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And the Spring arose on the garden fair, Like the Spirit of Love felt everywhere; And each flower and herb on Earth's dark

breast Rose from the dreams of its wintry rest.

But none ever trembled and panted with

bliss In the garden, the field, and the wilderness, Like a doe in the noontide with love's sweet

want, As the companionless Sensitive Plant.

The snowdrop, and then the violet,
Arose from the ground with warm rain

wet, And their breath was mixed with fresh

odour, sent From the turf, like the voice and the in


And the most patient brilliance of the moon!

[the way And stars by thousands ! Point me out To any one particular beauteous star, And I'will fit into it with my lyre, [bliss. And make its silvery splendour pant with I have heard the cloudy thunder. Where

is power? Whose hand, whose essence, what divinity Makes this alarum in the elements, While I here idle listen on the shores In fearless yet in aching ignorance? Oh, tell me, lonely Goddess, by thy harp, That waileth every morn and eventide, Tell me why thus I rave about these groves! Mute thou remainest--mute! yet I can read A wondrous lesson in thy silent face: Knowledge enormous makes a god of me. Names, deeds, grey legends, dire events,

rebellions, Majesties, sovran voices, agonies, Creations and destroyings, all at once Pour into the wide hollows of my brain, And deify me, as if some blithe wine Or bright elixir peerless I had drunk, And so become immortal." Thus the God, While his enkindled eyes, with level glance Beneath his white soft temples, steadfast

kept Trembling with light upon Mnemosyne. Soon wild commotions shook him, and

made flush All the immortal fairness of his limbs; Most like the struggle at the gate of death, Or liker still to one who should take leave Of pale immortal death, and with a pang As hot as death's is chill, with fierce con

vulse Die into life: so young Apollo anguished; His very hair, his golden tresses famed, Kept undulation round his eager neck. During the pain Mnemosyne upheld Her arms as one who prophesied.

Then the pied wind-flowers and the tulip

tall, And narcissi, the fairest among them all, Who gaze on their eyes in the stream's

recess, Till they die of their own dear loveliness;

And the Naïad-like lily of the vale,
Whom youth makes so fair and passion so

pale, That the light of its tremulous bells is seen Through their pavilions of tender green;

And the hyacinth, purple, and white, and

blue, Which flung from its bells a sweet peal

anew Of music so delicate, soft, and intense, It was felt like an odour within the sense ;

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And the rose like a nymph to the bath

addrest, Which unveiled the depth of her glowing

breast, Till, fold after fold, to the fainting air The soul of her beauty and love lay bare; And the wand-like lily, which lifted up, As a Mænad, its moonlight-coloured cup, Till the fiery star, which is its eye, [sky; Gazed through clear dew on the tender And the jessamine faint, and the sweet

tuberose, The sweetest flower for scent that blows; And all rare blossoms from every clime Grew in that garden in perfect prime.


A SENSITIVE PLANT in a garden grew, And the young winds fed it with silver dew, And it opened its fan-like leaves to the light, And closed them beneath the kisses of




And on the stream whose inconstant bosom Was prankt under boughs of embowering blossom,

(through With golden and green light, slanting Their heaven of many a tangled hue, Broad water-lilies lay tremulously, And starry river-buds glimmered by, And around them the soft stream did glide

and dance With a motion of sweet sound and radiance.

The beams which dart from many a star
Of the flowers whose hues they bear afar;
The plumèd insects swift and free,
Like golden boats on a sunny sea,
Laden with light and odour, which pass
Over the gleam of the living grass;
The unseen clouds of the dew, which lie
Like firein the flowers till the sun rides high,
Then wanderlike spirits among the spheres,
Each cloud faint with the fragrance it bears;

And the sinuous paths of lawn and moss, Which led through the garden along and

across, Some open at once to the sun and the breeze, Some lost among bowers of blossoming trees,

[bells Were all paved with daisies and delicate As fair as the fabulous asphodels, {ed too And flow'rets which drooping as day droopFell into pavilions, white, purple, and blue, Toroof the glowworm from theevening dew. And from this undefiled Paradise The flowers (as an infant's awakening eyes Smile on its mother, whose singing sweet Can first lull, and at last must awaken it),

The quivering vapours of dim noontide,
Which like a sea o'er the warm earth glide,
In which every sound, and odour, and beam,
Move, as reeds in a single stream;
Each and all like ministering angels were
For the Sensitive Plant sweet joy to bear,
Whilst the lagging hours of the day went by
Like windless clouds o'er a tender sky.

