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“ Or, when thy furious rage was round him dealing,
Love should have grown from touching of his skin,
But like cold marble thou art all unfeeling,
And hast no ruddy springs of warmth within,
And being but a shape of freezing bone,
Thy touching only turn'd my love to stone !
" And here, alas! he lies across my knees,
With cheeks still colder than the stilly wave,
The light beneath his eyelids seems to freeze,
Here then, since Love is dead and lacks a grave,
O come and dig it in my sad heart's core -
That wound will bring a balsam for its sore !
« For art thou not a sleep where sense of ill,
Lies stingless, like a sense benumb’d with cold,
Healing all hurts only with sleep's good will,
So shall I slumber, and perchance behold
My living love in dreams, - happy night,
That lets me company his banish'd spright!
“ O poppy Death ! - sweet poisoner of sleep!
Where shall I seek for thee, oblivious drug,
That I may steep thee in my drink, and creep
Out of life's coil. Look, Idol ! how I hug
Thy dainty image in this strict embrace,
And kiss this clay-cold model of thy face!
“ Put out, put out these sun-consuming lamps,
I do but read my sorrows by their shine,
O come and quench them with thy oozy damps,
And let my darkness intermix with thine ;
Since love is blinded, wherefore should I see,
Now love is death, death will be love to me!
“ Away, away, this vain complaining breath, It does but stir the troubles that I
weep, Let it be hush'd and quieted, sweet Death, The wind must settle ere the wave can sleep, – Since love is silent, I would fain be mute, O Death, be gracious to my dying suit !"
Thus far she pleads, but pleading nought avails her,
For Death, her sullen burthen, deigns no heed,
Then with dumb craving arms, since darkness fails her,
She prays to heav'n's fair light, as if her need
Inspir’d her there were Gods to pity pain,
Or end it, - but she lifts her arms in vain !
Poor gilded Grief! the subtle light by this
With mazy gold creeps through her watery mine,
And, diving downward through the green abyss,
Lights up her palace with an amber shine ;
There, falling on her arms, - the crystal skin
Reveals the ruby tide that fares within.
Look how the fulsome beam would hang a glory
On her dark hair, but the dark hairs repel it ;
Look how the perjur'd glow suborns a story
On her pale lips, but lips refuse to tell it;
Grief will not swerve from grief, however told
On coral lips, or character'd in gold;
Or else, thou maid! safe anchor'd on Love's neck,
Listing the hapless doom of young Leander,
Thou would'st not shed a tear for that old wreck,
Sitting secure where no wild surges wander;
Whereas the woe moves on with tragic pace,
And shows its sad reflection in thy face.
Thus having travell’d on, and track'd the tale,
Like the due course of an old bas-relief,
Where Tragedy pursues her progress pale,
Brood here awhile upon that sea-maid's grief,
And take a deeper imprint from the frieze
Of that young Fate, with Death upon her knees.
Then whilst the melancholy muse withal
Resumes her music in a sadder tone,
Me while, the sunbeam strikes upon the wall,
Conceive that lovely siren to live on,
Ev'n as Hope whisper’d, the Promethean light
Would kindle up the dead Leander's spright,
“ 'Tis light,” she says, “ that feeds the glittering stars,
And those were stars set in his heavenly brow,
But this salt cloud, this cold sea-vapour, mars
Their radiant breathing, and obscures them now,
Therefore I'll lay him in the clear blue air,
And see how these dull orbs will kindle there."
Swiftly as dolphins glide, or swifter yet,
With dead Leander in her fond arms' fold,
She cleaves the meshes of that radiant net,
The sun hath twin'd above of liquid gold,
Nor slacks, till on the margin of the land,
She lays his body on the glowing sand.
There, like a pearly waif, just past the reach
Of foamy billows he lies cast. Just then,
Some listless fishers, straying down the beach,
Spy out this wonder. Thence the curious men,
Low crouching, creep into a thicket brake,
And watch her doings till their rude hearts ache.