Such was Zonoras; and as daylight finds
One amaranth glittering on the path of frost,
When autumn nights have nipped all weaker kinds,
Thus through his age, dark, cold, and tempest-tossed,
Shone truth upon Zonoras; and he filled
From fountains pure, nigh overgrown and lost,
The spirit of Prince Athanase, a child,
With soul-sustaining songs of ancient lore
And philosophic wisdom, clear and mild.
And sweet and subtle talk they evermore,
The pupil and the master, shared; until,
Sharing that undiminishable store,
The youth, as shadows on a grassy hill
Outrun the winds that chase them, soon outran
His teacher, and did teach with native skill
Strange truths and new to that experienced man;
Still they were friends, as few have ever been
Who mark the extremes of life's discordant span.
So in the caverns of the forest green,
Or on the rocks of echoing ocean hoar,
Zonoras and Prince Athanase were seen
By summer woodmen; and when winter's roar
Sounded o'er earth and sea its blast of war,
The Balearic fisher, driven from shore,
Hanging upon the peaked wave afar,
Then saw their lamp from Laian's turret gleam,
Piercing the stormy darkness, like a star
Which pours beyond the sea one steadfast beam,
Whilst all the constellations of the sky
Seemed reeling through the storm...They did but seem—
For, lo! the wintry clouds are all gone by,
And bright Arcturus through yon pines is glowing,
And far o'er southern waves, immovably
Belted Orion hangs—warm light is flowing
From the young moon into the sunset's chasm.—
'O, summer eve! with power divine, bestowing
'On thine own bird the sweet enthusiasm
Which overflows in notes of liquid gladness,
Filling the sky like light! How many a spasm
'Of fevered brains, oppressed with grief and madness,
Were lulled by thee, delightful nightingale,—
And these soft waves, murmuring a gentle sadness,—
'And the far sighings of yon piny dale
Made vocal by some wind we feel not here.—
I bear alone what nothing may avail
'To lighten—a strange load!'—No human ear
Heard this lament; but o'er the visage wan
Of Athanase, a ruffling atmosphere
Of dark emotion, a swift shadow, ran,
Like wind upon some forest-bosomed lake,
Glassy and dark.—And that divine old man
Beheld his mystic friend's whole being shake,
Even where its inmost depths were gloomiest—
And with a calm and measured voice he spake,
And, with a soft and equal pressure, pressed
That cold lean hand:—'Dost thou remember yet
When the curved moon then lingering in the west
'Paused, in yon waves her mighty horns to wet,
How in those beams we walked, half resting on the sea?
'Tis just one year—sure thou dost not forget—
'Then Plato's words of light in thee and me
Lingered like moonlight in the moonless east,
For we had just then read—thy memory
'Is faithful now—the story of the feast;
And Agathon and Diotima seemed
From death and dark forgetfulness released...'
"One" [Bodleian manuscript, edition 1839]; "An" [edition 1824].
"Thus thro'" [Bodleian manuscript, edition 1839]; "Thus had" [edition 1824].
"talk they" [edition 1824, Bodleian manuscript]; "talk now" [edition 1839].
"that" [edition 1839]; "the" [edition 1824].
"So" [edition 1839]; "And" [edition 1824].
"Or on" [Bodleian manuscript]; "Or by" [editions 1824, 1839].
"eve" [Bodleian manuscript, edition 1839]; "night" [edition 1824].
strange edition 1839; deep edition 1824.
"emotion, a swift" [editions 1824, 1839]; "emotion with swift" [Bodleian manuscript].