When Heaven's blithe winds had unfolded

them, As mine-lamps enkindle a hidden gem, Shone smiling to Heaven, and every one Shared joy in the light of the gentle sun;

And when evening descended from Heaven above,

(all love, And the Earth was all rest, and the air was And delight, though less bright, was far

more deep, And the day's veil fell from the world of

sleep, And the beasts, and the birds, and the

insects were drowned In an ocean of dreams without a sound; Whose waves never mark, though they ever impress

(ness; The light sand which paves it, conscious(Only overhead the sweet nightingale Ever sang more sweet as the day might fail, And snatches of its Elysian chant Were mixed with the dreams of the Sensi

tive Plant.)

For each one was interpenetrated With the light and the odour its neighbour shed,

[make dear Like young lovers whom youth and love Wrapped and filled by their mutual atmosphere.

(small fruit But the Sensitive Plant, which could give Of the love which it felt from the leaf to the root,

[ever, Received more than all, it loved more than Where none wanted but it, could belong to the giver,

[flower; For the Sensitive Plant has no bright Radiance and odour are not its dower; It loves, even like Love, its deep heart is full, It desires what it has not,--the Beautiful !

The Sensitive Plant was the earliest Up-gathered into the bosom of rest ; A sweet child weary of its delight, The feeblest and yet the favourite, Cradled within the embrace of night.

There was a Power in this sweet place,
An Eve in this Eden; a ruling grace
Which to the flowers, did they waken or

Was as God is to the starry scheme.

The light winds which from unsustaining

wings Shed the music of many murmurings;

A Lady, the wonder of her kind,
Whose form was upborne by a lovely mind


Which, dilating, had moulded her mien and

motion Like a sea-flower unfolded beneath the


Tended the garden from morn to even ; And the meteors of that sublunar heaven, Like the lamps of the air when night walks

forth, Laughed round her footsteps up from the


And all killing insects and gnawing worms,
And things of obscene and unlovely forms,
She bore in a basket of Indian woof,
Into the rough woods far aloof,
In a basket, of grasses and wild flowers full,
The freshest her gentle hands could pull
For the poor banished insects, whose intent,
Although they did ill, was innocent.
But the bee and the beamlike ephemeris
Whose path is the lightning's, and soft
moths that kiss

(not, did she The sweet lips of the flowers, and harm Make her attendant angels be.

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And many an antenatal tomb,
Where butterflies dream of the life to come,
She left clinging round the smooth and

Edge of the odorous cedar bark.

As if some bright Spirit for her sweet sake Had deserted heaven while the stars were

awake, As if yet around her he lingering were, Though the veil of daylight concealed him

from her.

| This fairest creature from earliest spring

Thus.moved through thegarden ministering
All the sweet season of summer-tide,
And ere the first leaf looked brown-she


Her step seemed to pity the grass it prest; You might hear by the heaving of her

breast That the coming and going of the wind Brought pleasure there, and left passion


Three days the flowers of the garden fair, Like stars when the moon is awakened,

were, Or the waves of Baiæ, ere luminous (vius. She floats up through the smoke of VesuAnd on the fourth, the Sensitive Plant Felt the sound of the funeral chant, And the steps of the bearers, slow,

[low; And the sobs of the mourners deep and

And wherever her airy footstep trod,
Her trailing hair from the grassy sod
Erased its light vestige, with shadowy

[deep. Like a sunny storm o'er the dark green

eavy and

I doubt not the flowers of that garden sweet
Rejoiced in the sound of her gentle feet;
I doubt not they felt the spirit that came
From her glowing fingers through all their


the grass,

She sprinkled bright water from the stream On those that were faint with the sunny

beam; And out of the cups of the heavy flowers Sheemptied the rain of the thunder showers.

