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MYSTERY of mysteries,
Faintly smiling Adeline,
Scarce of earth nor all divine,
Nor unhappy, nor at rest,

But beyond expression fair
With thy floating flaxen hair;
Thy rose-lips and full blue eyes

Take the heart from out my breast. Wherefore those dim looks of thine, Shadowy, dreaming Adeline?


Whence that aery bloom of thine,
Like a lily which the sun
Looks thro' in his sad decline,
And a rose-bush leans upon,
Thou that faintly smilest still,
As a Naiad in a well,
Looking at the set of day,
Or a phantom two hours old
Of a maiden past away,
Ere the placid lips be cold?

Wherefore those faint smiles of thine,
Spiritual Adeline?


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?


Some honey-converse feeds thy mind, Some spirit of a crimson rose

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You love, remaining peacefully,

To hear the murmur of the strife,
But enter not the toil of life.

Your spirit is the calmed sea,

Laid by the tumult of the fight. You are the evening star, alway

Remaining betwixt dark and bright: Lull'd echoes of laborious day

Come to you, gleams of mellow light
Float by you on the verge of night.


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.


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.

Or only look across the lawn,

Look out below your bower-eaves, Look down, and let your blue eyes dawn Upon me thro' the jasmine-leaves.



My Rosalind, my Rosalind,
My frolic falcon, with bright eyes,
Whose free delight, from any height of
rapid flight,

Stoops at all game that wing the skies,
My Rosalind, my Rosalind,

My bright-eyed, wild-eyed falcon, whither,
Careless both of wind and weather,
Whither fly ye, what game spy ye,
Up or down the streaming wind?


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
From excess of swift delight.


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,

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 fast, 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.



THY dark eyes open'd not,

Nor first reveal'd themselves to English air,

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 earth,

Jewel or shell, or starry ore,

To deck thy cradle, 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 cull'd-

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Every turn and glance of thine,
Every lincament 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?


I stand before thee, Eleänore;

I see thy beauty gradually unfold,

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Slowly awaken'd, grow so full and deep
In thy large eyes, that, overpower'd quite,
I cannot veil, or droop my sight,
Bat 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 grow

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.


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:

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 Eleanore.


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 thee;

Yet tell my name again to me,

I would be dying evermore,

So dying ever, Eleanore.


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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