Page images

bred ;

Two strangers meeting at a festival ; Low thunder and light in the magic Two lovers whispering by an orchard nightwall;

Neither moon nor star. Two lives bound fast in one with golden We would call aloud in the dreamy dells, ease ;

Call to each other and whoop and cry Two graves grass-green beside a gray All night, merrily, merrily; church-tower,

They would pelt me with starry spangles Wash'd with still rains and daisy blos

and shells, somed ;

Laughing and clapping their hands beTwo children in one hamlet born and


All night, merrily, merrily : So runs the round of life from hour to But I would throw to them back in mine hour.

Turkis and agate and almondine :
Then leaping out upon them unseen

I would kiss them often under the sea,

And kiss them again till they kiss'd me

Laughingly, laughingly.

Oh! what a happy life were mine
Who would be

Under the hollow-hung ocean green!
A merman bold,

Soft are the moss-beds under the sea;
Sitting alone,

We would live merrily, merrily.
Singing alone
Under the sea,
With a crown of gold,

On a throne ?



Who would be
A mermaid fair,
Singing alone,
Combing her hair
Under the sea,
In a golden curl
With a comb of pearl,
On a throne ?

I would be a merman bold,
I would sit and sing the whole of the day ;
I would fill the sea-halls with a voice of

power ;
But at night I would roam abroad and

play With the mermaids in and out of the rocks, Dressing their hair with the white sea

flower ; And holding them back by their flowing

I would kiss them often under the sea,
And kiss them again till they kiss'd me

Laughingly, laughingly;
And then we would wander away, away
To the pale-green sea-groves straight and

Chasing each other merrily.


I would be a mermaid fair ;
I would sing to myself the whole of the

day ;
With a comb of pearl I would comb my

hair ; And still as I comb'd I would sing and

say, · Who is it loves me? who loves not me?' I would comb my hair till my ringlets

would fall

Low adown, low adown,
From under my starry sea-bud crown

Low adown and around,
And I should look like a fountain of gold

There would be neither moon nor star ;
But the wave would make music above

us afar

Would lean out from the hollow sphere

of the sea, All looking down for the love of me.


Springing alone
With a shrill inner sound,

Over the throne
In the midst of the hall ;
Till that great sea-snake under the sea
From his coiled sleeps in the central deeps
Would slowly trail himself sevenfold
Round the hall where I sate, and look

in at the gate With his large calm eyes for the love of

And all the mermen under the sea
Would feel their immortality
Die in their hearts for the love of me.


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 ?



But at night I would wander away, away, I would fling on each side my low

flowing locks, And lightly vault from the throne and play With the mermen in and out of the

rocks ; We would run to and fro, and hide and

seek, On the broad sea-wolds in the crimson

shells, Whose silvery spikes are nighest the sea. But if any came near I would call, and

shriek, And adown the steep like a wave I would

leap From the diamond-ledges that jut from

the dells; For I would not be kiss'd by all who

would list, Of the bold merry mermen under the

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 ?



[blocks in formation]

and soft

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 ?

[blocks in formation]



A fairy shield your Genius made

And gave you on your natal day.

Your sorrow, only sorrow's shade, O sweet pale Margaret,

Keeps real sorrow far away. O rare pale Margaret,

You move not in such solitudes, What lit your eyes with tearful power,

You are not less divine,
Like moonlight on a falling shower ? But more human in your moods,
Who lent you, love, your mortal dower Than your twin-sister, Adeline.

Of pensive thought and aspect pale, | Your hair is darker, and your eyes
Your melancholy sweet and frail

Touch'd with a somewhat darker hue, As perfume of the cuckoo-flower ?

And less aërially blue, From the westward-winding flood,

But ever trembling thro' the dew From the evening-lighted wood,

Of dainty-woeful sympathies.
From all things outward you have



A tearful grace, as tho' you stood

Between the rainbow and the sun.

O sweet pale Margaret,
O rare pale Margaret,

Like sunshine on a dancing rill, And your words are seeming-bitter, Sharp and few, but seeming-bitter From excess of swift delight.


Come down, come down, and hear me

speak :
Tie up the ringlets on your cheek :

The sun is just about to set,
The arching limes are tall and shady,

And faint, rainy lights are seen,

Moving in the leavy beech. Rise from the feast of sorrow, lady,

Where all day long you sit between

Joy and woe, and whisper each. Or only look across the lawn,

Look out below your bower-eaves, Look down, and let your blue eyes dawn

Upon me thro' the jasmine-leaves.


