Be thou my nurse ; and let me understand

How dying I shall kiss that lily hand.—

Dost weep for me! Then should I be content.

Scowl on, ye fates! until the firmament

Outblackens Erebus, and the full-cavern'd earth

Crumbles into itself. By the cloud-girth

Of Jove, those tears have given me a thirst

To meet oblivion."—As her heart would burst

The maiden sobb'd awhile, and then replied:

"Why must such desolation betide

As that thou speakest of? Are not these green nooks

Empty of all misfortune? Do the brooks

Utter a gorgon voice? Does yonder thrush,

Schooling its half-Hedged little ones to brush

About the dewy forest, whisper tales ?—

Speak not of grief, young stranger, or cold snails

Will slime the rose to-night. Though if thou wilt,

Methinks 't would be a guilt—a very guilt—

Not to companion thee, and sigh away

The light—the dusk—the dark—till break of day!"

"Dear lady," said Endymion, " 't is past:

I love thee! and my days can never last.

That I may pass in patience still speak:

Let me have music dying, and I seek

No more delight—I bid adieu to all.

Didst thou not after other climates call,

And murmur about Indian streams %"—Then she,

Sitting beneath the midmost forest tree,

For pity sang this roundelay

"O Sorrow!

Why dost borrow
The natural hue of health, from vermeil lips ?—

To give maiden blushes

To the white rose bushes?
Or is it thy dewy hand the daisy tips?

"O Sorrow!

Why dost borrow
The lustrous passion from a falcon-eye ?—

To give the glow-worm light 3

Or, on a moonless night,
To tinge, on syren shores, the salt sea-spry?


"O Sorrow!

Why dost borrow
The mellow ditties from a mourning tongue ?—

To give at evening pale

Unto the nightingale,
That thou mayst listen the cold dews among?

"O Sorrow!

Why dost borrow
Heart's lightness from the merriment of May?

A lover would not tread

A cowslip on the head, Though he should dance from eve till peep of day

Nor any drooping flower

Held sacred for thy bower, Wherever he may sport himself and play.

"To Sorrow

I bade good morrow,
And thought to leave her far away behind;

But cheerly, cheerly,

She loves me dearly;
She is so constant to me, and so kind:

I would deceive her,

And so leave her,
But ah ! she is so constant and so kind.

"Beneath my palm-trees, by the river side,
I sat a weeping : in the whole world wide
There was no one to ask me why I wept—

And so I kept
Brimming the water-lily cups with tears

Cold as my fears.

"Beneath my palm-trees, by the river side,
I sat a weeping: what enamour'd bride,
Cheated by shadowy wooer from the clouds,

But hides and shrouds
Beneath dark palm-trees by a river side?

"And as I sat, over the light blue hills
There came a noise of revellers: the rills
Into the wide stream came of purple hue—
'Twas Bacchus and his crew!



The earnest trumpet spake, and silver thrills
From kissing cymbals made a merry din—

'T was Bacchus and his kin!
Like to a moving vintage down they came,
Crown'd with green leaves, and faces all on flame;
All madly dancing through the pleasant valley,

To scare thee, Melancholy!
O then, O then, thou wast a simple name!
And I forgot thee, as the berried holly
By shepherds is forgotten, when in June,
Tall chesnuts keep away the sun and moon :—

I rush'd into the folly!

"Within his car, aloft, young Bacchus stood,
Trifling his ivy-dart,in dancing mood,

With sidelong laughing;
And little rills of crimson wine imbrued
His plump white arms, and shoulders, enough white

For Venus' pearly bite;
And near him rode Silenus on his ass,
Pelted with flowers as he on did pass

Tipsily quaffing.

"Whence came ye, merry Damsels! whence came ye,
So many, and so many, and such glee?
Why have ye left your bowers desolate,

Your lutes, and gentler fate?
'We follow Bacchus! Bacchus on the wing,

A conquering!
Bacchus, young Bacchus! good or ill betide,
We dance before him thorough kingdoms wide:—
Come hither, lady fair, and joined be

To our wild minstrelsy!'

"Whence came ye, jolly Satyrs! whence came ye,

So many, and so many, and such glee?

Why have ye left your forest haunts, why left

Your nuts in oak-tree cleft ?—
'For wine, for wine we left our kernel tree;
For wine we left our heath, and yellow brooms,

And cold mushrooms;
For wine we follow Bacchus through the earth;
Great god of breathless cups and chirping mirth!
Come hither, lady fair, and joined be

To our mad minstrelsy!'

"Over wide streams and mountains great we went, And, save when Bacchus kept his ivy tent, Onward the tiger and the leopard pants,

With Asian elephants: Onward these myriads—with song and dance, With zebras striped, and sleek Arabians' prance, Web-footed alligators, crocodiles, Bearing upon their scaly backs, in files, Plump infant laughers mimicking the coil Of seamen, and stout galley-rowers' toil: With toying oars and silken sails they glide,

Nor care for wind and tide.

"Mounted on panthers' furs and lions' manes,
From rear to van they scour about the plains;
A three days' journey in a moment done;
And always, at the rising of the sun,
About the wilds they hunt with spear and horn,
On spleenful unicorn.

"I saw Osirian Egypt kneel adown

Before the vine-wreath crown!
I saw parch'd Abyssinia rouse and sing

To the silver cymbals' ring!
I saw the whelming vintage hotly pierce

Old Tartary the fierce!
The kings of Ind their jewel-sceptres vail,
And from their treasures scatter pearled hail;
Great Brahma from his mystic heaven groans,

And all his priesthood moans,
Before young Bacchus' eye-wink turning pale.
Into these regions came I, following him,
Sick-hearted, weary—so I took a whim
To stray away into these forests drear,

Alone, without a peer:
And I have told thee all thou mayest hear.

"Young stranger!
I've been a ranger
In search of pleasure throughout every clime;
Alas ! 'tis not for me:
Bewitch'd I sure must be,
To lose in grieving all my maiden prime.

"Come then, Sorrow,

Sweetest Sorrow!
Like an own babe I nurse thee on my breast:

I thought to leave thee,

And deceive thee,
But now of all the world I love thee best.

"There is not one,

No, no, not one
But thee to comfort a poor lonely maid;

Thou art her mother,

And her brother, . , „

Her playmate, and her wooer in the shade.

O what a sigh she gave in finishing,
And look, quite dead to every worldly thing!
Endymion could not speak, but gazed on her:
And listen'd to the wind that now did stir
About the crisped oaks full drearily,
Yet with as sweet a softness as might be
Remember'd from its velvet summer song.
At last he said: " Poor lady, how thus long
Have I been able to endure that voice?
Fair Melody ! kind Syren! I've no choice;
I must be thy sad servant evermore:
I cannot choose but kneel here and adore.
Alas, I must not think—by Phoebe, no!
Let me not think, soft Angel! shall it be so?
Say, beautifullest, shall I never think?

O thou couldst foster me beyond the brink
Of recollection ! make my watchful care
Close up its bloodshot eyes, nor see despair .
Do gently murder half my soul, and I
Shall feel the other half so utterly T--

I 'm giddy at that cheek so fair and smooth;
O let it blush so ever : let it soothe

My madness I let it mantle rosy-warm
With the tinge of love, panting in safe alarm.
This cannot be thy hand, and yet it is;
And this is sure thine other softling—this
Thine own fair bosom, and I am so near!
w ilt fall asleep? O let me sip that tear!
And whisper one sweet word that I may know
This is this world—sweet dewy blossom! —woe .

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