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Book III

  Thus in alternate uproar and sad peace,
  Amazed were those Titans utterly.
  O leave them, Muse! O leave them to their woes;
  For thou art weak to sing such tumults dire:
  A solitary sorrow best befits
  Thy lips, and antheming a lonely grief.
  Leave them, O Muse! for thou anon wilt find
  Many a fallen old Divinity
  Wandering in vain about bewildered shores.
  Meantime touch piously the Delphic harp,
  And not a wind of heaven but will breathe
  In aid soft warble from the Dorian flute;
  For lo! 'tis for the Father of all verse.
  Flush every thing that hath a vermeil hue,
  Let the rose glow intense and warm the air,
  And let the clouds of even and of morn
  Float in voluptuous fleeces o'er the hills;
  Let the red wine within the goblet boil,
  Cold as a bubbling well; let faint-lipp'd shells,
  On sands, or in great deeps, vermilion turn
  Through all their labyrinths; and let the maid
  Blush keenly, as with some warm kiss surpris'd.
  Chief isle of the embowered Cyclades,
  Rejoice, O Delos, with thine olives green,
  And poplars, and lawn-shading palms, and beech,
  In which the Zephyr breathes the loudest song,
  And hazels thick, dark-stemm'd beneath the shade:
  Apollo is once more the golden theme!
  Where was he, when the Giant of the Sun
  Stood bright, amid the sorrow of his peers?
  Together had he left his mother fair
  And his twin-sister sleeping in their bower,
  And in the morning twilight wandered forth
  Beside the osiers of a rivulet,
  Full ankle-deep in lilies of the vale.
  The nightingale had ceas'd, and a few stars
  Were lingering in the heavens, while the thrush
  Began calm-throated. Throughout all the isle
  There was no covert, no retired cave
  Unhaunted by the murmurous noise of waves,
  Though scarcely heard in many a green recess.
  He listen'd, and he wept, and his bright tears
  Went trickling down the golden bow he held.
  Thus with half-shut suffused eyes he stood,
  While from beneath some cumbrous boughs hard by
  With solemn step an awful Goddess came,
  And there was purport in her looks for him,
  Which he with eager guess began to read
  Perplex'd, the while melodiously he said:
  "How cam'st thou over the unfooted sea?
  Or hath that antique mien and robed form
  Mov'd in these vales invisible till now?
  Sure I have heard those vestments sweeping o'er
  The fallen leaves, when I have sat alone
  In cool mid-forest. Surely I have traced
  The rustle of those ample skirts about
  These grassy solitudes, and seen the flowers
  Lift up their heads, as still the whisper pass'd.
  Goddess! I have beheld those eyes before,
  And their eternal calm, and all that face,
  Or I have dream'd." — "Yes," said the supreme shape,
  "Thou hast dream'd of me; and awaking up
  Didst find a lyre all golden by thy side,
  Whose strings touch'd by thy fingers, all the vast
  Unwearied ear of the whole universe
  Listen'd in pain and pleasure at the birth
  Of such new tuneful wonder. Is't not strange
  That thou shouldst weep, so gifted? Tell me, youth,
  What sorrow thou canst feel; for I am sad
  When thou dost shed a tear: explain thy griefs
  To one who in this lonely isle hath been
  The watcher of thy sleep and hours of life,
  From the young day when first thy infant hand
  Pluck'd witless the weak flowers, till thine arm
  Could bend that bow heroic to all times.
  Show thy heart's secret to an ancient Power
  Who hath forsaken old and sacred thrones
  For prophecies of thee, and for the sake
  Of loveliness new born." — Apollo then,
  With sudden scrutiny and gloomless eyes,
  Thus answer'd, while his white melodious throat
  Throbb'd with the syllables. — "Mnemosyne!
  Thy name is on my tongue, I know not how;
  Why should I tell thee what thou so well seest?
  Why should I strive to show what from thy lips
  Would come no mystery? For me, dark, dark,
  And painful vile oblivion seals my eyes:
  I strive to search wherefore I am so sad,
  Until a melancholy numbs my limbs;
  And then upon the grass I sit, and moan,
  Like one who once had wings. — O why should I
  Feel curs'd and thwarted, when the liegeless air
  Yields to my step aspirant? why should I
  Spurn the green turf as hateful to my feet?
  Goddess benign, point forth some unknown thing:
  Are there not other regions than this isle?
  What are the stars? There is the sun, the sun!
  And the most patient brilliance of the moon!
  And stars by thousands! Point me out the way
  To any one particular beauteous star,
  And I will flit into it with my lyre,
  And make its silvery splendour pant with bliss.
  I have heard the cloudy thunder: Where is power?
  Whose hand, whose essence, what divinity
  Makes this alarum in the elements,
  While I here idle listen on the shores
  In fearless yet in aching ignorance?
  O tell me, lonely Goddess, by thy harp,
  That waileth every morn and eventide,
  Tell me why thus I rave, about these groves!
  Mute thou remainest — mute! yet I can read
  A wondrous lesson in thy silent face:
  Knowledge enormous makes a God of me.
  Names, deeds, gray legends, dire events, rebellions,
  Majesties, sovran voices, agonies,
  Creations and destroyings, all at once
  Pour into the wide hollows of my brain,
  And deify me, as if some blithe wine
  Or bright elixir peerless I had drunk,
  And so become immortal." — Thus the God,
  While his enkindled eyes, with level glance
  Beneath his white soft temples, stedfast kept
  Trembling with light upon Mnemosyne.
  Soon wild commotions shook him, and made flush
  All the immortal fairness of his limbs;
  Most like the struggle at the gate of death;
  Or liker still to one who should take leave
  Of pale immortal death, and with a pang
  As hot as death's is chill, with fierce convulse
  Die into life: so young Apollo anguish'd;
  His very hair, his golden tresses famed
  Kept undulation round his eager neck.
  During the pain Mnemosyne upheld
  Her arms as one who prophesied. — At length
  Apollo shriek'd; — and lo! from all his limbs
  Celestial * * * * * * * * * *
  * * * * * * * * * * * * *

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