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Charged both mine eyes with tears. In every land
Beauty and anguish walking hand in hand
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 battered with clanging hoofs:
Corpses across the threshold; heroes tall
Upon the tortoise creeping to the wall;
And high shrine-doors burst through with heated blasts
That run before the fluttering tongues of fire; White surf wind-scattered over sails and masts, And ever climbing higher;
Squadrons and squares of men in brazen plates,
So shape chased shape as swift as, when to land
I started once, or seemed 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
All those sharp fancies, by down-lapsing thought Streamed onward, lost their edges, and did creep Rolled on each other, rounded, smoothed, and
Into the gulfs of sleep.
At last methought that I had wandered far
In an old wood: fresh-washed in coolest dew, The maiden splendors of the morning star Shook in the steadfast blue.
Enormous elm-tree boles did stoop and lean
New from its silken sheath.
The dim red morn had died, her journey done,
There was no motion in the dumb dead air,
Is not so deadly still
As that wide forest. Growths of jasmine turned
I knew the flowers, I knew the leaves, I knew
Leading from lawn to lawn.
The smell of violets, hidden in the green,
Poured 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
Thrilled through mine ears in that unblissful clime,
"Pass freely through! the wood is all thine own, Until the end of time."
At length I saw a lady within call,
Stiller than chiselled marble, standing there; A daughter of the gods, divinely tall, And most divinely fair.
Her loveliness with shame and with surprise
"I had great beauty: ask thou not my name:
"No marvel, sovereign lady! in fair field,
But she, with sick and scornful looks averse,
"I was cut off from hope in that sad place,
Which yet to name my spirit loathes and fears; My father held his hand upon his face:
I, blinded with my tears,
Still strove to speak: my voice was thick with sighs As in a dream. Dimly I could descry
The stern black-bearded kings, with wolfish eyes, Waiting to see me die.
The high masts flickered as they lay afloat; The crowds, the temples, wavered, and the shore;
The bright death quivered at the victim's throat; Touched; and I knew no more."
Whereto the other with a downward brow:
"I would the white cold heavy-plunging foam, Whirled by the wind, had rolled me deep below, Then when I left my home."
Her slow full words sank through the silence drear, As thunder-drops fall on a sleeping sea: Sudden I heard a voice that cried, "Come here, That I may look on thee."
I turning saw, throned on a flowery rise,
She, flashing forth a haughty smile, began:
"I governed men by change, and so I swayed All moods. 'Tis long since I have seen a man. Once, like the moon, I made
"The ever-shifting currents of the blood According to my humor ebb and flow.
I have no men to govern in this wood:
That makes my only woe.