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elforth sprang the impassioned Queen her Lord to clasp; A fervent, not ungovernable love,
Again that consummation she essayed;
But unsubstantial Form eludes her grasp
As often as that eager grasp was made.
The Phantom parts- but parts to re-unite,
And re-assume his place before her sight.
He comes to tarry with thee three hours' space;
Accept the gift, behold him face to face!"
"Great Jove, Laodamía! doth not leave
His gifts imperfect:-Spectre though I be,
I am not sent to scare thee or deceive;
But in reward of thy fidelity.
And something also did my worth obtain ;
For fearless virtue bringeth boundless gain.
"Protesiláus, lo! thy guide is gone!
Confirm, I pray, the Vision with thy voice:
This is our Palace, - yonder is thy throne;
Speak, and the floor thou treadest on will rejoice.
Not to appal me have the Gods bestowed
This precious boon,— and blest a sad Abode.”
'Thou knowest, the Delphic oracle foretold
That the first Greek who touched the Trojan strand
Should die; but me the threat could not withhold;
A generous cause a Victim did demand;
And forth I leapt upon the sandy plain;
A self-devoted chief-by Hector slain."
"Supreme of Heroes-bravest, noblest, best!
Thy matchless courage I bewail no more,
Which then, when tens of thousands were deprest
By doubt, propelled thee to the fatal shore;
Thou found'st-and I forgive thee - here thou art -
A nobler counsellor than my poor heart.
"But thou, though capable of sternest deed,
Wert kind as resolute, and good as brave;
And he, whose power restores thee, hath decreed
That thou should'st cheat the malice of the grave;
Redundant are thy locks, thy lips as fair
As when their breath enriched Thessalian air.
"No Spectre greets me, no vain Shadow this;
Come, blooming Hero, place thee by my side!
Give, on this well known couch, one nuptial kiss
To me, this day, a second time thy bride!"
Jove frowned in heaven: the conscious Parce threw
Upon those roseate lips a Stygian hue.
"This visage tells thee that my doom is past:
Know, virtue were not virtue if the joys
Of sense were able to return as fast
And surely as they vanish. Earth destroys
Those raptures duly Erebus disdains:
Calm pleasures there abide-majestic pains.
"Be taught, O faithful Consort, to control
Rebellious passion: for the Gods approve
The depth, and not the tumult, of the soul;
Thy transports moderate; and meekly mourn
When I depart, for brief is my sojourn -
"Ah, wherefore? - Did not Hercules by force
Wrest from the guardian Monster of the tomb
Alcestis, a reanimated Corse,
Given back to dwell on earth in vernal bloom?
Medea's spells dispersed the weight of years,
And Æson stood a Youth 'mid youthful peers.
"The Gods to us are merciful-and they
Yet further may relent: for mightier far
Than strength of nerve and sinew, or the sway
Of magic potent over sun and star,
Is love, though oft to agony distrest,
And though his favourite seat be feeble Woman's breast.
But if thou goest, I follow -" "Peace!" he said—
She looked upon him and was calmed and cheered,
The ghastly colour from his lips had fled;
In his deportment, shape, and mien, appeared
Elysian beauty, melancholy grace,
Brought from a pensive though a happy a
He spake of love, such love as Spirits feel
In worlds whose course is equable and pure;
No fears to beat away-no strife to heal-
The past unsighed for, and the future sure;
Spake of heroic arts in graver mood
Revived, with finer harmony pursued ;
Of all that is most beauteous-imaged there
In happier beauty: more pellucid streams,
An ampler ether, a diviner air,
And fields invested with purpureal gleams;
Climes which the sun, who sheds the brightest day
Earth knows, is all unworthy to survey.
Yet there the Soul shall enter which hath earned
That privilege by virtue.-"Ill," said he,
"The end of man's existence I discerned,
Who from ignoble games and revelry
Could draw, when we had parted, vain delight
While tears were thy best pastime — day and night:
And while my youthful peers, before my eyes
(Each Hero following his peculiar bent)
Prepared themselves for glorious enterprise
By martial sports, - or, seated in the tent,
Chieftains and kings in council were detained;
What time the fleet at Aulis lay enchained.
