"Prometheus Unbound"
by Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822)


	ASIA, PANTHEA, IONE : Oceanides  

		ACT I 

Scene .---A Ravine of Icy Rocks in the Indian Caucasus. Prometheus is discovered bound to the Precipice. 
Panthea and Ione are seated at his feet. Time, night. During the Scene, morning slowly breaks. 

1   Monarch of Gods and Dæmons, and all Spirits 
2   But One, who throng those bright and rolling worlds 
3   Which Thou and I alone of living things 
4   Behold with sleepless eyes! regard this Earth 
5   Made multitudinous with thy slaves, whom thou 
6   Requitest for knee-worship, prayer, and praise, 
7   And toil, and hecatombs of broken hearts, 
8   With fear and self-contempt and barren hope. 
9   Whilst me, who am thy foe, eyeless in hate, 
10   Hast thou made reign and triumph, to thy scorn, 
11   O'er mine own misery and thy vain revenge. 
12   Three thousand years of sleep-unsheltered hours, 
13   And moments aye divided by keen pangs 
14   Till they seemed years, torture and solitude, 
15   Scorn and despair,---these are mine empire:--- 
16   More glorious far than that which thou surveyest 
17   From thine unenvied throne, O Mighty God! 
18   Almighty, had I deigned to share the shame 
19   Of thine ill tyranny, and hung not here 
20   Nailed to this wall of eagle-baffling mountain, 
21   Black, wintry, dead, unmeasured; without herb, 
22   Insect, or beast, or shape or sound of life. 
23   Ah me! alas, pain, pain ever, for ever! 

24   No change, no pause, no hope! Yet I endure. 
25   I ask the Earth, have not the mountains felt? 
26   I ask yon Heaven, the all-beholding Sun, 
27   Has it not seen? The Sea, in storm or calm, 
28   Heaven's ever-changing Shadow, spread below, 
29   Have its deaf waves not heard my agony? 
30   Ah me! alas, pain, pain ever, for ever! 

31   The crawling glaciers pierce me with the spears 
32   Of their moon-freezing crystals, the bright chains 
33   Eat with their burning cold into my bones. 
34   Heaven's wingèd hound, polluting from thy lips 
35   His beak in poison not his own, tears up 
36   My heart; and shapeless sights come wandering by, 
37   The ghastly people of the realm of dream, 
38   Mocking me: and the Earthquake-fiends are charged 
39   To wrench the rivets from my quivering wounds 
40   When the rocks split and close again behind: 
41   While from their loud abysses howling throng 
42   The genii of the storm, urging the rage 
43   Of whirlwind, and afflict me with keen hail. 
44   And yet to me welcome is day and night, 
45   Whether one breaks the hoar frost of the morn, 
46   Or starry, dim, and slow, the other climbs 
47   The leaden-coloured east; for then they lead 
48   The wingless, crawling hours, one among whom 
49   ---As some dark Priest hales the reluctant victim--- 
50   Shall drag thee, cruel King, to kiss the blood 
51   From these pale feet, which then might trample thee 
52   If they disdained not such a prostrate slave. 
53   Disdain! Ah no! I pity thee. What ruin 
54   Will hunt thee undefended through wide Heaven! 
55   How will thy soul, cloven to its depth with terror, 
56   Gape like a hell within! I speak in grief, 
57   Not exultation, for I hate no more, 
58   As then ere misery made me wise. The curse 
59   Once breathed on thee I would recall. Ye Mountains, 
60   Whose many-voicèd Echoes, through the mist 
61   Of cataracts, flung the thunder of that spell! 
62   Ye icy Springs, stagnant with wrinkling frost, 
63   Which vibrated to hear me, and then crept 
64   Shuddering through India! Thou serenest Air, 
65   Through which the Sun walks burning without beams! 
66   And ye swift Whirlwinds, who on poisèd wings 
67   Hung mute and moveless o'er yon hushed abyss, 
68   As thunder, louder than your own, made rock 
69   The orbèd world! If then my words had power, 
70   Though I am changed so that aught evil wish 
71   Is dead within; although no memory be 
72   Of what is hate, let them not lose it now! 
73   What was that curse? for ye all heard me speak. 

(from the Mountains).
74   Thrice three hundred thousand years 
75      O'er the Earthquake's couch we stood: 
76   Oft, as men convulsed with fears, 
77      We trembled in our multitude. 

(from the Springs).
78   Thunderbolts had parched our water, 
79      We had been stained with bitter blood, 
80   And had run mute, 'mid shrieks of slaughter, 
81      Thro' a city and a solitude. 

(from the Air).
82   I had clothed, since Earth uprose, 
83      Its wastes in colours not their own, 
84   And oft had my serene repose 
85      Been cloven by many a rending groan. 

(from the Whirlwinds).
86   We had soared beneath these mountains 
87      Unresting ages; nor had thunder, 
88   Nor yon volcano's flaming fountains, 
89      Nor any power above or under 
90      Ever made us mute with wonder. 

91   But never bowed our snowy crest 
92   As at the voice of thine unrest. 

93   Never such a sound before 
94   To the Indian waves we bore. 
95   A pilot asleep on the howling sea 
96   Leaped up from the deck in agony, 
97   And heard, and cried, 'Ah, woe is me!' 
98   And died as mad as the wild waves be. 

99   By such dread words from Earth to Heaven 
100   My still realm was never riven: 
101   When its wound was closed, there stood 
102   Darkness o'er the day like blood. 

103   And we shrank back: for dreams of ruin 
104   To frozen caves our flight pursuing 
105   Made us keep silence---thus---and thus--- 
106   Though silence is as hell to us. 

107   The tongueless Caverns of the craggy hills 
108   Cried, 'Misery!' then; the hollow Heaven replied, 
109   'Misery!' And the Ocean's purple waves, 
110   Climbing the land, howled to the lashing winds, 
111   And the pale nations heard it, 'Misery!' 

112   I heard a sound of voices: not the voice 
113   Which I gave forth. Mother, thy sons and thou 
114   Scorn him, without whose all-enduring will 
115   Beneath the fierce omnipotence of Jove, 
116   Both they and thou had vanished, like thin mist 
117   Unrolled on the morning wind. Know ye not me, 
118   The Titan? He who made his agony 
119   The barrier to your else all-conquering foe? 
120   Oh, rock-embosomed lawns, and snow-fed streams, 
121   Now seen athwart frore vapours, deep below, 
122   Through whose o'ershadowing woods I wandered once 
123   With Asia, drinking life from her loved eyes; 
124   Why scorns the spirit which informs ye, now 
125   To commune with me? me alone, who checked, 
126   As one who checks a fiend-drawn charioteer, 
127   The falsehood and the force of him who reigns 
128   Supreme, and with the groans of pining slaves 
129   Fills your dim glens and liquid wildernesses: 
130   Why answer ye not, still? Brethren! 

130                                             They dare not. 

131   Who dares? for I would hear that curse again. 
132   Ha, what an awful whisper rises up! 
133   'Tis scarce like sound: it tingles through the frame 
134   As lightning tingles, hovering ere it strike. 
135   Speak, Spirit! from thine inorganic voice 
136   I only know that thou art moving near 
137   And love. How cursed I him? 

137                                             How canst thou hear 
138   Who knowest not the language of the dead? 

139   Thou art a living spirit; speak as they. 

140   I dare not speak like life, lest Heaven's fell King 
141   Should hear, and link me to some wheel of pain 
142   More torturing than the one whereon I roll. 
143   Subtle thou art and good, and though the Gods 
144   Hear not this voice, yet thou art more than God, 
145   Being wise and kind: earnestly hearken now. 

146   Obscurely through my brain, like shadows dim, 
147   Sweep awful thoughts, rapid and thick. I feel 
148   Faint, like one mingled in entwining love; 
149   Yet 'tis not pleasure. 

149                                             No, thou canst not hear: 
150   Thou art immortal, and this tongue is known 
151   Only to those who die. 

151                                             And what art thou, 
152   O, melancholy Voice? 

152                                             I am the Earth, 
153   Thy mother; she within whose stony veins, 
154   To the last fibre of the loftiest tree 
155   Whose thin leaves trembled in the frozen air, 
156   Joy ran, as blood within a living frame, 
157   When thou didst from her bosom, like a cloud 
158   Of glory, arise, a spirit of keen joy! 
159   And at thy voice her pining sons uplifted 
160   Their prostrate brows from the polluting dust, 
161   And our almighty Tyrant with fierce dread 
162   Grew pale, until his thunder chained thee here. 
163   Then, see those million worlds which burn and roll 
164   Around us: their inhabitants beheld 
165   My spherèd light wane in wide Heaven; the sea 
166   Was lifted by strange tempest, and new fire 
167   From earthquake-rifted mountains of bright snow 
168   Shook its portentous hair beneath Heaven's frown; 
169   Lightning and Inundation vexed the plains; 
170   Blue thistles bloomed in cities; foodless toads 
171   Within voluptuous chambers panting crawled: 
172   When Plague had fallen on man, and beast, and worm, 
173   And Famine; and black blight on herb and tree; 
174   And in the corn, and vines, and meadow-grass, 
175   Teemed ineradicable poisonous weeds 
176   Draining their growth, for my wan breast was dry 
177   With grief; and the thin air, my breath, was stained 
178   With the contagion of a mother's hate 
179   Breathed on her child's destroyer; ay, I heard 
180   Thy curse, the which, if thou rememberest not, 
181   Yet my innumerable seas and streams, 
182   Mountains, and caves, and winds, and yon wide air, 
183   And the inarticulate people of the dead, 
184   Preserve, a treasured spell. We meditate 
185   In secret joy and hope those dreadful words, 
186   But dare not speak them. 

186                                             Venerable mother! 
187   All else who live and suffer take from thee 
188   Some comfort; flowers, and fruits, and happy sounds, 
189   And love, though fleeting; these may not be mine. 
190   But mine own words, I pray, deny me not. 

191   They shall be told. Ere Babylon was dust, 
192   The Magus Zoroaster, my dead child, 
193   Met his own image walking in the garden. 
194   That apparition, sole of men, he saw. 
195   For know there are two worlds of life and death: 
196   One that which thou beholdest; but the other 
197   Is underneath the grave, where do inhabit 
198   The shadows of all forms that think and live 
199   Till death unite them and they part no more; 
200   Dreams and the light imaginings of men, 
201   And all that faith creates or love desires, 
202   Terrible, strange, sublime and beauteous shapes. 
203   There thou art, and dost hang, a writhing shade, 
204   'Mid whirlwind-peopled mountains; all the gods 
205   Are there, and all the powers of nameless worlds, 
206   Vast, sceptred phantoms; heroes, men, and beasts; 
207   And Demogorgon, a tremendous gloom; 
208   And he, the supreme Tyrant, on his throne 
209   Of burning gold. Son, one of these shall utter 
210   The curse which all remember. Call at will 
211   Thine own ghost, or the ghost of Jupiter, 
212   Hades or Typhon, or what mightier Gods 
213   From all-prolific Evil, since thy ruin 
214   Have sprung, and trampled on my prostrate sons. 
215   Ask, and they must reply: so the revenge 
216   Of the Supreme may sweep through vacant shades, 
217   As rainy wind through the abandoned gate 
218   Of a fallen palace. 

218                                             Mother, let not aught 
219   Of that which may be evil, pass again 
220   My lips, or those of aught resembling me. 
221   Phantasm of Jupiter, arise, appear! 

222      My wings are folded o'er mine ears: 
223         My wings are crossèd o'er mine eyes: 
224      Yet through their silver shade appears, 
225         And through their lulling plumes arise, 
226      A Shape, a throng of sounds; 
227         May it be no ill to thee 
228      O thou of many wounds! 
229   Near whom, for our sweet sister's sake, 
230   Ever thus we watch and wake. 

231      The sound is of whirlwind underground, 
232         Earthquake, and fire, and mountains cloven; 
233      The shape is awful like the sound, 
234         Clothed in dark purple, star-inwoven. 
235      A sceptre of pale gold 
236         To stay steps proud, o'er the slow cloud 
237      His veinèd hand doth hold. 
238   Cruel he looks, but calm and strong, 
239   Like one who does, not suffers wrong. 

240   Why have the secret powers of this strange world 
241   Driven me, a frail and empty phantom, hither 
242   On direst storms? What unaccustomed sounds 
243   Are hovering on my lips, unlike the voice 
244   With which our pallid race hold ghastly talk 
245   In darkness? And, proud sufferer, who art thou? 

246   Tremendous Image, as thou art must be 
247   He whom thou shadowest forth. I am his foe, 
248   The Titan. Speak the words which I would hear, 
249   Although no thought inform thine empty voice. 

250   Listen! And though your echoes must be mute, 
251   Gray mountains, and old woods, and haunted springs, 
252   Prophetic caves, and isle-surrounding streams, 
253   Rejoice to hear what yet ye cannot speak. 

254   A spirit seizes me and speaks within: 
255   It tears me as fire tears a thunder-cloud. 

256   See, how he lifts his mighty looks, the Heaven 
257   Darkens above. 

257                                             He speaks! O shelter me! 

258   I see the curse on gestures proud and cold, 
259   And looks of firm defiance, and calm hate, 
260   And such despair as mocks itself with smiles, 
261   Written as on a scroll: yet speak: Oh, speak! 


262      Fiend, I defy thee! with a calm, fixed mind, 
263         All that thou canst inflict I bid thee do; 
264      Foul Tyrant both of Gods and Human-kind, 
265         One only being shalt thou not subdue. 
266      Rain then thy plagues upon me here, 
267      Ghastly disease, and frenzying fear; 
268      And let alternate frost and fire 
269      Eat into me, and be thine ire 
270   Lightning, and cutting hail, and legioned forms 
271   Of furies, driving by upon the wounding storms. 

272      Ay, do thy worst. Thou art omnipotent. 
273         O'er all things but thyself I gave thee power, 
274      And my own will. Be thy swift mischiefs sent 
275         To blast mankind, from yon ethereal tower. 
276      Let thy malignant spirit move 
277      In darkness over those I love: 
278      On me and mine I imprecate 
279      The utmost torture of thy hate; 
280   And thus devote to sleepless agony, 
281   This undeclining head while thou must reign on high. 

282      But thou, who art the God and Lord: O, thou, 
283         Who fillest with thy soul this world of woe, 
284      To whom all things of Earth and Heaven do bow 
285         In fear and worship: all-prevailing foe! 
286      I curse thee! let a sufferer's curse 
287      Clasp thee, his torturer, like remorse; 
288      Till thine Infinity shall be 
289      A robe of envenomed agony; 
290   And thine Omnipotence a crown of pain, 
291   To cling like burning gold round thy dissolving brain. 

292      Heap on thy soul, by virtue of this Curse, 
293         Ill deeds, then be thou damned, beholding good; 
294      Both infinite as is the universe, 
295         And thou, and thy self-torturing solitude. 
296      An awful image of calm power 
297      Though now thou sittest, let the hour 
298      Come, when thou must appear to be 
299      That which thou art internally; 
300   And after many a false and fruitless crime 
301   Scorn track thy lagging fall through boundless space and time. 

302   Were these my words, O Parent? 

302                                             They were thine. 

303   It doth repent me: words are quick and vain; 
304   Grief for awhile is blind, and so was mine. 
305   I wish no living thing to suffer pain. 

306      Misery, Oh misery to me, 
307      That Jove at length should vanquish thee. 
308      Wail, howl aloud, Land and Sea, 
309      The Earth's rent heart shall answer ye. 
310   Howl, Spirits of the living and the dead, 
311   Your refuge, your defence lies fallen and vanquishèd. 

