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Hyperion – 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 5
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, 10
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, 15
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 20
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, 25
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? 30
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. 35
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, 40
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 45
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? 50
“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 55
“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, 60
“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 65
“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 70
“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. 75
“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, 80
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 85
“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, 90
“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: 95
“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, 100
“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, 105
“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! 110
“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, 115
“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, 120
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; 125
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; 130
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 135