Strengthened in heart, yet sad, that aged man
I left, with interchange of looks and tears,
And lingering speech, and to the Camp began 1695
My war. O’er many a mountain-chain which rears
Its hundred crests aloft, my spirit bears
My frame; o’er many a dale and many a moor,
And gaily now meseems serene earth wears
The blosmy spring’s star-bright investiture, 1700
A vision which aught sad from sadness might allure.
My powers revived within me, and I went,
As one whom winds waft o’er the bending grass,
Through many a vale of that broad continent.
At night when I reposed, fair dreams did pass 1705
Before my pillow;—my own Cythna was,
Not like a child of death, among them ever;
When I arose from rest, a woful mass
That gentlest sleep seemed from my life to sever,
As if the light of youth were not withdrawn for ever. 1710
Aye as I went, that maiden who had reared
The torch of Truth afar, of whose high deeds
The Hermit in his pilgrimage had heard,
Haunted my thoughts.—Ah, Hope its sickness feeds
With whatsoe’er it finds, or flowers or weeds! 1715
Could she be Cythna?—Was that corpse a shade
Such as self-torturing thought from madness breeds?
Why was this hope not torture? Yet it made
A light around my steps which would not ever fade.
1625 Where]When edition 1818.
Over the utmost hill at length I sped, 1720
A snowy steep:—the moon was hanging low
Over the Asian mountains, and outspread
The plain, the City, and the Camp below,
Skirted the midnight Ocean’s glimmering flow;
The City’s moonlit spires and myriad lamps, 1725
Like stars in a sublunar sky did glow,
And fires blazed far amid the scattered camps,
Like springs of flame, which burst where’er swift Earthquake stamps.
All slept but those in watchful arms who stood,
And those who sate tending the beacon’s light, 1730
And the few sounds from that vast multitude
Made silence more profound.—Oh, what a might
Of human thought was cradled in that night!
How many hearts impenetrably veiled
Beat underneath its shade, what secret fight 1735
Evil and good, in woven passions mailed,
Waged through that silent throng—a war that never failed!
And now the Power of Good held victory.
So, through the labyrinth of many a tent,
Among the silent millions who did lie 1740
In innocent sleep, exultingly I went;
The moon had left Heaven desert now, but lent
From eastern morn the first faint lustre showed
An armed youth—over his spear he bent
His downward face.—’A friend!’ I cried aloud, 1745
And quickly common hopes made freemen understood.