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Sudden a thought came like a full-blown

rose, Flushing his brow, and in his pained

heart Made purple riot: then doth he propose A stratagem, that makes the beldame

start: "A cruel man and impious thou art: 140 Sweet lady, let her pray, and sleep, and

dream Alone with her good angels, far apart From wicked men like thee. Go, go! I

deem Thou canst not surely be the same that thou

didst seem.'

. XIX Which was, to lead him, in close secrecy, Even to Madeline's chamber, and there

hide Him in a closet, of such privacy That he might see her beauty unespied, And win perhaps that night a peerless

bride, While legion'd fairies paced the coverlet, And pale enchantment held her sleepy

eyed. Never on such a night have lovers met, Since Merlin paid his Demon all the monstrous debt.

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XVII

• It shall be as thou wishest,' said the

Dame: ' • All cates and dainties shall be stored

there Quickly on this feast-night: by the tam

bour frame Her own lute thou wilt see: no time to

spare, For I am slow and feeble, and scarce dare On such a catering trust my dizzy head. Wait here, my child, with patience;

kneel in prayer The while: Ah ! thou must needs the

lady wed, Or may I never leave my grave among the dead.'

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XXI

•I will not harm her, by all saints I

swear,' Quoth Porphyro: 'O may I ne'er find

grace When my weak voice shall whisper its

last prayer, If one of her soft ringlets I displace, Or look with ruffian passion in her

face: Good Angela, believe me by these tears; Or I will, even in a moment's space, 151 Awake, with horrid shout, my 'foemen's

ears, . And beard them, though they be morė fang'd than wolves and bears.'

XVIII • Ab! why wilt thou affright a feeble

soul? A poor, weak, palsy-stricken, church-yard Whose passing bell may ere the midnight

toli; Whose prayers for thee, each morn and

evening,

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thing,

XXIII

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XXII

And on her silver cross soft amethyst, Her falt’ring hand upon the balustrade, And on her hair a glory, like a saint: Old Angela was feeling for the stair, 191 She seem'd a splendid angel, newly drest, When Madeline, St. Agnes' charmed Save wings, for heaven : - Porphyro maid,

grew faint; Rose, like a mission'd spirit, unaware: Sne knelt, so pure a thing, so free fron With silver taper's light, and pious care, mortal taint. She turn'd, and down the aged gossip led

XXVI To a safe level matting. Now prepare, Anon his heart revives : her vespers

Young Porphyro, for gazing on that bed; done, She comes, she comes again, like ring-dove Of all its wreathed pearls her hair she fray'd and fled.

frees; Unclasps her warm jewels one by one;

Loosens her fragrant bodice; by degrees Out went the taper as sbe hurried in ; Her rich attire creeps rustling to her Its little smoke, in pallid moonshine,

knees: died :

Half-hidden, like a mermaid in seaShe closed the door, she panted, all akin

weed, To spirits of the air, and visions wide : Pensive awhile she dreams awake, and No uttered syllable, or, woe betide!

sees, But to her heart, her heart was voluble, In fancy, fair St. Agnes in her bed, Paining with eloquence her balmy side' ; | But dares not look behind, or all the charm As though a tongueless nightingale should

is fled. swell Her throat in vain, and die, heart-stifled in

XXVII her dell.

Soon, trembling in her soft and chilly

nest, XXIV

In sort of wakeful swoon, perplex'd she A casement high and triple arch'd there lay, was,

Until the poppied warmth of sleep opAll garlanded with carven imag'ries

press'd Of fruits, and flowers, and bunches of Her soothed limbs, and soul fatigued knot-grass,

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away; And diamonded with panes of quaint de Flown, like a thonght, until the morrowvice,

day; Innumerable of stains and splendid dyes, Blissfully haven'd both from joy and As are the tiger-moth's deep-damask'd

pain; wings;

Clasp'd like a missal where swart PayAnd in the midsts, 'mong thousand her

nims pray; aldries,

Blinded alike from sunshine and from And twilight saints, and dim emblazon

rain, ings,

As though a rose should shut, and be a bud A shielded scutcheon blush'd with blood of again. queens and kings.

