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Dark, Goldau is thy vale ;
The spirits of Rigi shall wail
On their cloud-bosom’d deep, as they sail
In mist where thy children are lying-
As their thunders once paused in their headlong descent,
And delay'd their discharge-while thy desert was rent
With the cries of thy sons who were dying.
No chariots of fire on the clouds careerd;
No warrior-arm, with its falchion rear'd:--
No death-angel's trump o'er the ocean was blown;
No mantle of wrath o'er the heaven was thrown;
No armies of light-with their banners of flame-
Or neighing steeds—through the sunset came,
Or leaping from space appear'd!
No earthquakes reeld—no Thunderer storm'd;
No fetterless dead o'er the bright sky swarm’d;
No voices in heaven were heard !
But the hour when the sun in his pride went down,
While his parting hung rich o'er the world: While abroad o'er the sky his flush mantle was blown,
And his red-rushing streamers unfurl'd ;
An everlasting hill was torn
From its eternal base—and borne-
In gold and crimson vapors drest
To where-a people are at rest!
Slowly it came in its mountain wrath,
And the forests vanish'd before its path :
And the rude cliffs bow'd--and the waters fled
And the living were buried, while over their head
They heard the full march of their foe as he sped
And the valley of life—was the tomb of the dead!
The clouds were all bright: no lightnings flew :
And over that valley no death-blast blew :
No storm pass’d by on his cloudy wing:
No twang was heard from the sky-archer's string-
But the dark, dim hill in its strength came down,
While the shedding of day on its summit was thrown,
A glory all light, like a wind-wreathed crown-
While the tame bird flew to the vulture's nest,
And the vulture forbore in that hour to molest.-
The mountain sepulchre of all I loved !
The village sank—and the monarch trees
Lean’d back from the encountering breeze-
While this tremendous pageant moved !
The mountain forsook his perpetual throne-
Came down from his rock-and his path is shown-
In barrenness and ruin-where
The secret of his power lies bare-
His rocks in nakedness arise:
His desolation mocks the skies.
On a blue summer night,
While the stars were asleep,
Like gems of the deep, In their own drowsy light;
While the newly mown hay
On the green earth lay,
And all that came near it went scented away;
From a lone woody place,
There looked out a face,
With large blue eyes,
Like the wet warm skies,
Brimful of water and light;
A profusion of hair
Flashing out on the air,
And a forehead alarmingly bright:
'T was the head of a poet!
He grew As the sweet strange flowers of the wilderness grow,
In the dropping of natural dew,
Till his heart had blownAs the sweet strange flowers of the wilderness blow ; Till every thought wore a changeable stain Like flower-leaves wet with the sunset rain:
A proud and passionate boy was he,
Like all the children of Poesy ;
With a haughty look and a haughty tread,
And something awful about his head;
With wonderful eyes
Full of wo and surprise,
Like the eyes of them that can see the dead.
For a moment or two, he stood
On the shore of the mighty wood;
Then ventured out,
With a bounding step and a joyful shout,
The brave sky bending o'er him!
The broad sea all before him!
I LOVED to hear the war-horn cry,
And panted at the drum's deep roll;
And held my breath, when-flaming high-
I saw our starry banners fly,
As challenging the haughty sky,
They went like battle o'er my soul:
For I was so ambitious then,
I burn'd to be the slave-of men.
I stood and saw the morning light,
A standard swaying far and free;
And loved it like the conqu’ring flight
Of angels floating wide and bright
Above the stars, above the fight
Where nations warr'd for liberty.
And thought I heard the battle cry
Of trumpets in the hollow sky.
I sail'd upon the dark-blue deep:
And shouted to the eaglet soaring ;
And hung me from a rocking steep,
When all but spirits were asleep ;
And oh, my very soul would leap
To hear the gallant waters roaring;
For every sound and shape of strife
To me, was but the breath of life.
But, I am strangely alter'd now
I love no more the bugle voice-
The rushing wave—the plunging prow-
The mountain with his clouded brow-
The thunder when his blue skies bow,
And all the sons of God rejoice-
I love to dream of tears and sighs
And shadowy hair and half-shut eyes.
WRITTEN THE DAY AFTER THE FUNERAL OF BYRON
I STOOD above the sea. I heard the roar
Of waters far below me.. On the shore
A warrior-ship, with all her banners torn,
Her broad sails flying loose, lay overborne
By tumbling surges. She had swept the main,
Braved the loud thunder-stood the hurricane ;
To be, when all her danger was o'erpast,
Upon her native shore, in wreck and ruin cast,
I thought of Greece—the proud one dead;
Struck-with his heart in flower;
Wreck'd—with his bright wings all outspread,
In his descent,
From that forbidden firmament,
O’er which he went,
Like some Archangel in his power :
The everlasting ocean lay
Below my weary eyes;
While overhead there rollid away
The everlasting skies :
A thousand birds around me flew,
Emerging from the distant blue,
Like spirits from the summer deep,
Then, wheeling slowly, one by one,
All disappearing in the sun,
They left me—and I fell asleep:
But soon a loud, strong trumpet blew,
And by, an armed angel flew, With tresses all on fire, and wings of color'd flame :
And then the thunder broke
About me, and I woke-
And heard a voice above proclaim
The warrior-poet's name !
The island bard! that came
Far from his home, to die
In martyrdom to Liberty:
I started—wonder'd—where was I ?-
Above me rolld a Grecian sky;
Around me Grecian isles were spread,
O'erpeopled with great shadowy dead,
Assembled there to celebrate
Some awful rite :
Again the iron trump was blown
With overpowering might; And lo! upon a rocky throne, Appear'd a dead man that I knew; His hair unbound, his forehead wet with dew,
And then the angel, standing o'er him, said This incantation, with her wings outspread.
Bard of the ocean, wake!
The midnight skies
Of solid blue,
That roll away above thee, shed
O’er thy unshelter'd head
A most untimely dew!
Wake, Sleeper, wake!
And from thy marble forehead shake
The shadow of the dead!
Thou last of all the Giants! Tear
Thy silken robes away“
Shake off the wine-dew from thy hair-
The crush'd and faded roses there,
And let it play,
A glittering shadow on the air,
young Spartan’s when he set
His foot--and met
The Persian in array:
Stand up and take
Thy natural shape upon thee! bare
Thy bosom to the winds that blow-
Not over bowers,
Heavy with scented flowers-
But over drifted snow;
Not o'er the perfumed earth,
Sweltering in moonlight rain,
the blossoms that have birth, Breathe on the heavens a stain
But o'er the rude,
Cold Grecian solitude:
Up, Byron, up! with eyes
Dark as Egyptian skies,