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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.
And as he to the court-yard pass'd along,
Each third step did he pause, and listen’d oft
He heard a laugh full musical aloft ;
“ 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.
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.
There was Lorenzo slain and buried in,
There in that forest, did his great love cease ;
It aches in loneliness is ill at peace
They dipp'd their swords in the water, and did
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..
And ’scape at once from Hope’s accursed bands;
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 :
And to the silence made a gentle moan,
But Selfishness, Love's cousin, held not long
Its fiery vigil in her single breast;
Upon the time with feverish unrest-
Of higher occupants, a richer zest, Came tragic; passion not to be subdued, And sorrow for her love in travels rude.
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,
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
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.
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
Upon his lips, and taken the soft lute
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 :
As in a palsied Druid's harp unstrung ;
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.
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.