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Alone, without a peer:

Star'd, where upon their heads the cornice pas And I have told thee all thou mayest hear.

With hair blown back, and wings put cross-wise al “ Young stranger!

their breasts. I've been a ranger

At length burst in the argent revelry,
In search of pleasure throughout every clime:

With plume, tiara, and all rich array,
Alas, 'tis not for me!

Numerous as shadows haunting fairily
Bewitch'd I sure must be,

The brain,new stuff’d, in youth,with triumphsca
To lose in grieving all my maiden prime.

Of old romance. These let us wish away,

And turn, sole-thoughted, to one lady there,
“ Come then, Sorrow!

Whose heart had brooded, all that wintry daj,
Sweetest Sorrow!

On love, and wing'd St. Agnes' saintly care,
Like an own babe I purse thee on my breast: As she had heard old dames full many times declare.

I thought to leave thee
And deceive thee,

They told her how, upon St. Agnes Eve,
But now of all the world I love thee best.

Young virgins might have visions of delight,

And soft adorings from their loves receive
6 There is not one,

Upon the honey'd middle of the night,
No, no, not one

If ceremonies due they did aright;
But thou to comfort a poor lonely maid;

As, supperless to bed they must retire,
Thou art her mother,

And couch supine their beauties, lily white;
And her brother,

Nor look behind, nor sideways, but require
Her playmate, and her wooer in the shade." Of Heaven with upward eyes for all that they desire


Full of this whim was thoughtful Madeline:

The music, yearning like a god in pain,

She scarcely heard: her maiden eyes divine, St. Agnes' Eve-Ah, bitter chill it was!

Fix'd on the floor, saw many a sweeping train The owl, for all his feathers, was a-cold; (grass,

Pass by-she heeded not at all: in vain The hare limp'd trembling through the frozen

Came many a tiptoe, amorous cavalier, And silent was the flock in woolly fold:

And back retir'd; not cool'd by high disdain, Numb were the Beadsman's fingers, while he told

But she saw not: her heart was otherwhere: His rosary, and while his frosted breath,

She sigh'd for Agnes' dreams, the sweetest of the Like pious incense from a censer old,

year. Seem'd taking flight for heaven, without a death, Past the sweet virgin's picture while his prayer he

She danc'd along with vague, regardless eyes, saith.

Anxious her lips, her breathing quick and short


The hallow'd hour was near at hand: she sighs
His prayer he saith, this patient, holy man; Amid the timbrels, and the throng'd resort
Then takes his lamp, and riseth from his knees,

Of whisperers in anger, or in sport ;
And back returneth, meagre, barefoot, wan, Mid looks of love, defiance, hate, and scorul,
Along the chapel aisle by slow degrees:

Hoodwink'd with faery fancy; all amort,
The sculptur'd dead, on each side, seem to freeze,

Save to St. Agnes and her lambs unshorn,
Emprison'd in black, purgatorial rails:

And all the bliss to be before to-morrow mord.
Knights, ladies, praying in dumb orat’ries,
He passeth by; and his weak spirit fails

So, purposing each moment to retire,
To think how they may ache in icy hoods and mails. She linger'd still. Meantime, across the moors,

Had come young Porphyro, with heart on fire
Northward he turneth through a little door,

For Madeline. Beside the portal doors, And scarce three steps, ere music's golden tongue

Buttress'd from moonlight, stands he, and implores Flatter'd to tears this aged man and poor;

All saints to give him sight of Madeline, But no--already had his deathbell rung;

But for one moment in the tedious hours,
The joys of all his life were said and sung:

That he might gaze and worship all unseed;
His was harsh penance on St. Agnes' Eve:
Another way he went, and soon among

Perchance speak, kneel, touch, kiss--in sooth such

things have been. Rough ashes sat he for his soul's reprieve, And all night kept awake, for sinners' sake to grieve. He ventures in: let no buzz'd whisper tell:

All eyes be muffled, or a hundred swords That ancient Beadsman heard the prelude soft;

Will storm his heart, love's fev'rous citadel: And so it chanc'd, for many a door was wide,

For him, those chambers held barbarian hordes, From hurry to and fro. Soon, up aloft,

Hyena foemen, and hot-blooded lords,
The silver, snarling trumpets 'gan to chide:

Whose very dogs would execrations howl
The level chambers, ready with their pride,
Were glowing to receive a thousand guests:

Against his lineage: not one breast affords
The carved angels, ever

Him any mercy, in that mansion foul,
Save one old beldame, weak in body and in soul.


