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Their progress to the eye, presumptuously
To dash against the ebon roof of heaven.
Then came a sound—a fearful, deafening soundSudden and loud, as if an earthquake rent The globe to its foundations! With a rush, Startling deep Midnight on her throne, rose up, From the red mouth of Ætna's burning mount, A giant tree of fire, whence sprouted out Thousands of boundless branches, which put forth Their fiery foliage in the sky, and showered Their fruit, the red-hot levin, to the earth, In terrible profusion. Some fell back Into the hell from whence they sprang; and some, Gaining an impulse from the winds that raged Unceasingly around, sped o'er the main, And, hissing, dived to an eternal home Beneath its yawning billows. The black smoke, Blotting the snows that shroud chill Cuma's height, Rolled down the mountain's sides, girding its base
With artificial darkness; for the sea,
Catania's palaces and towers, and even
The far-off shores of Syracuse, revealed
In the deep glare that deluged heaven and earth,
Flashed forth in fearful light upon the eye.
And there was seen a lake of liquid fire
Streaming and streaming slowly on its course;
And widening as it flowed (like the dread jaws
Of some huge monster ere its prey be fanged).
At its approach the loftiest pines bent down,
And strewed its surface with their trunks ;-the earth
Shook at its coming ;-towns and villages,
Deserted of their 'habitants, were whelmed
Amid the flood, and lent it ampler force;-
The noble’s palace, and the peasant's cot,
Alike but served to swell its fiery tide:
Shrieks of wild anguish rushed upon the gale,
And universal Nature seemed to wrestle
With the gaunt forms of Darkness and Despair.
YEARS OF ANGUISH AND GLOOM
I would not court Lethean streams
My sorrowing sense to steep,
Nor drink oblivion to the themes
O'er which I love to weep.
Years of anguish and gloom have gone by
Since I last drank the breath of thy sigh;
And-compelled by hard Fortune to sever,
We parted in sadness for ever !
What a host of remembrances rush
On my brain,--and my tears how they gush,
When in solitude's hour I dwell
On thy wild but prophetic Farewell!
Yes,' for ever thou saidst, though I deemed
Fortune kinder, perchance, than she seemed;
And, chiding thy fears with a kiss,
Bade thee dim not those moments of bliss !
Even then death's dark web was around thee;
The spells of the spoiler had bound thee;
And the Angel from Heaven that brings
Fate's last fiat—was waving his wings !
We parted.—What pen may pourtray
The despair that o'ershadowed that day!
And even deeper our grief had been then,
Had we known we should meet not again!
We parted.-Long years have now past
Since the hour that I gazed on thee last;
But, fresh in my memory, yet
Bloom the flowers of most mournful regret !
'Tis said, that for sorrow's worst sting
Time a swift-healing balsam can bring ;-
That earth's ills all must own his dominion,
And recede when they're touched by his pinion!
Could the power of Oblivion controul
All the gloom that oppresses my soul;
Could even Time with his wing interpose,
And freeze feeling's bright fount as it flows;-
I would scorn the hard chain that must chill
bosom affection's fond thrill;
For the boon were ungrateful to me,
If it banished one sweet dream of thee!
But this thought shall afford me relief
In my moments of passion and grief,
That-whate'er be the depth of my woes
They can never disturb thy repose !