Pale are her enchanted slumbers;
Pale is she with many dreams;
That white brow the turban cumbers;
Wan, yet feverish she seems.
Not the fountain's silvery flowing
Lulls that haunted sleep;
Round her are wild visions growing,
Such as wake and weep.
Drugg'd is that impassioned sleeping,
Sleep that is like life;
By the unquiet pillow keeping
Hope, and fear, and strife.
Fast the fatal flower has bound her
In its heavy spell;
Strange wild phantasms surround her,
But she knows them well.
First, there comes an hour Elysian,
Would it might remain!
Bringing back Love's early vision,
But without its pain.
Soft the myrtles of the wild wood,
Round her path-way part;
Happy, like a guileless childhood,
With a woman's heart.
But a deeper shadow closes
On those lovely hours,
And the opening sky discloses
Old ancestral towers:
There they stand--white, stately, solemn;
While she looks, they fall
Round her lies the broken column,
And the ruined wall.
Then amid a forest lonely
Does she seem to stray;
One huge serpent, and one only,
Seems to mark her way.
Then begins her hour of terror;
Strange shapes know their time--
Struggling with some nameless error,
With some unknown crime.
Phantoms crowd around, repeating
Words that are of death;
Loud her startled heart is beating,
Louder than her breath.
But a rosy lip has kissed her,
With that kiss she wakes;
Pale she gazes on the sister,
Who her slumber breaks.
Mighty must have been the sorrow,
Passionate the grief,
Which can thus a solace borrow,
From that haunted leaf.
Scarcely does the broken-hearted
Draw a living breath;
Better it were quite departed,
Than this life in death.
(1) Flowers of Loveliness; Twelve Groups of Female Figures, Emblematic of Flowers; Designed by Various Artists With Poetical Illustrations, by L.E.L. London: ACKERMANN AND COMPANY, 1838. (n.p.)