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The nympholepsy of some fond despair;
Or, it might be, a beauty of the earth,
Who found a more than common votary there

Too much adoring; whatsoe'er thy birth,
Thou wert a beautiful thought, and softly bodied forth

The mosses of thy fountain still are sprinkled
With thine Elysian water-drops; the face
Of thy cave-guarded spring, with years unwrinkled,
Reflects the meek eyed genius of the place;
Whose green, wild margin now no more erase
Art's works; nor must the delicate waters sleep,
Prisoned in marble, bubbling from the base

Of the cleft statue, with a gentle leap
The rill runs o'er, and round, fern, flowers, and ivy creep,

Fantastically tangled; the green hills
Are clothed with early blossoms, through the grass
The quick-eyed lizard rustles, and the bills
Of summer birds sing welcome as ye pass;
Flowers fresh in hue, and many in their class,
Implore the pausing step, and with their dyes
Dance in the soft breeze in a fairy mass;

The sweetness of the violet's deep blue eyes,
Kissed by the breath of heaven, seems coloured by its skies.

Here didst thou dwell, in this enchanted cover,
Egeria! thy all heavenly bosom beating
For the far footsteps of thy mortal lover;
The purple midnight veiled that mystic meeting
With her most starry canopy, and seating
Thyself by thine adorer, what befel ?

ELIZABETH BARRETT BROWNING.

137

This cave was surely shaped out for the greeting

Of an enamoured goddess, and the cell
Haunted by holy Love—the earliest oracle !

And didst thou not, thy breast to his replying,
Blend a celestial with a human heart;
And Love, which dies as it was born, in sighing,
Share with immortal transports? could thine art
Make them indeed immortal, and impart
The purity of heaven to earthly joys,
Expel the venom and not blunt the dart-

The dull satiety which all destroys-
And root from out the soul the deadly weed which cloys ?

Alas! our young affections run to waste,
Or water but the desert; whence arise
But weeds of dark luxuriance, tares of haste,
Rank at the core, though tempting to the eyes,
Flowers whose wild odours breathe but agonies,
And trees whose gums are poison; such the plants
Which spring beneath her steps as Passion flies

O'er the world's wilderness, and vainly pants
For some celestial fruit forbidden to our wants.

BYRON.

Wisdom Unapplied.

I.

If I were thou, O Butterfly,
And poised my purple wings, to spy
The sweetest flowers that live and die,

II.

I would not waste my strength on those,
As thou,- for summer hath a close,
And pansies bloom not in the snows.

III.

If I were thou, O working bee,
And all that boney-gold I see
Could delve from roses easily;

IV.

I would not hive it at man's door,
As thou, that heirdom of my store
Should make him rich, and leave me poor.

V.

If I were thou, 0 eagle proud,
And screamed the thunder back aloud,
And faced the lightning from the cloud;

VI.

I would not build my eyrie-throne,
As thou, upon a crumbling stone,
Which the next storm may trample down.

VII.

If I were thou, O gallant steed,
With pawing hoof, and dancing head,
And eye outrunning thine own speed;

VIII.

I would not meeken to the rein,
As thou,-nor smooth my nostril plain,
From the glad desert's snort and strain.

ELIZABETH BARRETT BROWNING.

439

IX.

If I were thou, red-breasted bird,
Whose song 's at shut-up window heard,
Like Love's sweet Yes too long deferred;

X.

I would not overstay delight,
As thou, but take a swallow flight,
Till the new spring returned to sight.

XI.

While yet I spake, a touch was laid
Upon my brow, whose pride did fade,
As thus, methought, an angel said ;

XII.

“If I were thou, who singst this song, Most wise for others; and most strong In seeing right, while doing wrong;

XIII.

“I would not waste my cares, and choose, As thou,- to seek what thou must lose, Such gains as perish in the use.

XIV.
“I would not work where none can win,
As thou,-half way 'twixt grief and sin,
But look above, and judge within.

XV.

“I would not let my pulse beat high, As thou,—toward fame's regality, Nor yet in love's great jeopardy.

XVI.

"I would not champ the hard cold bit, As thou,—of what the world thinks fit, But take God's freedom, using it.

XVII.

I would not play earth's winter out,
As thou; but gird my soul about,
And live for life past death and doubt.

XVIII.

“Then sing, O Singer!—but allow

Beast, fly, and bird, called foolish now,
Are wise (for all thy scorn) as thou!"

ELIZABETH BARRETT BROWNING.

Ode.

ON THE PLEASURE ARISING FROM VICISSITUDE.

Now the golden morn aloft

Waves her dew-bespangled wing,
With vermeil cheek and whisper soft

She wooes the tardy spring :
Till April starts, and calls around
The sleeping fragrance from the ground;

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