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Hath then the gloomy Power Whose reign is in the tainted sepulchres

Seized on her sinless soul ?

Must then that peerless form,
Which love and admiration cannot view
Without a beating heart, those azure veins,
Which steal like streams along a field of snow,
That lovely outline, which is fair

As breathing marble, perish ?

Must putrefaction's breath
Leave nothing of this heavenly sight

But loathsomeness and ruin ?
Spare nothing but a gloomy theme,
On which the lightest heart inight moralise ?
Or is it only a sweet slumber

Stealing o'er sensation,
Which the breath of roseate morning

Chaseth into darkness ?

Will Ianthe wake again,
And give that faithful bosom joy
Whose sleepless spirit waits to catch
Light, life, and rapture from her smile ?

Yes ! she will wake again,
Although her glowing limbs are motionless,

And silent those sweet lips,

Once breathing eloquence
That might have soothed a tiger's rage,
Or thawed the cold heart of a conqueror.

Her dewy eyes are closed,
And on their lids, whose texture fine
Scarce hides the dark-blue orbs beneath,

The baby Sleep is pillowed :
Her golden tresses shade

The bosom's stainless pride,
Curling like tendrils of the parasite

Around a marble column.





Hark! whence that rushing sound ?
'Tis like the wondrous strain


That round a lonely ruin swells,
Which, wandering on the echoing shore,

The enthusiast hears at evening :
'Tis softer than the west wind's sigh ;

50 'Tis wilder than the unmeasured notes Of that strange lyre whose strings The genii of the breezes sweep :

Those lines of rainbow light
Are like the moonbeams when they fall
Through some cathedral window, but the teints

Are such as may not find

Comparison on earth.
Behold the chariot of the Fairy Queen!
Celestial coursers paw the unyielding air ;

60 Their filmy pennons at her word they furl, And stop obedient to the reins of light:

These the Queen of spells drew in;

She spread a charm around the spot, And leaning graceful from the ethereal car, 65 Long did she gaze, and silently,

Upon the slumbering maid. Oh ! not the visioned poet in his dreams, When silvery clouds float through the wildered brain, When every sight of lovely, wild, and grand 70 Astonishes, enraptures, elevates,

When fancy at a glance combines

The wondrous and the beautifulSo bright, so fair, so wild a shape Hath ever yet beheld,

75 As that which reined the coursers of the air, And poured the magic of her gaze

Upon the maiden's sleep.

NOTES. 2. Death

Sleep. The personifica- | 49. Enthusiast, through French, from tion of Death and Sleep as twin- ecclesiastical Gr. enthousiastes, from brothers is as old as Homer.

enthousiazein, to be enthèos or 27. Ianthe (three syllables), “Violet.' enthous, full of the god (théos),

Shelley's first-born daughter was inspired, rapt, in ecstasy, raised to named 'Ianthe.'

a very high state of feeling.

ARETHUSA. [Arěthūsa was one of the Nereids, marine nymphs of the Mediterranean, 'lovely divinities dwelling with their father at the bottom of the sea.' The Alphēus was the chief river of the Peloponnesus (or Morea), rising in Arcadia, and disappearing and re-appearing several times in the earlier part of its course to the Ionian Sea. 'The subterranean descent of the river ... gave rise to the story about the river-god Alphēus and the nymph Arethusa. The latter (no doubt, some beautiful Arcadian damsel, dwelling on the bank of a freshwater stream], pursued by Alpheus, was changed by Artěmis (Diāna, protectress of virginity) into the fountain of Arethusa, in the island of Ortygia (which was peculiarly sacred to her), at Syracuse; but the god continued to pursue her under the sea, and attempted to mingle his stream with the fountain in Ortygia' (Smith's Classical Dictionary).

Shelley does not follow closely the classical form of the story. His Arethusa descends from the range of mountains that run along the north of Epirus, and project the Acroceraunian promontory (mod. Cape Linguetta) into the Ionian Sea. (Does he, intentionally or unintentionally, identify Arethusa with-say Arachthus or Arětho, the modern Arta? Or is he led off by the melody of ' Acroceraunian?' Or does he, by poetic license, transfer the Acroceraunian Mountains to Peloponnesus?) His Alpheus sweeps down from Erymanthus, the greatest mountain in Arcadia, as one of the tributaries, the Erymanthus, actually does—perhaps a not very serious license. Passing through the sea in flight and pursuit, they rise together at Enna (mod. Castrogiovanni), an ancient mountain town in the centre of Sicily, whence they descend commingled to the Ortygian shore.' In fact, a small river, the Dittaino (ancient Chrysas), does descend from Enna to join the Giarretta or Simeto (anc. Symæthus), which carries its waters into the sea a little to the north of Ortygia.]


Arethusa arose

From her couch of snows
In the Acroceraunian mountains

From cloud and from crag,

With many a jag,
Shepherding her bright fountains.

She leapt down the rocks,

With her rainbow locks
Streaming among the streams ;

Her steps paved with green

10 15


The downward ravine
Which slopes to the western gleams;

And gliding and springing

She went, ever singing In murmurs as soft as sleep ;

The Earth seemed to love her,

And Heaven smiled above her, As she lingered towards the deep.

Then Alpheus bold,

On his glacier cold,
With his trident the mountains strook,

And opened a chasm

In the rocks : with the spasm All Erymanthus shook.

And the black south wind

It concealed behind The urns of the silent snow,

And earthquake and thunder

Did rend in sunder The bars of the springs below.

The beard and the hair

Of the River-god were Seen through the torrent's sweep,

As he followed the light

Of the fleet Nymph's flight To the brink of the Dorian deep.





'O save me! O guide me !

And bid the deep hide me! For he grasps me now by the hair !'

The loud Ocean heard,

To its blue depth stirred, And divided at her prayer;

And under the water

The Earth's white daughter Fled like a sunny beam ;

Behind her descended

Her billows, unblended With the brackish Dorian stream.

45 50




Like a gloomy stain

On the emerald main, Alpheus rushed behind

As an eagle pursuing

A dove to its ruin
Down the streams of the cloudy wind.

Under the bowers

Where the Ocean Powers Sit on their pearlèd thrones ;

Through the coral woods

Of the weltering floods; Over heaps of unvalued stones ;

Through the dim beams

Which amid the streams Weave a network of coloured light ;

And under the caves

Where the shadowy waves Are as green as the forest's night:

Outspeeding the shark,

And the sword-fish dark, Under the ocean foam,

And up through the rifts

Of the mountain clifts,
They passed to their Dorian home.

And now from their fountains

In Enna's mountains,
Down one vale where the morning basks,

Like friends once parted

Grown single-hearted, They ply their watery tasks.

At sunrise they leap

From their cradles steep In the cave of the shelving hill ;

At noontide they flow

Through the woods below,
And the meadows of asphodel ;

And at night they sleep
In the rocking deep





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