The woodlands as at first.
Foresters and girls.
Melander leans against a tree absorbed in thought: in one group Marcion and Ermenild are talking: in another Iamblichus and Myrtil: Myrtil comes forward.
What passion, dear Melander, numbs thy voice?
Why wilt thou cherish humorous peevishness,
The nursling of a moment and a mood?
Now kernelled in the golden husk of day
Pale night with all her pomp of sorrow sleeps,
And stinted of
The elegiac nightingale is hushed.
Sweet friend, my spirit is too deeply hued
With sombre-sweet Imagination's brush
To dress the nimble spirit of the dance
In lilt of phrase and honey-packing rhyme.
I pray you, urge it not. I am not well.
Urge him no more. The rash and humorous spirit
That governs him at times, will not be schooled.
But since the sweetest tongue of all is mute,
Some harsher voice prick on the creeping hour.
Page – 764
Ah no, Iamblichus! when winds are hushed
Fall then the clapping cymbals of the sea,
And every green-haired dancing-girl down-drop
Her foam-tipped sinuous wand to kiss her feet!
The loss of sweetest palls what is but sweet,
For should the honey-throated mavis die,
Who in the laughing linnet takes delight
Or lends ear to the rhyming hedge-priest wren?
Let us not challenge passion-pale regret,
But hand-in-hand down ruby-tinted walks
Gather the poppies of sweet speech, to press
For opiates when dank autumn looms and Life
Is empty of her rose. Were not this well?
Thy words are sweet as joy, more wise than sorrow.
Come, friends, let us steal honey from the hours
For memory to suck when winter comes.
Exeunt all but Melander.
Ah me, what drug Circean wakes in me?
My blood steals from my heart like pulsing fire
And the fresh sap exudes upon my brow.
O faster, faster urge thy golden wheels,
Thou sun that like a fiery lizard creepst
Glib-footed to the parapet of heaven!
Oh that my hand might clutch thy saffron curls
And thrust thee in the loud Atlantic! So
The violet mares of Evening may drink up
The sweet, damp wind, so dawn the ivory moon
And lurk shy-peeping in my darling's eyes.
For my desire is like the passionate sea
That calls unto her paramour the wind
And only hears a strangled murmur pant,
Mute, muffled by the hollow-breasted hills.
Enter Iamblichus with Myrtil in his arms.
Page – 765
No farther drag my steps, Iamblichus!
I am not fond to bow my doating neck
Under your feet, like other woodland girls
Who image beauty's model in your shape,
Heaven in your eyes and nectar in your kiss.
Fie, fie, be modest, sir. Let go your grasp.
[Here a page of the notebook was torn out.]
Ah me, again a sea of subtle fire
Clamours about the ruby gates of Life!
My soul expanding like a Pythian seer
Thrives upon torture, and the insurgent blood,
Swollen as with wine, menaces mutiny.
How slowly buildst thou up the spacious noon
To dome thy house, O architect of day!
Not from the bubbling smithy where Love works
Smooth He be fetched thy world-revealing fires;
Nor to the foam-bound bride-bed of the sea
Thou sailest, but like one with doom foreseen
Whose bourne and culmination lapses down
To sunless hell. Hope thou not to set out
My seasons in the golden ink of day:
My heart anticipates the pilot moon
Who steers the cloudy-wimpled night. Pale orb,
Thou art no symbol for my burning soul:
Lag thou behind or lag not, I will lead.
He is going out.
Re-enter foresters with Palleas.
What's this, Melander? Noon not yet has sealed
His titles with the signet of the sun.
'Tis early yet to leave. Why will you go?
Page – 766
I am bound down by iron promises,
The hour named. Would I not linger else?
Even now the promise has outstript the act.
Melander, do not go.
Dear child, I must.
Come, come, you shall not go. 'Tis most unkind,
Let me not say uncourteous, to withdraw
The sunshine of your presence from this day,
Our little day of unmixed joy. Be ruled.
Boy, let me counsel you. This eager fit
And hot eruption does much detriment
To youth and bodes no good to waning years.
When I was young, I ruled my dancing blood,
Abstained from brabbles, women, verses, wine,
And now you see me bask in hale old age,
Mid Autumn's gilded ruin one green leaf.
Life's palate dulls with much intemperance,
And whoso breaks the law, the law shall break.
Love is a specious angler —
Confide thy heavy rumours to the grave
Where thou shouldst now be rotting.
Page – 767