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Many and many a verse I hope to write,
Before the daisies, vermeil rimm'd and white,
Hide in deep herbage ; and ere yet the bees
Hum about globes of clover and sweet peas,
I must be near the middle of my story.
O may no wintry season, bare and hoary,
See it half-finish’d: but let Autumn bold,
With universal tinge of sober gold,
Be all about me when I make an end.
And now at once, adventuresome, I send
My herald thought into a wilderness :
There let its trumpet blow, and quickly dress
My uncertain path with green, that I may speed
Easily onward, thorough flowers and weed.

Upon the sides of Latmos was outspread A mighty forest; for the moist earth fed So plenteously all weed-hidden roots Into o'erchanging boughs, and precious fruits. And it had gloomy shades, sequester'd deep, Where no man went; and if from shepherd's

keep A lamb stray'd far a-down those inmost glens, Never again saw he the happy pens Whither his brethren, bleating with content, Over the hills at every nightfall went. Among the shepherds 'twas believed ever, That not one fleecy lamb which thus did sever From the white flock, but pass'd unworried By any wolf, or pard with prying head,

Until it came to some unfooted plains
Where fed the herds of Pan: ay, great his

gains Who thus one lamb did lose. Paths there were

many, Winding through palmy fern, and rushes fenny, And ivy banks; all leading pleasantly To a wide lawn, whence one could only see Stems thronging all around between the swell Of tuft and slanting branches : who could tell The freshness of the space of heaven above, Edged round with dark tree-tops ? through which

a dove Would often beat its wings, and often too A little cloud would move across the blue.

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Full in the middle of this pleasantness There stood a marble altar, with a tress Of flowers budded newly; and the dew Had taken fairy phantasies to strew Daisies

the sacred sward last eve, And so the dawned light in pomp receive. For 'twas the morn: Apollo's upward fire Made every eastern cloud a silvery pyre Of brightness so unsullied, that therein A melancholy spirit well might win Oblivion, and melt out his essence fine Into the winds : rain-scented eglantine Gave temperate sweets to that well-wooing sun ; The lark was lost in him ; cold springs had run

upon

cla an the moon

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a keam

drop

ENDYMION.

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WI To warm their chilliest bubbles in the grass Man’s voice was on the mountains ; and the mayo

mass

Of nature's lives and wonders pulsed tenfold,
To feel this sun-rise and its glories old.

'I heard among

comer machu

Now while the silent workings of the dawn
Were busiest, into that self-same lawn
All suddenly, with joyful cries, there sped
A troop of little children garlanded;
Who gathering round the altar, seem'd to pry
Earnestly round as wishing to espy
Some folk of holiday: nor had they waited
For many moments, ere their ears were sated
With a faint breath of music, which even then
Filld out its voice, and died away again.
Within a little space again it gave
Its airy swellings, with a gentle wave, [ing
To light-hung leaves, in smoothest echoes break-
Through copse-clad valleys,-ere their death,

o’ertaking
The surgy murmurs of the lonely sea.

And now, as deep into the wood as we
Might mark a lynx's eye, there glimmer'd light
Fair faces and a rush of garments white,
Plainer and plainer showing, till at last
Into the widest alley they all past,
Making directly for the woodland altar.
O kindly muse ! let not my weak tongue falter

In telling of this goodly company,
Of their old piety, and of their glee:
But let a portion of ethereal dew
Fall on my head, and presently unmew
My soul; that I may dare, in wayfaring,
To stammer where old Chaucer used to sing.

Leading the way, young damsels danced along, Bearing the burden of a shepherd's song ; Each having a white wicker, overbrimm'd With April's tender younglings: next, well trimm'd, A crowd of shepherds with as sunburnt looks As may be read of in Arcadian books; Such as sat listening round Apollo's pipe, When the great deity, for earth too ripe, Let his divinity o'erflowing die In music, through the vales of Thessaly : Some idly trail'd their sheep-hooks on the ground, And some kept up a shrilly mellow sound With ebon-tipped flutes : close after these, Now coming from beneath the forest trees, A venerable priest full soberly, Begirt with ministering looks: alway his eye Steadfast upon the matted turf he kept, And after him his sacred vestments swept. From his right hand there swung a vase, milk

white, Of mingled wine, out-sparkling generous light; And in his left he held a basket full Of all sweet herbs that searching eye could cull:

Wild thyme, and valley-lilies whiter still
Than Leda's love, and cresses from the rill.
His aged head, crowned with beechen wreath,
Seem'd like a poll of ivy in the teeth
Of winter hoar. Then came another crowd
Of shepherds, lifting in due time aloud
Their share of the ditty. After them appear'd,
Up-follow'd by a multitude that rear'd
Their voices to the clouds, a fair-wrought car
Easily rolling so as scarce to mar
The freedom of three steeds of dapple brown:
Who stood therein did seem of great renown
Among the throng. His youth was fully blown,
Showing like Ganymede to manhood grown;
And, for those simple times, his garments were
A chieftain king's; beneath his breast, half

bare,
Was hung a silver bugle, and between
His

nervy knees there lay a boar-spear keen. A smile was on his countenance; he seem'd

e
To common lookers-on like one who dream'd
Of idleness in groves Elysian :
But there were some who feelingly could scan
A lurking trouble in his nether lip,
And see that oftentimes the reins would slip
Through his forgotten hands : then would they

sigh,
And think of yellow leaves, of owlets' cry,
Of logs piled solemnly.—Ah, well-a-day,
Why should our young Endymion pine away!

.

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