Page images

One act a phantom of succession : thus
Our weakness somehow shapes the shadow, Time ;

But in the shadow will we work, and mould

The woman to the fuller day.'

She spake

With kindled eyes : we rode a league beyond,
And, o'er a bridge of pinewood crossing, came
On flowery levels underneath the crag,
Full of all beauty. O how sweet'I said
(For I was half-oblivious of my mask)
• To linger here with one that loved us.' • Yea'
She answer'd ' or with fair philosophies
That lift the fancy ; for indeed these fields
Are lovely, lovelier not the Elysian lawns,
Where paced the Demigods of old, and saw
The soft white vapour streak the crowned towers
Built to the Sun :' then, turning to her maids,

Pitch our pavilion here upon the sward ;
Lay out the viands.' At the word, they raised
A tent of satin, elaborately wrought

With fair Corinna's triumph ; here she stood,
Engirt with many a florid maiden-cheek,
The woman-conqueror ; woman-conquer'd there

The bearded Victor of ten-thousand hymns,

And all the men mourn’d at his side : but we

Set forth to climb; then, climbing, Cyril kept

With Psyche, with Melissa Florian, I

With mine affianced. Many a little hand

Glanced like a touch of sunshine on the rocks,

Many a light foot shone like a jewel set

In the dark crag: and then we turn'd, we wound

About the cliffs, the copses, out and in,

Hammering and clinking, chattering stony names

Of shale and hornblende, rag

and trap

and tuff,

Amygdaloid and trachyte, till the Sun

Grew broader toward his death and fell, and all

The rosy heights came out above the lawns.

The splendour falls on castle walls

And snowy summits old in story:
The long light shakes across the lakes

And the wild cataract leaps in glory.
Blow, bugle, blow, set the wild echoes flying,
Blow, bugle; answer, echoes, dying, dying, dying.

O hark, o hear ! how thin and clear,

And thinner, clearer, farther going !
O sweet and far from cliff and scar

The horns of Elfland faintly blowing !
Blow, let us hear the purple glens replying :
Blow, bugle ; answer, echoes, dying, dying, dying.

O love, they die in yon rich sky,

They faint on hill or field or river:
Our echoes roll from soul to soul,

And grow for ever and for ever.
Blow, bugle, blow, set the wild echoes flying,
And answer, echoes, answer, dying, dying, dying.


• THERE sinks the nebulous star we call the Sun,

If that hypothesis of theirs be sound'

Said Ida ; let us down and rest :' and we

Down from the lean and wrinkled precipices,

By every coppice-feather'd chasm and cleft,

Dropt thro' the ambrosial gloom to where below
No bigger than a glow-worm shone the tent
Lamp-lit from the inner. Once she lean'd on me,
Descending ; once or twice she lent her hand,
And blissful palpitations in the blood,
Stirring a sudden transport rose and fell.

But when we planted level feet, and dipt

Beneath the satin dome and enter'd in,

There leaning deep in broider'd down we sank

Our elbows : on a tripod in the midst

A fragrant flame rose, and before us glow'd
Fruit, blossom, viand, amber wine, and gold.

Then she . Let some one sing to us : lightlier move The minutes fledged with music :' and a maid,

Of those beside her, smote her harp, and sang.

“ Tears, idle tears, I know not what they mean,
Tears from the depth of some divine despair
Rise in the heart, and gather to the eyes,
In looking on the happy Autumn-fields,

And thinking of the days that are no more.

“ Fresh as the first beam glittering on a sail, That brings our friends up from the underworld,

Sad as the last which reddens over one

That sinks with all we love below the verge ;

So sad, so fresh, the days that are no more.

“Ah, sad and strange as in dark summer dawns

« PreviousContinue »