Page images
PDF
EPUB

Sat muffled like the Fates ; and often came

Melissa hitting all we saw with shafts

Of gentle satire, kin to charity,
That harm'd not: then day droopt ; the chapel bells

Call’d us : we left the walks ; we mixt with those

Six hundred maidens clad in purest white,

Before two streams of light from wall to wall,
While the great organ almost burst his pipes,
Groaning for power, and rolling thro' the court
A long melodious thunder to the sound

Of solemn psalms, and silver litanies,

The work of Ida, to call down from Heaven

A blessing on her labours for the world.

Sweet and low, sweet and low,

Wind of the western sea,
Low, low, breathe and blow,

Wind of the western sea !
Over the rolling waters go,
Come from the dropping moon, and blow,

Blow him again to me ;
While my little one, while my pretty one sleeps.

Sleep and rest, sleep and rest,

Father will come to thee soon ; Rest, rest, on mother's breast,

Father will come to thee soon ; Father will come to his babe in the nest, Silver sails all out of the west

Under the silver moon :

Sleep, my little one, sleep, my pretty one, sleep.

III.

Morn in the white wake of the morning star

Came furrowing all the orient into gold.

We rose, and each by other drest with care

Descended to the court that lay three parts

In shadow, but the Muses' heads were touch'd

Above the darkness from their native East.

There while we stood beside the fount, and watch'd

Or seem'd to watch the dancing bubble, approach'd

Melissa, tinged with wan from lack of sleep,
Or grief, and glowing round her dewy eyes

The circled Iris of a night of tears ;
· And fly’she cried, • 0 fly, while yet you may !

6

My mother knows : ' and when I ask'd her · how'

• My fault ’ she weptmy fault! and yet not mine ; Yet mine in part. O hear me, pardon me.

My mother, 'tis her wont from night to night

To rail at Lady Psyche and her side.

She says

the Princess should have been the Head,

Herself and Lady Psyche the two arms ;
And so it was agreed when first they came ;
But Lady Psyche was the right hand now,

And she the left, or not, or seldom used ;

Hers more than half the students, all the love.

And so last night she fell to canvass you :

Her countrywomen! she did not envy her.

" Who ever saw such wild barbarians ?

“ Girls ?—more like men!” and at these words the snake, My secret, seem’d to stir within

my

breast ; And oh, Sirs, could I help it, but my cheek Began to burn and burn, and her lynx eye To fix and make me hotter, till she laugh'd : “O marvellously modest maiden, you ! Men! girls, like men! why, if they had been men

You need not set your thoughts in rubric thus

For wholesale comment.” Pardon, I am shamed

That I must needs repeat for my excuse

What looks so little graceful :

men

(for still

My mother went revolving on the word)

“ And so they are,—very like men indeed

And with that woman closeted for hours !

Then came these dreadful words out one by one,
Why-these-are-men :

I shudder’d: “ and you

know it.”

“O ask me nothing,” I said : “ And she knows too,

And she conceals it.”

So
my

mother clutch'd

The truth at once, but with no word from me ;

And now thus early risen she goes to inform
The Princess : Lady Psyche will be crush'd ;
But

you may yet be saved, and therefore fly: But heal me with your pardon ere you go.'

• What pardon, sweet Melissa, for a blush ?'

Said Cyril : ‘Pale one, blush again : than wear

Those lilies, better blush our lives away.

Yet let us breathe for one hour more in Heaven'

« PreviousContinue »