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I spoke to her of power and pride,
But mystically—in such guise That she might deem it nought beside
The moment's converse; in her eyes I read, perhaps too carelessly,
A mingled feeling with my own; The flush on her bright cheek, to me
Seem'd to become a queenly throne Too well that I should let it be
Light in the wilderness alone.
I wrapp'd myself in grandeur then
Lion ambition is chain'd down—
XVIII. Look round thee now on Samarcand! — ■ Is she not queen of Earth? her pride Above all cities? in her hand Their destinies? in all beside
Of glory which the world hath known,
Whom the astonished people saw
A diadem'd outlaw!
Oh, human love! thou spirit given
When Hope, the eagle that tower'd, could see
No cliff beyond him in the sky, His pinions were bent droopingly—
And homeward turn'd his soften'd eye. 'Twas sunset: when the sun will part There comes a sullenness of heart
To him who still would look upon
The glory of the summer sun.
That soul will hate the ev'ning mist
So often lovely, and will list
To the sound of the coming darkness (known
To those whose spirits hearken) as one
Who, in a dream of night would fly
But cannot from a danger nigh.
What though the moon—the white moon—
I reach'd my home—my home no more —
I pass'd from out its mossy door,
And, though my tread was soft and low,
A voice came from the threshold stone
Father, I firmly do believe—
I know—for Death who comes for me From regions of the blest afar, Where there is nothing to deceive, Hath left his iron gate ajar,
And rays of truth you cannot see
Are flashing through Eternity,— I do believe that Eblis hath A snare in every human path— Else how, when in the holy grove I wander'd of the idol, Love, Who daily scents his snowy wings With incense of burnt-offerings From the most unpolluted things, Whose pleasant bowers are yet so riven Above with trellis'd rays from Heaven No mote may shun—no tiniest fly— The lightning of his eagle eye. How was it that Ambition crept,
Unseen, amid the revels there, Till growing bold, he laughed and leapt
In the tangles of Love's very hair?
TO THE RIVER
Fair river! in thy bright, clear flow
Of crystal, wandering water, Thou art an emblem of the glow
Of beauty, the unhidden heart— The playful maziness of art In old Alberto's daughter:
But when within thy wave she looks,
Which glistens then, and trembles, Why, then, the prettiest of brooks
Her worshipper resembles;
Her image deeply lies—
Of her soul-searching eyes.