brethren, thus in rapture meeting,
Send ye round the brimming cup,
Yonder kindly spirit greeting,
While the foam to heaven mounts up!


He whom seraphs worship ever;
Whom the stars praise as they roll,
Yes to him now drain the bowl
Mortal eye can see him never!

Courage, ne'er by sorrow broken!
Aid where tears of virtue flow;
Faith to keep each promise spoken!
Truth alike to friend and foe!
'Neath kings' frowns a manly spirit!
Brethren, noble is the prize
Honor due to every merit!
Death to all the brood of lies!


Draw the sacred circle closer!
By this bright wine plight your troth
To be faithful to your oath!
Swear it by the Star-Disposer!

Safety from the tyrant's power!
Mercy e'en to traitors base!
Hope in death's last solemn hour!
Pardon when before His face!
Lo, the dead shall rise to heaven!
Brethren hail the blest decree;
Every sin shall be forgiven,
Hell forever cease to be!


When the golden bowl is broken,
Gentle sleep within the tomb!
Brethren, may a gracious doom
By the Judge of man be spoken!
~ Friedrich Schiller, Hymn To Joy
320:It is illegal to portal anyone while they are under duress,I could lose my license if I were to do so."

"You're going to lose a lot more than that if you don't tell me where my twin went," I said in a low, mean voice.

"Mayling, please. I must insist that you allow me to be the bad cop," Gabriel said as I slid the dagger at my ankle out of its sheath.

"I have never subscribed to the sexist belief that women have to be good cop," I said, twirling the dagger around one finger.

"Nonetheless, you are far more suited to the good cop role," Gabriel insisted.

"I'm going to have to go against popular opinion and side with Mei Ling on this," Savian said, watching us with a delighted twinkle in his eye. "She looks like she knows how to use that blade. What is that, a stiletto?"

"Sicilian castrating knife," I said with a smile at the portal man.

"She wins," Savian told Gabriel.

"Er..." Jarilith said, his expression starting to slide into worry.

"I am a wyvern! I can do far more to this man than merely remove his genitalia," Gabriel answered in an outraged tone, a little tendril of smoke emerging from between his lips as he spoke.

"Eh..." Jarilith said, taking a step backward.

"Hmm. He's a weaver," Savian said thoughtfully as he examined the portalist. "Those are immortal, aren't they? So he could survive a castration, but the question is would a dragon barbeque be enough to finish him off?"

"Absolutely," Gabriel said. He smiled. It wasn't a nice smile.

"Threatening a weaver is strictly prohibited by law," Jarilith said indignantly, but the fight had gone out of him. His gaze was flickering back and forth from Gabriel to Savian to the dagger I held casually. "I could have the watch on you for what you're saying!"

"Oh, please," I said with a dramatic roll of my eyes.

"Just about every thief taker in this hemisphere is after me. I've already been sentenced to banishment to the Akasha. You think one little murder is going to make that any worse? Not likely."

Jarilith's eyes widened.

"It's true," Savian said. "The price on her head has already gone over six figures."

The color washed out of the portalist's face. "Erm..."

"Mate," Gabriel said sternly. "I must insist that you refrain from slicing and dicing this man."

Jarilith nodded quickly. "Listen to the dragon."

"It is my place to destroy those who stand in your way," Gabriel continued, the pupils in his eyes narrowing as he turned to the now hastily backing away Jarilith.

"Let's not lose our heads, here," the latter said in a rush.

"I don't think it's your head the lady has in mind," Savian said as he looked pointedly at the portalist's crotch.

Jarilith's hands hovered protectively over his fly. "Such an atrocity would constitute torture. You wouldn't do that to an innocent man, would you?"

"What makes you think I'd stop at the castration?" I twirled the knife around my fingers again. "This little jobby fillets, as well."

"She went to Paris," Jarilith said quickly as he dashed for a door to a back room. "Your portal is ready in room number three. Have a pleasant journey..."

His voice trailed off as he bolted.

I turned a frown on Gabriel. "You really wouldn't have let me be bad cop? I'm very good at it, as you can see."

"I'm sorry," he said, his dimples belying the grave look he was trying to maintain.."Wyverns have some standards to maintain with their mates, and one of them is always being the bad cop.Although I do admit that you have a particularly effective manner. Would you really have castrated him to get the information about your twin?"

"Would you really have burnt him to acrisp for not answering?"

"Such a bloodthirsty little bird," he said fondly, giving my butt a little pinch.

Savian stood still for a moment, giving us an odddisbelieving look before shaking his head and following. "You two are the strangest couple I've ever met. And I have to tell you-I've met some real weirdos ~ Katie MacAlister,
321:Oh! did you observe the Black Canon pass,
And did you observe his frown?
He goeth to say the midnight mass,
In holy St. Edmond's town.

He goeth to sing the burial chaunt,
And to lay the wandering sprite,
Whose shadowy, restless form doth haunt,
The Abbey's drear aisle this night.

It saith it will not its wailing cease,
'Till that holy man come near,
'Till he pour oer its grave the prayer of peace,
And sprinkle the hallowed tear.

The Canon's horse is stout and strong
The road is plain and fair,
But the Canon slowly wends along,
And his brow is gloomed with care.

Who is it thus late at the Abbey-gate?
Sullen echoes the portal bell,
It sounds like the whispering voice of fate,
It sounds like a funeral knell.

The Canon his faltering knee thrice bowed,
And his frame was convulsed with fear,
When a voice was heard distinct and loud,
'Prepare! for thy hour is near.'

He crosses his breast, he mutters a prayer,
To Heaven he lifts his eye,
He heeds not the Abbot's gazing stare,
Nor the dark Monks who murmured by.

Bare-headed he worships the sculptured saints
That frown on the sacred walls,
His face it grows pale,--he trembles, he faints,
At the Abbots feet he falls.

And straight the fathers robe he kissed,
Who cried, 'Grace dwells with thee,
The spirit will fade like the morning mist,
At your benedicite.

'Now haste within! the board is spread,
Keen blows the air, and cold,
The spectre sleeps in its earthy bed,
'Till St. Edmonds bell hath tolled,--

'Yet rest your wearied limbs to-night,
Youve journeyed many a mile,
To-morrow lay the wailing sprite,
That shrieks in the moonlight aisle.

'Oh! faint are my limbs and my bosom is cold,
Yet to-night must the sprite be laid,
Yet to-night when the hour of horror's told,
Must I meet the wandering shade.

'Nor food, nor rest may now delay,--
For hark! the echoing pile,
A bell loud shakes!Oh haste away,
O lead to the haunted aisle.'

The torches slowly move before,
The cross is raised on high,
A smile of peace the Canon wore,
But horror dimmed his eye--

And now they climb the footworn stair,
The chapel gates unclose,
Now each breathed low a fervent prayer,
And fear each bosom froze--

Now paused awhile the doubtful band
And viewed the solemn scene,--
Full dark the clustered columns stand,
The moon gleams pale between--

'Say father, say, what cloisters' gloom
Conceals the unquiet shade,
Within what dark unhallowed tomb,
The corse unblessed was laid.'

'Through yonder drear aisle alone it walks,
And murmurs a mournful plaint,
Of thee! Black Canon, it wildly talks,
And call on thy patron saint--

The pilgrim this night with wondering eyes,
As he prayed at St. Edmond's shrine,
From a black marble tomb hath seen it rise,
And under yon arch recline.'--

Oh! say upon that black marble tomb,
What memorial sad appears.'--
Undistinguished it lies in the chancel's gloom,
No memorial sad it bears'--

The Canon his paternoster reads,
His rosary hung by his side,
Now swift to the chancel doors he leads,
And untouched they open wide,

Resistless, strange sounds his steps impel,
To approach to the black marble tomb,
'Oh! enter, Black Canon,' a whisper fell,
'Oh! enter, thy hour is come.'

He paused, told his beads, and the threshold passed.
Oh! horror, the chancel doors close,
A loud yell was borne on the rising blast,
And a deep, dying groan arose.

The Monks in amazement shuddering stand,
They burst through the chancel's gloom,
From St. Edmonds shrine, lo! a skeletons hand,
Points to the black marble tomb.

Lo! deeply engraved, an inscription blood red,
In characters fresh and clear--
'The guilty Black Canon of Elmham's dead,
And his wife lies buried here!'

In Elmhams tower he wedded a Nun,
To St. Edmonds his bride he bore,
On this eve her noviciate here was begun,
And a Monks gray weeds she wore;--

O! deep was her conscience dyed with guilt,
Remorse she full oft revealed,
Her blood by the ruthless Black Canon was spilt,
And in death her lips he sealed;

Her spirit to penance this night was doomed,
'Till the Canon atoned the deed,
Here together they now shall rest entombed,
'Till their bodies from dust are freed--

Hark! a loud peal of thunder shakes the roof,
Round the altar bright lightnings play,
Speechless with horror the Monks stand aloof,
And the storm dies sudden away--

The inscription was gone! a cross on the ground,
And a rosary shone through the gloom,
But never again was the Canon there found,
Or the Ghost on the black marble tomb.

~ Percy Bysshe Shelley, Saint Edmonds Eve
The terrible night-watch is over,
I turn where I lie,
To eastward my dim eyes discover
Faint streaks in the sky ;
Faint streaks on a faint light that dapples
And dawns like the ripening of apples,
Closes with darkness and grapples,
And darkness must die.
And the dawn finds us where the dusk found us—
The quick and the dead ;
Thou dawn-slaying darkness around us,
Oh ! slay me instead !
Thou pitiless earth that would sever
Twain souls, reuniting them never,
Oh, gape and engulf me for ever,
Oh, cover my head !
The toils that men strive with stout-hearted,
The fears that men fly,
I have known them, but they have departed,
And thou hast gone by.
Men toiling, and straining, and striving,
Are glad, peradventure, for living ;
I render for life no thanksgiving,
Glad only to die.
Too alike to me now are all changes,
Naught gladdens, naught grieves.
Alike, now, pale snow on the ranges,
Pale gold on the sheaves.
Alike now the hum of glad bees on
Green boughs, and the sigh of sad trees on
Sere uplands, the fall of the season,
The fall of the leaves.
Alike now each wind blows the breezes
That kiss where they roam,
The breath of the March wind that freezes
In the rime of the loam ;
The storm-blast that lashes and scourges,
And rends the white crests of the surges,
As it sweeps with the thunder of dirges
Across the sea foam.
Alike now all rainfall and down-fall,
Foul seasons and fair ;
Let the rose on my patch or the thorn fall,
I heed not, nor care ;
Nor for grey light of dawn, nor for dun light
Of dusk, nor for dazzle of sunlight
At noon ; shall I seek light, or shun light ?
Seek warmth or seek care ?
Nor for breaking of fast neither grateful,
Nor for quenching of thirst,
In the dawn of the eventide hateful,
In the noontide accurst,
In the watch of the night sleep-forsaken
Till that sleep comes, no watch shall re-waken,
Be the best things of life never taken,
Never feared be the worst.
Skies laugh, and buds bloom, and birds warble
At breaking of day ;
Without and within, on grey marble,
The light glimmers grey :
O pale, silent mouth, surely this is
The spot where death strikes and life misses :
Warm lips, pressing cold lips, waste kisses
Clay-cold as cold clay.
Through sunset, and twilight, and nightfall,
And night-watches bleak,
We have lain thus. Now broad rays of light fall,
And flicker, and streak ;
The death-chamber glancing and shining,
Where death and dead life lie reclining,
My hand with her hand intertwining,
My cheek to her cheek.
I adjure thee by days spent together,
(So sad and so few),
By the seasons of fair and foul weather,
By the rose and the rue ;
By the storms and the joys of past hours,
By the thorns of the earth and the flowers,
By the sun of the skies and the showers,
By the mist and the dew,
By the time that annihilates all things—
Our woes and our crimes ;
By the gath'ring of great things and small things
At the end of all times,
Let thy soul answer mine through the portal
Of the grave, if the soul be immortal
(As the wise men of all climes have taught all
The fools of all climes).
If these men speak truth I come quickly—
My life does thee wrong :
Dost thou languish in shades peopled thickly
With phantoms that throng ?
Have they known thee, my love ? Hast thou known one
To welcome the stranger and lone one ?
O loved one, O lost one, mine own one,
I tarry not long.
The flower that no more shall enwreath us
Turns sunward : the dove
Sails skyward : the grass is beneath us,
The birds are above.
Those skies, an illegible letter,
Seem fairer and farther, scarce better
Than earth to man, crushed by life's fetter
When lifeless is love.
And none can love twice, says the heathen,
And none can twice die :
More hopeful than these are, are we then,
With hopes past the sky,
Yon judge—will He swerve from just sentence
For tardy, fear-stricken repentance ?
Ask those who came hither and went hence,
But hope no reply.
And He who shall judge us in light :
How, then, shall I trust
In Him, having sinned in His sight ?
. . . Is jealous and just ;
So priests taught me once, in their learning
Perplexed, slower still in discerning :
Are ashes to ashes returning,
And dust seeking dust.
Can life thrive when life's love expires ?
Are life and love twain ?
Men say so. Nay, all men are liars,
Or all lives are vain.
Let our dead loves and lives be forgotten
With the ripening of fruits that are rotten ;
So we loving fools, dust-begotten,
Go dustward again.
~ Adam Lindsay Gordon,
323:Three Kinds Of A Rogue
Sharon, ambitious of immortal shame,
Fame's dead-wall daubed with his illustrious name
Served in the Senate, for our sins, his time,
Each word a folly and each vote a crime;
Law for our governance well skilled to make
By knowledge gained in study how to break;
Yet still by the presiding eye ignored,
Which only sought him when too loud he snored.
Auspicious thunder!-when he woke to vote
He stilled his own to cut his country's throat;
That rite performed, fell off again to sleep,
While statesmen ages dead awoke to weep!
For sedentary service all unfit,
By lying long disqualified to sit,
Wasting below as he decayed aloft,
His seat grown harder as his brain grew soft,
He left the hall he could not bring away,
And grateful millions blessed the happy day!
Whate'er contention in that hall is heard,
His sovereign State has still the final word:
For disputatious statesmen when they roar
Startle the ancient echoes of his snore,
Which from their dusty nooks expostulate
And close with stormy clamor the debate.
To low melodious thunders then they fade;
Their murmuring lullabies all ears invade;
Peace takes the Chair; the portal Silence keeps;
No motion stirs the dark Lethean deeps
Washoe has spoken and the Senate sleeps.
Lo! the new Sharon with a new intent,
Making no laws, but keen to circumvent
The laws of Nature (since he can't repeal)
That break his failing body on the wheel.
As Tantalus again and yet again
The elusive wave endeavors to restrain
To slake his awful thirst, so Sharon tries
To purchase happiness that age denies;
Obtains the shadow, but the substance goes,
And hugs the thorn, but cannot keep the rose;
For Dead Sea fruits bids prodigally, eats,
And then, with tardy reformation-cheats.
Alert his faculties as three score years
And four score vices will permit, he nears
Dicing with Death-the finish of the game,
And curses still his candle's wasting flame,
The narrow circle of whose feeble glow
Dims and diminishes at every throw.
Moments his losses, pleasures are his gains,
Which even in his grasp revert to pains.
The joy of grasping them alone remains.
Ring up the curtain and the play protract!
Behold our Sharon in his last mad act.
With man long warring, quarreling with God,
He crouches now beneath a woman's rod
Predestined for his back while yet it lay
Closed in an acorn which, one luckless day,
He stole, unconscious of its foetal twig,
From the scant garner of a sightless pig.
With bleeding shoulders pitilessly scored,
He bawls more lustily than once he snored.
The sympathetic Comstocks droop to hear,
And Carson river sheds a viscous tear,
Which sturdy tumble-bugs assail amain,
With ready thrift, and urge along the plain.
The jackass rabbit sorrows as he lopes;
The sage-brush glooms along the mountain slopes;
In rising clouds the poignant alkali,
Tearless itself, makes everybody cry.
Washoe canaries on the Geiger Grade
Subdue the singing of their cavalcade,
And, wiping with their ears the tears unshed,
Grieve for their family's unlucky head.
Virginia City intermits her trade
And well-clad strangers walk her streets unflayed.
Nay, all Nevada ceases work to weep
And the recording angel goes to sleep.
But in his dreams his goose-quill's creaking fount
Augments the debits in the long account.
And still the continents and oceans ring
With royal torments of the Silver King!
Incessant bellowings fill all the earth,
Mingled with inextinguishable mirth.
He roars, men laugh, Nevadans weep, beasts howl,
Plash the affrighted fish, and shriek the fowl!
With monstrous din their blended thunders rise,
Peal upon peal, and brawl along the skies,
Startle in hell the Sharons as they groan,
And shake the splendors of the great white throne!
Still roaring outward through the vast profound,
The spreading circles of receding sound
Pursue each other in a failing race
To the cold confines of eternal space;
There break and die along that awful shore
Which God's own eyes have never dared explore
Dark, fearful, formless, nameless evermore!
Look to the west! Against yon steely sky
Lone Mountain rears its holy cross on high.
About its base the meek-faced dead are laid
To share the benediction of its shade.
With crossed white hands, shut eyes and formal feet,
Their nights are innocent, their days discreet.
Sharon, some years, perchance, remain of life
Of vice and greed, vulgarity and strife;
And then-God speed the day if such His will
You'll lie among the dead you helped to kill,
And be in good society at last,
Your purse unsilvered and your face unbrassed.
~ Ambrose Bierce,
324:[an Integral conception of the Divine :::
   But on that which as yet we know not how shall we concentrate? And yet we cannot know the Divine unless we have achieved this concentration of our being upon him. A concentration which culminates in a living realisation and the constant sense of the presence of the One in ourselves and in all of which we are aware, is what we mean in Yoga by knowledge and the effort after knowledge. It is not enough to devote ourselves by the reading of Scriptures or by the stress of philosophical reasoning to an intellectual understanding of the Divine; for at the end of our long mental labour we might know all that has been said of the Eternal, possess all that can be thought about the Infinite and yet we might not know him at all. This intellectual preparation can indeed be the first stage in a powerful Yoga, but it is not indispensable : it is not a step which all need or can be called upon to take. Yoga would be impossible, except for a very few, if the intellectual figure of knowledge arrived at by the speculative or meditative Reason were its indispensable condition or a binding preliminary. All that the Light from above asks of us that it may begin its work is a call from the soul and a sufficient point of support in the mind. This support can be reached through an insistent idea of the Divine in the thought, a corresponding will in the dynamic parts, an aspiration, a faith, a need in the heart. Any one of these may lead or predominate, if all cannot move in unison or in an equal rhythm. The idea may be and must in the beginning be inadequate; the aspiration may be narrow and imperfect, the faith poorly illumined or even, as not surely founded on the rock of knowledge, fluctuating, uncertain, easily diminished; often even it may be extinguished and need to be lit again with difficulty like a torch in a windy pass. But if once there is a resolute self-consecration from deep within, if there is an awakening to the soul's call, these inadequate things can be a sufficient instrument for the divine purpose. Therefore the wise have always been unwilling to limit man's avenues towards God; they would not shut against his entry even the narrowest portal, the lowest and darkest postern, the humblest wicket-gate. Any name, any form, any symbol, any offering has been held to be sufficient if there is the consecration along with it; for the Divine knows himself in the heart of the seeker and accepts the sacrifice.
   But still the greater and wider the moving idea-force behind the consecration, the better for the seeker; his attainment is likely to be fuller and more ample. If we are to attempt an integral Yoga, it will be as well to start with an idea of the Divine that is itself integral. There should be an aspiration in the heart wide enough for a realisation without any narrow limits. Not only should we avoid a sectarian religious outlook, but also all onesided philosophical conceptions which try to shut up the Ineffable in a restricting mental formula. The dynamic conception or impelling sense with which our Yoga can best set out would be naturally the idea, the sense of a conscious all-embracing but all-exceeding Infinite. Our uplook must be to a free, all-powerful, perfect and blissful One and Oneness in which all beings move and live and through which all can meet and become one. This Eternal will be at once personal and impersonal in his self-revelation and touch upon the soul. He is personal because he is the conscious Divine, the infinite Person who casts some broken reflection of himself in the myriad divine and undivine personalities of the universe. He is impersonal because he appears to us as an infinite Existence, Consciousness and Ananda and because he is the fount, base and constituent of all existences and all energies, -the very material of our being and mind and life and body, our spirit and our matter. The thought, concentrating on him, must not merely understand in an intellectual form that he exists, or conceive of him as an abstraction, a logical necessity; it must become a seeing thought able to meet him here as the Inhabitant in all, realise him in ourselves, watch and take hold on the movement of his forces. He is the one Existence: he is the original and universal Delight that constitutes all things and exceeds them: he is the one infinite Consciousness that composes all consciousnesses and informs all their movements; he is the one illimitable Being who sustains all action and experience; his will guides the evolution of things towards their yet unrealised but inevitable aim and plenitude. To him the heart can consecrate itself, approach him as the supreme Beloved, beat and move in him as in a universal sweetness of Love and a living sea of Delight. For his is the secret Joy that supports the soul in all its experiences and maintains even the errant ego in its ordeals and struggles till all sorrow and suffering shall cease. His is the Love and the Bliss of the infinite divine Lover who is drawing all things by their own path towards his happy oneness. On him the Will can unalterably fix as the invisible Power that guides and fulfils it and as the source of its strength. In the impersonality this actuating Power is a self-illumined Force that contains all results and calmly works until it accomplishes, in the personality an all wise and omnipotent Master of the Yoga whom nothing can prevent from leading it to its goal. This is the faith with which the seeker has to begin his seeking and endeavour; for in all his effort here, but most of all in his effort towards the Unseen, mental man must perforce proceed by faith. When the realisation comes, the faith divinely fulfilled and completed will be transformed into an eternal flame of knowledge.
   ~ Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis Of Yoga, Self-Consecration, 82-83 [T1],
325:By love are blest the gods on high,
Frail man becomes a deity
When love to him is given;
'Tis love that makes the heavens shine
With hues more radiant, more divine,
And turns dull earth to heaven!

In Pyrrha's rear (so poets sang
In ages past and gone),
The world from rocky fragments sprang
Mankind from lifeless stone.

Their soul was but a thing of night,
Like stone and rock their heart;
The flaming torch of heaven so bright
Its glow could ne'er impart.

Young loves, all gently hovering round,
Their souls as yet had never bound
In soft and rosy chains;
No feeling muse had sought to raise
Their bosoms with ennobling lays,
Or sweet, harmonious strains.

Around each other lovingly
No garlands then entwined;
The sorrowing springs fled toward the sky,
And left the earth behind.

From out the sea Aurora rose
With none to hail her then;
The sun unhailed, at daylight's close,
In ocean sank again.

In forests wild, man went astray,
Misled by Luna's cloudy ray
He bore an iron yoke;
He pined not for the stars on high,
With yearning for a deity
No tears in torrents broke.


But see! from out the deep-blue ocean
Fair Venus springs with gentle motion
The graceful Naiad's smiling band
Conveys her to the gladdened strand,

A May-like, youthful, magic power
Entwines, like morning's twilight hour,
Around that form of godlike birth,
The charms of air, sea, heaven, and earth.

The day's sweet eye begins to bloom
Across the forest's midnight gloom;
Narcissuses, their balm distilling,
The path her footstep treads are filling.

A song of love, sweet Philomel,
Soon carolled through the grove;
The streamlet, as it murmuring fell,
Discoursed of naught but love,

Pygmalion! Happy one! Behold!
Life's glow pervades thy marble cold!
Oh, LOVE, thou conqueror all-divine,
Embrace each happy child of thine!


By love are blest the gods on high,
Frail man becomes a deity
When love to him is given;
'Tis love that makes the heavens shine
With hues more radiant, more divine,
And turns dull earth to heaven!


The gods their days forever spend
In banquets bright that have no end,
In one voluptuous morning-dream,
And quaff the nectar's golden stream.

Enthroned in awful majesty
Kronion wields the bolt on high:
In abject fear Olympus rocks
When wrathfully he shakes his locks.

To other gods he leaves his throne,
And fills, disguised as earth's frail son,
The grove with mournful numbers;
The thunders rest beneath his feet,
And lulled by Leda's kisses sweet,
The Giant-Slayer slumbers.

Through the boundless realms of light
Phoebus' golden reins, so bright,
Guide his horses white as snow,
While his darts lay nations low.
But when love and harmony
Fill his breast, how willingly
Ceases Phoebus then to heed
Rattling dart and snow-white steed!

See! Before Kronion's spouse
Every great immortal bows;
Proudly soar the peacock pair
As her chariot throne they bear,
While she decks with crown of might
Her ambrosial tresses bright,

Beauteous princess, ah! with fear
Quakes before thy splendor, love,
Seeking, as he ventures near,
With his power thy breast to move!
Soon from her immortal throne
Heaven's great queen must fain descend,
And in prayer for beauty's zone,
To the heart-enchainer bend!


By love are blest the gods on high,
Frail man becomes a deity
When love to him is given;
'Tis love that makes the heavens shine
With hues more radiant, more divine,
And turns dull earth to heaven!


'Tis love illumes the realms of night,
For Orcus dark obeys his might,
And bows before his magic spell
All-kindly looks the king of hell
At Ceres' daughter's smile so bright,
Yeslove illumes the realms of night!

In hell were heard, with heavenly sound,
Holding in chains its warder bound,
Thy lays, O Thracian one!
A gentler doom dread Minos passed,
While down his cheeks the tears coursed fast
And e'en around Megaera's face
The serpents twined in fond embrace,
The lashes' work seemed done.

Driven by Orpheus' lyre away,
The vulture left his giant-prey [8];
With gentler motion rolled along
Dark Lethe and Cocytus' river,
Enraptured Thracian, by thy song,
And love its burden was forever!

By love are blest the gods on high,
Frail man becomes a deity
When love to him is given;
'Tis love that makes the heavens shine
With hues more radiant, more divine,
And turns dull earth to heaven!


Wherever Nature's sway extends,
The fragrant balm of love descends,
His golden pinions quiver;
If 'twere not Venus' eye that gleams
Upon me in the moon's soft beams,
In sunlit hill or river,
If 'twere not Venus smiles on me
From yonder bright and starry sea,

Not stars, not sun, not moonbeams sweet,
Could make my heart with rapture beat.
'Tis love alone that smilingly
Peers forth from Nature's blissful eye,
As from a mirror ever!

Love bids the silvery streamlet roll
More gently as it sighs along,
And breathes a living, feeling soul
In Philomel's sweet plaintive song;
'Tis love alone that fills the air
With streams from Nature's lute so fair.

Thou wisdom with the glance of fire,
Thou mighty goddess, now retire,
Love's power thou now must feel!
To victor proud, to monarch high,
Thou ne'er hast knelt in slavery,
To love thou now must kneel!

Who taught thee boldly how to climb
The steep, but starry path sublime,
And reach the seats immortal?
Who rent the mystic veil in twain,
And showed thee the Elysian plain
Beyond death's gloomy portal?
If love had beckoned not from high,
Had we gained immortality?
If love had not inflamed each thought,
Had we the master spirit sought?
'Tis love that guides the soul along
To Nature's Father's heavenly throne

By love are blest the gods on high,
Frail man becomes a deity
When love to him is given;
'Tis love that makes the heavens shine
With hues more radiant, more divine,
And turns dull earth to heaven!

~ Friedrich Schiller, The Triumph Of Love
326:Brother Benedict
Brother Benedict rose and left his cell
With the last slow swing of the evening bell.
In his hand he carried his only book,
And he followed the path to the Abbey brook,
And, crossing the stepping-stones, paused midway,
For the journeying water seemed to say,
But when he stood on the other bank,
The flags rose tall, and the grass grew rank,
And the sorrel red and the white meadow-sweet
Shook their dust on his sandalled feet,
And, lifting their heads where his girdle hung,
Would surely have said had they found a tongue,
Onward and upward he clomb and wound,
Bruising the thyme on the nibbled ground
Here and there, in the untrimmed brake,
The dog-rose bloomed for its own sweet sake;
The woodbine clambered up out of reach,
But the scent of them all breathed as plain as speech,
Shortly he came to a leafy nook,
Where wind never entered nor branch ever shook.
Itself was the only thing in sight,
And the rest of the world was shut out quite.
'Twas as self-contained as the holy place
Where the children quire with upturned face,
A dell so curtained with trunks and boughs,
That in hours when the ringdove coos to his spouse,
The sun to its heart scarce a way could win.
But the trees now had drawn all their shadows in;
There was nothing but scent in the dewy air,
And the silence seemed saying in mental prayer,
'Gainst the trunk of a beech, round, smooth, and gray,
Brother Benedict leaned, with intent to pray,
And opened his book: with vellum bound;
Within, red letters on faded ground;
Pater, and Ave, and saving Creed:But look where you would, you seemed to read,
He scarce had a verse of his office said,
Ere a bird in the branches overhead
Began to warble so sweet a strain,
That, strive as he would, still he strove in vain
To close his ears; so he closed his book,
While the unseen throat to the air outshook
'Twas a song that rippled, and revelled, and ran
Ever back to the note whence it began;
Rising, and falling, and never did stay,
Like a fountain that feeds on itself all day,
Wanting no answer, answering none,
But beginning again as each verse was done,
It brought an ecstasy into his face,
It weaned his senses from time and space,
It carried him off to worlds unseen,
And showed him what is not and ne'er has been,
Transporting his soul to those realms of calm,
More blessëd and blessing than even the psalm,
Then, carolling still, it drew him thence
Slowly back to the spheres of sense,
But held him awhile where self expires,
And vague recollections and vague desires
Banish the burden of things that are,
And angels seem canticling, faint and far,
Then across him there flitted the days that are dead,
And those that will follow when these are fled;
Generations of sorrow, wave after wave,
With their samesome journey from womb to grave;
Men's love of the fleshly sweets that sting,
And the comfort that comes when we kneel and sing,
He suddenly started and gazed around,
For silence can waken as well as sound,
And the bird had ceased singing. The dewy air
Still was immersed in mental prayer.
Time seemed to have stopped. So he quickened pace,
But forgot not to say ere he left the lone place,
Downward he wended, and under his feet,
As on mounting, the bruised thyme answered sweet;
As before, in the brake the dog-rose bloomed,
And the woodbine with fragrance the hedge perfumed;
And the white meadow-sweet and the sorrel red,
Had they found a tongue, would still surely have said,
But where were the flags and the tall rank grass,
And the stepping-stones smooth for his feet to pass?
Were they swept away? Did he wake or dream?
A bridge that he knew not spanned the stream;
Though under its archway he still could hear
The journeying water purling clear,
Where had he wandered? This never could
Be the spot where the Abbey orchard stood?
Where the filberts once mellowed, lay tumbled blocks,
And cherry stumps peered through tares and docks;
A rough plot stretched where in times gone by
The plump apples dropped to the joyous cry,
The gateway had vanished, the portal flown,
The walls of the Abbey were ivy-grown;
The arches were shattered, the roof was gone,
The mullions were mouldering one by one;
Wrecked was the oriel's tracery light
That the sun streamed through when they met to recite
Chancel and choir and nave and aisle
Were but one ruinous vacant pile.
So utter the havoc, you could not tell
Which was corridor, cloister, cell.
Cow-grass, and foxglove, and waving weed,
Covered the scrolls where you used to read,
High up where of old the belfry towered,
An elder had rooted and whitely flowered:
Surviving ruin and rain and wind,
Below it a lichened gurgoyle grinned.
Though birds were chirping and flitting about,
They paused not to treble the anthem devout,
Then he went where the Abbot was wont to lay
His children to rest till the Judgment Day,
And at length in the grass the name he found
Of a friar he fancied alive and sound.
The slab was hoary, the carving blurred,
And he rather guessed than could read the word,
He sate him down on a fretted stone,
Where rains had beaten and winds had blown,
And opened his office-book, and read
The prayers that we read for our loved ones dead,
While nightfall crept on the twilight air,
And darkened the page of the final prayer,
But to murkiest gloom when the gloaming did wane,
In the air there still floated a shadowy strain.
'Twas distilled with the dew, it was showered from the star,
It was murmuring near, it was tingling afar;
In silence it sounded, in darkness it shone,
And in sleep that is deepest it wakeful dreamed on,
Do you ask what had witched Brother Benedict's ears?
The bird had been singing a thousand years:
Sweetly confounding in its sweet lay
To-day, to-morrow, and yesterday.
Time? What is Time but a fiction vain,
To him that o'erhears the Eternal strain,
~ Alfred Austin,
327:Full many a dreary hour have I past,
My brain bewildered, and my mind o'ercast
With heaviness; in seasons when I've thought
No spherey strains by me could e'er be caught
From the blue dome, though I to dimness gaze
On the far depth where sheeted lightning plays;
Or, on the wavy grass outstretched supinely,
Pry 'mong the stars, to strive to think divinely:
That I should never hear Apollo's song,
Though feathery clouds were floating all along
The purple west, and, two bright streaks between,
The golden lyre itself were dimly seen:
That the still murmur of the honey bee
Would never teach a rural song to me:
That the bright glance from beauty's eyelids slanting
Would never make a lay of mine enchanting,
Or warm my breast with ardour to unfold
Some tale of love and arms in time of old.

But there are times, when those that love the bay,
Fly from all sorrowing far, far away;
A sudden glow comes on them, nought they see
In water, earth, or air, but poesy.
It has been said, dear George, and true I hold it,
(For knightly Spenser to Libertas told it,)
That when a Poet is in such a trance,
In air her sees white coursers paw, and prance,
Bestridden of gay knights, in gay apparel,
Who at each other tilt in playful quarrel,
And what we, ignorantly, sheet-lightning call,
Is the swift opening of their wide portal,
When the bright warder blows his trumpet clear,
Whose tones reach nought on earth but Poet's ear.
When these enchanted portals open wide,
And through the light the horsemen swiftly glide,
The Poet's eye can reach those golden halls,
And view the glory of their festivals:
Their ladies fair, that in the distance seem
Fit for the silv'ring of a seraph's dream;
Their rich brimmed goblets, that incessant run
Like the bright spots that move about the sun;
And, when upheld, the wine from each bright jar
Pours with the lustre of a falling star.
Yet further off, are dimly seen their bowers,
Of which, no mortal eye can reach the flowers;
And 'tis right just, for well Apollo knows
'Twould make the Poet quarrel with the rose.
All that's revealed from that far seat of blisses
Is the clear fountains' interchanging kisses,
As gracefully descending, light and thin,
Like silver streaks across a dolphin's fin,
When he upswimmeth from the coral caves,
And sports with half his tail above the waves.

These wonders strange he sees, and many more,
Whose head is pregnant with poetic lore.
Should he upon an evening ramble fare
With forehead to the soothing breezes bare,
Would he nought see but the dark, silent blue
With all its diamonds trembling through and through?
Or the coy moon, when in the waviness
Of whitest clouds she does her beauty dress,
And staidly paces higher up, and higher,
Like a sweet nun in holy-day attire?
Ah, yes! much more would start into his sight
The revelries and mysteries of night:
And should I ever see them, I will tell you
Such tales as needs must with amazement spell you.

These are the living pleasures of the bard:
But richer far posterity's reward.
What does he murmur with his latest breath,
While his proud eye looks though the film of death?
"What though I leave this dull and earthly mould,
Yet shall my spirit lofty converse hold
With after times.The patriot shall feel
My stern alarum, and unsheath his steel;
Or, in the senate thunder out my numbers
To startle princes from their easy slumbers.
The sage will mingle with each moral theme
My happy thoughts sententious; he will teem
With lofty periods when my verses fire him,
And then I'll stoop from heaven to inspire him.
Lays have I left of such a dear delight
That maids will sing them on their bridal night.
Gay villagers, upon a morn of May,
When they have tired their gentle limbs with play
And formed a snowy circle on the grass,
And placed in midst of all that lovely lass
Who chosen is their queen,with her fine head
Crowned with flowers purple, white, and red:
For there the lily, and the musk-rose, sighing,
Are emblems true of hapless lovers dying:
Between her breasts, that never yet felt trouble,
A bunch of violets full blown, and double,
Serenely sleep:she from a casket takes
A little book,and then a joy awakes
About each youthful heart,with stifled cries,
And rubbing of white hands, and sparkling eyes:
For she's to read a tale of hopes, and fears;
One that I fostered in my youthful years:
The pearls, that on each glist'ning circlet sleep,
Must ever and anon with silent creep,
Lured by the innocent dimples. To sweet rest
Shall the dear babe, upon its mother's breast,
Be lulled with songs of mine. Fair world, adieu!
Thy dales, and hills, are fading from my view:
Swiftly I mount, upon wide spreading pinions,
Far from the narrow bound of thy dominions.
Full joy I feel, while thus I cleave the air,
That my soft verse will charm thy daughters fair,
And warm thy sons!" Ah, my dear friend and brother,
Could I, at once, my mad ambition smother,
For tasting joys like these, sure I should be
Happier, and dearer to society.
At times, 'tis true, I've felt relief from pain
When some bright thought has darted through my brain:
Through all that day I've felt a greater pleasure
Than if I'd brought to light a hidden treasure.
As to my sonnets, though none else should heed them,
I feel delighted, still, that you should read them.
Of late, too, I have had much calm enjoyment,
Stretched on the grass at my best loved employment
Of scribbling lines for you. These things I thought
While, in my face, the freshest breeze I caught.
E'en now I'm pillowed on a bed of flowers
That crowns a lofty clift, which proudly towers
Above the ocean-waves, The stalks, and blades,
Chequer my tablet with their quivering shades.
On one side is a field of drooping oats,
Through which the poppies show their scarlet coats;
So pert and useless, that they bring to mind
The scarlet coats that pester human-kind.
And on the other side, outspread, is seen
Ocean's blue mantle streaked with purple, and green.
Now 'tis I see a canvassed ship, and now
Mark the bright silver curling round her prow.
I see the lark dowm-dropping to his nest,
And the broad winged sea-gull never at rest;
For when no more he spreads his feathers free,
His breast is dancing on the restless sea.
Now I direct my eyes into the west,
Which at this moment is in sunbeams drest:
Why westward turn? 'Twas but to say adieu!
'Twas but to kiss my hand, dear George, to you!
Written in August, 1816. by owner. provided at no charge for educational purposes
~ John Keats, Epistle To My Brother George
328:At Delphi
Apollo! Apollo! Apollo!
Where hast thou, Apollo, gone?
I have wandered on and on,
Through the shaggy Dorian gorges,
Down from where Parnassus forges
Thunder for the Phocian valleys;
Where the Pleistus springs and sallies
Past ravines and caverns dread,
Have, like it, meanderëd;
But I cannot see thee, hear thee,
Find thee, feel thee, get anear thee.
Though in quest of thee I go where
Thou didst haunt, I find thee nowhere,
Apollo! Apollo! Apollo!
Still no answer comes. . . . Apollo!
Vainly do I call and holloa
Into each Crissoean cleft
Where the last year's leaves are left.
Deem not I have pushed my way
But from stony Amphissà.
I have come from far-off land,
Traversed foam, traversed sand,
From green pastures sea-surrounded,
Where thy phorminx never sounded;
O'er the broad and barren acres
Of the vainly furrowed breakers,
Across mountains loftier far
Than the peaks of Pindus are;
Skirted groves of pine and fir
Denser than lone Tempe's were,
With no selfish tread, but only
I might find thee, lovely, lonely,
Lingering by thy sacred city:
On me wilt thou not have pity?
Sun-god! Song-god! I implore thee!
Glow, and let me pale before thee,
Apollo! Apollo! Apollo!
Fallen tablet, prostrate column,
Solitude and silence solemn!
Half-tilled patches, squalid hovels,
Where life multiplies and grovelsIs this Delphi, this the shrine
Of the Musagete divine?
This the cavern, this the cell,
Of the Pythian oracle!
Where the tripod, where the altar,
Incense, embassy, and psalter?
Can this pool of cresses be
Cradle of pure Castaly?
From the rock though still it bubbles,
Travels onwards, halts, and doubles,
Where the Muses wont to lave
Limbs as vestal as its wave,
'Mong the flashing waters flashing,Gaunt and withered crones are washing.
Not a note of lyre or zittern,
But, below, the booming bittern
Waits his quarry to inveigle,
While o'erhead the silent eagle,
Blinking, stares at the blank sunAll of thee that is not gone,
Apollo! Apollo!
Who art thou, intruder weird!
With the fine and flowing beard?
Whom no snowy robes encumber,
But a habit black and sombre,
Yet in whose composëd eyes
Lurks the light of mysteries.
Priest thou seemest, but not one
Of the loved Latona's son.
In thy aspect is no gladness,
Glance nor gleam of joyous madness,
Only gloom, only sadness.
Underneath thy knotted girdle
Thoughts congeal and passions curdle,
And about thy brow ascetic
Lives nor light nor line prophetic.
Priest, but priest not of Apollo,
Whither wouldst thou have me follow?
Lead but onward, I will enter
Where thy cold gaze seems to centre,
Underneath yon portal dismal,
Into dusk and chill abysmal.
Hast thou pent him? Is He lying
There within, dethroned and dying?
If thou breathest, hear me crying,
``Apollo! Apollo! Apollo!''
No, but here He cannot be,
God of light and poesy!
What are these I see around,
Gloomy upon gloomy ground,
Making wall and roof to seem
Sepulchre of morbid dream?
Visages with aspect stony,
Bodies lean, and lank, and bony,
In whose lineaments I trace
Neither love, nor joy, nor grace:
Youth with limbs disused and old,
Maidens pale, contorted, cold,
Flames devouring, pincers wrenching
Muscles naked but unblenching,
Writhing snakes forked venom darting
Into flesh-wounds, gaping, smarting,
Furies shagged with tresses fell,
Ghouls and ghosts of nether hell!
Priest of beauty! Priest of song!
Aid me, if thou still art strong!
See me! save me! bear me whither
Glows thy light that brought me hither,
Apollo! Apollo! Apollo!
O the sunshine once again!
O to stand a man 'mong men!
Lo! the horrid nightmare pales
In the light of flowing vales,
In the gaze of steadfast mountains,
Sidelong runnels, forward fountains,
Spacious sky, receding air,
Breadth and bounty everywhere.
What if all the gods be dead,
Nature reigneth in their stead.
Let me dream the noon away
Underneath this full-blown bay,
Where the yellow bees are busy,
Till they stagger, drowsy, dizzy,
From the honeyed wine that wells
Up the branches to the cells
Of the myriad-clustered flowers
Dropping golden flakes in showers.
Here reclined, I will surrender
Sense and soul unto the tender
Mingling of remote and close:
Gods voluptuous, gods morose;
Altars at whose marble meet
Downcast eyes and dancing feet;
Awful dirges, glad carouse,
Unveiled bosoms, shaded brows,
Wreathëd steer and tonsured skull,
Shapes austere with beautiful;
Till the past and present swim
In an ether distant, dim,
And the Delphic fumes rise denser
From a silver-swinging censer,
And in one harmonious dream,
Through a heavenly nimbus, gleam
Lovely limbs and longings saintly,
And pale virgins murmur faintly,
``Apollo! Apollo! Apollo!''
Priest, but priest not of Apollo,
Why dost thou my footsteps follow
From the deep dark shrine down there
To this temple of the air?
What, profaner! wouldst thou lay
Hands upon the sacred bay,
Tearing Daphne limb from limb!
Hast thou, then, no dread of Him?
How? For me? Avaunt, and pass!
I am not fool Marsyas.
Stay! Then to my forehead bind it,
Round my temples wreathe and wind it;
'Chance the Avenger then will come,
Haunt and grot no more be dumb,
But the rills and steeps be ringing,
And a long array come singing,
``Apollo! Apollo! Apollo!''
All in vain! Nor prayer nor taunt
Tempts him back to his loved haunt.
Fretted tablet, fallen column,
Solitude and silence solemn!
He again from Peneus ne'er
Will to Castaly repair;
Never more in cavern dread
Will his oracles be read;
Now I know that Thou art dead,
Then like fountain in mine ear
Spake the god aloud and clear:
``Take it! Wear it! Tis for thee,
Singer from the Northern Sea.
If the least, not last of those,
Suckled 'mong the genial snows.
Though the Muses may have left
Tempe's glen and Delphi's cleft,
Wanderer! they have only gone
Hence to murmuring Albion.
Need was none to travel hither:
Child of England, go back thither.
Traverse foam, traverse sand;
Back, and in thy native land
Thou wilt find what thou dost seek.
There the oracles still speak;
There the mounting fumes inspire
Glowing brain and living lyre.
There the Muses prompt the strain,
There they renovate my reign;
There thou wilt not call in vain,
`Apollo! Apollo! Apollo!'''
~ Alfred Austin,
Scarcely a breath about the rocky stair
Moved, but the growing tide from verge to verge,
Heaving salt fragrance on the midnight air,
Climbed with a murmurous and fitful surge.
A hoary mist rose up and slowly sheathed
The dripping walls and portal granite-stepped,
And sank into the inner court, and crept
From column unto column thickly wreathed.
In that dead hour of darkness before dawn,
When hearts beat fainter, and the hands of death
Are strengthened,--with lips white and drawn
And feverish lids and scarcely moving breath,
The hapless mother, tender Chione,
Beside the earth-cold figure of her child,
After long bursts of weeping sharp and wild
Lay broken, silent in her agony.
At first in waking horror racked and bound
She lay, and then a gradual stupor grew
About her soul and wrapped her round and round
Like death, and then she sprang to life anew
Out of a darkness clammy as the tomb;
And, touched by memory or some spirit hand,
She seemed to keep a pathway down a land
Of monstrous shadow and Cimmerian gloom.
A waste of cloudy and perpetual night-And yet there seemed a teeming presence there
Of life that gathered onward in thick flight,
Unseen, but multitudinous. Aware
Of something also on her path she was
That drew her heart forth with a tender cry.
She hurried with drooped ear and eager eye,
And called on the foul shapes to let her pass.
For down the sloping darkness far ahead
She saw a little figure slight and small,
With yearning arms and shadowy curls outspread,
Running at frightened speed; and it would fall
And rise, sobbing; and through the ghostly sleet
The cry came: 'Mother! Mother!' and she wist
The tender eyes were blinded by the mist,
And the rough stones were bruising the small feet.
And when she lifted a keen cry and clave
Forthright the gathering horror of the place,
Mad with her love and pity, a dark wave
Of clapping shadows swept about her face,
And beat her back, and when she gained her breath,
Athwart an awful vale a grizzled steam
Was rising from a mute and murky stream,
As cold and cavernous as the eye of death.
And near the ripple stood the little shade,
And many hovering ghosts drew near him, some
That seemed to peer out of the mist and fade
With eyes of soft and shadowing pity, dumb;
But others closed him round with eager sighs
And sweet insistence, striving to caress
And comfort him; but grieving none the less,
He reached her heartstrings with his tender cries.
And silently across the horrid flow,
The shapeless bark and pallid chalklike arms
Of him that oared it, dumbly to and fro,
Went gliding, and the struggling ghosts in swarms
Leaped in and passed, but myriads more behind
Crowded the dismal beaches. One might hear
A tumult of entreaty thin and clear
Rise like the whistle of a winter wind.
And still the little figure stood beside
The hideous stream, and toward the whispering prow
Held forth his tender tremulous hands, and cried,
Now to the awful ferryman, and now
To her that battled with the shades in vain.
Sometimes impending over all her sight
The spongy dark and the phantasmal flight
Of things half-shapen passed and hid the plain.
And sometimes in a gust a sort of wind
Drove by, and where its power was hurled,
She saw across the twilight, jarred and thinned,
Those gloomy meadows of the under world,
Where never sunlight was, nor grass, nor trees,
And the dim pathways from the Stygian shore,
Sombre and swart and barren, wandered o'er
By countless melancholy companies.
And farther still upon the utmost rim
Of the drear waste, whereto the roadways led,
She saw in piling outline, huge and dim,
The walled and towered dwellings of the dead
And the grim house of Hades. Then she broke
Once more fierce-footed through the noisome press;
But ere she reached the goal of her distress,
Her pierced heart seemed to shatter, and she woke.
It seemed as she had been entombed for years,
And came again to living with a start.
There was an awful echoing in her ears
And a great deadness pressing at her heart.
She shuddered and with terror seemed to freeze,
Lip-shrunken and wide-eyed a moment's space,
And then she touched the little lifeless face,
And kissed it, and rose up upon her knees.
And round her still the silence seemed to teem
With the foul shadows of her dream beguiled-No dream, she thought; it could not be a dream,
But her child called for her; her child, her child!-She clasped her quivering fingers white and spare,
And knelt low down, and bending her fair head
Unto the lower gods who rule the dead,
Touched them with tender homage and this prayer:
O gloomy masters of the dark demesne,
Hades, and thou whom the dread deity
Bore once from earthly Enna for his queen,
Beloved of Demeter, pale Persephone,
Grant me one boon;
'Tis not for life I pray,
Not life, but quiet death; and that soon, soon!
Loose from my soul this heavy weight of clay,
This net of useless woe.
O mournful mother, sad Persephone,
Be mindful, let me go!
How shall he journey to the dismal beach,
Or win the ear of Charon, without one
To keep him and stand by him, sure of speech?
He is so little, and has just begun
To use his feet
And speak a few small words,
And all his daily usage has been sweet
As the soft nesting ways of tender birds.
How shall he fare at all
Across that grim inhospitable land,
If I too be not by to hold his hand,
And help him if he fall?
And then before the gloomy judges set,
How shall he answer? Oh, I cannot bear
To see his tender cheeks with weeping wet,
Or hear the sobbing cry of his despair!
I could not rest,
Nor live with patient mind,
Though knowing what is fated must be best;
But surely thou art more than mortal kind,
And thou canst feel my woe,
All-pitying, all-observant, all-divine;
He is so little, mother Proserpine,
He needs me, let me go!
Thus far she prayed, and then she lost her way,
And left the half of all her heart unsaid,
And a great languor seized her, and she lay,
Soft fallen, by the little silent head.
Her numbed lips had passed beyond control,
Her mind could neither plan nor reason more,
She saw dark waters and an unknown shore,
And the grey shadows crept about her soul.
Again through darkness on an evil land
She seemed to enter but without distress.
A little spirit led her by the hand,
And her wide heart was warm with tenderness.
Her lips, still moving, conscious of one care,
Murmured a moment in soft mother-tones,
And so fell silent. From their sombre thrones
Already the grim gods had heard her prayer.
~ Archibald Lampman,
330:Parliament Of The Ages
OF all who’d thronged the Commons’ galleries
For early April evening’s main debate,
One student visionary sole remained.
Down on the floor the members argued yet,
Though midnight long had passed, and rosy dawn
Came streaming in through eastward glory-panes
To tint the lofty ashlared westward wall
With shining jewel-colored phantasies.
The Dreamer watched the brilliancies of morn
Descending on that opposite westward wall
From panelled ceiling down to pointed arch,
From arch to shadowy alcoves’ ruby panes,
Where luminous beamed the storied English Kings,
The Crown, the ramping Pards, the Unicorn,
With ancient mottoes of the Ancient Realm,
And new-made Arms of modern provinces
Emblazoned on the young Dominion’s shield.
Now in the watcher’s dream the sunrise merged
The Fish, the Maple Leaves, the Buffalo
With Rose and Thistle, Shamrock, Fleur-de-lys,
The Crown, the Kings, the emblem Viking-ships,
With some great banner, glorious, indistinct,
The Flag of mighty, English-speaking kin,
All beaming benison ineffable,
Such promise as no mortal ever saw
On Land or Sea, save o’er the mystic shores
And waters of a halcyon Future dreamed.
The desks, the Speaker’s Chair seemed rapt away,
No stony walls inclosed the Commons’ House,
But in the wonder-light a woodland spread
About one venerable northland Oak
Silent, except for distant-droning bees,
And one tall, blue-eyed, sworded, yellow-haired,
Hard-panting Viking, kirtled gray, who stood
Beneath the trysting-oak, and strove to quell
His gasps, deep-laboring from a lengthy run,
While, listening keen, he heard the bees in drone,
And watched to hail his second to the tryst
Of freemen signalled for a moot of War.
Then, far around, the forest sounded live
With crackling twigs and scores of emulous feet
From every quarter of the glooming shade,
And wonder-shouts, half vexed and half of praise,
Roared at the Champion who to tree of Moot
Had speeded foremost of the valorous band.
Hard-breathing all, they ranged about the Oak
Equal alike, save one they lifted high
On shield, and named him for their Council Earl.
Then there they fell to talk of march and plan,
Of meat and meal and beer and dragon-ships,
And Ways and Means,—contentious, passionate,
Yet one man only speaking up at once,
Heard silently, approved, or laughed to scorn,
Yet hearkened closely, since th’ elected Earl
Full briskly stopt each interrupting voice
By one clear word, quite mystic, quite unknown
Unto the Dreamer in the gallery,
For whom no more the banners of the morn
In wholly visionary colors flared,
Because imperious from the Speaker’s Chair
A voice called “Order” stoutly, in a tone
So like the ancient Viking Earl’s, the two
Seemed blent as one within the Dreamer’s brain.
Scarcely awake, the Student’s roaming thought—
Oblivious to the actual place, the dawn,
The visioned tryst of Father Odin’s men—
Pondered a Deity who shaped His world
In such a wise that they must most prevail
Who choose one Will to rule by Order’s call,
That every Manliness may freely tell
Its thought upon the public thing in hand,
And so the general common sense have sway,
Instead of Policy conceived alone
By any one hereditary Will,
Or, worse, take course tumultuous, scarce resolved
By gabblers chattering unamenable,
In whose Assemblages prehensile tails,
Inscrutable to eyesight, swing the Ape
In futile men through dizzy fooleries.
And still the talkers on the Commons’ floor
Contended voluble; while he who heard
Their drone, forgot once more, and dreamed a scene
More wondrous than the primal Viking moot.
For one came frowning in, with sword in hand
And blazoned armor, and an eye more stern
Than gleamed beneath the brow of England’s king:—
“I call,” he spoke, “The Realms to Parliament!
Present and Past, by mine, the Founder’s right,
Simon de Montfort, I, proclaim the call!”
It clanged as sounding through The Ages’ tombs
So loud that lofty-opening doors of Time
Revealed in earthly garb a Statesman throng
From every Parliament since Montfort breathed,
Majestic, turbulent, guileful, eloquent,
Profound, laborious, witty, whimsical,
Reverend in age, or beardless chinned as boys;
Knight, Admiral, Merchant, Lawyer, Pedagogue,
Yeoman, Adventurer, Soldier, Minister,
Poet, Philosopher, Roundhead, Cavalier,
Mechanic, Theologue, Philanthropist;
Exploring wights whose bones the jackals pawed
On Lybian arid sands, and they whose forms
Lie, white as marble, stiff nigh either Pole;
Spirits whose mortal vestures braved all fates
That daring hearts or martyr hopes conceived.
It seemed not strange to view the Shapes of Eld
In formal-friendly conference of talk
With some who perished as of yesterday,
With some who founded New World congresses,
With some who wielded outland Parliaments
Which strove so English-like for Liberty
That England reeled to win against their few,
With some whose mien and accents now control
The rising younger Nations of The Race;
It seemed not strange, so clear they all alike,
Musing the ordered methods of their rule,
Blessed dear the Mother of all Parliaments,
The Many-mansioned Mother of The Free.
There prudent Cecil leaned to Laurier
While John Macdonald held them both in talk,
His “brother,” Cartier, nodding to the tale;
There Richard Seddon’s burly honest ghost
With Wilberforce and Hampden close conferred;
There Edmund Burke warned Deakin cautiously
Of tempting Innovation’s bright mirage;
There Pitt, the younger, spoke with Cecil Rhodes
And stout Oom Paul, of Empire building themes,
While Grattan unto icy Parnell sighed
Of angry Ireland’s immemorial wrong;
There Chatham, eagle-faced, with Washington
And Franklin nigh, declared,—“I praise again
Your English-minded fight for Liberty—
America’s victory secured it firm
For all the outland broods of England’s swarm.”
There Strafford gloomed to Russell’s lofty gaze,
The Stuart circle round each stately neck;
There honest-meaning, muddle-headed Cade,
Who lingered nigh the portal as of right,
Because he called a shirtless Parliament,
Received a courteous nod of compliment
From mighty Gladstone’s comprehensive love;
There Peel, considerate still, eyed D’Israeli
As if in wonder that the Great Jew’s heart
Should yet be counted one of England’s pride;
There Canning, of the soul-revealing face,
And bull-dog Cobbett, passionately wroth,
And Palmerston and Bright and thousands more
All moved at home within the visioned space
Until, it seemed, a Puritan Statesman stern,
With Puritan Troopers ringed, eyed Harry Vane
With “Take away that bauble.” Then the Mace
Seemed borne afar incredibly, by force,
From that great Chamber of the freeman Race,
Old Englandish, New Englandish, Canadian,
Newfoundlandish, Australian, African,
Who hold, or held, the emblem sacrosanct.
With that great sacrilege the dream dissolved,
And clear again the radiancies high
Shone o’er the Ottawa floor of Parliament,
While, down below, a high-pitched Loyalist
Declared, convinced, with querulous energy,—
“The Empire’s tottering down! It can’t be saved
Unless we get the Preference all around.”
Touched sudden by the Sun’s imperial beams,
A gargoyle grinned upon the western wall
As if it heard the Preferentialist,
While gales of laughter echoed far below.
Whereat the dreamer, wide awake with glee,
Gazed on the golden, crown-surmounted Mace
Pillowed serene before the Speaker’s Chair;
Then marked in high-built panes, the Kings gleam clear
The Lion-shield, the mystic Unicorn,
The scrolls, the mottoes, “For my God and Right,”
And “Evil be to him who evil thinks,”
All seemed the racial Soul transfigured there,
Ages and Ages old, yet scarcely born,
So future-glorious, past all dreaming, looms
The Voluntary Empire of The Blood,
Monarchical, Republican, all’s one,
With Vikings rushing to the beacon’s flare
As long as winds shall blow and waters run.
~ Edward William Thomson,
Hamlin Town's in Brunswick,
By famous Hanover city;
The river Weser, deep and wide,
Washes its wall on the southern side;
A pleasanter spot you never spied;
But, when begins my ditty,
Almost five hundred years ago,
To see the townsfolk suffer so
From vermin, was a pity.


They fought the dogs and killed the cats,
And bit the babies in the cradles,
And ate the cheeses out of the vats,
And licked the soup from the cooks' own ladles,
Split open the kegs of salted sprats,
Made nests inside men's Sunday hats,
And even spoiled the women's chats
  By drowning their speaking
  With shrieking and squeaking
In fifty different sharps and flats.


At last the people in a body
To the Town Hall came flocking:
``'Tis clear,'' cried they, ``our Mayor's a noddy;
``And as for our Corporation-sh ocking.
``To think we buy gowns lined with ermine
``For dolts that can't or won't determine
``What's best to rid us of our vermin!
``You hope, because you're old and obese,
``To find in the furry civic robe ease?
``Rouse up, sirs! Give your brains a racking
``To find the remedy we're lacking,
``Or, sure as fate, we'll send you packing!''
At this the Mayor and Corporation
Quaked with a mighty consternation.


An hour they sat in council,
At length the Mayor broke silence:
``For a guilder I'd my ermine gown sell,
``I wish I were a mile hence!
``It's easy to bid one rack one's brain-
``I'm sure my poor head aches again,
``I've scratched it so, and all in vain.
``Oh for a trap, a trap, a trap!''
Just as he said this, what should hap
At the chamber door but a gentle tap?
``Bless us,'' cried the Mayor, ``what's that?''
(With the Corporation as he sat,
Looking little though wondrous fat;
Nor brighter was his eye, nor moister
Than a too-long-opened oyster,
Save when at noon his paunch grew mutinous
For a plate of turtle green and glutinous)
``Only a scraping of shoes on the mat?
``Anything like the sound of a rat
``Makes my heart go pit-a-pat!''


``Come in!''-the Mayor cried, looking bigger:
And in did come the strangest figure!
His queer long coat from heel to head
Was half of yellow and half of red,
And he himself was tall and thin,
With sharp blue eyes, each like a pin,
And light loose hair, yet swarthy skin,
No tuft on cheek nor beard on chin,
But lips where smiles went out and in;
There was no guessing his kith and kin:
And nobody could enough admire
The tall man and his quaint attire.
Quoth one: ``It's as my great-grandsire,
``Starting up at the Trump of Doom's tone,
``Had walked this way from his painted tombstone!''


He advanced to the council-table
And, ``Please your honours,'' said he, ``I'm able,
``By means of a secret charm, to draw
``All creatures living beneath the sun,
``That creep or swim or fly or run,
``After me so as you never saw!
``And I chiefly use my charm
``On creatures that do people harm,
``The mole and toad and newt and viper;
``And people call me the Pied Piper.''
(And here they noticed round his neck
A scarf of red and yellow stripe,
To match with his coat of the self-same cheque;
And at the scarf's end hung a pipe;
And his fingers, they noticed, were ever straying
As if impatient to be playing
Upon this pipe, as low it dangled
Over his vesture so old-fangled.)
``Yet,'' said he, ``poor piper as I am,
``In Tartary I freed the Cham,
``Last June, from his huge swarms of gnats;
``I eased in Asia the Nizam
``Of a monstrous brood of vampyre-bats:
``And as for what your brain bewilders,
``If I can rid your town of rats
``Will you give me a thousand guilders?''
``One? fifty thousand!''-wa s the exclamation
Of the astonished Mayor and Corporation.


