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To nothing, loved a nothing, nothing seen
That I may see thy beauty through the night; Or felt but a great dream! Oh, I have been To Flora, and a nightingale shall light Presumptuous against love, against the sky, Tame on thy finger; to the River-gods, Against all elements, against the tie
And they shall bring thee taper fishing-rods Of mortals each to each, against the blooms Of gold, and lines of Naiad's long bright tress. of flowers, rush of rivers, and the tombs
Heaven shield thee for thine utter loveliness! Of Xeroes gone! Against his proper glory
Thy mossy footstool shall the altar be Has my own soul conspired : so my story
'Fore which I'll bend, bending, dear love, to thee : Will I to children utter, and repent.
Those lips shall be my Delphos, and shall speak There never lived a mortal man, who bent Laws to my footsteps, color to my cheek, His appelite beyond his natural sphere,
Trembling or stedfastness to this same voice, But starved and died. My sweetest Indian, here, And of three sweetest pleasurings the choice : Here will I kneel, for thou redeemed hast
And that affectionate light, those diamond things, My life from too thin breathing: gone and past Those eyes, those passions, those supreme pearl Are cloudy phantasms. Caverns lone, farewell!
springs, And air of visions, and the monstrous swell Shall be my grief, or twinkle me to pleasure. Of visionary seas! No, never more
Say, is not bliss within our perfect seizure?
O that I could not doubt?"
Thus strove by fancies vain and crude to clear
His brier'd path to some tranquillity.
It gave bright gladness to his lady's eye,
And yet the tears she wept were tears of sorrow; And bless our simple lives. My Indian bliss !
Answering thus, just as the golden morrow
Beam'd upward from the valleys of the east : My river-lily bud! one human kiss !
“O that the flutter of this heart had ceased, One sigh of real breath-one gentle squeeze,
Or the sweet name of love had pass'd away!
Young feather'd tyrant! by a swift decay
Wilt thou devote this body to the earth : We'll talk about—no more of dreaming.--Now,
And I do think that at my very birth Where shall our dwelling be? Under the brow
I lisp'd thy blooming titles inwardly ;
For at the first, first dawn and thought of thee, Of some steep mossy hill, where ivy dun Would hide us up, although spring leaves were none ; Art thou not cruel ? Ever have I striven
With uplift hands I blest the stars of heaven.
To think thee kind, but ah, it will not do!
When yet a child, I heard that kisses drew
Favor from thee, and so I kisses gave Dusk for our loves, yet light enough to grace
To the void air, bidding them find out love :
But when I came to feel how far above
All fancy, pride, and fickle maidenhood,
All earthly pleasure, all imagined good, See, through the trees, a little river go
Was the warm tremble of a devout kiss, All in its mid-day gold and glimmering.
Even then, that moment, at the thought of this, Honey from out the gnarled hive I'll bring,
Fainting I fell into a bed of flowers, And apples, wan with sweetness, gather thee,
And languish'd there three days. Ye milder powers, Cresses that grow where no man may them see, And sorrel untorn by the dew-claw'd stag :
Am I not cruelly wrong'd ? Believe, believe
Me, dear Endymion, were I to weave Pipes will I fashion of the syrinx flag,
With my own fancies garlands of sweet life, That thou mayst always know whither I roam,
Thou shouldst be one of all. Ah, bitter strife! When it shall please thee in our quiet home To listen and think of love. Still let me speak;
I may not be thy love: I am forbidden
Indeed I am--thwarted, affrighted, chidden,
By things I trembled at, and gorgon wrath.
Twice hast thou ask'd whither I went: henceforth Thou haply mayst delight in, will I fill
Ask me no more! I may not utter it,
Nor may I be thy love. We might commit
Ourselves at once to vengeance; we might die; Its bottom will I strew with amber shells,
We might embrace and die : voluptuous thought And pebbles blue from deep enchanted wells. Its sides I'll plant with dew-sweet eglantine,
Enlarge not to my hunger, or I'm caught And honeysuckles full of clear bee-wine.
In trammels of perverse deliciousness.
No, no, that shall not be: thee will I bless,
And bid a long adieu.”
No word return'd both lovelorn, silent, wan,
Into the valleys green together went.
