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Could make their tears all wonder and delight—
She in her crystal vials did closely keep: If men could drink of thos& clear vials, 'tis said The living were not envied of the dead.
Her cave was stored with scrolls of strange device, The works of some Saturnian Archimage, Which taught the expiations at whose price Men from the Gods might win that happy age Too lightly lost, redeeming native vice;
And which might quench the Earth-consuming rage Of gold and blood—till men should live and
move Harmonious as the sacred stars above;
And how all things that seem untameable,
Obey the spells of wisdom's wizard skill;
And all their shapes—and man's imperial will; And other scrolls whose writings did unbind
The inmost lore of Love—let the profane
Tremble to ask what secrets they contain.
And wondrous works of substances unknown, To which the enchantment of her father's power Had changed those ragged blocks of savage stone, Were heaped in the recesses of her bower;
Carved lamps and chalices, and vials which
shone In their own golden beams—each like a
flower, Out of whose depth a fire-fly shakes his light Under a cypress in a starless night.
At first she lived alone in this wild home,
Clothing themselves, or with the ocean-foam,
To work whatever purposes might come
Into her mind; such power her mighty Sire
Had girt them with, whether to fly or run,
Through all the regions which he shines upon.
The Ocean-nymphs and Hainadryades,
Oreads and Naiads, with long weedy locks,
Offered to do her bidding through the seas,
And far beneath the matted roots of trees,
So they might live for ever in the light
Of her sweet presence—each a satellite.
"This may not be," the wizard maid replied;
"The fountains where the Naiades bedew "Their shining hair, at length are drained and dried;
"The solid oaks forget their strength, and strew "Their latest leaf upon the mountains wide;
"The boundless ocean like a drop of dew "Will be consumed—the stubborn centre must "Be scattered, like a cloud of summer dust.
"And ye with them will perish, one by one;— "If I must sigh to think that this shall be,
"If I must weep when the surviving Sun
"Shall smile on your decay—Oh, ask not me / ^
"To love you till your little race is run; . »'v -'
"I cannot die as ye must—over me
"Your leaves shall glance—the streams in which ^.,^.>. ye dwell
"Shall be my paths henceforth, and so—farewell ! "—
She spoke and wept:—the dark and azure well Sparkled beneath the shower of her bright tears,
And every little circlet where they fell
Flung to the cavern-roof inconstant spheres
And intertangled lines of light:—a knell
From those departing Forms, o'er the serene
Of the white streams and of the forest green.
All day the wizard lady sate aloof,
Spelling out scrolls of dread antiquity,
Or broidering the pictured poesy
Which the sweet splendour of her smiles
While on her hearth lay blazing many a piece
Men scarcely know how beautiful fire is—
Dissolved in ever-moving light, and this
The Witch beheld it not, for in her hand
She held a woof that dimmed the burning brand.
This lady never slept, but lay in trance
Its emerald crags glowed in her beauty's glance; Through the green splendour of the water deep
She saw the constellations reel and dance
The tenour of her contemplations calm,
With open eyes, closed feet and folded palm.
And when the whirlwinds and the clouds descended
From the white pinnacles of that cold hill, She passed at dewfall to a space extended,
Where in a lawn of flowering asphodel, Amid a wood of pines and cedars blended,
There yawned an inextinguishable well Of crimson fire—full even to the brim, And overflowing all the margin trim.
Within the which she lay when the fierce war Of wintry winds shook that innocuous liquor
In many a mimic moon and bearded star O'er woods and lawns ;—the serpent heard it flicker
In sleep, and dreaming still, he crept afar—
And when the windless snow descended thicker Than autumn leaves, she watched it as it came Melt on the surface of the level flame.
She had a Boat, which some say Vulcan wrought For Venus, as the chariot of her star;
But it was found too feeble to be fraught
And so she sold it, and Apollo bought
Changed to the fairest and the lightest boat
Which ever upon mortal stream did float.
And others say that, when but three hours old,
'The first-born Love out of his cradle leapt, And clove dun Chaos with his wings of gold,
And, like an horticultural adept, Stole a strange seed, and wrapped it up in mould,
And sowed it in his mother's star, and kept Watering it all the summer with sweet dew, And with his wings fanning it as it grew.
The plant grew strong and green, the snowy