Poems

John Keats


Contents

ON A DREAM

TO AILSA ROCK

CALIDORE: A FRAGMENT

TO SOME LADIES

ON RECEIVING A CURIOUS SHELL

TO * * * *

TO HOPE

WOMAN! WHEN I BEHOLD THEE FLIPPANT, VAIN

FOR THERE'S BISHOP'S TEIGN

CHARACTER OF CHARLES BROWN

ON FIRST LOOKING INTO CHAPMAN'S HOMER

THE DAY IS GONE, AND ALL ITS SWEETS ARE GONE!

ENDYMION: A POETIC ROMANCE

THE EVE OF SAINT MARK

WHEN I HAVE FEARS THAT I MAY CEASE TO BE

HYPERION

I STOOD TIP-TOE UPON A LITTLE HILL

ISABELLA; OR, THE POT OF BASIL

ON SITTING DOWN TO READ KING LEAR ONCE AGAIN

LINES RHYMED IN A LETTER FROM OXFORD

LAMIA

THE EVE OF ST. AGNES

HOW MANY BARDS GILD THE LAPSES OF TIME!

DEDICATION [OF POEMS, 1817] TO LEIGH HUNT, ESQ.

TO ONE WHO HAS BEEN LONG IN CITY PENT

A SONG ABOUT MYSELF

ODE ("BARDS OF PASSION AND OF MIRTH")

ODE ON INDOLENCE

ODE ON MELANCHOLY

ODE TO A NIGHTINGALE

ODE ON A GRECIAN URN

ODE TO PSYCHE

FANCY

LINES ON THE MERMAID TAVERN

ROBIN HOOD

TO AUTUMN

OVER THE HILL AND OVER THE DALE

TRANSLATED FROM RONSARD

SLEEP AND POETRY

CHAUCER

O SOLITUDE! IF I MUST WITH THEE DWELL

IMITATION OF SPENSER

STANZAS ("IN DREAR-NIGHTED DECEMBER"�)

THE POET: A FRAGMENT

TO -- ("WHAT CAN I DO TO DRIVE AWAY"�)

TO HOMER

TO SLEEP

ON VISITING THE TOMB OF BURNS

WHY DID I LAUGH TO-NIGHT? NO VOICE WILL TELL

WHEN I HAVE FEARS THAT I MAY CEASE TO BE

ASLEEP! O SLEEP A LITTLE WHILTE, WHITE PEARL!

LA BELLE DAME SANS MERCI

THE HUMAN SEASONS

ON FAME I

ON FAME II

BRIGHT STAR! WOULD I WERE STEADFAST AS THOU ART




ON A DREAM


As Hermes once took to his feathers light
 When lulled Argus, baffled, swoon'd and slept,
 So on a Delphic reed my idle spright
 So play'd, so charm'd, so conquer'd, so bereft
 The dragon-world of all its hundred eyes,
 And, seeing it asleep, so fled away:
 Not to pure Ida with its snow-cold skies,
 Nor unto Tempe where Jove griev'd a day;
 But to that second circle of sad hell,
 Where 'mid the gust, the whirlwind, and the flaw
 Of rain and hail-stones, lovers need not tell
 Their sorrows. Pale were the sweet lips I saw,
 Pale were the lips I kiss'd, and fair the form
 I floated with, about that melancholy storm.

TO AILSA ROCK

Hearken, thou craggy ocean pyramid!
 Give answer from thy voice, the sea-fowls' screams!
 When were thy shoulders mantled in huge streams?
 When from the sun was thy broad forehead hid?
 How long is't since the mighty Power bid
 Thee heave to airy sleep from fathom dreams?
 Sleep in the lap of thunder or sunbeams,
 Or when grey clouds are thy cold coverlid?
 Thou answer'st not, for thou art dead asleep;
 Thy life is but two dead eternities --
 The last in air, the former in the deep;
 First with the whales, last with the eagle-skies --
 Drown'd wast thou till an earthquake made thee steep,
 Another cannot wake thy giant size.


CALIDORE: A FRAGMENT


YOUNG Calidore is paddling o'er the lake;
His healthful spirit eager and awake
To feel the beauty of a silent eve,
Which seem'd full loath this happy world to leave;
The light dwelt o'er the scene so lingeringly.      
He bares his forehead to the cool blue sky,
And smiles at the far clearness all around,
Until his heart is well nigh over wound,
And turns for calmness to the pleasant green
Of easy slopes, and shadowy trees that lean      
So elegantly o'er the waters' brim
And show their blossoms trim.
Scarce can his clear and nimble eye-sight follow
The freaks, and dartings of the black-wing'd swallow,
Delighting much, to see it half at rest,      
Dip so refreshingly its wings, and breast
'Gainst the smooth surface, and to mark anon,
The widening circles into nothing gone.
 
And now the sharp keel of his little boat
Comes up with ripple, and with easy float,      
And glides into a bed of water lillies:
Broad leav'd are they and their white canopies
Are upward turn'd to catch the heavens' dew.
Near to a little island's point they grew;
Whence Calidore might have the goodliest view      
Of this sweet spot of earth. The bowery shore
Went off in gentle windings to the hoar
And light blue mountains: but no breathing man
With a warm heart, and eye prepared to scan
Nature's clear beauty, could pass lightly by      
Objects that look'd out so invitingly
On either side. These, gentle Calidore
Greeted, as he had known them long before.
 
The sidelong view of swelling leafiness,
Which the glad setting sun, in gold doth dress;      
Whence ever, and anon the jay outsprings,
And scales upon the beauty of its wings.
 
The lonely turret, shatter'd, and outworn,
Stands venerably proud; too proud to mourn
Its long lost grandeur: fir trees grow around,      
Aye dropping their hard fruit upon the ground.
 
The little chapel with the cross above
Upholding wreaths of ivy; the white dove,
That on the windows spreads his feathers light,
And seems from purple clouds to wing its flight.
       

Green tufted islands casting their soft shades
Across the lake; sequester'd leafy glades,
That through the dimness of their twilight show
Large dock leaves, spiral foxgloves, or the glow
Of the wild cat's eyes, or the silvery stems      
Of delicate birch trees, or long grass which hems
A little brook. The youth had long been viewing
These pleasant things, and heaven was bedewing
The mountain flowers, when his glad senses caught
A trumpet's silver voice. Ah! it was fraught      
With many joys for him: the warder's ken
Had found white coursers prancing in the glen:
Friends very dear to him he soon will see;
So pushes off his boat most eagerly,
And soon upon the lake he skims along,      
Deaf to the nightingale's first under-song;
Nor minds he the white swans that dream so sweetly:
His spirit flies before him so completely.
 
And now he turns a jutting point of land,
Whence may be seen the castle gloomy, and grand:      
Nor will a bee buzz round two swelling peaches,
Before the point of his light shallop reaches
Those marble steps that through the water dip:
Now over them he goes with hasty trip,
And scarcely stays to ope the folding doors:      
Anon he leaps along the oaken floors
Of halls and corridors.
 
Delicious sounds! those little bright-eyed things
That float about the air on azure wings,
Had been less heartfelt by him than the clang      
Of clattering hoofs; into the court he sprang,
Just as two noble steeds, and palfreys twain,
Were slanting out their necks with loosened rein;
While from beneath the threat'ning portcullis
They brought their happy burthens. What a kiss,      
What gentle squeeze he gave each lady's hand!
How tremblingly their delicate ancles spann'd!
Into how sweet a trance his soul was gone,
While whisperings of affection
Made him delay to let their tender feet      
Come to the earth; with an incline so sweet
From their low palfreys o'er his neck they bent:
And whether there were tears of languishment,
Or that the evening dew had pearl'd their tresses,
He feels a moisture on his cheek, and blesses      
With lips that tremble, and with glistening eye
All the soft luxury
That nestled in his arms. A dimpled hand,
Fair as some wonder out of fairy land,
Hung from his shoulder like the drooping flowers      
Of whitest Cassia, fresh from summer showers:
And this he fondled with his happy cheek
As if for joy he would no further seek;
When the kind voice of good Sir Clerimond
Came to his ear, like something from beyond      
His present being: so he gently drew
His warm arms, thrilling now with pulses new,
From their sweet thrall, and forward gently bending,
Thank'd heaven that his joy was never ending;
While 'gainst his forehead he devoutly press'd      
A hand heaven made to succour the distress'd;
A hand that from the world's bleak promontory
Had lifted Calidore for deeds of glory.
Amid the pages, and the torches' glare,
There stood a knight, patting the flowing hair      
Of his proud horse's mane: he was withal
A man of elegance, and stature tall:
So that the waving of his plumes would be
High as the berries of a wild ash tree,
Or as the winged cap of Mercury.      
His armour was so dexterously wrought
In shape, that sure no living man had thought
It hard, and heavy steel: but that indeed
It was some glorious form, some splendid weed,
In which a spirit new come from the skies      
Might live, and show itself to human eyes.
'Tis the far-fam'd, the brave Sir Gondibert,
Said the good man to Calidore alert;
While the young warrior with a step of grace
Came up,--a courtly smile upon his face,      
And mailed hand held out, ready to greet
The large-eyed wonder, and ambitious heat
Of the aspiring boy; who as he led
Those smiling ladies, often turned his head
To admire the visor arched so gracefully      
Over a knightly brow; while they went by
The lamps that from the high-roof'd hall were pendent,
And gave the steel a shining quite transcendent.
 
Soon in a pleasant chamber they are seated;
The sweet-lipp'd ladies have already greeted      
All the green leaves that round the window clamber,
To show their purple stars, and bells of amber.
Sir Gondibert has doff'd his shining steel,
Gladdening in the free, and airy feel
Of a light mantle; and while Clerimond      
Is looking round about him with a fond,
And placid eye, young Calidore is burning
To hear of knightly deeds, and gallant spurning
Of all unworthiness; and how the strong of arm
Kept off dismay, and terror, and alarm      
From lovely woman: while brimful of this,
He gave each damsel's hand so warm a kiss,
And had such manly ardour in his eye,
That each at other look'd half staringly;
And then their features started into smiles      
Sweet as blue heavens o'er enchanted isles.
 
Softly the breezes from the forest came,
Softly they blew aside the taper's flame;
Clear was the song from Philomel's far bower;
Grateful the incense from the lime-tree flower;      
Mysterious, wild, the far-heard trumpet's tone;
Lovely the moon in ether, all alone:
Sweet too the converse of these happy mortals,
As that of busy spirits when the portals
Are closing in the west; or that soft humming      
We hear around when Hesperus is coming.
Sweet be their sleep. * * * * * * * * *

TO SOME LADIES

WHAT though while the wonders of nature exploring,
  I cannot your light, mazy footsteps attend;
Nor listen to accents, that almost adoring,
  Bless Cynthia's face, the enthusiast's friend:
 
Yet over the steep, whence the mountain stream rushes,      
  With you, kindest friends, in idea I rove;
Mark the clear tumbling crystal, its passionate gushes,
  Its spray that the wild flower kindly bedews.
 
Why linger you so, the wild labyrinth strolling?
  Why breathless, unable your bliss to declare?      
Ah! you list to the nightingale's tender condoling,
  Responsive to sylphs, in the moon beamy air.
 
'Tis morn, and the flowers with dew are yet drooping,
  I see you are treading the verge of the sea:
And now! ah, I see it--you just now are stooping      
  To pick up the keep-sake intended for me.
 
If a cherub, on pinions of silver descending,
  Had brought me a gem from the fret-work of heaven;
And smiles, with his star-cheering voice sweetly blending,
  The blessings of Tighe had melodiously given;
       
 
It had not created a warmer emotion
  Than the present, fair nymphs, I was blest with from you
Than the shell, from the bright golden sands of the ocean
  Which the emerald waves at your feet gladly threw.
 
For, indeed, 'tis a sweet and peculiar pleasure,      
  (And blissful is he who such happiness finds,)
To possess but a span of the hour of leisure,
  In elegant, pure, and aerial minds.
 

ON RECEIVING A CURIOUS SHELL

From the same Ladies
  
HAST thou from the caves of Golconda, a gem
  Pure as the ice-drop that froze on the mountain?
Bright as the humming-bird's green diadem,
  When it flutters in sun-beams that shine through a fountain? 
Hast thou a goblet for dark sparkling wine?
       
  That goblet right heavy, and massy, and gold?
And splendidly mark'd with the story divine
  Of Armida the fair, and Rinaldo the bold?
 
Hast thou a steed with a mane richly flowing?
  Hast thou a sword that thine enemy's smart is?      
Hast thou a trumpet rich melodies blowing?
  And wear'st thou the shield of the fam'd Britomartis?
 
What is it that hangs from thy shoulder, so brave,
  Embroidered with many a spring peering flower?
Is it a scarf that thy fair lady gave?      
  And hastest thou now to that fair lady's bower?
 
Ah! courteous Sir Knight, with large joy thou art crown'd;
  Full many the glories that brighten thy youth!
I will tell thee my blisses, which richly abound
  In magical powers to bless, and to sooth.
       
 
On this scroll thou seest written in characters fair
  A sun-beamy tale of a wreath, and a chain;
And, warrior, it nurtures the property rare
  Of charming my mind from the trammels of pain. 
This canopy mark: 'tis the work of a fay;
       
  Beneath its rich shade did King Oberon languish,
When lovely Titania was far, far away,
  And cruelly left him to sorrow, and anguish. 
There, oft would he bring from his soft sighing lute
  Wild strains to which, spell-bound, the nightingales listened;
       
The wondering spirits of heaven were mute,
  And tears 'mong the dewdrops of morning oft glistened. 
In this little dome, all those melodies strange,
  Soft, plaintive, and melting, for ever will sigh;
Nor e'er will the notes from their tenderness change;
       
  Nor e'er will the music of Oberon die. 
So, when I am in a voluptuous vein,
  I pillow my head on the sweets of the rose,
And list to the tale of the wreath, and the chain,
  Till its echoes depart; then I sink to repose.
       
 
Adieu, valiant Eric! with joy thou art crown'd;
  Full many the glories that brighten thy youth,
I too have my blisses, which richly abound
  In magical powers, to bless and to sooth.


TO * * * *

HADST thou liv'd in days of old,
O what wonders had been told
Of thy lively countenance,
And thy humid eyes that dance
In the midst of their own brightness;      
In the very fane of lightness.
Over which thine eyebrows, leaning,
Picture out each lovely meaning:
In a dainty bend they lie,
Like to streaks across the sky,      
Or the feathers from a crow,
Fallen on a bed of snow.
Of thy dark hair that extends
Into many graceful bends:
As the leaves of Hellebore      
Turn to whence they sprung before.
And behind each ample curl
Peeps the richness of a pearl.
Downward too flows many a tress
With a glossy waviness;      
Full, and round like globes that rise
From the censer to the skies
Through sunny air. Add too, the sweetness
Of thy honied voice; the neatness
Of thine ankle lightly turn'd:      
With those beauties, scarce discern'd,
Kept with such sweet privacy,
That they seldom meet the eye
Of the little loves that fly
Round about with eager pry.      
Saving when, with freshening lave,
Thou dipp'st them in the taintless wave;
Like twin water lillies, born
In the coolness of the morn.
O, if thou hadst breathed then,      
Now the Muses had been ten.
Couldst thou wish for lineage higher
Than twin sister of Thalia?
At least for ever, evermore,
Will I call the Graces four.
       
 
Hadst thou liv'd when chivalry
Lifted up her lance on high,
Tell me what thou wouldst have been?
Ah! I see the silver sheen
Of thy broidered, floating vest      
Cov'ring half thine ivory breast;
Which, O heavens! I should see,
But that cruel destiny
Has placed a golden cuirass there;
Keeping secret what is fair.      
Like sunbeams in a cloudlet nested
Thy locks in knightly casque are rested:
O'er which bend four milky plumes
Like the gentle lilly's blooms
Springing from a costly vase.      
See with what a stately pace
Comes thine alabaster steed;
Servant of heroic deed!
O'er his loins, his trappings glow
Like the northern lights on snow.      
Mount his back! thy sword unsheath!
Sign of the enchanter's death;
Bane of every wicked spell;
Silencer of dragon's yell.
Alas! thou this wilt never do:      
Thou art an enchantress too,
And wilt surely never spill
Blood of those whose eyes can kill.


TO HOPE

 
WHEN by my solitary hearth I sit,
When no fair dreams before my "mind's eye"� flit,
  And the bare heath of life presents no bloom;
    Sweet Hope, ethereal balm upon me shed,
    And wave thy silver pinions o'er my head.
         
Whene'er I wander, at the fall of night,
  Where woven boughs shut out the moon's bright ray,
Should sad Despondency my musings fright,
  And frown, to drive fair Cheerfulness away,
    Peep with the moon-beams through the leafy roof,      
    And keep that fiend Despondence far aloof.
 
Should Disappointment, parent of Despair,
  Strive for her son to seize my careless heart;
When, like a cloud, he sits upon the air,
  Preparing on his spell-bound prey to dart:      
    Chase him away, sweet Hope, with visage bright,
    And fright him as the morning frightens night!
 
Whene'er the fate of those I hold most dear
  Tells to my fearful breast a tale of sorrow,
O bright-eyed Hope, my morbid fancy cheer;      
  Let me awhile thy sweetest comforts borrow:
    Thy heaven-born radiance around me shed,
    And wave thy silver pinions o'er my head!
 
Should e'er unhappy love my bosom pain,
  From cruel parents, or relentless fair;      
O let me think it is not quite in vain
  To sigh out sonnets to the midnight air!
    Sweet Hope, ethereal balm upon me shed,
    And wave thy silver pinions o'er my head!
 
In the long vista of the years to roll,      
  Let me not see our country's honour fade:
O let me see our land retain her soul,
  Her pride, her freedom; and not freedom's shade.
    From thy bright eyes unusual brightness shed--
    Beneath thy pinions canopy my head!
       
 
Let me not see the patriot's high bequest,
  Great Liberty! how great in plain attire!
With the base purple of a court oppress'd,
  Bowing her head, and ready to expire:
    But let me see thee stoop from heaven on wings      
    That fill the skies with silver glitterings!
 
And as, in sparkling majesty, a star
  Gilds the bright summit of some gloomy cloud;
Brightening the half veil'd face of heaven afar:
  So, when dark thoughts my boding spirit shroud,      
    Sweet Hope, celestial influence round me shed,
    Waving thy silver pinions o'er my head.


WOMAN! WHEN I BEHOLD THEE FLIPPANT, VAIN

       
* * * * * * *
------
 
 
WOMAN! when I behold thee flippant, vain,
  Inconstant, childish, proud, and full of fancies;
  Without that modest softening that enhances
The downcast eye, repentant of the pain
That its mild light creates to heal again:      
  E'en then, elate, my spirit leaps, and prances,
  E'en then my soul with exultation dances
For that to love, so long, I've dormant lain:
But when I see thee meek, and kind, and tender,
  Heavens! how desperately do I adore      
Thy winning graces;--to be thy defender
  I hotly burn--to be a Calidore--
A very Red Cross Knight--a stout Leander--
  Might I be loved by thee like these of yore.
 
Light feet, dark violet eyes, and parted hair;      
  Soft dimpled hands, white neck, and creamy breast,
  Are things on which the dazzled senses rest
Till the fond, fixed eyes, forget they stare.
From such fine pictures, heavens! I cannot dare
  To turn my admiration, though unpossess'd      
  They be of what is worthy,--though not drest
In lovely modesty, and virtues rare.
Yet these I leave as thoughtless as a lark;
  These lures I straight forget--e'en ere I dine,
Or thrice my palate moisten: but when I mark      
  Such charms with mild intelligences shine,
My ear is open like a greedy shark,
  To catch the tunings of a voice divine.
 
Ah! who can e'er forget so fair a being?
  Who can forget her half retiring sweets?      
  God! she is like a milk-white lamb that bleats
For man's protection. Surely the All-seeing,
Who joys to see us with his gifts agreeing,
  Will never give him pinions, who intreats
  Such innocence to ruin,--who vilely cheats      
A dove-like bosom. In truth there is no freeing
One's thoughts from such a beauty; when I hear
  A lay that once I saw her hand awake,
Her form seems floating palpable, and near;
  Had I e'er seen her from an arbour take      
A dewy flower, oft would that hand appear,
  And o'er my eyes the trembling moisture shake.

FOR THERE'S BISHOP'S TEIGN

I.

For there's Bishop's teign
 And King's teign
 And Coomb at the clear Teign head --
 Where close by the stream
 You may have your cream
 All spread upon barley bread.

II.

There's Arch Brook
 And there's Larch Brook
 Both turning many a mill,
 And cooling the drouth
 Of the salmon's mouth
 And fattening his silver gill.

III.

There is Wild Wood,
 A mild hood
 To the sheep on the lea o' the down,
 Where the golden furze,
 With its green, thin spurs,
 Doth catch at the maiden's gown.

IV.

There is Newton Marsh
 With its spear grass harsh --
 A pleasant summer level
 Where the maidens sweet
 Of the Market Street
 Do meet in the dusk to revel.

V.

There's the Barton rich
 With dyke and ditch
 And hedge for the thrush to live in,
 And the hollow tree
 For the buzzing bee
 And a bank for the wasp to hive in.

VI.

And O, and
 The daisies blow
 And the primroses are waken'd,
 And violets white
 Sit in silver plight,
 And the green bud's as long as the spike end.

VII.

Then who would go
 Into dark Soho
 And chatter with dack'd-hair'd critics,
 When he can stay
 For the new-mown hay
 And startle the dappled prickets?


CHARACTER OF CHARLES BROWN

I.

He is to weet a melancholy carle:
 Thin in the waist, with bushy head of hair
 As hath the seeded thistle when in parle
 It holds the Zephyr, ere it sendeth fair
 Its light balloons into the summer air;
 Therto his beard had not begun to bloom,
 No brush had touch'd his chin or razor sheer;
 No care had touch'd his cheek with mortal doom,
 But new he was and bright as scarf from Persian loom.

II.

Ne cared he for wine, or half-and-half;
 Ne cared he for fish or flesh or fowl,
 And sauces held he worthless as the chaff,
 He 'sdeigned the swine-head at the wassail-bowl;
 Ne with lewd ribbalds sat he cheek by jowl,
 Ne with sly Lemans in the scorner's chair;
 But after water-brooks this Pilgrim's soul
 Panted, and all his food was woodland air
 Though he would oft-times feast on gilliflowers rare.

III.

The slang of cities in no wise he knew,
 Tipping the wink to him was heathen Greek;
 He sipp'd no olden Tom or ruin blue,
 Or nantz or cherry-brandy drank full meek
 By many a damsel hoarse and rouge of cheek;
 Nor did he know each aged watchman's beat,
 Nor in obscured purlieus would he seek
 For curled Jewesses with ankles neat,
 Who as they walk abroad make tinkling with their feet.


ON FIRST LOOKING INTO CHAPMAN'S HOMER

Much have I travell'd in the realms of gold,
 And many goodly states and kingdoms seen;
 Round many western islands have I been
 Which bards in fealty to Apollo hold.
 Oft of one wide expanse had I been told
 That deep-brow'd Homer ruled as his demesne;
 Yet did I never breathe its pure serene
 Till I heard Chapman speak out loud and bold:
 Then felt I like some watcher of the skies
 When a new planet swims into his ken;
 Or like stout Cortez when with eagle eyes
 He star'd at the Pacific -- and all his men
 Look'd at each other with a wild surmise --
 Silent, upon a peak in Darien.

THE DAY IS GONE, AND ALL ITS SWEETS ARE GONE!

The day is gone, and all its sweets are gone!
 Sweet voice, sweet lips, soft hand, and softer breast,
 Warm breath, light whisper, tender semi-tone,
 Bright eyes, accomplish'd shape, and lang'rous waist!
 Faded the flower and all its budded charms,
 Faded the sight of beauty from my eyes,
 Faded the shape of beauty from my arms,
 Faded the voice, warmth, whiteness, paradise --
 Vanish'd unseasonably at shut of eve,
 When the dusk holiday or holinight
 Of fragrant-curtain'd love begins to weave
 The woof of darkness thick, for hid delight;
 But, as I've read love's missal through to-day,
 He'll let me sleep, seeing I fast and pray.

Endymion: a Poetic Romance

by John Keats

"The stretched metre of an antique song"�

INSCRIBED TO THE MEMORY OF THOMAS CHATTERTON

PREFACE

BOOK I

BOOK II

BOOK III

BOOK IV

PREFACE

KNOWING within myself the manner in which this Poem has been produced, it is not without a feeling of regret that I make it public.

What manner I mean, will be quite clear to the reader, who must soon perceive great inexperience, immaturity, and every error denoting a feverish attempt, rather than a deed accomplished. The two first books, and indeed the two last, I feel sensible are not of such completion as to warrant their passing the press; nor should they if I thought a year's castigation would do them any good; -- it will not: the foundations are too sandy. It is just that this youngster should die away: a sad thought for me, if I had not some hope that while it is dwindling I may be plotting, and fitting myself for verses fit to live.

This may be speaking too presumptuously, and may deserve a punishment: but no feeling man will be forward to inflict it: he will leave me alone, with the conviction that there is not fiercer hell than the failure in a great object. This is not written with the least atom of purpose to forestall criticisms of course, but from the desire I have to conciliate men who are competent to look, and who do look witha zealous eye, to the honour of English literature.

The imagination of a boy is healthy, and the mature imagination of a man is healthy; but there is a space of life between, in which the soul is in a ferment, the character undecided, the way of life uncertain, the ambition thick-sighted: thence proceeds mawkishness, and all the thousand bitters which those men I speak of must necessarily taste in going over the following pages.

I hope I have not in too late a day touched the beautiful mythology of Greece and dulled its brightness: for I wish to try once more, before I bid it farewell.

TEIGNMOUTH,

April 10, 1818


BOOK I.

A thing of beauty is a joy for ever:
 Its loveliness increases; it will never
 Pass into nothingness; but still will keep
 A bower quiet for us, and a sleep
 Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing.
 Therefore, on every morrow, are we wreathing
 A flowery band to bind us to the earth,
 Spite of despondence, of the inhuman dearth
 Of noble natures, of the gloomy days,
 Of all the unhealthy and o'er-darkened ways
 Made for our searching: yes, in spite of all,
 Some shape of beauty moves away the pall
 From our dark spirits. Such the sun, the moon,
 Trees old, and young, sprouting a shady boon
 For simple sheep; and such are daffodils
 With the green world they live in; and clear rills
 That for themselves a cooling covert make
  'Gainst the hot season; the mid forest brake,
 Rich with a sprinkling of fair musk-rose blooms:
 And such too is the grandeur of the dooms
 We have imagined for the mighty dead;
 All lovely tales that we have heard or read:
 An endless fountain of immortal drink,
 Pouring unto us from the heaven's brink.

Nor do we merely feel these essences
 For one short hour; no, even as the trees
 That whisper round a temple become soon
 Dear as the temple's self, so does the moon,
 The passion poesy, glories infinite,
 Haunt us till they become a cheering light
 Unto our souls, and bound to us so fast,
 That, whether there be shine, or gloom o'ercast,
 They alway must be with us, or we die.

Therefore, 'tis with full happiness that I
 Will trace the story of Endymion.
 The very music of the name has gone
 Into my being, and each pleasant scene
 Is growing fresh before me as the green
 Of our own vallies: so I will begin
 Now while I cannot hear the city's din;
 Now while the early budders are just new,
 And run in mazes of the youngest hue
 About old forests; while the willow trails
 Its delicate amber; and the dairy pails
 Bring home increase of milk. And, as the year
 Grows lush in juicy stalks, I'll smoothly steer
 My little boat, for many quiet hours,
 With streams that deepen freshly into bowers.
 Many and many a verse I hope to write,
 Before the daisies, vermeil rimm'd and white,
 Hide in deep herbage; and ere yet the bees
 Hum about globes of clover and sweet peas,
 I must be near the middle of my story.
 O may no wintry season, bare and hoary,
 See it half finish'd: but let Autumn bold,
 With universal tinge of sober gold,
 Be all about me when I make an end.
 And now at once, adventuresome, I send
 My herald thought into a wilderness:
 There let its trumpet blow, and quickly dress
 My uncertain path with green, that I may speed
 Easily onward, thorough flowers and weed.

Upon the sides of Latmos was outspread
 A mighty forest; for the moist earth fed
 So plenteously all weed-hidden roots
 Into o'er-hanging boughs, and precious fruits.
 And it had gloomy shades, sequestered deep,
 Where no man went; and if from shepherd's keep
 A lamb stray'd far a-down those inmost glens,
 Never again saw he the happy pens
 Whither his brethren, bleating with content,
 Over the hills at every nightfall went.
 Among the shepherds, 'twas believed ever,
 That not one fleecy lamb which thus did sever
 From the white flock, but pass'd unworried
 By angry wolf, or pard with prying head,
 Until it came to some unfooted plains
 Where fed the herds of Pan: aye great his gains
 Who thus one lamb did lose. Paths there were many,
 Winding through palmy fern, and rushes fenny,
 And ivy banks; all leading pleasantly
 To a wide lawn, whence one could only see
 Stems thronging all around between the swell
 Of turf and slanting branches: who could tell
 The freshness of the space of heaven above,
 Edg'd round with dark tree tops? through which a dove
 Would often beat its wings, and often too
 A little cloud would move across the blue.

Full in the middle of this pleasantness
 There stood a marble altar, with a tress
 Of flowers budded newly; and the dew
 Had taken fairy phantasies to strew
 Daisies upon the sacred sward last eve,
 And so the dawned light in pomp receive.
 For 'twas the morn: Apollo's upward fire
 Made every eastern cloud a silvery pyre
 Of brightness so unsullied, that therein
 A melancholy spirit well might win
 Oblivion, and melt out his essence fine
 Into the winds: rain-scented eglantine
 Gave temperate sweets to that well-wooing sun;
 The lark was lost in him; cold springs had run
 To warm their chilliest bubbles in the grass;
 Man's voice was on the mountains; and the mass
 Of nature's lives and wonders puls'd tenfold,
 To feel this sun-rise and its glories old.

Now while the silent workings of the dawn
 Were busiest, into that self-same lawn
 All suddenly, with joyful cries, there sped
 A troop of little children garlanded;
 Who gathering round the altar, seem'd to pry
 Earnestly round as wishing to espy
 Some folk of holiday: nor had they waited
 For many moments, ere their ears were sated
 With a faint breath of music, which ev'n then
 Fill'd out its voice, and died away again.
 Within a little space again it gave
 Its airy swellings, with a gentle wave,
 To light-hung leaves, in smoothest echoes breaking
 Through copse-clad vallies, -- ere their death, o'ertaking
 The surgy murmurs of the lonely sea.

And now, as deep into the wood as we
 Might mark a lynx's eye, there glimmered light
 Fair faces and a rush of garments white,
 Plainer and plainer showing, till at last
 Into the widest alley they all past,
 Making directly for the woodland altar.
 O kindly muse! let not my weak tongue faulter
 In telling of this goodly company,
 Of their old piety, and of their glee:
 But let a portion of ethereal dew
 Fall on my head, and presently unmew
 My soul; that I may dare, in wayfaring,
 To stammer where old Chaucer us'd to sing.

Leading the way, young damsels danced along,
 Bearing the burden of a shepherd song;
 Each having a white wicker over brimm'd
 With April's tender younglings: next, well trimm'd,
 A crowd of shepherds with as sunburnt looks
 As may be read of in Arcadian books;
 Such as sat listening round Apollo's pipe,
 When the great deity, for earth too ripe,
 Let his divinity o'erflowing die
 In music, through the vales of Thessaly:
 Some idly trail'd their sheep-hooks on the ground,
 And some kept up a shrilly mellow sound
 With ebon-tipped flutes: close after these,
 Now coming from beneath the forest trees,
 A venerable priest full soberly,
 Begirt with ministring looks: alway his eye
 Stedfast upon the matted turf he kept,
 And after him his sacred vestments swept.
 From his right hand there swung a vase, milk-white,
 Of mingled wine, out-sparkling generous light;
 And in his left he held a basket full
 Of all sweet herbs that searching eye could cull:
 Wild thyme, and valley-lillies whiter still
 Than Leda's love, and cresses from the rill.
 His aged head, crowned with beechen wreath,
 Seem'd like a poll of ivy in the teeth
 Of winter hoar. Then came another crowd
 Of shepherds, lifting in due time aloud
 Their share of the ditty. After them appear'd,
 Up-followed by a multitude that rear'd
 Their voices to the clouds, a fair wrought car,
 Easily rolling so as scarce to mar
 The freedom of three steeds of dapple brown:
 Who stood therein did seem of great renown
 Among the throng. His youth was fully blown,
 Showing like Ganymede to manhood grown;
 And, for those simple times, his garments were
 A chieftain king's: beneath his breast, half bare,
 Was hung a silver bugle, and between
 His nervy knees there lay a boar-spear keen.
 A smile was on his countenance; he seem'd,
 To common lookers on, like one who dream'd
 Of idleness in groves Elysian:
 But there were some who feelingly could scan
 A lurking trouble in his nether lip,
 And see that oftentimes the reins would slip
 Through his forgotten hands: then would they sigh,
 And think of yellow leaves, of owlets' cry,
 Of logs piled solemnly. -- Ah, well-a-day,
 Why should our young Endymion pine away!

Soon the assembly, in a circle rang'd,
 Stood silent round the shrine: each look was chang'd
 To sudden veneration: women meek
 Beckon'd their sons to silence; while each cheek
 Of virgin bloom paled gently for slight fear.
 Endymion too, without a forest peer,
 Stood, wan, and pale, and with an awed face,
 Among his brothers of the mountain chace.
 In midst of all, the venerable priest
 Eyed them with joy from greatest to the least,
 And, after lifting up his aged hands,
 Thus spake he: "Men of Latmos! shepherd bands!
 Whose care it is to guard a thousand flocks:
 Whether descended from beneath the rocks
 That overtop your mountains; whether come
 From vallies where the pipe is never dumb;
 Or from your swelling downs, where sweet air stirs
 Blue hare-bells lightly, and where prickly furze
 Buds lavish gold; or ye, whose precious charge
 Nibble their fill at ocean's very marge,
 Whose mellow reeds are touch'd with sounds forlorn
 By the dim echoes of old Triton's horn:
 Mothers and wives! who day by day prepare
 The scrip, with needments, for the mountain air;
 And all ye gentle girls who foster up
 Udderless lambs, and in a little cup
 Will put choice honey for a favoured youth:
 Yea, every one attend! for in good truth
 Our vows are wanting to our great god Pan.
 Are not our lowing heifers sleeker than
 Night-swollen mushrooms? Are not our wide plains
 Speckled with countless fleeces? Have not rains
 Green'd over April's lap? No howling sad
 Sickens our fearful ewes; and we have had
 Great bounty from Endymion our lord.
 The earth is glad: the merry lark has pour'd
 His early song against yon breezy sky,
 That spreads so clear o'er our solemnity."�

Thus ending, on the shrine he heap'd a spire
 Of teeming sweets, enkindling sacred fire;
 Anon he stain'd the thick and spongy sod
 With wine, in honour of the shepherd-god.
 Now while the earth was drinking it, and while
 Bay leaves were crackling in the fragrant pile,
 And gummy frankincense was sparkling bright
  'Neath smothering parsley, and a hazy light
 Spread greyly eastward, thus a chorus sang:

"O thou, whose mighty palace roof doth hang
 From jagged trunks, and overshadoweth
 Eternal whispers, glooms, the birth, life, death
 Of unseen flowers in heavy peacefulness;
 Who lov'st to see the hamadryads dress
 Their ruffled locks where meeting hazels darken;
 And through whole solemn hours dost sit, and hearken
 The dreary melody of bedded reeds --
 In desolate places, where dank moisture breeds
 The pipy hemlock to strange overgrowth;
 Bethinking thee, how melancholy loth
 Thou wast to lose fair Syrinx -- do thou now,
 By thy love's milky brow!
 By all the trembling mazes that she ran,
 Hear us, great Pan!

"O thou, for whose soul-soothing quiet, turtles
 Passion their voices cooingly 'mong myrtles,
 What time thou wanderest at eventide
 Through sunny meadows, that outskirt the side
 Of thine enmossed realms: O thou, to whom
 Broad leaved fig trees even now foredoom
 Their ripen'd fruitage; yellow girted bees
 Their golden honeycombs; our village leas
 Their fairest blossom'd beans and poppied corn;
 The chuckling linnet its five young unborn,
 To sing for thee; low creeping strawberries
 Their summer coolness; pent up butterflies
 Their freckled wings; yea, the fresh budding year
 All its completions -- be quickly near,
 By every wind that nods the mountain pine,
 O forester divine!

"Thou, to whom every faun and satyr flies
 For willing service; whether to surprise
 The squatted hare while in half sleeping fit;
 Or upward ragged precipices flit
 To save poor lambkins from the eagle's maw;
 Or by mysterious enticement draw
 Bewildered shepherds to their path again;
 Or to tread breathless round the frothy main,
 And gather up all fancifullest shells
 For thee to tumble into Naiads' cells,
 And, being hidden, laugh at their out-peeping;
 Or to delight thee with fantastic leaping,
 The while they pelt each other on the crown
 With silvery oak apples, and fir cones brown --
 By all the echoes that about thee ring,
 Hear us, O satyr king!

"O Hearkener to the loud clapping shears
 While ever and anon to his shorn peers
 A ram goes bleating: Winder of the horn,
 When snouted wild-boars routing tender corn
 Anger our huntsmen: Breather round our farms,
 To keep off mildews, and all weather harms:
 Strange ministrant of undescribed sounds,
 That come a swooning over hollow grounds,
 And wither drearily on barren moors:
 Dread opener of the mysterious doors
 Leading to universal knowledge -- see,
 Great son of Dryope,
 The many that are come to pay their vows
 With leaves about their brows!

"Be still the unimaginable lodge
 For solitary thinkings; such as dodge
 Conception to the very bourne of heaven,
 Then leave the naked brain: be still the leaven,
 That spreading in this dull and clodded earth
 Gives it a touch ethereal -- a new birth:
 Be still a symbol of immensity;
 A firmament reflected in a sea;
 An element filling the space between;
 An unknown -- but no more: we humbly screen
 With uplift hands our foreheads, lowly bending,
 And giving out a shout most heaven rending,
 Conjure thee to receive our humble Paean,
 Upon thy Mount Lycean!"�

Even while they brought the burden to a close,
 A shout from the whole multitude arose,
 That lingered in the air like dying rolls
 Of abrupt thunder, when Ionian shoals
 Of dolphins bob their noses through the brine.
 Meantime, on shady levels, mossy fine,
 Young companies nimbly began dancing
 To the swift treble pipe, and humming string.
 Aye, those fair living forms swam heavenly
 To tunes forgotten -- out of memory:
 Fair creatures! whose young children's children bred
 Thermopylae its heroes -- not yet dead,
 But in old marbles ever beautiful.
 High genitors, unconscious did they cull
 Time's sweet first-fruits -- they danc'd to weariness,
 And then in quiet circles did they press
 The hillock turf, and caught the latter end
 Of some strange history, potent to send
 A young mind from its bodily tenement.
 Or they might watch the quoit-pitchers, intent
 On either side; pitying the sad death
 Of Hyacinthus, when the cruel breath
 Of Zephyr slew him, -- Zephyr penitent,
 Who now, ere Phoebus mounts the firmament,
 Fondles the flower amid the sobbing rain.
 The archers too, upon a wider plain,
 Beside the feathery whizzing of the shaft,
 And the dull twanging bowstring, and the raft
 Branch down sweeping from a tall ash top,
 Call'd up a thousand thoughts to envelope
 Those who would watch. Perhaps, the trembling knee
 And frantic gape of lonely Niobe,
 Poor, lonely Niobe! when her lovely young
 Were dead and gone, and her caressing tongue
 Lay a lost thing upon her paly lip,
 And very, very deadliness did nip
 Her motherly cheeks. Arous'd from this sad mood
 By one, who at a distance loud halloo'd,
 Uplifting his strong bow into the air,
 Many might after brighter visions stare:
 After the Argonauts, in blind amaze
 Tossing about on Neptune's restless ways,
 Until, from the horizon's vaulted side,
 There shot a golden splendour far and wide,
 Spangling those million poutings of the brine
 With quivering ore: 'twas even an awful shine
 From the exaltation of Apollo's bow;
 A heavenly beacon in their dreary woe.
 Who thus were ripe for high contemplating,
 Might turn their steps towards the sober ring
 Where sat Endymion and the aged priest
  'Mong shepherds gone in eld, whose looks increas'd
 The silvery setting of their mortal star.
 There they discours'd upon the fragile bar
 That keeps us from our homes ethereal;
 And what our duties there: to nightly call
 Vesper, the beauty-crest of summer weather;
 To summon all the downiest clouds together
 For the sun's purple couch; to emulate
 In ministring the potent rule of fate
 With speed of fire-tail'd exhalations;
 To tint her pallid cheek with bloom, who cons
 Sweet poesy by moonlight: besides these,
 A world of other unguess'd offices.
 Anon they wander'd, by divine converse,
 Into Elysium; vieing to rehearse
 Each one his own anticipated bliss.
 One felt heart-certain that he could not miss
 His quick gone love, among fair blossom'd boughs,
 Where every zephyr-sigh pouts, and endows
 Her lips with music for the welcoming.
 Another wish'd, mid that eternal spring,
 To meet his rosy child, with feathery sails,
 Sweeping, eye-earnestly, through almond vales:
 Who, suddenly, should stoop through the smooth wind,
 And with the balmiest leaves his temples bind;
 And, ever after, through those regions be
 His messenger, his little Mercury.
 Some were athirst in soul to see again
 Their fellow huntsmen o'er the wide champaign
 In times long past; to sit with them, and talk
 Of all the chances in their earthly walk;
 Comparing, joyfully, their plenteous stores
 Of happiness, to when upon the moors,
 Benighted, close they huddled from the cold,
 And shar'd their famish'd scrips. Thus all out-told
 Their fond imaginations, -- saving him
 Whose eyelids curtain'd up their jewels dim,
 Endymion: yet hourly had he striven
 To hide the cankering venom, that had riven
 His fainting recollections. Now indeed
 His senses had swoon'd off: he did not heed
 The sudden silence, or the whispers low,
 Or the old eyes dissolving at his woe,
 Or anxious calls, or close of trembling palms,
 Or maiden's sigh, that grief itself embalms:
 But in the self-same fixed trance he kept,
 Like one who on the earth had never stept.
 Aye, even as dead still as a marble man,
 Frozen in that old tale Arabian.

Who whispers him so pantingly and close?
 Peona, his sweet sister: of all those,
 His friends, the dearest. Hushing signs she made,
 And breath'd a sister's sorrow to persuade
 A yielding up, a cradling on her care.
 Her eloquence did breathe away the curse:
 She led him, like some midnight spirit nurse
 Of happy changes in emphatic dreams,
 Along a path between two little streams, --
 Guarding his forehead, with her round elbow,
 From low-grown branches, and his footsteps slow
 From stumbling over stumps and hillocks small;
 Until they came to where these streamlets fall,
 With mingled bubblings and a gentle rush,
 Into a river, clear, brimful, and flush
 With crystal mocking of the trees and sky.
 A little shallop, floating there hard by,
 Pointed its beak over the fringed bank;
 And soon it lightly dipt, and rose, and sank,
 And dipt again, with the young couple's weight, --
 Peona guiding, through the water straight,
 Towards a bowery island opposite;
 Which gaining presently, she steered light
 Into a shady, fresh, and ripply cove,
 Where nested was an arbour, overwove
 By many a summer's silent fingering;
 To whose cool bosom she was used to bring
 Her playmates, with their needle broidery,
 And minstrel memories of times gone by.

So she was gently glad to see him laid
 Under her favourite bower's quiet shade,
 On her own couch, new made of flower leaves,
 Dried carefully on the cooler side of sheaves
 When last the sun his autumn tresses shook,
 And the tann'd harvesters rich armfuls took.
 Soon was he quieted to slumbrous rest:
 But, ere it crept upon him, he had prest
 Peona's busy hand against his lips,
 And still, a sleeping, held her finger-tips
 In tender pressure. And as a willow keeps
 A patient watch over the stream that creeps
 Windingly by it, so the quiet maid
 Held her in peace: so that a whispering blade
 Of grass, a wailful gnat, a bee bustling
 Down in the blue-bells, or a wren light rustling
 Among sere leaves and twigs, might all be heard.

O magic sleep! O comfortable bird,
 That broodest o'er the troubled sea of the mind
 Till it is hush'd and smooth! O unconfin'd
 Restraint! imprisoned liberty! great key
 To golden palaces, strange minstrelsy,
 Fountains grotesque, new trees, bespangled caves,
 Echoing grottos, full of tumbling waves
 And moonlight; aye, to all the mazy world
 Of silvery enchantment! -- who, upfurl'd
 Beneath thy drowsy wing a triple hour,
 But renovates and lives? -- Thus, in the bower,
 Endymion was calm'd to life again.
 Opening his eyelids with a healthier brain,
 He said: "I feel this thine endearing love
 All through my bosom: thou art as a dove
 Trembling its closed eyes and sleeked wings
 About me; and the pearliest dew not brings
 Such morning incense from the fields of May,
 As do those brighter drops that twinkling stray
 From those kind eyes, -- the very home and haunt
 Of sisterly affection. Can I want
 Aught else, aught nearer heaven, than such tears?
 Yet dry them up, in bidding hence all fears
 That, any longer, I will pass my days
 Alone and sad. No, I will once more raise
 My voice upon the mountain-heights; once more
 Make my horn parley from their foreheads hoar:
 Again my trooping hounds their tongues shall loll
 Around the breathed boar: again I'll poll
 The fair-grown yew tree, for a chosen bow:
 And, when the pleasant sun is setting low,
 Again I'll linger in a sloping mead
 To hear the speckled thrushes, and see feed
 Our idle sheep. So be thou cheered, sweet,
 And, if thy lute is here, softly intreat
 My soul to keep in its resolved course."�

Hereat Peona, in their silver source,
 Shut her pure sorrow drops with glad exclaim,
 And took a lute, from which there pulsing came
 A lively prelude, fashioning the way
 In which her voice should wander. 'Twas a lay
 More subtle cadenced, more forest wild
 Than Dryope's lone lulling of her child;
 And nothing since has floated in the air
 So mournful strange. Surely some influence rare
 Went, spiritual, through the damsel's hand;
 For still, with Delphic emphasis, she spann'd
 The quick invisible strings, even though she saw
 Endymion's spirit melt away and thaw
 Before the deep intoxication.
 But soon she came, with sudden burst, upon
 Her self-possession -- swung the lute aside,
 And earnestly said: "Brother, 'tis vain to hide
 That thou dost know of things mysterious,
 Immortal, starry; such alone could thus
 Weigh down thy nature. Hast thou sinn'd in aught
 Offensive to the heavenly power? Caught
 A Paphian dove upon a message sent?
 Thy deathful bow against some deer-herd bent
 Sacred to Dian? Haply, thou hast seen
 Her naked limbs among the alders green;
 And that, alas! is death. No, I can trace
 Something more high perplexing in thy face!"�

Endymion look'd at her, and press'd her hand,
 And said, "Art thou so pale, who wast so bland
 And merry in our meadows? How is this?
 Tell me thine ailment: tell me all amiss! --
 Ah! thou hast been unhappy at the change
 Wrought suddenly in me. What indeed more strange?
 Or more complete to overwhelm surmise?
 Ambition is so sluggard; 'tis no prize,
 That toiling years would put within my grasp,
 That I have sighed for: with so deadly gasp
 No man e'er panted for a mortal love.
 So all have set my heavier grief above
 These things which happen. Rightly have they done:
 I, who still saw the horizontal sun
 Heave his broad shoulder o'er the edge of the world,
 Out-facing Lucifer, and then had hurl'd
 My spear aloft, as signal for the chace --
 I, who, for very sport of heart, would race
 With my own steed from Araby; pluck down
 A vulture from his towery perching; frown
 A lion into growling, loth retire --
 To lose, at once, all my toil-breeding fire,
 And sink thus low! but I will ease my breast
 Of secret grief, here in this bowery nest.

