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To give the glow-worm light?
And little rills of crimson wine imbrued
His plump white arms, and shoulders, enough white To tinge, on syren shores, the salt sea-spry?
For Venus' pearly bite:
And near him rode Silenus on his ass,
Pelted with flowers as he on did pass
“ Whence came ye, merry Damsels! whence came Unto the nightingale,
So many, and so many, and such glee? (ye! That thou mayst listen the cold dews among? Why have you left your bowers desolate,
Your lutes, and gentler fate? “ O Sorrow,
• We follow Bacchus! Bacchus on the wing, Why dost borrow
A conquering! Heart's lightness from the merriment of May ?- Bacchus,
, young Bacchus! good or ill betide, A lover would not tread
We dance before him thorough kingdoms wide: A cowslip on the head,
Come hither, lady fair, and joined be
To our wild minstrelsy!'
“ Whence came ye,jolly Satyrs ! whence came ye! Wherever he may sport himself and play.
So many, and so many, and such glee?
Why have ye left your forest-haunts, why left " To Sorrow
Your nuts in oak-tree cleft:-
* For wine, for wine we left our kernel tree; And thought to leave her far away behind;
For wine we left our heath, and yellow brooms,
And cold mushrooms;
For wine we follow Bacchus through the earth; She is so constant to me, and so kind :
Great god of breathless cups and chirping mirth!
Come hither, lady fair, and joined be
To our mad minstrelsy!'
“ Over wide streams and mountains great we went, “ Beneath my palm-trees, by the river-side, And, save when Bacchus kept his ivy tent, I sat a weeping: in the whole world wide
Onward the tiger and the leopard pants,
With Asian elephants:
Onward these myriads—with song and dance Brimming the water-lily cups with tears
With zebras striped, and sleek Arabians' prance, Cold as my fears.
Web-footed alligators, crocodiles, “ Beneath my palm-trees by the river-side,
Bearing upon their scaly backs, in files, I sat a weeping: what enamour'd bride,
Plump infant laughers mimicking the coil
Of seamen, and stout galley-rowers' toil :
With toying oars and silken sails they glide,
Nor care for wind and tide.
“ Mounted on panthers' furs and lions' manes, “And as I sat, over the light blue hills
From rear to van they scour about the plains ; There came a noise of revellers : the rills
A three days' journey in a moment done : Into the wide stream came of purple huem
And always, at the rising of the sun, 'Twas Bacchus and his crew!
About the wilds they hunt with spear and horn The earnest trumpet spake, and silver thrills
On spleenful unicorn. From kissing cymbals made a merry din'Twas Bacchus and his kin !
“ I saw Osirian Egypt kneel adown Like to a moving vintage down they came,
Before the vine-wreath crown! Crown'd with green leaves, and faces all on flame;
I saw parch'd Abyssinia rouse and sing
To the silver cymbal's ring!
I saw the whelming vintage hotly pierce
Old Tartary the fierce! And I forgot thee, as the berried holly
The kings of Iode their jewel-sceptres vail, By shepherds is forgotten, when, in June,
And from their treasures scatter pearled hail;
Great Brahma from his mystic heaven groans,
And all his priesthood moans ;
Before young Bacchus' eye-wink turning pale.“ Within his car aloft young Bacchus stood, Into these regions came I following him, Trifling his ivy-dart in dancing mood,
Sick-hearted, weary—so I took a whim
To stray away into these forests drear
Alone, without a peer:
Star'd, where upon their heads the cornice resa And I have told thee all thou mayest hear.
With hair blown back, and wings put cross-wie a
At length burst in the argent revelry, In search of pleasure throughout every clime:
With plume, tiara, and all rich array, Alas, 'tis not for me!
Numerous as shadows haunting fairily Bewitch'd I sure must be,
The brain,new stuff’d, in youth,with triumphs zu To lose in grieving all my maiden prime.
Of old romance. These let us wish away,
And turn, sole-thoughted, to one lady there, “ Come then, Sorrow!
Whose heart had brooded, all that wintry daj, Sweetest Sorrow!
