(Riuscirò mai ad avere la forza di scuotermi, di riacchiapparmi e di tornare con la testa - almeno con quella - qui sulla terra?)
One morn before me were three figures seen,
With bowèd necks, and joinèd hands, side-faced;
And one behind the other stepped serene,
In placid sandals, and in white robes graced:
They passed, like figures on a marble urn,
When shifted round to see the other side;
They came again; as when the urn once more
Is shifted round, the first seen shades return;
And they were strange to me, as may betide
With vases, to one deep in Phidian lore.
How is it, Shadows, that I knew ye not?
How came ye muffled in so hush a masque?
Was it a silent deep-disguisèd plot
To steal away, and leave without a task
My idle days? Ripe was the drowsy hour;
The blissful cloud of summer indolence
Benumbed my eyes; my pulse grew less and less;
Pain had no sting, and pleasure's wreath no flower;
Oh, why did ye not melt, and leave my sense
Unhaunted quite of all but - nothingness?
A third time passed they by, and, passing, turned
Each one the face a moment while to me;
Then faded, and to follow them I burned
And ached for wings because I knew the three:
The first was a fair maid, and Love her name;
The second was Ambition, pale of cheek,
And ever watchful with fatiguèd eye;
The last, whom I love more, the more of blame
Is heaped upon her, maiden most unmeek, -
I knew to be my demon Poesy.
They faded, and, forsooth! I wanted wings.
Oh, folly! What is Love? And where is it?
And for that poor Ambition - it springs
From a man's little heart's short fever-fit.
For Poesy! - no, - she has not a joy -
At least for me - so sweet as drowsy noons,
And evenings steep'd in honeyed indolence.
Oh, for an age so sheltered from annoy
That I may never know how change the moons,
Or hear the voice of busy common-sense!
A third time came they by. Alas, wherefore?
My sleep had been embroidered with dim dreams;
My soul had been a lawn besprinkled o'er
With flowers, and stirring shades, and baffled beams:
The morn was clouded, but no shower fell,
Though in her lids hung the sweet tears of May;
The open casement press'd a new-leaved vine,
Let in the budding warmth and throstle's lay;
O Shadows, 'twas a time to bid farewell!
Upon your skirts had fallen no tears of mine.
So, ye three Ghosts, adieu! Ye cannot raise
My head cool-bedded in the flowery grass;
For I would not be dieted with praise,
A pet-lamb in a sentimental farce!
Fade softly from my eyes, and be once more
In masque-like figures on the dreamy urn.
Farewell! I yet have visions for the night,
And for the day faint visions there is store.
Vanish, ye Phantoms, from my idle sprite
Into the clouds, and never more return!