Endymion! unhappy! it nigh grieves
He did not stir
No tongue shall ask, whence come ye? but ye shall
Many upon thy death have ditties made ;
Night after night, and day by day, unul
A hermit young, I 'll live in mossy cave,
Through me the shepherd realm shall prosper well;
Ay, but a buzzing by my ears has flown,
Well then, I see there is no litile bird,
Dear brother mine!
My future days to her fane consecrate."
Laughing at the clear stream and setting sun,
As though they jests had been : nor had he done As feels a dreamer what doth most create His laugh at Nature's holy countenance, His own particular fright, so these three felt: Until that grove appear’d, as if perchance, Or like one, who, in after ages, knelt
And then his tongue with sober seemlihed To Lucifer or Baal, when he'd pine
Gave utterance as he enter'd: “Ha!" I said, After a little sleep: or when in mine
* King of the butterflies; but by this gloom, Far under-ground, a sleeper meets his friends And by old Rhadamanthus' tongue of doom, Who know him not. Each diligently bends This dusk religion, pomp of solitude, Tow'rds common thoughts and things for very fear; And the Promethean clay by thief endued, Striving their ghastly malady to cheer,
By old Saturnus' forelock, by his head By thinking it a thing of yes and no,
Shook with eternal palsy, I did wed That housewives talk of. But the spirit-blow Myself to things of light from infancy; Was struck, and all were dreamers. At the last And thus to be cast out, thus lorn to die, Endymion said : “ Are not our fates all cast? Is sure enough to make a mortal man Why stand we here ? Adieu, ye tender pair' Grow impious.” So he inwardly began Adieu!" Whereat those maidens, with wild stare, On things for which no wording can be found; Walk'd dizzily away. Pained and hot
Deeper and deeper sinking, until drown'd His eyes went after them, until they got
Beyond the reach of music: for the choir Near to a cypress grove, whose deadly maw, of Cynthia he heard not, though rough brier In one swift moment, would what then he saw Nor muffling thicket interposed to dull Ingulf for ever. Stay!” he cried, “ah, stay! The vesper hymn, far swollen, soft and full, Turn, damsels! hist! one word I have to say : Through the dark pillars of those sylvan aisles.! Sweet Indian, I would see thee once again.
He saw not the two maidens, nor their smiles, It is a thing I dote on: so I'd fain,
Wan as primroses gather'd at midnight Peona, ye should hand in hand repair,
By chilly-finger'd spring. Unhappy wight! Into those holy groves that silent are
Endymion!” said Peona, “ we are here ! Behind great Dian's temple. I'll be yon,
What wouldst thou ere we all are laid on bier ?" At vesper's earliest twinkle--they are gone- Then he embraced her, and his lady's hand But once, once, once again—" At this he press'd Press’d, saying: “Sister, I would have command, His hands against his face, and then did rest If it were heaven's will, on our sad fate.” His head upon a mossy hillock green,
At which that dark-eyed stranger stood elate, And so remaind as he a corpse had been
And said, in a new voice, but sweet as love, All the long day; save when he scantly lifted To Endymion's amaze: “ By Cupid's dove, His eyes abroad, to see how shadows shifted And so thou shalt! and by the lily truth With the slow move of time,-sluggish and weary Of my own breast thou shalt, beloved youth!" Until the poplar tops, in journey dreary,
And as she spake, into her face there cain Had reach'd the river's brim. Then up
Light, as reflected from a silver flame: And, slowly as that very river flows,
Her long black hair swelld ampler, in display Walk'd low'rds the temple-grove with this lament: Full golden; in her eyes a brighter day " Why such a golden eve? The breeze is sent Dawn'd blue and full of love. Ay, he beheld Careful and soft, that not a leaf may fall
Phæbe, his passion! joyous she upheld Before the serene father of them all
Her lucid bow, continuing thus : Drear, drear Bows down his summer head below the west. Has our delaying been; but foolish fear Now am I of breath, speech, and speed possest, Withheld me first; and then decrees of fate; But at the setting I must bid adieu
