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What! is not this my place of strength,” she said,

My spacious mansion built for me,
Whereof the strong foundation-stones were laiil

Since my first memory?”

But in dark corners of her palace stood

Uncertain shapes ; and unawares
On white-eyed phantasms weeping tears of blood,

And horrible nightmares,

And hollow shades enclosing hearts of flame,

And, with dim fretted foreheads all,
On corpses three-months-old at noon she came,

That stood against the wall.

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A spot of dull stagnation, without light

Or power of movement, seen’d my soul, Mid onward-sloping motions infinite

Making for one sure goal.

1

A still salt pool, lock'd in with bars of sand;

Left on the shore; that hears all night
The plunging seas draw backward from the land

Their moon-led waters white.

A star that with the choral starry dance

Join'd not, but stood, and standing saw The hollow orb of moving Circumstance

Roll’d round by one fix'd law.

Back on herself her serpent pride had curl’d.

" No voice," she shriek'd in that lone hall, " No voice breaks thro' the stillness of this world.

One deep, deep silence all !”

She, mouldering with the dull earth's mouldering sod,

Inwrapt tenfold in slothful shame, Lay there exiled from eternal God,

Lost to her place and name ;

And death and life she hated equally

And nothing saw, for her despair, But dreadful time, dreadful eternity,

No comfort anywhere;

Remaining utterly confused with fears,

And ever worse with growing time, And ever unrelieved by dismal tears,

And all alone in crime:

Shut up as in a crumbling tomb, girt round

With blackness as a solid wall,
Far off she seem'd to hear the dully sound

Of human footsteps fall.

As in strange lands a traveller walking slow,

In doubt and great perplexity,
A little before moon-rise hears the low

Moan of an unknown sea ;

And knows not if it be thunder or a sound

Of rocks thrown down, or one deep cry. Of great wild beasts; then thinketh, “ I have found

A new land, but I die.”

She howld aloud, " I am on fire within.

There comes no murmur of reply. What is it that will take away my sin,

And save me lest I die ?”

So when four years were wholly finished,

She threw her royal robes away.
Make me a cottage in the vale,” she said,

" Where I may mourn and pray.

" Yet pull not down my palace-towers, that are

So lightly, beautifully built:
Perchance I may return with others there

When I have purged my guilt.”

LADY CLARA VERE DE VERE.

LADY Clara Vere de Vere,

Of me you shall not win renown:
You thought to break a country heart

For pastime, ere you went to town.
At me you smiled, but unbeguiled
I

saw the snare, and I retired : The daughter of a hundred Earls,

You are not one to be desired.

Lady Clara Vere de Vere,

I know you proud to bear your name, Your pride is yet no mate for mine,

Too proud to care from whence I came. Nor would I break for your sweet sake

A heart that doats on truer charins. A simple maiden in her flower

Is worth a hundred coats-of-arms.

Lady Clara Vere de Vere,

Some meeker pupil you must find, For were you queen of all that is,

I could not stoop to such a mind. You sought to prove how I could love,

And my disdain is my reply. The lion on your old stone gates

Is not more cold to you than I.

Lady Clara Vere de Vere,

You put strange memories in my head. Not thrice your branching limes have blown

Since I beheld young Laurence dearl. Oh your sweet eyes, your low replies :

A great enchantress you may be ; But there was that across his throat

Which you had hardly cared to see.

Lady Clara Vere de Vere,

When thus he met his mother's view, She had the passions of her kind,

She spake some certain truths of you.

Indeed I heard one bitter word

That scarce is fit for you to hear; Her manners had not that repose

Which stamps the caste of Vere de Vere.

Lady Clara Vere de Vere,

There stands a spectre in your hall: The guilt of blood is at your door:

You changed a wholesome heart to gall. You held your course without remorse,

To make him trust his modest worth, And, last, you fix'd a vacant stare,

And slew him with your noble birth.

Trust me, Clara Vere de Vere,
From yon

blue heavens above us bent The grand old gardener and his wife

Smile at the claims of long descent. Howe'er it be, it seems to me,

"T is only noble to be good. Kind hearts are more than coronets,

And simple faith than Norman blood.

I know you, Clara Vere de Vere:

You pine among your halls and towers :
The languid light of your proud eyes

Is wearied of the rolling hours.
In glowing health, with boundless wealth,

But sickening of a vague disease,
You know so ill to deal with time,

You needs must play such pranks as these.

Clara, Clara Vere de Vere,

If Time be heavy on your hands, Are there no beggars at your gate,

Nor any poor about your lands? Oh! teach the orphan-boy to read,

Or teach the orphan-girl to sew, Pray Heaven for a human heart,

And let the foolish yeoman go.

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You must wake and call me early, call me early, mother

dear; To-morrow 'ill be the happiest time of all the glad New

year; Of all the glad New-year, mother, the maddest merriest

day; For I'm to be Queen o' the May, mother, I'm to be Queen

o'the May.

There's many a black black eye, they say, but none so

bright as mine; There's Margaret and Mary, there 's Kate and Caroline : But none so fair as little Alice in all the land they say, So I'm to be Queen o' the May, mother, I'm to be Queen

o the May.

I sleep so sound all night, mother, that I shall never wake, If you do not call me loud when the day begins to break: But I must gather knots of flowers, and buds and garlands

gay, For I'm to be Queen o' the May, mother, I'm to be Queen

o' the May.

As I came up the valley whom think ye should I see,
But Robin leaning on the bridge beneath the hazel-trec ?
He thought of that sharp look, mother, J gave him yester-

day, But I'm to be Queen o' the May, mother, I'm to be Queen

o' the May

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