Lamia Poem Rhyme Scheme and Analysis


Upon a time before the faery broodsB
Drove Nymph and Satyr from the prosperous woodsB
Before King Oberon's bright diademC
Sceptre and mantle clasp'd with dewy gemC
Frighted away the Dryads and the FaunsB
From rushes green and brakes and cowslip'd lawnsB
The ever smitten Hermes empty leftD
His golden throne bent warm on amorous theftD
From high Olympus had he stolen lightE
On this side of Jove's clouds to escape the sightE
Of his great summoner and made retreatF
Into a forest on the shores of CreteF
For somewhere in that sacred island dweltG
A nymph to whom all hoofed Satyrs kneltG
At whose white feet the languid Tritons pouredH
Pearls while on land they wither'd and adoredH
Fast by the springs where she to bathe was wontI
And in those meads where sometime she might hauntJ
Were strewn rich gifts unknown to any MuseB
Though Fancy's casket were unlock'd to chooseB
Ah what a world of love was at her feetF
So Hermes thought and a celestial heatF
Burnt from his winged heels to either earK
That from a whiteness as the lily clearL
Blush'd into roses 'mid his golden hairM
Fallen in jealous curls about his shoulders bareM
From vale to vale from wood to wood he flewN
Breathing upon the flowers his passion newN
And wound with many a river to its headO
To find where this sweet nymph prepar'd her secret bedO
In vain the sweet nymph might nowhere be foundP
And so he rested on the lonely groundP
Pensive and full of painful jealousiesB
Of the Wood Gods and even the very treesB
There as he stood he heard a mournful voiceB
Such as once heard in gentle heart destroysB
All pain but pity thus the lone voice spakeQ
When from this wreathed tomb shall I awakeQ
When move in a sweet body fit for lifeR
And love and pleasure and the ruddy strifeR
Of hearts and lips Ah miserable meS
The God dove footed glided silentlyS
Round bush and tree soft brushing in his speedT
The taller grasses and full flowering weedT
Until he found a palpitating snakeQ
Bright and cirque couchant in a dusky brakeQ
She was a gordian shape of dazzling hueN
Vermilion spotted golden green and blueN
Striped like a zebra freckled like a pardT
Eyed like a peacock and all crimson barr'dT
And full of silver moons that as she breathedT
Dissolv'd or brighter shone or interwreathedT
Their lustres with the gloomier tapestriesB
So rainbow sided touch'd with miseriesB
She seem'd at once some penanced lady elfU
Some demon's mistress or the demon's selfU
Upon her crest she wore a wannish fireV
Sprinkled with stars like Ariadne's tiarV
Her head was serpent but ah bitter sweetT
She had a woman's mouth with all its pearls completeT
And for her eyes what could such eyes do thereV
But weep and weep that they were born so fairV
As Proserpine still weeps for her Sicilian airV
Her throat was serpent but the words she spakeQ
Came as through bubbling honey for Love's sakeQ
And thus while Hermes on his pinions layW
Like a stoop'd falcon ere he takes his preyW
Fair Hermes crown'd with feathers fluttering lightT
I had a splendid dream of thee last nightT
I saw thee sitting on a throne of goldT
Among the Gods upon Olympus oldT
The only sad one for thou didst not hearV
The soft lute finger'd Muses chaunting clearV
Nor even Apollo when he sang aloneX
Deaf to his throbbing throat's long long melodious moanX
I dreamt I saw thee robed in purple flakesB
Break amorous through the clouds as morning breaksB
And swiftly as a bright Phoebean dartT
Strike for the Cretan isle and here thou artT
Too gentle Hermes hast thou found the maidT
Whereat the star of Lethe not delay'dT
His rosy eloquence and thus inquiredT
Thou smooth lipp'd serpent surely high inspiredT
Thou beauteous wreath with melancholy eyesB
Possess whatever bliss thou canst deviseB
Telling me only where my nymph is fledT
Where she doth breathe Bright planet thou hast saidT
Return'd the snake but seal with oaths fair GodT
I swear said Hermes by my serpent rodT
And by thine eyes and by thy starry crownY
Light flew his earnest words among the blossoms blownX
Then thus again the brilliance feminineZ
Too frail of heart for this lost nymph of thineA2
Free as the air invisibly she straysB
About these thornless wilds her pleasant daysB
She tastes unseen unseen her nimble feetT
Leave traces in the grass and flowers sweetT
From weary tendrils and bow'd branches greenB2
She plucks the fruit unseen she bathes unseenB2
