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ON THE MEDUSA OF LEONARDO DA VINCI

IN THE FLORENTINE GALLERY

I

Ir lieth, gazing on the midnight sky,
Upon the cloudy mountain peak supine;
Below, far lands are seen tremblingly;

Its horror and its beauty are divine.
Upon its lips and eyelids seems to lie
Loveliness like a shadow, from which shine,
Fiery and lurid, struggling underneath,
The agonies of anguish and of death.

II

Yet it is less the horror than the grace

Which turns the gazer's spirit into stone, Whereon the lineaments of that dead face

Are graven, till the characters be grown Into itself, and thought no more can trace;

'Tis the melodious hue of beauty thrown Athwart the darkness and the glare of pain, Which humanize and harmonize the strain.

III

And from its head as from one body grow,
As grass out of a watery rock,
Hairs which are vipers, and they curl and flow
And their long tangles in each other lock,

On the Medusa of Leonardo Da Vinci in the Florentine Gallery. Published by Mrs. Shelley, 1824. Composed at Florence.

ii. 6 hues, Rossetti.

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And with unending involutions show

Their mailed radiance, as it were to mock The torture and the death within, and saw The solid air with many a ragged jaw.

IV

And, from a stone beside, a poisonous eft
Peeps idly into those Gorgonian eyes ;
Whilst in the air a ghastly bat, bereft

Of sense, has flitted with a mad surprise
Out of the cave this hideous light had cleft,
And he comes hastening like a moth that hies
After a taper; and the midnight sky
Flares, a light more dread than obscurity.

V

'Tis the tempestuous loveliness of terror; For from the serpents gleams a brazen glare Kindled by that inextricable error,

Which makes a thrilling vapor of the air Become a and ever-shifting mirror

Of all the beauty and the terror there A woman's countenance, with serpent locks, Gazing in death on heaven from those wet

rocks.

THE INDIAN SERENADE

I

I ARISE from dreams of thee
In the first sweet sleep of night,
When the winds are breathing low,
And the stars are shining bright;
I arise from dreams of thee,
And a spirit in my feet
Hath led me who knows how?
To thy chamber window, sweet!

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II

The wandering airs, they faint
On the dark, the silent stream;
The champak odors fail

Like sweet thoughts in a dream;
The nightingale's complaint,
It dies upon her heart,

MS. || Song

Lines to an

The Indian Serenade, Browning MS., Harvard written for an Indian Air, The Liberal, ii., 1822. Indian Air, Mrs. Shelley, 1824. Published in The Liberal, ii., 1822.

i. 2 In || From, Copy of Browning MS.

3 When, omit, Harvard MS.

4 shining || burning, Harvard MS., The Liberal, 1822.

7 Hath led, Browning MS., The Liberal, 1822 || Has borne, Harvard MS.; has led, Mrs. Shelley, 1824.

ii. 3 The champak odors fail, Harvard MS., The Liberal, 1822, Mrs. Shelley, 1824 || And the champak's, Browning MS. And the champak, Dowden. And the champak odors pine, Allingham. odors of my chaplet, Boscombe MS.

As I must die on thine,

Oh, beloved as thou art!

III

Oh, lift me from the grass!
I die! I faint! I fail!
Let thy love in kisses rain.
On my lips and eyelids pale.
My cheek is cold and white, alas!
My heart beats loud and fast,
Oh! press it close to thine again,
Where it will break at last.

TO SOPHIA

I

THOU art fair, and few are fairer
Of the nymphs of earth or ocean;
They are robes that fit the wearer

Those soft limbs of thine, whose motion.
Ever falls and shifts and glances
As the life within them dances.

ii. 7 die, Harvard MS., Mrs. Shelley, 18391 || omit, The Liberal, 1822, Mrs. Shelley, 1824.

ii. 8 Oh, Browning MS., Harvard MS., Mrs. Shelley, 18391 || omit, The Liberal, 1822, Mrs. Shelley, 1824.

iii. 7 press it close to thine, Harvard MS., Mrs. Shelley, 1824, 18391 || press it to thine own, Browning MS., press me to thine own, The Liberal, 1822.

iii. 8 will || must, Copy of Browning MS.

To Sophia || Sophia, Stacey MS. Lines written for Miss Sophia Stacey, Rossetti, 1870. Published by Rossetti, 1870.

II

Thy deep eyes, a double Planet,
Gaze the wisest into madness
With soft clear fire; the winds that fan it
Are those thoughts of tender gladness
Which, like zephyrs on the billow,
Make thy gentle soul their pillow.

III

If, whatever face thou paintest

In those eyes, grows pale with pleasure, If the fainting soul is faintest

When it hears thy harp's wild measure, Wonder not that when thou speakest Of the weak my heart is weakest.

IV

As dew beneath the wind of morning,
As the sea which whirlwinds waken,
As the birds at thunder's warning,

As aught mute yet deeply shaken,
As one who feels an unseen spirit,
Is
heart when thine is near it.

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ii. 4 tender, Stacey MS. || gentle, Stacey MS cancelled. 5 zephyrs, Stacey MS. || lightnings, Stacey MS. cancelled. 6 gentle, Stacey MS. || softest, Stacey MS. cancelled. iii. 2 those, Stacey MS. || thine, Stacey MS. cancelled. 3 soul, Stacey MS. || heart, Stacey MS. cancelled.

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