Saturday, November 3, 2007

Lucifer in Starlight

Like "Ozymandias," this is one of those peculiar sonnets that really has no business bearing such a form; there is no amorous element, and (unlike the Shelley poem) no rhetorical current. It is one of those lyrics whose business it is to refrain from argument and cleave to the purely pictorial.

On a starr'd night prince Lucifer uprose.
Tired of his dark dominion swung the fiend
Above the rolling ball in cloud part screen'd,
Where sinners hugged their spectre of repose.
Poor prey to his hot fit of pride were those.
And now upon his western wing he lean'd,
Now his huge bulk o'er Afric's sands careen'd,
Now the black planet shadow's Arctic snows.
Soaring through wider zones that prick'd his scars
With memory of the old revolt from Awe,
He reach'd a middle height, and at the stars,
Which are the brain of heaven, he look'd, and sank.
Around the ancient track march'd, rank on rank,
The army of unalterable law.

-George Meredith-