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And would you have the thought I had,
And see the vision that I saw,
Then take the broidery-frame, and add
A crimson to the quaint Macaw,
And I will tell it. Turn your face,
Nor look with that too-earnest eye—
The rhymes are dazzled from their place,
And ordered words asunder fly.
The varying year with blade and sheaf
Clothes and reclothes the happy plains;
Here rests the sap within the leaf,
Here stays the blood along the veins.
Faint shadows, vapors lightly curled,
Faint murmurs from the meadows come,
Like hints and echoes of the world
To spirits folded in the womb.
Soft lustre bathes the range of urns
On every slanting terrace-lawn.
The fountain to his place returns
Deep in the garden lake withdrawn.
Here droops the banner on the tower,
On the hall-hearths the festal fires,
The peacock in his laurel bower,
The parrot in his gilded wires.
Roof-haunting martins warm their eggs:
In these, in those the life is stayed.
The mantles from the golden pegs
Droop sleepily: no sound is made,
Not even of a gnat that sings.
More like a picture seemeth all
Than those old portraits of old kings,
That watch the sleepers from the wall.
Here sits the Butler with a flask
Between his knees, half-drained; and there
The wrinkled steward at his task,
The maid-of-honor blooming fair:
The page has caught her hand in his :
Her lips are severed as to speak:
His own are pouted to a kiss:
The blush is fixed upon her cheek.
Till all the hundred summers pass,
The beams, that through the Oriel shine,
Make prisms in every carven glass,
And beaker brimmed with noble wine.
Each baron at the banquet sleeps,
Grave faces gathered in a ring.
His state the king reposing keeps.
He must have been a jovial king.
All round a hedge upshoots, and shows
At distance like a little wood;
Thorns, ivies, woodbine, mistletoes,
And grapes with bunches red as blood;
All creeping plants, a wall of green
Close-matted, burr and brake and briar,
And glimpsing over these, just seen,
High up, the topmost palace-spire.
When will the hundred summers die,
And thought and time be born again,
And newer knowledge, drawing nigh,
Bring truth that sways the soul of men?
Here all things in their place remain,
As all were ordered, ages since.
Come, Care and Pleasure, Hope and Pain,
And bring the fated fairy Prince.
Year after year unto her feet,
She lying on her couch alone,
Across the purple coverlet,
The maiden's jet-black hair has grown,
On either side her trancéd form
Forth streaming from a braid of pearl:
The slumbrous light is rich and warm,
And moves not on the rounded curl.
The silk star-broidered coverlid
Unto her limbs itself doth mould
Languidly ever; and, amid
Her full black ringlets downward rolled,
Glows forth each softly-shadowed arm
With bracelets of the diamond bright:
Her constant beauty doth inform
Stillness with love, and day with light.
She sleeps: her breathings are not heard
In palace chambers far apart.
The fragrant tresses are not stirred
That lie upon her charmed heart.
She sleeps: on either hand upswells
The gold-fringed pillow lightly prest:
She sleeps, nor dreams, but ever dwells
A perfect form in perfect rest.
All precious things, discovered late,
To those that seek them issue forth ;
For love in sequel works with fate,
And draws the veil from hidden worth.
He travels far from other skies—
His mantle glitters on the rocks—
A fairy Prince, with joyful eyes,
And lighter-footed than the fox.
Thé bodies and the bones of those
That strove in other days to pass,
Are withered in the thorny close,
Or scattered blanching in the grass.
He gazes on the silent dead:
“They perished in their daring deeds.”
This proverb flashes through his head,
“The many fail: the one succeeds.”
He comes, scarce knowing what he seeks:
He breaks the hedge: he enters there:
The color flies into his cheeks:
He trusts to light on something fair;
For all his life the charm did talk
About his path, and hover near
With words of promise in his walk,
And whispered voices at his ear.
More close and close his footsteps wind;
The magic music in his heart
Beats quick and quicker, till he find
The quiet chamber far apart.
His spirit flutters like a lark,
He stoops—to kiss her—on his knee.
“Love, if thy tresses be so dark,
How dark those hidden eyes must be l’”
A touch, a kiss the charm was snapt.
There rose a noise of striking clocks,
And feet that ran, and doors that clapt,
And barking dogs, and crowing cocks;
A fuller light illumined all,
A breeze through all the garden swept,
A sudden hubbub shook the hall,
And sixty feet the fountain leapt.
The hedge broke in, the banner blew,
The butler drank, the steward scrawled,
The fire shot up, the martin flew,
The parrot screamed, the peacock squalled,
The maid and page renewed their strife,
The palace banged, and buzzed and clackt,
And all the long-pent stream of life
Dashed downward in a cataract.
And last with these the king awoke,
And in his chair himself upreared,
And yawned, and rubbed his face, and spoke,
“By holy rood, a royal beard
How say you? we have slept, my lords.
My beard has grown into my lap.”
The barons swore, with many words,
'Twas but an after-dinner's nap.
“Pardy,” returned the king, “but still
My joints are something stiff or so.
My lord, and shall we pass the bill
I mentioned half an hour ago?”
The chancellor, sedate and vain,
In courteous words returned reply:
But dallied with his golden chain,
And, Smiling, put the question by.
And on her lover's arm she leant,
And round her waist she felt it fold,
And far across the hills they went
In that new world which is the old:
Across the hills, and far away
Beyond their utmost purple rim,