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Ye who have yearn'd With too much passion, will here stay and pity, For the mere sake of truth; as 't is a ditty Not of these days, but long ago 'twas told By a cavern wind unto a forest old; And then the forest told it in a dream To a sleeping lake, whose cool and level gleam A poet caught as he was journeying To Phæbus' shrine; and in it he did fling His weary limbs, bathing an hour's space, And after, straight in that inspired place He sang the story up into the air, Giving it universal freedom. There Has it been ever sounding for those ears Whose tips are glowing hot. The legend cheers Yon sentinel stars; and he who listens to it Must surely be self-doom'd or he will rue it! For quenchless burnings come upon the heart, Made fiercer by a fear lest any part Should be ingulfed in the eddying wind. As much as here is penn'd doth always find A resting-place, thus much comes clear and plain ; Anon the strange voice is upon the waneAnd 't is but echoed from departing sound, That the fair visitant at last unwound Her gentle limbs, and left the youth asleep.Thus the tradition of the gusty deep.
And all the revels he had lorded there :
To nurse the golden age 'mong shepherd clans :
Upon the last few steps, and with spent force
Now turn we to our former chroniclers. Endymion awoke, that grief of hers Sweet plaining on his ear: he sickly guess'd How lone he was once more, and sadly press'd His empty arms together, hung his head, And most forlorn upon that widow'd bed Sat silently. Love's madness he had known: Often with more than tortured lion's groan Moanings had burst from him ; but now that rage Had pass'd away: no longer did he wage A rough-voiced war against the dooming stars. No, he had felt too much for such harsh jars : The lyre of his soul Eolian-tuned Forgot all violence, and but communed With melancholy thought: O he had swoon'd Drunken from pleasure's nipple! and his love Henceforth was dove-like.-Loth was he to move From the imprinted couch, and when he did, 'Twas with slow, languid paces, and face hid In muffling hands. So temper'd, out he stray'd Half seeing visions that might have dismay'd Alecto's serpents; ravishments more keen Than Hermes' pipe, when anxious he did lean Over eclipsing eyes : and at the last It was a sounding grotto, vaulted, vast, O'er-studded with a thousand, thousand pearls, And crimson-mouthed shells with stubborn curls, Of every shape and size, even to the bulk In which whales arbor close, to brood and sulk Against an endless storm. Moreover too, Fish-semblances, of green and azure hue, Ready to snort their streams. In this cool wonder Endymion sat down, and 'gan to ponder On all his lite : his youth, up to the day When ʼmid acclaim, and feasts, and garlands gay, He slept upon his shepherd throne : the look Of his white palace in wild forest nook,
"O Arethusa, peerless nymph! why fear Such tenderness as mine? Great Dian, why, Why didst thou hear her prayer! O that I Were rippling round her dainty fairness now,
Circling about her waist, and striving how To entice her to a dive! then stealing in Between her luscious lips and eyelids thin. O that her shining hair was in the sun, And I distilling from it thence to run In amorous rillets down her shrinking form! To linger on her lily shoulders, warm Between her kissing breasts, and every charm Touch raptured See how painfully I flow: Fair maid, be pitiful to my great woe. Stay, stay thy weary course, and let me lead, A happy wooer, to the flowery mead Where all that beauty snared'me.”—“Cruel God. Desist! or my offended mistress' nod Will stagnate all thy fountains : -tease me not
With syren words—Ah, have I really got
Towards it by a sandy path, and lo! Such power to madden thee? And is it true- More suddenly than doth a moment go, Away, away, or I shall dearly rue
The visions of the earth were gone and fledMy very thoughts: in mercy then away,
He saw the giant sea above his head.
Their baaing vanities, to browse away
The comfortable green and juicy hay Grew strong within me : wherefore serve me so, From human pastures; or, O torturing fact! And call it love ? Alas! 't was cruelty.
Who, through an idiot blink, will see unpack'd Not once more did I close my happy eyes
Fire-branded foxes to sear up and singe Amid the thrush's song. Away! Avaunt! Our gold and ripe-ear'd hopes. With not one tinge O'twas a cruel thing."- -"Now thou dost taunt Of sanctuary splendor, nor a sight So softly, Arethusa, that I think
Able to face an owl's, they still are dight If thou wast playing on my shady brink,
By the blear-eyed nations in empurpled vests, Thou wouldst bathe once again. Innocent maid ! And crowns, and turbans. With unladen breasts, Stifle thine heart no more ;-nor be afraid
Save of blown self-applause, they proudly mount Of angry powers: there are deities
To their spirit's perch, their being's high account, Will shade us with their wings. Those fitful sighs Their tip-top nothings, their dull skies, their thrones"T is almost death to hear: O let me pour
Amid the fierce intoxicating tones A dewy balm upon them fear no more,
Of trumpets, shoutings, and belabor'd drums, Sweet Arethusa! Dian's self must feel,
And sudden cannon. Ah! how all this hums, Sometimes, these very pangs. Dear maiden, steal In wakeful ears, like uproar past and goneBlushing into my soul, and let us fly
Like thunder-clouds that spake to Babylon, These dreary caverns for the open sky.
