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Who would be
A mermaid fair,
Singing alone,
Combing her hair
Under the sea,
In a golden curl
With a comb of pearl,
On a throne?



I would be a mermaid fair; I would sing to myself the whole of the

day; With a comb of pearl I would comb my

hair; ind still as I comb'd I would sing and

say, • Who is it loves me? who loves not

me?' I would comb my hair till my ringlets

would fall

Low adown, low adown, from under my starry sea-bud crown

Low adown and around, And I should look like a fountain of


Springing alone
With a shrill inner sound,

Over the throne
In the midst of the hall;
Till that great sea-snake under the sea
From his coiled sleeps in the central


But if any came near I would call, and

shriek, And adown the steep like a wave I

would leap From the diamond-ledges that jut from

the dells; For I would not be kiss'd by all who

would list, Of the bold merry mermen under the

sea; They would sue me, and woo me, ani

flatter me, In the purple twilights under the sea; But the king of them all would carry

me, Woo me,

and win me, and marry me, In the branching jaspers under the

sea; Then all the dry pied things that be In the hueless mosses under the sea Would curl round my silver feet silently, All looking up for the love of me. And if I should carol aloud, from aloft All things that are forked, and horned,

and soft Would lean out from the hollow sphere

of the sea, All looking down for the love of me.

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What hope or fear or joy is thine?
Who talketh with thee, Adeline?
For sure thou art not all alone.

Do beating hearts of salient springs
Keep measure with thine own?

Hast thou heard the butterflies
What they say betwixt their wings?

Or in stillest evenings
With what voice the violet woos
To his heart the silver dews?

Or when little airs arise,
How the merry bluebell rings

To the mosses underneath?

Hast thou look'd upon the breath

Of the lilies at sunrise? Wherefore that faint smile of thine, Shadowy, dreaming Adeline?

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Some honey-converse feeds thy mind,

Some spirit of a crimson rose

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What can it matter, Margaret,

What songs below the waning stars The lion-heart, Plantagenet,

Sang looking thro' his prison bars?

Exquisite Margaret, who can tell The last wild thought of Chatelet,

Just ere the falling axe did part
The burning brain from the true heart,

Even in her sight he loved so well?



A fairy shield your Genius made

And gave you on your natal day. Your sorrow, only sorrow's shade,

Keeps real sorrow far away.
You move not in such solitudes,

You are not less divine,
But more human in your moods,

Than your twin-sister, Adeline.
Your hair is darker, and your eyes

Touch'd with a somewhat darker hue,
And less aërially blue,

But ever trembling thro’ the dew
Of dainty-woeful sympathies.

The quick lark's closest-caroll'd strains,
The shadow rushing up the sea,
The lightning flash atween the rains,
The sunlight driving down the lea,
The leaping stream, the very wind,
That will not stay, upon his way,
To stoop the cowslip to the plains,
Is not so clear and bold and free
As you, my falcon Rosalind.
You care not for another's pains,
Because you are the soul of joy,
Bright metal all without alloy.
Life shoots and glances thro' your veins,
And flashes off a thousand ways,
Thro' lips and eyes in subtle rays.
Your hawk-eyes are keen and bright,
Keen with triumph, watching still
To pierce me thro’ with pointed light;
But oftentimes they flash and glitter
Like sunshine on a dancing rill,
And your words are seeming-bitter,
Sharp and few, but seeming-bitter
Froni excess of swist delight.



O sweet pale Margaret,

O rare pale Margaret, Come down, come down, and hear me

speak :
Tie up the ringlets on your cheek :

The sun is just about to set,
The arching limes are tall and shady,

And faint rainy lights are seen,

Moving in the leavy beech. Rise from the feast of sorrow, lady,

Where all day long you sit between

Joy and woe, and whisper each.

Come down, come home, my Rosalind, My gay young hawk, my Rosalind : Too long you keep the upper skies; Too long you roam and wheel at will; But we must hood your random eyes, That care not whom they kill,

A glorious child, dreaming alone,

In silk-soft folds, upon yielding down, With the hum of swarming bees

Into dreamful slumber lull’d.


And your cheek, whose brilliant hue
Is so sparkling-fresh to view,
Some red heath-flower in the dew,
Touch'd with sunrise. We must bind
And keep you sast, my Rosalind,
Fast, fast, my wild-eyed Rosalind,
And clip your wings, and make you love:
When we have lured you from above,
And that delight of frolic flight, by day

or night,
From North to South,
We'll bind you fast in silken cords,
And kiss away the bitter words
From off your rosy mouth.

