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Nor will a bee buzz round two swelling peaches,
Delicious sounds ! those little bright-eyed things That float about the air on azure wings, Had been less heartfelt by him than the clang Of clattering hoofs; into the court he sprang, Just as two noble steeds, and palfreys twain, Were slanting out their necks with loosen'd rein; While from beneath the threatening portcullis They brought their happy burthens. What a kiss, What gentle squeeze he gave each lady's hand ! How tremblingly their delicate ancles spann'd! Into how sweet a trance his soul was gone, While whisperings of affection Made him delay to let their tender feet Come to the earth; with incline so sweet From their low palfreys o'er his neck they bent : And whether there were tears of languishment, Or that the evening dew had pearld their tresses, He feels a moisture on his cheek, and blesses With lips that tremble, and with glistening eye, All the soft luxury That nestled in his arms. A dimpled hand, Fair as some wonder out of fairy land, Hung from his shoulder like the drooping flowers Of whitest Cassia, fresh from summer showers : And this he fondled with his happy cheek, As if for joy he would no further seek : When the kind voice of good Sir Clerimond Came to his ear, like something from beyond His present being : so he gently drew His warm arms, thrilling now with pulses new, From their sweet thrall, and forward gently bending,
Thank'd Heaven that his joy was never-ending ;
Amid the pages, and the torches' glare, There stood a knight, patting the flowing hair Of his proud horse's mane: he was withal A man of elegance, and stature tall: So that the waving of his plumes would be High as the berries of a wild ash tree, Or as the winged cap of Mercury. His armour was so dexterously wrought In shape, that sure no living man had thought It hard, and heavy steel : but that indeed It was some glorious form, some splendid weed, In which a spirit new come from the skies Might live, and show itself to human eyes. '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 admire 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 chamber, 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 Clerimond
Is looking round about him with a fond
TO SOME LADIES,
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. 'Tis morn, and the flowers with dew are yet drooping,
I see you are treading the verge of the sea :
To pick up the keepsake intended for me.
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), To possess but a span of the hour of leisure
In elegant, pure, and aerial minds.
ON RECEIVING A COPY OF VERSES FROM
THE SAME LADIES.
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 ;