Imágenes de página


Flown, like a thought, until the morrow-day;
Blissfully haven'd both from joy and pain;
Clasp'd like a missal where swart Paynims pray ;

Blinded alike from sunshine and from rain,
As though a rose should shut, and be a bud again.



Stolen to this paradise, and so entranced,
Porphyro gazed upon her empty dress,
And listen'd to her breathing, if it chanced
To wake into a slumberous tenderness;
Which when he heard, that minute did he bless,
And breathed himself: then from the closet crept,
Noiseless as fear in a wide wilderness

And over the hush'd carpet, silent, stept,
And 'tween the curtains peep'd, where, lo!- how fast she





Then by the bedside, where the faded moon
Made a dim, silver twilight, soft he set
A table, and, half anguish'd, threw thereon
A cloth of woven crimson, gold, and jet :
O for some drowsy Morphean amulet !
The boisterous, midnight, festive clarion,
The kettle-drum, and far-heard clarionet,

Affray his ears, though but in dying tone:
The hall-door shuts again, and all the noise is gone.




And still she slept an azure-lidded sleep,
In blanchéd linen, smooth, and lavender'd,
While he from forth the closet brought a heap
Of candied apple, quince, and plum, and gourd ;
With jellies soother than the creamy curd,
And lucent syrups, tinct with cinnamon ;
Manna and dates, in argosy transferr'd

From Fez; and spicéd dainties, every one,
From silken Samarcand to cedar'd Lebanon.



These delicates he heap'd with glowing hand
On golden dishes and in baskets bright
Of wreathéd silver : sumptuous they stand
In the retired quiet of the night,
Filling the chilly room with perfume light.

• And now, my love, my seraph fair, awake ! Thou art my heaven, and I thine eremite:

Open thine eyes, for meek St. Agnes' sake,
Or I shall drowse beside thee, so my soul doth ache."




Thus whispering, his warm, unnervéd arm
Sank in her pillow. Shaded was her dream
By the dusk curtains : - 'twas a midnight charm
Impossible to melt as icéd stream:
The lustrous salvers in the moonlight gleam ;
Broad golden fringe upon the carpet lies :
It seem'd he never, never could redeem

From such a steadfast spell his lady's eyes;
So mused awhile, entoild in wooféd phantasies.




[ocr errors]

Awakening up, he took her hollow lute,
Tumultuous, — and, in chords that tenderest be,
He play'd an ancient ditty, long since mute,
In Provence call'd " La belle dame sans mercy :
Close to her ear touching the melody;
Wherewith disturb’d, she utter'd a soft moan:
He ceased — she panted quick — and suddenly

Her blue affrayéd eyes wide open shone :
Upon his knees he sank, pale as smooth-sculptured stone.



Her eyes were open, but she still beheld,
Now wide awake, the vision of her sleep :
There was a painful change, that nigh expell’d
The blisses of her dream so pure and deep,


At which fair Madeline began to weep,
And moan forth witless words with many a sigh ;
While still her gaze on Porphyro would keep;

Who knelt, with joined hands and piteous eye,
Fearing to move or speak, she look'd so dreamingly.




". Ah, Porphyro!” said she, 66 but even now
Tny voice was at sweet tremble in mine ear,
Made tuneable with every sweetest vow;
And ihose sad eyes were spiritual and clear :
How changed thou art! how pallid, chill, and drear!
Give me that voice again, my Porphyro,
Those looks immortal, those complainings dear !

Oh leave me not in this eternal woe,
For if thou diest, my Love, I know not where to go.".



Beyond a mortal man impassion’d far
At these voluptuous accents, he arose,
Ethereal, flush'd, and like a throbbing star
Seen 'mid the sapphire heaven's deep repose :
Into her dream he melted, as the rose
Blendeth its odor with the violet, -
Solution sweet: meantime the frost-wind blows

Like Love's alarum pattering the sharp sleet
Against the window-panes; St. Agnes' moon hath set.




'Tis dark: quick pattereth the flaw-blown sleet:
“ This is no dream, my bride, my Madeline !”
'Tis dark: the icéd gusts still rave and beat:
" No dream, alas ! alas ! and woe is mine!
Porphyro will leave me here to fade and pine.
Cruel! what traitor could thee hither bring?
I curse not, for my heart is lost in thine,

Though thou forsakest a deceived thing;
A dove forlorn and lost with sick unprunéd wing."




My Madeline ! sweet dreamer ! lovely bride!
Say, may I be for aye thy vassal blest?
Thy beauty's shield, heart-shaped and vermeil dyed?
Ah, silver shrine, here will I take my rest
After so many hours of toil and quest,
A famish'd pilgrim, — saved by miracle.
Though I have found, I will not rob thy nest

Saving of thy sweet self; if thou think'st well
To trust, fair ·Madeline, to no rude infidel.”




• Hark! 'tis an elfin storm from faery land,
Of haggard seeming, but a boon indeed:
Arise arise ! the morning is at hand;
The bloated wassailers will never heed;
Let us away, my love, with happy speed;
There are no ears. to hear, or eyes to see —
Drown'd all in Rhenish and the sleepy mead :

Awake! arise ! my love, and fearless be,
For o'er the southern moors I have a home for thee."




She hurried at his words, beset with fears,
For there were sleeping dragons all around,
At glaring watch, perhaps, with ready spears -
Down the wide stairs a darkling way they found;
In all the house was heard no human sound.
A chain-droop'd lamp was flickering by each door;
The arras, rich with horseman, hawk, and hound,

Flutter'd in the besieging wind's uproar;
And the long carpets rose along the gusty floor.



They glide, like phantoms, into the wide hall;
Like phantoms to the iron porch they glide,
Where lay the Porter, in uneasy sprawl,
With a huge empty flagon by his side:


The wakeful bloodhound rose, and shook his hide,
But his sagacious eye an inmate owns:
By one and one, the bolts full easy slide :

The chains lie silent on the footworn stones ;
The key turns, and the door upon its hinges groans.

[ocr errors][merged small]


And they are gone: ay, ages long ago
These lovers fled away into the storm.
That night the Baron dreamt of many a woe,
And all his warrior-guests, with shade and form
Of witch, and demon, and large coffin-worm,
Were long be-nightmared. Angela the old
Died palsy-twitch'd, with meagre face deform;

The Beadsman, after thousand aves told,
For aye unsought-for slept among his ashes cold.



My heart aches, and a drowsy numbness pains

My sense, as though of hemlock I had drunk,
Or emptied some dull opiate to the drains

One minute past, and Lethe-wards had sunk:
'Tis not through envy of thy happy lot,
But being too happy in thy happiness, -
That thou, light-wingéd Dryad of the trees,

In some melodious plot
Of beechen green, and shadows numberless

Singest of summer in full-throated ease.



O for a draught of vintage, that hath been

Cool'd a long age in the deep-delvéd earth,
Tasting of Flora and the country-green,

Dance, and Provençal song, and sun-burnt mirth!

« AnteriorContinuar »