The weary sound and the heavy breath, And the silent motions of passing death, And the smell, cold, oppressive, and dank, Sent through the pores of the coffin plank; The dark grass, and the flowers among

(pass; Were bright with tears as the crowd did From their sighs the wind caught a mourn

[groan. And sate in the pines, and gave groan for The garden, once fair, became cold and foul,

(soul, Like the corpse of her who had been its Which at first was lively as if in sleep, Then slowly changed, till it grew a heap To make men tremble who never weep.

ful tone,

She lifted their heads with her tender hands, And sustained them with rods and osier

bands; If the flowers had been her own infants she Could never have nursed them more ten


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And plants, at whose names the verse feels loath,

[growth, Filled the place with a monstrous under

His breath was a chain which, without a

sound, The earth and the air and the water

bound; He came, fiercely driven, in his chariot

throne, By the tenfold blasts of the arctic zone.

Then the weeds which were forms of living

death Fled from the frost to the earth beneath, Their decay and sudden flight from frost Was but like the vanishing of a ghost !

For love and beauty and delight
There is no death nor change; their might
Exceeds our organs, which endure
No light, being themselves obscure.


And under the roots of the Sensitive Plant The moles and the dormice die for want; The birds dropped stiff from the frozen air, And were caught in the branches naked

and bare.

First there came down a thawing rain, And its dull drops froze on the boughs

again, Then there steamed up a freezing dew Which to the drops of the thaw-rain grew;

Anda northern whirlwind, wandering about Like a wolf that had smelt a dead child out, Shook the boughs thus laden and heavy

and stiff, And snapped them off with his rigid griff.

Death and his brother Sleep!
One, pale as yonder waning moon,
With lips of lurid blue;
The other, rosy as the morn,
When throned on ocean's wave
It blushes o'er the world :
Yet both so passing wonderful !
Hath, then, the gloomy Power,
Whose reign is in the tainted sepulchres,
Seized on her sinless soul?
Must, then, that peerless form,
Which love and admiration cannot view
Without a beating heart, those azure veins
Which steal like streams along a field of

That lovely outline, which is fair
As breathing marble, perish?
Must putrefaction's breath
Leave nothing of this heavenly sight
But loathsomeness and ruin?
Spare nothing but a gloomy theme,
On which the lightest heart might moralize?
Or is it only a sweet slumber
Stealing o'er sensation,
Which the breath of roseate morning
Chaseth into darkness?
Will Ianthe wake again,
And give that faithful bosom joy
Whose sleepless spirit waits to catch
Light, life, and rapture from her smile?

When winter had gone and spring came

back, The Sensitive Plant was a leafless wreck ; But the mandrakes, and toadstools, and

docks, and darnels, Rose like the dead from their ruined


Whether the Sensitive Plant, or that Which within its boughs like a spirit sat Ere its outward form had known decay, Now felt this change, I cannot say.

Whether that Lady's gentle mind
No longer with the form combined
Which scattered love, as stars do light,
Found sadness, where it left delight,

I dare not guess; but in this life
Of error, ignorance, and strife,
Where nothing is, but all things seem,
And we the shadows of the dream,

Yes! she will wake again,
Although her glowing limbs are motionless,
And silent those sweet lips,
Once breathing eloquence
That might have soothed a tiger's rage,
Or thawed the cold heart of a conqueror;
Her dewy eyes are closed,
And on their lids, whose texture fine
Scarce hides the dark blue orbs beneath,
The baby Sleep is pillowėd;
Her golden tresses shade
The bosom's stainless pride,
Curling like tendrils of the parasite
Around a marble column.

It is a modest creed, and yet
Pleasant if one considers it,
To own that death itself must be,
Like all the rest, a mockery.

That garden sweet, that Lady fair,
And all sweet shapes and odours there,
In truth have never passed away :
'Tis we, 'tis ours, are changed ; not they.

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