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THE WANDERER: 1. IN ITALY: MORNING AND MEETING, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: One yellow star, the largest and the last
Last Line: That, through a rapture, I had toucht her hand.
Alternate Author Name(s): Meredith, Owen; Lytton, 1st Earl Of; Lytton, Robert
Subject(s): Italy; Travel; Italians; Journeys; Trips

ONE yellow star, the largest and the last
Of all the lovely night, was fading slow
(As fades a happy moment in the past)
Out of the changing east, when, yet aglow
With dreams her looks made magical, from sleep
I waked; and oped the lattice. Like a rose
All the red-opening morning 'gan disclose
A ripened light upon the distant steep.

A bell was chiming through the crystal air
From the high convent-church upon the hill.
The folk were loitering by to matin prayer.
The church-bell called me out, and seemed to fill
The air with little hopes. I reached the door
Before the chanted hymn began to rise,
And float its liquid Latin melodies
O'er pious groups about the marble floor.

Breathless, I slid among the kneeling folk.
A little bell went tinkling through the pause
Of inward prayer. Then forth the low chant broke
Among the glooming aisles, that through a gauze
Of sunlight glimmered.
Thickly throbbed my blood.
I saw, dark-tressed in the rose-lit shade,
Many a little dusk Italian maid,
Kneeling with fervent face close where I stood.

The morning, all a misty splendor, shook
Deep in the mighty window's flamelit webs.
It touched the crowned Apostle with his hook,
And brightened where the sea of jasper ebbs
About those Saints' white feet that stand serene
Each with his legend, each in his own hue
Attired: some beryl-golden: sapphire blue
Some: and some ruby-red: some emerald-green.

Wherefrom, in rainbow-wreaths, the rich light rolled
About the snowy altar, sparkling clean.
The organ groaned and pined, then, growing bold,
Revelled the cherubs' golden wings atween.
And in the light, beneath the music, kneeled
(As pale as some stone Virgin bending solemn
Out of the red gleam of a granite column)
Irene with claspt hands and cold lips sealed.

As one who, pausing on some mountain-height,
Above the breeze that breaks o'er vineyard walls,
Leans to the impulse of a wild delight,
Bows earthward, feels the hills bow too, and falls --
I dropt beside her. Feeling seemed to expand
And close: a mist of music filled the air:
And, when it ceased in heaven, I was aware
That, through a rapture, I had toucht her hand.

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