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While hurried Lamia trembled : “Ah,” said he, For the first time, since first he harbor'd in
That purple-lined palace of sweet sin,
The lady, ever watchful, penetrant,
Of joys; and she began to moan and sigh
Why do you sigh, fair creature?" whisper'd he: While yet he spake they had arrived before Why do you think?" return'd she tenderly : A pillar'd porch, with lotty portal door,
You have deserted me; where am I now? Where hung a silver lamp, whose phosphor glow Not in your heart while care weighs on your brow: Reflected in the slabbed steps below,
No, no, you have dismiss'd me; and I go Mild as a star in water; for so new,
breast houseless : ay, it must be so." And so unsullied was the marble hue,
He answer'd, bending to her open eyes,
Where he was mirror'd small in paradise,
How to entangle, trammel up and snare
Your soul in mine, and labyrinth you there, Were seen about the markets: none knew where Like the hid scent in an unbudded rose ? They could inhabit; the most curious
Ay, a sweet kiss--you see your mighty woes. Were foil'd, who watch'd to trace them to their house : My thoughts ! shall I unveil them? Listen then! And but the flitter-winged verse must tell,
What mortal hath a prize, that other men
Amid the hoarse alarm of Corinth's voice.
Let my foes choke, and my friends shout afar,
While through the thronged streets your bridal car
Wheels round its dazzling spokes."— The lady's cheek Love in a hut, with water and a crust,
Trembled ; she nothing said, but, pale and meek, Is--Love, forgive us !--cinders, ashes, dust ;
Arose and knelt before him, wept a rain Love in a palace is perhaps at last
Of sorrows at his words; at last with pain More grievous torment than a hermit's fast : Beseeching him, the while his hand she wrung, That is a doubtful tale from fairy-land,
To change his purpose.
He thereat was stung, Hard for the non-elect to understand.
Perverse, with stronger fancy to reclaim Had Lycius lived to hand his story down,
Her wild and timid nature to his aim ; He might have given the moral a fresh frown,
Besides, for all his love, in self-despite, Or clench'd it quite: but too short was their bliss
Against his better self, he took delight To breed distrust and hate, that make the soft voice Luxurious in her sorrows, soft and new hiss.
Ilis passion, cruel grown, took on a hue Besides, there, nightly, with terrific glare,
Fierce and sanguineous as 't was possible Love, jealous grown of so complete a pair,
In one whose brow had no dark veins to swell Hover'd and buzz'd his wings, with fearful roar,
Fine was the mitigated fury, like Above the lintel of their chamber-door,
Apollo's presence when in act to strike
The serpent--Ha, the serpent! certes, she
She burnt, she loved the tyranny, For all this came a ruin : side by side
And, all-subdued, consented to the hour They were enthroned, in the eventide,
When to the bridal he should lead his paramour. Upon a couch, near to a curtaining
Whispering in midnight silence, said the youth, Whose airy texture, from a golden string,
Sure some sweet name thou hast, though, by my Floated into the room, and let appear
Fit appellation for this dazzling frame? That they might see each other while they almost Or friends or kinsfolk on the citied earth, slept ;
To share our marriage-feast and nuptial mirth?” When from the slope side of a suburb hill,
* I have no friends," said Lamia, “no, not one ; Deafening the swallow's twitter, came a thrill My presence in wide Corinth hardly known : Of trumpets Lycius started—the sounds fled, My parents' bones are in their dusty urns But left a thought, a buzzing in his head.
Sepulchred, where no kindled incense burns,
Seeing all their luckless race are dead, save me, "T was Apollonius : something too he laugh'd,
As though some knotty problem, that had daft
His patient thought, had now begun to thaw,
And solve and melt: 'twas just as he foresaw
He met within the murmurous vestibule
His young disciple. "Tis no common rule, Made close inquiry; from whose touch she shrank, Lycius,” said he, “ for uninvited guest Feigning a sleep; and he to the dull shade
To force himself upon you, and infest of deep sleep in a moment was betray'd.
With an unbidden presence the bright throng
Of younger friends; yet must I do this wrong, It was the custom then to bring away
And you forgive me." Lycius blush'd, and led The bride from home at blushing shut of day, The old man through the inner doors broad spread : Veild, in a chariot, heralded along
With reconciling words and courteous mien
Of wealthy lustre was the banquet-room, (Lycius was gone to summon all his kin),
Fill'd with pervading brilliance and perfume :
Before each lucid panel fuming stood
A censer fed with myrrh and spiced wood, She set herself, high-thoughted, how to dress
Each by a sacred tripod held aloft, The misery in fit magnificence.
Whose slender feet wide-swerved upon the soft She did so, but 'tis doubtful how and whence
Wool-woofed carpets : fifly wreaths of smoke Came, and who were her subtle servitors.