Into the street the Piper stept,
Smiling first a little smile,
As if he knew what magic slept
In his quiet pipe the while;
Then, like a musical adept,
To blow the pipe his lips he wrinkled,
And green and blue his sharp eyes twinkled,
Like a candle-flame where salt is sprinkled;
And ere three shrill notes the pipe uttered,
You heard as if an army muttered;
And the muttering grew to a grumbling;
And the grumbling grew to a mighty rumbling;
And out of the houses the rats came tumbling.
Great rats, small rats, lean rats, brawny rats,
Brown rats, black rats, grey rats, tawny rats,
Grave old plodders, gay young friskers,
Fathers, mothers, uncles, cousins,
Cocking tails and pricking whiskers,
Families by tens and dozens,
Brothers, sisters, husbands, wives-
Followed the Piper for their lives.
From street to street he piped advancing,
And step for step they followed dancing,
Until they came to the river Weser,
Wherein all plunged and perished!
-Save one who, stout as Julius Csar,
Swam across and lived to carry
(As he, the manuscript he cherished)
To Rat-land home his commentary:
Which was, ``At the first shrill notes of the pipe,
``I heard a sound as of scraping tripe,
``And putting apples, wondrous ripe,
``Into a cider-press's gripe:
``And a moving away of pickle-tub-board s,
``And a leaving ajar of conserve-cupboar ds,
``And a drawing the corks of train-oil-flasks ,
``And a breaking the hoops of butter-casks:
``And it seemed as if a voice
``(Sweeter far than b harp or b psaltery
``Is breathed) called out, `Oh rats, rejoice!
`` `The world is grown to one vast drysaltery!
`` `So munch on, crunch on, take your nuncheon,
`` `Breakfast, supper, dinner, luncheon!'
``And just as a bulky sugar-puncheon,
``All ready staved, like a great sun shone
``Glorious scarce an inch before me,
``Just as methought it said, `Come, bore me!'
``-I found the Weser rolling o'er me.''


You should have heard the Hamelin people
ringing the bells till they rocked the steeple.
``Go,'' cried the Mayor, ``and get long poles,
``Poke out the nests and block up the holes!
``Consult with carpenters and builders,
``And leave in our town not even a trace
``Of the rats!''-when suddenly, up the face
Of the Piper perked in the market-place,
With a, ``First, if you please, my thousand guilders!''


A thousand guilders! The Mayor looked blue;
So did the Corporation too.
For council dinners made rare havoc
With Claret, Moselle, Vin-de-Grave, Hock;
And half the money would replenish
Their cellar's biggest butt with Rhenish.
To pay this sum to a wandering fellow
With a gipsy coat of red and yellow!
``Beside,'' quoth the Mayor with a knowing wink,
``Our business was done at the river's brink;
``We saw with our eyes the vermin sink,
``And what's dead can't come to life, I think.
``So, friend, we're not the folks to shrink
``From the duty of giving you something for drink,
``And a matter of money to put in your poke;
``But as for the guilders, what we spoke
``Of them, as you very well know, was in joke.
``Beside, our losses have made us thrifty.
``A thousand guilders! Come, take fifty!''


The Piper's face fell, and he cried
``No trifling! I can't wait, beside!
``I've promised to visit by dinnertime
``Bagdat, and accept the prime
``Of the Head-Cook's pottage, all he's rich in,
``For having left, in the Caliph's kitchen,
``Of a nest of scorpions no survivor:
``With him I proved no bargain-driver,
``With you, don't think I'll bate a stiver!
``And folks who put me in a passion
``May find me pipe after another fashion.''


``How?'' cried the Mayor, ``d'ye think I brook
``Being worse treated than a Cook?
``Insulted by a lazy ribald
``With idle pipe and vesture piebald?
``You threaten us, fellow? Do your worst,
``Blow your pipe there till you burst!''


Once more he stept into the street
And to his lips again
Laid his long pipe of smooth straight cane;
And ere he blew three notes (such sweet
Soft notes as yet musician's cunning
Never gave the enraptured air)
There was a rustling that seemed like a bustling
Of merry crowds justling at pitching and hustling,
Small feet were pattering, wooden shoes clattering,
Little hands clapping and little tongues chattering,
And, like fowls in a farm-yard when barley is scattering,
Out came the children running.
All the little boys and girls,
With rosy cheeks and flaxen curls,
And sparkling eyes and teeth like pearls,
Tripping and skipping, ran merrily after
The wonderful music with shouting and laughter.


The Mayor was dumb, and the Council stood
As if they were changed into blocks of wood,
Unable to move a step, or cry
To the children merrily skipping by,
-Could only follow with the eye
That joyous crowd at the Piper's back.
But how the Mayor was on the rack,
And the wretched Council's bosoms beat,
As the Piper turned from the High Street
To where the Weser rolled its waters
Right in the way of their sons and daughters!
However be turned from South to West,
And to Koppelberg Hill his steps addressed,
And after him the children pressed;
Great was the joy in every breast.
``He never can cross that mighty top!
``He's forced to let the piping drop,
``And we shall see our children stop!''
When, lo, as they reached the mountain-side,
A wondrous portal opened wide,
As if a cavern was suddenly hollowed;
And the Piper advanced and the children followed,
And when all were in to the very last,
The door in the mountain-side shut fast.
Did I say, all? No! One was lame,
And could not dance the whole of the way;
And in after years, if you would blame
His sadness, he was used to say,-
``It's dull in our town since my playmates left!
``I can't forget that I'm bereft
``Of all the pleasant sights they see,
``Which the Piper also promised me.
``For he led us, he said, to a joyous land,
``Joining the town and just at hand,
``Where waters gushed and fruit-trees grew
``And flowers put forth a fairer hue,
``And everything was strange and new;
``The sparrows were brighter than peacocks here,
``And their dogs outran our fallow deer,
``And honey-bees had lost their stings,
``And horses were born with eagles' wings:
``And just as I became assured
``My lame foot would be speedily cured,
``The music stopped and I stood still,
``And found myself outside the hill,
``Left alone against my will,
``To go now limping as before,
``And never hear of that country more!''


Alas, alas for Hamelin!
There came into many a burgher's pate
A text which says that heaven's gate
Opes to the rich at as easy rate
As the needle's eye takes a camel in!
The mayor sent East, West, North and South,
To offer the Piper, by word of mouth,
Wherever it was men's lot to find him,
Silver and gold to his heart's content,
If he'd only return the way he went,
And bring the children behind him.
But when they saw 'twas a lost endeavour,
And Piper and dancers were gone for ever,
They made a decree that lawyers never
Should think their records dated duly
If, after the day of the month and year,
These words did not as well appear,
``And so long after what happened here
``On the Twenty-second of July,
``Thirteen hundred and seventy-six:''
And the better in memory to fix
The place of the children's last retreat,
They called it, the Pied Piper's Street-
Where any one playing on pipe or tabor
Was sure for the future to lose his labour.
Nor suffered they hostelry or tavern
To shock with mirth a street so solemn;
But opposite the place of the cavern
They wrote the story on a column,
And on the great church-window painted
The same, to make the world acquainted
How their children were stolen away,
And there it stands to this very day.
And I must not omit to say
That in Transylvania there's a tribe
Of alien people who ascribe
The outlandish ways and dress
On which their neighbours lay such stress,
To their fathers and mothers having risen
Out of some subterraneous prison
Into which they were trepanned
Long time ago in a mighty band
Out of Hamelin town in Brunswick land,
But how or why, they don't understand.


So, Willy, let me and you be wipers
Of scores out with all men-especially pipers!
And, whether they pipe us free frm rats or frm mice,
If we've promised them aught, let us keep our promise!

( Written for, and inscribed to, W. M. the Younger. )

~ Robert Browning, The Pied Piper Of Hamelin
ABOVE the city hung the moon,
Right o'er a plot of ground
Where flowers and orchard-trees were fenced
With lofty walls around:
'Twas Gilbert's garden­there, to-night
Awhile he walked alone;
And, tired with sedentary toil,
Mused where the moonlight shone.
This garden, in a city-heart,
Lay still as houseless wild,
Though many-windowed mansion fronts
Were round it closely piled;
But thick their walls, and those within
Lived lives by noise unstirred;
Like wafting of an angel's wing,
Time's flight by them was heard.
Some soft piano-notes alone
Were sweet as faintly given,
Where ladies, doubtless, cheered the hearth
With song, that winter-even.
The city's many-mingled sounds
Rose like the hum of ocean;
They rather lulled the heart than roused
Its pulse to faster motion.
Gilbert has paced the single walk
An hour, yet is not weary;
And, though it be a winter night,
He feels nor cold nor dreary.
The prime of life is in his veins,
And sends his blood fast flowing,
And Fancy's fervour warms the thoughts
Now in his bosom glowing.
Those thoughts recur to early love,
Or what he love would name,
Though haply Gilbert's secret deeds
Might other title claim.
Such theme not oft his mind absorbs,
He to the world clings fast,
And too much for the present lives,
To linger o'er the past.
But now the evening's deep repose
Has glided to his soul;
That moonlight falls on Memory,
And shows her fading scroll.
One name appears in every line
The gentle rays shine o'er,
And still he smiles and still repeats
That one name­Elinor.
There is no sorrow in his smile,
No kindness in his tone;
The triumph of a selfish heart
Speaks coldly there alone;
He says: ' She loved me more than life;
And truly it was sweet
To see so fair a woman kneel,
In bondage, at my feet.
There was a sort of quiet bliss
To be so deeply loved,
To gaze on trembling eagerness
And sit myself unmoved.
And when it pleased my pride to grant,
At last some rare caress,
To feel the fever of that hand
My fingers deigned to press.
'Twas sweet to see her strive to hide
What every glance revealed;
Endowed, the while, with despot-might
Her destiny to wield.
I knew myself no perfect man,
Nor, as she deemed, divine;
I knew that I was glorious­but
By her reflected shine;
Her youth, her native energy,
Her powers new-born and fresh,
'Twas these with Godhead sanctified
My sensual frame of flesh.
Yet, like a god did I descend
At last, to meet her love;
And, like a god, I then withdrew
To my own heaven above.
And never more could she invoke
My presence to her sphere;
No prayer, no plaint, no cry of hers
Could win my awful ear.
I knew her blinded constancy
Would ne'er my deeds betray,
And, calm in conscience, whole in heart,
I went my tranquil way.
Yet, sometimes, I still feel a wish,
The fond and flattering pain
Of passion's anguish to create,
In her young breast again.
Bright was the lustre of her eyes,
When they caught fire from mine;
If I had power­this very hour,
Again I 'd light their shine.
But where she is, or how she lives,
I have no clue to know;
I 've heard she long my absence pined,
And left her home in woe.
But busied, then, in gathering gold,
As I am busied now,
I could not turn from such pursuit,
To weep a broken vow.
Nor could I give to fatal risk
The fame I ever prized;
Even now, I fear, that precious fame
Is too much compromised.'
An inward trouble dims his eye,
Some riddle he would solve;
Some method to unloose a knot,
His anxious thoughts revolve.
He, pensive, leans against a tree,
A leafy evergreen,
The boughs, the moonlight, intercept,
And hide him like a screen;
He starts­the tree shakes with his tremor,
Yet nothing near him pass'd,
He hurries up the garden alley,
In strangely sudden haste.
With shaking hand, he lifts the latchet,
Steps o'er the threshold stone;
The heavy door slips from his fingers,
It shuts, and he is gone.
What touched, transfixed, appalled, his soul ?
A nervous thought, no more;
'Twill sink like stone in placid pool,
And calm close smoothly o'er.
WARM is the parlour atmosphere,
Serene the lamp's soft light;
The vivid embers, red and clear,
Proclaim a frosty night.
Books, varied, on the table lie,
Three children o'er them bend,
And all, with curious, eager eye,
The turning leaf attend.
Picture and tale alternately
Their simple hearts delight,
And interest deep, and tempered glee,
Illume their aspects bright;
The parents, from their fireside place,
Behold that pleasant scene,
And joy is on the mother's face,
Pride, in the father's mien.
As Gilbert sees his blooming wife,
Beholds his children fair,
No thought has he of transient strife,
Or past, though piercing fear.
The voice of happy infancy
Lisps sweetly in his ear,
His wife, with pleased and peaceful eye,
Sits, kindly smiling, near.
The fire glows on her silken dress,
And shows its ample grace,
And warmly tints each hazel tress,
Curled soft around her face.
The beauty that in youth he wooed,
Is beauty still, unfaded,
The brow of ever placid mood
No churlish grief has shaded.
Prosperity, in Gilbert's home,
Abides, the guest of years;
There Want or Discord never come,
And seldom Toil or Tears.
The carpets bear the peaceful print
Of comfort's velvet tread,
And golden gleams from plenty sent,
In every nook are shed.
The very silken spaniel seems
Of quiet ease to tell,
As near its mistress' feet it dreams,
Sunk in a cushion's swell;
And smiles seem native to the eyes
Of those sweet children, three;
They have but looked on tranquil skies,
And know not misery.
Alas ! that misery should come
In such an hour as this;
Why could she not so calm a home
A little longer miss ?
But she is now within the door,
Her steps advancing glide;
Her sullen shade has crossed the floor,
She stands at Gilbert's side.
She lays her hand upon his heart,
It bounds with agony;
His fireside chair shakes with the start
That shook the garden tree.
His wife towards the children looks,
She does not mark his mien;
The children, bending o'er their books,
His terror have not seen.
In his own home, by his own hearth,
He sits in solitude,
And circled round with light and mirth,
Cold horror chills his blood.
His mind would hold with desperate clutch
The scene that round him lies;
No­changed, as by some wizard's touch,
The present prospect flies.
A tumult vague­a viewless strife
His futile struggles crush;
'Twixt him and his, an unknown life
And unknown feelings rush.
He sees­but scarce can language paint
The tissue Fancy weaves;
For words oft give but echo faint
Of thoughts the mind conceives.
Noise, tumult strange, and darkness dim,
Efface both light and quiet;
No shape is in those shadows grim,
No voice in that wild riot.
Sustained and strong, a wondrous blast
Above and round him blows;
A greenish gloom, dense overcast,
Each moment denser grows.
He nothing knows­nor clearly sees,
Resistance checks his breath,
The high, impetuous, ceaseless breeze
Blows on him. cold as death.
And still the undulating gloom
Mocks sight with formless motion;
Was such sensation Jonah's doom,
Gulphed in the depths of ocean ?
Streaking the air, the nameless vision,
Fast-driven, deep-sounding, flows;
Oh ! whence its source, and what its mission ?
How will its terrors close ?
Long-sweeping, rushing, vast and void,
The Universe it swallows;
And still the dark, devouring tide,
A Typhoon tempest follows.
More slow it rolls; its furious race
Sinks to a solemn gliding;
The stunning roar, the wind's wild chase,
To stillness are subsiding.
And, slowly borne along, a form
The shapeless chaos varies;
Poised in the eddy to the storm,
Before the eye it tarries.
A woman drowned­sunk in the deep,
On a long wave reclining;
The circling waters' crystal sweep,
Like glass, her shape enshrining;
Her pale dead face, to Gilbert turned,
Seems as in sleep reposing;
A feeble light, now first discerned,
The features well disclosing.
No effort from the haunted air
The ghastly scene could banish;
That hovering wave, arrested there,
Rolled­throbbed­but did not vanish.
If Gilbert upward turned his gaze,
He saw the ocean-shadow;
If he looked down, the endless seas
Lay green as summer meadow.
And straight before, the pale corpse lay,
Upborne by air or billow,
So near, he could have touched the spray
That churned around its pillow.
The hollow anguish of the face
Had moved a fiend to sorrow;
Not Death's fixed calm could rase the trace
Of suffering's deep-worn furrow.
All moved; a strong returning blast,
The mass of waters raising,
Bore wave and passive carcase past,
While Gilbert yet was gazing.
Deep in her isle-conceiving womb,
It seemed the Ocean thundered,
And soon, by realms of rushing gloom,
Were seer and phantom sundered.
Then swept some timbers from a wreck,
On following surges riding;
Then sea-weed, in the turbid rack
Uptorn, went slowly gliding.
The horrid shade, by slow degrees,
A beam of light defeated,
And then the roar of raving seas,
Fast, far, and faint, retreated.
And all was gone­gone like a mist,
Corse, billows, tempest, wreck;
Three children close to Gilbert prest
And clung around his neck.
Good night ! good night ! the prattlers said
And kissed their father's cheek;
'Twas now the hour their quiet bed
And placid rest to seek.
The mother with her offspring goes
To hear their evening prayer;
She nought of Gilbert's vision knows,
And nought of his despair.
Yet, pitying God, abridge the time
Of anguish, now his fate !
Though, haply, great has been his crime,
Thy mercy, too, is great.
Gilbert, at length, uplifts his head,
Bent for some moments low,
And there is neither grief nor dread
Upon his subtle brow.
For well can he his feelings task,
And well his looks command;
His features well his heart can mask,
With smiles and smoothness bland.
Gilbert has reasoned with his mind­
He says 'twas all a dream;
He strives his inward sight to blind
Against truth's inward beam.
He pitied not that shadowy thing,
When it was flesh and blood;
Nor now can pity's balmy spring
Refresh his arid mood.
' And if that dream has spoken truth,'
Thus musingly he says;
' If Elinor be dead, in sooth,
Such chance the shock repays:
A net was woven round my feet,
I scarce could further go,
Are Shame had forced a fast retreat,
Dishonour brought me low. '
' Conceal her, then, deep, silent Sea,
Give her a secret grave !
She sleeps in peace, and I am free,
No longer Terror's slave:
And homage still, from all the world,
Shall greet my spotless name,
Since surges break and waves are curled
Above its threatened shame.'
ABOVE the city hangs the moon,
Some clouds are boding rain,
Gilbert, erewhile on journey gone,
To-night comes home again.
Ten years have passed above his head,
Each year has brought him gain;
His prosperous life has smoothly sped,
Without or tear or stain.
'Tis somewhat late­the city clocks
Twelve deep vibrations toll,
As Gilbert at the portal knocks,
Which is his journey's goal.
The street is still and desolate,
The moon hid by a cloud;
Gilbert, impatient, will not wait,­
His second knock peals loud.
The clocks are hushed; there's not a light
In any window nigh,
And not a single planet bright
Looks from the clouded sky;
The air is raw, the rain descends,
A bitter north-wind blows;
His cloak the traveller scarce defends­
Will not the door unclose ?
He knocks the third time, and the last;
His summons now they hear,
Within, a footstep, hurrying fast,
Is heard approaching near.
The bolt is drawn, the clanking chain
Falls to the floor of stone;
And Gilbert to his heart will strain
His wife and children soon.
The hand that lifts the latchet, holds
A candle to his sight,
And Gilbert, on the step, beholds
A woman, clad in white.
Lo ! water from her dripping dress
Runs on the streaming floor;
From every dark and clinging tress,
The drops incessant pour.
There's none but her to welcome him;
She holds the candle high,
And, motionless in form and limb,
Stands cold and silent nigh;
There's sand and sea-weed on her robe,
Her hollow eyes are blind;
No pulse in such a frame can throb,
No life is there defined.
Gilbert turned ashy-white, but still
His lips vouchsafed no cry;
He spurred his strength and master-will
To pass the figure by,­
But, moving slow, it faced him straight,
It would not flinch nor quail:
Then first did Gilbert's strength abate,
His stony firmness quail.
He sank upon his knees and prayed;
The shape stood rigid there;
He called aloud for human aid,
No human aid was near.
An accent strange did thus repeat
Heaven's stern but just decree:
' The measure thou to her didst mete,
To thee shall measured be !'
Gilbert sprang from his bended knees,
By the pale spectre pushed,
And, wild as one whom demons seize,
Up the hall-staircase rushed;
Entered his chamber­near the bed
Sheathed steel and fire-arms hung­
Impelled by maniac purpose dread,
He chose those stores among.
Across his throat, a keen-edged knife
With vigorous hand he drew;
The wound was wide­his outraged life
Rushed rash and redly through.
And thus died, by a shameful death,
A wise and worldly man,
Who never drew but selfish breath
Since first his life began.
~ Charlotte Brontë,


There was a youth, who, as with toil and travel,
Had grown quite weak and gray before his time;
Nor any could the restless griefs unravel

Which burned within him, withering up his prime
And goading him, like fiends, from land to land.
Not his the load of any secret crime,

For nought of ill his heart could understand,
But pity and wild sorrow for the same;
Not his the thirst for glory or command,

Baffled with blast of hope-consuming shame;
Nor evil joys which fire the vulgar breast,
And quench in speedy smoke its feeble flame,

Had left within his soul their dark unrest:
Nor what religion fables of the grave
Feared he,Philosophy's accepted guest.

For none than he a purer heart could have,
Or that loved good more for itself alone;
Of nought in heaven or earth was he the slave.

What sorrow, strange, and shadowy, and unknown,
Sent him, a hopeless wanderer, through mankind?
If with a human sadness he did groan,

He had a gentle yet aspiring mind;
Just, innocent, with varied learning fed;
And such a glorious consolation find

In others' joy, when all their own is dead:
He loved, and laboured for his kind in grief,
And yet, unlike all others, it is said

That from such toil he never found relief.
Although a child of fortune and of power,
Of an ancestral name the orphan chief,

His soul had wedded Wisdom, and her dower
Is love and justice, clothed in which he sate
Apart from men, as in a lonely tower,

Pitying the tumult of their dark estate.
Yet even in youth did he not e'er abuse
The strength of wealth or thought, to consecrate

Those false opinions which the harsh rich use
To blind the world they famish for their pride;
Nor did he hold from any man his dues,

But, like a steward in honest dealings tried,
With those who toiled and wept, the poor and wise,
His riches and his cares he did divide.

Fearless he was, and scorning all disguise,
What he dared do or think, though men might start,
He spoke with mild yet unaverted eyes;

Liberal he was of soul, and frank of heart,
And to his many friendsall loved him well
Whate'er he knew or felt he would impart,

If words he found those inmost thoughts to tell;
If not, he smiled or wept; and his weak foes
He neither spurned nor hatedthough with fell

And mortal hate their thousand voices rose,
They passed like aimless arrows from his ear
Nor did his heart or mind its portal close

To those, or them, or any, whom life's sphere
May comprehend within its wide array.
What sadness made that vernal spirit sere?

He knew not. Though his life, day after day,
Was failing like an unreplenished stream,
Though in his eyes a cloud and burthen lay,

Through which his soul, like Vesper's serene beam
Piercing the chasms of ever rising clouds,
Shone, softly burning; though his lips did seem

Like reeds which quiver in impetuous floods;
And through his sleep, and o'er each waking hour,
Thoughts after thoughts, unresting multitudes,

Were driven within him by some secret power,
Which bade them blaze, and live, and roll afar,
Like lights and sounds, from haunted tower to tower

O'er castled mountains borne, when tempest's war
Is levied by the night-contending winds,
And the pale dalesmen watch with eager ear;

Though such were in his spirit, as the fiends
Which wake and feed an everliving woe,
What was this grief, which ne'er in other minds

A mirror found,he knew notnone could know;
But on whoe'er might question him he turned
The light of his frank eyes, as if to show

He knew not of the grief within that burned,
But asked forbearance with a mournful look;
Or spoke in words from which none ever learned

The cause of his disquietude; or shook
With spasms of silent passion; or turned pale:
So that his friends soon rarely undertook

To stir his secret pain without avail;
For all who knew and loved him then perceived
That there was drawn an adamantine veil

Between his heart and mind,both unrelieved
Wrought in his brain and bosom separate strife.
Some said that he was mad, others believed

That memories of an antenatal life
Made this, where now he dwelt, a penal hell;
And others said that such mysterious grief

From God's displeasure, like a darkness, fell
On souls like his, which owned no higher law
Than love; love calm, steadfast, invincible

By mortal fear or supernatural awe;
And others,''Tis the shadow of a dream
Which the veiled eye of Memory never saw,

'But through the soul's abyss, like some dark stream
Through shattered mines and caverns underground,
Rolls, shaking its foundations; and no beam

'Of joy may rise, but it is quenched and drowned
In the dim whirlpools of this dream obscure;
Soon its exhausted waters will have found

'A lair of rest beneath thy spirit pure,
O Athanase!in one so good and great,
Evil or tumult cannot long endure.'

So spake they: idly of another's state
Babbling vain words and fond philosophy;
This was their consolation; such debate

Men held with one another; nor did he,
Like one who labours with a human woe,
Decline this talk: as if its theme might be

Another, not himself, he to and fro
Questioned and canvassed it with subtlest wit;
And none but those who loved him best could know

That which he knew not, how it galled and bit
His weary mind, this converse vain and cold;
For like an eyeless nightmare grief did sit

Upon his being; a snake which fold by fold
Pressed out the life of life, a clinging fiend
Which clenched him if he stirred with deadlier hold;
And so his grief remainedlet it remainuntold.



Prince Athanase had one belovd friend,
An old, old man, with hair of silver white,
And lips where heavenly smiles would hang and blend

With his wise words; and eyes whose arrowy light
Shone like the reflex of a thousand minds.
He was the last whom superstition's blight

Had spared in Greecethe blight that cramps and blinds,
And in his olive bower at OEnoe
Had sate from earliest youth. Like one who finds

A fertile island in the barren sea,
One mariner who has survived his mates
Many a drear month in a great shipso he

With soul-sustaining songs, and sweet debates
Of ancient lore, there fed his lonely being:
'The mind becomes that which it contemplates,'

And thus Zonoras, by forever seeing
Their bright creations, grew like wisest men;
And when he heard the crash of nations fleeing

A bloodier power than ruled thy ruins then,
O sacred Hellas! many weary years
He wandered, till the path of Laian's glen

Was grass-grownand the unremembered tears
Were dry in Laian for their honoured chief,
Who fell in Byzant, pierced by Moslem spears:

And as the lady looked with faithful grief
From her high lattice o'er the rugged path,
Where she once saw that horseman toil, with brief

And blighting hope, who with the news of death
Struck body and soul as with a mortal blight,
She saw between the chestnuts, far beneath,

An old man toiling up, a weary wight;
And soon within her hospitable hall
She saw his white hairs glittering in the light

Of the wood fire, and round his shoulders fall;
And his wan visage and his withered mien,
Yet calm and gentle and majestical.

And Athanase, her child, who must have been
Then three years old, sate opposite and gazed
In patient silence.


Such was Zonoras; and as daylight finds
One amaranth glittering on the path of frost,
When autumn nights have nipped all weaker kinds,

Thus through his age, dark, cold, and tempest-tossed,
Shone truth upon Zonoras; and he filled
From fountains pure, nigh overgrown and lost,

The spirit of Prince Athanase, a child,
With soul-sustaining songs of ancient lore
And philosophic wisdom, clear and mild.

And sweet and subtle talk they evermore,
The pupil and the master, shared; until,
Sharing that undiminishable store,

The youth, as shadows on a grassy hill
Outrun the winds that chase them, soon outran
His teacher, and did teach with native skill

Strange truths and new to that experienced man;
Still they were friends, as few have ever been
Who mark the extremes of life's discordant span.

So in the caverns of the forest green,
Or on the rocks of echoing ocean hoar,
Zonoras and Prince Athanase were seen

By summer woodmen; and when winter's roar
Sounded o'er earth and sea its blast of war,
The Balearic fisher, driven from shore,

Hanging upon the peakd wave afar,
Then saw their lamp from Laian's turret gleam,
Piercing the stormy darkness, like a star

Which pours beyond the sea one steadfast beam,
Whilst all the constellations of the sky
Seemed reeling through the storm . . . They did but seem

For, lo! the wintry clouds are all gone by,
And bright Arcturus through yon pines is glowing,
And far o'er southern waves, immovably

Belted Orion hangswarm light is flowing
From the young moon into the sunset's chasm.
'O, summer eve! with power divine, bestowing

'On thine own bird the sweet enthusiasm
Which overflows in notes of liquid gladness,
Filling the sky like light! How many a spasm

'Of fevered brains, oppressed with grief and madness,
Were lulled by thee, delightful nightingale,
And these soft waves, murmuring a gentle sadness,

'And the far sighings of yon piny dale
Made vocal by some wind we feel not here.
I bear alone what nothing may avail

'To lightena strange load!'No human ear
Heard this lament; but o'er the visage wan
Of Athanase, a ruffling atmosphere

Of dark emotion, a swift shadow, ran,
Like wind upon some forest-bosomed lake,
Glassy and dark.And that divine old man

Beheld his mystic friend's whole being shake,
Even where its inmost depths were gloomiest
And with a calm and measured voice he spake,

And, with a soft and equal pressure, pressed
That cold lean hand:'Dost thou remember yet
When the curved moon then lingering in the west

'Paused, in yon waves her mighty horns to wet,
How in those beams we walked, half resting on the sea?
'Tis just one yearsure thou dost not forget

'Then Plato's words of light in thee and me
Lingered like moonlight in the moonless east,
For we had just then readthy memory

'Is faithful nowthe story of the feast;
And Agathon and Diotima seemed
From death and dark forgetfulness released '
. . .


And when the old man saw that on the green
Leaves of his opening . . . a blight had lighted
He said: 'My friend, one grief alone can wean

A gentle mind from all that once delighted:
Thou lovest, and thy secret heart is laden
With feelings which should not be unrequited.'

And Athanase . . . then smiled, as one o'erladen
With iron chains might smile to talk(?) of bands
Twined round her lover's neck by some blithe maiden,
And said . . .


'Twas at the season when the Earth upsprings
From slumber, as a spherd angel's child,
Shadowing its eyes with green and golden wings,

Stands up before its mother bright and mild,
Of whose soft voice the air expectant seems
So stood before the sun, which shone and smiled

To see it rise thus joyous from its dreams,
The fresh and radiant Earth. The hoary grove
Waxed greenand flowers burst forth like starry beams;

The grass in the warm sun did start and move,
And sea-buds burst under the waves serene:
How many a one, though none be near to love,

Loves then the shade of his own soul, half seen
In any mirroror the spring's young minions,
The wingd leaves amid the copses green;

How many a spirit then puts on the pinions
Of fancy, and outstrips the lagging blast,
And his own stepsand over wide dominions

Sweeps in his dream-drawn chariot, far and fast,
More fleet than stormsthe wide world shrinks below,
When winter and despondency are past.


'Twas at this season that Prince Athanase
Passed the white Alpsthose eagle-baffling mountains
Slept in their shrouds of snow;beside the ways

The waterfalls were voicelessfor their fountains
Were changed to mines of sunless crystal now,
Or by the curdling windslike brazen wings

Which clanged along the mountain's marble brow
Warped into adamantine fretwork, hung
And filled with frozen light the chasms below.

Vexed by the blast, the great pines groaned and swung
Under their load of [snow]. . .
. . .
. . .

Such as the eagle sees, when he dives down
From the gray deserts of wide air, [beheld]
[Prince] Athanase; and o'er his mien(?) was thrown

The shadow of that scene, field after field,
Purple and dim and wide . . .


Thou art the wine whose drunkenness is all
We can desire, O Love! and happy souls,
Ere from thy vine the leaves of autumn fall,

Catch thee, and feed from their o'erflowing bowls
Thousands who thirst for thine ambrosial dew;
Thou art the radiance which where ocean rolls

Investeth it; and when the heavens are blue
Thou fillest them; and when the earth is fair
The shadow of thy moving wings imbue

Its deserts and its mountains, till they wear
Beauty like some light robe;thou ever soarest
Among the towers of men, and as soft air

In spring, which moves the unawakened forest,
Clothing with leaves its branches bare and bleak,
Thou floatest among men; and aye implorest

That which from thee they should implore:the weak
Alone kneel to thee, offering up the hearts
The strong have brokenyet where shall any seek

A garment whom thou clothest not? the darts
Of the keen winter storm, barbd with frost,
Which, from the everlasting snow that parts

The Alps from Heaven, pierce some traveller lost
In the wide waved interminable snow
Ungarmented, . . .


Yes, often when the eyes are cold and dry,
And the lips calm, the Spirit weeps within
Tears bitterer than the blood of agony

Trembling in drops on the discoloured skin
Of those who love their kind and therefore perish
In ghastly torturea sweet medicine

Of peace and sleep are tears, and quietly
Them soothe from whose uplifted eyes they fall
But . . .


Her hair was brown, her spherd eyes were brown,
And in their dark and liquid moisture swam,
Like the dim orb of the eclipsd moon;

Yet when the spirit flashed beneath, there came
The light from them, as when tears of delight
Double the western planet's serene flame.
Written at Marlow in 1817, towards the close of the year; first published in Posthumous Poems, 1824. Part I is dated by Mrs. Shelley, 'December, 1817,' the remainder, 'Marlow, 1817.' The verses were probably rehandled in Italy during the following year.
~ Percy Bysshe Shelley, Prince Athanase
334:Love in a hut, with water and a crust,
IsLove, forgive us!cinders, ashes, dust;
Love in a palace is perhaps at last
More grievous torment than a hermits fast:
That is a doubtful tale from faery land,
Hard for the non-elect to understand.
Had Lycius livd to hand his story down,
He might have given the moral a fresh frown,
Or clenchd it quite: but too short was their bliss
To breed distrust and hate, that make the soft voice hiss.
Besides, there, nightly, with terrific glare,
Love, jealous grown of so complete a pair,
Hoverd and buzzd his wings, with fearful roar,
Above the lintel of their chamber door,
And down the passage cast a glow upon the floor.

For all this came a ruin: side by side
They were enthroned, in the even tide,
Upon a couch, near to a curtaining
Whose airy texture, from a golden string,
Floated into the room, and let appear
Unveild the summer heaven, blue and clear,
Betwixt two marble shafts:there they reposed,
Where use had made it sweet, with eyelids closed,
Saving a tythe which love still open kept,
That they might see each other while they almost slept;
When from the slope side of a suburb hill,
Deafening the swallows twitter, came a thrill
Of trumpetsLycius startedthe sounds fled,
But left a thought, a buzzing in his head.
For the first time, since first he harbourd in
That purple-lined palace of sweet sin,
His spirit passd beyond its golden bourn
Into the noisy world almost forsworn.
The lady, ever watchful, penetrant,
Saw this with pain, so arguing a want
Of something more, more than her empery
Of joys; and she began to moan and sigh
Because he mused beyond her, knowing well
That but a moments thought is passions passing bell.
Why do you sigh, fair creature? whisperd he:
Why do you think? returnd she tenderly:
You have deserted me;where am I now?
Not in your heart while care weighs on your brow:
No, no, you have dismissd me; and I go
From your breast houseless: ay, it must be so.
He answerd, bending to her open eyes,
Where he was mirrord small in paradise,
My silver planet, both of eve and morn!
Why will you plead yourself so sad forlorn,
While I am striving how to fill my heart
With deeper crimson, and a double smart?
How to entangle, trammel up and snare
Your soul in mine, and labyrinth you there
Like the hid scent in an unbudded rose?
Ay, a sweet kissyou see your mighty woes.
My thoughts! shall I unveil them? Listen then!
What mortal hath a prize, that other men
May be confounded and abashd withal,
But lets it sometimes pace abroad majestical,
And triumph, as in thee I should rejoice
Amid the hoarse alarm of Corinths voice.
Let my foes choke, and my friends shout afar,
While through the thronged streets your bridal car
Wheels round its dazzling spokes.The ladys cheek
Trembled; she nothing said, but, pale and meek,
Arose and knelt before him, wept a rain
Of sorrows at his words; at last with pain
Beseeching him, the while his hand she wrung,
To change his purpose. He thereat was stung,
Perverse, with stronger fancy to reclaim
Her wild and timid nature to his aim:
Besides, for all his love, in self despite,
Against his better self, he took delight
Luxurious in her sorrows, soft and new.
His passion, cruel grown, took on a hue
Fierce and sanguineous as twas possible
In one whose brow had no dark veins to swell.
Fine was the mitigated fury, like
Apollos presence when in act to strike
The serpentHa, the serpent! certes, she
Was none. She burnt, she lovd the tyranny,
And, all subdued, consented to the hour
When to the bridal he should lead his paramour.
Whispering in midnight silence, said the youth,
Sure some sweet name thou hast, though, by my truth,
I have not askd it, ever thinking thee
Not mortal, but of heavenly progeny,
As still I do. Hast any mortal name,
Fit appellation for this dazzling frame?
Or friends or kinsfolk on the citied earth,
To share our marriage feast and nuptial mirth?
I have no friends, said Lamia, no, not one;
My presence in wide Corinth hardly known:
My parents bones are in their dusty urns
Sepulchred, where no kindled incense burns,
Seeing all their luckless race are dead, save me,
And I neglect the holy rite for thee.
Even as you list invite your many guests;
But if, as now it seems, your vision rests
With any pleasure on me, do not bid
Old Apolloniusfrom him keep me hid.
Lycius, perplexd at words so blind and blank,
Made close inquiry; from whose touch she shrank,
Feigning a sleep; and he to the dull shade
Of deep sleep in a moment was betrayd.

It was the custom then to bring away
The bride from home at blushing shut of day,
Veild, in a chariot, heralded along
By strewn flowers, torches, and a marriage song,
With other pageants: but this fair unknown
Had not a friend. So being left alone,
(Lycius was gone to summon all his kin)
And knowing surely she could never win
His foolish heart from its mad pompousness,
She set herself, high-thoughted, how to dress
The misery in fit magnificence.
She did so, but tis doubtful how and whence
Came, and who were her subtle servitors.
About the halls, and to and from the doors,
There was a noise of wings, till in short space
The glowing banquet-room shone with wide-arched grace.
A haunting music, sole perhaps and lone
Supportress of the faery-roof, made moan
Throughout, as fearful the whole charm might fade.
Fresh carved cedar, mimicking a glade
Of palm and plantain, met from either side,
High in the midst, in honour of the bride:
Two palms and then two plantains, and so on,
From either side their stems branchd one to one
All down the aisled place; and beneath all
There ran a stream of lamps straight on from wall to wall.
So canopied, lay an untasted feast
Teeming with odours. Lamia, regal drest,
Silently paced about, and as she went,
In pale contented sort of discontent,
Missiond her viewless servants to enrich
The fretted splendour of each nook and niche.
Between the tree-stems, marbled plain at first,
Came jasper pannels; then, anon, there burst
Forth creeping imagery of slighter trees,
And with the larger wove in small intricacies.
Approving all, she faded at self-will,
And shut the chamber up, close, hushd and still,
Complete and ready for the revels rude,
When dreadful guests would come to spoil her solitude.

The day appeard, and all the gossip rout.
O senseless Lycius! Madman! wherefore flout
The silent-blessing fate, warm cloisterd hours,
And show to common eyes these secret bowers?
The herd approachd; each guest, with busy brain,
Arriving at the portal, gazd amain,
And enterd marveling: for they knew the street,
Rememberd it from childhood all complete
Without a gap, yet neer before had seen
That royal porch, that high-built fair demesne;
So in they hurried all, mazd, curious and keen:
Save one, who lookd thereon with eye severe,
And with calm-planted steps walkd in austere;
Twas Apollonius: something too he laughd,
As though some knotty problem, that had daft
His patient thought, had now begun to thaw,
And solve and melt:twas just as he foresaw.

He met within the murmurous vestibule
His young disciple. Tis no common rule,
Lycius, said he, for uninvited guest
To force himself upon you, and infest
With an unbidden presence the bright throng
Of younger friends; yet must I do this wrong,
And you forgive me. Lycius blushd, and led
The old man through the inner doors broad-spread;
With reconciling words and courteous mien
Turning into sweet milk the sophists spleen.

Of wealthy lustre was the banquet-room,
Filld with pervading brilliance and perfume:
Before each lucid pannel fuming stood
A censer fed with myrrh and spiced wood,
Each by a sacred tripod held aloft,
Whose slender feet wide-swervd upon the soft
Wool-woofed carpets: fifty wreaths of smoke
From fifty censers their light voyage took
To the high roof, still mimickd as they rose
Along the mirrord walls by twin-clouds odorous.
Twelve sphered tables, by silk seats insphered,
High as the level of a mans breast reard
On libbards paws, upheld the heavy gold
Of cups and goblets, and the store thrice told
Of Ceres horn, and, in huge vessels, wine
Came from the gloomy tun with merry shine.
Thus loaded with a feast the tables stood,
Each shrining in the midst the image of a God.

When in an antichamber every guest
Had felt the cold full sponge to pleasure pressd,
By ministring slaves, upon his hands and feet,
And fragrant oils with ceremony meet
Pourd on his hair, they all movd to the feast
In white robes, and themselves in order placed
Around the silken couches, wondering
Whence all this mighty cost and blaze of wealth could spring.

Soft went the music the soft air along,
While fluent Greek a voweld undersong
Kept up among the guests discoursing low
At first, for scarcely was the wine at flow;
But when the happy vintage touchd their brains,
Louder they talk, and louder come the strains
Of powerful instruments:the gorgeous dyes,
The space, the splendour of the draperies,
The roof of awful richness, nectarous cheer,
Beautiful slaves, and Lamias self, appear,
Now, when the wine has done its rosy deed,
And every soul from human trammels freed,
No more so strange; for merry wine, sweet wine,
Will make Elysian shades not too fair, too divine.
Soon was God Bacchus at meridian height;
Flushd were their cheeks, and bright eyes double bright:
Garlands of every green, and every scent
From vales deflowerd, or forest-trees branch rent,
In baskets of bright osierd gold were brought
High as the handles heapd, to suit the thought
Of every guest; that each, as he did please,
Might fancy-fit his brows, silk-pillowd at his ease.

What wreath for Lamia? What for Lycius?
What for the sage, old Apollonius?
Upon her aching forehead be there hung
The leaves of willow and of adders tongue;
And for the youth, quick, let us strip for him
The thyrsus, that his watching eyes may swim
Into forgetfulness; and, for the sage,
Let spear-grass and the spiteful thistle wage
War on his temples. Do not all charms fly
At the mere touch of cold philosophy?
There was an awful rainbow once in heaven:
We know her woof, her texture; she is given
In the dull catalogue of common things.
Philosophy will clip an Angels wings,
Conquer all mysteries by rule and line,
Empty the haunted air, and gnomed mine
Unweave a rainbow, as it erewhile made
The tender-persond Lamia melt into a shade.

By her glad Lycius sitting, in chief place,
Scarce saw in all the room another face,
Till, checking his love trance, a cup he took
Full brimmd, and opposite sent forth a look
Cross the broad table, to beseech a glance
From his old teachers wrinkled countenance,
And pledge him. The bald-head philosopher
Had fixd his eye, without a twinkle or stir
Full on the alarmed beauty of the bride,
Brow-beating her fair form, and troubling her sweet pride.
Lycius then pressd her hand, with devout touch,
As pale it lay upon the rosy couch:
Twas icy, and the cold ran through his veins;
Then sudden it grew hot, and all the pains
Of an unnatural heat shot to his heart.
Lamia, what means this? Wherefore dost thou start?
Knowst thou that man? Poor Lamia answerd not.
He gazd into her eyes, and not a jot
Ownd they the lovelorn piteous appeal:
More, more he gazd: his human senses reel:
Some hungry spell that loveliness absorbs;
There was no recognition in those orbs.
Lamia! he criedand no soft-toned reply.
The many heard, and the loud revelry
Grew hush; the stately music no more breathes;
The myrtle sickend in a thousand wreaths.
By faint degrees, voice, lute, and pleasure ceased;
A deadly silence step by step increased,
Until it seemd a horrid presence there,
And not a man but felt the terror in his hair.
Lamia! he shriekd; and nothing but the shriek
With its sad echo did the silence break.
Begone, foul dream! he cried, gazing again
In the brides face, where now no azure vein
Wanderd on fair-spaced temples; no soft bloom
Misted the cheek; no passion to illume
The deep-recessed vision:all was blight;
Lamia, no longer fair, there sat a deadly white.
Shut, shut those juggling eyes, thou ruthless man!
Turn them aside, wretch! or the righteous ban
Of all the Gods, whose dreadful images
Here represent their shadowy presences,
May pierce them on the sudden with the thorn
Of painful blindness; leaving thee forlorn,
In trembling dotage to the feeblest fright
Of conscience, for their long offended might,
For all thine impious proud-heart sophistries,
Unlawful magic, and enticing lies.
Corinthians! look upon that gray-beard wretch!
Mark how, possessd, his lashless eyelids stretch
Around his demon eyes! Corinthians, see!
My sweet bride withers at their potency.
Fool! said the sophist, in an under-tone
Gruff with contempt; which a death-nighing moan
From Lycius answerd, as heart-struck and lost,
He sank supine beside the aching ghost.
Fool! Fool! repeated he, while his eyes still
Relented not, nor movd; from every ill
Of life have I preservd thee to this day,
And shall I see thee made a serpents prey?
Then Lamia breathd death breath; the sophists eye,
Like a sharp spear, went through her utterly,
Keen, cruel, perceant, stinging: she, as well
As her weak hand could any meaning tell,
Motiond him to be silent; vainly so,
He lookd and lookd again a level--No!
A Serpent! echoed he; no sooner said,
Than with a frightful scream she vanished:
And Lycius arms were empty of delight,
As were his limbs of life, from that same night.
On the high couch he lay!his friends came round--
Supported himno pulse, or breath they found,
And, in its marriage robe, the heavy body wound.
(line 50): Keats adopted here, in the manuscript, a pointing notice before: he placed the note of interrogation at the end of this line, a semi-colon at the end of line 51, and a full-stop at the end of line 54. The pointing of the text is from the first edition.

(lines 124-6): Leigh Hunt notes - "This is the very quintessence of the romantic."

(line 140): Rejected reading, "wainscoated" for "marbled plain."

(line 239): In the Autobiography of Haydon, as edited by the late Mr. Tom Taylor, we read at page 354 of Volume 1 (edition of 1853) that Keats and Lamb, at one of the meetings at Haydon's house, agreed that Newton "had destroyed all the poetry of the rainbow, by reducing it to the prismatic colours." This meeting was what Haydon calls "the immortal dinner" of the 28th of December 1817; so that the idea appears to have persisted in Keats's mind.

