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XLII.

As when the crew, hard by some jutty cape,
Struck pale and panick'd by the billows' roar,
Lay by all timely measures of escape,
And let their bark go driving on the shore;
So fray'd Leander, drifting to his wreck,
Gazing on Scylla, falls upon her neck.

XLIII.

For he hath all forgot the swimmer's art,
The rower's cunning, and the pilot's skill,
Letting his arms fall down in languid part,
Sway'd by the waves, and nothing by his will,
Till soon he jars against that glossy skin,
Solid like glass, though seemingly as thin.

XLIV.

Lo! how she startles at the warning shock,
And straightway girds him to her radiant breast,
More like his safe smooth harbour than his rock;
Poor wretch, he is so faint and toil-opprest,
He cannot loose him from his grappling foe,
Whether for love or hate, she lets not go.

XLV.

His eyes are blinded with the sleety brine,
His ears are deafen'd with the wildering noise;
He asks the purpose of her fell design,
But foamy waves choke up his struggling voice;
Under the ponderous sea his body dips,
And Hero's name dies bubbling on his lips.

XLVI.

Look how a man is lower'd to his grave;
A yearning hollow in the green earth's lap;
So he is sunk into the yawning wave,
The plunging sea fills up the watery gap;
Anon he is all gone, and nothing seen,
But likeness of green turf and hillocks green.

XLVII.

And where he swam, the constant sun lies sleeping,
Over the verdant plain that makes his bed;
And all the noisy waves go freshly leaping,
Like gamesome boys over the churchyard dead;
The light in vain keeps looking for his face,
Now screaming sea-fowl settle in his place.

XLVIII.

Yet

weep and watch for him though all in vain ! Ye moaning billows, seek him as ye wander ! Ye gazing sunbeams, look for him again ! Ye winds, grow hoarse with asking for Leander ! Ye did but spare him for more cruel rape, Sea-storm and ruin in a female shape !

XLIX.

She says

'tis love hath bribed her to this deed, The glancing of his eyes did so bewitch her, O bootless theft! unprofitable meed! Love's treasury is sack’d, but she no richer ; The sparkles of his eyes are cold and dead, And all his golden looks are turn’d to lead !

L.

She holds the casket, but her simple hand
Hath spill'd its dearest jewel by the way;
She hath life's empty garment at command,
But her own death lies covert in the prey;
As if a thief should steal a tainted vest,
Some dead man's spoil, and sicken of his pest.

LI.

Now she compels him to her deeps below,
Hiding his face beneath her plenteous hair,
Which jealously she shakes all round her brow,
For dread of envy, though no eyes are there
But seals', and all brute tenants of the deep,
Which heedless through the wave their journeys keep.

LII.

Down and still downward through the dusky green
She bore him, murmuring with joyous haste
In too rash ignorance, as he had been
Born to the texture of that watery waste ;
That which she breath'd and sigh'd, the emerald wave,
How could her pleasant home become his grave !

LIII.

Down and still downward through the dusky green
She bore her treasure, with a face too nigh
To mark how life was alter'd in its mien,
Or how the light grew torpid in his eye,
Or how his pearly breath unprison'd there,
Flew up to join the universal air.

LIV.

She could not miss the throbbings of his heart,
Whilst her own pulse so wanton'd in its joy ;
She could not guess he struggled to depart,
And when he strove no more, the hapless boy!
She read his mortal stillness for content,
Feeling no fear where only love was meant.

LV.

Soon she alights upon her ocean-floor,
And straight unyokes her arms from her fair prize;
Then on his lovely face begins to pore,
As if to glut her soul; - her hungry eyes
Have grown so jealous of her arms' delight;
It seems, she hath no other sense but sight.

LVI.

But O sad marvel! O most bitter strange !
What dismal magic makes his cheek so pale,
Why will he not embrace, — why not exchange
Her kindly kisses ; — wherefore not exhale
Some odorous message from life's ruby gates,
Where she his first sweet embassy awaits ?

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