Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

Into the valleys green together went.
Far wandering they were perforce content
To sit beneath a fair, lone beechen tree;
Nor at each other gazed, but heavily
Pored on its hazel cirque of shedded leaves.

Endymion! unhappy! it nigh grieves Me to behold thee thus in last extreme: Enskied ere this, but truly that I deem Truth the best music in a first-born song. Thy lute-voiced brother will I sing ere long, And thou shalt aid-hast thou not aided me? Yes, moonlight Emperor! felicity Has been thy meed for many thousand years; Yet often have I, on the brink of tears, Mourn'd as if yet thou wert a forester ;Forgetting the old tale.

He did not stir His eyes from the dead leaves, or one small pulse Of joy he might have felt. The spirit culls Unfaded amaranth, when wild it strays Through the old garden-ground of boyish days. A little onward ran the very stream By which he took his first soft poppy dream; And on the very bark 'gainst which he leant A crescent he had carved, and round it spent His skill in lille stars. The teeming tree Had swoll'n and green'd the pious charactery, But not ta'en out. Why, there was not a slope Up which he had not feard the antelope ; And not a tree, beneath whose rooty shade He had not with his tamed leopards play'd; Nor could an arrow light, or javelin, Fly in the air where his had never been And yet he knew it not.

No tongue shall ask, whence come ye? but ye shall
Be gods of your own rest imperial.
Not even I, for one whole month, will pry
Into the hours that have pass'd us by,
Since in my arbor I did sing to thee.
O Hermes ! on this very night will be

A hymning up to Cynthia, queen of light;
For the soothsayers old saw yestenight
Good visions in the air,whence will befall,
As say these sages, health perpetual
To shepherds and their flocks; and furthermore,
In Dian's face they read the gentle lore:
Therefore for her these vesper-carols are.
Our friends will all be there from nigh and far.
Many upon thy death have ditties made ;
And many, even now, their foreheads shade
With cypress, on a day of sacrifice.
New singing for our maids shalt thou devise,
And pluck the sorrow from our huntsmen's brots.
Tell me, my lady-queen, how to espouse
This wayward brother to his rightful joys!
His eyes are on thee bent, as thou didst poise
His fale most goddess-like. Help me, I pray,
To lure-Endymion, dear brother, say

What ails thee ?" He could bear no more, and so
Bent his soul fiercely like a spiritual bow,
And twang'd it inwardly, and calmly said:
" I would have thee my only friend, sweet maid!
My only visitor! not ignorant though,
That those deceptions which for pleasure go
'Mong men, are pleasures real as real may be:
But there are higher ones I may not see,
If impiously an earthly realm I take.
Since I saw thee, I have been wide awake
Night after night, and day by day, until
Of the empyrean I have drunk my fill.
Let it content thee, Sister, seeing me
More happy than betides mortality.
A hermit young, I 'll live in mossy cave,
Where thou alone shalt come to me, and lave
| Thy spirit in the wonders I shall tell.

Through me the shepherd realm shall prosper well;
For to thy tongue will I all health confide.
And, for my sake, let this young maid abide
With thee as a dear sister. Thou alone,
Peona, mayst return to me. I own
This may sound strangely: but when, dearest girl,

Thou seest it for my happiness, no pearl
Will trespass down those cheeks. Companion fair!
Wilt be content to dwell with her, to share
This sister's love with me?” Like one resign'd
And bent by circumstances, and thereby blind
In self-commitment, thus that meek unknown:

Ay, but a buzzing by my ears has flown,
Of jubilee to Dian :-truth I heard!
Well then, I see there is no litile bird,
Tender soever, but is Jove's own care.
Long have I sought for rest, and, unaware,
Behold I find it! so exalted too!
So after my own heart! I knew, I knew
There was a place untenanted in it;
In that same void white Chastity shall sit,
And monitor me nightly to lone slumber.
With sanest lips I vow me to the number
or Dian's sisterhood; and, kind lady,
With thy good help, this very night shall see

564

O treachery! Why does his lady smile, pleasing her eye With all his sorrowing? He sees her not. But who so stares on him? His sister, sure ! Peona of the woods! Can she endureImpossible-how dearly they embrace ! His lady smiles ; delight is in her face; It is no treachery.