312   Lies fallen and vanquishèd! 

313   Fallen and vanquishèd! 

314   Fear not: 'tis but some passing spasm, 
315      The Titan is unvanquished still. 
316   But see, where through the azure chasm 
317      Of yon forked and snowy hill 
318   Trampling the slant winds on high 
319      With golden-sandalled feet, that glow 
320   Under plumes of purple dye, 
321   Like rose-ensanguined ivory, 
322      A Shape comes now, 
323   Stretching on high from his right hand 
324   A serpent-cinctured wand. 

325   'Tis Jove's world-wandering herald, Mercury. 

326   And who are those with hydra tresses 
327      And iron wings that climb the wind, 
328   Whom the frowning God represses 
329      Like vapours steaming up behind, 
330   Clanging loud, an endless crowd--- 

331      These are Jove's tempest-walking hounds, 
332   Whom he gluts with groans and blood, 
333   When charioted on sulphurous cloud 
334      He bursts Heaven's bounds. 

335   Are they now led, from the thin dead 
336   On new pangs to be fed? 

337   The Titan looks as ever, firm, not proud. 

338   Ha! I scent life! 

338                                             Let me but look into his eyes! 

339   The hope of torturing him smells like a heap 
340   Of corpses, to a death-bird after battle. 

341   Darest thou delay, O Herald! take cheer, Hounds 
342   Of Hell: what if the Son of Maia soon 
343   Should make us food and sport---who can please long 
344   The Omnipotent? 

344                                             Back to your towers of iron, 
345   And gnash, beside the streams of fire and wail, 
346   Your foodless teeth. Geryon, arise! and Gorgon, 
347   Chimæra, and thou Sphinx, subtlest of fiends 
348   Who ministered to Thebes Heaven's poisoned wine, 
349   Unnatural love, and more unnatural hate: 
350   These shall perform your task. 

350                                             Oh, mercy! mercy! 
351   We die with our desire: drive us not back! 

352   Crouch then in silence. 

352                                             Awful Sufferer! 
353   To thee unwilling, most unwillingly 
354   I come, by the great Father's will driven down, 
355   To execute a doom of new revenge. 
356   Alas! I pity thee, and hate myself 
357   That I can do no more: aye from thy sight 
358   Returning, for a season, Heaven seems Hell, 
359   So thy worn form pursues me night and day, 
360   Smiling reproach. Wise art thou, firm and good, 
361   But vainly wouldst stand forth alone in strife 
362   Against the Omnipotent; as yon clear lamps 
363   That measure and divide the weary years 
364   From which there is no refuge, long have taught 
365   And long must teach. Even now thy Torturer arms 
366   With the strange might of unimagined pains 
367   The powers who scheme slow agonies in Hell, 
368   And my commission is to lead them here, 
369   Or what more subtle, foul, or savage fiends 
370   People the abyss, and leave them to their task. 
371   Be it not so! there is a secret known 
372   To thee, and to none else of living things, 
373   Which may transfer the sceptre of wide Heaven, 
374   The fear of which perplexes the Supreme: 
375   Clothe it in words, and bid it clasp his throne 
376   In intercession; bend thy soul in prayer, 
377   And like a suppliant in some gorgeous fane, 
378   Let the will kneel within thy haughty heart: 
379   For benefits and meek submission tame 
380   The fiercest and the mightiest. 

380                                             Evil minds 
381   Change good to their own nature. I gave all 
382   He has; and in return he chains me here 
383   Years, ages, night and day: whether the Sun 
384   Split my parched skin, or in the moony night 
385   The crystal-wingèd snow cling round my hair: 
386   Whilst my belovèd race is trampled down 
387   By his thought-executing ministers. 
388   Such is the tyrant's recompense: 'tis just: 
389   He who is evil can receive no good; 
390   And for a world bestowed, or a friend lost, 
391   He can feel hate, fear, shame; not gratitude: 
392   He but requites me for his own misdeed. 
393   Kindness to such is keen reproach, which breaks 
394   With bitter stings the light sleep of Revenge. 
395   Submission, thou dost know I cannot try: 
396   For what submission but that fatal word, 
397   The death-seal of mankind's captivity, 
398   Like the Sicilian's hair-suspended sword, 
399   Which trembles o'er his crown, would he accept, 
400   Or could I yield? Which yet I will not yield. 
401   Let others flatter Crime, where it sits throned 
402   In brief Omnipotence: secure are they: 
403   For Justice, when triumphant, will weep down 
404   Pity, not punishment, on her own wrongs, 
405   Too much avenged by those who err. I wait, 
406   Enduring thus, the retributive hour 
407   Which since we spake is even nearer now. 
408   But hark, the hell-hounds clamour: fear delay: 
409   Behold! Heaven lowers under thy Father's frown. 

410   Oh, that we might be spared: I to inflict 
411   And thou to suffer! Once more answer me: 
412   Thou knowest not the period of Jove's power? 

413   I know but this, that it must come. 

413                                             Alas! 
414   Thou canst not count thy years to come of pain? 

415   They last while Jove must reign: nor more, nor less 
416   Do I desire or fear. 

416                                             Yet pause, and plunge 
417   Into Eternity, where recorded time, 
418   Even all that we imagine, age on age, 
419   Seems but a point, and the reluctant mind 
420   Flags wearily in its unending flight, 
421   Till it sink, dizzy, blind, lost, shelterless; 
422   Perchance it has not numbered the slow years 
423   Which thou must spend in torture, unreprieved? 

424   Perchance no thought can count them, yet they pass. 

425   If thou might'st dwell among the Gods the while 
426   Lapped in voluptuous joy? 

426                                             I would not quit 
427   This bleak ravine, these unrepentant pains. 

428   Alas! I wonder at, yet pity thee. 

429   Pity the self-despising slaves of Heaven, 
430   Not me, within whose mind sits peace serene, 
431   As light in the sun, throned: how vain is talk! 
432   Call up the fiends. 

432                                             O, sister, look! White fire 
433   Has cloven to the roots yon huge snow-loaded cedar; 
434   How fearfully God's thunder howls behind! 

435   I must obey his words and thine: alas! 
436   Most heavily remorse hangs at my heart! 

437   See where the child of Heaven, with wingèd feet, 
438   Runs down the slanted sunlight of the dawn. 

439   Dear sister, close thy plumes over thine eyes 
440   Lest thou behold and die: they come: they come 
441   Blackening the birth of day with countless wings, 
442   And hollow underneath, like death. 

442                                             Prometheus! 

443   Immortal Titan! 

443                                             Champion of Heaven's slaves! 

444   He whom some dreadful voice invokes is here, 
445   Prometheus, the chained Titan. Horrible forms, 
446   What and who are ye? Never yet there came 
447   Phantasms so foul through monster-teeming Hell 
448   From the all-miscreative brain of Jove; 
449   Whilst I behold such execrable shapes, 
450   Methinks I grow like what I contemplate, 
451   And laugh and stare in loathsome sympathy. 

452   We are the ministers of pain, and fear, 
453   And disappointment, and mistrust, and hate, 
454   And clinging crime; and as lean dogs pursue 
455   Through wood and lake some struck and sobbing fawn, 
456   We track all things that weep, and bleed, and live, 
457   When the great King betrays them to our will. 

458   Oh! many fearful natures in one name, 
459   I know ye; and these lakes and echoes know 
460   The darkness and the clangour of your wings. 
461   But why more hideous than your loathèd selves 
462   Gather ye up in legions from the deep? 

463   We knew not that: Sisters, rejoice, rejoice! 

464   Can aught exult in its deformity? 

465   The beauty of delight makes lovers glad, 
466   Gazing on one another: so are we. 
467   As from the rose which the pale priestess kneels 
468   To gather for her festal crown of flowers 
469   The aëreal crimson falls, flushing her cheek, 
470   So from our victim's destined agony 
471   The shade which is our form invests us round, 
472   Else we are shapeless as our mother Night. 

473   I laugh your power, and his who sent you here, 
474   To lowest scorn. Pour forth the cup of pain. 

475   Thou thinkest we will rend thee bone from bone, 
476   And nerve from nerve, working like fire within? 

477   Pain is my element, as hate is thine; 
478   Ye rend me now: I care not. 

478                                             Dost imagine 
479   We will but laugh into thy lidless eyes? 

480   I weigh not what ye do, but what ye suffer, 
481   Being evil. Cruel was the power which called 
482   You, or aught else so wretched, into light. 

483   Thou think'st we will live through thee, one by one, 
484   Like animal life, and though we can obscure not 
485   The soul which burns within, that we will dwell 
486   Beside it, like a vain loud multitude 
487   Vexing the self-content of wisest men: 
488   That we will be dread thought beneath thy brain, 
489   And foul desire round thine astonished heart, 
490   And blood within thy labyrinthine veins 
491   Crawling like agony? 

491                                             Why, ye are thus now; 
492   Yet am I king over myself, and rule 
493   The torturing and conflicting throngs within, 
494   As Jove rules you when Hell grows mutinous. 

495   From the ends of the earth, from the ends of the earth, 
496   Where the night has its grave and the morning its birth, 
497               Come, come, come! 
498   Oh, ye who shake hills with the scream of your mirth, 
499   When cities sink howling in ruin; and ye 
500   Who with wingless footsteps trample the sea, 
501   And close upon Shipwreck and Famine's track, 
502   Sit chattering with joy on the foodless wreck; 
503               Come, come, come! 
504      Leave the bed, low, cold, and red, 
505      Strewed beneath a nation dead; 
506      Leave the hatred, as in ashes 
507         Fire is left for future burning: 
508      It will burst in bloodier flashes 
509         When ye stir it, soon returning: 
510      Leave the self-contempt implanted 
511      In young spirits, sense-enchanted, 
512         Misery's yet unkindled fuel: 
513         Leave Hell's secrets half unchanted 
514            To the maniac dreamer; cruel 
515         More than ye can be with hate 
516               Is he with fear. 
517               Come, come, come! 
518   We are steaming up from Hell's wide gate 
519      And we burthen the blast of the atmosphere, 
520      But vainly we toil till ye come here. 

521   Sister, I hear the thunder of new wings. 

522   These solid mountains quiver with the sound 
523   Even as the tremulous air: their shadows make 
524   The space within my plumes more black than night. 

525   Your call was as a wingèd car 
526   Driven on whirlwinds fast and far; 
527   It rapped us from red gulfs of war. 

528   From wide cities, famine-wasted; 

529   Groans half heard, and blood untasted; 

530   Kingly conclaves stern and cold, 
531   Where blood with gold is bought and sold; 

532   From the furnace, white and hot, 
533   In which--- 

533                                             Speak not: whisper not: 
534   I know all that ye would tell, 
535   But to speak might break the spell 
536   Which must bend the Invincible, 
537      The stern of thought; 
538   He yet defies the deepest power of Hell. 

539   Tear the veil! 

539                        It is torn. 

539                                             The pale stars of the morn 
540   Shine on a misery, dire to be borne. 
541   Dost thou faint, mighty Titan? We laugh thee to scorn. 
542   Dost thou boast the clear knowledge thou waken'dst for man? 
543   Then was kindled within him a thirst which outran 
544   Those perishing waters; a thirst of fierce fever, 
545   Hope, love, doubt, desire, which consume him for ever. 
546         One came forth of gentle worth 
547         Smiling on the sanguine earth; 
548         His words outlived him, like swift poison 
549            Withering up truth, peace, and pity. 
550         Look! where round the wide horizon 
551            Many a million-peopled city 
552         Vomits smoke in the bright air. 
553         Hark that outcry of despair! 
554         'Tis his mild and gentle ghost 
555            Wailing for the faith he kindled: 
556         Look again, the flames almost 
557            To a glow-worm's lamp have dwindled: 
558   The survivors round the embers 
559      Gather in dread. 
560               Joy, joy, joy! 
561   Past ages crowd on thee, but each one remembers, 
562   And the future is dark, and the present is spread 
563   Like a pillow of thorns for thy slumberless head. 

564   Drops of bloody agony flow 
565   From his white and quivering brow. 
566   Grant a little respite now: 
567   See a disenchanted nation 
568   Springs like day from desolation; 
569   To Truth its state is dedicate, 
570   And Freedom leads it forth, her mate; 
571   A legioned band of linkèd brothers 
572   Whom Love calls children--- 

572                                             'Tis another's: 
573      See how kindred murder kin: 
574      'Tis the vintage-time for death and sin: 
575      Blood, like new wine, bubbles within: 
576         Till Despair smothers 
577   The struggling world, which slaves and tyrants win. 
[All the Furies vanish, except one. 

578   Hark, sister! what a low yet dreadful groan 
579   Quite unsuppressed is tearing up the heart 
580   Of the good Titan, as storms tear the deep, 
581   And beasts hear the sea moan in inland caves. 
582   Darest thou observe how the fiends torture him? 

583   Alas! I looked forth twice, but will no more. 

584   What didst thou see? 

584                                             A woful sight: a youth 
585   With patient looks nailed to a crucifix. 

586   What next? 

586                                             The heaven around, the earth below 
587   Was peopled with thick shapes of human death, 
588   All horrible, and wrought by human hands, 
589   And some appeared the work of human hearts, 
590   For men were slowly killed by frowns and smiles: 
591   And other sights too foul to speak and live 
592   Were wandering by. Let us not tempt worse fear 
593   By looking forth: those groans are grief enough. 

594   Behold an emblem: those who do endure 
595   Deep wrongs for man, and scorn, and chains, but heap 
596   Thousandfold torment on themselves and him. 

597   Remit the anguish of that lighted stare; 
598   Close those wan lips; let that thorn-wounded brow 
599   Stream not with blood; it mingles with thy tears! 
600   Fix, fix those tortured orbs in peace and death, 
601   So thy sick throes shake not that crucifix, 
602   So those pale fingers play not with thy gore. 
603   O, horrible! Thy name I will not speak, 
604   It hath become a curse. I see, I see, 
605   The wise, the mild, the lofty, and the just, 
606   Whom thy slaves hate for being like to thee, 
607   Some hunted by foul lies from their heart's home, 
608   An early-chosen, late-lamented home; 
609   As hooded ounces cling to the driven hind; 
610   Some linked to corpses in unwholesome cells: 
611   Some---Hear I not the multitude laugh loud?--- 
612   Impaled in lingering fire: and mighty realms 
613   Float by my feet, like sea-uprooted isles, 
614   Whose sons are kneaded down in common blood 
615   By the red light of their own burning homes. 

616   Blood thou canst see, and fire; and canst hear groans; 
617   Worse things, unheard, unseen, remain behind. 

618   Worse? 

618                                             In each human heart terror survives 
619   The ravin it has gorged: the loftiest fear 
620   All that they would disdain to think were true: 
621   Hypocrisy and custom make their minds 
622   The fanes of many a worship, now outworn. 
623   They dare not devise good for man's estate, 
624   And yet they know not that they do not dare. 
625   The good want power, but to weep barren tears. 
626   The powerful goodness want: worse need for them. 
627   The wise want love; and those who love want wisdom; 
628   And all best things are thus confused to ill. 
629   Many are strong and rich, and would be just, 
630   But live among their suffering fellow-men 
631   As if none felt: they know not what they do. 

