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Without a breeze, a wing, a cloud; the sun
I was a Spirit in the midst of these, All eye, ear, thought; existence was enjoyment; Light was an element of life, and air The clothing of my incorporeal form, — A form impalpable to mortal touch, And volatile as fragrance from the flower, Or music in the woodlands. What the soul Can make itself at pleasure, that I was ; A child in feeling and imagination, Learning new lessons still, as Nature wrought Her wonders in my presence. All I saw, (Like Adam when he walk'd in Paradise,) I knew and named by secret intuition. Actor, spectator, sufferer, each in turn,
I ranged, explored, reflected. Now I sail'd,
The sun descended, dipp’d, and disappear’d; Then sky and sea were all the universe, And I the only being in existence ! So thought I, and the thought, like ice and fire,
Went freezing, burning, withering, thrilling through
me. Annihilation then had been deliverance, While that eternity of solitude Lay on my heart, hard struggling to break free, As from a dream, when mountains press the sleeper
Darkness, meanwhile, disguised in twilight, crept O'er air and ocean; drearier gloom involved My fainting senses, till a sudden ray Of pensile lustre sparkled from the west ; I flew to meet it, but drew never nearer, While, vanishing and re-appearing oft, At length it trembled out into a star. My soul revived, and could I then have wept, (Methought I did) with tears of fond delight, How had I hail'd the gentle apparition, As second life to me; so sweetly welcome The faintest semblance of society, Though but a point to rest the eye upon,
To him who hath been utterly bereaved !
Low in the east, ere long, the morning dawn Shot upward, onward, and around the pole,
With arrowy glimpses traversing the shade.
A breeze sprang up, and with careering wing Play'd like an unseen being on the water. Slowly from slumber 'woke the unwilling main, Curling and murmuring, till the infant waves Leap'd on his lap, and laugh’d in air and sunshine: Then all was bright and beautiful emotion, And sweet accordance of susurrant sounds. I felt the gay delirium of the scene; I felt the breeze and billow chase each other, Like bounding pulses in my human veins: