Darkness

Autorem wiersza jest Lord George Byron

I had a dream, which was not all a dream.

The bright sun was extinguish`d, and the stars

Did wander darkling in the eternal space,

Rayless, and pathless, and the icy earth

Swung blind and blackening in the moonless air;

Morn came and went--and came, and brought no day,

And men forgot their passions in the dread

Of this their desolation; and all hearts

Were chill`d into a selfish prayer for light:

And they did live by watchfires--and the thrones,

The palaces of crowned kings--the huts,

The habitations of all things which dwell,

Were burnt for beacons; cities were consumed,

And men were gather`d round their blazing homes

To look once more into each other`s face;

Happy were those who dwelt within the eye

Of the volcanos, and their mountain-torch:

A fearful hope was all the world contain`d;

Forests were set on fire--but hour by hour

They fell and faded--and the crackling trunks

Extinguish`d with a crash--and all was black.

The brows of men by the despairing light

Wore an unearthly aspect, as by fits

The flashes fell upon them; some lay down

And hid their eyes and wept; and some did rest

Their chins upon their clenched hands, and smiled;

And others hurried to and fro, and fed

Their funeral piles with fuel, and look`d up

With mad disquietude on the dull sky,

The pall of a past world; and then again

With curses cast them down upon the dust,

And gnash`d their teeth and howl`d: the wild birds shriek`d

And, terrified, did flutter on the ground,

And flap their useless wings; the wildest brutes

Came tame and tremulous; and vipers crawl`d

And twined themselves among the multitude,

Hissing, but stingless--they were slain for food.

And War, which for a moment was no more,

Did glut himself again: a meal was bought

With blood, and each sate sullenly apart

Gorging himself in gloom: no love was left;

All earth was but one thought--and that was death

Immediate and inglorious; and the pang

Of famine fed upon all entrails--men

Died, and their bones were tombless as their flesh;

The meagre by the meagre were devour`d,

Even dogs assail`d their masters, all save one,

And he was faithful to a corse, and kept

The birds and beasts and famish`d men at bay,

Till hunger clung them, or the dropping dead

Lured their lank jaws; himself sought out no food,

But with a piteous and perpetual moan,

And a quick desolate cry, licking the hand

Which answer`d not with a caress--he died.

The crowd was famish`d by degrees; but two

Of an enormous city did survive,

And they were enemies: they met beside

The dying embers of an altar-place

Where had been heap`d a mass of holy things

For an unholy usage; they raked up,

And shivering scraped with their cold skeleton hands

The feeble ashes, and their feeble breath

Blew for a little life, and made a flame

Which was a mockery; then they lifted up

Their eyes as it grew lighter, and beheld

Each other`s aspects--saw, and shriek`d, and died--

Even of their mutual hideousness they died,

Unknowing who he was upon whose brow

Famine had written Fiend. The world was void,

The populous and the powerful was a lump,

Seasonless, herbless, treeless, manless, lifeless--

A lump of death--a chaos of hard clay.

The rivers, lakes and ocean all stood still,

And nothing stirr`d within their silent depths;

Ships sailorless lay rotting on the sea,

And their masts fell down piecemeal: as they dropp`d

They slept on the abyss without a surge--

The waves were dead; the tides were in their grave,

The moon, their mistress, had expired before;

The winds were wither`d in the stagnant air,

And the clouds perish`d; Darkness had no need

Of aid from them--She was the Universe.

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