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THE VISION OF SIN.

I HAD a vision when the night was late :
A youth came riding toward a palace-gate.
He rode a horse with wings that would have flown,
But that his heavy rider kept him down.
And from the palace came a child of sin,
And took him by the curls, and led him in,
Where sat a company with heated eyes,
Expecting when à fountain should arise:
A sleepy light upon their brows and lips-
As when the sun, a crescent of eclipse,
Dreams over lake and lawn, and isles and capes
Suffused them, sitting, lying, languid shapes,
By heaps of gourds, and skins of wine, and piles of

grapes.
Then methought I heard a mellow sound,
Gathering up from all the lower ground;
Narrowing in to where they sat assembled,
Low voluptuous music winding trembled,
Woven in circles: they that heard it sighed,
Panted hand in hand with faces pale,
Swung themselves, and in low tones replied;
Till the fountain spouted, showering wide
Sleet of diamond-drift and pearly hail;
Then the music touched the gates and died;
Rose again from where it seemed to fail,
Stormed in orbs of song, a growing gale;
Till thronging in and in, to where they waited,
As 'twere a hundred-throated nightingale,
The strong tempestuous treble throbbed and palpi.
Ran into its giddiest whirl of sound,
Caught the sparkles, and in circles,
Purple gauzes, golden hazes, liquid mazes,
Flung the torrent rainbow round;
Then they started from their places,

tated;

Moved with violence, changed in hue,
Caught each other with wild grimaces,
Hall-invisible to the view,
Wheeling with precipitate paces
To the melody, till they flew,
Hair, and eyes, and limbs, and faces,
Twisted hard in fierce embraces,
Like to Furies, like to Graces,
Dashed together in blinding dew:
Till, killed with some luxurious agony
The nerve-dissolving melody
Fluttered headlong from the sky.

And then I looked up toward a mountain-tract,
That girt the region with high cliff and lawn:
I saw that every morning, far withdrawn
Beyond the darkness and the cataract,
God made himself an awful rose of dawn,
Unheeded : and detaching, fold by fold,
From those still heights, and, slowly drawing near,
A vapor heavy, hueless, formless, cold,
Came floating on for many

a month and year,
Unheeded: and I thought I would have spoken,
And warned that madman ere it grew too late:
But, as in dreams, I could not. Mine was broken,
When that cold vapor touched the palace gate,
And linked again. I saw within my head
А

gray and gap-toothed man as lean as death, Who slowly rode across a withered heath, And lighted at a ruined inn, and said:

“ Wrinkled ostler, grim and thin!

Here is custom come your way;
Take my brute, and lead him in,

Stuff his ribs with mouldy hay.
“ Bitter barmaid, waning fast !

See that sheets are on my bed ;
What! the flower of life is past :

It is long before you weci.

“ Slip-shod waiter, lank and sour,

At The Dragon on the heath! Let us have a quiet hour,

Let us hob-and-nob with Death.

“I am old, but let me drink;

Bring me spices, bring me wine ; I remember, when I think,

That my youth was half divine. “ Wine is good for shrivelled lips,

When a blanket wraps the day, When the rotten woodland drips,

And the leaf is stamped in clay. “ Sit thee down, and have no shame,

Cheek by jowl, and knee by knee: What care I for any name?

What for order or degree ? “Let me screw thee up a peg:

Let me loose thy tongue with wine : Callest thou that thing a leg?

Which is thinnest ? thine or mine ?

“ Thou shalt not be saved by works:

Thou hast been a sinner too: Ruined trunks on withered forks,

Empty scarecrows, I and you ! “ Fill the cup, and fill the can:

Have a rouse before the morn : Every moment dies a man,

Every moment one is born.

“We are men of ruined blood;

Therefore comes it we are wise. Fish are we that love the mud,

Rising to no fancy-flies.

“ Name and fame! to fly sublime

Through the courts, the camps, the schools, Is to be the ball of Time,

Bandied by the hands of fools.

“ Friendship !to be two in one

Let the canting liar pack ! Well I know, when I am gone, How she mouths behind my

back, “ Virtue to be good and just

Every heart, when sifted well, Is a clot of warmer dust,

Mixed with cunning sparks of hell. “O! we two as well can look

Whited thought and cleanly life As the priest, above his book

Leering at his neighbor's wife. “Fill the cup, and fill the can:

Have a rouse before the morn: Every moment dies a man,

Every moment one is born. “ Drink, and let the parties rave :

They are filled with idle spleen, Rising, falling, like a wave.

For they know not what they mean,

“ He that roars for liberty

Faster binds a tyrant's power; And the tyrant's cruel glee

Forces on the freer hour.

“ Fill the can, and fill the cup:

All the windy ways of men Are but dust that rises up,

And is lightly laid again.

“ Greet her with applausive breath,

Freedom, gayly doth she tread; In her right a civic wreath,

In her left a human head.

“ No, I love not what is new;

She is of an ancient house : And I think we know the hue

Of that cap upon her brows.

“Let her go ! her thirst she slakes

Where the bloody conduit runs: Then her sweetest meal she makes

On the first-born of her sons.

“ Drink to lofty hopes that cool

Visions of a perfect State: Drink we, last, the public fool,

Frantic love and frantic hate.

“ Chant me now some wicked stave,

Till thy drooping courage rise, And the glow-worm of the grave

Glimmer in thy rheumy eyes. 6 Fear not thou to loose thy tongue;

Set thy hoary fancies free; What is loathsome to the

young Savors well to thee and me.

“ Change, reverting to the

years, When thy nerves could understand What there is in loving tears,

And the warmth of hand in hand.

“ Tell me tales of thy first love

April hopes, the fools of chance ; Till the graves begin to move,

And the dead begin to dance.

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