« Dear brother mine!
Endymion, weep not so! Why shouldst thou pine
When all great Latmos so exalt will be ?
Thank the great gods, and look not bitterly;
And speak not one pale word, and sigh no more.
Sure I will not believe thou hast such store
Of grief, to last thee to my kiss again.
Thou surely canst not bear a mind in pain,
Come hand in hand with one so beautiful.
Be happy both of you! for I will pull
The flowers of autumn for your coronals.
Pan's holy priest for young Endymion calls;
And when he is restored, thou, fairest dame,
Shalt be our queen.

Now, is it not a shame
To see ye thus,-not very, very sad ?
Perhaps ye are too happy to be glad :
O feel as if it were a common day ;
Free-voiced as one who never was away.

[ocr errors]

My future days to her fane consecrate."

Laughing at the clear stream and setting sun,

As though they jests had been : nor had he done As feels a dreamer what doth most create His laugh at Nature's holy countenance, His own particular fright, so these three felt: Until that grove appear'd, as if perchance, Or like one, who, in after ages, knelt

And then his tongue with sober seemlihed To Lucifer or Baal, when he'd pine

Gave utterance as he enter'd: "Ha!” I said, After a little sleep: or when in mine

King of the butterflies; but by this gloom, Far under-ground, a sleeper meets his friends And by old Rhadamanthus' tongue of doom, Who know him not. Each diligently bends This dusk religion, pomp of solitude, Tow'rds common thoughts and things for very fear; And the Promethean clay by thief endued, Striving their ghastly malady to cheer,

By old Saturnus' forelock, by his head By thinking it a thing of yes and no,

Shook with eternal palsy, I did wed That housewives talk of. But the spirit-blow Myself to things of light from infancy; Was struck, and all were dreamers. At the last And thus to be cast out, thus lorn to die, Endymion said : “ Are not our fates all cast? Is sure enough to make a mortal man Why stand we here ? Adieu, ye tender pair Grow impious." So he inwardly began Adieu!” Whereat those maidens, with wild stare, On things for which no wording can be found; Walk'd dizzily away. Pained and hot

Deeper and deeper sinking, until drown'd His eyes went after them, until they got

Beyond the reach of music: for the choir Near to a cypress grove, whose deadly maw, of Cynthia he heard not, though rough brier In one swift moment, would what then he saw Nor muffing thicket interposed to dull Ingulf for ever. “Stay!” he cried, “ah, stay! The vesper hymn, far swollen, soft and full, Turn, damsels! hist! one word I have to say : Through the dark pillars of those sylvan aisles.! Sweet Indian, I would see thee once again. He saw not the two maidens, nor their smiles, It is a thing I dote on: so I'd fain,

Wan as primroses gather'd at midnight Peona, ye should hand in hand repair,

By chilly-finger'd spring. “Unhappy wight! Into those holy groves that silent are

Endymion!” said Peona, “we are here! Behind great Dian's temple. I'll be yon,

What wouldst thou ere we all are laid on bier ?" At vesper's earliest twinkle-they are gone Then he embraced her, and his lady's hand But once, once, once again," At this he press'd Press'd, saying : “Sister, I would have command, His hands against his face, and then did rest If it were heaven's will, on our sad fate." His head upon a mossy hillock green,

At which that dark-eyed stranger stood elate, And so remain'd as he a corpse had been

And said, in a new voice, but sweet as love, All the long day; save when he scantly lifted To Endymion's amaze : “By Cupid's dove, His eyes abroad, to see how shadows shifted And so thou shalt! and by the lily truth With the slow move of time,-sluggish and weary Of

my own breast thou shalt, beloved youth!" Until the poplar tops, in journey dreary,

And as she spake, into her face there cam Had reach'd the river's brim. Then up he rose, Light, as reflected from a silver flame : And, slowly as that very river flows,

Her long black hair swell'd ampler, in display Walk'd tow'rds the temple-grove with this lament: Full golden; in her eyes a brighter day "Why such a golden eve? The breeze is sent Dawn'd blue and full of love. Ay, he beheld Careful and soft, that not a leaf may fall

Phæbe, his passion! joyous she upheld Before the serene father of them all

Her lucid bow, continuing thus: Drear, drear Bows down his summer head below the west. Has our delaying been; but foolish fear Now am I of breath, speech, and speed possest, Withheld me first; and then decrees of fate; But at the setting I must bid adieu

