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The deeper I look’d, — till I sank on the snow
Of her bosom, a thing made of terror and woe,
And answer'd its throb with the shudder of fears,
And hid


eyes from her eyes with my tears,
And strain’d her white arms with the still languid weight
Of a fainting distress. There she sat like the Fate
That is nurse unto Death, and bent over in shame
To hide me from her the true Ægle

that came With the words on her lips the false witch had foregiv'n To make me immortal for now I was even At the portals of Death, who but waited the hush Of world-sounds in my ear to cry welcome, and rush With my soul to the banks of his black-flowing river. O would it had flown from my body for ever, Ere I listen'd those words, when I felt with a start, The life blood rush back in one throb to my heart, And saw the pale lips where the rest of that spell Had perish'd in horror and heard the farewell Of that voice that was drown'd in the dash of the stream! How fain had I follow'd, and plunged with that scream Into death, but my being indignantly lagg'd Through the brutaliz'd flesh that I painfully dragg'd

that no

Behind me : 6 O Circe! O mother of Spite ! Speak the last of that curse! and imprison me quite In the husk of a brute, that no pity may name The man that I was,

kindred may

claim The monster I am! Let me utterly be Brute-buried, and Nature's dishonour with me Uninscribed !” – But she listen'd my prayer, that was

praise To her malice, with smiles, and advised me to gaze On the river for love,--and perchance she would make In pity a maid without eyes for my sake, And she left me like Scorn. Then I ask'd of the wave, What monster I was, and it trembled and gave The true shape of my grief, and I turn’d with my face From all waters for ever, and fled through that place, Till with horror more strong than all magic I pass'd Its bounds, and the world was before me at last.

There I wander'd in sorrow, and shunn'd the abodes

Of men, that stood up in the likeness of Gods,

But I saw from afar the warm shine of the sun

On their cities, where man was a million, not one;

And I saw the white smoke of their altars ascending, That show'd where the hearts of the many were

blending, And the wind in my face brought shrill voices that


From the trumpets that gather'd whole bands in one

fame As a chorus of man, and they stream'd from the gates Like a dusky libation pour'd out to the Fates. But at times there were gentler processions of peace That I watch'd with


soul in my eyes till their cease, There were women ! there men ! but to me a third sex I saw them all dots


I loved them as specks : And oft to assuage a sad yearning of eyes I stole near the city, but stole covert-wise Like a wild beast of love, and perchance to be smitten By some hand that I rather had wept on than bitten ! Oh, I once had a haunt near a cot where a mother Daily sat in the shade with her child, and would smother Its eyelids in kisses, and then in its sleep Sang dreams in its ear of its manhood, while deep In a thicket of willows I gazed o'er the brooks That murmur'd between us and kiss'd them with looks;

But the willows unbosom'd their secret, and never
I return'd to a spot I had startled for ever,
Though I oft long'd to know, but could ask it of none,
Was the mother still fair, and how big was her son ?

For the haunters of fields they all shunn'd me by

Alight, The men in their horror, the women in fright; None ever remain'd save a child once that sported Among the wild bluebells, and playfully courted The breeze ; and beside him a speckled snake lay Tight strangled, because it had hiss'd him away From the flow'r at his finger ; he rose and drew near Like a Son of Immortals, one born to no fear, But with strength of black locks and with eyes azure

bright To grow to large manhood of merciful might. He came, with his face of bold wonder, to feel The hair of my side, and to lift up my heel, And question'd my face with wide eyes; but when under My lids he saw tears, for I wept at his wonder, He stroked me, and utter'd such kindliness then, That the once love of women, the friendship of men

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In past sorrow, no kindness e'er came like a kiss

my heart in its desolate day such as this !
And I yearn'd at his cheeks in my love, and down bent,
And lifted him up in my arms with intent
To kiss him, — but he cruel-kindly, alas !
Held out to my lips a pluck'd handful of grass !
Then I dropt him in horror, but felt as I fled
The stone he indignantly hurld at my head,
That dissever'd my ear,

but I felt not, whose fate Was to meet more distress in his love than his hate !

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Thus I wander'd, companion'd of grief and forlorn, Till I wish'd for that land where my being was born, But what was that land with its love, where my

home Was self-shut against me; for why should I come Like an after-distress to my grey-bearded father, With a blight to the last of his sight?- let him rather Lament for me dead, and shed tears in the urn Where I was not, and still in fond memory turn To his son even such as he left him. Oh, how Could I walk with the youth once my fellows, but now Like Gods to my humbled estate ? or how bear The steeds once the pride of my eyes and the care

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