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And last of all the king awoke,
And in his chair himself uprear'd, And yawn'd, and rubb'd his face, and spoke,
"By holy rood, a royal beard! How say you? we have slept, my lords.
My beard has grown into my lap." The barons swore, with many words,
'Twas but an after-dinner's nap.
"Pardy," return'd the king, "but still
My joints are something stiff or so. My lord, and shall we pass the bill
I mention'd half an hour ago?" The chancellor, sedate and vain,
In courteous words return'd reply: But dallied with his golden chain,
And, smiling, put the question by.
And on her lover's arm she leant,
And round her waist she felt it fold, And far across the hills they went
In that new world which is the old: Across the hills, and far away
Beyond their utmost purple rim, And deep into the dying day
The happy princess follow'd him.
"I'd sleep another hundred years,
O love, for such another kiss;" "O wake for ever, love," she hears,
"O love, 'twas such as this and this." And o'er them many a sliding star,
And many a merry wind was borne, And, stream'd thro' many a golden bar,
The twilight melted into morn.
"O eyes long laid in happy sleep!"
"O happy sleep, that lightly fled!" "O happy kiss, that woke thy sleep!"
"O love, thy kiss would wake the dead!" And o'er them many a flowing range
Of vapour buoy'd the crescent-bark, And, rapt thro' many a rosy change,
The twilight died into the dark.
"A hundred summers! can it be?
And whither goest thou, tell me where?" "O seek my father's court with me,
For there are greater wonders there." And o'er the hills, and far away
Beyond their utmost purple rim, Beyond the night, across the day,
Thro' all the world she follow'd him.
So, Lady Flora, take my lay,
And if you find no moral there, Go look in any glass and say,
What moral is in being fair. Oh, to what uses shall we put
The wildweed-flower that simply blows? And is there any moral shut
Within the bosom of the rose?
But any man that walks the mead,
In bud or blade, or bloom, may find, According as his humours lead,
A meaning suited to his mind. And liberal applications lie
In Art like Nature, dearest friend; So 'twere to cramp its use, if I
Should hook it to some useful end.
You shake your head. A random string
Your finer female sense offends. Well—were it not a pleasant thing
To fall asleep with all one's friends; To pass with all our social ties
To silence from the paths of men; And every hundred years to rise
And learn the world, and sleep again; To sleep thro' terms of mighty wars,
And wake on science grown to more, On secrets of the brain, the stars,
As wild as aught of fairy lore; And all that else the years will show,
The Poet-forms of stronger hours, The vast Republics that may grow,
The Federations and the Powers;