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Laodamia

William Wordsworth

Vows have I made by fruitless hope inspired;
Of night, my slaughtered Lord have I required:
Restore him to my sight—great Jove, restore!”

With faith, the Suppliant heavenward lifts her hands;
Her countenance brightens—and her eye expands;
As she expects the issue in repose.

What doth she look on?—whom doth she behold?
His vital presence? his corporeal mould?
And a God leads him, wingèd Mercury!

That calms all fear; “Such grace hath crowned thy prayer,
Thy husband walks the paths of upper air:
Accept the gift, behold him face to face!”

Again that consummation she essayed;
As often as that eager grasp was made.
And re-assume his place before her sight.

Confirm, I pray, the vision with thy voice:
Speak, and the floor thou tread’st on will rejoice.
This precious boon; and blest a sad abode.”

His gifts imperfect:—Spectre though I be,
But in reward of thy fidelity.
For fearless virtue bringeth boundless gain.

That the first Greek who touched the Trojan strand
A generous cause a victim did demand;
A self-devoted chief—by Hector slain.”

Thy matchless courage I bewail no more,
By doubt, propelled thee to the fatal shore;
A nobler counsellor than my poor heart.

Wert kind as resolute, and good as brave;
Thou should’st elude the malice of the grave:
As when their breath enriched Thessalian air.

Come, blooming Hero, place thee by my side!
To me, this day a second time thy bride!”
Upon those roseate lips a Stygian hue.

Nor should the change be mourned, even if the joys
And surely as they vanish. Earth destroys
Calm pleasures there abide—majestic pains.

Rebellious passion: for the Gods approve
A fervent, not ungovernable love.
When I depart, for brief is my sojourn—”

Wrest from the guardian monster of the tomb
Given back to dwell on earth in vernal bloom?
And æson stood a youth ’mid youthful peers.

Yet further may relent: for mightier far
Of magic potent over sun and star,
And though his favourite seat be feeble woman’s breast.

She looked upon him and was calmed and cheered;
In his deportment, shape, and mien, appeared
Brought from a pensive though a happy place.

In worlds whose course is equable and pure;
The past unsighed for, and the future sure;
Revived, with finer harmony pursued;

In happier beauty; more pellucid streams,
And fields invested with purpureal gleams;
Earth knows, is all unworthy to survey.

That privilege by virtue.—”Ill,” said he,
Who from ignoble games and revelry
While tears were thy best pastime, day and night;

(Each hero following his peculiar bent)
By martial sports,—or, seated in the tent,
What time the fleet at Aulis lay enchained.

The oracle, upon the silent sea;
That, of a thousand vessels, mine should be
Mine the first blood that tinged the Trojan sand.

When of thy loss I thought, belovèd Wife!
And on the joys we shared in mortal life,—
My new-planned cities, and unfinished towers.

‘Behold they tremble!—haughty their array,
In soul I swept the indignity away:
In act embodied, my deliverance wrought.

In reason, in self-government too slow;
Our blest re-union in the shades below.
Be thy affections raised and solemnised.

Seeking a higher object. Love was given,
For this the passion to excess was driven—
The fetters of a dream opposed to love.—

Round the dear Shade she would have clung—’tis vain:
And him no mortal effort can detain:
He through the portal takes his silent way,

She perished; and, as for a wilful crime,
Was doomed to wear out her appointed time,
Of blissful quiet ’mid unfading bowers.

And mortal hopes defeated and o’erthrown
As fondly he believes.—Upon the side
A knot of spiry trees for ages grew
And ever, when such stature they had gained
The trees’ tall summits withered at the sight;
Online text © 1998-2014 Poetry X. All rights reserved.
From Poems | Longman, 1815
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