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195

To unperplex bliss from its neighbour pain;
Define their pettish limits, and estrange
Their points of contact, and swift counterchange ;
Intrigue with the specious chaos, and dispart
Its most ambiguous atoms with sure art;
As though in Cupid's college she had spent
Sweet days a lovely graduate, still unshent,
And kept his rosy terms in idle languishment.

200

205

Why this fair creature chose so faerily
By the wayside to linger, we shall see ;
But first 'tis fit to tell how she could muse
And dream, when in the serpent prison-house,
Of all she list, strange or magnificent :
How, ever, where she will'd, her spirit went;
Whether to faint Elysium, or where
Down through tress-lifting waves the Nereids fair
Wind into Thetis' bower by many a pearly stair ;
Or where God Bacchus drains his cups divine,
Stretch'd out, at ease, beneath a glutinous pine ;
Or where in Pluto's gardens palatine
Mulciber's columns gleam in far piazzian line.
And sometimes into cities she would send
Her dream, with feast and rioting to blend;
And once, while among mortals dreaming thus,
She saw the young Corinthian Lycius
Charioting foremost in the envious race,

210

215

(192) In the manuscript, her for its.
(196) The manuscript reads Their for Its.

(198) Compare with this line Tennyson's now constantly quoted phrase, sweet girl-graduates, in the Prologue to The Princess.

(212) The words far Piazzian line were written in the first instance; but far was struck out in favour of long. As far stands in the first edition, I presume Keats restored it on reconsideration.

220

Like a young Jove with calm uneager face,
And fell into a swooning love of him.
Now on the moth-time of that evening dim
He would return that way, as well she knew,
To Corinth from the shore ; for freshly blew
The eastern soft wind, and his galley now
Grated the quaystones with her brazen prow
In port Cenchreas, from Egina isle

225 Fresh anchor'd; whither he had been awhile To sacrifice to Jove, whose temple there Waits with high marble doors for blood and incense rare. Jove heard his vows, and better'd his desire ; For by some freakful chance he made retire

230 From his companions, and set forth to walk, Perhaps grown wearied of their Corinth talk: Over the sc'itary hills he fared, Thoughtless at first, but ere eve's star appeared His phantasy was lost, where reason fades,

235 In the calm'd twilight of Platonic shades. Lamia beheld him coming, near, more nearClose to her passing, in indifference drear, His silent sandals swept the mossy green; So neighbour'd to him, and yet so unseen

240 She stood: he pass'd, shut up in mysteries, His mind wrapp'd like his mantle, while her eyes Follow'd his steps, and her neck regal white Turn'd-syllabling thus, "Ah, Lycius bright, "And will you leave me on the hills alone?

245 “ Lycius, look back ! and be some pity shown.” He did ; not with cold wonder fearingly,

(225) Originally, In harbour Cencreas, altered with the same result as regards the accent as in line 174.

(236) The manuscript reads platonian shades

66

But Orpheus-like at an Eurydice;
For so delicious were the words she sung,
It seem'd he had lov'd them a whole summer long : 250
And soon his eyes had drunk her beauty up,
Leaving no drop in the bewildering cup,
And still the cup was full,—while he, afraid
Lest she should vanish ere his lip had paid
Due adoration, thus began to adore;

255 Her soft look growing coy, she saw his chain so sure: “Leave thee alone! Look back! Ah, Goddess, see "Whether my eyes can ever turn from thee! For pity do not this sad heart belie“Even as thou vanishest so I shall die.

260 “Stay! though a Naiad of the rivers, stay! "To thy far wishes will thy streams obey : “Stay! though the greenest woods be thy domain, " Alone they can drink up the morning rain : " Though a descended Pleiad, will not one

265 "Of thine harmonious sisters keep in tune Thy spheres, and as thy silver proxy shine ? "So sweetly to these ravish'd ears of mine

Came thy sweet greeting, that if thou shouldst fade “Thy memory will waste me to a shade :

270 "For pity do not melt!”_“If I should stay,"

(260) After this line, the manuscript has an additional one, an Alexandrine

Thou to Elysium gone, here for the vultures I. The suppositions of Lycius as to who the fair apparition may be recall curiously the surmises of Endymion concerning his mistress's identity. See Book II, lines 689-96.

(270) Thy memory, the reading of the first edition, is also the original reading of the manuscript, where however the words are altered to Their memories.

Said Lamia, “here, upon this floor of clay,
“And pain my steps upon these flowers too rough,
“ What canst thou say or do of charm enough
“ To dull the nice remembrance of my

home?

275 “ Thou canst not ask me with thee here to roam “Over these hills and vales, where no joy is,

Empty of immortality and bliss ! Thou art a scholar, Lycius, and must know " That finer spirits cannot breathe below

280 " In human climes, and live : Alas! poor youth, " What taste of purer air hast thou to soothe

My essence? What serener palaces, " Where I may all my many senses please, “And by mysterious sleights a hundred thirsts appease? “ It cannot be-Adieu !” So said, she rose

286 Tiptoe with white arms spread. He, sick to lose The amorous promise of her lone complain, Swoon'd, murmuring of love, and pale with pain. The cruel lady, without any show

290 Of sorrow for her tender favourite's woe, But rather, if her eyes could brighter be, With brighter eyes and slow amenity, Put her new lips to his, and gave afresh The life she had so tangled in her mesh :

295 And as he from one trance was wakening Into another, she began to sing, Happy in beauty, life, and love, and every thing, A song of love, too sweet for earthly lyres, While, like held breath, the stars drew in their panting fires.

300

(272) In the manuscript the word here does not occur in this line.

(287) Alternative readings of the manuscript, Tiptoe with white spread arms, and on tiptoe with white arms.

And then she whisper'd in such trembling tone,
As those who, safe together met alone
For the first time through many anguish'd days,
Use other speech than looks; bidding him raise
His drooping head, and clear his soul of doubt, 305
For that she was a woman, and without
Any more subtle fluid in her veins
Than throbbing blood, and that the self-same pains
Inhabited her frail-strung heart as his.
And next she wonder'd how his eyes could miss 310
Her face so long in Corinth, where, she said,
She dwelt but half retir'd, and there had led
Days happy as the gold coin could invent
Without the aid of love ; yet in content
Till she saw him, as once she pass'd him by,

315
Where 'gainst a column he leant thoughtfully
At Venus' temple porch, 'mid baskets heap'd
Of amorous herbs and flowers, newly reap'd
Late on that eve, as 'twas the night before
The Adonian feast; whereof she saw no more, 320
But wept alone those days, for why should she adore ?
Lycius from death awoke into amaze,
To see her still, and singing so sweet lays ;
Then from amaze into delight he fell
To hear her whisper woman's lore so well;

, 325 And every word she spake entic'd him on To unperplex'd delight and pleasure known. Let the mad poets say whate'er they please

(303) The manuscript reads though for through.
(308) Cancelled manuscript reading, Than throbbed in his.
(320) The manuscript reads of which in place of whereof.
(322) In the manuscript-

Lycius from death woke into an amaze...

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