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Peaceful the level main ; peaceful the air ;
And by the lustrous woods and groves
With flowering trailers serpentine, and palms
Outspread in tropic shape, and sapphire lakes
Diversified with light, and interchange
Of noonday twilight amongst bowery hills,
Haply celestial beings walked the earth,
With pinions folded down in lowliness,
And all this glare abated, not without
Serene delight, although their home was heaven;
And held high converse of this beauteous world,
And how mankind thereafter should succeed
To such possession.
Then came forth the law, That paints the rainbow on the pendent cloud, Though meditative soul were none to admit Through outward portals of the ready sense Intelligential thoughts of love and praise. Then on the level slime and
shore Of the interminable and sluggish fen, In coverts of gigantic ferns, and reeds Like
spears of serried hosts in phalanx dense Embattled, and portentous sedge, whose growth Out-topped the stature of our forest kings, The Saurian lay, dark, rugged, motionless,
Ensheathed in swarthy plates of obscene mail ;
Enormous birth: as sedulous of prey,
and that, before him and behind,
Rolling his huge circumference of eye,
That, by reflection, to the solar orb
Responded with unutterable fire;
Yet quailed and sickened with the sickening sun,
What time the eclipse, with darkly strange defect,
Strode from the equator to earth's outward edge,
In majesty of darkness unforetold.
And florid earth upon her axle rolled
With pace innocuous, changeless, uniform,
For ages upon ages; race to race
Succeeding, clime to clime, nay, land to land,
By subsidence and deposition slow
Wrought by invisible powers in land and sea.
And there were earthquakes, fires, and lava streams,
And signs above, and voices on the deep,
And mountains rose afresh, and valleys fell,
And sun and moon and stars together sang,
And life was o'er the whole pre-eminent,
And God saw it was good ; and God said, now
Let us in our own image fashion man.
A dragon or chimæra of romance !
66 With shriek like mandrakes torn out of the earth ;'
In just articulation, joint with joint
Compact, with seeming sense, and purposed will,
And vital marrow of intelligence:
With whirlwind march, on iron-engrooved paths,
A very thing of life, it works and plies
Its office: now by day a cloud it shoots
Forth from its nostrils, steaming as with breath
Of life, descried far off; and so devours
Its proper continuity of road,
Reversing the direction of the winds
In very prodigality of speed
Towards its rock-entunnelled darkling lair :
And launched upon its way in night profound,
By its tremendous neezings shines a light,
With images of peril, wrath, and power ;
As when some spirit of evil rashly freed,
Shakes the magician who dared frame the spell;
Happy, so might he scape the demon's ire,
To break his wand, and all his books of art
Entomb for ever!
ISTER, I have oft suspected
To idle grief thou dost incline; Now by the throb thou art detected
Of thy fingers pressed to mine.
I a stranger am to weeping;
How should I thy peace annoy ? Evermore, awake or sleeping,
Flows the current of my joy.
I love the air by humming fountains
Fanned and freshened, and the charms Of sunshine sweetening heathery mountains,
And breath of upland dairy farms :
And whilst youths and maids are telling
Of fields in gorgeous wild-flowers dressed, By a sense sublime of smelling
I know the fields the Lord hath blessed.