All records, saving thine, come cool, and calm,
And shadowy, through the mist of passed years:
For others, good or bad, hatred and tears
Have become indolent; but touching thine,
One sigh doth echo, one poor sob doth pine,
One kiss brings honey-dew from buried days.
The woes of Troy, towers smothering oer their blaze,
Stiff-bolden shields, far-piercing spears, keen blades,
Struggling, and blood, and shrieksall dimly fades
Into some backward corner of the brain;
Yet, in our very souls, we feel amain
The close of Troïlus and Cressid sweet.
Hence, pageant history! hence, gilded cheat!
Swart planet in the universe of deeds!
Wide sea, that one continuous murmur breeds
Along the pebbled shore of memory!
Many old rotten-timberd boats there be
Upon thy vaporous bosom, magnified
To goodly vessels; many a sail of pride,
And golden-keeld, is left unlaunchd and dry.
But wherefore this? What care, though owl did fly
About the great Athenian admirals mast?
What care, though striding Alexander past
The Indus with his Macedonian numbers?
Though old Ulysses tortured from his slumbers
The glutted Cyclops, what care?Juliet leaning
Amid her window-flowers,sighing,weaning
Tenderly her fancy from its maiden snow,
Doth more avail than these: the silver flow
Of Heros tears, the swoon of Imogen,
Fair Pastorella in the bandits den,
Are things to brood on with more ardency
Than the death-day of empires. Fearfully
Must such conviction come upon his head.
Who, thus far, discontent, has dared to tread,
Without one muses smile, or kind behest,
The path of love and poesy. But rest,
In chafing restlessness, is yet more drear
Than to be crushd, in striving to uprear
Loves standard on the battlements of song,
So once more, days and nights, aid me along.
Like legiond soldiers.
What promise hast thou faithful guarded since
The day of sacrifice? Or, have new sorrows
Come with the constant dawn upon thy morrows?
Alas! tis his old grief. For many days,
Has he been wandering in uncertain ways:
Through wilderness, and woods of mossed oaks;
Counting his woe-worn minutes, by the strokes
Of the lone wood-cutter; and listening still,
Hour after hour, to each lush- leaved rill.
Now he is sitting by a shady spring,
And elbow-deep with feverous fingering
Stems the upbursting cold: a wild rose-tree
Pavilions him in bloom, and he doth see
A bud which snares his fancy: lo! but now
He plucks it, dips its stalk in the water: how!
It swells, it buds, it flowers beneath his sight;
And, in the middle, there is softly pight
A golden butterfly; upon whose wings
There must be surely characterd strange things,
For with wide eye he wonders, and smiles oft.
Followd by glad Endymions clasped hands:
Onward it flies. From languors sullen bands
His limbs are loosed, and eager, on he hies
Dazzled to trace it in the sunny skies.
It seemd he flew, the way so easy was;
And like a new-born spirit did he pass
Through the green evening quiet in the sun
Oer many a heath, through many a woodland dun,
Through buried paths, where sleepy twilight dreams
The summer time away. One track unseams
A wooded cleft, and, far away, the blue
Of ocean fades upon him; then, anew,
He sinks adown a solitary glen,
Where there was never sound of mortal men,
Saving, perhaps, some snow-light cadences
Melting to silence, when upon the breeze
Some holy bark let forth an anthem sweet,
To cheer itself to Delphi. Still his feet
Went swift beneath the merry-winged guide,
Until it reachd a splashing fountains side
That, near a caverns mouth, for ever pourd
Unto the temperate air; then high it soard,
And, downward, suddenly began to dip,
As if, athirst with so much toil, twould sip
The crystal spout-head: so it did, with touch
Most delicate, as though afraid to smutch
Even with mealy gold the waters clear.
But, at that very touch, to disappear
So fairy-quick, was strange! Bewildered,
Endymion sought around, and shook each bed
Of covert flowers in vain; and then he flung
Himself along the grass. What gentle tongue,
What whisperer disturbd his gloomy rest?
It was a nymph uprisen to the breast
In the fountains pebbly margin, and she stood
Mong lilies, like the youngest of the brood.
To him her dripping hand she softly kist,
And anxiously began to plait and twist
Her ringlets round her fingers, saying: Youth!
Too long, alas, hast thou starved on the ruth,
The bitterness of love: too long indeed,
Seeing thou art so gentle. Could I weed
Thy soul of care, by heavens, I would offer
All the bright riches of my crystal coffer
To Amphitrite; all my clear-eyed fish,
Golden, or rainbow-sided, or purplish,
Vermilion-taild, or finnd with silvery gauze;
Yea, or my veined pebble-floor, that draws
A virgin-light to the deep; my grotto-sands,
Tawny and gold, oozed slowly from far lands
By my diligent springs: my level lilies, shells,
My charming-rod, my potent river spells;
Yes, everything, even to the pearly cup
Meander gave me,for I bubbled up
To fainting creatures in a desert wild.
But woe is me, I am but as a child
To gladden thee; and all I dare to say,
Is, that I pity thee; that on this day
Ive been thy guide; that thou must wander far
In other regions, past the scanty bar
To mortal steps, before thou canst be taen
From every wasting sigh, from every pain,
Into the gentle bosom of thy love.
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