The deathly power in silence drew
My lady’s life away.
I watched, dumb with dismay,
The shock of thrills that quivered thro’
And tightened every limb:
For grief my eyes grew dim;
More near, more near, the moment grew.
O horrible suspense!
O giddy impotence!
I saw her fingers lax, and change their hue.
Her gaze, grown large with fate, was cast
Where my mute agonies
Made more sad her sad eyes:
Her breath caught with short plucks and fast:—
Then one hot choking strain.
She never breathed again:
I had the look which was her last:
Even after breath was gone,
Her love one moment shone,—
Then slowly closed, and hope for ever passed.
Silence seemed to start in space
When first the bell’s harsh toll
Rang for my lady’s soul.
Vitality was hell; her grace
The shadow of a dream:
Things then did scarcely seem:
Oblivion’s stroke fell like a mace:
As a tree that’s just hewn
I dropped, in a dead swoon,
And lay a long time cold upon my face.
Earth had one quarter turned before
My miserable fate
Pressed on with its whole weight.
My sense came back; and, shivering o’er,
I felt a pain to bear
The sun’s keen cruel glare;
It seemed not warm as heretofore.
Oh, never more its rays
Will satisfy my gaze.
No more; no more; oh, never any more.
The Love of Beauty
John Boccaccio, love’s own squire,
In service to all beauty, joy, and rest,—
When first the love-earned royal Mary press’d,
To her smooth cheek, his pale brows, passion-worn,—
’Tis said, he, by her grace nigh frenzied, torn
By longings unattainable, address’d
To his chief friend most strange misgivings, lest
Some madness in his brain had thence been born.
The artist-mind alone can feel his meaning:—
Such as have watched the battle-rank’d array
Of sunset, or the face of girlhood seen in
Line-blending twilight, with sick hope. Oh! they
May feed desire on some fond bosom leaning:
But where shall such their thirst of Nature stay?
The Subject in Art
If Painting and Sculpture delight us like other works of ingenuity, merely from the difficulties they surmount; like an ’egg in a bottle,’ a tree made out of stone, or a face made of pigment; and the pleasure we receive, is our wonder at the achievement; then, to such as so believe, this treatise is not written. But if, as the writer conceives, works of Fine Art delight us by the interest the objects they depict excite in the beholder, just as those objects in nature would excite his interest; if by any association of ideas in the one case, by the same in the other, without reference to the representations being other than the objects they represent:—then, to such as so believe, the following upon ‘SUBJECT’ is addressed. Whilst, at the same time, it is not disallowed that a subsequent pleasure may and does result, upon reflecting that the objects contemplated were the work of human ingenuity.