Slike strani

To stir his secret pain without avail ;

For all who knew and loved him then perceived
That there was drawn an adamantine veil

Between his heart and mind,-both unrelieved
Wrought in his brain and bosom separate strife.
Some said that he was mad, others believed

That memories of an antenatal life
Made this, where now he dwelt, a penal hell:
And others said that such mysterious grief

From God's displeasure, like a darkness, fell
On souls like his, which owned no higher law
Than love; love calm, steadfast, invincible

By mortal fear or supernatural awe :
And others," "Tis the shadow of a dream
Which the veiled eye of memory never saw,

"But through the soul's abyss, like some dark


Through shattered mines and caverns underground,
Rolls, shaking its foundations; and no beam

"Of joy may rise, but it is quenched and drowned
In the dim whirlpools of this dream obscure.
Soon its exhausted waters will have found

"A lair of rest beneath thy spirit pure, Athanase!-in one so good and great, Evil or tumult cannot long endure."

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So spake they, idly of another's state
Babbling vain words and fond philosophy.
This was their consolation; such debate

Men held with one another; nor did he,
Like one who labours with a human woe,
Decline this talk; as if its theme might be

Another, not himself, he to and fro
Questioned and canvassed it with subtlest wit;
And none but those who loved him best could

That which he knew not, how it galled and bit His weary mind, this converse vain and cold; For like an eyeless nightmare grief did sit

Upon his being; a snake which fold by fold Pressed out the life of life, a clinging fiend Which clenched him if he stirred with deadlier

hold ;


And so his grief remained—let it remain―untold.*

* The Author was pursuing a fuller development of the ideal character of Athanase, when it struck him that in an attempt at extreme refinement and analysis, his conceptions might be betrayed into the assuming a morbid character. The reader will judge whether he is a loser or gainer by this difference.-Author's Note.




PRINCE ATHANASE had one beloved friend,
An old, old man, with hair of silver white,
And lips where heavenly smiles would hang and

*The idea Shelley had formed of Prince Athanase was a good deal modelled on Alastor. In the first sketch of the poem he named it Pandemos and Urania. Athanase seeks through the world the one whom he may love. He meets, in the ship in which he is embarked, a lady, who appears to him to embody his ideal of love and beauty. But she proves to be Pandemos, or the earthly and unworthy Venus, who, after disappointing his cherished dreams and hopes, deserts him. Athanase, crushed by sorrow, pines and dies. his death-bed, the lady, who can really reply to his soul, comes and kisses his lips."-The Death-bed of Athanase. The poet describes her


Her hair was brown, her spherèd eyes were brown,
And in their dark and liquid moisture swam,
Like the dim orb of the eclipsed moon;

Yet when the spirit flashed beneath, there came
The light from them, as when tears of delight
Double the western planet's serene frame.

This slender note is all we have to aid our imagination in haping out the form of the poem, such as its author imaged. M. S.

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With his wise words; and eyes whose arrowy


Shone like the reflex of a thousand minds.

He was the last whom superstition's blight

Had spared in Greece-the blight that cramps and blinds,

And in his olive bower at Enoe

Had sat from earliest youth. Like one who finds

A fertile island in the barren sea,

One mariner who has survived his mates
Many a drear month in a great ship-so he

With soul-sustaining songs, and sweet debates Of ancient lore, there fed his lonely being: "The mind becomes that which it contemplates,"

And thus Zonoras, by for ever seeing
Their bright creations, grew like wisest men;
And when he heard the crash of nations fleeing

A bloodier power than ruled thy ruins then,
O sacred Hellas! many weary years
He wandered, till the path of Laian's glen

Was grass-grown—and the unremembered tears Were dry in Laian for their honoured chief, Who fell in Byzant, pierced by Moslem spears :


And as the lady looked with faithful grief
From her high lattice o'er the rugged path,
Where she once saw that horseman toil, with briet

And blighting hope, who with the news of death
Struck body and soul as with a mortal blight,
She saw beneath the chestnuts, far beneath,

An old man toiling up, a weary wight;
And soon within her hospitable hall
She saw his white hairs glittering in the light

Of the wood fire, and round his shoulders fall,
And his wan visage and his withered mien,
Yet calm and gentle and majestical.

And Athanase, her child, who must have been
Then three years old, sat opposite and gazed
In patient silence.


SUCH was Zonoras; and as daylight finds
One amaranth glittering on the path of frost,
When autumn nights have nipt all weaker kinds,

Thus through his age, dark, cold, and tempest-tost
Shone truth upon Zonoras; and he filled

From fountains pure, nigh overgrown and lost,

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