I Titan! to whose immortal eyes The sufferings of mortality Seen in their sad reality, Were not as things that gods despise; What was thy pity's recompense? A silent suffering, and intense; The rock, the vulture, and the chain, All that the proud can feel of pain, The agony they do not show, The suffocating sense of woe, 10 Which speaks but in its loneliness, And then is jealous lest the sky Should have a listener, nor will sigh Until its voice is echoless. II Titan! to thee the strife was given Between the suffering and the will, Which torture where they cannot kill; And the inexorable Heaven, And the deaf tyranny of Fate, The ruling principle of Hate. 20 Which for its pleasure doth create The things it may annihilate, Refused thee even the boon to die: The wretched gift eternity Was thine -- and thou hast borne it well. All that the Thunderer wrung from thee Was but the menace which flung back On him the torments of thy rack; The fate thou didst so well foresee, But would not to appease him tell; 30 And in thy Silence was his Sentence, And in his Soul a vain repentance, And evil dread so ill dissembled That in his hand the lightnings trembled. III Thy Godlike crime was to be kind, To render with thy precepts less The sum of human wretchedness, And strengthen Man with his own mind; But baffled as thou wert from high, Still in thy patient energy, 40 In the endurance, and repulse Of thine impenetrable Spirit, Which Earth and Heaven could not convulse, A mighty lesson we inherit: Thou art a symbol and a sign To Mortals of their fate and force; Like thee, Man is in part divine, A troubled stream from a pure source; And Man in portions can foresee His own funereal destiny; 50 His wretchedness, and his resistance, And his sad unallied existence: To which his Spirit may oppose Itself -- and equal to all woes, And a firm will, and a deep sense, Which even in torture can descry Its own concenter'd recompense, Triumphant where it dares defy, And making Death a Victory.
Diodati, July, 1816