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Stood many a mountain pyramid,
On two dread mountains, from whose crest
And columns framed of marble white,
With workmanship which could not come
From touch of mortal instrument,
Shot o'er the vales, or lustre lent
But still the Lady heard that clang
Among the mountains shook alway;
So that the Lady's heart beat fast,
On those high domes her look she cast.
Sudden from out that city sprung
A light that made the earth grow red; Two flames that each with quivering tongue Licked its high domes, and overhead Among those mighty towers and fanes Dropped fire, as a volcano rains
Its sulphurous ruin on the plains.
And hark! a rush, as if the deep
Had burst its bonds! She looked behind,
And saw over the western steep
A raging flood descend, and wind
Through that wide vale. She felt no fear,
And now those raging billows came
The flames were fiercely vomited
O'er that vast flood's suspended foam,
The plank whereon that Lady sate
Was driven through the chasms, about and about, Between the peaks so desolate
Of the drowning mountains, in and out,
As the thistle-beard on a whirlwind sails-
At last her plank an eddy crossed,
And bore her to the city's wall,
Which now the flood had reached almost;
To hear the fire roar and hiss
Through the domes of those mighty palaces.
The eddy whirled her round and round
She looked on that gate of marble clear
For it was filled with sculptures rarest
Of winged shapes whose legions range
And, as she looked, still lovelier grew
Of his own mind did there endure
After the touch whose power had braided
The flames were dim, the flood
Grew tranquil as a woodland river
Winding through hills in solitude;
Those marble shapes then seemed to quiver,
And their fair limbs to float in motion
Like weeds unfolding in the ocean.
And their lips moved,—one seemed to speak,—
With an earth-uplifting cataract.
The statues gave a joyous scream,
And on its wings the pale thin Dream
The dizzy flight of that phantom pale
Of her dark eyes the Dream did creep.
THEY die-the dead return not. Misery
Sits near an open grave, and calls them over,
They are the names of kindred, friend, and lover,
Fond wretch, all dead! Those vacant names alone,
These tombs, -alone remain.
Misery, my sweetest friend, oh! weep no more!
TO CONSTANTIA, SINGING.
THUS to be lost and thus to sink and die
Perchance were death indeed!-Constantia, turn!
In thy dark eyes a power like light doth lie,
Even though the sounds which were thy voice, which burn
Within thy breath, and on thy hair, like odour, it is yet,
Even while I write, my burning cheeks are wet;
A breathless awe, like the swift change
Wild, sweet, but uncommunicably strange,
The cope of heaven seems rent and cloven
Beyond the mighty moons that wane
Upon the verge of Nature's utmost sphere, Till the world's shadowy walls are past and disappear.
Her voice is hovering o'er my soul-it lingers
My heart is quivering like a flame;
I have no life, Constantia, now,
Whilst, like the world-surrounding air, thy song
Flows on, and fills all things with melody.
Now is thy voice a tempest swift and strong,
On which, like one in trance upborne,
Rejoicing like a cloud of morn :
Which, when the starry waters sleep,
Round western isles with incense-blossoms bright Lingering, suspends my soul in its voluptuous flight.
I MET a traveller from an antique land
Who said: "Two vast and trunkless legs of stone Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand, Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command