Where the wings of a sunny Dome expand I saw a Banner in gladsome air- Starry, like Berenice's Hair- Afloat in broadened bravery there; With undulating long-drawn flow, As rolled Brazilian billows go Voluminously o'er the Line. The Land reposed in peace below; The children in their glee Were folded to the exulting heart Of young Maternity.
Later, and it streamed in fight When tempest mingled with the fray, And over the spear-point of the shaft I saw the ambiguous lightning play. Valor with Valor strove, and died: Fierce was Despair, and cruel was Pride; And the lorn Mother speechless stood, Pale at the fury of her brood.
Yet later, and the silk did wind Her fair cold for; Little availed the shining shroud, Though ruddy in hue, to cheer or warm A watcher looked upon her low, and said- She sleeps, but sleeps, she is not dead. But in that sleep contortion showed The terror of the vision there- A silent vision unavowed, Revealing earth's foundation bare, And Gorgon in her hidden place. It was a thing of fear to see So foul a dream upon so fair a face, And the dreamer lying in that starry shroud.
But from the trance she sudden broke- The trance, or death into promoted life; At her feet a shivered yoke, And in her aspect turned to heaven No trace of passion or of strife- A clear calm look. It spake of pain, But such as purifies from stain- Sharp pangs that never come again- And triumph repressed by knowledge meet, Power delicate, and hope grown wise, And youth matured for age's seat- Law on her brow and empire in her eyes. So she, with graver air and lifted flag; While the shadow, chased by light, Fled along the far-brawn height, And left her on the crag.