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And, for a while, the knowledge of his art

Held me above the subject, as strong gales Hold swollen clouds from raining, tho' my heart,

Brimful of those wild tales,

Charged both mine eyes with tears. In every land

I saw, wherever light illumineth, Beauty and anguish walking hand in hand

The downward slope to death.

Those far-renowned brides of ancient song

Peopled the hollow dark, like burning stars, And I heard sounds of insult, shame, and wrong,

And trumpets blown for wars;

And clattering flints batter'd with clanging hoofs:

And I saw crowds in column'd sanctuaries;

And forms that pass'd at windows and on roofs

Of marble palaces;

Corpses across the threshold; heroes tall

Dislodging pinnacle and parapet Upon the tortoise creeping to the wall;

Lances in ambush set;

And high shrine-doors burst thro' with heated blasts

That run before the fluttering tongues of fire;

White surf wind-scatter'd over sails and masts,

And ever climbing higher ;

Squadrons and squares of men in brazen plates,

Scaffolds, still sheets of water, divers woes, Ranges of glimmering vaults with iron grates,

And hush'd seraglios.

So shape chased shape as swift as, when to land

Bluster the winds and tides the self-same way,

Crisp foam-flakes scud along the level sand,

Torn from the fringe of spray.

I started once, or seem'd to start in pain,

Resolved on noble things, and strove to speak,

As when a great thought strikes along the brain,

And flushes all the cheek.

And once my arm was lifted to hew down

A cavalier from off his saddle-bow,

That bore a lady from a leaguer'd town;

And then, I know not how,

All those sharp fancies, by down-lapsing thought

Stream'd onward, lost their edges, and did creep Rollid on each other, rounded, smooth’d, and

brought
Into the gulfs of sleep.

At last methought that I had wander'd far

In an old wood : fresh-wash'd in coolest dew

The maiden splendours of the morning star

Shook in the stedfast blue.

Enormous elmtree-boles did stoop and lean

Upon the dusky brushwood underneath Their broad curved branches, fledged with clearest

green,

New from its silken sheath.

The dim red morn had died, her journey done,

And with dead lips smiled at the twilight plain,

Half-fall’n across the threshold of the sun,

Never to rise again.

There was no motion in the dumb dead air,

Not any song of bird or sound of rill ;

Gross darkness of the inner sepulchre

Is not so deadly still

As that wide forest. Growths of jasmine turn'd

Their humid arms festooning tree to tree, And at the root thro' lush green grasses bnrn'd

The red anemone.

I knew the flowers, I knew the leaves, I knew

The tearful glimmer of the languid dawn

On those long, rank, dark wood-walks drench'd

in dew,

Leading from lawn to lawn.

The smell of violets, hidden in the green,

Pour'd back into my empty soul and frame

The times when I remember to have been

Joyful and free from blame.

And from within me a clear under-tone

Thrill'd thro'mine ears in that unblissful clime,

“Pass freely thro': the wood is all thine own

Until the end of time.”

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