CONTENTS      BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD


The Revolt of Islam. A Poem in Twelve Cantos.

Canto Fifth


                 I
     OVER the utmost hill at length I sped,
     A snowy steep:--the moon was hanging low
     Over the Asian mountains, and, outspread
     The plain, the City, and the Camp below,
     Skirted the midnight Ocean's glimmering flow;
     The City's moon-lit spires and myriad lamps
     Like stars in a sublunar sky did glow,
     And fires blazed far amid the scattered camps,
   Like springs of flame which burst where'er swift Earthquake stamps.

                 II
     All slept but those in watchful arms who stood,
     And those who sate tending the beacon's light;
     And the few sounds from that vast multitude
     Made silence more profound. Oh, what a might
     Of human thought was cradled in that night!
     How many hearts impenetrably veiled
     Beat underneath its shade! what secret fight
     Evil and Good, in woven passions mailed,
   Waged through that silent throng--a war that never failed!

                 III
     And now the Power of Good held victory.
     So, through the labyrinth of many a tent,
     Among the silent millions who did lie
     In innocent sleep, exultingly I went.
     The moon had left Heaven desert now, but lent
     From eastern morn the first faint lustre showed
     An armèd youth; over his spear he bent
     His downward face:--'A friend!' I cried aloud,
   And quickly common hopes made freemen understood.

                 IV
     I sate beside him while the morning beam
     Crept slowly over Heaven, and talked with him
     Of those immortal hopes, a glorious theme,
     Which led us forth, until the stars grew dim;
     And all the while methought his voice did swim,
     As if it drownèd in remembrance were
     Of thoughts which make the moist eyes overbrim;
     At last, when daylight 'gan to fill the air,
   He looked on me, and cried in wonder, 'Thou art here!'

                 V
     Then, suddenly, I knew it was the youth
     In whom its earliest hopes my spirit found;
     But envious tongues had stained his spotless truth,
     And thoughtless pride his love in silence bound,
     And shame and sorrow mine in toils had wound,
     Whilst he was innocent, and I deluded;
     The truth now came upon me--on the ground
     Tears of repenting joy, which fast intruded,
   Fell fast--and o'er its peace our mingling spirits brooded.

                 VI
     Thus, while with rapid lips and earnest eyes
     We talked, a sound of sweeping conflict, spread
     As from the earth, did suddenly arise.
     From every tent, roused by that clamor dread,
     Our bands outsprung and seized their arms; we sped
     Towards the sound; our tribes were gathering far.
     Those sanguine slaves, amid ten thousand dead
     Stabbed in their sleep, trampled in treacherous war
   The gentle hearts whose power their lives had sought to spare.

                 VII
     Like rabid snakes that sting some gentle child
     Who brings them food when winter false and fair
     Allures them forth with its cold smiles, so wild
     They rage among the camp; they overbear
     The patriot hosts--confusion, then despair,
     Descends like night--when 'Laon!' one did cry;
     Like a bright ghost from Heaven that shout did scare
     The slaves, and, widening through the vaulted sky,
   Seemed sent from Earth to Heaven in sign of victory.

                 VIII
     In sudden panic those false murderers fled,
     Like insect tribes before the northern gale;
     But swifter still our hosts encompassèd
     Their shattered ranks, and in a craggy vale,
     Where even their fierce despair might nought avail,
     Hemmed them around!--and then revenge and fear
     Made the high virtue of the patriots fail;
     One pointed on his foe the mortal spear--
   I rushed before its point, and cried 'Forbear, forbear!'

                 IX
     The spear transfixed my arm that was uplifted
     In swift expostulation, and the blood
     Gushed round its point; I smiled, and--'Oh! thou gifted
     With eloquence which shall not be withstood,
     Flow thus!' I cried in joy, 'thou vital flood,
     Until my heart be dry, ere thus the cause
     For which thou wert aught worthy be subdued!--
     Ah, ye are pale--ye weep--your passions pause--
   'T is well! ye feel the truth of love's benignant laws.

