• five sorrowful mysteriesReturn
  • The Agony in the Garden.html">Return
  • out of Galilee no prophet comesReturn
  • Purple and yellow, verdure-spotted, redReturn
  • three abodesReturn
  • honeysuckleReturn
  • moss-roseReturn
  • grape vineReturn
  • ZacharyReturn
  • three long weeksReturn
  • Another threeReturn
  • Jesus weptReturn
  • many colored threadsReturn
  • girdleReturn
  • Our lady's shrine when incense-smoke Ascends before herReturn
  • orange-belted wild beesReturn
  • To Egypt from the edge of Herod's swordReturn
  • Joseph's barge freighted with heavy woodReturn
  • a wreath of hawthorn flowersReturn
  • took the reedReturn
  • eight years oldReturn
  • small red crossReturn
  • Light flakes of waving silverReturn
  • fifty forked dartsReturn
  • that passage in Isaias' bookReturn


  • General notesReturn


    1. "Monotonous to paint..."Not found.Return
    2. 'Sicklied o'er with the pale cast... Ralph Waldo Emerson, _ The American Scholar_Return
    3. Niello A technique of decorating incised silver with a black metallic compound.Return
    4. Masaccio Tommaso di Ser Giovanni di Mone (1401-1428) This painter is nicknamed Masaccio (Slovenly Tom) because he was said to have cared more for his art than his appearance.Return
    5. CaracciNot yet found.Return
    6. King Alfred King Alfred (849-899) known as Alfred the Great. He is the only British King to be called ``the great.'' Defended his realm (which did not include all of England) against Dane invasions. Translated the writings of several church figures, such as Bede and St. Augustine, from Latin into Anglo-Saxon. He is credited with saving English culture.Return
    7. Benozzo Gozzoli (1420-97) Italian Renaissance fresco painter and pupil of Fra Angilico. Painted Old Testament scenes in the Campo Santo in Pisa.Return
    8. Ghiberti (1381-1455) Sculptor famed for his close study of nature and classical tradition. Ghiberti is best known for his reliefs on the brass doors of the Baptistery in Florence.Return
    9. Fra Angelico Fra Angilico (c1400-1455) A member of the Dominican order considered the most prolific and influential of the Florentine painters. His original name was Guido di Pretro and later he was known by the name Fra Giovanni de Fiesole. The nickname Fra Angilico was given to him by his admirers about 14 years after his death. He is also known as Beato (Blessed One) in Italy.Return
    10. GhirlandajoNot found yet.Return
    11. Baccio della PortaItalian mannerist architectl.Return
    12. Albert Durer Albrecht Durer (1471-1526) German artist influenced by Italian Renaissance art whose greatest accomplishment are said to be in the areas of woodcuts and engravings. Was court painter to Holy Roman Emperors Maximillian I and Charles V.Return
    13. "My strength is as the strength..."From Tennyson's _Sir Galahad_ (1852).Return
    14. "No Cross, No Crown." No Cross, No Crown - William Penn. The name of a religious devotional written by Penn in 1669 after his release from an English prison. He was imprisoned the prior year for writing a pamphlet about the Quakers. The name of this 1669 work grew to be associated with the idealized or spiritual victor over the world, the flesh and the devil. Return
    15. LessingGotlhold Lessing.Return
    16. Lessing quote Exact source of this quotation is still pending.Return


    1. roses GM&OP: Oh roses Am. eds.: O roses;

      Conventionally symbols oflove. However, John Henry Ingram notes that "in some parts of the south of England, a wreath of white roses is borne before the corpse of a maiden by a young girl, and after the burial is hung up over her accustomed seat at church" (_Flora Symbolica; or, The Language and Sentiment of Flowers_. London: F.W. Warne, 1869. p. 27). Ingram also points out that in Camden's "Brittania," he remarks, "Here is also a certain custom, observed time out of mind, of planting rose trees upon the graves, especially of young men and maids who have lost their loves" (28). A dead rose is a symbol of "sweet memories." Return

    2. laurel Conventional symbol of glory. The crown of laurel is best known for being the prize for the winner at the Pythian games, as well as the crown for the poet laureate. Laurel is always green and does not decay.Return
    3. prime ; MS: prime,Return
    4. ivy-branch MS, GM&OP, Am eds.: an ivy branch for me

      Conventional symbol of fidelity and wedded love.Return

    5. violets MS, GM&OP 1862: Oh violets

      Am eds.: O violets

      Conventional symbol of faithfulness, modesty, humility, and maidenhood.Return

    6. bay Conventionally symbolizes fame, as well as the expression, "I change but in death." Also a sign of glory and a reward of merit. Although the bay tree appears to be hardy, when it withers, it withers very rapidly. Return
    7. prime; MS: prime, Return


    1. uncouth"having an odd, uncomely, awkward, or clumsy shape or bearing" (OED) Return
    2. unzoned"not girt with a belt or girdled; uncinctured" (OED) Return
    3. Ibis or emuI wasn't sure if I was going to annotate this, but I think I will. Stay tuned.Return
    4. HarounHarun ar-Rashid was the caliph of Baghdad during the reign of Charlemagne. He is a prominent figure in many tales of the _Arabian Nights_. He was the most powerful of the Abbasid Caliphs and ruled lands spanning from India to Africa.Return
    5. GiafarJaffar the Barmecide. Also from _Arabian Nights_. The vizier of Haroun during the reign of Charlemagne. He walked the streets of Baghdad at night with Harun ar-Rashid and Mesrour, the executioner, all disquised as merchants and checking to see that order was observed everywhere.Return
    6. prince Assad with his brother Amgrad, son of King Camaralzaman in the _Arabian Nights_. Scott seems to have misread the story; it should read "prince Amgrad," since Amgrad was the brother who waited in the grove for the return of Assad from the City of Magicians.Return
    7. bourne"destination, goal;" perhaps also "realm, domain," a frequent definition arising from a misreading of _Hamlet_ III i. 79, "The dread of something after death, The undiscovered Countrey, from whose Borne No Traveller returnes."Return
    8. sward "the surface or upper layer of ground, usually covered with herbage; grass" (OED)Return
    9. old and memorable taleNot yet identified, but I have a lead.Return
    10. bound the lady in the echoless cave...Not yet identified, but I have a lead.Return
    11. cup of ComusReference waiting to be uploaded.Return


    1. summer-rosesSymbol of love, and also of temptation.Return
    2. apples Emblem of "preference" (Kate Greenaway, _The Language of Flowers_. London: George Routledge and Sons, 1884.)Return
    3. Lilies White lilies are a conventional symbol of purity, sweetness, and modesty. (Kate Greenaway, _The Language of Flowers_. George Routledge and Sons, 1884)Return
    4. jonquilsReturn
    5. heartseaseA conventional symbol of remembrance, it carried the meaning "think of me." The french name for heartsease is pansy or pensee. Milton called it "love in idleness," as did Shakespeare in _A Midsummer Night's Dream_. Heartsease has also been referred to as "jump-up-and-kiss-me-quick" "kiss-me-behind- the-garden-gate" and "cuddle-me-to-you."Return


