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Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908). A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895. 1895.

John Addington Symonds 1840–93

The Fall of a Soul


I SAT unsphering Plato ere I slept:

Then through my dream the choir of gods was borne,

Swift as the wind and splendid as the morn,

Fronting the night of stars; behind them swept

Tempestuous darkness o’er a drear descent,

Wherein I saw a crowd of charioteers

Urging their giddy steeds with cries and cheers,

To join the choir that aye before them went:

But one there was who fell, with broken car

And horses swooning down the gulf of gloom;

Heavenward his eyes, though prescient of their doom,

Reflected glory like a falling star,

While with wild hair blown back and listless hands

Ruining he sank toward undiscover’d lands.