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Absorbed me from the nature of itself

With it's own fleetness. Where is he that borne
Adown the sloping of an arrowy stream,
Could link his shallop to the fleeting edge,
And muse midway with philosophic calm
Upon the wondrous laws, which regulate
The fierceness of the bounding Element?

My thoughts which long had grovell'd in the slime Of this dull world, like dusky worms which house Beneath unshaken waters, but at once

Upon some Earth-awakening day of Spring
Do pass from gloom to glory, and aloft
Winnow the purple, bearing on both sides
Double display of starlit wings which burn,
Fanlike and fibred, with intensest bloom;
Ev'n so my thoughts, erewhile so low, now felt
Unutterable buoyancy and strength

To bear them upward through the trackless fields
Of undefin'd existence far and free.

Then first within the South methought I saw
A wilderness of spires, and chrystal pile
Of rampart upon rampart, dome on dome,
Illimitable range of battlement

On battlement, and the Imperial height
Of Canopy o'ercanopied.


In diamond light upsprung the dazzling cones
Of Pyramids as far surpassing Earth's

As Heaven than Earth is fairer. Each aloft
Upon his narrow'd Eminence bore globes
Of wheeling Suns, or Stars, or semblances
Of either, showering circular abyss
Of radiance. But the glory of the place
Stood out a pillar'd front of burnish'd gold,
Interminably high, if gold it were

Or metal more etherial, and beneath

Two doors of blinding brilliance, where no gaze
Might rest, stood open, and the eye could scan,

Through length of porch and valve and boundless hall,

Part of a throne of fiery flame, wherefrom

The snowy skirting of a garment hung,
And glimpse of multitudes of multitudes

That minister'd around it—if I saw

These things distinctly, for my human brain
Stagger'd beneath the vision, and thick night
Came down upon my eyelids, and I fell.

With ministering hand he rais'd me up:
Then with a mournful and ineffable smile,
Which but to look on for a moment fill'd
My eyes with irresistible sweet tears,
In accents of majestic melody,
Like a swoln river's gushings in still night
Mingled with floating music, thus he spake :

"There is no mightier Spirit than I to sway
The heart of man: and teach him to attain
By shadowing forth the Unattainable;
And step by step to scale that mighty stair
Whose landing-place is wrapt about with clouds
Of glory of Heaven.' With earliest light of Spring,
And in the glow of sallow Summertide,

And in red Autumn when the winds are wild
With gambols, and when full-voiced Winter roofs
The headland with inviolate white snow,

I play about his heart a thousand ways,
Visit his eyes with visions, and his ears
With harmonies of wind and wave and wood,
-Of winds which tell of waters, and of waters
Betraying the close kisses of the wind-
And win him unto me: and few there be
gross of heart who have not felt and known
A higher than they see: They with dim eyes
Behold me darkling. Lo! I have given thee
To understand my presence, and to feel

My fullness; I have fill'd thy lips with power.
I have rais'd thee nigher to the spheres of Heaven,
Man's first, last home: and thou with ravish'd sense
Listenest the lordly music flowing from

Th' illimitable years. I am the Spirit,
The permeating life which courseth through
All th' intricate and labyrinthine veins

Of the great vine of Fable, which, outspread
With growth of shadowing leaf and clusters rare,
Reacheth to every corner under Heaven,
Deep-rooted in the living soil of truth;

So that men's hopes and fears take refuge in

1 Be ye perfect, even as your Father in Heaven is perfect.

The fragrance of it's complicated glooms

And cool impleachèd twilights. Child of Man,
See'st thou yon river, whose translucent wave,
Forth issuing from the darkness, windeth through
The argent streets o' th' City, imaging

The soft inversion of her tremulous Domes,
Her gardens frequent with the stately Palm,
Her Pagods hung with music of sweet bells,
Her obelisks of rangèd Chrysolite,

Minarets and towers? Lo! how he passeth by,
And gulphs himself in sands, as not enduring
To carry through the world those waves, which bore
The reflex of my City in their depths.

Oh City! oh latest Throne! where I was rais'd
To be a mystery of loveliness

Unto all eyes, the time is well-nigh come
When I must render up this glorious home
To keen Discovery: soon yon brilliant towers
Shall darken with the waving of her wand;
Darken, and shrink and shiver into huts,
Black specks amid a waste of dreary sand,
Low-built, mud-wall'd, Barbarian settlements.
How chang'd from this fair City!"

Thus far the Spirit:

Then parted Heaven-ward on the wing: and I
Was left alone on Calpe, and the Moon
Had fallen from the night, and all was dark!

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When my passion seeks
Pleasance in love-sighs
She, looking thro' and thro' me
Thoroughly to undo me,

Smiling, never speaks :

So innocent-arch, so cunning-simple,
From beneath her gather'd wimple

Glancing with black-beaded eyes,
Till the lightning laughters dimple
The baby-roses in her cheeks;
Then away she flies.


Prythee weep, May Lilian!
Gaiety without eclipse
Wearieth me, May Lilian :
Thro' my very heart it thrilleth
When from crimson-threaded lips
Silver-treble laughter trilleth :
Prythee weep, May Lilian.

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EYES not down-dropt nor over-bright, but fed
With the clear-pointed flame of chastity,
Clear, without heat, undying, tended by
Pure vestal thoughts in the translucent fane
Of her still spirit; locks not wide-dispread,
Madonna-wise on either side her head;
Sweet lips whereon perpetually did reign
The summer calm of golden charity,
Were fixed shadows of thy fixed mood,

Revered Isabel, the crown and head,
The stately flower of female fortitude,

Of perfect wifehood and pure lowlihead.

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