Come down, come home, my Rosalind,
My gay young hawk, my Rosalind :
Too long you keep the upper skies ;
Too long you roam and wheel at will ;
But we must hood your random eyes,
That care not whom they kill,
And your cheek, whose brilliant hue
Is so sparkling-fresh to view,
Some red heath-flower in the dew,
Touch'd with sunrise. We must bind
And keep you fast, my Rosalind,
Fast, fast, my wild-eyed Rosalind,
And clip your wings, and make you love :
When we have lured you from above,
And that delight of frolic flight, by day

or night,
From North to South,
We'll bind you fast in silken cords,
And kiss away the bitter words
From off your rosy mouth.


My Rosalind, my Rosalind,
My frolic falcon, with bright eyes,
Whose free delight, from any height of

rapid flight,
Stoops at all game that wing the skies,
My Rosalind, my Rosalind,
My bright-eyed, wild-eyed falcon, whither,
Careless both of wind and weather,
Whither fly ye, what game spy ye,
Up or down the streaming wind ?



II. The quick lark's closest-caroll'd strains, The shadow rushing up the sea, The lightning flash atween the rains, The sunlight driving down the lea, The leaping stream, the very wind, That will not stay, upon his way, To stoop the cowslip to the plains, Is not so clear and bold and free As you, my falcon Rosalind. You care not for another's pains, Because you are the soul of joy, Bright metal all without alloy. Life shoots and glances thro' your veins, And flashes off a thousand ways, Thro' lips and eyes in subtle rays. Your hawk-eyes are keen and bright, Keen with triumph, watching still To pierce me thro' with pointed light ; But oftentimes they flash and glitter

Thy dark eyes opend not,
Nor first reveald themselves to English


For there is nothing here, Which, from the outward to the inward

brought, Moulded thy baby thought. Far off from human neighbourhood,

Thou wert born, on a summer morn, A mile beneath the cedar-wood. Thy bounteous forehead was not fann'd

With breezes from our oaken glades, But thou wert nursed in some delicious


Of lavish lights, and floating shades : And flattering thy childish thought

The oriental fairy brought,

At the moment of thy birth,


From old well-heads of haunted rills,

And the steady sunset glow, And the hearts of purple hills,

That stays upon thee? For in thee And shadow'd coves on a sunny Is nothing sudden, nothing single ; shore,

Like two streams of incense free
The choicest wealth of all the

From one censer in one shrine, earth,

Thought and motion mingle,
Jewel or shell, or starry ore,

Mingle ever. Motions flow
To deck thy cradle, Eleanore.

To one another, even as tho'
They were modulated so

To an unheard melody,
Or the yellow-banded bees,

Which lives about thee, and a sweep Thro' half-open lattices

Of richest pauses, evermore Coming in the scented breeze,

Drawn from each other mellow-deep ; Fed thee, a child, lying alone,

Who may express thee, Eleänore?
With whitest honey in fairy gar-
dens cullid-

A glorious child, dreaming alone, I stand before thee, Eleänore ;

In silk-soft folds, upon yielding down, I see thy beauty gradually unfold, With the hum of swarming bees

Daily and hourly, more and more.
Into dreamful slumber lull'd. I muse, as in a trance, the while

Slowly, as from a cloud of gold,

Comes out thy deep ambrosial smile. Who may minister to thee?

I muse, as in a trance, whene'er
Summer herself should minister

The languors of thy love-deep eyes
To thee, with fruitage golden-rinded Float on to me. I would I were
On golden salvers, or it may be,

So tranced, so rapt in ecstasies, Youngest Autumn, in a bower

To stand apart, and to adore, Grape - thicken'd from the light, and Gazing on thee for evermore, blinded

Serene, imperial Eleänore !
With many a deep-hued bell-like

Of fragrant trailers, when the air Sometimes, with most intensity

Sleepeth over all the heaven, Gazing, I seem to see
And the crag that fronts the Even, Thought folded over thought, smiling
All along the shadowing shore,

asleep, Crimsons over an inland mere,

Slowly awaken'd, grow so full and deep
Eleanore !

In thy large eyes, that, overpower'd quite,
I cannot veil, or droop my sight,

But am as nothing in its light :
How may full-sail'd verse express, As tho' a star, in inmost heaven set,

How may measured words adore Ev'n while we gaze on it,

The full-flowing harmony Should slowly round his orb, and slowly Of thy swan-like stateliness,

grow Eleanore ?

To a full face, there like a sun remain The luxuriant symmetry

Fix'd—then as slowly fade again, Of thy floating gracefulness,

And draw itself to what it was Eleanore?

Every turn and glance of thine,

So full, so deep, so slow,
Every lineament divine,

Thought seems to come and go

In thy large eyes, imperial Eleanore.



« PreviousContinue »