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Nor any thought of sea, or earth, or air,
Shall cast a shade on thee,
That art so clear and white--so visionary fair !
I will not seek thee with an earthly suing ;
I would not win thee with an earthly wooing,
Lest I should bring to nought,
Or utterly deface and ruin,
So delicate a thought !
For once I lost myself in dreams unholy,
As in a mad and ruthless melancholy,
I bade the Echo leave her rocky cell,
And faintly tell,
Catching my whispers gently as they fell,
A warmer love-tale in thy secret ear;
A tale of earthly passion,
As warm and true as any heart could fashion, But all unmeet for thee to hear,
That hast thy realm so far above
The region of an earthly love!
I bade her tell it thee in murmurs sweet,
And never more that eager tale repeat;
But she was mute;
She would not babble of an earthly suit :
And well it was; for had she spoken,
The spell of all thy beauties had been broken;
And thou hadst been no more
The glorious thing that thou hadst been before.
So did I in my hour of folly,
So did I in my desperate melancholy;
But in my spirit's purer revel,
I will not stoop thee to an earthly level !
I will not break the magic of thy brightness !
I will not taint the glory of thy whiteness !
To earthly laws I will not make thee bow,
Or strip the seraph garland from thy airy brow!
I will not seek thee with an earthly suing,
To thy undoing !
But I will woo thee as may best beseem,
The phantom of a dream!
Thou shalt visit, with me, on joyous wing,
The realms of mine imagining !
If thy pleasure lies
In the azure skjes,
Thou shalt soar up on high,
Far into the sky,
Upon the wild fire,
With a spirit of joy that never can tire.
Now swift with a swoop like a hawk we will fly,
Now float on the warm air quietly.
We will mix with a host of spirits with fair and wond'rous faces,
And laugh with them in their glee, and join in their rapturous races.
And all the while, what thing soe'er betide,
A gentle maid, thou shalt in me confide,
Laughing with thee, bright form, loud laughing at thy side.
There's joy in the ocean,
And sweetest emotion ;
The poet conceives it!
The lover believes it!
So soft as the soft heaving billow,
So sweet as the song and the measure
That ocean will sing to us, love, by and bye,
His loud lullaby,
That ocean will sing to us, love, as we lie;
Tho' his voice be rough,
He'll sing us to sleep when we've laugh'd long enough.
Then haste thee, bright maiden, quick haste thee to me;
We'll away, love, away, to the great ocean sea.
Come in a robe of softest green,
And coral beads array'd ;
Thy long hairs flowing loose without a braid,
As if for countless ages thou hadst been,
An ocean maid !
Away, love, away,
We'll live in a smooth, green, glassy cave,
Walled on each side by a beetling wave;
With a roof of spray,
And a watery floor-
A house that needs not
door Or window to let in the day; But thro' the lucent wave a green light makes its way.
We'll live in a soft-echoing cave,
Made by the avenued wave;
As an avenue long and green
With nothing at all at either end
Except a point where its long sides blend.
There we'll live and never stray:
A double life shall be our's by day;
And thro' the night
A sweet half sleep,-
A soothing slumber not too deep,
That puts not out our spirit's light,
subdues the senses quite,
But ever is about it ;
We might, but oh! we would not be without it!
How blest soe'er we be,
It will be sweet to soothe our very glee;
Our hearts and eyes to close
In the soft rapture of a felt repose.
The moon shall glisten thro’ the clear green wave
And we will slumber in our ocean cave,
Or if so wild a scheme
Shall haply seem
Less suited to thy gentler mood;
We'll live together in a distant wood,
That no one knows,
A pleasant spot where many a streamlet flows,
With pensive wail,
And many a wild flower grows.
Oh, not a wood-call it a woody vale!
For us alone awarded,
A safe spot, guarded
By an imperishable mound
Of giant hills that stand around;
Their hoar heads mixing with the blue profound;
Eternal pillars of the skies
Where the old raven and sea-eagle flies.
A pleasure garden showing like a fort,
As in the desert found,
An old forgotten Babylonian court!
And will you not live in a quiet vale,
The haunt of many a nightingale ?
A hidden spot where the hawthorn grows,
The blue-bell, and the sweet wild rose;
With rocks to which the apple clings,
And streams with mazy wanderings;
And in the midst a wooded hill,
That makes a fall for a dashing rill;
And at the foot a quiet lake,
With a little boat for your dear sake:
not live in a vale like this, A garden life of gentle bliss, And meekly join in songs of love With the full-hearted turtle-dove ? And will you not, with me, fulfil The visions we form’d when we knew no ill ? The infant hopes—but need I tell The flowery thoughts I loved so well; The gleams which guardian angels sent, When I was young and innocent, Into the depths of my smiling heart, Which were an earthly counterpartA shadowing forth of heaven to me, The Canaan of my infancy! And hast not thou full often dwelt On hopes which made thy young heart melt ?
And hast not thou imagined well
Fairer things that I can tell ?
Oh yes! what can I now unfold
Which we did not see at seven years
Which did not pass before our eyes
In our youngest extacies,
When we dreamt of lonely vales,
Lakes and flowers and nightingales !
ON REPEATING THE FOREGOING POEM TO HER.
Nay, Mary, look not in my face,
With such a smile-such gentle sadness,
Hiding thy meek tears in the veil of gladness;
Dear girl, I stray'd but for a moment's space,
A short and giddy race-
Now I am with thee, love, to calm thy fears,
And kiss away thy tears.
And didst thou fear my loyalty?
"Twas but a radiant butterfly,
An unsubstantial thing-
All glittering bright with many a gaudy hue;
And might I not pursue,
O'er earth, and air, and sea, with wildest wandering ?
Dear girl, when thou, with pleasant tears,
Softly confessed thy love, so long conceald, Which I had duly won, the fruit of patient years,
And after many days didst slowly yield Thy heart to me, whom nature gave to inherit The sunward pinion and the burning spirit;
E'en then I hush'd to rest,
Thy gentle fears confest-
That thou didst love my wings of poetry,
Y et feared lest I should fly