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238 ADVERTIZEMENT TO ROSALIND AND HELEN.

which I sent from Italy, was written after a day's excursion among those lovely mountains which surround what was once the retreat, and where is now the sepulchre, of Petrarch. If any one is inclined to condemn the insertion of the introductory lines, which image forth the sudden relief of a state of deep despondency by the radiant visions disclosed by the sudden burst of an Italian sunrise in autumn on the highest peak of those delightful mountains, I can only offer as my excuse, that they were not erased at the request of a dear friend, with whom added years of intercourse only add to my apprehension of its value, and who would have had more right than any one to complain, that she has not been able to extinguish in me the very power of delineating sadness.

NAPLES, Dec. 20, 1818.

ROSALIND AND HELEN.

ROSALIND, HELEN and her CHILD.
Scene, the Shore of the Lake of Como.

HELEN.

COME hither, my sweet Rosalind.
'Tis long since thou and I have met;
And yet methinks it were unkind
Those moments to forget.
Come sit by me. I see thee stand
By this lone lake, in this far land,
Thy loose hair in the light wind flying,
Thy sweet voice to each tone of even
United, and thine eyes replying
To the hues of yon fair heaven.
Come, gentle friend: wilt sit by me?
And be as thou wert wont to be
Ere we were disunited ?
None doth behold us now: the power
That led us forth at this lone hour
Will be but ill requited
If thou depart in scorn: oh! come,
And talk of our abandoned home.
Remember, this is Italy,
And we are exiles. Talk with me
Of that our land, whose wilds and floods,
Barren and dark although they be,
Were dearer than these chesnut woods :

20

Those heathy paths, that inland stream,
And the blue mountains, shapes which seem
Like wrecks of childhood's sunny dream:
Which that we have abandoned now,
Weighs on the heart like that remorse
Which altered friendship leaves. I seek
No more our youthful intercourse.

30 That cannot be! Rosalind, speak, Speak to me. Leave me not.-When morn did

come, When evening fell upon our common home, When for one hour we parted,—do not frown : I would not chide thee, though thy faith is

broken : But turn to me. Oh! by this cherished token Of woven hair, which thou wilt not disown, Turn, as 'twere but the memory of me, And not my scornèd self who prayed to thee.

40

ROSALIND.
Is it a dream, or do I see
And hear frail Helen? I would flee
Thy tainting touch ; but former years
Arise, and bring forbidden tears ;
And my o’erburthened memory
Seeks yet its lost repose in thee.
I share thy crime. I cannot choose
But weep for thee: mine own strange grief
But seldom stoops to such relief :
Nor ever did I love thee less,
Though mourning o'er thy wickedness
Even with a sister's woe. I knew
What to the evil world is due,
And therefore sternly did refuse
To link me with the infamy
Of one so lost as Helen. Now,
Bewildered by my dire despair,

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Wondering I blush, and weep that thou
Should'st love me still,—thou only !—There,
Let us sit on that grey stone,
Till our mournful talk be done.

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HELEN.
Alas! not there; I cannot bear
The murmur of this lake to hear.
A sound from there,' Rosalind dear,
Which never yet I heard elsewhere
But in our native land, recurs,
Even here where now we meet. It stirs
Too much of suffocating sorrow !
In the dell of yon dark chesnut wood
Is a stone seat, a solitude
Less like our own. The ghost of peace
Will not desert this spot. To-morrow,
If thy kind feelings should not cease,
We may sit here.

ROSALIND.

Thou lead, my sweet, And I will follow.

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HENRY.

'Tis Fenici's seat Where you are going? This is not the way, Mamma; it leads behind those trees that grow Close to the little river.

HELEN.

Yes : I know:
I was bewildered. Kiss me, and be gay,
Dear boy: why do you sob ?

1 In Shelley's edition we read a sound from thee. This is an obvious error; and I have followed Mr. Rossetti in substituting there for thee. The sound Helen finds so painful is “the murmur of the lake," which recalls to her mind the wash of the waves about the fane where Lionel died (see line 1049 et seq.). -ED.

HENRY.

I do not know : But it might break any one's heart to see 80 You and the lady cry so bitterly.

HELEN.
It is a gentle child, my friend. Go home,
Henry, and play with Lilla till I come.
We only cried with joy to see each other;
We are quite merry now. Good night!

The boy
Lifted a sudden look upon his mother,
And in the gleam of forced and hollow joy
Which lightened o'er her face, laughed with the

glee Of light and unsuspecting infancy, And whispered in her ear, “ Bring home with you

90 That sweet strange lady-friend." Then off he

flew, But stopped, and beckoned with a meaning

smile, Where the road turned. Pale Rosalind the while, Hiding her face, stood weeping silently. In silence then they took the way Beneath the forest's solitude. It was a vast and antique wood, Through which they took their way; And the grey shades of evening O’er that green wilderness did fling 100 Still deeper solitude. Pursuing still the path that wound The vast and knotted trees around Through which slow shades were wandering, To a deep lawny dell they came, To a stone seat beside a spring,

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