Thursday, July 01, 2010

The Next Part of Kubla Khan Recovered (After Coleridge)

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 pleasure
Floated midway on the waves;
Where was heard the mingled measure
From the fountain and the caves.
It was a miracle of rare device,
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.


Part Two

Born of the vision of the well:
The sunken well of world’s desires,
With my words I’d weave the spell;
Of Kubla’s summer capital,
The meadows of the flashing fires!

Sun-speared Red Fountains in the earth
The ember-blaze of heaven’s hearth
To burn, all ochre, in the air with cinnamon, and cassia
The scent that falls as dusty rain upon the coriandergreen
While tamed impala and giraffe, from Khwarezmid and far Xia
paced the long verges in between.

And Ia! the cry to heaven they made
-They lie that say giraffes can not give tongue-
A long low cry! as lonesome and dismayed
That ever came from demigod afraid
As cried at shadows when the world was young.
And shadows redly cast by fire's first burning
Stained all the rocks as though all-scarlet-yearning
Filled them to move in slow pavanes, slow turning
The old rip-tide of mountains aeon flowing
Stone upon stone uprising, gladly growing
Forced up on either side of pleasure's dome
Spears' flung at heaven's gate-locked bowers
Lightnings flung back to shatter ancient towers
The contrast lies in heaven's silent home
Where fire untouched, untouched by Genghis' spite
Stars tumble frigid, spear-points of the night.

The firelight on the dome of pleasure
The fires above the ice below
Between those two extremes the treasure
The only peace mankind can know
Neither too hot nor cold, but made
To gentle warm the gentle hearted maid.

Within that crystal hemisphere
Enfolded in the Sunset's ray
A thousand strings by virtuosoes played
Sounded so high and undismayed
Unfettered by the chains of any fear.
Would that we could that fire in us impart
That blaze without, that fearlessness within
The Fountained fire would melt the coolest heart
Break earthly circumstance apart, and win
Inside, the universal, and etern'
Which soveriegn fire can never melt nor burn
And all who saw it would proclaim
The Alkhest, potable, by name
The Grail, the cup, the secret sign
In the world's heart the autumn wine!
And fly, lest fire should strike them down!
For they have seen the hidden crown
Reaved from the dust of Palestine!

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