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On either side her tranced form
Forth streaming from a braid of pearl : The slumbrous light is rich and warm,
And moves not on the rounded curl.
The silk star-broider'd coverlid
Unto her limbs itself doth mould Languidly ever ; and, amid
Her full black ringlets downward roll’d, Glows forth each softly-shadow'd arm
With bracelets of the diamond bright: Her constant beauty doth inform
Stillness with love, and day with light.
She sleeps : her breathings are not heard
In palace chambers far apart. The fragrant tresses are not stirr'd
That lie upon her charmed heart. She sleeps : on either hand upswells
The gold-fringed pillow lightly prest : She sleeps, nor dreams, but ever dwells
A perfect form in perfect rest.
All precious things, discover'd late,
To those that seek them issue forth ; For love in sequel works with fate,
And draws the veil from hidden worth. He travels far from other skies
His mantle glitters on the rocksA fairy Prince, with joyful eyes,
And lighter-footed than the fox.
The bodies and the bones of those
That strove in other days to pass, Are wither'd in the thorny close,
Or scatter'd blanching in the grass. He gazes on the silent dead :
“ They perish'd in their daring deeds." This proverb flashes thro' his head,
“ The many fail : the one succeeds.”
He comes, scarce knowing what he seeks :
He breaks the hedge : he enters there : The colour flies into his cheeks :
He trusts to light on something fair ;
For all his life the charm did talk
About his path, and hover near With words of promise in his walk,
And whisper'd voices in his ear.
More close and close his footsteps wind;
The magic music in his heart Beats quick and quicker, till he find
The quiet chamber far apart, His spirit flutters like a lark,
He stoops—to kiss her—on his knee. “ Love, if thy tresses be so dark,
How dark those hidden eyes must be ! ”
A TOUCH, a kiss ! the charm was snapt.
There rose a noise of striking clocks, And feet that ran, and doors that clapt,
And barking dogs, and crowing cocks ; . A fuller light illumined all,
A breeze thro' all the garden swept, A sudden hubbub shook the hall,
And sixty feet the fountain leapt.
The hedge broke in, the banner blew, .
The butler drank, the steward scrawld, The fire shot up, the martin flew,
The parrot scream’d, the peacock squall’d, The maid and page renew'd their strife,
The palace bang’d, and buzz’d and clackt, And all the long-pent stream of life
Dash'd downward in a cataract.
And last of all the king awoke,
And in his chair himself uprear’d, And yawn'd, and rubb’d his face, and spoke,
“ By holy rood, a royal beard ! How say you ? we have slept, my lords.
My beard has grown into my lap." The barons swore, with many words,
'Twas but an after-dinner's nap.
“ Pardy,” return'd the king, “ but still
My joints are something stiff or so. My lord, and shall we pass the bill
I mention'd half an hour ago ?” The chancellor, sedate and vain,
In courteous words return’d reply: But dallied with his golden chain,
And, smiling, put the question by.
THE DEPARTURE. And on her lover's arm she leant,
And round her waist she felt it fold, And far across the hills they went
In that new world which is the old : Across the hills, and far away
Beyond their utmost purple rim, And deep into the dying day
The happy princess follow'd him.
“I'd sleep another hundred years,
O love, for such another kiss ; ”. “O wake for ever, love,” she hears,
“O love, 'twas such as this and this." And o'er them many a sliding star,
And many a merry wind was borne, And, stream'd thro' many a golden bar,
The twilight melted into morn.