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Charged both mine eyes with tears. In every land
I saw, wherever light illumineth,

Beauty and anguish walking hand in hand
The downward slope to death.


Those far-renowned brides of ancient song Peopled the hollow dark, like burning stars, And I heard sounds of insult, shame, and wrong, And trumpets blown for wars;


And clattering flints battered with clanging hoofs:
And I saw crowds in columned sanctuaries;
And forms that passed at windows and on roofs
Of marble palaces;


Corpses across the threshold; heroes tall
Dislodging pinnacle and parapet

Upon the tortoise creeping to the wall;
Lancers in ambush set;


And high shrine-doors burst through with heated blasts

That run before the fluttering tongues of fire; White surf wind-scattered over sails and masts, And ever climbing higher;


Squadrons and squares of men in brazen plates,
Scaffolds, still sheets of water, divers woes,
Ranges of glimmering vaults with iron grates,
And hushed seraglios.

[blocks in formation]


So shape chased shape as swift as, when to land
Bluster the winds and tides the self-same way,
Crisp foam-flakes scud along the level sand,
Torn from the fringe of spray.


I started once, or seemed to start, in pain,

Resolved on noble things, and strove to speak, As when a great thought strikes along the brain, And flushes all the cheek.


And once my arm was lifted to hew down
A cavalier from off his saddle-bow,
That bore a lady from a leaguered town;
And then, I know not how,


All those sharp fancies, by down-lapsing thought Streamed onward, lost their edges, and did creep Rolled on each other, rounded, smoothed, and


Into the gulfs of sleep.


At last methought that I had wandered far

In an old wood: fresh-washed in coolest dew, The maiden splendors of the morning star Shook in the steadfast blue.


Enormous elm-tree boles did stoop and lean
Upon the dusky brushwood underneath
Their broad curved branches, fledged with clearest


New from its silken sheath.


The dim red morn had died, her journey done,
And with dead lips smiled at the twilight plain,
Half-fallen across the threshold of the sun,
Never to rise again.


There was no motion in the dumb dead air,
Not any song
of bird or sound of rill;
Gross darkness of the inner sepulchre

Is not so deadly still


As that wide forest. Growths of jasmine turned
Their humid arms festooning tree to tree,
And at the root through lush green grasses burned
The red anemone.


I knew the flowers, I knew the leaves, I knew
The tearful glimmer of the languid dawn
On those long, rank, dark wood-walks drenched in

Leading from lawn to lawn.


The smell of violets, hidden in the green,

Poured back into my empty soul and frame The times when I remember to have been Joyful and free from blame.


And from within me a clear under-tone

Thrilled through mine ears in that unblissful clime,

"Pass freely through! the wood is all thine own, Until the end of time."


At length I saw a lady within call,

Stiller than chiselled marble, standing there; A daughter of the gods, divinely tall, And most divinely fair.


Her loveliness with shame and with surprise
Froze my swift speech; she turning on my face
The star-like sorrows of immortal eyes,
Spoke slowly in her place.


"I had great beauty: ask thou not my name:
No one can be more wise than destiny.
Many drew swords and died. Where'er I came
I brought calamity."


"No marvel, sovereign lady! in fair field,
Myself for such a face had boldly died,"
I answered free, and turning I appealed
To one that stood beside.


But she, with sick and scornful looks averse,
To her full height her stately stature draws;
“My youth,” she said, "was blasted with a curse:
This woman was the cause.


"I was cut off from hope in that sad place,

Which yet to name my spirit loathes and fears; My father held his hand upon his face:

I, blinded with my tears,


Still strove to speak: my voice was thick with sighs As in a dream. Dimly I could descry

The stern black-bearded kings, with wolfish eyes, Waiting to see me die.


The high masts flickered as they lay afloat; The crowds, the temples, wavered, and the shore;

The bright death quivered at the victim's throat; Touched; and I knew no more."


Whereto the other with a downward brow:

"I would the white cold heavy-plunging foam, Whirled by the wind, had rolled me deep below, Then when I left my home."


Her slow full words sank through the silence drear, As thunder-drops fall on a sleeping sea: Sudden I heard a voice that cried, "Come here, That I may look on thee."


I turning saw, throned on a flowery rise,
One sitting on a crimson scarf unrolled;
A queen with swarthy cheeks and bold black eyes,
Brow-bound with burning gold.


She, flashing forth a haughty smile, began:

"I governed men by change, and so I swayed All moods. 'Tis long since I have seen a man. Once, like the moon, I made


"The ever-shifting currents of the blood According to my humor ebb and flow.


I have no men to govern in this wood:

That makes my only woe.

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