Felicia Dorothea Hemans

(25 September 1793 – 16 May 1835 / Liverpool, England)

The Rock of Cader Idris


I LAY on that rock where the storms have their dwelling,
The birthplace of phantoms, the home of the oloud;
Around it for ever deep music is swelling,
The voice of the mountain-wind, solemn and loud.
'Twas a midnight of shadows all fitfully streaming,
Of wild waves and breezes, that mingled their moan;
Of dim shrouded stars, as from gulfs faintly gleaming;
And I met the dread gloom of its grandeur alone.

I lay there in silence-a spirit came o'er me;
Man's tongue hath no language to speak what I saw:
Things glorious, unearthly, pass'd floating before me,
And my heart almost fainted with rapture and awe.
I view'd the dread beings around us that hover,
Though veil'd by the mists of mortality's breath;
And I call'd upon darkness the vision to cover,
For a strife was within me of madness and death.

I saw them-the powers of the wind and the ocean,
The rush of whose pinion bears onward the storms;
Like the sweep of the white-rolling wave was their motion,
I felt their dim presence,-but knew not their forms !
I saw them-the mighty of ages departed-
The dead were around me that night on the hill:
From their eyes, as they pass'd, a cold radiance they darted,-
There was light on my soul, but my heart's blood was chill.

I saw what man looks on, and dies-but my spirit
Was strong, and triumphantly lived through that hour;
And, as from the grave, I awoke to inherit
A flame all immortal, a voice, and a power !
Day burst on that rock with the purple cloud crested,
And high Cader Idris rejoiced in the sun;-
But O ! what new glory all nature invested,
When the sense which gives soul to her beauty was won !

Submitted: Monday, March 26, 2012

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