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Where Porphyro took covert, pleased
His poor guide hurried back with agues in her brain.
Her faltering hand upon the balustrade,
Old Angela was feeling for the stair,
Rose, like a missioned spirit, unaware;
She turned, and down the aged gossip led
To a safe level matting. Now prepare, Young Porphyro, for gazing on that bed!
She comes, she comes again, like ringdove frayed and fled.
Out went the taper as she hurried in, Its little smoke in pallid moonshine died:
She closed the door, she panted, all akin
As though a tongueless nightingale
Her throat in vain, and die, heart-stifled, in her dell.
A casement high and triple-arched there was,
A shielded scutcheon blushed with blood of queens and kings.
As down she knelt for heaven's grace
And on her silver cross soft amethyst,
She seemed a splendid angel, newly drest,
Save wings, for heaven:- Porphyro grew faint:
She knelt, so pure a thing, so free from mortal taint.
Full on this casement shone the win-
Anon his heart revives: her vespers
Of all its wreathéd pearls her hair she
Loosens her fragrant bodice; by degrees
Her rich attire creeps rustling to her
Half hidden, like a mermaid in sea-
In fancy, fair Saint Agnes in her bed, But dares not look behind, or all the charm is fled.
All garlanded with carven imageries Of fruits, and flowers, and bunches of knot-grass,
And diamonded with panes of quaint device,
Innumerable of stains and splendid
dyes As are the tiger-moth's deep-damasked wings;
And in the midst, 'mong thousand heraldries,
And twilight saints, and dim embla- As though a rose should shut, and be a
Soon, trembling in her soft and chil In sort of wakeful swoon, perplexed she lay,
Until the poppied warmth of sleep oppressed
Her soothed limbs, and soul fatigued
Flown, like a thought, until the mor-
Clasped like a missal where swart
Stolen to this paradise, and so entranced,
Porphyro gazed upon her empty dress, And listened to her breathing, if it chanced
To wake into a slumberous tenderness;
They glide, like phantoms, into the wide hall;
Like phantoms to the iron porch they glide,
Where lay the porter, in uneasy sprawl, With a huge empty flagon by his side:
The wakeful bloodhound rose, and
But his sagacious eye an inmate owns:
"My Madeline! sweet dreamer! lovely bride!
Say, may I be for aye thy vassal blest? Thy beauty's shield, heart-shaped and vermeil dyed?
The chains lie silent on the foot-worn stones;
Ah, silver shrine, here will I take my The key turns, and the door upon its hinges groans.
After so many hours of toil and quest,
Saving of thy sweet self; if thou think'st
And they are gone: ay, ages long ago
And all his warrior-guests, with shade and form