Last line: The following extract is appended in Keats's edition as a note to the last line of Lamia:--
"Philostratus, in his fourth book 'de Vita Apollonii', hath a memorable instance in this kind, which I may not omit, of one Menippus Lycius, a young man twenty-five years of age, that going betwixt Cenchreas and Corinth, met such a phantasm in the habit of a fair gentlewoman, which taking him by the hand, carried him home to her house, in the suburbs of Corinth, and told him she was a Phoenician by birth, and if he would tarry with her, he should hear her sing and play, and drink such wine as never any drank, and no man should molest him; but she, being fair and lovely, would live and die with him, that was fair and lovely to behold. The young man, a philosopher, otherwise staid and discreet, able to moderate his passions, though not this of love, tarried with her a while to his great content, and at last married her, to whose wedding, amongst other guests, came Apollonius; who, by some probable conjectures, found her out to be a serpent, a lamia; and that all her furniture was, like Tantalus' gold, descried by Homer, no substance but mere illusions. When she saw herself descried, she wept, and desired Apollonius to be silent, but he would not be moved, and thereupon she, plate, house, and all that was in it, vanished in an instant: many thousands took notice of this fact, for it was done in the midst of Greece." ~ John Keats, Lamia. Part II
335:Raschi In Prague
Raschi of Troyes, the Moon of Israel,
The authoritative Talmudist, returned
From his wide wanderings under many skies,
To all the synagogues of the Orient,
Through Spain and Italy, the isles of Greece,
Beautiful, dolorous, sacred Palestine,
Dead, obelisked Egypt, floral, musk-breathed Persia,
Laughing with bloom, across the Caucasus,
The interminable sameness of bare steppes,
Through dark luxuriance of Bohemian woods,
And issuing on the broad, bright Moldau vale,
Entered the gates of Prague. Here, too, his fame,
Being winged, preceded him. His people swarmed
Like bees to gather the rich honey-dew
Of learning from his lips. Amazement filled
All eyes beholding him. No hoary sage,
He who had sat in Egypt at the feet
Of Moses ben-Maimuni, called him friend;
Raschi the scholiast, poet, and physician,
Who bore the ponderous Bible's storied wisdom,
The Mischna's tangled lore at tip of tongue,
Light as a garland on a lance, appeared
In the just-ripened glory of a man.
From his clear eye youth flamed magnificent;
Force, masked by grace, moved in his balanced frame;
An intellectual, virile beauty reigned
Dominant on domed brow, on fine, firm lips,
An eagle profile cut in gilded bronze,
Strong, delicate as a head upon a coin,
While, as an aureole crowns a burning lamp,
Above all beauty of the body and brain
Shone beauty of a soul benign with love.
Even as a tawny flock of huddled sheep,
Grazing each other's heels, urged by one will,
With bleat and baa following the wether's lead,
Or the wise shepherd, so o'er the Moldau bridge
Trotted the throng of yellow-caftaned Jews,
Chattering, hustling, shuffling. At their head
Marched Rabbi Jochanan ben-Eleazar,
High priest in Prague, oldest and most revered,
To greet the star of Israel. As a father
Yearns toward his son, so toward the noble Raschi
Leapt at first sight the patriarch's fresh old heart.
'My home be thine in Prague! Be thou my son,
Who have no offspring save one simple girl.
See, glorious youth, who dost renew the days
Of David and of Samuel, early graced
With God's anointing oil, how Israel
Delights to honor who hath honored him.'
Then Raschi, though he felt a ball of fire
Globe itself in his throat, maintained his calm,
His cheek's opaque, swart pallor while he kissed
Silent the Rabbi's withered hand, and bowed
Divinely humble, his exalted head
Craving the benison.
For each who asked
He had the word of counsel, comfort, help;
For all, rich eloquence of thanks. His voice,
Even and grave, thrilled secret chords and set
Plain speech to music. Certain folk were there
Sick in the body, dragging painful limbs,
To the physician. These he solaced first,
With healing touch, with simples from his pouch,
Warming and lulling, best with promises
Of constant service till their ills were cured.
And some, gray-bearded, bald, and curved with age,
Blear-eyed from poring over lines obscure
And knotty riddles of the Talmud, brought
Their problems to this youth, who cleared and solved,
Yielding prompt answer to a lifetime's search.
Then, followed, pushed by his obsequious tribe,
Who fain had pedestaled him on their backs,
Hemming his steps, choking the airs of heaven
With their oppressive honors, he advanced,
Midst shouts, tumultuous welcomes, kisses showered
Upon his road-stained garments, through Prague's streets,
Gaped at by Gentiles, hissed at and reviled,
But no whit altering his majestic mien
For overwhelming plaudits or contempt.
Glad tidings Raschi brought from West and East
Of thriving synagogues, of famous men,
And flourishing academies. In Rome
The Papal treasurer was a pious Jew,
Rabbi Jehiel, neath whose patronage
Prospered a noble school. Two hundred Jews
Dwelt free and paid no tributary mark.
Three hundred lived in peace at Capua,
Shepherded by the learned Rabbi David,
A prince of Israel. In Babylon
The Jews established their Academy.
Another still in Bagdad, from whose chair
Preached the great rabbi, Samuel Ha-levi,
Versed in the written and the oral law,
Who blindfold could repeat the whole vast text
Of Mischna and Gemara. On the banks
Of Eden-born Euphrates, one day's ride
From Bagdad, Raschi found in the wilderness,
Which once was Babylon, Ezekiel's tomb.
Thrice ten perpetual lamps starred the dim shrine,
Two hundred sentinels held the sleepless vigil,
Receiving offerings. At the Feast of Booths
Here crowded Jews by thousands, out of Persia,
From all the neighboring lands, to celebrate
The glorious memories of the golden days.
Ten thousand Jews with their Academy
Damascus boasted, while in Cairo shone
The pearl, the crown of Israel, ben-Maimuni,
Physician at the Court of Saladin,
The second Moses, gathering at his feet
Sages from all the world.
As Raschi spake,
Forgetting or ignoring the chief shrine,
The Exile's Home, whereunto yearned all hearts,
All ears were strained for tidings. Some one asked:
'What of Jerusalem? Speak to us of Zion.'
The light died from his eyes. From depths profound
Issued his grave, great voice: 'Alas for Zion!
Verily is she fallen! Where our race
Dictated to the nations, not a handful,
Nay, not a score, not ten, not two abide!
One, only one, one solitary Jew,
The Rabbi Abraham Haceba, flits
Ghostlike amid the ruins; every year
Beggars himself to pay the idolaters
The costly tax for leave to hold a-gape
His heart's live wound; to weep, a mendicant,
Amidst the crumbled stones of palaces
Where reigned his ancestors, upon the graves
Where sleep the priests, the prophets, and the kings
Who were his forefathers. Ask me no more!'
Now, when the French Jew's advent was proclaimed,
And his tumultuous greeting, envious growls
And ominous eyebeams threatened storm in Prague.
'Who may this miracle of learning be?
The Anti-Christ! The century-long-awaited,
The hourly-hoped Messiah, come at last!
Else dared they never wax so arrogant,
Flaunting their monstrous joy in Christian eyes,
And strutting peacock-like, with hideous screams,
Who are wont to crawl, mute reptiles underfoot.'
A stone or two flung at some servile form,
Liveried in the yellow gaberdine
(With secret happiness but half suppressed
On features cast for misery), served at first
For chance expression of the rabble's hate;
But, swelling like a snow-ball rolled along
By mischief-plotting boys, the rage increased,
Grew to a mighty mass, until it reached
The palace of Duke Vladislaw. He heard
With righteous wrath his injured subjects' charge
Against presumptuous aliens: how these blocked
His avenues, his bridges; bared to the sun
The canker-taint of Prague's obscurest coigne;
Paraded past the churches of the Lord
One who denied Him, one by them hailed Christ.
Enough! This cloud, no bigger than one's hand,
Gains overweening bulk. Prague harbored, first,
Out of contemptuous ruth, a wretched band
Of outcast paupers, gave them leave to ply
Their money-lending trade, and leased them land
On all too facile terms. Behold! to-day,
Like leeches bloated with the people's blood,
They batten on Bohemia's poverty;
They breed and grow; like adders, spit back hate
And venomed perfidy for Christian love.
Thereat the Duke, urged by wise counsellorsNarzerad the statesman (half whose wealth was pledged
To the usurers), abetted by the priest,
Bishop of Olmutz, who had visited
The Holy Sepulchre, whose long, full life
Was one clean record of pure pietyThe Duke, I say, by these persuasive tongues,
Coaxed to his darling aim, forbade his guards
To hinder the just anger of his town,
And ordered to be led in chains to him
The pilgrim and his host.
At noontide meal
Raschi sat, full of peace, with Jochanan,
And the sole daughter of the house, Rebekah,
Young, beautiful as her namesake when she brought
Her firm, frail pitcher balanced on her neck
Unto the well, and gave the stranger drink,
And gave his camels drink. The servant set
The sparkling jar's refreshment from his lips,
And saw the virgin's face, bright as the moon,
Beam from the curled luxuriance of black locks,
And cast-back linen veil's soft-folded cloud,
Then put the golden ear-ring by her cheek,
The bracelets on her hands, his master's pledge,
Isaac's betrothal gift, whom she should wed,
And be the mother of millions-one whose seed
Dwells in the gates of those which hate them.
Yearned Raschi to adorn the radiant girl
Who sat at board before him, nor dared lift
Shy, heavy lids from pupils black as grapes
That dart the imprisoned sunshine from their core.
But in her ears keen sense was born to catch,
And in her heart strange power to hold, each tone
O' the low-keyed, vibrant voice, each syllable
O' the eloquent discourse, enriched with tales
Of venturous travel, brilliant with fine points
Of delicate humor, or illustrated
With living portraits of world-famoused men,
Jews, Saracens, Crusaders, Islamites,
Whose hand he had grasped-the iron warrior,
Godfrey of Bouillon, the wise infidel
Who in all strength, wit, courtesy excelled
The kings his foes-imperial Saladin.
But even as Raschi spake an abrupt noise
Of angry shouts, of battering staves that shook
The oaken portal, stopped the enchanted voice,
The uplifted wine spilled from the nerveless hand
Of Rabbi Jochanan. 'God pity us!
Our enemies are upon us once again.
Hie thee, Rebekah, to the inmost chamber,
Far from their wanton eyes' polluting gaze,
Their desecrating touch! Kiss me! Begone!
Raschi, my guest, my son'-But no word more
Uttered the reverend man. With one huge crash
The strong doors split asunder, pouring in
A stream of soldiers, ruffians, armed with pikes,
Lances, and clubs-the unchained beast, the mob.
'Behold the town's new guest!' jeered one who tossed
The half-filled golden wine-cup's contents straight
In the noble pure young face. 'What, master Jew!
Must your good friends of Prague break bolts and bars
To gain a peep at this prodigious pearl
You bury in your shell? Forth to the day!
Our Duke himself claims share of your new wealth;
Summons to court the Jew philosopher!'
Then, while some stuffed their pokes with baubles snatched
From board and shelf, or with malignant sword
Slashed the rich Orient rugs, the pictured woof
That clothed the wall; others had seized and bound,
And gagged from speech, the helpless, aged man;
Still others outraged, with coarse, violent hands,
The marble-pale, rigid as stone, strange youth,
Whose eye like struck flint flashed, whose nether lip
Was threaded with a scarlet line of blood,
Where the compressed teeth fixed it to forced calm.
He struggled not while his free limbs were tied,
His beard plucked, torn and spat upon his robeSeemed scarce to know these insults were for him;
But never swerved his gaze from Jochanan.
Then, in God's language, sealed from these dumb brutes,
Swiftly and low he spake: 'Be of good cheer,
Reverend old man. I deign not treat with these.
If one dare offer bodily hurt to thee,
By the ineffable Name! I snap my chains
Like gossamer, and in his blood, to the hilt,
Bathe the prompt knife hid in my girdle's folds.
The Duke shall hear me. Patience. Trust in me.'
Somewhat the authoritative voice abashed,
Even hoarse and changed, the miscreants, who feared
Some strong curse lurked in this mysterious tongue,
Armed with this evil eye. But brief the spell.
With gibe and scoff they dragged their victims forth,
The abused old man, the proud, insulted youth,
O'er the late path of his triumphal march,
Befouled with mud, with raiment torn, wild hair
And ragged beard, to Vladislaw. He sat
Expectant in his cabinet. On one side
His secular adviser, Narzerad,
Quick-eyed, sharp-nosed, red-whiskered as a fox;
On the other hand his spiritual guide,
Bishop of Olmutz, unctuous, large, and bland.
'So these twain are chief culprits!' sneered the Duke,
Measuring with the noble's ignorant scorn
His masters of a lesser caste. 'Stand forth!
Rash, stubborn, vain old man, whose impudence
Hath choked the public highways with thy brood
Of nasty vermin, by our sufferance hid
In lanes obscure, who hailed this charlatan
With sky-flung caps, bent knees, and echoing shouts,
Due to ourselves alone in Prague; yea, worse,
Who offered worship even ourselves disclaim,
Our Lord Christ's meed, to this blaspheming JewThy crimes have murdered patience. Thou hast wrecked
Thy people's fortune with thy own. But first
(For even in anger we are just) recount
With how great compensation from thy store
Of hoarded gold and jewels thou wilt buy
Remission of the penalty. Be wise.
Hark how my subjects, storming through the streets,
Vent on thy tribe accursed their well-based wrath.'
And, truly, through closed casements roared the noise
Of mighty surging crowds, derisive cries,
And victims' screams of anguish and affright.
Then Raschi, royal in his rags, began:
'Hear me, my liege!' At that commanding voice,
The Bishop, who with dazed eyes had perused
The grieved, wise, beautiful, pale face, sprang up,
Quick recognition in his glance, warm joy
Aflame on his broad cheeks. 'No more! No more!
Thou art the man! Give me the hand to kiss
That raised me from the shadow of the grave
In Jaffa's lazar-house! Listen, my liege!
During my pilgrimage to Palestine
I, sickened with the plague and nigh to death,
Languished 'midst strangers, all my crumbling flesh
One rotten mass of sores, a thing for dogs
To shy from, shunned by Christian as by Turk,
When lo! this clean-breathed, pure-souled, blessed youth,
Whom I, not knowing for an infidel,
Seeing featured like the Christ, believed a saint,
Sat by my pillow, charmed the sting from pain,
Quenched the fierce fever's heat, defeated Death;
And when I was made whole, had disappeared,
No man knew whither, leaving no more trace
Than a re-risen angel. This is he!'
Then Raschi, who had stood erect, nor quailed
From glances of hot hate or crazy wrath,
Now sank his eagle gaze, stooped his high head,
Veiling his glowing brow, returned the kiss
Of brother-love upon the Christian's hand,
And dropping on his knees implored the three,
'Grace for my tribe! They are what ye have made.
If any be among them fawning, false,
Insatiable, revengeful, ignorant, meanAnd there are many such-ask your own hearts
What virtues ye would yield for planted hate,
Ribald contempt, forced, menial servitude,
Slow centuries of vengeance for a crime
Ye never did commit? Mercy for these!
Who bear on back and breast the scathing brand
Of scarlet degradation, who are clothed
In ignominious livery, whose bowed necks
Are broken with the yoke. Change these to men!
That were a noble witchcraft simply wrought,
God's alchemy transforming clods to gold.
If there be one among them strong and wise,
Whose lips anoint breathe poetry and love,
Whose brain and heart served ever Christian needAnd there are many such-for his dear sake,
Lest ye chance murder one of God's high priests,
Spare his thrice-wretched tribe! Believe me, sirs,
Who have seen various lands, searched various hearts,
I have yet to touch that undiscovered shore,
Have yet to fathom that impossible soul,
Where a true benefit's forgot; where one
Slight deed of common kindness sown yields not
As now, as here, abundant crop of love.
Every good act of man, our Talmud says,
Creates an angel, hovering by his side.
Oh! what a shining host, great Duke, shall guard
Thy consecrated throne, for all the lives
Thy mercy spares, for all the tears thy ruth
Stops at the source. Behold this poor old man,
Last of a line of princes, stricken in years,
As thy dead father would have been to-day.
Was that white beard a rag for obscene hands
To tear? a weed for lumpish clowns to pluck?
Was that benignant, venerable face
Fit target for their foul throats' voided rheum?
That wrinkled flesh made to be pulled and pricked,
Wounded by flinty pebbles and keen steel?
Behold the prostrate, patriarchal form,
Bruised, silent, chained. Duke, such is Israel!'
'Unbind these men!' commanded Vladislaw.
'Go forth and still the tumult of my town.
Let no Jew suffer violence. Raschi, rise!
Thou who hast served the Christ-with this priest's life,
Who is my spirit's counselor-Christ serves thee.
Return among thy people with my seal,
The talisman of safety. Let them know
The Duke's their friend. Go, publish the glad news!'
Raschi the Saviour, Raschi the Messiah,
Back to the Jewry carried peace and love.
But Narzerad fed his venomed heart with gall,
Vowing to give his fatal hatred vent,
Despite a world of weak fantastic Dukes
And heretic bishops. He fulfilled his vow.
~ Emma Lazarus,
336:The Kalevala - Rune Xxx
Lemminkainen, reckless minstrel,
Handsome hero, Kaukomieli,
Hastens as the dawn is breaking,
At the dawning of the morning,
To the resting-place of vessels,
To the harbor of the island,
Finds the vessels sorely weeping,
Hears the wailing of the rigging,
And the ships intone this chorus:
'Must we wretched lie forever
In the harbor of this island,
Here to dry and fall in pieces?
Ahti wars no more in Northland,
Wars no more for sixty summers,
Even should he thirst for silver,
Should he wish the gold of battle.'
Lemminkainen struck his vessels
With his gloves adorned with copper,
And addressed the ships as follows:
'Mourn no more, my ships of fir-wood,
Strong and hardy is your rigging,
To the wars ye soon may hasten,
Hasten to the seas of battle;
Warriors may swarm your cabins
Ere to-morrow's morn has risen.!''
Then the reckless Lemminkainen
Hastened to his aged mother,
Spake to her the words that follow:
'Weep no longer, faithful mother,
Do not sorrow for thy hero,
Should he leave for scenes of battle,
For the hostile fields of Pohya;
Sweet revenge has fired my spirit,
And my soul is well determined,
To avenge the shameful insult
That the warriors of Northland
Gave to thee, defenseless woman.'
To restrain him seeks his mother,
Warns her son again of danger:
'Do not go, my son beloved,
To the wars in Sariola;
There the jaws of Death await thee,
Fell destruction lies before thee!'
Lemminkainen, little heeding,
Still determined, speaks as follows:
'Where may I secure a swordsman,
Worthy of my race of heroes,
To assist me in the combat?
Often I have heard of Tiera,
Heard of Kura of the islands,
This one I will take to help me,
Magic hero of the broadsword;
He will aid me in the combat,
Will protect me from destruction.'
Then he wandered to the islands,
On the way to Tiera's hamlet,
These the words that Ahti utters
As he nears the ancient dwellings:
Dearest friend, my noble Tiera,
My, beloved hero-brother,
Dost thou other times remember,
When we fought and bled together,
On the battle-fields of Northland?
There was not an island-village
Where there were not seven mansions,
In each mansion seven heroes,
And not one of all these foemen
Whom we did not slay with broadswords,
Victims of our skill and valor.'
Near the window sat the father
Whittling out a javelin-handle;
Near the threshold sat the mother
Skimming cream and making butter;
Near the portal stood the brother
Working on a sledge of birch-wood
Near the bridge-pass were the sisters
Washing out their varied garments.
Spake the father from the window,
From the threshold spake the mother,
From the portals spake the brother,
And the sisters from the bridge-pass:
'Tiera has no time for combat,
And his broadsword cannot battle;
Tiera is but late a bridegroom,
Still unveiled his bride awaits him.'
Near the hearth was Tiera lying,
Lying by the fire was Kura,
Hastily one foot was shoeing,
While the other lay in waiting.
From the hook he takes his girdle,
Buckles it around his body,
Takes a javelin from its resting,
Not the largest, nor the smallest,
Buckles on his mighty scabbard,
Dons his heavy mail of copper;
On each javelin pranced a charger,
Wolves were howling from his helmet,
On the rings the bears were growling.
Tiera poised his mighty javelin,
Launched the spear upon its errand;
Hurled the shaft across the pasture,
To the border of the forest,
O'er the clay-fields of Pohyola,
O'er the green and fragrant meadows,
Through the distant bills of Northland.
Then great Tiera touched his javelin
To the mighty spear of Ahti,
Pledged his aid to Lemminkainen,
As his combatant and comrade.
Thereupon wild Kaukomieli
Pushed his boat upon the waters;
Like the serpent through the heather,
Like the creeping of the adder,
Sails the boat away to Pohya,
O'er the seas of Sariola.
Quick the wicked hostess, Louhi,
Sends the black-frost of the heavens
To the waters of Pohyola,
O'er the far-extending sea-plains,
Gave the black-frost these directions:
'Much-loved Frost, my son and hero,
Whom thy mother has instructed,
Hasten whither I may send thee,
Go wherever I command thee,
Freeze the vessel of this hero,
Lemminkainen's bark of magic,
On the broad back of the ocean,
On the far-extending waters;
Freeze the wizard in his vessel,
Freeze to ice the wicked Ahti,
That he never more may wander,
Never waken while thou livest,
Or at least till I shall free him,
Wake him from his icy slumber!'
Frost, the son of wicked parents,
Hero-son of evil manners,
Hastens off to freeze the ocean,
Goes to fasten down the flood-gates,
Goes to still the ocean-currents.
As he hastens on his journey,
Takes the leaves from all the forest,
Strips the meadows of their verdure,
Robs the flowers of their colors.
When his journey he had ended,
Gained the border of the ocean,
Gained the sea-shore curved and endless,
On the first night of his visit,
Freezes he the lakes and rivers,
Freezes too the shore of ocean,
Freezes not the ocean-billows,
Does not check the ocean-currents.
On the sea a finch is resting,
Bird of song upon the waters,
But his feet are not yet frozen,
Neither is his head endangered.
When the second night Frost lingered,
He began to grow important,
He became a fierce intruder,
Fearless grew in his invasions,
Freezes everything before him;
Sends the fiercest cold of Northland,
Turns to ice the boundless waters.
Ever thicker, thicker, thicker,
Grew the ice on sea and ocean,
Ever deeper, deeper, deeper,
Fell the snow on field and forest,
Froze the hero's ship of beauty,
Cold and lifeless bark of Ahti;
Sought to freeze wild Lemminkainen,
Freeze him lifeless as his vessel,
Asked the minstrel for his life-blood,
For his ears, and feet, and fingers.
Then the hero, Lemminkainen,
Angry grew and filled with magic,
Hurled the black-frost to the fire-god,
Threw him to the fiery furnace,
Held him in his forge of iron,
Then addressed the frost as follows:
'Frost, thou evil son of Northland,
Dire and only son of Winter,
Let my members not be stiffened,
Neither ears, nor feet, nor fingers,
Neither let my head be frozen.
Thou hast other things to feed on,
Many other beads to stiffen;
Leave in peace the flesh of heroes,
Let this minstrel pass in safety,
Freeze the swamps, and lakes, and rivers,
Fens and forests, bills and valleys;
Let the cold stones grow still colder,
Freeze the willows in the waters,
Let the aspens freeze and suffer,
Let the bark peel from the birch-trees,
Let the Pines burst on the mountains,
Let this hero pass in safety,
Do not let his locks be stiffened.
'If all these prove insufficient,
Feed on other worthy matters;
Lot the hot stones freeze asunder,
Let the flaming rocks be frozen,
Freeze the fiery blocks of iron,
Freeze to ice the iron mountains;
Stiffen well the mighty Wuoksi,
Let Imatra freeze to silence;
Freeze the sacred stream and whirlpoo4
Let their boiling billows stiffen,
Or thine origin I'll sing thee,
Tell thy lineage of evil.
Well I know thine evil nature,
Know thine origin and power,
Whence thou camest, where thou goest,
Know thine ancestry of evil.
Thou wert born upon the aspen,
Wert conceived upon the willows,
Near the borders of Pohyola,
In the courts of dismal Northland;
Sin-begotten was thy father,
And thy mother was Dishonor.
'While in infancy who fed thee
While thy mother could not nurse thee?
Surely thou wert fed by adders,
Nursed by foul and slimy serpents;
North-winds rocked thee into slumber,
Cradled thee in roughest weather,
In the worst of willow-marshes,
In the springs forever flowing,
Evil-born and evil-nurtured,
Grew to be an evil genius,
Evil was thy mind and spirit,
And the infant still was nameless,
Till the name of Frost was given
To the progeny of evil.
'Then the young lad lived in hedges,
Dwelt among the weeds and willows,
Lived in springs in days of summer,
On the borders of the marshes,
Tore the lindens in the winter,
Stormed among the glens and forests,
Raged among the sacred birch-trees,
Rattled in the alder-branches,
Froze the trees, the shoots, the grasses,
Evened all the plains and prairies,
Ate the leaves within the woodlands,
Made the stalks drop down their blossoms,
Peeled the bark on weeds and willows.
'Thou hast grown to large proportions,
Hast become too tall and mighty;
Dost thou labor to benumb me,
Dost thou wish mine ears and fingers,
Of my feet wouldst thou deprive me?
Do not strive to freeze this hero,
In his anguish and misfortune;
In my stockings I shall kindle
Fire to drive thee from my presence,
In my shoes lay flaming faggots,
Coals of fire in every garment,
Heated sandstones in my rigging;
Thus will hold thee at a distance.
Then thine evil form I'll banish
To the farthest Northland borders;
When thy journey is completed,
When thy home is reached in safety,
Freeze the caldrons in the castle,
Freeze the coal upon the hearthstone,
In the dough, the hands of women,
On its mother's lap, the infant,
Freeze the colt beside its mother.
'If thou shouldst not heed this order,
I shall banish thee still farther,
To the carbon-piles of Hisi,
To the chimney-hearth of Lempo,
Hurl thee to his fiery furnace,
Lay thee on the iron anvil,
That thy body may be hammered
With the sledges of the blacksmith,
May be pounded into atoms,
Twixt the anvil and the hammer.
'If thou shouldst not heed this order,
Shouldst not leave me to my freedom,
Know I still another kingdom,
Know another spot of resting;
I shall drive thee to the summer,
Lead thy tongue to warmer climates,
There a prisoner to suffer,
Never to obtain thy freedom
Till thy spirit I deliver,
Till I go myself and free thee.'
Wicked Frost, the son of Winter,
Saw the magic bird of evil
Hovering above his spirit,
Straightway prayed for Ahti's mercy,
These the words the Frost-fiend uttered:
'Let us now agree together,
Neither one to harm the other,
Never in the course of ages,
Never while the moonlight glimmers
On the snow-capped hills of Northland.
If thou hearest that I bring thee
Cold to freeze thy feet and fingers,
Hurl me to the fiery furnace,
Hammer me upon the anvil
Of the blacksmith, Ilmarinen;
Lead my tongue to warmer climates,
Banish me to lands of summer,
There a prisoner to suffer,
Nevermore to gain my freedom.'
Thereupon wild Lemminkainen
Left his vessel in the ocean,
Frozen in the ice of Northland,
Left his warlike boat forever,
Started on his cheerless journey
To the borders of Pohyola,
And the mighty Tiera followed
In the tracks of his companion.
On the ice they journeyed northward
Briskly walked upon the ice-plain,
Walked one day, and then a second,
Till the closing of the third day,
When the Hunger-land approached them,
When appeared Starvation-island.
Here the hardy Lemminkainen
Hastened forward to the castle,
This the hero's prayer and question;
'Is there food within this castle,
Fish or fowl within its larders,
To refresh us on our journey,
Mighty heroes, cold and weary?
When the hero, Lemminkainen,
Found no food within the castle,
Neither fish, nor fowl, nor bacon,
Thus he cursed it and departed:
'May the fire destroy these chambers,
May the waters flood this dwelling,
Wash it to the seas of Mana!'
Then they hastened onward, onward,
Hastened on through field and forest,
Over by-ways long untrodden,
Over unknown paths and snow-fields;
Here the hardy Lemminkainen,
Reckless hero, Kaukomieli,
Pulled the soft wool from the ledges,
Gathered lichens from the tree-trunks,
Wove them into magic stockings,
Wove them into shoes and mittens,
On the settles of the hoar-frost,
In the stinging cold of Northland.
Then he sought to find some pathway,
That would guide their wayward footsteps,
And the hero spake as follows:
'O thou Tiera, friend beloved,
Shall we reach our destination,
Wandering for days together,
Through these Northland fields and forests?
Kura thus replies to Ahti:
'We, alas! have come for vengeance,
Come for blood and retribution,
To the battle-fields of Northland,
To the dismal Sariola,
Here to leave our souls and bodies,
Here to starve, and freeze, and perish,
In the dreariest of places,
In this sun-forsaken country!
Never shall we gain the knowledge,
Never learn it, never tell it,
Which the pathway that can guide us
To the forest-beds to suffer,
To the Pohya-plains to perish,
In the home-land of the ravens,
Fitting food for crows and eagles.
Often do the Northland vultures
Hither come to feed their fledgelings;
Hither bring the birds of heaven
Bits of flesh and blood of heroes;
Often do the beaks of ravens
Tear the flesh of kindred corpses,
Often do the eagle's talons
Carry bones and trembling vitals,
Such as ours, to feed their nestlings,
In their rocky homes and ledges.
'Oh! my mother can but wonder,
Never can divine the answer,
Where her reckless son is roaming,
Where her hero's blood is flowing,
Whether in the swamps and lowlands
Whether in the heat of battle,
Or upon the waves of the ocean,
Or upon the hop-feld mountains,
Or along some forest by-way.
Nothing can her mind discover
Of the frailest of her heroes,
Only think that he has perished.
Thus the hoary-headed mother
Weeps and murmurs in her chambers:
'Where is now my son beloved,
In the kingdom of Manala?
Sow thy crops, thou dread Tuoni,
Harrow well the fields of Kalma!
Now the bow receives its respite
From the fingers of my Tiera;
Bow and arrow now are useless,
Now the merry birds can fatten
In the fields, and fens, and forests;
Bears may live in dens of freedom,
On the fields may sport the elk-herds.''
Spake the reckless Lemminkainen:
'Thus it is, mine aged mother,
Thou that gavest me existence!
Thou hast reared thy broods of chickens,
Hatched and reared thy flights of white-swans
All of them the winds have scattered,
Or the evil Lempo frightened;
One flew hither, and one thither,
And a third one, lost forever!
Think thou of our former pleasures,
Of our better days together,
When I wandered like the flowers,
Like the berry in the meadows.
Many saw my form majestic,
Many thought me well-proportioned.
Now is not as then with Ahti,
Into evil days have fallen,
Since I see but storms and darkness!
Then my eyes beheld but sunshine,
Then we did not weep and murmur,
Did not fill our hearts with sorrow,
When the maids in joy were singing,
When the virgins twined their tresses;
Then the women joined in joyance,
Whether brides were happy-wedded,
Whether bridegrooms choose discreetly,
Whether they were wise or unwise.
'But we must not grow disheartened,
Let the Island-maidens cheer us;
Here we are not yet enchanted,
Not bewitched by magic singing,
On the paths not left to perish,
Sink and perish on our journey.
Full of youth we should not suffer,
Strong, we should not die unworthy,
Whom the wizards have enchanted,
Have bewitched with songs of magic;
Sorcerers may charm and conquer,
Bury them within their dungeons,
Hide them spell-bound in their cabins.
Let the wizards charm each other,
And bewitch their magic offspring,
Bring their tribes to fell destruction.
Never did my gray-haired father
Bow submission to a wizard,
Offer worship to magicians.
These the words my father uttered,
These the thoughts his son advances:
'Guard us, thou O great Creator,
Shield us, thou O God of mercy,
With thine arms of grace protect us,
Help us with thy strength and wisdom,
Guide the minds of all thy heroes,
Keep aright the thoughts of women,
Keep the old from speaking evil,
Keep the young from sin and folly,
Be to us a help forever,
Be our Guardian and our Father,
That our children may not wander
From the ways of their Creator,
From the path that God has given!''
Then the hero Lemminkainen,
Made from cares the fleetest racers,
Sable racers from his sorrows,
Reins he made from days of evil,
From his sacred pains made saddles.
To the saddle, quickly springing,
Galloped he away from trouble,
To his dear and aged mother;
And his comrade, faithful Tiera,
Galloped to his Island-dwelling.
Now departs wild Lemminkainen,
Brave and reckless Kaukomieli,
From these ancient songs and legends;
Only guides his faithful Kura
To his waiting bride and kindred,
While these lays and incantations
Shall be turned to other heroes.
~ Elias Lönnrot,
337:Upon a time, before the faery broods
Drove Nymph and Satyr from the prosperous woods,
Before King Oberon's bright diadem,
Sceptre, and mantle, clasp'd with dewy gem,
Frighted away the Dryads and the Fauns
From rushes green, and brakes, and cowslip'd lawns,
The ever-smitten Hermes empty left
His golden throne, bent warm on amorous theft:
From high Olympus had he stolen light,
On this side of Jove's clouds, to escape the sight
Of his great summoner, and made retreat
Into a forest on the shores of Crete.
For somewhere in that sacred island dwelt
A nymph, to whom all hoofed Satyrs knelt;
At whose white feet the languid Tritons poured
Pearls, while on land they witherd and adored.
Fast by the springs where she to bathe was wont,
And in those meads where sometime she might haunt,
Were strewn rich gifts, unknown to any Muse,
Though Fancys casket were unlockd to choose.
Ah, what a world of love was at her feet!
So Hermes thought, and a celestial heat
Burnt from his winged heels to either ear,
That from a whiteness, as the lily clear,
Blushd into roses mid his golden hair,
Fallen in jealous curls about his shoulders bare.
From vale to vale, from wood to wood, he flew,
Breathing upon the flowers his passion new,
And wound with many a river to its head,
To find where this sweet nymph prepard her secret bed:
In vain; the sweet nymph might nowhere be found,
And so he rested, on the lonely ground,
Pensive, and full of painful jealousies
Of the Wood-Gods, and even the very trees.
There as he stood, he heard a mournful voice,
Such as once heard, in gentle heart, destroys
All pain but pity: thus the lone voice spake:
When from this wreathed tomb shall I awake!
When move in a sweet body fit for life,
And love, and pleasure, and the ruddy strife
Of hearts and lips! Ah, miserable me!
The God, dove-footed, glided silently
Round bush and tree, soft-brushing, in his speed,
The taller grasses and full-flowering weed,
Until he found a palpitating snake,
Bright, and cirque-couchant in a dusky brake.

She was a gordian shape of dazzling hue,
Vermilion-spotted, golden, green, and blue;
Striped like a zebra, freckled like a pard,
Eyed like a peacock, and all crimson barrd;
And full of silver moons, that, as she breathed,
Dissolvd, or brighter shone, or interwreathed
Their lustres with the gloomier tapestries
So rainbow-sided, touchd with miseries,
She seemd, at once, some penanced lady elf,
Some demons mistress, or the demons self.
Upon her crest she wore a wannish fire
Sprinkled with stars, like Ariadnes tiar:
Her head was serpent, but ah, bitter-sweet!
She had a womans mouth with all its pearls complete:
And for her eyes: what could such eyes do there
But weep, and weep, that they were born so fair?
As Proserpine still weeps for her Sicilian air.
Her throat was serpent, but the words she spake
Came, as through bubbling honey, for Loves sake,
And thus; while Hermes on his pinions lay,
Like a stoopd falcon ere he takes his prey.

Fair Hermes, crownd with feathers, fluttering light,
I had a splendid dream of thee last night:
I saw thee sitting, on a throne of gold,
Among the Gods, upon Olympus old,
The only sad one; for thou didst not hear
The soft, lute-fingerd Muses chaunting clear,
Nor even Apollo when he sang alone,
Deaf to his throbbing throats long, long melodious moan.
I dreamt I saw thee, robed in purple flakes,
Break amorous through the clouds, as morning breaks,
And, swiftly as a bright Phoebean dart,
Strike for the Cretan isle; and here thou art!
Too gentle Hermes, hast thou found the maid?
Whereat the star of Lethe not delayd
His rosy eloquence, and thus inquired:
Thou smooth-lippd serpent, surely high inspired!
Thou beauteous wreath, with melancholy eyes,
Possess whatever bliss thou canst devise,
Telling me only where my nymph is fled,
Where she doth breathe! Bright planet, thou hast said,
Returnd the snake, but seal with oaths, fair God!
I swear, said Hermes, by my serpent rod,
And by thine eyes, and by thy starry crown!
Light flew his earnest words, among the blossoms blown.
Then thus again the brilliance feminine:
Too frail of heart! for this lost nymph of thine,
Free as the air, invisibly, she strays
About these thornless wilds; her pleasant days
She tastes unseen; unseen her nimble feet
Leave traces in the grass and flowers sweet;
From weary tendrils, and bowd branches green,
She plucks the fruit unseen, she bathes unseen:
And by my power is her beauty veild
To keep it unaffronted, unassaild
By the love-glances of unlovely eyes,
Of Satyrs, Fauns, and bleard Silenus sighs.
Pale grew her immortality, for woe
Of all these lovers, and she grieved so
I took compassion on her, bade her steep
Her hair in weird syrops, that would keep
Her loveliness invisible, yet free
To wander as she loves, in liberty.
Thou shalt behold her, Hermes, thou alone,
If thou wilt, as thou swearest, grant my boon!
Then, once again, the charmed God began
An oath, and through the serpents ears it ran
Warm, tremulous, devout, psalterian.
Ravishd, she lifted her Circean head,
Blushd a live damask, and swift-lisping said,
I was a woman, let me have once more
A womans shape, and charming as before.
I love a youth of CorinthO the bliss!
Give me my womans form, and place me where he is.
Stoop, Hermes, let me breathe upon thy brow,
And thou shalt see thy sweet nymph even now.
The God on half-shut feathers sank serene,
She breathd upon his eyes, and swift was seen
Of both the guarded nymph near-smiling on the green.
It was no dream; or say a dream it was,
Real are the dreams of Gods, and smoothly pass
Their pleasures in a long immortal dream.
One warm, flushd moment, hovering, it might seem
Dashd by the wood-nymphs beauty, so he burnd;
Then, lighting on the printless verdure, turnd
To the swoond serpent, and with languid arm,
Delicate, put to proof the lythe Caducean charm.
So done, upon the nymph his eyes he bent,
Full of adoring tears and blandishment,
And towards her stept: she, like a moon in wane,
Faded before him, cowerd, nor could restrain
Her fearful sobs, self-folding like a flower
That faints into itself at evening hour:
But the God fostering her chilled hand,
She felt the warmth, her eyelids opend bland,
And, like new flowers at morning song of bees,
Bloomd, and gave up her honey to the lees.
Into the green-recessed woods they flew;
Nor grew they pale, as mortal lovers do.

Left to herself, the serpent now began
To change; her elfin blood in madness ran,
Her mouth foamd, and the grass, therewith besprent,
Witherd at dew so sweet and virulent;
Her eyes in torture fixd, and anguish drear,
Hot, glazd, and wide, with lid-lashes all sear,
Flashd phosphor and sharp sparks, without one cooling tear.
The colours all inflamd throughout her train,
She writhd about, convulsd with scarlet pain:
A deep volcanian yellow took the place
Of all her milder-mooned bodys grace;
And, as the lava ravishes the mead,
Spoilt all her silver mail, and golden brede;
Made gloom of all her frecklings, streaks and bars,
Eclipsd her crescents, and lickd up her stars:
So that, in moments few, she was undrest
Of all her sapphires, greens, and amethyst,
And rubious-argent: of all these bereft,
Nothing but pain and ugliness were left.
Still shone her crown; that vanishd, also she
Melted and disappeard as suddenly;
And in the air, her new voice luting soft,
Cried, Lycius! gentle Lycius!Borne aloft
With the bright mists about the mountains hoar
These words dissolvd: Cretes forests heard no more.

Whither fled Lamia, now a lady bright,
A full-born beauty new and exquisite?
She fled into that valley they pass oer
Who go to Corinth from Cenchreas shore;
And rested at the foot of those wild hills,
The rugged founts of the Peraean rills,
And of that other ridge whose barren back
Stretches, with all its mist and cloudy rack,
South-westward to Cleone. There she stood
About a young birds flutter from a wood,
Fair, on a sloping green of mossy tread,
By a clear pool, wherein she passioned
To see herself escapd from so sore ills,
While her robes flaunted with the daffodils.

Ah, happy Lycius!for she was a maid
More beautiful than ever twisted braid,
Or sighd, or blushd, or on spring-flowered lea
Spread a green kirtle to the minstrelsy:
A virgin purest lippd, yet in the lore
Of love deep learned to the red hearts core:
Not one hour old, yet of sciential brain
To unperplex bliss from its neighbour pain;
Define their pettish limits, and estrange
Their points of contact, and swift counterchange;
Intrigue with the specious chaos, and dispart
Its most ambiguous atoms with sure art;
As though in Cupids college she had spent
Sweet days a lovely graduate, still unshent,
And kept his rosy terms in idle languishment.

Why this fair creature chose so fairily
By the wayside to linger, we shall see;
But first tis fit to tell how she could muse
And dream, when in the serpent prison-house,
Of all she list, strange or magnificent:
How, ever, where she willd, her spirit went;
Whether to faint Elysium, or where
Down through tress-lifting waves the Nereids fair
Wind into Thetis bower by many a pearly stair;
Or where God Bacchus drains his cups divine,
Stretchd out, at ease, beneath a glutinous pine;
Or where in Plutos gardens palatine
Mulcibers columns gleam in far piazzian line.
And sometimes into cities she would send
Her dream, with feast and rioting to blend;
And once, while among mortals dreaming thus,
She saw the young Corinthian Lycius
Charioting foremost in the envious race,
Like a young Jove with calm uneager face,
And fell into a swooning love of him.
Now on the moth-time of that evening dim
He would return that way, as well she knew,
To Corinth from the shore; for freshly blew
The eastern soft wind, and his galley now
Grated the quaystones with her brazen prow
In port Cenchreas, from Egina isle
Fresh anchord; whither he had been awhile
To sacrifice to Jove, whose temple there
Waits with high marble doors for blood and incense rare.
Jove heard his vows, and betterd his desire;
For by some freakful chance he made retire
From his companions, and set forth to walk,
Perhaps grown wearied of their Corinth talk:
Over the solitary hills he fared,
Thoughtless at first, but ere eves star appeared
His phantasy was lost, where reason fades,
In the calmd twilight of Platonic shades.
Lamia beheld him coming, near, more near
Close to her passing, in indifference drear,
His silent sandals swept the mossy green;
So neighbourd to him, and yet so unseen
She stood: he passd, shut up in mysteries,
His mind wrappd like his mantle, while her eyes
Followd his steps, and her neck regal white
Turndsyllabling thus, Ah, Lycius bright,
And will you leave me on the hills alone?
Lycius, look back! and be some pity shown.
He did; not with cold wonder fearingly,
But Orpheus-like at an Eurydice;
For so delicious were the words she sung,
It seemd he had lovd them a whole summer long:
And soon his eyes had drunk her beauty up,
Leaving no drop in the bewildering cup,
And still the cup was full,while he afraid
Lest she should vanish ere his lip had paid
Due adoration, thus began to adore;
Her soft look growing coy, she saw his chain so sure:
Leave thee alone! Look back! Ah, Goddess, see
Whether my eyes can ever turn from thee!
For pity do not this sad heart belie
Even as thou vanishest so I shall die.
Stay! though a Naiad of the rivers, stay!
To thy far wishes will thy streams obey:
Stay! though the greenest woods be thy domain,
Alone they can drink up the morning rain:
Though a descended Pleiad, will not one
Of thine harmonious sisters keep in tune
Thy spheres, and as thy silver proxy shine?
So sweetly to these ravishd ears of mine
Came thy sweet greeting, that if thou shouldst fade
Thy memory will waste me to a shade:
For pity do not melt!If I should stay,
Said Lamia, here, upon this floor of clay,
And pain my steps upon these flowers too rough,
What canst thou say or do of charm enough
To dull the nice remembrance of my home?
Thou canst not ask me with thee here to roam
Over these hills and vales, where no joy is,
Empty of immortality and bliss!
Thou art a scholar, Lycius, and must know
That finer spirits cannot breathe below
In human climes, and live: Alas! poor youth,
What taste of purer air hast thou to soothe
My essence? What serener palaces,
Where I may all my many senses please,
And by mysterious sleights a hundred thirsts appease?
It cannot beAdieu! So said, she rose
Tiptoe with white arms spread. He, sick to lose
The amorous promise of her lone complain,
Swoond, murmuring of love, and pale with pain.
The cruel lady, without any show
Of sorrow for her tender favourites woe,
But rather, if her eyes could brighter be,
With brighter eyes and slow amenity,
Put her new lips to his, and gave afresh
The life she had so tangled in her mesh:
And as he from one trance was wakening
Into another, she began to sing,
Happy in beauty, life, and love, and every thing,
A song of love, too sweet for earthly lyres,
While, like held breath, the stars drew in their panting fires
And then she whisperd in such trembling tone,
As those who, safe together met alone
For the first time through many anguishd days,
Use other speech than looks; bidding him raise
His drooping head, and clear his soul of doubt,
For that she was a woman, and without
Any more subtle fluid in her veins
Than throbbing blood, and that the self-same pains
Inhabited her frail-strung heart as his.
And next she wonderd how his eyes could miss
Her face so long in Corinth, where, she said,
She dwelt but half retird, and there had led
Days happy as the gold coin could invent
Without the aid of love; yet in content
Till she saw him, as once she passd him by,
Where gainst a column he leant thoughtfully
At Venus temple porch, mid baskets heapd
Of amorous herbs and flowers, newly reapd
Late on that eve, as twas the night before
The Adonian feast; whereof she saw no more,
But wept alone those days, for why should she adore?
Lycius from death awoke into amaze,
To see her still, and singing so sweet lays;
Then from amaze into delight he fell
To hear her whisper womans lore so well;
And every word she spake enticd him on
To unperplexd delight and pleasure known.
Let the mad poets say whateer they please
Of the sweets of Fairies, Peris, Goddesses,
There is not such a treat among them all,
Haunters of cavern, lake, and waterfall,
As a real woman, lineal indeed
From Pyrrhas pebbles or old Adams seed.
Thus gentle Lamia judgd, and judgd aright,
That Lycius could not love in half a fright,
So threw the goddess off, and won his heart
More pleasantly by playing womans part,
With no more awe than what her beauty gave,
That, while it smote, still guaranteed to save.
Lycius to all made eloquent reply,
Marrying to every word a twinborn sigh;
And last, pointing to Corinth, askd her sweet,
If twas too far that night for her soft feet.
The way was short, for Lamias eagerness
Made, by a spell, the triple league decrease
To a few paces; not at all surmised
By blinded Lycius, so in her comprized.
They passd the city gates, he knew not how
So noiseless, and he never thought to know.

As men talk in a dream, so Corinth all,
Throughout her palaces imperial,
And all her populous streets and temples lewd,
Mutterd, like tempest in the distance brewd,
To the wide-spreaded night above her towers.
Men, women, rich and poor, in the cool hours,
Shuffled their sandals oer the pavement white,
Companiond or alone; while many a light
Flared, here and there, from wealthy festivals,
And threw their moving shadows on the walls,
Or found them clusterd in the corniced shade
Of some archd temple door, or dusky colonnade.

Muffling his face, of greeting friends in fear,
Her fingers he pressd hard, as one came near
With curld gray beard, sharp eyes, and smooth bald crown,
Slow-steppd, and robed in philosophic gown:
Lycius shrank closer, as they met and past,
Into his mantle, adding wings to haste,
While hurried Lamia trembled: Ah, said he,
Why do you shudder, love, so ruefully?
Why does your tender palm dissolve in dew?
Im wearied, said fair Lamia: tell me who
Is that old man? I cannot bring to mind
His features:Lycius! wherefore did you blind
Yourself from his quick eyes? Lycius replied,
Tis Apollonius sage, my trusty guide
And good instructor; but to-night he seems
The ghost of folly haunting my sweet dreams.

While yet he spake they had arrived before
A pillar'd porch, with lofty portal door,
Where hung a silver lamp, whose phosphor glow
Reflected in the slabbed steps below,
Mild as a star in water; for so new,
And so unsullied was the marble hue,
So through the crystal polish, liquid fine,
Ran the dark veins, that none but feet divine
Could e'er have touch'd there. Sounds Aeolian
Breath'd from the hinges, as the ample span
Of the wide doors disclos'd a place unknown
Some time to any, but those two alone,
And a few Persian mutes, who that same year
Were seen about the markets: none knew where
They could inhabit; the most curious
Were foil'd, who watch'd to trace them to their house:
And but the flitter-winged verse must tell,
For truth's sake, what woe afterwards befel,
'Twould humour many a heart to leave them thus,
Shut from the busy world of more incredulous.
(line 48): Originally, "Cerulean-spotted." Leigh Hunt says of this passage, "The admiration, pity, and horror, to be excited by humanity in a brute shape, were never perhaps called upon by a greater mixture of beauty and deformity than in the picture of this creature. Our pity and suspicions are begged by the first word: the profuse and vital beauties with which she is covered seem proportioned to her misery and natural rights; and lest we should lose sight of them in this gorgeousness, the 'woman's mouth' fills us at once with shuddering and compassion."

(line 158): The manuscript reads "vulcanian," the first edition "volcanian." It seems to me more likely that the manuscript accords with the poet's intention than that printed text does, for this old orthography is the more characteristic of the vocabulary of this particular poem, as introducing the more conspicuously the mythic personal origin of the common noun "volcano" or "vulcano."
~ Poetical Works of John Keats, ed. H. Buxton Forman, Crowell publ. 1895. by owner. provided at no charge for educational purposes
~ John Keats, Lamia. Part I
338:The Tower Of The Dream
Part I
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,
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
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
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,
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.
Part II

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

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
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
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
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:—
The Song
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
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.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------Part III
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

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-wingéd 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
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!
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.
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
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,
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.
Part IV

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;

In vain was the dragon-steed

There at the hour of need

Out with his double freight blissward to sweep.


In vain were our spells of an infinite cost


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.

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
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!
What might I hear? A step?—a small 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,
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!
~ Charles Harpur,
St. Agnes' Eve--Ah, bitter chill it was!
  The owl, for all his feathers, was a-cold;
  The hare limp'd trembling through the frozen grass,
  And silent was the flock in woolly fold:
  Numb were the Beadsman's fingers, while he told
  His rosary, and while his frosted breath,
  Like pious incense from a censer old,
  Seem'd taking flight for heaven, without a death,
Past the sweet Virgin's picture, while his prayer he saith.

  His prayer he saith, this patient, holy man;
  Then takes his lamp, and riseth from his knees,
  And back returneth, meagre, barefoot, wan,
  Along the chapel aisle by slow degrees:
  The sculptur'd dead, on each side, seem to freeze,
  Emprison'd in black, purgatorial rails:
  Knights, ladies, praying in dumb orat'ries,
  He passeth by; and his weak spirit fails
To think how they may ache in icy hoods and mails.

  Northward he turneth through a little door,
  And scarce three steps, ere Music's golden tongue
  Flatter'd to tears this aged man and poor;
  But no--already had his deathbell rung
  The joys of all his life were said and sung:
  His was harsh penance on St. Agnes' Eve:
  Another way he went, and soon among
  Rough ashes sat he for his soul's reprieve,
And all night kept awake, for sinners' sake to grieve.

  That ancient Beadsman heard the prelude soft;
  And so it chanc'd, for many a door was wide,
  From hurry to and fro. Soon, up aloft,
  The silver, snarling trumpets 'gan to chide:
  The level chambers, ready with their pride,
  Were glowing to receive a thousand guests:
  The carved angels, ever eager-eyed,
  Star'd, where upon their heads the cornice rests,
With hair blown back, and wings put cross-wise on their breasts.

  At length burst in the argent revelry,
  With plume, tiara, and all rich array,
  Numerous as shadows haunting fairily
  The brain, new-stuff'd, in youth, with triumphs gay
  Of old romance. These let us wish away,
  And turn, sole-thoughted, to one lady there,
  Whose heart had brooded, all that wintry day,
  On love, and wing'd St Agnes' saintly care,
As she had heard old dames full rnany times declare.

  They told her how, upon St Agnes' Eve,
  Young virgins might have visions of delight,
  And soft adorings from their loves receive
  Upon the honey'd middle of the night,
  If ceremonies due they did aright;
  As, supperless to bed they must retire,
  And couch supine their beauties, lily white;
  Nor look behind, nor sideways, but require
Of Heaven with upward eyes for all that they desire.

  Full of this whim was thoughtful Madeline:
  The music, yearning like a God in pain,
  She scarcely heard: her maiden eyes divine,
  Fix'd on the floor, saw many a sweeping train
  Pass by--she heeded not at all: in vain
  Came many a tiptoe, amorous cavalier,
  And back retir'd; not cool'd by high disdain,
  But she saw not: her heart was otherwhere;
She sigh'd for Agnes' dreams, the sweetest of the year.

  She danc'd along with vague, regardless eyes,
  Anxious her lips, her breathing quick and short:
  The hallow'd hour was near at hand: she sighs
  Amid the timbrels, and the throng'd resort
  Of whisperers in anger, or in sport;
  'Mid looks of love, defiance, hate, and scorn,
  Hoodwink'd with faery fancy; all amort,
  Save to St Agnes and her lambs unshorn,
And all the bliss to be before to-morrow morn.

  So, purposing each moment to retire,
  She linger'd still. Meantime, across the moors,
  Had come young Porphyro, with heart on fire
  For Madeline. Beside the portal doors,
  Buttress'd from moonlight, stands he, and implores
  All saints to give him sight of Madeline,
  But for one moment in the tedious hours,
  That he might gaze and worship all unseen;
Perchance speak, kneel, touch, kiss-in sooth such things have been.

  He ventures in: let no buzz'd whisper tell:
  All eyes be muffled, or a hundred swords
  Will storm his heart, Love's fev'rous citadel:
  For him, those chambers held barbarian hordes,
  Hyena foemen, and hot-blooded lords,
  Whose very dogs would execrations howl
  Against his lineage: not one breast affords
  Him any mercy, in that mansion foul,
Save one old beldame, weak in body and in soul.

  Ah, happy chance! the aged creature came,
  Shuffling along with ivory-headed wand,
  To where he stood, hid from the torch's flame,
  Behind a broad hall-pillar, far beyond
  The sound of merriment and chorus bland.
  He startled her; but soon she knew his face,
  And grasp'd his fingers in her palsied hand,
  Saying, "Mercy, Porphyro! hie thee from this place;
"They are all here to-night, the whole blood-thirsty race!

  "Get hence! get hence! there's dwarfish Hildebrand;
  He had a fever late, and in the fit
  He cursed thee and thine, both house and land:
  Then there's that old Lord Maurice, not a whit
  More tame for his gray hairs--Alas me! flit!
  Flit like a ghost away."--Ah, gossip dear,
  We're safe enough; here in this arm-chair sit,
  And tell me how"--"Good saints! not here, not here;
Follow me, child, or else these stones will be thy bier."

  He follow'd through a lowly arched way,
  Brushing the cobwebs with his lofty plume,
  And as she mutter'd "Well-a-well-a-day!"
  He found him in a little moonlight room,
  Pale, lattic'd, chill, and silent as a tomb.
  "Now tell me where is Madeline", said he,
  "O tell me, Angela, by the holy loom
  Which none but secret sisterhood may see,
"When they St Agnes' wool are weaving piously."

  "St Agnes! Ah! it is St Agnes' Eve--
  Yet men will murder upon holy days:
  Thou must hold water in a witch's sieve,
  And be liege-lord of all the Elves and Fays
  To venture so: it fills me with amaze
  To see thee, Porphyro!--St Agnes' Eve!
  God's help! my lady fair the conjuror plays
  This very night: good angels her deceive!
But let me laugh awhile, I've mickle time to grieve."

  Feebly she laugheth in the languid moon,
  While Porphyro upon her face doth look,
  Like puzzled urchin on an aged crone
  Who keepeth clos'd a wondrous riddle-book,
  As spectacled she sits in chimney nook.
  But soon his eyes grew brilliant, when she told
  His lady's purpose; and he scarce could brook
  Tears, at the thought of those enchantments cold
And Madeline asleep in lap of legends old.

  Sudden a thought came like a full-blown rose,
  Flushing his brow, and in his pained heart
  Made purple riot: then doth he propose
  A stratagem, that makes the beldame start:
  "A cruel man and impious thou art:
  Sweet lady, let her pray, and sleep, and dream
  Alone with her good angels, far apart
  From wicked men like thee. Go, go!--I deem
Thou canst not surely be the same that thou didst seem."

  "I will not harm her, by all saints I swear,"
  Quoth Porphyro: "O may I ne'er find grace
  When my weak voice shall whisper its last prayer,
  If one of her soft ringlets I displace,
  Or look with ruffian passion in her face:
  Good Angela, believe me by these tears;
  Or I will, even in a moment's space,
  Awake, with horrid shout, my foemen's ears,
And beard them, though they be more fang'd than wolves and bears."

  "Ah! why wilt thou affright a feeble soul?
  A poor, weak, palsy-stricken, churchyard thing,
  Whose passing-bell may ere the midnight toll;
  Whose prayers for thee, each morn and evening,
  Were never miss'd." Thus plaining, doth she bring
  A gentler speech from burning Porphyro;
  So woeful, and of such deep sorrowing,
  That Angela gives promise she will do
Whatever he shall wish, betide her weal or woe.

  Which was, to lead him, in close secrecy,
  Even to Madeline's chamber, and there hide
  Him in a closet, of such privacy
  That he might see her beauty unespied,
  And win perhaps that night a peerless bride,
  While legion'd fairies pac'd the coverlet,
  And pale enchantment held her sleepy-eyed.
  Never on such a night have lovers met,
Since Merlin paid his Demon all the monstrous debt.

  "It shall be as thou wishest," said the Dame:
  "All cates and dainties shall be stored there
  Quickly on this feast-night: by the tambour frame
  Her own lute thou wilt see: no time to spare,
  For I am slow and feeble, and scarce dare
  On such a catering trust my dizzy head.
  Wait here, my child, with patience; kneel in prayer
  The while: Ah! thou must needs the lady wed,
Or may I never leave my grave among the dead."

  So saying, she hobbled off with busy fear.
  The lover's endless minutes slowly pass'd;
  The Dame return'd, and whisper'd in his ear
  To follow her; with aged eyes aghast
  From fright of dim espial. Safe at last
  Through many a dusky gallery, they gain
  The maiden's chamber, silken, hush'd and chaste;
  Where Porphyro took covert, pleas'd amain.
His poor guide hurried back with agues in her brain.

  Her falt'ring hand upon the balustrade,
  Old Angela was feeling for the stair,
  When Madeline, St Agnes' charmed maid,
  Rose, like a mission'd spirit, unaware:
  With silver taper's light, and pious care,
  She turn'd, and down the aged gossip led
  To a safe level matting. Now prepare,
  Young Porphyro, for gazing on that bed;
She comes, she comes again, like dove fray'd and fled.

  Out went the taper as she hurried in;
  Its little smoke, in pallid moonshine, died:
  She closed the door, she panted, all akin
  To spirits of the air, and visions wide:
  No utter'd syllable, or, woe betide!
  But to her heart, her heart was voluble,
  Paining with eloquence her balmy side;
  As though a tongueless nightingale should swell
Her throat in vain, and die, heart-stifled, in her dell.

  A casement high and triple-arch'd there was,
  All garlanded with carven imag'ries
  Of fruits, and flowers, and bunches of knot-grass,
  And diamonded with panes of quaint device,
  Innumerable of stains and splendid dyes,
  As are the tiger-moth's deep-damask'd wings;
  And in the midst, 'mong thousand heraldries,
  And twilight saints, and dim emblazonings,
A shielded scutcheon blush'd with blood of queens and kings.

  Full on this casement shone the wintry moon,
  And threw warm gules on Madeline's fair breast,
  As down she knelt for heaven's grace and boon;
  Rose-bloom fell on her hands, together prest,
  And on her silver cross soft amethyst,
  And on her hair a glory, like a saint:
  She seem'd a splendid angel, newly drest,
  Save wings, for heaven:--Porphyro grew faint:
She knelt, so pure a thing, so free from mortal taint.

  Anon his heart revives: her vespers done,
  Of all its wreathed pearls her hair she frees;
  Unclasps her warmed jewels one by one;
  Loosens her fragrant bodice; by degrees
  Her rich attire creeps rustling to her knees:
  Half-hidden, like a mermaid in sea-weed,
  Pensive awhile she dreams awake, and sees,
  In fancy, fair St Agnes in her bed,
But dares not look behind, or all the charm is fled.

  Soon, trembling in her soft and chilly nest,
  In sort of wakeful swoon, perplex'd she lay,
  Until the poppied warmth of sleep oppress'd
  Her soothed limbs, and soul fatigued away;
  Flown, like a thought, until the morrow-day;
  Blissfully haven'd both from joy and pain;
  Clasp'd like a missal where swart Paynims pray;
  Blinded alike from sunshine and from rain,
As though a rose should shut, and be a bud again.

  Stol'n to this paradise, and so entranced,
  Porphyro gazed upon her empty dress,
  And listen'd to her breathing, if it chanced
  To wake into a slumbrous tenderness;
  Which when he heard, that minute did he bless,
  And breath'd himself: then from the closet crept,
  Noiseless as fear in a wide wilderness,
  And over the hush'd carpet, silent, stept,
And 'tween the curtains peep'd, where, lo!--how fast she slept!

  Then by the bed-side, where the faded moon
  Made a dim, silver twilight, soft he set
  A table, and, half anguish'd, threw thereon
  A doth of woven crimson, gold, and jet:--
  O for some drowsy Morphean amulet!
  The boisterous, midnight, festive clarion,
  The kettle-drum, and far-heard clarinet,
  Affray his ears, though but in dying tone:--
The hall door shuts again, and all the noise is gone.

  And still she slept an azure-lidded sleep,
  In blanched linen, smooth, and lavender'd,
  While he from forth the closet brought a heap
  Of candied apple, quince, and plum, and gourd
  With jellies soother than the creamy curd,
  And lucent syrops, tinct with cinnamon;
  Manna and dates, in argosy transferr'd
  From Fez; and spiced dainties, every one,
From silken Samarcand to cedar'd Lebanon.

  These delicates he heap'd with glowing hand
  On golden dishes and in baskets bright
  Of wreathed silver: sumptuous they stand
  In the retired quiet of the night,
  Filling the chilly room with perfume light.--
  "And now, my love, my seraph fair, awake!
  Thou art my heaven, and I thine eremite:
  Open thine eyes, for meek St Agnes' sake,
Or I shall drowse beside thee, so my soul doth ache."

  Thus whispering, his warm, unnerved arm
  Sank in her pillow. Shaded was her dream
  By the dusk curtains:--'twas a midnight charm
  Impossible to melt as iced stream:
  The lustrous salvers in the moonlight gleam;
  Broad golden fringe upon the carpet lies:
  It seem'd he never, never could redeem
  From such a stedfast spell his lady's eyes;
So mus'd awhile, entoil'd in woofed phantasies.

  Awakening up, he took her hollow lute,--
  Tumultuous,--and, in chords that tenderest be,
  He play'd an ancient ditty, long since mute,
  In Provence call'd, "La belle dame sans mercy:"
  Close to her ear touching the melody:--
  Wherewith disturb'd, she utter'd a soft moan:
  He ceased--she panted quick--and suddenly
  Her blue affrayed eyes wide open shone:
Upon his knees he sank, pale as smooth-sculptured stone.

  Her eyes were open, but she still beheld,
  Now wide awake, the vision of her sleep:
  There was a painful change, that nigh expell'd
  The blisses of her dream so pure and deep,
  At which fair Madeline began to weep,
  And moan forth witless words with many a sigh;
  While still her gaze on Porphyro would keep;
  Who knelt, with joined hands and piteous eye,
Fearing to move or speak, she look'd so dreamingly.

  "Ah, Porphyro!" said she, "but even now
  Thy voice was at sweet tremble in mine ear,
  Made tuneable with every sweetest vow;
  And those sad eyes were spiritual and clear:
  How chang'd thou art! how pallid, chill, and drear!
  Give me that voice again, my Porphyro,
  Those looks immortal, those complainings dear!
  Oh leave me not in this eternal woe,
For if thou diest, my Love, I know not where to go."

  Beyond a mortal man impassion'd far
  At these voluptuous accents, he arose,
  Ethereal, flush'd, and like a throbbing star
  Seen mid the sapphire heaven's deep repose
  Into her dream he melted, as the rose
  Blendeth its odour with the violet,--
  Solution sweet: meantime the frost-wind blows
  Like Love's alarum pattering the sharp sleet
Against the window-panes; St Agnes' moon hath set.

  Tis dark: quick pattereth the flaw-blown sleet:
  "This is no dream, my bride, my Madeline!"
  'Tis dark: the iced gusts still rave and beat:
  "No dream, alas! alas! and woe is mine!
  Porphyro will leave me here to fade and pine.--
  Cruel! what traitor could thee hither bring?
  I curse not, for my heart is lost in thine
  Though thou forsakest a deceived thing;--
A dove forlorn and lost with sick unpruned wing."

  "My Madeline! sweet dreamer! lovely bride!
  Say, may I be for aye thy vassal blest?
  Thy beauty's shield, heart-shap'd and vermeil dyed?
  Ah, silver shrine, here will I take my rest
  After so many hours of toil and quest,
  A famish'd pilgrim,--saved by miracle.
  Though I have found, I will not rob thy nest
  Saving of thy sweet self; if thou think'st well
  To trust, fair Madeline, to no rude infidel.

  "Hark! 'tis an elfin-storm from faery land,
  Of haggard seeming, but a boon indeed:
  Arise--arise! the morning is at hand;--
  The bloated wassailers will never heed:--
  Let us away, my love, with happy speed;
  There are no ears to hear, or eyes to see,--
  Drown'd all in Rhenish and the sleepy mead:
  Awake! arise! my love, and fearless be,
For o'er the southern moors I have a home for thee."

  She hurried at his words, beset with fears,
  For there were sleeping dragons all around,
  At glaring watch, perhaps, with ready spears--
  Down the wide stairs a darkling way they found.--
  In all the house was heard no human sound.
  A chain-droop'd lamp was flickering by each door;
  The arras, rich with horseman, hawk, and hound,
  Flutter'd in the besieging wind's uproar;
And the long carpets rose along the gusty floor.

  They glide, like phantoms, into the wide hall;
  Like phantoms, to the iron porch, they glide;
  Where lay the Porter, in uneasy sprawl,
  With a huge empty flagon by his side:
  The wakeful bloodhound rose, and shook his hide,
  But his sagacious eye an inmate owns:
  By one, and one, the bolts fill easy slide:--
  The chains lie silent on the footworn stones,--
The key turns, and the door upon its hinges groans.

  And they are gone: ay, ages long ago
  These lovers fled away into the storm.
  That night the Baron dreamt of many a woe,
  And all his warrior-guests, with shade and form
  Of witch, and demon, and large coffin-worm,
  Were long be-nightmar'd. Angela the old
  Died palsy-twitch'd, with meagre face deform;
  The Beadsman, after thousand aves told,
For aye unsought for slept among his ashes cold.
In a letter to George Keats and his wife dated the 14th of February [1819], Keats says that he took with him to Chichester, where he had been staying in January, "some of the thin paper, and wrote on it a little poem called 'St. Agnes' Eve,' which you will have as it is, when I have finished the blank part of the rest for you." Lord Houghton says the poem "was begun on a visit in Hampshire, at the commencement of this year [1819], and finished on his return to Hampstead."

(stanza II.): Leigh Hunt says "The germ of the thought, or something like it, is in Dante, where he speaks of the figures that perform the part of sustaining columns in architecture. Keats had read Dante in Mr. Carey's translation, for which he had a great respect. He began to read him afterwards in Italian, which language he was mastering with surprising quickness.