And by my power is her beauty veil'dT
To keep it unaffronted unassail'dT
By the love glances of unlovely eyesB
Of Satyrs Fauns and blear'd Silenus' sighsB
Pale grew her immortality for woeC2
Of all these lovers and she grieved soC2
I took compassion on her bade her steepD2
Her hair in weird syrops that would keepD2
Her loveliness invisible yet freeV
To wander as she loves in libertyV
Thou shalt behold her Hermes thou aloneX
If thou wilt as thou swearest grant my boonE2
Then once again the charmed God beganF2
An oath and through the serpent's ears it ranF2
Warm tremulous devout psalterianF2
Ravish'd she lifted her Circean headT
Blush'd a live damask and swift lisping saidT
I was a woman let me have once moreV
A woman's shape and charming as beforeV
I love a youth of Corinth O the blissB
Give me my woman's form and place me where he isB
Stoop Hermes let me breathe upon thy browV
And thou shalt see thy sweet nymph even nowV
The God on half shut feathers sank sereneF2
She breath'd upon his eyes and swift was seenF2
Of both the guarded nymph near smiling on the greenF2
It was no dream or say a dream it wasB
Real are the dreams of Gods and smoothly passB
Their pleasures in a long immortal dreamG2
One warm flush'd moment hovering it might seemG2
Dash'd by the wood nymph's beauty so he burn'dT
Then lighting on the printless verdure turn'dT
To the swoon'd serpent and with languid armH2
Delicate put to proof the lythe Caducean charmH2
So done upon the nymph his eyes he bentT
Full of adoring tears and blandishmentT
And towards her stept she like a moon in waneF2
Faded before him cower'd nor could restrainF2
Her fearful sobs self folding like a flowerV
That faints into itself at evening hourV
But the God fostering her chilled handT
She felt the warmth her eyelids open'd blandT
And like new flowers at morning song of beesB
Bloom'd and gave up her honey to the leesB
Into the green recessed woods they flewN
Nor grew they pale as mortal lovers doN
Left to herself the serpent now beganF2
To change her elfin blood in madness ranF2
Her mouth foam'd and the grass therewith besprentN
Wither'd at dew so sweet and virulentN
Her eyes in torture fix'd and anguish drearV
Hot glaz'd and wide with lid lashes all searV
Flash'd phosphor and sharp sparks without one cooling tearV
The colours all inflam'd throughout her trainF2
She writh'd about convuls'd with scarlet painF2
A deep volcanian yellow took the placeB
Of all her milder mooned body's graceB
And as the lava ravishes the meadN
Spoilt all her silver mail and golden bredeN
Made gloom of all her frecklings streaks and barsB
Eclips'd her crescents and lick'd up her starsB
So that in moments few she was undrestN
Of all her sapphires greens and amethystN
And rubious argent of all these bereftN
Nothing but pain and ugliness were leftN
Still shone her crown that vanish'd also sheV
Melted and disappear'd as suddenlyV
And in the air her new voice luting softN
Cried Lycius gentle Lycius Borne aloftN
With the bright mists about the mountains hoarV
These words dissolv'd Crete's forests heard no moreV
Whither fled Lamia now a lady brightN
A full born beauty new and exquisiteN
She fled into that valley they pass o'erV
Who go to Corinth from Cenchreas' shoreV
And rested at the foot of those wild hillsB
The rugged founts of the Peraean rillsB
And of that other ridge whose barren backI2
Stretches with all its mist and cloudy rackI2
South westward to Cleone There she stoodN
About a young bird's flutter from a woodN
Fair on a sloping green of mossy treadN
By a clear pool wherein she passionedN
To see herself escap'd from so sore illsB
While her robes flaunted with the daffodilsB
Ah happy Lycius for she was a maidN
More beautiful than ever twisted braidN
Or sigh'd or blush'd or on spring flowered leaV
Spread a green kirtle to the minstrelsyB
A virgin purest lipp'd yet in the loreV
Of love deep learned to the red heart's coreV
Not one hour old yet of sciential brainF2
To unperplex bliss from its neighbour painF2
Define their pettish limits and estrangeJ2
Their points of contact and swift counterchangeJ2
Intrigue with the specious chaos and dispartN
Its most ambiguous atoms with sure artN
As though in Cupid's college she had spentN
Sweet days a lovely graduate still unshentN
And kept his rosy terms in idle languishmentN
Why this fair creature chose so fairilyV
By the wayside to linger we shall seeB
But first 'Tis fit to tell how she could museB