"This river does not see the naked sky,
 Till it begins to progress silverly
 Around the western border of the wood,
 Whence, from a certain spot, its winding flood
 Seems at the distance like a crescent moon:
 And in that nook, the very pride of June,
 Had I been used to pass my weary eves;
 The rather for the sun unwilling leaves
 So dear a picture of his sovereign power,
 And I could witness his most kingly hour,
 When he doth tighten up the golden reins,
 And paces leisurely down amber plains
 His snorting four. Now when his chariot last
 Its beams against the zodiac-lion cast,
 There blossom'd suddenly a magic bed
 Of sacred ditamy, and poppies red:
 At which I wondered greatly, knowing well
 That but one night had wrought this flowery spell;
 And, sitting down close by, began to muse
 What it might mean. Perhaps, thought I, Morpheus,
 In passing here, his owlet pinions shook;
 Or, it may be, ere matron Night uptook
 Her ebon urn, young Mercury, by stealth,
 Had dipt his rod in it: such garland wealth
 Came not by common growth. Thus on I thought,
 Until my head was dizzy and distraught.
 Moreover, through the dancing poppies stole
 A breeze, most softly lulling to my soul;
 And shaping visions all about my sight
 Of colours, wings, and bursts of spangly light;
 The which became more strange, and strange, and dim,
 And then were gulph'd in a tumultuous swim:
 And then I fell asleep. Ah, can I tell
 The enchantment that afterwards befel?
 Yet it was but a dream: yet such a dream
 That never tongue, although it overteem
 With mellow utterance, like a cavern spring,
 Could figure out and to conception bring
 All I beheld and felt. Methought I lay
 Watching the zenith, where the milky way
 Among the stars in virgin splendour pours;
 And travelling my eye, until the doors
 Of heaven appear'd to open for my flight,
 I became loth and fearful to alight
 From such high soaring by a downward glance:
 So kept me stedfast in that airy trance,
 Spreading imaginary pinions wide.
 When, presently, the stars began to glide,
 And faint away, before my eager view:
 At which I sigh'd that I could not pursue,
 And dropt my vision to the horizon's verge;
 And lo! from opening clouds, I saw emerge
 The loveliest moon, that ever silver'd o'er
 A shell for Neptune's goblet: she did soar
 So passionately bright, my dazzled soul
 Commingling with her argent spheres did roll
 Through clear and cloudy, even when she went
 At last into a dark and vapoury tent --
 Whereat, methought, the lidless-eyed train
 Of planets all were in the blue again.
 To commune with those orbs, once more I rais'd
 My sight right upward: but it was quite dazed
 By a bright something, sailing down apace,
 Making me quickly veil my eyes and face:
 Again I look'd, and, O ye deities,
 Who from Olympus watch our destinies!
 Whence that completed form of all completeness?
 Whence came that high perfection of all sweetness?
 Speak, stubborn earth, and tell me where, O where
 Hast thou a symbol of her golden hair?
 Not oat-sheaves drooping in the western sun;
 Not -- thy soft hand, fair sister! let me shun
 Such follying before thee -- yet she had,
 Indeed, locks bright enough to make me mad;
 And they were simply gordian'd up and braided,
 Leaving, in naked comeliness, unshaded,
 Her pearl round ears, white neck, and orbed brow;
 The which were blended in, I know not how,
 With such a paradise of lips and eyes,
 Blush-tinted cheeks, half smiles, and faintest sighs,
 That, when I think thereon, my spirit clings
 And plays about its fancy, till the stings
 Of human neighbourhood envenom all.
 Unto what awful power shall I call?
 To what high fane? -- Ah! see her hovering feet,
 More bluely vein'd, more soft, more whitely sweet
 Than those of sea-born Venus, when she rose
 From out her cradle shell. The wind out-blows
 Her scarf into a fluttering pavillion;
  'Tis blue, and over-spangled with a million
 Of little eyes, as though thou wert to shed,
 Over the darkest, lushest blue-bell bed,
 Handfuls of daisies."� -- "Endymion, how strange!
 Dream within dream!"� -- "She took an airy range,
 And then, towards me, like a very maid,
 Came blushing, waning, willing, and afraid,
 And press'd me by the hand: Ah! 'twas too much;
 Methought I fainted at the charmed touch,
 Yet held my recollections, even as one
 Who dives three fathoms where the waters run
 Gurgling in beds of coral: for anon,
 I felt upmounted in that region
 Where falling stars dart their artillery forth,
 And eagles struggle with the buffeting north
 That balances the heavy meteor-stone; --
 Felt too, I was not fearful, nor alone,
 But lapp'd and lull'd along the dangerous sky.
 Soon, as it seem'd, we left our journeying high,
 And straightway into frightful eddies swoop'd;
 Such as aye muster where grey time has scoop'd
 Huge dens and caverns in a mountain's side;
 There hollow sounds arous'd me, and I sigh'd
 To faint once more by looking on my bliss --
 I was distracted; madly did I kiss
 The wooing arms which held me, and did give
 My eyes at once to death: but 'twas to live,
 To take in draughts of life from the gold fount
 Of kind and passionate looks; to count, and count
 The moments, by some greedy help that seem'd
 A second self, that each might be redeem'd
 And plunder'd of its load of blessedness.
 Ah, desperate mortal! I e'en dar'd to press
 Her very cheek against my crowned lip,
 And, at that moment, felt my body dip
 Into a warmer air: a moment more,
 Our feet were soft in flowers. There was store
 Of newest joys upon that alp. Sometimes
 A scent of violets, and blossoming limes,
 Loiter'd around us; then of honey cells,
 Made delicate from all white-flower bells;
 And once, above the edges of our nest,
 An arch face peep'd, -- an Oread as I guess'd.

"Why did I dream that sleep o'er-power'd me
 In midst of all this heaven? Why not see,
 Far off, the shadows of his pinions dark,
 And stare them from me? But no, like a spark
 That needs must die, although its little beam
 Reflects upon a diamond, my sweet dream
 Fell into nothing -- into stupid sleep.
 And so it was, until a gentle creep,
 A careful moving caught my waking ears,
 And up I started: Ah! my sighs, my tears,
 My clenched hands: -- for lo! the poppies hung
 Dew-dabbled on their stalks, the ouzel sung
 A heavy ditty, and the sullen day
 Had chidden herald Hesperus away,
 With leaden looks: the solitary breeze
 Bluster'd, and slept, and its wild self did teaze
 With wayward melancholy; and I thought,
 Mark me, Peona! that sometimes it brought
 Faint fare-thee-wells, and sigh-shrilled adieus! --
 Away I wander'd -- all the pleasant hues
 Of heaven and earth had faded: deepest shades
 Were deepest dungeons; heaths and sunny glades
 Were full of pestilent light; our taintless rills
 Seem'd sooty, and o'er-spread with upturn'd gills
 Of dying fish; the vermeil rose had blown
 In frightful scarlet, and its thorns out-grown
 Like spiked aloe. If an innocent bird
 Before my heedless footsteps stirr'd, and stirr'd
 In little journeys, I beheld in it
 A disguis'd demon, missioned to knit
 My soul with under darkness; to entice
 My stumblings down some monstrous precipice:
 Therefore I eager followed, and did curse
 The disappointment. Time, that aged nurse,
 Rock'd me to patience. Now, thank gentle heaven!
 These things, with all their comfortings, are given
 To my down-sunken hours, and with thee,
 Sweet sister, help to stem the ebbing sea
 Of weary life."�

Thus ended he, and both
 Sat silent: for the maid was very loth
 To answer; feeling well that breathed words
 Would all be lost, unheard, and vain as swords
 Against the enchased crocodile, or leaps
 Of grasshoppers against the sun. She weeps
 And wonders; struggles to devise some blame;
 To put on such a look as would say, Shame
 On this poor weakness! but, for all her strife,
 She could as soon have crush'd away the life
 From a sick dove. At length, to break the pause,
 She said with trembling chance: "Is this the cause?
 This all? Yet it is strange, and sad, alas!
 That one who through this middle earth should pass
 Most like a sojourning demi-god, and leave
 His name upon the harp-string, should achieve
 No higher bard than simple maidenhood,
 Singing alone, and fearfully, -- how the blood
 Left his young cheek; and how he used to stray
 He knew not where; and how he would say, nay,
 If any said 'twas love: and yet 'twas love;
 What could it be but love? How a ring-dove
 Let fall a sprig of yew tree in his path;
 And how he died: and then, that love doth scathe
 The gentle heart, as northern blasts do roses;
 And then the ballad of his sad life closes
 With sighs, and an alas! -- Endymion!
 Be rather in the trumpet's mouth, -- anon
 Among the winds at large -- that all may hearken!
 Although, before the crystal heavens darken,
 I watch and dote upon the silver lakes
 Pictur'd in western cloudiness, that takes
 The semblance of gold rocks and bright gold sands,
 Islands, and creeks, and amber-fretted strands
 With horses prancing o'er them, palaces
 And towers of amethyst, -- would I so teaze
 My pleasant days, because I could not mount
 Into those regions? The Morphean fount
 Of that fine element that visions, dreams,
 And fitful whims of sleep are made of, streams
 Into its airy channels with so subtle,
 So thin a breathing, not the spider's shuttle,
 Circled a million times within the space
 Of a swallow's nest-door, could delay a trace,
 A tinting of its quality: how light
 Must dreams themselves be; seeing they're more slight
 Than the mere nothing that engenders them!
 Then wherefore sully the entrusted gem
 Of high and noble life with thoughts so sick?
 Why pierce high-fronted honour to the quick
 For nothing but a dream?"� Hereat the youth
 Look'd up: a conflicting of shame and ruth
 Was in his plaited brow: yet, his eyelids
 Widened a little, as when Zephyr bids
 A little breeze to creep between the fans
 Of careless butterflies: amid his pains
 He seem'd to taste a drop of manna-dew,
 Full palatable; and a colour grew
 Upon his cheek, while thus he lifeful spake.

"Peona! ever have I long'd to slake
 My thirst for the world's praises: nothing base,
 No merely slumberous phantasm, could unlace
 The stubborn canvas for my voyage prepar'd --
 Though now 'tis tatter'd; leaving my bark bar'd
 And sullenly drifting: yet my higher hope
 Is of too wide, too rainbow-large a scope,
 To fret at myriads of earthly wrecks.
 Wherein lies happiness? In that which becks
 Our ready minds to fellowship divine,
 A fellowship with essence; till we shine,
 Full alchemiz'd, and free of space. Behold
 The clear religion of heaven! Fold
 A rose leaf round thy finger's taperness,
 And soothe thy lips: hist, when the airy stress
 Of music's kiss impregnates the free winds,
 And with a sympathetic touch unbinds
 AEolian magic from their lucid wombs:
 Then old songs waken from enclouded tombs;
 Old ditties sigh above their father's grave;
 Ghosts of melodious prophecyings rave
 Round every spot where trod Apollo's foot;
 Bronze clarions awake, and faintly bruit,
 Where long ago a giant battle was;
 And, from the turf, a lullaby doth pass
 In every place where infant Orpheus slept.
 Feel we these things? -- that moment have we stept
 Into a sort of oneness, and our state
 Is like a floating spirit's. But there are
 Richer entanglements, enthralments far
 More self-destroying, leading, by degrees,
 To the chief intensity: the crown of these
 Is made of love and friendship, and sits high
 Upon the forehead of humanity.
 All its more ponderous and bulky worth
 Is friendship, whence there ever issues forth
 A steady splendour; but at the tip-top,
 There hangs by unseen film, an orbed drop
 Of light, and that is love: its influence,
 Thrown in our eyes, genders a novel sense,
 At which we start and fret; till in the end,
 Melting into its radiance, we blend,
 Mingle, and so become a part of it, --
 Nor with aught else can our souls interknit
 So wingedly: when we combine therewith,
 Life's self is nourish'd by its proper pith,
 And we are nurtured like a pelican brood.
 Aye, so delicious is the unsating food,
 That men, who might have tower'd in the van
 Of all the congregated world, to fan
 And winnow from the coming step of time
 All chaff of custom, wipe away all slime
 Left by men-slugs and human serpentry,
 Have been content to let occasion die,
 Whilst they did sleep in love's elysium.
 And, truly, I would rather be struck dumb,
 Than speak against this ardent listlessness:
 For I have ever thought that it might bless
 The world with benefits unknowingly;
 As does the nightingale, upperched high,
 And cloister'd among cool and bunched leaves --
 She sings but to her love, nor e'er conceives
 How tiptoe Night holds back her dark-grey hood.
 Just so may love, although 'tis understood
 The mere commingling of passionate breath,
 Produce more than our searching witnesseth:
 What I know not: but who, of men, can tell
 That flowers would bloom, or that green fruit would swell
 To melting pulp, that fish would have bright mail,
 The earth its dower of river, wood, and vale,
 The meadows runnels, runnels pebble-stones,
 The seed its harvest, or the lute its tones,
 Tones ravishment, or ravishment its sweet,
 If human souls did never kiss and greet?

"Now, if this earthly love has power to make
 Men's being mortal, immortal; to shake
 Ambition from their memories, and brim
 Their measure of content: what merest whim,
 Seems all this poor endeavour after fame,
 To one, who keeps within his stedfast aim
 A love immortal, an immortal too.
 Look not so wilder'd; for these things are true,
 And never can be born of atomies
 That buzz about our slumbers, like brain-flies,
 Leaving us fancy-sick. No, no, I'm sure,
 My restless spirit never could endure
 To brood so long upon one luxury,
 Unless it did, though fearfully, espy
 A hope beyond the shadow of a dream.
 My sayings will the less obscured seem,
 When I have told thee how my waking sight
 Has made me scruple whether that same night
 Was pass'd in dreaming. Hearken, sweet Peona!
 Beyond the matron-temple of Latona,
 Which we should see but for these darkening boughs,
 Lies a deep hollow, from whose ragged brows
 Bushes and trees do lean all round athwart
 And meet so nearly, that with wings outraught,
 And spreaded tail, a vulture could not glide
 Past them, but he must brush on every side.
 Some moulder'd steps lead into this cool cell,
 Far as the slabbed margin of a well,
 Whose patient level peeps its crystal eye
 Right upward, through the bushes, to the sky.
 Oft have I brought thee flowers, on their stalks set
 Like vestal primroses, but dark velvet
 Edges them round, and they have golden pits:
  'Twas there I got them, from the gaps and slits
 In a mossy stone, that sometimes was my seat,
 When all above was faint with mid-day heat.
 And there in strife no burning thoughts to heed,
 I'd bubble up the water through a reed;
 So reaching back to boy-hood: make me ships
 Of moulted feathers, touchwood, alder chips,
 With leaves stuck in them; and the Neptune be
 Of their petty ocean. Oftener, heavily,
 When love-lorn hours had left me less a child,
 I sat contemplating the figures wild
 Of o'er-head clouds melting the mirror through.
 Upon a day, while thus I watch'd, by flew
 A cloudy Cupid, with his bow and quiver;
 So plainly character'd, no breeze would shiver
 The happy chance: so happy, I was fain
 To follow it upon the open plain,
 And, therefore, was just going; when, behold!
 A wonder, fair as any I have told --
 The same bright face I tasted in my sleep,
 Smiling in the clear well. My heart did leap
 Through the cool depth. -- It moved as if to flee --
 I started up, when lo! refreshfully
 There came upon my face in plenteous showers
 Dew-drops, and dewy buds, and leaves, and flowers,
 Wrapping all objects from my smothered sight,
 Bathing my spirit in a new delight.
 Aye, such a breathless honey-feel of bliss
 Alone preserved me from the drear abyss
 Of death, for the fair form had gone again.
 Pleasure is oft a visitant; but pain
 Clings cruelly to us, like the gnawing sloth
 On the deer's tender haunches: late, and loth,
  'Tis scar'd away by slow returning pleasure.
 How sickening, how dark the dreadful leisure
 Of weary days, made deeper exquisite,
 By a fore-knowledge of unslumbrous night!
 Like sorrow came upon me, heavier still,
 Than when I wander'd from the poppy hill:
 And a whole age of lingering moments crept
 Sluggishly by, ere more contentment swept
 Away at once the deadly yellow spleen.
 Yes, thrice have I this fair enchantment seen;
 Once more been tortured with renewed life.
 When last the wintry gusts gave over strife
 With the conquering sun of spring, and left the skies
 Warm and serene, but yet with moistened eyes
 In pity of the shatter'd infant buds, --
 That time thou didst adorn, with amber studs,
 My hunting cap, because I laugh'd and smil'd,
 Chatted with thee, and many days exil'd
 All torment from my breast; -- 'twas even then,
 Straying about, yet, coop'd up in the den
 Of helpless discontent, -- hurling my lance
 From place to place, and following at chance,
 At last, by hap, through some young trees it struck,
 And, plashing among bedded pebbles, stuck
 In the middle of a brook, -- whose silver ramble
 Down twenty little falls, through reeds and bramble,
 Tracing along, it brought me to a cave,
 Whence it ran brightly forth, and white did lave
 The nether sides of mossy stones and rock, --
  'Mong which it gurgled blythe adieus, to mock
 Its own sweet grief at parting. Overhead,
 Hung a lush screen of drooping weeds, and spread
 Thick, as to curtain up some wood-nymph's home.
  'Ah! impious mortal, whither do I roam?'
 Said I, low voic'd: 'Ah, whither! 'Tis the grot
  'Of Proserpine, when Hell, obscure and hot,
  'Doth her resign; and where her tender hands
  'She dabbles, on the cool and sluicy sands:
  'Or 'tis the cell of Echo, where she sits,
  'And babbles thorough silence, till her wits
  'Are gone in tender madness, and anon,
  'Faints into sleep, with many a dying tone
  'Of sadness. O that she would take my vows,
  'And breathe them sighingly among the boughs,
  'To sue her gentle ears for whose fair head,
  'Daily, I pluck sweet flowerets from their bed,
  'And weave them dyingly -- send honey-whispers
  'Round every leaf, that all those gentle lispers
  'May sigh my love unto her pitying!
  'O charitable Echo! hear, and sing
  'This ditty to her! -- tell her' -- so I stay'd
 My foolish tongue, and listening, half afraid,
 Stood stupefied with my own empty folly,
 And blushing for the freaks of melancholy.
 Salt tears were coming, when I heard my name
 Most fondly lipp'd, and then these accents came:
  'Endymion! the cave is secreter
  'Than the Isle of Delos. Echo hence shall stir
  'No sighs but sigh-warm kisses, or light noise
  'Of thy combing hand, the while it travelling cloys
  'And trembles through my labyrinthine hair.'
 At that oppress'd I hurried in. -- Ah! where
 Are those swift moments? Whither are they fled?
 I'll smile no more, Peona; nor will wed
 Sorrow the way to death; but patiently
 Bear up against it: so farewell, sad sigh;
 And come instead demurest meditation,
 To occupy me wholly, and to fashion
 My pilgrimage for the world's dusky brink.
 No more will I count over, link by link,
 My chain of grief: no longer strive to find
 A half-forgetfulness in mountain wind
 Blustering about my ears: aye, thou shalt see,
 Dearest of sisters, what my life shall be;
 What a calm round of hours shall make my days.
 There is a paly flame of hope that plays
 Where'er I look: but yet, I'll say 'tis naught --
 And here I bid it die. Have not I caught,
 Already, a more healthy countenance?
 By this the sun is setting; we may chance
 Meet some of our near-dwellers with my car."�

This said, he rose, faint-smiling like a star
 Through autumn mists, and took Peona's hand:
 They stept into the boat, and launch'd from land.


BOOK II.


O sovereign power of love! O grief! O balm!
 All records, saving thine, come cool, and calm,
 And shadowy, through the mist of passed years:
 For others, good or bad, hatred and tears
 Have become indolent; but touching thine,
 One sigh doth echo, one poor sob doth pine,
 One kiss brings honey-dew from buried days.
 The woes of Troy, towers smothering o'er their blaze,
 Stiff-holden shields, far-piercing spears, keen blades,
 Struggling, and blood, and shrieks -- all dimly fades
 Into some backward corner of the brain:
 Yet, in our very souls, we feel amain
 The close of Troilus and Cressid sweet.
 Hence, pageant history! hence, gilded cheat!
 Swart planet in the universe of deeds!
 Wide sea, that one continuous murmur breeds
 Along the pebbled shore of memory!
 Many old rotten-timber'd boats there be
 Upon thy vaporous bosom, magnified
 To goodly vessels; many a sail of pride,
 And golden keel'd, is left unlaunch'd and dry.
 But wherefore this? What care, though owl did fly
 About the great Athenian admiral's mast?
 What care, though striding Alexander past
 The Indus with his Macedonian numbers?
 Though old Ulysses tortured from his slumbers
 The glutted Cyclops, what care? -- Juliet leaning
 Amid her window-flowers, -- sighing, -- weaning
 Tenderly her fancy from its maiden snow,
 Doth more avail than these: the silver flow
 Of Hero's tears, the swoon of Imogen,
 Fair Pastorella in the bandit's den,
 Are things to brood on with more ardency
 Than the death-day of empires. Fearfully
 Must such conviction come upon his head,
 Who, thus far, discontent, has dared to tread,
 Without one muse's smile, or kind behest,
 The path of love and poesy. But rest,
 In chaffing restlessness, is yet more drear
 Than to be crush'd, in striving to uprear
 Love's standard on the battlements of song.
 So once more days and nights aid me along,
 Like legion'd soldiers.

Brain-sick shepherd prince,
 What promise hast thou faithful guarded since
 The day of sacrifice? Or, have new sorrows
 Come with the constant dawn upon thy morrows?
 Alas! 'tis his old grief. For many days,
 Has he been wandering in uncertain ways:
 Through wilderness, and woods of mossed oaks;
 Counting his woe-worn minutes, by the strokes
 Of the lone woodcutter; and listening still,
 Hour after hour, to each lush-leav'd rill.
 Now he is sitting by a shady spring,
 And elbow-deep with feverous fingering
 Stems the upbursting cold: a wild rose tree
 Pavillions him in bloom, and he doth see
 A bud which snares his fancy: lo! but now
 He plucks it, dips its stalk in the water: how!
 It swells, it buds, it flowers beneath his sight;
 And, in the middle, there is softly pight
 A golden butterfly; upon whose wings
 There must be surely character'd strange things,
 For with wide eye he wonders, and smiles oft.

Lightly this little herald flew aloft,
 Follow'd by glad Endymion's clasped hands:
 Onward it flies. From languor's sullen bands
 His limbs are loos'd, and eager, on he hies
 Dazzled to trace it in the sunny skies.
 It seem'd he flew, the way so easy was;
 And like a new-born spirit did he pass
 Through the green evening quiet in the sun,
 O'er many a heath, through many a woodland dun,
 Through buried paths, where sleepy twilight dreams
 The summer time away. One track unseams
 A wooded cleft, and, far away, the blue
 Of ocean fades upon him; then, anew,
 He sinks adown a solitary glen,
 Where there was never sound of mortal men,
 Saving, perhaps, some snow-light cadences
 Melting to silence, when upon the breeze
 Some holy bark let forth an anthem sweet,
 To cheer itself to Delphi. Still his feet
 Went swift beneath the merry-winged guide,
 Until it reach'd a splashing fountain's side
 That, near a cavern's mouth, for ever pour'd
 Unto the temperate air: then high it soar'd,
 And, downward, suddenly began to dip,
 As if, athirst with so much toil, 'twould sip
 The crystal spout-head: so it did, with touch
 Most delicate, as though afraid to smutch
 Even with mealy gold the waters clear.
 But, at that very touch, to disappear
 So fairy-quick, was strange! Bewildered,
 Endymion sought around, and shook each bed
 Of covert flowers in vain; and then he flung
 Himself along the grass. What gentle tongue,
 What whisperer disturb'd his gloomy rest?
 It was a nymph uprisen to the breast
 In the fountain's pebbly margin, and she stood
  'Mong lillies, like the youngest of the brood.
 To him her dripping hand she softly kist,
 And anxiously began to plait and twist
 Her ringlets round her fingers, saying: "Youth!
 Too long, alas, hast thou starv'd on the ruth,
 The bitterness of love: too long indeed,
 Seeing thou art so gentle. Could I weed
 Thy soul of care, by heavens, I would offer
 All the bright riches of my crystal coffer
 To Amphitrite; all my clear-eyed fish,
 Golden, or rainbow-sided, or purplish,
 Vermilion-tail'd, or finn'd with silvery gauze;
 Yea, or my veined pebble-floor, that draws
 A virgin light to the deep; my grotto-sands
 Tawny and gold, ooz'd slowly from far lands
 By my diligent springs; my level lillies, shells,
 My charming rod, my potent river spells;
 Yes, every thing, even to the pearly cup
 Meander gave me, -- for I bubbled up
 To fainting creatures in a desert wild.
 But woe is me, I am but as a child
 To gladden thee; and all I dare to say,
 Is, that I pity thee; that on this day
 I've been thy guide; that thou must wander far
 In other regions, past the scanty bar
 To mortal steps, before thou canst be ta'en
 From every wasting sigh, from every pain,
 Into the gentle bosom of thy love.
 Why it is thus, one knows in heaven above:
 But, a poor Naiad, I guess not. Farewell!
 I have a ditty for my hollow cell."�

Hereat, she vanished from Endymion's gaze,
 Who brooded o'er the water in amaze:
 The dashing fount pour'd on, and where its pool
 Lay, half asleep, in grass and rushes cool,
 Quick waterflies and gnats were sporting still,
 And fish were dimpling, as if good nor ill
 Had fallen out that hour. The wanderer,
 Holding his forehead, to keep off the bur
 Of smothering fancies, patiently sat down;
 And, while beneath the evening's sleepy frown
 Glow-worms began to trim their starry lamps,
 Thus breath'd he to himself: "Whoso encamps
 To take a fancied city of delight,
 O what a wretch is he! and when 'tis his,
 After long toil and travelling, to miss
 The kernel of his hopes, how more than vile:
 Yet, for him there's refreshment even in toil;
 Another city doth he set about,
 Free from the smallest pebble-head of doubt
 That he will seize on trickling honey-combs;
 Alas, he finds them dry; and then he foams,
 And onward to another city speeds.
 But this is human life: the war, the deeds,
 The disappointment, the anxiety,
 Imagination's struggles, far and nigh,
 All human; bearing in themselves this good,
 That they are still the air, the subtle food,
 To make us feel existence, and to show
 How quiet death is. Where soil is men grow,
 Whether to weeds or flowers; but for me,
 There is no depth to strike in: I can see
 Naught earthly worth my compassing; so stand
 Upon a misty, jutting head of land --
 Alone? No, no; and by the Orphean lute,
 When mad Eurydice is listening to't;
 I'd rather stand upon this misty peak,
 With not a thing to sigh for, or to seek,
 But the soft shadow of my thrice-seen love,
 Than be -- I care not what. O meekest dove
 Of heaven! O Cynthia, ten-times bright and fair!
 From thy blue throne, now filling all the air,
 Glance but one little beam of temper'd light
 Into my bosom, that the dreadful might
 And tyranny of love be somewhat scar'd!
 Yet do not so, sweet queen; one torment spar'd,
 Would give a pang to jealous misery,
 Worse than the torment's self: but rather tie
 Large wings upon my shoulders, and point out
 My love's far dwelling. Though the playful rout
 Of Cupids shun thee, too divine art thou,
 Too keen in beauty, for thy silver prow
 Not to have dipp'd in love's most gentle stream.
 O be propitious, nor severely deem
 My madness impious; for, by all the stars
 That tend thy bidding, I do think the bars
 That kept my spirit in are burst -- that I
 Am sailing with thee through the dizzy sky!
 How beautiful thou art! The world how deep!
 How tremulous-dazzlingly the wheels sweep
 Around their axle! Then these gleaming reins,
 How lithe! When this thy chariot attains
 Its airy goal, haply some bower veils
 Those twilight eyes? Those eyes! -- my spirit fails --
 Dear goddess, help! or the wide-gaping air
 Will gulph me -- help!"� -- At this with madden'd stare,
 And lifted hands, and trembling lips he stood;
 Like old Deucalion mountain'd o'er the flood,
 Or blind Orion hungry for the morn.
 And, but from the deep cavern there was borne
 A voice, he had been froze to senseless stone;
 Nor sigh of his, nor plaint, nor passion'd moan
 Had more been heard. Thus swell'd it forth: "Descend,
 Young mountaineer! descend where alleys bend
 Into the sparry hollows of the world!
 Oft hast thou seen bolts of the thunder hurl'd
 As from thy threshold; day by day hast been
 A little lower than the chilly sheen
 Of icy pinnacles, and dipp'dst thine arms
 Into the deadening ether that still charms
 Their marble being: now, as deep profound
 As those are high, descend! He ne'er is crown'd
 With immortality, who fears to follow
 Where airy voices lead: so through the hollow,
 The silent mysteries of earth, descend!"�

He heard but the last words, nor could contend
 One moment in reflection: for he fled
 Into the fearful deep, to hide his head
 From the clear moon, the trees, and coming madness.

'Twas far too strange, and wonderful for sadness;
 Sharpening, by degrees, his appetite
 To dive into the deepest. Dark, nor light,
 The region; nor bright, nor sombre wholly,
 But mingled up; a gleaming melancholy;
 A dusky empire and its diadems;
 One faint eternal eventide of gems.
 Aye, millions sparkled on a vein of gold,
 Along whose track the prince quick footsteps told,
 With all its lines abrupt and angular:
 Out-shooting sometimes, like a meteor-star,
 Through a vast antre; then the metal woof,
 Like Vulcan's rainbow, with some monstrous roof
 Curves hugely: now, far in the deep abyss,
 It seems an angry lightning, and doth hiss
 Fancy into belief: anon it leads
 Through winding passages, where sameness breeds
 Vexing conceptions of some sudden change;
 Whether to silver grots, or giant range
 Of sapphire columns, or fantastic bridge
 Athwart a flood of crystal. On a ridge
 Now fareth he, that o'er the vast beneath
 Towers like an ocean-cliff, and whence he seeth
 A hundred waterfalls, whose voices come
 But as the murmuring surge. Chilly and numb
 His bosom grew, when first he, far away
 Descried an orbed diamond, set to fray
 Old darkness from his throne: 'twas like the sun
 Uprisen o'er chaos: and with such a stun
 Came the amazement, that, absorb'd in it,
 He saw not fiercer wonders -- past the wit
 Of any spirit to tell, but one of those
 Who, when this planet's sphering time doth close,
 Will be its high remembrancers: who they?
 The mighty ones who have made eternal day
 For Greece and England. While astonishment
 With deep-drawn sighs was quieting, he went
 Into a marble gallery, passing through
 A mimic temple, so complete and true
 In sacred custom, that he well nigh fear'd
 To search it inwards; whence far off appear'd,
 Through a long pillar'd vista, a fair shrine,
 And just beyond, on light tiptoe divine,
 A quiver'd Dian. Stepping awfully,
 The youth approach'd; oft turning his veil'd eye
 Down sidelong aisles, and into niches old.
 And when, more near against the marble cold
 He had touch'd his forehead, he began to thread
 All courts and passages, where silence dead
 Rous'd by his whispering footsteps murmured faint:
 And long he travers'd to and fro, to acquaint
 Himself with every mystery, and awe;
 Till, weary, he sat down before the maw
 Of a wide outlet, fathomless and dim,
 To wild uncertainty and shadows grim.
 There, when new wonders ceas'd to float before,
 And thoughts of self came on, how crude and sore
 The journey homeward to habitual self
 A mad-pursuing of the fog-born elf,
 Whose flitting lantern, through rude nettle-briar,
 Cheats us into a swamp, into a fire,
 Into the bosom of a hated thing.

What misery most drowningly doth sing
 In lone Endymion's ear, now he has raught
 The goal of consciousness? Ah, 'tis the thought,
 The deadly feel of solitude: for lo!
 He cannot see the heavens, nor the flow
 Of rivers, nor hill-flowers running wild
 In pink and purple chequer, nor, up-pil'd,
 The cloudy rack slow journeying in the west,
 Like herded elephants; nor felt, nor prest
 Cool grass, nor tasted the fresh slumberous air;
 But far from such companionship to wear
 An unknown time, surcharg'd with grief, away,
 Was now his lot. And must he patient stay,
 Tracing fantastic figures with his spear?
  "No!"� exclaim'd he, "why should I tarry here?"�
 No! loudly echoed times innumerable.
 At which he straightway started, and 'gan tell
 His paces back into the temple's chief;
 Warming and glowing strong in the belief
 Of help from Dian: so that when again
 He caught her airy form, thus did he plain,
 Moving more near the while: "O Haunter chaste
 Of river sides, and woods, and heathy waste,
 Where with thy silver bow and arrows keen
 Art thou now forested? O woodland Queen,
 What smoothest air thy smoother forehead woos?
 Where dost thou listen to the wide halloos
 Of thy disparted nymphs? Through what dark tree
 Glimmers thy crescent? Wheresoe'er it be,
  'Tis in the breath of heaven: thou dost taste
 Freedom as none can taste it, nor dost waste
 Thy loveliness in dismal elements;
 But, finding in our green earth sweet contents,
 There livest blissfully. Ah, if to thee
 It feels Elysian, how rich to me,
 An exil'd mortal, sounds its pleasant name!
 Within my breast there lives a choking flame --
 O let me cool't the zephyr-boughs among!
 A homeward fever parches up my tongue --
 O let me slake it at the running springs!
 Upon my ear a noisy nothing rings --
 O let me once more hear the linnet's note!
 Before mine eyes thick films and shadows float --
 O let me 'noint them with the heaven's light!
 Dost thou now lave thy feet and ankles white?
 O think how sweet to me the freshening sluice!
 Dost thou now please thy thirst with berry-juice?
 O think how this dry palate would rejoice!
 If in soft slumber thou dost hear my voice,
 O think how I should love a bed of flowers! --
 Young goddess! let me see my native bowers!
 Deliver me from this rapacious deep!"�

Thus ending loudly, as he would o'erleap
 His destiny, alert he stood: but when
 Obstinate silence came heavily again,
 Feeling about for its old couch of space
 And airy cradle, lowly bow'd his face
 Desponding, o'er the marble floor's cold thrill.
 But 'twas not long; for, sweeter than the rill
 To its old channel, or a swollen tide
 To margin sallows, were the leaves he spied,
 And flowers, and wreaths, and ready myrtle crowns
 Up heaping through the slab: refreshment drowns
 Itself, and strives its own delights to hide --
 Nor in one spot alone; the floral pride
 In a long whispering birth enchanted grew
 Before his footsteps; as when heav'd anew
 Old ocean rolls a lengthened wave to the shore,
 Down whose green back the short-liv'd foam, all hoar,
 Bursts gradual, with a wayward indolence.

Increasing still in heart, and pleasant sense,
 Upon his fairy journey on he hastes;
 So anxious for the end, he scarcely wastes
 One moment with his hand among the sweets:
 Onward he goes -- he stops -- his bosom beats
 As plainly in his ear, as the faint charm
 Of which the throbs were born. This still alarm,
 This sleepy music, forc'd him walk tiptoe:
 For it came more softly than the east could blow
 Arion's magic to the Atlantic isles;
 Or than the west, made jealous by the smiles
 Of thron'd Apollo, could breathe back the lyre
 To seas Ionian and Tyrian.

O did he ever live, that lonely man,
 Who lov'd -- and music slew not? 'Tis the pest
 Of love, that fairest joys give most unrest;
 That things of delicate and tenderest worth
 Are swallow'd all, and made a seared dearth,
 By one consuming flame: it doth immerse
 And suffocate true blessings in a curse.
 Half-happy, by comparison of bliss,
 Is miserable. 'Twas even so with this
 Dew-dropping melody, in the Carian's ear;
 First heaven, then hell, and then forgotten clear,
 Vanish'd in elemental passion.

And down some swart abysm he had gone,
 Had not a heavenly guide benignant led
 To where thick myrtle branches, 'gainst his head
 Brushing, awakened: then the sounds again
 Went noiseless as a passing noontide rain
 Over a bower, where little space he stood;
 For as the sunset peeps into a wood
 So saw he panting light, and towards it went
 Through winding alleys; and lo, wonderment!
 Upon soft verdure saw, one here, one there,
 Cupids a slumbering on their pinions fair.

After a thousand mazes overgone,
 At last, with sudden step, he came upon
 A chamber, myrtle wall'd, embowered high,
 Full of light, incense, tender minstrelsy,
 And more of beautiful and strange beside:
 For on a silken couch of rosy pride,
 In midst of all, there lay a sleeping youth
 Of fondest beauty; fonder, in fair sooth,
 Than sighs could fathom, or contentment reach:
 And coverlids gold-tinted like the peach,
 Or ripe October's faded marigolds,
 Fell sleek about him in a thousand folds --
 Not hiding up an Apollonian curve
 Of neck and shoulder, nor the tenting swerve
 Of knee from knee, nor ankles pointing light;
 But rather, giving them to the filled sight
 Officiously. Sideway his face repos'd
 On one white arm, and tenderly unclos'd,
 By tenderest pressure, a faint damask mouth
 To slumbery pout; just as the morning south
 Disparts a dew-lipp'd rose. Above his head,
 Four lilly stalks did their white honours wed
 To make a coronal; and round him grew
 All tendrils green, of every bloom and hue,
 Together intertwin'd and trammel'd fresh:
 The vine of glossy sprout; the ivy mesh,
 Shading its Ethiop berries; and woodbine,
 Of velvet leaves and bugle-blooms divine;
 Convolvulus in streaked vases flush;
 The creeper, mellowing for an autumn blush;
 And virgin's bower, trailing airily;
 With others of the sisterhood. Hard by,
 Stood serene Cupids watching silently.
 One, kneeling to a lyre, touch'd the strings,
 Muffling to death the pathos with his wings;
 And, ever and anon, uprose to look
 At the youth's slumber; while another took
 A willow-bough, distilling odorous dew,
 And shook it on his hair; another flew
 In through the woven roof, and fluttering-wise
 Rain'd violets upon his sleeping eyes.

At these enchantments, and yet many more,
 The breathless Latmian wonder'd o'er and o'er;
 Until, impatient in embarrassment,
 He forthright pass'd, and lightly treading went
 To that same feather'd lyrist, who straightway,
 Smiling, thus whisper'd: "Though from upper day
 Thou art a wanderer, and thy presence here
 Might seem unholy, be of happy cheer!
 For 'tis the nicest touch of human honour,
 When some ethereal and high-favouring donor
 Presents immortal bowers to mortal sense;
 As now 'tis done to thee, Endymion. Hence
 Was I in no wise startled. So recline
 Upon these living flowers. Here is wine,
 Alive with sparkles -- never, I aver,
 Since Ariadne was a vintager,
 So cool a purple: taste these juicy pears,
 Sent me by sad Vertumnus, when his fears
 Were high about Pomona: here is cream,
 Deepening to richness from a snowy gleam;
 Sweeter than that nurse Amalthea skimm'd
 For the boy Jupiter: and here, undimm'd
 By any touch, a bunch of blooming plums
 Ready to melt between an infant's gums:
 And here is manna pick'd from Syrian trees,
 In starlight, by the three Hesperides.
 Feast on, and meanwhile I will let thee know
 Of all these things around us."� He did so,
 Still brooding o'er the cadence of his lyre;
 And thus: "I need not any hearing tire
 By telling how the sea-born goddess pin'd
 For a mortal youth, and how she strove to bind
 Him all in all unto her doting self.
 Who would not be so prison'd? but, fond elf,
 He was content to let her amorous plea
 Faint through his careless arms; content to see
 An unseiz'd heaven dying at his feet;
 Content, O fool! to make a cold retreat,
 When on the pleasant grass such love, lovelorn,
 Lay sorrowing; when every tear was born
 Of diverse passion; when her lips and eyes
 Were clos'd in sullen moisture, and quick sighs
 Came vex'd and pettish through her nostrils small.
 Hush! no exclaim -- yet, justly mightst thou call
 Curses upon his head. -- I was half glad,
 But my poor mistress went distract and mad,
 When the boar tusk'd him: so away she flew
 To Jove's high throne, and by her plainings drew
 Immortal tear-drops down the thunderer's beard;
 Whereon, it was decreed he should be rear'd
 Each summer time to life. Lo! this is he,
 That same Adonis, safe in the privacy
 Of this still region all his winter-sleep.
 Aye, sleep; for when our love-sick queen did weep
 Over his waned corse, the tremulous shower
 Heal'd up the wound, and, with a balmy power,
 Medicined death to a lengthened drowsiness:
 The which she fills with visions, and doth dress
 In all this quiet luxury; and hath set
 Us young immortals, without any let,
 To watch his slumber through. 'Tis well nigh pass'd,
 Even to a moment's filling up, and fast
 She scuds with summer breezes, to pant through
 The first long kiss, warm firstling, to renew
 Embower'd sports in Cytherea's isle.
 Look! how those winged listeners all this while
 Stand anxious: see! behold!"� -- This clamant word
 Broke through the careful silence; for they heard
 A rustling noise of leaves, and out there flutter'd
 Pigeons and doves: Adonis something mutter'd
 The while one hand, that erst upon his thigh
 Lay dormant, mov'd convuls'd and gradually
 Up to his forehead. Then there was a hum
 Of sudden voices, echoing, "Come! come!
 Arise! awake! Clear summer has forth walk'd
 Unto the clover-sward, and she has talk'd
 Full soothingly to every nested finch:
 Rise, Cupids! or we'll give the blue-bell pinch
 To your dimpled arms. Once more sweet life begin!"�
 At this, from every side they hurried in,
 Rubbing their sleepy eyes with lazy wrists,
 And doubling over head their little fists
 In backward yawns. But all were soon alive:
 For as delicious wine doth, sparkling, dive
 In nectar'd clouds and curls through water fair,
 So from the arbour roof down swell'd an air
 Odorous and enlivening; making all
 To laugh, and play, and sing, and loudly call
 For their sweet queen: when lo! the wreathed green
 Disparted, and far upward could be seen
 Blue heaven, and a silver car, air-borne,
 Whose silent wheels, fresh wet from clouds of morn,
 Spun off a drizzling dew, -- which falling chill
 On soft Adonis' shoulders, made him still
 Nestle and turn uneasily about.
 Soon were the white doves plain, with neck stretch'd out,
 And silken traces lighten'd in descent;
 And soon, returning from love's banishment,
 Queen Venus leaning downward open arm'd:
 Her shadow fell upon his breast, and charm'd
 A tumult to his heart, and a new life
 Into his eyes. Ah, miserable strife,
 But for her comforting! unhappy sight,
 But meeting her blue orbs! Who, who can write
 Of these first minutes? The unchariest muse
 To embracements warm as theirs makes coy excuse.

O it has ruffled every spirit there,
 Saving Love's self, who stands superb to share
 The general gladness: awfully he stands;
 A sovereign quell is in his waving hands;
 No sight can bear the lightning of his bow;
 His quiver is mysterious, none can know
 What themselves think of it; from forth his eyes
 There darts strange light of varied hues and dyes:
 A scowl is sometimes on his brow, but who
 Look full upon it feel anon the blue
 Of his fair eyes run liquid through their souls.
 Endymion feels it, and no more controls
 The burning prayer within him; so, bent low,
 He had begun a plaining of his woe.
 But Venus, bending forward, said: "My child,
 Favour this gentle youth; his days are wild
 With love -- he -- but alas! too well I see
 Thou know'st the deepness of his misery.
 Ah, smile not so, my son: I tell thee true,
 That when through heavy hours I used to rue
 The endless sleep of this new-born Adon',
 This stranger aye I pitied. For upon
 A dreary morning once I fled away
 Into the breezy clouds, to weep and pray
 For this my love: for vexing Mars had teaz'd
 Me even to tears: thence, when a little eas'd,
 Down-looking, vacant, through a hazy wood,
 I saw this youth as he despairing stood:
 Those same dark curls blown vagrant in the wind;
 Those same full fringed lids a constant blind
 Over his sullen eyes: I saw him throw
 Himself on wither'd leaves, even as though
 Death had come sudden; for no jot he mov'd,
 Yet mutter'd wildly. I could hear he lov'd
 Some fair immortal, and that his embrace
 Had zoned her through the night. There is no trace
 Of this in heaven: I have mark'd each cheek,
 And find it is the vainest thing to seek;
 And that of all things 'tis kept secretest.
 Endymion! one day thou wilt be blest:
 So still obey the guiding hand that fends
 Thee safely through these wonders for sweet ends.
  'Tis a concealment needful in extreme;
 And if I guess'd not so, the sunny beam
 Thou shouldst mount up to with me. Now adieu!
 Here must we leave thee."� -- At these words upflew
 The impatient doves, uprose the floating car,
 Up went the hum celestial. High afar
 The Latmian saw them minish into naught;
 And, when all were clear vanish'd, still he caught
 A vivid lightning from that dreadful bow.
 When all was darkened, with AEtnean throe
 The earth clos'd -- gave a solitary moan --
 And left him once again in twilight lone.

He did not rave, he did not stare aghast,
 For all those visions were o'ergone, and past,
 And he in loneliness: he felt assur'd
 Of happy times, when all he had endur'd
 Would seem a feather to the mighty prize.
 So, with unusual gladness, on he hies
 Through caves, and palaces of mottled ore,
 Gold dome, and crystal wall, and turquois floor,
 Black polish'd porticos of awful shade,
 And, at the last, a diamond balustrade,
 Leading afar past wild magnificence,
 Spiral through ruggedest loopholes, and thence
 Stretching across a void, then guiding o'er
 Enormous chasms, where, all foam and roar,
 Streams subterranean teaze their granite beds;
 Then heighten'd just above the silvery heads
 Of a thousand fountains, so that he could dash
 The waters with his spear; but at the splash,
 Done heedlessly, those spouting columns rose
 Sudden a poplar's height, and 'gan to enclose
 His diamond path with fretwork, streaming round
 Alive, and dazzling cool, and with a sound,
 Haply, like dolphin tumults, when sweet shells
 Welcome the float of Thetis. Long he dwells
 On this delight; for, every minute's space,
 The streams with changed magic interlace:
 Sometimes like delicatest lattices,
 Cover'd with crystal vines; then weeping trees.
 Moving about as in a gentle wind,
 Which, in a wink, to watery gauze refin'd,
 Pour'd into shapes of curtain'd canopies,
 Spangled, and rich with liquid broideries
 Of flowers, peacocks, swans, and naiads fair.
 Swifter than lightning went these wonders rare;
 And then the water, into stubborn streams
 Collecting, mimick'd the wrought oaken beams,
 Pillars, and frieze, and high fantastic roof,
 Of those dusk places in times far aloof
 Cathedrals call'd. He bade a loth farewell
 To these founts Protean, passing gulph, and dell,
 And torrent, and ten thousand jutting shapes,
 Half seen through deepest gloom, and griesly gapes,
 Blackening on every side, and overhead
 A vaulted dome like Heaven's, far bespread
 With starlight gems: aye, all so huge and strange,
 The solitary felt a hurried change
 Working within him into something dreary, --
 Vex'd like a morning eagle, lost, and weary,
 And purblind amid foggy, midnight wolds.
 But he revives at once: for who beholds
 New sudden things, nor casts his mental slough?
 Forth from a rugged arch, in the dusk below,
 Came mother Cybele! alone -- alone --
 In sombre chariot; dark foldings thrown
 About her majesty, and front death-pale,
 With turrets crown'd. Four maned lions hale
 The sluggish wheels; solemn their toothed maws,
 Their surly eyes brow-hidden, heavy paws
 Uplifted drowsily, and nervy tails
 Cowering their tawny brushes. Silent sails
 This shadowy queen athwart, and faints away
 In another gloomy arch.