And set those old Chaldeans to their tasks.I will delight thee all my winding course,
Are then regalities all gilded masks? From the green sea up to my hidden source
No, there are throned seats unscalable About Arcadian forests ; and will show
But by a patient wing, a constant spell, The channels where my coolest waters flow Or by ethereal things that, unconfined, Through mossy rocks; where, 'mid exuberant green, Can make a ladder of the eternal wind, I roam in pleasant darkness, more unseen
And poise about in cloudy thunder-lents Than Saturn in his exile; where I brim
To watch the abysm-birth of elements. Round flowery islands, and take thence a skim Aye, 'bove the withering of old-lipp'd Fate Of mealy sweets, which myriads of bees
A thousand powers keep religious state, Buzz from their honey'd wings: and thou shouldst In water, fiery realm, and airy bourn ; please
And, silent as a consecrated urn, Thyself to choose the richest, where we might Hold sphery sessions for a season due. Be incense-pillow'd every summer night.
Yet few of these far majesties, ah, few! Doff all sad fears, thou white deliciousness,
Have bared their operations to this globeAnd let us be thus comforted ; unless
Few, who with gorgeous pageantry enrobe Thou couldst rejoice to see my hopeless stream Our piece of heaven-whose benevolence Hurry distracted from Sol's temperate beam, Shakes hand with our own Ceres; every sense And pour to death along some hungry sands.". Filling with spiritual sweets to plenitude, “ What can I do, Alpheus? Dian stands
As bees gorge full their cells. And by the feud Severe before me: persecuting fate!
"Twixt Nothing and Creation, I here swear, Unhappy Arethusa! thou wast late
Eterne Apollo! that thy Sister fair
Is of all these the gentlier-mightiest.
And there she sits most meek and most alone;
As if she had not pomp subservient;
Towards her with the Muses in thine heart;
As if the ministering stars kept not apart,
Waiting for silver-footed messages.
Feel palpitations when thou lookest in:
O Moon! old boughs lisp forth a holier din He turn'd-there was a whelming sound-he stept, The while they feel thine airy fellowship. There was a cooler light; and so he kept
Thou dost bless everywhere, with silver lip
Kissing dead things to life. The sleeping kine, Along his fated way.
Far had he roam'd, Ambitious for the hallowing of thine eyes ; With nothing save the hollow vast, that foam'd And yet thy benediction passeth not
A bove, around, and at his feet; save things One obscure hiding-place, one little spot
More dead than Morpheus' imaginings : Where pleasure may be sent: the nested wren Old rusted anchors, helmets, breastplates large Has thy fair face within its tranquil ken,
Of gone sea-warriors; brazen beaks and targe; And from beneath a sheltering ivy leaf
Rudders that for a hundred years had lost Takes glimpses of thee; thou art a relief
The sway of human hand; gold vase emboss'd To the poor patient oyster, where it sleeps
With long-forgotten story, and wherein Within its pearly house :- The mighty deeps, No reveller had ever dipp'd a chin The monstrous sea is thine—the myriad sea! But those of Saturn's vintage; mouldering scrolls, O Moon! far-spooming Ocean bows to thee, Writ in the tongue of heaven, by those souls And Tellus feels her forehead's cumbrous load. Who first were on the earth ; and sculptures rude
In ponderous stone, developing the mood
of ancient Nox;-then skeletons of man, Cynthia! where art thou now? What far abode Of beast, behemoth, and leviathan, Of green or silvery bower doth enshrine
And elephant, and eagle, and huge jaw Such utmost beauty ? Alas, thou dost pine
Of nameless monster. A cold leaden awe For one as sorrowful: thy cheek is pale
These secrets struck into him; and unless For one whose cheek is pale: thou dost bewail Dian had chased away that heaviness, His tears, who weeps for thee. Where dost thou sigh? He might have died : but now, with cheered feel, Ah! surely that light peeps from Vesper's eye, He onward kept; wooing these thoughts to steal Or what a thing is love! "Tis She, but lo!
About the labyrinth in his soul of love. How changed, how full of ache, how gone in woe! She dies at the thinnest cloud; her loveliness Is wan on Neptune's blue: yet there's a stress “What is there in thee, Moon! that thou shouldst Of love-spangles, just off yon cape of trees, Dancing upon the waves, as if to please
My heart so potently? When yet a child, The curly foam with amorous influence.
