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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
Followed his steps, and her neck regal
white Turned — 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 seemed he had loved 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 lips 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
turn from thee! For pity do not this sad heart belie
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 280 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
The amorous promise of her lone com
plain, Swooned, murmuring of love, and pale
Lycius from death awoke into amaze,
well; And every word she spake enticed him on To unperplexed 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 judged, and judged
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
The cruel lady, without show Of sorrow for her tender favorite'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.
295 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.
300 And then she whispered in such trembling
tone As those who, safe together met alone For the first time through many anguished
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 Auid in her veins Than throbbing blood, and that the self
same pains Inhabited her frail-strung heart.as his. And next she wondered how his eyes could
miss Her face so long in Corinth, where, she
said, She dwelt but half retired, 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 passed him
by, Where 'gainst a column he leant thought
fully At Venus' temple porch, 'mid baskets
heaped Of amorous herbs and flowers, newly
reaped 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
Lycius to all made eloquent reply, 340 Marrying to
twinborn sigh: And last, pointing to Corinth, asked 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 de
crease To a few paces,
not at all surmised By blinded Lycius, so in her comprised. They passed the city gates, he knew not
how, So noiseless, and he never thought to
As men talk in a dream, so Corinth
all, Throughout her palaces imperial, And all her populous streets and temples
Muttered, like tempest in the distance Where hung a silver lamp, whose phosphor brewed,
glow To the wide-spreaded night above her Reflected in the slabbed steps below, towers.
Mild as a star in water; for so new Men, women, rich and poor, in the cool And so unsullied was the marble hue, hours,
So through the crystal polish, liquid fine, Shuffled their sandals o'er the pavement Ran the dark veins, that none but feet white,
divine Companioned or alone; while many a light Could e'er have touched there. Sounds Flared, here and there, from wealthy festi folian vals,
Breathed from the hinges, as the ample And threw their moving shadows on the span walls,
Of the wide doors disclosed a place unOr found them clustered in the corniced known shade
Some time to any, but those two alone, Of some arched temple door, or dusky And a few Persian mutes, who that same colonnade.
Were seen about the markets. None knew Muffling his face, of greeting friends in where fear,
They could inhabit; the most curious Her fingers he pressed hard, as one came Were foiled, who watched to trace them
to their house: With curled gray beard, sharp eyes, and And but the Aitter-winged verse must tell, smooth bald crown,
For truth's sake, what woe afterwards Slow-stepped, and robed in philosophic
'Twould humor many a heart to leave Lycius shrank closer, as they met and past, them thus, Into his mantle, adding wings to haste, Shut from the busy world of more inWhile hurried Lamia trembled. "Ah,” credulous.
said he, "Why do you shudder, love, so ruefully?
PART SECOND Why does your tender palm dissolve in dew?”
Love in a hut, with water and a crust, "I'm wearied,” said fair Lamia: "tell me Is - Love, forgive us! — cinders, ashes, who
dust: Is that old man? I cannot bring to mind Love in a palace is perhaps at last His features: Lycius! wherefore did you More grievous torment than a hermit's blind
fast Yourself from his quick eyes?” Lycius That is a doubtful tale from faery land, replied,
Hard for the non-elect to understand. • 'Tis Apollonius sage, my trusty guide 375 Had Lycius lived to hand his story down, And good instructor; but tonight he He might have given the moral a fresh
frown, The ghost of folly haunting my sweet Or clenched it quite: but too short was dreams."
To breed distrust and hate, that make the While yet he spake they had arrived soft voice hiss. before
Besides, there, nightly, with terrific glare, A pillared porch, with lofty portal door, Love, jealous grown of so complete a pair,
Hovered and buzzed his wings, with fear From your breast houseless: ay, it must
be so." Above the lintel of their chamber door, He answered, bending to her open eyes, And down the passage cast a glow upon Where he was mirrored small in paradise: the floor.
“My silver planet, both of eve and morn!