The wished-for wind was given:-I then revolved
The oracle, upon the silent sea;
His richest splendour, when his veering gait
And every motion of his starry train
Seem governed by a strain
Of music, audible to him alone. ·
O Lady, worthy of earth's proudest throne!
Nor less, by excellence of nature, fit
Beside an unambitious hearth to sit
Domestic queen, where grandeur is unknown;
What living man could fear
The worst of Fortune's malice, wert thou near,
Humbling that lily stem, thy sceptre meek,
That its fair flowers may brush from off his cheek
The too, too happy tear?
Queen and handmaid lowly!
Whose skill can speed the day with lively cares,
And banish melancholy
By all that mind invents or hand prepares;
O thou, against whose lip, without its smile,
And in its silence even, no heart is proof;
Whose goodness sinking deep, would reconcile
The softest Nursling of a gorgeous palace
To the bare life beneath the hawthorn roof
Of Sherwood's archer, or in caves of Wallace-
Who that hath seen thy beauty could content
His soul with but a glimpse of heavenly day?
Who that hath loved thee, but would lay
His strong hand on the wind, if it were bent
To take thee in thy majesty away?
-Pass onward (even the glancing deer
Till we depart intrude not here ;)
That mossy slope, o'er which the woodbine throws
A canopy, is smoothed for thy repose!
Glad moment is it when the throng
Of warblers in full concert strong
Strive, and not vainly strive, to rout
The lagging shower, and force coy Phoebus out,
Met by the rainbow's form divine,
Issuing from her cloudy shrine;
So may the thrillings of the lyre
Prevail to further our desire,
While to these shades a Nymph I call,
The youngest of the lovely Three. -
"Come, if the notes thine ear may pierce,
Submissive to the might of verse,
By none more deeply felt than thee!"
sang; and lo! from pastimes virginal
With all their fragrance, all their glistening,
Call to the heart for inward listening;
And though for bridal wreaths and tokens true
Welcomed wisely-though a growth
Which the careless shepherd sleeps on,
As fitly spring from turf the mourner weeps on,
And without wrong are cropped the marble tomb to
The charm is over; the mute phantoms gone,
Nor will return - but droop not, favoured Youth;
The apparition that before thee shone
Obeyed a summons covetous of truth.
From these wild rocks thy footsteps I will guide
To bowers in which thy fortune may be tried,
And one of the bright Three become thy happy Bride
LYRE! though such power do in thy magic live
As might from India's farthest plain
Recal the most unwilling maid,
Assist me to detain
The lovely fugitive:
Check with thy notes the impulse which, betrayed
By her sweet farewell looks, I longed to aid.
Here let me gaze enwrapt upon that eye,
The impregnable and awe-inspiring fort
Of contemplation, the calm port
By reason fenced from winds that sigh
Among the restless sails of vanity.
But if no wish be hers that we should part,
A humbler bliss would satisfy my heart.
Where all things are so fair,
Enough by her dear side to breathe the air
Of this Elysian weather;
And, on or in, or near, the brook, espy
Shade upon the sunshine lying
Faint and somewhat pensively;
And downward image gaily vying
With its upright living tree
Mid silver clouds, and openings of blue sky
As soft almost and deep as her cerulean eye.
Nor less the joy with many a glance
Cast up the stream or down at her beseeching,
To mark its eddying foam-balls prettily distrest
By ever-changing shape and want of rest;
Or watch, with mutual teaching,
The current as it plays
In flashing leaps and stealthy creeps
Adown a rocky maze;
Or note (translucent summer's happiest chance
In the slope-channel floored with pebbles bright,
Stones of all hucs, gem emulous of gem,
So vivid that they take from keenest sight
The liquid veil that seeks not to hide them.