classes ::: Being,
children :::
branches ::: Priestess
see also :::

Instances - Definitions - Quotes - Chapters - Wordnet - Webgen


object:Priestess
class:Being


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OBJECT INSTANCES [0] - TOPICS - AUTHORS - BOOKS - CHAPTERS - CLASSES - SEE ALSO - SIMILAR TITLES

TOPICS

AUTH

BOOKS
Savitri
The_Republic

IN CHAPTERS TITLE
1.ac_-_The_Priestess_of_Panormita

IN CHAPTERS CLASSNAME

IN CHAPTERS TEXT
01.02_-_The_Issue
02.08_-_The_World_of_Falsehood,_the_Mother_of_Evil_and_the_Sons_of_Darkness
04.01_-_The_Birth_and_Childhood_of_the_Flame
10.02_-_The_Gospel_of_Death_and_Vanity_of_the_Ideal
10.03_-_The_Debate_of_Love_and_Death
1.01_-_The_Cycle_of_Society
1.01_-_The_Rape_of_the_Lock
1.04_-_The_Paths
1.07_-_Incarnate_Human_Gods
1.07_-_The_Three_Schools_of_Magick_2
1.12_-_The_Sacred_Marriage
1.13_-_The_Kings_of_Rome_and_Alba
1.22_-_On_Prayer
1.46_-_The_Corn-Mother_in_Many_Lands
1.49_-_Thelemic_Morality
1.60_-_Between_Heaven_and_Earth
1.71_-_Morality_2
1956-05-23_-_Yoga_and_religion_-_Story_of_two_clergymen_on_a_boat_-_The_Buddha_and_the_Supramental_-_Hieroglyphs_and_phonetic_alphabets_-_A_vision_of_ancient_Egypt_-_Memory_for_sounds
1956-07-11_-_Beauty_restored_to_its_priesthood_-_Occult_worlds,_occult_beings_-_Difficulties_and_the_supramental_force
1965-06-05
1965-06-14
1967-05-10
1968-01-12
1.ac_-_The_Priestess_of_Panormita
1.anon_-_The_Epic_of_Gilgamesh_Tablet_III
1f.lovecraft_-_Medusas_Coil
1f.lovecraft_-_The_Last_Test
1f.lovecraft_-_The_Moon-Bog
1f.lovecraft_-_The_Temple
1.fs_-_Cassandra
1.fs_-_Hero_And_Leander
1.jk_-_Hyperion,_A_Vision_-_Attempted_Reconstruction_Of_The_Poem
1.pbs_-_Prometheus_Unbound
1.pbs_-_The_Revolt_Of_Islam_-_Canto_I-XII
1.rb_-_Sordello_-_Book_the_First
1.rb_-_Waring
1.rt_-_Fireflies
1.wby_-_Anashuya_And_Vijaya
2.01_-_Mandala_One
2.1.7.08_-_Comments_on_Specific_Lines_and_Passages_of_the_Poem
4.41_-_Chapter_One
5.08_-_ADAM_AS_TOTALITY
5.4.01_-_Notes_on_Root-Sounds
7.02_-_Courage
Aeneid
BOOK_III._-_The_external_calamities_of_Rome
BOOK_II._--_PART_II._THE_ARCHAIC_SYMBOLISM_OF_THE_WORLD-RELIGIONS
Liber_111_-_The_Book_of_Wisdom_-_LIBER_ALEPH_VEL_CXI
Meno
The_Dwellings_of_the_Philosophers
The_One_Who_Walks_Away

PRIMARY CLASS

Being
SEE ALSO

SIMILAR TITLES
Priestess
the Priestess of Light

DEFINITIONS

priestess ::: a woman who presides over religious rites, especially in pagan religions. Also fig. and transf.

priestess ::: n. --> A woman who officiated in sacred rites among pagans.



QUOTES [5 / 5 - 212 / 212]


KEYS (10k)

   2 Sri Aurobindo
   1 Wikipedia
   1 Alice Duer Miller
   1 Aleister Crowley

NEW FULL DB (2.4M)

   30 Cayla Kluver
   12 P C Cast
   12 Evangeline Anderson
   7 Marion Zimmer Bradley
   4 Rick Riordan
   4 Nina George
   4 Laini Taylor
   4 Brian Godawa
   3 Ursula K Le Guin
   3 Steven Erikson
   3 Kresley Cole
   3 Frederick Lenz
   3 Anne Bishop
   3 Alfred Lord Tennyson
   2 Tom Robbins
   2 Sri Aurobindo
   2 Sorita d Este
   2 Robert Browning
   2 R A Salvatore
   2 Patrick Weekes

1:The priestess of Artemis took hold of her almost with the violence of a lover, and whisked her away into a languid ecstasy of reverie. She communicated her own enthusiasm to the girl, and kept her mind occupied with dreams, faery-fervid, of uncharted seas of glory on which her galleon might sail, undiscovered countries of spice and sweetness, Eldorado and Utopia and the City of God. ~ Aleister Crowley,
2:As in a mystic and dynamic dance
   A priestess of immaculate ecstasies
   Inspired and ruled from Truth's revealing vault
   Moves in some prophet cavern of the gods
   A heart of silence in the hands of joy
   Inhabited with rich creative beats
   A body like a parable of dawn
   That seemed a niche for veiled divinity
   Or golden temple-door to things beyond.
   Immortal rhythms swayed in her time-born steps;
   Her look, her smile awoke celestial sense
   Even in earth-stuff, and their intense delight
   Poured a supernal beauty on men's lives.
   ~ Sri Aurobindo, Savitri, The Issue,
3:Invocation
NIGHT after night within the grove
The night wind spares the sacred fire -­
The breath made visible of love,
Of worship and desire.
I set the tripod at thy shrine;
The silver bowl, the amber flame,
And in the dark where no stars shine
I speak thy name.
By the high name I call on thee
Which only I, thy priestess, know.
I tread thy dance in ecstasy,
Sweet steps and slow.
O God, the hour has come. Appear!
I have performed the appointed rite -­
The dance, the fire; I long to hear
Wings in the night.
~ Alice Duer Miller,
4:In Plato's Symposium, the priestess Diotima teaches Socrates that love is not a deity, but rather a 'great daemon' (202d). She goes on to explain that 'everything daemonic is between divine and mortal' (202d-e), and she describes daemons as 'interpreting and transporting human things to the gods and divine things to men; entreaties and sacrifices from below, and ordinances and requitals from above...' (202e). In Plato's Apology of Socrates, Socrates claimed to have a daimonion (literally, a 'divine something')[16] that frequently warned him-in the form of a 'voice'-against mistakes but never told him what to do.
   ~ Wikipedia, Daemon,
5:To us poetry is a revel of intellect and fancy, imagination a plaything and caterer for our amusement, our entertainer, the nautch-girl of the mind. But to the men of old the poet was a seer, a revealer of hidden truths, imagination no dancing courtesan but a priestess in God's house commissioned not to spin fictions but to image difficult and hidden truths; even the metaphor or simile in the Vedic style is used with a serious purpose and expected to convey a reality, not to suggest a pleasing artifice of thought. The image was to these seers a revelative symbol of the unrevealed and it was used because it could hint luminously to the mind what the precise intellectual word, apt only for logical or practical thought or to express the physical and the superficial, could not at all hope to manifest. To them this symbol of the Creator's body was more than an image, it expressed a divine reality. Human society was for them an attempt to express in life the cosmic Purusha who has expressed himself otherwise in the material and the supraphysical universe. Man and the cosmos are both of them symbols and expressions of the same hidden Reality.
   ~ Sri Aurobindo, The Human Cycle, Chapter 1, The Cycle of Society,

*** NEWFULLDB 2.4M ***

1:In every loving woman there is a priestess of the past ~ Henri Frederic Amiel
2:my language
or my lamp
my language is the priestess. ~ Alejandra Pizarnik
3:Medusa a priestess whom Athena turned into a gorgon when she caught Medusa ~ Rick Riordan
4:The Priestess (II) Circe Rémire, Ruler of the Deep “Terror from the abyss!” A.k.a.: ~ Kresley Cole
5:Memory, the priestess, kills the present and offers its heart to the shrine of the dead past. ~ Rabindranath Tagore
6:I am a death priestess,” Tern’s voice echoed out of the vault, “but I’m bouncy and I have pretty hair.… ~ Patrick Weekes
7:Not all witches can control the elements, only a "high priestess" or as I like to think of them "uber-witches. ~ Jennifer Harlow
8:Our priestesses have always taught that divinity, by virtue of its great power, must encompass both beauty and terror. ~ Laini Taylor
9:Christianity is merely a system for turning priestesses into handmaidens, queens into concubines, and goddesses into muses. ~ Tom Robbins
10:In every loving woman there is a priestess of the past - a pious guardian of some affection, of which the object has disappeared. ~ Henri Frederic Amiel
11:I only know that I am now a priestess of Satan trying to maintain after a freak-out to test how free everybody was and to take our vows. ~ Beatrice Sparks
12:I should know, for I am Morgaine le Fay, priestess of the Isle of Avalon, where the ancient religion of the Mother Goddess is born. ~ Marion Zimmer Bradley
13:I don't like to say that my kitchen is a religious place, but I would say that if I were a voodoo priestess, I would conduct my rituals there. ~ Pearl Bailey
14:In their meditations, the high priests and priestesses of Atlantis had seen that the Atlantean civilization was going to end cataclysmically. ~ Frederick Lenz
15:Warrior, when you pledge yourself to the service of a High Priestess, the goal is not to frighten her to death but to protect your lady from death. ~ P C Cast
16:I think I like 'em better like that...divinely dull...just the quiet bearers of their own beauty, like the priestesses in a Panathenaic procession. ~ Edith Wharton
17:Where am I and doing what? You might well ask. Freaky chick, you say? You can't imagine. I am priestess of a sandcastle in a land of dust and starlight. ~ Laini Taylor
18:A priestess of Avalon does not lie. But I am cast out of Avalon, and for this, and unless it is all to be for nothing, I must lie, and lie well and quickly ~ Marion Zimmer Bradley
19:Athena was originally worshiped as a flat piece of olive wood that was washed and bejeweled, wrapped in garments, and carefully tended by a cadre of her priestesses.16 ~ Reza Aslan
20:Where am I and doing what?
You might well ask.
Freaky chick, you say?
You can't imagine.
I am priestess of a sandcastle
in a land of dust and starlight. ~ Laini Taylor
21:Honestly, I have had to live like a high priestess in this show. It is a very, very lonely life. When you work the way I work - that means hard - there's no time for play. ~ Ann Miller
22:She will be a priestess, trained in all the wisdom of "Avalon", said Morgaine. "One day she will read the stars and know all the wisdom of the world and the heavens". ~ Robert Holdstock
23:Every woman is a priestess if she loves life and can work magic on herself and those who are sacred to her. It’s time for women to remind themselves of the powers they have inside. ~ Nina George
24:They danced for hours, not the descendant of Amrath and the High Priestess of Great Tanis but only a man and a woman enjoying themselves, swirling and stamping and jumping to the music’s roar. ~ Anna Smith Spark
25:As a child in Atuan, Tenar had learned how to learn. There seemed always to be a great deal to be learned, more than she would have believed when she was a prentice-priestess or the pupil of a mage. ~ Ursula K Le Guin
26:As your girlfriend, you've just pissed me off. As your High Priestess, you've just insulted me. And as someone with a working brain, you've made me wonder if you've lost every bit of your sense. (Zoey Redbird) ~ P C Cast
27:You’re a death priestess?” the man asked. His urge to have sex with her had diminished greatly, though not entirely. “Like, sacrificing babies and devouring souls to gain the power of daemons and all that? ~ Patrick Weekes
28:The high priests and priestesses taught the children the secret meditation techniques, along with methods and ways of living that would increase their pranic levels and help them develop their psychic skills. ~ Frederick Lenz
29:Iris said they come from a long line of voodoo high priestesses. I see it in Lotus. A regalness—a mystery and an aura, like she knows your thoughts before you think them and is fully capable of changing your mind. ~ Kennedy Ryan
30:Personally, that would strike me as kind of weird, except I’m talking to Frankenstein’s monster who was just dismantled by my werewolf boss before being put back together by our orc priestess, so what the hell do I know? ~ Larry Correia
31:The high-priests and priestesses of Atlantis had discovered many of the deepest secrets of the universe. They had come to understand all about reincarnation, karma, and the innermost workings of the Enlightenment Cycle. ~ Frederick Lenz
32:All that he has ever asked of us, of me, and Spinnock Durav, and so many others, he has given us in return. Each and every time. This... this is his secret. Don’t you understand, High Priestess? We served the one who served us. ~ Steven Erikson
33:Her voice is still pitched high, thanks to her youth, but it has a certain incipient darkness to it, a low richness that will mature in the coming years to the smoky tones of a priestess or a queen -- a woman of great natural power. ~ Libbie Hawker
34:I still couldn’t banish the image of the Quetzal Flower. In my mind, it merged with that of Priestess Eleuia: everything a man could desire or aspire to, a woman who would suck the marrow from your bones and still leave you smiling. ~ Aliette de Bodard
35:We need the expressive arts, the ancient scribes, the storytellers, the priests. And that's where I put myself: as a storyteller. Not necessarily a high priestess, but certainly the storyteller. And I would love to be the storyteller of the tribe. ~ Tanith Lee
36:thakrar noun - The precise point of the spectrum of awe at which wonder turns to dread, or dread to wonder.
Archaic; from the estatic priestesses of Thakra, worshippers of the seraphim, whose ritual dance expressed the dualism of beauty and terror. ~ Laini Taylor
37:God, and not woman, is the heart of all. But she, as priestess of the visible earth, Holding the key, herself most beautiful, Had come to him, and flung the portals wide. He entered in: each beauty was a glass That gleamed the woman back upon his view. ~ George MacDonald
38:Creostus’s booming laugh leaves gooseflesh upon my arms. He paces close to me. “Jealous, Priestess? Do you wish to compete for my affections? I should like to see that.” “I’m sure you would. But you will die first and so let us journey to Philon, if you please. ~ Libba Bray
39:Sometimes,” she said to Atsula, “I feel that I could simply spread my arms and fall into the sky.” “That is because you are a scout,” said Atsula, the priestess. “When you die, you shall fall into the sky and become a star, to guide us as you guide us in life. ~ Neil Gaiman
40:Every woman is a priestess if she loves life and can work magic on herself and those who are sacred to her. It's time for women to remind themselves of the powers they have inside. The goddess hates to see abilities go to waste, and women waste their abilities far too often. ~ Nina George
41:Every woman is a priestess if she loves life and can work magic on herself and those who are sacred to her. It’s time for women to remind themselves of the powers they have inside. The goddess hates to see abilities go to waste, and women waste their abilities far too often. ~ Nina George
42:I will tell you this only once. Homosexuals have been among the best warriors in our history, the berserkers of last resort. They were among our best priests and priestesses. Celibacy was no accident in religions. It is also no accident that adolescents make the best soldiers. ~ Frank Herbert
43:We have found literary references in records from the last two centuries which seem to substantiate the idea of a Cailleach priestess cult of wise women. However, as is often the case these hints ask more questions than they answer, leaving the reader to make up their own mind. ~ Sorita d Este
44:My name. I have a name, and it’s not Red Dragon. I am more than just the priestess’s dragon. I am
Eilrah, a man who wants you,” he growled against her lips.
“But you aren’t a man. You only take this form when you feel like it,” she replied coolly, turning
her face aside. ~ Shiloh Walker
45:People simplify 'Apollonian' into 'mild', and 'calm', and 'cool'. But 'Apollonian' and 'Dionysian' are two sides of one coin--a nun kneeling in her cell, holding perfectly still, can be in ecstacy more frenzied than any priestess of Pan Priapus celebrating the vernal equinox. ~ Robert A Heinlein
46:Women are strong, strong, terribly strong. We don't know how strong until we are pushing out our babies. We are too often treated like babies having babies when we should be in training, like acolytes, novices to high priestesshood, like serious applicants for the space program. ~ Louise Erdrich
47:You have ever been my favourite,’ he said, looking away. ‘Your favourite what?’ ‘High Priestess, of course. What else might I be thinking?’ ‘Well, that is the eternal question, isn’t it?’ ‘One too many people spend too much time worrying about.’ ‘You cannot be serious, Anomander. ~ Steven Erikson
48:Brujería, which combines Aztec myth, European witchcraft, and Cuban Santería, has Mexican cultural and religious roots. In the sixteenth century, when Spanish priests declared the pagan goddess Toantzin to be a Roman Catholic, Toantzin’s priestesses went underground and became brujas. ~ Kathy Reichs
49:What's more powerful than a priestess?" I didn't really want to know, did I?
"A bokor."
The name rang a few tiny bells inside my head, but not enough to put it together on my own. "Explain."
"In a nutshell, they're the equivalent of a sorceress, and they deal primarily with the dead. ~ Amanda Carlson
50:I came to hear the screams: the screams of protest against murderous treachery; the screams of rage from the leaders of drow society, the high priestesses of the Spider Queen, echoing down the paths of my mind, ever to hold a place within my mind. The screams of dying children. —Drizzt Do’Urden ~ R A Salvatore
51:If we encounter heretics while on the search for our brave Priestess, we will smite them down with the Fury of a Thousand Angry Rolling Pins!” squeaked the mouse. “Don’t know what that means, really. I’ve got to assume it’s pretty dire, since it’s coming from a talking mouse,” said Uncle Mike. ~ Seanan McGuire
52:The light of the sacred prostitute penetrates to the heart of this darkness. . . . she is the consecrated priestess, in the temple, spiritually receptive to the feminine power flowing through her from the Goddess, and at the same time joyously aware of the beauty and passion in her human body. ~ Marion Woodman
53:What I like so much about Corot is that he can say everything with a bit of tree; and it was Corot himself that I found [back] in the museum of Naples - in the simplicity of the work of Pompeii and the Egyptians. These priestesses in their silver-grey tunics are just like Corot's nymphs. ~ Pierre Auguste Renoir
54:Has Joules calmed down yet?” I asked her. “Did he find the culprit?”

“The Tower’s latest farfetched theory? Nanoseconds before his lightning hit, the Priestess somehow swooped in and ‘insta-drowned’ the twins, shoving water into their lungs. He’s furious and plans to go ‘spearfishing’ for her. ~ Kresley Cole
55:Voodoo very old magic - possibly one of the oldest forms of all time. It's often referred to as vodou or voudoun....
Voodoo worships the loa, which are literally spirits - like ghosts - but much more powerful. The priestess can summon the loa, and the spirit inhabits her body. It's called being 'ridden ~ Amanda Carlson
56:As a child of the Goddess, I know that when a being dies, the soul lives on. That dying is only a way of forgetting pain and suffering--that it is a pathway to travel back to the Goddess to be renewed and made strong-- to rest and to one day be ready to return to this realm, for it is spoken by the High Priestess... ~ P C Cast
57:If I created a new depravity I would be a priestess, while my imitators would founder, after my reign, in abominable filth...Don't you think that proud men, copying Satan, are more guilty than the Satan of the Bible, who invented pride? Is Satan not respectable because of his unprecedented and divinely inspired sin? ~ Rachilde
58:During the years when John is supposed to have lived on the Island of Patmos, he was far from the boundaries of Christian influence. The people who dwelt in that region were called Priscillianists, the followers of a priestess by the name of Priscilla. She was similar to the Roman Sibyls, practising strange rites and giving oracles
59:It is the duty of a high priestess to instruct, to interpret — according to the creed that others, wiser than herself, have laid down; but there is nothing in the creed which says that she must believe. The more one knows of one's religion the less one believes — no one living knows more of mine than I. (La of Opar) ~ Edgar Rice Burroughs
60:For all the Gods are one God,” she said to me then, as she had said many times before, and as I have said to my own novices many times, and as every priestess who comes after me will say again, “and all the Goddesses are one Goddess, and there is only one Initiator. And to every man his own truth, and the God within. ~ Marion Zimmer Bradley
61:baptized her into Christianity as Our Lady of Guadalupe. What they didn’t realize was that Tonantzin was a goddess who could take away sins through secret rituals performed by her priestesses—the brujería. The missionaries, basically, made it perfectly fine for Catholic Indians to go to Mass, but also visit a witch. My mother was a ~ Jodi Picoult
62:He had thought then of the nature of justice as he had come to know it: of his father as a pagan god, and of his mother as the high priestess of the cult, who attempted to interpret and intercede, usually failing, yet still insisting, in the face of all the evidence, that there was an underlying magnanimity and reasonableness to her deity. ~ J K Rowling
63:How will it ever be bearable, Priestess?” His voice was rough. He sounded completely broken. “You’ll see her again. She’s with Nyx now. She’ll either wait for you in the Goddess’s meadow, or she’ll be reborn and her soul will find you again during this lifetime. You can bear it because you know that spirit never really ends-we never really end. ~ P C Cast
64:How will it ever be bearable, Priestess?” His voice was rough. He sounded completely broken.

“You’ll see her again. She’s with Nyx now. She’ll either wait for you in the Goddess’s meadow, or she’ll be reborn and her soul will find you again during this lifetime. You can bear it because you know that spirit never really ends-we never really end. ~ P C Cast
65:In the celebration of these anniversaries, the priestesses of Aphrodite worked themselves up into a wild state of frenzy, and the term Hysteria became identified with the state of emotional derangement associated with such orgies…. The word Hysteria was used in the same sense as Aphro-disia, that is, as a synonym for the festivals of the goddess.86 ~ Erich Neumann
66:I'll find you, don't worry. My body won't be with you all the time, but you'll always have my heart. I'm your worrier, remember?" "I'll never forget. I promise. I'm your High Priestess and you've pledged yourself to me. That means you have my heart, too." "Then both of us better stay safe. A heart's a hard thing to live without. I should know. I've tried it. ~ P C Cast
67:Stevie Rae looked from vampyre to vampyre. “Y’all need to get your shit together. Here’s a newsflash from the only High Priestess you have left at this dang school: Zoey isn’t dead. And believe me, I know dead. I’ve been there, done that, and got the frickin’ T-shirt.” Stevie Rae turned her back on the room and, with her fledglings, got the heck outta there. ~ P C Cast
68:I'll find you, don't worry. My body won't be with you all the time, but you'll always have my heart. I'm your worrier, remember?"
"I'll never forget. I promise. I'm your High Priestess and you've pledged yourself to me. That means you have my heart, too."
"Then both of us better stay safe. A heart's a hard thing to live without. I should know. I've tried it. ~ P C Cast
69:Throughout the years, I have found people are confused about my love for both Christianity and Paganism. I tell them what was revealed to me while I lay sleeping in the hospital. The All, whether perceived as a God, or a Goddess, or as one being, or even as an energy field, cares only about one thing: Love. Absolute and unconditional love. --High Priestess Enoch ~ Arin Murphy Hiscock
70:He saw Kathleen sitting in the middle of a long white table alone.Immediately things changed. As he walked toward her the people shrank back against the walls till they were only murals; the white table lengthened and became an altar where the priestess sat alone. Vitality welled up in him and he could have stood a long time across the table from her, looking and smiling. ~ F Scott Fitzgerald
71:You are impressive, I must say, and in so many ways,” he admitted. “I find it truly lamentable that you are wound up in your nonsensical notions of fidelity, and to a pathetic warrior no less! And I am disappointed that one of your accomplishments—a chosen priestess, I am told, and a wizard of no small measure—clings to some ridiculous peasant superstition of entwining honor and sex. ~ R A Salvatore
72:The priestess of Artemis took hold of her almost with the violence of a lover, and whisked her away into a languid ecstasy of reverie. She communicated her own enthusiasm to the girl, and kept her mind occupied with dreams, faery-fervid, of uncharted seas of glory on which her galleon might sail, undiscovered countries of spice and sweetness, Eldorado and Utopia and the City of God. ~ Aleister Crowley
73:The priestess of Artemis took hold of her almost with the violence of a lover, and whisked her away into a languid ecstasy of reverie. She communicated her own enthusiasm to the girl, and kept her mind occupied with dreams, faery-fervid, of uncharted seas of glory on which her galleon might sail, undiscovered countries of spice and sweetness, Eldorado and Utopia and the City of God. ~ Aleister Crowley,
74:Rachel crossed her arms. “And the other three Oracles? I’m sure none of them was a beautiful young priestess whom you praised for her…what was it?…‘scintillating conversation’?”

“Ah…” I wasn’t sure why, but it felt like my acne was turning into live insects and crawling across my face. “Well, according to my extensive research—”

“Some books he flipped through last night,” Meg clarified. ~ Rick Riordan
75:And now, unveil'd, the Toilet stands display'd,   Each silver Vase in mystic order laid.   First, rob'd in white, the Nymph intent adores,   With head uncover'd, the Cosmetic pow'rs.   A heav'nly image in the glass appears, 125   To that she bends, to that her eyes she rears;   Th' inferior Priestess, at her altar's side,   Trembling begins the sacred rites of Pride.   Unnumber'd treasures ope at once, and here ~ Alexander Pope
76:So initiate us," Claire said, crossing her arms and narrowing her eyes in challenge. "Make us priests and priestesses of Apollo."

"Say that again," Jason said, turning to Claire. He was so stunned there was almost no expression on his face.

"That's the plan you've been working on for the past two days? The one you told us not to worry about?" Matt asked in an increasingly high-pitched voice.

"Yup. ~ Josephine Angelini
77:Apollo at Delphi, through the oracular utterance of his priestess, pronounced Socrates the wisest of men. Of him it is related that he said with sagacity and great learning that the human breast should have been furnished with open windows, so that men might not keep their feelings concealed, but have them open to the view. Oh that nature, following his idea, had constructed them thus unfolded and obvious to the view. ~ Marcus Vitruvius Pollio
78:So long as I confine my activities to social service and the blind, they compliment me extravagantly, calling me 'arch priestess of the sightless,' 'wonder woman,' and a 'modern miracle.' But when it comes to a discussion of poverty, and I maintain that it is the result of wrong economics-that the industrial system under which we live is at the root of much of the physical deafness and blindness in the world-that is a different matter! ~ Helen Keller
79:As Bonheim so beautifully describes, Today, I would describe a priestess as a woman who lives in two worlds at once, who perceives life on earth against the backdrop of a vast, timeless reality. Whether or not she is mated to a human partner, she is a woman in love, wedded to being, to life, to love itself. Having offered herself, body and soul, in service of spirit, she mediates between matter and spirit, between the human and divine realms.10 ~ Sera Beak
80:And what do you care anyway ? You don't want to marry me."
"I do want to marry you !" She stamped her foot in frustration. "If there was a Priestess standing here, I'd marry you right this minute !"
"She offered to marry him," Merry said.
"In front of witnesses," Jaenelle added.
Lucivar pointed a finger at Marian and snarled, "I accept."
"And he accepted," Merry said gleefully.
"In front of witnesses," Jaenelle added. "How soon can the Priestess get here ? ~ Anne Bishop
81:I believe that even a smattering of such findings in modern science and mathematics is far more compelling and exciting than most of the doctrines of pseudoscience, whose practitioners were condemned as early as the fifth century B.C. by the Ionian philosopher Heraclitus as “nigh -walkers, magicians, priests of Bacchus, priestesses of the wine-vat, mystery-mongers.” But science is more intricate and subtle, reveals a much richer imiverse, and powerfully evokes our sense of wonder. ~ Carl Sagan
82:Annwyl didn't know or care. She hated the gods, pretty much all of them. But more than gods, she hated humans who did horrible things while proclaiming themselves holy and righteous because of their gods.
Yet of all the holy sycophants she'd had to deal with the last few years, Annwyl loathed most of all Priestess Abertha, the sister of Duke Salebiri and the biggest hypocrite Annwyl had ever had the displeasure of meeting
... Annwyl liked to call her, Priestess Fucking Abertha ~ G A Aiken
83:Check it out-this is a copy of a painting of a Greek High Priestess named Calliope. it says she was also the Poet Laureate after Sappho. Doesn't she look exactly like Cher?'
Wow, that's insane. She does look just like young Cher,' Erin said.
Yeah, before she started wearing those white wigs. What the hell's up with that?' Shaunee said.
Damien gave the Twins a look. 'There is nothing wrong with Cher. Absolutely. Nothing.'
Uh-oh,' Shaunee said.
Stepped on a gay nerve,' Erin agreed. ~ P C Cast
84:She was shaking her hands which had gone numb in the priestess’s punishing grip. “Wow, she was really strong.” “All of my people are but most of us are taught to temper our strength with compassion. Here.” He took her hands in his and began rubbing her fingers. “Th-thank you.” Sophie’s heart felt like it was trying to knock its way through her ribs and her fingers started tingling for a whole different reason. He doesn’t even like me. He’s just being nice, she reminded herself sternly. ~ Evangeline Anderson
85:And then a memory from Avalon surfaced in her mind, something she had not thought of for a decade; one of the Druids, giving instruction in the secret wisdom to the young priestesses, had said, If you would have the message of the Gods to direct your life, look for that which repeats, again and again; for this is the message given you by the Gods, the karmic lesson you must learn for this incarnation. It comes again and again until you have made it part of your soul and your enduring spirit. ~ Marion Zimmer Bradley
86:Ashe is the energy that permeates the universe. It’s in everything—people, animals, plants, rocks. The orishas are mega-repositories. Spells, ceremonies, and invocations are all conducted to acquire ashe. Ashe gives the power to change things—to solve problems, subdue enemies, win love, acquire money. Ebbo is the concept of sacrifice. It’s what you do to get ashe. Ebbo can be an offering of fruit, flowers, candles, or food, or it can involve animal sacrifice. Priests and priestesses are known as santeros and ~ Kathy Reichs
87:1212Forget what they told you. You are love child of a passionate affair between goddess and universe. You were born of a steamy forbidden heat and you were made for the cyclone of unadulterated wholeness. You are a daughter of delight. You are the unconstrained mother of all. A fierce warrior. A wicked priestess. Your roots twist into this earth. Your spirit rises in glorious asana. You let loose with the howl of the wilderness you’ve held tight all these years.
You are the wild. Untethered. Gloriously free. ~ Jeanette LeBlanc
88:Come Neti, my chief keeper of the gates of Kur, and listen carefully to what I say: Lock up and bolt the seven gates of Kur, then, one by one, open each gate and let Innana enter through the crack. Bring her down. But as she enters, take her regal costume from her, take the crown, the necklace, and the beads that fall across her breast, the golden breastplate on her chest, the bracelet and the rod and line. Strip her of everything, even the royal robe, and let the holy priestess of the earth, the queen of heaven, enter here bowed low. ~ Hal Duncan
89:What now?” I asked, unsettled by the echo of our voices.
“Duty,” he replied somewhat cryptically, but at my quizzical expression, he added, “Dinner with the High Priestess.”
“You’re remarkably calm, considering the manner in which she left Hytanica.”
“I feel better having you here with me. Your presence will have caught her off guard and might keep her from yelling.”
I laughed and walked with him down the hall, our footfalls resounding as chillingly as our voices. “So that’s why you wanted me to come with you.”
“Maybe.” He smirked. ~ Cayla Kluver
90:I seek counsel of the Mother of Life, she who protects and nurtures us all.” “It is good you have come, for I can tell you are much troubled. Tell me your pain.” “Though I took a vow before the Mother to never call a bride, my blood burns within me for one I can never have,” Sylvan admitted, filled with shame. “Why may you not have her?” the priestess asked. “Does she belong to another?” “No.” Sylvan shook his head. “But…she does not want me. She is afraid of me and I fear I have done little to allay her distress and much to make it grow.” “Then ~ Evangeline Anderson
91:As in a mystic and dynamic dance
   A priestess of immaculate ecstasies
   Inspired and ruled from Truth's revealing vault
   Moves in some prophet cavern of the gods
   A heart of silence in the hands of joy
   Inhabited with rich creative beats
   A body like a parable of dawn
   That seemed a niche for veiled divinity
   Or golden temple-door to things beyond.
   Immortal rhythms swayed in her time-born steps;
   Her look, her smile awoke celestial sense
   Even in earth-stuff, and their intense delight
   Poured a supernal beauty on men's lives.
   ~ Sri Aurobindo, Savitri, The Issue,
92:What is wrong with Steldor?" my father asked, probably thinking illness since a shirt now covered his torso, concealing the last of his bandages.
"He was wounded," Cannan said, leaving out any hint of the strife we had experienced. "He's on the mend now." He cast a glance toward Nantilam, who still stood stiffly in the background, hands bound, Halias on alert next to her. "We have the High Priestess to thank for that."
"Not that she would have assisted willingly," Halias muttered, but she bowed her head toward the captain in appreciation of his acknowledgement. ~ Cayla Kluver
93:Invocation
NIGHT after night within the grove
The night wind spares the sacred fire -­
The breath made visible of love,
Of worship and desire.
I set the tripod at thy shrine;
The silver bowl, the amber flame,
And in the dark where no stars shine
I speak thy name.
By the high name I call on thee
Which only I, thy priestess, know.
I tread thy dance in ecstasy,
Sweet steps and slow.
O God, the hour has come. Appear!
I have performed the appointed rite -­
The dance, the fire; I long to hear
Wings in the night.
~ Alice Duer Miller
94:You disappoint me, Cassandra. Your legends paint you differently," Daemon said softly, his voice thick with malevolence.

"I'm a Priestess serving at this Altar," she said, working to keep her voice steady. "You're mistaken, if you think--"

He laughed softly. She stepped back from the sound and found herself pressed against the counter.

"Do you think I can't tell the difference between a Priestess and a Queen? And the Jewels, my dear, name you for what you are."

She bent her head slightly in acknowledgment. "So I'm Cassandra. What do you want, Prince? ~ Anne Bishop
95:Invocation
NIGHT after night within the grove
The night wind spares the sacred fire -­
The breath made visible of love,
Of worship and desire.
I set the tripod at thy shrine;
The silver bowl, the amber flame,
And in the dark where no stars shine
I speak thy name.
By the high name I call on thee
Which only I, thy priestess, know.
I tread thy dance in ecstasy,
Sweet steps and slow.
O God, the hour has come. Appear!
I have performed the appointed rite -­
The dance, the fire; I long to hear
Wings in the night.
~ Alice Duer Miller,
96:According to the oral tradition of Witches, we were once the priests and priestesses of a peasant Pagan religion. Members of this secret sect met at night beneath the full moon, for these were the "misfits" and "outcasts" who did not fit into mainstream society. Little has changed over the centuries and the Witchcraft community still embraces individuals frequently rejected in mainstream society. These include gays, lesbians, transgendered individuals, and other people with the courage to live their lives authentically in accord with who they are inside their hearts, minds, and spirits. ~ Raven Grimassi
97:Though I had fallen in love with Narian a long time ago, I was continually learning more about him. I'd always been familiar with his principles and his personality, but it was the little things that made a human being. Little things like how he was not accustomed to sharing his space-had I not been forced to hide in his bedroom during his exchange with the High Priestess, I would not yet have seen it. There are other things, as well. He was nearly fluent in three languages in addition to our own; he absolutely could not sleep on his back; and he didn't now how to handle being irritated with me. ~ Cayla Kluver
98:In Plato's Symposium, the priestess Diotima teaches Socrates that love is not a deity, but rather a 'great daemon' (202d). She goes on to explain that 'everything daemonic is between divine and mortal' (202d-e), and she describes daemons as 'interpreting and transporting human things to the gods and divine things to men; entreaties and sacrifices from below, and ordinances and requitals from above...' (202e). In Plato's Apology of Socrates, Socrates claimed to have a daimonion (literally, a 'divine something')[16] that frequently warned him-in the form of a 'voice'-against mistakes but never told him what to do.
   ~ Wikipedia, Daemon,
99:In Memoriam 3: O Sorrow, Cruel Fellowship
O Sorrow, cruel fellowship,
O Priestess in the vaults of Death,
O sweet and bitter in a breath,
What whispers from thy lying lip?
"The stars," she whispers, "blindly run;
A web is wov'n across the sky;
From out waste places comes a cry,
And murmurs from the dying sun:
"And all the phantom, Nature, stands-With all the music in her tone,
A hollow echo of my own,-A hollow form with empty hands."
And shall I take a thing so blind,
Embrace her as my natural good;
Or crush her, like a vice of blood,
Upon the threshold of the mind?
~ Alfred Lord Tennyson
100:Darius held Stark back from launching himself at Neferet, and Duantia spoke quickly into the rising tension. 'Neferet, I think we can all agree that there are many unanswered questions about the tragedy that occured on our island today. Stark, we also understand the passion and rage you feel at the loss of your Priestess. it is a hard blow for a Warrior to-'
Duantia's wisdom was cut off by the sound of Aretha Franklin belting out the chorus from "Respect," which was coming from the little Coach purse Aphrodite had slung over her shoulder.
Oopsie, um, sorry 'bout that.' Aphrodite frantically unzipped her purse and dug for her iPhone. ~ P C Cast
101:In Memoriam A. H. H. Obiit Mdcccxxxiii: 3. O Sorrow,
Cruel
O Sorrow, cruel fellowship,
O Priestess in the vaults of Death,
O sweet and bitter in a breath,
What whispers from thy lying lip?
"The stars," she whispers, "blindly run;
A web is wov'n across the sky;
From out waste places comes a cry,
And murmurs from the dying sun:
"And all the phantom, Nature, stands-With all the music in her tone,
A hollow echo of my own,-A hollow form with empty hands."
And shall I take a thing so blind,
Embrace her as my natural good;
Or crush her, like a vice of blood,
Upon the threshold of the mind?
~ Alfred Lord Tennyson
102:but the older priestesses had explained to her, as they gathered in the courtyard, that the Moon God was effacing the brightness of the Goddess, and she ran out with them joyously to join in the shrieks of the women to frighten him away. Later it had been explained to her how the sun and moon moved, and why, now and again, one of them crossed the face of the other; that it was in the way of nature, and the common people’s beliefs about the face of the Gods were symbols which these people, at the current state of their evolution, needed to visualize the great truths. Some day all men and women would know the inner truths, but now they needed them not. ~ Marion Zimmer Bradley
103:I'm Level Eighty on Warcraft."
The clerk was stunned. "You're Level Eighty?! Are you Horde, or Alliance?"
"What, are you kidding me? I'm Horde, of course! I'm a Level Eighty Undead Priestess. What Guild are you in?"
"I'm a Horde Blood Elf Paladin. Level 30. I'm in the Blood Roses Guild."
"Have you ever seen a 'Spectral Tiger' loot card? I bet you never have."
The museum clerk thought about her situation. The psychic pressure was mounting on her. She was in a state of moral anguish. "Look, Signora, I'd love to help your American clients there... But if my director knew I was Warcrafting here at work, she'd kill me! Besides, you don't have any 'Spectral Tiger' in your purse, I bet. ~ Bruce Sterling
104:Preparing myself for the ritual, dressing myself in beautiful things in white, blue and gold, and arriving at the doors of the temple, I am always thinking about what I am about to do, the role I am about to step into, and preparing a space in my thoughts for that. When I hear the ritual begin, a deep calm enters me and any thoughts I had of who I am and what I may be doing in my everyday life leave me, making that space for the Goddess. Entering the temple and seeing the assembled congregation sets up a dialogue with them in my actions, it is their presence that elevates me from being a magician seeking a connection with the divine, to a Priestess seeking that connection in the service of others. ~ Sorita d Este
105:Commander,” Saadi greeted him, but this was ignored by Narian, who instead issued orders.
“There’s nothing to be gained by this. Free her.”
“Rava will be displeased,” Saadi warned. “The High Priestess will be displeased.”
“The longer you argue, the more displeased I will be. How do you think the Hytanicans will react to our making an example of a young woman? Release her. I will report the matter to the High Priestess.”
This time when my Cokyrian captor glanced at me, I dared to look back, noticing his bronze hair and the freckles that danced across his nose. I shifted self-consciously, unable to believe that I was thinking of my appearance. Damn Cokyrians and their damn freckles. ~ Cayla Kluver
106:The priestess stopped at the mouth of the cave. She raised her arms, and an ugly unearthly howl came out of her, as if from the very depths of Sheol. The acoustics of the grotto were astounding. Every sound was amplified. Then she disappeared inside the cave. Jesus walked up to the temple area. Simon saw people appear from inside buildings and tombs, from behind trees, rocks and architecture. They were the local residents, but they were not acting normally. They walked with slight jerks and twitches, stumbling toward Jesus. Some could be heard squealing like swine and making guttural animal sounds. Demoniacs. Hundreds of them. Descending the slope like slow, crouching predators upon their prey, the Son of God. ~ Brian Godawa
107:Thank you,” he murmured with true gratitude when the priestess at last withdrew her hands. “I cannot tell you how much better that is.” “It will not last forever.” She eyed him sternly. “It is but a respite. You must tell this Earth female how you feel for her. Let her know how much you care and that you can love her without hurting her. For I perceive that she had been hurt before—that was the shadow I saw around her heart.” Sylvan nodded. “She has.” He frowned at the priestess. “And my vow?” “Was never a true vow in the first place. But I release you of it now. Go and seek your bride.” “I thank you, your holiness,” Sylvan said, rising to his feet. “But I fear you are sending me on a hopeless mission.” “While ~ Evangeline Anderson
108:On the thirteenth day of the fifth month of the third year after the Day of the Girls, Tatiana Moskalev brings her wealth and her connections, a little less than half her army, and many of her weapons to a castle in the hills on the borders of Moldova. And there she declares a new kingdom, uniting the coastal lands between the old forests and the great inlets and thus, in effect, declaring war on four separate countries, including the Big Bear herself. She calls the new country Bessapara, after the ancient people who lived there and interpreted the sacred sayings of the priestesses on the mountaintops. The international community waits for the outcome. The consensus is that the state of Bessapara cannot hold on for long.
Pg 98 ~ Naomi Alderman
109:In my time I have been called many things: sister, lover, priestess, wise-woman, queen. Now in truth I have come to be wise-woman, and a time may come when these things may need to be known. But in sober truth, I think it is the Christians who will tell the last tale. For ever the world of Fairy drifts further from the world in which the Christ holds sway. I have no quarrel with the Christ, only with his priests, who call the Great Goddess a demon and deny that she ever held power in this world. At best, they say that her power was of Satan. Or else they clothe her in the blue robe of the Lady of Nazareth—who indeed had power in her way, too—and say that she was ever virgin. But what can a virgin know of the sorrows and travail of mankind? ~ Marion Zimmer Bradley
110:The clergy of the TV religion are those entertainers, newscasters in particular, who nightly spread the Word from their cathode-ray pulpit. The network newscasters are the High Priests and High Priestesses of Satanism, bending the minds of viewers to the requirements of consumer marketing. The local newscasters are the parish priests, yawking, ribbing and emoting over the latest local tragedies. Celebrities, whether local or national, are all part of the hierarchy of the church, men of the cloth. There should be no complaint regarding network High Priests arriving to report on scenes of devastation in white stretch limos. After all, they are royalty within the Church and should be accorded the same privileges as a visiting Pope, Cardinal or Archbishop. ~ Anonymous
111:So long as I confine my activities to social service and the blind, they compliment me extravagantly, calling me ‘arch priestess of the sightless,’ ‘wonder woman,’ and a ‘modern miracle.’ But when it comes to a discussion of poverty, and I maintain that it is the result of wrong economics—that the industrial system under which we live is at the root of much of the physical deafness and blindness in the world—that is a different matter! It is laudable to give aid to the handicapped. Superficial charities make smooth the way of the prosperous; but to advocate that all human beings should have leisure and comfort, the decencies and refinements of life, is a Utopian dream, and one who seriously contemplates its realization indeed must be deaf, dumb, and blind. ~ Helen Keller
112:Sophia…” He closed his eyes and pinched the bridge of his nose, trying to push back the tension headache that was pulsing in his temples. “I don’t know why it happened either. I don’t know why my fangs have suddenly come out twice in the past—” “Three times,” she said faintly. “What?” He opened his eyes and stared at her. “You…they came out in the sacred grove, too. When you were, um, rescuing me from that priestess.” Sylvan nearly groaned. This is not good. The fact that his fangs were coming out in response to his lust for her was one thing. But to know that they were also coming out when his protective instincts were aroused was something else again. I’m acting like we’re already mated and I have to protect her! What in the seven hells is wrong with me? “I’m ~ Evangeline Anderson
113:Much of what is written on the craft is biased in one way or another, so weed out what is useful to you and ignore the rest. I see the next few years as being crucial in the transformation of our culture away from the patriarchal death cults and toward the love of life, of nature, of the female principle. The craft is only one path among the many opening up for women, and many of us will blaze new trails as we explore the uncharted country of our own interiors. The heritage, the culture, the knowledge of the ancient priestesses, healers, poets, singers, and seers were nearly lost, but a seed survived the flames that will blossom in a new age into thousands of flowers. The long sleep of Mother Goddess is ended. May She awaken in each of our hearts ~~ Merry meet, merry part, and blessed be. ~ Starhawk
114:Killenkusi was a Machi59 priestess. Her daughter Kinturay had to choose between succeeding her or becoming a spy; she chose the latter and her love for the Irishman; this opportunity afforded her the hope of having a child who, like Lautaro and mixed-race Alejo, would be raised among the Spaniards, and like them might one day lead the hosts of those who wished to push the conquistadors back beyond the Maule River, because Admapu law prohibited the Araucanians from fighting outside of Yekmonchi. Her hope was realized and in the spring60 of the year 1777, in the place called Palpal, an Araucanian woman endured the pain of childbirth in a standing position because tradition decreed that a strong child could not be born of a weak mother. The son arrived and became the Liberator of Chile. ~ Roberto Bola o
115:Any one above or below the prescribed ages who takes part in the public hymeneals shall be said to have done an unholy and unrighteous thing; the child of which he is the father, if it steals into life, will have been conceived under auspices very unlike the sacrifices and prayers, which at each hymeneal priestesses and priest and the whole city will offer, that the new generation may be better and more useful than their good and useful parents, whereas his child will be the offspring of darkness and strange lust. Very true, he replied. And the same law will apply to any one of those within the prescribed age who forms a connection with any woman in the prime of life without the sanction of the rulers; for we shall say that he is raising up a bastard to the State, uncertified and unconsecrated. Very ~ Plato
116:I want you to remember something. Zo. It's important, and it'll make more sense when you have yourself together again. I'm gonna leave here and get another chance at life.You're gonna be a big, famous vamp High Priestess. That means you're gonna live like a gazillion years. I'll find you again. Even if it takes a hundred of those years. I promise you, Zoey Redbird, we'll be together again." Heath pulled her into his arms and kissed her trying through touch to show her that his love was never-ending. When he finally forced himself to let her go, he thought he saw understanding in her haunted, shocked gaze. "I'll love you forever, Zo."
Then Heath turned and walked away from his true love. The air before him opened, curtainlike, and he stepped from one realm to another and disappeared completely. ~ P C Cast
117:The twelve with Jesus arrived at the sacred pool, about a hundred yards wide. At its origin, another fifty yards ahead of them, the Springs of Panias gushed out of the Cave of Pan, a large mouth in the red cliff towering a hundred feet over the temple district. A temple of Pan, altars, tombs, and other architecture carved into the very rock, housed a thousand eyes watching Jesus approach them. Inhuman eyes. Jesus held his hand up to the disciples. “Wait here.” They stopped. Jesus walked on. From his position, Simon saw what looked like a high priestess step out of the temple. He could barely see in the waning light, but she wore an elaborate headdress and flowing purple robes. She saw Jesus, turned, and led her entourage of nymphs back into the cave. She was not going to face down her challenger. ~ Brian Godawa
118:Every woman is a priestess,” she said abruptly. “Every single one.” She turned to Marianne, her eyes clear as water. “The major religions and their shepherds have assigned to women a position that isn’t ours making us second class citizens. The goddess became God, priestesses where whores, and any woman who put up resistance was branded a witch. And the special quality of each woman – her intelligence, her capacity for augury, healing, and sensuality – was, and still is, debased.” She brushed off the soil that was hardening on her trousers. “Every woman is a priestess if she loves life and can work magic on herself and those who are sacred to her. It’s time for women to remind themselves of the powers they have inside. The goddess hates to see abilities go to waste, and women waste their abilities far too often. ~ Nina George
119:There was nothing negative about the whore in the ancient world; Her title Hierodule of Heaven means sacred work or servant of the holy in Greek. The word prostitute means to stand on behalf of (the Goddess) in Hebrew the word zona is used for both Prophetess and Priestess. Even that wonderful word harlot (rhymes with scarlet) means priestess of Hathoor. It is essential that the Goddess-hating negativity of Christianity is washed away from these words. Even the term virgin means ever creative receptive potential, it is definitely not a physical state. In many cultures virgin simply meant un-married, and children born out of wedlock were called virgin-born – that puts rather a different slant on the story of Joseph and Mary. More often than not virgin was used to contrast with married, and the Holy Whore is very much her own woman. ~ Peter Grey
120:Peter stepped over to him and whispered, “But rabbi, she is the Ob priestess. She is no doubt full of demons.” Jesus whispered to him, “Seven. She actually had seven demons. I already cast them out.” Peter said, “But, women? What business can we have with them?” Jesus said, “We are about to find out.” He leaned in. “Peter, I think you had better reevaluate your low opinion of women in the kingdom of God. They are your fellow heirs of eternal life. You had better get used to their valuable contributions. They may be subordinate to you in their roles, but they are going to share equally with you in your inheritance.” Peter stood dumbfounded and chastised. Jesus looked at Mary, who was staring wide-eyed at Simon. Jesus leaned over to Simon. “And you had better change your monkish views as well, Simon. I think she has an interest in you. ~ Brian Godawa
121:Lana started to make sounds, like the imprecations of a priestess, over the bills that the boy had given her. Whispered numerals and words floated upward from her coral lips, and, closing her eyes, she copied some figures onto a pad of paper. Her fine body, itself a profitable investment through the years, bent reverently over the Formica-top altar. Smoke, like incense, rose from the cigarette in the ashtray at her elbow, curling upward with her prayers, up above the host which she was elevating in order to study the date of its minting, the single silver dollar that lay among the offerings. Her bracelet tinkled, calling communicants to the altar, but the only one in the temple had been excommunicated from the Faith because of his parentage and continued mopping. An offering fell to the floor, the host, and Lana knelt to venerate and retrieve it. ~ John Kennedy Toole
122:Nantilam, I noticed, was watching Narian almost shamelessly, and I began to count the seconds, for each one that passed brought us closer to the end of this awkward meal.
Narian abruptly set down his fork and leaned back in his chair to address her. “The festival went well.”
“I’m glad to hear that. No disruptions, disturbances?”
“A few minor matters, but nothing serious.”
I tensed, for he was keeping information from her, for what reason I did not know.
“Good. Then finish your meal.”
“I’m afraid being under scrutiny has cost me my appetite.”
It was a bold assertion, and the hardening of the High Priestess’s eyes confirmed that it was less respectful than she generally tolerated. She sat silently, locking her gaze on his, neither of them showing the slightest inclination to yield. Perhaps he was more like her than he cared to admit. ~ Cayla Kluver
123:Slade lowered his head to kiss her lips once, very gently. “They will love you because you’re the only woman in the world who can complete me. They will love your kind heart and gentle ways. Your fierce courage and Goddess-given magic. How could they not, when I love you with all my being? They’ll see what I see when I look at you.” He kissed her again, this time with more passion. “They will see a bright and loving future for not only us, but for the Clan. Great-grandmother will especially love the fact that you are a priestess.” “I hope you’re right.” She bit her lip nervously, but Slade kissed her again, taking her lip between his own teeth for a quick, painless nip before letting her go again. “Trust me, kitten. I know them as well as I know myself. Eventually, you will too. Snowcats live a very long time. You’ll have centuries to get used to them. ~ Bianca D Arc
124:Girl, are you all right?” Argus stood just outside the doorway, speaking barely above a whisper.
“I’m fine,” I replied. For now.
“So, this women’s business of yours--” He sounded ill at ease, speaking about what had just happened to me. “Your new friends here seem to think it’s the first time it’s happened to you. Are they right?” I nodded. “Ah. Seems like it’s something special to them, a great honor to share. This hut you’re in, it’s the women’s shrine, and that crone’s a priestess. The only reason they’re letting me come this close and talk to you is so I can translate what she’s got to say.”
“Argus, please tell me what’s happening outside,” I said. “I know my brothers saw, but the others--?”
“It doesn’t matter who saw what, by now everyone’s heard all about it. If I were you, lass, I’d stay inside that hut until I had grandchildren. ~ Esther M Friesner
125:Then, if I am lucky enough to be taken with such poetic pseudo-seriousness, my nether mouth may be acknowledged as one capable of speech – were there not, of old, divinatory priestesses, female oracles and so forth? Was there not Cassandra, who always spoke the truth, although admittedly in such a way that nobody ever believed her? And that, in mythic terms, is the hell of it. Since that female, oracular mouth is located so near the beastly backside, my vagina might indeed be patronisingly regarded as a speaking mouth, but never one that issues the voice of reason. In this most insulting mythic redefinition of myself, that of occult priestess, I am indeed allowed to speak but only of things that male society does not take seriously. I can hint at dreams, I can even personify the imagination; but that is only because I am not rational enough to cope with reality. ~ Angela Carter
126:Great Literature is help for humans. It is medicine of the highest order. In a more aware culture, writers would be considered priests. And, in fact, I have approached writing in a distinctly priestess frame of mind. I know what The Color Purple can mean to people, women and men, who have no voice. Who believe they have few choices in life. It can open to them, to their view, the full abundance of this amazing journey we are all on. It can lift them into a new realization of their own power, beauty, love, courage. It is a book that unites the present with the past, therefore giving people a sense of history and of timelessness they might never achieve otherwise. And even were it not ‘great’ literature, it has the best interests of all of us humans at heart. That we grow, change, challenge, encourage, love fiercely in the awareness that real love can never be incorrect. ~ Alice Walker
127:To diminish the worth of women, men had to diminish the worth of the moon. They had to drive a wedge between human beings and the trees and the beasts and the waters, because trees and beasts and waters are as loyal to the moon as to the sun. They had to drive a wedge between thought and feeling...At first they used Apollo as the wedge, and the abstract logic of Apollo made a mighty wedge, indeed, but Apollo the artist maintained a love for women, not the open, unrestrained lust that Pan has, but a controlled longing that undermined the patriarchal ambition. When Christ came along, Christ, who slept with no female...Christ, who played no musical instrument, recited no poetry, and never kicked up his heels by moonlight, this Christ was the perfect wedge. Christianity is merely a system for turning priestesses into handmaidens, queens into concubines, and goddesses into muses. ~ Tom Robbins
128:The Goddess-centered art we have been examining, with its striking absence of images of male domination or warfare, seems to have reflected a social order in which women, first as heads of clans and priestesses and later on in other important roles, played a central part, and in which both men and women worked together in equal partnership for the common good. If there was here no glorification of wrathful male deities or rulers carrying thunderbolts or arms, or of great conquerors dragging abject slaves about in chains, it is not unreasonable to infer it was because there were no counterparts for those images in real life.10 And if the central religious image was a woman giving birth and not, as in our time, a man dying on a cross, it would not be unreasonable to infer that life and the love of life—rather than death and the fear of death—were dominant in society as well as art. ~ Riane Eisler
129:My mother was waiting for us in the parlor, occupying an armchair across from the sofa, intending to let Narian and I sit next to each other.
Once over the threshold, Narian began shooting me looks that I found humorous, as though he regretted being pulled into this and was wondering if he could fake illness to escape. He could lead an army, face down the Overlord and challenge the High Priestess, but apparently he had qualms about spending time with my kind and demure mother.
“Alera, Narian, I’m so glad you’re here--both of you. Please, have a seat.” She motioned to the sofa and we complied.
“Good afternoon, Queen Elissia,” Narian greeted her, deliberately choosing to address her according to Hytanican custom, for he had a gentleman’s manners. In fact, one of my earliest impressions of him was that he was a chameleon, with a knack for having exactly the effect he wanted on people. ~ Cayla Kluver
130:The word comes from Greek mythology. Orchis was the son of a satyr and a nymph. During a feast to celebrate Bacchus, Orchis drank too much wine and tried to force his attentions on a priestess. Bacchus was very displeased, and reacted by having Orchis torn to pieces. The pieces were scattered far and wide, and wherever one landed, an orchid grew." Pausing, she leaned away for a few seconds, reaching for something. Something soft and delicate touched his cracked lips.... She was applying salve with a fingertip. "Most people don't know that vanilla is the fruit of an orchid vine. We keep one in a glasshouse on the estate- it's so long that it grows sideways on the wall. When one of the flowers is full grown, it opens in the morning, and if it isn't pollinated, it closes in the evening, never to open again. The white blossoms, and the vanilla pods within them, have the sweetest scent in the world... ~ Lisa Kleypas
131:Reverie
DOVE-TINTED, urban-bred, secure,
Nowise self-centred, quite self-sure,
Priestess of Business, Office-nun,
And yet her girlhood scarcely done!
That balanced poise of confidence
Is yet young maiden Innocence,
Whose deep, gray eyes undreaming wait
The woman’s dearest boon from Fate.
My reverie, though it vision plain
Her lucency, can scarce retain
The radiant smile, with humor fraught,
But quick repressed, as if she thought
It wrong to let her seniors guess
That Mirth may visit business;
Yet flits it back in utter charm,
As if to smile were n’t really harm.
It is that smile which brings surprise
Jumping to my delighted eyes,
And makes my heart so yearn she were
Absorbed in Woman’s natural care.
Cupid, though growing gray I be,
Incline her heart, that I may free
Her life from office drudgery.
~ Edward William Thomson
132:series of torches surrounded the curved opening of a large pit, the opening of the Abyss. The high priestess from earlier stood on the opposite side of the pit, before an entourage of twelve nymphs, all seductively alluring in translucent gowns and jewelry. The priestess wore a headdress of gems on her raven black hair. Her purple robe, made from the finest of Phoenician silks, flowed behind her like a spirit. Her eyes were large, deep brown and hypnotic. Her beauty was beguiling. When she spoke, her voice sounded like seven voices blended into one bewitching unity. “Welcome to the Gates of Hades, Son of God,” she said. “And your ass-kissing suck-upssss.” Her “esses” slid through the air like the serpents that wrapped around her arms and neck. Jesus stared her down. She faltered and visibly shivered, but regained her composure and approached him. “What is your name, woman?” “I am the Ob of Paniassss. ~ Brian Godawa
133:Hymn To The Dairymaids On Beacon Street
Sweetly solemn see them stand,
Spinning churns on either hand,
Neatly capped and aproned white
Airy fairy dairy sight.
Jersey priestesses they seem
Miracling milk to cream.
Cream solidifies to cheese
By Pasteural mysteries,
And they give, within their shrine,
Their communión in kine.
Incantations pure they mutter
O'er the golden minted butter
And (no layman hand can pen it)
See them gloat above their rennet.
By that hillside window pane
Rugged teamsters draw the rein.
Doff the battered hat and bow
To these acolytes of cow.
Genuflect, ye passersby!
Muse upon their ritual highMilk to cream, yea, cream to cheese
White lacteal mysteries!
Let adorers sing the word
Of the smoothly flowing curd.
Yea, we sing with bells and fife
This is the whey, this is the Life.
~ Christopher Morley
134:You wish to hear the origin story?” “Uh, yes.” I passed him the bottle. “Very well.” He drank, handing it to Jack, starting another round. “A goddess of magic devised a contest to the death for select mortals. She invited deities of other realms to send a representative from their most prestigious house, all youths. Each one bore their god’s emblem upon his or her right hand.” My heart raced . . . I had been one of those youths. “These players would fight inside Tar Ro, a sacred realm as large as a thousand kingdoms, harvesting their victims’ emblems; only the player who’d collected them all would leave Tar Ro alive. Naturally, the gods cheated, gifting their own representative with superhuman abilities, making them more than mortal. Secret abilities. That’s why we’re called Arcana.” “Hail Tar Ro,” I murmured. “The High Priestess told me that.” “An old-fashioned greeting. She’s quite knowledgeable about the games. Very respectful of the old ways. ~ Kresley Cole
135:The Priestess

Her skin was pale, and her eyes were dark, and her hair was dyed black. She went on a daytime talk show and proclaimed herself a vampire queen. She showed the cameras her dentally crafted fangs, and brought on ex-lovers who, in various stages of embarrassment, admitted that she had drawn their blood, and that she drank it.

"You can be seen in a mirror, though?" asked the talk show hostess. She was the richest woman in America, and had got that way by bringing the freaks and the hurt and the lost out in front of her cameras and showing their pain to the world.

The studio audience laughed.

The woman seemed slightly affronted. "Yes. Contrary to what people may think, vampires can be seen in mirrors and on television cameras."

"Well, that's one thing you finally got right, honey," said the hostess of the daytime talk show. But she put her hand over her microphone as she said it, and it was never broadcast. ~ Neil Gaiman
136:What had spoken to her in that scoured-out cavity of the granite? What dwelt in the first of the caves? Something very old and very small. Before time, it was before space also. Something snub-nosed, incapable of generosity -- the undying worm itself. Since hearing its voice, she had not entertained one large thought, she was actually envious of Adela. All this fuss over a frightened girl! Nothing had happened, 'and if it had,' she found herself thinking with the cynicism of a withered priestess, 'if it had there are worse evils than love.' The unspeakable attempt presented itself to her as love: in a cave, in a church -- Boum, it amounts to the same. Visions are supposed to entail profundity, but -- Wait till you get one, dear reader! The abyss also may be petty, the serpent of eternity made of maggots; her constant thought was: 'Less attention should be paid to my future daughter-in-law and more to me, there is no sorrow like my sorrow,' although when the attention was paid she rejected it irritably. ~ E M Forster
137:In The Tombs of Atuan, the Old Powers, the Nameless Ones, appear as mysterious, ominous, and yet inactive. Arha/Tenar is their priestess, the greatest of all priestesses, whom the Godking himself is supposed to obey: But what is her realm? A prison in the desert. Women guarded by eunuchs. Ancient tombstones, a half-ruined temple, an empty throne. A fearful underground labyrinth where prisoners are left to die of starvation and thirst, where only she can walk the maze, where light must never come. She rules a dark, empty, useless realm. Her power imprisons her. This isn’t the rosy reassurance many novels at the time offered adolescents. It’s a very bleak picture of what a girl may expect. Arha’s life is dreary, unchanging, with almost no experience of kindness except from Manan the eunuch. The third chapter may be the cruelest, most hopeless passage in all the Earthsea books. By consenting to the death of “her” prisoners, Arha locks the prison door upon herself. Her whole life will be lived in a trap. ~ Ursula K Le Guin
138:It's true," He whispered.

Suddenly, I was aware of how close we were standing, so close I could touch the square of his jaw or the chiseled planes of his face.

"What's true?"

"You are as beautiful as I remembered. Nefer," he said, and his breath came quickly. "Perhaps you want to simply remain my friend, but when I was gone, all I could think about was you. When I was supposed to be thinking about the rebellion, or how my men would find fresh water in the desert, all I could think of was how you wanted to be hidden away in the Temple of Hathor. Nefer," he said passionately, "you can't be a priestess."

I wanted to close my eyes and step into the shelter of his embrace, but beyond the column the entire court was gathering.

"But if I'm not to be a priestess," I asked him, "where will my place be in Thebes?" I held my breath, waiting for the right answer to come, willing it into his heart. Then he took me in his arms and brushed his lips against mine.

"With me," he said firmly. "As my queen. ~ Michelle Moran
139:Well, well, isn’t that interesting,” Argus remarked from the doorway.
“What?” I asked, watching her warily.
“Apparently, our priestess is also the local Pythia. She foretells the future, but only for girls who’ve just become women.”
“Is that what she’s doing now?” I asked. “Telling my future?” The old woman was still making noises like those of a hired mourner. I hoped that her woeful tune didn’t mean that my life was going to be one long tragedy. “What’s she saying?”
“Oh, it’s mostly babble. You’re brave, you’re strong, you’re quick-witted, you’ll marry a king, find your true love, have lots of babies, kill whole armies with your beauty, and your fame will live forever, yap, yap, yap. If you were one of the local girls, she’d probably say that you attract fish. Don’t take any of it seriously, lass. It’s just an old woman’s way of giving you something to look forward to. That crone knows how hard a woman’s life can be, so she’s giving you a few dreams to distract you. Hope costs nothing, right?” For once, Argus’s smile looked natural. ~ Esther M Friesner
140:I apologize to my priestess. I underestimated her. I equated her with the global media, which is where I found those easily digestible raw materials for my banal and bourgeois account of My Life with Poor Terminal Celestine. There are so many blogs and articles in the 'Living' sections of online newspapers pouring out the synthetic emotions and the mundane details and the shocking bodily consequences of any disease you can think of or even invent. Honestly, Celestine and I felt we had to fully understand the phenomenon of the internet, because consumerism and the internet had fused, they had become one thing, even though on a certain level it was anathema to us, noxious to the strange, introverted, and, yes, relentlessly snob personal culture we had spent years developing together. But also we realized we needed the net in order to understand what was the basic human condition, what a current human being really was, because we had lost touch with that, our students made that clear to us, and so we were also using the internet to research our roles playing normal human beings. ~ David Cronenberg
141:Brittania's Throne
MIRROR of the trackless sky,
Priestess of its changing mood,
Ere thy shores were piled on high
Thou didst feel God’s Spirit brood;
Thou didst hear His word alone;—
Be thou still Britannia’s throne.
From thy deeps the creeping things
Spread through cove and brook and fen,
Changing scales for soaring wings
And the mould of mortal men;
From thy womb the world hath grown!
Be thou still Britannia’s throne.
Then among the happier ones
Filing in millennial train,
Thou didst make us favoured sons,
Teaching us to rule and reign:
Thou didst call us for thine own—
Be thou still Britannia’s throne.
Mighty Mistress, thou didst school
England’s heart in all thy ways;
May she learn no nicer rule
In the ease of after days;
For the greatness we have known
Be thou still Britannia’s throne.
For the passion of our plea,
For the memory of our brave,
For the fights we fought for thee,
For the bones that thou dost lave,
For the love that we have shown!
Be thou still Britannia’s throne.
~ Arthur Maquarie
142:You are absolutely at the correct spot. Well done, you, for finding us!" Damien's smile was so warm that I watched the tense set of the human's shoulders relax. Then he actually held out his hand and said, "Excellent. I'm Adam Paluka, from Tulsa's Fox News 23, I'm here to interview your High Priestess and, I'm guessing, some of you as well."
"Nice to meet you, Mr. Paluka. I'm Damien," Damien said, taking his hand. Then he giggled a little and added, "Oooh, strong grip!"
The reporter grinned. "I aim to please. And call me Adam. Mr. Paluka is my dad."
Damien giggled again. Adam chuckled. They made major eye contact. Stevie Rae nudged me and we shared a /look./ Adam was cute, seriously cute in a young, up-and-coming metro-sexual guy way. Dark hair, dark eyes, good teeth, really good shoes, and a man satchel, which Stevie Rae and I spotted together. Our eyes telegraphed to each other /potential boyfriend for Damien!/
"Hi there, Adam, I'm Stevie Rae." She stuck out her hand. As he took it she said, "You don't have a girlfriend, do ya?"
His straight-toothed smile faltered, but only a little. "No. I don't, um. No. I absolutely don't have a girlfriend. ~ P C Cast
143:To us poetry is a revel of intellect and fancy, imagination a plaything and caterer for our amusement, our entertainer, the nautch-girl of the mind. But to the men of old the poet was a seer, a revealer of hidden truths, imagination no dancing courtesan but a priestess in God's house commissioned not to spin fictions but to image difficult and hidden truths; even the metaphor or simile in the Vedic style is used with a serious purpose and expected to convey a reality, not to suggest a pleasing artifice of thought. The image was to these seers a revelative symbol of the unrevealed and it was used because it could hint luminously to the mind what the precise intellectual word, apt only for logical or practical thought or to express the physical and the superficial, could not at all hope to manifest. To them this symbol of the Creator's body was more than an image, it expressed a divine reality. Human society was for them an attempt to express in life the cosmic Purusha who has expressed himself otherwise in the material and the supraphysical universe. Man and the cosmos are both of them symbols and expressions of the same hidden Reality.
   ~ Sri Aurobindo, The Human Cycle, Chapter 1, The Cycle of Society,
144:The next morning I took the screen out of that window, and hid it in the back of my closet, where it remains. I took an elective in poetry my sophomore year because I heard that Margo was taking it. By then we weren't friends really, because she was already the high priestess of Winterpark High School. She was friendly to me, but I never really had anything to say to her really, except occasionally during classes. The great surprise of that class was that I actually like poetry. At least some of it. There's this one poem we read called "Howl", and it starts out:
"I saw the best minds of my generation, destroyed by madness. Starving, hysterical, naked."

I've never seen Margo starving, or hysterical, and God knows I've never seen her naked. But somehow -- and this is why I like poetry -- those words still describe her as she stood outside my window. Her blinkless blue eyes, starving, and hysterical, and naked, staring back at me. I think she was still trying to piece it together - how the strings break, I mean - as she stared at me. Margo always loved mysteries, and in everything that came afterward, I could never stop thinking that maybe she loved mysteries so much that she became one. ~ John Green
145:In the seventeenth century, John Locke spoke of tolerance. Asking, ‘Where is the man that has incontestable evidence of the truth of all he holds?’ he asserted that nobody could ever be sure of what is true. How do we have the right, then, to proclaim our own infallible truth or judge others’ ideas as right or wrong? Once again Locke’s words support a fundamental concept within modern *Pagan thought, and one here that allows a circle of Pagans to gather together to share prayers of reverence and respect in ceremony, a Wiccan devotee of Demeter who sees her as one aspect of the Great Goddess she calls Isis, beside a Druid polytheist who lives in the service of his god Gwyn ap Nydd, a Witch who is a priestess of the horse goddess Epona, an animist honouring a power she calls Darkness, a Heathen who has struck a good deal with Odin, and a chaos magician who thinks they’re all completely mad, himself honouring the power that seethes within the patterns of all life. The harmony that allows them to stand in ceremony together comes from that acknowledgement that there is no one truth that can be shared. Each individual has questioned, studied, explored, experienced life and made choices of belief that are uniquely personal. ~ Emma Restall Orr
146:It was terrible when I was rejected the first time,” Sylvan admitted brokenly. “So terrible I never wanted to go through it again. But this…this is a thousand times worse.” “Because you have found your one true mate—your bride.” The priestess shook her head. “And yet you let her slip through your fingers—telling her that your need for her will be gone as soon as you reached the ship. Letting her believe you can live without her when you know you cannot.” “A fact which I now acknowledge freely,” he said. “But please, your holiness, she does not want me.” “She does not know she wants you because you haven’t given her a reason to know it,” the priestess said sternly. “You allowed your need to overcome you, the protective rage to rule your actions instead of common sense. In so doing, you have frightened her away.” “Permanently, I fear,” Sylvan said harshly. “In light of my loss, will you not now perform a cleansing?” “I will not. For I think that you may yet regain your bride’s trust and bond her to you.” “How?” Sylvan couldn’t help feeling exasperated. “She fears me. And as long as my blood burns with need for her, I can do nothing but make her fear me more.” “I will do this much at least, then. Come, I will cool your blood. ~ Evangeline Anderson
147:For this is the thing the priests do not know, with their One God and One Truth; that there is no such thing as a true tale. Truth has many faces and the truth is like the old road to Avalon; it depends on your own will, and your own thoughts, whither the road will take you, and whether, at the end, you arrive at the Holy Isle of Eternity or among the priests with their bells and their death and their Satan and hell and damnation...but perhaps I am unjust even to them. Even the Lady of the Lake, who hated a priest's robe as she would have hated a poisonous viper, and with good cause too, chid me once for speaking evil of the God.

'For all the Gods are one god,' she said to me then, as she had said many times before, and as I have said to my own novices many times, and as every priestess who comes after me will say again, 'and all the Goddesses are one Goddess, and their is only one Initiator. And to every man his own truth, and the God within.'

And so, perhaps, the truth winds somewhere between the road to Glastonbury, Isle of the Priests, and the road to Avalon, lost forever in the mists of the Summer Sea.

