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Ashes, and smoke, and darkness : in our night
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;
Old winter was gone
And the spring came down
Where the sea of sunlight encroaches
Rejoice not when spring approaches,
She is still, she is cold
On the bridal couch.
And one to the bier,
Ere the sun through heaven once more has rolled,
The rats in her heart
And the worms be alive in her golden hair;
She shall sleep.
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, And clothed with light of aëry gold The mists in their eastern caves uprolled.
Day had awakened all things that be,
And the milkmaid's song and mower's scythe,
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
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,
33 nor, Rossetti.
“ Never mind,” said Lionel,
About yon poplar tops ; and see !
- of us and of our lazy motions,"
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
List, my dear fellow, the breeze blows fair ;
Mrs. Shelley, 1824.