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Be thou a curse on them whose creed Divides and multiplies the most high God! 1821.

LXXIV.

I WOULD not be a king—Enough

Of woe it is to love:
The path to power is steep and rough,

And tempests reign above.

I would not climb the imperial throne;
'Tis built on ice which fortune's sun

Thaws in the height of noon.
Then farewell, king! Yet, were I one,

Care would not come so soon.
Would he and I were far away
Keeping flocks on Himalay!

LXXV.

0 Thou immortal deity

Whose throne is in the depth of human thought,

1 do adjure thy power and thee

By all that man may be, by all that he is not,
By all that he has been and yet must be!

LXXVI.

He wanders, like a day-appearing dream,
Through the dim wildernesses of the mind;

Through desert woods and tracts, which seem
Like ocean, homeless, boundless, unconfined.

LXXVII.

ON KEATS,

WHO DESIRED THAT ON HIS TOMB SHouLD BE INSCRIBED

"Here lieth One whose name was writ on water."
But, ere the breath that could erase it blew,
Death, in remorse for that fell slaughter,

Death, the immortalizing winter, flew

Athwart the stream,—and time's monthless torrent grew

A scroll of crystal, blazoning the name

Of Adonais.—

i8ai.

LXXVIII.

The rude wind is singing
The dirge of the music dead;

The cold worms are clinging
Where kisses were lately fed.

LXXIX.

"What art thou, presumptuous, who profanest

The wreath to mighty poets only due,
Even whilst like a forgotten moon thou wanest?

Touch not those leaves which for the eternal few
Who wander o'er the paradise of fame

In sacred dedication ever grew ;—
One of the crowd thou art without a name."

"Ah! friend, 'tis the false laurel that I wear.
Bright though it seem, ....
.... it is not the same

As that which bound Milton's immortal hair; Its dew is poison; and the hopes that quicken

Under its chilling shade, though seeming fair, Are flowers which die almost before they sicken."

LXXX.

WHEN soft winds and sunny skies
With the green earth harmonize,
And the young and dewy dawn,
Bold as an unlimited fawn,
Up the windless heaven is gone,
Laugh !—for, ambushed in the day,
Clouds and whirlwinds watch their prey.

LXXXI.

The babe is at peace within the womb,
The corpse is at rest within the tomb,
We begin in what we end.

LXXXII.
GINEVRA.
Wild, pale, and wonder-stricken, even as one
Who staggers forth into the air and sun
From the dark chamber of a mortal fever,—
Bewildered, and incapable, and ever
Fancying strange comments, in her dizzy brain,
Of usual shapes, till the familiar train
Of objects and of persons passed like things
Strange as a dreamer's mad imaginings,—
Ginevra from the nuptial altar went;
The vows to which her lips had sworn assent
Rung in her brain still with a jarring din,
Deafening the lost intelligence within.

And so she moved under the bridal veil,
Which made the paleness of her cheek more pale,
And deepened the faint crimson of her mouth,
And darkened her dark locks, as moonlight doth;
And of the gold and jewels glittering there
She scarce felt conscious, but the weary glare
Lay like a chaos of unwelcome light,
Vexing the sense with gorgeous undelight.
A moonbeam in the shadow of a cloud
Were less heavenly fair. Her face was bowed;
And, as she passed, the diamonds in her hair
Were mirrored in the polished marble stair
Which led from the cathedral to the street;
And ever as she went her light fair feet
Erased these images.

The bridemaidens who round her thronging came :,
Some with a sense of self-rebuke and shame,
Envying the unenviable; and others
Making the joy which should have been another's
Their own by gentle sympathy; and some
Sighing to think of an unhappy home;
Some few admiring what can ever lure
Maidens to leave the heaven serene and pure
Of parents' smiles for life's great cheat—a thing
Bitter to taste, sweet in imagining.

But they are all dispersed—and lo! she stands
Looking in idle grief on her white hands,
Alone within the garden now her own,
(And through the sunny air, with jangling tone,
The music of the merry marriage-bells,
Killing the azure silence, sinks and swells)—
Absorbed like one within a dream who dreams
That he is dreaming, until slumber seems
A mockery of itself—when suddenly
Antonio stood before her, pale as she.

With agony, with sorrow, and with pride,

He lifted his wan eyes upon the bride,

And said—'* Is this thy faith?" And then, as one

Whose sleeping face is stricken by the sun

With light like a harsh voice, which bids him rise

And look upon his day of life with eyes

Which weep in vain that they can dream no more,

Ginevra saw her lover; and forbore

To shriek or faint, and checked the stifling blood

Rushing upon her heart, and unsubdued

Said: "Friend, if earthly violence or ill,

Suspicion, doubt, or the tyrannic will

Of parents, chance or custom, time or change,

Or circumstance or terror or revenge,

Or wildered looks or words, or evil speech,

With all their stings and venom, can impeach

Our love,—we love not. If the grave, which hides

The victim from the tyrant, and divides

The cheek that whitens from the eyes that dart

Imperious inquisition to the heart

That is another's, could dissever ours,

We love not."—" What! do not the silent hours

Beckon thee to Gherardi's bridal bed?

Is not that ring" a pledge, he would have said,

Of broken vows. But she with patient look The golden circle from her finger took, And said: "Accept this token of my faith, The pledge of vows to be absolved by death. And I am dead, or shall be soon—my knell Will mix its music with that merry bell; Does it not sound as if they sweetly said VOL. II. Z

'We toll a corpse out of the marriage bed?'
The flowers upon my bridal chamber strewn
Will serve unfaded for my bier—so soon
That even the dying violet will not die
Before Ginevra." The strong fantasy
Had made her accents weaker and more weak,
And quenched the crimson life upon her cheek,
And glazed her eyes, and spread an atmosphere
Round her which chilled the burning noon with fear,
Making her but an image of the thought
Which, like a prophet or a shadow, brought
News of the terrors of the coming time.

Like an accuser branded with the crime
He would have cast on a beloved friend,
Whose dying eyes reproach not to the end
The pale betrayer—he then with vain repentance
Would share, he cannot now avert, the sentence—
Antonio stood, and would have spoken; when
The compound voice of women and of men
Was heard approaching. He retired; while she
Was led amid the admiring company
Back to the palace,—and her maidens soon
Changed her attire for the afternoon,
And left her at her own request to keep
An hour of quiet and rest. Like one asleep
With open eyes and folded hands she lay,
Pale in the light of the declining day.

Meanwhile the day sinks fast, the sun is set,
And in the lighted hall the guests are met.
The beautiful looked lovelier in the light
Of love and admiration and delight
Reflected from a thousand hearts and eyes,
Kindling a momentary paradise.
This crowd is safer than the silent wood,
Where love's own doubts disturb the solitude.
On frozen hearts the fiery rain of wine
Falls, and the dew of music more divine
Tempers the deep emotions of the time
To spirits cradled in a sunny clime.
How many meet who never yet have met,
To part too soon, but never to forget!

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