Page images
PDF
EPUB

My dark tall pines, that plumed the craggy ledge
High over the blue gorge, and all between
The snowy peak and snow-white cataract
Fostered the callow eaglet~from beneath
Whose thick mysterious boughs in the dark morn
The panther's roar came muffled, while I sat
Low in the valley. Never, never more
Shall lone Enone see the morning mist
Sweep through them ; never see them overlaid
With narrow moonlit slips of silver cloud,
Between the loud stream and the trembling stars.

“O mother, hear me yet before I die. I wish that somewhere in the ruined folds, Among the fragments tumbled from the glens, Or the dry thickets, I could meet with her, The Abominable, that uninvited came Into the fair Pelesan banquet-hall, And cast the golden fruit upon the board, And bred this change ; that I might speak my

mind,
And tell her to her face how much I hate
Her presence, hated both of Gods and men.

“O mother, hear me yet before I die.
Hath he not sworn his love a thousand times,
In this green valley, under this green hill,
Even on this hand, and sitting on this stone ?
Sealed it with kisses ? watered it with tears ?
O happy tears, and how unlike to these !

happy Heaven ! how canst thou see my face?
O happy earth, how canst thou bear my weight ?
O death, death, death, thou ever-floating cloud,
There are enough unhappy on this earth;
Pass by the happy souls, that love to live:
I pray thee pass before my light of life,
And shadow all my soul, that I may die.
Thou weighest heavy on the heart within,
Weigh heavy on my eyelids : let me die.

[blocks in formation]

“O mother, hear me yet before I die. I will not die alone, for fiery thoughts Do shape themselves within me more and more, Whereof I catch the issue, as I hear Dead sounds at night come from the inmost hills, Like footsteps upon wool. I dimly see My far-off doubtful purpose, as a mother Conjectures of the features of her child Ere it is born: her child a shudder comes Across me: never child be born of me, Unblest, to vex me with his father's eyes !

“O mother, hear me yet before I die. Hear me, O earth. I will not die alone, Lest their shrill happy laughter come to me Walking the cold and starless road of Death Uncomforted, leaving my ancient love With the Greek woman. I will rise and go Down into Troy, and ere the stars come forth Talk with the wild Cassandra, for she says A fire dances before her, and a sound Rings ever in her ears of armed men. What this may be I know not, but I know That, wheresoe'er I am by night and day, All earth and air seem only burning fire."

THE SISTERS.

I.

WE were two daughters of one race:
She was the fairest in the face:

The wind is blowing in turret and tree.
They were together, and she fell;
Therefore revenge became me well.

O the Earl was fair to see!

II.

She died : she went to burning flame:
She mixed her ancient blood with shame.

The wind is howling in turret and tree. Whole weeks and months, and early and late, To win his love I lay in wait.

O the Earl was fair to see!

III.

I made a feast; I bade him come:
I won his love, I brought him home.

The wind is roaring in turret and tree.
And after supper, on a bed,
Upon my lap he laid his head:

O the Earl was fair to see!

IV.

I kissed his eyelids into rest :
His ruddy cheek upon my breast.

The wind is raging in turret and tree.
I hated him with the hate of hell,
But I loved his beauty passing well

O the Earl was fair to see!

[ocr errors]

I rose up in the silent night:
I made my dagger sharp and bright.

The wind is raving in turret and tree.
As half-asleep his breath he drew,
Three times I stabbed him through and through.

O the Earl was fair to see!

VI.

I curled and combed his comely head,
He looked so grand when he was dead.

The wind is blowing in turret and tree.
I wrapt his body in the sheet,
And laid him at his mother's feet.

O the Earl was fair to see!

TO

WITH THE FOLLOWING POEM.

SEND you here a sort of allegory, (For you will understand it,) of a soul, À sinful soul possessed of many gifts, A spacious garden full of flowering weeds, A glorious Devil, large in heart and brain, That did love Beauty only, (Beauty seen In all varieties of mould and mind,) And Knowledge for its beauty; or if Good, Good only for its beauty, seeing not That Beauty, Good, and Knowledge, are three sisters That dote upon each other, friends to man, Living together under the same roof, And never can be sundered without tears. And he that shuts Love out, in turn shall be Shut out from Love, and on her threshold lie Howling in outer darkness. Not for this Was common clay ta'en from the common earth, Moulded by God, and tempered with the tears Of angels to the perfect shape of man.

THE PALACE OF ART.

I BUILT my soul a lordly pleasure-house,

Wherein at ease for aye to dwell.
I said, “ O Soul, make merry and carouse,

Dear soul, for all is well.”

A huge crag-platform, smooth as burnished brass,

I chose. The ranged ramparts bright From level meadow-bases of deep grass

Suddenly scaled the light.

Thereon I built it firm. Of ledge or shelf

The rock rose clear, or winding stair. My soul would live alone unto herself

In her high palace there.

And“ while the world runs round and round,” I said,

Reign thou apart, a quiet king,
Still as, while Saturn whirls, his steadfast shade

Sleeps on his luminous ring.”
To which my soul made answer readily:

“ Trust me, in bliss I shall abide
In this great mansion, that is built for me,

So royal-rich and wide.”

Four courts I made, East, West, and South and

North,
In each a squared lawn, wherefrom
The golden gorge of dragons spouted forth

A flood of fountain-foam.

And round the cool green courts there ran a row

Of cloisters, branched like mighty woods,
Echoing all night to that sonorous flow

Of spouted fountain-floods.
And round the roofs a gilded gallery

That lent broad verge to distant lands,
Far as the wild swan wings, to where the sky

Dipt down to sea and sands.

From those four jets four currents in one swell

Across the mountain streamed below In misty folds, that floating as they fell Lit

up a torrent-blow.

And high on every peak a statue seemed

To hang on tiptoe, tossing up

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »