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Woe! woe To That Endymion! Where Is He ?—

Even these words went echoing dismally

Through the wide forest—a most fearful tone,

Like one repenting in his latest moan;

And while it died away a shade pass'd by,

As of a thunder-cloud. When arrows fly

Through the thick branches, poor ring-doves sleek forth

Their timid necks and tremble; so these both

Leant to each other trembling, and sat so

Waiting for some destruction—when lo!

Foot-feather'd Mercury appear'd sublime

Beyond the tall tree tops ; and in less time

Than shoots the slanted hail-storm, down he dropp'd

Towards the ground ; but rested not, nor stopp'd

One moment from his home : only the sward

He with his wand light touch'd, and heavenward

Swifter than sight was gone—even before

The teeming earth a sudden witness bore

Of his swift magic. Diving swans appear

Above the crystal circlings white and clear;

And catch the cheated eye in wild surprise,

How they can dive in sight and unseen rise—

So from the turf outsprang two steeds jet-black,

Each with large dark blue wings upon his back.

The youth of Caria placed the lovely dame

On one, and felt himself in spleen to tame

The other's fierceness. Through the air they flew,

High as the eagles. Like two drops of dew

Exhaled to Pheebus' lips, away they are gone,

Far from the earth away—unseen, alone,

Among cool clouds and winds, but that the free,

The buoyant life of song can Boating be

Above their heads, and follow them untired.

Muse of my native land ! am I inspired?

This is the giddy air, and I must spread

Wide pinions to keep here ; nor do I dread

Or height, or depth, or width, or any chance

Precipitous: I have beneath my glance

Those towering horses and their mournful freight.

Could I thus sail, and see, and thus await

Fearless for power of thought, without thine aid?

There is a sleepy dusk, an odorous shade

From some approaching wonder, and behold

Those winged steeds, with snorting nostrils bold

Snuff at its faint extreme, and seem to tire,
Dying to embers from their native fire!

There curl'd a purple mist around them ; soon)
It seem'd as when around the pale new moon
Sad Zephyr droops the clouds like weeping willow:
'Twas Sleep slow journeying with head on pillow.
For the first time, since he came nigh dead-born
From the old womb of night, his cave forlorn
Had he left more forlorn ; for the first time,
He felt aloof the day and morning's prime—
Because into his depth Cimmerian
There came a dream, showing how a young man,
Ere a lean bat could plump its wintery skin,
Would at high Jove's empyreal footstool win
An immortality, and how espouse
Jove's daughter, and be reckon'd of his house.
Now was he slumbering towards heaven's gate,
That he might at the threshold one hour wait
To hear the marriage melodies, and then
Sink downward to his dusky cave again,
His litter of smooth semilucent mist,
Diversely tinged with rose and amethyst,
Puzzled those eyes that for the centre sought;
And scarcely for one moment could be caught
His sluggish form reposing motionless.
Those two on winged steeds, with all the stress
Of vision search'd for him, as one would look
Athwart the sallows of a river nook
To catch a glance at silver-throated eels,—
Or from old Skiddaw's top, when fog conceals
His rugged forehead in a mantle pale,
With an eye-guess towards some pleasant vale,
Descry a favourite hamlet faint and far.

These raven horses, though they foster'd are Of earth's splenetic fire, dully drop Their full-vein'd ears, nostrils blood wide, and stop; Upon the spiritless mist have they outspread Their ample feathers, are in slumber dead,— And on those pinions, level in mid-air, Endymion sleepeth and the lady fair. Slowly they sail, slowly as icy isle Upon a calm sea drifting: and meanwhile

The mournful wanderer dreams. Behold! he walks

On heaven's pavement, brotherly he talks

To divine powers: from his hand full fain

Juno's proud birds are pecking pearly grain:

He tries the nerve of Phoebus' golden bow,

And asketh where the golden apples grow:

Upon his arm he braces Pallas' shield,

And strives in vain to unsettle and wield

A Jovian thunderbolt: arch Hebe brings

A full-brimm'd goblet, dances lightly, sings

And tantalises long ; at last he drinks,

And lost in pleasure, at her feet he sinks,

Touching with dazzled lips her star-light hand,

He blows a bugle,—an ethereal band

Are visible above: the Seasons four,—

Green-kirtled Spring, flush Summer, golden store

In Autumn's sickle, Winter frosty hoar,

Join dance with shadowy Hours; while still the blast,

In swells unmitigated, still doth last

To sway their floating morris. "Whose is this?

Whose bugle I" he inquires: they smile —" O Dis!

