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POWER AND GENTLENESS.

I've thought, at gentle and ungentle hour,
Of many an act and giant shape of power;
Of the old kings with high exacting looks,
Sceptred and globed; of eagles on their rocks,
With straining feet, and that fierce mouth and drear,
Answering the strain with downward drag austere;
Of the rich-headed lion, whose huge frown,
All his great nature, gathering, seems to crown;
Then of cathedral with its priestly height,
Seen from below at superstitious night;
Of ghastly castle, that eternally
Holds its blind visage out to the lone sea;
And of all sunless, subterranean deeps
The creature makes, who listens while he sleeps,
Avarice; and then of those old earthly cones,
That stride, they say, over heroic bones;
And those stone heaps Egyptian, whose small doors
Look like low dens under precipitous shores;

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POWER AND GENTLENESS.

And him, great Memnon, that long sitting by,
In seeming idleness, with stony eye,
Sang at the morning's touch, like poetry;
And then of all the fierce and bitter fruit
Of the proud planting of a tyrannous foot, -
Of bruised rights, and flourishing bad men,
And virtue wasting heavenwards from a den;
Brute force, and fury; and the devilish drouth
Of the fool cannon's ever-gaping mouth;
And the bride-widowing sword; and the harsh bray
The sneering trumpet sends across the fray;
And all which lights the people-thinning star
That selfishness invokes,

the horsed war, Panting along with many a bloody mane.

I've thought of all this pride, and all this pain, And all the insolent plenitudes of power, And I declare, by this most quiet hour, Which holds in different tasks by the fire-light Me and my friends here, this delightful night, That Power itself has not one half the might Of Gentleness. 'Tis want to all true wealth; The uneasy madman's force, to the wise health ; Blind downward beating, to the eyes that see; Noise to persuasion, doubt to certainty ; The consciousness of strength in enemies, Who must be strain’d upon, or else they rise; The battle to the moon, who all the while High out of hearing, passes with her smile;

POWER AND GENTLENESS.

107

The tempest, trampling in his scanty run,
To the whole globe, that basks about the sun;
Or as all shrieks and clangs, with which a sphere,
Undone and fired, could rake the midnight ear,
Compared with that vast dumbness nature keeps

Throughout her starry deeps,
Most old, and mild, and awful, and unbroken,
Which tells a tale of peace beyond whate'er was spoken.

THE PANTHER.

The panther leaped to the front of his lair,
And stood with a foot up, and snuffed the air;
He quivered his tongue from his panting mouth,
And looked with a yearning towards the south;
For he scented afar in the coming breeze,
News of the gums and their blossoming trees;
And out of Armenia that same day,
He and his race come bounding away.
Over the mountains and down to the plains
Like Bacchus's panthers with wine in their veins,
They came where the woods wept odorous rains ;
And there, with a quivering, every beast
Fell to his old Pamphylian feast.

The people who lived not far away, Heard the roaring on that same day; And they said, as they lay in their carpeted rooms, The panthers are come, and are drinking the gums

And some of them going with swords and spears,
To gather their share of the rich round tears,
The panther I spoke of followed them back;
And dumbly they let him tread close in the track,
And lured him after them into the town;
And then they let the portcullis down
And took the panther, which happened to be
The largest was seen in all Pamphily.

By every one there was the panther admired, So fine was his shape and so sleekly attired, And such an air, both princely and swift, He had, when giving a sudden lift To his mighty paw, he'd turn at a sound, And so stand panting and looking around, As if he attended a monarch crowned. And truly, they wondered the more to behold About his neck a collar of gold, On which was written, in characters broad, “Arsaces the king to the Nysian God." So they tied to the collar a golden chain, Which made the panther a captive again, And by degrees he grew fearful and still, As if he had lost his lordly will.

But now came the spring, when free-born love Calls up nature in forest and grove, And makes each thing leap forth, and be Loving, and lovely, and blithe as he.

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