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II

'O little Cloud,' the Virgin said, 'I charge thee tell to me Why thou complainest not, when in one hour thou fade

away;

Then we shall seek thee, but not find. Ah! Thel is like to thee:

I pass away; yet I complain, and no one hears my voice.'

The Cloud then showed his golden head, and his bright form emerged,

Hovering and glittering on the air before the face of Thel.

'O Virgin, know'st thou not our steeds drink of the golden springs

Where Luvah doth renew his horses? Look'st thou on my youth,

And fearest thou, because I vanish and am seen no more, Nothing remains? O maid, I tell thee, when I pass away, It is to tenfold life, to love, to peace, and raptures holy: Unseen descending, weigh my light wings upon balmy flowers,

And court the fair-eyed dew, to take me to her shining

tent:

The weeping virgin, trembling, kneels before the risen

sun,

Till we arise, linked in a golden band and never part, But walk united, bearing food to all our tender flowers.'

'Dost thou, O little Cloud? I fear that I am not like thee, For I walk through the vales of Har, and smell the sweetest flowers,

But I feed not the little flowers; I hear the warbling birds, But I feed not the warbling birds; they fly and seek their food:

But Thel delights in these no more, because I fade away; And all shall say, "Without a use this shining woman lived,

Or did she only live to be at death the food of worms?"

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The Cloud reclined upon his airy throne, and answered thus:

"Then if thou art the food of worms, O Virgin of the skies, How great thy use, how great thy blessing! Everything

that lives

Lives not alone nor for itself. Fear not, and I will call The weak Worm from its lowly bed, and thou shalt hear

its voice.

Come forth, Worm of the silent valley, to thy pensive Queen.'

The helpless Worm arose, and sat upon the Lily's leaf, And the bright Cloud sailed on, to find his partner in the vale.

III

Then Thel astonished viewed the Worm upon its dewy bed.

'Art thou a Worm? Image of weakness, art thou but a Worm?

I see thee like an infant wrapped in the Lily's leaf.

Ah! weep not, little voice, thou canst not speak, but thou canst weep.

Is this a Worm? I see thee lay helpless and naked, weep

ing,

And none to answer, none to cherish thee with mother's smiles.'

The Clod of Clay heard the Worm's voice, and raised her pitying head;

She bowed over the weeping infant, and her life exhaled In milky fondness: then on Thel she fixed her humble

eyes.

'O Beauty of the vales of Har! we live not for ourselves. Thou seest me, the meanest thing, and so I am indeed. My bosom of itself is cold, and of itself is dark; But He that loves the lowly pours His oil upon my head, And kisses me, and binds His nuptial bands around my breast,

And says: "Thou mother of my children, I have loved thee, And I have given thee a crown that none can take away." But how this is, sweet maid, I know not, and I cannot know;

I ponder, and I cannot ponder; yet I live and love.'

The daughter of beauty wiped her pitying tears with her white veil,

And said: 'Alas! I knew not this, and therefore did I weep. That God would love a worm I knew, and punish the evil foot

That wilful bruised its helpless form; but that He cherished it

With milk and oil, I never knew, and therefore did I weẹp; And I complained in the mild air, because I fade away, And lay me down in thy cold bed, and leave my shining lot.'

'Queen of the vales,' the matron Clay answered, 'I heard thy sighs,

And all thy moans flew o'er my roof, but I have called them down.

Wilt thou, O queen, enter my house? 'Tis given thee to enter,

And to return: fear nothing; enter with thy virgin feet.'

IV

The eternal gates' terrific porter lifted the northern bar;
Thel entered in, and saw the secrets of the land unknown.
She saw the couches of the dead, and where the fibrous root
Of every heart on earth infixes deep its restless twists:
A land of sorrows and of tears where never smile was seen.

She wandered in the land of clouds through valleys dark, listening

Dolours and lamentations; waiting oft beside a dewy grave She stood in silence, listening to the voices of the ground, Till to her own grave-plot she came, and there she sat down,

And heard this voice of sorrow breathed from the hollow pit.

'Why cannot the ear be closed to its own destruction?
Or the glistening eye to the poison of a smile?
Why are eyelids stored with arrows ready drawn,
Where a thousand fighting men in ambush lie,
Or an eye of gifts and graces showering fruits and coinèd

gold?

Why a tongue impressed with honey from every wind?
Why an ear, a whirlpool fierce to draw creations in?
Why a nostril wide inhaling terror, trembling, and af-

fright?

Why a tender curb upon the youthful, burning boy? Why a little curtain of flesh on the bed of our desire?'

The Virgin started from her seat, and with a shriek Fled back unhindered till she came into the vales of Har.

FROM THE FRENCH REVOLUTION

[DEMOCRACY AND PEACE]

Aumont went out and stood in the hollow porch, his ivory wand in his hand;

A cold orb of disdain revolved round him, and coverèd his soul with snows eternal.

Great Henry's soul shudderèd, a whirlwind and fire tore furious from his angry bosom;

He indignant departed on horses of Heaven. Then the Abbé de Sieyès raised his feet

On the steps of the Louvre; like a voice of God following a storm, the Abbé followed

The pale fires of Aumont into the chamber; as a father that bows to his son,

Whose rich fields inheriting spread their old glory, so the voice of the people bowèd

Before the ancient seat of the kingdom and mountains to be renewed.

'Hear, O heavens of France! the voice of the people, arising from valley and hill,

Hear the voice of valleys, the

O'erclouded with power. voice of meek cities, Mourning oppressèd on village and field, till the village and field is a waste.

For the husbandman weeps at blights of the fife, and blasting of trumpets consume

The souls of mild France; the pale mother nourishes her child to the deadly slaughter.

When the heavens were sealed with a stone, and the terrible sun closed in an orb, and the moon

Rent from the nations, and each star appointed for watchers of night,

The millions of spirits immortal were bound in the ruins of sulphur heaven

To wander enslaved; black, depressed in dark ignorance, kept in awe with the whip

To worship terrors, bred from the blood of revenge and breath of desire

In bestial forms, or more terrible men; till the dawn of our peaceful morning,

Till dawn, till morning, till the breaking of clouds, and swelling of winds, and the universal voice;

Till man raise his darkened limbs out of the caves of night. His eyes and his heart

Expand-Where is Space? where, O sun, is thy dwelling? where thy tent, O faint slumbrous Moon?

Then the valleys of France shall cry to the soldier: "Throw down thy sword and musket,

And run and embrace the meek peasant."

Her nobles

shall hear and shall weep, and put off The red robe of terror, the crown of oppression, the shoes of contempt, and unbuckle

The girdle of war from the desolate earth. Then the Priest in his thunderous cloud

Shall weep, bending to earth, embracing the valleys, and putting his hand to the plough,

Shall say, "No more I curse thee; but now I will bless thee: no more in deadly black

Devour thy labour; nor lift up a cloud in thy heavens, O laborious plough;

That the wild raging millions, that wander in forests, and howl in law-blasted wastes,

Strength maddened with slavery, honesty bound in the dens of superstition,

May sing in the village, and shout in the harvest, and woo in pleasant gardens

Their once savage loves, now beaming with knowledge, with gentle awe adornèd;

And the saw, and the hammer, the chisel, the pencil, the

pen, and the instruments

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