Wherefore delay,
 Young traveller, in such a mournful place?
 Art thou wayworn, or canst not further trace
 The diamond path? And does it indeed end
 Abrupt in middle air? Yet earthward bend
 Thy forehead, and to Jupiter cloud-borne
 Call ardently! He was indeed wayworn;
 Abrupt, in middle air, his way was lost;
 To cloud-borne Jove he bowed, and there crost
 Towards him a large eagle, 'twixt whose wings,
 Without one impious word, himself he flings,
 Committed to the darkness and the gloom:
 Down, down, uncertain to what pleasant doom,
 Swift as a fathoming plummet down he fell
 Through unknown things; till exhaled asphodel,
 And rose, with spicy fannings interbreath'd,
 Came swelling forth where little caves were wreath'd
 So thick with leaves and mosses, that they seem'd
 Large honey-combs of green, and freshly teem'd
 With airs delicious. In the greenest nook
 The eagle landed him, and farewell took.

It was a jasmine bower, all bestrown
 With golden moss. His every sense had grown
 Ethereal for pleasure; 'bove his head
 Flew a delight half-graspable; his tread
 Was Hesperean; to his capable ears
 Silence was music from the holy spheres;
 A dewy luxury was in his eyes;
 The little flowers felt his pleasant sighs
 And stirr'd them faintly. Verdant cave and cell
 He wander'd through, oft wondering at such swell
 Of sudden exaltation: but, "Alas!"�
 Said he, "will all this gush of feeling pass
 Away in solitude? And must they wane,
 Like melodies upon a sandy plain,
 Without an echo? Then shall I be left
 So sad, so melancholy, so bereft!
 Yet still I feel immortal! O my love,
 My breath of life, where art thou? High above,
 Dancing before the morning gates of heaven?
 Or keeping watch among those starry seven,
 Old Atlas' children? Art a maid of the waters,
 One of shell-winding Triton's bright-hair'd daughters?
 Or art, impossible! a nymph of Dian's,
 Weaving a coronal of tender scions
 For very idleness? Where'er thou art,
 Methinks it now is at my will to start
 Into thine arms; to scare Aurora's train,
 And snatch thee from the morning; o'er the main
 To scud like a wild bird, and take thee off
 From thy sea-foamy cradle; or to doff
 Thy shepherd vest, and woo thee mid fresh leaves.
 No, no, too eagerly my soul deceives
 Its powerless self: I know this cannot be.
 O let me then by some sweet dreaming flee
 To her entrancements: hither, Sleep, awhile!
 Hither, most gentle Sleep! and soothing foil
 For some few hours the coming solitude."�

Thus spake he, and that moment felt endued
 With power to dream deliciously; so wound
 Through a dim passage, searching till he found
 The smoothest mossy bed and deepest, where
 He threw himself, and just into the air
 Stretching his indolent arms, he took, O bliss!
 A naked waist: "Fair Cupid, whence is this?"�
 A well-known voice sigh'd, "Sweetest, here am I!"�
 At which soft ravishment, with doting cry
 They trembled to each other. -- Helicon!
 O fountain'd hill! Old Homer's Helicon!
 That thou wouldst spout a little streamlet o'er
 These sorry pages; then the verse would soar
 And sing above this gentle pair, like lark
 Over his nested young: but all is dark
 Around thine aged top, and thy clear fount
 Exhales in mists to heaven. Aye, the count
 Of mighty Poets is made up; the scroll
 Is folded by the Muses; the bright roll
 Is in Apollo's hand: our dazed eyes
 Have seen a new tinge in the western skies:
 The world has done its duty. Yet, oh yet,
 Although the sun of poesy is set,
 These lovers did embrace, and we must weep
 That there is no old power left to steep
 A quill immortal in their joyous tears.
 Long time in silence did their anxious fears
 Question that thus it was; long time they lay
 Fondling and kissing every doubt away;
 Long time ere soft caressing sobs began
 To mellow into words, and then there ran
 Two bubbling springs of talk from their sweet lips.
  "O known Unknown! from whom my being sips
 Such darling essence, wherefore may I not
 Be ever in these arms? in this sweet spot
 Pillow my chin for ever? ever press
 These toying hands and kiss their smooth excess?
 Why not for ever and for ever feel
 That breath about my eyes? Ah, thou wilt steal
 Away from me again, indeed, indeed --
 Thou wilt be gone away, and wilt not heed
 My lonely madness. Speak, delicious fair!
 Is -- is it to be so? No! Who will dare
 To pluck thee from me? And, of thine own will,
 Full well I feel thou wouldst not leave me. Still
 Let me entwine thee surer, surer -- now
 How can we part? Elysium! who art thou?
 Who, that thou canst not be for ever here,
 Or lift me with thee to some starry sphere?
 Enchantress! tell me by this soft embrace,
 By the most soft completion of thy face,
 Those lips, O slippery blisses, twinkling eyes
 And by these tenderest, milky sovereignties --
 These tenderest, and by the nectar-wine,
 The passion"� -- "O dov'd Ida the divine!
 Endymion! dearest! Ah, unhappy me!
 His soul will 'scape us -- O felicity!
 How he does love me! His poor temples beat
 To the very tune of love -- how sweet, sweet, sweet.
 Revive, dear youth, or I shall faint and die;
 Revive, or these soft hours will hurry by
 In tranced dulness; speak, and let that spell
 Affright this lethargy! I cannot quell
 Its heavy pressure, and will press at least
 My lips to thine, that they may richly feast
 Until we taste the life of love again.
 What! dost thou move? dost kiss? O bliss! O pain!
 I love thee, youth, more than I can conceive;
 And so long absence from thee doth bereave
 My soul of any rest: yet must I hence:
 Yet, can I not to starry eminence
 Uplift thee; nor for very shame can own
 Myself to thee: Ah, dearest, do not groan
 Or thou wilt force me from this secrecy,
 And I must blush in heaven. O that I
 Had done't already; that the dreadful smiles
 At my lost brightness, my impassion'd wiles,
 Had waned from Olympus' solemn height,
 And from all serious Gods; that our delight
 Was quite forgotten, save of us alone!
 And wherefore so ashamed? 'Tis but to atone
 For endless pleasure, by some coward blushes:
 Yet must I be a coward! -- Horror rushes
 Too palpable before me -- the sad look
 Of Jove -- Minerva's start -- no bosom shook
 With awe of purity -- no Cupid pinion
 In reverence vailed -- my crystalline dominion
 Half lost, and all old hymns made nullity!
 But what is this to love? O I could fly
 With thee into the ken of heavenly powers,
 So thou wouldst thus, for many sequent hours,
 Press me so sweetly. Now I swear at once
 That I am wise, that Pallas is a dunce --
 Perhaps her love like mine is but unknown --
 O I do think that I have been alone
 In chastity: yes, Pallas has been sighing,
 While every eve saw me my hair uptying
 With fingers cool as aspen leaves. Sweet love,
 I was as vague as solitary dove,
 Nor knew that nests were built. Now a soft kiss --
 Aye, by that kiss, I vow an endless bliss,
 An immortality of passion's thine:
 Ere long I will exalt thee to the shine
 Of heaven ambrosial; and we will shade
 Ourselves whole summers by a river glade;
 And I will tell thee stories of the sky,
 And breathe thee whispers of its minstrelsy.
 My happy love will overwing all bounds!
 O let me melt into thee; let the sounds
 Of our close voices marry at their birth;
 Let us entwine hoveringly -- O dearth
 Of human words! roughness of mortal speech!
 Lispings empyrean will I sometime teach
 Thine honied tongue -- lute-breathings, which I gasp
 To have thee understand, now while I clasp
 Thee thus, and weep for fondness -- I am pain'd,
 Endymion: woe! woe! is grief contain'd
 In the very deeps of pleasure, my sole life?"� --
 Hereat, with many sobs, her gentle strife
 Melted into a languor. He return'd
 Entranced vows and tears.

Ye who have yearn'd
 With too much passion, will here stay and pity,
 For the mere sake of truth; as 'tis a ditty
 Not of these days, but long ago 'twas told
 By a cavern wind unto a forest old;
 And then the forest told it in a dream
 To a sleeping lake, whose cool and level gleam
 A poet caught as he was journeying
 To Phoebus' shrine; and in it he did fling
 His weary limbs, bathing an hour's space,
 And after, straight in that inspired place
 He sang the story up into the air,
 Giving it universal freedom. There
 Has it been ever sounding for those ears
 Whose tips are glowing hot. The legend cheers
 Yon centinel stars; and he who listens to it
 Must surely be self-doom'd or he will rue it:
 For quenchless burnings come upon the heart,
 Made fiercer by a fear lest any part
 Should be engulphed in the eddying wind.
 As much as here is penn'd doth always find
 A resting place, thus much comes clear and plain;
 Anon the strange voice is upon the wane --
 And 'tis but echo'd from departing sound,
 That the fair visitant at last unwound
 Her gentle limbs, and left the youth asleep. --
 Thus the tradition of the gusty deep.

Now turn we to our former chroniclers. --
 Endymion awoke, that grief of hers
 Sweet paining on his ear: he sickly guess'd
 How lone he was once more, and sadly press'd
 His empty arms together, hung his head,
 And most forlorn upon that widow'd bed
 Sat silently. Love's madness he had known:
 Often with more than tortured lion's groan
 Moanings had burst from him; but now that rage
 Had pass'd away: no longer did he wage
 A rough-voic'd war against the dooming stars.
 No, he had felt too much for such harsh jars:
 The lyre of his soul AEolian tun'd
 Forgot all violence, and but commun'd
 With melancholy thought: O he had swoon'd
 Drunken from pleasure's nipple; and his love
 Henceforth was dove-like. -- Loth was he to move
 From the imprinted couch, and when he did,
  'Twas with slow, languid paces, and face hid
 In muffling hands. So temper'd, out he stray'd
 Half seeing visions that might have dismay'd
 Alecto's serpents; ravishments more keen
 Than Hermes' pipe, when anxious he did lean
 Over eclipsing eyes: and at the last
 It was a sounding grotto, vaulted, vast,
 O'er studded with a thousand, thousand pearls,
 And crimson mouthed shells with stubborn curls,
 Of every shape and size, even to the bulk
 In which whales arbour close, to brood and sulk
 Against an endless storm. Moreover too,
 Fish-semblances, of green and azure hue,
 Ready to snort their streams. In this cool wonder
 Endymion sat down, and 'gan to ponder
 On all his life: his youth, up to the day
 When 'mid acclaim, and feasts, and garlands gay,
 He stept upon his shepherd throne: the look
 Of his white palace in wild forest nook,
 And all the revels he had lorded there:
 Each tender maiden whom he once thought fair,
 With every friend and fellow-woodlander --
 Pass'd like a dream before him. Then the spur
 Of the old bards to mighty deeds: his plans
 To nurse the golden age 'mong shepherd clans:
 That wondrous night: the great Pan-festival:
 His sister's sorrow; and his wanderings all,
 Until into the earth's deep maw he rush'd:
 Then all its buried magic, till it flush'd
 High with excessive love. "And now,"� thought he,
  "How long must I remain in jeopardy
 Of blank amazements that amaze no more?
 Now I have tasted her sweet soul to the core
 All other depths are shallow: essences,
 Once spiritual, are like muddy lees,
 Meant but to fertilize my earthly root,
 And make my branches lift a golden fruit
 Into the bloom of heaven: other light,
 Though it be quick and sharp enough to blight
 The Olympian eagle's vision, is dark,
 Dark as the parentage of chaos. Hark!
 My silent thoughts are echoing from these shells;
 Or they are but the ghosts, the dying swells
 Of noises far away? -- list!"� -- Hereupon
 He kept an anxious ear. The humming tone
 Came louder, and behold, there as he lay,
 On either side outgush'd, with misty spray,
 A copious spring; and both together dash'd
 Swift, mad, fantastic round the rocks and lash'd
 Among the conchs and shells of the lofty grot,
 Leaving a trickling dew. At last they shot
 Down from the ceiling's height, pouring a noise
 As of some breathless racers whose hopes poize
 Upon the last few steps, and with spent force
 Along the ground they took a winding course.
 Endymion follow'd -- for it seem'd that one
 Ever pursued, the other strove to shun --
 Follow'd their languid mazes, till well nigh
 He had left thinking of the mystery, --
 And was now rapt in tender hoverings
 Over the vanish'd bliss. Ah! what is it sings
 His dream away? What melodies are these?
 They sound as through the whispering of trees,
 Not native in such barren vaults. Give ear!

"O Arethusa, peerless nymph! why fear
 Such tenderness as mine? Great Dian, why,
 Why didst thou hear her prayer? O that I
 Were rippling round her dainty fairness now,
 Circling about her waist, and striving how
 To entice her to a dive! then stealing in
 Between her luscious lips and eyelids thin.
 O that her shining hair was in the sun,
 And I distilling from it thence to run
 In amorous rillets down her shrinking form!
 To linger on her lilly shoulders, warm
 Between her kissing breasts, and every charm
 Touch raptur'd! -- See how painfully I flow:
 Fair maid, be pitiful to my great woe.
 Stay, stay thy weary course, and let me lead,
 A happy wooer, to the flowery mead
 Where all that beauty snar'd me."� -- "Cruel god,
 Desist! or my offended mistress' nod
 Will stagnate all thy fountains: -- teaze me not
 With syren words -- Ah, have I really got
 Such power to madden thee? And is it true --
 Away, away, or I shall dearly rue
 My very thoughts: in mercy then away,
 Kindest Alpheus, for should I obey
 My own dear will, 'twould be a deadly bane.
 O, Oread-Queen! would that thou hadst a pain
 Like this of mine, then would I fearless turn
 And be a criminal. Alas, I burn,
 I shudder -- gentle river, get thee hence.
 Alpheus! thou enchanter! every sense
 Of mine was once made perfect in these woods.
 Fresh breezes, bowery lawns, and innocent floods,
 Ripe fruits, and lonely couch, contentment gave;
 But ever since I heedlessly did lave
 In thy deceitful stream, a panting glow
 Grew strong within me: wherefore serve me so,
 And call it love? Alas, 'twas cruelty.
 Not once more did I close my happy eye
 Amid the thrushes' song. Away! Avaunt!
 O 'twas a cruel thing."� -- "Now thou dost taunt
 So softly, Arethusa, that I think
 If thou wast playing on my shady brink,
 Thou wouldst bathe once again. Innocent maid!
 Stifle thine heart no more; nor be afraid
 Of angry powers: there are deities
 Will shade us with their wings. Those fitful sighs
  'Tis almost death to hear: O let me pour
 A dewy balm upon them! -- fear no more,
 Sweet Arethusa! Dian's self must feel
 Sometime these very pangs. Dear maiden, steal
 Blushing into my soul, and let us fly
 These dreary caverns for the open sky.
 I will delight thee all my winding course,
 From the green sea up to my hidden source
 About Arcadian forests; and will show
 The channels where my coolest waters flow
 Through mossy rocks; where, 'mid exuberant green,
 I roam in pleasant darkness, more unseen
 Than Saturn in his exile; where I brim
 Round flowery islands, and take thence a skim
 Of mealy sweets, which myriads of bees
 Buzz from their honey'd wings: and thou shouldst please
 Thyself to choose the richest, where we might
 Be incense-pillow'd every summer night.
 Doff all sad fears, thou white deliciousness,
 And let us be thus comforted; unless
 Thou couldst rejoice to see my hopeless stream
 Hurry distracted from Sol's temperate beam,
 And pour to death along some hungry sands."� --
  "What can I do, Alpheus? Dian stands
 Severe before me: persecuting fate!
 Unhappy Arethusa! thou wast late
 A huntress free in"� -- At this, sudden fell
 Those two sad streams adown a fearful dell.
 The Latmian listen'd, but he heard no more,
 Save echo, faint repeating o'er and o'er
 The name of Arethusa. On the verge
 Of that dark gulph he wept, and said: "I urge
 Thee, gentle Goddess of my pilgrimage,
 By our eternal hopes, to soothe, to assuage,
 If thou art powerful, these lovers' pains;
 And make them happy in some happy plains."�

He turn'd -- there was a whelming sound -- he stept,
 There was a cooler light; and so he kept
 Towards it by a sandy path, and lo!
 More suddenly than doth a moment go,
 The visions of the earth were gone and fled --
 He saw the giant sea above his head.

BOOK III.


There are who lord it o'er their fellow-men
 With most prevailing tinsel: who unpen
 Their baaing vanities, to browse away
 The comfortable green and juicy hay
 From human pastures; or, O torturing fact!
 Who, through an idiot blink, will see unpack'd
 Fire-branded foxes to sear up and singe
 Our gold and ripe-ear'd hopes. With not one tinge
 Of sanctuary splendour, not a sight
 Able to face an owl's, they still are dight
 By the blear-eyed nations in empurpled vests,
 And crowns, and turbans. With unladen breasts,
 Save of blown self-applause, they proudly mount
 To their spirit's perch, their being's high account,
 Their tiptop nothings, their dull skies, their thrones --
 Amid the fierce intoxicating tones
 Of trumpets, shoutings, and belabour'd drums,
 And sudden cannon. Ah! how all this hums,
 In wakeful ears, like uproar past and gone --
 Like thunder clouds that spake to Babylon,
 And set those old Chaldeans to their tasks. --
 Are then regalities all gilded masks?
 No, there are throned seats unscalable
 But by a patient wing, a constant spell,
 Or by ethereal things that, unconfin'd,
 Can make a ladder of the eternal wind,
 And poize about in cloudy thunder-tents
 To watch the abysm-birth of elements.
 Aye, 'bove the withering of old-lipp'd Fate
 A thousand Powers keep religious state,
 In water, fiery realm, and airy bourne;
 And, silent as a consecrated urn,
 Hold sphery sessions for a season due.
 Yet few of these far majesties, ah, few!
 Have bared their operations to this globe --
 Few, who with gorgeous pageantry enrobe
 Our piece of heaven -- whose benevolence
 Shakes hand with our own Ceres; every sense
 Filling with spiritual sweets to plenitude,
 As bees gorge full their cells. And, by the feud
  'Twixt Nothing and Creation, I here swear,
 Eterne Apollo! that thy Sister fair
 Is of all these the gentlier -- mightiest.
 When thy gold breath is misting in the west,
 She unobserved steals unto her throne,
 And there she sits most meek and most alone;
 As if she had not pomp subservient;
 As if thine eye, high Poet! was not bent
 Towards her with the Muses in thine heart;
 As if the ministring stars kept not apart,
 Waiting for silver-footed messages.
 O Moon! the oldest shades 'mong oldest trees
 Feel palpitations when thou lookest in:
 O Moon! old boughs lisp forth a holier din
 The while they feel thine airy fellowship.
 Thou dost bless every where, with silver lip
 Kissing dead things to life. The sleeping kine,
 Couch'd in thy brightness, dream of fields divine:
 Innumerable mountains rise, and rise,
 Ambitious for the hallowing of thine eyes;
 And yet thy benediction passeth not
 One obscure hiding-place, one little spot
 Where pleasure may be sent: the nested wren
 Has thy fair face within its tranquil ken,
 And from beneath a sheltering ivy leaf
 Takes glimpses of thee; thou art a relief
 To the poor patient oyster, where it sleeps
 Within its pearly house. -- The mighty deeps,
 The monstrous sea is thine -- the myriad sea!
 O Moon! far-spooming Ocean bows to thee,
 And Tellus feels his forehead's cumbrous load.

Cynthia! where art thou now? What far abode
 Of green or silvery bower doth enshrine
 Such utmost beauty? Alas, thou dost pine
 For one as sorrowful: thy cheek is pale
 For one whose cheek is pale: thou dost bewail
 His tears, who weeps for thee. Where dost thou sigh?
 Ah! surely that light peeps from Vesper's eye,
 Or what a thing is love! 'Tis She, but lo!
 How chang'd, how full of ache, how gone in woe!
 She dies at the thinnest cloud; her loveliness
 Is wan on Neptune's blue: yet there's a stress
 Of love-spangles, just off yon cape of trees,
 Dancing upon the waves, as if to please
 The curly foam with amorous influence.
 O, not so idle: for down-glancing thence
 She fathoms eddies, and runs wild about
 O'erwhelming water-courses; scaring out
 The thorny sharks from hiding-holes, and fright'ning
 Their savage eyes with unaccustom'd lightning.
 Where will the splendour be content to reach?
 O love! how potent hast thou been to teach
 Strange journeyings! Wherever beauty dwells,
 In gulph or aerie, mountains or deep dells,
 In light, in gloom, in star or blazing sun,
 Thou pointest out the way, and straight 'tis won.
 Amid his toil thou gav'st Leander breath;
 Thou leddest Orpheus through the gleams of death;
 Thou madest Pluto bear thin element;
 And now, O winged Chieftain! thou hast sent
 A moon-beam to the deep, deep water-world,
 To find Endymion.

On gold sand impearl'd
 With lilly shells, and pebbles milky white,
 Poor Cynthia greeted him, and sooth'd her light
 Against his pallid face: he felt the charm
 To breathlessness, and suddenly a warm
 Of his heart's blood: 'twas very sweet; he stay'd
 His wandering steps, and half-entranced laid
 His head upon a tuft of straggling weeds,
 To taste the gentle moon, and freshening beads,
 Lash'd from the crystal roof by fishes' tails.
 And so he kept, until the rosy veils
 Mantling the east, by Aurora's peering hand
 Were lifted from the water's breast, and fann'd
 Into sweet air; and sober'd morning came
 Meekly through billows: -- when like taper-flame
 Left sudden by a dallying breath of air,
 He rose in silence, and once more 'gan fare
 Along his fated way.

Far had he roam'd,
 With nothing save the hollow vast, that foam'd,
 Above, around, and at his feet; save things
 More dead than Morpheus' imaginings:
 Old rusted anchors, helmets, breast-plates large
 Of gone sea-warriors; brazen beaks and targe;
 Rudders that for a hundred years had lost
 The sway of human hand; gold vase emboss'd
 With long-forgotten story, and wherein
 No reveller had ever dipp'd a chin
 But those of Saturn's vintage; mouldering scrolls,
 Writ in the tongue of heaven, by those souls
 Who first were on the earth; and sculptures rude
 In ponderous stone, developing the mood
 Of ancient Nox; -- then skeletons of man,
 Of beast, behemoth, and leviathan,
 And elephant, and eagle, and huge jaw
 Of nameless monster. A cold leaden awe
 These secrets struck into him; and unless
 Dian had chaced away that heaviness,
 He might have died: but now, with cheered feel,
 He onward kept; wooing these thoughts to steal
 About the labyrinth in his soul of love.

"What is there in thee, Moon! that thou shouldst move
 My heart so potently? When yet a child
 I oft have dried my tears when thou hast smil'd.
 Thou seem'dst my sister: hand in hand we went
 From eve to morn across the firmament.
 No apples would I gather from the tree,
 Till thou hadst cool'd their cheeks deliciously:
 No tumbling water ever spake romance,
 But when my eyes with thine thereon could dance:
 No woods were green enough, no bower divine,
 Until thou liftedst up thine eyelids fine:
 In sowing time ne'er would I dibble take,
 Or drop a seed, till thou wast wide awake;
 And, in the summer tide of blossoming,
 No one but thee hath heard me blithly sing
 And mesh my dewy flowers all the night.
 No melody was like a passing spright
 If it went not to solemnize thy reign.
 Yes, in my boyhood, every joy and pain
 By thee were fashion'd to the self-same end;
 And as I grew in years, still didst thou blend
 With all my ardours: thou wast the deep glen;
 Thou wast the mountain-top -- the sage's pen --
 The poet's harp -- the voice of friends -- the sun;
 Thou wast the river -- thou wast glory won;
 Thou wast my clarion's blast -- thou wast my steed --
 My goblet full of wine -- my topmost deed: --
 Thou wast the charm of women, lovely Moon!
 O what a wild and harmonized tune
 My spirit struck from all the beautiful!
 On some bright essence could I lean, and lull
 Myself to immortality: I prest
 Nature's soft pillow in a wakeful rest.
 But, gentle Orb! there came a nearer bliss --
 My strange love came -- Felicity's abyss!
 She came, and thou didst fade, and fade away --
 Yet not entirely; no, thy starry sway
 Has been an under-passion to this hour.
 Now I begin to feel thine orby power
 Is coming fresh upon me: O be kind,
 Keep back thine influence, and do not blind
 My sovereign vision. -- Dearest love, forgive
 That I can think away from thee and live! --
 Pardon me, airy planet, that I prize
 One thought beyond thine argent luxuries!
 How far beyond!"� At this a surpris'd start
 Frosted the springing verdure of his heart;
 For as he lifted up his eyes to swear
 How his own goddess was past all things fair,
 He saw far in the concave green of the sea
 An old man sitting calm and peacefully.
 Upon a weeded rock this old man sat,
 And his white hair was awful, and a mat
 Of weeds were cold beneath his cold thin feet;
 And, ample as the largest winding-sheet,
 A cloak of blue wrapp'd up his aged bones,
 O'erwrought with symbols by the deepest groans
 Of ambitious magic: every ocean-form
 Was woven in with black distinctness; storm,
 And calm, and whispering, and hideous roar,
 Quicksand, and whirlpool, and deserted shore,
 Were emblem'd in the woof; with every shape
 That skims, or dives, or sleeps, 'twixt cape and cape.
 The gulphing whale was like a dot in the spell,
 Yet look upon it, and 'twould size and swell
 To its huge self; and the minutest fish
 Would pass the very hardest gazer's wish,
 And show his little eye's anatomy.
 Then there was pictur'd the regality
 Of Neptune; and the sea nymphs round his state,
 In beauteous vassalage, look up and wait.
 Beside this old man lay a pearly wand,
 And in his lap a book, the which he conn'd
 So stedfastly, that the new denizen
 Had time to keep him in amazed ken,
 To mark these shadowings, and stand in awe.

The old man rais'd his hoary head and saw
 The wilder'd stranger -- seeming not to see,
 His features were so lifeless. Suddenly
 He woke as from a trance; his snow-white brows
 Went arching up, and like two magic ploughs
 Furrow'd deep wrinkles in his forehead large,
 Which kept as fixedly as rocky marge,
 Till round his wither'd lips had gone a smile.
 Then up he rose, like one whose tedious toil
 Had watch'd for years in forlorn hermitage,
 Who had not from mid-life to utmost age
 Eas'd in one accent his o'er-burden'd soul,
 Even to the trees. He rose: he grasp'd his stole,
 With convuls'd clenches waving it abroad,
 And in a voice of solemn joy, that aw'd
 Echo into oblivion, he said: --

"Thou art the man! Now shall I lay my head
 In peace upon my watery pillow: now
 Sleep will come smoothly to my weary brow.
 O Jove! I shall be young again, be young!
 O shell-borne Neptune, I am pierc'd and stung
 With new-born life! What shall I do? Where go,
 When I have cast this serpent-skin of woe? --
 I'll swim to the syrens, and one moment listen
 Their melodies, and see their long hair glisten;
 Anon upon that giant's arm I'll be,
 That writhes about the roots of Sicily:
 To northern seas I'll in a twinkling sail,
 And mount upon the snortings of a whale
 To some black cloud; thence down I'll madly sweep
 On forked lightning, to the deepest deep,
 Where through some sucking pool I will be hurl'd
 With rapture to the other side of the world!
 O, I am full of gladness! Sisters three,
 I bow full hearted to your old decree!
 Yes, every god be thank'd, and power benign,
 For I no more shall wither, droop, and pine.
 Thou art the man!"� Endymion started back
 Dismay'd; and, like a wretch from whom the rack
 Tortures hot breath, and speech of agony,
 Mutter'd: "What lonely death am I to die
 In this cold region? Will he let me freeze,
 And float my brittle limbs o'er polar seas?
 Or will he touch me with his searing hand,
 And leave a black memorial on the sand?
 Or tear me piece-meal with a bony saw,
 And keep me as a chosen food to draw
 His magian fish through hated fire and flame?
 O misery of hell! resistless, tame,
 Am I to be burnt up? No, I will shout,
 Until the gods through heaven's blue look out! --
 O Tartarus! but some few days agone
 Her soft arms were entwining me, and on
 Her voice I hung like fruit among green leaves:
 Her lips were all my own, and -- ah, ripe sheaves
 Of happiness! ye on the stubble droop,
 But never may be garner'd. I must stoop
 My head, and kiss death's foot. Love! love, farewell!
 Is there no hope from thee? This horrid spell
 Would melt at thy sweet breath. -- By Dian's hind
 Feeding from her white fingers, on the wind
 I see thy streaming hair! and now, by Pan,
 I care not for this old mysterious man!"�

He spake, and walking to that aged form,
 Look'd high defiance. Lo! his heart 'gan warm
 With pity, for the grey-hair'd creature wept.
 Had he then wrong'd a heart where sorrow kept?
 Had he, though blindly contumelious, brought
 Rheum to kind eyes, a sting to humane thought,
 Convulsion to a mouth of many years?
 He had in truth; and he was ripe for tears.
 The penitent shower fell, as down he knelt
 Before that care-worn sage, who trembling felt
 About his large dark locks, and faultering spake:

"Arise, good youth, for sacred Phoebus' sake!
 I know thine inmost bosom, and I feel
 A very brother's yearning for thee steal
 Into mine own: for why? thou openest
 The prison gates that have so long opprest
 My weary watching. Though thou know'st it not,
 Thou art commission'd to this fated spot
 For great enfranchisement. O weep no more;
 I am a friend to love, to loves of yore:
 Aye, hadst thou never lov'd an unknown power,
 I had been grieving at this joyous hour.
 But even now most miserable old,
 I saw thee, and my blood no longer cold
 Gave mighty pulses: in this tottering case
 Grew a new heart, which at this moment plays
 As dancingly as thine. Be not afraid,
 For thou shalt hear this secret all display'd,
 Now as we speed towards our joyous task."�

So saying, this young soul in age's mask
 Went forward with the Carian side by side:
 Resuming quickly thus: while ocean's tide
 Hung swollen at their backs, and jewel'd sands
 Took silently their foot-prints.

"My soul stands
 Now past the midway from mortality,
 And so I can prepare without a sigh
 To tell thee briefly all my joy and pain.
 I was a fisher once, upon this main,
 And my boat danc'd in every creek and bay;
 Rough billows were my home by night and day, --
 The sea-gulls not more constant; for I had
 No housing from the storm and tempests mad,
 But hollow rocks, -- and they were palaces
 Of silent happiness, of slumberous ease:
 Long years of misery have told me so.
 Aye, thus it was one thousand years ago.
 One thousand years! -- Is it then possible
 To look so plainly through them? to dispel
 A thousand years with backward glance sublime?
 To breathe away as 'twere all scummy slime
 From off a crystal pool, to see its deep,
 And one's own image from the bottom peep?
 Yes: now I am no longer wretched thrall,
 My long captivity and moanings all
 Are but a slime, a thin-pervading scum,
 The which I breathe away, and thronging come
 Like things of yesterday my youthful pleasures.

"I touch'd no lute, I sang not, trod no measures:
 I was a lonely youth on desert shores.
 My sports were lonely, 'mid continuous roars,
 And craggy isles, and sea-mew's plaintive cry
 Plaining discrepant between sea and sky.
 Dolphins were still my playmates; shapes unseen
 Would let me feel their scales of gold and green,
 Nor be my desolation; and, full oft,
 When a dread waterspout had rear'd aloft
 Its hungry hugeness, seeming ready ripe
 To burst with hoarsest thunderings, and wipe
 My life away like a vast sponge of fate,
 Some friendly monster, pitying my sad state,
 Has dived to its foundations, gulph'd it down,
 And left me tossing safely. But the crown
 Of all my life was utmost quietude:
 More did I love to lie in cavern rude,
 Keeping in wait whole days for Neptune's voice,
 And if it came at last, hark, and rejoice!
 There blush'd no summer eve but I would steer
 My skiff along green shelving coasts, to hear
 The shepherd's pipe come clear from aery steep,
 Mingled with ceaseless bleatings of his sheep:
 And never was a day of summer shine,
 But I beheld its birth upon the brine:
 For I would watch all night to see unfold
 Heaven's gates, and AEthon snort his morning gold
 Wide o'er the swelling streams: and constantly
 At brim of day-tide, on some grassy lea,
 My nets would be spread out, and I at rest.
 The poor folk of the sea-country I blest
 With daily boon of fish most delicate:
 They knew not whence this bounty, and elate
 Would strew sweet flowers on a sterile beach.

"Why was I not contented? Wherefore reach
 At things which, but for thee, O Latmian!
 Had been my dreary death? Fool! I began
 To feel distemper'd longings: to desire
 The utmost privilege that ocean's sire
 Could grant in benediction: to be free
 Of all his kingdom. Long in misery
 I wasted, ere in one extremest fit
 I plung'd for life or death. To interknit
 One's senses with so dense a breathing stuff
 Might seem a work of pain; so not enough
 Can I admire how crystal-smooth it felt,
 And buoyant round my limbs. At first I dwelt
 Whole days and days in sheer astonishment;
 Forgetful utterly of self-intent;
 Moving but with the mighty ebb and flow.
 Then, like a new fledg'd bird that first doth show
 His spreaded feathers to the morrow chill,
 I tried in fear the pinions of my will.
  'Twas freedom! and at once I visited
 The ceaseless wonders of this ocean-bed.
 No need to tell thee of them, for I see
 That thou hast been a witness -- it must be --
 For these I know thou canst not feel a drouth,
 By the melancholy corners of that mouth.
 So I will in my story straightway pass
 To more immediate matter. Woe, alas!
 That love should be my bane! Ah, Scylla fair!
 Why did poor Glaucus ever -- ever dare
 To sue thee to his heart? Kind stranger -- youth!
 I lov'd her to the very white of truth,
 And she would not conceive it. Timid thing!
 She fled me swift as sea-bird on the wing,
 Round every isle, and point, and promontory,
 From where large Hercules wound up his story
 Far as Egyptian Nile. My passion grew
 The more, the more I saw her dainty hue
 Gleam delicately through the azure clear:
 Until 'twas too fierce agony to bear;
 And in that agony, across my grief
 It flash'd, that Circe might find some relief --
 Cruel enchantress! So above the water
 I rear'd my head, and look'd for Phoebus' daughter,
 AEaea's isle was wondering at the moon: --
 It seem'd to whirl around me, and a swoon
 Left me dead-drifting to that fatal power.

"When I awoke, 'twas in a twilight bower;
 Just when the light of morn, with hum of bees,
 Stole through its verdurous matting of fresh trees.
 How sweet, and sweeter! for I heard a lyre,
 And over it a sighing voice expire.
 It ceased -- I caught light footsteps; and anon
 The fairest face that morn e'er look'd upon
 Push'd through a screen of roses. Starry Jove!
 With tears, and smiles, and honey-words she wove
 A net whose thraldom was more bliss than all
 The range of flower'd Elysium. Thus did fall
 The dew of her rich speech: 'Ah! Art awake?
  'O let me hear thee speak, for Cupid's sake!
  'I am so oppress'd with joy! Why, I have shed
  'An urn of tears, as though thou wert cold dead;
  'And now I find thee living, I will pour
  'From these devoted eyes their silver store,
  'Until exhausted of the latest drop,
  'So it will pleasure thee, and force thee stop
  'Here, that I too may live: but if beyond
  'Such cool and sorrowful offerings, thou art fond
  'Of soothing warmth, of dalliance supreme;
  'If thou art ripe to taste a long love dream;
  'If smiles, if dimples, tongues for ardour mute,
  'Hang in thy vision like a tempting fruit,
  'O let me pluck it for thee.' Thus she link'd
 Her charming syllables, till indistinct
 Their music came to my o'er-sweeten'd soul;
 And then she hover'd over me, and stole
 So near, that if no nearer it had been
 This furrow'd visage thou hadst never seen.

"Young man of Latmos! thus particular
 Am I, that thou may'st plainly see how far
 This fierce temptation went: and thou may'st not
 Exclaim, How then, was Scylla quite forgot?

"Who could resist? Who in this universe?
 She did so breathe ambrosia; so immerse
 My fine existence in a golden clime.
 She took me like a child of suckling time,
 And cradled me in roses. Thus condemn'd,
 The current of my former life was stemm'd,
 And to this arbitrary queen of sense
 I bow'd a tranced vassal: nor would thence
 Have mov'd, even though Amphion's harp had woo'd
 Me back to Scylla o'er the billows rude.
 For as Apollo each eve doth devise
 A new appareling for western skies;
 So every eve, nay every spendthrift hour
 Shed balmy consciousness within that bower.
 And I was free of haunts umbrageous;
 Could wander in the mazy forest-house
 Of squirrels, foxes shy, and antler'd deer,
 And birds from coverts innermost and drear
 Warbling for very joy mellifluous sorrow --
 To me new born delights!

"Now let me borrow,
 For moments few, a temperament as stern
 As Pluto's sceptre, that my words not burn
 These uttering lips, while I in calm speech tell
 How specious heaven was changed to real hell.

"One morn she left me sleeping: half awake
 I sought for her smooth arms and lips, to slake
 My greedy thirst with nectarous camel-draughts;
 But she was gone. Whereat the barbed shafts
 Of disappointment stuck in me so sore,
 That out I ran and search'd the forest o'er.
 Wandering about in pine and cedar gloom
 Damp awe assail'd me; for there 'gan to boom
 A sound of moan, an agony of sound,
 Sepulchral from the distance all around.
 Then came a conquering earth-thunder, and rumbled
 That fierce complain to silence: while I stumbled
 Down a precipitous path, as if impell'd.
 I came to a dark valley. -- Groanings swell'd
 Poisonous about my ears, and louder grew,
 The nearer I approach'd a flame's gaunt blue,
 That glar'd before me through a thorny brake.
 This fire, like the eye of gordian snake,
 Bewitch'd me towards; and I soon was near
 A sight too fearful for the feel of fear:
 In thicket hid I curs'd the haggard scene --
 The banquet of my arms, my arbour queen,
 Seated upon an uptorn forest root;
 And all around her shapes, wizard and brute,
 Laughing, and wailing, groveling, serpenting,
 Showing tooth, tusk, and venom-bag, and sting!
 O such deformities! Old Charon's self,
 Should he give up awhile his penny pelf,
 And take a dream 'mong rushes Stygian,
 It could not be so phantasied. Fierce, wan,
 And tyrannizing was the lady's look,
 As over them a gnarled staff she shook.
 Oft-times upon the sudden she laugh'd out,
 And from a basket emptied to the rout
 Clusters of grapes, the which they raven'd quick
 And roar'd for more; with many a hungry lick
 About their shaggy jaws. Avenging, slow,
 Anon she took a branch of mistletoe,
 And emptied on't a black dull-gurgling phial:
 Groan'd one and all, as if some piercing trial
 Was sharpening for their pitiable bones.
 She lifted up the charm: appealing groans
 From their poor breasts went sueing to her ear
 In vain; remorseless as an infant's bier
 She whisk'd against their eyes the sooty oil.
 Whereat was heard a noise of painful toil,
 Increasing gradual to a tempest rage,
 Shrieks, yells, and groans of torture-pilgrimage;
 Until their grieved bodies 'gan to bloat
 And puff from the tail's end to stifled throat:
 Then was appalling silence: then a sight
 More wildering than all that hoarse affright;
 For the whole herd, as by a whirlwind writhen,
 Went through the dismal air like one huge Python
 Antagonizing Boreas, -- and so vanish'd.
 Yet there was not a breath of wind: she banish'd
 These phantoms with a nod. Lo! from the dark
 Came waggish fauns, and nymphs, and satyrs stark,
 With dancing and loud revelry, -- and went
 Swifter than centaurs after rapine bent. --
 Sighing an elephant appear'd and bow'd
 Before the fierce witch, speaking thus aloud
 In human accent: 'Potent goddess! chief
  'Of pains resistless! make my being brief,
  'Or let me from this heavy prison fly:
  'Or give me to the air, or let me die!
  'I sue not for my happy crown again;
  'I sue not for my phalanx on the plain;
  'I sue not for my lone, my widow'd wife;
  'I sue not for my ruddy drops of life,
  'My children fair, my lovely girls and boys!
  'I will forget them; I will pass these joys;
  'Ask nought so heavenward, so too -- too high:
  'Only I pray, as fairest boon, to die,
  'Or be deliver'd from this cumbrous flesh,
  'From this gross, detestable, filthy mesh,
  'And merely given to the cold bleak air.
  'Have mercy, Goddess! Circe, feel my prayer!'

"That curst magician's name fell icy numb
 Upon my wild conjecturing: truth had come
 Naked and sabre-like against my heart.
 I saw a fury whetting a death-dart;
 And my slain spirit, overwrought with fright,
 Fainted away in that dark lair of night.
 Think, my deliverer, how desolate
 My waking must have been! disgust, and hate,
 And terrors manifold divided me
 A spoil amongst them. I prepar'd to flee
 Into the dungeon core of that wild wood:
 I fled three days -- when lo! before me stood
 Glaring the angry witch. O Dis, even now,
 A clammy dew is beading on my brow,
 At mere remembering her pale laugh, and curse.
  'Ha! ha! Sir Dainty! there must be a nurse
  'Made of rose leaves and thistledown, express,
  'To cradle thee my sweet, and lull thee: yes,
  'I am too flinty-hard for thy nice touch:
  'My tenderest squeeze is but a giant's clutch.
  'So, fairy-thing, it shall have lullabies
  'Unheard of yet: and it shall still its cries
  'Upon some breast more lilly-feminine.
  'Oh, no -- it shall not pine, and pine, and pine
  'More than one pretty, trifling thousand years;
  'And then 'twere pity, but fate's gentle shears
  'Cut short its immortality. Sea-flirt!
  'Young dove of the waters! truly I'll not hurt
  'One hair of thine: see how I weep and sigh,
  'That our heart-broken parting is so nigh.
  'And must we part? Ah, yes, it must be so.
  'Yet ere thou leavest me in utter woe,
  'Let me sob over thee my last adieus,
  'And speak a blessing: Mark me! Thou hast thews
  'Immortal, for thou art of heavenly race:
  'But such a love is mine, that here I chace
  'Eternally away from thee all bloom
  'Of youth, and destine thee towards a tomb.
  'Hence shalt thou quickly to the watery vast;
  'And there, ere many days be overpast,
  'Disabled age shall seize thee; and even then
  'Thou shalt not go the way of aged men;
  'But live and wither, cripple and still breathe
  'Ten hundred years: which gone, I then bequeath
  'Thy fragile bones to unknown burial.
  'Adieu, sweet love, adieu!' -- As shot stars fall,
 She fled ere I could groan for mercy. Stung
 And poison'd was my spirit: despair sung
 A war-song of defiance 'gainst all hell.
 A hand was at my shoulder to compel
 My sullen steps; another 'fore my eyes
 Moved on with pointed finger. In this guise
 Enforced, at the last by ocean's foam
 I found me; by my fresh, my native home.
 Its tempering coolness, to my life akin,
 Came salutary as I waded in;
 And, with a blind voluptuous rage, I gave
 Battle to the swollen billow-ridge, and drave
 Large froth before me, while there yet remain'd
 Hale strength, nor from my bones all marrow drain'd.

"Young lover, I must weep -- such hellish spite
 With dry cheek who can tell? While thus my might
 Proving upon this element, dismay'd,
 Upon a dead thing's face my hand I laid;
 I look'd -- 'twas Scylla! Cursed, cursed Circe!
 O vulture-witch, hast never heard of mercy?
 Could not thy harshest vengeance be content,
 But thou must nip this tender innocent
 Because I lov'd her? -- Cold, O cold indeed
 Were her fair limbs, and like a common weed
 The sea-swell took her hair. Dead as she was
 I clung about her waist, nor ceas'd to pass
 Fleet as an arrow through unfathom'd brine,
 Until there shone a fabric crystalline,
 Ribb'd and inlaid with coral, pebble, and pearl.
 Headlong I darted; at one eager swirl
 Gain'd its bright portal, enter'd, and behold!
  'Twas vast, and desolate, and icy-cold;
 And all around -- But wherefore this to thee
 Who in few minutes more thyself shalt see? --
 I left poor Scylla in a niche and fled.
 My fever'd parchings up, my scathing dread
 Met palsy half way: soon these limbs became
 Gaunt, wither'd, sapless, feeble, cramp'd, and lame.

"Now let me pass a cruel, cruel space,
 Without one hope, without one faintest trace
 Of mitigation, or redeeming bubble
 Of colour'd phantasy; for I fear 'twould trouble
 Thy brain to loss of reason: and next tell
 How a restoring chance came down to quell
 One half of the witch in me.

"On a day,
 Sitting upon a rock above the spray,
 I saw grow up from the horizon's brink
 A gallant vessel: soon she seem'd to sink
 Away from me again, as though her course
 Had been resum'd in spite of hindering force --
 So vanish'd: and not long, before arose
 Dark clouds, and muttering of winds morose.
 Old AEolus would stifle his mad spleen,
 But could not: therefore all the billows green
 Toss'd up the silver spume against the clouds.
 The tempest came: I saw that vessel's shrouds
 In perilous bustle; while upon the deck
 Stood trembling creatures. I beheld the wreck;
 The final gulphing; the poor struggling souls:
 I heard their cries amid loud thunder-rolls.
 O they had all been sav'd but crazed eld
 Annull'd my vigorous cravings: and thus quell'd
 And curb'd, think on't, O Latmian! did I sit
 Writhing with pity, and a cursing fit
 Against that hell-born Circe. The crew had gone,
 By one and one, to pale oblivion;
 And I was gazing on the surges prone,
 With many a scalding tear and many a groan,
 When at my feet emerg'd an old man's hand,
 Grasping this scroll, and this same slender wand.
 I knelt with pain -- reach'd out my hand -- had grasp'd
 These treasures -- touch'd the knuckles -- they unclasp'd --
 I caught a finger: but the downward weight
 O'erpowered me -- it sank. Then 'gan abate
 The storm, and through chill aguish gloom outburst
 The comfortable sun. I was athirst
 To search the book, and in the warming air
 Parted its dripping leaves with eager care.
 Strange matters did it treat of, and drew on
 My soul page after page, till well-nigh won
 Into forgetfulness; when, stupefied,
 I read these words, and read again, and tried
 My eyes against the heavens, and read again.
 O what a load of misery and pain
 Each Atlas-line bore off! -- a shine of hope
 Came gold around me, cheering me to cope
 Strenuous with hellish tyranny. Attend!
 For thou hast brought their promise to an end.

"In the wide sea there lives a forlorn wretch,
 Doom'd with enfeebled carcase to outstretch
 His loath'd existence through ten centuries,
 And then to die alone. Who can devise
 A total opposition? No one. So
 One million times ocean must ebb and flow,
 And he oppressed. Yet he shall not die,
 These things accomplish'd: -- If he utterly
 Scans all the depths of magic, and expounds
 The meanings of all motions, shapes and sounds;
 If he explores all forms and substances
 Straight homeward to their symbol-essences;
 He shall not die. Moreover, and in chief,
 He must pursue this task of joy and grief
 Most piously; -- all lovers tempest-tost,
 And in the savage overwhelming lost,
 He shall deposit side by side, until
 Time's creeping shall the dreary space fulfil:
 Which done, and all these labours ripened,
 A youth, by heavenly power lov'd and led,
 Shall stand before him; whom he shall direct
 How to consummate all. The youth elect
 Must do the thing, or both will be destroy'd."� --

"Then,"� cried the young Endymion, overjoy'd,
  "We are twin brothers in this destiny!
 Say, I intreat thee, what achievement high
 Is, in this restless world, for me reserv'd.
 What! if from thee my wandering feet had swerv'd,
 Had we both perish'd?"� -- "Look!"� the sage replied,
  "Dost thou not mark a gleaming through the tide,
 Of diverse brilliances? 'tis the edifice
 I told thee of, where lovely Scylla lies;
 And where I have enshrined piously
 All lovers, whom fell storms have doom'd to die
 Throughout my bondage."� Thus discoursing, on
 They went till unobscur'd the porches shone;
 Which hurryingly they gain'd, and enter'd straight.
 Sure never since king Neptune held his state
 Was seen such wonder underneath the stars.
 Turn to some level plain where haughty Mars
 Has legion'd all his battle; and behold
 How every soldier, with firm foot, doth hold
 His even breast: see, many steeled squares,
 And rigid ranks of iron-whence who dares
 One step? Imagine further, line by line,
 These warrior thousands on the field supine: --
 So in that crystal place, in silent rows,
 Poor lovers lay at rest from joys and woes. --
 The stranger from the mountains, breathless, trac'd
 Such thousands of shut eyes in order plac'd;
 Such ranges of white feet, and patient lips
 All ruddy, -- for here death no blossom nips.
 He mark'd their brows and foreheads; saw their hair
 Put sleekly on one side with nicest care;
 And each one's gentle wrists, with reverence,
 Put cross-wise to its heart.

