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For 1 have cherished them as dear,
Because they yet may meet thine eye,
And guide thy soul to mine even here,
When thou behold'st them drooping nigh,
And know'st them gather'd by the Rhine,
And offer'd from my heart to thine !
The river nobly foams and flows,
The charm of this enchanted ground,
And all its thousand turns disclose
Some fresher beauty varying round ;
The haughtiest breast its wish might bound
Through life to dwell delighted here ;
Nor could on earth a spot be found
To nature and to me so dear,
Could thy dear eyes in following mine
Still sweeten more these banks of Rhine !
THE DREAM OF SARDANAPALUS. Sar. (awaking) Not so—although ye multiplied And gave them to me as a realm to share [the stars, From you and with you! I would not so purchase The empire of eternity : Hence_hence Old hunter of the earliest brutes! and ye, Who hunted fellow-creatures as if brutes ! Once bloody mortalsmand now bloodier idols, If your priests lie not! And thou, ghastly beldame ! Dripping with dusky gore, and trampling on The carcases of Inde-away! away! Where am I? Where the spectres ? Where— NoIs no false phantom : I should know it ’midst (that All that the dead dare gloomily raise up From their black gulf to daunt the living ! Myrrha !
Myr. Alas ! thou art pale, and on thy brow the drops
Gather like night dew. My beloved, hush
Calm thee. Thy speech seems of another world,
And thou art loved of this. Be of good cheer ;
All will go well.
Thy hand-0~'tis thy hand;
'Tis flesh; grasp—clasp---yet closer, still I feel
Myself that which I was.
At least know me
For what I am, and ever must be thine.
Sar. I know it now. I know this life again. Ah, Myrrha ! I have been where we shall be.
Myr. My lord !
Sar. I've been i' the grave where worms are lords,
And kings are - But I did not deem it so;
I thought 'twas nothing.
So it is; except
Unto the timid, who anticipate
That which may never be.
Oh, Myrrha ! if
Sleep shows such things, what may not death disclose ?
Myr. I know no evil death can show, which life
Has not already shown to those who live
Embodied longest. If there be indeed
A shore, where mind survives, 'twill be as mind,
All unincorporate ; or, if there flits
A shadow of this cumbrous clog of clay,
Which stalks, methinks, between our souls and heaven,
And fetters us to earth at least the phantom,
Whate'er it have to fear, will not fear death.
Sar. I fear it not; but I have felt - have seen
A legion of the dead.
And so have I.
The dust we tread upon was once alive,
And wretched. But proceed : what hast thou seen ?
Speak it, 'twill lighten thy dimmed mind.
Myr. Yet pause, thou art tired-in pain-ex-
hausted ; all
Which can impair both strength and spirit : seek
Rather to sleep again.
Not now I would not
Dream ; though I know it now to be a dream
What I have dreamt:—and canst thou bear to hear it ?
Myr. I can bear all things : dreams of life or death,
Which I participate with you, in semblance
Or full reality.
Sar. And this look'd real,
I tell you: after that these eyes were open,
I saw them in their flight-for then they fled.
Myr. Say on.
I saw, that is, I dream'd myself
Here-here-even where we are, guests as we were,
Myself a host that deem'd himself but guest,
Willing to equal all in social freedom;
But on my right hand and my left, instead
Of thee and Zames, and our custom'd meeting,
Was ranged on my left hand a haughty, dark,
And deadly face.--I could not recognize it,
Yet I had seen it, though I knew not where;
The features were a giant's, and the eye
Was still, yet lighted ; his long locks curl'd down
On his vast bust, whence a huge quiver rose
With shaft-heads feather'd from the eagle's wing,
That peep'd up bristling through his serpent hair.
I invited him to fill the cup which stood
Between us, but he answer'd not-I fill'd it
He took it not, but stared upon me, till
I trembled at the fixed glare of his eye :
I frown'd upon him as a king should frown-
He frown'd not in his turn, but look'd upon me
With the same aspect, which appall'd me more
Because it changed not; and I turn'd for refuge
To milder guests, and sought them on the right,
Where thou wert wont to be. But —
(He pauscs. Myr.
What instead? Sár. In thine own chair-thine own place in the
banquet, I sought thy sweet face in the circle-but Instead—a grey-hair'd, wither'd, bloody-eyed, And bloody-handed, ghastly, ghostly thing, Female in garb, and crown'd upon the brow, Furrow'd with years, yet sneering with the passion Of vengeance, leering too with that of lust, Sate :—my veins curdled. Myr.
Is this all ? Sar.
Upon Her right hand-her lank, bird-like right-hand-stood A goblet, bubbling o'er with blood; and on Her left, another, filPd with-what I saw not, But turn'd from it and her. But all along
The table sate a range of crowned wretches,
Of various aspects, but of one expression.
Myr. And felt you not this a mere vision ?
It was so palpable, I could have touch'd them.
I turn'd from one face to another, in
The hope to find at last one which I knew
Ere I saw theirs : but no-all turn'd upon me,
And stared, but neither ate nor drank, but stared,
Till I grew stone, as they seem'd half to be,
Yet breathing stone, for I felt life in them,
And life in me: there was a horrid kind
Of sympathy between us, as if they
Had lost a part of death to come to me,
And I the half of life to sit by them.
We were in an existence all apart
From heaven or earth—and rather let me see
Death all than such a being!
And the end ?
Sar. At last I sate marble, as they, when rose
The hunter, and the crew; and smiling on me
Yes, the enlarged but noble aspect of
The hunter smiled upon me~ I should say,
His lips, for his eyes moved not-and the woman's
Thin lips relaxed to something like a smile.
Both rose, and the crown'd figures on each hand
Rose also, as if aping their chief shades-
Mere mimics even in death_but I sate still :
A desperate courage crept through every limb,
And at the last I fear'd them not, but laugh'd
Full in their phantom faces. But then-then
The hunter laid his hand on mine: I took it,
And grasp'd it but it melted from my own,
While he too vanish'd, and left nothing but
The memory of the hero, for he look'd so.
Myr. And was the ancestor of heroes, too,
And thine no less.
Ay, Myrrha, but the woman,
The female who remain'd, she flew upon me,
And burnt my lips up with her noisome kisses,
And, Ainging down the goblets on each hand,
Methought their poisons flow'd around us, till
Each form'd a hideous river. Still she clung ;
The other phantoms, like a row of statues,
Stood dull as in our temples, but she still