But this is my truth, I who am Morgaine tell you these things, Morgaine who was in later days called Morgan le Fay. ~ Marion Zimmer Bradley
148:They have nothing to give. They have no power of making. All their power is to darken and destroy. They cannot leave this place; they are this place; and it should be left to them. They should not be denied nor forgotten, but neither should they be worshiped. The Earth is beautiful, and bright, and kindly, but that is not all. The Earth is also terrible, and dark, and cruel. The rabbit shrieks dying in the green meadows. The mountains clench their great hands full of hidden fire. There are sharks in the sea, and there is cruelty in men’s eyes. And where men worship these things and abase themselves before them, there evil breeds; there places are made in the world where darkness gathers, places given over wholly to the Ones whom we call Nameless, the ancient and holy Powers of the Earth before the Light, the powers of the dark, of ruin, of madness… I think they drove your priestess Kossil mad a long time ago; I think she has prowled these caverns as she prowls the labyrinth of her own self, and now she cannot see the daylight any more. She tells you that the Nameless Ones are dead; only a lost soul, lost to truth, could believe that. They exist. But they are not your Masters. They never were. You are free, Tenar. You were taught to be a slave, but you have broken free. ~ Ursula K Le Guin
149:She had begun to understand how priesthoods were born, the necessity of sanctioned forms, rules and prohibitions, the moral filter defined by accepted notions of justice. And yet, she could also see how profoundly dangerous such an institution could become, as arbiters of morality, as dispensers of that justice. Faces like hooded vultures, guarding the door to the court, choosing who gets inside and who doesn’t. How soon before the first bag of silver changes hands? How soon before the first reprehensible criminal buys passage into the arms of the blind, unquestioning Redeemer? She could fashion such a church, could formalize the cult into a religion, and she could impose a harsh, unwavering sense of justice. But what of the next generation of priests and priestesses? And the one after that, and the next one? How long before the hard rules make that church a self-righteous, power-mongering tyranny? How long before corruption arrives, when the hidden heart of the religion is the simple fact that the Redeemer embraces everyone who comes before him? A fact virtually guaranteed to breed cynicism in the priesthood, and from such cynicism secular acquisitiveness would be inevitable. This loss was not just a loss of faith in the Redeemer. It was a loss of faith in religion itself. ~ Steven Erikson
150:Once, he’d been the Seducer, the Executioner, the High Priest of the Hourglass, the Prince of the Darkness, the High Lord of Hell.

Once, he’d been Consort to Cassandra, the great Black-Jeweled, Black Widow Queen, the last Witch to walk the Realms.

Once, he’d been the only Black-Jeweled Warlord Prince in the history of the Blood, feared for his temper and the power he wielded.

Once, he’d been the only male who was a Black Widow.

Once, he’d ruled the Dhemlan Territory in the Realm of Terreille and her sister Territory in Kaeleer, the Shadow Realm. He’d been the only male ever to rule without answering to a Queen and, except for Witch, the only member of the Blood to rule Territories in two Realms.

Once, he’d been married to Hekatah, an aristo Black Widow Priestess from one of Hayll’s Hundred Families.

Once, he’d raised two sons, Mephis and Peyton. He’d played games with them, told them stories, read to them, healed their skinned knees and broken hearts, taught them Craft and Blood Law, showered them with his love of the land as well as music, art, and literature, encouraged them to look with eager eyes upon all that the Realms had to offer—not to conquer but to learn. He’d taught them to dance for a social occasion and to dance for the glory of Witch. He’d taught them how to be Blood.

But that was a long, long time ago. ~ Anne Bishop
151:Fine. Sylvan didn’t have that cleansing ceremony you thought he had. So he still has feelings for you, Sophie.” Kat rolled her eyes. “Like anyone with half a brain couldn’t tell that just by watching him. He’s so head over heels for her it’s a wonder he’s not flat on his back.” “You guys!” Sophie could feel herself blushing again. “Come on.” “Sorry, but I had to tell you.” Liv pressed her hairbrush and some hair bands into Sophie’s hands. “I promised I’d put in a good word for you. He really loves you, you know?” “He does?” Sophie felt elated for a moment, then her heart sank. “But what about his vow to never take a bride?” Her sister shrugged. “He said the priestess released him from it.” “Oh.” Sophie bit her lip. “That’s nice about the cleansing and the vow and everything but it’s still not the main point. I mean what about…” “I know, the biting,” Liv said. “It’s not just that he wants to bite me,” she objected. “He wants to inject me with his essence.” “His what?” Kat and Liv frowned as Sophie explained rapidly. “…and I just can’t imagine feeling what I just felt in my arm times four every time we have sex,” she finished. “Can’t say that I blame you.” Kat shook her head. “Damn, why can’t anything ever be normal with these crazy Kindred? They all want to inject you or invade you or—” “Or love you,” Olivia finished firmly. “Maybe it’s not that bad, Sophie.” “Yeah, ~ Evangeline Anderson
152:Too often scholars have thought and even suggested that what happened during and after Constantine was that the church sought to replace the pagan temples, priests, and sacrifices with their own. This is at best a half truth. If this had been primarily what was going on, we would have expected to find priestesses showing up in the mainstream church in and after the time of Constantine, since there were certainly priestesses in the pagan temples. But this we do not find in the historical record. This is because the church of that period was not merely trying to supplant pagan religion with Christian religion, though some of that was going on. More to the point, there was a rising tide of anti-Judaism, and one of its manifestations was this Old Testament hermeneutic. The Torah had been claimed as the church’s book, Jews were being ostracized and then later ghettoized, and a hermeneutic of ministry was being adopted which co-opted the Old Testament for church use when it came to priests, temples, and sacrifices, and indeed sacraments in general. Thus ironically enough while the structure of the ecclesial church was becoming more Old Testamental, the church hierarchy was not only becoming less tolerant of Jews, it was forgetting altogether the Jewish character of Jesus’ ministry and his modifications of the Passover that led to the Lord’s Supper celebration of the early church in the first place. ~ Ben Witherington III
153:Now A’isha offered a small package wrapped in white silk. I opened it to find an old coin, strung on a leather cord. The faded symbol on it was barely recognizable as Ahnleh. Primarily, it was translated to mean Fate, though like any words in the old language, it had a million connotations.
A’isha explained, “A gift, for your Naga. These coins were once worn by all of the Nesera’rsh, the priests and priestesses of Anhamirak during the time of Maeve’s coven. The Ahnleh came to be known as the Snakecharm, since Anhamirak’s symbol was a serpent. The Nesera’rsh are remembered only in nests such as this one now, but once, such a charm was the only coin a dancer needed throughout her life. It is said that even enemies at war would refuse to strike someone who wore an Ahnleh. And once…the Naga wore one, too.
“The day Danica stood in the synkal and you announced her as your mate, I recognized in her the soul of a dancer. You two brought peace to two lands that had long before forgotten the word. It is past time for other bridges to be patched; sha’Mehay would be proud to see our Naga--and, I hope, the mother of your next Diente--wearing our Ahnleh once again.”
“Thank you,” I answered solemnly. “I know Danica will be honored.”
“It will be the nest’s gift of congratulations, as soon as that avian doctor admits the obvious,” she said with a grin. ~ Amelia Atwater Rhodes
154:Do you really have to do the biting thing? I know Sophie likes you—likes you a lot. But after what she went through with the ITP, the biting is sort of a deal breaker for her.” Sylvan ran a hand through his spiky blond hair. For a moment he looked more miserable than Liv could ever remember seeing him, then his features smoothed out and he shook his head. “I’m afraid the ‘biting thing’ as you put it, is part of bonding sex for a Blood Kindred. In fact, it’s part of any kind of sex with us.” Liv shook her head. “That’s really too bad, Sylvan. In that case, I don’t know what to tell you. But…does it really matter to you? Baird told me you vowed never to take a bride. And anyway, I thought you did a cleansing ceremony to get rid of your feelings for Sophie.” He looked down. “The priestess released me of my vow and refused to perform the cleansing. She says Sophie doesn’t care for me because I haven’t given her a reason to care. But I don’t know how to do that.” “Back off a little to start with,” Liv suggested. “I mean, you’re giving her space right now and that’s good but when you do get together again, don’t go all he-man protective on her. Sophie’s not big into alpha males.” “Yes, she told me as much. She, ah, said I wasn’t her ‘type,’” Sylvan admitted. “Honestly, you’re not,” Liv said candidly. “But then, I don’t really know what is Sophie’s type. She hasn’t dated anyone seriously in so long it’s hard to say. Just…be gentle with her Sylvan. She’s been hurt before, as you know. And trust is a big issue with her. If you lose her trust, you’re going to have a very hard time rebuilding it.” He ~ Evangeline Anderson
155:I didn’t know what had ignited our passion, but with my hands in Narian’s hair and our mouths moving together, I was rapidly losing my ability to think. It was afternoon, and we were in my study, the door closed but not locked, and anyone, Cokyrian or Hytanican, could walk in at any moment.
Narian lifted me and set me on my desk, knocking a few papers to the floor, and I wrapped my legs around his waist. I laughed through our kiss until he was forced to come up for air.
“What?” he asked, cheeks flushed, his visage happy and dazed.
“What are we doing?”
“I don’t know, but I’m enjoying it,” he said, caressing my neck with his lips.
Despite how difficult he was making it for me to form words, I stuttered out a halfhearted objection. “Narian, you realize…we’re going to be caught.”
He was breathing heavily and took a moment to answer, too busy concentrating on the hollow of my throat. “Somehow…I can’t bring myself…to care.”
Still grasping his hair, I pulled his head back, kissing him once more fully on the lips. “That’s a new attitude you’ve adopted.”
He laughed. “The High Priestess and Rava appear to know we’re in love, so even if we’re discovered, it won’t be much of a shock to the powers that be.
Despite his words, he practically leaped away from me when the door opened. I crossed my legs, giving him a sideways glare for leaving me sitting rather inappropriately on the edge of my desk, and he rubbed the back of his neck in sheepish apology.
Of course it was Rava crossing the threshold, and she took in our postures before slamming the door, her expression particularly unpleasant.
“So this is how the two of you handle the affairs of the province,” she growled. ~ Cayla Kluver
156:Narian was outside, leaning on the railing and gazing out over the city and the rolling hills beyond. I walked up behind him and placed my hands on his shoulders, resting my head upon his back.
“Will you miss the mountains?” I asked, and he twisted to face me, lightly holding me around the waist, my hands upon his chest.
“I can still see them, Alera, just from a different perspective. And I imagine I will eventually return for a visit.”
I nodded and gave him a light kiss. “I want to show you something.”
He looked curiously at me, and I removed my betrothal ring from the chain around my neck, placing it on my finger.
“I am no longer going to hide that we are in love.”
He smiled and took me into his embrace, then we went to the King’s Dining Hall on the second floor together. We entered at the perfect moment, holding hands, for everyone else had already arrived. All conversation stopped, but we calmly took chairs next to each other, ignoring the astounded expressions on the faces around us. With our attitudes unassailable, our guests glanced curiously at one another, hardly daring to ask.
It was my effervescent sister who finally spoke. “When is the wedding?”
At her candid question, our guests burst into animated conversation, and I leaned close to kiss Narian--entirely inappropriately--full on the lips.
Much was unknown to me in that moment--when the treaty with the High Priestess would be signed, when the citizenry would accept Narian, when our wedding would take place, what life would bring to me from here--but for once I was not hiding, from anyone or anything. Instead, I was staring into deep blue eyes filled with love, acceptance and hope. Deep blue eyes that would be mine to gaze into forever. ~ Cayla Kluver
157:I examined London in the light of the fire. To my relief, he looked the same as always, ever young, his silver bangs partially obscuring his indigo eyes.
“Where have you been?” I asked.
“In Cokyri.” He smirked. “Creating a diversion.” He paused, staring into the flames, then continued. “Prior to that I was in the mountains, helping Cannan and the rest in whatever fashion I could. Mostly trying to keep my head on my shoulders.” He shrugged and ran a hand through his unruly hair. “I was a wanted man, you know, although not wanted in the way I would like to have been.”
Had I been in better spirits, I would have laughed at his wry humor, but as it was I moved to his side to give him a kiss on the cheek.
“Thank you for coming. Thank you for finding us.”
He nodded, and put his arm around my shoulder. “Get some sleep, Alera. I’ll wake you if things get worse.”
I stayed where I was for several minutes, glad for his comfort, then lay down next to Narian, talking softly to him, wanting to be near him if he slipped away.
Morning broke, and I felt Narian stir. I sat up and stared at him, then at London, who was cooking some broth over the fire.
“He’s going to make it,” London said. “I told you he was strong.”
Narian’s eyes opened and his gaze fell on me. “Now this is a welcome sight,” he rasped, and I kissed him. He looked over at London, then remarked, “And you’re a surprising sight.”
I helped Narian into a sitting position and London brought him the broth.
“I’ll leave you two to talk,” he said. “But we’ll ride out in two hours’ time. We need to keep moving in case the High Priestess sends guards to verify Narian’s death. I don’t want to be sipping tea when she fails to find a body. And we need to see who is in control of Hytanica this day. ~ Cayla Kluver
158:You really believe that? You think your feelings for her—the need to claim her and bond her to you—will just disappear the minute we hit the ship?” “They have to.” There was something like desperation in Sylvan’s eyes now. “Because I can’t have her. Can’t claim her, no matter how much I want to.” Baird frowned. “Stop this foolishness, Sylvan. Go to the priestess in the sacred grove. Ask to be released of your vow.” Sylvan shook his head. “I can’t.” “You must!” Baird stabbed a finger at him. “Don’t let pride break you. There is no shame in bowing to your body’s demands—just look at you, you’re so deep in need for her you’re not even the same person. You look like hell, Brother. You can’t go on like this.” “I have to.” Slowly, Sylvan began to march forward again. Baird could see his arms trembling with fatigue but he moved with a single-minded determination, a stubbornness that trumped his wounds and weariness. “I have to,” he said again. “Have to go on, no matter what. Go on without her.” “Why?” Baird demanded. “You’ve found the woman you love—now claim her before the need inside you eats you alive.” Sylvan looked at him and there was such a depth of pain in his eyes that Baird ached to see it. “I can’t claim her because she doesn’t want me. She’s rejected my bite over and over again.” “Gods.” Baird didn’t know what to say. The hope, the need, the desire…and then the rejection. The pain worse than death. It’s Feenah all over again. But Sylvan had never been like this the one time he’d tried and failed to call a bride before. He’d never looked this bad, this ragged. It was clear the need to claim Sophia was riding him like a cruel master, spurring him to take her, to bond her. And it was just as clear that Sylvan was determined to fight it. Baird knew his brother—a more honorable male did not exist. So it was no wonder Sylvan refused to bond her against her will. Baird ~ Evangeline Anderson
159:A Portrait
A. M. M.
BEHOLD her sitting in the sun
This lovely April morn,
As eager with the breath of life
As daffodils new-born!
A priestess of the toiling earth,
Yet kindred to the spheres,
A touch of the eternal spring
Is over all her years.
No fashion frets her dignity,
Untrammeled, debonair;
A fold of lace about her throat
Falls from her whitening hair.
A seraph visiting the earth
Might wear that fearless guise,
The heartening regard of such
All-comprehending eyes.
How comes she by preëminence,
Desired, beloved, revered?
Heroic living gained those heights
Through ills she never feared.
A spirit kindly as the dew
And daring as a flame,
With a distinguished, reckless wit
No eighty years could tame.
A mother of the Spartan strain,
She held self-rule and sway,
And single-handed braved the world
And bore the prize away.
No task too humble for her skill,
No worthy way too long;
She filled her work with ecstasy
And crowned it with a song.
The treasures she most dearly prized
Were of the rarest kind —
A gentle fortitude of soul
And honesty of mind.
To feed, to clothe, to teach, to cheer,
To guard and guide and save —
21
These were her fine accomplishments,
To these her best she gave.
With ringing word and instant cure
She draws from far and near
The gay, the witty, the forlorn,
Priest, artist, beggar, seer.
Unhesitant and sure they come,
Hearing the human call,
As of a mighty motherhood
That understands them all.
Ungrudging, without grief, she lives
Each charged potential hour,
Holding her loftiness of aim
With agelessness of power.
Immortal friendship, great with years!
She shames the faltering,
And heartens every struggling hope,
Like hyacinths in spring!
~ Bliss William Carman
160:I didn’t have a mother in Cokyri.”
“You’re far too well-mannered not to have had a mother growing up.” Her blue eyes were twinkling, unthreatening. Again, she was teasing him, and although I expected him to simply sidestep her a third time, he did not.
“To the extent I had a mother, she was the High Priestess.”
I looked incredulously back and forth between the two of them, for in half an hour, my mother had enticed Narian to divulge as much to her as I had gleaned in two years. Though I was now bursting to speak, I refrained, and she pressed him further.
“You’re close to her then?” This was more a statement than a question.
“At one time we were very close. She cared for me, when I was young. I grew apart from her over time, and then, when I found out that I was born Hytanican…”
“Yes?”
“She lied to me. Had been lying for years--my entire life.” He was not letting himself feel the words, but there was an ache underlying them.
I thought back to when Narian and I had first met--he had fascinated me, but I had never considered what he must have been enduring. At sixteen years of age, he’d run away, and not just from home, but from his country, into the land of his enemy. His anger and feelings of betrayal must have been overwhelming, and he had to have been scared, though he never showed it. And now my mother had him talking about it.
“The difficulty at this point,” she said, nodding sympathetically, “is learning that you cannot judge the world by the actions of one person.”
“Yes, I can,” he responded, promptly enough that even my mother was surprised. “You can’t object to me evaluating the world based on Alera’s example.”
She laughed, while I sat quietly by, feeling my face grow hot. Narian was not one to give compliments, though I knew he noticed many things. I glanced to him, highly appreciative of his words, and laid my hand upon his forearm.
“Quite right,” my mother concurred, smiling at us both. ~ Cayla Kluver
161:Mr. Winterborne, I should leave you to rest now--”
“Talk to me.”
She hesitated. “If you wish. What shall we talk about?”
He wanted to ask her if he’d been permanently blinded. If anyone had said anything to him about it, he’d been too drugged to remember. But he couldn’t bring himself to give voice to the question. He was too afraid of the answer. And there was no way to stop thinking about it while he was alone in this quiet room. He needed distraction and comfort.
He needed her.
“Shall I tell you about orchids?” she asked in the silence. She continued without waiting for an answer, adjusting her position more comfortably. “The word comes from Greek mythology. Orchis was the son of a satyr and a nymph. During a feast to celebrate Bacchus, Orchis drank too much wine and tried to force his attentions on a priestess. Bacchus was very displeased, and reacted by having Orchis torn to pieces. The pieces were scattered far and wide, and wherever one landed, an orchid grew.” Pausing, she leaned away for a few seconds, reaching for something. Something soft and delicate touched his cracked lips…She was applying salve with a fingertip. “Most people don’t know that vanilla is the fruit of an orchid vine. We keep one in a glasshouse on the estate--it’s so long that it grows sideways on the wall. When one of the flowers is full grown, it opens in the morning, and if it isn’t pollinated, it closes in the evening, never to open again. The white blossoms, and the vanilla pods within them, have the sweetest scent in the world…”
As her gentle voice continued, Rhys had the sensation of floating, the red tide of fever easing. How strange and lovely it was to lie here half dozing in her arms, possibly even better than fucking…but that thought led to the indecent question of what it might be like with her…how she might lie quietly beneath him while he devoured all that petal softness and vanilla sweetness…and slowly he fell asleep in Lady Helen’s arms. ~ Lisa Kleypas
162:Now Brutus had deliberately assumed a mask to hide his true character.  When he learned of the murder by Tarquin of the Roman aristocrats, one of the victims being his own brother, he had come to the conclusion that the only way of saving himself was to appear in the king's eyes as a person of no account. If there were nothing in his character for Tarquin to fear, and nothing in his fortune to covet, then the sheer contempt in which he was held would be a better protection than his own rights could ever be.  Accordingly he pretended to be a half-wit and made no protest at the seizure by Tarquin of everything he possessed. He even submitted to being known publicly as the 'Dullard' (which is what his name signifies), that under cover of that opprobrious title the great spirit which gave Rome her freedom might be able to bide its time. On this occasion he was taken by Arruns and Titus to Delphi less as a companion than as a butt for their amusement; and he is said to have carried with him, as his gift to Apollo, a rod of gold inserted into a hollow stick of cornel-wood - symbolic, it may be, of his own character.
The three young men reached Delphi, and carried out the king's instructions.  That done, Titus and Arruns found themselves unable to resist putting a further question to the oracle.  Which of them, they asked, would be the next king of Rome? From the depths of the cavern came the mysterious answer: 'He who shall be the first to kiss his mother shall hold in Rome supreme authority.' Titus and Arruns were determined to keep the prophecy absolutely secret, to prevent their other brother, Tarquin, who had been left in Rome, from knowing anything about it. Thus he, at any rate, would be out of the running. For themselves, they drew lots to determine which of them, on their return, should kiss his mother first.
Brutus, however, interpreted the words of Apollo's priestess in a different way. Pretending to trip, he fell flat on his face, and his lips touched the Earth - the mother of all living things. ~ Livy
163:You have much sorrow within you. Do you care to speak of it, Warrior?” Baird scarcely knew where to begin. “It’s my bride—our minds have been aligned these six Earth months and I can tell by her scent that she needs me as much as I need her. But I can’t make her see it. She…refuses me over and over again.” The priestess frowned. “And this hurts your pride?” “Hell, yes, it hurts my pride,” Baird burst out. Then he remembered who he was talking too. “Sorry, your holiness. It’s just…it hurts my heart too. I love her so much, need her so much and she wants nothing to do with me.” “Are you kind to her? Do you honor and respect her? Worship her body with your own?” the priestess demanded. “Uh…” Baird squirmed uncomfortably. “As much as she’ll let me. She’s, uh, decided that she doesn’t…doesn’t want me to touch her anymore. At least, no more than necessary.” “She fears you.” It was a statement, not a question. Baird nodded. “Yeah, I guess she does. Or fears what she’ll lose by giving in to me.” “What does she fear to lose?” the priestess asked. “Her family—especially her sister who she loves very much. And her career. She just finished schooling to become some kind of a medic and she wants to be able to use her training.” The priestess nodded regally. “That is much to give up for the love of a male she’s never seen except in her dreams.” “I know it is,” Baird said desperately. “But she’s the only one for me—my one true mate.” “Then what are you prepared to give up for her?” The green-within-green eyes watched him sharply. “Anything I have to. But it’s not like I can move down to Earth to be with her. The Council has forbidden cohabitation on the planet’s surface until the Scourge is taken care of.” “Would you wait for her until the war is over?” She raised an olive green eyebrow inquiringly. “If I had to. But that could take years! And she’s not bonded to me—how could I trust that another wouldn’t win her heart while I was stuck up here without her?” Baird demanded. “I need her—need to bond her to me but she’s determined not to.” “You present a thorny dilemma. ~ Evangeline Anderson
164:Grand Provost.”
Rava’s voice, clear and crisp, startled me. She stood to my left, in the doorway of her office, and I had the impression she had been watching for me.
“Come in for a moment.”
The Cokyrian second-in-command retreated into her alcove, and I followed, closing the door as she went to stand behind her desk.
“How much power do you think he has?” she asked contemptuously, straightening her black tunic with a hard tug on the bottom.
“I don’t understand.” I tenaciously met her eyes, despite the dread creeping along my spine. It was obvious she had overheard my conversation with Narian.
“I understand the influence you have all too well. The commander will do exactly what you want, bend to your will. That alone should prove to you that strength is a woman’s endowment, not a man’s.”
She was testing me, taunting me, and I resented her for it.
“Are you going to continue with cryptic comments or are you going to say what you mean?” I demanded, rallying to take the offensive.
“You may love Nantilam’s little prince, but you’re blind to the fact that he is an instrument. He has been from the beginning and he always will be, until she has no further use for him. Nantilam cares for him and would rather see him alive than dead, but she will not listen to him, or to words he bears from you. I have her ear. She will listen only to the most powerful woman n this godforsaken province, and that woman is me.”
She was baiting me, successfully; I was on the verge of losing my temper. Knowing that would be a mistake, I let the silence between us lengthen, taking several slow and steady breaths. Then I gave her a small smile.
“The High Priestess made me Grand Provost because she wanted a woman in control who would understand the people. You do not understand my people, Rava. You keep them miserable because you fear them. And everything else aside, that makes you weak.”
Though Rava glowered at me, I was done with her, and coolly left her office. I could almost feel the slow tick of time, counting down to Narian’s return. He would prove one of us right and one of us wrong. ~ Cayla Kluver
165:But you’re not even bonded,” Sylvan protested as he engaged the shuttle’s engines. “You think that matters to me?” Baird frowned at him fiercely. “I love her, Sylvan, bonded or not. Wouldn’t you have done the same for Feenah if you’d had to?” “Of course,” Sylvan said instantly. “Even though she didn’t want what I had to offer I still would have given everything I had to make her safe.” “Then you know how I feel.” Baird sighed and ran a hand through his hair as the shuttle lifted off. “Don’t you get it, Sylvan? This is what the priestess was talking about. I thought after all that trouble in the unmated males section that the danger was over. Thought the sacrifice I had to make was letting them see me mark my female.” Sylvan nodded thoughtfully. A public marking like the one Baird had done was considered a humiliation but his brother had taken it in stride despite his bride’s defiant attitude. Not his bride anymore, he reminded himself. They’re not even bonded and still he’s willing to give up everything to save her. “I see,” he said neutrally, piloting the shuttle out of the docking bay. “But that wasn’t it,” Baird continued as they left the Kindred ship behind. “This is. I can see it now and I’m fine with it. I want it.” “How can you say that?” Sylvan burst out. “You’re going to your death.” Baird shrugged, his broad shoulders rolling under the crimson uniform shirt. “I was dead anyway—the minute I saw her leave I felt it. At least this way it won’t take as long.” “Baird, listen to me,” Sylvan said evenly. “I know how you feel—no one could know it better. But there is life after a failed bonding.” “Yeah, but what kind of life?” Baird gave him a long, searching look. “I’ve seen you, Brother. Ached for your pain and admired your strength. But I just don’t want to go through that. If I can’t be with Olivia…” He shook his head. Sylvan knew what he was saying. If I can’t be with Olivia, I don’t want to be at all. Baird would rather die than live in a universe where his love was denied him. It saddened Sylvan but didn’t surprise him. A Kindred male’s attachment to his female often bordered on the extreme and many warriors didn’t survive the loss of their chosen mate. ~ Evangeline Anderson
166:Though I had fallen in love with Narian a long time ago, I was continually learning more about him. I’d always been familiar with his principles and his personality, but it was the little things that made a human being. Little things like how he was not accustomed to sharing his space--had I not been forced to hide in his bedroom during his exchange with the High Priestess, I would not yet have seen it. There were other things, as well. He was nearly fluent in three languages in addition to our own; he absolutely could not sleep on his back; and he didn’t know how to handle being irritated with me.
Had I lied for Shaselle? Yes. But he would have a difficult time confronting me about it. He never hesitated in handling issues with other people, but with me, he seemed to try his hardest to convince himself that there was nothing to handle.
It was late afternoon before he finally raised the matter. After holding audiences in the Hearing Hall, I had entered my office and was about ready to retire when there was a knock on the door. I knew it would be Narian, and that his countenance would be inscrutable. Indeed, when I granted him permission to enter, he was closed off, exactly as I hated him to be.
“I thought you would meet me in my quarters,” I said, attempting to keep things light.
“I will. But I need to talk to you first.” It was plain from the tone of his voice that he wasn’t about to mix business with pleasure.
“Of course.” I rose from my desk chair, straightening a few papers and avoiding eye contact with him, though I wasn’t sure of the reason.
“The knife I took from Shaselle didn’t belong to Baelic.”
“Oh?” I looked up to meet his disconcerting eyes. If he wouldn’t let me in, I wouldn’t let him in.
“Alera, it was Sarteradan. You lied for her. Why?”
“And what of Steldor’s dagger?” I asked, ignoring his inquiry.
“Hytanican. No doubt he managed to keep one of his own from my troops.”
“What were you and he arguing about?”
“That’s of no importance. But you needn’t worry--I’m not going to arrest him.” He scrutinized me, and I squirmed like a bug under a magnifying glass. “What is important, Alera, is the question you’re trying to avoid--why did you lie for Shaselle? ~ Cayla Kluver
167:After a moment to regain his composure, he propped himself up on his elbow to look down at me, desire still lurking in his mesmerizing eyes.
“Alera? Are you…all right?”
“Narian, we can’t do this.” I was more than a little shocked at the both of us.
His brow furrowed, and he ran a hand through his disheveled hair. He took a breath and opened his mouth, then stopped, apparently unable to decide exactly what he wanted to say.
“Why not?”
Because,” I said, pushing myself upright. “We’re not married!”
He sat up as well and lit the lantern on my bedside table. I pulled my chemise back onto my shoulders and wrapped my arms around my legs while I waited for his reaction.
“And marriage, that’s…important to you…for this,” he surmised, trying to work out the basis for my objection.
“Yes,” I told him fervently. “Isn’t it to you?”
He glanced at the bedclothes, as though he anticipated an unpleasant reaction to what he would say.
“Well, no. We don’t have marriage in Cokyri.”
My eyebrows shot upward. “You don’t have…marriage? Well then, how do you…I mean, where…where do your children come from?”
“We just choose a partner,” he said, ignoring the absurdity of my question. “A woman chooses a man, and if he accepts, he is marked with a tattoo around his forearm. The tattoo is a great honor--men in Cokyri are proud to bear it.”
“What about the church?”
He shrugged, no longer worrying about how I might react. “Cokyri has no official religion. Some people seek the High Priestess’s approval to be bound, but they come to her of their own accord. Again, it is a choice.”
“So…in order to be with me, all you would need is a tattoo?” I spoke tentatively, trying to absorb and understand his words.
“Only to signify that I am yours and no one else’s. If that is what we both want.”
His closing statement, though subtle, sough confirmation, his steel-blue eyes filled with love and longing.
“I choose you,” I said, leaning toward him, and his mouth met mine with such ardor that my senses reeled all over again. He lay down with me on top of him, and it took all my strength of will to pull away.
“But we have to be married.”
He studied me, concluding that I truly believed in what I said.
“Then let’s go get married.”
“Now?” I blurted, eyes wide.
“Is now a problem? ~ Cayla Kluver
168:On this Thirtieth Day of May in the First Year of Cokyrian dominance over the Province of Hytanica, the following regulations shall be put into practice in order to assist our gracious Grand Provost in her effort to welcome Cokyri into our lands--and to help ensure the enemy does not bungle the first victory it has managed in over a century.
Regulation One. All Hytanican citizens must be willing to provide aid to aimlessly wandering Cokyrian soldiers who cannot on their honor grasp that the road leading back to the city is the very same road that led them away.
Regulation Two. It is strongly recommended that farmers hide their livestock, lest the men of our host empire become confused and attempt to mate with them.
Regulation Three. As per negotiated arrangements, crops grown on Hytanican soil will be divided with fifty percent belonging to Cokyri, and seventy-five percent remaining with the citizens of the province; Hytanicans will be bound by law to wait patiently while the Cokyrians attempt to sort the baffling deficiency in their calculations.
Regulation Four. The Cokyrian envoys assigned to manage the planting and farming effort will also require Hytanican patience while they slowly but surely learn what is a crop and what is a weed, as well as left from right.
Regulation Five. Though the Province Wall is a Cokyrian endeavor, it would be polite and understanding of Hytanicans to remind the enemy of the correct side on which to be standing when the final stone is laid, so no unfortunates may find themselves trapped outside with no way in.
Regulation Six. When at long last foreign trade is allowed to resume, Hytanicans should strive to empathize with the reluctance of neighboring kingdoms to enter our lands, for Cokyri’s stench is sure to deter even the migrating birds.
Regulation Seven. For what little trade and business we do manage in spite of the odor, the imposed ten percent tax may be paid in coins, sweets or shiny objects.
Regulation Eight. It is regrettably prohibited for Hytanicans to throw jeers at Cokyrian soldiers, for fear that any man harried may cry, and the women may spit.
Regulation Nine. In case of an encounter with Cokyrian dignitaries, the boy-invader and the honorable High Priestess included, let it be known that the proper way in which to greet them is with an ass-backward bow.
~ Cayla Kluver
169:At any rate,’ he continued, ‘we hoped that once the war was over the Oracle might start working again. When it did not … Rachel became concerned.’ ‘Who’s Rachel?’ Meg asked. ‘Rachel Dare,’ I said. ‘The Oracle.’ ‘Thought the Oracle was a place.’ ‘It is.’ ‘Then Rachel is a place, and she stopped working?’ Had I still been a god, I would have turned her into a blue-belly lizard and released her into the wilderness never to be seen again. The thought soothed me. ‘The original Delphi was a place in Greece,’ I told her. ‘A cavern filled with volcanic fumes, where people would come to receive guidance from my priestess, the Pythia.’ ‘Pythia.’ Meg giggled. ‘That’s a funny word.’ ‘Yes. Ha-ha. So the Oracle is both a place and a person. When the Greek gods relocated to America back in … what was it, Chiron, 1860?’ Chiron see-sawed his hand. ‘More or less.’ ‘I brought the Oracle here to continue speaking prophecies on my behalf. The power has passed down from priestess to priestess over the years. Rachel Dare is the present Oracle.’ From the cookie platter, Meg plucked the only Oreo, which I had been hoping to have myself. ‘Mm-kay. Is it too late to watch that movie?’ ‘Yes,’ I snapped. ‘Now, the way I gained possession of the Oracle of Delphi in the first place was by killing this monster called Python who lived in the depths of the cavern.’ ‘A python like the snake,’ Meg said. ‘Yes and no. The snake species is named after Python the monster, who is also rather snaky, but who is much bigger and scarier and devours small girls who talk too much. At any rate, last August, while I was … indisposed, my ancient foe Python was released from Tartarus. He reclaimed the cave of Delphi. That’s why the Oracle stopped working.’ ‘But, if the Oracle is in America now, why does it matter if some snake monster takes over its old cave?’ That was about the longest sentence I had yet heard her speak. She’d probably done it just to spite me. ‘It’s too much to explain,’ I said. ‘You’ll just have to –’ ‘Meg.’ Chiron gave her one of his heroically tolerant smiles. ‘The original site of the Oracle is like the deepest taproot of a tree. The branches and leaves of prophecy may extend across the world, and Rachel Dare may be our loftiest branch, but if the taproot is strangled the whole tree is endangered. With Python back in residence at his old lair, the spirit of the Oracle has been completely blocked. ~ Rick Riordan
170:The High Priestess met his eyes, evaluating him for another long moment.
“I have wondered always what kind of man you would become, Narian. You can believe what you will, but to me you were never just a tool to be forged, an instrument of unique purpose and, therefore, worth. You came to me as a babe in arms, and I treated you as my son to the extent my brother would permit. Now I see that you are also a rare man.”
Nantilam shifted her commanding eyes to me.
“And you, Alera, are no doubt part of the reason. Had you been born Cokyrian, you would probably be at my side, one of my trusted shield maidens, for you have more than enough courage and ingenuity to merit such an honor. Again, something I did not expect to find in Hytanica.”
“Then let’s come to it,” Narian snapped. “Be the wise and fair ruler I grew up believing you to be. If Cannan and his men should succeed in routing our troops, then accept that outcome and recognize Hytanica as a free land. Negotiate a peace treaty with Alera. Ask for whatever crops and goods Cokyri needs, but trade for them.”
“You cannot rewrite history, Narian,” she reproached. “Hytanica asked to be conquered the day its king attacked us. I was charged with that crusade before I was even crowned.”
“You cannot rewrite history, but you don’t have to be controlled by it, either,” he argued, and Nantilam’s eyes narrowed dangerously. “In the end, the Overlord’s crusade had little to do with history. He wanted to dominate Hytanica for domination’s sake. That was never your purpose--you fought to preserve your people’s pride and their heritage, you took the actions you believed necessary to ensure your empire’s growth and prosperity. Reaffirm your goals now--recognize that what is best for Cokyri is enduring peace with Hytanica.”
“And are you giving me advice as the commander of my military, or are you issuing a threat?”
“I am offering advice,” Narian replied, with a deferential bow, then his tone and posture subtly became more intimidating. “Although I will stand against you if I am forced to make that choice.”
The High Priestess came to her feet, and for the first time, I saw indecision on her face. If Narian fought against her, any battle with Hytanica would be long and brutal, with no guarantee of victory. The Overlord’s powers had not passed to her, would not in all probability reemerge until Nantilam gave birth to a daughter, so for the time being, Narian held the upper hand. ~ Cayla Kluver
171:I listened to you,” she vehemently said at last. “I loved you, and I trusted you, and I fought not to lose you after my brother’s death.”
“You never trusted me,” Narian contradicted, interrupting whatever else she had intended to say. “And with good reason. You believe the only way to repay a betrayal if with a betrayal. You betrayed me in the worst way imaginable. You lied to me my entire life, trained me and used me as a weapon, never telling me the real reason I was of value to you.” His blue eyes flashed, their sapphire brilliance rivaling the ever-changing emerald sparks in hers. “But I will no longer be manipulated for your causes, and I will not become another warlord. You can consider yourself repaid.”
The High Priestess’s rage built to a frightening level, her body almost shaking with the effort to retain control. Her shield maidens watched in fear from where they stood near her throne, while I locked my knees to force myself to stay in place. Then she backhanded Narian across the face, forcefully enough that he stumbled.
“You will regret what you have done, Narian,” she swore as he brought a hand to his cheek. “The Hytanicans will not succeed. You will pay for protecting their leaders from execution and for your willingness to step aside.”
“They may very well succeed. Don’t pretend otherwise. This is no longer a game of tug of war, Your Highness. It is a game of chess. And as you well know, Cannan and London have always been masterful strategists.”
“London?”
“Yes, he is alive and well. I suspect he is responsible for the chaos that surrounds us.”
At the mention of London, my eyes snapped to Narian, and my heart ached to hear more. But something in Nantilam’s visage changed, and she turned away to take up her throne.
“So you have lent no assistance to the Hytanicans--you have not armed them, have not repositioned our troops to aid their strike, have not left our soldiers without strong leadership?”
“No, I have not. Our forces are in place, and I took all the usual precautions before traveling here as you ordered.”
“Then it may indeed be interesting to see what the Hytanicans can do. Cannan as a commander long rivaled my brother, and London…well, a man such as London is rare. If he and I had not been enemies, I would have chosen him to father my own child.”
My heart lurched at this revelation, but Narian showed no reaction, continuing to stand stiffly before her. The High Priestess met his eyes, evaluating him for another long moment. ~ Cayla Kluver
172:Word has been spread to our accomplices within the city, London has armed the villagers and all are waiting for our signal.”
Koranis stooped to hoist up a canvas bag, which he dropped on the rickety table before us.
“The rockets,” he said, pulling a long, slender tube from the bag. “The King of Sarterad had to send all the way to Alidovia for these--they only arrived yesterday. Prop them up facing skyward, light the wick at the bottom and we have our signal.”
He tossed the strange tube he held to Steldor, then removed two more from the bag for Galen and Temerson.
“Set them off as planned, in the designated areas of the city, and be ready,” Cannan ordered.
“I’ll certainly have to be,” said a new voice--one with an accent. We all leaped backward to face the cellar stairs, where we could hear methodical footsteps descending. Knives had appeared in the hands of the men around me; they were small, but they would be effective.
The Cokyrian commander emerged into the torchlight, calm and unarmed.
“Oh, good Lord,” King Adrik breathed, but everyone else stood silently, rigidly, their eyes assessing the enemy.
Addressing the captain, Narian declared, “This stops now.”
Cannan clenched his jaw and I slipped behind Steldor, hoping he could protect me. Maybe if I hid…but there was nowhere to conceal myself. I certainly had a knack for stumbling into the most compromising and dangerous of situations. I hadn’t been involved in this at all, but was sure to be sentenced for it now. Taking a breath, I forced myself to step into the open. After all, I had wanted to be here. And if I had to die, I stood in good company.
“What is it you think you know?” Steldor demanded, but Narian ignored him, speaking only to Cannan.
“You have the ability to be the voice of reason here. Don’t let these men walk to their deaths.”
“Should I have them die by execution instead?” the captain ground out, but Narian did not flinch, continuing to stare at him, steely conviction in his eyes.
“I’m alone, Cannan. I’ve been following your movements and the movements of your men since Shaselle was caught with that dagger, and I haven’t said a word to the High Priestess, to my comrades, not even to Alera. I’m giving you a chance to walk away, to live. Don’t be a fool--take it.”
Cannan tucked his knife into the shaft of his boot, then cast his eyes over Steldor, Galen, Adrik and Koranis. All resolutely met his gaze.
“I don’t see fear in this room, Narian,” he said, shaking his head. “Do what you must, as will we. ~ Cayla Kluver
173:While you were gone, I began planning for the return of our Harvest Festival. Rava doesn’t want the event held. She told me to call it off.”
“I know,” he wryly acknowledged. “She made me aware of your activities and her decision when I arrived.”
“And?”
“She won’t yield. She’s already sent word to the High Priestess.”
I nodded, then asked, my voice barely audible, “And what do you say?”
“I say…” He reached for my hands, determination building in his intense blue eyes. “I say we proceed with the festival until and unless the High Priestess comes here herself and brings it to a halt. Political fires aren’t interesting without kindling.”
I smiled, and he took me into his arms, lightly kissing me.
“At least we don’t have anything to worry about tonight,” I murmured as we lay down next to each other.
“I always worry.”
“Really? I wouldn’t have thought of you as the worrying kind.”
“I worry when I cannot act,” he mused, drawing me close, and I felt life and strength flowing into me, warming me from head to toe. “I can handle heaven and hell, but not limbo.”
“I thought you had no religion in Cokyri. How do you know about heaven and hell?”
“We don’t practice religion, but we have education. I probably know more about your faith than you do.”
I placed a hand on his chest and pushed myself up to look at him in mock umbrage. “Then tell me how our wedding will proceed.”
That I don’t know,” he said with a grin. “I suspect Hytanica’s marital traditions and rites would fill a volume more than double the rest of our history texts put together.”
“You’re ridiculous!” I lightly smothered him with a pillow, then nestled upon his chest, content and ready for sleep.
At some point in the night, I woke and looked over to see Narian staring at the ceiling.
“What are you doing?” I asked, stifling a yawn.
“Thinking.”
“Do you want to tell me what you’re thinking about?”
“Candidates for my new second-in-command. I have a feeling your Harvest Festival is going to bring matters to the breaking point between us and Rava. If things go our way and the High Priestess removes her, I intend to be the one to name her replacement.”
“And this cannot wait until morning?” I asked, even though I knew how he would respond.
“I believe in being prepared.” I nodded and closed my eyes. Anticipating, planning, developing strategies and counter strategies, was another ingrained aspect of Narian’s nature. As I drifted back to sleep, I wondered for how many contingencies he was prepared that I knew nothing about. ~ Cayla Kluver
174:I don’t know what transgression Rava committed which, in your eyes, makes her deserving of punishment, but this is not how she should be treated during her time of grief.”
“Then you had best remove her to Cokyri. I won’t release her here.”
The High Priestess was not amused by Narian’s response, and she approached him, her lips compressed into a thin line. Laying a hand against the side of his head, she grasped a handful of his hair.
“That is for me to decide,” she said, her voice dangerously soft.
Narian pushed her hand away, and she raised a displeased eyebrow. Feeling like an intruder, I racked my brain for a way to leave, for the sake of my own comfort.
“Your party was intercepted?” I asked, reminding Nantilam of my presence. “Then you were traveling here for some other reason?”
“Yes,” she said, shifting her focus to me, her tone rounding into the rich, controlled cadence of a ruler. “Rava sent word to me about the festival you are hosting.”
Now I wished I had not spoken. I looked to Narian for help, but he offered none, perhaps could offer none. Still, the issue needed to be addressed at some point, and she didn’t sound angry.
“Yes, I am reinstating, on a smaller scale, Hytanica’s annual Harvest Festival.”
“Rava wished me to put a stop to it, but I see no need to do so. I believe, along with you, that it will lift the people’s spirits. But I share Rava’s concerns about rebellion, and have come so that my presence may discourage such foolishness.”
“Your presence is most welcome,” I said, relieved that she did not intend to interfere with my plans. “I’m glad you thought to come.”
“Thank you, Alera,” she said, bestowing a slight smile on me as though making a point to Narian about his rudeness. She turned on her heel to go, picking up her gloves as she did so. Just before she stepped into the Hearing Hall, she spoke once more to her commander.
“Narian, you will release Rava at once and escort her to my rooms.”
“I won’t,” he said, a simple, firm refusal.
A simple, firm refusal that merited a significant reaction. The High Priestess closed the door again and stood facing it for a long moment, then she turned toward us, her quiet anger heating the room.
“You will, Narian.”
“You haven’t even asked after Rava’s crimes. I will not release her, and if I see her free within the Bastion, I will personally return her to the dungeon.”
“Tell me, then, what she’s done. Justify your defiance if you can.”
I foresaw this battle between them growing lengthy, for neither of them was disposed on principle to give ground. ~ Cayla Kluver
175:My hands were trembling out of anger and distress by the time I reached the end. When I finally raised my eyes to his, Narian answered my unspoken question.
“These have replaced the High Priestess’s laws everywhere they were posted.”
He turned from me to address Cannan. “The regulations as they were intended still stand, and will be enforced whether or not the people are aware of them. Inform any who might have had a hand in mocking the High Priestess’s rules that their game is putting their countrymen at greater risk.”
Cannan remained silent in face of the order, and Narian did not wait for a reply. With a quick, respectful nod toward me, he departed, Rava at his heels, and the office door closed resoundingly behind them.
I stared at the parchment I still held, unable to keep it from shaking, and my vision blurred. It was foolish to be hurt, for this blow was not aimed at me, but yet the insolence of the document stung.
“Steldor and Galen did this?” I demanded.
“So it would seem.”
“Why?” My throat and jaw were tight. “Why would they do this, undermine my authority? They’ve taken what I’m trying to do and ground it underfoot. The Cokyrians will be furious. They’ll bear down harder than ever.” I whisked the moisture from my eyes, taking deep breaths to calm myself. “How can they think this will help?”
Cannan sighed and leaned forward, assuming a more fatherly posture.
“They’re allowing the people to dissent. They’re showing that we can still laugh and, most of all, that we haven’t been forgotten. I don’t approve of the method, either, Alera, but what they’ve done may not be all bad.”
I forced myself to nod, struggling to control my raging emotions. The hard work had scarcely begun, I knew that, but to see what I had accomplished tempered with and ridiculed was painful, even with Cannan’s assurance that it could be taken in a positive light. Then London’s words about being neither too cooperative nor too defiant returned to me. Perhaps this was what my bodyguard had meant--opposition, but on an isolated scale.
“You’re right,” I finally said. “This might not be all bad, provided it doesn’t escalate.”
“I agree. I will, however, talk with them.”
“Thank you,” I murmured, and he rose to see me to the door. As I crossed the Hearing Hall toward my study, I debated whether I should be the one to talk to Steldor, all the time knowing he would probably deny any involvement if I broached the topic. No, he was far more likely to listen to his father. When had he ever been open to listening to me on matters affecting the kingdom? ~ Cayla Kluver
176:What’s going on here?” The loud masculine voice seemed to break the connection between the priestess and herself. Sophie’s eyes, which had been shut tight while she fought the awful memory, flew open and she looked up. Sylvan was standing over her with an angry look on his face. No, not angry—enraged, Sophia realized. His ice blue eyes were blazing and his fangs were out again, razor sharp and ready. The expression on his chiseled features made him look like an avenging angel towering over her. “Oh,” she gasped, unable to stop looking at his fangs. “I don’t know. I—” “What are you subjecting her to?” Sylvan demanded of the priestess who still looked completely calm. “I am simply looking into her. There is a shadow around her heart—it is my duty to see into it.” “Not if your seeing causes her pain.” Sylvan’s voice was a low, menacing growl. “Release her.” The calm expression on the Kindred woman’s face turned to anger and her grip on Sophie’s hands tightened until she squeaked in pain. “You overstep yourself, Warrior.” “That may be, but I will not see you hurt her.” Leaning down Sylvan put himself on the priestess’s level and looked into her eyes. “Release her now.” The grip on Sophie’s hands loosened and she pulled them away gratefully. The priestess still glared at Sylvan, her green-on-green eyes narrowed. “You have a shadow on your heart as well. A secret pain that taints your very existence—I see it in your eyes.” “My pain is not your concern.” Gripping Sophie’s hand, he pulled her to her feet and pushed her behind him protectively. “Now what do you have to say?” “Only this—have a care, Warrior.” The priestess rose smoothly to her feet and frowned up at him. “Danger dogs your steps—the shadow on your heart draws it to you. Even the shielding of your Kindred mind is no protection if you allow the darkness to overcome you. Ignore my warning at your own peril.” Then she turned and walked away, her head held regally high and her bare feet whispering over the green and purple grass. When she was gone Sylvan relaxed his protective stance and turned to Sophie. To her intense relief, she saw that his fangs had gone back to their normal length. “Are you all right?” he asked anxiously. “You sounded upset.” “I…she…she was making me remember—” She realized what she was saying and stopped abruptly. “Remember what?” Sylvan was still staring at her but she shook her head. “Nothing. I’m fine, really. Uh, thank you for rescuing me,” she added, hoping to change the subject. One corner of his thin but sensual mouth quirked up. It was the closest Sophie had ever seen him come to smiling. “Well, you looked like you needed rescuing.” “Unfortunately. ~ Evangeline Anderson
177:With a sigh, I whisked the moisture off my cheeks, then studied Narian’s handsome features, creating a portrait in my mind. I traced his cheekbones and jaw, lingering over his lips. Impulsively, I leaned down to kiss him and his eyelids flicked open.
“I will always love you, Alera,” he murmured, momentarily regaining clarity.
“And I will always love you.” I curled up beside him, my arm across his chest, willing him to stay with me for as long as possible. I continually fought against drowsiness, but exhaustion and grief eventually got the best of me, and I drifted off to sleep.
Someone was shaking my shoulder and I slowly came awake to see London crouched down beside me. I bolted upright, then reached out to touch his face, certain I was seeing a ghost.
“Alera, it’s all right. I’m here to bring you safely home.”
I nodded, then shifted onto my knees, my voice urgent. “The High Priestess has poisoned Narian. She doesn’t want him to fight against her if she sends reinforcements to Hytanica.”
London placed a hand upon Narian’s chest, feeling for a heartbeat, for the rise and fall of breathing, for warmth.
“He’s still alive,” he told me. “How long ago was he poisoned?”
“About ten hours now. He can’t have much time left. According to what the High Priestess told me about the poison, he should already be dead.”
“Listen to me. He may still have some of Nantilam’s healing power inside of him.”
“From when the Overlord tried to kill him?”
London nodded and hope surged within me. It had been the residual effect of Nantilam’s healing abilities that had enabled the deputy captain to withstand the Overlord’s torture.
“That’s probably why his dying is prolonged,” London continued. “With any luck, she may have miscalculated what it will take to kill him. But we need to help him fight, Alera.”
“How?”
London retrieved his water flask and bedroll from his horse, handing them to me.
“Get as much water as possible into him, to dilute the toxin in his bloodstream, and we’ll cover him with all the blankets and cloaks we have. He’s fevered, so let’s help his body sweat out some of the poison.”
I began to cover Narian while London added wood to the fire. Then he removed his own cloak and tossed it to me.
“I’m going to gather some herbs that might help. I’ve learned a few things about Cokyrian compounds over the years, knowledge that I’m guessing the High Priestess would like to take away from me about now. You stay here and care for him as you have been doing. And, Alera, keep talking to him. He is strong and will fight to hear the sound of your voice--fight to come back to you.”
“I think the High Priestessis in love with you, London.”
“Just proves folly knows no limit. ~ Cayla Kluver
178:Voyage To Cythera
Free as a bird and joyfully my heart
Soared up among the rigging, in and out;
Under a cloudless sky the ship rolled on
Like an angel drunk with brilliant sun.
"That dark, grim island there--which would that be?"
"Cythera," we're told, "the legendary isle
Old bachelors tell stories of and smile.
There's really not much to it, you can see."
O place of many a mystic sacrament!
Archaic Aphrodite's splendid shade
Lingers above your waters like a scent
Infusing spirits with an amorous mood.
Worshipped from of old by every nation,
Myrtle-green isle, where each new bud discloses
Sighs of souls in loving adoration
Breathing like incense from a bank of roses
Or like a dove roo-cooing endlessly . . .
No; Cythera was a poor infertile rock,
A stony desert harrowed by the shriek
Of gulls. And yet there was something to see:
This was no temple deep in flowers and trees
With a young priestess moving to and fro,
Her body heated by a secret glow,
Her robe half-opening to every breeze;
But coasting nearer, close enough to land
To scatter flocks of birds as we passed by,
We saw a tall cypress-shaped thing at hand-A triple gibbet black against the sky.
Ferocious birds, each perched on its own meal,
Were madly tearing at the thing that hung
And ripened; each, its filthy beak a drill,
Made little bleeding holes to root among.
523
The eyes were hollowed. Heavy guts cascading
Flowed like water halfway down the thighs;
The torturers, though gorged on these vile joys,
Had also put their beaks to use castrating
The corpse. A pack of dogs beneath its feet,
Their muzzles lifted, whirled and snapped and gnawed;
One bigger beast amidst this jealous lot
Looked like an executioner with his guard.
O Cytherean, child of this fair clime,
Silently you suffered these attacks,
Paying the penalty for whatever acts
Of infamy had kept you from a tomb.
Grotesquely dangling, somehow you brought on-Violent as vomit rising from the chest,
Strong as a river bilious to taste-A flow of sufferings I'd thought long gone.
Confronted with such dear remembered freight,
Poor devil, now it was my turn to feel
A panther's slavering jaws, a beak's cruel drill-Once it was my flesh they loved to eat.
The sky was lovely, and the sea divine,
but something thick and binding like a shroud
Wrapped my heart in layers of black and blood;
Henceforth this allegory would be mine.
O Venus! On your isle what did I see
But my own image on the gallows tree?
O God, give me the strength to contemplate
My own heart, my own body without hate!
~ Charles Baudelaire
179:I’m giving you a chance to walk away, to live. Don’t be a fool--take it.”
Cannan tucked his knife into the shaft of his boot, then cast his eyes over Steldor, Galen, Adrik and Koranis. All resolutely met his gaze.
“I don’t see fear in this room, Narian,” he said, shaking his head. “Do what you must, as will we.”
“Then you’re asking to die!” For a moment there was a pleading note in Narian’s voice, an indication of how torn he was about his position. He didn’t want to put these men to death. “If I arrest you, you will be executed. If I let you go forward, you will fail.”
“The only way we could fail,” Steldor interjected in a low voice, “is by accepting what you have handed our people. We owe this to them.”
“You owe them your leadership, not the sacrifice of your lives. The High Priestess will not relinquish this province, in that she is unyielding. She and the Overlord fought too long and too hard for it. Don’t do this.
My uncle approached the Cokyrian commander with an almost sympathetic expression. His dark eyes had lost none of their determination, but he meant to reach the young man with his words.
“Who are you, Narian?” The question was strange, but Narian seemed to understand its significance. “From the moment you set foot in Hytanica, you have tried to play both sides. You’ve spent far too long being a Cokyrian with Hytanican blood, and it ends now, for better or worse. There is no more in between, so do what you must. Either have us arrested, or allow us to go forward.”
Narian met Cannan’s gaze, not discomfited by the taller man’s proximity. In truth, he had nothing at all to fear from us, what with the powers he possessed. But I wished I could see something in his eyes, some indication of what he would do from here.
“Very well, Captain. I will do as you say--what I must.”
Showing us his back, Narian ascended the stairs, disappearing through the cellar door. Steldor immediately made to follow, but Cannan grasped his shirt.
“Let me go,” my cousin snapped, but his father stepped closer, until their faces were just inches apart.
“Don’t be reckless,” the captain muttered. “He will kill you if you challenge him.”
Steldor gave in, and his father released his grip.
“Then what do we do?” Galen asked.
“Nothing has changed.” Cannan looked around at the men who would follow his orders, to the grave and beyond. “We will do exactly what we have planned. Until and unless Narian stops us, we proceed.”
“But…but isn’t that dangerous?” King Adrik queried.
“This has always been dangerous. But I’m willing to take a chance on Narian.”
The silence in the aftermath of the captain’s statement reinforced my sense that, at a single wave of the Cokyrian commander’s hand, we would all be buried alive. ~ Cayla Kluver
180:His bath chamber across the main room was all that remained, so I backtracked and entered it. The extravagance to which I was accustomed within the Hytanican palace did not range so far as to include the depth and size of his bath, nor the unusual mosaic tiles set into the floor. But what struck me the most were the shelves filled with ointments and bandages, and the long table against the wall that was similar to what one would find in a physician’s examination room. He had in many ways grown up a prince, but this chamber was more telling of his past than all the finery in his wardrobe.
When I returned to the parlor, I felt strangely cold. Narian had once more taken up his place on the sofa, and I went to sit at his feet, wanting to be closer to the fire. He swung around and put one leg on each side of me, then started to massage my back. After a few minutes, he slipped down behind me to wrap his arms around my waist, and I leaned against him. He was warm and safe and all that I wanted. At times I felt that there was no world outside of him, and it was the best feeling I ever had. This was one of those times.
“Were you ever happy here?” I softly inquired.
“Yes,” he answered after a moment of thought. “I was--here in the temple.”
Though I had not handled seeing Miranna’s room very well, I again had a surge of curiosity about the Overlord’s Hall, which Narian had subtly referenced. But I did not ask him to take me there--seeing it would not help me, and it would not help him. He needed to forget that place.
“Then tell me something about your childhood. Something pleasant.”
I closed my eyes, feeling the vibration of his chest as he began to speak.
“I remember when that mural on my wall was painted. I was perhaps six or seven. The High Priestess commissioned an artist, and gave her freedom to paint something colorful and unique, something that would amuse me. I was permitted to watch, but at that age…”
“Watching wasn’t enough,” I guessed, and he laughed.
“The artist was on a ladder, and she had her palette with her, but she’d left the majority of her paints on the floor. I was into them before she could say a word, and I spread paint everywhere. In my hair, on my clothes, the floors, the wall where she was trying to create her masterpiece, everywhere.” He was reminiscing now instead of just telling me a story, seeing it unfold in his mind. “I’d forgotten, honestly forgotten, that I’d been told not to touch the paints. Nan was furious--we were supposed to go to a banquet that night and I’d--”
“Nan?” I asked, and he tensed for a moment.
“That’s what I used to call the High Priestess, when I was young.”
Smiling at the idea, I nestled against him and said, “Go on.”
He continued the story, and I listened contentedly, eventually falling asleep in his embrace. ~ Cayla Kluver
181:Despite the brightness of the sun, I shivered in the brisk November air, for I had not taken a cloak with me when I had left my parlor. As if by magic, one fell about my shoulders, and I knew without looking that Narian had joined us. His mere presence bolstered my courage and brought my thoughts into focus. I scanned the throng of eager Hytanicans, some of whom were gathered inside the Central Courtyard with more outside its walls, then raised my hands to quiet them. Taking a deep breath, I began to speak.
“Spread the word. Tell your families and friends. Let it be known across the Recorah River Valley that I am proud to be Queen of this Kingdom of Hytanica!”
Cheers exploded, rising and falling in waves, and I let myself enjoy the sights and sounds of victory for several minutes. Then I once more raised my hands to quell the crowd.
“Be it known that Commander Narian stands with me as a loyal citizen of Hytanica. Without him, I would not have been able to travel to Cokyri and safely return. And without him, I would not have been able to begin negotiations for lasting peace with the High Priestess. I believe a trade treaty that is fair for both of our countries will soon be signed. Regardless, we stand here now and forevermore as a people free of Cokyrian rule.”
Jubilant shouts greeted these words, and I took Narian’s hand in mine, raising it high into the air. The people did not know that we were in love. They did not know that we were bound to each other according to Cokyrian custom and would soon be joined in marriage under Hytanican law. But this was a step forward, and that was enough for now.
Out of the corner of my eye, I saw my mother appear at Narian’s other side to likewise take his hand and hold it aloft in a show of support. When the rest of my family followed her lead, my father next to my mother, Miranna and Temerson at my side, tears spilled down my cheeks. I met Narian’s mystified blue eyes and smiled, then gazed out at our people, a member of a united royal family, the man I loved among us.
When the noise had subsided, I addressed the sorrow that hid beneath the joy, for it was essential to pay tribute to those who had fought bravely and tirelessly, but had not lived to see this day.
“We all know the terrible price that was paid for our freedom. Remember those who died in the war. Honor them in your hearts, and join with me in honoring them with a memorial on the palace grounds. Let those who gave their lives for this kingdom never be forgotten.” I paused, permitting a moment of silence for our lost loved ones, then finished, “Embrace your families. Return to your homes. And know that you go in peace.”
This received perhaps the greatest response of anything I had said, and to the tumultuous cries of my tired but elated people, Narian and I reentered the palace. ~ Cayla Kluver
182:We lay contentedly together, occasionally kissing, my fingers twined in his hair. I loved the feel of it, its texture, its color, and I brushed it back along the nape of his neck.
“You’re tickling me,” he said with a smile. “Are you trying to keep me awake?”
“No.” I laughed, pushing up on my elbow to look down at him. “It’s just--”
I stopped, staring at the birthmark on his neck, the mark of the Bleeding Moon, as it had been called in the legend, and my hand began to shake.
“What is it, Alera?” he asked, alarmed.
“Nothing. It’s just…” I struggled to form a cohesive thought, for in all my dreams of a life with him, of having children with him, this question had never before occurred to me.
“Just what?” He sat up, placing a hand on his neck where I had been playing with his hair.
“When we have a child, what will happen? I mean, the High Priestess told me, when she was our prisoner in the cave, that the powers of the Empress of Cokyri were supposed to pass to her firstborn daughter upon the child’s birth, but that they were split between her and her brother when she was born a twin. The possibility of the powers reuniting and passing into the High Priestess’s firstborn daughter gave us our negotiating leverage with the Overlord.”
“Yes, but what does that have to do with anything?”
“Well, you have powers, too. I’m wondering…”
A shadow fell over his face. “You’re wondering if my powers are unique to me. Or might a child of ours inherit them.”
“Yes, or if…” I took a deep breath. “Could they pass from your body and into the child upon birth, like the magic of the Empress of Cokyri?”
From the expression on Narian’s face, it was plain this was the first time he had ever considered the question.
“I don’t know, Alera. The source of my power derives from an ancient legend and the circumstances surrounding my birth.” He touched my face, then added, “Perhaps it’s time we took another look at the origin of the legend--and we should find out if anything else was ever written about the powers I was destined to have.”
I sighed. “I wish London were here. He uncovered the scrolls that foretold your birth, hidden somewhere in Cokyri. He would know what else was written.”
Narian nodded, but said nothing more, and I tried to imagine what he must be feeling. Were his powers a blessing or a curse? Would he want them to pass to a child of his? And if a child held them, what manner of life would he or she lead? Then I asked myself the same questions, and an overriding answer became startlingly clear.
“It would be good to know, Narian. But it doesn’t matter. I want children with you, and I do not fear the powers you hold, nor would I fear them in the hands of our own child.”
He nodded, then settled on his back. I snuggled against him, lost in thought. At some point, I would fall asleep; it did not appear that he intended to do the same. ~ Cayla Kluver
183:You!” she snarled, her glower intended for Narian. He walked unflinchingly toward her, keeping me close to his side. “You knew of this plot! Confess the part you have played and I will perhaps spare your life.”
Narian put a hand on my shoulder, telling me to stay where I was, then took a few steps closer to the woman who had been like a mother to him. I stood frozen, waiting along with her to hear his answer. What was going on? What had Narian done?
“I am not a part of this,” he declared.
Nantilam quickly closed the remaining distance between them. She was infuriated, her green eyes flaring as vividly as the flames outside.
“But you know more than you have told me.” Her voice was low, dangerous, rumbling with anger.
“I know that the Hytanicans’s first rebellion was meant to distract us, and that those captured willingly sacrificed their lives. I know that right now, the men you wanted to execute are waging one last fight to reclaim their kingdom.”
My head was spinning, both at the news and at my own idiocy. How could I have failed to see this? How could I not have known it would happen? I had chosen to be blind, even when Narian had all but begged me to come to Cokyri with him. I hadn’t wanted to see it. But the clues had been there. Now people were dying in Hytanica. Someone, probably London, had set the fires here in Cokyri to hinder the arrival of messengers from the province with word of the revolt and to forestall the High Priestess from sending reinforcements. We were trapped and helpless, able only to imagine the battle taking place on the other side of the river.
“I knew something was amiss,” the High Priestess simmered. “I knew it the moment I saw Alera with you. You’re a traitor, Narian.”
He shook his head, his expression hard. “I am no traitor. I did everything you asked of me. I conquered Hytanica for you and the Overlord, I administered the province as you wanted for months, and I did not plot against you.” Narian’s voice dropped to a fierce whisper. “I am not to blame for what is happening today--for giving the Hytanicans a fair chance at retaking what is rightfully theirs. My only sin is that I did not try to stop them.”
Nantilam scrutinized him for what seemed an eternity.
“I listened to you,” she vehemently said at last. “I loved you, and I trusted you, and I fought not to lose you after my brother’s death.”
“You never trusted me,” Narian contradicted, interrupting whatever else she had intended to say. “And with good reason. You believe the only way to repay a betrayal if with a betrayal. You betrayed me in the worst way imaginable. You lied to me my entire life, trained me and used me as a weapon, never telling me the real reason I was of value to you.” His blue eyes flashed, their sapphire brilliance rivaling the ever-changing emerald sparks in hers. “But I will no longer be manipulated for your causes, and I will not become another warlord. You can consider yourself repaid. ~ Cayla Kluver
184:Forgive me, Sophia. I didn’t mean to offend you. I was just coming over to apologize for hurting you during the, er, ceremony.” “It’s all right.” She looked down at the ground, feeling awkward all over again when she remembered the strange sensations that had flooded her body during the Luck Kiss. “No, it’s not. I drew your blood and for that I must beg your forgiveness.” He sounded formal again, just as he had when he was talking to the priestess. “The gift of blood must be freely given—never taken or forced.” “The…the gift of blood?” She looked up at him uncertainly. “Is that some kind of Kindred ceremony?” He looked uncomfortable. “It is part of the mating ritual of the Blood Kindred. And since you have made it abundantly clear you have no wish to be called as a bride, I shouldn’t have taken your blood.” “So if you did call a bride that would be part of it—of your relationship, I mean? You’d always be…biting her?” She couldn’t help looking at his fangs again and feeling glad they were still small. “Only when we made love,” Sylvan assured her as though that made it all right. Sophie felt her stomach do a slow forward flip but she tried not to show her dismay. “That’s…uh interesting.” “And off the point.” Sylvan frowned, as though irritated with himself. “What I’m trying to say is, please accept my apologies and my best wishes for your health and happiness. I truly did not mean to bite you.” “It’s…I know it was an accident but…” She wanted to ask him more. Wanted to know why his fangs had grown when he kissed her. It wasn’t just his fangs that grew, whispered a little voice in her head and a wave of embarrassment swept over her. “Yes?” Sylvan looked at her earnestly but she shook her head. “It’s okay,” she mumbled, not meeting his eyes. “Seriously, I’m fine. Let’s just…leave it at that.” “I appreciate your willingness to put the incident behind us but I need to examine the wound.” “Why?” Sophie asked. “I know you’re a doctor…er medic but—” “I need to know how serious the injury I inflicted was.” He looked so stern that she tilted her chin up to allow the examination. “It’s not bad at all. See?” she pointed at her bottom lip which, to tell the truth, was still pretty sore. Sylvan cupped her cheek in one hand and leaned forward, studying her hurt lip. For some reason Sophie’s face got hot at the gentle touch and she had to close her eyes. What is he looking for? What’s taking so long? She wished he would hurry up and finish the examination. His hand was so warm and the feel of his skin on hers made her nervous. “Is…is everything all right?” she asked at last. “It appears to be.” He sounded cautiously relieved. “I nicked you pretty badly but I don’t think you got any of my essence.” “Your what?” She opened her eyes to see him looking at her intently. Blushing, she looked quickly away. “My essence. It’s…never mind. You should recover normally.” His voice dropped. “I would offer to heal it for you but I don’t think you’d care for my method of healing.” “What do you mean? ~ Evangeline Anderson
185:About a half hour later, there was a knock on my door and I stiffened, my heart hammering. Who could want to see me?”
“Come in!”
Narian slipped through the door, closing it quietly behind him, and I laughed at myself. I was not used to him entering my room in a conventional fashion.
“I never knew your home--all of Cokyri--was so beautiful,” I confessed when he was sitting beside me. “We’re not told about these things when we learn about history.”
“It is beautiful,” he agreed, almost wistfully, and I wondered what he was thinking.
“You really grew up here, in this temple?”
He was nodding, absentmindedly rubbing his wrist, and I simply watched him for a moment.
“And you love it,” I surmised.
“I suppose I do. It feels like home. But I don’t miss it when I’m with you.”
He kissed me, then leaned back against the pillows, pulling me along with him.
“Narian,” I murmured, lifting my head to look at him. He was so handsome, so perfect with his halo of golden hair and his intense blue eyes that I ached for him to kiss me and touch me. But there were things I wanted to ask him. “What was causing the friction between you and the High Priestess?”
An ironic smile lit his features. “Call it a familial disagreement. She doesn’t understand my change of heart--that I don’t care anymore if she sees us together. Ever since the Overlord’s death, she’s been trying to win me back, you might say. She knows I’m not happy with her. But she doesn’t realize that she’s already lost me--this place may feel like home to me forever, but it will never again be home. This part of my life is over. My loyalty has turned.”
“You’ve never said that before,” I pointed out, feeling like there was something important he was not telling me. “That your loyalty is to Hytanica.”
“I only recently came to realize it myself. But that is where my loyalty lies.”
He was resolute, decided--and he was making me uneasy. What had the High Priestess said at dinner? The Grand Provost wouldn’t leave her province in unrest. I hadn’t had I?
“Narian--” I started, sitting up, but he interrupted me.
“Your loyalty has always been to Hytanica, and I don’t want there to be anything standing between us. So I’ve made up my mind, Alera. It’s a good thing.”
I nodded, trying to shrug off my disquiet, for he was, of course, right. I stood up and tugged on his arm, trying to get him to move.
He laughed. “I told you I was tired, remember?”
“Yes, but as long as we’re here, I’d like you to show me something.”
“What might that be?” He came to his feet, and I dragged him toward the door.
“I want to see where Miranna was confined.” I clutched nervously at my blouse, unsure how he would react, for I had not been able to think of a tactful way to raise the topic.
He stopped, forcing me to face him. “Alera, do you really want to see that?”
“You told me she was well cared for here,” I bristled, my tone slightly accusatory. “If that’s true, then you have nothing to hide from me.”
Narian released me. “I didn’t lie to you. The High Priestess made certain Miranna was well accommodated. But she was still a prisoner. I just want to be sure that you are ready to see this.”
“I’m ready. ~ Cayla Kluver
186:I’ve told you before, Alera--Andrius lives on in you. I see him in you every day.”
I smiled, tipping my head in acceptance of the compliment.
“And in you--” she said, once more turning to Narian, tapping a finger against her lips in thought “--I see Cannan.”
She was lightly cajoling him, exactly as a parent would do. I couldn’t imagine what was going on in his mind, but he was no longer eager to leave, his eyes never once flicking toward me or the door.
“What do you mean?” he asked.
“Cannan is strong and decisive. He seems unemotional, untouchable, but underneath he has more heart than most men taken together. And he could so easily have buried that compassion. In some ways, he would have hurt less throughout the years had he done so, but he would be half the man he is today.”
I was remembering things Baelic had told me, vague things about Cannan and their father. I had never considered that my mother would have knowledge on the subject, although I should have surmised it. She had grown up in the nobility with the men of her generation, and Cannan had been one of Crown Prince Andrius’s best friends.
Seeing the curiosity on Narian’s face, she went on, “It was no secret that Baron Burvaul--Cannan’s father--was a tyrant. In their family, everyone wore smiles for fear of what Burvaul might do if they did not, and everything stayed behind closed doors--except for bruises and broken bones, the vast majority of which were bestowed on Cannan. At that time, of course, Cannan could not fight his father, and so he fought the world instead.
“But when he was eighteen and was sent into the field of war, he changed. He gained perspective. And when Andrius died and Cannan was called back to become Sergeant at Arms, and later Captain of the Guard, he was more powerful than his father, in position and character. He never abused that power, but his victory lay in the fact that Burvaul could not bear the reversal of control. He lived the rest of his life in fear of his own son, who never punished him.
“I see that personality in you, Narian. Just like Cannan, you will never become the man who controlled you.”
“He didn’t control me,” Narian abruptly said.
“He didn’t in the end, did he?” she agreed, taking a sip of her tea. “Of course, the real question is about your mother. What was she like?”
“You know my mother,” Narian replied, his expression strange. I’d never seen him this way before--he seemed younger, less defensive. He was hesitant, but not guarded like he had been upon entering the room. It was almost as if he wanted to open up to her.
“I mean the woman who raised you. Your Cokyrian mother.”
Narian was shaking his head, despite the change I had detected in him. “I didn’t have a mother in Cokyri.”
“You’re far too well-mannered not to have had a mother growing up.” Her blue eyes were twinkling, unthreatening. Again, she was teasing him, and although I expected him to simply sidestep her a third time, he did not.
“To the extent I had a mother, she was the High Priestess.”
I looked incredulously back and forth between the two of them, for in half an hour, my mother had enticed Narian to divulge as much to her as I had gleaned in two years. Though I was now bursting to speak, I refrained, and she pressed him further. ~ Cayla Kluver
187:Touching the copper of the ankh reminded me of another necklace, a necklace long since lost under the dust of time. That necklace had been simpler: only a string of beads etched with tiny ankhs. But my husband had brought it to me the morning of our wedding, sneaking up to our house just after dawn in a gesture uncharacteristically bold for him.