632   Thy words are like a cloud of wingèd snakes; 
633   And yet I pity those they torture not. 

634   Thou pitiest them? I speak no more! 

634                                             Ah woe! 
635   Ah woe! Alas! pain, pain ever, for ever! 
636   I close my tearless eyes, but see more clear 
637   Thy works within my woe-illumèd mind, 
638   Thou subtle tyrant! Peace is in the grave. 
639   The grave hides all things beautiful and good: 
640   I am a God and cannot find it there, 
641   Nor would I seek it: for, though dread revenge, 
642   This is defeat, fierce king, not victory. 
643   The sights with which thou torturest gird my soul 
644   With new endurance, till the hour arrives 
645   When they shall be no types of things which are. 

646   Alas! what sawest thou more? 

646                                             There are two woes: 
647   To speak, and to behold; thou spare me one. 
648   Names are there, Nature's sacred watchwords, they 
649   Were borne aloft in bright emblazonry; 
650   The nations thronged around, and cried aloud, 
651   As with one voice, Truth, liberty, and love! 
652   Suddenly fierce confusion fell from heaven 
653   Among them: there was strife, deceit, and fear: 
654   Tyrants rushed in, and did divide the spoil. 
655   This was the shadow of the truth I saw. 

656   I felt thy torture, son; with such mixed joy 
657   As pain and virtue give. To cheer thy state 
658   I bid ascend those subtle and fair spirits, 
659   Whose homes are the dim caves of human thought, 
660   And who inhabit, as birds wing the wind, 
661   Its world-surrounding aether: they behold 
662   Beyond that twilight realm, as in a glass, 
663   The future: may they speak comfort to thee! 

664   Look, sister, where a troop of spirits gather, 
665   Like flocks of clouds in spring's delightful weather, 
666   Thronging in the blue air! 

666                                             And see! more come, 
667   Like fountain-vapours when the winds are dumb, 
668   That climb up the ravine in scattered lines. 
669   And, hark! is it the music of the pines? 
670   Is it the lake? Is it the waterfall? 

671   'Tis something sadder, sweeter far than all. 

672   From unremembered ages we 
673   Gentle guides and guardians be 
674   Of heaven-oppressed mortality; 
675   And we breathe, and sicken not, 
676   The atmosphere of human thought: 
677   Be it dim, and dank, and gray, 
678   Like a storm-extinguished day, 
679   Travelled o'er by dying gleams; 
680      Be it bright as all between 
681   Cloudless skies and windless streams, 
682      Silent, liquid, and serene; 
683   As the birds within the wind, 
684      As the fish within the wave, 
685   As the thoughts of man's own mind 
686      Float through all above the grave; 
687   We make there our liquid lair, 
688   Voyaging cloudlike and unpent 
689   Through the boundless element: 
690   Thence we bear the prophecy 
691   Which begins and ends in thee! 

692   More yet come, one by one: the air around them 
693   Looks radiant as the air around a star. 

694   On a battle-trumpet's blast 
695   I fled hither, fast, fast, fast, 
696   'Mid the darkness upward cast. 
697   From the dust of creeds outworn, 
698   From the tyrant's banner torn, 
699   Gathering 'round me, onward borne, 
700   There was mingled many a cry--- 
701   Freedom! Hope! Death! Victory! 
702   Till they faded through the sky; 
703   And one sound, above, around, 
704   One sound beneath, around, above, 
705   Was moving; 'twas the soul of Love; 
706   'Twas the hope, the prophecy, 
707   Which begins and ends in thee. 

708   A rainbow's arch stood on the sea, 
709   Which rocked beneath, immovably; 
710   And the triumphant storm did flee, 
711   Like a conqueror, swift and proud, 
712   Between, with many a captive cloud, 
713   A shapeless, dark and rapid crowd, 
714   Each by lightning riven in half: 
715   I heard the thunder hoarsely laugh: 
716   Mighty fleets were strewn like chaff 
717   And spread beneath a hell of death 
718   O'er the white waters. I alit 
719   On a great ship lightning-split, 
720   And speeded hither on the sigh 
721   Of one who gave an enemy 
722   His plank, then plunged aside to die. 

723   I sate beside a sage's bed, 
724   And the lamp was burning red 
725   Near the book where he had fed, 
726   When a Dream with plumes of flame, 
727   To his pillow hovering came, 
728   And I knew it was the same 
729   Which had kindled long ago 
730   Pity, eloquence, and woe; 
731   And the world awhile below 
732   Wore the shade, its lustre made. 
733   It has borne me here as fleet 
734   As Desire's lightning feet: 
735   I must ride it back ere morrow, 
736   Or the sage will wake in sorrow. 

737   On a poet's lips I slept 
738   Dreaming like a love-adept 
739   In the sound his breathing kept; 
740   Nor seeks nor finds he mortal blisses, 
741   But feeds on the aëreal kisses 
742   Of shapes that haunt thought's wildernesses. 
743   He will watch from dawn to gloom 
744   The lake-reflected sun illume 
745   The yellow bees in the ivy-bloom, 
746   Nor heed nor see, what things they be; 
747   But from these create he can 
748   Forms more real than living man, 
749   Nurslings of immortality! 
750   One of these awakened me, 
751   And I sped to succour thee. 

752   Behold'st thou not two shapes from the east and west 
753   Come, as two doves to one belovèd nest, 
754   Twin nurslings of the all-sustaining air 
755   On swift still wings glide down the atmosphere? 
756   And, hark! their sweet, sad voices! 'tis despair 
757   Mingled with love and then dissolved in sound. 

758   Canst thou speak, sister? all my words are drowned. 

759   Their beauty gives me voice. See how they float 
760   On their sustaining wings of skiey grain, 
761   Orange and azure deepening into gold: 
762   Their soft smiles light the air like a star's fire. 

763   Hast thou beheld the form of Love? 

763                                             As over wide dominions 
764      I sped, like some swift cloud that wings the wide air's wildernesses, 
765   That planet-crested shape swept by on lightning-braided pinions, 
766      Scattering the liquid joy of life from his ambrosial tresses: 
767   His footsteps paved the world with light; but as I passed 'twas fading, 
768      And hollow Ruin yawned behind: great sages bound in madness, 
769   And headless patriots, and pale youths who perished, unupbraiding, 
770      Gleamed in the night. I wandered o'er, till thou, O King of sadness, 
771      Turned by thy smile the worst I saw to recollected gladness. 

772   Ah, sister! Desolation is a delicate thing: 
773      It walks not on the earth, it floats not on the air, 
774   But treads with lulling footstep, and fans with silent wing 
775      The tender hopes which in their hearts the best and gentlest bear; 
776   Who, soothed to false repose by the fanning plumes above 
777      And the music-stirring motion of its soft and busy feet, 
778   Dream visions of aëreal joy, and call the monster, Love, 
779      And wake, and find the shadow Pain, as he whom now we greet. 

780   Though Ruin now Love's shadow be, 
781   Following him, destroyingly, 
782      On Death's white and wingèd steed, 
783   Which the fleetest cannot flee, 
784      Trampling down both flower and weed, 
785   Man and beast, and foul and fair, 
786   Like a tempest through the air; 
787   Thou shalt quell this horseman grim, 
788   Woundless though in heart or limb. 

789   Spirits! how know ye this shall be? 

790      In the atmosphere we breathe, 
791   As buds grow red when the snow-storms flee, 
792      From Spring gathering up beneath, 
793   Whose mild winds shake the elder brake, 
794   And the wandering herdsmen know 
795   That the white-thorn soon will blow: 
796      Wisdom, Justice, Love, and Peace, 
797      When they struggle to increase, 
798         Are to us as soft winds be 
799         To shepherd boys, the prophecy 
800         Which begins and ends in thee. 

801   Where are the Spirits fled? 

801                                             Only a sense 
802   Remains of them, like the omnipotence 
803   Of music, when the inspired voice and lute 
804   Languish, ere yet the responses are mute, 
805   Which through the deep and labyrinthine soul, 
806   Like echoes through long caverns, wind and roll. 

807   How fair these airborn shapes! and yet I feel 
808   Most vain all hope but love; and thou art far, 
809   Asia! who, when my being overflowed, 
810   Wert like a golden chalice to bright wine 
811   Which else had sunk into the thirsty dust. 
812   All things are still: alas! how heavily 
813   This quiet morning weighs upon my heart; 
814   Though I should dream I could even sleep with grief 
815   If slumber were denied not. I would fain 
816   Be what it is my destiny to be, 
817   The saviour and the strength of suffering man, 
818   Or sink into the original gulf of things: 
819   There is no agony, and no solace left; 
820   Earth can console, Heaven can torment no more. 

821   Hast thou forgotten one who watches thee 
822   The cold dark night, and never sleeps but when 
823   The shadow of thy spirit falls on her? 

824   I said all hope was vain but love: thou lovest. 

825   Deeply in truth; but the eastern star looks white, 
826   And Asia waits in that far Indian vale, 
827   The scene of her sad exile; rugged once 
828   And desolate and frozen, like this ravine; 
829   But now invested with fair flowers and herbs, 
830   And haunted by sweet airs and sounds, which flow 
831   Among the woods and waters, from the aether 
832   Of her transforming presence, which would fade 
833   If it were mingled not with thine. Farewell! 



Scene I. 

---Morning. A lovely Vale in the Indian Caucasus. Asia alone. 

1   From all the blasts of heaven thou hast descended: 
2   Yes, like a spirit, like a thought, which makes 
3   Unwonted tears throng to the horny eyes, 
4   And beatings haunt the desolated heart, 
5   Which should have learnt repose: thou hast descended 
6   Cradled in tempests; thou dost wake, O Spring! 
7   O child of many winds! As suddenly 
8   Thou comest as the memory of a dream, 
9   Which now is sad because it hath been sweet; 
10   Like genius, or like joy which riseth up 
11   As from the earth, clothing with golden clouds 
12   The desert of our life. 
13   This is the season, this the day, the hour; 
14   At sunrise thou shouldst come, sweet sister mine, 
15   Too long desired, too long delaying, come! 
16   How like death-worms the wingless moments crawl! 
17   The point of one white star is quivering still 
18   Deep in the orange light of widening morn 
19   Beyond the purple mountains. through a chasm 
20   Of wind-divided mist the darker lake 
21   Reflects it: now it wanes: it gleams again 
22   As the waves fade, and as the burning threads 
23   Of woven cloud unravel in pale air: 
24   'Tis lost! and through yon peaks of cloud-like snow 
25   The roseate sunlight quivers: hear I not 
26   The Æolian music of her sea-green plumes 
27   Winnowing the crimson dawn? 
[ Panthea enters. 

27                                             I feel, I see 
28   Those eyes which burn through smiles that fade in tears, 
29   Like stars half quenched in mists of silver dew. 
30   Belovèd and most beautiful, who wearest 
31   The shadow of that soul by which I live, 
32   How late thou art! the spherèd sun had climbed 
33   The sea; my heart was sick with hope, before 
34   The printless air felt thy belated plumes. 

35   Pardon, great Sister! but my wings were faint 
36   With the delight of a remembered dream, 
37   As are the noontide plumes of summer winds 
38   Satiate with sweet flowers. I was wont to sleep 
39   Peacefully, and awake refreshed and calm 
40   Before the sacred Titan's fall, and thy 
41   Unhappy love, had made, through use and pity, 
42   Both love and woe familiar to my heart 
43   As they had grown to thine: erewhile I slept 
44   Under the glaucous caverns of old Ocean 
45   Within dim bowers of green and purple moss, 
46   Our young Ione's soft and milky arms 
47   Locked then, as now, behind my dark, moist hair, 
48   While my shut eyes and cheek were pressed within 
49   The folded depth of her life-breathing bosom: 
50   But not as now, since I am made the wind 
51   Which fails beneath the music that I bear 
52   Of thy most wordless converse; since dissolved 
53   Into the sense with which love talks, my rest 
54   Was troubled and yet sweet; my waking hours 
55   Too full of care and pain. 

55                                             Lift up thine eyes, 
56   And let me read thy dream. 

56                                             As I have said 
57   With our sea-sister at his feet I slept. 
58   The mountain mists, condensing at our voice 
59   Under the moon, had spread their snowy flakes, 
60   From the keen ice shielding our linkèd sleep. 
61   Then two dreams came. One, I remember not. 
62   But in the other his pale wound-worn limbs 
63   Fell from Prometheus, and the azure night 
64   Grew radiant with the glory of that form 
65   Which lives unchanged within, and his voice fell 
66   Like music which makes giddy the dim brain, 
67   Faint with intoxication of keen joy: 
68   'Sister of her whose footsteps pave the world 
69   With loveliness---more fair than aught but her, 
70   Whose shadow thou art---lift thine eyes on me.' 
71   I lifted them: the overpowering light 
72   Of that immortal shape was shadowed o'er 
73   By love; which, from his soft and flowing limbs, 
74   And passion-parted lips, and keen, faint eyes, 
75   Steamed forth like vaporous fire; an atmosphere 
76   Which wrapped me in its all-dissolving power, 
77   As the warm aether of the morning sun 
78   Wraps ere it drinks some cloud of wandering dew. 
79   I saw not, heard not, moved not, only felt 
80   His presence flow and mingle through my blood 
81   Till it became his life, and his grew mine, 
82   And I was thus absorbed, until it passed, 
83   And like the vapours when the sun sinks down, 
84   Gathering again in drops upon the pines, 
85   And tremulous as they, in the deep night 
86   My being was condensed; and as the rays 
87   Of thought were slowly gathered, I could hear 
88   His voice, whose accents lingered ere they died 
89   Like footsteps of weak melody: thy name 
90   Among the many sounds alone I heard 
91   Of what might be articulate; though still 
92   I listened through the night when sound was none. 
93   Ione wakened then, and said to me: 
94   'Canst thou divine what troubles me to-night? 
95   I always knew what I desired before, 
96   Nor ever found delight to wish in vain. 
97   But now I cannot tell thee what I seek; 
98   I know not; something sweet, since it is sweet 
99   Even to desire; it is thy sport, false sister; 
100   Thou hast discovered some enchantment old, 
101   Whose spells have stolen my spirit as I slept 
102   And mingled it with thine: for when just now 
103   We kissed, I felt within thy parted lips 
104   The sweet air that sustained me, and the warmth 
105   Of the life-blood, for loss of which I faint, 
106   Quivered between our intertwining arms.' 
107   I answered not, for the Eastern star grew pale, 
108   But fled to thee. 

108                                             Thou speakest, but thy words 
109   Are as the air: I feel them not: Oh, lift 
110   Thine eyes, that I may read his written soul! 

111   I lift them though they droop beneath the load 
112   Of that they would express: what canst thou see 
113   But thine own fairest shadow imaged there? 

114   Thine eyes are like the deep, blue, boundless heaven 
115   Contracted to two circles underneath 
116   Their long, fine lashes; dark, far, measureless, 
117   Orb within orb, and line through line inwoven. 

118   Why lookest thou as if a spirit passed? 

119   There is a change: beyond their inmost depth 
120   I see a shade, a shape: 'tis He, arrayed 
121   In the soft light of his own smiles, which spread 
122   Like radiance from the cloud-surrounded moon. 
123   Prometheus, it is thine! depart not yet! 
124   Say not those smiles that we shall meet again 
125   Within that bright pavilion which their beams 
126   Shall build o'er the waste world? The dream is told. 
127   What shape is that between us? Its rude hair 
128   Roughens the wind that lifts it, its regard 
129   Is wild and quick, yet 'tis a thing of air, 
130   For through its gray robe gleams the golden dew 
131   Whose stars the noon has quenched not. 

131                                             Follow! Follow! 

132   It is mine other dream. 

132                                             It disappears. 

133   It passes now into my mind. Methought 
134   As we sate here, the flower-infolding buds 
135   Burst on yon lightning-blasted almond-tree, 
136   When swift from the white Scythian wilderness 
137   A wind swept forth wrinkling the Earth with frost: 
138   I looked, and all the blossoms were blown down; 
139   But on each leaf was stamped, as the blue bells 
140   Of Hyacinth tell Apollo's written grief, 
141   O, follow, follow! 