And then 'twas fit that from this mortal state To her for the last time. Night will strew Thou shouldst, my love, by some unlook'd-for change On the damp grass myriads of lingering leaves, Be spiritualized. Peona, we shall range And with them shall I die; nor much it grieves These forests, and to thee they safe shall be To die, when summer dies on the cold sward. As was thy cradle ; hither shalt thou flee Why, I have been a butterfly, a lord
To meet us many a time.” Next Cynthia bright Or Powers, garlands, love-knots, silly posies, Peona kiss'd, and bless'd with fair good-night: Groves, meadows, melodies, and arbor-roses; Her brother kise'd her too, and knelt adown My kingdom's at its death, and just it is
Before his goddess, in a blissful swoon. That I should die with it: so in all this
She gave her fair hands to him, and behold, We miscall grief, bale, sorrow, heart-break, woe, Before three swiftest kisses he had told, What is there to plain of? By Titan's foe
They vanish'd far away !-Peona went I am but rightly served.” So saying, he
Home through the gloomy wood in wonderment. Tripp'd lightly on, in sort of deathful glee ;
Upon her crest she wore a wannish fire
She had a woman's mouth with all its pearls complete: UPON a time, before the faery broods
And for her eyes—what could such eyes do there Drove Nymph and Satyr from the prosperous woods, But weep, and weep, that they were born so far ! Before King Oberon's bright diadem,
As Proserpine still weeps for her Sicilian air. Sceptre, and mantle, clasp'd with dewy gem, Her throat was serpent, but the words she spake Frighted away the Dryads and the Fauns
Came, as through bubbling honey, for Love's sake,
Like a stoop'd falcon ere he takes his prey:
"Fair Hermes! crown'd with feathers, fluttering On this side of Jove's clouds, to escape the sight
light, Of his great summoner, and made retreat
I had a splendid dream of thee last night : Into a forest on the shores of Crete.
I saw thee sitting, on a throne of gold, For somewhere in that sacred island dwelt
Among the Gods, upon Olympus old, A nymph, to whom all hoofed Satyrs knelt; The only sad one ; for thou didst not hear At whose white feet the languid Tritons pour'd The soft, lute-finger'd Muses chanting clear, Pearls, while on land they wither'd and adored. Nor even Apollo when he sang alone, Fast by the springs where she to bathe was wont, Deaf to his throbbing throat's long, long melodious And in those meads where sometimes she might haunt, Were strewn rich gists, unknown to any Muse, I dreamt I saw thee, robed in purple flakes, Though Fancy's casket were unlock'd to choose. Break amorous through the clouds, as morning breaks, Ah, what a world of love was at her feet! And, swiftly as a bright Phoebean dart, So Hermes thought, and a celestial heat
Strike for the Cretan isle; and here thou art! Burnt from his winged heels to either ear,
Too gentle Hermes, hast thou found the maid !" That from a whiteness, as the lily clear,
Whereat the star of Lethe not delay'd Blush'd into roses 'mid his golden hair,
His rosy eloquence, and thus inquired : Fallen in jealous curls about his shoulders bare. “ 'Thou smooth-lipp'd serpent, surely high inspired! From vale to vale, from wood to wood, he few, Thou beauteous wreath with melancholy eyes, Breathing upon the flowers his passion new, Possess whatever bliss thou canst devise, And wound with: many a river to its head, Telling me only where my nymph is fled. To find where this sweet nymph prepared her secret Where she doth breathe!”
said,” In vain ; the sweet nymph might nowhere be found, Return'd the snake, “ but seal with oaths, fair God!" And so he rested, on the lonely ground,
“ I swear," said Hermes, - by my serpent rod, Pensive, and full of painful jealousies
And by thine eyes, and by thy siarry crown!" Of the Wood-Gods, and even the very trees. Light flew his earnest words, among the blossoms There as he stood, he heard a mournful voice,
blown. Such as once heard, in gentle heart, destroys Then thus again the brilliance feminine : All pain but pity : thus the lone voice spake : “ Too frail of heart! for this lost nymph of thine, “When from this wreathed tomb shall I awake? Free as the air, invisibly, she strays When move in a sweet body fit for life,
About these thornless wilds; her pleasant days And love, and pleasure, and the ruddy strise She tastes unseen ; unseen her nimble feet Of hearts and lips? Ah, miserable me!"