I had chastised him for the indiscretion. "What are you doing? You're going to see me this afternoon... and then every day after that!"

"I had to give you these before the wedding." He held up the string of beads. "They were my mother's. I want you to have them, to wear them today.”

He leaned forward, placing the beads around my neck. As his fingers brushed my skin, I felt something warm and tingly run through my body. At the tender age of fifteen, I hadn't exactly understood such sensations, though I was eager to explore them. My wiser self today recognized them as the early stirrings of lust, and . . . well, there had been something else there too. Something else that I still didn't quite comprehend. An electric connection, a feeling that we were bound into something bigger than ourselves. That our being together was inevitable.

"There," he'd said, once the beads were secure and my hair brushed back into place. "Perfect.” He said nothing else after that. He didn't need to. His eyes told me all I needed to know, and I shivered. Until Kyriakos, no man had ever given me a second glance. I was Marthanes' too-tall daughter after all, the one with the sharp tongue who didn't think before speaking. (Shape-shifting would eventually take care of one of those problems but not the other.) But Kyriakos had always listened to me and watched me like I was someone more, someone tempting and desirable, like the beautiful priestesses of Aphrodite who still carried on their rituals away from the Christian priests.

I wanted him to touch me then, not realizing just how much until I caught his hand suddenly and unexpectedly. Taking it, I placed it around my waist and pulled him to me. His eyes widened in surprise, but he didn't pull back. We were almost the same height, making it easy for his mouth to seek mine out in a crushing kiss. I leaned against the warm stone wall behind me so that I was pressed between it and him. I could feel every part of his body against mine, but we still weren't close enough. Not nearly enough.

Our kissing grew more ardent, as though our lips alone might close whatever aching distance lay between us. I moved his hand again, this time to push up my skirt along the side of one leg. His hand stroked the smooth flesh there and, without further urging, slid over to my inner thigh. I arched my lower body toward his, nearly writhing against him now, needing him to touch me everywhere.

"Letha? Where are you at?”

My sister's voice carried over the wind; she wasn't nearby but was close enough to be here soon.

Kyriakos and I broke apart, both gasping, pulses racing. He was looking at me like he'd never seen me before. Heat burned in his gaze.

"Have you ever been with anyone before?" he asked wonderingly.

I shook my head.

"How did you ... I never imagined you doing that...”

"I learn fast.”

He grinned and pressed my hand to his lips. "Tonight," he breathed. "Tonight we ...”
"Tonight," I agreed.

He backed away then, eyes still smoldering. "I love you. You are my life.”

"I love you too." I smiled and watched him go. ~ Richelle Mead
188:Delia, An Elegy
YES, DELIA loves! My fondest vows are blest;
Farewel the memory of her past disdain;
One kind relenting glance has heal'd my breast,
And balanc'd in a moment years of pain.
O'er her soft cheek consenting blushes move,
And with kind stealth her secret soul betray;
Blushes, which usher in the morn of love,
Sure as the red'ning east foretells the day.
Her tender smiles shall pay me with delight
For many a bitter pang of jealous fear;
For many an anxious day, and sleepless night,
For many a stifled sigh, and silent tear.
DELIA shall come, and bless my lone retreat;
She does not scorn the shepherd's lowly life;
She will not blush to leave the splendid seat,
And own the title of a poor man's wife.
The simple knot shall bind her gather'd hair,
The russet garment clasp her lovely breast:
DELIA shall mix amongst the rural fair,
By charms alone distinguish'd from the rest.
And meek Simplicity, neglected maid,
Shall bid my fair in native graces shine:
She, only she, shall lend her modest aid,
Chaste, sober priestess, at sweet beauty's shrine!
How sweet to muse by murmuring springs reclin'd;
Or loitering careless in the shady grove,
Indulge the gentlest feelings of the mind,
And pity those who live to aught but love!
When DELIA's hand unlocks her shining hair,
And o'er her shoulder spreads the flowing gold,
Base were the man who one bright tress would spare
44
For all the ore of India's coarser mold.
By her dear side with what content I'd toil,
Patient of any labour in her sight;
Guide the slow plough, or turn the stubborn soil,
Till the last, ling'ring beam of doubtful light.
But softer tasks divide my DELIA's hours;
To watch the firstlings at their harmless play;
With welcome shade to screen the languid flowers,
That sicken in the summer's parching ray.
Oft will she stoop amidst her evening walk,
With tender hand each bruised plant to rear;
To bind the drooping lily's broken stalk,
And nurse the blossoms of the infant year.
When beating rains forbid our feet to roam,
We'll shelter'd sit, and turn the storied page;
There see what passions shake the lofty dome
With mad ambition or ungovern'd rage:
What headlong ruin oft involves the great;
What conscious terrors guilty bosoms prove;
What strange and sudden turns of adverse fate
Tear the sad virgin from her plighted love.
DELIA shall read, and drop a gentle tear;
Then cast her eyes around the low-roof'd cot,
And own the fates have dealt more kindly here,
That blest with only love our little lot.
For love has sworn (I heard the awful vow)
The wav'ring heart shall never be his care,
That stoops at any baser shrine to bow :
And what he cannot rule, he scorns to share.
My heart in DELIA is so fully blest,
It has not room to lodge another joy;
My peace all leans upon that gentle breast,
And only there misfortune can annoy.
45
Our silent hours shall steal unmark'd away
In one long tender calm of rural peace;
And measure many a fair unblemish'd day
Of chearful leisure and poetic ease.
The proud unfeeling world their lot shall scorn
Who 'midst inglorious shades can poorly dwell:
Yet if some youth, for gentler passions born,
Shall chance to wander near our lowly cell,
His feeling breast with purer flames shall glow;
And leaving pomp, and state, and cares behind,
Shall own the world has little to bestow
Where two fond hearts in equal love are join'd.
~ Anna Laetitia Barbauld
189:April
Pale season, watcher in unvexed suspense,
Still priestess of the patient middle day,
Betwixt wild March's humored petulance
And the warm wooing of green kirtled May,
Maid month of sunny peace and sober grey,
Weaver of flowers in sunward glades that ring
With murmur of libation to the spring:
As memory of pain, all past, is peace,
And joy, dream-tasted, hath the deepest cheer,
So art thou sweetest of all months that lease
The twelve short spaces of the flying year.
The bloomless days are dead, and frozen fear
No more for many moons shall vex the earth,
Dreaming of summer and fruit laden mirth.
The grey song-sparrows full of spring have sung
Their clear thin silvery tunes in leafless trees;
The robin hops, and whistles, and among
The silver-tasseled poplars the brown bees
Murmur faint dreams of summer harvestries:
The creamy sun at even scatters down
A gold-green mist across the murmuring town.
By the slow streams the frogs all day and night
Dream without thought of pain or heed of ill,
Watching the long warm silent hours take flight,
And ever with soft throats that pulse and thrill,
From the pale-weeded shallows trill and trill,
Tremulous sweet voices, flute-like, answering
One to another glorying in the spring.
All day across the ever-cloven soil,
Strong horses labour, steaming in the sun,
Down the long furrows with slow straining toil,
Turning the brown of clean layers; and one by one
The crows gloom over them till daylight done
Finds them asleep somewhere in dusked lines
Beyond the wheatlands in the northern pines.
52
The old year's cloaking of brown leaves, that bind
The forest floor-ways, plated close and trueThe last love's labour of the autumn windIs broken with curled flower buds white and blue
In all the matted hollows and speared through
With thousand serpent-spotted blades up-sprung,
Yet bloomless, of the slender adder-tongue.
In the warm noon the south wind creeps and cools,
Where the red-budded stems of maples throw
Still tangled etchings on the amber pools,
Quite silent now, forgetful of the slow
Drip of the taps, the troughs, and trampled snow,
The keen March mornings, and the silvering rime
And mirthful labour of the sugar prime.
Ah, I have wandered with unwearied feet,
All the long sweetness of an April day,
Lulled with cool murmurs and the drowsy beat
Of partridge wings in secret thickets grey,
The marriage hymns of all the birds at play,
The faces of sweet flowers, and easeful dreams
Beside slow reaches of frog-haunted streams;
Wandered with happy feet, and quite forgot
The shallow toil, the strife against the grain,
Near souls, that hear us call, but answer not,
The loneliness, perplexity and pain,
And high thoughts cankered with an earthly stain
And then the long draught emptied to the lees,
I turn me homeward in slow pacing ease,
Cleaving the cedar shadows and the thin
Mist of grey gnats that cloud the river shore,
Sweet even choruses, that dance and spin
Soft tangles in the sunset; and once more
The city smites me with its dissonant roar.
To its hot heart I pass, untroubled yet,
Fed with calm hope, without desire or fret.
So to the year's first alter step I bring
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Gifts of meek song, and make my spirit free
With the blind working if unanxious spring,
Careless with her, whether the days that flee
Pale drouth or golden-fruited plenty see,
So that we toil, brothers, without distress,
In calm-eyed peace and god-like blamelessness.
~ Archibald Lampman
190:few years later, Demeter took a vacation to the beach. She was walking along, enjoying the solitude and the fresh sea air, when Poseidon happened to spot her. Being a sea god, he tended to notice pretty ladies walking along the beach. He appeared out of the waves in his best green robes, with his trident in his hand and a crown of seashells on his head. (He was sure that the crown made him look irresistible.) “Hey, girl,” he said, wiggling his eyebrows. “You must be the riptide, ’cause you sweep me off my feet.” He’d been practicing that pickup line for years. He was glad he finally got to use it. Demeter was not impressed. “Go away, Poseidon.” “Sometimes the sea goes away,” Poseidon agreed, “but it always comes back. What do you say you and me have a romantic dinner at my undersea palace?” Demeter made a mental note not to park her chariot so far away. She really could’ve used her two dragons for backup. She decided to change form and get away, but she knew better than to turn into a snake this time. I need something faster, she thought. Then she glanced down the beach and saw a herd of wild horses galloping through the surf. That’s perfect! Demeter thought. A horse! Instantly she became a white mare and raced down the beach. She joined the herd and blended in with the other horses. Her plan had serious flaws. First, Poseidon could also turn into a horse, and he did—a strong white stallion. He raced after her. Second, Poseidon had created horses. He knew all about them and could control them. Why would a sea god create a land animal like the horse? We’ll get to that later. Anyway, Poseidon reached the herd and started pushing his way through, looking for Demeter—or rather sniffing for her sweet, distinctive perfume. She was easy to find. Demeter’s seemingly perfect camouflage in the herd turned out to be a perfect trap. The other horses made way for Poseidon, but they hemmed in Demeter and wouldn’t let her move. She got so panicky, afraid of getting trampled, that she couldn’t even change shape into something else. Poseidon sidled up to her and whinnied something like Hey, beautiful. Galloping my way? Much to Demeter’s horror, Poseidon got a lot cuddlier than she wanted. These days, Poseidon would be arrested for that kind of behavior. I mean…assuming he wasn’t in horse form. I don’t think you can arrest a horse. Anyway, back in those days, the world was a rougher, ruder place. Demeter couldn’t exactly report Poseidon to King Zeus, because Zeus was just as bad. Months later, a very embarrassed and angry Demeter gave birth to twins. The weirdest thing? One of the babies was a goddess; the other one was a stallion. I’m not going to even try to figure that out. The baby girl was named Despoine, but you don’t hear much about her in the myths. When she grew up, her job was looking after Demeter’s temple, like the high priestess of corn magic or something. Her baby brother, the stallion, was named Arion. He grew up to be a super-fast immortal steed who helped out Hercules and some other heroes, too. He was a pretty awesome horse, though I’m not sure that Demeter was real proud of having a son who needed new horseshoes every few months and was constantly nuzzling her for apples. At this point, you’d think Demeter would have sworn off those gross, disgusting men forever and joined Hestia in the Permanently Single Club. Strangely, a couple of months later, she fell in love with a human prince named Iasion (pronounced EYE-son, I think). Just shows you how far humans had come since Prometheus gave them fire. Now they could speak and write. They could brush their teeth and comb their hair. They wore clothes and occasionally took baths. Some of them were even handsome enough to flirt with goddesses. ~ Rick Riordan
191:My morning schedule saw me first in Cannan’s office, conferring with my advisor, but our meeting was interrupted within minutes by Narian, who entered without knocking and whose eyes were colder than I had seen them in a long time.
“I thought you intended to control them,” he stated, walking toward the captain’s desk and standing directly beside the chair in which I sat.”
He slammed a lengthy piece of parchment down on the wood surface, an unusual amount of tension in his movements. I glanced toward the open door and caught sight of Rava. She stood with one hand resting against the frame, her calculating eyes evaluating the scene while she awaited orders.
Cannan’s gaze went to the parchment, but he did not reach for it, scanning its contents from a distance. Then he looked at Narian, unruffled.
“I can think of a dozen or more men capable of this.”
“But you know who is responsible.”
Cannan sat back, assessing his opposition. “I don’t know with certainty any more than you do. In the absence of definitive proof of guilt on behalf of my son and his friends, I suggest you and your fellows develop a sense of humor.” Then the captain’s tone changed, becoming more forbidding. “I can prevent an uprising, Narian. This, you’ll have to get used to.”
Not wanting to be in the dark, I snatched up the parchment in question. My mouth opened in shock and dismay as I silently read its contents, the men waiting for me to finish.
On this Thirtieth Day of May in the First Year of Cokyrian dominance over the Province of Hytanica, the following regulations shall be put into practice in order to assist our gracious Grand Provost in her effort to welcome Cokyri into our lands--and to help ensure the enemy does not bungle the first victory it has managed in over a century.
Regulation One. All Hytanican citizens must be willing to provide aid to aimlessly wandering Cokyrian soldiers who cannot on their honor grasp that the road leading back to the city is the very same road that led them away.
Regulation Two. It is strongly recommended that farmers hide their livestock, lest the men of our host empire become confused and attempt to mate with them.
Regulation Three. As per negotiated arrangements, crops grown on Hytanican soil will be divided with fifty percent belonging to Cokyri, and seventy-five percent remaining with the citizens of the province; Hytanicans will be bound by law to wait patiently while the Cokyrians attempt to sort the baffling deficiency in their calculations.
Regulation Four. The Cokyrian envoys assigned to manage the planting and farming effort will also require Hytanican patience while they slowly but surely learn what is a crop and what is a weed, as well as left from right.
Regulation Five. Though the Province Wall is a Cokyrian endeavor, it would be polite and understanding of Hytanicans to remind the enemy of the correct side on which to be standing when the final stone is laid, so no unfortunates may find themselves trapped outside with no way in.
Regulation Six. When at long last foreign trade is allowed to resume, Hytanicans should strive to empathize with the reluctance of neighboring kingdoms to enter our lands, for Cokyri’s stench is sure to deter even the migrating birds.
Regulation Seven. For what little trade and business we do manage in spite of the odor, the imposed ten percent tax may be paid in coins, sweets or shiny objects.
Regulation Eight. It is regrettably prohibited for Hytanicans to throw jeers at Cokyrian soldiers, for fear that any man harried may cry, and the women may spit.
Regulation Nine. In case of an encounter with Cokyrian dignitaries, the boy-invader and the honorable High Priestess included, let it be known that the proper way in which to greet them is with an ass-backward bow.
~ Cayla Kluver
192:Just tell me. What is odd about the Callans? Something that is carried in the blood?” Jankyn nodded. “Cats. The original source of the, er, taint is a wee bit obscure. Twas either brought back by a Crusader or from some ancient Celtic bride, a priestess in the old religion, a shape-shifter.” He shrugged. “Despite what I am, I find that a wee bit difficult to imagine. But, there it is. The Callans appear to have done what ye plan to do—bred it out. There are tales from the old, misty past that hint at some difficulties because of this trait, but the Callans began to be verra particular in their mates. Their family lines are kept meticulously complete right to the most distant of cousins. Intermarriage, no matter how rich the prize, is strictly forbidden for fear that this trait will blossom in its full glory again and pull them all back into danger.” “So, they have bred it out then?” Cathal could understand why Bridget might hide this fact about her clan, but still felt hurt and angry that she would hide it from him. “Most of it. There lingers a hint, though. In the coloring, for example. Twas the medallion that set me on the right path. It reminded me of a tale I had once been told. I found that and soon tracked down the rest. It also explains a lot of things such as how your wife hisses and scratches, how she can run as she does.” “How she purrs,” Cathal whispered. “Does she? How intriguing.” Jankyn met Cathal’s scowl with a sweet smile. “The way she seems to sense danger, her keen eyesight, especially in the dark, and that certain grace she has. All Callan women are rumored to be small, lovely, graceful, passionate, and fertile. Verra, verra fertile. Your wee wife comes from a verra big family.” “Do ye recall the first night she was here? The way she acted when she first awoke?” Jankyn nodded. “Verra like a cat.” “Aye, but for one fleeting moment there was something in her face, something verra catlike.” “Why didnae ye say so?” “I thought it a trick of the light. Now I think not. It also means it might be impossible to breed out all our MacNachton traits. The Callans havenae fully succeeded, have they?” “Would that be such a bad thing? I can think of a few that would only serve us weel and would only raise envy, nay fear.” “True. I suspicion some of the things in the Callan bloodline do the same. The more I think on it, the more I curse myself as a blind fool. Aye, some of what Bridget does could just be considered, weel, a female’s ways. But nay all of them. Certainly nay the way she fought Edmee. I was but stunned when Edmee tossed me aside. Couldnae move, but I could see how Bridget leapt at Edmee. She used those cursed long nails of hers on Edmee and it took Edmee a few moments to get a firm grasp on Bridget. I can now see that the way Bridget moved to try to stay out of Edmee’s grasp was verra like a cat. Then Edmee threw Bridget and, somehow, e’en as she was flying through the air, she curled that wee body of hers into a ball. That and the heather saved her.” “Aye. Raibeart and I were close enough to see that. Raibeart still mutters about it. That and the fact that your wee wife made sure to take a few large hanks of Edmee’s hair with her when she was thrown. Of course, a cat is said to land on its feet. For one wee minute, I truly thought she was about to perform that wondrous feat, but then she curled up into the ball. I wonder why.” “Mayhap when I have finished bellowing at her, I will ask her that question.” He smiled faintly when Jankyn laughed. “So, ye will keep her?” “Aye. E’en when I feared ye were about to tell me she had MacNachton blood, something that would near ruin all my grand plans, I meant to keep her.” He sighed, finished off his wine, then rose to refill his goblet. “I had best send for her, confront her with this, and hear what she has to say for herself.” “No need. I believe I hear the patter of wee paws approaching.” Cathal ~ Hannah Howell
193:Cats. The original source of the, er, taint is a wee bit obscure. Twas either brought back by a Crusader or from some ancient Celtic bride, a priestess in the old religion, a shape-shifter.” He shrugged. “Despite what I am, I find that a wee bit difficult to imagine. But, there it is. The Callans appear to have done what ye plan to do—bred it out. There are tales from the old, misty past that hint at some difficulties because of this trait, but the Callans began to be verra particular in their mates. Their family lines are kept meticulously complete right to the most distant of cousins. Intermarriage, no matter how rich the prize, is strictly forbidden for fear that this trait will blossom in its full glory again and pull them all back into danger.” “So, they have bred it out then?” Cathal could understand why Bridget might hide this fact about her clan, but still felt hurt and angry that she would hide it from him. “Most of it. There lingers a hint, though. In the coloring, for example. Twas the medallion that set me on the right path. It reminded me of a tale I had once been told. I found that and soon tracked down the rest. It also explains a lot of things such as how your wife hisses and scratches, how she can run as she does.” “How she purrs,” Cathal whispered. “Does she? How intriguing.” Jankyn met Cathal’s scowl with a sweet smile. “The way she seems to sense danger, her keen eyesight, especially in the dark, and that certain grace she has. All Callan women are rumored to be small, lovely, graceful, passionate, and fertile. Verra, verra fertile. Your wee wife comes from a verra big family.” “Do ye recall the first night she was here? The way she acted when she first awoke?” Jankyn nodded. “Verra like a cat.” “Aye, but for one fleeting moment there was something in her face, something verra catlike.” “Why didnae ye say so?” “I thought it a trick of the light. Now I think not. It also means it might be impossible to breed out all our MacNachton traits. The Callans havenae fully succeeded, have they?” “Would that be such a bad thing? I can think of a few that would only serve us weel and would only raise envy, nay fear.” “True. I suspicion some of the things in the Callan bloodline do the same. The more I think on it, the more I curse myself as a blind fool. Aye, some of what Bridget does could just be considered, weel, a female’s ways. But nay all of them. Certainly nay the way she fought Edmee. I was but stunned when Edmee tossed me aside. Couldnae move, but I could see how Bridget leapt at Edmee. She used those cursed long nails of hers on Edmee and it took Edmee a few moments to get a firm grasp on Bridget. I can now see that the way Bridget moved to try to stay out of Edmee’s grasp was verra like a cat. Then Edmee threw Bridget and, somehow, e’en as she was flying through the air, she curled that wee body of hers into a ball. That and the heather saved her.” “Aye. Raibeart and I were close enough to see that. Raibeart still mutters about it. That and the fact that your wee wife made sure to take a few large hanks of Edmee’s hair with her when she was thrown. Of course, a cat is said to land on its feet. For one wee minute, I truly thought she was about to perform that wondrous feat, but then she curled up into the ball. I wonder why.” “Mayhap when I have finished bellowing at her, I will ask her that question.” He smiled faintly when Jankyn laughed. “So, ye will keep her?” “Aye. E’en when I feared ye were about to tell me she had MacNachton blood, something that would near ruin all my grand plans, I meant to keep her.” He sighed, finished off his wine, then rose to refill his goblet. “I had best send for her, confront her with this, and hear what she has to say for herself.” “No need. I believe I hear the patter of wee paws approaching.” Cathal gave Jankyn a disgusted look as he retook his seat. “I would be wary of teasing her too much. Dinnae forget those nails.” “Cathal? ~ Hannah Howell
194:Narian was walking restlessly around his parlor when I entered, and my worry increased tenfold. Was he moving about because he was in pain? I glanced around the room, noticing an empty wineglass and a half-eaten bowl of soup.
“You’re out of breath, Alera,” he said with a smile. “I hope that means your conversation with Nantilam went well.”
I hesitated, unsure how to begin, unsure how to tell him what she was demanding, what she had done to him. Unsure how to tell him she had meted out one last betrayal.
“How are you feeling?” I blurted, and he laughed.
“I’m fine, but you don’t seem to be. Come and talk to me.”
He took my hand and led me to the sofa, pulling me down to sit beside him. He winced as he did so, an indication he was experiencing some discomfort. I brushed his hair off his forehead, subtly checking for a fever, then told him of the High Priestess’s desires.
“The terms of the actual treaty are not a problem, Narian, but Nantilam won’t enter into it unless you agree to make Cokyri your home. She wants to control your power, now and in the future, even to the point of progeny.”
“Alera,” he calmly said, taking both my hands in his. “Those decisions are not hers to make. Besides, she’s a little late.”
“I don’t understand.”
He looked at me, bemused, then rolled up his right shirtsleeve, revealing an intricate tattoo encircling his forearm just below the elbow--the Cokyrian symbol that a man was voluntarily bound to a woman. I stared at it; I stared at him; and I burst into tears. His eyebrows rose in surprise, but he nonetheless took me into his arms.
“That’s not the reaction I expected,” he drolly commented, “but it’s convinced me something is wrong.”
“How….are…you…feeling?” I managed between sobs.
“You’ve already asked me that, and I’m fine.”
When I finally had my weeping under control, words tumbled from my mouth.
“Even if the revolt has been successful, the High Priestess won’t enter into a treaty unless you stay in Cokyri. Otherwise, she’ll attack Hytanica again, and this time she will kill all of our military leaders and enslave my people. And she wants you to bind yourself to a woman of her choosing because if your powers pass to a child, she wants the child to be Cokyrian.”
“That’s all well and good, but this time, she won’t be able to have things her way. There’s no need for you to worry about this. We are strong enough to take her on, Alera.”
“But we’re not.” I glanced once more toward the food he had been given, and a flicker of understanding appeared in his eyes. “We have no choice, Narian, because she’s poisoned your food and drink and only she can heal you. And I don’t know what to do, only that I cannot let you die!”
“Shhh,” he soothed, holding me close, and I couldn’t understand how he could be so calm. Not when panic rose higher inside me with each passing moment.
When I had quieted, resting with my head cradled against his chest, he tried to sort through the things I had said.
“So Nantilam, in her wisdom, has linked Hytanican’s freedom to my willingness to stay in Cokyri, and she has effectively taken me out of the fighting by poisoning my food?”
I shudder, then nodded.
“If I stay here, she is willing to sign a treaty, but if I’m not, she will never relinquish Hytanica and I won’t be around to prevent it.”
“Yes,” I murmured.
“So she is tearing us apart, dictating the rest of my life and we have to go along with it or she will destroy Hytanica?”
“Yes. And we’re running out of time.”
He shook his head in awe. “I have to hand it to her, Alera. She’s ruthless in pursuing what she wants.”
“This is serious, Narian.” I found his attitude almost irritating. He obviously understood the direness of his situation, yet was acting like it was only a game.
“I know it’s serious, but there is only one choice as far as I’m concerned. I don’t want to live without you, Alera. I won’t live without you. ~ Cayla Kluver
195:The Elders spoke to Gilgamesh, saying:
"Gilgamesh, do not put your trust in (just) your vast strength,
but keep a sharp eye out, make each blow strike in mark!
'The one who goes on ahead saves the comrade."
'The one who knows the route protects his friend.'
Let Enkidu go ahead of you;
he knows the road to the Cedar Forest,
he has seen fighting, has experienced battle.
Enkidu will protect the friend, will keep the comrade safe.
Let his body urge him back to the wives ())."
"in our Assembly we have entrusted the King to you (Enkidu),
and on your return you must entrust the King back to us!"
Gilgamesh spoke to Enkidu, raying:
"Come on, my friend, let us go to the Egalmah Temple,
to Ninsun, the Great Queen;
Ninsun is wise, all-knowing.
She will put the advisable path at our feet."
Taking each other by the hand,
Gilgamesh and Enkidu walked to the Egalmah ("Great Palace"),
to Ninsun, the Great Queen.
Gilgamesh arose and went to her.
"Ninsun, (even though) I am extraordinarily strong (!)
I must now travel a long way to where Humbaba is,
I must face fighting such as I have not known,
and I must travel on a road that I do not know!
Until the time that I go and return,
until I reach the Cedar Forest,
until I kill Humbaba the Terrible,
and eradicate from the land something baneful that Shamash hates,
intercede with Shamash on my behalf' (!)
If I kill Humbaba and cut his Cedar
let there be rejoicing all over the land ,
and I will erect a monument of the victory (?) before you!"
The words of Gilgamesh, her son,
grieving, Queen Ninsun heard over and over.
Ninsun went into her living quarters.
She washed herself with the purity plant,
she donned a robe worthy of her body,
she donned jewels worthy of her chest,
she donned her sash, and put on her crown.
She sprinkled water from a bowl onto the ground.
She and went up to the roof.
She went up to the roof and set incense in front of Shamash,
.I she offered fragrant cuttings, and raised her arms to Shamash.
"Why have you imposednay, inflicted!a restless heart on
my son, Gilgamesh!
Now you have touched him so that he wants to travel
a long way to where Humbaba is!
He will face fighting such as he has not known,
and will travel on a road that he does not know!
Until he goes away and returns,
until he reaches the Cedar Forest,
until he kills Humbaba the Terrible,
and eradicates from the land something baneful that you hate,
on the day that you see him on the road(?)
may Aja, the Bride, without fear remind you,
and command also the Watchmen of the Night,
the stars, and at night your father, Sin."

She banked up the incense and uttered the ritual words.'
She called to Enkidu and would give him instructions:
"Enkidu the Mighty, you are not of my womb,
but now I speak to you along with the sacred votaries of Gilgamesh,
the high priestesses, the holy women, the temple servers."
She laid a pendant(?) on Enkidu's neck,
the high-priestesses took
and the "daughters-of-the-gods"
"I have taken Enkidu
Enkidu to Gilgamesh I have taken."
"Until he goes and returns,
until he reaches the Cedar Forest,
be it a month
be it a year.. ."
[About 11 lines are missing here, and the placement of the following fragment is uncertain.]
the gate of cedar
Enkidu in the Temple of Shamash,
(and) Gilgamesh in the Egalmah.
He made an offering of cuttings
the sons of the king(!)
[Perhaps some 60 lines are missing here.]
"Enkidu will protect the friend, will keep the comrade safe,
Let his body urge him back to the wives (?).
In our Assembly we have entrusted the King to you,
and on your return you must entrust the King back to us!"
Enkidu spoke to Gilgamesh saying:
"My Friend, turn back!
The road"
[The last lines are missing.]


~ Anonymous, The Epic of Gilgamesh Tablet III

196:The Death Baby
1. DREAMS
I was an ice baby.
I turned to sky blue.
My tears became two glass beads.
My mouth stiffened into a dumb howl.
They say it was a dream
but I remember that hardening.
My sister at six
dreamt nightly of my death:
'The baby turned to ice.
Someone put her in the refrigerator
and she turned as hard as a Popsicle.'
I remember the stink of the liverwurst.
How I was put on a platter and laid
between the mayonnaise and the bacon.
The rhythm of the refrigerator
had been disturbed.
The milk bottle hissed like a snake.
The tomatoes vomited up their stomachs.
The caviar turned to lave.
The pimentos kissed like cupids.
I moved like a lobster,
slower and slower.
The air was tiny.
The air would not do.
I was at the dogs' party.
I was their bone.
I had been laid out in their kennel
like a fresh turkey.
This was my sister's dream
but I remember that quartering;
I remember the sickbed smell
of the sawdust floor, the pink eyes,
the pink tongues and the teeth, those nails.
229
I had been carried out like Moses
and hidden by the paws
of ten Boston bull terriers,
ten angry bulls
jumping like enormous roaches.
At first I was lapped,
rough as sandpaper.
I became very clean.
Then my arm was missing.
I was coming apart.
They loved me until
I was gone.
2. THE DY-DEE DOLL
My Dy-dee doll
died twice.
Once when I snapped
her head off
and let if float in the toilet
and once under the sun lamp
trying to get warm
she melted.
She was a gloom,
her face embracing
her little bent arms.
She died in all her rubber wisdom.
3. SEVEN TIMES
I died seven times
in seven ways
letting death give me a sign,
letting death place his mark on my forehead,
crossed over, crossed over
And death took root in that sleep.
In that sleep I held an ice baby
and I rocked it
and was rocked by it.
Oh Madonna, hold me.
I am a small handful.
230
NA
My mother died
unrocked, unrocked.
Weeks at her deathbed
seeing her thrust herself against the metal bars,
thrashing like a fish on the hook
and me low at her high stage,
letting the priestess dance alone,
wanting to place my head in her lap
or even take her in my arms somehow
and fondle her twisted gray hair.
But her rocking horse was pain
with vomit steaming from her mouth.
Her belly was big with another child,
cancer's baby, big as a football.
I could not soothe.
With every hump and crack
there was less Madonna
until that strange labor took her.
Then the room was bankrupt.
That was the end of her paying.
5. MAX
Max and I
two immoderate sisters,
two immoderate writers,
two burdeners,
made a pact.
To beat death down with a stick.
To take over.
To build our death like carpenters.
When she had a broken back,
each night we built her sleep.
Talking on the hot line
until her eyes pulled down like shades.
And we agreed in those long hushed phone calls
that when the moment comes
we'll talk turkey,
we'll shoot words straight from the hip,
231
we'll play it as it lays.
Yes,
when death comes with its hood
we won't be polite.
6. BABY
Death,
you lie in my arms like a cherub,
as heavy as bread dough.
Your milky wings are as still as plastic.
Hair soft as music.
Hair the color of a harp.
And eyes made of glass,
as brittle as crystal.
Each time I rock you
I think you will break.
I rock. I rock.
Glass eye, ice eye,
primordial eye,
lava eye,
pin eye,
break eye,
how you stare back!
Like the gaze if small children
you know all about me.
You have worn my underwear.
You have read my newspaper.
You have seen my father whip me.
You have seen my stroke my father's whip.
I rock. I rock.
We plunge back and forth
comforting each other.
We are stone.
We are carved, a pietà
that swings.
Outside, the world is a chilly army.
Outside, the sea is brought to its knees.
Outside, Pakistan is swallowed in a mouthful.
232
I rock. I rock.
You are my stone child
with still eyes like marbles.
There is a death baby
for each of us.
We own him.
His smell is our smell.
Beware. Beware.
There is a tenderness.
There is a love
for this dumb traveler
waiting in his pink covers.
Someday,
heavy with cancer or disaster
I will look up at Max
and say: It is time.
Hand me the death baby
and there will be
that final rocking.
~ Anne Sexton
197:A little Indian temple in the Golden Age. Around it a garden;
around that the forest. Anashuya, the young priestess, kneeling
within the temple.
Anashuya. Send peace on all the lands and flickering
corn.
O, may tranquillity walk by his elbow
When wandering in the forest, if he love
No other. Hear, and may the indolent flocks
Be plentiful. And if he love another,
May panthers end him. Hear, and load our king
With wisdom hour by hour. May we two stand,
When we are dead, beyond the setting suns,
A little from the other shades apart,
With mingling hair, and play upon one lute.
Vijaya [entering and throwing a lily at her]. Hail! hail, my
Anashuya.
Anashuya. No: be still.
I, priestess of this temple, offer up
prayers for the land.
Vijaya. I will wait here, Amrita.
Anashuya. By mighty Brahma's ever-rustling robe,
Who is Amrita? Sorrow of all sorrows!
Another fills your mind.
Vijaya. My mother's name.
Anashuya [sings, coming out of the temple].
A sad, sad thought went by me slowly:
Sigh, O you little stars.! O sigh and shake your blue
apparel.!
The sad, sad thought has gone from me now wholly:
Sing, O you little stars.! O sing and raise your rapturous
carol
To mighty Brahma, be who made you many as the sands,
And laid you on the gates of evening with his quiet hands.
(Sits down on the steps of the temple.)
Vijaya, I have brought my evening rice;
The sun has laid his chin on the grey wood,
Weary, with all his poppies gathered round him.
Vijaya. The hour when Kama, full of sleepy laughter,
Rises, and showers abroad his fragrant arrows,
Piercing the twilight with their murmuring barbs.
Anashuya. See-how the sacred old flamingoes come.
Painting with shadow all the marble steps:
Aged and wise, they seek their wonted perches
Within the temple, devious walking, made
To wander by their melancholy minds.
Yon tall one eyes my supper; chase him away,
Far, far away. I named him after you.
He is a famous fisher; hour by hour
He ruffles with his bill the minnowed streams.
Ah! there he snaps my rice. I told you so.
Now cuff him off. He's off! A kiss for you,
Because you saved my rice. Have you no thanks?
Vijaya [sings]. Sing you of her, O first few stars,
Whom Brahma, touching with his finger, praises, for you
hold
The van of wandering quiet; ere you be too calm and old,
Sing, turning in your cars,
Sing, till you raise your hands and sigh, and from your car-
heads peer,
With all your whirling hair, and drop many an azure tear.
Anashuya. What know the pilots of the stars of tears?
Vijaya. Their faces are all worn, and in their eyes
Flashes the fire of sadness, for they see
The icicles that famish all the North,
Where men lie frozen in the glimmering snow;
And in the flaming forests cower the lion
And lioness, with all their whimpering cubs;
And, ever pacing on the verge of things,
The phantom, Beauty, in a mist of tears;
While we alone have round us woven woods,
And feel the softness of each other's hand,
Amrita, while -
Anashuya [going away from him].
Ah me! you love another,
[Bursting into tears.]
And may some sudden dreadful ill befall her!
Vijaya. I loved another; now I love no other.
Among the mouldering of ancient woods
You live, and on the village border she,
With her old father the blind wood-cutter;
I saw her standing in her door but now.
Anashuya. Vijaya, swear to love her never more.
Vijaya. Ay, ay.
Anashuya. Swear by the parents of the gods,
Dread oath, who dwell on sacred Himalay,
On the far Golden peak; enormous shapes,
Who still were old when the great sea was young;
On their vast faces mystery and dreams;
Their hair along the mountains rolled and filled
From year to year by the unnumbered nests
Of aweless birds, and round their stirless feet
The joyous flocks of deer and antelope,
Who never hear the unforgiving hound.
Swear!
Vijaya. By the parents of the gods, I swear.
Anashuya [sings]. I have forgiven, O new star!
Maybe you have not heard of us, you have come forth so
newly,
You hunter of the fields afar!
Ah, you will know my loved one by his hunter's arrows
truly,
Shoot on him shafts of quietness, that he may ever keep
A lonely laughter, and may kiss his hands to me in sleep.
Farewell, Vijaya. Nay, no word, no word;
I, priestess of this temple, offer up
Prayers for the land.
[Vijaya goes.]
O Brahma, guard in sleep
The merry lambs and the complacent kine,
The flies below the leaves, and the young mice
In the tree roots, and all the sacred flocks
Of red flamingoes; and my love, Vijaya;
And may no restless fay with fidget finger
Trouble his sleeping: give him dreams of me.

~ William Butler Yeats, Anashuya And Vijaya

198:. Mirth the halls of Troy was filling,
   Ere its lofty ramparts fell;
  From the golden lute so thrilling
   Hymns of joy were heard to swell.
  From the sad and tearful slaughter
   All had laid their arms aside,
  For Pelides Priam's daughter
   Claimed then as his own fair bride.

  Laurel branches with them bearing,
   Troop on troop in bright array
  To the temples were repairing,
   Owning Thymbrius' sovereign sway.
  Through the streets, with frantic measure,
   Danced the bacchanal mad round,
  And, amid the radiant pleasure,
   Only one sad breast was found.

  Joyless in the midst of gladness,
   None to heed her, none to love,
  Roamed Cassandra, plunged in sadness,
   To Apollo's laurel grove.
  To its dark and deep recesses
   Swift the sorrowing priestess hied,
  And from off her flowing tresses
   Tore the sacred band, and cried:

  "All around with joy is beaming,
   Ev'ry heart is happy now,
  And my sire is fondly dreaming,
   Wreathed with flowers my sister's brow
  I alone am doomed to wailing,
   That sweet vision flies from me;
  In my mind, these walls assailing,
   Fierce destruction I can see."

  "Though a torch I see all-glowing,
   Yet 'tis not in Hymen's hand;
  Smoke across the skies is blowing,
   Yet 'tis from no votive brand.
  Yonder see I feasts entrancing,
   But in my prophetic soul,
  Hear I now the God advancing,
   Who will steep in tears the bowl!"

  "And they blame my lamentation,
   And they laugh my grief to scorn;
  To the haunts of desolation
   I must bear my woes forlorn.
  All who happy are, now shun me,
   And my tears with laughter see;
  Heavy lies thy hand upon me,
   Cruel Pythian deity!"

  "Thy divine decrees foretelling,
   Wherefore hast thou thrown me here,
  Where the ever-blind are dwelling,
   With a mind, alas, too clear?
  Wherefore hast thou power thus given,
   What must needs occur to know?
  Wrought must be the will of Heaven
   Onward come the hour of woe!"

  "When impending fate strikes terror,
   Why remove the covering?
  Life we have alone in error,
   Knowledge with it death must bring.
  Take away this prescience tearful,
   Take this sight of woe from me;
  Of thy truths, alas! how fearful
   'Tis the mouthpiece frail to be!"

  "Veil my mind once more in slumbers
   Let me heedlessly rejoice;
  Never have I sung glad numbers
   Since I've been thy chosen voice.
  Knowledge of the future giving,
   Thou hast stolen the present day,
  Stolen the moment's joyous living,
   Take thy false gift, then, away!"

  "Ne'er with bridal train around me,
   Have I wreathed my radiant brow,
  Since to serve thy fane I bound me
   Bound me with a solemn vow.
  Evermore in grief I languish
   All my youth in tears was spent;
  And with thoughts of bitter anguish
   My too-feeling heart is rent."

  "Joyously my friends are playing,
   All around are blest and glad,
  In the paths of pleasure straying,
   My poor heart alone is sad.
  Spring in vain unfolds each treasure,
   Filling all the earth with bliss;
  Who in life can e'er take pleasure,
   When is seen its dark abyss?"

  "With her heart in vision burning,
   Truly blest is Polyxene,
  As a bride to clasp him yearning.
   Him, the noblest, best Hellene!
  And her breast with rapture swelling,
   All its bliss can scarcely know;
  E'en the Gods in heavenly dwelling
   Envying not, when dreaming so."

  "He to whom my heart is plighted
   Stood before my ravished eye,
  And his look, by passion lighted,
   Toward me turned imploringly.
  With the loved one, oh, how gladly
   Homeward would I take my flight
  But a Stygian shadow sadly
   Steps between us every night."

  "Cruel Proserpine is sending
   All her spectres pale to me;
  Ever on my steps attending
   Those dread shadowy forms I see.
  Though I seek, in mirth and laughter
   Refuge from that ghastly train,
  Still I see them hastening after,
   Ne'er shall I know joy again."

  "And I see the death-steel glancing,
   And the eye of murder glare;
  On, with hasty strides advancing,
   Terror haunts me everywhere.
  Vain I seek alleviation;
   Knowing, seeing, suffering all,
  I must wait the consummation,
   In a foreign land must fall."

  While her solemn words are ringing,
   Hark! a dull and wailing tone
  From the temple's gate upspringing,
   Dead lies Thetis' mighty son!
  Eris shakes her snake-locks hated,
   Swiftly flies each deity,
  And o'er Ilion's walls ill-fated
   Thunder-clouds loom heavily!
  
~ Friedrich Schiller, Cassandra

199:Narcissus
THE MIND IS AN ANCIENT AND FAMOUS CAPITAL
The mind is a city like London,
Smoky and populous: it is a capital
Like Rome, ruined and eternal,
Marked by the monuments which no one
Now remembers. For the mind, like Rome, contains
Catacombs, aqueducts, amphitheatres, palaces,
Churches and equestrian statues, fallen, broken or soiled.
The mind possesses and is possessed by all the ruins
Of every haunted, hunted generation’s celebration.
“Call us what you will: we are made such by love.”
We are such studs as dreams are made on, and
Our little lives are ruled by the gods, by Pan,
Piping of all, seeking to grasp or grasping
All of the grapes; and by the bow-and-arrow god,
Cupid, piercing the heart through, suddenly and forever.
Dusk we are, to dusk returning, after the burbing,
After the gold fall, the fallen ash, the bronze,
Scattered and rotten, after the white null statues which
Are winter, sleep, and nothingness: when
Will the houselights of the universe
Light up and blaze?
For it is not the sea
Which murmurs in a shell,
And it is not only heart, at harp o’clock,
It is the dread terror of the uncontrollable
Horses of the apocalypse, running in wild dread
Toward Arcturus—and returning as suddenly ...
THE FEAR AND DREAD OF THE MIND OF THE OTHERS
—The others were the despots of despair—
41
The river’s freshness sailed from unknown sources—
... They snickered giggled, laughed aloud at last,
They mocked and marvelled at the statue which was
A caricature, as strained and stiff, and yet
A statue of self-love!—since self-love was
To them, truly my true love, how, then, was I a stillness of nervousness
So nervous a caricature: did they suppose
Self-love was unrequited, or betrayed?
They thought I had fallen in love with my own face,
And this belief became the night-like obstacle
To understanding all my unbroken suffering,
My studious self-regard, the pain of hope,
The torment of possibility:
How then could I have expected them to see me
As I saw myself, within my gaze, or see
That being thus seemed as a toad, a frog, a wen, a mole.
Knowing their certainty that I was only
A monument, a monster who had fallen in love
With himself alone, how could I have
Told them what was in me, within my heart, trembling and passionate
Within the labyrinth and caves of my mind, which is
Like every mind partly or wholly hidden from itself?
The words for what is in my heart and in my mind
Do not exist. But I must seek and search to find
Amid the vines and orchards of the vivid world of day
Approximate images, imaginary parallels
For what is my heart and dark within my mind:
Comparisons and mere metaphors: for all
Of them are substitutes, both counterfeit and vague:
They are, at most, deceptive resemblances,
False in their very likeness, like the sons
Who are alike and kin and more unlike and false
Because they seem the father’s very self: but each one is
—Although begotten by the same forbears—himself,
The unique self, each one is unique, like every other one,
And everything, older or younger, nevertheless
A passionate nonesuch who has before has been.
Do you hear, do you see? Do you understand me now, and how
42
The words for what is my heart do not exist?
THE RIVER WAS THE EMBLEM OF ALL BEAUTY: ALL
...
The river was the abundant belly of beauty itself
The river was the dream space where I walked,
The river was itself and yet it was—flowing and freshening—
A self anew, another self, or self renewed
At every tick of eternity, and by each glint of light
Mounting or sparkling, descending to shade and black
—Had I but told them my heart, told how it was
Taunted at noon and pacified at dusk, at starfall midnight
Strong in hope once more, ever in eagerness
Jumping like joy, would they have heard? How could they?
How, when what they knew was, like the grass,
Simple and certain, known through the truth of touch, another form and fountain
of falsehood’s fecundity—
Gazing upon their faces as they gazed
Could they have seen my faces as whores who are
Holy and deified as priestesses of hope
—the sacred virgins of futurity—
Promising dear divinity precisely because
They were disfigured ducks who might become
And be, and ever beloved, white swans, noble and beautiful.
Could they have seen how my faces were
Bonfires of worship and vigil, blazes of adoration and hope
—Surely they would have laughed again, renewed their scorn,
Giggled and snickered, cruel. Surely have said
This is the puerile mania of the obsessed,
The living logic of the lunatic:
I was the statue of their merriment,
Dead and a death, Pharoah and monster forsaken and lost.
...
My faces were my apes: my apes became
Performers in the Sundays of their parks,
Buffoons or clowns in the farce or comedy
When they took pleasure in knowing that they were not like me.
43
...
I waited like obsession in solitude:
The sun’s white terror tore and roared at me,
The moonlight, almond white, at night,
Whether awake or sleeping, arrested me
And sang, softly, haunted, unlike the sun
But as the sun. Withheld from me or took away
Despair or peace, making me once more
With thought of what had never been before——
~ Delmore Schwartz
200:Hear me, Lord of the Stars!
For thee I have worshipped ever
With stains and sorrows and scars,
With joyful, joyful endeavour.
Hear me, O lily-white goat!
O crisp as a thicket of thorns,
With a collar of gold for Thy throat,
A scarlet bow for Thy horns!

Here, in the dusty air,
I build Thee a shrine of yew.
All green is the garland I wear,
But I feed it with blood for dew!
After the orange bars
That ribbed the green west dying
Are dead, O Lord of the Stars,
I come to Thee, come to Thee crying.

The ambrosial moon that arose
With breasts slow heaving in splendour
Drops wine from her infinite snows.
Ineffably, utterly, tender.
O moon! ambrosial moon!
Arise on my desert of sorrow
That the Magical eyes of me swoon
With lust of rain to-morrow!

Ages and ages ago
I stood on the bank of a river
Holy and Holy and holy, I know,
For ever and ever and ever!
A priest in the mystical shrine
I muttered a redeless rune,
Till the waters were redder than wine
In the blush of the harlot moon.

I and my brother priests
Worshipped a wonderful woman
With a body lithe as a beast's
Subtly, horribly human.
Deep in the pit of her eyes
I saw the image of death,
And I drew the water of sighs
From the well of her lullaby breath.

She sitteth veiled for ever
Brooding over the waste.
She hath stirred or spoken never.
She is fiercely, manly chaste!
What madness made me awake
From the silence of utmost eld
The grey cold slime of the snake
That her poisonous body held?

By night I ravished a maid
From her father's camp to the cave.
I bared the beautiful blade;
I dipped her thrice i' the wave;
I slit her throat as a lamb's,
That the fount of blood leapt high
With my clamorous dithyrambs
Like a stain on the shield of the sky.

With blood and censer and song
I rent the mysterious veil:
My eyes gaze long and long
On the deep of that blissful bale.
My cold grey kisses awake
From the silence of utmost eld
The grey cold slime of the snake
That her beautiful body held.

But --- God! I was not content
With the blasphemous secret of years;
The veil is hardly rent
While the eyes rain stones for tears.
So I clung to the lips and laughed
As the storms of death abated,
The storms of the grevious graft
By the swing of her soul unsated.

Wherefore reborn as I am
By a stream profane and foul
In the reign of a Tortured Lamb,
In the realm of a sexless Owl,
I am set apart from the rest
By meed of the mystic rune
That reads in peril and pest
The ambrosial moon --- the moon!

For under the tawny star
That shines in the Bull above
I can rein the riotous car
Of galloping, galloping Love;
And straight to the steady ray
Of the Lion-heart Lord I career,
Pointing my flaming way
With the spasm of night for a spear!

O moon! O secret sweet!
Chalcedony clouds of caresses
About the flame of our feet,
The night of our terrible tresses!
Is it a wonder, then,
If the people are mad with blindness,
And nothing is stranger to men
Than silence, and wisdom, and kindness?

Nay! let him fashion an arrow
Whose heart is sober and stout!
Let him pierce his God to the marrow!
Let the soul of his God flow out!
Whether a snake or a sun
In his horoscope Heaven hath cast,
It is nothing; every one
Shall win to the moon at last.

The mage hath wrought by his art
A billion shapes in the sun.
Look through to the heart of his heart,
And the many are shapes of one!
An end to the art of the mage,
And the cold grey blank of the prison!
An end to the adamant age!
The ambrosial moon is arisen.

I have bought a lily-white goat
For the price of a crown of thorns,
A collar of gold for its throat,
A scarlet bow for its horns.
I have bought a lark in the lift
For the price of a butt of sherry:
With these, and God for a gift,
It needs no wine to be merry!

I have bought for a wafer of bread
A garden of poppies and clover;
For a water bitter and dead
A foam of fire flowing over.
From the Lamb and his prison fare
And the owl's blind stupor, arise
Be ye wise, and strong, and fair,
And the nectar afloat in your eyes!

Arise, O ambrosial moon
By the strong immemorial spell,
By the subtle veridical rune
That is mighty in heaven and hell!
Drip thy mystical dews
On the tongues of the tender fauns
In the shade of initiate yews
Remote from the desert dawns!

Satyrs and Fauns, I call.
Bring your beauty to man!
I am the mate for ye all'
I am the passionate Pan.
Come, O come to the dance
Leaping with wonderful whips,
Life on the stroke of a glance,
Death in the stroke of the lips!

I am hidden beyond,
Shed in a secret sinew
Smitten through by the fond
Folly of wisdom in you!
Come, while the moon (the moon!)
Sheds her ambrosial splendour,
Reels in the redeless rune
Ineffably, utterly, tender!
Hark! the appealing cry
Of deadly hurt in the hollow: ---
Hyacinth! Hyacinth! Ay!
Smitten to death by Apollo.
Swift, O maiden moon,
Send thy ray-dews after;
Turn the dolorous tune
To soft ambiguous laughter!

Mourn, O Maenads, mourn!
Surely your comfort is over:
All we laugh at you lorn.
Ours are the poppies and clover!
O that mouth and eyes,
Mischievous, male, alluring!
O that twitch of the thighs
Dorian past enduring!

Where is wisdom now?
Where the sage and his doubt?
Surely the sweat of the brow
Hath driven the demon out.
Surely the scented sleep
That crowns the equal war
Is wiser than only to weep ---
To weep for evermore!

Now, at the crown of the year,
The decadent days of October,
I come to thee, God, without fear;
Pious, chaste, and sober.
I solemnly sacrifice
This first-fruit flower of wine
For a vehicle of thy vice
As I am Thine to be mine.

For five in the year gone by
I pray Thee give to me one;
A love stronger than I,
A moon to swallow the sun!
May he be like a lily-white goat
Crisp as a thicket of thorns,
With a collar of gold for his throat,
A scarlet bow for his horns!

ELAINE CARR.

~ Aleister Crowley, The Priestess of Panormita

201:The Falls Of The Chaudiere, Ottawa
I have laid my cheek to Nature's, placed my puny hand in hers,
Felt a kindred spirit warming all the life-blood of my face,
Moved amid the very foremost of her truest worshippers,
Studying each curve of beauty, marking every minute grace;
Loved not less the mountain cedar than the flowers at its feet,
Looking skyward from the valley, open-lipped as if in prayer,
Felt a pleasure in the brooklet singing of its wild retreat,
But I knelt before the splendour of the thunderous Chaudiere.
All my manhood waked within me, every nerve had tenfold force,
And my soul stood up rejoicing, looking on with cheerful eyes,
Watching the resistless waters speeding on their downward course,
Titan strength and queenly beauty diademed with rainbow dyes.
Eye and ear, with spirit quickened, mingled with the lovely strife,
Saw the living Genius shrined within her sanctuary fair,
Heard her voice of sweetness singing, peered into her hidden life,
And discerned the tuneful secret of the jubilant Chaudiere:
'Within my pearl-roofed shell,
Whose floor is woven with the iris bright,
Genius and Queen of the Chaudiere I dwell,
As in a world of immaterial light.
My throne, an ancient rock,
Marked by the foot of ages long-departed,
My joy, the cataract's stupendous shock,
Whose roll is music to the grateful-hearted.
I've seen the eras glide
With muffled tread to their eternal dreams,
While I have lived in vale and mountain side,
With leaping torrents and sweet purling streams.
The Red-Man's active life;
His love, pride, passions, courage, and great deeds;
His perfect freedom, and his thirst for strife;
His swift revenge, at which the memory bleeds:
The sanguinary years,
141
When sullen Terror, like a raging Fate,
Swept down the stately tribes like slaughtered deers,
And war and hatred joined to decimate
The remnants of the race,
And spread decay through centuries of painNo more I mark their sure, avenging pace,
And forests wave where war-whoops shook the plain.
Their deeds I envied not.
The royal tyrant on his purple throne,
I, in secluded grove or shady grot,
Had purer joys than he had ever known,
God made the ancient hills,
The valleys and the solemn wildernesses,
The merry-hearted and melodious rills,
And strung with diamond dews the pine-trees' tresses;
But man's hand built the palace,
And he that reigns therein is simply man;
Man turns God's gifts to poison in the chalice
That brimmed with nectar in the primal plan.
Here I abide aloneThe wild Chaudiere's eternal jubilee
Has such sweet divination in its tone,
And utters nature's truest prophecy
In thunderings of zeal!
I've seen the Atheist in terror start,
Awed to contrition by the strong appeal
That waked conviction in his doubting heart:
'Teachers speak throughout all nature,
From the womb of Silence born,
Heed ye not their words, O Scoffer?
Flinging back thy scorn with scorn!
To the desert spring that leapeth,
Pulsing, from the parched sod,
Points the famished trav'ler, saying'Brothers, here, indeed, is God!'
142
From the patriarchal fountains,
Sending forth their tribes of rills,
From the cedar-shadowed lakelets
In the hearts of distant hills,
Whispers softer than the moonbeams
Wisdom's gentle heart have awed,
Till its lips approved the cadence'Surely here, indeed, is God!'
Lo! o'er all, the Torrent Prophet,
An inspired Demosthenes,
To the Doubter's soul appealing,
Louder than the preacher-seas:
Dreamer! wouldst have nature spurn thee
For a dumb, insensate clod?
Dare to doubt! and these shall teach thee
Of a truth there lives a God!'
By day and night, for hours,
I watch the cataract's impulsive leap,
Refreshed and gladdened by the cheering showers
Wrung from the passion of the seething deep.
Pleased when the buried waves
Emerge again, like incorporeal hosts
Rising, white-sheeted, from their gloomy graves,
As if the depths had yielded up their ghosts.
And when the midnight storm
Enfolds the welkin in its robe of clouds,
Through the dim vapours of the cauldron swarm
The sheeted spectres in their whitest shrouds,
By the lightning's flash betrayed.
These gather from the insubstantial vapour
The lunar rainbows, which by them are madeWoven with moonbeams by some starry taper,
To decorate the halls
Of my fair palace, whence I'm pained to see
Thy human brethren watch the waterfalls-
143
Not with such rev'rence as I've found in thee:
Too many with an eye
To speculation and the worldling's dreams;
Others, who seek from nature no reply,
Nor read the oral language of the streams.
But of the few who loved
The beautiful with grateful heart and soul,
Who looked on nature fondly, and were moved
By one sweet glance, as by the mighty whole:
Of these, the thoughtful few,
Thou wert the first to seek the inner temple,
And stand before the Priestess. Thou wert true
To nature and thyself. Be thy example
The harbinger of times
When the Chaudiere's imposing majesty
Will awe the spirits of the heartless mimes
To worship God in truth, with nature's constancy.'
Still I heard the mellow sweetness of her voice at intervals,
Mingling with the fall of waters, rising with the snowy spray,
Ringing through the sportive current like the joy of waterfalls,
Sending up their hearty vespers at the calmy close of day.
Loath to leave the scene of beauty, lover-like I stayed, and stayed,
Folding to my eager bosom memories beyond compare;
Deeper, stronger, more enduring than my dreams of wood and glade,
Were the eloquent appeals of the magnificent Chaudiere.
E'en the solid bridge is trembling, whence I look my last farewell,
Dizzy with the roar and trampling of the mighty herd of waves,
Speeding past the rocky Island, steadfast as a sentinel,
Towards the loveliest bay that ever mirrored the Algonquin Braves.
Soul of Beauty! Genius! Spirit! Priestess of the lovely strife!
In my heart thy words are shrined, as in a sanctuary fair;
Echoes of thy voice of sweetness, rousing all my better life,
Ever haunt my wildest visions of the jubilant Chaudiere.
~ Charles Sangster
202:
Nolueram, Belinda, tuos violare capillos;
Sedjuvat, hoc precibus me tribuisse tuis.
(Martial, Epigrams 12.84)

What dire offence from am'rous causes springs,
What mighty contests rise from trivial things,
I singThis verse to Caryl, Muse! is due:
This, ev'n Belinda may vouchsafe to view:
Slight is the subject, but not so the praise,
If she inspire, and he approve my lays.

   Say what strange motive, Goddess! could compel
A well-bred lord t' assault a gentle belle?
O say what stranger cause, yet unexplor'd,
Could make a gentle belle reject a lord?
In tasks so bold, can little men engage,
And in soft bosoms dwells such mighty rage?

   Sol thro' white curtains shot a tim'rous ray,
And op'd those eyes that must eclipse the day;
Now lap-dogs give themselves the rousing shake,
And sleepless lovers, just at twelve, awake:
Thrice rung the bell, the slipper knock'd the ground,
And the press'd watch return'd a silver sound.
Belinda still her downy pillow press'd,
Her guardian sylph prolong'd the balmy rest:
'Twas he had summon'd to her silent bed
The morning dream that hover'd o'er her head;
A youth more glitt'ring than a birthnight beau,
(That ev'n in slumber caus'd her cheek to glow)
Seem'd to her ear his winning lips to lay,
And thus in whispers said, or seem'd to say.

   "Fairest of mortals, thou distinguish'd care
Of thousand bright inhabitants of air!
If e'er one vision touch'd thy infant thought,
Of all the nurse and all the priest have taught,
Of airy elves by moonlight shadows seen,
The silver token, and the circled green,
Or virgins visited by angel pow'rs,
With golden crowns and wreaths of heav'nly flow'rs,
Hear and believe! thy own importance know,
Nor bound thy narrow views to things below.
Some secret truths from learned pride conceal'd,
To maids alone and children are reveal'd:
What tho' no credit doubting wits may give?
The fair and innocent shall still believe.
Know then, unnumber'd spirits round thee fly,
The light militia of the lower sky;
These, though unseen, are ever on the wing,
Hang o'er the box, and hover round the Ring.
Think what an equipage thou hast in air,
And view with scorn two pages and a chair.
As now your own, our beings were of old,
And once inclos'd in woman's beauteous mould;
Thence, by a soft transition, we repair
From earthly vehicles to these of air.
Think not, when woman's transient breath is fled,
That all her vanities at once are dead;
Succeeding vanities she still regards,
And tho' she plays no more, o'erlooks the cards.
Her joy in gilded chariots, when alive,
And love of ombre, after death survive.
For when the fair in all their pride expire,
To their first elements their souls retire:
The sprites of fiery termagants in flame
Mount up, and take a Salamander's name.
Soft yielding minds to water glide away,
And sip with Nymphs, their elemental tea.
The graver prude sinks downward to a Gnome,
In search of mischief still on earth to roam.
The light coquettes in Sylphs aloft repair,
And sport and flutter in the fields of air.

   Know further yet; whoever fair and chaste
Rejects mankind, is by some sylph embrac'd:
For spirits, freed from mortal laws, with ease
Assume what sexes and what shapes they please.
What guards the purity of melting maids,
In courtly balls, and midnight masquerades,
Safe from the treach'rous friend, the daring spark,
The glance by day, the whisper in the dark,
When kind occasion prompts their warm desires,
When music softens, and when dancing fires?
'Tis but their sylph, the wise celestials know,
Though honour is the word with men below.

   Some nymphs there are, too conscious of their face,
For life predestin'd to the gnomes' embrace.
These swell their prospects and exalt their pride,
When offers are disdain'd, and love denied:
Then gay ideas crowd the vacant brain,
While peers, and dukes, and all their sweeping train,
And garters, stars, and coronets appear,
And in soft sounds 'Your Grace' salutes their ear.
'Tis these that early taint the female soul,
Instruct the eyes of young coquettes to roll,
Teach infant cheeks a bidden blush to know,
And little hearts to flutter at a beau.

   Oft, when the world imagine women stray,
The Sylphs through mystic mazes guide their way,
Thro' all the giddy circle they pursue,
And old impertinence expel by new.
What tender maid but must a victim fall
To one man's treat, but for another's ball?
When Florio speaks, what virgin could withstand,
If gentle Damon did not squeeze her hand?
With varying vanities, from ev'ry part,
They shift the moving toyshop of their heart;
Where wigs with wigs, with sword-knots sword-knots strive,
Beaux banish beaux, and coaches coaches drive.
This erring mortals levity may call,
Oh blind to truth! the Sylphs contrive it all.

   Of these am I, who thy protection claim,
A watchful sprite, and Ariel is my name.
Late, as I rang'd the crystal wilds of air,
In the clear mirror of thy ruling star
I saw, alas! some dread event impend,
Ere to the main this morning sun descend,
But Heav'n reveals not what, or how, or where:
Warn'd by the Sylph, oh pious maid, beware!
This to disclose is all thy guardian can.
Beware of all, but most beware of man!"

   He said; when Shock, who thought she slept too long,
Leap'd up, and wak'd his mistress with his tongue.
'Twas then, Belinda, if report say true,
Thy eyes first open'd on a billet-doux;
Wounds, charms, and ardors were no sooner read,
But all the vision vanish'd from thy head.

   And now, unveil'd, the toilet stands display'd,
Each silver vase in mystic order laid.
First, rob'd in white, the nymph intent adores
With head uncover'd, the cosmetic pow'rs.
A heav'nly image in the glass appears,
To that she bends, to that her eyes she rears;
Th' inferior priestess, at her altar's side,
Trembling, begins the sacred rites of pride.
Unnumber'd treasures ope at once, and here
The various off'rings of the world appear;
From each she nicely culls with curious toil,
And decks the goddess with the glitt'ring spoil.
This casket India's glowing gems unlocks,
And all Arabia breathes from yonder box.
The tortoise here and elephant unite,
Transform'd to combs, the speckled and the white.
Here files of pins extend their shining rows,
Puffs, powders, patches, bibles, billet-doux.
Now awful beauty puts on all its arms;
The fair each moment rises in her charms,
Repairs her smiles, awakens ev'ry grace,
And calls forth all the wonders of her face;
Sees by degrees a purer blush arise,
And keener lightnings quicken in her eyes.
The busy Sylphs surround their darling care;
These set the head, and those divide the hair,
Some fold the sleeve, whilst others plait the gown;
And Betty's prais'd for labours not her own.
~ Alexander Pope, The Rape of the Lock

203:The Rape Of The Lock: Canto 1
Nolueram, Belinda, tuos violare capillos;
Sedjuvat, hoc precibus me tribuisse tuis.
(Martial, Epigrams 12.84)
What dire offence from am'rous causes springs,
What mighty contests rise from trivial things,
I sing--This verse to Caryl, Muse! is due:
This, ev'n Belinda may vouchsafe to view:
Slight is the subject, but not so the praise,
If she inspire, and he approve my lays.
Say what strange motive, Goddess! could compel
A well-bred lord t' assault a gentle belle?
O say what stranger cause, yet unexplor'd,
Could make a gentle belle reject a lord?
In tasks so bold, can little men engage,
And in soft bosoms dwells such mighty rage?
Sol thro' white curtains shot a tim'rous ray,
And op'd those eyes that must eclipse the day;
Now lap-dogs give themselves the rousing shake,
And sleepless lovers, just at twelve, awake:
Thrice rung the bell, the slipper knock'd the ground,
And the press'd watch return'd a silver sound.
Belinda still her downy pillow press'd,
Her guardian sylph prolong'd the balmy rest:
'Twas he had summon'd to her silent bed
The morning dream that hover'd o'er her head;
A youth more glitt'ring than a birthnight beau,
(That ev'n in slumber caus'd her cheek to glow)
Seem'd to her ear his winning lips to lay,
And thus in whispers said, or seem'd to say.
"Fairest of mortals, thou distinguish'd care
Of thousand bright inhabitants of air!
If e'er one vision touch'd thy infant thought,
Of all the nurse and all the priest have taught,
Of airy elves by moonlight shadows seen,
The silver token, and the circled green,
Or virgins visited by angel pow'rs,
With golden crowns and wreaths of heav'nly flow'rs,
221
Hear and believe! thy own importance know,
Nor bound thy narrow views to things below.
Some secret truths from learned pride conceal'd,
To maids alone and children are reveal'd:
What tho' no credit doubting wits may give?
The fair and innocent shall still believe.
Know then, unnumber'd spirits round thee fly,
The light militia of the lower sky;
These, though unseen, are ever on theg,
Hang o'er the box, and hover round the Ring.
Think what an equipage thou hast in air,
And view with scorn two pages and a chair.
As now your own, our beings were of old,
And once inclos'd in woman's beauteous mould;
Thence, by a soft transition, we repair
From earthly vehicles to these of air.
Think not, when woman's transient breath is fled,
That all her vanities at once are dead;
Succeeding vanities she still regards,
And tho' she plays no more, o'erlooks the cards.
Her joy in gilded chariots, when alive,
And love of ombre, after death survive.
For when the fair in all their pride expire,
To their first elements their souls retire:
The sprites of fiery termagants in flame
Mount up, and take a Salamander's name.
Soft yielding minds to water glide away,
And sip with Nymphs, their elemental tea.
The graver prude sinks downward to a Gnome,
In search of mischief still on earth to roam.
The light coquettes in Sylphs aloft repair,
And sport and flutter in the fields of air.
Know further yet; whoever fair and chaste
Rejects mankind, is by some sylph embrac'd:
For spirits, freed from mortal laws, with ease
Assume what sexes and what shapes they please.
What guards the purity of melting maids,
In courtly balls, and midnight masquerades,
Safe from the treach'rous friend, the daring spark,
The glance by day, the whisper in the dark,
When kind occasion prompts their warm desires,
222
When music softens, and when dancing fires?
'Tis but their sylph, the wise celestials know,
Though honour is the word with men below.
Some nymphs there are, too conscious of their face,
For life predestin'd to the gnomes' embrace.
These swell their prospects and exalt their pride,
When offers are disdain'd, and love denied:
Then gay ideas crowd the vacant brain,
While peers, and dukes, and all their sweeping train,
And garters, stars, and coronets appear,
And in soft sounds 'Your Grace' salutes their ear.
'Tis these that early taint the female soul,
Instruct the eyes of young coquettes to roll,
Teach infant cheeks a bidden blush to know,
And little hearts to flutter at a beau.
Oft, when the world imagine women stray,
The Sylphs through mystic mazes guide their way,
Thro' all the giddy circle they pursue,
And old impertinence expel by new.
What tender maid but must a victim fall
To one man's treat, but for another's ball?
When Florio speaks, what virgin could withstand,
If gentle Damon did not squeeze her hand?
With varying vanities, from ev'ry part,
They shift the moving toyshop of their heart;
Where wigs with wigs, with sword-knots sword-knots strive,
Beaux banish beaux, and coaches coaches drive.
This erring mortals levity may call,
Oh blind to truth! the Sylphs contrive it all.
Of these am I, who thy protection claim,
A watchful sprite, and Ariel is my name.
Late, as I rang'd the crystal wilds of air,
In the clear mirror of thy ruling star
I saw, alas! some dread event impend,
Ere to the main this morning sun descend,
But Heav'n reveals not what, or how, or where:
Warn'd by the Sylph, oh pious maid, beware!
This to disclose is all thy guardian can.
223
Beware of all, but most beware of man!"
He said; when Shock, who thought she slept too long,
Leap'd up, and wak'd his mistress with his tongue.
'Twas then, Belinda, if report say true,
Thy eyes first open'd on a billet-doux;
Wounds, charms, and ardors were no sooner read,
But all the vision vanish'd from thy head.
And now, unveil'd, the toilet stands display'd,
Each silver vase in mystic order laid.
First, rob'd in white, the nymph intent adores
With head uncover'd, the cosmetic pow'rs.
A heav'nly image in the glass appears,
To that she bends, to that her eyes she rears;
Th' inferior priestess, at her altar's side,
Trembling, begins the sacred rites of pride.
Unnumber'd treasures ope at once, and here
The various off'rings of the world appear;
From each she nicely culls with curious toil,
And decks the goddess with the glitt'ring spoil.
This casket India's glowing gems unlocks,
And all Arabia breathes from yonder box.
The tortoise here and elephant unite,
Transform'd to combs, the speckled and the white.
Here files of pins extend their shining rows,
Puffs, powders, patches, bibles, billet-doux.
Now awful beauty puts on all its arms;
The fair each moment rises in her charms,
Repairs her smiles, awakens ev'ry grace,
And calls forth all the wonders of her face;
Sees by degrees a purer blush arise,
And keener lightnings quicken in her eyes.
The busy Sylphs surround their darling care;
These set the head, and those divide the hair,
Some fold the sleeve, whilst others plait the gown;
And Betty's prais'd for labours not her own.
~ Alexander Pope
204:See you the towers, that, gray and old,
Frown through the sunlight's liquid gold,
Steep sternly fronting steep?
The Hellespont beneath them swells,
And roaring cleaves the Dardanelles,
The rock-gates of the deep!
Hear you the sea, whose stormy wave,
From Asia, Europe clove in thunder?
That sea which rent a world, cannot
Rend love from love asunder!

In Hero's, in Leander's heart,
Thrills the sweet anguish of the dart
Whose feather flies from love.
All Hebe's bloom in Hero's cheek
And his the hunter's steps that seek
Delight, the hills above!
Between their sires the rival feud
Forbids their plighted hearts to meet;
Love's fruits hang over danger's gulf,
By danger made more sweet.

Alone on Sestos' rocky tower,
Where upward sent in stormy shower,
The whirling waters foam,
Alone the maiden sits, and eyes
The cliffs of fair Abydos rise
Afarher lover's home.
Oh, safely thrown from strand to strand,
No bridge can love to love convey;
No boatman shoots from yonder shore,
Yet Love has found the way.

That love, which could the labyrinth pierce
Which nerves the weak, and curbs the fierce,
And wings with wit the dull;
That love which o'er the furrowed land
Bowedtame beneath young Jason's hand
The fiery-snorting bull!
Yes, Styx itself, that ninefold flows,
Has love, the fearless, ventured o'er,
And back to daylight borne the bride,
From Pluto's dreary shore!

What marvel then that wind and wave,
Leander doth but burn to brave,
When love, that goads him, guides!
Still when the day, with fainter glimmer,
Wanes palehe leaps, the daring swimmer,
Amid the darkening tides;
With lusty arms he cleaves the waves,
And strikes for that dear strand afar;
Where high from Hero's lonely tower
Lone streams the beacon-star.

In vain his blood the wave may chill,
These tender arms can warm it still
And, weary if the way,
By many a sweet embrace, above
All earthly boonscan liberal love
The lover's toil repay,
Until Aurora breaks the dream,
And warns the loiterer to depart
Back to the ocean's icy bed,
Scared from that loving heart.

