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The Champak odours fall
Like sweet thoughts in a dream.
The nightingale's complaint,
It dies upon her heart,
As I must upon thine,
Beloved as thou art !
O lift me from the grass !
I die, I faint, I fail ;
Let thy love in kisses rain
On my lips and eyelids pale.
My cheek is cold and white, alas !
My heart beats loud and fast;
Oh! press it close to thine again,
.. Where it will break at last.
THE SENSITIVE PLANT. *
A SENSITIVE Plant in a garden grew,
And the young winds fed it with silver dew ;
And it open'd its fan-like leaves to the light,
And closed them beneath the kisses of night.
And the Spring arose on the garden fair,
Like the Spirit of Love felt every where ;
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, or the wilderness,
Like a doe in the noontide with love's sweet want,
As the companionless Sensitive Plant.
* This forms but part of a very beautiful poem.
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 instrument.
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 Naiad-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 ;
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,
Gazed through clear dew on the tender sky;
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.
The Sensitive Plant,
Felt the sound of the funeral chant,
And the steps of the bearers, heavy and slow,
And the sobs of the mourners deep and low;
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 the grass, Were bright with tears as the crowd did pass; From their sighs the wind caught a mournful'tone, And sate in the pines, and gave groan for groan.
The garden, once fair, became cold and foul,
Like the corpse of her who had been its soul,
Which at first was lively as if in sleep,
Then slowly changed, till it grew a heap
To make men tremble who never weep.
Swift summer into the autumn flowed,
And frost in the mist of the morning rode,
Though the noonday sun looked clear and bright,
Mocking the spoil of the secret night.
The rose-leaves, like flakes of crimson snow,
Paved the turf and the moss below.
The lilies were drooping, and white, and wan,
Like the head and the skin of a dying man.
And Indian plants, of scent and hue
The sweetest that ever were fed on dew,
Leaf after leaf, day after day,
Were massed into the common clay.
And the leaves, brown, yellow, and grey, and red,
And white with the whiteness of what is dead,
Like troops of ghosts on the dry wind past ;
Their whistling noise made the birds aghast.
And the gusty winds waked the winged seeds,
Out of their birthplace of ugly weeds,
Till they clung round many a sweet flower's stem,
Which rotted into the earth with them.
The water-blooms under the rivulet
Fell from the stalks on which they were set ;
And the eddies drove them here and there
As the winds did those of the upper air.
Then the rain came down, and the broken stalks
Were bent and tangled across the walks ;
And the leafless net-work of parasite bowers
Massed into ruin ; and all sweet flowers.
FROM THE DEMON OF THE WORLD.
How wonderful is Death,
Death and his brother Sleep !
One pale as yonder wan and horned moon,
With lips of lurid blue,
The other glowing like the vital morn,
When throned on ocean's wave
It breathes over the world : Yet both so passing strange and wonderful ! Hath then the iron-sceptred Skeleton, Whose reign is in the tainted sepulchres, To the hell-dogs that couch beneath his throne Cast that fair prey ? Must that divinest form, Which love and admiration cannot view
Without a beating heart, whose azure veins
Steal like dark streams along a field of snow,
Whose outline is as fair as marble clothed
In light of some sublimest mind, decay ?
Nor putrefaction's breath
Leave aught of this pure spectacle
But loathsomeness and ruin ?
Spare aught but a dark theme,
On which the lightest heart might moralize ?
Or is it but that downy-winged slumbers
Have charmed their nurse coy Silence near her lids
To watch their own repose ?
Will they, when morning's beam
Flows through those wells of light,
Seek far from noise and day some western cave,
Where woods and streams with soft and pausing
A lulling murmur weave ?
Ianthe doth not sleep
The dreamless sleep of death :
Nor in her moonlight chamber silently
Doth Henry hear her regular pulses throb,
Or mark her delicate cheek
With interchange of hues mock the broad moon,
Outwatching weary night,
Without assured reward,
Her dewy eyes are closed ;
On their translucent lids, whose texture fine
Scarce hides the dark blue orbs that burn below
With unapparent fire,
The baby Sleep is pillowed :
Her golden tresses shade
The bosom's stainless pride,
Twining like tendrils of the parasite
Around a marble column.