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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.
Untired 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 parcel'd out from time to time:
“ Als writith he of swevenis,
Men han beforne they wake in bliss,
Whanne that hir friendes thinke him 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 shew.
Bot I must tellen verilie
Somdel of Saintè 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
Physician Nature ! let my spirit blood !
O ease my heart of verse and let me rest ;
Throw me upon thy Tripod, till the flood
Of stifling numbers ebbs from my full breast.
A theme! a theme! great nature! give a theme ;
Let me begin my dream.
I come-I see thee, as thou standest there,
Beckon me not into the wintry air.
Ah ! dearest love, sweet home of all my fears,
And hopes, and joys, and panting miseries, –
To-night, if I may guess, thy beauty wears
A smile of such delight,
As brilliant and as bright,
As when with ravished, aching, vassal eyes,
Lost in soft amaze,
I gaze, I gaze!
Who now, with greedy looks, eats up my feast?
What stare outfaces now my silver moon!
Ah! keep that hand unravished at the least;
Let, let, the amorous burn
But, pr'ythee, do not turn
The current of your heart from me so soon.
O! save, in charity,
The quickest pulse for me.
Save it for me, sweet love! though music breathe
Voluptuous visions into the warm air,
Though swimming through the dance's dangerous wreath ;
Be like an April day,
Smiling and cold and gay,
A temperate lily, temperate as fair;
Then, Heaven ! there will be
A warmer June for me.
Why, this-you'll say, my Fanny! is not true :
Put your soft hand upon your snowy side,
Where the heart beats : confess—’tis nothing new-
Must not a woman be
A feather on the sea,
Sway'd to and fro by every wind and tide ?
Of as uncertain speed
As blow-ball from the mead ?
I know it—and to know it is despair
To one who loves you as I love, sweet Fanny !
Whose heart goes flutt’ring for you every where,
Nor, when away you roam,
Dare keep its wretched home,
Love, love alone, his pains severe and many :
Then, loveliest ! keep me free,
From torturing jealousy.
Ah! if you prize my subdued soul above
The poor, the fading, brief, pride of an hour;
Let none profane my Holy See of love,
Or with a rude hand break
The sacramental cake :
Let none else touch the just new-budded flower ;
If not-may my eyes close,
Love! on their lost repose.
Oh! how I love, on a fair summer's eve,
When streams of light pour down the golden west,
And on the balmy zephyrs tranquil rest
The silver clouds, far-far away to leave
All meaner thoughts, and take a sweet reprieve
From little cares; to find, with easy quest,
A fragrant wild, with Nature's beauty drest.
And there into delight my soul deceive.
There warm my breast with patriotic lore,
Musing on Milton's fate-on Sydney's bier
Till their stern forms before my mind arise :
Perhaps on wing of Poesy upsoar,
Full often dropping a delicious tear,
When some melodious sorrow spells mine eyes.
TO A YOUNG LADY WHO SENT ME A LAUREL CROWN.
Fresh morning gusts have blown away all fear
From my glad bosom-now from gloominess
I mount for ever-not an atom less
Than the proud laurel shall content my bier.
No! by the eternal stars ! or why sit here
In the Sun's eye, and ’gainst my temples press
Apollo's very leaves, woven to bless By thy white fingers and thy spirit clear. Lo! who dares say,
“ Do this ? Who dares call down My will from its high purpose ? Who say, Stand,” Or “Go ?” This mighty moment I would frown
On abject Cæsars—not the stoutest band Of mailed heroes should tear off my crown:
Yet would I kneel and kiss thy gentle hand !
AFTER dark vapors have oppress'd our plains
For a long dreary season, comes a day
Born of the gentle south, and clears away From the sick heavens all unseemly stains. The anxious mouth, relieved from its pains,
Takes as a long-lost right the feel of May,
The eyelids with the passing coolness play,
Like rose leaves with the drip of summer rains.
And calmest thoughts come round us—as, of leaves
Budding,---fruit ripening in stillness, -autumn suns
Smiling at eve upon the quiet sheaves,-
Sweet Sappho's cheek,--a sleeping infant's breath,--
The gradual sand that through an hour-glass runs, -A woodland rivulet,--a Poet's death.