(stanza XV): Hunt's comment is as follows: "He almost shed tears - of sympathy, to think how his treasure is exposed to the cold - and of delight and pride to think of her sleeping beauty, and her love for himself. THis passage 'asleep in lap of legends old' is in the highest imaginative taste, fusing together the imaginative and the spiritual, the remote and the near."
~ Poetical Works of John Keats, ed. H. Buxton Forman, Crowell publ. 1895. by owner. provided at no charge for educational purposes
~ John Keats, The Eve Of St. Agnes
340:The Coming Of Arthur
Leodogran, the King of Cameliard,
Had one fair daughter, and none other child;
And she was the fairest of all flesh on earth,
Guinevere, and in her his one delight.
For many a petty king ere Arthur came
Ruled in this isle, and ever waging war
Each upon other, wasted all the land;
And still from time to time the heathen host
Swarmed overseas, and harried what was left.
And so there grew great tracts of wilderness,
Wherein the beast was ever more and more,
But man was less and less, till Arthur came.
For first Aurelius lived and fought and died,
And after him King Uther fought and died,
But either failed to make the kingdom one.
And after these King Arthur for a space,
And through the puissance of his Table Round,
Drew all their petty princedoms under him.
Their king and head, and made a realm, and reigned.
And thus the land of Cameliard was waste,
Thick with wet woods, and many a beast therein,
And none or few to scare or chase the beast;
So that wild dog, and wolf and boar and bear
Came night and day, and rooted in the fields,
And wallowed in the gardens of the King.
And ever and anon the wolf would steal
The children and devour, but now and then,
Her own brood lost or dead, lent her fierce teat
To human sucklings; and the children, housed
In her foul den, there at their meat would growl,
And mock their foster mother on four feet,
Till, straightened, they grew up to wolf-like men,
Worse than the wolves. And King Leodogran
Groaned for the Roman legions here again,
And Csar's eagle: then his brother king,
Urien, assailed him: last a heathen horde,
Reddening the sun with smoke and earth with blood,
And on the spike that split the mother's heart
Spitting the child, brake on him, till, amazed,
He knew not whither he should turn for aid.
But--for he heard of Arthur newly crowned,
Though not without an uproar made by those
Who cried, `He is not Uther's son'--the King
Sent to him, saying, `Arise, and help us thou!
For here between the man and beast we die.'
And Arthur yet had done no deed of arms,
But heard the call, and came: and Guinevere
Stood by the castle walls to watch him pass;
But since he neither wore on helm or shield
The golden symbol of his kinglihood,
But rode a simple knight among his knights,
And many of these in richer arms than he,
She saw him not, or marked not, if she saw,
One among many, though his face was bare.
But Arthur, looking downward as he past,
Felt the light of her eyes into his life
Smite on the sudden, yet rode on, and pitched
His tents beside the forest. Then he drave
The heathen; after, slew the beast, and felled
The forest, letting in the sun, and made
Broad pathways for the hunter and the knight
And so returned.
For while he lingered there,
A doubt that ever smouldered in the hearts
Of those great Lords and Barons of his realm
Flashed forth and into war: for most of these,
Colleaguing with a score of petty kings,
Made head against him, crying, `Who is he
That he should rule us? who hath proven him
King Uther's son? for lo! we look at him,
And find nor face nor bearing, limbs nor voice,
Are like to those of Uther whom we knew.
This is the son of Gorlos, not the King;
This is the son of Anton, not the King.'
And Arthur, passing thence to battle, felt
Travail, and throes and agonies of the life,
Desiring to be joined with Guinevere;
And thinking as he rode, `Her father said
That there between the man and beast they die.
Shall I not lift her from this land of beasts
Up to my throne, and side by side with me?
What happiness to reign a lonely king,
Vext--O ye stars that shudder over me,
O earth that soundest hollow under me,
Vext with waste dreams? for saving I be joined
To her that is the fairest under heaven,
I seem as nothing in the mighty world,
And cannot will my will, nor work my work
Wholly, nor make myself in mine own realm
Victor and lord. But were I joined with her,
Then might we live together as one life,
And reigning with one will in everything
Have power on this dark land to lighten it,
And power on this dead world to make it live.'
Thereafter--as he speaks who tells the tale-When Arthur reached a field-of-battle bright
With pitched pavilions of his foe, the world
Was all so clear about him, that he saw
The smallest rock far on the faintest hill,
And even in high day the morning star.
So when the King had set his banner broad,
At once from either side, with trumpet-blast,
And shouts, and clarions shrilling unto blood,
The long-lanced battle let their horses run.
And now the Barons and the kings prevailed,
And now the King, as here and there that war
Went swaying; but the Powers who walk the world
Made lightnings and great thunders over him,
And dazed all eyes, till Arthur by main might,
And mightier of his hands with every blow,
And leading all his knighthood threw the kings
Cardos, Urien, Cradlemont of Wales,
Claudias, and Clariance of Northumberland,
The King Brandagoras of Latangor,
With Anguisant of Erin, Morganore,
And Lot of Orkney. Then, before a voice
As dreadful as the shout of one who sees
To one who sins, and deems himself alone
And all the world asleep, they swerved and brake
Flying, and Arthur called to stay the brands
That hacked among the flyers, `Ho! they yield!'
So like a painted battle the war stood
Silenced, the living quiet as the dead,
And in the heart of Arthur joy was lord.
He laughed upon his warrior whom he loved
And honoured most. `Thou dost not doubt me King,
So well thine arm hath wrought for me today.'
`Sir and my liege,' he cried, `the fire of God
Descends upon thee in the battle-field:
I know thee for my King!' Whereat the two,
For each had warded either in the fight,
Sware on the field of death a deathless love.
And Arthur said, `Man's word is God in man:
Let chance what will, I trust thee to the death.'
Then quickly from the foughten field he sent
Ulfius, and Brastias, and Bedivere,
His new-made knights, to King Leodogran,
Saying, `If I in aught have served thee well,
Give me thy daughter Guinevere to wife.'
Whom when he heard, Leodogran in heart
Debating--`How should I that am a king,
However much he holp me at my need,
Give my one daughter saving to a king,
And a king's son?'--lifted his voice, and called
A hoary man, his chamberlain, to whom
He trusted all things, and of him required
His counsel: `Knowest thou aught of Arthur's birth?'
Then spake the hoary chamberlain and said,
`Sir King, there be but two old men that know:
And each is twice as old as I; and one
Is Merlin, the wise man that ever served
King Uther through his magic art; and one
Is Merlin's master (so they call him) Bleys,
Who taught him magic, but the scholar ran
Before the master, and so far, that Bleys,
Laid magic by, and sat him down, and wrote
All things and whatsoever Merlin did
In one great annal-book, where after-years
Will learn the secret of our Arthur's birth.'
To whom the King Leodogran replied,
`O friend, had I been holpen half as well
By this King Arthur as by thee today,
Then beast and man had had their share of me:
But summon here before us yet once more
Ulfius, and Brastias, and Bedivere.'
Then, when they came before him, the King said,
`I have seen the cuckoo chased by lesser fowl,
And reason in the chase: but wherefore now
Do these your lords stir up the heat of war,
Some calling Arthur born of Gorlos,
Others of Anton? Tell me, ye yourselves,
Hold ye this Arthur for King Uther's son?'
And Ulfius and Brastias answered, `Ay.'
Then Bedivere, the first of all his knights
Knighted by Arthur at his crowning, spake-For bold in heart and act and word was he,
Whenever slander breathed against the King-`Sir, there be many rumours on this head:
For there be those who hate him in their hearts,
Call him baseborn, and since his ways are sweet,
And theirs are bestial, hold him less than man:
And there be those who deem him more than man,
And dream he dropt from heaven: but my belief
In all this matter--so ye care to learn-Sir, for ye know that in King Uther's time
The prince and warrior Gorlos, he that held
Tintagil castle by the Cornish sea,
Was wedded with a winsome wife, Ygerne:
And daughters had she borne him,--one whereof,
Lot's wife, the Queen of Orkney, Bellicent,
Hath ever like a loyal sister cleaved
To Arthur,--but a son she had not borne.
And Uther cast upon her eyes of love:
But she, a stainless wife to Gorlos,
So loathed the bright dishonour of his love,
That Gorlos and King Uther went to war:
And overthrown was Gorlos and slain.
Then Uther in his wrath and heat besieged
Ygerne within Tintagil, where her men,
Seeing the mighty swarm about their walls,
Left her and fled, and Uther entered in,
And there was none to call to but himself.
So, compassed by the power of the King,
Enforced was she to wed him in her tears,
And with a shameful swiftness: afterward,
Not many moons, King Uther died himself,
Moaning and wailing for an heir to rule
After him, lest the realm should go to wrack.
And that same night, the night of the new year,
By reason of the bitterness and grief
That vext his mother, all before his time
Was Arthur born, and all as soon as born
Delivered at a secret postern-gate
To Merlin, to be holden far apart
Until his hour should come; because the lords
Of that fierce day were as the lords of this,
Wild beasts, and surely would have torn the child
Piecemeal among them, had they known; for each
But sought to rule for his own self and hand,
And many hated Uther for the sake
Of Gorlos. Wherefore Merlin took the child,
And gave him to Sir Anton, an old knight
And ancient friend of Uther; and his wife
Nursed the young prince, and reared him with her own;
And no man knew. And ever since the lords
Have foughten like wild beasts among themselves,
So that the realm has gone to wrack: but now,
This year, when Merlin (for his hour had come)
Brought Arthur forth, and set him in the hall,
Proclaiming, "Here is Uther's heir, your king,"
A hundred voices cried, "Away with him!
No king of ours! a son of Gorlos he,
Or else the child of Anton, and no king,
Or else baseborn." Yet Merlin through his craft,
And while the people clamoured for a king,
Had Arthur crowned; but after, the great lords
Banded, and so brake out in open war.'
Then while the King debated with himself
If Arthur were the child of shamefulness,
Or born the son of Gorlos, after death,
Or Uther's son, and born before his time,
Or whether there were truth in anything
Said by these three, there came to Cameliard,
With Gawain and young Modred, her two sons,
Lot's wife, the Queen of Orkney, Bellicent;
Whom as he could, not as he would, the King
Made feast for, saying, as they sat at meat,
`A doubtful throne is ice on summer seas.
Ye come from Arthur's court. Victor his men
Report him! Yea, but ye--think ye this king-So many those that hate him, and so strong,
So few his knights, however brave they be-Hath body enow to hold his foemen down?'
`O King,' she cried, `and I will tell thee: few,
Few, but all brave, all of one mind with him;
For I was near him when the savage yells
Of Uther's peerage died, and Arthur sat
Crowned on the das, and his warriors cried,
"Be thou the king, and we will work thy will
Who love thee." Then the King in low deep tones,
And simple words of great authority,
Bound them by so strait vows to his own self,
That when they rose, knighted from kneeling, some
Were pale as at the passing of a ghost,
Some flushed, and others dazed, as one who wakes
Half-blinded at the coming of a light.
`But when he spake and cheered his Table Round
With large, divine, and comfortable words,
Beyond my tongue to tell thee--I beheld
From eye to eye through all their Order flash
A momentary likeness of the King:
And ere it left their faces, through the cross
And those around it and the Crucified,
Down from the casement over Arthur, smote
Flame-colour, vert and azure, in three rays,
One falling upon each of three fair queens,
Who stood in silence near his throne, the friends
Of Arthur, gazing on him, tall, with bright
Sweet faces, who will help him at his need.
`And there I saw mage Merlin, whose vast wit
And hundred winters are but as the hands
Of loyal vassals toiling for their liege.
`And near him stood the Lady of the Lake,
Who knows a subtler magic than his own-Clothed in white samite, mystic, wonderful.
She gave the King his huge cross-hilted sword,
Whereby to drive the heathen out: a mist
Of incense curled about her, and her face
Wellnigh was hidden in the minster gloom;
But there was heard among the holy hymns
A voice as of the waters, for she dwells
Down in a deep; calm, whatsoever storms
May shake the world, and when the surface rolls,
Hath power to walk the waters like our Lord.
`There likewise I beheld Excalibur
Before him at his crowning borne, the sword
That rose from out the bosom of the lake,
And Arthur rowed across and took it--rich
With jewels, elfin Urim, on the hilt,
Bewildering heart and eye--the blade so bright
That men are blinded by it--on one side,
Graven in the oldest tongue of all this world,
"Take me," but turn the blade and ye shall see,
And written in the speech ye speak yourself,
"Cast me away!" And sad was Arthur's face
Taking it, but old Merlin counselled him,
"Take thou and strike! the time to cast away
Is yet far-off." So this great brand the king
Took, and by this will beat his foemen down.'
Thereat Leodogran rejoiced, but thought
To sift his doubtings to the last, and asked,
Fixing full eyes of question on her face,
`The swallow and the swift are near akin,
But thou art closer to this noble prince,
Being his own dear sister;' and she said,
`Daughter of Gorlos and Ygerne am I;'
`And therefore Arthur's sister?' asked the King.
She answered, `These be secret things,' and signed
To those two sons to pass, and let them be.
And Gawain went, and breaking into song
Sprang out, and followed by his flying hair
Ran like a colt, and leapt at all he saw:
But Modred laid his ear beside the doors,
And there half-heard; the same that afterward
Struck for the throne, and striking found his doom.
And then the Queen made answer, `What know I?
For dark my mother was in eyes and hair,
And dark in hair and eyes am I; and dark
Was Gorlos, yea and dark was Uther too,
Wellnigh to blackness; but this King is fair
Beyond the race of Britons and of men.
Moreover, always in my mind I hear
A cry from out the dawning of my life,
A mother weeping, and I hear her say,
"O that ye had some brother, pretty one,
To guard thee on the rough ways of the world."'
`Ay,' said the King, `and hear ye such a cry?
But when did Arthur chance upon thee first?'
`O King!' she cried, `and I will tell thee true:
He found me first when yet a little maid:
Beaten I had been for a little fault
Whereof I was not guilty; and out I ran
And flung myself down on a bank of heath,
And hated this fair world and all therein,
And wept, and wished that I were dead; and he-I know not whether of himself he came,
Or brought by Merlin, who, they say, can walk
Unseen at pleasure--he was at my side,
And spake sweet words, and comforted my heart,
And dried my tears, being a child with me.
And many a time he came, and evermore
As I grew greater grew with me; and sad
At times he seemed, and sad with him was I,
Stern too at times, and then I loved him not,
But sweet again, and then I loved him well.
And now of late I see him less and less,
But those first days had golden hours for me,
For then I surely thought he would be king.
`But let me tell thee now another tale:
For Bleys, our Merlin's master, as they say,
Died but of late, and sent his cry to me,
To hear him speak before he left his life.
Shrunk like a fairy changeling lay the mage;
And when I entered told me that himself
And Merlin ever served about the King,
Uther, before he died; and on the night
When Uther in Tintagil past away
Moaning and wailing for an heir, the two
Left the still King, and passing forth to breathe,
Then from the castle gateway by the chasm
Descending through the dismal night--a night
In which the bounds of heaven and earth were lost-Beheld, so high upon the dreary deeps
It seemed in heaven, a ship, the shape thereof
A dragon winged, and all from stern to stern
Bright with a shining people on the decks,
And gone as soon as seen. And then the two
Dropt to the cove, and watched the great sea fall,
Wave after wave, each mightier than the last,
Till last, a ninth one, gathering half the deep
And full of voices, slowly rose and plunged
Roaring, and all the wave was in a flame:
And down the wave and in the flame was borne
A naked babe, and rode to Merlin's feet,
Who stoopt and caught the babe, and cried "The King!
Here is an heir for Uther!" And the fringe
Of that great breaker, sweeping up the strand,
Lashed at the wizard as he spake the word,
And all at once all round him rose in fire,
So that the child and he were clothed in fire.
And presently thereafter followed calm,
Free sky and stars: "And this the same child," he said,
"Is he who reigns; nor could I part in peace
Till this were told." And saying this the seer
Went through the strait and dreadful pass of death,
Not ever to be questioned any more
Save on the further side; but when I met
Merlin, and asked him if these things were truth-The shining dragon and the naked child
Descending in the glory of the seas-He laughed as is his wont, and answered me
In riddling triplets of old time, and said:
`"Rain, rain, and sun! a rainbow in the sky!
A young man will be wiser by and by;
An old man's wit may wander ere he die.
Rain, rain, and sun! a rainbow on the lea!
And truth is this to me, and that to thee;
And truth or clothed or naked let it be.
Rain, sun, and rain! and the free blossom blows:
Sun, rain, and sun! and where is he who knows?
From the great deep to the great deep he goes."
`So Merlin riddling angered me; but thou
Fear not to give this King thy only child,
Guinevere: so great bards of him will sing
Hereafter; and dark sayings from of old
Ranging and ringing through the minds of men,
And echoed by old folk beside their fires
For comfort after their wage-work is done,
Speak of the King; and Merlin in our time
Hath spoken also, not in jest, and sworn
Though men may wound him that he will not die,
But pass, again to come; and then or now
Utterly smite the heathen underfoot,
Till these and all men hail him for their king.'
She spake and King Leodogran rejoiced,
But musing, `Shall I answer yea or nay?'
Doubted, and drowsed, nodded and slept, and saw,
Dreaming, a slope of land that ever grew,
Field after field, up to a height, the peak
Haze-hidden, and thereon a phantom king,
Now looming, and now lost; and on the slope
The sword rose, the hind fell, the herd was driven,
Fire glimpsed; and all the land from roof and rick,
In drifts of smoke before a rolling wind,
Streamed to the peak, and mingled with the haze
And made it thicker; while the phantom king
Sent out at times a voice; and here or there
Stood one who pointed toward the voice, the rest
Slew on and burnt, crying, `No king of ours,
No son of Uther, and no king of ours;'
Till with a wink his dream was changed, the haze
Descended, and the solid earth became
As nothing, but the King stood out in heaven,
Crowned. And Leodogran awoke, and sent
Ulfius, and Brastias and Bedivere,
Back to the court of Arthur answering yea.
Then Arthur charged his warrior whom he loved
And honoured most, Sir Lancelot, to ride forth
And bring the Queen;--and watched him from the gates:
And Lancelot past away among the flowers,
(For then was latter April) and returned
Among the flowers, in May, with Guinevere.
To whom arrived, by Dubric the high saint,
Chief of the church in Britain, and before
The stateliest of her altar-shrines, the King
That morn was married, while in stainless white,
The fair beginners of a nobler time,
And glorying in their vows and him, his knights
Stood around him, and rejoicing in his joy.
Far shone the fields of May through open door,
The sacred altar blossomed white with May,
The Sun of May descended on their King,
They gazed on all earth's beauty in their Queen,
Rolled incense, and there past along the hymns
A voice as of the waters, while the two
Sware at the shrine of Christ a deathless love:
And Arthur said, `Behold, thy doom is mine.
Let chance what will, I love thee to the death!'
To whom the Queen replied with drooping eyes,
`King and my lord, I love thee to the death!'
And holy Dubric spread his hands and spake,
`Reign ye, and live and love, and make the world
Other, and may thy Queen be one with thee,
And all this Order of thy Table Round
Fulfil the boundless purpose of their King!'
So Dubric said; but when they left the shrine
Great Lords from Rome before the portal stood,
In scornful stillness gazing as they past;
Then while they paced a city all on fire
With sun and cloth of gold, the trumpets blew,
And Arthur's knighthood sang before the King:-`Blow, trumpet, for the world is white with May;
Blow trumpet, the long night hath rolled away!
Blow through the living world--"Let the King reign."
`Shall Rome or Heathen rule in Arthur's realm?
Flash brand and lance, fall battleaxe upon helm,
Fall battleaxe, and flash brand! Let the King reign.
`Strike for the King and live! his knights have heard
That God hath told the King a secret word.
Fall battleaxe, and flash brand! Let the King reign.
`Blow trumpet! he will lift us from the dust.
Blow trumpet! live the strength and die the lust!
Clang battleaxe, and clash brand! Let the King reign.
`Strike for the King and die! and if thou diest,
The King is King, and ever wills the highest.
Clang battleaxe, and clash brand! Let the King reign.
`Blow, for our Sun is mighty in his May!
Blow, for our Sun is mightier day by day!
Clang battleaxe, and clash brand! Let the King reign.
`The King will follow Christ, and we the King
In whom high God hath breathed a secret thing.
Fall battleaxe, and flash brand! Let the King reign.'
So sang the knighthood, moving to their hall.
There at the banquet those great Lords from Rome,
The slowly-fading mistress of the world,
Strode in, and claimed their tribute as of yore.
But Arthur spake, `Behold, for these have sworn
To wage my wars, and worship me their King;
The old order changeth, yielding place to new;
And we that fight for our fair father Christ,
Seeing that ye be grown too weak and old
To drive the heathen from your Roman wall,
No tribute will we pay:' so those great lords
Drew back in wrath, and Arthur strove with Rome.
And Arthur and his knighthood for a space
Were all one will, and through that strength the King
Drew in the petty princedoms under him,
Fought, and in twelve great battles overcame
The heathen hordes, and made a realm and reigned.
~ Alfred Lord Tennyson,
341:A Tale Of True Love
Not in the mist of legendary ages,
Which in sad moments men call long ago,
And people with bards, heroes, saints, and sages,
And virtues vanished, since we do not know,
But here to-day wherein we all grow old,
But only we, this Tale of True Love will be told.
For Earth to tender wisdom grows not older,
But to young hearts remains for ever young,
Spring no less winsome, Winter winds no colder,
Than when tales first were told, songs first were sung.
And all things always still remain the same,
That touch the human heart, and feed Love's vestal flame.
And, if you have ears to hear and eyes for seeing,
Maidens there be, as were there in your youth,
That round you breathe, and move, and have their being,
Fair as Greek Helen, pure as Hebrew Ruth;
With Heaven-appointed poets, quick to sing
Of blameless warrior brave, and wisdom-counselled king.
And, tho' in this our day, youth, love, and beauty,
Are far too often glorified as slave
Of every sense except the sense of Duty,
In fables that dishonour and deprave,
The old-world Creeds still linger, taught us by
The pious lips that mute now in the churchyard lie.
And this true simple tale in verse as simple
Will from its prelude to its close be told,
As free from artifice as is the dimple
In childhood's cheek, whereby is age consoled.
And haply it may soothe some sufferer's lot,
When noisier notes are husht, and newer ones forgot.
And think not, of your graciousness, I pray you,
Who tells the tale is one of those who deem
That love will beckon only to betray you,
Life an illusion, happiness a dream;
Only that noble grief is happier far
Than transitory lusts and feverish raptures are.
It was the season when aggressive Winter,
That had so long invested the sealed world,
With frosts that starve and hurricanes that splinter,
And rain, hail, blizzard, mercilessly hurled,
Made one forlorn last effort to assail
Ere Spring's relieving spears came riding on the gale.
For Amazonian March with breast uncovered
Blew loud her clarion, and the wintry host
Took courage fresh and lingeringly hovered
Round vale and hill, wherever needed most;
And ever and anon the raging weather
And wolfish winds re-formed, and onward swept together,
Loud-bellowing to the thunder-clouds to follow:
But all in vain, for here, there, everywhere,
Primrose battalions, seizing ridge and hollow,
Dingle, and covert, wind-flowers wild that dare
Beyond their seeming, bluebells without sound,
And scentless violets peeped, to spring up from the ground.
And, covering their advance, swift-scouring showers,
Gathering, dispersing, skirmished through the sky,
Till squadrons of innumerable flowers
Thronged through the land far as you could descry.
Then Winter, smitten with despair and dread,
Folded his fluttering tents, sounded retreat, and fled.
Whereat the land, so long beleaguered, seeing
The peril past, and Winter's iron ring
Broken, and all his cohorts norward fleeing,
Came forth to welcome and embrace the Spring,
Spring the Deliverer, and from sea and shore
Rose the rejoicing shout, ``See, April dawns once more!''
Radiant she came, attended by her zephyrs,
And forth from dusky stall and hurdled fold
Poured lowing kine and sleeky-coated heifers,
To roam at will through pastures green and gold,
Where unweaned lambs from morning until night
Raced round their nibbling dams, and frolicked with delight.
High up, on larch and cypress, merle and mavis
Vociferated love-lays sweet as strong,
And the bird dear to Homer and to Hafiz
Proclaimed the joy of sadness all night long;
Vowed each new Spring more Spring-like than the last,
And triumphed over Time, futile iconoclast.
Then imperceptibly and slowly rounded
Slim girlish April into maiden May,
Whereat still louder everywhere resounded
The cuckoo's call and throstle's roundelay.
It was as though in meadow, chase, and wood,
God made the world anew, and saw that it was good.
Then feudal Avoncourt, the stern and stately,
Whose dawn deep hidden in undated days,
Not like those palaces erected lately
Whose feet swift crumble, and whose face decays,
Defieth Time's insatiable tooth,
Relaxed grave gaze and wore the countenance of youth.
It had beheld kings and proud empires vanish,
Male sceptres shattered, princedoms pass away,
Norman, Plantagenet, Lombard, Swabian, Spanish,
Rise, rule, then totter, and topple from their sway;
York and Lancastrian Rose unfold and bloom,
Then canker and decay, and vanish in the tomb.
It faces the four winds with like demeanour
Norward as Southernward, as though to say,
``Blow from some other, stronger and still keener,
Wherefrom you will, and I will face that way.''
And round it as you roam, to gaze perplexed
Each side seems loveliest till you look upon the next.
Its present seeming unto ages Tudor
It owes, by unnamed, unknown hands designed,
Who planned and worked amid a folk deemed ruder,
But who with grace enduring strength combined.
Like sturdy oak with all its leaves still on,
When foliage from elm and sycamore have gone.
Upon its delicate, lofty-jutting portal
Imaginative minds and hands have wrought
Of dead artificers once deemed immortal,
From Southern climes by kings and magnates brought,
When architects and sculptors smiled in scorn
On plain defensive days and called the world reborn.
But time hath mellowed mullion, roof, and gable,
Stone-work without, and wainscotting within;
And nigh them oaken-timbered barn and stable,
Lowlier, withal of countenance akin,
Cluster, for in times olden, meek, and proud,
Being nearer much than now, their kinship was avowed.
From it slope woodlands and long alleys shaded,
Saving that all around it and more near
Stretches wild chase by ploughshare uninvaded,
Where roam rough cattle and unherded deer,
That look up as you pass from brackened sod,
Then flee with step as fleet as that whereon they trod.
Through vale below from many a source unfailing
A river flows where deft hands cast the line,
Well stocked with wary trout and bolder grayling.
Through smooth, fat pastures dotted o'er with kine
League after league the water winds away,
Oft turning as though loth from Avoncourt to stray.
It was in the sweet season that hath ravished
The virgin heart since ever love began,
A maiden, upon whom had Nature lavished
Each fair gift given to maiden or to man,
Roamed all alone through windings of its wood,
Seeking the way to where Avoncourt haply stood.
Onward in search of it she went, but slowly,
For who could hasten through so fresh a scene,
With violets paved, the lovelier because lowly,
And pallid primroses on ground of green;
While overhead each bird that hath a voice
Seemed in its own blithe notes to revel and rejoice.
And ever and anon she gazed around her,
Or knelt to gather some appealing flower,
And to dear God, the Father and the Founder
Of all things good, the all-protecting Power,
Breathed a brief prayer of thanks within her breast,
Feeling she roamed in Heaven on earth made manifest.
Sometimes she broke into spontaneous singing,
Such as fond nurse to fretful babe might sing,
Whose close as sudden is as its beginning.
Herself she seemed a portion of the Spring
Which, if she went, would lose the chiefest part
Of that which charms the gaze and captivates the heart.
At length she passed from out these paths embowered
To where meek does, young fawns, and shaggy beeves
Ranged amid bracken; but the House, that towered
Full nigh at hand, for intercepting leaves
She still descried not, so, advancing under
An arch of hornbeam, stood in husht, astonied wonder.
For there it rose as silent and abstracted
As though it nothing shared or had to say
With those that shadow-like have lived and acted
Upon the stage we call our later day;
From passing passions thoughtfully aloof,
Through age, not pride, without lamenting or reproof.
Then slowly timid, tentative explorer,
Longing to see yet dreading to be seen,
Asudden living figure rose before her
Of manly mould and meditative mien;
Modern, withal with air of ancient port,
As if the same blood flowed through him and Avoncourt.
``Forgive,'' she said, ``an overbold intruder!''
``I doubt if anywhere you would intrude;
But sooth none do on this survival Tudor,
Who visit its old age in reverent mood.''
``And that indeed I do. I never saw
Aught that I so admired, or felt for so much awe.''
``Will you, I round it willingly can guide you,
Unless-and, told, shall fully understand,Wander you rather would with none beside you
To mar the silence of the windless land,
Saving Spring's choristers, whose constant trills
One hears or doth not hear, according as one wills.''
``You know it well?'' she asked. ``I ought to know it.
Here was I born, here grew to boy's estate,
Pored o'er the page of storier and poet,
All that is big, magnanimous, and great,
Hardened my own, tried my dear Mother's nerves,
Robbed the home orchard, poached my Father's own preserves.''
``And are you now its occupant and possessor?''
``So called, alas! whose ancestors have paid
The final tax, by Death the stern assessor
On all poor mortals equitably laid.
I have a leasehold; no one can have more,
This side at least the vague, still-undiscovered shore.''
Thereat there fell a silence on their speaking,
And on they moved, he follower more than guide;
Oblivious she what 'twas that she was seeking,
Since conscious now of manhood at her side.
Withal, so much there was to lure her gaze,
That his on her could rest, nor stint its look of praise.
Then when they reached the Jacobean portal,
Back rolled its doors of iron brace and stay,
On grooves that seemed more cut for feet immortal
Than for a feeble transitory day,
And mounted oaken stair axe-hewn, unplaned,
With lion-headed piers unpolished and unstained.
From coffered ceiling hung down tattered banners,
And weapons warlike deadly deemed no more
Were parked on landing; grants of ancient manors,
With charts and parchments of black-letter lore,
Stacked spears and dinted armour; ebon presses
With jealous bolts stood locked in embrasured recesses.
Chamber on chamber wainscotted and spacious
Was lined with effigies of warriors wise,
Reticent rulers, dames revered and gracious,
Whose fingers wove the silken tapestries,
Time-toned but faded not, that draped the wall
Of gallery long and straight, and square-set banquet-hall.
About lay obsolete instruments, wheel and spindle,
When women read much less and knew much more,
Huge logs for early-rising maids to kindle
On deep-set hearths, mottoes of lasting lore
In ancient tongues, Norman, or Saxon stave,
Bidding man live and die, meek, pious, steadfast, brave.
And many a question asked she, always getting
The answer craved for, given prompt and plain.
``But look,'' she said, ``the sun will soon be setting,
And that old dial-hand that doth nor gain
Nor lose, I am sure, in its diurnal pace,
Reproves me I still lag in this enthralling place.''
``Then come again,'' he answered, ``at your leisure,''
And led her outward where the ancient pile
Looked as though dwelt within no special treasure,
And owned no spell nor charm save sunset's smile;
Like one of those large natures that betray
No sign that they are made of more than common clay.
``And may I ask, your homeward footsteps, whither?
What! there! it is on Avoncourt estate,
And I by shorter path can guide you thither
Than that you came by, fear you to be late.
You lodge with much-loved tenants, for the wife
My foster-parent was in rosy-dawning life.''
``She did not tell me that; but sooth our meeting
Was but two days back, though I quickly saw
That she for you would evermore be bleating
With voice of blent solicitude and awe.''
``'Tis so: on Sundays with a spirit meek
She worships God, then me the rest of all the week.''
Wending and winding under curved ways shaded,
Wider than heretofore, they farmward trod,
While twilight incense all the air pervaded
Round flower-decked altar at the shrine of God,
This sacred Earth, and for approaching night
One star kept watch, as yet Heaven's only lamp alight.
To her it seemed the Real and Ideal
At last were one, and every bird that sings
Joined prayerfully in chorus hymeneal,
Ere folding music underneath its wings.
How little did she guess that ambushed grief
Watched all her thoughts and lurked 'neath every dewy leaf!
``Are both your parents at the farmstead staying?''
``Alas!'' she said, ``like yours, they both abide
My coming further off, and in my praying
Alone survive; my guardian and my guide
My Mother's sister, whom we there shall find,
Most loving and most loved of living womankind.''
Where buttressed Church with crenellated Tower
Over the village still kept watch and ward;
``For these,'' he said, ``inherited have that power,
The pious citadels of peace that guard
The sin-beleaguered soul, and still repel
From humble homes and hearts the ravening hosts of hell.''
Within were monuments of home-delved marble,
Whereon lay figures of his race and name,
Crusaders whose dead deeds no time can garble,
Learning destroy, malignity defame:
Legs crossed, feet resting against faithful hound,
And, at their side, their dames and children kneeling round.
Then would they wend them valeward to the river,
And he cast line that neither curled nor sank.
Round ran the reel, then the lithe rod would quiver,
And May-fly trout lie gasping on the bank,
Or, like a flying shadow through the stream,
Startled, would pass to pool sheltered from noonday gleam.
Which pleased her most, for sooth she thought sport cruel,
Yet watched it for the sake of his rare skill,
But happiest when asudden wingèd jewel,
The king-fisher, disturbed near rustic mill,
Darted, and deep into its nest withdrew,
Shortly to issue forth, and, flickering, raid anew.
So passed the days unnoticed and uncounted,
As louder, longer, later, piped the merle,
And cuckoo oftener called, if harsher throated,
And hawthorn decked itself with loops of pearl.
It seemed a world reborn without its woes:
Woodbine was in the lanes, and everywhere the rose.
All things that are in that seductive season
In them struck root and with them got entwined;
Looking before or after had seemed treason
To the free heart and unconditioned mind,
As daily tightened beyond time's control
That strongest of all ties, the kinship of the soul.
And deeper into bliss they wandered blindly,
While woe and wet winds kept from them aloof,
As from screened homestead visitings unkindly,
Where old-world windows under gabled roof
Seem gazing at the present from the past,
And wondering how long such happiness will last.
Ah me! the days of Summer, not of Winter,
The shortest are and swiftest glide away,
And leaves of Autumn, sober mezzotinter,
Linger far longer than the blooms of May.
Time that, when fledged by joy, finds wings to fly,
With sorrow for its load limps slowly, wearily.
One evening, as they watched the sunset fading,
``To strangers Avoncourt must never pass,
For that would be dishonouring and degrading,''
Thinking aloud he said: ``withal, alas!
Sit by its hearth they must, and much I fear
That there they must abide for many a coming year.
``No fault of mine nor yet of those now sleeping
In tombs ancestral. Unrelenting time,
That hath the future in its unseen keeping,
Hath lowered the lofty, let the lowly climb,
And swept away the sustenance of my home.
What is there that endures? Go ask of Greece or Rome.
``Mullion from sill, transom from beam, is cracking,
Beauty and majesty their only stay;
And, save new wealth supply what now is lacking,
These too in turn will slowly pass away.
And I must save and strive in duteous ways,
So irksome felt by most in these luxurious days.''
``There is another way, some deem a duty,
None call unworthy,'' slowly she replied.
``Women there be, gifted with charm and beauty,
On whom hath Fortune lavished wealth beside.''
``I am not made like that,'' he firmly said;
``I but for love alone should ever woo or wed.''
And, as he said it, on her face he centred
Strong tender gaze, as though to search her soul,
Which straight so deep into her being entered,
She felt a current beyond will's control.
Crimsoning she turned aside, and thus confessed
The secret she had thought to hide within her breast.
Out of a cloud long gathering burst a flashing,
Followed by thunder's discontented sound;
And straight they heard slow big round raindrops plashing
On the green leaves o'erhead and emerald ground.
``Hark! I must hasten home,'' she said, ``before
The storm-wrack breaks.''-``And I will see you to your door.''
All through the morrow much he seemed to ponder,
And oft would halt and gaze upon the ground,
Or look out fixedly on something yonder,
Unseen by others, which at last he found,
And then strode quickly on, since he had solved
The doubt that would die out oftener the years revolved.
``Yes, for she hath that higher understanding
That routs Life's phantoms with a fearless face,
And knows, when spectral enemies throng banding,
The good from bad, the noble from the base.
To-morrow will I offer, ask for, all,
Love, Faith, and Hope can give, whatever else befall.''
But on the morrow came she not. More lonely,
Wandering, he felt than ever heretofore;
Nor on the morrow's morrow, and he only
Could wait her will, nor wend unto their door
Till wearily some doubtful days crept on,
And then the farmstead sought, to find its guests had gone!
Gone three days back, and none knew why or whither.
Then he with promptitude unleashed his mind,
In search for trace, now hither and now thither,
But trace or tidings nowhere could he find.
Still unremittingly he sought: in vain
Was search within our shore, was search beyond the main.
Slowly the glory from the Summer faded,
And ominously leaves began to fall;
And ever and anon harsh gusts invaded
Avoncourt, moaning through deserted hall,
And roaring woefully up chimney wide;
And mute the deerhound clung unto her master's side,
Or gazed at him with sad look sympathetic,
As though it too missed what its master missed.
``Ah, Lufra!'' said he in a voice prophetic,
``She is gone, and we shall never see her more.
Cling you to me, and I will take you where
Wander awhile I must, wherever I may fare.
``No more than you can I unmask the meaning
Of hapless things that baffle mortal vows.''
Then, sighing, saw he white-haired Winter gleaning,
Amid the crackling drift and fallen boughs
That lay on avenue, chase, and garden garth,
Fuel to feed faint flame upon her widowed hearth.
He was not one of those who love to wrangle
Before the populace for place and power,
Or fight for wealth with weapons that but strangle
The nobler passions, manhood's richest dower.
``I will return when wound shall less be felt,
And work among my folk, dwelling where once she dwelt.''
Farewell he took of wood-reeve, keeper, ranger,
And tenants grave with grief, and some in tears,
And order gave that Avoncourt to stranger
Be leased for maybe many coming years;
Then crossed the vigilant, unsleeping sea
That ranges round our Isle, to keep it great and free.
He lingered not in that vain-glorious city,
Whose Rulers pass the sceptre to the crowd,
But wended to the Land where amorous ditty
By swain at work to maid is sung aloud;
Where life is simple, and unchanging ways
Of tillage still recall loved Virgil's rustic lays:
Where on majestic pedestals the mighty
Marble imaginings of Art august,
Thought-wrinkled Zeus and dimpled Aphrodité,
Exact our homage and command our trust;
Immortal gods whose never-ending sway
Rebellion cannot shake nor scoffing sweep away.
And in that high companionship he slowly
Stifled his sighs and cicatrised his wound,
And, with the griefs the lofty and the lowly
Alike must feel, his share of pain attuned;
More willingly, it may be, since he knew
He unto love and loss would evermore keep true.
Ofttimes he stood by shrines where peasants kneeling
Told of their sorrows to the Mother-Maid,
Unto celestial sympathy appealing
From the world's pitiless splendour and parade;
And in that sight he resignation found,
With sun, and sea, and sky, and mountain-peaks around.
So that when nigh upon a year had vanished
Homeward his longing and his looks were cast,
Feeling 'twere base to longer stay self-banished,
Grafting his future on a fruitless past.
And soon his steadfast journeying came to close,
Where Avoncourt amid its unchanged woodlands rose.
It had meanwhile been leased to lately wedded
Tenants, unknown to Fame, but well endowed
With what could rescue it from fate so dreaded
Of slow decay and ruin-mantling shroud,
And who already had done much to win
Its walls from storm without, and worm and moth within.
So, as in duty bound, he promptly started
From home prepared for him on his estate,
With cheerful step if somewhat heavy-hearted,
To visit those who lived within his gate;
Ascending through the woodland's winding ways,
That wore more careful mien than in the bygone days.
It was the dawn of Autumn, very season
When he from further search for her forbore,
Whom to forget had seemed to him a treason,
Though well he knew he ne'er should see her more.
Sound, sight, scent, yellowing elm, and conecrowned fir,
Sunshine and shade alike, reminded him of her.
But, resolute to curb regret, he entered,
And, led through hall and corridor, he wound
To long ancestral gallery, and centred
His curious gaze on what he saw around.
It seemed to have lost no look of days gone by,
Withal to blend young smile with ancient majesty.
Still on the walls the effigies ancestral,
In armour or in ermine, hung unchanged,
With the device of wild boar, wolf, or kestrel,
That once in English forests freely ranged;
With later draperies that seemed to bring
Distance more near and shed a grace round everything.
While gazing out on well-remembered garden,
Where old yew hedges screened new-planted rose,
Against whose beauty none his heart could harden,
He heard a door soft open and then close.
And, turning, saw Egeria, with a face
Pale as a moon that moves alone through lonely space!
``Are you a guest,'' he said, ``in my poor dwelling?''
``I am,'' she answered, ``your-your tenant's wife.
Hear me in patience, dear, while I am telling
What tell I must, but tell this once for life.''
Whereat they towards each other drew more near:
One spoke, one listened, both without a sob or tear.
``I loved, I love you. Noble since I know you,
Here I confess that I shall love you still;
Since you will never show me nor I show you
More tenderness than now, for such God's will.
Knowing I should, love once avowed, rejoice,
Should not refuse your love, could not resist your voice,
``From you I fled, and steadfast left behind me
No word to weaken you, no sign, no trace,
Whereby your manliness could following find me.
For well I knew, that day your face my face
Scanned in strong silence, probing to my heart,
Love once confessed, no power could keep our lives apart.
``And well, too well I knew, for all things told me,
Men's tongues, the air, I thus should wreck your life,
And Avoncourt reproachfully behold me
A selfish bride and paralysing wife;
That duty had decreed a harder fate
For you, for me. If wrong, I know the right too late.
``In innocency's life there comes an hour
When stands revealed what it could never guess:
That there is magical and mystic power
To make love strong or leave it powerless;
If felt, if given without one selfish thought,
That Love is Wisdom's self, and all beside is nought.
``Ask me no more, I beg, than what I tell you:
I am your tenant, at another's will.
How, wherefore, when, on that which then befell, you,
Though I be mute, will understand me still.
Forgive, but ne'er forget me. Now depart,
Till to endurance Time shall mellowed have the smart.''
Her hand she stretched towards him, and, low bending,
On it his lips he reverently laid,
As on some sacred relic pilgrims wending
From far-off land with faith still undecayed.
Then he went forth, and she remained, alone,
Stern Duty unassailed upon its sovran throne.
But with the morrow's dawn there came the tidings
How that a crafty, freedom-loathing race,
Its schemes unmasked, had come from out its hidings,
And flung defiance in its Suzerain's face,
Then on his open territories burst,
Proclaiming these annexed unto its rule accursed.
Then England said, ``I must endure no longer
This long-conspiring, now presumptuous brood,
But must assert the Sceptre of the stronger
Against their vapourings vain and challenge rude,
Who have against me their false flag unfurled,
Urged to their ruin by an Empire-envying world.''
Nor England only, nor main-moated Britain,
But their brave offspring homed beyond the sea,
In righteous wrath arose, and, duty-smitten,
Vowed that their Afric brethren should be free
To think and speak the thing they would, and dwell
Equal and safe around Law's peaceful citadel.
Then said Sir Alured, ``Against such foemen
I too will ride and strike,'' and round him drew
All Avoncourt's hard-knit, well-mounted yeomen,
And to his lands ancestral bade adieu.
Beneath him seethed the waters no one barred,
Over the wave-wide track our steel-shod sentries guard.
And day by day Egeria scans and watches
The ebb and flow of fluctuating war,
And ofttimes sees his name in terse dispatches
Shine among those that most distinguished are.
Then pride and terror in her heart contend,
And low she prays anew, ``Dear God! his life befriend!''
And when she reads of some fresh deed of daring
That decorates his breast and crowns his brow,
Sparing of others, of himself unsparing,
She weeps apart where no one sees. But now
This Tale of True Love hath been truly told.
May it by some be read, and by it some consoled!
~ Alfred Austin,
342:Pelleas And Ettarre
King Arthur made new knights to fill the gap
Left by the Holy Quest; and as he sat
In hall at old Caerleon, the high doors
Were softly sundered, and through these a youth,
Pelleas, and the sweet smell of the fields
Past, and the sunshine came along with him.
`Make me thy knight, because I know, Sir King,
All that belongs to knighthood, and I love.'
Such was his cry: for having heard the King
Had let proclaim a tournament--the prize
A golden circlet and a knightly sword,
Full fain had Pelleas for his lady won
The golden circlet, for himself the sword:
And there were those who knew him near the King,
And promised for him: and Arthur made him knight.
And this new knight, Sir Pelleas of the isles-But lately come to his inheritance,
And lord of many a barren isle was he-Riding at noon, a day or twain before,
Across the forest called of Dean, to find
Caerleon and the King, had felt the sun
Beat like a strong knight on his helm, and reeled
Almost to falling from his horse; but saw
Near him a mound of even-sloping side,
Whereon a hundred stately beeches grew,
And here and there great hollies under them;
But for a mile all round was open space,
And fern and heath: and slowly Pelleas drew
To that dim day, then binding his good horse
To a tree, cast himself down; and as he lay
At random looking over the brown earth
Through that green-glooming twilight of the grove,
It seemed to Pelleas that the fern without
Burnt as a living fire of emeralds,
So that his eyes were dazzled looking at it.
Then o'er it crost the dimness of a cloud
Floating, and once the shadow of a bird
Flying, and then a fawn; and his eyes closed.
And since he loved all maidens, but no maid
In special, half-awake he whispered, `Where?
O where? I love thee, though I know thee not.
For fair thou art and pure as Guinevere,
And I will make thee with my spear and sword
As famous--O my Queen, my Guinevere,
For I will be thine Arthur when we meet.'
Suddenly wakened with a sound of talk
And laughter at the limit of the wood,
And glancing through the hoary boles, he saw,
Strange as to some old prophet might have seemed
A vision hovering on a sea of fire,
Damsels in divers colours like the cloud
Of sunset and sunrise, and all of them
On horses, and the horses richly trapt
Breast-high in that bright line of bracken stood:
And all the damsels talked confusedly,
And one was pointing this way, and one that,
Because the way was lost.
And Pelleas rose,
And loosed his horse, and led him to the light.
There she that seemed the chief among them said,
`In happy time behold our pilot-star!
Youth, we are damsels-errant, and we ride,
Armed as ye see, to tilt against the knights
There at Caerleon, but have lost our way:
To right? to left? straight forward? back again?
Which? tell us quickly.'
Pelleas gazing thought,
`Is Guinevere herself so beautiful?'
For large her violet eyes looked, and her bloom
A rosy dawn kindled in stainless heavens,
And round her limbs, mature in womanhood;
And slender was her hand and small her shape;
And but for those large eyes, the haunts of scorn,
She might have seemed a toy to trifle with,
And pass and care no more. But while he gazed
The beauty of her flesh abashed the boy,
As though it were the beauty of her soul:
For as the base man, judging of the good,
Puts his own baseness in him by default
Of will and nature, so did Pelleas lend
All the young beauty of his own soul to hers,
Believing her; and when she spake to him,
Stammered, and could not make her a reply.
For out of the waste islands had he come,
Where saving his own sisters he had known
Scarce any but the women of his isles,
Rough wives, that laughed and screamed against the gulls,
Makers of nets, and living from the sea.
Then with a slow smile turned the lady round
And looked upon her people; and as when
A stone is flung into some sleeping tarn,
The circle widens till it lip the marge,
Spread the slow smile through all her company.
Three knights were thereamong; and they too smiled,
Scorning him; for the lady was Ettarre,
And she was a great lady in her land.
Again she said, `O wild and of the woods,
Knowest thou not the fashion of our speech?
Or have the Heavens but given thee a fair face,
Lacking a tongue?'
`O damsel,' answered he,
`I woke from dreams; and coming out of gloom
Was dazzled by the sudden light, and crave
Pardon: but will ye to Caerleon? I
Go likewise: shall I lead you to the King?'
`Lead then,' she said; and through the woods they went.
And while they rode, the meaning in his eyes,
His tenderness of manner, and chaste awe,
His broken utterances and bashfulness,
Were all a burthen to her, and in her heart
She muttered, `I have lighted on a fool,
Raw, yet so stale!' But since her mind was bent
On hearing, after trumpet blown, her name
And title, `Queen of Beauty,' in the lists
Cried--and beholding him so strong, she thought
That peradventure he will fight for me,
And win the circlet: therefore flattered him,
Being so gracious, that he wellnigh deemed
His wish by hers was echoed; and her knights
And all her damsels too were gracious to him,
For she was a great lady.
And when they reached
Caerleon, ere they past to lodging, she,
Taking his hand, `O the strong hand,' she said,
`See! look at mine! but wilt thou fight for me,
And win me this fine circlet, Pelleas,
That I may love thee?'
Then his helpless heart
Leapt, and he cried, `Ay! wilt thou if I win?'
`Ay, that will I,' she answered, and she laughed,
And straitly nipt the hand, and flung it from her;
Then glanced askew at those three knights of hers,
Till all her ladies laughed along with her.
`O happy world,' thought Pelleas, `all, meseems,
Are happy; I the happiest of them all.'
Nor slept that night for pleasure in his blood,
And green wood-ways, and eyes among the leaves;
Then being on the morrow knighted, sware
To love one only. And as he came away,
The men who met him rounded on their heels
And wondered after him, because his face
Shone like the countenance of a priest of old
Against the flame about a sacrifice
Kindled by fire from heaven: so glad was he.
Then Arthur made vast banquets, and strange knights
From the four winds came in: and each one sat,
Though served with choice from air, land, stream, and sea,
Oft in mid-banquet measuring with his eyes
His neighbour's make and might: and Pelleas looked
Noble among the noble, for he dreamed
His lady loved him, and he knew himself
Loved of the King: and him his new-made knight
Worshipt, whose lightest whisper moved him more
Than all the rangd reasons of the world.
Then blushed and brake the morning of the jousts,
And this was called `The Tournament of Youth:'
For Arthur, loving his young knight, withheld
His older and his mightier from the lists,
That Pelleas might obtain his lady's love,
According to her promise, and remain
Lord of the tourney. And Arthur had the jousts
Down in the flat field by the shore of Usk
Holden: the gilded parapets were crowned
With faces, and the great tower filled with eyes
Up to the summit, and the trumpets blew.
There all day long Sir Pelleas kept the field
With honour: so by that strong hand of his
The sword and golden circlet were achieved.
Then rang the shout his lady loved: the heat
Of pride and glory fired her face; her eye
Sparkled; she caught the circlet from his lance,
And there before the people crowned herself:
So for the last time she was gracious to him.
Then at Caerleon for a space--her look
Bright for all others, cloudier on her knight-Lingered Ettarre: and seeing Pelleas droop,
Said Guinevere, `We marvel at thee much,
O damsel, wearing this unsunny face
To him who won thee glory!' And she said,
`Had ye not held your Lancelot in your bower,
My Queen, he had not won.' Whereat the Queen,
As one whose foot is bitten by an ant,
Glanced down upon her, turned and went her way.
But after, when her damsels, and herself,
And those three knights all set their faces home,
Sir Pelleas followed. She that saw him cried,
`Damsels--and yet I should be shamed to say it-I cannot bide Sir Baby. Keep him back
Among yourselves. Would rather that we had
Some rough old knight who knew the worldly way,
Albeit grizzlier than a bear, to ride
And jest with: take him to you, keep him off,
And pamper him with papmeat, if ye will,
Old milky fables of the wolf and sheep,
Such as the wholesome mothers tell their boys.
Nay, should ye try him with a merry one
To find his mettle, good: and if he fly us,
Small matter! let him.' This her damsels heard,
And mindful of her small and cruel hand,
They, closing round him through the journey home,
Acted her hest, and always from her side
Restrained him with all manner of device,
So that he could not come to speech with her.
And when she gained her castle, upsprang the bridge,
Down rang the grate of iron through the groove,
And he was left alone in open field.
`These be the ways of ladies,' Pelleas thought,
`To those who love them, trials of our faith.
Yea, let her prove me to the uttermost,
For loyal to the uttermost am I.'
So made his moan; and darkness falling, sought
A priory not far off, there lodged, but rose
With morning every day, and, moist or dry,
Full-armed upon his charger all day long
Sat by the walls, and no one opened to him.
And this persistence turned her scorn to wrath.
Then calling her three knights, she charged them, `Out!
And drive him from the walls.' And out they came
But Pelleas overthrew them as they dashed
Against him one by one; and these returned,
But still he kept his watch beneath the wall.
Thereon her wrath became a hate; and once,
A week beyond, while walking on the walls
With her three knights, she pointed downward, `Look,
He haunts me--I cannot breathe--besieges me;
Down! strike him! put my hate into your strokes,
And drive him from my walls.' And down they went,
And Pelleas overthrew them one by one;
And from the tower above him cried Ettarre,
`Bind him, and bring him in.'
He heard her voice;
Then let the strong hand, which had overthrown
Her minion-knights, by those he overthrew
Be bounden straight, and so they brought him in.
Then when he came before Ettarre, the sight
Of her rich beauty made him at one glance
More bondsman in his heart than in his bonds.
Yet with good cheer he spake, `Behold me, Lady,
A prisoner, and the vassal of thy will;
And if thou keep me in thy donjon here,
Content am I so that I see thy face
But once a day: for I have sworn my vows,
And thou hast given thy promise, and I know
That all these pains are trials of my faith,
And that thyself, when thou hast seen me strained
And sifted to the utmost, wilt at length
Yield me thy love and know me for thy knight.'
Then she began to rail so bitterly,
With all her damsels, he was stricken mute;
But when she mocked his vows and the great King,
Lighted on words: `For pity of thine own self,
Peace, Lady, peace: is he not thine and mine?'
`Thou fool,' she said, `I never heard his voice
But longed to break away. Unbind him now,
And thrust him out of doors; for save he be
Fool to the midmost marrow of his bones,
He will return no more.' And those, her three,
Laughed, and unbound, and thrust him from the gate.
And after this, a week beyond, again
She called them, saying, `There he watches yet,
There like a dog before his master's door!
Kicked, he returns: do ye not hate him, ye?
Ye know yourselves: how can ye bide at peace,
Affronted with his fulsome innocence?
Are ye but creatures of the board and bed,
No men to strike? Fall on him all at once,
And if ye slay him I reck not: if ye fail,
Give ye the slave mine order to be bound,
Bind him as heretofore, and bring him in:
It may be ye shall slay him in his bonds.'
She spake; and at her will they couched their spears,
Three against one: and Gawain passing by,
Bound upon solitary adventure, saw
Low down beneath the shadow of those towers
A villainy, three to one: and through his heart
The fire of honour and all noble deeds
Flashed, and he called, `I strike upon thy side-The caitiffs!' `Nay,' said Pelleas, `but forbear;
He needs no aid who doth his lady's will.'
So Gawain, looking at the villainy done,
Forbore, but in his heat and eagerness
Trembled and quivered, as the dog, withheld
A moment from the vermin that he sees
Before him, shivers, ere he springs and kills.
And Pelleas overthrew them, one to three;
And they rose up, and bound, and brought him in.
Then first her anger, leaving Pelleas, burned
Full on her knights in many an evil name
Of craven, weakling, and thrice-beaten hound:
`Yet, take him, ye that scarce are fit to touch,
Far less to bind, your victor, and thrust him out,
And let who will release him from his bonds.
And if he comes again'--there she brake short;
And Pelleas answered, `Lady, for indeed
I loved you and I deemed you beautiful,
I cannot brook to see your beauty marred
Through evil spite: and if ye love me not,
I cannot bear to dream you so forsworn:
I had liefer ye were worthy of my love,
Than to be loved again of you--farewell;
And though ye kill my hope, not yet my love,
Vex not yourself: ye will not see me more.'
While thus he spake, she gazed upon the man
Of princely bearing, though in bonds, and thought,
`Why have I pushed him from me? this man loves,
If love there be: yet him I loved not. Why?
I deemed him fool? yea, so? or that in him
A something--was it nobler than myself?
Seemed my reproach? He is not of my kind.
He could not love me, did he know me well.
Nay, let him go--and quickly.' And her knights
Laughed not, but thrust him bounden out of door.
Forth sprang Gawain, and loosed him from his bonds,
And flung them o'er the walls; and afterward,
Shaking his hands, as from a lazar's rag,
`Faith of my body,' he said, `and art thou not-Yea thou art he, whom late our Arthur made
Knight of his table; yea and he that won
The circlet? wherefore hast thou so defamed
Thy brotherhood in me and all the rest,
As let these caitiffs on thee work their will?'
And Pelleas answered, `O, their wills are hers
For whom I won the circlet; and mine, hers,
Thus to be bounden, so to see her face,
Marred though it be with spite and mockery now,
Other than when I found her in the woods;
And though she hath me bounden but in spite,
And all to flout me, when they bring me in,
Let me be bounden, I shall see her face;
Else must I die through mine unhappiness.'
And Gawain answered kindly though in scorn,
`Why, let my lady bind me if she will,
And let my lady beat me if she will:
But an she send her delegate to thrall
These fighting hands of mine--Christ kill me then
But I will slice him handless by the wrist,
And let my lady sear the stump for him,
Howl as he may. But hold me for your friend:
Come, ye know nothing: here I pledge my troth,
Yea, by the honour of the Table Round,
I will be leal to thee and work thy work,
And tame thy jailing princess to thine hand.
Lend me thine horse and arms, and I will say
That I have slain thee. She will let me in
To hear the manner of thy fight and fall;
Then, when I come within her counsels, then
From prime to vespers will I chant thy praise
As prowest knight and truest lover, more
Than any have sung thee living, till she long
To have thee back in lusty life again,
Not to be bound, save by white bonds and warm,
Dearer than freedom. Wherefore now thy horse
And armour: let me go: be comforted:
Give me three days to melt her fancy, and hope
The third night hence will bring thee news of gold.'
Then Pelleas lent his horse and all his arms,
Saving the goodly sword, his prize, and took
Gawain's, and said, `Betray me not, but help-Art thou not he whom men call light-of-love?'
`Ay,' said Gawain, `for women be so light.'
Then bounded forward to the castle walls,
And raised a bugle hanging from his neck,
And winded it, and that so musically
That all the old echoes hidden in the wall
Rang out like hollow woods at hunting-tide.
Up ran a score of damsels to the tower;
`Avaunt,' they cried, `our lady loves thee not.'
But Gawain lifting up his vizor said,
`Gawain am I, Gawain of Arthur's court,
And I have slain this Pelleas whom ye hate:
Behold his horse and armour. Open gates,
And I will make you merry.'
And down they ran,
Her damsels, crying to their lady, `Lo!
Pelleas is dead--he told us--he that hath
His horse and armour: will ye let him in?
He slew him! Gawain, Gawain of the court,
Sir Gawain--there he waits below the wall,
Blowing his bugle as who should say him nay.'
And so, leave given, straight on through open door
Rode Gawain, whom she greeted courteously.
`Dead, is it so?' she asked. `Ay, ay,' said he,
`And oft in dying cried upon your name.'
`Pity on him,' she answered, `a good knight,
But never let me bide one hour at peace.'
