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Which, as it were in gentle amity,
Woman! when I behold thee flippant, vain,
Inconstant, childish, proud, and full of fancies;
Without that modest softening that enhances
E'en then, elate, my spirit leaps and prances,
E'en then my soul with exultation dances
Heavens! how desperately do I adore
1 hotly burn—to be a Calidore— A very Red Cross Knight—a stout Leander—
Might I be loved by thee like these of yore.
Light feet, dark violet eyes, and parted hair;
Soft dimpled hands, white neck, and creamy breast;
Are things on which the dazzled senses rest
To turn my admiration, though unpossess'd
They be of what is worthy,—though not drest,
These lures I straight forget,—e'en ere I dine,
Or thrice my palate moisten: but when I mark
My ear is open like a greedy shark,
Ah! who can e'er forget so fair a being!
Who can forget her half-retiring sweets?
God! she is like the milk-white lamb that bleats For man's protection. Surely the All-seeing, Who joys to see us with his gifts agreeing,
Will never give him pinions, who intreats
Such innocence to ruin,—who vilely cheats A dove-like bosom. In truth there is no freeing One's thoughts from such a beauty; when I hear
A lay that once I saw her hand awake, Her form seems floating palpable, and near:
Had I e'er seen her from an arbour take A dewy flower, oft would that hand appear,
And o'er my eyes the trembling moisture shake.
ODE TO A NIGHTINGALE.
My heart aches, and a drowsy numbness pains
My sense, as though of hemlock I had drunk,
One minute past, and Lethe-wards had sunk:
2. O for a draught of vintage, that hath been
Cool'd a long age in the deep-delved earth, Tasting of Flora and the country-green,
Dance, and Provencal song, and sun-burnt mirth!
O for a beaker full of the warm South,
With beaded bubbles winking at the brim,
What thou among the leaves hast never known, The weariness, the fever, and the fret
Here, where men sit and hear each other groan; Where palsy shakes a few, sad, last grey hairs, Where youth grows pale, and spectre-thin, and dies; Where but to think is to be full of sorrow And leaden-eyed despairs; Where beauty cannot keep her lustrous eyes, Or new Love pine at them beyond to-morrow.
4. Away! away! for I will fly to thee,
Not charioted by Bacchus and his pards, But on the viewless wings of Poesy,
Though the dull brain perplexes and retards:
And haply the Queen-Moon is on her throne,
I cannot see what flowers are at my feet,
Nor what soft incense hangs upon the boughs,
But, in embalmed darkness, guess each sweet
The murmurous haunt of flies on summer eves.
6. Darkling I listen; and for many a time
I have been half in love with easeful Death, Call'd him soft names in many a mused rhyme,
To take into the air my quiet breath; Now more than ever seems it rich to die, To cease upon the midnight with no pain, While thou art pouring forth thy soul abroad In such an ecstasy! Still wouldst thou sing, and I have ears in vain— To thy high requiem become a sod.
7. Thou wast not born for death, immortal Bird!
No hungry generations tread thee down; The voice I hear this passing night was heard
In ancient days by emperor and clown:
Through the sad heart of Ruth, when sick for home,
To toll me back from thee to my sole self! Adieu! the fancy cannot cheat so well
As she is famed to do, deceiving elf. Adieu! adieu! thy plaintive anthem fades
Past the near meadows, over the still stream,
Was it the vision, or a waking dream?
ODE ON A GRECIAN URN.
Thou still unravish'd bride of quietness!
Thou foster-child of Silence and slow Time, Sylvan historian, who canst thus express
A flowery tale more sweetly than our rhyme:
Of deities or mortals, or of both,
What men or gods are these? What maidens loath 1
What pipes and timbrels? What wild ecstasy?
2. Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard
Are sweeter; therefore, ye soft pipes, play on;
Pipe to the spirit ditties of no tone: