I was fashioned long ago1
In an element of snow,2
And a white pair of cold wings3
Bore me towards sublunar things ;4
Over Thought’s immense dominions,5
Floating on those chilly pinions,6
Long I wandered faint and thin,7
As a leaf the wind may spin,8
And the tossing flashing sea9
Moaned and whispered under me,10
And the mountains of man’s mind11
Cast short shadows far behind,12
And the rivers of the soul,13
That still thunder as they roll,14
At my cold height streamed and fled15
Silent as a glacier-bed.16
I was light and gay and bold,17
Bathing in the sunset’s gold,18
Though my forehead’s only flush19
Came from the aurora’s rush,20
And my white wrists held on high21
Showed no blue veins coursing by.22
Through the world a dream I went,23
Swathed in a frozen element,24
Watching with a temperate breath25
All the masque of birth and death,26
Pleased to watch around, below,27
The currents of emotion flow,28
Pleased in my insane conceit29
That I had no heart to beat.30
But, one morning, as I flew31
Higher in the vault of blue,32
On a storm’s eccentric curve33
All my flight began to swerve.34
Ah ! my crystal limbs expire35
In this new domain of fire !36
Ah ! my dædal wings must scorch37
In this vast aërial torch,38
And my fairy garments made39
Of the frost’s breath, all will fade !40
Shrieking in a robe of pain,41
Darkness fell upon my brain.42
When I wakened, far away43
In a still green dell I lay,44
Shivering, naked ; warm within,45
What was this I heard begin46
Throbbing, pulsing, like the sound47
Of a hammer underground ?48
Then I caught a voice, repeating,49
’Tis thy new-born heart that’s beating.”50
Since that day I have not flown51
O’er the radiant world alone ;52
I am all content to follow53
Love round this one mountain-hollow ;54
Weak I am, and flushed with feeling55
Tender hopes across me stealing ;56
Tears between my eyelids creep,57
And I waken still to weep ;58
Often as I walk along59
I am agonised with song,60
Thoughts of one belovèd form61
Lash me like a sudden storm,62
And for days I travel wholly63
Muffled up in melancholy ;64
Yet for all this weary pain65
I would not be calm again,66
Yield the warmth and flush and riot67
For my earlier crystal quiet,68
Or this burning flesh resign69
For those wings and robes of mine ;70
Having tasted Life and Breath71
And the bitter Fear of Death,72
Who could any more endure73
That chill ether rare and pure ?74
Having known the ache of loving,75
And the warm veins’ stir and moving,76
And the yearning hopes that start,77
Who could live without a heart ?78