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The peaceful breath that made the bosom swell

She turned to gas, and set it in a blaze; Each eye of hers had Love's Eupyrion in it, That he could light his link at in a minute. So that, wherever in her charms she shone,

A thousand breasts were kindled into flame; Maidens who cursed her looks forgot their own,

And beaux were turned to flambeaux where she came; All hearts indeed were conquered but her own,

Which none could ever temper down or tame :
In short, to take our haberdasher's hints,
She might have written over it,—“From Flints.”
She was, in truth, the wonder of her sex,

At least in Venice – where with eyes of brown,
Tenderly languid, ladies seldom vex

An amorous gentle with a needless frown;
Where gondolas convey guitars by pecks,

And love at casements climbeth up and down,
Whom, for his tricks and custom in that kind,
Some have considered a Venetian blind.
Howbeit, this difference was quickly taught,

Amongst more youths who had this cruel jailer,
To hapless Julio — all in vain he sought

With each new moon his hatter and his tailor;
In vain the richest padusoy he bought,

And went in bran-new beaver to assail her —
As if to show that Love had made him smart
All over — and not merely round his heart.
In vain he labored through the sylvan park

Bianca haunted in — that where she came
Her learned eyes in wandering might mark

The twisted cipher of her maiden name.

Wholesomely going through a course of bark:

No one was touched or troubled by his flame,
Except the Dryads, those old maids that grow
In trees, — like wooden dolls in embryo.
In vain complaining elegies he writ,

And taught his tuneful instrument to grieve,
And sang in quavers how his heart was split,

Constant beneath her lattice with each eve; She mocked his wooing with her wicked wit,

And slashed his suit so that it matched his sleeve, Till he grew silent at the vesper star, And, quite despairing, hamstringed his guitar. Bianca's heart was coldly frosted o'er

With snows unmelting —an eternal sheet; But his was red within him, like the core

Of old Vesuvius, with perpetual heat;
And oft he longed internally to pour

His flames and glowing lava at her feet,
But when his burnings he began to spout,
She stopped his mouth, and put the crater out.
Meanwhile he wasted in the eyes of men,

So thin, he seemed a sort of skeleton-key
Suspended at Death's door — so pale — and then

He turned as nervous as an aspen-tree; The life of man is three-score years and ten,

But he was perishing at twenty-three, For people truly said, as grief grew stronger, “It could not shorten his poor life — much longer.” For why, he neither slept, nor drank, nor fed,

Nor relished any kind of mirth below; Fire in his heart, and frenzy in his head,

Love had become his universal foe,

Salt in his sugar — nightmare in his bed,

At last, no wonder wretched Julio,
A sorrow-ridden thing, in utter dearth
Of hope, — made up his mind to cut her girth !
For hapless lovers always died of old,

Sooner than chew reflection's bitter cud;
So Thisbe stuck herself, what time 't is told

The tender-hearted mulberries wept blood : And so poor Sappho, when her boy was cold,

Drowned her salt tear-drops in a salter flood, Their fame still breathing, though their breath be past, For those old suitors lived beyond their last. So Julio went to drown,— when life was dull,

But took his corks, and merely had a bath; And once, he pulled a trigger at his skull,

But merely broke a window in his wrath;
And once, his hopeless being to annul,

He tied a pack-thread to a beam of lath,
A line so ample, 't was a query whether
’T was meant to be a halter or a tether.
Smile not in scorn, that Julio did not thrust

His sorrows through — 't is horrible to die;
And come down with our little all of dust,

That dun of all the duns to satisfy;
To leave life's pleasant city as we must,

In Death's most dreary sponging-house to lie,
Where even all our personals must go
To pay the debt of nature that we owe!
So Julio lived: - 't was nothing but a pet

He took at life — a momentary spite;
Besides, he hoped that time would some day get
The better of love's flame, however bright.

A thing that time has never compassed yet,

For love, we know, is an immortal light. Like that old fire, that, quite beyond a doubt, Was always in, —for none have found it out. Meanwhile, Bianca dreamed—'t was once when night

Along the darkened plain began to creep, Like a young Hottentot, whose eyes are bright,

Although in skin as sooty as a sweep:
The flowers had shut their eyes — the zephyr light

Was gone, for it had rocked the leaves to sleep,
And all the little birds had laid their heads
Under their wings — sleeping in feather beds.
Lone in her chamber sate the dark-eyed maid,

By easy stages jaunting through her prayers,
But listening side long to a serenade,

That robbed the saints a little of their shares ; For Julio underneath the lattice played

His Deh Vieni, and such amorous airs, Born only underneath Italian skies, Where every fiddle has a Bridge of Sighs. Sweet was the tune — the words were even sweeter,

Praising her eyes, her lips, her nose, her hair, With all the common tropes wherewith in metre

The hackney poets overcharge their fair. Her shape was like Diana's, but completer;

Her brow with Grecian Helen's might compare. Cupid, alas ! was cruel Sagittarius, Julio — the weeping waterman Aquarius. Now, after listing to such laudings rare,

’T was very natural indeed to go — What if she did postpone one little prayer ! To ask her mirror 'if it was not so ?'

'T was a large mirror, none the worse for wear,

Reflecting her at once from top to toe : And there she gazed upon that glossy track, That showed her front face, though it “gave her back.” And long her lovely eyes were held in thrall,

By that dear page where first the woman reads : That Julio was no flatterer, none at all,

She told herself — and then she told her beads; Meanwhile, the nerves insensibly let fall

Two curtains fairer than the lily breeds ; For sleep had crept and kissed her unawares, Just at the half-way milestone of her prayers. Then like a drooping rose so bended she,

Till her bowed head upon her hand reposed; But still she plainly saw, or seemed to see,

That fair reflection, though her eyes were closed,
A beauty bright, as it was wont to be,

A portrait Fancy painted while she dozed :
'Tis very natural, some people say,
To dream of what we dwell on in the day.
Still shone her face — yet not, alas ! the same,

But 'gan some dreary touches to assume,
And sadder thoughts with sadder changes came —

Her eyes resigned their light, her lips their bloom,
Her teeth fell out, her tresses did the same,

Her cheeks were tinged with bile, her eyes with rheum;
There was a throbbing at her heart within,
For, O! there was a shooting in her chin.
And, lo! upon her sad desponding brow

The cruel trenches of besieging age,
With seams, but most unseemly, ’gan to show

Her place was booking for the seventh stage :

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