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For all this came a ruin: side by side They were enthroned, in the even tide, Upon a couch, near to a curtaining Whose airy texture, from a golden string, Floated into the room, and let appear Unveild the summer heaven, blue and clear, Betwixt two marble shafts :— there they reposed, Where use had made it sweet, with eyelids closed, Saving a tithe which love still open kept, That they might see each other while they almost
slept ; When from the slope side of a suburb hill, Deafening the swallow's twitter, came a thrill Of trumpets Lycius started - the sounds fled, But left a thought, a buzzing in his head. For the first time, since first he harbour'd in That purple-lined palace of sweet sin, His spirit pass'd beyond its golden bourn Into the noisy world almost forsworn. The lady, ever watchful, penetrant, Saw this with pain, so arguing a want Of something inore, more than her empery Of joys; and she began to moan and sigh Because he mused beyond her, knowing well That but a moment's thought is passion's passing
bell. " Why do you sigh, fair creature ? ” whisper'il he:
Why, do you think ? " return'd she tenderly: “ You have deserted me; where am I now? Not in your heart while care weighs on your brow: No, no, you have dismiss'd me; and I go From your breast houseless : ay, it must be so.” He answer’d, bending to her open eyes, Where he was mirror'd small in paradise,
My silver planet, both of eve and morn! Why will you plead yourself so sad forlorn, While I am striving how to fill my heart With deeper crimson, and a double smart ?
How to entangle, trammel up and snare
truth, I have not ask'd it, ever thinking thee Not mortal, but of heavenly progeny,
As still I do. Hast any mortal name,
It was the custom then to bring away The bride from home at blushing shut of day, Veild, in a chariot, heralded along By strewn flowers, torches, and a marriage song, With other pageants: but this fair unknown Had not a friend. So being left alone, (Lycius was gone to summon all his kin,) And knowing surely she could never win His foolish heart from its mad pompousness, She set herself, high-thoughted, how to dress The misery in fit magnificence. She did so, but 'tis doubtful how and whence Came, and who were her subtle servitors. About the halls, and to and from the doors, There was a noise of wings, till in short
space The glowing banquet-room shone with wide-arched
grace. A haunting music, sole perhaps and lone Supportress of the faery-roof, made moan
Throughout, as fearful the whole charm might fade.
The day appear'd, and all the gossip rout. O senseless Lucius ! Madman! wherefore flout The silent-blessing fate, warm cloister'd hours, And show to common eyes these secret bowers ? The herd approach'd; each guest, with busy brain, Arriving at the portal, gazed amain, And enter'd marvelling: for they knew the street, Remember'd it from childhood all complete Without a gap, yet ne'er before had seen That royal porch, that high-built fair demesne ; So in they hurried all, mazed, curious and keen : Save one, who look’l thereon with eye severe, And with calm-planted steps walk'd in austere;
'Twas Apollonius : something too he laugh’d,
He met within the murmurous vestibule His young disciple.
66 'Tis no common rule, Lycius,” said he," for uninvited guest To force himself upon you, and infest With an unbidden presence the bright throng Of younger friends; yet must I do this wrong, And you forgive me.” Lycius blush'd and led The old man through the inner doors broad-spread; With reconciling words and courteous mien Turning into sweet milk the sophist's spleen.
Of wealthy lustre was the banquet-room, Fill’d with pervading brilliance and perfume: Before each lucid panel fuming stood A censer fed with myrrh and spiced wood, Each by a sacred tripod held aloft, Whose slender feet wide-swerved upon the soft Wool-woofed carpets : fifty wreaths of smoke From fifty censers their light voyage took To the high roof, still mimick'd as they rose Along the mirror'd walls by twin-clouds odorous. Twelve sphered tables by silk seats insphered, High as the level of a man's breast reard On libbard's paws, upheld the heavy gold Of cups and goblets, and the store thrice told Of Ceres' horn, and, in huge vessels, wine Came from the gloomy tun with merry shine. Thus loaded with a feast the tables stood, Each shrining in the midst the image of a God.
When in an antechamber every guest Had felt the cold full sponge to pleasure press'd, By ministering slaves, upon his hands and feet,