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Antonio stood and would have spoken, when The compound voice of women and of men Was heard approaching; he retired, while she Was led amid the admiring company

Back to the palace, — and her maidens soon
Changed her attire for the afternoon,
And left her at her own request to keep
An hour of quiet and rest. Like one asleep
With open eyes and folded hands she lay,
Pale in the light of the declining day.


Meanwhile the day sinks fast, the sun is set, And in the lighted hall the guests are met; The beautiful looked lovelier in the light Of love, and admiration, and delight, Reflected from a thousand hearts and Kindling a momentary Paradise. This crowd is safer than the silent wood, Where love's own doubts disturb the solitude; On frozen hearts the fiery rain of wine Falls, and the dew of music more divine Tempers the deep emotions of the time To spirits cradled in a sunny clime. How many meet, who never yet have met, To part too soon, but never to forget? How many saw the beauty, power, and wit Of looks and words which ne'er enchanted yet! But life's familiar veil was now withdrawn. As the world leaps before an earthquake's dawn, And unprophetic of the coming hours The matin winds from the expanded flowers Scatter their hoarded incense, and awaken The earth, until the dewy sleep is shaken

From every living heart which it possesses,
Through seas and winds, cities and wildernesses,
As if the future and the past were all
Treasured i' the instant; so Gherardi's hall
Laughed in the mirth of its lord's festival,-
Till some one asked, "Where is the Bride?"
And then

A bridesmaid went, and ere she came again
A silence fell upon the guests - a pause
Of expectation, as when beauty awes

All hearts with its approach, though unbeheld;
Then wonder, and then fear that wonder quelled; --
For whispers passed from mouth to ear which drew
The color from the hearer's cheeks, and flew
Louder and swifter round the company;
And then Gherardi entered with an eye
Of ostentatious trouble, and a crowd
Surrounded him, and some were weeping loud.

They found Ginevra dead! if it be death To lie without motion, or pulse, or breath, With waxen cheeks, and limbs cold, stiff, and white, And open eyes, whose fixed and glassy light Mocked at the speculation they had owned; If it be death, when there is felt around A smell of clay, a pale and icy glare, And silence, and a sense that lifts the hair From the scalp to the ankles, as it were Corruption from the spirit passing forth, And giving all it shrouded to the earth, And leaving as swift lightning in its flight

129 winds || lands, Forman conj., waves, or sands, or strands, Rossetti conj.

no more

Ashes, and smoke, and darkness: in our night
Of thought we know thus much of death,
Than the unborn dream of our life before
Their barks are wrecked on its inhospitable shore.

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The marriage feast and its solemnity
Was turned to funeral pomp; the company,
With heavy hearts and looks, broke up; nor they
Who loved the dead went weeping on their way
Alone, but sorrow mixed with sad surprise
Loosened the springs of pity in all eyes,

On which that form, whose fate they weep in vain,
Will never, thought they, kindle smiles again.
The lamps which, half-extinguished in their haste
Gleamed few and faint o'er the abandoned feast,
Showed as it were within the vaulted room
A cloud of sorrow hanging, as if gloom
Had passed out of men's minds into the air.
Some few yet stood around Gherardi there,
Friends and relations of the dead, — and he,
A loveless man, accepted torpidly

The consolation that he wanted not;
Awe in the place of grief within him wrought.
Their whispers made the solemn silence seem
More still some wept,
Some melted into tears without a sob,

And some with hearts that might be heard to throb
Leaned on the table, and at intervals
Shuddered to hear through the deserted halls
And corridors the thrilling shrieks which came
Upon the breeze of night, that shook the flame
Of every torch and taper, as it swept

167 On || In, Rossetti.

From out the chamber where the women kept;
Their tears fell on the dear companion cold
Of pleasures now departed; then was knolled
The bell of death, and socn the priests arrived,
And finding death their penitent had shrived,
Returned like ravens from a corpse whereon
A vulture has just feasted to the bone.
And then the mourning-women came.—


Old winter was gone

In his weakness back to the mountains hoar,
And the spring came down

From the planet that hovers upon the shore
Where the sea of sunlight encroaches
On the limits of wintry night; -

If the land, and the air, and the sea,
Rejoice not when spring approaches,
We did not rejoice in thee,

She is still, she is cold

On the bridal couch.
One step to the white death-bed,

And one to the bier,
And one to the charnel and
The dark arrow fled

In the noon.

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Ere the sun through heaven once more has rolled,

The rats in her heart

Will have made their nest,

And the worms be alive in her golden hair;
While the spirit that guides the sun
Sits throned in his flaming chair,
She shall sleep.


OUR boat is asleep on Serchio's stream,
Its sails are folded like thoughts in a dream,
The helm sways idly, hither and thither;

Dominic, the boatman, has brought the mast, And the oars, and the sails; but 'tis sleeping fast Like a beast, unconscious of its tether.

The stars burned out in the pale blue air,
And the thin white moon lay withering there;
To tower, and cavern, and rift, and tree,
The owl and the bat fled drowsily.
Day had kindled the dewy woods,

And the rocks above and the stream below,
And the vapors in their multitudes,

And the Apennine's shroud of summer snow,
And clothed with light of aëry gold
The mists in their eastern caves uprolled.

Day had awakened all things that be,-
The lark and the thrush and the swallow free,
And the milkmaid's song and mower's scythe,
And the matin-bell and the mountain bee.
Fire-flies were quenched on the dewy corn;

The Boat on the Serchio. Published, 1–61, 88–118, by Mrs. Shelley, 1824, and dated, July, 1821. Revised and enlarged by Rossetti, 1870.

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