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Whose breath destroys all life—awhile it veils The rock—then, scattered by the wind, it flies Along the stream, or lingers on the clefts, Killing the sleepy worms, if aught bide there. Upon the beetling edge of that dark rock There stands a group of cypresses; not such As, with a graceful spire and stirring life, Pierce the pure heaven of your native vale, Whose branches the air plays among, but not Disturbs, fearing to spoil their solemn grace; But blasted and all wearily they stand, 31 One to another clinging; their weak boughs Sigh as the wind buffets them, and they shake Beneath its blasts—a weather-beaten crew

CHORUs. What wondrous sound is that, mournful and faint, But more melodious than the murmuring wind Which through the columns of a temple glides?

A.

It is the wandering voice of Orpheus' lyre, Borne by the winds, who sigh that their rude

king - 39 Hurries them fast from these air-feeding notes; But in their speed they bear along with them The waning sound, scattering it like dew Upon the startled sense.

CHORUs. Does he still sing? Methought he rashly cast away his harp When he had lost Eurydice.

A.
Ah no !
Awhile he paused.—As a poor hunted stag

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A moment shudders on the fearful brink
Of a swift stream—the cruel hounds press on
With deafening yell, the arrows glance and
wound,—
He plunges in: so Orpheus, seized and torn 50
By the sharp fangs of an insatiate grief,
Maenad-like waved his lyre in the bright air,
And wildly shrieked “Where she is, it is dark!”
And then he struck from forth the strings a
sound

of deep and fearful melody. Alas!

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In times long past, when fair Eurydice
With her bright eyes sat listening by his side,
He gently sang of high and heavenly themes.
As in a brook, fretted with little waves,
By the light airs of spring—each riplet makes
A many-sided mirror for the sun, 61
While it flows musically through green banks,
Ceaseless and pauseless, ever clear and fresh,
So flowed his song, reflecting the deep joy
And tender love that fed those sweetest notes,
The heavenly offspring of ambrosial food.

But that is past. Returning from drear Hell,

He chose a lonely seat of unhewn stone,
Blackened with lichens, on a herbless plain.
Then from the deep and overflowing spring 70
Of his eternal ever-moving grief
There rose to Heaven a sound of angry song.
'Tis as a mighty cataract that parts

Two sister rocks with waters swift and strong,

And casts itself with horrid roar and din
Adown a steep; from a perennial source
It ever flows and falls, and breaks the air
With loud and fierce, but most harmonious roar,

And as it falls casts up a vaporous spray

Which the sun clothes in hues of Iris light. 80 Thus the tempestuous torrent of his grief

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Of poesy. Unlike all human works,

It never slackens, and through every change

Wisdom and beauty and the power divine

Of mighty poesy together dwell,

Mingling in sweet accord. As I have seen

A fierce south blast tear through the darkened sky,

Driving along a rack of winged clouds,

Which may not pause, but ever hurry on, 90

As their wild shepherd wills them, while the stars,

Twinkling and dim, peep from between the l plumes: g1

Anon the sky is cleared, and the high dome

Of serene Heaven, starred with fiery flowers,

Shuts in the shaken earth; or the still moon

swiftly, yet gracefully, begins her walk,

Rising all bright behind the eastern hills :

I talk of moon, and wind, and stars, and not

Of song; but would I echo his high song,

Nature must lend me words ne’er used before,

Or I must borrow from her perfect works, 101

To picture forth his perfect attributes.

He does no longer sit upon his throne

Of rock upon a desert herbless plain,

For the evergreen and knotted ilexes,

And cypresses that seldom wave their boughs,

And sea-green olives with their grateful fruit,

And elms dragging along the twisted vines,

Which drop their berries as they follow fast,

And blackthorn bushes with their infant race

Of blushing rose-blooms; beeches, to lovers dear, I 1 1

And weeping willow trees; all swift or slow,

As their huge boughs or lighter dress permit,

Have circled in his throne, and Earth herself

Is clothed in sweetest sounds and varying words l u l

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Has sent from her maternal breast a growth
Of starlike flowers and herbs of odour sweet,
To pave the temple that his poesy
Has framed, while near his feet grim lions
couch, 118
And kids, fearless from love, creep near his lair.
Even the blind worms seem to feel the sound.
The birds are silent, hanging down their heads,
Perched on the lowest branches of the trees;
Not even the nightingale intrudes a note
In rivalry, but all entranced she listens.

FIORDISPINA.

THE season was the childhood of sweet June,
Whose sunny hours from morning until noon
Went creeping through the day with silent feet,
Each with its load of pleasure, slow yet sweet;
Like the long years of bless'd Eternity
Never to be developed. Joy to thee,
Fiordispina and thy Cosimo,
For thou the wonders of the depth canst know
Of this unfathomable flood of hours, 9
Sparkling beneath the heaven which embowers—

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They were two cousins, almost like to twins,
Except that from the catalogue of sins
Nature had raised their love—which could not be
But by dissevering their nativity.
And so they grew together like two flowers
Upon one stem, which the same beams and
showers
Lull or awaken in their purple prime,
Which the same hand will gather—the same
Shake with decay. This fair day smiles to see
All those who love—and who e'er loved like
thee, 2O
Fiordispina P Scarcely Cosimo,
Within whose bosom and whose brain now glow
The ardours of a vision which obscure
The very idol of its portraiture.
He faints, dissolved into a sea of love;
But thou art as a planet sphered above;
But thou art Love itself—ruling the motion
Of his subjected spirit: such emotion
Must end in sin and sorrow, if sweet May
Had not brought forth this morn—your wed-

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Fiordispina said, and threw the flowers
Which she had from the breathing. . . .

—A table near of polished porphyry.
They seemed to wear a beauty from the eye
That looked on them—a fragrance from the
touch
Whose warmth checked their life; a
light such
As sleepers wear, lulled by the voice they love,
which did reprove 40
The childish pity that she felt for them,
And a remorse that from their stem
She had divided such fair shapes made
A feeling in the which was a shade
Of gentle beauty on the flowers: there lay
All gems that make the earth's dark bosom gay.
rods of myrtle-buds and lemon-blooms,
And that leaf tinted lightly which assumes

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