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172

From the Second Hyperion

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Turning from these with awe, once more I raised My eyes to fathom the space every way ; The embossèd 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-paced I went, Repressing haste, as too unholy there; And, coming nearer, saw beside the shrine One minist'ring; and there arose a flame.When in mid-way the sickening east wind Shifts sudden to the south, the small warm rain Melts out 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.

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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

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Maian] *.

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,
Encouraged 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 spak’st 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, 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.

Keals.

sooth] gentle.

173 La Belle Dame sans Merci

O WHAT can ail thee, Knight-at-arms,

Alone and palely loitering ?
The sedge has wither'd from the lake,

And no birds sing.

O what can ail thee, Knight-at-arms,

So haggard and so woe-begone ?
The squirrel's granary is full,

And the harvest 's done.

I see a lily on thy brow

With anguish moist and fever dew ;
And on thy cheeks a fading rose

Fast withereth too.

I met a Lady in the meads,

Full beautiful, a faery's child ;--
Her hair was long, her foot was light,

And her eyes were wild.

I set her on my pacing steed,

And nothing else saw all day long ;
For sidelong would she bend and sing

A faery's song

I made a garland for her head,

And bracelets too, and fragrant zone ; She look'd at me as she did love,

And made sweet moan.

She found me roots of relish sweet,

And honey wild, and manna dew; And sure in language strange she said

'I love thee true.'

She took me to her elfin grot,

And there she wept and sigh'd full sore,
And there I shut her wild, wild eyes

With kisses four.

And there she lulled me asleep,

And there I dream'd-Ah! woe betide !
The latest dream I ever dream'd

On the cold hill-side.

I saw pale Kings, and Princes too,

Pale warriors, death-pale were they all;
Who cry'd—' La Belle Dame sans Merci

Hath thee in thrall !'

I saw their starved lips in the gloam

With horrid warning gapèd wide,
And I awoke, and found me here

On the cold hill-side.

And this is why I sojourn here

Alone and palely loitering,
Though the sedge is wither'd from the lake,
And no hirds sing.

Keats.

174

Song
Tell me where is Fancy bred,
Or in the heart or in the head ?
How begot, how nourished ?

Reply, reply!
It is engender'd in the eyes,
With gazing fed ; and Fancy dies
In the cradle where it lies.

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Let us all ring Fancy's knell :
I'll begin it,-Ding, dong, bell.
Ding, dong, bell.

Shakespeare.

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175*

L'Allegro
HENCE, loathèd Melancholy,
Of Cerberus, and blackest midnight born,
In Stygian Cave forlorn
’Mongst horrid shapes and shrieks, and sights unholy !
Find out some uncouth cell,
Where brooding darkness spreads his jealous wings,
And the night-Raven sings ;
There under Ebon shades, and low-brow'd Rocks,
As ragged as thy Locks,
In dark Cimmerian desert ever dwell.
But come thou Goddess fair and free,
In Heav'n yclep'd Euphrosyne,
And by men, heart-easing Mirth,
Whom lovely Venus at a birth
With two sister Graces more
To ivy-crowned Bacchus bore :
Or whether (as some sager sing)
The frolick Wind that breathes the Spring
Zephyr with Aurora playing,
As he met her once a-Maying,
There on Beds of Violets blue
And fresh-blown Roses wash'd in dew,
Fill'd her with thee, a daughter fair,
So bucksom, blithe, and debonair.

Haste thee, nymph, and bring with thee
Jest and youthful Jollity,
Quips and Cranks, and wanton Wiles,
Nods, and Becks, and Wreathed Smiles,
24. buxom] well-favoured.

debonair] gracious.

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