XXVIII

Stol'n to this paradise, and so entranced, Full on this casement shone the wintry Porphyro gazed upon her empty dress, moon,

And listen'd to her breathing, if it And threw warm gules on Madeline's fair chanced breast,

To wake into a slumberous tenderness; As down she knelt for heaven's grace Which when he heard, that minute did and boon;

he bless, Rose-bloom fell on her hands, together And breathed himself : then from the prest,

closet crept,

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xxx

der'd,

Noiseless as fear in a wide wilderness,

XXXII And over the hush'd carpet, silent, stept, Thus whispering, his warm, unnerved And 'tween the curtains peep'd, where, lo!

arm

280 - how fast she slept.

Sank in her pillow. Shaded was her

dream XXIX

By the dusk curtains :-'t was a midThen by the bed-side, where the faded

night charm moon

Impossible to melt as iced stream: Made a dim, silver twilight, soft be set The lustrous salvers in the moonlight A table, and, balf anguish'd, threw

gleam; thereon

Broad golden fringe upon the carpet lies: A cloth of woven crimson, gold, and It seem'd he never, never could redeem jet:

From such a steadfast spell his lady's eyes; O for some drowsy Morphean amulet! So mused awhile, entoil'd in woofed phanThe boisterous, midnight, festive clarion,

tasies. The kettle-drum, and far-heard clarionet, Affray his ears, though but in dying

XXXIII tone:

260 Awakening up, he took her hollow The hall-door shuts again, and all the noise lute, is gone.

Tumultuous, — and, in chords that tenderest be,

290

He play'd an ancient ditty, long since And still she slept an azure-lidded sleep,

mute, In blanched linen, smooth, and laven In Provence call'd · La belle dame sans

mercy: While he from forth the closet brought Close to her ear touching the melody;a heap

Wherewith disturb'd, she utter'd a soft Of candied apple, quince, and plum, and moan: gourd;

He ceased — she panted quick — and With jellies soother than the creamy suddenly curd,

Her blue affrayed eyes wide open shone: And lucent syrops, tinct with cinnamon; Upon his knees be sank, pale as smoothManna and dates, in argosy transferr'd

sculptured stone. From Fez; and spiced dainties, every one,

XXXIV From silken Samarcand to cedar'd Leba- | Her eyes were open, but she still beheld,

270 Now wide awake, the vision of her sleep:

There was a painful change, that nigh XXXI

expellid These delicates he heap'd with glowing The blisses of her dream so pure and hand

deep On golden dishes and in baskets bright At which fair Madeline began to weep, Of wreathed silver: sumptuous they And moan forth witless words with many stand

a sigh; In the retired quiet of the night,

While still her gaze on Porphyro would Filling the chilly room with perfume keep; light. —

Who knelt, with joined hands and piteous • And now, my love, my seraph fair, eye, awake!

Fearing to move or speak, she look'd so Thou art my heaven, and I thine ere dreamingly.

mite : Open thine eyes, for meek St. Agnes'

XXXV sake,

*Ah, Porphyro!' said she, “but even now Or I shall drowse beside thee, so my soul Thy voice was at sweet tremble in mine doth ache.'

ear,

non.

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XXXVI

351

Made tuneable with every sweetest vow; Though I have found, I will not rob thy And those sad eyes were spiritual and

nest clear:

Saving of thy sweet self; if thou think'st How changed thou art ! how pallid, chill,

well and drear!

To trust, fair Madeline, to no rude infidel. Give me that voice again, my Porphyro, Those looks immortal, those complain

XXXIX ings dear!

• Hark! 't is an elfin storm from faery Oh leave me not in this eternal woe,

land, For if thou diest, my Love, I know not Of baggard seeming, but a boon indeed: where to go.'

