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I turn'd and humm'd a bitter song
We met, but only meant to part. Full cold my greeting was and dry ;
She faintly smiled, she hardly moved ; I saw with half-unconscious eye She wore the colours I approved.
She took the little ivory chest,
With half a sigh she turn’d the key, Then raised her head with lips comprest,
And gave my letters back to me. And gave the trinkets and the rings,
Mygifts, when gifts of mine could please; As looks a father on the things
Of his dead son, I look'd on these.
I had a vision when the night was late : A youth came riding toward a palace-gate. He rode a horse with wings, that would
have flown, But that his heavy rider kept him down. And from the palace came a child of sin, And took him by the curls, and led him in, Where sat a company with heated eyes, Expecting when a fountain should arise : A sleepy light upon their brows and lipsAs when the sun, a crescent of eclipse, Dreams over lake and lawn, and isles and
capesSuffused them, sitting, lying, languid
shapes, By heaps of gourds, and skins of wine, and piles of grapes.
II. Then methought I heard a mellow sound, Gathering up from all the lower ground; Narrowing in to where they sat assembled Low voluptuous music winding trembled, Wov'n in circles : they that heard it sigh’d, Panted hand in hand with faces pale,
She told me all her friends had said ;
I raged against the public liar ; She talk'd as if her love were dead,
But in my words were seeds of fire. "No more of love ; your sex is known :
I never will be twice deceived. Henceforth I trust the man alone,
The woman cannot be believed.
* Thro' slander, meanest spawn of Hell
And women's slander is the worst,
Came floating on for many a month and
year, Unheeded : and I thought I would have
spoken, And warn'd that madman ere it grew too
late : But, as in dreams, I could not. Mine was
broken, When that cold vapour touch'd the palace
Swung themselves, and in low tones
replied ; Till the fountain spouted, showering wide Sleet of diamond-drift and pearly hail ; Then the music touch'd the gates and died; Rose again from where it seem’d to fail, Storm'd in orbs of song, a growing gale ; Till thronging in and in, to where they
waited, As 'twere a hundred-throated nightingale, The strong tempestuous treble throbb’d
and palpitated ;
Then they started from their places,
*I am old, but let me drink;
Bring me spices, bring me wine; I remember, when I think,
That my youth was half divine.
And then I look'd up toward a mountain
tract, That girt the region with high cliff and
lawn : I saw that every morning, far withdrawn Beyond the darkness and the cataract, God made himself an awful rose of
dawn, Unheeded : and detaching, fold by fold, From those still heights, and, slowly
drawing near, A vapour heavy, hueless, formless, cold,
Wine is good for shrivell’d lips,
When a blanket wraps the day, When the rotten woodland drips,
And the leaf is stamp'd in clay. “Sit thee down, and have no shame,
Cheek by jowl, and knee by knee : What care I for any name?
What for order or degree?