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A mighty voice invokes thee. Ruin calls
When on the threshold of the green recess The wanderer's footsteps fell, he knew that death Was on him. Yet a little, ere it fled, Did he resign his high and holy soul To images of the majestic past, That paused within his passive being now, Like winds that bear sweet music, when they
breathe Through some dim latticed chamber. He did
place His pale lean hand upon the rugged trunk Of the old pine. Upon an ivied stone Reclined his languid head; his limbs did rest, Diffused and motionless, on the smooth brink Of that obscurest chasm ;—and thus he lay, Surrendering to their final impulses The hovering powers of life. Hope and despair, The torturers, slept; no mortal pain or fear Marred his repose; the influxes of sense And his own being, unalloyed by pain, Yet feebler and more feeble, calmly fed The stream of thought, till he lay breathing there
At peace, and faintly smiling. His last sight
remained Utterly black, the murky shades involved An image silent, cold, and motionless As their own voiceless earth and vacant air. Even as a vapour fed with golden beams That ministered on sunlight, ere the west Eclipses it, was now that wondrous frameNo sense, no motion, no divinityA fragile lute, on whose harmonious strings The breath of heaven did wander-a bright stream Once fed with many-voiced wavesma dream Of youth, which night and time have quenched
Still, dark, and dry, and unremembered now.
O, for Medea's wondrous alchemy, Which wheresoe'er it fell made the earth gleam With bright flowers, and the wintry boughs exhale From vernal blooms fresh fragrance ! O, that
God, Profuse of poisons, would concede the chalice Which but one living man has drained, who now, Vessel of deathless wrath, a slave that feels No proud exemption in the blighting curse He bears, over the world wanders for ever, Lone as incarnate death! O, that the dream Of dark magician in his visioned cave, Raking the cinders of a crucible For life and power, even when his feeble hand Shakes in its last decay, were the true law Of this so lovely world! But thou art fled, Like some frail exhalation, which the dawn Robes in its golden beams,-ah! thou hast fled! The brave, the gentle, and the beautiful, The child of grace and genius. Heartless things Are done and said i' the world, and many worms And beasts and men live on, and mighty Earth From sea and mountain, city and wilderness, In vesper low or joyous orison, Lifts still its solemn voice ;—but thou art fled : Thou canst no longer know or love the shapes Of this phantasmal scene, who have to thee Been purest ministers-who are, alas! Now thou art not. Upon those pallid lips, So sweet even in their silence, on those eyes
That image sleep in death, upon that form
Art and eloquence,
“too deep for tears,” when all Is reft at once, wher some surpassing spirit, Whose light adorned the world around it, leaves Those who remain behind nor sobs nor groans, The passionate tumult of a clinging hope; But pale despair and cold tranquillity, Nature's vast frame, the web of human things, Birth and the grave, that are not as they were.
NOTE ON ALASTOR.
BY THE EDITOR.
"ALASTOR” is written in a very different tone from “Queen Mab.” In the latter, Shelley poured out all the cherished speculations of his youth-all the irrepressible emotions of sympathy, censure, and hope, to which the present suffering, and what he considers the proper destiny of his fellowcreatures, gave birth. “Alastor," on the contrary, contains an individual interest only. A very few years, with their attendant events, had checked the ardour of Shelley's hopes, though he still thought them well-grounded, and that to advance their fulfilment was the noblest task man could achieve.
This is neither the time nor place to speak of the misfortunes that chequered his life. It will be sufficient to say, that in all he did, he at the time of doing it believed himself justified to his own conscience; while the various ills of poverty and loss of friends brought home to him the sad realities of life. Physical suffering had also considerable influence in causing him to turn his eyes inward; inclining him rather to brood over the thoughts and emotions of his own soul, than to glance abroad, and to make, as in “Queen Mab," the whole universe the object and subject of his song. In the spring of 1815, an eminent physician pronounced that he was dying rapidly of a consumption; abscesses were formed on his lungs, and he suffered acute spasms. Suddenly a complete change took place; and though through life he was a martyr to pain and debility, every symptom of