                 X
     'Soldiers, our brethren and our friends are slain;
     Ye murdered them, I think, as they did sleep!
     Alas, what have ye done? The slightest pain
     Which ye might suffer, there were eyes to weep,
     But ye have quenched them--there were smiles to steep
     Your hearts in balm, but they are lost in woe;
     And those whom love did set his watch to keep
     Around your tents truth's freedom to bestow,
   Ye stabbed as they did sleep--but they forgive ye now.

                 XI
     'Oh, wherefore should ill ever flow from ill,
     And pain still keener pain forever breed?
     We all are brethren--even the slaves who kill
     For hire are men; and to avenge misdeed
     On the misdoer doth but Misery feed
     With her own broken heart! O Earth, O Heaven!
     And thou, dread Nature, which to every deed
     And all that lives, or is, to be hath given,
   Even as to thee have these done ill, and are forgiven.

                 XII
     'Join then your hands and hearts, and let the past
     Be as a grave which gives not up its dead
     To evil thoughts.'--A film then overcast
     My sense with dimness, for the wound, which bled
     Freshly, swift shadows o'er mine eyes had shed.
     When I awoke, I lay 'mid friends and foes,
     And earnest countenances on me shed
     The light of questioning looks, whilst one did close
   My wound with balmiest herbs, and soothed me to repose;

                 XIII
     And one, whose spear had pierced me, leaned beside
     With quivering lips and humid eyes; and all
     Seemed like some brothers on a journey wide
     Gone forth, whom now strange meeting did befall
     In a strange land round one whom they might call
     Their friend, their chief, their father, for assay
     Of peril, which had saved them from the thrall
     Of death, now suffering. Thus the vast array
   Of those fraternal bands were reconciled that day.

                 XIV
     Lifting the thunder of their acclamation,
     Towards the City then the multitude,
     And I among them, went in joy--a nation
     Made free by love; a mighty brotherhood
     Linked by a jealous interchange of good;
     A glorious pageant, more magnificent
     Than kingly slaves arrayed in gold and blood,
     When they return from carnage, and are sent
   In triumph bright beneath the populous battlement.

                 XV
     Afar, the City walls were thronged on high,
     And myriads on each giddy turret clung,
     And to each spire far lessening in the sky
     Bright pennons on the idle winds were hung;
     As we approached, a shout of joyance sprung
     At once from all the crowd, as if the vast
     And peopled Earth its boundless skies among
     The sudden clamor of delight had cast,
   When from before its face some general wreck had passed.

                 XVI
     Our armies through the City's hundred gates
     Were poured, like brooks which to the rocky lair
     Of some deep lake, whose silence them awaits,
     Throng from the mountains when the storms are there;
     And, as we passed through the calm sunny air,
     A thousand flower-inwoven crowns were shed,
     The token-flowers of truth and freedom fair,
     And fairest hands bound them on many a head,
   Those angels of love's heaven that over all was spread.

                 XVII
     I trod as one tranced in some rapturous vision;
     Those bloody bands so lately reconciled,
     Were ever, as they went, by the contrition
     Of anger turned to love, from ill beguiled,
     And every one on them more gently smiled
     Because they had done evil; the sweet awe
     Of such mild looks made their own hearts grow mild,
     And did with soft attraction ever draw
   Their spirits to the love of freedom's equal law.

                 XVIII
     And they, and all, in one loud symphony
     My name with Liberty commingling lifted--
     'The friend and the preserver of the free!
     The parent of this joy!' and fair eyes, gifted
     With feelings caught from one who had uplifted
     The light of a great spirit, round me shone;
     And all the shapes of this grand scenery shifted
     Like restless clouds before the steadfast sun.
   Where was that Maid? I asked, but it was known of none.

                 XIX
     Laone was the name her love had chosen,
     For she was nameless, and her birth none knew.
     Where was Laone now?--The words were frozen
     Within my lips with fear; but to subdue
     Such dreadful hope to my great task was due,
     And when at length one brought reply that she
     To-morrow would appear, I then withdrew
     To judge what need for that great throng might be,
   For now the stars came thick over the twilight sea.

