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LOVE AND DEATH-THE BALLAD OF ORIANA.

LOVE AND DEATH.

Winds were blowing, waters flowing,
We heard the steeds to battle going,

Oriana ;
Aloud the hollow bugle blowing,

Oriana.

WHAT time the mighty moon was gather

ing light Love paced the thymy plots of Paradise, And all about him rolld his lustrous eyes ; When, turning round a cassia, full in view, Death, walking all alone beneath a yew, And talking to himself, first met his sight : You must begone,' said Death, these

walks are mine.' Love wept and spread his sheeny vans

for flight; Yet ere he parted said, “This hour is

thine : Thou art the shadow of life, and as the

tree Stands in the sun and shadows all be

neath, So in the light of great eternity Life eminent creates the shade of death ; The shadow passeth when the tree shall

fall, But I shall reign for ever over all.'

In the yew-wood black as night,

Oriana, Ere I rode into the fight,

Oriana,
While blissful tears blinded my sight
By star-shine and by moonlight,

Oriana,
I to thee my troth did plight,

Orian

She stood upon the castle wall,

Oriana : She watch'd my crest among them all,

Oriana :
She saw me fight, she heard me call,
When forth there stept a foeman tall,

Oriana,
Atween me and the castle wall,

Oriana.

THE BALLAD OF ORIANA.

My heart is wasted with my woe,

Oriana.
There is no rest for me below,

Oriana.
When the long dun wolds are ribb'd with

snow, And loud the Norland whirlwinds blow,

Oriara,
Alone I wander to and fro,

Oriana.

The bitter arrow went aside,

Oriana :
The false, false arrow went aside, .

Oriana :
The damned arrow glanced aside,
And pierced thy heart, my love, my bride,

Oriana!
Thy heart, my life, my love, my bride,

Oriana !
Oh! narrow, narrow was the space,

Oriana.
Loud, loud rung out the bugle's brays,

Oriana.
Oh! deathful stabs were dealt apace,
The battle deepen'd in its place,

Oriana ;
But I was down upon my face,

Oriana.

Ere the light on dark was growing,

Oriana, At midnight the cock was crowing,

Oriana :

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Dressing their hair with the white sea

flower; And holding them back by their flowing

locks I would kiss them often under the sea, And kiss them again till they kiss'd me

Laughingly, laughingly; And then we would wander away, away To the pale-green sea-groves straight and

Combing her hair Under the sea, In a golden curl With a comb of pearl, On a throne ?

high,

Chasing each other merrily.

III. There would be neither moon nor star; But the wave would make music above

us afar-Low thunder and light in the magic night

Neither moon nor star. We would call aloud in the dreamy dells, Call to each other and whoop and cry

All night, merrily, merrily ; They would pelt me with starry spangles

and shells, Laughing and clapping their hands be

tween,

All night, merrily, merrily :
But I would throw to them back in mine
Turkis and agate and almondine :
Then leaping out upon them unseen
I would kiss them often under the sea,
And kiss them again till they kiss'd me

Laughingly, laughingly.
Oh! what a happy life were mine
Under the hollow-hung ocean green !
Soft are the moss-beds under the sea ;
We would live merrily, merrily.

II. I would be a mermaid fair; I would sing to myself the whole of the

day; With a comb of pearl I would comb my

hair ; And still as I comb'd I would sing and

say, • Who is it loves me? who loves not me?' I would comb my hair till my ringlets

would fall

Low adown, low adown, From under my starry sea-bud crown

Low adown and around,
And I should look like a fountain of gold

Springing alone
With a shrill inner sound,

Over the throne
In the midst of the hall ;
Till that great sea-snake under the sea
From his coiled sleeps in the central deeps
Would slowly trail himself sevenfold
Round the hall where I sate, and look in

at the gate With his large calm eyes for the love of

me.
And all the mermen under the sea
Would feel their immortality
Die in their hearts for the love of me.

III.

THE MERMAID.

Who would be A mermaid fair, Singing alone,

But at night I would wander away, away, I would fling on each side my low

flowing locks, And lightly vault from the throne and play With the mermen in and out of the

rocks

Thy rose-lips and full blue eyes

Take the heart from out my breast. Wherefore those dim looks of thine, Shadowy, dreaming Adeline ?

II.

