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At length I saw a lady within call,

Stiller than chiselled marble, standing there; A daughter of the gods, divinely tall, And most divinely fair.


Her loveliness with shame and with surprise
Froze my swift speech; she turning on my face
The star-like sorrows of immortal eyes,
Spoke slowly in her place.


"I had great beauty: ask thou not my name:
No one can be more wise than destiny.
Many drew swords and died. Where'er I came
I brought calamity."


"No marvel, sovereign lady! in fair field,
Myself for such a face had boldly died,"
I answered free, and turning I appealed
To one that stood beside.


But she, with sick and scornful looks averse,

To her full height her stately stature draws; "My youth," she said, "was blasted with a curse: This woman was the cause.


"I was cut off from hope in that sad place, Which yet to name my spirit loathes and fears ; My father held his hand upon his face:

I, blinded with my tears,


Still strove to speak: my voice was thick with sighs
As in a dream. Dimly I could descry

The stern black-bearded kings, with wolfish eyes, Waiting to see me die.


“The high masts flickered as they lay afloat;

The crowds, the temples, wavered, and the shore;

The bright death quivered at the victim's throat; Touched; and I knew no more.”


Whereto the other with a downward brow:

"I would the white cold heavy-plunging foam, Whirled by the wind, had rolled me deep below, Then when I left my home."


Her slow full words sank through the silence drear, As thunder-drops fall on a sleeping sea: Sudden I heard a voice that cried, "Come here, That I may look on thee.”


I turning saw, throned on a flowery rise,
One sitting on a crimson scarf unrolled;

A queen with swarthy cheeks and bold black eyes,
Brow-bound with burning gold.


She, flashing forth a haughty smile, began:
"I governed men by change, and so I swayed
All moods. 'Tis long since I have seen a man.
Once, like the moon, I made


"The ever-shifting currents of the blood
According to my humor ebb and flow,

I have no men to govern in this wood:
That makes my only woe.


"Nay-yet it chafes me that I could not bend One will; nor tame and tutor with mine eye That dull cold-blooded Cæsar. Prithee, friend,

Where is Mark Antony?


"The man my lover, with whom I rode sublime

On Fortune's neck: we sat as God by God: The Nilus would have risen before his time And flooded at our nod.


"We drank the Lybian Sun to sleep, and lit
Lamps which outburned Canopus. O my life
In Egypt! O the dalliance and the wit,
The flattery and the strife,


“And the wild kiss, when fresh from war's alarms,
My Hercules, my Roman Antony,
My mailed Bacchus leapt into my arms,
Contented there to die!


"And there he died; and when I heard my name Sighed forth with life I would not brook my fear Of the other: with a worm I balked his fame. What else was left ?-look here!"


(With that she tore her robe apart, and half
The polished argent of her breast to sight
Laid bare. Thereto she pointed with a laugh,
Showing the aspick's bite :)


"I died a Queen. The Roman soldier found Me lying dead, my crown about my brows,

A name forever!—lying robed and crowned,
Worthy a Roman spouse."


Her warbling voice, a lyre of widest range

Struck by all passion, did fall down and glance From tone to tone, and glided through all change Of liveliest utterance.


When she made pause I knew not for delight; Because with sudden motion from the ground She raised her piercing orbs and filled with light The interval of sound.


Still with their fires Love tipt his keenest darts;
As once they drew into two burning rings
All beams of Love, melting the mighty hearts
Of captains and of kings.


Slowly my sense undazzled. Then I heard
A noise of some one coming through the lawn,
And singing clearer than the crested bird,
That claps his wings at dawn.


"The torrent brooks of hallowed Israel

From craggy hollows pouring, late and soon, Sound all night long, in falling through the dell, Far-heard beneath the moon.


"The balmy moon of blessed Israel

Floods all the deep-blue gloom with beams
divine :

All night the splintered crags that wall the dell
With spires of silver shine."


As one that museth where broad sunshine laves The lawn by some cathedral, through the door Hearing the holy organ rolling waves

Of sound on roof and floor


Within, and anthem sung, is charmed and tied
To where he stands, so stood I, when that flow

Of music left the lips of her that died

To save her father's vow;


The daughter of the warrior Gileadite,

A maiden pure; as when she went along From Mizpeh's towered gate with welcome light, With timbrel and with song.


My words leapt forth: "Heaven heads the count of crimes

With that wild oath." She rendered answer high:

"Not so, nor once alone; a thousand times

I would be born and die.


"Single I grew, like some green plant, whose root Creeps to the garden water-pipes beneath, Feeding the flower: but ere my flower to fruit Changed, I was ripe for death.


"My God, my land, my father-these did move
Me from my bliss of life, that Nature gave,
Lowered softly with a threefold cord of love
Down to a silent grave.

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