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One morn before me were three figures seen,

With bowed necks, and joined hands, side-fac'd ;
And one behind the other stepp'd serene,

In placid sandals, and in white robes grac'd ;
They pass’d, like figures on a marble urn,
When shifted round to see the other side ;

They came again ; as when the urn once more
Is shifted round, the first seen shades return;
And they were strange to me, as may betide

With vases, to one deep in Phidian lore.




How is it, Shadows ! that I knew ye not?

How came ye muffled in so hush a mask ? Was it a silent deep-disguised plot

To steal away, and leave without a task My idle days ? Ripe was the drowsy hour ; The blissful cloud of summer-indolence

Benumb'd my eyes ; my pulse grew less and less ; Pain had no sting, and pleasure's wreath no flower : O, why did ye not melt, and leave me sense

Unhaunted quite of all but — nothingness?


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A third time pass'd they by, and, passing, turn'd

Each one the face a moment whiles to me ; Then faded, and to follow them I burn'd

And ach'd for wings, because I knew the three;


The first was a fair maid, and Love her name;
The second was Ambition, pale of cheek,

And ever watchful with fatigued eye ;
The last, whom I love more, the more of blame
Is heaped upon her, maiden most unmeek,

I knew to be my demon Poesy.




They faded, and, forsooth! I wanted wings :

O folly! What is Love? and where is it? And for that poor. Ambition ! it springs

From a man's little heart's short fever-fit; For Poesy ! — no,

-she has not a joy, –
At least for me, so sweet as drowsy noons,

And evenings steep'd in honeyed indolence;
Oh, for an age so shelter'd from annoy,
That I may never know how change the moons,

Or hear the voice of busy common-sense !


5. And once more came they by ; - alas! wherefore ?

My sleep had been embroider’d with dim dreams ; My soul had been a lawn besprinkled o'er

With flowers, and stirring shades, and baffled beams : The morn was clouded, but no shower fell,

45 Tho' in her lids hung the sweet tears of May;

The open casement press’d a new-leav'd vine,
Let in the budding warmth and throstles' lay;
O Shadows ! 't was a time to bid farewell !

Upon your skirts had fallen no tears of mine.




So, ye three Ghosts, adieu ! Ye cannot raise

My head cool-bedded in the flowery grass;


For I would not be dieted with praise,

A pet-lamb in a sentimental farce !
Fade softly from my eyes, and be once more
In masque-like figures on the dreamy urn;

Farewell ! I yet have visions for the night,
And for the day faint visions there is store;
Vanish, ye Phantoms ! from my idle spright,

Into the clouds, and never more return !




Hush, hush! tread softly! hush, hush, my dear!
All the house is asleep, but we know very

That the jealous, the jealous old bald-pate may hear,
Tho' you've padded his night-cap — O sweet Isabel !

Tho' your feet are more light than a Fairy's feet,

Who dances on bubbles where brooklets meet,
Hush, hush! soft tiptoe ! hush, hush, my dear!
For less than a nothing the jealous can hear.




No leaf doth tremble, no ripple is there

On the river, — all's still, and the night's sleepy eye Closes up, and forgets all its Lethean care, Charm'd to death by the drone of the humming May-fly;

And the Moon, whether prudish or complaisant,

Was fled to her bower, well knowing I want
No light in the dusk, no torch in the gloom,
But my Isabel's eyes, and her lips pulp'd with bloom.


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it the latch! ah gently! ah tenderly — sweet!

We are dead if that latchet gives one little clink! vell done now those lips, and a flowery seat The old man may sleep, and the planets may wink;

The shut rose shall dream of our loves, and awake

Full blown, and such warmth for the morning's take, The stock-dove shall hatch her soft brace and shall coo, While I kiss to the melody, aching all through!

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"I met a lady in the meads,

Full beautiful - a faery's child; Her hair was long, her foot was light,

And her eyes were wild.

5. "I made a garland for her head,

And bracelets too, and fragrant zone ; She look'd at me as she did love,

And made sweet moan.


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"She took me to her elfin grot,

And there she gaz'd and sighed deep, And there I shut her wild wild eyes,

So kiss'd to sleep.


" And there we slumber'd on the moss,

And there I dream'd ah! woe betide !-The latest dream I ever dream'd

On the cold hill's side.


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