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Ah, happy chance! the aged creature came, When my weak voice shall whisper its last prayer,
Shuffing along with ivory-headed wand,

If one of her soft ringlets I displace,
To where he stood, hid from the torch's flame, Or look with ruffian passion in her face :
Behind a broad hall-pillar, far beyond

Good Angela, believe me by these tears;
The sound of merriment and chorus bland:

Or I will, even in a moment's space,
He startled her; but soon she knew his face, Awake with horrid shout my foemen's ears,
And grasp'd his fingers in her palsied hand, And beard them, though they be more fang'd than
Saying, “ Mercy, Porphyro! hie thee from this wolves abd bears."


“ Ah! why wilt thou affright a feeble soul ? bang dadi They are all here to-night, the whole blood-thirsty

A poor, weak, palsy-stricken, churchyard thing,
Get hence! get hence! there's dwarfish Hilder Whose passing-bell may ere the midnight toll;
He had a fever late, and in the fit (brand; Whose prayers for thee, each morn and evening,
He cursed thee and thine, both house and land:

Were never miss'd.” — Thus plaining, doth she
Then there's that old Lord Maurice, not a whit A gentler speech from burning Porphyro; (bring
More tame for his gray hairs-Alas me! flit! So woeful, and of such deep sorrowing,
Flit like a ghost away.”—“Ah, Gossip dear, That Angela gives promise she will do

We're safe enough; here in this arm-chair sit, Whatever he shall wish, betide her weal or woe.
op die
And tell me how"-"Good saints! not here, not


Which was, to lead him, in close secrecy,
Follow me, child, or else these stones will be thy

Even to Madeline's chamber, and there hide

Him in a closet, of such privacy ejaku He follow'd through a lowly arched way,

That he might see her beauty unespied,
Brushing the cobwebs with his lofty plume,

And win perhaps that night a peerless bride,
And as she mutter'd “ Well-a-well-a-day!"

While legion'd fairies pac'd the coverlet,
He found him in a little moonlight room,

And pale enchantment held her sleepy-eyed.
Pale, lattic'd, chill, and silent as a tomb.

Never on such a night have lovers met,
“ Now tell me where is Madeline," said he,

Since Merlin paid his Demon all the monstrous debt.
“O tell me, Angela, by the holy loom
Which none but secret sisterhood may see,

“ It shall be as thou wishest,” said the dame:
When they St. Agnes' wool are weaving piously."

“ All cates and dainties shall be stored there

Quickly on this feast-night: by the tambour frame
“ St. Agnes! ah! it is St. Agnes' Evem

Her own lute thou wilt see: no time to spare,
Yet men will murder upon holy days:

For I am slow and feeble, and scarce dare
Thou must hold water in a witch's sieve,

On such a catering trust my dizzy head.
And be liege-lord of all the Elves and Fays,

Wait here, my child,with patience; kneel in prayer
To venture so: it fills me with amaze

The while: ah! thou must needs the lady wed
To see thee, Porphyro!-St. Agnes’ Eve!

Or may I never leave my grave among the dead.”
God's help! my lady fair the conjuror plays
This very night: good angels her deceive!