Who may minister to thee.
Summer herself should minister

To thee, with fruitage golden-rinded

On golden salvers, or it may be, Youngest Autumn, in a bower Grape-thicken'd from the light, and

blinded With many a deep-hued bell-like

Of fragrant trailers, when the air

Sleepeth over all the heaven,
And the crag that fronts the Even,

All along the shadowing shore,
Crimsons over an inland mere,

Eleanore !




The dark eyes open'd not,
Nor first reveal'd themselves to English


For there is nothing here, Which, from the outward to the inward

brought, Moulded thy baby thought. Far off from human neighbourhood,

Thou wert born on a summer morn, A mile beneath the cedar-wood. Thy bounteous forehead was not fann'd

With breezes from our oaken glades, But thou wert nursed in some delicious

land Of lavish lights, and floating shades: And flattering thy childish thought

The oriental fairy brought,

At the moment of thy birth,
From old well-heads of haunted rills,
And the hearts of purple hills,

And shadow'd coves on a sunny shore,
The choicest wealth of all the

Jewel or shell, or starry ore,
To deck thy cradle, Eleanore.

How may full-sail'd verse express,

How may measured words adore

The full-flowing harmony
Of thy swan-like stateliness,

The luxuriant symmetry
Of thy floating gracefulness,

Every turn and glance of thine,
Every lineament divine,

And the steady sunset glow,
That stays upon thee? For in thee

Is nothing sudden, nothing single;
Like two streams of incense free

From one censer in one shrine,

Thought and motion mingle,
Mingle ever. Motions flow
To one another, even as tho'
They were modulated so

To an unheard melody,
Which lives about thee, and a sweep

Of richest pauses, evermore
Drawn from each other mellow-deep;

Who may express thee, Eleänore?


Or the yellow-banded bees,
Thro’ half-open lattices
Coming in the scented breeze,

Fed thee, a child, lying alone,
With whitest honey in fairy gar-

dens cullid


I stand before thee, Eleänore;

I see thy beauty gradually unfold,

Daily and hourly, more and more.
I muse, as in a trance, the while

Slowly, as from a cloud of gold,
Comes out thy deep ambrosial smile.
I muse, as in a trance, whene'er

The languors of thy love-cleep eyes Float on to me. I would I were

So tranced, so rapt in ecstasies,
To stand apart, and to adore,
Gazing on thee for evermore,
Serene, imperial Eleänore !

And the self-same influence

Controlleth all the soul and sense Of Passion gazing upon thee. His bow-string slacken'd, languid Love,

Leaning his cheek upon his hand,
Droops both his wings, regarding thee,

And so would languish evermore,
Serene, imperial Eleänore.



Sometimes, with most intensity
Gazing, I seem to see
Thought folded over thought, smiling

Slowly awaken'd, grow so full and deep
In thy large eyes, that, overpower'd quite,
I cannot veil, or droop my sight,
But am as nothing in its light:
As tho' a star, in inmost heaven set,
Ev’n while we gaze on it,
Should slowly round his orb, and slowly

To a full face, there like a sun remain
Fix'd - then as slowly fade again,
And draw itself to what it was

So full, so deep, so slow,

Thought seems to come and go
In thy large eyes, imperial Eleänore.

But when I see thee roam, with tresses

unconfined, While the amorous, odorous wind Breathes low between the sunset and

the moon; Or, in a shadowy saloon, On silken cushions half reclined;

I watch thy grace; and in its place
My heart a charmed slumber keeps,

While I muse upon thy face;
And a languid fire creeps

Thro' my veins to all my frame,
Dissolvingly and slowly: soon

From thy rose-red lips My name Floweth; and then, as in a swoon, With dinning sound my ears are

rife, My tremulous tongue faltereth, I lose my colour, I lose my breath,

I drink the cup of a costly death, Brimmed with delirious draughts of warm

est life. I die with my delight, before I hear what I would hear from


Yet tell my name again to me,
I would be dying evermore,
So dying ever, Eleanore.



As thunder-clouds that, hung on high, * Roof'd the world with doubt and

fear, Floating thro' an evening atmosphere, Grow golden all about the sky; In thee all passion becomes passionless, Touch'd by thy spirit's mellowness, Losing his fire and active might

In a silent meditation, Falling into a still delight,

And luxury of contemplation As waves that up a quiet cove

Rolling slide, and lying still

Shadow forth the banks at will: Or sometimes they swell and move,

Pressing up against the land,
With motions of the outer sea :

My life is full of weary days,

But good things have not kept aloof, Nor wander'd into other ways:

I have not lack'd thy mild reproof, Nor golden largess of thy praise.

And now shake hands across the brink

Of that deep grave to which I go: Shake hands once more : I cannot sink

So far — far down, but I shall know Thy voice, and answer from below.

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