`Ay,' thought Gawain, `and you be fair enow:
But I to your dead man have given my troth,
That whom ye loathe, him will I make you love.'
So those three days, aimless about the land,
Lost in a doubt, Pelleas wandering
Waited, until the third night brought a moon
With promise of large light on woods and ways.
Hot was the night and silent; but a sound
Of Gawain ever coming, and this lay-Which Pelleas had heard sung before the Queen,
And seen her sadden listening--vext his heart,
And marred his rest--`A worm within the rose.'
`A rose, but one, none other rose had I,
A rose, one rose, and this was wondrous fair,
One rose, a rose that gladdened earth and sky,
One rose, my rose, that sweetened all mine air-I cared not for the thorns; the thorns were there.
`One rose, a rose to gather by and by,
One rose, a rose, to gather and to wear,
No rose but one--what other rose had I?
One rose, my rose; a rose that will not die,-He dies who loves it,--if the worm be there.'
This tender rhyme, and evermore the doubt,
`Why lingers Gawain with his golden news?'
So shook him that he could not rest, but rode
Ere midnight to her walls, and bound his horse
Hard by the gates. Wide open were the gates,
And no watch kept; and in through these he past,
And heard but his own steps, and his own heart
Beating, for nothing moved but his own self,
And his own shadow. Then he crost the court,
And spied not any light in hall or bower,
But saw the postern portal also wide
Yawning; and up a slope of garden, all
Of roses white and red, and brambles mixt
And overgrowing them, went on, and found,
Here too, all hushed below the mellow moon,
Save that one rivulet from a tiny cave
Came lightening downward, and so spilt itself
Among the roses, and was lost again.
Then was he ware of three pavilions reared
Above the bushes, gilden-peakt: in one,
Red after revel, droned her lurdane knights
Slumbering, and their three squires across their feet:
In one, their malice on the placid lip
Frozen by sweet sleep, four of her damsels lay:
And in the third, the circlet of the jousts
Bound on her brow, were Gawain and Ettarre.
Back, as a hand that pushes through the leaf
To find a nest and feels a snake, he drew:
Back, as a coward slinks from what he fears
To cope with, or a traitor proven, or hound
Beaten, did Pelleas in an utter shame
Creep with his shadow through the court again,
Fingering at his sword-handle until he stood
There on the castle-bridge once more, and thought,
`I will go back, and slay them where they lie.'
And so went back, and seeing them yet in sleep
Said, `Ye, that so dishallow the holy sleep,
Your sleep is death,' and drew the sword, and thought,
`What! slay a sleeping knight? the King hath bound
And sworn me to this brotherhood;' again,
`Alas that ever a knight should be so false.'
Then turned, and so returned, and groaning laid
The naked sword athwart their naked throats,
There left it, and them sleeping; and she lay,
The circlet of her tourney round her brows,
And the sword of the tourney across her throat.
And forth he past, and mounting on his horse
Stared at her towers that, larger than themselves
In their own darkness, thronged into the moon.
Then crushed the saddle with his thighs, and clenched
His hands, and maddened with himself and moaned:
`Would they have risen against me in their blood
At the last day? I might have answered them
Even before high God. O towers so strong,
Huge, solid, would that even while I gaze
The crack of earthquake shivering to your base
Split you, and Hell burst up your harlot roofs
Bellowing, and charred you through and through within,
Black as the harlot's heart--hollow as a skull!
Let the fierce east scream through your eyelet-holes,
And whirl the dust of harlots round and round
In dung and nettles! hiss, snake--I saw him there-Let the fox bark, let the wolf yell. Who yells
Here in the still sweet summer night, but I-I, the poor Pelleas whom she called her fool?
Fool, beast--he, she, or I? myself most fool;
Beast too, as lacking human wit--disgraced,
Dishonoured all for trial of true love-Love?--we be all alike: only the King
Hath made us fools and liars. O noble vows!
O great and sane and simple race of brutes
That own no lust because they have no law!
For why should I have loved her to my shame?
I loathe her, as I loved her to my shame.
I never loved her, I but lusted for her-Away--'
He dashed the rowel into his horse,
And bounded forth and vanished through the night.
Then she, that felt the cold touch on her throat,
Awaking knew the sword, and turned herself
To Gawain: `Liar, for thou hast not slain
This Pelleas! here he stood, and might have slain
Me and thyself.' And he that tells the tale
Says that her ever-veering fancy turned
To Pelleas, as the one true knight on earth,
And only lover; and through her love her life
Wasted and pined, desiring him in vain.
But he by wild and way, for half the night,
And over hard and soft, striking the sod
From out the soft, the spark from off the hard,
Rode till the star above the wakening sun,
Beside that tower where Percivale was cowled,
Glanced from the rosy forehead of the dawn.
For so the words were flashed into his heart
He knew not whence or wherefore: `O sweet star,
Pure on the virgin forehead of the dawn!'
And there he would have wept, but felt his eyes
Harder and drier than a fountain bed
In summer: thither came the village girls
And lingered talking, and they come no more
Till the sweet heavens have filled it from the heights
Again with living waters in the change
Of seasons: hard his eyes; harder his heart
Seemed; but so weary were his limbs, that he,
Gasping, `Of Arthur's hall am I, but here,
Here let me rest and die,' cast himself down,
And gulfed his griefs in inmost sleep; so lay,
Till shaken by a dream, that Gawain fired
The hall of Merlin, and the morning star
Reeled in the smoke, brake into flame, and fell.
He woke, and being ware of some one nigh,
Sent hands upon him, as to tear him, crying,
`False! and I held thee pure as Guinevere.'
But Percivale stood near him and replied,
`Am I but false as Guinevere is pure?
Or art thou mazed with dreams? or being one
Of our free-spoken Table hast not heard
That Lancelot'--there he checked himself and paused.
Then fared it with Sir Pelleas as with one
Who gets a wound in battle, and the sword
That made it plunges through the wound again,
And pricks it deeper: and he shrank and wailed,
`Is the Queen false?' and Percivale was mute.
`Have any of our Round Table held their vows?'
And Percivale made answer not a word.
`Is the King true?' `The King!' said Percivale.
`Why then let men couple at once with wolves.
What! art thou mad?'
But Pelleas, leaping up,
Ran through the doors and vaulted on his horse
And fled: small pity upon his horse had he,
Or on himself, or any, and when he met
A cripple, one that held a hand for alms-Hunched as he was, and like an old dwarf-elm
That turns its back upon the salt blast, the boy
Paused not, but overrode him, shouting, `False,
And false with Gawain!' and so left him bruised
And battered, and fled on, and hill and wood
Went ever streaming by him till the gloom,
That follows on the turning of the world,
Darkened the common path: he twitched the reins,
And made his beast that better knew it, swerve
Now off it and now on; but when he saw
High up in heaven the hall that Merlin built,
Blackening against the dead-green stripes of even,
`Black nest of rats,' he groaned, `ye build too high.'
Not long thereafter from the city gates
Issued Sir Lancelot riding airily,
Warm with a gracious parting from the Queen,
Peace at his heart, and gazing at a star
And marvelling what it was: on whom the boy,
Across the silent seeded meadow-grass
Borne, clashed: and Lancelot, saying, `What name hast thou
That ridest here so blindly and so hard?'
`No name, no name,' he shouted, `a scourge am I
To lash the treasons of the Table Round.'
`Yea, but thy name?' `I have many names,' he cried:
`I am wrath and shame and hate and evil fame,
And like a poisonous wind I pass to blast
And blaze the crime of Lancelot and the Queen.'
`First over me,' said Lancelot, `shalt thou pass.'
`Fight therefore,' yelled the youth, and either knight
Drew back a space, and when they closed, at once
The weary steed of Pelleas floundering flung
His rider, who called out from the dark field,
`Thou art as false as Hell: slay me: I have no sword.'
Then Lancelot, `Yea, between thy lips--and sharp;
But here I will disedge it by thy death.'
`Slay then,' he shrieked, `my will is to be slain,'
And Lancelot, with his heel upon the fallen,
Rolling his eyes, a moment stood, then spake:
`Rise, weakling; I am Lancelot; say thy say.'
And Lancelot slowly rode his warhorse back
To Camelot, and Sir Pelleas in brief while
Caught his unbroken limbs from the dark field,
And followed to the city. It chanced that both
Brake into hall together, worn and pale.
There with her knights and dames was Guinevere.
Full wonderingly she gazed on Lancelot
So soon returned, and then on Pelleas, him
Who had not greeted her, but cast himself
Down on a bench, hard-breathing. `Have ye fought?'
She asked of Lancelot. `Ay, my Queen,' he said.
`And hast thou overthrown him?' `Ay, my Queen.'
Then she, turning to Pelleas, `O young knight,
Hath the great heart of knighthood in thee failed
So far thou canst not bide, unfrowardly,
A fall from HIM?' Then, for he answered not,
`Or hast thou other griefs? If I, the Queen,
May help them, loose thy tongue, and let me know.'
But Pelleas lifted up an eye so fierce
She quailed; and he, hissing `I have no sword,'
Sprang from the door into the dark. The Queen
Looked hard upon her lover, he on her;
And each foresaw the dolorous day to be:
And all talk died, as in a grove all song
Beneath the shadow of some bird of prey;
Then a long silence came upon the hall,
And Modred thought, `The time is hard at hand.'
~ Alfred Lord Tennyson,
343:Balin And Balan
Pellam the King, who held and lost with Lot
In that first war, and had his realm restored
But rendered tributary, failed of late
To send his tribute; wherefore Arthur called
His treasurer, one of many years, and spake,
'Go thou with him and him and bring it to us,
Lest we should set one truer on his throne.
Man's word is God in man.'
His Baron said
'We go but harken: there be two strange knights
Who sit near Camelot at a fountain-side,
A mile beneath the forest, challenging
And overthrowing every knight who comes.
Wilt thou I undertake them as we pass,
And send them to thee?'
Arthur laughed upon him.
'Old friend, too old to be so young, depart,
Delay not thou for aught, but let them sit,
Until they find a lustier than themselves.'
So these departed. Early, one fair dawn,
The light-winged spirit of his youth returned
On Arthur's heart; he armed himself and went,
So coming to the fountain-side beheld
Balin and Balan sitting statuelike,
Brethren, to right and left the spring, that down,
From underneath a plume of lady-fern,
Sang, and the sand danced at the bottom of it.
And on the right of Balin Balin's horse
Was fast beside an alder, on the left
Of Balan Balan's near a poplartree.
'Fair Sirs,' said Arthur, 'wherefore sit ye here?'
Balin and Balan answered 'For the sake
Of glory; we be mightier men than all
In Arthur's court; that also have we proved;
For whatsoever knight against us came
Or I or he have easily overthrown.'
'I too,' said Arthur, 'am of Arthur's hall,
But rather proven in his Paynim wars
Than famous jousts; but see, or proven or not,
Whether me likewise ye can overthrow.'
And Arthur lightly smote the brethren down,
And lightly so returned, and no man knew.
Then Balin rose, and Balan, and beside
The carolling water set themselves again,
And spake no word until the shadow turned;
When from the fringe of coppice round them burst
A spangled pursuivant, and crying 'Sirs,
Rise, follow! ye be sent for by the King,'
They followed; whom when Arthur seeing asked
'Tell me your names; why sat ye by the well?'
Balin the stillness of a minute broke
Saying 'An unmelodious name to thee,
Balin, "the Savage"--that addition thine-My brother and my better, this man here,
Balan. I smote upon the naked skull
A thrall of thine in open hall, my hand
Was gauntleted, half slew him; for I heard
He had spoken evil of me; thy just wrath
Sent me a three-years' exile from thine eyes.
I have not lived my life delightsomely:
For I that did that violence to thy thrall,
Had often wrought some fury on myself,
Saving for Balan: those three kingless years
Have past--were wormwood-bitter to me. King,
Methought that if we sat beside the well,
And hurled to ground what knight soever spurred
Against us, thou would'st take me gladlier back,
And make, as ten-times worthier to be thine
Than twenty Balins, Balan knight. I have said.
Not so--not all. A man of thine today
Abashed us both, and brake my boast. Thy will?'
Said Arthur 'Thou hast ever spoken truth;
Thy too fierce manhood would not let thee lie.
Rise, my true knight. As children learn, be thou
Wiser for falling! walk with me, and move
To music with thine Order and the King.
Thy chair, a grief to all the brethren, stands
Vacant, but thou retake it, mine again!'
Thereafter, when Sir Balin entered hall,
The Lost one Found was greeted as in Heaven
With joy that blazed itself in woodland wealth
Of leaf, and gayest garlandage of flowers,
Along the walls and down the board; they sat,
And cup clashed cup; they drank and some one sang,
Sweet-voiced, a song of welcome, whereupon
Their common shout in chorus, mounting, made
Those banners of twelve battles overhead
Stir, as they stirred of old, when Arthur's host
Proclaimed him Victor, and the day was won.
Then Balan added to their Order lived
A wealthier life than heretofore with these
And Balin, till their embassage returned.
'Sir King' they brought report 'we hardly found,
So bushed about it is with gloom, the hall
Of him to whom ye sent us, Pellam, once
A Christless foe of thine as ever dashed
Horse against horse; but seeing that thy realm
Hath prospered in the name of Christ, the King
Took, as in rival heat, to holy things;
And finds himself descended from the Saint
Arimathan Joseph; him who first
Brought the great faith to Britain over seas;
He boasts his life as purer than thine own;
Eats scarce enow to keep his pulse abeat;
Hath pushed aside his faithful wife, nor lets
Or dame or damsel enter at his gates
Lest he should be polluted. This gray King
Showed us a shrine wherein were wonders--yea-Rich arks with priceless bones of martyrdom,
Thorns of the crown and shivers of the cross,
And therewithal (for thus he told us) brought
By holy Joseph thither, that same spear
Wherewith the Roman pierced the side of Christ.
He much amazed us; after, when we sought
The tribute, answered "I have quite foregone
All matters of this world: Garlon, mine heir,
Of him demand it," which this Garlon gave
With much ado, railing at thine and thee.
'But when we left, in those deep woods we found
A knight of thine spear-stricken from behind,
Dead, whom we buried; more than one of us
Cried out on Garlon, but a woodman there
Reported of some demon in the woods
Was once a man, who driven by evil tongues
From all his fellows, lived alone, and came
To learn black magic, and to hate his kind
With such a hate, that when he died, his soul
Became a Fiend, which, as the man in life
Was wounded by blind tongues he saw not whence,
Strikes from behind. This woodman showed the cave
From which he sallies, and wherein he dwelt.
We saw the hoof-print of a horse, no more.'
Then Arthur, 'Let who goes before me, see
He do not fall behind me: foully slain
And villainously! who will hunt for me
This demon of the woods?' Said Balan, 'I'!
So claimed the quest and rode away, but first,
Embracing Balin, 'Good my brother, hear!
Let not thy moods prevail, when I am gone
Who used to lay them! hold them outer fiends,
Who leap at thee to tear thee; shake them aside,
Dreams ruling when wit sleeps! yea, but to dream
That any of these would wrong thee, wrongs thyself.
Witness their flowery welcome. Bound are they
To speak no evil. Truly save for fears,
My fears for thee, so rich a fellowship
Would make me wholly blest: thou one of them,
Be one indeed: consider them, and all
Their bearing in their common bond of love,
No more of hatred than in Heaven itself,
No more of jealousy than in Paradise.'
So Balan warned, and went; Balin remained:
Who--for but three brief moons had glanced away
From being knighted till he smote the thrall,
And faded from the presence into years
Of exile--now would strictlier set himself
To learn what Arthur meant by courtesy,
Manhood, and knighthood; wherefore hovered round
Lancelot, but when he marked his high sweet smile
In passing, and a transitory word
Make knight or churl or child or damsel seem
From being smiled at happier in themselves-Sighed, as a boy lame-born beneath a height,
That glooms his valley, sighs to see the peak
Sun-flushed, or touch at night the northern star;
For one from out his village lately climed
And brought report of azure lands and fair,
Far seen to left and right; and he himself
Hath hardly scaled with help a hundred feet
Up from the base: so Balin marvelling oft
How far beyond him Lancelot seemed to move,
Groaned, and at times would mutter, 'These be gifts,
Born with the blood, not learnable, divine,
Beyond MY reach. Well had I foughten--well-In those fierce wars, struck hard--and had I crowned
With my slain self the heaps of whom I slew-So--better!--But this worship of the Queen,
That honour too wherein she holds him--this,
This was the sunshine that hath given the man
A growth, a name that branches o'er the rest,
And strength against all odds, and what the King
So prizes--overprizes--gentleness.
Her likewise would I worship an I might.
I never can be close with her, as he
That brought her hither. Shall I pray the King
To let me bear some token of his Queen
Whereon to gaze, remembering her--forget
My heats and violences? live afresh?
What, if the Queen disdained to grant it! nay
Being so stately-gentle, would she make
My darkness blackness? and with how sweet grace
She greeted my return! Bold will I be-Some goodly cognizance of Guinevere,
In lieu of this rough beast upon my shield,
Langued gules, and toothed with grinning savagery.'
And Arthur, when Sir Balin sought him, said
'What wilt thou bear?' Balin was bold, and asked
To bear her own crown-royal upon shield,
Whereat she smiled and turned her to the King,
Who answered 'Thou shalt put the crown to use.
The crown is but the shadow of the King,
And this a shadow's shadow, let him have it,
So this will help him of his violences!'
'No shadow' said Sir Balin 'O my Queen,
But light to me! no shadow, O my King,
But golden earnest of a gentler life!'
So Balin bare the crown, and all the knights
Approved him, and the Queen, and all the world
Made music, and he felt his being move
In music with his Order, and the King.
The nightingale, full-toned in middle May,
Hath ever and anon a note so thin
It seems another voice in other groves;
Thus, after some quick burst of sudden wrath,
The music in him seemed to change, and grow
Faint and far-off.
And once he saw the thrall
His passion half had gauntleted to death,
That causer of his banishment and shame,
Smile at him, as he deemed, presumptuously:
His arm half rose to strike again, but fell:
The memory of that cognizance on shield
Weighted it down, but in himself he moaned:
'Too high this mount of Camelot for me:
These high-set courtesies are not for me.
Shall I not rather prove the worse for these?
Fierier and stormier from restraining, break
Into some madness even before the Queen?'
Thus, as a hearth lit in a mountain home,
And glancing on the window, when the gloom
Of twilight deepens round it, seems a flame
That rages in the woodland far below,
So when his moods were darkened, court and King
And all the kindly warmth of Arthur's hall
Shadowed an angry distance: yet he strove
To learn the graces of their Table, fought
Hard with himself, and seemed at length in peace.
Then chanced, one morning, that Sir Balin sat
Close-bowered in that garden nigh the hall.
A walk of roses ran from door to door;
A walk of lilies crost it to the bower:
And down that range of roses the great Queen
Came with slow steps, the morning on her face;
And all in shadow from the counter door
Sir Lancelot as to meet her, then at once,
As if he saw not, glanced aside, and paced
The long white walk of lilies toward the bower.
Followed the Queen; Sir Balin heard her 'Prince,
Art thou so little loyal to thy Queen,
As pass without good morrow to thy Queen?'
To whom Sir Lancelot with his eyes on earth,
'Fain would I still be loyal to the Queen.'
'Yea so' she said 'but so to pass me by-So loyal scarce is loyal to thyself,
Whom all men rate the king of courtesy.
Let be: ye stand, fair lord, as in a dream.'
Then Lancelot with his hand among the flowers
'Yea--for a dream. Last night methought I saw
That maiden Saint who stands with lily in hand
In yonder shrine. All round her prest the dark,
And all the light upon her silver face
Flowed from the spiritual lily that she held.
Lo! these her emblems drew mine eyes--away:
For see, how perfect-pure! As light a flush
As hardly tints the blossom of the quince
Would mar their charm of stainless maidenhood.'
'Sweeter to me' she said 'this garden rose
Deep-hued and many-folded! sweeter still
The wild-wood hyacinth and the bloom of May.
Prince, we have ridden before among the flowers
In those fair days--not all as cool as these,
Though season-earlier. Art thou sad? or sick?
Our noble King will send thee his own leech-Sick? or for any matter angered at me?'
Then Lancelot lifted his large eyes; they dwelt
Deep-tranced on hers, and could not fall: her hue
Changed at his gaze: so turning side by side
They past, and Balin started from his bower.
'Queen? subject? but I see not what I see.
Damsel and lover? hear not what I hear.
My father hath begotten me in his wrath.
I suffer from the things before me, know,
Learn nothing; am not worthy to be knight;
A churl, a clown!' and in him gloom on gloom
Deepened: he sharply caught his lance and shield,
Nor stayed to crave permission of the King,
But, mad for strange adventure, dashed away.
He took the selfsame track as Balan, saw
The fountain where they sat together, sighed
'Was I not better there with him?' and rode
The skyless woods, but under open blue
Came on the hoarhead woodman at a bough
Wearily hewing. 'Churl, thine axe!' he cried,
Descended, and disjointed it at a blow:
To whom the woodman uttered wonderingly
'Lord, thou couldst lay the Devil of these woods
If arm of flesh could lay him.' Balin cried
'Him, or the viler devil who plays his part,
To lay that devil would lay the Devil in me.'
'Nay' said the churl, 'our devil is a truth,
I saw the flash of him but yestereven.
And some DO say that our Sir Garlon too
Hath learned black magic, and to ride unseen.
Look to the cave.' But Balin answered him
'Old fabler, these be fancies of the churl,
Look to thy woodcraft,' and so leaving him,
Now with slack rein and careless of himself,
Now with dug spur and raving at himself,
Now with droopt brow down the long glades he rode;
So marked not on his right a cavern-chasm
Yawn over darkness, where, nor far within,
The whole day died, but, dying, gleamed on rocks
Roof-pendent, sharp; and others from the floor,
Tusklike, arising, made that mouth of night
Whereout the Demon issued up from Hell.
He marked not this, but blind and deaf to all
Save that chained rage, which ever yelpt within,
Past eastward from the falling sun. At once
He felt the hollow-beaten mosses thud
And tremble, and then the shadow of a spear,
Shot from behind him, ran along the ground.
Sideways he started from the path, and saw,
With pointed lance as if to pierce, a shape,
A light of armour by him flash, and pass
And vanish in the woods; and followed this,
But all so blind in rage that unawares
He burst his lance against a forest bough,
Dishorsed himself, and rose again, and fled
Far, till the castle of a King, the hall
Of Pellam, lichen-bearded, grayly draped
With streaming grass, appeared, low-built but strong;
The ruinous donjon as a knoll of moss,
The battlement overtopt with ivytods,
A home of bats, in every tower an owl.
Then spake the men of Pellam crying 'Lord,
Why wear ye this crown-royal upon shield?'
Said Balin 'For the fairest and the best
Of ladies living gave me this to bear.'
So stalled his horse, and strode across the court,
But found the greetings both of knight and King
Faint in the low dark hall of banquet: leaves
Laid their green faces flat against the panes,
Sprays grated, and the cankered boughs without
Whined in the wood; for all was hushed within,
Till when at feast Sir Garlon likewise asked
'Why wear ye that crown-royal?' Balin said
'The Queen we worship, Lancelot, I, and all,
As fairest, best and purest, granted me
To bear it!' Such a sound (for Arthur's knights
Were hated strangers in the hall) as makes
The white swan-mother, sitting, when she hears
A strange knee rustle through her secret reeds,
Made Garlon, hissing; then he sourly smiled.
'Fairest I grant her: I have seen; but best,
Best, purest? THOU from Arthur's hall, and yet
So simple! hast thou eyes, or if, are these
So far besotted that they fail to see
This fair wife-worship cloaks a secret shame?
Truly, ye men of Arthur be but babes.'
A goblet on the board by Balin, bossed
With holy Joseph's legend, on his right
Stood, all of massiest bronze: one side had sea
And ship and sail and angels blowing on it:
And one was rough with wattling, and the walls
Of that low church he built at Glastonbury.
This Balin graspt, but while in act to hurl,
Through memory of that token on the shield
Relaxed his hold: 'I will be gentle' he thought
'And passing gentle' caught his hand away,
Then fiercely to Sir Garlon 'Eyes have I
That saw today the shadow of a spear,
Shot from behind me, run along the ground;
Eyes too that long have watched how Lancelot draws
From homage to the best and purest, might,
Name, manhood, and a grace, but scantly thine,
Who, sitting in thine own hall, canst endure
To mouth so huge a foulness--to thy guest,
Me, me of Arthur's Table. Felon talk!
Let be! no more!'
But not the less by night
The scorn of Garlon, poisoning all his rest,
Stung him in dreams. At length, and dim through leaves
Blinkt the white morn, sprays grated, and old boughs
Whined in the wood. He rose, descended, met
The scorner in the castle court, and fain,
For hate and loathing, would have past him by;
But when Sir Garlon uttered mocking-wise;
'What, wear ye still that same crown-scandalous?'
His countenance blackened, and his forehead veins
Bloated, and branched; and tearing out of sheath
The brand, Sir Balin with a fiery 'Ha!
So thou be shadow, here I make thee ghost,'
Hard upon helm smote him, and the blade flew
Splintering in six, and clinkt upon the stones.
Then Garlon, reeling slowly backward, fell,
And Balin by the banneret of his helm
Dragged him, and struck, but from the castle a cry
Sounded across the court, and--men-at-arms,
A score with pointed lances, making at him-He dashed the pummel at the foremost face,
Beneath a low door dipt, and made his feet
Wings through a glimmering gallery, till he marked
The portal of King Pellam's chapel wide
And inward to the wall; he stept behind;
Thence in a moment heard them pass like wolves
Howling; but while he stared about the shrine,
In which he scarce could spy the Christ for Saints,
Beheld before a golden altar lie
The longest lance his eyes had ever seen,
Point-painted red; and seizing thereupon
Pushed through an open casement down, leaned on it,
Leapt in a semicircle, and lit on earth;
Then hand at ear, and harkening from what side
The blindfold rummage buried in the walls
Might echo, ran the counter path, and found
His charger, mounted on him and away.
An arrow whizzed to the right, one to the left,
One overhead; and Pellam's feeble cry
'Stay, stay him! he defileth heavenly things
With earthly uses'--made him quickly dive
Beneath the boughs, and race through many a mile
Of dense and open, till his goodly horse,
Arising wearily at a fallen oak,
Stumbled headlong, and cast him face to ground.
Half-wroth he had not ended, but all glad,
Knightlike, to find his charger yet unlamed,
Sir Balin drew the shield from off his neck,
Stared at the priceless cognizance, and thought
'I have shamed thee so that now thou shamest me,
Thee will I bear no more,' high on a branch
Hung it, and turned aside into the woods,
And there in gloom cast himself all along,
Moaning 'My violences, my violences!'
But now the wholesome music of the wood
Was dumbed by one from out the hall of Mark,
A damsel-errant, warbling, as she rode
The woodland alleys, Vivien, with her Squire.
'The fire of Heaven has killed the barren cold,
And kindled all the plain and all the wold.
The new leaf ever pushes off the old.
The fire of Heaven is not the flame of Hell.
'Old priest, who mumble worship in your quire-Old monk and nun, ye scorn the world's desire,
Yet in your frosty cells ye feel the fire!
The fire of Heaven is not the flame of Hell.
'The fire of Heaven is on the dusty ways.
The wayside blossoms open to the blaze.
The whole wood-world is one full peal of praise.
The fire of Heaven is not the flame of Hell.
'The fire of Heaven is lord of all things good,
And starve not thou this fire within thy blood,
But follow Vivien through the fiery flood!
The fire of Heaven is not the flame of Hell!'
Then turning to her Squire 'This fire of Heaven,
This old sun-worship, boy, will rise again,
And beat the cross to earth, and break the King
And all his Table.'
Then they reached a glade,
Where under one long lane of cloudless air
Before another wood, the royal crown
Sparkled, and swaying upon a restless elm
Drew the vague glance of Vivien, and her Squire;
Amazed were these; 'Lo there' she cried--'a crown-Borne by some high lord-prince of Arthur's hall,
And there a horse! the rider? where is he?
See, yonder lies one dead within the wood.
Not dead; he stirs!--but sleeping. I will speak.
Hail, royal knight, we break on thy sweet rest,
Not, doubtless, all unearned by noble deeds.
But bounden art thou, if from Arthur's hall,
To help the weak. Behold, I fly from shame,
A lustful King, who sought to win my love
Through evil ways: the knight, with whom I rode,
Hath suffered misadventure, and my squire
Hath in him small defence; but thou, Sir Prince,
Wilt surely guide me to the warrior King,
Arthur the blameless, pure as any maid,
To get me shelter for my maidenhood.
I charge thee by that crown upon thy shield,
And by the great Queen's name, arise and hence.'
And Balin rose, 'Thither no more! nor Prince
Nor knight am I, but one that hath defamed
The cognizance she gave me: here I dwell
Savage among the savage woods, here die-Die: let the wolves' black maws ensepulchre
Their brother beast, whose anger was his lord.
O me, that such a name as Guinevere's,
Which our high Lancelot hath so lifted up,
And been thereby uplifted, should through me,
My violence, and my villainy, come to shame.'
Thereat she suddenly laughed and shrill, anon
Sighed all as suddenly. Said Balin to her
'Is this thy courtesy--to mock me, ha?
Hence, for I will not with thee.' Again she sighed
'Pardon, sweet lord! we maidens often laugh
When sick at heart, when rather we should weep.
I knew thee wronged. I brake upon thy rest,
And now full loth am I to break thy dream,
But thou art man, and canst abide a truth,
Though bitter. Hither, boy--and mark me well.
Dost thou remember at Caerleon once-A year ago--nay, then I love thee not-Ay, thou rememberest well--one summer dawn-By the great tower--Caerleon upon Usk-Nay, truly we were hidden: this fair lord,
The flower of all their vestal knighthood, knelt
In amorous homage--knelt--what else?--O ay
Knelt, and drew down from out his night-black hair
And mumbled that white hand whose ringed caress
Had wandered from her own King's golden head,
And lost itself in darkness, till she cried-I thought the great tower would crash down on both-"Rise, my sweet King, and kiss me on the lips,
Thou art my King." This lad, whose lightest word
Is mere white truth in simple nakedness,
Saw them embrace: he reddens, cannot speak,
So bashful, he! but all the maiden Saints,
The deathless mother-maidenhood of Heaven,
Cry out upon her. Up then, ride with me!
Talk not of shame! thou canst not, an thou would'st,
Do these more shame than these have done themselves.'
She lied with ease; but horror-stricken he,
Remembering that dark bower at Camelot,
Breathed in a dismal whisper 'It is truth.'
Sunnily she smiled 'And even in this lone wood,
Sweet lord, ye do right well to whisper this.
Fools prate, and perish traitors. Woods have tongues,
As walls have ears: but thou shalt go with me,
And we will speak at first exceeding low.
Meet is it the good King be not deceived.
See now, I set thee high on vantage ground,
From whence to watch the time, and eagle-like
Stoop at thy will on Lancelot and the Queen.'
She ceased; his evil spirit upon him leapt,
He ground his teeth together, sprang with a yell,
Tore from the branch, and cast on earth, the shield,
Drove his mailed heel athwart the royal crown,
Stampt all into defacement, hurled it from him
Among the forest weeds, and cursed the tale,
The told-of, and the teller.
That weird yell,
Unearthlier than all shriek of bird or beast,
Thrilled through the woods; and Balan lurking there
(His quest was unaccomplished) heard and thought
'The scream of that Wood-devil I came to quell!'
Then nearing 'Lo! he hath slain some brother-knight,
And tramples on the goodly shield to show
His loathing of our Order and the Queen.
My quest, meseems, is here. Or devil or man
Guard thou thine head.' Sir Balin spake not word,
But snatched a sudden buckler from the Squire,
And vaulted on his horse, and so they crashed
In onset, and King Pellam's holy spear,
Reputed to be red with sinless blood,
Redded at once with sinful, for the point
Across the maiden shield of Balan pricked
The hauberk to the flesh; and Balin's horse
Was wearied to the death, and, when they clashed,
Rolling back upon Balin, crushed the man
Inward, and either fell, and swooned away.
Then to her Squire muttered the damsel 'Fools!
This fellow hath wrought some foulness with his Queen:
Else never had he borne her crown, nor raved
And thus foamed over at a rival name:
But thou, Sir Chick, that scarce hast broken shell,
Art yet half-yolk, not even come to down-Who never sawest Caerleon upon Usk-And yet hast often pleaded for my love-See what I see, be thou where I have been,
Or else Sir Chick--dismount and loose their casques
I fain would know what manner of men they be.'
And when the Squire had loosed them, 'Goodly!--look!
They might have cropt the myriad flower of May,
And butt each other here, like brainless bulls,
Dead for one heifer!
Then the gentle Squire
'I hold them happy, so they died for love:
And, Vivien, though ye beat me like your dog,
I too could die, as now I live, for thee.'
'Live on, Sir Boy,' she cried. 'I better prize
The living dog than the dead lion: away!
I cannot brook to gaze upon the dead.'
Then leapt her palfrey o'er the fallen oak,
And bounding forward 'Leave them to the wolves.'
But when their foreheads felt the cooling air,
Balin first woke, and seeing that true face,
Familiar up from cradle-time, so wan,
Crawled slowly with low moans to where he lay,
And on his dying brother cast himself
Dying; and HE lifted faint eyes; he felt
One near him; all at once they found the world,
Staring wild-wide; then with a childlike wail
And drawing down the dim disastrous brow
That o'er him hung, he kissed it, moaned and spake;
'O Balin, Balin, I that fain had died
To save thy life, have brought thee to thy death.
Why had ye not the shield I knew? and why
Trampled ye thus on that which bare the Crown?'
Then Balin told him brokenly, and in gasps,
All that had chanced, and Balan moaned again.
'Brother, I dwelt a day in Pellam's hall:
This Garlon mocked me, but I heeded not.
And one said "Eat in peace! a liar is he,
And hates thee for the tribute!" this good knight
Told me, that twice a wanton damsel came,
And sought for Garlon at the castle-gates,
Whom Pellam drove away with holy heat.
I well believe this damsel, and the one
Who stood beside thee even now, the same.
"She dwells among the woods" he said "and meets
And dallies with him in the Mouth of Hell."
Foul are their lives; foul are their lips; they lied.
Pure as our own true Mother is our Queen."
'O brother' answered Balin 'woe is me!
My madness all thy life has been thy doom,
Thy curse, and darkened all thy day; and now
The night has come. I scarce can see thee now.
Goodnight! for we shall never bid again
Goodmorrow--Dark my doom was here, and dark
It will be there. I see thee now no more.
I would not mine again should darken thine,
Goodnight, true brother.
Balan answered low
'Goodnight, true brother here! goodmorrow there!
We two were born together, and we die
Together by one doom:' and while he spoke
Closed his death-drowsing eyes, and slept the sleep
With Balin, either locked in either's arm.
~ Alfred Lord Tennyson,
344:The Botanic Garden( Part Ii)
The Economy Of Vegetation
Canto II
AND NOW THE GODDESS with attention sweet
Turns to the GNOMES, that circle round her feet;
Orb within orb approach the marshal'd trains,
And pigmy legions darken all the plains;
Thrice shout with silver tones the applauding bands,
Bow, ere She speaks, and clap their fairy hands.
So the tall grass, when noon-tide zephyr blows,
Bends it's green blades in undulating rows;
Wide o'er the fields the billowy tumult spreads,
And rustling harvests bow their golden heads.
I. 'GNOMES! YOUR bright forms, presiding at her birth,
Clung in fond squadrons round the new-born EARTH;
When high in ether, with explosion dire,
From the deep craters of his realms of fire,
The whirling Sun this ponderous planet hurl'd,
And gave the astonish'd void another world.
When from it's vaporous air, condensed by cold,
Descending torrents into oceans roll'd;
And fierce attraction with relentless force
Bent the reluctant wanderer to it's course.
'Where yet the Bull with diamond-eye adorns
The Spring's fair forehead, and with golden horns;
Where yet the Lion climbs the ethereal plain,
And shakes the Summer from his radiant mane;
Where Libra lifts her airy arm, and weighs,
Poised in her silver ballance, nights and days;
With paler lustres where Aquarius burns,
And showers the still snow from his hoary urns;
YOUR ardent troops pursued the flying sphere,
Circling the starry girdle of the year;
While sweet vicissitudes of day and clime
Mark'd the new annals of enascent Time.
II. 'You trod with printless step Earth's tender globe,
While Ocean wrap'd it in his azure robe;
Beneath his waves her hardening strata spread,
Raised her PRIMEVAL ISLANDS from his bed,
Stretch'd her wide lawns, and sunk her winding dells,
And deck'd her shores with corals, pearls, and shells.
'O'er those blest isles no ice-crown'd mountains tower'd,
No lightnings darted, and no tempests lower'd;
Soft fell the vesper-drops, condensed below,
Or bent in air the rain-refracted bow;
Sweet breathed the zephyrs, just perceiv'd and lost;
And brineless billows only kiss'd the coast;
Round the bright zodiac danced the vernal hours,
And Peace, the Cherub, dwelt in mortal bowers!
'So young DIONE, nursed beneath the waves,
And rock'd by Nereids in their coral caves,
Charm'd the blue sisterhood with playful wiles,
Lisp'd her sweet tones, and tried her tender smiles.
Then, on her beryl throne by Triton's borne,
Bright rose the Goddess like the Star of morn;
When with soft fires the milky dawn He leads,
And wakes to life and love the laughing meads;With rosy fingers, as uncurl'd they hung
Round her fair brow, her golden locks she wrung;
O'er the smooth surge on silver sandals flood,
And look'd enchantment on the dazzled flood.The bright drops, rolling from her lifted arms,
In slow meanders wander o'er her charms,
Seek round her snowy neck their lucid track,
Pearl her white shoulders, gem her ivory back,
Round her fine waist and swelling bosom swim,
And star with glittering brine each crystal limb.-The immortal form enamour'd Nature hail'd,
And Beauty blazed to heaven and earth, unvail'd.
III. 'You! who then, kindling after many an age,
Saw with new fires the first VOLCANO rage,
O'er smouldering heaps of livid sulphur swell
At Earth's firm centre, and distend her shell,
Saw at each opening cleft the furnace glow,
And seas rush headlong on the gulphs below.-
GNOMES! how you shriek'd! when through the troubled air
Roar'd the fierce din of elemental war;
When rose the continents, and sunk the main,
And Earth's huge sphere exploding burst in twain.GNOMES! how you gazed! when from her wounded side
Where now the South-Sea heaves its waste of tide,
Rose on swift wheels the MOON'S refulgent car,
Circling the solar orb; a sister-star,
Dimpled with vales, with shining hills emboss'd,
And roll'd round Earth her airless realms of frost.
'GNOMES! how you trembled! with the dreadful force
When Earth recoiling stagger'd from her course;
When, as her Line in slower circles spun,
And her shock'd axis nodded from the sun,
With dreadful march the accumulated main
Swept her vast wrecks of mountain, vale, and plain;
And, while new tides their shouting floods unite,
And hail their Queen, fair Regent of the night;
Chain'd to one centre whirl'd the kindred spheres,
And mark'd with lunar cycles solar years.
IV. 'GNOMES! you then bade dissolving SHELLS distil
From the loose summits of each shatter'd hill,
To each fine pore and dark interstice flow,
And fill with liquid chalk the mass below.
Whence sparry forms in dusky caverns gleam
With borrow'd light, and twice refract the beam;
While in white beds congealing rocks beneath
Court the nice chissel, and desire to breathe.'Hence wearied HERCULES in marble rears
His languid limbs, and rests a thousand years;
Still, as he leans, shall young ANTINOUS please
With careless grace, and unaffected ease;
Onward with loftier step APOLLO spring,
And launch the unerring arrow from the string;
In Beauty's bashful form, the veil unfurl'd,
Ideal VENUS win the gazing world.
Hence on ROUBILIAC'S tomb shall Fame sublime
Wave her triumphant wings, and conquer Time;
Long with soft touch shall DAMER'S chissel charm,
With grace delight us, and with beauty warm;
FOSTER'S fine form shall hearts unborn engage,
And MELBOURN's smile enchant another age.
V. GNOMES! you then taught transuding dews to pass
Through time-fall'n woods, and root-inwove morass
Age after age; and with filtration fine
Dispart, from earths and sulphurs, the saline.
1. 'HENCE with diffusive SALT old Ocean steeps
His emerald shallows, and his sapphire deeps.
Oft in wide lakes, around their warmer brim
In hollow pyramids the crystals swim;
Or, fused by earth-born fires, in cubic blocks
Shoot their white forms, and harden into rocks.
'Thus, cavern'd round in CRACOW'S mighty mines,
With crystal walls a gorgeous city shines;
Scoop'd in the briny rock long streets extend
Their hoary course, and glittering domes ascend;
Down the bright steeps, emerging into day,
Impetuous fountains burst their headlong way,
O'er milk-white vales in ivory channels spread,
And wondering seek their subterraneous bed.
Form'd in pellucid salt with chissel nice,
The pale lamp glimmering through the sculptured ice,
With wild reverted eyes fair LOTTA stands,
And spreads to Heaven, in vain, her glassy hands;
Cold dews condense upon her pearly breast,
And the big tear rolls lucid down her vest.
Far gleaming o'er the town transparent fanes
Rear their white towers, and wave their golden vanes;
Long lines of lustres pour their trembling rays,
And the bright vault returns the mingled blaze.
2. 'HENCE orient NITRE owes it's sparkling birth,
And with prismatic crystals gems the earth,
O'er tottering domes in filmy foliage crawls,
Or frosts with branching plumes the mouldering walls.
As woos Azotic Gas the virgin Air,
And veils in crimson clouds the yielding Fair,
Indignant Fire the treacherous courtship flies,
Waves his light wing, and mingles with the skies.
'So Beauty's GODDESS, warm with new desire,
Left, on her silver wheels, the GOD of Fire;
Her faithless charms to fiercer MARS resign'd,
Met with fond lips, with wanton arms intwin'd.
-Indignant VULCAN eyed the parting Fair,
And watch'd with jealous step the guilty pair;
O'er his broad neck a wiry net he flung,
Quick as he strode, the tinkling meshes rung;
Fine as the spider's flimsy thread He wove
The immortal toil to lime illicit love;
Steel were the knots, and steel the twisted thong,
Ring link'd in ring, indissolubly strong;
On viewless hooks along the fretted roof
He hung, unseen, the inextricable woof.-Quick start the springs, the webs pellucid spread,
And lock the embracing Lovers on their bed;
Fierce with loud taunts vindictive VULCAN springs,
Tries all the bolts, and tightens all the strings,
Shakes with incessant shouts the bright abodes,
Claps his rude hands, and calls the festive Gods.-With spreading palms the alarmed Goddess tries
To veil her beauties from celestial eyes,
Writhes her fair limbs, the slender ringlets strains,
And bids her Loves untie the obdurate chains;
Soft swells her panting bosom, as she turns,
And her flush'd cheek with brighter blushes burns.
Majestic grief the Queen of Heaven avows,
And chaste Minerva hides her helmed brows;
Attendant Nymphs with bashful eyes askance
Steal of intangled MARS a transient glance;
Surrounding Gods the circling nectar quaff,
Gaze on the Fair, and envy as they laugh.
3. 'HENCE dusky IRON sleeps in dark abodes,
And ferny foliage nestles in the nodes;
Till with wide lungs the panting bellows blow,
And waked by fire the glittering torrents flow;
-Quick whirls the wheel, the ponderous hammer falls,
Loud anvils ring amid the trembling walls,
Strokes follow strokes, the sparkling ingot shines,
Flows the red slag, the lengthening bar refines;
Cold waves, immersed, the glowing mass congeal,
And turn to adamant the hissing Steel.
'Last MICHELL'S hands with touch of potent charm
The polish'd rods with powers magnetic arm;
With points directed to the polar stars
In one long line extend the temper'd bars;
Then thrice and thrice with steady eye he guides,
And o'er the adhesive train the magnet slides;
The obedient Steel with living instinct moves,
And veers for ever to the pole it loves.
'Hail, adamantine STEEL! magnetic Lord!
King of the prow, the plowshare, and the sword!
True to the pole, by thee the pilot guides
His steady helm amid the struggling tides,
Braves with broad sail the immeasurable sea,
Cleaves the dark air, and asks no star but Thee.By thee the plowshare rends the matted plain,
Inhumes in level rows the living grain;
Intrusive forests quit the cultured ground,
And Ceres laughs with golden fillets crown'd.O'er restless realms when scowling Discord flings
Her snakes, and loud the din of battle rings;
Expiring Strength, and vanquish'd Courage feel
Thy arm resistless, adamantine STEEL!
4. 'HENCE in fine streams diffusive ACIDS flow,
Or wing'd with fire o'er Earth's fair bosom blow;
Transmute to glittering Flints her chalky lands,
Or sink on Ocean's bed in countless Sands.
Hence silvery Selenite her chrystal moulds,
And soft Asbestus smooths his silky folds;
His cubic forms phosphoric Fluor prints,
Or rays in spheres his amethystine tints.
Soft cobweb clouds transparent Onyx spreads,
And playful Agates weave their colour'd threads;
Gay pictured Mochoes glow with landscape-dyes,
And changeful Opals roll their lucid eyes;
Blue lambent light around the Sapphire plays,
Bright Rubies blush, and living Diamonds blaze.
'Thus, for attractive earth, inconstant JOVE
Mask'd in new shapes forsook his realms above.First her sweet eyes his Eagle-form beguiles,
And HEBE feeds him with ambrosial smiles;
Next the chang'd God a Cygnet's down assumes,
And playful LEDA smooths his glossy plumes;
Then glides a silver Serpent, treacherous guest!
And fair OLYMPIA folds him in her breast;
Now lows a milk-white Bull on Afric's strand,
And crops with dancing head the daisy'd land.-
With rosy wreathes EUROPA'S hand adorns
His fringed forehead, and his pearly horns;
Light on his back the sportive Damsel bounds,
And pleased he moves along the flowery grounds;
Bears with slow step his beauteous prize aloof,
Dips in the lucid flood his ivory hoof;
Then wets his velvet knees, and wading laves
His silky sides amid the dimpling waves.
While her fond train with beckoning hands deplore,
Strain their blue eyes, and shriek along the shore;
Beneath her robe she draws her snowy feet,
And, half-reclining on her ermine seat,
Round his raised neck her radiant arms she throws,
And rests her fair cheek on his curled brows;
Her yellow tresses wave on wanton gales,
And high in air her azure mantle sails.
-Onward He moves, applauding Cupids guide,
And skim on shooting wing the shining tide;
Emerging Triton's leave their coral caves,
Sound their loud conchs, and smooth the circling waves,
Surround the timorous Beauty, as she swims,
And gaze enamour'd on her silver limbs.
-Now Europe's shadowy shores with loud acclaim
Hail the fair fugitive, and shout her name;
Soft echoes warble, whispering forests nod,
And conscious Nature owns the present God.
-Changed from the Bull, the rapturous God assumes
Immortal youth, with glow celestial blooms,
With lenient words her virgin fears disarms,
And clasps the yielding Beauty in his arms;
Whence Kings and Heroes own illustrious birth,
Guards of mankind, and demigods on earth.
VI. 'GNOMES! as you pass'd beneath the labouring soil,
The guards and guides of Nature's chemic toil,
YOU saw, deep-sepulchred in dusky realms,
Which Earth's rock-ribbed ponderous vault o'erwhelms,
With self-born fires the mass fermenting glow,
And flame-wing'd sulphurs quit the earths below.
1. 'HENCE ductile CLAYS in wide expansion spread,
Soft as the Cygnet's down, their snow-white bed;
With yielding flakes successive forms reveal,
And change obedient to the whirling wheel.
-First CHINA'S sons, with early art elate,
Form'd the gay tea-pot, and the pictured plate;
Saw with illumin'd brow and dazzled eyes
In the red stove vitrescent colours rise;
Speck'd her tall beakers with enamel'd stars,
Her monster-josses, and gigantic jars;
Smear'd her huge dragons with metallic hues,
With golden purples, and cobaltic blues;
Bade on wide hills her porcelain castles glare,
And glazed Pagodas tremble in the air.
'ETRURIA! next beneath thy magic hands
Glides the quick wheel, the plaistic clay expands,
Nerved with fine touch, thy fingers (as it turns)
Mark the nice bounds of vases, ewers, and urns;
Round each fair form in lines immortal trace
Uncopied Beauty, and ideal Grace.
'GNOMES! as you now dissect with hammers fine
The granite-rock, the nodul'd flint calcine;
Grind with strong arm, the circling chertz betwixt,
Your pure Ka-o-lins and Pe-tun-tses mixt;
O'er each red saggars burning cave preside,
The keen-eyed Fire-Nymphs blazing by your side;
And pleased on WEDGWOOD ray your partial smile,
A new Etruria decks Britannia's isle.Charm'd by your touch, the flint liquescent pours
Through finer sieves, and falls in whiter showers;
Charm'd by your touch, the kneaded clay refines,
The biscuit hardens, the enamel shines;
Each nicer mould a softer feature drinks,
The bold Cameo speaks, the soft Intaglio thinks.
'To call the pearly drops from Pity's eye,
Or stay Despair's disanimating sigh,
Whether, O Friend of art! the gem you mould
Rich with new taste, with antient virtue bold;
Form the poor fetter'd SLAVE on bended knee
From Britain's sons imploring to be free;
Or with fair HOPE the brightening scenes improve,
And cheer the dreary wastes at Sydney-cove;
Or bid Mortality rejoice and mourn
O'er the fine forms on PORTLAND'S mystic urn.'
by fall'n columns and disjoin'd arcades,
On mouldering stones, beneath deciduous shades,
Sits HUMANKIND in hieroglyphic state,
Serious, and pondering on their changeful state;
While with inverted torch, and swimming eyes,
Sinks the fair shade of MORTAL LIFE, and dies.
the pale GHOST through Death's wide portal bends
His timid feet, the dusky steep descends;
With smiles assuasive LOVE DIVINE invites,
Guides on broad wing, with torch uplifted lights;
IMMORTAL LIFE, her hand extending, courts
The lingering form, his tottering step supports;
Leads on to Pluto's realms the dreary way,
And gives him trembling to Elysian day.
in sacred robes the PRIESTESS dress'd,
The coif close-hooded, and the fluttering vest,
With pointing finger guides the initiate youth,
Unweaves the many-colour'd veil of Truth,
Drives the profane from Mystery's bolted door,
And Silence guards the Eleusinian lore.'Whether, O Friend of Art! your gems derive
Fine forms from Greece, and fabled Gods revive;
Or bid from modern life the Portrait breathe,
And bind round Honour's brow the laurel wreath;
Buoyant shall sail, with Fame's historic page,
Each fair medallion o'er the wrecks of age;
Nor Time shall mar; nor steel, nor fire, nor rust
Touch the hard polish of the immortal bust.
2. 'HENCE sable COAL his massy couch extends,
And stars of gold the sparkling Pyrite blends;
Hence dull-eyed Naphtha pours his pitchy streams,
And Jet uncolour'd drinks the solar beams,
Bright Amber shines on his electric throne,
And adds ethereal lustres to his own.
-Led by the phosphor-light, with daring tread
Immortal FRANKLIN sought the fiery bed;
Where, nursed in night, incumbent Tempest shrouds
The seeds of Thunder in circumfluent clouds,
Besieged with iron points his airy cell,
And pierced the monster slumbering in the shell.
'So, born on sounding pinions to the WEST,
When Tyrant-Power had built his eagle nest;
While from his eyry shriek'd the famish'd brood,
Clenched their sharp claws, and champ'd their beaks for blood,
Immortal FRANKLIN watch'd the callow crew,
And stabb'd the struggling Vampires, ere they flew.
-The patriot-flame with quick contagion ran,
Hill lighted hill, and man electrised man;
Her heroes slain awhile COLUMBIA mourn'd,
And crown'd with laurels LIBERTY return'd.
'The Warrior, LIBERTY, with bending sails
Helm'd his bold course to fair HIBERNIA'S vales;Firm as he steps, along the shouting lands,
Lo! Truth and Virtue range their radiant bands;
Sad Superstition wails her empire torn,
Art plies his oar, and Commerce pours her horn.
'Long had the Giant-form on GALLIA'S plains
Inglorious slept, unconscious of his chains;
Round his large limbs were wound a thousand strings
By the weak hands of Confessors and Kings;
O'er his closed eyes a triple veil was bound,
And steely rivets lock'd him to the ground;
While stern Bastile with iron cage inthralls
His folded limbs, and hems in marble walls.
-Touch'd by the patriot-flame, he rent amazed
The flimsy bonds, and round and round him gazed;
Starts up from earth, above the admiring throng
Lifts his Colossal form, and towers along;
High o'er his foes his hundred arms He rears,
Plowshares his swords, and pruning hooks his spears;
Calls to the Good and Brave with voice, that rolls
Like Heaven's own thunder round the echoing poles;
Gives to the winds his banner broad unfurl'd,
And gathers in its shade the living world!
VII. 'GNOMES! YOU then taught volcanic airs to force
Through bubbling Lavas their resistless course,
O'er the broad walls of rifted Granite climb,
And pierce the rent roof of incumbent Lime,
Round sparry caves metallic lustres fling,
And bear phlogiston on their tepid wing.
'HENCE glows, refulgent Tin! thy chrystal grains,
And tawny Copper shoots her azure veins;
Zinc lines his fretted vault with sable ore,
And dull Galena tessellates the floor;
On vermil beds in Idria's mighty caves
The living Silver rolls its ponderous waves;
With gay refractions bright Platina shines,
And studs with squander'd stars his dusky mines;
Long threads of netted gold, and silvery darts,
Inlay the Lazuli, and pierce the Quartz;-Whence roof'd with silver beam'd PERU, of old,
And hapless MEXICO was paved with gold.
'Heavens! on my sight what sanguine colours blaze!
Spain's deathless shame! the crimes of modern days!
When Avarice, shrouded in Religion's robe,
Sail'd to the West, and slaughter'd half the globe;
While Superstition, stalking by his side,
Mock'd the loud groans, and lap'd the bloody tide;
For sacred truths announced her frenzied dreams,
And turn'd to night the sun's meridian beams.Hear, oh, BRITANNIA! potent Queen of isles,
On whom fair Art, and meek Religion smiles,
Now AFRIC'S coasts thy craftier sons invade
With murder, rapine, theft,-and call it Trade!
-The SLAVE, in chains, on supplicating knee,
Spreads his wide arms, and lifts his eyes to Thee;
With hunger pale, with wounds and toil oppress'd,
'ARE WE NOT BRETHREN?' sorrow choaks the rest;-AIR! bear to heaven upon thy azure flood
Their innocent cries!-EARTH! cover not their blood!
VIII. 'When Heaven's dread justice smites in crimes o'ergrown
The blood-nursed Tyrant on his purple throne,
GNOMES! YOUR bold forms unnumber'd arms outstretch,
And urge the vengeance o'er the guilty wretch.Thus when CAMBYSES led his barbarous hosts
From Persia's rocks to Egypt's trembling coasts,
Defiled each hallowed fane, and sacred wood,
And, drunk with fury, swell'd the Nile with blood;
Waved his proud banner o'er the Theban states,
And pour'd destruction through her hundred gates;
In dread divisions march'd the marshal'd bands,
And swarming armies blacken'd all the lands,
By Memphis these to ETHIOP'S sultry plains,
And those to HAMMON'S sand-incircled fanes.Slow as they pass'd, the indignant temples frown'd,
Low curses muttering from the vaulted ground;
Long ailes of Cypress waved their deepen'd glooms,
And quivering spectres grinn'd amid the tombs;
Prophetic whispers breathed from S
And MEMNON'S lyre with hollow murmurs rung;
Burst from each pyramid expiring groans,
And darker shadows stretch'd their lengthen'd cones.Day after day their deathful rout They steer,
Lust in the van, and rapine in the rear.
'GNOMES! as they march'd, You hid the gathered fruits,
The bladed grass, sweet grains, and mealy roots;
Scared the tired quails, that journey'd o'er their heads,
Retain'd the locusts in their earthy beds;
Bade on your sands no night-born dews distil,
Stay'd with vindictive hands the scanty rill.Loud o'er the camp the Fiend of Famine shrieks,
Calls all her brood, and champs her hundred beaks;
O'er ten square leagues her pennons broad expand,
And twilight swims upon the shuddering sand;
Perch'd on her crest the Griffin Discord clings,
And Giant Murder rides between her wings;
Blood from each clotted hair, and horny quill,
And showers of tears in blended streams distil;
High-poised in air her spiry neck she bends,
Rolls her keen eye, her Dragon-claws extends,
Darts from above, and tears at each fell swoop
With iron fangs the decimated troop.
'Now o'er their head the whizzing whirlwinds breathe,
And the live desert pants, and heaves beneath;
Tinged by the crimson sun, vast columns rise
Of eddying sands, and war amid the skies,
In red arcades the billowy plain surround,
And stalking turrets dance upon the ground.
-Long ranks in vain their shining blades extend,
To Demon-Gods their knees unhallow'd bend,
Wheel in wide circle, form in hollow square,
And now they front, and now they fly the war,
Pierce the deaf tempest with lamenting cries,
Press their parch'd lips, and close their blood-shot eyes.
-GNOMES! o'er the waste YOU led your myriad powers,
Climb'd on the whirls, and aim'd the flinty showers!Onward resistless rolls the infuriate surge,
Clouds follow clouds, and mountains mountains urge;
Wave over wave the driving desert swims,
Bursts o'er their heads, inhumes their struggling limbs;
Man mounts on man, on camels camels rush,
Hosts march o'er hosts, and nations nations crush,Wheeling in air the winged islands fall,
And one great earthy Ocean covers all!Then ceased the storm,-NIGHT bow'd his Ethiop brow
To earth, and listen'd to the groans below,Grim HORROR shook,-awhile the living hill
Heaved with convulsive throes,-and all was still!
IX. 'GNOMES! whose fine forms, impassive as the air,
Shrink with soft sympathy for human care;
Who glide unseen, on printless slippers borne,
Beneath the waving grass, and nodding corn;
Or lay your tiny limbs, when noon-tide warms,
Where shadowy cowslips stretch their golden arms,So mark'd on orreries in lucid signs,
Star'd with bright points the mimic zodiac shines;
Borne on fine wires amid the pictured skies
With ivory orbs the planets set and rise;
Round the dwarf earth the pearly moon is roll'd,
And the sun twinkling whirls his rays of gold.Call your bright myriads, march your mailed hosts,
With spears and helmets glittering round the coasts;
Thick as the hairs, which rear the Lion's mane,
Or fringe the Boar, that bays the hunter-train;
Watch, where proud Surges break their treacherous mounds,
And sweep resistless o'er the cultured grounds;
Such as erewhile, impell'd o'er Belgia's plain,
Roll'd her rich ruins to the insatiate main;
With piles and piers the ruffian waves engage,
And bid indignant Ocean stay his rage.
'Where, girt with clouds, the rifted mountain yawns,
And chills with length of shade the gelid lawns,
Climb the rude steeps, the granite-cliffs surround,
Pierce with steel points, with wooden wedges wound;
Break into clays the soft volcanic slaggs,
Or melt with acid airs the marble craggs;
Crown the green summits with adventurous flocks,
And charm with novel flowers the wondering rocks.
-So when proud Rome the Afric Warrior braved,
And high on Alps his crimson banner waved;
While rocks on rocks their beetling brows oppose
With piny forests, and unfathomed snows;
Onward he march'd, to Latium's velvet ground
With fires and acids burst the obdurate bound,
Wide o'er her weeping vales destruction hurl'd,
And shook the rising empire of the world.
X. 'Go, gentle GNOMES! resume your vernal toil,
Seek my chill tribes, which sleep beneath the soil;
On grey-moss banks, green meads, or furrow'd lands
Spread the dark mould, white lime, and crumbling sands;
Each bursting bud with healthier juices feed,
Emerging scion, or awaken'd seed.
So, in descending streams, the silver Chyle
Streaks with white clouds the golden floods of bile;
Through each nice valve the mingling currents glide,
Join their fine rills, and swell the sanguine tide;
Each countless cell, and viewless fibre seek,
Nerve the strong arm, and tinge the blushing cheek.
'Oh, watch, where bosom'd in the teeming earth,
Green swells the germ, impatient for its birth;
Guard from rapacious worms its tender shoots,
And drive the mining beetle from its roots;
With ceaseless efforts rend the obdurate clay,
And give my vegetable babes to day!
-Thus when an Angel-form, in light array'd,
Like HOWARD pierced the prison's noisome shade;
Where chain'd to earth, with eyes to heaven upturn'd,
The kneeling Saint in holy anguish mourn'd;Ray'd from his lucid vest, and halo'd brow
O'er the dark roof celestial lustres glow,
'PETER, arise!' with cheering voice He calls,
And sounds seraphic echo round the walls;
Locks, bolts, and chains his potent touch obey,
And pleased he leads the dazzled Sage to day.
XI. 'YOU! whose fine fingers fill the organic cells,
With virgin earth, of woods and bones and shells;
Mould with retractile glue their spongy beds,
And stretch and strengthen all their fibre-threads.Late when the mass obeys its changeful doom,
And sinks to earth, its cradle and its tomb,
GNOMES! with nice eye the slow solution watch,
With fostering hand the parting atoms catch,
Join in new forms, combine with life and sense,
And guide and guard the transmigrating Ens.
'So when on Lebanon's sequester'd hight
The fair ADONIS left the realms of light,
Bow'd his bright locks, and, fated from his birth
To change eternal, mingled with the earth;With darker horror shook the conscious wood,
Groan'd the sad gales, and rivers blush'd with blood;
On cypress-boughs the Loves their quivers hung,
Their arrows scatter'd, and their bows unstrung;
And BEAUTY'S GODDESS, bending o'er his bier,
Breathed the soft sigh, and pour'd the tender tear.Admiring PROSERPINE through dusky glades
Led the fair phantom to Elysian shades,
Clad with new form, with finer sense combined,
And lit with purer flame the ethereal mind.
-Erewhile, emerging from infernal night,
The bright Assurgent rises into light,
Leaves the drear chambers of the insatiate tomb,
And shines and charms with renovated bloom.While wondering Loves the bursting grave surround,
And edge with meeting wings the yawning ground,
Stretch their fair necks, and leaning o'er the brink
View the pale regions of the dead, and shrink;
Long with broad eyes ecstatic BEAUTY stands,
Heaves her white bosom, spreads her waxen hands;
Then with loud shriek the panting Youth alarms,
'My Life! my Love!' and springs into his arms.'
The GODDESS ceased,-the delegated throng
O'er the wide plains delighted rush along;
In dusky squadrons, and in shining groups,
Hosts follow hosts, and troops succeed to troops;
Scarce bears the bending grass the moving freight,
And nodding florets bow beneath their weight.
So when light clouds on airy pinions sail,
Flit the soft shadows o'er the waving vale;
Shade follows shade, as laughing Zephyrs drive,
And all the chequer'd landscape seems alive.
~ Erasmus Darwin,