So thirty suns have sped their flight
Still in that theft of sweet delight
Exult the happy pair;
Caress will never pall caress,
And joys that gods might envy, bless
The single bride-night there.
Ah! never he has rapture known,
Who has not, where the waves are driven
Upon the fearful shores of hell,
Plucked fruits that taste of heaven!

Now changing in their season are,
The morning and the Hesper star;
Nor see those happy eyes
The leaves that withering droop and fall,
Nor hear, when, from its northern hall,
The neighboring winter sighs;
Or, if they see, the shortening days
But seem to them to close in kindness;
For longer joys, in lengthening nights,
They thank the heaven in blindness.

It is the time, when night and day,
In equal scales contend for sway
Lone, on her rocky steep,
Lingers the girl with wistful eyes
That watch the sun-steeds down the skies,
Careering towards the deep.
Lulled lay the smooth and silent sea,
A mirror in translucent calm,
The breeze, along that crystal realm,
Unmurmuring, died in balm.

In wanton swarms and blithe array,
The merry dolphins glide and play
Amid the silver waves.
In gray and dusky troops are seen,
The hosts that serve the ocean-queen,
Upborne from coral caves:
Theyonly theyhave witnessed love
To rapture steal its secret way:
And Hecate [36] seals the only lips
That could the tale betray!

She marks in joy the lulled water,
And Sestos, thus thy tender daughter,
Soft-flattering, woos the sea!
"Fair godand canst thou then betray?
No! falsehood dwells with them that say
That falsehood dwells with thee!
Ah! faithless is the race of man,
And harsh a father's heart can prove;
But thee, the gentle and the mild,
The grief of love can move!"

"Within these hated walls of stone,
Should I, repining, mourn alone,
And fade in ceaseless care,
But thou, though o'er thy giant tide,
Nor bridge may span, nor boat may glide,
Dost safe my lover bear.
And darksome is thy solemn deep,
And fearful is thy roaring wave;
But wave and deep are won by love
Thou smilest on the brave!"

"Nor vainly, sovereign of the sea,
Did Eros send his shafts to thee
What time the rain of gold,
Bright Helle, with her brother bore,
How stirred the waves she wandered o'er,
How stirred thy deeps of old!
Swift, by the maiden's charms subdued,
Thou cam'st from out the gloomy waves,
And in thy mighty arms, she sank
Into thy bridal caves."

"A goddess with a god, to keep
In endless youth, beneath the deep,
Her solemn ocean-court!
And still she smooths thine angry tides,
Tames thy wild heart, and favoring guides
The sailor to the port!
Beautiful Helle, bright one, hear
Thy lone adoring suppliant pray!
And guide, O goddessguide my love
Along the wonted way!"

Now twilight dims the waters' flow,
And from the tower, the beacon's glow
Waves flickering o'er the main.
Ah, where athwart the dismal stream,
Shall shine the beacon's faithful beam
The lover's eyes shall strain!
Hark! sounds moan threatening from afar
From heaven the blessed stars are gone
More darkly swells the rising sea
The tempest labors on!

Along the ocean's boundless plains
Lies nightin torrents rush the rains
From the dark-bosomed cloud
Red lightning skirs the panting air,
And, loosed from out their rocky lair,
Sweep all the storms abroad.
Huge wave on huge wave tumbling o'er,
The yawning gulf is rent asunder,
And shows, as through an opening pall,
Grim earththe ocean under!

Poor maiden! bootless wail or vow
"Have mercy, Jovebe gracious, thou!
Dread prayer was mine before!"
What if the gods have heardand he,
Lone victim of the stormy sea,
Now struggles to the shore!
There's not a sea-bird on the wave
Their hurrying wings the shelter seek;
The stoutest ship the storms have proved,
Takes refuge in the creek.

"Ah, still that heart, which oft has braved
The danger where the daring saved,
Love lureth o'er the sea;
For many a vow at parting morn,
That naught but death should bar return,
Breathed those dear lips to me;
And whirled around, the while I weep,
Amid the storm that rides the wave,
The giant gulf is grasping down
The rash one to the grave!

"False Pontus! and the calm I hailed,
The awaiting murder darkly veiled
The lulled pellucid flow,
The smiles in which thou wert arrayed,
Were but the snares that love betrayed
To thy false realm below!
Now in the midway of the main,
Return relentlessly forbidden,
Thou loosenest on the path beyond
The horrors thou hadst hidden."

Loud and more loud the tempest raves
In thunder break the mountain waves,
White-foaming on the rock
No ship that ever swept the deep
Its ribs of gnarled oak could keep
Unshattered by the shock.
Dies in the blast the guiding torch
To light the struggler to the strand;
'Tis death to battle with the wave,
And death no less to land!

On Venus, daughter of the seas,
She calls the tempest to appease
To each wild-shrieking wind
Along the ocean-desert borne,
She vows a steer with golden horn
Vain vowrelentless wind!
On every goddess of the deep,
On all the gods in heaven that be,
She callsto soothe in calm, awhile
The tempest-laden sea!

"Hearken the anguish of my cries!
From thy green halls, arisearise,
Leucothoe the divine!
Who, in the barren main afar,
Oft on the storm-beat mariner
Dost gently-saving shine.
Oh,reach to him thy mystic veil,
To which the drowning clasp may cling,
And safely from that roaring grave,
To shore my lover bring!"

And now the savage winds are hushing.
And o'er the arched horizon, blushing,
Day's chariot gleams on high!
Back to their wonted channels rolled,
In crystal calm the waves behold
One smile on sea and sky!
All softly breaks the rippling tide,
Low-murmuring on the rocky land,
And playful wavelets gently float
A corpse upon the strand!

'Tis he!who even in death would still
Not fail the sweet vow to fulfil;
She looksseesknows him there!
From her pale lips no sorrow speaks,
No tears glide down her hueless cheeks;
Cold-numbed in her despair
She looked along the silent deep,
She looked upon the brightening heaven,
Till to the marble face the soul
Its light sublime had given!

"Ye solemn powers men shrink to name,
Your might is here, your rights ye claim
Yet think not I repine
Soon closed my course; yet I can bless
The life that brought me happiness
The fairest lot was mine!
Living have I thy temple served,
Thy consecrated priestess been
My last glad offering now receive
Venus, thou mightiest queen!"

Flashed the white robe along the air,
And from the tower that beetled there
She sprang into the wave;
Roused from his throne beneath the waste,
Those holy forms the god embraced
A god himself their grave!
Pleased with his prey, he glides along
More blithe the murmured music seems,
A gush from unexhausted urns
His everlasting streams!

~ Friedrich Schiller, Hero And Leander

205:I.
What's become of Waring
Since he gave us all the slip,
Chose land-travel or seafaring,
Boots and chest or staff and scrip,
Rather than pace up and down
Any longer London town?

  II.

Who'd have guessed it from his lip
Or his brow's accustomed bearing,
On the night he thus took ship
Or started landward?-litt le caring
For us, it seems, who supped together
(Friends of his too, I remember)
And walked home thro' the merry weather,
The snowiest in all December.
I left his arm that night myself
For what's-his-name' s, the new prose-poet
Who wrote the book there, on the shelf-
How, forsooth, was I to know it
If Waring meant to glide away
Like a ghost at break of day?
Never looked he half so gay!

  III.

He was prouder than the devil:
How he must have cursed our revel!
Ay and many other meetings,
Indoor visits, outdoor greetings,
As up and down he paced this London,
With no work done, but great works undone,
Where scarce twenty knew his name.
Why not, then, have earlier spoken,
Written, bustled? Who's to blame
If your silence kept unbroken?
``True, but there were sundry jottings,
``Stray-leaves, fragments, blurts and blottings,
``Certain fixst steps were achieved
``Already which''-(is that your meaning?)
``Had well borne out whoe'er believed
``In more to come!'' But who goes gleaning
Hedgeside chance-glades, while full-sheaved
Stand cornfields by him? Pride, o'erweening
Pride alone, puts forth such claims
O'er the day's distinguished names.

  IV.

Meantime, how much I loved him,
I find out now I've lost him.
I who cared not if I moved him,
Who could so carelessly accost him,
Henceforth never shall get free
Of his ghostly company,
His eyes that just a little wink
As deep I go into the merit
Of this and that distinguished spirit-
His cheeks' raised colour, soon to sink,
As long I dwell on some stupendous
And tremendous (Heaven defend us!)
Monstr'-inform'- ingens-horrend-o us
Demoniaco-seraph ic
Penman's latest piece of graphic.
Nay, my very wrist grows warm
With his dragging weight of arm.
E'en so, swimmingly appears,
Through one's after-supper musings,
Some lost lady of old years
With her beauteous vain endeavour
And goodness unrepaid as ever;
The face, accustomed to refusings,
We, puppies that we were Oh never
Surely, nice of conscience, scrupled
Being aught like false, forsooth, to?
Telling aught but honest truth to?
What a sin, had we centupled
Its possessor's grace and sweetness
No! she heard in its completeness
Truth, for truth's a weighty matter,
And truth, at issue, we can't flatter!
Well, 'tis done with; she's exempt
From damning us thro' such a sally;
And so she glides, as down a valley,
Taking up with her contempt,
Past our reach; and in, the flowers
Shut her unregarded hours.

  V.

Oh, could I have him back once more,
This Waring, but one half-day more!
Back, with the quiet face of yore,
So hungry for acknowledgment
Like mine! I'd fool him to his bent.
Feed, should not he, to heart's content?
I'd say, ``to only have conceived,
``Planned your great works, apart from progress,
``Surpasses little works achieved!''
I'd lie so, I should be believed.
I'd make such havoc of the claims
Of the day's distinguished names
To feast him with, as feasts an ogress
Her feverish sharp-toothed gold-crowned child!
Or as one feasts a creature rarely
Captured here, unreconciled
To capture; and completely gives
its pettish humours license, barely
Requiring that it lives.

  VI.

Ichabod, Ichabod,
The glory is departed!
Travels Waring East away?
Who, of knowledge, by hearsay,
Reports a man upstarted
Somewhere as a god,
Hordes grown European-hearted ,
Millions of the wild made tame
On a sudden at his fame?
In Vishnu-land what Avatar?
Or who in Moscow, toward the Czar,
With the demurest of footfalls
Over the Kremlin's pavement bright
With serpentine and syenite,

Steps, with five other Generals
That simultaneously take snuff,
For each to have pretext enough
And kerchiefwise unfold his sash
Which, softness' self, is yet the stuff
To hold fast where a steel chain snaps,
And leave the grand white neck no gash?
Waring in Moscow, to those rough
Cold northern natures born perhaps,
Like the lambwhite maiden dear
From the circle of mute kings
Unable to repress the tear,
Each as his sceptre down he flings,
To Dian's fane at Taurica,
Where now a captive priestess, she alway
Mingles her tender grave Hellenic speech
With theirs, tuned to the hailstone-beaten beach
As pours some pigeon, from the myrrhy lands
Rapt by the whirlblast to fierce Scythian strands
Where breed the swallows, her melodious cry
Amid their barbarous twitter!
In Russia? Never! Spain were fitter!
Ay, most likely 'tis in Spain
That we and Waring meet again
Now, while he turns down that cool narrow lane
Into the blackness, out of grave Madrid
All fire and shine, abrupt as when there's slid
Its stiff gold blazing pall
From some black coffin-lid.
Or, best of all,
I love to think
The leaving us was just a feint;
Back here to London did he slink,
And now works on without a wink
Of sleep, and we are on the brink
Of something great in fresco-pain:
Some garret's ceiling, walls and floor,
Up and down and o'er and o'er
He splashes, as none splashed before
Since great Caldera Polidore.

Or Music means this land of ours
Some favour yet, to pity won
By Purcell from his Rosy Bowers,-
``Give me my so-long promised son,
``Let Waring end what I begun!''
Then down he creeps and out he steals
Only when the night conceals
His face; in Kent 'tis cherry-time,
Or hops are picking: or at prime
Of March he wanders as, too happy,
Years ago when he was young,
Some mild eve when woods grew sappy
And the early moths had sprung
To life from many a trembling sheath
Woven the warm boughs beneath;
While small birds said to themselves
What should soon be actual song,
And young gnats, by tens and twelves,
Made as if they were the throng
That crowd around and carry aloft
The sound they have nursed, so sweet and pure,
Out of a myriad noises soft,
Into a tone that can endure
Amid the noise of a July noon
When all God's creatures crave their boon,
All at once and all in tune,
And get it, happy as Waring then,
Having first within his ken
What a man might do with men:
And far too glad, in the even-glow,
To mix with the world he meant to take
Into his hand, he told you, so-
And out of it his world to make,
To contract and to expand
As he shut or oped his hand.
Oh Waring, what's to really be?
A clear stage and a crowd to see!
Some Garrick, say, out shall not he
The heart of Hamlet's mystery pluck?
Or, where most unclean beasts are rife,
Some Junius-am I right?-shall tuck
His sleeve, and forth with flaying-knife!
Some Chatterton shall have the luck
Of calling Rowley into life!
Some one shall somehow run a muck
With this old world for want of strife
Sound asleep. Contrive, contrive
To rouse us, Waring! Who's alive?
Our men scarce seem in earnest now.
Distinguished names!-but 'tis, somehow,
As if they played at being names
Still more distinguished, like the games
Of children. Turn our sport to earnest
With a visage of the sternest!
Bring the real times back, confessed
Still better than our very best!
II.

I.

``When I last saw Waring''
(How all turned to him who spoke!
You saw Waring? Truth or joke?
In land-travel or sea-faring?)

  II.

``We were sailing by Triest
``Where a day or two we harboured:
``A sunset was in the West,
``When, looking over the vessel's side,
``One of our company espied
``A sudden speck to larboard.
``And as a sea-duck flies and swims
``At once, so came the light craft up,
``With its sole lateen sail that trims
``And turns (the water round its rims
``Dancing, as round a sinking cup)
``And by us like a fish it curled,
``And drew itself up close beside,
``Its great sail on the instant furled,
``And o'er its thwarts a shrill voice cried,
``(A neck as bronzed as a Lascar's)
`` `Buy wine of us, you English Brig?
`` `Or fruit, tobacco and cigars?
`` `A pilot for you to Triest?
`` `Without one, look you ne'er so big,
`` `They'll never let you up the bay!
`` `We natives should know best.'
``I turned, and `just those fellows' way,'
``Our captain said, `The 'long-shore thieves
`` `Are laughing at us in their sleeves.'

III.

``In truth, the boy leaned laughing back;
``And one, half-hidden by his side
``Under the furled sail, soon I spied,
``With great grass hat and kerchief black,
``Who looked up with his kingly throat,
``Said somewhat, while the other shook
``His hair back from his eyes to look
``Their longest at us; then the boat,
``I know not how, turned sharply round,
``Laying her whole side on the sea
``As a leaping fish does; from the lee
``Into the weather, cut somehow
``Her sparkling path beneath our bow
``And so went off, as with a bound,
``Into the rosy and golden half
``O' the sky, to overtake the sun
``And reach the shore, like the sea-calf
``Its singing cave; yet I caught one
``Glance ere away the boat quite passed,
``And neither time nor toil could mar
``Those features: so I saw the last
``Of Waring!''-You? Oh, never star
Was lost here but it rose afar!
Look East, where whole new thousands are!
In Vishnu-land what Avatar?
[Mr. Alfred Domett, C.M.G., author of
Ranolf and Amohia, ``full of descriptions of
New Zealand scenery.]
Egyptian granite.

~ Robert Browning, Waring

206:Jeanette Speaks
1.
A bright and barefoot little girl
with a garland of cherry blossoms
enters the unattended village church.
She makes a shorthand cross
upon the makeshift wooden amulet
attached to her leather necklace.
She then runs her bony fingers
through the long, black locks
parted above her forehead.
She walks past the empty benches
towards the peaceful altar
and her petite, russet-clad figure
stoops to kneel there.
She clasps her delicate hands
in front of a wooden statue
and casts her large, green eyes
upon the Saint’s figurine.
She whispers
in a soft but confident voice:
– Sister Catherine. I didn’t give you
the spring’s gift yesterday.
Mama told me to donate
my pickings to Mother Mary.
It’s Jeannette speaking, sister
in case you’ve forgotten me.
Please don’t be mad.
Here, I hope you like these.
42
She places the crimson wreath
at the pedestal of the religious icon
and stands up to leaves the chapel
glowing with a heart-felt grin.
2.
I think
she liked the flowers.
I know I would
if I was a saint.
I wonder how
a girl gets to become a saint?
My Godmother, old Madame Agnes
says before there were saints
there used to be sacred women called High Priestesses
or Goddesses in this land. But Mama says
Madame Agnes is a witch
and I shouldn’t listen to her.
Now I should go and do my chores.
Afterwards, if there’s time
I’ll go with my friends
to the slopes near the Fairies’ Tree.
The Tree, they say, is a hundred years old.
We’ll pick lilies-of-the-valley and camellia
for wreaths to put on the branches of the Tree at Lent
and I’ll get some jasmine
for Mama’s vase at home.
The jasmine have such an amazing
smell now
in early spring.
The best mushrooms grow on the paddocks
behind the Virgin Spring.
43
I’ve heard the nuns at the Hermitage say
the Spring has healing powers.
I’ve even seen a leper and a blind monk
come all the way from Nancy to drink its water.
I wonder if any of them is cured. I’m lucky
to be “strong and healthy,” Mama says.
She reckons
I was born in winter, on the night of Epiphany
about nine or ten years ago. She says
Epiphany was when Lord Jesus
was first recognised as the Son of God by
people. But
Madame Agnes says my birthday
was on the same day as Le Jour des Rois,
Day of the Kings, an ancient celebration
when the rich baked a cake for the beggars
and the last beggar to get a piece
was named the Bean-King, or something like
that.
Mama says
it’s blessed for girls
to go down the Valley to pick
blossoms and weave garlands
for the images of saints in our Church
and for those in the Hermitage behind the Bois
Chesnu
Oak Forest. I love
Saint Catherine’s statue, and Saint Margaret
too.
She sometimes looks
straight at my praying and
when feeling the kindness of her eyes
I wonder why Papa says
the statue is a lifeless thing.
Mama calls Papa sacrilegious
whenever he makes fun of our praying. Why
does he call the statue
lifeless? Doesn’t wood
come from the living trees?
44
My dress today
is the colour of oak. It’s made of
rough wool cut out of Mama’s old dress.
She’s given it
puffy sleeves and stitched pretty
blue ribbons
on the skirt
making it look like the dress
of a rich city girl. She says
I’m short like her but have Papa’s
legs.
I’m not sure what she means.
My hair’s black like Papa’s
and really messy today
I’ll have to get Mama to brush it
once I’ve been to the well
and drawn water. Now
she’s making lunch for Papa and the
boys
and putting the bundle of bread and fruit
into the saddle of the mule they’ll take with
them
to the farms.
Sometimes they take me with them
to help with sowing the seeds, pruning the
plants
or ploughing. I like
digging furrows between the rows of grape
and corn.
I like using a sharp spade
and getting my hands dirty, but
being a girl, and “little”
Papa usually makes me take the sheep
to the meadows near the Village of Maxey.
I have to sit there and watch them
stuff their mouths with grass and leaves.
I use my spinning distaff
for handling the silly animals when they don’t
45
listen to me.
I have wound a bit of wool
on top of my staff. When I get bored with being
a shepherdess
I spin the wool
around the stick. I use it
like a cane when climbing a steep hillock
and it’s a weapon
if the Maxey kids come to annoy my flock.
I know I’m supposed to act like a girl
and scream and cry if there’s
trouble
but sometimes I can’t help
chasing the bullies, or at least yelling at
them.
Mama gets upset sometimes
telling me I’m too much like a boy
but I’m very good at spinning wool
and sing with the girls
the Maiden Melodies
at the dances and celebrations.
And today
after visiting Saint Catherine,
getting water and milking the
cows,
I’m in the kitchen with Mama
with canvas aprons over our
skirts.
She’s teaching me to make
the dish she calls
“Our great region’s most famous cuisine.”
I don’t really like Quiche Lorraine.
I prefer fresh bread and creamy cheese.
46
But Mama is very keen
and doesn’t give up until I’ve beaten my eggs
and made them as foamy as hers. She tells me
with pride in her voice:
“Ah, Jeannette, have I told you about my pilgrimage to
Rome?”
(She has. About a hundred times)
“There I presented a slice of our cherished pastry
to our Holy Father, the Pope himself.
That’s why they call me
Isabelle Romee, because I’ve been to the
Holy City.”
After pouring the mixture
into the vessels covered with pastry
we take the clay pots
to the communal village oven.
Mama’s worried I could burn myself
and lets me go before
kindling the fire herself. I return home
take off the apron, put an apple
in my pocket and fasten the clog sandals
to my ankles. I take my distaff
and go out into our back garden…
the silly rabbits
have made it through the fence again.
I step over the leftovers of our baby carrots
and yell at the neighbour’s cottage:
– Margarette! Margarette! You
wanna go
graze the sheep?
My oldest friend quickly runs out.
Her golden hair is so beautiful
and her teeth are much nicer than mine.
She throws herself at me
and giggles: “Let’s run! I’m so sick of my baby sister!
47
She’s crying all the time!”
And we lock arms
and skip in our heavy clogs
to where the animals are caged
in a fenced field behind our cottages.
3.
We open the strong gates
and my cattle dog Claude
a big wolfy breed called Alsatian
barks the sleepy sheep into action.
The lazy beasts bleat unhappily.
I yell: “OHOY OHOY” and poke my distaff
into the stubborn ones refusing to move
accidentally hitting the grumpy ram
Papa’s told me to stay away from.
I stand still and see the horned beast
huff and shiver with anger.
My heart beats fast and I go
to call for Margarette but how
could she help?
The ram attacks me.
I jump out of his way
over the lazy sheep.
But he hasn’t forgiven me
and shoves the others out of his
way
spotting me with his furious eyes
and bolting towards me again.
And all of a sudden
a gilded image
I’ve seen painted on the walls of the
48
Hermitage
flashes across my mind:
Saint Michael the Archangel
Hero of the Battle of Heaven
and Hell
a winged, armoured knight
pushing his lance into the
throat
of a vicious serpent.
All of a sudden my distaff
becomes the Angel’s holy lance
and I firmly aim it
at the oncoming monster
pushing it into his thick fleece
making him stop. The ram
angrily stamps his short legs
pushing against the tip
of my hard distaff.
I clench my teeth and groan
against his force
holding the distaff with both hands
when Claude, my strong wolf-dog
jumps over the other sheep
into the scene of my battle
and furiously barks at the ram
who’s been outnumbered
and begins to set back.
I pat Claude’s hairy neck
when the ram has been pushed
into the flow of sheep
exiting the fenced area for the pastures.
I plant my distaff into the ground
to catch my breath while putting my messy hair
into a horsetail. I notice
Margarette staring at me from the other side of the
fence.
49
I say:
– Stupid ram! What was his problem?!
Margarette doesn’t laugh
at my smart remark
like she usually would. Her blue eyes
are bulging with fear. She speaks
hesitantly:
“Jeannette…
how did you do that?”
– How did I do what, Margarette?
“Fight! How did you
fight like a…
like a…
boy! You looked
so mean…so angry! Why didn’t
you
cry for help?”
– I… dunno…
Margarette hitches her skirt
and steps carefully over the fence
coming over and giving me a hug
her beautiful eyes breaking into tears:
“I was so worried... Oh sister... I was so
scared...”
I giggle and boast: – It was only a sheep! By God!
It wasn’t a wild boar or anything!
She sniffs her nose and says:
“No it wasn’t… it was… it was…
terrible… you… you
scared me… don’t do that again. Promise me!”
Feeling confused and uncomfortable
I push her away and run towards a wandering lamb
who’s left the others
50
yelling:
on…
– C’mon Margarette! I wanna pick mushrooms later
we’re gonna run out of time. C’mon!
That night after the Campanile
when Papa and the boys return from the farms
Mama serves the quiche
she’s made. My quiche
“didn’t have the proper consistency” she reckons
and was given to the parish priest instead.
Papa teases me:
“You won’t find a husband if you can’t cook properly!
We’ll have to send you to a bloody convent! How about
that?!”
I stick my tongue out at him.
He laughs and ruffles my head.
4.
A few months later, on Saint Jean the Baptist’s Eve
everyone in the village brings a log
or a bundle of sticks. Jeannette has a twig
for the bonfire lit every year near the Fairies’ Tree.
Madame Agnes has told her that this ritual is actually
a pagan salute to summer called Midsummer,
symbolising the passage of spring
with a bonfire that consumes the flowers. But
Jeannette’s mother, Isabelle, believes
that the fire is a reminder of Hell for the sinful
and the vain; she’s told her daughter to burn
something precious to her, so Jeannette’s tied a fresh lily
to her twig.
The evening begins with the chiming of church bells
51
and the villagers, in their best dresses and tunics
walk cheerfully up the hill towards the primeval Tree.
Jeannette and the children sing:
“This is Saint Jean’s night
The great occasion
When lovers delight
And burn with passion
The moon has risen.”
Madame Agnes, despite her frail legs,
has climbed the hillock ahead of the others
instructing the young men and girls
to arrange the wood in a pyramid
that would last long and look prominent.
She whispers to Jeannette’s oldest brother, Joe
quietly so that the parish priest can’t hear:
“You’ll see, dear boy, once the flames have risen
the fairy folk will come to dance beneath the Tree.”
5.
Jeannette is full of verve
running ahead of the other children
her singing is the loudest
noise after the ringing of the bells.
The thin girl hops like a stag
and her green eyes radiate
with anticipation. The elders choose her
as “Saint Jean’s Queen”
to light the bonfire. She’s hoisted
on the shoulders of her uncle, Durand,
and Isabelle holds the torch that sets fire
to her daughter’s twig. Jeannette brushes
the unruly black hair off her pink face
52
and throws the ignited flower
at the hay stacked beneath the tower of wood.
The villagers crack open the barrels of wine
and the priest begins playing his lyre.
Margarette is holding the hands of a boy
called Collot and Joe has his eyes on a girl
he hasn’t met before. Jeannette, having drunk
a cup of wine diluted with water,
is almost shouting at Madame Agnes:
– The Goddess of Moon?!!!
I wanna see her! And the fairies!
Where are they! You promised!
Jacques and Isabelle watch their children
from a distance. She tells him: “Jacques
could we go to Toul, please. I wanna give alms
at the cathedral there. We must thank our Lord
for our children, the harvest, oh…for everything!
We’re so blessed…Can we Jacques?”
Jacques kisses her and empties another goblet
into his mouth before saying: “Sure, sweetheart.
We should thank God, and our lucky stars.”
6.
Now everyone’s smeared with the orange glow
of the flames. Some are dancing in a circle around the pyre.
Some of them believe that this dance will prevent
illness and bad luck for the next year. As is
and has been customary for centuries,
the night ends with the younger couples jumping the subsiding blaze
holding hands to strengthen their romance. Jeannette
who has no interest in boys yet
has decided to take part in this closing ritual alone
53
because Madame Agnes has told her that her father’s crops
will grow as tall as her leap tonight. She’s rolled up her skirt
above her calves and kneecaps, watching impatiently
as the others hesitate to brave the fire. She yells:
– My turn! My turn!
and runs towards the flames. Her legs heave
and fly over the bonfire. She swims through
the smoky air. The flames brush the soles of her feet
but can’t hurt her. She makes it and joyously screams
upon landing, but her excitement
quickly dissipates. She’s exhausted; her large eyes close
and her body collapses into the grass. By the time
Jacques has come to her side, she’s fast asleep.
She’s so bloody adorable, he thinks
and lifts his snoring daughter carefully. He places her
on the bed at their house and himself returns
to have a few more drinks with the other farmers.
7.
Jeannette’s tiny lips shiver in sleep
and her cheeks tremble as she breathes
heavily; she dreams
of the villagers drinking and being merry
a year of joy descends upon the Valley
her white sheep flying through the blue sky
the crops weaving into crowns for her head
ghosts twist into the tubers of the Fairies’ Tree
Archangel Michael and Saint Catherine get
married
a bouquet of daisies burns in the sacred fire
the sun mixes with the soil and plants are
54
born
and far behind the Oak Forest
a flood
of identical men
wielding axes
cut down the trees and crush the farms
they’re thousands and their stampede rattles the
Valley
they’re soldiers of the greatest army in the world
their faces are eyeless and their feet are hooves
they have black crosses tattooed on the
forehead…
Jeannette wakes up
next to her parents and brothers under the blanket.
They’re deep asleep
and the girl’s shivering figure doesn’t wake them.
Outside, a few farmers
strew the ashes of the fire over the vegetation
to banish bad omens.
~ Ali Alizadeh
207:CANTO I.
Fanatics have their dreams, wherewith they weave
A paradise for a sect; the savage, too,
From forth the loftiest fashion of his sleep
Guesses at heaven; pity these have not
Trac'd upon vellum or wild Indian leaf
The shadows of melodious utterance,
But bare of laurel they live, dream, and die;
For Poesy alone can tell her dreams,--
With the fine spell of words alone can save
Imagination from the sable chain
And dumb enchantment. Who alive can say,
"Thou art no Poet -- may'st not tell thy dreams?"
Since every man whose soul is not a clod
Hath visions and would speak, if he had loved,
And been well nurtured in his mother tongue.
Whether the dream now purpos'd to rehearse
Be poet's or fanatic's will be known
When this warm scribe, my hand, is in the grave.

Methought I stood where trees of every clime,
Palm, myrtle, oak, and sycamore, and beech,
With plantane and spice-blossoms, made a screen,
In neighbourhood of fountains (by the noise
Soft-showering in mine ears), and (by the touch
Of scent) not far from roses. Twining round
I saw an arbour with a drooping roof
Of trellis vines, and bells, and larger blooms,
Like floral censers, swinging light in air;
Before its wreathed doorway, on a mound
Of moss, was spread a feast of summer fruits,
Which, nearer seen, seem'd refuse of a meal
By angel tasted or our Mother Eve;
For empty shells were scatter'd on the grass,
And grapestalks but half-bare, and remnants more
Sweet-smelling, whose pure kinds I could not know.
Still was more plenty than the fabled horn
Thrice emptied could pour forth at banqueting,
For Prosperine return'd to her own fields,
Where the white heifers low. And appetite,
More yearning than on earth I ever felt,
Growing within, I ate deliciously,--
And, after not long, thirsted; for thereby
Stood a cool vessel of transparent juice
Sipp'd by the wander'd bee, the which I took,
And pledging all the mortals of the world,
And all the dead whose names are in our lips,
Drank. That full draught is parent of my theme.
No Asian poppy nor elixir fine
Of the soon-fading, jealous, Caliphat,
No poison gender'd in close monkish cell,
To thin the scarlet conclave of old men,
Could so have rapt unwilling life away.
Among the fragment husks and berries crush'd
Upon the grass, I struggled hard against
The domineering potion, but in vain.
The cloudy swoon came on, and down I sank,
Like a Silenus on an antique vase.
How long I slumber'd 'tis a chance to guess.
When sense of life return'd, I started up
As if with wings, but the fair trees were gone,
The mossy mound and arbour were no more;
I look'd around upon the curved sides
Of an old sanctuary, with roof august,
Builded so high, it seem'd that filmed clouds
Might spread beneath as o'er the stars of heaven.
So old the place was, I remember'd none
The like upon the earth: what I had seen
Of grey cathedrals, buttress'd walls, rent towers,
The superannuations of sunk realms,
Or Nature's rocks toil'd hard in waves and winds,
Seem'd but the faulture of decrepit things
To that eternal domed monument.
Upon the marble at my feet there lay
Store of strange vessels and large draperies,
Which needs have been of dyed asbestos wove,
Or in that place the moth could not corrupt,
So white the linen, so, in some, distinct
Ran imageries from a sombre loom.
All in a mingled heap confus'd there lay
Robes, golden tongs, censer and chafing-dish,
Girdles, and chains, and holy jewelries.

Turning from these with awe, once more I raised
My eyes to fathom the space every way:
The embossed roof, the silent massy range
Of columns north and south, ending in mist
Of nothing; then to eastward, where black gates
Were shut against the sunrise evermore;
Then to the west I look'd, and saw far off
An image, huge of feature as a cloud,
At level of whose feet an altar slept,
To be approach'd on either side by steps
And marble balustrade, and patient travail
To count with toil the innumerable degrees.
Towards the altar sober-pac'd I went,
Repressing haste as too unholy there;
And, coming nearer, saw beside the shrine
One ministering; and there arose a flame
When in mid-day the sickening east-wind
Shifts sudden to the south, the small warm rain
Melts out of the frozen incense from all flowers,
And fills the air with so much pleasant health
That even the dying man forgets his shroud;--
Even so that lofty sacrificial fire,
Sending forth Maian incense, spread around
Forgetfulness of everything but bliss,
And clouded all the altar with soft smoke;
From whose white fragrant curtains thus I heard
Language pronounc'd: "If thou canst not ascend
These steps, die on that marble where thou art.
Thy flesh, near cousin to the common dust,
Will parch for lack of nutriment; thy bones
Will wither in few years, and vanish so
That not the quickest eye could find a grain
Of what thou now art on that pavement cold.
The sands of thy short life are spent this hour,
And no hand in the universe can turn
Thy hourglass, if these gummed leaves be burnt
Ere thou canst mount up these immortal steps."
I heard, I look'd: two senses both at once,
So fine, so subtle, felt the tyranny
Of that fierce threat and the hard task proposed.
Prodigious seem'd the toil; the leaves were yet
Burning, when suddenly a palsied chill
Struck from the paved level up my limbs.
And was ascending quick to put cold grasp
Upon those streams that pulse beside the throat.
I shriek'd, and the sharp anguish of my shriek
Stung my own ears; I strove hard to escape
The numbness, strove to gain the lowest step.
Slow, heavy, deadly was my pace: the cold
Grew stifling, suffocating at the heart;
And when I clasp'd my hands I felt them not.
One minute before death my ic'd foot touch'd
The lowest stair; and, as it touch'd, life seem'd
To pour in at the toes; I mounted up
As once fair angels on a ladder flew
From the green turf to heaven. "Holy Power,"
Cry'd I, approaching near the horned shrine,
"What am I that another death come not
To choke my utterance, sacrilegious, here?"
Then said the veiled shadow: "Thou hast felt
What 'tis to die and live again before
Thy fated hour; that thou hadst power to do so
Is thine own safety; thou hast dated on
Thy doom." "High Prophetess," said I, "purge off,
Benign, if so it please thee, my mind's film."
"None can usurp this height," return'd that shade,
"But those to whom the miseries of the world
Are misery, and will not let them rest.
All else who find a haven in the world,
Where they may thoughtless sleep away their days,
If by a chance into this fane they come,
Rot on the pavement where thou rottedst half."
"Are there not thousands in the world," said I,
Encourag'd by the sooth voice of the shade,
"Who love their fellows even to the death,
Who feel the giant agony of the world,
And more, like slaves to poor humanity,
Labour for mortal good? I sure should see
Other men here, but I am here alone."
"Those whom thou spakest of are no visionaries,"
Rejoin'd that voice; "they are no dreamers weak;
They seek no wonder but the human face,
No music but a happy-noted voice:
They come not here, they have no thought to come;
And thou art here, for thou art less than they.
What benefit canst thou do, or all thy tribe,
To the great world? Thou art a dreaming thing,
A fever of thyself: think of the earth;
What bliss, even in hope, is there for thee?
What haven? every creature hath its home,
Every sole man hath days of joy and pain,
Whether his labours be sublime or low --
The pain alone, the joy alone, distinct:
Only the dreamer venoms all his days,
Bearing more woe than all his sins deserve.
Therefore, that happiness be somewhat shared,
Such things as thou art are admitted oft
Into like gardens thou didst pass erewhile,
And suffer'd in these temples: for that cause
Thou standest safe beneath this statue's knees."
"That I am favour'd for unworthiness,
But such propitious parley medicined
In sickness not ignoble, I rejoice,
Aye, and could weep for love of such award."
So answer'd I, continuing, "If it please,
Majestic shadow, tell me where I am,
Whose altar this, for whom this incense curls;
What image this whose face I cannot see
For the broad marble knees; and who thou art,
Of accent feminine so courteous?"

Then the tall shade, in drooping linen veil'd,
Spoke out, so much more earnest, that her breath
Stirr'd the thin folds of gauze that drooping hung
About a golden censer from her hand
Pendent; and by her voice I knew she shed
Long-treasured tears. "This temple, sad and lone,
Is all spar'd from the thunder of a war
Foughten long since by giant hierarchy
Against rebellion: this old image here,
Whose carved features wrinkled as he fell,
Is Saturn's; I, Moneta, left supreme,
Sole goddess of this desolation."
I had no words to answer, for my tongue,
Useless, could find about its roofed home
No syllable of a fit majesty
To make rejoinder of Moneta's mourn:
There was a silence, while the altar's blaze
Was fainting for sweet food. I look'd thereon,
And on the paved floor, where nigh were piled
****s of cinnamon, and many heaps
Of other crisped spicewood: then again
I look'd upon the altar, and its horns
Whiten'd with ashes, and its languorous flame,
And then upon the offerings again;
And so, by turns, till sad Moneta cry'd:
"The sacrifice is done, but not the less
Will I be kind to thee for thy good will.
My power, which to me is still a curse,
Shall be to thee a wonder; for the scenes
Still swooning vivid through my globbed brain,
With an electral changing misery,
Thou shalt with these dull mortal eyes behold
Free from all pain, if wonder pain thee not."
As near as an immortal's sphered words
Could to a mother's soften were these last:
And yet I had a terror of her robes,
And chiefly of the veils that from her brow
Hung pale, and curtain'd her in mysteries,
That made my heart too small to hold its blood.
This saw that Goddess, and with sacred hand
Parted the veils. Then saw I a wan face,
Not pin'd by human sorrows, but bright-blanch'd
By an immortal sickness which kills not;
It works a constant change, which happy death
Can put no end to; deathwards progressing
To no death was that visage; it had past
The lilly and the snow; and beyond these
I must not think now, though I saw that face.
But for her eyes I should have fled away;
They held me back with a benignant light,
Soft, mitigated by divinest lids
Half-clos'd, and visionless entire they seem'd
Of all external things; they saw me not,
But in blank splendour beam'd, like the mild moon,
Who comforts those she sees not, who knows not
What eyes are upward cast. As I had found
A grain of gold upon a mountain's side,
And, twing'd with avarice, strain'd out my eyes
To search its sullen entrails rich with ore,
So, at the sad view of Moneta's brow,
I ask'd to see what things the hollow brow
Behind environ'd: what high tragedy
In the dark secret chambers of her skull
Was acting, that could give so dread a stress
To her cold lips, and fill with such a light
Her planetary eyes, and touch her voice
With such a sorrow? "Shade of Memory!"
Cried I, with act adorant at her feet,
"By all the gloom hung round thy fallen house,
By this last temple, by the golden age,
By Great Apollo, thy dear Foster-child,
And by thyself, forlorn divinity,
The pale Omega of a wither'd race,
Let me behold, according as thou saidst,
What in thy brain so ferments to and fro!"
No sooner had this conjuration past
My devout lips, than side by side we stood
(Like a stunt bramble by a solemn pine)
Deep in the shady sadness of a vale
Far sunken from the healthy breath of morn,
Far from the fiery noon and eve's one star.
Onward I look'd beneath the gloomy boughs,
And saw what first I thought an image huge,
Like to the image pedestall'd so high
In Saturn's temple; then Moneta's voice
Came brief upon mine ear. "So Saturn sat
When he had lost his realms;" whereon there grew
A power within me of enormous ken
To see as a god sees, and take the depth
Of things as nimbly as the outward eye
Can size and shape pervade. The lofty theme
Of those few words hung vast before my mind
With half-unravell'd web. I sat myself
Upon an eagle's watch, that I might see,
And seeing ne'er forget. No stir of life
Was in this shrouded vale, -- not so much air
As in the zoning of a summer's day
Robs not one light seed from the feather'd grass;
But where the dead leaf fell there did it rest.
A stream went noiseless by, still deaden'd more
By reason of the fallen divinity
Spreading more shade; the Naiad 'mid her reeds
Prest her cold finger closer to her lips.

Along the margin-sand large foot-marks went
No further than to where old Saturn's feet
Had rested, and there slept how long a sleep!
Degraded, cold, upon the sodden ground
His old right hand lay nerveless, listless, dead,
Unsceptred, and his realmless eyes were closed;
While his bow'd head seem'd listening to the Earth,
His ancient mother, for some comfort yet.

It seem'd no force could wake him from his place;
But there came one who, with a kindred hand,
Touch'd his wide shoulders, after bending low
With reverence, though to one who knew it not.
Then came the griev'd voice of Mnemosyne,
And griev'd I hearken'd. "That divinity
Whom thou saw'st step from yon forlornest wood,
And with slow pace approach our fallen king,
Is Thea, softest-natured of our brood."
I mark'd the Goddess, in fair statuary
Surpassing wan Moneta by the head,
And in her sorrow nearer woman's tears.
There was a list'ning fear in her regard,
As if calamity had but begun;
As if the venom'd clouds of evil days
Had spent their malice, and the sullen rear
Was with its stored thunder labouring up,
One hand she press'd upon that aching spot
Where beats the human heart, as if just there,
Though an immortal, she felt cruel pain;
The other upon Saturn's bended neck
She laid, and to the level of his ear
Leaning, with parted lips some words she spoke
In solemn tenour and deep organ-tone;
Some mourning words, which in our feeble tongue
Would come in this like accenting; how frail
To that large utterance of the early gods!

"Saturn, look up! and for what, poor lost king?
I have no comfort for thee; no, not one;
I cannot say, wherefore thus sleepest thou?
For Heaven is parted from thee, and the Earth
Knows thee not, so afflicted, for a god.
The Ocean, too, with all its solemn noise,
Has from thy sceptre pass'd; and all the air
Is emptied of thy hoary majesty.
Thy thunder, captious at the new command,
Rumbles reluctant o'er our fallen house;
And thy sharp lightning, in unpractis'd hands,
Scourges and burns our once serene domain.

"With such remorseless speed still come new woes,
That unbelief has not a space to breathe.
Saturn! sleep on: me thoughtless, why should I
Thus violate thy slumbrous solitude?
Why should I ope thy melancholy eyes?
Saturn! sleep on, while at thy feet I weep."

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

As the moist scent of flowers, and grass, and leaves,
Fills forest-dells with a pervading air,
Known to the woodland nostril, so the words
Of Saturn fill'd the mossy glooms around,
Even to the hollows of time-eaten oaks,
And to the windings of the foxes' hole,
With sad, low tones, while thus he spoke, and sent
Strange moanings to the solitary Pan.
"Moan, brethren, moan, for we are swallow'd up
And buried from all godlike exercise
Of influence benign on planets pale,
And peaceful sway upon man's harvesting,
And all those acts which Deity supreme
Doth ease its heart of love in. Moan and wail;
Moan, brethren, moan; for lo, the rebel spheres
Spin round; the stars their ancient courses keep;
Clouds still with shadowy moisture haunt the earth,
Still suck their fill of light from sun and moon;
Still buds the tree, and still the seashores murmur;
There is no death in all the universe,
No smell of death. -- There shall be death. Moan, moan,
Moan, Cybele, moan; for thy pernicious babes
Weak as the reed, weak, feeble as my voice.
Oh! Oh! the pain, the pain of feebleness;
Moan, moan, for still I thaw; or give me help;
Throw down those imps, and give me victory.
Let me hear other groans, and trumpets blown
Of triumph calm, and hymns of festival,
From the gold peaks of heaven's high-piled clouds;
Voices of soft proclaim, and silver stir
Of strings in hollow shells; and there shall be
Beautiful things made new, for the surprise
Of the sky-children." So he feebly ceased,
With such a poor and sickly-sounding pause,
Methought I heard some old man of the earth
Bewailing earthly loss; nor could my eyes
And ears act with that unison of sense
Which marries sweet sound with the grace of form,
And dolorous accent from a tragic harp
With large-limb'd visions. More I scrutinized.
Still fixt he sat beneath the sable trees,
Whose arms spread straggling in wild serpent forms
With leaves all hush'd; his awful presence there
(Now all was silent) gave a deadly lie
To what I erewhile heard: only his lips
Trembled amid the white curls of his beard;
They told the truth, though round the snowy locks
Hung nobly, as upon the face of heaven
A mid-day fleece of clouds. Thea arose,
And stretcht her white arm through the hollow dark,
Pointing some whither: whereat he too rose,
Like a vast giant, seen by men at sea
To grow pale from the waves at dull midnight.
They melted from my sight into the woods;
Ere I could turn, Moneta cry'd, "These twain
Are speeding to the families of grief,
Where, rooft in by black rocks, they waste in pain
And darkness, for no hope." And she spake on,
As ye may read who can unwearied pass
Onward from the antechamber of this dream,
Where, even at the open doors, awhile
I must delay, and glean my memory
Of her high phrase -- perhaps no further dare.

CANTO II.

"Mortal, that thou may'st understand aright,
I humanize my sayings to thine ear,
Making comparisons of earthly things;
Or thou might'st better listen to the wind,
Whose language is to thee a barren noise,
Though it blows legend-laden thro' the trees.
In melancholy realms big tears are shed,
More sorrow like to this, and such like woe,
Too huge for mortal tongue or pen of scribe.
The Titans fierce, self-hid or prison-bound,
Groan for the old allegiance once more,
Listening in their doom for Saturn's voice.
But one of the whole eagle-brood still keeps
His sovereignty, and rule, and majesty:
Blazing Hyperion on his orbed fire
Still sits, still snuffs the incense teeming up
From Man to the Sun's God -- yet insecure.
For as upon the earth dire prodigies
Fright and perplex, so also shudders he;
Not at dog's howl or gloom-bird's hated screech,
Or the familiar visiting of one
Upon the first toll of his passing bell,
Or prophesyings of the midnight lamp;
But horrors, portioned to a giant nerve,
Make great Hyperion ache. His palace bright,
Bastion'd with pyramids of shining gold,
And touch'd with shade of bronzed obelisks,
Glares a blood-red thro' all the thousand courts,
Arches, and domes, and fiery galleries;
And all its curtains of Aurorian clouds
Flash angerly; when he would taste the wreaths
Of incense, breath'd aloft from sacred hills,
Instead of sweets, his ample palate takes
Savour of poisonous brass and metals sick;
Wherefore when harbour'd in the sleepy West,
After the full completion of fair day,
For rest divine upon exalted couch,
And slumber in the arms of melody,
He paces through the pleasant hours of ease,
With strides colossal, on from hall to hall,
While far within each aisle and deep recess
His winged minions in close clusters stand
Amaz'd, and full of fear; like anxious men,
Who on a wide plain gather in sad troops,
When earthquakes jar their battlements and towers.
Even now where Saturn, rous'd from icy trance,
Goes step for step with Thea from yon woods,
Hyperion, leaving twilight in the rear,
Is sloping to the threshold of the West.
Thither we tend." Now in the clear light I stood,
Reliev'd from the dusk vale. Mnemosyne
Was sitting on a square-edg'd polish'd stone,
That in its lucid depth reflected pure
Her priestess' garments. My quick eyes ran on
From stately nave to nave, from vault to vault,
Through bow'rs of fragrant and enwreathed light,
And diamond-paved lustrous long arcades.
Anon rush'd by the bright Hyperion;
His flaming robes stream'd out beyond his heels,
And gave a roar as if of earthy fire,
That scar'd away the meek ethereal hours,
And made their dove-wings tremble. On he flared.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
by owner. provided at no charge for educational purposes

~ John Keats, Hyperion, A Vision - Attempted Reconstruction Of The Poem

208:My fancies are fireflies,
Specks of living light
twinkling in the dark.

he voice of wayside pansies,
that do not attract the careless glance,
murmurs in these desultory lines.

In the drowsy dark caves of the mind
dreams build their nest with fragments
dropped from day's caravan.

Spring scatters the petals of flowers
that are not for the fruits of the future,
but for the moment's whim.

Joy freed from the bond of earth's slumber
rushes into numberless leaves,
and dances in the air for a day.

My words that are slight
my lightly dance upon time's waves
when my works havy with import have gone down.

Mind's underground moths
grow filmy wings
and take a farewell flight
in the sunset sky.

The butterfly counts not months but moments,
and has time enough.

My thoughts, like spark, ride on winged surprises,
carrying a single laughter.
The tree gazes in love at its own beautiful shadow
which yet it never can grasp.

Let my love, like sunlight, surround you
and yet give you illumined freedom.

Days are coloured vbubbles
that float upon the surface of fathomless night.

My offerings are too timid to claim your remembrance,
and therefore you may remember them.

Leave out my name from the gift
if it be a burden,
but keep my song.

April, like a child,
writes hieroglyphs on dust with flowers,
wipes them away and forgets.

Memory, the priestess,
kills the present
and offers its heart to the shrine of the dead past.

From the solemn gloom of the temple
children run out to sit in the dust,
God watches them play
and forgets the priest.

My mind starts up at some flash
on the flow of its thoughts
like a brook at a sudden liquid note of its own
that is never repeated.

In the mountain, stillness surges up
to explore its own height;
in the lake, movement stands still
to contemplate its own depth.

The departing night's one kiss
on the closed eyes of morning
glows in the star of dawn.

Maiden, thy beauty is like a fruit
which is yet to mature,
tense with an unyielding secret.

Sorrow that has lost its memory
is like the dumb dark hours
that have no bird songs
but only the cricket's chirp.

Bigotry tries to keep turth safe in its hand
with a grip that kills it.
Wishing to hearten a timid lamp
great night lights all her stars.

Though he holds in his arms the earth-bride,
the sky is ever immensely away.

God seeks comrades and claims love,
the Devil seeks slaves and claims obedience.

The soil in return for her service
keeps the tree tied to her,
the sky asks nothing and leaves it free.

Jewel-like immortal
does not boast of its length of years
but of the scintillating point of its moment.

The child ever dwells in the mystery of ageless time,
unobscured by the dust of history.

Alight laughter in the steps of creation
carries it swiftly across time.

One who was distant came near to me in the morning,
and still nearer when taken away by night.

White and pink oleanders meet
and make merry in different dialects.

When peace is active swepping its dirt, it is storm.

The lake lies low by the hill,
a tearful entreaty of love
at the foot of the inflexible.

There smiles the Divine Child
among his playthings of unmeaning clouds
and ephemeral lights and shadows.

The breeze whispers to the lotus,
"What is thy secret?"
"It is myself," says the lotus,
"Steal it and I disappear!"

The freedom of the storm and the bondage of the stem
join hands in the dance of swaying branches.

The jasmine's lisping of love to the sun is her flowers.

The tyrant claims freedom to kill freedom
and yet to keep it for himself.

Gods, tired of their paradise, envy man.

Clouds are hills in vapour,
hills are clouds in stone,
a phantasy in time's dream.

While God waits for His temple to be built of love,
men bring stones.

I touch God in my song
as the hill touches the far-away sea
with its waterfall.

Light finds her treasure of colours
through the antagonism of clouds.

My heart to-day smiles at its past night of tears
like a wet tree glistening in the sun
after the rain is over.

I have thanked the trees that have made my life fruitflul,
but have failed to remember the grass
that has ever kept it green.

The one without second is emptiness,
the other one makes it true.

Life's errors cry for the merciful beauty
that can modulate their isolation
into a harmony with the whole.

They expect thanks for the banished nest
because their cage is shapely and secure.

In love I pay my endless debt to thee
for what thou art.

The pond sends up its lyrics from its dark in lilies,
and the sun says, they are good.

Your calumny against the great is impious,
it hurts yourself;
against the small it is mean,
for it hurts the victim.

The first flower that blossomed on this earth
was an invitation to the unborn song.

Dawnthe many-coloured flowerfades,
and then the simple light-fruit,
the sun appears.

The muscle that has a doubt if its wisdom
throttles the voice that would cry.

The wind tries to take the flame by storm
only to blow it out.

Life's play is swift,
Life's playthings fall behind one by one
and are forgotten.

My flower, seek not thy paradise
in a fool's buttonhole.

Thou hast risen late, my crescent moon,
but my night bird is still awake to greet thee.

Darkness is the veiled bride
silently waiting for the errant light
to return to her bosom.

Trees are the earth's endless effort to
speak to the listening heaven.

The burden of self is lightened
when I laugh at myself.

The weak can be terrible
because they try furiously to appear strong.

The wind of heaven blows,
The anchor desperately clutches the mud,
and my boat is beating its breast against the chain.

The spirit of death is one,
the spirit of life is many,
Whe God is dead religion becomes one.

The blue of the sky longs for the earth's green,
the wind between them sighs, "Alas."
Day's pain muffled by its own glare,
burns among stars in the night.

The stars crowd round the virgin night
in silent awe at her loneliness
that can never be touched.

The cloud gives all its gold
to the departing sun
and greets the rising moon
with only a pale smile.

He who does good comes to the temple gate,
he who loves reaches the shrine.

Flower, have pity for the worm,
it is not a bee,
its love is a blunder and a burden.

With the ruins of terror's triumph
children build their doll's house.

The lamp waits through the long day of neglect
for the flame's kiss in the night.

Feathers in the dust lying lazily content
have forgotten their sky.

The flowers which is single
need not envy the thorns
that are numerous.

The world suffers most from the disinterested tyranny
of its well-wisher.

We gain freedom whrn we have paid the full price
for our right to live.

Your careless gifts of a moment,
like the meteors of an autumn night,
catch fire in the depth of my being.

The faith waiting in the heart of a seed
promises a miracle of life
which it cannot prove at once.

Spring hesitates at winter's door,
but the mango blossom rashly runs our to him
before her time and meets her doom.

The world is the ever-changing foam
thet floats on the surface of a sea of silence.

The two separated shores mingle their voices
in a song of unfathomed tears.

As a river in the sea,
work finds its fulfilment
in the depth of leisure.

I lingered on my way till thy cherry tree lost ist bossom,
but the azalea brins to me, my love, thy forgiveness.

Thy shy little pomegranate bud,
blushing to-day behind her veil,
will burst into a passionate flower
to-morrow when I am away.

The clumsiness of power spoils the key,
and uses the pickaxe.

Birth is from the mystery of night
into the grerater mystery of day.

These paper boats of mine are meant to dance
on the ripples of hours,
and not to reach any destination.

Migratory songs wing from my heart
and seek their nests in your voice of love.

The sea of danger, doubt and denial
around man's little island of certainty
challenges him to dare the unknown.

Love punishes when it forgives,
and injured beauty by its awful silence.

You live alone and unrecompensed
because they are afraid of your great worth.

The same sun is newly born in new lands
in a ring of endless dawns.

God is world is ever renewed by death,
a Titan's ever crushed by its own existence.

The glow-worm while exploring the dust
never knows that stars are in the sky.

The tree is of to-day, the flower is old,
it brings with it the message
of the immemorial seed.

Each rose that comes brings me greetings
from the Rose of an eternal spring.
God honours me when I work,
He loves me when I sing.

My love of to-day finds no home
in the nest deserted by yesterday's love.

The fire of pain tracse for my soul
a luminous path across her sorrow.

The grass survives the hill
through its resurrections from countless deaths.

Thou hast vanished from my reach
leaving an impalpable touch in the blue of the sky,
an invisible image in the wind moving
among the shadows.

In pity for the desolate branch
spring leaves to it a kiss that fluttered in a lonely leaf.

The shy shadow in the farden
loves the sun in silence,
Flowers guess the secret, and mile,
while the leaves whisper.

I leave no trace of wings in the air,
but I am glad I have had my flight.

The fireflies, twinkling among leaves,
make the stars wonder.

The mountain remains unmoved
at its seeming defeat by the mist.

While the rose said to the sun,
"I shall ever remember thee,"
her petals fell to the dust.

Hills are the earth's gesture of despair
for the unreachable.

Though the thorn in thy flower pricked me,
O Beauty,
I am grateful.

The world knows that the few
are more than the many.

Let not my love be a burden on you, my friend,
know that it pays itself.

Dawn plays her lute before the gate of darkness,
and is content to vanish when the sun comes out.

Beauty is truth's smile
when she beholds her own face
in a perfect mirror.

The dew-drop knows the sun
only within its own tiny orb.

Forlorn thoughts from the forsaken hives of all ages,
swarming in the air, hum round my heart
and seek my voice.

The desert is imprisoned in the wall
of its unbounded barrenness.

In the thrill of little leaves
I see the air's invisible dance,
and in their glimmering
the secret heart-beats of the sky.

You are like a flowering tree,
amazed when I praise you for your gifts.

The earth's sacrifical fire
flames up in her trees,
scattering sparks in flowers.

Foretsts, the clouds of earth,
hold up to the sky their silence,
and clouds from above come down
in resonant showers.

The world speaks to me in pictures,
my soul answers in music.

The sky tells its beads all night
on the countless stars
in memory of the sun.

The darkness of night, like pain, is dumb,
the darkness of dawn, like peace, is silent.

Pride engraves his frowns in stones,
loe offers her surrender in flowers.

The obsequious brush curtails truth
in diference to the canvas which is narrow.

The hill in its longing for the far-away sky
wishes to be like the cloud
with its endless urge of seeking.

To justify their own spilling of ink
they spell the day as night.

Profit smiles on goodness
when the good is profitable.

In its swelling pride
the bubble doubts the turth of the sea,
and laughs and bursts into emptiness.

Love is an endless mystery,
for it has nothing else to explain its.

My clouds, sorrowing in the dark,
forget that they themselves
have hidden the sun.

Man discovers his own wealth
when God comes to ask gifts of him.

You leave your memory as a flame
to my lonely lamp of separation.

I came to offer thee a flower,
but thou must have all my garden,
It is thine.

The picturea memory of light
treasured by the shadow.

It is easy to make faces at the sun,
He is exposed by his own light in all
directions.

History slowly smothers its truth,
but hastily struggles to revive it
in the terrible penance of pain.

My work is rewarded in daily wages,
I wait for my final value in love.

Beauty knows to say, "Enough,"
barbarism clamours for still more.

God loves to see in me, not his servant,
but himself who serves all.

The darkness of night is in harmony with day,
the morning of mist is discordant.

In the bounteous time of roses love is wine,
it is food in the famished hour
when their petals are shed.

An unknown flower in a strange land
speaks to the poet:
"Are we not of the same soil, my lover?"

I am able to love my God
because He gives me freedom to deny Him.

My untuned strings beg for music
in their anguished cry of shame.

The worm thinks it strange and foolish
that man does not eat his books.

The clouded sky to-day bears the visior
of the shadow of a divine sadness
on the forehead of brooding eternity.

The shade of my tree is for passers-by,
its fruit for the one for whom I wait.

Flushed with the glow of sunset
earth seems like a ripe fruit
ready to be harvested by night.

Light accepts darkness for his spouse
for the sake of creation.

The reed waits for his master's breath,
the Master goes seeking for his reed.

To the blind pen the hand that writes is unreal,
its writing unmeaning.

The sea smites his own barren breast
because he has no flowers to offer to the moon.

The greed for fruit misses the flower.

God in His temple of stars
waits for man to bring him his lamp.

The fire restrained in the tree fashions flowers.
Released from bonds, the shameless flame
dies in barren ashes.

The sky sets no snare to capture the moon,
it is her own freedom which binds her.
The light that fills the sky
seeks its limit in a dew-drop on the grass.

Wealth is the burden of bigness,
Welfare the fulness of being.

The razor-blade is proud of its keenness
when it sneers at the sun.

The butterfly has leisure to love the lotus,
not the bee busily storing honey.

Child, thou bringest to my heart
the babble of the wind and the water,
the flower's speechless secrets, the clouds' dreams,
the mute gaze of wonder of the morning sky.

The rainbow among the clouds may be great
but the little butterfly among the bushes is greater.

The mist weaves her net round the morning,
captivates him, and makes him blind.

The Morning Star whispers to Dawn,
"Tell me that you are only for me."
"Yes," she answers,
"And also only for that nameless flower."

The sky remains infinitely vacant
for earth there to build its heaven with dreams.

Perhaps the crescent moon smiles in doubt
at being told that it is a fragment
awaiting perfection.

Let the evening forgive the mistakes of the day
and thus win peace for herself.

Beauty smiles in the confinement of the bud,
in the heart of a sweet incompleteness.

Your flitting love lightly brushed with its wings
my sun-flower
and never asked if it was ready to surrender its honey.

Leaves are silences
around flowers which are their words.

The tree bears its thousand years
as one large majestic moment.

My offerings are not for the temple at the end of the road,
but for the wayside shrines
that surprise me at every bend.

Hour smile, my love, like the smell of a strange flower,
is simple and inexplicable.

Death laughs when the merit of the dead is exaggerated
for it swells his store with more than he can claim.

The sigh of the shore follows in vain
the breeze that hastens the ship across the sea.

Truth loves its limits,
for there it meets the beautiful.

Between the shores of Me and Thee
there is the loud ocean, my own surging self,
which I long to cross.

The right to possess boasts foolishly
of its right to enjoy.

The rose is a great deal more
than a blushing apology for the thorn.

Day offers to the silence of stars
his golden lute to be tuned
for the endless life.

The wise know how to teach,
the fool how to smite.

The centre is still and silent in the heart
of an enternal dance of circles.

The judge thinks that he is just when he compares
The oil of another's lamp
with the light of his own.

The captive flower in the King's wreath
smiles bitterly when the meadow-flower envies her.

Its store of snow is the hill's own burden,
its outpouring if streams is borne by all the world.

Listen to the prayer of the forest
for its freedom in flowers.

Let your love see me
even through the barrier of nearness.

The spirit of work in creation is there
to carry and help the spirit of play.

To carry the burden of the insturment,
count the cost of its material,
and never to know that it is for music,
is the tragedy of deaf life.

Faith is the bird that feels the light
and sings when the dawn is still dark.

I bring to thee, night, my day's empty cup,
to be cleansed with thy cool darkness
for a new morning's festival.

The mountain fir, in its rustling,
modulates the memory of its fights with the storm
into a hymn of peace.

God honoured me with his fight
when I was rebellious,
He ignored me when I was languid.

The sectarina thinks
that he has the sea
ladled into his private pond.

In the shady depth of life
are the lonely nests of memories
that shrink from words.

Let my love find its strength
in the service of day,
its peace in the union of night.

Life sends up in blades of grass
its silent hymn of praise
to the unnamed Light.

The stars of night are to me
the memorials of my day's faded flowers.

Open thy door to that which must go,
for the loss becomes unseemly when obstructed.

True end is not in the reaching of the limit,
but in a completion which is limitless.

The shore whispers to the sea:
"Write to me what thy waves struggle to say."
The sea writes in foam again and again
and wipes off the lines in a boisterous despair.

Let the touch ofthy finger thrill my life's strings
and make the music thine and mine.

The inner world rounded in my life like a fruit,
matured in joy and sorrow,
will drop into the darkness of the orogonal soil
for some further course of creation.

Form is in Matter, rhythm in Force,
meaning in the Person.

There are seekers of wisdom and seekers of wealth,
I seek thy company so that I may sing.

As the tree its leaves, I shed my words on the earth,
let my thoughts unuttered flower in thy silence.

My faith in truth, my vision of the perfect,
help thee, Master, in thy creation.

All the delights that I have felt
in life's fruits and flowers
let me offer to thee at the end of the feast,
in a perfect union of love.

Some have thought deeply and explored the
meaning of thy truth,
and they are great;
I have listened to catch the music of thy play,
and I am glad.

The tree is a winged spirit
released from the bondage of seed,
pursuing its adventure of life
across the unknown.

The lotus offers its beauty to the heaven,
the grass its service to the earth.

The sun's kiss mellows into abandonment
the miserliness of the green fruit clinging to its stem.

The flame met the earthen lamp in me,
and what a great marvel of light!

Mistakes live in the neighbourhood of truth
and therefore delude us.

The cloud laughed at the rainbow
saying that is was an upstart
gaudy in its emptiness.
The rainbow calmly answered,
"I am as inevitably real as tha sun himself."

Let me not grope in vain in the dark
but keep my mind still in the faith
that the day will break
and truth will appear
in its simplicity.

Through the silent night
I hear the returning vagrant hopes of the morning
knock at my heart.

My new love comes
bringing to me the eternal wealth of the old.

The earth gazes at the moon and wonders
that she sould have all her music in her smile.

Day with its glare of curiosity
puts the stars to flight.

My mind has itstrue union with thee, O sky,
at the window which is mine own,
and not in the open
where thou hast thy sole kingdom.

Man claims God's flowers as his own
when he weaves them in a garland.

The buried city, laid bare to the sun of a new age,
is ashamed that is has lost all its song.

Like my heart's pain that has long missed its meaning,
the sun's rays robed in dark
hide themselves under the ground.
Like my heart'spain at love's sudden touch,
they change their veil at the spring's call
and come out in the carnival of colours,
in flowers and leaves.

My life's empty flute
waits for its final music
like the primal darkness
before the stars came out.

Emancipation from the bondage of the soil
is no freedom for the tree.

The tapestry of life's story is woven
with the threads of life's ties
ever joining and breaking.

Those thoughts of mine that are never captured by words
perch upon my song and dance.

My soul to-night loses itself
in the silent heart of a tree
standing alone among the whispers of immensity.

Pearl shells cast up by the sea
on death's barren beach,
a magnificent wastefulness of creative life.

The sunlight opens for me the word's gate,
love's light its terasure.

My life like the reed with ist stops,
has its play od colours
through the gaps in its hopes and gains.

Let not my thanks to thee
rob my silence of its fuller homage.

Life's aspirations come
in the guise of children.

The faded flower sighs
that the spring has vanished for ever.

In my life's garden
my wealth has been of the shadows and lights
that are never gathered and stored.

The fruit that I Have gained for ever
is thet which thou hast accepted.

The jasmine knows the sun to be her brother
in the heaven.

Light is young, the ancient light;
shadows are of the moment, they are born old.

I feel that the ferry of my songs at the day's end
will brong me across to the other shore
from where I shall see.

The butterfly flitting from flower to flower
ever remains mine,
I lose the one that is netted by me.

Your voice, free bird, reaches my sleeping nest,
and my drowsy wings dream
of a voyage to the light
above the clouds.

I miss the meaning of my own part
in the play of life
because I know not of the parts
that others play.

The flower sheds all its petals
and finds the fruit.

I leave my songs behind me
to the bloom of the ever-returning honeysuckles
and the joy of the wind from the south.

Dead leaves when they lose themselves in soil
take part in the life of the forest.

The mind ever seeks its words
from its sounds and silence
as the sky from its darkness and light.

The unseen dark plays on his flute
and the rhythm of light
eddies into stars and suns,
into thoughts and reams.

My songs are to sing
that I have loved Thy singing.

When the voice of the Silent touches my words
I know him and therefore I know myself.

My last salutations are to them
who knew me imperfect and loved me.

Love's gift cannot be given,
it waits to be accepted.

When death comes and whispers to me,
"Thy days are ended,"
let me say to him, "I have lived in love
and not in mere time."
He will ask, "Will thy songs remain?"
I shall say, "I know not, but this I know
that often when I sang I found my eternity."

"Let me light my lamp,"
say the star,
'and never debate
if it will help to remove the darkness."

Before the end of my journey
may I reach within myself
the one which is the all,
leaving the outer shell
to float away with the drifting multitude
upon the current of chance and change.
~ Rabindranath Tagore, Fireflies

209: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.
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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.-
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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,
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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.
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-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;
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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.-
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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,
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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.'
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Here
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.
There
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.
Beneath
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
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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,
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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,
105
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,
106
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,
107
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,
108
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;
109
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
210:TO J. MILSAND, OF DIJON.

1840.

