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XVII.

Her skin was of Egyptian brown:
Haughty, as if her eye had seen
Its own light to a distance thrown,
She towered, fit person for a Queen
To lead those ancient Amazonian files;
Or ruling Bandit's wife among the Grecian isles.

Advancing, forth she stretched her hand
And begged an alms with doleful plea
That ceased not; on our English land
Such woes, I knew, could never be;
And yet a boon I gave her, for the creature
Was beautiful to see a weed of glorious feature.

LYRE! though such power do in thy magic live

As might from India's farthest plain
Recal the not unwilling Maid,

Assist me to detain

The lovely Fugitive: Check with thy notes the impulse which, betrayed By her sweet farewell looks, I longed to aid. Here let me gaze enrapt upon that eye, The impregnable and awe-inspiring fort Of contemplation, the calm port By reason fenced from winds that sigh Among the restless sails of vanity. But if no wish be hers that we should part, A humbler bliss would satisfy my heart.

Where all things are so fair, Enough by her dear side to breathe the air

Of this Elysian weather;
And, on or in, or near, the brook, espy
Shade upon the sunshine lying

Faint and somewhat pensively;
And downward Image gaily vying

With its upright living tree
Mid silver clouds, and openings of blue sky
As soft almost and deep as her cerulean eye.

I left her, and pursued my way ;
And soon before me did espy
A pair of little Boys at play,
Chasing a crimson butterfly;
The taller followed with his hat in hand,
Wreathed round with yellow flowers the gayest of

the land.

The other wore a rimless crown
With leaves of laurel stuck about;
And, while both followed up and down,
Each whooping with a merry shout,
In their fraternal features I could trace
Unquestionable lines of that wild Suppliant's face.

Nor less the joy with many a glance
Cast up the Stream or down at her beseeching,
To mark its eddying foam-balls prettily distrest
By ever-changing shape and want of rest;

Or watch, with mutual teaching,.
The current as it plays
In flashing leaps and stealthy creeps

Adown a rocky maze;
Or note (translucent summer's happiest chance !)
In the slope-channel floored with pebbles bright,
Stones of all hues, gem emulous of gem,
So vivid that they take from keenest sight
The liquid veil that seeks not to hide them.

Yet they, so blithe of heart, seemed fit
For finest tasks of earth or air:
Wings let them have, and they might flit
Precursors to Aurora's car,
Scattering fresh flowers; though happier far, I

ween, To hunt their fluttering game o'er rock and level

green.

They dart across my path—but lo,
Each ready with a plaintive whine !
Said I, “not half an hour ago
Your Mother has had alms of mine."
“ That cannot be," one answered—“she is dead :"-
I looked reproof-they saw—but neither hung his

head.

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SEQUEL TO THE FOREGOING,

COMPOSED MANY YEARS AFTER.

WHERE are they now, those wanton Boys ?
For whose free range the dædal earth
Was filled with animated toys,
And implements of frolic mirth ;
With tools for ready wit to guide ;
And ornaments of seemlier pride,
More fresh, more bright, than princes wear;
For what one moment flung aside,
Another could repair ;
What good or evil have they seen
Since I their pastime witnessed here,
Their daring wiles, their sportive cheer?
I ask-but all is dark between !

GIPSIES.
Yet are they here the same unbroken knot
Of human Beings, in the self-same spot!

Men, women, children, yea the frame

Of the whole spectacle the same!
Only their fire seems bolder, yielding light,
Now deep and red, the colouring of night;

That on their Gipsy-faces falls,

Their bed of straw and blanket-walls. -Twelve hours, twelve bounteous hours are gone,

while I Have been a traveller under open sky,

Much witnessing of change and cheer,

Yet as I left I find them here!
The weary Sun betook himself to rest ;-
Then issued Vesper from the fulgent west,

Outshining like a visible God

The glorious path in which he trod. And now, ascending, after one dark hour And one night's diminution of her power,

Behold the mighty Moon ! this way

She looks as if at them—but they Regard not her:-oh better wrong and strife (By nature transient) than this torpid life;

Life which the very stars reprove

As on their silent tasks they move !
Yet, witness all that stirs in heaven or earth!
In scorn I speak not ;-they are what their birth

And breeding suffer them to be ;
Wild outcasts of society!

18.

They met me in a genial hour, When universal nature breathed As with the breath of one sweet flower, A time to overrule the power Of discontent, and check the birth Of thoughts with better thoughts at strife, The most familiar bane of life Since parting Innocence bequeathed Mortality to Earth! Soft clouds, the whitest of the year, Sailed through the sky-the brooks ran clear; The lambs from rock to rock were bounding; With songs the budded groves resounding; And to my heart are still endeared The thoughts with which it then was cheered; The faith which saw that gladsome pair Walk through the fire with unsinged hair. Or, if such faith must needs deceiveThen, Spirits of beauty and of grace, Associates in that eager chase ; Ye, who within the blameless mind Your favourite seat of empire find Kind Spirits ! may we not believe That they, so happy and so fair Through your sweet influence, and the care Of pitying Heaven, at least were free From touch of deadly injury? Destined, whate'er their earthly doom, For mercy and immortal bloom !

1817

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