                 XX
     Yet need was none for rest or food to care,
     Even though that multitude was passing great,
     Since each one for the other did prepare
     All kindly succor. Therefore to the gate
     Of the Imperial House, now desolate,
     I passed, and there was found aghast, alone,
     The fallen Tyrant!--silently he sate
     Upon the footstool of his golden throne,
   Which, starred with sunny gems, in its own lustre shone.

                 XXI
     Alone, but for one child who led before him
     A graceful dance--the only living thing,
     Of all the crowd, which thither to adore him
     Flocked yesterday, who solace sought to bring
     In his abandonment; she knew the King
     Had praised her dance of yore, and now she wove
     Its circles, aye weeping and murmuring,
     'Mid her sad task of unregarded love,
   That to no smiles it might his speechless sadness move.

                 XXII
     She fled to him, and wildly clasped his feet
     When human steps were heard; he moved nor spoke,
     Nor changed his hue, nor raised his looks to meet
     The gaze of strangers. Our loud entrance woke
     The echoes of the hall, which circling broke
     The calm of its recesses; like a tomb
     Its sculptured walls vacantly to the stroke
     Of footfalls answered, and the twilight's gloom
   Lay like a charnel's mist within the radiant dome.

                 XXIII
     The little child stood up when we came nigh;
     Her lips and cheeks seemed very pale and wan,
     But on her forehead and within her eye
     Lay beauty which makes hearts that feed thereon
     Sick with excess of sweetness; on the throne
     She leaned; the King, with gathered brow and lips
     Wreathed by long scorn, did inly sneer and frown,
     With hue like that when some great painter dips
   His pencil in the gloom of earthquake and eclipse.

                 XXIV
     She stood beside him like a rainbow braided
     Within some storm, when scarce its shadows vast
     From the blue paths of the swift sun have faded;
     A sweet and solemn smile, like Cythna's, cast
     One moment's light, which made my heart beat fast,
     O'er that child's parted lips--a gleam of bliss,
     A shade of vanished days; as the tears passed
     Which wrapped it, even as with a father's kiss
   I pressed those softest eyes in trembling tenderness.

                 XXV
     The sceptred wretch then from that solitude
     I drew, and, of his change compassionate,
     With words of sadness soothed his rugged mood.
     But he, while pride and fear held deep debate,
     With sullen guile of ill-dissembled hate
     Glared on me as a toothless snake might glare;
     Pity, not scorn, I felt, though desolate
     The desolator now, and unaware
   The curses which he mocked had caught him by the hair.

                 XXVI
     I led him forth from that which now might seem
     A gorgeous grave; through portals sculptured deep
     With imagery beautiful as dream
     We went, and left the shades which tend on sleep
     Over its unregarded gold to keep
     Their silent watch. The child trod faintingly,
     And as she went, the tears which she did weep
     Glanced in the star-light; wilderèd seemed she,
   And, when I spake, for sobs she could not answer me.

                 XXVII
     At last the Tyrant cried, 'She hungers, slave!
     Stab her, or give her bread!'--It was a tone
     Such as sick fancies in a new-made grave
     Might hear. I trembled, for the truth was known,--
     He with this child had thus been left alone,
     And neither had gone forth for food, but he
     In mingled pride and awe cowered near his throne,
     And she, a nursling of captivity,
   Knew nought beyond those walls, nor what such change might be.

                 XXVIII
     And he was troubled at a charm withdrawn
     Thus suddenly--that sceptres ruled no more,
     That even from gold the dreadful strength was gone
     Which once made all things subject to its power;
     Such wonder seized him as if hour by hour
     The past had come again; and the swift fall
     Of one so great and terrible of yore
     To desolateness, in the hearts of all
   Like wonder stirred who saw such awful change befall.

                 XXIX
     A mighty crowd, such as the wide land pours
     Once in a thousand years, now gathered round
     The fallen Tyrant; like the rush of showers
     Of hail in spring, pattering along the ground,
     Their many footsteps fell--else came no sound
     From the wide multitude; that lonely man
     Then knew the burden of his change, and found,
     Concealing in the dust his visage wan,
   Refuge from the keen looks which through his bosom ran.

