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THE BLESSED DAMOZEL

T

HE blessed damozel leaned

out
From the gold bar of

Heaven;
Her eyes were deeper than
the depth
Of waters stilled at even;
She had three lilies in her hand,

And the stars in her hair were seven.

.

Her robe, ungirt from clasp to hem,

No wrought flowers did adorn,
But a white rose of Mary's gift,

For service neatly worn,
Her hair that lay along her back

Was yellow like ripe corn.

Her seemed she scarce had been a day

One of God's choristers;
The wonder was not yet quite gone

From that still look of hers;
Albeit, to them she left, her day

Had counted as ten years.

It was the rampart of God's house

That she was standing on;
By God built over the sheer depth

The which is Space begun;
So high that looking downward thence

She scarce could see the sun.
It lies in Heaven, across the flood

Of ether, as a bridge.
Beneath, the tides of day and night

With flame and darkness ridge
The void, as low as where this earth

Spins like a fretful midge. Around her, lovers, newly met

'Mid deathless love's acclaims Spoke evermore among themselves

Their heart-remembered names; And the souls mounting up to God

Went by her like thin flames. And still she bowed herself and stooped

Out of the circling charm, Until her bosom must have made

The bar she leaned on warm, And the lilies lay as if asleep

Along her bended arm. From the fixed place of Heaven she saw Time like a pulse shake fierce

Through all the worlds. Her gaze still

strove Within the gulf to pierce Its path; and now she spoke as when

The stars sang in their spheres.

*

“I wish that he were come to me,

For he will come,” she said. "Have I not prayed in Heaven?- on

earth, Lord, Lord, has he not prayed ? Are not two prayers a perfect strength?

And shall I feel afraid?”

She gazed and listened, and then said,

Less sad of speech than mild,"All this is when he comes.” She ceased.

The light thrilled towards her, fill'd With angels in strong level flight.

Her eyes prayed, and she smil'd. (I saw her smile.) But soon their path

Was vague in distant spheres;
And then she cast her arms along

The golden barriers,
And laid her face between her hands
And wept. (I heard her tears.)

-Dante Gabriel Rossetti.

SONNET FROM THE

PORTUGUESE

.

IRST time he kissed me, he

but only kissed F The fingers of this hand

wherewith I write, And ever since it grew more

clean and white, Slow to world-greetings

quick with its “Oh, list, When the angels speak. A ring of

amethyst I could not wear here plainer to my

sight, Than that first kiss. The second passed

in height The first, and sought the forehead, and

half missed, Half falling on the hair. O beyond

meed! That was the chrism of love which love's

own crown, With sanctifying sweetness, did pre

cede. The third upon my lips was folded

down In perfect, purple state! since when

indeed, I have been proud and said, “My love,

my own.
-Elizabeth Barrett Browning.
TO SLEEP
FLOCK of sheep that leis-

urely pass by,
A

One after one; the sound

of rain, and bees

Murmuring; the fall of rivers, winds and seas, Smooth fields, white sheets of water, and

pure sky; By turns have all been thought of, yet I

lie Sleepless; and soon the small birds'

melodies Must hear, first uttered from my or

chard trees; And the first Cuckoo's melancholy cry. Even thus last night, and two nights

more, I lay, And could not win thee, Sleep! by any

stealth: So do not let me wear to-night away: Without Thee what is all the morning's

wealth? Come, blessed barrier between day and

day, Dear mother of fresh thoughts and joyous health!

-William Wordsworth.

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