Whilst the moon decks herself in Neptune's glass
And ponders over her image in the sea,
Her cloudy locks smoothing from off her face
That she may all as bright as beauty be;
O Blest unfabled Incense Tree,
That burns in glorious Araby,
With red scent chalicing the air,
Till earth-life grow Elysian there!
It is not Beauty I demand,
A crystal brow, the moon's despair,
Nor the snow's daughter, a white hand,
Nor mermaid's yellow pride of hair.
Down the dimpled green-sward dancing
Bursts a flaxen-headed bevy,
Bud-lipt boys and girls advancing
Love's irregular little levy.
I sent a ring—a little band
Of emerald and ruby stone,
And bade it, sparkling on thy hand,
Tell thee sweet tales of one
You, the choice minions of the proud-lipped nine
Who warble at the great Apollo's knee,
Why do you laugh at these rude lays of mine?
I seek not of your brotherhood to be:
Troop home to silents grots and caves!
Troop home! And mimic as you go
The mournful winding of the waves
Which to their dark abysses flow!
A star is gone! a star is gone!
There is a blank in Heaven;
One of the cherub choir has done
His airy course this even.
Prayer unsaid, and mass unsung, Deadman's dirge must still be rung:
Dingle-dong, the dead-bells sound! Mermen chant his dirge around!
Wash him bloodless, smooth him fair, Stretch his limbs, and sleek his hair
Wherefore, unlaurell'd Boy,
Whom the contemptuous Muse will not inspire,
With a sad kind of joy
Still sing'st thou to thy solitary lyre?