Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, FONTAINEBLEAU, by HUMPHRY DAVY



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FONTAINEBLEAU, by            
First Line: The mists disperse - and where a sullen cloud
Last Line: Never to rise!
Subject(s): Fontainebleau, France


THE mists disperse, -- and where a sullen cloud
Hung on the mountain's verge, the sun bursts forth
In all its majesty of purple light.
It is a winter's evening, and the year
Is fast departing; yet the hues of heaven
Are bright as in the summer's warmest month.
It is the season of the sleep of things;
But nature in her sleep is lovely still!
The trees display no green, no forms of life;
And yet a magic foliage clothes them round, --
And purest crystals of pellucid ice,
All purple in the sunset. Midst the wood
Fantastically rise the towering cliffs,
That in another season had been white,
But now, contrasted with the brilliant ice,
Shine in aerial tints of purest blue!
The varied outline has a thousand charms;
Here rises high a venerable wood,
Where oaks are seen with massy ice girt round,
And birches pendent with their glittering arms,
And graceful beeches clinging to the soil;
There, massy forms exist of rocks alone, --
Rising as if the work of human art,
The pride of some great Paladin of old,
In awful ruins. Nearer I behold
The palace of a race of mighty kings;
But now another tenants. On these walls,
Where erst the silver lily spread her leaves --
The graceful symbol of a brilliant court --
The golden eagle shines, the bird of prey, --
Emblem of rapine and of lawless power:
Such is the fitful change of human things:
An empire rises, like a cloud in heaven,
Red in the morning sun, spreading its tints
Of golden hue along the feverish sky,
And filling the horizon; -- soon its tints
Are darken'd, and it brings the thunder-storm, --
Lightning, and hail, and desolation comes;
But in destroying it dissolves, and falls
Never to rise!





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