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LXXX. His life was one long war with self-sought foes, Or friends by him self-banish’d; for his mind Had grown Suspicion's sanctuary, and chose, For its own cruel sacrifice, the kind 'Gainst whom he raged with fury strange and blind. But he was phrensied, wherefore, who may know? Since cause might be which skill could never find;
But he was phrensied by disease or woe, To that worst pitch of all, which wears a reasoning show.
For then he was inspired, and from him came,
As from the Pythian's mystic cave of yore,
Those oracles which set the world in flame,
Nor ceased to burn till kingdoms were no more:
Did he not this for France ? which lay before
Bow'd to the inborn tyranny of years ?
Broken and trembling to the yoke she bore,
Till by the voice of him and his compeers, Roused up to too much wrath, which follows o'ergrown fears?
They made themselves a fearful monument !
The wreck of old opinions—things which grew,
Breathed from the birth of time: the veil they rent,
And what behind it lay, all earth shall view.
But good with ill they also overthrew,
Leaving but ruins, wherewith to rebuild
Upon the same foundation, and renew
Dungeons and thrones, which the same hour refild, As heretofore, because ambition was self-willd.
But this will not endure, nor be endured!
Mankind have felt their strength, and made it felt.
They might have used it better, but, allured
By their new vigour, sternly have they dealt
On one another; pity ceased to melt
With her once natural charities. But they,
Who in oppression's darkness caved had dwelt,
They were not eagles, nourish'd with the day;
What marvel then, at times, if they mistook their prey ?
LXXXIV. What deep wounds ever closed without a scar? The heart's bleed longest, and but heal to wear That which disfigures it; and they who war With their own hopes, and have been vanquish'd, bear Silence, but not submission : in his lair Fix'd Passion holds his breath, until the hour Which shall atone for years ; none need despair :
It came, it cometh, and will come,—the power To punish or forgive—in one we shall be slower.
Clear, placid Leman! thy contrasted lake,
With the wild world I dwelt in, is a thing
Which warns me, with its stillness, to forsake
Earth’s troubled waters for a purer spring.
This quiet sail is as a noiseless wing
To watt me from distraction ; once I loved
Torn ocean's roar, but thy soft murmuring
Sounds sweet as if a Sister's voice reproved,
That I with stern delights should e'er have been so moved.
It is the hush of night, and all between
Thy margin and the mountains, dusk, yet clear,
Mellow'd and mingling, yet distinctly seen,
Save darken'd Jura, whose capt heights appear
Precipitously steep; and drawing near,
There breathes a living fragrance from the shore,
Of flowers yet fresh with childhood ; on the ear
Drops the light drip of the suspended oar,
Or chirps the grasshopper one good-night carol morc:
He is an evening reveller, who makes
His life an infancy, and sings his fill;
At intervals, some bird from out the brakes
Starts into voice a moment, then is still.
There seems a floating whisper on the hill,
But that is fancy, for the starlight dews
All silently their tears of love instil,
Weeping themselves away, till they infuse
Deep into Nature's breast the spirit of her hues.
Ye stars ! which are the poetry of heaven!
If in your bright leaves we would read the fate
Of men and empires,-'tis to be forgiven,
That in our aspirations to be great,
Our destinies o’erleap their mortal state,
And claim a kindred with you; for ye are
A beauty and a mystery, and create
In us such love and reverence from afar,
That fortune, fame, power, life, have named themselves a
All heaven and earth are still—though not in sleep,
But breathless, as we grow when feeling most ;
And silent, as we stand in thoughts too deep:
All heaven and earth are still : From the high host
of stars, to the lull'd lake and mountain-coast,
All is concenter'd in a life intense,
Where not a beam, nor air, nor leaf is lost,
But hath a part of being, and a sense
Of that which is of all Creator and defence.
XC. Then stirs the feeling infinite, so felt In solitude, where we are least alone; A truth, which through our being then doth melt, And purifies from self: it is a tone, The soul and source of music, which makes known Eternal harmony, and sheds a charm Like to the fabled Cytherea's zone,
Binding all things with beauty ;—'t would disarm The spectre Death, had he substantial power to harm.
Not vainly did the early Persian make
His altar the high places and the peak
Of earth-o'ergazing mountains, and thus take
A fit and unwall’d temple, there to seek
The Spirit, in whose honour shrines are weak,
Upreard of human hands. Come, and compare
Columns and idol dwellings, Goth or Greek,
With Nature's realms of worship, earth and air,
Nor fix on fond abodes to circumscribe thy pray’r!