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The earliest pipe of half-awaken’d birds
To dying ears, when unto dying eyes
So sad, so strange, the days that are no more.
“ Dear as remember'd kisses after death,
And sweet as those by hopeless fancy feign’d
She ended with such passion that the tear, She sang of, shook and fell, an erring pearl
Lost in her bosom : but with some disdain
Answer'd the Princess · If indeed there haunt
About the moulder'd lodges of the Past
And so pace by : but thine are fancies hatch'd
In silken-folded idleness ; nor is it
Wiser to weep a true occasion lost,
But trim our sails, and let old bygones be,
While down the streams that float us each and all
To the issue, goes, like glittering bergs of ice,
Becomes a cloud : for all things serve their time
Their monstrous idols, care not while we hear
A trumpet in the distance pealing news
Above the unrisen morrow :' then to me ;
• Know you no song of your own land,' she said,
• Not such as moans about the retrospect,
But deals with the other distance and the hues
Of promise ; not a death’s-head at the wine.'
Then I remember'd one myself had made What time I watch'd the swallow winging south From mine own land, part made long since, and part Now while I sang, and maidenlike as far As I could ape their treble, did I sing.
• O Swallow, Swallow, flying, flying South, Fly to her, and fall upon her gilded eaves,
And tell her, tell her what I tell to thee.
O tell her, Swallow, thou that knowest each, That bright and fierce and fickle is the South,
And dark and true and tender is the North.
• 0 Swallow, Swallow, if I could follow, and light Upon her lattice, I would pipe and trill, And cheep and twitter twenty million loves.
• O were I thou that she might take me in,
And lay me on her bosom, and her heart
Would rock the snowy cradle till I died.
• Why lingereth she to clothe her heart with love,
Delaying as the tender ash delays
• O tell her, Swallow, that thy brood is flown:
Say to her, I do but wanton in the South
But in the North long since my nest is made.
«0 tell her, brief is life but love is long,
And brief the sun of summer in the North,
And brief the moon of beauty in the South.
0 Swallow, flying from the golden woods, Fly to her, and pipe and woo her, and make her mine, And tell her, tell her, that I follow thee.'
I ceased and all the ladies, each at each,
Like the Ithacensian suitors in old time,
Stared with great eyes, and laugh'd with alien lips,
• 0 Bulbul, any rose of Gulistan Shall burst her veil: marsh-divers, rather, maid,
Shall croak thee sister, or the meadow-crake
Grate her harsh kindred in the grass : and this
A mere love-poem ! O for such, my friend,
And dress the victim to the offering up,
And paint the gates of Hell with Paradise,
And play the slave to gain the tyranny.
Poor soul! I had a maid of honour once ;
She wept her true eyes blind for such a one,
A rogue of canzonets and serenades.
I loved her. Peace be with her ! she is dead.
So they blaspheme the muse! but great is song
The passion of the prophetess ; for song