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Shall move on soberly, as it is meet;
To make old prose in modern rhyme more sweet :
To honor thee, and thy gone spirit greet;
The little sweet doth kill much bitterness;
And Isabella's was a great distress,
Was not embalm'd, this truth is not the less-
Enriched from ancestral merchandise,
In torched mines and noisy factories,
In blood from stinging whip;-with hollow eyes
What love Lorenzo for their sister had,
His bitter thoughts to other, well-nigh mad
Should in their sister's love be blithe and glad,
And many times they bit their lips alone,
To make the youngster for his crime atone;
A thousand men in troubles wide and dark · Cut Merey with a sharp knife to the bone; Half-ignorant, they turnd an easy wheel,
For they resolved in some forest dim
Gush'd with more pride than do a wretch's tears ?- Into the sunrise o'er the balustrade
mounts of the garden-terrace, towards him they bent Were of more soft ascent than lazar-stairs ?
Their footing through the dews; and to him said, Why were they proud ? Because red-lined accounts You seem there in the quiet of content,
Were richer than the songs of Grecian years! Lorenzo, and we are most loth to invade
Rode past fair Florence, to where Arno's stream But for a thing more deadly dark than all; Gurgles through straiten'd banks, and still doth fan It came like a fierce potion, drunk by chance,
Itself with dancing bulrush, and the bream Which saves a sick man from the feather'd pall Keeps head against the freshets. Sick and wan For some few gasping moments; like a lance, The brothers' faces in the ford did seem,
Waking an Indian from his cloudy hall Lorenzo's flush with love. They pass'd the water With cruel pierce, and bringing him again Into a forest quiet for the slaughter.
Sense of the gnawing fire at heart and brain. XXVIII.
It was a vision. In the drowsy gloom,
Had marr'd his glossy hair which once could show As the break-covert blood-hounds of such sin : Lustre into the sun, and put cold doom
They dipp'd their swords in the water, and did tease Upon his lips, and taken the soft lute
Had made a miry channel for his tears.
For there was striving, in its piteous tongue, Because of some great urgency and need
To speak as when on earth it was awake, In their affairs, requiring trusty hands.
And Isabella on its music hung : Poor girl! put on thy stifling widow's weed, Languor there was in it, and tremulous shake,
And 'scape at once from Hope's accursed bands; As in a palsied Druid's harp unstrung; To-day thou wilt not see him, nor to-morrow, And through it moan'd a ghostly under-song, And the next day will be a day of sorrow. Like hoarse night-gusts sepulchral briers among. XXX.
XXXVII. She weeps alone for pleasures not to be ;
Its eyes, though wild, were still all dewy bright Sorely she wept until the night came on,
With love, and kept all phantom fear aloof And then, instead of love, O misery!
From the poor girl by magic of their light, She brooded o'er the luxury alone :
The while it did unthread the horrid woof His image in the dusk she seem'd to see,
of the late darken'd time, the murderous spite And to the silence made a gentle moan,
Of pride and avarice,--the dark pine roof Spreading her perfect arms upon the air,
In the forest,--and the sodden turfed dell,
Red whortle-berries droop above my head,
And a large flint-stone weighs upon my feet; Upon the time with feverish unrest
Around me beeches and high chestnuts shed Not long—for soon into her heart a throng Their leaves and prickly nuts; a sheep-fold bleat Of higher occupants, a richer zest,
Comes from beyond the river to my bed: Came tragic; passion not to be subdued,
Go, shed one tear upon my heather-bloom,
And it shall comfort me within the tomb.
“I am a shadow now, alas ! alas! The breath of Winter comes from far away, Upon the skirts of human-nature dwelling And the sick west continually bereaves
Alone : I chant alone the holy mass, Of some gold tinge, and plays a roundelay While little sounds of life are round me knelling, of death among the bushes and the leaves, And glossy bees at noon do fieldward pass, To make all bare before he dares to stray
And many a chapel-bell the hour is telling, From his north cavern. So sweet Isabel
Paining me through: those sounds grow strange to me, By gradual decay from beauty fell,
And thou art distant in Humanity.
