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The Daughter of Merlin
For the mountains' hoarse greetings came hollow
From stormy wind-chasms and caves;
And I heard their wild cataracts wallow;
Like monsters, the white of their waves:
And that shadow said, "Lo! You must follow!
And our path is o'er myriads of graves."
Then I felt that the black earth was porous
And rotten with dust and with bones;
And I knew that the ground that now bore us
Was cadaverous with death as with stones;
And I saw burning eyes, heard sonorous
And dolorous sighings and groans.
But the night of the tempest and thunder,
The might of the terrible skies,
And the fire of Hell, that, – coiled under
The hollow Earth, – smoulders and sighs,
And the laughter of stars and their wonder,
Mingled and mixed in her eyes.
And we clomb – and the moon, old and sterile,
Clomb with us o'er torrent and scar:
And I yearned for her oceans of beryl,
Wan mountains and cities of spar:
"'Tis not well," then she said; "you're in peril
Of falling and failing your star."
And we clomb – through a murmur of pinions,
And rattle of talons and plumes;
And a sense as of darkest dominions,
Deep, lost, of the dead and their tombs,
Swam round us, with all of their minions
Of dreads and of dreams and of dooms.
And we clomb – till we stood at the portal
Of the uttermost point of the peak;
And she led, with a step more than mortal,
On, upward, where glimmered a streak,
A star, a presence immortal,
A planet, whose light was still weak.
And we clomb – till the limbo of spirits
Of lusts and of sorrows below
Swung nebular; and we were near its
Starred summit, its glory of glow.
And we entered its light and could hear its
White music of silence and snow.