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I SEND you here a sort of allegory,
(For you will understand it,) of a soul,
À sinful soul possessed of many gifts,
A spacious garden full of flowering weeds,
A glorious Devil

, large in heart and brain,
That did love Beauty only, (Beauty seen
In all varieties of mould and mind,)
And Knowledge for its beauty; or if Good,
Good only for its beauty, seeing not
That Beauty, Good, and Knowledge, are three sisters
That dote upon each other, friends to man,
Living together under the same roof,
And never can be sundered without tears.
And he that shuts Love out, in turn shall be
Shut out from Love, and on her threshold lie
Howling in outer darkness. Not for this
Was common clay ta’en from the common earth,
Moulded by God, and tempered with the tears
Of angels to the perfect shape of man.


I BUILT my soul a lordly pleasure-house,

Wherein at ease for aye to dwell.
I said, “ O Soul, make merry and carouse,

Dear soul, for all is well.”

A huge crag-platform, smooth as burnished brass,

I chose. The ranged ramparts bright From level meadow-bases of deep grass

Suddenly scaled the light.

Thereon I built it firm. Of ledge or shelf

The rock rose clear, or winding stair. My soul would live alone unto herself

In her high palace there.

And“ while the world runs round and round,” I said,

Reign thou apart, a quiet king,
Still as, while Saturn whirls, his steadfast shade

Sleeps on his luminous ring.”

To which my soul made answer readily:

“Trust me, in bliss I shall abide
In this great mansion, that is built for me,

royal-rich and wide.”

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Four courts I made, East, West, and South and

In each a squared lawn, wherefrom
The golden gorge of dragons spouted forth

A flood of fountain-foam.

And round the cool green courts there ran a row

Of cloisters, branched like mighty woods,
Echoing all night to that sonorous flow

Of spouted fountain-floods.
And round the roofs a gilded gallery

That lent broad verge to distant lands,
Far as the wild swan wings, to where the sky

Dipt down to sea and sands.

From those four jets four currents in one swell

Across the mountain streamed below In misty folds, that floating as they fell

Lit up a torrent-blow.

And high on every peak a statue seemed

To hang on tiptoe, tossing up

A cloud of incense of all odor steamed

From out a golden cup.

So that she thought, “ And who shall gaze upon

My palace with unblinded eyes,
While this great bow will waver in the sun,

And that sweet incense rise ?"

For that sweet incense rose and never failed,

And, while day sank or mounted higher, The light aérial gallery, golden-railed,

Burnt like a fringe of fire.

Likewise the deep-set windows, stained and traced,

Would seem slow-flaming crimson fires From shadowed grots of arches interlaced,

And tipt with frost-like spires.

[blocks in formation]

Full of long-sounding corridors it was,

That over-vaulted grateful gloom, Through which the livelong day my soul did pass,

Well-pleased, from room to room.

Full of great rooms and small the palace stood,

All various, each a perfect whole From living Nature, fit for every mood

And change of my still soul.

For some were hung with arras green and blue,

Showing a gaudy summer-morn, Where with puffed check the belted hunter blew

His wreathed bugle-horn.

One seemed all dark and red-a tract of sand,

And some one pacing there alone,
Who paced forever in a glimmering land,

Lit with a low large moon.

One showed an iron coast and angry waves.

You seemed to hear them climb and fall
And roar rock-thwarted under bellowing caves,

Beneath the windy wall.

And one, a full-fed river winding slow

By herds upon an endless plain,
The ragged rims of thunder brooding low,

With shadow-streaks of rain.

And one, the reapers at their sultry toil.

In front they bound the sheaves. Behind Were realms of upland, prodigal in oil,

And hoary to the wind.

And one, a foreground black with stones and slags,

Beyond a line of heights, and higher All barred with long white cloud the scornful crags,

And highest, snow and fire.

And one, an English home-gray twilight poured

On dewy pastures, dewy trees,
Softer than sleep--all things in order stored,

A haunt of ancient Peace.

Nor these alone, but every landscape fair,

As fit for every mood of mind,
Or gay, or grave, or sweet, or stern, was there,

Not less than truth designed.


Or the maid-mother by a crucifix,

In tracts of pasture sunny-warm,
Beneath branch-work of costly sardonyx

Sat smiling, babe in arm.
Or in a clear-walled city on the sea,

Near gilded organ-pipes, her hair
Wound with white roses, slept St. Cecily ;

An angel looked at her.

Or thronging all one porch of Paradise,

A group of Houris bowed to see
The dying Islamite, with hands and eyes

That said, we wait for thee.

Or mythic Uther's deeply-wounded son

In some fair space of sloping greens Lay, dozing in the vale of Avalon,

And watched by weeping queens.

Or hollowing one hand against his ear,

To list a footfall, ere he saw The wood-nymph, stayed the Ausonian king to hear

Of wisdom and of law.

Or over hills with peaky tops engrailed,

And many a tract of palm and rice, The throne of Indian Cama slowly sailed

A summer fanned with spice.

Or sweet Europa's mantle blew unclasped

From off her shoulder backward borne: From one hand drooped a crocus: one hand grasped

The mild bull's golden horn.

Or else flushed Ganymede, his rosy thigh

Half-buried in the Eagle's down,
Sole as a flying star shot through the sky

Above the pillared town.

Nor these alone : but every legend fair

Which the supreme Caucasian mind Carved out of Nature for itself, was there,

Not less than life, designed.

Then in the towers I placed great bells that swung

Moved of themselves, with silver sound; And with choice paintings of wise men I hung

The royal dais round.

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