    1. "Historic Art"Return
    2. the schools not coloristsReturn


    1. I said of laughter: It is vain;/ Of mirth I said: What profits it? Ecclesiastes 2:2 "I said of laughter, it is mad: and of mirth, what doeth it?" (King James)Return
    2. vanity beneath the sunEcclesiastes 4:7 "Then I returned, and I saw vanity under the sun." (King James)Return
    3. Man walks in a vain shadow; he Disquieteth himself in vain.Psalms 39:6 "Surely every man walketh in a vain shew: Surely they are disquited in vain:" (King James)Return
    4. The rivers do not fill the sea, / But turn their back to their secret sourceEcclesiastes 1:7 "All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full; unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again." (King James)Return
    5. Our treasures, moth and rust corrupt;/ or thieves break through and steal;Matthew 6:19-20 "Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:" Luke 12:33 "Sell that ye have and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth." (King James) Return
    6. One man made merry as he supp'd,/ Nor guessed how when that night grew dim,/ His soul would be required of himLuke 12:16-21 "And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God." (King James) Return
    7. We build our houses on the sand/ Comely withoutside, and within;/ But when the winds and rains begin/ To beat on them, they cannot stand;/ They perish, quickly overthrown,/ Loose at the hidden basement stone.Matthew 7:24-27 "Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And everyone that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it." Luke 6:48-49 "He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock. But he that heareth, and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built an house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great." (King James)
    8. All Things are vanity, I said:/ Yea vanity of vanities.Ecclesiastes 1:2 "Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities: all is vanity." (King James)Return
    9. The rich man dies/ and the poor dies:Luke 16:22 "And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died and was buried." (King James> Return
    10. All in the end shall have but dust.Genesis 3:19 "In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return." (King James) Return
    11. The wicked cease from troubling there,/ And there the weary are at rest;Job 3:17 "There the wicked cease from troubling; and there the weary be at rest." (King James) Return
    12. Man flourishes as a green leaf,/ And as a leaf doth pass away;/ Or, as a shade that cannot stay,/ And leaves no track, his course is brief:Psalms 103:15-16 "As for man, his days are as grass: as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth. For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone; and the place thereof shall know it no more." Isaiah 40:6-8 "The voice said, Cry. And he said, what shall I cry? All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field. The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: because the spirit of the Lord bloweth upon it: surely the people is grass. The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever." (King James) Return
    13. Our eyes cannot be satisfied/ With seeing; nor our ears be fill'd/ With hearing:Ecclesiastes 1:8 "All things are full of labour; man cannot utter it: the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing." (King James) Return
    14. yet we plant and build,/ And buy, and make our borders wide:Ecclesiastes 2:4 "I made me great works; I builded me houses; I planted me vineyards." (King James) Return
    15. We gather wealth, we gather care,/ But know not who shall be our heir. Psalms 39:6 "...he heapeth up riches, and koweth not who shall gather them." (King James) Return
    16. Why should we hasten to arise/ So early, and so late take rest?Ecclesiastes 2:22-23 "For what hath man of all his labour, and of the vexation of his heart, wherein he hath laboured under the sun? For all his days are sorrows, and his travail grief; yea, his heart taketh not rest in the night. This is also vanity." (King James) Return
    17. Verily, we sow wind; and we/ Shall reap the whirlwind, verily.Hosea 8:7 "For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind: it hath no stalk: the bud shall yield no meal: if so be it yield, the strangers shall swallow it up." (King James) Return
    18. He who hath little shall not lack;/ He who hath plenty shall decay: Exodus 16:18 "And when they did mete it with an omer, he that gathered much had nothing over, and he that gathered little had no lack; they gathered every man according to his eating." Exodus 16:20 "Notwithstanding they hearkened not unto Moses; but some of them left of it until the morning, and it bred worms, and stank: and Moses was wroth with them." (King James) Return
    19. Of high and low, of great and small,/ Vanity is the lot of all. Ecclesiastes 2:22-23 "For what hath man of all his labour, and of the vexation of his heart, wherein he hath laboured under the sun? For all his days are sorrows, and his travail grief; yea, his heart taketh not rest in the night. This is also vanity." (King James) Return
    20. A king dwelt in Jerusalem:/ He was the wisest man on earth;/ He had all riches from his birth,/ And pleasures till he tired of them:/ Then, having tested all things, he/ Witnessed that all are vanity,Ecclesiastes 1:2 "Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities: all is vanity." (King James) Return


