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What; are these the guests whose glances
Seemed like sunshine gleaming round me? These the wild, bewildering fancies, That with dithyrambic dances,
As with magic circles, bound me?
Ah! how cold are their caresses!
Pallid cheeks, and haggard bosoms! Spectral gleam their snow-white dresses, And from loose, dishevelled tresses
Fall the hyacinthine blossoms!
O my songs ! whose winsome measures
heart with secret rapture! Children of my golden leisures ! Must even your delights and pleasures
Fade and perish with the capture?
Fair they seemed, those songs sonorous,
When they came to me unbidden;
In the dark of branches hidden.
Disenchantment! Disillusion !
Must each noble aspiration Come at last to this conclusion, Jarring discord, wild confusion,
Lassitude, renunciation ?
Not with steeper fall nor faster,
From the sun's serene dominions,
Icarus fell with shattered pinions !
Sweet Pandora ! dear Pandora !
Why did mighty Jove create thee Coy as Thetis, fair as Flora, Beautiful as young Aurora,
If to win thee is to hate thee?
No, not hate thee! for this feeling
Of unrest and long resistance
O'er the chords of our existence.
Him whom thou dost once enamour,
Thou, beloved, never leavest;
Him of Hope thou ne'er bereavest.
Weary hearts by thee are lifted,
Struggling souls by thee are strengthened, Clouds of fear asunder rifted, Truth from falsehood cleansed and sifted,
Lives, like days in summer, lengthened!
Therefore art thou ever dearer,
O my Sibyl, my deceiver !
When thou fill'st my heart with fever!
Muse of all the Gifts and Graces !
Though the fields around us wither, There are ampler realms and spaces, Where no foot has left its traces;
Let us turn and wander thither!
Flight the Second.
A DAY OF SUNSHINE.
O gift of God! O perfect day:
And over me unrolls on high
O Life and Love! O happy throng
THE CHILDREN'S HOUR. Between the dark and the daylight,
When the night is beginning to lower, Comes a pause in the day's occupations
That is known as the Children's Hour. I hear in the chamber above me
The patter of little feet,
And voices soft and sweet.
Descending the broad hall stair, Grave Alice and laughing Allegra,
And Edith with golden hair. A whisper and then a silence;
Yet I know by their merry eyes
To take me by surprise.
A sudden raid from the hall !
They enter my castle wall! They climb up into my turret
O'er the arms and back of my chair; If I try to escape they surround me;
They seem to be everywhere.
They almost devour me with kisses,
Their arms about me entwine,
In his Mouse Tower on the Rhine! Do you think, O blue-eyed banditti,
Because you have scaled the wall,
Is not a match for you all!
And will not let you depart,
And there will I keep you for ever,
Yes, for ever and a day,
And moulder in dust away!
ENCELADUS. UNDER Mount Etna he lies,
It is slumber, it is not death; For he struggles at times to arise, And above him the lurid skies
Are hot with his fiery breath. The crags are piled on his breast,
The earth is heaped on his head; But the groans of his wild unrest, Though smothered and half suppressed,
Are heard, and he is not dead.
And the nations far away
Are watching with eager eyes;