Why will you plead yourself so sad forFor all this came a ruin: — side by side lorn, They were enthronèd, in the eventide, While I am striving how to fill my heart 50 Upon a couch, near to a curtaining
With deeper crimson, and a double smart? Whose airy texture, from a golden string, How to entangle, trammel up and snare Floated into the room, and let appear
Your soul in mine, and labyrinth you Unveiled the summer heaven, blue and there, clear,
Like the hid scent in an unbudded rose? Betwixt two marble shafts; there they Ay, a sweet kiss — you see your mighty reposed,
55 Where use had made it sweet, with eyelids My thoughts! shall I unveil them? Listen closed,
then! Saving a tithe which love still open kept, What mortal hath a prize that other men That they might see each other while they May be confounded and abashed withal, almost slept
But lets it sometimes pace abroad majesWhen from the slope side of a suburb tical, hill,
And triumph, as in thee I should rejoice Deafening the swallow's twitter, came a Amid the hoarse alarm of Corinth's thrill
voice. Of trumpets — Lycius started: the sounds Let my foes choke, and my friends shout fed,
afar, But left a thought, a buzzing in his head. While through the throngèd streets your For the first time, since first he harbored
bridal car in
Wheels round its dazzling spokes." - The That purple-lined palace of sweet sin,
lady's cheek His spirit passed beyond its golden bourn Trembled; she nothing said, but, pale and Into the noisy world almost forsworn.
meek, The lady, ever watchful, penetrant,
Arose and knelt before him, wept a rain Saw this with pain, so arguing a want Of sorrows at his words; at last with pain Of something more, more than her empery Beseeching him, the while his hand she Of joys; and she began to moan and sigh
wrung, Because he mused beyond her, knowing To change his purpose. He thereat was well
stung, That but a moment's thought is passion's Perverse, with stronger fancy to reclaim 70 passing-bell.
Her wild and timid nature to his aim;
Besides, for all his love, in self despite, "Why do you sigh, fair creature?” whis Against his better self, he took delight pered he.
Luxurious in her sorrows, soft and new. "Why do you think?" returned she ten His passion, cruel grown, took on a hue 75 derly;
Fierce and sanguineous as 'twas possible "You have deserted me: where am I now? In one whose brow had no dark veins to Not in your heart while care weighs on swell.
Fine was the mitigated fury, like No, no, you have dismissed me; and I go Apollo's presence when in act to strike
Ha, the serpent! certes, Had not a friend. So being left alone she
(Lycius was gone to summon all his kin), Was none.
She burnt, she loved the And knowing surely she could never win tyranny,
His foolish heart from its mad pompousAnd, all subdued, consented to the hour
ness, When to the bridal he should lead his She set herself, high-thoughted, how to paramour.
The misery in fit magnificence. Whispering in midnight silence, said the She did so, but 'tis doubtful how and youth:
whence “Sure some sweet name thou hast, though, Came, and who were, her subtle servitors. by my truth,
About the halls, and to and from the I have not asked it, ever thinking thee
doors, Not mortal, but of heavenly progeny, There was a noise of wings, till in short As still I do. Hast any mortal name,
space Fit appellation for this dazzling frame? The glowing banquet-room shone with Or friends or kinsfolk on the citied earth, wide-arched grace. To share our marriage feast and nuptial A haunting music, sole perhaps and lone mirth?"
Supportress of the faery-roof, made moan "I have no friends," said Lamia, “no, not Throughout, as fearful the whole charm one;
might fade. My presence in wide Corinth hardly Fresh-carved cedar, mimicking a glade 125 known.
Of palm and plantain, met from either My parents' bones are in their dusty urns side, Sepulchred, where no kindled incense High in the midst, in honor of the bride: burns,
95 Two palms and then two plantains, and Seeing all their luckless race
so on, save me,
From either side their stems branched one And I neglect the holy rite for thee. Even as you list invite your many guests; All down the aislèd place; and beneath But if, as now it seems, your vision rests
all With any pleasure on me, do not bid There ran a stream of lamps straight on Old Apollonius — from him keep me hid.” from wall to wall. Lycius, perplexed at words so blind and So canopied, lay an untasted feast blank,
Teeming with odors. Lamia, regal drest, Made close inquiry; from whose touch she Silently paced about, and as she went, shrank,
In pale contented sort of discontent, Feigning a sleep; and he to the dull shade Missioned her viewless servants to Of deep sleep in a moment
105 The fretted splendor of each nook and
niche. It was the custom then to bring away Between the tree-stems, marbled plain at The bride from home at blushing shut of first, day,
Came jasper panels; then, anon, there Veiled, in a chariot, heralded along
burst By strewn flowers, torches, and a marriage Forth creeping imagery of slighter trees, 140 song,
And with the larger wove in small inWith other pageants: but this fair un tricacies. known
Approving all, she faded at self-will,