And then 'twas fit that from this mortal state To her for the last time. Night will strew Thou shouldst, my love, by some unlook'd-for change On the damp grass myriads of lingering leaves, Be spiritualized. Peona, we shall range And with them shall I die; nor much it grieves These forests, and to thee they safe shall be To die, when summer dies on the cold sward. As was thy cradle ; hither shalt thou flee Why, I have been a butterfly, a lord

To meet us many a time.” Next Cynthia bright of flowers, garlands, love-knots, silly posies, Peona kiss'd, and bless'd with fair good-night: Groves, meadows, melodies, and arbor-roses; Her brother kisa'd her too, and knelt adown My kingdom's at its death, and just it is

Before his goddess, in a blissful swoon. That I should die with it: so in all this

She gave her fair hands to him, and behold, We miscall gries, bale, sorrow, heart-break, woe, Before three swiftest kisses he had told, What is there to plain of? By Titan's soe

They vanish'd far away - Peona went I am but rightly served.” So saying, he

Home through the gloomy wood in wonderment. Tripp'd lightly on, in sort of deathful glee ;

565

[ocr errors]

Lamia.

moan,

PART I.

Upon her crest she wore a wannish fire
Sprinkled with stars, like Ariadne's tiar:
Her head was serpent, but ah, bitter-sweet!

She had a woman's mouth with all its pearls complete : UPON a time, before the faery broods

And for her eyes—what could such eyes do there Drove Nymph and Satyr from the prosperous woods, But weep, and weep, that they were born so far! Before King Oberon's bright diadem,

As Proserpine still weeps for her Sicilian air. Sceptre, and mantle, clasp'd with dewy gem, Her throat was serpent, but the words she spake Frighted away the Dryads and the Fauns

Came, as through bubbling honey, for Love's sake,
From rushes green, and brakes, and cowslip'd lawns, And thus; while Hermes on his pinions lay,
The ever-smitten Hermes empty left

Like a stoop'd falcon ere he takes his prey:
His golden throne, bent warm on amorous theft:
From high Olympus had he stolen light,

• Fair Hermes! crown'd with feathers, fluttering On this side of Jove's clouds, to escape the sight

light, Of his great summoner, and made retreat

I had a splendid dream of thee last night : Into a forest on the shores of Crete.

I saw thee sitting, on a throne of gold, For somewhere in that sacred island dwelt Among the Gods, upon Olympus old, A nymph, to whom all hoofed Satyrs knelt; The only sad one ; for thou didst not hear At whose white feet the languid Tritons pour'd The soft, lute-finger'd Muses chanting clear, Pearls, while on land they wither'd and adored. Nor even Apollo when he sang alone, Fast by the springs where she to bathe was wont, Deaf to his throbbing throat's long, long melodious And in those meads where sometimes she might haunt, Were strewn rich gists, unknown to any Muse, I dreamt I saw thee, robed in purple flakes, Though Fancy's casket were unlock'd to choose. Break amorous through the clouds, as morning breaks, Ah, what a world of love was at her feet! And, swiftly as a bright Phæbean dart, So Hermes thought, and a celestial heat

Strike for the Cretan isle; and here thou art! Burnt from his winged heels to either ear,

Too gentle Hermes, hast thou found the maid?" Thạt from a whiteness, as the lily clear,

Whereat the star of Lethe not delay'd Blush'd into roses 'mid his golden hair,

His rosy eloquence, and thus inquired : Fallen in jealous curls about his shoulders bare. “ 'Thou smooth-lipp'd serpent, surely high inspired! From vale to vale, from wood to wood, he flew, Thou beauteous wreath with melancholy eyes, Breathing upon the flowers his passion new, Possess whatever bliss thou canst devise, And wound with many a river to its head, Telling me only where my nymph is fled. To find where this sweet nymph prepared her secret Where she doth breathe!” “ Bright planet, thou hast bed:

said," In vain ; the sweet nymph might nowhere be found, Return'd the snake, “ but seal with oaths, fair God!" And so he rested, on the lonely ground,

" I swear," said Hermes, “ by my serpent rod, Pensive, and full of painful jealousies

