BETA

The Vision of the Isles of
Immortality and Death.

Yonder it heaves at even and sunrise,1
The silent snowy Isle amid the blue2
Lone waters, ever in the day’s warm hue3
Dwindling, and when it withers from our eyes4
The white clouds mark the region where it lies.5
But now, as o’er the myrtled promontory6
I wandered, lo ! in splendour of the noon,7
Above the waves its hundred peaks, outhewn8
From mellow skies, rose clear and silently9
The silver-shining crownet of the sea !10
O silent Isle of Death, deep slumber’s mine,11
White wilderness of peace, low in the fern12
And odorous herbs gazing, I grow to yearn13
For thy cold quiet dells, and inly pine14
There is no form, no loveliness like thine.15
Like thine : and here is beauty without end,16
Here quenchless Life, here laughter-loving throngs,17
Here music of sweet strings, and subtlest songs18
Of woven harmony, here friend with friend19
Abides and parts not, never pain doth rend20
The tortured body, never sickness mar21
Blue eye or rosy-cheek, or tempest stain22
Light flower with moistened dust, or sudden rain23
Chill roosted bird a-nights, or cloudlet bar24
The path of moonbeam or of flickering star25
Scenery of a forested riverbed in the moonlight. Stones line the winding riverbed, which is flanked by dark deciduous trees. The moon is high in the sky and surrounded by clouds. Grasses, a shrub, and wild flowers are in the foreground. There is a body of water in the distance. Full-page illustration contained within a single-ruled border. The top of the frame is rounded and the bottom is rectangular.
A wide-illumined land, with never a cloud26
Save when the mountain, golden-garlanded,27
Flings out a streamer for the sunset’s red,28
Or many-tinted droves to westward crowd,29
To make the eye a gorgeous pageant proud ;30
But all day long the flashing fiery king31
Leans eager from his throne with eye awake,32
And the strong seas beneath him, laughing, shake33
Their myriad-mirroring waves, that shout and sing,34
Or start to life from sudden slumbering.35
Far curve the mountains, like a bended bow36
Drawn to an arrow’s tip with lusty arm37
Another, touching end to end, might form38
A perfect circle—and they stand in row,39
A thousand bristling spears in purple glow,40
A thousand craggy clusters, rough and round,41
Like black cloud struggling up the heavens ; and lower,42
Betwixt the mountains and the silver shore,43
Fair vales with streams of clear delicious sound,44
Pine-waving vales, green hollows olive-crowned,45
Piled tracery of clustering lemon leaves46
Starred golden with fair fruit, and bowery roof47
Of perfume-wafting orange boughs in woof,48
Pink peach and almond trees in flowery sheaves,49
Which to and fro the wind in languor heaves ;50
Balm-breathing gardens cool with jets of spray51
From fountains flung in many a rainbow bright ;52
Broad statued terraces in lustrous light ;53
Flowers of all hues and odours ; fawns at play ;54
And wildering birds that trill the livelong day ;55
Then by the sea’s marge rise in lordly pride56
Palm-leaf and cypress-shaft ; and then the wave57
In lulling music rolls by sand and cave58
The blue untroubled Sea outstretching wide,59
The Infinite Void Sea that hath no tide.60
Beyond the mountains, where they break and cease,61
Begins the plain to spread, with forest deep,62
Far-wandering meadowlands that seem to sleep63
In the hot day, broad pasture white with fleece64
Of sheep, and red with deer that browse at peace ;65
And then the vineyards, then the corn, the maize,66
The orchard-lands, the rivers winding clear,67
The dreamy lawn, the lake, the slumbering mere,68
Vast prairies where the countless buffalo graze,69
The belts of grove, the winding silvery ways :70
And then again, upon the further side,71
The gray bright shore, the palms, the cypresses,72
The lulling music of the waves at ease,73
The blue, untroubled Sea, outstretching wide,74
The Infinite Void Sea that hath no tide.75
And never doubt perplexes ; never care76
Furrows the brow; to seek is straight to find . . .77
No task for toiling hand or eager mind ;78
No fear of lurking sickness in its lair ;79
No danger in darkness ; for the foot no snare.80
Here is no mystery for the mind to pierce,81
For all is open as the vault of day ;82
Here are no bended knees or lips that pray,83
Or any temple that the hand uprears,84
Or sound of sigh, or track of any tears.85
Slow roll the languid ages, hour on hour,86
Night on sweet day, sweet day on dreamless night,87
Season fair season following, with no blight88
Of frost or fly delaying ; year with dower89
For new-year, moving up with ancient power90
Time limitless, a blank Eternity !91
O giddy depth of ages, gazing down,92
Sick grows the heart, all hope is overthrown !93
Remorseless tyrant, who shall strive with thee,94
Who wrestle with thy countless hours to be ?95
How many an age of years since first I woke96
On this soft shore has slowly drifted by !97
And then was the beginning. Where doth lie98
The end of all ?  When cometh the-keen stroke99
Like that which loosed the soul from fleshly yoke ?100
There is no end : there lies the white, blank page :101
There is no end, there is no pause, no end :102
Into the trackless void my eyes I bend,103
I peer around, above—long age on age,104
The quenchless spirit’s awful heritage !105
And then the thought becomes a tyrant dream106
Weighing upon the senses : yea, I cry107
For the swift years of lost Mortality,108
The little life of eld, with flickering beam,109
When still a bourne before the eyes did gleam ;110
The sweet pathetic life close hedged about111
With barriers dark hiding the far Unknown,112
Of which we vision made, with many a groan,113
When sudden a loved face was blotted out ;114
The tender life of love, and hope, and doubt,115
The venturous changeful life that felt its bound,116
Sole refuge for the weary vacant soul117
Not this long road of days with never a goal,118
Far-stretching, endless, circling round and round,119
Through which the slow foot journeys with no sound.120
And round me are the faces changeless, fair ;121
A thousand years have robbed them of no tint,122
A thousand years no wrinkle shall imprint,123
A thousand cycles shall not youth impair,124
Or draw one streak of gray through raven hair.125
Though myriad ages roll, to these no face126
Will added be, none ever ta’en away ;127
Shall never from our midst companion stray ;128
Shall never new eyes dawn with tender grace,129
To draw new love from the heart’s holiest place.130
There is no end, there is no pause, no end :131
No change that hath not been and yet will be ;132
No birth of man, or bird, or beast, or tree ;133
No coming or going of lover or of friend ;134
Through the long Void one weary way we wend . . .135
Silent, O silent Isle, afar, afar136
Flashing upon my sight, O dearer seem137
Thy cold clear mountains in the livid gleam138
Of winter, keenly white as ray of star,139
Than all the joys that in this region are.140
There comes no dream of years unquenchable,141
There hovers not wide time with awful wing,142
There treads not any foot of living thing,143
There for the pulseless spirit all is well,144
There comes no thought, there death for aye doth dwell.145
O that across the waters drifting free146
From the dread future, awful, infinite,147
The weary dream of days that haunts my sight,148
To thy far shores I might set sail, to thee149
Journey along the silent tideless sea,150
That, touching on thy sands, the throbbing breast151
Stiller and stiller in its breath might grow,152
Back to the heart the blood in languor flow,153
Deep sleep upon the eyes be softly prest,154
And the life drift to thine Eternal Rest.155