In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure-dome decree:
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
Through caverns measureless to man
Down to a sunless sea.
So twice five miles of fertile ground
With walls and towers were girdled round;
And there were gardens bright with sinuous rills,
Where blossomed many an incense-bearing tree;
And here were forests ancient as the hills,
Enfolding sunny spots of greenery.
But oh! that deep romantic chasm which slanted
Down the green hill athwart a cedarn cover!
A savage place! as holy and enchanted
As e’er beneath a waning moon was haunted
By woman wailing for her demon-lover!
And from this chasm, with ceaseless turmoil seething,
As if this earth in fast thick pants were breathing,
A mighty fountain momently was forced:
Amid whose swift half-intermitted burst
Huge fragments vaulted like rebounding hail,
Or chaffy grain beneath the thresher’s flail:
And mid these dancing rocks at once and ever
It flung up momently the sacred river.
Five miles meandering with a mazy motion
Through wood and dale the sacred river ran,
Then reached the caverns measureless to man,
And sank in tumult to a lifeless ocean;
And ’mid this tumult Kubla heard from far
Ancestral voices prophesying war!
The shadow of the dome of pleasureIt was a miracle of rare device,
Floated midway on the waves;
Where was heard the mingled measure
From the fountain and the caves.
A sunny pleasure-dome with caves of ice!
A damsel with a dulcimer
In a vision once I saw:
It was an Abyssinian maid
And on her dulcimer she played,
Singing of Mount Abora.
Could I revive within me
Her symphony and song,
To such a deep delight ’twould win me,
That with music loud and long,
I would build that dome in air,
That sunny dome! those caves of ice!
And all who heard should see them there,
And all should cry, Beware! Beware!
His flashing eyes, his floating hair!
Weave a circle round him thrice,
And close your eyes with holy dread
For he on honey-dew hath fed,
And drunk the milk of Paradise.
Tis Taindu's golden square and street
And Xandu's spacious vales and trees
Where many pilgrim travellers meet
All chanting for an end to peace.
“To war!” they cry
“All glory ay!
Where shields ring and arrows fly!”
Proud Kublai on a throne of jet
Beneath a canopy of gold
And ever and far off still grinds the sound
Of that unseen and mighty river
Whose deep sublime full fall
Passing far beneath the ground
Where rock and darkness aye dissever
To drive with force along its course
And gush unseen into unknown abysses
Home to forgetfulnesses of human wishes
Kubla himself approaches
Astride a Mongol steed
And eighty wooden coaches
Follow his imperial lead.
Who taught thee this to venture down th' abyss
And ope the regions of primeval bliss?
A song, a song
Is borne along!
With melody as fine as its through-pulse is strong!
Whether thy Chinee orgies I behold,
Or Arimaspian rich with conquer'd gold;
Hymalian heights whereon delusive sprites
Of bitter frost and vagrant tempest play
Spout smoaks of snow through the day
And lead the wandering to their doom by night
Will travel there
And thrill my mind's true ear and lift me past despair!
The woodsman stands beneath the arch
Of drooping birch or feathery larch,
Or mountain-ash, that o'er it bends,
And sees some streamlet as it wends;
Some brook whose tune its course betrays,
As it is drawn to feed the hidden ways
Of mighty Alph the hidden.
The woodsman has his new command
To fell the trees that dot the land
To hew the timbers into mighty strips
That best can fit a navy's ships.
To planks of oak and planks of pine;
And water gives itself to brine.
All as the Khan has bidden.
To trace the rivers where they flow,
Serenely brawling, fiercely slow
Down to the sea where all streams go.
Streams that over summits leap,
Or in rock-scooped basins sleep;
Pools that deeper are than deep.
Bursting foam in bright cascade,
Toys with lotus in the shade
Freighted with vessels timber-made.
Till earth and sky themselves grow mute,
The maiden's floating songs salute
The Khan's great armys route:
Such the flow and such the dance
Where soldiers strut and horses prance
Astrologer and Necromance
Provisioner and Royal Scribe
Forsworn and tied to Kublai's tribe
A million men! A million men!
Dance stately out and through the glen
And pass beyond the homeland's ken.
Ten thousand ships! Ten thousand craft!
From galleon-yacht to simple raft,
With Kublai's horde as cargo draught!
Wouldst thou know the true most truly,
More than middling mortals find?
Drink close fragrance from the lily
Than faint odour on the wind?
Wouldst thou know why sunlight pauses
To cast its shadows on the mind?
Know of what the moon discourses
Looking down on humankind?
Then strike the cithar and the timbrel!
Pound at drums and shake the cymbal
Cast thy voice o'er the restless sea
Of aye-surging infinity!
Grief shall ope the founts of truth,
And heaven sing the truth to thee.
We knew this at our earliest birth
And will again when we quit this earth
And if, between, our memory
Cannot quite grasp such mystery
We need but patience, patience now
Await aye still th' immortan How.
Patience child of grief
The weary unrelief
Patience who is strong
From grief that is lifelong.
Grief in darkling manner freeing.
Wouldst thou yet unriddle of Being
Further than others can?
Sorrow shall give thine eyes new lustre
Sorrow's trumpet is thy muster
That Providence and Mars thus toy with man
To end what it began.
To Love and Sorrow all Nature draws;
If the riddle be read,
The code behind eternal laws
And each divergent thread
Of its mazy texture, and discover:
Whence the ravel spread.
Beside the summer sea I stand,
Where slow billows swelling shine.
How beautiful this pearly sand!
That waves, and winds, and years refine!
Be this delicious quiet mine—
The joy of youth, so sweet before,
When I could thus my frame recline,
And watch th’ entangled weeds ashore!