From fifty censers their light voyage took About the halls, and to and from the doors,
To the high roof, sull mimickd as they rose There was a noise of wings, till in short space The glowing banquet-room shone with wide-arched Along the mirror'd walls by twin-clouds odorous
Twelve sphered tables, by silk seats insphered, grace. A haunting music, sole perhaps and lone
High as the level of a man's breast rear'd
On libbard's paws, upheld the heavy gold
of Ceres' horn, and, in huge vessels, wine Of palm and plantain, met from either side,
Came from the gloomy tun with merry shine
Thus loaded with a feast, the tables stood, High in the midst, in honor of the bride :
Each shrining in the midst the image of a God. Two palms and then two plantains, and so on, From either side their sterns branch'd one to one All down the aisled palace; and beneath all
When in an antechamber every guest There ran a stream of lamps straight on from wall Had felt the cold full sponge to pleasure presa'd. to wall.
By minist'ring slaves, upon his hands and feet, So canopied, lay an untasted feast
And fragrant oils with ceremony meet Teeming with odors. Lamia, regal drest,
Pour'd on his hair, they all moved to the feast Silently paced about, and as she went,
In white robes, and themselves in order placed In pale contented sort of discontent,
Around the silken couches, wondering Mission'd her viewless servants to enrich
Whence all this mighty cost and blaze of wealth The fretted splendor of each nook and niche.
could spring. Between the tree-stems, marbled plain at first, Came jasper panels; then, anon, there burst
Soft went the music that soft air along, Forth creeping imagery of slighter trees,
While fluent Greek a vowell under-song And with the larger wove in small intricacies. Kept up among the guests discoursing low Approving all, she faded at self-will,
At first, for scarcely was the wine at flow; And shut the chamber up, close, hush'd and still, But when the happy vintage touch'd their brains, Complete and ready for the revels rude,
Louder they talk, and louder come the strains When dreaded guests would come to spoil her solitude. Of powerful instruments :-the gorgeous dyes,
The space, the splendor of the draperies, The day appear'd, and all the gossip rout. The roof of awful richness, nectarous cheer, O senseless Lycius! Madman! wherefore fout Beautiful slaves, and Lamia's self, appear, The silent-blessing fate, warm cloister'd hours, Now, when the wine has done its rosy deed, And show to common eyes these secret bowers? And every soul from human trammels freed, The herd approach'd ; each guest, with busy brain, No more so strange : for merry wine, sweet wine. Arriving at the portal, gazed amain,
Will make Elysian shades not too fair, too divine. And enter'd marvelling : for they knew the street, Soon was God Bacchus at meridian height; Remember'd it from childhood all complete Flush'd were their cheeks, and bright eyes double Without a gap, yet ne'er before had seen
bright: That royal porch, that high-built fair demesne ; Garlands of every green, and every scent So in they hurried all, mazed, curious and keen: From vales deflower'd, or forest trees, branch-reat, Save one, who look'd thereon with eye severe, In baskets of bright osier'd gold were brought And with calm-planted steps walk'd in austere ; High as the handles heap'd, to suit the thought
Of every guest ; that each, as he did please, Wander'd on fair-spaced temples; no soft bloom Might fancy-fit his brows, silk-pillow'd at his ease. Misted the cheek; no passion to illume
The deep-recessed vision :-all was blight;
Lamia, no longer fair, there sat a deadly white. What wreath for Lamia? What for Lycius?
“Shut, shut those juggling eyes, thou ruthless man! What for the sage, old Apollonius ?
Turn them aside, wretch! or the righteous ban Upon her aching forehead be there hung
Of all the Gods, whose dreadful images
Here represent their shadowy presences,
In trembling dotage to the feeblest fright
Of conscience, for their long-offended might, War on his temples. Do not all charms fly
For all thine impious proud-heart sophistries, At the mere touch of cold philosophy?
Unlawful magic, and enticing lies. There was an awful rainbow once in heaven: Corinthians ! look upon that gray-beard wretch! We know her woof, her texture; she is given
Mark how, possess'd, his lashless eyelids stretch In the dull catalogue of common things.
Around his demon eyes ! Corinthians, see! Philosophy will clip an Angel's wings,
My sweet bride withers at their potency." Conquer all mysteries by rule and line,
· Fool!" said the sophist, in an under-tone Empty the haunted air, and gnomed mine Gruff with contempt ; which a death-nighing moan Unweave a rainbow, as it erewhile made
From Lycius answer'd, as heart-struck and lost, The tender-person'd Lamia melt into a shade. He sank supine beside the ach ghost.
“ Fool! Fool!" repeated he, while his eyes still
Relented not, nor moved ; “ from every ill By her glad Lycius sitting, in chief place,
Of life have I preserved thee to this day,
And shall I see thee made a serpent's prey?" Scarce saw in all the room another face,
Then Lamia breathed death-breath ; the sophist's eye, Till, checking his love trance, a cup he took Full-brimm'd, and opposite sent forth a look
Like a sharp spear, went through her utterly, 'Cross the broad table, to beseech a glance
Keen, cruel, perceant, stinging : she, as well From his old teacher's wrinkled countenance,
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, Browbeating her fair form, and troubling her sweet
Than with a frightful scream she vanished: pride.