I oft have dried my tears when thou hast smiled. 0, not so idle! for down-glancing thence,
Thou seem’dst my sister : hand in hand we went She fathoms eddies, and runs wild about
From eve to morn across the firmament. O'erwhelming water-courses ; scaring out
No apples would I gather from the tree, The thorny sharks from hiding-holes, and fright'ning Till thou hadst cool'd their cheeks deliciously: Their savage eyes with unaccustom'd lightning. No tumbling water ever spake romance, Where will the splendor be content to reach ? But when my eyes with thine thereon could dance : O love! how potent hast thou been to teach No woods were green enough, no bower divide, Strange journeyings! Wherever beauty dwells, Until thou lifted'st up thine eyelids fine: In gulf or aerie, mountains or deep dells,
In sowing-time ne'er would I dibble take, In light, in gloom, in star or blazing sun,
Or drop a seed, till thou wast wide awake; Thou pointest out the way, and straight 'tis won. And, in the summer-ride of blossoming, Amid his toil thou gavest Leander breath ;
No one but thee hath heard me blithely sing
No melody was like a passing spright
By thee were fashiond to the self-same end;
With all my ardors : thou wast the deep glen;
Thou wast the mountain-top- the sage's pen-
The poet's harp—the voice of friends the sun ; Poor Cynthia greeted him, and soothed her light Thou wast the river-thou wast glory won; Against his pallid face: he felt the charm
Thou wast my clarion's blast-thou wast my steedTo breathlessness, and suddenly a warm
My goblet full of wine--my topmost deed Of his heart's blood : 'twas very sweet; he stay'd
Thou wast the charm of women, lovely Moon !
My spirit struck from all the beautiful!
Myself to immortality: I prest
Nature's soft pillow in a wakeful rest.
She came, and thou didst fade, and fade away-
Has been an under-passion to this hour. He rose in silence, and once more 'gan fare Now I begin to feel thine orby power
Is coming fresh upon me: O be kind!
To northern seas I'll in a twinkling sail, Keep back thine influence, and do not blind And mount upon the snortings of a whale My sovereign vision.--Dearest love, forgive To some black cloud ; thence down I'll madly sweep That I can think away from thee and live! On forked lightning, to the deepest deep, Pardon me, airy planet, that I prize
Where through some sucking pool I will be hurl'd One thought beyond thine argent luxuries !
With rapture to the other side of the world!
Yes, every God be thank'd, and power benign, How his own goddess was past all things fair, For I no more shall wither, droop, and pine. He saw far in the concave green of the sea Thou art the man!” Endymion started back An old man sitting calm and peacefully.
Dismay'd ; and, like a wretch from whom the rack Upon a wecded rock this old man sat,
Tortures hot breath, and speech of agony, And his white hair was awful, and a mat
Mutter'd : “What lonely death am I to die of weeds was cold beneath his cold thin feet; In this cold region ? Will he let me freeze, And, ample as the largest winding-sheet,
And float my brittle limbs o'er polar seas? A cloak of blue wrapp'd up his aged bones, Or will he touch me with his searing hand, O'erwrought with symbols by the deepest groans And leave a black memorial on the sand ? Of ambitious magic: every ocean-form
Or tear me piecemeal with a bony saw, Was woven in with black distinctness : storm, And keep me as a chosen food to draw And calm, and whispering, and hideous roar His magian fish through hated fire and flame? Were emblem'd in the woof; with every shape O misery of hell! resistless, tame, That skims, or dives, or sleeps, 'twixt cape and cape, Am I to be burnt up? No, I will shout, The gulfing whale was like a dot in the spell, Until the Gods through heaven's blue look out!Yet look upon it, and 't would size and swell o Tartarus! but some few days agone To its huge self; and the minutest fish
Iler soft arms were entwining me, and on Would pass the very hardest gazer's wish,
Her voice I hung like fruit among green leaves : And show his little eye's anatomy.
Her lips were all my own, and—ah, ripe sheaves Then there was pictured the regality
Of happiness! ye on the stubble droop, Of Neptune ; and the sea-nymphs round his state, But never may be garner'd. I must stoop In beauteous vassalage, look up and wait.
My head, and kiss death's foot. Love ! love, farewell! Beside this old man lay a pearly wand,
Is there no hope from thee? This horrid spell And in his lap a book, the which he conn'd Would melt at thy sweet breath.—By Dian's hind So stedfastly, that the new denizen
Feeding from her white fingers, on the wind Had time to keep him in amazed ken,
I see thy streaming hair! and now, by Pan, To mark these shadowings, and stand in awe. I care not for this old mysterious man!”