BOOK THE FIRST.
Who will, may hear Sordello's story told:
His story? Who believes me shall behold
The man, pursue his fortunes to the end,
Like me: for as the friendless-people's friend
Spied from his hill-top once, despite the din
And dust of multitudes, Pentapolin
Named o' the Naked Arm, I single out
Sordello, compassed murkily about
With ravage of six long sad hundred years.
Only believe me. Ye believe?
               Appears
Verona . . . Never,I should warn you first,
Of my own choice had this, if not the worst
Yet not the best expedient, served to tell
A story I could body forth so well
By making speak, myself kept out of view,
The very man as he was wont to do,
And leaving you to say the rest for him.
Since, though I might be proud to see the dim
Abysmal past divide its hateful surge,
Letting of all men this one man emerge
Because it pleased me, yet, that moment past,
I should delight in watching first to last
His progress as you watch it, not a whit
More in the secret than yourselves who sit
Fresh-chapleted to listen. But it seems
Your setters-forth of unexampled themes,
Makers of quite new men, producing them,
Would best chalk broadly on each vesture's hem
The wearer's quality; or take their stand,
Motley on back and pointing-pole in hand,
Beside him. So, for once I face ye, friends,
Summoned together from the world's four ends,
Dropped down from heaven or cast up from hell,
To hear the story I propose to tell.
Confess now, poets know the dragnet's trick,
Catching the dead, if fate denies the quick,
And shaming her; 't is not for fate to choose
Silence or song because she can refuse
Real eyes to glisten more, real hearts to ache
Less oft, real brows turn smoother for our sake:
I have experienced something of her spite;
But there 's a realm wherein she has no right
And I have many lovers. Say; but few
Friends fate accords me? Here they are: now view
The host I muster! Many a lighted face
Foul with no vestige of the grave's disgrace;
What else should tempt them back to taste our air
Except to see how their successors fare?
My audience! and they sit, each ghostly man
Striving to look as living as he can,
Brother by breathing brother; thou art set,
Clear-witted critic, by . . . but I 'll not fret
A wondrous soul of them, nor move death's spleen
Who loves not to unlock them. Friends! I mean
The living in good earnestye elect
Chiefly for lovesuppose not I reject
Judicious praise, who contrary shall peep,
Some fit occasion, forth, for fear ye sleep,
To glean your bland approvals. Then, appear,
Verona! staythou, spirit, come not near
Nownot this time desert thy cloudy place
To scare me, thus employed, with that pure face!
I need not fear this audience, I make free
With them, but then this is no place for thee!
The thunder-phrase of the Athenian, grown
Up out of memories of Marathon,
Would echo like his own sword's griding screech
Braying a Persian shield,the silver speech
Of Sidney's self, the starry paladin,
Turn intense as a trumpet sounding in
The knights to tilt,wert thou to hear! What heart
Have I to play my puppets, bear my part
Before these worthies?
           Lo, the past is hurled
In twain: up-thrust, out-staggering on the world,
Subsiding into shape, a darkness rears
Its outline, kindles at the core, appears
Verona. 'T is six hundred years and more
Since an event. The Second Friedrich wore
The purple, and the Third Honorius filled
The holy chair. That autumn eve was stilled:
A last remains of sunset dimly burned
O'er the far forests, like a torch-flame turned
By the wind back upon its bearer's hand
In one long flare of crimson; as a brand,
The woods beneath lay black. A single eye
From all Verona cared for the soft sky.
But, gathering in its ancient market-place,
Talked group with restless group; and not a face
But wrath made livid, for among them were
Death's staunch purveyors, such as have in care
To feast him. Fear had long since taken root
In every breast, and now these crushed its fruit,
The ripe hate, like a wine: to note the way
It worked while each grew drunk! Men grave and grey
Stood, with shut eyelids, rocking to and fro,
Letting the silent luxury trickle slow
About the hollows where a heart should be;
But the young gulped with a delirious glee
Some foretaste of their first debauch in blood
At the fierce news: for, be it understood,
Envoys apprised Verona that her prince
Count Richard of Saint Boniface, joined since
A year with Azzo, Este's Lord, to thrust
Taurello Salinguerra, prime in trust
With Ecelin Romano, from his seat
Ferrara,over zealous in the feat
And stumbling on a peril unaware,
Was captive, trammelled in his proper snare,
They phrase it, taken by his own intrigue.
Immediate succour from the Lombard League
Of fifteen cities that affect the Pope,
For Azzo, therefore, and his fellow-hope
Of the Guelf cause, a glory overcast!
Men's faces, late agape, are now aghast.
"Prone is the purple pavis; Este makes
"Mirth for the devil when he undertakes
"To play the Ecelin; as if it cost
"Merely your pushing-by to gain a post
"Like his! The patron tells ye, once for all,
"There be sound reasons that preferment fall
"On our beloved" . . .
           "Duke o' the Rood, why not?"
Shouted an Estian, "grudge ye such a lot?
"The hill-cat boasts some cunning of her own,
"Some stealthy trick to better beasts unknown,
"That quick with prey enough her hunger blunts,
"And feeds her fat while gaunt the lion hunts."
"Taurello," quoth an envoy, "as in wane
"Dwelt at Ferrara. Like an osprey fain
"To fly but forced the earth his couch to make
"Far inland, till his friend the tempest wake,
"Waits he the Kaiser's coming; and as yet
"That fast friend sleeps, and he too sleeps: but let
"Only the billow freshen, and he snuffs
"The aroused hurricane ere it enroughs
"The sea it means to cross because of him.
"Sinketh the breeze? His hope-sick eye grows dim;
"Creep closer on the creature! Every day
"Strengthens the Pontiff; Ecelin, they say,
"Dozes now at Oliero, with dry lips
"Telling upon his perished finger-tips
"How many ancestors are to depose
"Ere he be Satan's Viceroy when the doze
"Deposits him in hell. So, Guelfs rebuilt
"Their houses; not a drop of blood was spilt
"When Cino Bocchimpane chanced to meet
"Buccio VirtGod's wafer, and the street
"Is narrow! Tutti Santi, think, a-swarm
"With Ghibellins, and yet he took no harm!
"This could not last. Off Salinguerra went
"To Padua, Podest, 'with pure intent,'
"Said he, 'my presence, judged the single bar
"'To permanent tranquillity, may jar
"'No longer'so! his back is fairly turned?
"The pair of goodly palaces are burned,
"The gardens ravaged, and our Guelfs laugh, drunk
"A week with joy. The next, their laughter sunk
"In sobs of blood, for they found, some strange way,
"Old Salinguerra back againI say,
"Old Salinguerra in the town once more
"Uprooting, overturning, flame before,
"Blood fetlock-high beneath him. Azzo fled;
"Who 'scaped the carnage followed; then the dead
"Were pushed aside from Salinguerra's throne,
"He ruled once more Ferrara, all alone,
"Till Azzo, stunned awhile, revived, would pounce
"Coupled with Boniface, like lynx and ounce,
"On the gorged bird. The burghers ground their teeth
"To see troop after troop encamp beneath
"I' the standing corn thick o'er the scanty patch
"It took so many patient months to snatch
"Out of the marsh; while just within their walls
"Men fed on men. At length Taurello calls
"A parley: 'let the Count wind up the war!'
"Richard, light-hearted as a plunging star,
"Agrees to enter for the kindest ends
"Ferrara, flanked with fifty chosen friends,
"No horse-boy more, for fear your timid sort
"Should fly Ferrara at the bare report.
"Quietly through the town they rode, jog-jog;
"'Ten, twenty, thirty,curse the catalogue
"'Of burnt Guelf houses! Strange, Taurello shows
"'Not the least sign of life'whereat arose
"A general growl: 'How? With his victors by?
"'I and my Veronese? My troops and I?
"'Receive us, was your word?' So jogged they on,
"Nor laughed their host too openly: once gone
"Into the trap!"
         Six hundred years ago!
Such the time's aspect and peculiar woe
(Yourselves may spell it yet in chronicles,
Albeit the worm, our busy brother, drills
His sprawling path through letters anciently
Made fine and large to suit some abbot's eye)
When the new Hohenstauffen dropped the mask,
Flung John of Brienne's favour from his casque,
Forswore crusading, had no mind to leave
Saint Peter's proxy leisure to retrieve
Losses to Otho and to Barbaross,
Or make the Alps less easy to recross;
And, thus confirming Pope Honorius' fear,
Was excommunicate that very year.
"The triple-bearded Teuton come to life!"
Groaned the Great League; and, arming for the strife,
Wide Lombardy, on tiptoe to begin,
Took up, as it was Guelf or Ghibellin,
Its cry: what cry?
         "The Emperor to come!"
His crowd of feudatories, all and some,
That leapt down with a crash of swords, spears, shields,
One fighter on his fellow, to our fields,
Scattered anon, took station here and there,
And carried it, till now, with little care
Cannot but cry for him; how else rebut
Us longer?cliffs, an earthquake suffered jut
In the mid-sea, each domineering crest
Which nought save such another throe can wrest
From out (conceive) a certain chokeweed grown
Since o'er the waters, twine and tangle thrown
Too thick, too fast accumulating round,
Too sure to over-riot and confound
Ere long each brilliant islet with itself,
Unless a second shock save shoal and shelf,
Whirling the sea-drift wide: alas, the bruised
And sullen wreck! Sunlight to be diffused
For that!sunlight, 'neath which, a scum at first,
The million fibres of our chokeweed nurst
Dispread themselves, mantling the troubled main,
And, shattered by those rocks, took hold again,
So kindly blazed itthat same blaze to brood
O'er every cluster of the multitude
Still hazarding new clasps, ties, filaments,
An emulous exchange of pulses, vents
Of nature into nature; till some growth
Unfancied yet, exuberantly clothe
A surface solid now, continuous, one:
"The Pope, for us the People, who begun
"The People, carries on the People thus,
"To keep that Kaiser off and dwell with us!"
See you?
    Or say, Two Principles that live
Each fitly by its Representative.
"Hill-cat"who called him so?the gracefullest
Adventurer, the ambiguous stranger-guest
Of Lombardy (sleek but that ruffling fur,
Those talons to their sheath!) whose velvet purr
Soothes jealous neighbours when a Saxon scout
Arpo or Yoland, is it?one without
A country or a name, presumes to couch
Beside their noblest; until men avouch
That, of all Houses in the Trevisan,
Conrad descries no fitter, rear or van,
Than Ecelo! They laughed as they enrolled
That name at Milan on the page of gold,
Godego's lord,Ramon, Marostica,
Cartiglion, Bassano, Loria,
And every sheep cote on the Suabian's fief!
No laughter when his son, "the Lombard Chief"
Forsooth, as Barbarossa's path was bent
To Italy along the Vale of Trent,
Welcomed him at Roncaglia! Sadness now
The hamlets nested on the Tyrol's brow,
The Asolan and Euganean hills,
The Rhetian and the Julian, sadness fills
Them all, for Ecelin vouchsafes to stay
Among and care about them; day by day
Choosing this pinnacle, the other spot,
A castle building to defend a cot,
A cot built for a castle to defend,
Nothing but castles, castles, nor an end
To boasts how mountain ridge may join with ridge
By sunken gallery and soaring bridge.
He takes, in brief, a figure that beseems
The griesliest nightmare of the Church's dreams,
A Signory firm-rooted, unestranged
From its old interests, and nowise changed
By its new neighbourhood: perchance the vaunt
Of Otho, "my own Este shall supplant
"Your Este," come to pass. The sire led in
A son as cruel; and this Ecelin
Had sons, in turn, and daughters sly and tall
And curling and compliant; but for all
Romano (so they styled him) throve, that neck
Of his so pinched and white, that hungry cheek
Proved 't was some fiend, not him, the man's-flesh went
To feed: whereas Romano's instrument,
Famous Taurello Salinguerra, sole
I' the world, a tree whose boughs were slipt the bole
Successively, why should not he shed blood
To further a design? Men understood
Living was pleasant to him as he wore
His careless surcoat, glanced some missive o'er,
Propped on his truncheon in the public way,
While his lord lifted writhen hands to pray,
Lost at Oliero's convent.
             Hill-cats, face
Our Azzo, our Guelf Lion! Why disgrace
A worthiness conspicuous near and far
(Atii at Rome while free and consular,
Este at Padua who repulsed the Hun)
By trumpeting the Church's princely son?
Styled Patron of Rovigo's Polesine,
Ancona's march, Ferrara's . . . ask, in fine,
Our chronicles, commenced when some old monk
Found it intolerable to be sunk
(Vexed to the quick by his revolting cell)
Quite out of summer while alive and well:
Ended when by his mat the Prior stood,
'Mid busy promptings of the brotherhood,
Striving to coax from his decrepit brains
The reason Father Porphyry took pains
To blot those ten lines out which used to stand
First on their charter drawn by Hildebrand.
The same night wears. Verona's rule of yore
Was vested in a certain Twenty-four;
And while within his palace these debate
Concerning Richard and Ferrara's fate,
Glide we by clapping doors, with sudden glare
Of cressets vented on the dark, nor care
For aught that 's seen or heard until we shut
The smother in, the lights, all noises but
The carroch's booming: safe at last! Why strange
Such a recess should lurk behind a range
Of banquet-rooms? Your fingerthusyou push
A spring, and the wall opens, would you rush
Upon the banqueters, select your prey,
Waiting (the slaughter-weapons in the way
Strewing this very bench) with sharpened ear
A preconcerted signal to appear;
Or if you simply crouch with beating heart,
Bearing in some voluptuous pageant part
To startle them. Nor mutes nor masquers now;
Nor any . . . does that one man sleep whose brow
The dying lamp-flame sinks and rises o'er?
What woman stood beside him? not the more
Is he unfastened from the earnest eyes
Because that arras fell between! Her wise
And lulling words are yet about the room,
Her presence wholly poured upon the gloom
Down even to her vesture's creeping stir.
And so reclines he, saturate with her,
Until an outcry from the square beneath
Pierces the charm: he springs up, glad to breathe,
Above the cunning element, and shakes
The stupor off as (look you) morning breaks
On the gay dress, and, near concealed by it,
The lean frame like a half-burnt taper, lit
Erst at some marriage-feast, then laid away
Till the Armenian bridegroom's dying day,
In his wool wedding-robe.
             For hefor he,
Gate-vein of this hearts' blood of Lombardy,
(If I should falter now)for he is thine!
Sordello, thy forerunner, Florentine!
A herald-star I know thou didst absorb
Relentless into the consummate orb
That scared it from its right to roll along
A sempiternal path with dance and song
Fulfilling its allotted period,
Serenest of the progeny of God
Who yet resigns it not! His darling stoops
With no quenched lights, desponds with no blank troops
Of disenfranchised brilliances, for, blent
Utterly with thee, its shy element
Like thine upburneth prosperous and clear.
Still, what if I approach the august sphere
Named now with only one name, disentwine
That under-current soft and argentine
From its fierce mate in the majestic mass
Leavened as the sea whose fire was mixt with glass
In John's transcendent vision,launch once more
That lustre? Dante, pacer of the shore
Where glutted hell disgorgeth filthiest gloom,
Unbitten by its whirring sulphur-spume
Or whence the grieved and obscure waters slope
Into a darkness quieted by hope;
Plucker of amaranths grown beneath God's eye
In gracious twilights where his chosen lie,
I would do this! If I should falter now!
In Mantua territory half is slough,
Half pine-tree forest; maples, scarlet oaks
Breed o'er the river-beds; even Mincio chokes
With sand the summer through: but 't is morass
In winter up to Mantua walls. There was,
Some thirty years before this evening's coil,
One spot reclaimed from the surrounding spoil,
Goito; just a castle built amid
A few low mountains; firs and larches hid
Their main defiles, and rings of vineyard bound
The rest. Some captured creature in a pound,
Whose artless wonder quite precludes distress,
Secure beside in its own loveliness,
So peered with airy head, below, above,
The castle at its toils, the lapwings love
To glean among at grape-time. Pass within.
A maze of corridors contrived for sin,
Dusk winding-stairs, dim galleries got past,
You gain the inmost chambers, gain at last
A maple-panelled room: that haze which seems
Floating about the panel, if there gleams
A sunbeam over it, will turn to gold
And in light-graven characters unfold
The Arab's wisdom everywhere; what shade
Marred them a moment, those slim pillars made,
Cut like a company of palms to prop
The roof, each kissing top entwined with top,
Leaning together; in the carver's mind
Some knot of bacchanals, flushed cheek combined
With straining forehead, shoulders purpled, hair
Diffused between, who in a goat-skin bear
A vintage; graceful sister-palms! But quick
To the main wonder, now. A vault, see; thick
Black shade about the ceiling, though fine slits
Across the buttress suffer light by fits
Upon a marvel in the midst. Nay, stoop
A dullish grey-streaked cumbrous font, a group
Round it,each side of it, where'er one sees,
Upholds it; shrinking Caryatides
Of just-tinged marble like Eve's lilied flesh
Beneath her maker's finger when the fresh
First pulse of life shot brightening the snow.
The font's edge burthens every shoulder, so
They muse upon the ground, eyelids half closed;
Some, with meek arms behind their backs disposed,
Some, crossed above their bosoms, some, to veil
Their eyes, some, propping chin and cheek so pale,
Some, hanging slack an utter helpless length
Dead as a buried vestal whose whole strength
Goes when the grate above shuts heavily.
So dwell these noiseless girls, patient to see,
Like priestesses because of sin impure
Penanced for ever, who resigned endure,
Having that once drunk sweetness to the dregs.
And every eve, Sordello's visit begs
Pardon for them: constant as eve he came
To sit beside each in her turn, the same
As one of them, a certain space: and awe
Made a great indistinctness till he saw
Sunset slant cheerful through the buttress-chinks,
Gold seven times globed; surely our maiden shrinks
And a smile stirs her as if one faint grain
Her load were lightened, one shade less the stain
Obscured her forehead, yet one more bead slipt
From off the rosary whereby the crypt
Keeps count of the contritions of its charge?
Then with a step more light, a heart more large,
He may depart, leave her and every one
To linger out the penance in mute stone.
Ah, but Sordello? 'T is the tale I mean
To tell you.
      In this castle may be seen,
On the hill tops, or underneath the vines,
Or eastward by the mound of firs and pines
That shuts out Mantua, still in loneliness,
A slender boy in a loose page's dress,
Sordello: do but look on him awhile
Watching ('t is autumn) with an earnest smile
The noisy flock of thievish birds at work
Among the yellowing vineyards; see him lurk
('T is winter with its sullenest of storms)
Beside that arras-length of broidered forms,
On tiptoe, lifting in both hands a light
Which makes yon warrior's visage flutter bright
Ecelo, dismal father of the brood,
And Ecelin, close to the girl he wooed,
Auria, and their Child, with all his wives
From Agnes to the Tuscan that survives,
Lady of the castle, Adelaide. His face
Look, now he turns away! Yourselves shall trace
(The delicate nostril swerving wide and fine,
A sharp and restless lip, so well combine
With that calm brow) a soul fit to receive
Delight at every sense; you can believe
Sordello foremost in the regal class
Nature has broadly severed from her mass
Of men, and framed for pleasure, as she frames
Some happy lands, that have luxurious names,
For loose fertility; a footfall there
Suffices to upturn to the warm air
Half-germinating spices; mere decay
Produces richer life; and day by day
New pollen on the lily-petal grows,
And still more labyrinthine buds the rose.
You recognise at once the finer dress
Of flesh that amply lets in loveliness
At eye and ear, while round the rest is furled
(As though she would not trust them with her world)
A veil that shows a sky not near so blue,
And lets but half the sun look fervid through.
How can such love?like souls on each full-fraught
Discovery brooding, blind at first to aught
Beyond its beauty, till exceeding love
Becomes an aching weight; and, to remove
A curse that haunts such naturesto preclude
Their finding out themselves can work no good
To what they love nor make it very blest
By their endeavour,they are fain invest
The lifeless thing with life from their own soul,
Availing it to purpose, to control,
To dwell distinct and have peculiar joy
And separate interests that may employ
That beauty fitly, for its proper sake.
Nor rest they here; fresh births of beauty wake
Fresh homage, every grade of love is past,
With every mode of loveliness: then cast
Inferior idols off their borrowed crown
Before a coming glory. Up and down
Runs arrowy fire, while earthly forms combine
To throb the secret forth; a touch divine
And the scaled eyeball owns the mystic rod;
Visibly through his garden walketh God.
So fare they. Now revert. One character
Denotes them through the progress and the stir,
A need to blend with each external charm,
Bury themselves, the whole heart wide and warm,
In something not themselves; they would belong
To what they worshipstronger and more strong
Thus prodigally fedwhich gathers shape
And feature, soon imprisons past escape
The votary framed to love and to submit
Nor ask, as passionate he kneels to it,
Whence grew the idol's empery. So runs
A legend; light had birth ere moons and suns,
Flowing through space a river and alone,
Till chaos burst and blank the spheres were strown
Hither and thither, foundering and blind:
When into each of them rushed lightto find
Itself no place, foiled of its radiant chance.
Let such forego their just inheritance!
For there 's a class that eagerly looks, too,
On beauty, but, unlike the gentler crew,
Proclaims each new revealment born a twin
With a distinctest consciousness within,
Referring still the quality, now first
Revealed, to their own soulits instinct nursed
In silence, now remembered better, shown
More thoroughly, but not the less their own;
A dream come true; the special exercise
Of any special function that implies
The being fair, or good, or wise, or strong,
Dormant within their nature all along
Whose fault? So, homage, other souls direct
Without, turns inward. "How should this deject
"Thee, soul?" they murmur; "wherefore strength be quelled
"Because, its trivial accidents withheld,
"Organs are missed that clog the world, inert,
"Wanting a will, to quicken and exert,
"Like thineexistence cannot satiate,
"Cannot surprise? Laugh thou at envious fate,
"Who, from earth's simplest combination stampt
"With individualityuncrampt
"By living its faint elemental life,
"Dost soar to heaven's complexest essence, rife
"With grandeurs, unaffronted to the last,
"Equal to being all!"
           In truth? Thou hast
Life, thenwilt challenge life for us: our race
Is vindicated so, obtains its place
In thy ascent, the first of us; whom we
May follow, to the meanest, finally,
With our more bounded wills?
               Ah, but to find
A certain mood enervate such a mind,
Counsel it slumber in the solitude
Thus reached nor, stooping, task for mankind's good
Its nature just as life and time accord
"Too narrow an arena to reward
"Emprizethe world's occasion worthless since
"Not absolutely fitted to evince
"Its mastery!" Or if yet worse befall,
And a desire possess it to put all
That nature forth, forcing our straitened sphere
Contain it,to display completely here
The mastery another life should learn,
Thrusting in time eternity's concern,
So that Sordello. . . .
            Fool, who spied the mark
Of leprosy upon him, violet-dark
Already as he loiters? Born just now,
With the new century, beside the glow
And efflorescence out of barbarism;
Witness a Greek or two from the abysm
That stray through Florence-town with studious air,
Calming the chisel of that Pisan pair:
If Nicolo should carve a Christus yet!
While at Siena is Guidone set,
Forehead on hand; a painful birth must be
Matured ere Saint Eufemia's sacristy
Or transept gather fruits of one great gaze
At the moon: look you! The same orange haze,
The same blue stripe round thatand, in the midst,
Thy spectral whiteness, Mother-maid, who didst
Pursue the dizzy painter!
             Woe, then, worth
Any officious babble letting forth
The leprosy confirmed and ruinous
To spirit lodged in a contracted house!
Go back to the beginning, rather; blend
It gently with Sordello's life; the end
Is piteous, you may see, but much between
Pleasant enough. Meantime, some pyx to screen
The full-grown pest, some lid to shut upon
The goblin! So they found at Babylon,
(Colleagues, mad Lucius and sage Antonine)
Sacking the city, by Apollo's shrine,
In rummaging among the rarities,
A certain coffer; he who made the prize
Opened it greedily; and out there curled
Just such another plague, for half the world
Was stung. Crawl in then, hag, and couch asquat,
Keeping that blotchy bosom thick in spot
Until your time is ripe! The coffer-lid
Is fastened, and the coffer safely hid
Under the Loxian's choicest gifts of gold.
Who will may hear Sordello's story told,
And how he never could remember when
He dwelt not at Goito. Calmly, then,
About this secret lodge of Adelaide's
Glided his youth away; beyond the glades
On the fir-forest border, and the rim
Of the low range of mountain, was for him
No other world: but this appeared his own
To wander through at pleasure and alone.
The castle too seemed empty; far and wide
Might he disport; only the northern side
Lay under a mysterious interdict
Slight, just enough remembered to restrict
His roaming to the corridors, the vault
Where those font-bearers expiate their fault,
The maple-chamber, and the little nooks
And nests, and breezy parapet that looks
Over the woods to Mantua: there he strolled.
Some foreign women-servants, very old,
Tended and crept about himall his clue
To the world's business and embroiled ado
Distant a dozen hill-tops at the most.
And first a simple sense of life engrossed
Sordello in his drowsy Paradise;
The day's adventures for the day suffice
Its constant tribute of perceptions strange,
With sleep and stir in healthy interchange,
Suffice, and leave him for the next at ease
Like the great palmer-worm that strips the trees,
Eats the life out of every luscious plant,
And, when September finds them sere or scant,
Puts forth two wondrous winglets, alters quite,
And hies him after unforeseen delight.
So fed Sordello, not a shard dissheathed;
As ever, round each new discovery, wreathed
Luxuriantly the fancies infantine
His admiration, bent on making fine
Its novel friend at any risk, would fling
In gay profusion forth: a ficklest king,
Confessed those minions!eager to dispense
So much from his own stock of thought and sense
As might enable each to stand alone
And serve him for a fellow; with his own,
Joining the qualities that just before
Had graced some older favourite. Thus they wore
A fluctuating halo, yesterday
Set flicker and to-morrow filched away,
Those upland objects each of separate name,
Each with an aspect never twice the same,
Waxing and waning as the new-born host
Of fancies, like a single night's hoar-frost,
Gave to familiar things a face grotesque;
Only, preserving through the mad burlesque
A grave regard. Conceive! the orpine patch
Blossoming earliest on the log-house thatch
The day those archers wound along the vines
Related to the Chief that left their lines
To climb with clinking step the northern stair
Up to the solitary chambers where
Sordello never came. Thus thrall reached thrall;
He o'er-festooning every interval,
As the adventurous spider, making light
Of distance, shoots her threads from depth to height,
From barbican to battlement: so flung
Fantasies forth and in their centre swung
Our architect,the breezy morning fresh
Above, and merry,all his waving mesh
Laughing with lucid dew-drops rainbow-edged.
This world of ours by tacit pact is pledged
To laying such a spangled fabric low
Whether by gradual brush or gallant blow.
But its abundant will was baulked here: doubt
Rose tardily in one so fenced about
From most that nurtures judgment,care and pain:
Judgment, that dull expedient we are fain,
Less favoured, to adopt betimes and force
Stead us, diverted from our natural course
Of joyscontrive some yet amid the dearth,
Vary and render them, it may be, worth
Most we forego. Suppose Sordello hence
Selfish enough, without a moral sense
However feeble; what informed the boy
Others desired a portion in his joy?
Or say a ruthful chance broke woof and warp
A heron's nest beat down by March winds sharp,
A fawn breathless beneath the precipice,
A bird with unsoiled breast and unfilmed eyes
Warm in the brakecould these undo the trance
Lapping Sordello? Not a circumstance
That makes for you, friend Naddo! Eat fern-seed
And peer beside us and report indeed
If (your word) "genius" dawned with throes and stings
And the whole fiery catalogue, while springs,
Summers, and winters quietly came and went.
Time put at length that period to content,
By right the world should have imposed: bereft
Of its good offices, Sordello, left
To study his companions, managed rip
Their fringe off, learn the true relationship,
Core with its crust, their nature with his own:
Amid his wild-wood sights he lived alone.
As if the poppy felt with him! Though he
Partook the poppy's red effrontery
Till Autumn spoiled their fleering quite with rain,
And, turbanless, a coarse brown rattling crane
Lay bare. That 's gone: yet why renounce, for that,
His disenchanted tributariesflat
Perhaps, but scarce so utterly forlorn,
Their simple presence might not well be borne
Whose parley was a transport once: recall
The poppy's gifts, it flaunts you, after all,
A poppy:why distrust the evidence
Of each soon satisfied and healthy sense?
The new-born judgment answered, "little boots
"Beholding other creatures' attributes
"And having none!" or, say that it sufficed,
"Yet, could one but possess, oneself," (enticed
Judgment) "some special office!" Nought beside
Serves you? "Well then, be somehow justified
"For this ignoble wish to circumscribe
"And concentrate, rather than swell, the tribe
"Of actual pleasures: what, now, from without
"Effects it?proves, despite a lurking doubt,
"Mere sympathy sufficient, trouble spared?
"That, tasting joys by proxy thus, you fared
"The better for them?" Thus much craved his soul,
Alas, from the beginning love is whole
And true; if sure of nought beside, most sure
Of its own truth at least; nor may endure
A crowd to see its face, that cannot know
How hot the pulses throb its heart below.
While its own helplessness and utter want
Of means to worthily be ministrant
To what it worships, do but fan the more
Its flame, exalt the idol far before
Itself as it would have it ever be.
Souls like Sordello, on the contrary,
Coerced and put to shame, retaining will,
Care little, take mysterious comfort still,
But look forth tremblingly to ascertain
If others judge their claims not urged in vain,
And say for them their stifled thoughts aloud.
So, they must ever live before a crowd:
"Vanity," Naddo tells you.
               Whence contrive
A crowd, now? From these women just alive,
That archer-troop? Forth glidednot alone
Each painted warrior, every girl of stone,
Nor Adelaide (bent double o'er a scroll,
One maiden at her knees, that eve, his soul
Shook as he stumbled through the arras'd glooms
On them, for, 'mid quaint robes and weird perfumes,
Started the meagre Tuscan up,her eyes,
The maiden's, also, bluer with surprise)
But the entire out-world: whatever, scraps
And snatches, song and story, dreams perhaps,
Conceited the world's offices, and he
Had hitherto transferred to flower or tree,
Not counted a befitting heritage
Each, of its own right, singly to engage
Some man, no other,such now dared to stand
Alone. Strength, wisdom, grace on every hand
Soon disengaged themselves, and he discerned
A sort of human life: at least, was turned
A stream of lifelike figures through his brain.
Lord, liegeman, valvassor and suzerain,
Ere he could choose, surrounded him; a stuff
To work his pleasure on; there, sure enough:
But as for gazing, what shall fix that gaze?
Are they to simply testify the ways
He who convoked them sends his soul along
With the cloud's thunder or a dove's brood-song?
While they live each his life, boast each his own
Peculiar dower of bliss, stand each alone
In some one point where something dearest loved
Is easiest gainedfar worthier to be proved
Than aught he envies in the forest-wights!
No simple and self-evident delights,
But mixed desires of unimagined range,
Contrasts or combinations, new and strange,
Irksome perhaps, yet plainly recognized
By this, the sudden companyloves prized
By those who are to prize his own amount
Of loves. Once care because such make account,
Allow that foreign recognitions stamp
The current value, and his crowd shall vamp
Him counterfeits enough; and so their print
Be on the piece, 't is gold, attests the mint,
And "good," pronounce they whom his new appeal
Is made to: if their casual print conceal
This arbitrary good of theirs o'ergloss
What he has lived without, nor felt the loss
Qualities strange, ungainly, wearisome,
What matter? So must speech expand the dumb
Part-sigh, part-smile with which Sordello, late
Whom no poor woodland-sights could satiate,
Betakes himself to study hungrily
Just what the puppets his crude phantasy
Supposes notablest,popes, kings, priests, knights,
May please to promulgate for appetites;
Accepting all their artificial joys
Not as he views them, but as he employs
Each shape to estimate the other's stock
Of attributes, whereona marshalled flock
Of authorized enjoymentshe may spend
Himself, be men, now, as he used to blend
With tree and flowernay more entirely, else
'T were mockery: for instance, "How excels
"My life that chieftain's?" (who apprised the youth
Ecelin, here, becomes this month, in truth,
Imperial Vicar?) "Turns he in his tent
"Remissly? Be it somy head is bent
"Deliciously amid my girls to sleep.
"What if he stalks the Trentine-pass? Yon steep
"I climbed an hour ago with little toil:
"We are alike there. But can I, too, foil
"The Guelf's paid stabber, carelessly afford
"Saint Mark's a spectacle, the sleight o' the sword
"Baffling the treason in a moment?" Here
No rescue! Poppy he is none, but peer
To Ecelin, assuredly: his hand,
Fashioned no otherwise, should wield a brand
With Ecelin's successtry, now! He soon
Was satisfied, returned as to the moon
From earth; left each abortive boy's-attempt
For feats, from failure happily exempt,
In fancy at his beck. "One day I will
"Accomplish it! Are they not older still
"Not grown-up men and women? 'T is beside
"Only a dream; and though I must abide
"With dreams now, I may find a thorough vent
"For all myself, acquire an instrument
"For acting what these people act; my soul
"Hunting a body out may gain its whole
"Desire some day!" How else express chagrin
And resignation, show the hope steal in
With which he let sink from an aching wrist
The rough-hewn ash-bow? Straight, a gold shaft hissed
Into the Syrian air, struck Malek down
Superbly! "Crosses to the breach! God's Town
"Is gained him back!" Why bend rough ash-bows more?
Thus lives he: if not careless as before,
Comforted: for one may anticipate,
Rehearse the future, be prepared when fate
Shall have prepared in turn real men whose names
Startle, real places of enormous fames,
Este abroad and Ecelin at home
To worship him,Mantua, Verona, Rome
To witness it. Who grudges time so spent?
Rather test qualities to heart's content
Summon them, thrice selected, near and far
Compress the starriest into one star,
And grasp the whole at once!
               The pageant thinned
Accordingly; from rank to rank, like wind
His spirit passed to winnow and divide;
Back fell the simpler phantasms; every side
The strong clave to the wise; with either classed
The beauteous; so, till two or three amassed
Mankind's beseemingnesses, and reduced
Themselves eventually,graces loosed,
Strengths lavished,all to heighten up One Shape
Whose potency no creature should escape.
Can it be Friedrich of the bowmen's talk?
Surely that grape-juice, bubbling at the stalk,
Is some grey scorching Saracenic wine
The Kaiser quaffs with the Miramoline
Those swarthy hazel-clusters, seamed and chapped,
Or filberts russet-sheathed and velvet-capped,
Are dates plucked from the bough John Brienne sent
To keep in mind his sluggish armament
Of Canaan:Friedrich's, all the pomp and fierce
Demeanour! But harsh sounds and sights transpierce
So rarely the serene cloud where he dwells
Whose looks enjoin, whose lightest words are spells
On the obdurate! That right arm indeed
Has thunder for its slave; but where 's the need
Of thunder if the stricken multitude
Hearkens, arrested in its angriest mood,
While songs go up exulting, then dispread,
Dispart, disperse, lingering overhead
Like an escape of angels? 'T is the tune,
Nor much unlike the words his women croon
Smilingly, colourless and faint-designed
Each, as a worn-out queen's face some remind
Of her extreme youth's love-tales. "Eglamor
"Made that!" Half minstrel and half emperor,
What but ill objects vexed him? Such he slew.
The kinder sort were easy to subdue
By those ambrosial glances, dulcet tones;
And these a gracious hand advanced to thrones
Beneath him. Wherefore twist and torture this,
Striving to name afresh the antique bliss,
Instead of saying, neither less nor more,
He had discovered, as our world before,
Apollo? That shall be the name; nor bid
Me rag by rag expose how patchwork hid
The youthwhat thefts of every clime and day
Contributed to purfle the array
He climbed with (June at deep) some close ravine
Mid clatter of its million pebbles sheen,
Over which, singing soft, the runnel slipped
Elate with rains: into whose streamlet dipped
He foot, yet trod, you thought, with unwet sock
Though really on the stubs of living rock
Ages ago it crenelled; vines for roof,
Lindens for wall; before him, aye aloof,
Flittered in the cool some azure damsel-fly,
Born of the simmering quiet, there to die.
Emerging whence, Apollo still, he spied
Mighty descents of forest; multiplied
Tuft on tuft, here, the frolic myrtle-trees,
There gendered the grave maple stocks at ease.
And, proud of its observer, straight the wood
Tried old surprises on him; black it stood
A sudden barrier ('twas a cloud passed o'er)
So dead and dense, the tiniest brute no more
Must pass; yet presently (the cloud dispatched)
Each clump, behold, was glistering detached
A shrub, oak-boles shrunk into ilex-stems!
Yet could not he denounce the stratagems
He saw thro', till, hours thence, aloft would hang
White summer-lightnings; as it sank and sprang
To measure, that whole palpitating breast
Of heaven, 't was Apollo, nature prest
At eve to worship.
         Time stole: by degrees
The Pythons perish off; his votaries
Sink to respectful distance; songs redeem
Their pains, but briefer; their dismissals seem
Emphatic; only girls are very slow
To disappearhis Delians! Some that glow
O' the instant, more with earlier loves to wrench
Away, reserves to quell, disdains to quench;
Alike in one material circumstance
All soon or late adore Apollo! Glance
The bevy through, divine Apollo's choice,
His Daphne! "We secure Count Richard's voice
"In Este's counsels, good for Este's ends
"As our Taurello," say his faded friends,
"By granting him our Palma!"the sole child,
They mean, of Agnes Este who beguiled
Ecelin, years before this Adelaide
Wedded and turned him wicked: "but the maid
"Rejects his suit," those sleepy women boast.
She, scorning all beside, deserves the most
Sordello: so, conspicuous in his world
Of dreams sat Palma. How the tresses curled
Into a sumptuous swell of gold and wound
About her like a glory! even the ground
Was bright as with spilt sunbeams; breathe not, breathe
Not!poised, see, one leg doubled underneath,
Its small foot buried in the dimpling snow,
Rests, but the other, listlessly below,
O'er the couch-side swings feeling for cool air,
The vein-streaks swollen a richer violet where
The languid blood lies heavily; yet calm
On her slight prop, each flat and outspread palm,
As but suspended in the act to rise
By consciousness of beauty, whence her eyes
Turn with so frank a triumph, for she meets
Apollo's gaze in the pine glooms.
                 Time fleets:
That 's worst! Because the pre-appointed age
Approaches. Fate is tardy with the stage
And crowd she promised. Lean he grows and pale,
Though restlessly at rest. Hardly avail
Fancies to soothe him. Time steals, yet alone
He tarries here! The earnest smile is gone.
How long this might continue matters not;
For ever, possibly; since to the spot
None come: our lingering Taurello quits
Mantua at last, and light our lady flits
Back to her place disburthened of a care.
Strangeto be constant here if he is there!
Is it distrust? Oh, never! for they both
Goad Ecelin alike, Romano's growth
Is daily manifest, with Azzo dumb
And Richard wavering: let but Friedrich come,
Find matter for the minstrelsy's report
Lured from the Isle and its young Kaiser's court
To sing us a Messina morning up,
And, double rillet of a drinking cup,
Sparkle along to ease the land of drouth,
Northward to Provence that, and thus far south
The other! What a method to apprise
Neighbours of births, espousals, obsequies,
Which in their very tongue the Troubadour
Records! and his performance makes a tour,
For Trouveres bear the miracle about,
Explain its cunning to the vulgar rout,
Until the Formidable House is famed
Over the countryas Taurello aimed,
Who introduced, although the rest adopt,
The novelty. Such games, her absence stopped,
Begin afresh now Adelaide, recluse
No longer, in the light of day pursues
Her plans at Mantua: whence an accident
Which, breaking on Sordello's mixed content
Opened, like any flash that cures the blind,
The veritable business of mankind.


