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LADY. Oh! would that I could claim exemption From all the bitterness of that sweet name. I loved, I love, and when I love no more Let joys and grief perish, and leave despair 50 To ring the knell of youth. He stood beside me, The embodied vision of the brightest dream, Which like a dawn heralds the day of life; The shadow of his presence made my world A paradise. All familiar things he touched, All common words he spoke, became to me Like forms and sounds of a diviner world. He was as is the sun in his fierce youth, As terrible and lovely as a tempest; He came, and went, and left me what I am. 60 Alas! Why must I think how oft we two Have sate together near the river-springs, Under the green pavilion which the willow Spreads on the floor of the unbroken fountain, Strewn by the nurslings that linger there? Over that islet paved with flowers and moss, While the musk-rose. leaves, like flakes of

crimson snow, Showered on us, and the dove mourned in the

pine, Sad prophetess of sorrows not her own, The crane returned to her unfrozen haunt, 70 And the false cuckoo bade the Spring good

morn; And on a wintry bough the widowed bird, Hid in the deepest night of ivy-leaves, Renewed the vigils of a sleepless sorrow. I, left like her, and leaving one like her, Alike abandoned and abandoning (Oh! unlike her in this !) the gentlest youth, Whose love had made my sorrows dear to him, Even as my sorrow made his love to me!

INDIAN.
One curse of Nature stamps in the same mould
The features of the wretched ; and they are 81
As like as violet to violet,
When memory, the ghost, their odours keeps
'Mid the cold relics of abandoned joy.-
Proceed.

LADY.
He was a simple innocent boy.
I loved him well, but not as he desired;
Yet even thus he was content to be:-
A short content, for I was ...

INDIAN (aside).

God of heaven! From such an islet, such a river-spring. ..! I dare not ask her if there stood upon it 90 A pleasure-dome surmounted by a crescent, With steps to the blue water. (Aloud) It

may be That Nature masks in life several copies Of the same lot, so that the sufferers May feel another's sorrow as their own, And find in friendship what they lost in love. That cannot be: yet it is strange that we, From the same scene, by the same path to this Realm of abandonment . . . But speak! your

breathYour breath is like soft music, your words are The echoes of a voice which on my heart 101 Sleeps like a melody of early days. But as you said

1 This combination of words is sufficiently marked to be recorded as another reminiscence of Coleridge's Kubla Khan :

A lofty pleasure-dome with caves of ice.-ED.

LADY.

He was so awful, yet
So beautiful in mystery and terror,
Calming me as the loveliness of heaven
Soothes the unquiet sea :--and yet not so,
For he seemed stormy, and would often seem
A quenchless sun masked in portentous clouds ;
For such his thoughts, and even his actions

were ;
But he was not of them, nor they of him, 110
But as they hid his splendour from the earth.
Some said he was a man of blood and peril,
And steeped in bitter infamy to the lips.
More need was there I should be innocent,
More need that I should be most true and kind,
And much more need that there should be

found one
To share remorse, and scorn and solitude,
And all the ills that wait on those who do
The tasks of ruin in the world of life.
He fled, and I have followed him.

INDIAN.

Such a one 120
Is he who was the winter of my peace.
But, fairest stranger, when didst thou depart
From the far hills where rise the springs of

India,
How didst thou pass the intervening sea ?

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LADY.
If I be sure I am not dreaming now,
I should not doubt to say it was a dream.
Methought a star came down from heaven,
And rested 'mid the plants of India,
Which I had given a shelter from the frost
Within my chamber. There the meteor lay, 130

Panting forth light among the leaves and

flowers, As if it lived, and was outworn with speed; Or that it loved, and passion made the pulse Of its bright life throb like an anxious heart, Till it diffused itself, and all the chamber And walls seemed melted into emerald fire That burned not; in the midst of which ap- .

peared A spirit like a child, and laughed aloud A thrilling peal of such sweet merriment As made the blood tingle in my warm feet: 140 Then bent over a vase, and murmuring Low, unintelligible melodies, Placed something in the mould like melon

seeds, And slowly faded, and in place of it A soft hand issued from the veil of fire, Holding a cup like a magnolia flower, And poured upon the earth within the vase The element with which it overflowed, Brighter than morning light, and purer than The water of the springs of Himalah. 150

DIAN.

You waked not ?

LADY.

Not until my dream became Like a child's legend on the tideless sand, Which the first foam erases half, and half Leaves legible. At length I rose, and went : Visiting my flowers from pot to pot, and

thought
To set new cuttings in the empty urns;
And, when I came to that beside the lattice,
I saw two little dark-green leaves

Lifting the light mould at their birth, and then
I half-remembered my forgotten dream. 160
And day by day, green as a gourd in June,
The plant grew fresh and thick, yet no one knew
What plant it was; its stem and tendrils seemed
Like emerald snakes, mottled and diamonded
With azure mail and streaks of woven silver;
And all the sheaths that folded the dark buds
Rose like the crest of cobra-di-capel,
Until the golden eye of the bright flower,
Through the dark lashes of those veinèd lids,
Disencumbered of their silent sleep, 170
Gazed like a star into the morning light.
Its leaves were delicate, you almost saw
The pulses
With which the purple velvet flower was fed
To overflow, and like a poet's heart
Changing bright fancy to sweet sentiment,
Changed half the light to fragrance. It soon

fell,
And to a green and dewy embryo-fruit
Left all its treasured beauty. Day by day
I nursed the plant, and on the double flute 180
Played to it on the sunny winter days
Soft melodies, as sweet as April rain
On silent leaves, and sang those words in which
Passion makes Echo taunt the sleeping strings;
And I would send tales of forgotten love
Late into the lone night, and sing wild songs
Of maids deserted in the olden time,
And weep like a soft cloud in April's bosom
Upon the sleeping eyelids of the plant,
So that perhaps it dreamed that Spring was
come,

190 And crept abroad into the moonlight air, And loosened all its limbs, as, noon by noon, The sun averted less his oblique beam.

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