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I love tranquil solitude,
And such society
Between thee and me
I love Love-though he has wings,
And like light can flee,
Spirit, I love thee-
Thus to be lost and thus to sink and die,
Perchance were death indeed - Constantia, turn !
Even though the sounds which were thy voice, which burn
Within thy breath, and on thy hair, like odour it is yet,
Even while I write, my burning cheeks are wet,
A breathless awe, like the swift change
Unseen, but felt in youthful slumbers,
Thou breathest now in fast ascending numbers.
By the enchantment of thy strain,
To follow its sublime career,
Upon the verge of nature's utmost sphere,
Till the world's shadowy walls are past and disappear.
O'ershadowing it with soft and lulling wings,
Teach witchcratt to the instrumental strings.
The blood is listening in my frame,
Fall on my overflowing eyes;
As morning dew, that in the sunbeam dies,
I have no life, Constantia, now, but thee,
Whilst, like the world-surrounding air, thy song
Now is thy voice a tempest swift and strong,
Secure o'er rocks and waves I sweep,
Now 'tis the breath of summer night,
Round western isles, with incense-blossoms bright,
Vainly would my winter borrow
Sunny leaves from any bough.
Lilies for a bridal bed,
Roses for a matron's head,
Violets for a maiden dead,
Pansies let my flowers be:
Let no friend, however dear,
Waste one hope, one sear for me. 496
THE PINE FOREST
OF THE CASCINE, NEAR PISA.
It seemed as if the day were one
Sent from beyond the skies,
Which shed to earth above the sun Dearer than this fairest day,
A light of Paradise. Which like thee to those in sorrow, Comes to bid a sweet good-morrow We paused amid the Pines that stood To the rough year just awake
The giants of the waste, In its cradle in the brake.
Tortured by storms to shapes as rude,
With stems like serpents interlaced. The eldest of the hours of spring, Into the winter wandering,
How calm it was—the silence there Looks upon the leafless wood;
By such a chain was bound,
The inviolable quietness;
With its soft motion made not less And bade the frozen streams be free;
The calm that round us grew.
It seemed that from the remotest seat
Of the white mountain's waste, tains, And made the wintry world appear
To the bright flower beneath our feet. Like one on whom thou smilest, dear. A magic circle traced ;
A spirit interfused around,
A thinking silent life, 'To the wild woods and the plains,
To momentary peace it bound
Our mortal Nature's strife. 'To the pools where winter rains Image all the roof of leaves,
For still it seemed the centre of Where the Pine its garland weaves,
The magic circle there, Sapless, grey, and ivy dun
Was one whose being filled with love Round stones that never kiss the sun,
The breathless atmosphere.
Were not the crocuses that grew
Under that ilex tree, Now the last day of many days,
As beautiful in scent and hue All beautiful and bright as thou,
As ever fed'the bee? The loveliest and the last, is dead, Rise Memory, and write its praise, We stood beside the pools that lie And do thy wonted work and trace Under the forest bough, The epitaph of glory fled:
And each seemed like unto a sky For the Earth hath changed its face, Gulfed in a world below;
a A frown is on the Heaven's brow.
A purple firmament of light, We wandered to the Pine Forest
Which in the dark earth lay, That skirts the Ocean's foam,
More boundless than the depth of The lightest wind was in its nest,
night, The tempest in its home.
And clearer than the dayThe whispering waves were half asleep, In which the massy forests grew, The clouds were gone to play,
As in the upper air, And on the woods, and on the deep, More perfect both in shape and hue The smile of Heaven lay.
Than any waving there,
Like one beloved, the scene had lent
To the dark water's breast Its every leaf and lineament
With that clear truth expressed. There lay far glades and neighbouring
Under a speckled cloud.
Can never well be seen,
Of that fair forest green.
And all was interfused beneath
With an Elysium air,
A silence sleeping there.
Like an unwelcome thought,
Blots thy bright image out.
The forest ever green,
Than calm in waters seen.
Spirit of Night!
Swift be thy flight !
Come, long sought !
I sighed for thee;
I sighed for thee.
Wouldst thou me?
Murmured like a noontide bee,
No, not thee!
Soon, too soon-
Come soon, soon !
PONTE A MARE, PISA.
The sun is set ; the swallows are asleep ;
The bats are flitting fast in the grey air;
And evening's breath, wandering here and thero
Nor damp within the shadow of the trees ; The wind is intermitting, dry, and light ;
And in the inconstant motion of the breeze The dust and straws are driven up and down, And whirled about the pavement of the town. Within the surface of the fleeting river
The wrinkled image of the city lay,
It trembles, but it never fades away;
By darkest barriers of enormous cloud,
Growing and moving upwards in a crowd, And over it a space of watery blue, Which the keen evening star is shining through.
THE BOAT ON THE SERCHIO. Our boat is asleep in Serchio's stream, Its sails are folded like thoughts in a dream, The helm sways idly, hither and thither; Dominic, the boatman, has brought the mast, And the oars and the sails ; but 'tis sleeping fast, Like a beast, unconscious of its tether. The stars burnt out in the pale blue air, And the thin white moon lay withering there, To tower, and cavern, and rift and tree, The owl and the bat fled drowsily. Day had kindled the dewy woods, And the rocks above and the stream below, And the vapours in their multitudes, And the Apennine's shroud of summer snow, And clothed with light of aery gold The mists in their eastern caves uprolled. Day had awakened all things that be, The lark and the thrush and the swallow free, And the milkmaid's song and the mower's scythe, And the inatin-bell and the mountain bee :