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THE PALACE OF ART.
I BUILT my soul a lordly pleasure-house,
Wherein at ease for aye to dwell.
Dear soul, for all is well.”
A huge crag-platform, smooth as burnish'd brass,
I chose. The ranged ramparts bright From level meadow-bases of deep grass
Suddenly scaled the light.
Thereon I built it firm. Of ledge or shelf
The rock rose clear, or winding stair. My soul would live alone unto herself
In her high palace there.
And “while the world runs round and round,” I said,
“Reign thou apart, a quiet king, Still as, while Saturn whirls, his stedfast shade
Sleeps on his luminous ring.”
To which my soul made answer readily :
“Trust me, in bliss I shall abide In this great mansion, that is built for me,
So royal-rich and wide.”
Four courts I made, East, West and South and North,
In each a squared lawn, wherefrom
A flood of fountain-foam.
And round the cool green courts there ran a row
Of cloisters, branch'd like mighty woods, Echoing all night to that sonorous flow
Of spouted fountain-floods.
And round the roofs a gilded gallery
That lent broad verge to distant lands,
Dipt down to sea and sands.
From those four jets four currents in one swell
Across the mountain stream'd below In misty folds, that floating as they fell
Lit up a torrent-bow.
And high on every peak a statue seem'd
To hang on tiptoe, tossing up
From out a golden cup.
So that she thought, “And who shall gaze upon
My palace with unblinded eyes,
And that sweet incense rise ?”
For that sweet incense rose and never fail'd,
And, while day sank or mounted higher The light aërial gallery, golden-rail'd,
Burnt like a fringe of fire.
Likewise the deep-set windows, stain'd and traced,
Would seem slow-flaming crimson fires From shadow'd grots of arches interlaced,
And tipt with frost-like spires.
Full of long-sounding corridors it was,
That over-vaulted grateful gloom,
Well-pleased from room to room:
Full of great rooms and small the palace stood,
All various, each a perfect whole
And change of my still soul.
For some were hung with arras green and blue,
Showing a gaudy summer-morn, Where with puff'd cheek the belted hunter blew
His wreathed bugle-horn.
One seem'd all dark and red—a tract of sand,
And some one pacing there alone,
Lit with a low large moon.
One show'd an iron coast and angry waves..
You seem'd to hear them climb and fall And roar rock-thwarted under bellowing caves, / ,
Beneath the windy wall.
And one, a full-fed river winding slow
By herds upon an endless plain,
With shadow-streaks of rain.
And one, the reapers at their sultry toil
In front they bound the sheaves. Behind
And one, a foreground black with stones and slags,
Beyond, a line of heights, and higher All barr'd with long white cloud the scornful crags,
And highest, snow and fire.
And one, an English home-gray twilight pour d
On dewy pastures, dewy trees,
A haunt of ancient Peace.
Nor these alone, but every landscape fair,
As fit for every mood of mind,
Not less than truth design'd.
Or the maid-mother by a crucifix,
In tracts of pasture sunny-warm, Beneath branch-worķ of costly sardonyx
Sat smiling, babe in arm.
Or in a clear-walld city on the sea,
Near gilded organ-pipes, her hair Wound with white roses, slept St. Cecily ;
An angel look'd at her.