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Soft went the music the soft air along, | In the dull catalogue of common things. While fluent Greek a voweld under-song Philosophy will clip an Angel's wings, Kept up among the guests, discoursing Conquer all mysteries by rule and line, low
201 Empty the haunted air, and gnomed mineAt first, for scarcely was the wine at flow; Unweave a rainbow, as it ere while made But when the happy vintage touch'd their | The tender-person'd Lamia melt into a brains,
sbade. Louder they talk, and louder come the strains
By her glad Lycius sitting, in chief place, Of powerful instruments:— the gorgeous Scarce saw in all the room another face, 240 dyes,
Till, checking his love trance, a cup he The space, the splendour of the draperies,
took The roof of awful richness, nectarous cheer, Full brimm'd, and opposite sent forth a Beautiful slaves, and Lamia's self, appear,
look Now, when the wine has done its rosy
'Cross the broad table, to beseech a glance deed,
From his old teacher's wrinkled counteAnd every soul from human trammels
2 10 And pledge bim. The bald-head philosoNo more so strange; for merry wine, sweet
Had fix'd his eye, without a twinkle or Will make Elysian shades not too fair, too divine.
Full on the alarmed beauty of the bride, Soon was God Bacchus at meridian height; Brow-beating her fair form, and troubling Flush'd were their cheeks, and bright eyes her sweet pride. double bright:
Lycius then press'd her hand, with devout Garlands of every green, and every scent
touch, Froin vales deflower'd, or forest - trees As pale it lay upon the rosy couch: branch-rent,
'Twas icy, and the cold ran through his In baskets of bright osier'd gold were
Then sudden it grew hot, and all the pains High as the handles heap'd, to suit the Of an unnatural heat shot to his heart. thought
• Lamia, what means this? Wherefore dost Of every guest : that each, as he did please,
thou start? Might fancy-fit his brows, silk-pillow'd at Know'st thou that man ?' Poor Lania anhis ease.
He gazed into her eyes, and not a jot What wreath for Lamia? What for Ly Own'd they the lovelorn piteous appeal: cias?
More, more he gazed : his human senses What for the sage, old Apollonius ?
reel: Upon her aching forehead be there hung Some hungry spell that loveliness absorbs: The leaves of willow and of adder's tongue; | There was no recognition in those orbs. 260 And for the youth, quick, let us strip for • Lamia !' he cried — and no soft-toned rehim
ply. The thyrsus, that his watching eyes may The many heard, and the loud revelry swiin
Grew hush : the stately music no more Into forgetfulness ; and, for the sage,
breathes; Let spear-grass and the spiteful thistle The myrtle sicken'd in a thousand wreaths. wage
By faint degrees, voice, lute, and pleasure War on his temples. Do not all charms ceased; fly
A deadly silence step by step increased, At the mere tonch of cold philosophy ? 230 Until it seem'd a horrid presence there, There was an awful rainbow once in And not a man but felt the terror in his heaven:
hair. We know her woof, her texture ; she is Lamia !' be shriek’d; and nothing but
With its sad echo did the silence break. 270 | Than with a frightful scream she van• Begone, foul dream !' he cried, gazing ished: again
And Lycius' arms were empty of delight, In the bride's face, where now no azure As were his limbs of life, from that same vein
vight. Wander'd on fair-spaced temples; no soft On the high conch he lay!- his friends bloom
came round — Misted the cheek; no passion to illume Supported him — no pulse or breath they The deep-recessed vision: - all was blight;
310 Lamia, no longer fair, there sat a deadly | And, in its marriage robe, the heavy body white.
wound. •Shut, shut those juggling eyes, thou ruth
less man! Turn them aside, wretch ! or the righteous
TO AUTUMN ban Of all the Gods, whose dreadful images
(Publ. 1820] Here represent their shadowy presences, May pierce them on the sudden with the thorn
281 SEASON of mists and mellow fruitfulness, Of paiuful blindness ; leaving thee for Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless In trembling dotage to the feeblest fright With fruit the vines that round the Of conscience, for their long-offended might, thatch-eaves run; For all thine impious proud-heart sophis To bend with apples the moss'd cottagetries,
trees, Unlawful magic, and enticing lies.
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the Corinthians ! look upon that gray-beard
core; wretch !