Is it a party in a parlour,
Crammed just as they on earth were crammed,
Some sipping punchsome sipping tea;
But, as you by their faces see,
All silent, and alldamned!
Peter Bell, by W. Wordsworth.

Ophelia.What means this, my lord?
Hamlet.Marry, this is Miching Mallecho; it means mischief. ~Shakespeare.

Peter Bells, one, two and three,
O'er the wide world wandering be.
First, the antenatal Peter,
Wrapped in weeds of the same metre,
The so-long-predestined raiment
Clothed in which to walk his way meant
The second Peter; whose ambition
Is to link the proposition,
As the mean of two extremes
(This was learned from Aldric's themes)
Shielding from the guilt of schism
The orthodoxal syllogism;
The First Peterhe who was
Like the shadow in the glass
Of the second, yet unripe,
His substantial antitype.
Then came Peter Bell the Second,
Who henceforward must be reckoned
The body of a double soul,
And that portion of the whole
Without which the rest would seem
Ends of a disjointed dream.
And the Third is he who has
O'er the grave been forced to pass
To the other side, which is,
Go and try else,just like this.
Peter Bell the First was Peter
Smugger, milder, softer, neater,
Like the soul before it is
Born from that world into this.
The next Peter Bell was he,
Predevote, like you and me,
To good or evil as may come;
His was the severer doom,
For he was an evil Cotter,
And a polygamic Potter.
And the last is Peter Bell,
Damned since our first parents fell,
Damned eternally to Hell
Surely he deserves it well!
And Peter Bell, when he had been
With fresh-imported Hell-fire warmed,
Grew seriousfrom his dress and mien
'Twas very plainly to be seen
Peter was quite reformed.
His eyes turned up, his mouth turned down;
His accent caught a nasal twang;
He oiled his hair; there might be heard
The grace of God in every word
Which Peter said or sang.
But Peter now grew old, and had
An ill no doctor could unravel;
His torments almost drove him mad;
Some said it was a fever bad
Some swore it was the gravel.
His holy friends then came about,
And with long preaching and persuasion
Convinced the patient that, without
The smallest shadow of a doubt,
He was predestined to damnation.
They said'Thy name is Peter Bell;
Thy skin is of a brimstone hue;
Alive or deaday, sick or well
The one God made to rhyme with hell;
The other, I think, rhymes with you.'
Then Peter set up such a yell!
The nurse, who with some water gruel
Was climbing up the stairs, as well
As her old legs could climb themfell,
And broke them boththe fall was cruel.
The Parson from the casement lept
Into the lake of Windermere
And many an eelthough no adept
In God's right reason for itkept
Gnawing his kidneys half a year.
And all the rest rushed through the door,
And tumbled over one another,
And broke their skulls.Upon the floor
Meanwhile sat Peter Bell, and swore,
And cursed his father and his mother;
And raved of God, and sin, and death,
Blaspheming like an infidel;
And said, that with his clenchd teeth
He'd seize the earth from underneath,
And drag it with him down to hell.
As he was speaking came a spasm,
And wrenched his gnashing teeth asunder;
Like one who sees a strange phantasm
He lay,there was a silent chasm
Between his upper jaw and under.
And yellow death lay on his face;
And a fixed smile that was not human
Told, as I understand the case,
That he was gone to the wrong place:
I heard all this from the old woman.
Then there came down from Langdale Pike
A cloud, with lightning, wind and hail;
It swept over the mountains like
An ocean,and I heard it strike
The woods and crags of Grasmere vale.
And I saw the black storm come
Nearer, minute after minute;
Its thunder made the cataracts dumb;
With hiss, and clash, and hollow hum,
It neared as if the Devil was in it.
The Devil was in it:he had bought
Peter for half-a-crown; and when
The storm which bore him vanished, nought
That in the house that storm had caught
Was ever seen again.
The gaping neighbours came next day
They found all vanished from the shore:
The Bible, whence he used to pray,
Half scorched under a hen-coop lay;
Smashed glassand nothing more!
The Devil, I safely can aver,
Has neither hoof, nor tail, nor sting;
Nor is he, as some sages swear,
A spirit, neither here nor there,
In nothingyet in everything.
He iswhat we are; for sometimes
The Devil is a gentleman;
At others a bard bartering rhymes
For sack; a statesman spinning crimes;
A swindler, living as he can;
A thief, who cometh in the night,
With whole boots and net pantaloons,
Like some one whom it were not right
To mention;or the luckless wight
From whom he steals nine silver spoons.
But in this case he did appear
Like a slop-merchant from Wapping,
And with smug face, and eye severe,
On every side did perk and peer
Till he saw Peter dead or napping.
He had on an upper Benjamin
(For he was of the driving schism)
In the which he wrapped his skin
From the storm he travelled in,
For fear of rheumatism.
He called the ghost out of the corse;
It was exceedingly like Peter,
Only its voice was hollow and hoarse
It had a queerish look of course
Its dress too was a little neater.
The Devil knew not his name and lot;
Peter knew not that he was Bell:
Each had an upper stream of thought,
Which made all seem as it was not;
Fitting itself to all things well.
Peter thought he had parents dear,
Brothers, sisters, cousins, cronies,
In the fens of Lincolnshire;
He perhaps had found them there
Had he gone and boldly shown his
Solemn phiz in his own village;
Where he thought oft when a boy
He'd clomb the orchard walls to pillage
The produce of his neighbour's tillage,
With marvellous pride and joy.
And the Devil thought he had,
'Mid the misery and confusion
Of an unjust war, just made
A fortune by the gainful trade
Of giving soldiers rations bad
The world is full of strange delusion
That he had a mansion planned
In a square like Grosvenor Square,
That he was aping fashion, and
That he now came to Westmoreland
To see what was romantic there.
And all this, though quite ideal,
Ready at a breath to vanish,
Was a state not more unreal
Than the peace he could not feel,
Or the care he could not banish.
After a little conversation,
The Devil told Peter, if he chose,
He'd bring him to the world of fashion
By giving him a situation
In his own serviceand new clothes.
And Peter bowed, quite pleased and proud,
And after waiting some few days
For a new liverydirty yellow
Turned up with blackthe wretched fellow
Was bowled to Hell in the Devil's chaise.
Hell is a city much like London
A populous and a smoky city;
There are all sorts of people undone,
And there is little or no fun done;
Small justice shown, and still less pity.
There is a Castles, and a Canning,
A Cobbett, and a Castlereagh;
All sorts of caitiff corpses planning
All sorts of cozening for trepanning
Corpses less corrupt than they.
There is a -, who has lost
His wits, or sold them, none knows which;
He walks about a double ghost,
And though as thin as Fraud almost
Ever grows more grim and rich.
There is a Chancery Court; a King;
A manufacturing mob; a set
Of thieves who by themselves are sent
Similar thieves to represent;
An army; and a public debt.
Which last is a scheme of paper money,
And meansbeing interpreted
'Bees, keep your waxgive us the honey,
And we will plant, while skies are sunny,
Flowers, which in winter serve instead.'
There is a great talk of revolution
And a great chance of despotism
German soldierscampsconfusion
Ginsuicideand methodism;
Taxes too, on wine and bread,
And meat, and beer, and tea, and cheese,
From which those patriots pure are fed,
Who gorge before they reel to bed
The tenfold essence of all these.
There are mincing women, mewing,
(Like cats, who amant miser,)
Of their own virtue, and pursuing
Their gentler sisters to that ruin,
Without whichwhat were chastity?
Lawyersjudgesold hobnobbers
Are therebailiffschancellors
Bishopsgreat and little robbers
Men of glory in the wars,
Things whose trade is, over ladies
To lean, and flirt, and stare, and simper,
Till all that is divine in woman
Grows cruel, courteous, smooth, inhuman,
Crucified 'twixt a smile and whimper.
Thrusting, toiling, wailing, moiling,
Frowning, preachingsuch a riot!
Each with never-ceasing labour,
Whilst he thinks he cheats his neighbour,
Cheating his own heart of quiet.
And all these meet at levees;
Dinners convivial and political;
Suppers of epic poets;teas,
Where small talk dies in agonies;
Breakfasts professional and critical;
Lunches and snacks so aldermanic
That one would furnish forth ten dinners,
Where reigns a Cretan-tongud panic,
Lest news Russ, Dutch, or Alemannic
Should make some losers, and some winners;
At conversazioniballs
Conventiclesand drawing-rooms
Courts of lawcommitteescalls
Of a morningclubsbook-stalls
Churchesmasqueradesand tombs.
And this is Helland in this smother
All are damnable and damned;
Each one damning, damns the other
They are damned by one another,
By none other are they damned.
'Tis a lie to say, 'God damns!'
Where was Heaven's Attorney General
When they first gave out such flams?
Let there be an end of shams,
They are mines of poisonous mineral.
Statesmen damn themselves to be
Cursed; and lawyers damn their souls
To the auction of a fee;
Churchmen damn themselves to see
God's sweet love in burning coals.
The rich are damned, beyond all cure,
To taunt, and starve, and trample on
The weak and wretched; and the poor
Damn their broken hearts to endure
Stripe on stripe, with groan on groan.
Sometimes the poor are damned indeed
To take,not means for being blessed,
But Cobbett's snuff, revenge; that weed
From which the worms that it doth feed
Squeeze less than they before possessed.
And some few, like we know who,
Damnedbut God alone knows why
To believe their minds are given
To make this ugly Hell a Heaven;
In which faith they live and die.
Thus, as in a town, plague-stricken,
Each man be he sound or no
Must indifferently sicken;
As when day begins to thicken,
None knows a pigeon from a crow,
So good and bad, sane and mad,
The oppressor and the oppressed;
Those who weep to see what others
Smile to inflict upon their brothers;
Lovers, haters, worst and best;
All are damnedthey breathe an air,
Thick, infected, joy-dispelling:
Each pursues what seems most fair,
Mining like moles, through mind, and there
Scoop palace-caverns vast, where Care
In thrond state is ever dwelling.
Lo, Peter in Hell's Grosvenor Square,
A footman in the Devil's service!
And the misjudging world would swear
That every man in service there
To virtue would prefer vice.
But Peter, though now damned, was not
What Peter was before damnation.
Men oftentimes prepare a lot
Which ere it finds them, is not what
Suits with their genuine station.
All things that Peter saw and felt
Had a peculiar aspect to him;
And when they came within the belt
Of his own nature, seemed to melt,
Like cloud to cloud, into him.
And so the outward world uniting
To that within him, he became
Considerably uninviting
To those who, meditation slighting,
Were moulded in a different frame.
And he scorned them, and they scorned him;
And he scorned all they did; and they
Did all that men of their own trim
Are wont to do to please their whim,
Drinking, lying, swearing, play.
Such were his fellow-servants; thus
His virtue, like our own, was built
Too much on that indignant fuss
Hypocrite Pride stirs up in us
To bully one another's guilt.
He had a mind which was somehow
At once circumference and centre
Of all he might or feel or know;
Nothing went ever out, although
Something did ever enter.
He had as much imagination
As a pint-pot;he never could
Fancy another situation,
From which to dart his contemplation,
Than that wherein he stood.
Yet his was individual mind,
And new created all he saw
In a new manner, and refined
Those new creations, and combined
Them, by a master-spirit's law.
Thusthough unimaginative
An apprehension clear, intense,
Of his mind's work, had made alive
The things it wrought on; I believe
Wakening a sort of thought in sense.
But from the first 'twas Peter's drift
To be a kind of moral eunuch,
He touched the hem of Nature's shift,
Felt faintand never dared uplift
The closest, all-concealing tunic.
She laughed the while, with an arch smile,
And kissed him with a sister's kiss,
And said'My best Diogenes,
I love you wellbut, if you please,
Tempt not again my deepest bliss.
''Tis you are coldfor I, not coy,
Yield love for love, frank, warm, and true;
And Burns, a Scottish peasant boy
His errors prove itknew my joy
More, learnd friend, than you.
'Bocca bacciata non perde ventura,
Anzi rinnuova come fa la luna:
So thought Boccaccio, whose sweet words might cure a
Male prude, like you, from what you now endure, a
Low-tide in soul, like a stagnant laguna.'
Then Peter rubbed his eyes severe,
And smoothed his spacious forehead down
With his broad palm;'twixt love and fear,
He looked, as he no doubt felt, queer,
And in his dream sate down.
The Devil was no uncommon creature;
A leaden-witted thiefjust huddled
Out of the dross and scum of nature;
A toad-like lump of limb and feature,
With mind, and heart, and fancy muddled.
He was that heavy, dull, cold thing,
The spirit of evil well may be:
A drone too base to have a sting;
Who gluts, and grimes his lazy wing,
And calls lust, luxury.
Now he was quite the kind of wight
Round whom collect, at a fixed aera,
Venison, turtle, hock, and claret,
Good cheerand those who come to share it
And best East Indian madeira!
It was his fancy to invite
Men of science, wit, and learning,
Who came to lend each other light;
He proudly thought that his gold's might
Had set those spirits burning.
And men of learning, science, wit,
Considered him as you and I
Think of some rotten tree, and sit
Lounging and dining under it,
Exposed to the wide sky.
And all the while, with loose fat smile,
The willing wretch sat winking there,
Believing 'twas his power that made
That jovial sceneand that all paid
Homage to his unnoticed chair.
Though to be sure this place was Hell;
He was the Deviland all they
What though the claret circled well,
And wit, like ocean, rose and fell?
Were damned eternally.
Among the guests who often stayed
Till the Devil's petits-soupers,
A man there came, fair as a maid,
And Peter noted what he said,
Standing behind his master's chair.
He was a mighty poetand
A subtle-souled psychologist;
All things he seemed to understand,
Of old or newof sea or land
But his own mindwhich was a mist.
This was a man who might have turned
Hell into Heavenand so in gladness
A Heaven unto himself have earned;
But he in shadows undiscerned
Trusted,and damned himself to madness.
He spoke of poetry, and how
'Divine it wasa lighta love
A spirit which like wind doth blow
As it listeth, to and fro;
A dew rained down from God above;
'A power which comes and goes like dream,
And which none can ever trace
Heaven's light on earthTruth's brightest beam.'
And when he ceased there lay the gleam
Of those words upon his face.
Now Peter, when he heard such talk,
Would, heedless of a broken pate,
Stand like a man asleep, or balk
Some wishing guest of knife or fork,
Or drop and break his master's plate.
At night he oft would start and wake
Like a lover, and began
In a wild measure songs to make
On moor, and glen, and rocky lake,
And on the heart of man
And on the universal sky
And the wide earth's bosom green,
And the sweet, strange mystery
Of what beyond these things may lie,
And yet remain unseen.
For in his thought he visited
The spots in which, ere dead and damned,
He his wayward life had led;
Yet knew not whence the thoughts were fed
Which thus his fancy crammed.
And these obscure remembrances
Stirred such harmony in Peter,
That, whensoever he should please,
He could speak of rocks and trees
In poetic metre.
For though it was without a sense
Of memory, yet he remembered well
Many a ditch and quick-set fence;
Of lakes he had intelligence,
He knew something of heath and fell.
He had also dim recollections
Of pedlars tramping on their rounds;
Milk-pans and pails; and odd collections
Of saws, and proverbs; and reflections
Old parsons make in burying-grounds.
But Peter's verse was clear, and came
Announcing from the frozen hearth
Of a cold age, that none might tame
The soul of that diviner flame
It augured to the Earth:
Like gentle rains, on the dry plains,
Making that green which late was gray,
Or like the sudden moon, that stains
Some gloomy chamber's window-panes
With a broad light like day.
For language was in Peter's hand
Like clay while he was yet a potter;
And he made songs for all the land,
Sweet both to feel and understand,
As pipkins late to mountain Cotter.
And Mr. -, the bookseller,
Gave twenty pounds for some;then scorning
A footman's yellow coat to wear,
Peter, too proud of heart, I fear,
Instantly gave the Devil warning.
Whereat the Devil took offence,
And swore in his soul a great oath then,
'That for his damned impertinence
He'd bring him to a proper sense
Of what was due to gentlemen!'
'O that mine enemy had written
A book!'cried Job:a fearful curse,
If to the Arab, as the Briton,
'Twas galling to be critic-bitten:
The Devil to Peter wished no worse.
When Peter's next new book found vent,
The Devil to all the first Reviews
A copy of it slyly sent,
With five-pound note as compliment,
And this short notice'Pray abuse.'
Then seriatim, month and quarter,
Appeared such mad tirades.One said
'Peter seduced Mrs. Foy's daughter,
Then drowned the mother in Ullswater,
The last thing as he went to bed.'
Another'Let him shave his head!
Where's Dr. Willis?Or is he joking?
What does the rascal mean or hope,
No longer imitating Pope,
In that barbarian Shakespeare poking?'
One more, 'Is incest not enough?
And must there be adultery too?
Grace after meat? Miscreant and Liar!
Thief! Blackguard! Scoundrel! Fool! Hell-fire
Is twenty times too good for you.
'By that last book of yours we think
You've double damned yourself to scorn;
We warned you whilst yet on the brink
You stood. From your black name will shrink
The babe that is unborn.'
All these Reviews the Devil made
Up in a parcel, which he had
Safely to Peter's house conveyed.
For carriage, tenpence Peter paid
Untied themread themwent half mad.
'What!' cried he, 'this is my reward
For nights of thought, and days of toil?
Do poets, but to be abhorred
By men of whom they never heard,
Consume their spirits' oil?
'What have I done to them?and who
Is Mrs. Foy? 'Tis very cruel
To speak of me and Betty so!
Adultery! God defend me! Oh!
I've half a mind to fight a duel.
'Or,' cried he, a grave look collecting,
'Is it my genius, like the moon,
Sets those who stand her face inspecting,
That face within their brain reflecting,
Like a crazed bell-chime, out of tune?'
For Peter did not know the town,
But thought, as country readers do,
For half a guinea or a crown,
He bought oblivion or renown
From God's own voice in a review.
All Peter did on this occasion
Was, writing some sad stuff in prose.
It is a dangerous invasion
When poets criticize; their station
Is to delight, not pose.
The Devil then sent to Leipsic fair
For Born's translation of Kant's book;
A world of words, tail foremost, where
Rightwrongfalsetrueand fouland fair
As in a lottery-wheel are shook.
Five thousand crammed octavo pages
Of German psychologics,he
Who his furor verborum assuages
Thereon, deserves just seven months' wages
More than will e'er be due to me.
I looked on them nine several days,
And then I saw that they were bad;
A friend, too, spoke in their dispraise,
He never read them;with amaze
I found Sir William Drummond had.
When the book came, the Devil sent
It to P. Verbovale, Esquire,
With a brief note of compliment,
By that night's Carlisle mail. It went,
And set his soul on fire.
Fire, which ex luce praebens fumum,
Made him beyond the bottom see
Of truth's clear wellwhen I and you, Ma'am,
Go, as we shall do, subter humum,
We may know more than he.
Now Peter ran to seed in soul
Into a walking paradox;
For he was neither part nor whole,
Nor good, nor badnor knave nor fool;
Among the woods and rocks
Furious he rode, where late he ran,
Lashing and spurring his tame hobby;
Turned to a formal puritan,
A solemn and unsexual man,
He half believed White Obi.
This steed in vision he would ride,
High trotting over nine-inch bridges,
With Flibbertigibbet, imp of pride,
Mocking and mowing by his side
A mad-brained goblin for a guide
Over corn-fields, gates, and hedges.
After these ghastly rides, he came
Home to his heart, and found from thence
Much stolen of its accustomed flame;
His thoughts grew weak, drowsy, and lame
Of their intelligence.
To Peter's view, all seemed one hue;
He was no Whig, he was no Tory;
No Deist and no Christian he;
He got so subtle, that to be
Nothing, was all his glory.
One single point in his belief
From his organization sprung,
The heart-enrooted faith, the chief
Ear in his doctrines' blighted sheaf,
That 'Happiness is wrong';
So thought Calvin and Dominic;
So think their fierce successors, who
Even now would neither stint nor stick
Our flesh from off our bones to pick,
If they might 'do their do.'
His morals thus were undermined:
The old Peterthe hard, old Potter
Was born anew within his mind;
He grew dull, harsh, sly, unrefined,
As when he tramped beside the Otter.
In the death hues of agony
Lambently flashing from a fish,
Now Peter felt amused to see
Shades like a rainbow's rise and flee,
Mixed with a certain hungry wish.
So in his Country's dying face
He lookedand, lovely as she lay,
Seeking in vain his last embrace,
Wailing her own abandoned case,
With hardened sneer he turned away:
And coolly to his own soul said;
'Do you not think that we might make
A poem on her when she's dead:
Or, noa thought is in my head
Her shroud for a new sheet I'll take:
'My wife wants one.Let who will bury
This mangled corpse! And I and you,
My dearest Soul, will then make merry,
As the Prince Regent did with Sherry,'
'Ayand at last desert me too.'
And so his Soul would not be gay,
But moaned within him; like a fawn
Moaning within a cave, it lay
Wounded and wasting, day by day,
Till all its life of life was gone.
As troubled skies stain waters clear,
The storm in Peter's heart and mind
Now made his verses dark and queer:
They were the ghosts of what they were,
Shaking dim grave-clothes in the wind.
For he now raved enormous folly,
Of Baptisms, Sunday-schools, and Graves,
'Twould make George Colman melancholy
To have heard him, like a male Molly,
Chanting those stupid staves.
Yet the Reviews, who heaped abuse
On Peter while he wrote for freedom,
So soon as in his song they spy
The folly which soothes tyranny,
Praise him, for those who feed 'em.
'He was a man, too great to scan;
A planet lost in truth's keen rays:
His virtue, awful and prodigious;
He was the most sublime, religious,
Pure-minded Poet of these days.'
As soon as he read that, cried Peter,
'Eureka! I have found the way
To make a better thing of metre
Than e'er was made by living creature
Up to this blessd day.'
Then Peter wrote odes to the Devil;
In one of which he meekly said:
'May Carnage and Slaughter,
Thy niece and thy daughter,
May Rapine and Famine,
Thy gorge ever cramming,
Glut thee with living and dead!
  'May Death and Damnation,
And Consternation,
Flit up from Hell with pure intent!
Slash them at Manchester,
Glasgow, Leeds, and Chester;
Drench all with blood from Avon to Trent.
'Let thy body-guard yeomen
Hew down babes and women,
And laugh with bold triumph till Heaven be rent!
When Moloch in Jewry
Munched children with fury,
It was thou, Devil, dining with pure intent.'
The Devil now knew his proper cue.
Soon as he read the ode, he drove
To his friend Lord MacMurderchouse's,
A man of interest in both houses,
And said:'For money or for love,
'Pray find some cure or sinecure;
To feed from the superfluous taxes
A friend of oursa poetfewer
Have fluttered tamer to the lure
Than he.' His lordship stands and racks his
Stupid brains, while one might count
As many beads as he had boroughs,
At length replies; from his mean front,
Like one who rubs out an account,
Smoothing away the unmeaning furrows:
'It happens fortunately, dear Sir,
I can. I hope I need require
No pledge from you, that he will stir
In our affairs;like Oliver,
That he'll be worthy of his hire.'
These words exchanged, the news sent off
To Peter, home the Devil hied,
Took to his bed; he had no cough,
No doctor,meat and drink enough,
Yet that same night he died.
The Devil's corpse was leaded down;
His decent heirs enjoyed his pelf,
Mourning-coaches, many a one,
Followed his hearse along the town:
Where was the Devil himself?
When Peter heard of his promotion,
His eyes grew like two stars for bliss:
There was a bow of sleek devotion
Engendering in his back; each motion
Seemed a Lord's shoe to kiss.
He hired a house, bought plate, and made
A genteel drive up to his door,
With sifted gravel neatly laid,
As if defying all who said,
Peter was ever poor.
But a disease soon struck into
The very life and soul of Peter
He walked aboutslepthad the hue
Of health upon his cheeksand few
Dug betternone a heartier eater.
And yet a strange and horrid curse
Clung upon Peter, night and day;
Month after month the thing grew worse,
And deadlier than in this my verse
I can find strength to say.
Peter was dullhe was at first
Dulloh, so dullso very dull!
Whether he talked, wrote, or rehearsed
Still with this dulness was he cursed
Dullbeyond all conceptiondull.
No one could read his booksno mortal,
But a few natural friends, would hear him;
The parson came not near his portal;
His state was like that of the immortal
Described by Swiftno man could bear him.
His sister, wife, and children yawned,
With a long, slow, and drear ennui,
All human patience far beyond;
Their hopes of Heaven each would have pawned,
Anywhere else to be.
But in his verse, and in his prose,
The essence of his dulness was
Concentred and compressed so close,
'Twould have made Guatimozin doze
On his red gridiron of brass.
A printer's boy, folding those pages,
Fell slumbrously upon one side;
Like those famed Seven who slept three ages.
To wakeful frenzy's vigil-rages,
As opiates, were the same applied.
Even the Reviewers who were hired
To do the work of his reviewing,
With adamantine nerves, grew tired;
Gaping and torpid they retired,
To dream of what they should be doing.
And worse and worse, the drowsy curse
Yawned in him, till it grew a pest
A wide contagious atmosphere,
Creeping like cold through all things near;
A power to infect and to infest.
His servant-maids and dogs grew dull;
His kitten, late a sportive elf;
The woods and lakes, so beautiful,
Of dim stupidity were full,
All grew dull as Peter's self.
The earth under his feetthe springs,
Which lived within it a quick life,
The air, the winds of many wings,
That fan it with new murmurings,
Were dead to their harmonious strife.
The birds and beasts within the wood,
The insects, and each creeping thing,
Were now a silent multitude;
Love's work was left unwroughtno brood
Near Peter's house took wing.
And every neighbouring cottager
Stupidly yawned upon the other:
No jackass brayed; no little cur
Cocked up his ears;no man would stir
To save a dying mother.
Yet all from that charmed district went
But some half-idiot and half-knave,
Who rather than pay any rent,
Would live with marvellous content,
Over his father's grave.
No bailiff dared within that space,
For fear of the dull charm, to enter;
A man would bear upon his face,
For fifteen months in any case,
The yawn of such a venture.
Seven miles abovebelowaround
This pest of dulness holds its sway;
A ghastly life without a sound;
To Peter's soul the spell is bound
How should it ever pass away?
'Composed at Florence, October 1819, and forwarded to Hunt (Nov. 2) to be published by C. & J. Ollier without the author's name; ultimately printed by Mrs. Shelley in the second edition of the Poetical Works, 1839. A skit by John Hamilton Reynolds, Peter Bell, A Lyrical Ballad, had already appeared (April, 1819), a few days before the publication of Wordsworth's Peter Bell, A Tale. These productions were reviewed in Leigh Hunt's Examiner (April 26, May 3, 1819); and to the entertainment derived from his perusal of Hunt's criticisms the composition of Shelley's Peter Bell the Third is chiefly owing.' ~ Percy Bysshe Shelley, Peter Bell The Third
346: The Descent of Ahana
Strayed from the roads of Time, far-couched on the void I have slumbered;
Centuries passed me unnoticed, millenniums perished unnumbered.

I, Ahana, slept. In the stream of thy sevenfold Ocean,
Being, how hast thou laboured without me? Whence was thy motion?
Not without me can thy nature be satisfied. But I came fleeing; -
Vexed was my soul with the joys of sound and weary of seeing;
Into the deeps of my nature I lapsed, I escaped into slumber.

Out of the silence who call me back to the clamour and cumber?
Why should I go with you? What hast thou done in return for my labour,
World? what wage had my soul when its strength was thy neighbour,
Though I have loved all, working and suffering, giving them pleasure?
I have escaped from it all; I have fled from the pitiless pressure.

Silence vast and pure, again to thy wideness receive me;
For unto thee I turn back from those who would use me and grieve me.
Nay, thou art thrilled, O goddess; thy calm thou shalt not recover,
But must come down to this world of pain and the need of thy lover.

Joy as thou canst, endure as thou must, but bend to our uses.

Vainly thy heart repines, - thou wast made for this, - vainly refuses.
Voices of joy, from the roseate arbour of sense and the places
Thrilled with the song and the scent and peopled with beautiful faces,
Long in your closes of springtime, lured to joyaunce unsated
Tarried my heart, and I walked in your meadows, your chaplets I plaited,
Played in your gardens of ease and, careless of blasts in the distance,
Paced, pursued by the winds, your orchard of autumn's persistence,
Saw on the dance of a ripple your lotus that slumbers and quivers,
Heard your nightingales warbling in covert by moon-gilded rivers.

Pondicherry, c. 1910 - 1920

But I relinquished your streams and I turned from your moonbeams and flowers;
Now I have done with space and my soul is released from the hours.

Saved is my heart from the need of joy, the attraction to sorrow,
Who have escaped from my past and forgotten today and tomorrow;
I have grown vacant and mighty, naked and wide as the azure.

Will you now plant in this blast, on this snow your roses of pleasure?
Once was a dwelling here that was made for the dance of the Graces,
But I have hewn down its gardens and ravaged its delicate places,
Driven the revellers out from their pleasaunce to wander unfriended,
Flung down the walls and over the debris written 'tis ended.

Now, and I know not yet wherefore, the Mighty One suffers you near Him,
But in their coming the great Gods hesitate seeming to fear Him.

Thought returns to my soul like a stranger. Sweetness and feature
Draw back appalled to their kind from the frozen vasts of my nature.

Turn back you also, angels of yearning, vessels of sweetness.

Have I not wandered from Time, left ecstasy, outstripped completeness?

Goddess, we moaned upon earth and we wandered exiled from heaven.

Joy from us fled; our hearts to the worm and the arrow were given.

Old delights we remembered, natures of ecstasy keeping,
Hastened from rose to rose, but were turned back wounded and weeping:
Snatches of pleasure we seized; they were haunted and challenged by sorrow.

Marred was our joy of the day by a cloud and the dread of the morrow.

Star of infinity, we have beheld thee bright and unmoving
Seated above us, in tracts unattained by us, throned beyond loving.

Lonely thou sittest above in the fruitless vasts of the Spirit.

Waitest thou, goddess, then for a fairer world to inherit?
Wilt thou not perfect this rather that sprang too from Wisdom and Power?
Taking the earthly rose canst thou image not Heaven in a flower?
Nay, if thou save not this, will another rise from the spaces?
Is not the past fulfilled that gives room for the future faces?
Winging like bees to thy limbs we made haste like flames through the azure;
O we were ploughed with delight, we were pierced as with arrows of pleasure.
The Descent of Ahana


Rapture yearned and the Uswins cried to us; Indra arising
Gazed from the heights of his mental realms and the moonbeams surprising
Flowed on him out of the regions immortal; their nectar slowly
Mixed with the scattered roses of dawn and mastered us wholly.

Come, come down to us, Woman divine, whom the world unforgetting
Yearns for still, - we will draw thee, O star, from thy colourless setting.

Goddess, we understand thee not; Woman, we know not thy nature;
This yet we know, we have need of thee here in our world of misfeature.

Therefore we call to thee and would compel if our hands could but reach thee.

O, we have means to compel; we have many a sweetness to teach thee
Charming thee back to thy task mid our fields and our sunbeams and flowers,
Weaving a net for thy feet with the snare of the moonlit hours.
Spirits of helpless rapture, spirits of sweetness and playtime,
Thrilled with my honey of night and drunk with my wine of the daytime,
If there were strengths that could seize on the world for their passion and rapture,
If there were souls that could hunt after God as a prey for their capture,
Such might aspire to possess me. I am Ahana the mighty,
I am Ashtaroth, I am the goddess, divine Aphrodite.

You have a thirst full sweet, but earth's vineyards quickly assuage it:
There must be thoughts that outmeasure existence, strengths that besiege it,
Natures fit for my vastness! Return to your haunts, O ye shadows
Beautiful. Not of my will I descend to the bee-haunted meadows,
Rivulets stealing through flowers. Let those who are mighty aspire,
Gods if there are of such greatness, to seize on the world's Desire.
Good, it is spoken. We wait thee, Ahana, where fugitive traces
Came of the hunted prey of the Titans in desert places
Trod by thee once, when the world was mighty and violent. Risen,
Hark, they ascend; they are freed by thy call from the seals of their prison.

Pondicherry, c. 1910 - 1920

Rush I can hear as of wings in the void and the march of a nation.

Shapes of old mightiness visit me; movements of ancient elation
Stride and return in my soul, and it turns like an antelope fleeing.

What was the cry that thou drewst from my bosom, Lord of my being?
Lo, their souls are cast on my soul like forms on a mirror!
Hark, they arise, they aspire, they are near, and I shudder with terror,
Quake with delight and attraction. Lord of the worlds, dost Thou leave me
Bare for their seizing? of peace and of strength in a moment bereave me?
Long hast Thou kept me safe in Thy soul, but I lose my defences.

Thought streams fast on me; joy is awake and the strife of the senses.

Ah, their clutch on my feet! my thighs are seized by them! Legions
Mighty around me they stride; I feel them filling the regions.

Seest Thou their hands on my locks? Wilt Thou suffer it, Master of Nature?
I am Thy force and Thy strength; wilt Thou hand me enslaved to Thy creature?
Headlong they drag me down to their dreadful worlds far below me.

What will you do with me there, O you mighty Ones? Speak to me, show me
One of your faces, teach me one of your names while you ravish,
Dragging my arms and my knees while you hurry me. Tell me what lavish
Ecstasy, show me what torture immense you seize me for. Quittance
When shall I have from my labour? What term has your tyranny, Titans?
Masters fierce of your worlds who would conquer the higher creation,
What is your will with me, giants of violence, lords of elation?

In the beginning of things when nought was abroad but the waters,
Ocean stirred with longing his mighty and deep-bosomed daughters.

Out of that longing we rose from the voiceless heart of the Ocean;
Candid, unwarmed, O Ahana, the spaces empty of motion
Stretched, enormous, silent, void of the breath of thy greatness,
Hushed to thy sweetnesses, fixed in the calm of their ancient sedateness.

We are the gods who have mapped out Time and measured its spaces,
Raised there our mansions of pride and planted our amorous places.

Trembling like flowers appeared in the void the immense constellations;
Gods grew possessed of their heavens, earth rose with her joy-haunted nations.
The Descent of Ahana


Calm were we, mighty, magnificent, hunting and seizing
Whatso we willed through the world in a rapture that thought not of ceasing.

But thou hast turned from us, favouring gods who are slighter and fairer,
Swift-footed, subtle of mind; but the sword was too great for the bearer,
Heavy the sceptre weighed upon hands not created to bear it.

Cruel and jealous the gods of thy choice were, cunning of spirit,
Suave were their eyes of beauty that mastered thy heart, O woman!
They who to govern our world, made it tarnished, sorrowful, common.

Mystic and vast our world, but they hoped in their smallness to sum it
Schooled and coerced in themselves and they sank an ignorant plummet
Into infinity, shaping a limited beauty and power,
Confident, figuring Space in an inch and Time in an hour.

Therefore pleasure was troubled and beauty tarnished, madness
Mated with knowledge, the heart of purity sullied with sadness.

Strife began twixt the Infinite deathless within and the measure
Falsely imposed from without on its thought and its force and its pleasure.

We who could help were condemned in their sunless Hells to languish,
Shaking the world with the heave of our limbs, for our breath was an anguish.

There were we cast down, met and repulsed by the speed of their thunder,
Earth piled on us, our Mother; her heart of fire burned under.

Now we escape, we are free; our triumph and bliss are before us,
Earth is our prey and the heavens our hunting ground; stars in their chorus
Chant, wide-wheeling, our paean; the world is awake and rejoices:
Hast thou not heard its trampling of strengths and its rapturous voices?
Is not our might around thee yet? does not our thunder-winged fleetness
Drag thee down yet to the haunts of our strength and the cups of our sweetness?
There thou shalt suffer couched on our mountains, over them stretching
All thy defenceless bliss, thy pangs to eternity reaching.

Thou shalt be taken and whelmed in our trampling and bottomless Oceans,
Chained to the rocks of the world and condemned to our giant emotions.

Violent joy thou shalt have of us, raptures and ruthless revulsions
Racking and tearing thee, and each thrill of thy honeyed convulsions,
We, as it shakes the mountains, we as thou spurnst up the waters,
Laughing shall turn to a joy for Delight and her pitiless daughters.

Pondicherry, c. 1910 - 1920

They shall be changed to a strength for the gods and for death-besieged natures.

When we have conquered, when thou hast yielded to earth and her creatures,
Boundless, thy strength, O Ahana, delivered, thy sorrowless joyaunce,
Hope, if thou canst, release from the meed of thy pride and defiance.
Gods irresistible, blasts of His violence, fighters eternal,
Churners of Ocean, stormers of Heaven! but limits diurnal
Chafe you and bonds of the Night. I know in my soul I am given,
Racked, to your joys as a sacrifice, writhing, to raise you to heaven.

Therefore you seize on me, vanquish and carry me swift to my falling.

Fain would I linger, fain resist, to Infinity calling;
But you possess all my limbs, you compel me, giants of evil.

Am I then doomed to your darkness and violence, moonlight and revel?
Hast thou no pity, O Earth, my soul from this death to deliver?
Who are you, luminous movements? around me you glimmer and quiver,
Visible, not to the eyes, and not audible, circling you call me,
Teaching my soul with sound, O you joys that shall seize and befall me.

What are you, lords of the brightness vague that aspires, but fulfils not?
For you possess and retire, but your yearning quenches not, stills not.

Yet is your touch a pleasure that thrills all my soul with its sweetness;
I am in love with your whispers and snared by your bright incompleteness.

Speak to me, comfort me falling. Bearing eternity follow
Down to the hills of my pain and into the Ocean's hollow.
We are the Ancients of knowledge, Ahana, the Sons of the Morning.

Why dost thou cry to us, Daughter of Bliss, who left us with scorning?
We too dwelt in delight when these were supreme in their spaces;
We too were riven with pain when they fell down prone from their places.

Hast thou forgotten the world as it was ere thou fledst from our nations?
Dost thou remember at all the joy of the ancient creations?
Thrilled were its streams with our intimate bliss and our happy contriving;
Sound was a song and movement the dance of our rhythmical living.

Out of our devious delight came the senses and all their deceptions;

The Descent of Ahana


Earth was our ring of bliss and the map of our mighty conceptions.

For we sustained the inert sitting secret in clod and in petal,
And we awoke to a twilight of life in the leaf and the metal.

Active we dreamed in the mind and we ordered our dreams to a measure,
Making an image of pain and shaping an idol of pleasure.

Good we have made by our thoughts and sin by our fear and recoiling;
It was our weakness invented grief, O delight! reconciling
Always the touch that was borne with strength that went out for possessing,
Somewhere, somehow we failed; there was discord, a pang, a regressing.

Goddess, His whispers bewildered us; over us vainly aspirant
Galloped the throng of His strengths like the steeds of a pitiless tyrant.

Since in the woods of the world we have wandered, thrust from sereneness,
Erring mid pleasures that fled and dangers that coiled in the greenness,
Someone surrounds and possesses our lives whom we cannot discover,
Someone our heart in its hunger pursues with the moans of a lover.

Knowledge faints in its toil, amasses but loses its guerdon;
Strength is a worker blinded and maimed who is chained to his burden,
Love a seeker astray; he finds in a seeming, then misses;
Weariness hampers his feet. Desire with unsatisfied kisses
Clings to each object she lights upon, loving, forsaking, returning:
Earth is filled with her sobs and the cry of her fruitlessly burning.

All things we sounded here. Everything leaves us or fails in the spending;
Strength has its weakness, knowledge its night and joy has its ending.

Is it not thou who shalt rescue us, freeing the Titans, the Graces?
Hast thou not hidden thyself with the mask of a million faces?
Nay, from thyself thou art hidden; thy secret intention thou shunnest
And from the joy thou hast willed like an antelope fleest and runnest.

Thou shalt be forced, O Ahana, to bear enjoyment and knowing
Termlessly. Come, O come from thy whiteness and distance, thou glowing,
Mighty and hundred-ecstasied Woman! Daughter of Heaven,
Usha, descend to thy pastimes below and thy haunts that are given.

She-wolf avid of cruelty, lioness eager for battle,
Tigress that prowlst in the night and leapest out dire on the cattle,
Sarama, dog of the heavens, thou image of grosser enjoying,
Hungry slave of the worlds, incessantly pawing and toying,
Snake of delight and of poison, gambolling beast of the meadows,
Come to thy pastures, Ahana, sport in the sunbeams and shadows.

Pondicherry, c. 1910 - 1920

Naiad swimming through streams and Dryad fleeing through forest
Wild from the clutch of the Satyr! Ahana who breakst and restorest!
Oread, mountain Echo, cry to the rocks in thy running!
Nymph in recess and in haunt the pursuit and the melody shunning!
Giantess, cruel and false and grand! Gandharvi that singest
Heavenward! bird exultant through storm and through sapphire who wingest!
Centauress galloping wild through the woods of Himaloy high-crested!
Yakshini brooding o'er treasure down in earth's bowels arrested!
Demoness gnashing thy teeth in the burial-ground! Titaness striding
Restless through worlds for thy rest, the brain and the bosom not ridding
Even one hour of the ferment-waste and the load beyond bearing,
Recklessly slaying the peoples in anger, recklessly sparing,
Spending the strength that is thine to inherit the doom of another!
Goddess of pity who yearnst and who helpest, Durga, our Mother!
Brooder in Delphi's caverns, Voice in the groves of Dodona!
Goddess serene of an ancient progeny, Dian, Latona!
Virgin! ascetic frank or remote, Athene the mighty!
Harlot supine to the worlds, insatiate white Aphrodite!
Hundred-named art thou, goddess, a hundred-formed, and thy bosom
Thrills all the world with its breasts. O starlight, O mountain, O blossom!
Rain that descendest kissing our lips and lightning that slayest!
Thou who destroyest to save, to delight who hurtst and dismayest!
Thou art our mother and sister and bride. O girdled with splendour,
Cruel and bright as the sun, O moonlike, mystic and tender!
Thou art the perfect peopling of Space, O Ahana; thou only
Fillest Time with thy forms. Leave then thy eternity lonely,
Come! from thy summits descending arrive to us, Daughter of Heaven,
Usha, Dawn of the world, for our ways to thy footsteps are given.

Strength thou hast built for the floor of the world and delight for its rafter.

Calm are thy depths, O Ahana; above is thy hundred-mouthed laughter.

Rapture can fail not in thee though he rend like a lion preying
Body and soul with his ecstasies vast. Thou for ever delaying,
Feigning to end, shalt renew thyself, never exhausting his blisses,
Joy shall be in thy bosom satisfied never with kisses;
Strength from thy breasts drawing force of the Titans shall unrelaxing
Stride through the worlds at his work. One shall drive him ruthlessly taxing

The Descent of Ahana


Sinew and nerve, though our slave, yet seized, driven, helpless to tire,
Borne by unstumbling speed to the goal of a God's desire.

What shall thy roof be, crown of thy building? Knowledge, sublimely,
High on her vaulted arches where thought, half-lost, wings dimly,
Luring the flaming heart above and the soul to its shadows,
Winging wide like a bird through the night and the moonlit meadows.

Vast, uncompelled we shall range released and at peace with our nature,
Reconciled, knowing ourselves. To her pain and the longings that reach her
Come from thy summits, Ahana; come! our desire unrelenting
Hales thee down from God and He smiles at thee sweetly consenting.

Lo, she is hurried down and the regions live in her tresses.

Worlds, she descends to you! Peoples, she nears with her mighty caresses.

Man in his sojourn, Gods in their going, Titans exultant
Thrill with thy fall, O Ahana, and wait for the godhead resultant.
Calm like a goddess, alarmed like a bride is my spirit descending,
Falling, O Gods, to your arms. I know my beginning and ending;
All I have known and I am not astonished; alarmed and attracted
Therefore my soul descends foreknowing the rapture exacted,
Gulf of the joys you would doom me to, torment of infinite striving,
Travail of knowledge. Was I not made for your mightier living?
Gods, I am falling, I am descending, cast down as for ever,
Thrown as a slave at your feet and a tool for your ruthless endeavour.

Yet while I fall, I will threaten you. Hope shall be yours, so it trembles.

I have a bliss that destroys and the death in me wooes and dissembles.

Will you not suffer then my return to my peace beyond telling?
You have accepted death for your pastime, Titans rebelling!
Hope then from pain delight and from death an immortal stature!
Slaves of her instruments, rise to be equals and tyrants of Nature!
Lay not your hands so fiercely upon me! compel me not, falling!
Gods, you shall rue it who heed not the cry of my prayer and my calling.

'Tis not a merciful One that you seize. I fall and, arisen,
Earth strides towards me. Gods, my possessors, kingdoms, my prison,
So shall you prosper or die as you use or misuse and deceive me.

Vast, I descend from God. O world and its masters, receive me!


Pondicherry, c. 1910 - 1920

Lo, on the hills I have paused, on the peaks of the world I have halted
Here in the middle realms of Varuna the world-wide-exalted.

Gods, who have drawn me down to the labour and sobs of creation,
First I would speak with the troubled hearts and the twilit nation,
Speak then, I bend my ear to the far terrestrial calling,
Speak, O thou toiling race of humanity, welcome me falling,
Space for whose use in a boundless thought was unrolled and extended;
Time in its cycles waited for man. Though his kingdom is ended,
Here in a speck mid the suns and his life is a throb in the aeons,
Yet, O you Titans and Gods, O Rudras, O strong Aditeians,
Man is the centre and knot; he is first, though the last in the ages.

I would remember your cycles, recover your vanished pages;
I have the vials divine, I rain down the honey and manna;
Speak, O thou soul of humanity, knowing me. I am Ahana.
Vision bright, that walkest crowned on the hills far above me,
Vision of bliss, stoop down from thy calm and thy silence to love me.

Only is calm so sweet? Is our end tranquillity only?
Chill are your rivers of peace and their banks are leafless and lonely.

Art thou not sated with sunlight only, cold in its lustre?
Art thou not weary of only the stars in their solemn muster?
Always the hills and the high-hung plateaus, - solitude's voices
Making the silence lonelier! Only the eagle rejoices
In the inhuman height of his nesting, - austerely striving,
Deaf with the cry of the waterfall, only the pine there is thriving.

We have the voice of the cuckoo, the nightingale sings in the branches,
Human laughter leads and the cattle low in the ranches.

Come to our tangled sunbeams, dawn on our twilights and shadows,
Taste with us, scent with us fruits of our trees and flowers of our meadows.

Art thou an angel of God in His heavens that they vaunt of, His sages?
Skies of monotonous calm and His stillness filling the ages?
Is He thy master, Rudra the mighty, Shiva ascetic?

The Descent of Ahana


Has He denied thee his worlds? In His dance that they tell of, ecstatic,
Slaying, creating, calm in the midst of His movement and madness,
Was there no place for an earthly joy, for a human sadness?
Did He not make us and thee? O Woman, joy's delicate blossom
Sleeps in thy lids of delight! All Nature laughs in thy bosom
Hiding her children unborn and the food of her love and her laughter.

Is He then first? Was there none before Him? shall none come after?
We too have gods, - the Tritons rise in the leap of the billows,
Emerald locks of the Nereids stream on their foam-crested pillows,
Dryads sway out from the branches, Naiads glance up through the waters;
Heaven has dances of joy and the gods are ensnared by her daughters.

Artemis calls as she flees through the glades and the breezes pursue her,
Cypris laughs in her isles where the Ocean-winds linger to woo her.

Thou shalt behold in glades forgotten the dance of the Graces,
Night shall be haunted for ever with strange and delicate faces.

Lo, all these peoples and who was it fashioned them? Who is unwilling
Still to have done with it? laughs beyond pain and saves in the killing?
Nature, you say; but is God then her enemy? Was she created,
He unknowing or sleeping? Did someone transgress the fated
Limits He set, outwitting God? Nay, we know it was fashioned
By the Almighty One, million-ecstasied, thousand-passioned.

But He created a discord within it, fashioned a limit?
Fashioned or feigned? for He set completeness beyond. To disclaim it,
To be content with our measure, they say, is the law of our living.

Rather to follow always and, baffled, still to go striving.

Yes, it is true that we dash ourselves stark on a barrier appearing,
Fall and are wounded. But He insists who is in us, the fearing
Conquers, the grief. We resist; His temptations leap down compelling;
Virtue cheats us with noble names to a lofty rebelling.

Fiercely His wrath and His jealousy strike down the rebel aspiring,
Thick and persistent His night confronts our eager inquiring;
Yet 'tis His strengths descend crying always, "Rebel; aspire!"
Still through the night He sends rays, to our bosoms a quenchless fire.

Most to our joys He sets limits, most with His pangs He perplexes;
Yet when we faint it is He that spurs. Temptation vexes;
Honied a thousand whispers come, in the birds, in the breezes,
Moonlight, the voice of the streams; from hundreds of beautiful faces


Pondicherry, c. 1910 - 1920

Always He cries to us, "Love me!", always He lures us to pleasure,
Then escapes and leaves anguish behind for our only treasure.

Shall we not say then that joy is greatest, rapture His meaning?
That which He most denies, is His purpose. The hedges, the screening,
Are they not all His play? In our end we have rapture for ever
Careless of Time, with no fear of the end, with no need for endeavour.

What was the garden He built when the stars were first set in their places,
Man and woman together mid streams and in cloudless spaces,
Naked and innocent? Someone offered a fruit of derision,
Knowledge of good and of evil, cleaving in God a division,
Though He who made all, said, "It is good; I have fashioned perfection."
"Nay, there is evil," someone whispered, "'tis screened from detection."
Wisest he of the beasts of the field, one cunning and creeping.

"See it," he said, "be wise. You shall be as the gods are, unsleeping,
They who know all," and they ate. The roots of our being were shaken;
Hatred and weeping and death at once trampled a world overtaken,
Terror and fleeing and wrath and shame and desire unsated;
Cruelty stalked like a lion; Revenge and her brood were created.

Out to the desert He drove the rebellious. Flaming behind them
Streamed out the sword of His wrath; it followed, eager to find them,
Stabbing at random. The pure and the evil, the strong and the tempted,
All are confounded in punishment. Justly is no one exempted.

Virtuous? Yes, there are many; but who is there innocent? Toiling,
Therefore, we seek, but find not that Eden. Planting and spoiling,
"This is the garden," we say, "lo, the trees! and this is the river."
Vainly! Redeemers come, but none yet availed to deliver.

Is it not all His play? Is He Rudra only, the mighty?
Whose are the whispers of sweetness? Whence are the murmurs of pity?
Why are we terrified then, cry out and draw back from the smiting?
Blows of a lover, perhaps, intended for fiercer inciting!
Yes, but the cruelty, yes, but the empty pain we go ruing!
Edges of sweetness, it may be, call to a swifter pursuing.

Was it not He in Brindavun? O woods divine to our yearning,
Memorable always! O flowers, O delight on the treetops burning!
Grasses His kine have grazed and crushed by His feet in the dancing!
Yamuna flowing with sound, through the greenness always advancing!
You unforgotten remind! For His flute with its sweetness ensnaring

The Descent of Ahana


Sounds in our ears in the night and our souls of their teguments baring
Hales them out naked and absolute, out to His woodlands eternal,
Out to His moonlit dances, His dalliance sweet and supernal,
And we go stumbling, maddened and thrilled, to His dreadful embraces,
Slaves of His rapture to Brindavun crowded with amorous faces,
Luminous kine in the green glades seated soft-eyed grazing,
Flowers from the branches distressing us, moonbeams unearthly amazing,
Yamuna flowing before us, laughing low with her voices,
Brindavun arching o'er us where Shyama sports and rejoices.

What though 'tis true that the river of Life through the Valley of Peril
Flows! But the diamond shines on the cliffside, jacinth and beryl
Gleam in the crannies, sapphire, smaragdus the roadway bejewel,
Down in the jaws of the savage mountains granite and cruel.

Who has not fathomed once all the voiceless threat of those mountains?
Always the wide-pacing river of Life from its far-off fountains
Flows down mighty and broad, like a warhorse brought from its manger
Arching its neck as it paces grand to the gorges of danger.

Sometimes we hesitate, often start and would turn from the trial,
Vainly: a fierce Inhabitant drives and brooks no denial.

Headlong, o'ercome with a stridulant horror the river descending
Shudders below into sunless depths among chasms unending, -
Angry, afraid, white, foaming. A stony and monstrous resistance
Meets it, piling up stubborn limits, an iron insistence.

Yet in the midst of our labour and weeping not utterly lonely
Wander our steps, nor are terror and grief our portion only.

Do we not hear in the heart of the peril a flute go before us?
Are there not beckoning hands of the gods that insist and implore us?
Plains are beyond; there are hamlets and fields where the river rejoices
Pacing once more with a quiet step and amical voices.

There in a woodl and red with berries and cool with the breezes, -
Green are the leaves, all night long the heart of the nightingale eases
Sweetly its burden of pity and sorrow, fragrant the flowers, -
There in an arbour delightful I know we shall sport with the Hours,
Lying on beds of lilies, hearing the bells of our cattle
Tinkle, and drink red wine of our life and go forth to the battle
And unwounded return to our beautiful home by the waters,
Pledge of our joys, rear tall strong sons and radiant daughters.

Pondicherry, c. 1910 - 1920

Shall God know? Will His spies come down to our beautiful valley?
They shall grow drunk with its grapes and wander in woodl and and alley.

There will His anger follow us, there will His lightnings immortal
Wander around with their red eye of cruelty stabbing the portal?
Yes, I shall fear then His play! I will sport with my dove from His highlands,
Pleased with her laughter of bliss like a god in my Grecian islands.

Daughter of Heaven, break through to me, moonlike, mystic and gleaming.

Come through the margins of twilight, over the borders of dreaming.

Vision bright that walkest crowned on the hills far above me,
Vision of bliss, stoop down! Encircle me, madden me, love me.
Voice of the sensuous mortal! heart of eternal longing!
Thou who hast lived as in walls, thy soul with thy senses wronging!
But I descend to thee. Fickle and terrible, sweet and deceiving,
Poison and nectar One has dispensed to thee, luring thee, leaving.

We two together shall capture the flute and the player relentless.

Son of man, thou hast crowned thy life with flowers that are scentless,
Chased the delights that wound. But I come and the darkness shall sunder.

Lo, I come and behind me knowledge descends and with thunder
Filling the spaces Strength the Angel bears on his bosom
Joy to thy arms. Thou shalt look on her face like a child's or a blossom,
Innocent, free as in Eden of old, not afraid of her playing.

Pain was not meant for ever, hearts were not made but for slaying.

Thou shalt not suffer always nor cry to me, lured and forsaken.

I have a snare for His footsteps, I have a chain for Him taken.

Come then to Brindavun, soul of the joyous; faster and faster
Follow the dance I shall teach thee with Shyama for slave and for master, -
Follow the notes of the flute with a soul aware and exulting,
Trample Delight that submits and crouch to a sweetness insulting.

Thou shalt know what the dance meant, fathom the song and the singer,
Hear behind thunder its rhymes, touched by lightning thrill to His finger,
Brindavun's rustle shalt understand and Yamuna's laughter,
Take thy place in the Ras and thy share of the ecstasy after.
~ Sri Aurobindo, - The Descent of Ahana
347:Beachy Head
ON thy stupendous summit, rock sublime !
That o'er the channel rear'd, half way at sea
The mariner at early morning hails,
I would recline; while Fancy should go forth,
And represent the strange and awful hour
Of vast concussion; when the Omnipotent
Stretch'd forth his arm, and rent the solid hills,
Bidding the impetuous main flood rush between
The rifted shores, and from the continent
Eternally divided this green isle.
Imperial lord of the high southern coast !
From thy projecting head-land I would mark
Far in the east the shades of night disperse,
Melting and thinned, as from the dark blue wave
Emerging, brilliant rays of arrowy light
Dart from the horizon; when the glorious sun
Just lifts above it his resplendent orb.
Advances now, with feathery silver touched,
The rippling tide of flood; glisten the sands,
While, inmates of the chalky clefts that scar
Thy sides precipitous, with shrill harsh cry,
Their white wings glancing in the level beam,
The terns, and gulls, and tarrocks, seek their food,
And thy rough hollows echo to the voice
Of the gray choughs, and ever restless daws,
With clamour, not unlike the chiding hounds,
While the lone shepherd, and his baying dog,
Drive to thy turfy crest his bleating flock.
The high meridian of the day is past,
And Ocean now, reflecting the calm Heaven,
Is of cerulean hue; and murmurs low
The tide of ebb, upon the level sands.
The sloop, her angular canvas shifting still,
Catches the light and variable airs
That but a little crisp the summer sea.
Dimpling its tranquil surface.
Afar off,
And just emerging from the arch immense
Where seem to part the elements, a fleet
Of fishing vessels stretch their lesser sails;
While more remote, and like a dubious spot
Just hanging in the horizon, laden deep,
The ship of commerce richly freighted, makes
Her slower progress, on her distant voyage,
Bound to the orient climates, where the sun
Matures the spice within its odorous shell,
And, rivalling the gray worm's filmy toil,
Bursts from its pod the vegetable down;
Which in long turban'd wreaths, from torrid heat
Defends the brows of Asia's countless casts.
There the Earth hides within her glowing breast
The beamy adamant, and the round pearl
Enchased in rugged covering; which the slave,
With perilous and breathless toil, tears off
From the rough sea-rock, deep beneath the waves.
These are the toys of Nature; and her sport
Of little estimate in Reason's eye:
And they who reason, with abhorrence see
Man, for such gaudes and baubles, violate
The sacred freedom of his fellow man­
Erroneous estimate ! As Heaven's pure air,
Fresh as it blows on this aërial height,
Or sound of seas upon the stony strand,
Or inland, the gay harmony of birds,
And winds that wander in the leafy woods;
Are to the unadulterate taste more worth
Than the elaborate harmony, brought out
From fretted stop, or modulated airs
Of vocal science.­So the brightest gems,
Glancing resplendent on the regal crown,
Or trembling in the high born beauty's ear,
Are poor and paltry, to the lovely light
Of the fair star, that as the day declines,
Attendant on her queen, the crescent moon,
Bathes her bright tresses in the eastern wave.
For now the sun is verging to the sea,
And as he westward sinks, the floating clouds
Suspended, move upon the evening gale,
And gathering round his orb, as if to shade
The insufferable brightness, they resign
Their gauzy whiteness; and more warm'd, assume
All hues of purple. There, transparent gold
Mingles with ruby tints, and sapphire gleams,
And colours, such as Nature through her works
Shews only in the ethereal canopy.
Thither aspiring Fancy fondly soars,
Wandering sublime thro' visionary vales,
Where bright pavilions rise, and trophies, fann'd
By airs celestial; and adorn'd with wreaths
Of flowers that bloom amid elysian bowers.
Now bright, and brighter still the colours glow,
Till half the lustrous orb within the flood
Seems to retire: the flood reflecting still
Its splendor, and in mimic glory drest;
Till the last ray shot upward, fires the clouds
With blazing crimson; then in paler light,
Long lines of tenderer radiance, lingering yield
To partial darkness; and on the opposing side
The early moon distinctly rising, throws
Her pearly brilliance on the trembling tide.
The fishermen, who at set seasons pass
Many a league off at sea their toiling night,
Now hail their comrades, from their daily task
Returning; and make ready for their own,
With the night tide commencing:­The night tide
Bears a dark vessel on, whose hull and sails
Mark her a coaster from the north. Her keel
Now ploughs the sand; and sidelong now she leans,
While with loud clamours her athletic crew
Unload her; and resounds the busy hum
Along the wave-worn rocks. Yet more remote,
Where the rough cliff hangs beetling o'er its base,
All breathes repose; the water's rippling sound
Scarce heard; but now and then the sea-snipe's cry
Just tells that something living is abroad;
And sometimes crossing on the moonbright line,
Glimmers the skiff, faintly discern'd awhile,
Then lost in shadow.
Contemplation here,
High on her throne of rock, aloof may sit,
And bid recording Memory unfold
Her scroll voluminous­bid her retrace
The period, when from Neustria's hostile shore
The Norman launch'd his galleys, and the bay
O'er which that mass of ruin frowns even now
In vain and sullen menace, then received
The new invaders; a proud martial race,
Of Scandinavia the undaunted sons,
Whom Dogon, Fier-a-bras, and Humfroi led
To conquest: while Trinacria to their power
Yielded her wheaten garland; and when thou,
Parthenope ! within thy fertile bay
Receiv'd the victors­
In the mailed ranks
Of Normans landing on the British coast
Rode Taillefer; and with astounding voice
Thunder'd the war song daring Roland sang
First in the fierce contention: vainly brave,
One not inglorious struggle England made­
But failing, saw the Saxon heptarchy
Finish for ever.­Then the holy pile,
Yet seen upon the field of conquest, rose,
Where to appease heaven's wrath for so much blood,
The conqueror bade unceasing prayers ascend,
And requiems for the slayers and the slain.
But let not modern Gallia form from hence
Presumptuous hopes, that ever thou again,
Queen of the isles ! shalt crouch to foreign arms.
The enervate sons of Italy may yield;
And the Iberian, all his trophies torn
And wrapp'd in Superstition's monkish weed,
May shelter his abasement, and put on
Degrading fetters. Never, never thou !
Imperial mistress of the obedient sea;
But thou, in thy integrity secure,
Shalt now undaunted meet a world in arms.
England ! 'twas where this promontory rears
Its rugged brow above the channel wave,
Parting the hostile nations, that thy fame,
Thy naval fame was tarnish'd, at what time
Thou, leagued with the Batavian, gavest to France
One day of triumph­triumph the more loud,
Because even then so rare. Oh ! well redeem'd,
Since, by a series of illustrious men,
Such as no other country ever rear'd,
To vindicate her cause. It is a list
Which, as Fame echoes it, blanches the cheek
Of bold Ambition; while the despot feels
The extorted sceptre tremble in his grasp.
From even the proudest roll by glory fill'd,
How gladly the reflecting mind returns
To simple scenes of peace and industry,
Where, bosom'd in some valley of the hills
Stands the lone farm; its gate with tawny ricks
Surrounded, and with granaries and sheds,
Roof'd with green mosses, and by elms and ash
Partially shaded; and not far remov'd
The hut of sea-flints built; the humble home
Of one, who sometimes watches on the heights,
When hid in the cold mist of passing clouds,
The flock, with dripping fleeces, are dispers'd
O'er the wide down; then from some ridged point
That overlooks the sea, his eager eye
Watches the bark that for his signal waits
To land its merchandize:­Quitting for this
Clandestine traffic his more honest toil,
The crook abandoning, he braves himself
The heaviest snow-storm of December's night,
When with conflicting winds the ocean raves,
And on the tossing boat, unfearing mounts
To meet the partners of the perilous trade,
And share their hazard. Well it were for him,
If no such commerce of destruction known,
He were content with what the earth affords
To human labour; even where she seems
Reluctant most. More happy is the hind,
Who, with his own hands rears on some black moor,
Or turbary, his independent hut
Cover'd with heather, whence the slow white smoke
Of smouldering peat arises­­A few sheep,
His best possession, with his children share
The rugged shed when wintry tempests blow;
But, when with Spring's return the green blades rise
Amid the russet heath, the household live
Joint tenants of the waste throughout the day,
And often, from her nest, among the swamps,
Where the gemm'd sun-dew grows, or fring'd buck-bean,
They scare the plover, that with plaintive cries
Flutters, as sorely wounded, down the wind.
Rude, and but just remov'd from savage life
Is the rough dweller among scenes like these,
(Scenes all unlike the poet's fabling dreams
Describing Arcady)­But he is free;
The dread that follows on illegal acts
He never feels; and his industrious mate
Shares in his labour. Where the brook is traced
By crouding osiers, and the black coot hides
Among the plashy reeds, her diving brood,
The matron wades; gathering the long green rush
That well prepar'd hereafter lends its light
To her poor cottage, dark and cheerless else
Thro' the drear hours of Winter. Otherwhile
She leads her infant group where charlock grows
'Unprofitably gay,' or to the fields,
Where congregate the linnet and the finch,
That on the thistles, so profusely spread,
Feast in the desert; the poor family
Early resort, extirpating with care
These, and the gaudier mischief of the ground;
Then flames the high rais'd heap; seen afar off
Like hostile war-fires flashing to the sky.
Another task is theirs: On fields that shew
As angry Heaven had rain'd sterility,
Stony and cold, and hostile to the plough,
Where clamouring loud, the evening curlew runs
And drops her spotted eggs among the flints;
The mother and the children pile the stones
In rugged pyramids;­and all this toil
They patiently encounter; well content
On their flock bed to slumber undisturb'd
Beneath the smoky roof they call their own.
Oh ! little knows the sturdy hind, who stands
Gazing, with looks where envy and contempt
Are often strangely mingled, on the car
Where prosperous Fortune sits; what secret care
Or sick satiety is often hid,
Beneath the splendid outside: He knows not
How frequently the child of Luxury
Enjoying nothing, flies from place to place
In chase of pleasure that eludes his grasp;
And that content is e'en less found by him,
Than by the labourer, whose pick-axe smooths
The road before his chariot; and who doffs
What was an hat; and as the train pass on,
Thinks how one day's expenditure, like this,
Would cheer him for long months, when to his toil
The frozen earth closes her marble breast.
Ah ! who is happy ? Happiness ! a word
That like false fire, from marsh effluvia born,
Misleads the wanderer, destin'd to contend
In the world's wilderness, with want or woe­
Yet they are happy, who have never ask'd
What good or evil means. The boy
That on the river's margin gaily plays,
Has heard that Death is there­He knows not Death,
And therefore fears it not; and venturing in
He gains a bullrush, or a minnow­then,
At certain peril, for a worthless prize,
A crow's, or raven's nest, he climbs the boll,
Of some tall pine; and of his prowess proud,
Is for a moment happy. Are your cares,
Ye who despise him, never worse applied ?
The village girl is happy, who sets forth
To distant fair, gay in her Sunday suit,
With cherry colour'd knots, and flourish'd shawl,
And bonnet newly purchas'd. So is he
Her little brother, who his mimic drum
Beats, till he drowns her rural lovers' oaths
Of constant faith, and still increasing love;
Ah ! yet a while, and half those oaths believ'd,
Her happiness is vanish'd; and the boy
While yet a stripling, finds the sound he lov'd
Has led him on, till he has given up
His freedom, and his happiness together.
I once was happy, when while yet a child,
I learn'd to love these upland solitudes,
And, when elastic as the mountain air,
To my light spirit, care was yet unknown
And evil unforeseen:­Early it came,
And childhood scarcely passed, I was condemned,
A guiltless exile, silently to sigh,
While Memory, with faithful pencil, drew
The contrast; and regretting, I compar'd
With the polluted smoky atmosphere
And dark and stifling streets, the southern hills
That to the setting Sun, their graceful heads
Rearing, o'erlook the frith, where Vecta breaks
With her white rocks, the strong impetuous tide,
When western winds the vast Atlantic urge
To thunder on the coast­Haunts of my youth !
Scenes of fond day dreams, I behold ye yet !
Where 'twas so pleasant by thy northern slopes
To climb the winding sheep-path, aided oft
By scatter'd thorns: whose spiny branches bore
Small woolly tufts, spoils of the vagrant lamb
There seeking shelter from the noon-day sun;
And pleasant, seated on the short soft turf,
To look beneath upon the hollow way
While heavily upward mov'd the labouring wain,
And stalking slowly by, the sturdy hind
To ease his panting team, stopp'd with a stone
The grating wheel.
Advancing higher still
The prospect widens, and the village church
But little, o'er the lowly roofs around
Rears its gray belfry, and its simple vane;
Those lowly roofs of thatch are half conceal'd
By the rude arms of trees, lovely in spring,
When on each bough, the rosy-tinctur'd bloom
Sits thick, and promises autumnal plenty.
For even those orchards round the Norman farms,
Which, as their owners mark the promis'd fruit,
Console them for the vineyards of the south,
Surpass not these.
Where woods of ash, and beech,
And partial copses, fringe the green hill foot,
The upland shepherd rears his modest home,
There wanders by, a little nameless stream
That from the hill wells forth, bright now and clear,
Or after rain with chalky mixture gray,
But still refreshing in its shallow course,
The cottage garden; most for use design'd,
Yet not of beauty destitute. The vine
Mantles the little casement; yet the briar
Drops fragrant dew among the July flowers;
And pansies rayed, and freak'd and mottled pinks
Grow among balm, and rosemary and rue:
There honeysuckles flaunt, and roses blow
Almost uncultured: Some with dark green leaves
Contrast their flowers of pure unsullied white;
Others, like velvet robes of regal state
Of richest crimson, while in thorny moss
Enshrined and cradled, the most lovely, wear
The hues of youthful beauty's glowing cheek.­
With fond regret I recollect e'en now
In Spring and Summer, what delight I felt
Among these cottage gardens, and how much
Such artless nosegays, knotted with a rush
By village housewife or her ruddy maid,
Were welcome to me; soon and simply pleas'd.
An early worshipper at Nature's shrine;
I loved her rudest scenes­warrens, and heaths,
And yellow commons, and birch-shaded hollows,
And hedge rows, bordering unfrequented lanes
Bowered with wild roses, and the clasping woodbine
Where purple tassels of the tangling vetch
With bittersweet, and bryony inweave,
And the dew fills the silver bindweed's cups­
I loved to trace the brooks whose humid banks
Nourish the harebell, and the freckled pagil;
And stroll among o'ershadowing woods of beech,
Lending in Summer, from the heats of noon
A whispering shade; while haply there reclines
Some pensive lover of uncultur'd flowers,
Who, from the tumps with bright green mosses clad,
Plucks the wood sorrel, with its light thin leaves,
Heart-shaped, and triply folded; and its root
Creeping like beaded coral; or who there
Gathers, the copse's pride, anémones,
With rays like golden studs on ivory laid
Most delicate: but touch'd with purple clouds,
Fit crown for April's fair but changeful brow.
Ah ! hills so early loved ! in fancy still
I breathe your pure keen air; and still behold
Those widely spreading views, mocking alike
The Poet and the Painter's utmost art.
And still, observing objects more minute,
Wondering remark the strange and foreign forms
Of sea-shells; with the pale calcareous soil
Mingled, and seeming of resembling substance.
Tho' surely the blue Ocean (from the heights
Where the downs westward trend, but dimly seen)
Here never roll'd its surge. Does Nature then
Mimic, in wanton mood, fantastic shapes
Of bivalves, and inwreathed volutes, that cling
To the dark sea-rock of the wat'ry world ?
Or did this range of chalky mountains, once
Form a vast bason, where the Ocean waves
Swell'd fathomless ? What time these fossil shells,
Buoy'd on their native element, were thrown
Among the imbedding calx: when the huge hill
Its giant bulk heaved, and in strange ferment
Grew up a guardian barrier, 'twixt the sea
And the green level of the sylvan weald.
Ah ! very vain is Science' proudest boast,
And but a little light its flame yet lends
To its most ardent votaries; since from whence
These fossil forms are seen, is but conjecture,
Food for vague theories, or vain dispute,
While to his daily task the peasant goes,
Unheeding such inquiry; with no care
But that the kindly change of sun and shower,
Fit for his toil the earth he cultivates.
As little recks the herdsman of the hill,
Who on some turfy knoll, idly reclined,
Watches his wether flock; that deep beneath
Rest the remains of men, of whom is left
No traces in the records of mankind,
Save what these half obliterated mounds
And half fill'd trenches doubtfully impart
To some lone antiquary; who on times remote,
Since which two thousand years have roll'd away,
Loves to contemplate. He perhaps may trace,
Or fancy he can trace, the oblong square
Where the mail'd legions, under Claudius, rear'd,
The rampire, or excavated fossé delved;
What time the huge unwieldy Elephant
Auxiliary reluctant, hither led,
From Afric's forest glooms and tawny sands,
First felt the Northern blast, and his vast frame
Sunk useless; whence in after ages found,
The wondering hinds, on those enormous bones
Gaz'd; and in giants dwelling on the hills
Believed and marvell'd­
Hither, Ambition, come !
Come and behold the nothingness of all
For which you carry thro' the oppressed Earth,
War, and its train of horrors­see where tread
The innumerous hoofs of flocks above the works
By which the warrior sought to register
His glory, and immortalize his name­
The pirate Dane, who from his circular camp
Bore in destructive robbery, fire and sword
Down thro' the vale, sleeps unremember'd here;
And here, beneath the green sward, rests alike
The savage native, who his acorn meal
Shar'd with the herds, that ranged the pathless woods;
And the centurion, who on these wide hills
Encamping, planted the Imperial Eagle.
All, with the lapse of Time, have passed away,
Even as the clouds, with dark and dragon shapes,
Or like vast promontories crown'd with towers,
Cast their broad shadows on the downs: then sail
Far to the northward, and their transient gloom
Is soon forgotten.
But from thoughts like these,
By human crimes suggested, let us turn
To where a more attractive study courts
The wanderer of the hills; while shepherd girls
Will from among the fescue bring him flowers,
Of wonderous mockery; some resembling bees
In velvet vest, intent on their sweet toil,
While others mimic flies, that lightly sport
In the green shade, or float along the pool,
But here seem perch'd upon the slender stalk,
And gathering honey dew. While in the breeze
That wafts the thistle's plumed seed along,
Blue bells wave tremulous. The mountain thyme
Purples the hassock of the heaving mole,
And the short turf is gay with tormentil,
And bird's foot trefoil, and the lesser tribes
Of hawkweed; spangling it with fringed stars.­
Near where a richer tract of cultur'd land
Slopes to the south; and burnished by the sun,
Bend in the gale of August, floods of corn;
The guardian of the flock, with watchful care,
Repels by voice and dog the encroaching sheep­
While his boy visits every wired trap
That scars the turf; and from the pit-falls takes
The timid migrants, who from distant wilds,
Warrens, and stone quarries, are destined thus
To lose their short existence. But unsought
By Luxury yet, the Shepherd still protects
The social bird, who from his native haunts
Of willowy current, or the rushy pool,
Follows the fleecy croud, and flirts and skims,
In fellowship among them.
Where the knoll
More elevated takes the changeful winds,
The windmill rears its vanes; and thitherward
With his white load, the master travelling,
Scares the rooks rising slow on whispering wings,
While o'er his head, before the summer sun
Lights up the blue expanse, heard more than seen,
The lark sings matins; and above the clouds
Floating, embathes his spotted breast in dew.
Beneath the shadow of a gnarled thorn,
Bent by the sea blast, from a seat of turf
With fairy nosegays strewn, how wide the view !
Till in the distant north it melts away,
And mingles indiscriminate with clouds:
But if the eye could reach so far, the mart
Of England's capital, its domes and spires
Might be perceived­Yet hence the distant range
Of Kentish hills, appear in purple haze;
And nearer, undulate the wooded heights,
And airy summits, that above the mole
Rise in green beauty; and the beacon'd ridge
Of Black-down shagg'd with heath, and swelling rude
Like a dark island from the vale; its brow
Catching the last rays of the evening sun
That gleam between the nearer park's old oaks,
Then lighten up the river, and make prominent
The portal, and the ruin'd battlements
Of that dismantled fortress; rais'd what time
The Conqueror's successors fiercely fought,
Tearing with civil feuds the desolate land.
But now a tiller of the soil dwells there,
And of the turret's loop'd and rafter'd halls
Has made an humbler homestead­Where he sees,
Instead of armed foemen, herds that graze
Along his yellow meadows; or his flocks
At evening from the upland driv'n to fold­
In such a castellated mansion once
A stranger chose his home; and where hard by
In rude disorder fallen, and hid with brushwood
Lay fragments gray of towers and buttresses,
Among the ruins, often he would muse­
His rustic meal soon ended, he was wont
To wander forth, listening the evening sounds
Of rushing milldam, or the distant team,
Or night-jar, chasing fern-flies: the tir'd hind
Pass'd him at nightfall, wondering he should sit
On the hill top so late: they from the coast
Who sought bye paths with their clandestine load,
Saw with suspicious doubt, the lonely man
Cross on their way: but village maidens thought
His senses injur'd; and with pity say
That he, poor youth ! must have been cross'd in love­
For often, stretch'd upon the mountain turf
With folded arms, and eyes intently fix'd
Where ancient elms and firs obscured a grange,
Some little space within the vale below,
They heard him, as complaining of his fate,
And to the murmuring wind, of cold neglect
And baffled hope he told.­The peasant girls
These plaintive sounds remember, and even now
Among them may be heard the stranger's songs.
Were I a Shepherd on the hill
And ever as the mists withdrew
Could see the willows of the rill
Shading the footway to the mill
Where once I walk'd with you­
And as away Night's shadows sail,
And sounds of birds and brooks arise,
Believe, that from the woody vale
I hear your voice upon the gale
In soothing melodies;
And viewing from the Alpine height,
The prospect dress'd in hues of air,
Could say, while transient colours bright
Touch'd the fair scene with dewy light,
'Tis, that her eyes are there !
I think, I could endure my lot
And linger on a few short years,
And then, by all but you forgot,
Sleep, where the turf that clothes the spot
May claim some pitying tears.
For 'tis not easy to forget
One, who thro' life has lov'd you still,
And you, however late, might yet
With sighs to Memory giv'n, regret
The Shepherd of the Hill.
Yet otherwhile it seem'd as if young Hope
Her flattering pencil gave to Fancy's hand,
And in his wanderings, rear'd to sooth his soul
Ideal bowers of pleasure­Then, of Solitude
And of his hermit life, still more enamour'd,
His home was in the forest; and wild fruits
And bread sustain'd him. There in early spring
The Barkmen found him, e'er the sun arose;
There at their daily toil, the Wedgecutters
Beheld him thro' the distant thicket move.
The shaggy dog following the truffle hunter,
Bark'd at the loiterer; and perchance at night
Belated villagers from fair or wake,
While the fresh night-wind let the moonbeams in
Between the swaying boughs, just saw him pass,
And then in silence, gliding like a ghost
He vanish'd ! Lost among the deepening gloom.­
But near one ancient tree, whose wreathed roots
Form'd a rude couch, love-songs and scatter'd rhymes,
Unfinish'd sentences, or half erased,
And rhapsodies like this, were sometimes found­
Let us to woodland wilds repair
While yet the glittering night-dews seem
To wait the freshly-breathing air,
Precursive of the morning beam,
That rising with advancing day,
Scatters the silver drops away.
An elm, uprooted by the storm,
The trunk with mosses gray and green,
Shall make for us a rustic form,
Where lighter grows the forest scene;
And far among the bowery shades,
Are ferny lawns and grassy glades.
Retiring May to lovely June
Her latest garland now resigns;
The banks with cuckoo-flowers are strewn,
The woodwalks blue with columbines,
And with its reeds, the wandering stream
Reflects the flag-flower's golden gleam.
There, feathering down the turf to meet,
Their shadowy arms the beeches spread,
While high above our sylvan seat,
Lifts the light ash its airy head;
And later leaved, the oaks between
Extend their bows of vernal green.
The slender birch its paper rind
Seems offering to divided love,
And shuddering even without a wind
Aspins, their paler foliage move,
As if some spirit of the air
Breath'd a low sigh in passing there.
The Squirrel in his frolic mood,
Will fearless bound among the boughs;
Yaffils laugh loudly thro' the wood,
And murmuring ring-doves tell their vows;
While we, as sweetest woodscents rise,
Listen to woodland melodies.
And I'll contrive a sylvan room
Against the time of summer heat,
Where leaves, inwoven in Nature's loom,
Shall canopy our green retreat;
And gales that 'close the eye of day'
Shall linger, e'er they die away.
And when a sear and sallow hue
From early frost the bower receives,
I'll dress the sand rock cave for you,
And strew the floor with heath and leaves,
That you, against the autumnal air
May find securer shelter there.
The Nightingale will then have ceas'd
To sing her moonlight serenade;
But the gay bird with blushing breast,
And Woodlarks still will haunt the shade,
And by the borders of the spring
Reed-wrens will yet be carolling.
The forest hermit's lonely cave
None but such soothing sounds shall reach,
Or hardly heard, the distant wave
Slow breaking on the stony beach;
Or winds, that now sigh soft and low,
Now make wild music as they blow.
And then, before the chilling North
The tawny foliage falling light,
Seems, as it flits along the earth,
The footfall of the busy Sprite,
Who wrapt in pale autumnal gloom,
Calls up the mist-born Mushroom.
Oh ! could I hear your soft voice there,
And see you in the forest green
All beauteous as you are, more fair
You'ld look, amid the sylvan scene,
And in a wood-girl's simple guise,
Be still more lovely in mine eyes.
Ye phantoms of unreal delight,
Visions of fond delirium born !
Rise not on my deluded sight,
Then leave me drooping and forlorn
To know, such bliss can never be,
Unless loved like me.
The visionary, nursing dreams like these,
Is not indeed unhappy. Summer woods
Wave over him, and whisper as they wave,
Some future blessings he may yet enjoy.
And as above him sail the silver clouds,
He follows them in thought to distant climes,
Where, far from the cold policy of this,
Dividing him from her he fondly loves,
He, in some island of the southern sea,
May haply build his cane-constructed bower
Beneath the bread-fruit, or aspiring palm,
With long green foliage rippling in the gale.
Oh ! let him cherish his ideal bliss­
For what is life, when Hope has ceas'd to strew
Her fragile flowers along its thorny way ?
And sad and gloomy are his days, who lives
Of Hope abandon'd !
Just beneath the rock
Where Beachy overpeers the channel wave,
Within a cavern mined by wintry tides
Dwelt one, who long disgusted with the world
And all its ways, appear'd to suffer life
Rather than live; the soul-reviving gale,
Fanning the bean-field, or the thymy heath,
Had not for many summers breathed on him;
And nothing mark'd to him the season's change,
Save that more gently rose the placid sea,
And that the birds which winter on the coast
Gave place to other migrants; save that the fog,
Hovering no more above the beetling cliffs
Betray'd not then the little careless sheep
On the brink grazing, while their headlong fall
Near the lone Hermit's flint-surrounded home,
Claim'd unavailing pity; for his heart
Was feelingly alive to all that breath'd;
And outraged as he was, in sanguine youth,
By human crimes, he still acutely felt
For human misery.
Wandering on the beach,
He learn'd to augur from the clouds of heaven,
And from the changing colours of the sea,
And sullen murmurs of the hollow cliffs,
Or the dark porpoises, that near the shore
Gambol'd and sported on the level brine
When tempests were approaching: then at night
He listen'd to the wind; and as it drove
The billows with o'erwhelming vehemence
He, starting from his rugged couch, went forth
And hazarding a life, too valueless,
He waded thro' the waves, with plank or pole
Towards where the mariner in conflict dread
Was buffeting for life the roaring surge;
And now just seen, now lost in foaming gulphs,
The dismal gleaming of the clouded moon
Shew'd the dire peril. Often he had snatch'd
From the wild billows, some unhappy man
Who liv'd to bless the hermit of the rocks.
But if his generous cares were all in vain,
And with slow swell the tide of morning bore
Some blue swol'n cor'se to land; the pale recluse
Dug in the chalk a sepulchre­above
Where the dank sea-wrack mark'd the utmost tide,
And with his prayers perform'd the obsequies
For the poor helpless stranger.
One dark night
The equinoctial wind blew south by west,
Fierce on the shore; ­the bellowing cliffs were shook
Even to their stony base, and fragments fell
Flashing and thundering on the angry flood.
At day-break, anxious for the lonely man,
His cave the mountain shepherds visited,
Tho' sand and banks of weeds had choak'd their way­
He was not in it; but his drowned cor'se
By the waves wafted, near his former home
Receiv'd the rites of burial. Those who read
Chisel'd within the rock, these mournful lines,
Memorials of his sufferings, did not grieve,
That dying in the cause of charity
His spirit, from its earthly bondage freed,
Had to some better region fled for ever.
~ Charlotte Smith,

