« PreviousContinue »
O, Lady Flora, let me speak :
A pleasant hour has past away While, dreaming on your damask check,
The dewy sister-eyelids lay. As by the lattice you reclined,
I went thro' many wayward moods To see you dreaming—and, behind,
A summer crisp with shining woods. And I too dream'd, until at last
Across my fancy, brooding warm, The reflex of a legend past,
And loosely settled into form. And would you have the thought I had,
And see the vision that I saw, Then take the broidery-frame, and add
A crimsop to the quaint Macaw,
And I will tell it. Turn your face,
Nor look with that too-earnest eyeThe rhymes are dazzled from their place,
And order'd words asunder fly.
THE SLEEPING PALACE.
1. THE varying year with blade and sheaf
Clothes and reclothes the happy plains ; Here rests the sap within the leaf,
Here stays the blood along the veins. Faint shadows, vapours lightly curld,
Faint murmurs from the meadows come, Like hints and echoes of the world
To spirits folded in the womb.
Soft lustre bathes the range of urns
On every slanting terrace-lawn. The fountain to his place returns
Deep in the garden lake withdrawn. Here droops the banner on the tower,
On the hall-hearths the festal fires, The peacock in his laurel bower,
The parrot in his gilded wires.
Roof-haunting martins warm their eggs :
In these, in those the life is stay’d. The mantles from the golden pegs
Droop sleepily: no sound is made, Not even of a gnat that sings.
More like a picture seemeth all Than those old portraits of old kings,
That watch the sleepers from the wall.
Here sits the Butler with a flask
Between his knees, half-drain’d; and there The wrinkled steward at his task,
The maid-of-honour blooming fair; The page has caught her hand in his :
Her lips are sever'd as to speak : His own are pouted to a kiss :
The blush is fix'd upon her cheek.
Till all the hundred summers pass,
The beams, that thro' the Oriel shine, Make prisms in every carven glass,
And beaker brimm'd with noble wine. Each baron at the banquet sleeps,
Grave faces gather'd in a ring. His state the king reposing keeps.
He must have been a jovial king.
All round a hedge upshoots, and shows
At distance like a little wood ; Thorns, ivies, woodbine, misletoes,
And grapes with bunches red as blood; All creeping plants, a wall of green
Close-matted, bur and brake and briar, And glimpsing over these, just seen,
High up, the topmost palace-spire.
When will the hundred summers die,
And thought and time be born again, And newer knowledge, drawing nigh,
Bring truth that sways the soul of men ? Ilere all things in their place remain,
As all were order'd, ages since. Come, Care and Pleasure, Hope and Pain,
And bring the fated fairy Prince.
THE SLEEPING BEAUTY.
YEAR after year unto her feet,
She lying on her couch alone, Across the purpled coverlet,
The maiden's jet-black hair has grown,
On either side her tranced form
Forth streaming from a braid of pearl : The slumbrous light is rich and warm,
And moves not on the rounded curl.
The silk star-broider'd coverlid
Unto her limbs itself doth mould Languidly ever; and, amid
Her full black ringlets downward roll’d, Glows forth each softly-shadow'd arm
With bracelets of the diamond bright: Her constant beauty doth inform
Stillness with love, and day with light,
3. She slecps : her breathings are not heard
In palace chambers far apart. The fragrant tresses are not stirr'd
That lie upon her charmed heart. She sleeps : on either hand upswells
The gold-fringed pillow lightly prest : She sleeps, nor dreams, but ever dwells
A perfect form in perfect rest.