141                                             As you speak, your words 
142   Fill, pause by pause, my own forgotten sleep 
143   With shapes. Methought among these lawns together 
144   We wandered, underneath the young gray dawn, 
145   And multitudes of dense white fleecy clouds 
146   Were wandering in thick flocks along the mountains 
147   Shepherded by the slow, unwilling wind; 
148   And the white dew on the new-bladed grass, 
149   Just piercing the dark earth, hung silently; 
150   And there was more which I remember not: 
151   But on the shadows of the morning clouds, 
152   Athwart the purple mountain slope, was written 
153   Follow, O, follow! as they vanished by; 
154   And on each herb, from which Heaven's dew had fallen, 
155   The like was stamped, as with a withering fire; 
156   A wind arose among the pines; it shook 
157   The clinging music from their boughs, and then 
158   Low, sweet, faint sounds, like the farewell of ghosts, 
159   Were heard: O, follow, follow, follow me! 
160   And then I said: 'Panthea, look on me.' 
161   But in the depth of those belovèd eyes 
162   Still I saw, follow, follow! 

162                                             Follow, follow! 

163   The crags, this clear spring morning, mock our voices 
164   As they were spirit-tongued. 

164                                             It is some being 
165   Around the crags. What fine clear sounds! O, list! 


166   Echoes we: listen! 
167      We cannot stay: 
168   As dew-stars glisten 
169      Then fade away--- 
170         Child of Ocean! 

171   Hark! Spirits speak. The liquid responses 
172   Of their aëreal tongues yet sound. 

172                                             I hear. 

173   O, follow, follow, 
174      As our voice recedeth 
175   Through the caverns hollow, 
176      Where the forest spreadeth; 
(More distant.)

177      O, follow, follow! 
178      Through the caverns hollow, 
179   As the song floats thou pursue, 
180   Where the wild bee never flew, 
181   Through the noontide darkness deep, 
182   By the odour-breathing sleep 
183   Of faint night flowers, and the waves 
184   At the fountain-lighted caves, 
185   While our music, wild and sweet, 
186   Mocks thy gently falling feet, 
187         Child of Ocean! 

188   Shall we pursue the sound? It grows more faint And distant. 

189   List! the strain floats nearer now. 

190   In the world unknown 
191      Sleeps a voice unspoken; 
192   By thy step alone 
193      Can its rest be broken; 
194         Child of Ocean! 

195   How the notes sink upon the ebbing wind! 

196      O, follow, follow! 
197      Through the caverns hollow, 
198   As the song floats thou pursue, 
199   By the woodland noontide dew; 
200   By the forest, lakes, and fountains, 
201   Through the many-folded mountains; 
202   To the rents, and gulfs, and chasms, 
203   Where the Earth reposed from spasms, 
204   On the day when He and thou 
205   Parted, to commingle now; 
206         Child of Ocean! 
207   Come, sweet Panthea, link thy hand in mine, 
208   And follow, ere the voices fade away. 

Scene II. 

---A Forest, intermingled with Rocks and Caverns. Asia and Panthea pass into it. Two young Fauns are sitting on a Rock listening. 

1   The path through which that lovely twain 
2      Have passed, by cedar, pine, and yew, 
3      And each dark tree that ever grew, 
4      Is curtained out from Heaven's wide blue; 
5   Nor sun, nor moon, nor wind, nor rain, 
6         Can pierce its interwoven bowers, 
7      Nor aught, save where some cloud of dew, 
8   Drifted along the earth-creeping breeze, 
9   Between the trunks of the hoar trees, 
10         Hangs each a pearl in the pale flowers 
11      Of the green laurel, blown anew; 
12   And bends, and then fades silently, 
13   One frail and fair anemone: 
14   Or when some star of many a one 
15   That climbs and wanders through steep night, 
16   Has found the cleft through which alone 
17   Beams fall from high those depths upon 
18   Ere it is borne away, away, 
19   By the swift Heavens that cannot stay, 
20   It scatters drops of golden light, 
21   Like lines of rain that ne'er unite: 
22   And the gloom divine is all around, 
23   And underneath is the mossy ground. 

24   There the voluptuous nightingales, 
25      Are awake through all the broad noonday. 
26   When one with bliss or sadness fails, 
27         And through the windless ivy-boughs, 
28      Sick with sweet love, droops dying away 
29   On its mate's music-panting bosom; 
30   Another from the swinging blossom, 
31         Watching to catch the languid close 
32      Of the last strain, then lifts on high 
33      The wings of the weak melody, 
34   'Till some new strain of feeling bear 
35      The song, and all the woods are mute; 
36   When there is heard through the dim air 
37   The rush of wings, and rising there 
38      Like many a lake-surrounded flute, 
39   Sounds overflow the listener's brain 
40   So sweet, that joy is almost pain. 

41   There those enchanted eddies play 
42      Of echoes, music-tongued, which draw, 
43      By Demogorgon's mighty law, 
44      With melting rapture, or sweet awe, 
45   All spirits on that secret way; 
46      As inland boats are driven to Ocean 
47   Down streams made strong with mountain-thaw: 
48         And first there comes a gentle sound 
49         To those in talk or slumber bound, 
50      And wakes the destined soft emotion,--- 
51   Attracts, impels them; those who saw 
52      Say from the breathing earth behind 
53      There steams a plume-uplifting wind 
54   Which drives them on their path, while they 
55      Believe their own swift wings and feet 
56   The sweet desires within obey: 
57   And so they float upon their way, 
58   Until, still sweet, but loud and strong, 
59   The storm of sound is driven along, 
60      Sucked up and hurrying: as they fleet 
61      Behind, its gathering billows meet 
62   And to the fatal mountain bear 
63   Like clouds amid the yielding air. 

64   Canst thou imagine where those spirits live 
65   Which make such delicate music in the woods? 
66   We haunt within the least frequented caves 
67   And closest coverts, and we know these wilds, 
68   Yet never meet them, though we hear them oft: 
69   Where may they hide themselves? 

69                                             'Tis hard to tell: 
70   I have heard those more skilled in spirits say, 
71   The bubbles, which the enchantment of the sun 
72   Sucks from the pale faint water-flowers that pave 
73   The oozy bottom of clear lakes and pools, 
74   Are the pavilions where such dwell and float 
75   Under the green and golden atmosphere 
76   Which noontide kindles through the woven leaves; 
77   And when these burst, and the thin fiery air, 
78   The which they breathed within those lucent domes, 
79   Ascends to flow like meteors through the night, 
80   They ride on them, and rein their headlong speed, 
81   And bow their burning crests, and glide in fire 
82   Under the waters of the earth again. 

83   If such live thus, have others other lives, 
84   Under pink blossoms or within the bells 
85   Of meadow flowers, or folded violets deep, 
86   Or on their dying odours, when they die, 
87   Or in the sunlight of the spherèd dew? 

88   Ay, many more which we may well divine. 
89   But, should we stay to speak, noontide would come, 
90   And thwart Silenus find his goats undrawn, 
91   And grudge to sing those wise and lovely songs 
92   Of Fate, and Chance, and God, and Chaos old, 
93   And Love, and the chained Titan's woful doom, 
94   And how he shall be loosed, and make the earth 
95   One brotherhood: delightful strains which cheer 
96   Our solitary twilights, and which charm 
97   To silence the unenvying nightingales. 

Scene III. 

---A Pinnacle of Rock among Mountains.


1   Hither the sound has borne us---to the realm 
2   Of Demogorgon, and the mighty portal, 
3   Like a volcano's meteor-breathing chasm, 
4   Whence the oracular vapour is hurled up 
5   Which lonely men drink wandering in their youth, 
6   And call truth, virtue, love, genius, or joy, 
7   That maddening wine of life, whose dregs they drain 
8   To deep intoxication; and uplift, 
9   Like Mænads who cry loud, Evoe! Evoe! 
10   The voice which is contagion to the world. 

11   Fit throne for such a Power! Magnificent! 
12   How glorious art thou, Earth! And if thou be 
13   The shadow of some spirit lovelier still, 
14   Though evil stain its work, and it should be 
15   Like its creation, weak yet beautiful, 
16   I could fall down and worship that and thee. 
17   Even now my heart adoreth: Wonderful! 
18   Look, sister, ere the vapour dim thy brain: 
19   Beneath is a wide plain of billowy mist, 
20   As a lake, paving in the morning sky, 
21   With azure waves which burst in silver light, 
22   Some Indian vale. Behold it, rolling on 
23   Under the curdling winds, and islanding 
24   The peak whereon we stand, midway, around, 
25   Encinctured by the dark and blooming forests, 
26   Dim twilight-lawns, and stream-illumèd caves, 
27   And wind-enchanted shapes of wandering mist; 
28   And far on high the keen sky-cleaving mountains 
29   From icy spires of sun-like radiance fling 
30   The dawn, as lifted Ocean's dazzling spray, 
31   From some Atlantic islet scattered up, 
32   Spangles the wind with lamp-like water-drops. 
33   The vale is girdled with their walls, a howl 
34   Of cataracts from their thaw-cloven ravines, 
35   Satiates the listening wind, continuous, vast, 
36   Awful as silence. Hark! the rushing snow! 
37   The sun-awakened avalanche! whose mass, 
38   Thrice sifted by the storm, had gathered there 
39   Flake after flake, in heaven-defying minds 
40   As thought by thought is piled, till some great truth 
41   Is loosened, and the nations echo round, 
42   Shaken to their roots, as do the mountains now. 

43   Look how the gusty sea of mist is breaking 
44   In crimson foam, even at our feet! it rises 
45   As Ocean at the enchantment of the moon 
46   Round foodless men wrecked on some oozy isle. 

47   The fragments of the cloud are scattered up; 
48   The wind that lifts them disentwines my hair; 
49   Its billows now sweep o'er mine eyes; my brain 
50   Grows dizzy; see'st thou shapes within the mist? 

51   A countenance with beckoning smiles: there burns 
52   An azure fire within its golden locks! 
53   Another and another: hark! they speak! 

Song of Spirits. 

54      To the deep, to the deep, 
55         Down, down! 
56      Through the shade of sleep, 
57      Through the cloudy strife 
58      Of Death and of Life; 
59      Through the veil and the bar 
60      Of things which seem and are 
61   Even to the steps of the remotest throne, 
62         Down, down! 

63      While the sound whirls around, 
64         Down, down! 
65      As the fawn draws the hound, 
66      As the lightning the vapour, 
67      As a weak moth the taper; 
68      Death, despair; love, sorrow; 
69      Time both; to-day, to-morrow; 
70   As steel obeys the spirit of the stone, 
71         Down, down! 

72      Through the gray, void abysm, 
73         Down, down! 
74      Where the air is no prism, 
75      And the moon and stars are not, 
76      And the cavern-crags wear not 
77      The radiance of Heaven, 
78      Nor the gloom to Earth given, 
79   Where there is One pervading, One alone, 
80         Down, down! 

81      In the depth of the deep, 
82         Down, down! 
83      Like veiled lightning asleep, 
84      Like the spark nursed in embers, 
85      The last look Love remembers, 
86      Like a diamond, which shines 
87      On the dark wealth of mines, 
88   A spell is treasured but for thee alone. 
89         Down, down! 

90      We have bound thee, we guide thee; 
91         Down, down! 
92      With the bright form beside thee; 
93      Resist not the weakness, 
94      Such strength is in meekness 
95      That the Eternal, the Immortal, 
96      Most unloose through life's portal 
97   The snake-like Doom coiled underneath his throne 
98         By that alone. 

Scene IV. 

---The Cave of Demogorgon.


1   What vèiled form sits on that ebon throne? 

2   The veil has fallen. 

2                                             I see a mighty darkness 
3   Filling the seat of power, and rays of gloom 
4   Dart round, as light from the meridian sun. 
5   ---Ungazed upon and shapeless; neither limb, 
6   Nor form, nor outline; yet we feel it is 
7   A living Spirit. 

7                                             Ask what thou wouldst know. 

8   What canst thou tell? 

8                                             All things thou dar'st demand. 

9   Who made the living world? 

9                        God. 

9                                             Who made all 
10   That it contains? thought, passion, reason, will, Imagination? 

11   God: Almighty God. 

12   Who made that sense which, when the winds of Spring 
13   In rarest visitation, or the voice 
14   Of one belovèd heard in youth alone, 
15   Fills the faint eyes with falling tears which dim 
16   The radiant looks of unbewailing flowers, 
17   And leaves this peopled earth a solitude 
18   When it returns no more? 

18                                             Merciful God. 

19   And who made terror, madness, crime, remorse, 
20   Which from the links of the great chain of things, 
21   To every thought within the mind of man 
22   Sway and drag heavily, and each one reels 
23   Under the load towards the pit of death; 
24   Abandoned hope, and love that turns to hate; 
25   And self-contempt, bitterer to drink than blood; 
26   Pain, whose unheeded and familiar speech 
27   Is howling, and keen shrieks, day after day; 
28   And Hell, or the sharp fear of Hell? 

28                                             He reigns. 

29   Utter his name: a world pining in pain 
30   Asks but his name: curses shall drag him down. 

31   He reigns. 

31                        I feel, I know it: who? 

31                                             He reigns. 

32   Who reigns? There was the Heaven and Earth at first, 
33   And Light and Love; then Saturn, from whose throne 
34   Time fell, an envious shadow: such the state 
35   Of the earth's primal spirits beneath his sway, 
36   As the calm joy of flowers and living leaves 
37   Before the wind or sun has withered them 
38   And semivital worms; but he refused 
39   The birthright of their being, knowledge, power, 
40   The skill which wields the elements, the thought 
41   Which pierces this dim universe like light, 
42   Self-empire, and the majesty of love; 
43   For thirst of which they fainted. Then Prometheus 
44   Gave wisdom, which is strength, to Jupiter, 
45   And with this law alone, 'Let man be free,' 
46   Clothed him with the dominion of wide Heaven. 
47   To know nor faith, nor love, nor law; to be 
48   Omnipotent but friendless is to reign; 
49   And Jove now reigned; for on the race of man 
50   First famine, and then toil, and then disease, 
51   Strife, wounds, and ghastly death unseen before, 
52   Fell; and the unseasonable seasons drove 
53   With alternating shafts of frost and fire, 
54   Their shelterless, pale tribes to mountain caves: 
55   And in their desert hearts fierce wants he sent, 
56   And mad disquietudes, and shadows idle 
57   Of unreal good, which levied mutual war, 
58   So ruining the lair wherein they raged. 
59   Prometheus saw, and waked the legioned hopes 
60   Which sleep within folded Elysian flowers, 
61   Nepenthe, Moly, Amaranth, fadeless blooms, 
62   That they might hide with thin and rainbow wings 
63   The shape of Death; and Love he sent to bind 
64   The disunited tendrils of that vine 
65   Which bears the wine of life, the human heart; 
66   And he tamed fire which, like some beast of prey, 
67   Most terrible, but lovely, played beneath 
68   The frown of man; and tortured to his will 
69   Iron and gold, the slaves and signs of power, 
70   And gems and poisons, and all subtlest forms 
71   Hidden beneath the mountains and the waves. 
72   He gave man speech, and speech created thought, 
73   Which is the measure of the universe; 
74   And Science struck the thrones of earth and heaven, 
75   Which shook, but fell not; and the harmonious mind 
76   Poured itself forth in all-prophetic song; 
77   And music lifted up the listening spirit 
78   Until it walked, exempt from mortal care, 
79   Godlike, o'er the clear billows of sweet sound; 
80   And human hands first mimicked and then mocked, 
81   With moulded limbs more lovely than its own, 
82   The human form, till marble grew divine; 
83   And mothers, gazing, drank the love men see 
84   Reflected in their race, behold, and perish. 
85   He told the hidden power of herbs and springs, 
86   And Disease drank and slept. Death grew like sleep. 
87   He taught the implicated orbits woven 
88   Of the wide-wandering stars; and how the sun 
89   Changes his lair, and by what secret spell 
90   The pale moon is transformed, when her broad eye 
91   Gazes not on the interlunar sea: 
92   He taught to rule, as life directs the limbs, 
93   The tempest-wingèd chariots of the Ocean, 
94   And the Celt knew the Indian. Cities then 
95   Were built, and through their snow-like columns flowed 
96   The warm winds, and the azure aether shone, 
97   And the blue sea and shadowy hills were seen. 
98   Such, the alleviations of his state, 
99   Prometheus gave to man, for which he hangs 
100   Withering in destined pain: but who rains down 
101   Evil, the immedicable plague, which, while 
102   Man looks on his creation like a God 
103   And sees that it is glorious, drives him on, 
104   The wreck of his own will, the scorn of earth, 
105   The outcast, the abandoned, the alone? 
106   Not Jove: while yet his frown shook Heaven, ay, when 
107   His adversary from adamantine chains 
108   Cursed him, he trembled like a slave. Declare 
109   Who is his master? Is he too a slave? 

