« PreviousContinue »
Jewel or shell, or starry ore,
To deck thy cradle, Eleanore.
Or the yellow-banded bees,
Through half-open lattices
Coming in the scented breeze,
Fed thee, a child, lying alone,
With whitest honey in fairy gardens culled A glorious child, dreaming alone, In silk-soft folds, upon yielding down, With the hum of swarming bees Into dreamful slumber lulled.
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-thickened from the light, and blinded
With many a deep-hued bell-like flower
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,
How may full-sailed verse express,
How may measured words adore
The full-flowing harmony
Of thy swan-like stateliness,
The luxuriant symmetry Of thy floating gracefulness, Eleanore?
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 though
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,
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-deep 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!
Sometimes, with most intensity
Gazing, I seem to see
Thought folded over thought, smiling asleep,
Slowly awakened, grow so full and deep
In thy large eyes, that, overpowered quite,
I cannot veil, or droop my sight,
But am as nothing in its light:
As though a star, in inmost heaven set,
Even while we gaze on it,
Should slowly round his orb, and slowly grow
To a full face, there like a sun remain
Fixed-then as slowly fade again,
And draw itself to what it was before;
So full, so deep, so slow,
Thought seems to come and go
In thy large eyes, imperial Eleänore.
As thunderclouds that, hung on high,
Roofed the world with doubt and fear,
Floating through an evening atmosphere,
Grow golden all about the sky;
In thee all passion becomes passionless,
Touched 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 selfsame influence
Controlleth all the soul and sense
Of Passion gazing upon thee.
His bowstring slackened, languid Love,
Leaning his cheek upon his hand,
Droops both his wings, regarding thee,
And so would languish evermore,
Serene, 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
Through 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 color, I lose my breath,
I drink the cup of a costly death,
Brimmed with delirious draughts of warmest 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, Eleänore.
THE MILLER'S DAUGHTER.
I SEE the wealthy miller yet,
His double chin, his portly size,
And who that knew him could forget
The busy wrinkles round his eyes?
The slow wise smile that, round about
His dusty forehead dryly curled,
Seemed half-within and half-without,
And full of dealings with the world?
In yonder chair I see him sit,
Three fingers round the old silver cup--
I see his gray eyes twinkle yet
At his own jest gray eyes lit up
With summer lightnings of a soul
So full of summer warmth, so glad,
So healthy, sound, and clear and whole,
His memory scarce can make me sad.
Yet fill my glass: give me one kiss:
My own sweet Alice, we must die.
There's somewhat in this world amiss
Shall be unriddled by and by.
There's somewhat flows to us in life,
But more is taken quite away.
Pray, Alice, pray, my darling wife,
That we may die the selfsame day.
Have I not found a happy earth ?
I least should breathe a thought of pain. Would God renew me from my birth I'd almost live my life again.
So sweet it seems with thee to walk,
And once again to woo thee mine-
It seems in after-dinner talk
Across the walnuts and the wine
To be the long and listless boy
Late left an orphan of the squire, Where this old mansion mounted high
Looks down upon the village spire: For even here, where I and you
Have lived and loved alone so long, Each morn my sleep was broken through By some wild skylark's matin song.
And oft I heard the tender dove
In firry woodlands making moan;
saw your eyes, my love,
I had no motion of my own.
For scarce my life with fancy played
Before I dreamed that pleasant dream-
Still hither thither idly swayed
Like those long mosses in the stream.
Or from the bridge I leaned to hear
The mill-dam rushing down with noise, And see the minnows everywhere
In crystal eddies glance and poise, The tall flag-flowers, when they sprung