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The Poetical Works of George MacDonald

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SCENE IV.--LILIA _in bed. The room lighted from a gas-lamp in the street; the bright shadow of the window on the wall and ceiling_.

Oh, it is dreary, dreary! All the time My thoughts would wander to my dreary home. Through every dance, my soul walked evermore In a most dreary dance through this same room. I saw these walls, this carpet; and I heard, As now, his measured step in the next chamber, Go pacing up and down, and I shut out! He is too good for me, I weak for him. Yet if he put his arms around me once, And held me fast as then, kissed me as then, My soul, I think, would come again to me, And pass from me in trembling love to him. But he repels me now. He loves me, true,-- Because I am his wife: he ought to love me! Me, the cold statue, thus he drapes with duty. Sometimes he waits upon me like a maid, Silent with watchful eyes. Oh, would to Heaven, He used me like a slave bought in the market! Yes, used me roughly! So, I were his own; And words of tenderness would falter in, Relenting from the sternness of command. But I am not enough for him: he needs Some high-entranced maiden, ever pure, And thronged with burning thoughts of God and him. So, as he loves me not, his deeds for me Lie on me like a sepulchre of stones. Italian lovers love not so; but he Has German blood in those great veins of his. He never brings me now a little flower. He sings low wandering sweet songs to the child; But never sings to me what the voice-bird Sings to the silent, sitting on the nest. I would I were his child, and not his wife! How I should love him then! Yet I have thoughts Fit to be women to his mighty men; And he would love them, if he saw them once.

Ah! there they come, the visions of my land! The long sweep of a bay, white sands, and cliffs Purple above the blue waves at their feet! Down the full river comes a light-blue sail; And down the near hill-side come country girls, Brown, rosy, laden light with glowing fruits; Down to the sands come ladies, young, and clad For holiday; in whose hearts wonderment At manhood is the upmost, deepest thought; And to their side come stately, youthful forms, Italy's youth, with burning eyes and hearts:-- Triumphant Love is lord of the bright day. Yet one heart, under that blue sail, would look With pity on their poor contentedness; For he sits at the helm, I at his feet. He sung a song, and I replied to him. His song was of the wind that blew us down From sheltered hills to the unsheltered sea. Ah, little thought my heart that the wide sea, Where I should cry for comforting in vain, Was the expanse of his wide awful soul, To which that wind was helpless drifting me! I would he were less great, and loved me more. I sung to him a song, broken with sighs, For even then I feared the time to come: "O will thine eyes shine always, love, as now? And will thy lips for aye be sweetly curved?" Said my song, flowing unrhymed from my heart. "And will thy forehead ever, sunlike bend, And suck my soul in vapours up to thee? Ah love! I need love, beauty, and sweet odours. Thou livest on the hoary mountains; I In the warm valley, with the lily pale, Shadowed with mountains and its own great leaves; Where odours are the sole invisible clouds, Making the heart weep for deliciousness. Will thy eternal mountain always bear Blue flowers upspringing at the glacier's foot? Alas! I fear the storms, the blinding snow, The vapours which thou gatherest round thy head, Wherewith thou shuttest up thy chamber-door, And goest from me into loneliness." Ah me, my song! it is a song no more! He is alone amid his windy rocks; I wandering on a low and dreary plain!

[She weeps herself asleep.]

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