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At last, by hap, through some young trees it struck,
And, plashing among bedded pebbles, stuck
In the middle of a brook,—whose silver ramble
Down twenty little falls through reeds and bramble,
Tracing along, it brought me to a cave,
whence it ran brightly forth, and white did lave
The nether sides of mossy stones and rock,—
'Mong which it gurgled blithe adieus, to mock
Its own sweet grief at parting. Overhead,
Hung a lush screen of drooping weeds, and spread
Thick, as to curtain up some wood-nymph's home.
'Ah ! impious mortal, whither do I roam!'
Said I, low voiced: 'Ah, whither! 'Tis the grot
Of Proserpine, when Hell, obscure and hot,
Doth her resign : and where her tender hands
She dabbles on the cool and sluicy sands:
Or 't is the cell of Echo, where she sits,
And babbles thorough silence, till her wits
Are gone in tender madness, and anon,
Faints into sleep, with many a dying tone
Of sadness. O that she would take my vows,
And breathe them sighingly among the boughs,
To sue her gentle ears for whose fair head,
Daily, I pluck sweet flowerets from their bed,
And weave them dyingly—send honey-whispers
Bound every leaf, that all those gentle lispers
May sigh my love unto her pitying!

O charitable Echo! hear, and sing

This ditty to her l-- tell her'—So I stay'd

My foolish tongue, and listening, half afraid,

Stood stupefied with my own empty folly,

And blushing for the freaks of melancholy.

Salt tears were coming, when I heard my name

Most fondly lipp'd, and then these accents came :,

'Endymion ! the cave is secreter

Than the isle of Delos. Echo hence shall stir

No sighs but sigh-warm kisses, or light noise

Of thy combing hand, the while it travelling cloys

And trembles through my labyrinthine hair.'

At that oppress'd, I hurried in.—Ah! where

Are those swift moments! Whither are they fled?

I 'll smile no more, Peona ; nor will wed
Sorrow, the way to death ; but patiently
Bear up against it: so farewell, sad sigh;

And come instead demurest meditation,

To occupy me wholly, and to fashion

My pilgrimage for the world's dusky brink.

No more will I count over, link by link,

My chain of grief: no longer strive to find

A half-forgetfulness in mountain wind

Blustering about my ears: ay, thou shalt see,

Dearest of sisters, what my life shall be;

What a calm round of hours shall make my days.

There is a paly flame of hope that plays

Where'er I look : but yet, I 'll say 't is naught—

And here I bid it die. Have not I caught,

Already, a more healthy countenance?

By this the sun is setting; we may chance

Meet some of our near-dwellers with my ear."

This said, he rose, faint-smiling like a star Through autumn mists, and took Peona's hand: They stept into the boat, and launched from land.

BOOK II.

O Sovereign power of love! O grief! O balm!

All records, saving thine, come cool, and calm,

And shadowy, through the mist of passed years:

For others, good or bad, hatred and tears

Have become indolent; but touching thine,

One sigh doth echo, one poor sob doth pine,

One kiss brings honey-dew from buried days.

The woes of Troy, towers smothering o'er their blaze,

Stiff-holden shields, far-piercing spears, keen blades,

Struggling, and blood, and shrieks—all dimly fades

Into some backward corner of the brain;

Yet, in our very souls, we feel amain

The close of Tro'ilus and Cressid sweet.

Hence, pageant history ! hence, gilded cheat!

Swart planet in the universe of deeds!

Wide sea, that one continuous murmur breeds

Along the pebbled shore of memory!

Many old rotten-timber'd boats there be

Upon thy vaporous bosom, magnified

To goodly vessels ; many a sail of pride,

And golden-keel'd, is left unlaunch'd and dry.

But wherefore this? What care, though owl did fly

About the great Athenian admiral's mast?

What care, though striding Alexander past

The Indus with his Macedonian numbers?

