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Where Porphyro took covert, pleased amain.
His poor guide hurried back with agues in her brain.
Her faltering hand upon the balustrade,
Old Angela was feeling for the stair, When Madeline, Saint Agnes' charméd maid,
Rose, like a missioned spirit, unaware; With silver taper's light, and pious
She turned, and down the aged gossip led
To a safe level matting. Now prepare, Young Porphyro, for gazing on that bed!
She comes, she comes again, like ringdove frayed and fled.
Out went the taper as she hurried in, Its little smoke in pallid moonshine died:
She closed the door, she panted, all akin To spirits of the air, and visions wide: No uttered syllable, or, woe betide! But to her heart, her heart was voluble, Paining with eloquence her balmy side;
As though a tongueless nightingale should swell
Her throat in vain, and die, heart-stifled, in her dell.
A casement high and triple-arched there was,
All garlanded with carven imageries Of fruits, and flowers, and bunches of knot-grass,
And diamonded with panes of quaint device,
Innumerable of stains and splendid
dyes As are the tiger-moth's deep-damasked wings;
And in the midst, 'mong thousand
A shielded scutcheon blushed with blood of queens and kings.
As down she knelt for heaven's grace and boon: Rose-bloom fell on her hands, together prest,
And on her silver cross soft amethyst, And on her hair a glory, like a saint:
She seemed a splendid angel, newly drest,
Save wings, for heaven:-Porphyro grew faint:
She knelt, so pure a thing, so free from mortal taint.
Full on this casement shone the wintry moon, And threw warm gules on Madeline's fair breast,
Anon his heart revives: her vespers done,
Of all its wreathéd pearls her hair she frees; Unclasps her warméd jewels one by
Loosens her fragrant bodice; by degrees
Her rich attire creeps rustling to her knees:
Half hidden, like a mermaid in seaweed, Pensive awhile she dreams awake, and sees,
In fancy, fair Saint Agnes in her bed, But dares not look beliind, or all the charm is fled.
Soon, trembling in her soft and chilly In sort of wakeful swoon, perplexed she lay,
Until the poppied warmth of sleep oppressed
Her soothed limbs, and soul fatigued
Flown, like a thought, until the morrow-day; Blissfully havened both from joy and pain;
And twilight saints, and dim embla- As though a rose should shut, and be a bud again.
Clasped like a missal where swart
Stolen to this paradise, and so entranced,
Porphyro gazed upon her empty dress, And listened to her breathing, if it chanced
To wake into a slumberous tenderness;
Which when he heard, that minute
did he bless, And breathed himself: then from the Or I shall drowse beside thee, so my soul closet crept, doth ache." Noiseless as fear in a wide wilderness, And over the hushed carpet, silent, stept, And 'tween the curtains peeped, where, lo!-how fast she slept.
Thus whispering, his warm, unnervéd
Sank in her pillow.
Then by the bedside, where the faded
Made a dim, silver twilight, soft he set A table, and, half anguished, threw thereon
A cloth of woven crimson, gold, and
O for some drowsy Morphean amulet!
Affray his ears, though but in dying
The hall-door shuts again, and all the noise is gone.
And still she slept an azure-lidded sleep,
In blanchéd linen, smooth, and lavendered,
While he from forth the closet brought
Of candied apple, quince, and plum,
And lucid syrops, tinct with cinna
Manna and dates, in argosy transferred
From silken Samarcand to cedared Leb
These delicates he heaped with glowing hand
On golden dishes and in baskets bright Of wreathed silver: sumptuous they stand
In the retired quiet of the night, Filling the chilly room with perfume light.
Open thine eyes, for meek Saint Agnes'
"And now, my love, my seraph fair, awake!
Thou art my heaven, and I thine eremite :
By the dusk curtains:-'t was a midnight charm
Impossible to melt as icéd stream:
Broad golden fringe upon the carpet lies:
So mused awhile, entoiled in woofed fan
Made tunable with every sweetest vow;
How changed thou art! how pallid,
Give me that voice again, my Porphyro,
O, leave me not in this eternal woe, For if thou diest, my love, I know not where to go.
Beyond a mortal man impassioned far
Seen mid the sapphire heaven's deep
Into her dream he melted, as the rose
Like love's alarum pattering the sharp
Against the window-panes; Saint Agnes'
'Tis dark quick pattereth the flaw-
"This is no dream, my bride, my Mad-
"Tis dark the icéd gusts still rave
"Nodream, alas! alas! and woe is mine!
I curse not, for my heart is lost in thine,
"My Madeline! sweet dreamer! lovely
Say, may I be for aye thy vassal blest?
"Hark! 't is an elfin-storm from fairy
Of haggard seeming, but a boon indeed:
There are no ears to hear, or eyes to
After so many hours of toil and quest,
Saving of thy sweet self; if thou think'st
To trust, fair Madeline, to no rude infidel."
Drowned all in Rhenish and the sleepy mead :
Awake! arise! my love, and fearless be, For o'er the southern moors I have a home for thee."
She hurried at his words, beset with fears,
For there were sleeping dragons all around,
At glaring watch, perhaps, with ready spears,
Down the wide stairs a darkling way they found,
In all the house was heard no human sound.
A chain-dropped lamp was flickering by each door;
The arras, rich with horseman, hawk, and hound,
Fluttered in the besieging wind's up
And the long carpets rose along the gusty floor.
The wakeful bloodhound rose, and shook his hide,
But his sagacious eye an inmate owns: By one, and one, the bolts full easy slide;
The chains lie silent on the foot-worn stones;
Ah, silver shrine, here will I take my The key turns, and the door upon its hinges groans.
They glide, like phantoms, into the wide hall;
Like phantoms to the iron porch they glide,
Where lay the porter, in uneasy sprawl, With a huge empty flagon by his side:
And they are gone: ay, ages long ago
And all his warrior-guests, with shade and form