And by thine eyes, and by thy siarry crown!" Of the Wood-Gods, and even the very trees. Light flew his earnest words, among the blousons There as he stood, he heard a mournful voice,

blown. Such as once heard, in gentle heart, destroys Then thus again the brilliance feminine : All pain but pity : thus the lone voice spake : “ Too frail of heart! for this lost nymph of thine, " When from this wreathed tomb shall I awake? Free as the air, invisibly, she strays When move in a sweet body fit for life,

About these thornless wilds; her pleasant days And love, and pleasure, and the ruddy strife She tastes unseen ; unseen her bimble leet Of hearts and lips? Ah, miserable me!"

Leave traces in the grass and flowers sweet : The God, dove-footed, glided silently

From weary tendrils, and bow'd branches green, Round bush and tree, soft-brushing, in his speed, She plucks the fruit unseen, she bathes unseen: The taller grasses and full-flowering weed, And by my power is her beauty veil'd Until he found a palpitating snake,

To keep it unaffronted, unassail'd Bright, and cirque-couchant in a dusky brake. By the love-glances of unlovely eyes,

Of Satyrs, Fauns, and blear'd Silenus' sighs.

Pale grew her immortality, for woe
She was a gordian shape of dazzling hue, Of all these lovers, and she grieved so
Vermilion-spotted, golden, green, and blue; I took compassion on her, bade her steep
Striped like a zebra, freckled like a pard,

Her hair in weïrd syrops, that would keep
Eyed like a peacock, and all crimson-barrid; Her loveliness invisible, yet free
And full of silver moons, that, as she breathed, To wander as she loves, in liberty.
Dissolved, or brighter shone, or interwreathed Thou shalt behold her, Hermes, thou alone.
Their lustres with the gloomier tapestries If thou wilt, as thou swearest, grant my boon!"
So rainbow-sided, touch'd with miseries,

Then, once again, the charmed God began She seern'd, at once, some penanced lady elf, An oath, and through the serpent's ears it ran Some demon's mistress, or the demon's self, Warm, tremulous, devout, psalterian.

[ocr errors]

Ravish'd she lifted her Circean head,

And of that other ridge whose barren back Bush'd a live damask, and swift-lisping said, Stretches, with all its mist and cloudy rack, “I was a woman, let me have once more

South-westward to Cleone. There she stood
A woman's shape, and charming as before. About a young bird's flutter from a wood,
I love a youth of Corinth-0 the bliss !

Fair, on a sloping green of mossy tread,
Give me my woman's form, and place me where he is. By a clear pool, wherein she passioned
Stoop, Hermes, let me breath upon thy brow, To see herself escaped from so sore ills,
And thou shalt see thy sweet nymph even now." While her robes flaunted with the daffodils.
The God on half-shut feathers sank serene,
She breathed upon his eyes, and swift was seen Ah, happy Lycius '--for she was a maid
Of both the guarded nymph near-smiling on the green. More beautiful than ever twisted braid,
It was no dream; or say a dream it was,

Or sigh'd, or blush'd, or on spring-flower'd lea
Real are the dreams of Gods, and smoothly pass Spread a green kirtle to the minstrelsy :
Their pleasures in a long immortal dream.

A virgin purest lipp'd, yet in the lore
One warm, Alush'd moment, hovering, it might seem Of love deep learn'd to the red heart's core :
Dash'd by the wood-nymph's beauty, so he burn'd; Not one hour old, yet of sciential brain
Then, lighting on the printless verdure, turn'd To unperplex bliss from its neighbor pain;
To the swoon'd serpent, and with languid arm, Define their pettish limits, and estrange
Delicate, put to proof the lithe Caducean charm. Their points of contact, and swift counterchange ;
So done, upon the nymph his eyes he bent Intrigue with the specious chaos, and dis part
Full of adoring tears and blandishment,

Its most ambiguous atoms with sure art; And towards her slept : she, like a moon in wane, As though in Cupid's college she had spent Faded before him, cower'd, nor could restrain Sweet days a lovely graduate, still unsheni, Her fearful sobs, self-folding like a flower

And kept his rosy terms in idle languishment. That faints into itself at evening hour: But the God fostering her chilled hand,

Why this fair crenture chose so fairily She felt the warmth, her eyelids open'd bland By the wayside to linger, we shall see; And, like new flowers at morning song of bees, But first 't is fit to tell how she could muse Bloom'd, and gave up her honey to the lees. And dream, when in the serpent prison-house, Into the green-recessed woods they flew;

Of all she list, strange or magnificent,
Nor grew they palo, as mortal lovers do.

