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Redeemed it from the charge of nothingness
THE GARDENER'S DAUGHTER;
This morning is the morning of the day
My Eustace might have sat for Hercules ; So muscular he spread, so broad a breast. He, by some law that holds in love, and draws The greater to the lesser, long desired A certain miracle of symmetry, A miniature of loveliness, all grace Summed up and closed in little ;-Juliet, she So light of foot, so light of spirit-oh, she To me myself, for some three careless moons, The summer pilot of an empty heart Unto the shores of nothing ! Know you not Such touches are but embassies of love, To tamper with the feelings, ere he found Empire for life ? but Eustace painted her, And said to me, she sitting with us then, “When will you paint like this ? ” and I replied, (My words were half in earnest, half in jest,) 6 "T'is not your work, but Love's. Love unper
ceived. A more ideal Artist he than all, Came, drew your pencil from you, made those eyes Darker than darkest pansies, and that hair More black than ashbuds in the front of March." And Juliet answered laughing, “ Go and see The Gardener's daughter: trust me, after that, You scarce can fail to match his masterpiece.” And up we rose, and on the spur we went.
Not wholly in the busy world, nor quite Beyond it, blooms the garden that I love. News from the humming city comes to it In sound of funeral or of marriage bells; And, sitting muffled in dark leaves, you hear The windy clanging of the minster clock; Although between it and the garden lies A league of grass, washed by a slow broad stream, That, stirred with languid pulses of the oar, Waves all its lazy lilies, and creeps on, Barge-laden, to three arches of a bridge Crowned with the minster-towers.
The fields between Are dewy-fresh, browsed by deep-uddered kine, And all about the large lime feathers low, The lime a summer home of murmurous wings.
In that still place she, hoarded in herself, Grew, seldom seen : not less among us lived Her
fame from lip to lip. Who had not heard Of Rose, the Gardener's daughter? Where was So blunt in memory, so old at heart, At such a distance from his youth in grief, That, having seen, forgot? The common mouth, So gross to express delight, in praise of her Grew oratory. Such a lord is Love, And Beauty such a mistress of the world.
And if I said that Fancy, led by Love, Would play with flying forms and images, Yet this is also true, that, long before I looked upon her, when I heard her name My heart was like a prophet to my heart, And told me I should love. A crowd of hopes, That sought to sow themselves like winged seeds, Born out of every thing I heard and saw, Fluttered about my senses and my soul ; And vague desires, like fitful blasts of balm To one that travels quickly, made the air Of Life delicious, and all kinds of thought, That verged upon them, sweeter than the dream Dreamed by a happy man, when the dark East, Unseen, is brightening to his bridal morn.
And sure this orbit of the memory folds Forever in itself the day we went To see her. All the land in flowery squares, Beneath a broad and equal-blowing wind, Smelt of the coming summer, as one large cloud Drew downward: but all else of Heaven was pure Up to the Sun, and May from verge to verge, And May with me from head to heel. And now, As though 'twere yesterday, as though it were
The hour just flown, that morn with all its sound,
And Eustace turned, and smiling said to me, “ Hear how the bushes echo! by my life, These birds have joyful thoughts. Think you they
Lightly he laughed, as one that read my thought,
Eustace,” I said, “ this wonder keeps the house."
He nodded, but a moment afterwards
For up the porch there grew an Eastern rose, That, flowering high, the last night's gale had caught, And blown across the walk. One arm aloftGowned in pure white, that fitted to the shapeHolding the bush, to fix it back, she stood. A single stream of all her soft brown hair Poured on one side : the shadow of the flowers Stole all the golden gloss, and, wavering, Lovingly lower, trembled on her waistAh, happy shade !—and still went wavering down, But, ere it touched a foot that might have danced The greensward into greener circles, dipt, And mixed with shadows of the common ground! But the full day dwelt on her brows, and sunned Her violet eyes, and all her Ilebe-bloom, And doubled his own warmth against her lips, And on the bounteous wave of such a breast As never pencil drew. Half light, half shade, She stood, a sight to make an old man young:
So rapt, we neared the house ; but she, a Rose In roses, mingled with her fragrant toil
, Nor heard us come, nor from her tendance turned Into the world without; till close at hand, And almost ere I knew mine own intent, This murmur broke the stillness of that air Which brooded round about her:
“Ah, one rose, One rose, but one, by those fair fingers culled, Were worth a hundred kisses pressed on lips Less exquisite than thine!”
She looked: but all Suffused with blushes-neither self-possessed Nor startled, but betwixt this mood and that, Divided in a graceful quiet-paused, And dropt the branch she held, and turning, wound