Leave traces in the grass and flowers sweet : The God, dove-footed, glided silently
From weary tendrils, and bow'd branches green, Round bush and tree, soft-brushing, in his speed, She plucks the fruit unseen, she bathes unseen : The taller grasses and full-flowering weed, And by my power is her beauty veild Until he found a palpitating snake,
To keep it unaffronted, unassail'd Bright, and cirque-couchant in a dusky brake. By the love-glances of unlovely eyes,
of Satyrs, Fauns, and blear'd Silenus' sighs.
Pale grew her immortality, for woe
Her hair in weird syrops, that would keep
Then, once again, the charmed God began
An oath, and through the serpent's ears it ran
Bright planet, thou hast
Ravish'd she lified her Circean head,
And of that other ridge whose barren back Bush'd a live damask, and swift-lisping said, Stretches, with all its mist and cloudy rack, “I was a woman, let me have once more
South-westward to Cleone. There she stood
Fair, on a sloping green of mossy tread,
Or sigh'd, or blush'd, or on spring-flower'd lea
A virgin purest lipp'd, yet in the lore One warm, flush'd moment, hovering, it might seem Of love deep learn'd to the red heart's core : Dash'd by the wood-nymph's beauty, so he burn'd; Not one hour old, yet of sciential brain Then, lighting on the printless verdure, turn'd To unperplex bliss from its neighbor pain ; To the swoon'd serpent, and with languid arm, Define their pettish limits, and estrange Delicate, put to proof the lithe Caducean charm. Their points of contact, and swift counterchange ; So done, upon the nymph his eyes he bent Intrigue with the specious chaos, and dis part Full of adoring tears and blandishment,
Its most ambiguous atoms with sure art;
And kept his rosy terms in idle languishment
Why this fair creature chose so fairily
Of all she list, strange or magnificent ,
How, ever, where she willid, her spirit went ;
Down through tress-lifting waves the Nereids fair Left to herself, the serpent now began
Wind into Thetis' bower by many a pearly stair; To change ; her elfin blood in madness ran, Or where God Bacchus drains his cups divine, Her mouth foam'd, and the grass, there with besprent, Stretch'd out, at ease, beneath a glutinous pine ; Wither'd at dew so sweet and virulent;
Or where in Pluto's gardens palatine Her eyes in torture fix'd, and anguish drear, Mulciber's columns gleam in far piazzian line. Hot, glazed, and wide, with lid-lashes all sear, And sometimes into cities she would send Flash'd phosphor and sharp sparks, withont one cool. Her dream, with feast and rioting to blend; ing tear.
And once, while among mortals dreaming thus, The colors all intlamed throughout her train, She saw the young Corinthian Lycius She writhed about, convulsed with scarlet pain : Charioting foremost in the envious ruce, A deep volcanian yellow look the place
Like a young Jove with calm uneager face, Of all her milder-mooned body's grace ;
And fell into a swooning love of him. And, as the lava ravishes the mead,
Now on the moth-time of that evening dim
Grated the quay-stones with her brazen prow
Fresh anchor'd; whither he had been awhile
To sacrifice to Jove, whose temple there Suill shone her crown; that vanish'd, also she Waits with high marble doors for blood and incense Melted and disappear'd as suddenly; And in the air, her new voice luting soft,
Jove heard his vows, and better'd his desire ; Cried, “ Lycius! gentle Lycius!”-Borne aloft For by some freakful chance he made retire With the bright mists about the mountains hoar, From his companions, and set forth to walk, These words dissolved : Crete's forests heard no more. Perhaps grown wearied of their Corinth talk:
Over the solitary hills he fared,
Thoughtless at first, but ere eve's star appear'd Whither fied Lamia, now a lady bright,
His phantasy was lost, where reason fades, A full-born beauty new and exquisite ?
In the calm'd iwilight of Platonic shades. She fled into that valley they pass o'er
Lamia beheld him coming, near, more near Who go to Corinth from Chenchreas' shore; Close to her passing, in indifference drear, And rested at the foot of those wild hills,
His silent sandals swept the mossy green; The rugged founts of the Peræan rills,
So neighbor'd to him, and yet so unseen