So saying, she hobbled off with busy fear.
But let me laugh awhile, I've mickle time to grieve.” The lover's endless minutes slowly pass’d;
Feebly she laugheth in the languid moon,

The dame return'd, and whisper'd in his ear

To follow her; with aged eyes aghast
While Porphyro upon her face doth look,
Like puzzled urchin on an aged crone

From fright of dim espial. Safe at last,

Through many a dusky gallery, they gain
Who keepeth clos'd a wondrous riddle-book,

The maiden's chamber, silken, hush'd, and chaste;
As spectacled she sits in chimney nook.

Where Porphyro took covert, pleas'd amain.
But soon his eyes grew brilliant, when she told

His poor guide hurried back with agues in her brain.
His lady's purpose ; and he scarce could brook

Tears, at the thought of those enchantments cold, Her falt'ring hand upon the balustrade,
And Madeline asleep in lap of legends old.

Old Angela was feeling for the stair,
Sudden a thought came like a full-blown rose,

When Madeline, St. Agnes' charmed maid,
Flushing his brow, and in his pained heart

Rose, like a mission'd spirit, unaware:
Made purple riot: then doth he propose

With silver taper's light, and pious care,

She turn'd, and down the aged gossip led
A stratagem, that makes the beldame start:

To a safe level matting. Now prepare,
“ A cruel man and impious thou art:
Sweet lady, let her pray, and sleep, and dream

Young Porphyro, for gazing on that bed;
Alone with her good angels, far apart

She comes, she comes again, like ring-dove fray'd

and fled.
From wicked men like thee. Go, go!—I deem
Thou canst not surely be the same that thou didst

Out went the taper as she hurried in;

Its little smoke, in pallid moonshine, died : “ I will not harm her, by all saints I swear,” She closed the door, she panted, all akin Quoth Porphyro: “O may I ne'er find grace To spirits of the air and visions wide:

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Those looks immortal, those complainings dear!

For if thou diest, my Love, I know not where to

Eth See loce Ble Sol

LIP Agail




Po Cr Ic TL A do

And those sad eyes were spiritual and clear:
How chang'd thou art! how pallid, chill, and

Give me that voice again, my Porphyro, (drear!

No uttered syllable, or, woe betide!

Affray his ears, though but in dying tone: But to her heart, her heart was voluble,

The hall door shuts again, and all the noise is gose. Paiving with eloquence her balmy side;

And still she slept an azure-lidded sleep, As though a tongueless nightingale should swell

In blanched linen, smooth, and lavender'd, Her throat in vain, and die, heart-stified, in her dell.

While he from forth the closet brought a beap A casement high and triple-arch'd there was, Of candied apple, quince, and plum, and gourd; All garlanded with carven imag'ries

With jellies soother than the creamy curd, Of fruits, and flowers, and bunches of knot-grass, And lucent syrops, tinct with cinnamon; And diamonded with panes of quaint device, Manna and dates, in argosy transferr'd Innumerable of stains and splendid dyes,

From Fez; and spiced dainties, every one, As are the tiger-moth's deep-damask'd wings; From silken Samarcand to cedar'd Lebanon. And in the midst, 'mong thousand heraldries,

These delicates he heap'd with glowing liand And twilight saints, and dim emblazonings,

On golden dishes and in baskets bright
A shielded scutcheon blush'd with blood of queens Of wreathed silver: sumptuous they stand
and kings.

In the retired quiet of the night,
Full on this casement shone the wintry moon, Filling the chilly room with perfume light.-
And threw warm gules on Madeline's fair breast, “ And now, my love, my seraph fair, awake!
As down she knelt for heaven's grace and boon; Thou art my heaven, and I thine eremite:
Rose-bloom fell on her hands, together prest, Open thine eyes, for meek St. Agnes' sake,
And on her silver cross soft amethyst,

Or I shall drowse beside thee, so my soul doth ache."
And on her hair a glory, like a saint:
She seem'd a splendid angel, newly drest,

Thus whispering, his warm, underved arm

Sank in her pillow. Shaded was her dream Save wings, for heaven:—Porphyro grew faint:

By the dusk curtains:- 'twas a midnight charm She knelt, so pure a thing, so free from mortal taint.