" I know what was, I feel full well what is, She ask'd her brothers, with an eye all pale, And I should rage, if spirits could go mad, Striving to be itself, what dungeon climes Though I forget the taste of earthly bliss,
Could keep him off so long? They spake a tale That paleness warms my grave, as though I had Time after time, to quiet her. Their crimes A Seraph chosen from the bright abyss
Came on them, like a smoke from Hinnom's vale ; To be my spouse : thy paleness makes me glad: And every night in dreams they groan'd aloud, Thy beauty grows upon me, and I feel To see their sister in her snowy shroud.
A greater love through all my essence steal"
Until her heart felt pity to the core - As when of healthful midnight sleep bereft, At sight of such a dismal laboring,
Thinking on rugged hours and fruitless toil, And so she kneeled, with her locks all hoar, We put our eyes into a pillowy cleft,
And put her lean hands to the horrid thing : And see the spangly gloom froth up and boil : Three hours they labor'd at this travail sore ; It made sad Isabella's eyelids ache,
At last they felt the kernel of the grave,
And Isabella did not stamp and rave.
Why linger at the yawning tomb so long? I thought some Fate with pleasure or with strife O for the gentleness of old Romance, Portion'd us-happy days, or else to die;
The simple plaining of a minstrel's song! But there is crime--a brother's bloody knife! Fair reader, at the old tale take a glance,
Sweet Spirit, thou hast school'd my infancy: For here, in truth, it doth not well belong I'll visit thee for this, and kiss thine eyes,
To speak :-0 turn thee to the very tale,
They cut away no formless monster's head, How she might find the clay, so dearly prized, But one, whose gentleness did well accord And sing to it one latest lullaby ;
With death, as life. The ancient harps have said Flow her short absence might be unsurmised, Love never dies, but lives, immortal Lord :
While she the inmost of the dream would try. If Love impersonate was ever dead, Resolved, she took with her an aged nurse,
Pale Isabella kiss'd it, and low moan'd. And went into that dismal forest-hearse.
"T was love; cold, dead indeed, but not dethroned. XLIV.
LI. See, as they creep along the river-side
In anxious secrecy they took it home, How she doth whisper to that aged Dame,
And then the prize was all for Isabel : And, after looking round the champaign wide,
She calm'd its wild hair with a golden comb, Shows her a knife.--" What feverous hectic flame And all around each eye's sepulchral cell Burns in thee, child ?-What good can thee betide, Pointed each fringed lash; the smeared loam That thou shouldst smile again?”—The evening With tears, as chilly as a dripping well,
She drench'd away : -and still she comb'd, and kept
Then in a silken scarf,--sweet with the dews
And divine liquids come with odorous ooze Work through the clayey soil and gravel hard, Through the cold serpent-pipe refreshfully,—
To see skull, coffin'd bones, and funeral stole ; She wrapp'd it up; and for its tomb did choose Pitying each form that hungry Death hath marr'd,
A garden-spot, wherein she laid it by, And filling it once more with human soul? And cover'd it with mould, and o'er it set Ah! this is holiday to what was felt
Sweet Basil, which her tears kept ever wet.
And she forgot the stars, the moon, and sun,
And she forgot the blue above the trees,
And she forgot the delis where waters run,
And she forgot the chilly autumn breeze;
She had no knowledge when the day was done, Upon the murderous spot she seem'd to grow,
And the new morn she saw not : but in peace Like to a native lily of the dell:
Hung over her sweet Basil evermore, Then with her knife, all sudden, she began
And moisten'd it with tears unto the core.
And so she ever fed it with thin tears,
Whence thick, and green, and beautiful it grew,
Of Basil-tusts in Florence; for it drew
Nature besides, and life, from human fears,
From the fast-mouldering head there shut from Those dainties made to still an infant's cries :
view : Then 'gan she work again; nor stay'd her care, So that the jewel, safely casketed, But to throw back at umes her veiling hair.
Came forth, and in perfumed leafits spread.
And when she left, she hurried back, as swift O Melancholy, linger here awhile !
As bird on wing to breast its eggs again; O Music, Music, breathe despondingly!