    1. Noah's dove cf. Genesis 8:8, "Also he sent forth a dove from him, to see if the waters were abated from off the face of the ground;" Also, Genesis 8:11, "And the dove came in to him in the evening; and, lo, in her mouth was an olive leaf pluckt off: so Noah knew that the waters were abated from off the earth." Return
    2. welkin the apparent arch or vault of heaven overhead, the sky, the firmament. (OED)Return
    3. joyance the state of feeling or action of showing joy. The word was apparently coined by Spenser. It became common after Coleridge and Southey in 'literary' usage. (OED) Return
    4. furze a spiny evergreen shrub with yellow flowers (OED) Return
    5. Vanity, say they, quoting him of old. Solomon. cf. various passages in Ecclesiastes. Return
    6. demense domainReturn
    7. a perfect chain cf. John Milton, Paradise Lost, II, 1047-1053, in which Satan views Heaven and the newly created Earth:
   ' Empyreal Heav'n, extended wide In circuit, undetermin'd square or round, With Opal Tow'rs and Battlements adorn'd Of living Sapphire, once his native Seat; And fast by hanging in a golden Chain This pendant world, in bigness as a Star Of smallest Magnitude close by the Moon.Return
    8. Like Jacob's ladder cf. Genesis 28:12, "And he [Jacob] dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it."Return
    9. terrene earthly, worldly, or secular.Return


    1. Damozel a variant spelling of "damsel" frequently used in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Arises out of the fifteenth-century "damoiselle." (OED) Return
    2. three liliesconventionally associated with purity.Return
    3. stars in her hair were seventhe name "seven stars" can refer to the Pleiades, the Planets, or the stars of the Great Bear. (OED) Return
    4. white rose conventionally, a symbol of virginity and purity.Return
    5. corn grain, not maize.Return
    6. Herseemed i.e. "It seemed to her" Return
    7. midge a gnat-like insectReturn
    8. The stars sang in their spheres.This is the "music of the spheres," the harmonious sound supposed to be produced by the movement of the concentric transparent hollow globes imagined as revolving around the earth in older conceptions of astronomy. They carry with them the heavenly bodies. (OED) To hear the "music of the spheres" requires purity.Return
    9. Are not two prayers a perfect strength? cf. Matthew 18:19, "Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching anything that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven." Thomas A. Langford (in Explicator, 30 (1971), Item 5.) and Francis F. Burch (in Explicator, 37:4 (Summer, 1979), p. 5.) agree on the biblical reference, but disagree whether it relates ironically to the situation in the poem. (since the Damozel is not "on earth")Return
    10. deep wells of light Reference untraced.Return
    11. Occulthidden secret Return
    12. living mystic tree cf. Revelations 22:1-4 (1) And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. (2) In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of nations. (3) And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: (4) And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads. Return
    13. DoveThe emblem of the Holy Spirit. Return
    14. Saith His name audiblyReference untraced.Return
    15. Cecily, Gertrude, Magdalen, and Margaret, and RosalysReferences untraced.Return
    16. citherns and citoles both are stringed instruments. The citole is popular in the thirteenth through fifteenth centuries; the cithern in the sixteenth and seventeenth.Return
    17. : In the 1850 version of The Germ, this was a semicolon.Return
    18. ;In the 1850 version of The Germ, this was a semicolon.Return
    19. lapse glide, slip; as on water. In 1869, William Michael Rossetti comments to his brother on the change of this word to "flight": "I suppose this should on the whole be preferred to lapse. Yet I like the visual impression created by the latter work a good deal the better: it looks like sailing through the air without any motion of the wings (as one sees birds), and gives more the idea of serial succession...." (in William Michael Rossetti, Rossetti Papers, 1862 to 1870. (New York: AMS Press, 1970), p. 466).Return