Though old Ulysses tortured from his slumbers

The glutted Cyclops, what care ?—Juliet leaning

Amid her window-flowers,—sighing,—weaning

Tenderly her fancy from its maiden snow,

Doth more avail than these: the silver flow

Of Hero's tears, the swoon of Imogen,

Fair Pastorella in the bandit's den,

Are things to brood on with more ardency

Than the death-day of empires. Fearfully

Must such conviction come upon his head,

Who, thus far, discontent, has dared to tread,

Without one muse's smile, or kind behest,

The path of love and poesy. But rest,

In chafing restlessness, is yet more drear
Than to be crush'd, in striving to uprear
Love's standard on the battlements of song.
So once more days and nights aid me along,
Like legion'd soldiers.

Brain-sick shepherd-prince!
What promise hast thou faithful guarded since
The day of sacrifice? Or, have new sorrows
Come with the constant dawn upon thy morrows?
Alas! 't is his old grief. For many days,
Has he been wandering in uncertain ways:
Through wilderness, and woods of mossed oaks;
Counting his woe-worn minutes, by the strokes
Of the lone wood-cutter ; and listening still,
Hour after hour, to each lush-leaved rill.
Now he is sitting by a shady spring,
And elbow-deep with feverous fingering
Stems the upbursting cold: a wild rose-tree
Pavilions him in bloom, and he doth see
A bud which shares his fancy: lo ! but now
He plucks it, dips its stalk in the water: how!
It swells, it buds, it flowers beneath his sight;
And, in the middle, there is softly pight
A golden butterfly ; upon whose wings
There must be surely character'd strange things,
For with wide eye he wonders, and smiles oft.

Lightly this little herald flew aloft, Follow'd by glad Endymion's clasped hands: Onward it flies. From languor's sullen bands His limbs are loosed, and eager, on he hies Dazzled to trace it in the sunny skies. It seem'd he flew, the way so easy was; And like a new-born spirit did he pass Through the green evening quiet in the sun, O'er many a heath, through many a woodland dun, Through buried paths, where sleepy twilight dreams The summer time away. One track unseams A wooded cleft, and, far away, the blue Of ocean fades upon him ; then, anew, He sinks adown a solitary glen, Where there was never sound of mortal men, Saving, perhaps, some snow-light cadences

Melting to silence, when upon the breeze
Some holy bark let forth an anthem sweet,
To cheer itself to Delphi. Still his feet
Went swift beneath the merry-winged guide,
Until it reach'd a splashing fountain's side
That, near a cavern's mouth, for ever pour'd
Unto the temperate air: then high it soar'd,
And, downward, suddenly began to dip,
As if, athirst with so much toil, 't would sip
The crystal spout-head: so it did, with touch
Most delicate, as though afraid to smutch
Even with mealy gold the waters clear.
But, at that very touch, to disappear
So fairy-quick, was strange! Bewildered,
Endymion sought around, and shook each bed
Of covert flowers in vain ; and then he flung
Himself along the grass. What gentle tongue,
What whisperer disturb'd his gloomy rest?
It was a nymph uprisen to the breast
In the fountain's pebbly margin, and she stood
'Mong lilies, like the youngest of the brood.
To him her dripping hand she softly kist,
And anxiously began to plait and twist
Her ringlets round her fingers, saying: "Youth!
Too long, alas, hast thou starved on the ruth,
The bitterness of love : too long indeed,
Seeing thou art so gentle. Could I weed
Thy soul of care, by heavens, I would offer
All the bright riches of my crystal coffer
To Amphitrite ; all my clear-eyed fish,
Golden, or rainbow-sided, or purplish,
Vermilion-tail'd, or finn'd with silvery gauze;
Yea, or my veined pebble-floor, that draws
A virgin-light to the deep ; my grotto-sands,
Tawny and gold, oozed slowly from far lands
By my diligent springs : my level lilies, shells,
My charming-rod, my potent river spells;
Yes, everything, even to the pearly cup
Meander gave me,—for I bubbled up
To fainting creatures in a desert wild.
But woe is me, I am but as a child
To gladden thee ; and all I dare to say,
Is, that I pity thee; that on this day

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