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Praised be the Art whose subtle power could stay
Yon Cloud, and fix it in that glorious shape;
Nor would permit the thin smoke to escape,
Nor those bright sunbeams to forsake the day;
Which stopped that Band of Travellers on their way
Ere they were lost within the shady wood;
And shewed the Bark upon the glassy flood
For ever anchored in her sheltering Bay.
Soul-soothing Art! which Morning, Noon-tide, Even
Do serve with all their changeful pageantry!
Thou, with ambition modest yet sublime,
Here, for the sight of mortal man, hast given
To one brief moment caught from fleeting time
The appropriate calm of blest eternity.
The fairest, brightest hues of ether fade;
The sweetest notes must terminate and die;
O Friend! thy flute has breathed a harmony
Softly resounded through this rocky glade;
Such strains of rapture as * the Genius played
In his still haunt on Bagdad's summit high;
He who stood visible to Mirzah's eye,
Never before to human sight betrayed.
Lo, in the vale the mists of evening spread!
The visionary Arches are not there,
Nor the green Islands, nor the shining Seas;
Yet sacred is to me this Mountain's head,
From which I have been lifted on the breeze
Of harmony, above all earthly care.
* See the vision of Mirzah in the Spectator. VOL. ii. M
"Weak is the will of Man, his judgment blind; "Remembrance persecutes, and Hope betrays; "Heavy is woe;—and joy, for human-kind, "A mournful thing,—so transient is the blaze!" Thus might he paint our lot of mortal days Who wants the glorious faculty assigned To elevate the more-than-reasoning Mind, And colour life's dark cloud with orient rays. Imagination is that sacred power, Imagination lofty and refined: 'Tis hers to pluck the amaranthine Flower Of Faith, and round the Sufferer's temples bind Wreaths that endure affliction's heaviest shower, And do not shrink from sorrow's keenest wind.
Hail Twilight,—sovereign of one peaceful hour!
Not dull art Thou as undiscerning Night;
But studious only to remove from sight
Day's mutable distinctions.—Ancient Power!
Thus did the waters gleam, the mountains lower
To the rude Briton, when, in wolf-skin vest
Here roving wild, he laid him down to rest
On the bare rock, or through a leafy bower
Looked ere his eyes were closed. By him was seen
The self-same Vision which we now behold,
At thy meek bidding, shadowy Power, brought forth
These mighty barriers, and the gulph between;
The floods,—the stars,—a spectacle as old
As the beginning of the heavens and earth!
The Shepherd, looking eastward, softly said,"Bright is thy veil, O Moon, as thou art bright Forthwith, that little Cloud, in ether spread, And penetrated all with tender light, She cast away, and shewed her fulgent head Uncover'd;—dazzling the Beholder's sight As if to vindicate her beauty's right, Her beauty thoughtlessly disparaged. Meanwhile that Veil, removed or thrown aside, Went, floating from her, darkening as it went;And a huge Mass, to bury or to hide, Approached this glory of the firmament;Who meekly yields, and is obscur'd;—content With one calm triumph of a modest pride.