"Let us commence,"�
 Whisper'd the guide, stuttering with joy, "even now."�
 He spake, and, trembling like an aspen-bough,
 Began to tear his scroll in pieces small,
 Uttering the while some mumblings funeral.
 He tore it into pieces small as snow
 That drifts unfeather'd when bleak northerns blow;
 And having done it, took his dark blue cloak
 And bound it round Endymion: then struck
 His wand against the empty air times nine. --
  "What more there is to do, young man, is thine:
 But first a little patience; first undo
 This tangled thread, and wind it to a clue.
 Ah, gentle! 'tis as weak as spider's skein;
 And shouldst thou break it -- What, is it done so clean?
 A power overshadows thee! O, brave!
 The spite of hell is tumbling to its grave.
 Here is a shell; 'tis pearly blank to me,
 Nor mark'd with any sign or charactery --
 Canst thou read aught? O read for pity's sake!
 Olympus! we are safe! Now, Carian, break
 This wand against yon lyre on the pedestal."�

'Twas done: and straight with sudden swell and fall
 Sweet music breath'd her soul away, and sigh'd
 A lullaby to silence. -- "Youth! now strew
 These minced leaves on me, and passing through
 Those files of dead, scatter the same around,
 And thou wilt see the issue."� -- 'Mid the sound
 Of flutes and viols, ravishing his heart,
 Endymion from Glaucus stood apart,
 And scatter'd in his face some fragments light.
 How lightning-swift the change! a youthful wight
 Smiling beneath a coral diadem,
 Out-sparkling sudden like an upturn'd gem,
 Appear'd, and, stepping to a beauteous corse,
 Kneel'd down beside it, and with tenderest force
 Press'd its cold hand, and wept, -- and Scylla sigh'd!
 Endymion, with quick hand, the charm applied --
 The nymph arose: he left them to their joy,
 And onward went upon his high employ,
 Showering those powerful fragments on the dead.
 And, as he pass'd, each lifted up its head,
 As doth a flower at Apollo's touch.
 Death felt it to his inwards: 'twas too much:
 Death fell a weeping in his charnel-house.
 The Latmian persever'd along, and thus
 All were re-animated. There arose
 A noise of harmony, pulses and throes
 Of gladness in the air -- while many, who
 Had died in mutual arms devout and true,
 Sprang to each other madly; and the rest
 Felt a high certainty of being blest.
 They gaz'd upon Endymion. Enchantment
 Grew drunken, and would have its head and bent.
 Delicious symphonies, like airy flowers,
 Budded, and swell'd, and, full-blown, shed full showers
 Of light, soft, unseen leaves of sounds divine.
 The two deliverers tasted a pure wine
 Of happiness, from fairy-press ooz'd out.
 Speechless they eyed each other, and about
 The fair assembly wander'd to and fro,
 Distracted with the richest overflow
 Of joy that ever pour'd from heaven.

-- "Away!"�
 Shouted the new born god; "Follow, and pay
 Our piety to Neptunus supreme!"� --
 Then Scylla, blushing sweetly from her dream,
 They led on first, bent to her meek surprise,
 Through portal columns of a giant size,
 Into the vaulted, boundless emerald.
 Joyous all follow'd as the leader call'd,
 Down marble steps; pouring as easily
 As hour-glass sand, -- and fast, as you might see
 Swallows obeying the south summer's call,
 Or swans upon a gentle waterfall.

Thus went that beautiful multitude, nor far,
 Ere from among some rocks of glittering spar,
 Just within ken, they saw descending thick
 Another multitude. Whereat more quick
 Moved either host. On a wide sand they met,
 And of those numbers every eye was wet;
 For each their old love found. A murmuring rose,
 Like what was never heard in all the throes
 Of wind and waters: 'tis past human wit
 To tell; 'tis dizziness to think of it.

This mighty consummation made, the host
 Mov'd on for many a league; and gain'd, and lost
 Huge sea-marks; vanward swelling in array,
 And from the rear diminishing away, --
 Till a faint dawn surpris'd them. Glaucus cried,
  "Behold! behold, the palace of his pride!
 God Neptune's palaces!"� With noise increas'd,
 They shoulder'd on towards that brightening east.
 At every onward step proud domes arose
 In prospect, -- diamond gleams, and golden glows
 Of amber 'gainst their faces levelling.
 Joyous, and many as the leaves in spring,
 Still onward; still the splendour gradual swell'd.
 Rich opal domes were seen, on high upheld
 By jasper pillars, letting through their shafts
 A blush of coral. Copious wonder-draughts
 Each gazer drank; and deeper drank more near.
 For what poor mortals fragment up, as mere
 As marble was there lavish, to the vast
 Of one fair palace, that far far surpass'd,
 Even for common bulk, those olden three,
 Memphis, and Babylon, and Nineveh.

As large, as bright, as colour'd as the bow
 Of Iris, when unfading it doth show
 Beyond a silvery shower, was the arch
 Through which this Paphian army took its march,
 Into the outer courts of Neptune's state:
 Whence could be seen, direct, a golden gate,
 To which the leaders sped; but not half raught
 Ere it burst open swift as fairy thought,
 And made those dazzled thousands veil their eyes
 Like callow eagles at the first sunrise.
 Soon with an eagle nativeness their gaze
 Ripe from hue-golden swoons took all the blaze,
 And then, behold! large Neptune on his throne
 Of emerald deep: yet not exalt alone;
 At his right hand stood winged Love, and on
 His left sat smiling Beauty's paragon.

Far as the mariner on highest mast
 Can see all round upon the calmed vast,
 So wide was Neptune's hall: and as the blue
 Doth vault the waters, so the waters drew
 Their doming curtains, high, magnificent,
 Aw'd from the throne aloof; -- and when storm-rent
 Disclos'd the thunder-gloomings in Jove's air;
 But sooth'd as now, flash'd sudden everywhere,
 Noiseless, sub-marine cloudlets, glittering
 Death to a human eye: for there did spring
 From natural west, and east, and south, and north,
 A light as of four sunsets, blazing forth
 A gold-green zenith 'bove the Sea-God's head.
 Of lucid depth the floor, and far outspread
 As breezeless lake, on which the slim canoe
 Of feather'd Indian darts about, as through
 The delicatest air: air verily,
 But for the portraiture of clouds and sky:
 This palace floor breath-air, -- but for the amaze
 Of deep-seen wonders motionless, -- and blaze
 Of the dome pomp, reflected in extremes,
 Globing a golden sphere.

They stood in dreams
 Till Triton blew his horn. The palace rang;
 The Nereids danc'd; the Syrens faintly sang;
 And the great Sea-King bow'd his dripping head.
 Then Love took wing, and from his pinions shed
 On all the multitude a nectarous dew.
 The ooze-born Goddess beckoned and drew
 Fair Scylla and her guides to conference;
 And when they reach'd the throned eminence
 She kist the sea-nymph's cheek, -- who sat her down
 A toying with the doves. Then, -- "Mighty crown
 And sceptre of this kingdom!"� Venus said,
  "Thy vows were on a time to Nais paid:
 Behold!"� -- Two copious tear-drops instant fell
 From the God's large eyes; he smil'd delectable,
 And over Glaucus held his blessing hands. --
  "Endymion! Ah! still wandering in the bands
 Of love? Now this is cruel. Since the hour
 I met thee in earth's bosom, all my power
 Have I put forth to serve thee. What, not yet
 Escap'd from dull mortality's harsh net?
 A little patience, youth! 'twill not be long,
 Or I am skilless quite: an idle tongue,
 A humid eye, and steps luxurious,
 Where these are new and strange, are ominous.
 Aye, I have seen these signs in one of heaven,
 When others were all blind: and were I given
 To utter secrets, haply I might say
 Some pleasant words: -- but Love will have his day.
 So wait awhile expectant. Pr'ythee soon,
 Even in the passing of thine honey-moon,
 Visit thou my Cythera: thou wilt find
 Cupid well-natured, my Adonis kind;
 And pray persuade with thee -- Ah, I have done,
 All blisses be upon thee, my sweet son!"� --
 Thus the fair goddess: While Endymion
 Knelt to receive those accents halcyon.

Meantime a glorious revelry began
 Before the Water-Monarch. Nectar ran
 In courteous fountains to all cups outreach'd;
 And plunder'd vines, teeming exhaustless, pleach'd
 New growth about each shell and pendent lyre;
 The which, in disentangling for their fire,
 Pull'd down fresh foliage and coverture
 For dainty toying. Cupid, empire-sure,
 Flutter'd and laugh'd, and oft-times through the throng
 Made a delightful way. Then dance, and song,
 And garlanding grew wild; and pleasure reign'd.
 In harmless tendril they each other chain'd,
 And strove who should be smother'd deepest in
 Fresh crush of leaves.

O 'tis a very sin
 For one so weak to venture his poor verse
 In such a place as this. O do not curse,
 High Muses! let him hurry to the ending.

All suddenly were silent. A soft blending
 Of dulcet instruments came charmingly;
 And then a hymn.

"King of the stormy sea!
 Brother of Jove, and co-inheritor
 Of elements! Eternally before
 Thee the waves awful bow. Fast, stubborn rock,
 At thy fear'd trident shrinking, doth unlock
 Its deep foundations, hissing into foam.
 All mountain-rivers, lost in the wide home
 Of thy capacious bosom, ever flow.
 Thou frownest, and old AEeolus thy foe
 Skulks to his cavern, 'mid the gruff complaint
 Of all his rebel tempests. Dark clouds faint
 When, from thy diadem, a silver gleam
 Slants over blue dominion. Thy bright team
 Gulphs in the morning light, and scuds along
 To bring thee nearer to that golden song
 Apollo singeth, while his chariot
 Waits at the doors of heaven. Thou art not
 For scenes like this: an empire stern hast thou;
 And it hath furrow'd that large front: yet now,
 As newly come of heaven, dost thou sit
 To blend and interknit
 Subdued majesty with this glad time.
 O shell-borne King sublime!
 We lay our hearts before thee evermore --
 We sing, and we adore!

"Breathe softly, flutes;
 Be tender of your strings, ye soothing lutes;
 Nor be the trumpet heard! O vain, O vain;
 Not flowers budding in an April rain,
 Nor breath of sleeping dove, nor river's flow, --
 No, nor the AEolian twang of Love's own bow,
 Can mingle music fit for the soft ear
 Of goddess Cytherea!
 Yet deign, white Queen of Beauty, thy fair eyes
 On our souls' sacrifice.

"Bright-winged Child!
 Who has another care when thou hast smil'd?
 Unfortunates on earth, we see at last
 All death-shadows, and glooms that overcast
 Our spirits, fann'd away by thy light pinions.
 O sweetest essence! sweetest of all minions!
 God of warm pulses, and dishevell'd hair,
 And panting bosoms bare!
 Dear unseen light in darkness! eclipser
 Of light in light! delicious poisoner!
 Thy venom'd goblet will we quaff until
 We fill -- we fill!
 And by thy Mother's lips --"�

Was heard no more
 For clamour, when the golden palace door
 Opened again, and from without, in shone
 A new magnificence. On oozy throne
 Smooth-moving came Oceanus the old,
 To take a latest glimpse at his sheep-fold,
 Before he went into his quiet cave
 To muse for ever -- Then a lucid wave,
 Scoop'd from its trembling sisters of mid-sea,
 Afloat, and pillowing up the majesty
 Of Doris, and the AEgean seer, her spouse --
 Next, on a dolphin, clad in laurel boughs,
 Theban Amphion leaning on his lute:
 His fingers went across it -- All were mute
 To gaze on Amphitrite, queen of pearls,
 And Thetis pearly too. --

The palace whirls
 Around giddy Endymion; seeing he
 Was there far strayed from mortality.
 He could not bear it -- shut his eyes in vain;
 Imagination gave a dizzier pain.
  "O I shall die! sweet Venus, be my stay!
 Where is my lovely mistress? Well-away!
 I die -- I hear her voice -- I feel my wing --"�
 At Neptune's feet he sank. A sudden ring
 Of Nereids were about him, in kind strife
 To usher back his spirit into life:
 But still he slept. At last they interwove
 Their cradling arms, and purpos'd to convey
 Towards a crystal bower far away.

Lo! while slow carried through the pitying crowd,
 To his inward senses these words spake aloud;
 Written in star-light on the dark above:
 Dearest Endymion! my entire love!
 How have I dwelt in fear of fate: 'tis done --
 Immortal bliss for me too hast thou won.
 Arise then! for the hen-dove shall not hatch
 Her ready eggs, before I'll kissing snatch
 Thee into endless heaven. Awake! awake!

The youth at once arose: a placid lake
 Came quiet to his eyes; and forest green,
 Cooler than all the wonders he had seen,
 Lull'd with its simple song his fluttering breast.
 How happy once again in grassy nest!

BOOK IV.

Muse of my native land! loftiest Muse!
 O first-born on the mountains! by the hues
 Of heaven on the spiritual air begot:
 Long didst thou sit alone in northern grot,
 While yet our England was a wolfish den;
 Before our forests heard the talk of men;
 Before the first of Druids was a child; --
 Long didst thou sit amid our regions wild
 Rapt in a deep prophetic solitude.
 There came an eastern voice of solemn mood
 Yet wast thou patient. Then sang forth the Nine,
 Apollo's garland: -- yet didst thou divine
 Such home-bred glory, that they cry'd in vain,
  "Come hither, Sister of the Island!"� Plain
 Spake fair Ausonia; and once more she spake
 A higher summons: -- still didst thou betake
 Thee to thy native hopes. O thou hast won
 A full accomplishment! The thing is done,
 Which undone, these our latter days had risen
 On barren souls. Great Muse, thou know'st what prison,
 Of flesh and bone, curbs, and confines, and frets
 Our spirit's wings: despondency besets
 Our pillows; and the fresh to-morrow morn
 Seems to give forth its light in very scorn
 Of our dull, uninspired, snail-paced lives.
 Long have I said, how happy he who shrives
 To thee! But then I thought on poets gone,
 And could not pray: -- nor could I now -- so on
 I move to the end in lowliness of heart. --

"Ah, woe is me! that I should fondly part
 From my dear native land! Ah, foolish maid!
 Glad was the hour, when, with thee, myriads bade
 Adieu to Ganges and their pleasant fields!
 To one so friendless the clear freshet yields
 A bitter coolness; the ripe grape is sour:
 Yet I would have, great gods! but one short hour
 Of native air -- let me but die at home."�

Endymion to heaven's airy dome
 Was offering up a hecatomb of vows,
 When these words reach'd him. Whereupon he bows
 His head through thorny-green entanglement
 Of underwood, and to the sound is bent,
 Anxious as hind towards her hidden fawn.

"Is no one near to help me? No fair dawn
 Of life from charitable voice? No sweet saying
 To set my dull and sadden'd spirit playing?
 No hand to toy with mine? No lips so sweet
 That I may worship them? No eyelids meet
 To twinkle on my bosom? No one dies
 Before me, till from these enslaving eyes
 Redemption sparkles! -- I am sad and lost."�

Thou, Carian lord, hadst better have been tost
 Into a whirlpool. Vanish into air,
 Warm mountaineer! for canst thou only bear
 A woman's sigh alone and in distress?
 See not her charms! Is Phoebe passionless?
 Phoebe is fairer far -- O gaze no more: --
 Yet if thou wilt behold all beauty's store,
 Behold her panting in the forest grass!
 Do not those curls of glossy jet surpass
 For tenderness the arms so idly lain
 Amongst them? Feelest not a kindred pain,
 To see such lovely eyes in swimming search
 After some warm delight, that seems to perch
 Dovelike in the dim cell lying beyond
 Their upper lids? -- Hist!

"O for Hermes' wand,
 To touch this flower into human shape!
 That woodland Hyacinthus could escape
 From his green prison, and here kneeling down
 Call me his queen, his second life's fair crown!
 Ah me, how I could love! -- My soul doth melt
 For the unhappy youth -- Love! I have felt
 So faint a kindness, such a meek surrender
 To what my own full thoughts had made too tender,
 That but for tears my life had fled away! --
 Ye deaf and senseless minutes of the day,
 And thou, old forest, hold ye this for true,
 There is no lightning, no authentic dew
 But in the eye of love: there's not a sound,
 Melodious howsoever, can confound
 The heavens and earth in one to such a death
 As doth the voice of love: there's not a breath
 Will mingle kindly with the meadow air,
 Till it has panted round, and stolen a share
 Of passion from the heart!"� --

Upon a bough
 He leant, wretched. He surely cannot now
 Thirst for another love: O impious,
 That he can ever dream upon it thus! --
 Thought he, "Why am I not as are the dead,
 Since to a woe like this I have been led
 Through the dark earth, and through the wondrous sea?
 Goddess! I love thee not the less: from thee
 By Juno's smile I turn not -- no, no, no --
 While the great waters are at ebb and flow. --
 I have a triple soul! O fond pretence --
 For both, for both my love is so immense,
 I feel my heart is cut for them in twain."�

And so he groan'd, as one by beauty slain.
 The lady's heart beat quick, and he could see
 Her gentle bosom heave tumultuously.
 He sprang from his green covert: there she lay,
 Sweet as a muskrose upon new-made hay;
 With all her limbs on tremble, and her eyes
 Shut softly up alive. To speak he tries.
  "Fair damsel, pity me! forgive that I
 Thus violate thy bower's sanctity!
 O pardon me, for I am full of grief --
 Grief born of thee, young angel! fairest thief!
 Who stolen hast away the wings wherewith
 I was to top the heavens. Dear maid, sith
 Thou art my executioner, and I feel
 Loving and hatred, misery and weal,
 Will in a few short hours be nothing to me,
 And all my story that much passion slew me;
 Do smile upon the evening of my days:
 And, for my tortur'd brain begins to craze,
 Be thou my nurse; and let me understand
 How dying I shall kiss that lilly hand. --
 Dost weep for me? Then should I be content.
 Scowl on, ye fates! until the firmament
 Outblackens Erebus, and the full-cavern'd earth
 Crumbles into itself. By the cloud girth
 Of Jove, those tears have given me a thirst
 To meet oblivion."� -- As her heart would burst
 The maiden sobb'd awhile, and then replied:
  "Why must such desolation betide
 As that thou speak'st of? Are not these green nooks
 Empty of all misfortune? Do the brooks
 Utter a gorgon voice? Does yonder thrush,
 Schooling its half-fledg'd little ones to brush
 About the dewy forest, whisper tales? --
 Speak not of grief, young stranger, or cold snails
 Will slime the rose to night. Though if thou wilt,
 Methinks 'twould be a guilt -- a very guilt --
 Not to companion thee, and sigh away
 The light -- the dusk -- the dark -- till break of day!"�
  "Dear lady,"� said Endymion, "'tis past:
 I love thee! and my days can never last.
 That I may pass in patience still speak:
 Let me have music dying, and I seek
 No more delight -- I bid adieu to all.
 Didst thou not after other climates call,
 And murmur about Indian streams?"� -- Then she,
 Sitting beneath the midmost forest tree,
 For pity sang this roundelay --

"O Sorrow,
 Why dost borrow
 The natural hue of health, from vermeil lips? --
 To give maiden blushes
 To the white rose bushes?
 Or is't thy dewy hand the daisy tips?

"O Sorrow,
 Why dost borrow
 The lustrous passion from a falcon-eye? --
 To give the glow-worm light?
 Or, on a moonless night,
 To tinge, on syren shores, the salt sea-spry

"O Sorrow,
 Why dost borrow
 The mellow ditties from a mourning tongue? --
 To give at evening pale
 Unto the nightingale,
 That thou mayst listen the cold dews among?

"O Sorrow,
 Why dost borrow
 Heart's lightness from the merriment of May? --
 A lover would not tread
 A cowslip on the head,
 Though he should dance from eve till peep of day --
 Nor any drooping flower
 Held sacred for thy bower,
 Wherever he may sport himself and play.

"To Sorrow,
 I bade good-morrow,
 And thought to leave her far away behind;
 But cheerly, cheerly,
 She loves me dearly;
 She is so constant to me, and so kind:
 I would deceive her
 And so leave her,
 But ah! she is so constant and so kind.

"Beneath my palm trees, by the river side,
 I sat a weeping: in the whole world wide
 There was no one to ask me why I wept, --
 And so I kept
 Brimming the water-lilly cups with tears
 Cold as my fears.

"Beneath my palm trees, by the river side,
 I sat a weeping: what enamour'd bride,
 Cheated by shadowy wooer from the clouds,
 But hides and shrouds
 Beneath dark palm trees by a river side?

"And as I sat, over the light blue hills
 There came a noise of revellers: the rills
 Into the wide stream came of purple hue --
  'Twas Bacchus and his crew!
 The earnest trumpet spake, and silver thrills
 From kissing cymbals made a merry din --
  'Twas Bacchus and his kin!
 Like to a moving vintage down they came,
 Crown'd with green leaves, and faces all on flame;
 All madly dancing through the pleasant valley,
 To scare thee, Melancholy!
 O then, O then, thou wast a simple name!
 And I forgot thee, as the berried holly
 By shepherds is forgotten, when, in June,
 Tall chesnuts keep away the sun and moon: --
 I rush'd into the folly!

"Within his car, aloft, young Bacchus stood,
 Trifling his ivy-dart, in dancing mood,
 With sidelong laughing;
 And little rills of crimson wine imbrued
 His plump white arms, and shoulders, enough white
 For Venus' pearly bite:
 And near him rode Silenus on his ass,
 Pelted with flowers as he on did pass
 Tipsily quaffing.

"Whence came ye, merry Damsels! whence came ye!
 So many, and so many, and such glee?
 Why have ye left your bowers desolate,
 Your lutes and gentler fate? --
  'We follow Bacchus! Bacchus on the wing,
 A conquering!
 Bacchus, young Bacchus! good or ill betide,
 We dance before him thorough kingdoms wide
 Come hither, lady fair, and joined be
 To our wild minstrelsy!'

"Whence came ye, jolly Satyrs! whence came ye!
 So many, and so many, and such glee?
 Why have ye left your forest haunts, why left
 Your nuts in oak-tree cleft? --
  'For wine, for wine we left our kernel tree;
 For wine we left our heath, and yellow brooms,
 And cold mushrooms;
 For wine we follow Bacchus through the earth;
 Great God of breathless cups and chirping mirth! --
 Come hither, lady fair, and joined be
 To our mad minstrelsy!'

"Over wide streams and mountains great we went,
 And, save when Bacchus kept his ivy tent,
 Onward the tiger and the leopard pants,
 With Asian elephants:
 Onward these myriads -- with song and dance,
 With zebras striped, and sleek Arabians' prance,
 Web-footed alligators, crocodiles,
 Bearing upon their scaly backs, in files,
 Plump infant laughers mimicking the coil
 Of seamen, and stout galley-rowers' toil:
 With toying oars and silken sails they glide,
 Nor care for wind and tide.

"Mounted on panthers' furs and lions' manes,
 From rear to van they scour about the plains;
 A three days' journey in a moment done:
 And always, at the rising of the sun,
 About the wilds they hunt with spear and horn,
 On spleenful unicorn.

"I saw Osirian Egypt kneel adown
 Before the vine-wreath crown!
 I saw parch'd Abyssinia rouse and sing
 To the silver cymbals' ring!
 I saw the whelming vintage hotly pierce
 Old Tartary the fierce!
 The kings of Inde their jewel-sceptres vail,
 And from their treasures scatter pearled hail;
 Great Brahma from his mystic heaven groans,
 And all his priesthood moans;
 Before young Bacchus' eye-wink turning pale. --
 Into these regions came I following him,
 Sick hearted, weary -- so I took a whim
 To stray away into these forests drear
 Alone, without a peer:
 And I have told thee all thou mayest hear.

"Young stranger!
 I've been a ranger
 In search of pleasure throughout every clime:
 Alas, 'tis not for me!
 Bewitch'd I sure must be,
 To lose in grieving all my maiden prime.

"Come then, Sorrow!
 Sweetest Sorrow!
 Like an own babe I nurse thee on my breast:
 I thought to leave thee
 And deceive thee,
 But now of all the world I love thee best.

"There is not one,
 No, no, not one
 But thee to comfort a poor lonely maid;
 Thou art her mother,
 And her brother,
 Her playmate, and her wooer in the shade."�

O what a sigh she gave in finishing,
 And look, quite dead to every worldly thing!
 Endymion could not speak, but gazed on her;
 And listened to the wind that now did stir
 About the crisped oaks full drearily,
 Yet with as sweet a softness as might be
 Remember'd from its velvet summer song.
 At last he said: "Poor lady, how thus long
 Have I been able to endure that voice?
 Fair Melody! kind Syren! I've no choice;
 I must be thy sad servant evermore:
 I cannot choose but kneel here and adore.
 Alas, I must not think -- by Phoebe, no!
 Let me not think, soft Angel! shall it be so?
 Say, beautifullest, shall I never think?
 O thou could'st foster me beyond the brink
 Of recollection! make my watchful care
 Close up its bloodshot eyes, nor see despair!
 Do gently murder half my soul, and
 Shall feel the other half so utterly! --
 I'm giddy at that cheek so fair and smooth;
 O let it blush so ever! let it soothe
 My madness! let it mantle rosy-warm
 With the tinge of love, panting in safe alarm. --
 This cannot be thy hand, and yet it is;
 And this is sure thine other softling -- this
 Thine own fair bosom, and I am so near!
 Wilt fall asleep? O let me sip that tear!
 And whisper one sweet word that I may know
 This is this world -- sweet dewy blossom!"� -- Woe!
 Woe! Woe to that Endymion! Where is he? --
 Even these words went echoing dismally
 Through the wide forest -- a most fearful tone,
 Like one repenting in his latest moan;
 And while it died away a shade pass'd by,
 As of a thunder cloud. When arrows fly
 Through the thick branches, poor ring-doves sleek forth
 Their timid necks and tremble; so these both
 Leant to each other trembling, and sat so
 Waiting for some destruction -- when lo,
 Foot-feather'd Mercury appear'd sublime
 Beyond the tall tree tops; and in less time
 Than shoots the slanted hail-storm, down he dropt
 Towards the ground; but rested not, nor stopt
 One moment from his home: only the sward
 He with his wand light touch'd, and heavenward
 Swifter than sight was gone -- even before
 The teeming earth a sudden witness bore
 Of his swift magic. Diving swans appear
 Above the crystal circlings white and clear;
 And catch the cheated eye in wide surprise,
 How they can dive in sight and unseen rise --
 So from the turf outsprang two steeds jet-black,
 Each with large dark blue wings upon his back.
 The youth of Caria plac'd the lovely dame
 On one, and felt himself in spleen to tame
 The other's fierceness. Through the air they flew,
 High as the eagles. Like two drops of dew
 Exhal'd to Phoebus' lips, away they are gone,
 Far from the earth away -- unseen, alone,
 Among cool clouds and winds, but that the free,
 The buoyant life of song can floating be
 Above their heads, and follow them untir'd. --
 Muse of my native land, am I inspir'd?
 This is the giddy air, and I must spread
 Wide pinions to keep here; nor do I dread
 Or height, or depth, or width, or any chance
 Precipitous: I have beneath my glance
 Those towering horses and their mournful freight.
 Could I thus sail, and see, and thus await
 Fearless for power of thought, without thine aid? --

There is a sleepy dusk, an odorous shade
 From some approaching wonder, and behold
 Those winged steeds, with snorting nostrils bold
 Snuff at its faint extreme, and seem to tire,
 Dying to embers from their native fire!

There curl'd a purple mist around them; soon,
 It seem'd as when around the pale new moon
 Sad Zephyr droops the clouds like weeping willow:
  'Twas Sleep slow journeying with head on pillow.
 For the first time, since he came nigh dead born
 From the old womb of night, his cave forlorn
 Had he left more forlorn; for the first time,
 He felt aloof the day and morning's prime --
 Because into his depth Cimmerian
 There came a dream, showing how a young man,
 Ere a lean bat could plump its wintery skin,
 Would at high Jove's empyreal footstool win
 An immortality, and how espouse
 Jove's daughter, and be reckon'd of his house.
 Now was he slumbering towards heaven's gate,
 That he might at the threshold one hour wait
 To hear the marriage melodies, and then
 Sink downward to his dusky cave again.
 His litter of smooth semilucent mist,
 Diversely ting'd with rose and amethyst,
 Puzzled those eyes that for the centre sought;
 And scarcely for one moment could be caught
 His sluggish form reposing motionless.
 Those two on winged steeds, with all the stress
 Of vision search'd for him, as one would look
 Athwart the sallows of a river nook
 To catch a glance at silver-throated eels, --
 Or from old Skiddaw's top, when fog conceals
 His rugged forehead in a mantle pale,
 With an eye-guess towards some pleasant vale
 Descry a favourite hamlet faint and far.

These raven horses, though they foster'd are
 Of earth's splenetic fire, dully drop
 Their full-vein'd ears, nostrils blood wide, and stop;
 Upon the spiritless mist have they outspread
 Their ample feathers, are in slumber dead, --
 And on those pinions, level in mid air,
 Endymion sleepeth and the lady fair.
 Slowly they sail, slowly as icy isle
 Upon a calm sea drifting: and meanwhile
 The mournful wanderer dreams. Behold! he walks
 On heaven's pavement; brotherly he talks
 To divine powers: from his hand full fain
 Juno's proud birds are pecking pearly grain:
 He tries the nerve of Phoebus' golden bow,
 And asketh where the golden apples grow:
 Upon his arm he braces Pallas' shield,
 And strives in vain to unsettle and wield
 A Jovian thunderbolt: arch Hebe brings
 A full-brimm'd goblet, dances lightly, sings
 And tantalizes long; at last he drinks,
 And lost in pleasure at her feet he sinks,
 Touching with dazzled lips her starlight hand.
 He blows a bugle, -- an ethereal band
 Are visible above: the Seasons four, --
 Green-kyrtled Spring, flush Summer, golden store
 In Autumn's sickle, Winter frosty hoar,
 Join dance with shadowy Hours; while still the blast
 In swells unmitigated, still doth last
 To sway their floating morris. "Whose is this?
 Whose bugle?"� he inquires; they smile -- "O Dis!
 Why is this mortal here? Dost thou not know
 Its mistress' lips? Not thou? -- 'Tis Dian's: lo!
 She rises crescented!"� He looks, 'tis she,
 His very goddess; good-bye earth, and sea,
 And air, and pains, and care, and suffering;
 Good-bye to all but love! Then doth he spring
 Towards her, and awakes -- and, strange, o'erhead,
 Of those same fragrant exhalations bred,
 Beheld awake his very dream: the gods
 Stood smiling; merry Hebe laughs and nods;
 And Phoebe bends towards him crescented.
 O state perplexing! On the pinion bed,
 Too well awake, he feels the panting side
 Of his delicious lady. He who died
 For soaring too audacious in the sun,
 When that same treacherous wax began to run,
 Felt not more tongue-tied than Endymion.
 His heart leapt up as to its rightful throne,
 To that fair shadow'd passion puls'd its way --
 Ah, what perplexity! Ah, well a day!
 So fond, so beauteous was his bed-fellow,
 He could not help but kiss her: then he grew
 Awhile forgetful of all beauty save
 Young Phoebe's, golden hair'd; and so 'gan crave
 Forgiveness: yet he turn'd once more to look
 At the sweet sleeper, -- all his soul was shook, --
 She press'd his hand in slumber; so once more
 He could not help but kiss her and adore.
 At this the shadow wept, melting away.
 The Latmian started up: "Bright goddess, stay!
 Search my most hidden breast! By truth's own tongue,
 I have no daedale heart: why is it wrung
 To desperation? Is there nought for me,
 Upon the bourne of bliss, but misery?"�

These words awoke the stranger of dark tresses:
 Her dawning love-look rapt Endymion blesses
 With 'haviour soft. Sleep yawn'd from underneath.
  "Thou swan of Ganges, let us no more breathe
 This murky phantasm! thou contented seem'st
 Pillow'd in lovely idleness, nor dream'st
 What horrors may discomfort thee and me.
 Ah, shouldst thou die from my heart-treachery! --
 Yet did she merely weep -- her gentle soul
 Hath no revenge in it: as it is whole
 In tenderness, would I were whole in love!
 Can I prize thee, fair maid, all price above,
 Even when I feel as true as innocence?
 I do, I do. -- What is this soul then? Whence
 Came it? It does not seem my own, and I
 Have no self-passion or identity.
 Some fearful end must be: where, where is it?
 By Nemesis, I see my spirit flit
 Alone about the dark -- Forgive me, sweet:
 Shall we away?"� He rous'd the steeds: they beat
 Their wings chivalrous into the clear air,
 Leaving old Sleep within his vapoury lair.

The good-night blush of eve was waning slow,
 And Vesper, risen star, began to throe
 In the dusk heavens silverly, when they
 Thus sprang direct towards the Galaxy.
 Nor did speed hinder converse soft and strange --
 Eternal oaths and vows they interchange,
 In such wise, in such temper, so aloof
 Up in the winds, beneath a starry roof,
 So witless of their doom, that verily
  'Tis well nigh past man's search their hearts to see;
 Whether they wept, or laugh'd, or griev'd, or toy'd --
 Most like with joy gone mad, with sorrow cloy'd.

Full facing their swift flight, from ebon streak,
 The moon put forth a little diamond peak,
 No bigger than an unobserved star,
 Or tiny point of fairy scymetar;
 Bright signal that she only stoop'd to tie
 Her silver sandals, ere deliciously
 She bow'd into the heavens her timid head.
 Slowly she rose, as though she would have fled,
 While to his lady meek the Carian turn'd,
 To mark if her dark eyes had yet discern'd
 This beauty in its birth -- Despair! despair!
 He saw her body fading gaunt and spare
 In the cold moonshine. Straight he seiz'd her wrist;
 It melted from his grasp: her hand he kiss'd,
 And, horror! kiss'd his own -- he was alone.
 Her steed a little higher soar'd, and then
 Dropt hawkwise to the earth.

There lies a den,
 Beyond the seeming confines of the space
 Made for the soul to wander in and trace
 Its own existence, of remotest glooms.
 Dark regions are around it, where the tombs
 Of buried griefs the spirit sees, but scarce
 One hour doth linger weeping, for the pierce
 Of new-born woe it feels more inly smart:
 And in these regions many a venom'd dart
 At random flies; they are the proper home
 Of every ill: the man is yet to come
 Who hath not journeyed in this native hell.
 But few have ever felt how calm and well
 Sleep may be had in that deep den of all.
 There anguish does not sting; nor pleasure pall:
 Woe-hurricanes beat ever at the gate,
 Yet all is still within and desolate.
 Beset with plainful gusts, within ye hear
 No sound so loud as when on curtain'd bier
 The death-watch tick is stifled. Enter none
 Who strive therefore: on the sudden it is won.
 Just when the sufferer begins to burn,
 Then it is free to him; and from an urn,
 Still fed by melting ice, he takes a draught --
 Young Semele such richness never quaft
 In her maternal longing! Happy gloom!
 Dark Paradise! where pale becomes the bloom
 Of health by due; where silence dreariest
 Is most articulate; where hopes infest;
 Where those eyes are the brightest far that keep
 Their lids shut longest in a dreamless sleep.
 O happy spirit -- home! O wondrous soul!
 Pregnant with such a den to save the whole
 In thine own depth. Hail, gentle Carian!
 For, never since thy griefs and woes began,
 Hast thou felt so content: a grievous feud
 Hath led thee to this Cave of Quietude.
 Aye, his lull'd soul was there, although upborne
 With dangerous speed: and so he did not mourn
 Because he knew not whither he was going.
 So happy was he, not the aerial blowing
 Of trumpets at clear parley from the east
 Could rouse from that fine relish, that high feast.
 They stung the feather'd horse: with fierce alarm
 He flapp'd towards the sound. Alas, no charm
 Could lift Endymion's head, or he had view'd
 A skyey mask, a pinion'd multitude, --
 And silvery was its passing: voices sweet
 Warbling the while as if to lull and greet
 The wanderer in his path. Thus warbled they,
 While past the vision went in bright array.

"Who, who from Dian's feast would be away?
 For all the golden bowers of the day
 Are empty left? Who, who away would be
 From Cynthia's wedding and festivity?
 Not Hesperus: lo! upon his silver wings
 He leans away for highest heaven and sings,
 Snapping his lucid fingers merrily! --
 Ah, Zephyrus! art here, and Flora too!
 Ye tender bibbers of the rain and dew,
 Young playmates of the rose and daffodil,
 Be careful, ere ye enter in, to fill
 Your baskets high
 With fennel green, and balm, and golden pines,
 Savory, latter-mint, and columbines,
 Cool parsley, basil sweet, and sunny thyme;
 Yea, every flower and leaf of every clime,
 All gather'd in the dewy morning: hie
 Away! fly, fly! --
 Crystalline brother of the belt of heaven,
 Aquarius! to whom king Jove has given
 Two liquid pulse streams 'stead of feather'd wings,
 Two fan-like fountains, -- thine illuminings
 For Dian play:
 Dissolve the frozen purity of air;
 Let thy white shoulders silvery and bare
 Show cold through water pinions; make more bright
 The Star-Queen's crescent on her marriage night:
 Haste, haste away! --
 Castor has tamed the planet Lion, see!
 And of the Bear has Pollux mastery:
 A third is in the race! who is the third
 Speeding away swift as the eagle bird?
 The ramping Centaur!
 The Lion's mane's on end: the Bear how fierce!
 The Centaur's arrow ready seems to pierce
 Some enemy: far forth his bow is bent
 Into the blue of heaven. He'll be shent,
 Pale unrelentor,
 When he shall hear the wedding lutes a playing. --
 Andromeda! sweet woman! why delaying
 So timidly among the stars: come hither!
 Join this bright throng, and nimbly follow whither
 They all are going.
 Danae's Son, before Jove newly bow'd,
 Has wept for thee, calling to Jove aloud.
 Thee, gentle lady, did he disenthral:
 Ye shall for ever live and love, for all
 Thy tears are flowing. --
 By Daphne's fright, behold Apollo! --"�

More
 Endymion heard not: down his steed him bore,
 Prone to the green head of a misty hill.

His first touch of the earth went nigh to kill.
  "Alas!"� said he, "were I but always borne
 Through dangerous winds, had but my footsteps worn
 A path in hell, for ever would I bless
 Horrors which nourish an uneasiness
 For my own sullen conquering: to him
 Who lives beyond earth's boundary, grief is dim,
 Sorrow is but a shadow: now I see
 The grass; I feel the solid ground -- Ah, me!
 It is thy voice -- divinest! Where? -- who? who
 Left thee so quiet on this bed of dew?
 Behold upon this happy earth we are;
 Let us aye love each other; let us fare
 On forest-fruits, and never, never go
 Among the abodes of mortals here below,
 Or be by phantoms duped. O destiny!
 Into a labyrinth now my soul would fly,
 But with thy beauty will I deaden it.
 Where didst thou melt to? By thee will I sit
 For ever: let our fate stop here -- a kid
 I on this spot will offer: Pan will bid
 Us live in peace, in love and peace among
 His forest wildernesses. I have clung
 To nothing, lov'd a nothing, nothing seen
 Or felt but a great dream! O I have been
 Presumptuous against love, against the sky,
 Against all elements, against the tie
 Of mortals each to each, against the blooms
 Of flowers, rush of rivers, and the tombs
 Of heroes gone! Against his proper glory
 Has my own soul conspired: so my story
 Will I to children utter, and repent.
 There never liv'd a mortal man, who bent
 His appetite beyond his natural sphere,
 But starv'd and died. My sweetest Indian, here,
 Here will I kneel, for thou redeemed hast
 My life from too thin breathing: gone and past
 Are cloudy phantasms. Caverns lone, farewell!
 And air of visions, and the monstrous swell
 Of visionary seas! No, never more
 Shall airy voices cheat me to the shore
 Of tangled wonder, breathless and aghast.
 Adieu, my daintiest Dream! although so vast
 My love is still for thee. The hour may come
 When we shall meet in pure elysium.
 On earth I may not love thee; and therefore
 Doves will I offer up, and sweetest store
 All through the teeming year: so thou wilt shine
 On me, and on this damsel fair of mine,
 And bless our silver lives. My Indian bliss!
 My river-lilly bud! one human kiss!
 One sigh of real breath -- one gentle squeeze,
 Warm as a dove's nest among summer trees,
 And warm with dew at ooze from living blood!
 Whither didst melt? Ah, what of that! -- all good
 We'll talk about -- no more of dreaming. -- Now,
 Where shall our dwelling be? Under the brow
 Of some steep mossy hill, where ivy dun
 Would hide us up, although spring leaves were none;
 And where dark yew trees, as we rustle through,
 Will drop their scarlet berry cups of dew?
 O thou wouldst joy to live in such a place;
 Dusk for our loves, yet light enough to grace
 Those gentle limbs on mossy bed reclin'd:
 For by one step the blue sky shouldst thou find,
 And by another, in deep dell below,
 See, through the trees, a little river go
 All in its mid-day gold and glimmering.
 Honey from out the gnarled hive I'll bring,
 And apples, wan with sweetness, gather thee, --
 Cresses that grow where no man may them see,
 And sorrel untorn by the dew-claw'd stag:
 Pipes will I fashion of the syrinx flag,
 That thou mayst always know whither I roam,
 When it shall please thee in our quiet home
 To listen and think of love. Still let me speak;
 Still let me dive into the joy I seek, --
 For yet the past doth prison me. The rill,
 Thou haply mayst delight in, will I fill
 With fairy fishes from the mountain tarn,
 And thou shalt feed them from the squirrel's barn.
 Its bottom will I strew with amber shells,
 And pebbles blue from deep enchanted wells.
 Its sides I'll plant with dew-sweet eglantine,
 And honeysuckles full of clear bee-wine.
 I will entice this crystal rill to trace
 Love's silver name upon the meadow's face.
 I'll kneel to Vesta, for a flame of fire;
 And to god Phoebus, for a golden lyre;
 To Empress Dian, for a hunting spear;
 To Vesper, for a taper silver-clear,
 That I may see thy beauty through the night;
 To Flora, and a nightingale shall light
 Tame on thy finger; to the River-gods,
 And they shall bring thee taper fishing-rods
 Of gold, and lines of Naiads' long bright tress.
 Heaven shield thee for thine utter loveliness!
 Thy mossy footstool shall the altar be
  'Fore which I'll bend, bending, dear love, to thee:
 Those lips shall be my Delphos, and shall speak
 Laws to my footsteps, colour to my cheek,
 Trembling or stedfastness to this same voice,
 And of three sweetest pleasurings the choice:
 And that affectionate light, those diamond things,
 Those eyes, those passions, those supreme pearl springs,
 Shall be my grief, or twinkle me to pleasure.
 Say, is not bliss within our perfect seisure?
 O that I could not doubt!"�

The mountaineer
 Thus strove by fancies vain and crude to clear
 His briar'd path to some tranquillity.
 It gave bright gladness to his lady's eye,
 And yet the tears she wept were tears of sorrow;
 Answering thus, just as the golden morrow
 Beam'd upward from the vallies of the east:
  "O that the flutter of this heart had ceas'd,
 Or the sweet name of love had pass'd away.
 Young feather'd tyrant! by a swift decay
 Wilt thou devote this body to the earth:
 And I do think that at my very birth
 I lisp'd thy blooming titles inwardly;
 For at the first, first dawn and thought of thee,
 With uplift hands I blest the stars of heaven.
 Art thou not cruel? Ever have I striven
 To think thee kind, but ah, it will not do!
 When yet a child, I heard that kisses drew
 Favour from thee, and so I kisses gave
 To the void air, bidding them find out love:
 But when I came to feel how far above
 All fancy, pride, and fickle maidenhood,
 All earthly pleasure, all imagin'd good,
 Was the warm tremble of a devout kiss, --
 Even then, that moment, at the thought of this,
 Fainting I fell into a bed of flowers,
 And languish'd there three days. Ye milder powers,
 Am I not cruelly wrong'd? Believe, believe
 Me, dear Endymion, were I to weave
 With my own fancies garlands of sweet life,
 Thou shouldst be one of all. Ah, bitter strife!
 I may not be thy love: I am forbidden --
 Indeed I am -- thwarted, affrighted, chidden,
 By things I trembled at, and gorgon wrath.
 Twice hast thou ask'd whither I went: henceforth
 Ask me no more! I may not utter it,
 Nor may I be thy love. We might commit
 Ourselves at once to vengeance; we might die;
 We might embrace and die: voluptuous thought!
 Enlarge not to my hunger, or I'm caught
 In trammels of perverse deliciousness.
 No, no, that shall not be: thee will I bless,
 And bid a long adieu."�

The Carian
 No word return'd: both lovelorn, silent, wan,
 Into the vallies green together went.
 Far wandering, they were perforce content
 To sit beneath a fair lone beechen tree;
 Nor at each other gaz'd, but heavily
 Por'd on its hazle cirque of shedded leaves.

Endymion! unhappy! it nigh grieves
 Me to behold thee thus in last extreme:
 Ensky'd ere this, but truly that I deem
 Truth the best music in a first-born song.
 Thy lute-voic'd brother will I sing ere long,
 And thou shalt aid -- hast thou not aided me?
 Yes, moonlight Emperor! felicity
 Has been thy meed for many thousand years;
 Yet often have I, on the brink of tears,
 Mourn'd as if yet thou wert a forester; --
 Forgetting the old tale.

He did not stir
 His eyes from the dead leaves, or one small pulse
 Of joy he might have felt. The spirit culls
 Unfaded amaranth, when wild it strays
 Through the old garden-ground of boyish days.
 A little onward ran the very stream
 By which he took his first soft poppy dream;
 And on the very bark 'gainst which he leant
 A crescent he had carv'd, and round it spent
 His skill in little stars. The teeming tree
 Had swollen and green'd the pious charactery,
 But not ta'en out. Why, there was not a slope
 Up which he had not fear'd the antelope;
 And not a tree, beneath whose rooty shade
 He had not with his tamed leopards play'd:
 Nor could an arrow light, or javelin,
 Fly in the air where his had never been --
 And yet he knew it not.

O treachery!
 Why does his lady smile, pleasing her eye
 With all his sorrowing? He sees her not.
 But who so stares on him? His sister sure!
 Peona of the woods! -- Can she endure --
 Impossible -- how dearly they embrace!
 His lady smiles; delight is in her face;
 It is no treachery.