Why is this mortal here? Dost thou not know

Its mistress' lips? Not thou ?—'T is Dian's: lo!

She rises crescented!" He looks, 't is she,

His very goddess : good-bye earth, and sea,

And air, and pains, and care, and suffering;

Good-bye to all but love! Then doth he spring

Towards her, and awakes—and, strange, o'erhead, ,

Of those same fragrant exhalations bred,

Beheld awake his very dream : the gods

Stood smiling; merry Hebe laughs and nods;

And Phoebe bends towards him crescented.

O state perplexing! On the pinion bed,

Too well awake, he feels the panting side

Of his delicious lady. He who died

For soaring too audacious in the sun,

Where that same treacherous wax began to run,

Felt not more tongue-tied than Endymion.

His heart leapt up as to its rightful throne,

To that fair-shadow'd passion pulsed its way—

Ah, what perplexity! Ah, well a-day!

So fond, so beauteous was his bed-fellow,

He could not help but kiss her: then he grew

Awhile forgetful of all beauty save

Young Phoebe's, golden-hair'd; and so 'gan crave

Forgiveness: yet he turned once more to look

At the sweet sleeper,—all his soul was shook,—

She press'd his hand in slumber; so once more

He could not help but kiss her and adore.

At this the shadow wept, melting away.

The Latmian started up : " Bright goddess, stay!

Search my most hidden breast! By truth's own tongue,

I have no dsedale heart: why is it wrung

To desperation? Is there nought for me,

Upon the bourne of bliss, but misery 1"

These words awoke the stranger of dark tresses:
Her dawning love-look rapt Endymion blesses
With 'haviour soft. Sleep yawn'd from underneath.
"Thou swan of Ganges, let us no more breathe
This murky phantasm! thou contented seem'st
Pillow'd in lovely idleness, nor dream'st
What horrors may discomfort thee and me.
Ah, shouldst thou die from my heart-treachery!—
Yet did she merely weep—her gentle soul
Hath no revenge in it; as it is whole
In tenderness, would I were whole in love!
Can I prize thee, fair maid, all price above,
Even when I feel as true as innocence!

I do, I do What is this soul then? Whence

Came it? It does not seem my own, and I

Have no self-passion or identity.

Some fearful end must be; where, where is it i

By Nemesis! I see my spirit flit

Alone about the dark—Forgive me, sweet!

Shall we away!" He roused the steeds; they beat

Their wings chivalrous into the clear air,

Leaving old Sleep within his vapoury lair.

The good-night blush of eve was waning slow,
And Vesper, risen star, began to throe
In the dusk heavens silvery, when they
Thus sprang direct towards the Galaxy.
Nor did speed hinder converse soft and strange-
Eternal oaths and vows they interchange,
In such wise, in such temper, so aloof
Up in the winds, beneath a starry roof,

So witless of their doom, that verily
'T is well nigh past man's search their hearts to see;
Whether they wept, or laugh'd, or grieved, or toy'd—
Most like with joy gone mad, with sorrow cloy'd.

Full facing their swift flight, from ebon streak,
The moon put forth a little diamond peak,
No bigger than an unobserved star,
Or tiny point of fairy scimetar;
Bright signal that she only stoop'd to tie
Her silver sandals, ere deliciously
She bow'd into the heavens her timid head.
Slowly she rose, as though she would have fled,
While to his lady meek the Carian turn'd,
To mark if her dark eyes had yet discern'd
This beauty in its birth—Despair! despair!
He saw her body fading gaunt and spare
In the cold moonshine. Straight he seized her wrist;
It melted from his grasp ; her hand he kiss'd,
And, horror ! kiss'd his own—he was alone.
Her steed a little higher soar'd, and then
Dropt hawk-wise to the earth.

There lies a den,
Beyond the seeming confines of the space
Made for the soul to wander in and trace
Its own existence, of remotest glooms.
Dark regions are around it, where the tombs
Of buried griefs the spirit sees, but scarce
One hour doth linger weeping, for the pierce
Of new-born woe it feels more inly smart:
And in these regions many a venom'd dart
At random flies; they are the proper home
Of every ill : the man is yet to come
Who hath not journey'd in this native hell.
But few have ever felt how calm and well
Sleep may be had in that deep den of all.
There anguish does not sting, nor pleasure pall;
Woe-hurricanes beat ever at the gate,
Yet all is still within and desolate.
Beset with plainful gusts, within ye hear
No sound so loud as when on curtain'd bier
The death-watch tick is stifled. Enter none
Who strive therefore: on the sudden it is won.

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