Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE WANDERER: 1. IN ITALY: A VISION, by EDWARD ROBERT BULWER-LYTTON

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

THE WANDERER: 1. IN ITALY: A VISION, by                 Poet's Biography
First Line: The hour of hesperus! The hour when feeling
Last Line: And to the distance sighingly entreat her?
Alternate Author Name(s): Meredith, Owen; Lytton, 1st Earl Of; Lytton, Robert
Subject(s): Italy; Travel; Italians; Journeys; Trips

THE hour of Hesperus! the hour when feeling
Grows likest memory, and the full heart swells
With pensive pleasure to the mellow pealing
Of mournful music upon distant bells:
The hour when it seems sweetest to be loved,
And saddest to have loved in days no more.
O love, O life, O lovely land of yore,
Through which, erewhile, these weary footsteps roved,

Was it a vision? Or Irene, sitting,
Lone in her chamber, on her snowy bed,
With listless fingers, lingeringly unknitting
Her silken bodice; and, with bended head,
Hiding in warm hair, half-way to her knee,
Her pearl-pale shoulder, leaning on one arm,
Athwart the darkness, odorous and warm,
To watch the low, full moon set, pensively?

A fragrant lamp burned dimly in the room,
With scarce a gleam in either looking-glass.
The mellow moonlight, through the deep-blue gloom,
Did all along the dreamy chamber pass,
As though it were a little toucht with awe
(Being new-come into that quiet place
In such a quiet way) at the strange grace
Of that pale lady, and what else it saw; --

Rare flowers: narcissi; irises, each crowned;
Red oleander blossoms; hyacinths
Flooding faint fragrance, richly curled all round,
Corinthian, cool columnar flowers on plinths;
Waxen camelias, white and crimson ones;
And amber lilies, and the regal rose,
Which for the breast of queens full-scornful grows;
All pinnacled in urns of carven bronze:

Tables of inwrought stone, true Florentine, --
Olympian circles thronged with Mercuries,
Minervas, little Junos dug i' the green
Of ruined Rome; and Juno's own rich eyes
Vivid on peacock plumes Sidonian:
A ribboned lute, young Music's cradle: books,
Vellumed and claspt: and with bewildered looks,
Madonna's picture, -- the old smile grown wan.

From bloomed thickets, firefly-lamped, beneath
The terrace, fluted cool the nightingale.
In at the open window came the breath
Of many a balmy, dim blue, dreaming vale.
At intervals the howlet's note came clear,
Fluttering dark silence through the cypress grove;
An infant breeze from the elf-land of Love,
Lured by the dewy hour, crept, lisping, near.

And now is all the night her own, to make it
Or grave or gay with throngs of waking dreams.
Now grows her heart so ripe, a sigh might shake it
To showers of fruit, all golden as beseems
Hesperian growth. Why not, on nights like this,
Should Daphne out from you green laurel slip?
A Dryad from the ilex, with white hip
Quivered and thonged to hunt with Artemis?

To-night, what wonder were it, while such shadows
Are taking up such shapes on moonlit mountains,
Such star-flies kindling o'er low emerald meadows,
Such voices floating out of hillside fountains,
If some full face should from the window greet her,
Whose eyes should be new planetary lights,
Whose voice a well of liquid love-delights,
And to the distance sighingly entreat her?

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