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Which burned within him, withering up his prime,
For nought of ill his heart could understand,
Baffled with blast of hope-consuming shame;
Had left within his soul the dark unrest:
For none than he a purer heart could have,
Of nought in heaven or earth was he the slave.
What sorrow, strange and shadowy and unknown,
He had a gentle yet aspiring mind,
In others' joy when all their own is dead.
He loved and laboured for his kind in grief; And yet, unlike all others, it is said
That from such toil he never found relief.
His soul had wedded Wisdom, and her dower
Pitying the tumult of their dark estate.
Yet even in youth did he not e'er abuse
The strength of wealth or thought, to consecrate
Those false opinions which the harsh rich use
To blind the world they famish for their pride;
Nor did he hold from any man his dues,
But, like a steward in honest dealings tried, With those who toiled and wept, the poor and wise, His riches and his cares he did divide.
Fearless he was, and scorning all disguise;
What he dared do or think, though men might start, He spoke with mild yet unaverted eyes.
Liberal he was of soul, and frank of heart,
If words he found those inmost thoughts to tell;
And mortal hate their thousand voices rose,
To those or them, or any whom life's sphere
He knew not. Though his life day after day
Through which his soul, like Vesper's serene beam
Like reeds which quiver in impetuous floods,
Were driven within him by some secret power
Which bade them blaze and live and roll afar (Like lights and sounds from haunted tower to tower
O'er castled mountains borne when tempest's war Is levied by the night-contending winds,
And the pale dalesmen watch with eager ear);
Though such were in his spirit, as the fiends
What was this grief which ne'er in other minds
A mirror found? He knew not-none could know. But on whoe'er might question him he turned The light of his frank eyes, as if to show
He knew not of the grief within that burned,
But asked forbearance with a mournful look;
The cause of his disquietude; or shook
To stir his secret pain without avail ;—
For all who knew and loved him then perceived That there was drawn an adamantine veil
Between his heart and mind,-both unrelieved Wrought in his brain and bosom separate strife. Some said that he was mad; others believed That memories of an antenatal life
Made this where now he dwelt a penal hell; And others said that such mysterious grief
From God's displeasure, like a darkness, fell On souls like his, which owned no higher law Than love,-love calm, steadfast, invincible
By mortal fear or supernatural awe.
And others: ""Tis the shadow of a dream Which the veiled eye of Memory never saw,
But through the soul's abyss, like some dark stream Through shattered mines and caverns underground, Rolls, shaking its foundations; and no beam
Of joy may rise but it is quenched and drowned
A lair of rest beneath thy spirit pure,
So spake they, idly of another's state
Babbling vain words and fond philosophy : This was their consolation. Such debate
Men held with one another.
Nor did he,
Like one who labours with a human woe,
Decline this talk: as if its theme might be
Another, not himself, he to and fro
Questioned and canvassed it with subtlest wit.
And none but those who loved him best could know
That which he knew not-how it galled and bit
Upon his being,-a snake which fold by fold
Pressed out the life of life, a clinging fiend
PRINCE ATHANASE had one beloved friend;
An old old man, with hair of silver white,
And lips where heavenly smiles would hang and blend
With his wise words, and eyes whose arrowy light Shone like the reflex of a thousand minds.
He was the last whom superstition's blight
Had spared in Greece-the blight that cramps and blinds,—
And in his olive bower at noe
Had sate from earliest youth. Like one who finds
A fertile island in the barren sea,
One mariner who has survived his mates
With soul-sustaining songs and sweet debates
And thus Zonoras, by for ever seeing
A bloodier power than ruled thy ruins then,
Was grass-grown, and the unremembered tears
And, as the lady looked with faithful grief
From her high lattice o'er the rugged path
And blighting hope, who with the news of death
An old man toiling up, a weary wight.
She saw his white hairs glittering in the light
And Athanase, her child, who must have been
SUCH was Zonoras: and, as daylight finds
One amaranth glittering on the path of frost
When autumn nights have nipped all weaker kinds,
Thus through his age, dark, cold, and tempest-tossed,
Shone truth upon Zonoras; and he filled
From fountains pure, nigh overgrown and lost,
The spirit of Prince Athanase, a child,
With soul-sustaining songs of ancient lore,
And philosophic wisdom, clear and mild.
And sweet and subtle talk now evermore The pupil and the master shared; until, Sharing that undiminishable store,
The youth, as shadows on a grassy hill
Outrun the winds that chase them, soon outran
Strange truths and new to that experienced man.