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And intertangled lines of light :- a knell

Of sobbing voices came upon her ears From those departing Forms, o'er the serene Of the white streams and of the forest green.


All day the wizard lady sate aloof,

Spelling out scrolls of dread antiquity,
Under the cavern's fountain-lighted roof;

Or broidering the pictured poesy
Of some high tale upon her growing woof,

Which the sweet splendour of her smiles could dye
In hues outshining Heaven - and ever she
Added some grace to the wrought poesy.


While on her hearth lay blazing many a piece

Of sandal wood, rare gums and cinnamon; Men scarcely know how beautiful fire is

Each flame of it is as a precious stone
Dissolved in ever-moving light, and this

Belongs to each and all who gaze upon.
The Witch beheld it not, for in her hand
She held a woof that dimmed the burning brand.


This lady never slept, but lay in trance

All night within the fountain — as in sleep.
Its emerald crags glowed in her beauty's glance ;

Through the green splendour of the water deep
She saw the constellations reel and dance

Like fire-flies and withal did ever keep
The tenour of her contemplations calm,
With open eyes, closed feet and folded palm.


And when the whirlwinds and the clouds descended

From the white pinnacles of that cold hill, She past at dewfall to a space extended,

Where in a lawn of flowering asphodel Amid a wood of pines and cedars blended,

There yawned an inextinguishable well Of crimson fire — full even to the brim, And overflowing all the margin trim.



Within the which she lay when the fierce war

Of wintry winds shook that innocuous liquor In many a mimic moon and bearded star O'er woods and lawns ; the serpent heard it flicker In sleep, and dreaming still, he crept afar

And when the windless snow descended thicker Than autumn leaves, she watched it as it came Melt on the surface of the level flame.


She had a Boat, which some say Vulcan wrought

For Venus, as the chariot of her star; But it was found too feeble to be fraught

With all the ardours in that sphere which are, And so she sold it, and Apollo bought

And gave it to this daughter : from a car Changed to the fairest and the lightest boat Which ever upon mortal stream did float.


And others say, that, when but three hours old,

The first-born Love out of his cradle leapt,
And clove dun Chaos with his wings of gold,

And like an horticultural adept,
Stole a strange seed, and wrapt it up in mould,

And sowed it in his mother's star, and kept
Watering it all the summer with sweet dew,
And with his wings fanning it as it grew.


The plant grew strong



Fell, and the long and gourd-like fruit began
To turn the light and dew by inward power

To its own substance ; woven tracery ran
Of light firm texture, ribbed and branching, o'er

The solid rind, like a leaf's veinèd fan-
Of which Love scooped this boat — and with soft motion
Piloted it round the circumfluous océan.



This boat she moored upon her fount, and lit

A living spirit within all its frame, Breathing the soul of swiftness into it.

Couched on the fountain like a panther tame,
One of the twain at Evan's feet that sit

Or as on Vesta's sceptre a swift flame -
Or on blind Homer's heart a winged thought,-
In joyous expectation lay the boat.


Then by strange art she kneaded fire and snow

Together, tempering the repugnant mass
With liquid love -- all things together grow
Through which the harmony of love can pass ;

And a fair Shape out of her hands did flow –

A living Image, which did far surpass In beauty that bright shape of vital stone Which drew the heart out of Pygmalion.


A sexless thing it was, and in its growth

It seemed to have developed no defect Of either sex, yet all the grace of both,

In gentleness and strength its limbs were decked ; The bosom swelled lightly with its full youth,

The countenance was such as might select Some artis his skill should never die, Imaging forth such perfect purity.


From its smooth shoulders hung two rapid wings,

Fit to have borne it to the seventh sphere, Tipt with the speed of liquid lightnings,

Dyed in the ardours of the atmosphere : She led her creature to the boiling springs Where the light boat was moored, and said : "Sit

here!" And pointed to the prow, and took her seat Beside the rudder, with opposing feet.

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