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“Yes," said the supreme shape, “Thou hast dreamed of me; and awak
Didst find a lyre all golden by thy side, Whose strings touched by thy fingers, all
the vast Unwearied ear of the whole universe Listened 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 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 Plucked witless the weak Aowers, till
thine arm Could bend that bow heroic to all times. 75 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."
To any one particular beauteous star, 100
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, gray 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.”
Apollo then, with sudden scrutiny and
gloomless eyes, Thus answered, while his white melodious
throat Throbbed with the syllables: “Mne
mosyne! 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
Soon wild commotions shook him, and Fast by the springs where she to bathe was made Aush
wont, All the immortal fairness of his limbs ; 125 And in those meads where sometimes she Most like the struggle at the gate of might haunt, death;
Were strewn rich gifts, unknown to any Or liker still to one who should take Muse, leave
Though Fancy's casket were unlocked to Of pale immortal death, and with a pang
20 As hot as death's is chill, with fierce Ah, what a world of love was at her feet! convulse
So Hermes thought, and a celestial heat Die into life: young Apollo an Burnt from his winged heels to either ear, guished.
130 That from a whiteness, as the lily clear, His very hair, his golden tresses famed, Blushed into roses 'mid his golden hair, 25 Kept undulation round his eager neck. Fallen in jealous curls about his shoulders During the pain Mnemosyne upheld
bare. Her arms as one who prophesied,
- At length
From vale to vale, from wood to wood, Apollo shrieked and lo! from all his he few, limbs
Breathing upon the flowers his passion Celestial .
And wound with many a river to its LAMIA
To find where this sweet nymph prepared
her secret bed. PART FIRST
In vain: the sweet nymph might nowhere Upon a time, before the faery broods
be found; Drove nymph and satyr from the pros And so he rested, on the lonely ground, perous woods,
Pensive, and full of painful jealousies Before King Oberon's bright diadem, Of the wood-gods, and even the very Sceptre, and mantle, clasped with dewy trees. gem,
There as he stood, he heard a mournful Frighted away the dryads and the fauns 5 voice, From rushes green, and brakes, and cow Such as, once heard, in gentle heart deslipped lawns,
stroys The ever-smitten Hermes empty left All pain but pity. Thus the lone voice His golden throne, bent warm on amorous spake: theft:
“When from this wreathed tomb shall I From high Olympus had he stolen light,
awake? On this side of Jove's clouds, to escape the When move in a sweet body fit for life, sight
10 And love, and pleasure, and the ruddy Of his great summoner, and made retreat
strife Into a forest on the shores of Crete. Of hearts and lips? Ah, miserable me!" For somewhere in that sacred island dwelt The God, dove-footed, glided silently A nymph, to whom all hoofèd satyrs Round bush and tree, soft-brushing in his
speed At whose white feet the languid tritons The taller grasses and full-flowering weed, poured
Until he found a palpitating snake, Pearls, while on land they withered and Bright, and cirque-couchant, in a dusky adored.
a gordian shape of dazzling I dreamt I saw thee, robed in purple hue,
Aakes, Vermilion-spotted, golden, green, and blue; Break amorous through the clouds, as Striped like a zebra, freckled like a pard, morning breaks, Eyed like a peacock, and all crimson And, swiftly as a bright Phæbean dart, barred;
Strike for the Cretan isle — and here thou And full of silver moons, that, as she art! breathed,
Too gentle Hermes, hast thou found the Dissolved, or brighter shone, or inter maid?" wreathed
Whereat the Star of Lethe not delayed Their lustres with the gloomier tapes His rosy eloquence, and thus inquired: tries —
"Thou smooth-lipped serpent, surely highSo rainbow-sided, touched with miseries, inspired! She seemed at once some penanced lady | Thou beauteous wreath, with melancholy elf,
eyes, Some demon's mistress, or the demon's Possess whatever bliss thou canst devise, 85 self.
Telling me only where my nymph is Upon her crest she wore a wannish fire Aed, Sprinkled with stars, like Ariadne's tiar. Where she doth breathe!” -“Bright Her head was serpent, but ah, bitter planet, thou hast said,” sweet!
Returned the snake, “but seal with oaths, She had a woman's mouth with all its fair God!” pearls complete.
“I swear," said Hermes, "by my serpentAnd for her eyes: what could such eyes rod, do there
And by thine eyes, and by thy starry But weep, and weep, that they were born crown!” so fair,
Light few his earnest words, among the As Proserpine still weeps for her Sicilian blossoms blown. air?
Then thus again the brilliance feminine: Her throat was serpent, but the words she "Too frail of heart! For this lost nymph spake
of thine, Came as through bubbling honey, for Free as the air, invisibly, she strays Love's sake,
About these thornless wilds: her pleasant And thus — while Hermes on his pinions days lay,
She tastes unseen; unseen her nimble feet Like a stooped falcon ere he takes his Leave traces in the grass and flowers prey :
From weary tendrils, and bowed branches "Fair Hermes! crowned with feathers, green, fluttering light,
She plucks the fruit unseen; she bathes unI had a splendid dream of thee last night. I saw thee sitting, on a throne of gold, 70 And by my power is her beauty veiled 100 Among the Gods upon Olympus old, To keep it unaffronted, unassailed The only sad one: for thou didst not hear By the love-glances of unlovely eyes, The soft, lute-fingered Muses chanting Of satyrs, fauns, and bleared Silenus' clear,
sighs. Nor even Apollo when he sang alone, Pale grew her immortality, for woe Deaf to his throbbing throat's long, long Of all these lovers; and she grieved so 105 melodious moan.