How, ever, where she willid, her spirit went ;
Whether to faint Elysium, or where

Down through tress-listing waves the Nereids fair Left to herself, the serpent now began

Wind into Thetis' bower by many a pearly stair ; To change ; her elfin blood in madness ran, Or where God Bacchus drains his cups divine, Her mouth foam'd, and the grass, therewith besprent, Stretch'd out, at ease, beneath a glutinous pine ; Wither'd at dew so sweet and virulent;

Or where in Pluto's gardens palatine Her eyes in torture fix'd, and anguish drear, Mulciber's columns gleam in far piazzian line. Hot, glazed, and wide, with lid-lashes all sear, And sometimes into cities she would send Flash'd phosphor and sharp sparks, without one cool. Her dream, with feast and rioting to blend; ing tear.

And once, while among mortals dreaming thus, The colors all intlamed throughout her train. She saw the young Corinthian Lycius She writhed about, convulsed with scarlet pain : Charioting foremost in the envious ruce, A deep volcanian yellow took the place

Like a young Jove with calm uneager face, Of all her milder-mooned body's grace ;

And fell into a swooning love of him. And, as the lava ravishes the mead,

Now on the moth-time of that evening dim Spoilt all her silver mail, and golden brede: He would return that way, as well she knew, Made gloom of all her frecklings, streaks and bars, To Corinth from the shore ; for freshly blew Eclipsed her crescents, and lick d up her stars : The eastern soft wind, and his galley now So that, in moments few, she was undrest

Grated the quay-stones with her brazen prow Of all her sapphires, greens, and amethyst.

In port Cenchreas, from Egina isle And rubious-argent; of all these bereft,

Fresh anchor'd; whither he had been awhile Nothing but pain and ugliness were left.

To sacrifice to Jove, whose temple there Sull shone her crown ; that vanish'd, also she Waits with high marble doors for blood and incense Melted and disappear d as suddenly ; And in the air, her new voice luting soft,

Jove heard his vows, and better'd his desire ; Cried, “ Lycius! genile Lycius!"-Borne aloft For by some freakful chance he made retire With the bright mists about the mountains hoar, From his companions, and set forth to walk, These words dissolved : Crele's forests heard no more. Perhaps grown wearied of their Corinth talk:

Over the solitary hills he fared,

Thoughtless at first, but ere eve's star appear'd Whither fled Lamia, now a lady bright,

His phantasy was lost, where reason fades, A full-born beauty new and exquisite ?

In the calm'd twilight of Platonic shades. She fled into that valley they pass o'er

Lamia beheld him coming, near, more near Who go to Corinth from Chenchreas' shore ; Close to her passing, in indifference drear, And rested at the foot of those wild hills,

His silent sandals swept the mossy green; The rugged founts of the Perxan rills,

So neighbor'd to him, and yet so unseen

rare.

[ocr errors]

She stood : he pass'd, shut up in mysteries,

Any more subtle fluid in her veins His mind wrapp'd like his mantle, while her eyes Than throbbing blood, and that the self-same pains Follow'd his steps, and her neck regal white Inhabited her frail-strung heart as his. Turn'd-syllabling thus,“ Ah, Lycius bright! And next she wonder'd how his eyes could miss And will you leave me on the hills alone ? Her face so long in Corinth, where, she said. Lycius, look back! and be some pity shown." She dwelt but half retired, and there had led He did ; not with cold wonder fearingly,

Days happy as the gold coin could invent But Orpheus-like at an Eurydice;

Without the aid of love; yet in content For so delicious were the words she sung

Till she saw him, as once she passd him by, seem'd he had loved them a whole summer long : Where 'gainst a column he leant thoughtfully And soon his eyes had drunk her beauty up, At Venus' temple porch, 'mid baskets heap'd Leaving no drop in the bewildering cup,

Of amorous herbs and flowers, newly reap'd And still the cup was full,--while he, afraid Late on that eve, as 't was the night before Lest she should vanish ere his lip had paid

The Adonian feast; whereof she saw no more, Due adoration, thus began to adore ;

But wept alone those days, for why should she adore ! Her soft look growing coy, she saw his chain so sure : Lycius from death awoke into amaze, “ Leave thee alone! Look back! Ah, Goddess, see To see her still, and singing so sweet lays; Whether my eyes can ever turn from thee! Then from amaze into delight he fell For pity do not this sad heart belie

To hear her whisper woman's lore so well; Even as thou vanishest so I shall die.

