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I stood within a vision's spell;
I saw, I heard. The liquid thunder
Went pouring to its foaming hell,
And it fell,
Ever, ever fell
Into the invisible abyss that opened under.


I stood upon a speck of ground;
Before me fell a stormy ocean.
I was like a captive bound;
And around
A universe of sound
Troubled the heavens with ever-quivering motion.


Down, down forever--down, down forever,
Something falling, falling, falling,
Up, up forever--up, up forever,
Resting never,
Boiling up forever,
Steam-clouds shot up with thunder-bursts appalling.


A tone that since the birth of man,
Was never for a moment broken,
A word that since the world began,
And waters ran
Hath spoken still to man--
Of God and of Eternity hath spoken.


Foam-clouds there forever rise
With a restless roar o'erboiling--
Rainbows stooping from the skies
Charm the eyes,
Beautiful they rise,
Cheering the cataracts to their mighty toiling.


And in that vision as it passed,
Was gathered terror, beauty, power:
And still when all has fled, too fast,
And I at last
Dream of the dreamy past,
My heart is full when lingering on that hour.