And dream when in the serpent prison houseB
Of all she list strange or magnificentN
How ever where she will'd her spirit wentN
Whether to faint Elysium or whereV
Down through tress lifting waves the Nereids fairV
Wind into Thetis' bower by many a pearly stairV
Or where God Bacchus drains his cups divineF2
Stretch'd out at ease beneath a glutinous pineF2
Or where in Pluto's gardens palatineF2
Mulciber's columns gleam in far piazzian lineF2
And sometimes into cities she would sendN
Her dream with feast and rioting to blendN
And once while among mortals dreaming thusB
She saw the young Corinthian LyciusB
Charioting foremost in the envious raceB
Like a young Jove with calm uneager faceB
And fell into a swooning love of himK2
Now on the moth time of that evening dimK2
He would return that way as well she knewN
To Corinth from the shore for freshly blewN
The eastern soft wind and his galley nowV
Grated the quaystones with her brazen prowV
In port Cenchreas from Egina isleV
Fresh anchor'd whither he had been awhileV
To sacrifice to Jove whose temple thereV
Waits with high marble doors for blood and incense rareV
Jove heard his vows and better'd his desireV
For by some freakful chance he made retireV
From his companions and set forth to walkL2
Perhaps grown wearied of their Corinth talkL2
Over the solitary hills he faredN
Thoughtless at first but ere eve's star appearedN
His phantasy was lost where reason fadesB
In the calm'd twilight of Platonic shadesB
Lamia beheld him coming near more nearV
Close to her passing in indifference drearV
His silent sandals swept the mossy greenF2
So neighbour'd to him and yet so unseenF2
She stood he pass'd shut up in mysteriesB
His mind wrapp'd like his mantle while her eyesB
Follow'd his steps and her neck regal whiteN
Turn'd syllabling thus Ah Lycius brightN
And will you leave me on the hills aloneF2
Lycius look back and be some pity shownF2
He did not with cold wonder fearinglyV
But Orpheus like at an EurydiceB
For so delicious were the words she sungM2
It seem'd he had lov'd them a whole summer longN2
And soon his eyes had drunk her beauty upO2
Leaving no drop in the bewildering cupO2
And still the cup was full while he afraidN
Lest she should vanish ere his lip had paidN
Due adoration thus began to adoreV
Her soft look growing coy she saw his chain so sureV
Leave thee alone Look back Ah Goddess seeB
Whether my eyes can ever turn from theeB
For pity do not this sad heart belieV
Even as thou vanishest so I shall dieV
Stay though a Naiad of the rivers stayN
To thy far wishes will thy streams obeyN
Stay though the greenest woods be thy domainF2
Alone they can drink up the morning rainF2
Though a descended Pleiad will not oneF2
Of thine harmonious sisters keep in tuneF2
Thy spheres and as thy silver proxy shineF2
So sweetly to these ravish'd ears of mineF2
Came thy sweet greeting that if thou shouldst fadeN
Thy memory will waste me to a shadeN
For pity do not melt If I should stayN
Said Lamia here upon this floor of clayN
And pain my steps upon these flowers too roughP2
What canst thou say or do of charm enoughP2
To dull the nice remembrance of my homeQ2
Thou canst not ask me with thee here to roamQ2
Over these hills and vales where no joy isB
Empty of immortality and blissB
Thou art a scholar Lycius and must knowF2
That finer spirits cannot breathe belowF2
In human climes and live Alas poor youthR2
What taste of purer air hast thou to sootheS2
My essence What serener palacesB
Where I may all my many senses pleaseB
And by mysterious sleights a hundred thirsts appeaseB
It cannot be Adieu So said she roseB
Tiptoe with white arms spread He sick to loseB
The amorous promise of her lone complainF2
Swoon'd murmuring of love and pale with painF2
The cruel lady without any showF2
Of sorrow for her tender favourite's woeF2
But rather if her eyes could brighter beB
With brighter eyes and slow amenityB
Put her new lips to his and gave afreshT2
The life she had so tangled in her meshT2
And as he from one trance was wakeningN2
Into another she began to singN2
Happy in beauty life and love and every thingN2
A song of love too sweet for earthly lyresB
While like held breath the stars drew in their panting firesB
And then she whisper'd in such trembling toneF2
As those who safe together met aloneF2
For the first time through many anguish'd daysB
Use other speech than looks bidding him raiseB