                 XXX
     And he was faint withal. I sate beside him
     Upon the earth, and took that child so fair
     From his weak arms, that ill might none betide him
     Or her; when food was brought to them, her share
     To his averted lips the child did bear,
     But, when she saw he had enough, she ate,
     And wept the while; the lonely man's despair
     Hunger then overcame, and, of his state
   Forgetful, on the dust as in a trance he sate.

                 XXXI
     Slowly the silence of the multitudes
     Passed, as when far is heard in some lone dell
     The gathering of a wind among the woods:
     'And he is fallen!' they cry, 'he who did dwell
     Like famine or the plague, or aught more fell,
     Among our homes, is fallen! the murderer
     Who slaked his thirsting soul, as from a well
     Of blood and tears, with ruin! he is here!
   Sunk in a gulf of scorn from which none may him rear!'

                 XXXII
     Then was heard--'He who judged, let him be brought
     To judgment! blood for blood cries from the soil
     On which his crimes have deep pollution wrought!
     Shall Othman only unavenged despoil?
     Shall they, who by the stress of grinding toil
     Wrest from the unwilling earth his luxuries,
     Perish for crime, while his foul blood may boil
     Or creep within his veins at will? Arise!
   And to high Justice make her chosen sacrifice!'

                 XXXIII
     'What do ye seek? what fear ye?' then I cried,
     Suddenly starting forth, 'that ye should shed
     The blood of Othman? if your hearts are tried
     In the true love of freedom, cease to dread
     This one poor lonely man; beneath Heaven spread
     In purest light above us all, through Earth--
     Maternal Earth, who doth her sweet smiles shed
     For all--let him go free, until the worth
   Of human nature win from these a second birth.

                 XXXIV
     'What call ye justice? Is there one who ne'er
     In secret thought has wished another's ill?
     Are ye all pure? Let those stand forth who hear
     And tremble not. Shall they insult and kill,
     If such they be? their mild eyes can they fill
     With the false anger of the hypocrite?
     Alas, such were not pure! The chastened will
     Of virtue sees that justice is the light
   Of love, and not revenge and terror and despite.'

                 XXXV
     The murmur of the people, slowly dying,
     Paused as I spake; then those who near me were
     Cast gentle looks where the lone man was lying
     Shrouding his head, which now that infant fair
     Clasped on her lap in silence; through the air
     Sobs were then heard, and many kissed my feet
     In pity's madness, and to the despair
     Of him whom late they cursed a solace sweet
   His very victims brought--soft looks and speeches meet.

                 XXXVI
     Then to a home for his repose assigned,
     Accompanied by the still throng, he went
     In silence, where to soothe his rankling mind
     Some likeness of his ancient state was lent;
     And if his heart could have been innocent
     As those who pardoned him, he might have ended
     His days in peace; but his straight lips were bent,
     Men said, into a smile which guile portended,--
   A sight with which that child, like hope with fear, was blended.

                 XXXVII
     'T was midnight now, the eve of that great day
     Whereon the many nations, at whose call
     The chains of earth like mist melted away,
     Decreed to hold a sacred Festival,
     A rite to attest the equality of all
     Who live. So to their homes, to dream or wake,
     All went. The sleepless silence did recall
     Laone to my thoughts, with hopes that make
   The flood recede from which their thirst they seek to slake.

                 XXXVIII
     The dawn flowed forth, and from its purple fountains
     I drank those hopes which make the spirit quail,
     As to the plain between the misty mountains
     And the great City, with a countenance pale,
     I went. It was a sight which might avail
     To make men weep exulting tears, for whom
     Now first from human power the reverend veil
     Was torn, to see Earth from her general womb
   Pour forth her swarming sons to a fraternal doom:

                 XXXIX
     To see, far glancing in the misty morning,
     The signs of that innumerable host;
     To hear one sound of many made, the warning
     Of Earth to Heaven from its free children tossed;
     While the eternal hills, and the sea lost
     In wavering light, and, starring the blue sky,
     The City's myriad spires of gold, almost
     With human joy made mute society--
   Its witnesses with men who must hereafter be:

