LOVE and love's beauty only hold their revels

In life's familiar, penetrable levels:

What of its ocean-floor?

I dwell there evermore.

From almost earliest youth

I raised the lids o' the truth,

And forced her bend on me her shrinking sight;

Ever I knew me Beauty's eremite,

In antre of this lowly body set,

Girt with a thirsty solitude of soul.

Natheless I not forget

How I have, even as the anchorite,

I too, imperishing essences that console.

Under my ruined passions, fallen and sere,

The wild dreams stir, like little radiant girls

Whom in the moulted plumage of the year

Their comrades sweet have buried to the curls.

Yet, though their dedicated amorist,

Soul, hush these sad numbers, too sad to upraise

In hymning bright Sylvia, unlearn'd in such ways!

Our mournful moods lay we away,

And prank our thoughts in holiday,

For syllabling to Sylvia;

When all the birds on branches lave their mouths with May,

To bear with us this burthen

For singing to Sylvia!

How often do I bid my visions hist,

Deaf to them, pleading all their piteous fills;

Who weep, as weep the maidens of the mist

Clinging the necks of the unheeding hills:

And their tears wash them lovelier than before,

That from grief's self our sad delight grows more.

Fair are the soul's uncrisped calms, indeed,

Endiapered with many a spiritual form

Of blosmy-tinctured weed;

But scarce itself is conscious of the store

Suckled by it, and only after storm

Casts up its loosened thoughts upon the shore.

To this end my deeps are stirred;

And I deem well why life unshared

Was ordained me of yore.

In pairing-time, we know, the bird

Kindles to its deepmost splendour,

And the tender

Voice is tenderest in its throat:

Were its love, for ever nigh it,

Never by it,

It might keep a vernal note,

The crocean and amethystine

In their pristine

Lustre linger on its coat.

Therefore must my song-bower lone be,

That my tone be

Fresh with dewy pain alway;

She, who scorns my dearest care ta'en,

An uncertain

Shadow of the sprite of May.