Impossible to melt as iced stream: Anon his heart revives: her vespers done,

The lustrous salvers in the moonlight gleam; Of all its wreathed pearls her hair she frees; Broad golden fringe upon the carpet lies: Unclasps her warmed jewels one by one;

It seem'd he never, never could redeem
Loosens her fragrant boddice; by degrees

From such a stedfast spell his lady's eyes;
Her rich attire creeps rustling to her knees: So mus'd awhile, entoil'd in woofed phantasies.
Half-hidden, like a mermaid in sea-weed,
Pensive awhile she dreams awake, and sees,

Awakening up, he took her hollow lute-
In fancy, fair St. Agnes in her bed,

Tumultuous, and, in chords that tenderest be, But dares not look behind, or all the charm is fled. He play'd an ancient ditty, long since mute,

In Provence call'd, “ La belle dame sans mercy;"
Soon, trembling in her soft and chilly nest,

Close to her ear touching the melody;~
In sort of wakeful swoon, perplex'd she lay, Wherewith disturb’d, she utter'd a soft moan:
Until the poppied warmth of sleep oppress'd

He ceased-she panted quick-and suddenly
Her soothed limbs, and soul fatigued away;

Her blue affrayed eyes wide open shone: (stone.
Flown, like a thought, until the morrow-day;

Upon his knees he sank, pale as smooth-sculptured
Blissfully haven'd both from joy and pain;
Clasp'd like a missal where swart Paynims pray;

Her eyes were open, but she still beheld,
Blinded alike from sunshine and from rain,

Now wide awake, the vision of her sleep: As though a rose should shut, and be a bud again.

There was a painful change, that nigh expellid Stol'n to this paradise, and so entranced,

The blisses of her dream so pure and deep;

At which fair Madeline began to weep,
Porphyro gazed upon her empty dress,
And listen’d to her breathing, if it chanced
To wake into a slumberous tenderness;
Which when he heard, that minute did he bless,
And breath'd himself: then from the closet crept,
Noiseless as fear in a wide wilderness,

And over the hush'd carpet, silent, stept,
And 'tween the curtains peep'd, where, lo!-how




And moan forth witless words with many a sigb;
While still her gaze on Porphyro would keep;

Who knelt, with joined hands and piteous eye,
Fearing to move or speak, she look'd so dreamingly.

“ Ah, Porphyro!” said she, “ but even now
Thy voice was at sweet tremble in mine ear,
Made tuneable with every sweetest vow;

fast she slept.
Then by the bed-side, where the faded moon
Made a dim, silver twilight, soft he set
A table, and, half anguish’d, threw thereon
A cloth of woven crimson, gold, and jet:-
O for some drowsy Morphean amulet!
The boisterous, midnight, festive clarion,
The kettle-drum, and far-heard clarionet,


Oh leave me not in this eternal woe,

Beyond a mortal man impassion'd far
At these voluptuous accents, he arose,

- Ethereal, flush'd, and like a throbbing star Died palsy-twitch’d, with meagre face deform; * Seen mid the sapphire heaven's deep repose; The Beadsman, after thousand aves told, Into her dream he melted, as the rose

For aye unsought for slept among his ashes cold. Blendeth its odour with the violet,Solution sweet: meantime the frost-wind blows Like love's alarum pattering the sharp sleet (set.

ODE TO A NIGHTINGALE. Against the window-panes; St. Agnes' moon hath My heart aches, and a drowsy numbness pains

My sense as though of hemlock I had drunk, 'Tis dark: quick pattereth the flaw-blown sleet:

Or emptied some dull opiate to the drains “ This is no dream, my bride, my Madeline !"

One minute past, and lethe-wards had sunk: 'Tis dark: the iced gusts still rave and beat:

'Tis not through envy of thy happy lot, “ No dream, alas! alas! and woe is mine!

But being too happy in thine happiness,Porphyro will leave me here to fade and pine.

That thou, light-winged dryad of the trees, Cruel! what traitor could thee hither bring?