                 XL
     To see, like some vast island from the Ocean,
     The Altar of the Federation rear
     Its pile i' the midst--a work which the devotion
     Of millions in one night created there,
     Sudden as when the moonrise makes appear
     Strange clouds in the east--a marble pyramid
     Distinct with steps;--that mighty shape did wear
     The light of genius; its still shadow hid
   Far ships; to know its height the morning mists forbid!--

                 XLI
     To hear the restless multitudes forever
     Around the base of that great Altar flow,
     As on some mountain islet burst and shiver
     Atlantic waves; and, solemnly and slow,
     As the wind bore that tumult to and fro,
     To feel the dreamlike music, which did swim
     Like beams through floating clouds on waves below,
     Falling in pauses, from that Altar dim,
   As silver-sounding tongues breathed an aërial hymn.

                 XLII
     To hear, to see, to live, was on that morn
     Lethean joy! so that all those assembled
     Cast off their memories of the past outworn;
     Two only bosoms with their own life trembled,
     And mine was one,--and we had both dissembled;
     So with a beating heart I went, and one,
     Who having much, covets yet more, resembled,--
     A lost and dear possession, which not won,
   He walks in lonely gloom beneath the noonday sun.

                 XLIII
     To the great Pyramid I came; its stair
     With female choirs was thronged, the loveliest
     Among the free, grouped with its sculptures rare.
     As I approached, the morning's golden mist,
     Which now the wonder-stricken breezes kissed
     With their cold lips, fled, and the summit shone
     Like Athos seen from Samothracia, dressed
     In earliest light, by vintagers; and One
   Sate there, a female Shape upon an ivory throne:--

                 XLIV
     A Form most like the imagined habitant
     Of silver exhalations sprung from dawn,
     By winds which feed on sunrise woven, to enchant
     The faiths of men. All mortal eyes were drawn--
     As famished mariners through strange seas gone
     Gaze on a burning watch-tower--by the light
     Of those divinest lineaments. Alone,
     With thoughts which none could share, from that fair sight
   I turned in sickness, for a veil shrouded her countenance bright.

                 XLV
     And neither did I hear the acclamations,
     Which from brief silence bursting filled the air
     With her strange name and mine, from all the nations
     Which we, they said, in strength had gathered there
     From the sleep of bondage; nor the vision fair
     Of that bright pageantry beheld; but blind
     And silent, as a breathing corpse, did fare,
     Leaning upon my friend, till like a wind
   To fevered cheeks a voice flowed o'er my troubled mind.

                 XLVI
     Like music of some minstrel heavenly gifted,
     To one whom fiends enthrall, this voice to me;
     Scarce did I wish her veil to be uplifted,
     I was so calm and joyous. I could see
     The platform where we stood, the statues three
     Which kept their marble watch on that high shrine,
     The multitudes, the mountains, and the sea,--
     As, when eclipse hath passed, things sudden shine
   To men's astonished eyes most clear and crystalline.

                 XLVII
     At first Laone spoke most tremulously;
     But soon her voice the calmness which it shed
     Gathered, and--'Thou art whom I sought to see,
     And thou art our first votary here,' she said;
     'I had a dear friend once, but he is dead!
     And, of all those on the wide earth who breathe,
     Thou dost resemble him alone. I spread
     This veil between us two that thou beneath
   Shouldst image one who may have been long lost in death.

                 XLVIII
     'For this wilt thou not henceforth pardon me?
     Yes, but those joys which silence well requite
     Forbid reply. Why men have chosen me
     To be the Priestess of this holiest rite
     I scarcely know, but that the floods of light
     Which flow over the world have borne me hither
     To meet thee, long most dear. And now unite
     Thine hand with mine, and may all comfort wither
   From both the hearts whose pulse in joy now beat together,

                 XLIX
     'If our own will as others' law we bind,
     If the foul worship trampled here we fear,
     If as ourselves we cease to love our kind!'--
     She paused, and pointed upwards--sculptured there
     Three shapes around her ivory throne appear.
     One was a Giant, like a child asleep
     On a loose rock, whose grasp crushed, as it were
     In dream, sceptres and crowns; and one did keep
   Its watchful eyes in doubt whether to smile or weep--

