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With a murmurous stir uncertain, in the air the purple

curtain Swelleth in and swelleth out around her motionless pale

brows, While the gliding of the river sends a rippling noise for


Through the open casement whitened by the moonlight's

slant repose.

Said he—“ Vision of a lady! stand there silent, stand

there steady! Now I see it plainly, plainly, now I cannot hope or

doubtThere, the brows of mild repression—there, the lips of

silent passion, Curyëd like an archer's bow to send the bitter arrows


Ever, evermore the while in a slow silence she kept

smiling, And approached him slowly, slowly, in a gliding measured

pace ; With her two white hands extended as if praying one

offended, And a look of supplication gazing earnest in his face.

Said he—“Wake me by no gesture,-sound of breath, or

stir of vesture ! Let the blessëd apparition melt not yet to its divine ! No approaching—hush, no breathing ! or my heart must

swoon to death in The too utter life thou bringest, Othou dream of

Geraldine !"

Ever, evermore the while in a slow silence she kept

smiling, But the tears ran over lightly from her eyes and ten

derly :"Dost thou, Bertram, truly love me? Is no woman far

above me Found more worthy of thy poet-heart than such a one

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as I?"

Said he—“I would dream so ever, like the flowing of

that river, Flowing ever in a shadow greenly onward to the sea ! So, thou vision of all sweetness, princely to a full com

pleteness Would my heart and life flow onward, deathward, through

this dream of THEE!"

Ever, evermore the while in a slow silence she kept

smiling, While the silver tears ran faster down the blushing of

her cheeks; Then with both her hands enfolding both of his, she

softly told him, Bertram, if I say I love thee, 't is the vision only


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Softened, quickened to adore her, on his knee he fell

before her, And she whispered low in triumph, “ It shall be as I

have sworn. Very rich he is in virtues, very noble—noble, certes ; And I shall not blush in knowing that men call him

lowly born."


“ BUT why do you go?” said the lady, while both sat

under the yew, And her eyes were alive in their depth, as the kraken

beneath the sea-blue.

“Because I fear you,” he answered ; “because you are

far too fair, And able to strangle my soul in a mesh of your gold

coloured hair.”

“Oh, that,” she said, “is no reason ! Such knots are

quickly undone, And too much beauty, I reckon, is nothing but too much


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“Yet farewell so,” he answered ;- “the sun-stroke's fatal

at times. I value your husband, Lord Walter, whose gallop rings

still from the limes.”

“Oh, that,” she said, “is no reason. You smell a rose

through a fence : If two should smell it, what matters ? who grumbles, and

where's the pretence ?”

“But I,” he replied, “ have promised another, when love

was free, To love her alone, alone, who alone and afar loves me."

“Why, that,” she said, “is no reason. Love's always free,

I am told. Will you vow to be safe from the headache on Tuesday,

and think it will hold ?"

“But you," he replied, “have a daughter, a young little

child, who was laid In your lap to be pure ; so, I leave you : the angels would

make me afraid."


“Oh, that,” she said, “is no reason.

The angels keep out

of the way ;

And Dora, the child, observes nothing, although you

should please me and stay."

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At which he rose up in his anger,-“Why, now, you no

longer are fair ! Why, now, you no longer are fatal, but ugly and hateful,

I swear.”

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At which she laughed out in her scorn.—“These men !

Oh, these men over-nice, Who are shocked if a colour, not virtuous, is frankly put

on by a vice.”

Her eyes blazed upon him—“And you! You bring us

your vices so near That we smell them ! You think in our presence a

thought 't would defame us to hear !

“What reason had you, and what right,-I appeal to your

soul from my life,To find me too fair as a woman ? Why, sir, I am pure,

and a wife.

“Is the day-star too fair up above you? It burns you

not. Dare you imply I brushed you more close than the star does, when Walter

had set me as high ?

“If a man finds a woman too fair, he means simply

adapted too much To uses unlawful and fatal. The praise !- shall I thank

you for such ?

“Too fair ?-not unless you misuse us! and surely if, once

in a while, You attain to it, straightway you call us no longer too

fair, but too vile.

A moment, I pray your attention !--I have a poor word

in my head I must utter, though womanly custom would set it down

better unsaid.

“ You grew,

sir, pale to impertinence, once when I showed

you a ring. You kissed my fan when I dropped it. No matter !—I've

broken the thing.

“You did me the honour, perhaps, to be moved at my

side now and then In the senses-a vice, I have heard, which is common to

beasts and some men.

“ Love's a virtue for heroes !-as white as the snow on

high hills, And immortal as every great soul is that struggles, en

dures, and fulfils.

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