"Dear brother mine!
 Endymion, weep not so! Why shouldst thou pine
 When all great Latmos so exalt will be?
 Thank the great gods, and look not bitterly;
 And speak not one pale word, and sigh no more.
 Sure I will not believe thou hast such store
 Of grief, to last thee to my kiss again.
 Thou surely canst not bear a mind in pain,
 Come hand in hand with one so beautiful.
 Be happy both of you! for I will pull
 The flowers of autumn for your coronals.
 Pan's holy priest for young Endymion calls;
 And when he is restor'd, thou, fairest dame,
 Shalt be our queen. Now, is it not a shame
 To see ye thus, -- not very, very sad?
 Perhaps ye are too happy to be glad:
 O feel as if it were a common day;
 Free-voic'd as one who never was away.
 No tongue shall ask, whence come ye? but ye shall
 Be gods of your own rest imperial.
 Not even I, for one whole month, will pry
 Into the hours that have pass'd us by,
 Since in my arbour I did sing to thee.
 O Hermes! on this very night will be
 A hymning up to Cynthia, queen of light;
 For the soothsayers old saw yesternight
 Good visions in the air, -- whence will befal,
 As say these sages, health perpetual
 To shepherds and their flocks; and furthermore,
 In Dian's face they read the gentle lore:
 Therefore for her these vesper-carols are.
 Our friends will all be there from nigh and far.
 Many upon thy death have ditties made;
 And many, even now, their foreheads shade
 With cypress, on a day of sacrifice.
 New singing for our maids shalt thou devise,
 And pluck the sorrow from our huntsmen's brows.
 Tell me, my lady-queen, how to espouse
 This wayward brother to his rightful joys!
 His eyes are on thee bent, as thou didst poize
 His fate most goddess-like. Help me, I pray,
 To lure -- Endymion, dear brother, say
 What ails thee?"� He could bear no more, and so
 Bent his soul fiercely like a spiritual bow,
 And twang'd it inwardly, and calmly said:
  "I would have thee my only friend, sweet maid!
 My only visitor! not ignorant though,
 That those deceptions which for pleasure go
  'Mong men, are pleasures real as real may be:
 But there are higher ones I may not see,
 If impiously an earthly realm I take.
 Since I saw thee, I have been wide awake
 Night after night, and day by day, until
 Of the empyrean I have drunk my fill.
 Let it content thee, Sister, seeing me
 More happy than betides mortality.
 A hermit young, I'll live in mossy cave,
 Where thou alone shalt come to me, and lave
 Thy spirit in the wonders I shall tell.
 Through me the shepherd realm shall prosper well;
 For to thy tongue will I all health confide.
 And, for my sake, let this young maid abide
 With thee as a dear sister. Thou alone,
 Peona, mayst return to me. I own
 This may sound strangely: but when, dearest girl,
 Thou seest it for my happiness, no pearl
 Will trespass down those cheeks. Companion fair!
 Wilt be content to dwell with her, to share
 This sister's love with me?"� Like one resign'd
 And bent by circumstance, and thereby blind
 In self-commitment, thus that meek unknown:
  "Aye, but a buzzing by my ears has flown,
 Of jubilee to Dian: -- truth I heard?
 Well then, I see there is no little bird,
 Tender soever, but is Jove's own care,
 Long have I sought for rest, and, unaware,
 Behold I find it! so exalted too!
 So after my own heart! I knew, I knew
 There was a place untenanted in it:
 In that same void white Chastity shall sit,
 And monitor me nightly to lone slumber.
 With sanest lips I vow me to the number
 Of Dian's sisterhood; and, kind lady,
 With thy good help, this very night shall see
 My future days to her fane consecrate."�

As feels a dreamer what doth most create
 His own particular fright, so these three felt:
 Or like one who, in after ages, knelt
 To Lucifer or Baal, when he'd pine
 After a little sleep: or when in mine
 Far under-ground, a sleeper meets his friends
 Who know him not. Each diligently bends
 Towards common thoughts and things for very fear;
 Striving their ghastly malady to cheer,
 By thinking it a thing of yes and no,
 That housewives talk of. But the spirit-blow
 Was struck, and all were dreamers. At the last
 Endymion said: "Are not our fates all cast?
 Why stand we here? Adieu, ye tender pair!
 Adieu!"� Whereat those maidens, with wild stare,
 Walk'd dizzily away. Pained and hot
 His eyes went after them, until they got
 Near to a cypress grove, whose deadly maw,
 In one swift moment, would what then he saw
 Engulph for ever. "Stay!"� he cried, "ah, stay!
 Turn, damsels! hist! one word I have to say.
 Sweet Indian, I would see thee once again.
 It is a thing I dote on: so I'd fain,
 Peona, ye should hand in hand repair
 Into those holy groves, that silent are
 Behind great Dian's temple. I'll be yon,
 At Vesper's earliest twinkle -- they are gone --
 But once, once, once again --"� At this he press'd
 His hands against his face, and then did rest
 His head upon a mossy hillock green,
 And so remain'd as he a corpse had been
 All the long day; save when he scantly lifted
 His eyes abroad, to see how shadows shifted
 With the slow move of time, -- sluggish and weary
 Until the poplar tops, in journey dreary,
 Had reach'd the river's brim. Then up he rose,
 And, slowly as that very river flows,
 Walk'd towards the temple grove with this lament:
  "Why such a golden eve? The breeze is sent
 Careful and soft, that not a leaf may fall
 Before the serene father of them all
 Bows down his summer head below the west.
 Now am I of breath, speech, and speed possest,
 But at the setting I must bid adieu
 To her for the last time. Night will strew
 On the damp grass myriads of lingering leaves,
 And with them shall I die; nor much it grieves
 To die, when summer dies on the cold sward.
 Why, I have been a butterfly, a lord
 Of flowers, garlands, love-knots, silly posies,
 Groves, meadows, melodies, and arbour roses;
 My kingdom's at its death, and just it is
 That I should die with it: so in all this
 We miscall grief, bale, sorrow, heartbreak, woe,
 What is there to plain of? By Titan's foe
 I am but rightly serv'd."� So saying, he
 Tripp'd lightly on, in sort of deathful glee;
 Laughing at the clear stream and setting sun,
 As though they jests had been: nor had he done
 His laugh at nature's holy countenance,
 Until that grove appear'd, as if perchance,
 And then his tongue with sober seemlihed
 Gave utterance as he enter'd: "Ha! I said,
 King of the butterflies; but by this gloom,
 And by old Rhadamanthus' tongue of doom,
 This dusk religion, pomp of solitude,
 And the Promethean clay by thief endued,
 By old Saturnus' forelock, by his head
 Shook with eternal palsy, I did wed
 Myself to things of light from infancy;
 And thus to be cast out, thus lorn to die,
 Is sure enough to make a mortal man
 Grow impious."� So he inwardly began
 On things for which no wording can be found;
 Deeper and deeper sinking, until drown'd
 Beyond the reach of music: for the choir
 Of Cynthia he heard not, though rough briar
 Nor muffling thicket interpos'd to dull
 The vesper hymn, far swollen, soft and full,
 Through the dark pillars of those sylvan aisles.
 He saw not the two maidens, nor their smiles,
 Wan as primroses gather'd at midnight
 By chilly finger'd spring. "Unhappy wight!
 Endymion!"� said Peona, "we are here!
 What wouldst thou ere we all are laid on bier?"�
 Then he embrac'd her, and his lady's hand
 Press'd, saying: "Sister, I would have command,
 If it were heaven's will, on our sad fate."�
 At which that dark-eyed stranger stood elate
 And said, in a new voice, but sweet as love,
 To Endymion's amaze: "By Cupid's dove,
 And so thou shalt! and by the lilly truth
 Of my own breast thou shalt, beloved youth!"�
 And as she spake, into her face there came
 Light, as reflected from a silver flame:
 Her long black hair swell'd ampler, in display
 Full golden; in her eyes a brighter day
 Dawn'd blue and full of love. Aye, he beheld
 Phoebe, his passion! joyous she upheld
 Her lucid bow, continuing thus: "Drear, drear
 Has our delaying been; but foolish fear
 Withheld me first; and then decrees of fate;
 And then 'twas fit that from this mortal state
 Thou shouldst, my love, by some unlook'd for change
 Be spiritualiz'd. Peona, we shall range
 These forests, and to thee they safe shall be
 As was thy cradle; hither shalt thou flee
 To meet us many a time."� Next Cynthia bright
 Peona kiss'd, and bless'd with fair good night:
 Her brother kiss'd her too, and knelt adown
 Before his goddess, in a blissful swoon.
 She gave her fair hands to him, and behold,
 Before three swiftest kisses he had told,
 They vanish'd far away! -- Peona went
 Home through the gloomy wood in wonderment.

THE EVE OF SAINT MARK


Upon a Sabbath-day it fell;
 Twice holy was the Sabbath-bell
 That call'd the folk to evening prayer;
 The city streets were clean and fair
 From wholesome drench of April rains;
 And, on the western window panes,
 The chilly sunset faintly told
 Of unmatur'd green vallies cold,
 Of the green thorny bloomless hedge,
 Of rivers new with spring-tide sedge,
 Of primroses by shelter'd rills,
 And daisies on the aguish hills.
 Twice holy was the Sabbath-bell:
 The silent streets were crowded well
 With staid and pious companies,
 Warm from their fire-side orat'ries,
 And moving with demurest air
 To even-song and vesper prayer.
 Each arched porch and entry low
 Was fill'd with patient folk and slow,
 With whispers hush, and shuffling feet,
 While play'd the organ loud and sweet.

The bells had ceas'd, the prayers begun,
 And Bertha had not yet half done
 A curious volume, patch'd and torn,
 That all day long, from earliest morn,
 Had taken captive her two eyes
 Among its golden broideries;
 Perplex'd her with a thousand things, --
 The stars of Heaven, and angels' wings,
 Martyrs in a fiery blaze,
 Azure saints in silver rays,
 Moses' breastplate, and the seven
 Candlesticks John saw in Heaven,
 The winged Lion of Saint Mark,
 And the Covenantal Ark
 With its many mysteries,
 Cherubim and golden mice.

Bertha was a maiden fair,
 Dwelling in the old Minster-square;
 From her fire-side she could see
 Sidelong its rich antiquity,
 Far as the Bishop's garden-wall;
 Where sycamores and elm-trees tall,
 Full-leav'd, the forest had outstript,
 By no sharp north-wind ever nipt,
 So shelter'd by the mighty pile.
 Bertha arose, and read awhile
 With forehead 'gainst the window-pane.
 Again she try'd, and then again,
 Until the dusk eve left her dark
 Upon the legend of St. Mark.
 From plaited lawn-frill, fine and thin,
 She lifted up her soft warm chin,
 With aching neck and swimming eyes,
 And daz'd with saintly imageries.

All was gloom, and silent all,
 Save now and then the still foot-fall
 Of one returning homewards late
 Past the echoing minster-gate.

The clamorous daws, that all the day
 Above tree-tops and towers play,
 Pair by pair had gone to rest,
 Each in its ancient belfry-nest,
 Where asleep they fall betimes
 To music of the drowsy chimes.

All was silent, all was gloom
 Abroad and in the homely room:
 Down she sat, poor cheated soul!
 And struck a lamp from the dismal coal;
 Lean'd forward with bright drooping hair
 And slant book full against the glare.
 Her shadow, in uneasy guise,
 hover'd about, a giant size,
 On ceiling-beam and old oak chair,
 The parrot's cage, and panel square;
 And the warm angled winter screen,
 On which were many monsters seen,
 Call'd doves of Siam, Lima mice,
 And legless birds of Paradise,
 Macaw, and tender Avadavat,
 And silken-furr'd Angora cat.
 Untir'd she read, her shadow still
 Glower'd about as it would fill
 The room with wildest forms and shades,
 As though some ghostly queen of spades
 Had come to mock behind her back,
 And dance, and ruffle her garments black.
 Untir'd she read the legend page
 Of holy Mark, from youth to age,
 On land, on sea, in pagan chains,
 Rejoicing for his many pains.
 Sometimes the learned Eremite
 With golden star, or dagger bright,
 Referr'd to pious poesies
 Written in smallest crow-quill size
 Beneath the text; and thus the rhyme
 Was parcell'd out from time to time:
  "Gif ye wol stonden hardie wight --
 Amiddes of the blacke night --
 Righte in the churche porch, pardie
 Ye wol behold a companie
 Approchen thee full dolourouse
 For sooth to sain from everich house
 Be it in City or village
 Wol come the Phantom and image
 Of ilka gent and ilka carle
 Whom colde Deathe hath in parle
 And wol some day that very year
 Touchen with foule venime spear
 And sadly do them all to die --
 Hem all shalt thou see verilie --
 And everichon shall by thee pass
 All who must die that year Alas
  --Als writith he of swevenis
 Men han beforne they wake in bliss,
 Whanne that hir friendes thinke hem bound
 In crimped shroude farre under grounde;
 And how a litling child mote be
 A saint er its nativitie,
 Gif that the modre (God her blesse!)
 Kepen in solitarinesse,
 And kissen devoute the holy croce.
 Of Goddes love and Sathan's force
 He writith; and thinges many mo:
 Of swiche thinges I may not show,
 Bot I must tellen verilie
 Somdel of Sainte Cicilie,
 And chieflie what he auctorethe
 Of Sainte Markis life and dethe:"�

At length her constant eyelids come
 Upon the fervent martyrdom;
 Then lastly to his holy shrine,
 Exalt amid the tapers' shine
 At Venice, --

WHEN I HAVE FEARS THAT I MAY CEASE TO BE

When I have fears that I may cease to be
 Before my pen has glean'd my teeming brain,
 Before high-piled books in charact'ry
 Hold like rich garners the full ripen'd grain;
 When I behold upon the night's starr'd face
 Huge cloudy symbols of a high romance,
 And think that I may never live to trace
 Their shadows with the magic hand of chance;
 And when I feel, fair creature of an hour,
 That I shall never look upon thee more,
 Never have relish in the faery power
 Of unreflecting love; -- then on the shore
 Of the wide world I stand alone, and think
 Till love and fame to nothingness do sink.

HYPERION

A FRAGMENT

BOOK I.

Deep in the shady sadness of a vale
 Far sunken from the healthy breath of morn,
 Far from the fiery noon, and eve's one star,
 Sat gray-hair'd Saturn, quiet as a stone,
 Still as the silence round about his lair;
 Forest on forest hung about his head
 Like cloud on cloud. No stir of air was there,
 Not so much life as on a summer's day
 Robs not one light seed from the feather'd grass,
 But where the dead leaf fell, there did it rest.
 A stream went voiceless by, still deadened more
 By reason of his fallen divinity
 Spreading a shade: the Naiad 'mid her reeds
 Press'd her cold finger closer to her lips.

Along the margin-sand large foot-marks went,
 No further than to where his feet had stray'd,
 And slept there since. Upon the sodden ground
 His old right hand lay nerveless, listless, dead,
 Unsceptred; and his realmless eyes were closed;
 While his bow'd head seem'd list'ning to the Earth,
 His ancient mother, for some comfort yet.

It seem'd no force could wake him from his place;
 But there came one, who with a kindred hand
 Touch'd his wide shoulders, after bending low
 With reverence, though to one who knew it not.
 She was a Goddess of the infant world;
 By her in stature the tall Amazon
 Had stood a pigmy's height; she would have ta'en
 Achilles by the hair and bent his neck;
 Or with a finger stay'd Ixion's wheel.
 Her face was large as that of Memphian sphinx,
 Pedestal'd haply in a palace court,
 When sages look'd to Egypt for their lore.
 But oh! how unlike marble was that face:
 How beautiful, if sorrow had not made
 Sorrow more beautiful than Beauty's self.
 There was a listening fear in her regard,
 As if calamity had but begun;
 As if the vanward clouds of evil days
 Had spent their malice, and the sullen rear
 Was with its stored thunder labouring up.
 One hand she press'd upon that aching spot
 Where beats the human heart, as if just there,
 Though an immortal, she felt cruel pain:
 The other upon Saturn's bended neck
 She laid, and to the level of his ear
 Leaning with parted lips, some words she spake
 In solemn tenour and deep organ tone:
 Some mourning words, which in our feeble tongue
 Would come in these like accents; O how frail
 To that large utterance of the early Gods!

"Saturn, look up! -- though wherefore, poor old King?
  "I have no comfort for thee, no not one:
  "I cannot say, 'O wherefore sleepest thou?'
  "For heaven is parted from thee, and the earth
  "Knows thee not, thus afflicted, for a God;
  "And ocean too, with all its solemn noise,
  "Has from thy sceptre pass'd; and all the air
  "Is emptied of thine hoary majesty.
  "Thy thunder, conscious of the new command,
  "Rumbles reluctant o'er our fallen house;
  "And thy sharp lightning in unpractis'd hands
  "Scorches and burns our once serene domain.
  "O aching time! O moments big as years!
  "All as ye pass swell out the monstrous truth,
  "And press it so upon our weary griefs
  "That unbelief has not a space to breathe.
  "Saturn, sleep on: -- O thoughtless, why did I
  "Thus violate thy slumbrous solitude?
  "Why should I ope thy melancholy eyes?
  "Saturn, sleep on! while at thy feet I weep."�

As when, upon a tranced summer-night,
 Those green-rob'd senators of mighty woods,
 Tall oaks, branch-charmed by the earnest stars,
 Dream, and so dream all night without a stir,
 Save from one gradual solitary gust
 Which comes upon the silence, and dies off,
 As if the ebbing air had but one wave;
 So came these words and went; the while in tears
 She touch'd her fair large forehead to the ground,
 Just where her falling hair might be outspread
 A soft and silken mat for Saturn's feet.
 One moon, with alteration slow, had shed
 Her silver seasons four upon the night,
 And still these two were postured motionless,
 Like natural sculpture in cathedral cavern;
 The frozen God still couchant on the earth,
 And the sad Goddess weeping at his feet:
 Until at length old Saturn lifted up
 His faded eyes, and saw his kingdom gone,
 And all the gloom and sorrow of the place,
 And that fair kneeling Goddess; and then spake,
 As with a palsied tongue, and while his beard
 Shook horrid with such aspen-malady:
  "O tender spouse of gold Hyperion,
  "Thea, I feel thee ere I see thy face;
  "Look up, and let me see our doom in it;
  "Look up, and tell me if this feeble shape
  "Is Saturn's; tell me, if thou hear'st the voice
  "Of Saturn; tell me, if this wrinkling brow,
  "Naked and bare of its great diadem,
  "Peers like the front of Saturn. Who had power
  "To make me desolate? whence came the strength?
  "How was it nurtur'd to such bursting forth,
  "While Fate seem'd strangled in my nervous grasp?
  "But it is so; and I am smother'd up,
  "And buried from all godlike exercise
  "Of influence benign on planets pale,
  "Of admonitions to the winds and seas,
  "Of peaceful sway above man's harvesting,
  "And all those acts which Deity supreme
  "Doth ease its heart of love in. -- I am gone
  "Away from my own bosom: I have left
  "My strong identity, my real self,
  "Somewhere between the throne, and where I sit
  "Here on this spot of earth. Search, Thea, search!
  "Open thine eyes eterne, and sphere them round
  "Upon all space: space starr'd, and lorn of light;
  "Space region'd with life-air; and barren void;
  "Spaces of fire, and all the yawn of hell. --
  "Search, Thea, search! and tell me, if thou seest
  "A certain shape or shadow, making way
  "With wings or chariot fierce to repossess
  "A heaven he lost erewhile: it must -- it must
  "Be of ripe progress -- Saturn must be King.
  "Yes, there must be a golden victory;
  "There must be Gods thrown down, and trumpets blown
  "Of triumph calm, and hymns of festival
  "Upon the gold clouds metropolitan,
  "Voices of soft proclaim, and silver stir
  "Of strings in hollow shells; and there shall be
  "Beautiful things made new, for the surprise
  "Of the sky-children; I will give command:
  "Thea! Thea! Thea! where is Saturn?"�

This passion lifted him upon his feet,
 And made his hands to struggle in the air,
 His Druid locks to shake and ooze with sweat,
 His eyes to fever out, his voice to cease.
 He stood, and heard not Thea's sobbing deep;
 A little time, and then again he snatch'd
 Utterance thus. -- "But cannot I create?
  "Cannot I form? Cannot I fashion forth
  "Another world, another universe,
  "To overbear and crumble this to naught?
  "Where is another chaos? Where?"� -- That word
 Found way unto Olympus, and made quake
 The rebel three. -- Thea was startled up,
 And in her bearing was a sort of hope,
 As thus she quick-voic'd spake, yet full of awe.
  "This cheers our fallen house: come to our friends,
  "O Saturn! come away, and give them heart;
  "I know the covert, for thence came I hither."�
 Thus brief; then with beseeching eyes she went
 With backward footing through the shade a space:
 He follow'd, and she turn'd to lead the way
 Through aged boughs, that yielded like the mist
 Which eagles cleave upmounting from their nest.

Meanwhile in other realms big tears were shed,
 More sorrow like to this, and such like woe,
 Too huge for mortal tongue or pen of scribe:
 The Titans fierce, self-hid, or prison-bound,
 Groan'd for the old allegiance once more,
 And listen'd in sharp pain for Saturn's voice.
 But one of the whole mammoth-brood still kept
 His sov'reignty, and rule, and majesty; --
 Blazing Hyperion on his orbed fire
 Still sat, still snuff'd the incense, teeming up
 From man to the sun's God; yet unsecure:
 For as among us mortals omens drear
 Fright and perplex, so also shuddered he --
 Not at dog's howl, or gloom-bird's hated screech,
 Or the familiar visiting of one
 Upon the first toll of his passing-bell,
 Or prophesyings of the midnight lamp;
 But horrors, portion'd to a giant nerve,
 Oft made Hyperion ache. His palace bright
 Bastion'd with pyramids of glowing gold,
 And touch'd with shade of bronzed obelisks,
 Glar'd a blood-red through all its thousand courts,
 Arches, and domes, and fiery galleries;
 And all its curtains of Aurorian clouds
 Flush'd angerly: while sometimes eagle's wings,
 Unseen before by Gods or wondering men,
 Darken'd the place; and neighing steeds were heard,
 Not heard before by Gods or wondering men.
 Also, when he would taste the spicy wreaths
 Of incense, breath'd aloft from sacred hills,
 Instead of sweets, his ample palate took
 Savour of poisonous brass and metal sick:
 And so, when harbour'd in the sleepy west,
 After the full completion of fair day, --
 For rest divine upon exalted couch
 And slumber in the arms of melody,
 He pac'd away the pleasant hours of ease
 With stride colossal, on from hall to hall;
 While far within each aisle and deep recess,
 His winged minions in close clusters stood,
 Amaz'd and full of fear; like anxious men
 Who on wide plains gather in panting troops,
 When earthquakes jar their battlements and towers.
 Even now, while Saturn, rous'd from icy trance,
 Went step for step with Thea through the woods,
 Hyperion, leaving twilight in the rear,
 Came slope upon the threshold of the west;
 Then, as was wont, his palace-door flew ope
 In smoothest silence, save what solemn tubes,
 Blown by the serious Zephyrs, gave of sweet
 And wandering sounds, slow-breathed melodies;
 And like a rose in vermeil tint and shape,
 In fragrance soft, and coolness to the eye,
 That inlet to severe magnificence
 Stood full blown, for the God to enter in.

He enter'd, but he enter'd full of wrath;
 His flaming robes stream'd out beyond his heels,
 And gave a roar, as if of earthly fire,
 That scar'd away the meek ethereal Hours
 And made their dove-wings tremble. On he flared,
 From stately nave to nave, from vault to vault,
 Through bowers of fragrant and enwreathed light,
 And diamond-paved lustrous long arcades,
 Until he reach'd the great main cupola;
 There standing fierce beneath, he stamped his foot,
 And from the basement deep to the high towers
 Jarr'd his own golden region; and before
 The quavering thunder thereupon had ceas'd,
 His voice leapt out, despite of godlike curb,
 To this result: "O dreams of day and night!
  "O monstrous forms! O effigies of pain!
  "O spectres busy in a cold, cold gloom!
  "O lank-ear'd Phantoms of black-weeded pools!
  "Why do I know ye? why have I seen ye? why
  "Is my eternal essence thus distraught
  "To see and to behold these horrors new?
  "Saturn is fallen, am I too to fall?
  "Am I to leave this haven of my rest,
  "This cradle of my glory, this soft clime,
  "This calm luxuriance of blissful light,
  "These crystalline pavilions, and pure fanes,
  "Of all my lucent empire? It is left
  "Deserted, void, nor any haunt of mine.
  "The blaze, the splendour, and the symmetry,
  "I cannot see -- but darkness, death and darkness.
  "Even here, into my centre of repose,
  "The shady visions come to domineer,
  "Insult, and blind, and stifle up my pomp. --
  "Fall! -- No, by Tellus and her briny robes!
  "Over the fiery frontier of my realms
  "I will advance a terrible right arm
  "Shall scare that infant thunderer, rebel Jove,
  "And bid old Saturn take his throne again."� --
 He spake, and ceas'd, the while a heavier threat
 Held struggle with his throat but came not forth;
 For as in theatres of crowded men
 Hubbub increases more they call out "Hush!"�
 So at Hyperion's words the Phantoms pale
 Bestirr'd themselves, thrice horrible and cold;
 And from the mirror'd level where he stood
 A mist arose, as from a scummy marsh.
 At this, through all his bulk an agony
 Crept gradual, from the feet unto the crown,
 Like a lithe serpent vast and muscular
 Making slow way, with head and neck convuls'd
 From over-strained might. Releas'd, he fled
 To the eastern gates, and full six dewy hours
 Before the dawn in season due should blush,
 He breath'd fierce breath against the sleepy portals,
 Clear'd them of heavy vapours, burst them wide
 Suddenly on the ocean's chilly streams.
 The planet orb of fire, whereon he rode
 Each day from east to west the heavens through,
 Spun round in sable curtaining of clouds;
 Not therefore veiled quite, blindfold, and hid,
 But ever and anon the glancing spheres,
 Circles, and arcs, and broad-belting colure,
 Glow'd through, and wrought upon the muffling dark
 Sweet-shaped lightnings from the nadir deep
 Up to the zenith, -- hieroglyphics old
 Which sages and keen-eyed astrologers
 Then living on the earth, with labouring thought
 Won from the gaze of many centuries:
 Now lost, save what we find on remnants huge
 Of stone, or marble swart; their import gone,
 Their wisdom long since fled. -- Two wings this orb
 Possess'd for glory, two fair argent wings,
 Ever exalted at the God's approach:
 And now, from forth the gloom their plumes immense
 Rose, one by one, till all outspreaded were;
 While still the dazzling globe maintain'd eclipse,
 Awaiting for Hyperion's command.
 Fain would he have commanded, fain took throne
 And bid the day begin, if but for change.
 He might not: -- No, though a primeval God:
 The sacred seasons might not be disturb'd.
 Therefore the operations of the dawn
 Stay'd in their birth, even as here 'tis told.
 Those silver wings expanded sisterly,
 Eager to sail their orb; the porches wide
 Open'd upon the dusk demesnes of night;
 And the bright Titan, phrenzied with new woes,
 Unus'd to bend, by hard compulsion bent
 His spirit to the sorrow of the time;
 And all along a dismal rack of clouds,
 Upon the boundaries of day and night,
 He stretch'd himself in grief and radiance faint.
 There as he lay, the Heaven with its stars
 Look'd down on him with pity, and the voice
 Of Coelus, from the universal space,
 Thus whisper'd low and solemn in his ear.
  "O brightest of my children dear, earth-born
  "And sky-engendered, Son of Mysteries
  "All unrevealed even to the powers
  "Which met at thy creating; at whose joys
  "And palpitations sweet, and pleasures soft,
  "I, Coelus, wonder, how they came and whence;
  "And at the fruits thereof what shapes they be,
  "Distinct, and visible; symbols divine,
  "Manifestations of that beauteous life
  "Diffus'd unseen throughout eternal space:
  "Of these new-form'd art thou, oh brightest child!
  "Of these, thy brethren and the Goddesses!
  "There is sad feud among ye, and rebellion
  "Of son against his sire. I saw him fall,
  "I saw my first-born tumbled from his throne!
  "To me his arms were spread, to me his voice
  "Found way from forth the thunders round his head!
  "Pale wox I, and in vapours hid my face.
  "Art thou, too, near such doom? vague fear there is:
  "For I have seen my sons most unlike Gods.
  "Divine ye were created, and divine
  "In sad demeanour, solemn, undisturb'd,
  "Unruffled, like high Gods, ye liv'd and ruled:
  "Now I behold in you fear, hope, and wrath;
  "Actions of rage and passion; even as
  "I see them, on the mortal world beneath,
  "In men who die. -- This is the grief, O Son!
  "Sad sign of ruin, sudden dismay, and fall!
  "Yet do thou strive; as thou art capable,
  "As thou canst move about, an evident God;
  "And canst oppose to each malignant hour
  "Ethereal presence: -- I am but a voice;
  "My life is but the life of winds and tides,
  "No more than winds and tides can I avail: --
  "But thou canst. -- Be thou therefore in the van
  "Of circumstance; yea, seize the arrow's barb
  "Before the tense string murmur. -- To the earth!
  "For there thou wilt find Saturn, and his woes.
  "Meantime I will keep watch on thy bright sun,
  "And of thy seasons be a careful nurse."� --
 Ere half this region-whisper had come down,
 Hyperion arose, and on the stars
 Lifted his curved lids, and kept them wide
 Until it ceas'd; and still he kept them wide:
 And still they were the same bright, patient stars.
 Then with a slow incline of his broad breast,
 Like to a diver in the pearly seas,
 Forward he stoop'd over the airy shore,
 And plung'd all noiseless into the deep night.

BOOK II.


Just at the self-same beat of Time's wide wings
 Hyperion slid into the rustled air,
 And Saturn gain'd with Thea that sad place
 Where Cybele and the bruised Titans mourn'd.
 It was a den where no insulting light
 Could glimmer on their tears; where their own groans
 They felt, but heard not, for the solid roar
 Of thunderous waterfalls and torrents hoarse,
 Pouring a constant bulk, uncertain where.
 Crag jutting forth to crag, and rocks that seem'd
 Ever as if just rising from a sleep,
 Forehead to forehead held their monstrous horns;
 And thus in thousand hugest phantasies
 Made a fit roofing to this nest of woe.
 Instead of thrones, hard flint they sat upon,
 Couches of rugged stone, and slaty ridge
 Stubborn'd with iron. All were not assembled:
 Some chain'd in torture, and some wandering.
 Coeus, and Gyges, and Briareus,
 Typhon, and Dolor, and Porphyrion,
 With many more, the brawniest in assault,
 Were pent in regions of laborious breath;
 Dungeon'd in opaque element, to keep
 Their clenched teeth still clench'd, and all their limbs
 Lock'd up like veins of metal, crampt and screw'd;
 Without a motion, save of their big hearts
 Heaving in pain, and horribly convuls'd
 With sanguine feverous boiling gurge of pulse.
 Mnemosyne was straying in the world;
 Far from her moon had Phoebe wandered;
 And many else were free to roam abroad,
 But for the main, here found they covert drear.
 Scarce images of life, one here, one there,
 Lay vast and edgeways; like a dismal cirque
 Of Druid stones, upon a forlorn moor,
 When the chill rain begins at shut of eve,
 In dull November, and their chancel vault,
 The Heaven itself, is blinded throughout night.
 Each one kept shroud, nor to his neighbour gave
 Or word, or look, or action of despair.
 Creus was one; his ponderous iron mace
 Lay by him, and a shatter'd rib of rock
 Told of his rage, ere he thus sank and pined.
 Iapetus another; in his grasp,
 A serpent's plashy neck; its barbed tongue
 Squeez'd from the gorge, and all its uncurl'd length
 Dead; and because the creature could not spit
 Its poison in the eyes of conquering Jove.
 Next Cottus: prone he lay, chin uppermost,
 As though in pain; for still upon the flint
 He ground severe his skull, with open mouth
 And eyes at horrid working. Nearest him
 Asia, born of most enormous Caf,
 Who cost her mother Tellus keener pangs,
 Though feminine, than any of her sons:
 More thought than woe was in her dusky face,
 For she was prophesying of her glory;
 And in her wide imagination stood
 Palm-shaded temples, and high rival fanes,
 By Oxus or in Ganges' sacred isles.
 Even as Hope upon her anchor leans,
 So leant she, not so fair, upon a tusk
 Shed from the broadest of her elephants.
 Above her, on a crag's uneasy shelve,
 Upon his elbow rais'd, all prostrate else,
 Shadow'd Enceladus; once tame and mild
 As grazing ox unworried in the meads;
 Now tiger-passion'd, lion-thoughted, wroth,
 He meditated, plotted, and even now
 Was hurling mountains in that second war,
 Not long delay'd, that scar'd the younger Gods
 To hide themselves in forms of beast and bird.
 Not far hence Atlas; and beside him prone
 Phorcus, the sire of Gorgons. Neighbour'd close
 Oceanus, and Tethys, in whose lap
 Sobb'd Clymene among her tangled hair.
 In midst of all lay Themis, at the feet
 Of Ops the queen all clouded round from sight;
 No shape distinguishable, more than when
 Thick night confounds the pine-tops with the clouds:
 And many else whose names may not be told.
 For when the Muse's wings are air-ward spread,
 Who shall delay her flight? And she must chaunt
 Of Saturn, and his guide, who now had climb'd
 With damp and slippery footing from a depth
 More horrid still. Above a sombre cliff
 Their heads appear'd, and up their stature grew
 Till on the level height their steps found ease:
 Then Thea spread abroad her trembling arms
 Upon the precincts of this nest of pain,
 And sidelong fix'd her eye on Saturn's face:
 There saw she direst strife; the supreme God
 At war with all the frailty of grief,
 Of rage, of fear, anxiety, revenge,
 Remorse, spleen, hope, but most of all despair.
 Against these plagues he strove in vain; for Fate
 Had pour'd a mortal oil upon his head,
 A disanointing poison: so that Thea,
 Affrighted, kept her still, and let him pass
 First onwards in, among the fallen tribe.

As with us mortal men, the laden heart
 Is persecuted more, and fever'd more,
 When it is nighing to the mournful house
 Where other hearts are sick of the same bruise;
 So Saturn, as he walk'd into the midst,
 Felt faint, and would have sunk among the rest,
 But that he met Enceladus's eye,
 Whose mightiness, and awe of him, at once
 Came like an inspiration; and he shouted,
  "Titans, behold your God!"� at which some groan'd;
 Some started on their feet; some also shouted;
 Some wept, some wail'd, all bow'd with reverence;
 And Ops, uplifting her black folded veil,
 Show'd her pale cheeks, and all her forehead wan,
 Her eye-brows thin and jet, and hollow eyes.
 There is a roaring in the bleak-grown pines
 When Winter lifts his voice; there is a noise
 Among immortals when a God gives sign,
 With hushing finger, how he means to load
 His tongue with the full weight of utterless thought,
 With thunder, and with music, and with pomp:
 Such noise is like the roar of bleak-grown pines:
 Which, when it ceases in this mountain'd world,
 No other sound succeeds; but ceasing here,
 Among these fallen, Saturn's voice therefrom
 Grew up like organ, that begins anew
 Its strain, when other harmonies, stopt short,
 Leave the dinn'd air vibrating silverly.
 Thus grew it up -- "Not in my own sad breast,
  "Which is its own great judge and searcher out,
  "Can I find reason why ye should be thus:
  "Not in the legends of the first of days,
  "Studied from that old spirit-leaved book
  "Which starry Uranus with finger bright
  "Sav'd from the shores of darkness, when the waves
  "Low-ebb'd still hid it up in shallow gloom; --
  "And the which book ye know I ever kept
  "For my firm-based footstool: -- Ah, infirm!
  "Not there, nor in sign, symbol, or portent
  "Of element, earth, water, air, and fire, --
  "At war, at peace, or inter-quarreling
  "One against one, or two, or three, or all
  "Each several one against the other three,
  "As fire with air loud warring when rain-floods
  "Drown both, and press them both against earth's face,
  "Where, finding sulphur, a quadruple wrath
  "Unhinges the poor world; -- not in that strife,
  "Wherefrom I take strange lore, and read it deep,
  "Can I find reason why ye should be thus:
  "No, no -- where can unriddle, though I search,
  "And pore on Nature's universal scroll
  "Even to swooning, why ye, Divinities,
  "The first-born of all shap'd and palpable Gods,
  "Should cower beneath what, in comparison,
  "Is untremendous might. Yet ye are here,
  "O'erwhelm'd, and spurn'd, and batter'd, ye are here!
  "O Titans, shall I say, 'Arise!' -- Ye groan:
  "Shall I say 'Crouch!' -- Ye groan. What can I then?
  "O Heaven wide! O unseen parent dear!
  "What can I? Tell me, all ye brethren Gods,
  "How we can war, how engine our great wrath!
  "O speak your counsel now, for Saturn's ear
  "Is all a-hunger'd. Thou, Oceanus,
  "Ponderest high and deep; and in thy face
  "I see, astonied, that severe content
  "Which comes of thought and musing: give us help!"�

So ended Saturn; and the God of the Sea,
 Sophist and sage, from no Athenian grove,
 But cogitation in his watery shades,
 Arose, with locks not oozy, and began,
 In murmurs, which his first-endeavouring tongue
 Caught infant-like from the far-foamed sands.
  "O ye, whom wrath consumes! who, passion-stung,
  "Writhe at defeat, and nurse your agonies!
  "Shut up your senses, stifle up your ears,
  "My voice is not a bellows unto ire.
  "Yet listen, ye who will, whilst I bring proof
  "How ye, perforce, must be content to stoop:
  "And in the proof much comfort will I give,
  "If ye will take that comfort in its truth.
  "We fall by course of Nature's law, not force
  "Of thunder, or of Jove. Great Saturn, thou
  "Hast sifted well the atom-universe;
  "But for this reason, that thou art the King,
  "And only blind from sheer supremacy,
  "One avenue was shaded from thine eyes,
  "Through which I wandered to eternal truth.
  "And first, as thou wast not the first of powers,
  "So art thou not the last; it cannot be:
  "Thou art not the beginning nor the end.
  "From chaos and parental darkness came
  "Light, the first fruits of that intestine broil,
  "That sullen ferment, which for wondrous ends
  "Was ripening in itself. The ripe hour came,
  "And with it light, and light, engendering
  "Upon its own producer, forthwith touch'd
  "The whole enormous matter into life.
  "Upon that very hour, our parentage,
  "The Heavens, and the Earth, were manifest:
  "Then thou first born, and we the giant race,
  "Found ourselves ruling new and beauteous realms.
  "Now comes the pain of truth, to whom 'tis pain;
  "O folly! for to bear all naked truths,
  "And to envisage circumstance, all calm,
  "That is the top of sovereignty. Mark well!
  "As Heaven and Earth are fairer, fairer far
  "Than Chaos and blank Darkness, though once chiefs;
  "And as we show beyond that Heaven and Earth
  "In form and shape compact and beautiful,
  "In will, in action free, companionship,
  "And thousand other signs of purer life;
  "So on our heels a fresh perfection treads,
  "A power more strong in beauty, born of us
  "And fated to excel us, as we pass
  "In glory that old Darkness: nor are we
  "Thereby more conquer'd, than by us the rule
  "Of shapeless Chaos. Say, doth the dull soil
  "Quarrel with the proud forests it hath fed,
  "And feedeth still, more comely than itself?
  "Can it deny the chiefdom of green groves?
  "Or shall the tree be envious of the dove
  "Because it cooeth, and hath snowy wings
  "To wander wherewithal and find its joys?
  "We are such forest-trees, and our fair boughs
  "Have bred forth, not pale solitary doves,
  "But eagles golden-feather'd, who do tower
  "Above us in their beauty, and must reign
  "In right thereof; for 'tis the eternal law
  "That first in beauty should be first in might:
  "Yea, by that law, another race may drive
  "Our conquerors to mourn as we do now.
  "Have ye beheld the young God of the Seas,
  "My dispossessor? Have ye seen his face?
  "Have ye beheld his chariot, foam'd along
  "By noble winged creatures he hath made?
  "I saw him on the calmed waters scud,
  "With such a glow of beauty in his eyes,
  "That it enforc'd me to bid sad farewell
  "To all my empire: farewell sad I took,
  "And hither came, to see how dolorous fate
  "Had wrought upon ye; and how I might best
  "Give consolation in this woe extreme.
  "Receive the truth, and let it be your balm."�

Whether through poz'd conviction, or disdain,
 They guarded silence, when Oceanus
 Left murmuring, what deepest thought can tell?
 But so it was, none answer'd for a space,
 Save one whom none regarded, Clymene;
 And yet she answer'd not, only complain'd,
 With hectic lips, and eyes up-looking mild,
 Thus wording timidly among the fierce:
  "O Father, I am here the simplest voice,
  "And all my knowledge is that joy is gone,
  "And this thing woe crept in among our hearts,
  "There to remain for ever, as I fear:
  "I would not bode of evil, if I thought
  "So weak a creature could turn off the help
  "Which by just right should come of mighty Gods;
  "Yet let me tell my sorrow, let me tell
  "Of what I heard, and how it made me weep,
  "And know that we had parted from all hope.
  "I stood upon a shore, a pleasant shore,
  "Where a sweet clime was breathed from a land
  "Of fragrance, quietness, and trees, and flowers.
  "Full of calm joy it was, as I of grief;
  "Too full of joy and soft delicious warmth;
  "So that I felt a movement in my heart
  "To chide, and to reproach that solitude
  "With songs of misery, music of our woes;
  "And sat me down, and took a mouthed shell
  "And murmur'd into it, and made melody --
  "O melody no more! for while I sang,
  "And with poor skill let pass into the breeze
  "The dull shell's echo, from a bowery strand
  "Just opposite, an island of the sea,
  "There came enchantment with the shifting wind,
  "That did both drown and keep alive my ears.
  "I threw my shell away upon the sand,
  "And a wave fill'd it, as my sense was fill'd
  "With that new blissful golden melody.
  "A living death was in each gush of sounds,
  "Each family of rapturous hurried notes,
  "That fell, one after one, yet all at once,
  "Like pearl beads dropping sudden from their string:
  "And then another, then another strain,
  "Each like a dove leaving its olive perch,
  "With music wing'd instead of silent plumes,
  "To hover round my head, and make me sick
  "Of joy and grief at once. Grief overcame,
  "And I was stopping up my frantic ears,
  "When, past all hindrance of my trembling hands,
  "A voice came sweeter, sweeter than all tune,
  "And still it cried, 'Apollo! young Apollo!'
  "'The morning-bright Apollo! young Apollo!'
  "I fled, it follow'd me, and cried 'Apollo!'
  "O Father, and O Brethren, had ye felt
  "Those pains of mine; O Saturn, hadst thou felt,
  "Ye would not call this too indulged tongue
  "Presumptuous, in thus venturing to be heard."�

So far her voice flow'd on, like timorous brook
 That, lingering along a pebbled coast,
 Doth fear to meet the sea: but sea it met,
 And shudder'd; for the overwhelming voice
 Of huge Enceladus swallow'd it in wrath:
 The ponderous syllables, like sullen waves
 In the half-glutted hollows of reef-rocks,
 Came booming thus, while still upon his arm
 He lean'd; not rising, from supreme contempt.
  "Or shall we listen to the over-wise,
  "Or to the over-foolish, Giant-Gods?
  "Not thunderbolt on thunderbolt, till all
  "That rebel Jove's whole armoury were spent,
  "Not world on world upon these shoulders piled,
  "Could agonize me more than baby-words
  "In midst of this dethronement horrible.
  "Speak! roar! shout! yell! ye sleepy Titans all.
  "Do ye forget the blows, the buffets vile?
  "Are ye not smitten by a youngling arm?
  "Dost thou forget, sham Monarch of the Waves,
  "Thy scalding in the seas? What, have I rous'd
  "Your spleens with so few simple words as these?
  "O joy! for now I see ye are not lost:
  "O joy! for now I see a thousand eyes
  "Wide-glaring for revenge!"� -- As this he said,
 He lifted up his stature vast, and stood,
 Still without intermission speaking thus:
  "Now ye are flames, I'll tell you how to burn,
  "And purge the ether of our enemies;
  "How to feed fierce the crooked stings of fire,
  "And singe away the swollen clouds of Jove,
  "Stifling that puny essence in its tent.
  "O let him feel the evil he hath done;
  "For though I scorn Oceanus's lore,
  "Much pain have I for more than loss of realms:
  "The days of peace and slumberous calm are fled;
  "Those days, all innocent of scathing war,
  "When all the fair Existences of heaven
  "Came open-eyed to guess what we would speak: --
  "That was before our brows were taught to frown,
  "Before our lips knew else but solemn sounds;
  "That was before we knew the winged thing,
  "Victory, might be lost, or might be won.
  "And be ye mindful that Hyperion,
  "Our brightest brother, still is undisgraced --
  "Hyperion, lo! his radiance is here!"�

All eyes were on Enceladus's face,
 And they beheld, while still Hyperion's name
 Flew from his lips up to the vaulted rocks,
 A pallid gleam across his features stern:
 Not savage, for he saw full many a God
 Wroth as himself. He look'd upon them all,
 And in each face he saw a gleam of light,
 But splendider in Saturn's, whose hoar locks
 Shone like the bubbling foam about a keel
 When the prow sweeps into a midnight cove.
 In pale and silver silence they remain'd,
 Till suddenly a splendour, like the morn,
 Pervaded all the beetling gloomy steeps,
 All the sad spaces of oblivion,
 And every gulf, and every chasm old,
 And every height, and every sullen depth,
 Voiceless, or hoarse with loud tormented streams:
 And all the everlasting cataracts,
 And all the headlong torrents far and near,
 Mantled before in darkness and huge shade,
 Now saw the light and made it terrible.
 It was Hyperion: -- a granite peak
 His bright feet touch'd, and there he stay'd to view
 The misery his brilliance had betray'd
 To the most hateful seeing of itself.
 Golden his hair of short Numidian curl,
 Regal his shape majestic, a vast shade
 In midst of his own brightness, like the bulk
 Of Memnon's image at the set of sun
 To one who travels from the dusking East:
 Sighs, too, as mournful as that Memnon's harp
 He utter'd, while his hands contemplative
 He press'd together, and in silence stood.
 Despondence seiz'd again the fallen Gods
 At sight of the dejected King of Day,
 And many hid their faces from the light:
 But fierce Enceladus sent forth his eyes
 Among the brotherhood; and, at their glare,
 Uprose Iapetus, and Creus too,
 And Phorcus, sea-born, and together strode
 To where he towered on his eminence.
 There those four shouted forth old Saturn's name;
 Hyperion from the peak loud answered, "Saturn!"�
 Saturn sat near the Mother of the Gods,
 In whose face was no joy, though all the Gods
 Gave from their hollow throats the name of "Saturn!"�

BOOK III.