On love, and wing'd St. Agnes' saintly care, Like an own babe I nurse thee on my breast: As she had heard old dames full many times declar..
I thought to leave thee
They told her how, upon St. Agnes' Eve, But now of all the world I love thee best.
Young virgins might have visions of delight
And soft adorings from their loves receive “ There is not one,
Upon the honey'd middle of the night, No, no, not one
If ceremonies due they did aright; But thou to comfort a poor lonely maid;
As, supperless to bed they must retire, Thou art her mother,
And couch supine their beauties, lily white; And her brother,
Nor look behind, nor sideways, but require Her playmate, and her wooer in the shade." Of Heaven with upward eyes for all that they desire.
Full of this whim was thoughtful Madeline: THE EVE OF ST. AGNES.
The music, yearning like a god in pain, St. Agnes' Eve-Ah, bitter chill it was!
She scarcely heard: her maiden eyes divine, The owl, for all his feathers, was a-cold; [grass,
Fix'd on the floor, saw many a sweeping train The hare limp'd trembling through the frozen
Pass by-she heeded not at all: in vain And silent was the flock in woolly fold:
Came many a tiptoe, amorous cavalier, Numb were the Beadsman's fingers, while he told
And back retir’d; not cool'd by high disdain,
But she saw not: her heart was otherwhere: His rosary, and while his frosted breath, Like pious incense from a censer old,
She sigh'd for Agnes' dreams, the sweetest of the Seem'd taking fight for heaven, without a death,
year. Past the sweet virgin's picture while his prayer he
She danc'd along with vague, regardless eyes: saith.
Anxious her lips, her breathing quick and short
The hallow'd hour was near at hand: she sighs His prayer he saith, this patient, holy man;
Amid the timbrels, and the throng'd resort Then takes his lamp, and riseth from his knees,
Of whisperers in anger, or in sport; And back returneth, meagre, barefoot, wan, Mid looks of love, defiance, hate, and scorn, Along the chapel aisle by slow degrees:
Hoodwink'd with faery fancy; all amort
, The sculptur'd dead, on each side, seem to freeze,
Save to St. Agnes and her lambs unshorn, Emprison’d in black, purgatorial rails:
And all the bliss to be before to-morrow morn. Knights, ladies, praying in dumb orat'ries, He passeth by; and his weak spirit fails
So, purposing each moment to retire, To think how they may ache in icy hoods and mails. She linger'd still. Meantime, across the moors, Northward he turneth through a little door,
Had come young Porphyro, with heart on fire And scarce three steps, ere music's golden tongue
For Madeline. Beside the portal doors, Flatter'd to tears this aged man and poor;
Buttress’d from moonlight, stands he, and implores But no-already had his deathbell rung;
All saints to give him sight of Madeline, The joys of all his life were said and sung:
But for one moment in the tedious hours, His was harsh penance on St. Agnes' Eve:
That he might gaze and worship all unseen; Another way he went, and soon among
Perchance speak, kneel, touch, kiss-in sooth such Rough ashes sat he for his soul's reprieve,
things have been. And all night kept awake, for sinners' sake to grieve.
He ventures in: let no buzz'd whisper tell:
All eyes be muffed, or a hundred swords That ancient Beadsman heard the prelude soft;
Will storm his heart, love's fev'rous citadel: And so it chanc'd, for many a door was wide,
For him, those chambers held barbarian hordes, From hurry to and fro. Soon, up aloft,
Hyena foemen, and hot-blooded lords, The silver, snarling trumpets 'gan to chide: Whose very dogs would execrations howl The level chambers, ready with their pride,
Against his lineage: not one breast affords
Him any mercy, in that mansion foul,
Ah, happy chance! the aged creature came,
When my weak voice shall whisper its last prayer, Shuffling along with ivory-headed wand,
If one of her soft ringlets I displace,
Good Angela, believe me by these tears;
Or I will, even in a moment's space, He startled her; but soon she knew his face, Awake with horrid shout my foemen's ears, And grasp'd his fingers in her palsied hand, And beard them, though they be more fang'd than Saying, Mercy, Porphyro! hie thee from this wolves and bears." place;
[race! They are all here to-night, the whole blood-thirsty
“ Ah! why wilt thou affright a feeble soul ?
