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LOVE AMONG THE RUINS.
[Men and Women 1855.]
WHERE the quiet-coloured end of evening smiles,
On the solitary pastures where our sheep
Tinkle homeward thro' the twilight, stray or stop
Was the site once of a city great and gay,
Of our country's very capital, its prince
Held his court in, gathered councils, wielding far
Now, the country does not even boast a tree,
Where the domed and daring palace shot its spires Up like fires
O'er the hundred-gated circuit of a wall
Made of marble, men might march on nor be pressed, Twelve abreast.
And such plenty and perfection, see, of grass
Such a carpet as, this summer-time, o'erspreads
Every vestige of the city, guessed alone,
Stock or stone—
Where a multitude of men breathed joy and woe
Lust of glory pricked their hearts up, dread of shame Struck them tame;
And that glory and that shame alike, the gold
Now, the single little turret that remains.
By the caper overrooted, by the gourd
While the patching houseleek's head of blossom winks
Marks the basement whence a tower in ancient time
And a burning ring, all round, the chariots traced
And the monarch and his minions and his dames
And I know, while thus the quiet-coloured eve
To their folding, all our many-tinkling fleece
That a girl with eager eyes and yellow hair
In the turret whence the charioteers caught soul
When the king looked, where she looks now, breathless, dumb
Till I come.
But he looked upon the city, every side,
All the mountains topped with temples, all the glades' Colonnades,
All the causeys, bridges, aqueducts, - and then,
In one year they sent a million fighters forth
And they built
their gods a brazen pillar high
Oh heart! oh blood that freezes, blood that burns!
For whole centuries of folly, noise and sin!
When I do come, she will speak not, she will stand,
On my shoulder, give her eyes the first embrace
Ere we rush, ere we extinguish sight and speech
With their triumphs and their glories and the rest! Love is best.
TWO IN THE CAMPAGNA.
I WONDER do you feel to-day
As I have felt since, hand in hand,
For me, I touched a thought, I know,
Help me to hold it! First it left
The yellowing fennel, run to seed There, branching from the brickwork's cleft, Some old tomb's ruin: yonder weed Took up the floating weft,
Where one small orange cup amassed
Everywhere on the grassy slope I traced it. Hold it fast!
The champaign with its endless fleece
Such life here, through such lengths of hours,
Such letting nature have her way While heaven looks from its towers!
How say you? Let us, O my dove,
I would that you were all to me,
O' the wound, since wound must be?
I would I could adopt your will,
No. I yearn upward, touch you close,
Already how am I so far
Out of that minute? Must I go
Onward, whenever light winds blow,
Just when I seemed about to learn!
Infinite passion, and the pain
[I-IX Dram. Rom. and Lyrics 1845; ganz: Men and Women 1855.]
SAID Abner, "At last thou art come! Ere I tell, ere thou speak,
"Kiss my cheek, wish me well!" Then I wished it, and did kiss his cheek.
And he, "Since the King, O my friend, for thy coun
"Neither drunken nor eaten have we; nor until from his tent