And every word she spake enticed him on Stay! though a Naiad of the rivers, stay!

To unperplex'd delight and pleasure known To thy far wishes will thy streams obey :

Let the mad poets say whate'er they please Stay! though the greenest woods be thy domain, Of the sweets of Fairies, Peris, Goddesses, Alone they can drink up the morning rain :

There is not such a treat among them all, Though a descended Pleiad, will not one

Haunters of cavern, lake, and waterfall. of thine harmonious sisters keep in tune

As a real woman, lineal indeed
Thy spheres, and as thy silver proxy shine ? From Pyrrha's pebbles or old Adam's seed.
So sweetly to these ravish'd ears of mine

Thus gentle Lamia jndged, and judged anight,
Came thy sweet greeting, that if thou shouldst fade That Lycius could not love in balf a frighi,
Thy memory will waste me to a shade :-

So threw the goddess off, and won his heart
For pity do not melt!"_“If I should stay," More pleasantly by playing woman's part,
Said Lamia, “ here, upon this floor of clay,

With no more awe than what her beauty gave,
And pain my steps upon these flowers too rough, That, while it smote, still guarantied to save.
What canst thou say or do of charm enough Lycius to all made eloquent reply,
To dull the nice remembrance of my home? Marrying to every word a twin-bom sigh;
Thou canst not ask me with thee here to roam And last, pointing to (orinth, ask'd her sweet.
Over these hills and vales, where no joy is, If 'twas too far that night for ber soft teet.
Empty of immortality and bliss !

The way was short, for Lamia's eagemess
Thou art a scholar, Lycius, and must know Made, by a spell, the triple league decrease
That finer spirits cannot breathe below

To a few paces; not at all surmised
In human climes, and live: Alas! poor youth, By blinded Lycius, so in her comprised
What taste of purer air hast thou to soothe They pass'd the city gates, he knew not how,
My essence? What serener palaces,

So noiseless, and he never thought to know.
Where I may all my many senses please,
And by mysterious sleights a hundred thirsts appease ?
It cannot be-Adieu!” So said, she rose

As men talk in a dream, so Corinth all,
Tiptoe with white arms spread. lle, siek to lose

Throughout her palaces imperial,
The amorous promise of her lone complain,

And all her populous streets and temples lewd,
Swoon'd murmuring of love, and pale with pain.
The cruel lady, without any show

Mutter'd, like tempest in the distance brewd,
Of sorrow for her tender favorite's woe,

To the wide-sprended night above her towers But rather, if her eyes could brighter be,

Men, women, rich and poor, in the cool hours With brighter eyes and slow amenity,

Shuffled their sandals o'er the pavement white, Put her new lips to his, and gave afresh

Companion'd or alone; while many a light The life she had so tangled in her meshı:

Flared, here and there. from wealthy festivals And as he from one trance was wakening

And threw their moving shadows on the walls, Into another, she began to sing,

Or found them cluster'd in the corniced shade
Happy in beauty, life, and love, and every thing,

Of some arch'd temple door, or dusky colonnade
A song of love, too sweet for earthly lyres,
While, like held breath, the stars drew in their pant-
ing fires.

Muffling his face, of greeting friends in fear,
And then she whisper'd in such trembling tone, Her fingers he press'd hard, as one came near
As those who, safe together met alone

With curl'd gray beard, sharp eyes, and smooth bald For the first time through many anguish'd days,

crown,
Use other speech than looks; bidding him raise Slow-stepp'd, and robed in philosophie goun:
His drooping head, and clear his soul of doubt, Lycius shrank closer, as they met and past.
For that she was a woman, and without

Into his mantle, adding antgs to haste,

« PoprzedniaDalej »