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To lone lake that smiles,
In its dream of deep rest,
At the many star-isles
That enjewel its breast;
Where wild flowers creeping
Have mingled their shade,
On its margin is sleeping
Full many a maid;
Some have left the cool glade, and
Have slept with the bee; *
Arouse them, my maiden,
On moorland and lea;
Go! breathe on their slumber,
All softly in ear,
The musical number
They slumbered to hear:
For what can awaken
An angel so soon,
Whose sleep hath been taken
Beneath the cold moon,
* The wild bee will not sleep in the shade if there be moonlight.
The rhyme in this verse, as in one about sixty lines before, has an appearance of affectation. It is, however, innitated from Sir W. Scott, or rather from Claud Halcro, in whose mouth I admired its effect:
“Oh, were there an island,
Though ever so wild,
Where woman might smile, and
No man be beguiled,” &c.
As the spell which no slumber
Of witchery may test,
The rhythmical number
Which lulled him to rest ?”
Spirits in wing, and angels to the view,
A thousand seraphs burst th’empyrean through,
Young dreams still hovering on their drowsy flight,
Seraphs in all but “knowledge," the keen light
That fell refracted, through thy bounds afar,
O Death ! from eye of God upon that star:
Sweet was that error-sweeter still that death-
Sweet was that error-ev'n with us the breath
Of Science dims the mirror of our joy-
To them 'twere the simoom, and would destroy;
For what (to them) availeth it to know
That truth is falsehood, or that bliss is woe?
Sweet was their death: with them to die was rife
With the last ecstacy of satiate life;
Beyond that death no immortality,
But sleep that pondereth, and is not “ to be:”
And there—oh, may my weary spirit dwell !
Apart from heaven's eternity-and yet how far from
hell ! *
What guilty spirit, in what shrubbery dim,
Heard not the stirring summons of that hymn ?
But two: they fell—for Heaven no grace imparts
To those who hear not for their beating hearts.
A maiden-angel and her seraph-lover-
Oh, where (and ye may seek the wide skies over)
Was Love the blind near sober Duty known?
Unguided Love hath fallen, ʼmid “tears of perfect
He was a goodly spirit, he who fell:
A wanderer by mossy-mantled well-
A gazer on the lights that shine above-
A dreamer in the rnoonbeam by his love:
What wonder? for each star is eye-like there,
And looks so sweetly down on beauty's hair; tranquil and even happiness which they suppose to be characteristic of heavenly enjoyment.
“Un no rompido sueno,
Un dia puro, alegre, libre,
Libre de amor, de zelo,
De odio, de esperanza, de rezelo.”—LUIS PONCE DE LEON. Sorrow is not excluded from “Al Aaraaf;" but it is that sorrow which the living love to cherish for the dead, and which, in some minds, resembles the delirium of opium. The passionate excitement of love and the buoyancy of spirit attendant upon intoxication are its less holy pleasures,—the price of which, to those souls who make choice of Al Aaraaf as their residence after life, is final death and annihilation.
* “There be tears of perfect moan
Wept for thee in Helicon.”—MILTON.
And they and ev'ry mossy spring were holy
To his love-haunted heart and melancholy.
The night had found (to him a night of woe)
Upon a mountain crag young Angelo ;
Beetling it bends athwart the solemn sky,
And scowls on starry worlds that down beneath it lie."
Here sate he with his love, his dark eye bent
With eagle gaze along the firmament:
Now turned it upon her, but ever then
It trembled to the orb of Earth again.
“Ianthe, dearest, see ! how dim that ray !
How lovely 'tis to look so far away!
She seemed not thus upon that autumn eve
I left her gorgeous halls, nor mourned to leave.
That eve-that eve-I should remember well,
The sun-ray dropped in Lemnos with a spell
On th' arabesque carving of a gilded hall
Wherein I sat, and on the draperied wall,
And on my eyelids.—Oh, the heavy light,
How drowsily it weighed them into night!
On flowers, before, and mist, and love they ran
With Persian Saadi in his Gulistan:
But, oh, that light !—I slumbered. Death the while
Stole o'er my senses in that lovely isle,
So softly that no single silken hair
Awoke that slept, or knew that he was there.