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With silver taper's light, and pious care,
Young Porphyro, for gazing on that bed ; She comes, she comes again, like ring-dove fray'd and fled.
XXIII. Out went the taper as she hurried in ; Its little smoke, in pallid moonshine, died: She closed the door, she panted, all akin To spirits of the air, and visions wide: No utter'd syllable, or, woe betide ! But to her heart, her heart was voluble, Paining with eloquence her balmy side; As though a tongueless nightingale should
swell Her throat in vain, and die, heart-stifled in her
A casement high and triple arch'd there was,
And twilight saints, and dim emblazonings, A shielded scutcheon blush'd with blood of queens
Full on this casement shone the wintry moon, And threw warm gules on Madeline's fair
breast, As down she knelt for heaven's grace and
boon; Rose-bloom fell on her hands, together prest, And on her silver cross soft amethyst, And on her hair a glory, like a saint: She seem’d a splendid angel, newly drest,
Save wings, for heaven : Porphyro grew faint: She knelt, so pure a thing, so free from mortal taint.
XXVI. Anon his heart revives : her vespers done, Of all its wreathed pearls her hair she frees ; Unclasps her warmed jewels one by one; Loosens her fragrant bodice; by degrees Her rich attire creeps rustling to her knees : Half-hidden, like a mermaid in sea-weed, Pensive awhile she dreams awake, and sees,
In fancy, fair St. Agnes in her bed, But dares not look behind, or all the charm is Aed.
XXVII. Soon, trembling in her soft and chilly nest, In sort of wakeful swoon, perplex'd she lay, Until the poppied warmth of sleep oppress'd Her soothed limbs, and soul fatigued away;
Flown, like a thought, until the morrow-day; Blissfully haven'd both from joy and pain ; Clasp'd like a missal where swart Paynims
pray ; Blinded alike from sunshine and from rain, As though a rose should shut, and be a bud
Stolen to this paradise, and so entranced,
And over the hush'd carpet, silent, stept, And 'tween the curtains peep'd, where, lo!-how
fast she slept.
Then by the bed-side, where the faded moon
Affray his ears, though but in dying tone :The hall-door shuts again, and all the noise is gone.
And still she slept an azure-lidded sleep,
transferr'd From Fez; and spiced dainties, every one, From silken Samarcand to cedar'd Lebanon.
These delicates he heap'd with glowing hand
Open thine eyes, for meek St. Agnes' sake,
Thus whispering, his warm, unnerved arm Sank in her pillow. . Shaded was her dream By the dusk curtains :—'twas a midnight
charm Impossible to melt as iced stream:
The lustrous salvers in the moonlight gleam ;
From such a steadfast spell his lady's eyes ; So mused awhile, entoil'd in woofed phantasies.
Awakening up, he took her hollow lute,-
open shone : Upon his knees he sank, pale as smooth-sculptured stone.
XXXIV. Her eyes were open, but she still beheld, Now wide awake, the vision of her sleep: There was a painful change, that nigh expellid The blisses of her dream so pure and deep. At which fair Madeline began to weep, And moan forth witless words with many a
sigh ; While still her gaze on Porphyro would keep ;
Who knelt, with joined hands and piteous eye, Fearing to move or speak, she look'd so dream