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Went forward with the Carian side by side:
Resuming quickly thus; while ocean's tide
Hung swollen at their backs, and jewel'd sands
Took silently their foot-prints.
"My soul stands
Now past the midway from mortality,
And so I can prepare without a sigh
To tell thee briefly all my joy and pain.
I was a fisher once, upon this main,
And my boat danc'd in every creek and bay;
Rough billows were my home by night and day,- 320
The sea-gulls not more constant; for I had
No housing from the storm and tempests mad,
But hollow rocks,-and they were palaces
Of silent happiness, of slumberous ease :
Long years of misery have told me so.
Aye, thus it was one thousand years ago.
One thousand years!-Is it then possible
To look so plainly through them? to dispel
A thousand years with backward glance sublime?
To breathe away as 'twere all scummy slime
From off a crystal pool, to see its deep,
And one's own image from the bottom peep?
Yes: now I am no longer wretched thrall,
My long captivity and moanings all
Are but a slime, a thin-pervading scum,
The which I breathe away, and thronging come
Like things of yesterday my youthful pleasures.
(329) For this line the draft has
At one glance back the mistiness of time? (337) The draft reads my first youth's pleasures.
"I touch'd no lute, I sang not, trod no measures:
I was a lonely youth on desert shores.
My sports were lonely, 'mid continuous roars,
And craggy isles, and sea-mew's plaintive cry
Plaining discrepant between sea and sky.
Dolphins were still my playmates; shapes unseen
Would let me feel their scales of gold and green,
Nor be my desolation; and, full oft,
When a dread waterspout had rear'd aloft
Its hungry hugeness, seeming ready ripe
To burst with hoarsest thunderings, and wipe
My life away like a vast sponge of fate,
Some friendly monster, pitying my sad state,
Has div'd to its foundations, gulph'd it down,
And left me tossing safely. But the crown
Of all my life was utmost quietude:
More did I love to lie in cavern rude,
Keeping in wait whole days for Neptune's voice,
And if it came at last, hark, and rejoice!
There blush'd no summer eve but I would steer
My skiff along green shelving coasts, to hear
The shepherd's pipe come clear from aery steep,
Mingled with ceaseless bleatings of his sheep:
And never was a day of summer shine,
But I beheld its birth upon the brine:
For I would watch all night to see unfold
Heaven's gates, and Æthon snort his morning gold
(342) The draft reads 'twixt the sea and sky; and the finished manuscript reads atween for between.
(353) In the finished manuscript, tip-top instead of utmost. (358) In the finished manuscript, coast, not coasts.
(364) See Ovid's Metamorphoses, Book II (Sandys's Translation):
Meane while the Sunnes swift Horses, hot Pyröus,
Wide o'er the swelling streams and constantly
At brim of day-tide, on some grassy lea,
My nets would be spread out, and I at rest.
The poor folk of the sea-country I blest
With daily boon of fish most delicate:
They knew not whence this bounty, and elate
Would strew sweet flowers on a sterile beach.
"Why was I not contented? Wherefore reach
At things which, but for thee, O Latmian!
Had been my dreary death? Fool! I began
To feel distemper'd longings: to desire
The utmost privilege that ocean's sire
Could grant in benediction: to be free
Of all his kingdom. Long in misery
I wasted, ere in one extremest fit
I plung'd for life or death. To interknit
One's senses with so dense a breathing stuff
Might seem a work of pain; so not enough
Can I admire how crystal-smooth it felt,
And buoyant round my limbs. At first I dwelt
Whole days and days in sheer astonishment;
Forgetful utterly of self-intent;
Moving but with the mighty ebb and flow.
Then, like a new fledg'd bird that first doth show
His spreaded feathers to the morrow chill,
I try'd in fear the pinions of my will.
Light Ethon, fiery Phlegon, bright Eöus,
Neighing alowd, inflame the Ayre with heat;
And, with their thundring hooves, the barriers beate.
(367) Cancelled manuscript reading outspread for spread out. (377) In the finished manuscript the word become stands cancelled between to and be.
'Twas freedom! and at once I visited
The ceaseless wonders of this ocean-bed.
No need to tell thee of them, for I see
That thou hast been a witness-it must be-
For these I know thou canst not feel a drouth,
By the melancholy corners of that mouth.
So I will in my story straightway pass
To more immediate matter. Woe, alas!
That love should be my bane! Ah, Scylla fair!
Why did poor Glaucus ever-ever dare
To sue thee to his heart? Kind stranger-youth!
I lov'd her to the very white of truth,
And she would not conceive it. Timid thing!
She fled me swift as sea-bird on the wing,
Round every isle, and point, and promontory,
From where large Hercules wound up his story
Far as Egyptian Nile. My passion grew
The more, the more I saw her dainty hue
Gleam delicately through the azure clear:
Until 'twas too fierce agony to bear;
And in that agony, across my grief
It flash'd, that Circe might find some relief—
Cruel enchantress! So above the water
(395) The draft gives this line thus
For such a drink thou canst not feel a drouth,...
The thought of the melancholy expression of the mouth of one who
ceaseless wonders" is probably allusive to the portrait
of Dante, foremost of all beholders of " ceaseless wonders."
(406) Whether the reference is to the Pillars of Hercules, the confluence of the Mediterranean and Atlantic, or to the scene of the Death of Hercules, is not very clear; but probably wound up his story refers rather to his last labour than to his death on Mount Eta.
(412) In the draft, might afford relief.
I rear'd my head, and look'd for Phoebus' daughter.
Ææa's isle was wondering at the moon:-
It seem'd to whirl around me, and a swoon
Left me dead-drifting to that fatal power.
"When I awoke, 'twas in a twilight bower;
Just when the light of morn, with hum of bees,
Stole through its verdurous matting of fresh trees.
How sweet, and sweeter! for I heard a lyre,
And over it a sighing voice expire.
It ceas'd-I caught light footsteps; and anon
The fait face that morn e'er look'd upon
Push'd through a screen of roses. Starry Jove!
With tears, and smiles, and honey-words she wove
A net whose thraldom was more bliss than all
The range of flower'd Elysium. Thus did fall
The dew of her rich speech: "Ah! Art awake?
"O let me hear thee speak, for Cupid's sake!
"I am so oppress'd with joy! Why, I have shed
"An urn of tears, as though thou wert cold dead;
"And now I find thee living, I will pour
"From these devoted eyes their silver store,
(415) The draft reads looking for wondering.
(417) Cancelled reading of the manuscript, towards for to.
(419) The draft reads What time for Just when.
(421-2) Cancelled reading of the manuscript—
How sweet to me! and then I heard a Lyre
With which a sighing voice.
(425) The draft reads Mighty for Starry.
(429) The inverted commas before each line of this speech, to mark it as one speech within another, are in the manuscript, but not in the first edition, though carefully inserted in the corrected copy in my possession.
(432) The draft reads as if for as though.