His drooping head and clear his soul of doubtN
For that she was a woman and withoutN
Any more subtle fluid in her veinsB
Than throbbing blood and that the self same painsB
Inhabited her frail strung heart as hisB
And next she wonder'd how his eyes could missB
Her face so long in Corinth where she saidN
She dwelt but half retir'd and there had ledN
Days happy as the gold coin could inventN
Without the aid of love yet in contentN
Till she saw him as once she pass'd him byV
Where 'gainst a column he leant thoughtfullyB
At Venus' temple porch 'mid baskets heap'dN
Of amorous herbs and flowers newly reap'dN
Late on that eve as 'Twas the night beforeV
The Adonian feast whereof she saw no moreV
But wept alone those days for why should she adoreV
Lycius from death awoke into amazeB
To see her still and singing so sweet laysB
Then from amaze into delight he fellV
To hear her whisper woman's lore so wellV
And every word she spake entic'd him onF2
To unperplex'd delight and pleasure knownF2
Let the mad poets say whate'er they pleaseB
Of the sweets of Fairies Peris GoddessesB
There is not such a treat among them allV
Haunters of cavern lake and waterfallV
As a real woman lineal indeedN
From Pyrrha's pebbles or old Adam's seedN
Thus gentle Lamia judg'd and judg'd arightN
That Lycius could not love in half a frightN
So threw the goddess off and won his heartN
More pleasantly by playing woman's partN
With no more awe than what her beauty gaveU2
That while it smote still guaranteed to saveU2
Lycius to all made eloquent replyV
Marrying to every word a twinborn sighV
And last pointing to Corinth ask'd her sweetN
If 'Twas too far that night for her soft feetN
The way was short for Lamia's eagernessB
Made by a spell the triple league decreaseB
To a few paces not at all surmisedN
By blinded Lycius so in her comprizedN
They pass'd the city gates he knew not howV
So noiseless and he never thought to knowF2
As men talk in a dream so Corinth allV
Throughout her palaces imperialV
And all her populous streets and temples lewdN
Mutter'd like tempest in the distance brew'dN
To the wide spreaded night above her towersB
Men women rich and poor in the cool hoursB
Shuffled their sandals o'er the pavement whiteN
Companion'd or alone while many a lightN
Flared here and there from wealthy festivalsB
And threw their moving shadows on the wallsB
Or found them cluster'd in the corniced shadeN
Of some arch'd temple door or dusky colonnadeN
Muffling his face of greeting friends in fearV
Her fingers he press'd hard as one came nearV
With curl'd gray beard sharp eyes and smooth bald crownF2
Slow stepp'd and robed in philosophic gownF2
Lycius shrank closer as they met and pastN
Into his mantle adding wings to hasteN
While hurried Lamia trembled Ah said heB
Why do you shudder love so ruefullyB
Why does your tender palm dissolve in dewN
I'm wearied said fair Lamia tell me whoN
Is that old man I cannot bring to mindN
His features Lycius wherefore did you blindN
Yourself from his quick eyes Lycius repliedN
'Tis Apollonius sage my trusty guideN
And good instructor but to night he seemsB
The ghost of folly haunting my sweet dreamsB
While yet he spake they had arrived beforeV
A pillar'd porch with lofty portal doorV
Where hung a silver lamp whose phosphor glowF2
Reflected in the slabbed steps belowF2
Mild as a star in water for so newN
And so unsullied was the marble hueN
So through the crystal polish liquid fineF2
Ran the dark veins that none but feet divineF2
Could e'er have touch'd there Sounds AeolianF2
Breath'd from the hinges as the ample spanF2
Of the wide doors disclos'd a place unknownF2
Some time to any but those two aloneF2
And a few Persian mutes who that same yearV
Were seen about the markets none knew whereV
They could inhabit the most curiousB
Were foil'd who watch'd to trace them to their houseB
And but the flitter winged verse must tellV
For truth's sake what woe afterwards befelV
'Twould humour many a heart to leave them thusB
Shut from the busy world of more incredulousB
Love in a hut with water and a crustN
Is Love forgive us cinders ashes dustN
Love in a palace is perhaps at lastN
More grievous torment than a hermit's fastN
That is a doubtful tale from faery landN
Hard for the non elect to understandN
Had Lycius liv'd to hand his story downF2
He might have given the moral a fresh frownF2
Or clench'd it quite but too short was their blissB
