A curse! a curse! the beautiful
Of a sea-bird was worn with wandering,
And, on a sunny rock beside the shore,
It stood, the golden waters gazing o’er;
And they were heaving a brown amber flow
Of weeds, that glitter’d gloriously below.
It was the sunset, and the
Of heaven rose up on pillars magical
Of living silver, shafting the fair sky
Between dark time and great eternity.
They rose upon their pedestal of sun,
A line of snowy columns! and anon
Were lost in the rich tracery of cloud
That hung along, magnificently proud,
Predicting the pure star-light, that beyond
The east was armouring in diamond
About the camp of twilight, and was soon
To marshal under the fair champion moon,
That call’d her chariot of unearthly mist,
Toward her citadel of amethyst.
A curse! a curse! a lonely
man is there
By the deep waters, with a burden fair
Clasp’d in his wearied arms—’Tis he; ’tis he
The brain-struck Julio, and Agathe!
His cowl is back—flung back upon the breeze,
His lofty brow is haggard with disease,
As if a wild libation had been pour’d
Of lightning on those temples, and they shower’d
A dismal perspiration, like a rain,
Shook by the thunder and the hurricane!
He dropt upon a rock, and
by him placed,
Over a bed of sea-pinks growing waste,
The silent ladye, and he mutter’d wild,
Strange words, about a mother, and no child.
“And I shall wed thee, Agathe! although
Ours be no God-blest bridal—even so!”
And from the sand he took a silver shell,
That had been wasted by the fall and swell
Of many a moon-borne tide into a ring—
A rude, rude ring; it was a snow-white thing,
Where a lone hermit limpet slept and died,
In ages far away. “Thou art a bride,
Sweet Agathe! Wake up; we must not linger.”
He press’d the ring upon her chilly finger,
And to the sea-bird, on its sunny stone,
Shouted, “Pale priest! thou liest all alone
Upon thy ocean altar, rise away
To our glad bridal!” and its wings of gray
All lazily it spread, and hover’d by
With a wild shriek—a melancholy cry!
Then swooping slowly o’er the heaving breast
Of the blue ocean, vanish’d in the west.
And Julio is chanting to his
A merry song of his wild heart, that died
On the soft breeze through pinks beside the sea,
All rustling in their beauty gladsomely.
A rosary of stars, love! we’ll
count them as we go
Upon the laughing waters, that are wandering below,
And we’ll o’er the pearly moon-beam, as it lieth in the sea,
In beauty and in glory, like a shadowing of thee!