In some melodious plot I curse not, for my heart is lost in thine,

Of beechen green, and shadows numberless, Though thou forsakest a deceived thing;

Singest of summer in full-throated ease. A dove forlorn and lost with sick unpruned wing."

O, for a draught of vintage! that hath been “ My Madeline! sweet dreamer! lovely bride!

Cool'd a long age in the deep-delved earth, Ei Say, may I be for aye thy vassal blest? (dyed? Tasting of Flora and the country green, * Thy beauty's shield, heart-shap'd and vermeil

Dance, and Provençal song, and sunburnt mirth! Ah, silver shrine, here will I take my rest

O for a beaker full of the warm south, After so many hours of toil and quest,

Full of the true, the blushful Hippocrene, A famish'd pilgrim,-saved by miracle.

With beaded bubbles winking at the brim, Though I have found, I will not rob thy nest

And purple-stained mouth; Saving of thy sweet self; if thou think'st well

That I might drink, and leave the world unseen, To trust, fair Madeline, to no rude infidel."

And with thee fade away into the forest dim: “ Hark! 'tis an elfin-storm from faery land,

Fade far away, dissolve, and quite forget Of haggard seeming, but a boon indeed:

What thou among the leaves hast never known, Arise-arise! the morning is at hand;

The weariness, the fever, and the fret The bloated wassaillers will never heed :

Here, where men sit and hear each other groan; Let us away, my love, with happy speed;

Where palsy shakes a few, sad, last gray hairs, There are no ears to hear, or eyes to see,

Where youth grows pale, and spectre-thin, and Drown'd all in Rhenish and the sleepy mead:

Where but to think is to be full of sorrow [dies; Awake! arise! my love, and fearless be,

And leaden-eyed despairs, For o'er the southern moors I have a home for thee."

Where beauty cannot keep her lustrous eyes, She hurried at his words, beset with fears,

Or new love pine at them beyond to-morrow. For there were sleeping dragons all around,

Away! away! for I will Ay to thee,
At glaring watch, perhaps, with ready spears Not charioted by Bacchus and his bards,
Down the widestairs a darkling way they found. But on the viewless wings of poesy,
In all the house was heard not human sound.

Though the dull brain perplexes and retards: A chain-droop'd lamp was flickering by each door;

Already with thee! tender is the night, The arras, rich with horseman, hawk, and hound,

And haply the Queen-Moon is on her throne, Flutter'd in the besieging wind's uproar;

Cluster'd around by all her starry fays; And the long carpets rose along the gusty floor.

But here there is no light,

Save what from heaven is with the breezes blown They glide, like phantoms, into the wide hall; Like phantoms, to the iron porch, they glide;

Through verdurous glooms and winding mossy Where lay the porter, in uneasy sprawl,

ways. With a huge empty flagon by his side:

I cannot see what flowers are at my feet, The wakeful bloodhound rose, and shook his hide, Nor what soft incense hangs upon the boughs, But his sagacious eye an inmate owns:

But, in embalmed darkness, guess each sweet By one, the bolts full easy slide :

Wherewith the seasonable month endows The chains lie silent on the footworn stones;

The grass, the thicket, and the fruit-tree wild; The key turns, and the door upon its hinges groans. White hawthorn, and the pastoral eglantine; And they are gone: ay, ages long ago

Fast fading vi »lets cover'd up in leaves ; These lovers fled away into the storm.

And mid-May's eldest child, That night the baron dreamt of many a woe,

The coming musk-rose, full of dewy wine,

The murmurous haunt of flies on summer eves. And all his warrior-guests, with shade and form Of witch, and demon, and large coffin-worm, Darkling I listen; and, for many a time Were long be-nightmar'd. Angela the old I have been half in love with easeful Death,

and one,

AD Le Ple

Call'd him soft names in many a mused rhyme, She will bring thee, all together,
To take into the air my quiet breath;

All delight of summer weather;
Now more than ever seems it rich to die, All the buds and bells of May,
To cease upon the midnight with no pain,

From dewy sward or thorny spray; While thou art pouring forth thy soul abroad All the heaped Autumn's wealth, In such an ecstasy!

