« PreviousContinue »
Full of great rooms and small the palace stood,
All various, each a perfect whole te fort From living Nature, fit for every mood
And change of my still soul.
For some were hung with arras green and blue,
Where with puff'd cheek the belted hunter blew
One seem'd all dark and red—a tract of sand,
One show'd an iron coast and angry waves.
And one, a full-fed river winding slow
And one, the reapers at their sultry toil.
And one, a foreground black with stones and slags,
All barr'd with long white cloud the scornful crags,
And one, an English home-gray twilight pour'd
Softer than sleep-all things in order stored,
Nor these alone, but every landscape fair,
Or gay, or grave, or sweet, or stern, was there,
Beneath branch-work of costly sardonyx
Sat smiling, babe in arm.
Or in a clear-wall'd city on the sea,
Wound with white roses,) slept St. Cecily;
Or thronging all one porch of Paradise,
The dying Islamite, with hands and eyes
Or mythic Uther's deeply-wounded son
And watch'd by weeping queens.
Or hollowing one hand against his ear,
The wood-nymph, stay'd the Ausonian king to hear
Or over hills with peaky tops engrail'd,
pa's mantle blew unclasp'd,
Or sweet Europa's
From off her shoulder backward borne:
From one hand droop'd a crocus: one hand grasp'd
Or else flush'd Ganymede, his rosy thigh
Half-buried in the Eagle's down,
Nor these alone: but every legend fair
Then in the towers I placed great bells that swung,
And with choice paintings of wise men I hung
For there was Milton like a seraph strong,
And there the Ionian father of the rest ;
Above, the fair hall-ceiling stately-set
Below was all mosaic choicely plann'd
Of this wide world, the times of every land
The people here, a beast of burden slow,
The heads and crowns of kings;
Here rose, an athlete, strong to break or bind
And here once more like some sick man declined;
But over these she trod: and those great bells
To sing her songs alone.
And thro' the topmost Oriels' colour'd flame
And all those names, that in their motion were
Thro' which the lights, rose, amber, emerald, blue,
And from her lips, as morn from Memnon, drew Rivers of melodies.
No nightingale delighteth to prolong
Her low preamble all alone,
More than my soul to hear her echo'd song
Singing and murmuring in her feastful mirth,
Lord over Nature, Lord of the visible earth,
Communing with herself: "All these are mine,
Making sweet close of his delicious toils-
To mimic heaven; and clapt her hands and cried, "I marvel if my still delight
In this great house so royal-rich, and wide,
"O all things fair to sate my various eyes!
"O God-like isolation which art mine,
"In filthy sloughs they roll a prurient skin,
Then of the moral instinct would she prate,
"I take possession of man's mind and deed. I care not what the sects may brawl.
I sit as God holding no form of creed,
Full oft the riddle of the painful earth
Yet not the less held she her solemn mirth,
And so she throve and prosper'd: so three years
Lest she should fail and perish utterly,
Plagued her with sore despair.
When she would think, where'er she turn'd her sight,
The kingdom of her thought.
Deep dread and loathing of her solitude
Fell on her, from which mood was born Scorn of herself; again, from out that mood Laughter at her self-scorn.
"What! is not this my place of strength," she said,
'My spacious mansion built for me,
Whereof the strong foundation-stones were laid
Since my first memory?"
But in dark corners of her palace stood
On white-eyed phantasms weeping tears of blood,
And hollow shades enclosing hearts of flame,
A spot of dull stagnation, without light
Or power of movement, seem'd my soul, 'Mid onward-sloping motions infinite Making for one sure goal.