To breed distrust and hate that make the soft voice hissB
Besides there nightly with terrific glareV
Love jealous grown of so complete a pairV
Hover'd and buzz'd his wings with fearful roarV
Above the lintel of their chamber doorV
And down the passage cast a glow upon the floorV
For all this came a ruin side by sideN
They were enthroned in the even tideN
Upon a couch near to a curtainingN2
Whose airy texture from a golden stringN2
Floated into the room and let appearV
Unveil'd the summer heaven blue and clearV
Betwixt two marble shafts there they reposedN
Where use had made it sweet with eyelids closedN
Saving a tythe which love still open keptN
That they might see each other while they almost sleptN
When from the slope side of a suburb hillV
Deafening the swallow's twitter came a thrillV
Of trumpets Lycius started the sounds fledN
But left a thought a buzzing in his headN
For the first time since first he harbour'd inF2
That purple lined palace of sweet sinF2
His spirit pass'd beyond its golden bournF2
Into the noisy world almost forswornF2
The lady ever watchful penetrantN
Saw this with pain so arguing a wantN
Of something more more than her emperyV
Of joys and she began to moan and sighV
Because he mused beyond her knowing wellV
That but a moment's thought is passion's passing bellV
Why do you sigh fair creature whisper'd heB
Why do you think return'd she tenderlyB
You have deserted me where am I nowF2
Not in your heart while care weighs on your browF2
No no you have dismiss'd me and I goN2
From your breast houseless ay it must be soN2
He answer'd bending to her open eyesB
Where he was mirror'd small in paradiseB
My silver planet both of eve and mornF2
Why will you plead yourself so sad forlornF2
While I am striving how to fill my heartN
With deeper crimson and a double smartN
How to entangle trammel up and snareV
Your soul in mine and labyrinth you thereV
Like the hid scent in an unbudded roseB
Ay a sweet kiss you see your mighty woesB
My thoughts shall I unveil them Listen thenF2
What mortal hath a prize that other menF2
May be confounded and abash'd withalB
But lets it sometimes pace abroad majesticalB
And triumph as in thee I should rejoiceB
Amid the hoarse alarm of Corinth's voiceB
Let my foes choke and my friends shout afarV
While through the thronged streets your bridal carV
Wheels round its dazzling spokes The lady's cheekN2
Trembled she nothing said but pale and meekN2
Arose and knelt before him wept a rainF2
Of sorrows at his words at last with painF2
Beseeching him the while his hand she wrungN2
To change his purpose He thereat was stungN2
Perverse with stronger fancy to reclaimV2
Her wild and timid nature to his aimV2
Besides for all his love in self despiteN
Against his better self he took delightN
Luxurious in her sorrows soft and newF2
His passion cruel grown took on a hueF2
Fierce and sanguineous as 'twas possibleB
In one whose brow had no dark veins to swellB
Fine was the mitigated fury likeN2
Apollo's presence when in act to strikeN2
The serpent Ha the serpent certes sheB
Was none She burnt she lov'd the tyrannyB
And all subdued consented to the hourV
When to the bridal he should lead his paramourV
Whispering in midnight silence said the youthR2
Sure some sweet name thou hast though by my truthR2
I have not ask'd it ever thinking theeB
Not mortal but of heavenly progenyB
As still I do Hast any mortal nameV2
Fit appellation for this dazzling frameV2
Or friends or kinsfolk on the citied earthW2
To share our marriage feast and nuptial mirthW2
I have no friends said Lamia no not oneF2
My presence in wide Corinth hardly knownF2
My parents' bones are in their dusty urnsB
Sepulchred where no kindled incense burnsB
Seeing all their luckless race are dead save meB
And I neglect the holy rite for theeB
Even as you list invite your many guestsB
But if as now it seems your vision restsB
With any pleasure on me do not bidN
Old Apollonius from him keep me hidN
Lycius perplex'd at words so blind and blankN2
Made close inquiry from whose touch she shrankN2
Feigning a sleep and he to the dull shadeN
Of deep sleep in a moment was betray'dN
It was the custom then to bring awayN
The bride from home at blushing shut of dayN
Veil'd in a chariot heralded alongN2
By strewn flowers torches and a marriage songN2
With other pageants but this fair unknownF2
Had not a friend So being left aloneF2
Lycius was gone to summon all his kinF2
And knowing surely she could never winF2
His foolish heart from its mad pompousnessB
She set herself high thoughted how to dressB
The misery in fit magnificenceB
She did so but 'Tis doubtful how and whenceB
Came and who were her subtle servitorsB
About the halls and to and from the doorsB
There was a noise of wings till in short spaceB
The glowing banquet room shone with wide arched graceB
A haunting music sole perhaps and loneF2
Supportress of the faery roof made moanF2
Throughout as fearful the whole charm might fadeN
Fresh carved cedar mimicking a gladeN
Of palm and plantain met from either sideN
High in the midst in honour of the brideN
Two palms and then two plantains and so onF2
From either side their stems branch'd one to oneF2
All down the aisled place and beneath allB
There ran a stream of lamps straight on from wall to wallB
So canopied lay an untasted feastN
Teeming with odours Lamia regal drestN
Silently paced about and as she wentN
In pale contented sort of discontentN
Mission'd her viewless servants to enrichX2
The fretted splendour of each nook and nicheX2
Between the tree stems marbled plain at firstN
Came jasper pannels then anon there burstN
Forth creeping imagery of slighter treesB
And with the larger wove in small intricaciesB
Approving all she faded at self willB
And shut the chamber up close hush'd and stillB
Complete and ready for the revels rudeN
When dreadful guests would come to spoil her solitudeN
The day appear'd and all the gossip routN
O senseless Lycius Madman wherefore floutN
The silent blessing fate warm cloister'd hoursB
And show to common eyes these secret bowersB
The herd approach'd each guest with busy brainF2
Arriving at the portal gaz'd amainF2
And enter'd marveling for they knew the streetN
Remember'd it from childhood all completeN
Without a gap yet ne'er before had seenF2
That royal porch that high built fair demesneF2
So in they hurried all maz'd curious and keenF2
Save one who look'd thereon with eye severeV
And with calm planted steps walk'd in austereV
'Twas Apollonius something too he laugh'dN
As though some knotty problem that had daftN
His patient thought had now begun to thawY2
And solve and melt 'twas just as he foresawY2
He met within the murmurous vestibuleB
His young disciple 'Tis no common ruleB
Lycius said he for uninvited guestN
To force himself upon you and infestN
With an unbidden presence the bright throngN2
Of younger friends yet must I do this wrongN2
And you forgive me Lycius blush'd and ledN
The old man through the inner doors broad spreadN
With reconciling words and courteous mienF2
Turning into sweet milk the sophist's spleenF2
Of wealthy lustre was the banquet roomZ2
Fill'd with pervading brilliance and perfumeZ2
Before each lucid pannel fuming stoodN
A censer fed with myrrh and spiced woodN
Each by a sacred tripod held aloftN
Whose slender feet wide swerv'd upon the softN
Wool woofed carpets fifty wreaths of smokeN2
From fifty censers their light voyage tookN2
To the high roof still mimick'd as they roseB
Along the mirror'd walls by twin clouds odorousB
Twelve sphered tables by silk seats inspheredN
High as the level of a man's breast rear'dN
On libbard's paws upheld the heavy goldN
Of cups and goblets and the store thrice toldN
Of Ceres' horn and in huge vessels wineF2
Come from the gloomy tun with merry shineF2
Thus loaded with a feast the tables stoodN
Each shrining in the midst the image of a GodN
When in an antichamber every guestN
Had felt the cold full sponge to pleasure press'dN
By minist'ring slaves upon his hands and feetN
And fragrant oils with ceremony meetN
Pour'd on his hair they all mov'd to the feastN
In white robes and themselves in order placedN
Around the silken couches wonderingN2
Whence all this mighty cost and blaze of wealth could springN2
Soft went the music the soft air alongN2
While fluent Greek a vowel'd undersongN2
Kept up among the guests discoursing lowB
At first for scarcely was the wine at flowB
But when the happy vintage touch'd their brainsB
Louder they talk and louder come the strainsB
Of powerful instruments the gorgeous dyesB
The space the splendour of the draperiesB
The roof of awful richness nectarous cheerV
Beautiful slaves and Lamia's self appearV
Now when the wine has done its rosy deedN
And every soul from human trammels freedN
No more so strange for merry wine sweet wineF2
Will make Elysian shades not too fair too divineF2