~ Robert Browning, Sordello - Book the First

211:Obiit Mdcccxxxiii (Entire)
Strong Son of God, immortal Love,
Whom we, that have not seen thy face,
By faith, and faith alone, embrace,
Believing where we cannot prove;
Thine are these orbs of light and shade;
Thou madest Life in man and brute;
Thou madest Death; and lo, thy foot
Is on the skull which thou hast made.
Thou wilt not leave us in the dust:
Thou madest man, he knows not why,
He thinks he was not made to die;
And thou hast made him: thou art just.
Thou seemest human and divine,
The highest, holiest manhood, thou:
Our wills are ours, we know not how;
Our wills are ours, to make them thine.
Our little systems have their day;
They have their day and cease to be:
They are but broken lights of thee,
And thou, O Lord, art more than they.
We have but faith: we cannot know;
For knowledge is of things we see;
And yet we trust it comes from thee,
A beam in darkness: let it grow.
Let knowledge grow from more to more,
But more of reverence in us dwell;
That mind and soul, according well,
May make one music as before,
But vaster. We are fools and slight;
We mock thee when we do not fear:
But help thy foolish ones to bear;
Help thy vain worlds to bear thy light.
414
Forgive what seem’d my sin in me;
What seem’d my worth since I began;
For merit lives from man to man,
And not from man, O Lord, to thee.
Forgive my grief for one removed,
Thy creature, whom I found so fair.
I trust he lives in thee, and there
I find him worthier to be loved.
Forgive these wild and wandering cries,
Confusions of a wasted youth;
Forgive them where they fail in truth,
And in thy wisdom make me wise.
I.
I held it truth, with him who sings
To one clear harp in divers tones,
That men may rise on stepping-stones
Of their dead selves to higher things.
But who shall so forecast the years
And find in loss a gain to match?
Or reach a hand thro’ time to catch
The far-off interest of tears?
Let Love clasp Grief lest both be drown’d,
Let darkness keep her raven gloss:
Ah, sweeter to be drunk with loss,
To dance with death, to beat the ground,
Than that the victor Hours should scorn
The long result of love, and boast,
‘Behold the man that loved and lost,
But all he was is overworn.’
II.
415
Old Yew, which graspest at the stones
That name the under-lying dead,
Thy fibres net the dreamless head,
Thy roots are wrapt about the bones.
The seasons bring the flower again,
And bring the firstling to the flock;
And in the dusk of thee, the clock
Beats out the little lives of men.
O not for thee the glow, the bloom,
Who changest not in any gale,
Nor branding summer suns avail
To touch thy thousand years of gloom:
And gazing on thee, sullen tree,
Sick for thy stubborn hardihood,
I seem to fail from out my blood
And grow incorporate into thee.
III.
O Sorrow, cruel fellowship,
O Priestess in the vaults of Death,
O sweet and bitter in a breath,
What whispers from thy lying lip?
‘The stars,’ she whispers, ‘blindly run;
A web is wov’n across the sky;
From out waste places comes a cry,
And murmurs from the dying sun:
‘And all the phantom, Nature, stands–
With all the music in her tone,
A hollow echo of my own,–
A hollow form with empty hands.’
And shall I take a thing so blind,
Embrace her as my natural good;
Or crush her, like a vice of blood,
Upon the threshold of the mind?
416
IV.
To Sleep I give my powers away;
My will is bondsman to the dark;
I sit within a helmless bark,
And with my heart I muse and say:
O heart, how fares it with thee now,
That thou should’st fail from thy desire,
Who scarcely darest to inquire,
‘What is it makes me beat so low?’
Something it is which thou hast lost,
Some pleasure from thine early years.
Break, thou deep vase of chilling tears,
That grief hath shaken into frost!
Such clouds of nameless trouble cross
All night below the darken’d eyes;
With morning wakes the will, and cries,
‘Thou shalt not be the fool of loss.’
V.
I sometimes hold it half a sin
To put in words the grief I feel;
For words, like Nature, half reveal
And half conceal the Soul within.
But, for the unquiet heart and brain,
A use in measured language lies;
The sad mechanic exercise,
Like dull narcotics, numbing pain.
In words, like weeds, I’ll wrap me o’er,
Like coarsest clothes against the cold:
But that large grief which these enfold
Is given in outline and no more.
417
VI.
One writes, that ‘Other friends remain,’
That ‘Loss is common to the race’–
And common is the commonplace,
And vacant chaff well meant for grain.
That loss is common would not make
My own less bitter, rather more:
Too common! Never morning wore
To evening, but some heart did break.
O father, wheresoe’er thou be,
Who pledgest now thy gallant son;
A shot, ere half thy draught be done,
Hath still’d the life that beat from thee.
O mother, praying God will save
Thy sailor,–while thy head is bow’d,
His heavy-shotted hammock-shroud
Drops in his vast and wandering grave.
Ye know no more than I who wrought
At that last hour to please him well;
Who mused on all I had to tell,
And something written, something thought;
Expecting still his advent home;
And ever met him on his way
With wishes, thinking, ‘here to-day,’
Or ‘here to-morrow will he come.’
O somewhere, meek, unconscious dove,
That sittest ranging golden hair;
And glad to find thyself so fair,
Poor child, that waitest for thy love!
For now her father’s chimney glows
In expectation of a guest;
And thinking ‘this will please him best,’
She takes a riband or a rose;
418
For he will see them on to-night;
And with the thought her colour burns;
And, having left the glass, she turns
Once more to set a ringlet right;
And, even when she turn’d, the curse
Had fallen, and her future Lord
Was drown’d in passing thro’ the ford,
Or kill’d in falling from his horse.
O what to her shall be the end?
And what to me remains of good?
To her, perpetual maidenhood,
And unto me no second friend.
VII.
Dark house, by which once more I stand
Here in the long unlovely street,
Doors, where my heart was used to beat
So quickly, waiting for a hand,
A hand that can be clasp’d no more–
Behold me, for I cannot sleep,
And like a guilty thing I creep
At earliest morning to the door.
He is not here; but far away
The noise of life begins again,
And ghastly thro’ the drizzling rain
On the bald street breaks the blank day.
VIII.
A happy lover who has come
To look on her that loves him well,
Who ’lights and rings the gateway bell,
And learns her gone and far from home;
419
He saddens, all the magic light
Dies off at once from bower and hall,
And all the place is dark, and all
The chambers emptied of delight:
So find I every pleasant spot
In which we two were wont to meet,
The field, the chamber and the street,
For all is dark where thou art not.
Yet as that other, wandering there
In those deserted walks, may find
A flower beat with rain and wind,
Which once she foster'd up with care;
So seems it in my deep regret,
O my forsaken heart, with thee
And this poor flower of poesy
Which little cared for fades not yet.
But since it pleased a vanish’d eye,
I go to plant it on his tomb,
That if it can it there may bloom,
Or dying, there at least may die.
IX.
Fair ship, that from the Italian shore
Sailest the placid ocean-plains
With my lost Arthur’s loved remains,
Spread thy full wings, and waft him o’er.
So draw him home to those that mourn
In vain; a favourable speed
Ruffle thy mirror’d mast, and lead
Thro’ prosperous floods his holy urn.
All night no ruder air perplex
Thy sliding keel, till Phosphor, bright
As our pure love, thro’ early light
Shall glimmer on the dewy decks.
420
Sphere all your lights around, above;
Sleep, gentle heavens, before the prow;
Sleep, gentle winds, as he sleeps now,
My friend, the brother of my love;
My Arthur, whom I shall not see
Till all my widow’d race be run;
Dear as the mother to the son,
More than my brothers are to me.
X.
I hear the noise about thy keel;
I hear the bell struck in the night:
I see the cabin-window bright;
I see the sailor at the wheel.
Thou bring’st the sailor to his wife,
And travell’d men from foreign lands;
And letters unto trembling hands;
And, thy dark freight, a vanish’d life.
So bring him: we have idle dreams:
This look of quiet flatters thus
Our home-bred fancies: O to us,
The fools of habit, sweeter seems
To rest beneath the clover sod,
That takes the sunshine and the rains,
Or where the kneeling hamlet drains
The chalice of the grapes of God;
Than if with thee the roaring wells
Should gulf him fathom-deep in brine;
And hands so often clasp’d in mine,
Should toss with tangle and with shells.
XI.
421
Calm is the morn without a sound,
Calm as to suit a calmer grief,
And only thro’ the faded leaf
The chestnut pattering to the ground:
Calm and deep peace on this high wold,
And on these dews that drench the furze,
And all the silvery gossamers
That twinkle into green and gold:
Calm and still light on yon great plain
That sweeps with all its autumn bowers,
And crowded farms and lessening towers,
To mingle with the bounding main:
Calm and deep peace in this wide air,
These leaves that redden to the fall;
And in my heart, if calm at all,
If any calm, a calm despair:
Calm on the seas, and silver sleep,
And waves that sway themselves in rest,
And dead calm in that noble breast
Which heaves but with the heaving deep.
XII.
Lo, as a dove when up she springs
To bear thro’ Heaven a tale of woe,
Some dolorous message knit below
The wild pulsation of her wings;
Like her I go; I cannot stay;
I leave this mortal ark behind,
A weight of nerves without a mind,
And leave the cliffs, and haste away
O’er ocean-mirrors rounded large,
And reach the glow of southern skies,
And see the sails at distance rise,
And linger weeping on the marge,
422
And saying; ‘Comes he thus, my friend?
Is this the end of all my care?’
And circle moaning in the air:
‘Is this the end? Is this the end?’
And forward dart again, and play
About the prow, and back return
To where the body sits, and learn
That I have been an hour away.
XIII.
Tears of the widower, when he sees
A late-lost form that sleep reveals,
And moves his doubtful arms, and feels
Her place is empty, fall like these;
Which weep a loss for ever new,
A void where heart on heart reposed;
And, where warm hands have prest and closed,
Silence, till I be silent too.
Which weeps the comrade of my choice,
An awful thought, a life removed,
The human-hearted man I loved,
A Spirit, not a breathing voice.
Come Time, and teach me, many years,
I do not suffer in a dream;
For now so strange do these things seem,
Mine eyes have leisure for their tears;
My fancies time to rise on wing,
And glance about the approaching sails,
As tho’ they brought but merchants’ bales,
And not the burthen that they bring.
XIV.
423
If one should bring me this report,
That thou hadst touch’d the land to-day,
And I went down unto the quay,
And found thee lying in the port;
And standing, muffled round with woe,
Should see thy passengers in rank
Come stepping lightly down the plank,
And beckoning unto those they know;
And if along with these should come
The man I held as half-divine;
Should strike a sudden hand in mine,
And ask a thousand things of home;
And
And
And
And
I should tell him all my pain,
how my life had droop’d of late,
he should sorrow o’er my state
marvel what possess’d my brain;
And I perceived no touch of change,
No hint of death in all his frame,
But found him all in all the same,
I should not feel it to be strange.
XV.
To-night the winds begin to rise
And roar from yonder dropping day:
The last red leaf is whirl’d away,
The rooks are blown about the skies;
The forest crack’d, the waters curl’d,
The cattle huddled on the lea;
And wildly dash’d on tower and tree
The sunbeam strikes along the world:
And but for fancies, which aver
That all thy motions gently pass
Athwart a plane of molten glass,
I scarce could brook the strain and stir
424
That makes the barren branches loud;
And but for fear it is not so,
The wild unrest that lives in woe
Would dote and pore on yonder cloud
That rises upward always higher,
And onward drags a labouring breast,
And topples round the dreary west,
A looming bastion fringed with fire.
XVI.
What words are these have fall’n from me?
Can calm despair and wild unrest
Be tenants of a single breast,
Or sorrow such a changeling be?
Or doth she only seem to take
The touch of change in calm or storm;
But knows no more of transient form
In her deep self, than some dead lake
That holds the shadow of a lark
Hung in the shadow of a heaven?
Or has the shock, so harshly given,
Confused me like the unhappy bark
That strikes by night a craggy shelf,
And staggers blindly ere she sink?
And stunn’d me from my power to think
And all my knowledge of myself;
And made me that delirious man
Whose fancy fuses old and new,
And flashes into false and true,
And mingles all without a plan?
XVII.
425
Thou comest, much wept for: such a breeze
Compell’d thy canvas, and my prayer
Was as the whisper of an air
To breathe thee over lonely seas.
For I in spirit saw thee move
Thro’ circles of the bounding sky,
Week after week: the days go by:
Come quick, thou bringest all I love.
Henceforth, wherever thou may’st roam,
My blessing, like a line of light,
Is on the waters day and night,
And like a beacon guards thee home.
So may whatever tempest mars
Mid-ocean, spare thee, sacred bark;
And balmy drops in summer dark
Slide from the bosom of the stars.
So kind an office hath been done,
Such precious relics brought by thee;
The dust of him I shall not see
Till all my widow’d race be run.
XVIII.
’Tis well; ’tis something; we may stand
Where he in English earth is laid,
And from his ashes may be made
The violet of his native land.
’Tis little; but it looks in truth
As if the quiet bones were blest
Among familiar names to rest
And in the places of his youth.
Come then, pure hands, and bear the head
That sleeps or wears the mask of sleep,
And come, whatever loves to weep,
And hear the ritual of the dead.
426
Ah yet, ev’n yet, if this might be,
I, falling on his faithful heart,
Would breathing thro’ his lips impart
The life that almost dies in me;
That dies not, but endures with pain,
And slowly forms the the firmer mind,
Treasuring the look it cannot find,
The words that are not heard again.
XIX.
The Danube to the Severn gave
The darken’d heart that beat no more;
They laid him by the pleasant shore,
And in the hearing of the wave.
There twice a day the Severn fills;
That salt sea-water passes by,
And hushes half the babbling Wye,
And makes a silence in the hills.
The Wye is hush’d nor moved along,
And hush’d my deepest grief of all,
When fill’d with tears that cannot fall,
I brim with sorrow drowning song.
The tide flows down, the wave again
Is vocal in its wooded walls;
My deeper anguish also falls,
And I can speak a little then.
XX.
The lesser griefs that may be said,
That breathe a thousand tender vows,
Are but as servants in a house
Where lies the master newly dead;
427
Who speak their feeling as it is,
And weep the fulness from the mind:
‘It will be hard,’ they say, ‘to find
Another service such as this.’
My lighter moods are like to these,
That out of words a comfort win;
But there are other griefs within,
And tears that at their fountain freeze;
For by the hearth the children sit
Cold in that atmosphere of Death,
And scarce endure to draw the breath,
Or like to noiseless phantoms flit:
But open converse is there none,
So much the vital spirits sink
To see the vacant chair, and think,
‘How good! how kind! and he is gone.’
XXI.
I sing to him that rests below,
And, since the grasses round me wave,
I take the grasses of the grave,
And make them pipes whereon to blow.
The traveller hears me now and then,
And sometimes harshly will he speak:
‘This fellow would make weakness weak,
And melt the waxen hearts of men.’
Another answers, ‘Let him be,
He loves to make parade of pain,
That with his piping he may gain
The praise that comes to constancy.’
A third is wroth: ‘Is this an hour
For private sorrow’s barren song,
When more and more the people throng
The chairs and thrones of civil power?
428
‘A time to sicken and to swoon,
When Science reaches forth her arms
To feel from world to world, and charms
Her secret from the latest moon?’
Behold, ye speak an idle thing:
Ye never knew the sacred dust:
I do but sing because I must,
And pipe but as the linnets sing:
And one is glad; her note is gay,
For now her little ones have ranged;
And one is sad; her note is changed,
Because her brood is stol’n away.
XXII.
The path by which we twain did go,
Which led by tracts that pleased us well,
Thro’ four sweet years arose and fell,
From flower to flower, from snow to snow:
And we with singing cheer’d the way,
And, crown’d with all the season lent,
From April on to April went,
And glad at heart from May to May:
But where the path we walk’d began
To slant the fifth autumnal slope,
As we descended following Hope,
There sat the Shadow fear’d of man;
Who broke our fair companionship,
And spread his mantle dark and cold,
And wrapt thee formless in the fold,
And dull’d the murmur on thy lip,
And bore thee where I could not see
Nor follow, tho’ I walk in haste,
And think, that somewhere in the waste
429
The Shadow sits and waits for me.
XXIII.
Now, sometimes in my sorrow shut,
Or breaking into song by fits,
Alone, alone, to where he sits,
The Shadow cloak’d from head to foot,
Who keeps the keys of all the creeds,
I wander, often falling lame,
And looking back to whence I came,
Or on to where the pathway leads;
And crying, How changed from where it ran
Thro’ lands where not a leaf was dumb;
But all the lavish hills would hum
The murmur of a happy Pan:
When each by turns was guide to each,
And Fancy light from Fancy caught,
And Thought leapt out to wed with Thought
Ere Thought could wed itself with Speech;
And all we met was fair and good,
And all was good that Time could bring,
And all the secret of the Spring
Moved in the chambers of the blood;
And many an old philosophy
On Argive heights divinely sang,
And round us all the thicket rang
To many a flute of Arcady.
XXIV.
And was the day of my delight
As pure and perfect as I say?
The very source and fount of Day
430
Is dash’d with wandering isles of night.
If all was good and fair we met,
This earth had been the Paradise
It never look’d to human eyes
Since our first Sun arose and set.
And is it that the haze of grief
Makes former gladness loom so great?
The lowness of the present state,
That sets the past in this relief?
Or that the past will always win
A glory from its being far;
And orb into the perfect star
We saw not, when we moved therein?
XXV.
I know that this was Life,–the track
Whereon with equal feet we fared;
And then, as now, the day prepared
The daily burden for the back.
But this it was that made me move
As light as carrier-birds in air;
I loved the weight I had to bear,
Because it needed help of Love:
Nor could I weary, heart or limb,
When mighty Love would cleave in twain
The lading of a single pain,
And part it, giving half to him.
XXVI.
Still onward winds the dreary way;
I with it; for I long to prove
No lapse of moons can canker Love,
Whatever fickle tongues may say.
431
And if that eye which watches guilt
And goodness, and hath power to see
Within the green the moulder’d tree,
And towers fall’n as soon as built–
Oh, if indeed that eye foresee
Or see (in Him is no before)
In more of life true life no more
And Love the indifference to be,
Then might I find, ere yet the morn
Breaks hither over Indian seas,
That Shadow waiting with the keys,
To shroud me from my proper scorn.
XXVII.
I envy not in any moods
The captive void of noble rage,
The linnet born within the cage,
That never knew the summer woods:
I envy not the beast that takes
His license in the field of time,
Unfetter’d by the sense of crime,
To whom a conscience never wakes;
Nor, what may count itself as blest,
The heart that never plighted troth
But stagnates in the weeds of sloth;
Nor any want-begotten rest.
I hold it true, whate’er befall;
I feel it, when I sorrow most;
’Tis better to have loved and lost
Than never to have loved at all.
XXVIII.
432
The time draws near the birth of Christ:
The moon is hid; the night is still;
The Christmas bells from hill to hill
Answer each other in the mist.
Four voices of four hamlets round,
From far and near, on mead and moor,
Swell out and fail, as if a door
Were shut between me and the sound:
Each voice four changes on the wind,
That now dilate, and now decrease,
Peace and goodwill, goodwill and peace,
Peace and goodwill, to all mankind.
This year I slept and woke with pain,
I almost wish’d no more to wake,
And that my hold on life would break
Before I heard those bells again:
But they my troubled spirit rule,
For they controll’d me when a boy;
They bring me sorrow touch’d with joy,
The merry merry bells of Yule.
XXIX.
With such compelling cause to grieve
As daily vexes household peace,
And chains regret to his decease,
How dare we keep our Christmas-eve;
Which brings no more a welcome guest
To enrich the threshold of the night
With shower’d largess of delight
In dance and song and game and jest?
Yet go, and while the holly boughs
Entwine the cold baptismal font,
Make one wreath more for Use and Wont,
That guard the portals of the house;
433
Old sisters of a day gone by,
Gray nurses, loving nothing new;
Why should they miss their yearly due
Before their time? They too will die.
XXX.
With trembling fingers did we weave
The holly round the Christmas hearth;
A rainy cloud possess’d the earth,
And sadly fell our Christmas-eve.
At our old pastimes in the hall
We gambol’d, making vain pretence
Of gladness, with an awful sense
Of one mute Shadow watching all.
We paused: the winds were in the beech:
We heard them sweep the winter land;
And in a circle hand-in-hand
Sat silent, looking each at each.
Then echo-like our voices rang;
We sung, tho’ every eye was dim,
A merry song we sang with him
Last year: impetuously we sang:
We ceased: a gentler feeling crept
Upon us: surely rest is meet:
‘They rest,’ we said, ‘their sleep is sweet,’
And silence follow’d, and we wept.
Our voices took a higher range;
Once more we sang: ‘They do not die
Nor lose their mortal sympathy,
Nor change to us, although they change;
‘Rapt from the fickle and the frail
With gather’d power, yet the same,
Pierces the keen seraphic flame
From orb to orb, from veil to veil.’
434
Rise, happy morn, rise, holy morn,
Draw forth the cheerful day from night:
O Father, touch the east, and light
The light that shone when Hope was born.
XXXI.
When Lazarus left his charnel-cave,
And home to Mary’s house return’d,
Was this demanded–if he yearn’d
To hear her weeping by his grave?
‘Where wert thou, brother, those four days?’
There lives no record of reply,
Which telling what it is to die
Had surely added praise to praise.
From every house the neighbours met,
The streets were fill’d with joyful sound,
A solemn gladness even crown’d
The purple brows of Olivet.
Behold a man raised up by Christ!
The rest remaineth unreveal’d;
He told it not; or something seal’d
The lips of that Evangelist.
XXXII.
Her eyes are homes of silent prayer,
Nor other thought her mind admits
But, he was dead, and there he sits,
And he that brought him back is there.
Then one deep love doth supersede
All other, when her ardent gaze
Roves from the living brother’s face,
And rests upon the Life indeed.
435
All subtle thought, all curious fears,
Borne down by gladness so complete,
She bows, she bathes the Saviour’s feet
With costly spikenard and with tears.
Thrice blest whose lives are faithful prayers,
Whose loves in higher love endure;
What souls possess themselves so pure,
Or is there blessedness like theirs?
XXXIII.
O thou that after toil and storm
Mayst seem to have reach’d a purer air,
Whose faith has centre everywhere,
Nor cares to fix itself to form,
Leave thou thy sister when she prays,
Her early Heaven, her happy views;
Nor thou with shadow’d hint confuse
A life that leads melodious days.
Her faith thro’ form is pure as thine,
Her hands are quicker unto good:
Oh, sacred be the flesh and blood
To which she links a truth divine!
See thou, that countest reason ripe
In holding by the law within,
Thou fail not in a world of sin,
And ev’n for want of such a type.
XXXIV.
My own dim life should teach me this,
That life shall live for evermore,
Else earth is darkness at the core,
And dust and ashes all that is;
This round of green, this orb of flame,
436
Fantastic beauty; such as lurks
In some wild Poet, when he works
Without a conscience or an aim.
What then were God to such as I?
’Twere hardly worth my while to choose
Of things all mortal, or to use
A little patience ere I die;
’Twere best at once to sink to peace,
Like birds the charming serpent draws,
To drop head-foremost in the jaws
Of vacant darkness and to cease.
XXXV.
Yet if some voice that man could trust
Should murmur from the narrow house,
‘The cheeks drop in; the body bows;
Man dies: nor is there hope in dust:’
Might I not say? ‘Yet even here,
But for one hour, O Love, I strive
To keep so sweet a thing alive:’
But I should turn mine ears and hear
The moanings of the homeless sea,
The sound of streams that swift or slow
Draw down Æonian hills, and sow
The dust of continents to be;
And Love would answer with a sigh,
‘The sound of that forgetful shore
Will change my sweetness more and more,
Half-dead to know that I shall die.’
O me, what profits it to put
And idle case? If Death were seen
At first as Death, Love had not been,
Or been in narrowest working shut,
437
Mere fellowship of sluggish moods,
Or in his coarsest Satyr-shape
Had bruised the herb and crush’d the grape,
And bask’d and batten’d in the woods.
XXXVI.
Tho’ truths in manhood darkly join,
Deep-seated in our mystic frame,
We yield all blessing to the name
Of Him that made them current coin;
For Wisdom dealt with mortal powers,
Where truth in closest words shall fail,
When truth embodied in a tale
Shall enter in at lowly doors.
And so the Word had breath, and wrought
With human hands the creed of creeds
In loveliness of perfect deeds,
More strong than all poetic thought;
Which he may read that binds the sheaf,
Or builds the house, or digs the grave,
And those wild eyes that watch the wave
In roarings round the coral reef.
XXXVII.
Urania speaks with darken’d brow:
‘Thou pratest here where thou art least;
This faith has many a purer priest,
And many an abler voice than thou.
‘Go down beside thy native rill,
On thy Parnassus set thy feet,
And hear thy laurel whisper sweet
About the ledges of the hill.’
And my Melpomene replies,
438
A touch of shame upon her cheek:
‘I am not worthy ev’n to speak
Of thy prevailing mysteries;
‘For I am but an earthly Muse,
And owning but a little art
To lull with song an aching heart,
And render human love his dues;
‘But brooding on the dear one dead,
And all he said of things divine,
(And dear to me as sacred wine
To dying lips is all he said),
‘I murmur’d, as I came along,
Of comfort clasp’d in truth reveal’d;
And loiter’d in the master’s field,
And darken’d sanctities with song.’
XXXVIII.
With weary steps I loiter on,
Tho’ always under alter’d skies
The purple from the distance dies,
My prospect and horizon gone.
No joy the blowing season gives,
The herald melodies of spring,
But in the songs I love to sing
A doubtful gleam of solace lives.
If any care for what is here
Survive in spirits render’d free,
Then are these songs I sing of thee
Not all ungrateful to thine ear.
XXXIX.
Old warder of these buried bones,
439
And answering now my random stroke
With fruitful cloud and living smoke,
Dark yew, that graspest at the stones
And dippest toward the dreamless head,
To thee too comes the golden hour
When flower is feeling after flower;
But Sorrow–fixt upon the dead,
And darkening the dark graves of men,–
What whisper’d from her lying lips?
Thy gloom is kindled at the tips,
And passes into gloom again.
XL.
Could we forget the widow’d hour
And look on Spirits breathed away,
As on a maiden in the day
When first she wears her orange-flower!
When crown’d with blessing she doth rise
To take her latest leave of home,
And hopes and light regrets that come
Make April of her tender eyes;
And doubtful joys the father move,
And tears are on the mother’s face,
As parting with a long embrace
She enters other realms of love;
Her office there to rear, to teach,
Becoming as is meet and fit
A link among the days, to knit
The generations each with each;
And, doubtless, unto thee is given
A life that bears immortal fruit
In those great offices that suit
The full-grown energies of heaven.
Ay me, the difference I discern!
440
How often shall her old fireside
Be cheer’d with tidings of the bride,
How often she herself return,
And tell them all they would have told,
And bring her babe, and make her boast,
Till even those that miss’d her most
Shall count new things as dear as old:
But thou and I have shaken hands,
Till growing winters lay me low;
My paths are in the fields I know,
And thine in undiscover’d lands.
XLI.
The spirit ere our fatal loss
Did ever rise from high to higher;
As mounts the heavenward altar-fire,
As flies the lighter thro’ the gross.
But thou art turn’d to something strange,
And I have lost the links that bound
Thy changes; here upon the ground,
No more partaker of thy change.
Deep folly! yet that this could be–
That I could wing my will with might
To leap the grades of life and light,
And flash at once, my friend, to thee.
For tho’ my nature rarely yields
To that vague fear implied in death;
Nor shudders at the gulfs beneath,
The howlings from forgotten fields;
Yet oft when sundown skirts the moor
An inner trouble I behold,
A spectral doubt which makes me cold,
That I shall be thy mate no more,
441
Tho’ following with an upward mind
The wonders that have come to thee,
Thro’ all the secular to-be,
But evermore a life behind.
XLII.
I vex my heart with fancies dim:
He still outstript me in the race;
It was but unity of place
That made me dream I rank’d with him.
And so may Place retain us still,
And he the much-beloved again,
A lord of large experience, train
To riper growth the mind and will:
And what delights can equal those
That stir the spirit’s inner deeps,
When one that loves but knows not, reaps
A truth from one that loves and knows?
XLIII.
If Sleep and Death be truly one,
And every spirit’s folded bloom
Thro’ all its intervital gloom
In some long trance should slumber on;
Unconscious of the sliding hour,
Bare of the body, might it last,
And silent traces of the past
Be all the colour of the flower:
So then were nothing lost to man;
So that still garden of the souls
In many a figured leaf enrolls
The total world since life began;
And love will last as pure and whole
442
As when he loved me here in Time,
And at the spiritual prime
Rewaken with the dawning soul.
XLIV.
How fares it with the happy dead?
For here the man is more and more;
But he forgets the days before
God shut the doorways of his head.
The days have vanish’d, tone and tint,
And yet perhaps the hoarding sense
Gives out at times (he knows not whence)
A little flash, a mystic hint;
And in the long harmonious years
(If Death so taste Lethean springs),
May some dim touch of earthly things
Surprise thee ranging with thy peers.
If such a dreamy touch should fall,
O turn thee round, resolve the doubt;
My guardian angel will speak out
In that high place, and tell thee all.
XLV.
The baby new to earth and sky,
What time his tender palm is prest
Against the circle of the breast,
Has never thought that ‘this is I:’
But as he grows he gathers much,
And learns the use of ‘I,’ and ‘me,’
And finds ‘I am not what I see,
And other than the things I touch.’
So rounds he to a separate mind
From whence clear memory may begin,
443
As thro’ the frame that binds him in
His isolation grows defined.
This use may lie in blood and breath,
Which else were fruitless of their due,
Had man to learn himself anew
Beyond the second birth of Death.
XLVI.
We ranging down this lower track,
The path we came by, thorn and flower,
Is shadow’d by the growing hour,
Lest life should fail in looking back.
So be it: there no shade can last
In that deep dawn behind the tomb,
But clear from marge to marge shall bloom
The eternal landscape of the past;
A lifelong tract of time reveal’d;
The fruitful hours of still increase;
Days order’d in a wealthy peace,
And those five years its richest field.
O Love, thy province were not large,
A bounded field, nor stretching far;
Look also, Love, a brooding star,
A rosy warmth from marge to marge.
XLVII.
That each, who seems a separate whole,
Should move his rounds, and fusing all
The skirts of self again, should fall
Remerging in the general Soul,
Is faith as vague as all unsweet:
Eternal form shall still divide
The eternal soul from all beside;
444
And I shall know him when we meet:
And we shall sit at endless feast,
Enjoying each the other’s good:
What vaster dream can hit the mood
Of Love on earth? He seeks at least
Upon the last and sharpest height,
Before the spirits fade away,
Some landing-place, to clasp and say,
‘Farewell! We lose ourselves in light.’
XLVIII.
If these brief lays, of Sorrow born,
Were taken to be such as closed
Grave doubts and answers here proposed,
Then these were such as men might scorn:
Her care is not to part and prove;
She takes, when harsher moods remit,
What slender shade of doubt may flit,
And makes it vassal unto love:
And hence, indeed, she sports with words,
But better serves a wholesome law,
And holds it sin and shame to draw
The deepest measure from the chords:
Nor dare she trust a larger lay,
But rather loosens from the lip
Short swallow-flights of song, that dip
Their wings in tears, and skim away.
XLIX.
From art, from nature, from the schools,
Let random influences glance,
Like light in many a shiver’d lance
445
That breaks about the dappled pools:
The lightest wave of thought shall lisp,
The fancy’s tenderest eddy wreathe,
The slightest air of song shall breathe
To make the sullen surface crisp.
And look thy look, and go thy way,
But blame not thou the winds that make
The seeming-wanton ripple break,
The tender-pencil’d shadow play.
Beneath all fancied hopes and fears
Ay me, the sorrow deepens down,
Whose muffled motions blindly drown
The bases of my life in tears.
L.
Be near me when my light is low,
When the blood creeps, and the nerves prick
And tingle; and the heart is sick,
And all the wheels of Being slow.
Be near me when the sensuous frame
Is rack’d with pangs that conquer trust;
And Time, a maniac scattering dust,
And Life, a Fury slinging flame.
Be near me when my faith is dry,
And men the flies of latter spring,
That lay their eggs, and sting and sing
And weave their petty cells and die.
Be near me when I fade away,
To point the term of human strife,
And on the low dark verge of life
The twilight of eternal day.
LI.
446
Do we indeed desire the dead
Should still be near us at our side?
Is there no baseness we would hide?
No inner vileness that we dread?
Shall he for whose applause I strove,
I had such reverence for his blame,
See with clear eye some hidden shame
And I be lessen’d in his love?
I wrong the grave with fears untrue:
Shall love be blamed for want of faith?
There must be wisdom with great Death:
The dead shall look me thro’ and thro’.
Be near us when we climb or fall:
Ye watch, like God, the rolling hours
With larger other eyes than ours,
To make allowance for us all.
LII.
I cannot love thee as I ought,
For love reflects the thing beloved;
My words are only words, and moved
Upon the topmost froth of thought.
‘Yet blame not thou thy plaintive song,’
The Spirit of true love replied;
‘Thou canst not move me from thy side,
Nor human frailty do me wrong.
‘What keeps a spirit wholly true
To that ideal which he bears?
What record? not the sinless years
That breathed beneath the Syrian blue:
‘So fret not, like an idle girl,
That life is dash’d with flecks of sin.
Abide: thy wealth is gather’d in,
When Time hath sunder’d shell from pearl.’
447
LIII.
How many a father have I seen,
A sober man, among his boys,
Whose youth was full of foolish noise,
Who wears his manhood hale and green:
And dare we to this fancy give,
That had the wild oat not been sown,
The soil, left barren, scarce had grown
The grain by which a man may live?
Or, if we held the doctrine sound
For life outliving heats of youth,
Yet who would preach it as a truth
To those that eddy round and round?
Hold thou the good: define it well:
For fear divine Philosophy
Should push beyond her mark, and be
Procuress to the Lords of Hell.
LIV.
Oh yet we trust that somehow good
Will be the final goal of ill,
To pangs of nature, sins of will,
Defects of doubt, and taints of blood;
That nothing walks with aimless feet;
That not one life shall be destroy’d,
Or cast as rubbish to the void,
When God hath made the pile complete;
That not a worm is cloven in vain;
That not a moth with vain desire
Is shrivell’d in a fruitless fire,
Or but subserves another’s gain.
448
Behold, we know not anything;
I can but trust that good shall fall
At last–far off–at last, to all,
And every winter change to spring.
So runs my dream: but what am I?
An infant crying in the night:
An infant crying for the light:
And with no language but a cry.
LV.
The wish, that of the living whole
No life may fail beyond the grave,
Derives it not from what we have
The likest God within the soul?
Are God and Nature then at strife,
That Nature lends such evil dreams?
So careful of the type she seems,
So careless of the single life;
That I, considering everywhere
Her secret meaning in her deeds,
And finding that of fifty seeds
She often brings but one to bear,
I falter where I firmly trod,
And falling with my weight of cares
Upon the great world’s altar-stairs
That slope thro’ darkness up to God,
I stretch lame hands of faith, and grope,
And gather dust and chaff, and call
To what I feel is Lord of all,
And faintly trust the larger hope.
LVI.
449
‘So careful of the type?’ but no.
From scarped cliff and quarried stone
She cries, ‘A thousand types are gone:
I care for nothing, all shall go.
‘Thou makest thine appeal to me:
I bring to life, I bring to death:
The spirit does but mean the breath:
I know no more.’ And he, shall he,
Man, her last work, who seem’d so fair,
Such splendid purpose in his eyes,
Who roll’d the psalm to wintry skies,
Who built him fanes of fruitless prayer,
Who trusted God was love indeed
And love Creation’s final law–
Tho’ Nature, red in tooth and claw
With ravine, shriek’d against his creed–
Who loved, who suffer’d countless ills,
Who battled for the True, the Just,
Be blown about the desert dust,
Or seal’d within the iron hills?
No more? A monster then, a dream,
A discord. Dragons of the prime,
That tare each other in their slime,
Were mellow music match’d with him.
O life as futile, then, as frail!
O for thy voice to soothe and bless!
What hope of answer, or redress?
Behind the veil, behind the veil.
LVII.
Peace; come away: the song of woe
Is after all an earthly song:
Peace; come away: we do him wrong
To sing so wildly: let us go.
450
Come; let us go: your cheeks are pale;
But half my life I leave behind:
Methinks my friend is richly shrined;
But I shall pass; my work will fail.
Yet in these ears, till hearing dies,
One set slow bell will seem to toll
The passing of the sweetest soul
That ever look’d with human eyes.
I hear it now, and o’er and o’er,
Eternal greetings to the dead;
And ‘Ave, Ave, Ave,’ said,
‘Adieu, adieu’ for evermore.
LVIII.
In those sad words I took farewell:
Like echoes in sepulchral halls,
As drop by drop the water falls
In vaults and catacombs, they fell;
And, falling, idly broke the peace
Of hearts that beat from day to day,
Half-conscious of their dying clay,
And those cold crypts where they shall cease.
The high Muse answer’d: ‘Wherefore grieve
Thy brethren with a fruitless tear?
Abide a little longer here,
And thou shalt take a nobler leave.’
LIX.
O Sorrow, wilt thou live with me
No casual mistress, but a wife,
My bosom-friend and half of life;
As I confess it needs must be;
O Sorrow, wilt thou rule my blood,
451
Be sometimes lovely like a bride,
And put thy harsher moods aside,
If thou wilt have me wise and good.
My centred passion cannot move,
Nor will it lessen from to-day;
But I’ll have leave at times to play
As with the creature of my love;
And set thee forth, for thou art mine,
With so much hope for years to come,
That, howsoe’er I know thee, some
Could hardly tell what name were thine.
LX.
He past; a soul of nobler tone:
My spirit loved and loves him yet,
Like some poor girl whose heart is set
On one whose rank exceeds her own.
He mixing with his proper sphere,
She finds the baseness of her lot,
Half jealous of she knows not what,
And envying all that meet him there.
The little village looks forlorn;
She sighs amid her narrow days,
Moving about the household ways,
In that dark house where she was born.
The foolish neighbours come and go,
And tease her till the day draws by:
At night she weeps, ‘How vain am I!
How should he love a thing so low?’
LXI.
If, in thy second state sublime,
452
Thy ransom’d reason change replies
With all the circle of the wise,
The perfect flower of human time;
And if thou cast thine eyes below,
How dimly character’d and slight,
How dwarf’d a growth of cold and night,
How blanch'd with darkness must I grow!
Yet turn thee to the doubtful shore,
Where thy first form was made a man:
I loved thee, Spirit, and love, nor can
The soul of Shakespeare love thee more.
LXII.
Tho’ if an eye that’s downward cast
Could make thee somewhat blench or fail,
Then be my love an idle tale,
And fading legend of the past;
And thou, as one that once declined,
When he was little more than boy,
On some unworthy heart with joy,
But lives to wed an equal mind;
And breathes a novel world, the while
His other passion wholly dies,
Or in the light of deeper eyes
Is matter for a flying smile.
LXIII.
Yet pity for a horse o’er-driven,
And love in which my hound has part,
Can hang no weight upon my heart
In its assumptions up to heaven;
And I am so much more than these,
As thou, perchance, art more than I,
And yet I spare them sympathy,
453
And I would set their pains at ease.
So mayst thou watch me where I weep,
As, unto vaster motions bound,
The circuits of thine orbit round
A higher height, a deeper deep.
LXIV.
Dost thou look back on what hath been,
As some divinely gifted man,
Whose life in low estate began
And on a simple village green;
Who breaks his birth’s invidious bar,
And grasps the skirts of happy chance,
And breasts the blows of circumstance,
And grapples with his evil star;
Who makes by force his merit known
And lives to clutch the golden keys,
To mould a mighty state’s decrees,
And shape the whisper of the throne;
And moving up from high to higher,
Becomes on Fortune’s crowning slope
The pillar of a people’s hope,
The centre of a world’s desire;
Yet feels, as in a pensive dream,
When all his active powers are still,
A distant dearness in the hill,
A secret sweetness in the stream,
The limit of his narrower fate,
While yet beside its vocal springs
He play’d at counsellors and kings,
With one that was his earliest mate;
Who ploughs with pain his native lea
And reaps the labour of his hands,
454
Or in the furrow musing stands;
‘Does my old friend remember me?’
LXV.
Sweet soul, do with me as thou wilt;
I lull a fancy trouble-tost
With ‘Love’s too precious to be lost,
A little grain shall not be spilt.’
And in that solace can I sing,
Till out of painful phases wrought
There flutters up a happy thought,
Self-balanced on a lightsome wing:
Since we deserved the name of friends,
And thine effect so lives in me,
A part of mine may live in thee
And move thee on to noble ends.
LXVI.
You thought my heart too far diseased;
You wonder when my fancies play
To find me gay among the gay,
Like one with any trifle pleased.
The shade by which my life was crost,
Which makes a desert in the mind,
Has made me kindly with my kind,
And like to him whose sight is lost;
Whose feet are guided thro’ the land,
Whose jest among his friends is free,
Who takes the children on his knee,
And winds their curls about his hand:
He plays with threads, he beats his chair
For pastime, dreaming of the sky;
His inner day can never die,
455
His night of loss is always there.
LXVII.
When on my bed the moonlight falls,
I know that in thy place of rest
By that broad water of the west,
There comes a glory on the walls:
Thy marble bright in dark appears,
As slowly steals a silver flame
Along the letters of thy name,
And o’er the number of thy years.
The mystic glory swims away;
From off my bed the moonlight dies;
And closing eaves of wearied eyes
I sleep till dusk is dipt in gray:
And then I know the mist is drawn
A lucid veil from coast to coast,
And in the dark church like a ghost
Thy tablet glimmers to the dawn.
LXVIII.
When in the down I sink my head,
Sleep, Death’s twin-brother, times my breath;
Sleep, Death’s twin-brother, knows not Death,
Nor can I dream of thee as dead:
I walk as ere I walk’d forlorn,
When all our path was fresh with dew,
And all the bugle breezes blew
Reveillée to the breaking morn.
But what is this? I turn about,
I find a trouble in thine eye,
Which makes me sad I know not why,
Nor can my dream resolve the doubt:
456
But ere the lark hath left the lea
I wake, and I discern the truth;
It is the trouble of my youth
That foolish sleep transfers to thee.
LXIX.
I dream’d there would be Spring no more,
That Nature’s ancient power was lost:
The streets were black with smoke and frost,
They chatter’d trifles at the door:
I wander’d from the noisy town,
I found a wood with thorny boughs:
I took the thorns to bind my brows,
I wore them like a civic crown:
I met with scoffs, I met with scorns
From youth and babe and hoary hairs:
They call’d me in the public squares
The fool that wears a crown of thorns:
They call’d me fool, they call’d me child:
I found an angel of the night;
The voice was low, the look was bright;
He look’d upon my crown and smiled:
He reach’d the glory of a hand,
That seem’d to touch it into leaf:
The voice was not the voice of grief,
The words were hard to understand.
LXX.
I cannot see the features right,
When on the gloom I strive to paint
The face I know; the hues are faint
And mix with hollow masks of night;
457
Cloud-towers by ghostly masons wrought,
A gulf that ever shuts and gapes,
A hand that points, and palled shapes
In shadowy thoroughfares of thought;
And crowds that stream from yawning doors,
And shoals of pucker’d faces drive;
Dark bulks that tumble half alive,
And lazy lengths on boundless shores;
Till all at once beyond the will
I hear a wizard music roll,
And thro’ a lattice on the soul
Looks thy fair face and makes it still.
LXXI.
Sleep, kinsman thou to death and trance
And madness, thou hast forged at last
A night-long Present of the Past
In which we went thro’ summer France.
Hadst thou such credit with the soul?
Then bring an opiate trebly strong,
Drug down the blindfold sense of wrong
That so my pleasure may be whole;
While now we talk as once we talk’d
Of men and minds, the dust of change,
The days that grow to something strange,
In walking as of old we walk’d
Beside the river’s wooded reach,
The fortress, and the mountain ridge,
The cataract flashing from the bridge,
The breaker breaking on the beach.
LXXII.
458
Risest thou thus, dim dawn, again,
And howlest, issuing out of night,
With blasts that blow the poplar white,
And lash with storm the streaming pane?
Day, when my crown’d estate begun
To pine in that reverse of doom,
Which sicken’d every living bloom,
And blurr’d the splendour of the sun;
Who usherest in the dolorous hour
With thy quick tears that make the rose
Pull sideways, and the daisy close
Her crimson fringes to the shower;
Who might’st have heaved a windless flame
Up the deep East, or, whispering, play’d
A chequer-work of beam and shade
Along the hills, yet look’d the same.
As wan, as chill, as wild as now;
Day, mark’d as with some hideous crime,
When the dark hand struck down thro’ time,
And cancell’d nature’s best: but thou,
Lift as thou may’st thy burthen’d brows
Thro’ clouds that drench the morning star,
And whirl the ungarner’d sheaf afar,
And sow the sky with flying boughs,
And up thy vault with roaring sound
Climb thy thick noon, disastrous day;
Touch thy dull goal of joyless gray,
And hide thy shame beneath the ground.
LXXIII.
So many worlds, so much to do,
So little done, such things to be,
How know I what had need of thee,
For thou wert strong as thou wert true?
459
The fame is quench’d that I foresaw,
The head hath miss’d an earthly wreath:
I curse not nature, no, nor death;
For nothing is that errs from law.
We pass; the path that each man trod
Is dim, or will be dim, with weeds:
What fame is left for human deeds
In endless age? It rests with God.
O hollow wraith of dying fame,
Fade wholly, while the soul exults,
And self-infolds the large results
Of force that would have forged a name.
LXXIV.
As sometimes in a dead man’s face,
To those that watch it more and more,
A likeness, hardly seen before,
Comes out–to some one of his race:
So, dearest, now thy brows are cold,
I see thee what thou art, and know
Thy likeness to the wise below,
Thy kindred with the great of old.
But there is more than I can see,
And what I see I leave unsaid,
Nor speak it, knowing Death has made
His darkness beautiful with thee.
LXXV.
I leave thy praises unexpress’d
In verse that brings myself relief,
And by the measure of my grief
I leave thy greatness to be guess’d;
What practice howsoe’er expert
460
In fitting aptest words to things,
Or voice the richest-toned that sings,
Hath power to give thee as thou wert?
I care not in these fading days
To raise a cry that lasts not long,
And round thee with the breeze of song
To stir a little dust of praise.
Thy leaf has perish’d in the green,
And, while we breathe beneath the sun,
The world which credits what is done
Is cold to all that might have been.
So here shall silence guard thy fame;
But somewhere, out of human view,
Whate’er thy hands are set to do
Is wrought with tumult of acclaim.
LXXVI.
Take wings of fancy, and ascend,
And in a moment set thy face
Where all the starry heavens of space
Are sharpen’d to a needle’s end;
Take wings of foresight; lighten thro’
The secular abyss to come,
And lo, thy deepest lays are dumb
Before the mouldering of a yew;
And if the matin songs, that woke
The darkness of our planet, last,
Thine own shall wither in the vast,
Ere half the lifetime of an oak.
Ere these have clothed their branchy bowers
With fifty Mays, thy songs are vain;
And what are they when these remain
The ruin’d shells of hollow towers?
461
LXXVII.
What hope is here for modern rhyme
To him, who turns a musing eye
On songs, and deeds, and lives, that lie
Foreshorten’d in the tract of time?
These mortal lullabies of pain
May bind a book, may line a box,
May serve to curl a maiden’s locks;
Or when a thousand moons shall wane
A man upon a stall may find,
And, passing, turn the page that tells
A grief, then changed to something else,
Sung by a long-forgotten mind.
But what of that? My darken’d ways
Shall ring with music all the same;
To breathe my loss is more than fame,
To utter love more sweet than praise.
LXXVIII.
Again at Christmas did we weave
The holly round the Christmas hearth;
The silent snow possess’d the earth,
And calmly fell our Christmas-eve:
The yule-clog sparkled keen with frost,
No wing of wind the region swept,
But over all things brooding slept
The quiet sense of something lost.
As in the winters left behind,
Again our ancient games had place,
The mimic picture’s breathing grace,
And dance and song and hoodman-blind.
Who show’d a token of distress?
462
No single tear, no mark of pain:
O sorrow, then can sorrow wane?
O grief, can grief be changed to less?
O last regret, regret can die!
No–mixt with all this mystic frame,
Her deep relations are the same,
But with long use her tears are dry.
LXXIX.
‘More than my brothers are to me,’–
Let this not vex thee, noble heart!
I know thee of what force thou art
To hold the costliest love in fee.
But thou and I are one in kind,
As moulded like in Nature’s mint;
And hill and wood and field did print
The same sweet forms in either mind.
For us the same cold streamlet curl’d
Thro’ all his eddying coves; the same
All winds that roam the twilight came
In whispers of the beauteous world.
At one dear knee we proffer’d vows,
One lesson from one book we learn’d,
Ere childhood’s flaxen ringlet turn’d
To black and brown on kindred brows.
And so my wealth resembles thine,
But he was rich where I was poor,
And he supplied my want the more
As his unlikeness fitted mine.
LXXX.
If any vague desire should rise,
463
That holy Death ere Arthur died
Had moved me kindly from his side,
And dropt the dust on tearless eyes;
Then fancy shapes, as fancy can,
The grief my loss in him had wrought,
A grief as deep as life or thought,
But stay’d in peace with God and man.
I make a picture in the brain;
I hear the sentence that he speaks;
He bears the burthen of the weeks
But turns his burthen into gain.
His credit thus shall set me free;
And, influence-rich to soothe and save,
Unused example from the grave
Reach out dead hands to comfort me.
LXXXI.
Could I have said while he was here,
‘My love shall now no further range;
There cannot come a mellower change,
For now is love mature in ear.’
Love, then, had hope of richer store:
What end is here to my complaint?
This haunting whisper makes me faint,
‘More years had made me love thee more.’
But Death returns an answer sweet:
‘My sudden frost was sudden gain,
And gave all ripeness to the grain,
It might have drawn from after-heat.’
LXXXII.
I wage not any feud with Death
For changes wrought on form and face;
464
No lower life that earth’s embrace
May breed with him, can fright my faith.
Eternal process moving on,
From state to state the spirit walks;
And these are but the shatter’d stalks,
Or ruin’d chrysalis of one.
Nor blame I Death, because he bare
The use of virtue out of earth:
I know transplanted human worth
Will bloom to profit, otherwhere.
For this alone on Death I wreak
The wrath that garners in my heart;
He put our lives so far apart
We cannot hear each other speak.
LXXXIII.
Dip down upon the northern shore,
O sweet new-year delaying long;
Thou doest expectant nature wrong;
Delaying long, delay no more.
What stays thee from the clouded noons,
Thy sweetness from its proper place?
Can trouble live with April days,
Or sadness in the summer moons?
Bring orchis, bring the foxglove spire,
The little speedwell’s darling blue,
Deep tulips dash’d with fiery dew,
Laburnums, dropping-wells of fire.
O thou, new-year, delaying long,
Delayest the sorrow in my blood,
That longs to burst a frozen bud
And flood a fresher throat with song.
465
LXXXIV.
When I contemplate all alone
The life that had been thine below,
And fix my thoughts on all the glow
To which thy crescent would have grown;
I see thee sitting crown’d with good,
A central warmth diffusing bliss
In glance and smile, and clasp and kiss,
On all the branches of thy blood;
Thy blood, my friend, and partly mine;
For now the day was drawing on,
When thou should’st link thy life with one
Of mine own house, and boys of thine
Had babbled ‘Uncle’ on my knee;
But that remorseless iron hour
Made cypress of her orange flower,
Despair of Hope, and earth of thee.
I seem to meet their least desire,
To clap their cheeks, to call them mine.
I see their unborn faces shine
Beside the never-lighted fire.
I see myself an honour’d guest,
Thy partner in the flowery walk
Of letters, genial table-talk,
Or deep dispute, and graceful jest;
While now thy prosperous labour fills
The lips of men with honest praise,
And sun by sun the happy days
Descend below the golden hills
With promise of a morn as fair;
And all the train of bounteous hours
Conduct by paths of growing powers,
To reverence and the silver hair;
Till slowly worn her earthly robe,
466
Her lavish mission richly wrought,
Leaving great legacies of thought,
Thy spirit should fail from off the globe;
What time mine own might also flee,
As link’d with thine in love and fate,
And, hovering o’er the dolorous strait
To the other shore, involved in thee,
Arrive at last the blessed goal,
And He that died in Holy Land
Would reach us out the shining hand,
And take us as a single soul.
What reed was that on which I leant?
Ah, backward fancy, wherefore wake
The old bitterness again, and break
The low beginnings of content.
LXXXV.
This truth came borne with bier and pall,
I felt it, when I sorrow’d most,
’Tis better to have loved and lost,
Than never to have loved at all–
O true in word, and tried in deed,
Demanding, so to bring relief
To this which is our common grief,
What kind of life is that I lead;
And whether trust in things above
Be dimm’d of sorrow, or sustain’d;
And whether love for him have drain’d
My capabilities of love;
Your words have virtue such as draws
A faithful answer from the breast,
Thro’ light reproaches, half exprest,
And loyal unto kindly laws.
467
My blood an even tenor kept,
Till on mine ear this message falls,
That in Vienna’s fatal walls
God’s finger touch’d him, and he slept.
The great Intelligences fair
That range above our mortal state,
In circle round the blessed gate,
Received and gave him welcome there;
And led him thro’ the blissful climes,
And show'd him in the fountain fresh
All knowledge that the sons of flesh
Shall gather in the cycled times.
But I remained, whose hopes were dim,
Whose life, whose thoughts were little worth,
To wander on a darkened earth,
Where all things round me breathed of him.
friendship, equal poised control,
heart, with kindliest motion warm,
sacred essence, other form,
solemn ghost, O crowned soul!
Yet none could better know than I,
How much of act at human hands
The sense of human will demands
By which we dare to live or die.
Whatever way my days decline,
I felt and feel, tho’ left alone,
His being working in mine own,
The footsteps of his life in mine;
A life that all the Muses decked
With gifts of grace, that might express
All comprehensive tenderness,
All-subtilising intellect:
And so my passion hath not swerved
To works of weakness, but I find
468
An image comforting the mind,
And in my grief a strength reserved.
Likewise the imaginative woe,
That loved to handle spiritual strife,
Diffused the shock thro’ all my life,
But in the present broke the blow.
My pulses therefore beat again
For other friends that once I met;
Nor can it suit me to forget
The mighty hopes that make us men.
I woo your love: I count it crime
To mourn for any overmuch;
I, the divided half of such
A friendship as had master’d Time;
Which masters Time indeed, and is
Eternal, separate from fears:
The all-assuming months and years
Can take no part away from this:
But Summer on the steaming floods,
And Spring that swells the narrow brooks,
And Autumn, with a noise of rooks,
That gather in the waning woods,
And every pulse of wind and wave
Recalls, in change of light or gloom,
My old affection of the tomb,
And my prime passion in the grave:
My old affection of the tomb,
A part of stillness, yearns to speak:
‘Arise, and get thee forth and seek
A friendship for the years to come.
‘I watch thee from the quiet shore;
Thy spirit up to mine can reach;
But in dear words of human speech
We two communicate no more.’
469
And I, ‘Can clouds of nature stain
The starry clearness of the free?
How is it? Canst thou feel for me
Some painless sympathy with pain?’
And lightly does the whisper fall;
‘’Tis hard for thee to fathom this;
I triumph in conclusive bliss,
And that serene result of all.’
So hold I commerce with the dead;
Or so methinks the dead would say;
Or so shall grief with symbols play
And pining life be fancy-fed.
Now looking to some settled end,
That these things pass, and I shall prove
A meeting somewhere, love with love,
I crave your pardon, O my friend;
If not so fresh, with love as true,
I, clasping brother-hands aver
I could not, if I would, transfer
The whole I felt for him to you.
For which be they that hold apart
The promise of the golden hours?
First love, first friendship, equal powers,
That marry with the virgin heart.
Still mine, that cannot but deplore,
That beats within a lonely place,
That yet remembers his embrace,
But at his footstep leaps no more,
My heart, tho’ widow’d, may not rest
Quite in the love of what is gone,
But seeks to beat in time with one
That warms another living breast.
Ah, take the imperfect gift I bring,
470
Knowing the primrose yet is dear,
The primrose of the later year,
As not unlike to that of Spring.
LXXXVI.
Sweet after showers, ambrosial air,
That rollest from the gorgeous gloom
Of evening over brake and bloom
And meadow, slowly breathing bare
The round of space, and rapt below
Thro’ all the dewy-tassell’d wood,
And shadowing down the horned flood
In ripples, fan my brows and blow
The fever from my cheek, and sigh
The full new life that feeds thy breath
Throughout my frame, till Doubt and Death,
Ill brethren, let the fancy fly
From belt to belt of crimson seas
On leagues of odour streaming far,
To where in yonder orient star
A hundred spirits whisper ‘Peace.’
LXXXVII.
I past beside the reverend walls
In which of old I wore the gown;
I roved at random thro’ the town,
And saw the tumult of the halls;
And heard one more in college fanes
The storm their high-built organs make,
And thunder-music, rolling, shake
The prophet blazon’d on the panes;
And caught one more the distant shout,
The measured pulse of racing oars
471
Among the willows; paced the shores
And many a bridge, and all about
The same gray flats again, and felt
The same, but not the same; and last
Up that long walk of limes I past
To see the rooms in which he dwelt.
Another name was on the door:
I linger’d; all within was noise
Of songs, and clapping hands, and boys
That crash’d the glass and beat the floor;
Where once we held debate, a band
Of youthful friends, on mind and art,
And labour, and the changing mart,
And all the framework of the land;
When one would aim an arrow fair,
But send it slackly from the string;
And one would pierce an outer ring,
And one an inner, here and there;
And last the master-bowman, he,
Would cleave the mark. A willing ear
We lent him. Who, but hung to hear
The rapt oration flowing free
From point to point, with power and grace
And music in the bounds of law,
To those conclusions when we saw
The God within him light his face,
And seem to lift the form, and glow
In azure orbits heavenly wise;
And over those ethereal eyes
The bar of Michael Angelo.
LXXXVIII.
472
Wild bird, whose warble, liquid sweet,
Rings Eden thro’ the budded quicks,
O tell me where the senses mix,
O tell me where the passions meet,
Whence radiate: fierce extremes employ
Thy spirits in the darkening leaf,
And in the midmost heart of grief
Thy passion clasps a secret joy:
And I–my harp would prelude woe–
I cannot all command the strings;
The glory of the sum of things
Will flash along the chords and go.
LXXXIX.
Witch-elms that counterchange the floor
Of this flat lawn with dusk and bright;
And thou, with all thy breadth and height
Of foliage, towering sycamore;
How often, hither wandering down,
My Arthur found your shadows fair,
And shook to all the liberal air
The dust and din and steam of town:
He brought an eye for all he saw;
He mixt in all our simple sports;
They pleased him, fresh from brawling courts
And dusty purlieus of the law.
O joy to him in this retreat,
Immantled in ambrosial dark,
To drink the cooler air, and mark
The landscape winking thro’ the heat:
O sound to rout the brood of cares,
The sweep of scythe in morning dew,
The gust that round the garden flew,
And tumbled half the mellowing pears!
473
O bliss, when all in circle drawn
About him, heart and ear were fed
To hear him, as he lay and read
The Tuscan poets on the lawn:
Or in the all-golden afternoon
A guest, or happy sister, sung,
Or here she brought the harp and flung
A ballad to the brightening moon:
Nor less it pleased in livelier moods,
Beyond the bounding hill to stray,
And break the livelong summer day
With banquet in the distant woods;
Whereat we glanced from theme to theme,
Discuss’d the books to love or hate,
Or touch’d the changes of the state,
Or threaded some Socratic dream;
But if I praised the busy town,
He loved to rail against it still,
For ‘ground in yonder social mill
We rub each other’s angles down,
‘And merge’ he said ‘in form and gloss
The picturesque of man and man.’
We talk’d: the stream beneath us ran,
The wine-flask lying couch’d in moss,
Or cool’d within the glooming wave;
And last, returning from afar,
Before the crimson-circled star
Had fall’n into her father’s grave,
And brushing ankle-deep in flowers,
We heard behind the woodbine veil
The milk that bubbled in the pail,
And buzzings of the honied hours.
474
XC.
He tasted love with half his mind,
Nor ever drank the inviolate spring
Where nighest heaven, who first could fling
This bitter seed among mankind;
That could the dead, whose dying eyes
Were closed with wail, resume their life,
They would but find in child and wife
An iron welcome when they rise:
’Twas well, indeed, when warm with wine,
To pledge them with a kindly tear,
To talk them o’er, to wish them here,
To count their memories half divine;
But if they came who past away,
Behold their brides in other hands;
The hard heir strides about their lands,
And will not yield them for a day.
Yea, tho’ their sons were none of these,
Not less the yet-loved sire would make
Confusion worse than death, and shake
The pillars of domestic peace.
Ah dear, but come thou back to me:
Whatever change the years have wrought,
I find not yet one lonely thought
That cries against my wish for thee.
XCI.
When rosy plumelets tuft the larch,
And rarely pipes the mounted thrush;
Or underneath the barren bush
Flits by the sea-blue bird of March;
Come, wear the form by which I know
Thy spirit in time among thy peers;
The hope of unaccomplish’d years
475
Be large and lucid round thy brow.
When summer’s hourly-mellowing change
May breathe, with many roses sweet,
Upon the thousand waves of wheat,
That ripple round the lonely grange;
Come: not in watches of the night,
But where the sunbeam broodeth warm,
Come, beauteous in thine after form,
And like a finer light in light.
XCII.
If any vision should reveal
Thy likeness, I might count it vain
As but the canker of the brain;
Yea, tho’ it spake and made appeal
To chances where our lots were cast
Together in the days behind,
I might but say, I hear a wind
Of memory murmuring the past.
Yea, tho’ it spake and bared to view
A fact within the coming year;
And tho’ the months, revolving near,
Should prove the phantom-warning true,
They might not seem thy prophecies,
But spiritual presentiments,
And such refraction of events
As often rises ere they rise.
XCIII.
I shall not see thee. Dare I say
No spirit ever brake the band
That stays him from the native land
476
Where first he walk’d when claspt in clay?
No visual shade of some one lost,
But he, the Spirit himself, may come
Where all the nerve of sense is numb;
Spirit to Spirit, Ghost to Ghost.
O, therefore from thy sightless range
With gods in unconjectured bliss,
O, from the distance of the abyss
Of tenfold-complicated change,
Descend, and touch, and enter; hear
The wish too strong for words to name;
That in this blindness of the frame
My Ghost may feel that thine is near.
XCIV.
How pure at heart and sound in head,
With what divine affections bold
Should be the man whose thought would hold
An hour’s communion with the dead.
In vain shalt thou, or any, call
The spirits from their golden day,
Except, like them, thou too canst say,
My spirit is at peace with all.
They haunt the silence of the breast,
Imaginations calm and fair,
The memory like a cloudless air,
The conscience as a sea at rest:
But when the heart is full of din,
And doubt beside the portal waits,
They can but listen at the gates,
And hear the household jar within.
XCV.
477
By night we linger’d on the lawn,
For underfoot the herb was dry;
And genial warmth; and o’er the sky
The silvery haze of summer drawn;
And calm that let the tapers burn
Unwavering: not a cricket chirr’d:
The brook alone far-off was heard,
And on the board the fluttering urn:
And bats went round in fragrant skies,
And wheel’d or lit the filmy shapes
That haunt the dusk, with ermine capes
And woolly breasts and beaded eyes;
While now we sang old songs that peal’d
From knoll to knoll, where, couch’d at ease,
The white kine glimmer’d, and the trees
Laid their dark arms about the field.
But when those others, one by one,
Withdrew themselves from me and night,
And in the house light after light
Went out, and I was all alone,
A hunger seized my heart; I read
Of that glad year which once had been,
In those fall’n leaves which kept their green,
The noble letters of the dead:
And strangely on the silence broke
The silent-speaking words, and strange
Was love’s dumb cry defying change
To test his worth; and strangely spoke
The faith, the vigour, bold to dwell
On doubts that drive the coward back,
And keen thro’ wordy snares to track
Suggestion to her inmost cell.
So word by word, and line by line,
The dead man touch’d me from the past,
478
And all at once it seem’d at last
The living soul was flash’d on mine,
And mine in this was wound, and whirl’d
About empyreal heights of thought,
And came on that which is, and caught
The deep pulsations of the world,
Æonian music measuring out
The steps of Time–the shocks of Chance–
The blows of Death. At length my trance
Was cancell’d, stricken thro’ with doubt.
Vague words! but ah, how hard to frame
In matter-moulded forms of speech,
Or ev’n for intellect to reach
Thro’ memory that which I became:
Till now the doubtful dusk reveal’d
The knolls once more where, couch’d at ease,
The white kine glimmer’d, and the trees
Laid their dark arms about the field:
And suck’d from out the distant gloom
A breeze began to tremble o’er
The large leaves of the sycamore,
And fluctuate all the still perfume,
And gathering freshlier overhead,
Rock’d the full-foliaged elms, and swung
The heavy-folded rose, and flung
The lilies to and fro, and said
‘The dawn, the dawn,’ and died away;
And East and West, without a breath,
Mixt their dim lights, like life and death,
To broaden into boundless day.
XCVI.
479
You say, but with no touch of scorn,
Sweet-hearted, you, whose light-blue eyes
Are tender over drowning flies,
You tell me, doubt is Devil-born.
I know not: one indeed I knew
In many a subtle question versed,
Who touch’d a jarring lyre at first,
But ever strove to make it true:
Perplext in faith, but pure in deeds,
At last he beat his music out.
There lives more faith in honest doubt,
Believe me, than in half the creeds.
He fought his doubts and gather’d strength,
He would not make his judgment blind,
He faced the spectres of the mind
And laid them: thus he came at length
To find a stronger faith his own;
And Power was with him in the night,
Which makes the darkness and the light,
And dwells not in the light alone,
But in the darkness and the cloud,
As over Sinaï’s peaks of old,
While Israel made their gods of gold,
Altho’ the trumpet blew so loud.
XCVII.
My love has talk’d with rocks and trees;
He finds on misty mountain-ground
His own vast shadow glory-crown’d;
He sees himself in all he sees.
Two partners of a married life–
I look’d on these and thought of thee
In vastness and in mystery,
And of my spirit as of a wife.
480
These two–they dwelt with eye on eye,
Their hearts of old have beat in tune,
Their meetings made December June,
Their every parting was to die.
Their love has never past away;
The days she never can forget
Are earnest that he loves her yet,
Whate’er the faithless people say.
Her life is lone, he sits apart,
He loves her yet, she will not weep,
Tho’ rapt in matters dark and deep
He seems to slight her simple heart.
He
He
He
He
thrids the labyrinth of the mind,
reads the secret of the star,
seems so near and yet so far,
looks so cold: she thinks him kind.
She keeps the gift of years before,
A wither’d violet is her bliss:
She knows not what his greatness is,
For that, for all, she loves him more.
For him she plays, to him she sings
Of early faith and plighted vows;
She knows but matters of the house,
And he, he knows a thousand things.
Her faith is fixt and cannot move,
She darkly feels him great and wise,
She dwells on him with faithful eyes,
‘I cannot understand: I love.’
XCVIII.
You leave us: you will see the Rhine,
And those fair hills I sail’d below,
When I was there with him; and go
481
By summer belts of wheat and vine
To where he breathed his latest breath,
That City. All her splendour seems
No livelier than the wisp that gleams
On Lethe in the eyes of Death.
Let her great Danube rolling fair
Enwind her isles, unmark’d of me:
I have not seen, I will not see
Vienna; rather dream that there,
A treble darkness, Evil haunts
The birth, the bridal; friend from friend
Is oftener parted, fathers bend
Above more graves, a thousand wants
Gnarr at the heels of men, and prey
By each cold hearth, and sadness flings
Her shadow on the blaze of kings:
And yet myself have heard him say,
That not in any mother town
With statelier progress to and fro
The double tides of chariots flow
By park and suburb under brown
Of lustier leaves; nor more content,
He told me, lives in any crowd,
When all is gay with lamps, and loud
With sport and song, in booth and tent,
Imperial halls, or open plain;
And wheels the circled dance, and breaks
The rocket molten into flakes
Of crimson or in emerald rain.
XCIX.
Risest thou thus, dim dawn, again,
So loud with voices of the birds,
482
So thick with lowings of the herds,
Day, when I lost the flower of men;
Who tremblest thro’ thy darkling red
On yon swoll’n brook that bubbles fast
By meadows breathing of the past,
And woodlands holy to the dead;
Who murmurest in the foliaged eaves
A song that slights the coming care,
And Autumn laying here and there
A fiery finger on the leaves;
Who wakenest with thy balmy breath
To myriads on the genial earth,
Memories of bridal, or of birth,
And unto myriads more, of death.
O wheresoever those may be,
Betwixt the slumber of the poles,
To-day they count as kindred souls;
They know me not, but mourn with me.
C.
I climb the hill: from end to end
Of all the landscape underneath,
I find no place that does not breathe
Some gracious memory of my friend;
No gray old grange, or lonely fold,
Or low morass and whispering reed,
Or simple stile from mead to mead,
Or sheepwalk up the windy wold;
Nor hoary knoll of ash and haw
That hears the latest linnet trill,
Nor quarry trench’d along the hill
And haunted by the wrangling daw;
Nor runlet tinkling from the rock;
Nor pastoral rivulet that swerves
483
To left and right thro’ meadowy curves,
That feed the mothers of the flock;
But each has pleased a kindred eye,
And each reflects a kindlier day;
And, leaving these, to pass away,
I think once more he seems to die.
CI.
Unwatch’d, the garden bough shall sway,
The tender blossom flutter down,
Unloved, that beech will gather brown,
This maple burn itself away;
Unloved, the sun-flower, shining fair,
Ray round with flames her disk of seed,
And many a rose-carnation feed
With summer spice the humming air;
Unloved, by many a sandy bar,
The brook shall babble down the plain,
At noon or when the lesser wain
Is twisting round the polar star;
Uncared for, gird the windy grove,
And flood the haunts of hern and crake;
Or into silver arrows break
The sailing moon in creek and cove;
Till from the garden and the wild
A fresh association blow,
And year by year the landscape grow
Familiar to the stranger’s child;
As year by year the labourer tills
His wonted glebe, or lops the glades;
And year by year our memory fades
From all the circle of the hills.
484
CII.
We leave the well-beloved place
Where first we gazed upon the sky;
The roofs, that heard our earliest cry,
Will shelter one of stranger race.
We go, but ere we go from home,
As down the garden-walks I move,
Two spirits of a diverse love
Contend for loving masterdom.
One whispers, ‘Here thy boyhood sung
Long since its matin song, and heard
The low love-language of the bird
In native hazels tassel-hung.’
The other answers, ‘Yea, but here
Thy feet have stray’d in after hours
With thy lost friend among the bowers,
And this hath made them trebly dear.’
These two have striven half the day,
And each prefers his separate claim,
Poor rivals in a losing game,
That will not yield each other way.
I turn to go: my feet are set
To leave the pleasant fields and farms;
They mix in one another’s arms
To one pure image of regret.
CIII.
On that last night before we went
From out the doors where I was bred,
I dream’d a vision of the dead,
Which left my after-morn content.
Methought I dwelt within a hall,
And maidens with me: distant hills
485
From hidden summits fed with rills
A river sliding by the wall.
The hall with harp and carol rang.
They sang of what is wise and good
And graceful. In the centre stood
A statue veil’d, to which they sang;
And which, tho’ veil’d, was known to me,
The shape of him I loved, and love
For ever: then flew in a dove
And brought a summons from the sea:
And when they learnt that I must go
They wept and wail’d, but led the way
To where a little shallop lay
At anchor in the flood below;
And on by many a level mead,
And shadowing bluff that made the banks,
We glided winding under ranks
Of iris, and the golden reed;
And still as vaster grew the shore
And roll’d the floods in grander space,
The maidens gather’d strength and grace
And presence, lordlier than before;
And I myself, who sat apart
And watch’d them, wax’d in every limb;
I felt the thews of Anakim,
The pulses of a Titan’s heart;
As one would sing the death of war,
And one would chant the history
Of that great race, which is to be,
And one the shaping of a star;
Until the forward-creeping tides
Began to foam, and we to draw
From deep to deep, to where we saw
A great ship lift her shining sides.
486
The man we loved was there on deck,
But thrice as large as man he bent
To greet us. Up the side I went,
And fell in silence on his neck:
Whereat those maidens with one mind
Bewail’d their lot; I did them wrong:
‘We served thee here’ they said, ‘so long,
And wilt thou leave us now behind?’
So rapt I was, they could not win
An answer from my lips, but he
Replying, ‘Enter likewise ye
And go with us:’ they enter’d in.
And while the wind began to sweep
A music out of sheet and shroud,
We steer’d her toward a crimson cloud
That landlike slept along the deep.
CIV.
The time draws near the birth of Christ;
The moon is hid, the night is still;
A single church below the hill
Is pealing, folded in the mist.
A single peal of bells below,
That wakens at this hour of rest
A single murmur in the breast,
That these are not the bells I know.
Like strangers’ voices here they sound,
In lands where not a memory strays,
Nor landmark breathes of other days,
But all is new unhallow’d ground.
CV.
487
To-night ungather’d let us leave
This laurel, let this holly stand:
We live within the stranger’s land,
And strangely falls our Christmas-eve.
Our father’s dust is left alone
And silent under other snows:
There in due time the woodbine blows,
The violet comes, but we are gone.
No more shall wayward grief abuse
The genial hour with mask and mime;
For change of place, like growth of time,
Has broke the bond of dying use.
Let cares that petty shadows cast,
By which our lives are chiefly proved,
A little spare the night I loved,
And hold it solemn to the past.
But let no footstep beat the floor,
Nor bowl of wassail mantle warm;
For who would keep an ancient form
Thro’ which the spirit breathes no more?
Be neither song, nor game, nor feast;
Nor harp be touch’d, nor flute be blown;
No dance, no motion, save alone
What lightens in the lucid east
Of rising worlds by yonder wood.
Long sleeps the summer in the seed;
Run out your measured arcs, and lead
The closing cycle rich in good.
CVI.
Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light:
The year is dying in the night;
488
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.
Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.
Ring out the grief that saps the mind,
For those that here we see no more;
Ring out the feud of rich and poor,
Ring in redress to all mankind.
Ring out a slowly dying cause,
And ancient forms of party strife;
Ring in the nobler modes of life,
With sweeter manners, purer laws.
Ring out the want, the care, the sin,
The faithless coldness of the times;
Ring out, ring out my mournful rhymes,
But ring the fuller minstrel in.
Ring out false pride in place and blood,
The civic slander and the spite;
Ring in the love of truth and right,
Ring in the common love of good.
Ring
Ring
Ring
Ring
out old shapes of foul disease;
out the narrowing lust of gold;
out the thousand wars of old,
in the thousand years of peace.
Ring in the valiant man and free,
The larger heart, the kindlier hand;
Ring out the darkness of the land,
Ring in the Christ that is to be.
CVII.
It is the day when he was born,
A bitter day that early sank
489
Behind a purple-frosty bank
Of vapour, leaving night forlorn.
The time admits not flowers or leaves
To deck the banquet. Fiercely flies
The blast of North and East, and ice
Makes daggers at the sharpen’d eaves,
And bristles all the brakes and thorns
To yon hard crescent, as she hangs
Above the wood which grides and clangs
Its leafless ribs and iron horns
Together, in the drifts that pass
To darken on the rolling brine
That breaks the coast. But fetch the wine,
Arrange the board and brim the glass;
Bring in great logs and let them lie,
To make a solid core of heat;
Be cheerful-minded, talk and treat
Of all things ev’n as he were by;
We keep the day. With festal cheer,
With books and music, surely we
Will drink to him, whate’er he be,
And sing the songs he loved to hear.
CVIII.
I will not shut me from my kind,
And, lest I stiffen into stone,
I will not eat my heart alone,
Nor feed with sighs a passing wind:
What profit lies in barren faith,
And vacant yearning, tho’ with might
To scale the heaven’s highest height,
Or dive below the wells of Death?
What find I in the highest place,
But mine own phantom chanting hymns?
490
And on the depths of death there swims
The reflex of a human face.
I'll rather take what fruit may be
Of sorrow under human skies:
’Tis held that sorrow makes us wise,
Whatever wisdom sleep with thee.
CIX.
Heart-affluence in discursive talk
From household fountains never dry;
The critic clearness of an eye,
That saw thro’ all the Muses’ walk;
Seraphic intellect and force
To seize and throw the doubts of man;
Impassion’d logic, which outran
The hearer in its fiery course;
High nature amorous of the good,
But touch’d with no ascetic gloom;
And passion pure in snowy bloom
Thro’ all the years of April blood;
A love of freedom rarely felt,
Of freedom in her regal seat
Of England; not the schoolboy heat,
The blind hysterics of the Celt;
And manhood fused with female grace
In such a sort, the child would twine
A trustful hand, unask’d, in thine,
And find his comfort in thy face;
All these have been, and thee mine eyes
Have look’d on: if they look’d in vain,
My shame is greater who remain,
Nor let thy wisdom make me wise.
491
CX.
Thy converse drew us with delight,
The men of rathe and riper years:
The feeble soul, a haunt of fears,
Forgot his weakness in thy sight.
On thee the loyal-hearted hung,
The proud was half disarm’d of pride,
Nor cared the serpent at thy side
To flicker with his double tongue.
The stern were mild when thou wert by,
The flippant put himself to school
And heard thee, and the brazen fool
Was soften’d, and he knew not why;
While I, thy nearest, sat apart,
And felt thy triumph was as mine;
And loved them more, that they were thine,
The graceful tact, the Christian art;
Nor mine the sweetness or the skill,
But mine the love that will not tire,
And, born of love, the vague desire
That spurs an imitative will.
CXI.
The churl in spirit, up or down
Along the scale of ranks, thro’ all,
To him who grasps a golden ball,
By blood a king, at heart a clown;
The churl in spirit, howe’er he veil
His want in forms for fashion’s sake,
Will let his coltish nature break
At seasons thro’ the gilded pale:
For who can always act? but he,
To whom a thousand memories call,
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Not being less but more than all
The gentleness he seem’d to be,
Best seem’d the thing he was, and join’d
Each office of the social hour
To noble manners, as the flower
And native growth of noble mind;
Nor ever narrowness or spite,
Or villain fancy fleeting by,
Drew in the expression of an eye,
Where God and Nature met in light;
And thus he bore without abuse
The grand old name of gentleman,
Defamed by every charlatan,
And soil’d with all ignoble use.
CXII.
High wisdom holds my wisdom less,
That I, who gaze with temperate eyes
On glorious insufficiencies,
Set light by narrower perfectness.
But thou, that fillest all the room
Of all my love, art reason why
I seem to cast a careless eye
On souls, the lesser lords of doom.
For what wert thou? some novel power
Sprang up for ever at a touch,
And hope could never hope too much,
In watching thee from hour to hour,
Large elements in order brought,
And tracts of calm from tempest made,
And world-wide fluctuation sway’d
In vassal tides that follow’d thought.
493
CXIII.
’Tis held that sorrow makes us wise;
Yet how much wisdom sleeps with thee
Which not alone had guided me,
But served the seasons that may rise;
For can I doubt, who knew thee keen
In intellect, with force and skill
To strive, to fashion, to fulfil–
I doubt not what thou wouldst have been:
life in civic action warm,
soul on highest mission sent,
potent voice of Parliament,
pillar steadfast in the storm,
Should licensed boldness gather force,
Becoming, when the time has birth,
A lever to uplift the earth
And roll it in another course,
With thousand shocks that come and go,
With agonies, with energies,
With overthrowings, and with cries,
And undulations to and fro.
CXIV.
Who loves not Knowledge? Who shall rail
Against her beauty? May she mix
With men and prosper! Who shall fix
Her pillars? Let her work prevail.
But on her forehead sits a fire:
She sets her forward countenance
And leaps into the future chance,
Submitting all things to desire.
Half-grown as yet, a child, and vain–
She cannot fight the fear of death.
494
What is she, cut from love and faith,
But some wild Pallas from the brain
Of Demons? fiery-hot to burst
All barriers in her onward race
For power. Let her know her place;
She is the second, not the first.
A higher hand must make her mild,
If all be not in vain; and guide
Her footsteps, moving side by side
With wisdom, like the younger child:
For she is earthly of the mind,
But Wisdom heavenly of the soul.
O, friend, who camest to thy goal
So early, leaving me behind,
I would the great world grew like thee,
Who grewest not alone in power
And knowledge, but by year and hour
In reverence and in charity.
CXV.
Now fades the last long streak of snow,
Now burgeons every maze of quick
About the flowering squares, and thick
By ashen roots the violets blow.
Now rings the woodland loud and long,
The distance takes a lovelier hue,
And drown’d in yonder living blue
The lark becomes a sightless song.
Now dance the lights on lawn and lea,
The flocks are whiter down the vale,
And milkier every milky sail
On winding stream or distant sea;
Where now the seamew pipes, or dives
495
In yonder greening gleam, and fly
The happy birds, that change their sky
To build and brood; that live their lives
From land to land; and in my breast
Spring wakens too; and my regret
Becomes an April violet,
And buds and blossoms like the rest.
CXVI.
Is it, then, regret for buried time
That keenlier in sweet April wakes,
And meets the year, and gives and takes
The colours of the crescent prime?
Not all: the songs, the stirring air,
The life re-orient out of dust,
Cry thro’ the sense to hearten trust
In that which made the world so fair.
Not all regret: the face will shine
Upon me, while I muse alone;
And that dear voice, I once have known,
Still speak to me of me and mine:
Yet less of sorrow lives in me
For days of happy commune dead;
Less yearning for the friendship fled,
Than some strong bond which is to be.
CXVII.
O days and hours, your work is this
To hold me from my proper place,
A little while from his embrace
For fuller gain of after bliss:
That out of distance might ensue
Desire of nearness doubly sweet;
496
And unto meeting when we meet,
Delight a hundredfold accrue,
For every grain of sand that runs,
And every span of shade that steals,
And every kiss of toothed wheels,
And all the courses of the suns.
CXVIII.
Contemplate all this work of Time,
The giant labouring in his youth;
Nor dream of human love and truth,
As dying Nature’s earth and lime;
But trust that those we call the dead
Are breathers of an ampler day
For ever nobler ends. They say,
The solid earth whereon we tread
In tracts of fluent heat began,
And grew to seeming-random forms,
The seeming prey of cyclic storms,
Till at the last arose the man;
Who throve and branch’d from clime to clime,
The herald of a higher race,
And of himself in higher place,
If so he type this work of time
Within himself, from more to more;
Or, crown’d with attributes of woe
Like glories, move his course, and show
That life is not as idle ore,
But iron dug from central gloom,
And heated hot with burning fears,
And dipt in baths of hissing tears,
And batter’d with the shocks of doom
To shape and use. Arise and fly
497
The reeling Faun, the sensual feast;
Move upward, working out the beast,
And let the ape and tiger die.
CXIX.
Doors, where my heart was used to beat
So quickly, not as one that weeps
I come once more; the city sleeps;
I smell the meadow in the street;
I hear a chirp of birds; I see
Betwixt the black fronts long-withdrawn
A light-blue lane of early dawn,
And think of early days and thee,
And bless thee, for thy lips are bland,
And bright the friendship of thine eye;
And in my thoughts with scarce a sigh
I take the pressure of thine hand.
CXX.
I trust I have not wasted breath:
I think we are not wholly brain,
Magnetic mockeries; not in vain,
Like Paul with beasts, I fought with Death;
Not only cunning casts in clay:
Let Science prove we are, and then
What matters Science unto men,
At least to me? I would not stay.
Let him, the wiser man who springs
Hereafter, up from childhood shape
His action like the greater ape,
But I was born to other things.
498
CXXI.
Sad Hesper o’er the buried sun
And ready, thou, to die with him,
Thou watchest all things ever dim
And dimmer, and a glory done:
The team is loosen’d from the wain,
The boat is drawn upon the shore;
Thou listenest to the closing door,
And life is darken’d in the brain.
Bright Phosphor, fresher for the night,
By thee the world’s great work is heard
Beginning, and the wakeful bird;
Behind thee comes the greater light:
The market boat is on the stream,
And voices hail it from the brink;
Thou hear’st the village hammer clink,
And see’st the moving of the team.
Sweet Hesper-Phosphor, double name
For what is one, the first, the last,
Thou, like my present and my past,
Thy place is changed; thou art the same.
CXXII.
Oh, wast thou with me, dearest, then,
While I rose up against my doom,
And yearn’d to burst the folded gloom,
To bare the eternal Heavens again,
To feel once more, in placid awe,
The strong imagination roll
A sphere of stars about my soul,
In all her motion one with law;
If thou wert with me, and the grave
Divide us not, be with me now,
And enter in at breast and brow,
499
Till all my blood, a fuller wave,
Be quicken’d with a livelier breath,
And like an inconsiderate boy,
As in the former flash of joy,
I slip the thoughts of life and death;
And all the breeze of Fancy blows,
And every dew-drop paints a bow,
The wizard lightnings deeply glow,
And every thought breaks out a rose.
CXXIII.
There rolls the deep where grew the tree.
O earth, what changes hast thou seen!
There where the long street roars, hath been
The stillness of the central sea.
The hills are shadows, and they flow
From form to form, and nothing stands;
They melt like mist, the solid lands,
Like clouds they shape themselves and go.
But in my spirit will I dwell,
And dream my dream, and hold it true;
For tho’ my lips may breathe adieu,
I cannot think the thing farewell.
CXXIV.
That which we dare invoke to bless;
Our dearest faith; our ghastliest doubt;
He, They, One, All; within, without;
The Power in darkness whom we guess;
I found Him not in world or sun,
Or eagle’s wing, or insect’s eye;
Nor thro’ the questions men may try,
The petty cobwebs we have spun:
500
If e’er when faith had fall’n asleep,
I heard a voice ‘believe no more’
And heard an ever-breaking shore
That tumbled in the Godless deep;
A warmth within the breast would melt
The freezing reason’s colder part,
And like a man in wrath the heart
Stood up and answer’d ‘I have felt.’
No, like a child in doubt and fear:
But that blind clamour made me wise;
Then was I as a child that cries,
But, crying, knows his father near;
And what I am beheld again
What is, and no man understands;
And out of darkness came the hands
That reach thro’ nature, moulding men.
CXXV.
Whatever I have said or sung,
Some bitter notes my harp would give,
Yea, tho’ there often seem’d to live
A contradiction on the tongue,
Yet Hope had never lost her youth;
She did but look through dimmer eyes;
Or Love but play’d with gracious lies,
Because he felt so fix’d in truth:
And if the song were full of care,
He breathed the spirit of the song;
And if the words were sweet and strong
He set his royal signet there;
Abiding with me till I sail
To seek thee on the mystic deeps,
And this electric force, that keeps
501
A thousand pulses dancing, fail.
CXXVI.
Love is and was my Lord and King,
And in his presence I attend
To hear the tidings of my friend,
Which every hour his couriers bring.
Love is and was my King and Lord,
And will be, tho’ as yet I keep
Within his court on earth, and sleep
Encompass’d by his faithful guard,
And hear at times a sentinel
Who moves about from place to place,
And whispers to the worlds of space,
In the deep night, that all is well.
CXXVII.
And all is well, tho’ faith and form
Be sunder’d in the night of fear;
Well roars the storm to those that hear
A deeper voice across the storm,
Proclaiming social truth shall spread,
And justice, ev’n tho’ thrice again
The red fool-fury of the Seine
Should pile her barricades with dead.
But ill for him that wears a crown,
And him, the lazar, in his rags:
They tremble, the sustaining crags;
The spires of ice are toppled down,
And molten up, and roar in flood;
The fortress crashes from on high,
The brute earth lightens to the sky,
And the great Æon sinks in blood,
502
And compass’d by the fires of Hell;
While thou, dear spirit, happy star,
O’erlook’st the tumult from afar,
And smilest, knowing all is well.
CXXVIII.
The love that rose on stronger wings,
Unpalsied when he met with Death,
Is comrade of the lesser faith
That sees the course of human things.
No doubt vast eddies in the flood
Of onward time shall yet be made,
And throned races may degrade;
Yet O ye mysteries of good,
Wild Hours that fly with Hope and Fear,
If all your office had to do
With old results that look like new;
If this were all your mission here,
To
To
To
To
draw, to sheathe a useless sword,
fool the crowd with glorious lies,
cleave a creed in sects and cries,
change the bearing of a word,
To shift an arbitrary power,
To cramp the student at his desk,
To make old bareness picturesque
And tuft with grass a feudal tower;
Why then my scorn might well descend
On you and yours. I see in part
That all, as in some piece of art,
Is toil coöperant to an end.
CXXIX.
503
Dear friend, far off, my lost desire,
So far, so near in woe and weal;
O loved the most, when most I feel
There is a lower and a higher;
Known and unknown; human, divine;
Sweet human hand and lips and eye;
Dear heavenly friend that canst not die,
Mine, mine, for ever, ever mine;
Strange friend, past, present, and to be;
Loved deeplier, darklier understood;
Behold, I dream a dream of good,
And mingle all the world with thee.
CXXX.
Thy voice is on the rolling air;
I hear thee where the waters run;
Thou standest in the rising sun,
And in the setting thou art fair.
What art thou then? I cannot guess;
But tho’ I seem in star and flower
To feel thee some diffusive power,
I do not therefore love thee less:
My love involves the love before;
My love is vaster passion now;
Tho’ mix’d with God and Nature thou,
I seem to love thee more and more.
Far off thou art, but ever nigh;
I have thee still, and I rejoice;
I prosper, circled with thy voice;
I shall not lose thee tho’ I die.
CXXXI.
504
O living will that shalt endure
When all that seems shall suffer shock,
Rise in the spiritual rock,
Flow thro’ our deeds and make them pure,
That we may lift from out of dust
A voice as unto him that hears,
A cry above the conquer’d years
To one that with us works, and trust,
With faith that comes of self-control,
The truths that never can be proved
Until we close with all we loved,
And all we flow from, soul in soul.
_________
O true and tried, so well and long,
Demand not thou a marriage lay;
In that it is thy marriage day
Is music more than any song.
Nor have I felt so much of bliss
Since first he told me that he loved
A daughter of our house; nor proved
Since that dark day a day like this;
Tho’ I since then have number’d o’er
Some thrice three years: they went and came,
Remade the blood and changed the frame,
And yet is love not less, but more;
No longer caring to embalm
In dying songs a dead regret,
But like a statue solid-set,
And moulded in colossal calm.
Regret is dead, but love is more
Than in the summers that are flown,
For I myself with these have grown
To something greater than before;
Which makes appear the songs I made
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As echoes out of weaker times,
As half but idle brawling rhymes,
The sport of random sun and shade.
But where is she, the bridal flower,
That must he made a wife ere noon?
She enters, glowing like the moon
Of Eden on its bridal bower:
On me she bends her blissful eyes
And then on thee; they meet thy look
And brighten like the star that shook
Betwixt the palms of paradise.
O when her life was yet in bud,
He too foretold the perfect rose.
For thee she grew, for thee she grows
For ever, and as fair as good.
And thou art worthy; full of power;
As gentle; liberal-minded, great,
Consistent; wearing all that weight
Of learning lightly like a flower.
But now set out: the noon is near,
And I must give away the bride;
She fears not, or with thee beside
And me behind her, will not fear.
For I that danced her on my knee,
That watch’d her on her nurse’s arm,
That shielded all her life from harm
At last must part with her to thee;
Now waiting to be made a wife,
Her feet, my darling, on the dead;
Their pensive tablets round her head,
And the most living words of life
Breathed in her ear. The ring is on,
The ‘wilt thou’ answer’d, and again
The ‘wilt thou’ ask’d, till out of twain
506
Her sweet ‘I will’ has made you one.
Now sign your names, which shall be read,
Mute symbols of a joyful morn,
By village eyes as yet unborn;
The names are sign’d, and overhead
Begins the clash and clang that tells
The joy to every wandering breeze;
The blind wall rocks, and on the trees
The dead leaf trembles to the bells.
O happy hour, and happier hours
Await them. Many a merry face
Salutes them–maidens of the place,
That pelt us in the porch with flowers.
O happy hour, behold the bride
With him to whom her hand I gave.
They leave the porch, they pass the grave
That has to-day its sunny side.
To-day the grave is bright for me,
For them the light of life increased,
Who stay to share the morning feast,
Who rest to-night beside the sea.
Let all my genial spirits advance
To meet and greet a whiter sun;
My drooping memory will not shun
The foaming grape of eastern France.
It circles round, and fancy plays,
And hearts are warm’d and faces bloom,
As drinking health to bride and groom
We wish them store of happy days.
Nor count me all to blame if I
Conjecture of a stiller guest,
Perchance, perchance, among the rest,
And, tho’ in silence, wishing joy.
507
But they must go, the time draws on,
And those white-favour’d horses wait;
They rise, but linger; it is late;
Farewell, we kiss, and they are gone.
A shade falls on us like the dark
From little cloudlets on the grass,
But sweeps away as out we pass
To range the woods, to roam the park,
Discussing how their courtship grew,
And talk of others that are wed,
And how she look’d, and what he said,
And back we come at fall of dew.
Again the feast, the speech, the glee,
The shade of passing thought, the wealth
Of words and wit, the double health,
The crowning cup, the three-times-three,
And last the dance;–till I retire:
Dumb is that tower which spake so loud,
And high in heaven the streaming cloud,
And on the downs a rising fire:
And rise, O moon, from yonder down,
Till over down and over dale
All night the shining vapour sail
And pass the silent-lighted town,
The white-faced halls, the glancing rills,
And catch at every mountain head,
And o’er the friths that branch and spread
Their sleeping silver thro’ the hills;
And touch with shade the bridal doors,
With tender gloom the roof, the wall;
And breaking let the splendour fall
To spangle all the happy shores
By which they rest, and ocean sounds,
And, star and system rolling past,
508
A soul shall draw from out the vast
And strike his being into bounds,
And, moved thro’ life of lower phase,
Result in man, be born and think,
And act and love, a closer link
Betwixt us and the crowning race
Of those that, eye to eye, shall look
On knowledge; under whose command
Is Earth and Earth’s, and in their hand
Is Nature like an open book;
No longer half-akin to brute,
For all we thought and loved and did,
And hoped, and suffer’d, is but seed
Of what in them is flower and fruit;
Whereof the man, that with me trod
This planet, was a noble type
Appearing ere the times were ripe,
That friend of mine who lives in God,
That God, which ever lives and loves,
One God, one law, one element,
And one far-off divine event,
To which the whole creation moves.
~ Alfred Lord Tennyson
212:A Lyrical Drama, In Four Acts.
Audisne haec amphiarae, sub terram abdite?

