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First there came down a thawing rain,
And its dull drops froze on the boughs again ;
Then there steamed up a freezing dew
Which to the drops of the thaw-rain grew ;

And a northern whirlwind, wandering about
Like a wolf that had smelt a dead child out,
Shook the boughs thus laden and heavy and stiff,
And snapped them off with his rigid griff.

When winter had gone and spring came back,
The Sensitive-Plant was a leafless wreck;
But the mandrakes, and toadstools, and docks and

Rose like the dead from their ruined charnels.


WHETHER the Sensitive-Plant, or that
Which within its boughs like a spirit sat,
Ere its outward form had known decay,
Now felt this change, I cannot say.

Whether that lady's gentle mind,
No longer with the form combined
Which scattered love, as stars do light,
Found sadness, where it left delight,

I dare not guess; but in this life
Of error, ignorance and strife,
Where nothing is, but all things seem,
And we the shadows of the dream,

It is a modest creed, and yet
Pleasant, if one considers it,
To own that death itself must be,
Like all the rest, a mockery.

That garden sweet, that lady fair,
And all sweet shapes and odours there,
In truth have never passed away:

we, 'tis ours, are changed ! not they.

For love, and beauty, and delight,
There is no death nor change; their might
Exceeds our organs, which endure
No light, being themselves obscure.


'Tis the terror of tempest. The rags of the sail Are flickering in ribbons within the fierce gale: From the stark night of vapours the dim rain is


And when lightning is loosed like a deluge from

heaven, She sees the black trunks of the water-spouts spin And bend as if heaven was ruining in, Which they seemed to sustain with their terrible


As if ocean had sunk from beneath them; they pass To their graves in the deep with an earthquake

of sound, And the waves and the thunders, made silent

around, Leave the wind to its echo. The vessel, now

tossed Through the low trailing rack of the tempest, is lost In the skirts of the thunder-cloud: now down the

sweep Of the wind-cloven wave to the chasm of the deep It sinks, and the walls of the watery vale Whose depths of dread calm are unmoved by the

gale, Dim mirrors of ruin, hang gleaming about ; While the surf, like a chaos of stars, like a rout Of death-flames, like whirlpools of fire-flowing iron, With splendour and terror the black ship environ; Or like sulphur-flakes hurled from a mine of

pale fire, In fountains spout o'er it. In many a spire The pyramid-billows, with white points of brine, In the cope of the lightning inconstantly shine, As piercing the sky from the floor of the sea.

The great ship seems splitting ! it cracks as a

tree, While an earthquake is splintering its root, ere

the blast Of the whirlwind that stript it of branches has

past. The intense thunder-balls which are raining from

heaven Have shattered its mast, and it stands black and

riven. The chinks suck destruction. The heavy dead

hulk On the living sea rolls an inanimate bulk, Like a corpse on the clay which is hung’ring to

fold Its corruption around it. Meanwhile, from the

hold, One deck is burst up from the waters below, And it splits like the ice when the thaw-breezes

blow O'er the lakes of the desert! Who sit on the

other? Is that all the crew that lie burying each

other, Like the dead in a breach, round the foremast ?

Are those Twin tigers, who burst, when the waters arose, In the agony of terror, their chains in the hold, (What now makes them tame, is what then made

them bold,)

Who crouch, side by side, and have driven, like

a crank, The deep grip of their claws through the vibrat

ing plank,Are these all ?

Nine weeks the tall vessel had lain On the windless expanse of the watery plain, Where the death-darting sun cast no shadow at

noon, And there seemed to be fire in the beams of the

moon, Till a lead-coloured fog gathered up from the

deep, Whose breath was quick pestilence ; then, the

cold sleep Crept, like blight through the ears of a thick

field of corn, O’er the populous vessel. And even and morn, With their hammocks for coffins the seamen

aghast Like dead men the dead limbs of their comrades

cast Down the deep, which closed on them above and

around, And the sharks and the dog-fish their grave

clothes unbound, And were glutted like Jews with this manna

rained down From God on their wilderness. One after one

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