110   All spirits are enslaved which serve things evil: 
111   Thou knowest if Jupiter be such or no. 

112   Whom calledst thou God? 

112                                             I spoke but as ye speak, 
113   For Jove is the supreme of living things. 

114   Who is the master of the slave? 

114                                             If the abysm 
115   Could vomit forth its secrets. . . But a voice 
116   Is wanting, the deep truth is imageless; 
117   For what would it avail to bid thee gaze 
118   On the revolving world? What to bid speak 
119   Fate, Time, Occasion, Chance, and Change? To these 
120   All things are subject but eternal Love. 

121   So much I asked before, and my heart gave 
122   The response thou hast given; and of such truths 
123   Each to itself must be the oracle. 
124   One more demand; and do thou answer me 
125   As mine own soul would answer, did it know 
126   That which I ask. Prometheus shall arise 
127   Henceforth the sun of this rejoicing world: 
128   When shall the destined hour arrive? 

128                                             Behold! 

129   The rocks are cloven, and through the purple night 
130   I see cars drawn by rainbow-wingèd steeds 
131   Which trample the dim winds: in each there stands 
132   A wild-eyed charioteer urging their flight. 
133   Some look behind, as fiends pursued them there, 
134   And yet I see no shapes but the keen stars: 
135   Others, with burning eyes, lean forth, and drink 
136   With eager lips the wind of their own speed, 
137   As if the thing they loved fled on before, 
138   And now, even now, they clasped it. Their bright locks 
139   Stream like a comet's flashing hair: they all 
140   Sweep onward. 

140                                             These are the immortal Hours, 
141   Of whom thou didst demand. One waits for thee. 

142   A spirit with a dreadful countenance 
143   Checks its dark chariot by the craggy gulf. 
144   Unlike thy brethren, ghastly charioteer, 
145   Who art thou? Whither wouldst thou bear me? Speak! 

146   I am the shadow of a destiny 
147   More dread than is my aspect: ere yon planet 
148   Has set, the darkness which ascends with me 
149   Shall wrap in lasting night heaven's kingless throne. 

150   What meanest thou? 

150                                             That terrible shadow floats 
151   Up from its throne, as may the lurid smoke 
152   Of earthquake-ruined cities o'er the sea. 
153   Lo! it ascends the car; the coursers fly 
154   Terrified: watch its path among the stars 
155   Blackening the night! 

155                                             Thus I am answered: strange! 

156   See, near the verge, another chariot stays; 
157   An ivory shell inlaid with crimson fire, 
158   Which comes and goes within its sculptured rim 
159   Of delicate strange tracery; the young spirit 
160   That guides it has the dove-like eyes of hope; 
161   How its soft smiles attract the soul! as light 
162   Lures wingèd insects through the lampless air. 


163   My coursers are fed with the lightning, 
164      They drink of the whirlwind's stream, 
165   And when the red morning is bright'ning 
166      They bathe in the fresh sunbeam; 
167      They have strength for their swiftness I deem, 
168   Then ascend with me, daughter of Ocean. 

169   I desire: and their speed makes night kindle; 
170      I fear: they outstrip the Typhoon; 
171   Ere the cloud piled on Atlas can dwindle 
172      We encircle the earth and the moon: 
173      We shall rest from long labours at noon: 
174   Then ascend with me, daughter of Ocean. 

Scene V. 

---The Car pauses within a Cloud on the top of a snowy Mountain. Asia, Panthea , and the Spirit of the Hour . 

1   On the brink of the night and the morning 
2      My coursers are wont to respire; 
3   But the Earth has just whispered a warning 
4      That their flight must be swifter than fire: 
5      They shall drink the hot speed of desire! 

6   Thou breathest on their nostrils, but my breath 
7   Would give them swifter speed. 

7                                             Alas! it could not. 

8   Oh Spirit! pause, and tell whence is the light 
9   Which fills this cloud? the sun is yet unrisen. 

10   The sun will rise not until noon. Apollo 
11   Is held in heaven by wonder; and the light 
12   Which fills this vapour, as the aëreal hue 
13   Of fountain-gazing roses fills the water, 
14   Flows from thy mighty sister. 

14                                             Yes, I feel--- 

15   What is it with thee, sister? Thou art pale. 

16   How thou art changed! I dare not look on thee; 
17   I feel but see thee not. I scarce endure 
18   The radiance of thy beauty. Some good change 
19   Is working in the elements, which suffer 
20   Thy presence thus unveiled. The Nereids tell 
21   That on the day when the clear hyaline 
22   Was cloven at thine uprise, and thou didst stand 
23   Within a veinèd shell, which floated on 
24   Over the calm floor of the crystal sea, 
25   Among the Ægean isles, and by the shores 
26   Which bear thy name; love, like the atmosphere 
27   Of the sun's fire filling the living world, 
28   Burst from thee, and illumined earth and heaven 
29   And the deep ocean and the sunless caves 
30   And all that dwells within them; till grief cast 
31   Eclipse upon the soul from which it came: 
32   Such art thou now; nor is it I alone, 
33   Thy sister, thy companion, thine own chosen one, 
34   But the whole world which seeks thy sympathy. 
35   Hearest thou not sounds i' the air which speak the love 
36   Of all articulate beings? Feelest thou not 
37   The inanimate winds enamoured of thee? List! 

38   Thy words are sweeter than aught else but his 
39   Whose echoes they are: yet all love is sweet, 
40   Given or returned. Common as light is love, 
41   And its familiar voice wearies not ever. 
42   Like the wide heaven, the all-sustaining air, 
43   It makes the reptile equal to the God: 
44   They who inspire it most are fortunate, 
45   As I am now; but those who feel it most 
46   Are happier still, after long sufferings, 
47   As I shall soon become. 

47                                             List! Spirits speak. 


48   Life of Life! thy lips enkindle 
49      With their love the breath between them; 
50   And thy smiles before they dwindle 
51      Make the cold air fire; then screen them 
52   In those looks, where whoso gazes 
53   Faints, entangled in their mazes. 

54   Child of Light! thy limbs are burning 
55      Through the vest which seems to hide them; 
56   As the radiant lines of morning 
57      Through the clouds ere they divide them; 
58   And this atmosphere divinest 
59   Shrouds thee wheresoe'er thou shinest. 

60   Fair are others; none beholds thee, 
61      But thy voice sounds low and tender 
62   Like the fairest, for it folds thee 
63      From the sight, that liquid splendour, 
64   And all feel, yet see thee never, 
65   As I feel now, lost for ever! 

66   Lamp of Earth! where'er thou movest 
67      Its dim shapes are clad with brightness, 
68   And the souls of whom thou lovest 
69      Walk upon the winds with lightness, 
70   Till they fail, as I am failing, 
71   Dizzy, lost, yet unbewailing! 

72      My soul is an enchanted boat, 
73      Which, like a sleeping swan, doth float 
74   Upon the silver waves of thy sweet singing; 
75      And thine doth like an angel sit 
76      Beside a helm conducting it, 
77   Whilst all the winds with melody are ringing. 
78      It seems to float ever, for ever, 
79      Upon that many-winding river, 
80      Between mountains, woods, abysses, 
81      A paradise of wildernesses! 
82   Till, like one in slumber bound, 
83   Borne to the ocean, I float down, around, 
84   Into a sea profound, of ever-spreading sound: 

85      Meanwhile thy spirit lifts its pinions 
86      In music's most serene dominions; 
87   Catching the winds that fan that happy heaven. 
88      And we sail on, away, afar, 
89      Without a course, without a star, 
90   But, by the instinct of sweet music driven; 
91      Till through Elysian garden islets 
92      By thee, most beautiful of pilots, 
93      Where never mortal pinnace glided, 
94      The boat of my desire is guided: 
95   Realms where the air we breathe is love, 
96   Which in the winds and on the waves doth move, 
97   Harmonizing this earth with what we feel above. 

98      We have passed Age's icy caves, 
99      And Manhood's dark and tossing waves, 
100   And Youth's smooth ocean, smiling to betray: 
101      Beyond the glassy gulfs we flee 
102      Of shadow-peopled Infancy, 
103   Through Death and Birth, to a diviner day; 
104      A paradise of vaulted bowers, 
105      Lit by downward-gazing flowers, 
106      And watery paths that wind between 
107      Wildernesses calm and green, 
108   Peopled by shapes too bright to see, 
109   And rest, having beheld; somewhat like thee; 
110   Which walk upon the sea, and chant melodiously! 



Scene I. 

---Heaven. Jupiter on his Throne; Thetis and the other Deities assembled. 

1   Ye congregated powers of heaven, who share 
2   The glory and the strength of him ye serve, 
3   Rejoice! henceforth I am omnipotent. 
4   All else had been subdued to me; alone 
5   The soul of man, like unextinguished fire, 
6   Yet burns towards heaven with fierce reproach, and doubt, 
7   And lamentation, and reluctant prayer, 
8   Hurling up insurrection, which might make 
9   Our antique empire insecure, though built 
10   On eldest faith, and hell's coeval, fear; 
11   And though my curses through the pendulous air, 
12   Like snow on herbless peaks, fall flake by flake, 
13   And cling to it; though under my wrath's night 
14   It climbs the crags of life, step after step, 
15   Which wound it, as ice wounds unsandalled feet, 
16   It yet remains supreme o'er misery, 
17   Aspiring, unrepressed, yet soon to fall: 
18   Even now have I begotten a strange wonder, 
19   That fatal child, the terror of the earth, 
20   Who waits but till the destined hour arrive, 
21   Bearing from Demogorgon's vacant throne 
22   The dreadful might of ever-living limbs 
23   Which clothed that awful spirit unbeheld, 
24   To redescend, and trample out the spark. 
25   Pour forth heaven's wine, Idæan Ganymede, 
26   And let it fill the Dædal cups like fire, 
27   And from the flower-inwoven soil divine 
28   Ye all-triumphant harmonies arise, 
29   As dew from earth under the twilight stars: 
30   Drink! be the nectar circling through your veins 
31   The soul of joy, ye ever-living Gods, 
32   Till exultation burst in one wide voice 
33   Like music from Elysian winds. 

33                                             And thou 
34   Ascend beside me, veilèd in the light 
35   Of the desire which makes thee one with me, 
36   Thetis, bright image of eternity! 
37   When thou didst cry, 'Insufferable might! 
38   God! Spare me! I sustain not the quick flames, 
39   The penetrating presence; all my being, 
40   Like him whom the Numidian seps did thaw 
41   Into a dew with poison, is dissolved, 
42   Sinking through its foundations:' even then 
43   Two mighty spirits, mingling, made a third 
44   Mightier than either, which, unbodied now, 
45   Between us floats, felt, although unbeheld, 
46   Waiting the incarnation, which ascends, 
47   (Hear ye the thunder of the fiery wheels 
48   Griding the winds?) from Demogorgon's throne. 
49   Victory! victory! Feel'st thou not, O world, 
50   The earthquake of his chariot thundering up 
51   Olympus? 
[The Car of the Hour arrives. Demogorgon descends, and moves towards the Throne of Jupiter . 

51                                             Awful shape, what art thou? Speak! 

52   Eternity. Demand no direr name. 
53   Descend, and follow me down the abyss. 
54   I am thy child, as thou wert Saturn's child; 
55   Mightier than thee: and we must dwell together 
56   Henceforth in darkness. Lift thy lightnings not. 
57   The tyranny of heaven none may retain, 
58   Or reassume, or hold, succeeding thee: 
59   Yet if thou wilt, as 'tis the destiny 
60   Of trodden worms to writhe till they are dead, 
61   Put forth thy might. 

61                                             Detested prodigy! 
62   Even thus beneath the deep Titanian prisons 
63   I trample thee! thou lingerest? 

63                                             Mercy! mercy! 
64   No pity, no release, no respite! Oh, 
65   That thou wouldst make mine enemy my judge, 
66   Even where he hangs, seared by my long revenge, 
67   On Caucasus! he would not doom me thus. 
68   Gentle, and just, and dreadless, is he not 
69   The monarch of the world? What then art thou? 
70   No refuge! no appeal! 

70                                             Sink with me then, 
71   We two will sink on the wide waves of ruin, 
72   Even as a vulture and a snake outspent 
73   Drop, twisted in inextricable fight, 
74   Into a shoreless sea. Let hell unlock 
75   Its mounded oceans of tempestuous fire, 
76   And whelm on them into the bottomless void 
77   This desolated world, and thee, and me, 
78   The conqueror and the conquered, and the wreck 
79   Of that for which they combated. 

79                                             Ai! Ai! 
80   The elements obey me not. I sink 
81   Dizzily down, ever, for ever, down. 
82   And, like a cloud, mine enemy above 
83   Darkens my fall with victory! Ai, Ai! 

Scene II. 

---The Mouth of a great River in the Island Atlantis. Ocean is discovered reclining near the Shore; Apollo stands beside him. 

1   He fell, thou sayest, beneath his conqueror's frown? 

2   Ay, when the strife was ended which made dim 
3   The orb I rule, and shook the solid stars, 
4   The terrors of his eye illumined heaven 
5   With sanguine light, through the thick ragged skirts 
6   Of the victorious darkness, as he fell: 
7   Like the last glare of day's red agony, 
8   Which, from a rent among the fiery clouds, 
9   Burns far along the tempest-wrinkled deep. 

10   He sunk to the abyss? To the dark void? 

11   An eagle so caught in some bursting cloud 
12   On Caucasus, his thunder-baffled wings 
13   Entangled in the whirlwind, and his eyes 
14   Which gazed on the undazzling sun, now blinded 
15   By the white lightning, while the ponderous hail 
16   Beats on his struggling form, which sinks at length 
17   Prone, and the aëreal ice clings over it. 