                 L
     A Woman sitting on the sculptured disk
     Of the broad earth, and feeding from one breast
     A human babe and a young basilisk;
     Her looks were sweet as Heaven's when loveliest
     In Autumn eves. The third Image was dressed
     In white wings swift as clouds in winter skies;
     Beneath his feet, 'mongst ghastliest forms, repressed
     Lay Faith, an obscene worm, who sought to rise,--
   While calmly on the Sun he turned his diamond eyes.

                 LI
     Beside that Image then I sate, while she
     Stood 'mid the throngs which ever ebbed and flowed,
     Like light amid the shadows of the sea
     Cast from one cloudless star, and on the crowd
     That touch which none who feels forgets bestowed;
     And whilst the sun returned the steadfast gaze
     Of the great Image, as o'er Heaven it glode,
     That rite had place; it ceased when sunset's blaze
     Burned o'er the isles; all stood in joy and deep amaze--
     When in the silence of all spirits there
     Laone's voice was felt, and through the air
   Her thrilling gestures spoke, most eloquently fair.

                 1
   'Calm art thou as yon sunset! swift and strong
   As new-fledged Eagles beautiful and young,
   That float among the blinding beams of morning;
   And underneath thy feet writhe Faith and Folly,
   Custom and Hell and mortal Melancholy.
   Hark! the Earth starts to hear the mighty warning
     Of thy voice sublime and holy;
     Its free spirits here assembled
     See thee, feel thee, know thee now;
     To thy voice their hearts have trembled,
     Like ten thousand clouds which flow
     With one wide wind as it flies!
   Wisdom! thy irresistible children rise
   To hail thee; and the elements they chain,
   And their own will, to swell the glory of thy train!

                 2
   'O Spirit vast and deep as Night and Heaven,
   Mother and soul of all to which is given
   The light of life, the loveliness of being!
   Lo! thou dost reascend the human heart,
   Thy throne of power, almighty as thou wert
   In dreams of Poets old grown pale by seeing
     The shade of thee;--now millions start
     To feel thy lightnings through them burning!
     Nature, or God, or Love, or Pleasure,
     Or Sympathy, the sad tears turning
     To mutual smiles, a drainless treasure,
     Descends amidst us! Scorn and Hate,
   Revenge and Selfishness, are desolate!
   A hundred nations swear that there shall be
   Pity and Peace and Love among the good and free!

                 3
   'Eldest of things, divine Equality!
   Wisdom and Love are but the slaves of thee,
   The angels of thy sway, who pour around thee
   Treasures from all the cells of human thought
   And from the Stars and from the Ocean brought,
   And the last living heart whose beatings bound thee.
     The powerful and the wise had sought
     Thy coming; thou, in light descending
     O'er the wide land which is thine own,
     Like the spring whose breath is blending
     All blasts of fragrance into one,
     Comest upon the paths of men!
   Earth bares her general bosom to thy ken,
   And all her children here in glory meet
   To feed upon thy smiles, and clasp thy sacred feet.

                 4
   'My brethren, we are free! the plains and mountains,
   The gray sea-shore, the forests and the fountains,
   Are haunts of happiest dwellers; man and woman,
   Their common bondage burst, may freely borrow
   From lawless love a solace for their sorrow;
   For oft we still must weep, since we are human.
     A stormy night's serenest morrow,
     Whose showers are pity's gentle tears,
     Whose clouds are smiles of those that die
     Like infants without hopes or fears,
     And whose beams are joys that lie
     In blended hearts, now holds dominion,--
   The dawn of mind, which, upwards on a pinion
   Borne, swift as sunrise, far illumines space,
   And clasps this barren world in its own bright embrace!

