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Filled me with the flame divine,
Which in their orbs was burning far,
Like the light of an unmeasured star,
In the sky of midnight dark and deep:
Yes, 'twas his soul that did inspire
Sounds which my skill could ne'er awaken ; 1140
And first, I felt my fingers sweep
The harp, and a long quivering cry
Burst from my lips in symphony:
The dusk and solid air was shaken,
As swift and swifter the notes came
From my touch, that wandered like quick
And from my bosom, labouring
With some unutterable thing:
The awful sound of my own voice made
My faint lips tremble; in some mood 1150
Of wordless thought Lionel stood
So pale, that even beside his cheek
The snowy column from its shade
Caught whiteness : yet his countenance
Raised upward, burned with radiance
Of spirit-piercing joy, whose light,
Like the moon struggling through the night
Of whirlwind-rifted clouds, did break
With beams that might not be confined.
I paused, but soon his gestures kindled 1160
New power, as by the moving wind
The waves are lifted, and my song
To low soft notes now changed and dwindled,
And from the twinkling wires among,
My languid fingers drew and flung
Circles of life-dissolving sound,
Yet faint: in aëry rings they bound
My Lionel, who, as every strain
Grew fainter but more sweet, his mien
Sunk with the sound relaxedly ;?
And slowly now he turned to me,
As slowly faded from his face
That awful joy: with look serene
He was soon drawn to my embrace,
And my wild song then died away
In murmurs: words I dare not say,
We mixed, and on his lips mine fed
Till they methought felt still and cold :
“What is it with thee, love?" I said :
No word, no look, no motion! yes,
There was a change; but spare to guess,
Nor let that moment's hope be told.
I looked, and knew that he was dead,
And fell, as the eagle on the plain
Falls when life deserts her brain,
And the mortal lightning is veiled again.
O that I were now dead! but such
(Did they not, love, demand too much,
Those dying murmurs ?) he forebade.
O that I once again were mad!
And yet, dear Rosalind, not so,
For I would live to share thy woe.
Sweet boy, did I forget thee too ?
Alas, we know not what we do
When we speak words.
No memory more .
Is in my mind of that sea shore.
Madness came on me, and a troop
Of misty shapes did seem to sit
Beside me, on a vessel's poop,
And the clear north wind was driving it. 1200
1 The English of this passage has been condemned by Mr. Rossetti and defended by Mr. Swinburne. The intrusive who does not leave the sense in doubt ; and there is no case for emendation.-ED.
Then I heard strange tongues, and saw strange
And the stars methought grew unlike ours,
And the azure sky and the stormless sea
Made me believe that I had died,
And waked in a world, which was to me
Drear hell, though heaven to all beside:
Then a dead sleep fell on my mind,
Whilst animal life many long years
Had rescue' from a chasm of tears;
And when I woke, I wept to find
That the same lady, bright and wise,
With silver locks and quick brown eyes,
The mother of my Lionel,
Had tended me in my distress,
And died some months before. Nor less
Wonder, but far more peace and joy
Brought in that hour my lovely boy ;
For through that trance my soul had well
The impress of thy being kept;
And if I waked, or if I slept,
No doubt, though memory faithless be,
Thy image ever dwelt on me;
And thus, O Lionel, like thee
Is our sweet child. 'Tis sure most strange
I knew not of so great a change,
As that which gave him birth, who now
Is all the solace of my woe.
That Lionel great wealth had left
By will to me, and that of all
The ready lies of law bereft
My child and me, might well befall.
But let me think not of the scorn,
Which from the meanest I have borne,
When, for my child's beloved sake,
I mixed with slaves, to vindicate
The very laws themselves do make:
Let me not say scorn is my fate,
Lest I be proud, suffering the same
With those who live in deathless fame.
She ceased.—“Lo, where red morning through the woods
1240 Is burning o'er the dew;" said Rosalind. And with these words they rose, and towards
the flood Of the blue lake, beneath the leaves now wind With equal steps and fingers intertwined: Thence to a lonely dwelling, where the shore Is shadowed with steep rocks, and cypresses Cleave with their dark green cones the silent
skies, And with their shadows the clear depths below, And where a little terrace from its bowers, Of blooming myrtle and faint lemon-flowers, 1250 Scatters its sense-dissolving fragrance o'er The liquid marble of the windless lake; And where the agèd forest's limbs look hoar, Under the leaves which their green garments
make, They come: 'tis Helen's home, and clean and
white, Like one which tyrants spare on our own land In some such solitude, its casemenis bright Shone through their vine-leaves in the morning
sun, And even within 'twas scarce like Italy.
And when she saw how all things there were
planned, As in an English home, dim memory Disturbed poor Rosalind : she stood as one Whose mind is where his body cannot be, Till Helen led her where her child yet slept, And said, “Observe, that brow was Lionel's, Those lips were his, and so he ever kept One arm in sleep, pillowing his head with it. You cannot see his eyes, they are two wells Of liquid love : let us not wake him yet.” But Rosalind could bear no more, and wept 1270 A shower of burning tears, which fell upon His face, and so his opening lashes shone With tears unlike his own, as he did leap In sudden wonder from his innocent sleep.
So Rosalind and Helen lived together Thenceforth, changed in all else, yet friends
again, Such as they were, when o'er the mountain
heather They wandered in their youth, through sun and
rain. And after many years, for human things, Change even like the ocean and the wind, 1280 Her daughter was restored to Rosalind, And in their circle thence some visitings Of joy ’mid their new calm would intervene: A lovely child she was, of looks serene, And motions which o'er things indifferent
shed The grace and gentleness from whence they
came. And Helen's boy grew with her, and they fed From the same flowers of thought, until each