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2. They shake us with the vision that's gone by,
The dread of vanished shădows—are they so?
Is not the past all shadow ? What are they?
Creätions of the mind ?-the mind can make
Substance, and people planets of its own
With beings brighter than have been, and give
A breath to forms which can outlive all flesh.
I would recall a vision, which I dreamed
Perchance in sleep-for in itself a thought,
A slumbering thought, is capable of years,
And curdles a long life into one hour.3. I saw two beings in the hues of youth
Standing upon a hill, a gentle hill,
Green and of mild declivity ; the last,
As 't were the cape, of a long ridge of such,
Save that there was no sea to lave its base,
But a most living landscape, and the wave
Of woods and cornfields, and the ăbodes of men
Scattered at intervals, and wreathing smoke
Arising from such rustic roofs ;—the hill
Was crowned with a peculiar diädem
Of trees, in circular array—so fixed,
Not by the sport of Nature, but of man :
These two, a maiden and a youth, were there
Gazing—the one on all that was beneath ;
Fair as herself—but the boy gazed on her ;
And both were young, and one was beautiful ;
And both were young-yệt not alike in youth. 4. As the sweet moon on the hori'zon's
verge, The maid was on the eve of womanhood : The boy had fewer summers ; but his heart Had far outgrown his years, and to his eye There was but one beloved face on earth, And that was shining on him : he had looked Upon it till it could not pass ăwāy; He had no breath, no being, but in hers; She was his voice; he did not speak to her, But trembled on her words ; she was his sight, For his eye followed hers, and saw with hers,
Which colored all his objects ;-he had ceased
To live within himself ; she was his life,
The ocean to the river of his thoughts,
Which terminated all ; upon a tone,
A touch of hers, his blood would ebb and flow,
And his cheek change tempestuously-his heart
Unknowing of its cause of agony.
5. But she in these fond feelings had no share :
Her sighs were not for him ; to her he was
Even as a brother—but no more ; 't was much ;
For brotherless she was, save in the name
Her infant friendship had bestowed on him-
Herself the solitary scion left
Of a time-honored race.-It was a name
Which pleased him, and yet pleased him not-and why?
Time taught him a deep answer—when she loved
Another. Even now she loved another ;
And on the summit of that hill she stood
Looking afar, if yệt her lover's steed
Kept pace with her expectancy, and flew.-
6. A change came o'er the spirit of my dream :
There was an ancient mansion ; and before
Its walls there was a steed caparisoned.
Within an antique oratory stood
The Boy of whom I spake-he was alone,
And pale, and pacing to and fro. Anon
He săte him down, and seized a pen and traced
Words which I could not guess of; then he leaned
His bowed head on his hands, and shook, as 't were
With a convulsion—then årose again ;
And with his teeth and quivering hands did tear
What he had written ; but he shed no tears.
And he did calm himself, and fix his brow
Into a kind of quiet. 7.
As he paused
The lady of his love reëntered there ;
She was serene and smiling then ; and yet
She knew she was by him beloved ; she knew-
How quickly comes such knowledge! that his heart
Was darkened with her shadow, and she saw
That he was wretched ; but she saw not all.
He rose, and with a cold and gentle grasp
He took her hand ; a moment o’er his face
A tablet of unutterable thoughts
Was traced ; and then it faded as it came.
He dropped the hand he held, and with slow steps
Retired ; but not as bidding her ădieū,
For they did part with mutual smiles. He passed
From out the massy gate of that old Hall;
And, mounting on his steed, he went his way;
And ne'er repassed that hòary thresh'öld more.
CHANGE came o'er the spirit of my dream:
The Boy was sprung to manhood. In the wilds Of fiery climes he made himself a home, And his soul drank their sunbeams; he was girt With strange and dusky aspects; he was not Himself like what he had been ; on the sea And on the shore he was a wanderer ; There was a mass of many images Crowded like waves upon me, but he was A part of all; and in the last he lay, Reposing from the noontide sultriness, Couched among fallen columns, in the shade Of ruined walls that had survived the names Of those who reared them ; by his sleeping side Stood camels grazing, and some goodly steeds Were fastened near a fountain ; and a man Clad in a flowing garb did watch the while, While many of his tribe slumbered around; And they were canopied by the blue skySo cloudless, clear, and purely beautiful,
That God alone was to be seen in Heaven.2. A change came o'er the spirit of my dream :
The Lady of his love was wed with one
Who did not love her better. In her home,
A thousand leagues from his,—her native home-
She dwelt, begirt with growing infancy,
Daughters and sons of Beauty. But behold!
Upon her face there was the tint of grief,
The settled shadow of an inward strife,
And an unquiet drooping of the eye,
As if its lid were charged with unshed tears.
What could her grief be ?-She had all she loved ;
And he who had so loved her was not there
To trouble with bad hopes, or evil wish,
Or ill-repressed affection, her pure thoughts.
What could her grief be?—she had loved him not,
Nor given him cause to deem himself beloved ;
Nor could he be a part of that which preyed
Upon her mind-a spectre of the past.—
3. A change came o'er the spirit of my dream :
The Wanderer was returned—I saw him stand
Before an altar, with a gentle bride;
Her face was fair ; but was not that which made
The starlight of his Boyhood. As he stood,
Even at the altar, o'er his brow there came
The self-same aspect, and the quivering shock
That in the antique oratory shook
His bosom in its solitude ; and then
As in that hour-a moment o'er his face
The tablet of unutterable thoughts
Was traced—and then it faded as it came
And he stood calm and quiet; and he spoke
The fitting vows, but heard not his own words;
And all things reeled around him ; he could see
Not that which was, nor that which should have been-
But the old mansion, and the accustomed hall,
And the remembered chambers, and the place,
The day, the hour, the sunshine, and the shade-
All things pertaining to that place and hour,
And her who was his destiny-came back
And thrust themselves between him and the light:
What business had they there at such a time?4. A change came o'er the spirit of my dream :
The Lady of his love-Oh! she was changed,
As by the sickness of the soul ; her mind
Had wandered from its dwelling; and her eyes,
They had not their own luster, but the look
Which is not of the earth ; she was become
The queen of a fantastic realm ; her thoughts
Were combinations of disjointed things;
And forms impalpable, and unperceived
Of others' sight, familiar were to hers.
And this the world calls frenzy ; but the wise
Have a far deeper madness, and the glance
Of melancholy is a fearful gift ;
What is it but the telescope of truth?
Which strips the distance of its fantasies,
And brings life near in utter nakedness,
Making the cold reälity too real! -
5. A change came o'er the spirit of my dream :
The Wanderer was alone, as heretofore;
The beings which surrounded him were gone,
Or were at war with him ; he was a mark
For blight and desolation-compassed round
With Hatred and Contention ; Pain was mixed
In all which was served up to him ; until,
Like to the Pontic monarch of old days,
He fed on poisons; and they had no power,
But were a kind of nutriment. 6.
He lived Through that which had been death to many men ; And made him friends of mountains. With the stars, And the quick spirit of the Universe, He held his dialogues! and they did teach To him the magic of their mysteries ; To him the book of Night was opened wide, And voices from the deep abyss revealed
A marvel and a secret-Be it so.
7. My dream was past : it had no further change.
It was of a strange order, that the doom
Of these two creatures should be thus traced out
Almost like a reality-the one
To end in madness-both in misery. LORD BYRON.