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And still I felt the centre of

The magic circle there
Was one fair form that fill’d with love

The lifeless atmosphere.

IV

We paused beside the pools that lie

Under the forest bough,-
Each seem'd as 'twere a little sky

Gulf'd in a world below;
A firmament of purple light

Which in the dark earth lay,
More boundless than the depth of night,

And purer than the day-
In which the lovely forests grew,

As in the upper air,
More perfect both in shape and hue

Than any spreading there.
There lay the glade and neighbouring lawn,

And through the dark green wood
The white sun twinkling like the dawn

Out of a speckled cloud.
Sweet views which in our world above

Can never well be seen,
Were imaged by the water's love

Of that fair forest green.
And all was interfused beneath

With an Elysian glow,
An atmosphere without a breath,

A softer day below.
Like one beloved the scene had lent

To the dark water's breast
Its
every

leaf and lineament With more than truth express'd ; Elysian) Elysium in Greek mythology was the abode of the blessed after death.

lineament] outline, E

Until an envious wind crept by,

Like an unwelcome thought,
Which from the mind's too faithful eye

Blots one dear image out.
Though thou art ever fair and kind,

The forests ever green,
Less oft is peace in Shelley's mind,
Than calm in waters, seen.

Shelley.

53

Kubla Khan; or, A Vision

in a Dream

In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure-dome decree :
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
Through caverns measureless to man

Down to a sunless sea.
So twice five miles of fertile ground
With walls and towers were girdled round :
And there were gardens bright with sinuous rills
Where blossom'd many an incense-bearing tree;
And here were forests ancient as the hills,
Enfolding sunny spots of greenery.

But O! that deep romantic chasm which slanted
Down the green hill athwart a cedarn cover !
A savage place ! as holy and enchanted
As e'er beneath a waning moon was haunted
By woman wailing for her demon-lover!
And from this chasm, with ceaseless turmoil seething,
As if this earth in fast thick pants were breathing,
A mighty fountain momently was forced :

sinuous] winding.

Amid whose swift half-intermitted burst
Huge fragments vaulted like rebounding hail,
Or chaffy grain beneath the thresher's flail :
And ’mid these dancing rocks at once and ever
It flung up momently the sacred river.
Five miles meandering with a mazy motion
Through wood and dale the sacred river ran,
Then reach'd the caverns measureless to man,
And sank in tumult to a lifeless ocean :
And 'mid this tumult Kubla heard from far
Ancestral voices prophesying war!

The shadow of the dome of pleasure
Floated midway on the waves ;
Where was heard the mingled measure

From the fountain and the caves.
It was a miracle of rare device,
A sunny pleasure-dome with caves of ice !

A damsel with a dulcimer
In a vision once I saw :
It was an Abyssinian maid,
And on her dulcimer she play'd,
Singing of Mount Abora.
Could I revive within me
Her symphony and song,

To such a deep delight 'twould win me,
That with music loud and long,
I would build that dome in air,
That sunny

dome! those caves of ice ! And all who heard should see them there, And all should cry, Beware ! Beware !

His flashing eyes, his floating hair ! intermitted) interrupted.

measure] rhythm as of music. dulcimer] a percussion instrument, whether of stretched strings or of bars.

symphony) accompaniment.

Weave a circle round him thrice,
And close your eyes with holy dread,
For he on honey-dew hath fed,
And drunk the milk of Paradise.

Coleridge, 1797.

54

SWEEP thy faint strings, Musician,

With thy long lean hand;
Downward the starry tapers burn,

Sinks soft the waning sand ;
The old hound whimpers couch'd in sleep,

The embers smoulder low;
Across the wall the shadows

Come, and go.

Sweep softly thy strings, Musician,

The minutes mount to hours ;
Frost on the windless casement weaves

A labyrinth of flowers ;
Ghosts linger in the darkening air,

Hearken at the open door ;
Music hath call’d them, dreaming,
Home once more.

Walter de la Mare.

55 The Ballad of True Thomas

TRUE Thomas lay on Huntlie bank ;

A ferlie he spied wi' his ee ;
And there he saw a lady bright

Come riding down by the Eildon Tree. ferlie) marvel. Eildon Tree) under which Thomas the Rhymer delivered his prophecies,

was

Her skirt o' the

grass-green silk, Her mantle o' the velvet fine ; At ilka tett of her horse's mane

Hung fifty siller bells and nine.

True Thomas he pu'd aff his cap

And louted low down to his knee : All hail, thou mighty Queen of heaven! For thy peer on earth I never did see.'

O no, O no, Thomas (she said),

That name does not belang to me; I'm but the Queen o' fair Elfland,

That am hither come to visit thee.

‘Harp and carp, Thomas (she said);

Harp and carp along wi' me; And if ye dare to kiss my lips,

Sure of your bodie I will be.'

• Betide me weal, betide me woe,

That weird shall never daunten me.' Syne he has kiss'd her rosy lips,

All underneath the Eildon Tree.

* Now
ye maun go

wi' me (she said), True Thomas, ye maun go

wi'

me; And

ye maun serve me seven years, Thro' weal or woe as may chance to be.'

She mounted on her milk-white steed,

She 's ta'en true Thomas up behind : And aye,

whene'er her bridle rang,
The steed flew swifter than the wind.

ilka tett] every tassel.
weird) fate.

harp and carp) play and recite.

syne) then.

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