                 5
   'My brethren, we are free! the fruits are glowing
   Beneath the stars, and the night-winds are flowing
   O'er the ripe corn, the birds and beasts are dreaming.
   Never again may blood of bird or beast
   Stain with its venomous stream a human feast,
   To the pure skies in accusation steaming!
     Avenging poisons shall have ceased
     To feed disease and fear and madness;
     The dwellers of the earth and air
     Shall throng around our steps in gladness,
     Seeking their food or refuge there.
   Our toil from thought all glorious forms shall cull,
   To make this earth, our home, more beautiful,
   And Science, and her sister Poesy,
   Shall clothe in light the fields and cities of the free!

                 6
   'Victory, Victory to the prostrate nations!
   Bear witness, Night, and ye mute Constellations
   Who gaze on us from your crystalline cars!
   Thoughts have gone forth whose powers can sleep no more!
   Victory! Victory! Earth's remotest shore,
   Regions which groan beneath the Antarctic stars,
     The green lands cradled in the roar
     Of western waves, and wildernesses
     Peopled and vast which skirt the oceans,
     Where Morning dyes her golden tresses,
     Shall soon partake our high emotions.
     Kings shall turn pale! Almighty Fear,
   The Fiend-God, when our charmèd name he hear,
   Shall fade like shadow from his thousand fanes,
   While Truth with Joy enthroned o'er his lost empire reigns!'

                 LII
     Ere she had ceased, the mists of night entwining
     Their dim woof floated o'er the infinite throng;
     She, like a spirit through the darkness shining,
     In tones whose sweetness silence did prolong
     As if to lingering winds they did belong,
     Poured forth her inmost soul: a passionate speech
     With wild and thrilling pauses woven among,
     Which whoso heard was mute, for it could teach
   To rapture like her own all listening hearts to reach.

                 LIII
     Her voice was as a mountain stream which sweeps
     The withered leaves of autumn to the lake,
     And in some deep and narrow bay then sleeps
     In the shadow of the shores; as dead leaves wake,
     Under the wave, in flowers and herbs which make
     Those green depths beautiful when skies are blue,
     The multitude so moveless did partake
     Such living change, and kindling murmurs flew
   As o'er that speechless calm delight and wonder grew.

                 LIV
     Over the plain the throngs were scattered then
     In groups around the fires, which from the sea
     Even to the gorge of the first mountain glen
     Blazed wide and far; the banquet of the free
     Was spread beneath many a dark cypress tree,
     Beneath whose spires, which swayed in the red flame,
     Reclining as they ate, of Liberty
     And Hope and Justice and Laone's name
   Earth's children did a woof of happy converse frame.

                 LV
     Their feast was such as Earth, the general mother,
     Pours from her fairest bosom, when she smiles
     In the embrace of Autumn; to each other
     As when some parent fondly reconciles
     Her warring children--she their wrath beguiles
     With her own sustenance, they relenting weep--
     Such was this Festival, which from their isles
     And continents and winds and oceans deep
   All shapes might throng to share that fly or walk or creep;

                 LVI
     Might share in peace and innocence, for gore
     Or poison none this festal did pollute,
     But, piled on high, an overflowing store
     Of pomegranates and citrons, fairest fruit,
     Melons, and dates, and figs, and many a root
     Sweet and sustaining, and bright grapes ere yet
     Accursed fire their mild juice could transmute
     Into a mortal bane, and brown corn set
   In baskets; with pure streams their thirsting lips they wet.

                 LVII
     Laone had descended from the shrine,
     And every deepest look and holiest mind
     Fed on her form, though now those tones divine
     Were silent as she passed; she did unwind
     Her veil, as with the crowds of her own kind
     She mixed; some impulse made my heart refrain
     From seeking her that night, so I reclined
     Amidst a group, where on the utmost plain
   A festal watch-fire burned beside the dusky main.

                 LVIII
     And joyous was our feast; pathetic talk,
     And wit, and harmony of choral strains,
     While far Orion o'er the waves did walk
     That flow among the isles, held us in chains
     Of sweet captivity which none disdains
     Who feels; but, when his zone grew dim in mist
     Which clothes the Ocean's bosom, o'er the plains
     The multitudes went homeward to their rest,
   Which that delightful day with its own shadow blest.


CONTENTS      BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD


 
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