With a still, mysterious stealth: Still wouldst thou sing, and I have ears in vain She will mix these pleasures up To thy high requiem become a sod.

Like three fit wines in a cup,

And thou shalt quaff it:—thou shalt hear Thou wast not born for death, immortal bird!

Distant harvest-carols clear;
No hungry generations tread thee down;

Rustle of the reaped corn ;
The voice I hear this passing night was heard Sweet birds antheming the morn:
In ancient days by emperor and clown:

And, in the same moment-hark!
Perhaps the self-same song that found a path

'Tis the early April lark, Through the sad heart of Ruth, when, sick for

Or the rooks, with busy caw,
She stood in tears amid the alien corn; [home,

Foraging for sticks and straw.
The same that oft-times hath

Thou shalt, at one glance, behold
Charm'd magic casements, opening on the foam

The daisy and the marigold; Of perilous seas, in faery lands forlorn.

White-plum'd lilies, and the first Forlorn! the very word is like a bell

Hedge-grown primrose that hath burst; To toll me back from thee to my sole self!

Shaded hyacinth, alway Adieu! the fancy cannot cheat so well

Sapphire queen of the mid-May; As she is fam'd to do, deceiving elf.

And every leaf, and every flower
Adieu! adieu! thy plaintive anthem fades

Pearled with the self-same shower,
Past the near meadows, over the still stream, Thou shalt see the field-mouse peep
Up the hill-side; and now 'tis buried deep Meagre from its celled sleep;
In the next valley-glades:

And the snake all winter-thin
Was it a vision, or a waking dream?

Cast on sunny bank its skin;
Fled is that music:-do I wake or sleep?

Freckled nest-eggs thou shalt see
Hatching in the hawthorn-tree,

When the hen-bird's wing doth rest

Quiet on her mossy nest;
Ever let the Fancy roam,

Then the hurry and alarm Pleasure never is at home:

When the bee-hive casts its swarm; At a touch sweet Pleasure melteth,

Acorns ripe down-pattering,
Like to bubbles when rain pelteth;

While the autumn breezes sing.
Then let winged Fancy wander
Through the thought still spread beyond her: Oh, sweet Fancy! let her loose;
Open wide the mind's cage-door,

Every thing is spoilt by use:
She'll dart forth, and cloudward soar.

Where's the cheek that doth not fade, O sweet Fancy! let her loose;

Too much gaz'd at? where's the maid Summer's joys are spoilt by use,

Whose lip mature is ever new? And the enjoying of the spring

Where's the eye, however blue, Fades as does its blossoming;

Doth not weary? where's the face Autumn's red-lipp'd fruitage too,

One would meet in every place ? Blushing through the mist and dew,

Where's the voice, however soft, Cloys with tasting: what do then?

One would hear so very oft? Sit thee by the ingle, when

At a touch sweet Pleasure melteth The sear faggot blazes bright,

Like to bubbles when rain pelteth. Spirit of a winter's night;

Let, then, winged Fancy find When the soundless earth is muffled,

Thee a mistress to thy mind:
And the caked snow is shuffled

Dulcet-eyed as Ceres' daughter,
From the ploughboy's heavy shoon;
When the Night doth meet the Noon
In a dark conspiracy
To banish Even from her sky.
Sit thee there, and send abroad,
With a mind self-overaw'd,
Fancy, high-commission'd:-send her!
She has vassals to attend her:
She will bring, in spite of frost,
Beauties that the earth hath lost;

Ere the God of Torment taught her
How to frown and how to chide;
With a waist and with a side
White as Hebe's, when her zone
Slipt its golden clasp, and down
Fell her kirtle to her feet,
While she held the goblet sweet,
And Jove grew languid.—Break the mesh
Of the Fancy's silken leash;
Quickly break her prison-string

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