And, patient as a hen-bird, sat her there
Beside her Basil, weeping through her hair.
Yet they contrived to steal the Basil-pot, And make a pale light in your cypress glooms,
And to examine it in secret place: Tinting with silver wan your marble tornbs.
The thing was vile with green and livid spot,
And yet they knew it was Lorenzo's face : LVI.
The guerdon of their murder they had got, Moan hither, all ye syllables of woe,
And so left Florence in a moment's space,
With blood upon their heads, to banishment.
O Melancholy, turn thine eyes away! Among the dead : she withers, like a palm
O Music, Music, breathe despondingly!
O Echo, Echo, on some other day,
From isles Lethean, sigh to us-- sigh!
Spirits of grief, sing not your “ Well-a-way!"
For Isabel, sweet Isabel, will die;
Will die a death too lone and incomplete,
Now they have ta'en away her Basil sweet. From her dead eyes; and many a curious elf,
LXII. Among her kindred, wonder'd that such dower
Piteous she look'd on dead and senseless things. Of youth and beauty should be thrown aside
Asking for her lost Basil amorously;
And with melodious chuckle in the strings
Of her lorn voice, she oftentimes would cry
To ask him where her Basil was; and why And why it flourishd, as by magic touch;
"T was hid from her: “ For cruel 't is," said she Greatly they wonder'd what the thing might mean: “To steal my Basil-pot away from me." They could not surely give belief, that such
And so she pined, and so she died forlorn,
Imploring for her Basil to the last.
No heart was there in Florence but did moum LIX.
In pity of her love, so overcast. Therefore they watch'd a time when they might sift And a sad dirty of this story born
This hidden whim; and long they watch'd in vain; From mouth io mouth through all the country pass'd: For seldom did she go to chapel-shrift,
Still is the burthen sung—"O cruelty, And seldom felt she any hunger-pain;
| To steal my Basil-pot away from me!"
The Eve of St. Agnes.
The sculptured dead, on each side, seem to freeze, St. AGNES' Eve—Ah, bitter chill it was!
Imprison'd in black, purgatorial rails : The owl, for all his feathers, was a-cold ;
Knights, ladies, praying in dumb orat'ries, The hare limp'd trembling through the frozen grass, lle passeth by; and his weak spirit fails And silent was the flock in woolly fold : To think how they may ache in icy hoods and mail. Numb were the Beadsman's fingers, while he told His rosary, and while his frosted breath,
III. Like pious incense from a censer old,
Northward he turneth through a little door.
But no—already had his death-bell rungi
The joys of all his life were said and sung; His prayer he saith, this patient, holy man; His was harsh penance on St. Agnes' Eve : Then takes his lamp, and riseth from his knees, Another way he went, and soon among And back returnetb, meager, barefoot, wan, Rough asbes sat he for his soul's reprieve, Along the chapel aisle by slow degrees :
And all night kept awake, for sinners' sake to griete.
Will storm his heart, Love's fev'rous citadel :
Against his lineage : not one breast affords
Ah, happy chance! the aged creature care, At length burst in the argent revelry,
Shuffling along with ivory-headed wand, With plume, tiara, and all rich array,
To where he stood, hid from the torch's flame, Numerous as shadows haunting fairily
Behind a broad hall-pillar, far beyond The brain, new stuff’d, in youth, with triumphs gay The sound of merriment and chorus bland : Of old romance. These let us wish away, He startled her: but soon she knew his face, And turn, sole-thoughted, to one Lady there, And grasp'd his fingers in her palsied hand, Whose heart had brooded, all that wintry day, Saying, “ Mercy, Porphyro! hie thee from this place;
On love, and wing'd St. Agnes' saintly care, They are all here to-night, the whole bloodthirsty As she had heard old dames full many times declare.
Nor look behind, nor sideways, but require
But she saw not: her heart was otherwhere :
Save to St. Agnes, and her lambs unshorn,
This very night: good angels her deceive!
That he might gaze and worship all unseen ; Perchance speak, kneel, touch, kiss--in sooth such things have been
Tears, at the thought of those enchantments cold,