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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 outblows
Her scarf into a fluttering pavilion ;
'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 recollection, 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 aroused 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 even dared 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'erpower'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 tease 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'erspread with upturn'd gills
Of dying fish; the vermeil rose had blown
In frightful scarlet, and its thorns outgrown
Like spiked aloe. If an innocent bird
Before my heedless footsteps stirr'd, and stirr'd
In little journeys, I beheld in it
A disguised demon, missioned to knit
My soul with under darkness; to entice
My stumblings down some monstrous precipice :
Therefore I eager follow'd, 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?
Vol. II.

15

,

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 was 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
Pictured 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 tease
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 Widen'd 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 prepared Though now 'tis tatter'd; leaving my bark bared 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 alchemized, 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

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