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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
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 But life's familiar veil was now withdrawn.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,
A bridesmaid went, and ere she came again
All hearts with its approach, though unbeheld;
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.
Ashes, and smoke, and darkness: in our night
The marriage feast and its solemnity
On which that form, whose fate they weep in vain,
The consolation that he wanted not;
And some with hearts that might be heard to throb
167 On || In, Rossetti.
From out the chamber where the women kept;
Old winter was gone
In his weakness back to the mountains hoar,
From the planet that hovers upon the shore
If the land, and the air, and the sea,
She is still, she is cold
On the bridal couch.
And one to the bier,
In the noon.
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;
THE BOAT ON THE SERCHIO
OUR boat is asleep on Serchio's stream,
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 rocks above and the stream below,
And the Apennine's shroud of summer snow,
Day had awakened all things that be,-
The Boat on the Serchio. Published, 1–61, 88–118, by Mrs. Shelley, 1824, and dated, July, 1821. Revised and enlarged by Rossetti, 1870.