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Nature had rased 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 clime

Shake with decay. This fair day smiles to see

All those who love—and who e'er loved like thee,

Fiordispina? 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 or sorrow, if sweet May

Had not brought iorth this morn, your wedding-day.

"Lie there; sleep awhile in your own dew,
Ye faint-eyed children of the . . . Hours,"
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
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
The livery of unremembered snow—
Violets whose eyes have drunk—

Fiordispina and her nurse are now

Upon the steps of the high portico;
Under the withered arm of Media
She flings her glowing arm.

step by step and stair by stair,'
That withered woman, grey and white and brown—
More like a trunk by lichens overgrown
Than anything which once could have been human.
And ever as she goes the palsied woman

"How slow and painfully you seem to walk,
Poor Media! you tire yourself with talk."

"And well it may,
Fiordispina, dearest! Well-a-day!
You are hastening to a marriage-bed;
I to the grave!"—" And, if my love were dead,
Unless my heart deceives me, I would lie
Beside him in my shroud as willingly
As now in the gay night-dress Lilla wrought."
"Fie, child! Let that unseasonable thought
Not be remembered till it snows in June;
Such fancies are a music out of tune
With the sweet dance your heart must keep to-night.
What! would you take all beauty and delight
Back to the paradise from which you sprung,

And leave to grosser mortals?

And say, sweet lamb, would you not learn the sweet
And subtle mystery by which spirits meet?
Who knows whether the loving game is played
When, once of mortal vesture disarrayed,
The uaked soul goes wandering here and there
Through the wide deserts of elysian air?
The violet dies not till it" . . .




Art thou pale for weariness
Of climbing heaven, and gazing on the earth,-

Wandering companionless
Among the stars that have a different birth,—

And ever changing, like a joyless eye
That finds no object worth its constancy?

Thou chosen sister of the spirit,
That gazes on thee till in thee it pities . . .



Unrisen splendour of the brightest sun,
To rise upon our darkness, if the star

Now beckoning thee out of thy misty throne

Could thaw the clouds which wage an obscure war

With thy young brightness!




A Portal as of shadowy adamant

Stands yawning on the highway of the life
Which we all tread, a cavern huge and gaunt.

Around it rages an unceasing strife
Of shadows, like the restless clouds that haunt
The gap of some cleft mountain, lifted high
Into the whirlwinds of the upper sky.

And many pass it by with careless tread,

Not knowing that a shadowy . . .
Tracks every traveller even to where the dead

Wait peacefully for their companion new.
But others, by more curious humour led,
Pause to examine: these are very few,
And they learn little there, except to know
N That shadows follow them where'er they go.


I Went into the deserts of dim sleep—

That world which, like an unknown wilderness, Bounds this with its recesses wide and deep.


The viewless and invisible Consequence
Watches thy goings-out and comings-in,

And . . hovers o'er thy guilty sleep,
Unveiling every new-born deed, and thoughts
More ghastly than those deeds.


I DREAMED that Milton's spirit rose, and took

From life's green tree his Uranian lute;
And from his touch sweet thunder flowed, and shook
All human things built in contempt of man,—
And sanguine thrones and impious altars quaked,
Prisons and citadels.


His face was like a snake's—wrinkled and loose
And withered.

The gentleness of rain was in the wind.


Methought I was a billow in the crowd

Of common men, that stream without a shore,
That ocean which at once is deaf and loud;
That I, a man, stood amid many more
By a wayside . . , which the aspect bore
Of some imperial metropolis,

Where mighty shapes—pyramid, dome, and tower-
Gleamed like a pile of crags.


And many there were hurt by that strong boy;

His name, they said, was Pleasure.
And near him stood, glorious beyond measure,
Four Ladies who possess all empery

In earth and air and sea:
Nothing that lives from their award is free.
Their names will I declare to thee,—


Love, Hope, Desire and Fear;
And they the regents are
Of the four elements that frame the heart,—
And each diversely exercised her art,
By force or circumstance or sleight,
To prove her dreadful might
Upon that poor domain.
Desire presented her [false] glass; and then

The spirit dwelling there
Was spellbound to embrace what seemed so fair
Within that magic mirror.
And, dazed by that bright error,
It would have scorned the [shafts] of the avenger,
And death and penitence and danger,
Had not then silent Fear
Touched with her palsying spear,—
So that, as if a frozen torrent,
The blood was curdled in its current;
It dared not speak, even in look or motion,
But chained within itself its proud devotion.
Between Desire and Fear thou wert
A wretched thing, poor heart!
Sad_was his life who bore thee in his breast,

Wild bird for that weak nest.
Till Love even from fierce Desire it bought,
And from the very wound of tender thought
Drew solace, and the pity of sweet eyes
Gave strength to bear those gentle agonies,
Surmount the loss, the terror, and the sorrow.

Then Hope approached, she who can borrow,

For poor To-day, from rich To-morrow;

And Fear withdrew, as night when day

Descends upon the orient ray.

And after long and vain endurance

The poor heart woke to her assurance.

—At one birth these four were bor n

With the world's forgotten morn,

And from Pleasure still they hold

All it circles, as of old.

When, as summer lures the swallow,

Pleasure lures the heart to follow

(O weak heart of little wit!)

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