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Reflected from a thonsand hearts and eyes
Kindling a momentary Paradise.
This crowd is safer than the silent wood,
Where love's own doubts disturb the solitude;
On frozen hearts the fiery rain of wine
Falls, and the dew of music, more divine
Tempers the deep emotions of the time
To spirits cradled in a sunny clime:--
How manymeet, who never yet have met,
To part too soon, but never to forget.
How many saw the beauty, power aud wit
Of looks and words which ne'er enchanted yet;
But life's familiar veil was now withdrawn,
As the world leaps before an earthquake's dawn,
And unprophetic of the coming hours,
The matin winds from the expanded flowers,
Scatter their hoarded incense, and awaken
The earth, until the dewy sleep is shaken
From every living heart which it possesses,
Through seas and winds, cities and wildernesses,
As if the future and the past were all
Treasured i’the instant;—so Gherardi's hall
Laughed in the mirth of its lord's festival,
Till some one asked_" Where is the Bride ?." And then
A bride's-maid went,—and ere she came again
A silence fell upon the guests--a pause
Of expectation, as when beauty awes
All hearts with its approach, though unbeheld ;
Then wonder, and then fear that wonder quelled ;-
For whispers passed from mouth to ear which drew
The colour from the hearer's cheeks, and flew
Louder and swifter round the company ;
And then Gherardi entered with an eye
Of ostentatious trouble, and a crowd
Surrounded him, and some were weepiug loud.
They found Ginevra dead; if it be death, To lie without motion, or pulse, or breath, With waxen cheeks, and limbs cold, stiff and white, And open eyes, whose fixed and glassy light Mocked at the speculation they had owned. If it be death, when there is felt around A smell of clay, a pale and icy glare, And silence, and a sense that lifts the hair From the scalp to the ancles, as it were Corruption from the spirit passing forth, And giving all it shrouded to the earth, And leaving aś swift lightning in its flight Ashes, and smoke, and darkness : in our night Of thought we know thus much of death, Than the unborn dream of our life before Their barks are wrecked on its inhospitable shore, The marriage feast and its solemnity Was turned to funeral pomp-the company With heavy hearts and looks, broke up ; nor they Who loved the dead went weeping on their way Alone, but sorrow mixed with sad surprize Loosened the springs of pity in all eyes, On which that form, whose fate they weep in vain, Will never, thought they, kindle smiles again. The lamps which half extinguished in their haste Gleamed few and faint o'er the abandoned feast,
Shewed as it wera within the vaulted room
A cloud of sorrow hanging, as if glooin
Had passed out of men's minds into the air.
Some few yet stood around Gherardi there,
Friends and relations of the dead,-and he,
A loveless man, accepted torpi lly
The consolation that he wanted not,
Awe in the place of grief within him wrought.
Their whispers made the solemn silence seem
More still—some wept, [ I
Some melted into tears without a sob,
And some with hearts that might be heard to throb
Leant on the table, and at intervals
Shuddered to hear through the deserted halls
And corridors the thrilling shrieks which came
Upon the breeze of night, that shook the flame
Of every torch and taper as it swept
From out the chamber where the women kept;-
Their tears fell on the dear companion cold
Of pleasures now departed; then was knolled
The bell of death, and soon the priests arrived,
And finding death their penitent had shrived,
Returned like ravens from a corpse whereon
A vulture has just feasted to the bone.
And then the mourning women came.-
Old winter was gone
In his weakness back to the mountains hoar,
And the spring came down
From the planet that hovers upon the shore
Where the sea of sunlight encroaches
On the limits of wintry night;-
If the land, and the air, and the sea
Rejoice not when spring approaches,
We did not rejoice in thee,
She is still, she is cold
On the bridal couch,
One step to the white death bed,
And one to the bier,
And one to the charnel- and one, O where?
The dark arrow fled
In the noon.
Ere the sun through heaven once more has rolled,
The rats in her heart
Will have made their nest,
And the worms be alive in her golden hair,
While the spirit that guides the sun,
Sits throned in his faming chair,
She shall sleep.
'I FEAR thy kisses, gentle maiden,
Thou needest not fear mine;
My spirit is too deeply laden
Ever to burthen thine.
I fear thy mien, thy tones, thy motion,
Thou needest not fear mine ;
Innocent is the heart's devotion
With which I worship thine.
WHERE art thou, beloved To-morrow?
Whom young and old and strong and weak, Rich and poor, through joy and sorrow,
Thy sweet smiles we ever seek,-
In thy place-ah! well-a-day !
We find the thing we fled-To-day.