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On a silken couch of rosy pride,
In inidst of all, there lay a sleeping youth
Of fondest beauty; fonder in fair sooth,
Than sighs could fathom, or contentment reach:
And coverlids gold-tinted like the peach,
Or ripe October's faded marigolds,
Fell sleek about him in a thousand folds-
Not hiding up an Apollonian curve
Of neck and shoulder, nor the tending swerve
Of knee from knee, nor ankles pointing light;
But rather giving them to the fill'd sight,
Officiously. Sideway his face reposed
On one white arm, and tenderly unclosed,
By tenderest pressure, a faint damask mouth,
To slumbery pout; just as the morning south
Disparts a dew-lipp'd rose. Above his head
Four lily stalks did their wide honours wed
To make a coronet; and round him grew
All tendrils green, of every bloom and hue,
Together intertwined and trammell'd fresh:
The vine of glossy sprout; the ivy mesh,
Shading its Ethiop berries; and woodbine,
Of velvet leaves and bugle blooms divine ;
Convolvulus in streaked vases flush ;
The creeper, mellowing for an autumn blush;
And virgin's-bower, trailing airily ;
With others of the sisterhood. Hard by,
Stood serene Cupids watching silently.
One, kneeling to a lyre, touched the strings,
Muffing to death the pathos with his wings;
And, ever and anon, uprose to look
At the youth's slumber; while another took
A willow bough, distilling odorous dew,
And shook it on his hair ; another flew
In through the woven roof, and fluttering wise,
Rain'd violets upon his sleeping eyes.
On! there is music to the spirit's ear
In every sigh
Heaved by the rose's bosom to the air
That winnows by;
And there is poetry in every leaf,
Whose blush speaks pleasure, or whose tears tell
There is romance in every stem that bends
In motion soft
Beneath the wind that rustles in the tall
And ʼmid their branches whistlingly doth blow,
While it but fans the flowers that sleep below.
We know they sleep; at eve the Daisy small
Foldeth all up Her blush-tipp'd rays; and the wave's empress* shuts
Her star-lit cup: And each fair flower, though some with open eye, Listens and yields to nature's lullaby.
The nodding Foxglove slumbers on her stalk ;
And fan-like ferns
Seem poised still and sleepily, until
The morn returns
With singing-birds and beams of rosy light,
To bid them dance and frolic in delight.
The drowsy Poppy, who has all the day
His scarlet mantle, folds it closely now
Around his head ;
And, lull'd by soothing balm that his own leaves
distil, Sleeps while the night-dews fall upon the moon.
The fragrance is the spirit of the flower,
E'en as the soul
Is our ethereal portion. We can ne'er
Hold or control
One more than other. Passing sweet must be
The visions, gentle things, that visit ye!
How happily ye live in the pure light
Do ye not feel how deeply-wondrously
Ye cheer and bless.
Our checker'd sojourn on this weary earth,
Whose wildest, dreariest spots to FLOWERS have
Do not ye joy to know the pure delight
With which we gaze
Upon your glorious forms ?-Are ye not glad
E’en in the praise
Which our enraptured wonder ever tells
While poring o'er the wealth that in ye dwells:
That wealth of thought, of beauty, and of love,
Which may be found
In each small common herb that springs from out
The teeming ground ?
Do not ye feel that ye do deeply bless
Our harsher souls by your dear loveliness ?
Oh! if ’tis given unto ye to know
The thrilling power
Of memories and thoughts that can be read
E'en in a flower,
How ye must all rejoice beneath each look
Which reads your beauty, like an open book!
We love its silent language : strong, though still,
Is that unheard
But all-pervading harmony:--it breathes
No utter'd word,
But floats around us, as, in happy dream,
We feel the soft sigh of a waveless stream.
So, love of nature's harmony can bless
And gladden ever