We would run to and fro, and hide and

seek, On the broad sea-wolds in the crimson

shells, Whose silvery spikes are nighest the sea. But if any came near I would call, and

shriek, And adown the steep like a wave I would

leap From the diamond-ledges that jut from

the dells; For I would not be kiss'd by all who

would list, Of the bold merry mermen under the

sea ; They would sue me, and woo me, and

fatter me, In the purple twilights under the sea ; But the king of them all would carry

Whence that aery bloom of thine,

Like a lily which the sun Looks thro' in his sad decline,

And a rose-bush leans upon, Thou that faintly smilest still,

As a Naiad in a well,

Looking at the set of day, Or a phantom two hours old

Of a maiden past away, Ere the placid lips be cold ? Wherefore those faint smiles of thine,

Spiritual Adeline ?

me,

Woo me, and win me, and marry me,
In the branching jaspers under the sea ;
Then all the dry pied things that be
In the hueless mosses under the sea
Would curl round my silver feet silently,
All looking up for the love of me.
And if I should carol aloud, from aloft
All things that are forked, and horned,

and soft Would lean out from the hollow sphere of

the sea, All looking down for the love of me.

111.
What hope or fear or joy is thine ?
Who talketh with thee, Adeline?
For sure thou art not all alone.

Do beating hearts of salient springs Keep measure with thine own?

Hast thou heard the butterflies
What they say betwixt their wings?

Or in stillest evenings
With what voice the violet woos
To his heart the silver dews ?

* Or when little airs arise,
How the merry bluebell rings

To the mosses underneath ?

Hast thou look'd upon the breath

Of the lilies at sunrise ? Wherefore that faint smile of thine, Shadowy, dreaming Adeline ?

ADELINE.

IV.

MYSTERY of mysteries,

Faintly smiling Adeline,

Scarce of earth nor all divine, Nor unhappy, nor at rest,

But beyond expression fair
With thy floating flaxen hair ;

Some honey-converse feeds thy mind,

Some spirit of a crimson rose In love with thee forgets to close His curtains, wasting odorous sighs All night long on darkness blind.

What aileth thee? whom waitest thou
With thy soften'd, shadow'd brow,

And those dew-lit eyes of thine,
Thou faint smiler, Adeline?

Encircles all the heart, and feedeth The senses with a still delight

Of dainty sorrow without sound,

Like the tender amber round, Which the moon about her spreadeth, Moving thro' a fleecy night.

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11.

Lovest thou the doleful wind

When thou gazest at the skies ?
Doth the low-tongued Orient
Wander from the side of the morn,

Dripping with Sabæan spice
On thy pillow, lowly bent

With melodious airs lovelorn,
Breathing Light against thy face,
While his locks a-drooping twined

Round thy neck in subtle ring
Make a carcanet of rays,

And ye talk together still,
In the language wherewith Spring

Letters cowslips on the hill ?
Hence that look and smile of thine,

Spiritual Adeline.

You love, remaining peacefully,

To hear the murmur of the strife,

But enter not the toil of life. Your spirit is the calmed sea,

Laid by the tumult of the fight. You are the evening star, alway

Remaining betwixt dark and bright: Lull’d echoes of laborious day

Come to you, gleams of mellow light
Float by you on the verge of night.

III.

What can it matter, Margaret,

What songs below the waning stars The lion-heart, Plantagenet,

Sang looking thro' his prison bars ?

Exquisite Margaret, who can tell The last wild thought of Chatelet,

Just ere the falling axe did part
The burning brain from the true heart,

Even in her sight he loved so well ?

MARGARET.

IV.

1.
O SWEET pale Margaret,

O rare pale Margaret,
What lit your eyes with tearful power,
Like moonlight on a falling shower ?
Who lent you, love, your mortal dower

Of pensive thought and aspect pale,

Your melancholy sweet and srail As perfume of the cuckoo-flower ? From the westward-winding flood, From the evening-lighted wood,

From all things outward you have

A fairy shield your Genius made

And gave you on your natal day. Your sorrow, only sorrow's shade,

Keeps real sorrow far away.
You move not in such solitudes,

You are not less divine,
But more human in your moods,

Than your twin-sister, Adeline. . Your hair is darker, and your eyes

Touch'd with a somewhat darker hue,
And less aërially blue,

But ever trembling thro' the dew
Of dainty-woeful sympathies.

won

A tearful grace, as tho' you stood

Between the rainbow and the sun. The very smile before you speak,

That dimples your transparent cheek,

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