Thus in alternate uproar and sad peace,
 Amazed were those Titans utterly.
 O leave them, Muse! O leave them to their woes;
 For thou art weak to sing such tumults dire:
 A solitary sorrow best befits
 Thy lips, and antheming a lonely grief.
 Leave them, O Muse! for thou anon wilt find
 Many a fallen old Divinity
 Wandering in vain about bewildered shores.
 Meantime touch piously the Delphic harp,
 And not a wind of heaven but will breathe
 In aid soft warble from the Dorian flute;
 For lo! 'tis for the Father of all verse.
 Flush every thing that hath a vermeil hue,
 Let the rose glow intense and warm the air,
 And let the clouds of even and of morn
 Float in voluptuous fleeces o'er the hills;
 Let the red wine within the goblet boil,
 Cold as a bubbling well; let faint-lipp'd shells,
 On sands, or in great deeps, vermilion turn
 Through all their labyrinths; and let the maid
 Blush keenly, as with some warm kiss surpris'd.
 Chief isle of the embowered Cyclades,
 Rejoice, O Delos, with thine olives green,
 And poplars, and lawn-shading palms, and beech,
 In which the Zephyr breathes the loudest song,
 And hazels thick, dark-stemm'd beneath the shade:
 Apollo is once more the golden theme!
 Where was he, when the Giant of the Sun
 Stood bright, amid the sorrow of his peers?
 Together had he left his mother fair
 And his twin-sister sleeping in their bower,
 And in the morning twilight wandered forth
 Beside the osiers of a rivulet,
 Full ankle-deep in lillies of the vale.
 The nightingale had ceas'd, and a few stars
 Were lingering in the heavens, while the thrush
 Began calm-throated. Throughout all the isle
 There was no covert, no retired cave
 Unhaunted by the murmurous noise of waves,
 Though scarcely heard in many a green recess.
 He listen'd, and he wept, and his bright tears
 Went trickling down the golden bow he held.
 Thus with half-shut suffused eyes he stood,
 While from beneath some cumbrous boughs hard by
 With solemn step an awful Goddess came,
 And there was purport in her looks for him,
 Which he with eager guess began to read
 Perplex'd, the while melodiously he said:
  "How cam'st thou over the unfooted sea?
  "Or hath that antique mien and robed form
  "Mov'd in these vales invisible till now?
  "Sure I have heard those vestments sweeping o'er
  "The fallen leaves, when I have sat alone
  "In cool mid-forest. Surely I have traced
  "The rustle of those ample skirts about
  "These grassy solitudes, and seen the flowers
  "Lift up their heads, as still the whisper pass'd.
  "Goddess! I have beheld those eyes before,
  "And their eternal calm, and all that face,
  "Or I have dream'd."� -- "Yes,"� said the supreme shape,
  "Thou hast dream'd of me; and awaking up
  "Didst find a lyre all golden by thy side,
  "Whose strings touch'd by thy fingers, all the vast
  "Unwearied ear of the whole universe
  "Listen'd in pain and pleasure at the birth
  "Of such new tuneful wonder. Is't not strange
  "That thou shouldst weep, so gifted? Tell me, youth,
  "What sorrow thou canst feel; for I am sad
  "When thou dost shed a tear: explain thy griefs
  "To one who in this lonely isle hath been
  "The watcher of thy sleep and hours of life,
  "From the young day when first thy infant hand
  "Pluck'd witless the weak flowers, till thine arm
  "Could bend that bow heroic to all times.
  "Show thy heart's secret to an ancient Power
  "Who hath forsaken old and sacred thrones
  "For prophecies of thee, and for the sake
  "Of loveliness new born."� -- Apollo then,
 With sudden scrutiny and gloomless eyes,
 Thus answer'd, while his white melodious throat
 Throbb'd with the syllables. -- "Mnemosyne!
  "Thy name is on my tongue, I know not how;
  "Why should I tell thee what thou so well seest?
  "Why should I strive to show what from thy lips
  "Would come no mystery? For me, dark, dark,
  "And painful vile oblivion seals my eyes:
  "I strive to search wherefore I am so sad,
  "Until a melancholy numbs my limbs;
  "And then upon the grass I sit, and moan,
  "Like one who once had wings. -- O why should I
  "Feel curs'd and thwarted, when the liegeless air
  "Yields to my step aspirant? why should I
  "Spurn the green turf as hateful to my feet?
  "Goddess benign, point forth some unknown thing:
  "Are there not other regions than this isle?
  "What are the stars? There is the sun, the sun!
  "And the most patient brilliance of the moon!
  "And stars by thousands! Point me out the way
  "To any one particular beauteous star,
  "And I will flit into it with my lyre
  "And make its silvery splendour pant with bliss.
  "I have heard the cloudy thunder: Where is power?
  "Whose hand, whose essence, what divinity
  "Makes this alarum in the elements,
  "While I here idle listen on the shores
  "In fearless yet in aching ignorance?
  "O tell me, lonely Goddess, by thy harp,
  "That waileth every morn and eventide,
  "Tell me why thus I rave, about these groves!
  "Mute thou remainest -- mute! yet I can read
  "A wondrous lesson in thy silent face:
  "Knowledge enormous makes a God of me.
  "Names, deeds, grey legends, dire events, rebellions,
  "Majesties, sovran voices, agonies,
  "Creations and destroyings, all at once
  "Pour into the wide hollows of my brain,
  "And deify me, as if some blithe wine
  "Or bright elixir peerless I had drunk,
  "And so become immortal."� -- Thus the God,
 While his enkindled eyes, with level glance
 Beneath his white soft temples, stedfast kept
 Trembling with light upon Mnemosyne.
 Soon wild commotions shook him, and made flush
 All the immortal fairness of his limbs
 Into a hue more roseate than sweet pain
 Gives to a ravish'd Nymph when her warm tears
 Gush luscious with no sob. Or more severe, --
 More like the struggle at the gate of death;
 Or liker still to one who should take leave
 Of pale immortal death, and with a pang
 As hot as death's is chill, with fierce convulse
 Die into life: so young Apollo anguish'd:
 His very hair, his golden tresses famed
 Kept undulation round his eager neck.
 During the pain Mnemosyne upheld
 Her arms as one who prophesied. -- At length
 Apollo shriek'd; -- and lo! from all his limbs
 Celestial Glory dawn'd: he was a god!


I STOOD TIP-TOE UPON A LITTLE HILL


"Places of nestling green for Poets made."�
  --Story of Rimini.

I stood tip-toe upon a little hill,
 The air was cooling, and so very still,
 That the sweet buds which with a modest pride
 Pull droopingly, in slanting curve aside,
 Their scantly leav'd, and finely tapering stems,
 Had not yet lost those starry diadems
 Caught from the early sobbing of the morn.
 The clouds were pure and white as flocks new shorn,
 And fresh from the clear brook; sweetly they slept
 On the blue fields of heaven, and then there crept
 A little noiseless noise among the leaves,
 Born of the very sigh that silence heaves:
 For not the faintest motion could be seen
 Of all the shades that slanted o'er the green.
 There was wide wand'ring for the greediest eye,
 To peer about upon variety;
 Far round the horizon's crystal air to skim,
 And trace the dwindled edgings of its brim;
 To picture out the quaint, and curious bending
 Of a fresh woodland alley, never ending;
 Or by the bowery clefts, and leafy shelves,
 Guess where the jaunty streams refresh themselves.
 I gazed awhile, and felt as light, and free
 As though the fanning wings of Mercury
 Had play'd upon my heels: I was light-hearted,
 And many pleasures to my vision started;
 So I straightway began to pluck a posey
 Of luxuries bright, milky, soft and rosy.

A bush of May flowers with the bees about them;
 Ah, sure no tasteful nook would be without them;
 And let a lush laburnum oversweep them,
 And let long grass grow round the roots to keep them
 Moist, cool and green; and shade the violets,
 That they may bind the moss in leafy nets.
 A filbert hedge with wild briar overtwined,
 And clumps of woodbine taking the soft wind
 Upon their summer thrones; there too should be
 The frequent chequer of a youngling tree,
 That with a score of light green brethren shoots
 From the quaint mossiness of aged roots:
 Round which is heard a spring-head of clear waters
 Babbling so wildly of its lovely daughters
 The spreading blue-bells: it may haply mourn
 That such fair clusters should be rudely torn
 From their fresh beds, and scattered thoughtlessly
 By infant hands, left on the path to die.

Open afresh your round of starry folds,
 Ye ardent marigolds!
 Dry up the moisture from your golden lids,
 For great Apollo bids
 That in these days your praises should be sung
 On many harps, which he has lately strung;
 And when again your dewiness he kisses,
 Tell him, I have you in my world of blisses:
 So haply when I rove in some far vale,
 His mighty voice may come upon the gale.

Here are sweet peas, on tip-toe for a flight:
 With wings of gentle flush o'er delicate white,
 And taper fingers catching at all things,
 To bind them all about with tiny rings.

Linger awhile upon some bending planks
 That lean against a streamlet's rushy banks,
 And watch intently Nature's gentle doings:
 They will be found softer than ring-dove's cooings.
 How silent comes the water round that bend;
 Not the minutest whisper does it send
 To the o'erhanging sallows: blades of grass
 Slowly across the chequer'd shadows pass.
 Why, you might read two sonnets, ere they reach
 To where the hurrying freshnesses aye preach
 A natural sermon o'er their pebbly beds;
 Where swarms of minnows show their little heads,
 Staying their wavy bodies 'gainst the streams,
 To taste the luxury of sunny beams
 Temper'd with coolness. How they ever wrestle
 With their own sweet delight, and ever nestle
 Their silver bellies on the pebbly sand.
 If you but scantily hold out the hand,
 That very instant not one will remain;
 But turn your eye, and they are there again.
 The ripples seem right glad to reach those cresses,
 And cool themselves among the em'rald tresses;
 The while they cool themselves, they freshness give,
 And moisture, that the bowery green may live:
 So keeping up an interchange of favours,
 Like good men in the truth of their behaviours.
 Sometimes goldfinches one by one will drop
 From low hung branches; little space they stop;
 But sip, and twitter, and their feathers sleek;
 Then off at once, as in a wanton freak:
 Or perhaps, to show their black, and golden wings,
 Pausing upon their yellow flutterings.
 Were I in such a place, I sure should pray
 That naught less sweet, might call my thoughts away,
 Than the soft rustle of a maiden's gown
 Fanning away the dandelion's down;
 Than the light music of her nimble toes
 Patting against the sorrel as she goes.
 How she would start, and blush, thus to be caught
 Playing in all her innocence of thought.
 O let me lead her gently o'er the brook,
 Watch her half-smiling lips, and downward look;
 O let me for one moment touch her wrist;
 Let me one moment to her breathing list;
 And as she leaves me may she often turn
 Her fair eyes looking through her locks auburne.
 What next? A tuft of evening primroses,
 O'er which the mind may hover till it dozes;
 O'er which it well might take a pleasant sleep,
 But that 'tis ever startled by the leap
 Of buds into ripe flowers; or by the flitting
 Of diverse moths, that aye their rest are quitting;
 Or by the moon lifting her silver rim
 Above a cloud, and with a gradual swim
 Coming into the blue with all her light.
 O Maker of sweet poets, dear delight
 Of this fair world, and all its gentle livers;
 Spangler of clouds, halo of crystal rivers,
 Mingler with leaves, and dew and tumbling streams,
 Closer of lovely eyes to lovely dreams,
 Lover of loneliness, and wandering,
 Of upcast eye, and tender pondering!
 Thee must I praise above all other glories
 That smile us on to tell delightful stories.
 For what has made the sage or poet write
 But the fair paradise of Nature's light?
 In the calm grandeur of a sober line,
 We see the waving of the mountain pine;
 And when a tale is beautifully staid,
 We feel the safety of a hawthorn glade:
 When it is moving on luxurious wings,
 The soul is lost in pleasant smotherings:
 Fair dewy roses brush against our faces,
 And flowering laurels spring from diamond vases;
 O'er head we see the jasmine and sweet briar,
 And bloomy grapes laughing from green attire;
 While at our feet, the voice of crystal bubbles
 Charms us at once away from all our troubles:
 So that we feel uplifted from the world,
 Walking upon the white clouds wreath'd and curl'd.
 So felt he, who first told, how Psyche went
 On the smooth wind to realms of wonderment;
 What Psyche felt, and Love, when their full lips
 First touch'd; what amorous, and fondling nips
 They gave each other's cheeks; with all their sighs,
 And how they kist each other's tremulous eyes:
 The silver lamp, -- the ravishment, -- the wonder --
 The darkness, -- loneliness, -- the fearful thunder;
 Their woes gone by, and both to heaven upflown,
 To bow for gratitude before Jove's throne.
 So did he feel, who pull'd the boughs aside,
 That we might look into a forest wide,
 To catch a glimpse of Fauns, and Dryades
 Coming with softest rustle through the trees;
 And garlands woven of flowers wild, and sweet,
 Upheld on ivory wrists, or sporting feet:
 Telling us how fair, trembling Syrinx fled
 Arcadian Pan, with such a fearful dread.
 Poor nymph, -- poor Pan, -- how he did weep to find,
 Nought but a lovely sighing of the wind
 Along the reedy stream; a half-heard strain,
 Full of sweet desolation -- balmy pain.

What first inspired a bard of old to sing
 Narcissus pining o'er the untainted spring?
 In some delicious ramble, he had found
 A little space, with boughs all woven round;
 And in the midst of all, a clearer pool
 Than e'er reflected in its pleasant cool,
 The blue sky here, and there, serenely peeping
 Through tendril wreaths fantastically creeping.
 And on the bank a lonely flower he spied,
 A meek and forlorn flower, with naught of pride,
 Drooping its beauty o'er the watery clearness,
 To woo its own sad image into nearness:
 Deaf to light Zephyrus it would not move;
 But still would seem to droop, to pine, to love.
 So while the poet stood in this sweet spot,
 Some fainter gleamings o'er his fancy shot;
 Nor was it long ere he had told the tale
 Of young Narcissus, and sad Echo's bale.

Where had he been, from whose warm head out-flew
 That sweetest of all songs, that ever new,
 That aye refreshing, pure deliciousness,
 Coming ever to bless
 The wanderer by moonlight? to him bringing
 Shapes from the invisible world, unearthly singing
 From out the middle air, from flowery nests,
 And from the pillowy silkiness that rests
 Full in the speculation of the stars.
 Ah! surely he had burst our mortal bars;
 Into some wond'rous region he had gone,
 To search for thee, divine Endymion!

He was a Poet, sure a lover too,
 Who stood on Latmus' top, what time there blew
 Soft breezes from the myrtle vale below;
 And brought in faintness solemn, sweet, and slow
 A hymn from Dian's temple; while upswelling,
 The incense went to her own starry dwelling.
 But though her face was clear as infant's eyes,
 Though she stood smiling o'er the sacrifice,
 The Poet wept at her so piteous fate,
 Wept that such beauty should be desolate:
 So in fine wrath some golden sounds he won,
 And gave meek Cynthia her Endymion.

Queen of the wide air; thou most lovely queen
 Of all the brightness that mine eyes have seen!
 As thou exceedest all things in thy shine,
 So every tale, does this sweet tale of thine.
 O for three words of honey, that I might
 Tell but one wonder of thy bridal night!

Where distant ships do seem to show their keels,
 Phoebus awhile delay'd his mighty wheels,
 And turn'd to smile upon thy bashful eyes,
 Ere he his unseen pomp would solemnize.
 The evening weather was so bright, and clear,
 That men of health were of unusual cheer;
 Stepping like Homer at the trumpet's call,
 Or young Apollo on the pedestal:
 And lovely women were as fair and warm,
 As Venus looking sideways in alarm.
 The breezes were ethereal, and pure,
 And crept through half-closed lattices to cure
 The languid sick; it cool'd their fever'd sleep,
 And soothed them into slumbers full and deep.
 Soon they awoke clear eyed: nor burnt with thirsting,
 Nor with hot fingers, nor with temples bursting:
 And springing up, they met the wond'ring sight
 Of their dear friends, nigh foolish with delight;
 Who feel their arms, and breasts, and kiss and stare,
 And on their placid foreheads part the hair.
 Young men, and maidens at each other gaz'd
 With hands held back, and motionless, amaz'd
 To see the brightness in each other's eyes;
 And so they stood, fill'd with a sweet surprise,
 Until their tongues were loos'd in poesy.
 Therefore no lover did of anguish die:
 But the soft numbers, in that moment spoken,
 Made silken ties, that never may be broken.
 Cynthia! I cannot tell the greater blisses,
 That follow'd thine, and thy dear shepherd's kisses:
 Was there a poet born? -- but now no more,
 My wand'ring spirit must no further soar. --


ISABELLA; OR, THE POT OF BASIL

A Story from Boccaccio " 
"  The Decameron, The Fourth Day, the Fifth Novell "Wherein is plainly proved, that love cannot be rooted uppe, by any humane power or providence; aspecially in such soule, where it hath bene really apprehended".

I.

Fair Isabel, poor simple Isabel!
 Lorenzo, a young palmer in Love's eye!
 They could not in the self-same mansion dwell
 Without some stir of heart, some malady;
 They could not sit at meals but feel how well
 It soothed each to be the other by;
 They could not, sure, beneath the same roof sleep
 But to each other dream, and nightly weep.

II.

With every morn their love grew tenderer,
 With every eve deeper and tenderer still;
 He might not in house, field, or garden stir,
 But her full shape would all his seeing fill;
 And his continual voice was pleasanter
 To her, than noise of trees or hidden rill;
 Her lute-string gave an echo of his name,
 She spoilt her half-done broidery with the same.

III.

He knew whose gentle hand was at the latch
 Before the door had given her to his eyes;
 And from her chamber-window he would catch
 Her beauty farther than the falcon spies;
 And constant as her vespers would he watch,
 Because her face was turn'd to the same skies;
 And with sick longing all the night outwear,
 To hear her morning-step upon the stair.

IV.

A whole long month of May in this sad plight
 Made their cheeks paler by the break of June:
  "To-morrow will I bow to my delight,
  "To-morrow will I ask my lady's boon."� --
  "O may I never see another night,
  "Lorenzo, if thy lips breathe not love's tune."� --
 So spake they to their pillows; but, alas,
 Honeyless days and days did he let pass;

V.

Until sweet Isabella's untouch'd cheek
 Fell sick within the rose's just domain,
 Fell thin as a young mother's, who doth seek
 By every lull to cool her infant's pain:
  "How ill she is,"� said he, "I may not speak,
  "And yet I will, and tell my love all plain:
  "If looks speak love-laws, I will drink her tears,
  "And at the least 'twill startle off her cares."�

VI.

So said he one fair morning, and all day
 His heart beat awfully against his side;
 And to his heart he inwardly did pray
 For power to speak; but still the ruddy tide
 Stifled his voice, and puls'd resolve away --
 Fever'd his high conceit of such a bride,
 Yet brought him to the meekness of a child:
 Alas! when passion is both meek and wild!

VII.

So once more he had wak'd and anguished
 A dreary night of love and misery,
 If Isabel's quick eye had not been wed
 To every symbol on his forehead high;
 She saw it waxing very pale and dead,
 And straight all flush'd; so, lisped tenderly,
  "Lorenzo!"� -- here she ceas'd her timid quest,
 But in her tone and look he read the rest.

VIII.

"O Isabella, I can half perceive
  "That I may speak my grief into thine ear;
  "If thou didst ever anything believe,
  "Believe how I love thee, believe how near
  "My soul is to its doom: I would not grieve
  "Thy hand by unwelcome pressing, would not fear
  "Thine eyes by gazing; but I cannot live
  "Another night, and not my passion shrive.

IX.

"Love! thou art leading me from wintry cold,
  "Lady! thou leadest me to summer clime,
  "And I must taste the blossoms that unfold
  "In its ripe warmth this gracious morning time."�
 So said, his erewhile timid lips grew bold,
 And poesied with hers in dewy rhyme:
 Great bliss was with them, and great happiness
 Grew, like a lusty flower in June's caress.

X.

Parting they seem'd to tread upon the air,
 Twin roses by the zephyr blown apart
 Only to meet again more close, and share
 The inward fragrance of each other's heart.
 She, to her chamber gone, a ditty fair
 Sang, of delicious love and honey'd dart;
 He with light steps went up a western hill,
 And bade the sun farewell, and joy'd his fill.

XI.

All close they met again, before the dusk
 Had taken from the stars its pleasant veil,
 All close they met, all eves, before the dusk
 Had taken from the stars its pleasant veil,
 Close in a bower of hyacinth and musk,
 Unknown of any, free from whispering tale.
 Ah! better had it been for ever so,
 Than idle ears should pleasure in their woe.

XII.

Were they unhappy then? -- It cannot be --
 Too many tears for lovers have been shed,
 Too many sighs give we to them in fee,
 Too much of pity after they are dead,
 Too many doleful stories do we see,
 Whose matter in bright gold were best be read;
 Except in such a page where Theseus' spouse
 Over the pathless waves towards him bows.

XIII.

But, for the general award of love,
 The little sweet doth kill much bitterness;
 Though Dido silent is in under-grove,
 And Isabella's was a great distress,
 Though young Lorenzo in warm Indian clove
 Was not embalm'd, this truth is not the less --
 Even bees, the little almsmen of spring-bowers,
 Know there is richest juice in poison-flowers.

XIV.

With her two brothers this fair lady dwelt,
 Enriched from ancestral merchandize,
 And for them many a weary hand did swelt
 In torched mines and noisy factories,
 And many once proud-quiver'd loins did melt
 In blood from stinging whip; -- with hollow eyes
 Many all day in dazzling river stood,
 To take the rich-ored driftings of the flood.

XV.

For them the Ceylon diver held his breath,
 And went all naked to the hungry shark;
 For them his ears gush'd blood; for them in death
 The seal on the cold ice with piteous bark
 Lay full of darts; for them alone did seethe
 A thousand men in troubles wide and dark:
 Half-ignorant, they turn'd an easy wheel,
 That set sharp racks at work, to pinch and peel.

XVI.

Why were they proud? Because their marble founts
 Gush'd with more pride than do a wretch's tears? --
 Why were they proud? Because fair orange-mounts
 Were of more soft ascent than lazar stairs? --
 Why were they proud? Because red-lin'd accounts
 Were richer than the songs of Grecian years? --
 Why were they proud? again we ask aloud,
 Why in the name of Glory were they proud?

XVII.

Yet were these Florentines as self-retired
 In hungry pride and gainful cowardice,
 As two close Hebrews in that land inspired,
 Paled in and vineyarded from beggar-spies;
 The hawks of ship-mast forests -- the untired
 And pannier'd mules for ducats and old lies --
 Quick cat's-paws on the generous stray-away, --
 Great wits in Spanish, Tuscan, and Malay.

XVIII.

How was it these same ledger-men could spy
 Fair Isabella in her downy nest?
 How could they find out in Lorenzo's eye
 A straying from his toil? Hot Egypt's pest
 Into their vision covetous and sly!
 How could these money-bags see east and west? --
 Yet so they did -- and every dealer fair
 Must see behind, as doth the hunted hare.

XIX.

O eloquent and famed Boccaccio!
 Of thee we now should ask forgiving boon,
 And of thy spicy myrtles as they blow,
 And of thy roses amorous of the moon,
 And of thy lillies, that do paler grow
 Now they can no more hear thy ghittern's tune,
 For venturing syllables that ill beseem
 The quiet glooms of such a piteous theme.

XX.

Grant thou a pardon here, and then the tale
 Shall move on soberly, as it is meet;
 There is no other crime, no mad assail
 To make old prose in modern rhyme more sweet:
 But it is done -- succeed the verse or fail --
 To honour thee, and thy gone spirit greet;
 To stead thee as a verse in English tongue,
 An echo of thee in the north-wind sung.

XXI.

These brethren having found by many signs
 What love Lorenzo for their sister had,
 And how she lov'd him too, each unconfines
 His bitter thoughts to other, well nigh mad
 That he, the servant of their trade designs,
 Should in their sister's love be blithe and glad,
 When 'twas their plan to coax her by degrees
 To some high noble and his olive-trees.

XXII.

And many a jealous conference had they,
 And many times they bit their lips alone,
 Before they fix'd upon a surest way
 To make the youngster for his crime atone;
 And at the last, these men of cruel clay
 Cut Mercy with a sharp knife to the bone;
 For they resolved in some forest dim
 To kill Lorenzo, and there bury him.

XXIII.

So on a pleasant morning, as he leant
 Into the sun-rise, o'er the balustrade
 Of the garden-terrace, towards him they bent
 Their footing through the dews; and to him said,
  "You seem there in the quiet of content,
  "Lorenzo, and we are most loth to invade
  "Calm speculation; but if you are wise,
  "Bestride your steed while cold is in the skies.

XXIV.

"To-day we purpose, aye, this hour we mount
  "To spur three leagues towards the Apennine;
  "Come down, we pray thee, ere the hot sun count
  "His dewy rosary on the eglantine."�
 Lorenzo, courteously as he was wont,
 Bow'd a fair greeting to these serpents' whine;
 And went in haste, to get in readiness,
 With belt, and spur, and bracing huntsman's dress.

XXV.

And as he to the court-yard pass'd along,
 Each third step did he pause, and listen'd oft
 If he could hear his lady's matin-song,
 Or the light whisper of her footstep soft;
 And as he thus over his passion hung,
 He heard a laugh full musical aloft;
 When, looking up, he saw her features bright
 Smile through an in-door lattice, all delight.

XXVI.

"Love, Isabel!"� said he, "I was in pain
  "Lest I should miss to bid thee a good morrow:
  "Ah! what if I should lose thee, when so fain
  "I am to stifle all the heavy sorrow
  "Of a poor three hours' absence? but we'll gain
  "Out of the amorous dark what day doth borrow.
  "Good bye! I'll soon be back."� -- "Good bye!"� said she: --
 And as he went she chanted merrily.

XXVII.

So the two brothers and their murder'd man
 Rode past fair Florence, to where Arno's stream
 Gurgles through straiten'd banks, and still doth fan
 Itself with dancing bulrush, and the bream
 Keeps head against the freshets. Sick and wan
 The brothers' faces in the ford did seem,
 Lorenzo's flush with love. -- They pass'd the water
 Into a forest quiet for the slaughter.

XXVIII.

There was Lorenzo slain and buried in,
 There in that forest did his great love cease;
 Ah! when a soul doth thus its freedom win,
 It aches in loneliness -- is ill at peace
 As the break-covert blood-hounds of such sin:
 They dipp'd their swords in the water, and did tease
 Their horses homeward, with convulsed spur,
 Each richer by his being a murderer.

XXIX.

They told their sister how, with sudden speed,
 Lorenzo had ta'en ship for foreign lands,
 Because of some great urgency and need
 In their affairs, requiring trusty hands.
 Poor Girl! put on thy stifling widow's weed,
 And 'scape at once from Hope's accursed bands;
 To-day thou wilt not see him, nor to-morrow,
 And the next day will be a day of sorrow.

XXX.

She weeps alone for pleasures not to be;
 Sorely she wept until the night came on,
 And then, instead of love, O misery!
 She brooded o'er the luxury alone:
 His image in the dusk she seem'd to see,
 And to the silence made a gentle moan,
 Spreading her perfect arms upon the air,
 And on her couch low murmuring "Where? O where?"�

XXXI.

But Selfishness, Love's cousin, held not long
 Its fiery vigil in her single breast;
 She fretted for the golden hour, and hung
 Upon the time with feverish unrest --
 Not long -- for soon into her heart a throng
 Of higher occupants, a richer zest,
 Came tragic; passion not to be subdued,
 And sorrow for her love in travels rude.

XXXII.

In the mid days of autumn, on their eves
 The breath of Winter comes from far away,
 And the sick west continually bereaves
 Of some gold tinge, and plays a roundelay
 Of death among the bushes and the leaves,
 To make all bare before he dares to stray
 From his north cavern. So sweet Isabel
 By gradual decay from beauty fell,

XXXIII.

Because Lorenzo came not. Oftentimes
 She ask'd her brothers, with an eye all pale,
 Striving to be itself, what dungeon climes
 Could keep him off so long? They spake a tale
 Time after time, to quiet her. Their crimes
 Came on them, like a smoke from Hinnom's vale;
 And every night in dreams they groan'd aloud,
 To see their sister in her snowy shroud.

XXXIV.

And she had died in drowsy ignorance,
 But for a thing more deadly dark than all;
 It came like a fierce potion, drunk by chance,
 Which saves a sick man from the feather'd pall
 For some few gasping moments; like a lance,
 Waking an Indian from his cloudy hall
 With cruel pierce, and bringing him again
 Sense of the gnawing fire at heart and brain.

XXXV.

It was a vision. -- In the drowsy gloom,
 The dull of midnight, at her couch's foot
 Lorenzo stood, and wept: the forest tomb
 Had marr'd his glossy hair which once could shoot
 Lustre into the sun, and put cold doom
 Upon his lips, and taken the soft lute
 From his lorn voice, and past his loamed ears
 Had made a miry channel for his tears.

XXXVI.

Strange sound it was, when the pale shadow spake;
 For there was striving, in its piteous tongue,
 To speak as when on earth it was awake,
 And Isabella on its music hung:
 Languor there was in it, and tremulous shake,
 As in a palsied Druid's harp unstrung;
 And through it moan'd a ghostly under-song,
 Like hoarse night-gusts sepulchral briars among.

XXXVII.

Its eyes, though wild, were still all dewy bright
 With love, and kept all phantom fear aloof
 From the poor girl by magic of their light,
 The while it did unthread the horrid woof
 Of the late darken'd time, -- the murderous spite
 Of pride and avarice, -- the dark pine roof
 In the forest, -- and the sodden turfed dell,
 Where, without any word, from stabs he fell.

XXXVIII.

Saying moreover, "Isabel, my sweet!
  "Red whortle-berries droop above my head,
  "And a large flint-stone weighs upon my feet;
  "Around me beeches and high chestnuts shed
  "Their leaves and prickly nuts; a sheep-fold bleat
  "Comes from beyond the river to my bed:
  "Go, shed one tear upon my heather-bloom,
  "And it shall comfort me within the tomb.

XXXIX.

"I am a shadow now, alas! alas!
  "Upon the skirts of human-nature dwelling
  "Alone: I chant alone the holy mass,
  "While little sounds of life are round me knelling,
  "And glossy bees at noon do fieldward pass,
  "And many a chapel bell the hour is telling,
  "Paining me through: those sounds grow strange to me,
  "And thou art distant in Humanity.

XL.

"I know what was, I feel full well what is,
  "And I should rage, if spirits could go mad;
  "Though I forget the taste of earthly bliss,
  "That paleness warms my grave, as though I had
  "A Seraph chosen from the bright abyss
  "To be my spouse: thy paleness makes me glad;
  "Thy beauty grows upon me, and I feel
  "A greater love through all my essence steal."�

XLI.

The Spirit mourn'd "Adieu!"� -- dissolv'd and left
 The atom darkness in a slow turmoil;
 As when of healthful midnight sleep bereft,
 Thinking on rugged hours and fruitless toil,
 We put our eyes into a pillowy cleft,
 And see the spangly gloom froth up and boil:
 It made sad Isabella's eyelids ache,
 And in the dawn she started up awake;

XLII.

"Ha! ha!"� said she, "I knew not this hard life,
  "I thought the worst was simple misery;
  "I thought some Fate with pleasure or with strife
  "Portion'd us -- happy days, or else to die;
  "But there is crime -- a brother's bloody knife!
  "Sweet Spirit, thou hast school'd my infancy:
  "I'll visit thee for this, and kiss thine eyes,
  "And greet thee morn and even in the skies."�

XLIII.

When the full morning came, she had devised
 How she might secret to the forest hie;
 How she might find the day, so dearly prized,
 And sing to it one latest lullaby;
 How her short absence might be unsurmised,
 While she the inmost of the dream would try.
 Resolv'd, she took with her an aged nurse,
 And went into that dismal forest-hearse.

XLIV.

See, as they creep along the river side,
 How she doth whisper to that aged Dame,
 And, after looking round the champaign wide,
 Shows her a knife. -- "What feverous hectic flame
  "Burns in thee, child? -- What good can thee betide,
  "That thou should'st smile again?"� -- The evening came,
 And they had found Lorenzo's earthy bed;
 The flint was there, the berries at his head.

XLV.

Who hath not loiter'd in a green church-yard,
 And let his spirit, like a demon-mole,
 Work through the clayey soil and gravel hard,
 To see scull, coffin'd bones, and funeral stole;
 Pitying each form that hungry Death hath marr'd
 And filling it once more with human soul?
 Ah! this is holiday to what was felt
 When Isabella by Lorenzo knelt.

XLVI.

She gaz'd into the fresh-thrown mould, as though
 One glance did fully all its secrets tell;
 Clearly she saw, as other eyes would know
 Pale limbs at bottom of a crystal well;
 Upon the murderous spot she seem'd to grow,
 Like to a native lilly of the dell:
 Then with her knife, all sudden, she began
 To dig more fervently than misers can.

XLVII.

Soon she turn'd up a soiled glove, whereon
 Her silk had play'd in purple phantasies,
 She kiss'd it with a lip more chill than stone,
 And put it in her bosom, where it dries
 And freezes utterly unto the bone
 Those dainties made to still an infant's cries:
 Then 'gan she work again; nor stay'd her care,
 But to throw back at times her veiling hair.

XLVIII.

That old nurse stood beside her wondering,
 Until her heart felt pity to the core
 At sight of such a dismal labouring,
 And so she kneeled, with her locks all hoar,
 And put her lean hands to the horrid thing:
 Three hours they labour'd at this travail sore;
 At last they felt the kernel of the grave,
 And Isabella did not stamp and rave.

XLIX.

Ah! wherefore all this wormy circumstance?
 Why linger at the yawning tomb so long?
 O for the gentleness of old Romance,
 The simple plaining of a minstrel's song!
 Fair reader, at the old tale take a glance,
 For here, in truth, it doth not well belong
 To speak: -- O turn thee to the very tale,
 And taste the music of that vision pale.

L.

With duller steel than the Persean sword
 They cut away no formless monster's head,
 But one, whose gentleness did well accord
 With death, as life. The ancient harps have said,
 Love never dies, but lives, immortal Lord:
 If Love impersonate was ever dead,
 Pale Isabella kiss'd it, and low moan'd.
  'Twas love; cold, -- dead indeed, but not dethroned.

LI.

In anxious secrecy they took it home,
 And then the prize was all for Isabel:
 She calm'd its wild hair with a golden comb,
 And all around each eye's sepulchral cell
 Pointed each fringed lash; the smeared loam
 With tears, as chilly as a dripping well,
 She drench'd away: -- and still she comb'd, and kept
 Sighing all day -- and still she kiss'd, and wept.

LII.

Then in a silken scarf, -- sweet with the dews
 Of precious flowers pluck'd in Araby,
 And divine liquids come with odorous ooze
 Through the cold serpent-pipe refreshfully, --
 She wrapp'd it up; and for its tomb did choose
 A garden-pot, wherein she laid it by,
 And cover'd it with mould, and o'er it set
 Sweet Basil, which her tears kept ever wet.

LIII.

And she forgot the stars, the moon, and sun,
 And she forgot the blue above the trees,
 And she forgot the dells where waters run,
 And she forgot the chilly autumn breeze;
 She had no knowledge when the day was done,
 And the new morn she saw not: but in peace
 Hung over her sweet Basil evermore,
 And moisten'd it with tears unto the core.

LIV.

And so she ever fed it with thin tears,
 Whence thick, and green, and beautiful it grew,
 So that it smelt more balmy than its peers
 Of Basil-tufts in Florence; for it drew
 Nurture besides, and life, from human fears,
 From the fast mouldering head there shut from view:
 So that the jewel, safely casketed,
 Came forth, and in perfumed leafits spread.

LV.

O Melancholy, linger here awhile!
 O Music, Music, breathe despondingly!
 O Echo, Echo, from some sombre isle,
 Unknown, Lethean, sigh to us -- O sigh!
 Spirits in grief, lift up your heads, and smile;
 Lift up your heads, sweet Spirits, heavily,
 And make a pale light in your cypress glooms,
 Tinting with silver wan your marble tombs.

LVI.

Moan hither, all ye syllables of woe,
 From the deep throat of sad Melpomene!
 Through bronzed lyre in tragic order go,
 And touch the strings into a mystery;
 Sound mournfully upon the winds and low;
 For simple Isabel is soon to be
 Among the dead: She withers, like a palm
 Cut by an Indian for its juicy balm.

LVII.

O leave the palm to wither by itself;
 Let not quick Winter chill its dying hour! --
 It may not be -- those Baalites of pelf,
 Her brethren, noted the continual shower
 From her dead eyes; and many a curious elf,
 Among her kindred, wonder'd that such dower
 Of youth and beauty should be thrown aside
 By one mark'd out to be a Noble's bride.

LVIII.

And, furthermore, her brethren wonder'd much
 Why she sat drooping by the Basil green,
 And why it flourish'd, as by magic touch;
 Greatly they wonder'd what the thing might mean:
 They could not surely give belief, that such
 A very nothing would have power to wean
 Her from her own fair youth, and pleasures gay,
 And even remembrance of her love's delay.

LIX.

Therefore they watch'd a time when they might sift
 This hidden whim; and long they watch'd in vain;
 For seldom did she go to chapel-shrift,
 And seldom felt she any hunger-pain;
 And when she left, she hurried back, as swift
 As bird on wing to breast its eggs again;
 And, patient as a hen-bird, sat her there
 Beside her Basil, weeping through her hair.

LX.

Yet they contriv'd to steal the Basil-pot,
 And to examine it in secret place;
 The thing was vile with green and livid spot,
 And yet they knew it was Lorenzo's face:
 The guerdon of their murder they had got,
 And so left Florence in a moment's space,
 Never to turn again. -- Away they went,
 With blood upon their heads, to banishment.

LXI.

O Melancholy, turn thine eyes away!
 O Music, Music, breathe despondingly!
 O Echo, Echo, on some other day,
 From isles Lethean, sigh to us -- O sigh!
 Spirits of grief, sing not your "Well-a-way!"�
 For Isabel, sweet Isabel, will die;
 Will die a death too lone and incomplete,
 Now they have ta'en away her Basil sweet.

LXII.

Piteous she look'd on dead and senseless things,
 Asking for her lost Basil amorously;
 And with melodious chuckle in the strings
 Of her lorn voice, she oftentimes would cry
 After the Pilgrim in his wanderings,
 To ask him where her Basil was; and why
  'Twas hid from her: "For cruel 'tis,"� said she,
  "To steal my Basil-pot away from me."�

LXIII.

And so she pined, and so she died forlorn,
 Imploring for her Basil to the last.
 No heart was there in Florence but did mourn
 In pity of her love, so overcast.
 And a sad ditty of this story born
 From mouth to mouth through all the country pass'd:
 Still is the burthen sung -- "O cruelty,
  "To steal my Basil-pot away from me!"�

ON SITTING DOWN TO READ KING LEAR ONCE AGAIN

O golden tongued Romance, with serene lute!
 Fair plumed Syren, Queen of far-away!
 Leave melodizing on this wintry day,
 Shut up thine olden pages, and be mute:
 Adieu! for once again the fierce dispute
 Betwixt damnation and impassion'd clay
 Must I burn through; once more humbly assay
 The bitter-sweet of this Shakespearian fruit.
 Chief Poet! and ye clouds of Albion,
 Begetters of our deep eternal theme!
 When through the old oak Forest I am gone,
 Let me not wander in a barren dream,
 But when I am consumed in the fire,
 Give me new Phoenix wings to fly at my desire.

LINES RHYMED IN A LETTER FROM OXFORD

I.

The Gothic looks solemn,
 The plain Doric column
 Supports an old Bishop and Crosier;
 The mouldering arch,
 Shaded o'er by a larch
 Stands next door to Wilson the Hosier.

II.

Vice -- that is, by turns, --
 O'er pale faces mourns
 The black tassell'd trencher and common hat;
 The Chantry boy sings,
 The Steeple-bell rings,
 And as for the Chancellor -- dominat.

III.

There are plenty of trees,
 And plenty of ease,
 And plenty of fat deer for Parsons;
 And when it is venison,
 Short is the benison, --
 Then each on a leg or thigh fastens.

LAMIA

Part 1


Upon a time, before the faery broods
 Drove Nymph and Satyr from the prosperous woods,
 Before King Oberon's bright diadem,
 Sceptre, and mantle, clasp'd with dewy gem,
 Frighted away the Dryads and the Fauns
 From rushes green, and brakes, and cowslip'd lawns,
 The ever-smitten Hermes empty left
 His golden throne, bent warm on amorous theft:
 From high Olympus had he stolen light,
 On this side of Jove's clouds, to escape the sight
 Of his great summoner, and made retreat
 Into a forest on the shores of Crete.
 For somewhere in that sacred island dwelt
 A nymph, to whom all hoofed Satyrs knelt;
 At whose white feet the languid Tritons poured
 Pearls, while on land they wither'd and adored.
 Fast by the springs where she to bathe was wont,
 And in those meads where sometime she might haunt,
 Were strewn rich gifts, unknown to any Muse,
 Though Fancy's casket were unlock'd to choose.
 Ah, what a world of love was at her feet!
 So Hermes thought, and a celestial heat
 Burnt from his winged heels to either ear,
 That from a whiteness, as the lily clear,
 Blush'd into roses 'mid his golden hair,
 Fallen in jealous curls about his shoulders bare.
 From vale to vale, from wood to wood, he flew,
 Breathing upon the flowers his passion new,
 And wound with many a river to its head,
 To find where this sweet nymph prepar'd her secret bed:
 In vain; the sweet nymph might nowhere be found,
 And so he rested, on the lonely ground,
 Pensive, and full of painful jealousies
 Of the Wood-Gods, and even the very trees.
 There as he stood, he heard a mournful voice,
 Such as once heard, in gentle heart, destroys
 All pain but pity: thus the lone voice spake:
  "When from this wreathed tomb shall I awake!
 When move in a sweet body fit for life,
 And love, and pleasure, and the ruddy strife
 Of hearts and lips! Ah, miserable me!"�
 The God, dove-footed, glided silently
 Round bush and tree, soft-brushing, in his speed,
 The taller grasses and full-flowering weed,
 Until he found a palpitating snake,
 Bright, and cirque-couchant in a dusky brake.

She was a gordian shape of dazzling hue,
 Vermilion-spotted, golden, green, and blue;
 Striped like a zebra, freckled like a pard,
 Eyed like a peacock, and all crimson barr'd;
 And full of silver moons, that, as she breathed,
 Dissolv'd, or brighter shone, or interwreathed
 Their lustres with the gloomier tapestries --
 So rainbow-sided, touch'd with miseries,
 She seem'd, at once, some penanced lady elf,
 Some demon's mistress, or the demon's self.
 Upon her crest she wore a wannish fire
 Sprinkled with stars, like Ariadne's tiar:
 Her head was serpent, but ah, bitter-sweet!
 She had a woman's mouth with all its pearls complete:
 And for her eyes: what could such eyes do there
 But weep, and weep, that they were born so fair?
 As Proserpine still weeps for her Sicilian air.
 Her throat was serpent, but the words she spake
 Came, as through bubbling honey, for Love's sake,
 And thus; while Hermes on his pinions lay,
 Like a stoop'd falcon ere he takes his prey.

"Fair Hermes, crown'd with feathers, fluttering light,
 I had a splendid dream of thee last night:
 I saw thee sitting, on a throne of gold,
 Among the Gods, upon Olympus old,
 The only sad one; for thou didst not hear
 The soft, lute-finger'd Muses chaunting clear,
 Nor even Apollo when he sang alone,
 Deaf to his throbbing throat's long, long melodious moan.
 I dreamt I saw thee, robed in purple flakes,
 Break amorous through the clouds, as morning breaks,
 And, swiftly as a bright Phoebean dart,
 Strike for the Cretan isle; and here thou art!
 Too gentle Hermes, hast thou found the maid?"�
 Whereat the star of Lethe not delay'd
 His rosy eloquence, and thus inquired:
  "Thou smooth-lipp'd serpent, surely high inspired!
 Thou beauteous wreath, with melancholy eyes,
 Possess whatever bliss thou canst devise,
 Telling me only where my nymph is fled, --
 Where she doth breathe!"� "Bright planet, thou hast said,"�
 Return'd the snake, "but seal with oaths, fair God!"�
  "I swear,"� said Hermes, "by my serpent rod,
 And by thine eyes, and by thy starry crown!"�
 Light flew his earnest words, among the blossoms blown.
 Then thus again the brilliance feminine:
  "Too frail of heart! for this lost nymph of thine,
 Free as the air, invisibly, she strays
 About these thornless wilds; her pleasant days
 She tastes unseen; unseen her nimble feet
 Leave traces in the grass and flowers sweet;
 From weary tendrils, and bow'd branches green,
 She plucks the fruit unseen, she bathes unseen:
 And by my power is her beauty veil'd
 To keep it unaffronted, unassail'd
 By the love-glances of unlovely eyes,
 Of Satyrs, Fauns, and blear'd Silenus' sighs.
 Pale grew her immortality, for woe
 Of all these lovers, and she grieved so
 I took compassion on her, bade her steep
 Her hair in weird syrops, that would keep
 Her loveliness invisible, yet free
 To wander as she loves, in liberty.
 Thou shalt behold her, Hermes, thou alone,
 If thou wilt, as thou swearest, grant my boon!"�
 Then, once again, the charmed God began
 An oath, and through the serpent's ears it ran
 Warm, tremulous, devout, psalterian.
 Ravish'd, she lifted her Circean head,
 Blush'd a live damask, and swift-lisping said,
  "I was a woman, let me have once more
 A woman's shape, and charming as before.
 I love a youth of Corinth -- O the bliss!
 Give me my woman's form, and place me where he is.
 Stoop, Hermes, let me breathe upon thy brow,
 And thou shalt see thy sweet nymph even now."�
 The God on half-shut feathers sank serene,
 She breath'd upon his eyes, and swift was seen
 Of both the guarded nymph near-smiling on the green.
 It was no dream; or say a dream it was,
 Real are the dreams of Gods, and smoothly pass
 Their pleasures in a long immortal dream.
 One warm, flush'd moment, hovering, it might seem
 Dash'd by the wood-nymph's beauty, so he burn'd;
 Then, lighting on the printless verdure, turn'd
 To the swoon'd serpent, and with languid arm,
 Delicate, put to proof the lythe Caducean charm.
 So done, upon the nymph his eyes he bent,
 Full of adoring tears and blandishment,
 And towards her stept: she, like a moon in wane,
 Faded before him, cower'd, nor could restrain
 Her fearful sobs, self-folding like a flower
 That faints into itself at evening hour:
 But the God fostering her chilled hand,
 She felt the warmth, her eyelids open'd bland,
 And, like new flowers at morning song of bees,
 Bloom'd, and gave up her honey to the lees.
 Into the green-recessed woods they flew;
 Nor grew they pale, as mortal lovers do.

Left to herself, the serpent now began
 To change; her elfin blood in madness ran,
 Her mouth foam'd, and the grass, therewith besprent,
 Wither'd at dew so sweet and virulent;
 Her eyes in torture fix'd, and anguish drear,
 Hot, glaz'd, and wide, with lid-lashes all sear,
 Flash'd phosphor and sharp sparks, without one cooling tear.
 The colours all inflam'd throughout her train,
 She writh'd about, convuls'd with scarlet pain:
 A deep volcanian yellow took the place
 Of all her milder-mooned body's grace;
 And, as the lava ravishes the mead,
 Spoilt all her silver mail, and golden brede;
 Made gloom of all her frecklings, streaks and bars,
 Eclips'd her crescents, and lick'd up her stars:
 So that, in moments few, she was undrest
 Of all her sapphires, greens, and amethyst,
 And rubious-argent: of all these bereft,
 Nothing but pain and ugliness were left.
 Still shone her crown; that vanish'd, also she
 Melted and disappear'd as suddenly;
 And in the air, her new voice luting soft,
 Cried, "Lycius! gentle Lycius!"� -- Borne aloft
 With the bright mists about the mountains hoar
 These words dissolv'd: Crete's forests heard no more.

Whither fled Lamia, now a lady bright,
 A full-born beauty new and exquisite?
 She fled into that valley they pass o'er
 Who go to Corinth from Cenchreas' shore;
 And rested at the foot of those wild hills,
 The rugged founts of the Peraean rills,
 And of that other ridge whose barren back
 Stretches, with all its mist and cloudy rack,
 South-westward to Cleone. There she stood
 About a young bird's flutter from a wood,
 Fair, on a sloping green of mossy tread,
 By a clear pool, wherein she passioned
 To see herself escap'd from so sore ills,
 While her robes flaunted with the daffodils.

Ah, happy Lycius! -- for she was a maid
 More beautiful than ever twisted braid,
 Or sigh'd, or blush'd, or on spring-flowered lea
 Spread a green kirtle to the minstrelsy:
 A virgin purest lipp'd, yet in the lore
 Of love deep learned to the red heart's core:
 Not one hour old, yet of sciential brain
 To unperplex bliss from its neighbour pain;
 Define their pettish limits, and estrange
 Their points of contact, and swift counterchange;
 Intrigue with the specious chaos, and dispart
 Its most ambiguous atoms with sure art;
 As though in Cupid's college she had spent
 Sweet days a lovely graduate, still unshent,
 And kept his rosy terms in idle languishment.