18   Henceforth the fields of heaven-reflecting sea 
19   Which are my realm, will heave, unstained with blood, 
20   Beneath the uplifting winds, like plains of corn 
21   Swayed by the summer air; my streams will flow 
22   Round many-peopled continents, and round 
23   Fortunate isles; and from their glassy thrones 
24   Blue Proteus and his humid nymphs shall mark 
25   The shadow of fair ships, as mortals see 
26   The floating bark of the light-laden moon 
27   With that white star, its sightless pilot's crest, 
28   Borne down the rapid sunset's ebbing sea; 
29   Tracking their path no more by blood and groans, 
30   And desolation, and the mingled voice 
31   Of slavery and command; but by the light 
32   Of wave-reflected flowers, and floating odours, 
33   And music soft, and mild, free, gentle voices, 
34   And sweetest music, such as spirits love. 

35   And I shall gaze not on the deeds which make 
36   My mind obscure with sorrow, as eclipse 
37   Darkens the sphere I guide; but list, I hear 
38   The small, clear, silver lute of the young Spirit 
39   That sits i' the morning star. 

39                                             Thou must away; 
40   Thy steeds will pause at even, till when farewell: 
41   The loud deep calls me home even now to feed it 
42   With azure calm out of the emerald urns 
43   Which stand for ever full beside my throne. 
44   Behold the Nereids under the green sea, 
45   Their wavering limbs borne on the wind-like stream, 
46   Their white arms lifted o'er their streaming hair 
47   With garlands pied and starry sea-flower crowns, 
48   Hastening to grace their mighty sister's joy. 
[A sound of waves is heard.

49   It is the unpastured sea hungering for calm. 
50   Peace, monster; I come now. Farewell. 

50                                             Farewell. 

Scene III. 

---Caucasus. Prometheus, Hercules, Ione , the Earth, Spirits, Asia , and Panthea , borne in the Car with the Spirit of the Hour . Hercules unbinds Prometheus , who descends. 

1   Most glorious among Spirits, thus doth strength 
2   To wisdom, courage, and long-suffering love, 
3   And thee, who art the form they animate, 
4   Minister like a slave. 

4                                             Thy gentle words 
5   Are sweeter even than freedom long desired 
6   And long delayed. 

6                                             Asia, thou light of life, 
7   Shadow of beauty unbeheld: and ye, 
8   Fair sister nymphs, who made long years of pain 
9   Sweet to remember, through your love and care: 
10   Henceforth we will not part. There is a cave, 
11   All overgrown with trailing odorous plants, 
12   Which curtain out the day with leaves and flowers, 
13   And paved with veinèd emerald, and a fountain 
14   Leaps in the midst with an awakening sound. 
15   From its curved roof the mountain's frozen tears 
16   Like snow, or silver, or long diamond spires, 
17   Hang downward, raining forth a doubtful light: 
18   And there is heard the ever-moving air, 
19   Whispering without from tree to tree, and birds, 
20   And bees; and all around are mossy seats, 
21   And the rough walls are clothed with long soft grass; 
22   A simple dwelling, which shall be our own; 
23   Where we will sit and talk of time and change, 
24   As the world ebbs and flows, ourselves unchanged. 
25   What can hide man from mutability? 
26   And if ye sigh, then I will smile; and thou, 
27   Ione, shalt chant fragments of sea-music, 
28   Until I weep, when ye shal smile away 
29   The tears she brought, which yet were sweet to shed. 
30   We will entangle buds and flowers and beams 
31   Which twinkle on the fountain's brim, and make 
32   Strange combinations out of common things, 
33   Like human babes in their brief innocence; 
34   And we will search, with looks and words of love, 
35   For hidden thoughts, each lovelier than the last, 
36   Our unexhausted spirits; and like lutes 
37   Touched by the skill of the enamoured wind, 
38   Weave harmonies divine, yet ever new, 
39   From difference sweet where discord cannot be; 
40   And hither come, sped on the charmèd winds, 
41   Which meet from all the points of heaven, as bees 
42   From every flower aëreal Enna feeds, 
43   At their known island-homes in Himera, 
44   The echoes of the human world, which tell 
45   Of the low voice of love, almost unheard, 
46   And dove-eyed pity's murmured pain, and music, 
47   Itself the echo of the heart, and all 
48   That tempers or improves man's life, now free; 
49   And lovely apparitions,---dim at first, 
50   Then radiant, as the mind, arising bright 
51   From the embrace of beauty (whence the forms 
52   Of which these are the phantoms) casts on them 
53   The gathered rays which are reality--- 
54   Shall visit us, the progeny immortal 
55   Of Painting, Sculpture, and rapt Poesy, 
56   And arts, though unimagined, yet to be. 
57   The wandering voices and the shadows these 
58   Of all that man becomes, the mediators 
59   Of that best worship love, by him and us 
60   Given and returned; swift shapes and sounds, which grow 
61   More fair and soft as man grows wise and kind, 
62   And, veil by veil, evil and error fall: 
63   Such virtue has the cave and place around. 
[Turning to the Spirit of the Hour . 

64   For thee, fair Spirit, one toil remains. Ione, 
65   Give her that curvèd shell, which Proteus old 
66   Made Asia's nuptial boon, breathing within it 
67   A voice to be accomplished, and which thou 
68   Didst hide in grass under the hollow rock. 

69   Thou most desired Hour, more loved and lovely 
70   Than all thy sisters, this is the mystic shell; 
71   See the pale azure fading into silver 
72   Lining it with a soft yet glowing light: 
73   Looks it not like lulled music sleeping there? 

74   It seems in truth the fairest shell of Ocean: 
75   Its sound must be at once both sweet and strange. 

76   Go, borne over the cities of mankind 
77   On whirlwind-footed coursers: once again 
78   Outspeed the sun around the orbèd world; 
79   And as thy chariot cleaves the kindling air, 
80   Thou breathe into the many-folded shell, 
81   Loosening its mighty music; it shall be 
82   As thunder mingled with clear echoes: then 
83   Return; and thou shalt dwell beside our cave. 
84   And thou, O, Mother Earth!--- 

84                                             I hear, I feel; 
85   Thy lips are on me, and their touch runs down 
86   Even to the adamantine central gloom 
87   Along these marble nerves; 'tis life, 'tis joy, 
88   And through my withered, old, and icy frame 
89   The warmth of an immortal youth shoots down 
90   Circling. Henceforth the many children fair 
91   Folded in my sustaining arms; all plants, 
92   And creeping forms, and insects rainbow-winged, 
93   And birds, and beasts, and fish, and human shapes, 
94   Which drew disease and pain from my wan bosom, 
95   Draining the poison of despair, shall take 
96   And interchange sweet nutriment; to me 
97   Shall they become like sister-antelopes 
98   By one fair dam, snow-white and swift as wind, 
99   Nursed among lilies near a brimming stream. 
100   The dew-mists of my sunless sleep shall float 
101   Under the stars like balm: night-folded flowers 
102   Shall suck unwithering hues in their repose: 
103   And men and beasts in happy dreams shall gather 
104   Strength for the coming day, and all its joy: 
105   And death shall be the last embrace of her 
106   Who takes the life she gave, even as a mother 
107   Folding her child, says, 'Leave me not again.' 

108   Oh, mother! wherefore speak the name of death? 
109   Cease they to love, and move, and breathe, and speak, 
110   Who die? 

110                                             It would avail not to reply: 
111   Thou art immortal, and this tongue is known 
112   But to the uncommunicating dead. 
113   Death is the veil which those who live call life: 
114   They sleep, and it is lifted: and meanwhile 
115   In mild variety the seasons mild 
116   With rainbow-skirted showers, and odorous winds, 
117   And long blue meteors cleansing the dull night, 
118   And the life-kindling shafts of the keen sun's 
119   All-piercing bow, and the dew-mingled rain 
120   Of the calm moonbeams, a soft influence mild, 
121   Shall clothe the forests and the fields, ay, even 
122   The crag-built deserts of the barren deep, 
123   With ever-living leaves, and fruits, and flowers. 
124   And thou! There is a cavern where my spirit 
125   Was panted forth in anguish whilst thy pain 
126   Made my heart mad, and those who did inhale it 
127   Became mad too, and built a temple there, 
128   And spoke, and were oracular, and lured 
129   The erring nations round to mutual war, 
130   And faithless faith, such as Jove kept with thee; 
131   Which breath now rises, as amongst tall weeds 
132   A violet's exhalation, and it fills 
133   With a serener light and crimson air 
134   Intense, yet soft, the rocks and woods around; 
135   It feeds the quick growth of the serpent vine, 
136   And the dark linkèd ivy tangling wild, 
137   And budding, blown, or odour-faded blooms 
138   Which star the winds with points of coloured light, 
139   As they rain through them, and bright golden globes 
140   Of fruit, suspended in their own green heaven, 
141   And through their veinèd leaves and amber stems 
142   The flowers whose purple and translucid bowls 
143   Stand ever mantling with aëreal dew, 
144   The drink of spirits: and it circles round, 
145   Like the soft waving wings of noonday dreams, 
146   Inspiring calm and happy thoughts, like mine, 
147   Now thou art thus restored. This cave is thine. 
148   Arise! Appear! 
[A Spirit rises in the likeness of a winged child. 

148                                             This is my torch-bearer; 
149   Who let his lamp out in old time with gazing 
150   On eyes from which he kindled it anew 
151   With love, which is as fire, sweet daughter mine, 
152   For such is that within thine own. Run, wayward, 
153   And guide this company beyond the peak 
154   Of Bacchic Nysa, Mænad-haunted mountain, 
155   And beyond Indus and its tribute rivers, 
156   Trampling the torrent streams and glassy lakes 
157   With feet unwet, unwearied, undelaying, 
158   And up the green ravine, across the vale, 
159   Beside the windless and crystalline pool, 
160   Where ever lies, on unerasing waves, 
161   The image of a temple, built above, 
162   Distinct with column, arch, and architrave, 
163   And palm-like capital, and over-wrought, 
164   And populous with most living imagery, 
165   Praxitelean shapes, whose marble smiles 
166   Fill the hushed air with everlasting love. 
167   It is deserted now, but once it bore 
168   Thy name, Prometheus; there the emulous youths 
169   Bore to thy honour through the divine gloom 
170   The lamp which was thine emblem; even as those 
171   Who bear the untransmitted torch of hope 
172   Into the grave, across the night of life, 
173   As thou hast borne it most triumphantly 
174   To this far goal of Time. Depart, farewell. 
175   Beside that temple is the destined cave. 

Scene IV. 

---A Forest. In the Background a Cave. Prometheus, Asia, Panthea, Ione , and the Spirit of the Earth . 

1   Sister, it is not earthly: how it glides 
2   Under the leaves! how on its head there burns 
3   A light, like a green star, whose emerald beams 
4   Are twined with its fair hair! how, as it moves, 
5   The splendour drops in flakes upon the grass! 
6   Knowest thou it? 

6                                             It is the delicate spirit 
7   That guides the earth through heaven. From afar 
8   The populous constellations call that light 
9   The loveliest of the planets; and sometimes 
10   It floats along the spray of the salt sea, 
11   Or makes its chariot of a foggy cloud, 
12   Or walks through fields or cities while men sleep, 
13   Or o'er the mountain tops, or down the rivers, 
14   Or through the green waste wilderness, as now, 
15   Wondering at all it sees. Before Jove reigned 
16   It loved our sister Asia, and it came 
17   Each leisure hour to drink the liquid light 
18   Out of her eyes, for which it said it thirsted 
19   As one bit by a dipsas, and with her 
20   It made its childish confidence, and told her 
21   All it had known or seen, for it saw much, 
22   Yet idly reasoned what it saw; and called her--- 
23   For whence it sprung it knew not, nor do I--- 
24   Mother, dear mother. 
The Spirit of the Earth 
(running to Asia).

24                                             Mother, dearest mother; 
25   May I then talk with thee as I was wont? 
26   May I then hide my eyes in thy soft arms, 
27   After thy looks have made them tired of joy? 
28   May I then play beside thee the long noons, 
29   When work is none in the bright silent air? 

30   I love thee, gentlest being, and henceforth 
31   Can cherish thee unenvied: speak, I pray: 
32   Thy simple talk once solaced, now delights. 

33   Mother, I am grown wiser, though a child 
34   Cannot be wise like thee, within this day; 
35   And happier too; happier and wiser both. 
36   Thou knowest that toads, and snakes, and loathly worms, 
37   And venomous and malicious beasts, and boughs 
38   That bore ill berries in the woods, were ever 
39   An hindrance to my walks o'er the green world: 
40   And that, among the haunts of humankind, 
41   Hard-featured men, or with proud, angry looks, 
42   Or cold, staid gait, or false and hollow smiles, 
43   Or the dull sneer of self-loved ignorance, 
44   Or other such foul masks, with which ill thoughts 
45   Hide that fair being whom we spirits call man; 
46   And women too, ugliest of all things evil, 
47   (Though fair, even in a world where thou art fair, 
48   When good and kind, free and sincere like thee), 
49   When false or frowning made me sick at heart 
50   To pass them, though they slept, and I unseen. 
51   Well, my path lately lay through a great city 
52   Into the woody hills surrounding it: 
53   A sentinel was sleeping at the gate: 
54   When there was heard a sound, so loud, it shook 
55   The towers amid the moonlight, yet more sweet 
56   Than any voice but thine, sweetest of all; 
57   A long, long sound, as it would never end: 
58   And all the inhabitants leaped suddenly 
59   Out of their rest, and gathered in the streets, 
60   Looking in wonder up to Heaven, while yet 
61   The music pealed along. I hid myself 
62   Within a fountain in the public square, 
63   Where I lay like the reflex of the moon 
64   Seen in a wave under green leaves; and soon 
65   Those ugly human shapes and visages 
66   Of which I spoke as having wrought me pain, 
67   Passed floating through the air, and fading still 
68   Into the winds that scattered them; and those 
69   From whom they passed seemed mild and lovely forms 
70   After some foul disguise had fallen, and all 
71   Were somewhat changed, and after brief surprise 
72   And greetings of delighted wonder, all 
73   Went to their sleep again: and when the dawn 
74   Came, wouldst thou think that toads, and snakes, and efts, 
75   Could e'er be beautiful? yet so they were, 
76   And that with little change of shape or hue: 
77   All things had put their evil nature off: 
78   I cannot tell my joy, when o'er a lake 
79   Upon a drooping bough with nightshade twined, 
80   I saw two azure halcyons clinging downward 
81   And thinning one bright bunch of amber berries, 
82   With quick long beaks, and in the deep there lay 
83   Those lovely forms imaged as in a sky; 
84   So, with my thoughts full of these happy changes, 
85   We meet again, the happiest change of all. 

86   And never will we part, till thy chaste sister 
87   Who guides the frozen and inconstant moon 
88   Will look on thy more warm and equal light 
89   Till her heart thaw like flakes of April snow 
90   And love thee. 

90                                             What; as Asia loves Prometheus? 

91   Peace, wanton, thou art yet not old enough. 
92   Think ye by gazing on each other's eyes 
93   To multiply your lovely selves, and fill 
94   With spherèd fires the interlunar air? 

95   Nay, mother, while my sister trims her lamp 
96   'Tis hard I should go darkling. 
96                                             Listen; look! 
[The Spirit of the Hour enters. 

