Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, EGERIA'S GROTTO, by LETITIA ELIZABETH LANDON



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EGERIA'S GROTTO, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: A silver fountain with a changeful shade
Last Line: A wish, a vision, and a fantasie.
Alternate Author Name(s): L. E. L.; Maclean, Letitia


A SILVER Fountain with a changeful shade
Of interwoven leaves and blossoms made;
The leaves that turn'd the light to emerald green,
While colour'd buds like rainbows shone between:
And on the southern bank, as if beset
With ocean pearls, grew the white violet;
Above there stood a graceful orange-tree,
Where Spring and Summer dwelt in amity,
And shared the boughs between them, -- one with flowers
Its silver offering to the sunshine hours;
The other with its fruit, like Indian gold,
Or those bright apples the last lover roll'd
In Atalanta's path and won the day --
Alas! how often gold has led astray!
The shadow of old chestnut trees was round --
They were the guardians of the hallow'd ground;
The hunter in his chase had past it by,
So closely was it screen'd from curious eye.
On the bank opposite to that, where strew'd
Sigh'd the pale violets' sweet multitude,
There was a little Grotto, and like stars
The roof was set with crystal and with spars
Trembling in light; -- it needed much their aid,
For at the entrance the dark branches play'd
Of a lone cypress, and the summer-day
Was changed to twilight as it made its way.
It is Egeria's Grotto. Her bright hair
Has left its odour on the fragrant air;
The echo of her step is lingering still
In the low music of the lute-toned rill;
And here the flowers are beautiful and young
As when beneath her ivory feet they sprung.
Ay, this made Love delicious as a dream,
Save that it was too constant but to seem --
No time to tire, gone almost soon as seen;
Known but by happiness, that it had been --
A shade, but such a shade as rainbows cast
Upon the clouds, in its first beauty past --
A mystery, such mystery as the breath
Lurking in summer sweetness on a wreath,
Which we would but enjoy, but not explore,
Too blest in the pleased sense to desire more.
And thus if Love would last, thus must it be --
A wish, a vision, and a fantasie.





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