Why this fair creature chose so fairily
 By the wayside to linger, we shall see;
 But first 'tis fit to tell how she could muse
 And dream, when in the serpent prison-house,
 Of all she list, strange or magnificent:
 How, ever, where she will'd, her spirit went;
 Whether to faint Elysium, or where
 Down through tress-lifting waves the Nereids fair
 Wind into Thetis' bower by many a pearly stair;
 Or where God Bacchus drains his cups divine,
 Stretch'd out, at ease, beneath a glutinous pine;
 Or where in Pluto's gardens palatine
 Mulciber's columns gleam in far piazzian line.
 And sometimes into cities she would send
 Her dream, with feast and rioting to blend;
 And once, while among mortals dreaming thus,
 She saw the young Corinthian Lycius
 Charioting foremost in the envious race,
 Like a young Jove with calm uneager face,
 And fell into a swooning love of him.
 Now on the moth-time of that evening dim
 He would return that way, as well she knew,
 To Corinth from the shore; for freshly blew
 The eastern soft wind, and his galley now
 Grated the quaystones with her brazen prow
 In port Cenchreas, from Egina isle
 Fresh anchor'd; whither he had been awhile
 To sacrifice to Jove, whose temple there
 Waits with high marble doors for blood and incense rare.
 Jove heard his vows, and better'd his desire;
 For by some freakful chance he made retire
 From his companions, and set forth to walk,
 Perhaps grown wearied of their Corinth talk:
 Over the solitary hills he fared,
 Thoughtless at first, but ere eve's star appeared
 His phantasy was lost, where reason fades,
 In the calm'd twilight of Platonic shades.
 Lamia beheld him coming, near, more near --
 Close to her passing, in indifference drear,
 His silent sandals swept the mossy green;
 So neighbour'd to him, and yet so unseen
 She stood: he pass'd, shut up in mysteries,
 His mind wrapp'd like his mantle, while her eyes
 Follow'd his steps, and her neck regal white
 Turn'd -- syllabling thus, "Ah, Lycius bright,
 And will you leave me on the hills alone?
 Lycius, look back! and be some pity shown."�
 He did; not with cold wonder fearingly,
 But Orpheus-like at an Eurydice;
 For so delicious were the words she sung,
 It seem'd he had lov'd them a whole summer long:
 And soon his eyes had drunk her beauty up,
 Leaving no drop in the bewildering cup,
 And still the cup was full, -- while he afraid
 Lest she should vanish ere his lip had paid
 Due adoration, thus began to adore;
 Her soft look growing coy, she saw his chain so sure:
  "Leave thee alone! Look back! Ah, Goddess, see
 Whether my eyes can ever turn from thee!
 For pity do not this sad heart belie --
 Even as thou vanishest so I shall die.
 Stay! though a Naiad of the rivers, stay!
 To thy far wishes will thy streams obey:
 Stay! though the greenest woods be thy domain,
 Alone they can drink up the morning rain:
 Though a descended Pleiad, will not one
 Of thine harmonious sisters keep in tune
 Thy spheres, and as thy silver proxy shine?
 So sweetly to these ravish'd ears of mine
 Came thy sweet greeting, that if thou shouldst fade
 Thy memory will waste me to a shade --
 For pity do not melt!"� -- "If I should stay,"�
 Said Lamia, "here, upon this floor of clay,
 And pain my steps upon these flowers too rough,
 What canst thou say or do of charm enough
 To dull the nice remembrance of my home?
 Thou canst not ask me with thee here to roam
 Over these hills and vales, where no joy is, --
 Empty of immortality and bliss!
 Thou art a scholar, Lycius, and must know
 That finer spirits cannot breathe below
 In human climes, and live: Alas! poor youth,
 What taste of purer air hast thou to soothe
 My essence? What serener palaces,
 Where I may all my many senses please,
 And by mysterious sleights a hundred thirsts appease?
 It cannot be -- Adieu!"� So said, she rose
 Tiptoe with white arms spread. He, sick to lose
 The amorous promise of her lone complain,
 Swoon'd, murmuring of love, and pale with pain.
 The cruel lady, without any show
 Of sorrow for her tender favourite's woe,
 But rather, if her eyes could brighter be,
 With brighter eyes and slow amenity,
 Put her new lips to his, and gave afresh
 The life she had so tangled in her mesh:
 And as he from one trance was wakening
 Into another, she began to sing,
 Happy in beauty, life, and love, and every thing,
 A song of love, too sweet for earthly lyres,
 While, like held breath, the stars drew in their panting fires
 And then she whisper'd in such trembling tone,
 As those who, safe together met alone
 For the first time through many anguish'd days,
 Use other speech than looks; bidding him raise
 His drooping head, and clear his soul of doubt,
 For that she was a woman, and without
 Any more subtle fluid in her veins
 Than throbbing blood, and that the self-same pains
 Inhabited her frail-strung heart as his.
 And next she wonder'd how his eyes could miss
 Her face so long in Corinth, where, she said,
 She dwelt but half retir'd, and there had led
 Days happy as the gold coin could invent
 Without the aid of love; yet in content
 Till she saw him, as once she pass'd him by,
 Where 'gainst a column he leant thoughtfully
 At Venus' temple porch, 'mid baskets heap'd
 Of amorous herbs and flowers, newly reap'd
 Late on that eve, as 'twas the night before
 The Adonian feast; whereof she saw no more,
 But wept alone those days, for why should she adore?
 Lycius from death awoke into amaze,
 To see her still, and singing so sweet lays;
 Then from amaze into delight he fell
 To hear her whisper woman's lore so well;
 And every word she spake entic'd him on
 To unperplex'd delight and pleasure known.
 Let the mad poets say whate'er they please
 Of the sweets of Fairies, Peris, Goddesses,
 There is not such a treat among them all,
 Haunters of cavern, lake, and waterfall,
 As a real woman, lineal indeed
 From Pyrrha's pebbles or old Adam's seed.
 Thus gentle Lamia judg'd, and judg'd aright,
 That Lycius could not love in half a fright,
 So threw the goddess off, and won his heart
 More pleasantly by playing woman's part,
 With no more awe than what her beauty gave,
 That, while it smote, still guaranteed to save.
 Lycius to all made eloquent reply,
 Marrying to every word a twinborn sigh;
 And last, pointing to Corinth, ask'd her sweet,
 If 'twas too far that night for her soft feet.
 The way was short, for Lamia's eagerness
 Made, by a spell, the triple league decrease
 To a few paces; not at all surmised
 By blinded Lycius, so in her comprized.
 They pass'd the city gates, he knew not how
 So noiseless, and he never thought to know.

As men talk in a dream, so Corinth all,
 Throughout her palaces imperial,
 And all her populous streets and temples lewd,
 Mutter'd, like tempest in the distance brew'd,
 To the wide-spreaded night above her towers.
 Men, women, rich and poor, in the cool hours,
 Shuffled their sandals o'er the pavement white,
 Companion'd or alone; while many a light
 Flared, here and there, from wealthy festivals,
 And threw their moving shadows on the walls,
 Or found them cluster'd in the corniced shade
 Of some arch'd temple door, or dusky colonnade.

Muffling his face, of greeting friends in fear,
 Her fingers he press'd hard, as one came near
 With curl'd gray beard, sharp eyes, and smooth bald crown,
 Slow-stepp'd, and robed in philosophic gown:
 Lycius shrank closer, as they met and past,
 Into his mantle, adding wings to haste,
 While hurried Lamia trembled: "Ah,"� said he,
  "Why do you shudder, love, so ruefully?
 Why does your tender palm dissolve in dew?"� --
  "I'm wearied,"� said fair Lamia: "tell me who
 Is that old man? I cannot bring to mind
 His features -- Lycius! wherefore did you blind
 Yourself from his quick eyes?"� Lycius replied,
  'Tis Apollonius sage, my trusty guide
 And good instructor; but to-night he seems
 The ghost of folly haunting my sweet dreams.

While yet he spake they had arrived before
 A pillar'd porch, with lofty portal door,
 Where hung a silver lamp, whose phosphor glow
 Reflected in the slabbed steps below,
 Mild as a star in water; for so new,
 And so unsullied was the marble hue,
 So through the crystal polish, liquid fine,
 Ran the dark veins, that none but feet divine
 Could e'er have touch'd there. Sounds Aeolian
 Breath'd from the hinges, as the ample span
 Of the wide doors disclos'd a place unknown
 Some time to any, but those two alone,
 And a few Persian mutes, who that same year
 Were seen about the markets: none knew where
 They could inhabit; the most curious
 Were foil'd, who watch'd to trace them to their house:
 And but the flitter-winged verse must tell,
 For truth's sake, what woe afterwards befel,
  'Twould humour many a heart to leave them thus,
 Shut from the busy world of more incredulous.

Part 2


Love in a hut, with water and a crust,
 Is -- Love, forgive us! -- cinders, ashes, dust;
 Love in a palace is perhaps at last
 More grievous torment than a hermit's fast --
 That is a doubtful tale from faery land,
 Hard for the non-elect to understand.
 Had Lycius liv'd to hand his story down,
 He might have given the moral a fresh frown,
 Or clench'd it quite: but too short was their bliss
 To breed distrust and hate, that make the soft voice hiss.
 Besides, there, nightly, with terrific glare,
 Love, jealous grown of so complete a pair,
 Hover'd and buzz'd his wings, with fearful roar,
 Above the lintel of their chamber door,
 And down the passage cast a glow upon the floor.

For all this came a ruin: side by side
 They were enthroned, in the even tide,
 Upon a couch, near to a curtaining
 Whose airy texture, from a golden string,
 Floated into the room, and let appear
 Unveil'd the summer heaven, blue and clear,
 Betwixt two marble shafts: -- there they reposed,
 Where use had made it sweet, with eyelids closed,
 Saving a tythe which love still open kept,
 That they might see each other while they almost slept;
 When from the slope side of a suburb hill,
 Deafening the swallow's twitter, came a thrill
 Of trumpets -- Lycius started -- the sounds fled,
 But left a thought, a buzzing in his head.
 For the first time, since first he harbour'd in
 That purple-lined palace of sweet sin,
 His spirit pass'd beyond its golden bourn
 Into the noisy world almost forsworn.
 The lady, ever watchful, penetrant,
 Saw this with pain, so arguing a want
 Of something more, more than her empery
 Of joys; and she began to moan and sigh
 Because he mused beyond her, knowing well
 That but a moment's thought is passion's passing bell.
  "Why do you sigh, fair creature?"� whisper'd he:
  "Why do you think?"� return'd she tenderly:
  "You have deserted me -- where am I now?
 Not in your heart while care weighs on your brow:
 No, no, you have dismiss'd me; and I go
 From your breast houseless: ay, it must be so."�
 He answer'd, bending to her open eyes,
 Where he was mirror'd small in paradise,
 My silver planet, both of eve and morn!
 Why will you plead yourself so sad forlorn,
 While I am striving how to fill my heart
 With deeper crimson, and a double smart?
 How to entangle, trammel up and snare
 Your soul in mine, and labyrinth you there
 Like the hid scent in an unbudded rose?
 Ay, a sweet kiss -- you see your mighty woes.
 My thoughts! shall I unveil them? Listen then!
 What mortal hath a prize, that other men
 May be confounded and abash'd withal,
 But lets it sometimes pace abroad majestical,
 And triumph, as in thee I should rejoice
 Amid the hoarse alarm of Corinth's voice.
 Let my foes choke, and my friends shout afar,
 While through the thronged streets your bridal car
 Wheels round its dazzling spokes."� The lady's cheek
 Trembled; she nothing said, but, pale and meek,
 Arose and knelt before him, wept a rain
 Of sorrows at his words; at last with pain
 Beseeching him, the while his hand she wrung,
 To change his purpose. He thereat was stung,
 Perverse, with stronger fancy to reclaim
 Her wild and timid nature to his aim:
 Besides, for all his love, in self despite,
 Against his better self, he took delight
 Luxurious in her sorrows, soft and new.
 His passion, cruel grown, took on a hue
 Fierce and sanguineous as 'twas possible
 In one whose brow had no dark veins to swell.
 Fine was the mitigated fury, like
 Apollo's presence when in act to strike
 The serpent -- Ha, the serpent! certes, she
 Was none. She burnt, she lov'd the tyranny,
 And, all subdued, consented to the hour
 When to the bridal he should lead his paramour.
 Whispering in midnight silence, said the youth,
  "Sure some sweet name thou hast, though, by my truth,
 I have not ask'd it, ever thinking thee
 Not mortal, but of heavenly progeny,
 As still I do. Hast any mortal name,
 Fit appellation for this dazzling frame?
 Or friends or kinsfolk on the citied earth,
 To share our marriage feast and nuptial mirth?"�
  "I have no friends,"� said Lamia,"� no, not one;
 My presence in wide Corinth hardly known:
 My parents' bones are in their dusty urns
 Sepulchred, where no kindled incense burns,
 Seeing all their luckless race are dead, save me,
 And I neglect the holy rite for thee.
 Even as you list invite your many guests;
 But if, as now it seems, your vision rests
 With any pleasure on me, do not bid
 Old Apollonius -- from him keep me hid."�
 Lycius, perplex'd at words so blind and blank,
 Made close inquiry; from whose touch she shrank,
 Feigning a sleep; and he to the dull shade
 Of deep sleep in a moment was betray'd

It was the custom then to bring away
 The bride from home at blushing shut of day,
 Veil'd, in a chariot, heralded along
 By strewn flowers, torches, and a marriage song,
 With other pageants: but this fair unknown
 Had not a friend. So being left alone,
 (Lycius was gone to summon all his kin)
 And knowing surely she could never win
 His foolish heart from its mad pompousness,
 She set herself, high-thoughted, how to dress
 The misery in fit magnificence.
 She did so, but 'tis doubtful how and whence
 Came, and who were her subtle servitors.
 About the halls, and to and from the doors,
 There was a noise of wings, till in short space
 The glowing banquet-room shone with wide-arched grace.
 A haunting music, sole perhaps and lone
 Supportress of the faery-roof, made moan
 Throughout, as fearful the whole charm might fade.
 Fresh carved cedar, mimicking a glade
 Of palm and plantain, met from either side,
 High in the midst, in honour of the bride:
 Two palms and then two plantains, and so on,
 From either side their stems branch'd one to one
 All down the aisled place; and beneath all
 There ran a stream of lamps straight on from wall to wall.
 So canopied, lay an untasted feast
 Teeming with odours. Lamia, regal drest,
 Silently paced about, and as she went,
 In pale contented sort of discontent,
 Mission'd her viewless servants to enrich
 The fretted splendour of each nook and niche.
 Between the tree-stems, marbled plain at first,
 Came jasper pannels; then, anon, there burst
 Forth creeping imagery of slighter trees,
 And with the larger wove in small intricacies.
 Approving all, she faded at self-will,
 And shut the chamber up, close, hush'd and still,
 Complete and ready for the revels rude,
 When dreadful guests would come to spoil her solitude.

The day appear'd, and all the gossip rout.
 O senseless Lycius! Madman! wherefore flout
 The silent-blessing fate, warm cloister'd hours,
 And show to common eyes these secret bowers?
 The herd approach'd; each guest, with busy brain,
 Arriving at the portal, gaz'd amain,
 And enter'd marveling: for they knew the street,
 Remember'd it from childhood all complete
 Without a gap, yet ne'er before had seen
 That royal porch, that high-built fair demesne;
 So in they hurried all, maz'd, curious and keen:
 Save one, who look'd thereon with eye severe,
 And with calm-planted steps walk'd in austere;
  'Twas Apollonius: something too he laugh'd,
 As though some knotty problem, that had daft
 His patient thought, had now begun to thaw,
 And solve and melt -- 'twas just as he foresaw.

He met within the murmurous vestibule
 His young disciple. "'Tis no common rule,
 Lycius,"� said he, "for uninvited guest
 To force himself upon you, and infest
 With an unbidden presence the bright throng
 Of younger friends; yet must I do this wrong,
 And you forgive me."� Lycius blush'd, and led
 The old man through the inner doors broad-spread;
 With reconciling words and courteous mien
 Turning into sweet milk the sophist's spleen.

Of wealthy lustre was the banquet-room,
 Fill'd with pervading brilliance and perfume:
 Before each lucid pannel fuming stood
 A censer fed with myrrh and spiced wood,
 Each by a sacred tripod held aloft,
 Whose slender feet wide-swerv'd upon the soft
 Wool-woofed carpets: fifty wreaths of smoke
 From fifty censers their light voyage took
 To the high roof, still mimick'd as they rose
 Along the mirror'd walls by twin-clouds odorous.
 Twelve sphered tables, by silk seats insphered,
 High as the level of a man's breast rear'd
 On libbard's paws, upheld the heavy gold
 Of cups and goblets, and the store thrice told
 Of Ceres' horn, and, in huge vessels, wine
 Come from the gloomy tun with merry shine.
 Thus loaded with a feast the tables stood,
 Each shrining in the midst the image of a God.

When in an antichamber every guest
 Had felt the cold full sponge to pleasure press'd,
 By minist'ring slaves, upon his hands and feet,
 And fragrant oils with ceremony meet
 Pour'd on his hair, they all mov'd to the feast
 In white robes, and themselves in order placed
 Around the silken couches, wondering
 Whence all this mighty cost and blaze of wealth could spring.

Soft went the music the soft air along,
 While fluent Greek a vowel'd undersong
 Kept up among the guests discoursing low
 At first, for scarcely was the wine at flow;
 But when the happy vintage touch'd their brains,
 Louder they talk, and louder come the strains
 Of powerful instruments -- the gorgeous dyes,
 The space, the splendour of the draperies,
 The roof of awful richness, nectarous cheer,
 Beautiful slaves, and Lamia's self, appear,
 Now, when the wine has done its rosy deed,
 And every soul from human trammels freed,
 No more so strange; for merry wine, sweet wine,
 Will make Elysian shades not too fair, too divine.
 Soon was God Bacchus at meridian height;
 Flush'd were their cheeks, and bright eyes double bright:
 Garlands of every green, and every scent
 From vales deflower'd, or forest-trees branch rent,
 In baskets of bright osier'd gold were brought
 High as the handles heap'd, to suit the thought
 Of every guest; that each, as he did please,
 Might fancy-fit his brows, silk-pillow'd at his ease.

What wreath for Lamia? What for Lycius?
 What for the sage, old Apollonius?
 Upon her aching forehead be there hung
 The leaves of willow and of adder's tongue;
 And for the youth, quick, let us strip for him
 The thyrsus, that his watching eyes may swim
 Into forgetfulness; and, for the sage,
 Let spear-grass and the spiteful thistle wage
 War on his temples. Do not all charms fly
 At the mere touch of cold philosophy?
 There was an awful rainbow once in heaven:
 We know her woof, her texture; she is given
 In the dull catalogue of common things.
 Philosophy will clip an Angel's wings,
 Conquer all mysteries by rule and line,
 Empty the haunted air, and gnomed mine --
 Unweave a rainbow, as it erewhile made
 The tender-person'd Lamia melt into a shade.

By her glad Lycius sitting, in chief place,
 Scarce saw in all the room another face,
 Till, checking his love trance, a cup he took
 Full brimm'd, and opposite sent forth a look
  'Cross the broad table, to beseech a glance
 From his old teacher's wrinkled countenance,
 And pledge him. The bald-head philosopher
 Had fix'd his eye, without a twinkle or stir
 Full on the alarmed beauty of the bride,
 Brow-beating her fair form, and troubling her sweet pride.
 Lycius then press'd her hand, with devout touch,
 As pale it lay upon the rosy couch:
  'Twas icy, and the cold ran through his veins;
 Then sudden it grew hot, and all the pains
 Of an unnatural heat shot to his heart.
  "Lamia, what means this? Wherefore dost thou start?
 Know'st thou that man?"� Poor Lamia answer'd not.
 He gaz'd into her eyes, and not a jot
 Own'd they the lovelorn piteous appeal:
 More, more he gaz'd: his human senses reel:
 Some hungry spell that loveliness absorbs;
 There was no recognition in those orbs.
  "Lamia!"� he cried -- and no soft-toned reply.
 The many heard, and the loud revelry
 Grew hush; the stately music no more breathes;
 The myrtle sicken'd in a thousand wreaths.
 By faint degrees, voice, lute, and pleasure ceased;
 A deadly silence step by step increased,
 Until it seem'd a horrid presence there,
 And not a man but felt the terror in his hair.
  "Lamia!"� he shriek'd; and nothing but the shriek
 With its sad echo did the silence break.
  "Begone, foul dream!"� he cried, gazing again
 In the bride's face, where now no azure vein
 Wander'd on fair-spaced temples; no soft bloom
 Misted the cheek; no passion to illume
 The deep-recessed vision -- all was blight;
 Lamia, no longer fair, there sat a deadly white.
  "Shut, shut those juggling eyes, thou ruthless man!
 Turn them aside, wretch! or the righteous ban
 Of all the Gods, whose dreadful images
 Here represent their shadowy presences,
 May pierce them on the sudden with the thorn
 Of painful blindness; leaving thee forlorn,
 In trembling dotage to the feeblest fright
 Of conscience, for their long offended might,
 For all thine impious proud-heart sophistries,
 Unlawful magic, and enticing lies.
 Corinthians! look upon that gray-beard wretch!
 Mark how, possess'd, his lashless eyelids stretch
 Around his demon eyes! Corinthians, see!
 My sweet bride withers at their potency."�
  "Fool!"� said the sophist, in an under-tone
 Gruff with contempt; which a death-nighing moan
 From Lycius answer'd, as heart-struck and lost,
 He sank supine beside the aching ghost.
  "Fool! Fool!"� repeated he, while his eyes still
 Relented not, nor mov'd; "from every ill
 Of life have I preserv'd thee to this day,
 And shall I see thee made a serpent's prey?"�
 Then Lamia breath'd death breath; the sophist's eye,
 Like a sharp spear, went through her utterly,
 Keen, cruel, perceant, stinging: she, as well
 As her weak hand could any meaning tell,
 Motion'd him to be silent; vainly so,
 He look'd and look'd again a level -- No!
  "A Serpent!"� echoed he; no sooner said,
 Than with a frightful scream she vanished:
 And Lycius' arms were empty of delight,
 As were his limbs of life, from that same night.
 On the high couch he lay! -- his friends came round
 Supported him -- no pulse, or breath they found,
 And, in its marriage robe, the heavy body wound.

THE EVE OF ST. AGNES

I.

  ST. AGNES' Eve--Ah, bitter chill it was!
  The owl, for all his feathers, was a-cold;
  The hare limp'd trembling through the frozen grass,
  And silent was the flock in woolly fold:
  Numb were the Beadsman's fingers, while he told      
  His rosary, and while his frosted breath,
  Like pious incense from a censer old,
  Seem'd taking flight for heaven, without a death,
Past the sweet Virgin's picture, while his prayer he saith.
 
II.

  His prayer he saith, this patient, holy man;      
  Then takes his lamp, and riseth from his knees,
  And back returneth, meagre, barefoot, wan,
  Along the chapel aisle by slow degrees:
  The sculptur'd dead, on each side, seem to freeze,
  Emprison'd in black, purgatorial rails:      
  Knights, ladies, praying in dumb orat'ries,
  He passeth by; and his weak spirit fails
To think how they may ache in icy hoods and mails.
 
III.

  Northward he turneth through a little door,
  And scarce three steps, ere Music's golden tongue      
  Flatter'd to tears this aged man and poor;
  But no--already had his deathbell rung;
  The joys of all his life were said and sung:
  His was harsh penance on St. Agnes' Eve:
  Another way he went, and soon among      
  Rough ashes sat he for his soul's reprieve,
And all night kept awake, for sinners' sake to grieve.
 
IV.

  That ancient Beadsman heard the prelude soft;
  And so it chanc'd, for many a door was wide,
  From hurry to and fro. Soon, up aloft,      
  The silver, snarling trumpets 'gan to chide:
  The level chambers, ready with their pride,
  Were glowing to receive a thousand guests:
  The carved angels, ever eager-eyed,
  Star'd, where upon their heads the cornice rests,      
With hair blown back, and wings put cross-wise on their breasts.
 
V.

  At length burst in the argent revelry,
  With plume, tiara, and all rich array,
  Numerous as shadows haunting fairily
  The brain, new stuff d, in youth, with triumphs gay      
  Of old romance. These let us wish away,
  And turn, sole-thoughted, to one Lady there,
  Whose heart had brooded, all that wintry day,
  On love, and wing'd St. Agnes' saintly care,
As she had heard old dames full many times declare.
       
 
VI.

  They told her how, upon St. Agnes' Eve,
  Young virgins might have visions of delight,
  And soft adorings from their loves receive
  Upon the honey'd middle of the night,
  If ceremonies due they did aright;      
  As, supperless to bed they must retire,
  And couch supine their beauties, lily white;
  Nor look behind, nor sideways, but require
Of Heaven with upward eyes for all that they desire.
 
VII.

  Full of this whim was thoughtful Madeline:      
  The music, yearning like a God in pain,
  She scarcely heard: her maiden eyes divine,
  Fix'd on the floor, saw many a sweeping train
  Pass by--she heeded not at all: in vain
  Came many a tiptoe, amorous cavalier,      
  And back retir'd; not cool'd by high disdain,
  But she saw not: her heart was otherwhere:
She sigh'd for Agnes' dreams, the sweetest of the year.
 
VIII.

  She danc'd along with vague, regardless eyes,
  Anxious her lips, her breathing quick and short:      
  The hallow'd hour was near at hand: she sighs
  Amid the timbrels, and the throng'd resort
  Of whisperers in anger, or in sport;
  'Mid looks of love, defiance, hate, and scorn,
  Hoodwink'd with faery fancy; all amort,      
  Save to St. Agnes and her lambs unshorn,
And all the bliss to be before to-morrow morn.
 
IX.

  So, purposing each moment to retire,
  She linger'd still. Meantime, across the moors,
  Had come young Porphyro, with heart on fire      
  For Madeline. Beside the portal doors,
  Buttress'd from moonlight, stands he, and implores
  All saints to give him sight of Madeline,
  But for one moment in the tedious hours,
  That he might gaze and worship all unseen;      
Perchance speak, kneel, touch, kiss--in sooth such things have been.
 
X.

  He ventures in: let no buzz'd whisper tell:
  All eyes be muffled, or a hundred swords
  Will storm his heart, Love's fev'rous citadel:
  For him, those chambers held barbarian hordes,      
  Hyena foemen, and hot-blooded lords,
  Whose very dogs would execrations howl
  Against his lineage: not one breast affords
  Him any mercy, in that mansion foul,
Save one old beldame, weak in body and in soul.
       
 
XI.

  Ah, happy chance! the aged creature came,
  Shuffling along with ivory-headed wand,
  To where he stood, hid from the torch's flame,
  Behind a broad hail-pillar, far beyond
  The sound of merriment and chorus bland:      
  He startled her; but soon she knew his face,
  And grasp'd his fingers in her palsied hand,
  Saying, "Mercy, Porphyro! hie thee from this place;
"They are all here to-night, the whole blood-thirsty race!
 
XII.

  "Get hence! get hence! there's dwarfish Hildebrand;      
  "He had a fever late, and in the fit
  "He cursed thee and thine, both house and land:
  "Then there 's that old Lord Maurice, not a whit
  "More tame for his gray hairs--Alas me! flit!
  "Flit like a ghost away."�--"Ah, Gossip dear,      
  "We're safe enough; here in this arm-chair sit,
  "And tell me how"�--"Good Saints! not here, not here;
"Follow me, child, or else these stones will be thy bier."�
 
XIII.

  He follow'd through a lowly arched way,
  Brushing the cobwebs with his lofty plume;      
  And as she mutter'd "Well-a--well-a-day!"�
  He found him in a little moonlight room,
  Pale, lattic'd, chill, and silent as a tomb.
  "Now tell me where is Madeline,"� said he,
  "O tell me, Angela, by the holy loom      
  "Which none but secret sisterhood may see,
"When they St. Agnes' wool are weaving piously."�
 
XIV.

  "St. Agnes! Ah! it is St. Agnes' Eve--
  "Yet men will murder upon holy days:
  "Thou must hold water in a witch's sieve,      
  "And be liege-lord of all the Elves and Fays,
  "To venture so: it fills me with amaze
  "To see thee, Porphyro!--St. Agnes' Eve!
  "God's help! my lady fair the conjuror plays
  "This very night: good angels her deceive!      
"But let me laugh awhile, I've mickle time to grieve."�
 
XV.

  Feebly she laugheth in the languid moon,
  While Porphyro upon her face doth look,
  Like puzzled urchin on an aged crone
  Who keepeth clos'd a wond'rous riddle-book,      
  As spectacled she sits in chimney nook.
  But soon his eyes grew brilliant, when she told
  His lady's purpose; and he scarce could brook
  Tears, at the thought of those enchantments cold,
And Madeline asleep in lap of legends old.
       
 
XVI.

  Sudden a thought came like a full-blown rose,
  Flushing his brow, and in his pained heart
  Made purple riot: then doth he propose
  A stratagem, that makes the beldame start:
  "A cruel man and impious thou art:      
  "Sweet lady, let her pray, and sleep, and dream
  "Alone with her good angels, far apart
  "From wicked men like thee. Go, go!--I deem
"Thou canst not surely be the same that thou didst seem.
 
XVII.

  "I will not harm her, by all saints I swear,"�      
  Quoth Porphyro: "O may I ne'er find grace
  "When my weak voice shall whisper its last prayer,
  "If one of her soft ringlets I displace,
  "Or look with ruffian passion in her face:
  "Good Angela, believe me by these tears;      
  "Or I will, even in a moment's space,
  "Awake, with horrid shout, my foemen's ears,
"And beard them, though they be more fang'd than wolves and bears."�
 
XVIII.

  "Ah! why wilt thou affright a feeble soul?
  "A poor, weak, palsy-stricken, churchyard thing,      
  "Whose passing-bell may ere the midnight toll;
  "Whose prayers for thee, each morn and evening,
  "Were never miss'd."�--Thus plaining, doth she bring
  A gentler speech from burning Porphyro;
  So woful, and of such deep sorrowing,      
  That Angela gives promise she will do
Whatever he shall wish, betide her weal or woe.
 
XIX.

  Which was, to lead him, in close secrecy,
  Even to Madeline's chamber, and there hide
  Him in a closet, of such privacy      
  That he might see her beauty unespied,
  And win perhaps that night a peerless bride,
  While legion'd fairies pac'd the coverlet,
  And pale enchantment held her sleepy-eyed.
  Never on such a night have lovers met,      
Since Merlin paid his Demon all the monstrous debt.
 
XX.

  "It shall be as thou wishest,"� said the Dame:
  "All cates and dainties shall be stored there
  "Quickly on this feast-night: by the tambour frame
  "Her own lute thou wilt see: no time to spare,      
  "For I am slow and feeble, and scarce dare
  "On such a catering trust my dizzy head.
  "Wait here, my child, with patience; kneel in prayer
  "The while: Ah! thou must needs the lady wed,
"Or may I never leave my grave among the dead."�
       
 
XXI.

  So saying, she hobbled off with busy fear.
  The lover's endless minutes slowly pass'd;
  The dame return'd, and whisper'd in his ear
  To follow her; with aged eyes aghast
  From fright of dim espial. Safe at last,      
  Through many a dusky gallery, they gain
  The maiden's chamber, silken, hush'd, and chaste;
  Where Porphyro took covert, pleas'd amain.
His poor guide hurried back with agues in her brain.
 
XXII.

  Her falt'ring hand upon the balustrade,      
  Old Angela was feeling for the stair,
  When Madeline, St. Agnes' charmed maid,
  Rose, like a mission'd spirit, unaware:
  With silver taper's light, and pious care,
  She turn'd, and down the aged gossip led      
  To a safe level matting. Now prepare,
  Young Porphyro, for gazing on that bed;
She comes, she comes again, like ring-dove fray'd and fled.
 
XXIII.

  Out went the taper as she hurried in;
  Its little smoke, in pallid moonshine, died:      
  She clos'd the door, she panted, all akin
  To spirits of the air, and visions wide:
  No uttered syllable, or, woe betide!
  But to her heart, her heart was voluble,
  Paining with eloquence her balmy side;      
  As though a tongueless nightingale should swell
Her throat in vain, and die, heart-stifled, in her dell.
 
XXIV.

  A casement high and triple-arch'd there was,
  All garlanded with carven imag'ries
  Of fruits, and flowers, and bunches of knot-grass,      
  And diamonded with panes of quaint device,
  Innumerable of stains and splendid dyes,
  As are the tiger-moth's deep-damask'd wings;
  And in the midst, 'mong thousand heraldries,
  And twilight saints, and dim emblazonings,      
A shielded scutcheon blush'd with blood of queens and kings.
 
XXV.

  Full on this casement shone the wintry moon,
  And threw warm gules on Madeline's fair breast,
  As down she knelt for heaven's grace and boon;
  Rose-bloom fell on her hands, together prest,      
  And on her silver cross soft amethyst,
  And on her hair a glory, like a saint:
  She seem'd a splendid angel, newly drest,
  Save wings, for heaven:--Porphyro grew faint:
She knelt, so pure a thing, so free from mortal taint.
       
 
XXVI.

  Anon his heart revives: her vespers done,
  Of all its wreathed pearls her hair she frees;
  Unclasps her warmed jewels one by one;
  Loosens her fragrant boddice; by degrees
  Her rich attire creeps rustling to her knees:      
  Half-hidden, like a mermaid in sea-weed,
  Pensive awhile she dreams awake, and sees,
  In fancy, fair St. Agnes in her bed,
But dares not look behind, or all the charm is fled.
 
XXVII.

  Soon, trembling in her soft and chilly nest,      
  In sort of wakeful swoon, perplex'd she lay,
  Until the poppied warmth of sleep oppress'd
  Her soothed limbs, and soul fatigued away;
  Flown, like a thought, until the morrow-day;
  Blissfully haven'd both from joy and pain;      
  Clasp'd like a missal where swart Paynims pray;
  Blinded alike from sunshine and from rain,
As though a rose should shut, and be a bud again.
 
XXVIII.

  Stol'n to this paradise, and so entranced,
  Porphyro gazed upon her empty dress,      
  And listen'd to her breathing, if it chanced
  To wake into a slumberous tenderness;
  Which when he heard, that minute did he bless,
  And breath'd himself: then from the closet crept,
  Noiseless as fear in a wide wilderness,      
  And over the hush'd carpet, silent, stept,
And 'tween the curtains peep'd, where, lo!--how fast she slept.
 
XXIX.

  Then by the bed-side, where the faded moon
  Made a dim, silver twilight, soft he set
  A table, and, half anguish'd, threw thereon      
  A cloth of woven crimson, gold, and jet:--
  O for some drowsy Morphean amulet!
  The boisterous, midnight, festive clarion,
  The kettle-drum, and far-heard clarionet,
  Affray his ears, though but in dying tone:--     
The hall door shuts again, and all the noise is gone.
 
XXX.

  And still she slept an azure-lidded sleep,
  In blanched linen, smooth, and lavender'd,
  While he from forth the closet brought a heap
  Of candied apple, quince, and plum, and gourd;
       
  With jellies soother than the creamy curd,
  And lucent syrops, tinct with cinnamon;
  Manna and dates, in argosy transferr'd
  From Fez; and spiced dainties, every one,
From silken Samarcand to cedar'd Lebanon.
       
 
XXXI.

  These delicates he heap'd with glowing hand
  On golden dishes and in baskets bright
  Of wreathed silver: sumptuous they stand
  In the retired quiet of the night,
  Filling the chilly room with perfume light.--     
  "And now, my love, my seraph fair, awake!
  "Thou art my heaven, and I thine eremite:
  "Open thine eyes, for meek St. Agnes' sake,
"Or I shall drowse beside thee, so my soul doth ache."�
 
XXXII.

  Thus whispering, his warm, unnerved arm      
  Sank in her pillow. Shaded was her dream
  By the dusk curtains:--'twas a midnight charm
  Impossible to melt as iced stream:
  The lustrous salvers in the moonlight gleam;
  Broad golden fringe upon the carpet lies:      
  It seem'd he never, never could redeem
  From such a stedfast spell his lady's eyes;
So mus'd awhile, entoil'd in woofed phantasies.
 
XXXIII.

  Awakening up, he took her hollow lute,--
  Tumultuous,--and, in chords that tenderest be,      
  He play'd an ancient ditty, long since mute,
  In Provence call'd, "La belle dame sans mercy:"�
  Close to her ear touching the melody;--
  Wherewith disturb'd, she utter'd a soft moan:
  He ceased--she panted quick--and suddenly      
  Her blue affrayed eyes wide open shone:
Upon his knees he sank, pale as smooth-sculptured stone.
 
XXXIV.

  Her eyes were open, but she still beheld,
  Now wide awake, the vision of her sleep:
  There was a painful change, that nigh expell'd     
  The blisses of her dream so pure and deep
  At which fair Madeline began to weep,
  And moan forth witless words with many a sigh;
  While still her gaze on Porphyro would keep;
  Who knelt, with joined hands and piteous eye,      
Fearing to move or speak, she look'd so dreamingly.
 
XXXV.

  "Ah, Porphyro!"� said she, "but even now
  "Thy voice was at sweet tremble in mine ear,
  "Made tuneable with every sweetest vow;
  "And those sad eyes were spiritual and clear:
  "How chang'd thou art! how pallid, chill, and drear!
  "Give me that voice again, my Porphyro,
  "Those looks immortal, those complainings dear!
  "Oh leave me not in this eternal woe,
"For if thou diest, my Love, I know not where to go."�
       
 
XXXVI.

  Beyond a mortal man impassion'd far
  At these voluptuous accents, he arose,
  Ethereal, flush'd, and like a throbbing star
  Seen mid the sapphire heaven's deep repose;
  Into her dream he melted, as the rose 
  Blendeth its odour with the violet,--
  Solution sweet: meantime the frost-wind blows
  Like Love's alarum pattering the sharp sleet
Against the window-panes; St. Agnes' moon hath set.
 
XXXVII.

  'Tis dark: quick pattereth the flaw-blown sleet:      
  "This is no dream, my bride, my Madeline!"�
  'Tis dark: the iced gusts still rave and beat:
  "No dream, alas! alas! and woe is mine!
  "Porphyro will leave me here to fade and pine.--
  "Cruel! what traitor could thee hither bring?      
  "I curse not, for my heart is lost in thine,
  "Though thou forsakest a deceived thing;--
"A dove forlorn and lost with sick unpruned wing."�
 
XXXVIII.

  "My Madeline! sweet dreamer! lovely bride!
  "Say, may I be for aye thy vassal blest?      
  "Thy beauty's shield, heart-shap'd and vermeil dyed?
  "Ah, silver shrine, here will I take my rest
  "After so many hours of toil and quest,
  "A famish'd pilgrim,--saved by miracle.
  "Though I have found, I will not rob thy nest      
  "Saving of thy sweet self; if thou think'st well
"To trust, fair Madeline, to no rude infidel."�
 
XXXIX.

  'Hark! 'tis an elfin-storm from faery land,
  "Of haggard seeming, but a boon indeed:
  "Arise--arise! the morning is at hand;--     
  "The bloated wassaillers will never heed:--
  "Let us away, my love, with happy speed;
  "There are no ears to hear, or eyes to see,--
  "Drown'd all in Rhenish and the sleepy mead:
  "Awake! arise! my love, and fearless be,      
"For o'er the southern moors I have a home for thee."�
 
XL.

  She hurried at his words, beset with fears,
  For there were sleeping dragons all around,
  At glaring watch, perhaps, with ready spears--
  Down the wide stairs a darkling way they found.--     
  In all the house was heard no human sound.
  A chain-droop'd lamp was flickering by each door;
  The arras, rich with horseman, hawk, and hound,
  Flutter'd in the besieging wind's uproar;
And the long carpets rose along the gusty floor.
       
 
XLI.

  They glide, like phantoms, into the wide hall;
  Like phantoms, to the iron porch, they glide;
  Where lay the Porter, in uneasy sprawl,
  With a huge empty flaggon by his side;
  The wakeful bloodhound rose, and shook his hide,      
  But his sagacious eye an inmate owns:
  By one, and one, the bolts full easy slide:--
  The chains lie silent on the footworn stones;--
The key turns, and the door upon its hinges groan.
 
XLII.

  And they are gone: ay, ages long ago      
  These lovers fled away into the storm.
  That night the Baron dreamt of many a woe,
  And all his warrior-guests, with shade and form
  Of witch, and demon, and large coffin-worm,
  Were long be-nightmar'd. Angela the old      
  Died palsy-twitch'd, with meagre face deform;
  The Beadsman, after thousand aves told,
For aye unsought for slept among his ashes cold.

HOW MANY BARDS GILD THE LAPSES OF TIME!

How many bards gild the lapses of time!
 A few of them have ever been the food
 Of my delighted fancy, -- I could brood
 Over their beauties, earthly, or sublime:
 And often, when I sit me down to rhyme,
 These will in throngs before my mind intrude:
 But no confusion, no disturbance rude
 Do they occasion; 'tis a pleasing chime.
 So the unnumber'd sounds that evening store;
 The songs of birds -- the whisp'ring of the leaves --
 The voice of waters -- the great bell that heaves
 With solemn sound, -- and thousand others more,
 That distance of recognizance bereaves,
 Make pleasing music, and not wild uproar.

DEDICATION [OF POEMS, 1817] TO LEIGH HUNT, ESQ.

Glory and loveliness have pass'd away;
 For if we wander out in early morn,
 No wreathed incense do we see upborne
 Into the east, to meet the smiling day:
 No crowd of nymphs soft voic'd and young, and gay,
 In woven baskets bringing ears of corn,
 Roses, and pinks, and violets, to adorn
 The shrine of Flora in her early May.
 But there are left delights as high as these,
 And I shall ever bless my destiny,
 That in a time, when under pleasant trees
 Pan is no longer sought, I feel a free,
 A leafy luxury, seeing I could please
 With these poor offerings, a man like thee.

TO ONE WHO HAS BEEN LONG IN CITY PENT

To one who has been long in city pent,
  'Tis very sweet to look into the fair
 And open face of heaven, -- to breathe a prayer
 Full in the smile of the blue firmament.
 Who is more happy, when, with heart's content,
 Fatigued he sinks into some pleasant lair
 Of wavy grass, and reads a debonair
 And gentle tale of love and languishment?
 Returning home at evening, with an ear
 Catching the notes of Philomel, -- an eye
 Watching the sailing cloudlet's bright career,
 He mourns that day so soon has glided by:
 E'en like the passage of an angel's tear
 That falls through the clear ether silently.

A SONG ABOUT MYSELF

I.

There was a naughty boy,
 A naughty boy was he,
 He would not stop at home,
 He could not quiet be --
 He took
 In his knapsack
 A book
 Full of vowels
 And a shirt
 With some towels,
 A slight cap
 For night cap,
 A hair brush,
 Comb ditto,
 New stockings
 For old ones
 Would split O!
 This knapsack
 Tight at's back
 He rivetted close
 And followed his nose
 To the north,
 To the north,
 And follow'd his nose
 To the north.

II.

There was a naughty boy
 And a naughty boy was he,
 For nothing would he do
 But scribble poetry --
 He took
 An ink stand
 In his hand
 And a pen
 Big as ten
 In the other,
 And away
 In a pother
 He ran
 To the mountains
 And fountains
 And ghostes
 And postes
 And witches
 And ditches
 And wrote
 In his coat
 When the weather
 Was cool,
 Fear of gout,
 And without
 When the weather
 Was warm --
 Och the charm
 When we choose
 To follow one's nose
 To the north,
 To the north,
 To follow one's nose
 To the north!

III.

There was a naughty boy
 And a naughty boy was he,
 He kept little fishes
 In washing tubs three
 In spite
 Of the might
 Of the maid
 Nor afraid
 Of his Granny-good --
 He often would
 Hurly burly
 Get up early
 And go
 By hook or crook
 To the brook
 And bring home
 Miller's thumb,
 Tittlebat
 Not over fat,
 Minnows small
 As the stall
 Of a glove,
 Not above
 The size
 Of a nice
 Little baby's
 Little fingers --
 O he made
  'Twas his trade
 Of fish a pretty kettle
 A kettle --
 A kettle
 Of fish a pretty kettle
 A kettle!

IV.

There was a naughty boy,
 And a naughty boy was he,
 He ran away to Scotland
 The people for to see --
 There he found
 That the ground
 Was as hard,
 That a yard
 Was as long,
 That a song
 Was as merry,
 That a cherry
 Was as red,
 That lead
 Was as weighty,
 That fourscore
 Was as eighty,
 That a door
 Was as wooden
 As in England --
 So he stood in his shoes
 And he wonder'd,
 He wonder'd,
 He stood in his
 Shoes and he wonder'd.

ODE

("BARDS OF PASSION AND OF MIRTH"�)

Bards of Passion and of Mirth,
 Ye have left your souls on earth!
 Have ye souls in heaven too,
 Double-lived in regions new?
 Yes, and those of heaven commune
 With the spheres of sun and moon;
 With the noise of fountains wond'rous,
 And the parle of voices thund'rous;
 With the whisper of heaven's trees
 And one another, in soft ease
 Seated on Elysian lawns
 Brows'd by none but Dian's fawns;
 Underneath large blue-bells tented,
 Where the daisies are rose-scented,
 And the rose herself has got
 Perfume which on earth is not;
 Where the nightingale doth sing
 Not a senseless, tranced thing,
 But divine melodious truth;
 Philosophic numbers smooth;
 Tales and golden histories
 Of heaven and its mysteries.

Thus ye live on high, and then
 On the earth ye live again;
 And the souls ye left behind you
 Teach us, here, the way to find you,
 Where your other souls are joying,
 Never slumber'd, never cloying.
 Here, your earth-born souls still speak
 To mortals, of their little week;
 Of their sorrows and delights;
 Of their passions and their spites;
 Of their glory and their shame;
 What doth strengthen and what maim.
 Thus ye teach us, every day,
 Wisdom, though fled far away.

Bards of Passion and of Mirth,
 Ye have left your souls on earth!
 Ye have souls in heaven too,
 Double-lived in regions new!


ODE ON INDOLENCE

They toil not, neither do they spin.

I.

One morn before me were three figures seen,
 With bowed necks, and joined hands, side-faced;
 And one behind the other stepp'd serene,
 In placid sandals, and in white robes graced;
 They pass'd, like figures on a marble urn
 When shifted round to see the other side;
 They came again, as, when the urn once more
 Is shifted round, the first seen shades return;
 And they were strange to me, as may betide
 With vases, to one deep in Phidian lore.

II.

How is it, Shadows! that I knew ye not?
 How came ye muffled in so hush a masque?
 Was it a silent deep-disguised plot
 To steal away, and leave without a task
 My idle days? Ripe was the drowsy hour;
 The blissful cloud of summer-indolence
 Benumb'd my eyes; my pulse grew less and less;
 Pain had no sting, and pleasure's wreath no flower:
 O, why did ye not melt, and leave my sense
 Unhaunted quite of all but-nothingness?

III.

A third time came they by; -- alas! wherefore?
 My sleep had been embroider'd with dim dreams;
 My soul had been a lawn besprinkled o'er
 With flowers, and stirring shades, and baffled beams:
 The morn was clouded, but no shower fell,
 Though in her lids hung the sweet tears of May;
 The open casement press'd a new-leav'd vine,
 Let in the budding warmth and throstle's lay;
 O Shadows! 'twas a time to bid farewell!
 Upon your skirts had fallen no tears of mine.

IV.

A third time pass'd they by, and, passing, turn'd
 Each one the face a moment whiles to me;
 Then faded, and to follow them I burn'd
 And ach'd for wings because I knew the three;
 The first was a fair Maid, and Love her name;
 The second was Ambition, pale of cheek,
 And ever watchful with fatigued eye;
 The last, whom I love more, the more of blame
 Is heap'd upon her, maiden most unmeek, --
 I knew to be my demon Poesy.

V.

They faded, and, forsooth! I wanted wings:
 O folly! What is love! and where is it?
 And for that poor Ambition! it springs
 From a man's little heart's short fever-fit;
 For Poesy! -- no, -- she has not a joy, --
 At least for me, -- so sweet as drowsy noons,
 And evenings steep'd in honied indolence;
 O, for an age so shelter'd from annoy,
 That I may never know how change the moons,
 Or hear the voice of busy common-sense!

VI.

So, ye three Ghosts, adieu! Ye cannot raise
 My head cool-bedded in the flowery grass;
 For I would not be dieted with praise,
 A pet-lamb in a sentimental farce!
 Fade softly from my eyes, and be once more
 In masque-like figures on the dreamy urn;
 Farewell! I yet have visions for the night,
 And for the day faint visions there is store;
 Vanish, ye Phantoms! from my idle spright,
 Into the clouds, and never more return!


ODE ON MELANCHOLY

I.

No, no, go not to Lethe, neither twist
 Wolf's-bane, tight-rooted, for its poisonous wine;
 Nor suffer thy pale forehead to be kiss'd
 By nightshade, ruby grape of Proserpine;
 Make not your rosary of yew-berries,
 Nor let the beetle, nor the death-moth be
 Your mournful Psyche, nor the downy owl
 A partner in your sorrow's mysteries;
 For shade to shade will come too drowsily,
 And drown the wakeful anguish of the soul.

