WHAT alchemist could in one hour so drain
The rainbow of its colours, smelt the ore
From the September lodes of heaven, to pour
This Orient magic on a Western plain,
And build the miracle before our eyes
Of castellated heights and colonnades,
Carraran palaces, and cavalcades
Trooping through a city in the skies!
A northern cloud became a temple spire,
A southern reach showed argosies on fire,
And in the centre, with unhurried feet,
Came priests and paladins, soon to descend
To earth with swinging censers to attend
The god of harvests down amidst his wheat.
And scarcely less resplendent was the passing,
When with the night winds rising on the land,
The hosts were led by a Valkyrian hand
To their abodes, accompanied by the massing
Of amber clouds touched with armorial red,
By thrones dissolving, and by spirals hurled
From golden plinths, announcing to the world
That Day, for all its blazonry, was dead.
And when, like a belated funeral rite,
The last pale torch was smothered by the night,
The mind's horizon like the sky was stripped
Of all illusion but a fable told
Of gods that died, of suns and worlds grown cold,
In some extinct Promethean manuscript.