I took compassion on her, bade her steep
Her hair in weird syrops that would keep And towards her stept: she, like a moon in Her loveliness invisible, yet free
wane, To wander as she loves, in liberty. Faded before him, cowered, nor could reThou shalt behold her, Hermes, thou strain alone
Her fearful sobs, self-folding like a flower If thou wilt, as thou swearest, grant my That faints into itself at evening hour. boon!"
But the God fostering her chillèd hand, 140
She felt the warmth, her eyelids opened Then, once again, the charmed God bland, began
And, like new. Aowers at morning song of An oath, and through the serpent's ears it
Bloomed, and gave up her honey to the Warm, tremulous, devout, psalterian.
lees. Ravished she lifted her Circean head, 115 Into the green-recessed woods they flew; Blushed a live damask, and swift-lisping Nor grew they pale, as mortal lovers said:
do. “I was a woman, — let me have once more A woman's shape, and charming as before. Left to herself, the serpent now began I love a youth of Corinth – 0 the bliss ! To change: her elfin blood in madness ran, Give me my woman's form, and place me Her mouth foamed, and the grass, therewhere he is.
with besprent, Stoop, Hermes, let me breathe upon thy | Withered at dew so sweet and virulent; brow,
Her eyes in torture fixed, and anguish And thou shalt see thy sweet nymph even
Hot, glazed, and wide, with lid-lashes all The God on half-shut feathers sank sear,
Flashed phosphor and sharp sparks, withShe breathed upon his eyes, and swift was out one cooling tear.
The colors all inflamed throughout her Of both the guarded nymph near-smiling train, green.
She writhed about, convulsed with scarlet It was no dream; or say a dream it was, pain. Real are the dreams of gods, and smoothly A deep volcanian yellow took the place 155 pass
Of all her milder-mooned body's grace; Their pleasures in a long immortal And, as the lava ravishes the mead, dream.
Spoilt all her silver mail, and golden One warm, Aushed moment, hovering, it brede: might seem
Made gloom of all her frecklings, streaks Dashed by the wood-nymph's beauty, so he and bars, burned;
Eclipsed her crescents, and licked up her Then, lighting on the printless verdure, stars. turned
So that, in moments few, she was undrest To the swooned serpent, and with languid Of all her sapphires, greens, and amethyst, arm,
And rubious-argent: of all these bereft, Delicate, put to proof the lithe caducean Nothing but pain and ugliness were left. charm.
Still shone her crown; that vanished, So done, upon the nymph his eyes he bent also she Full of adoring tears and blandish Melted and disappeared as suddenly; ment,
And in the air, her new voice, luting soft,
Cried, “Lycius! gentle Lycius!” — Borne Why this fair creature chose aloft
faerily With the bright mists about the mountains By the wayside to linger, we shall see. hoar,
But first 'tis fit to tell how she could These words dissolved: Crete's forests heard no more.
And dream, when in the serpent prison
house, Whither Aled Lamia, now a lady bright,
Of all she list, strange or magnificent, A full-born beauty new and exquisite?
How, ever, where she willed, her spirit She fled into that valley they pass o'er
went: Who go to Corinth from Cenchreas'
Whether to faint Elysium; or where shore;
Down through tress-lifting waves the neAnd rested at the foot of those wild
reids fair hills,
Wind into Thetis' bower by many a pearly The rugged founts of the Peræan rills,
stair; And of that other ridge whose barren back
Or where God Bacchus drains his cups diStretches, with all its mist and cloudy
Stretched out, at ease, beneath a glutinous Southwestward to Cleone. There she stood,
Or where in Pluto's gardens palatine About young bird's Autter from a
Mulciber's columns gleam in far piazzian wood,
line. Fair, on a sloping green of mossy tread,
And sometimes into cities she would send By a clear pool, wherein she passioned
Her dream, with feast and rioting to To see herself escaped from so sore ills,
blend; While her robes Aaunted with the daffo
And once, while among mortals dreaming dils.
215 Ah, happy Lycius! — for she was She saw the young Corinthian Lycius maid
Charioting foremost in the envious race, More beautiful than ever twisted braid, Like a young Jove with calm uneager face, Or sighed, or blushed, or on spring And fell into a swooning love of him. Powered lea
Now, on the moth-time of that evening Spread a green kirtle to the minstrelsy, — dim A virgin purest-lipped, yet in the lore He would return that way, as well she Of love deep learned to the red heart's knew,
To Corinth from the shore; for freshly Not one hour old, yet of sciential brain
blew To unperplex bliss from its neighbor pain; | The eastern soft wind, and his galley Define their pettish limits, and estrange Their points of contact, and swift counter Grated the quay-stones with her brazen change;
prow Intrigue with the specious chaos, and dis In port Cenchreas, from Egina isle part
195 Fresh anchored; whither he had been Its most ambiguous atoms with sure art; awhile As though in Cupid's college she had spent To sacrifice to Jove, whose temple there Sweet days a lovely graduate, still un Waits with high marble doors for blood shent,
and incense rare. And kept his rosy terms in idle languish- Jove heard his vows, and bettered his ment.