In the Midnight heaven's burning Through the ethereal deeps afar Once I watch'd with restless yearning An alluring aureate star; Ev'ry eve aloft returning Gleaming nigh the Arctic Car. Mystic waves of beauty blended With the gorgeous golden rays Phantasies of bliss descended In a myrrh'd Elysian haze. In the lyre-born chords extended Harmonies of Lydian lays. And (thought I) lies scenes of pleasure, Where the free and blessed dwell, And each moment bears a treasure, Freighted with the lotos-spell, And there floats a liquid measure From the lute of Israfel. There (I told myself) were shining Worlds of happiness unknown, Peace and Innocence entwining By the Crowned Virtue's throne; Men of light, their thoughts refining Purer, fairer, than my own. Thus I mus'd when o'er the vision Crept a red delirious change; Hope dissolving to derision, Beauty to distortion strange; Hymnic chords in weird collision, Spectral sights in endless range.... Crimson burn'd the star of madness As behind the beams I peer'd; All was woe that seem'd but gladness Ere my gaze with Truth was sear'd; Cacodaemons, mir'd with madness, Through the fever'd flick'ring leer'd.... Now I know the fiendish fable Then the golden glitter bore; Now I shun the spangled sable That I watch'd and lov'd before; But the horror, set and stable, Haunts my soul forevermore!
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