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Without a breeze, a wing, a cloud; the sun
I was a Spirit in the midst of these,
eye, ear, thought; existence was enjoyment;
And volatile as fragrance from the flower,
I ranged, explored, reflected. Now I sail'd,
Within a space too narrow for desire;
The mind, the mind perpetual themes must task, Perpetual power impel, and hope allure.
I and the silent sun were here alone,
But not companions; high and bright he held
To feel myself a wanderer without aim,
A prisoner with infinity surrounded.
The sun descended, dipp'd, and disappear'd; Then sky and sea were all the universe,
And I the only being in existence !
So thought I, and the thought, like ice and fire,
Went freezing, burning, withering, thrilling through
Annihilation then had been deliverance,
While that eternity of solitude
Lay on my heart, hard struggling to break free,
Darkness, meanwhile, disguised in twilight, crept
Of pensile lustre sparkled from the west;
As second life to me; so sweetly welcome
Though but a point to rest the eye upon,
To him who hath been utterly bereaved!
Star after star, from some unseen abyss, Came through the sky, like thoughts into the mind, We know not whence; till all the firmament Was throng'd with constellations, and the sea Strown with their images. Amidst a sphere Of twinkling lights, like living eyes, that look'd At once on me from every side, I stood, (Motion and rest with me were mere volition,) Myself perhaps a star among the rest!
But here again I found no fellowship;
Sight could not reach, nor keenest thought conceive
They were but what they seem'd, and yet I felt
It looks beyond the eye, and seeks for mind
Low in the east, ere long, the morning dawn Shot upward, onward, and around the pole,
With arrowy glimpses traversing the shade. Night's train, as they had kindled one by one, Now one by one withdrew, reversing order, Where those that came the latest, earliest went : Day rose triumphant, and again to me
Sky, sun, and sea were all the universe;
But ah! the glory had departed, and I long'd
For some untried vicissitude : it came.
A breeze sprang up, and with careering wing Play'd like an unseen being on the water.
Slowly from slumber 'woke the unwilling main, Curling and murmuring, till the infant waves Leap'd on his lap, and laugh'd in air and sunshine: Then all was bright and beautiful emotion,
And sweet accordance of susurrant sounds.
I felt the gay delirium of the scene;
I felt the breeze and billow chase each other,
Like bounding pulses in my human veins: