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Their faces were not made for wrinkles, their
Pure blood to stagnate, their great hearts to fail ; The blank grey was not made to blast their hair,
But like the climes that know nor snow nor hail They were all summer : lightning might assail
And shiver them to ashes, but to trail
They were alone once more; for them to be
Thus was another Eden; they were never Weary, unless when separate: the tree
Cut from its forest root of years— the river Damm'd from its fountain — the child from the knee
And breast maternal wean'd at once for ever, Would wither less than these two torn apart ;(1) Alas ! there is no instinct like the heart
The heart—which may be broken: happy they!
Thrice fortunate! who of that fragile mould, The precious porcelain of human clay,
Break with the first fall: they can ne'er behold The long year link'd with heavy day on day,
And all which must be borne, and never told; While life's strange principle will often lie Deepest in those who long the most to die.
(1) [MS. -.
“ from its mother's knee
“ Whom the gods love die young,” was said of
yore, () And many deaths do they escape by this: The death of friends, and that which slays even
The death of friendship, love, youth, all that is, Except mere breath; and since the silent shore
Awaits at last even those who longest miss The old archer's shafts, perhaps the early grave · Which men weep over may be meant to save. (2)
Haidée and Juan thought not of the dead. [them :
The heavens, and earth, and air, seem'd made for They found no fault with Time, save that he fled;
They saw not in themselves aught to condemn : Each was the other's mirror, and but read
Joy sparkling in their dark eyes like a gem, And knew such brightness was but the reflection Of their exchanging glances of affection.
The gentle pressure, and the thrilling touch,
The least glance better understood than words, : Which still said all, and ne'er could say too much;
A language, too, but like to that of birds, Known but to them, at least appearing such
As but to lovers a true sense affords; Sweet playful phrases, which would seem absurd To those who have ceased to hear such, or ne'er heard: (1) See Herodotus. (2) [“ The less of this cold world, the more of Heaven.” – Miluan.]
All these were theirs, for they were children still,
And children still they should have ever been ; They were not made in the real world to fill
A busy character in the dull scene, But like two beings born from out a rill,
A nymph and her beloved, all unseen To pass
their lives in fountains and on flowers, And never know the weight of human hours.
Moons changing had rolld on, and changeless found
Those their bright rise had lighted to such joys As rarely they beheld throughout their round;
And these were not of the vain kind which cloys, For theirs were buoyant spirits, never bound
By the mere senses; and that which destroys (1) Most love, possession, unto them appear'd A thing which each endearment more endear'd.
But theirs was love in which the mind delights To lose itself, when the old world grows dull,
And we are sick of its hack sounds and sights, Intrigues, adventures of the common school,
Its petty passions, marriages, and flights, Where Hymen's torch but brands one strumpet more, Whose husband only knows her not a wh-re.
(1) [MS. — “For theirs were buoyant spirits, which would bound
'Gainst common failings," &c.]
Hard words; harsh truth; a truth which many know.
Enough.— The faithful and the fairy pair, Who never found a single hour too slow,
What was it made them thus exempt from care? Young innate feelings all have felt below,
Which perish in the rest, but in them were
This is in others a factitious state,
An opium dream (1) of too much youth and reading, But was in them their nature or their fate :
No novels e'er had set their young hearts bleeding, For Haidée's knowledge was by no means great,
And Juan was a boy of saintly breeding; So that there was no reason for their loves More than for those of nightingales or doves.
They gazed upon the sunset; 't is an hour
Dear unto all, but dearest to their eyes, For it had made them what they were: the power Of love had first o'erwhelm'd them from such
skies, When happiness had been their only dower,
And twilight saw them link'd in passion's ties; Charm'd with each other, all things charm'd that
brought The past still welcome as the present thought.
(1) [The celebrated “Confessions of an English Opium Eater," by Mr. De Quincey, had been published shortly before this Canto was written. — E.]
I know not why, but in that hour to-night,
Even as they gazed, a sudden tremor came, And swept, as 't were, across their heart's delight,
Like the wind o'er a harp-string, or a flame, When one is shook in sound, and one in sight;
And thus some boding flash'd through either frame, And call’d from Juan's breast a faint low sigh, While one new tear arose in Haidée's eye.
That large black prophet eye seem'd to dilate
And follow far the disappearing sun, As if their last day of a happy date [gone;
With his broad, bright, and dropping orb were Juan gazed on her as to ask his fate
He felt a grief, but knowing cause for none, His glance enquired of hers for some excuse For feelings causeless, or at least abstruse.
She turn'd to him, and smiled, but in that sort
Which makes not others smile;(1) then turn'daside: Whatever feeling shook her, it seem'd short,
And master'd by her wisdom or her pride; When Juan spoke, too — it might be in sport
Of this their mutual feeling, she replied “ If it should be so,—but-it cannot beOr I at least shall not survive to see.”
(1) [“ Seldom he smiles; and smiles in such a sort,
As if he mock'd himself, and scorn'd his spirit,