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Then, in the boyhood of the year,
Sir Launcelot and Queen Guinevere
Rode through the coverts of the deer,
With blissful treble ringing clear.

She seemed a part of joyous Spring:
A gown of grass-green silk she wore,
Buckled with golden clasps before;
A light-green tuft of plumes she bore
Closed in a golden ring.

Now on some twisted ivy-net,
Now by some tinkling rivulet,
In mosses mixt with violet,

Her cream-white mule his pastern set:

And fleeter now she skimmed the plains

Than she whose elfin prancer springs
By night to eery warblings,

When all the glimmering moorland rings
With jingling bridle-reins.

As she fled fast through sun and shade,
The happy winds upon her played,
Blowing the ringlet from the braid:
She looked so lovely, as she swayed

The rein with dainty finger-tips,
A man had given all other bliss,
And all his worldly worth for this,
To waste his whole heart in one kiss
Upon her perfect lips.


FLOW down, cold rivulet, to the sea,
Thy tribute wave deliver :

No more by thee my steps shall be,
Forever and forever.

Flow, softly flow, by lawn and lea
A rivulet then a river:

Nowhere by thee my steps shall be,
Forever and forever.

But here will sigh thine alder tree
And here thine aspen shiver;
And here by thee will hum the bee
Forever and forever.

A thousand suns will stream on thee,
A thousand moons will quiver;
But not by thee my steps shall be,
Forever and forever.


HER arms across her breast she laid;
She was more fair than words can say:
Barefooted came the beggar maid
Before the King Cophetua.

In robe and crown the king stept down,
To meet and greet her on her way;
"It is no wonder," said the lords,

“She is more beautiful than day.”

As shines the moon in clouded skies,
She in her poor attire was seen :
One praised her ankles, one her eyes,
One her dark hair and lovesome mien.
So sweet a face, such angel grace,
In all that land had never been:

Cophetua sware a royal oath:

"This beggar maid shall be my queen!”


I HAD a vision when the night was late :
A youth came riding toward a palace-gate.
He rode a horse with wings that would have flown,
But that his heavy rider kept him down.
And from the palace came a child of sin,
And took him by the curls, and led him in,
Where sat a company with heated eyes,
Expecting when a fountain should arise:
A sleepy light upon their brows and lips-
As when the sun, a crescent of eclipse,

Dreams over lake and lawn, and isles and capes-
Suffused them, sitting, lying, languid shapes,

By heaps of gourds, and skins of wine, and piles of grapes.

Then methought I heard a mellow sound,
Gathering up from all the lower ground;
Narrowing in to where they sat assembled,
Low voluptuous music winding trembled,
Woven in circles: they that heard it sighed,
Panted hand in hand with faces pale,
Swung themselves, and in low tones replied;
Till the fountain spouted, showering wide
Sleet of diamond-drift and pearly hail;
Then the music touched the gates and died;
Rose again from where it seemed to fail,
Stormed in orbs of song, a growing gale;

Till thronging in and in, to where they waited,
As 'twere a hundred-throated nightingale,
The strong tempestuous treble throbbed and palpi-

Ran into its giddiest whirl of sound,

Caught the sparkles, and in circles,

Purple gauzes, golden hazes, liquid mazes,

Flung the torrent rainbow round;

Then they started from their places,

Moved with violence, changed in hue,
Caught each other with wild grimaces,
Half-invisible to the view,

Wheeling with precipitate paces
To the melody, till they flew,
Hair, and eyes, and limbs, and faces,
Twisted hard in fierce embraces,
Like to Furies, like to Graces,
Dashed together in blinding dew:
Till, killed with some luxurious agony
The nerve-dissolving melody
Fluttered headlong from the sky.

And then I looked up toward a mountain-tract,
That girt the region with high cliff and lawn:
I saw that every morning, far withdrawn
Beyond the darkness and the cataract,
God made himself an awful rose of dawn,
Unheeded: and detaching, fold by fold,
From those still heights, and, slowly drawing near,
A vapor heavy, hueless, formless, cold,

Came floating on for many a month and year,
Unheeded: and I thought I would have spoken,
And warned that madman ere it grew too late :
But, as in dreams, I could not. Mine was broken,
When that cold vapor touched the palace gate,
And linked again. ` I saw within my head
A gray and gap-toothed man as lean as death,
Who slowly rode across a withered heath,
And lighted at a ruined inn, and said:

"Wrinkled ostler, grim and thin!
Here is custom come your way;
Take my brute, and lead him in,
Stuff his ribs with mouldy hay.

"Bitter barmaid, waning fast!
See that sheets are on my bed;
What! the flower of life is past:
It is long before you wed.

"Slip-shod waiter, lank and sour, At The Dragon on the heath! Let us have a quiet hour,

Let us hob-and-nob with Death.

"I am old, but let me drink;

Bring me spices, bring me wine; I remember, when I think,

That my youth was half divine.

"Wine is good for shrivelled lips, When a blanket wraps the day, When the rotten woodland drips,

And the leaf is stamped in clay.

"Sit thee down, and have no shame, Cheek by jowl, and knee by knee: What care I for any name?

What for order or degree?

"Let me screw thee up a peg:

Let me loose thy tongue with wine: Callest thou that thing a leg?

Which is thinnest? thine or mine?

"Thou shalt not be saved by works: Thou hast been a sinner too : Ruined trunks on withered forks, Empty scarecrows, I and you!

"Fill the cup, and fill the can :
Have a rouse before the morn:

Every moment dies a man,
Every moment one is born.

"We are men of ruined blood;

Therefore comes it we are wise.

Fish are we that love the mud,
Rising to no fancy-flies.

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