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Benighted, close they huddled from the cold,
And shar'd their famish’d scrips. Thus all out-told
Their fond imaginations,—saving him
Whose eyelids curtain’d up their jewels dim,
Endymion: yet hourly had he striven
To hide the cankering venom, that had riven
His fainting recollections. Now indeed
His senses had swoon'd off: he did not heed
The sudden silence, or the whispers low, -
Or the old eyes dissolving at his woe, 4OO
Or anxious calls, or close of trembling palms,
Or maiden's sigh, that grief itself embalms:
But in the self-same fixed trance he kept,
Like one who on the earth had never stept.
Aye, even as dead-still as a marble man,
Frozen in that old tale Arabian.

Who whispers him so pantingly and close? Peona, his sweet sister : of all those, His friends, the dearest. Hushing signs she made, And breath'd a sister's sorrow to persuade 4Io A yielding up, a cradling on her care. Her eloquence did breathe away the curse: She led him, like some midnight spirit nurse Of happy changes in emphatic dreams, Along a path between two little streams, Guarding his forehead, with her round elbow, From low-grown branches, and his footsteps slow From stumbling over stumps and hillocks small; Until they came to where these streamlets fall, With mingled bubblings and a gentle rush, 42O Into a river, clear, brimful, and flush With crystal mocking of the trees and sky. A little shallop, floating there hard by, Pointed its beak over the fringed bank; And soon it lightly dipt, and rose, and sank, And dipt again, with the young couple's weight, Peona guiding, through the water straight, Towards a bowery island opposite; Which gaining presently, she steered light Into a shady, fresh, and ripply cove, 43o Where nested was an arbour, overwove

By many a summer's silent fingering;
To whose cool bosom she was used to bring
Her playmates, with their needle broidery,
And minstrel memories of times gone by.

So she was gently glad to see him laid Under her favourite bower's quiet shade, On her own couch, new made of flower leaves, Dried carefully on the cooler side of sheaves When last the sun his autumn tresses shook, 44o And the tann’d harvesters rich armfuls took. Soon was he quieted to slumbrous rest: But, ere it crept upon him, he had prest Peona's busy hand against his lips, And still, a sleeping, held her finger-tips In tender pressure. And as a willow keeps A patient watch over the stream that creeps Windingly by it, so the quiet maid Held her in peace: so that a whispering blade Of grass, a wailful gnat, a bee bustling 450 Down in the blue-bells, or a wren light rustling Among seer leaves and twigs, might all be heard.

O magic sleep ! O comfortable bird, That broodest o'er the troubled sea of the mind Till it is hush'd and smooth ! O unconfin'd Restraint imprisoned liberty great key To golden palaces, strange minstrelsy, Fountains grotesque, new trees, bespangled caves, Echoing grottos, full of tumbling waves And moonlight; aye, to all the mazy world 46o Of silvery enchantment —who, upfurl’d Beneath thy drowsy wing a triple hour, But renovates and lives 2–Thus, in the bower, Endymion was calm'd to life again. Opening his eyelids with a healthier brain, He said: “I feel this thine endearing love All through my bosom ; thou art as a dove Trembling its closed eyes and sleeked wings About me; and the pearliest dew not brings Such morning incense from the fields of May, 47o As do those brighter drops that twinkling stray

From those kind eyes, the very home and haunt
Of sisterly affection. Can I want
Aught else, aught nearer heaven, than such tears?
Yet dry them up, in bidding hence all fears
That, any longer, I will pass my days
Alone and sad. No, I will once more raise
My voice upon the mountain-heights; once more
Make my horn parley from their foreheads hoar :
Again my trooping hounds their tongues shall loll 48o
Around the breathed boar : again I’ll poll
The fair-grown yew tree, for a chosen bow :
And, when the pleasant sun is getting low,
Again I’ll linger in a sloping mead
To hear the speckled thrushes, and see feed
Our idle sheep. So be thou cheered sweet,
And, if thy lute is here, softly intreat
My soul to keep in its resolved course.”

