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What though Cimmerian Anarchs dare blaspheme
Freedom and thee? thy shield is as a mirror To make their blind slaves see, and with fierce gleam To turn his hungry sword upon the wearer;
A new Actæon's error Shall their's have been—devoured by their own hounds!
Be thou like the imperial Basilisk Killing thy foe with unapparent wounds!
Gaze on oppression, till at that dread risk
Aghast she pass from the Earth's disk:
If Hope and Truth and Justice may avail,
ANTISTROPHE B. 2.
From Freedom's form divine,
From Nature's inmost shrine,
O'er Ruin desolate,
O'er Falsehood's fallen state,
And equal laws be thine,
And winged words let sail,
That wealth, surviving fate,
ANTISTROPHE a. y.
From land to land re-echoed solemnly, Till silence became music ? from the Æaan 1
1 Ææa, the island of Circe. (SHELLEY's Note.)
To the cold Alps, eternal Italy
Starts to hear thine! The Sea
In light and music; widowed Genoa wan
Within whose veins long ran
(If Hope and Truth and Justice can avail)
ANTISTROPHE B. y.
Florence! beneath the sun,
Of cities fairest one,
From eyes of quenchless hope
Rome tears the priestly cope,
As athlete stript to run
From a remoter station
As then Hope, Truth, and Justice did avail,
EPODE 1. B.
Hear ye the march as of the Earth-born Forms
Arrayed against the ever-living Gods?
Of crags and thunder-clouds ?
1 The viper was the armorial device of the Visconti, tyrants of Milan. (SHELLEY's Note.)
Inwrought with emblems of barbaric pride?
With iron light is dyed,
Like Chaos o'er creation, uncreating ;
Of the white Alps, desolatiny,
Famished wolves that bide no waiting, Blotting the glowing footsteps of old glory, Trampling our columned cities into dust,
Their dull and savage lust
On Beauty's corse to sickness satiatingThey come! The fields they tread look black and hoary With fire—from their red feet the streams run gory!
EPODE II. R.
Great Spirit, deepest Love !
Which rulest and dost move All things which live and are, within the Italian shore ;
Who spreadest heaven around it,
Whose woods, rocks, waves, surround it;
From the Earth's bosom chill;
Bid the Earth's plenty kill !
To make it ours and thine !
And raise thy sons, as o'er the prone horizon
And frowns and fears from Thee,
Would not more swiftly flee
Thou yieldest or withholdest, Oh let be
The fiery mountains answer each other;
Their thunderings are echoed from zone to zone ; The tempestuous oceans awake one another, And the ice-rocks are shaken round Winter's throne, 3
When the clarion of the Typhoon is blown.
From a single cloud the lightning flashes,
Whilst a thousand isles are illumined around, Earthquake is trampling one city to ashes, An hundred are shuddering and tottering ; the sound
Is bellowing underground.
1 The date "September, 1820," is appended to this Ode in the Posthumous Poems; but Mr. Rossetti states that, in Mrs. Shelley's diary, the date of the Ode noted as the 25th of August, 1820.
2 First given by Mrs. Shelley in the Posthumous Poems.
Misprinted zone in the Posthumous Poems and the editions of 1839; but throne is substituted in some of the later editions,
But keener thy gaze than the lightning's glare,
And swifter thy step than the earthquake's tramp ; Thou deafenest the rage of the ocean; thy stare Makes blind the volcanoes; the sun's bright lamp
To thine is a fen-fire damp.
From billow and mountain and exhalation
The sunlight is darted through vapour and blast; From spirit to spirit, from nation to nation,
From city to hamlet thy dawning is cast, ---And tyrants and slaves are like shadows of night
In the van of the morning light.
Good night ? ah! no; the hour is ill
Which severs those it should unite;
Then it will be good night.
1 Mrs. Shelley gives this poem among those of 1821 ; but Mr. Ros. setti, finding it in Shelley's writing in the copy of Leigh Hunt's Literary Pocket-book given by the poet to Miss Sophia Stacey on the 29th of December, 1820, rightly carries it back to that year. I do not, however, think that the version found in the Pocket. book is, as Mr. Rossetti says, “considerably better (especially in the first line of the last stanza) than any heretofore published.” Indeed I much prefer the version of the Posthumous Poems, and think it quite possible that that was the later version. If so, and if Mrs. Shelley first became acquainted with the poem through a revised copy made in 1821, her classi
fication would be accounted for. The version which Mr. Rossetti gives from the Pocket-book is as follows :
Which revers those it should unite;
Though thy sweet wishes wing its tight?
Then it will be good night.
From evening close to morning light
But never say “good-night."