A poor, weak, palsy-stricken, churchyard thing, Get hence! get hence! there's dwarfish Hilder- Whose passing-bell may ere the midnight toll; He had a fever late, and in the fit [brand; Whose prayers for thee, each morn and evening, He cursed thee and thine, both house and land: Were never miss'd." - Thus plaining, doth she Then there's that old Lord Maurice, not a whit
A gentler speech from burning Porphyro; (bring More tame for his gray hairs—Alas me! flit! So woeful, and of such deep sorrowing, Flit like a ghost away.”—“Ah, Gossip dear, That Angela gives promise she will do We're safe enough; here in this arm-chair sit, Whatever he shall wish, betide her weal or woe. And tell me how”-“Good saints! not here, not here;
Which was, to lead him, in close secrecy, Follow me, child, or else these stones will be thy
Even to Madeline's chamber, and there hide
Him in a closet, of such privacy He follow'd through a lowly arched way,
That he might see her beauty unespied, Brushing the cobwebs with his lofty plume,
And win perhaps that night a peerless bride, And as she mutter'd “ Well-a-well-a-day!"
While legion’d sairies pac'd the coverlet, He found him in a little moonlight room,
And pale enchantment held her sleepy-eyed. Pale, lattic'd, chill, and silent as a tomb.
Never on such a night have lovers met, “ Now tell me where is Madeline," said he,
Since Merlin paid his Demon all the monstrous debt. “O tell me, Angela, by the holy loom Which none but secret sisterhood may see,
“ It shall be as thou wishest,” said the dame: When they St. Agnes' wool are weaving piously."
“ All cates and dainties shall be stored there
Quickly on this feast-night: by the tambour frame “ St. Agnes! ah! it is St. Agnes' Eve
Her own lute thou wilt see: no time to spare, Yet men will murder upon holy days:
For I am slow and feeble, and scarce dare Thou must hold water in a witch's sieve,
On such a catering trust my dizzy head. And be liege-lord of all the Elves and Fays,
Wait here, my child,with patience; kneelin prayer To venture so: it fills me with amaze
The while: ah! thou must needs the lady wed To see thee, Porphyro!-St. Agnes' Eve!
Or may I never leave my grave among the dead." God's help! my lady fair the conjuror plays This very night: good angels her deceive!
So saying, she hobbled off with busy fear. But let me laugh awhile, I've mickle time to grieve." The lover's endless minutes slowly pass'd ; Feebly she laugheth in the languid moon,
The dame return'd, and whisper'd in his ear While Porphyro upon her face doth look,
To follow her; with aged eyes aghast Like puzzled urchin on an aged crone
From fright of dim espial. Safe at last, Who keepeth clos'd a wondrous riddle-book,
Through many a dusky gallery, they gain As spectacled she sits in chimney nook.
The maiden's chamber, silken, hush'd, and chaste; But soon his eyes grew brilliant, when she told
Where Porphyro took covert, pleas'd amain. His lady's purpose ; and he scarce could brook
His poor guide hurried back with agues in her brain. Tears, at the thought of those enchantments cold, Her falt'ring hand upon the balustrade, Avd Madeline asleep in lap of legends old.
Old Angela was feeling for the stair, Sudden a thought came like a full-blown rose,
When Madeline, St. Agnes' charmed maid, Flushing his brow, and in his pained heart
Rose, like a mission'd spirit, unaware: Made purple riot: then doth he propose
With silver taper's light, and pious care, A stratagem, that makes the beldame start:
She turn'd, and down the aged gossip led “ A cruel man and impious thou art:
To a safe level matting. Now prepare, Sweet lady, let her pray, and sleep, and dream
Young Porphyro, for gazing on that bed; Alone with her good angels, far apart
She comes, she comes again, like ring-dove fray'd From wicked men like thee. Go, go!-I deem
and fled. Thou canst not surely be the same that thou didst
Out went the taper as she hurried in; seem.”