ACT I
Scene.A Ravine of Icy Rocks in the Indian Caucasus. Prometheus is discovered bound to the Precipice. Panthea andIone are seated at his feet. Time, night. During the Scene, morning slowly breaks.
Prometheus.
Monarch of Gods and Dmons, and all Spirits
But One, who throng those bright and rolling worlds
Which Thou and I alone of living things
Behold with sleepless eyes! regard this Earth
Made multitudinous with thy slaves, whom thou
Requitest for knee-worship, prayer, and praise,
And toil, and hecatombs of broken hearts,
With fear and self-contempt and barren hope.
Whilst me, who am thy foe, eyeless in hate,
Hast thou made reign and triumph, to thy scorn,
O'er mine own misery and thy vain revenge.
Three thousand years of sleep-unsheltered hours,
And moments aye divided by keen pangs
Till they seemed years, torture and solitude,
Scorn and despair,these are mine empire:
More glorious far than that which thou surveyest
From thine unenvied throne, O Mighty God!
Almighty, had I deigned to share the shame
Of thine ill tyranny, and hung not here
Nailed to this wall of eagle-baffling mountain,
Black, wintry, dead, unmeasured; without herb,
Insect, or beast, or shape or sound of life.
Ah me! alas, pain, pain ever, for ever!
No change, no pause, no hope! Yet I endure.
I ask the Earth, have not the mountains felt?
I ask yon Heaven, the all-beholding Sun,
Has it not seen? The Sea, in storm or calm,
Heaven's ever-changing Shadow, spread below,
Have its deaf waves not heard my agony?
Ah me! alas, pain, pain ever, for ever!
The crawling glaciers pierce me with the spears
Of their moon-freezing crystals, the bright chains
Eat with their burning cold into my bones.
Heaven's wingd hound, polluting from thy lips
His beak in poison not his own, tears up
My heart; and shapeless sights come wandering by,
The ghastly people of the realm of dream,
Mocking me: and the Earthquake-fiends are charged
To wrench the rivets from my quivering wounds
When the rocks split and close again behind:
While from their loud abysses howling throng
The genii of the storm, urging the rage
Of whirlwind, and afflict me with keen hail.
And yet to me welcome is day and night,
Whether one breaks the hoar frost of the morn,
Or starry, dim, and slow, the other climbs
The leaden-coloured east; for then they lead
The wingless, crawling hours, one among whom
As some dark Priest hales the reluctant victim
Shall drag thee, cruel King, to kiss the blood
From these pale feet, which then might trample thee
If they disdained not such a prostrate slave.
Disdain! Ah no! I pity thee. What ruin
Will hunt thee undefended through wide Heaven!
How will thy soul, cloven to its depth with terror,
Gape like a hell within! I speak in grief,
Not exultation, for I hate no more,
As then ere misery made me wise. The curse
Once breathed on thee I would recall. Ye Mountains,
Whose many-voicd Echoes, through the mist
Of cataracts, flung the thunder of that spell!
Ye icy Springs, stagnant with wrinkling frost,
Which vibrated to hear me, and then crept
Shuddering through India! Thou serenest Air,
Through which the Sun walks burning without beams!
And ye swift Whirlwinds, who on poisd wings
Hung mute and moveless o'er yon hushed abyss,
As thunder, louder than your own, made rock
The orbd world! If then my words had power,
Though I am changed so that aught evil wish
Is dead within; although no memory be
Of what is hate, let them not lose it now!
What was that curse? for ye all heard me speak.
First Voice
(from the Mountains).
Thrice three hundred thousand years
O'er the Earthquake's couch we stood:
Oft, as men convulsed with fears,
We trembled in our multitude.
Second Voice
(from the Springs).
Thunderbolts had parched our water,
We had been stained with bitter blood,
And had run mute, 'mid shrieks of slaughter,
Thro' a city and a solitude.
Third Voice
(from the Air).
I had clothed, since Earth uprose,
Its wastes in colours not their own,
And oft had my serene repose
Been cloven by many a rending groan.
Fourth Voice
(from the Whirlwinds).
We had soared beneath these mountains
Unresting ages; nor had thunder,
Nor yon volcano's flaming fountains,
Nor any power above or under
Ever made us mute with wonder.
First Voice.
But never bowed our snowy crest
As at the voice of thine unrest.
Second Voice.
Never such a sound before
To the Indian waves we bore.
A pilot asleep on the howling sea
Leaped up from the deck in agony,
And heard, and cried, 'Ah, woe is me!'
And died as mad as the wild waves be.
Third Voice.
By such dread words from Earth to Heaven
My still realm was never riven:
When its wound was closed, there stood
Darkness o'er the day like blood.
Fourth Voice.
And we shrank back: for dreams of ruin
To frozen caves our flight pursuing
Made us keep silencethusand thus
Though silence is as hell to us.
The Earth.
The tongueless Caverns of the craggy hills
Cried, 'Misery!' then; the hollow Heaven replied,
'Misery!' And the Ocean's purple waves,
Climbing the land, howled to the lashing winds,
And the pale nations heard it, 'Misery!'
Prometheus.
I heard a sound of voices: not the voice
Which I gave forth. Mother, thy sons and thou
Scorn him, without whose all-enduring will
Beneath the fierce omnipotence of Jove,
Both they and thou had vanished, like thin mist
Unrolled on the morning wind. Know ye not me,
The Titan? He who made his agony
The barrier to your else all-conquering foe?
Oh, rock-embosomed lawns, and snow-fed streams,
Now seen athwart frore vapours, deep below,
Through whose o'ershadowing woods I wandered once
With Asia, drinking life from her loved eyes;
Why scorns the spirit which informs ye, now
To commune with me? me alone, who checked,
As one who checks a fiend-drawn charioteer,
The falsehood and the force of him who reigns
Supreme, and with the groans of pining slaves
Fills your dim glens and liquid wildernesses:
Why answer ye not, still? Brethren!
The Earth.
                   They dare not.
                   Prometheus.
Who dares? for I would hear that curse again.
Ha, what an awful whisper rises up!
'Tis scarce like sound: it tingles through the frame
As lightning tingles, hovering ere it strike.
Speak, Spirit! from thine inorganic voice
I only know that thou art moving near
And love. How cursed I him?
The Earth.
               How canst thou hear
Who knowest not the language of the dead?
Prometheus.
Thou art a living spirit; speak as they.
The Earth.
I dare not speak like life, lest Heaven's fell King
Should hear, and link me to some wheel of pain
More torturing than the one whereon I roll.
Subtle thou art and good, and though the Gods
Hear not this voice, yet thou art more than God,
Being wise and kind: earnestly hearken now.
Prometheus.
Obscurely through my brain, like shadows dim,
Sweep awful thoughts, rapid and thick. I feel
Faint, like one mingled in entwining love;
Yet 'tis not pleasure.
The Earth.
            No, thou canst not hear:
Thou art immortal, and this tongue is known
Only to those who die.
Prometheus.
            And what art thou,
O, melancholy Voice?
The Earth.
           I am the Earth,
Thy mother; she within whose stony veins,
To the last fibre of the loftiest tree
Whose thin leaves trembled in the frozen air,
Joy ran, as blood within a living frame,
When thou didst from her bosom, like a cloud
Of glory, arise, a spirit of keen joy!
And at thy voice her pining sons uplifted
Their prostrate brows from the polluting dust,
And our almighty Tyrant with fierce dread
Grew pale, until his thunder chained thee here.
Then, see those million worlds which burn and roll
Around us: their inhabitants beheld
My spherd light wane in wide Heaven; the sea
Was lifted by strange tempest, and new fire
From earthquake-rifted mountains of bright snow
Shook its portentous hair beneath Heaven's frown;
Lightning and Inundation vexed the plains;
Blue thistles bloomed in cities; foodless toads
Within voluptuous chambers panting crawled:
When Plague had fallen on man, and beast, and worm,
And Famine; and black blight on herb and tree;
And in the corn, and vines, and meadow-grass,
Teemed ineradicable poisonous weeds
Draining their growth, for my wan breast was dry
With grief; and the thin air, my breath, was stained
With the contagion of a mother's hate
Breathed on her child's destroyer; ay, I heard
Thy curse, the which, if thou rememberest not,
Yet my innumerable seas and streams,
Mountains, and caves, and winds, and yon wide air,
And the inarticulate people of the dead,
Preserve, a treasured spell. We meditate
In secret joy and hope those dreadful words,
But dare not speak them.
Prometheus.
             Venerable mother!
All else who live and suffer take from thee
Some comfort; flowers, and fruits, and happy sounds,
And love, though fleeting; these may not be mine.
But mine own words, I pray, deny me not.
The Earth.
They shall be told. Ere Babylon was dust,
The Magus Zoroaster, my dead child,
Met his own image walking in the garden.
That apparition, sole of men, he saw.
For know there are two worlds of life and death:
One that which thou beholdest; but the other
Is underneath the grave, where do inhabit
The shadows of all forms that think and live
Till death unite them and they part no more;
Dreams and the light imaginings of men,
And all that faith creates or love desires,
Terrible, strange, sublime and beauteous shapes.
There thou art, and dost hang, a writhing shade,
'Mid whirlwind-peopled mountains; all the gods
Are there, and all the powers of nameless worlds,
Vast, sceptred phantoms; heroes, men, and beasts;
And Demogorgon, a tremendous gloom;
And he, the supreme Tyrant, on his throne
Of burning gold. Son, one of these shall utter
The curse which all remember. Call at will
Thine own ghost, or the ghost of Jupiter,
Hades or Typhon, or what mightier Gods
From all-prolific Evil, since thy ruin
Have sprung, and trampled on my prostrate sons.
Ask, and they must reply: so the revenge
Of the Supreme may sweep through vacant shades,
As rainy wind through the abandoned gate
Of a fallen palace.
Prometheus.
          Mother, let not aught
Of that which may be evil, pass again
My lips, or those of aught resembling me.
Phantasm of Jupiter, arise, appear!
Ione.
My wings are folded o'er mine ears:
  My wings are crossd o'er mine eyes:
Yet through their silver shade appears,
  And through their lulling plumes arise,
A Shape, a throng of sounds;
  May it be no ill to thee
O thou of many wounds!
Near whom, for our sweet sister's sake,
Ever thus we watch and wake.
Panthea.
The sound is of whirlwind underground,
  Earthquake, and fire, and mountains cloven;
The shape is awful like the sound,
  Clothed in dark purple, star-inwoven.
A sceptre of pale gold
  To stay steps proud, o'er the slow cloud
His veind hand doth hold.
Cruel he looks, but calm and strong,
Like one who does, not suffers wrong.
Phantasm of Jupiter.
Why have the secret powers of this strange world
Driven me, a frail and empty phantom, hither
On direst storms? What unaccustomed sounds
Are hovering on my lips, unlike the voice
With which our pallid race hold ghastly talk
In darkness? And, proud sufferer, who art thou?
Prometheus.
Tremendous Image, as thou art must be
He whom thou shadowest forth. I am his foe,
The Titan. Speak the words which I would hear,
Although no thought inform thine empty voice.
The Earth.
Listen! And though your echoes must be mute,
Gray mountains, and old woods, and haunted springs,
Prophetic caves, and isle-surrounding streams,
Rejoice to hear what yet ye cannot speak.
Phantasm.
A spirit seizes me and speaks within:
It tears me as fire tears a thunder-cloud.
Panthea.
See, how he lifts his mighty looks, the Heaven
Darkens above.
Ione.
       He speaks! O shelter me!
       Prometheus.
I see the curse on gestures proud and cold,
And looks of firm defiance, and calm hate,
And such despair as mocks itself with smiles,
Written as on a scroll: yet speak: Oh, speak!
Phantasm.
Fiend, I defy thee! with a calm, fixed mind,
  All that thou canst inflict I bid thee do;
Foul Tyrant both of Gods and Human-kind,
  One only being shalt thou not subdue.
Rain then thy plagues upon me here,
Ghastly disease, and frenzying fear;
And let alternate frost and fire
Eat into me, and be thine ire
Lightning, and cutting hail, and legioned forms
Of furies, driving by upon the wounding storms.
Ay, do thy worst. Thou art omnipotent.
  O'er all things but thyself I gave thee power,
And my own will. Be thy swift mischiefs sent
  To blast mankind, from yon ethereal tower.
Let thy malignant spirit move
In darkness over those I love:
On me and mine I imprecate
The utmost torture of thy hate;
And thus devote to sleepless agony,
This undeclining head while thou must reign on high.
But thou, who art the God and Lord: O, thou,
  Who fillest with thy soul this world of woe,
To whom all things of Earth and Heaven do bow
  In fear and worship: all-prevailing foe!
I curse thee! let a sufferer's curse
Clasp thee, his torturer, like remorse;
Till thine Infinity shall be
A robe of envenomed agony;
And thine Omnipotence a crown of pain,
To cling like burning gold round thy dissolving brain.
Heap on thy soul, by virtue of this Curse,
  Ill deeds, then be thou damned, beholding good;
Both infinite as is the universe,
  And thou, and thy self-torturing solitude.
An awful image of calm power
Though now thou sittest, let the hour
Come, when thou must appear to be
That which thou art internally;
And after many a false and fruitless crime
Scorn track thy lagging fall through boundless space and time.
Prometheus.
Were these my words, O Parent?
The Earth.
                They were thine.
                Prometheus.
It doth repent me: words are quick and vain;
Grief for awhile is blind, and so was mine.
I wish no living thing to suffer pain.
The Earth.
Misery, Oh misery to me,
That Jove at length should vanquish thee.
Wail, howl aloud, Land and Sea,
The Earth's rent heart shall answer ye.
Howl, Spirits of the living and the dead,
Your refuge, your defence lies fallen and vanquishd.
First Echo.
Lies fallen and vanquishd!
Second Echo.
Fallen and vanquishd!
Ione.
Fear not: 'tis but some passing spasm,
The Titan is unvanquished still.
But see, where through the azure chasm
Of yon forked and snowy hill
Trampling the slant winds on high
With golden-sandalled feet, that glow
Under plumes of purple dye,
Like rose-ensanguined ivory,
A Shape comes now,
Stretching on high from his right hand
A serpent-cinctured wand.
Panthea.
'Tis Jove's world-wandering herald, Mercury.
Ione.
And who are those with hydra tresses
And iron wings that climb the wind,
Whom the frowning God represses
Like vapours steaming up behind,
Clanging loud, an endless crowd
Panthea.
These are Jove's tempest-walking hounds,
Whom he gluts with groans and blood,
When charioted on sulphurous cloud
He bursts Heaven's bounds.
Ione.
Are they now led, from the thin dead
On new pangs to be fed?
Panthea.
The Titan looks as ever, firm, not proud.
First Fury.
Ha! I scent life!
Second Fury.
         Let me but look into his eyes!
         Third Fury.
The hope of torturing him smells like a heap
Of corpses, to a death-bird after battle.
First Fury.
Darest thou delay, O Herald! take cheer, Hounds
Of Hell: what if the Son of Maia soon
Should make us food and sportwho can please long
The Omnipotent?
Mercury.
        Back to your towers of iron,
And gnash, beside the streams of fire and wail,
Your foodless teeth. Geryon, arise! and Gorgon,
Chimra, and thou Sphinx, subtlest of fiends
Who ministered to Thebes Heaven's poisoned wine,
Unnatural love, and more unnatural hate:
These shall perform your task.
First Fury.
                Oh, mercy! mercy!
We die with our desire: drive us not back!
Mercury.
Crouch then in silence.
            Awful Sufferer!
To thee unwilling, most unwillingly
I come, by the great Father's will driven down,
To execute a doom of new revenge.
Alas! I pity thee, and hate myself
That I can do no more: aye from thy sight
Returning, for a season, Heaven seems Hell,
So thy worn form pursues me night and day,
Smiling reproach. Wise art thou, firm and good,
But vainly wouldst stand forth alone in strife
Against the Omnipotent; as yon clear lamps
That measure and divide the weary years
From which there is no refuge, long have taught
And long must teach. Even now thy Torturer arms
With the strange might of unimagined pains
The powers who scheme slow agonies in Hell,
And my commission is to lead them here,
Or what more subtle, foul, or savage fiends
People the abyss, and leave them to their task.
Be it not so! there is a secret known
To thee, and to none else of living things,
Which may transfer the sceptre of wide Heaven,
The fear of which perplexes the Supreme:
Clothe it in words, and bid it clasp his throne
In intercession; bend thy soul in prayer,
And like a suppliant in some gorgeous fane,
Let the will kneel within thy haughty heart:
For benefits and meek submission tame
The fiercest and the mightiest.
Prometheus.
                 Evil minds
Change good to their own nature. I gave all
He has; and in return he chains me here
Years, ages, night and day: whether the Sun
Split my parched skin, or in the moony night
The crystal-wingd snow cling round my hair:
Whilst my belovd race is trampled down
By his thought-executing ministers.
Such is the tyrant's recompense: 'tis just:
He who is evil can receive no good;
And for a world bestowed, or a friend lost,
He can feel hate, fear, shame; not gratitude:
He but requites me for his own misdeed.
Kindness to such is keen reproach, which breaks
With bitter stings the light sleep of Revenge.
Submission, thou dost know I cannot try:
For what submission but that fatal word,
The death-seal of mankind's captivity,
Like the Sicilian's hair-suspended sword,
Which trembles o'er his crown, would he accept,
Or could I yield? Which yet I will not yield.
Let others flatter Crime, where it sits throned
In brief Omnipotence: secure are they:
For Justice, when triumphant, will weep down
Pity, not punishment, on her own wrongs,
Too much avenged by those who err. I wait,
Enduring thus, the retributive hour
Which since we spake is even nearer now.
But hark, the hell-hounds clamour: fear delay:
Behold! Heaven lowers under thy Father's frown.
Mercury.
Oh, that we might be spared: I to inflict
And thou to suffer! Once more answer me:
Thou knowest not the period of Jove's power?
Prometheus.
I know but this, that it must come.
Mercury.
                   Alas!
Thou canst not count thy years to come of pain?
Prometheus.
They last while Jove must reign: nor more, nor less
Do I desire or fear.
Mercury.
           Yet pause, and plunge
Into Eternity, where recorded time,
Even all that we imagine, age on age,
Seems but a point, and the reluctant mind
Flags wearily in its unending flight,
Till it sink, dizzy, blind, lost, shelterless;
Perchance it has not numbered the slow years
Which thou must spend in torture, unreprieved?
Prometheus.
Perchance no thought can count them, yet they pass.
Mercury.
If thou might'st dwell among the Gods the while
Lapped in voluptuous joy?
Prometheus.
              I would not quit
This bleak ravine, these unrepentant pains.
Mercury.
Alas! I wonder at, yet pity thee.
Prometheus.
Pity the self-despising slaves of Heaven,
Not me, within whose mind sits peace serene,
As light in the sun, throned: how vain is talk!
Call up the fiends.
Ione.
          O, sister, look! White fire
Has cloven to the roots yon huge snow-loaded cedar;
How fearfully God's thunder howls behind!
Mercury.
I must obey his words and thine: alas!
Most heavily remorse hangs at my heart!
Panthea.
See where the child of Heaven, with wingd feet,
Runs down the slanted sunlight of the dawn.
Ione.
Dear sister, close thy plumes over thine eyes
Lest thou behold and die: they come: they come
Blackening the birth of day with countless wings,
And hollow underneath, like death.
First Fury.
                  Prometheus!
                  Second Fury.
Immortal Titan!
Third Fury.
        Champion of Heaven's slaves!
        Prometheus.
He whom some dreadful voice invokes is here,
Prometheus, the chained Titan. Horrible forms,
What and who are ye? Never yet there came
Phantasms so foul through monster-teeming Hell
From the all-miscreative brain of Jove;
Whilst I behold such execrable shapes,
Methinks I grow like what I contemplate,
And laugh and stare in loathsome sympathy.
First Fury.
We are the ministers of pain, and fear,
And disappointment, and mistrust, and hate,
And clinging crime; and as lean dogs pursue
Through wood and lake some struck and sobbing fawn,
We track all things that weep, and bleed, and live,
When the great King betrays them to our will.
Prometheus.
Oh! many fearful natures in one name,
I know ye; and these lakes and echoes know
The darkness and the clangour of your wings.
But why more hideous than your loathd selves
Gather ye up in legions from the deep?
Second Fury.
We knew not that: Sisters, rejoice, rejoice!
Prometheus.
Can aught exult in its deformity?
Second Fury.
The beauty of delight makes lovers glad,
Gazing on one another: so are we.
As from the rose which the pale priestess kneels
To gather for her festal crown of flowers
The areal crimson falls, flushing her cheek,
So from our victim's destined agony
The shade which is our form invests us round,
Else we are shapeless as our mother Night.
Prometheus.
I laugh your power, and his who sent you here,
To lowest scorn. Pour forth the cup of pain.
First Fury.
Thou thinkest we will rend thee bone from bone,
And nerve from nerve, working like fire within?
Prometheus.
Pain is my element, as hate is thine;
Ye rend me now: I care not.
Second Fury.
               Dost imagine
We will but laugh into thy lidless eyes?
Prometheus.
I weigh not what ye do, but what ye suffer,
Being evil. Cruel was the power which called
You, or aught else so wretched, into light.
Third Fury.
Thou think'st we will live through thee, one by one,
Like animal life, and though we can obscure not
The soul which burns within, that we will dwell
Beside it, like a vain loud multitude
Vexing the self-content of wisest men:
That we will be dread thought beneath thy brain,
And foul desire round thine astonished heart,
And blood within thy labyrinthine veins
Crawling like agony?
Prometheus.
           Why, ye are thus now;
Yet am I king over myself, and rule
The torturing and conflicting throngs within,
As Jove rules you when Hell grows mutinous.
Chorus of Furies.
From the ends of the earth, from the ends of the earth,
Where the night has its grave and the morning its birth,
     Come, come, come!
Oh, ye who shake hills with the scream of your mirth,
When cities sink howling in ruin; and ye
Who with wingless footsteps trample the sea,
And close upon Shipwreck and Famine's track,
Sit chattering with joy on the foodless wreck;
     Come, come, come!
Leave the bed, low, cold, and red,
Strewed beneath a nation dead;
Leave the hatred, as in ashes
  Fire is left for future burning:
It will burst in bloodier flashes
  When ye stir it, soon returning:
Leave the self-contempt implanted
In young spirits, sense-enchanted,
  Misery's yet unkindled fuel:
  Leave Hell's secrets half unchanted
   To the maniac dreamer; cruel
  More than ye can be with hate
    Is he with fear.
     Come, come, come!
We are steaming up from Hell's wide gate
And we burthen the blast of the atmosphere,
But vainly we toil till ye come here.
Ione.
Sister, I hear the thunder of new wings.
Panthea.
These solid mountains quiver with the sound
Even as the tremulous air: their shadows make
The space within my plumes more black than night.
First Fury.
Your call was as a wingd car
Driven on whirlwinds fast and far;
It rapped us from red gulfs of war.
Second Fury.
From wide cities, famine-wasted;
Third Fury.
Groans half heard, and blood untasted;
Fourth Fury.
Kingly conclaves stern and cold,
Where blood with gold is bought and sold;
Fifth Fury.
From the furnace, white and hot,
In which
A Fury.
     Speak not: whisper not:
I know all that ye would tell,
But to speak might break the spell
Which must bend the Invincible,
The stern of thought;
He yet defies the deepest power of Hell.
A Fury.
Tear the veil!
Another Fury.
       It is torn.
       Chorus.
              The pale stars of the morn
Shine on a misery, dire to be borne.
Dost thou faint, mighty Titan? We laugh thee to scorn.
Dost thou boast the clear knowledge thou waken'dst for man?
Then was kindled within him a thirst which outran
Those perishing waters; a thirst of fierce fever,
Hope, love, doubt, desire, which consume him for ever.
  One came forth of gentle worth
  Smiling on the sanguine earth;
  His words outlived him, like swift poison
   Withering up truth, peace, and pity.
  Look! where round the wide horizon
   Many a million-peopled city
  Vomits smoke in the bright air.
  Hark that outcry of despair!
  'Tis his mild and gentle ghost
   Wailing for the faith he kindled:
  Look again, the flames almost
   To a glow-worm's lamp have dwindled:
The survivors round the embers
Gather in dread.
    Joy, joy, joy!
Past ages crowd on thee, but each one remembers,
And the future is dark, and the present is spread
Like a pillow of thorns for thy slumberless head.
Semichorus I.
Drops of bloody agony flow
From his white and quivering brow.
Grant a little respite now:
See a disenchanted nation
Springs like day from desolation;
To Truth its state is dedicate,
And Freedom leads it forth, her mate;
A legioned band of linkd brothers
Whom Love calls children
Semichorus II.
              'Tis another's:
See how kindred murder kin:
'Tis the vintage-time for death and sin:
Blood, like new wine, bubbles within:
  Till Despair smothers
The struggling world, which slaves and tyrants win.
[All the Furies vanish, except one.
Ione.
Hark, sister! what a low yet dreadful groan
Quite unsuppressed is tearing up the heart
Of the good Titan, as storms tear the deep,
And beasts hear the sea moan in inland caves.
Darest thou observe how the fiends torture him?
Panthea.
Alas! I looked forth twice, but will no more.
Ione.
What didst thou see?
Panthea.
           A woful sight: a youth
With patient looks nailed to a crucifix.
Ione.
What next?
Panthea.
     The heaven around, the earth below
Was peopled with thick shapes of human death,
All horrible, and wrought by human hands,
And some appeared the work of human hearts,
For men were slowly killed by frowns and smiles:
And other sights too foul to speak and live
Were wandering by. Let us not tempt worse fear
By looking forth: those groans are grief enough.
Fury.
Behold an emblem: those who do endure
Deep wrongs for man, and scorn, and chains, but heap
Thousandfold torment on themselves and him.
Prometheus.
Remit the anguish of that lighted stare;
Close those wan lips; let that thorn-wounded brow
Stream not with blood; it mingles with thy tears!
Fix, fix those tortured orbs in peace and death,
So thy sick throes shake not that crucifix,
So those pale fingers play not with thy gore.
O, horrible! Thy name I will not speak,
It hath become a curse. I see, I see,
The wise, the mild, the lofty, and the just,
Whom thy slaves hate for being like to thee,
Some hunted by foul lies from their heart's home,
An early-chosen, late-lamented home;
As hooded ounces cling to the driven hind;
Some linked to corpses in unwholesome cells:
SomeHear I not the multitude laugh loud?
Impaled in lingering fire: and mighty realms
Float by my feet, like sea-uprooted isles,
Whose sons are kneaded down in common blood
By the red light of their own burning homes.
Fury.
Blood thou canst see, and fire; and canst hear groans;
Worse things, unheard, unseen, remain behind.
Prometheus.
Worse?
Fury.
   In each human heart terror survives
The ravin it has gorged: the loftiest fear
All that they would disdain to think were true:
Hypocrisy and custom make their minds
The fanes of many a worship, now outworn.
They dare not devise good for man's estate,
And yet they know not that they do not dare.
The good want power, but to weep barren tears.
The powerful goodness want: worse need for them.
The wise want love; and those who love want wisdom;
And all best things are thus confused to ill.
Many are strong and rich, and would be just,
But live among their suffering fellow-men
As if none felt: they know not what they do.
Prometheus.
Thy words are like a cloud of wingd snakes;
And yet I pity those they torture not.
Fury.
Thou pitiest them? I speak no more!
[Vanishes.
Prometheus.
                   Ah woe!
Ah woe! Alas! pain, pain ever, for ever!
I close my tearless eyes, but see more clear
Thy works within my woe-illumd mind,
Thou subtle tyrant! Peace is in the grave.
The grave hides all things beautiful and good:
I am a God and cannot find it there,
Nor would I seek it: for, though dread revenge,
This is defeat, fierce king, not victory.
The sights with which thou torturest gird my soul
With new endurance, till the hour arrives
When they shall be no types of things which are.
Panthea.
Alas! what sawest thou more?
Prometheus.
               There are two woes:
To speak, and to behold; thou spare me one.
Names are there, Nature's sacred watchwords, they
Were borne aloft in bright emblazonry;
The nations thronged around, and cried aloud,
As with one voice, Truth, liberty, and love!
Suddenly fierce confusion fell from heaven
Among them: there was strife, deceit, and fear:
Tyrants rushed in, and did divide the spoil.
This was the shadow of the truth I saw.
The Earth.
I felt thy torture, son; with such mixed joy
As pain and virtue give. To cheer thy state
I bid ascend those subtle and fair spirits,
Whose homes are the dim caves of human thought,
And who inhabit, as birds wing the wind,
Its world-surrounding aether: they behold
Beyond that twilight realm, as in a glass,
The future: may they speak comfort to thee!
Panthea.
Look, sister, where a troop of spirits gather,
Like flocks of clouds in spring's delightful weather,
Thronging in the blue air!
Ione.
              And see! more come,
Like fountain-vapours when the winds are dumb,
That climb up the ravine in scattered lines.
And, hark! is it the music of the pines?
Is it the lake? Is it the waterfall?
Panthea.
'Tis something sadder, sweeter far than all.
Chorus of Spirits.
From unremembered ages we
Gentle guides and guardians be
Of heaven-oppressed mortality;
And we breathe, and sicken not,
The atmosphere of human thought:
Be it dim, and dank, and gray,
Like a storm-extinguished day,
Travelled o'er by dying gleams;
Be it bright as all between
Cloudless skies and windless streams,
Silent, liquid, and serene;
As the birds within the wind,
As the fish within the wave,
As the thoughts of man's own mind
Float through all above the grave;
We make there our liquid lair,
Voyaging cloudlike and unpent
Through the boundless element:
Thence we bear the prophecy
Which begins and ends in thee!
Ione.
More yet come, one by one: the air around them
Looks radiant as the air around a star.
First Spirit.
On a battle-trumpet's blast
I fled hither, fast, fast, fast,
'Mid the darkness upward cast.
From the dust of creeds outworn,
From the tyrant's banner torn,
Gathering 'round me, onward borne,
There was mingled many a cry
Freedom! Hope! Death! Victory!
Till they faded through the sky;
And one sound, above, around,
One sound beneath, around, above,
Was moving; 'twas the soul of Love;
'Twas the hope, the prophecy,
Which begins and ends in thee.
Second Spirit.
A rainbow's arch stood on the sea,
Which rocked beneath, immovably;
And the triumphant storm did flee,
Like a conqueror, swift and proud,
Between, with many a captive cloud,
A shapeless, dark and rapid crowd,
Each by lightning riven in half:
I heard the thunder hoarsely laugh:
Mighty fleets were strewn like chaff
And spread beneath a hell of death
O'er the white waters. I alit
On a great ship lightning-split,
And speeded hither on the sigh
Of one who gave an enemy
His plank, then plunged aside to die.
Third Spirit.
I sate beside a sage's bed,
And the lamp was burning red
Near the book where he had fed,
When a Dream with plumes of flame,
To his pillow hovering came,
And I knew it was the same
Which had kindled long ago
Pity, eloquence, and woe;
And the world awhile below
Wore the shade, its lustre made.
It has borne me here as fleet
As Desire's lightning feet:
I must ride it back ere morrow,
Or the sage will wake in sorrow.
Fourth Spirit.
On a poet's lips I slept
Dreaming like a love-adept
In the sound his breathing kept;
Nor seeks nor finds he mortal blisses,
But feeds on the areal kisses
Of shapes that haunt thought's wildernesses.
He will watch from dawn to gloom
The lake-reflected sun illume
The yellow bees in the ivy-bloom,
Nor heed nor see, what things they be;
But from these create he can
Forms more real than living man,
Nurslings of immortality!
One of these awakened me,
And I sped to succour thee.
Ione.
Behold'st thou not two shapes from the east and west
Come, as two doves to one belovd nest,
Twin nurslings of the all-sustaining air
On swift still wings glide down the atmosphere?
And, hark! their sweet, sad voices! 'tis despair
Mingled with love and then dissolved in sound.
Panthea.
Canst thou speak, sister? all my words are drowned.
Ione.
Their beauty gives me voice. See how they float
On their sustaining wings of skiey grain,
Orange and azure deepening into gold:
Their soft smiles light the air like a star's fire.
Chorus of Spirits.
Hast thou beheld the form of Love?
Fifth Spirit.
                  As over wide dominions
I sped, like some swift cloud that wings the wide air's wildernesses,
That planet-crested shape swept by on lightning-braided pinions,
Scattering the liquid joy of life from his ambrosial tresses:
His footsteps paved the world with light; but as I passed 'twas fading,
And hollow Ruin yawned behind: great sages bound in madness,
And headless patriots, and pale youths who perished, unupbraiding,
Gleamed in the night. I wandered o'er, till thou, O King of sadness,
Turned by thy smile the worst I saw to recollected gladness.
Sixth Spirit.
Ah, sister! Desolation is a delicate thing:
It walks not on the earth, it floats not on the air,
But treads with lulling footstep, and fans with silent wing
The tender hopes which in their hearts the best and gentlest bear;
Who, soothed to false repose by the fanning plumes above
And the music-stirring motion of its soft and busy feet,
Dream visions of areal joy, and call the monster, Love,
And wake, and find the shadow Pain, as he whom now we greet.
Chorus.
Though Ruin now Love's shadow be,
Following him, destroyingly,
On Death's white and wingd steed,
Which the fleetest cannot flee,
Trampling down both flower and weed,
Man and beast, and foul and fair,
Like a tempest through the air;
Thou shalt quell this horseman grim,
Woundless though in heart or limb.
Prometheus.
Spirits! how know ye this shall be?
Chorus.
In the atmosphere we breathe,
As buds grow red when the snow-storms flee,
From Spring gathering up beneath,
Whose mild winds shake the elder brake,
And the wandering herdsmen know
That the white-thorn soon will blow:
Wisdom, Justice, Love, and Peace,
When they struggle to increase,
  Are to us as soft winds be
  To shepherd boys, the prophecy
  Which begins and ends in thee.
  Ione.
Where are the Spirits fled?
Panthea.
               Only a sense
Remains of them, like the omnipotence
Of music, when the inspired voice and lute
Languish, ere yet the responses are mute,
Which through the deep and labyrinthine soul,
Like echoes through long caverns, wind and roll.
Prometheus.
How fair these airborn shapes! and yet I feel
Most vain all hope but love; and thou art far,
Asia! who, when my being overflowed,
Wert like a golden chalice to bright wine
Which else had sunk into the thirsty dust.
All things are still: alas! how heavily
This quiet morning weighs upon my heart;
Though I should dream I could even sleep with grief
If slumber were denied not. I would fain
Be what it is my destiny to be,
The saviour and the strength of suffering man,
Or sink into the original gulf of things:
There is no agony, and no solace left;
Earth can console, Heaven can torment no more.
Panthea.
Hast thou forgotten one who watches thee
The cold dark night, and never sleeps but when
The shadow of thy spirit falls on her?
Prometheus.
I said all hope was vain but love: thou lovest.
Panthea.
Deeply in truth; but the eastern star looks white,
And Asia waits in that far Indian vale,
The scene of her sad exile; rugged once
And desolate and frozen, like this ravine;
But now invested with fair flowers and herbs,
And haunted by sweet airs and sounds, which flow
Among the woods and waters, from the aether
Of her transforming presence, which would fade
If it were mingled not with thine. Farewell!
END OF THE FIRST ACT.

ACT II
Scene I.
Morning. A lovely Vale in the Indian Caucasus. Asia alone.
Asia.
From all the blasts of heaven thou hast descended:
Yes, like a spirit, like a thought, which makes
Unwonted tears throng to the horny eyes,
And beatings haunt the desolated heart,
Which should have learnt repose: thou hast descended
Cradled in tempests; thou dost wake, O Spring!
O child of many winds! As suddenly
Thou comest as the memory of a dream,
Which now is sad because it hath been sweet;
Like genius, or like joy which riseth up
As from the earth, clothing with golden clouds
The desert of our life.
This is the season, this the day, the hour;
At sunrise thou shouldst come, sweet sister mine,
Too long desired, too long delaying, come!
How like death-worms the wingless moments crawl!
The point of one white star is quivering still
Deep in the orange light of widening morn
Beyond the purple mountains. through a chasm
Of wind-divided mist the darker lake
Reflects it: now it wanes: it gleams again
As the waves fade, and as the burning threads
Of woven cloud unravel in pale air:
'Tis lost! and through yon peaks of cloud-like snow
The roseate sunlight quivers: hear I not
The olian music of her sea-green plumes
Winnowing the crimson dawn?
[Panthea enters.
               I feel, I see
Those eyes which burn through smiles that fade in tears,
Like stars half quenched in mists of silver dew.
Belovd and most beautiful, who wearest
The shadow of that soul by which I live,
How late thou art! the spherd sun had climbed
The sea; my heart was sick with hope, before
The printless air felt thy belated plumes.
Panthea.
Pardon, great Sister! but my wings were faint
With the delight of a remembered dream,
As are the noontide plumes of summer winds
Satiate with sweet flowers. I was wont to sleep
Peacefully, and awake refreshed and calm
Before the sacred Titan's fall, and thy
Unhappy love, had made, through use and pity,
Both love and woe familiar to my heart
As they had grown to thine: erewhile I slept
Under the glaucous caverns of old Ocean
Within dim bowers of green and purple moss,
Our young Ione's soft and milky arms
Locked then, as now, behind my dark, moist hair,
While my shut eyes and cheek were pressed within
The folded depth of her life-breathing bosom:
But not as now, since I am made the wind
Which fails beneath the music that I bear
Of thy most wordless converse; since dissolved
Into the sense with which love talks, my rest
Was troubled and yet sweet; my waking hours
Too full of care and pain.
Asia.
              Lift up thine eyes,
And let me read thy dream.
Panthea.
              As I have said
With our sea-sister at his feet I slept.
The mountain mists, condensing at our voice
Under the moon, had spread their snowy flakes,
From the keen ice shielding our linkd sleep.
Then two dreams came. One, I remember not.
But in the other his pale wound-worn limbs
Fell from Prometheus, and the azure night
Grew radiant with the glory of that form
Which lives unchanged within, and his voice fell
Like music which makes giddy the dim brain,
Faint with intoxication of keen joy:
'Sister of her whose footsteps pave the world
With lovelinessmore fair than aught but her,
Whose shadow thou artlift thine eyes on me.'
I lifted them: the overpowering light
Of that immortal shape was shadowed o'er
By love; which, from his soft and flowing limbs,
And passion-parted lips, and keen, faint eyes,
Steamed forth like vaporous fire; an atmosphere
Which wrapped me in its all-dissolving power,
As the warm aether of the morning sun
Wraps ere it drinks some cloud of wandering dew.
I saw not, heard not, moved not, only felt
His presence flow and mingle through my blood
Till it became his life, and his grew mine,
And I was thus absorbed, until it passed,
And like the vapours when the sun sinks down,
Gathering again in drops upon the pines,
And tremulous as they, in the deep night
My being was condensed; and as the rays
Of thought were slowly gathered, I could hear
His voice, whose accents lingered ere they died
Like footsteps of weak melody: thy name
Among the many sounds alone I heard
Of what might be articulate; though still
I listened through the night when sound was none.
Ione wakened then, and said to me:
'Canst thou divine what troubles me to-night?
I always knew what I desired before,
Nor ever found delight to wish in vain.
But now I cannot tell thee what I seek;
I know not; something sweet, since it is sweet
Even to desire; it is thy sport, false sister;
Thou hast discovered some enchantment old,
Whose spells have stolen my spirit as I slept
And mingled it with thine: for when just now
We kissed, I felt within thy parted lips
The sweet air that sustained me, and the warmth
Of the life-blood, for loss of which I faint,
Quivered between our intertwining arms.'
I answered not, for the Eastern star grew pale,
But fled to thee.
Asia.
         Thou speakest, but thy words
Are as the air: I feel them not: Oh, lift
Thine eyes, that I may read his written soul!
Panthea.
I lift them though they droop beneath the load
Of that they would express: what canst thou see
But thine own fairest shadow imaged there?
Asia.
Thine eyes are like the deep, blue, boundless heaven
Contracted to two circles underneath
Their long, fine lashes; dark, far, measureless,
Orb within orb, and line through line inwoven.
Panthea.
Why lookest thou as if a spirit passed?
Asia.
There is a change: beyond their inmost depth
I see a shade, a shape: 'tis He, arrayed
In the soft light of his own smiles, which spread
Like radiance from the cloud-surrounded moon.
Prometheus, it is thine! depart not yet!
Say not those smiles that we shall meet again
Within that bright pavilion which their beams
Shall build o'er the waste world? The dream is told.
What shape is that between us? Its rude hair
Roughens the wind that lifts it, its regard
Is wild and quick, yet 'tis a thing of air,
For through its gray robe gleams the golden dew
Whose stars the noon has quenched not.
Dream.
                     Follow! Follow!
                     Panthea.
It is mine other dream.
Asia.
            It disappears.
            Panthea.
It passes now into my mind. Methought
As we sate here, the flower-infolding buds
Burst on yon lightning-blasted almond-tree,
When swift from the white Scythian wilderness
A wind swept forth wrinkling the Earth with frost:
I looked, and all the blossoms were blown down;
But on each leaf was stamped, as the blue bells
Of Hyacinth tell Apollo's written grief,
O, follow, follow!
Asia.
          As you speak, your words
Fill, pause by pause, my own forgotten sleep
With shapes. Methought among these lawns together
We wandered, underneath the young gray dawn,
And multitudes of dense white fleecy clouds
Were wandering in thick flocks along the mountains
Shepherded by the slow, unwilling wind;
And the white dew on the new-bladed grass,
Just piercing the dark earth, hung silently;
And there was more which I remember not:
But on the shadows of the morning clouds,
Athwart the purple mountain slope, was written
Follow, O, follow! as they vanished by;
And on each herb, from which Heaven's dew had fallen,
The like was stamped, as with a withering fire;
A wind arose among the pines; it shook
The clinging music from their boughs, and then
Low, sweet, faint sounds, like the farewell of ghosts,
Were heard: O, follow, follow, follow me!
And then I said: 'Panthea, look on me.'
But in the depth of those belovd eyes
Still I saw, follow, follow!
Echo.
               Follow, follow!
               Panthea.
The crags, this clear spring morning, mock our voices
As they were spirit-tongued.
Asia.
               It is some being
Around the crags. What fine clear sounds! O, list!
Echoes
(unseen).
Echoes we: listen!
We cannot stay:
As dew-stars glisten
Then fade away
  Child of Ocean!
  Asia.
Hark! Spirits speak. The liquid responses
Of their areal tongues yet sound.
Panthea.
                  I hear.
                  Echoes.
O, follow, follow,
As our voice recedeth
Through the caverns hollow,
Where the forest spreadeth; (More distant.)

O, follow, follow!
Through the caverns hollow,
As the song floats thou pursue,
Where the wild bee never flew,
Through the noontide darkness deep,
By the odour-breathing sleep
Of faint night flowers, and the waves
At the fountain-lighted caves,
While our music, wild and sweet,
Mocks thy gently falling feet,
  Child of Ocean!
  Asia.
Shall we pursue the sound? It grows more faint And distant.
Panthea.
List! the strain floats nearer now.
Echoes.
In the world unknown
Sleeps a voice unspoken;
By thy step alone
Can its rest be broken;
  Child of Ocean!
  Asia.
How the notes sink upon the ebbing wind!
Echoes.
O, follow, follow!
Through the caverns hollow,
As the song floats thou pursue,
By the woodland noontide dew;
By the forest, lakes, and fountains,
Through the many-folded mountains;
To the rents, and gulfs, and chasms,
Where the Earth reposed from spasms,
On the day when He and thou
Parted, to commingle now;
  Child of Ocean!
  Asia.
Come, sweet Panthea, link thy hand in mine,
And follow, ere the voices fade away.
Scene II.
A Forest, intermingled with Rocks and Caverns. Asia and Panthea pass into it. Two young Fauns are sitting on a Rock listening.
Semichorus I. of Spirits.
The path through which that lovely twain
Have passed, by cedar, pine, and yew,
And each dark tree that ever grew,
Is curtained out from Heaven's wide blue;
Nor sun, nor moon, nor wind, nor rain,
  Can pierce its interwoven bowers,
Nor aught, save where some cloud of dew,
Drifted along the earth-creeping breeze,
Between the trunks of the hoar trees,
  Hangs each a pearl in the pale flowers
Of the green laurel, blown anew;
And bends, and then fades silently,
One frail and fair anemone:
Or when some star of many a one
That climbs and wanders through steep night,
Has found the cleft through which alone
Beams fall from high those depths upon
Ere it is borne away, away,
By the swift Heavens that cannot stay,
It scatters drops of golden light,
Like lines of rain that ne'er unite:
And the gloom divine is all around,
And underneath is the mossy ground.
Semichorus II.
There the voluptuous nightingales,
Are awake through all the broad noonday.
When one with bliss or sadness fails,
  And through the windless ivy-boughs,
Sick with sweet love, droops dying away
On its mate's music-panting bosom;
Another from the swinging blossom,
  Watching to catch the languid close
Of the last strain, then lifts on high
The wings of the weak melody,
'Till some new strain of feeling bear
The song, and all the woods are mute;
When there is heard through the dim air
The rush of wings, and rising there
Like many a lake-surrounded flute,
Sounds overflow the listener's brain
So sweet, that joy is almost pain.
Semichorus I.
There those enchanted eddies play
Of echoes, music-tongued, which draw,
By Demogorgon's mighty law,
With melting rapture, or sweet awe,
All spirits on that secret way;
As inland boats are driven to Ocean
Down streams made strong with mountain-thaw:
  And first there comes a gentle sound
  To those in talk or slumber bound,
And wakes the destined soft emotion,
Attracts, impels them; those who saw
Say from the breathing earth behind
There steams a plume-uplifting wind
Which drives them on their path, while they
Believe their own swift wings and feet
The sweet desires within obey:
And so they float upon their way,
Until, still sweet, but loud and strong,
The storm of sound is driven along,
Sucked up and hurrying: as they fleet
Behind, its gathering billows meet
And to the fatal mountain bear
Like clouds amid the yielding air.
First Faun.
Canst thou imagine where those spirits live
Which make such delicate music in the woods?
We haunt within the least frequented caves
And closest coverts, and we know these wilds,
Yet never meet them, though we hear them oft:
Where may they hide themselves?
Second Faun.
                 'Tis hard to tell:
I have heard those more skilled in spirits say,
The bubbles, which the enchantment of the sun
Sucks from the pale faint water-flowers that pave
The oozy bottom of clear lakes and pools,
Are the pavilions where such dwell and float
Under the green and golden atmosphere
Which noontide kindles through the woven leaves;
And when these burst, and the thin fiery air,
The which they breathed within those lucent domes,
Ascends to flow like meteors through the night,
They ride on them, and rein their headlong speed,
And bow their burning crests, and glide in fire
Under the waters of the earth again.
First Faun.
If such live thus, have others other lives,
Under pink blossoms or within the bells
Of meadow flowers, or folded violets deep,
Or on their dying odours, when they die,
Or in the sunlight of the spherd dew?
Second Faun.
Ay, many more which we may well divine.
But, should we stay to speak, noontide would come,
And thwart Silenus find his goats undrawn,
And grudge to sing those wise and lovely songs
Of Fate, and Chance, and God, and Chaos old,
And Love, and the chained Titan's woful doom,
And how he shall be loosed, and make the earth
One brotherhood: delightful strains which cheer
Our solitary twilights, and which charm
To silence the unenvying nightingales.
Scene III.
A Pinnacle of Rock among Mountains.
Asia and Panthea.
Panthea.
Hither the sound has borne usto the realm
Of Demogorgon, and the mighty portal,
Like a volcano's meteor-breathing chasm,
Whence the oracular vapour is hurled up
Which lonely men drink wandering in their youth,
And call truth, virtue, love, genius, or joy,
That maddening wine of life, whose dregs they drain
To deep intoxication; and uplift,
Like Mnads who cry loud, Evoe! Evoe!
The voice which is contagion to the world.
Asia.
Fit throne for such a Power! Magnificent!
How glorious art thou, Earth! And if thou be
The shadow of some spirit lovelier still,
Though evil stain its work, and it should be
Like its creation, weak yet beautiful,
I could fall down and worship that and thee.
Even now my heart adoreth: Wonderful!
Look, sister, ere the vapour dim thy brain:
Beneath is a wide plain of billowy mist,
As a lake, paving in the morning sky,
With azure waves which burst in silver light,
Some Indian vale. Behold it, rolling on
Under the curdling winds, and islanding
The peak whereon we stand, midway, around,
Encinctured by the dark and blooming forests,
Dim twilight-lawns, and stream-illumd caves,
And wind-enchanted shapes of wandering mist;
And far on high the keen sky-cleaving mountains
From icy spires of sun-like radiance fling
The dawn, as lifted Ocean's dazzling spray,
From some Atlantic islet scattered up,
Spangles the wind with lamp-like water-drops.
The vale is girdled with their walls, a howl
Of cataracts from their thaw-cloven ravines,
Satiates the listening wind, continuous, vast,
Awful as silence. Hark! the rushing snow!
The sun-awakened avalanche! whose mass,
Thrice sifted by the storm, had gathered there
Flake after flake, in heaven-defying minds
As thought by thought is piled, till some great truth
Is loosened, and the nations echo round,
Shaken to their roots, as do the mountains now.
Panthea.
Look how the gusty sea of mist is breaking
In crimson foam, even at our feet! it rises
As Ocean at the enchantment of the moon
Round foodless men wrecked on some oozy isle.
Asia.
The fragments of the cloud are scattered up;
The wind that lifts them disentwines my hair;
Its billows now sweep o'er mine eyes; my brain
Grows dizzy; see'st thou shapes within the mist?
Panthea.
A countenance with beckoning smiles: there burns
An azure fire within its golden locks!
Another and another: hark! they speak!
Song of Spirits.
To the deep, to the deep,
  Down, down!
Through the shade of sleep,
Through the cloudy strife
Of Death and of Life;
Through the veil and the bar
Of things which seem and are
Even to the steps of the remotest throne,
  Down, down!
   While the sound whirls around,
  Down, down!
As the fawn draws the hound,
As the lightning the vapour,
As a weak moth the taper;
Death, despair; love, sorrow;
Time both; to-day, to-morrow;
As steel obeys the spirit of the stone,
  Down, down!
   Through the gray, void abysm,
  Down, down!
Where the air is no prism,
And the moon and stars are not,
And the cavern-crags wear not
The radiance of Heaven,
Nor the gloom to Earth given,
Where there is One pervading, One alone,
  Down, down!
   In the depth of the deep,
  Down, down!
Like veiled lightning asleep,
Like the spark nursed in embers,
The last look Love remembers,
Like a diamond, which shines
On the dark wealth of mines,
A spell is treasured but for thee alone.
  Down, down!
   We have bound thee, we guide thee;
  Down, down!
With the bright form beside thee;
Resist not the weakness,
Such strength is in meekness
That the Eternal, the Immortal,
Most unloose through life's portal
The snake-like Doom coiled underneath his throne
  By that alone.
  Scene IV.
The Cave of Demogorgon.
Asia and Panthea.
Panthea.
What viled form sits on that ebon throne?
Asia.
The veil has fallen.
Panthea.
           I see a mighty darkness
Filling the seat of power, and rays of gloom
Dart round, as light from the meridian sun.
Ungazed upon and shapeless; neither limb,
Nor form, nor outline; yet we feel it is
A living Spirit.
Demogorgon.
         Ask what thou wouldst know.
         Asia.
What canst thou tell?
Demogorgon.
           All things thou dar'st demand.
           Asia.
Who made the living world?
Demogorgon.
              God.
              Asia.
                Who made all
That it contains? thought, passion, reason, will, Imagination?
Demogorgon.
God: Almighty God.
Asia.
Who made that sense which, when the winds of Spring
In rarest visitation, or the voice
Of one belovd heard in youth alone,
Fills the faint eyes with falling tears which dim
The radiant looks of unbewailing flowers,
And leaves this peopled earth a solitude
When it returns no more?
Demogorgon.
             Merciful God.
             Asia.
And who made terror, madness, crime, remorse,
Which from the links of the great chain of things,
To every thought within the mind of man
Sway and drag heavily, and each one reels
Under the load towards the pit of death;
Abandoned hope, and love that turns to hate;
And self-contempt, bitterer to drink than blood;
Pain, whose unheeded and familiar speech
Is howling, and keen shrieks, day after day;
And Hell, or the sharp fear of Hell?
Demogorgon.
                    He reigns.
                    Asia.
Utter his name: a world pining in pain
Asks but his name: curses shall drag him down.
Demogorgon.
He reigns.
Asia.
     I feel, I know it: who?
     Demogorgon.
                  He reigns.
                  Asia.
Who reigns? There was the Heaven and Earth at first,
And Light and Love; then Saturn, from whose throne
Time fell, an envious shadow: such the state
Of the earth's primal spirits beneath his sway,
As the calm joy of flowers and living leaves
Before the wind or sun has withered them
And semivital worms; but he refused
The birthright of their being, knowledge, power,
The skill which wields the elements, the thought
Which pierces this dim universe like light,
Self-empire, and the majesty of love;
For thirst of which they fainted. Then Prometheus
Gave wisdom, which is strength, to Jupiter,
And with this law alone, 'Let man be free,'
Clothed him with the dominion of wide Heaven.
To know nor faith, nor love, nor law; to be
Omnipotent but friendless is to reign;
And Jove now reigned; for on the race of man
First famine, and then toil, and then disease,
Strife, wounds, and ghastly death unseen before,
Fell; and the unseasonable seasons drove
With alternating shafts of frost and fire,
Their shelterless, pale tribes to mountain caves:
And in their desert hearts fierce wants he sent,
And mad disquietudes, and shadows idle
Of unreal good, which levied mutual war,
So ruining the lair wherein they raged.
Prometheus saw, and waked the legioned hopes
Which sleep within folded Elysian flowers,
Nepenthe, Moly, Amaranth, fadeless blooms,
That they might hide with thin and rainbow wings
The shape of Death; and Love he sent to bind
The disunited tendrils of that vine
Which bears the wine of life, the human heart;
And he tamed fire which, like some beast of prey,
Most terrible, but lovely, played beneath
The frown of man; and tortured to his will
Iron and gold, the slaves and signs of power,
And gems and poisons, and all subtlest forms
Hidden beneath the mountains and the waves.
He gave man speech, and speech created thought,
Which is the measure of the universe;
And Science struck the thrones of earth and heaven,
Which shook, but fell not; and the harmonious mind
Poured itself forth in all-prophetic song;
And music lifted up the listening spirit
Until it walked, exempt from mortal care,
Godlike, o'er the clear billows of sweet sound;
And human hands first mimicked and then mocked,
With moulded limbs more lovely than its own,
The human form, till marble grew divine;
And mothers, gazing, drank the love men see
Reflected in their race, behold, and perish.
He told the hidden power of herbs and springs,
And Disease drank and slept. Death grew like sleep.
He taught the implicated orbits woven
Of the wide-wandering stars; and how the sun
Changes his lair, and by what secret spell
The pale moon is transformed, when her broad eye
Gazes not on the interlunar sea:
He taught to rule, as life directs the limbs,
The tempest-wingd chariots of the Ocean,
And the Celt knew the Indian. Cities then
Were built, and through their snow-like columns flowed
The warm winds, and the azure aether shone,
And the blue sea and shadowy hills were seen.
Such, the alleviations of his state,
Prometheus gave to man, for which he hangs
Withering in destined pain: but who rains down
Evil, the immedicable plague, which, while
Man looks on his creation like a God
And sees that it is glorious, drives him on,
The wreck of his own will, the scorn of earth,
The outcast, the abandoned, the alone?
Not Jove: while yet his frown shook Heaven, ay, when
His adversary from adamantine chains
Cursed him, he trembled like a slave. Declare
Who is his master? Is he too a slave?
Demogorgon.
All spirits are enslaved which serve things evil:
Thou knowest if Jupiter be such or no.
Asia.
Whom calledst thou God?
Demogorgon.
            I spoke but as ye speak,
For Jove is the supreme of living things.
Asia.
Who is the master of the slave?
Demogorgon.
                 If the abysm
Could vomit forth its secrets. . . But a voice
Is wanting, the deep truth is imageless;
For what would it avail to bid thee gaze
On the revolving world? What to bid speak
Fate, Time, Occasion, Chance, and Change? To these
All things are subject but eternal Love.
Asia.
So much I asked before, and my heart gave
The response thou hast given; and of such truths
Each to itself must be the oracle.
One more demand; and do thou answer me
As mine own soul would answer, did it know
That which I ask. Prometheus shall arise
Henceforth the sun of this rejoicing world:
When shall the destined hour arrive?
Demogorgon.
                    Behold!
                    Asia.
The rocks are cloven, and through the purple night
I see cars drawn by rainbow-wingd steeds
Which trample the dim winds: in each there stands
A wild-eyed charioteer urging their flight.
Some look behind, as fiends pursued them there,
And yet I see no shapes but the keen stars:
Others, with burning eyes, lean forth, and drink
With eager lips the wind of their own speed,
As if the thing they loved fled on before,
And now, even now, they clasped it. Their bright locks
Stream like a comet's flashing hair: they all
Sweep onward.
Demogorgon.
       These are the immortal Hours,
Of whom thou didst demand. One waits for thee.
Asia.
A spirit with a dreadful countenance
Checks its dark chariot by the craggy gulf.
Unlike thy brethren, ghastly charioteer,
Who art thou? Whither wouldst thou bear me? Speak!
Spirit.
I am the shadow of a destiny
More dread than is my aspect: ere yon planet
Has set, the darkness which ascends with me
Shall wrap in lasting night heaven's kingless throne.
Asia.
What meanest thou?
Panthea.
          That terrible shadow floats
Up from its throne, as may the lurid smoke
Of earthquake-ruined cities o'er the sea.
Lo! it ascends the car; the coursers fly
Terrified: watch its path among the stars
Blackening the night!
Asia.
           Thus I am answered: strange!
           Panthea.
See, near the verge, another chariot stays;
An ivory shell inlaid with crimson fire,
Which comes and goes within its sculptured rim
Of delicate strange tracery; the young spirit
That guides it has the dove-like eyes of hope;
How its soft smiles attract the soul! as light
Lures wingd insects through the lampless air.
Spirit.
My coursers are fed with the lightning,
They drink of the whirlwind's stream,
And when the red morning is bright'ning
They bathe in the fresh sunbeam;
They have strength for their swiftness I deem,
Then ascend with me, daughter of Ocean.
I desire: and their speed makes night kindle;
I fear: they outstrip the Typhoon;
Ere the cloud piled on Atlas can dwindle
We encircle the earth and the moon:
We shall rest from long labours at noon:
Then ascend with me, daughter of Ocean.
Scene V.
The Car pauses within a Cloud on the top of a snowy Mountain. Asia, Panthea, and the Spirit of the Hour.
Spirit.
On the brink of the night and the morning
My coursers are wont to respire;
But the Earth has just whispered a warning
That their flight must be swifter than fire:
They shall drink the hot speed of desire!
Asia.
Thou breathest on their nostrils, but my breath
Would give them swifter speed.
Spirit.
                Alas! it could not.
                Panthea.
Oh Spirit! pause, and tell whence is the light
Which fills this cloud? the sun is yet unrisen.
Spirit.
The sun will rise not until noon. Apollo
Is held in heaven by wonder; and the light
Which fills this vapour, as the areal hue
Of fountain-gazing roses fills the water,
Flows from thy mighty sister.
Panthea.
                Yes, I feel
                Asia.
What is it with thee, sister? Thou art pale.
Panthea.
How thou art changed! I dare not look on thee;
I feel but see thee not. I scarce endure
The radiance of thy beauty. Some good change
Is working in the elements, which suffer
Thy presence thus unveiled. The Nereids tell
That on the day when the clear hyaline
Was cloven at thine uprise, and thou didst stand
Within a veind shell, which floated on
Over the calm floor of the crystal sea,
Among the gean isles, and by the shores
Which bear thy name; love, like the atmosphere
Of the sun's fire filling the living world,
Burst from thee, and illumined earth and heaven
And the deep ocean and the sunless caves
And all that dwells within them; till grief cast
Eclipse upon the soul from which it came:
Such art thou now; nor is it I alone,
Thy sister, thy companion, thine own chosen one,
But the whole world which seeks thy sympathy.
Hearest thou not sounds i' the air which speak the love
Of all articulate beings? Feelest thou not
The inanimate winds enamoured of thee? List!
[Music.
Asia.
Thy words are sweeter than aught else but his
Whose echoes they are: yet all love is sweet,
Given or returned. Common as light is love,
And its familiar voice wearies not ever.
Like the wide heaven, the all-sustaining air,
It makes the reptile equal to the God:
They who inspire it most are fortunate,
As I am now; but those who feel it most
Are happier still, after long sufferings,
As I shall soon become.
Panthea.
            List! Spirits speak.
            Voice in the Air, singing.
Life of Life! thy lips enkindle
With their love the breath between them;
And thy smiles before they dwindle
Make the cold air fire; then screen them
In those looks, where whoso gazes
Faints, entangled in their mazes.
Child of Light! thy limbs are burning
Through the vest which seems to hide them;
As the radiant lines of morning
Through the clouds ere they divide them;
And this atmosphere divinest
Shrouds thee wheresoe'er thou shinest.
Fair are others; none beholds thee,
But thy voice sounds low and tender
Like the fairest, for it folds thee
From the sight, that liquid splendour,
And all feel, yet see thee never,
As I feel now, lost for ever!
Lamp of Earth! where'er thou movest
Its dim shapes are clad with brightness,
And the souls of whom thou lovest
Walk upon the winds with lightness,
Till they fail, as I am failing,
Dizzy, lost, yet unbewailing!
Asia.
My soul is an enchanted boat,
Which, like a sleeping swan, doth float
Upon the silver waves of thy sweet singing;
And thine doth like an angel sit
Beside a helm conducting it,
Whilst all the winds with melody are ringing.
It seems to float ever, for ever,
Upon that many-winding river,
Between mountains, woods, abysses,
A paradise of wildernesses!
Till, like one in slumber bound,
Borne to the ocean, I float down, around,
Into a sea profound, of ever-spreading sound:
Meanwhile thy spirit lifts its pinions
In music's most serene dominions;
Catching the winds that fan that happy heaven.
And we sail on, away, afar,
Without a course, without a star,
But, by the instinct of sweet music driven;
Till through Elysian garden islets
By thee, most beautiful of pilots,
Where never mortal pinnace glided,
The boat of my desire is guided:
Realms where the air we breathe is love,
Which in the winds and on the waves doth move,
Harmonizing this earth with what we feel above.
We have passed Age's icy caves,
And Manhood's dark and tossing waves,
And Youth's smooth ocean, smiling to betray:
Beyond the glassy gulfs we flee
Of shadow-peopled Infancy,
Through Death and Birth, to a diviner day;
A paradise of vaulted bowers,
Lit by downward-gazing flowers,
And watery paths that wind between
Wildernesses calm and green,
Peopled by shapes too bright to see,
And rest, having beheld; somewhat like thee;
Which walk upon the sea, and chant melodiously!
END OF THE SECOND ACT.

ACT III
Scene I.
Heaven. Jupiter on his Throne; Thetis and the other Deities assembled.
Jupiter.
Ye congregated powers of heaven, who share
The glory and the strength of him ye serve,
Rejoice! henceforth I am omnipotent.
All else had been subdued to me; alone
The soul of man, like unextinguished fire,
Yet burns towards heaven with fierce reproach, and doubt,
And lamentation, and reluctant prayer,
Hurling up insurrection, which might make
Our antique empire insecure, though built
On eldest faith, and hell's coeval, fear;
And though my curses through the pendulous air,
Like snow on herbless peaks, fall flake by flake,
And cling to it; though under my wrath's night
It climbs the crags of life, step after step,
Which wound it, as ice wounds unsandalled feet,
It yet remains supreme o'er misery,
Aspiring, unrepressed, yet soon to fall:
Even now have I begotten a strange wonder,
That fatal child, the terror of the earth,
Who waits but till the destined hour arrive,
Bearing from Demogorgon's vacant throne
The dreadful might of ever-living limbs
Which clothed that awful spirit unbeheld,
To redescend, and trample out the spark.
Pour forth heaven's wine, Idan Ganymede,
And let it fill the Ddal cups like fire,
And from the flower-inwoven soil divine
Ye all-triumphant harmonies arise,
As dew from earth under the twilight stars:
Drink! be the nectar circling through your veins
The soul of joy, ye ever-living Gods,
Till exultation burst in one wide voice
Like music from Elysian winds.
                And thou
Ascend beside me, veild in the light
Of the desire which makes thee one with me,
Thetis, bright image of eternity!
When thou didst cry, 'Insufferable might!
God! Spare me! I sustain not the quick flames,
The penetrating presence; all my being,
Like him whom the Numidian seps did thaw
Into a dew with poison, is dissolved,
Sinking through its foundations:' even then
Two mighty spirits, mingling, made a third
Mightier than either, which, unbodied now,
Between us floats, felt, although unbeheld,
Waiting the incarnation, which ascends,
(Hear ye the thunder of the fiery wheels
Griding the winds?) from Demogorgon's throne.
Victory! victory! Feel'st thou not, O world,
The earthquake of his chariot thundering up
Olympus?
[The Car of the Hour arrives. Demogorgon descends, and moves towards the Throne of Jupiter.
    Awful shape, what art thou? Speak!
    Demogorgon.
Eternity. Demand no direr name.
Descend, and follow me down the abyss.
I am thy child, as thou wert Saturn's child;
Mightier than thee: and we must dwell together
Henceforth in darkness. Lift thy lightnings not.
The tyranny of heaven none may retain,
Or reassume, or hold, succeeding thee:
Yet if thou wilt, as 'tis the destiny
Of trodden worms to writhe till they are dead,
Put forth thy might.
Jupiter.
           Detested prodigy!
Even thus beneath the deep Titanian prisons
I trample thee! thou lingerest?
                 Mercy! mercy!
No pity, no release, no respite! Oh,
That thou wouldst make mine enemy my judge,
Even where he hangs, seared by my long revenge,
On Caucasus! he would not doom me thus.
Gentle, and just, and dreadless, is he not
The monarch of the world? What then art thou?
No refuge! no appeal!
           Sink with me then,
We two will sink on the wide waves of ruin,
Even as a vulture and a snake outspent
Drop, twisted in inextricable fight,
Into a shoreless sea. Let hell unlock
Its mounded oceans of tempestuous fire,
And whelm on them into the bottomless void
This desolated world, and thee, and me,
The conqueror and the conquered, and the wreck
Of that for which they combated.
                 Ai! Ai!
The elements obey me not. I sink
Dizzily down, ever, for ever, down.
And, like a cloud, mine enemy above
Darkens my fall with victory! Ai, Ai!
Scene II.
The Mouth of a great River in the Island Atlantis.Ocean is discovered reclining near the Shore; Apollo stands beside him.
Ocean.
He fell, thou sayest, beneath his conqueror's frown?
Apollo.
Ay, when the strife was ended which made dim
The orb I rule, and shook the solid stars,
The terrors of his eye illumined heaven
With sanguine light, through the thick ragged skirts
Of the victorious darkness, as he fell:
Like the last glare of day's red agony,
Which, from a rent among the fiery clouds,
Burns far along the tempest-wrinkled deep.
Ocean.
He sunk to the abyss? To the dark void?
Apollo.
An eagle so caught in some bursting cloud
On Caucasus, his thunder-baffled wings
Entangled in the whirlwind, and his eyes
Which gazed on the undazzling sun, now blinded
By the white lightning, while the ponderous hail
Beats on his struggling form, which sinks at length
Prone, and the areal ice clings over it.
Ocean.
Henceforth the fields of heaven-reflecting sea
Which are my realm, will heave, unstained with blood,
Beneath the uplifting winds, like plains of corn
Swayed by the summer air; my streams will flow
Round many-peopled continents, and round
Fortunate isles; and from their glassy thrones
Blue Proteus and his humid nymphs shall mark
The shadow of fair ships, as mortals see
The floating bark of the light-laden moon
With that white star, its sightless pilot's crest,
Borne down the rapid sunset's ebbing sea;
Tracking their path no more by blood and groans,
And desolation, and the mingled voice
Of slavery and command; but by the light
Of wave-reflected flowers, and floating odours,
And music soft, and mild, free, gentle voices,
And sweetest music, such as spirits love.
Apollo.
And I shall gaze not on the deeds which make
My mind obscure with sorrow, as eclipse
Darkens the sphere I guide; but list, I hear
The small, clear, silver lute of the young Spirit
That sits i' the morning star.
Ocean.
                Thou must away;
Thy steeds will pause at even, till when farewell:
The loud deep calls me home even now to feed it
With azure calm out of the emerald urns
Which stand for ever full beside my throne.
Behold the Nereids under the green sea,
Their wavering limbs borne on the wind-like stream,
Their white arms lifted o'er their streaming hair
With garlands pied and starry sea-flower crowns,
Hastening to grace their mighty sister's joy. [A sound of waves is heard.

It is the unpastured sea hungering for calm.
Peace, monster; I come now. Farewell.
Apollo.
                    Farewell.
                    Scene III.
Caucasus. Prometheus, Hercules, Ione, the Earth, Spirits, Asia, and Panthea, borne in the Car with the Spirit of the Hour. Hercules unbinds Prometheus, who descends.
Hercules.
Most glorious among Spirits, thus doth strength
To wisdom, courage, and long-suffering love,
And thee, who art the form they animate,
Minister like a slave.
Prometheus.
            Thy gentle words
Are sweeter even than freedom long desired
And long delayed.
         Asia, thou light of life,
Shadow of beauty unbeheld: and ye,
Fair sister nymphs, who made long years of pain
Sweet to remember, through your love and care:
Henceforth we will not part. There is a cave,
All overgrown with trailing odorous plants,
Which curtain out the day with leaves and flowers,
And paved with veind emerald, and a fountain
Leaps in the midst with an awakening sound.
From its curved roof the mountain's frozen tears
Like snow, or silver, or long diamond spires,
Hang downward, raining forth a doubtful light:
And there is heard the ever-moving air,
Whispering without from tree to tree, and birds,
And bees; and all around are mossy seats,
And the rough walls are clothed with long soft grass;
A simple dwelling, which shall be our own;
Where we will sit and talk of time and change,
As the world ebbs and flows, ourselves unchanged.
What can hide man from mutability?
And if ye sigh, then I will smile; and thou,
Ione, shalt chant fragments of sea-music,
Until I weep, when ye shal smile away
The tears she brought, which yet were sweet to shed.
We will entangle buds and flowers and beams
Which twinkle on the fountain's brim, and make
Strange combinations out of common things,
Like human babes in their brief innocence;
And we will search, with looks and words of love,
For hidden thoughts, each lovelier than the last,
Our unexhausted spirits; and like lutes
Touched by the skill of the enamoured wind,
Weave harmonies divine, yet ever new,
From difference sweet where discord cannot be;
And hither come, sped on the charmd winds,
Which meet from all the points of heaven, as bees
From every flower areal Enna feeds,
At their known island-homes in Himera,
The echoes of the human world, which tell
Of the low voice of love, almost unheard,
And dove-eyed pity's murmured pain, and music,
Itself the echo of the heart, and all
That tempers or improves man's life, now free;
And lovely apparitions,dim at first,
Then radiant, as the mind, arising bright
From the embrace of beauty (whence the forms
Of which these are the phantoms) casts on them
The gathered rays which are reality
Shall visit us, the progeny immortal
Of Painting, Sculpture, and rapt Poesy,
And arts, though unimagined, yet to be.
The wandering voices and the shadows these
Of all that man becomes, the mediators
Of that best worship love, by him and us
Given and returned; swift shapes and sounds, which grow
More fair and soft as man grows wise and kind,
And, veil by veil, evil and error fall:
Such virtue has the cave and place around. [Turning to the Spirit of the Hour.

For thee, fair Spirit, one toil remains. Ione,
Give her that curvd shell, which Proteus old
Made Asia's nuptial boon, breathing within it
A voice to be accomplished, and which thou
Didst hide in grass under the hollow rock.
Ione.
Thou most desired Hour, more loved and lovely
Than all thy sisters, this is the mystic shell;
See the pale azure fading into silver
Lining it with a soft yet glowing light:
Looks it not like lulled music sleeping there?
Spirit.
It seems in truth the fairest shell of Ocean:
Its sound must be at once both sweet and strange.
Prometheus.
Go, borne over the cities of mankind
On whirlwind-footed coursers: once again
Outspeed the sun around the orbd world;
And as thy chariot cleaves the kindling air,
Thou breathe into the many-folded shell,
Loosening its mighty music; it shall be
As thunder mingled with clear echoes: then
Return; and thou shalt dwell beside our cave.
And thou, O, Mother Earth!
The Earth.
               I hear, I feel;
Thy lips are on me, and their touch runs down
Even to the adamantine central gloom
Along these marble nerves; 'tis life, 'tis joy,
And through my withered, old, and icy frame
The warmth of an immortal youth shoots down
Circling. Henceforth the many children fair
Folded in my sustaining arms; all plants,
And creeping forms, and insects rainbow-winged,
And birds, and beasts, and fish, and human shapes,
Which drew disease and pain from my wan bosom,
Draining the poison of despair, shall take
And interchange sweet nutriment; to me
Shall they become like sister-antelopes
By one fair dam, snow-white and swift as wind,
Nursed among lilies near a brimming stream.
The dew-mists of my sunless sleep shall float
Under the stars like balm: night-folded flowers
Shall suck unwithering hues in their repose:
And men and beasts in happy dreams shall gather
Strength for the coming day, and all its joy:
And death shall be the last embrace of her
Who takes the life she gave, even as a mother
Folding her child, says, 'Leave me not again.'
Asia.
Oh, mother! wherefore speak the name of death?
Cease they to love, and move, and breathe, and speak,
Who die?
The Earth.
    It would avail not to reply:
Thou art immortal, and this tongue is known
But to the uncommunicating dead.
Death is the veil which those who live call life:
They sleep, and it is lifted: and meanwhile
In mild variety the seasons mild
With rainbow-skirted showers, and odorous winds,
And long blue meteors cleansing the dull night,
And the life-kindling shafts of the keen sun's
All-piercing bow, and the dew-mingled rain
Of the calm moonbeams, a soft influence mild,
Shall clothe the forests and the fields, ay, even
The crag-built deserts of the barren deep,
With ever-living leaves, and fruits, and flowers.
And thou! There is a cavern where my spirit
Was panted forth in anguish whilst thy pain
Made my heart mad, and those who did inhale it
Became mad too, and built a temple there,
And spoke, and were oracular, and lured
The erring nations round to mutual war,
And faithless faith, such as Jove kept with thee;
Which breath now rises, as amongst tall weeds
A violet's exhalation, and it fills
With a serener light and crimson air
Intense, yet soft, the rocks and woods around;
It feeds the quick growth of the serpent vine,
And the dark linkd ivy tangling wild,
And budding, blown, or odour-faded blooms
Which star the winds with points of coloured light,
As they rain through them, and bright golden globes
Of fruit, suspended in their own green heaven,
And through their veind leaves and amber stems
The flowers whose purple and translucid bowls
Stand ever mantling with areal dew,
The drink of spirits: and it circles round,
Like the soft waving wings of noonday dreams,
Inspiring calm and happy thoughts, like mine,
Now thou art thus restored. This cave is thine.
Arise! Appear!
[A Spirit rises in the likeness of a winged child.
       This is my torch-bearer;
Who let his lamp out in old time with gazing
On eyes from which he kindled it anew
With love, which is as fire, sweet daughter mine,
For such is that within thine own. Run, wayward,
And guide this company beyond the peak
Of Bacchic Nysa, Mnad-haunted mountain,
And beyond Indus and its tribute rivers,
Trampling the torrent streams and glassy lakes
With feet unwet, unwearied, undelaying,
And up the green ravine, across the vale,
Beside the windless and crystalline pool,
Where ever lies, on unerasing waves,
The image of a temple, built above,
Distinct with column, arch, and architrave,
And palm-like capital, and over-wrought,
And populous with most living imagery,
Praxitelean shapes, whose marble smiles
Fill the hushed air with everlasting love.
It is deserted now, but once it bore
Thy name, Prometheus; there the emulous youths
Bore to thy honour through the divine gloom
The lamp which was thine emblem; even as those
Who bear the untransmitted torch of hope
Into the grave, across the night of life,
As thou hast borne it most triumphantly
To this far goal of Time. Depart, farewell.
Beside that temple is the destined cave.
Scene IV.
A Forest. In the Background a Cave. Prometheus, Asia, Panthea, Ione, and the Spirit of the Earth.
Ione.
Sister, it is not earthly: how it glides
Under the leaves! how on its head there burns
A light, like a green star, whose emerald beams
Are twined with its fair hair! how, as it moves,
The splendour drops in flakes upon the grass!
Knowest thou it?
Panthea.
         It is the delicate spirit
That guides the earth through heaven. From afar
The populous constellations call that light
The loveliest of the planets; and sometimes
It floats along the spray of the salt sea,
Or makes its chariot of a foggy cloud,
Or walks through fields or cities while men sleep,
Or o'er the mountain tops, or down the rivers,
Or through the green waste wilderness, as now,
Wondering at all it sees. Before Jove reigned
It loved our sister Asia, and it came
Each leisure hour to drink the liquid light
Out of her eyes, for which it said it thirsted
As one bit by a dipsas, and with her
It made its childish confidence, and told her
All it had known or seen, for it saw much,
Yet idly reasoned what it saw; and called her
For whence it sprung it knew not, nor do I
Mother, dear mother.
The Spirit of the Earth
(running to Asia).
           Mother, dearest mother;
May I then talk with thee as I was wont?
May I then hide my eyes in thy soft arms,
After thy looks have made them tired of joy?
May I then play beside thee the long noons,
When work is none in the bright silent air?
Asia.
I love thee, gentlest being, and henceforth
Can cherish thee unenvied: speak, I pray:
Thy simple talk once solaced, now delights.
Spirit of the Earth.
Mother, I am grown wiser, though a child
Cannot be wise like thee, within this day;
And happier too; happier and wiser both.
Thou knowest that toads, and snakes, and loathly worms,
And venomous and malicious beasts, and boughs
That bore ill berries in the woods, were ever
An hindrance to my walks o'er the green world:
And that, among the haunts of humankind,
Hard-featured men, or with proud, angry looks,
Or cold, staid gait, or false and hollow smiles,
Or the dull sneer of self-loved ignorance,
Or other such foul masks, with which ill thoughts
Hide that fair being whom we spirits call man;
And women too, ugliest of all things evil,
(Though fair, even in a world where thou art fair,
When good and kind, free and sincere like thee),
When false or frowning made me sick at heart
To pass them, though they slept, and I unseen.
Well, my path lately lay through a great city
Into the woody hills surrounding it:
A sentinel was sleeping at the gate:
When there was heard a sound, so loud, it shook
The towers amid the moonlight, yet more sweet
Than any voice but thine, sweetest of all;
A long, long sound, as it would never end:
And all the inhabitants leaped suddenly
Out of their rest, and gathered in the streets,
Looking in wonder up to Heaven, while yet
The music pealed along. I hid myself
Within a fountain in the public square,
Where I lay like the reflex of the moon
Seen in a wave under green leaves; and soon
Those ugly human shapes and visages
Of which I spoke as having wrought me pain,
Passed floating through the air, and fading still
Into the winds that scattered them; and those
From whom they passed seemed mild and lovely forms
After some foul disguise had fallen, and all
Were somewhat changed, and after brief surprise
And greetings of delighted wonder, all
Went to their sleep again: and when the dawn
Came, wouldst thou think that toads, and snakes, and efts,
Could e'er be beautiful? yet so they were,
And that with little change of shape or hue:
All things had put their evil nature off:
I cannot tell my joy, when o'er a lake
Upon a drooping bough with nightshade twined,
I saw two azure halcyons clinging downward
And thinning one bright bunch of amber berries,
With quick long beaks, and in the deep there lay
Those lovely forms imaged as in a sky;
So, with my thoughts full of these happy changes,
We meet again, the happiest change of all.
Asia.
And never will we part, till thy chaste sister
Who guides the frozen and inconstant moon
Will look on thy more warm and equal light
Till her heart thaw like flakes of April snow
And love thee.
Spirit of the Earth.
       What; as Asia loves Prometheus?
       Asia.
Peace, wanton, thou art yet not old enough.
Think ye by gazing on each other's eyes
To multiply your lovely selves, and fill
With spherd fires the interlunar air?
Spirit of the Earth.
Nay, mother, while my sister trims her lamp
'Tis hard I should go darkling.
Asia.
                 Listen; look!
                 [The Spirit of the Hour enters.
Prometheus.
We feel what thou hast heard and seen: yet speak.
Spirit of the Hour.
Soon as the sound had ceased whose thunder filled
The abysses of the sky and the wide earth,
There was a change: the impalpable thin air
And the all-circling sunlight were transformed,
As if the sense of love dissolved in them
Had folded itself round the spherd world.
My vision then grew clear, and I could see
Into the mysteries of the universe:
Dizzy as with delight I floated down,
Winnowing the lightsome air with languid plumes,
My coursers sought their birthplace in the sun,
Where they henceforth will live exempt from toil,
Pasturing flowers of vegetable fire;
And where my moonlike car will stand within
A temple, gazed upon by Phidian forms
Of thee, and Asia, and the Earth, and me,
And you fair nymphs looking the love we feel,
In memory of the tidings it has borne,
Beneath a dome fretted with graven flowers,
Poised on twelve columns of resplendent stone,
And open to the bright and liquid sky.
Yoked to it by an amphisbaenic snake
The likeness of those wingd steeds will mock
The flight from which they find repose. Alas,
Whither has wandered now my partial tongue
When all remains untold which ye would hear?
As I have said, I floated to the earth:
It was, as it is still, the pain of bliss
To move, to breathe, to be; I wandering went
Among the haunts and dwellings of mankind,
And first was disappointed not to see
Such mighty change as I had felt within
Expressed in outward things; but soon I looked,
And behold, thrones were kingless, and men walked
One with the other even as spirits do,
None fawned, none trampled; hate, disdain, or fear,
Self-love or self-contempt, on human brows
No more inscribed, as o'er the gate of hell,
'All hope abandon ye who enter here;'
None frowned, none trembled, none with eager fear
Gazed on another's eye of cold command,
Until the subject of a tyrant's will
Became, worse fate, the abject of his own,
Which spurred him, like an outspent horse, to death.
None wrought his lips in truth-entangling lines
Which smiled the lie his tongue disdained to speak;
None, with firm sneer, trod out in his own heart
The sparks of love and hope till there remained
Those bitter ashes, a soul self-consumed,
And the wretch crept a vampire among men,
Infecting all with his own hideous ill;
None talked that common, false, cold, hollow talk
Which makes the heart deny the yes it breathes,
Yet question that unmeant hypocrisy
With such a self-mistrust as has no name.
And women, too, frank, beautiful, and kind
As the free heaven which rains fresh light and dew
On the wide earth, past; gentle radiant forms,
From custom's evil taint exempt and pure;
Speaking the wisdom once they could not think,
Looking emotions once they feared to feel,
And changed to all which once they dared not be,
Yet being now, made earth like heaven; nor pride,
Nor jealousy, nor envy, nor ill shame,
The bitterest of those drops of treasured gall,
Spoilt the sweet taste of the nepenthe, love.
Thrones, altars, judgement-seats, and prisons; wherein,
And beside which, by wretched men were borne
Sceptres, tiaras, swords, and chains, and tomes
Of reasoned wrong, glozed on by ignorance,
Were like those monstrous and barbaric shapes,
The ghosts of a no-more-remembered fame,
Which, from their unworn obelisks, look forth
In triumph o'er the palaces and tombs
Of those who were their conquerors: mouldering round,
These imaged to the pride of kings and priests
A dark yet mighty faith, a power as wide
As is the world it wasted, and are now
But an astonishment; even so the tools
And emblems of its last captivity,
Amid the dwellings of the peopled earth,
Stand, not o'erthrown, but unregarded now.
And those foul shapes, abhorred by god and man,
Which, under many a name and many a form
Strange, savage, ghastly, dark and execrable,
Were Jupiter, the tyrant of the world;
And which the nations, panic-stricken, served
With blood, and hearts broken by long hope, and love
Dragged to his altars soiled and garlandless,
And slain amid men's unreclaiming tears,
Flattering the thing they feared, which fear was hate,
Frown, mouldering fast, o'er their abandoned shrines:
The painted veil, by those who were, called life,
Which mimicked, as with colours idly spread,
All men believed or hoped, is torn aside;
The loathsome mask has fallen, the man remains
Sceptreless, free, uncircumscribed, but man
Equal, unclassed, tribeless, and nationless,
Exempt from awe, worship, degree, the king
Over himself; just, gentle, wise: but man
Passionless?no, yet free from guilt or pain,
Which were, for his will made or suffered them,
Nor yet exempt, though ruling them like slaves,
From chance, and death, and mutability,
The clogs of that which else might oversoar
The loftiest star of unascended heaven,
Pinnacled dim in the intense inane.
END OF THE THIRD ACT.

