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"A baby's or an idiot's brow, and made
Their nests in it. The old anatomies
Sate hatching their bare broods under the shade
"Or demon wings, and laughed from their dead eyes To reassume the delegated power,
Array'd in which those worms did monarchize,
"Who made this earth their charnel.
Humble, like falcons, sate upon the fist
Of common men, and round their heads did soar;
"Or like small gnats and flies, as thick as mist On evening marshes, thronged about the brow Of lawyers, statesmen, priest, and theorist ;
"And others, like discoloured flakes of snow
"Which they extinguished; and, like tears, they were A veil to those from whose faint lids they rained
In drops of sorrow.
I became aware
"Of whence those forms proceeded which thus stained The track in which we moved. After brief space, From every form the beauty slowly waned;
"From every firmest limb and fairest face
"Of life. The marble brow of youth was cleft With care; and in those eyes where once hope shone, Desire, like a lioness bereft
"Of her last cub, glared ere it died; each one Of that great crowd sent forth incessantly These shadows, numerous as the dead leaves blown
"In autumn evening from a polar tree, Each like himself and like each other were At first; but some distorted seemed to be
"Obscure clouds, moulded by the casual air; And of this stuff the car's creative ray
Wrapt all the busy phantoms that were there,
"As the sun shapes the clouds; thus on the way Mask after mask fell from the countenance
And form of all; and long before the day
"Was old, the joy which waked like heaven's glance The sleepers in the oblivious valley, died;
And some grew weary of the ghastly dance,
"And fell, as I have fallen, by the way side;Those soonest from whose forms most shadows past, And least of strength and beauty did abide.
"Then, what is life? I cried."
HE came like a dream in the dawn of life,
And for my sake
Make answer the while my heart shall break!
But heart has a music which Echo's lips,
Though tender and true, yet can answer not, And the shadow that moves in the soul's eclipse Can return not the kiss by his now forgot; Sweat lips! he who hath
On my desolate path
Cast the darkness of absence, worse than death!
And if my grief should still be dearer to me Than all the pleasure in the world beside, Why would you lighten it ?—
I offer only
That which I seek, some human sympathy
In this mysterious island.
The Indian. Oh my friend,
My sister, my beloved!
What do I say?
My brain is dizzy, and I scarce know whether
I speak to thee or her. Peace, perturbed heart!
The passing wind which heals the brow at noon,
Or long soothe could it linger. But you said
Loved! Oh, I love. Methinks
This word of love is fit for all the world,
And that for gentle hearts another name
Would speak of gentler thoughts than the world owns.
The Indian. And thou lovest not? If so
Showered on us, and the dove mourned in the pine,
Sad prophetess of sorrows not our own.
Indian. Your breath is like soft music, your words are
The echoes of a voice which on my heart
Sleeps like a melody of early days.
But as you said
He was so awful, yet
So beautiful in mystery and terror,
Calming me as the loveliness of heaven
Soothes the unquiet sea :-and yet not so,
And much more need that there should be found one
To share remorse, and scorn, and solitude,
And all the ills that wait on those who do
The tasks of ruin in the world of life.
He fled, and I have followed him.