1 THOU, to whom the world unknown
2 With all its shadowy shapes is shewn;
3 Who seest appall'd th' unreal scene,
4 While Fancy lifts the veil between:
5 Ah Fear! ah frantic Fear!
6 I see, I see thee near.
7 I know thy hurried step, thy haggard eye!
8 Like thee I start, like thee disorder'd fly,
9 For, lo what monsters in thy train appear!
10 Danger, whose limbs of giant mold
11 What mortal eye can fix'd behold?
12 Who stalks his round, an hideous form,
13 Howling amidst the midnight storm,[Page 22]
14 Or throws him on the ridgy steep
15 Of some loose hanging rock to sleep:
16 And with him thousand phantoms join'd,
17 Who prompt to deeds accurs'd the mind:
18 And those, the fiends, who near allied,
19 O'er Nature's wounds, and wrecks preside;
20 While Vengeance, in the lurid air,
21 Lifts her red arm, expos'd and bare:
22 On whom that ravening Brood of fate,
23 Who lap the blood of Sorrow, wait;
24 Who, Fear, this ghastly train can see,
25 And look not madly wild, like thee?
26 In earliest Greece, to thee, with partial choice,
27 The grief-full Muse addrest her infant tongue;
28 The maids and matrons, on her awful voice
29 Silent and pale in wild amazement hung.
30 Yet he, the Bard*
* Aeschylus. who first invok'd thy name,
31 Disdain'd in Marathon its power to feel:
32 For not alone he nurs'd the poet's flame,
33 But reach'd from Virtue's hand the patriot's steel.
34 But who is he, whom later garlands grace,
35 Who left a while o'er Hybla's dews to rove,
36 With trembling eyes thy dreary steps to trace,
37 Where thou and Furies shar'd the baleful grove?
38 Wrapt in thy cloudy veil th' incestuous Queen*
39 Sigh'd, the sad call her son and husband heard,
40 When once alone it broke the silent scene,
41 And he the wretch of Thebes no more appear'd.
42 O Fear, I know thee by my throbbing heart,
43 Thy withering power inspir'd each mournful line,
44 Tho' gentle Pity claim her mingled part,
45 Yet all the thunders of the scene are thine!
46 Thou who such weary lengths hast past,
47 Where wilt thou rest, mad Nymph, at last?
48 Say, wilt thou shroud in haunted cell,
49 Where gloomy Rape and Murder dwell?
50 Or in some hollow'd seat,
51 'Gainst which the big waves beat,
52 Hear drowning seamen's cries in tempests brought!
53 Dark power, with shuddering meek submitted thought,
54 Be mine, to read the visions old,
55 Which thy awakening bards have told:
56 And, lest thou meet my blasted view,
57 Hold each strange tale devoutly true;
58 Ne'er be I found, by thee o'er-aw'd,
59 In that thrice-hallow'd eve abroad,
60 When ghosts, as cottage-maids believe,
61 Their pebbled beds permitted leave,[Page 24]
62 And goblins haunt from fire, or fen,
63 Or mine, or flood, the walks of men!
64 O thou whose spirit most possest
65 The sacred seat of Shakespear's breast!
66 By all that from thy prophet broke,
67 In thy divine emotions spoke!
68 Hither again thy fury deal,
69 Teach me but once like him to feel:
70 His cypress wreath my meed decree,
71 And I, O Fear, will dwell with thee?