Hereat Peona, in their silver source, Shut her pure sorrow drops with glad exclaim, 490 And took a lute, from which there pulsing came A lively prelude, fashioning the way In which her voice should wander. 'Twas a lay More subtle cadenced, more forest wild Than Dryope's lone lulling of her child; And nothing since has floated in the air So mournful strange. Surely some influence rare Went, spiritual, through the damsel’s hand; For still, with Delphic emphasis, she spann'd The quick invisible strings, even though she saw soo Endymion’s spirit melt away and thaw Before the deep intoxication. But soon she came, with Sudden burst, upon Her self-possession—swung the lute aside, And earnestly said: “Brother, 'tis vain to hide That thou dost know of things mysterious, Immortal, starry; such alone could thus Weigh down thy nature. Hast thou sinn'd in aught Offensive to the heavenly powers ? Caught A Paphian dove upon a message sent? 51o Thy deathful bow against some deer-herd bent, Sacred to Dian? Haply, thou hast seen

Her naked limbs among the alders green;
And that, alas ! is death. No, I can trace
Something more high perplexing in thy face l’”
Endymion look’d at her, and press'd her hand,
And said, “Art thou so pale, who wast so bland
And merry in our meadows? How is this?
Tell me thine ailment : tell me all amiss —
Ah! thou hast been unhappy at the change 520
Wrought suddenly in me. What indeed more strange?
Or more complete to overwhelm surmise?
Ambition is no sluggard: 'tis no prize,
That toiling years would put within my grasp,
That I have sigh’d for : with so deadly gasp
No man e'er panted for a mortal love.
So all have set my heavier grief above
These things which happen. Rightly have they done:
I, who still saw the horizontal sun
Heave his broad shoulder o'er the edge of the
world, -
Out-facing Lucifer, and then had hurl’d 531
My spear aloft, as signal for the chace—
I, who, for very sport of heart, would race
With my own steed from Araby; pluck down
A vulture from his towery perching ; frown
A lion into growling, loth retire—
To lose, at once, all my toil breeding fire,
And sink thus low ! but I will ease my breast
Of secret grief, here in this bowery nest.

“This river does not see the naked sky, 54o Till it begins to progress silverly Around the western border of the wood, Whence, from a certain spot, its winding flood Seems at the distance like a crescent moon : And in that nook, the very pride of June, Had I been used to pass my weary eves; The rather for the sun unwilling leaves So dear a picture of his sovereign power, And I could witness his most kingly hour, When he doth lighten up the golden reins, 550 And paces leisurely down amber plains

His snorting four. Now when his chariot last
Its beams against the zodiac-lion cast,
There blossom'd suddenly a magic bed
Of sacred ditamy, and poppies red :
At which I wondered greatly, knowing well
That but one night had wrought this flowery spell;
And, sitting down close by, began to muse
What it might mean. Perhaps, thought I, Morpheus,
In passing here, his owlet pinions shook; 56o
Or, it may be, ere matron Night uptook
Her ebon urn, young Mercury, by stealth,
Had dipt his rod in it: such garland wealth
Came not by common growth. Thus on I thought,
Until my head was dizzy and distraught.
Moreover, through the dancing poppies stole
A breeze, most softly lulling to my soul;
And shaping visions all about my sight
Of colours, wings, and bursts of spangly light;
The o became more strange, and strange, and
lm,
And then were gulph'd in a tumultuous swim : 57.1
And then I fell asleep. Ah, can I tell
The enchantment that afterwards befel?
Yet it was but a dream : yet such a dream
That never tongue, although it overteem
With mellow utterance, like a cavern spring,
Could figure out and to conception bring
All I beheld and felt. Methought I lay
Watching the zenith, where the milky way
Among the stars in virgin splendour pours; 58o
And travelling my eye, until the doors
Of heaven appear'd to open for my flight,
I became loth and fearful to alight
From such high soaring by a downward glance :
So kept me stedfast in that airy trance,
Spreading imaginary pinions wide.
When, presently, the stars began to glide,
And faint away, before my eager view :
At which I sigh’d that I could not pursue,
And dropt my vision to the horizon's verge; 590
And lo! from opening clouds, I saw emerge
The loveliest moon, that ever silver'd o'er

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