    1. A.--Matthew ArnoldReturn
    2. have heard aptly described as self-consciousnessReference as yet untraced.Return
    3. Resignation"Resignation" is the title of the last poem of Arnold's volume. The excerpt is from the final lines of that poem.Return
    4. RegistanNot yet traced.Return
    5. QuietistOf course, Rossetti's use is figurative. However, Quietism (literally) is: "A form of religious mysticism (originated prior to 1675 by Molinos, a Spanish priest), consisting in passive devotional contemplation, with extinction of the will and withdrawal from all things of the senses; hence, any form of mysticism in which such principles are enjoined." (OED) Also, note "The Guida spirituale in which Molinos expounded his views was published at Rome in 1675, and condemned by the Inquisition in 1685." (OED) Return
    6. superposedThe 1850 typographical error "supersposed" here was corrected in the 1901 Elliot Stock edition.Return
    7. "any more a portion for ever in anything that is done under the sun."Ecclesiastes 9:5-6 reads: (5) For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, niether have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten. (6) Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any more a portion for ever in any thing that is done under the sun. Return
    8. Resignation"Resignation" is the title of the last poem of Arnold's volume. The excerpt is from that poem. Return
    9. "in utrumque paratus"(Latin), "prepared for either eventuality" Return
    10. passage in the 2nd Book of Herodotus Herodotus: Greek historian of the fifth century BC. An account of the Persian Wars is the centerpiece of his work, and it continues to serve as the basis for modern reconstructions of the period. Specific reference for Mycerinus pending. Return
    11. This poem must be read as a whole Note on the text of "The New Sirens":

      Because Arnold revised the poem substantially in later printings of the poem, the following has been taken from The Strayed, Empedocles on Etna, and other poems, by Matthew Arnold. (London: Walter Scott, 1896), p.44-55. In his introduction to that volume, William Sharp says that the poems are " their original lection." (Introduction, p. xxxiv)

