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Which, as it were in gentle amity,
In strife to throw upon the shore a gem
WOMAN! when I behold thee flippant, vain,
Inconstant, childish, proud, and full of fancies;
Without that modest softening that enhances
E’en then, elate, my spirit leaps and prances,
E’en then my soul with exultation dances
Heavens! how desperately do I adore
I hotly burn-to be a Calidore-
Might I be loved by thee like these of yore.
Light feet, dark violet eyes, and parted hair ;
Soft dimpled hands, white neck, and creamy breast; Are things on which the dazzled senses rest Till the fond, fixed eyes, forget they stare. From such fine pictures, Heavens! I cannot dare
To turn my admiration, though unpossess’d
They be of what is worthy,—though not drest,
These lures I straight forget,-e'en ere I dine,
Or thrice my palate moisten: but when I mark
Such charms with mild intelligences shine, My ear is open like a greedy shark,
To catch the tunings of a voice divine.
Ah! who can e'er forget so fair a being ?
Who can forget her half-retiring sweets?
God! she is like a milk-white lamb that bleats For man's protection. Surely the All-seeing, Who joys to see us with his gifts agreeing,
Will never give him pinions, who intreats
Such innocence to ruin,—who vilely cheats A dove-like bosom. In truth there is no freeing One's thoughts from such a beauty; when I hear
A lay that once I saw her hand awake, Her form seems floating palpable, and near:
Had I e'er seen her from an arbour take A dewy flower, oft would that hand appear,
And o'er my eyes the trembling moisture shake.
ODE TO A NIGHTINGALE.
My heart aches, and a drowsy numbness pains
My sense, as though of hemlock I had drunk,
One minute past, and Lethe-wards had sunk:
In some melodious plot
Singest of summer in full-throated ease.
O for a draught of vintage, that hath been
Cool'd a long age in the deep-delved earth, Tasting of Flora and the country-green,
Dance, and Provençal song, and sun-burnt mirth!
And purple-stained mouth;
And with thee fade away into the forest dim:
Fade far away, dissolve, and quite forget
What thou among the leaves hast never known, The weariness, the fever, and the fret
Here, where men sit and hear each other groan;
And leaden-eyed despairs ;
Or new Love pine at them beyond to-morrow.
Away! away! for I will fly to thee,
Not charioted by Bacchus and his pards,
Though the dull brain perplexes and retards :
But here there is no light,
Through verdurous glooms and winding mossy ways.
I cannot see what flowers are at my feet,
Nor what soft incense hangs upon the boughs,
But, in embalmed darkness, guess each sweet
Wherewith the seasonable month endows
And mid-May's eldest child,
The murmurous haunt of flies on summer eves.
6. Darkling I listen; and for many a time
I have been half in love with easeful Death,
To take into the air my quiet breath;
In such an ecstasy!
To thy high requiem become a sod.
7. Thou wast not born for death, immortal Bird !
No hungry generations tread thee down; The voice I hear this passing night was heard
In ancient days by emperor and clown:
The same that oft-times hath
Of perilous seas, in faery lands forlorn.
Forlorn ! the very word is like a bell
To toll me back from thee to my sole self ! Adieu ! the fancy cannot cheat so well
As she is famed to do, deceiving elf. Adieu! adieu ! thy plaintive anthem fades
Past the near meadows, over the still stream,
In the next valley-glades:
Fled is that music :--do I wake or sleep ?
ODE ON A GRECIAN URN.
Thou still unravish'd bride of quietness !
Thou foster-child of Silence and slow Time, Sylvan historian, who canst thus express
A flowery tale more sweetly than our rhyme: What leaf-fringed legend haunts about thy shape Of deities or mortals, or of both,
In Tempe or the dales of Arcady? What men or gods are these? What maidens loath ? What mad pursuit? What struggle to escape ?
What pipes and timbrels? What wild ecstasy ?
Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard
Are sweeter; therefore, ye soft pipes, play on;
Pipe to the spirit ditties of no tone :
Bold Lover, never, never canst thou kiss,
She cannot fade, though thou hast not thy bliss, For ever wilt thou love, and she be fair!
Ah, happy, happy boughs ! that cannot shed
Your leaves, nor ever bid the Spring adieu ;