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So that it smelt more balmy than its peers
Of Basil-tufts in Florence ; for it drew Nurture besides, and life, from human fears, From the fast mouldering head there shut from
view : So that the jewel, safely casketed, Came forth, and in perfumed leaflets spread.
O Melancholy, linger here awhile !
O Music, Music, breathe despondingly! O Echo, Echo, from some sombre isle,
Unknown, Lethean, sigh to us O sigh! Spirits in grief, lift up your heads, and smile;
Lift up your heads, sweet Spirits, heavily, And make a pale light in your cypress glooms, Tinting with silver wan your marble tombs.
Moan hither, all ye syllables of woe,
From the deep throat of sad Melpomene! Through bronzed lyre in tragic order go,
And touch the strings into a mystery;
For simple Isabel is soon to be
O leave the palm to wither by itself;
Let not quick Winter chill its dying hour! It may not be those Baâlites of pelf,
Her brethren, noted the continual shower From her dead eyes; and many a curious elf,
Among her kindred, wonderd that such dower
Of youth and beauty should be thrown aside
And, furthermore, her brethren wonder'd much
Why she sat drooping by the Basil green, And why it flourish'd, as by magic touch; Greatly they wonder'd what the thing might
mean : They could not surely give belief, that such
A very nothing would have power to wean Her from her own fair youth, and pleasures gay, And even remembrance of her love's delay.
Therefore they watch'd a time when they might sift
This hidden whim; and long they watch'd in vain; For seldom did she go to chapel-shrift,
And seldom felt she any hunger-pain :
As bird on wing to breast its eggs again:
Yet they contrived to steal the Basil-pot,
And to examine it in secret place:
And yet they knew it was Lorenzo's face:
And so left Florence in a moment's space, Never to turn again. Away they went, With blood upon their heads, to banishment.
O Melancholy, turn thine eyes away!
O Music, Music, breathe despondingly! O Echo, Echo, on some other day,
From isles Lethean, sigh to us — O sigh!
For Isabel, sweet Isabel, will die;
Piteous she look’d on dead and senseless things,
Asking for her lost Basil amorously : And with melodious chuckle in the strings
Of her lorn voice, she oftentimes would cry After the Pilgrim in his wanderings,
To ask him where her Basil was; and why 'Twas hid from ber: “For cruel ’tis,” said she, “ To steal my Basil-pot away from me.”
And so she pined, and so she died forlorn,
Imploring for her Basil to the last.
In pity of her love, so overcast.
From mouth to mouth through all the country
Still is the burthen sung
« () cruelty, To steal my Basil-pot away from me!"
THE EVE OF ST. AGNES.
\T. AGNES' EVE - Ah, bitter chill it was !
The owl, for all his feathers, was a-cold;
Seem'd taking flight for heaven without a death, Past the sweet Virgin's picture, while his prayer he
His prayer he saith, this patient, holy man;
He passeth by; and his weak spirit fails
Northward he turneth through a little door,
already had his death-bell rung;
The joys of all his life were said and sung:
Rough ashes sat he for his soul's reprieve,
That ancient Beadsman heard the prelude soft;
, ever eager-eyed, Stared, where upon their heads the cornice rests, With hair blown back, and wings put cross-wise on
At length burst in the argent revelry,
On love, and wing'd St. Agnes' saintly care, As she had heard old dames full many times declare.
They told her how, upon St. Agnes' Eve,