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In childhood, many an idle stone;
Some tomb, from out whose sounding door
She ne'er shall force an echo more,
Thrilling to think, poor child of sin,
It was the dead who groaned within.



In the greenest of our valleys,

By good angels tenanted,
Once a fair and stately palace,

Radiant palace, reared its head.
In the Monarch Thought's dominion,

It stood there:
Never seraph spread a pinion

Over fabric half so fair!


Banners—yellow, glorious, golden-

On its roof did float and flow (This, all this, was in the olden

Time, long ago ;)

* The melody of this poem has been impudently borrowed by an English versifier since the first edition was published.-Ed. (1856).


And every gentle air that dallied,

In that sweet day,
Along the ramparts plumed and pallid,

A wingèd odour went away.


Wanderers in that happy valley,

Through two luminous windows saw
Spirits moving musically,

To a lute's well-tunèd law,
Round about a throne where, sitting

(Porphyrogene !)
In state his glory well befitting,

The ruler of the realm was seen.


And all with pearl and ruby glowing

Was the fair palace-door,
Through which came flowing, flowing, flowing,

And sparkling evermore,
A troop of Echoes, whose sweet duty

Was but to sing,
In voices of surpassing beauty,

The wit and wisdom of their king.


But evil things, in robes of sorrow,

Assailed the monarch's high estate. (Ah, let us mourn !—for never morrow

Shall dawn upon him desolate ;) And round about his home the glory

That blushed and bloomed, Is but a dim-remembered story

Of the old time entombed.


And travellers now within that valley,

Through the red-litten windows see Vast forms, that move fantastically

To a discordant melody;
While, like a ghastly rapid river,

Through the pale door
A hideous throng rush out for ever,

And laugh—but smile no more.


Fair isle, that from the fairest of all flowers

Thy gentlest of all gentle names dost take, How many memories of what radiant hours

At sight of thee and thine at once awake! How many scenes of what departed bliss !

How many thoughts of what entombèd hopes ! How many visions of a maiden that is

No more—no more upon thy verdant slopes ! No more! alas, that magical sad sound

Transforming all! Thy charms shall please no more, Thy memory no more! Accursèd ground

Henceforth I hold thy flower-enamelled shore, O hyacinthine isle! O purple Zante! “ Isola d'oro ! Fior di Levante !”

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