         THE NEW SIRENS.
            A PALINODE.
           In the cedar shadow sleeping,
           Where cool grass and fragrant glooms
           Oft at noon had lur'd me, creeping
           From your darken'd palace rooms:
           I, who in your train at morning
           Stroll'd and sang with joyful mind,
           Heard, in slumber, sounds of warning;
      Heard the hoarse boughs labour in the wind.
           Who are they, o pensive Graces,
           ---For I dream'd they wore your forms---
           Who on shores and sea-wash'd places
           Scoop the shelves and fret the storms?
           Who, when ships are that way tending,
           Troop across the flushing sands,
           To all reefs and narrows wending,
      With blown tresses, and with beckoning hands?
           Yet I see, the howling levels
           Of the deep are not your lair;
           And your tragic-vaunted revels
           Are less lonely than they were.
           In a Tyrian galley steering
           From the golden springs of dawn,
           Troops, like Eastern kings, appearing,
      Stream all day through your enchanted lawn.
           And we too, from upland valleys,
           Where some Muse with half-curv'd frown
           Leans her ear to your mad sallies
           Which the charm'd winds never drown;
           By faint music guided, ranging
           The scar'd glens, we wander'd on,
           Left our awful laurels hanging,
      And came heap'd with myrtles to your throne.
           From the dragon-warder'd fountains
           Where the springs of knowledge are:
           From the watchers on the mountains,
           And the bright and morning star:
           We are exiles, we are falling,
           We have lost them at your call.
           O ye false ones, at your calling
      Seeking ceiled chambers and a palace-hall.
           Are the accents of your luring
           More melodious than of yore?
           Are those frail forms more enduring
           Than the charms Ulysses bore?
           That we sought you with rejoicings
           Till at evening we descry
           At a pause of Siren voicings
      These vext branches and this howling sky?
      .           .           .           .           .
           Oh! your pardon. The uncouthness
           Of that primal age is gone:
           And the skin of dazzling smoothness
           Screens not now a heart of stone.
           Love has flush'd those cruel faces;
           And those slacken'd arms forgo
          The delight of fierce embraces:
      And those whitening bone-mounds do not grow.
           "Come," you say; "the large appearance
           Of man's labour is but vain:
           And we plead as firm adherence
           Due to pleasure as to pain."
           Pointing to some world-worn creatures,
           "Come," you murmur with a sigh:
           "Ah! we own diviner features,
      Loftier bearing, and a prouder eye.
           "Come," you say, "the hours are dreary;
           Life is long, and will not fade;
           Time is lame, and we grow weary
           In the slumbrous cedarn shade.
           Round our hearts with long caresses,
           With low sighs hath Silence stole;
           And her load of steaming tresses
      Weighs, like Ossa, on the climbing soul.
           "Come," you say, "the soul is fainting
           Till she search, and learn her own:
           And the wisdom of man's painting
           Leaves her riddle half unknown.
           Come," you say, "the brain is seeking,
           While the princely heart is dead;
           Yet this glean'd, when Gods were speaking,
      Rarer secrets than the toiling head.
           "Come," you say, "opinion trembles,
           Judgment shifts, convictions go;
           Life dries up, the heart dissembles---
           Only, what we feel, we know.
           Hath your wisdom known emotions?
           Will it weep our burning tears?
           Hath it drunk of our love-potions
      Crowning moments with the weight of years?"
           I am dumb. Alas, too soon all
           Man's grave reasons disappear:
           Yet, I think, at God's tribunal
           Some large answer you shall hear.
           But, for me, my thoughts are straying
           Where at sunrise, through the vines,
           On these lawns I saw you playing,
      Hanging garlands on the odorous pines;
           When your showering locks enwound you,
           And your heavenly eyes shone through:
           When the pine-boughs yielded round you,
           And your brows were starr'd with dew.
           And immortal forms, to meet you
           Down the statued alleys came:
           And through golden horns, to greet you,
      Blew such music as a God may frame.
           Yes--I muse:--and if the dawning
           Into daylight never grew--
           If the glistering wings of morning
           On the dry noon shook their dew--
           If the fits of joy were longer--
           Or the day were sooner done--
           Or, perhaps, if hope were stronger--
      No weak nursling of an earthly sun . . .
           Pluck, pluck cypress, o pale maidens,
                Dusk the hall with yew!
      .           .           .           .           .
           But a bound was set to meetings,
           And the sombre day dragg'd on:
           And the burst of joyful greetings,
           And the joyful dawn, were gone:
           For the eye was fill'd with gazing,
           And on raptures follow calms:--
           And those warm locks men were praising
      Droop'd, unbraided, on your listless arms.
           Storms unsmooth'd your folded valleys,
           And made all your cedars frown.
           Leaves were whirling in the alleys
           Which your lovers wander'd down.
           --Sitting cheerless in your bowers,
          The hands propping the sunk head,
           Do they gall you, the long hours,
      And the hungry thought, that must be fed?
           Is the pleasure that is tasted
           Patient of a long review?
           Will the fire joy hath wasted,
           Mus'd on, warm the heart anew?
           --Or, are those old thoughts returning,
           Guests the dull sense never knew,
           Stars, set deep, yet inly burning,
      Germs, your untrimm'd Passion overgrew?
           Once, like me, you took your station
           Watchers for a purer fire:
