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Their whispers made the solemn silence seem
More still—some wept, [ ]
Some melted into tears without a sob,
And some with hearts that might be heard to throb
Leant on the table, and at intervals
Shuddered to hear through the deserted halls
And corridors the thrilling shrieks which came
Upon the breeze of night, that shook the flame
Of every torch and taper, as it swept
From out the chamber where the women kept ;-
Their tears fell on the dear companion cold
Of pleasures now departed; then was knolled
The bell of death, and soon the priests arrived,
And finding death their penitent had shrived,
Returned like ravens from a corpse whereon
A vulture has just feasted to the bone.
And then the mourning-women caine.-
OLD winter was gone
In his weakness back to the mountains hoar,
And the spring came down
From the planet that hovers upon the shore
Where the sea of sunlight encroaches
On the limits of wintry night ;-
If the land, and the air, and the sea,
Rejoice not when spring approaches,
We did not rejoice in thee,
She is still, she is cold
On the bridal couch.
One step to the white death-bed,
And one to the bier,
And one to the charnel—and one, oh where?
The dark arrow fled
In the noon.
Ere the sun through heaven once more has rolled
The rats in her heart
Will have made their nest,
And the worms be alive in her golden hair ;
While the spirit that guides the sun
Sits throned in his flaming chair,
She shall sleep.
The sun is set; the swallows are asleep ;
The bats are flitting fast in the gray air ; The slow soft toads out of damp corners creep ;
And evening's breath, wandering here and there Over the quivering surface of the stream, Wakes not one ripple from its summer dream.
There is no dew on the dry grass to-night,
Nor damp within the shadow of the trees; The wind is intermitting, dry, and light;
And in the inconstant motion of the breeze The dust and straws are driven up and down, And whirled about the pavement of the town.
Within the surface of the fleeting river
The wrinkled image of the city lay,
Immovably unquiet, and for ever
It trembles, but it never fades
away ; Go to the C
] You, being changed, will find it then as now.
The chasm in which the sun has sunk, is shut
By darkest barriers of enormous cloud, Like mountain over mountain huddled--but
Growing and moving upwards in a crowd ; And over it a space of watery blue, Which the keen evening star is shining through.
Our boat is asleep on Serchio's stream,
Its sails are folded like thoughts in a dream,
The helm sways idly, hither and thither;
Dominic, the boatman, has brought the mast,
And the oars, and the sails ; but 'tis sleeping fast,
Like a beast, unconscious of its tether.
The stars burnt out in the pale blue air,
And the thin white moon lay withering there :
To tower, and cavern, and rift, and tree,
The owl and the bat fled drowsily.
Day had kindled the dewy woods
And the rocks above and the stream below,
And the vapours in their multitudes,
And the Apennines' shroud of summer snow,
And clothed with light of airy gold
The mists in their eastern caves uprolled.
Day had awakened all things that be,
The lark and the thrush and the swallow free,
And the milkmaid's song and mower's scythe,
And the matin-bell and the mountain bee.
Fire-flies were quenched on the dewy corn ;
Glow-worms went out on the river's brim,
Like lamps which a student forgets to trim;
The beetle forgot to wind his horn;
The crickets were still in the meadow and hill;
Like a flock of rooks at a farmer's gun,
Night's dreams and terrors, every one,
Fled from the brains which are their prey
From the lamp's death to the morning ray.
All rose to do the task He set to each,
Who shaped us to his ends and not our own;
The million rose to learn, and one to teach
What none yet ever knew or can be known.
And many rose Whose woe was such that fear became desire ;Melchior and Lionel were not among those; They from the throng of men had stepped aside, And made their home under the green hill-side. It was that hill, whose intervening brow Screens Lucca from the Pisan's envious eye, Which the circumfluous plain waving below, Like a wide lake of green fertility, With streams and fields and marshes bare Divides from the far Apennines--which lie Islanded in the immeasurable air.