And Lycius' arms were empty of delight, Lycius then press'd her hand, with devout touch,
As were his limbs of life, from that same night. As pale it lay upon the
On the high couch he lay-his friends came roundcouch:
rosy "T was icy, and the cold ran through his veins ;
Supported him-no pulse, or breath they found, Then sudden it grew hot, and all the pains
And, in its marriage robe, the heavy body wound.* Of an unnatural heat shot to his heart. ** Lamia, what means this? Wherefore dost thou start? Philostratus, in his fourth book de Vita Apollonii, Know'st thou that man?” Poor Lamia answer'd not. omit, of one Menippus Lycius, a young man twenty-five
hath a memorable instance in this kind, which I may not He gazed into her eyes, and not a jot
years of age, that going betwixt Cenchreas and Corinth, Ownd they the lovelorn piteous appeal :
met such a phantasın in the habit of a fair gentlewoman,
which taking him by the hand, carried him home to her More, more he gazed : his human senses reel :
house, in the suburbs of Corinth, and told him she was a Sorne angry spell that loveliness absorbs ;
Phænician by birth, and if he would tarry with her, he There was no recognition in those orbs.
should hear her sing and play, and drink such wine as “ Lamia!” he cried-and no soft-toned reply.
never any drank, and no man should molest him; but she,
being fair and lovely, would die with him, that was fair The many heard, and the loud revelry
and lovely to behold. The young man, a philosopher, Grew hush ; the stately music no more breathes; otherwise staid and discreet, able to moderate his passions, The myrtle sicken'd in a thousand wreaths.
though not this of love, tarried with her a while to his
great content, and at last married her, to whose wedding, By faint degrees, voice, lute, and pleasure ceased;
amongst other guests, came Apollonius; who, by some A deadly silence step by step increased,
probable conjectures, found her out to be a serpent, a Until it secm'd a horrid presence there,
lamia; and that all her furniture was, like Tantalus' gold,
described by Horner, no substance but mere illusions, And not a man but felt the terror in his hair.
When she saw herself descried, she wept, and desired “ Lamia !” he shriek’d: and nothing but the shriek Apollonius to be silent, but he would not be moved, and With its sad echo did the silence break.
thereupon she, plate, house, and all that was in it, van. “ Begone, foul dream!” he cried, gazing again
ished in an instant: many thousands took notice of this
fact, for it was done in the midst of Greece."-BURTON'S In the bride's face, where now no azure vein
Anatomy of Melancholy, Part 3, Sect. 2. Memb. I, Subs. I.
Shall move on soberly, as it is meet;
To make old prose in modern rhyme more sweet :
To honor thee, and thy gone spirit greet;
The little sweet doth kill much bitterness;
And Isabella's was a great distress,
Was not embalm'd, this truth is not the less-
Enriched from ancestral merchandise,
In torched mines and noisy factories,
In blood from stinging whip;—with hollow eyes
What love Lorenzo for their sister had,
His bitter thoughts to other, well-nigh mad
Should in their sister's love be blithe and glad,
And many times they bit their lips alone,
To make the youngster for his crime atone;
A thousand men in troubles wide and dark: Cut Mercy with a sharp knife to the bone; Half-ignorant, they turnd an easy wheel,
For they resolved in some forest dim
Gush'd with more pride than do a wretch's tears ? Into the sunrise o'er the balustrade
mounts of the garden-terrace, towards him they bent Were of more soft ascent than lazar-stairs ?
Their footing through the dews; and to him said, Why were they proud ? Because red-lined accounts “You seem there in the quiet of content,
Were richer than the songs of Grecian years ? Lorenzo, and we are most loth to invade
“ To-day we purpose, ay, this hour we mount In hungry pride and gainful cowardice,
To spur three leagues towards the Apennine; As two close Hebrews in that land inspired, Come down, we pray thee, ere the hot sun count
Paled in and vineyarded from beggar-spies; His dewy rosary on the eglantine." The hawks of ship-mast forests—the untired Lorenzo, courteously as he was wont,
And pannier'd mules for ducats and old lies Bow'd a fair greeting to these serpents' whine ; Quick cat’s-paws on the generous stray-away,— And went in haste, to get in readiness, Great wits in Spanish, Tuscan, and Malay.
With belt, and spur, and bracing huntsman's dress.
Fair Isabella in her downy nest?
A straying from his toil? Hot Egypt's pest
How could these money-bags see east and west?-
Each third step did he pause, and listen'd oft
Or the light whisper of her footstep soft ;
He heard a laugh full musical alosi;
Of thee we now should ask forgiving boon,
And of thy roses amorous of the moon,
Now they can no more hear thy ghittern's tune,
Lest I should miss to bid thee a good-morrow :
I am to stifle all the heavy sorrow
Out of the amorous dark what day doth borrow.