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I, whether lately through her brightness blind,
Or through allegiance and fast fealty
Which I do owe unto all womankind,

Feel my heart pierced with so great agony
When such I see, that all for pity I could die.

And now it is empassioned so deep
For fairest Una's sake, of whom I sing,
That
my
frail eyes

these lines with tears do steep, To think how she, through guilefull handeling, Though true as touch, though daughter of a king, Though fair as ever living wight was fair, Though nor in word nor deed ill meriting,

Is from her knight divorced in despair ;
And her due loves derived to that vile witche's share.

Yet she, most woefull lady, all this whịle
Forsaken, woefull, solitary maid,
Far from all people's press as in exile,
In wilderness and wasteful deserts stray'd
To seek her knight; who, subtilly betray'd
Through that late vision which th' enchanter

wrought, Had her abandon'd: she of nought affray'd, Through woods and wasteness wide him daily

sought, Yet wished tidings none of him unto her brought.

One day, nigh weary of the irksome way,
From her unhasty beast she did alight,
And on the grass her dainty limbs did lay
In secret shadow, far from all men's sight;

HYMN TO THE SEA.

143

From her fair head her fillet she undight,
And laid her stole aside: her angel's face,
As the great eye of heaven, shined bright,

And made a sunshine in the shady place;
Did never mortal eye behold such heav'nly grace.

It fortunèd, out of the thickest wood
A ramping lion rushed suddenly,
Hunting full greedy after savage blood :
Soon as the royal virgin he did spy,
With gaping mouth at her ran greedily,
To have at once devour'd her tender corse :
But to the prey whenas he drew more nigh,

His bloody rage assuaged with remorse,
And with the sight amazed, forgot his furious force.

Instead thereof, he kist her weary feet,
And lick'd her lily hands with fawning tongue;
As he her wrongèd innocence did weet.
Oh, how can beauty master the most strong,
And simple truth subdue avenging wrong!

SPENSER.

HYMN TO THE SEA.

Who shall declare the secret of thy birth,
Thou old companion of the circling earth?
And having reached with keen poetic sight

Ere beast or happy bird

Through the vast silence stirred, Roll back the folded darkness of the primal night?

144

HYMN TO THE SEA.

Corruption-like, thou teemedst in the graves
Of mouldering systems, with dark weltering waves
Troubling the peace of the first mother's womb;

Whose ancient awful form,

With inly-tossing storm, Unquiet heavings kept-a birth-place and a tomb.

Till the life-giving Spirit moved above
The face of the waters, with creative love
Warming the hidden seeds of infart light:

What time the mighty word

Through thine abyss was heard, And swam from out thy deeps the young day

heavenly bright.

Thou and the earth, twin-sisters as they say,
In the old prime were fashioned in one day ;
And therefore thou delightest evermore

With her to lie and play

The summer hours away, Curling thy loving ripples up her quiet shore. She is a married matron long ago, With nations at her side ; her milk doth flow Each year : but thee no husband dares to tame;

Thy wild will is thine own,

Thy sole and virgin throneThy mood is ever changing-thy resolve the same.

Sunlight and moonlight minister to thee;-
O'er the broad circle of the shoreless sea

HYMN TO THE SEA.

145

Heaven's two great lights for ever set and rise ;

While the round vault above,

In vast and silent love, Is gazing down upon thee with his hundred eyes. All night thou utterest forth thy solemn moan, Counting the weary minutes all alone; Then in the morning thou dost calmly lie,

Deep-blue, ere yet the sun

His day-work hath begun,
Under the opening windows of the golden sky.
The Spirit of the mountain looks on thee
Over an hundred hills ; quaint shadows flee
Across thy marbled mirror ; brooding lie

Storm-mists of infant cloud,

With a sight-baffling shroud
Mantling the grey-blue islands in the western sky.
Sometimes thou liftest up thine hands on high
Into the tempest-cloud that blurs the sky,
Holding rough dalliance with the fitful blast,

Whose stiff breath, whistling shrill,
Pierces with deadly chill

[mast.
The wet crew feebly clinging to their shattered
Foam-white along the border of the shore
Thine onward-leaping billows plunge and roar;
While o'er the pebbly ridges slowly glide

Cloaked figures, dim and grey,

Through the thick mist of spray, [tide. Watchers for some struck vessel in the boiling

146

NEW YEAR'S DAY.

Daughter and darling of remotest eld
Time's childhood and Time's age thou hast beheld;
His arm is feeble, and his eye is dim :

He tells old tales again —

He wearies of long pain :Thou art as at the first : thou journeyedst not

with him.

ALFORD

NEW YEAR'S DAY.

The year is born to-day-methinks it hath
A chilly time of it; for down the sky
The flaky frost-cloud stretches, and the Sun
Lifted his large light from the Eastern plains,
With gloomy mist-enfolded countenance,
And garments rolled in blood. Under the haze
Along the face of the waters, gather fast
Sharp spikes of the fresh ice—as if the year
That died last night had dropt down suddenly
In his full strength of genial government,
Prisoning the sharp breath of the Northern winds;
Who now burst forth and revel unrestrained
Over the new king's months of infancy.

The bells rung merrily when the old year died ;
He past away in music; his death-sleep
Closed on him like the slumber of a child
When a sweet hymn in a sweet voice above him
Takes up into its sound his gentle being.

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