Summer Fête, The - Part 5

While thus, like motes that dance away
Existence in a summer ray,
These gay things, born but to quadrille,
The circle 'of their doom fulfil —
(That dancing doom whose law decrees
That they should live on the alert toe
A life of ups-and-downs, like keys
Of Broadwood's in a long concerto: — )
While thus the fiddle's spell, within ,
Calls up its realm of restless sprites.
Without , as if some Mandarin
Were holding there his Feast of Lights,
Lamps of all hues, from walks and bowers,
Broke on the eye, like kindling flowers,
Till, budding into light, each tree
Bore its full fruit of brilliancy.

Here shone a garden — lamps all o'er,
As tho' the Spirits of the Air
Had taken it in their heads to pour
A shower of summer meteors there; —
While here a lighted shrubbery led
To a small lake that sleeping lay,
Cradled in foliage, but, o'er-head,
Open to heaven's sweet breath and ray;
While round its rim there burning stood
Lamps, with young flowers beside them bedded,
That shrunk from such warm neighborhood,
And, looking bashful in the flood,
Blushed to behold themselves so wedded.

Hither, to this embowered retreat,
Fit but for nights so still and sweet;
Nights, such as Eden's calm recall
In its first lonely hour, when all
So silent is, below, on high,
That is a star falls down the sky,
You almost think you hear it fall —
Hither, to this recess, a few,
To shun the dancers' wildering noise,
And give an hour, ere night-time flew,
To music's more ethereal joys,
Came with their voices — ready all
As Echo waiting for a call —
In hymn or ballad, dirge or glee,
To weave their mingling ministrelsy,
And first a dark-eyed nymph, arrayed —
Like her whom Art hath deathless made,
Bright Mona Lisa — with that braid
Of hair across the brow, and one
Small gem that in the centre shone —
With face, too,in its form resembling
Da Vinci's Beauties — the dark eyes,
Now lucid as thro' crystal trembling,
Now soft as if suffused with sighs —
Her lute that hung beside her took,
And, bending o'er it with shy look,
More beautiful, in shadow thus,
Than when with life most luminous,
Past her light finger o'er the chords,
And sung to them these mournful words: —
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