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From yon remotest waste, have overthrown
Switzerland, June 23, 1816.
ON THE MEDUSA OF LEONARDO DA VINCI,
IN THB FLORBNTINE GALLERY.
Ir lieth, gazing on the midnight sky,
Upon the cloudy mountain peak supine ; Below, far lands are seen tremblingly;
Its horror and its beauty are divine.
Loveliness like a shadow, from which shine,
Yet it is less the horror than the grace
Which turns the gazer's spirit into stone; Whereon the lineaments of that dead face
Are graven, till the characters be grown Into itself, and thought no more can trace;
"Tis the melodious hue of beauty thrown Athwart the darkness and the glare of pain, Which humanize and harmonize the strain.
And from its head as from one body grow,
] grass out of a watery rock, Hairs which are vipers, and they curl and flow
And their long tangles in each other lock,
The torture and the death within, and saw
And from a stone beside a poisonous eft
Peeps idly into those Gorgonian eyes ; Whilst in the air a ghastly bat, bereft
Of sense, has fitted with a mad surprise Out of the cave this hideous light had cleft,
And he comes hasteniug like a moth that hies After a taper; and the midnight sky Flares, a light more dread than obscurity.
'Tis the tempestuous loveliness of terror;
For from the serpents gleams a brazen glare Kindled by that inextricable error
Which makes a thrilling vapour of the air Become a [
] and ever-shifting mirror Of all the beauty and the terror thereA woman's countenance, with serpent locks, Gazing in death on heaven from those wet rocks. Florence, 1819.
RARELY, rarely, comes thou,
Spirit of Delight!
Many a day and night?
Ilow shall ever one like me
Win thee back again?
With the joyous and the free
Thou wilt scoff at pain.
As a lizard with the shade
Of a trembling leaf,
Even the sighs of grief
Let me set my mournful ditty
To a merry measure,
Thou wilt come for pleasure.
I love all that thou lovest,
Spirit of Delight !
And the starry night;
I love snow,
and all the forms Of the radiant frost: I love waves, and winds, and storms,
Every thing almost
I love tranquil solitude,
And such society
As is quiet, wise, and good;
Between thee and me
I love Love-though he has wings,
And like light can fee,
Spirit, I love thee-
Thus to be lost and thus to sink and die,
Perchance were death indeed !-Constantia, turn! In thy dark eyes a power like light doth lie,
Even though the sounds which were thy voice, whick burn Between thy lips, are laid to sleep;
Within thy breath, and on thy hair, like odour it is yet, And from thy touch like fire doth leap.
Even while I write, my burning cheeks are wet,
A breathless awe, like the swift change
Unseen, but felt in youthful slumbers,
Thou breathest now in fast ascending numbers.