Arise - arise ! the morning is at hand:-
The bloated wassailers will never heed:-

Let us away, my love, with happy speed; Beyond a mortal man impassion'd far There are no ears to hear, or eyes to At these voluptuous accents, he arose,

see,Ethereal, flush'd, and like a throbbing Drown'd all in Rhenish and the sleepy star

mead: Seen mid the sapphire heaven's deep re Awake! arise ! my love, and fearless be, pose;

- 319 For o'er the southern moors I have a home Into her dream he melted, as the rose

for thee.' Blendeth its odour with the violet, Solution sweet: meantime the frost-wind

XL blows

She hurried at his words, beset with fears, Like Love's alarum pattering the sharp For there were sleeping dragons all sleet

around, Against the window-panes; St. Agnes' moon At glaring watch, perhaps, with ready bath set.

spears —

Down the wide stairs a darkling way XXXVII

they found. — 'T is dark: quick pattereth the flaw In all the house was heard no human blown sleet:

sound. “This is no dream, my bride, my Made | A chain-droop'd lamp was Aickering by line!'

each door; 'Tis dark: the iced gusts still rave and The arras, rich with horseman, hawk, beat:

and hound, • No dream, alas ! alas ! and woe is mine! Flutter'd in the besieging wind's uproar; Porphyro will leave me here to fade and | And the long carpets rose along the gusty pine. —

floor.

360 Cruel ! what traitor could thee hither bring?

XLI I curse not, for my heart is lost in thine, They glide, like phantoms, into the wide Though thou forsakest a deceived thing; dove forlorn and lost with sick unpruned Like phantoms to the iron porch they wing.'

glide,

Where lay the Porter, in uneasy sprawl, XXXVIII

With a huge empty flagon by bis side: My Madeline ! sweet dreamer ! lovely The wakeful bloodhound rose, and shook bride!

his hide, Say, may I be for aye thy vassal blest ? But his sagacious eye an inmate owns : Thy beauty's shield, heart-shaped and By one, and one, the bolts full easy vermeil dyed ?

slide : Ah, silver shrine, here will I take my The chains lie silent on the footworn rest

stones; After so many hours of toil and quest, The key turns, and the door upon its hinges A famish'd pilgrim, - saved by miracle. I groans.

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hall;

XLII

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Though winning near the goal — yet, do And they are gone : aye, ages long not grieve; ago

She cannot fade, though thou has not These lovers fled away into the storm.

thy bliss,

19 That night the Baron dreamt of many a For ever wilt thou love, and she be fair !"

woe, And all his warrior-guests, with shade and form

Ah, happy, happy boughs! that cannot Of witch, and demon, and large coffin

shed worm,

Your leaves, nor ever bid the Spring Were long be-nightmared. Angela the adieu; old

And, happy melodist, unwearied, Died palsy-twitch'd, with meagre face For ever piping songs for ever new; deform;

More happy love! more happy, happy The Beadsman, after thousand aves told, love! For aye unsought-for slept among his ashes For ever warm and still to be enjoy'd, cold.

For ever panting, and for ever young; All breathing human passion far above,

That leaves a heart high-sorrowful and ODE ON A GRECIAN URN

cloy'd,

A burning forehead, and a parching [Publ. 1820)

tongue.

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IV Thou still unravish'd bride of quietness, Who are these coming to the sacrifice ? Thou foster-child of Silence and slow To what green altar, O mysterious priest, Time,

Lead'st thou that heifer lowing at the Sylvan historian, who canst thus express

skies, A flowery tale more sweetly than our And all her silken flanks with garlands rhyme:

drest? What leaf-fringed legend haunts about thy | What little town by river or sea shore, shape

Or mountain-built with peaceful citadel, Of deities or mortals, or of both,

Is emptied of this folk, this pious In Tempe or the dales of Arcady?

morn ? What men orgods are these ? what | And, little town, thy streets for evermore maidens loth ?

Will silent be; and not a soul to tell What mad pursuit? What struggle to es Why thou art desolate, can e'er recape ?

turn. What pipes and timbrels? What wild ecstasy?

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O Attic shape! Fair attitude ! with brede

Of marble men and maidens overwrought, Heard melodies are sweet, but those un With forest branches and the trodden weed; heard

Thou, silent form, dost tease us out of Are sweeter; therefore, ye soft pipes, thought play on;

As doth eternity: Cold Pastoral ! Not to the sensual ear, but, more en- When old age shall this generation waste, dear'd

Thou shalt remain, in midst of other Pipe to the spirit ditties of no tone:

woe Fair youth, beneath the trees, thou canst Than ours, a friend to man, to whom not leave

thou say'st, Thy song, nor ever can those trees be Beauty is truth, truth beauty,' — that is

bare; Bold Lover, never, never canst thou Ye know on earth, and all ye need to

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know.

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