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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.

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.

1

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 soon 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.

THE DIRGE

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,

Ginevra!

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

one,

oh where?
The dark arrow fled
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;
While the spirit that guides the sun
Sits throned in his flaming chair,

She shall sleep.

THE BOAT ON THE SERCHIO

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.

Glow-worms went out on the river's brim,

Like lamps which a student forgets to trim; The beetle forgot to wind his horn;

The crickets were still in the meadow and hill; Like a flock of rooks at a farmer's gun, Night's dreams and terrors, every one, Fled from the brains which are their

prey From the lamp's death to the morning ray.

All rose to do the task He set to each,

Who shaped us to his ends and not our own; The million rose to learn, and one to teach What none yet ever knew or can be known.

And many rose Whose woe was such that fear became desire; Melchior and Lionel were not among those ; They from the throng of men had stepped aside, And made their home under the

green

hillside. It was that hill, whose intervening brow

Screens Lucca from the Pisan's envious eye, Which the circumfluous plain waving below,

Like a wide lake of green fertility, With streams and fields and marshes bare,

Divides from the far Apennines, which lie Islanded in the immeasurable air.

“ What think you, as she lies in her green cove,
Our little sleeping boat is dreaming of ?
If morning dreams are true, why I should guess
That she was dreaming of our idleness,
And of the miles of watery way
We should have led her by this time of day.”

33 nor, Rossetti.

“ Never mind,” said Lionel,
“Give care to the winds, they can bear it well

About yon poplar tops ; and see !
The white clouds are driving merrily,
And the stars we miss this morn will light
More willingly our return to-night.
How it whistles, Dominic's long black hair!
List, my dear fellow, the breeze blows fair;
Hear how it sings into the air.'

- of us and of our lazy motions,"
Impatiently said Melchior,
“ If I can guess a boat's emotions ;

And how we ought, two hours before, To have been the devil knows where." And then, in such transalpine Tuscan As would have killed a Della-Cruscan,

So, Lionel according to his art

Weaving his idle words, Melchior said :

“She dreams that we are not yet out of bed; We'll put a soul into her, and a heart Which like a dove chased by a dove shall beat.”

“Ay, heave the ballast overboard, And stow the eatables in the aft locker." “Would not this keg be best a little lowered ?” “No, now all's right.” “Those bottles of warm

tea

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List, my dear fellow, the breeze blows fair ;
How it scatters Dominic's long black hair,
Singing of us, and our lazy motions,
If I can guess a boat's emotions.

Mrs. Shelley, 1824.

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