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Are gone in tender madness, and anon,
Faints into sleep, with many a dying tone
Of sadness. Othat 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: ay, 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 nought-
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.
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 Troïlus 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-keeld, is left unlaunch'd and dry.
But wherefore this ? What care, though owl did Ay
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 chafing 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 wood-cutter; and listening still,
Hour after hour, to each lush-leaved rill.
Now he is sitting by a shady spring,
And elbow-deep with feverous fingering
Stems the upbursting cold: a wild rose-tree
Pavilions 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 loosed, 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 lilies, 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 starved 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,