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“Or when he goes the nimble squirrel's visitor,
Let the brown hermit bring his hoarded nuts,
For, tell him, this is Nature's kind Inquisitor, –
Though man keeps cautious doors that conscience shuts,
For conscious wrong all curious quest rebuts,-
Nor yet shall bees uncase their jealous stings,
However he may watch their straw-built huts;
So let him learn the crafts of all small things,
Which he will hint most aptly when he sings.”

Here she leaves off, and with a graceful hand
Waves thrice three splendid circles round his head;
Which, though deserted by the radiant wand,
Wears still the glory which her waving shed,
Such as erst crown'd the old Apostle's head,
To show the thoughts, there harbour'd, were divine,
And on immortal contemplations fed :-
Goodly it was to see that glory shine
Around a brow so lofty and benign!-

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Goodly it was to see the elfin brood
Contend for kisses of his gentle hand,
That had their mortal enemy withstood,
And stay'd their lives, fast ebbing with the sand.
Long while this strife engaged the pretty band;
But now bold Chanticleer, from farm to farm,
Challenged the dawn creeping o'er eastern land,
And well the fairies knew that shrill alarm,
Which sounds the knell of every selfish charm.

And soon the rolling mist, that 'gan arise
From plashy mead and undiscover'd stream,
Earth's morning incense to the early skies,
Crept o'er the failing landsoape of my dream.
Soon faded then the Phantom of my theme-
A shapeless shade, that fancy disavow'd,
And shrank to nothing in the mist extreme.
Then flew Titania,—and her little crowd,
Like flocking linets, vanish'd in a crowd.

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BIANCA !—fair Bianca !—who could dwell

With safety on her dark and hazel gaze,
Nor find there lurk'd in it a witching spell,

Fatal to balmy nights and blessed days?
The peaceful breath that made the bosom swell,

She turn'd to gas, and set it in a blaze ;
Each eye of hers had Love's Eupyrion in it,
That he could light his link at in a minute.

So that, wherever in her charms she shone,

A thousand breasts were kindled into flame; Maidens who cursed her looks forgot their own,

And beaux were turned to flambeaux where she came; All hearts indeed were conquer'd but her own,

Which none could ever temper down or tame :
In short, to take our haberdasher's hints,
She might have written over it,-“From Flints.".

She was, in truth, the wonder of her sex,

At least in Venice—where with eyes of brown Tenderly languid, ladies seldom vex

An amorous gentle with a needless frown;

Where gondolas convey guitars by pecks,

And Love at casements climbeth up and down, Whom for his tricks and custom in that kind, Some have considered a Venetian blind.

Howbeit, this difference was quickly taught,

Amongst more youths who had this cruel jailor, To hapless Julio—all in vain he sought

With each new moon his hatter and his tailor; In vain the richest padusoy he bought,

And went in bran new beaver to assail herAs if to show that Love had made him smart All over-and not merely round his heart.


In vain he labour'd thro' the sylvan park

Bianca haunted in—that where she came, Her learned eyes in wandering might mark

The twisted cypher of her maiden name, Wholesomely going thro' a course of bark:

No one was touch'd or troubled by his flame, Except the Dryads, those old maids that grow In trees,—like wooden dolls in embryo.

In vain complaining elegies he writ,

And taught his tuneful instrument to grieve, And sang in quavers how his heart was split,

Constant beneath her lattice with each eve;
She mock'd his wooing with her wicked wit,

And slashed his suit so that it match'd his sleeve,
Till he grew silent at the vesper star,
And quite despairing hamstringed his guitar.

Bianca's heart was coldly frosted o'er

With snows unmelting-an eternal sheet, But his was red within him, like the core

Of old Vesuvius, with perpetual heat ;
And oft he long'd internally to pour

His flames and glowing lava at her feet,
But when his burnings he began to spout,
She stopp'd his mouth, - and put the crater out.

Now, after listing to such laudings rare,

'Twas very natural indeed to go What if she did postpone one little pray'r

To ask her mirror “if it was not so ?”
'Twas a large mirror, none the worse for wear,

Reflecting her at once from top to toe :
And there she gazed upon that glossy track
That show'd her front face though it “ gave her back.'

And long her lovely eyes were held in thrall,

By that dear page where first the woman reads: That Julio was no fatt'rer, none at all,

She told herself—and then she told her beads; Meanwhile, the nerves insensibly let fall

Two curtains fairer than the lily breeds ; For sleep had crept and kiss'd her unawares, Just at the half-way milestone of her pray’rs.

Then like a drooping rose so bended she,

Till her bow'd head upon her hand reposed; But still she plainly saw, or seem'd to see,

That fair reflection, tho' her eyes were closed, A beauty bright as it was wont to be,

A portrait Fancy painted while she dozed: 'Tis very natural, some people say, To dream of what we dwell on in the day.

Still shone her face-yet not, alas! the same,

But 'gan some dreary touches to assume,
And sadder thoughts, with sadder changes came-

Her eyes resign'd their light, her lips their bloom,
Her teeth fell out, her tresses did the same,

Her cheeks were tinged with bile, her eyes with rheum : There was a throbbing at her heart within, For, oh! there was a shooting in her chin.

And lo! upon her sad desponding brow,

The cruel trenches of besieging age,
With seams, but most unseemly, 'gan to show

Her place was booking for the seventh stage ;

And where her raven tresses used to flow,

Some locks that Time had left her in his rage, And some mock ringlets, made her forehead shady, A compound (like our Psalms) of Tête and Braidy.

Then for her shape-alas ! how Saturn wrecks,

And bends, and corkscrews all the frame about, Doubles the hams, and crooks the straightest necks,

Draws in the nape, and pushes forth the snout, Makes backs and stomachs concave or convex:

Witness those pensioners call's In and Out, Who all day watching first and second rater, Quaintly unbend themselves—but grow no straighter.

So Time with fair Bianca dealt, and made

Her shape a bow, that once was like an arrow; His iron hand upon her spine he laid,

And twisted all awry her “winsome marrow." In truth it was a change !—she had obey'd

The holy Pope before her chest grew narrow, But spectacles and palsy seem'd to make her Something between a Glassite and a Quaker.

Her grief and gall meanwhile were quite extreme,

And she had ample reason for her trouble ; For what sad maiden can endure to seem

Set in for singleness, though growing double? The fancy madden'd her; but now the dream,

Grown thin by getting bigger, like a bubble, Burst, but still left some fragments of its size, That like the soapsuds, smarted in her eyes.

And here- just here- as she began to heed

The real world, her clock chimed out its score: A clock it was of the Venetian breed,

That cried the hour from one to twenty-four; The works moreover standing in some need

Of workmanship, it struck some dozen more ; A warning voice that clench'd Bianca's fears, Such strokes referring doubtless to her years.

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