Its little smoke, in pallid moonshine, died: “ I will not harm her, by all saints I swear,” She closed the door, she panted, all akin Quoth Porphyro: “O may I ne'er find grace To spirits of the air and visions wide:
No uttered syllable, or, woe betide!
Affray his ears, though but in dying tone:But to her heart, her heart was voluble,
The hall door shuts again, and all the noise is gone. Paiving with eloquence her balmy side;
And still she slept an azure-lidded sleep, As though a tongueless nightingale should swell
In blanched linen, smooth, and lavender'd, Her throat in vain, and die, heart-stifled, in her dell.
While he from forth the closet brought a beap A casement high and triple-arch'd there was, Of candied apple, quince, and plum, and gourd; All garlanded with carven imag'ries
With jellies soother than the creamy curd, Of fruits, and flowers, and bunches of knot-grass, And lucent syrops, tinct with cinnamon; And diamonded with panes of quaint device, Manna and dates, in argosy traosferr'd Innumerable of stains and splendid dyes,
From Fez; and spiced dainties, every one, As are the tiger-moth's deep-damask'd wings; From silken Samarcand to cedar'd Lebanon. And in the midst, 'mong thousand heraldries,
These delicates he heap'd with glowing hand And twilight saints, and dim emblazonings, A shielded scutcheon blush'd with blood of queens
On golden dishes and in baskets bright
Of wreathed silver: sumptuous they stand and kings.
In the retired quiet of the night, Full on this casement shone the wintry moon, Filling the chilly room with perfume light.And threw warm gules on Madeline's fair breast, “ And now, my love, my seraph fair, awake! As down she knelt for heaven's grace and boon; Thou art my heaven, and I thine eremite: Rose-bloom fell on her hands, together prest, Open thine eyes, for meek St. Agnes' sake, And on her silver cross soft amethyst,
Or I shall drowse beside thee, so my soul doth ache." And on her hair a glory, like a saint: She seem'd a splendid angel, newly drest,
Thus whispering, his warm, unnerved arm Save wings, for heaven:—Porphyro grew faint:
Sank in her pillow. Shaded was her dream She knelt, so pure a thing, so free from mortal taint.
By the dusk curtains:-'twas a midnight charm
Impossible to melt as iced stream: Anon his heart revives: her vespers done,
The lustrous salvers in the moonlight gleam; Of all its wreathed pearls her hair she frees; Broad golden fringe upon the carpet lies: Unclasps her warmed jewels one by one;
It seem'd he never, never could redeem Loosens her fragrant boddice; by degrees
From such a stedfast spell his lady's eyes; Her rich attire creeps rustling to her knees : So mus'd awhile, entoil'd in woofed phantasies. Half-hidden, like a mermaid in sea-weed, Pensive awhile she dreams awake, and sees,
Awakening up, he took her hollow lute, In fancy, fair St. Agnes in her bed,
Tumultuous,-and, in chords that tenderest be, But dares not look behind, or all the charm is fled.
He play'd an ancient ditty, long since mute,
In Provence call’d, “ La belle dame sans mercy:" Soon, trembling in her soft and chilly nest,
Close to her ear touching the melody ;In sort of wakeful swoon, perplex'd she lay, Wherewith disturb’d, she utter'd a soft moan: Until the poppied warmth of sleep oppress'd He ceased-she panted quick-and suddenly Her soothed limbs, and soul fatigued away; Her blue affrayed eyes wide open shone: (stone. Flown, like a thought, until the morrow-day; Upon his knees he sank, pale as smooth-sculptured Blissfully haven'd both from joy and pain; Clasp'd like a missal where swart Paynims pray; Her eyes were open, but she still beheld, Blinded alike from sunshine and from rain,
Now wide awake, the vision of her sleep: As though a rose should shut, and be a bud again. There was a painful change, that nigh expellid
The blisses of her dream so pure and deep; Stol'n to this paradise, and so entranced,
At which fair Madeline began to weep, Porphyro gazed upon her empty dress,
And moan forth witless words with many a sigb; And listen’d to her breathing, if it chanced
While still her gaze on Porphyro would keep; To wake into a slumberous tenderness;
Who knelt, with joined hands and piteous eye, Which when he heard, that minute did he bless, Fearing to move or speak, she look'd so dreamingly. And breath'd himself: then from the closet crept, Noiseless as fear in a wide wilderness,
“Ah, Porphyro!" said she, “ but even now And over the hush'd carpet, silent, stept,
Thy voice was at sweet tremble in mine ear, And 'tween the curtains peep'd, where, lo!-how Made tuneable with every sweetest vow; fast she slept.