           But you droop'd in expectation,
           And you wearied in desire.
           When the first rose flush was steeping
           All the frore peak's awful crown,
           Shepherds say, they found you sleeping
           In some windless valley, farther down.
           Then you wept, and slowly raising
           Your doz'd eyelids, sought again,
           Half in doubt, they say, and gazing
           Sadly back, the seats of men.
           Snatch'd an earthly inspiration
           From some transient human sun,
           And proclaim'd your vain ovation
      For those mimic raptures you had won.
           Pluck, pluck cypress, o pale maidens,
                Dusk the hall with yew!
      .           .           .           .           .
           With a sad, majestic motion--
           With a stately, slow surprise--
           From their earthward-bound devotion
           Lifting up your languid eyes:
           Would you freeze my too loud boldness,
           Dumbly smiling as you go?
           One faint frown of distant coldness
      Flitting fast across each marble brow?
           Do I brighten at your sorrow,
           O sweet Pleaders? doth my lot
           Find assurance in to-morrow
           Of one joy, which you have not?
           O, speak once, and let my sadness
           And this sobbing, Phrygian strain,
           Sham'd and baffled by your gladness,
      Blame the music of your feasts in vain!
      .           .           .           .           .
           Scent, and song, and light, and flowers--
           Gust on gust, the hoarse winds blow.
           Come, bind up those ringlet showers!
           Roses for that dreaming brow!
           Come, once more that ancient lightness,
           Glancing feet, and eager eyes!
           Let your broad lamps flash the brightness
      Which the sorrow-stricken day denies!
           Through black depths of serried shadows,
           Up cold aisles of buried glade;
           In the mist of river meadows
           Where the looming kine are laid;
           From your dazzled windows streaming,
           From your humming festal room,
           Deep and far, a broken gleaming
      Reels and shivers on the ruffled gloom.
      .           .           .           .           .
           Where I stand, the grass is glowing:
           Doubtless you are passing fair:
           But I hear the north wind blowing;
           And I feel the cold night-air.
           Can I look on your sweet faces,
           And your proud heads backward thrown,
           From this dusk of leaf-strewn places
      With the dumb woods and the night alone?
           But, indeed, this flux of guesses--
           Mad delight, and frozen calms--
           Mirth to-day and vine-bound tresses,
           And to-morrow--folded palms--
           Is this all? this balanc'd measure?
           Could life run no easier way?
           Happy, at the noon of pleasure,
      Passive at the midnight of dismay?
           But, indeed, this proud possession--
           This far-reaching, magic chain,
           Linking in a mad succession
           Fits of joy and fits of pain:
           Have you seen it at the closing?
           Have you track'd its clouded ways?
           Can your eyes, while fools are dozing,
      Drop, with mine, adown life's latter days?
           When a dreary dawn is wading
           Through this waste of sunless greens--
           When the flushing hues are fading
           On the peerless cheek of queens--
           When the mean shall no more sorrow,
           And the proudest no more smile--
           While the dawning of the morrow
      Widens slowly westward all that while?
           Then, when change itself is over,
           When the slow tide sets one way,
           Shall you find the radiant lover,
           Even by moments, of to-day?
           The eye wanders, faith is failing:
           O, loose hands, and let it be!
           Proudly, like a king bewailing,
      O, let fall one tear, and set us free!
           All true speech and large avowal
           Which the jealous soul concedes;
           All man's heart--which brooks bestowal:
           All frank faith which passion breeds:
           These we had, and we gave truly:
           Doubt not, what we had, we gave:
           False we were not, nor unruly:
      Lodgers in the forest and the cave.
           Long we wander'd with you, feeding
           Our rapt souls on your replies:
           In a wistful silence reading
           All the meaning of your eyes:
           By moss-border'd statues sitting,
           By well-heads, in summer days.
           But we turn, our eyes are flitting.
      See, the white east, and the morning rays!
           And you too, o weeping Graces,
           Sylvan Gods of this fair shade!
           Is there doubt on divine faces?
           Are the happy Gods dismayed?
           Can men worship the wan features,
           The sunk eyes, the wailing tone,
           Of unspher'd, discrowned creatures,
      Souls as little godlike as their own?
           Come, loose hands! The winged fleetness
           Of immortal feet is gone.
           And your scents have shed their sweetness,
           And your flowers are overblown.
           And your jewell'd gauds surrender
           Half their glories to the day:
           Freely did they flash their splendour,
      Freely gave it--but it dies away.
           In the pines the thrush is waking--
           Lo, yon orient hill in flames:
           Scores of true love knots are breaking
           At divorce which it proclaims.
           When the lamps are pal'd at morning,
           Heart quits heart and hand quits hand.
           --Cold in that unlovely dawning,
      Loveless, rayless, joyless you shall stand.
           Pluck no more red roses, maidens,
           Leave the lilies in their dew:
           Pluck, pluck cypress, O pale maidens!
           Dusk, oh, dusk the hall with yew!
           --Shall I seek, that I may scorn her,
           Her I loved at eventide?
           Shall I ask, what faded mourner
      Stands, at daybreak, weeping by my side?
           Pluck, pluck cypress, O pale maidens!
                Dusk the hall with yew!

      [End of The New Sirens.]Return

    12. the discourse which occasioned itReference as yet untraced.Return