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These brethren having found by many signs
What love Lorenzo for their sister had, And how she loved him too, each unconfines
His bitter thoughts to other, well nigh mad That he, the servant of their trade designs,
Should in their sister's love be blithe and glad, When 'twas their plan to coax her by degrees To some high noble and his olive-trees.
And many a jealous conference had they,
And many times they bit their lips alone, Before they fix'd upon a surest way
To make the youngster for his crime atone;
Cut mercy with a sharp knife to the bone ;
So on a pleasant morning, as he leant
Into the sun-rise, o'er the balustrade
Their footing through the dews; and to him said, “ You seem there in the quiet of content,
Lorenzo, and we are most loth to invade Calm speculation ; but if you are wise, Bestride your steed while cold is in the skies.
“ To-day we purpose, ay, this hour we mount
To spur three leagues towards the Appenine;
Come down, we pray thee, ere the hot sun count
His dewy rosary on the eglantine.” Lorenzo, courteously as he was wont,
Bow'd a fair greeting to these serpents' whine ; And went in haste, to get in readiness, With belt, and spur, and bracing huntsman's dress.
And as he to the court-yard pass'd along,
Each third step did he pause, and listen’d oft If he could hear his lady's matin-song,
Or the light whisper of her footstep soft ;
He heard a laugh full musical aloft ;
. " Love, Isabel !” said he, “I was in pain
Lest I should miss to bid thee a good morrow: Ah! what if I should lose thee, when so fain
I am to stifle all the heavy sorrow
Out of the amorous dark what day doth borrow. Good bye! I'll soon be back.” — “Good bye !” said
she And as he went she chanted merrily.
So the two brothers and their murder'd man
Rode past fair Florence, to where Arno's stream Gurgles through straighten' banks, and still doth
fan Itself with dancing bulrush, and the bream Keeps head against the freshets. Sick and wan
The brothers' faces in the ford did seem, Lorenzo's flush with love. They pass'd the water Into a forest quiet for the slaughter.
is ill at peace
There was Lorenzo slain and buried in,
There in that forest did his great love cease ; Ah! when a soul doth thus its freedom win,
It aches in loneliness As the break-covert bloodhounds of such sin : They dipp'd their swords in the water, and did
tease Their horses homeward, with convulsed spur, Each richer by his being a murderer.
They told their sister how, with sudden speed,
Lorenzo had ta’en ship for foreign lands, Because of some great urgency and need
In their affairs, requiring trusty hands. Poor girl! put on thy stifling widow's weed,
And ’scape at once from Hope's accursed bands ; To-day thou wilt not see him, nor to-morrow, And the next day will be a day of sorrow.
She weeps alone for pleasures not to be ;
Sorely she wept until the night came on, And then, instead of love, O misery!
She brooded o'er the luxury alone : His image in the dusk she seem'd to see,
And to the silence made a gentle moan, Spreading her perfect arms upon the air, And on her couch low murmuring, “ Where? O
But Selfishness, Love's cousin, held not long
Its fiery vigil in her single breast;
Upon the time with feverish unrest -
Of bigher occupants, a richer zest, Came tragic; passion not to be subdued, And sorrow for her love in travels rude.
In the mid days of autumn, on their eves
The breath of Winter comes from far away, And the sick west continually bereaves
Of some gold tinge, and plays a roundelay
To make all bare before he dares to stray
Because Lorenzo came not. Oftentimes
She ask'd her brothers, with an eye all pale, Striving to be itself, what dungeon climes
Could keep him off so long ? They spake a tale Time after time, to quiet her. Their crimes
Came on them, like a smoke from Hinnom's vale; And every night in dreams they groan'd aloud, To see their sister in her snowy shroud.
And she had died in drowsy ignorance,
But for a thing more deadly dark than all;
It came like a fierce potion, drunk by chance,
Which saves a sick man from the feather'd pall For some few gasping moments ; like a lance,
Waking an Indian from his cloudy hall With cruel pierce, and bringing him again Sense of the gnawing fire at heart and brain.
It was a vision. In the drowsy gloom,
The dull of midnight, at her couch's foot Lorenzo stood, and wept: the forest tomb Had marr'd his glossy hair which once could
Upon his lips, and taken the soft lute
Strange sound it was, when the pale shadow spake ;
For there was striving, in its piteous tongue,
And Isabella on its music hung :
As in a palsied Druid's harp unstrung;
Its eyes, though wild, were still all dewy bright
With love, and kept all phantom fear aloof From the poor girl by magic of their light,
The while it did unthread the horrid woof Of the late darken'd time the murderous spite
Of pride and avarice — the dark pine roof