How, my dear Mary, -- are you critic-bitten
(For vipers kill, though dead) by some review,
That you condemn these verses I have written,
Because they tell no story, false or true?
What, though no mice are caught by a young kitten,
May it not leap and play as grown cats do,
Till its claws come? Prithee, for this one time,
Content thee with a visionary rhyme.

What hand would crush the silken-wingd fly,
The youngest of inconstant April's minions,
Because it cannot climb the purest sky,
Where the swan sings, amid the sun's dominions?
Not thine. Thou knowest 'tis its doom to die,
When Day shall hide within her twilight pinions
The lucent eyes, and the eternal smile,
Serene as thine, which lent it life awhile.

To thy fair feet a wingd Vision came,
Whose date should have been longer than a day,
And o'er thy head did beat its wings for fame,
And in thy sight its fading plumes display;
The watery bow burned in the evening flame,
But the shower fell, the swift Sun went his way
And that is dead.O, let me not believe
That anything of mine is fit to live!

Wordsworth informs us he was nineteen years
Considering and retouching Peter Bell;
Watering his laurels with the killing tears
Of slow, dull care, so that their roots to Hell
Might pierce, and their wide branches blot the spheres
Of Heaven, with dewy leaves and flowers; this well
May be, for Heaven and Earth conspire to foil
The over-busy gardener's blundering toil.

My Witch indeed is not so sweet a creature
As Ruth or Lucy, whom his graceful praise
Clothes for our grandsonsbut she matches Peter,
Though he took nineteen years, and she three days
In dressing. Light the vest of flowing metre
She wears; he, proud as dandy with his stays,
Has hung upon his wiry limbs a dress
Like King Lear's 'looped and windowed raggedness.'

If you strip Peter, you will see a fellow
Scorched by Hell's hyperequatorial climate
Into a kind of a sulphureous yellow:
A lean mark, hardly fit to fling a rhyme at;
In shape a Scaramouch, in hue Othello.
If you unveil my Witch, no priest nor primate
Can shrive you of that sin, -- if sin there be
In love, when it becomes idolatry.

Before those cruel Twins, whom at one birth
Incestuous Change bore to her father Time,
Error and Truth, had hunted from the Earth
All those bright natures which adorned its prime,
And left us nothing to believe in, worth
The pains of putting into learnd rhyme,
A lady-witch there lived on Atlas' mountain
Within a cavern, by a secret fountain.

Her mother was one of the Atlantides:
The all-beholding Sun had ne'er beholden
In his wide voyage o'er continents and seas
So fair a creature, as she lay enfolden
In the warm shadow of her loveliness;--
He kissed her with his beams, and made all golden
The chamber of gray rock in which she lay--
She, in that dream of joy, dissolved away.

'Tis said, she first was changed into a vapour,
And then into a cloud, such clouds as flit,
Like splendour-wingd moths about a taper,
Round the red west when the sun dies in it:
And then into a meteor, such as caper
On hill-tops when the moon is in a fit:
Then, into one of those mysterious stars
Which hide themselves between the Earth and Mars.

Ten times the Mother of the Months had bent
Her bow beside the folding-star, and bidden
With that bright sign the billows to indent
The sea-deserted sand -- like children chidden,
At her command they ever came and went--
Since in that cave a dewy splendour hidden
Took shape and motion: with the living form
Of this embodied Power, the cave grew warm.

A lovely lady garmented in light
From her own beauty -- deep her eyes, as are
Two openings of unfathomable night
Seen through a Temple's cloven roof -- her hair
Darkthe dim brain whirls dizzy with delight,
Picturing her form; her soft smiles shone afar,
And her low voice was heard like love, and drew
All living things towards this wonder new.

And first the spotted cameleopard came,
And then the wise and fearless elephant;
Then the sly serpent, in the golden flame
Of his own volumes intervolved -- all gaunt
And sanguine beasts her gentle looks made tame.
They drank before her at her sacred fount;
And every beast of beating heart grew bold,
Such gentleness and power even to behold.

The brinded lioness led forth her young,
That she might teach them how they should forego
Their inborn thirst of death; the pard unstrung
His sinews at her feet, and sought to know
With looks whose motions spoke without a tongue
How he might be as gentle as the doe.
The magic circle of her voice and eyes
All savage natures did imparadise.

And old Silenus, shaking a green stick
Of lilies, and the wood-gods in a crew
Came, blithe, as in the olive copses thick
Cicadae are, drunk with the noonday dew:
And Dryope and Faunus followed quick,
Teasing the God to sing them something new;
Till in this cave they found the lady lone,
Sitting upon a seat of emerald stone.

And universal Pan, 'tis said, was there,
And though none saw him,through the adamant
Of the deep mountains, through the trackless air,
And through those living spirits, like a want,
He passed out of his everlasting lair
Where the quick heart of the great world doth pant,
And felt that wondrous lady all alone,
And she felt him, upon her emerald throne.

And every nymph of stream and spreading tree,
And every shepherdess of Ocean's flocks,
Who drives her white waves over the green sea,
And Ocean with the brine on his gray locks,
And quaint Priapus with his company,
All came, much wondering how the enwombd rocks
Could have brought forth so beautiful a birth;
Her love subdued their wonder and their mirth.

The herdsmen and the mountain maidens came,
And the rude kings of pastoral Garamant
Their spirits shook within them, as a flame
Stirred by the air under a cavern gaunt:
Pigmies, and Polyphemes, by many a name,
Centaurs, and Satyrs, and such shapes as haunt
Wet clefts,and lumps neither alive nor dead,
Dog-headed, bosom-eyed, and bird-footed.

For she was beautifulher beauty made
The bright world dim, and everything beside
Seemed like the fleeting image of a shade:
No thought of living spirit could abide,
Which to her looks had ever been betrayed,
On any object in the world so wide,
On any hope within the circling skies,
But on her form, and in her inmost eyes.

Which when the lady knew, she took her spindle
And twined three threads of fleecy mist, and three
Long lines of light, such as the dawn may kindle
The clouds and waves and mountains with; and she
As many star-beams, ere their lamps could dwindle
In the belated moon, wound skilfully;
And with these threads a subtle veil she wove
A shadow for the splendour of her love.

The deep recesses of her odorous dwelling
Were stored with magic treasuressounds of air,
Which had the power all spirits of compelling,
Folded in cells of crystal silence there;
Such as we hear in youth, and think the feeling
Will never dieyet ere we are aware,
The feeling and the sound are fled and gone,
And the regret they leave remains alone.

And there lay Visions swift, and sweet, and quaint,
Each in its thin sheath, like a chrysalis,
Some eager to burst forth, some weak and faint
With the soft burthen of intensest bliss
It was its work to bear to many a saint
Whose heart adores the shrine which holiest is,
Even Love's -- and others white, green, gray, and black,
And of all shapesand each was at her beck.

And odours in a kind of aviary
Of ever-blooming Eden-trees she kept,
Clipped in a floating net, a love-sick Fairy
Had woven from dew-beams while the moon yet slept;
As bats at the wired window of a dairy.
They beat their vans; and each was an adept,
When loosed and missioned, making wings of winds,
To stir sweet thoughts or sad, in destined minds.

And liquors clear and sweet, whose healthful might
Could medicine the sick soul to happy sleep,
And change eternal death into a night
Of glorious dreamsor if eyes needs must weep,
Could make their tears all wonder and delight,
She in her crystal vials did closely keep:
If men could drink of those clear vials, 'tis said
The living were not envied of the dead.

Her cave was stored with scrolls of strange device,
The works of some Saturnian Archimage,
Which taught the expiations at whose price
Men from the Gods might win that happy age
Too lightly lost, redeeming native vice;
And which might quench the Earth-consuming rage
Of gold and bloodtill men should live and move
Harmonious as the sacred stars above;

And how all things that seem untameable,
Not to be checked and not to be confined,
Obey the spells of Wisdom's wizard skill;
Time, earth, and firethe ocean and the wind,
And all their shapes -- and man's imperial will;
And other scrolls whose writings did unbind
The inmost lore of Lovelet the profane
Tremble to ask what secrets they contain.

And wondrous works of substances unknown,
To which the enchantment of her father's power
Had changed those ragged blocks of savage stone,
Were heaped in the recesses of her bower;
Carved lamps and chalices, and vials which shone
In their own golden beams -- each like a flower,
Out of whose depth a fire-fly shakes his light
Under a cypress in a starless night.

At first she lived alone in this wild home,
And her own thoughts were each a minister,
Clothing themselves, or with the ocean foam,
Or with the wind, or with the speed of fire,
To work whatever purposes might come
Into her mind; such power her mighty Sire
Had girt them with, whether to fly or run,
Through all the regions which he shines upon.

The Ocean-nymphs and Hamadryades,
Oreads and Naiads, with long weedy locks,
Offered to do her bidding through the seas,
Under the earth, and in the hollow rocks,
And far beneath the matted roots of trees,
And in the gnarld heart of stubborn oaks,
So they might live for ever in the light
Of her sweet presence -- each a satellite.

'This may not be,' the wizard maid replied;
'The fountains where the Naiades bedew
Their shining hair, at length are drained and dried;
The solid oaks forget their strength, and strew
Their latest leaf upon the mountains wide;
The boundless ocean like a drop of dew
Will be consumedthe stubborn centre must
Be scattered, like a cloud of summer dust.

'And ye with them will perish, one by one;
If I must sigh to think that this shall be,
If I must weep when the surviving Sun
Shall smile on your decay -- oh, ask not me
To love you till your little race is run;
I cannot die as ye must -- over me
Your leaves shall glance -- the streams in which ye dwell
Shall be my paths henceforth, and so -- farewell!'--

She spoke and wept:the dark and azure well
Sparkled beneath the shower of her bright tears,
And every little circlet where they fell
Flung to the cavern-roof inconstant spheres
And intertangled lines of light:a knell
Of sobbing voices came upon her ears
From those departing Forms, o'er the serene
Of the white streams and of the forest green.

All day the wizard lady sate aloof,
Spelling out scrolls of dread antiquity,
Under the cavern's fountain-lighted roof;
Or broidering the pictured poesy
Of some high tale upon her growing woof,
Which the sweet splendour of her smiles could dye
In hues outshining heavenand ever she
Added some grace to the wrought poesy.

While on her hearth lay blazing many a piece
Of sandal wood, rare gums, and cinnamon;
Men scarcely know how beautiful fire is
Each flame of it is as a precious stone
Dissolved in ever-moving light, and this
Belongs to each and all who gaze upon.
The Witch beheld it not, for in her hand
She held a woof that dimmed the burning brand.

This lady never slept, but lay in trance
All night within the fountain -- as in sleep.
Its emerald crags glowed in her beauty's glance;
Through the green splendour of the water deep
She saw the constellations reel and dance
Like fire-flies -- and withal did ever keep
The tenour of her contemplations calm,
With open eyes, closed feet, and folded palm.

And when the whirlwinds and the clouds descended
From the white pinnacles of that cold hill,
She passed at dewfall to a space extended,
Where in a lawn of flowering asphodel
Amid a wood of pines and cedars blended,
There yawned an inextinguishable well
Of crimson firefull even to the brim,
And overflowing all the margin trim.

Within the which she lay when the fierce war
Of wintry winds shook that innocuous liquor
In many a mimic moon and bearded star
O'er woods and lawns -- the serpent heard it flicker
In sleep, and dreaming still, he crept afar--
And when the windless snow descended thicker
Than autumn leaves, she watched it as it came
Melt on the surface of the level flame.

She had a boat, which some say Vulcan wrought
For Venus, as the chariot of her star;
But it was found too feeble to be fraught
With all the ardours in that sphere which are,
And so she sold it, and Apollo bought
And gave it to this daughter: from a car
Changed to the fairest and the lightest boat
Which ever upon mortal stream did float.

And others say, that, when but three hours old,
The first-born Love out of his cradle lept,
And clove dun Chaos with his wings of gold,
And like an horticultural adept,
Stole a strange seed, and wrapped it up in mould,
And sowed it in his mother's star, and kept
Watering it all the summer with sweet dew,
And with his wings fanning it as it grew.

The plant grew strong and green, the snowy flower
Fell, and the long and gourd-like fruit began
To turn the light and dew by inward power
To its own substance; woven tracery ran
Of light firm texture, ribbed and branching, o'er
The solid rind, like a leaf's veind fan--
Of which Love scooped this boat -- and with soft motion
Piloted it round the circumfluous ocean.

This boat she moored upon her fount, and lit
A living spirit within all its frame,
Breathing the soul of swiftness into it.
Couched on the fountain like a panther tame,
One of the twain at Evan's feet that sit--
Or as on Vesta's sceptre a swift flame--
Or on blind Homer's heart a wingd thought,--
In joyous expectation lay the boat.

Then by strange art she kneaded fire and snow
Together, tempering the repugnant mass
With liquid love -- all things together grow
Through which the harmony of love can pass;
And a fair Shape out of her hands did flow--
A living Image, which did far surpass
In beauty that bright shape of vital stone
Which drew the heart out of Pygmalion.

A sexless thing it was, and in its growth
It seemed to have developed no defect
Of either sex, yet all the grace of both,--
In gentleness and strength its limbs were decked;
The bosom swelled lightly with its full youth,
The countenance was such as might select
Some artist that his skill should never die,
Imaging forth such perfect purity.

From its smooth shoulders hung two rapid wings,
Fit to have borne it to the seventh sphere,
Tipped with the speed of liquid lightenings,
Dyed in the ardours of the atmosphere:
She led her creature to the boiling springs
Where the light boat was moored, and said: 'Sit here!'
And pointed to the prow, and took her seat
Beside the rudder, with opposing feet.

And down the streams which clove those mountains vast,
Around their inland islets, and amid
The panther-peopled forests, whose shade cast
Darkness and odours, and a pleasure hid
In melancholy gloom, the pinnace passed;
By many a star-surrounded pyramid
Of icy crag cleaving the purple sky,
And caverns yawning round unfathomably.

The silver noon into that winding dell,
With slanted gleam athwart the forest tops,
Tempered like golden evening, feebly fell;
A green and glowing light, like that which drops
From folded lilies in which glow-worms dwell,
When Earth over her face Night's mantle wraps;
Between the severed mountains lay on high,
Over the stream, a narrow rift of sky.

And ever as she went, the Image lay
With folded wings and unawakened eyes;
And o'er its gentle countenance did play
The busy dreams, as thick as summer flies,
Chasing the rapid smiles that would not stay,
And drinking the warm tears, and the sweet sighs
Inhaling, which, with busy murmur vain,
They had aroused from that full heart and brain.

And ever down the prone vale, like a cloud
Upon a stream of wind, the pinnace went:
Now lingering on the pools, in which abode
The calm and darkness of the deep content
In which they paused; now o'er the shallow road
Of white and dancing waters, all besprent
With sand and polished pebbles:mortal boat
In such a shallow rapid could not float.

And down the earthquaking cataracts which shiver
Their snow-like waters into golden air,
Or under chasms unfathomable ever
Sepulchre them, till in their rage they tear
A subterranean portal for the river,
It fledthe circling sunbows did upbear
Its fall down the hoar precipice of spray,
Lighting it far upon its lampless way.

And when the wizard lady would ascend
The labyrinths of some many-winding vale,
Which to the inmost mountain upward tend
She called 'Hermaphroditus!'and the pale
And heavy hue which slumber could extend
Over its lips and eyes, as on the gale
A rapid shadow from a slope of grass,
Into the darkness of the stream did pass.

And it unfurled its heaven-coloured pinions,
With stars of fire spotting the stream below;
And from above into the Sun's dominions
Flinging a glory, like the golden glow
In which Spring clothes her emerald-wingd minions,
All interwoven with fine feathery snow
And moonlight splendour of intensest rime,
With which frost paints the pines in winter time.

And then it winnowed the Elysian air
Which ever hung about that lady bright,
With its aethereal vansand speeding there,
Like a star up the torrent of the night,
Or a swift eagle in the morning glare
Breasting the whirlwind with impetuous flight,
The pinnace, oared by those enchanted wings,
Clove the fierce streams towards their upper springs.

The water flashed, like sunlight by the prow
Of a noon-wandering meteor flung to Heaven;
The still air seemed as if its waves did flow
In tempest down the mountains; loosely driven
The lady's radiant hair streamed to and fro:
Beneath, the billows having vainly striven
Indignant and impetuous, roared to feel
The swift and steady motion of the keel.

Or, when the weary moon was in the wane,
Or in the noon of interlunar night,
The lady-witch in visions could not chain
Her spirit; but sailed forth under the light
Of shooting stars, and bade extend amain
Its storm-outspeeding wings, the Hermaphrodite;
She to the Austral waters took her way,
Beyond the fabulous Thamondocana,

Where, like a meadow which no scythe has shaven,
Which rain could never bend, or whirl-blast shake,
With the Antarctic constellations paven,
Canopus and his crew, lay the Austral lake
There she would build herself a windless haven
Out of the clouds whose moving turrets make
The bastions of the storm, when through the sky
The spirits of the tempest thundered by:

A haven beneath whose translucent floor
The tremulous stars sparkled unfathomably,
And around which the solid vapours hoar,
Based on the level waters, to the sky
Lifted their dreadful crags, and like a shore
Of wintry mountains, inaccessibly
Hemmed in with rifts and precipices gray,
And hanging crags, many a cove and bay.

And whilst the outer lake beneath the lash
Of the wind's scourge, foamed like a wounded thing,
And the incessant hail with stony clash
Ploughed up the waters, and the flagging wing
Of the roused cormorant in the lightning flash
Looked like the wreck of some wind-wandering
Fragment of inky thunder-smoke -- this haven
Was as a gem to copy Heaven engraven,--

On which that lady played her many pranks,
Circling the image of a shooting star,
Even as a tiger on Hydaspes' banks
Outspeeds the antelopes which speediest are,
In her light boat; and many quips and cranks
She played upon the water, till the car
Of the late moon, like a sick matron wan,
To journey from the misty east began.

And then she called out of the hollow turrets
Of those high clouds, white, golden and vermilion,
The armies of her ministering spirits
In mighty legions, million after million,
They came, each troop emblazoning its merits
On meteor flags; and many a proud pavilion
Of the intertexture of the atmosphere
They pitched upon the plain of the calm mere.

They framed the imperial tent of their great Queen
Of woven exhalations, underlaid
With lambent lightning-fire, as may be seen
A dome of thin and open ivory inlaid
With crimson silk -- cressets from the serene
Hung there, and on the water for her tread
A tapestry of fleece-like mist was strewn,
Dyed in the beams of the ascending moon.

And on a throne o'erlaid with starlight, caught
Upon those wandering isles of ary dew,
Which highest shoals of mountain shipwreck not,
She sate, and heard all that had happened new
Between the earth and moon, since they had brought
The last intelligence -- and now she grew
Pale as that moon, lost in the watery night--
And now she wept, and now she laughed outright.

These were tame pleasures; she would often climb
The steepest ladder of the crudded rack
Up to some beakd cape of cloud sublime,
And like Arion on the dolphin's back
Ride singing through the shoreless air; -- oft-time
Following the serpent lightning's winding track,
She ran upon the platforms of the wind,
And laughed to hear the fire-balls roar behind.

And sometimes to those streams of upper air
Which whirl the earth in its diurnal round,
She would ascend, and win the spirits there
To let her join their chorus. Mortals found
That on those days the sky was calm and fair,
And mystic snatches of harmonious sound
Wandered upon the earth where'er she passed,
And happy thoughts of hope, too sweet to last.

But her choice sport was, in the hours of sleep,
To glide adown old Nilus, where he threads
Egypt and Aethiopia, from the steep
Of utmost Axum, until he spreads,
Like a calm flock of silver-fleecd sheep,
His waters on the plain: and crested heads
Of cities and proud temples gleam amid,
And many a vapour-belted pyramid.

By Moeris and the Mareotid lakes,
Strewn with faint blooms like bridal chamber floors,
Where naked boys bridling tame water-snakes,
Or charioteering ghastly alligators,
Had left on the sweet waters mighty wakes
Of those huge forms -- within the brazen doors
Of the great Labyrinth slept both boy and beast,
Tired with the pomp of their Osirian feast.

And where within the surface of the river
The shadows of the massy temples lie,
And never are erased -- but tremble ever
Like things which every cloud can doom to die,
Through lotus-paven canals, and wheresoever
The works of man pierced that serenest sky
With tombs, and towers, and fanes, 'twas her delight
To wander in the shadow of the night.

With motion like the spirit of that wind
Whose soft step deepens slumber, her light feet
Passed through the peopled haunts of humankind,
Scattering sweet visions from her presence sweet,
Through fane, and palace-court, and labyrinth mined
With many a dark and subterranean street
Under the Nile, through chambers high and deep
She passed, observing mortals in their sleep.

A pleasure sweet doubtless it was to see
Mortals subdued in all the shapes of sleep.
Here lay two sister twins in infancy;
There, a lone youth who in his dreams did weep;
Within, two lovers linkd innocently
In their loose locks which over both did creep
Like ivy from one stem;and there lay calm
Old age with snow-bright hair and folded palm.

But other troubled forms of sleep she saw,
Not to be mirrored in a holy song--
Distortions foul of supernatural awe,
And pale imaginings of visioned wrong;
And all the code of Custom's lawless law
Written upon the brows of old and young:
'This,' said the wizard maiden, 'is the strife
Which stirs the liquid surface of man's life.'

And little did the sight disturb her soul.--
We, the weak mariners of that wide lake
Where'er its shores extend or billows roll,
Our course unpiloted and starless make
O'er its wild surface to an unknown goal:--
But she in the calm depths her way could take,
Where in bright bowers immortal forms abide
Beneath the weltering of the restless tide.

And she saw princes couched under the glow
Of sunlike gems; and round each temple-court
In dormitories ranged, row after row,
She saw the priests asleepall of one sort--
For all were educated to be so.
The peasants in their huts, and in the port
The sailors she saw cradled on the waves,
And the dead lulled within their dreamless graves.

And all the forms in which those spirits lay
Were to her sight like the diaphanous
Veils, in which those sweet ladies oft array
Their delicate limbs, who would conceal from us
Only their scorn of all concealment: they
Move in the light of their own beauty thus.
But these and all now lay with sleep upon them,
And little thought a Witch was looking on them.

She, all those human figures breathing there,
Beheld as living spirits -- to her eyes
The naked beauty of the soul lay bare,
And often through a rude and worn disguise
She saw the inner form most bright and fair--
And then she had a charm of strange device,
Which, murmured on mute lips with tender tone,
Could make that spirit mingle with her own.

Alas! Aurora, what wouldst thou have given
For such a charm when Tithon became gray?
Or how much, Venus, of thy silver heaven
Wouldst thou have yielded, ere Proserpina
Had half (oh! why not all?) the debt forgiven
Which dear Adonis had been doomed to pay,
To any witch who would have taught you it?
The Heliad doth not know its value yet.

'Tis said in after times her spirit free
Knew what love was, and felt itself alone--
But holy Dian could not chaster be
Before she stooped to kiss Endymion,
Than now this lady -- like a sexless bee
Tasting all blossoms, and confined to none,
Among those mortal forms, the wizard-maiden
Passed with an eye serene and heart unladen.

To those she saw most beautiful, she gave
Strange panacea in a crystal bowl:--
They drank in their deep sleep of that sweet wave,
And lived thenceforward as if some control,
Mightier than life, were in them; and the grave
Of such, when death oppressed the weary soul,
Was as a green and overarching bower
Lit by the gems of many a starry flower.

For on the night when they were buried, she
Restored the embalmers' ruining, and shook
The light out of the funeral lamps, to be
A mimic day within that deathy nook;
And she unwound the woven imagery
Of second childhood's swaddling bands, and took
The coffin, its last cradle, from its niche,
And threw it with contempt into a ditch.

And there the body lay, age after age,
Mute, breathing, beating, warm, and undecaying,
Like one asleep in a green hermitage,
With gentle smiles about its eyelids playing,
And living in its dreams beyond the rage
Of death or life; while they were still arraying
In liveries ever new, the rapid, blind
And fleeting generations of mankind.

And she would write strange dreams upon the brain
Of those who were less beautiful, and make
All harsh and crooked purposes more vain
Than in the desert is the serpent's wake
Which the sand coversall his evil gain
The miser in such dreams would rise and shake
Into a beggar's lap;the lying scribe
Would his own lies betray without a bribe.

The priests would write an explanation full,
Translating hieroglyphics into Greek,
How the God Apis really was a bull,
And nothing more; and bid the herald stick
The same against the temple doors, and pull
The old cant down; they licensed all to speak
What'er they thought of hawks, and cats, and geese,
By pastoral letters to each diocese.

The king would dress an ape up in his crown
And robes, and seat him on his glorious seat,
And on the right hand of the sunlike throne
Would place a gaudy mock-bird to repeat
The chatterings of the monkey.Every one
Of the prone courtiers crawled to kiss the feet
Of their great Emperor, when the morning came,
And kissed -- alas, how many kiss the same!

The soldiers dreamed that they were blacksmiths, and
Walked out of quarters in somnambulism;
Round the red anvils you might see them stand
Like Cyclopses in Vulcan's sooty abysm,
Beating their swords to ploughshares; -- in a band
The gaolers sent those of the liberal schism
Free through the streets of Memphis, much, I wis,
To the annoyance of king Amasis.

And timid lovers who had been so coy,
They hardly knew whether they loved or not,
Would rise out of their rest, and take sweet joy,
To the fulfilment of their inmost thought;
And when next day the maiden and the boy
Met one another, both, like sinners caught,
Blushed at the thing which each believed was done
Only in fancy -- till the tenth moon shone;

And then the Witch would let them take no ill:
Of many thousand schemes which lovers find,
The Witch found one,and so they took their fill
Of happiness in marriage warm and kind.
Friends who, by practice of some envious skill,
Were torn apart -- a wide wound, mind from mind!--
She did unite again with visions clear
Of deep affection and of truth sincere.

These were the pranks she played among the cities
Of mortal men, and what she did to Sprites
And Gods, entangling them in her sweet ditties
To do her will, and show their subtle sleights,
I will declare another time; for it is
A tale more fit for the weird winter nights
Than for these garish summer days, when we
Scarcely believe much more than we can see.
Composed at the Baths of San Giuliano, near Pisa, August 14-16, 1820; published in Posthumous Poems, ed. Mrs. Shelley, 1824. The dedication To Mary first appeared in the Poetical Works, 1839, 1st ed.

Note by Mrs. Shelley: 'We spent the summer of 1820 at the Baths of San Giuliano, four miles from Pisa. These baths were of great use to Shelley in soothing his nervous irritability. We made several excursions in the neighbourhood. The country around is fertile, and diversified and rendered picturesque by ranges of near hills and more distant mountains. The peasantry are a handsome intelligent race; and there was a gladsome sunny heaven spread over us, that rendered home and every scene we visited cheerful and bright. During some of the hottest days of August, Shelley made a solitary journey on foot to the summit of Monte San Pellegrino -- a mountain of some height, on the top of which there is a chapel, the object, during certain days of the year, of many pilgrimages. The excursion delighted him while it lasted; though he exerted himself too much, and the effect was considerable lsasitude and weakness on his return. During the expedition he conceived the idea, and wrote, in the three days immediately succeeding to his return, the Witch of Atlas.
This poem is peculiarly characteristic of his tastes -- wildly fanciful, full of brilliant imagery, and discarding human interest and passion, to revel in the fantastic ideas that his imagination suggested.'
~ Percy Bysshe Shelley, The Witch Of Atlas
Over the sea, past Crete, on the Syrian shore to the southward,
Dwells in the well-tilled lowland a dark-haired AEthiop people,
Skilful with needle and loom, and the arts of the dyer and carver,
Skilful, but feeble of heart; for they know not the lords of Olympus,
Lovers of men; neither broad-browed Zeus, nor Pallas Athene,
Teacher of wisdom to heroes, bestower of might in the battle;
Share not the cunning of Hermes, nor list to the songs of Apollo.
Fearing the stars of the sky, and the roll of the blue salt water,
Fearing all things that have life in the womb of the seas and the livers,
Eating no fish to this day, nor ploughing the main, like the Phoenics,
Manful with black-beaked ships, they abide in a sorrowful region,
Vexed with the earthquake, and flame, and the sea-floods, scourge of
Whelming the dwellings of men, and the toils of the slow-footed oxen,
Drowning the barley and flax, and the hard-earned gold of the harvest,
Up to the hillside vines, and the pastures skirting the woodland,
Inland the floods came yearly; and after the waters a monster,
Bred of the slime, like the worms which are bred from the slime of the Nilebank,
Shapeless, a terror to see; and by night it swam out to the seaward,
Daily returning to feed with the dawn, and devoured of the fairest,
Cattle, and children, and maids, till the terrified people fled inland.
Fasting in sackcloth and ashes they came, both the king and his people,
Came to the mountain of oaks, to the house of the terrible sea-gods,
Hard by the gulf in the rocks, where of old the world-wide deluge
Sank to the inner abyss; and the lake where the fish of the goddess,
Holy, undying, abide; whom the priests feed daily with dainties.
There to the mystical fish, high-throned in her chamber of cedar,
Burnt they the fat of the flock; till the flame shone far to the seaward.
Three days fasting they prayed; but the fourth day the priests of the
Cunning in spells, cast lots, to discover the crime of the people.
All day long they cast, till the house of the monarch was taken,
Cepheus, king of the land; and the faces of all gathered blackness.
Then once more they cast; and Cassiopoeia was taken,
Deep-bosomed wife of the king, whom oft far-seeing Apollo
Watched well-pleased from the welkin, the fairest of AEthiop women:
Fairest, save only her daughter; for down to the ankle her tresses
Rolled, blue-black as the night, ambrosial, joy to beholders.
Awful and fair she arose, most like in her coming to Here,
Queen before whom the Immortals arise, as she comes on Olympus,
Out of the chamber of gold, which her son Hephaestos has wrought her.
Such in her stature and eyes, and the broad white light of her forehead.
Stately she came from her place, and she spoke in the midst of the people.
'Pure are my hands from blood: most pure this heart in my bosom.
Yet one fault I remember this day; one word have I spoken;
Rashly I spoke on the shore, and I dread lest the sea should have heard it.
Watching my child at her bath, as she plunged in the joy of her girlhood,
Fairer I called her in pride than Atergati, queen of the ocean.
Judge ye if this be my sin, for I know none other.' She ended;
Wrapping her head in her mantle she stood, and the people were silent.
Answered the dark-browed priests, 'No word, once spoken, returneth,
Even if uttered unwitting. Shall gods excuse our rashness?
That which is done, that abides; and the wrath of the sea is against us;
Hers, and the wrath of her brother, the Sun-god, lord of the sheepfolds.
Fairer than her hast thou boasted thy daughter? Ah folly! for hateful,
Hateful are they to the gods, whoso, impious, liken a mortal,
Fair though he be, to their glory; and hateful is that which is likened,
Grieving the eyes of their pride, and abominate, doomed to their anger.
What shall be likened to gods? The unknown, who deep in the darkness
Ever abide, twyformed, many-handed, terrible, shapeless.
Woe to the queen; for the land is defiled, and the people accursed.
Take thou her therefore by night, thou ill-starred Cassiopoeia,
Take her with us in the night, when the moon sinks low to the westward;
Bind her aloft for a victim, a prey for the gorge of the monster,
Far on the sea-girt rock, which is washed by the surges for ever;
So may the goddess accept her, and so may the land make atonement,
Purged by her blood from its sin: so obey thou the doom of the rulers.'
Bitter in soul they went out, Cepheus and Cassiopoeia,
Bitter in soul; and their hearts whirled round, as the leaves in the eddy.
Weak was the queen, and rebelled: but the king, like a shepherd of people,
Willed not the land should waste; so he yielded the life of his daughter.
Deep in the wane of the night, as the moon sank low to the westward,
They by the shade of the cliffs, with the horror of darkness around them,
Stole, as ashamed, to a deed which became not the light of the sunshine,
Slowly, the priests, and the queen, and the virgin bound in the galley,
Slowly they rowed to the rocks: but Cepheus far in the palace
Sate in the midst of the hall, on his throne, like a shepherd of people,
Choking his woe, dry-eyed, while the slaves wailed loudly around him.
They on the sea-girt rock, which is washed by the surges for ever,
Set her in silence, the guiltless, aloft with her face to the eastward.
Under a crag of the stone, where a ledge sloped down to the water;
There they set Andromeden, most beautiful, shaped like a goddess,
Lifting her long white arms wide-spread to the walls of the basalt,
Chaining them, ruthless, with brass; and they called on the might of the
'Mystical fish of the seas, dread Queen whom AEthiops honour,
Whelming the land in thy wrath, unavoidable, sharp as the sting-ray,
Thou, and thy brother the Sun, brain-smiting, lord of the sheepfold,
Scorching the earth all day, and then resting at night in thy bosom,
Take ye this one life for many, appeased by the blood of a maiden,
Fairest, and born of the fairest, a queen, most priceless of victims.'
Thrice they spat as they went by the maid: but her mother delaying
Fondled her child to the last, heart-crushed; and the warmth of her weeping
Fell on the breast of the maid, as her woe broke forth into wailing.
'Daughter! my daughter! forgive me! Oh curse not the murderess! Curse
How have I sinned, but in love? Do the gods grudge glory to mothers?
Loving I bore thee in vain in the fate-cursed bride-bed of Cepheus,
Loving I fed thee and tended, and loving rejoiced in thy beauty,
Blessing thy limbs as I bathed them, and blessing thy locks as I combed them;
Decking thee, ripening to woman, I blest thee: yet blessing I slew thee!
How have I sinned, but in love? Oh swear to me, swear to thy mother,
Never to haunt me with curse, as I go to the grave in my sorrow,
Childless and lone: may the gods never send me another, to slay it!
See, I embrace thy knees-soft knees, where no babe will be fondledSwear to me never to curse me, the hapless one, not in the death-pang.'
Weeping she clung to the knees of the maid; and the maid low answered'Curse thee! Not in the death-pang!' The heart of the lady was lightened.
Slowly she went by the ledge; and the maid was alone in the darkness.
Watching the pulse of the oars die down, as her own died with them,
Tearless, dumb with amaze she stood, as a storm-stunned nestling
Fallen from bough or from eave lies dumb, which the home-going herdsman
Fancies a stone, till he catches the light of its terrified eyeball.
So through the long long hours the maid stood helpless and hopeless,
Wide-eyed, downward gazing in vain at the black blank darkness.
Feebly at last she began, while wild thoughts bubbled within her'Guiltless I am: why thus, then? Are gods more ruthless than mortals?
Have they no mercy for youth? no love for the souls who have loved them?
Even as I loved thee, dread sea, as I played by thy margin,
Blessing thy wave as it cooled me, thy wind as it breathed on my forehead,
Bowing my head to thy tempest, and opening my heart to thy children,
Silvery fish, wreathed shell, and the strange lithe things of the water,
Tenderly casting them back, as they gasped on the beach in the sunshine,
Home to their mother-in vain! for mine sits childless in anguish!
O false sea! false sea! I dreamed what I dreamed of thy goodness;
Dreamed of a smile in thy gleam, of a laugh in the plash of thy ripple:
False and devouring thou art, and the great world dark and despiteful.'
Awed by her own rash words she was still: and her eyes to the seaward
Looked for an answer of wrath: far off, in the heart of the darkness,
Blight white mists rose slowly; beneath them the wandering ocean
Glimmered and glowed to the deepest abyss; and the knees of the maiden
Trembled and sunk in her fear, as afar, like a dawn in the midnight,
Rose from their seaweed chamber the choir of the mystical sea-maids.
Onward toward her they came, and her heart beat loud at their coming,
Watching the bliss of the gods, as they wakened the cliffs with their
Onward they came in their joy, and before them the roll of the surges
Sank, as the breeze sank dead, into smooth green foam-flecked marble,
Awed; and the crags of the cliff, and the pines of the mountain were silent.
Onward they came in their joy, and around them the lamps of the sea-nymphs,
Myriad fiery globes, swam panting and heaving; and rainbows
Crimson and azure and emerald, were broken in star-showers, lighting
Far through the wine-dark depths of the crystal, the gardens of Nereus,
Coral and sea-fan and tangle, the blooms and the palms of the ocean.
Onward they came in their joy, more white than the foam which they
Laughing and singing, and tossing and twining, while eager, the Tritons
Blinded with kisses their eyes, unreproved, and above them in worship
Hovered the terns, and the seagulls swept past them on silvery pinions
Echoing softly their laughter; around them the wantoning dolphins
Sighed as they plunged, full of love; and the great sea-horses which bore
Curved up their crests in their pride to the delicate arms of the maidens,
Pawing the spray into gems, till a fiery rainfall, unharming,
Sparkled and gleamed on the limbs of the nymphs, and the coils of the mermen.
Onward they went in their joy, bathed round with the fiery coolness,
Needing nor sun nor moon, self-lighted, immortal: but others,
Pitiful, floated in silence apart; in their bosoms the sea-boys,
Slain by the wrath of the seas, swept down by the anger of Nereus;
Hapless, whom never again on strand or on quay shall their mothers
Welcome with garlands and vows to the temple, but wearily pining
Gaze over island and bay for the sails of the sunken; they heedless
Sleep in soft bosoms for ever, and dream of the surge and the sea-maids.
Onward they passed in their joy; on their brows neither sorrow nor anger;
Self-sufficing, as gods, never heeding the woe of the maiden.
She would have shrieked for their mercy: but shame made her dumb; and their
Stared on her careless and still, like the eyes in the house of the idols.
Seeing they saw not, and passed, like a dream, on the murmuring ripple.
Stunned by the wonder she gazed, wide-eyed, as the glory departed.
'O fair shapes! far fairer than I! Too fair to be ruthless!
Gladden mine eyes once more with your splendour, unlike to my fancies;
You, then, smiled in the sea-gleam, and laughed in the plash of the ripple.
Awful I deemed you and formless; inhuman, monstrous as idols;
Lo, when ye came, ye were women, more loving and lovelier, only;
Like in all else; and I blest you: why blest ye not me for my worship?
Had you no mercy for me, thus guiltless? Ye pitied the sea-boys:
Why not me, then, more hapless by far? Does your sight and your knowledge
End with the marge of the waves? Is the world which ye dwell in not our
Over the mountain aloft ran a rush and a roll and a roaring;
Downward the breeze came indignant, and leapt with a howl to the water,
Roaring in cranny and crag, till the pillars and clefts of the basalt
Rang like a god-swept lyre, and her brain grew mad with the noises;
Crashing and lapping of waters, and sighing and tossing of weed-beds,
Gurgle and whisper and hiss of the foam, while thundering surges
Boomed in the wave-worn halls, as they champed at the roots of the mountain.
Hour after hour in the darkness the wind rushed fierce to the landward,
Drenching the maiden with spray; she shivering, weary and drooping,
Stood with her heart full of thoughts, till the foam-crests gleamed in the
Leaping and laughing around, and the east grew red with the dawning.
Then on the ridge of the hills rose the broad bright sun in his glory,
Hurling his arrows abroad on the glittering crests of the surges,
Gilding the soft round bosoms of wood, and the downs of the coastland;
Gilding the weeds at her feet, and the foam-laced teeth of the ledges,
Showing the maiden her home through the veil of her locks, as they floated
Glistening, damp with the spray, in a long black cloud to the landward.
High in the far-off glens rose thin blue curls from the homesteads;
Softly the low of the herds, and the pipe of the outgoing herdsman,
Slid to her ear on the water, and melted her heart into weeping.
Shuddering, she tried to forget them; and straining her eyes to the seaward,
Watched for her doom, as she wailed, but in vain, to the terrible Sun-god.
'Dost thou not pity me, Sun, though thy wild dark sister be ruthless;
Dost thou not pity me here, as thou seest me desolate, weary,
Sickened with shame and despair, like a kid torn young from its mother?
What if my beauty insult thee, then blight it: but me-Oh spare me!
Spare me yet, ere he be here, fierce, tearing, unbearable! See me,
See me, how tender and soft, and thus helpless! See how I shudder,
Fancying only my doom. Wilt thou shine thus bright, when it takes me?
Are there no deaths save this, great Sun? No fiery arrow,
Lightning, or deep-mouthed wave? Why thus? What music in shrieking,
Pleasure in warm live limbs torn slowly? And dar'st thou behold them!
Oh, thou hast watched worse deeds! All sights are alike to thy brightness!
What if thou waken the birds to their song, dost thou waken no sorrow;
Waken no sick to their pain; no captive to wrench at his fetters?
Smile on the garden and fold, and on maidens who sing at the milking;
Flash into tapestried chambers, and peep in the eyelids of lovers,
Showing the blissful their bliss-Dost love, then, the place where thou
Lovest thou cities aflame, fierce blows, and the shrieks of the widow?
Lovest thou corpse-strewn fields, as thou lightest the path of the vulture?
Lovest thou these, that thou gazest so gay on my tears, and my mother's,
Laughing alike at the horror of one, and the bliss of another?
What dost thou care, in thy sky, for the joys and the sorrows of mortals?
Colder art thou than the nymphs: in thy broad bright eye is no seeing.
Hadst thou a soul-as much soul as the slaves in the house of my father,
Wouldst thou not save? Poor thralls! they pitied me, clung to me weeping,
Kissing my hands and my feet-What, are gods more ruthless than mortals?
Worse than the souls which they rule? Let me die: they war not with ashes!'
Sudden she ceased, with a shriek: in the spray, like a hovering foam-bow,
Hung, more fair than the foam-bow, a boy in the bloom of his manhood,
Golden-haired, ivory-limbed, ambrosial; over his shoulder
Hung for a veil of his beauty the gold-fringed folds of the goat-skin,
Bearing the brass of his shield, as the sun flashed clear on its clearness.
Curved on his thigh lay a falchion, and under the gleam of his helmet
Eyes more blue than the main shone awful; around him Athene
Shed in her love such grace, such state, and terrible daring.
Hovering over the water he came, upon glittering pinions,
Living, a wonder, outgrown from the tight-laced gold of his sandals;
Bounding from billow to billow, and sweeping the crests like a sea-gull;
Leaping the gulfs of the surge, as he laughed in the joy of his leaping.
Fair and majestic he sprang to the rock; and the maiden in wonder
Gazed for a while, and then hid in the dark-rolling wave of her tresses,
Fearful, the light of her eyes; while the boy (for her sorrow had awed him)
Blushed at her blushes, and vanished, like mist on the cliffs at the sunrise.
Fearful at length she looked forth: he was gone: she, wild with amazement,
Wailed for her mother aloud: but the wail of the wind only answered.
Sudden he flashed into sight, by her side; in his pity and anger
Moist were his eyes; and his breath like a rose-bed, as bolder and bolder,
Hovering under her brows, like a swallow that haunts by the house-eaves,
Delicate-handed, he lifted the veil of her hair; while the maiden
Motionless, frozen with fear, wept loud; till his lips unclosing
Poured from their pearl-strung portal the musical wave of his wonder.
'Ah, well spoke she, the wise one, the gray-eyed Pallas Athene,Known to Immortals alone are the prizes which lie for the heroes
Ready prepared at their feet; for requiring a little, the rulers
Pay back the loan tenfold to the man who, careless of pleasure,
Thirsting for honour and toil, fares forth on a perilous errand
Led by the guiding of gods, and strong in the strength of Immortals.
Thus have they led me to thee: from afar, unknowing, I marked thee,
Shining, a snow-white cross on the dark-green walls of the sea-cliff;
Carven in marble I deemed thee, a perfect work of the craftsman.
Likeness of Amphitrite, or far-famed Queen Cythereia.
Curious I came, till I saw how thy tresses streamed in the sea-wind,
Glistening, black as the night, and thy lips moved slow in thy wailing.
Speak again now-Oh speak! For my soul is stirred to avenge thee;
Tell me what barbarous horde, without law, unrighteous and heartless,
Hateful to gods and to men, thus have bound thee, a shame to the sunlight,
Scorn and prize to the sailor: but my prize now; for a coward,
Coward and shameless were he, who so finding a glorious jewel
Cast on the wayside by fools, would not win it and keep it and wear it,
Even as I will thee; for I swear by the head of my father,
Bearing thee over the sea-wave, to wed thee in Argos the fruitful,
Beautiful, meed of my toil no less than this head which I carry,
Hidden here fearful-Oh speak!'
But the maid, still dumb with amazement,
Watered her bosom with weeping, and longed for her home and her mother.
Beautiful, eager, he wooed her, and kissed off her tears as he hovered,
Roving at will, as a bee, on the brows of a rock nymph-haunted,
Garlanded over with vine, and acanthus, and clambering roses,
Cool in the fierce still noon, where streams glance clear in the mossbeds,
Hums on from blossom to blossom, and mingles the sweets as he tastes them.
Beautiful, eager, he kissed her, and clasped her yet closer and closer,
Praying her still to speak'Not cruel nor rough did my mother
Bear me to broad-browed Zeus in the depths of the brass-covered dungeon;
Neither in vain, as I think, have I talked with the cunning of Hermes,
Face unto face, as a friend; or from gray-eyed Pallas Athene
Learnt what is fit, and respecting myself, to respect in my dealings
Those whom the gods should love; so fear not; to chaste espousals
Only I woo thee, and swear, that a queen, and alone without rival
By me thou sittest in Argos of Hellas, throne of my fathers,
Worshipped by fair-haired kings: why callest thou still on thy mother?
Why did she leave thee thus here? For no foeman has bound thee; no foeman
Winning with strokes of the sword such a prize, would so leave it behind
Just as at first some colt, wild-eyed, with quivering nostril,
Plunges in fear of the curb, and the fluttering robes of the rider;
Soon, grown bold by despair, submits to the will of his master,
Tamer and tamer each hour, and at last, in the pride of obedience,
Answers the heel with a curvet, and arches his neck to be fondled,
Cowed by the need that maid grew tame; while the hero indignant
Tore at the fetters which held her: the brass, too cunningly tempered,
Held to the rock by the nails, deep wedged: till the boy, red with anger,
Drew from his ivory thigh, keen flashing, a falchion of diamond'Now let the work of the smith try strength with the arms of Immortals!'
Dazzling it fell; and the blade, as the vine-hook shears off the vine-bough,
Carved through the strength of the brass, till her arms fell soft on his
Once she essayed to escape: but the ring of the water was round her,
Round her the ring of his arms; and despairing she sank on his bosom.
Then, like a fawn when startled, she looked with a shriek to the seaward.
'Touch me not, wretch that I am! For accursed, a shame and a hissing,
Guiltless, accurst no less, I await the revenge of the sea-gods.
Yonder it comes! Ah go! Let me perish unseen, if I perish!
Spare me the shame of thine eyes, when merciless fangs must tear me
Piecemeal! Enough to endure by myself in the light of the sunshine
Guiltless, the death of a kid!'
But the boy still lingered around her,
Loth, like a boy, to forego her, and waken the cliffs with his laughter.
'Yon is the foe, then? A beast of the sea? I had deemed him immortal.
Titan, or Proteus' self, or Nereus, foeman of sailors:
Yet would I fight with them all, but Poseidon, shaker of mountains,
Uncle of mine, whom I fear, as is fit; for he haunts on Olympus,
Holding the third of the world; and the gods all rise at his coming.
Unto none else will I yield, god-helped: how then to a monster,
Child of the earth and of night, unreasoning, shapeless, accursed?'
'Art thou, too, then a god?'
'No god I,' smiling he answered;
'Mortal as thou, yet divine: but mortal the herds of the ocean,
Equal to men in that only, and less in all else; for they nourish
Blindly the life of the lips, untaught by the gods, without wisdom:
Shame if I fled before such!'
In her heart new life was enkindled,
Worship and trust, fair parents of love: but she answered him sighing.
'Beautiful, why wilt thou die? Is the light of the sun, then, so
Worthless to sport with thy fellows in flowery glades of the forest,
Under the broad green oaks, where never again shall I wander,
Tossing the ball with my maidens, or wreathing the altar in garlands,
Careless, with dances and songs, till the glens rang loud to our laughter.
Too full of death the sad earth is already: the halls full of weepers,
Quarried by tombs all cliffs, and the bones gleam white on the sea-floor,
Numberless, gnawn by the herds who attend on the pitiless sea-gods,
Even as mine will be soon: and yet noble it seems to me, dying,
Giving my life for a people, to save to the arms of their lovers
Maidens and youths for a while: thee, fairest of all, shall I slay thee?
Add not thy bones to the many, thus angering idly the dread ones!
Either the monster will crush, or the sea-queen's self overwhelm thee,
Vengeful, in tempest and foam, and the thundering walls of the surges.
Why wilt thou follow me down? can we love in the black blank darkness?
Love in the realms of the dead, in the land where all is forgotten?
Why wilt thou follow me down? is it joy, on the desolate oozes,
Meagre to flit, gray ghosts in the depths of the gray salt water?
Beautiful! why wilt thou die, and defraud fair girls of thy manhood?
Surely one waits for thee longing, afar in the isles of the ocean.
Go thy way; I mine; for the gods grudge pleasure to mortals.'
Sobbing she ended her moan, as her neck, like a storm-bent lily,
Drooped with the weight of her woe, and her limbs sank, weary with watching,
Soft on the hard-ledged rock: but the boy, with his eye on the monster,
Clasped her, and stood, like a god; and his lips curved proud as he answered'Great are the pitiless sea-gods: but greater the Lords of Olympus;
Greater the AEgis-wielder, and greater is she who attends him.
Clear-eyed Justice her name is, the counsellor, loved of Athene;
Helper of heroes, who dare, in the god-given might of their manhood,
Greatly to do and to suffer, and far in the fens' and the forests
Smite the devourers of men, Heaven-hated, brood of the giants,
Twyformed, strange, without like, who obey not the golden-haired Rulers.
Vainly rebelling they rage, till they die by the swords of the heroes,
Even as this must die; for I burn with the wrath of my father,
Wandering, led by Athene; and dare whatsoever betides me.
Led by Athene I won from the gray-haired terrible sisters
Secrets hidden from men, when I found them asleep on the sand-hills,
Keeping their eye and their tooth, till they showed me the perilous pathway
Over the waterless ocean, the valley that led to the Gorgon.
Her too I slew in my craft, Medusa, the beautiful horror;
Taught by Athene I slew her, and saw not herself, but her image,
Watching the mirror of brass, in the shield which a goddess had lent me.
Cleaving her brass-scaled throat, as she lay with her adders around her,
Fearless I bore off her head, in the folds of the mystical goat-skin
Hide of Amaltheie, fair nurse of the AEgis-wielder.
Hither I bear it, a gift to the gods, and a death to my foe-men,
Freezing the seer to stone; to hide thine eyes from the horror.
Kiss me but once, and I go.'
Then lifting her neck, like a sea-bird
Peering up over the wave, from the foam-white swells of her bosom,
Blushing she kissed him: afar, on the topmost Idalian summit
Laughed in the joy of her heart, far-seeing, the queen Aphrodite.
Loosing his arms from her waist he flew upward, awaiting the sea-beast.
Onward it came from the southward, as bulky and black as a galley,
Lazily coasting along, as the fish fled leaping before it;
Lazily breasting the ripple, and watching by sandbar and headland,
Listening for laughter of maidens at bleaching, or song of the fisher,
Children at play on the pebbles, or cattle that pawed on the sand-hills.
Rolling and dripping it came, where bedded in glistening purple
Cold on the cold sea-weeds lay the long white sides of the maiden,
Trembling, her face in her hands, and her tresses afloat on the water.
As when an osprey aloft, dark-eyebrowed, royally crested,
Flags on by creek and by cove, and in scorn of the anger of Nereus
Ranges, the king of the shore; if he see on a glittering shallow,
Chasing the bass and the mullet, the fin of a wallowing dolphin,
Halting, he wheels round slowly, in doubt at the weight of his quarry,
Whether to clutch it alive, or to fall on the wretch like a plummet,
Stunning with terrible talon the life of the brain in the hindhead:
Then rushes up with a scream, and stooping the wrath of his eyebrows
Falls from the sky, like a star, while the wind rattles hoarse in his
Over him closes the foam for a moment; and then from the sand-bed
Rolls up the great fish, dead, and his side gleams white in the sunshine.
Thus fell the boy on the beast, unveiling the face of the Gorgon;
Thus fell the boy on the beast; thus rolled up the beast in his horror,
Once, as the dead eyes glared into his; then his sides, death-sharpened,
Stiffened and stood, brown rock, in the wash of the wandering water.
Beautiful, eager, triumphant, he leapt back again to his treasure;
Leapt back again, full blest, toward arms spread wide to receive him.
Brimful of honour he clasped her, and brimful of love she caressed him,
Answering lip with lip; while above them the queen Aphrodite
Poured on their foreheads and limbs, unseen, ambrosial odours,
Givers of longing, and rapture, and chaste content in espousals.
Happy whom ere they be wedded anoints she, the Queen Aphrodite!
Laughing she called to her sister, the chaste Tritonid Athene,
'Seest thou yonder thy pupil, thou maid of the AEgis-wielder?
How he has turned himself wholly to love, and caresses a damsel,
Dreaming no longer of honour, or danger, or Pallas Athene?
Sweeter, it seems, to the young my gifts are; so yield me the stripling;
Yield him me now, lest he die in his prime, like hapless Adonis.'
Smiling she answered in turn, that chaste Tritonid Athene:
'Dear unto me, no less than to thee, is the wedlock of heroes;
Dear, who can worthily win him a wife not unworthy; and noble,
Pure with the pure to beget brave children, the like of their father.
Happy, who thus stands linked to the heroes who were, and who shall be;
Girdled with holiest awe, not sparing of self; for his mother
Watches his steps with the eyes of the gods; and his wife and his children
Move him to plan and to do in the farm and the camp and the council.
Thence comes weal to a nation: but woe upon woe, when the people
Mingle in love at their will, like the brutes, not heeding the future.'
Then from her gold-strung loom, where she wrought in her chamber of cedar,
Awful and fair she arose; and she went by the glens of Olympus;
Went by the isles of the sea, and the wind never ruffled her mantle;
Went by the water of Crete, and the black-beaked fleets of the Phoenics;
Came to the sea-girt rock which is washed by the surges for ever,
Bearing the wealth of the gods, for a gift to the bride of a hero.
There she met Andromeden and Persea, shaped like Immortals;
Solemn and sweet was her smile, while their hearts beat loud at her coming;
Solemn and sweet was her smile, as she spoke to the pair in her wisdom.
'Three things hold we, the Rulers, who sit by the founts of Olympus,
Wisdom, and prowess, and beauty; and freely we pour them on mortals;
Pleased at our image in man, as a father at his in his children.
One thing only we grudge to mankind: when a hero, unthankful,
Boasts of our gifts as his own, stiffnecked, and dishonours the givers,
Turning our weapons against us. Him Ate follows avenging;
Slowly she tracks him and sure, as a lyme-hound; sudden she grips him,
Crushing him, blind in his pride, for a sign and a terror to folly.
This we avenge, as is fit; in all else never weary of giving.
Come, then, damsel, and know if the gods grudge pleasure to mortals.'
Loving and gentle she spoke: but the maid stood in awe, as the goddess
Plaited with soft swift finger her tresses, and decked her in jewels,
Armlet and anklet and earbell; and over her shoulders a necklace,
Heavy, enamelled, the flower of the gold and the brass of the mountain.
Trembling with joy she gazed, so well Haephaistos had made it,
Deep in the forges of AEtna, while Charis his lady beside him
Mingled her grace in his craft, as he wrought for his sister Athene.
Then on the brows of the maiden a veil bound Pallas Athene;
Ample it fell to her feet, deep-fringed, a wonder of weaving.
Ages and ages agone it was wrought on the heights of Olympus,
Wrought in the gold-strung loom, by the finger of cunning Athene.
In it she wove all creatures that teem in the womb of the ocean;
Nereid, siren, and triton, and dolphin, and arrowy fishes
Glittering round, many-hued, on the flame-red folds of the mantle.
In it she wove, too, a town where gray-haired kings sat in judgment;
Sceptre in hand in the market they sat, doing right by the people,
Wise: while above watched Justice, and near, far-seeing Apollo.
Round it she wove for a fringe all herbs of the earth and the water,
Violet, asphodel, ivy, and vine-leaves, roses and lilies,
Coral and sea-fan and tangle, the blooms and the palms of the ocean:
Now from Olympus she bore it, a dower to the bride of a hero.
Over the limbs of the damsel she wrapt it: the maid still trembled,
Shading her face with her hands; for the eyes of the goddess were awful.
Then, as a pine upon Ida when southwest winds blow landward,
Stately she bent to the damsel, and breathed on her: under her breathing
Taller and fairer she grew; and the goddess spoke in her wisdom.
'Courage I give thee; the heart of a queen, and the mind of Immortals;
Godlike to talk with the gods, and to look on their eyes unshrinking;
Fearing the sun and the stars no more, and the blue salt water;
Fearing us only, the lords of Olympus, friends of the heroes;
Chastely and wisely to govern thyself and thy house and thy people,
Bearing a godlike race to thy spouse, till dying I set thee
High for a star in the heavens, a sign and a hope to the seamen,
Spreading thy long white arms all night in the heights of the aether,
Hard by thy sire and the hero thy spouse, while near thee thy mother
Sits in her ivory chair, as she plaits ambrosial tresses.
All night long thou wilt shine; all day thou wilt feast on Olympus,
Happy, the guest of the gods, by thy husband, the god-begotten.'
Blissful, they turned them to go: but the fair-tressed Pallas Athene
Rose, like a pillar of tall white cloud, toward silver Olympus;
Far above ocean and shore, and the peaks of the isles and the mainland;
Where no frost nor storm is, in clear blue windless abysses,
High in the home of the summer, the seats of the happy Immortals,
Shrouded in keen deep blaze, unapproachable; there ever youthful
Hebe, Harmonie, and the daughter of Jove, Aphrodite,
Whirled in the white-linked dance with the gold-crowned Hours and the Graces,
Hand within hand, while clear piped Phoebe, queen of the woodlands.
All day long they rejoiced: but Athene still in her chamber
Bent herself over her loom, as the stars rang loud to her singing,
Chanting of order and right, and of foresight, warden of nations;
Chanting of labour and craft, and of wealth in the port and the garner;
Chanting of valour and fame, and the man who can fall with the foremost,
Fighting for children and wife, and the field which his father bequeathed
Sweetly and solemnly sang she, and planned new lessons for mortals:
Happy, who hearing obey her, the wise unsullied Athene.
Eversley, 1852.
~ Charles Kingsley,