II.

But when the melancholy fit shall fall
 Sudden from heaven like a weeping cloud,
 That fosters the droop-headed flowers all,
 And hides the green hill in an April shroud;
 Then glut thy sorrow on a morning rose,
 Or on the rainbow of the salt sand-wave,
 Or on the wealth of globed peonies;
 Or if thy mistress some rich anger shows,
 Emprison her soft hand, and let her rave,
 And feed deep, deep upon her peerless eyes.

III.

She dwells with Beauty -- Beauty that must die;
 And Joy, whose hand is ever at his lips
 Bidding adieu; and aching Pleasure nigh,
 Turning to Poison while the bee-mouth sips:
 Ay, in the very temple of delight
 Veil'd Melancholy has her sovran shrine,
 Though seen of none save him whose strenuous tongue
 Can burst Joy's grape against his palate fine;
 His soul shall taste the sadness of her might,
 And be among her cloudy trophies hung.

ODE TO A NIGHTINGALE

1.

MY heart aches, and a drowsy numbness pains
  My sense, as though of hemlock I had drunk,
Or emptied some dull opiate to the drains
  One minute past, and Lethe-wards had sunk:
'Tis not through envy of thy happy lot,      
  But being too happy in thine happiness,--
    That thou, light-winged Dryad of the trees,
          In some melodious plot
  Of beechen green, and shadows numberless,
    Singest of summer in full-throated ease.
       
 
2.

O, for a draught of vintage! that hath been
  Cool'd a long age in the deep-delved earth,
Tasting of Flora and the country green,
  Dance, and Provencal song, and sunburnt mirth!
O for a beaker full of the warm South,      
  Full of the true, the blushful Hippocrene,
    With beaded bubbles winking at the brim,
          And purple-stained mouth;
  That I might drink, and leave the world unseen,
    And with thee fade away into the forest dim:
       
 
3.

Fade far away, dissolve, and quite forget
  What thou among the leaves hast never known,
The weariness, the fever, and the fret
  Here, where men sit and hear each other groan;
Where palsy shakes a few, sad, last gray hairs,      
  Where youth grows pale, and spectre-thin, and dies;
    Where but to think is to be full of sorrow
          And leaden-eyed despairs,
  Where Beauty cannot keep her lustrous eyes,
    Or new Love pine at them beyond to-morrow.
       
 
4.

Away! away! for I will fly to thee,
  Not charioted by Bacchus and his pards,
But on the viewless wings of Poesy,
  Though the dull brain perplexes and retards:
Already with thee! tender is the night,      
  And haply the Queen-Moon is on her throne,
    Cluster'd around by all her starry Fays;
          But here there is no light,
  Save what from heaven is with the breezes blown
    Through verdurous glooms and winding mossy ways.
       
 
5.

I cannot see what flowers are at my feet,
  Nor what soft incense hangs upon the boughs,
But, in embalmed darkness, guess each sweet
  Wherewith the seasonable month endows
The grass, the thicket, and the fruit-tree wild;      
  White hawthorn, and the pastoral eglantine;
    Fast fading violets cover'd up in leaves;
          And mid-May's eldest child,
  The coming musk-rose, full of dewy wine,
    The murmurous haunt of flies on summer eves.
       
 
6.

Darkling I listen; and, for many a time
  I have been half in love with easeful Death,
Call'd him soft names in many a mused rhyme,
  To take into the air my quiet breath;
Now more than ever seems it rich to die,      
  To cease upon the midnight with no pain,
    While thou art pouring forth thy soul abroad
          In such an ecstasy!
  Still wouldst thou sing, and I have ears in vain--
    To thy high requiem become a sod.
       
 
7.

Thou wast not born for death, immortal Bird!
  No hungry generations tread thee down;
The voice I hear this passing night was heard
  In ancient days by emperor and clown:
Perhaps the self-same song that found a path      
  Through the sad heart of Ruth, when, sick for home,
    She stood in tears amid the alien corn;
          The same that oft-times hath
  Charm'd magic casements, opening on the foam
    Of perilous seas, in faery lands forlorn.
       
 
8.

Forlorn! the very word is like a bell
  To toil me back from thee to my sole self!
Adieu! the fancy cannot cheat so well
  As she is fam'd to do, deceiving elf.
Adieu! adieu! thy plaintive anthem fades      
  Past the near meadows, over the still stream,
    Up the hill-side; and now 'tis buried deep
          In the next valley-glades:
  Was it a vision, or a waking dream?
    Fled is that music:--Do I wake or sleep?

ODE ON A GRECIAN URN

1.

THOU still unravish'd bride of quietness,
  Thou foster-child of silence and slow time,
Sylvan historian, who canst thus express
  A flowery tale more sweetly than our rhyme:
What leaf-fring'd legend haunts about thy shape      
  Of deities or mortals, or of both,
    In Tempe or the dales of Arcady?
  What men or gods are these? What maidens loth?
  What mad pursuit? What struggle to escape?
    What pipes and timbrels? What wild ecstasy?
       
 
2.

Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard
  Are sweeter; therefore, ye soft pipes, play on;
Not to the sensual ear, but, more endear'd,
  Pipe to the spirit ditties of no tone:
Fair youth, beneath the trees, thou canst not leave      
  Thy song, nor ever can those trees be bare;
    Bold Lover, never, never canst thou kiss,
Though winning near the goal--yet, do not grieve;
  She cannot fade, though thou hast not thy bliss,
    For ever wilt thou love, and she be fair!
       
 
3.

Ah, happy, happy boughs! that cannot shed
  Your leaves, nor ever bid the Spring adieu;
And, happy melodist, unwearied,
  For ever piping songs for ever new;
More happy love! more happy, happy love!      
  For ever warm and still to be enjoy'd,
    For ever panting, and for ever young;
All breathing human passion far above,
  That leaves a heart high-sorrowful and cloy'd,
    A burning forehead, and a parching tongue.
       
 
4.

Who are these coming to the sacrifice?
  To what green altar, O mysterious priest,
Lead'st thou that heifer lowing at the skies,
  And all her silken flanks with garlands drest?
What little town by river or sea shore,      
  Or mountain-built with peaceful citadel,
    Is emptied of this folk, this pious morn?
And, little town, thy streets for evermore
  Will silent be; and not a soul to tell
    Why thou art desolate, can e'er return.
       
 
5.

O Attic shape! Fair attitude! with brede
  Of marble men and maidens overwrought,
With forest branches and the trodden weed;
  Thou, silent form, dost tease us out of thought
As doth eternity: Cold Pastoral!      
  When old age shall this generation waste,
    Thou shalt remain, in midst of other woe
Than ours, a friend to man, to whom thou say'st,
  "Beauty is truth, truth beauty,"�--that is all
    Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.
 

ODE TO PSYCHE

O Goddess! hear these tuneless numbers, wrung
 By sweet enforcement and remembrance dear,
 And pardon that thy secrets should be sung
 Even into thine own soft-conched ear:
 Surely I dreamt to-day, or did I see
 The winged Psyche with awaken'd eyes?
 I wander'd in a forest thoughtlessly,
 And, on the sudden, fainting with surprise,
 Saw two fair creatures, couched side by side
 In deepest grass, beneath the whisp'ring roof
 Of leaves and trembled blossoms, where there ran
 A brooklet, scarce espied:

'Mid hush'd, cool-rooted flowers, fragrant-eyed,
 Blue, silver-white, and budded Tyrian,
 They lay calm-breathing on the bedded grass;
 Their arms embraced, and their pinions too;
 Their lips touch'd not, but had not bade adieu,
 As if disjoined by soft-handed slumber,
 And ready still past kisses to outnumber
 At tender eye-dawn of aurorean love:
 The winged boy I knew;
 But who wast thou, O happy, happy dove?
 His Psyche true!

O latest born and loveliest vision far
 Of all Olympus' faded hierarchy!
 Fairer than Phoebe's sapphire-region'd star,
 Or Vesper, amorous glow-worm of the sky;
 Fairer than these, though temple thou hast none,
 Nor altar heap'd with flowers;
 Nor virgin-choir to make delicious moan
 Upon the midnight hours;
 No voice, no lute, no pipe, no incense sweet
 From chain-swung censer teeming;
 No shrine, no grove, no oracle, no heat
 Of pale-mouth'd prophet dreaming.

O brightest! though too late for antique vows,
 Too, too late for the fond believing lyre,
 When holy were the haunted forest boughs,
 Holy the air, the water, and the fire;
 Yet even in these days so far retir'd
 From happy pieties, thy lucent fans,
 Fluttering among the faint Olympians,
 I see, and sing, by my own eyes inspir'd.
 So let me be thy choir, and make a moan
 Upon the midnight hours;
 Thy voice, thy lute, thy pipe, thy incense sweet
 From swinged censer teeming;
 Thy shrine, thy grove, thy oracle, thy heat
 Of pale-mouth'd prophet dreaming.

Yes, I will be thy priest, and build a fane
 In some untrodden region of my mind,
 Where branched thoughts, new grown with pleasant pain,
 Instead of pines shall murmur in the wind:
 Far, far around shall those dark-cluster'd trees
 Fledge the wild-ridged mountains steep by steep;
 And there by zephyrs, streams, and birds, and bees,
 The moss-lain Dryads shall be lull'd to sleep;
 And in the midst of this wide quietness
 A rosy sanctuary will I dress
 With the wreath'd trellis of a working brain,
 With buds, and bells, and stars without a name,
 With all the gardener Fancy e'er could feign,
 Who breeding flowers, will never breed the same:
 And there shall be for thee all soft delight
 That shadowy thought can win,
 A bright torch, and a casement ope at night,
 To let the warm Love in!

FANCY


EVER let the Fancy roam,
Pleasure never is at home:
At a touch sweet Pleasure melteth,
Like to bubbles when rain pelteth;
Then let winged Fancy wander      
Through the thought still spread beyond her:
Open wide the mind's cage-door,
She'll dart forth, and cloudward soar.
O sweet Fancy! let her loose;
Summer's joys are spoilt by use,      
And the enjoying of the Spring
Fades as does its blossoming;
Autumn's red-lipp'd fruitage too,
Blushing through the mist and dew,
Cloys with tasting: What do then?      
Sit thee by the ingle, when
The sear faggot blazes bright,
Spirit of a winter's night;
When the soundless earth is muffled,
And the caked snow is shuffled      
From the ploughboy's heavy shoon;
When the Night doth meet the Noon
In a dark conspiracy
To banish Even from her sky.
Sit thee there, and send abroad,      
With a mind self-overaw'd,
Fancy, high-commission'd:--send her!
She has vassals to attend her:
She will bring, in spite of frost,
Beauties that the earth hath lost;      
She will bring thee, all together,
All delights of summer weather;
All the buds and bells of May,
From dewy sward or thorny spray;
All the heaped Autumn's wealth,      
With a still, mysterious stealth:
She will mix these pleasures up
Like three fit wines in a cup,
And thou shalt quaff it:--thou shalt hear
Distant harvest-carols clear;      
Rustle of the reaped corn;
Sweet birds antheming the morn:
And, in the same moment--hark!
'Tis the early April lark,
Or the rooks, with busy caw,      
Foraging for sticks and straw.
Thou shalt, at one glance, behold
The daisy and the marigold;
White-plum'd lilies, and the first
Hedge-grown primrose that hath burst;      
Shaded hyacinth, alway
Sapphire queen of the mid-May;
And every leaf, and every flower
Pearled with the self-same shower.
Thou shalt see the field-mouse peep      
Meagre from its celled sleep;
And the snake all winter-thin
Cast on sunny bank its skin;
Freckled nest-eggs thou shalt see
Hatching in the hawthorn-tree,      
When the hen-bird's wing doth rest
Quiet on her mossy nest;
Then the hurry and alarm
When the bee-hive casts its swarm;
Acorns ripe down-pattering,      
While the autumn breezes sing.
 
  Oh, sweet Fancy! let her loose;
Every thing is spoilt by use:
Where's the cheek that doth not fade,
Too much gaz'd at? Where's the maid      
Whose lip mature is ever new?
Where's the eye, however blue,
Doth not weary? Where's the face
One would meet in every place?
Where's the voice, however soft,      
One would hear so very oft?
At a touch sweet Pleasure melteth
Like to bubbles when rain pelteth.
Let, then, winged Fancy find
Thee a mistress to thy mind:      
Dulcet-eyed as Ceres' daughter,
Ere the God of Torment taught her
How to frown and how to chide;
With a waist and with a side
White as Hebe's, when her zone      
Slipt its golden clasp, and down
Fell her kirtle to her feet,
While she held the goblet sweet,
And Jove grew languid.--Break the mesh
Of the Fancy's silken leash;      
Quickly break her prison-string
And such joys as these she'll bring.--
Let the winged Fancy roam,
Pleasure never is at home.

LINES ON THE MERMAID TAVERN


SOULS of Poets dead and gone,
What Elysium have ye known,
Happy field or mossy cavern,
Choicer than the Mermaid Tavern?
Have ye tippled drink more fine      
Than mine host's Canary wine?
Or are fruits of Paradise
Sweeter than those dainty pies
Of venison? O generous food!
Drest as though bold Robin Hood      
Would, with his maid Marian,
Sup and bowse from horn and can.
 
  I have heard that on a day
Mine host's sign-board flew away,
Nobody knew whither, till      
An astrologer's old quill
To a sheepskin gave the story,
Said he saw you in your glory,
Underneath a new old-sign
Sipping beverage divine,      
And pledging with contented smack
The Mermaid in the Zodiac.
 
  Souls of Poets dead and gone,
What Elysium have ye known,
Happy field or mossy cavern,      
Choicer than the Mermaid Tavern?


ROBIN HOOD

To a Friend


NO! those days are gone away,
And their hours are old and gray,
And their minutes buried all
Under the down-trodden pall
Of the leaves of many years:     
Many times have winter's shears,
Frozen North, and chilling East,
Sounded tempests to the feast
Of the forest's whispering fleeces,
Since men knew nor rent nor leases.
       
 
  No, the bugle sounds no more,
And the twanging bow no more;
Silent is the ivory shrill
Past the heath and up the hill;
There is no mid-forest laugh,      
Where lone Echo gives the half
To some wight, amaz'd to hear
Jesting, deep in forest drear.
 
  On the fairest time of June
You may go, with sun or moon,      
Or the seven stars to light you,
Or the polar ray to right you;
But you never may behold
Little John, or Robin bold;
Never one, of all the clan,
       
Thrumming on an empty can
Some old hunting ditty, while
He doth his green way beguile
To fair hostess Merriment,
Down beside the pasture Trent;      
For he left the merry tale
Messenger for spicy ale.
 
  Gone, the merry morris din;
Gone, the song of Gamelyn;
Gone, the tough-belted outlaw      
Idling in the "grenè shawe;"�
All are gone away and past!
And if Robin should be cast
Sudden from his turfed grave,
And if Marian should have      
Once again her forest days,
She would weep, and he would craze:
He would swear, for all his oaks,
Fall'n beneath the dockyard strokes,
Have rotted on the briny seas;      
She would weep that her wild bees
Sang not to her--strange! that honey
Can't be got without hard money!
 
  So it is: yet let us sing,
Honour to the old bow-string!      
Honour to the bugle-horn!
Honour to the woods unshorn!
Honour to the Lincoln green!
Honour to the archer keen!
Honour to tight Little John,      
And the horse he rode upon!
Honour to bold Robin Hood,
Sleeping in the underwood!
Honour to Maid Marian,
And to all the Sherwood-clan!      
Though their days have hurried by,
Let us two a burden try.
 

TO AUTUMN


SEASON of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
  Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
  With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss'd cottage-trees,      
  And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
    To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
  And still more, later flowers for the bees,
  Until they think warm days will never cease,      
    For Summer has o'er-brimm'd their clammy cells.
 
2.

Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
  Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
  Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;      
Or on a half-reap'd furrow sound asleep,
  Drows'd with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
    Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers:
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
  Steady thy laden head across a brook;      
  Or by a cyder-press, with patient look,
    Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours.
 
3.

Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
  Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,--
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,      
  And touch the stubble plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
  Among the river sallows, borne aloft
    Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;      
  Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
  The red-breast whistles from a garden-croft;
    And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.
 

OVER THE HILL AND OVER THE DALE

Over the hill and over the dale,
 And over the bourn to Dawlish --
 Where gingerbread wives have a scanty sale
 And gingerbread nuts are smallish.

Rantipole Betty she ran down a hill
 And kicked up her petticoats fairly;
 Says I I'll be Jack if you will be Gill --
 So she sat on the grass debonairly.

Here's somebody coming, here's somebody coming!
 Says I 'tis the wind at a parley;
 So without any fuss any hawing and humming
 She lay on the grass debonairly.

Here's somebody here and here's somebody there!
 Says I hold your tongue you young Gipsey;
 So she held her tongue and lay plump and fair
 And dead as a Venus tipsy.

O who wouldn't hie to Dawlish fair,
 O who wouldn't stop in a Meadow,
 O who would not rumple the daisies there
 And make the wild fern for a bed do!

TRANSLATED FROM RONSARD

Nature withheld Cassandra in the skies
 For more adornment a full thousand years;
 She took their cream of Beauty's fairest dyes,
 And shap'd and tinted her above all Peers:
 Meanwhile Love kept her dearly with his wings,
 And underneath their shadow fill'd her eyes
 With such a richness that the cloudy Kings
 Of high Olympus utter'd slavish sighs.
 When from the Heavens I saw her first descend
 My heart took fire, and only burning pains
 They were my pleasures -- they my Life's sad end;
 Love pour'd her beauty into my warm veins...


SLEEP AND POETRY

As I lay in my bed slepe full unmete
 Was unto me, but why that I ne might
 Rest I ne wist, for there n'as erthly wight
 [As I suppose] had more of hertis ese
 Than I, for I n'ad sicknesse nor disese.


CHAUCER

What is more gentle than a wind in summer?
 What is more soothing than the pretty hummer
 That stays one moment in an open flower,
 And buzzes cheerily from bower to bower?
 What is more tranquil than a musk-rose blowing
 In a green island, far from all men's knowing?
 More healthful than the leafiness of dales?
 More secret than a nest of nightingales?
 More serene than Cordelia's countenance?
 More full of visions than a high romance?
 What, but thee Sleep? Soft closer of our eyes!
 Low murmurer of tender lullabies!
 Light hoverer around our happy pillows!
 Wreather of poppy buds, and weeping willows!
 Silent entangler of a beauty's tresses!
 Most happy listener! when the morning blesses
 Thee for enlivening all the cheerful eyes
 That glance so brightly at the new sun-rise.

But what is higher beyond thought than thee?
 Fresher than berries of a mountain tree?
 More strange, more beautiful, more smooth, more regal,
 Than wings of swans, than doves, than dim-seen eagle?
 What is it? And to what shall I compare it?
 It has a glory, and naught else can share it:
 The thought thereof is awful, sweet, and holy,
 Chasing away all worldliness and folly;
 Coming sometimes like fearful claps of thunder,
 Or the low rumblings earth's regions under;
 And sometimes like a gentle whispering
 Of all the secrets of some wond'rous thing
 That breathes about us in the vacant air;
 So that we look around with prying stare,
 Perhaps to see shapes of light, aerial limning,
 And catch soft floatings from a faint-heard hymning;
 To see the laurel wreath, on high suspended,
 That is to crown our name when life is ended.
 Sometimes it gives a glory to the voice,
 And from the heart up-springs, rejoice! rejoice!
 Sounds which will reach the Framer of all things,
 And die away in ardent mutterings.

No one who once the glorious sun has seen,
 And all the clouds, and felt his bosom clean
 For his great Maker's presence, but must know
 What 'tis I mean, and feel his being glow:
 Therefore no insult will I give his spirit,
 By telling what he sees from native merit.

O Poesy! for thee I hold my pen
 That am not yet a glorious denizen
 Of thy wide heaven -- Should I rather kneel
 Upon some mountain-top until I feel
 A glowing splendour round about me hung,
 And echo back the voice of thine own tongue?
 O Poesy! for thee I grasp my pen
 That am not yet a glorious denizen
 Of thy wide heaven; yet, to my ardent prayer,
 Yield from thy sanctuary some clear air,
 Smooth'd for intoxication by the breath
 Of flowering bays, that I may die a death
 Of luxury, and my young spirit follow
 The morning sun-beams to the great Apollo
 Like a fresh sacrifice; or, if I can bear
 The o'erwhelming sweets, 'twill bring to me the fair
 Visions of all places: a bowery nook
 Will be elysium -- an eternal book
 Whence I may copy many a lovely saying
 About the leaves, and flowers -- about the playing
 Of nymphs in woods, and fountains; and the shade
 Keeping a silence round a sleeping maid;
 And many a verse from so strange influence
 That we must ever wonder how, and whence
 It came. Also imaginings will hover
 Round my fire-side, and haply there discover
 Vistas of solemn beauty, where I'd wander
 In happy silence, like the clear Meander
 Through its lone vales; and where I found a spot
 Of awfuller shade, or an enchanted grot,
 Or a green hill o'erspread with chequer'd dress
 Of flowers, and fearful from its loveliness,
 Write on my tablets all that was permitted,
 All that was for our human senses fitted.
 Then the events of this wide world I'd seize
 Like a strong giant, and my spirit teaze
 Till at its shoulders it should proudly see
 Wings to find out an immortality.

Stop and consider! life is but a day;
 A fragile dew-drop on its perilous way
 From a tree's summit; a poor Indian's sleep
 While his boat hastens to the monstrous steep
 Of Montmorenci. Why so sad a moan?
 Life is the rose's hope while yet unblown;
 The reading of an ever-changing tale;
 The light uplifting of a maiden's veil;
 A pigeon tumbling in clear summer air;
 A laughing school-boy, without grief or care,
 Riding the springy branches of an elm.

O for ten years, that I may overwhelm
 Myself in poesy; so I may do the deed
 That my own soul has to itself decreed.
 Then will I pass the countries that I see
 In long perspective, and continually
 Taste their pure fountains. First the realm I'll pass
 Of Flora, and old Pan: sleep in the grass,
 Feed upon apples red, and strawberries,
 And choose each pleasure that my fancy sees;
 Catch the white-handed nymphs in shady places,
 To woo sweet kisses from averted faces, --
 Play with their fingers, touch their shoulders white
 Into a pretty shrinking with a bite
 As hard as lips can make it: till agreed,
 A lovely tale of human life we'll read.
 And one will teach a tame dove how it best
 May fan the cool air gently o'er my rest;
 Another, bending o'er her nimble tread,
 Will set a green robe floating round her head,
 And still will dance with ever varied ease,
 Smiling upon the flowers and the trees:
 Another will entice me on, and on
 Through almond blossoms and rich cinnamon;
 Till in the bosom of a leafy world
 We rest in silence, like two gems upcurl'd
 In the recesses of a pearly shell.

And can I ever bid these joys farewell?
 Yes, I must pass them for a nobler life,
 Where I may find the agonies, the strife
 Of human hearts: for lo! I see afar,
 O'ersailing the blue cragginess, a car
 And steeds with streamy manes -- the charioteer
 Looks out upon the winds with glorious fear:
 And now the numerous tramplings quiver lightly
 Along a huge cloud's ridge; and now with sprightly
 Wheel downward come they into fresher skies,
 Tipt round with silver from the sun's bright eyes.
 Still downward with capacious whirl they glide;
 And now I see them on the green-hill's side
 In breezy rest among the nodding stalks.
 The charioteer with wond'rous gesture talks
 To the trees and mountains; and there soon appear
 Shapes of delight, of mystery, and fear,
 Passing along before a dusky space
 Made by some mighty oaks: as they would chase
 Some ever -- fleeting music on they sweep.
 Lo! how they murmur, laugh, and smile, and weep:
 Some with upholden hand and mouth severe;
 Some with their faces muffled to the ear
 Between their arms; some, clear in youthful bloom,
 Go glad and smilingly athwart the gloom;
 Some looking back, and some with upward gaze;
 Yes, thousands in a thousand different ways
 Flit onward -- now a lovely wreath of girls
 Dancing their sleek hair into tangled curls;
 And now broad wings. Most awfully intent
 The driver of those steeds is forward bent,
 And seems to listen: O that I might know
 All that he writes with such a hurrying glow.

The visions all are fled -- the car is fled
 Into the light of heaven, and in their stead
 A sense of real things comes doubly strong,
 And, like a muddy stream, would bear along
 My soul to nothingness: but I will strive
 Against all doubtings, and will keep alive
 The thought of that same chariot, and the strange
 Journey it went.
 Is there so small a range
 In the present strength of manhood, that the high
 Imagination cannot freely fly
 As she was wont of old? prepare her steeds,
 Paw up against the light, and do strange deeds
 Upon the clouds? Has she not shown us all?
 From the clear space of ether, to the small
 Breath of new buds unfolding? From the meaning
 Of Jove's large eye-brow, to the tender greening
 Of April meadows? Here her altar shone,
 E'en in this isle; and who could paragon
 The fervid choir that lifted up a noise
 Of harmony, to where it aye will poise
 Its mighty self of convoluting sound,
 Huge as a planet, and like that roll round,
 Eternally around a dizzy void?
 Ay, in those days the Muses were nigh cloy'd
 With honors; nor had any other care
 Than to sing out and sooth their wavy hair.

Could all this be forgotten? Yes, a schism
 Nurtured by foppery and barbarism,
 Made great Apollo blush for this his land.
 Men were thought wise who could not understand
 His glories: with a puling infant's force
 They sway'd about upon a rocking horse,
 And thought it Pegasus. Ah dismal soul'd!
 The winds of heaven blew, the ocean roll'd
 Its gathering waves -- ye felt it not. The blue
 Bared its eternal bosom, and the dew
 Of summer nights collected still to make
 The morning precious: beauty was awake!
 Why were ye not awake? But ye were dead
 To things ye knew not of, -- were closely wed
 To musty laws lined out with wretched rule
 And compass vile: so that ye taught a school
 Of dolts to smooth, inlay, and clip, and fit,
 Till, like the certain wands of Jacob's wit,
 Their verses tallied. Easy was the task:
 A thousand handicraftsmen wore the mask
 Of Poesy. Ill-fated, impious race!
 That blasphemed the bright Lyrist to his face,
 And did not know it, -- no, they went about,
 Holding a poor, decrepid standard out
 Mark'd with most flimsy mottos, and in large
 The name of one Boileau!

O ye whose charge
 It is to hover round our pleasant hills!
 Whose congregated majesty so fills
 My boundly reverence, that I cannot trace
 Your hallowed names, in this unholy place,
 So near those common folk; did not their shames
 Affright you? Did our old lamenting Thames
 Delight you? Did ye never cluster round
 Delicious Avon, with a mournful sound,
 And weep? Or did ye wholly bid adieu
 To regions where no more the laurel grew?
 Or did ye stay to give a welcoming
 To some lone spirits who could proudly sing
 Their youth away, and die? 'Twas even so:
 But let me think away those times of woe:
 Now 'tis a fairer season; ye have breathed
 Rich benedictions o'er us; ye have wreathed
 Fresh garlands: for sweet music has been heard
 In many places; -- some has been upstirr'd
 From out its crystal dwelling in a lake,
 By a swan's ebon bill; from a thick brake,
 Nested and quiet in a valley mild,
 Bubbles a pipe; fine sounds are floating wild
 About the earth: happy are ye and glad.

These things are doubtless: yet in truth we've had
 Strange thunders from the potency of song;
 Mingled indeed with what is sweet and strong,
 From majesty: but in clear truth the themes
 Are ugly clubs, the Poets' Polyphemes
 Disturbing the grand sea. A drainless shower
 Of light is poesy; 'tis the supreme of power;
  'Tis might half slumb'ring on its own right arm.
 The very archings of her eye-lids charm
 A thousand willing agents to obey,
 And still she governs with the mildest sway:
 But strength alone though of the Muses born
 Is like a fallen angel: trees uptorn,
 Darkness, and worms, and shrouds, and sepulchres
 Delight it; for it feeds upon the burrs,
 And thorns of life; forgetting the great end
 Of poesy, that it should be a friend
 To sooth the cares, and lift the thoughts of man.

Yet I rejoice: a myrtle fairer than
 E'er grew in Paphos, from the bitter weeds
 Lifts its sweet head into the air, and feeds
 A silent space with ever sprouting green.
 All tenderest birds there find a pleasant screen,
 Creep through the shade with jaunty fluttering,
 Nibble the little cupped flowers and sing.
 Then let us clear away the choking thorns
 From round its gentle stem; let the young fawns,
 Yeaned in after times, when we are flown,
 Find a fresh sward beneath it, overgrown
 With simple flowers: let there nothing be
 More boisterous than a lover's bended knee;
 Nought more ungentle than the placid look
 Of one who leans upon a closed book;
 Nought more untranquil than the grassy slopes
 Between two hills. All hail delightful hopes!
 As she was wont, th' imagination
 Into most lovely labyrinths will be gone,
 And they shall be accounted poet kings
 Who simply tell the most heart-easing things.
 O may these joys be ripe before I die.

Will not some say that I presumptuously
 Have spoken? that from hastening disgrace
  'Twere better far to hide my foolish face?
 That whining boyhood should with reverence bow
 Ere the dread thunderbolt could reach? How!
 If I do hide myself, it sure shall be
 In the very fane, the light of Poesy:
 If I do fall, at least I will be laid
 Beneath the silence of a poplar shade;
 And over me the grass shall be smooth shaven;
 And there shall be a kind memorial graven.
 But off Despondence! miserable bane!
 They should not know thee, who athirst to gain
 A noble end, are thirsty every hour.
 What though I am not wealthy in the dower
 Of spanning wisdom; though I do not know
 The shiftings of the mighty winds that blow
 Hither and thither all the changing thoughts
 Of man: though no great minist'ring reason sorts
 Out the dark mysteries of human souls
 To clear conceiving: yet there ever rolls
 A vast idea before me, and I glean
 Therefrom my liberty; thence too I've seen
 The end and aim of Poesy. 'Tis clear
 As anything most true; as that the year
 Is made of the four seasons -- manifest
 As a large cross, some old cathedral's crest,
 Lifted to the white clouds. Therefore should I
 Be but the essence of deformity,
 A coward, did my very eye-lids wink
 At speaking out what I have dared to think.
 Ah! rather let me like a madman run
 Over some precipice; let the hot sun
 Melt my Dedalian wings, and drive me down
 Convuls'd and headlong! Stay! an inward frown
 Of conscience bids me be more calm awhile.
 An ocean dim, sprinkled with many an isle,
 Spreads awfully before me. How much toil!
 How many days! what desperate turmoil!
 Ere I can have explored its widenesses.
 Ah, what a task! upon my bended knees,
 I could unsay those -- no, impossible!
 Impossible!

For sweet relief I'll dwell
 On humbler thoughts, and let this strange assay
 Begun in gentleness die so away.
 E'en now all tumult from my bosom fades:
 I turn full hearted to the friendly aids
 That smooth the path of honour; brotherhood,
 And friendliness the nurse of mutual good.
 The hearty grasp that sends a pleasant sonnet
 Into the brain ere one can think upon it;
 The silence when some rhymes are coming out;
 And when they're come, the very pleasant rout:
 The message certain to be done to-morrow.
  'Tis perhaps as well that it should be to borrow
 Some precious book from out its snug retreat,
 To cluster round it when we next shall meet.
 Scarce can I scribble on; for lovely airs
 Are fluttering round the room like doves in pairs;
 Many delights of that glad day recalling,
 When first my senses caught their tender falling.
 And with these airs come forms of elegance
 Stooping their shoulders o'er a horse's prance,
 Careless, and grand-fingers soft and round
 Parting luxuriant curls; -- and the swift bound
 Of Bacchus from his chariot, when his eye
 Made Ariadne's cheek look blushingly.
 Thus I remember all the pleasant flow
 Of words at opening a portfolio.

Things such as these are ever harbingers
 To trains of peaceful images: the stirs
 Of a swan's neck unseen among the rushes:
 A linnet starting all about the bushes:
 A butterfly, with golden wings broad parted,
 Nestling a rose, convuls'd as though it smarted
 With over pleasure -- many, many more,
 Might I indulge at large in all my store
 Of luxuries: yet I must not forget
 Sleep, quiet with his poppy coronet:
 For what there may be worthy in these rhymes
 I partly owe to him: and thus, the chimes
 Of friendly voices had just given place
 To as sweet a silence, when I 'gan retrace
 The pleasant day, upon a couch at ease.
 It was a poet's house who keeps the keys
 Of pleasure's temple. Round about were hung
 The glorious features of the bards who sung
 In other ages -- cold and sacred busts
 Smiled at each other. Happy he who trusts
 To clear Futurity his darling fame!
 Then there were fauns and satyrs taking aim
 At swelling apples with a frisky leap
 And reaching fingers, 'mid a luscious heap
 Of vine-leaves. Then there rose to view a fane
 Of liny marble, and thereto a train
 Of nymphs approaching fairly o'er the sward:
 One, loveliest, holding her white hand toward
 The dazzling sun-rise: two sisters sweet
 Bending their graceful figures till they meet
 Over the trippings of a little child:
 And some are hearing, eagerly, the wild
 Thrilling liquidity of dewy piping.
 See, in another picture, nymphs are wiping
 Cherishingly Diana's timorous limbs; --
 A fold of lawny mantle dabbling swims
 At the bath's edge, and keeps a gentle motion
 With the subsiding crystal: as when ocean
 Heaves calmly its broad swelling smoothness o'er
 Its rocky marge, and balances once more
 The patient weeds; that now unshent by foam
 Feel all about their undulating home.

Sappho's meek head was there half smiling down
 At nothing; just as though the earnest frown
 Of over thinking had that moment gone
 From off her brow, and left her all alone.

Great Alfred's too, with anxious, pitying eyes,
 As if he always listened to the sighs
 Of the goaded world; and Kosciusko's worn
 By horrid suffrance -- mightily forlorn.
 Petrarch, outstepping from the shady green,
 Starts at the sight of Laura; nor can wean
 His eyes from her sweet face. Most happy they!
 For over them was seen a free display
 Of out-spread wings, and from between them shone
 The face of Poesy: from off her throne
 She overlook'd things that I scarce could tell.
 The very sense of where I was might well
 Keep Sleep aloof: but more than that there came
 Thought after thought to nourish up the flame
 Within my breast; so that the morning light
 Surprised me even from a sleepless night;
 And up I rose refresh'd, and glad, and gay,
 Resolving to begin that very day
 These lines; and howsoever they be done,
 I leave them as a father does his son.


O SOLITUDE! IF I MUST WITH THEE DWELL

O Solitude! if I must with thee dwell,
 Let it not be among the jumbled heap
 Of murky buildings; climb with me the steep, --
 Nature's observatory -- whence the dell,
 Its flowery slopes, its river's crystal swell,
 May seem a span; let me thy vigils keep
  'Mongst boughs pavillion'd, where the deer's swift leap
 Startles the wild bee from the fox-glove bell.
 But though I'll gladly trace these scenes with thee,
 Yet the sweet converse of an innocent mind,
 Whose words are images of thoughts refin'd,
 Is my soul's pleasure; and it sure must be
 Almost the highest bliss of human-kind,
 When to thy haunts two kindred spirits flee.

IMITATION OF SPENSER

Now Morning from her orient chamber came,
 And her first footsteps touch'd a verdant hill;
 Crowning its lawny crest with amber flame,
 Silv'ring the untainted gushes of its rill;
 Which, pure from mossy beds, did down distill,
 And after parting beds of simple flowers,
 By many streams a little lake did fill,
 Which round its marge reflected woven bowers,
 And, in its middle space, a sky that never lowers.
 There the king-fisher saw his plumage bright
 Vieing with fish of brilliant dye below;
 Whose silken fins, and golden scales' light
 Cast upward, through the waves, a ruby glow:
 There saw the swan his neck of arched snow,
 And oar'd himself along with majesty;
 Sparkled his jetty eyes; his feet did show
 Beneath the waves like Afric's ebony,
 And on his back a fay reclined voluptuously.
 Ah! could I tell the wonders of an isle
 That in that fairest lake had placed been,
 I could e'en Dido of her grief beguile;
 Or rob from aged Lear his bitter teen:
 For sure so fair a place was never seen,
 Of all that ever charm'd romantic eye:
 It seem'd an emerald in the silver sheen
 Of the bright waters; or as when on high,
 Through clouds of fleecy white, laughs the coerulean sky.
 And all around it dipp'd luxuriously
 Slopings of verdure through the glossy tide,
 Which, as it were in gentle amity,
 Rippled delighted up the flowery side;
 As if to glean the ruddy tears, it tried,
 Which fell profusely from the rose-tree stem!
 Haply it was the workings of its pride,
 In strife to throw upon the shore a gem
 Outvieing all the buds in Flora's diadem.


STANZAS

("IN DREAR-NIGHTED DECEMBER"�)

I.

In drear-nighted December,
 Too happy, happy tree,
 Thy branches ne'er remember
 Their green felicity:
 The north cannot undo them,
 With a sleety whistle through them;
 Nor frozen thawings glue them
 From budding at the prime.

II.

In drear-nighted December,
 Too happy, happy brook,
 Thy bubblings ne'er remember
 Apollo's summer look;
 But with a sweet forgetting,
 They stay their crystal fretting,
 Never, never petting
 About the frozen time.

III.

Ah! would 'twere so with many
 A gentle girl and boy!
 But were there ever any
 Writh'd not of passed joy?
 The feel of not to feel it,
 When there is none to heal it,
 Nor numbed sense to steel it,
 Was never said in rhyme.

THE POET

A FRAGMENT

Where's the Poet? show him! show him,
 Muses nine! that I may know him!
  'Tis the man who with a man
 Is an equal, be he King
 Or poorest of the beggar-clan,
 Or any other wondrous thing
 A man may be 'twixt ape and Plato;
  'Tis the man who with a bird,
 Wren or eagle, finds his way to
 All its instincts; he hath heard
 The lion's roaring, and can tell
 What his horny throat expresseth,
 And to him the tiger's yell
 Comes articulate and presseth
 On his ear like mother-tongue...

TO ---

("WHAT CAN I DO TO DRIVE AWAY""�)


What can I do to drive away
 Remembrance from my eyes? for they have seen,
 Aye, an hour ago, my brilliant Queen!
 Touch has a memory. O say, love, say,
 What can I do to kill it and be free
 In my old liberty?
 When every fair one that I saw was fair
 Enough to catch me in but half a snare,
 Not keep me there:
 When, howe'er poor or particolour'd things,
 My muse had wings,
 And ever ready was to take her course
 Whither I bent her force,
 Unintellectual, yet divine to me; --
 Divine, I say! -- What sea-bird o'er the sea
 Is a philosopher the while he goes
 Winging along where the great water throes?

How shall I do
 To get anew
 Those moulted feathers, and so mount once more
 Above, above
 The reach of fluttering Love,
 And make him cower lowly while I soar?
 Shall I gulp wine? No, that is vulgarism,
 A heresy and schism,
 Foisted into the canon law of love; --
 No, -- wine is only sweet to happy men;
 More dismal cares
 Seize on me unawares, --

Where shall I learn to get my peace again?
 To banish thoughts of that most hateful land,
 Dungeoner of my friends, that wicked strand
 Where they were wreck'd and live a wrecked life;
 That monstrous region, whose dull rivers pour
 Ever from their sordid urns unto the shore,
 Unown'd of any weedy-haired gods;
 Whose winds, all zephyrless, hold scourging rods,
 Iced in the great lakes, to afflict mankind;
 Whose rank-grown forests, frosted, black, and blind,
 Would fright a Dryad; whose harsh herbag'd meads
 Make lean and lank the starv'd ox while he feeds;
 There flowers have no scent, birds no sweet song,
 And great unerring Nature once seems wrong.

O, for some sunny spell
 To dissipate the shadows of this hell!
 Say they are gone, -- with the new dawning light
 Steps forth my lady bright!
 O, let me once more rest
 My soul upon that dazzling breast!
 Let once again these aching arms be plac'd,
 The tender gaolers of thy waist!
 And let me feel that warm breath here and there
 To spread a rapture in my very hair, --
 O, the sweetness of the pain!
 Give me those lips again!
 Enough! Enough! it is enough for me
 To dream of thee!

TO HOMER

Standing aloof in giant ignorance,
 Of thee I hear and of the Cyclades,
 As one who sits ashore and longs perchance
 To visit dolphin-coral in deep seas.
 So thou wast blind! -- but then the veil was rent,
 For Jove uncurtain'd Heaven to let thee live,
 And Neptune made for thee a spumy tent,
 And Pan made sing for thee his forest-hive;
 Aye, on the shores of darkness there is light,
 And precipices show untrodden green;
 There is a budding morrow in midnight;
 There is a triple sight in blindness keen;
 Such seeing hadst thou as it once befel
 To Dian, Queen of Earth, and Heaven, and Hell.

TO SLEEP

O soft embalmer of the still midnight,
 Shutting with careful fingers and benign
 Our gloom-pleas'd eyes, embower'd from the light,
 Enshaded in forgetfulness divine:
 O soothest Sleep! if so it please thee, close
 In midst of this thine hymn my willing eyes,
 Or wait the amen ere thy poppy throws
 Around my bed its lulling charities.
 Then save me, or the passed day will shine
 Upon my pillow, breeding many woes;
 Save me from curious conscience, that still lords
 Its strength for darkness, burrowing like a mole;
 Turn the key deftly in the oiled wards,
 And seal the hushed casket of my soul.

ON VISITING THE TOMB OF BURNS

The town, the churchyard, and the setting sun,
 The clouds, the trees, the rounded hills all seem,
 Though beautiful, cold -- strange -- as in a dream
 I dreamed long ago, now new begun.
 The short-liv'd, paly summer is but won
 From winter's ague for one hour's gleam;
 Through sapphire warm their stars do never beam:
 All is cold Beauty; pain is never done.
 For who has mind to relish, Minos-wise,
 The real of Beauty, free from that dead hue
 Sickly imagination and sick pride
 Cast wan upon it? Burns! with honour due
 I oft have honour'd thee. Great shadow, hide
 Thy face; I sin against thy native skies.

WHY DID I LAUGH TO-NIGHT? NO VOICE WILL TELL

Why did I laugh to-night? No voice will tell:
 No God, no Demon of severe response,
 Deigns to reply from Heaven or from Hell.
 Then to my human heart I turn at once.
 Heart! Thou and I are here sad and alone;
 I say, why did I laugh! O mortal pain!
 O Darkness! Darkness! ever must I moan,
 To question Heaven and Hell and Heart in vain.
 Why did I laugh? I know this Being's lease,
 My fancy to its utmost blisses spreads;
 Yet would I on this very midnight cease,
 And the world's gaudy ensigns see in shreds.
 Verse, Fame, and Beauty are intense indeed,
 But Death intenser -- Death is Life's high meed.

WHEN I HAVE FEARS THAT I MAY CEASE TO BE

WHEN I have fears that I may cease to be
  Before my pen has glean'd my teeming brain,
Before high piled books, in charact'ry,
  Hold like rich garners the full-ripen'd grain;
When I behold, upon the night's starr'd face,      
  Huge cloudy symbols of a high romance,
And think that I may never live to trace
  Their shadows, with the magic hand of chance;
And when I feel, fair creature of an hour!
  That I shall never look upon thee more,      
Never have relish in the faery power
  Of unreflecting love!--then on the shore
Of the wide world I stand alone, and think
Till Love and Fame to nothingness do sink.


ASLEEP! O SLEEP A LITTLE WHILTE, WHITE PEARL!

ASLEEP! O sleep a little while, white pearl!
And let me kneel, and let me pray to thee,
And let me call Heaven's blessing on thine eyes,
And let me breathe into the happy air,
That doth enfold and touch thee all about,
        5
Vows of my slavery, my giving up,
My sudden adoration, my great love!

LA BELLE DAME SANS MERCI

Ballad

I.

O WHAT can ail thee, knight-at-arms,
  Alone and palely loitering?
The sedge has wither'd from the lake,
  And no birds sing.
 
II.

O what can ail thee, knight-at-arms!      
  So haggard and so woe-begone?
The squirrel's granary is full,
  And the harvest's done.
 
III.

I see a lily on thy brow
  With anguish moist and fever dew,      
And on thy cheeks a fading rose
  Fast withereth too.
 
IV.

I met a lady in the meads,
  Full beautiful--a faery's child,
Her hair was long, her foot was light,      
  And her eyes were wild.
 
V.

I made a garland for her head,
  And bracelets too, and fragrant zone;
She look'd at me as she did love,
  And made sweet moan.
       
 
VI.

I set her on my pacing steed,
  And nothing else saw all day long,
For sidelong would she bend, and sing
  A faery's song.
 
VII.

She found me roots of relish sweet,      
  And honey wild, and manna dew,
And sure in language strange she said--
  "I love thee true."�
 
VIII.

She took me to her elfin grot,
  And there she wept, and sigh'd fill sore,      
And there I shut her wild wild eyes
  With kisses four.
 
IX.

And there she lulled me asleep,
  And there I dream'd--Ah! woe betide!
The latest dream I ever dream'd      
  On the cold hill's side.
 
X.

I saw pale kings and princes too,
  Pale warriors, death-pale were they all;
They cried--"La Belle Dame sans Merci
  Hath thee in thrall!"�
       
 
XI.

I saw their starved lips in the gloam,
  With horrid warning gaped wide,
And I awoke and found me here,
  On the cold hill's side.
 
XII.

And this is why I sojourn here,      
  Alone and palely loitering,
Though the sedge is wither'd from the lake,
  And no birds sing.
 

THE HUMAN SEASONS

FOUR Seasons fill the measure of the year;
  There are four seasons in the mind of man:
He has his lusty Spring, when fancy clear
  Takes in all beauty with an easy span:
He has his Summer, when luxuriously      
  Spring's honey'd cud of youthful thought he loves
To ruminate, and by such dreaming high
  Is nearest unto heaven: quiet coves
His soul has in its Autumn, when his wings
  He furleth close; contented so to look      
On mists in idleness--to let fair things
  Pass by unheeded as a threshold brook.
He has his Winter too of pale misfeature,
Or else he would forego his mortal nature.

ON FAME


I

FAME, like a wayward girl, will still be coy
  To those who woo her with too slavish knees,
But makes surrender to some thoughtless boy,
  And dotes the more upon a heart at ease;
She is a Gipsey,--will not speak to those      
  Who have not learnt to be content without her;
A Jilt, whose ear was never whisper'd close,
  Who thinks they scandal her who talk about her;
A very Gipsey is she, Nilus-born,
  Sister-in-law to jealous Potiphar;      
Ye love-sick Bards! repay her scorn for scorn;
  Ye Artists lovelorn! madmen that ye are!
Make your best bow to her and bid adieu,
Then, if she likes it, she will follow you.


II
        
"You cannot eat your cake and have it too."�--Proverb.
 
 
HOW fever'd is the man, who cannot look
  Upon his mortal days with temperate blood,
Who vexes all the leaves of his life's book,
  And robs his fair name of its maidenhood;
It is as if the rose should pluck herself,      
  On the ripe plum finger its misty bloom,
As if a Naiad, like a meddling elf,
  Should darken her pure grot with muddy gloom:
But the rose leaves herself upon the briar,
  For winds to kiss and grateful bees to feed,      
And the ripe plum still wears its dim attire,
  The undisturbed lake has crystal space;
  Why then should man, teasing the world for grace,
  Spoil his salvation for a fierce miscreed?

BRIGHT STAR! WOULD I WERE STEADFAST AS THOU ART

BRIGHT star! would I were steadfast as thou art--
  Not in lone splendour hung aloft the night,
And watching, with eternal lids apart,
  Like Nature's patient sleepless Eremite,
The moving waters at their priestlike task      
  Of pure ablution round earth's human shores,
Or gazing on the new soft fallen mask
  Of snow upon the mountains and the moors--
No--yet still steadfast, still unchangeable,
  Pillow'd upon my fair love's ripening breast,      
To feel for ever its soft fall and swell,
  Awake for ever in a sweet unrest,
Still, still to hear her tender-taken breath,
And so live ever--or else swoon to death.

finis