The old man raised his hoary head and saw
He spake, and walking to that aged form,
“ Thou art the man! Now shall I lay my head
Jove! I shall be young again, be young !
“ Arise, good youth, for sacred Phæbus' sake!
Now as we speed towards our joyous task.” Would strew sweet flowers on a sterile beach. So saying, this young soul in age's mask
"Why was I not contented ? Wherefore reach Went forward with the Carian side by side : At things which, but for thee, O Latmian! Resuming quickly thus ; while ocean's tide Had been my dreary death! Fool! I began Hung swollen at their backs, and jewell'd sands To feel distemper'd longings: to desire Took silently their foot-prints.
The utmost privilege that ocean's sire
Could grant in benediction: to be free
“My soul stands Of all his kingdom. Long in misery Now past the midway from mortality,
I wasted, ere in one extremest fit And so I can prepare without a sigh
I plunged for life or death. To interknit To tell thee briefly all my joy and pain.
One's senses with so dense a breathing stuff I was a fisher once, upon this main,
Might seem a work of pain; so not enough And my boat danced in every creek and bay; Can I admire how crystal-smooth it felt, Rough billows were my home by night and day,— And buoyant round my limbs. At first I dwelt The sea-gulls not more constant; for I had Whole days and days in sheer astonishment; No housing from the storm and tempests mad, Forgetful utterly of self-intent; But hollow rocks--and they were palaces Moving but with the mighty ebb and flow. Of silent happiness, of slumberous ease :
Then, like a new-fledged bird that first doth show Long years of misery have told me so.
His spreaded feathers to the morrow chill, Ay, thus it was one thousand years ago.
I tried in fear the pinions of my will.
'Twas freedom! and at once I visited
For these I know thou canst not feel a drouth,
To more immediate matter. Woe, alas ! Are but a slime, a thin-pervading scum,
That love should be my bane! Ah, Scylla fair! The which I breathe away, and thronging come Why did poor Glaucus ever-ever dare Like things of yesterday my youthful pleasures. To sue thee to his heart? Kind stranger-youth!
I loved her to the very white of truth, “ I touch'd no lute, I sang not, trod no measures : And she would not conceive it. Timid thing! I was a lonely youth on desert shores.
She fled me swift as sea-bird on the wing, My sports were lonely, 'mid continuous roars, Round every isle, and point, and promontory, And craggy isles, and sea-mews' plaintive cry From where large Hercules wound up his story Plaining discrepant between sea and sky.
Far as Egyptian Nile. My passion grew Dolphins were still my playmates ; shapes unseen The more, the more I saw her dainty hue Would let me feel their scales of gold and green, Gleam delicately through the azure clear: Nor be my desolation ; and, full oft,
Until 't was too fierce agony to bear; When a dread water-spout had rear'd aloft And in that agony, across my grief Its hungry hugeness, seeming ready ripe
It flash'd, that Circe might find some relief To burst with hoarsest thunderings, and wipe Cruel enchantress! So above the water My life away like a vast sponge of fate,
I reard my head, and look'd for Phæbus' daughter. Some friendly monster, pitying my sad state, Æva's isle was wondering at the moon: Has dived to its foundations, gulf'd it down, It seem'd to whirl around me, and a swoon And left me tossing safely. But the crown Left me dead-drifting to that fatal power. Of all my life was utmost quietude : More did I love to lie in cavern rude,
“When I awoke, 't was in a twilight bower ; Keeping in wait whole days for Neptune's voice, Just when the light of morn, with hum of bees, And if it came at last, hark, and rejoice!
Stole through its verdurous matting of fresh trees. There blush'd no summer eve but I would steer How sweet, and sweeter! for I heard a lyre, My skiff along green shelving coasts, to hear And over it a sighing voice expire. The shepherd's pipe come clear from aery steep, It ceased-I caught light footsteps; and anon Mingled with ceaseless bleatings of his sheep: The fairest face that mom e'er look'd upon And never was a day of summer shine,
Push'd through a screen of roses. Starry Jove! But I beheld its birth upon the brine ;
With tears, and smiles, and honey-words she wore For I would watch all night to see unfold
A net whose thraldom was more bliss than all Heaven's gates, and Æthon snort his morning gold The range of flower'd Elysium. Thus did fall Wide o'er the swelling streams : and constantly The dew of her rich speech : "Ah! art awake! At brim of day-tide, on some grassy lea,
O let me hear thee speak, for Cupid's sake! My nets would be spread out, and I at rest. I am so oppress'd with joy! Why, I have shed The poor folk of the sea-country I blest
An urn of tears, as though thou wert cold dead; With daily boon of fish most delicate :
And now I find thee living, I will pour They knew not whence this bounty, and elate From these devoted eyes their silver store,