Sing, Muse, the son of Maia and of Jove,
The Herald-child, king of Arcadia
And all its pastoral hills, whom in sweet love
Having been interwoven, modest May
Bore Heavens dread Supreme. An antique grove
Shadowed the cavern where the lovers lay
In the deep night, unseen by Gods or Men,
And white-armed Juno slumbered sweetly then.

Now, when the joy of Jove had its fulfilling,
And Heavens tenth moon chronicled her relief,
She gave to light a babe all babes excelling,
A schemer subtle beyond all belief;
A shepherd of thin dreams, a cow-stealing,
A night-watching, and door-waylaying thief,
Who mongst the Gods was soon about to thieve,
And other glorious actions to achieve.

The babe was born at the first peep of day;
He began playing on the lyre at noon,
And the same evening did he steal away
Apollos herds;the fourth day of the moon
On which him bore the venerable May,
From her immortal limbs he leaped full soon,
Nor long could in the sacred cradle keep,
But out to seek Apollos herds would creep.

Out of the lofty cavern wandering
He found a tortoise, and cried out--'A treasure!'
(For Mercury first made the tortoise sing)
The beast before the portal at his leisure
The flowery herbage was depasturing,
Moving his feet in a deliberate measure
Over the turf. Joves profitable son
Eying him laughed, and laughing thus begun:--

A useful godsend are you to me now,
King of the dance, companion of the feast,
Lovely in all your nature! Welcome, you
Excellent plaything! Where, sweet mountain-beast,
Got you that speckled shell? Thus much I know,
You must come home with me and be my guest;
You will give joy to me, and I will do
All that is in my power to honour you.

Better to be at home than out of door,
So come with me; and though it has been said
That you alive defend from magic power,
I know you will sing sweetly when youre dead.
Thus having spoken, the quaint infant bore,
Lifting it from the grass on which it fed
And grasping it in his delighted hold,
His treasured prize into the cavern old.

Then scooping with a chisel of gray steel,
He bored the life and soul out of the beast.--
Not swifter a swift thought of woe or weal
Darts through the tumult of a human breast
Which thronging cares annoynot swifter wheel
The flashes of its torture and unrest
Out of the dizzy eyesthan Maias son
All that he did devise hath featly done.

And through the tortoises hard stony skin
At proper distances small holes he made,
And fastened the cut stems of reeds within,
And with a piece of leather overlaid
The open space and fixed the cubits in,
Fitting the bridge to both, and stretched oer all
Symphonious cords of sheep-gut rhythmical.

When he had wrought the lovely instrument,
He tried the chords, and made division meet,
Preluding with the plectrum, and there went
Up from beneath his hand a tumult sweet
Of mighty sounds, and from his lips he sent
A strain of unpremeditated wit
Joyous and wild and wanton--such you may
Hear among revellers on a holiday.

He sung how Jove and May of the bright sandal
Dallied in love not quite legitimate;
And his own birth, still scoffing at the scandal,
And naming his own name, did celebrate;
His mothers cave and servant maids he planned all
In plastic verse, her household stuff and state,
Perennial pot, trippet, and brazen pan,--
But singing, he conceived another plan.

Seized with a sudden fancy for fresh meat,
He in his sacred crib deposited
The hollow lyre, and from the cavern sweet
Rushed with great leaps up to the mountains head,
Revolving in his mind some subtle feat
Of thievish craft, such as a swindler might
Devise in the lone season of dun night.

Lo! the great Sun under the oceans bed has
Driven steeds and chariot--the child meanwhile strode
Oer the Pierian mountains clothed in shadows,
Where the immortal oxen of the God
Are pastured in the flowering unmown meadows,
And safely stalled in a remote abode.--
The archer Argicide, elate and proud,
Drove fifty from the herd, lowing aloud.

He drove them wandering oer the sandy way,
But, being ever mindful of his craft,
Backward and forward drove he them astray,
So that the tracks which seemed before, were aft;
His sandals then he threw to the ocean spray,
And for each foot he wrought a kind of raft
Of tamarisk, and tamarisk-like sprigs,
And bound them in a lump with withy twigs.

And on his feet he tied these sandals light,
The trail of whose wide leaves might not betray
His track; and then, a self-sufficing wight,
Like a man hastening on some distant way,
He from Pierias mountain bent his flight;
But an old man perceived the infant pass
Down green Onchestus heaped like beds with grass.

The old man stood dressing his sunny vine:
Halloo! old fellow with the crooked shoulder!
You grub those stumps? before they will bear wine
Methinks even you must grow a little older:
Attend, I pray, to this advice of mine,
As you would scape what might appal a bolder--
Seeing, see not--and hearing, hear not--and--
If you have understanding--understand.

So saying, Hermes roused the oxen vast;
Oer shadowy mountain and resounding dell,
And flower-paven plains, great Hermes passed;
Till the black night divine, which favouring fell
Around his steps, grew gray, and morning fast
Wakened the world to work, and from her cell
Sea-strewn, the Pallantean Moon sublime
Into her watch-tower just began to climb.

Now to Alpheus he had driven all
The broad-foreheaded oxen of the Sun;
They came unwearied to the lofty stall
And to the water-troughs which ever run
Through the fresh fields--and when with rushgrass tall,
Lotus and all sweet herbage, every one
Had pastured been, the great God made them move
Towards the stall in a collected drove.

A mighty pile of wood the God then heaped,
And having soon conceived the mystery
Of fire, from two smooth laurel branches stripped
The bark, and rubbed them in his palms;--on high
Suddenly forth the burning vapour leaped
And the divine child saw delightedly.--
Mercury first found out for human weal
Tinder-box, matches, fire-irons, flint and steel.

And fine dry logs and roots innumerous
He gathered in a delve upon the ground--
And kindled themand instantaneous
The strength of the fierce flame was breathed around:
And whilst the might of glorious Vulcan thus
Wrapped the great pile with glare and roaring sound,
Hermes dragged forth two heifers, lowing loud,
Close to the firesuch might was in the God.

And on the earth upon their backs he threw
The panting beasts, and rolled them oer and oer,
And bored their lives out. Without more ado
He cut up fat and flesh, and down before
The fire, on spits of wood he placed the two,
Toasting their flesh and ribs, and all the gore
Pursed in the bowels; and while this was done
He stretched their hides over a craggy stone.

We mortals let an ox grow old, and then
Cut it up after long consideration,--
But joyous-minded Hermes from the glen
Drew the fat spoils to the more open station
Of a flat smooth space, and portioned them; and when
He had by lot assigned to each a ration
Of the twelve Gods, his mind became aware
Of all the joys which in religion are.

For the sweet savour of the roasted meat
Tempted him though immortal. Natheless
He checked his haughty will and did not eat,
Though what it cost him words can scarce express,
And every wish to put such morsels sweet
Down his most sacred throat, he did repress;
But soon within the lofty portalled stall
He placed the fat and flesh and bones and all.

And every trace of the fresh butchery
And cooking, the God soon made disappear,
As if it all had vanished through the sky;
He burned the hoofs and horns and head and hair,--
The insatiate fire devoured them hungrily;--
And when he saw that everything was clear,
He quenched the coal, and trampled the black dust,
And in the stream his bloody sandals tossed.

All night he worked in the serene moonshine--
But when the light of day was spread abroad
He sought his natal mountain-peaks divine.
On his long wandering, neither Man nor God
Had met him, since he killed Apollos kine,
Nor house-dog had barked at him on his road;
Now he obliquely through the keyhole passed,
Like a thin mist, or an autumnal blast.

Right through the temple of the spacious cave
He went with soft light feetas if his tread
Fell not on earth; no sound their falling gave;
Then to his cradle he crept quick, and spread
The swaddling-clothes about him; and the knave
Lay playing with the covering of the bed
With his left hand about his knees--the right
Held his beloved tortoise-lyre tight.

There he lay innocent as a new-born child,
As gossips say; but though he was a God,
The Goddess, his fair mother, unbeguiled,
Knew all that he had done being abroad:
Whence come you, and from what adventure wild,
You cunning rogue, and where have you abode
All the long night, clothed in your impudence?
What have you done since you departed hence?

Apollo soon will pass within this gate
And bind your tender body in a chain
Inextricably tight, and fast as fate,
Unless you can delude the God again,
Even when within his arms--ah, runagate!
A pretty torment both for Gods and Men
Your father made when he made you!--Dear mother,
Replied sly Hermes, wherefore scold and bother?

As if I were like other babes as old,
And understood nothing of what is what;
And cared at all to hear my mother scold.
I in my subtle brain a scheme have got,
Which whilst the sacred stars round Heaven are rolled
Will profit you and me--nor shall our lot
Be as you counsel, without gifts or food,
To spend our lives in this obscure abode.

But we will leave this shadow-peopled cave
And live among the Gods, and pass each day
In high communion, sharing what they have
Of profuse wealth and unexhausted prey;
And from the portion which my father gave
To Phoebus, I will snatch my share away,
Which if my father will not--natheless I,
Who am the king of robbers, can but try.

And, if Latonas son should find me out,
Ill countermine him by a deeper plan;
Ill pierce the Pythian temple-walls, though stout,
And sack the fane of everything I can--
Caldrons and tripods of great worth no doubt,
Each golden cup and polished brazen pan, 235
All the wrought tapestries and garments gay.--
So they together talked;--meanwhile the Day

Aethereal born arose out of the flood
Of flowing Ocean, bearing light to men.
Apollo passed toward the sacred wood,
Which from the inmost depths of its green glen
Echoes the voice of Neptune,--and there stood
On the same spot in green Onchestus then
That same old animal, the vine-dresser,
Who was employed hedging his vineyard there.

Latonas glorious Son began:--I pray
Tell, ancient hedger of Onchestus green,
Whether a drove of kine has passed this way,
All heifers with crooked horns? for they have been
Stolen from the herd in high Pieria,
Where a black bull was fed apart, between
Two woody mountains in a neighbouring glen,
And four fierce dogs watched there, unanimous as men.

And what is strange, the author of this theft
Has stolen the fatted heifers every one,
But the four dogs and the black bull are left:--
Stolen they were last night at set of sun,
Of their soft beds and their sweet food bereft.--
Now tell me, man born ere the world begun,
Have you seen any one pass with the cows?--
To whom the man of overhanging brows:

My friend, it would require no common skill
Justly to speak of everything I see:
On various purposes of good or ill
Many pass by my vineyard,--and to me
Tis difficult to know the invisible
Thoughts, which in all those many minds may be:--
Thus much alone I certainly can say,
I tilled these vines till the decline of day,

And then I thought I saw, but dare not speak
With certainty of such a wondrous thing,
A child, who could not have been born a week,
Those fair-horned cattle closely following,
And in his hand he held a polished stick:
And, as on purpose, he walked wavering
From one side to the other of the road,
And with his face opposed the steps he trod.

Apollo hearing this, passed quickly on--
No winged omen could have shown more clear
That the deceiver was his fathers son.
So the God wraps a purple atmosphere
Around his shoulders, and like fire is gone
To famous Pylos, seeking his kine there,
And found their track and his, yet hardly cold,
And criedWhat wonder do mine eyes behold!

Here are the footsteps of the horned herd
Turned back towards their fields of asphodel;--
But THESE are not the tracks of beast or bird,
Gray wolf, or bear, or lion of the dell,
Or maned Centaur--sand was never stirred
By man or woman thus! Inexplicable!
Who with unwearied feet could eer impress
The sand with such enormous vestiges?

That was most strange--but this is stranger still!
Thus having said, Phoebus impetuously
Sought high Cyllenes forest-cinctured hill,
And the deep cavern where dark shadows lie,
And where the ambrosial nymph with happy will
Bore the Saturnians love-child, Mercury--
And a delightful odour from the dew
Of the hill pastures, at his coming, flew.

And Phoebus stooped under the craggy roof
Arched over the dark cavern:--Maias child
Perceived that he came angry, far aloof,
About the cows of which he had been beguiled;
And over him the fine and fragrant woof
Of his ambrosial swaddling-clothes he piled--
As among fire-brands lies a burning spark
Covered, beneath the ashes cold and dark.

There, like an infant who had sucked his fill
And now was newly washed and put to bed,
Awake, but courting sleep with weary will,
And gathered in a lump, hands, feet, and head,
He lay, and his beloved tortoise still
He grasped and held under his shoulder-blade.
Phoebus the lovely mountain-goddess knew,
Not less her subtle, swindling baby, who

Lay swathed in his sly wiles. Round every crook
Of the ample cavern, for his kine, Apollo
Looked sharp; and when he saw them not, he took
The glittering key, and opened three great hollow
Recesses in the rock--where many a nook
Was filled with the sweet food immortals swallow,
And mighty heaps of silver and of gold
Were piled within--a wonder to behold!

And white and silver robes, all overwrought
With cunning workmanship of tracery sweet--
Except among the Gods there can be nought
In the wide world to be compared with it.
Latonas offspring, after having sought
His herds in every corner, thus did greet
Great Hermes:--Little cradled rogue, declare
Of my illustrious heifers, where they are!

Speak quickly! or a quarrel between us
Must rise, and the event will be, that I
Shall hurl you into dismal Tartarus,
In fiery gloom to dwell eternally;
Nor shall your father nor your mother loose
The bars of that black dungeonutterly
You shall be cast out from the light of day,
To rule the ghosts of men, unblessed as they.

To whom thus Hermes slily answered:--Son
Of great Latona, what a speech is this!
Why come you here to ask me what is done
With the wild oxen which it seems you miss?
I have not seen them, nor from any one
Have heard a word of the whole business;
If you should promise an immense reward,
I could not tell more than you now have heard.

An ox-stealer should be both tall and strong,
And I am but a little new-born thing,
Who, yet at least, can think of nothing wrong:--
My business is to suck, and sleep, and fling
The cradle-clothes about me all day long,--
Or half asleep, hear my sweet mother sing,
And to be washed in water clean and warm,
And hushed and kissed and kept secure from harm.

O, let not eer this quarrel be averred!
The astounded Gods would laugh at you, if eer
You should allege a story so absurd
As that a new-born infant forth could fare
Out of his home after a savage herd.
I was born yesterday--my small feet are
Too tender for the roads so hard and rough:--
And if you think that this is not enough,

I swear a great oath, by my fathers head,
That I stole not your cows, and that I know
Of no one else, who might, or could, or did.--
Whatever things cows are, I do not know,
For I have only heard the name.--This said
He winked as fast as could be, and his brow
Was wrinkled, and a whistle loud gave he,
Like one who hears some strange absurdity.

Apollo gently smiled and said:--Ay, ay,--
You cunning little rascal, you will bore
Many a rich mans house, and your array
Of thieves will lay their siege before his door,
Silent as night, in night; and many a day
In the wild glens rough shepherds will deplore
That you or yours, having an appetite,
Met with their cattle, comrade of the night!

And this among the Gods shall be your gift,
To be considered as the lord of those
Who swindle, house-break, sheep-steal, and shop-lift;--
But now if you would not your last sleep doze;
Crawl out!--Thus saying, Phoebus did uplift
The subtle infant in his swaddling clothes,
And in his arms, according to his wont,
A scheme devised the illustrious Argiphont.

And sneezed and shuddered--Phoebus on the grass
Him threw, and whilst all that he had designed
He did perform--eager although to pass,
Apollo darted from his mighty mind
Towards the subtle babe the following scoff:--
Do not imagine this will get you off,

You little swaddled child of Jove and May!
And seized him:--By this omen I shall trace
My noble herds, and you shall lead the way.--
Cyllenian Hermes from the grassy place,
Like one in earnest haste to get away,
Rose, and with hands lifted towards his face
Round both his ears up from his shoulders drew
His swaddling clothes, andWhat mean you to do

With me, you unkind God?--said Mercury:
Is it about these cows you tease me so?
I wish the race of cows were perished!--I
Stole not your cows--I do not even know
What things cows are. Alas! I well may sigh
That since I came into this world of woe,
I should have ever heard the name of one--
But I appeal to the Saturnians throne.

Thus Phoebus and the vagrant Mercury
Talked without coming to an explanation,
With adverse purpose. As for Phoebus, he
Sought not revenge, but only information,
And Hermes tried with lies and roguery
To cheat Apollo.--But when no evasion
Served--for the cunning one his match had found--
He paced on first over the sandy ground.

He of the Silver Bow the child of Jove
Followed behind, till to their heavenly Sire
Came both his children, beautiful as Love,
And from his equal balance did require
A judgement in the cause wherein they strove.
Oer odorous Olympus and its snows
A murmuring tumult as they came arose,--

And from the folded depths of the great Hill,
While Hermes and Apollo reverent stood
Before Joves throne, the indestructible
Immortals rushed in mighty multitude;
And whilst their seats in order due they fill,
The lofty Thunderer in a careless mood
To Phoebus said:Whence drive you this sweet prey,
This herald-baby, born but yesterday?--

A most important subject, trifler, this
To lay before the Gods!--Nay, Father, nay,
When you have understood the business,
Say not that I alone am fond of prey.
I found this little boy in a recess
Under Cyllenes mountains far away--
A manifest and most apparent thief,
A scandalmonger beyond all belief.

I never saw his like either in Heaven
Or upon earth for knavery or craft:--
Out of the field my cattle yester-even,
By the low shore on which the loud sea laughed,
He right down to the river-ford had driven;
And mere astonishment would make you daft
To see the double kind of footsteps strange
He has impressed wherever he did range.

The cattles track on the black dust, full well
Is evident, as if they went towards
The place from which they came--that asphodel
Meadow, in which I feed my many herds,--
HIS steps were most incomprehensible--
I know not how I can describe in words
Those trackshe could have gone along the sands
Neither upon his feet nor on his hands;--

He must have had some other stranger mode
Of moving on: those vestiges immense,
Far as I traced them on the sandy road,
Seemed like the trail of oak-toppings:--but thence
No mark nor track denoting where they trod
The hard ground gave:but, working at his fence,
A mortal hedger saw him as he passed
To Pylos, with the cows, in fiery haste.

I found that in the dark he quietly
Had sacrificed some cows, and before light
Had thrown the ashes all dispersedly
About the roadthen, still as gloomy night,
Had crept into his cradle, either eye
Rubbing, and cogitating some new sleight.
No eagle could have seen him as he lay
Hid in his cavern from the peering day.

I taxed him with the fact, when he averred
Most solemnly that he did neither see
Nor even had in any manner heard
Of my lost cows, whatever things cows be;
Nor could he tell, though offered a reward,
Not even who could tell of them to me.
So speaking, Phoebus sate; and Hermes then
Addressed the Supreme Lord of Gods and Men:--

Great Father, you know clearly beforehand
That all which I shall say to you is sooth;
I am a most veracious person, and
Totally unacquainted with untruth.
At sunrise Phoebus came, but with no band
Of Gods to bear him witness, in great wrath,
To my abode, seeking his heifers there,
And saying that I must show him where they are,

Or he would hurl me down the dark abyss.
I know that every Apollonian limb
Is clothed with speed and might and manliness,
As a green bank with flowersbut unlike him
I was born yesterday, and you may guess
He well knew this when he indulged the whim
Of bullying a poor little new-born thing
That slept, and never thought of cow-driving.

Am I like a strong fellow who steals kine?
Believe me, dearest Father--such you are--
This driving of the herds is none of mine;
Across my threshold did I wander neer,
So may I thrive! I reverence the divine
Sun and the Gods, and I love you, and care
Even for this hard accuser--who must know
I am as innocent as they or you.

I swear by these most gloriously-wrought portals
(It is, you will allow, an oath of might)
Through which the multitude of the Immortals
Pass and repass forever, day and night,
Devising schemes for the affairs of mortals--
I am guiltless; and I will requite,
Although mine enemy be great and strong,
His cruel threat--do thou defend the young!

So speaking, the Cyllenian Argiphont
Winked, as if now his adversary was fitted:
And Jupiter, according to his wont,
Laughed heartily to hear the subtle-witted
Infant give such a plausible account,
And every word a lie. But he remitted
Judgement at presentand his exhortation
Was, to compose the affair by arbitration.

And they by mighty Jupiter were bidden
To go forth with a single purpose both,
Neither the other chiding nor yet chidden:
And Mercury with innocence and truth
To lead the way, and show where he had hidden
The mighty heifers.--Hermes, nothing loth,
Obeyed the Aegis-bearers willfor he
Is able to persuade all easily.

These lovely children of Heavens highest Lord
Hastened to Pylos and the pastures wide
And lofty stalls by the Alphean ford,
Where wealth in the mute night is multiplied
With silent growth. Whilst Hermes drove the herd
Out of the stony cavern, Phoebus spied
The hides of those the little babe had slain,
Stretched on the precipice above the plain.

How was it possible, then Phoebus said,
That you, a little child, born yesterday,
A thing on mothers milk and kisses fed,
Could two prodigious heifers ever flay?
Even I myself may well hereafter dread
Your prowess, offspring of Cyllenian May,
When you grow strong and tall.--He spoke, and bound
Stiff withy bands the infants wrists around.

He might as well have bound the oxen wild;
The withy bands, though starkly interknit,
Fell at the feet of the immortal child,
Loosened by some device of his quick wit.
Phoebus perceived himself again beguiled,
And staredwhile Hermes sought some hole or pit,
Looking askance and winking fast as thought,
Where he might hide himself and not be caught.

Sudden he changed his plan, and with strange skill
Subdued the strong Latonian, by the might
Of winning music, to his mightier will;
His left hand held the lyre, and in his right
The plectrum struck the chordsunconquerable
Up from beneath his hand in circling flight
The gathering music roseand sweet as Love
The penetrating notes did live and move

Within the heart of great Apollo--he
Listened with all his soul, and laughed for pleasure.
Close to his side stood harping fearlessly
The unabashed boy; and to the measure
Of the sweet lyre, there followed loud and free
His joyous voice; for he unlocked the treasure
Of his deep song, illustrating the birth
Of the bright Gods, and the dark desert Earth:

And how to the Immortals every one
A portion was assigned of all that is;
But chief Mnemosyne did Maias son
Clothe in the light of his loud melodies;--
And, as each God was born or had begun,
He in their order due and fit degrees
Sung of his birth and beingand did move
Apollo to unutterable love.

These words were winged with his swift delight:
You heifer-stealing schemer, well do you
Deserve that fifty oxen should requite
Such minstrelsies as I have heard even now.
Comrade of feasts, little contriving wight,
One of your secrets I would gladly know,
Whether the glorious power you now show forth
Was folded up within you at your birth,

Or whether mortal taught or God inspired
The power of unpremeditated song?
Many divinest sounds have I admired,
The Olympian Gods and mortal men among;
But such a strain of wondrous, strange, untired,
And soul-awakening music, sweet and strong,
Yet did I never hear except from thee,
Offspring of May, impostor Mercury!

What Muse, what skill, what unimagined use,
What exercise of subtlest art, has given
Thy songs such power?--for those who hear may choose
From three, the choicest of the gifts of Heaven,
Delight, and love, and sleep,--sweet sleep, whose dews
Are sweeter than the balmy tears of even:--
And I, who speak this praise, am that Apollo
Whom the Olympian Muses ever follow:

And their delight is dance, and the blithe noise
Of song and overflowing poesy;
And sweet, even as desire, the liquid voice
Of pipes, that fills the clear air thrillingly;
But never did my inmost soul rejoice
In this dear work of youthful revelry
As now. I wonder at thee, son of Jove;
Thy harpings and thy song are soft as love.

Now since thou hast, although so very small,
Science of arts so glorious, thus I swear,--
And let this cornel javelin, keen and tall,
Witness between us what I promise here,--
That I will lead thee to the Olympian Hall,
Honoured and mighty, with thy mother dear,
And many glorious gifts in joy will give thee,
And even at the end will neer deceive thee.

To whom thus Mercury with prudent speech:--
Wisely hast thou inquired of my skill:
I envy thee no thing I know to teach
Even this day:for both in word and will
I would be gentle with thee; thou canst reach
All things in thy wise spirit, and thy sill
Is highest in Heaven among the sons of Jove,
Who loves thee in the fulness of his love.

The Counsellor Supreme has given to thee
Divinest gifts, out of the amplitude
Of his profuse exhaustless treasury;
By thee, tis said, the depths are understood
Of his far voice; by thee the mystery
Of all oracular fates,and the dread mood
Of the diviner is breathed up; even I--
A childperceive thy might and majesty.

Thou canst seek out and compass all that wit
Can find or teach;--yet since thou wilt, come take
The lyre--be mine the glory giving it--
Strike the sweet chords, and sing aloud, and wake
Thy joyous pleasure out of many a fit
Of tranced sound--and with fleet fingers make
Thy liquid-voiced comrade talk with thee,--
It can talk measured music eloquently.

Then bear it boldly to the revel loud,
Love-wakening dance, or feast of solemn state,
A joy by night or day--for those endowed
With art and wisdom who interrogate
It teaches, babbling in delightful mood
All things which make the spirit most elate,
Soothing the mind with sweet familiar play,
Chasing the heavy shadows of dismay.

To those who are unskilled in its sweet tongue,
Though they should question most impetuously
Its hidden soul, it gossips something wrong--
Some senseless and impertinent reply.
But thou who art as wise as thou art strong
Canst compass all that thou desirest. I
Present thee with this music-flowing shell,
Knowing thou canst interrogate it well.

And let us two henceforth together feed,
On this green mountain-slope and pastoral plain,
The herds in litigation -- they will breed
Quickly enough to recompense our pain,
If to the bulls and cows we take good heed;--
And thou, though somewhat over fond of gain,
Grudge me not half the profit.Having spoke,
The shell he proffered, and Apollo took;

And gave him in return the glittering lash,
Installing him as herdsman;--from the look
Of Mercury then laughed a joyous flash.
And then Apollo with the plectrum strook
The chords, and from beneath his hands a crash
Of mighty sounds rushed up, whose music shook
The soul with sweetness, and like an adept
His sweeter voice a just accordance kept.

The herd went wandering oer the divine mead,
Whilst these most beautiful Sons of Jupiter
Won their swift way up to the snowy head
Of white Olympus, with the joyous lyre
Soothing their journey; and their father dread
Gathered them both into familiar
Affection sweet,and then, and now, and ever,
Hermes must love Him of the Golden Quiver,

To whom he gave the lyre that sweetly sounded,
Which skilfully he held and played thereon.
He piped the while, and far and wide rebounded
The echo of his pipings; every one
Of the Olympians sat with joy astounded;
While he conceived another piece of fun,
One of his old trickswhich the God of Day
Perceiving, said:I fear thee, Son of May;--

I fear thee and thy sly chameleon spirit,
Lest thou should steal my lyre and crooked bow;
This glory and power thou dost from Jove inherit,
To teach all craft upon the earth below;
Thieves love and worship theeit is thy merit
To make all mortal business ebb and flow
By roguery:now, Hermes, if you dare
By sacred Styx a mighty oath to swear

That you will never rob me, you will do
A thing extremely pleasing to my heart.
Then Mercury swore by the Stygian dew,
That he would never steal his bow or dart,
Or lay his hands on what to him was due,
Or ever would employ his powerful art
Against his Pythian fane. Then Phoebus swore
There was no God or Man whom he loved more.

And I will give thee as a good-will token,
The beautiful wand of wealth and happiness;
A perfect three-leaved rod of gold unbroken,
Whose magic will thy footsteps ever bless;
And whatsoever by Joves voice is spoken
Of earthly or divine from its recess,
It, like a loving soul, to thee will speak,
And more than this, do thou forbear to seek.

For, dearest child, the divinations high
Which thou requirest, tis unlawful ever
That thou, or any other deity
Should understandand vain were the endeavour;
For they are hidden in Joves mind, and I,
In trust of them, have sworn that I would never
Betray the counsels of Joves inmost will
To any Godthe oath was terrible.

Then, golden-wanded brother, ask me not
To speak the fates by Jupiter designed;
But be it mine to tell their various lot
To the unnumbered tribes of human-kind.
Let good to these, and ill to those be wrought
As I dispensebut he who comes consigned
By voice and wings of perfect augury
To my great shrine, shall find avail in me.

Him will I not deceive, but will assist;
But he who comes relying on such birds
As chatter vainly, who would strain and twist
The purpose of the Gods with idle words,
And deems their knowledge light, he shall have missed
His roadwhilst I among my other hoards
His gifts deposit. Yet, O son of May,
I have another wondrous thing to say.

There are three Fates, three virgin Sisters, who
Rejoicing in their wind-outspeeding wings,
Their heads with flour snowed over white and new,
Sit in a vale round which Parnassus flings
Its circling skirtsfrom these I have learned true
Vaticinations of remotest things.
My father cared not. Whilst they search out dooms,
They sit apart and feed on honeycombs.

They, having eaten the fresh honey, grow
Drunk with divine enthusiasm, and utter
With earnest willingness the truth they know;
But if deprived of that sweet food, they mutter
All plausible delusions;--these to you
I give;--if you inquire, they will not stutter;
Delight your own soul with them:--any man
You would instruct may profit if he can.

Take these and the fierce oxen, Maias child--
Oer many a horse and toil-enduring mule,
Oer jagged-jawed lions, and the wild
White-tusked boars, oer all, by field or pool,
Of cattle which the mighty Mother mild
Nourishes in her bosom, thou shalt rule--
Thou dost alone the veil from death uplift--
Thou givest notyet this is a great gift.

Thus King Apollo loved the child of May
In truth, and Jove covered their love with joy.
Hermes with Gods and Men even from that day
Mingled, and wrought the latter much annoy,
And little profit, going far astray
Through the dun night. Farewell, delightful Boy,
Of Jove and Maia sprung,never by me,
Nor thou, nor other songs, shall unremembered be
Published by Mrs. Shelley, Posthumous Poems, 1824. This alone of the Translations is included in the Harvard manuscript book. Fragments of the drafts of this and the other Hymns of Homer exist among the Boscombe manuscripts (Forman).
~ Percy Bysshe Shelley, Hymn To Mercury
351: Ahana

(Ahana, the Dawn of God, descends on the world where amid the strife and trouble of mortality the Hunters of Joy, the
Seekers after Knowledge, the Climbers in the quest of Power are toiling up the slopes or waiting in the valleys. As she stands on the mountains of the East, voices of the Hunters of Joy are the first to greet her.)
Vision delightful alone on the hills whom the silences cover,
Closer yet lean to mortality; human, stoop to thy lover.

Wonderful, gold like a moon in the square of the sun where thou strayest
Glimmers thy face amid crystal purities; mighty thou playest
Sole on the peaks of the world, unafraid of thy loneliness. Glances
Leap from thee down to us, dream-seas and light-falls and magical trances;
Sun-drops flake from thy eyes and the heart's caverns packed are with pleasure
Strange like a song without words or the dance of a measureless measure.

Tread through the edges of dawn, over twilight's grey-lidded margin;
Heal earth's unease with thy feet, O heaven-born delicate virgin.

Children of Time whose spirits came down from eternity, seizing
Joys that escape us, yoked by our hearts to a labour unceasing,
Earth-bound, torn with our longings, our life is a brief incompleteness.

Thou hast the stars to sport with, the winds run like bees to thy sweetness.

Art thou not heaven-bound even as I with the earth? Hast thou ended
All desirable things in a stillness lone and unfriended?
Only is calm so sweet? is our close tranquillity only?
Cold are the rivers of peace and their banks are leafless and lonely.

Heavy is godhead to bear with its mighty sun-burden of lustre.

Art thou not weary of only the stars in their solemn muster,
Sky-hung the chill bare plateaus and peaks where the eagle rejoices
In the inhuman height of his nesting, solitude's voices
Making the heart of the silence lonelier? strong and untiring,
Deaf with the cry of the waterfall, lonely the pine lives aspiring.

Two are the ends of existence, two are the dreams of the Mother:


Pondicherry, c. 1910 - 1920

Heaven unchanging, earth with her time-beats yearn to each other, -
Earth-souls needing the touch of the heavens peace to recapture,
Heaven needing earth's passion to quiver its peace into rapture.

Marry, O lightning eternal, the passion of a moment-born fire!
Out of thy greatness draw close to the breast of our mortal desire!
Is he thy master, Rudra the mighty, Shiva ascetic?
Has he denied thee his world? In his dance that they tell of, ecstatic,
Slaying, creating, calm in the midst of the movement and madness,
Stole there no rhythm of an earthly joy and a mortal sadness?
Wast thou not made in the shape of a woman? Sweetness and beauty
Move like a song of the gods in thy limbs and to love is thy duty
Graved in thy heart as on tablets of fate; joy's delicate blossom
Sleeps in thy lids of delight; all Nature hides in thy bosom
Claiming her children unborn and the food of her love and her laughter.

Is he the first? was there none then before him? shall none come after?
He who denies and his blows beat down on our hearts like a hammer's,
He whose calm is the silent reply to our passion and clamours!
Is not there deity greater here new-born in a noble
Labour and sorrow and struggle than stilled into rapture immobile?
Earth has beatitudes warmer than heaven's that are bare and undying,
Marvels of Time on the crest of the moments to Infinity flying.

Earth has her godheads; the Tritons sway on the toss of the billows,
Emerald locks of the Nereids stream on their foam-crested pillows,
Dryads peer out from the branches, Naiads glance up from the waters;
High are her flame-points of joy and the gods are ensnared by her daughters.

Artemis calls as she flees through the glades and the breezes pursue her;
Cypris laughs in her isles where the ocean-winds linger to woo her.

Here thou shalt meet amid beauty forgotten the dance of the Graces;
Night shall be haunted for ever with strange and delicate faces.

Music is here of the fife and the flute and the lyre and the timbal,
Wind in the forests, bees in the grove, - spring's ardent cymbal
Thrilling, the cry of the cuckoo; the nightingale sings in the branches,
Human laughter is heard and the cattle low in the ranches.

Frankly and sweetly she gives to her children the bliss of her body,
Breath of her lips and the green of her garments, rain-pourings heady
Tossed from her cloud-carried beaker of tempest, oceans and streamlets,
Dawn and the mountain-air, corn-fields and vineyards, pastures and hamlets,



Tangles of sunbeams asleep, mooned dream-depths, twilight's shadows,
Taste and scent and the fruits of her trees and the flowers of her meadows,
Life with her wine-cup of longing under the purple of her tenture,
Death as her gate of escape and rebirth and renewal of venture.

Still must they mutter that all here is vision and passing appearance,
Magic of Maya with falsehood and pain for its only inherence.

One is there only, apart in his greatness, the End and Beginning, -
He who has sent through his soul's wide spaces the universe spinning.

One eternal, Time an illusion, life a brief error!
One eternal, Master of heaven - and of hell and its terror!
Spirit of silence and purity rapt and aloof from creation, -
Dreaming through aeons unreal his splendid and empty formation!
Spirit all-wise in omnipotence shaping a world but to break it, -
Pushed by what mood of a moment, the breath of what fancy to make it?
None is there great but the eternal and lonely, the unique and unmated,
Bliss lives alone with the self-pure, the single, the forever-uncreated.

Truths? or thought's structures bridging the vacancy mute and unsounded
Facing the soul when it turns from the stress of the figures around it?
Solely we see here a world self-made by some indwelling Glory
Building with forms and events its strange and magnificent story.

Yet at the last has not all been solved and unwisdom demolished,
Myth cast out and all dreams of the soul, and all worship abolished?
All now is changed, the reverse of the coin has been shown to us; Reason
Waking, detecting the hoax of the spirit, at last has arisen,
Captured the Truth and built round her its bars that she may not skedaddle,
Gallop again with the bit in her teeth and with Fancy in the saddle.

Now have the wise men discovered that all is the craft of a superMagic of Chance and a movement of Void and inconscient Stupor.

Chance by a wonderful accident ever her ripples expanding
Out of a gaseous circle of Nothingness, implacably extending
Freak upon freak, repeating rigidly marvels on marvels,
Making a world out of Nothing, started on the arc of her travels.

Nothingness born into feeling and action dies back to Nothing.

Sea of a vague electricity, romping through space-curves and clothing
Strangely the Void with a semblance of Matter, painfully flowered
Into this giant phenomenon universe. Man who has towered
Out of the plasm and struggled by thought to Divinity's level,


Pondicherry, c. 1910 - 1920

Man, this miniature second creator of good and of evil,
He too was only a compost of Matter made living, organic,
Forged as her thinking tool by an Energy blind and mechanic.

Once by an accident queer but quite natural, provable, simple,
Out of blind Space-Nought lashed into life, wearing Mind as its wimple,
Dupe of a figment of consciousness, doped with behaviour and feature,
Matter deluded claimed to be spirit and sentient creature.

All the high dreams man has dreamed and his hopes and his deeds, his soul's greatness
Are but a food-seeking animal's acts with the mind for their witness, -
Mind a machine for the flickers of thought, Matter's logic unpremissed, -
Are but a singular fireworks, chemistry lacking the chemist,
Matter's nervous display; the heart's passion, the sorrow and burning
Fire of delight and sweet ecstasy, love and its fathomless yearning,
Boundless spiritual impulses making us one with world-being,
Outbursts of vision opening doors to a limitless seeing,
Gases and glands and the genes and the nerves and the brain-cells have done it,
Brooded out drama and epic, structured the climb of the sonnet,
Studied the stars and discovered the brain and the laws of its thinking,
Sculptured the cave-temple, reared the cathedral, infinity drinking
Wrought manufacturing God and the soul for the uplift of Nature, -
Science, philosophy, head of his mystical chemical stature,
Music and painting revealing the godhead in sound and in colour,
Acts of the hero, thoughts of the thinker, search of the scholar,
All the magnificent planning, all the inquiry and wonder
Only a trick of the atom, its marvellous magical blunder.

Who can believe it? Something or someone, a Force or a Spirit
Conscious, creative, wonderful shaped out a world to inherit
Here for the beings born from its vast universal existence, -
Fields of surprise and adventure, vistas of light-haunted distance,
Play-routes of wisdom and vision and struggle and rapture and sorrow,
Sailing in Time through the straits of today to the sea of tomorrow.

Worlds and their wonders, suns and their flamings, earth and her nations,
Voyages endless of Mind through the surge of its fate-tossed creations,
Star upon star throbbing out in the silence of infinite spaces,
Species on species, bodies on bodies, faces on faces,



Souls without number crossing through Time towards eternity, aeons
Crowding on aeons, loving and battle, dirges and paeans,
Thoughts ever leaping, hopes ever yearning, lives ever streaming,
Millions and millions on trek through the days with their doings and dreaming,
Herds of the Sun who move on at the cry of the radiant drover, -
Countless, surviving the death of the centuries, lost to recover,
Finished, but only to begin again, who is its tireless creator,
Cause or the force of its driving, its thinker or formless dictator?
Surely no senseless Vacancy made it, surely 'twas fashioned
By an almighty One million-ecstasied, thousand-passioned.

Self-made? then by what self from which thought could arise and emotion,
Waves that well up to the surface, born from what mysteried ocean?
Nature alone is the fountain. But what is she? Is she not only
Figure and name for what none understands, though all feel, or a lonely
Word in which all finds expression, spirit-heights, dumb work of Matter, -
Vague designation filling the gaps of our thought with its clatter?
Power without vision that blunders in man into thinking and sinning?
Rigid, too vast inexhaustible mystery void of a meaning?
Energy blindly devising, unconsciously ranging in order?
Chance in the march of a cosmic Insanity crossing the border
Out of the eternal silence to thought and its strangeness and splendour?
Consciousness born by an accident until an accident end her?
Nought else is she but the power of the Spirit who dwells in her ever,
Witness and cause of her workings, lord of her pauseless endeavour.

All things she knows, though she seems here unseeing; even in her slumber
Wondrous her works are, design and its magic and magic of number,
Plan of her mighty cosmic geometry, balance of forces,
Universe flung beyond universe, law of the stars and their courses,
Cosmos atomic stretched to the scale of the Infinite's measure.

Mute in the trance of the Eternal she sleeps with the stone and the azure.

Now she awakes; for life has just stirred in her, stretching first blindly
Outward for sense and its pleasure and pain and the gifts of the kindly
Mother of all, for her light and her air and the sap from her flowing,
Pleasure of bloom and inconscient beauty, pleasure of growing.

Then into mind she arises; heart's yearning awakes and reflection
Looks out on struggle and harmony, - conscious, her will of selection


Pondicherry, c. 1910 - 1920

Studies her works and illumines the choice of her way; last, slowly
Inward she turns and stares at the Spirit within her. Holy
Silences brood in her heart and she feels in her ardent recesses
Passions too great for her frame, on her body immortal caresses.

Into the calm of the Greatness beyond her she enters, burning
Now with a light beyond thought's, towards Self and Infinity turning,
Turned to beatitude, turned to eternity, spiritual grandeur,
Power without limit, ecstasy imperishable, shadowless splendour.

Then to her mortals come, flashing, thoughts that are wisdom's fire-kernel;
Leaping her flame-sweeps of might and delight and of vision supernal
Kindle the word and the act, the Divine and humanity fusing,
Illuminations, trance-seeds of silence, flowers of musing, -
Light of our being that yet has to be, its glory and glimmer
Smiting with sunrise the soul of the sage and the heart of the dreamer.

Or is it all but a vain expectation and effort ungrounded,
Wings without body, sight without object, waters unsounded,
Hue of a shimmer that steals through some secret celestial portal,
Glory of a gleam or a dream in an animal brief-lived and mortal?
Are they not radiances native to heaven's more fortunate ether,
Won when we part from this body, this temporal house of a nether
Mystery of life lived in vain? Upon earth is the glory forbidden,
Nature for ever accursed, frustrated, grief-vexed, fate-ridden?
Half of the glory she dreamed of forgotten or lost in earth's darkness,
Half of it mangled and missed as the death-wheels whirl in their starkness,
Cast out from heaven a goddess rebellious with mind for her mirror,
Cursed with desire and self-will and doomed to self-torture and error,
Came she to birth then with God for her enemy? Were we created
He unwilling or sleeping? did someone transgress the fated
Limits he set, outwitting God? In the too hasty vision
Marred of some demiurge filmed there the blur of a fatal misprision,
Making a world that revolves on itself in a circuit of failure,
Aeons of striving, death for a recompense, Time for our tenure?
Out of him rather she came and for him are her cry and her labour;
Deep are her roots in him; topless she climbs, to his greatness a neighbour.

All is himself in her, brooding in darkness, mounting the sun-ways;
Air-flight to him is man's journey with heaven and earth for the runways.

He is the witness and doer, he is the loved and the lover,



He the eternal Truth that we look in ourselves to discover.

All is his travel in Time; it is he who turns history's pages,
Act and event and result are the trail that he leaves through the ages;
Form and idea are his signs and number and sound are his symbols,
Music and singing, the word and its rhythm are Divinity's cymbals,
Thunder and surge are the drums of his marching. Through us, with urges
Self-ward, form-bound, mute, motionless, slowly inevitably emerges
Vast as the cosmos, minute as the atom, the Spirit eternal.

Often the gusts of his force illumining moments diurnal
Flame into speech and idea; transcendences splendid and subtle
Suddenly shoot through the weft of our lives from a magical shuttle;
Hid in our hearts is his glory; the Spirit works in our members.

Silence is he, with our voices he speaks, in our thoughts he remembers.

Deep in our being inhabits the voiceless invisible Teacher;
Powers of his godhead we live; the Creator dwells in the creature.

Out of his Void we arise to a mighty and shining existence,
Out of Inconscience, tearing the black Mask's giant resistance;
Waves of his consciousness well from him into these bodies in Nature,
Forms are put round him; his oneness, divided by mind's nomenclature,
High on the summits of being ponders immobile and single,
Penetrates atom and cell as the tide drenches sand-grain and shingle.

Oneness unknown to us dwells in these millions of figures and faces,
Wars with itself in our battles, loves in our clinging embraces,
Inly the self and the substance of things and their cause and their mover
Veiled in the depths which the foam of our thoughts and our life's billows cover,
Heaves like the sea in its waves; like heaven with its star-fires it gazes
Watching the world and its works. Interned in the finite's mazes,
Still shall he rise to his vast superconscience, we with him climbing;
Truth of man's thought with the truth of God's spirit faultlessly timing,
That which was mortal shall enter immortality's golden precincts,
Hushed breath of ecstasy, honey of lotus depths where the bee sinks,
Timeless expanses too still for the voice of the hours to inveigle,
Spaces of spirit too vast for the flight of the God-bearing eagle, -
Enter the Splendour that broods now unseen on us, deity invading,
Sight without error, light without shadow, beauty unfading,
Infinite largeness, rapture eternal, love none can sever,


Pondicherry, c. 1910 - 1920

Life, not this death-play, but a power God-driven and blissful for ever.

"No," cry the wise, "for a circle was traced, there was pyloned a limit
Only we escape through dream's thin passages. None can disclaim it;
All things created are made by their borders, sketched out and coded;
Vain is the passion to divinise manhood, humanise godhead.

None can exceed himself; even to find oneself hard for our search is:
Only we see as in night by a lustre of flickering torches.

To be content with our measure, our space is the law of our living.

All of thyself to thy manhood and Nature and Circumstance giving,
Be what thou must be or be what thou canst be, one hour in an era.

Knowing the truth of thy days, shun the light of ideal and chimera:
Curb heart's impatience, bind thy desires down, pause from self-vexing."
Who is the nomad then? who is the seeker, the gambler risking
All for a dream in a dream, the old and the sure and the stable
Flung as a stake for a prize that was never yet laid on the table?
Always the world is expanding and growing from minute to minute;
Playing the march of the adventure of Time with our lives for her spinet
Maya or Nature, the wonderful Mother, strikes out surprising
Strains of the spirit disprisoned; creation heavenward rising
Wrestles with Time and Space and the Unknown to give form to the Formless.

Bliss is her goal, but her road is through whirlwind and death-blast and storm-race.

All is a wager and danger, all is a chase and a battle.

Vainly man, crouched in his corner of safety, shrinks from the fatal
Lure of the Infinite. Guided by Powers that surround and precede us
Fearful and faltering steps are our perishing efforts that lead us
On through the rooms of the finite till open the limitless spaces
And we can look into all-seeing eyes and imperishable faces.

But we must pass through the aeons; Space is a bar twixt our ankles,
Time is a weight that we drag and the scar of the centuries rankles:
Caught by the moments, held back from the spirit's timelessness, slowly
Wading in shallows we take not the sea-plunge vastly and wholly.

Hard is the way to the Eternal for the mind-born will of the mortal
Bound by the body and life to the gait of the house-burdened turtle.

Here in this world that knows not its morrow, this reason that stumbles
Onward from error to truth and from truth back to error while crumbles
All that it fashioned, after the passion and travail are ended,



After the sacrifice offered when the will and the strength are expended,
Nothing is done but to have laid down one stone of a road without issue,
Added our quota of evil and good to an ambiguous tissue.

Destiny's lasso, its slip-knot tied by delight and repining,
Draws us through tangles of failure and victory's inextricable twining.

In the hard reckoning made by the grey-robed accountant at even
Pain is the ransom we pay for the smallest foretaste of heaven.

Ignorance darkens, death and inconscience gape to absorb us;
Thick and persistent the Night confronts us, its hunger enormous
Swallowing our work and our lives. Our love and our knowledge squandered
Lie like a treasure refused and trod down on the ways where we wandered;
All we have done is effaced by the thousands behind us arriving.

Trapped in a round fixed for ever circles our thought and our living.

Fiercely the gods in their jealousy strike down the heads that have neighboured
Even for a moment their skies; in the sands our achievements are gravured.

Yet survives bliss in the rhythm of our heart-beats, yet is there wonder,
Beauty's immortal delight, and the seals of the mystery sunder.

Honied a thousand whispers come, in the birds, in the breezes,
Moonlight, the voices of streams; with a hundred marvellous faces
Always he lures us to love him, always he draws us to pleasure
Leaving remembrance and anguish behind for our only treasure.

Passionate we seek for him everywhere, yearn for some sign of him, calling,
Scanning the dust for his footprints, praying and stumbling and falling;
Nothing is found and no answer comes from the masks that are passing.

Memories linger, lines from the past like a half-faded tracing.

He has passed on into silence wearing his luminous mantle.

Out of the melodied distance a laugh rings pure-toned, infantile,
Sole reminder that he is, last signal recalling his presence.

There is a joy behind suffering; pain digs our road to his pleasance.

All things have bliss for their secret; only our consciousness falters
Fearing to offer itself as a victim on ecstasy's altars.

Is not the world his disguise? when that cloak is tossed back from his shoulders,
Beauty looks out like a sun on the hearts of the ravished beholders.

Mortals, your end is beatitude, rapture eternal his meaning:
Joy, which he most now denies, is his purpose: the hedges, the screening


Pondicherry, c. 1910 - 1920

Were but the rules of his play; his denials came to lure farther.

These too were magic of Maya, smiles of the marvellous Mother.

Oh, but the cruelty! oh, but the empty pain we go rueing!
Edges of opposite sweetness, calls to a closer pursuing.

All that we meet is a symbol and gateway; cryptic intention
Lurks in a common appearance, smiles from a casual mention:
Opposites hide in each other; in the laughter of Nature is danger,
Glory and greatness their embryos form in the womb of her anger.

Why are we terrified? wherefore cry out and draw back from the smiting -
Blows from the hands of a lover to direr exactions exciting,
Fiery points of his play! Was he Rudra only the mighty?
Whose were the whispers of sweetness, whose were the murmurs of pity?
Something opposes our grasp on the light and the sweetness and power,
Something within us, something without us, trap-door or tower,
Nature's gap in our being - or hinge! That device could we vanquish,
Once could we clasp him and hold, his joy we could never relinquish.

Then we could not be denied, for our might would be single and flawless.

Sons of the Eternal, sovereigns of Nature absolute and lawless,
Termlessly our souls would possess as he now enjoys and possesses,
Termlessly probe the delight of his laughter's lurking recesses,
Chasing its trail to the apex of sweetness and secrecy. Treasured
Close to the beats of Eternity's heart in a greatness unmeasured,
Locked into a miracle and mystery of Light we would live in him, - seated
Deep in his core of beatitude ceaselessly by Nature repeated,
Careless of Time, with no fear of an end, with no need for endeavour
Caught by his ecstasy dwell in a rapture enduring for ever.

What was the garden he built when the stars were first set in their places,
Soul and Nature together mid streams and in cloudless spaces
Naked and innocent? Someone offered a fruit of derision,
Knowledge of good and of evil, cleaving in God a division.

Though He who made all said, "It is good; I have fashioned perfection,"
"No, there is evil," someone whispered, "'tis screened from detection."
Wisest he of the beasts of the field, one cunning and creeping;
"See it," he said, "be wise; you shall be as the gods are, unsleeping,
They who know all." And they ate. The roots of our being were shaken;
Hatred and weeping and wrath at once trampled a world overtaken,
Terror and fleeing and anguish and shame and desires unsated;



Cruelty stalked like a lion; Revenge and her brood were created.

Out to the desert he drove the rebellious. Flaming behind them
Streamed out the sword of his wrath and it followed leaping to find them,
Stabbing at random. The pure and the evil, the strong and the tempted,
All are confounded in punishment; justly is no one exempted.

Virtuous? yes, there are many, but who is there innocent? Toiling
Therefore we seek, but find not that Eden. Planting and spoiling,
"This is the garden," we say, "lo, the trees and this is the river."
Vainly redeemers came, not one has availed to deliver.

Never can Nature go back to her careless and childlike beginning,
Laugh of the babe and the song of the wheel in its delicate spinning,
Smile of the sun upon flowers and earth's beauty, life without labour
Plucking the fruits of the soil and rejoicing in cottage and arbour.

Once we have chosen to be as the gods, we must follow that motion.

Knowledge must grow in us, might like a Titan's, bliss like an ocean,
Calmness and purity born of the spirit's gaze on the Real,
Rapture of his oneness embracing the soul in a clasp hymeneal.

Was it not he once in Brindavan? Woods divine to our yearning,
Memorable always! O flowers, O delight on the tree-tops burning,
Grasses his herds have grazed and crushed by his feet in the dancing,
Yamuna flowing with song, through the greenness always advancing,
You unforgotten remind; for his flute with its sweetness ensnaring
Sounds in our ears in the night and our souls of their teguments baring
Hales us out naked and absolute, out to his woodlands eternal,
Out t