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2. The air is damp, and hush'd, and close, As a sick man's room when he taketh repose

An hour before death ; My very heart faints and my whole soul grieves At the moist rich smell of the rotting leaves,

And the breath

Of the fading edges of box beneath, And the year's last rose.

Heavily hangs the broad sunflower

Over its grave i' the earth so chilly;
Heavily hangs the hollyhock,

Heavily hangs the tiger-lily.


1. MYSTERY of mysteries,

Faintly smiling Adeline,
Scarce of earth nor all divine,
Nor unhappy, nor at rest,

But beyond expression fair

With thy floating flaxen hair ; Thy rose-lips and full blue eyes

Take the heart from out my breast. Wherefore those dim looks of thine, Shadowy, dreaming Adeline ?


Whence that aery bloom of thine,

Like a lily which the sun Looks thro' in his sad decline,

And a rose-bush leans upon, Thou that faintly smilest still,

As a Naiad in a well,

Looking at the set of day, Or a phantom two hours old


Of a maiden past away,
Ere the placid lips be cold?
Wherefore those faint smiles of thine,

Spiritual Adeline ?


What hope or fear or joy is thine ?
Who talketh with thee, Adeline ?
For sure thou art not all alone :

Do beating hearts of salient springs
Keep measure with thine own?

Hast thou heard the butterflies
What they say betwixt their wings ?

Or in stillest evenings
With what voice the violet woos
To his heart the silver dews ?

Or when little airs arise,
How the merry bluebell rings

To the mosses underneath ?

Hast thou look'd upon the breath

Of the lilies at sunrise ? Wherefore that faint smile of thine, Shadowy, dreaming Adeline ?

Some honey-converse feeds thy mind,

Some spirit of a crimson rose
In love with thee forgets to close

His curtains, wasting odorous sighs
All night long on darkness blind.
What aileth thee? whom waitest thou
With thy soften'd, shadow'd brow,

And those dew-lit eyes of thine,
Thou faint smiler, Adeline?


Lovest thou the doleful wind

When thou gazest at the skies? Doth the low-tongued Orient Wander from the side of the morn,

Dripping with Sabaan spice On thy pillow, lowly bent

With melodious airs lovelorn, Breathing Light against thy face, While his locks a-drooping twined

Round thy neck in subtle ring Make a carcanet of

rays, And ye talk together still, In the language wherewith Spring

Letters cowslips on the hill ? Hence that look and smile of thine,

Spiritual Adeline.


With a half-glance upon the sky
At night he said, “ The wanderings
Of this most intricate Universe
Teach me the nothingness of things."
Yet could not all creation pierce
Beyond the bottom of his eye.

He spake of beauty : that the dull
Saw no divinity in grass,
Life in dead stones, or spirit in air ;
Then looking as 'twere in a glass,
He smooth'd his chin and sleek'd his hair,
And said the earth was beautiful.

He spake of virtue : not the gods
More purely, when they wish to charm
Pallas and Juno sitting by :
And with a sweeping of the arm,
And a lack-lustre dead-blue eye,
Devolved his rounded periods.

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