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Of some fierce Mænad, even from the dim verge
Of the horizon to the zenith's height,
The locks of the approaching storm. Thou dirge

Of the dying year, to which this closing night
Will be the dome of a vast sepulchre,
Vaulted with all thy congregated might

Of vapours, from whose solid atmosphere
Black rain, and fire, and hail will burst: O hear !

III

Thou who didst waken from his summer dreams
The blue Mediterranean, where he lay,
Lull'd by the coil of his crystalline streams,

Beside a pumice isle in Baiæ's bay,
And saw in sleep old palaces and towers
Quivering within the wave's intenser day,

All overgrown with azure moss and flowers
So sweet, the sense faints picturing them! Thou
For whose path the Atlantic's level powers

Cleave themselves into chasms, while far below The sea-blooms and the oozy woods which wear The sapless foliage of the ocean, know

Thy voice, and suddenly grow gray with fear, And tremble and despoil themselves : O hear !

IV

If I were a dead leaf thou mightest bear;
If I were a swift cloud to fly with thee;
A wave to pant beneath thy power, and share

Mænad) mad priestess of Bacchus.

The impulse of thy strength, only less free
Than thou, O uncontrollable! If even
I were as in my boyhood, and could be

The comrade of thy wanderings over Heaven,
As then, when to outstrip thy skiey speed
Scarce seemed a vision; I would ne'er have striven

my sore need.

As thus with thee in

prayer

in O lift me as a wave, a leaf, a cloud ! I fall upon

the thorns of life! I bleed !

A heavy weight of hours has chain'd and bow'd One too like thee : tameless, and swift, and proud.

V

Make me thy lyre, even as the forest is :
What if my leaves are falling like its own !
The tumult of thy mighty harmonies

Will take from both a deep, autumnal tone,
Sweet though in sadness. Be thou, Spirit fierce,
My spirit! Be thou me, impetuous one !
Drive my dead thoughts over the universe
Like wither'd leaves to quicken a new birth!
And, by the incantation of this verse,

Scatter, as from an unextinguish'd hearth
Ashes and sparks, my words among mankind !
Be through my lips to unawaken'd earth

The trumpet of a prophecy! O Wind,
If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind ?

Shelley.

L

147

Ode on a Grecian Urn

I

Thou still unravish'd bride of quietness,

Thou foster-child of silence and slow time, Sylvan historian, who canst thus express

A flowery tale more sweetly than our rhyme : What leaf-fringed legend haunts about thy shape Of deities or mortals, or of both,

In Tempe or the dales of Arcady ? What men or gods are these ? What maidens loth ? What mad pursuit ? What struggle to escape ?

What pipes and timbrels ? What wild ecstasy ?

II

Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard

Are sweeter; therefore, ye soft pipes, play on;
Not to the sensual ear, but, more endear’d,

Pipe to the spirit ditties of no tone :
Fair youth, beneath the trees, thou canst not leave
Thy song, nor ever can those trees be bare ;

Bold Lover, never, never canst thou kiss, Though winning near the goal-yet, do not grieve;

She cannot fade, though thou hast not thy bliss, For ever wilt thou love, and she be fair !

III

Ah, happy, happy boughs! that cannot shed

Your leaves, nor ever bid the Spring adieu ;
And, happy melodist, unwearied,

For ever piping songs for ever new ;
More happy love! more happy, happy love!
For ever warm and still to be enjoy’d,

Tempe]*.

For ever panting, and for ever young ; All breathing human passion far above, That leaves a heart high-sorrowful and cloy'd,

A burning forehead, and a parching tongue.

IV

Who are these coming to the sacrifice ?

To what green altar, O mysterious priest,
Lead'st thou that heifer lowing at the skies,

And all her silken flanks with garlands drest ?
What little town by river or sea shore,
Or mountain-built with peaceful citadel,

Is emptied of its folk, this pious morn ?
And, little town, thy streets for evermore
Will silent be; and not a soul to tell

Why thou art desolate, can e'er return.

V

O Attic shape ! Fair attitude ! with brede

Of marble men and maidens overwrought, With forest branches and the trodden weed ;

Thou, silent form, dost tease us out of thought As doth eternity : Cold Pastoral ! When old age shall this generation waste,

Thou shalt remain, in midst of other woe Than ours, a friend to man, to whom thou say'st, Beauty is truth, truth beauty,'--that is all Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.

Keats.

brede] braid, embroidery, band of ornament.

[blocks in formation]

Look thy last on all things lovely,
Every hour. Let no night
Seal thy sense in deathly slumber

Till to delight
Thou have paid thy utmost blessing ;
Since that all things thou would’st praise
Beauty took from those who loved them
In other days.

Walter de la Mare.

149
BREAK, break, break,

On thy cold gray stones, O Sea !
And I would that

my tongue

could utter The thoughts that arise in me.

O well for the fisherman's boy,

That he shouts with his sister at play!
O well for the sailor lad,

That he sings in his boat on the bay !

And the stately ships go on

To their haven under the hill ;
But O for the touch of a vanish'd hand,

And the sound of a voice that is still !

Break, break, break,

At the foot of thy crags, O Sea !
But the tender grace of a day that is dead
Will never come back to me.

Tennyson.

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