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Then, in the boyhood of the year,
Sir Launcelot and Queen Guinevere
Rode thro' the coverts of the deer,
With blissful treble ringing clear.

She seem'd a part of joyous Spring :
A gown of grass-green silk she wore,
Buckled with golden clasps before ;
A light-green tuft of plumes she bore

Closed in a golden ring.

Now on some twisted ivy-net,
Now by some tinkling rivulet,
On mosses thick with violet,
Her cream-white mule his pastern set :

And now more fleet she skimm'd the plains
Than she whose elfin prancer springs
By night to eery warblings,
When all the glimmering moorland rings

With jingling bridle-reins.

As she fled fast thro' sun and shade,
The happy winds upon her play'd,
Blowing the ringlet from the braid:
She look'd so lovely, as she sway'd

The rein with dainty finger-tips,
A man had given all other bliss,
And all his worldly worth for this,
To waste his whole heart in ope kiss

Upon her perfect lips.


Flow down, cold rivulet, to the sea,

Thy tribute wave deliver : No more by thee my steps shall be,

For ever and for ever.

Flow, softly flow, by lawn and lea,

A rivulet then a river : No where by thee my steps shall be,

For ever and for ever.

But here will sigh thine alder tree,

And here thine aspen shiver ; And here by thee will hum the bee,

For ever and for ever.

A thousand suns will stream on thee,

A thousand moons will quiver ; But not by thee my steps shall be,

For ever and for ever.


Her arms across her breast she laid ;

She was more fair than words can say : Bare-footed came the beggar maid

Before the king Cophetua. .
In robe and crown the king stept down,

To meet and greet her on her way ; “It is no wonder,” said the lords,

“She is more beautiful than day.”

As shines the moon in clouded skies,

She in her poor attire was seen : One praised her ancles, one her eyes,

One her dark hair and lovesome mien. So sweet a face, such angel grace,

In all that land had never been : Cophetua sware a royal oath :

“ This beggar maid shall be my queen!”


I had a vision when the night was late :
A youth came riding toward a palace-gate.
He rode a horse with wings, that would have flown,
But that his heavy rider kept him down.
And from the palace came a child of sin,
And took him by the curls, and led him in,
Where sat a company with heated eyes,
Expecting when a fountain should arise :
A sleepy light upon their brows and lips-
As when the sun, a crescent of eclipse,
Dreams over lake and lawn, and isles and capes-
Suffused them, sitting, lying, languid shapes,
By heaps of gourds, and skins of wine, and piles of grapes.

Then methought I heard a mellow sound,
Gathering up from all the lower ground ;
Narrowing in to where they sat assembled
Low voluptuous music winding trembled,
Wov’n in circles : they that heard it sigh’d,

Panted hand in hand with faces pale,
Swung themselves, and in low tones replied ;
Till the fountain spouted, showering wide
Sleet of diamond-drift and pearly hail ;
Then the music touch'd the gates and died ;
Rose again from where it seem'd to fail,
Storm'd in orbs of song, a growing gale ;
Till thronging in and in, to where they waited,
As 'twere a hundred-throated nightingale,
The strong tempestuous treble throbb’d and palpitated;
Ran into its giddiest whirl of sound,
Caught the sparkles, and in circles,
Purple gauzes, golden hazes, liquid mazes,
Flung the torrent rainbow round :
Then they started from their places,
Moved with violence, changed in hue,
Caught each other with wild grimaces,
Half-invisible to the view,
Wheeling with precipitate paces
To the melody, till they few,
Hair, and eyes, and limbs, and faces,
Twisted hard in fierce embraces,
Like to Furies, like to Graces,
Dash'd together in blinding dew :
Till, kill'd with some luxurious agony,
The nerve-dissolving melody
Flutter'd headlong from the sky.

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