« AnteriorContinuar »
And from her chamber-window he would catch
Her beauty farther than the falcon
And constant as her vespers would he watch,
Because her face was turn'd to the
And with sick longing all the night out
To hear her morning-step upon the stair,
A whole long month of May in this sad plight
Made their cheeks paler by the break of June:
"To-morrow will I bow to my delight, To-morrow will I ask my lady's boon."-
"O may I never see another night,
Lorenzo, if thy lips breathe not love's tune."
So spake they to their pillows: but, alas, Honeyless days and days did he let pass;
Until sweet Isabella's untouch'd cheek
Fell sick within the rose's just domain, Fell thin as a young mother's, who doth seek
By every lull to cool her infant's pain : "How ill she is," said he, "I may not speak,
And yet I will, and tell my love all plain :
If looks speak love-laws, I will drink
But to each other dream, and nightly weep.
With every morn their love grew tenderer,
With every eve deeper and tenderer
He might not in house, field, or garden stir,
But her full shape would all his seeing
fill; And his continual voice was pleasanter
To her, than noise of trees or hidden rill;
Her lute-string gave an echo of his name, She spoilt her half-done broidery with the same.
He knew whose gentle hand was at the latch,
Before the door had given her to his eyes;
A thousand men in troubles wide and dark:
Half-ignorant, they turn'd an easy wheel,
That set sharp racks at work, to pinch and peel.
Why were they proud? Because their marble founts
Gush'd with more pride than do a wretch's tears?
Why were they proud? Because fair orange-mounts
Were of more soft ascent than lazar stairs?
Why were they proud? Because redlin'd accounts
Were richer than the songs of Grecian years?—
Why were they proud? again we ask aloud,
Why in the name of Glory were they proud?
Yet were these Florentines as self-retired
In hungry pride and gainful cowardice, As two close Hebrews in that land in
Great wits in Spanish, Tuscan, and Malay.
How was it these same ledger-men could spy
Fair Isabella in her downy nest? How could they find out in Lorenzo's eye A straying from his toil? Hot Egypt's pest
Into their vision covetous and sly!
How could these money-bags see east and west?
Yet so they did-and every dealer fair Must see behind, as doth the hunted hare.
O eloquent and famed Boccaccio!
Of thee we now should ask forgiving boon,
And of thy spicy myrtles as they blow,
And of thy roses amorous of the moon, And of thy lilies, that do paler grow
Now they can no more hear thy ghittern's tune,
For they resolved in some forest dim To kill Lorenzo, and there bury him.
So on a pleasant morning, as he leant
Into the sun-rise, o'er the balustrade Of the garden-terrace, towards him they bent
Their footing through the dews; and to him said,
"You seem there in the quiet of content,
Lorenzo, and we are most loth to invade
Calm speculation; but if you are wise, Bestride your steed while cold is in the skies.
"To-day we purpose, ay, this hour we
To spur three leagues towards the Apennine;
Come down, we pray thee, ere the hot
His dewy rosary on the eglantine." Lorenzo, courteously as he was wont,
Bow'd a fair greeting to these serpents' whine;
And went in haste, to get in readiness, With belt, and spur, and bracing huntsman's dress.
And as he to the court-yard pass'd along, Each third step did he pause, and listen'd oft
If he could hear his lady's matin-song, Or the light whisper of her footstep soft:
And as he thus over his passion hung, He heard a laugh full musical aloft; When, looking up, he saw her features bright
Smile through an in-door lattice, all delight.
"Love, Isabel!" said he, “I was in pain Lest I should miss to bid thee a good
Ah! what if I should lose thee, when so fain
I am to stifle all the heavy sorrow Of a poor three hours' absence? but we'll gain
Out of the amorous dark what day doth borrow.
Good bye! I'll soon be back."-" Good bye!" said she :—
And as he went she chanted merrily.
So the two brothers and their murder'd
Rode past fair Florence, to where Arno's stream
Gurgles through straiten'd banks, and still doth fan
Itself with dancing bulrush, and the bream
Keeps head against the freshets. Sick and wan
The brothers' faces in the ford did seem,
Lorenzo's flush with love.-They pass'd the water
Into a forest quiet for the slaughter.
There was Lorenzo slain and buried in, There in that forest did his great love
Because Lorenzo came not. Oftentimes She ask'd her brothers, with an eye all pale,
Striving to be itself, what dungeon climes
Could keep him off so long? They spake a tale,
Time after time, to quiet her. Their crimes
Came on them, like a smoke from Hinnom's vale;
And every night in dreams they groan'd
To see their sister in her snowy shroud.
And she had died in drowsy ignorance, But for a thing more deadly dark than all;
It came like a fierce potion, drunk by chance,
Which saves a sick man from the feather'd pall
For some few gasping moments; like a lance,
Waking an Indian from his cloudy hall
With cruel pierce, and bringing him again
Sense of the gnawing fire at heart and brain.
It was a vision.-In the drowsy gloom, The dull of midnight, at her couch's foot
Lorenzo stood, and wept: the forest tomb
Had marr'd his glossy hair which once could shoot
Lustre into the sun, and put cold doom
Upon his lips, and taken the soft lute From his lorn voice, and past his loamed