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Nor to himself Narcissus, as to both Thou Adonais: wan they stand and
Amid the faint companions of their youth,
With dew all turned to tears; odor, to sighing ruth.
Thy spirit's sister, the lorn nightingale, Mourns not her mate with such melodious pain;
Not so the eagle, who like thee could scale
Heaven, and could nourish in the sun's domain
Her mighty youth with morning, doth complain,
Soaring and screaming round her empty nest,
As Albion wails for thee; the curse of Cain
Light on his head who pierced thy innocent breast
And scared the angel soul that was its earthly guest!
Ah woe is me! Winter is come and gone,
But grief returns with the revolving
Diffuse themselves; and spend in love's
The beauty and the joy of their renewed might.
The leprous corpse touched by this spirit tender
Exhales itself in flowers of gentle breath; Like incarnations of the stars, when splendor
Is changed to fragrance, they illumine death
And mock the merry worm that wakes beneath;
Nought we know, dies. Shall that alone which knows
Be as a sword consumed before the sheath
By sightless lightning?-th' intense atom glows
A moment, then is quenched in a most cold repose.
Alas! that all we loved of him should be But for our grief, as if it had not been, And grief itself be mortal! Woe is me! Whence are we, and why are we? of what scene
The actors or spectators? Great and
All that I am to be as thou now art! But I am chained to Time, and cannot thence depart!
O gentle child, beautiful as thou wert, Why didst thou leave the trodden paths
Too soon, and with weak hands though mighty heart
Dare the unpastured dragon in his den? Defenceless as thou wert, oh where was then
Wisdom the mirrored shield, or scorn the spear?
Or hadst thou waited the full cycle, when
Thy spirit should have filled its crescent sphere,
The monsters of life's waste had fled from thee like deer.
"The herded wolves, bold only to pursue;
The obscene ravens, clamorous o'er the dead;
The vultures to the conqueror's banner true
Who feed where Desolation first has fed, And whose wings rain contagion ;—how they fled,
When like Apollo, from his golden bow, The Pythian of the age one arrow sped And smiled!-The spoilers tempt no second blow,
They fawn on the proud feet that spurn them lying low.
"The sun comes forth, and many rep
He sets, and each ephemeral insect then
It sinks, the swarms that dimmed or shared its light
Leave to its kindred lamps the spirit's awful night."
Thus ceased she: and the mountain shepherds came,
Their garlands sere, their magic mantles
The Pilgrim of Eternity, whose fame
The Stranger's mien, and murmured: "Who art thou?"
He answered not, but with a sudden hand
Made bare his branded and ensanguined brow,
Which was like Cain's or Christ's-oh, that it should be so!
What softer voice is hushed over the dead?
Athwart what brow is that dark mantle thrown?
What form leans sadly o'er the white deathbed,
In mockery of monumental stone, The heavy heart heaving without a moan?
If it be He, who, gentlest of the wise, Taught, soothed, loved, honored the departed one;
not vex, with inharmonious
But what was howling in one breast alone,
Silent with expectation of the song, Whose master's hand is cold, whose silver lyre unstrung.
Live thou, whose infamy is not thy fame!
Live! fear no heavier chastisement from me,
Thou noteless blot on a remembered name!
But be thyself, and know thyself to be!
Remorse and Self-contempt shall cling to thee;
Hot Shame shall burn upon thy secret brow,
And like a beaten hound tremble thou shalt-as now.1
1 See the note on page 254.
Nor let us weep that our delight is fled Far from these carrion kites that scream below;
He wakes or sleeps with the enduring dead;
Thou canst not soar where he is sitting
Dust to the dust! but the pure spirit shall flow
Back to the burning fountain whence it came,
A portion of the Eternal, which must glow
Through time and change, unquenchably the same,
Whilst thy cold embers choke the sordid hearth of shame.
Peace, peace! he is not dead, he doth not sleep
He hath awakened from the dream of life
"Tis we, who lost in stormy visions, keep With phantoms an unprofitable strife, And in mad trance, strike with our spirit's knife
Invulnerable nothings.-We decay
He has outsoared the shadow of our night;
Envy and calumny and hate and pain, And that unrest which men miscall de
Can touch him not and torture not again; From the contagion of the world's slow stain
He is secure, and now can never mourn A heart grown cold, a head grown gray in vain ;
Nor, when the spirit's self has ceased to burn,
With sparkless ashes load an unlamented
He lives, he wakes-'tis Death is dead, not he;
Mourn not for Adonais,-Thou young Dawn [thee
Turn all thy dew to splendor, for from The spirit thou lamentest is not gone; Ye caverns and ye forests, cease to moan! Cease ye faint flowers and fountains, and thou Air
Which like a mourning veil thy scarf hadst thrown
Rose pale, his solemn agony had not Yet faded from him; Sidney, as he fought
And as he fell and as he lived and loved Sublimely mild, a Spirit without spot, Arose; and Lucan, by his death approved:
Oblivion as they rose shrank like a thing reproved.
And many more, whose names on Earth are dark
But whose transmitted effluence cannot die
So long as fire outlives the parent spark, Rose, robed in dazzling immortality. "Thou art become as one of us," they cry,
'It was for thee yon kingless sphere has long
Swung blind in unascended majesty, Silent alone amid an Heaven of Song. Assume thy winged throne, thou Vesper of our throng!"
Who mourns for Adonais? Oh come forth
Fond wretch! and know thyself and him aright.
Clasp with thy panting soul the pendulous Earth;
As from a centre, dart thy spirit's light Beyond all worlds, until its spacious might
Satiate the void circumference: then shrink
Even to a point within our day and night;
And keep thy heart light lest it make thee sink
When hope has kindled hope and lured thee to the brink.
Pavilioning the dust of him who planned This refuge for his memory, doth stand Like flame transformed to marble; and beneath,
A field is spread, on which a newer band Have pitched in Heaven's smile their camp of death
Welcoming him we lose with scarce extinguished breath.
Here pause these graves are all too young as yet
To have outgrown the sorrow which consigned
Its charge to each; and if the seal is set, Here, on one fountain of a mourning mind,
Break it not thou! too surely shalt thou find [home, Thine own well full, if thou returnest Of tears and gall. From the world's
bitter wind Seek shelter in the shadow of the tomb. What Adonais is, why fear we to become?
The One remains, the many change and