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Who would be
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
Low adown, low adown, from under my starry sea-bud crown
Low adown and around, And I should look like a fountain of
Over the throne
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.
What hope or fear or joy is thine?
Do beating hearts of salient springs
Hast thou heard the butterflies
Or in stillest evenings
Or when little airs arise,
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?
Some honey-converse feeds thy mind,
Some spirit of a crimson rose
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
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 are not less divine,
Than your twin-sister, Adeline.
Touch'd with a somewhat darker hue,
But ever trembling thro’ the dew
The quick lark's closest-caroll'd strains,
O sweet pale Margaret,
O rare pale Margaret, Come down, come down, and hear me
The sun is just about to set,
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
Who may minister to thee.
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
Sleepeth over all the heaven,
All along the shadowing shore,
The dark eyes open'd not,
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,
And shadow'd coves on a sunny shore,
How may full-sail'd verse express,
How may measured words adore
The full-flowing harmony
Is nothing sudden, nothing single;
From one censer in one shrine,
Thought and motion mingle,
To an unheard melody,
Of richest pauses, evermore
Who may express thee, Eleänore?
Or the yellow-banded bees,
Fed thee, a child, lying alone,
I stand before thee, Eleänore;
I see thy beauty gradually unfold,
Daily and hourly, more and more.
Slowly, as from a cloud of gold,
The languors of thy love-cleep eyes Float on to me. I would I were
So tranced, so rapt in ecstasies,
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,
And so would languish evermore,
Sometimes, with most intensity
Thought seems to come and go
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
While I muse upon thy face;
Thro' my veins to all my frame,
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,
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,
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.