And those sad eyes were spiritual and clear: Then by the bed-side, where the faded moon
How chang'd thou art! how pallid, chill, and
Give me that voice again, my Porphyro, (drear! Made a dim, silver twilight, soft he set
Those looks immortal, those complainings dear! A table, and, half anguish'd, threw thereon
Oh leave me not in this eternal woe, [go." A cloth of woven crimson, gold, and jet: O for some drowsy Morphean amulet!
For if thou diest, my Love, I know not where to The boisterous, midnight, festive clarion,
Beyond a mortal man impassion'd far The kettle-drum, and far-heard clarionet,
At these voluptuous accents, he arose,
Ethereal, flush'd, and like a throbbing star Died palsy-twitch'd, with meagre face deform;
For aye unsought for slept among his ashes cold.
ODE TO A NIGHTINGALE. Against the window-panes; St. Agnes' moon hath My heart aches, and a drowsy numbness pains
My sense as though of hemlock I had drunk, 'Tis dark: quick pattereth the flaw-blown sleet:
Or emptied some dull opiate to the drains “ This is no dream, my bride, my Madeline!"
One minute past, and lethe-wards had sunk: 'Tis dark: the iced gusts still rave and beat:
'Tis not through envy of thy happy lot,
But being too happy in thine happiness,-
That thou, light-winged dryad of the trees,
In some melodious plot
Of beechen green, and shadows numberless,
Singest of summer in full-throated ease. A dove forlorn and lost with sick unpruned wing."
O, for a draught of vintage! that hath been “ My Madeline! sweet dreamer! lovely bride!
Cool'd a long age in the deep-delved earth,
Tasting of Flora and the country green,
Dance, and Provençal song, and sunburnt mirth!
O for a beaker full of the warm south,
Full of the true, the blushful Hippocrene,
With beaded bubbles winking at the brim,
And purple-stained mouth;
That I might drink, and leave the world unseen, To trust, fair Madeline, to no rude infidel.”
And with thee fade away into the forest dim: “ Hark! 'tis an elfin-storm from faery land,
Fade far away, dissolve, and quite forget
What thou among the leaves hast never known,
The weariness, the fever, and the fret
Here, where men sit and hear each other groan;
Where palsy shakes a few, sad, last gray hairs, There are no ears to hear, or eyes to see,
Where youth grows pale, and spectre-thin, and Drown'd all in Rhenish and the sleepy mead: Where but to think is to be full of sorrow (dies; Awake! arise! my love, and fearless be,
And leaden-eyed despairs, For o'er the southern moors I have a home for thee.”
Where beauty cannot keep her lustrous eyes, She hurried at his words, beset with fears,
Or new love pine at them beyond to-morrow.
Away! away! for I will fly to thee,
Though the dull brain perplexes and retards:
Already with thee! tender is the night,
And haply the Queen-Moon is on her throne,
Cluster'd around by all her starry fays;
But here there is no light,
Save what from heaven is with the breezes blown
Through verdurous glooms and winding mossy Where lay the porter, in uneasy sprawl,
I cannot see what flowers are at my feet,
But, in embalmed darkness, guess each sweet
Wherewith the seasonable month endows The chains lie silent on the footworn stones; The grass, the thicket, and the fruit-tree wild; The key turns, and the door upon its hinges groans. White hawthorn, and the pastoral eglantine; And they are gone: ay, ages long ago
Fast fading vi »lets cover'd up in leaves ;
And mid-May's eldest child,
The coming musk-rose, full of dewy wine,
The murmurous haunt of flies on summer eves.