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XXIV.

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To-day we purpose, ay, this hour we mount

To spur three leagues towards the Apennine ; Come down, we pray thee, ere the hot sun count

His dewy rosary on the eglantine.” Lorenzo, courteously as he was wont,

Bow'd a fair greeting to these serpents' whine; And went in haste, to get in readiness, With belt, and spar, and bracing huntsman's dress.

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XXV.

And as he to the court-yard pass'd along,

Each third step did he pause, and listen’d oft
If he could hear his lady's matin-song,
(Or the light whisper of her footstep soft;)
And as he thus over his passion hung,

He heard a laugh full musical aloft ;
When, looking up, he saw her features bright
Smile through an in-door lattice all delight.

XXVI.

“ Love, Isabel !” said he, “I was in pain

Lest I should miss to bid thee a good morrow : Ah! what if I should lose thee, when so fain

I am to stifle all the heavy sorrow Of poor

three hours' absence ? but we'll gain Out of the amorous dark what day doth borrow. Good bye! I'll soon be back.”- -“Good bye!” said

she And as he went she chanted merrily.

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XXVII.

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So the two brothers and their murder'd man

Rode past fair Florence, to where Arno's stream Gurgles through straightend banks, and still doth

fan Itself with dancing bulrush, and the bream Keeps head against the freshets. Sick and wan

The brothers' faces in the ford did seem, Lorenzo's flush with love. They pass’d the water Into a forest quiet for the slaughter.

XXVIII.

There was Lorenzo slain and buried in,

There in that forest, did his great love cease ;
Ah! when a soul doth thus its freedom win,

It aches in loneliness is ill at peace
As the break-covert bloodhounds of such sin:

They dipp'd their swords in the water, and did
Theirhorses homeward, with convulsed spur, [tease
Each richer by his being a murderer.

XXIX.

They told their sister how, with sudden speed,

Lorenzo had ta'en ship for foreign lands, Because of some great urgency and need

In their affairs, requiring trusty hands..
Poor girl! put on thy stifling widow's weed,

And ’scape at once from Hope’s accursed bands;
To-day thou wilt not see him, nor to-morrow,
And the next day will be a day of sorrow.

XXX.

She weeps

alone for pleasures not to be ; Sorely she wept until the night came on, And then, instead of love, O misery!

She brooded o'er the luxury alone :
His image in the dusk she seem'd to see,

And to the silence made a gentle moan,
Spreading her perfect arms upon the air,
And on her couch low murmuring, “ Where? 0

where?”

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XXXI.

But Selfishness, Love's cousin, held not long

Its fiery vigil in her single breast;
She fretted for the golden hour, and hung

Upon the time with feverish unrest-
Not long; for soon into her heart a throng

Of higher occupants, a richer zest, Came tragic; passion not to be subdued, And sorrow for her love in travels rude.

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XXXII.

In the mid days of autumn, on their eves

The breath of Winter comes from far away, And the sick west continually bereaves

Of some gold tinge, and plays a roundelay Of death among the bushes and the leaves,

To make all bare before he dares to stray From his north cavern. So sweet Isabel By gradual decay from beauty fell,

XXXIII.

Because Lorenzo came not. Oftentimes

She ask'd her brothers, with an eye all pale, Striving to be itself, what dungeon climes

Could keep him off so long ? They spake a tale Time after time, to quiet her. Their crimes

Came on them, like a smoke from Hinnom’s vale; And every night in dreams they groan'd aloud, To see their sister in her

snowy

shroud.

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XXXIV.

And she had died in drowsy ignorance,

But for a thing more deadly dark than all ; It came like a fierce potion, drunk by chance,

Which saves a sick man from the feather'd pall For some few gasping moments ; like a lance,

Waking an Indian from his cloudy hall With cruel pierce, and bringing him again Sense of the gnawing fire at heart and brain.

XXXV.

It was a vision. In the drowsy gloom,

The dull of midnight, at her couch's foot Lorenzo stood, and wept: the forest tomb Had marrd his glossy hair which once could

shoot
Lustre into the sun, and put cold doom

Upon his lips, and taken the soft lute
From his lorn voice, and past his loamed ears
Had made a miry channel for his

XXXVI.

Strange sound it was, when the pale shadow spake;

For there was striving, in its piteous tongue, To speak as when on earth it was awake,

And Isabella on its music hung :
Languor there was in it, and tremulous shake,

As in a palsied Druid's harp unstrung ;
And through it moan'd a ghostly under-song,
Like hoarse night-gusts sepulchral briars among.

XXXVII.

Its eyes, though wiid, were still all dewy bright

With love, and kept all phantom fear aloof From the poor girl by magic of their light,

The while it did unthread the horrid woof Of the late darken'd time—the murderous spite

Of pride and avarice—the dark pine roof In the forest—and the sodden turfed dell, Where, without any word, from stabs he fell.

XXXVIII.

Saying moreover, “ Isabel, my sweet!

Red whortleberries droop above my head, And a large flint-stone weighs upon my feet;

Around me beeches and high chestnuts shed Their leaves and prickly nuts; a sheepfold bleat

Comes from beyond the river to my bed : Go, shed one tear upon my heather-bloom, And it shall comfort me within the tomb.

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