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Amid whose swift half-intermitted burst
Huge fragments vaulted like rebounding hail,
Or chaffy grain beneath the thresher's flail :
And mid these dancing rocks at once and ever
It flung up momently the sacred river.
Five miles meandering with a mazy motion
Through wood and dale the sacred river ran,
Then reach'd the caverns measureless to man,
And sank in tumult to a lifeless ocean :
And 'inid this tumult Kubla heard from far
Ancestral voices prophesying war!
The shadow of the dome of pleasure
Floated midway on the waves ;
Where was heard the mingled measure
From the fountain and the caves.
It was a miracle of rare device,
A sunny pleasure-dome with caves of ice !
A damsel with a dulcimer
In a vision once I saw :
It was an Abyssinian maid,
And on her dulcimer she play'd,
Singing of Mount Abora.
Could I revive within me
Her symphony and song,
To such a deep delight 'twould win me
That with music loud and long,
I would build that dome in air,
That sunny dome! those caves of ice !
And all who heard should see them there,
And all should cry, Beware ! Beware !
His flashing eyes, his floating hair !
Weave a circle round him thrice,
And close your eyes with holy dread,
For he on honey-dew hath fed,
And drunk* the milk of Paradise.
THE PAINS OF SLEEP. ERE on my bed my limbs I lay,
It hath not been my use to pray With moving lips or bended knees; But silently, by slow degrees, My spirit I to Love compose, In humble trust mine eye-lids close, With reverential resignation, No wish conceived, no thought exprest, Only a sense of supplication ; A sense o'er all
soul imprest That I am weak, yet not unblest, Since in me, round me, every where Eternal Strength and Wisdom are.
But yester-night I pray'd aloud
In anguish and in agony,
Up-starting from the fiendish crowd
Of shapes and thoughts that tortured me:
A lurid light, a trampling throng,
Sense of intolerable wrong,
And whom I scorn'd, those only strong!
Thirst of revenge, the powerless will
Still baffled, and yet burning still !
Desire with loathing strangely mix'd
On wild or hateful objects fix'd.
Fantastic passions ! maddening brawl !
And shame and terror over all ! .
Deeds to be hid which were not hid,
Which all confused I could not know
Whether I suffer'd, or I did :
For all seem'd guilt, remorse or woe,
My own or others still the same
Life-stifling fear, soul-stifling shame !
So two nights pass'd : the night's dismay
Sadden'd and stunn'd the coming day.
Sleep, the wide blessing, seem'd to me
Distemper's worst calamity.
The third night, when my own loud scream
Had waked me from the fiendish dream,
O'ercome with sufferings strange and wild,
I wept as I had been a child;
And having thus by tears subdued
My anguish to a milder mood,
Such punishments, I said, were due
To natures deepliest stain’d with sin,-
For aye entempesting anew
The unfathomable hell within
The horror of their deeds to view,
To know and loathe, yet wish and do !
Such griefs with such men well agree,
But wherefore, wherefore fall on me?
To be beloved is all I need,
And whom I love, I love indeed.
*IS a strange place, this Limbo !not a place,
Yet name it so;—where Time and weary Space Fetter'd from flight, with night-mare sense of flee
ing, Strive for their last crepuscular half-being; Lank Space, and scytheless Time with branny hands Barren and soundless as the measuring sands, Not mark'd by flit of Shades,-unmeaning they As moonlight on the dial of the day! But that is lovely—looks like human Time,An old man with a steady look sublime, That stops his earthly task to watch the skies; But he is blind — a statue hath such eyes ; Yet having moonward turn'd his face by chance, Gazes the orb with moon-like countenance, With scant white hairs, with foretop bald and high, He gazes still,--his eyeless face all eye;As 'twere an organ full of silent sight, His whole face seemeth to rejoice in light ! Lip touching lip, all moveless, bust and limb He seems to gaze at that which seems to gaze on him!
No such sweet sights doth Limbo den immure, Wall’d round, and made a spirit-jail secure,
By the mere horror of blank Nought-at-all,
Whose circumambience doth these ghosts enthral.
A lurid thought is growthless, dull Privation,
Yet that is but a Purgatory curse ;
Hell knows a fear far worse,
A fear—a future state ;—'tis positive Negation !
NE PLUS ULTRA.
SOLE Positive of Night !
Antipathist of Light !
Fate's only essence ! primal scorpion rod-
The one permitted opposite of God !
Condensed blackness and abysmal storm
Compacted to one sceptre
Arms the Grasp enorm-
The Substance that still casts the shadow Death !
The Dragon foul and fell—
And hidden one, whose breath
Gives wind and fuel to the fires of Hell !
Ah ! sole despair
Of both th' eternities in Heaven ! Sole interdict of all-bedewing prayer,
The all-compassionate !
Save to the Lampads Seven
Reveal'd to none of all th’ Angelic State,
Save to the Lampads Seven,
That watch the throne of Heaven !