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Were not the crocuses that grew

Under that ilex-tree
As beautiful in scent and hue

As ever fed the bee?

We stood beside the pools that lie

Under the forest bough, And each seemed like a sky

Gulfed in a world below;

A purple firmament of light,

Which in the dark earth lay,
More boundless than the depth of night,

And clearer than the day

In which the


As in the upper air,
More perfect both in shape and hue

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 neighboring lawn,

And through the dark green crowd The white sun twinkling like the dawn

Under a speckled cloud.

Sweet views, which in our world above

Can never well be seen,

Were imaged by the water's love

Of that fair forest green.

And all was interfused beneath

Within an Elysium air
An atmosphere without a breath,

A silence sleeping there.

Until a wandering wind crept by,

Like an unwelcome thought,
Which from my mind's too faithful eye

Blots thy bright image out.

For thou art good and dear and kind,

The forest ever green,
But less of peace in S's mind,

Than calm in waters seen.


A Not far from hence. From yonder pointed hill, Crowned with a ring of oaks, you may behold A dark and barren field, through which there flows, Sluggish and black, a deep but narrow stream, Which the wind ripples not, and the fair moon Gazes in vain, and finds no mirror there. Follow the herbless banks of that strange brook Until you pause beside a darksome pond, The fountain of this rivulet, whose gush

Orpheus. Published by Garnett, 1862, and dated, 1820. Revised and enlarged by Rossetti, 1870.

2 oaks, Rossetti II uak, Garnett.


Cannot be seen, hid by a rayless night
That lives beneath the overhanging rock
That shades the pool an endless spring of

Upon whose edge hovers the tender light,
Trembling to mingle with its paramour, —
But, as Syrinx fled Pan, so night flies day,
Or, with most sullen and regardless hate,
Refuses stern her heaven-born embrace.
On one side of this jagged and shapeless hill
There is a cave, from which there eddies
A pale mist, like aërial gossamer,
Whose breath destroys all life; awhile it veils
The rock; then, scattered by the wind, it flies
Along the stream, or lingers on the clefts,
Killing the sleepy worms, if aught bide there.
Upon the beetling edge of that dark rock
There stands a group


cypresses ; not such
As, with a graceful spire and stirring life,
Pierce the pure heaven of your native vale,
Whose branches the air plays among, but not
Disturbs, fearing to spoil their solemn grace ;
But blasted and all wearily they stand,
One to another clinging ; their weak boughs
Sigh as the wind buffets them, and they shake
Beneath its blasts - a weather-beaten crew!


What wondrous sound is that, mournful and faint, But more melodious than the murmuring wind Which through the columns of a temple glides ?

31 they, Rossetti || these, Garnett. 37 which, Rossetti || that, Garnett.


It is the wandering voice of Orpheus' lyre,
„Borne by the winds, who sigh that their rude king
Hurries them fast from these air-feeding notes;
But in their speed they bear along with them
The waning sound, scattering it like dew
Upon the startled sense.


Does he still sing ? Methought he rashly cast away his harp When he had lost Eurydice.


Ah no! Awhile he paused. — As a poor hunted stag A moment shudders on the fearful brink Of a swift stream the cruel hounds press 011 With deafening yell, the arrows glance and

wound, He plunges in: so Orpheus, seized and torn By the sharp fangs of an insatiate grief, Mænad-like waved his lyre in the bright air, And wildly shrieked, “ Where she is, it is dark ! And then he struck from forth the strings a sound Of deep and fearful melody. Alas ! In times long past, when fair Eurydice With her bright eyes sat listening by his side, He gently sang of high and heavenly themes. As in a brook, fretted with little waves, By the light airs of spring, each riplet makes A many-sided mirror for the sun,

While it flows musically through green banks,
Ceaseless and pauseless, ever clear and fresh,
So flowed his song, reflecting the deep joy
And tender love that fed those sweetest notes,
The heavenly offspring of ambrosial food.
But that is past. Returning from drear Hell,
He chose a lonely seat of unhewn stone,
Blackened with lichens, on a herbless plain.
Then from the deep and overflowing spring
Of his eternal, ever-moving grief
There rose to Heaven a sound of angry song.
'Tis as a mighty cataract that parts
Two sister rocks with waters swift and strong,
And casts itself with horrid roar and din
Adown a steep; from a perennial source
It ever flows and falls, and breaks the air
With loud and fierce, but most harmonious roar,
And as it falls casts up a vaporous spray
Which the sun clothes in hues of Iris light.
Thus the tempestuous torrent of his grief
Is clothed in sweetest sounds and varying words
Of poesy. Unlike all human works
It never slackens, and through every change
Wisdom and beauty and the power divine
Of mighty poesy together dwell,
Mingling in sweet accord. As I have seen
A fierce south blast tear through the darkened sky,
Driving along a rack of wingèd clouds,
Which may not pause, but ever hurry on,
As their wild shepherd wills them, while the stars,
Twinkling and dim, peep from between the plumes.

91 while, Rossetti || whilst, Garnett. 92 the, Rossetti || their, Garnett.

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