ACT IV
Scene.A Part of the Forest near the Cave of Prometheus.Panthea and Ione are sleeping: they awaken gradually during the first Song.
Voice of unseen Spirits.
The pale stars are gone!
For the sun, their swift shepherd,
To their folds them compelling,
In the depths of the dawn,
Hastes, in meteor-eclipsing array, and they flee
Beyond his blue dwelling,
As fawns flee the leopard.
  But where are ye?
  A Train of dark Forms and Shadows passes by confusedly, singing.
Here, oh, here:
We bear the bier
Of the Father of many a cancelled year!
Spectres we
Of the dead Hours be,
We bear Time to his tomb in eternity.
Strew, oh, strew
Hair, not yew!
Wet the dusty pall with tears, not dew!
Be the faded flowers
Of Death's bare bowers
Spread on the corpse of the King of Hours!
Haste, oh, haste!
As shades are chased,
Trembling, by day, from heaven's blue waste.
We melt away,
Like dissolving spray,
From the children of a diviner day,
With the lullaby
Of winds that die
On the bosom of their own harmony!
Ione.
What dark forms were they?
Panthea.
The past Hours weak and gray,
With the spoil which their toil
Raked together
From the conquest but One could foil.
Ione.
Have they passed?
Panthea.
         They have passed;
They outspeeded the blast,
While 'tis said, they are fled:
Ione.
Whither, oh, whither?
Panthea.
To the dark, to the past, to the dead.
Voice of unseen Spirits.
Bright clouds float in heaven,
Dew-stars gleam on earth,
Waves assemble on ocean,
They are gathered and driven
By the storm of delight, by the panic of glee!
They shake with emotion,
They dance in their mirth.
  But where are ye?
   The pine boughs are singing
Old songs with new gladness,
The billows and fountains
Fresh music are flinging,
Like the notes of a spirit from land and from sea;
The storms mock the mountains
With the thunder of gladness.
  But where are ye?
  Ione.
What charioteers are these?
Panthea.
               Where are their chariots?
               Semichorus of Hours.
The voice of the Spirits of Air and of Earth
Have drawn back the figured curtain of sleep
Which covered our being and darkened our birth
In the deep.
A Voice.
      In the deep?
      Semichorus II.
             Oh, below the deep.
             Semichorus I.
An hundred ages we had been kept
Cradled in visions of hate and care,
And each one who waked as his brother slept,
Found the truth
Semichorus II.
          Worse than his visions were!
          Semichorus I.
We have heard the lute of Hope in sleep;
We have known the voice of Love in dreams;
We have felt the wand of Power, and leap
Semichorus II.
As the billows leap in the morning beams!
Chorus.
Weave the dance on the floor of the breeze,
Pierce with song heaven's silent light,
Enchant the day that too swiftly flees,
To check its flight ere the cave of Night.
Once the hungry Hours were hounds
Which chased the day like a bleeding deer,
And it limped and stumbled with many wounds
Through the nightly dells of the desert year.
But now, oh weave the mystic measure
Of music, and dance, and shapes of light,
Let the Hours, and the spirits of might and pleasure,
Like the clouds and sunbeams, unite.
A Voice.
                    Unite!
                    Panthea.
See, where the Spirits of the human mind
Wrapped in sweet sounds, as in bright veils, approach.
Chorus of Spirits.
We join the throng
Of the dance and the song,
By the whirlwind of gladness borne along;
As the flying-fish leap
From the Indian deep,
And mix with the sea-birds, half asleep.
Chorus of Hours.
Whence come ye, so wild and so fleet,
For sandals of lightning are on your feet,
And your wings are soft and swift as thought,
And your eyes are as love which is veild not?
Chorus of Spirits.
We come from the mind
Of human kind
Which was late so dusk, and obscene, and blind,
Now 'tis an ocean
Of clear emotion,
A heaven of serene and mighty motion
From that deep abyss
Of wonder and bliss,
Whose caverns are crystal palaces;
From those skiey towers
Where Thought's crowned powers
Sit watching your dance, ye happy Hours!
From the dim recesses
Of woven caresses,
Where lovers catch ye by your loose tresses
From the azure isles,
Where sweet Wisdom smiles,
Delaying your ships with her siren wiles.
From the temples high
Of Man's ear and eye,
Roofed over Sculpture and Poesy;
From the murmurings
Of the unsealed springs
Where Science bedews her Ddal wings.
Years after years,
Through blood, and tears,
And a thick hell of hatreds, and hopes, and fears;
We waded and flew,
And the islets were few
Where the bud-blighted flowers of happiness grew.
Our feet now, every palm,
Are sandalled with calm,
And the dew of our wings is a rain of balm;
And, beyond our eyes,
The human love lies
Which makes all it gazes on Paradise.
Chorus of Spirits and Hours.
Then weave the web of the mystic measure;
From the depths of the sky and the ends of the earth,
Come, swift Spirits of might and of pleasure,
Fill the dance and the music of mirth,
As the waves of a thousand streams rush by
To an ocean of splendour and harmony!
Chorus of Spirits.
Our spoil is won,
Our task is done,
We are free to dive, or soar, or run;
Beyond and around,
Or within the bound
Which clips the world with darkness round.
We'll pass the eyes
Of the starry skies
Into the hoar deep to colonize:
Death, Chaos, and Night,
From the sound of our flight,
Shall flee, like mist from a tempest's might.
And Earth, Air, and Light,
And the Spirit of Might,
Which drives round the stars in their fiery flight;
And Love, Thought, and Breath,
The powers that quell Death,
Wherever we soar shall assemble beneath.
And our singing shall build
In the void's loose field
A world for the Spirit of Wisdom to wield;
We will take our plan
From the new world of man,
And our work shall be called the Promethean.
Chorus of Hours.
Break the dance, and scatter the song;
Let some depart, and some remain.
Semichorus I.
We, beyond heaven, are driven along:
Semichorus II.
Us the enchantments of earth retain:
Semichorus I.
Ceaseless, and rapid, and fierce, and free,
With the Spirits which build a new earth and sea,
And a heaven where yet heaven could never be.
Semichorus II.
Solemn, and slow, and serene, and bright,
Leading the Day and outspeeding the Night,
With the powers of a world of perfect light.
Semichorus I.
We whirl, singing loud, round the gathering sphere,
Till the trees, and the beasts, and the clouds appear
From its chaos made calm by love, not fear.
Semichorus II.
We encircle the ocean and mountains of earth,
And the happy forms of its death and birth
Change to the music of our sweet mirth.
Chorus of Hours and Spirits.
Break the dance, and scatter the song,
Let some depart, and some remain,
Wherever we fly we lead along
In leashes, like starbeams, soft yet strong,
The clouds that are heavy with love's sweet rain.
Panthea.
Ha! they are gone!
Ione.
          Yet feel you no delight
From the past sweetness?
Panthea.
             As the bare green hill
When some soft cloud vanishes into rain,
Laughs with a thousand drops of sunny water
To the unpavilioned sky!
Ione.
             Even whilst we speak
New notes arise. What is that awful sound?
Panthea.
'Tis the deep music of the rolling world
Kindling within the strings of the waved air
olian modulations.
Ione.
          Listen too,
How every pause is filled with under-notes,
Clear, silver, icy, keen, awakening tones,
Which pierce the sense, and live within the soul,
As the sharp stars pierce winter's crystal air
And gaze upon themselves within the sea.
Panthea.
But see where through two openings in the forest
Which hanging branches overcanopy,
And where two runnels of a rivulet,
Between the close moss violet-inwoven,
Have made their path of melody, like sisters
Who part with sighs that they may meet in smiles,
Turning their dear disunion to an isle
Of lovely grief, a wood of sweet sad thoughts;
Two visions of strange radiance float upon
The ocean-like enchantment of strong sound,
Which flows intenser, keener, deeper yet
Under the ground and through the windless air.
Ione.
I see a chariot like that thinnest boat,
In which the Mother of the Months is borne
By ebbing light into her western cave,
When she upsprings from interlunar dreams;
O'er which is curved an orblike canopy
Of gentle darkness, and the hills and woods,
Distinctly seen through that dusk aery veil,
Regard like shapes in an enchanter's glass;
Its wheels are solid clouds, azure and gold,
Such as the genii of the thunderstorm
Pile on the floor of the illumined sea
When the sun rushes under it; they roll
And move and grow as with an inward wind;
Within it sits a wingd infant, white
Its countenance, like the whiteness of bright snow,
Its plumes are as feathers of sunny frost,
Its limbs gleam white, through the wind-flowing folds
Of its white robe, woof of ethereal pearl.
Its hair is white, the brightness of white light
Scattered in strings; yet its two eyes are heavens
Of liquid darkness, which the Deity
Within seems pouring, as a storm is poured
From jaggd clouds, out of their arrowy lashes,
Tempering the cold and radiant air around,
With fire that is not brightness; in its hand
It sways a quivering moonbeam, from whose point
A guiding power directs the chariot's prow
Over its wheeld clouds, which as they roll
Over the grass, and flowers, and waves, wake sounds,
Sweet as a singing rain of silver dew.
Panthea.
And from the other opening in the wood
Rushes, with loud and whirlwind harmony,
A sphere, which is as many thousand spheres,
Solid as crystal, yet through all its mass
Flow, as through empty space, music and light:
Ten thousand orbs involving and involved,
Purple and azure, white, and green, and golden,
Sphere within sphere; and every space between
Peopled with unimaginable shapes,
Such as ghosts dream dwell in the lampless deep,
Yet each inter-transpicuous, and they whirl
Over each other with a thousand motions,
Upon a thousand sightless axles spinning,
And with the force of self-destroying swiftness,
Intensely, slowly, solemnly roll on,
Kindling with mingled sounds, and many tones,
Intelligible words and music wild.
With mighty whirl the multitudinous orb
Grinds the bright brook into an azure mist
Of elemental subtlety, like light;
And the wild odour of the forest flowers,
The music of the living grass and air,
The emerald light of leaf-entangled beams
Round its intense yet self-conflicting speed,
Seem kneaded into one areal mass
Which drowns the sense. Within the orb itself,
Pillowed upon its alabaster arms,
Like to a child o'erwearied with sweet toil,
On its own folded wings, and wavy hair,
The Spirit of the Earth is laid asleep,
And you can see its little lips are moving,
Amid the changing light of their own smiles,
Like one who talks of what he loves in dream.
Ione.
'Tis only mocking the orb's harmony.
Panthea.
And from a star upon its forehead, shoot,
Like swords of azure fire, or golden spears
With tyrant-quelling myrtle overtwined,
Embleming heaven and earth united now,
Vast beams like spokes of some invisible wheel
Which whirl as the orb whirls, swifter than thought,
Filling the abyss with sun-like lightenings,
And perpendicular now, and now transverse,
Pierce the dark soil, and as they pierce and pass,
Make bare the secrets of the earth's deep heart;
Infinite mines of adamant and gold,
Valueless stones, and unimagined gems,
And caverns on crystalline columns poised
With vegetable silver overspread;
Wells of unfathomed fire, and water springs
Whence the great sea, even as a child is fed,
Whose vapours clothe earth's monarch mountain-tops
With kingly, ermine snow. The beams flash on
And make appear the melancholy ruins
Of cancelled cycles; anchors, beaks of ships;
Planks turned to marble; quivers, helms, and spears,
And gorgon-headed targes, and the wheels
Of scythd chariots, and the emblazonry
Of trophies, standards, and armorial beasts,
Round which death laughed, sepulchred emblems
Of dead destruction, ruin within ruin!
The wrecks beside of many a city vast,
Whose population which the earth grew over
Was mortal, but not human; see, they lie,
Their monstrous works, and uncouth skeletons,
Their statues, homes and fanes; prodigious shapes
Huddled in gray annihilation, split,
Jammed in the hard, black deep; and over these,
The anatomies of unknown wingd things,
And fishes which were isles of living scale,
And serpents, bony chains, twisted around
The iron crags, or within heaps of dust
To which the tortuous strength of their last pangs
Had crushed the iron crags; and over these
The jaggd alligator, and the might
Of earth-convulsing behemoth, which once
Were monarch beasts, and on the slimy shores,
And weed-overgrown continents of earth,
Increased and multiplied like summer worms
On an abandoned corpse, till the blue globe
Wrapped deluge round it like a cloak, and they
Yelled, gasped, and were abolished; or some God
Whose throne was in a comet, passed, and cried,
'Be not!' And like my words they were no more.
The Earth.
The joy, the triumph, the delight, the madness!
The boundless, overflowing, bursting gladness,
The vaporous exultation not to be confined!
Ha! ha! the animation of delight
Which wraps me, like an atmosphere of light,
And bears me as a cloud is borne by its own wind.
The Moon.
Brother mine, calm wanderer,
Happy globe of land and air,
Some Spirit is darted like a beam from thee,
Which penetrates my frozen frame,
And passes with the warmth of flame,
With love, and odour, and deep melody
  Through me, through me!
  The Earth.
Ha! ha! the caverns of my hollow mountains,
My cloven fire-crags, sound-exulting fountains
Laugh with a vast and inextinguishable laughter.
The oceans, and the deserts, and the abysses,
And the deep air's unmeasured wildernesses,
Answer from all their clouds and billows, echoing after.
They cry aloud as I do. Sceptred curse,
Who all our green and azure universe
Threatenedst to muffle round with black destruction, sending
A solid cloud to rain hot thunderstones,
And splinter and knead down my children's bones,
All I bring forth, to one void mass battering and blending,
Until each crag-like tower, and storied column,
Palace, and obelisk, and temple solemn,
My imperial mountains crowned with cloud, and snow, and fire;
My sea-like forests, every blade and blossom
Which finds a grave or cradle in my bosom,
Were stamped by thy strong hate into a lifeless mire:
How art thou sunk, withdrawn, covered, drunk up
By thirsty nothing, as the brackish cup
Drained by a desert-troop, a little drop for all;
And from beneath, around, within, above,
Filling thy void annihilation, love
Burst in like light on caves cloven by the thunder-ball.
The Moon.
The snow upon my lifeless mountains
Is loosened into living fountains,
My solid oceans flow, and sing, and shine:
A spirit from my heart bursts forth,
It clothes with unexpected birth
My cold bare bosom: Oh! it must be thine
  On mine, on mine!
   Gazing on thee I feel, I know
Green stalks burst forth, and bright flowers grow,
And living shapes upon my bosom move:
Music is in the sea and air,
Wingd clouds soar here and there,
Dark with the rain new buds are dreaming of:
  'Tis love, all love!
  The Earth.
It interpenetrates my granite mass,
Through tangled roots and trodden clay doth pass
Into the utmost leaves and delicatest flowers;
Upon the winds, among the clouds 'tis spread,
It wakes a life in the forgotten dead,
They breathe a spirit up from their obscurest bowers.
And like a storm bursting its cloudy prison
With thunder, and with whirlwind, has arisen
Out of the lampless caves of unimagined being:
With earthquake shock and swiftness making shiver
Thought's stagnant chaos, unremoved for ever,
Till hate, and fear, and pain, light-vanquished shadows, fleeing,
Leave Man, who was a many-sided mirror,
Which could distort to many a shape of error,
This true fair world of things, a sea reflecting love;
Which over all his kind, as the sun's heaven
Gliding o'er ocean, smooth, serene, and even,
Darting from starry depths radiance and life, doth move:
Leave Man, even as a leprous child is left,
Who follows a sick beast to some warm cleft
Of rocks, through which the might of healing springs is poured;
Then when it wanders home with rosy smile,
Unconscious, and its mother fears awhile
It is a spirit, then, weeps on her child restored.
Man, oh, not men! a chain of linkd thought,
Of love and might to be divided not,
Compelling the elements with adamantine stress;
As the sun rules, even with a tyrant's gaze,
The unquiet republic of the maze
Of planets, struggling fierce towards heaven's free wilderness.
Man, one harmonious soul of many a soul,
Whose nature is its own divine control,
Where all things flow to all, as rivers to the sea;
Familiar acts are beautiful through love;
Labour, and pain, and grief, in life's green grove
Sport like tame beasts, none knew how gentle they could be!
His will, with all mean passions, bad delights,
And selfish cares, its trembling satellites,
A spirit ill to guide, but mighty to obey,
Is as a tempest-wingd ship, whose helm
Love rules, through waves which dare not overwhelm,
Forcing life's wildest shores to own its sovereign sway.
All things confess his strength. Through the cold mass
Of marble and of colour his dreams pass;
Bright threads whence mothers weave the robes their children wear;
Language is a perpetual Orphic song,
Which rules with Ddal harmony a throng
Of thoughts and forms, which else senseless and shapeless were.
The lightning is his slave; heaven's utmost deep
Gives up her stars, and like a flock of sheep
They pass before his eye, are numbered, and roll on!
The tempest is his steed, he strides the air;
And the abyss shouts from her depth laid bare,
Heaven, hast thou secrets? Man unveils me; I have none.
The Moon.
The shadow of white death has passed
From my path in heaven at last,
A clinging shroud of solid frost and sleep;
And through my newly-woven bowers,
Wander happy paramours,
Less mighty, but as mild as those who keep
  Thy vales more deep.
  The Earth.
As the dissolving warmth of dawn may fold
A half unfrozen dew-globe, green, and gold,
And crystalline, till it becomes a wingd mist,
And wanders up the vault of the blue day,
Outlives the moon, and on the sun's last ray
Hangs o'er the sea, a fleece of fire and amethyst.
The Moon.
Thou art folded, thou art lying
In the light which is undying
Of thine own joy, and heaven's smile divine;
All suns and constellations shower
On thee a light, a life, a power
Which doth array thy sphere; thou pourest thine
  On mine, on mine!
  The Earth.
I spin beneath my pyramid of night,
Which points into the heavens dreaming delight,
Murmuring victorious joy in my enchanted sleep;
As a youth lulled in love-dreams faintly sighing,
Under the shadow of his beauty lying,
Which round his rest a watch of light and warmth doth keep.
The Moon.
As in the soft and sweet eclipse,
When soul meets soul on lovers' lips,
High hearts are calm, and brightest eyes are dull;
So when thy shadow falls on me,
Then am I mute and still, by thee
Covered; of thy love, Orb most beautiful,
  Full, oh, too full!
   Thou art speeding round the sun
Brightest world of many a one;
Green and azure sphere which shinest
With a light which is divinest
Among all the lamps of Heaven
To whom life and light is given;
I, thy crystal paramour
Borne beside thee by a power
Like the polar Paradise,
Magnet-like of lovers' eyes;
I, a most enamoured maiden
Whose weak brain is overladen
With the pleasure of her love,
Maniac-like around thee move
Gazing, an insatiate bride,
On thy form from every side
Like a Mnad, round the cup
Which Agave lifted up
In the weird Cadman forest.
Brother, wheresoe'er thou soarest
I must hurry, whirl and follow
Through the heavens wide and hollow,
Sheltered by the warm embrace
Of thy soul from hungry space,
Drinking from thy sense and sight
Beauty, majesty, and might,
As a lover or a chameleon
Grows like what it looks upon,
As a violet's gentle eye
Gazes on the azure sky
Until its hue grows like what it beholds,
As a gray and watery mist
Glows like solid amethyst
Athwart the western mountain it enfolds,
When the sunset sleeps
  Upon its snow
  The Earth.
  And the weak day weeps
   That it should be so.
Oh, gentle Moon, the voice of thy delight
Falls on me like thy clear and tender light
Soothing the seaman, borne the summer night,
Through isles for ever calm;
Oh, gentle Moon, thy crystal accents pierce
The caverns of my pride's deep universe,
Charming the tiger joy, whose tramplings fierce
Made wounds which need thy balm.
Panthea.
I rise as from a bath of sparkling water,
A bath of azure light, among dark rocks,
Out of the stream of sound.
Ione.
               Ah me! sweet sister,
The stream of sound has ebbed away from us,
And you pretend to rise out of its wave,
Because your words fall like the clear, soft dew
Shaken from a bathing wood-nymph's limbs and hair.
Panthea.
Peace! peace! A mighty Power, which is as darkness,
Is rising out of Earth, and from the sky
Is showered like night, and from within the air
Bursts, like eclipse which had been gathered up
Into the pores of sunlight: the bright visions,
Wherein the singing spirits rode and shone,
Gleam like pale meteors through a watery night.
Ione.
There is a sense of words upon mine ear.
Panthea.
An universal sound like words: Oh, list!
Demogorgon.
Thou, Earth, calm empire of a happy soul,
Sphere of divinest shapes and harmonies,
Beautiful orb! gathering as thou dost roll
The love which paves thy path along the skies:
The Earth.
I hear: I am as a drop of dew that dies.
Demogorgon.
Thou, Moon, which gazest on the nightly Earth
With wonder, as it gazes upon thee;
Whilst each to men, and beasts, and the swift birth
Of birds, is beauty, love, calm, harmony:
The Moon.
I hear: I am a leaf shaken by thee!
Demogorgon.
Ye Kings of suns and stars, Dmons and Gods,
Aetherial Dominations, who possess
Elysian, windless, fortunate abodes
Beyond Heaven's constellated wilderness:
A Voice from above.
Our great Republic hears, we are blest, and bless.
Demogorgon.
Ye happy Dead, whom beams of brightest verse
Are clouds to hide, not colours to portray,
Whether your nature is that universe
Which once ye saw and suffered
A Voice from beneath.
                 Or as they
Whom we have left, we change and pass away.
Demogorgon.
Ye elemental Genii, who have homes
From man's high mind even to the central stone
Of sullen lead; from heaven's star-fretted domes
To the dull weed some sea-worm battens on:
A confused Voice.
We hear: thy words waken Oblivion.
Demogorgon.
Spirits, whose homes are flesh: ye beasts and birds,
Ye worms, and fish; ye living leaves and buds;
Lightning and wind; and ye untameable herds,
Meteors and mists, which throng air's solitudes:
A Voice.
Thy voice to us is wind among still woods.
Demogorgon.
Man, who wert once a despot and a slave;
A dupe and a deceiver; a decay;
A traveller from the cradle to the grave
Through the dim night of this immortal day:
All.
Speak: thy strong words may never pass away.
Demogorgon.
This is the day, which down the void abysm
At the Earth-born's spell yawns for Heaven's despotism,
And Conquest is dragged captive through the deep:
Love, from its awful throne of patient power
In the wise heart, from the last giddy hour
Of dread endurance, from the slippery, steep,
And narrow verge of crag-like agony, springs
And folds over the world its healing wings.
Gentleness, Virtue, Wisdom, and Endurance,
These are the seals of that most firm assurance
Which bars the pit over Destruction's strength;
And if, with infirm hand, Eternity,
Mother of many acts and hours, should free
The serpent that would clasp her with his length;
These are the spells by which to reassume
An empire o'er the disentangled doom.
To suffer woes which Hope thinks infinite;
To forgive wrongs darker than death or night;
To defy Power, which seems omnipotent;
To love, and bear; to hope till Hope creates
From its own wreck the thing it contemplates;
Neither to change, nor falter, nor repent;
This, like thy glory, Titan, is to be
Good, great and joyous, beautiful and free;
This is alone Life, Joy, Empire, and Victory.
Composed at Este, Sept., Oct., 1818 (Act I); at Rome, March - April 6, 1819 (Acts II, III); at Florence, close of 1819 (Act IV). Published by C. and J. Ollier, London, summer of 1820.

Note from Mrs. Shelley: 'On the 12th of March, 1818, Shelley quitted England, never to return. His principal motive was the hope that his health would be improved by a milder climate; he suffered very much during the winter previous to his emigration, and this decided his vacillating purpose. .....Through the whole poem there reigns a sort of calm and holy spirit of love; it soothes the tortured, and is hope to the expectant, till the prophecy is fulfilled, and Love, untainted by any evil, becomes the law of the world. ....And, as he wandered among the ruins made one with Nature in their decay, or gaed on the Praxitelean shapes that throng the Vatican, the Capitol, and the palaces of Rome, his soul imbibed forms of loveliness which became a portion of itself. There are many passages in the Prometheus which show the intense delight he received from such studies, and give back the impression with a beauty of poetical description peculiarly his own. He felt this, as a poet must feel when he satisfies himself by the result of his labours; and he wrote from Rome, ''My Prometheus Unbound is just finished, and in a month or two I shall send it. It is a drama, with characters and mechanism of a kind yet unattempted; and I think the execution is better than any of my former attempts.'''
~ Percy Bysshe Shelley, Prometheus Unbound


IN CHAPTERS



   12 Poetry
   10 Occultism
   10 Integral Yoga
   5 Fiction
   2 Philosophy
   2 Mysticism
   1 Psychology
   1 Christianity
   1 Alchemy


   11 Sri Aurobindo
   6 The Mother
   5 James George Frazer
   4 Satprem
   4 Aleister Crowley
   3 H P Lovecraft
   2 Robert Browning
   2 Percy Bysshe Shelley
   2 Friedrich Schiller


   5 The Golden Bough
   5 Savitri
   3 Magick Without Tears
   3 Lovecraft - Poems
   2 Vedic and Philological Studies
   2 Shelley - Poems
   2 Schiller - Poems
   2 Questions And Answers 1956
   2 Browning - Poems
   2 Agenda Vol 06


01.02 - The Issue, #Savitri, #Sri Aurobindo, #Integral Yoga
    As in a mystic and dynamic dance
    A Priestess of immaculate ecstasies
    Inspired and ruled from Truth's revealing vault

02.08 - The World of Falsehood, the Mother of Evil and the Sons of Darkness, #Savitri, #Sri Aurobindo, #Integral Yoga
  Lest all too soon should change again to bliss.
  Thought sat, a Priestess of Perversity,
  On her black tripod of the triune Snake

04.01 - The Birth and Childhood of the Flame, #Savitri, #Sri Aurobindo, #Integral Yoga
  The spirit and intimate guest of all this charm,
  This sweetness's Priestess and this reverie's muse.
  Invisibly protected from our sense

10.02 - The Gospel of Death and Vanity of the Ideal, #Savitri, #Sri Aurobindo, #Integral Yoga
  O traveller in the chariot of the Sun,
  High Priestess in thy holy fancy's shrine
  Who with a magic ritual in earth's house

10.03 - The Debate of Love and Death, #Savitri, #Sri Aurobindo, #Integral Yoga
  Death from the incredulous Darkness sent its cry:
  "O Priestess in Imagination's house,
  Persuade first Nature's fixed immutable laws

1.01 - The Cycle of Society, #The Human Cycle, #Sri Aurobindo, #Integral Yoga
  
  Or let us take, for this example will serve us best, the Vedic institution of the fourfold order, caturvara, miscalled the system of the four castes,for caste is a conventional, vara a symbolic and typal institution. We are told that the institution of the four orders of society was the result of an economic evolution complicated by political causes. Very possibly;1 but the important point is that it was not so regarded and could not be so regarded by the men of that age. For while we are satisfied when we have found the practical and material causes of a social phenomenon and do not care to look farther, they cared little or only subordinately for its material factors and looked always first and foremost for its symbolic, religious or psychological significance. This appears in the Purushasukta of the Veda, where the four orders are described as having sprung from the body of the creative Deity, from his head, arms, thighs and feet. To us this is merely a poetical image and its sense is that the Brahmins were the men of knowledge, the Kshatriyas the men of power, the Vaishyas the producers and support of society, the Shudras its servants. As if that were all, as if the men of those days would have so profound a reverence for mere poetical figures like this of the body of Brahma or that other of the marriages of Sury, would have built upon them elaborate systems of ritual and sacred ceremony, enduring institutions, great demarcations of social type and ethical discipline. We read always our own mentality into that of these ancient forefa thers and it is therefore that we can find in them nothing but imaginative barbarians. To us poetry is a revel of intellect and fancy, imagination a plaything and caterer for our amusement, our entertainer, the nautch-girl of the mind. But to the men of old the poet was a seer, a revealer of hidden truths, imagination no dancing courtesan but a Priestess in Gods house commissioned not to spin fictions but to image difficult and hidden truths; even the metaphor or simile in the Vedic style is used with a serious purpose and expected to convey a reality, not to suggest a pleasing artifice of thought. The image was to these seers a revelative symbol of the unrevealed and it was used because it could hint luminously to the mind what the precise intellectual word, apt only for logical or practical thought or to express the physical and the superficial, could not at all hope to manifest. To them this symbol of the Creators body was more than an image, it expressed a divine reality. Human society was for them an attempt to express in life the cosmic Purusha who has expressed himself otherwise in the material and the supraphysical universe. Man and the cosmos are both of them symbols and expressions of the same hidden Reality.
  

1.01 - The Rape of the Lock, #The Rape of the Lock, #unset, #Kabbalah
  To that she bends, to that her eyes she rears;
  Th' inferior Priestess, at her altar's side,
  Trembling, begins the sacred rites of pride.

1.04 - The Paths, #A Garden of Pomegranates - An Outline of the Qabalah, #Israel Regardie, #Occultism
  The title of this Path is " The Uniting Intelligence ", and its Yetsiratic attri bution is the moon <=>. Its Tarot card is
  II. - The High Priestess of the Silver Star, picturing a throned woman, crowned with a tiara, the Sun above her head, a stole on her breast, and the sign of the Moon at her feet. She is seated between two pillars, one white (male) and the other black (female), comparable to the right and left-hand pillars of the Tree of Life, and the Masonic
  Yachin and Boaz. In her hand is the scroll of the

1.07 - Incarnate Human Gods, #The Golden Bough, #unset, #Kabbalah
  blood of the lamb, and thus being inspired by the god she prophesied
  or divined. At Aegira in Achaia the Priestess of Earth drank the
  fresh blood of a bull before she descended into the cave to

1.07 - The Three Schools of Magick 2, #Magick Without Tears, #Aleister Crowley, #Occultism
  
  We may complete the whole tradition of the Indian peninsula very simply. To the Vedas, the Upanishads, and the Tripitaka of the Buddhists, we have only to add the Tantras of what are called the Vamacharya Schools. Paradoxical as it may sound the Tantrics are in reality the most advanced of the Hindus. Their theory is, in its philosophical ultimatum, a primitive stage of the White tradition, for the essence of the Tantric cults is that by the performance of certain rites of Magick, one does not only escape disaster, but obtains positive benediction. The Tantric is not obsessed by the will-to-die. It is a difficult business, no doubt, to get any fun out of existence; but at least it is not impossible. In other words, he implicitly denies the fundamental proposition that existence is sorrow, and he formulates the essential postulate of the White School of Magick, that means exist by which the universal sorrow (apparent indeed to all ordinary observation) may be unmasked, even as at the initiatory rite of Isis in the ancient days of Khem. There, a Neophyte presenting his mouth, under compulsion, to the pouting buttocks of the Goat of Mendez, found himself caressed by the chaste lips of a virginal Priestess of that Goddess at the base of whose shrine is written that No man has lifted her veil.
  

1.12 - The Sacred Marriage, #The Golden Bough, #unset, #Kabbalah
  Demeter appears to have been represented by the union of the
  hierophant with the Priestess of Demeter, who acted the parts of god
  and goddess. But their intercourse was only dramatic or symbolical,
  --
  about the country in a waggon attended by a beautiful girl who was
  called the god's wife. She acted also as his Priestess in his great
  temple at Upsala. Wherever the waggon came with the image of the god

1.13 - The Kings of Rome and Alba, #The Golden Bough, #unset, #Kabbalah
  sacred oak. Such a spring is said to have gushed from the foot of
  the great oak at Dodona, and from its murmurous flow the Priestess
  drew oracles. Among the Greeks a draught of water from certain

1.22 - On Prayer, #unset, #Rabbi Moses Luzzatto, #Kabbalah
  
  Then a Priestess said, Speak to us of _Prayer_.
  

1.46 - The Corn-Mother in Many Lands, #The Golden Bough, #unset, #Kabbalah
  are a miniature ladder, a spatula, and a basket containing hooks,
  thorns, and cords. With the spatula the Priestess strokes the soul
  of the rice down the little ladder into the basket, where it is

1.49 - Thelemic Morality, #Magick Without Tears, #Aleister Crowley, #Occultism
  
  Neschamah is an entirely different proposition. One of Tiphareth's prime assets is the influence, through the path of "The Lovers," from Binah. The son's milk from the Great Mother. (From his Father, Chiah, Chokmah, he inherits the infinite possibilities of Nuit, through the path of H, "The Star;" and from his "God," Kether, the Divine Consciousness, the direct inspiration, guidance, and ward of his Holy Guardian Angel, through the path of Gimel, the Moon, "The Priestess.")[94]
  

1.60 - Between Heaven and Earth, #The Golden Bough, #unset, #Kabbalah
  exhale the odour of sanctity. Thus among the Kayans or Bahaus of
  Central Borneo, while the Priestesses are engaged in the performance
  of certain rites they may not step on the ground, and boards are

1.71 - Morality 2, #Magick Without Tears, #Aleister Crowley, #Occultism
  
  As an Artist you are a consecrated Virgin Priestess, the Oracle of the Most High. None has the right to approach you save with the most blessed awe, with arms outstretched as to invoke your benediction. By "spiritually" you mean no more than "according to the lower and middle-middle-class morality of the Anglo-Saxon of the period when Longfellow and Tennyson were supposed to be poets, and Royal Academicians painters."
  

1956-05-23 - Yoga and religion - Story of two clergymen on a boat - The Buddha and the Supramental - Hieroglyphs and phonetic alphabets - A vision of ancient Egypt - Memory for sounds, #Questions And Answers 1956, #The Mother, #Integral Yoga
  
  (After a silence) Look, Ill give you an instance. About two years ago, I had a vision about Zs son. She had brought him to me, he was not quite one year old, and I had just seen him there, in the room where I receive people. He gave me the impression of someone I knew very well, but I didnt know who. And then, in the afternoon of the same day, I had a vision. A vision of ancient Egypt, that is to say, I was someone there, the great Priestess or somebody I dont know who, for one doesnt tell oneself I am so and so: the identification is complete, there is no objectifying, so I dont know. I was in a wonderful building, immense! so high! but quite bare, there was nothing, except a place where there were magnificent paintings. So there I recognised the paintings of ancient Egypt. And I was coming out of my apartments and was entering a kind of large hall. There was a sort of gutter running all round the base of the walls, for collecting water. And then I saw the child, who was half naked, playing in it. And I was quite shocked, I said, What! this is disgusting!but the feelings, ideas, all that was translated into French in my consciousness. There was the tutor who came, I had him called. I scolded him. I heard sounds. Well, I dont know what I said, I dont remember the sounds at all now. I heard the sounds I was articulating, I knew what they meant, but the translation was in French, and the sounds I could not remember. I spoke to him, told him, How can you let the child play in there? And he answered meand I woke up with his replysaying I did not hear the first words, but in my thought it wasAmenhotep likes it. I heard Amenhotep, I remembered. Then I knew the child was Amenhotep.
  

1956-07-11 - Beauty restored to its priesthood - Occult worlds, occult beings - Difficulties and the supramental force, #Questions And Answers 1956, #The Mother, #Integral Yoga
  
  In the first case, I believe I have already said often enough and repeated that in the physical world, of all things it is beauty which best expresses the Divine. The physical world is the world of form, and the perfection of form is beauty. So I think it is not necessary to go over all that again. And once we admit this, that in the physical world beauty is the best and closest expression of the Divine, it is natural to speak of it as a Priestess, who interprets, expresses, manifests the Eternal. Its true role is to put the whole of manifested nature into contact with the Eternal through the perfection of form, harmony, and through a sense of the ideal which raises you towards something higher. So I think this justifies the word priesthood and explains and answers the question
  

1965-06-05, #Agenda Vol 06, #unset, #Kabbalah
  
   I. in ancient Egypt. A temple or palace of ancient Egypt. Light-and fresh-colored paintings on the very high walls. Clear light. About the child, very bold, independent and playful, I hear the end of a sentence: Such is the will oftep. The entire name is uttered very clearly, but when I got up (too abruptly), only the syllable tep was retained by the memory of the waking consciousness. It was the tutor speaking to me about the child. I am the Pharaohs wife or the high Priestess of the temple, with full authority.
  

1965-06-14, #Agenda Vol 06, #unset, #Kabbalah
  
   I remember having read a story, at the time when I used to receive I think it was Le Matin, the newspaper Le Matin. There were novels in it and I used to read the novels to see the state of mind of people. And there was an extraordinary novel in which the main character was a woman who was immortal (she had been condemned to immortality by God knows which deity), and she tried her best to die, without success! It was stupid, the whole thing was stupid, but the standpoint was reversed: she was compelled to be immortal and she said, Oh! When will I be allowed to die?, with the ordinary idea that death is the end, that everything is over and one rests. And she had been told, You will be able to die only when you meet true love. Everything was topsy-turvy. But when I read that, it set me thinking a lot sometimes its the most stupid things that set you thinking the most. And to complete the story you see, she had been someone, then someone else, a Priestess in Egypt, anyway all kinds of things, and finally (I dont remember), it was in modern times: she met a young married couple; the husb and was a remarkable man, intelligent (I think he was an inventor); his wife, whom he loved passionately, was a stupid and wicked fool who spoilt all his work, who ruined his whole life and he went on loving her. And thats what (laughing) they gave as example of perfect love!
  

1967-05-10, #Agenda Vol 08, #unset, #Kabbalah
  
   (After a silence) Listen, Ill give you an example. Some two years ago, I had a vision about U.s son. She had brought him to me (he was almost one) and I had just seen him there (in the music room). He struck me as someone I knew very well, but I didnt know who. Then, that same day in the afternoon, I had a vision. A vision of ancient Egypt, that is I was someone, the high Priestess or I dont know who. (Because you dont say to yourself, I am so and so! The identification is total, there is no objectivity, so I dont know.) I was inside a wonderful monument, immense, so high! But it was completely bare: there was nothing, except for one place where there were magnificent paintings. Thats where I recognized the paintings of ancient Egypt. I was coming out of my apartments and entering a sort of great hall: there was a kind of gutter to collect water (on the ground) running round the walls. And I saw the child (who was half-naked) playing in it. I was very shocked, I said, What! This is disgusting! (But the feelings, ideas and so on were all expressed in French in my consciousness.) The tutor came, I had him sent for. I scolded him. I heard soundswell, I dont know what I said, I dont remember those sounds. I heard the sounds I uttered, I knew what they meant, but the expression was in French, and I didnt retain a memory of the sounds. I spoke to him, telling him, What! You let this child play in that? And he answered me (I woke up with his answer), saying (I didnt hear the first words, but to my thought it was), Such is the will of Amenhotep. I heard Amenhotep, I remembered it. So I knew the child was Amenhotep.1
  

1968-01-12, #Agenda Vol 09, #unset, #Kabbalah
  
   Yes, its like that. So I asked him, But whatever is that occult center? He said, Yes, its an inner center for the more advanced disciples, those who are more in the know, and there is in it a sort of high Priestess that was Y. [a European disciple].
  
  --
  
   Satprem omitted the explanation given by the "high Priestess," which was that "the she-monkey caresses its young all over the body, including its sex organ, therefore..."
  

1.ac - The Priestess of Panormita, #Crowley - Poems, #Aleister Crowley, #Occultism
  object:1.ac - The Priestess of Panormita
  author class:Aleister Crowley

1.anon - The Epic of Gilgamesh Tablet III, #Anonymous - Poems, #unset, #Kabbalah
  but now I speak to you along with the sacred votaries of Gilgamesh,
  the high Priestesses, the holy women, the temple servers."
  She laid a pendant(?) on Enkidu's neck,

1f.lovecraft - Medusas Coil, #Lovecraft - Poems, #unset, #Kabbalah
   I dont think this business made much impression on Denis until the
   night of the queer ritual at Marshs rooms when he met the Priestess.
   Most of the devotees of this cult were young fellows, but the head of
  --
   altogether cutting his own crowd and spending the bulk of his time with
   this alluring Priestess. At her especial request he never told the old
   crowd of their continual meetings; so nobody over there tried to break
  --
   other blacks would go near. God, but I was glad when that old witch
   died! I honestly believe she had been a Priestess of some ancient and
   terrible tradition back in Africa. She must have lived to be almost a

1f.lovecraft - The Last Test, #Lovecraft - Poems, #unset, #Kabbalah
   is my sister. She deems no sacrifice too great in my service. She is a
   Priestess of truth and discovery, as I am a priest.
   He paused in his shrill tirade, wild-eyed, and somewhat out of breath.

1f.lovecraft - The Temple, #Lovecraft - Poems, #unset, #Kabbalah
   of inexpressible beauty; obviously portraying idealised pastoral scenes
   and processions of priests and Priestesses bearing strange ceremonial
   devices in adoration of a radiant god. The art is of the most

1.fs - Cassandra, #Schiller - Poems, #Friedrich Schiller, #Poetry
    To its dark and deep recesses
     Swift the sorrowing Priestess hied,
    And from off her flowing tresses

1.fs - Hero And Leander, #Schiller - Poems, #Friedrich Schiller, #Poetry
  Living have I thy temple served,
   Thy consecrated Priestess been
  My last glad offering now receive

WORDNET


































IN WEBGEN [10000/112]

https://greekmythology.wikia.org/wiki/Rhea_(Italian_Priestess)
https://religion.wikia.org/wiki/File:Mam_priestess.png
https://religion.wikia.org/wiki/Umbanda#Umbanda_temples.2C_priests_and_priestesses
https://knowyourarchetypes.com/priestess-archetype/
https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/File:Bembo-Visconti-tarot-arcanum-02-high_priestess.jpg
https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/File:Bust_of_a_goddess_or_priestess_with_jewellery_and_flower._Limestone,_Cyprus,_550-540_BC,_Rembrandt_Association.JPG
https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/File:Collier-priestess_of_Delphi.jpg
https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/File:John_Collier_-_Priestess_of_Bacchus.jpg
https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/File:Priestess_restored_as_Isis,_Roman,_1st_century_BC,_marble_-_Galleria_Borghese_-_Rome,_Italy_-_DSC04805.jpg
Wikipedia - Cerridwen Fallingstar -- American Wiccan Priestess and author
Wikipedia - Chrysis (priestess) -- Argive priestess of Hera
Wikipedia - Cumaean Sibyl -- Priestess presiding over the Apollonian oracle at Cumae
Wikipedia - Divine Adoratrice of Amun -- Ancient Egyptian title for certain high-ranking priestesses
Wikipedia - Enheduanna -- Sumerian priestess and poet
Wikipedia - Henut Taui -- Egyptian priestess
Wikipedia - High Priestess (TV series) -- Indian web series
Wikipedia - Mary Ellen Tracy -- High priestess of the Church of the Most High Goddess
Wikipedia - Monique Wilson (witch) -- Wiccan priestess
Wikipedia - Ninos (priestess) -- Ancient Athenian woman
Wikipedia - Priestess of Avalon
Wikipedia - Pythia -- Priestess of the Temple of Apollo at Delphi
Wikipedia - The High Priestess
Wikipedia - Vestal Virgin -- Priestesses of the goddess Vesta in ancient Rome
InuYasha (1997 - 2004) - Fifteen year old Kagome Higurashi falls into an old well on her family's Shinto shrine. The "Bone eater's well" transports Kagome back in time to Japan's feudal era. There she meets the half dog demon half human Inuyasha.An old priestess named Kaede explains to Kagome that she is the reincarnation...
Rune Soldier (2001 - 2001) - Louie, a brawny student at the mage's guild, is reluctantly accepted by three girls (Merrill-thief, Genie-fighter, and Melissa-priestess) as a companion for their adventuring party. As the foursome explore ruins, battle dark creatures, and make new friends, they also uncover a sinister plot within t...
Fairy Tail the Movie: Phoenix Priestess(2012) - One day, a request flew in with the words "I want the leader of the bandit group that's eating the nest in a certain harbor town, Geese, to be apprehended". Natsu and the team, who are looking forward to the big reward, set out to the place of request in high spirits. However, because of a mistake L...
The House On Skull Mountain(1974) - Murders occur at the southern estate of a voodoo priestess when four relatives gather to hear her will.
https://ancardia.fandom.com/wiki/Dark_elven_priestess
https://camphalfbloodroleplay.fandom.com/wiki/List:Priests_&_Priestesses_of_the_Wiki
https://castleage.fandom.com/wiki/Jahanna,_Priestess_of_Aurora
https://elderscrolls.fandom.com/wiki/High_Priestess_Solgra
https://elderscrolls.fandom.com/wiki/Priestess_Aranwen
https://elderscrolls.fandom.com/wiki/Priestess_Brela
https://elderscrolls.fandom.com/wiki/Priestess_Langwe
https://elderscrolls.fandom.com/wiki/Priestess_of_Arkay
https://elderscrolls.fandom.com/wiki/Priestess_of_Boethiah
https://elderscrolls.fandom.com/wiki/Priestess_Pietine
https://elderscrolls.fandom.com/wiki/Priestess_Sendel
https://eq2.fandom.com/wiki/An_Amazon_priestess
https://eq2.fandom.com/wiki/Priestess_Kelania_D'zil_(Advanced_Solo)
https://eq2.fandom.com/wiki/Priestess_Klodae_Cer'Ule
https://fairytail.fandom.com/wiki/Fairy_Tail:_Phoenix_Priestess
https://fairytail.fandom.com/wiki/Grand_White_Priestess
https://fatalframe.fandom.com/wiki/Fatal_Frame:_Shadow_Priestess
https://fatalframe.fandom.com/wiki/Tattooed_Priestess
https://fireemblem.fandom.com/wiki/Light_Priestess
https://fireemblem.fandom.com/wiki/Priestess
https://fireemblem.fandom.com/wiki/Priestess_(Fates)
https://fireemblem.fandom.com/wiki/Priestess_(Gaiden)
https://forgottenrealms.fandom.com/wiki/Priestess
https://forgottenrealms.fandom.com/wiki/Zariel_(priestess)
https://goblin-slayer.fandom.com/wiki/Priestess
https://mdcd.fandom.com/wiki/High_Priestess
https://megamitensei.fandom.com/wiki/Priestess_Arcana
https://memory-alpha.fandom.com/wiki/High_priestess
https://memory-alpha.fandom.com/wiki/Priestess
https://memory-alpha.fandom.com/wiki/Priestess_leader
https://memory-alpha.fandom.com/wiki/Tribal_priestess
https://memory-alpha.fandom.com/wiki/Vulcan_23rd_century_high_priestess
https://merlin.fandom.com/wiki/High_Priestess
https://mtg.fandom.com/wiki/Willow_Priestesses
https://samuraijack.fandom.com/wiki/The_High_Priestess
https://solia.fandom.com/wiki/Demon_Priestess
https://starwars.fandom.com/wiki/Force_Priestesses
https://wowwiki-archive.fandom.com/wiki/Priestess_of_Dementia
https://wowwiki-archive.fandom.com/wiki/Priestess_of_the_Dawn
https://wowwiki-archive.fandom.com/wiki/Priestess_of_the_Moon
https://wowwiki-archive.fandom.com/wiki/Priestess_of_the_Moon_(Warcraft_III)
https://wowwiki-archive.fandom.com/wiki/Priestess_of_the_tides
https://wowwiki-archive.fandom.com/wiki/Quest:A_Gift_for_the_High_Priestess_of_Elune
Amaenaide yo!! -- -- Studio Deen -- 12 eps -- Manga -- Comedy Ecchi Harem Romance Supernatural -- Amaenaide yo!! Amaenaide yo!! -- Satonaka Ikkou, a 16 year old boy, is a first year trainee at the Saienji Buddhist Temple. He was sent there by his parents to be trained by his grandmother, the Saienji Priestess. At the temple he finds himself surrounded by beautiful female priestesses-in-training. Upon seeing a girl naked, Ikko has the ability to turn into a super-monk, performing massive exorcisms for the good of the temple. -- -- (Source: ANN) -- -- Licensor: -- Media Blasters, Nozomi Entertainment -- TV - Jul 1, 2005 -- 66,401 6.49
Amaenaide yo!! -- -- Studio Deen -- 12 eps -- Manga -- Comedy Ecchi Harem Romance Supernatural -- Amaenaide yo!! Amaenaide yo!! -- Satonaka Ikkou, a 16 year old boy, is a first year trainee at the Saienji Buddhist Temple. He was sent there by his parents to be trained by his grandmother, the Saienji Priestess. At the temple he finds himself surrounded by beautiful female priestesses-in-training. Upon seeing a girl naked, Ikko has the ability to turn into a super-monk, performing massive exorcisms for the good of the temple. -- -- (Source: ANN) -- TV - Jul 1, 2005 -- 66,401 6.49
Amaenaide yo!! Katsu!! -- -- Studio Deen -- 12 eps -- Manga -- Comedy Ecchi Harem Romance Supernatural -- Amaenaide yo!! Katsu!! Amaenaide yo!! Katsu!! -- In this sequel, a girl named Kazusano Kazuki joins up with the 6 girls and Ikko. With Kazuki around, Ikko will find himself in more embarrassing situations with these priestesses-in-training. -- -- (Source: ANN) -- TV - Jan 4, 2006 -- 45,666 6.70
Asagiri no Miko -- -- Chaos Project, GANSIS -- 26 eps -- Manga -- Action Comedy Supernatural Fantasy Seinen -- Asagiri no Miko Asagiri no Miko -- Since childhood, Tadahiro Amatsu has two different-colored eyes - one brown and one light hazel. But because of a dark secret behind his left eye, he's become a target for the masked sorcerer Ayatara Miramune and his band of demons. To combat the demons appearing all over town, Yuzu Hieda, a priestess in training, recruits four other girls from her high school. Under the supervision of Yuzu's elder sister Kurako, the five young priestesses must undergo months of training to master their abilities. -- -- (Source: ANN) -- TV - Jul 4, 2002 -- 6,694 6.16
Brave 10 -- -- TMS Entertainment -- 12 eps -- Manga -- Action Adventure Historical Super Power Samurai Seinen -- Brave 10 Brave 10 -- Isanami, a young priestess of Izumo, is forced to watch as a group of evil ninja burn her temple to the ground and slaughter the people within, leaving her no choice but to flee into the forest to escape the same fate. By chance, she stumbles upon Saizou Kirigakure, a masterless ninja from the Iga school. The two travel to Ueda Castle to ask Yukimura Sanada for help. Isanami's possession of a strange and devastating power is revealed, and Sanada readily agrees to help her, gathering ten brave warriors to Isanami's side. -- -- Thus begins Brave 10, a story set in the Warring States period. It follows Saizou and Isanami's journey throughout the war-laden lands in search of brave warriors to serve under Yukimura's banner, each possessing powerful skills of their own. They'll have to travel far and wide, all while trying to fend off those who would chase after the dark power that she possesses to make it their own. -- -- Licensor: -- NIS America, Inc. -- TV - Jan 8, 2012 -- 132,225 6.79
Chou Henshin Cosprayers -- -- Imagin, Studio Live -- 8 eps -- Original -- Action Ecchi Adventure Fantasy Magic Comedy Super Power Sci-Fi -- Chou Henshin Cosprayers Chou Henshin Cosprayers -- Koto unknowingly seals away the Sun Goddess Amaterasu, and now she is in a different world and can't return. Meeting priestesses who combat the evil in this strange place she learns that Black Towers throughout the land keep Amaterasu sealed away and are guarded by evil monsters. Koto must now find a way to help defeat these monsters and return the world to the way it was. -- -- (Source: ANN) -- TV - Jan 12, 2004 -- 7,481 4.94
Dog Days'' -- -- Seven Arcs Pictures -- 12 eps -- Original -- Action Adventure Magic Fantasy -- Dog Days'' Dog Days'' -- Cinque Izumi, Nanami Takatsuki, and Rebecca Anderson must once again embark on a journey to the continent of Flonyard and participate in the friendly war games of the three allied nations: Biscotti Republic, Galette, and Pastilage. Cinque is Biscotti’s hero, who also happens to be the cousin of Galette’s hero Nanami. Rebecca is Pastillage’s hero and a dear friend of Cinque. -- -- Dog Days'' begins in the human world. Rebecca prepares her things for her journey back to Pastilage from Japan. Meanwhile, Cinque and Nanami set out to travel to Biscotti and Galette, respectively, all the way from England, when suddenly, a freakish streak of bad luck—in the form of lightning, of course—sends them off course. They soon find themselves in the great Dragon Forest, protected by a Dragon Priestess named Sharu. The Dragon Priestess informs them that demons threaten to invade the forest, as well as the whole continent of Flonyard! -- -- It looks like a real war is about to begin in Dog Days''. Can these three heroes save the whole continent from these evil beings? -- TV - Jan 11, 2015 -- 63,594 6.95
Elf wo Karu Mono-tachi -- -- Amuse, Group TAC -- 12 eps -- Manga -- Adventure Comedy Ecchi Fantasy Magic Shounen -- Elf wo Karu Mono-tachi Elf wo Karu Mono-tachi -- Loudmouthed martial artist Junpei Ryuzouji, elegant actress Airi Komiyama, and cheery but artillery-obsessed student Ritsuko Inoue all find themselves transported from their homeland of Japan to an unfamiliar, magical world. When the elven priestess Celcia Marieclaire casts the spell to send them home, she is interrupted, and the spell is broken into parts that scatter throughout the world. The spell fragments imprint themselves onto the skin of various elves. -- -- The trio travels in Ritsuko's tank, searching for elves who might carry the spell fragments so that Celcia can transfer them to her own body and make the spell whole again. As they adventure, people begin to refer to them as "Those Who Hunt Elves," gaining a reputation as warriors that put a stop to evil-doers with their miraculous cannon, terrifying elves by stripping any that they find. Though they're not the smartest group, they make up for it with enthusiasm and their strong determination to get back to Japan. -- -- 21,535 7.02
Elf wo Karu Mono-tachi -- -- Amuse, Group TAC -- 12 eps -- Manga -- Adventure Comedy Ecchi Fantasy Magic Shounen -- Elf wo Karu Mono-tachi Elf wo Karu Mono-tachi -- Loudmouthed martial artist Junpei Ryuzouji, elegant actress Airi Komiyama, and cheery but artillery-obsessed student Ritsuko Inoue all find themselves transported from their homeland of Japan to an unfamiliar, magical world. When the elven priestess Celcia Marieclaire casts the spell to send them home, she is interrupted, and the spell is broken into parts that scatter throughout the world. The spell fragments imprint themselves onto the skin of various elves. -- -- The trio travels in Ritsuko's tank, searching for elves who might carry the spell fragments so that Celcia can transfer them to her own body and make the spell whole again. As they adventure, people begin to refer to them as "Those Who Hunt Elves," gaining a reputation as warriors that put a stop to evil-doers with their miraculous cannon, terrifying elves by stripping any that they find. Though they're not the smartest group, they make up for it with enthusiasm and their strong determination to get back to Japan. -- -- -- Licensor: -- ADV Films, Sentai Filmworks -- 21,535 7.02
Fushigi Yuugi -- -- Studio Pierrot -- 52 eps -- Manga -- Adventure Fantasy Magic Martial Arts Comedy Romance Historical Drama Shoujo -- Fushigi Yuugi Fushigi Yuugi -- While visiting the National Library, junior-high students Miaka Yuuki and Yui Hongo are transported into the world of a mysterious book set in ancient China, "The Universe of The Four Gods." Miaka suddenly finds herself with the responsibility of being the priestess of Suzaku, and must find all of her celestial warriors for the purpose of summoning Suzaku for three wishes; however, the enemy nation of the god Seiryuu has manipulated Yui into becoming the priestess of Seiryuu. As enemies, the former best friends begin their long struggle to summon their respective gods and obtain their wishes... -- -- 99,049 7.64
Fushigi Yuugi -- -- Studio Pierrot -- 52 eps -- Manga -- Adventure Fantasy Magic Martial Arts Comedy Romance Historical Drama Shoujo -- Fushigi Yuugi Fushigi Yuugi -- While visiting the National Library, junior-high students Miaka Yuuki and Yui Hongo are transported into the world of a mysterious book set in ancient China, "The Universe of The Four Gods." Miaka suddenly finds herself with the responsibility of being the priestess of Suzaku, and must find all of her celestial warriors for the purpose of summoning Suzaku for three wishes; however, the enemy nation of the god Seiryuu has manipulated Yui into becoming the priestess of Seiryuu. As enemies, the former best friends begin their long struggle to summon their respective gods and obtain their wishes... -- -- -- Licensor: -- Geneon Entertainment USA, Media Blasters -- 99,049 7.64
Goblin Slayer -- -- White Fox -- 12 eps -- Light novel -- Action Adventure Fantasy -- Goblin Slayer Goblin Slayer -- Goblins are known for their ferocity, cunning, and rapid reproduction, but their reputation as the lowliest of monsters causes their threat to be overlooked. Raiding rural civilizations to kidnap females of other species for breeding, these vile creatures are free to continue their onslaught as adventurers turn a blind eye in favor of more rewarding assignments with larger bounties. -- -- To commemorate her first day as a Porcelain-ranked adventurer, the 15-year-old Priestess joins a band of young, enthusiastic rookies to investigate a tribe of goblins responsible for the disappearance of several village women. Unprepared and inexperienced, the group soon faces its inevitable demise from an ambush while exploring a cave. With no one else left standing, the terrified Priestess accepts her fate—until the Goblin Slayer unexpectedly appears to not only rescue her with little effort, but destroy the entire goblin nest. -- -- As a holder of the prestigious Silver rank, the Goblin Slayer allows her to accompany him as he assists the Adventurer's Guild in all goblin-related matters. Together with the Priestess, High Elf, Dwarf, and Lizard-man, the armored warrior will not rest until every single goblin in the frontier lands has been eradicated for good. -- -- -- Licensor: -- Funimation -- 751,943 7.45
Harukanaru Toki no Naka de 3: Kurenai no Tsuki -- -- - -- 1 ep -- Visual novel -- Action Fantasy Military Historical Shoujo -- Harukanaru Toki no Naka de 3: Kurenai no Tsuki Harukanaru Toki no Naka de 3: Kurenai no Tsuki -- Another 100 years has passed since the end the end of Harukanaru Toki no Naka de 2 (200 years after the original anime). In the past that is, very little time has gone by in the future. One day, Kasuga Nozomi encounters a strange boy at her high school, who sends her across time and space to Kyou, a place in another world that bears a strong resemblance to Kyoto towards the end of the Heian period. There, the Minamoto clan ("Genji"), led by Minamoto no Yoritomo, is at war with the Taira clan ("Heike"), led by Taira no Kiyomori. The Heike hope to defeat the Genji by releasing vengeful spirits to disturb the earth`s natural flow of energy and to terrorize the land. The boy is revealed to be the human form of Hakuryuu, the White Dragon God that protects Kyou, who is weakened by the presence of the vengeful spirits. As the Hakuryuu no Miko (Priestess of the White Dragon God), Nozomi allies herself with the Genji because Hakuryuu cannot send her home until his power is restored... -- -- (Source: AniDB) -- Special - Dec 28, 2007 -- 3,192 6.78
Harukanaru Toki no Naka de: Hachiyou Shou -- -- Yumeta Company -- 26 eps -- Visual novel -- Fantasy Magic Supernatural Demons Historical Shoujo -- Harukanaru Toki no Naka de: Hachiyou Shou Harukanaru Toki no Naka de: Hachiyou Shou -- Akane Motomiya and her friends Tenma and Shimon are pulled by a demon into another world, where Akane becomes the Priestess of the Dragon God. The people of this world tell her that she is the only one who can stop the demons from taking over; meanwhile, the demons want to use her power for their own ends. Luckily, Akane has the Hachiyou, eight men with powers of their own who are sworn to protect the Dragon Priestess. -- -- (Source: ANN) -- -- Licensor: -- Bandai Visual USA -- TV - Oct 6, 2004 -- 21,173 7.04
Harukanaru Toki no Naka de: Hachiyou Shou -- -- Yumeta Company -- 26 eps -- Visual novel -- Fantasy Magic Supernatural Demons Historical Shoujo -- Harukanaru Toki no Naka de: Hachiyou Shou Harukanaru Toki no Naka de: Hachiyou Shou -- Akane Motomiya and her friends Tenma and Shimon are pulled by a demon into another world, where Akane becomes the Priestess of the Dragon God. The people of this world tell her that she is the only one who can stop the demons from taking over; meanwhile, the demons want to use her power for their own ends. Luckily, Akane has the Hachiyou, eight men with powers of their own who are sworn to protect the Dragon Priestess. -- -- (Source: ANN) -- TV - Oct 6, 2004 -- 21,173 7.04
Hi no Tori -- -- Tezuka Productions -- 13 eps -- Manga -- Sci-Fi Adventure Historical Supernatural Drama -- Hi no Tori Hi no Tori -- From prehistoric times to the distant future, Hi no Tori portrays how the legendary immortal bird Phoenix acts as a witness and chronicler for the history of mankind's endless struggle in search of power, justice, and freedom. -- -- The Dawn -- Since time immemorial, people have sought out the legendary Phoenix for its blood, which is known to grant eternal life. Hearing about rumored Phoenix sightings in the Land of Fire, Himiko—the cruel queen of Yamatai obsessed with immortality—sends her army to conquer the nation and retrieve the creature. Young Nagi, his elder sister Hinaku, and her foreign husband Guzuri are the only survivors of the slaughter. But while Nagi is taken prisoner by the enemy, elsewhere, Hinaku has a shocking revelation. -- -- The Resurrection -- In a distant future where Earth has become uninhabitable, Leona undergoes surgery on a space station to recover from a deadly accident. However, while also suffering from amnesia, his brain is now half cybernetic and causes him to see people as formless scraps and robots as humans. Falling in love with Chihiro, a discarded robot, they escape together from the space station to prevent Chihiro from being destroyed. Yet as his lost memories gradually return, Leona will have to confront the painful truth about his past. -- -- The Transformation -- Yearning for independence, Sakon no Suke—the only daughter of a tyrant ruler—kills priestess Yao Bikuni, the sole person capable of curing her father's illness. Consequently, she and her faithful servant, Kahei, are unexpectedly confined to the temple grounds of Bikuni's sanctuary. While searching for a way out, Sakon no Suke assumes the priestess's position and uses a miraculous feather to heal all those reaching out for help. -- -- The Sun -- After his faction loses the war, Prince Harima's head is replaced with a wolf's. An old medicine woman who recognizes his bloodline assists him and the wounded General Azumi-no-muraji Saruta in escaping to Wah Land. But their arrival at a small Wah village is met with unexpected trouble as Houben, a powerful Buddhist monk, wants Harima dead. With the aid of the Ku clan wolf gods that protect the village's surroundings, he survives the murder attempt. After tensions settle, Saruta uses his established reputation in Wah to persuade the villagers to welcome Harima into their community. Over a period of time, Harima becomes the village's respected leader under the name Inugami no Sukune. But while the young prince adapts to his new role, he must remain vigilant as new dangers soon arise and threaten his recently acquired tranquility. -- -- The Future -- Life on Earth has gradually ceased to exist, with the survivors taking refuge in underground cities. To avoid human extinction, Doctor Saruta unsuccessfully tries to recreate life in his laboratory. However, the unexpected visit of Masato Yamanobe, his alien girlfriend Tamami, and his colleague Rock Holmes reveals a disturbing crisis: the computers that regulate the subterranean cities have initiated a nuclear war that will eliminate all of mankind. -- -- TV - Mar 21, 2004 -- 7,595 7.10
Honzuki no Gekokujou: Shisho ni Naru Tame ni wa Shudan wo Erandeiraremasen 2nd Season -- -- Ajia-Do -- 12 eps -- Light novel -- Slice of Life Fantasy -- Honzuki no Gekokujou: Shisho ni Naru Tame ni wa Shudan wo Erandeiraremasen 2nd Season Honzuki no Gekokujou: Shisho ni Naru Tame ni wa Shudan wo Erandeiraremasen 2nd Season -- When Myne learns that the Holy Church is in need of mana for their relics, she sees it as her chance to be cured of her life-threatening mana disorder. After seeing their bountiful library, she throws herself headfirst into the Church's grasp and begs to join their order. In exchange for her service and her unusually bountiful supply of mana, Myne is given the blue robes of a noble-born apprentice priestess, despite being a commoner. To Myne, all this talk of mana and nobility is trivial, as she now has access to an unlimited supply of books! -- -- As Myne transitions into the next phase of her life in this new world, she soon learns that achieving her dream has come at a heavy cost. Noble society is severe, unforgiving, and fueled by politics and neglect. She must now deal with the class conflict between the noble-born blue robes and the common-born grey robes, the High Priest's attempts to oust her, and constant behavioral issues from her new retainers. With the help of her family, friends, and the enigmatic Head Priest whose loyalties and motives remain unknown, Myne seeks to overcome these obstacles and continue on the path to becoming her ideal self—the ultimate librarian! -- -- -- Licensor: -- Crunchyroll -- 108,351 8.15
Juubee Ninpuuchou: Ryuuhougyoku-hen -- -- Madhouse -- 13 eps -- Original -- Adventure Horror Magic Martial Arts Samurai Shounen Supernatural -- Juubee Ninpuuchou: Ryuuhougyoku-hen Juubee Ninpuuchou: Ryuuhougyoku-hen -- Fourteen years after defeating the immortal warrior Himuro Genma and thwarting the Shogun of the Dark's evil plans, Kibagami Jubei continues to roam all over Japan as a masterless swordsman. During his journey, he meets Shigure, a priestess who has never seen the world outside her village. But when a group of demons destroys the village and kills everyone, Jubei becomes a prime target after acquiring the Dragon Jewel—a stone with an unknown origin. Meanwhile, Shigure—along with the monk Dakuan and a young thief named Tsubute—travels to the village of Yagyu. And with two demon clans now hunting down Shigure, Dakuan must once again acquire the services of Jubei to protect the Priestess of Light. -- -- (Source: ANN) -- -- Licensor: -- Discotek Media, Urban Vision -- TV - Apr 15, 2003 -- 34,373 6.69
Juubee Ninpuuchou: Ryuuhougyoku-hen -- -- Madhouse -- 13 eps -- Original -- Adventure Horror Magic Martial Arts Samurai Shounen Supernatural -- Juubee Ninpuuchou: Ryuuhougyoku-hen Juubee Ninpuuchou: Ryuuhougyoku-hen -- Fourteen years after defeating the immortal warrior Himuro Genma and thwarting the Shogun of the Dark's evil plans, Kibagami Jubei continues to roam all over Japan as a masterless swordsman. During his journey, he meets Shigure, a priestess who has never seen the world outside her village. But when a group of demons destroys the village and kills everyone, Jubei becomes a prime target after acquiring the Dragon Jewel—a stone with an unknown origin. Meanwhile, Shigure—along with the monk Dakuan and a young thief named Tsubute—travels to the village of Yagyu. And with two demon clans now hunting down Shigure, Dakuan must once again acquire the services of Jubei to protect the Priestess of Light. -- -- (Source: ANN) -- TV - Apr 15, 2003 -- 34,373 6.69
Kannazuki no Miko -- -- TNK -- 12 eps -- Manga -- Supernatural Drama Magic Romance Mecha Shounen Shoujo Ai -- Kannazuki no Miko Kannazuki no Miko -- Kannazuki no Miko begins in the village of Mahoroba, where time passes slowly for both man and nature. Two students from the village's prestigious Ototachibana Academy might as well be night and day. Himeko is shy and unassertive, while Chikane is bold and elegant. Despite this, they love each other, and nothing can come between them, no matter how hard they try. -- -- On the two girls' shared birthday, a sinister voice corrupts one of their friends into attacking them, and just when it seemed grimmest, the lunar and solar priestess powers that lay dormant in the two girls awaken, dispelling the evil. That was only the first hurdle, however. The two must now fend off the countless others who would threaten their well-being—even the people closest to them! -- 60,919 6.86
Kannazuki no Miko -- -- TNK -- 12 eps -- Manga -- Supernatural Drama Magic Romance Mecha Shounen Shoujo Ai -- Kannazuki no Miko Kannazuki no Miko -- Kannazuki no Miko begins in the village of Mahoroba, where time passes slowly for both man and nature. Two students from the village's prestigious Ototachibana Academy might as well be night and day. Himeko is shy and unassertive, while Chikane is bold and elegant. Despite this, they love each other, and nothing can come between them, no matter how hard they try. -- -- On the two girls' shared birthday, a sinister voice corrupts one of their friends into attacking them, and just when it seemed grimmest, the lunar and solar priestess powers that lay dormant in the two girls awaken, dispelling the evil. That was only the first hurdle, however. The two must now fend off the countless others who would threaten their well-being—even the people closest to them! -- -- Licensor: -- Geneon Entertainment USA, Sentai Filmworks -- 60,919 6.86
King's Raid: Ishi wo Tsugumono-tachi -- -- OLM, Sunrise Beyond -- 26 eps -- Game -- Action Adventure Fantasy Magic -- King's Raid: Ishi wo Tsugumono-tachi King's Raid: Ishi wo Tsugumono-tachi -- Long ago, the king of Orvelia, Kyle, defeated the demon king Angmund and brought peace to the world. However, one hundred years later, demons have been sighted in the forests, threatening humanity once more. A scouting expedition is sent to verify the claim but only one member returns. Meanwhile, Riheet, the leader of a dark elf mercenary group, plots to take over Orvelia to exact revenge against the humans who forsook their race a century ago. -- -- The knight apprentice Kasel, accompanied by the priestess Frey, sets out to rescue Clause, an old friend who went missing in the tragic mission. However, along the way, Kasel discovers that he is the son of the revered King Kyle and the only one who can wield the Holy Sword Aea—the same sword that slew the demon king. To fulfill this destiny, the young knight must embark on a perilous quest, unseal the sword, and end the fear instilled by demons. As Kasel's journey to bring hope to humanity and Riheet's vow for vengeance intertwine, what fate could possibly await them? -- -- -- Licensor: -- Funimation -- 46,453 5.99
Mahou Senshi Louie -- -- J.C.Staff -- 24 eps -- Light novel -- Adventure Comedy Fantasy Magic Shounen -- Mahou Senshi Louie Mahou Senshi Louie -- Louie, a brawny student at the mage's guild, is reluctantly accepted by three girls (Merrill-thief, Genie-fighter, and Melissa-priestess) as a companion for their adventuring party. As the foursome explore ruins, battle dark creatures, and make new friends, they also uncover a sinister plot within the kingdom. -- -- (Source: ANN) -- 18,435 7.17
Mo Dao Zu Shi 3rd Season -- -- B.CMAY PICTURES -- ? eps -- Novel -- Action Historical Demons Supernatural Drama Magic -- Mo Dao Zu Shi 3rd Season Mo Dao Zu Shi 3rd Season -- Third season of Mo Dao Zu Shi. -- ONA - ??? ??, 2021 -- 18,671 N/A -- -- Mahou Senshi Louie -- -- J.C.Staff -- 24 eps -- Light novel -- Adventure Comedy Fantasy Magic Shounen -- Mahou Senshi Louie Mahou Senshi Louie -- Louie, a brawny student at the mage's guild, is reluctantly accepted by three girls (Merrill-thief, Genie-fighter, and Melissa-priestess) as a companion for their adventuring party. As the foursome explore ruins, battle dark creatures, and make new friends, they also uncover a sinister plot within the kingdom. -- -- (Source: ANN) -- -- Licensor: -- ADV Films -- 18,435 7.17
Samurai 7 -- -- Gonzo -- 26 eps -- Other -- Historical Mecha Samurai Sci-Fi -- Samurai 7 Samurai 7 -- In the far distant future, on a planet that might have been called "earth", there was a war between samurai who mechanized their bodies. After the long war, people enjoyed a modest peace. -- -- Facing starvation and abductions at the hands of fearsome mechanized bandits (Nobuseri), the farmers of Kanna Village make the dangerous choice to hire samurai for protection. The village's water priestess, Kirara, her younger sister, Komachi, and a heartbroken villager, Rikichi, set off to hire willing samurai with nothing to offer but rice from their meager harvests. Through dangerous encounters and a bit of luck, seven samurai of varying specialties and experience are gathered for an epic battle against the bandits and the merchants that influence them. -- -- Samurai 7 is based loosely upon Kurosawa Akira's famous movie "Seven Samurai"/"Shichinin no Samurai" -- TV - Jun 12, 2004 -- 112,688 7.48
Simoun -- -- Studio Deen -- 26 eps -- Original -- Military Drama Magic Romance Fantasy Shoujo Ai -- Simoun Simoun -- In the peaceful theocracy of Simulicram, everyone is born female. At age 17, each maiden undergoes a special ceremony where she chooses her sex. However, only Pairs of maiden priestesses can synchronize with the ancient flying ships known as Simoun needed to defend Simulicram. These Pairs refrain from undergoing the ceremony as long as they wish to keep piloting their Simoun. -- -- Aer is recruited to be a Simoun pilot after a terrifying attack by an enemy nation decimates the squadron known as Chor Tempest. To earn her wings she needs to find her way into the heart of Neviril, Regina of Chor Tempest. But Neviril's heart still belongs to her previous Pair, lost in the battle when she attempted a forbidden Simoun maneuver. -- -- (Source: Media Blasters) -- -- Licensor: -- Media Blasters -- TV - Apr 3, 2006 -- 36,818 7.45
Tears to Tiara -- -- White Fox -- 26 eps -- Visual novel -- Action Adventure Fantasy Magic -- Tears to Tiara Tears to Tiara -- As the Holy Empire rises to power, the neighboring lands begin to gradually fall under its control. The Empire's conquest eventually reaches the small island of Erin, home to the Gael tribe. There, a priestess named Riannon is kidnapped to be offered as a living sacrifice to the demon king Arawn, a malevolent being rumored to have caused untold destruction in the past. -- -- Riannon's brother, First Warrior Arthur, rescues her, when Arawn suddenly materializes before them as a handsome grey-haired man. Hiding his true identity and remaining enigmatic, Arawn pledges his power and leadership to the tribe's cause and joins Arthur, Riannon, and their merry band of friends—including a talented swordsman, an agile hunter, and a group of ecstatic pixies—as they fight back against the Empire, while uncovering the dark secrets of the land along the way. -- -- -- Licensor: -- Sentai Filmworks -- TV - Apr 6, 2009 -- 70,374 7.19
Umi Monogatari: Anata ga Ite Kureta Koto -- -- Zexcs -- 12 eps -- Game -- Supernatural Drama Magic Romance Fantasy -- Umi Monogatari: Anata ga Ite Kureta Koto Umi Monogatari: Anata ga Ite Kureta Koto -- Marin and her younger sister Urin are seafolk who happen upon something quite strange: a beautiful silver ring lost beneath the waves. The kind-hearted Marin, intent on returning it to its owner, drags a reluctant Urin along with her to the sky world despite reminders of a turtle elder who left for the surface and never returned. After locating the ring's owner, Kanon Miyamori, they learn that Kanon had tossed it into the sea after her boyfriend dumped her earlier that day. -- -- Though Marin insists that such a lovely item should not be thrown away, Kanon discards it once again. As they search for the ring, Urin becomes separated from the other two and accidently breaks the seal on a stone coffin, releasing an evil being known as Sedna. Sensing Sedna's release, the formerly missing turtle elder, Matsumoto, reveals himself to Kanon and her companions, naming Marin as the Priestess of the Sea. Together with the Priestess of the Sky, she has the power to seal Sedna away again. And as luck would have it, during an encounter with one of Sedna's minions, Kanon discovers that she is the Priestess of the Sky. Though Kanon is hesitant, she and Marin decide to work together to save the world from the evil that threatens it. -- -- -- Licensor: -- Nozomi Entertainment -- TV - Jun 25, 2009 -- 23,914 6.63
Umi Monogatari: Anata ga Ite Kureta Koto -- -- Zexcs -- 12 eps -- Game -- Supernatural Drama Magic Romance Fantasy -- Umi Monogatari: Anata ga Ite Kureta Koto Umi Monogatari: Anata ga Ite Kureta Koto -- Marin and her younger sister Urin are seafolk who happen upon something quite strange: a beautiful silver ring lost beneath the waves. The kind-hearted Marin, intent on returning it to its owner, drags a reluctant Urin along with her to the sky world despite reminders of a turtle elder who left for the surface and never returned. After locating the ring's owner, Kanon Miyamori, they learn that Kanon had tossed it into the sea after her boyfriend dumped her earlier that day. -- -- Though Marin insists that such a lovely item should not be thrown away, Kanon discards it once again. As they search for the ring, Urin becomes separated from the other two and accidently breaks the seal on a stone coffin, releasing an evil being known as Sedna. Sensing Sedna's release, the formerly missing turtle elder, Matsumoto, reveals himself to Kanon and her companions, naming Marin as the Priestess of the Sea. Together with the Priestess of the Sky, she has the power to seal Sedna away again. And as luck would have it, during an encounter with one of Sedna's minions, Kanon discovers that she is the Priestess of the Sky. Though Kanon is hesitant, she and Marin decide to work together to save the world from the evil that threatens it. -- -- TV - Jun 25, 2009 -- 23,914 6.63
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Marble_head_of_a_priestess_of_Athena,_117-138_CE._From_Pergamon,_Turkey._Pergamon_Museum_in_Berlin,_Germany.jpg
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Sarah_Paxton_Ball_Dodson,_The_Bacidae_1883_(two_priestesses_of_Bacis_in_a_prophetic_ecstasy_reading_chicken_entrails).jpg
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