97   We feel what thou hast heard and seen: yet speak. 

98   Soon as the sound had ceased whose thunder filled 
99   The abysses of the sky and the wide earth, 
100   There was a change: the impalpable thin air 
101   And the all-circling sunlight were transformed, 
102   As if the sense of love dissolved in them 
103   Had folded itself round the spherèd world. 
104   My vision then grew clear, and I could see 
105   Into the mysteries of the universe: 
106   Dizzy as with delight I floated down, 
107   Winnowing the lightsome air with languid plumes, 
108   My coursers sought their birthplace in the sun, 
109   Where they henceforth will live exempt from toil, 
110   Pasturing flowers of vegetable fire; 
111   And where my moonlike car will stand within 
112   A temple, gazed upon by Phidian forms 
113   Of thee, and Asia, and the Earth, and me, 
114   And you fair nymphs looking the love we feel,--- 
115   In memory of the tidings it has borne,--- 
116   Beneath a dome fretted with graven flowers, 
117   Poised on twelve columns of resplendent stone, 
118   And open to the bright and liquid sky. 
119   Yoked to it by an amphisbaenic snake 
120   The likeness of those wingèd steeds will mock 
121   The flight from which they find repose. Alas, 
122   Whither has wandered now my partial tongue 
123   When all remains untold which ye would hear? 
124   As I have said, I floated to the earth: 
125   It was, as it is still, the pain of bliss 
126   To move, to breathe, to be; I wandering went 
127   Among the haunts and dwellings of mankind, 
128   And first was disappointed not to see 
129   Such mighty change as I had felt within 
130   Expressed in outward things; but soon I looked, 
131   And behold, thrones were kingless, and men walked 
132   One with the other even as spirits do, 
133   None fawned, none trampled; hate, disdain, or fear, 
134   Self-love or self-contempt, on human brows 
135   No more inscribed, as o'er the gate of hell, 
136   'All hope abandon ye who enter here;' 
137   None frowned, none trembled, none with eager fear 
138   Gazed on another's eye of cold command, 
139   Until the subject of a tyrant's will 
140   Became, worse fate, the abject of his own, 
141   Which spurred him, like an outspent horse, to death. 
142   None wrought his lips in truth-entangling lines 
143   Which smiled the lie his tongue disdained to speak; 
144   None, with firm sneer, trod out in his own heart 
145   The sparks of love and hope till there remained 
146   Those bitter ashes, a soul self-consumed, 
147   And the wretch crept a vampire among men, 
148   Infecting all with his own hideous ill; 
149   None talked that common, false, cold, hollow talk 
150   Which makes the heart deny the yes it breathes, 
151   Yet question that unmeant hypocrisy 
152   With such a self-mistrust as has no name. 
153   And women, too, frank, beautiful, and kind 
154   As the free heaven which rains fresh light and dew 
155   On the wide earth, past; gentle radiant forms, 
156   From custom's evil taint exempt and pure; 
157   Speaking the wisdom once they could not think, 
158   Looking emotions once they feared to feel, 
159   And changed to all which once they dared not be, 
160   Yet being now, made earth like heaven; nor pride, 
161   Nor jealousy, nor envy, nor ill shame, 
162   The bitterest of those drops of treasured gall, 
163   Spoilt the sweet taste of the nepenthe, love. 

164   Thrones, altars, judgement-seats, and prisons; wherein, 
165   And beside which, by wretched men were borne 
166   Sceptres, tiaras, swords, and chains, and tomes 
167   Of reasoned wrong, glozed on by ignorance, 
168   Were like those monstrous and barbaric shapes, 
169   The ghosts of a no-more-remembered fame, 
170   Which, from their unworn obelisks, look forth 
171   In triumph o'er the palaces and tombs 
172   Of those who were their conquerors: mouldering round, 
173   These imaged to the pride of kings and priests 
174   A dark yet mighty faith, a power as wide 
175   As is the world it wasted, and are now 
176   But an astonishment; even so the tools 
177   And emblems of its last captivity, 
178   Amid the dwellings of the peopled earth, 
179   Stand, not o'erthrown, but unregarded now. 
180   And those foul shapes, abhorred by god and man,--- 
181   Which, under many a name and many a form 
182   Strange, savage, ghastly, dark and execrable, 
183   Were Jupiter, the tyrant of the world; 
184   And which the nations, panic-stricken, served 
185   With blood, and hearts broken by long hope, and love 
186   Dragged to his altars soiled and garlandless, 
187   And slain amid men's unreclaiming tears, 
188   Flattering the thing they feared, which fear was hate,--- 
189   Frown, mouldering fast, o'er their abandoned shrines: 
190   The painted veil, by those who were, called life, 
191   Which mimicked, as with colours idly spread, 
192   All men believed or hoped, is torn aside; 
193   The loathsome mask has fallen, the man remains 
194   Sceptreless, free, uncircumscribed, but man 
195   Equal, unclassed, tribeless, and nationless, 
196   Exempt from awe, worship, degree, the king 
197   Over himself; just, gentle, wise: but man 
198   Passionless?---no, yet free from guilt or pain, 
199   Which were, for his will made or suffered them, 
200   Nor yet exempt, though ruling them like slaves, 
201   From chance, and death, and mutability, 
202   The clogs of that which else might oversoar 
203   The loftiest star of unascended heaven, 
204   Pinnacled dim in the intense inane. 



Scene .---A Part of the Forest near the Cave of Prometheus . Panthea and Ione are sleeping: they awaken gradually during the first Song. 

Voice of unseen Spirits. 

1      The pale stars are gone! 
2      For the sun, their swift shepherd, 
3      To their folds them compelling, 
4      In the depths of the dawn, 
5   Hastes, in meteor-eclipsing array, and they flee 
6      Beyond his blue dwelling, 
7      As fawns flee the leopard. 
8         But where are ye? 
A Train of dark Forms and Shadows passes by confusedly, singing.

9      Here, oh, here: 
10      We bear the bier 
11   Of the Father of many a cancelled year! 
12      Spectres we 
13      Of the dead Hours be, 
14   We bear Time to his tomb in eternity. 

15      Strew, oh, strew 
16      Hair, not yew! 
17   Wet the dusty pall with tears, not dew! 
18      Be the faded flowers 
19      Of Death's bare bowers 
20   Spread on the corpse of the King of Hours! 

21      Haste, oh, haste! 
22      As shades are chased, 
23   Trembling, by day, from heaven's blue waste. 
24      We melt away, 
25      Like dissolving spray, 
26   From the children of a diviner day, 
27      With the lullaby 
28      Of winds that die 
29   On the bosom of their own harmony! 

30   What dark forms were they? 

31   The past Hours weak and gray, 
32   With the spoil which their toil 
33      Raked together 
34   From the conquest but One could foil. 

35   Have they passed? 

35                                             They have passed; 
36   They outspeeded the blast, 
37   While 'tis said, they are fled: 

38   Whither, oh, whither? 

39   To the dark, to the past, to the dead. 


40      Bright clouds float in heaven, 
41      Dew-stars gleam on earth, 
42      Waves assemble on ocean, 
43      They are gathered and driven 
44   By the storm of delight, by the panic of glee! 
45      They shake with emotion, 
46      They dance in their mirth. 
47         But where are ye? 

48      The pine boughs are singing 
49      Old songs with new gladness, 
50      The billows and fountains 
51      Fresh music are flinging, 
52   Like the notes of a spirit from land and from sea; 
53      The storms mock the mountains 
54      With the thunder of gladness. 
55         But where are ye? 

56   What charioteers are these? 

56                                             Where are their chariots? 

[Page 275 ] 

57   The voice of the Spirits of Air and of Earth 
58      Have drawn back the figured curtain of sleep 
59   Which covered our being and darkened our birth 
60   In the deep. 

60                        In the deep? 

60                                             Oh, below the deep. 

61   An hundred ages we had been kept 
62      Cradled in visions of hate and care, 
63   And each one who waked as his brother slept, 
64      Found the truth--- 

64                                             Worse than his visions were! 

65   We have heard the lute of Hope in sleep; 
66      We have known the voice of Love in dreams; 
67   We have felt the wand of Power, and leap--- 

68   As the billows leap in the morning beams! 

69   Weave the dance on the floor of the breeze, 
70      Pierce with song heaven's silent light, 
71   Enchant the day that too swiftly flees, 
72      To check its flight ere the cave of Night. 

73   Once the hungry Hours were hounds 
74      Which chased the day like a bleeding deer, 
75   And it limped and stumbled with many wounds 
76      Through the nightly dells of the desert year. 

77   But now, oh weave the mystic measure 
78      Of music, and dance, and shapes of light, 
79   Let the Hours, and the spirits of might and pleasure, 
80   Like the clouds and sunbeams, unite. 

80                                             Unite! 

81   See, where the Spirits of the human mind 
82   Wrapped in sweet sounds, as in bright veils, approach. 

83      We join the throng 
84      Of the dance and the song, 
85   By the whirlwind of gladness borne along; 
86      As the flying-fish leap 
87      From the Indian deep, 
88   And mix with the sea-birds, half asleep. 

89   Whence come ye, so wild and so fleet, 
90   For sandals of lightning are on your feet, 
91   And your wings are soft and swift as thought, 
92   And your eyes are as love which is veilèd not? 

93      We come from the mind 
94      Of human kind 
95   Which was late so dusk, and obscene, and blind, 
96      Now 'tis an ocean 
97      Of clear emotion, 
98   A heaven of serene and mighty motion 

99      From that deep abyss 
100      Of wonder and bliss, 
101   Whose caverns are crystal palaces; 
102      From those skiey towers 
103      Where Thought's crowned powers 
104   Sit watching your dance, ye happy Hours! 

105      From the dim recesses 
106      Of woven caresses, 
107   Where lovers catch ye by your loose tresses 
108      From the azure isles, 
109      Where sweet Wisdom smiles, 
110   Delaying your ships with her siren wiles. 

111      From the temples high 
112      Of Man's ear and eye, 
113   Roofed over Sculpture and Poesy; 
114      From the murmurings 
115      Of the unsealed springs 
116   Where Science bedews her Dædal wings. 

117      Years after years, 
118      Through blood, and tears, 
119   And a thick hell of hatreds, and hopes, and fears; 
120      We waded and flew, 
121      And the islets were few 
122   Where the bud-blighted flowers of happiness grew. 

123      Our feet now, every palm, 
124      Are sandalled with calm, 
125   And the dew of our wings is a rain of balm; 
126      And, beyond our eyes, 
127      The human love lies 
128   Which makes all it gazes on Paradise. 

129      Then weave the web of the mystic measure; 
130   From the depths of the sky and the ends of the earth, 
131      Come, swift Spirits of might and of pleasure, 
132   Fill the dance and the music of mirth, 
133      As the waves of a thousand streams rush by 
134      To an ocean of splendour and harmony! 


135      Our spoil is won, 
136      Our task is done, 
137   We are free to dive, or soar, or run; 
138      Beyond and around, 
139      Or within the bound 
140   Which clips the world with darkness round. 

141      We'll pass the eyes 
142      Of the starry skies 
143   Into the hoar deep to colonize: 
144      Death, Chaos, and Night, 
145      From the sound of our flight, 
146   Shall flee, like mist from a tempest's might. 

147      And Earth, Air, and Light, 
148      And the Spirit of Might, 
149   Which drives round the stars in their fiery flight; 
150      And Love, Thought, and Breath, 
151      The powers that quell Death, 
152   Wherever we soar shall assemble beneath. 

153      And our singing shall build 
154      In the void's loose field 
155   A world for the Spirit of Wisdom to wield; 
156      We will take our plan 
157      From the new world of man, 
158   And our work shall be called the Promethean. 

159   Break the dance, and scatter the song; 
160      Let some depart, and some remain. 

161   We, beyond heaven, are driven along: 

162   Us the enchantments of earth retain: 

163   Ceaseless, and rapid, and fierce, and free, 
164   With the Spirits which build a new earth and sea, 
165   And a heaven where yet heaven could never be. 

166   Solemn, and slow, and serene, and bright, 
167   Leading the Day and outspeeding the Night, 
168   With the powers of a world of perfect light. 

169   We whirl, singing loud, round the gathering sphere, 
170   Till the trees, and the beasts, and the clouds appear 
171   From its chaos made calm by love, not fear. 

172   We encircle the ocean and mountains of earth, 
173   And the happy forms of its death and birth 
174   Change to the music of our sweet mirth. 

175   Break the dance, and scatter the song, 
176      Let some depart, and some remain, 
177   Wherever we fly we lead along 
178   In leashes, like starbeams, soft yet strong, 
179      The clouds that are heavy with love's sweet rain. 

180   Ha! they are gone! 

180                                             Yet feel you no delight 
181   From the past sweetness? 

181                                             As the bare green hill 
182   When some soft cloud vanishes into rain, 
183   Laughs with a thousand drops of sunny water 
184   To the unpavilioned sky! 

184                                             Even whilst we speak 
185   New notes arise. What is that awful sound? 

186   'Tis the deep music of the rolling world 
187   Kindling within the strings of the waved air 
188   Æolian modulations. 

188                                             Listen too, 
189   How every pause is filled with under-notes, 
190   Clear, silver, icy, keen, awakening tones, 
191   Which pierce the sense, and live within the soul, 
192   As the sharp stars pierce winter's crystal air 
193   And gaze upon themselves within the sea. 

194   But see where through two openings in the forest 
195   Which hanging branches overcanopy, 
196   And where two runnels of a rivulet, 
197   Between the close moss violet-inwoven, 
198   Have made their path of melody, like sisters 
199   Who part with sighs that they may meet in smiles, 
200   Turning their dear disunion to an isle 
201   Of lovely grief, a wood of sweet sad thoughts; 
202   Two visions of strange radiance float upon 
203   The ocean-like enchantment of strong sound, 
204   Which flows intenser, keener, deeper yet 
205   Under the ground and through the windless air. 

206   I see a chariot like that thinnest boat, 
207   In which the Mother of the Months is borne 
208   By ebbing light into her western cave, 
209   When she upsprings from interlunar dreams; 
210   O'er which is curved an orblike canopy 
211   Of gentle darkness, and the hills and woods, 
212   Distinctly seen through that dusk aery veil, 
213   Regard like shapes in an enchanter's glass; 
214   Its wheels are solid clouds, azure and gold, 
215   Such as the genii of the thunderstorm 
216   Pile on the floor of the illumined sea 
217   When the sun rushes under it; they roll 
218   And move and grow as with an inward wind; 
219   Within it sits a wingèd infant, white 
220   Its countenance, like the whiteness of bright snow, 
221   Its plumes are as feathers of sunny frost, 
222   Its limbs gleam white, through the wind-flowing folds 
223   Of its white robe, woof of ethereal pearl. 
224   Its hair is white, the brightness of white light 
225   Scattered in strings; yet its two eyes are heavens 
226   Of liquid darkness, which the Deity 
227   Within seems pouring, as a storm is poured 
228   From jaggèd clouds, out of their arrowy lashes, 
229   Tempering the cold and radiant air around, 
230   With fire that is not brightness; in its hand 
231   It sways a quivering moonbeam, from whose point 
232   A guiding power directs the chariot's prow 
233   Over its wheelèd clouds, which as they roll 
234   Over the grass, and flowers, and waves, wake sounds, 
235   Sweet as a singing rain of silver dew. 

