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Around his demon eyes ! Corinthians, see!
My sweet hride withers at their potency."
"Fool !" said the sophist, in an under-tone
Gruff with contempt; which a death-nighing moan
From Lycius ton e heart-struck and lost,
He ANS I beside the aching ghost.
"Fool! Fool I" repeated he, while his eyes still
Relented not, nor moved; "from every ill
Of life have I preserved thee to this day,
And shall I see thee made a serpent's prey?
Then Lamia breathed death-breath; the sophist's eye,
Like a sharp spear, went through her utterly,
Keen, cruel, perceant, stinging: she, I t
As her weak hand could any meaning tell,
Motion'd him to be silent; vainly so,
He look'd and look'd again a level—No!
"A serpent!" echoed he ; no sooner said,
Than with a frightful scream she vanished:
And Lycius' arms were empty of delight,
As were his limbs of life, from that same night.
On the high couch he lay !—his friends came round—
Supported him—no pulse or breath they found,
And, in its marriage robe, the heavy body wound*.
* " Philostratus, in his fourth book de Vita Apollonii, hath a memorable l in this kind, which I may not omit, of one Menippus Lycius, a young man twenty-five years of age, that going betwixt l and Corinth, met such a phantasm in the habit of a fair gentlewoman, which, taking him by the hand, carried him home to her house, in the suburbs of Corinth, and told him she was a Phoenician by birth, and if he would tarry with her, he should hear her sing and play, and drink such wine as never any drank, and no man should molest him; but she, being fair and lovely, would die with him, that was fair and lovely to behold. The young man, a philosopher, otherwise staid and discreet, able to moderate his passions, though not this of love, tarried with her a while to his great content, and at last married her, to whose wedding, amongst other guests, came Apollonius; who, by some probable conjectures, found her out to be a serpent, a lamia; and that all her furniture was, like Tantalus' gold, described by Homer, no substance but mere illusions. When She saw herself descried, she wept, and desired Apollonius to be silent, but he would not be moved, and thereupon she, plate, house, and all that was in it, vanished in an instant: many thousands took notice of this fact, for it was done in the midst of Greece."—Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy, Part 3, Sect 2, Memb. I. Subs. I.
Fair Isabel, poor simple Isabel!
Lorenzo, a young palmer in Love's eye! They could not in the self-same mansion dwell
Without some stir of heart, some malady; They could not sit at meals but feel how well
It soothed each to be the other by; They could not, sure, beneath the same roof sleep, But to each other dream, and nightly weep.
With every morn their love grew tenderer,
He might not in house, field, or garden stir,
And his continual voice was pleasanter
Her lute-string gave an echo of his name,
She spoilt her half-done broidery with the same.
He knew whose gentle hand was at the latch,
And from her chamber-window he would catch
And constant as her vespers would he watch, Because her face was turn'd to the same skies;
And with sick longing all the night outwear,
To hear her morning-step upon the stair.
A whole long month of May in this sad plight Made their cheeks paler by the break of June:
"To-morrow will I bow to my delight, To-morrow will I ask my lady's boon."—
"O may I never see another night,
Lorenzo, if thy lips breathe not love's tune."—
So spake they to their pillows; but, alas,
Honeyless days and days did he let pass;
Until sweet Isabella's untouch'd cheek
Fell thin as a young mother's, who doth seek
"How ill she is !" said he, "I may not speak,
If looks speak love-laws, I will drink her tears,
And at the least't will startle off her cares."
So said he one fair morning, and all day
And to his heart he inwardly did pray
For power to speak; but still the ruddy tide
Stifled his voice, and pulsed resolve away—
Yet brought him to the meekness of a child:
Alas! when passion is both meek and wild!
So once more he had waked and anguished
If Isabel's quick eye had not been wed
She saw it waxing very pale and dead,
And straight all flush'd; so, lisped tenderly,
"Lorenzo !"—here she ceased her timid quest,
But in her tone and look he read the rest.