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Bewildered, and incapable, and ever
Of usual shapes, till the familiar train
Strange as a dreamer's mad imaginings,
WILD, pale, and wonder-stricken, even
Who staggers forth into the air and sun From the dark chamber of a mortal Their own by gentle sympathy; and fever,
Sighing to think of an unhappy home:
Rung in her brain still with a jarring din,
Were mirrored in the polished marble
Which led from the cathedral to the
And ever as she went her light fair feet
Some with a sense of self-rebuke and
Envying the unenviable; and others
Of parents' smiles for life's great cheat; a thing
Bitter to taste, sweet in imagining.
But they are all dispersed-and, lo!
Looking in idle grief on her white
Alone within the garden now her own;
The music of the merry marriage bells, Killing the azure silence, sinks and swells;
Absorbed like one within a dream who dreams
That he is dreaming, until slumber
A mockery of itself—when suddenly
He lifted his wan eyes upon the bride,
Whose sleeping face is stricken by the
With light like a harsh voice, which bids
And look upon his day of life with eyes
Ginevra saw her lover, and forbore
Rushing upon her heart, and unsubdued The bride- maidens who round her Said “Friend, if earthly violence or
Suspicion, doubt, or the tyrannic will Of parents, chance, or custom, time or change,
Or circumstance, or terror, or revenge,
News of the terrors of the coming time.
With all their stings and venom can Whose dying eyes reproach not to the
Our love, we love not:-if the grave The pale betrayer-he then with vain which hides
The victim from the tyrant, and divides The cheek that whitens from the eyes that dart
Imperious inquisition to the heart
Is not that ring' '—a pledge, he would
Making her but an image of the thought, Which, like a prophet or a shadow, brought
The golden circle from her finger took, And said " Accept this token of my faith,
The pledge of vows to be absolved by
Would share, he cannot now avert, the
Antonio stood and would have spoken, when
The compound voice of women and of
'We toll a corpse out of the marriage bed?'
The flowers upon my bridal chamber
Was heard approaching; he retired,
Was led amid the admiring company
Changed her attire for the afternoon,
An hour of quiet and rest :-like one
With open eyes and folded hands she lay, And I am dead or shall be soon-my Pale in the light of the declining day.
Will mix its music with that merry
Meanwhile the day sinks fast, the sun is set,
Does it not sound as if they sweetly And in the lighted hall the guests are said
The beautiful looked lovelier in the light
Will serve unfaded for my bier-so Kindling a momentary Paradise.
This crowd is safer than the silent wood, Where love's own doubts disturb the solitude;
That even the dying violet will not die
On frozen hearts the fiery rain of wine
And quenched the crimson life upon her Tempers the deep emotions of the time
To part too soon, but never to forget.
Of looks and words which ne'er en- If it be death, when there is felt around chanted yet; A smell of clay, a pale and icy glare, But life's familiar veil was now with- And silence, and a sense that lifts the drawn,
As the world leaps before an earthquake's From the scalp to the ankles, as it were dawn, Corruption from the spirit passing forth, And giving all it shrouded to the earth, And leaving as swift lightning in its flight Ashes, and smoke, and darkness: in our night
And unprophetic of the coming hours, The matin winds from the expanded flowers,
Scatter their hoarded incense, and awaken
Of thought we know thus much of death,
The earth, until the dewy sleep is shaken From every living heart which it possesses,
Through seas and winds, cities and wildernesses,
As if the future and the past were all Treasured i' the instant ;-so Gherardi's hall
Laughed in the mirth of its lord's festival,
A bride's-maid went,--and ere she came
A silence fell upon the guests—a pause
Loosened the springs of pity in all eyes, On which that form, whose fate they weep in vain,
Will never, thought they, kindle smiles again.
For whispers past from mouth to ear The lamps which half extinguished in which drew
Then wonder, and then fear that wonder quelled;
Than the unborn dream of our life before
Their barks are wrecked on its inhospitable shore.
The marriage feast and its solemnity Was turned to funeral pomp-the company
With heavy hearts and looks, broke up; nor they
Who loved the dead went weeping on their way
Alone, but sorrow mixed with sad surprise
The colour from the hearer's cheeks, Gleamed few and faint o'er the abanand flew doned feast,
Showed as it were within the vaulted
Louder and swifter round the company;
A cloud of sorrow hanging, as if gloom Had past out of men's minds into the air.
Some few yet stood around Gherardi there,
They found Ginevra dead! ifit be death, To lie without motion, or pulse, or breath,
Friends and relations of the dead,and he,
With waxen cheeks, and limbs cold, A loveless man, accepted torpidly The consolation that he wanted not,
stiff, and white,
And open eyes, whose fixed and glassy Awe in the place of grief within him wrought.
Mocked at the speculation they had Their whispers made the solemn silence owned.
Of every torch and taper as it swept From out the chamber where the women kept;
Their tears fell on the dear companion cold
Of pleasures now departed; then was
A vulture has just feasted to the bone.
EVENING: PONTE A MARE,
THE sun is set; the swallows are asleep;
The bell of death, and soon the priests arrived,
The bats are flitting fast in the gray air; The slow soft toads out of damp corners creep,
And finding death their penitent had shrived,
And evening's breath, wandering here and there
Returned like ravens from a corpse Over the quivering surface of the stream, whereon Wakes not one ripple from its summer dream.
The dark arrow fled
Where the sea of sunlight encroaches
There is no dew on the dry grass tonight,
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
Within the surface of the fleeting river
It trembles, but it never fades away;
You, being changed, will find it then
She is still, she is cold
On the bridal couch, One step to the white deathbed,
And one to the bier,
And one to the charnel-and one, oh The chasm in which the sun has sunk is shut
By darkest barriers of cinereous cloud, Like mountain over mountain huddledbut
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 on 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.
To tower, and cavern, and rift and tree,
And the rocks above and the stream
And the vapours in their multitudes, And the Apennine's shroud of sum
And clothed with light of aëry gold The mists in their eastern caves uprolled.
Like a flock of rooks at a farmer's gun Night's dreams and terrors, every one, Fled from the brains which are their prey
From the lamp's death to the morning
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 matin-bell and the mountain bee: Fire-flies were quenched on the dewy
corn, Glow-worms went out on the river's brim,
Like lamps which a student forgets to trim:
The beetle forgot to wind his horn, The crickets were still in the meadow and hill:
All rose to do the task He set to each,
Who shaped us to his ends and not
The stars burnt out in the pale blue air, And made their home under the green And the thin white moon lay withering there,
The million rose to learn, and one to teach
What none yet ever knew or can be known.
And many rose
Whose woe was such that fear became desire ;
Melchior and Lionel were not among
They from the throng of men had stepped aside,
It was that hill, whose intervening brow Screens Lucca from the Pisan's envious eye,
Which the circumfluous plain waving below,
Like a wide lake of green fertility, With streams and fields and marshes bare, Divides from the far Apennines— which lie Islanded in the immeasurable air.