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And fragrant oils with ceremony meet

Pour'd on his hair, they all moved to the feast
In white robes, and themselves in order placed
Around the silken couches, wondering
Whence all this mighty cost and blaze of wealth
could spring.

Soft went the music the soft air along, While fluent Greek a vowel'd under-song Kept up among the guests, discoursing low At first, for scarcely was the wine at flow; But when the happy vintage touch'd their brains, Louder they talk, and louder come the strains Of powerful instruments: the gorgeous dyes, The space, the splendour of the draperies, The roof of awful richness, nectarous cheer, Beautiful slaves, and Lamia's self, appear, Now, when the wine has done its rosy deed, And every soul from human trammels freed, No more so strange; for merry wine, sweet wine, Will make Elysian shades not too fair, too divine. Soon was God Bacchus at meridian height; Flush'd were their cheeks, and bright eyes double

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Garlands of every green, and every scent
From vales deflower'd, or forest-trees branch-rent,
In baskets of bright osier'd gold were brought
High as the handles heap'd, to suit the thought
Of every guest: that each, as he did please,
Might fancy-fit his brows, silk-pillow'd at his ease.

What wreath for Lamia? What for Lycius?
What for the sage, old Apollonius?
Upon her aching forehead be there hung
The leaves of willow and of adder's tongue;
And for the youth, quick, let us strip for him
The thyrsus, that his watching eyes may swim
Into forgetfulness; and, for the sage,

Let spear-grass and the spiteful thistle wage
War on his temples. Do not all charms fly
At the mere touch of cold philosophy?
There was an awful rainbow once in heaven:
We know her woof, her texture; she is given
In the dull catalogue of common things.
Philosophy will clip an Angel's wings,
Conquer all mysteries by rule and line,
Empty the haunted air, and gnomed mine
Unweave a rainbow, as it erewhile made
The tender-person'd Lamia melt into a shade.

By her glad Lycius sitting, in chief place, Scarce saw in all the room another face, Till, checking his love trance, a cup he took Full brimm'd, and opposite sent forth a look 'Cross the broad table, to beseech a glance From his old teacher's wrinkled countenance, And pledge him. The bald-head philosopher Had fix'd his eye, without a twinkle or a stir, Full on the alarmed beauty of the bride, Brow-beating her fair form, and troubling her sweet

pride.

Lycius then press'd her hand, with devout touch,
As pale it lay upon the rosy couch:
'Twas icy, and the cold ran through his veins;
Then sudden it grew hot, and all the pains
Of an unnatural heat shot to his heart.

"Lamia, what means this? Wherefore dost thou

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start?

Know'st thou that man?" Poor Lamia answer'd not.

He gazed into her eyes, and not a jot
Own'd they the lovelorn piteous appeal :
More, more he gazed: his human senses reel:
Some hungry spell that loveliness absorbs:
There was no recognition in those orbs.
"Lamia!" he cried and no soft-toned reply.

The many heard, and the loud revelry
Grew hush the stately music no more breathes;
The myrtle sicken'd in a thousand wreaths.

By faint degrees, voice, lute, and pleasure ceased;
A deadly silence step by step increased,
Until it seem'd a horrid presence there,
And not a man but felt the terror in his hair.
“Lamia!” he shriek'd; and nothing but the shriek
With its sad echo did the silence break.

66

Begone, foul dream!" he cried, gazing again In the bride's face, where now no azure vein Wander'd on fair-spaced temples; no soft bloom Misted the cheek; no passion to illume The deep-recessed vision : - all was blight; Lamia, no longer fair, there sat a deadly white. "Shut, shut those juggling eyes, thou ruthless man ! Turn them aside, wretch! or the righteous ban Of all the Gods, whose dreadful images Here represent their shadowy presences, May pierce them on the sudden with the thorn Of painful blindness; leaving thee forlorn, In trembling dotage to the feeblest fright Of conscience, for their long-offended might, For all thine impious proud-heart sophistries, Unlawful magic, and enticing lies. Corinthians look upon that gray-beard wretch! Mark how, possess'd, his lashless eyelids stretch Around his demon eyes! Corinthians, see! My sweet bride withers at their potency." “Fool!” said the sophist, in an under-tone Gruff with contempt; which a death-nighing moan From Lycius answer'd, as heart-struck and lost, He sank supine beside the aching ghost. "Fool! Fool!" repeated he, while his eyes still Relented not, nor moved; "from every ill

Of life have I preserved thee to this day,
And shall I see thee made a serpent's prey?"
Then Lamia breathed death-breath; the sophist's eye,

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Like a sharp spear, went through her utterly,
Keen, cruel, perceant, stinging: she, as well
As her weak hand could any meaning tell,
Motion'd him to be silent; vainly so,
He look'd and look'd again a level - No!
"A serpent!" echoed he; no sooner said,
Than with a frightful scream she vanished:
And Lycius' arms were empty of delight,
As were his limbs of life, from that same night.
On the high couch he lay!
his friends came

round Supported him no pulse or breath they found, And, in its marriage robe, the heavy body wound.*

* "Philostratus, in his fourth book, de Vita Apollonii, hath a memorable instance in this kind, which I may not omit, of one Menippus Lycius, a young man twenty-five years of age, that, going betwixt Cenchreas and Corinth, met such a phantasm in the habit of a fair gentlewoman, which, taking him by the hand, carried him home to her house, in the suburbs of Corinth, and told him she was a Phoenician by birth, and if he would tarry with her, he should hear her sing and play, and drink such wine as never any drank, and no man should molest him; but she, being fair and lovely, would die with him, that was fair and lovely to behold. The young man, a philosopher, otherwise staid and discreet, able to moderate his passions, though not this of love, tarried with her awhile to his great content, and at last married her, to whose wedding, amongst other guests, came Apollonius; who, by some probable conjectures, found her out to be a serpent, a lamia; and that all her furniture was, like Tantalus' gold, described by Homer, no substance, but mere illusions. When she saw herself descried, she wept, and desired Apollonius to be silent, but he would not be moved, and thereupon she, plate, house, and all that was in it, vanished in an instant; many thousands took notice of this fact. for it was done in the midst of Greece." ― BURTON's Anatomy of Melancholy, Part 3, Sect. 2, Memb. I. Subs. I.

ISABELLA, OR THE POT OF BASIL;

A STORY, FROM BOCCACCIO.

I.

FA

AIR ISABEL, poor simple Isabel ! Lorenzo, a young palmer in Love's eye! They could not in the self-same mansion dwell Without some stir of heart, some malady; They could not sit at meals but feel how well It soothed each to be the other by ; They could not, sure, beneath the same roof sleep, But to each other dream, and nightly weep.

II.

With every morn their love grew tenderer,

With every eve deeper and tenderer still; He might not in house, field, or garden stir,

But her full shape would all his seeing fill; And his continual voice was pleasanter

To her, than noise of trees or hidden rill;
Her lute-string gave an echo of his name,
She spoilt her half-done broidery with the same.

III.

He knew whose gentle hand was at the latch,
Before the door had given her to his eyes;
And from her chamber-window he would catch

Her beauty farther than the falcon spies;

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