236   And from the other opening in the wood 
237   Rushes, with loud and whirlwind harmony, 
238   A sphere, which is as many thousand spheres, 
239   Solid as crystal, yet through all its mass 
240   Flow, as through empty space, music and light: 
241   Ten thousand orbs involving and involved, 
242   Purple and azure, white, and green, and golden, 
243   Sphere within sphere; and every space between 
244   Peopled with unimaginable shapes, 
245   Such as ghosts dream dwell in the lampless deep, 
246   Yet each inter-transpicuous, and they whirl 
247   Over each other with a thousand motions, 
248   Upon a thousand sightless axles spinning, 
249   And with the force of self-destroying swiftness, 
250   Intensely, slowly, solemnly roll on, 
251   Kindling with mingled sounds, and many tones, 
252   Intelligible words and music wild. 
253   With mighty whirl the multitudinous orb 
254   Grinds the bright brook into an azure mist 
255   Of elemental subtlety, like light; 
256   And the wild odour of the forest flowers, 
257   The music of the living grass and air, 
258   The emerald light of leaf-entangled beams 
259   Round its intense yet self-conflicting speed, 
260   Seem kneaded into one aëreal mass 
261   Which drowns the sense. Within the orb itself, 
262   Pillowed upon its alabaster arms, 
263   Like to a child o'erwearied with sweet toil, 
264   On its own folded wings, and wavy hair, 
265   The Spirit of the Earth is laid asleep, 
266   And you can see its little lips are moving, 
267   Amid the changing light of their own smiles, 
268   Like one who talks of what he loves in dream. 

269   'Tis only mocking the orb's harmony. 

270   And from a star upon its forehead, shoot, 
271   Like swords of azure fire, or golden spears 
272   With tyrant-quelling myrtle overtwined, 
273   Embleming heaven and earth united now, 
274   Vast beams like spokes of some invisible wheel 
275   Which whirl as the orb whirls, swifter than thought, 
276   Filling the abyss with sun-like lightenings, 
277   And perpendicular now, and now transverse, 
278   Pierce the dark soil, and as they pierce and pass, 
279   Make bare the secrets of the earth's deep heart; 
280   Infinite mines of adamant and gold, 
281   Valueless stones, and unimagined gems, 
282   And caverns on crystalline columns poised 
283   With vegetable silver overspread; 
284   Wells of unfathomed fire, and water springs 
285   Whence the great sea, even as a child is fed, 
286   Whose vapours clothe earth's monarch mountain-tops 
287   With kingly, ermine snow. The beams flash on 
288   And make appear the melancholy ruins 
289   Of cancelled cycles; anchors, beaks of ships; 
290   Planks turned to marble; quivers, helms, and spears, 
291   And gorgon-headed targes, and the wheels 
292   Of scythèd chariots, and the emblazonry 
293   Of trophies, standards, and armorial beasts, 
294   Round which death laughed, sepulchred emblems 
295   Of dead destruction, ruin within ruin! 
296   The wrecks beside of many a city vast, 
297   Whose population which the earth grew over 
298   Was mortal, but not human; see, they lie, 
299   Their monstrous works, and uncouth skeletons, 
300   Their statues, homes and fanes; prodigious shapes 
301   Huddled in gray annihilation, split, 
302   Jammed in the hard, black deep; and over these, 
303   The anatomies of unknown wingèd things, 
304   And fishes which were isles of living scale, 
305   And serpents, bony chains, twisted around 
306   The iron crags, or within heaps of dust 
307   To which the tortuous strength of their last pangs 
308   Had crushed the iron crags; and over these 
309   The jaggèd alligator, and the might 
310   Of earth-convulsing behemoth, which once 
311   Were monarch beasts, and on the slimy shores, 
312   And weed-overgrown continents of earth, 
313   Increased and multiplied like summer worms 
314   On an abandoned corpse, till the blue globe 
315   Wrapped deluge round it like a cloak, and they 
316   Yelled, gasped, and were abolished; or some God 
317   Whose throne was in a comet, passed, and cried, 
318   'Be not!' And like my words they were no more. 

319      The joy, the triumph, the delight, the madness! 
320      The boundless, overflowing, bursting gladness, 
321   The vaporous exultation not to be confined! 
322      Ha! ha! the animation of delight 
323      Which wraps me, like an atmosphere of light, 
324   And bears me as a cloud is borne by its own wind. 

325      Brother mine, calm wanderer, 
326      Happy globe of land and air, 
327   Some Spirit is darted like a beam from thee, 
328      Which penetrates my frozen frame, 
329      And passes with the warmth of flame, 
330   With love, and odour, and deep melody 
331         Through me, through me! 

332      Ha! ha! the caverns of my hollow mountains, 
333      My cloven fire-crags, sound-exulting fountains 
334   Laugh with a vast and inextinguishable laughter. 
335      The oceans, and the deserts, and the abysses, 
336      And the deep air's unmeasured wildernesses, 
337   Answer from all their clouds and billows, echoing after. 

338      They cry aloud as I do. Sceptred curse, 
339      Who all our green and azure universe 
340   Threatenedst to muffle round with black destruction, sending 
341      A solid cloud to rain hot thunderstones, 
342      And splinter and knead down my children's bones, 
343   All I bring forth, to one void mass battering and blending,--- 

344      Until each crag-like tower, and storied column, 
345      Palace, and obelisk, and temple solemn, 
346   My imperial mountains crowned with cloud, and snow, and fire; 
347      My sea-like forests, every blade and blossom 
348      Which finds a grave or cradle in my bosom, 
349   Were stamped by thy strong hate into a lifeless mire: 

350      How art thou sunk, withdrawn, covered, drunk up 
351      By thirsty nothing, as the brackish cup 
352   Drained by a desert-troop, a little drop for all; 
353      And from beneath, around, within, above, 
354      Filling thy void annihilation, love 
355   Burst in like light on caves cloven by the thunder-ball. 

356      The snow upon my lifeless mountains 
357      Is loosened into living fountains, 
358   My solid oceans flow, and sing, and shine: 
359      A spirit from my heart bursts forth, 
360      It clothes with unexpected birth 
361   My cold bare bosom: Oh! it must be thine 
362         On mine, on mine! 

363      Gazing on thee I feel, I know 
364      Green stalks burst forth, and bright flowers grow, 
365   And living shapes upon my bosom move: 
366      Music is in the sea and air, 
367      Wingèd clouds soar here and there, 
368   Dark with the rain new buds are dreaming of: 
369         'Tis love, all love! 

370      It interpenetrates my granite mass, 
371      Through tangled roots and trodden clay doth pass 
372   Into the utmost leaves and delicatest flowers; 
373      Upon the winds, among the clouds 'tis spread, 
374      It wakes a life in the forgotten dead, 
375   They breathe a spirit up from their obscurest bowers. 

376      And like a storm bursting its cloudy prison 
377      With thunder, and with whirlwind, has arisen 
378   Out of the lampless caves of unimagined being: 
379      With earthquake shock and swiftness making shiver 
380      Thought's stagnant chaos, unremoved for ever, 
381   Till hate, and fear, and pain, light-vanquished shadows, fleeing, 

382      Leave Man, who was a many-sided mirror, 
383      Which could distort to many a shape of error, 
384   This true fair world of things, a sea reflecting love; 
385      Which over all his kind, as the sun's heaven 
386      Gliding o'er ocean, smooth, serene, and even, 
387   Darting from starry depths radiance and life, doth move: 

388      Leave Man, even as a leprous child is left, 
389      Who follows a sick beast to some warm cleft 
390   Of rocks, through which the might of healing springs is poured; 
391      Then when it wanders home with rosy smile, 
392      Unconscious, and its mother fears awhile 
393   It is a spirit, then, weeps on her child restored. 

394      Man, oh, not men! a chain of linkèd thought, 
395      Of love and might to be divided not, 
396   Compelling the elements with adamantine stress; 
397      As the sun rules, even with a tyrant's gaze, 
398      The unquiet republic of the maze 
399   Of planets, struggling fierce towards heaven's free wilderness. 

400      Man, one harmonious soul of many a soul, 
401      Whose nature is its own divine control, 
402   Where all things flow to all, as rivers to the sea; 
403      Familiar acts are beautiful through love; 
404      Labour, and pain, and grief, in life's green grove 
405   Sport like tame beasts, none knew how gentle they could be! 

406      His will, with all mean passions, bad delights, 
407      And selfish cares, its trembling satellites, 
408   A spirit ill to guide, but mighty to obey, 
409      Is as a tempest-wingèd ship, whose helm 
410      Love rules, through waves which dare not overwhelm, 
411   Forcing life's wildest shores to own its sovereign sway. 

412      All things confess his strength. Through the cold mass 
413      Of marble and of colour his dreams pass; 
414   Bright threads whence mothers weave the robes their children wear; 
415      Language is a perpetual Orphic song, 
416      Which rules with Dædal harmony a throng 
417   Of thoughts and forms, which else senseless and shapeless were. 

418      The lightning is his slave; heaven's utmost deep 
419      Gives up her stars, and like a flock of sheep 
420   They pass before his eye, are numbered, and roll on! 
421      The tempest is his steed, he strides the air; 
422      And the abyss shouts from her depth laid bare, 
423   Heaven, hast thou secrets? Man unveils me; I have none. 

424      The shadow of white death has passed 
425      From my path in heaven at last, 
426   A clinging shroud of solid frost and sleep; 
427      And through my newly-woven bowers, 
428      Wander happy paramours, 
429   Less mighty, but as mild as those who keep 
430         Thy vales more deep. 

431      As the dissolving warmth of dawn may fold 
432      A half unfrozen dew-globe, green, and gold, 
433   And crystalline, till it becomes a wingèd mist, 
434      And wanders up the vault of the blue day, 
435      Outlives the moon, and on the sun's last ray 
436   Hangs o'er the sea, a fleece of fire and amethyst. 

437      Thou art folded, thou art lying 
438      In the light which is undying 
439   Of thine own joy, and heaven's smile divine; 
440      All suns and constellations shower 
441      On thee a light, a life, a power 
442   Which doth array thy sphere; thou pourest thine 
443         On mine, on mine! 

444      I spin beneath my pyramid of night, 
445      Which points into the heavens dreaming delight, 
446   Murmuring victorious joy in my enchanted sleep; 
447      As a youth lulled in love-dreams faintly sighing, 
448      Under the shadow of his beauty lying, 
449   Which round his rest a watch of light and warmth doth keep. 

450      As in the soft and sweet eclipse, 
451      When soul meets soul on lovers' lips, 
452   High hearts are calm, and brightest eyes are dull; 
453      So when thy shadow falls on me, 
454      Then am I mute and still, by thee 
455   Covered; of thy love, Orb most beautiful, 
456         Full, oh, too full! 

457      Thou art speeding round the sun 
458      Brightest world of many a one; 
459      Green and azure sphere which shinest 
460      With a light which is divinest 
461      Among all the lamps of Heaven 
462      To whom life and light is given; 
463      I, thy crystal paramour 
464      Borne beside thee by a power 
465      Like the polar Paradise, 
466      Magnet-like of lovers' eyes; 
467      I, a most enamoured maiden 
468      Whose weak brain is overladen 
469      With the pleasure of her love, 
470      Maniac-like around thee move 
471      Gazing, an insatiate bride, 
472      On thy form from every side 
473      Like a Mænad, round the cup 
474      Which Agave lifted up 
475      In the weird Cadmæan forest. 
476      Brother, wheresoe'er thou soarest 
477      I must hurry, whirl and follow 
478      Through the heavens wide and hollow, 
479      Sheltered by the warm embrace 
480      Of thy soul from hungry space, 
481      Drinking from thy sense and sight 
482      Beauty, majesty, and might, 
483      As a lover or a chameleon 
484      Grows like what it looks upon, 
485      As a violet's gentle eye 
486      Gazes on the azure sky 
487   Until its hue grows like what it beholds, 
488      As a gray and watery mist 
489      Glows like solid amethyst 
490   Athwart the western mountain it enfolds, 
491      When the sunset sleeps 
492         Upon its snow--- 

493         And the weak day weeps 
494            That it should be so. 
495   Oh, gentle Moon, the voice of thy delight 
496   Falls on me like thy clear and tender light 
497   Soothing the seaman, borne the summer night, 
498      Through isles for ever calm; 
499   Oh, gentle Moon, thy crystal accents pierce 
500   The caverns of my pride's deep universe, 
501   Charming the tiger joy, whose tramplings fierce 
502      Made wounds which need thy balm. 

503   I rise as from a bath of sparkling water, 
504   A bath of azure light, among dark rocks, 
505   Out of the stream of sound. 

505                                             Ah me! sweet sister, 
506   The stream of sound has ebbed away from us, 
507   And you pretend to rise out of its wave, 
508   Because your words fall like the clear, soft dew 
509   Shaken from a bathing wood-nymph's limbs and hair. 

510   Peace! peace! A mighty Power, which is as darkness, 
511   Is rising out of Earth, and from the sky 
512   Is showered like night, and from within the air 
513   Bursts, like eclipse which had been gathered up 
514   Into the pores of sunlight: the bright visions, 
515   Wherein the singing spirits rode and shone, 
516   Gleam like pale meteors through a watery night. 

517   There is a sense of words upon mine ear. 

518   An universal sound like words: Oh, list! 

519   Thou, Earth, calm empire of a happy soul, 
520      Sphere of divinest shapes and harmonies, 
521   Beautiful orb! gathering as thou dost roll 
522      The love which paves thy path along the skies: 

523   I hear: I am as a drop of dew that dies. 

524   Thou, Moon, which gazest on the nightly Earth 
525      With wonder, as it gazes upon thee; 
526   Whilst each to men, and beasts, and the swift birth 
527      Of birds, is beauty, love, calm, harmony: 

528   I hear: I am a leaf shaken by thee! 

529   Ye Kings of suns and stars, Dæmons and Gods, 
530      Aetherial Dominations, who possess 
531   Elysian, windless, fortunate abodes 
532      Beyond Heaven's constellated wilderness: 
A Voice from above. 
533   Our great Republic hears, we are blest, and bless. 

534   Ye happy Dead, whom beams of brightest verse 
535      Are clouds to hide, not colours to portray, 
536   Whether your nature is that universe 
537   Which once ye saw and suffered--- 
A Voice from beneath. 
537                                             Or as they 
538   Whom we have left, we change and pass away. 

539   Ye elemental Genii, who have homes 
540      From man's high mind even to the central stone 
541   Of sullen lead; from heaven's star-fretted domes 
542      To the dull weed some sea-worm battens on: 

543   We hear: thy words waken Oblivion. 

544   Spirits, whose homes are flesh: ye beasts and birds, 
545      Ye worms, and fish; ye living leaves and buds; 
546   Lightning and wind; and ye untameable herds, 
547      Meteors and mists, which throng air's solitudes:--- 

548   Thy voice to us is wind among still woods. 

549   Man, who wert once a despot and a slave; 
550      A dupe and a deceiver; a decay; 
551   A traveller from the cradle to the grave 
552      Through the dim night of this immortal day: 

553   Speak: thy strong words may never pass away. 

554   This is the day, which down the void abysm 
555   At the Earth-born's spell yawns for Heaven's despotism, 
556      And Conquest is dragged captive through the deep: 
557   Love, from its awful throne of patient power 
558   In the wise heart, from the last giddy hour 
559      Of dread endurance, from the slippery, steep, 
560   And narrow verge of crag-like agony, springs 
561   And folds over the world its healing wings. 

562   Gentleness, Virtue, Wisdom, and Endurance, 
563   These are the seals of that most firm assurance 
564      Which bars the pit over Destruction's strength; 
565   And if, with infirm hand, Eternity, 
566   Mother of many acts and hours, should free 
567      The serpent that would clasp her with his length; 
568   These are the spells by which to reassume 
569   An empire o'er the disentangled doom. 

570   To suffer woes which Hope thinks infinite; 
571   To forgive wrongs darker than death or night; 
572      To defy Power, which seems omnipotent; 
573   To love, and bear; to hope till Hope creates 
574   From its own wreck the thing it contemplates; 
575      Neither to change, nor falter, nor repent; 
576   This, like thy glory, Titan, is to be 
577   Good, great and joyous, beautiful and free; 
578   This is alone Life, Joy, Empire, and Victory.