Soon was God Bacchus at meridian heightN
Flush'd were their cheeks and bright eyes double brightN
Garlands of every green and every scentN
From vales deflower'd or forest trees branch rentN
In baskets of bright osier'd gold were broughtN
High as the handles heap'd to suit the thoughtN
Of every guest that each as he did pleaseB
Might fancy fit his brows silk pillow'd at his easeB
What wreath for Lamia What for LyciusB
What for the sage old ApolloniusB
Upon her aching forehead be there hungN2
The leaves of willow and of adder's tongueN2
And for the youth quick let us strip for himK2
The thyrsus that his watching eyes may swimK2
Into forgetfulness and for the sageJ2
Let spear grass and the spiteful thistle wageJ2
War on his temples Do not all charms flyB
At the mere touch of cold philosophyB
There was an awful rainbow once in heavenF2
We know her woof her texture she is givenF2
In the dull catalogue of common thingsB
Philosophy will clip an Angel's wingsB
Conquer all mysteries by rule and lineF2
Empty the haunted air and gnomed mineF2
Unweave a rainbow as it erewhile madeN
The tender person'd Lamia melt into a shadeN
By her glad Lycius sitting in chief placeB
Scarce saw in all the room another faceB
Till checking his love trance a cup he tookN2
Full brimm'd and opposite sent forth a lookN2
'Cross the broad table to beseech a glanceB
From his old teacher's wrinkled countenanceB
And pledge him The bald head philosopherV
Had fix'd his eye without a twinkle or stirV
Full on the alarmed beauty of the brideN
Brow beating her fair form and troubling her sweet prideN
Lycius then press'd her hand with devout touchA3
As pale it lay upon the rosy couchB3
'Twas icy and the cold ran through his veinsB
Then sudden it grew hot and all the painsB
Of an unnatural heat shot to his heartN
Lamia what means this Wherefore dost thou startN
Know'st thou that man Poor Lamia answer'd notN
He gaz'd into her eyes and not a jotN
Own'd they the lovelorn piteous appealB
More more he gaz'd his human senses reelB
Some hungry spell that loveliness absorbsB
There was no recognition in those orbsB
Lamia he cried and no soft toned replyB
The many heard and the loud revelryB
Grew hush the stately music no more breathesB
The myrtle sicken'd in a thousand wreathsB
By faint degrees voice lute and pleasure ceasedN
A deadly silence step by step increasedN
Until it seem'd a horrid presence thereV
And not a man but felt the terror in his hairV
Lamia he shriek'd and nothing but the shriekN2
With its sad echo did the silence breakN2
Begone foul dream he cried gazing againF2
In the bride's face where now no azure veinF2
Wander'd on fair spaced temples no soft bloomZ2
Misted the cheek no passion to illumeZ2
The deep recessed vision all was blightN
Lamia no longer fair there sat a deadly whiteN
Shut shut those juggling eyes thou ruthless manF2
Turn them aside wretch or the righteous banF2
Of all the Gods whose dreadful imagesB
Here represent their shadowy presencesB
May pierce them on the sudden with the thornF2
Of painful blindness leaving thee forlornF2
In trembling dotage to the feeblest frightN
Of conscience for their long offended mightN
For all thine impious proud heart sophistriesB
Unlawful magic and enticing liesB
Corinthians look upon that gray beard wretchB3
Mark how possess'd his lashless eyelids stretchB3
Around his demon eyes Corinthians seeB
My sweet bride withers at their potencyB
Fool said the sophist in an under toneF2
Gruff with contempt which a death nighing moanF2
From Lycius answer'd as heart struck and lostN
He sank supine beside the aching ghostN
Fool Fool repeated he while his eyes stillB
Relented not nor mov'd from every illB
Of life have I preserv'd thee to this dayN
And shall I see thee made a serpent's preyN
Then Lamia breath'd death breath the sophist's eyeB
Like a sharp spear went through her utterlyB
Keen cruel perceant stinging she as wellB
As her weak hand could any meaning tellB
Motion'd him to be silent vainly soB
He look'd and look'd again a level NoB
A Serpent echoed he no sooner saidN
Than with a frightful scream she vanishedN
And Lycius' arms were empty of delightN
As were his limbs of life from that same nightN
On the high couch he lay his friends came roundN
Supported him no pulse or breath they foundN
And in its marriage robe the heavy body woundN

John Keats


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