Wisdom set apart from all desire,
A hoary Nestor with youth's own glad eyes,
Him met I at the style, and all benign
He greeted me an equal and I knew,
By this his lack of pomp, he was himself.
Slow-Smiling is companion unto him,
And Mellow-Laughter serves, his trencherman.
And I a thousand beauties there beheld.
And he and they made merry endlessly.
And love was rayed between them as a mist,
And yet so fine and delicate a haze
It did impede the eyes no whit,
Unless it were to make the halo round each one
Appear more myriad-jewelled marvellous,
Than any pearled and ruby diadem the courts o' earth
Slender as mist-wrought maids and hamadryads
Did meseem these shapes that ministered,
These formed harmonies with lake-deep eyes,
And first the cities of north Italy
I did behold,
Each as a woman wonder-fair,
And svelte Verona first I met at eve;
And in the dark we kissed and then the way
Bore us somewhile apart.
And yet my heart keeps tryst with her,
So every year our thoughts are interwove
As fingers were, such times as eyes see much, and tell.
And she that loved the master years agone,
That bears his signet in her "Signor Square,"
"Che lo glorifico."
She spread her arms,
And in that deep embrace
All thoughts of woe were perished
And of pain and weariness and all the wrack
Of light-contending thoughts and battled-gleams,
(That our intelligence doth gain by strife against itself)
Of things we have not yet the earnèd right to clearly see.
And all, yea all that dust doth symbolize
Was there forgot, and my enfranchised soul
Grew as the liquid elements, and was infused
With joy that is not light, nor might nor harmony,
And yet hath part and quality of all these three,
Whereto is added calm past earthly peace.
Thus with Verona's spirit, and all time
Swept on beyond my ken, and as the sea
Hath in no wise a form within itself,
Cioè, as liquid hath no form save where it bounden is
By some enshrouding chalice of hard things—
As wine its graven goblet, and the sea
Its wave-hewn basalt for a bordering,
So had my thought and now my thought's remembrance
No "information" of whatso there passed
For this long space the dream-king's horny gate.
And when that age was done and the transfusion
Of all my self through her and she through me,
I did perceive that she enthroned two things:
Verona, and a maid I knew on earth;
And dulled some while from dream, and then become
That lower thing, deductive intellect, I saw
How all things are but symbols of all things,
And each of many, do we know
But the equation governing.
And in my rapture at this vision's scope
I saw no end or bourn to what things mean,
So praised Pythagoras and once more raised
By this said rapture to the house of Dream,
Beheld Fenicè as a lotus-flower
Drift through the purple of the wedded sea
And grow a wraith and then a dark-eyed she,
And knew her name was "All-forgetfulness,"
And hailed her: "Princess of the Opiates,"
And guessed her evil and her good thereby.
And then a maid of nine "Pavia" hight,
Passed with a laugh that was all mystery,
And when I turned to her
She reached me one clear chalice of white wine,
Pressed from the recent grapes that yet were hung
Adown her shoulders, and were bound
Right cunningly about her elfish brows;
So hale a draught, the life of every grape
Lurked without ferment in the amber cloud.
And memory, this wine was, of all good.
And more I might have seen: Firenza, Goito,
Or that proudest gate, Ligurian Genoa,
Cornelia of Colombo of far sight,
That, man and seer in one, had well been twain,
And each a glory to his hills and sea;
And past her a great band
Bright garlanded or rich with purple skeins,
And crimson mantles and queynt fineries
That tarnished held but so the more
Of dim allurement in their half-shown folds:
So swept my vision o'er their filmy ranks,
Then rose some opaque cloud,
Whose name I have not yet discerned,
And music as I heard it one clear night
Within our earthly night's own mirroring,
Cioè,—San Pietro by Adige,
Where altar candles blazed out as dim stars,
And all the gloom was soft, and shadowy forms
Made and sang God, within the far-off choir.
And in a clear space high behind
Them and the tabernacle of that place,
Two tapers shew the master of the keys
As some white power pouring forth itself.
And all the church rang low and murmured
Thus in my dream of forms the music swayed.
And I was lost in it and only woke
When something like a mass bell rang, and then
That white-foot wind, pale Dawn's annunciatrice.
Me bore to earth again, but some strange peace
I had not known so well before this swevyn
Clung round my head and made me hate earth less.