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Which sweep out and around us vastily
And hold us in a circle and a calm.

Eve. Strange phantasms of pale shadow! there are twelve.

Thou who didst name all lives, hast names for these?
Adam. Methinks this is the zodiac of the earth,
Which rounds us with a visionary dread,
Responding with twelve shadowy signs of earth,
In fantasque apposition and approach,
To those celestial, constellated twelve
Which palpitate adown the silent nights
Under the pressure of the hand of God
Stretched wide in benediction. At this hour,
Not a star pricketh the flat gloom of heaven!
But, girdling close our nether wilderness,
The zodiac-figures of the earth loom slow,-
Drawn out, as suiteth with the place and time,
In twelve colossal shades instead of stars,
Through which the ecliptic line of mystery
Strikes bleakly with an unrelenting scope,
Foreshadowing life and death.

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By reason of the passion of our grief,

And, from the top of sense, looked over sense,

To the significance and heart of things

Rather than things themselves.


And the dim twelve...

Adam. Are dim exponents of the creature-life
As earth contains it. Gaze on them, beloved!
By stricter apprehension of the sight,
Suggestions of the creatures shall assuage
The terror of the shadows,-what is known

Subduing the unknown and taming it

From all prodigious dread. That phantasm, there, Presents a lion, albeit twenty times

As large as any lion-with a roar

Set soundless in his vibratory jaws,

And a strange horror stirring in his mane.
And, there, a pendulous shadow seem to weigh—
Good against ill, perchance; and there a crab
Puts coldly out its gradual shadow-claws,
Like a slow blot that spreads,-till all the ground,
Crawled over by it, seems to crawl itself.

A bull stands hornèd here with gibbous glooms;
And a ram likewise! and a scorpion writhes
Its tail in ghastly slime and stings the dark.
This way a goat leaps with wild blank of beard;
And here, fantastic fishes duskly float.

Using the calm for waters, while their fins

Throb out quick rhythms along the shallow air.
While images more human-


How he stands,

That phantasm of a man-who is not thou!

Two phantasms of two men!


One that sustains,

Dost thou see

And one that strives, resuming, so, the ends
Of manhood's curse of labour.*
That phantasm of a woman?—

I have seen,

* Adam recognises in Aquarius, the water-bearer, and Sagittarius, the archer, distinct types of the man bearing and the man combating, the passive and active forms of human labour. I hope that the preceding zodiacal signs-transferred to the earthly shadow and representative purpose-of Aries, Taurus, Cancer, Leo, Libra, Scorpio, Capricornus, and Pisces, are sufficiently obvious to the reader.

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But look off to those small humanities*
Which draw me tenderly across my fear,—
Lesser and fainter than my womanhood
Or yet thy manhood-with strange innocence
Set in the misty lines of head and hand,
They lean together! I would gaze on them
Longer and longer, till my watching eyes,
As the stars do in watching anything,

Should light them forward from their outline vague
To clear configuration—

[Two spirits, of organic and inorganic nature arise from the ground.

But what Shapes

Rise up between us in the open space,

And thrust me into horror, back from hope!

Adam. Colossal Shapes--twin sovran images,

With a disconsolate, blank majesty

Set in their wondrous faces! with no look,
And yet an aspect-a significance

Of individual life and passionate ends,
Which overcomes us gazing.

O bleak sound,

O shadow of sound, O phantasm of thin sound!
How it comes, wheeling as the pale moth wheels,
Wheeling and wheeling in continuous wail
Around the cyclic zodiac, and gains force,
And gathers, settling coldly, like a moth,
On the wan faces of these images
We see before us,--whereby modified,
It draws a straight line of articulate song
From out that spiral faintness of lament,
And, by one voice, expresses many griefs.

*Her maternal instinct is excited by Gemini.

First Spirit.

I am the spirit of the harmless earth.

God spake me softly out among the stars, As softly as a blessing of much worth;

And then, His smile did follow unawares,
That all things fashioned so for use and duty
Might shine anointed with His chrism of beauty—
Yet I wail!

I drave on with the worlds exultingly,
Obliquely down the Godlight's gradual fall;
Individual aspect and complexity

Of giratory orb and interval

Lost in the fluent motion of delight

Toward the high ends of Being beyond sight-
Yet I wail!

Second Spirit.

I am the spirit of the harmless beasts,

Of flying things, and creeping things, and swimming;

Of all the lives, erst set at silent feasts,

That found the love-kiss on the goblet brimming, And tasted in each drop within the measure

The sweetest pleasure of their Lord's good pleasureYet I wail!

What a full hum of life around His lips

Bore witness to the fulness of creation!
How all the grand words were full-laden ships
Each sailing onward from enunciation

To separate existence,--and each bearing
The creature's power of joying, hoping, fearing!
Yet I wail!

Ere. They wail, beloved! they speak of glory and

And they wail-wail. That burden of the song
VOL. I.-4

Drops from it like its fruit, and heavily falls

Into the lap of silence.


First Spirit.

Hark, again!

I was so beautiful, so beautiful,

My joy stood up within me bold to add A word to God's,—and, when His work was full, To 'very good,' responded ‘very glad!' Filtered through roses, did the light inclose me, And bunches of the grape swam blue across me— Yet I wail!

Second Spirit.

I bounded with my panthers! I rejoiced

In my young tumbling lions rolled together! My stag, the river at his fetlocks, poised

Then dipped his antlers through the golden weather In the same ripple which the alligator

Left, in his joyous troubling of the water-
Yet I wail!

First Spirit.

O my deep waters, cataract and flood,

What wordless triumph did your voices render!
O mountain-summits, where the angels stood
And shook from head and wing thick dews of
splendour !

How, with a holy quiet, did your Earthy
Accept that Heavenly, knowing ye were worthy!
Yet I wail!

Second Spirit.

O my wild wood-dogs, with your listening eyes!

My horses-my ground-eagles, for swift fleeing! My birds, with viewless wings of harmonies,

My calm cold fishes of a silver being,

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