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XV.

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HY did I laugh to-night ? No voice will tell ;
No God, no Demon of severe response,

Deigns to reply from Heaven or from Hell:
Then to my human heart I turn at once.
Heart! Thou and I are here sad and alone ;

I say, why did I laugh ? O mortal pain ! O Darkness! Darkness ! ever must I moan,

To question Heaven and Hell and Heart in vain. Why did I laugh? I know this Being's lease,

My fancy to its utmost blisses spreads; Yet would 'I on this very midnight cease,

And the world's gaudy ensigns see in shreds ; Verse, Fame, and Beauty are intense indeed, But Death intenser Death is Life's high meed.

XVI.

ON A DREAM.

A

S Hermes once took to his feathers light,
When lulled Argus, baffled, swoon’d and

slept,
So on a Delphic reed, my idle spright,

So play'd, so charm’d, so conquer'd, so bereft The dragon-world of all its hundred eyes,

And seeing it asleep, so fled away, Not to pure Ida with its snow-cold skies,

Nor unto Tempe, where Jove grieved a day, But to that second circle of sad Hell,

Where in the gust, the whirlwind, and the flaw Of rain and hailstones, lovers need not tell

Their sorrows: pale were the sweet lips I saw, Pale were the lips I kiss'd, and fair the form I floated with, about that melancholy storm.

1819.

XVII.

I

F by dull rhymes our English must be chain'd,

And, like Andromeda, the Sonnet sweet

Fetter'd, in spite of pained loveliness, Let us find out, if we must be constrain’d,

Sandals more interwoven and complete

To fit the naked foot of poesy ;
Let us inspect the lyre, and weigh the stress
Of every chord, and see what may be gain'd

By ear industrious, and attention meet ;
Misers of sound and syllable, no less

Than Midas of his coinage, let us be

Jealous of dead leaves in the bay-wreath crown : So, if we may not let the Muse be free,

She will be bound with garlands of her own.

XVIII.

TI

THE day is gone, and all its sweets are gone ! Sweet voice, sweet lips, soft hand, and softer

breast, Warm breath, light whisper, tender semitone, Bright eyes, accomplish'd shape, and lang'rous

waist! Faded the flower and all its budded charms,

Faded the sight of beauty from my eyes, Faded the shape of beauty from my arms,

Faded the voice, warmth, whiteness, paradise ! Vanish'd unseasonably at shut of eve,

When the dusk holiday or holinight Of fragrant-curtain'd love begins to weave

The woof of darkness thick, for hid delight : But, as I've read love's missal through to-day, He'll let me sleep, seeing I fast and pray.

1819.

XIX.

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ay, love!

CRY your mercy

pity - love Merciful love that tantalizes not, One-thoughted, never-wandering, guileless love, Unmask’d, and being seen - without a blot ! O! let me have thee whole, all - all - be mine!

That shape, that fairness, that sweet minor zest Of love, your kiss, those hands, those eyes divine, That warm, white, lucent, million-pleasured

breast,
Yourself — your soul in pity give me all,

Withhold no atom's atom, or I die,
Or living on perhaps, your wretched thrall,

Forget, in the mist of idle misery,
Life's purposes

the palate of my mind Losing its gust, and my ambition blind!

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