To swell the gourd, and plump the Mark how, possess'd, his lashless eyelids hazel shells stretch
With a sweet kernel; to set budding Around his demon eyes! Corinthians, see !
more, My sweet bride withers at their potency.' 290 And still more, later flowers for the bees, • Fool !' said the sophist, in an under-tone | Until they think warm days will never Gruff with contempt ; which a death-nigh
cease, ing moan
For Summer has o'er-brimm'd their From Lycius answer'd, as heart-struck and clammy cells.
lost, He sank supine beside the aching ghost.
II • Fool! Fool!' repeated he, while his eyes Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store? still
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may Relented not, nor moved ; from every | find ill
Thee sitting careless on a gravary floor, Of life have I preserved thee to this day, | Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing And shall I see thee made a serpent's
wind; prey ?'
Or on a half-reap'd furrow sound asleep, Then Lamia breathed death breath ; the Drowsed with the fume of poppies, while sophist's eye,
thy hook Like a sharp spear, went through her ut- | Spares the next swath and all its terly,
twined flowers: Keen, cruel, perceant, stinging : she, as And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost well
keep As her weak hand could any meaning tell, Steady thy laden head across a brook; 20 Motion'd him to be silent ; vainly so,
Or by a cider-press, with patient look, He look'd and look'd again a level — No! Thou watchest the last oozings, hours • A serpent !' echoed he; no sooner said,
III Where are the songs of Spring? Ay
where are they? Think not of them, thou hast thy music
too, While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying
day, And touch the stubble-plains with rosy
hue; Then in a wailful choir the small gnats
mourn Among the river sallows, borne aloft Or sinking as the light wind lives or
dies; And full-grown lambs loud bleat from
hilly bourn; Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble
soft The redbreast whistles from a garden
croft, And gathering swallows twitter in the
THE LAST SONNET
(Written 1820) BRIGHT star, would I were steadfast as
thou art ! Not in lone splendour hung aloft the night, And watching, with eternal lids apart,
Like Nature's patient sleepless Eremite, The moving waters at their priestlike task Of pure ablution round earth's human
shores Or gazing on the new soft fallen inask Of snow upon the mountains and the
moors: No- yet still steadfast, still unchangeable, Pillow'd upon my fair love's ripening
breast, To feel for ever its soft fall and swell,
Awake for ever in a sweet unrest, Still, still to hear her tender-taken breath, And so live ever- or else swoon to death.
To usher for a destined space
(Her own sweet errands all foregone)
The too imperious traveller on.
These, Fausta, ask not this; nor thou,
Time's chafing prisoner, ask it now!
We left just ten years since, you say,
That wayside inn we left to-day.
Our jovial host, as forth we fare,
Shouts greeting from his easy-chair. So pilgrims, bound for Mecca, prayed High on a bank our leader stands, At burning noon; so warriors said,
Reviews and ranks his motley bands, Scarfed with the cross, who watched the Makes clear our goal to every eye, miles
The valley's western boundary. Of dust which wreathed their struggling A gate swings to! our tide hath flowed
Already from the silent road. Down Lydian mountains; so, when snows The valley-pastures, one by one, Round Alpine summits, eddying rose, Are threaded, quiet in the sun; The Goth, bound Rome-wards; so the Hun, And now, beyond the rude stone bridge, Crouched on his saddle, while the sun 10 Slopes gracious up the western ridge. Went lurid down o'er flooded plains
Its woody border, and the last Through which the groaning Danube strains Of its dark upland farms, is past; To the drear Euxine: so pray all,
| Cool farms, with open-lying stores,
Under their burnished sycamores,
They ramble, leaving, where they pass, 110 Their fragments on the cumbered grass. And often to some kindly place Chance guides the migratory race, Where, though long wanderings intervene, Thoy recognize a former scene. The dingy tents are pitched; the fires Give to the wind their wavering spires; In dark kuots crouch round the wild flame Their children, as when first they came; They see their shackled beasts again 120 Move, browsing, up the gray-walled lane. Signs are not wanting, which might raise The ghost in them of former days, Signs are not wanting, if they would; Suggestions to disquietude. For them, for all, time's busy touch, While it mends little, troubles much. Their joints grow stiffer — but the year Runs his old round of dubious cheer; Chilly they grow — yet winds in March, 130 Still, sharp as ever, freeze and parch; They must live still — and yet, God knows, Crowded and keen the country grows; It seems as if, in their decay, The law grew stronger every day. So might they reason, so compare, Fausta, times past with times that are; But no! they rubbed through yesterday In their hereditary way, And they will rub through, if they can, 140 To-morrow on the self-same plan, Till death arrive to supersede, For them, vicissitude and need.
Once more we tread this self-same road,
The poet, to whose mighty heart
The gypsies, whom we met below,