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'Tis the far-famed, the brave Sir Gondibert,
Said the good man to Calidore alert;
While the young warrior with a step of grace
Came up,--a courtly smile upon his face,
And mailed hand held out, ready to greet
The large-eyed wonder, and ambitious heat
Of the aspiring boy; who as he led
Those smiling ladies, often turn'd his head
To adinire the visor arch'd so gracefully
Over a knightly brow; while they went by
The lamps that from the high-roof'd hall were pendent,
And gave the steel a shining quite transcendent.
Soon in a pleasant chamber they are seated,
The sweet-lipp'd ladies have already greeted
All the green leaves that round the window clamber,
To show their purple stars, and bells of amber.
Sir Gondibert has doff'd his shining steel,
Gladdening in the free and airy feel
Of a light mantle; and while Člerimond
Is looking round about him with a fond
And placid eye, young Calidore is burning
To hear of knightly deeds, and gallant spurning
Of all unworthiness; and how the strong of arm
Kept off dismay, and terror, and alarm
From lovely woman: while brimful of this,
He gave each damsel's hand so warm a kiss,
And had such manly ardour in his eye,
That each at other look’d half-staringly:
And then their features started into smiles,
Sweet as blue heavens o'er enchanted isles.
Softly the breezes from the forest came,
Softly they blew aside the taper's flame;
Clear was the song from Philomel's far bower;
Grateful the incense from the lime-tree flower;
Mysterious, wild, the far-heard trumpet's tone;
Lovely the moon in ether, all alone :
Sweet too the converse of these happy mortals,
As that of busy spirits when the portals
Are closing in the West; or that soft humming
We hear around when Hesperus is coming.
Sweet be their sleep. *
ON RECEIVING A CURIOUS SHELL.
What though, while the wonders of nature exploring,
I cannot your light, mazy footsteps attend; Nor listen to accents, that almost adoring,
Bless Cynthia's face, the enthusiast's friend :
Yet over the steep, whence the mountain-stream rushes,
With you, kindest friends, in idea I rove;
Mark the clear tumbling crystal, its passionate gushes,
Its spray, that the wild flower kindly bedews.
Why linger ye so, the wild labyrinth strolling?
Why breathless, unable your bliss to declare? Ah! you list to the nightingale’s tender condoling,
Responsive to sylphs, in the moon-beamy air.
'T is morn, and the flowers with dew are yet drooping,
I see you are treading the verge of the sea : And now! ah, I see it—you just now are stooping
To pick up the keepsake intended for me.
If a cherub, on pinions of silver descending,
Had brought me a gem from the fretwork of Heaven; And smiles with his star-cheering voice sweetly blending,
The blessings of Tighe had melodiously given;
It had not created a warmer emotion
Than the present, fair nymphs, I was blest with from you; Than the shell, from the bright golden sands of the ocean,
Which the emerald waves at your feet gladly threw.
For, indeed, 'tis a sweet and peculiar pleasure
(And blissful is he who such happiness finds),
possess but a span of the hour of leisure
In elegant, pure, and aerial minds.
ON RECEIVING A COPY OF VERSES FROM THE SAME
Hast thou from the caves of Golconda, a gem
Pure as the ice-drop that froze on the mountain?
Bright as the humming-bird's green diadem,
When it flutters in sunbeams that shine through a fountain ? Hast thou a goblet for dark sparkling wine ?
That goblet right heavy, and massy, and gold? And splendidly mark'd with the story divine
Of Armida the fair, and Rinaldo the bold?
Hast thou a steed with a mane richly flowing ?
Hast thou a sword that thine enemy's smart is ? Hast thou a trumpet rich melodies blowing?
And wear'st thou the shield of the famed Britomartis ?
What is it that hangs from thy shoulder so brave,
Embroider'd with many a spring-peering flower ? Is it a scarf that thy fair lady gave ?
And hastest thou now to that fair lady's bower?
Ah ! courteous Sir Knight, with large joy thou art crown'd;
Full many the glories that brighten thy youth ! I will tell thee my blisses, which richly abound
In magical powers to bless and to soothe.
On this scroll thou seest written in characters fair
A sun-beaming tale of a wreath, and a chain : And, warrior, it nurtures the property rare
Of charming my mind from the trammels of pain. This canopy mark: 'tis the work of a fay;
Beneath its rich shade did King Oberon languish, When lovely Titania was far, far away,
And cruelly left him to sorrow and anguish. There, oft would he bring from his soft-sighing lute
Wild strains to which, spell-bound, the nightingales listen'd! The wondering spirits of Heaven were mute,
And tears ’mong the dewdrops of morning oft glisten'd.
In this little dome, all those melodies strange,
Soft, plaintive, and melting, for ever will sigh ; Nor e'er will the notes from their tenderness change,
Nor e'er will the music of Oberon die.
So when I am in a voluptuous vein,
I pillow my head on the sweets of the rose, And list to the tale of the wreath, and the chain,
Till its echoes depart; then I sink to repose. Adieu ! valiant Eric! with joy thou art crown'd,
Full many the glories that brighten thy youth, I too have my blisses, which richly abound
In magical powers to bless, and to soothe.
Hadst thou lived in days of old,
O what wonders had been told
Of thy lively countenance,
And thy humid eyes, that dance
In the midst of their own brightness,
In the very fane of lightness ;
Over which thine eyebrows, leaning,
Picture out each lovely meaning :
In a dainty bend they lie,
Like to streaks across the sky,
Or the feathers from a crow,
Fallen on a bed of snow.
Of thy dark hair, that extends
Into many graceful bends :
As the leaves of hellebore
Turn to whence they sprung before.
And behind each ample curl
Peeps the richness of a pearl.
Downward too flows many a tress
With a glossy waviness,
Full, and round like globes that rise
From the censer to the skies
Through sunny air. Add too, the sweetness
Of thy honied voice ; the neatness
Of thine ancle lightly turn’d:
With those beauties scarce discern'd,
Kept with such sweet privacy,
That they seldom meet the eye
Of the little Loves that fly
Round about with eager pry.
Saving when with freshening lave,
Thou dipp’st them in the taintless wave ;
Like twin water-lilies, born
In the coolness of the morn.
0, if thou hadst breathed then,
Now the Muses had been ten.
Couldst thou wish for lineage higher
Than twin-sister of Thalia ?
At least for ever, evermore
Will I call the Graces four.
Hadst thou lived when chivalry
Lifted up her lance on high,
Tell me what thou wouldst have been ?
Ah! I see the silver sheen
Of thy broider'd-floating vest
Covering half thine ivory breast :
Which, 0 Heavens ! I should see,
But that cruel Destiny
Has placed a golden cuirass there,
Keeping secret what is fair.
Like sunbeams in a cloudlet nested,
Thy locks in knightly casque are rested :
O'er which bend four milky plumes,
Like the gentle lily's blooms
Springing from a costly vase.
See with what a stately pace
Comes thine alabaster steed;
Servant of heroic deed !
O'er his loins, his trappings glow
Like the northern lights on snow.
Mount his back! thy sword unsheath !
Sign of the enchanter's death ;
Bane of every wicked spell ;
Silencer of dragons' yell.
Alas! thou this wilt never do :
Thou art an enchantress too,
And wilt surely never spill
Blood of those whose eyes can kill.