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But first a little patience ; first undo
This tangled thread, and wind it to a clue.
Ah, gentle ! 't is as weak as spider's skein;
And shouldst thou break it—What, is it done so clean?
A power overshadows thee! Oh, brave!
The spite of hell is tumbling to its grave.
Here is a shell; 'tis pearly blank to me,
Nor mark'd with any sign or charactery—
Canst thou read aughtt o read for pity's sake!
Olympus ! we are safe! Now, Carian, break
This wand against yon lyre on the pedestal."
'T was done: and straight with sudden swell and fall Sweet music breathed her soul away, and sigh'd A lullaby to silence.—" Youth ! now strew These minced leaves on me, and passing through Those files of dead, scatter the same around, And thou wilt see the issue."—'Mid the sound Of flutes and viols, ravishing his heart, Endymion from Glaucus stood apart, And scatter'd in his face some fragments light. How lightning-swift the change! a youthful wight Smiling beneath a coral diadem, Out-sparkling sudden like an upturn'd gem, Appear'd, and, stepping to a beauteous corse, Kneel'd down beside it, and with tenderest force Press'd its cold hand, and wept—and Scylla sigh'd! Endymion, with quick hand, the charm applied— The nymph arose: he left them to their joy, And onward went upon his high employ, Showering those powerful fragments on the dead And, as he pass'd, each lifted up its head, As doth a flower at Apollo's touch. Death felt it to his inwards ; 't was too much: Death fell a-weeping in his charnel-house. The Latmian persevered along, and thus All were reanimated. There arose A noise of harmony, pulses and throes Of gladness in the air—while many, who Had died in mutual arms devout and true, Sprang to each other madly ; and the rest Felt a high certainty of being blest. They gazed upon Endymion. Enchantment Grew drunken, and would have its head and bent.
Delicious symphonies, like airy flowers,
Budded, and swell'd, and, full-blown, shed full showers
Of light, soft, unseen leaves df sounds divine.
The two deliverers tasted a pure wine
Of happiness, from fairy press oozed out.
Speechless they eyed each other, and about
The fair assembly wander'd to and fro,
Distracted with the richest overflow
Of joy that ever pour'd from heaven.
Shouted the new-born god ; "Follow, and pay
Our piety to Neptunus supreme !"—
Then Scylla, blushing sweetly from her dream,
They led on first, bent to her meek surprise,
Through portal columns of a giant size
Into the vaulted, boundless emerald.
Joyous all follow'd, as the leader call'd,
Down marble steps; pouring as easily
As hour-glass sand—and fast, as you might see
Swallows obeying the south summer's call,
Or swans upon a gentle waterfall.
Thus went that beautiful multitude, nor far,
Ere from among some rocks of glittering spar,
Just within ken, they saw descending thick
Another multitude. Whereat more quick
Moved either host. On a wide sand they met,
And of those numbers every eye was wet;
For each their old love found. A murmuring rose,
Like what was never heard in all the throes
Of wind and waters: 't is past human wit
To tell; 't is dizziness to think of it.
This mighty consummation made, the host
Moved on for many a league; and gained and lost
Huge sea-marks; vanward swelling in array,
And from the rear diminishing away,
Till a faint dawn surprised them. Glaucus cried,
"Behold! behold, the palace of his pride!
God Neptune's palaces '." With noise increased,
They shoulder'd on towards that brightening east.
At every onward step proud domes arose
In prospect, diamond gleams and golden glows
Of amber 'gainst their faces levelling.
Joyous, and many as the leaves in spring,
Still onward; still the splendour gradual swell'd.
Rich opal domes were seen, on high upheld
By jasper pillars, letting through their shafts
A blush of coral. Copious wonder-draughts
Each gazer drank; and deeper drank more near:
For what poor mortals fragment up, as mere
As marble was there lavish, to the vast
Of one fair palace, that far, far surpass'd,
Even for common bulk, those olden three,
Memphis, and Babylon, and Nineveh.
As large, as bright, as colour'd as the bow
Of Iris, when unfading it doth show
Beyond a silvery shower, was the arch
Through which this Paphian army took its march,
Into the outer courts of Neptune's state:
Whence could be seen, direct, a golden gate,
To which the leaders sped; but not half raught
Ere it burst open swift as fairy thought,
And made those dazzled thousands veil their eyes
Like callow eagles at the first sunrise.
