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The mist is on the mountain, and the moon
Walks like a spirit through the troubled sky,
Clouded and pale--the storm her winding-sheet,
And from the dark wrack, hissing wildly past,
Looks, for a moment, on the far off world:
No star is seen; but o'er the front of night
The billows of the tempest roll along,
Driven by the wind--the sky's rude charioteer,
That sound his tocsin as he gallops on,
Till echo answers o'er the vault of heaven.


Where rush'd a river in its wintry strength,
Amidst a wilderness of mighty stones,
Reft from the hoary mountain, and clad o'er
With the rank moss of ages--solitary,
High on a crag, beneath an aged oak
That seem'd to bend in utter loneliness,
A being stood, like something of the storm
That howl'd around him with familiar tone;
His brow was pale as monumental bust,
But through the hollow darkness of his eye,
Which seem'd delighted with the hurricane,
Despair look'd proud and ghastly; madness seem'd
Wheeling some demon in his dizzy brain,
As leapt the lightning through the ragged clouds,
In night's black solitude; the raven shriek'd,
And the dull owl, as if in mockery,
Echo'd the wild "farewell!" he murmured now
To someone whom he still was doom'd to love.


One who was young and changing--one fair maid,
Who was like beauty's self, all light and smiles,
But still inconstant and ungenerous--yet
She gain'd his heart, and they had fondly loved
From infancy; till fortune's envious hand
Tore the soft band of faith which made them one:
She was a wayward girl--her very soul
Was but a dream of pleasure and romance;
Her flame was kindled when her heart was young,
It was too bright and wavering to live on
Through colder years, amid those cares which time
Flings o'er the youthful spirit; she was form'd
To live where life was but one carnival.
Though he, from boyhood, was of silent mien
And melancholy mood, his thoughtful eye,
That seldom glanced upon the lighter world,
Fix'd on this blooming virgin, and he loved
With all the passion of the enthusiast:
His was a holy feeling, not to change
Till death had quench'd it. Often have they roam'd
The lone green hill at midnight, when the moon
Came from her hall of clouds, and walk'd abroad
Like beauty's queen among the hosts of heaven.
Oft would she sit and sing love's holiest hymn,
When rose the stars upon the waters, and
The great deep slumber'd in the arms of night;
And he has heard her music stealing o'er
The sleeping night-flowers with a tone so sweet,
As if it came from heaven to lull the soul
Of weary nature to delightful dreams:
Her wild romantic humour pleased him well,
And though of different moods, her beauty won
A soul like his, affectionate and true.
Brief were his dreams of early happiness:
Her bosom changed--another came, and bore
His bride away in triumph; from that hour,
Reason and peace forever fled his brain.


Such was the cheerless one, who stood enwrapt
With the dark mantle of the tempest--now
Akin to his own desolated heart,
Loud howl'd the sky above him; and around
The mountains answer'd with their rocky throats,
To the long peals that swept the groaning air;
Beneath him yawn'd the waters, rushing wild
Through their black channel--while the ancient oak
Rustled in wrath above him to the storm;
The moon, that long had battled him with the blast,
Was now emerging from the heavy clouds,
And looking through their shatter'd folds, like hope,
Upon the ills and sorrows of mankind:--
That melancholy man, as broke the light,
Shook for a moment, and with maddening force
Smote with his icy hand his throbbing brow,
Then gave a cheerless look to the far moon--
While something seem'd to wake within his brain,
Too agonizing now for him to bear:
Perhaps the thought of other days, when he
Breathed out the burning secrets of his soul
In the calm hour of midnight, broke again
Upon his wandering memory, and brought back
Scenes, which were madness now to gaze upon--
Whate'er it was, he smote again his brow,
And with his look fix'd on the restless sky,
He plunged into the bosom of the flood!
The waters caught him as he fell, and roar'd
His rude knell to the rocks, that echoed back
The solitary plunge and parting shriek:
A thunder-cloud, that long had hover'd, burst,
And for a moment tinged his sinking brow--
While its great voice, that rolling fill'd the sky,
Added the last wild music to the dirge
Which angry nature sung above his grave!