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The Rock of Cader Idris
It is an old tradition of the Welsh bards, that on the summit of the mountain Cader Idris is an excavation resembling a couch; and that whoever should pass a night in that hollow would be found in the morning either dead, in a frenzy, or endowed with the highest poetical inspiration.
I LAY on that rock where the storms have their dwelling, The birthplace of phantoms, the home of the cloud; Around it forever deep music is swelling, The voice of the mountain wind solemn and loud. ’T was a midnight of shadows all fitfully streaming, Of wild waves and breezes, that mingle 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, passed floating before me, And my heart almost fainted with rapture and awe. I viewed the dread beings around us that hover, Though veiled by the mists of mortality’s breath; And I called 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 passed, 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!
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