Soon with an eagle nativeness their gaze
Ripe from hue-golden swoons took all the blaze,
And then, behold! large Neptune on his throne
Of emerald deep: yet not exalt alone;
At his right hand stood winged Love, and on
His left sat smiling Beauty's paragon.
Far as the mariner on highest mast Can see all round upon the calmed vast, So wide was Neptune's hall: and as the blue Doth vault the waters, so the waters drew Their doming curtains, high, magnificent, Awed from the throne aloof;—and when storm-rent Disclosed the thunder-gloomings in Jove's air; But soothed as now, flash'd sudden everywhere, Noiseless, sub-marine cloudlets, glittering Death to a human eye: for there did spring From natural west, and east, and south, and north, A light as of four sunsets, blazing forth A gold-green zenith 'bove the Sea-God's head. Of lucid depth the floor, and far outspread
As breezeless lake, on which the slim canoe
Of feather'd Indian darts about, as through
The delicatest air: air verily,
But for the portraiture of clouds and sky:
This palace floor breath-air,—but for the amaze
Of deep-seen wonders motionless,—and blaze
Of the dome pomp, reflected in extremes,
Globing a golden sphere.
They stood in dreams
Till Triton blew his horn. The palace rang;
The Nereids danced ; the Syrens faintly sang;
And the great Sea-King bow'd his dripping head.
Then Love took wing, and from his pinions shed
On all the multitude a nectarous dew.
The ooze-born Goddess beckoned and drew
Fair Scylla and her guides to conference;
And when they reach'd the throned eminence
She kiss'd the sea-nymph's cheek, who sat her down
A toying with the doves. Then, " Mighty crown
And sceptre of this kingdom !" Venus said,
"Thy vows were on a time to Nais paid:
Behold!"—Two copious tear-drops instant fell
From the God's large eyes; he smiled delectable,
And over Glaucus held his blessing hands.—
"Endymion! Ah ! still wandering in the bands
Of love? Now this is cruel. Since the hour
I met thee in earth's bosom, all my power
Have I put forth to serve thee. What, not yet
Escaped from dull mortality's harsh net?
A little patience, youth! 't will not be long,
Or I am skilless quite: an idle tongue,
A humid eye, and steps luxurious,
Where these are new and strange, are ominous.
Ay, I have seen these signs in one of heaven,
When others were all blind ; and were I given
To utter secrets, haply I might say
Some pleasant words : but Love will have his day.
So wait awhile expectant. Pr'ythee soon,
Even in the passing of thine honey-moon,
Visit my Cytherea: thou wilt find
Cupid well-natured, my Adonis kind;
And pray persuade with thee—Ah, I have done,
All blisses be upon thee, my sweet son!"—
Thus the fair Goddess: while Endymion
Knelt to receive those accents halcyon.
Meantime a glorious revelry began
Before the Water-Monarch. Nectar ran
In courteous fountains to all cups outreach'd;
And plunder'd vines, teeming exhaustless, pleach'd
New growth about each shell and pendent lyre;
The which, in entangling for their fire,
Pull'd down fresh foliage and coverture
For dainty toy. Cupid, empire-sure,
Flutter'd and laugh'd, and oft-times through the throng
Made a delighted way. Then dance, and song,
And garlanding, grew wild; and pleasure reign'd.
In harmless tendril they each other chain'd,
And strove who should be smother'd deepest in
Fresh crush of leaves.
O't is a very sin For one so weak to venture his poor verse In such a place as this. O do not curse, High Muses ! let him hurry to the ending.
All suddenly were silent. A soft blending
Of dulcet instruments came charmingly;
And then a hymn.
"King of the stormy sea!
Brother of Jove, and co-inheritor
Of elements! Eternally before
Thee the waves awful bow. Fast, stubborn rock,
At thy fear'd trident shrinking, doth unlock
Its deep foundations, hissing into foam.
All mountain-rivers lost, in the wide home
Of thy capacious bosom ever flow.
Thou frownest, and old ^Eolus thy foe
Skulks to his cavern, 'mid the gruff complaint
Of all his rebel tempests. Dark clouds faint
When, from thy diadem, a silver gleam
Slants over blue dominion. Thy bright team
Gulfs in the morning light, and scuds along
To bring thee nearer to that golden song
Apollo singeth, while his chariot
Waits at the doors of heaven, Thou art not